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No. 128883

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:

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.

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:
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>> No. 128884
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.

>Cadet Leader Lemon Sweet exclaimed, clapping her hooves together excitedly//
We'll see if I have to end up giving you the full show-vs-tell speech, but here, the word "excitedly" is undoing the nice image you had going. The choice of speaking verb and the action of clapping her hooves already gives me a mental picture of excitement (the clapping could also be an attention-getting thing, I suppose—you could add in a facial expression to be clearer if you wanted), so bluntly telling me that's what it is just obviates it all, and turns it into a cold fact. You don't always have to show, but right here at the beginning is the place to grab the reader's interest, and getting him into the characters' mindsets and creating a vivid picture are essential here.

>lets give them a real send off//
let's, send-off

>The little crowd of local fillies burst into applause//
They just did that three sentences ago, and with much the same phrasing.

>one of them - a little periwinkle unicorn named Dinky Doo piped up//
First, use a proper dash instead of a hyphen. Either an em dash with no spaces around it (Alt+0151 = —) or an en dash with spaces around it (primarily British usage, Alt+0150 = –). Second, you don't complete the aside, as the rest of the sentence isn't detached like the description of Dinky. You should place another dash after her name. However, you could make do with commas instead, as the phrase is a legitimate appositive for "one of them."

>to which the three older fillies in question blushed and rubbed at the back of their heads//
Bad choice of preposition here. I think you meant "at." Let me rearrange the phrase to illustrate:
Yours: "The three older fillies in question blushed to this."
Mine: "The three older fillies in question blushed at this."

You call her "Tag Along" in the synopsis, and the official name of the cookie is "Tagalong." I can understand that you might take some liberties with that official name, but be consistent.

>It doesn’t seem like its been that long, does it?
Its/it's confusion.

>She’d been mimicking a certain posh pony’s accent for years in secret, and as she grew older and into her grown up voice//
Grown-up. Two things here. It's obviously tough to convey such an accent, and it would go a long way toward doing so if you made more careful word choice for her. That would also eliminate the need to have the narrator fill me in on this. It would stand on its own more with less explanation, and would also help establish different voices for your three characters.

>That brought on a wince at the memory.//
You've done this a couple of times now. Using demonstratives (this, that, these, those) on their own is weak, as they have vague antecedents that are often large chunks of narration. Try to find an appropriate noun to place after it, like: "That memory brought on a wince."

>Maple Syrup//
Why is "Syrup" capitalized? Unless it's someone's name, in which case the sentence takes on a whole new disturbing meaning.

This matches the official cookie name, but you spelled it "Do-si-Do" in the synopsis. Again, be consistent.

>She stuck her tongue out and the three friends giggled in unison.//
Watch when and when not to use a comma with a conjunction. You usually don't when you simply have a compound structure of two subjects, verbs, or objects, but you do when you have two clauses, each with its own separate subject and verb, which is the case here.

>Although they had come close before - they had never quite gotten enough to outsell one of the teams from the bigger cities.//
Inappropriate dash use. This is just a dependent clause leading into a main clause. Use a comma.

They have now updated the canon map to the more realistic spelling of "Manehattan."

>and even freakin’ Appleloosa!//
You haven't established a narrative voice that should be doing this. It's been pretty objective and jumping around to each character, but here it takes on a very personal aspect. It's inconsistent, and it's unclear whose emotions this is supposed to express.

>Thin Mint flung a hoof across her eyes and made a dramatic sob.//
You just used "dramatically" a couple sentences ago (which was a telly use, by the way), so watch the word repetition.

>would-have-been record breaking//
As you've used it, this whole phrase should be hyphenated.

>Do-si-do had suspected foul play as rumor had it//
Minor point, but note that using no comma with an "as" clause tends to create the feel of "at the same time that," while including one tends to create a feel of "because."

>Diamond Tiara had been on that team, and had used her father’s chain of stores to sell the cookies//
See prior note about comma use with conjunctions. You don't need this one.

>rubbing at her horn a little in frustration//
Yeah, you'll get the show-versus-tell speech.

>Look I want that badge as much as you do//
Missing comma for the invective.

>Tag-a-long growled something unintelligible//
Odd narrative choice again. Since your narrator seems to know everyone's thoughts, why not this? It's only unintelligible to one or two of the characters, after all. Tagalong knows what she said.

Same issue. Having the narrator use a nickname for her while not in a clear perspective and still taking on aspects of being omniscient is jarring.

This isn't a hyphenated term.

>Hold the bucking phone!//
Use of "bucking" in this way is incredibly cliched.

>That’s right girls!//
Missing comma for direct address.

>most importantly of those changes//
Used an adverb where you need an adjective.

>Which is an oddly apt thing to say I think//
Missing comma.

>but…You really think we can pull this off?//
There's no need to capitalize after an ellipsis if what follows makes syntactic sense as a continuous sentence.

>Tag-a-long let a slow grin flow across her face, her eyes sparkling intensely.//
See, here's a spot where you do a good job of showing. Give me the mental picture, and let her actions and appearance speak for themselves.

>Tag Along//
And another inconsistent spelling.

I've never seen this spelling. I think "y'know" would be clearer.

>Her voice trailed off//
It's redundant for the narration to tell me what the punctuation already does.

Inconsistent again.

Several things can confuse smart quotes. One is putting an apostrophe on the beginning of a word. This one is backward. If you add one after it, then delete the first, it will look right.

>larger than life//

Italicize ! or ? when it's on a word in italics. You got this right earlier.

>Or Imprisoned, Exiled, Executed, Banished//
I don't get why all this is capitalized.

Apostrophe on the wrong end.

Another backward apostrophe.

>the way Cookie Cadet’s do//
Misused apostrophe. This is a plural, not a possessive.

>Tag reminded her, carting in the next stack of boxes//
Participial phrases commonly make for misplace modifiers. If they start a clause, they're presumed to modify the subject; elsewhere, they're presumed to modify the nearest prior noun or pronoun object. Sometimes, they can modify other things, if the reader applies a little logic, but unless you keep this issue in mid, you will eventually run into misdirection or ambiguity. Here, I can't tell which one is carting in the next stack of boxes. By virtue of closeness in the sentence, it refers to "her" (Thin Mint), but I bet you meant it to be Tagalong.

>” That got a nod from Pinkie//
Extraneous space.

>Tag-a-long enthused//
That is in no way, shape, or form a speaking verb.

>she winked cheekily at Tag//
Exact action she just did two paragraphs ago.

>Tag Along burbled//

>Thin Mint said with understandable awe//
Understandable to whom? The narrator's not speaking in a particular character's voice.

>delicious smelling//

>“Okay.” Tag Along said with her nose buried in a thick scroll.//
Dialogue punctuation.

>“Laser Pointers?
Missing your closing quotation marks.

I'll say here that it's a bit annoying to read through 28 paragraphs of dialogue with only three actions interspersed. Talking heads is somewhat justified in this type of scene, but you carry it to an extreme.

>Of course, that didn’t mean they could stop trying to sell cookies - every box might count. Of course//
Repetitive, starting consecutive sentences with the same thing, where you're not playing it for some kind of effect.

>thin Mint//

>Spike the Dragon//
Just "Spike" will do.

>And so it went//
Very awkward change of tone here. You'd been taking us through the scene with a combination of narration and dialogue, but here, you switch to summarizing everything through the narration. Not sure why you chose to do that, but it's odd and not particularly effective.

>Ditzy Do//
Spelling. And since Ditzy and Derpy are apparently different canon ponies, are you sure you don't want to go with Derpy?

>I swear half the town is trying to figure out if you’re trying//
Missing comma and repetitive wording.

>Tag felt some of the tension drain out of her. This was going to give her a massive tension headache//
More word repetition.

>“Ah, well… You know us. We’re not really party girls.” Do-si-do commented a little lamely//
Dialogue punctuation.

>They especially loved parties that involved dancing and doing things their parent’s would not necessarily approve of.//
Misused apostrophe.

>The slightly sexy sounding voice//
I have no idea where you're going with this...


>in comical relief//
Please refrain from telling the reader how he is supposed to feel about something. If you have to say something is funny, chances are that it isn't.

>one of the biggest party night//
Number disagreement.

>The sleek black bodystocking’s she’d been expecting//
Misused apostrophe.

>44th //
Spell out numbers this short.

>“The Son of Dr. Negative”//
Book titles are underlined or (preferably) in italics.

>So instead of drowning in her own sorrows//
Actually, I wish you had given me a little about that. It'd add more realism, since that's certainly something that'd be on her mind, it'd make me more emotionally invested in the characters, and it would provide more impetus for why they're involved in this activity.

You're rather overusing this word here.

>penetrated the crate walls//
More word repetition.


>Sun Raising ceremony//
You didn't capitalize this in the previous paragraph.

>Sugarcube corner//

>familiar looking unicorn browsing over several large and ancient looking//
More repetitive phrasing.

>Grabbing both of her friends by the collars of their ninja-bunny suits, she hauled them quickly down a side path//
Note that participles imply concurrent action, so you have her grabbing them at the same time she hauls them down the hallway. Surely these actions are in sequence, not at the same time.

>“Hah! Got it,” Tag grinned at her fellow fillies.//
How do you grin a sentence?

>Thin Mint - being the pegasi of the group//
Unless she's more than one pony, you need "pegasus."

>heavy looking water balloons//
They prepared this equipment together. More than thinking they looked heavy, she'd know whether they were heavy.

>with quite the comical effect//
Please let your comedy speak for itself.

>“Minty! Get the windows open! Dosi! We need the chow!”//
Given that she valued the anonymity their outfits were providing, why is she shouting out their names?

>and similar giggles were summoned up from her friends//
Odd phrasing and unnecessary passive voice.

>if they had been any of the guests foals//
Missing apostrophe.

>book cases//

>giving it the impression of having a cheerful fire in it//
Set off the participle with a comma.

>Thin Mint ,and//
Spacing error.

>pegasi fashion//
Noun adjuncts are singular.

>At least they were still technically not adults, which meant the worst they’d get was some kind of punishment-fits-the-crime.//
Wouldn't that be the goal, regardless of age?

>“Hey girls,” a quiet and slightly amused voice startled her out of her thoughts, and sure enough, there was Twilight Sparkle sitting with a slightly amused smile on her face. //
Missing a speaking action, and repetitive phrasing.

’S okay

>Tag muttered a little, and Pinkie perked up a little bit at the reassurance - not much, but a little.//

>The Look//
I have no idea what this is. You've never defined it.

>Tag felt her hooves root to the floor for a brief moment, until she felt//
More repetition.

See the notes on comma use with conjunctions, dash and hyphen use, show versus tell, talking heads, and saidisms at the top of this thread. It may help to read the head hopping note, too, though that's not exactly the problem you have.

You have a very inconsistent narrative voice that can't decide whether it's omniscient or following one of the characters. Really, any arrangement can be made to work, but it has to achieve some purpose. I just felt jostled back and forth between being in an omniscient viewpoint, spending a little time with two of the characters, then settling in with the third the longer the story went on.

It's also a little curious how young and somewhat immature these girls sound, and how close an association they seem to have with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, given that you've made them just a year short of college age. There's a bit of a disconnect in how old they act and how old they actually are. Perhaps it would work better if you made them younger and either abandoned the "we're going to be splitting up soon" angle or came up with another reason for it. Conversely, you could mature them to make them act more age-appropriate.

In addition to the spots I marked, here are some other troubling word counts:

little - 34
look - 32
start/began - 20 I advise authors to avoid these, except where the beginning is noteworthy because it's abrupt or the action doesn't finish. Otherwise, it's obvious that any given action begins.
just - 39
"to be" verbs - I only looked for "is" and "was," and still got 133. You need to choose more active verbs.
as - 99 This suggests you're overusing "as" clauses.

As is another common problem, even for words that aren't used too much in the story as a whole, when you do use them, you tend to do so in clusters, which makes them stand out more.

This is a cute idea for a story, and I love the names you chose for these characters. But it's a little on the superficial side, especially considering the amount of time it spends in a subjective point of view. Though it seems odd to have the official name be Cookie Cadets when they do so much more than just the cookies.

Last edited at Mon, Oct 14th, 2013 12:28

>> No. 128889
Well, 63, gotta say I'm a tad surprised; I figured you'd go for reviews outside of the system. Might it not be a good idea to provide the title of the fic in question you're giving the list for, if only to help the author find it?
>> No. 128891
No, I provide a link to the review in the email from EqD, so the author knows where to find it, and he's the only one who matters.
>> No. 128945
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 poor little filly gets so down every time I have to tell her no...//
Keep in mind your medium here. This is a speech affectation. There are times when an ellipsis makes sense in a letter, but only when the writer does so deliberately because it attaches some meaning. She wouldn't just trail off because she lost her train of thought. Letters don't work that way. Things like this are why letter stories are so much harder to write than everyone thinks they are, though you're doing better than most.

>Her school year just ended//
>between working my mail route and my new gig as a waitress at the Cumulus Club//
Again, this just screams exposition dump. Who would actually write like this? Sandy presumably knows her well enough to be aware of the mail route, so why would she spell it out like this? It takes great care to make these things be believable. She'd likely just refer to the mail route as work, and then you could work in an anecdote to show what her job is.

>dead end//
Hyphenate your compound modifiers.

>I suppose that life is just one big aerial acrobatic, with each of us going through the motions. There are the ups and the downs, the twists and the turns, but never for a moment do I doubt that we're part of the same routine, and that you'll be there to catch me as I fall, as I will be for you.//
I'll be the first to say this is a subjective viewpoint, but the fact that she uses such flowery language here doesn't mesh at all with the harried mother just trying to find a moment of respite from her hyperactive daughter. It takes time to craft language like this, so when does she find a spare moment to do so? And if it's because she's leaving Scootaloo unsupervised while she does so, even the noise would grate on her. In short, she sounds way too composed for the image you're trying to create of her.

>I've had broken limbs and muscle cramps, but this is something out of a nightmare, Sandy.//
You're using an awful lot of direct address in these letters. It's obvious to whom she's writing. You don't need to keep saying so. Direct address should be held for occasional emphasis. This is yet another speech affectation that shouldn't carry over to letters.

>Sandy, I have cancer.//
Given that her complaints have been largely about her lifestyle and very little about physical discomfort, this just comes out of left field. It'd take time for that blood test to come back, and in the meantime, she never wrote Sandy about her concerns?

>The doctor even told me that if I make it to remission, there is a good chance that the cancer will come back//
Sounds like awful bedside manner to me. Being truthful is one thing, but bleak?

>I know that survival rates for my cancer are pretty high//
So what happened to the "even if you go into remission, the cancer will probably return"?

>I haven't been able to get a proper diagnosis from an oncologist//
She's starting a treatment program without a proper diagnosis?

I can't tell you not to put links in your story, but it's generally a bad idea to encourage people to click away from your story.

>my first of many surgeries//
You really are rushing through this. It's unusual to go to surgery until after a course of chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. You made an oblique reference to such, but not in a way that she was going through it herself, or how it made her feel. Surely that would have been noteworthy enough to write about.

>mine and my daughter's future//

>I can't even think straight. My hooves are shaking, despite the medicine they gave me to calm me before anesthesia.//
Again, this is awfully technical for a letter, and so formal as to undercut any sense of fear that the text is trying to assure me is there. She can't think straight, and yet she can wax poetic and say things like "as if I were floating in some surreal dream world where the universe and karma take turns playing cruel jokes on me." I don't buy it.

>It's so cold in this hospital//
It's also unhealthy for her to be so. The staff don't want her to be cold. They'd adjust the thermostat, bring in extra blankets, something.

>placing some port beneath my skin//
Now this makes sense. But why hasn't she mentioned it until now? This is the third time she's brought up surgery, and it wouldn't have been a surprise.

>self esteem//

>it doesn't take more than an hour or so for them to walk or fly right out the door they came in//
So why did Dash have to stay in the hospital?

>We are, all of us, bound to magic. As much as I'm sure you're pained to admit it, we ponies are as magical as the dragons themselves. Furthermore, each pony has a unique magic to themselves. These mana conduits, as the doctor calls them, run through our bodies like invisible blood vessels, holding our spirits to our bodies. And when another pony's mana conduits cross our own, via something like using magic to stitch a broken bone... Well, the consequences are as terrifying as you'll likely believe.//
Headcanon infodump is a bad thing when trying to keep up an emotional moment. This is all pretty irrelevant.

>which in this unfortunate case, means the leukemia would grow out of control and kill me within minutes//
That depends, doesn't it? Presumably the doctors can control what grows and what doesn't. Forcing skin cells to reproduce so that they cover a wound without making the blood cells within the skin's capillaries also reproduce, for instance. So why couldn't a doctor enhance the body's immune response, which is generally overpowered by serious cancer, while simultaneously not enhancing the growth of the cancer itself?

>And I'm almost certain my mane is falling out.//
Seems like the kind of thing she'd know pretty definitively.

>The nurses took Scootaloo, Sandy. My baby girl isn't here. She was crying too much, so they took her away, and now I'm crying too.//
Where did they take her, and why would they prevent her from visiting at all? This falls under the heading of "piling on." You don't need to add tragedy for the sake of tragedy. The least amount of tragedy needed to make the story work is generally the best.

Well, no, they fell out.

>run by a delightful young mare who runs//
Watch the word repetition.

>custom made//

>I must apologize for the... urgency, I suppose... in my last letter.//
Again, this is something you'd do with speech, not with writing.

>one to many ciders//
to/too confusion

>long term//
>short term//

>It's been two weeks to the day that I was first diagnosed with leukemia//
She's gone bald in less than two weeks? That would be very unusual.

>I don't know why, it's something I ought to be used to by now.//
Comma splice. You've tacked together two complete sentences.

>being their for your loved ones//
there/their confusion

Your mechanics were quite good, so I don't have too many complaints there. As such, I was able to go into more depth with my in-line comments and don't really need to say much more here. My main issues are that the letters are often inconsistent in tone with Firefly's state of mind, and that there are a number of things that are incompatible with a letter-format story (a common error in this type of story).

Watch your "to be" verbs, though. I only searched for the two simplest ones—is and was—and still found 120. It makes your story much more interesting to choose more active verbs. Using "to be" verbs is pretty inevitable, but I bet you could cut that down significantly.

Now, to the tumblr you link. Is that your tumblr? If not, have you gotten permission from the owner to use his story? It's also odd that you rely on the tumblr itself to tell a bit of the story, namely that Sandy was there when Firefly died. And as far in debt as Firefly was, it really rang hollow that Sandy couldn't somehow raise train fare for what is a really short trip (remember, in "The Best Night Ever," a coach trip at a walking pace from Canterlot to Ponyville took just a few hours). I was certain you'd somehow play it that Sandy was intentionally avoiding Firefly.

Next, emotions work best in contrast. You start off with a miserable mother, and everything just goes down from there. You have but a few one-sentence light moments anywhere in the story. Sad is sad when it's compared to happy. It'd serve your story much better if you worked in some upbeat moments.

Lastly, it's a bit weak on the conflict. Like I said, I thought you were building toward some confrontation between Sandy and Firefly. As it is, we just have this omnipresent tragedy, but we don't really see anything change as a result of it. There's no resolution of interpersonal conflict, no moment of character growth. A story can survive without such, but rare is the story that can do it well. You're relying on the sadness only, and that's a very tricky balancing act to achieve.
>> No. 129001
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.

>Hearths Warming Eve//

>Can Rarity turn an old Dress Me Daisy doll into the perfect present before morning?//
As these things go, this isn't too bad, but it's considered bad practice to use rhetorical questions in your synopsis.

>Rarity sighed with relief//
I've seen that you submitted several stories within a short time, so while it's reasonable that you wouldn't have been able to incorporate the feedback from the earliest ones into the later ones, I believe you would have been given the "show, don't tell" speech by now. In case you haven't, or it didn't sink in, please refer to the relevant section at the top of this thread. (If you got a review from Amacita on one of your stories, this is the same discussion that he uses.)

>her magically levitating sewing needle//
"Magically" is redundant here. There's no other means by which it would levitate, so it's unnecessary to say so.

>it was obviously intended//
Be careful when you say something is obvious. Obvious to whom? The narrator hasn't adopted any particular character's perspective yet, and in being thusly objective, he shouldn't be expressing his own opinions. It's essentially telling the reader it should be obvious to him, and readers generally don't like being told what they should think. The other issue: Your first paragraph has four sentences and four "to be" verbs. These are inherently boring verbs. While it's not necessary or even advisable to avoid them altogether, staying away from them whenever possible is a good idea. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what merely is. And active verbs will serve you well at the beginning, where you're trying to grab the reader. Take your "In front of her was a small dress form" versus "In front of her sat a small dress form." It's easy to fix in many cases, ad it makes a big but subtle difference.

>Opal purred and clawed at the carpet, curling herself up for a nap.//
Two issues here. First, the "curling..." phrase is a misplaced modifier, and participles are especially common for those. Descriptors like to latch onto the nearest object, so it sounds like the carpet is curling her up for a nap. Next, the use of the participial phrase at all. Well over half your sentences so far either have a participial phrase or an absolute phrase (which use participle verb forms). Such structural repetition can get your story in a rut. I'm very aware that I'm reading so many of them, and you don't want the writing itself to distract the reader from the story.

>Rarity heard a knock on her door and slowly trotted over//
This made me look, since you just used the word "slowly" not long ago. It turns out you only use it 7 times in the story, which isn't bad at all, but when you do use it, you tend to do so in clusters, so it still creates a repetitive feel.

>size and intensity of the knocking//
What exactly would the size of knocking be?

>into my nice clean floor//
"Onto" sounds better, imo.

>Orphan Foals Shelter//
Wouldn't that be Orphaned? And maybe Foals'?

>Pinkie left some holiday cookies on the table, feel free to help yourself.//
Comma splice. You've got two complete sentences tacked together with one.

>said Sweetie Belle, skulking over to the kitchen table and putting on her most theatrical frown//
Here's another issue with your narrative voice. You'd eventually settled into Rarity as your perspective character, but here, you pop into Sweetie Belle's for a single sentence. Only she would know it was her most theatrical smile, and not just a theatrical smile. You have to be careful who your perspective character is and which information she would actually have access to.

>Pinkie could make anyone smile//
"Anypony," perhaps?

>leaving only one thing unfinished - the packing and wrapping of the dress she’d made for Sweetie Belle.//
Please use a proper dash, but in this instance, a colon would be more appropriate, since you're clarifying or defining the "one thing." Though, I'd also argue that the passive voice is unnecessary here. Just "packing and wrapping the dress she’d made for Sweetie Belle" would do. For other dashes throughout the story, see the hyphen/dash use section at the top of this thread.

>ready to be placed under the tree//
Again, unnecessary passive voice. In addition to diverting the action, passive voice also leads to overuse of "to be" verbs. You could just say "ready to go under the tree," and it'd be much more active without losing any meaning.

>Apparently the little filly had decided to try to open some of the cabinets that were out of her reach by piling the pots and pans on top of one another.//
How could she tell this after they'd fallen? It's a bit of a leap. Lead me through her conclusion.

Italics are preferred over all caps for emphasis.

>And she knew how much her father loved them.//
By now, I've noticed how often you tell us what Rarity "knew." It's also starting to get repetitive, but it's also the type of information to avoid. Even if you just say "And her father certainly loved them," you've taken that bit out without changing anything.

>already forgetting the mess she made//
It's a completed action, so use a past participle. "she'd made"

>“That was baking, not cooking!”//
Well, she also tried to make juice, garnish some eggs, etc. without success.

>Rarity just pushed Sweetie Belle into the snow//
Suggest rephrasing, as this first comes across like a bully action, as if Rarity is shoving her to the ground.

>some day//
As phrased, you can use this as a single word.

>Thanks Mom//
Missing comma for direct address.

>doing her best to feign enthusiasm//
This is a tougher type of telling to detect, as you don't directly name any emotions, but you're still relying on me to create the scene for you. I don't know what this looks like—you don't create a visual.

>Rarity’s mild disappointment slowly shifted to mild panic//
And now you are directly naming emotions.


>but it was clear that she was near to tears//
How so? Paint the picture for me. It gets me much more connected to the characters to figure it out from the evidence than to have you tell me.

>With that//
Phrases like this and "at this point" that refer directly to the narration are a bad idea.

>as she thought aloud to herself//
A lot of this is unnecessary. Of course it's aloud, since you haven't punctuated it as a thought, and of course it's to herself, since nobody else is present.

A lot of these things Rarity says to herself are a bit formal, and she's talking to herself rather a lot. They may work better as indirect thoughts in the narration.

>These must be my old clothes//
Wait, so they give away Sweetie Belle's clothes, but not Rarity's?

>as she extracted the toy from underneath the crushed remains of a toy make-up kit//
Repetition of "toy."

Spell out these numbers.

>and though the designs were a bit tight in a few places//
Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>one last look. There was one last thing//
Phrase repetition.

>How...How did you get in here Sweetie?//
Another missing comma for direct address, and please leave a space after the ellipsis.

>and when you didn’t come down for breakfast//
Another missing comma for the dependent clause.

>Sweetie was wearing the Hearth’s Warming Eve dress Rarity had made//
So, not only did she pick the lock without Rarity hearing, she put on the dress, found the doll and clothes, and kept her enthusiasm quiet enough not to wake Rarity, and then wakes her up? It doesn't seem to add up.

>Sweetie was positively brimming with happiness//
Show it. It's especially important, here at an emotional climax of the story.

>Rarity smiled, and put a hoof around her excited sister.//
See the section at the top of this thread about comma use with conjunctions.

>It’s very simple, you just take an existing pattern and divide all the measurements by six.//
Comma splice.

>following her sister with a mixture of awe and joy in her eyes//
More telling you'll want to fix.

>Hearths Warming//
Misspelled again.

I rather like this story. It's sweet and does a nice job of getting at that sisterly relationship. That said, there are obviously a few problems here. Most are with the writing style; I didn't find any glaring character or plot issues. The only other plot-related thing I'd point out is that close-knit families like this typically coordinate their gift-giving. On the one hand, Rarity should have known that her mom had gotten Sweetie Belle only clothes, and on the other, her mother should have known not to do that. She's already raised one filly, and apparently gave her a number of toys, so this isn't alien to her, even for someone like Rarity who probably preferred clothes. She's not suddenly going to be clueless on what to get her younger daughter. That might take a bit of thought to explain.

Now to the style issues. I marked a couple of odd point-of-view shifts and commented once about how you need to think about what your focus character would know. Shifts in perspective can be done, but only when necessary, and they need to be handled smoothly. For this story, I don't think you ever need to leave Rarity's head. You might want to refer to the head-hopping section at the top of this thread.

Next, you rely heavily on participles. Read back through and see how many sentences go "She performed this action, performing this other action." It gets your writing into a very clunky feel when the sentences have the same structure and rhythm over and over again. You need to vary this more.

I also commented that you seemed to be telling me what characters "knew" a lot. There are actually only 12 of these in the story, but they're all clustered up front, and it's weak to do this too often. Better to make a direct comment to the direct knowledge than use a "to know" or related verb.

Last one's the biggie: "to be" verbs.

was: 69
were: 21
be: 17
been: 11
is: 6
wasn't: 4
isn't: 2

And this is without checking more indeterminate ones like "there's" or "she's," though I don't recall seeing too many of those. The point is that these are weak verbs, and you're using a ton of them. They indicate overuse of telling (somewhat of an issue here), passive voice (a minor issue, but still present), or a need to choose more active verbs (we have a winner).

Now, look at another family of words: start/begin and their other forms. I counted 10, which doesn't sound like much, but most of them are within a few paragraphs of each other. It's also a fairly redundant verb—any given action would obviously begin. It's only worth noting when that beginning is abrupt, or the action never finishes.

Last edited at Sat, Nov 2nd, 2013 16:58

>> No. 129023
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 bunch of scarves which were hurriedly tossed on top//
This is a nonrestrictive clause; use "that," not "which."

>“We must hurry.”//
This line feels very detached. I get no sense of how she means it. She's forcing a grin, but she's not being insincere, so I can't realy tell what her state of mind is here.

>the basket was scooped up//
There's not really a reason to use passive voice here. If you wanted to draw attention to the basket, sure, but it doesn't hold any importance.

>The basket was magically hefted//
More unnecessary passive voice, and nearly the same phrasing as last time.

>where the sun was shining and uncomfortably hot on Opal’s fluffy pelt//
Precisely because of the fluffy pelt, it'd take a substantial delay before she felt the increased warmth.

>The basket was magically hefted into the air and towards the door they went//
Missing a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>easy going//
One word.

>but she’d learn to tolerate Rarity and her neurotic ways. But this//
I think you meant that to be "learned." And having the two "but" clauses in a row creates the feel of a double negative. You're excepting an exception.

>Often, Opal would awake in the dead of night to mutters and the shambling of hooves, and there would be Rarity, flustered, mane a mess as she trotted frantically about the boutique, her sewing glasses perched crooked on her muzzle as she dug through shelves of fabric.//
Here's a sentence that rambles on so long (to no purpose) that it loses focus. If each of these topics is important, then let them each get their own focus by chopping this up a bit. As it is, you're also repeating structures, which gives it a choppy feel. We have main clause, dependent clause, participial phrase, absolute phrase, dependent "as" clause, absolute phrase, dependent "as" clause.

>persisted on//

>It was only with great resilience did Opal finally stop pawing the bow from her hair.//
Syntax is off. Typical phrasing would be: "It was only with great resilience that Opal finally stopped..." I also question the word choice "resilience." It means to bounce back from a hardship. You seem to be aiming for something more like self-control.

>I’m here to examine your um... wears//
Unless you're going for a pun (and then having nobody react to it to complete the joke, for some reason), it's "wares."

>They were at a street vender//
"Vendor" is the preferred spelling. And that's a person. It makes more sense to say they're at a vendor's.

>draped with rolls of fabric and other decorations//
Why so vague? "Other decorations"? You're entirely relying on me to paint that picture. That's your job. And certainly Opal would be able to elaborate more on the fabric, given where she lives. She'd surely take notice of the colors, patterns, etc.

>Opal had to mewl silently to herself//
How does one do something silently that is, by definition, a noise?

>“Ah, Rarity!” the mousy mare exclaimed, “how nice to see you again!”//
You've punctuated/capitalized this as if the quote were a single, continuous sentence, yet you provided end punctuation to the first part. You can't have it both ways.

>eyes scanning the wears//
Yeah, you're spelling that wrong.

>She turned her head to the vendor//
Now you are spelling it this way. Make up your mind.

>on it’s cage and cocked it’s feathery head//
Its/it's confusion.

>The vendor deadpanned. “Zang?”//
Comma, not a period.

>Yes, Zang//
Inconsistent capitalization. And "zing" is a real word. Why are you inventing this one?

>Pizzaz, poof, fizzle//
Pizzazz. And I think you may have been going for "sizzle." "Fizzle" means something entirely different.

>The vendor maintained her bored and slightly irritated expression.//
You're also robbing me of the visual when you directly inform me of a character's emotions. What does this look like? This is a classic show-versus-tell problem. You might want to read that section at the top of this thread.

>Whenever Rarity was unhappy//
Missing comma after the dependent clause. You should read the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>but in the dead of night? In the dark?//
Somehow, I doubt this is the first time she's done this. She even refers to doing such in canon.

>nighttime Boutique//
I don't get the word choice "nighttime" here. Sure, it's night, but as a modifier? It makes it sound like an after-hours business.

>of still mare dressed in wedding attire//
Missing a word.

>stitching a short line in the flesh//
>stitched into her hoof//
Repetitive phrasing. In fact, it feels like there's a lot of repetitive description of this incident.

>Opal mewled quietly//
More repetition. She just "said quietly" a few lines back.

>Rarity fell asleep with the sewing machine on. Opal hissed quietly as she buried her head in her basket, trying to block out the sound.//
I don't see how this warrants being a scene.

>Opal lay in in the windowsill//
Repeated word.

>Apple Bloom said in compromise//
The "in compromise" is useless filler, and as the narrator is in Opal's perspective, and you've already said she doesn't understand what they say, how could she interpret it as compromise, especially that quickly?

>Sweetie Belle made a face//
What kind? Don't be so vague.

>The two other fillies both snickered and shamelessly tried to hide their laughter.//
How can they laugh and try to hide their laughing? It's redundant at least and contradictory at worst. And what's shameless about it?

>Sweetie Belle seemed rather eager to get away from the topic.//
How so? And how does Opal even know what the topic is? It also looks like you have a different indentation here.

>prefered //

>due to the occasion, though, mainly due to//
More repetition.

>Opal prowled for hours, doing cat-like things around town//
This really begs for more explanation, given that she's essentially the narrator and would find these activities enjoyable. There's no reason for her to gloss over them.

>the door that lead out//

>crumpled up and half-finished sketches. The wastebasket beside it had completely overflown and was spilling its contents of crumpled//
Repetition. And a missing hyphen.

>From the closet door, came//
Unneeded comma, since it leads into the verb.

>the two-inch opening the led off into darkness//

>flailing her hind legs in the as she squirmed//
Another typo. Really, any word processor will catch many of these things. Mind the squiggly lines, please.

>a squinted look//
Just a squint will do.

>who’s eyebrows//

You din't hyphenate this earlier. Be consistent.

>Scootaloo’s left eyebrow was completely out of sight, the right one scrunched down right over her eye.”//
Extraneous quotation mark.

>Thank the can opener//
That right there is damn funny.

>A pillow that also didn’t appear to be working.//
She's the one using it. "Appear" shouldn't come into it. She'd know explicitly whether it was working.

>her eyes bore down upon to wear she was sewing//
That doesn't parse. I can't figure out exactly what you're trying to say. I think you mixed up "wear" with "where," but even that doesn't entirely fix it.

cat food

>Ponies never did smell good, but fear always smelled the worse.//
That "the" is extraneous.

>One stuck, the others bounced off and showered to the floor in a deafening clatter.//
Comma splice.

>Blue magic//
You described it as purple way back in the first scene.

>the fowl dress//
Foul. Unless you're making an awful "Scootaloo is a chicken" joke, in which case you're completely undercutting the story's tone.

>The real confusion set in she she//
I think you can see the problem.

There is a lot of repetition in this story. A few of the descriptions felt like they rehashed a small number of points multiple times, and there were many words and phrases that appeared two or three times within a couple of paragraphs. A few of the biggest offenders:

Various forms of "to be": is, 10; was, 124; be, 20; been, 18; wasn't, 13; isn't, 2. And those are just the easier ones to spot. This is a very boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. Take "his hair was red" versus "a shock of red hair sat atop his head." Even a touch of action makes it come alive. Overuse of these verbs can indicate too much passive voice, telly language, and a need to choose more active verbs, all of which I saw here.

You employ an awful lot of "as" clauses to the point that I became keenly aware of each additional one I saw. Not only does this create a repetitive, plodding feel, but it draws attention away from the story and onto the writing itself. It can also throw off the chronology, since these "as" clauses imply concurrent action which you may not have intended. You use "as" 48 times in the story; while not all were used in that sense, the majority were, and when you did use them, you tended to do so in clusters; there are quite a lot early on, which makes them stand out even more.

There was also a lot of telly language and some Lavender Unicorn Syndrome. There are explanations of those at the top of this thread as well.

Lastly, there was a severe disconnect in your narrative voice. The story is ostensibly told from Opal's perspective, but it repeatedly makes judgment calls that she is incapable of. Part of this is related to show-versus-tell. When the narrator tells me someone is making a compromise, it's implying that Opal is telling me it's a compromise. For that to work, Opal would have to understand what a compromise is, and yet you stressed on more than one occasion that she finds ponies pretty strange and inscrutable, and she doesn't understand what they say. So how does she interpret their actions that way? Showing is about giving me the evidence and letting me draw the conclusions; this is especially necessary for a narrator like this one, who is in Opal's perspective and can't make these conclusions on her own. So showing would not only make the narrative voice more believable, but is good for engaging storytelling anyway. It's important to realize what your narrative point of view is and what it's capable of, then work within those limitations. Your descriptions of what she smells and senses from Rarity were good. Her blunt conclusions about other characters' emotions and intentions weren't.

I'm also curious about how Scootaloo went missing that long without anyone coming to inquire about her, and how she wouldn't have known where Sweetie Belle went. It doesn't seem like Sweetie Belle would go off without telling her.

As a concept, this story wasn't bad, and the unusual choice of an animal's perspective could make for a unique tale. And I have to admit to being a sucker for certain types of open-ended conclusions.

Edit: I asked another pre-reader for a second opinion as to whether the gore was too much. I thought it was probably fine, and he agreed, but he objected to using dialogue at all in a story told from a non-sentient animal's perspective. While I wouldn't go that far, I've already commented on how it's odd that Opal reacts to and often understands what the ponies do and say, particularly since you've explicitly said she doesn't understand their speech or actions.

Last edited at Sat, Nov 2nd, 2013 21:19

>> No. 129043
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.

>It was warm in the apple grove, but Applejack was cold inside.//
Alright, first sentence, and you're already beating me over the head. Slight weather-report opening here, but not too bad. However, throw me some imagery. I like the contrasting hot/cold thing, but you can achieve it with a much less blunt instrument. Especially on the cold side—you don't want to disarm any process of discovery about the characters' emotions, particularly right off the bat, where you need to grab the reader's attention. You might want to read over the show-versus-tell section at the top of this thread.

>She stood on the bank of the pond, looking out over the murky water.//
This isn't a bad one, as examples go, but you need to watch out for misplaced modifiers. Participial phrases are a common problem in this respect. Due to their proximity in the sentence, it sounds like the pond is looking out over the water. A bit of logic helps the reader sort it out on his own, but if you let too many of these slip, you will eventually run into ones that are vague or outright misleading.

>The sun was shining, and the day was a little warmer than Applejack would have liked//
I can see I'm going to have an issue with your "to be" verbs. More on this later, but note that I'm only five sentences in, and I've already counted five instances of "was."

>It felt better in the shade of the apple trees, away from the gaze of the sun.//
Watch these indirect possessions. They're often clunky and unnecessary. When they do work is where they shift focus onto the object because what owns that object is immaterial. I'd say you're justified in that respect for the first one—the shade is much more pertinent that the trees. But in the second, the sun is more important than the gaze, so rephrasing as "the sun's gaze" is more direct and concise while losing no meaning and placing the focus more judiciously.

>The only way into the grove was to follow the stream through a small gap in the trees, and it was very out of the way of the road//
That seems odd. Growing the trees so close together would restrict their ability to produce fruit and make them more difficult to harvest. Plus, a pond is a very useful asset for a farm, so making it inaccessible doesn't ring true. That last bit is awkwardly worded, too.

>one way or the either//
one way or the other

>With deft, earth-pony manipulations of her hooves//
I don't see what's more deft about earth ponies' hooves. It's fine if you want that to be a conceit for your story, but referencing a piece of headcanon obliquely like that is pretty jarring, not to mention that it's immaterial to the story.

>Even thinking the name sent a pang of regret//
Yeah, read the show-versus-tell part. It directly talks about this kind of phrasing. Some of it's okay in a story, but use it sparingly.

>Sugar Cube Corner//
As per canon, Sugarcube Corner.

>setting her mind to overdrive//
Minor point here, and feel free to ignore me, but this word choice is odd. "Overdrive" references a technology that doesn't exist in Equestria, at least as far as we've seen in canon.

>“Rarity, I think I love you!”//
Um... why doesn't this have the Romance/Shipping tag?

>like an incomprehensible river of repressed feelings//
They are repressed feelings, so it kind of robs your simile of its imagery.

>There was only confusion, and amusement.//
>Then that look changed, replaced by utter confusion in an instant.//
These would seem to be contradictory.

>and the water was slightly discolored from the runoff of the newsprint//
If it has as much current as you say it does, this wouldn't happen. No ink from any previous trip would be left by the time the next boat came along.

>Sweet Apple Acres had always passed to a daughter or granddaughter//
So what about Apple Bloom?

>Her family would be there for her, but Granny Smith would be disappointed, even if she didn’t mean to be, even if she still loved and cherished Applejack with all her heart, she would never get to see any great-grandfoals.//
Depending on how you wanted this to be structured, one of the last two commas is a splice.

>Applejack turned around.//
Repetitive phrasing with a couple sentences ago.

>Then, “Can we talk?”//
A bit too vague as to who says this.


>I’ve been shot down more times than a lady would care to admit//
This might need some justification, too. Look how easily she manipulated stallions through flirting in "Putting Your Hoof Down" and "The Best Night Ever." Aside from the singular example of Blueblood, she seems to be able to get what she wants.

>How am I supposed to help you model dresses like I do sometimes//
Okay, this sounds very unlike Applejack. Not that you can't make her into that, but it's a pretty drastic change from canon that begs explanation. More on this later.

>How am I supposed to let you smile at me and flutter your eyelashes all playful like and call me ‘darling’ and not read too much into it//
You've been using commas with these extended lists of "and" or "or." Be consistent.

>marry some stallion anyway because it would be the right thing to do//
This "right thing" phrasing really cuts against a lot of the things you'd been saying, that her attraction to Rarity wouldn't be stigmatized, even by Granny Smith. Either she persnoally thinks something's wrong with it, which would be an interesting conflict to follow if you care to develop it, or this just comes across as contradictory.

>Her eyes swam in a sea of salt.//
Awkward phrasing.

-ly adverbs are generally exempt from such hyphenation.

>after all they had been thorough//

>Rarity nodded, patted Applejack on the shoulder, and headed for the small opening where the grove opened up to the rest of the fields.//
If this is such a secret place, how did Rarity know where it was in the first place? Not that this can't be explained—I'll touch on this in a moment.

Closing time. I liked this story. It's a nice take on this type of infatuation, one that I rarely see. Applejack's not hampered by anyone's opinion of the appropriateness of her attraction, but Rarity simply doesn't return it. It's unusual to see a take on it where everything doesn't magically work out.

That said, it has a common issue with romance stories: it drops us into the middle of things and expects us to drum up the enthusiasm for this pairing on our own without providing it in the story. How that's done really depends on the story. In some cases, it really means going back to square one and taking us through the entire relationship. In some, that's overkill, and that's probably the case here. But you have to give us something. You can't just jump into "oh, AJ's madly fallen for Rarity" and expect us to swallow it whole. Make it real. Why does AJ feel that way? What times in the past has Rarity done something to endear herself to AJ, unintentionally, of course. Let me see these. A few flashbacks that take us through the phases of this relationship would go a long way—when AJ first thought something but tried to deny it, once she had to accept it, when it became a significant source of stress. And that brings up two side points. The scene at Sugarcube Corner might do better as a flashback as well. I'm glad that you did include dialogue there and didn't gloss over it entirely as narration, but if you do decide to include other flashbacks, it might create a more consistent feel to do this bit like that as well. Also, AJ is pretty clueless about whether Rarity might return her feelings. As such good friends as they are and as much time as they supposedly spent together, AJ must have some idea. When did she try to tease that info out of Rarity, drop hints, read her reaction? It's a bit of a stretch to think she's completely in the dark here. Of course, better informed doesn't necessarily mean correct.

The only other big issue I see is your overuse of "to be" verbs. I only searched for the two most common forms, is and was, and came up with over seventy. That's far too many for this word count. It's an inherently boring verb. Readers are much more interested in what happens, not what simply is. Overuse of "to be" verbs tends to indicate three problems: too much passive voice (I didn't notice any), too much telly language (you did fine on this front, too—I only had to point out a couple of places), and a need to choose more active verbs (that's the biggie). Go back through and see what you can do about those. It's impractical to remove all of them, but I bet you can get rid of over half without much trouble. It doesn't even take much fancy language. Just "he sat there" versus "he was there" gives a more active feel to the writing.
>> No. 129048
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.

>Quickly shaking the chill from her hooves//
Canon from "Winter Wrap Up" doesn't imply that handling snow clouds would do this.

>“Last one!” she said//
Somewhat repetitive with your first sentence.

It's not the best idea to use sound effects as your verb.

>and let her fall into the snowstorm beneath//
If it's gone, it's not there to let her do anything.

>Hundreds of snowflakes blew horizontally through the air//
The number is rather determinate. If she has a good feel for being able to gauge the amount, do something to indicate that; otherwise, it feels disconnected from her situation, since she'd be too distracted to count them. "Through the air" here is redundant/obvious.

>All of the ice, snow, and wind had rapidly changed the atmosphere from a mild cold to an arctic tundra.//
Two things: The description is incongruous, as you're likening the atmosphere to terrain. It's not a very apt comparison. Second, not that for snow to form, the air has to be cold already; the actual changing of water vapor to snowflakes warms the air up a little.

>Ponyville sat just a small ways//
You do see this in common usage, but technically, using "ways" as a singular is incorrect.

>Horse apples//
Typically written as one word.

>at the edge of her periphery//
Redundant. Periphery is the edge.

>What are you doing out here, Fluttershy?! Didn’t you notice the storm?!//
Okay, you're overdoing the interrobangs. They're fine for sparing use, but the more you have, the less effective they become. They make things stand out, and when everything stands out, nothing does.

Write out numbers that short.

everpony, perhaps?

>W-what about you?//
Consider what sounds actually gets repeated when writing a stutter. "Wh-what"

She actually said it, so lose the italics and put it in quotes.

>“This isn’t safe!”//
Refer back a few points ago to how nothing stands out if everything does. This is your 27th dialogue sentence. 23 of them end in an exclamation mark or interrobang. You've pretty much stripped the exclamation mark of commanding any attention for the rest of your story.

>Rainbow Dash wasted no time in strapping the bags around her own back, tucking the straps under her wings.//
Beware of misplaced modifiers, particularly participles. Any sort of modifier tends to latch onto the nearest possible object, so your "tucking the straps..." phrase wants to describe "back." We even have to go back through another possibility, "bags," before we get to the intended "Rainbow Dash."

>As she stepped out of her boots and pushed them to the side, a streak of water following them across the floor, she looked to the side and asked//
While grammatically sound, that absolute phrase is awkwardly placed. It took a couple of readings to sort out the syntax.

>She shook her own body much more thoroughly than Fluttershy had, but her shivering body wouldn’t forgive her so easily.//
Odd to have "body" named as a subject in one clause and an object in the other like this. Might want to rephrase.

>“Th-thanks,” Rainbow said, standing stock still and staring at nothing in particular through squinted eyes. Many little creatures looked at her from around the room, most with worried expressions.//
Your narrator's perspective is pretty nebulous here. It was pretty firmly with Dash in the first scene, but here, it's pretty distant from anyone. You've said Dash isn't staring at anything, and yet the narrator has her seeing these creatures looking back at her. So which is it?

>Her motions were almost mechanical.//
That really places the burden on me to visualize. It's the writer's job to set the scene. Give me more about how this looks.

>Fluttershy suddenly appeared in front of her//
"Suddenly" does have its place, but it's often better to convey the suddenness through the language or the lack of segue to the "sudden" action rather than actually using this word.

Proper noun. You have to capitalize both.

>Her eyes were big and profound//
"Profound" isn't really a physical quality...

>“Make yourself comfortable,” said Fluttershy, moving towards the kitchen again.//
Note how often you use this sentence structure. "She performed this action, performing this other action." You don't want to create a repetitive feel. Now, the simpler a sentence form is, the more you can get away with it before it gets repetitive. The basic "She performed this action" blends in for longer before it starts calling attention to itself, and tha's really the key: you don't want the writing calling attention to itself.

>Two little rabbits hopped up to it and began eating hurriedly.//
Also watch how often you use -ly adverbs like this. They're pretty weak descriptors, but thank goodness I haven't caught you using them to convey emotions. Yet. Also beware using start/begin as your verb. I've noticed several already. They're obvious, in that any given action will begin. It's only worth using this verb to emphasize the beginning because it's abrupt or the action never finishes.

>I was out of animal feed.//
If being out in the storm was such a big deal, why was the store where she bought this still open?

>a half a dozen//
Lose one of those a's. Doesn't matter which.

bird feeder

>The birds all fluttered to it immediately.//
Well, not all bids eat seeds, and even ones that do eat them prefer different kinds. This might need some clarification.

>Not a big deal?//
When a ! or ? is attached to an italicized word, italicize it as well.

>eyeing her strangely//
Too vague. I have no idea what this looks like, either literally or through some imagery. Describe it.

>with an audible squish//
Again with the sound effects. This is a valid word. Just leave it as such.

>I’ve got some spare winter clothes upstairs.//
And a professional weather pony who knew she might possibly get caught in this didn't take the precaution of having her own with her?

>The world was black and very ferocious-looking.//
How can it be both? I get what you're going for, but you need to say it.

>It was a terrifying scene.//
To whom? Neither pony appears frightened, and I don't want the narrator's opinion.

>knowing I could crash and burn at any second//
That speaks more to a style of flying, not the more generic topic. If any kind of flying were this dangerous, pegasi would be rare.

>to not fly//
not to fly

>She quickly returned to staring blankly at Fluttershy.//
This is the fifth "stare" in the last dozen or so paragraphs. Mix up your word choice some more. You might need to go for more description, as your other main synonyms ("look" and "gaze") are also getting some mileage on them.

>Other ponies feel those things too.//
You had me until now. It makes sense that Dash might have overlooked how Fluttershy feels, but everyone? And when a cutie mark is such a pervasive part of their life? She should understand inherently how they all feel.

>The few animals that remained in the room//
You don't need "in the room," and it's repetitive with the last sentence anyway.

Again, "Wh-what."

>It’s Harriot the bear!//
Wait, how would a badger know that? All the animals are holed up in their individual homes, right? Might need a bit of explanation.

>She resumed her mad rush//
She was described as "cantering to the kitchen." That's not a mad rush.

>with that//
Phrases like this and "at that point" are horribly self-referential things to have in narration, expect for first-person.

>just staring at the door//
Oh, good, we're back to the staring.

>staring up at the nothing on the ceiling//

>her face nonplussed//
"Nonplussed" is more of an attitude than an expression. It's not really something a face can be. A face can express surprise, for instance, but it can't be surprised.

Again, italicize that punctuation.

You use "stare" 10 times. That doesn't sound so bad. It's only about once per page on average. But as is a common problem, you tend to repeat certain words in clusters, and most of these are on just a couple of pages. Same thing with start/begin (14 instances), look (24), just (28). And on to your "to be" verbs. I'm only looking at the most common forms, but we have be (15), been (4), was (21), is (15), were (17), isn't (2), wasn't (1), weren't (1). That's 76, or about one every 3.5 sentences, 1 per paragraph, 10 per page. While it's not necessary or even a good thing to eliminate them altogether (doing so in dialogue can be especially difficult while maintaining a natural tone), it's a good idea to reduce them wherever you can. It's not that hard, if you put a little thought into it. Overuse of "to be" verbs can indicate excessive passive voice (I didn't see any), telly language (I'll get to that in a second), or a need to choose more active verbs (there we go). It's much more interesting to read about what happens than what is. An active verb spices up even mundane things a bit, like the difference between "There he was" and "There he sat."

I like your characterization of Fluttershy. She knows what her talent is and has confidence in it. And Dash's dialogue is well done. Now, you don't really have any conflict here. I can excuse that in the case of showing character development, but you've chosen to have Dash's character grow by finding out something she should already know. You might need to tweak that to give this story some bite. Or you could add in some conflict by having Dash agonize over Fluttershy while she's gone, wonder what's taking her so long, thinking she should have insisted on going along, etc. Just spitballing here, but you get the idea.

I was pleased I didn't catch you using telly language, but part of that seems to be because you didn't delve into their emotions that consistently. There were spots where you had nice body language, dialogue, and word choice to create a vivid picture of how they must look and feel, but there were other places that it felt a bit superficial. Take the last scene, for instance. Fluttershy comes in, and we get a physical description, but nothing she says or does backs up that she must be exhausted. You're leaning on events a bit much, and secondarily, on dialogue, to carry the story, but it takes a bit more nuanced approach to create that emotional attachment.
>> No. 129054
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.

>Roma bucked a beige hind leg at one of the poles holding up the awning of her market stall but her hoof just scraped at the wood.//
Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. And a minor thing: it's kind of forced to work in her color this way. For one, we start in a moment of high emotion, and her color doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that would stand out to someone watching, so it interrupts the action. Insofar as the narrator seems to be in Roma's perspective anyway, this doesn't seem like the kind of information she'd find important. And for another thing, you're naturally throwing a lot of information at the reader this early in the story, so it's best to keep this to what's pertinent for now. Does it matter what color she is? probably not. IMO, if it's never important, it's not worth mentioning at all, but I'll grant that many readers in this fandom like such descriptions, so at least find a less obtrusive place to work it in.

>With a snort//
This is your ninth sentence, and we finally get one that doesn't start with the subject. Try to mix up your openers a bit more. Not too much, but a little helps keep it from feeling repetitive. I've looked ahead, and this is somewhat of an issue throughout the story. Also be careful how you mix it up, as many authors quickly run into overuse of "as" clauses and "he did this, doing that" structures.

>tomato dotted//
Hyphenate the compound descriptor.

>—ack!” The cap dropped to the ground again as a loud knocking came from the counter behind her.//
This is all out of sorts. She reacts to the knocking before it happens. It's important for the sequencing of events to make sense, or it subconsciously doesn't add up.

>What has gotten in to you?//
Usually, that's "into" as one word.

>Rainy gulped as her wide eyes drifted between the counter, the broken pole, and Roma.//
You've actually got a good bit of action interspersed with the dialogue here. This is a good way to add realism and remind us that the conversants aren't just disembodied floating heads. The only thing I'll say is that this is the first one of these actions that gives us information about the characters' emotions. Try to work a bit more of that in. And kudos for getting at the emotion indirectly instead of outright naming how they feel. This is the correct way to handle "show-versus-tell."

>or something. Does Aura have a card or something//
Watch for word or phrase repetition where it's not being done for some deliberate effect.

>Berry Pinch//
Did you mean Berry Punch? Or is this an OC?

>I’m just tryin’ ta be civil, Roma. Somethin’ ya seem to be losin’ yer grip on today.//
A little accent goes a long way. You don't want imitative spellings to slow the reader down at all. By clipping the g's off those verbs, you've already created an informal voice, and I guarantee you readers will already hear the "to" and "your" in their heads as you've already spelled them. I'd recommend toning this back a bit.

>Crafty Crate trotted past Roma, stepping carefully around the strewn papers and tomatoes.//
Watch for misplaced modifiers. Participles are especially notorious for this. Modifiers like to latch onto the nearest possible object in most cases. Here, proximity suggests it's Roma who's "stepping carefully." In many cases, the reader can just apply a bit of logic to figure out what you meant, but in this case, it truly is ambiguous. I suspect it's Crate doing the stepping, but I can't tell.

>I was tellin’ Raindrops, here,” he nodded towards the pegasus mare, “about how Pinkie//
That's not how to work an aside into a quote. Here are your options:
I was tellin’ Raindrops, here—” he nodded towards the pegasus mare “—about how Pinkie
if he actually stops speaking to nod, or:
I was tellin’ Raindrops, here”—he nodded towards the pegasus mare—“about how Pinkie
if the speech is continuous.

>Nearby a couple of ponies//
While it's not unusual to go without commas for introductory elements like this in British usage, it feels like you're going for a preposition sense here, which substantially changes the meaning.

>Sorry sirs//
Missing comma for direct address.

>Behind the three Raindrops looked up from the gathered papers.//
Here's another introductory element that's kind of misleading without a comma. It makes it sound like there are three Raindrops there.

>—gack!” Rainy looked up to see Roma pouncing at her//
Again, you've got the reaction before the cause.

>Beige legs and a panicked expression//
See, here's the place to work in her color. You could probably delete the first one. But why just her legs? Isn't she a solid color?

>A few moved to start gathering them back up again while others began to whisper back and forth.//
I've noticed a number of these "start" and "begin" verbs. They're often overused by inexperienced authors. It's obvious that any given action would begin. It's best to reserve these words for times when a beginning is noteworthy because it's abrupt or because the action gets interrupted, fails, etc.

>Roma pushed herself off of Raindrops and looked around in horror.//
Have a look at the show versus tell section at the top of this thread. You seem to be doing fine on that front, but I want you to see how this "in horror" is completely redundant with the description in the following sentence, which does a far better job of connecting me with the character, since I have to interpret her actions to infer what her emotions are.

>One of the ponies helping gasped and pulled one of the pages//
Repetitive phrasing.

>looked around at the others with a look of disgust.//
Repetitive use of "look," and telly "of disgust." Show me how he looks, what he does, and let me figure out he's disgusted.

>Some turned faces filled with concern and shame at one another while others simply shrugged.//
As I say in the aforementioned description, it's not always necessary to show. For these ponies in the crowd that we will probably never see again, it's not crucial to show with them, but you're pushing it by piling up the "concern and shame."

>When she didn’t turn//
Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>Rainy’s expression hardened with rage.//
Yeah, ease off those prepositional emotions.

>she had left it in the counter//
Usually "on" a counter. If it's inside, it's not really the counter anymore—more like a cabinet or shelf.

>to not push//
not to push

>but her and Rarity had tried to lighten her mood some//
That first "her" should be a "she."

>a soft thud//
Sound effects are discouraged in narration, but as this is a valid word anyway, just remove the italics.

>Gummy crawled out from underneath an end table holding a pink balloon in his jaws//
Another misplaced modifier. It sounds like the end table is holding a balloon.

>By Celestia they won’t take her.//
Missing comma for the invective.

>I’ve got some stamps in my saddlebag, let me get those and how about you mail the card to her?//
Comma splice.

>The sun had yet to raise fully//
Rise. "Raise" requires a direct object.

>I sure am glad you think so, sweetie, we may be eating them for a while.//
Another comma splice.

All told, a rather nice story. You only make a few consistent errors, and those are easy ones to fix. I do have two comments on how the story unfolds, however.

Roma's reaction to the "sorry" balloon was so muted and went by so fast that it's not at all clear that she reasoned out what it was. She's pretty matter-of-fact about something that sould be a pretty big emotional moment for her.

Second, it's odd that advertising would be such an alien concept to them. As much as their world is like ours, I'd err on the side of something that timeless existing there, unless canon has specifically said it isn't. Even in your case, the ponies aren't reacting to the cards as if they're some wonderful, newfangled thing. Perhaps it's akin more to a celebrity endorsement, except that there was no indication the cards were identifiable as coming from Pinkie. Maybe something to think about.

In addition, take a look through your use of "to be" verbs. You actually didn't have all that many. Over the few most common forms, I only counted about 40, or maybe one per page. But there were a few spots that you used them in clusters, so just watch that. I'll spare you the full speech, since you seemed to avoid them pretty well, an so must know something about keeping them in check.
>> No. 129120
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.

>One thousand years.
>A long time for nearly anyone, except a select few, and one of those few was currently sitting in her favorite chair awaiting a visitor.//
The first sentence takes an almost personal voice, and then the second immediately pushes back out to an external viewpoint. You should decide whether you want a more objective or subjective narrator, then keep a fairly consistent voice, unless you want to do the occasional shift between characters.

>as kind as they could be given everything that had happened//
Missing a comma for the participle.

>she would have been ecstatic to find that she would//
Watch repetitive phrasings. There's probably a better way to word this.

>through a millennia//
The singular is "millennium."

>, she believed his name was Locked Tight,//
This can't quite be inserted in this way since it's an independent clause, and it's structured as an aside anyway, so it'd work better with dashes.

>…quite the echo though.//
A leading ellipsis is for times when a speaker is picking up an earlier dropped thought or is just becoming audible. It doesn't really work here. And capitalize.

I think canon spelling is "draconequus."

>Thank you for bringing him, that will be all.//
Comma splice.

>the strange creature he’d escorted//
This smacks of skipping into Lock's perspective for a moment. He's the only one there who would consider Discord strange. See previous comment about keeping a steady perspective.

>(on the ceiling, of course)//
Parentheticals rarely work in narration, and even more than the first time, this is striking an abnormally conversational tone as compared to the bulk of the narration.

>what looked suspiciously like a diary//
And now you're in Discord's head. You ought to pay attention to what information your perspective character would have access to. If you're with Celestia, you can have her interpret this based on how Discord acts and what he says, but you have to give me that evidence. She wouldn't know this explicitly.

>Celestia had looked at him in the most unbelievably tired and care worn way she had ever done in the entirety of his knowledge of her//
Careworn. And I can't believe that she would ever have looked at him that way until quite recently. The sentence ends with some awkward phrasing as well.

>I am old, Discord; frightfully old.//
A properly used semicolon would have independent clauses somewhere on both sides.

>Celestia melancholy//
Seems like you're missing a comma, but I'd also discourage you from bluntly informing me of her emotion like this.

>It opened easily and she pointed to a bright cluster of stars.//
When you start a new clause (separate subject with its own verb), you usually need to use a comma.

>“Your parents are a couple of gas giants that send light through the deep reaches of space to make tiny dots in the sky?”//
I'm kind of getting mood whiplash from him. He's oddly bland and formal at times, which isn't like him. And then we get these playful lines, but they aren't backed up with any context. He wouldn't just deadpan everything, for instance. You're relying on the dialogue alone to carry his attitude.

>Chaos and order must remain in balance, if either dominates then life is doomed.//
Comma splice and a missing comma between clauses.

>Discord raised a skeptical eyebrow.//
You're directly telling me emotions again, and this one is superfluous, as the raised eyebrow already conveys skepticism. Read the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread.

>I’m just surprised you knew.//
Perhaps an emphasis on "you"?

>feigned death in the air//
I have no idea how this would look. Describe it to me. Otherwise, it's empty words.

>as you well know//
And this is really the point, isn't it? Discord already knows all of this, so it's being said purely for the reader's benefit. There are other ways of working it in gradually without resorting to an infodump.

>And, Sombra was last, and even then//
You don't need the first comma, and using the multiple "and"s creates a repetitive feel.

I'd question this word choice, as the most common definition is quite opposite of what you want.

>It was a little irksome hearing that the pony who’d locked you up in stone a little while ago had spent your entire sentence looking for the folks who could put you right back in.//
It's best not to address the reader like this, and we have some narrative dissonance again.

>Discord sat with his elbow resting on his head, his chin resting on his knee.//
That's rather... contorted. Did you mean for this to be comical?

>And, a small mountain of presents filled a corner of the hall near the thrones.//
It's fairly rare for a comma after a conjunction to be correct. This one isn't.

>For Luna, it would be the greatest of delights to have so many give her so much deserved affection and attention.//
This is a really overlooked part of the story. Celestia obviously cares a lot for her sister, but this strong emotion and the lengths to which she'd go to create a special event for her barely get a sentence's mention.

>I don’t think I could have done a better job myself.”
>Celestia allowed Twilight a few moments to bask in the glow of her job well done//
"Done a better job" and "job well done" is fairly repetitive phrasing.

>very awed and timid looking//
Describe that look. Don't just tell me what it is.

>With a small giggle and a deep breath for courage//
Twilight accepts this huge responsibility very quickly and without much wrestling it over in her mind. It's not enough to ask whether an action would be reasonable for a character. An author must also show that the means and motivation also make sense, and by glossing over all that, two things happen: there isn't much emotional investment in what happens and it begins to feel like plot convenience rather than a natural flow of events.

Use a proper dash for cutoffs.

>the trails left by the tears still shined out//
"Shined" takes a direct object. It's what you do to shoes or brass. You want "shone."

>With that//
You have a lot of these introductory elements that don't have a comma to set them off. While it's not mandatory, particularly in British usage, it sometimes is a good idea for disambiguation. While that's not the case here, the choice of your introductory phrase is. Ones like this and "at that point" refer directly to the narration ad are immersion-breaking. They starkly remind the reader that he's reading text and not experiencing it.

Comma usage is the only predominant mechanical thing I'd point out. Really, it's more that while the premise is fine (frankly, just about any premise can be done well), it's treated rather superficially. Part of this is show-versus-tell. Many emotions are presented to me at face value instead of making me interpret them, but there are also many places where you don't delve into the characters' feelings at all. I pointed out a few; Luna's decision to follow her sister and Twilight's reactions to... well, everything also come to mind.

Another common problem is overuse of "to be" verbs. They're inherently boring—it's much more interesting to read about what happens that what merely is. Of the simpler forms, I counted 33 in chapter 2 and 63 in chapter 1. While it's not necessary to eliminate them altogether, this is a pretty high count for this length of story. They can indicate too much passive voice (I didn't see any), telly language (some), and a need to choose more active verbs (definitely).

Lastly, the narrative voice flits around into multiple perspectives. It would do well to adopt a more consistent mood and stay with one character, where feasible (clearly, staying with Celestia isn't an option once she's gone). Discord also comes across as odd. His playful voice is largely absent, and when it does appear, it's sudden. Not that you can't get there from canon, but you have to connect the dots a little better. It's not enough just to say that things have changed over time. This gets back to making character motivations feel realistic.
>> No. 129123
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.

>Foals happily ran about as the constant ringing of the bell announced the end of school.//
Three problems already. First, the bell doesn't ring that long. I'd hardly characterize it as "constant." And gviven that, "as" clauses imply concurrent action. They wouldn't run around until after it rang, not somehow be synchronized with it. And third, we have telly language, which is a bad thing to do right off the bat when you're trying to hook the reader. Read the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread.

>Of all the days for Silver Spoon to get sick, why must it be today? And I don’t even have those blank flanks around to make fun of!
This is a common issue: characters speaking to themselves in an overly formal manner and solely for the purpose of giving exposition. You have to make this type of thing feel natural, but it's forced here.

>Diamond walked away from the schoolhouse, taking the dusty road in front of it//
Note that participles are prime candidates for misplaced modifiers. This one's not bad, as we can apply a bit of logic to sort it out, but if you don't pay attention, you'll eventually say something ambiguous or outright misleading. Participles ike to latch onto the nearest available object, so it sounds like the schoolhouse is taking the road.

>The warm rays of the sun and the soft chirps of the birds//
This type of indirect possession is often clunky and unwarranted. If there's some thematic or stylistic reason you want to put special focus on the rays or the chirps, fine, but I don't see any here. "The sun's warm rays and the birds' soft chirping" is more concise and direct.

>Diamond’s line of thought was abruptly lost//
Passive voice is a more prevalent but similar issue. If there's a reason you need to draw attention to the "line of thought" far more so than Diamond, fine, but there's no need here. Passive voice is an inherently boring structure; it really only works when you need it's ability to divert attention.

>Diamond changed her course, and walked over the grassy field towards the mysterious silhouette.//
See the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>(that probably appeared because of the tempest that plagued Ponyville last night),//
Parentheticals strike a much more conversational tone than your narrator is using. They don't really fit with an objective viewpoint. And the way you've structured that sentence, you shouldn't use the comma.

>his yellow coat with a brown color for a brief moment, before most of the brown liquid flowed back into the pool//
I'm getting color overload here, given that you already mentioned Snails's two colors, and your use of "coat" is immediately misleading in this context. Plus, the double use of "brown" is repetitive.

>She knew that Snails was a bit strange - but to play//
Please use a proper dash.

>as if he was a pig//
When speaking hypothetically like this, please use subjunctive mood = "as if he were"

>It’s really fun, it’s like playing in a pool and in the sand at the same time.//
Comma splice.

While it's common to see this, the proper possessive is still to put the full apostrophe-s on for singular words, even when they already end in "s."

>Only a slow and dumb pony like yourself could think that such thing would be fu-//
Missing a word. And once again, please use a proper dash.

>At that moment a big blob of mud hit her right in the face, spreading the mud through most of her fur and making her tiara fall on the grass.//
Repetition of "mud," which exposes a bigger problem. You have another bad participle here, and this time, it's a dangling one: whatever it modifies never appears in the sentence. The only options for what is "spreading the mud" are "face" (somehow, I doubt her face is spreading mud) and "blob of mud" (it spreads itself?)

>the source of the laughter: a certain unicorn that was rolling around in laughter//
So, the source of laughter is laughter? I see...

>“It. Is. On…” Diamond said with a intense stare.//
Typo. And why is DT doing Rarity's schtick?

>How dare you dirty me and my tiara!?//
That's not normally posed as any sort of question. You can just go with the exclamation mark.

>The response was Snails popping his head out from the mud and sputtering mud on her face with his mouth.//
Yet more repetition of "mud." You're in the middle of a stretch where you use the word 15 times in 13 paragraphs!

>With incredible agility, Snails, still inside the mud, moved from the spot where he was to a few feet behind Diamond Tiara, who was looking around for him.
So, she's on top of him, and then somehow loses track of where he is? I'm not buying it.

>Using his horn//
You'll normally set off participles with a comma.

>With incredible reflexes//
You do this in several places. It's unclear which perspective your narrator has adopted. So when he goes on to make a judgment like "incredible," whose opinion is that? I don't mind hearing a character's opinion, but if the narrator isn't speaking for one of them, I don't care what he thinks.

>And the feelings of disdain and anger that Diamond Tiara had became feelings of joy that caused her to smile like she never smiled before.//
Yeah, this is majorly telly language. Get me to figure out what she feels. Don't just tell me.

>The Sun//
Why is that capitalized?

>The memory sparked an idea within her mind. She got up from the grass and walked towards Snails. Noticing this, he rolled on his stomach and looked at her.//
See, now you do adopt a perspective. Somewhat. But it's jerking back and forth between them. Within the same paragraph. Only she could know that an idea had sparked in her mind, and only he could know that he noticed it, unless you narrate how one of them perceived those things about the other by reading thei body language, for example.

>eyes that shined like two jewels//
"Shined" takes a direct object. It's what you do to shoes and brass. You want "shone."

>“Wha- what is it?” he managed to stutter//
When you've already spelled out the stutter, you don't need to mention it again.

>“You’re in,”//
Given what happens after this, I think you meant to say "it."

>following behind//

>a unexpected turn//
Typo. Really, most word processors will catch this type of mistake.

>In a flash, an idea appeared on Snails’ mind, an idea that turned his happy grin into a wicked smile.//
"in Snails's mind." And he just got the idea that "Hey, I can actually catch her! Good thing I remembered!" That's awfully contrived.

>And…” Diamond shuffled closer to Snails’ side, causing her pink fur to mix with his yellow fur, “you can call me Dia if you want.”//
Tossing an aside into a quote is done like this:
And—” Diamond shuffled closer to Snails’ side, causing her pink fur to mix with his yellow fur “—you can call me Dia if you want.”

There's not much meat here. This story concentrates on the actions alone, leaving emotions mostly to telly language and Tiara's forced conversations with herself. And her transforming attitude about Snails is a rather sudden one. It doesn't feel like something that would actually happen—more like it's molded that way for plot convenience. And since that's the entire source of the conflict and character growth here, none of it comes across as authentic. To be blunt, this needs a lot of work, and I'd recommend gaining more experience as a writer before attempting to give it a serious revision.
>> No. 129124
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.


>Rainbow Dash finds herself hospitalized with injuries after going into a flat spin while trying to teach Twilight Sparkle some new moves. While there, finds herself rooming with Ivy Cluster, a young colt suffering from leukemia.//
Missing word and close repetition of "while." Also, I doubt readers will care, but the idea of a horse going into a sustained flat spin is laughable. (Yes, aerodynamics is my day job.)

>she finds herself needing//
So, for the second time in three sentences, she "finds herself" doing something. Besides being repetitive, this is a commonly overused expression by inexperienced writers.

>Rainbow must confront the loss, and the fundamental fact that life is not fair.//
Unnecessary comma.


>You were trying to show me how to do something you called a ‘yaw turn’ when suddenly you began to...I think ‘stall’ is the word?//
Stall would be very gentle for something like a pegasus wing that's not really pushing the boundaries of design. Natural wings are pretty all-purpose as opposed to something that would have a hard stall due to being designed for a very specific use. What'd strike me as more realistic is an asymmetric stall during a hard pull-up, which would roll her pretty badly and might even get her into a pilot-induced oscillation. See, the problem with getting technical is that most readers won't know to question it, but you can be hung out to dry when a reader does know the subject. It pays to get it right.

>It was only now that Rainbow Dash realized she was in a hospital bed.//
Okay, now I can tell that you're writing from Dash's perspective. I'd encourage you to make that clear from sentence one. It came across as very sterile and clinical, where you should have had her coming out of a daze, wondering what the pounding in her head was, etc.

>Broken bones were part of the job when you wanted to be an ace flyer//
It can be tricky, but it's worth avoiding even the appearance of addressing the author.

>the inevitable result of failing to execute a trick properly//
But in canon, she's messed up tricks several times without breaking any bones.

>while we were worried you were unconscious due to a concussion, it appears to have just been the result of nausea and shock//
I must confess to being out of my element here, but do shock (possibly) and nausea (I doubt this one) really cause unconsciousness?

>Daring Do and the Crystal Chalice//
Book titles should be underlined or (preferably) italicized.

>for awhile//
"Awhile" and "a while" are often interchangeable, but you need a noun to serve as the preposition's object, so it should technically be two words here.

>The pain in her leg was intense.//
This is very bland. I'm just to take the narrator's word for it? Step me through her reaction. Give me some imagery as to what this feels like, show me her physical reaction, etc.

>Twilight smiled and began to head for the door. “I’ll make sure it’s in my saddlebag tomorrow. Now just try to relax, and get better soon. You wanna get better in time to see the Wonderbolts perform over Canterlot, don’t you?”//
Fine point here. "Begin" and "start" actions are overused by inexperienced writers, and I usually advise to refrain from using them except in cases where the beginning is worth accentuating because it's abrupt or the action never finishes. Taking it in that sense, this can work—she stops heading for the door to speak. Otherwise, she's just chattering as she keeps walking out into the hall. But you didn't show her stopping, so I can't assume that. And that's an awful lot of dialogue to get out if she doesn't stop. Might be worth clarifying.

>There were more important things to pay attention to than Twilight's motor mouth.//
I get that you mean the book is more important at the moment, but you don't transition to it at all. She just starts reading. It's a bit abrupt, given that this is a very cogent thought that doesn't feel at all distracted by said book.

>Rainbow Dash squealed with delight//
Placing a mood or emotion after in, for, or with is telly and almost always redundant. We already get the picture from the squeal. Just leave it at that.

Indentation is off here.

>came a small male voice//
She's got plenty of time to identify him as male. At that age, it can be hard to tell the difference, so it's a little disconcerting to get a snap judgment.

>She was a little embarrassed to be caught reading aloud.//
A tiny bit repetitive with the line a few sentences back, but it's also a bit incongruous. She was adamant that a book like this demanded to be read, and while she didn't know Ivy was there, she couldn't have had any expectations that a nurse or doctor wouldn't enter unnanounced.

>This seemed to mollify her roommate//
Use of this, that, these, or those as pronouns is weak in narration, since they have broad antecedents and refer to the text itself. Try to find an appropriate noun to put after it.

>shuffling down into his sheets. He must have been trying to sit up//
Which is it? Down or up?

>Daring Do and the Coconut of Quendor//
Same deal with punctuating book titles.

>was very perceptive. “Are you saying I’m not smart?”//
These don't seem to go together, unless she's admitting she's not smart and she's afraid he noticed. You're also tossing me quite a lot of "to be" verbs here. It's not a killer, but see if you can keep things a bit more active.

>At least she and Ivy could agree on something.//
This makes it sound like they'd been in an argument, but there hasn't really been a point of contention, other than the single one Dash contrived.

>He was hooked up to numerous machines//
And given that the room had been quiet, did she hear any of them either now or earlier? Might add a bit of atmosphere.

>Rainbow Dash laid back in her bed and looked//
Lay/lie confusion. And the fourth use of "look" in the last five paragraphs.

Why is this capitalized?

>There was a deep sorrow in his voice, a sadness//
Given that this is a pretty critical emotional moment, I'd like to see it get more power than this. Some imagery would work here. Be sure to concentrate exactly what about his voice conveys sadness instead of just telling me that's what it is, but keep th language under control so it still sounds compatible with Dash.

>How… How//
Inconsistent with your prior spacing of ellipses.

>He looked cold, despite the fact that he had more blankets than Rainbow Dash. Rainbow turned back to her book, glad for an excuse not to look at the colt.//
"Look" instances 8 and 9 of 22 in the story. That's getting up there, especially since you tend to use them in clumps like this.

>Pinkie was a total spaz, but at least she was good to have around when you needed cheering up.//
Addressing the reader again, and hitting me with the "to be" verbs again. For instance, consider "it came in handy to have her around" in place of "she was good to have around." It's a more active construct.

>On the inside it was yellow cake with chocolate marbling//
How does she know this? You haven't mentioned cutting into it yet.

>combination of sugar and chocolate//
Not sure what you mean by this, since chocolate generally includes sugar.

>Rainbow Dash messily dug in to a piece//
Not sure this is in character for her. I haven't seen any adult eat messily except Pinkie.

>as soon as they left he had started crying//
Comma between the clauses.

For someone who thinks "tenacious" is a sneeze, I doubt she knows that word, and it's generally a good idea to keep your narrator within the ballpark of the perspective character's intelligence level.

>Pinkie Pie grabbed a slice of cake and put it on a paper plate, bouncing over to the other side of the curtain.//
Watch for misplaced modifiers. By their proximity, it sounds like the plate is bouncing.

>she stopped suddenly//
Missed capitalization. This isn't a speech tag.

>Rainbow pulled aside the curtain to see the action the action.//

>She was somewhat relieved.//
Give be a brief reaction here instead. Her jaw unclenches, her shoulders relax, she sighs... something like one of those.

>“It’s not just chocolate”//
Missing punctuation.

Italics are preferred over all caps for emphasis.

>until he started crying//
It's starting to get a bit melodramatic that he cries as much as he does. Children are amazingly resilient about such things, and just come to accept them as the way things are.

>Pinkie hefted a bite-sized piece of the cake with a plastic fork.//
Wait, you said the nurse was helping him.

>‘Keep Smiling, signed Ponyacci ‘//
Extraneous space.

>while Rainbow was thoroughly sick of the joke//
But she was taking measures to make sure she didn't hear it...

>It was hard to look at him, sometimes.//
Unnecessary comma.

>but incredibly sad//
You're beating this drum awfully loudly.

>I dunno kid
Missing comma for direct address.

>Besides, Ivy//
Extraneous space.

>Rainbow Dash bit her lip and looked at the floor. “Then what’s got you scared?” said Rainbow, biting her lip and looking at the floor.//
So, she's biting her lip and looking at the floor, you say?

>sonic rainboom//
Inconsistent capitalization.

>She was, halfway through the book.//
Unnecessary comma.

>She wasn’t supposed to cry, she was supposed to be the tough, cool pony that everypony looked up to.//
Comma splice.

>It’s not just good publicity, it keeps one humble.//
Another comma splice.

>The nurse frowned, looking down at the floor.//
Her reaction is pretty bland. Put yourself in her position. What would you say to Dash? How would you act? The nurse is pretty familiar with her, so it's not like she's talking to a stranger.

>“Buck you!” This wasn’t supposed to happen! “You bucking idiots!//
Oh, goody. Using "buck" as an expletive, especially since it'd be very inappropriate the first time she said it several scenes ago.

>Rainbows shoulder//
Missing apostrophe.

>Dashie, please!//
When has Twilight ever called her that?

>Rainbow Dash moved to kick at the desk//
She already kicked it...

>Twilight began to cry.//
I'm unclear as to her motivation for doing so, other than the token sadness here. Does she feel bad for Dash? Or had she become attached to Ivy as well from her visits with Dash?

>Please Rainbow//
Missing comma for direct address again.

When used as a term of address, capitalize this. And when ! or ? is attached to an italicized word, italicize it, too.

>If Celestia, or I, could have made//
Unnecessary commas.

>Rainbow Dash felt a tear run down her cheek.//
Oh, please don't do the single tear cliche.

>“But you didn’t!”//
This doesn't follow from what Twilight said. Is Dash just misunderstanding her?

>Twilight panted for breath.//
She's that out of shape? She hasn't gone very far.

>“Tell it to Ivy!” mumbled Dash//
I'm not sure how you mumble something emphatically.

>She leaned into Twilight, trying her best to hide her sobs.//
The exact action Twilight just did in the last paragraph... And your participle is truly ambiguous here. By proximity, Twilight is trying to hide her sobs, but I think you actually meant Dash, and there's no way to say definitively.

>“I miss him.”//
That's a pretty rapid transition for someone who didn't want to be seen crying just a couple of paragraphs ago.

>wiped a tear from her cheek//
Not again...

>Rainbow Dash sniffed//
She just did so. She can again, but call attention to the repetition, so it doesn't appear as an oversight.

In this penultimate scene, scroll down the page and note what the first word of each paragraph is. I think you'll notice a pattern. Unless they reinforce something thematic, patterns are a bad thing.

>It felt weird talking to a stone that represented somepony instead of the pony itself.//
Yeah, you've said three times already that it was weird or awkward. And yet her dialogue isn't coming across as forced. Consider how comfortable she was in her hospital room reading aloud when she thought she was alone. Now she is, so why is it such a big deal? I could see her finding a nice peace precisely because of that.

>It just wasn't the same//
I'd axe this, given that she says exactly this just after.

>With that//
That's another type of phrase I usually advise avoiding, since it directly references the narration.

I almost feel like something's missing between the last two scenes. For one, it might help smooth the about-face of attitude she has. For another, did she attend the funeral? What happened there? But, you know, that could easily come down to personal preference. A lot of the things I've marked are pretty subjective and are meant more as suggestions.

I found this at least an authentic depiction of how this would happen, but I felt a bit distant from it. There's plenty of info like body language that tends to draw the reader closer to the character, but I still didn't quite connect, and that may just be me. Take this line: "Rainbow didn’t want to admit it, but she needed this hug very badly." That's a more insidious kind of telling to root out, but consider that while it doesn't directly tell me of her emotions, it's exceptionally close to doing so, and more to the point, it's not something that creates a visual on its own. Convince me she needs the hug. What kinds of thinga might do that? Well, She could accept it and try to fight it in fits and starts. Maybe she can read from Twilight's reaction that she's surprised at how long Dash stays in the hug. Maybe Twi assumes it's over and pulls back, but Dash doesn't let go, so Twi squeezes her again. And Dash just enjoys the feeling of a warm coat against her cheek. These are the kinds of subtleties that can really draw a reader in.

Really, the only things I'd say you need to fix are the mechanical issues and a few bits that are essentially plot holes. But give the rest a think as well and decide what you agree would help the story.
>> No. 129125
>I must confess to being out of my element here, but do shock (possibly) and nausea (I doubt this one) really cause unconsciousness?

(Don't bother about me, I just wanted to answer this question.)
>> No. 129127
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, let me say that I read a few paragraphs in before I started compiling notes. So I will note here that I already like the tone you're striking and I like your idea for the story, but some things about the way you're telling it aren't sitting right with me. I'll try to point out as many of those as I can.

>I tapped my chin with my hoofsie.//
I loved the first few sentences until I got to this one. Not that they were perfect—they all had the same structure and length, so got to feel repetitive (1: main clause, participial phrase; 2: main clause, absolute phrase, which uses a participial verb form; 3: main clause, participial phrase). But I didn't know until this sentence that the narrator was Pinkie. That nice imagery and calming language you'd used all of a sudden felt out of place. It's often a good idea anyway to have your narrator roughly mirror the focus character's attitude, sensibilities, and intelligence, but it's crucial when that character is the narrator. And this just doesn't sound like language Pinkie would use.

Edit: I didn't see too much more of this, really, but while your Pinkie voice was convincing, the second chapter in Celestia's voice came across as more bland. I didn't get the sense that there was a lot going on beneath the surface, except where you went out of your way to say so explicitly, which isn't the best way of doing it.

>I added ‘mind reading’ to my mental list of ‘Things Princess Celestia can do because she’s Princess Celestia’. I also added it to my paper list, which I stuffed in my mane once I was done with it.//
You don't need to capitalize "Things" the way you're using it. But my main issue in this exceprt is a lack of reactions. Pinkie doesn't react to Celestia's apparent mind reading, other than a matter-of-fact thought about it? And then you have this nice sight gag, but it loses its absurdity when you omit part of the action (her pulling out the list and writing on it), which would have added a ridiculousness factor for Celestia taking no notice of it, or, well, having Celestia take notice of it and offer a reaction.

>Not the business, or the ponies Applejack likes, but the cube.//
This comes across as forced, since she already identified them as being in packets.

Smart quotes always give you a backwards leading apostrophe. You'll have to fix it manually. In fact, you have quite a few of these.

Your choice of speaking verb already conveys this. No need to be telly.

>Both of us were sat on her bed//
Syntax implies that someone else was responsible for sitting them there.

>your Highness//
Capitalize both words.

>one on one//
In this instance, hyphenate.

>I am glad to hear that, I never would have thought otherwise.//
Comma splice.

>every day, bringing light onto a new day//
A bit repetitive use of "day."

>I looked up at her with pleading eyes.//
Here's why first-person narrators get somewhat of a pass for being telly, at least about their own emotions. It's awfully self-aware of her to describe her own eyes as pleading.

>Maybe she could all those royal things//
Missing word.

>you gain more experience each time you level up//
Why the gamer reference? That really supposes a lot about Equestrian culture, that it's a pervasive enough expression that Pinkie would know what it meant, or that despite all canon evidence, she's a gamer herself. This line killed the mood for me.


>while I got wrapped up in magic and got lowered to the ground//
Repetitive phrasing.

>The calendar had pictures of my friends for every month.//
This sentence is completely out of place. It has nothing to do with what's going on, and it doesn't seem like the kind of detail she'd notice right then, anyway.

>you’re birthday//
Your/you're confusion.

>What about her sister?//
This really does beg the question: would Luna know when Celestia's birthday is? And do they know when Luna's is?

>Celestia sipped her tea, thinking.//
Three things about this: Watch for misplaced modifiers. Participles try to modify the nearest prior object, so it sounds like the tea is thinking. Second, you've been using "think," or other variations on it, a lot lately. Third, it might be better anyway to describe her appearance and get me to realize she's thinking instead of just telling me that.

>Or maybe that was Celestia’s perfume.//
This kind of defeated what was building into a nice sweet moment.

>Even after I passed away, I’d make sure that her birthday date would be in my will, and remembered for all time.//
Oddly morbid thought, and if she starts celebrating her birthday on the summer solstice and Celestia endorses the practice, Pinkie shouldn't be worried that it wouldn't continue, anyway.

>Yeah, Celestia has rock wings.//
That's just weird...

>She had lost//
I think you're missing a direct object here.

>It was cold all of a sudden and my tongue didn't like that one bit.//
Missing comma between the clauses.

>I may have not known her//
There's a fine shade of meaning between this and "I may not have known her," and I don't think you chose the right one.

>deciding to change tact//
The phrase is "change tack." It's an expression taken from sailing.


>was a delight to watch//
I'm not going to point out every place—in fact, I'm only pointing out a couple—but places like this really keep the reader at a disconnect. Like I said, you get somewhat of a reprieve from showing for a first-person narrator, but you still need to try in moments like this, where there's a nice subtle undercurrent, and you could really get the reader to identify with the character. Give me more about how this makes her feel, not just that it was a delight. What physical sensations might it bring? What imagery might she use to describe it? This is a symptom of a larger issue: you're passing up opportunities to delve beyond what happens and let us see how the characters feel about it. Or you do, but in such a way that it gives us the emotions directly instead of getting us to interpret them from cues. You might benefit from reading the show versus tell section at the top of this thread.

>Of all the Elements, Laughter is the brightest. Yes, Magic is very powerful, but it requires the other elements in order to be such. Laughter does not have such an issue. Laughter stands tall, a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope.//
Point taken about Magic's role, but you've made a bold statement here that Laughter is superior to the remaining four elements, too, without backing it up. If you'd made a less extreme point, maybe, but you set it apart, then abandoned the line of reasoning.

Pony puns really don't help carry a serious mood. And now you've used this one twice.

>I opened my wing, gesturing at the space around it with a nod.//
This is just a little creepy...

>pristine looking//
Hyphenate compound modifiers.

>and offered it to.//
Missing word.

>I didn’t decline; it looked luscious. It tasted just as good as it looked.//
This goes by awfully fast. I think dwelling a bit on her enjoyment of the treat would make for a nice moment.

Opposite problem here: you don't need that hyphen.

>Said hoof then touched my nose, leaving it covered in a sugary mess.//
That's awfully presumptuous of her.

Watch your use of "to be" verbs. Here are my counts of the most common forms:
was: 67
is: 26
were: 9
be: 18
been: 4
That's an awful lot for this length of story. It can indicate telly language (somewhat of a problem), overuse of passive voice (I didn't really see any that I felt was unwarranted), or a need to choose more active verbs (that's the big one here). Even something as simple as "his shirt was red" versus "he wore a red shirt." Many instances are easy to change, and they give your prose a much more active and interesting feel. Readers are more engaged by what happens, not what is. It's not necessary to get rid of them all, but I bet you could effect a significant reduction and make your story much more readable in the process.

I usually try to make some wrap-up comments here, but it'd just be harping on all the things I've already said. There's not some overarching wisdom to impart. So, succinctly, you need a little closer emotional attachment between the reader and your characters. Give me more about how they feel about what they're saying, but in abstract terms: what imagery it inspires, how it makes them act, what they think about it. You do it right in some places, so I know you're capable.

The last thing I'll say is that a story needs either a conflict or some character growth. You're obviously going for the latter here, but it's still pretty weak. Yes, Pinkie's undecided, but that doesn't mean she didn't learn anything. It could be that the lesson hasn't sunk it yet, or that it has and she doesn't know what she wants to do about it yet. Again, I think you're going for the latter, but just because she hasn't pledged to live her life differently, she can still have an epiphany. She hasn't considered this possibility before, and suddenly there it is. Does she ask some new questions? Does she hold it inside, but clearly has an "aha" moment? What would that look like? Character growth means contrasting the before and after, and shows or implies what consequences occur. Celestia also sees Pinkie off on the first step of her journey, but since Pinkie isn't embracing it fully, what might Celestia do to convince her? Maybe invite her to tea again, with an obvious topic of conversation? Make it a regular appointment? I'm also curious as to what made Celestia think of doing this in the first place. What evidence did she have that everything wasn't right with Pinkie?
>> No. 129129
Hi there! Author of the fic here.

First of all, thanks for taking the time to review my story! It's nice to get some detailed feedback about my story, although I do understand the need for efficiency within the EQD pre-reading staff.

Also, I rarely use any 'chan' sites, so their layout horribly confuses me. Apologies if anything seems unclear in my posting.

I'll address bigger points and all that good stuff, 'cause there's quite a lot. (Which is good!)

First, Pinkie's narrative voice. Writing her is... tricky, at best. It's a fine line between keeping coherency and just the right amount of 'Pinkieness'. I tried to cut down on her going off on tangents, but without any it doesn't feel as Pinkie as it could be, at least to me.

As for the first few sentences... I kind of intended it to be a bit jarring. I fully believe Pinkie can take a look at things and see their beauty and think about it. Sure, we see her in the show as a random party pony, but I've always thought there's more to her than that. She's not just an extreme up or down. She has a whole lot of in between too. Now I'm going off on a tangent! If you'd like to discuss her further, feel free to poke me. Point is, writing her is a balance between subtlety and randomness, which probably can be jarring at times.

With Celestia, it was my first time writing her narrative voice, so I agree that it's probably a it bland.

With show vs. tell, I find it quite difficult to show. At least, with character emotions. I'm not sure why, but I find it pretty hard to describe a character's facial expression, other than just going "She frowned" or, "She smiled" or something more complex like "She furrowed her brows". Describing the face is tough, because even a minor movement can drastically change the way a character looks. And I do dislike repetition, but sometimes it's unavoidable, unfortunately. Still annoys me though!

Same kinda thing for sentence variation and 'to be' verbs. I do think I need more of them, but it's very tricky to thing of more varied ways when you're not sure of many ways to do it. I'm not trying to make sorry excuses; I think I have to read more fics.

Finally, the point of the story and character growth. I'll admit... there's not much a point to it. It was just a test that got a little out of hand: could I write Pinkie and Celestia in the story, with them just talking, and make it engaging? Hopefully I succeeded, but these matters are very subjective.

Thanks again for reviewing! Hope to hear from you soon!

>> No. 129132
>writing her is a balance between subtlety and randomness, which probably can be jarring at times
Oh, I completely agree that Pinkie is capable of serious thought. But in canon, even when she is serious, she still has a rather playful way of talking about it. Take "Party of One," for example, or when she was worried about Dash going off to the Wonderbolts Academy.

Over those first few sentences, my concern wasn't so much what Pinkie was saying as how she was saying it. Those seemed to be much more formal and use word choices that I couldn't imagine for Pinkie.

>With show vs. tell, I find it quite difficult to show.
In that section at the top of this thread, I go into some more of the devices that writers can use. It does take some experience before a writer develops a good sense of what is or isn't telly and when telling is okay. It's not all facial expression. There are other things you can do than a frown or a furrowed brow. Take other synonyms that have sightly different connotations than a frown, like a scowl or a grimace. But then there's a lot of other body language: fidgeting to imply restlessness or distraction, trudging or plodding to indicate many flavors of sadness... There's what they say and what speaking verbs you use. Just imagine observing a real person in a conversation or really doing anything. What are all the little things they do? That's what adds all the realism and subtext, and that's what removes the need to have the narrator outright say how the character feels. Imagine your character is in a play, and the stage director is about to send him out for his scene. What would the director tell him to do to communicate his character's mood to the audience?

>Same kinda thing for sentence variation and 'to be' verbs.
These aren't that difficult to do, either, but it does take some concentration to remain aware of it. For "to be" verbs, it really is just this simple: when you find yourself using one, see if you can rephrase the sentence without one in such a way that it doesn't lose any meaning and still has a good flow, like you could imagine an everyday person saying it. For sentence structure, it can hinge a lot on personal preference. Granted, this is my preference, though I'm not going to force it on anyone, and I wouldn't require you to use my system to get onto EqD. My go-to sentences are the simple and compound. ("he dd this," "he did this, and she did that.") They're so common that they blend in, and they go by without notice until you've hit four or five in a row. The main thing is to keep them with varying lengths and to throw in a different structure every third or fourth sentences or so. And those others can be many things: dialogue, a stylistically used fragment, or placing an element other than the subject first, like having a dependent clause, participle, adverb, prepositional phrase, absolute phrase, or participial phrase up front. As a more unusual structure, these ones stand out more, so they get repetitive faster. Word choice works the same way. Which word would you notice more if it were used three times in a sentence, "the" or "antediluvian"?

>Finally, the point of the story and character growth.
I see that you did have some character growth, but it's so subdued as to be almost unnoticeable. You can have the nature of the growth be the same, but I'd advise making it a little more overt. As it is, it's unclear whether Pinkie learned anything or will do anything about it.

Any more questions? Feel free to reply.

Last edited at Sat, Nov 16th, 2013 13:46

>> No. 129133

Thanks for the quick and detailed response! It's kinda odd how it's inspired me to look for more reviews on my fics, but I suppose that's a good thing, eh?

I just have one last question, but if it's too much trouble, don't worry about it. But I would like to see what I did right. Seeing the stuff I did well will help me transition more smoothly into making all my stuff as good, if you catch my drift.

Thanks again!

>> No. 129134
There's a lot that was done right. As I said, this story is pretty close to being postable, so it takes a lot less space to mark mistakes.

For one, you have a good sense of Pinkie's character. Her dialogue and narration were convincing. For another, you showed a good restraint in the story's emotions. Too many authors go over the top, and would have Pinkie bursting into tears when confronted with her weakness, but here, while it was still clear how the characters felt, it was a strong undercurrent instead of being pushed into the reader's face. And what most inexperienced writers don't realize is that this is the more powerful and realistic way to do it. I also didn't find much in the way of mechanical problems, which is always nice. While I think you need to do more with it, I liked the last part where Celestia was gently hinting to Pinkie and watching her pick it up. It was nicely constructed and subtle. It's kind of hard to work in anything other than generalities when pointing out what went right; if I saw a specific line I thought was wonderful, for example, I would have said so in the review, since it's essentially the notes I'm taking as I read.
>> No. 129207
I really found very few mechanical problems, so I'm not going to pick at those.

The writing was good here, and there were some good horror elements going on, but it needs a tune-up.

First, I'm not sure the journal format is doing anything for you. At least the entries are plausible for a journal, which is more than I can say for most such stories, but they're structured more for plot convenience than anything else. He doesn't write every day, and when he does, it's only to mention the specific things that tie directly to the plot and nothing else. Presuming that the character doesn't know what's needed for the plot, and that there are a lot of unnamed, everyday things going on in between, it loses some authenticity. This first-person narration is reminiscent of Lovecraft, but he was happy to have the narrator simply take us through the events, and didn't often rely on a gimmick like a journal. And he still had his characters relate things that were tangential to the main conflict, because that makes things realistic. They were important on that day, so he spoke of them. The fact that other things turned out to be more important in hindsight wouldn't have been known to him at the time. Where this really falls apart is the last entry. He wrote it while being pursued? I don't really see how he even had an opportunity to make that entry.

Next, horror is most effective when it's behind the scenes, affects the full spectrum of perception, and has a purpose. So, one at a time. Behind the scenes: Things are scarier when you don't see them. You actually did well with this—there's nothing blatant happening, so a lot is left to my imagination. However, in your climax, the faculty and students are all chasing the protagonist. You had this nice vague danger going on, and then things became a bit too concrete. The true force behind it all is still hidden, which is good, but that raises another issue. But first, the perception. It's too common to have horror focus on the visual, and to some degree, the auditory. Don't forget the wonderful mood-setting and eerieness you can achieve using touch, taste, and smell. Good horror makes a full assault on all the senses with subtle things that don't belong. And onto the third point, which pulls back the other issue I said I'd discuss in a moment. There needs to be a purpose. Having things hidden in the background is great, but that doesn't mean we should remain in the dark as to why things happen. We never get the slightest hint as to what is happening at this school. For all I know, they're covering for a meth lab. I have no sense of the nature of what's controlling everything, and I have no idea why this particular character was targeted. They sought him out as a math teacher. Why? Is that something they need? Or is he someone they wanted for another reason? When everything's aimless, it's like a random murder. While a horrible event, it lacks a sense of urgency.

Then, I'd urge you to provide me with more of an emotional response from our protagonist. He goes through these unsettling experiences, then rarely has little to say about how they made him feel, other than a token phrase. He's more concerned with listing facts and events. Now atmosphere can carry a story to some degree, and the aforementioned Lovecraft does have a tendency to create these rather stoic, detached narrators, and if that's really what you want to do , I can't say it's impossible. But you'd find it much easier to connect with a reader by doing so on an emotional level, rather than relying on the situation to carry the story by itself.

Finally, why is this a pony story? I could replace all of your characters with humans, make some extremely minor tweaks to the language, and we'd have a story that wasn't lacking in any context. A pony story should make use of the MLP universe in such a way that it's irrevocably (or at least by a substantial preponderance) rooted in that world. I have to say that this isn't tied into MLP strongly enough that I'd call it a no-doubt pony story.
>> No. 129224
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.

>he stammered//
It's generally best to avoid speech tags that are already evident from the speech itself. The one exception is "asked," since it's so common.

>Twilight's unwavering glare testing his resolve//
The story had seemed in Twilight's viewpoint until now, but the way this is phrased, it's not something she could know. You can make it something she knows by giving me the context she uses to draw that conclusion. By switching into the guard's perspective, you make the narrative choppy. They can be done, but have to be managed carefully. You should read the head-hopping section at the top of this thread.

>The guard looked around nervously.//
This is the first time I've caught you being telly, so maybe it's something you've got a good handle on, and if you don't do it much, it's okay. But you might need to read the show-versus-tell section at the top of this thread. Bottom line: I'd rather you paint a picture for me and get me to conclude he's nervous than just tell me that.

>your Highness//
The whole term is an honorific. Capitalize both words.

>the guard shook his head//
This is not a speaking action. It should be a separate sentence or paired with a speaking verb.

>Thank you for your time, guard//
The fact that she doesn't know his name makes her seem less than personable.

>The guard saluted and watched Twilight trot down the corridor.//
Now you're back in the guard's head again. It's only for one paragraph, and I don't get anything pertinent from it, so what's the point? It would help the story if you established a clear perspective.

>As she disappeared around a corner//
Missing a comma to set off this dependent clause.

>stepped aside to allow her access to the room//
This would work better if you had established their positions to start with. Now, I have to backtrack and place Luna in the doorway.

There are a lot of ways this could look. Let me see what was in your head.

>Luna sat down on her haunches and watched as Twilight nervously chewed her lower lip, while counting the beads of sweat rolling down her brow.//
The last part is vaguely placed within the sentence. I can't tell who's sweating and who is counting.

>Twilight eventually broke the silence//
Again, this is not a speaking action.

>When I questioned him about it//
Another dependent clause that needs a comma.

>once straight//
This is used as a multi-word modifier, so hyphenate it.

>The battle was unfortunately lost and she chucked heartily//
See the section on comma usage with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>"Princess Celestia's own guards are using what could very well be a private nickname for her! Something needs to be done to stop them!"//
She sure is jumping to conclusions, especially given that Luna doesn't seem concerned.

>Choking back giggles she spoke as calmly as she could.//
This is a sentence fragment, and you haven't adopted a conversational tone for your narrator for which this would be appropriate.

>"That's exactly what I was thinking," Luna grinned.//
Those tags again. How do you grin a sentence?

>We will not let you down, you have our word.//
Comma splice. You have two sentences tacked together with a comma.

>Luna smiled at that//
Beware using demonstratives (this, that, these, those) as pronouns, since they have vague, broad antecedents and refer to the narration itself. Better to put an appropriate noun after it. The preceding couple lines of dialogue are also rather forced and unnatural. And finally, this is a very weak scene ending. It just kind of peters out without coming to any sort of conclusion or cliffhanger.

>Raising a forehoof//
Set off participial phrases with a comma.

>she knocked gently on the door a couple of times, and then pounded on it relentlessly//
Another "comma usage with conjunctions" problem, and we lack any context for why she changes her urgency here.

>The door was quickly opened, and a disgruntled Celestia//
There's no reason for the passive voice, and since this emotion is the crux of your story, I'd advise against bluntly telling it to me.

>mother or father gets you up, but since she's not here//
Mismatch (mother or father -> she) and missing comma.

>Twilight could only giggle in response as Luna continued her story.//
These very short scenes make the story choppy. If they're important, then make more happen in them, or they amount to little more than interruptions. If they're not important, then get rid of them.

>"My mind is racing with the many ways in which this could go wrong."//
Very unnatural dialogue.

>began its descent, paving the way for a new day to begin//
Watch word repetition within a close space.

>taking in a deep intake//

>she said sheepishly//
She just said something sheepishly a few paragraphs ago. And the deeper I get into the story, the more of these telly adverbs I see.

>"You will do... as... I... command!" She bellowed.//

>Luna could only watch in silent awe as the sun slowly, and with some reluctance, began to make its ascent into the sky. Celestia continued to struggle as sweat gathered on her forehead, but she showed no signs of giving up the fight.//
You use quite a few of these "as" clauses. Particularly in places like this, where you have them in consecutive sentences, it can get repetitive.

>Luna rushed to her sisters side//
Missing apostrophe.

>Celestia looked at her flank, a crestfallen look//
More close repetition.

>her sisters face//
Another missing apostrophe.

>Perhaps your destiny was to get zapped by the sun and not raise it?//
I don't see how this explanation makes any more sense than assuming she got the nickname for raising the sun. Nothing about getting hit on the butt clicks as a more obvious explanation than simply being the location of her cutie mark. And you're not going to say why the sun did that? Luna does attempt a reason, but it's more whimsical and implies sentience on the sun's part, which is odd.

>I can only pray that she never finds out about the existence of 'Moonbutt'.//
Given that Luna knows why ponies assume Celestia is called Sunbutt, how can she not assume the same of herself?

>That is one particular tale that Celestia would be all too eager to tell.//
This doesn't quite fit with her "grumbling," since I can't see why it would make her angry.

Overall, there are a scattering of comma problems, invalid speaking verbs, and telly language that gets more prevalent the further I got into the story. The two absolute worst places to be telly are at the story's climax and at the beginning. At least you didn't so much at the beginning, which will help you snare more readers.

Second, you have a very inconsistent narrator. Having a truly objective one is fine, though it's often better in that case still to keep the viewpoint with a consistent character as much as possible, even if he doesn't adopt that character's voice and become more subjective. But your narrator keeps hovering over several characters and dipping lightly into their perspectives, which just ends up jerking the reader around.

Finally, this plays as a nice scene, but it's weak as a story. You don't play this information as any kind of conflict, and we don't see any character growth or get some insight into one of them as a result of reading it. Yes, Celestia has a minor struggle to get her cutie mark, but it's a foregone conclusion. So what is at stake exactly, and what bad thing would happen if the characters fail to achieve it. Or on the character side, how has one of them changed as a result of the experience?
>> No. 129232
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.


Why is this all in italics? I don't see the purpose. Italics make things stand out and if everything stands out, nothing does.


>When Fluttershy moved to stand up//
Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

lab coat

>harsh chemical light//
That would be very unusual to have a chemical light, as they don't last very long. While I'd bet you meant that in a more figurative sense, it still struck me as odd.

>she pawed at the floor with one of her hooves, looking everywhere but at the strange stallion//
She hasn't gotten up yet, so how are her hooves on the ground? If she's seated, maybe a back hoof is, but "pawed" often connotes a forehoof. Also watch your misplaced modifiers, participles in particular. By their proximity, it sounds like the hooves are looking everywhere.

>tiled surfaces//
You already mentioned the "tiled walls." Watch the repetition.

>Don’t worry Fluttershy.//
Missing comma for direct address.

>her cheeks flushing red in embarrassment//
There's a section on show-versus-tell at the top of this thread, and it talks about this kind of telling. We already get embarrassment from the flushed cheeks. Telling us it's embarrassment is redundant and lacks any subtlety.

>“S-Sorry!” she apologized//
You only capitalize the first one, unless it's a proper noun. And it's best to avoid speaking verbs that are aready obvious from the speech itself, including such gems as "trailed off," "interrupted," "stammered," and "apologized" here. Notable exceptions are more common ones like "asked," "shouted," "yelled," and so on.

>He nodded in understand//
Verb form, but again, this is telly and unnecessary.

>off the floor//
Oh, okay. She was on the floor the whole time. The "pawing" thing makes more sense now (though I still think it's odd the have a hoof "paw"), but you should make her position clear much earlier in the story.

>She blinked at him a few times before smiling.//
A couple of things here. First, she goes through a lot of dialogue about her animals here, but aside from this little bit, you don't touch on how she feels about any of it. Is she saying it in a monotone, like it's all rote to her? Is she beaming and clutching her hooves to her chest like she's lost in a reverie? Is she frowning, like it's all become a chore? Get at her emotions. Second, your narrator had been down in Fluttersy's head before. He said things that only she knows internally, so he was in her mindset. Yet here, where she should be getting emotional, that narrator keeps a curious distance from her. It kind of left me scratching my head as to what you want this narrator to be. He's closely attached to her when the more mundane things happen, but backs away when emotions set in? You'd typically see the opposite, or else have him in her perspective constantly.

>hum of the air conditioning//
How does this feel? Fanfics too often focus only on what can be seen or heard. This would be a nice touch for one of the neglected senses.

>The cold, empty room//
If it's already cold, why is the air conditioning running?

Consider what sound would actually be repeated. Surely "Th-there." And again, only capitalize the first, unless there's some other reason the word would need to be capitalized. You do this a lot.

>She flinched. “Yes,” whispered Fluttershy, eyes clenched tight against the harsh memory.//
There you go. Now you're getting more at her emotions. Depending on what kind of narrator you want, you could even forge a closer connection by using some indirect thought.


>the steady click like a metronome underscoring Fluttershy’s muffled cries//
Here's another way to consider your narrative viewpoint. If the narrator is with Fluttershy, would she even notice this while she's "wracked with her violent sobs"? Possibly, but just mentioning it casually like this doesn't quite work. Consider how she'd perceive it.

>to scream at his uncaring tone, to berate him for showing no concern for those animals that had been murdered right in front of her//
See, you're decidedly in Fluttershy's head here. Yet she showed no such reaction when he said these things. We're getting it after the fact, which decouples it an distances the reader from your character's emotions.

Last one I'm going to mark. A lot of your hyphenations need correction for capitalized letters and what the repeated sound would actually be.

>cold patch of numbness//
If it's numb, how does it feel cold?

>elements of harmony//
We usually see this capitalized, but it's your call.

>He froze still//

>She let herself lay back down on the tiles//
Confusion of "lay" and "lie."

> if I could just take nap//
Missing word.

>A pegasus by the name of…” He checked his notes. “Rainbow Dash?”//
What you've written here isn't wrong, but a more common way of having a narrative interruption in speech is like this:
A pegasus by the name of—” he checked his notes “—Rainbow Dash?”
Or have the dashes outside the quotes if the speech doesn't actually stop for the action.

>as her friend’s smiling visage filling her thoughts//
Verb form error.

>She spat out a something//

>He pressed himself up against wall she drew closer//
More syntax problems.

>a pneumatic sigh that was lost beneath the cacophony made by her hoof banging away on the polished steel//
Again, what's her perception? The narrator is in her head, so when you say she couldn't hear it, then the narrator can't, either.

Overall, the few consistent mechanical problems are actually easy fixes. Just mind what I said about your narrative voice. It really was distracting when you switched between objective and subjective viewpoints in a flash and in counterintuitive ways.

Now, I saw your big reveal coming a mile off, at least in a way. I wouldn't have been surprised to see her as a werewolf or zombie, either. It may be that you need to keep it hidden better, but that's a very subjective thing. No matter how well you obscure it, though, someone will just have a moment of insight or make a lucky guess, and maybe it's just my turn for that.

Lastly, something about Fluttershy's situation didn't ring true. By the plant matter that's part of her, I take it that the strange timberwolf didn't just start a new creature by attacking her, but actually incorporated itself into her. But what about it made her dominant? Before, it was more than just the wolf, but the whole acted like the wolf. Why did Fluttershy become the part in control? In some ways, both the wolf and Fluttershy acted not quite like themselves, like they were at least experiencing some influence from their other parts. Again, if the wolf was able to maintain control still, why not when Fluttershy was added? But more to the point, Fluttershy's lapses out of her normal mindset are quite vague. It might do better if she exhibited specific traits of her other parts at times, like she followed the thought processes of a wolf at one point, or briefly took on Applejack's voice. This would have to be managed carefully to keep it effective, of course, and would probably prevent you from hiding your reveal until late, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Keeping Dash and AJ out of it until near the end would be a good idea, but the rest could be played either way. This is not a requirement, of course—I'm just trying to brainstorm a bit to see what else might make this a more effective story.

Another tip for horror, and one I touched on already, is not to neglect any of the senses. Good horror also includes odd physical sensations, smells, tastes, things that are just a little out of place and getting consistently more unsettling.

This wasn't badly written; really, the narrative quirks and resulting emotional distance from Fluttershy were the big issues. Fix those up, and you could have a nice story here.
>> No. 129233
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.

>You might wanna call it a benefit//
It's generally not a good idea to address the reader, unless you're writing second-person.

>I jerk upright to great protest of my back.//
Missing word.

>Disoriented and confused//
Participles and participial phrases are usually set off with commas.

>all too familiar//
Hyphenate most multi-word phrases used as a single descriptor.

>After being done with my morning toilet//
British writer, I presume? This isn't a usage you hear much in American English, particularly not from a southerner like Applejack.

>living on Sweet Apple Acres
I've only ever seen this phrased with "in."

>It's the news: //
A fine point, but it's best to have a subjective narrator stick pretty close to the focus character's diction and intelligence level, and this is required for a first-person narrator. Bottom line: Applejack doesn't seem the type to use colons. A few wouldn't stick out much, but you use quite a few, relatively speaking, and it just creates a distance from the character, because it doesn't feel right for her.

>Flim Flam Brother's//
Brothers', yes?

>Anyway, the buffet is up and I get myself some cereal and a cup of coffee.//
See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>I just don't like them rolls they have here, I liked the ones we had back home better…//
Comma splice.

Missing the leading apostrophe (and beware smart quotes, which will try to draw it in the wrong direction). I could see spelling it without the apostrophe if it was something she'd written, but you shouldn't assume the error in speech.

>Darn AJ,//
In the middle of a sentence, direct address requires commas on both sides.

>the big shed in the back of the building had blow over last night//
Verb form.

In this usage, it should be two words.

>pouring over bills//

>It's been laying here
Lay/lie confusion.

Perhaps just call it writing or script instead of the more pony hoofwriting or mouthwriting.

>cutiemark crusader's//
Cutie Mark Crusaders'

>Me, wringing out my hair like a wet rag//
No reason to capitalize that.

>Big Mac leaning on a fence bathed in the light of an orange sundown, a straw casually hangin’ from his mouth, gazing into space.//
Participles are common violators of misplaced modifiers. They like to describe the nearest prior object, but take your "gazing into space" phrase. You have to wade back through "mouth" (which it would seem to modify), "straw," "sundown," "light," and "fence" before getting to the correct one. It's jus awkwardly placed.

>When I had a grip on myself again//
Another comma needed for a dependent clause.

Spell out "okay."

>Zap apple//
If you're going to capitalize "Zap," you should probably do so with "apple" as well.

>taking the mickey out of//
Is this a British expression? I've never heard it before, but more to the point, it's not a southern one that Applejack could be expected to know.

I warned you about this once. The smart quotes have assumed something else and bent the apostrophe the wrong way. You have a number of these.

>on that picture//

>a sharp sting in my neck tells me he didn't like the angle I fell asleep in//
She refers to her neck as a "he"?

>lung full//
In this sense, "lungful."

>Back on Sweet Apple Acres//
More normal would be "at."


>old chap//
Yeah, a southerner isn't going to say that.

>I didn’t notice I’ve been holding//
Just so you know, the "X I didn't even know I'd been Y-ing" is a very cliched phrasing.

I'm really on the fence about this. It's well-written, and a stark portrayal of someone feeling like she's outlived her usefulness. My only reservations are that it doesn't develop in any way. There's no conflict in the story and no character growth to speak of, the two standard ways of keeping up interest for the reader. We do gain some insight into Applejack, but it's a static thing. First off, that means it doesn't build to much of a climax. Particularly through the memories that Applejack goes through when looking at her photo album, we get more of an accounting of her life in list fashion. It's very factual. If she had more of an emotional response to each of these memories, it would connect the character and the reader better. As it is, it comes across fairly sterile. Second, what building it does just keeps ramping up the tragedy. This is what I refer to as "piling on." We begin with an elderly Applejack feeling sorry for herself. Then we get that she feels like a burden and a source of guilt for Twilight. Then we get a hint that Apple Bloom has some hidden regret about the situation, then we learn that Big Mac had a rather undignified fate, and end up with Applejack feeling suicidal. Things just keep getting worse. Sure some real-life situations are just like this. But not all, and not even most.

My advice on this front is twofold. Only include the amount of tragedy that you have to include. How much is necessary to get your point across and set up the plot? Use that and no more. Any needless tear-jerking you add on top of that is a pointless grab for the reader's heartstrings. Yes, it works on a fair number of readers, but it's not good practice, and those that can recognize it for what it is will often be resentful of the emotional manipulation. Is it necessary for Apple Bloom to harbor some hidden regrets? Is it necessary for Big Mac's life to follow that course? I don't think eliminating either one would alter the story appreciably. The other point, which is related, is that sadness works best by contrast. If you intersperse happy moments in the sad, then the sad stands out much more. You do go through some happy times in the photo album, but go back to my point about most of the story just being a slow escalation of tragedies. A reader gets numb to it. So instead of giving Big Mac yet another ugly turn, have Applejack rejoice in his pleasant waning years, for instance. It would also lend credence to her current state of despair that even those happy memories couldn't buoy her mood. Just a suggestion, but it illustrates my point.

Last edited at Tue, Dec 3rd, 2013 17:45

>> No. 129238
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 synopsis is rather dull. It makes zero indication as to what the story is about.

The introduction is already striking me as odd. It plays at a frame story and addresses the reader directly.

>After all, I lived in a library for my whole life.//
Well, no, before he moved to Ponyville, he presumably lived in Twilight's room in the castle (though Faust's headcanon had him raised by Celestia for part of that time while Twilight was younger).

>That’s the name of my mother, by the way.//
This feels out of place in a written medium. It;s more the kind of thing he'd say in person, not write down once he's had time to collect his thoughts, so it comes across as inauthentic.

>Dragon eggs weren’t exact an easy resource to come by//

>Most of my early years in Canterlot with her were spent helping her organize things, and keeping her company since her family couldn’t visit her often.//
See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions. I saw a number of these throughout the story.

Again, this comes across as weirdly informal for something that we know is recorded as a story.

>she was grateful to have somepony //
Fine point here, and I know he's used this term in canon, but since he's including himself, would he use the "pony" version, particularly considering that he's (presumably) quite a bit older now?

>half finished//
Hyphenate your multi-word terms that act as a single modifier. You do this several times.

>Twilight had giggled. I just refused to say anything//
Mixing tenses.

A reptile?

>Nothing’s wrong Twilight!//
Needs a comma for direct address.


>lying in the corner//
You could just cut this "lying" out, particularly since you just used it very soon before, even though it was in a different sense.

>knowing that I had done wrong//
Most participles will be set off with a comma.

>or hours for teleportation//
How would that take hours?

>I was her closest and only friend after all.//
By now, I'm noticing that you use "after all" quite often.

>ordinary routine//
Somewhat redundant.

>For years I tried to get her to talk to ponies, trying to coax her to come to parties or hang out with some of my friends, but she always declined.//
Misplaced modifier. It sounds like "ponies" are trying to coax her. And repetition of "try."

>That was the day that I first discovered that//
Might want to rephrase. 3 instances of "that" in 9 words.

>That was why I was so excited when Princess Celestia gave her a new assignment as her star pupil: to go to Ponyville and make a few friends.//
Look how far the material after the colon is from what it's clarifying.

It's a proper noun, so both instances should be capitalized.

>“You didn’t want to crush me. I understand.” I stood up and simply shook my head, turning to leave. “Don’t worry, Rarity. I don’t hate you. I’m not even angry. I’m just thankful that you let me know.”
This situation is sure resolved quickly. You build it up as if it's some big thing, then it's over very quickly and with no fanfare. If he wants to brush it off because it's not the main point of what he has to say, fine, but he needs to indicate that, if it's the case.

>the Carousel Boutique//
You don't need "the" when using specific names. You go to the store, but you go to Wal-Mart.

>I just went straight to my bed and laid down//
Lay/lie confusion.

>Twilight would be right there//
How did Twilight not know that Rarity was already in a relationship? That's certainly the type of thing that girls share, and Rarity had no apparent motivation to keep it secret.

>her eyes shining with sadness, but also pride
I can give you a pass when Spike talks about himself this way. But it's a bad idea to have him be telly when he's speaking about other characters.

>hard working//
One word.

Again, this isn't a word I would typically think of as applied to a dragon. Yes, Twilight would be used to using this word, but I also think she'd be sensitive enough to have an awareness of it.

>animals, and Pinkie//
Extraneous space.

>Fluttershy had opened a clinic in Canterlot to help sick and injured animals//
Given that animals would be more prevalent in a rural area, why would she do this?

>if you’re a species that lives longer like I am//
It'd sound smoother if the "like referred to the thing closest to it ("lives longer," not "species"): if you’re a species that lives longer like I do.

>That’s probably the one that stands by the most.//
Did you mean "stands out"?

>Being forced to stop moving…//
I'm also going to say that all the ellipses also are out of place, since this is supposed to be something that Spike has written. They indicate half-formed thoughts that peter out, and while this occurs in conversation, a writer has as long as he likes to sort out what he wants to write. They can serve occasionally to imply further information, but they're really a spoken thing more than a written thing.

>Spikey wikey//
The whole thing's a nickname. Capitalize both words.

>She laid back//
Lay/lie confusion again. "Lie/lay/had lain" takes no direct object, "lay/laid/had laid" does take one. You lie down, and you lay your head down.

>trying to reach up and get something by her bedside, in the nightstand that lay next to her//
There's no reason for that comma.

>together, smiling and having fun together//

>I figure it’s what she would have wanted.//
Really? Maybe it's just me, but I figure she'd want to go out in a spectacular crash while trying a very dangerous trick.

>And then Daring Do put her whip and hat on her coat rack, sitting on her office chair.//
Sounds like the coat rack is sitting on the chair.

>she laid there in her chair//
Lay/lie again.

>a clear night’s sky//
Just use "night."

Now for a session of point/counterpoint.

Against your story is that it's a pretty common setup, particularly since it goes through the deaths of all 6 friends, even though it only lingers on two of them. It's become somewhat of a cliche to include all six and give special weight to the last of the group. It's also a bit weak on the conflict/growth front. There's no make-or-break moment where Spike must make a decision that will affect his future. There's nothing at stake. We don't see anything fundamental change about him as a character.

For your story is that you barely mentioned four of the deaths, so it's not an ad nauseam collation of their final moments. The writing is pretty good, and you actually have a good setup for a decisive moment on Spike's part. Ask yourself: What about Twilight's death changes Spike? Show the after in stark contrast to the before, when he comes to some realization. He does have a subtle one, choosing to be happy about the time he shared with them. And then you mention subsequent Elements. Did he befriend them all? And what does he do with this newfound happiness? Volunteer as a docent at their memorials so he can teach generations about their accomplishments? Read Daring Do stories to children at the library? This probably isn't the kind of story that will show clear conflict, but I'd like to see something along the lines of concrete character growth.

Lastly, I'll reiterate the issue of the narrator's voice, insofar as this is supposed to be something Spike has written. It relies on a lot of conversational conceits, and thus loses the feel of something he's taken the time to write. It may actually be wiser to remove that and just have him narrate as if he's speaking, but then it'd be more important not to have him address the reader.

There were certain words I saw turn up a lot. "Sad" made 18 entries, which doesn't sound like a lot, but if you look at where they occur, you use them in clumps, which only makes them sound more repetitive. "That" appears 130 times. It really stuck out, and suggests you're relying on its use as the start of noun clauses too much and using repetitive sentence formulations as a result. It's actually quite common to remove it as a conjunction leading off a noun clause, so you could take care of a fair number that way. "Was" shows up 114 times, and I suspect other forms of that verb also make themselves known frequently. That's a verb writers can stand to do without, to a large degree. There are 38 instances of "just," and like "sad," they tend to occur in clumps.
>> No. 129239
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.


>ever now and then//


Your opening scene needs help. Having the narrator barge in and summarize the situation very quickly externalizes the reader from forming a connection with Twilight. You need to do a better job of grabbing the reader's interest than this. Go right into the dream. Make it immediately obvious that it is one, since you're not trying to play it as ambiguous, but the "hey, this is happening" followed by it actually happening is just throwing a needless speed bump in there.

>terrified sweat//
I see what you're going for, but it ends up personifying the sweat, and it just sounds weird.

>This is impossible! Nopony could possibly do this!

>scrutinizing look//
Describe it. Now is not the time to be telly. Twilight's perception at this moment is a severe source of stress for her, and she'd take great notice of how they regard her. Shortening all that to "scrutinizing" cheapens it.

>the chance to attempt such an opportunity//
Redundant language.

>with sadness//
See the section on telly language at the top of this thread. This is a particular kind of phrasing that is rarely necessary.

>She felt her horn light up and felt//
Repetitive phrasing.

>blood vessels in her face starting to light up//
Given that the story is from her viewpoint, how would she know this? Not to mention that it's kind of weird anyway.

>bottom thirtieth//
That's an awfully precise judgment to make, considering that it's far from the foremost thing on her mind.

>yet, you cannot even perform//
Commas after conjunctions are rarely correct. This one is not.

>Celestia’s School For Gifted and Talented Unicorns//
I don't believe the canon name has "and Talented" in it.

>signalling for her to leave//
This is unnecessary information that the reader can already figure out.

>Celestia barely even payed attention to Twilight//
Using "payed" instead of "paid" is typical of a specific definition of the word which you aren't using.

>seemingly annoyed//
How does Twilight conclude this?

Use a proper em dash for cutoffs.

>Twilight was cut off//
No need for passive voice, and the "cut off" is redundant with what we can already see in the quote.

>to signify an order to be silent//
More language that is redundant. These meaningless phrases smack of strecthing for word count, which, considering how long the story is, could well be precisely what you were doing.

>nodded in agreement//
More redundant phrasing.

>The door burst open as her father charged in, scanning the room for any immediate signs of danger.//
Note that participles and "as" clauses synchronize actions, so all three of these things happen simultaneously. The first two, I could see, or the last two, but not all three. He's not scanning the room until after the door bursts open.


>Twilight shook her head to relieve herself of the shock of her father bursting into her room.//
Repetitive language, and more questionable content that the reader could have been left to intuit.

>E-everything’s fine dad//
Missing comma for direct address, and when using it as a term of address or reference, capitalize "Dad." Watch for other similar instances of "Mom" and "Dad."

>he could see her face clearly. He could see//
Repetitive language.

>Her father took a seat on the bed next to her, smiling softly.//
I bet you want the father to b smiling softly, but this tends to say she was.

>Twilight shifted and her features twisted into a grimace//
Missing comma. See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

Her father's inner monologue here is obviously a change in perspective. I don't see that it accomplishes anything. What does he reveal that's new or critical to the story? Shifting point of view is always a disorienting thing, so a writer must always judge whether the gains are greater than the losses. I don't think there's anything gained here.

>surprising him a bit//
This is still in his perspective. Especially in a story this short, you really shouldn't be jumping around to different characters without a very good reason.

>over take//
One word.

>You’ve done excellently in everything you’ve put your hoof too.//
To/too confusion.

>And you’ve made us so proud.”//
When one paragraph ends while still in a quote, and the next one starts with speech from the same character, you can leave off the closing quotation marks from the first paragraph.

>Twilight giggled and climbed back down onto the bed.//
Fourth straight paragraph that's started with "Twilight."

There is a notable lack of character growth or conflict here. Twilight experiences a very common and mundane bout of self-doubt. It's just a very pat piece, and one that plays more as a scene than a story. While pleasant enough, it's not really a well-developed thing. What changes about Twilight? How is she different for the experience? There's nothing here. Rather than go on about stylistic things, I'll just say that this needs to be something with a lot more meat to it before we could post it.
>> No. 129243
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 storm clouds over Ponyville parted with a flash of lightning and a peal of thunder.//
Do you realize how close this is to "It was a dark and stormy night"?

>It was pulled by a duo of armored, bat-winged pegasi//
I don't see the need for passive voice here. It transfers the focus onto the chariot or the action, neither of which is interesting. Let the batponies carry the focus.

>Carnival games and food stands were set up all throughout the streets, and a silver and blue flag adorned with a crescent moon waved proudly atop the Town Hall.//
I'm seeing an awful lot of "to be" verbs so far. They're inherently boring. It's much more interesting to read about what happens not what is. Compare your two clauses here. The secon uses an active verb (waved) that makes it a more vivid read. I'm still getting a lot of passive voice, though.

No need to italicize this as a sound effect. It's a valid word. Just leave it alone.

>Luna released the concealing shadows, flying out of the chariot//
Watch for misplaced modifiers, particularly participles. It sounds like the shadows are flying out of the chariot.

>returned, and the moonlight gently faded away. Luna’s eyes returned//
Watch repetition of words in a close space.

>And finally we get some kind of emotional reaction from Luna. She'd been awfully stoic up until now. You might want to bring in this aspect earlier, maybe her apprehension at how she would be received. The sooner you can make that emotional connection with a reader, the sooner you can grab his interest.

>thousand year-old//
Hyphenate the whole thing.

>Luna landed gracefully on the ground.//
The "on the ground" part is useless filler. Since the narrator is in Luna's perspective, it's odd for her to judge the landing as graceful herself. Perhaps just give me a few of her actions and their intent rather than have her draw the conclusion for me.

>heard several sighs of audible relief.//
First, these "with/of/in emotion" phrases are almost always telly and redundant with something already in the sentence Second, if she heard it, then you don't need to tell me it's audible.

>to not be//
I'm more of a stickler for split infinitives than most. While I'll still let many slide, these "not" ones are just so grating. "not to be"

>Luna mingled with the crowd for a few minutes, exchanging pleasantries and providing advice and blessings as royals are wont to do. However, her eyes kept scanning the crowd//
Repetition of "crowd."

Your smart quotes have given you an open quotation mark instead of an apostrophe. I suspect there are more of these; you'll have to find them and force them the other way.

>Luna shook her head in amusement.//
Another one of these redundant "in emotion" phrases.

>decorations of the transformed Ponyville.
>It was clear that the town had pulled out all the stops. Every building was adorned with various decorations
More repetition.

hay bales

>Low hanging//
Hyphenate your compound descriptors. I've seen a few of these.

Unless it's a proper noun, only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

>Twilight said with a stutter//
And there's no need to point out the stutter when we already saw it in the speech.

You sure you didn't mean "dampen"? Damper is only a noun.

>Luna's tone gained a bitter tinge//
Given that she holds the perspective, it's odd for her to get at the bitterness indirectly through her tone or even notice it there.

>“I can... ”//
Extraneous space.

Consider what sound would actually be repeated. "Th-thank"

>It was probably just that Twilight was a tad absentminded, and tended to turn inward for her reflections.//
See the section on at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>Passersby stopped to gawk as they went, their faces were filled with awe and excitement.//
You've either got a comma splice there, or you've inserted an extraneous word into the second part that was supposed to be an absolute phrase.

Yeah, axe the sound effects.

>One-hundred eighty//
No hyphen.


>but however//

So... ponies know what lasers are?

>Princess Celestia laid comfortably on her favorite silk pillow//
Lay/lie confusion.

>pulled a toffee out a small candy bag//
Missing word.

>and who know?//
Verb form.

>The symptoms are all there: Lapses in awareness, physical fatigue, a primal, almost magnetic attraction to darkness, and spiritual deterioration.//
Only capitalize after a colon if it refers to multiple sentences.

>The two of them had relocated to the balcony connected to the study.//
This is a really odd transition. Just tell me when they walk out there. Don't have it happen but hold back on telling me until after the fact.

>Her face quickly fell back into a morose melancholy//
Watch the telling. Better to describe how she looks in more basic terms and let the reader decode how she feels from it. There's a section on this at the top of the thread, too. Some telliness is fine, but we're at a pretty critical part of the story here.

>She stood there with her jaw hanging open for a few seconds while Luna stood there//
More repetition.

>She turned away to glower at nothing in particular//
Watch the head-hopping. This scene had been in Luna's perspective, but only Celestia would characterize it as "nothing in particular."

Except in cases of Royal Canterlot Voice, italics are preferred for emphasis.

>I’m okay with that, but then that’s the only time you can do it. Fair?//
This is incredibly petty and narrow-minded of her, given that they're discussing the health of their subjects and that ceding to Luna on this matter is probably to everyone's benefit.

>Celestia rubbed the bridge of her nose.//
Do ponies even have this? You might better just characterize it as rubbing between her eyes.

>Celestia ignited another fire beside herself to keep warm.//
They're still out on the balcony. There's a facility out there for this?

>Celestia blinked. “As in, right here, right now?”//
This is now the eighth paragraph in a row that goes: <Short simple sentence with a token action. Speech.> It's really getting a plodding feel, like I'm reading a list.

>you’re going to be leaving your body behind, aren’t you? //
This necessarily begins a new sentence—it couldn't follow syntactically from the first. Capitalize.

>I can only hope that one day I’ll find a way to make it up to you.//
This is awfullt rushed, and an odd time to bring it up. It might be worth getting at her motivation for saying this or drawing it out a bit so it's not so sudden. It smacks of going for a needless emotional reaction from the reader that's tangential at best to the story.

Another word choice that's questionable as part of the pony lexicon.

Used that twice within a few sentences.

>into the city of Canterlot beyond. She called upon the power of the Garden and stretched herself out even farther, extending past the city, out into the valley beyond//
Even more repetition.

>The damage of being exposed to a thousand years of light//
Are you saying the effects are cumulative over generations? Because you just mentioned that she's gathering those less than three years old, so they don't have a thousand years of exposure... only three. Even the adults would only have some small finite length as well.

A word about song lyrics. Some readers simply skip them as a rule. I give them a chance, but I stop if I see that they're not bearing any of the plot. Unless there's something critical in them, like a song that gives Twilight a clue to the location of an artifact, for instance, they don't serve much purpose. Aside from a bit of needless mood-setting, I can't say these add anything.

>enormous, teal//
These are hierarchical adjectives and don't need a comma between them.

When used in a manner like this, where it doesn't precede its object (you're using it as a predicate adjective), you don't need the hyphens.

>“I am your Princess.”//
It looks like your open quotes are in normal font, while the close quotes are in italics. You do this multiple times.

>The children weren't as bright as they once were anymore. Their outlines were faint, and their eyes were half-lidded with dreamy looks on their faces. Luna wished she could keep them here longer, to share with them the true wonders and beauty of the night, but they foals were too impressionable. She welcomed those who had an affinity for darkness, yes, but too much of it would be just as much of a problem as an overabundance of light.//
I've gone through dozens of sentences in this area and only counted two that didn't start with the subject. This part of the story really needs some variety in sentence structure, but don't go overboard with it. A little here and there works wonders.

>but they foals were too impressionable//

>split throughout the sky like a meteor shower//
Actually, a meteor shower is pretty organized. The meteors all emanate from a common spot and all move in the same direction.

>but if nothing else, then they’ll just need the same treatment as the adults.//
Get rid of that "then."

>Celestia defended//
Questionable choice of speaking verb. It takes a direct object, but that object is the thing being defended, not the words that do so.

>They may want to go back If they were to have any memories of it//
Extraneous capitalization.

>Twenty Five Years Later-//
Surely there's a less blunt instrument you can use than this. Work it into the narration, have it revealed in some dialogue, etc.

>long tonight due to things starting with an unnaturally long//

>Minute’s widened.//
Missing word.

>Things had gone well over the last two and a half decades//
See? You did it nicely there. Now you don't need that obtrusive opening line for this scene.

>She had her own Realm now//
That's a rather teasing thing to insinuate without explaining anything.

>Luna was grateful//
Start here and scroll back up a bit. Note how repetitive the first words of each paragraph are.

>She was just glad that there hadn't been any lasting effects, a shift in either direction could cause ponykind to descend into madness.//
Comma splice.

Again, consider what sound would actually be repeated (wh-where). You also need a hyphen for the stutter, not a dash, and you have one too many dots in the ellipsis.

Nice story, but you might want to allow Luna a bit more of an emotional response, if only internally. She's bordering on stoic about it, and if she were more touched by the remembrance of the song, it might carry more power. Now I do see that the song comes in important, but note that only a small part of it is, and only the fact that it was remembered, not the words themselves. At least the remembered part is short enough that readers will probably stick with it, so I'd encourage you to limit it to that and gloss over the rest of it as Luna continuing to sing.

The only other thing I'd point out is the sheer amount of repetition: Sentence after sentence with the same structure, several paragraphs in a row starting with the same thing, repeated use of words and phrases in a close space without a thematic reason for doing so. I've also pointed out the specific example of "to be." Just looking for the most common forms, I counted over 200. That is incredibly high. I pointed out one sentence where you used that verb unnecessarily in one clause, then picked an action verb in the other clause where you could have been lazy and used another "to be" verb. It causes several problems: overuse of passive voice (somewhat of a problem here), telly language (again, some), and a need for more active verb choice (this is the main one). Keep an eye out for these verbs as you read back through and eliminate a bunch of these. It's impractical to go without them entirely, but you should have no trouble getting rid of the majority of them.
>> No. 129245
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 was found in the woods as a foal//
What was that scene break for? You didn't change perspective, time, or location. Cadance is still right there talking to Shining Armor, and weirdly waffling back and forth between narrating and speaking.

Please use a proper dash for interruptions.

>She cast a spell that drained the warm feelings of the villagers in an empty attempt to fill the void in her heart.//
So... she's a changeling?

>You can't do this!//
As this is the first piece of dialogue, you should identify the speaker with a speech tag. You can settle into going without tags later, once we've gotten accustomed to the various characters' voices.

>"No time to waste, then. I shall begin immediately."//
That's awfully florid language for one who warrants being addressed as "child."

>not the imposing structure of stone and wood suspended from an overgrown grove of trees entwined together I found before me//
This is a very winding sentence that changes focus so many times that it just comes across as a jumble. If these are all ideas worth mentioning, you could stand to do so over a few sentences.

>"So I'm going to be your friend."//
This whole exchange is very forced. She's already decided sight-unseen to befriend this mare? It's going to take a little more of her internal reasoning to get me there. Otherwise it just ends up as this incongruous mix of naivete and very mature vocabulary.

>I could tell I struck a nerve, though she tried not to let it show.//
For the previous dozen or so paragraphs, I've gotten barely three character actions. Have a look at the section on Talking Heads at the top of this thread.

>my fear that what happened next//
This is an odd juxtaposition, given that she just told Prismia that was her fear, and I doubt you did this intentionally, since you're not making a point from it.

>After the mob is through with me, you should go back to them. Don't throw your life away over three days with an unlovable monster.//
That's a very abrupt change of heart. And given that it's a main point of the story, it's not helping you to gloss over it all. Let me see a more gradual transformation.

>The flames spread like-//
Use a proper dash for asides, too.

>-- not that it was literally a room, but close enough,//
Again use a proper dash, and pair it with one at the end of the aside.

>your majesty//
Capitalize the honorific.

>Aunt Tia grinned slyly.//
You're really wavering between flashback mode and having present-day Cadance narrate. It's disorienting. Here, she's at least working more in flashback mode, when she wouldn't refer to Celestia as such.

So you framed the story as Cadance talking to Shining Armor, then went into the flashback with a scene break, waffled on whether it was actually being presented as a flashback, then went back to Shining Armor without a scene break. It's just very... inconsistent.

Cadance also concentrates so much on what happens at the expense of how any of it made her feel. This is an amazing experience, and yet it all comes across very factually, as if she's reading a lab report.

That's really the big overall advice I have, since it's the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed before ironing out the details: find a consistent narrative voice and forge a much more emotional connection between Cadance and the reader so that he cares what happens to her. The story is really all about the emotions of this experience; Shining Armor doesn't seem particularly interested, and the outcome is already known, so conveying her personal experience is the only thing left, and it does that in a fairly cold manner.

Last edited at Mon, Dec 2nd, 2013 21:48

>> No. 129253

First off, thank you for the detailed review. It's incredibly valuable to me.

I won't comment on the mechanical things and simply fix them. Since you wondered, though: I'm not British, but German.

You're right that the story lacks conflict and character growth. It's more an emotional picture than a story, really. This is wanted, though; AJ's life is static, and it is the lack of conflict/progression that breaks her. Some sort of character growth in the timespan of a single day would be unrealistic, and a longer timespan would break the concept. I'm pretty lost on how to fix this.

Thanks for making me aware of the "piling on" issue. I've had someone comment before that the story felt too manipulative, which made him shield himself from the emotions. I didn't heed his words then, but having it spelled out here certainly made me see the point. I guess I wanted to cram in too much. Dementia and only living through your progeny are old-people-problems, too... I tried to include some happy memories as counterbalance, but all that is heavily outweighed by bad-ends. I'll work it over.
>> No. 129254
Even though we're only with AJ for one day, that doesn't mean you can't grow her or give us some insight into her character. The AJ we get at the end of the story is the exact same one we have at the beginning. Aside from finding out why she's sad, there's not much point in reading. Let us learn something surprising about her. Let her come to an important realization about herself. Let her come to a turning point and make a decision. Something.

Not that you can't have a story like this that has a thin plot, but they're difficult to do well.
>> No. 129263
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 needs a ton of help. Your first bit tells us this story's relation to another. Move that to the end, and put it in a separate paragraph. Next, we get a sentence the twist and winds so much that it loses focus. We have <Adverbial prepositional phrase>, <another adverbial prepositional phrase>, <subject>, <appositive>, <second item in list>, <third item in list>, <predicate>, <appositive with its own internal comma>. Seven commas in one sentence. You're making it do too much. Please write out the number, and it's not necessary to capitalize after the colon, since it doesn't refer to multiple sentences. Then finally, we get teo sentences that address the reader (you). They can be tricky to avoid, but it is possible.


That first paragraph really doesn't accomplish anything. It speaks in bland generalities and doesn't get to the point.

I'm only a couple of paragraphs in and I'm already noting the number of colons. It's not that they're misused; it's that there are so many that it feels unnatural. You don't want the writing calling attention to itself, and this is one thing that will do it: overusing unusual punctuation or language. Now that I look, there are only three colons in the text, but guess what? They're all within the first four paragraphs. That's setting an initial impression that you don't want.

>The shining streets were bustling with commotion and activity. Street venders and activities at every corner visited by the crystal ponies who, on this day, seemed to shine a little brighter than usual.//
Passive voice is often a bad choice, but pasrticularly so early in the story, where you need action to grab the reader's interest. That second sentence is incomplete as well, and oddly so. You're not taking a conversational tone, and I don't see a thematic reason for it.

>the largest crowds were not visiting flugelhorn or hatstands, or even watching the jousts. Rather, it was the newscolts who attracted the largest crowds.//
Watch for close repetition of words and phrases. You've reused "the largest crowds" here for no apparent stylistic reason.

Hyphens only go between the tens and ones words. Twenty-three, eighty-six thousand, four hundred sixty-one.

>a dark, a robed figure//
Extraneous word.

>The figure moved to the thinnest part of the crowd//
This is the seventh instance of "crowd" in the last five paragraphs.

>adorned in brown vestiges contrary towards it’s onyx-colored counterpart//
This is horribly contorted. First, I don't think "vestige" is the word you want here. Perhaps "vestments"? You've confused "it's" with "its," and your language of "contrary... counterpart" is fairly redundant. Furthermore how does brown contrast with onyx? Much onyx is brown, and onyx is preferably in high contrast to itself anyway, mixing a light hue with a dark one, so in contrast to contrast is... bland?

>The slender cloaked pony raised a hoof, carefully pulling back the hood of the cloak revealing a white face, a horn, and a few locks of her long, scarlet mane protruding from the shadows of her attire, her purple eyes glistening just as brightly as her crystal coat.//
Another sentence that rambles on so long that it loses focus. It goes from the pony to the cloak to a number of her features to her cloak again to her features again. If these are all truly important, they deserve to be digested in smaller chunks. You also use three participles in the sentence. Repetition of structure is as bad as repetition of words.


Now you need to be careful with your narrative voice. Who is making this judgment? The narrator isn't in any character's perspective, so he's essentially telling me this is how I should feel about them, but I don't have any evidence to agree with him.

>After the attack I was so worried, I know you live near the outskirts so I would’ve come//
That comma is a splice, and you're missing one later in the sentence. See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>placed a hoof towards//
"Place" connotes setting something still, but "towards" indicates motion. This doesn't fit.

>Jokes. She wasn’t exactly a fan of this stallion’s humor, and right now certainly was not a time for joking. This was the greatest disaster which the empire had seen since the second age!//
Way too abrupt. You have to ease through transitions of perspective. Your narrator has been objective so far, and without any warning, we're pushed very deep into her thoughts. It's jarring. You have to do these things smoothly. As the only established perspective, this also suggests she's the one making the judgment of "horrendous" earlier, but we know that's not the case.

>She was at a loss for words.//
You don't need to narrate what's already apparent from the speech.

Why can nobody ever spell this right? Whoa.

And now we're tossed into his perspective. See the section at the top of this thread on head-hopping.

>city state//

>then," he turned to the mare, "Gloriana//
That's not how to punctuate a narrative aside in a quote.
then—" he turned to the mare "—Gloriana

>Gloriana put a hoof to Somber’s horn, pushing him back, nearly causing him to lose his balance as he clumsily regained his hoofing.//
Note that participles and "as" or "while" clauses synchronize actions, so the "put," "pushing," "causing," and "regained" all happen at the same time. That doesn't work.

>and bitterly added//
I'm seeing a lot of these -ly adverbs. Some are okay, but it doesn't take many to make the story telly. See the section at the top of this thread on show versus tell. To paraphrase, I have no indication of her mood here except for that one word. It's better to get me to interpret her mood through details of how she looks and acts, and what inflections she makes in her speech. Show me what and observer would note about her, not what conclusions he would draw from what he sees.

>Somber couldn’t help but laugh at her plight//
Missing end punctuation.

>Nobles were notorious for never being able to swallow their pride, and even Gloriana was no exception.//
This is a rather subjective statement, but I have no idea who holds the perspective here, so I don't know whose opinion it is. It's a fine point, but if you instead phrase it as "The populace commonly considered nobles to be notorious..." then you've changed it from the narrator's opinion to a statement of fact.

>“It’s okay” he assured her.//
Dialogue punctuation.

Why is this capitalized?

>I'll get to you throughPalace garden.//
Something's clearly messed up.

>She lied down//
Lay/lie confusion. Actually, it's confusion of two different meanings of "lie."

>her armed held//
Typo, and... she has an arm?

>I must be insane for leaving behind any more nights like this....
A four-dot ellipsis is typical for formal writing, but it's unusual to see in fiction.

>He looked down at Gloriana, sliding out from underneath her grasp.//
Another thing to watch with participles: they're common candidates for misplaced modifiers. Due to their proximity, it sounds like Gloriana is the one "sliding."

>With that//
Phrases like this and "at that point" are horribly self-referential to the narration.

>he carefully trotted to the window, undoing the latch.//
Here's another example of a synchronization issue. He can't undo the latch at the same time he's trotting to the window, unless you want to add some language to say he's doing it with his magic.

>Camp Spyrius//
Another one of these oddly off-putting introductions.

>cyan coated//
You've done pretty well with hyphenating your compound descriptors, so this may just be an oversight.

>the shine of his coat dimmed from exhaustion and perspiration//
Wouldn't perspiration increase the shine?

>The unicorn smugly replied “Well isn’t that a first?”//
Another dialogue punctuation error. There's a section on this at the top of the thread.

>trying as he tried//
Looks like you changed your mind and forgot to delete the loser.

Looks like you missed one of these.

>turning to lay down//
Lay/lie confusion.

Doubled end punctuation.

>being a unicorn and all//
You'd capitalized "unicorn" in chapter 1. Be consistent.

Your smart quotes have made the apostrophe backward.

>The cyan stallion//
You're using this phrase quite a lot. See the section at the top of this thread on Lavender Unicorn Syndrome.


>the atmosphere of the camp was filled with fear; the fear of certain death.//
Misused semicolon. There's no independent clause anywhere after it.

>little more than police officers, and with the low crime rate they did little more than//

No reason to hyphenate that.

The writing here was mostly good. The dialogue was well done, and while the narration had a few nice turns of phrase, it felt stiff and unnatural in places. The story itself is fine—it's more that there are so many of these niggling errors. I'd say the two major ones are the flighty narrator and the overabundance of participial phrases, sometimes several in one sentence, which can also cause timing problems and be misplaced modifiers.
>> No. 129270
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.

>Applejack stares up into the azure sea searching for just one single nimbus; a beacon of hope to light the fetid dark disaster of her wilting crop.//
Participial phrases ("searching for just one single nimbus") are normally set off with commas. Furthermore, they're prime candidates for misplaced modifiers. Due to its placement in the sentence, it sounds like the "azure sea" is searching, not Applejack. Finally, the semicolon is misused; there is no independent clause anywhere after it.

>if just a few trees could survive this terrible drought//
Given that the weather over Sweet Apple Acres is controlled by pegasi, why would they have let it get this bad? It bears some explanation.

>The leaves have long ago lost their luscious hues and all about reeks with the silent air of decay.//
See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>An’ plenty of it.//
Here's your problem with Applejack's section in a nutshell. If you'd kept the narrator completely objective, I could have at least understood the desire to write in this purple a fashion. But you had the narrator himself delve into her thoughts and present them as his own, and especially here, where you even have him take on her voice. It's a good idea anyway to have a narrator adopt the focus character's general word choice and intelligence level when being subjectively in that character's viewpoint, but especially when you effectively make that character the narrator. In short, this section is supposed to be Applejack communicating her thoughts to me, but it sounds nothing like her. Pinkie was marginally better, and Dash's daytime section was actually convincing. Rarity's and Twilight's parts fit them well enough.

>She has to water the trees, the crop, she cannot spare long from their side, only long enough to sleep a couple of hours//
Comma splices abound. I can appreciate taking some artistic license in ignoring grammatical rules, but they have to be for a purpose. I don't see one here. Rambling on like this tends to communicate that a character is becoming unfocused or upset, and while I can believe she would be, given the situation, there's nothing in the narration to indicate she feels that way. Convince me that she's feeling desperate, and this kind of speech might flow more naturally.

>But...there were normally orders, orders for her scrim-scrumptious sweetastic treats...nopony seemed hungerful in this silly-solly heatwave...still, it can’t hurt to keep plenty of fantastic delights on the go, just in case...just in case somepony comes in; it doesn’t do to have a happy shop short of munchables.//
This is just too much. You have at least four sentences shoved together with ellipses in what seems to be attempting a deep stream-of-consciousness style (which you also tried at the end of Applejack's part in an odd switch of tactics) that's difficult to pull off and keep interesting. Word to the wise: many readers find this irritating.

>door - the stench//
Please use proper dashes.

>why can’t you help them Fluttershy?//
Missing comma for direct address.

>The fire crackles mirthlessly as the shadows pressed//
Verb tense inconsistency.

>to say: “you are nothing.//
Missed capitalization.

Smart quotes always draw leading apostrophes in the wrong direction. You'll have to force it. There's more than one of these.

>She can’t stop looking, so she looks at the fire...try not to close your eyes, just keep looking, got to keep looking.//
See, this is another dissonance you have going with your narrator. You switch between indirect and direct though in a single sentence, yet you don't punctuate or italicize the latter as such.

>so inspiring!!//
A single exclamation mark will do nicely.

The way you have it, she actually thinks this word instead of doing it.

>being the only other unicorn, Rarity is the node of correspondence//
Why would this be the case? Twilight has never shown a preference for unicorns.

I'll be the first to admit that I can be dense about reading between the lines, but here's what I got from your story:

Everyone misses Twilight, and it's sending a ripple effect through Ponyville. Dash can't force herself to do her weather job, either through missing Twilight or wondering what happened to Rarity. The resulting heat wave is keeping anyone from being interested in buying from Pinkie, ruining the crops at Sweet Apple Acres, and driving Fluttershy's animals to seek other dangerous food sources once their normal ones died off.

This requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. First, Rarity's fate is entirely tangential to all this. Who kidnapped her, why has there been no ransom demand, why hasn't Twilight tried corresponding with anyone but her...? When Dash's irresponsibility is severely affecting the livelihood of an entire town, why has nobody stepped in to figure out why and do something about it? Canterlot would really be so blind to as to what's going on in Ponyville? That's horribly irresponsible governing.

I've touched on the narrative voice. It's unnecessarily purple, particularly for characters that I could never envision thinking in those terms. It creates a huge distance between the character and the reader, particularly since much of this narration is in a highly personal viewpoint for each of them. That connection with the characters is what keeps the reader interested. Here, I see the events unfold, but it doesn't make me care what happens for their sake. When canon Dash thinks "tenacity" is a sneeze, yet you have her using words like "mirthlessly," all I can think is that this isn't Dash.

The stream-of-consciousness style was also off-putting, as only Fluttershy's section placed her in a situation where she would be speaing more off-the-cuff, without time to organize her thoughts. It became irritating to read, and the overabundance of ellipses stringing together multiple sentences into one detracted from the readability in an unjustified way, in my opinion.

Lastly, besides the bit I think I discerned from reading between the lines, anything of the plot from this story has already occurred. In the story itself, nothing happens. It's just a parade of each of the main characters lamenting their current situation. There's also the concept of "piling on." Sadness works best in contrast. If you just have sad after sad after sad, it diminishes the impact of the whole thing. In your favor, Twilight wasn't down, and Pinkie kept a positive attitude, but those weren't actually happy events; Pinkie was just exercising mood control, and Twilight was merely ignorant of the situation. What's at stake in the story that leads to a resolution? What characters deal with a challenge and change or give us insight into them as a result? This plays as a fair enough series of scenes, but not so much as a story.
>> No. 129276
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.


>Hearths Warming Tree//
Hearth's Warming. And why is "Tree" capitalized?


>Rainbow Dash wheeled through the air above the Everfree Forest, sending up light flurries of fresh snow in her wake.//
This one isn't too bad, but this is something you need to keep in mind as a writer. Participles like to modify the nearest prior object (unless they start a clause—then, the subject). So it sounds like the forest is sending up flurries. We can apply a bit of logic to sort things out, but if you don't watch yourself, you will eventually end up saying something that is misleading or ambiguous.

>so the melted snow wouldn’t ruin it//
Wait, what's melting the snow? When Dash flew by, the snow didn't drip down—it drifted. Besides, melting snow wouldn't ruin her hat. Its function is to shield her from the weather, so it's perfectly capable of getting wet. If it was that much of a problem, why did she wear it out in the snow in the first place, or walk under snowy trees?

>and just before she hit the ground//
Set off the dependent clause with a comma.

>blowing piles of snow into the air, coming to gentle landing just in front of Applejack//
Missing a word in there, and it's awkward to stack up two participles like this. You could just put an "and" in there to make it a compound one, but... also note that participles imply that things happen at the same time, so she's snapping out her wings, blowing piles of snow, and coming to a landing all simultaneously. That doesn't work.

>“I’m sorry, it’s just . . . your face!”//
And am I allowed to see this face, or do I have to take the narrator's word that it was funny?

>Hearths Warming//
Hearth's Warming

>and she wants a big one this year of us to decorate//
I think you meant "for."

>There was a pause.//
This has got to be one of the dullest sentences that somehow get used all the time. What happens during this pause?

>“Then yeah, it’s better.”//
The conversation that ends her is just a little bit "talking heads" (there's a section explaining that at the top of this thread). More importantly, we're not getting much in the way of characterization here. Everything's sterile action; show me a few indications of their moods, how they're feeling.

>Rainbow Dash loped ahead of Applejack, sometimes fluttering her wings a little, but she didn’t take off once the wind really started up.//
Here's a participle that would be truly ambiguous, except that only one of them has wings, so it has to be Dash who is "fluttering," though grammatically, Applejack's indicated. If they were both pegasi, I wouldn't know which one you meant.

>It’s not like I asked, you just showed up this morning.//
Comma splice.

>Applejack waved nodded.//

>Her ears, though, stung and her nose felt numb.//
See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>I’ll drag it by myself, if you want to.//
If she wants to what? I can't tell what you're trying to say, but I'm guessing you just need to go without that "to."

>The pine needles tickled when they brushed over Applejack’s fur.//
Again, a very factual statement where you could have used it to create a fun moment. How does it feel? How does she react?

>drifting down to the Everfree Forest below//
You were with the ponies, so this is a jarring shift of perspective, essentially into the snowflakes' point of view, but it'd fix it if you just removed "below."

>a few made it down to them//
Watch your word repetition. This is the third "down" in this paragraph alone.

>A thick bed of pine needles surrounded the base//
If it's dropped its needles already, how would it make a good Hearth's Warming tree? And they're not old needles—it's snowed recently, but they're not covered.

>Rainbow smiled.//
That's really been your go-to body language.Give me some more variety, in word choice at least, and preferably in what they do.

>She’s gonna side.//
Maybe that's just an expression unfamiliar to me, but I don't know what this means.

>Applejack felt a sweat beginning to build up, which was a strange sort of sensation to her.//
Certainly an industrious pony like her is used to working during the winter. This shouldn't be anything new to her.

>Applejack indicated to the tree.//
Fine point, but "indicating the tree" means she's pointing to it. "Indicating for the tree" means she's calling something to the tree's attention.

>It was hard to see anymore than a few feet in any direction//
In this usage "any more" needs to be two words.

>the tree was laying sideways//
Lay/lie confusion.

Unless there's some other reason to capitalize the word (it's a proper noun, for instance), you only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

>“Th-The cold, I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.”//
Wait, what? She's a weather pony. And during Winter Wrap Up, ponies of all kinds are seen out in the snow without much clothing. This is also a rather sudden change in her. I'm left more confused than anything.

>When I was a filly, I flew up too high and . . . it was so cold, Applejack.//
I don't get it. This wouldn't be a sudden thing. Temperature changes with altitude very gradually, and all she'd have to do to get out of it would be to dive back down. This might bear some more solid justification.

>We’re stuck here, that’s what.//
Or... they could leave the tree behind for now. This is invented drama. There's no reason they have to stay there.

>He told me, that if I ever felt too cold//
Why in the world is that comma there?

>tied Rainbow down//
And if the tree rolls while it's sliding?

>brought it down in massive blow//
Missing word.

>The tree picked up speed going down the hill, and soon the wind and snow were nothing more than annoyances that were blowing past the speeding trunk.//
I'm not bothering to point out much of the word repetition here—you'll need to hunt those by yourself—but two uses of "speed" in the same sentence.

I mentioned the "talking heads" once, and it did pop up in the story a few more times. You want to keep the reader involved in the story, so make a constant effort to put their emotions on display. Dialogue is one way of doing that, but you have to deliver in a variety of ways—dialogue alone gets stale.

I mentioned the repetition, too, and I wanted to point out a few words that you used an awful lot, because they're common ones for that problem. 32 instances of "just." That's not a ton, but there are places where you use several with a couple of paragraphs, which makes it stand out more. 26 instances of "began" or "started." That really is too many. Inexperienced authors use these all the time. It's obvious that any given action would start. It's only worth calling attention to the beginning when it's sudden or the action gets interrupted. Otherwise, it's an empty verb. Finally, I only looked for the most common forms, but you had 92. That's a lot for this word count. First, it can mean you're using too much passive voice, some of which I did see. Second, it can indicate telly language, though I didn't really see much—more on that later. And third, it can mean that you need to choose more active verbs. And that's really the thing here. "To be" is really a boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. Action is dynamic; being is static. It's impractical to remove them all, but I bet you could reduce that significantly, and your story would be better for it.

Lastly, the major conflict here felt quite contrived. It would seem to be inherent in a pegasus to have resistance to cold, or how else would they do their jobs effectively? You might need to come up with a more believable conflict. Perhaps it's getting late and Dash is afraid of the dark, or she's terrified of some animal noises she hears or something. I'm just spitballing here, but it's going to be difficult to sell "Dash can't take the cold" without a lot of explanation as to why.

So what went right? Well, I didn't catch you being telly, which is always a good thing. You have a good sense of their voices; I found that the dialogue fit them well. Those are some of the tougher things to get right, so the writing's not bad.
>> No. 129301
Edit: This is with regards to the penultimate review on this page

Thank you very much for your carefully considered review, I do appreciate it. Not to be prissy, but some of the grammatical "errors" are but trans-Atlantic miscommunication (certainly, semi-colons are used differently...and "comma use with conjunction" is a comma splice over here. This goes for missing capitalisation and improper dashes too)...but I suppose that's fine : ) Um...I'll take some of what you said quite seriously; the Applejack section *is* rather poor and there's no denying it. If my intended effect wasn't pulled off then it wasn't pulled off (using a crescendo of personality {hence the unfittingness of AJ's section} in the narrative tone, with the ensuing peak and crash at Dash's transition {only to begin once more}, might have been...well, um, a bit much? :D). For instance, the weather situation, the reason for Rarity's kidnap & the lack of intervention *are* all explained...but, I must admit, the reasons are very much, as you put it, "between the lines". I don't...urgh :D I don't make it easy for readers, I'll be the first to admit, but even so...I didn't think the point was invisible. I take it you're not a fan of Beckett? :D Um...seriously though, I really do appreciate your efforts and will think long, and hard, upon your criticisms; this fiction (there *is* a plot but...again, I'm not going to spell it out because I'm difficult :D Even so...it's not a "story" and was never intended to be) is obviously beyond repair but, perhaps, the next needn't be : )

Last edited at Thu, Dec 12th, 2013 03:46

>> No. 129305
Comma splices are a different thing entirely; at least as far as I understand it from my British colleagues, the American concept is the same. The examples in my section are all compound structures or instances of a dependent clause. Splices occur when a comma separates two parts of a sentence that have independent clauses and any material attached to them. As in:
This is a comma splice, where a dash, period, or semicolon would have worked, it has two independent clauses with only a comma in between.
>> No. 129308
Thank you for the grammatical instruction. Whilst I still feel that no comma should precede an "and" (sparing the Oxford Comma, of course) as this would negate its purpose, perhaps I've been ill informed throughout my education with regards to the specificity of the error...um...ta :D
>> No. 129309
I suggest opening the nearest book on your bookshelf and counting the number of commas preceding "and". I can assure you that it's quite common. The word bears no particular exception to the general rules of comma usage in any English variant that I'm aware of.
>> No. 129334
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.

>Outside, the winter wind drove snow across the yard, building drifts against fences, berms, and buildings, but inside, the farmhouse seemed to sigh in contentment, bundled up against the cold evening.//
It feels a bit repetitive to have participial phrases in both clauses, but also note that the first is misplaced, though not a bad one. Participles like to modify the nearest object in the sentence, so it seems like the yard is building drifts. Like I said, this one isn't bad, since it's not that far from its object, and it's easy to sort out with some logic. But if you're not mindful of it, you will eventually misplace one in such a way that it's ambiguous or genuinely misleading.

>she was in the kitchen, collecting ingredients while the oven preheated.//
Notice that every sentence in this paragraph has nearly identical construction. "X was Y-ing, <participial phrase>." The only exceptions are one instance of an absolute phrase instead of a participle (but which still uses a participial verb form), and a dependent clause leading the final sentence. There are times that such repetition can be used for effect, and I think you're on the edge of that, it's not obviously anything more than an oversight.

>She only had her favorite pie once a year, when her friends were otherwise occupied with their own lives, their own families, and so no one save the Apples had ever seen her enjoy her favorite pie.//
Starting and ending the sentence with "her favorite pie" again doesn't have any stylistic purpose I can find, so it just comes across as careless repetition.

>and ushered Applejack from the room, shutting the door behind them//
Here's another issue with participles: they imply concurrent action. Here, she wouldn't shut the door until after she'd ushered AJ out.

>She watched with interest an hour later//
I can't help but feel like skipping the wait is glossing over what could have been a cute moment.

>pony-back rides were enjoyed//
I don't see the purpose in the passive voice here. In addition to being static, they shift focus, and there's no clear reason here as to why you'd want the reader to notice the pony-back rides more so than AJ or the verb. I'll also ask: why pony-back? It's not like "piggyback" is anything related to human anatomy. Not a big deal, but I just found it strange.

>The pecans had risen to the top and been toasted by the oven’s heat, shining with a patina of sugary coating.//
Again, why the passive voice? Try "...to the top and toasted in the oven's heat..." That's an active construct, and it loses no meaning. Another misplaced modifier, too: it sounds like the heat is shining.

>She looked around and saw everyone else already taking bites of their own slices of pie, their eyes falling shut in expressions of bliss.//
First, I'd like to see these "expressions of bliss." Getting me to conclude that from the cues you provide will leave much more of an impression than just having you tell me that's how they feel. Second, another note about repetition. This is the third straight sentence that begins with "she," again without a stylistic reason for doing so. And every sentence in the paragraph starts with the subject. This simple structure will likely prevail, but work in a variation here and there.

>They would go through the pecan halves her father brought home from the market, taking care to select only the best specimens for inclusion//
And here we go. This one is genuinely ambiguous. Your participial phrase "taking care..." could refer either to what the mares are doing in the kitchen or what the father did at the market. I believe you mean the mares, but the father is more clearly indicated. Then you stack up another participle after it. Better to use and "and" to make it a compound one than have two separate ones in series.

>for it was out of season yet welcome all the same,//
Dependent clauses like this are usually set off with commas at both ends.

>with young Apple Bloom//
Another case of feeling like you've glossed over something important. Why wait until now to bring her up? Wouldn't AJ have a memory of her mother baking a pie while having to take care of an infant Apple Bloom, or perhaps while pregnant with her?

>She found the pie plate, the mixing bowl, the whisk in their usual places. She carefully selected the best pecan halves from the small supply in the pantry; she peered into the glass measuring cup as she poured sugar.//
Besides the repetitiveness of beginning all of these clauses with "she," consider the following: All three of these sentences convey the same type of information. Non stands out more than the others in importance. So why are two connected with a semicolon, as if closely linked thoughts, one flowing into the other, while the remaining one is left out? It makes the narration a bit choppy.

>When she slid the pie into the oven, she went and sat at the door to the kitchen//
I'd argue that's an "after," not a "when."

Your smart quotes drew the apostrophe backward. They will always do this for a leading apostrophe. Paste one in, or add one after it and delete the first.

>Apple Bloom looked down at hers. She’d been too young to have any last year.//
Ah, so she was around the previous year! Would have been nice to see her woven into the memory of it, then.

First, you are correct that we can allow stories below the word count limit, as long as we're convinced they're good enough to warrant the exception. The further below the threshold they are, the more they need to stand out, and you're pretty far below. I think I've made a few suggestions that would help you add to the story without resorting to meaningless filler, which is obviously the wrong thing to do—we see too many stories barely above the limit that have clearly done this.

So, I liked this story. It was a nice take on this family tradition, but not without its problems. There was quite a bit of repetition, and one further example I hadn't pointed out: you used various forms of "to be" over 40 times. That's about one every third sentence. This is an inherently boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. A few of these are tied up in the handful of times I pointed out telly language or passive voice, but for the most part, you need to choose more active verbs.

For the most part, you had a light touch with the emotions, which is nice, but with a story this short and with such strong overtones, it doesn't take much telling to ruin the effect. Just remember to place yourself as an observer and show me only what you perceive, not what you conclude from those observations. You can show me her tears; don't tell me she's sad. You can show me that she's hopping around; don't tell me she's happy. That's not a complete ban, of course, but you get the picture. You get much more from watching a character act sad in a movie than you would if he just turned to the camera and announced that he was sad. You spend a good amount of time describing the surroundings, but I would like a bit more about how these character feel about things—ultimately, that's what connects them with the reader.

The last bit I have to say is the one I'm least sure about, because you're closer to the edge here even than with the other issues. I'll be blunt: this plays more as a scene than a story. There's no conflict built up with something put at stake. We don't see a character striving to get something and then resolving that struggle. Absent conflict, a story can also provide character growth. We see someone changed by an experience, with the "before" contrasted against the "after." I don't really see that here, either. There's no "aha!" moment where we discover something new about AJ's character, or where she makes a decision that will alter her life appreciably. Things happen to her, and she goes with the flow. And so it goes. Poo tee weet.

Now, if you delved into why she wants to keep this a secret (especially after she did bake for them the one year, which is odd), and maybe she wrestles with her reasons, or maybe if she wants to pass on the tradition to Apple Bloom, you might have something. That's not to say that it's impossible to write an engaging story without conflict or character growth, but it is difficult. Since you were inspired to write this story, maybe no such angle would mesh with your vision of what you want your story to be, and if so, that's fine. I'd have to put some serious thought into whether it could stand well enough as is, or maybe get another opinion on it. In any case, I do want you to address the other points I brought up, and give this some thought. You've obviously got my interest, or I wouldn't have written so much about such a short story.
>> No. 129372
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, I'll say that I have high expectations of this story going in, based on the various reputations involved. As a result, I'm going to dig deeper for things to comment on, since it's less "this is what it will take to be accepted for posting" and more "these are my impressions and suggestions for how you could make it even better."

>She merrily returns one full of charisma//
The choice of "charisma" here struck me as odd. First, it's a bit telly, since you don't show me how this looks. I can forgive a bit of telliness here and there, when a moment isn't particularly evocative. I would caution you against doing it much at the beginning of a story, where you're trying to hook the reader. My other reaction was that I don't see any reason for providing this info. Your protagonist doesn't react to it in any way, and "charisma" is the type of thing to produce an emotion or reaction in the observer. It felt incomplete to use that word, but not have the narrator link it to a feeling or action it provokes in her.

>silhouetted building//
I fell like the scene setting is lacking here. "Silhouetted" implies something specific about the lighting, but we're never given any cues about it. It's not until the next sentence that we get a clue as to why—it's storming—but what's backlighting the building? Lightning, dying daylight, streetlamps, ...?

>They are talking about something—I wonder if it’s about me—but their voices are lost to howling wind and thunderous rain.//
Another thing that's a good idea to watch, especially early in the story, is overuse of "to be" verbs. Three in this sentence alone, and in my opinion, ones that would be easy to place with active verbs and rephrase. "To be" is an inherently boring verb.

>even though I’m on my haunches//
Dependent clause should be set off with commas on both ends.

>leaving me alone with only this sparse patch of upholstery//
Look how far this participle is from what it modifies, and it's stacked up behind another participle. It leaves the sentence feeling choppy.

>My entire life is written in this book and it’s something only my eyes can see.//
Another spot where you need a comma to separate the clauses. I see a few more of these. Exceptions can be made for the sake of flow, but you're consistently doing this. I have a brief section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>Wind surges into the cabin, rustling myself and blowing dirty water into my face.//
That's not the way reflexive pronouns work; they need to have the referenced person or thing as the subject as well. Just use "me" here.

>unabated howl//
You described the wind as "howling" just a few paragraphs back. This is borderline, but beware repeating words or phrases in a close space. The more unusual they are, the more breathing room you need to give them.

>I’m at a loss for capacity//
I have no idea what this means...

>It reminds me a little of the sun flower//
Do you mean sunflower? In either case, "the" implies you're referring to something specific, and I have no idea what that is. Even if you mean a generic sunflower, I don't get the comparison you're trying to make.

Okay, these places where you use colored text... I can't see the word "color." Keep in mind that different users and applications have different background colors, and when you play with them, you run the risk that they won't show up. I'm guessing you made these white (I have a white background). I'm also assuming you did this on purpose so the reader can't see other colors, but beware of making the reader do too much word, i.e., highlighting these words to see what they are. In fact, those colors aren't invisible to her; they're gray. So why didn't you make them gray? Ironically, especially considering an aspect of your story, I'm colorblind and can't see much of the colored text right anyway, so the effect is lost on me.

This brings up a point... Are you colorblind? The way Pinkie describes that she can actually see pink and that other shades appear as shades of gray to her—it doesn't ring true, at least in my experience. You see, I have no frame of reference to know what green really looks like, and while I know intellectually that I see it as a shade of gray, I wouldn't describe it as such. It's simply what green is to me, since I don't know anything else. Yes, I have trouble telling it from the colors I know as red and tan and gray, but it's still green to me.

I'm also at a loss as to why Dash needs to take shelter in the carriage. They're in a street in front of a building. She could have gone inside or under the eaves or something.

>like there’s an expected word on a page that’s mysteriously absent//
And given that this is exactly what you did, it smacks of shouting in the reader's ear: "Hey, you! Notice this! I did this thing!"

>I can tell she doesn’t want to be here as much as I do//
I don't think this says what you meant. You want something closer to: "I can tell she finds her current predicament as distasteful as I do." What you said is that Pinkie likes being here, but Dash is less enthusiastic.

I'm noticing more and more comma splices in the narration. While you have some license insofar as it's essentially dialogue, it's starting to grate on me.

>her gaze fixated out the window//
You're confusing "fixated" with "fixed." She could conceivably be fixated, but it implies a mental process, which her gaze couldn't have.

>To emphasize this she sighs//
To emphasize what? Pinkie's perception of her? This really suggests that Dash does it intentionally because of smoething she'd have no way of knowing.

>Her name feels empty, however rapturous it might be, and I can’t help but feel sympathy for her.//
Watch the repetition of "feel" here. This is a very dangerous word anyway. In a tight perspective like this, you can get away with more telling, but Pinkie seems to be operating on a more stimulus-response level. Rather than jumping to her conclusion, it might work better to show what physical sensations or evoked memories or imagery it brings out in her.

>I release a breath I didn’t know I’ve been holding.//
Yipe. Cliche ahoy.

>rattles the carriage//
This shaking and rattling of the carriage is starting to get repetitive.

>Her happiness does not diminish the slightest//
I think you're missing an "in" here, and I'd really rather you show this part, as it's a pretty critical moment in their becoming friends.

>I follow the motion as best I could//
Inconsistent verb tense.

>clapping her hooves together to emphasize the point//
So she's emphasizing again? Repetitive.

Okay, I don't get at all why this is the first thing that'd pop into her mind. It wouldn't be any more unpleasant than any generic rock or dirt, really. It's not a mineral that forms particularly sharp corners or needle-like shapes, or that would be caustic. Maybe something like Whewellite, obsidian, carborundum. For that matter, plain old Halite would hurt like hell. A freshly broken piece of "stinkspat" Fluorite?

Given that she's pretty much intuited what this means some time ago, why are you still putting it in lower case?

>I tap my hooves together and look at her shyly.
I'm seeing more of this telly language now. It's not really obtrusive, but you might want to read over the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread and decide if you ought to be forging a deeper connection in places.

>The sky above bellows thunder angrily and is obscured by rainfall.//
And yet you said there was "perpetual darkness." There's some inconsistency as to what they can actually see and not see, including each other.

>ever since I saw the sun flower//
Okay, I guess I'm catching on that this is the Rainboom...

>and myself now curious//
That phrasing just grates on me.

>She trails off//
In most cases, it's bad form to tell me what I can already deduce from the punctuation. Exceptions are common things like "ask" and "shout," but when you use an ellipsis to trail off or a dash for an interruption, you don't need to reiterate that as the speaking action.

>She smiles a brings up a hoof between us.//

>“See, you asked me a question...” She brings up her other hoof. “...and then I asked one!”//
The way to wedge a narrative aside into a quote is thus:
“See, you asked me a question—” she brings up her other hoof “—and then I asked one!”

>but my eyes are fixated//
Another odd use of that word...

>I trace my hoof through its tangles, attentive with every motion.//
Watch out for misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the tangles are attentive.

>I see obsidian//
What shade of her tail is so dark as to appear this black?


>It’s entire population is all pegasi like myself,”—she flexes her wing and it rubs into me—“and when I was a filly
Its/it's confusion. That comma needs to go. And note the difference with the example I gave you earlier. Here, the dashes are with the narration, while in my example, they were with the speech. Both are acceptable. The difference is that in my example, the speaker stops while the aside occurs. It seemed appropriate for that case, and I wonder if it isn't here as well. The form you have here tends to indicate that the speech never stopped.

>her cheerful mood dampers//
Dampens, yes?

>fast enough to break the sound barrier//
Well, in canon occurrences, she's formed a shockwave well before she achieves the rainboom. By estimating it from conical shock tables, she's going about Mach 7 before the rainboom forms. Though I certainly don't expect the animators actually intended that level of detail...

>Even with the hazard billowing just outside the carriage//
Hazard? Okay, you've gone to the thesaurus one too many times.

>She brings her debased eyes back up to mine.//
I don't at all get that word choice. The connotation is way off.

>She looks perplexed//
Show me how this looks. As out-of-touch as Pinkie is with reading emotions in general, having her make the conclusions for me seems even more off-kilter, like her accuracy is tied to narrative convenience.

>for awhile//
"Awhile" and "a while" are pretty interchangeable, but not in this case. The preposition "for" needs an object, so you have to make it two words so there's a noun there to serve that function. I see a few other instances. You might want to Ctrl-f for this.

>I forget what going on in this scene//

I'm not one to complain about question marks or exclamation marks after a dash or question marks after an ellipsis, but this combination has never made sense to me. She's trailing off... emphatically? They have pretty opposite functions.

>all of the sudden//
all of a sudden. You do this again later. Suddenness can be awkward to point out in narration, though. We had no reason to expect she'd be cold, so just leaving this bit off would still generate that effect. In fact, with this lead-in, it feels like she senses it coming on, such that it actually takes away from the suddenness.

>who’s else//
who else's

>my mom wasn’t really...” Her voice trails off//
You're doing that thing again...

>She sighs again//
There's an awful lot of sighing going on in this part of the story.

>Without thinking Rocky rolls out of my hooves and I reach for it as far as I can.//
I get that British convention often doesn't use commas for introductory elements, but I'd suggest one here, or it sounds like "Rocky" is a direct object for "thinking." However, "without thinking" is clearly supposed to modify Pinkie, but she never appears in that clause, only her hooves. So you're saying that Rocky isn't thinking. While I believe you, it isn't particularly illustrative.

>There’re a few more droplets//
There was an earlier spot I let slide where you used "there's" with a plural. But if you're going to use this form here, be consistent.

>a curtain being risen//
Raised. "Rise" doesn't take a direct object.

>weight I hadn’t known I’ve been carrying
Cliche reprised.

>laying in bed//
Lay/lie confusion

>Oh that’s not a problem dear.//
Missing comma for direct address.

First off, this was well written. It didn't feel as long as it actually is. But there are a few things I want to go over.

There were only a few consistent mechanical things: commas between clauses, some mistaken phrasings, etc. Nothing much there, and certainly things you're capable of fixing. Just note that I only marked a couple of examples for each—you'll need to root them out.

I talked some about Pinkie's colorblindness, but I'll touch on it a bit more here, since I've seen how it all plays out now. So, she's never know color, then gets a bunch of it in a burst. It's not like she'd understand it, though. She can see red for that moment, but she doesn't know it's red intrinsically. She'd just know she saw some confusing things she'd never seen before, and now they're gone. Put a little more thought into making this feel authentic.

So, Pinkie is telling this story. And yet you use very dense, florid speech for her. I can't help but feel like this is a story told from the point of view of someone who's interesting, but not Pinkie. She only shares a name and a few details about her life with Pinkie. It's a good idea even in a third-person narration to keep your narrator close to word choice and intelligence level commensurate with your focus character, and that's even more imperative in first-person. This just doesn't sound like Pinkie. Not that Pinkie could never be this introspective and intelligent-sounding, but canon Pinkie is always your starting point. If you want her to be something different, you need to get me there first, or you might as well use an OC. Now there are times when such a disconnect can work, and I'd be inclined to overlook it, were this in third person, but I can help coming back to this: The narrator is supposed to be Pinkie, but sounds nothing like her.

I caught you being telly a few times where I felt it was inopportune, but there weren't too many instances. It's worth a scan over points where the emotion runs high to make sure you're engaging the reader enough.

I didn't at all care for the words colored so they'd be missing. Enhancing the story is one thing, but making it difficult to read is another. You don't want to slow the reader down at all. This is akin to giving very phonetic spellings for a thick accent. Yes, it creates an effect, but it's just irritating to read.
>> No. 129375
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.

On the chapter title:
At least it's not the story's title, but these inscrutable foreign language titles inspire little more than an eye roll with most readers. They won't bother looking it up, and so it ends up meaning nothing, and even comes across as pretentious.

>waited somewhat impatiently//
This is your first sentence. You want to set a vivid scene and immediately draw the reader in. Being telly isn't the way to accomplish that. Show me what they do and get me to deduce that they're impatient.

>Spike and Twilight both tapped their feet on the empty platform.//
And now you do show us a bit, but it's detached, sandwiched between two bits of action, and pretty short and uninformative for the mood you're trying to create. Just the tapping feet can mean several different things.

>gruff looking //
Hyphenate compound descriptors.

>She dug into one of the two saddlebags she was wearing with her snout.//
You might want to relocate that "with her snout" after "dug" or to the beginning of the sentences. As it is, it sounds like she was wearing her snout, which while true, isn't a useful piece of information.

>The train driver gave the pair a hard look.//
Wait, when did he join in? You had the conductor talking to them, but that's not the driver.

Though it's common to see this, as a singular term, the proper possessive is "princess's."

>Spike stuck out his chest a little at the pony being rude to his adoptive big sister and best friend. //
>Her heart swelled with appreciation when Spike took her offences as his own.//
Note the jumpy perspective. These are both internal attitudes, and so require the narrator to have switched perspectives over the course of two sentences. Perspective shifts can occur, but they need to be smooth and carefully considered. Is this information vital? Is it impossible to communicate both parts from the same perspective? Unless there's a compelling reason to change, it's better to stay with one character's point of view for extended stretches.

>The stallion huffed in annoyance.//
>Twilight was practically bubbling with eagerness//
More telling. You're lapsing into it quite a bit. Some can fly, but this is too much. Your story should be a little movie playing in my head. You provide the visuals, and I'll figure out the emotions. Have a look at the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread.

>Assuming my research and hypothesis is correct//
Number mismatch.

>resistant to it's effects//
Its/it's confusion.

>did the princess have any advise//

> Maybe others theorized this before, but never found any significant evidence.//
A common problem. Look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. You don't need one here, since you don't have a new clause, but you can get some leeway for the sake of flow.

>Time seemed to fly by. Before they knew it, the train came to a grinding halt.//
This is a very, very abrupt transition. You didn't ease into it at all. They're in the middle of talking, and then, hey, time skip.

>All right you two,//
In the middle of a sentence, direct address takes commas on both sides.

Be consistent about which way you spell this.

>feeling more than a little bit irked by the driver's attitude//
More telling, and you're mixing up their jobs again. A conductor isn't who drives the train.

>Spike looked at the bulging saddle bags, a slight twinge of guilt made his claws twitch.//
Comma splice.

>Spike was suffering much more from his own boredom than the heat.//
and just three short sentences later...
>The patient pony made sure not to take that frustration out on her number one assistant and friend.//
More of these back-and-forth swings of perspective.

>The dragon’s ear fin twitched as he overheard that last part.//
You don't exactly overhear what's said directly to you...

>With that said//
Phrases like this that reference the writing itself are immersion-breaking.

>the unicorn levitated a red and white checkered blanket//
Getting a bit much LUS here. And this conversation has been a little talking heads, too. There are short discussions of both at the top os this thread.

>'Geographical Locations and their Histories'//
Book titles don't go in quotes. Thery're underlined or, preferably, italicized.

>She clutched her tummy harder. “I-I think I’m gonna-“
>The poor mare was unable to finish
You either have an unintentional line break or forgot to leave a blank one. And please use a proper dash for interruptions.

You sure you didn't mean "ow"?

>Don’t worry Spike.//
Another missing comma for direct address.

>She nudged his shoulder with her snout, starting to worry.//
Participles are common as misplaced modifiers. By proximity here, it sounds like her snout is starting to worry.

>wide eyed//
Again, hyphenate your compound descriptors.

At this point, I have to ask why there's a rail line maintained to a place nobody goes...

>She couldn’t tell her assistant the truth –//
You're inconsistent about using an actual dash or a double hyphen.

>Beyond the unnerving fear she felt, she still felt//
Close repetition of "felt." And telly. "Feel" is a dangerous verb, since it encourages telliness. It's best reserved for physical sensations.

>she certain that some extinct species must be responsible instead//
Missing word.

>Twilight took out her camera and took a few more pictures.//
Repetition of "took."

>“Look over there,” Spike said while pointing, “See the top of that building?”//
The way you've punctuated it, the two parts of the quote form a single, continuous sentence, which they can't. You must have realized that; you didn't capitalize it that way.

>Over a set of shorter structures that might once have been grocery stores//
Why would multiple grocery stores have been that close together? And what about them leads her to conclude that's what they might be?

>Strange, Twilight thought.//
Put thoughts in italics or quotes. I believe you used italics in an earlier instance.

>figures moving//
Extraneous space.

>Death before surrender!!!//
Watch the multiple punctuation. One exclamation mark is plenty.

>“Yes ma’am,” Spike saluted.//
That's not a speaking action.

>metal behemoths//
You used "behemoth" not that long ago. The more unusual a word, the more it sticks in the mind, then feels repetitive when you use it again too soon.

>Spike nodded; and before either knew it, they had drifted off to sleep.//
With all the thoughts that must be rushing through their heads, that was easy.

>The dragon looked to his sister//
I guess I can't fault you for this, but canon plays their relationship as closer to mother/son. Consider the complete lack of a reaction of Spike to Shining Armor, especially as compared to Twilight. He certainly doesn't seem invested in that family beyond her.

>light turning//
Another extraneous space. You might want to do a Ctrl-f for two spaces.

>Spike felt the strangest feeling of enchantment with her.//
I warned you about using "feel," plus this is repetitive.

>a much bigger lady standing next to her looking out a window. The little girl was playing with a doll as the older female looked out the window.//
So, she was looking out a window?


>His eye's overflowed//
Why the possessive?

>mucus leaking his nose//
Missing a "from."

>His tears moistening her fur, waking her slightly from her restless sleep.//
You haven't been using a narrator that speaks in fragments, so it feels out of place to do it suddenly here.

>“I don’t want to talk about it."//
This really implies that he fully understands the nature of what he saw. If he felt like the chance might not come again to interact with these scenes, wouldn't he want to take her to see? Or if he thought there was any chance of danger to Twilight, he'd warn her. I don't buy this reaction.

>researchers turned adventurers//
Though not a modifier, this is also a hyphenated term.

>Those of which were not inked out//
Lose the "of."

>that would likely appeal to a certain unicorn DJ//
This is hopelessly gratuitous. Canon has never suggested Twilight has any relationship with her whatsoever, and you're not offering any evidence to support such here, either.

>a smoking barrel//
From your earlier description of what were apparently tanks:
>they also had long tubes sticking out; all pointed away from the building//
So does she know what a barrel is or not? These are contradictory.

>but still substantially larger then a pony//
Then/than confusion.

>They recognized the body shape as that possessed by the beings in their separate visions.//
Yes, you already mentioned that it was "another one of the bipeds." I've seen you do a fair amount of this type of rehashing.

>Spikes voice//
Missing apostrophe.

> It had short cut hair, barely more then fuzz on it's head and around it's mouth, both were dark brown.//
It's/its AND than/then confusion. The fun has been doubled! And the second comma is a splice.

>It also possessed hair just above it's expressive grey eyes
It's/its. Really. Mistakes with this were pretty spotty early on, but four of them in two sentences?


I think Twilight would use the more formal plural "nebulae."

>carrying members of the race from place to place//
The unintentional rhyme here is undercutting the serious mood.

>They could not hear her anymore than a weapon could hear the pleas of its victims to stop.//
The way you're using it here, "any more" needs to be two words.

>I don’t want to see anymore.//
Same thing again, unless you actually mean Twilight wants to lose her sight.

>“Wait! Don’t go!” The pony called.//
Capitalization error.

>hind quarters//

So, the mechanical things first. There were a lot of little ones. Things I had to point out multiple times? Watch those. Given how many editing passes I assume this has been through, I'm surprised how many typos are still in there, and things like inconsistent dash use and thought formatting.

Stylistically, there was some talking heads, which tends to make conversations feel bland, and until the end, there was a lack of emotional attachment to the characters. The narrative focused more on the progression of events at the expense of how the characters felt about it, and when you did touch on the emotions, more often than not it was to bluntly inform me of them.

The plot was actually interesting. It kept me reading to find out what this is, but there was a huge disconnect overshadowing it all for me. I touched on it tangentially once already. There's a train line running out here that nobody ever actually uses, and yet it makes the trip regularly. Celestia certainly seemed to know what Twilight might find. I got more of a feel of "Go there—you might learn something interesting" than "I have no idea what's there, so I need you to explore the area" from her. And if she had the slightest inkling at all, she's knowingly sending Twilight into horrible danger. It'd be hard to believe that Celestia truly didn't have any idea what was there, given the nearby train station.
>> No. 129376
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.

>“But muuuuuum!” whined Chrysalis, “all the ponies get to take part in Nightmare Night!”//
The way you've punctuated this, both parts of the quote should form a single, continuous sentence. So let's remove the narration and see how it looks:
“But muuuuuum! all the ponies get to take part in Nightmare Night!”
Doesn't work, does it?

>Screeching to a halt as she came to the door, she burst into the study startling her father.//
Note that participles and "as" clauses imply simultaneous action, so all of this happens at the same time. She screeches to a halt, gets to the door, and bursts through it simultaneously, when in fact there would be a sequence to it.

>trick or treating//
That's a hyphenated term.

>She nodded her head and grinned, “Uhuh, in New Hoofshire!”//
You have no speaking verb in your attribution. You can't nod or grin a sentence.

Though it's common to see this, for a singular word, the proper possessive would be "Chrysalis's."

>But dad//
When used as a term of address, capitalize "Dad."

>hi sweetie//
Missing comma for direct address.

When a question mark or exclamation mark is attached to an italicized word, you will commonly italicize it as well.

>Don’t talk about Commander Obsidian like that youngling, he’s a respectable changeling who will take care of you.//
Another missing comma for direct address, and the one you have is a splice.

This conversation was pretty talking heads. There's a discussion of that at the top of this thread.

>-Meanwhile, in a different part of the hive-//
This is a very blunt instrument. Surely, the reader can figure this out on his own.

>This was short-lived//
Demonstratives (this, that, these, those) make poor pronouns, since they often have vague and overly broad antecedents that refer to the writing itself.

Same as "Dad." As a term of address, it would be capitalized.

>The door opened revealing a changeling//
You should set off most participles with commas.

>Obsidian scowled at the captain who quickly cut himself off//
Without a comma before "who," it implies there is more than one captain present, and you're specifying which one.

>Obsidian however,//
"However" needs commas on both sides.

>Satisfied with her work, she cackled to herself//
This is the fourth sentence in a row with a participle. Your sentence structure is getting repetitive.

>“I see. That should be fun for the two of you,” the captain smiled.//
Another poor choice of speaking verb. How do you smile a sentence?

>Obsidian also noticed she’d managed to cut a pair of holes for her wings which was quite impressive.//
What exactly would be so much more impressive about the wing holes over the eye and horn ones?

>Your, majesty//
Why in the world is that comma there? And the entire honorific would be capitalized.

>he’s like a...” Metamorphosis twirled his hoof in the air, “...grumpy grandfather to her.//
Here's how you do a narrative aside breaking a quote:
he’s like a—” Metamorphosis twirled his hoof in the air “—grumpy grandfather to her.

Consider what sound would actually be repeated. Wh-who

>the colt who was dress as the vampire//
Verb form error.

>You can call me, Lucky Feather//
Why is that comma there?

>Chrysalis breath//
Missing possessive.

>lets go get some sweets!//

>He couldn’t risk calling out for her lest he blow both of their covers, he tried to keep his calm and remember his training as a guard but none of that seemed relevant to him at the time.//
The one comma you have is a splice, and you're missing two others that should be there.

>I was like that at my age to//
To/too confusion.

>They thanked the mare and quickly scampered over to his mother, giggling in glee.//
Participles are commonly misplaced modifiers. By proximity, you're saying that the mother giggled, but I'm betting you meant the group of children.

Smart quotes break when you try to make a leading apostrophe. It's backward.

Hm. Not much happens here. We don't learn anything interesting about any of the characters, the plot is formulaic and predictable, and none of the jokes were laugh-out-loud funny. It's lightly heartwarming, I guess, but we're looking for things that stand out in some way, and this really doesn't.
>> No. 129381
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.

>going to//
Extraneous space.

>that she was sure that now that I was a princess//
This is a pretty ungainly phrasing. You have three nested "that" noun clauses.

>When you're a princess, it's so easy to forget your roots.//
Fine point, but it's easy to slip into addressing the reader like this. It can take some thought to rephrase and avoid doing so, but it's a bad idea to address the reader, unless you've established a framing device in which the narrator will regularly interact with the reader, or you have a second-person point of view, where the reader is actually a character in the story.

>I want to remember my little ponies.//
Besides sounding trite, this doesn't quite mesh with her previous statement. Calling them "her" ponies isn't exactly grounded, and is a notable difference from how she thinks of them in canon.

>(politely of course)//
Actual parentheses work better in articles of writing, as in a letter or journal entry. As narration, you could just use dashes or commas here, but if you're married to the parentheses, it's not out of the question.

>Inasmuch unless she was too busy//
The "inasmuch" doesn't parse here.

>I also told her not to call me Shirley.//
This is a very old and very tired joke.

>Where was I?//
Okay, so you do establish the reader as someone listening to Twilight tell this story. That introduces another issue. It's implied in any first-person story that the narrator is telling it to someone, though you can generally get away without establishing who and why. But that can't really be swept under the rug when you involve the reader like this. Why does she want to tell me the story? And why am I listening to her?

Using real-life brand names is problematic at best. You could just generically say "air freshener" without losing any meaning.

>every time she visits, her allergies act up and she has sneezing fits for a week//
Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>sing song//
Hyphenate. The way you've phrased this, it makes it sound like Fluttershy always talks in a sing-song voice, which isn't the case. Maybe "a" instead of "her" would work better.

>I really miss my friends sometimes.//
This is a pretty throwaway line. You don't really do anything to justify it or make it mean anything. Just the brief reminiscence about Shy and Dash brought this on? Then say so. And how does it make her feel? Don't tell me bluntly, but give me a couple of symptoms. Maybe she stares off for a moment, maybe she gets a warm feeling.

>Oh, hi Twilight!//
Missing comma for direct address.

>where I was sitting sipping tea on her couch//
You at least had Shy bringing her tea, but the last time you told me where Twi was, she'd just come through the door. When did she get to the couch?

>and droppings of animals poop//
First, you're missing an apostrophe, but this is also redundant. "Droppings of poop" is like saying "pee of urine."

>Sparkle do best: Organize!//
You don't need to capitalize after a colon when it doesn't refer to multiple sentences.

>a broom, if that's
>ok with you."//
Why is this line break here?

>Huh, what is that smell?, I thought.
Any end punctuation takes the place of a comma in transitioning out of speech.

>*POMPH!* went my wings.//
Made-up words for sounds effects are a bad idea, and so is putting asterisks around them. Just describe the sound.

>I'm sorry overreacted like that.//
Missing word.

Write this out as "okay."

>She cut me off.//
This was already evident from the way you punctuated the dialogue. You don't need to indicate it again.

>Celestia's hot sun.//
This is one of the most cliched things you could have possibly said. It's bad enough in narration, but as dialogue? When have they ever said this in canon?

>when they do eat, the can up to a third of their weight in food//
Typo and another missing word.

>a newborn bunny I had to put down because of severe birth defects//
This has really disturbing implications. She wouldn't bury it? How do the bunny's parents feel about it?

>And you're third question?//
Your/you're confusion.

Don't combine a dash and an ellipsis like this. They mean very different things.

>The next thirty seconds went way to fast.//
To/too confusion again.

>I actually literally heard a “squee” sound, like she was a cartoon character or something.//
Meta for the sake of meta is... a thing, I guess. Not a good thing.

>You licked her?!//
Given that reptiles are transmitters of salmonella, I'm with Twilight here.

>"She... she has... hepatic cancer."//
Letting the text itself do the work for you is cheating. Kind of.

>Hepatic is Gricean for... liver right?//
I have a hard time believing that Twilight would have to work this hard to figure that out.

>She doesn't speak Equestrian very well.//
Very well? You stated explicitly earlier that she couldn't understand anything Twilight said.

>"I mean just that: I don't know why I can talk to animals, or why I understand what they say. I just do. I guess I'm blessed with a gift."//
You've just gone through eleven paragraphs with only two actions breaking up all the dialogue, one of them a blatant tell. Check out the section on talking heads at the top of this thread.

>I shuttered watching the thing//

>She also was several years older than the rest of us, come to think of it.//
Well, she's only one year older than Pinkie, as per canon.

>two hundred and sixty six//
Surely, someone as scientific as Twilight would know how to say a number properly. There's never an "and," and it's "sixty-six."

Because you're ending this part of the quote with a dash to work in the aside, you don't need the comma.

>A few days latter//

>watch her bury her animals//
Okay, let's bring up that baby rabbit again. Why not feed Gabriella to another one of her patients?

>writing about this//
So she's writing this story as opposed to telling it to someone? Because the odd vocal quirks she used earlier in the story absolutely do not belong in something written. They're conversational.

I get that Twilight learns a lesson, but we don't get to see her, y'know, learn it. She breaks down, Fluttershy explains things to her, and then we see her afterward, once she's internalized it. We never get to see the moment when she gets it, and that's where the real power is.
>> No. 129385
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 various cities municipal guards//

>Someday, she will return.//
I don't see a good reason for coloring this text. In fact, it appears so pale, that I almost didn't see it/ I thought you just had an extra line break to mark a weak scene break.

>deep blue manes. Deeply//
Watch the repetition, even if the words are used in different senses.

>Moon doth//
>star goes out and the sun gutters//
Why the inconsistency in using archaic language?

>She would rejoice at their loyalty, and reward them for their service.//
See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions. Bottom line: you don't need one here, since it's all a single clause.

>the Sun Princess’ tasks//
While it's common to see this, singular terms do technically take the full apostrophe-s. The proper possessive would be "Princess's."

>respect for their monarch, whom they had served with unbreakable respect//
Watch the repetition again.

>Forty two//

First, the good news. This is well-written and almost free of mechanical problems, which is pretty rare. The backstory behind the batponies' creation is an interesting take on things.

Now the bad news. There isn't much story here. There is a ton of history, but it's all presented in a detached way. We don't get to see any of it unfold. The power of a story is in connecting to the characters who live it, but we don't see anyone live anything. The first third of the story is a narrative info-dump. The second third is Luna's info-dump monologue. The last third is Celestia's info-dump monologue. We're being told about all of this after the fact and see nothing but lip service as to how any of them felt about any of it. Even the little bit of conflict presented (whether the Nocturne will accept Luna's explanation and forgive her) is glossed over. They react in a way that shows they still revere her, but it's all action, no emotion. The same from Luna, who walks among them, but never reacts or lets on how any of it makes her feel. It's a lovely piece of world-building and a nice basis to use for a story, but what's here reads like a biography or a history textbook, not a story with a message.
>> No. 129387
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.

>another torrent of tears //
When was the first?

>Wordlessly the two adults left the room.
>"That should keep her asleep for a while," the doctor reported.//
This is an odd juxtaposition. They leave wordlessly, then there are immediately words. Give me a transition. Where did they go? How much time passed?

>Her voice trailed off desperately.//
The ellipsis already shows her trailing off. You don't need to repeat it in the narration.

>Doctor Clearwater had trained for years to be a doctor//
I bet you can rephrase that to avoid repeating "doctor."

>The sight of her alone brought another torrent of tears streaming down her eyes//
This is clearly from the mother's perspective, and it's only the story's second paragraph. In the third, it's unclear that there is a perspective. Then in the fifth, we get this:
>he felt bitter that this mare would even make him say it//
Don't jerk the reader around with frequent changes of perspective like this. The longer you stay in one perspective, the more the reader identifies with that character and cares about him/her. Have a look at the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.

>There are worse odds than a coin toss.//
I hardly think his prognosis would be this dire for something he could only approximate as less than 50/50. Those are actually not bad odds for many serious conditions.

>Even without looking//
Participles are normally set off with commas.

>Don't make me say it, you bitch, he thought//
Wow. This is coming out of nowhere. What motivation would he have to be this mad at her? If he's studied to be a doctor as much as you imply, this is also something they're trained to handle. He'd tell the truth, cushion it as much as he felt was warranted, and stand by the facts. If there's some history here that's influencing him, you need to go into it to get me there. And the "he thought" part isn't actually his thought. It wouldn't be italicized.

Italics are preferred over bold or all caps for emphasis, except in the case of the Royal Canterlot Voice.

>Her mane, nearly as ragged as her daughter's, fell messily around her face in a way that was oddly alluring. Even her misery was tragically beautiful.//
And after silently cussing her out, he's now attracted to her in her moment of pain? I am now officially creeped out by this character.

>she began to sob//
Why "began"? You already had her sobbing in the first paragraph.

>If only she had recognized the early signs, if only the doctor had diagnosed Windflower quicker//
And now you've switched perspectives within a single paragraph.

>Outside the night had fallen unnoticed and a cold October breeze whistled through the trees.//
See the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>Maybe she will have a bit of peace//
If this is a thought, as indicated, italicize it.

>there came a point in which//
Usually phrased "at which."

>tear swollen//
Hyphenate compound descriptors.

>You are right, Princess. I do not know where I am going, but I have to keep going. It's time for me to stop being afraid.//
That was a rather quick change of heart. Really, it signifies that the central conflict of this chapter was no big deal. There was no struggle to achieve the goal, much like going grocery shopping.

Capitalization, unless you literally mean "one who rides on horseback."

>As she fell into the dream//
Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>Casting the Princess one more brisk glance//
You're inconsistent in capitalizing "princess."

>movable press//
You should probably go with "printing press" or "movable type."

>such joy!//
When ! or ? is attached to an italicized word, it's normally italicized as well.

>made, this//
Extraneous space.

>your royal highness//
The honorific would be capitalized.

>We would love to see thy progress.//
You're being inconsistent with her archaic speech. Here, from chapter 1:
>"Child, why do you weep so?"//
This would be: "Child, why dost thou weep so?"

>corner stone//

>(Somewhat un-princess like)//
First, this wouldn't be capitalized. Second, actual parentheses work best in articles of writing, like a journal entry, or possibly in a first-person or very subjective third-person narration. But in an objective narration, it feels out of place, and in any narration, you could just as easily use dashes or possibly commas.

>No longer did desks and ink and parchment fill the room, instead it was dominated by a series of heavy presses//
Comma splice.

>a moments confusion//
Missing apostrophe.

>"Good morning, your highness," bowed a thickly built red stalltion//
Your attribution has no speaking verb.

>!!!!Grandpappy Flam's Miracle Elixer!!!
Is there a reason for the asymmetric number of exclamation marks and their boldness? And is the misspelling intentional?

>A common street remedy for every pain you can think of//
I know it can be tricky to avoid some phrasings that address the reader, but you really should. It feels out of place to suddenly do this when you haven't established a narrator that will speak to the reader.

>Slowly she made her way through the mess, searching carefully for Inkstar, expecting the worst but praying for the best.//
Why is there a line break here? It also feels abit clunky to have two participial phrases stacked up in series like this, particularly since it exacerbates the problem of misplaced modifiers. As phrased, it sounds like the mess is searching, which we can at least sort out with a bit of logic, but it really does sound like Inkstar is the one expecting the worst.

>be you winged or horned or hooved//
Um... aren't they all hooved?

>How like a mother kissing her foal goodnight!//
Since the narrator hasn't settled into a perspective here, I can't tell who's expressing this opinion. The only candidate I can fathom is Luna, but this is a rather detached and flippant sentiment, given how morose she just was over Inkstar's death.

>not reach//
Another extraneous space.

>It filled her stomach and turned it's empty caverns//
Its/it's confusion. It's also confusing to have the first "it" and the one in "its" refer to different things.

>And the unicorn Inkstar, so wronged by the world, so lost, seeking the peace of dreams through opiates to banish her from the real world, only to die by that which gave her escape.//
I have to say that we met her so briefly that I formed no attachment to her. There's some default sympathy for her situation, but I just don't care that much about what happened to her. We saw one nice dream of hers, but for all we know, she was an asshole.

>Why was her night abused//
What about when ponies sleep during the day? Particularly for the sick child, she probably slept during much of the day.

>earth bound//

>Why did ponies use it to hide instead of explore?//
This begs the question about daydreams, which are very much in this character. Can Luna see them? Can Celestia?

>She will help fix the pain of nightmares//
Why the tense shift?

>reclined recumbent//

>The concerns of a mortal politician were mere dust motes in the mind of an immortal Sun God. It should be enough for him to merely bask in her glory.//
Okay, you're also blindsiding me with this characterization of Celestia. You can get some leeway to present her like this before giving the explanation, but there needs to be one. Canon is your starting point, and if you're going to play her differently, you have to connect the dots to get me there.

>We must speak with the at once.

>"Princess Luna." she said insistently//
Dialogue punctuation.

>Things that effect the peace of my night as well as your day.//
While you could argue a valid meaning here, it would be unusual. As worded, you are saying these things cause the peace. I believe you meant "affect," as in these things influence the peace, but do not directly cause it.

> treatable. " she paused//
Extraneous space, capitalization.

>We just helped pass another Filly tonight.//
You have a lot of these odd, inconsistent capitalizations. I can't see why you'd capitalize this, and you didn't in the previous sentence.

>Luna paused.//
So, two consecutive actions for her are pauses?

>"And what would you have me do about this."//
It's a question...

>we could reach more ponies in their dreams to try and sooth them.//

And then you don't capitalize this... I just don't get it.

Please use a proper dash.

>Celestia, stepping down from her throne, cut her off//
Missing end punctuation, and once again, an action that is redundant with how the quote was punctuated. And another thing: When speech is cut off, the very next thing I read needs to be that interruption. If not, it undercuts the suddenness when the narrator has time to wedge something else in. As such, it feels like Celestia stepping off the throne is what made Luna stop speaking, and I can't imagine why that would be the case, unless you give me an explanation. More likely, Celestia's words stopped Luna, so they should immediately follow the cutoff.

>HOW Princess Luna//
See, when you use multiple ways of emphasizing things, I have no idea what they mean relative to each other. Which part of this is louder? It's better to use the narration and choice of speaking verbs to get this across.

livelihoods. Mind the squiggly lines, please. Most of the time. Well, maybe half the time. At least they can spot things like this.

>Step by step, Inch by inch//
All I can think of when I read this was Niagara Falls.

>The frigid wind felt like feathered ice on her coat as the wind rushed over her, exalting her, worshiping her as she willed herself higher and higher.//
Multiple "as" clauses in the sentence make it feel repetitive.

>"And she deserved more. "//
Another extraneous space.

You just used "cotton" earlier in the same paragraph, and the repetition isn't for any evident stylistic reason.

>when those eyes closed ceased too the strain of muscles and the beating of feathered wings//
Awkward phrasing.

>long overdo child//

>Cold, panicked anger flushed though Luna's blood. Jealousy and rage and anger assaulted the immortal princess of night before crashing into a wave of despair that nearly choked her.//
There have been little bits and pieces throughout, but this is hugely telly and serves only to distance me from her. I connect to a character by figuring out how she feels from the evidence, not by having it fed to me. Look through the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

This is a serious shift of tone. It's almost funny, and I don't think it was supposed to be.

There are obviously some mechanical issues. Things I had to mark several times? Those'd be the ones. And I didn't mark every one, or even the majority—just enough to give you the gist of what to look for.

On a stylistic note, the two biggest problems were the jerky narration and repetition. I've onge on about the head hopping already and pointed out numerous example of the repetition. But here's one I haven't mentioned yet: to be. In your first chapter, just the "was" form appears 27 times. That's a huge amount for this word count. Consider also that it's an inherently boring verb. I'd much rather read about what happens, not what is. Overuse of this verb points to telling problems (there were a few), too much passive voice (only a little here), and a need to choose more active verbs (that'd be the biggie).

On a characterization front, I'd just say it's an interesting reversal of the presumed attitudes of Luna and Celestia, but so far I've seen no bridge between canon Celestia and your portrayal of her. You can't string a reader along but so far without drawing that line between them and expect him to stay interested. Luna's feelings are also a bit empty, since I don't feel them with her. We don't get to know the two who died enough to care about them, so we don't have a default position to sympathize with Luna, and we don't even really see her emotions on display about it, either.

You do have a knack for description, though it tends toward purple at times. When in Luna's perspective, that may suit her to a degree, but it won't serve all your characters, particularly if you keep switching points of view.
>> No. 129392
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.

>were crammed//
Up front in the story is not the best place for passive voice, especially when you could avoid it altogether by simply substituting "had" for "were."

>the royal palace//
I waffle myself on what to call the place, but they have referred to it in canon as Canterlot Castle.

>to have witnessed such an event//
You just used "witness" earlier in the paragraph. Watch the repetition.

>”,m wewwy bword,”//
I have to say, I've never been a fan of indicating volume through font size. It's kind of a lazy way of getting around having to describe it in narration. I'm also not sure what that first comma is doing there, and it appears to have flipped the smart quotes the wrong way at the beginning.

>Boredom - the complete absence of fun.//
Well... lack of engaging activity, not necessarily fun. But that's a minor point. Please use a proper dash, not a hyphen, but I think a colon would be more appropriate here anyway, since you're defining the term.

>as she continued to brush her mane.//
Okay, I'll speak up about this. You first had a "began to brush her mane" statement. I didn't say anything then, since it was the first instance of this in the story, but it's a common verb to overuse. Every action begins. It's only worth pointing out the beginning when it's notable for some reason, like it's an abrupt change, or the action gets interrupted. I let it slide, since it looks so far like it won't be a frequent issue for you, but then you go on with a "continued brushing" action, which is again something very obvious. Switch it up. Add a twist to the action, give it a bit more character.

>She finished brushing her mane//
Okay, you completed the trifecta of obvious statements.

>“Oh, you needn't actually do anything,” Celestia clarified, “Just keep an eye on her.//
Dialogue capitalization/punctuation. You probably meant to have "just" in lower case, but I'd argue that sits too close to a comma splice, so I'd recommend putting a period after "clarified."

>She turned to face Luna, bemused.//
Probably the first time I've caught you being telly, so good on that front. Of course, you don't always have to show, but I would like to see this expression from her instead of having it summed up for me.

>It was very difficult for her, even as a ruler of an entire country, to deny her sister when she used that tactic.//
I almost commented on this earlier, but I have to say something now. Your first paragraph made a statement that wouldn't be outwardly obvious ("This was a momentous occasion, after all, for there were few in attendance who could claim to have witnessed such an event within their lifetimes as was occurring here today.") Thus it's from a specific perspective, to a degree—kind of the crowd's mindset. But then you switch into Luna's perspective. I didn't mind that so much, since the crows mind helped establish the setting and wasn't a specific character anyway. But after spending the whole story in Luna's head, you suddenly bump us over in to Celestia's for the grand total of one paragraph. Perspective shifts can be done, but they need to be smooth and necessary. Is this information vital? Can it only be told through Celestia's perspective and not read from her by another's perception? And if it is necessary, surely it's worth staying with her for a while.

>deep in thought.//
Removable. Your description of her already gets this across.

>No matter how she looked at it, her inability to get the hang of flying just didn't make any sense to her.//
And here you go again. You were in Pinkie's point of view, so why switch to Twilight's? You could convey this same information through Twilight's body language as seen by Pinkie. Edit: I thought you were going to stay with Pinkie, since she's listed as a main character, but it would probably work better to have this scene entirely in Twilight's perspective and rework the little bit that was in Pinkie's head. You can get somewhat of a pass on this in comedy, as internal reactions can carry much of the humor, but it's just too much here.

>with concern.//
A common type of telly language. These prepositional phrases are almost always redundant with the description or action they follow.

>in annoyance//
And again. Get rid of these. If you think what's left isn't clear, you can add a bit more description.

Commonly, a ? or ! will be italicized when it's on an italicized word.

>Princess Luna, however, was quick to grab hold of a chance to avoid having to watch Twilight all day.//
>Not even Twilight could resist staring open-mouthed at the princess. Surely she hadn't just heard what she thought she had heard.//
Yeah, fix that perspective. It's jumping all over the place.

>(much to her annoyance)//
Actual parentheses work best in a very deep perspective or, preferably, in articles of writing, like a diary or letter. In shallower or objective points of view, these often render better with commas or dashes.

>video games, with Luna absolutely crushing Pinkie's high score//
Oh, good. Gamer Luna meme. (Don't mind me. I just hate these, but I won't make you change it.)

>all-too familiar//
You don't need the hyphen.

>"I know, we can go to Sugarcube Corner!" she beamed.//
That speaking verb... How does one beam a sentence?

Even though it doesn't actually start the sentence, capitalize. Lower case is for when we had the beginning of the sentence earlier, and it's picking back up.

>Let us go inside and you can show me more//
Missing comma between the clauses.

>welcome, princess//
As a term of address, "Princess" would be capitalized.

>Sweetie darling,//
These are separate terms of direct address, so put a comma between them.

>H-hello, princess!//

>Pinkie suddenly gasped, interrupting her.//
Two things: The previous dialogue trailed off, which isn't an interruption, and once that's fixed, the speech will already indicate an interruption; you don't need to reiterate it here.

>Mrs. Cake looked scandalized//
And how does this look?

>She and Pinkie were sitting at a table outside, admiring the absurdly oversized bag of cotton candy Pinkie had bought for them.//
Note that participles can frequently be misplaced modifiers. By proximity in the sentence, it sounds like the table is admiring the candy. We can discount that with a bit of logic, but then it's ambiguous whether you mean Pinkie, Luna, or both are admiring it.

Italicize the !. You're inconsistent at this.

>an entire ball of it..." she eyed the bag of candy, "this large//
You've almost got it. Here's how to work in the aside:
an entire ball of it –" she eyed the bag of candy "– this large

>So it had come to this.//
I think you want a colon here.

>hyped up//

>careful consideration//
Extraneous space in there.

>on hot days. On this day//
Feels repetitive.

>rocky lake bed//
They're generally just muddy.

>Rainbow, my wings are sore and it's getting late.//
Needs a coma between the clauses.

>Pinkie greeted with a big smile//
Transitive verb requires a direct object.

>Unbeknownst to Princess Luna, ingesting high concentrations of sugar comes with horrible side effects, including terrible belly pains and dehydration, and a low, almost depressing feeling upon coming down from the initial high.//
This is more science lesson than something interesting. Just have her experience those symptoms instead of externalizing them like this.

>doing so caused her head to hurt so she just closed her eyes again and lay still//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

Mechanically, there were a mixed bag of things but just as many appeared to be oversights than consistent problems. So just watch the ones I had to point out multiple times. Note that I didn't point out every instance, just enough to show what the issue is. You have to root out the rest.

In style, I pointed out a few instances of telling. I kind of already explained it, but you might want to read over the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread. The only other things I'd point out are these:

Saidisms. You have about 160 quotes in your story, but you only used "said" seven times. It's a verb designed to blend in and avoid notice. While your choice of speaking verb can lend flavor to your writing, picking unusual ones too often begins to draw attention to them and away from the actual speech, which is a bad thing. YMMV, but I usually aim for a balnce of about 1/3 said, 1/3 other verbs, and 1/3 no tag.

"To be." You use this verb a lot. was/wasn't: 61 times, is/isn't: 36, were/weren't: 15, be/been/being: 56. There will be other hidden ones, too, like in "she's." That's a ton for this word count. It's an inherently boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. This high a count can indicate telly language, too much passive voice, and a need to choose more active verbs.

I rather liked this story. The biggest things that need to be fixed are the deluge of "to be" verbs, the jerky perspective shifts, and some telling. Get those in order, and I'd be happy to post this on the blog.

Resubmit when you're ready, and I'll grab it again so it doesn't have as long a wait again.

Last edited at Tue, Dec 24th, 2013 12:55

>> No. 129399
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.

>It has been ten years since we've held a Summer Sun Celebration here, after all.//
Almost feels like that "has" should be emphasized.

>Twilight muttered as she unrolled the scroll.//
Okay, two things. First, when you use an unusual speaking verb, it stands out as repetitive when you use it again, unless you space them out quite a bit. You just used "muttered" a few paragraphs ago. Also note this "as" clause. You've been using an awful lot of "as" clauses and participial phrases already. It's giving the narration a repetitive feel to the structure. Another thing to watch is that both of these things imply that actions are simultaneous. I haven't caught you in an impossibility yet, but if you keep using these so much, you're likely to run into that trap at some point.

>annoyance replacing her prior shock//
It's far more effective to demonstrate these moods and get me to infer them than to state them outright. It's the old "show versus tell" problem. What would an outside observer see about her appearance and actions that would lead him to conclude this about her?

>Donut Joe’s//
Did you mean Pony Joe's? Or is this something you're making up for this story?

>she muttered//
You're doing that thing again...

>Discord waited until he was sure Twilight was far enough away, then flicked his talon at the stage.//
I want to caution you here. The scene to this point had been in Twilight's perspective, but you spend this last paragraph in Discord's. Now, such a thing can be done, most often for comedic effect, and at least you spend the whole paragraph there. It will stand out as out of place if this is the only time in the story you do it. I'll keep an eye out for it as I read, but you have to be very careful with perspective shifts and make sure everything you do with them is intentional. Many writers slip between perspective without realizing they're doing it. You might want to read over the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.

>Come on Cloudchaser//
Missing comma for direct address.

Apple Bloom

>“—and so then//
Even though it's not really the beginning of the sentence, go ahead and capitalize this. You leave it lower case if this was picking up again from an earlier incomplete sentence, but we don't have that here.

>No sense letting her last foray into romance color the future.//
I've never been a fan of little throwaway lines like this that hint at a lot but never explore any of it.

>Dishes flew everywhere as the thick wood , and for a long second everypony was deathly silent//
Extraneous space, and apparently a missing word there.

>your Highness//
The "Your" is also capitalized in the honorific.

>one simple fact.//
You go on to define or clarify the fact, so a colon would be appropriate here.

>Her frown deepened and she levitated a few napkins over to help bandage the injury.//
You've had the occasional issue with this. Look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>Once they were secure she turned her attention to his head, using a trickle of power to bring him back to wakefulness.//
I'll just point this out as another danger of using participles. They can easily be misplaced modifiers. By proximity, his head is using a trickle of power. We can sort it out with a bit of logic, but they can sound awkward, and if you aren't careful, you will eventually run into one that is ambiguous or outright misleading.

>He shouted incoherently, wings spasming; and//
You do see a few authors do this for effect, but there's really no reason to use both a semicolon and a conjunction. They're redundant.

>The floor chimed as he climbed off the stair, ringing off the columns spaced around the perimeter.//
First off, I have no idea what "the floor chimed" means, given that he's obviously not on an elevator. But now we have a more blatant misplaced modifier. It sounds like the stair is ringing. In fact, I'd go so far as to call it a dangling participle, since the sound effect never appears as a noun, so only the floor or the stairs could be ringing. I'm also not a fan of using a pronoun as the first introduction to a character. Even something generic would work better.

>she was cut off as Pound buzzed his wings, the colt dashing past her into the hallway for the door.//
Capitalization, as this aside isn't inserted inside the quote. But more to the point, when the punctuation already indicates being cut off, you don't need to reiterate that in the narration.

>You know Twilight, a princes//
Another missing comma for direct address, typo.

>Okay then, if it’s not magic, than what is it?//
Than/then confusion.

>keep em to yourself//
Missing apostrophe on "em," and watch the direction your software will want to draw it. Smart quotes always get leading apostrophes backward.

You're inconsistent at capitalizing this.

>Sure, it was a little tough at first,” a ripple of laughter ran through the crowd as she smiled, “but together we found our place.//
You're trying to punctuate an aside like an attribution. This way only works if you have a speaking verb. Here's what you want:
Sure, it was a little tough at first—” a ripple of laughter ran through the crowd as she smiled “—but together we found our place.

There are a few consistent problems here. First of all, "to be" verbs. They're inherently boring. I'd much rather read about what happens, not what simply is. You don't actually use that many, but when you do, they occur in clusters, 3 or 4 in a paragraph. Even that's unavoidable at times, but I bet you could break that up some. I also talked earlier about your overuse of participles and "as" clauses. They tend to make the sentence structures repetitive. You use "as" 24 times in chapter 1 and 32 more times in chapter 2. They're not all used in this sense, but most are.

Also have a look at the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread. I noticed a few too many of the "happily" and "in excitement" types of telly language for my taste. Just be careful to note what's happening in the story when you do that and decide whether you need to the reader to share that emotion with the character or whether it's an unimportant detail.

The story's actually not bad so far. Tighten these things up a bit, and I could see it on the blog, but I would like to get a better sens of where it's going first. Along those lines, I'd like to see another chapter or a brief summary of what you have planned to make sure you have an engaging idea going forward and that you'll tie in the Pokemon part in a meaningful way instead of just having it tacked on as a "hey, this is cool" thing.
>> No. 129401
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.

>On paper, it seemed like a swell idea.//
If you just tell your story with a first-person narrator, that's one thing. It invites the question of why the narrator wants to tell the story and why I want to listen to him, but there's kind of an unspoken agreement to gloss that over, unless the reader is very picky. However, if you address the reader or create a framing device like this that clearly sets it up as the narrator sitting there and telling me the story, then it's much harder to overlook.

>But most ideas seem that way on paper I suppose.//
Missing comma.

>tough looking//
Hyphenate your compound descriptors.

>Better still, they worst they can send after us//

>In light of that Hank found the idea to be agreeable//
Introductory elements don't always have to have commas, particularly in British usage, but without one, it sounds like "that" is trying to start a noun clause.

>hide out//

>Most of them were drab in color but one stood out from the rest.//
Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. I've already seen a few instances.

>As evening moved onto night//
You need "on to" as separate words here. It means something different.

>but before she could//
Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>What's what is called?//
That "is" feels extraneous.

>The game silly!//
Missing a comma for direct address.

>Not wanting to provide my real name, my eyes jumped around the cave for something to inspire a different identity.//
You have a genuine dangling participle here. "Not wanting to provide my real name" describes "I," but the speaker never names himself in the sentence. This says that his eyes don't want to reveal his name.

>set down our sleeping bags down//
Watch the repetition.

>When I woke up the next morning//
Another dependent clause needing a comma.

Canon is Diane, iirc.

>Snake Eye, would you mind terribly if I tied up and gagged our resident princess?//
So he's not keeping up the fake names anymore?

>I didn't really have any emotion tied to the act//
And such is the state of this story on the whole. I'm getting a lot of actions described, but little in the way of how any of the characters feel about what's happening. That emotional connection is what makes a story engaging. Be careful how you show emotion, though. In order to head off problems, you might want to look over the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread.

>Ooh, Let's play Princesses now!//
You haven't capitalized "princesses" until now, and there's no reason for "let's" to be capitalized.

>should someone stick around the watch the door//

>tough burly//
Coordinate adjectives need a comma between them.

>shouldn't of//
shouldn't have

>Within seconds the cave was filled playful chatter and noise.//
Missing word.

>However, he did return my gaze directly and only sat there like a dumb sack of beans.//
I have to think you meant "didn't."

>Good morning, gentlecolts,"//
Missing your opening quotation marks.

>Not once did he take his eyes of Hank and I.//
People often use "I" when they shouldn't because they're afraid of being wrong. "Me" is actually appropriate here, since it's the object of a preposition. Try taking out "Hank."
"Not once did he take his eyes of I."
Doesn't work.

>clearly enjoying the introductions//
I'll just point this out as a place where you need to show instead of tell. This is his conclusion. What evidence does he base it on? Let me see the same evidence and draw my own conclusion. If you write it well, I'll get where you want me to go.

>leaving Hank and I alone with her father.//
Again, "me." It's a direct object of "leaving."

>it might have allowed Hank and I//
Same deal.

>Pinkie Pie genuinely cares for you both about//
Some wording got jumbled there.

And then you never close up the story with the framing device you introduced at the beginning.

I like this story. It's got a good idea and is a fun little read. But it does need some work. First, there's a fair amount of telly language, but more than that, it often skips getting at the emotional content at all. If already referred you to the info on "show versus tell." Just make sure your story doesn't amount to a simple list of actions. How your characters feel about those actions is just as important, and it's what draws the reader into the story. Next, you need to put some thought into your framing device. It feels slapped on and doesn't do anything to enhance the story. Thus, it's dead weight. Either go without it or put some more work into making it effective. On a stylistic side, I'll warn you about your speaking verbs. I'm not sure there was a single one you used more than two or three times. The verb "said" is designed to blend in. It doesn't call attention to itself and lets the speech carry the focus. While it's nice to mix in some other ones for flavor, if you do it too often, the writing itself steals focus from what the story is saying, which is bad. I found myself noticing which speaking verbs you were using, so my attention was split from the story. I usually aim for an even split between "said," a mix of other verbs, and going without an attribution. YMMV, but you don't want to end up at one extreme end of that spectrum.
>> No. 129406
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 night was silent and peaceful; as though nothing could ever go amiss.//
Misused semicolon. And this is disturbingly akin to "It was a dark and stormy night" as an opening line.

>Night birds trilled shrilly but their voices would not carry.//
Check out the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>She was the darkness; she was the moon itself. She was Princess Luna.//
You sure you don't mean Batman?

>to feel the strong and passionate grief//
Extraneous space in there, and this is rather telly language. That can be acceptable in places, but at the beginning of the story is a bad time to put that distance between the reader and your character. Have a look at the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread.

>Luna choked back the tears that threatened at her wide navy eyes//
That "at" is extraneous.

>"Shining Armor," She put on her most dignified voice, "What brings you here?"//
Your attribution has no speaking verb, and it's capitalized wrong, anyway.

>Armor lost his unbalanced discomfort and sat with a sudden ease.//
>He leaned over, peering through the night into Luna's distressed face.//
A couple more examples of where you bluntly tell me a character's mood or emotion. I sense this will be a consistent problem.

>but he//
Another extraneous space. You might want to do a Ctrl-f for two spaces.

Besides being telly, you just used this adverb for Shining Armor not a few sentences ago.

>Luna though fiercely//

>but her legacy will live on//
Inconsistent verb tense.

A note on word repetition: you use "smile" 7 times in this chapter, which isn't that much, but they all occur within 8 paragraphs of each other.

>whom was her own father's grandmother//

>never witnessed its glory, it's beauty//
Its/it's confusion.

>Snow Sparkle's cottage laid//
Lay/lie confusion.

>Now she could almost see the fuzzy white tip of the mountain.//
This ends only the second paragraph of this chapter, and you've already used "mountain" 7 times.

>the quick expel//
The noun form is "expulsion."

>Hardened sleet hailed//
This is just a big mishmash. Sleet is hardened by nature, and it doesn't hail. It sleets.

>From her perch she could see the faint candle light glow of her home and the distant hills of Equestria; if she looked hard enough.//
Another misused semicolon.

Really, the rest is just the same problems over and over again.

To sum up, the major issues were telly language, dialogue capitalization and punctuation, coma use, semicolon use, and repetition.

Another word about that last one: In your first chapter, I had to get pretty far in before I saw much variation in sentence structure. Almost every one began with the subject, and they all had about the same length. It gets your writing in a rut. And beware of the verb "to be." It's a boring verb, but one many writers tend to overuse. You had 22 instances of "was" alone in the first chapter. That's even a little more frequent than once every other sentence. You need to choose more active verbs.

The conflict is also a bit on the weak side. When Snow Sparkle finds her talent, she doesn't have much of a reaction to it. She resents it beforehand, but once she's found it, she's rather stoic. Her emotional development on this issue is what will engage the reader, and it's just not there. Instead, it seems to be played more for Luna's benefit, but she doesn't have much reaction either. And their decision to sequester Snow Sparkle up in the mountains to basically force her into finding a talent they suspect she has is rather cruel. Why do they do this? That's not that standard. Take the CMCs, for example. They're allowed their freedom to find their talents at their own pace. Why be so rigorous with Snow Sparkle?
>> No. 129412
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.

>Do you have any questions about what I just told you?” he asks something along those lines.//
That's not a dialogue attribution. Really, it's a separate sentence. Also, you go on using only "he" for quite some time. I've scanned ahead a few paragraphs and see nothing but that. It's best to establish that character early, most times before you ever use a pronoun for reference. You don't have to name him; something generic like "the pony" can even work, just so your pronouns have an antecedent.

>they look pale, he should have them redone//
Comma splice.

>I know it not now, but from memory; I can’t see anything right now, but I remember that before now it couldn’t have be seen as too much different.//
That's an awfully jumbled thought that reiterates a couple of things. Plus, there's a verb form error and three instances of "now" in the same sentence.

>I presume that, even if I did//
That comma is unnecessary.

>The white light above us doesn’t help, it’s getting in the way of things.//
Another comma splice.

>I feel at ease.//
It's a more engaging read when you give me the symptoms instead of the diagnosis. Describe what effect being at ease has on her and let me conclude how she feels. You might want to have a look at the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread.

>I usually use my magic, I’m very good at it; although it feels nice, opening a door on my own.//
The first comma is a splice, and the semicolon is misused—there isn't an independent clause after it.

>I can see the cracks on the sidewalk and the ants that live there//
Ants out on a sidewalk wet enough that it's splashing on her?

>Why would someone pick a favorite color? I had asked him. Is there any point to it? A color is a color, what makes one a favorite?//
Why are you punctuating dialogue like thoughts?

>Even when they’re young//
Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>dancing the ever waltz//
Missing a word there? Something like "ever-present"?

>How instinctual could it have become, now, that we are born to exemplify the very rules we as children set out to protest, just in our own right?//
That second comma can go. However, the main thing here is that the narrative voice is wavering between simple, dazed-sounding speech and philosophical posturing. From what I know of her situation so far, it's not impossible that her mind is actually oscillating like this, but aside from the narration itself, there's nothing to indicate why. There's no emotional attachment to what she's saying that seems to drive her mood in these directions. It's like riding in a car blindfolded. You feel the turns, but you don't know why you're turning and can't anticipate them. You can get some leeway for this, but at some point, you have to provide some motivation, or it just feels directionless. We'll see how far you take it.

>had ran//
had run

>It is as if to say that only when frozen, only when tested past the capacity of its endurance does something become one with that which is around it, and even then that bond can be shattered thoughtlessly by the smallest, most insignificant force.//
Repetition of "test" from the previous sentence. I'm also not following your metaphor here. It took a pretty big force to crack the frozen dirt. Frozen soil is stronger, after all, but then you go on the call that strength insignificant. And how is that cracked soil "becoming one with that which is around it"?

>something as minuscule as a rabbit’s paw can still shatter it into a million pieces.//
A rabbit's paw isn't going to do much to soil unless it's extremely loose or wet. It won't do anything to frozen soil. None of this is ringing true. You don't want your story's primary emotional thread sounding like psychobabble.

>There would be time, endless time, such an amount of time that the greatest mathematicians of our world would find it incalculable, only frustrating.//
Mathematicians are specially equipped to deal with concepts of infinity. You keep sacrificing meaning for poetic gradiloquence.

>The streets around me appear empty//
"Appear" wouldn't enter into it. She has an unobstructed view of them. She'd know explicitly whether they were empty.

>Her body is covered by a light brown jacket, a compliment to the stetson hat and red scarf she wears.//
"Stetson" is a proper noun (and, incidentally, not really what she wears, but so many authors use it that I can let it slide). And you've confused "compliment" with "complement."

>Her blonde mane runs freely down her neck, lacking in the usual red bands that would hold her ponytail together.//
I've noticed several of these misplaced modifiers. Participles are common for them. By proximity, it sounds like her neck is lacking in the usual red bands.

>“You must be”—she bites her lip and pulls her scarf tighter—“freezing, Twi’.//
"Twi" is just a nickname. You don't need the apostrophe. Also, presuming that biting her lip necessitates a momentary stop in her speech, put the dashes inside the quotes to indicate that pause.

>Her concern is more than obvious, she isn’t attempting to hide it.//
So what does this look like?

>Am I so important as to inflict pain upon someone else just temporarily relieve my own?//
Missing word.

>for awhile//
"A while" and "awhile" are interchangeable in some respects, but not when you need a noun. Here, "for" requires an object, so it should be two words.

>happily sipping their hot chocolate as they sit and talk about nothing but their favorite colors.//
This also feels incredibly inconsistent. Maybe it's only Twilight's perception of what's going on inside, but she just spent a while going on about Applejack's depth and sincerity, then in her next breath she's condemning her as just another shallow reveler? If you tried to build up AJ as a character, you just tore her back down.

The only consistent mechanical thing I saw was comma splices, so pretty good on that front.

Stylistically, this is full of narrative whiplash. Twilight's in a daze one moment and then waxing poetic in the next without any reason for the change. Applejack's a deep thinker and treasured friend one moment and a superficial partygoer the next. And too many of the metaphors are built up with fancy verbiage to obscure their nonsensical meanings. I'll also point out the sheer number of colons and semicolons. There are 24 in only 2600 words. You don't want a writing tic like this drawing attention to itself, to where the reader notices things about the writing itself. It breaks immersion.

Plot-wise, nothing happens. The only thing that can be called a conflict is Twilight's decision whether to tell Applejack what's troubling her, but that comes and goes in less than a page. We never get the first inkling of what Twilight's problem is, and nobody does anything about it. Twilight doesn't undergo any character growth as a result. You have a scene here, but not a story. What changed? What was at stake? What goal did anyone have? What bad thing would have happened if that goal weren't achieved? I've seen you make that exact criticism of a story before.
>> No. 129413
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.

>So I’m Vinyl Scratch, and I have to write this stupid book so Octy can chill a bit, but actually-//
This format is going to be troublesome to critique. It's got plenty of mechanical errors so far, but as it's meant to be something that Vinyl wrote, would it represent the same kinds of mistakes she'd make? Quite possibly. Except that I doubt they were intentional, at least the majority of them. I'm actually impressed that you've avoided one of the biggest traps with diary stories so far, at least until now. Being cut off like this is a speech affectation. When you write, it's a slow enough process that you have time to plane out what you want to say. You wouldn't have an abrupt change of direction like this. It needs to sound like something she'd actually write in a diary, not something she'd say out loud.

>I’m a DJ, and I love my job.//
Needs a line break here.

>I love handing some autographs to my fans//
And what is this "hand" you speak of?

>against all whining of my parents and the raised forefinger//
Missing a word, and "forefinger"? You haven't marked this as a human story, so I'm not sure what to think here.

>going down to snack something//
Missing word.

Needs another apostrophe after the n.

Doubled-up punctuation.

Smart quotes routinely fail on leading apostrophes. This one's backward.

>records to spin ‘n cake to eat//
Same deal with this contraction as before, but this comes across as more of a speech affectation again. Would she really choose to write that instead of spelling out "and"? I doubt it.

You've been putting a space in there.

"Hearth's Warming" in canon, yes?

>you’- look//
You don't need the hyphen. The quotes already group the compound modifier.

>(of course nothing like that ever happened to me, as I’m pretty awesome and stuff)//
Implying that being awesome prevents rape? I... I don't even know where to start with this.

>So ehm//
Again, these are speech affectations.

>See- ehm//
Please use a proper dash.

Same deal. You talk like that, but you don't write like that.

>Being in the club all night isn’t new to me, but usually I stay sober during my performance, don’t want to fuck up all this awesome music, y’know?//
Okay, watch the language. There's only so much we're willing to take. But here's another trap writers fall into when doing diary formats: You're including quoted speech. In a letter or diary entry, you'd summarize what was said, not quote it. It's the little things like this that make it sound unconvincing as an actual diary.

>DJ P0N-3//
You're not always consistent in how you capitalize this.

>Wanna hear about that last time? Alright then.//
This is just immersion-breaking. Who's she talking to? And what's her motivation to write this now? She clearly remembers it well—it's not like she'll forget if she doesn't get it down. There are certain difficulties that come with choosing a diary format, and you can't just gloss them over or slap "this is a diary" on a standard narrative and think it will work.

This quotation mark is backward.

>somepony knocked our door//
Another missing word.

This doesn't make sense, given the phrasing that came before.

>Wouldn’t had been//

>Octy came up to ask me if I could lower the volume//
Yeah... you just said so.

>came back to live//


>But there are also some good news today.//
Subject/verb number agreement.

The term you want is "tic." Again, Vinyl may not know that, but at some point, you're making the story hard to understand in the name of character. And that's giving you a big benefit of the doubt that this was intentional.

>The Great and Powerful Trixie//
What makes her a VIP?

You're inconsistent about putting line breaks with this at the ends of your chapters.

>she finally got herself into those ponies minds//
Missing apostrophe.

>Ruben was send//

>I hurts//
Subject/verb agreement.

>If I just break contact to Ruben//
Phrasing. There are a lot of these little problems the further I go. It's like you didn't edit the later chapters as well.

>I woke up slowly.//
And you're not writing a diary anymore? It's a really rough transition when a story adopts a storytelling method for many chapters, then abruptly changes it later. I mean, I get why you did it, but that doesn't help smooth things out. If you'd had it as a regular narrative all along where she writes her entries at the end of each chapter, it would be more consistent.

>I started to squirm. Is this the end?//
This is the first break we've had in paragraph after paragraph of nothing but speech. Look at the section on talking heads at the top of this thread. After the first sentence here, the change in tense marks a change from narration to thought. You need to consider more carefully how you're doing this, whether you need to italicize the thought or reword things to keep the tense consistent.

>You wasn’t//

>they seemed to be involved into this//
Phrasing, but... where is she getting this? I've read the entries, and I'm not getting that impression.

Sound effects in narration aren't the best idea.

Aside from the mechanical issues, which I can't even tell how many are on purpose, We have the whiplash of storytelling method, talking heads, and a plot that's so out of left field that I didn't know whether to take it seriously. The editing got worse as I went on, and I'm more convinced that Vinyl's mistakes are more oversight than intention now.
>> No. 129414
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.

>and took position//
Missing word.

>After she landed, Celestia//
First, it's ambiguous whether you mean Celestia landed or Twilight did. Plus you already mentioned that Twilight landed.

Going without capitalization is for sentences that pick up where previous ones leave off. Since there is no previous sentence, capitalize this.

>He merely dismissed the notion that the list was incomplete, or otherwise had errors.//
See the section on head-hopping at the top of this thread. You've been in Twilight's head, and I don't see a reason to transfer into Spike's perspective like this.

>She was annoyed//
And check out the section on "show versus tell," too. It's better to lead me to this conclusion through evidence you present instead of telling me her mood directly.

>She now felt silly that she has neglected such a simple thing, and was glad Spike was sleeping and couldn't see her mistake.//
Verb form. Also check out the section on comma use with conjunctions.

>who awoke with a groan//
Set off the dependent clause with a comma.

>Twilight was surprised at this.//
Beware using demonstratives (this, that, these, those) as pronouns. They have vague, broad antecedents that refer to the narration itself. Fortunately, the fix is easy: find an appropriate noun to put after it.

>exotic looking//
Hyphenate your compound descriptors.

>Princess Twilight;//
Misused semicolon. There is no independent clause before it.

>massively racist policies//
Agreed. Where is this coming from? There's no indication of such in canon, so it's rather abrupt to jump straight to it. You need to connect the dots.

>A single tear rolled down her cheek.//
This is incredibly cliched. If she cries, just have her cry.

>Celestia looked at Twilight with a look of worry.//
Besides being telly, she just did this a few paragraphs ago.

>" Well//
Extraneous space.

>turn me back into a unicorn.//
Missing closing quotation marks.

The few emotions you do get across are done in a telly manner, but there's really not that much emotional content to begin with. The narration focuses too much on what happens at the expense of how anyone feels about those events. It reads more like a historical record, not a narrative. And this is a huge decision Twilight is making, yet he makes a snap judgment. She's going to give up being a princess after one day, and Celestia is so willing to indulge her? She's not even portrayed as that emotional about it, more bored and frustrated than anything, even where paperwork would seem to be up her alley, getting everything documented and squared away. It's just all to detached from the character to draw the reader into it and make him feel bad for Twilight, and her decision is made and supported much too lightly.
>> No. 129427
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 only one who came to her birthday was herself.//
That's not how reflexive pronouns work. She'd need to be the subject as well. Grammatically speaking, the "herself" should be "she." You could actually put "she herself" or "Pinkie herself" there.

Your opening paragraph presents the entire emotional context to set up your story. But you present it all so factually and quickly that it doesn't sink in or leave much of an impression on the reader. And unfortunately, you're not going to be able to do that quickly. People grow apart. It happens. I'm not going to feel sorry for Pinkie unless I know how losing these particular friends makes her feel, so that I feel it along with her. At least you don't have to start from ground zero. Canon already establishes that they're good friends, so that's a given. But you do need to present these in such a way that it fills in more of the backstory and shows me the pain instead of summing it all up for me. You do a little of that with Rarity in particular, so that's a step in the right direction.

>between she and the twins- but even that felt more like a business partnership//
Please use a proper dash. And as the object of a preposition, you need "her," not "she."

>Ponyville didn't feel like home anymore. Nowhere that she could, and did eventually visit, did anymore. Every morning when she woke, she told herself; "Today will be better. Today ponies will love me again. Today my friends will remember me."//
If we're to believe "Magical Mystery Cure," the town doesn't function without her. And she considers everyone a friend. This might take some more justification to connect the dots from canon.


>The years had treated her well, it seemed she hadn't aged a day since that last spat//
Comma splice.

>“Well yeah. But you’re close. Just come with us, Pinkie, I thought you were our friend?”//
Looks like you're missing a line break there, the last comma is a splice, and that's not really a question.

>She plastered on a fake smile as she sat at her little desk, beginning to slowly and painfully brush out her straightened mane.//
Watch placement of participles. They often make for misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the desk is beginning to brush her mane.

>Heh, that was a funny word, accrued.//
You're making the character aware of a third-person narration. Bad, bad idea.

> She grabbed down a towel and finished drying herself, pulling a brush onto her hoof and running the stiff bristles through her mane to finish straightening and neatening it.//
Watch the word repetition in a close space, as in the "finish" here.

Inasmuch as you're trying to adopt a subjective viewpoint, it would behoove you to use language you could imagine the character using, even if you don't actually adopt her voice. This just doesn't ring true as a word Pinkie would ever use.

>Immediately she moved for the kitchen and started a pot of coffee, cooking herself a fried egg inside a piece of toast for breakfast while she waited on the pot.//
Another thing to note about participles: they imply concurrent action. So she's starting a pot of coffee, cooking the egg, and waiting on the coffee all at the same time.

Your left margin is uneven. I suspect you're using a set number of spaces for indentation. FiMFiction will stretch that and distort it. You'll need to replace those indentations with tabs.

>Pinkie sighed deeply, and returned to her meal.//
Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>You never really got used to Pinkie's melancholy, you just.. made room for it.//
Ellipsis is missing a dot. It's really odd to address the reader when the narrator hasn't been making a point of it, and in this case, seems to have leapt into Pumpkin and Pound's perspective, even though they're not there.

>Dutifully, the twins marched along behind her to school//
If Pinkie's 40, that makes the twins what, 15 or 20 at least? They still need to be walked to school?

>She smiles, yes, that would be nice.//
Verb tense, and why are you going from an objective to a subjective viewpoint in the same sentence?

>an empty amber bottle marked with a label in uncomprehensible Equestrian lays on its side on the floor.//
Lay/lie confusion. incomprehensible

>She rolled onto her side//
You've begun the last four paragraphs with the same word. Mix it up.

You don't need to double up on the end punctuation.

>Pinkie knew where she was being lead now.//

>The curly-maned mare snorted and pawed//
You already had her do that half a page ago, almost word for word.

>Earth pony//
"Earth" would not be capitalized in this sense.

And now that I'm finished reading, I see that the bulk of the points I've made or planned to make in summary down here have already been noted in the WRITE review posted in the story's comments. I have to say, I agree with most of what's there, but there are two in particular that I want to emphasize.

This story hinges on the reader feeling Pinkie's utter hopelessness and pain. The source of that hopelessness and pain is her distance from her friends, which we are only ever told about in narrative summary. All of that backstory needs much more detail to seem real and to bring the reader's emotions to bear.

And suicide is a very serious theme to undertake, particularly in this fandom. As such, Equestria Daily tends to stay away from such stories unless they are exceptionally good and give the subject the appropriate gravity without glorifying suicide in any way. While I can' accuse you of the last one of those, since I can't even tell whether Pinkie actually killed herself and came to some sort of peace with some of her alter egos in a sort of afterlife or found the strength to go on living with those same alter egos as support. In any case, it still needs to stand head and shoulders above the piles of other suicide stories, and it just doesn't.

And a further word about repetition—I encountered a lot of "to be" verbs, over 60 across both chapters. That's a lot for a story this short. They're boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read action verbs. I bet you could weed out a bunch of these.
>> No. 129431
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'd recommend cutting the second paragraph of your synopsis. It's not the kind of thing that's enticing, and it really tells us nothing about the story.

>This time Rarity’s face was tear-streaked, her eyes filled with a primal rage, her knees shaking and about the give out from despair, even her mane and tail were starting to show signs of neglect.//
This sentence is much better than the "pool of emotions" stated in the first one, in that it gives me the symptoms of how she feels and lets me draw the conclusions, except for that "despair" part. This is especially important right at the beginning of the story, where you're trying to forge an immediate connection between the character and the reader. You might want to look at the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread. The second comma here is a splice, and you have a typo in there.

>a string of desperate false confessions, the misunderstanding and subsequent battle between three local waiters and her old compatriot Tempeh//
Since I have zero idea what any of this is, it's not going to carry any weight in trying to make her situation sympathetic to me.

>She was basically eternally single now.//
I get that she's prone to exaggeration, but this is coming out of nowhere. Her thoughts hadn't been running toward failure at romance, and yet that's what this all led to.

Italics are preferred for emphasis.

Okay, the bit in italics... The colored text isn't helping you. It's not immediately evident what the significance is, and when the reader has to go back over it to figure it out, that's a bad thing. It's also a fairly lazy way of getting at her mindset without actually describing it.

>so she wouldn’t be stopping in unexpectedly//
Set this dependent clause off with a comma. You'd normally do that anyway, but without one here, it sounds like you're giving Sweetie Belle's motivation for being away.

You're telling me she's having a tantrum, but I don't really get to see it.

All these parentheticals are getting to be a bit much. I'll give you some leeway, since it's a very subjective narrator, but you don't want tics drawing attention to the writing itself and away from the story.

>“ –‘and//
Capitalize, since this isn't continuing a sentence begun earlier. You also have an extraneous space in there. An ellipsis would be more appropriate than a dash, since the speech isn't breaking in; we're just gradually becoming aware of it.

Why can't anyone spell this right?

Your Applejack accent is a bit much. Readers will mostly fill it in for you. You don' have to resort to so many imitative spellings like "tha" and "ta."

>It was really...” she paused, searching for the best word, yet ending flatly with, "...weird."//
Here's how to work an aside into a quote:
It was really—” she paused, searching for the best word, yet ending flatly with "—weird."
Note you also have a mix of simple and fancier quotation marks.

>She felt the need to emphasize Rarity's genuine wishes that the note contained. Ensure her friends understood and would permit her to try this.//
The first sentence is pretty meaningless, and the second just plain doesn't parse.

>If- no//
Please use a proper dash.


>Each exchanged looks, and turned to leave with short parting words.//
Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions.

No. Sound effects in narration are bad enough, but you've crossed the line into a first person narration by doing this.

>And failures//
Why in the world is this in a bigger font?

>she laid on her back on her sheets, staring and wondering//
Lay/lie confusion. Also note that participles can easily be misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the sheets are staring and wondering.

>calling her nutty//
This is also coming out of nowhere. We haven't seen any of this happen. Maybe it's only in her mind, but we haven't seen her impression of it happening, either. That's one of the biggest problems with this story: it expects us to take things that are scarcely mentioned, and then make an emotional investment in them so that Rarity's situation makes perfect sense and we care about her.

>knowing internally//
As opposed to?

>They can't grasp my pain//
And herein lies the problem. I can't either. I'm seeing little evidence of it. All I have is her vague statements and some telly language that shortcuts the emotional discovery process and feeds me the conclusions.

>That sullen sorrow turned to annoyance and indignation.//
...And here's a prime example of it.

>A cover to save himself from my love expressed!//
And this is a common problem with shipping stories. You've just stated that she was attracted to him, and I'm supposed to just accept that and care about it. I have no evidence of how much she cares for him or what sort of chemistry they have together. I can't tell whether this is some years-long thing that's devastating her or a momentary infatuation that she's exaggerating. All I know is that the narrator says she likes him, and I supposed to develop some attachment to the idea. It doesn't work that way. Don't assume I'll care. You have to make me care.

One exclamation mark is plenty.

>She paused, her glaze trailing along the floor.//
Either that's a typo, or there are some very disturbing implications that make this story unsuitable for Equestria Daily...

>The mixes had slowly returned more reasoned and calm than before//
Mixes? I can't figure out what you mean.

>look could look//
Watch the repetition.

You don't use the comma when there's some other kind of end punctuation there..

>Elsewhere, a pink pony suddenly sneezed colorful confetti out her ears.//
I have no reference as to what this is supposed to mean. Pinkie Sense? Just a random comment?

>Her surveyal//

>this love and relations headaches//
Hyphenate your compound modifier, and you have a number agreement problem (this... headaches).

Okay, I'm at day nine now, and I have to wonder what happened to Opal. She's surely back from the groomer, and in canon, Rarity uses her as a sounding board. Why wouldn't she be there?

>She cut herself short//
You don't need to say what the punctuation already does.

~ is not punctuation. If you mean she's trilling or singing the word, then say so.

>If I knew here was the best entertainer in town//

>Here in front of her was one who would never judge her//
Except that she has been judging her all week...

I've said it already, but I'll say it again: The biggest issue in this story is a decided lack of emotional investment. We're given a very vague idea as to what put her in this funk in the first place, so that leaves it all feeling very external to me. What emotional context we get from Rarity herself is biased heavily toward telly language, which again just leaves everything external. You're asking me to come up with the buy-in, but that's your job. It might have been more effective to throw out the whole bit with Fancy Pants and leave it as some generic thing that's shaken her self-esteem. Then there's not so much of an impetus to want that back story explained.

The resolution is fairly weak. Essentially, she's trading one mental calamity for another and hasn't addressed the core problem, but I'm not prepared to say that's a deal-breaking choice. While it means I personally found the ending unsatisfying, I can't call it that in an objective sense.

So where were Rarity's friends? They express all this concern for her, and while I can appreciate that they'd give her space if she needed it, they'd at least check in without being intrusive. And while it's possible that happened off camera, it would be completely on me to invent it. It just seems odd to give them a role in the story at all and then do nothing with them.

On a note about repetition, you have well over 150 "to be" verbs in your story. That's a ton for one of this length. While I can understand that you'd have more in dialogue and a narration that tends toward a dialogue feel, but I bet you could reduce that quite a bit. It's an inherently boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is.

I will say that you have a nice touch with Rarity's voice. Her conversations with the mirror seemed nicely in character, and while the slower, introspective nature of the story may well be pretty hit-or-miss with readers or even what particular mood they're in at the time, I enjoyed watching her progression.
>> No. 129449
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.

>with my first salary//
That's just an odd phrasing. A salary is an ongoing thing, so technically she'd still be on her first salary. She's likely not salaried, though—I imagine her type of job would be an hourly wage. Bottom line: I think this would work better as "Paycheck," and I think that's closer to the meaning you were going for anyway.

>That and a few pieces of cakes//
While this could have a valid meaning as written, it's still just phrased oddly. Try just singular "cake."

>can you imagine two Pinkie’s running around the place?//
This shouldn't be a possessive. Lose the apostrophe.

>Like, twenty Pinkies!//
This begs the question of when you envision this story occurring. Given what happened in "Too Many Pinkie Pies," you may need to make it clear that this story predates that, or the reader is just going to wonder why that's conveniently slipped her mind. Edit: Now you've definitely got a problem. Gummy's definitely seen alive in canon after "TMPP," so she'd have already seen this exact scenario happen before.

>Like, twenty Pinkies!//
I'm only through two paragraphs, and already 8 of 14 sentences end in an exclamation mark. For one thing, readers already know Pinkie is excitable and will fill in a lot of that tone for you. For another, exclamation marks are meant to make things stand out, and when a lot of things stand out, it weakens them all. Consider the extreme: When everything stands out, nothing does.

>caught my eyes//
I've only ever seen this phrase in the singular: caught my eye.

>you already know his name by now//
This opens a can of worms. If your narrator isn't one that's going to address the reader regularly, it's best to avoid doing so altogether. The other issue is that by dragging me in as an effective character, you're courting the edge of needing to justify my presence there, as you would with any character. Why would I be there with her? Why does she want to tell me the story? Why do I want to listen? When you make me part of the story, you have to consider my motivations, too.

>It didn’t even hurt really. It was just gummy.//
It wouldn't have hurt, even if he had teeth. It's not like she can feel her tail.

Italics are preferred over bold, underline, or all caps for emphasis (except in the specific instance of something in writing).

That first hyphen can go. You don't say "Mister-Smith," do you?

Missing comma for direct address.

>What if Gummy was to die?//
This is an extremely odd disconnect that she'd independently conceive of this possibility. I could see her in denial that Gummy could ever die in the first place, but she's conceding that.

Missing apostrophe.

So now that I'm at the end, I have to wonder why Gummy isn't starting to smell. There's a pretty big issue of being sanitary here that it's hard to believe everyone can just gloss over for her benefit.

There were the few odd editing issues that had me worried because they all cropped up near the beginning, but I was pleased to see the mechanics improve when I got further in. Still you don't want those being the first impression the reader gets, so fix those up.

There's a fine line here with Pinkie's friends trying to help her. Since it's from her perspective, I could believe that they'd tried a few times, but that it didn't even register with her. But she'd at least know what they said to her. And the bit about Twilight making Gummy move didn't really ring true. She's very down-to-earth and practical. She'd realize that wasn't really helping and again with being unsanitary. Particularly since there's strength in numbers, wouldn't her friends have made sure she understood, particularly with the emphasis they always place on friendship? It really makes the whole thing feel detached to me, like they don't care enough about her to use some tough love. Whether or not she actually gets the picture is another thing, but I think the story would be a lot stronger for making it clear that they were all doing their due diligence.
>> No. 129451
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.

>Berryshine is a pony with a history and a reputation, neither of which she is very proud of. However, a series of events forces her to re-examine her life.//
First, that's not a very enticing synopsis. You'd do better to play up the emotions surrounding this re-examining. Frankly, the same can be said of the title. Second, you're doubling up on the "of." The "of which" already contains the "of" you try to end the sentence with.

Depending on the browser and font, your scene break dividers are running longer than one line. Either use a shorter one and center it or take advantage of the [hr] character that FiMFiction provides.

>How do you explain to your adopted daughter that you weren’t always the humble grape farmer that she knew you as?//
Right off the bat, you're striking an odd note with your narrator. I did a search of "you" through the first chapter. Most occur in dialogue. Of the ones that appear in narration, some are of the type that are meant as a generic person; they're not necessarily addressed at me. For those, it might be better to rephrase them so they don't tend to address the reader, but that's not a huge problem. What bothers me is your opening scene. In there, the narrator definitely addresses the reader. You don't keep that up through the story, so it's almost like you're creating a frame for the story in which Berry is sitting down with me and telling me the story. That begs the questions: Who am I to her? Why am I there? Why does she want me in particular to hear it? Why am I listening? When you create a character for me to be, that character needs the same justifications for being there and motivations as any other character would. You can't just skip that part because you think it'd be interesting to use this framing device.

>Clint Clydesdale//
I have no idea what pun this is supposed to be. It sounds nothing like "Eastwood," so I have to think you're just making something up out of the blue, and in that case, I have no reference as to how menacing this is supposed to be.

>She has this wild poof of orange hair and her cutie mark is a bunch of carrots, which labeled her as a farmer.//
Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. I see a number of these throughout the story. And that "labeled" shouldn't be in past tense, assuming there isn't some reason it wouldn't label her as a farmer anymore.

>some horse college//
Assuming you're making a pun on "cow college" (really, I can't figure out what else this might mean), an A&M university would be a cow college, right?

>if was to come for the ceremony//
Missing a word. Really, this would use subjunctive mood as well ("were"), but it's up to you as to whether Berry knows that.

Italics are preferred for emphasis.

>two twins//

In this usage, there's no need to hyphenate this. It's not being used as a modifier.

>shampooed and conditioned my main and tail//
Are you serious? There are a few words that I expect anyone who writes horse words to get right.

>plum colored//
That one does need a hyphen.

>As a further act of contrition//
I'm still not buying why Rarity would be feeling contrite. She enforced her standards and got Berry to abide by them. She should be satisfied, not apologetic.

You're missing the pun by spelling it that way...

>Making wine is fun, it’s also how I make my living.//
Comma splice.

>He winced l and crinkled his nose at me.//
Jumbled wording.

>in disapproval//
You've been doing well so far, but I'll point you to the discussion on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread for an explanation of why phrases like this are usually empty filler.

>rocked off my flank and barely able to stand on all fours//
This is an oddly candid assessment from her, given that she's been insistent that she can handle her liquor and doesn't actually drink all that much. We have all the evidence we need from her actions, and that disconnect is rather telling of her problem, so it's a little disappointing to see her acknowledge it so readily.

>hoping up and down//

>some other pony’s fur under my hooves//
How does that work? They're not like fingernails, where there's actually a space for things to get caught. I don't know where fur would collect or how it would get there.

>you’ve give anything to take back//
Typo and a missing word.

>She didn’t look very happy to see me//
You've got a few spots like this, too, where you draw the conclusion for me instead of describing how she looks and acts and let me deduce how she feels. That said, you get some leeway in a first-person narration.

>Merry was delighted and was practically bouncing on her hooves. She still had her cap and gown on and was carrying her diploma in a new saddlebag. My sister, Sherry, was holding back.//
What's with all the past participles? Besides creating a repetitive feel, it's not really fitting what's around it.

>full grown//
Hyphen needed again.

>Look Auntie Berry!//
Missing comma for direct address.

>I should’ve just left her hold onto it.//

>It was a thing of beauty and I had destroyed it.//
This is an emotional climax of your story. At least it should be, except that there is absolutely no emotion here. This is all factual. She's telling me what events occurred, but I'm getting zero evidence as to how she felt about it. Maybe you do so later, but by then, it's to far disconnected from the actual occurrence. Here's where you really need to draw me into her viewpoint and get me to feel what she does. This is the essence of an engaging read. Really, I didn't have too many complaints about the story until now, but this definitely needs some attention.

>I don’t know which was worse—the sound of the frame breaking or the sound of my niece crying.//
>What was the big deal? I was sure they’d replace it.//
I can't see how these two things are compatible.

I'll finally say something about this. We do see writers use this format sometimes, but I'm never sure whether it's something they were taught, as it's an unusual system. Most common is to put a space between the ellipsis and the word that follows it.

>I sat on my flank on the floor//
What floor is this? The last place you mentioned where she was, it was in the dirt outside the auditorium.

>Forget it! Just stay away. Stay away forever!//
Her daughter's old enough to make this decision for herself, and she was actually happy to see Berry. I could see Sherry saying this for herself, but not for her daughter as well.

>so I hoisted myself up and trudged back to the station//
Comma to set off the dependent clause.

When did this happen, and why did she never mention it until now?

You've got proper dashes elsewhere in the story, so why not here?

>and wasn’t none too happy //
She hasn't adopted any speech patterns so far that lead me to believe she'd use s double negative like this.

>That won’t do miss.//
Another missing comma for direct address.

>shards of glass got//
Where's the glass coming from? And you have an extraneous space in there.

>When I finally stopped I didn’t even open my eyes, I just lay there//
Needs a comma for the dependent clause, and the comma you do have here is a splice.

>spread eagled//
Another hyphen, please.

I'll also mention this here: You have 52 instances just of "was" in this chapter. I'm sure I'd find more if I checked other forms of "to be." I noticed a lot of them in chapter 1 as well. This is an inherently boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens than what is. You really need to be choosing more active verbs. This is a lot for this word count—more than one every third sentence for "was" alone. That increases to one every other sentence if I include a few more of the common forms of this verb. Some of that verb is fine, but this is too much. I bet you can rephrase things in a more active way for a half of those or more.

>I never placed much stock in things like that.//
This is the fifth straight sentence to begin with "I."

>I kept my thoughts occupied //
The relationship is skewed here. Nothing occupies her thoughts, but her thoughts can occupy her.

>If I couldn’t remember the constellations, I thought I’d made up a few of my own.//
Verb tense.

>but I would get lost and somehow the thing would find me//
She states this as a certainty, while it feels more like a probability, unless she wants to state that she's sure it would happen this way.

>my hopes of reaching Ponyville by afternoon was diminishing//
Subject/verb number disagreement.

>I was relieved but still very uneasy.//
Yes, but give me the symptoms, not the diagnosis. I need to be able to picture this in my head. You're making me do all the work.

>They stood and moved about on their back legs.//
Yes, you already said so.

>Their faces were flat//
Fifth straight sentence that starts with "they" or "their."

Missing a line break.

>the one whom I thought was the leader//

>Their next act really frightened me.//
Yes, but aside from the narrator outright telling me this, I wouldn't know. She's certainly not acting or speaking like she's afraid.

>What do you want from me.//
It's a question, yes?

>No. You are not.//
Why is this not italicized like the rest of their speech?

>That wasn’t much there that looked interesting//

>Little pieces of junk was scattered//
Subject/verb number agreement.

I'l also say here that I'm noticing a lot more word repetition in this chapter.

>Do you think you could find your own home on it?//
More missed italics.

>Then how would pointing out our home on it be any help?//
Another missed line break.

>some bit of the junk that was just laying around//
Lay/lie confusion, but your call on whether Berry would know that.

>My sister and niece? Well, it took a while, but they forgave me, too.//
So, the entire conflict you slowly built up is miraculously solved, and off-screen at that?

Okay, what the hay did I just read?

You spent the first two chapters presenting a nice life challenge for her. As I've said, my main complaints with it are that we got little to no emotional investment in it, and Berry's attitude keeps wavering. It's all presented in a very clinical and dry manner, and Berry herself doesn't seem to react much to it, but at least the premise was there. This was workable.

And then you threw in chapter 3. It had absolutely nothing to do with anything that came before. It's not related to her history or her problem. It does nothing to resolve that problem. It does nothing to shed a new light on her character. It just... does nothing. You could cut that entire chapter from the story, and you'd be better for it. And then the real conflict you'd cultivated all along conveniently goes away. No emotional struggle, no self-discovery, no confrontation with her family. It just goes away.

You had a promising beginning, but then the whole thing ran off the rails. I'd encourage you to punch up the first two chapters with a lot more emotional context and a steady attitude toward her problem, give some thought to how you want to handle the device of having me as a character that she's telling her story, then scrap the last two chapters and reimagine the ending. Resolve that conflict that you spent so long creating. Let me see it unfold in front of me, not just get a half-sentence summary that assures me everything worked out.
>> No. 129456
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.

>Why are her colours muted and melancholy when theirs are bright and cheerful?//
There are plenty of examples of unexciting colorings. Time Turner... Octavia... Caramel... Are you saying that such color schemes didn't exist when this story takes place?

>"Where am I?," she thought.//
Dialogue punctuation.

>She used her somewhat logical brain, to try and piece together her past.//
Unnecessary comma.

>"Hello?" Grey Scale called out once more, becoming nervous.//
I get that you're trying to make this pony very logical and analytical. But that doesn't mean she has no emotion, just that she supporesses it. Yet you've really given me nothing to indicate how she feels about her situation. If she doesn't care, why should I? And then here, where you finally give me some emotional context, it's all tell and no show. Look at the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>Friendly consciousness, do you know the same information as your dark counterpart?//
The very fact that they answer to these titles (and indicated them to her themselves, no less!) really undercuts the dilemma she's having in choosing between them.

>Not really, but you can call me Loyalty if you want.//
Fine point, but I get what you're doing here in trying to suggest this is somehow Rainbow Dash's personality, but it doesn't seem like her as much as the dark one seems like Nightmare Moon. Some of the speech sounds like Dash well enough, but she's pretty lazy, too, and it's not really like her to be so forward in volunteering to help a friend; she more sits back and waits to be asked. And she's only warning Gray Scale about NMM instead of being disdainful toward her. I don't think Dash would be that respectful.

>perfectly preened slate grey//
Hyphenate the compound modifier (slate-grey) and put a comma after "preened." These are essentially coordinate adjectives.

>Yeah, but I think Nightmare just sort of tunes you and I out.//
People often use "you and I" in this manner for fear of getting it wrong. Sometimes "you and me" is correct, as in this case.

>the first sign she saw of civilisation//
Watch the repetition. You used almost the same phrasing a few paragraphs back.

>fenced in//
Another compound modifier that needs a hyphen.

>"My name is Fluttershy..."//
Using a visual effect like font size is a fairly lazy way of getting around actually having to describe the voice in narration. And with regards to this conversation, read the section on "talking heads" at the top of this thread.

>she trailed off//
You don't need to tell me she trailed off when I can already tell that from the punctuation.

>"Well, um, the only alicorns I've ever seen are the princesses and Twilight," -Fluttershy shivered- "And Nightmare Moon..."//
Please use proper dashes. Here's how to capitalize/punctuate an aside like this:
"Well, um, the only alicorns I've ever seen are the princesses and Twilight"—Fluttershy shivered—"and Nightmare Moon..."

>You sorta look like somepony else I know too, but I can't really put my hoof on it...Anyway, her cutie mark was a turquoise crescent moon on a dark purple background.//
So she can't quite remember who this is, yet perfectly remembers her cutie mark?

>Most fled with cries of 'Nightmare Moon!' when they saw her cutie mark.//
So with this much evidence as to what her name might be, what's her motivation to keep thinking of herself as Grey Scale? Might be worth seeing a bit of her thought process on this.

>So you're the one who's been scaring everypony in town, eh?//
How in the world has Rainbow even heard about this yet?

>Rainbow Dash wondered why 'Nightmare Moon' wasn't using any magic.//
Why are you changing perspective here? Check out the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.

>am not, Nightmare Moon//
Why is that comma there?

So, why was Rainbow Dash just sitting around her house if she's been warned about Nightmare Moon? She also has surprisingly little reaction to the injuries she's sustained.

New alicorns are long-standing objects of skepticism in this fandom, and with good reason. They're often too good to be true. Now, I don't see any warning signs screaming at me so far, but we're also not far enough into the story to see exactly what she's going to do. I'd encourage you to wait until you have a couple more chapters or to include a brief outline of your expected plot if you decide to resubmit, so we can see what direction the story will take.

The main issue I'd stress the most is the lack of emotional context to most of what happens. The story focuses on the events that happen at the expense of how the characters feel about it. And then when we do get some emotional content, it's handed to us bluntly instead of through the subtle cues that make for an engaging read.

I'd also caution you on overuse of "to be" verbs. There are 35 instances of "was" alone in chapter 2, and they often get used in clusters. Consider whether you could be choosing more active verbs. "To be" is just boring.
>> No. 129459
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.

>Oh Maker, don't let me be wrong...//
My first impression is that you have an awful lot of "to be" verbs in your opening scene. They're boring verbs. They don't make things happen. This is where you should be grabbing the reader's attention, and active verbs are much better at that. I'll also say that it would help solidify things a little bit if you gave an antecedent for all those pronouns. You use "she" and "her" a lot in this scene. I'd recommend replacing the first instance with something a little more definite, even if it's generic, like "that pony" or some such. Missing a comma for direct address here, too.

Second scene:
There's no reason for this to be in italics. It's already identifiable as a flashback, and it's not a small part of another scene; it's a scene all its own. The point of italics is to make something stand out, but when you make the entire scene stand out, nothing does, and it just gets irritating to read that much italic type.

>the streets had been overflowing with crowds that day, for reasons I'd never kept track of//
This is nonsensical. Why would anyone keep track of reasons why the streets would be crowded? And when not doing so is the default, pointing out that she didn't has no meaning.

>I struggled on the borders of the crowd, trying to resist the forcefulness of the music she controlled//
Watch your misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the crowd is trying to resist.

>Atop the stage of a fountain//
What is the stage of a fountain?

>And she kissed me//
She's into kissing random strangers? I hope this ends up meaning something to the story...

>I'd learnt to play their music before I could speak their tongue//
I get that equine anatomy means playing it in a different way, but their music is exactly like ours. Your word choices of "starting from scratch" and "their music" seems to imply she already had knowledge, but had to adapt, yet, like I said, aside from the physical movements, there wouldn't be any need to re-learn what she already knew.

>her speakers set perilously on my bare coffee table, surmounted by a pair of sunglasses//
This really sounds like the sunglasses are on the speakers. There is a real danger of misinterpretations like this when you string together so many descriptive elements in a sentence. And I find that you keep having these lists of participles, absolutes, etc. Take the sentence this comes from: <clause fragment>, <absolute phrase>, <absolute phrase>, <absolute phrase>, <participial phrase>. The more unusual sentence structures stick out more and more quickly create a repetitive feel when you use them too much. And this structure in particular really makes it feel like I'm readin a list. It gets in a rut.

>she looked at me curiously//
You get somewhat of a pass on telly language for a first-person narrator, but not so much when she's describing other people. What does this look like? Describe it and get me to conclude she's curious. You might want to read over the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread.

>I muttered, flicking on the coffee maker on the counter, ignoring her//
And another example of stacking elements. It's ambiguous whether they're stacked. It more readily says that the counter is ignoring her.

>like bees to a beautiful flower//
The "beautiful" is irrelevant here, since it has nothing to do with why the bees are there.

>She could have swept the classical scene under the carpet with ease.//
This is a pretty sweeping statement. Are you saying that the Equestrian music scene is so different from ours? If so, it bears mentioning. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume Equestrian tastes in music are similar to ours. Or are you saying this type of music is new to them? If so, again I need some justification.

>less and less patrons//
"Less" is for collective quantities. You want "fewer."

>her eyes featureless behind tinted glass//
So how can she see them?

>As if she could ever understand my past, that section of myself that none of them could ever understand.//
I don't see the point of the repetition. With some well-placed emphasis, you could call attention to it and thus use it for effect, but as is, it just feels like an oversight.

>like a newborn flinching from a mother's touch//
When does this ever happen? This would be a sign of a medical problem or abuse.

>reaching for the-//
Please use a proper dash.

>"Yes," I cleared my throat, "yes, I think we do."//
Your attribution has no speaking verb.

>"Better than Doe," She smirked, "and Please, call me Vee. Everyone does."//
Same thing, and it's incorrectly capitalized.

>She looked uncomfortable now//
Yeah, you're doing it again. By bluntly informing me of her emotions, you don't make me figure her out, and figuring her out is what immerses me in the story and makes me care about your characters.

>I am still learning myself//
I hope you meant that to work on multiple levels, because it does.

>So what do you play; Violin, double bass...cello?//
Misused semicolon, unnecessary capitalization.

>"Piano," She said mechanically, "Just//
The way you've punctuated this, it's one sentence, so the quote goes:
Piano, just started today...
That sounds odd to me, but maybe you wanted it that way. In any case, you'e got a bad capitalization here, and possibly a second one of those and a punctuation error.

>I heard in the media of her errors//
I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

>She was the reason they were there, I was just a sideshow//
Comma splice.

>And as the show came to a close amid roaring applause that first night, and we bowed together, side by side as equals, even in our overwhelming victory, I still managed to hate her.//
And even more oppressively dens description. Look at how front-loaded that sentence is. The main though is "I still managed to hate her," but it gets dwarfed by all the intro.

>If we walked to close together//
To/too confusion

>what I//
Extraneous space.

>dancing under candelabras of spinning gold//
Another phrase that I have no idea as to what it means.

>The theft of my cello case, and my precious necklace within.//
Why is this not indented?

>it's star flashing as I gave chase//
Its/it's confusion.

>"Sunset Shimmer!"//
Okay, you lost me. What possible motive would Sunset have for taking this? The crown had a purpose. She stole it because she needed it to accomplish something specific. She wasn't a petty thief out for monetary gain. If you want me to believe she'd want the cello (or maybe the necklace, and in that case why she knew it was there and why she wanted the cello with it), you'll need to justify it. Lugging that thing around will seriously hamper her ability to get away, and to what end? What possible use does she have for it?

Um... Twilight showed up fully clothed. Don't go all Ponyfall on me.

>to keep//
Another extraneous space.

>Her eyes, her heart, her soul ware all the same//
I'm assuming that's a typo.

>The ups and downs show you're alive//
Missing end punctuation.

Unless it's a word that has to be capitalized anyway, you only do the first one.

You capitalized that earlier.

One too many dots there.

I hit on most of the points I wanted to make in the detailed items, so just a few more.

This writing is very dense and purple. Besides the stacking up of elements I already noted, it makes sentences ramble on long enough to where they lose focus. Both of those are definite issues at times. The purpleness is subjective. I will say it didn't bother me so much, but I'm unusually tolerant of that. It will turn off a decent number of potential readers, though.

I also touched on the plot problem I had with why Sunset Shimmer stole the cello. And you never hint at whether Octavia ever finds her necklace. There are also some odd deviations, like how the counterparts all have the same names. Why would Octavia adopt a different name, unless she'd encountered that world's version of her, in which case why did nobody find it odd that they looked the same? And why would she adopt a name that doesn't really fit in that world?

We're also left with a weak resolution and odd pacing. There's no big conflict that gets solved at the end—just a reunion that was obvious from the beginning. Some stories can survive with that, and I didn't think this was bad on that front, but just that it doesn't address the aftermath. Did Vinyl come through before or after Twilight, such that they know how to return? Is that the next battle, or are they just going to stay where they are? What kind of doesn't help you here is that you actually did have a stronger conflict earlier: their learning to appreciate each other. And I wouldn't at all recommend taking that out to make the ending stronger in contrast, since it serves another function of justifying their feelings for each other, something that too many romance stories skip over and expect us to take for granted.

And a bit more aout the "to be" verbs. You had 95 instances of "was" alone. That is a huge amount for this word count. You really need to be choosing more active verbs.

So... you made me like a TaviScratch, which is no mean feat. The only things I'd say really have to be fixed are the odd mechanical things, the nonsensical phrasings, get the emotional context less telly, and the dialogue punctuation/capitalization/attribution problems. I'd also recommend you look at the plot points and element stacking/dense prose, but if they're not things you're willing to address, say so if/when you resubmit so I can let a different pre-reader evaluate it for those.
>> No. 129462
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’m your daughter! I need you to love me Mother!”//
Missing comma for direct address. And why is this entire scene in bold? For that matter, why are your flashback scenes in italics? That'd be fine if they were quite short and worked into other scenes, but when you italicize an entire scene, there's really no point. Italics make something stand out, and when an entire scene stands out, nothing in it does. I gather that you may be playing with fonts to indicate time periods, but the narration is really the best place to do that.

>her eyelids opened to reveal jade green eyes and my suspicions were confirmed//
Missing comma between clauses. And hyphenate the compound modifier.

>filly hood//
Fillyhood, as in "childhood."

>we connected in very special way//
Missing word.

>Her bright jade filly eyes alight with excitement. Before I knew it, she teleported a daisy into the center of the room.//
Inconsistent verb tense.

>took on the form of a newly blossomed bud: which she floated over and dropped in front of me//
That's not how to use a colon.

>me. Age//
Extraneous space.

>“That’s not all Mother!” my daughter said triumphantly, “I can go the other way to!”//
I suspected before, but this is the first time I could tell for sure—you're not punctuating/capitalizing dialogue and attributions correctly. And to/too confusion here.

>Everypony in the Empire experienced the magical effect of the array at the same time, yet he had been turned to solid crystal, not unlike a statue!//
She's rather unemotional about this. In fact, she's pretty unemotional, period.

>I do not know my daughter//
Missing comma for direct address again. Unless you're literally saying she doesn't know her daughter...

>He has been drained of his life and love, he is no more.//
Comma splice.

>Anger welled up in her eyes.//
And when you do give us some of her emotion, it's blunt. Have a look at the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread.

>He lived a very long life, much longer than mine//
Wait, what? He lived longer than her, yet he died first? That only makes sense if she's significantly younger, but you never explain it, so it just sounds weird.

>he had a flair for her//
Odd word choice.

>I caught her talking to him often; until one day she came forward with the truth and asked for my approval.//
Misused semicolon.

>I was not opposed in anyway//
In this sense, "any way" needs to be two words.

>to nullify the array' effect//

>She looked as if she could not believe what she was hearing, “daughter, you must disable the array until we can investigate this further.”//
Capitalization, and your attribution has no speaking action.

Italics are preferred for emphasis.

>The door burst open and a large contingent of guards took position on both sides of the room.//
And just because she declare herself queen, all the guards instantly decide to obey her? This begs so much more explanation.

>clawing at the carpet//
How does she do that without any manner of digits?

I'll be very short here. The elephant in the room is that there's really no emotional investment here. The mother is more interested in listing events for me than telling me how she felt about any of it, and the odd time you do give us any emotional information, it's done in a blunt, telly manner. We get a little more from her daughter, but she's pretty bipolar, swinging erratically back and forth between ingratiating, saccharine, and enraged.

And how does Sombra figure into all this? Just curious.
>> No. 129471
I appreciate the feedback. It shows at least one person has read my story! As far as your review is concerned, this is my reply.

I've made some grammatical changes in the story, as well as a few minor changes in content. I should add that this story was the adaption of another story that I wrote a few months ago that I couldn't get to "work" right.

Overall, I stand by the content. Writing is art after all. Would you dismiss Van Gogh's "The Night Cafe" because the pool table is out of perspective?

>> No. 129472
Forgive me that something I wrote in the space of two days and never looked at again to keep myself from slitting my wrists offended you so greatly, O wise pre-reader.
>> No. 129475
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'd encourage you to separate the first two sentences as their own paragraph, as they're the only ones that actually have anything to say about the plot. And then decide if that's enough.


>except for the yellow eyes with red irises and the two mismatched horns//
This description is a bit obtrusive. With the perspective and the way this statement is rendered, it suggests that Twilight had to gather all this information before concluding who she sees, but she should recognize him instantly. Besides, her surprise is a bit dissonant with listing details like this.

Italics are preferred over all caps or bold for emphasis, except in the case of Royal Canterlot Voice.

>Twilight was angry enough to swipe at him with her hoof, planning to grab him and drag him down from where he was hanging upside down from the rafters, but he swung backward out of her way with ease, pulled his head back up to the level of his body, and poofed, to reappear perched on the back of the chair at the desk on the other side of the room like some absurdly huge, misshapen crow.//
Mega-sentence ahoy! These can work in a stream-of-consciousness way, but in a more standard narration, they just tend to ramble on so long that they lose focus without having a stylistic reason for doing so. By the time I get to the end, I've forgotten what the beginning is about. It changes track so many times—if these are all important ideas to cover, let them each get some better focus by splitting this iver a few sentences. If they aren't all important, then cut them.

>she said angrily.//
Check out the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. You seem to do okay in this department, but right at the beginning of a story is a bad place for telling, since you need to forge a connection with the characters pretty quickly.

>"Are there any dead ones?"//
And this conversation is starting to get a little talking-heads. I have a section on that up top, too. Inject a little more emotion into what they're saying. I imagine a nice expression on her face while she says this, and DIscord's reaction could be funny, but you're making me come up with all that. This is your job.

Three dots in an ellipsis.

>While you're at it why don't you strike a dramatic pose?//
Missing a comma between the clauses.

>one speaking//
Extraneous space.

>Had she heard that right.//
It's a question, right?

You're using "suddenly" and "abruptly" quite a bit recently. Besides getting repetitive, it suggests that you're relying a bit too much on the narration to create this effect. Unless you telegraph an occurrence, it's surprising by default, just because it appears at all. You can heighten that surprise by using a cutoff or a paragraph break, for instance.

>at the level of right next to her ear//
Awkwardly phrased.

>Are you going to bet your library on the belief that I wouldn't dare to do something randomly destructive for a stupid reason?//
And is he really willing to risk Fluttershy's friendship and Celestia's trust by antagonizing her?

>She wished Spike was here and not over Rarity's//
Missing a word, and when using hypothetical/wishful language, you need subjunctive mood. Fortunately, it's easy to use. "She wished Spike were here..." It's always "were."

>Swing batta!//
Missing comma for direct address.

>(or maybe a rock farm – Twilight had never been to one, so she wasn't sure how they differed from a quarry)//
Parentheses really work best when relaying articles of writing, or maybe in a first-person narration. This could better be conveyed with commas or dashes.

>of rock//
You can cut this, since you've already used "rock quarry" earlier in the sentence. That or remove the earlier instance of "rock."

>I don't even sleep and it put me to sleep.//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>all the others, which was//
Subject/verb agreement.

I think "limboed" would be fine.

>chest, but he was suddenly so small he barely came up to her chest//
Watch the repetitive wording.

>long skinny//
Coordinate adjectives need a comma between them.

>bowlegs which bowed//

>His tongue licking her side.//
I have to think you meant for that to be a comma.

You've been good about this so far, so it must just be an oversight, but when you have ! or ? on an italicized word, italicize it too.

>angle , so//
Extraneous space.

>instead of using pointing her horn//
Extraneous word.

>Twilight dropped onto four knees, kneeling//
Yes, that would be the definition.

>Discord's look of smug triumph changed to alarm.//
Yeah, you need to show me this stuff.

>Twilight lowered her head, letting her bangs fall over her eyes and narrowing them so much it would look through her mane like her eyes were closed.//
The last bit is just an irrelevant detail, and since Twilight is the perspective character, it speaks to an intent on her part to want it to look that way, but for no apparent reason.

Same deal with the italicized punctuation.

>laughing uproariously//
It sticks in my head that you've used this phrasing eariler in the story. The more unusual word choice you make, the more likely it'll sound repetitive if you use it again.

>I'll give credit where credit is due, Discord. You make good ice cream.//
She's being awfully accommodating here, given how furious she was about the whole thing from the beginning. It's giving me mood whiplash. I can get that she's pretty self-satisfied here, which can smooth over her mood, but you need to give me that context. I'm not getting much of anything to indicate her mood.

>given my level of superiority//
You'll normally set off participial phrases with commas.

You've been capitalizing this.

>He took the rest of his ice cream sundae, all scoops, and dumped the entire bowl over his mouth, eating all the ice cream in a more or less single large gulp.//
That basically says the same thing three times.

Don't use the comma when there's other punctuation there.

>life or death//
Hyphenate the compound modifier.

To me the two biggest problems with this story are the amount of telly language and the pacing. The number of times you pass up the opportunity to give me emotional context at all (talking heads falls under this as well) and how often you just spoon-feed me the emotions limit the degree to which I'm drawn into the story. And as to the pacing... the whole fight scene was extremely drawn out, the detailed actions pretty superfluous, and most of it ended up being unimportant. I can't help feeling like you could have summarized chunks of it without losing anything. That's really where the story dragged, but that could also be a result of the lack of an emotional reaction from Twilight toward what was happening.

I'll also say that the conflict was on the weak side, but not irredeemably so. Twilight makes an arrangement that I can't see her enjoying—she hasn't expressed a desire for a frenemy, after all. And while we do get an insight into Discord's character, it's not like either one of them actually changed as a result of their interaction. But that's more a comment than a criticism—there's enough here to be serviceable, and it's also an artifact of the story you've decided to tell. But I will encourage you to punch it up a bit. After the reveal, the story wraps up pretty quickly without anyone being affected by the outcome. Discord seems more matter-of-fact than happy, and Twilight is more bland than... I don't know what she should be. Terrified?

This story's not too far away. Just give me the emotional context that will connect me better with the characters and provide more meaning to the ending, and I could see this going up on the blog.
>> No. 129476
I would not, in fact, dismiss it for the pool table being out of perspective, because the pool table belongs there and fits with its surroundings.

I was not offended by the story at all. I'm just saying I agree with an earlier criticism you received and decided to ignore. I guess I just don't understand why you explicitly asked WRITE for criticism and then again for that implicit in submitting to Equestria Daily, then bristled at actually getting it.
>> No. 129478
There's a difference between honest criticism and being a nitpicky dick for its own sake.
Running through and correcting everything when what I asked was "is this sufficient for you round-table discussiony dickwits", that's the latter.
Have no fear, between this and others like yourself I don't plan on pony-wording anytime soon. It's obvious I don't have any talent, why should I do what makes me happiest and makes me feel fulfilled.
>> No. 129479

Lolz. Another butthurt writer. Not sure why you bother asking for help if you're just gonna spit in its face.
>> No. 129480
Would I have spent two hours reading your story and compiling notes on how to improve it, then post those notes in a place nobody else would see them if my intent was to insult you?

I have a feeling that if all I'd done is give you a flat "no," you'd b upset that you didn't know what needed to be fixed. So you can accept my help and write that much better the next time. Or maybe your way works fine, too.
>> No. 129485
If you'd given a flat no I would have gone on my way.
>> No. 129489
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.

>Placing the large angel pony on top of the tree//
More a commentary than a problem with the story, but this makes me wonder what constitutes an angel in Equestria. Though they already named a rabbit that, so it doesn't conflict with canon.

>Placing the large angel pony on top of the tree, Applejack climbed back down the ladder while she blissfully hummed an old Hearth carol to herself.//
Okay, let's revisit this sentence. Participles imply concurrent action, so you have her placing the angel on top of the tree while she's climbing down. That doesn't work.

>to carry it back in to the basement//
I could see this if she were outside, but she's not, so... lose that "in" or change it to "down."

>The sun had begun to set over Equestria that was freshly covered in blanket of snow//
There's snow across all of Equestria? Seems unlikely, and the phrasing's off a bit, too.

>Reaching her hoof into the tree fetching her sister's present, she trotted it over and gleefully dropped it from her mouth into the stocking.//
Missing an "and." Without it, this says the tree was fetching the present. And you have the same synchronization problem with your participles again. She's reaching into the tree at the same time she's trotting over to the hearth. I suspect this will be a recurring issue.

>She treasured the ancient holiday's traditions faithfully observed throughout the generations before her;//
Misused semicolon. You don't have an independent clause after it. You're providing a clarification or definition here, so a colon would be appropriate.

That's generally used as a singular, collective term.

>But most of all, Applejack found joy in the spirit of friendship and giving that brought her family together even more intimately after a long year of hard work on the farm.//
There's a fine line here. You're pretty bluntly telling me how Applejack feels about all of this, but you're mitigating it some. The list of traditions you gave is a step in the right direction. Think along those lines here. Give me a couple of short examples here to make this come to life, so I can see it through Applejack's eyes instead of having to take the narrator's word for it.

>Ah' //
What in the world is that apostrophe for? What letters are you contracting?

>who, unbeknownst to her sister, was hiding under a couch in the opposite room.//
Insofar as the narrator is following Applejack around, she wouldn't know this. Now, you could be going for a very objective viewpoint, which is okay, but it makes the narrative less personal, which may not work as well for this story. That's your choice, but I can't help thinking that you're spoiling a surprise by telling me this now. If it's actually important, hold it for when it comes up later.

>She knew well what her sister was referring to.//
So you are taking on a pretty subjective narration then. Yeah, best not to tell me things Applejack couldn't know.

And since this is a stand-in for "I," you'll need to capitalize it. That said, the reader knows how the Apple family talks, and they'll largely fill that in for you. Don't go overboard on using imitative spellings for their accent. All of the "Ah" and "ya" spellings are over the top.

Again, what possible purpose does that apostrophe serve?

>This was met with another sigh//
You're using quite a bit of passive voice, too. There are times it provides a valid shift of focus, but all it's doing here is sapping your sentences of action.

>appeased her heart//
Appeased? That's a really odd word choice.

>she shrugged//
How do you shrug a sentence? You need a speaking verb, or else don't use this as an attribution.

>called out to her grandmother from the doorway, who was at the stove//
You need to put the "who" clause right against "grandmother," or it sounds like the doorway is at the stove.

>Howdy Granny!//
Missing comma for direct address.

>has only increased in excitability and amiable silliness with her growing older//
Verb tense, and this is just awkwardly phrased. First, you can assume that readers will already know who Granny Smith is and what she's like. Second, this sentence just doesn't flow naturally. Does this sound like a sentence you might hear someone say, or that a movie voice-over guy might use? Even if you're using very fancy, flowery language, you need to make it sounds like natural speech.

>looked back at her granddaughter winked//
Missing word.

>Though slowed just a little bit in her mind as a result of her age, she was always aware of her granddaughter's pure intentions and understood her concerns.//
More head-hopping. Check out the section on that at the top of this thread.

>She is always delighted//
Another inconsistency in verb tense.

>frozen in joyful fear upon hearing her big sister looking for her in the room she was in//
You have redundant instances of "in," and just more head-hopping (within the same sentence, no less) and awkward phrasing. Read your story out loud. Does this sound like something you'd say if you were telling a story of something that had happened to you as a child?

>With all her excitement returned//
Have a look at the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. You need to give me the evidence and get me to conclude she's excited, not just tell me she is.

>As Apple Bloom giggled wildly and struggled frantically to run away, her sister playfully grabbed her and tickled her awfully, as Apple Bloom howled with laughter and futilely attempted to free herself.//
It's repetitive to have two "as" clauses in the sentence like this, and that's not even accounting for the problems it causes with the timing of events.

>Despite it's struggle//
Its/it's confusion.

There's just more of the same, so I won't keep pointing out detailed items. The biggest things here are:

Telly language. You need to get us to engage with the characters more, and spoon-feeding us their emotions isn't the way to do that.

Perspectives. Your narrator isn't at all smooth is switching between characters, and I'm not sure that any of the switching is even necessary to the story.

Phrasing. The bulk of the narration just feels unnatural. I could't imagine a real person saying any of this. You have to keep up a good flow to the story, or the writing itself gets in the way. If I'm constantly stumbling over what I read, it just reminds me that I'm reading something and not immersed in a story.

The Apple family accent is overdone. You don't want that slowing down the reader at all.

Overload of "to be" verbs and passive voice. You have 118 instances of "was" alone. These are very boring verbs. You need to choose more active verbs.

Finally, everything is just over-explained. This is related to the telly language, but you spend so much time delving into and spelling out in great detail everyone's motivations and minutiae of trains of thought. You have to leave some of that up to the reader. Subtlety is your friend. You have to give enough evidence to clue the reader in, but then stand back and let him draw his own conclusions. Give your readers some credit.
>> No. 129495
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.

>Bringing the detestable object in front of her eyes, her other hoof slowly began to unscrew the cap.//
Look carefully at what this says. The other hoof is bringing the object in front of her eyes. This doesn't make sense.

>As the cap was removed, a deafening silence was released into the bathroom.//
Are you sure you mean "as" and not something like "after"? I don't see how the silence would be released while the cap is still coming off.

>As she washed away every last trace of that horrid paste//
This is the third straight sentence with an "as" clause. Besides the unintentional synchronization problems that overusing this structure can cause, it just gets your writing in a rut to see that over and over again. Of course, not all of them will be used in this sense, but I count 55 instances of the word in your story. That's a lot for this length. It suggests you're relying on that sentence structure too much, which creates a repetitive feel.

>liquid magma that would boil her skin off, and freezing cold ice-water siphoned directly from the north pole//
Unnecessary comma, and you're dangerously close to a meme there.

>she delicately stepped inside the rushing waterfall, and opened her mouth//
Check out the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>an impressive array//
Be careful expressing opinions. If the narrator's not deep in a character's perspective, such that he's expressing that character's opinion, you generally want to keep him neutral. And this wouldn't be Octavia's opinion, since it's normal for her.

I assume you can see the problem.

>small, white dollop of innocent looking//
You don't need that comma, as they're hierarchical adjectives, and don't forget the hyphen in your compound modifier.

>gorgeous, mulberry eyes//
Hierarchical adjectives again, and watch that narrative opinion again.

>off the an intricately detailed //
Extraneous word.

>Eventually, she lifted up a comb, and scrupulously straightened out her mane, curling her bangs around a precisely calculated curve//
I've passed over a few of these, but you've got a few participles that are misplaced modifiers. By their proximity in the sentence, it sounds like the mane is curling her bangs.

>She trotted out of the bathroom, picking up a white collar with a pink bow-tie//
Same thing. It sounds like the bathroom is picking up these things. And "bow tie."

>neck, until it rested upon her neck//
Watch the word repetition.

>on the front-page again//
Another inexplicable hyphenation.

>as it was lowered to the floor//
I don't see a need for the passive voice here, and it's sapping the action from your sentence.

>Another quiet sound filled the living room as the case was gently closed and pushed across the soft velvet of the couch. A bow was drawn, carefully, across the strings.//
More unnecessary passive voice. Consider how it's detaching her from these actions. She's your focus (and only) character—cutting that connection just leaves these actions as strangely disembodied.

>a grand hall. Octavia's band was performing at one of the most famous concert halls in Canterlot.//
And as famous as it is, the best our narrator can muster is "a grand hall."

>Frederic sighed. "Where's Harpo?"//
This conversation is a tad talking heads. There's a section on that at the top of this thread, too. The few character actions are all overly terse to the point of being uninteresting, and only about half suggest an emotion. While, I'm overjoyed that you're not being telly here, I do need to get some emotional context.

Write out numbers, unless they're exceedingly long.

>iterations of measures 40-50 of the first movement, and even during their playthrough of the coda//
Okay, I'm a music guy, and I have to take issue with some of the terminology here. "Iteration" is an odd term to use for this. Depending on the shade of meaning you want and the timing, perhaps something like verse, reprisal, or recapitulation might work. And any movement could potentially have a coda, so don't presume that "the" coda automatically means the last one.

You're getting a bit telly here. A facial expression might sell this better than bluntly giving me her mood.

Accepted spellings are til, 'til, and till.

This group isn't really something I'd call a band. Probably something like a quartet, chamber ensemble, or some such. Band implies more pop music or a larger group of winds only or winds and percussion. And given what they're playing, your use of words like "wash" and "ripple" really only reference the slow part of that piece. You're not going to evoke any imagery of the up-tempo part?

>a lone painter caught her eye//
Outdoor painting and music during Hearth's Warming? Sounds awfully cold. Having done it, I can say it is possible, but it is miserable, and it's tough to keep your instrument in tune.

>she quickly trotted back towards the stallion, intent on solving the mystery for good//
And another misplaced modifier. It sounds like the stallion wants to solve the mystery.

>stall - which was more like a collection of various belongings than a stall - Octavia//
Please use proper dashes.

>Octavia hesitated//
That's not a speaking action.



As a verb, "envelops."

>Beauty Brass’//
If you're married to this, fine, but the few style guides that endorse this practice have mostly bowed to common usage. Traditionally, a singular term always takes the full apostrophe-s.

>in an expression of shock//
Telling again. Watch it. You can get away with it sometimes, but this is a pretty big emotional moment.

>Yeah, right.//
Well... why does she do it, then?

>The stallion nodded in understanding.//
Besides being telly, the "in understanding" is empty filler that's completely redundant with the nod.

>the ladies restroom//
Missing an apostrophe.

>Octavia cast one last sidelong glance at the stallion who had unwittingly stolen her heart before vanishing into the ladies restroom.//
Besides the repetitive use of "ladies [sic] restroom," this really sounds like the stallion was the one who went in there since the "who" clause is right there with him.

>out of place stallion//
Another compound modifier needing hyphenation.

The second hyphen shouldn't be there. Now, look over the last couple paragraphs. She's sad. Her actions say so. But the narration, which is deeply in her perspective, is decidedly stoic, even slightly humorous. There's a serious disconnect as to what kind of mood you're trying to create.

>She could find the shop where he worked, and perhaps they could find//
Watch the repetition again.

Just used that word two sentences ago. The more unusual a word, the less you can get away with reusing it.

>had began//
had begun

>The pain that radiated up her foreleg startled her.//
Again, this is coming across as a bit sterile. Let the narration reflect her mood. If it startled her, if should startle the narrator as well, since you're using an objective viewpoint.

>like glittering drops of sadness//
Since that's exactly what they are, it's not a particularly effective simile.

>she found herself//
That's a phrase commonly overused by inexperienced writers, and I'm starting to notice how often you use it.

>Trotting along the cobblestone path, Octavia's quiet whimpering was the only sound that broke the silence of the night.//
A genuine dangling participle. Who's trotting? It can't be Octavia, since she doesn't even appear in the sentence. Only her whimpering does, but it can't trot.

>towards the stars, listening to the silence of the night, interrupted only by her own sniffling//
Beware stacking up descriptive elements like this. It can make sentences clunky. And stacking participles can be risky, as it can be ambiguous whether they're nested. For example, does "interrupted..." describe "night," "silence," or "stars"?

>Certainly she had done plenty of stupid things, it was the nature of being a foal.//
Comma splice.

>She'd gone to the academy because that's where everypony who studied music went to.//
Axe that last "to."

>No, she had to be whatever they wanted her to be.//
This is the part I don't follow. Certainly, she has free time to play or compose what she likes. In the absence of direct evidence from canon, I have to assume Equestria isn't too different from Earth, and musicians frequently cross genres without any sort of derogatory treatment. If you want to paint an Equestria that's substantially different, you have to get me there.

>they could go buck themselves//
This really smacks of fan service, particularly since canon use of "buck" has no profane connotations. You don't have to get cutesy to make your point.

And looking at your A/N, I realize you really, really want to make a societal point here, but I'm nowhere close to being sold that dating this stallion would be "throwing her career away."

Summing-up time.

Mechanically, there were a few comma flubs and a bunch of places where hyphens needed to be or shouldn't have been. A few obtrusive examples of passive voice, an over-reliance on "as" clauses and participial phrases with their attendant timing issues and misplaced modifiers. These didn't kill the story, but they need attention. Similarly, look at how many "to be" verbs you use. For the "was" form alone, I counted 136. That's a lot for this word count. These are inherently boring verbs. You ought to be choosing more active verbs.

You went into present tense briefly, and it's unclear to me whether that was a stylistic choice. It could have worked, but it needs to create an effect, and since it was an isolated incident, I couldn't pick up on a thematic purpose for it. Frankly, it felt more like an oversight.

I wasn't getting as much emotion from the story as I'd like. At times, Octavia shows no reaction to things that should be affecting her, at others, that reaction is told bluntly instead of shown to me, and the narrator rarely feels tuned into her in these moments.

Last item: I got quite a bit of dissonance between her love interest and her disdain of high society. You keep hammering me over the head about how bad the aristocracy is, and it felt like I read the same screed three or four times, to the point this starts to read like a personal soapbox than a pony story. It really ends up overshadowing the love interest, too. A common problem in shipping stories is that we're presented with the happy couple and immediately expected to care. We need to see some interaction, history, proof that these characters have chemistry so we'll become invested in their relationship. So go back to the scene where they first meet, the paragraph that starts: "They talked for almost an hour..." You gloss over a lot of their interaction in summary. There's not a lot here to paint a picture, if you'll pardon the reference. Give me more detail here, make it obvious how they feel about each other, show me what thoughts run through her head as she spends time with him. You need to draw me into this moment, as it sets up everything that follows. Put her emotion, her thrill, her giddiness, her joy on full display here, and it'll bring the whole story alive.

As to not tagging this story as shipping... well, I'm on the fence. Less than half the story is spent on the romance, yet it's what drives everything that happens. If it were my story, I'd use that tag, particularly considering the advice I just gave you, but I'll leave that up to your discretion.

I actually liked this story. Not that that's required—a good story is a good story, whether or not I like it—but I think you can make this light up with a little more attention. Give this another whirl and submit again when you're ready. I'd like to be able to post it on the blog.

Last edited at Tue, Jan 14th, 2014 21:55

>> No. 129502
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. However, there wasn't much to point out for this story, so I was pretty thorough.

>their heads held down in shame//
The "in shame" is pretty telly and redundant with the action.

>That’s all!?//
It's more common to italicize a ! or ? that goes with an italicized word.

>With them two gone//

>she turned to face Twilight, jumping in place just a bit as she saw her friend//
A common danger of participles: misplaced modifiers. Who's jumping? Most writers would mean for Dash to be, but the grammatical assumption is Twilight. In any case, this one's perfectly ambiguous.

>as if visibly swallowing her pride//
The problem with making a simile for a visual effect on her is that she's the perspective character, so it's oddly detached for her to think about herself like this.

>I-don’t-see-the-problem expression//
While the description is cute, it does nothing to help me picture it. I don't know what this would look like.

>“But Cloudsdale is at its apogee from Ponyville?”//
Huh? Canon maps imply its location is fixed.

>it’ll be night and I won’t be able to pull them all by myself in time to start the snowfall//
Needs a comma between the clauses.

>a look of complete disbelief//
Yeah, you need some help with telling. Read over the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>Spike asked, finally getting a chance to add his own thoughts into the conversation//
Wait, when did he show up? For that matter, how did Twilight get there? It's peculiar to have your characters pop up out of nowhere.

>And with that//
Phrases like this, in which the narration refers to itself, are a bad idea.

Wait, these are your scene markers? They're a bit... stealthy. I'd encourage you to use a longer string of characters or the bbcode [hr], and leave a blank line after it.

>itself - she//
Use a proper dash, please.

>an eyebrow raised in curiosity//
More of that telling.

>her tone a mix of professional and wonder//
That's pretty telly too. Tone's a tricky thing to get at—you'll probably have an easier time of describing her actions.

>giggled with amusement//

>laughing stock//
One word.

>blinked - in all of the years she’s had//
Dash and verb tense.

Really odd for her to put these quotes on here when it'd be the norm for her.

>she let her body finally slump with the weariness it felt//
You could drive this home with some more vivid and extensive description here. It'd bring this part alive.

>* * *//
Give me line breaks around this so it actually stands out.

>A soft pop!//
Don't do onomatopoeia in the narration. It's a valid word. Just use it normally.

>reaching over the bed and nuding a snoring lump on the bed//
Repetition of bed, and a very unfortunate typo.

>a look of perplexion upon her face//
Still no.

>with a worried frown//

>so sure in herself//
The phrasing I've always heard is "sure of herself," but if this is one you've heard where you are, then go with it.

>distances - from//
Maybe these are just en dashes that aren't translating to FiMFiction well, but they sure look like hyphens to me.

>her tone one of defeat//
C'mon. Show this through her body language. it's how you connect me to the character. You get me to put myself in her mindset and fiure her out.

>Twilight protested, setting herself firmly on the cloud and closing her eyes.//
You're falling into a repetitive sentence pattern. Look at your dialogue attributions. They're almost always "Speech," she said, <participial phrase or absolute phrase>. It's getting in a rut.

>A warm pulsing sensation slid up her horn as she concentrated, imagining herself, Rainbow Dash and their blanket of clouds and then imagining them above Ponyville.//
Watch your perspective. You started the scene in Rainbow Dash's head, so why are you wandering over th Twilight's now? Look at the section on head-hopping at the top of this thread. The important questions are: Is this information necessary? Could have have still been related through Dash's perspective based on emotional cues she sees? Or could the prior part have been converted to Twilight's perspective? It may be that this is warranted, but give it some thought.

>but this time you’re making an object disappear and reappear instantaneously. But it has to be in that bubble.//
The back-to-back "but" clauses give a double-negative feel.

>Rainbow Dash blinked, trying to make sense of everything.//
And see, you're just as quickly back in Dash's head. If you couldn't stay with Twilight more than a couple paragraphs, it probably wasn't that important.

>“You mean when Pinkie Pie decides to be obnoxious? Yeah.”//
By this point, the conversation is getting a little "talking heads." There's a section on this at the top of the thread, too.

>snowfall - they//

>Dash offered a small chuckle that had not even a hint of amusement to Twilight’s ears.//
And you're back in Twilight's perspective again... The early parts of the story didn't do this. Here's another spot where this would be a lot more powerful if you painted me a picture of her body language and facial expression.

>Peppermint Hot Apple Cider//
Why is this capitalized?

>There was more to it than that, Twilight knew.//
And one paragraph later, back in Twilight's head. See how jerky this is?

>She could hear the disappointment in Rainbow Dash’s voice//
Yes, but she's looking right at her! What does she see?

>finishing her mug in one final gulp//
"Finishing" and "final" are pretty redundant.

>her eyebrow raised with curiosity and suspicion//
Please... no more...

>shaking her head in amused disbelief
*weeps openly*

Kidding aside, this was a pretty good story. Most of the fixes needed are easy ones. Fix the telling, the repetitive dialogue attributions, the few hyphen/dash issues, and please space out the scene breaks.

Those shouldn't bee too hard. Ironing out the perspective shifts will take some more thought, however. And the last thing I want to bring up is the underwhelming end. It finally snowed after all that trouble, and... nobody was that excited about it, except Pinkie. Everyone else just threw some offhand comment out, and Applejack seemed to be about to get on her soapbox about class warfare. It's weird. Things just fizzled out. And then you close on a line that seems like it was trying to be funny, but was just left hanging there. And if it's really that close to bedtime, why are none of them showing any signs of being tired? Why aren't the ones who are known to have family spending this holiday with them? And those poor weather factory workers who had to pull a late shift on Hearth's Warming Eve...

I get that you had a conflict built up, but you defused it rather than resolved it. What bad thing would have happened if it had never snowed? Really, nothing, since everyone was resigned to that without any apparent ill effects. It had no teeth. Make it so that it matters how things turn out.
>> No. 129506
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.

>There's a new bar in town; Raised In A Barn//
Misused semicolon. You're giving a definition or clarification, so go with a colon.

>And, Vinyl//
There's no reason for that comma.

>"What? I don't have a drinking problem!"//
>Berry Punch was appalled at the accusation of her having a drinking problem.//
Well... yes. You're basically repeating what the quote already said. And then you're conveying some emotional context in a very blunt fashion. It's better to present me with her body language, facial expression, etc, and get me to interpret her emotion. See the section at the top of this thread on show versus tell. Also, you never do tell me what's going on in this scene. Where is she? Who's talking to her? And if Berry's somewhere discussing a drinking problem, why in the world does she think it'll be a good idea to work in a bar?

>The mare - whose color she could not remember after that night, nor the color of her mane, just her icy blue eyes - she was speaking to replied://
Please use proper dashes, not hyphens. And why are you placing the speech in a different paragraph than the attribution?

>clearly exasperated//
Show me this. Writing's so much more powerful when you get me into the characters' heads and make me identify with them. By telling, you short-circuit that.

>Okay dear!//
Missing comma for direct address.

>Berry Punch made a quick gallop for the knob of her cottage//
The cottage presumably has more than one door... and even if not, that just sounds weird.

>Vinyl waved the thing in her hand.//
Wait, what? She has a hand?

You're inconsistent about italicizing question marks and exclamation marks that go with italicized words.

>"Plus, I'll make sure you don't drink too much," - Vinyl winked - "And even if you do end up having a hangover, I'll look after Piña Colada."//
Here's how to do an aside in a quote. Pay attention to the capitalization and punctuation.
"Plus, I'll make sure you don't drink too much—" Vinyl winked "—and even if you do end up having a hangover, I'll look after Piña Colada."

>"Lyra's sick and Bon-Bon has a voice acting gig."//
These conversations get dangerously close to talking heads at times. There's a section on that up top, too.

>"Already coming," Vinyl went into puppy-dog mode.//
There's no speaking action in your attribution.

>"It was good, mama," Piña Colada poured some milk into a cup.//
Same thing.

No apostrophe here. And why are you using human brands? Does it really matter that it's specifically Oreos?

>letting her mind wonder//
You probably meant "wander."

>Berry Punch put opened the door//

>Berry Punch did not make much money at the shoe factory she worked at and did not have much money for luxuries.//
Repetitive wording, and you really have to find a more elegant way of working expository information into the narration without just dropping it on me.

>Taste Of Neighsa was the Neighsan restaurant Sweet And Sour worked at.//
Same thing re: inelegant exposition.

>"People love the new Sweet And Sour Chicken,"//
Is that implying they eat chicken or a "Scootaloo is a chicken" reference? Either way, just no.

Why is this capitalized?

>she heard a knock on her door and Berry Punch walked down and opened the door//
Missing comma between the clauses and repetitive use of "door."

>her hair was pulled back into a French braid and she was wearing a green skirt with a flower tucked into her hair.//
Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions, too.

Italics are preferred over bold or all caps for emphasis.

>The walk to Raised In A Barn//
Why does the size of the indent change for the rest of the story here?

>it said 'Raised In A Barn'//
Given that we already know that to be the bar's name, I don't see the point in saying so.

>An Hour And Several Drinks Later...//
Why don't you actually show us some of this?

That is a really, really, really strange name for a pony.

>and would be due any day now//
I see you did your research on the gestation period of ponies, but she was already showing at the beginning of that eleven months.

I guess I'm kind of at a loss as to what I can say succinctly about this. It's very telly, for oe. It's also incredibly rushed. None of the scenes give the reader any breathing room to get to know the characters or watch them react to what's happening. It just all blows by so quickly. There's also not much in the way of conflict. A few events happened, but what was the importance of it all? What was at stake? There needs to be something that a main character wants and a struggle to get it, with the implication that something bad will happen if she doesn't get it. That's really the foundation for writing, except for a pure character piece, but those are hard to write well.
>> No. 129507
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.

>new found//
One word.

>King and Queens monstrous army//
Missing apostrophe.

>Or will they witness the destruction of their home, first hand?//
Unnecessary comma and "firsthand." Also note that rhetorical questions in a synopsis are pretty weak.

>The raging heat is felt across its dirt streets//
Given that we have no characters yet, who's feeling the heat?

>darkened sky is revealed by plumes of smoke//
Smoke reveals the sky? And dark sky at that? I have no idea what you mean.

>Her dark indigo mane waves in the thermals that now plague the air and her wings ache with every furious beat.//
See the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>She lands near the centre square of the town weakened and out of breath.//
You'll normally set off a participle with a comma.

>smoke filled air//
Missing a hyphen in your compound descriptor.

>“Hello.” She calls.//
Also see the section on dialogue punctuation and capitalization.

>as she begins to feel emotions of anxiety and loss//
Yow. It doesn't get much more telly than that. I also prescribe the section on show versus tell.

>Without warning her emotions take control of her as, she in unable to stop crying//
Some botched syntax there.

>The young Alicorns eyes//
Missing apostrophe.

>As the Alicorn begins to focus on the ruins, her heartbeat quickens, soon it is the only sound she can hear.//
Comma splice.

>lone walls//
The fact that "walls" is plural kind of defeats the use of "lone."

>its limbs flex and bends//
Subject/verb agreement.

>a might bellow//

>Their wings bearing the silver glint that broke her mesmerized state.//
Fragment and close repetition of the "silver glint."

>One of them turns; her brilliant green eyes fixated on the shocked princess.//
Misused semicolon.

I've noticed by now that it's incredibly rare for you to start a sentence with anything but the subject.

>More footsteps begin to echo in the town.//
This is the 15th of 35 instances of "begin" in your story. Besides being a nearly useless verb, you really need to avoid repetition like this. It gets your writing in a rut.

>Gale jokingly jests.//
That's pretty redundant.

Why are none of these ponies surprised by the changelings' size? Besides Chrysalis, they've never seen one any bigger than a normal pony.

There's really no plot or characterization to speak of yet, so I'm mostly looking at the mechanics, and I've already spelled out what the consistent problems are. You're also well below the required word count for a submission.
>> No. 129509
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.

>Queen Leisha watched over her kingdom proudly. She smiled as her subjects pranced around in small happy jumps of excitement.//
And you're already off on the wrong foot. The beginning of a story is an especially bad place to use telly language, since you need to make your characters immediately engaging. Check out the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>The little fillies and colts loved her, and played with her whenever she was out walking-which was quite often.//
Please use a proper dash. And also see the section on comma use with conjunctions.

>"My Queen?" A guard asked from behind.//
...and the section on dialogue punctuation/capitalization.

>Yes Commander Silver?//
Missing comma for direct address.

>the up most respect//

Misplaced apostrophe.

Spell out numbers unless they're quite lon.

I'm getting very muted emotional responses from everyone except the queen, and hers are completely out of context—she keeps wondering what she's done, but we don't see any physical evidence of how it makes her feel.

>He look at her//
Verb form.

>The silver fur looks familiar... But there are a ton of silver coated stallions in the kingdom. His light green eyes are different though. I've only known 1 silver coated green eyed pony in the kingdom. He must be him.//
This lacks in subtlety. It's just leading me by the hand through what I'm supposed to think. That's not a good way to keep the reader interested.

>No No No.//

>That sure shut her up.//
And why the sudden jump into his perspective? Have a look at the section oon head hopping, too.

>"Who are you?//
Some uneven indentations in this chapter.

>Your in the kingdom of jewels.//
Your/you're confusion.

>That is why I helped this kingdom!!!//
One exclamation mark is plenty.

>It felt as if something had began to corrupt her heart.//
So show me! Don't make me take the narrator's word for it.

>Not to long ago//
To/too confusion.

>After weeks of meals that would make your stomach turn over//
Why is your narrator addressing me?

Only capitalize the first part of a stutter unless it's a proper noun.

~ is not proper punctuation.

>Pearl was sitting there smiling, and finally said,
>"Glad your feeling better."
Why are you putting a paragraph break between the attribution and dialogue?

Okay, there's just more of the same. Besides the consistent mechanical problems, the emotional context either isn't there or is done without any subtlety, and I keep encountering awkwardly worded sentences. You also have repetitive sentence structures. Look how rarely you begin a sentence with anything but the subject, and look how many of those opening words are the same. And look at how many "to be" verbs you use. There are very boring verbs. You need to choose more active language. There were 34 instances of "was" alone in the last chapter. There's just a lot that needs to be addressed with the writing itself before I can even look at characterization and plot.
>> No. 129513
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.

>Their Queen//
Why is "Their" capitalized? And you didn't capitalize "Queen" the other time you used it.

>egg sacks//
egg sacs

>Queen Chrysalis sat in the middle of the swarm, looking smugly forward at the platform and the five ordinary changeling drones that sat upon it.//
Participles can often be misplaced modifiers. By their proximity in the sentence, it sounds like the swarm is looking smugly forward.

>Off to the right, one of the changelings watching the proceedings transformed into a gray stallion, “Those changelings are terrible. I hope the Princesses do something about them.”//
You've punctuated this like an attribution, but there's no speaking verb.

>One to the left turned into a unicorn mare, “Don't worry sweetie, those changelings are gone.//
And you're doing it again.

>in an ever more disgusted face//
Don't just tell me she's disgusted. Describe how she acts and appears so that I deduce her disgust. Have a look at the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. For that matter, also read the part about talking heads, as this conversation has shown no emotional context for anyone by Chrysalis.

>as We wish to institute an incentive-based pay scale, as We feel it is more effective//
Watch stacking up the "as" clauses like that. It makes your writing repetitive.

>A-Are you sure?//
Only capitalize the first part of a stutter, unless it's a proper noun.

>you know, the basics//
Wait, why is the narrator talking to me?

Write out numbers this short.

>Pandemonium enveloped the room.//
I... don't even know where to start. There's playing it dry, but this is to the extreme. And I have no idea what's happening. You're asking me to invent the funny scene for you, but this kind of humor comes from surprise, and I'm not going to be surprised by something I thought of myself.

>Can thou believest that?!//
Why does she speak in this manner for the grand total of one sentence? And at least get it right. "Canst thou believe that?"

>The five looked at Luna's detailed invasion map. They glanced around before focusing their attention back onto the map. A few changelings poked their head out of the chamber and looked down the tunnels for any signs of the alicorns. Several other changelings walked up to the map nonchalantly. The five once again looked around, as if the alicorns would return at any moment.//
Your story suffers from a lot of this. You're just listing action after action. There's no emotion to it, no zing, no atmosphere. You can only get away with that during an action scene.

>It's uses could greatly enhance Us.//
Its/it's confusion.

>The five ignored her adorable antics and stood up//
What's your perspective here? If they're ignoring her, then they wouldn't notice it was adorable. So who is it that the narrator's speaking for when he judges it so?

>green slim//

Okay, let's go back to the part where one of them was holding a bag of frozen peas. How do you bruise an exoskeleton?

>fifteen hundred page//
Hyphenate your compound descriptors.

>That's beneath me,.//

>Los Pegasus//
Iirc, the writers said this was a play on Las Vegas, not Los Angeles.


First: this was funny. Not the kind of thing I could read multiple times and get a laugh out of it each time, but for a one-time read, the jokes were more hit than miss.

However, there is quite a bit of work to be done still. The emotional investment isn't there, and it manifests in a couple of the things I pointed out: telly language and listing actions at the expense of emotional content. So you've got spots throughout the spectrum. Action without emotion is boring. Telly emotion can keep up interest, but it's not engaging or memorable.

Now, a word about your use of colors and fonts. The tentacle creature's font was difficult to read. There are places where it obscures the words on the line above or below it as well. This is a bad thing. But backing off from that specific example, I never saw a need for it. I know why you did it. I'm just saying it didn't work. I'm guessing you like Pratchett and the way he uses a special font for Death. Why that works is because he goes into quite the description the first time he uses it in any given book of how that speech sounds. And with that explanation, the font becomes meaningful. When I see it again, I automatically hear it the way Pratchett described it. You don't. Small-caps green font only means the hive is speaking, as far as I know, but that's already obvious, so it adds nothing. When Twilight switches from black speech to purple, how am I supposed to hear that any differently? You'd have to describe how it sounds different, and then given that it's only a few sentences, it's not really worth running with that gimmick, because the explanation alone would already give me what I need t hear it right. Bottom line: the only one of these that I'd think could ever work is the hive's speech, and even then, you need to tell me up front what it signifies about the sound or how it's perceived so that it actually has a use.

As to the mechanics, you seem to be laboring under the delusion that any random action sitting against speech can be joined to it with a comma, sometimes even on both ends. To the former: only if it's a speaking action, and to the latter: no.
>> No. 129517
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 Hearth's warming pageant is coming up and Rarity is given the unique opportunity to make Princess Luna a dress for the occasion.//
I'll grant you that synopses aren't the easiest things to write well. First, it really helps to keep things active, so the passive "is given" doesn't provide an engaging hook. You need a comma between the clauses (see the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread). And capitalize the whole occasion, "Hearth's Warming."

My first impression gets delayed. I've just read your synopsis and decided I'm interested enough to move on to the story, and the first thing I get is the author's note. It really pushes me out of the bit of immersion I already got from the synopsis. You need to keep me engaged. I'd recommend moving the A/N to the end.

>“Sister, the Hearth’s Warming pageant is just around the corner! Whatever shall we do?”//
After a few paragraphs, I finally got to why she was agitated. But it's only a reason for her to be agitated, not Celestia as well. So why the "we" here?

>Celestia didn’t bat an eye as she continued signing through Equestria’s tax reforms, “It’s still three weeks away, Luna. No need to get yourself worked up quite yet.”//
You've punctuated the lead-in as if it were an attribution, but you have no speaking verb. You can't just take any random action and attach it to a quote with a comma.

>ruffling her wings in agitation//
Telly, specifically the "in agitation" part. Read the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread, which directly addresses this type of phrasing.

>Her own desk, covered in paperwork from days of foreign diplomatic meetings, all utterly ignored in the Lunar Princesses current predicament.//
This isn't a complete sentence. Fragments can work for effect, but usually as follow-up comments and when in a subjective viewpoint, neither of which you have here, so it feels more like an oversight. You also have a plural where you need a possessive (Lunar Princess's).

>“Come now, sister,” Celestia smiled patronizingly as she lowered her quill, “It’s not like you to act the filly around this time of year. It’s just a pageant, Lulu.”//
Same deal with the non-speaking-action attribution, but you've also punctuated it like the quoted sentence is continuous, yet you haven't capitalized it that way. Have a look at the section on dialogue punctuation and capitalization, too. And that "patronizingly" is telly. Show me how it looks and let me determine the emotion on my own. If you write it well, I'll get where you want me to go.

>Well sister//
Missing a comma for direct address.

>It’s simply the way it is, sister//
When used as a term of address, "Sister" would be capitalized.

>Sweetie Belle peeked down the stairway//
Missing a period (though I suspect you would have put a comma there).

>Rarity didn’t seem to hear her sister leave//
Who holds your perspective here? Not Sweetie Belle, because she's gone. Not Rarity, because she wouldn't use "seem" here; she'd know explicitly whether she heard her sister leave. Opal? I can't tell. Such is the danger of having your narrator make judgments. We have to know whose judgments they are.

>ignoring the unicorns whining//
Missing apostrophe.

>The items around her feel to the ground in a shocked clatter//
Typo. And how exactly would the items or clatter be shocked?

>Rarity wrung her hooves nervously as the train rattled along the tracks. She glanced nervously out the compartment’s window at the rapidly approaching city against the mountainside.She was furiously listing off all the eight hooves high ponies she knew and not many came to mind.//
Missing a space before the last sentence. Look at the emotions here. They're all being spoon-fed to me: furiously, nervously (used in successive sentences—watch the repetition).

>It took a moment of terrified cowering on the seat before she realized the train had only gone into a tunnel.//
And given the number of times she's been to Canterlot, this surprises her?

It's much more common to leave a space after an ellipsis, unless it's at one end of a sentence, but if you're married to this, it isn't unheard of.

>“I want you to escort her to me. I do not expect her to get into trouble in a city such as this, but getting lost is easy for one not accustomed to the city’s layout.”//
Rarity's been to the palace how many times by now? Off the top of my head, I can think of 5 times in canon.

>The wisp’s blue light blinked twice in union with each other.//
I have no idea what this is supposed to be saying.

>Luna turned to her wisps a look of panic on her face.//
Missing comma, besides being very telly, and why does she have more than one of them now?

>What do you mean there is no ‘E’ in Olde anymore?//
How would that "E" have even been audible?

>the guard asks//
Why the switch to present tense?


>she said trying to recover from the embarrassment she just experienced.//
Most times, you'll set off a participle with a comma. And the telling again!

Do a stutter with a hyphen, do an ellipsis.

>she would of seen//
Would have. C'mon. That's a rookie mistake.

>hearth's warming//
You've been inconsistent at capitalizing this and using the apostrophe.

>back side//
One word.

>it’s place//
Its/it's confusion.

>visibly darkened//
As opposed to...? Audibly darkened?

>a brush floated up too her hair//
Too/to confusion.

>your Majesty//
You're also inconsistent at capitalizing the full honorific.

>Cutie mark//
More inconsistent capitalization.

>“Very well then,” Rarity started with a smile. “Shall we get started?”//
Watch the word repetition.

>Her horn shined brightly//
"Shined" takes a direct object. You want "shone."

Think of what sound would actually be repeated. Th-thank.

>Oh! well…//

Missing punctuation.

>legs - gracefully//
Please use a proper hyphen.

This needs to be a double quote.

>as those word’s left the seamstresses muzzle//
And now that you finally use an apostrophe, it's wrong, and you ironically have a spot a few words later that needs one.

>she looked as if she was about to choke on pure embarrassment//
This scene had held to Rarity's perspective, but how does she know what her face looks like? And then in the following sentence, you're definitely in Luna's perspective. Have a look at the section on head hopping, too.

>the sudden heavy quiet//
Missing end punctuation.

>Somewhere in Ponyville, one Pinkie Pie suddenly had a massive attack of the trembles and started checking for violently swinging doors.//
Why does this constitute a scene?

>“W-well, I...’//
Another mismatch of quotes.

>Oh, no, t-take your time~!//
~ is not proper punctuation.


Three dots in an ellipsis.

>Luna looked down at the table//
She was already doing so. You don't need to tell me again.

There are obviously a number of persistent mechanical problems here. Now, while this was a cute story, it suffers from a common issue with shipping stories. Simply put, the characters are shoved together, and the reader is expected to share the author's enthusiasm for the pairing. There's nothing presented to make it believable. Luna and Rarity have encountered each other briefly before, but no reference is made to that. Luna is just suddenly going to have romantic thoughts because she shares close quarters with her for a single night? And Rarity conveniently reciprocates? It's your job to make this relationship seem natural. You have to justify it to the point that it makes sense this could happen. There's no latent attraction? Neither one of them thinks fondly on the few times they'd met before and noticed things that endeared the other to them? Sometimes it takes starting from square one, and sometimes we can see the happy couple already together, but in either case, it takes showing me that they have reasonable chemistry together and that it all develops in a natural way.

It's like the difference between turning on a sad movie just in time to see someone die and watching the whole thing to know exactly what's being lost. One's got some default, superficial emotional reaction, but the other contains the real investment that makes me care about the characters. All that was here was a single kiss and a few moments of being comedically uncomfortable. Neither one really even had an emotional reaction to what was happening romantically. Luna basically admits that the wisp is acting partly to voice her libido, and Rarity is blissfully oblivious... until she's already magically in love. It takes a deeper picture of a relationship to stand out above all the other shipping stories we receive.
>> No. 129518
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.

>Knock knock knock//
Don't put sound effects in the narration like this. Just describe it.

>She intended to give whomever was knocking a piece of her mind.//
That's actually a situation fo "whoever." It's the subject of the noun clause "whoever was knocking."

Big Mac's accent is coming across too thick. Ya, mah, Ah... The reader knows how he sounds and will fill it in for you. It's more about word choice and phrasing. You don't want to make it difficult to read or have something like this draw attention to the narration itself.

>Twilight began plotting the most efficient sequence to wake each pony.//
Don't summarize, especially since this wouldn't happen instantaneously. Take me through a couple of these thoughts.

If you're going to clip the g's off his words, be consistent about it.

I'd encourage you to take advantage of FiMFiction's [hr] bbcode character to draw a more definitive scene break.

>“Rainbow Dash! That’s not helping. Show some decorum.”//
Since this is the first time she speaks, and it's not a cold open, you probably shouldn't go without attributing it. And it's standard to italicize a ! or ? when it's on an italicized word.

>Dash zipped away.//
C'mon. Good chance for a bit of comedy here. Give me a little body language or facial expression.

>“Actually, the anandamide in chocolate is a natural mood enhancer.”//
You should attribute this, too. It wasn't clear to me that this wasn't Pinkie speaking until I got to the next paragraph. Since Pinkie and Rarity were the two most recent conversants, the assumption is the unattributed dialogue will be one of them, unless it has an very distinctive voice.

You spelled this right the first time you used it. Why not here?

>Fluttershy jumped as she felt something small brush her legs as it flit by.//
The stacked "as" clauses are repetitive, and there's a verb tense problem at the end there. Also watch the perspective here. You started the story in Twilight's head, but since then, it's really backed off into an objective viewpoint. Little dips into a character's perspective like this are fine in that case, but you ought to keep things even. If you do this very irregularly, it feels more choppy. But don't fall into the trap of making very abrupt switches into a deep perspective, either. It's a delicate thing to get right.

>Apple Bloom emerged from the forest of legs to throw her forelegs around her sister.//
To avoid repetition of "legs," you might want to rephrase the hug.

Smart quotes never get leading apostrophes right. This one's backward. I bet there are others. Do a sweep for these.

>He shot a glance towards Applejack and she nodded.//
Needs a comma between the clauses. There's a section at the top of this thread that explains comma use with conjunctions.

>The old mare was as good as her word and the girls soon found themselves seated in the Apple living room.//
Same thing. And "Apples' living room" probably works better.

>Applejack noted with silent gratitude that Rarity withheld her usual comments on the absolute necessity of owning at least one fine china set.//
Careful. Your perspective's starting to jump around. This is AJ's, and the previous sentence wavered very close to Rarity's.

>Dash ignored the glares coming her way.//
See, unless you say how someone else interpreted her behavior this way, you're in Dash's head now.

You're also falling into the fandom conceit that Rarity says this all the time. This is already at least the third time I've seen it, while canon Rarity only says it maybe once every other episode (yes, someone's done the research), and I can't remember her doing it more than twice in any episodes.

>one notch above semi-solid//
Piling on vague degrees makes something even more vague. One notch above solid, I could see, but semi-solid is pretty nebulous to start with.

>She also reached for the sugar bowl, adding one spoonful before passing it to Pinkie//
Watch your participles. They can often be misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the bowl is adding a spoonful.

>“We’ve found evidence//
When the previous paragraph ends with a quote, and the next starts with another by the same speaker, you can leave the closing quotation marks off the previous paragraph.

>blinked several time//

>Might be that thick accent o’ yours//
My point exactly about the Apple family accent. It's overdone. You mention the doctor's, but you didn't write one for him at all. And it didn't end up mattering. Though if you want the reader to hear one, you should mention this before he speaks.

> No Apple, and Ah mean No Apple//
Why is that second "no" capitalized?

No hyphen here.

>Pinkie piped up with a question//
And yet she never asked one...


>“Actually… I do know of a way we can find out tonight.//
Forgot to close those quotes.

>bleary eyed//
Hyphenate your compound modifiers.

>Twilight purposefully ignored Rainbow’s question and instead kept her eyes to the floor as she stalked into the kitchen. Cabinets being flung open followed by the sound of clinking glass could be heard.//
Perspective again. You start in Twilight's head (only she could know it was "purposeful"), but by the end of the same paragraph, you're in an indeterminate one, but definitely not Twilight's, since she's the one making the noise. Don't switch perspective within a paragraph.

>She returned with a tumbler and a bottle of scotch held aloft in her magic//
Okay, you kind of veered off the track there. She's never dealt with any interpersonal crises remotely like this, even ons involving her friends, even ones that were her fault. Look at how she behaved in "Magical Mystery Cure" after being th one who caused all the trouble. And despite canon instances of cider (maybe not) and salt licks (definitely) being intoxicating substances, she's never seen to care much for either one.

You spelled it "thaummantic" last time you used it. And since it's not really a thing, I guess you can use what you want, as long as you're consistent.

>Thaumantic overdoses are incredibly rare so there isn’t much information//
Needs a comma between the clauses again.

>...so that’s it then?//
A leading ellipsis os really for completing an earlier quote that got interrupted or for the speaker just becoming audible. You don't really have either here. In any case, not having the former means that you should capitalize this anyway.

>INJUSTICE! Injustice, I say!//
Italics are preferred for emphasis. And her word choice here is rather melodramatic. She's been given a big shock, so she's not immediately going to scoop up some big words. She's going to blast out whatever comes into her head as a reflex, which would be pretty raw emotion. You had me going with pretty accurate character reactions so far, but this one doesn't quite ring true.

>Twilight’s own eyes narrowed at underlying accusation.//
Missing word.

>“How long have you known, Twi?” Applejack sat in front of the case which had once held the Elements of Harmony, running a hoof along the glass.//
That body language kind of doesn't suit her mood here, unless you do something to explain it more. I'm of a mind of a drill sergeant running his finger over some insignificant surface so he can find a bit of dust and bitch out his men, and that doesn't suit AJ.

>The Princess had me undergo a full examination by the best doctors and mages in Canterlot. My thaum count was off the charts//
And so it never occurred to her that magic might affect her friends like this? She's cast spells on all of them at times.

>The unicorn swooned onto her summoned chaise lounge.//
Be very careful here. You're pulling canon theatrics into a decidedly non-canon subject. It's undercutting the moment's seriousness. Even Rarity was self-deprecating about the swooning at times, so it loses its impact as an authentic response.

This may cut it as video game dialogue, but not here. If her pause is meaningful, show me what she's doing. If it's not then skip it.

>she wailed//
That's an abrupt change from lying there quietly and without any discernible expression. You're letting adherence to canon interfere with the prevailing mood again. This would be more powerful if you went for a more authentic emotional reaction. Well, unless your intent is to have the entire thing to turn out happy in the end, then it might work this way. Your call on that, I guess.

>I always wanted to know, wanted to feel//
To be fair, they can't conceive, but they could have an embryonic implantation and still be pregnant... I know to some that's not enough, but... food for thought.

>A barely audible growl came from Applejack’s direction, but Dash didn’t appear to notice.//
Didn't appear to whom? You don't have an identifiable perspective here.

>“Whatever. Not like you do either.”//
I really don't see why Dash is pushing AJ's buttons like this. It's not like Dash is mad about anything. So what's her motivation for being deliberately antagonistic like this? Especially about a subject that she should know means a lot to the Apples.

>We all know Granny Smith does most the work//
Missing word.

>A jet of steam escaped Applejack’s nostrils.//
File that under the cartoon theatrics versus realism again. It doesn't fit the mood.

>Her name is Zuri.//
Oh, please, please tell me this isn't a reference to a certain show on Disney.

>We got traditions, and one of them is that you only become an Apple by birth or marriage.//
Hm. Given a certain recent episode, you might need to rethink this.

>flea ridden//

>You expect me to the believe//
Extraneous word in there.

>a bucket of horse manure//
This just sounds odd to me. Isn't this like one of us saying, "This is a toilet of people crap!"

I liked this story. I really did. The only consistent problems I'd note are the wavering perspective and the overdone Apple accents. There were also a few spots where you chose not to attribute dialogue, and it wasn't always obvious who was speaking. Watch that when it's the first time someone speaks, or there are more than two characters speaking.

Y'know, I went into this with quite a few plot-related problems I expected I'd have to write up, but you actually addressed pretty much all of them, so good job on exploring the topic. I do have a few hang-ups still.

If this is the type of thing they normally scan for during a physical, wouldn't it also be pretty public knowledge? I mean, everyone knows radiation is a bad thing, but there's a certain amount everyone gets that doesn't hurt anything. If you get exposed to a large amount, you know that's a bad thing. Though that's not really something they check for in a physical, so say something like cholesterol. I just have a hard time believing that this is catching them by surprise so much. And why is the effect so specific to reproduction? It's not possibly going to cause any other health problems? That would seem to be an evolution toward limiting the gene pool for strong magic users, which... well, I'm not sure what implications that would have. Is this also specific to females? If so, why? If not, why wouldn't someone like Starswirl already know about it? For that matter, during "Magic Duel," Twilight refers to "high level unicorns" who can cast age spells. So there are very powerful unicorns out there. Do they have the same problem? What about Spike? He's been subjected to an awful lot of magic.
>> No. 129521
I'm struck by the number of "to be" verbs in the opening paragraph. You want to grab the reader's interest immediately, and action is a far better way of doing this.

>Very well, princess//
As a term of address, that would be capitalized.

>unsure if she should go on//
And after starting the story in Celestia's perspective, you're dipping into Plumed Quill's here. Check out the section on head hopping at the top of this thread if you want to see some rationale on why perspective shifts need to be considered with care, though I suspect this one is more oversight. This is information that you don't need o be in Quill's perspective to convey; you can instead show me what Celestia sees that would lead her to conclude this.

>Princess Celestia stopped in her tracks.//
How can she stop in her tracks if you never had her going anywhere? Unless you mean that figuratively, though neither did I get the sense that she had any momentum built up in her thoughts.

>turning back to face them//
Ah, so now it appears the bit I flagged in the previous comments did refer to physical movement. Then, you do need to show that she started to leave the room.

>and if it does//
Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>leaving Celestia alone with her thoughts//
Most times, you'll want to set off participles with a comma.

>She removed her crown and set it on the throne behind her; It was feeling exceptionally heavy right at the moment.//
Don't capitalize after a semicolon.

-ly adverbs are mostly exempt from hyphenation, especially in two-word phrases.

>and even if they weren’t//
Needs a comma for the dependent clause again.

>That’s why she was surprised when she reached the dining room, and saw Princess Luna had already begun dinner without her.//
Unnecessary comma, since there's no new clause, and watch the use of demonstratives (this, that, these, those) as pronouns, since they often have broad, vague antecedents and are self-referential to the narration.

>who looked tense and uncomfortable//
What about his demeanor makes her conclude this?

>hoping to put him at ease//
Again, it'd be more powerful to show me what she does to accomplish this than bluntly tell me her purpose.

>your majesty//
The honorific would be capitalized.

>her mind finally made the connection.//

>waiters appeared at her side in an instant, placing a goblet of wine next to her plate//
Multiple waiters placed one goblet? Either it's one waiter, or you need to give the others something to do.

>“Umm...” Glinting Steel bit his lip, eyes darting to his lap as he tried to recall, “didn’t that end a long time ago?”//
You're capitalizing this as if the intervening bit is a speech attribution, but you have no speaking action. This also is another shallow perspective switch that doesn't add anything. Best to stay with Celestia. What does she see him do such that she concludes he's trying to remember. Frankly, biting his lip is enough.

>cease fire//

>Although...” Luna glanced over to her sister, “...some of us are more optimistic than others.”//
Maybe this is what you were trying to do with the last quote I commented on. To put a narrative aside in a quote, here's what you do:
>Although—” Luna glanced over to her sister “—some of us are more optimistic than others.”
if the speech actually stops for the action, or:
>Although”—Luna glanced over to her sister—“some of us are more optimistic than others.”
if the speech is continuous.

>she shuddered.//
Capitalization. This isn't a dialogue attribution, so it needs to be a separate sentence.

>She paused, and gulped down more wine.//
No need for the comma. There isn't a new clause.

>Luna had been right, it really was good.//
Comma splice. A dash or semicolon would be appropriate.

>felt her ire beginning to rise//
And how does this feel? Are there any physical symptoms, any thoughts that arise?

Same as before, no hyphen for the -ly adverb.

>“Well, we’ll soon fix that. Cheers!” She floated her own glass over the center of the table//
I'm guessing the speaker and actor here are Luna, but it's not at all clear. Just name her as the speaker.

>she paused, noticing for the first time that her words were coming out a bit slurred.//

>Feeling a bit tipsy, sister?//
As a term of address that would be capitalized.

>“I’m not as think as you drunk I am.”//
Old joke is old. This is less endearing and more inducing of an eye roll.

>but before he could//
Needs a comma for the dependent clause.

>radiating a pleasant warmth through the room//
Comma for the participial phrase.

>He picked up a rook, paused, then placed it back down and moved his bishop instead.//
He's only made one move so far, a pawn. What possible move could he have made that would make a rook and a bishop both options?

>The worst thing you can do is is//
Extraneous word, or failure to punctuate a stutter.

>but he sensed he was about to anyway//
Again, why the perspective shift? At least you stay there longer than a sentence or two, but Celestia's still awake. I'm not sure it buys you anything.

>I don’t have any good answers, princess//

>There were worse ways to spend the night.//
Well, given the extreme uncomfortableness he expressed in even being around them, I'm not sure he'd be so circumspect.

Of the most common forms, I counted 103 "to be" verbs in the first chapter. That's getting up there for this word count. It didn't stand out to the point that it felt repetitive, but it does indicate that you could be choosing more active verbs, which is always a good thing.

>She forced herself to look out the window, and saw that it was midmorning.//
No comma needed. There's no new clause or lengthy compound structure.

>with what in Celestia’s opinion was completely unwarranted smugness//
And what about it made Celestia conclude it was smugness? Show me the same evidence.

>Besides, half of Equestria already believes you have a secret harem hidden away in some wing of the palace//
So... Luna's the one more in touch with the populace? I guess it can go as a comedic conceit, but this is the kind of thing that usually warrants some explanation.

>At the realization she was really going ahead with that, a bitter taste leaked into her mouth, and she wrinkled her nose. “That’s truly what you wish to do then? Surrender to their demand just to bring them to the negotiating table?”//
There's nothing suggesting that this paragraph is about Luna, but I suspect it is. You need to make that clear.

>Luna walked over and settled onto the cushions next to her, and nuzzled her cheek.//
Unnecessary comma.

>Celestia trailed off.//
You don't need to reiterate what I can already get from the punctuation. It creates a repetitive feel.

>If you signed it//
Comma for the dependent clause.

>and if you didn’t sign it//
Same deal.

>Luna giggled, and draped a wing over Celestia as the two shared a moment.//
Another unneeded comma. And keep in mind that "as" clauses (and participles, for that matter) imply concurrent action, so they share the moment while Celestia drapes her wing, while it'd more likely be the draping first, followed by the moment.

Without a king?

>Remember, Tia. Listen to your heart.//
Okay, personal opinion warning: this is 100% my thing and not at all Equestria Daily's policy, and it will not affect your acceptance or rejection. I imagine few readers will have an issue with it. This is a nice sentiment, but one way Luna tried to get her to realize it just didn't fit for me. She thinks that setting Celestia up to have drunken sex with someone she has no reason to care about any more than some other random pony on the street, which is essentially what he is, fits with this philosophy? Sure there are stories where what Luna did would fit, but in prodding her to find some higher moral position above duty, making empty connections is part of it? If her message had been "You need to let loose," maybe, but that's not what she's saying. it feels more like a stretch that was shoehorned in for the sake of titillation.

>double checked//

>Even when she’d been willing to meet them halfway, and offer them a mutually beneficial arrangement.//
Unnecessary comma.

No hyphen.

>hold up//

This is a really, really odd word choice, given that bulls in Equestria are sentient.

>your ‘emperor’ is the thickest, most insufferable moron who I have ever had the displeasure of meeting//

I know of you by reputation, and your writing is up to a par that I'd expect. It was clean enough that I was able to be pretty thorough in compiling notes. I pointed out just about every problem spot I saw instead of just listing a couple and leaving you to find the rest. I did do that for a few things, so you should still make a sweep, but I've listed most of them for you.

I will reiterate, in what again is only my personal opinion, that I didn't care for the romantic angle here, because it really felt at odds with the overall message. Frankly, so did the drunkenness. Listening to your heart and hedonism may sound on the surface to be the same thing, but one is more a conscience thing, and the other is more a "screw everyone else—I'm going to do what I want to do" thing, and Luna comes off as more manipulative than helpful. Really, that thematic dissonance is hurting this story's impact for me.

That said, I don't have to like a story to recognize that it's well written, and I don't see any reason to keep it off the blog if you touch those other things up. And I do enjoy it when princesses go into no-nonsense mode.

Now that I've had more time to stew on it, this business with Glinting Steel just bugs me even more. By Luna's own exaggerated opinion, only half the population would be interested in such an arrangement, and Glinting Steel hasn't expressed anything but uncomfortableness about it. Even internally, he was barely accepting, and more in an "Oh well, I can't do anything about it" sense. Does anyone care to find out how he feels about it? Maybe he's married or in a relationship. And yet the Princesses don't give that a second's thought. They attempt to coerce him into being Celestia's stress-relief boy-toy without any thought to what he might want. And I'm supposed to find this heartwarming? I could see this working in a comedy, where being out of character is more readily acceptable for the sake of humor, but this is really out of sorts with the overall message you'e trying to convey. It's actually kind of creepy.

Like I said, this didn't affect my verdict on your story, but it does mean I'll have a different pre-reader take your story on resubmit to see if they share my concern.

Last edited at Mon, Jan 20th, 2014 11:05

>> No. 129536
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.

>It's been a year since Twist earned her cutie mark and a year since she's talked to Applebloom. //
That verb tense is off. Given that you're using a present tense to start, just use simple past later (she talked). And it's "Apple Bloom."

>more fun then Applebloom ever was//
Than/then confusion.

>Diamond Tiara scanned it and then flashed a hooves-up at Twist.//
This is the third straight sentence (of three total so far) that uses an "and then" construction. It's getting repetitive.

>She had long since established that Applebloom had only valued her for her similar predicament.//
You're kind of glossing over a lot of what would add emotional weight to your story. How does she feel about these past events? If you don't set up that it means much to her now, it kind of defeats the entire premise of your story. And what was her thought process that established it? You throw it out there like I should already know what it is.

>And that's why how the brilliant military strategist//
Extraneous word in there.

Italics are preferred for shouting, and the word choice of "chanted" implies they're saying it repeatedly. It might be more effective just to have them do so.

Check out the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. Bottom line here is that it'd be a much more interesting read if you described her body language for me so I could visualize this and draw my own conclusion about her mood. When you sum it up for me, it's not as engaging.

>three month//
Hyphenate your compound modifiers.

I'm of two minds on this. First, you're inconsistent about getting every s. However, you have to be careful writing accents and speech impediments. You don't want to make the dialogue difficult to read. Many, many authors overdo the Apples' accent, and it's really not necessary, since the readers know the characters already and will mostly fill it in for you. The same is true of Twist, but she turns up in the show and fanfiction so seldom that you're probably okay here.

Watch the telling again. Show me this.

>"DID SOMEONE SAY CUPCAKES?" a shrill voice screamed from upstairs as Silver Spoon handed over the bits for the cupcakes. She rolled her eyes and mouthed Pinkie Pie.//
Just one speaker per paragraph, please.

>the only remnants sticky mouths and hooves on the Cutie Mark Crusaders//
That's pretty awkwardly phrased and doesn't exactly say what it means.

>Ah remember when ah was friends with Twist.//
If you're going to substitute "Ah" for "I," it needs to be capitalized the same.

>Twist nodded, and crossed her hooves, the shorthand for a Pinkie promise that they had developed.//
Why would this group have adopted Pinkie's routine? Especially after they tried to avoid her—they clearly don't think much of her.

>Twist remembered the day Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon had invited her to a private picnic at the edge of the Everfree Forest and shown her that there was more to the ponies than what they seemed.//
So, you're going to take the entire exposition that provides the bridge from canon to your story and sum it up in one sentence of narration?

>She said school is in about an hour//
A sleepover on a school night?

>almost-but-not-quite not//
That's a whole lot more convoluted than it needs to be. I'm not sure what that second "not" is doing there.

Apostrophes signify skipped letters. What letter are you skipping here? It's just an imitative spelling (and one that goes overboard for a written accent, for that matter).

>Besides, I technically have a foalsitter. We have an agreement that she is not actually responsible for me.//
Another little item that comes out of left field. These really have the feel of patches put on the story to cover up plot holes, but they're pretty fragile. I don't think you even needed to bring up this subject. The CMCs go around unsupervised all the time.

>Cheerilee stormed back into the school house, her tail switching in sync with her heavy hooffalls.//
So... she's upset that they're fighting... and then immediately leaves them unsupervised?

>Silver Spoon adjusted her glasses and smirked.//
This indentation is inconsistent.

>one-hundred percent real//
That's all one compound modifier.

>So far it was a normal spoon with a round lump of silver at the end that enabled it to be attached to a hoof.//
Canon earth ponies don't seem to have any trouble with the spoons they already have...

>I have received word from your teacher, Miss Cheerilee,
Why does he need to clarify who her teacher is? Seems like the kind of thing she could assume Silver Spoon knew...

>I didn't to have to do this//
Extraneous word.

>Fluttershy' eyes//
Missing letter.

>Rarity quickly stitched a row of sequins onto a slinky dress, and tossed it in a pile.//
I've noticed a few of these, too. Look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

First, just write out whatever she said. I can take it. Second, is she really the type to do this? She's the first one to bow to authority. Take her behavior with Babs Seed. She was the one telling them all along to go to Applejack.

Three dots in an ellipsis.


>she still had the natural hollow bones of a Pegasus//
I don't see how this point is relevant. It's empty filler.

>Besides, the only reason he got into the Wonderbolts Academy was because they needed somewhere to send him after he got kicked out of that reform flight school for wing-size-boosting steroids that backfired.//
Watch the infodump. This really smacks of something Dash would already know if she's actually this close to Scootaloo.

>She's refused to let me see it before she finished.//
Verb tense. If Twilight's already finished, then... she's finished. Right?

>Twist groaned and started to clean up.//
This is a really strange place to end a chapter. It's a completely bland moment. You either want to leave the reader on a cliffhanger or wrap up a plot point. This just... goes nowhere. What possible importance does this final scene have?

There are really two main things keeping me from getting into this story enough to comment on the finer points of character and plot.

First, what emotional content I'm getting is mostly telly or very heavy-handed and overexplained through direct thought. Thought is certainly one avenue to convey mood, but it takes a good mix of things to give an engaging picture of your characters. You need more emotional context, and you need to use a variety of methods of showing to achieve that.

Second, there are a lot of things here that are a significant step away from canon, but that I'm supposed to accept with one sentence of explanation. In canon, Apple Bloom and Twist are friends. Sure, it disheartened Apple Bloom when Twist got her cutie mark, but they didn't get hostile toward each other. And Twist certainly seems like the kind of social outcast that Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon would continue to prey on. You're not limited to canon, of course, but you're better served using it as your starting point. So when you start right off with Twist as the CMCs' enemy and fast friends with the terrible twosome, it's going to take more than just your word to get me there. You have to connect the dots so that it feels like a natural progression of events instead of just an alternate-universe-type plunge into unexplained differences. There were other such conceits in the story as well, but that was the biggest.

And after five chapters, I still don't have a sense of where the story is going. There's none of this "abandonment" that the title promises. We just have the occasional skirmish between these two factions, but without any direction for why this is happening or any goal that either is working toward. Except for the CMCs' continued pursuit of their cutie marks, but that's pretty standard fare, and it's not evident that that has anything to do with Twist's storyline. You do have conflict in the story, I'll give you that, but it's not working toward anything.
>> No. 129541
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.

>It can calm a storm, it can help a pony find peace; it can bring a splash of color to a grey world.//
If you'd gone with a comma instead of the semicolon, it would have had the feeling of an incomplete list, which isn't grammatically correct, but is a valid and common enough stylistic device. But by using the semicolon, it really feels like you're going for grammatical correctness, in which case the part before it has a comma splice. If you're trying to create a dramatic pause with the semicolon, I'd recommend an ellipsis instead.

>Passions rode about her as she trotted slowly down the street. A cold Manehattan alley, as desolate and grey as the filly who walked it. Her mane hung heavily from her head, streaming in the rain.//
A lot to say already. There' just a lot of conflicting information here. "Passions rode about her." That's just a cold fact, and I don't know what it means. If you'd said she was sad or depressed for example, at least I'd know what kind of passions, but even then, it's a lot more effective to give me the evidence that will lead me to deduce her mood (see the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread for a more thorough discussion). A trot as a decently brisk pace. "Trotted slowly" borders on contradictory. Then you tell me she's in a street, then go on to describe it as an alley instead. And if a "mane hung heavily," how would it stream? One connotes a big mass of matted hair hanging straight down, while the other is lighter and windblown. Your second sentence is a fragment, which can work in a stylistic sense, but it doesn't here. Such things are effective as follow-up comments, but you hadn't alluded to any significance of the location.

>Small for her age.//
As a contrast, here's a fragment that works, since it's following from the previous sentence.

>She prodded on//
I have to think you meant "plodded."

>Her course changed, automatically//
There's no reason to have a comma here. Well, actually, it needs to go after that word. See the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>Chewing, she trotted toward one of the sicker colts and pulled out a bottle and a spoon.//
Be careful that you don't get repetitive with your sentence structures. This is the third in a row and the fifth in the paragraph to use a participle.

>poured a measured amount of thick amber liquid onto the spoon//
"Into" would be more accurate.

>purple eyes growing wide with wonder and awe//
Yeah, watch the telling.

>The lid was lifted to reveal the brass notes inside//
The passive voice isn't helping here. It's better to keep things active unless there's a good reason for using the passive voice to shift focus, and you haven't assigned any importance to this lid. I'm quite experienced in music, but admittedly, piano isn't my specialty. Still, I've never heard of any of the pieces inside referred to as "notes," though I'll defer to you if you know that to be a technical term for the hardware.

>Its keys were pristine//
>the whole piano was aged
More contradictory language. Make up your mind.

>She had no words but words were not was she needed.//
Typo. Plus another missing comma.

>She slipped onto the bench and set her hooves on the old, strong instrument before her.//
Where? I mean, if you're bothering to say what she's doing with her hooves, you could at least say she's putting them on the pedals.

>She trembled at it's magnitude//
Its/it's confusion.

Is there a reason this word is more suitable than "violet"? If you have a good one, then by all means use it. If it has a slight difference of meaning or provides a better rhythm to the sentence, fine. But I can't see anything other than the desire to use a fancier word.

So, where did these kids get a piano? It's implied that Octavia goes there regularly, so she would have noticed it before. It doesn't surprise her? She doesn't want to know how they acquired it and got it there?

That's a rather different color than violet.

>"Is he gonna be okay?" She squeaked.//
Dialogue capitalization. I have a section on that up top, too.

>Deeply moved by this site//
You've confused "site" with "sight."

>smiled in quiet content//
Besides being telly, you want "contentment."

>Though Octavia did not catch his eye, he could feel her acknowledgement.//
Your perspective wanders around a lot. We're mostly with Octavia, but then you occasionally go into the collective of the children, and then here, you've shifted into a particular colt. Besides Octavia, you never stay with any of these perspectives for long. You're in Time's head for only a few sentences, which begs the question of if it's necessary at all. Check out the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.

>Her complicated expression//
How do I know it's complicated if you won't let me see it?

>The room was large enough to cook and banquet and thrice that size.//
Maybe it's just a syntax issue, but I can't figure out what the "thrice that size" means.

>She happily left them, swerving onto a street and galloping for the inner city.//
Another issue with all the participles you use is that they're prime candidates for misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like "them" is what's "swerving onto a street."

>She had her mother to watch out for.//
Given what follows, and what that implies about what you meant here, I think you need a "her" at the end.

>Not every filly or colt made it safely to freedom, take that as one may.//
Perhaps not, but at a lower success rate than fending for themselves?

>They would never know what had become of him.//
Why not? If he gets adopted or placed somewhere, what's to prevent him from visiting? I certainly haven't seen any indoctrination of these children that teaches them to break off all contact if they leave.

>an air of grace//
Just a few sentences apart. Watch the repetition.

>orchid colored//
Hyphenate your compound modifiers.

>He gave some small quip//
And we don't get to know what it was? Otherwise, this just comes across as empty filler.

>thunderous booms//
Not sure how you'd get a cello to make a sound like this.

>She pursed his lips//
You meant "her," right?

There's a lot of telly language in here, which is an especially bad thing for a story driven entirely by emotion. It's also just chock full of odd phrasings. I'm having a little trouble telling whether this stems from thesaurus abuse or someone who's not familiar with the language.

Also, there's not really a story here. There's a nice sentiment, but a story needs conflict or character growth. On the conflict side, what's at stake for Octavia? Worry that someone will discover she's helping these foals? Fear that the time she's spending with them is taking away from her other interests? I don't see anything. We need to see clearly that something is at stake, that someone wants something and takes a risk for it and what bad thing will happen if she doesn't get it. Or on the character side, what new insight do we get to see about her? What surprising thing do we learn about her, or even better, that she learns about herself? There's really nothing along those lines, either. Yes, it's different that she's halping these children, but that happens throughout the story. It's not something that's built up and revealed as a surprise. It's just a series of scenes of poor Octavia worried about these children, but not doing anything outlandish or risky to help them. It also sets her up as a bit of a Sympathy Sue character, where everything goes just perfectly wrong for her.
>> No. 129549

Thanks! I'll fix everything you pointed out, get an actual editor for the next few chapters, and hopefully get something that doesn't make your eyes bleed!
>> No. 129555

>She returned with a tumbler and a bottle of scotch held aloft in her magic//
Okay, you kind of veered off the track there. She's never dealt with any interpersonal crises remotely like this, even ons involving her friends, even ones that were her fault. Look at how she behaved in "Magical Mystery Cure" after being th one who caused all the trouble. And despite canon instances of cider (maybe not) and salt licks (definitely) being intoxicating substances, she's never seen to care much for either one.

>I don’t she’s dealt with anything of this magnitude. It’s hard to equate the seriousness of not being able to have children with the cutie mark switch. I’ve included drinking, as have other authors.I believe it’s appropriate given her state of mind.

>The Princess had me undergo a full examination by the best doctors and mages in Canterlot. My thaum count was off the charts//
And so it never occurred to her that magic might affect her friends like this? She's cast spells on all of them at times.

>Twilight doesn’t consider the Elements to be capable of a negative result. Also exposure to magic and channeling are two different things in this story. I’ve changed some wording to make it clearer.

>We got traditions, and one of them is that you only become an Apple by birth or marriage.//
Hm. Given a certain recent episode, you might need to rethink this.

>I’ve added a nod to that episode now. I think Pinkie is related and I’m going Applejack believing that as well. I think I can get away with it.

>a bucket of horse manure//
This just sounds odd to me. Isn't this like one of us saying, "This is a toilet of people crap!"

>>It may sound odd, but myself and both my editors really like it the way it is.

I liked this story. I really did.
>> Glad you liked it.

If this is the type of thing they normally scan for during a physical, wouldn't it also be pretty public knowledge? I mean, everyone knows radiation is a bad thing, but there's a certain amount everyone gets that doesn't hurt anything. If you get exposed to a large amount, you know that's a bad thing. Though that's not really something they check for in a physical, so say something like cholesterol. I just have a hard time believing that this is catching them by surprise so much. And why is the effect so specific to reproduction? It's not possibly going to cause any other health problems? That would seem to be an evolution toward limiting the gene pool for strong magic users, which... well, I'm not sure what implications that would have. Is this also specific to females? If so, why? If not, why wouldn't someone like Starswirl already know about it? For that matter, during "Magic Duel," Twilight refers to "high level unicorns" who can cast age spells. So there are very powerful unicorns out there. Do they have the same problem? What about Spike? He's been subjected to an awful lot of magic.

>> As for why they don’t experience other problems. I’ve added some lines about how channeling too much magic is different from just exposure, over-channeling being bad. Also, the theme is more about a cosmic sacrifice for saving the world. That idea and other problems they could potentially have are subjects for later chapters. I didn’t feel it would throwing all those ideas into the first chapter.
>> No. 129556

>She returned with a tumbler and a bottle of scotch held aloft in her magic//
Okay, you kind of veered off the track there. She's never dealt with any interpersonal crises remotely like this, even ons involving her friends, even ones that were her fault. Look at how she behaved in "Magical Mystery Cure" after being th one who caused all the trouble. And despite canon instances of cider (maybe not) and salt licks (definitely) being intoxicating substances, she's never seen to care much for either one.

>I don’t she’s dealt with anything of this magnitude. It’s hard to equate the seriousness of not being able to have children with the cutie mark switch. I’ve included drinking, as have other authors.I believe it’s appropriate given her state of mind.

>The Princess had me undergo a full examination by the best doctors and mages in Canterlot. My thaum count was off the charts//
And so it never occurred to her that magic might affect her friends like this? She's cast spells on all of them at times.

>Twilight doesn’t consider the Elements to be capable of a negative result. Also exposure to magic and channeling are two different things in this story. I’ve changed some wording to make it clearer.

>We got traditions, and one of them is that you only become an Apple by birth or marriage.//
Hm. Given a certain recent episode, you might need to rethink this.

>I’ve added a nod to that episode now. I think Pinkie is related and I’m going Applejack believing that as well. I think I can get away with it.

>a bucket of horse manure//
This just sounds odd to me. Isn't this like one of us saying, "This is a toilet of people crap!"

>>It may sound odd, but myself and both my editors really like it the way it is.

I liked this story. I really did.
>> Glad you liked it.

If this is the type of thing they normally scan for during a physical, wouldn't it also be pretty public knowledge? I mean, everyone knows radiation is a bad thing, but there's a certain amount everyone gets that doesn't hurt anything. If you get exposed to a large amount, you know that's a bad thing. Though that's not really something they check for in a physical, so say something like cholesterol. I just have a hard time believing that this is catching them by surprise so much. And why is the effect so specific to reproduction? It's not possibly going to cause any other health problems? That would seem to be an evolution toward limiting the gene pool for strong magic users, which... well, I'm not sure what implications that would have. Is this also specific to females? If so, why? If not, why wouldn't someone like Starswirl already know about it? For that matter, during "Magic Duel," Twilight refers to "high level unicorns" who can cast age spells. So there are very powerful unicorns out there. Do they have the same problem? What about Spike? He's been subjected to an awful lot of magic.

>> As for why they don’t experience other problems. I’ve added some lines about how channeling too much magic is different from just exposure, over-channeling being bad. Also, the theme is more about a cosmic sacrifice for saving the world. That idea and other problems they could potentially have are subjects for later chapters. I didn’t feel it would throwing all those ideas into the first chapter.
>> No. 129558
>I don’t she’s dealt with anything of this magnitude. It’s hard to equate the seriousness of not being able to have children with the cutie mark switch. I’ve included drinking, as have other authors.I believe it’s appropriate given her state of mind.
But she has, when she discovered her own sterility. When people resort to drink over a shock, it's a shock of their own. She's surprised to find out her friends have been affected, but it'd be odd for her to bolt down some booze on their behalf. And she's shown no signs of feeling like she's the one responsible—she doesn't get apologetic about it—so she's not really bolstering herself against anything. If there were some outward signs that she was getting to be an emotional wreck over this, then I could see it.
>> No. 129580
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.

You've split this into three paragraphs, but you don't leave a line break between them, so the formatting looks off.

You have a bit of a weather report opening, but at least it's got something to do with the immediate happenings, which is better than the vast majority of authors who use one.

>hoping to catch a flake or two before their mouth dried out//
Unless they all share a single mouth, you need a plural.

>tucked away in an ally//
Given that you probably know we do not accept clop, I'll assume you meant to say "alley."

The standard is to italicize ! or ? when it's on an italicized word.

>Mr. and Mrs. Cake place a gingerbread mansion//
Why the switch to present tense?

>confused but still happy//
You've skirted the line a couple of times, but this is blatantly telly. Doing so is excusable for Twilight about herself, since she's a first-person narrator, but you shouldn't be about everyone else. Have a look at the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>the parent rehearsals//
I'm guessing you meant "pageant."

>Pinkie attested//
Two things: have a look at the section on saidisms as well, and this is just an odd word choice anyway. The connotation is that she's bearing witness or offering proof, but she wasn't there.

>Applebloom, Applejack's younger sister.//
Apple Bloom. And you can assume your readers will know who she is.

>leading me to believe it was full of bits//
This is rather direct. You could leave this off altogether, and I think it'd be clear, but you could say "jingled with bits" if you think it needs more. As is, it holds the reader's hand a little too much.

Italics are preferred for emphasis.

Misused apostrophe.

>who only grinned in response//
Set off the dependent clause with a comma.

>It's needles were a bright, minty green and were bunched in tight groups that looked almost like flower buds. The trunk was about as thick as a lamp post, and it was covered by bark in a deep brown color that reminded me of hot chocolate.//
It's/its confusion. Also look at the number of "to be" verbs you use in this description. They're inherently boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. You ought to be using active verbs. It's worth scanning the entire story for these.

> Finally the fluorescent color caught my eye and I snatched the tag with my magic before it could disappear again.//
And again, separate the clauses with a comma. Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>Fif- fifty//
Don't leave a space in a stutter.

>Applebloom seemed to be panicking.//
I'm not going to point out every area where telling seems out of place to me, but this is one. What is Apple Bloom doing that leads Twilight to draw this conclusion?

>what it would like like//
I think you'll see the problem.

>She too them graciously, running off to find her brother.//
Typo. One other thing—participles imply concurrent action, but she wouldn't run off until after she'd taken the money.

>She seemed to notice me for the first time.//
"Seem" is almost as boring a verb as "to be," though it's more tolerable in that it doesn't get used nearly as much. But this is already the second use in this scene.

>I remembered, thinking back to last year when she had insisted she cover this trimming for the Canterlot city tree.//
That's just awkwardly phrased all over.

>Hearth's warming//

>"I suppose."//
And I'm finally going to say I don't get Twilight's mood. She's been Ms. Grump the whole time. She's normally very friendly and accommodating of Pinkie's ramblings. Why is she being so standoffish? It's really creating a dissonance with me that she's not acting like Twilight. If you end up explaining it later, it might work out, but it doesn't seem to be heading that way.

Spell out numbers this short.

>perfectly vertical, and it looked beautiful in the library. "There! It's perfect!"//
Watch the word repetition. You used this one again just a couple of paragraphs back.

>"I thought we should wait until tomorrow." I told her//
Dialogue punctuation.

>cook-- eat ginger-- well, we can eat!//
Either put spaces on both sides of your dashes or go without spaces altogether.

>to join Pinkie and I//
People often use this phrasing wrong while trying to avoid the more common ways of using it wrong. It's "Pinkie and me." It's part of a compound firect object of the verb "join." Try removing Pinkie from it, and then see what works. "To join I." That's obviously wrong.

>Pinkie trotted out from behind the tree, holding a top hat filled with papers.//
Given the sheer number of participial phrases you use, I'd also caution you that they're often misplaced modifiers. By theor proximity in the sentence, the "holding..." phrase describes the tree. While I can apply a bit of logic to sort it out, you will eventually write something that's ambiguous or outright misleading, if you're not careful.

>I smiled, tucking the paper away.//
And to add to my "given the sheer number of participial phrases you use" from the last comment... Over the past 8 sentences, you use the "<main clause>, <participial phrase>" structure 5 times. And there are more over the next few paragraphs, I see. You're getting into a rut of sentence structure that you didn't have early in the story. Back then, you had more simple and compound sentences, which are so common that they pass unnoticed, as long as you break them up once in a while with something different. But these more elaborate structures stand out more when they get repeated.

>as she thought about what to get for her pony//
Watch your perspective. How would Twilight know this was what Pinkie was thinking?

>"Well, Pinkie probably has some sugary concoction that'll wake you up," I gave her a gentle nudge with my elbow.//
Punctuation. Your attribution has no speaking action, so it needs to be a separate sentence.

>Her accent grew thicker when she was tired out.//
This is your fifth use of "tired" in the last ten paragraphs.

>Applejack seemed to be perking up when there was a knock at the door.//
Watch what this implies. Without a comma, as you have it, it implies the knock was what perked her up. With a comma, it would merely give a chronology, which is what you want.

>Uh-I'm comin'//
Use a dash here, not a hyphen.

>Looks like a gotta be headin' off.//
Seems like you were trying for the common "Ah" imitative spelling. Note that it needs to be capitalized, since it's a stand-in for "I." However let me dissuade you from writing her accent to that degree. Imitative spellings are rarely necessary, and too many just slow the reader down. Readers already know how she sounds and will fill that in for you. It's more about phrasing and word choice.

What about it leads Twilight to conclude it's brave? It adds more power if you make me conclude that instead of feeding it to me.

>Yeah, what gives AJ?//
Missing a comma for direct address.

>Applejack looked instantly relieved. "Thanks." She stepped outside, looking very at home between her siblings.//
Show me!

>We had a long discussion, leading us nowhere but in endless circles, but still bringing up plenty of unpleasant possibilities. We finally disbanded a few hours later, feeling sick with worry about the Apple Family. I knew for sure that five sleepless nights were to come.//
Yow. You're sure glossing over a ton of the emotional context of the story here. You don't have to take me through the evening minute by minute, but seeing everyone's concern is a whole lot different than having it summed up for me.

>I laid awake for a long time//
Lay/lie confusion.

>So they just don't celebrate.//
As long as most of these ponies have known her, none of them ever knew this? I hope you end up explaining...

Think about what sound would actually be repeated. "Th-this," surely.

>Did this every year," Pinkie explained, "And I always fall asleep...//
Don't capitalize the second part of the quote when you continue it like this, as long as the two parts of the quote join into a single, valid sentence.

Apple Bloom's never called her that in canon, and I think she'd show more respect to an adult than that.

>ornament of needle or branch out of place//

>My backyard//
Isn't her backyard a street?

Gingerbread man isn't a single word, so why would this be?

>feeding her rabbit, Angel//
Again, this is something you can assume the reader will know. Just say she's feeding Angel.

>rather pompously//
Why would she make such a judgment about herself? If it's for an effect, she'd say what that effect was. It's not the time for self-deprecation.

>"Fluttershy and I agreed that you aren't having enough fun," I told them both, "So we're going to have a snowball fight."//
Quote capitalization again.

>a stack of freezing snowballs//
Kind of a redundant description, unless you literally mean they're still in the process of freezing.

>Despite the seriousness with which I'm telling this//
This is a mistake. First, it kicks me out of the moment, since it suggests that the whole thing is actually an after-the-fact retelling of a past event. Second, it addresses me directly. You haven't done so as yet, so it's out of place, and it also opens the can of worms of needing to define my role. Why is she telling me this story? Why do I want to listen? Best to avoid that.

>We aren't sure who won//
Another inexplicable shift to present tense.

Write it out.

>once empty//
Hyphenate the compound descriptor.

>I rolled my eyes, laying them on top of the sled.//
Vague antecedent. It sounds like she's laying her eyes on the sled.

>I didn't even have to come from me//
You meant "it," right?

>I hooked the clasp on the antlers under my chin, snatching the sled and the scroll as I flew out the door.//
Participles and "as" clauses both imply concurrent actions, so all of these happen at the same time. That doesn't quite work.

>Over hills and down a small dirt path laid Sweet Apple Acres//
Lay/lie confusion again.

>to be sure she was awake//
Missing period.

>I stopped minute//
Missing word.

> I was starting to hear the wheezing breaths of Applebloom as she rushing through the snow to catch up//
Odd choice of verb tense for the first part, and it's outright wrong for the second.

Well, here's where I usually rehash the major problems and bring up overall ones. So, watch the commas, space your dashes right, watch the repetitive sentence structures and ponderous use of participles, and show, don't tell. And you only use "said" 7 times as a dialogue tag out of approximately 250 quotes. I've explained the rationale for why that's problematic in the portion of the thread I referred you to, but I wanted to add the numbers here, so you could see how extreme it was.

The only other thing I want to bring up is—well, aside from Twilight's odd mood through the first couple of scenes, which I mentioned earlier—that the conflict is pretty weak here. There's certainly a conflict from Applejack's point of view, but we don't see that. We get Twilight's point of view, and she certainly does debate how to deal with the situation, but then the solution just drops in her lap. It's a classic deus ex machina. She wasn't particularly beating her head over what to do about it either, so it wasn't like a huge conundrum that was eating her up. It's a bit understated to have much impact. Now, getting back to Applejack. You emphasize how much pride she has, and I tend to agree with you there. But she's immediately willing to swallow that pride? I doubt it. But I have no indication otherwise. You gloss over Applejack's reaction in the short final scene and basically summarize it such that she admitted everything openly and freely. How she talked to them is at least as important as what she said, and you're missing out on a lot of this story's punch by declining to show me this. There's your conflict. It can be shown externally through Twilight's perception—that is, you don't need to transfer into Applejack's point of view to get at it. That's certainly not the only way to bring some real conflict into the story, but I think it's the one that most clearly presents itself.

Last edited at Sun, Jan 26th, 2014 00:20

>> No. 129588
You make a valid point. I am adding some precursor cues. Also, something to make that part less abrupt.

Her own damage, she can cope with. Her friends however, and while doing something she was responsible for, several times... guilt!

That will be very important for her arc in this story as it's her core motivator.
>> No. 129590
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.

>less fortunate class mates//
Less-fortunate classmates. I'll also say that someone who would be self-aware about her behavior enough to admit she loved rubbing their faces in it probably wouldn't think of them as circumspectly as "less-fortunate."

>her Dad//
The difference between whether you do or don't capitalize "dad" depends on whether you're referring to him specifically or as one of a group. So if you'd just said "Dad," it would be capitalized, but in "her dad," it wouldn't.

>All she had to do was pick up her dress and she’d be good to go until then.//
Needs a comma to separate the clauses. See the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>wanting to touch on another subject//
This is already the third time you've told me what she did or didn't want. We can already tell what she wants, at least in this case, by what she says. More often that not, you won't want to state her wants directly like this.

>“It’s guaranteed to be amazing.”//
Despite what she says, I'm not seeing any evidence that she's anything but stoic about it. Let me see a reaction or an image that pops into her head.

> the Carousel Boutique//
You don' use "the" with a specific place name, unless it's actually part of the name. For instance, you go to the store, but you go to Wal-Mart.

>where Diamond Tiara was supposed to pick up her dress//
This is already evident. You can assume your readers will know who and what Rarity and Carousel Boutique are.

>They approached their destination eventually, going through the front door into the prim and tidy lobby that was the Carousel Boutique.//
Note that participles imply concurrent action, so she goes through the door at the same time she approaches the building? Same deal with "the" Carousel Boutique, and you're saying that the entire store is the lobby.

>Rarity was there//
Get straight to her action. This is incredibly boring.

>looked down at Diamond Tiara, the pink filly returning an eager look//
Repetitive use of "look," and the "eager look" is pretty telly anyway. Give me a couple of details so that I conclude that about her. It makes the writing much more engaging. You might want to read the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>“That’s good to hear.” Rarity levitated a nearby present//
You don't attribute this speech, and with Rarity's action immediately following it, she will be presumed as the speaker.

>and carefully set on Diamond’s back//
Missing word.

>and she was surprised that the young filly could lift it on her own//
Also see the section on head hopping. This isn't adding anything to the story, so there's no need to switch from Diamond's perspective to Rarity's particularly since you could have shown Rarity's surprise as Diamond perceives it. If you jerk around the perspective like this, it's jarring to the reader and prevents him from getting settled into your characters.

You spelled it right before. Why not now?

>but not before being told where Sweetie Belle might have been//
You were just there. Why didn't you include this as part of the conversation?

>Besides, it was a chance to embarrass another blank flank. Why in Equestria would they pass up that perfect chance?//
Now, this is a pretty realistic reaction. Why didn't she have it immediately when Rarity suggested it?

>They passed a large tree, where they saw the resident weather pony, Rainbow Dash reading off a list for some reason or another.//
What relevance does this have to anything? It's completely empty filler, and the story would be no worse for removing it.

>You’re new outfit//
Your/you're confusion.

>“Can you imagine how embarrassing it must be to be… not special.”//
Isn't this a question?

>They must have been working on something very important to be out here.//
That's quite a leap of logic, and one that's awfully convenient to the plot. Anyone in the park must be there for a very important reason?

>And hopefully all of that hard work would pay off.//
And in this paragraph, you've gone into Sweetie Belle's perspective. It's ping-ponging all over the place.

>caused her to lose focus, causing//
More word repetition.

>She had gotten better this time around, admittedly; whereas a few months ago after even attempting this, she would feel light-headed and almost lose consciousness.//
It's bad practice to use a conjunction after a semicolon. They have pretty redundant purposes.

>She was trying to seem wasn’t fazed, even striking a pose//
A couple of missing words there. And what kind of pose? This is completely vague.

>Even though it was unexpected, they still snickered from the sight of it.//
Besides the awkward phrasing, this doesn't even have an understandable meaning. They don't snicker at unexpected things?

>The pink filly stopped laughing to see the predicament that she was in. She tried to shake her legs free, but her movements were becoming more and more restricted by the magic placed upon her, practically holding her in place.//
This is awfully clinical and formal language for what would certainly be an emotional experience. Since you've been using a more subjective narrator, why have him back off here, where the facts are only half the story?

>The smoke eventually disappeared//
How did it stay there through the "huge gust of wind"?

>just mere//
These are redundant.

>She was still a bit disoriented from what happened, but she was able to determine who and what was in front of her.//
Each of the past four paragraphs has been in a different perspective.

>“If it gets her,” - Diamond pointed at the pony now standing beside her, “-off my back//
You're almost right, but your dash placement is inconsistent, and please don't use hyphens. Here's how it works:
>“If it gets her—” Diamond pointed at the pony now standing beside her “—off my back,
if the speech stops for the action, and:
>“If it gets her”—Diamond pointed at the pony now standing beside her—“off my back,
if it doesn't.

>since they left the park//
This is a completed action in a past-tense narration, so use past perfect. "They had" or "they'd."

>little interruptions//
Singular. As a plural, it would mean there were numerous smal interruptions.

>With that//
Phrases like this, which refer to the writing itself, aren't a good idea, except maybe for a first-person narrator.

>Silver Spoon looked back at pony.//
Missing word.

>a deadpanned look//

>Twilight approached the filly kneeled down, meeting her at eye-level.//
Some off syntax there.

>Twilight stood and levitated a scroll from her saddle bag//
Wow. Awfully convenient that Twilight had that particular information with her, and that she knew exactly what this was, and that she could tell so quickly, and that she'd had enough of an interest in it lately to have read up on it.

>he looked over at the double//
You'd been capitalizing "Double." Be consistent.

>Twilight tiled her head./

>She departed from the fillies//
And after seeing this magical oddity that's apparently interested her recently, she just walks off. And ad the first adult to figure out what's happened, she's not going to see to it that someone's going to take care of her.

>by then it was too late. //

>They had already gotten too far out of ear-shot,//
Earshot, and your punctuating this like it's a dialogue attribution, but you have no speaking verb.

>asked where Sugarcube was//
Missing a word.

>cute- ceañera//
Extraneous space. For that matter, I don't think the canon spelling uses a hyphen.

>F-Forget it//
Unless it's a proper noun, only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

>nor has she ever actually heard//
Why the switch to present tense?

Given that your narrator's been in Blue's perspective for most of this scene, he shouldn't know who this is any more than Blue does.

>but not before grabbing a chocolate chip from off one of the tables//
A single chocolate chip? I have to think you meant a cookie or muffin or some such.

>on occasions//
That phrase is normally rendered in the singular.

>I really don’t think mom and dad//
See, in this case, you do need to capitalize "Mom" and "Dad."

Insofar as the narrator is Diamond here, this doesn't strike me as a word she would use, much less know.

>It was a lesson that, regrettable, she had fallen asleep in.//

Normally, you'll italicize a ! or ? that's on an italicized word. You do so a bit later.

>It’s obvious her special talent isn’t drawing.//
You're in present tense again. Maybe you meant this to be a thought?

>“What’s ‘Mass Effect’?”//
Pretty much the only thing a pop culture reference will do is date your story.

>Just five more five minutes//
Extraneous word.

>There was no response, instead they heard ruckus coming from the other side.//
Comma splice.

The biggest problems are really in the forefront here. A lot of the emotional content was presented in a telly manner, and the narrator's perspective wavered all over the place. You really have to keep mind of who holds the point of view at any given moment and make sure you stick to that.

Aside from that, I'm three chapters in, and I still have no idea what the story's about. Conflict is what drives a story, be it something external that needs to be resolved between characters or internal that results in character growth. In any case, there has to be something that one or more of the characters want. We've met Blue, but she's just along for the ride. She's not working toward anything, and even Twilight's not concerned about how she came to be or what they're going to do with her. I appreciate that you've made Diamond a sympathetic character in that she was largely ignored at her own cuteceanera, but there's also no goal she's trying to achieve. Sweetie Belle actually is trying to attain something, but once her efforts result in Blue, she's left out. I'm sure you intend either Royal Blue or Diamond Tiara to be your protagonist, so have some long-term conflict arise for one or both of them. This far into the story, I really should know what's at stake and who has an interest in it. In fact, that needs to be established as soon as possible. There are some nice character interactions, but the plot doesn't feel like it has a direction so far.

That's actually something I'd recommend an author do on any story: Map out your main characters, define what they want, what they're willing to do to get it, and what bad thing will happen if they don't.
>> No. 129603
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 format just looks off. You've only got three short sentences, and each is in its own paragraph, but you're inconsistent with the line breaks. It comes across as very choppy.

>Luna's full moon//
This and "Celestia's sun" are incredibly cliched phrases to use. It just makes you look very unoriginal.

>brilliant glow//
>soft whiteness//
Well, which is it?

>coffee fuelled//
Hyphenate your compound modifiers.

>The stars were her companions, she knew nearly every last one by name.//
Comma splice.

>It was the one place where she could truly feel at peace. It was a place she could go, where the worries of everyday life would slip away.//
A lot of this description was repetitive, and given that you're only two words above our required minimum, I can take a guess as to why. Empty filler is empty. If your story's good enough despite being below word count, we can accept it anyway. I will say that a lot of this description is pretty cold. It's very factual in its conveyance of emotion. Don't just tell me she feels content. Show me through how she acts, looks, speaks, and thinks. You might want to read over the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. Especially this early in the story, you need to make an immediate emotional connection between the reader and your character, and that means letting me see this through her experience, not just having the narrator inform me of everything.

>bringing pleasant memories to her head//
By itself, this means nothing. What sort of memories? Describe a couple of them for me.

>As she stared amazed at the surreal beauty within the fountain//
Then why did she just describe it as dull?

>Pinkie could plainly see how depressed she was//
Let me see it, too. That's how you build sympathy for a character. If you get me to conclude she's sad, it's a lot more real than if you merely tell me.

>Sweetie only shrugged in response, her eyes never leaving the ground. Pinkie smiled warmly//
Here's an example of where you did it right. You don't say outright how they're feeling, but I can tell through your descriptions and actions.

>then sat down close—but not too close—next to her//
If we take out the aside, that would read: "then sat down close next to her." You have an extraneous word.

>After a few minutes passed while she gazed at the dancing night sky//
That's a pretty clunky phrasing. You've got competing chronology of "after" and "while" mashed together.

>letting her gaze drift back to the ground//
You never had her look up, so her gaze was already on the ground.

>Sympathy and worry flowed through her head//
Very telly.

>Pinkie wondered//
Using things like wondered, wanted, or thought as narrative actions are pretty weak. Be more direct. If she's wondering something, just have her wonder it.

>Sweetie's voice trailed off.//
I already got that from the punctuation. You don't need to communicate it again.

>She took a deep breath//
You have an awful lot of deep breaths and sighing. Mix up your character actions more.

>Her quivering lips and watery eyes really caught Pinkie's attention however.//
Why? They're not exactly extraordinary things. What about them was so noteworthy that you made a special point of remarking about them?

>who didn't move a muscle as she listened intently//
Set off the dependent clause with a comma.

>"Well..." she paused in thought, looking back to Sweetie, "...no.//
Your attribution has no speaking verb. I looks like you're actually trying to make this an aside though, so this is how you do it:
"Well—" she paused in thought, looking back to Sweetie "—no.
The break already implies a pause, so you don't need to narrate one.

>the cold ground//
You already used that phrasing. Watch the repetition.

In this sense, you need it to be two words.

>Sweetie Belle didn't move as she absorbed and pondered what she had just heard. Pinkie took advantage of the quiet moment to look back up in the sky and let the glow of the moon calm her mind. She silently thanked her friends for the support they were giving.//
You're keeping a shallow enough perspective throughout the story that I haven't seen any blatant problems, but this is getting close. Note how the first sentence speaks to things only Sweetie Belle would know internally, since you're not presenting it as Pinkie's interpretation of how she's acting. But in the next two sentences, you definitely say things that are internal to Pinkie. An omniscient narrator can certainly wander into different perspectives, but you have to do it smoothly. And you should absolutely not switch perspectives within a paragraph. There's a section on head hopping at the top of this thread that will give the rationale behind this.

>Whatever she said would possibly have an effect on the rest of the filly's life. Whatever she said needed to be perfect.//
That's overdramatizing things a bit, isn't it? She's momentarily upset about Opalescence, but she'll come to terms with it. It's not like she's suddenly going to get suicidal because she's realized her own mortality. For that matter why hasn't Rarity talked to Sweetie Belle? And why hasn't Pinkie asked how Rarity's taking it?

>One that if answered incorrectly could possiblely lead to a long, meaningless life for the little filly.//
Yes, you're definitely going over the top with this. And you have a typo there.

>It's only in most ponies' last moments do they recognize these gifts all around them and the effect they have on our lives.//
Syntax is a little jumbled here. Either lose the "it's" or replace "do" with "that."

>cold ground//
Again with the cold ground, huh?

>a single warm tear roll down her cheek//
It's hard to top "Luna's full moon," but this is an even more cliched thing.

It's a little pat that Sweetie Belle seems to feel completely better at the end. Reassured, maybe, but she'd still need to think things over. I get why you chose Pinkie for this role, but... she doesn't act that much like Pinkie. Subdued Pinkie is fine. It can work. But you need to get me into that mindset of why she's subdued. Part of this goes back to the beginning, where you tell me Pinkie finds her night walks peaceful, but you didn't show me. Show me what makes it peaceful for her and what thoughts and images are running through her head, and that will go a long way toward making this tamer Pinkie feel natural.

So, watch the telling, ease me into Pinkie's mood, what else...?

You had a few issues with word and phrase repetition. One which you probably wouldn't notice is this: was, 29; were, 8; is, 14; be/been/being, 15. That's 66 "to be" verbs, at least the easiest forms to spot. That's not an awful amount for this word count, but it's getting up there. These are very boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read about things that happen, not things that are. You should be choosing more active verbs.

Finally, the conflict. I love the angle you took on this, with Opal dying. But I'll reiterate my point about everyone overlooking Rarity's feelings about it. You at least recognize that the story needs to have some conflict, but Pinkie has a really overblown reaction to Sweetie Belle. If she doesn't say the perfect thing in response, Sweetie Belle will forever go through life as a withered shell of her former self and have a dread of death hanging over her? That's too much. And by overplaying it so much, you make Sweetie Belle's miraculous turnaraound feel inauthentic. Understated and subtle is much more powerful than in-your-face. Character growth can serve as a proxy for conflict, and you have Sweetie Belle set up for some. Just give some thought to her. Really put yourself in her situation and think about how you'd react to Pinkie. That realism will come through in the writing.
>> No. 129604
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.

>peaceful in every connotation of the word//
There... really aren't many connotations to that word. And this paragraph is really skirting the edge of a weather report opening. Weather is boring, unless it's critical to the plot. Get to your action or your characters. You can work the weather in later.

>Moments just like this evoked in her a subtle sense of complacency.//
And so we reach the end of the first paragraph. Note how many times you use "to be" verbs in this paragraph. They have their uses, but they're boring verbs on the whole. And boring a reader is especially harmful where you're trying to provide a good hook. Also note that all but one of the ten sentences starts with anything other than the subject. You don't want your writing to get in a rut. Mix it up. Lastly, this sentence I've excerpted is very telly. There's an explanation of show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>trees - a small whistle//
Please use a dash, not a hyphen.

>“Hey there. That's an interesting song.” offered Twilight as she stopped beside the young one at the bubbling brook.//
Dialogue punctuation. There's also a section on this up top.

I assumed you meant to spell it this way. You used "Ecllesia" in your submission form. Careful next time.

>the princess's//
You're using these types of references quite a bit. Check out the section on Lavender Unicorn Syndrome, too.

>Do you need to see a doctor?//
Well, absent any signs of injury, why would she assume it was a physical problem?

>Ecclesia looked at her sadly.//
Another example of telly language. There's quite a bit of it in here.

>Twilight chuckled slightly in confusion.//
In addition to being telly, this is the first break we've had from eight solid paragraphs of speech. Another reference: now go read the section on talking heads.

>Thank you. I'm thankful//

>laid on her back//
Lay/lie confusion.

>“Ssh. It's okay,” She looked at Twilight with her faded golden eyes.//
Dialogue punctuation. That can't be an attribution, since you have no speaking verb.

>It became apparent//
This is oddly disconnected from any of the characters. Your perspective has been with Twilight so far, but you leave it here without going anywhere in particular.

>Look Ecclesia//
Missing comma for direct address.

>several seconds//
There's a lot of this type of phrasing, too. It gets repetitive.

>a tear rolled down her cheek//
The old "single tear" cliche, huh?

>You're precious to me, I care about you and everypony in the world more deeply than you can understand.//
Comma splice.

>Ecclesia smiled with only a hint of sadness.//
I'm not getting much reaction from her, and what I do get is very telly. The result is that she comes across as very bland.

>A- are//
No spaces for a stutter.

>the word felt like a bomb inside her mouth that she dared not speak.//
That's not a dialogue tag. It needs to be a separate paragraph.

>sweeping craggy//
Coordinate adjectives need a comma to separate them.

Really, the biggest stylistic problem here is all the telly language. There were a few mechanical items as well, but nothing consistent enough that I could tell whether you just had a few oversights or got lucky.

On another note, I have to agree with one of your commenters. Whether you intended it to or not, this comes across as a very thinly veiled religious allegory. Personally, that doesn't bother me, but it's pretty close to the line of Equestria Daily policy. It doesn't come under consideration here, since there are enough other things I pointed out already, but if you're going to try resubmitting this again later, I'll have to call in another couple of pre-readers to decide where we stand on this. Even if you didn't have that in mind when writing it, I guarantee that a lot of readers will take it that way.
>> No. 129609
Holy smokes! Thank you for the insight! Honestly, I wasn't aware of all the blunders in my writing until this point. I'm genuinely going to use this review to invigorate my writing. Sometimes all it takes is a little outside perspective, I suppose. My current project will greatly benefit now, since it has a lot of the same pitfalls as this fic did. So, thanks for the brutal wake up call. X)
>> No. 129610

Alright, I think I am ready to resubmit. I spoke with both my editors about your:

>>But she has, when she discovered her own sterility. When people resort to drink over a shock, it's a shock of their own. She's surprised to find out her friends have been affected, but it'd be odd for her to bolt down some booze on their behalf. And she's shown no signs of feeling like she's the one responsible—she doesn't get apologetic about it—so she's not really bolstering herself against anything. If there were some outward signs that she was getting to be an emotional wreck over this, then I could see it.

This was their responses: "The problem with his assumption here is that he's assuming that telling the girls the bad news doesn't count as painful to Twilght.
And that's just her giving them the news, she has no reason not to expect at least one of them to curse her

Yeah, call it 'the weight of responsibility'
...plus, why else would booze be known as 'liquid courage' ?"

"... what?
No, I don't find this to be true at all.
People also drink to numb themselves for telling friends and loved ones incredibly bad news.

Her own damage, she can cope with. Her friends however, and while doing something she was responsible for, several times... guilt!"

I hope this one disagreement doesn't prejudice you. We three just differ from you on this one point.
>> No. 129619
I'm going to post this here in case you'll notice it, since with the way the queue's been going lately, you may well not see it via email before the story gets posted.

There's no need to italicize this. It's not being emphasized.

>one her best friends//
Missing an "of."

>I hope ya’ll are happy//
You spelled it correctly earlier (y'all).

>the gnarled messed left//

>But, sis//
As a term of address, "Sis" would be capitalized.

>plum ridiculous//

>Applejack sniffled, and tilted her face back towards the ceiling.//
No comma.

Backward apostrophe.

>body scan//
You had this as a single word earlier. Be consistent.

>Twilight purposefully ignored Rainbow’s question and instead kept her eyes to the floor as she stalked into the kitchen. Cabinets being flung open followed by the sound of clinking glass could be heard.//
I'll point this out again. The "purposeful" puts this in Twilight's perspective, but the "could be heard" is in some perspective outside the kitchen. It's a really bad idea to change perspective inside a paragraph.

That's a proper noun.

>the other tribes//
Alicorns are a tribe?

>Rarity’s voice fell to a quiver.//
A quiver doesn't imply softness or a low tone, so this doesn't quite make sense.

Italicize the exclamation mark.

>good ’un//
You mashed this together as one word earlier.

Okay, I'm going to explain the thing about the Scotch again, because I don't think your editors understood what my issue was, though it had seemed like you did in your initial response.

People don't bolt down whiskey purely on another's behalf; they do it on their own. If I hear the stranger next to me at a bar saying he got a divorce notice, I'm not going to need a drink to steady myself. But if the guy's my best friend, I might. In that case, it's because I care enough about him that his pain becomes mine. I'm still doing it on my behalf. So, yes, absolutely Twilight might have a drink in this situation. But I need the context. Let me come at this from another angle.

Say your brother-in-law whom you've never met comes for a visit. He's already there when you get home from work, so you're behind on the conversation. All you hear is him saying, "That's awful," and then he downs a glass of Scotch. He's stony-faced the entire time, and your wife doesn't react to his drinking. How do you interpret his action? Is he drinking because he's upset? He doesn't show it. Maybe it's normal for him to have a drink at this time of day. Your wife doesn't seem to be commiserating with him. So is she unaffected by whatever might be bothering him, or is she just unsurprised? It takes that context to establish what it all means.

So I'm glad you added the bits that showed Twilight was actually getting upset. That contextualizes the drinking for her. But I'm still not getting that from everyone else. They don't react to it at all, which makes it seem like this is completely normal behavior for her, and that steals some of its impact. A little goes a long way. All it'd take is a couple of them raising eyebrows at each other or some such, and voila, you've hammered home the full meaning. Seems like a minor point, but you dwelled on it for a few paragraphs, so it's worth giving it proper attention.

In any case, these are all minor things to address, and they can be handled while you wait for the story to go up.
>> No. 129622
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.

>Their appetite for horror leads them into a horrifying position//
Watch the word repetition.

>Applejack was wearing a simple blue dress, while Rarity was decked out in an extravagant gown studded with jewels.//
You're using quite a few of those past participles. I don't see how they add anything here that simple past doesn't, which would also avoid boring "to be" verbs.

Onomatopoeia in narration isn't a good idea.

>Applejacks hoof//
Missing apostrophe.

>to seen//
Missing word.

>"And that goes for you too, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo." Applejack amended.//
Dialogue punctuation. There's a section on this at the top of the thread.

>She opened her mouth as if to say something, but it took a moment for her to say anything.//
That's pretty repetitive. Also look back over the previous few paragraphs. Outside of dialogue, it's been quite a while since you started a narrative sentence with anything but the subject.

>she finally committed//
That's a really odd choice of speaking verb. You're pushing the edge on these. When you do it a little, it adds flavor to the story. When you do it a lot, it makes the writing itself noticeable and pushes me out of the story.

>that white book//
Using "that" here doesn't really work. It'd suit a conversational style of a first-person or third-person limited narrator, or it'd work if you'd mentioned it before. But as it is, it just sounds odd.

>she told them//
You got this right in the first sentence. It's an event in the story's past, so use past perfect tense (had told).

>The air in the cellar was chilly, and carried the vague smell of dirt and fruit//
Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread, too.

>this one was made of across work of sticks//

>two legged//
Hyphenate your compound modifiers.

>She was relieved//
Here's the main problem I see with your story. I'm getting very little emotional context from these girls. You're telling me all the things they do, but not how they feel about any of it. I gather they're supposed to be scared, but they all seem pretty bland. And on the occasion like this where you do wedge in a bit of emotion, it's too blunt. The section up top about show versus tell will explain.

>At least she couldn't see it from here.//
Wouldn't she be even more unnerved to know it was behind her?

>When Sweetie Belle nosed her way into the center of the covering//
Set off most dependent clauses with commas.

>she noticed Scootaloo//
Given that your narrator isn't being consistently objective, you need to keep in mind who your perspective character is at all times. So far, when he's held a perspective, it's always been Scootaloo's, but here he's adopting Sweetie Belle's.

>Sweetie Belles//
Another missing apostrophe.

Knickknacks. And this is a very odd word choice.

>a figure crude but it was enough for the magician//
Syntax is off.

>laid sprawled//
Lay/lie confusion.

>Kneeled beside his friend//
Verb tense.

>She turned back to her friends, exposing them fully to how badly she was shaking.//
Awkward phrasing.

Finally, toward the end of this scene, you're giving me more indirect cues of the girls' emotions. You really ought to be doing this through the story as well. It just comes across as a big block of text. Surely the girls are reacting or doing something as they listen to the story. Check ni every so often and let me see it.

Wait, what was that scene break for? There's no time skip, no shift of perspective, no change in setting... I don't see a reason for it.

With what's running through her mind right now, she's really going to be that careful with the book?

>Well it isn't here," Sweetie Belle said.//
Missing a line break here.

Misused apostrophe.

Another one of those sound effects in narration. Just describe it.

>"Where's Granny Smith?"//
Another missing line break. And now that I think of it, why are they scared of the scaredycrow? It wasn't the evil thing in the story. Nothing was said about it being good or bad. If I'm supposed to be scared for them, you need to give me a reason to be.

Who says this? Don't just leave it unattributed like this.

>and the world became tilted and her breathing became rapid.//
This is very impersonal and external. This should be a result of Scootaloo's fright, but it's very vague in that regard. It's pretty bland.

>whatever was making it//
Any possible antecedent for "it" is located several paragraphs back. Not the best use of a pronoun.

>She had laid down on the floor//
Lay/lie confusion again.

>Apple Bloom would have would have followed too hadn't a glimpse of white on the floorboards caught her eye//
Syntax is off.

>lead it into a frantic dance//

>Her heart near stopped//

>Scootaloo was snoring in a heap besides her.//

>I don’t think its waiting for us//
Its/it's confusion.

>Sugar Cube Corner//
As per canon, Sugarcube.

>Stuffs of cloud//

>now you may stride for those dreams//
While this could make sense as written, I wonder if you meant "strive."

And that ending... I still have no idea how these girls feel about it. Is Sweetie Belle still scared of it, or has she changed her mind? I'm also unclear on the Scaredycrow's motives. I could see it as Applejack or one of her friends playing a prank, especially since they mentioned Twilight had been helping with it in the basement. But they sure took the joke far in that case. On the other hand, if this thing is real, how did Twilight not notice anything unusual about it? And it's potrayed as something that doesn't mean them harm, at least. So in either case, driving them to jump out a window, then not making sure they're okay? That's definitely taking it too far. It also doesn't quite ring true that if the girls are that scared, two of them could sleep, and none of them thought of running for help once they were outside.

One more note about repetition: You use a lot of "to be" verbs. They're boring. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. You have 125 instances of "was" alone. If I include other common forms, I find 194. That's almost one every other sentence. You need to be choosing more active verbs.

It's not a bad story, but the lack of emotional investment and the leaps of logic in a few places are holding it back.
>> No. 129623
Thank you for taking the time to write all this out. A simple rejection letter would have worked, but you took the time to point out my word mix-ups and typos, and now my story is better for it. So again, thank you. Besides the easily fixable errors, I won't address your critique for this story, but I will keep it in mind for any future writings of mine.

Last edited at Sat, Feb 1st, 2014 15:22

>> No. 129639
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.

>Given that on this particular day she is blessed with many wonderful friends and family members, she receives many gifts on her birthday.//
This is odd. "On this particular day" and "she is blessed with many wonderful friends and family" are both valid thoughts, but they're separate. You've made them sound interdependent. She has friends and family on other days, after all.

>one-thousand seven hundred and ninteenth birthday//
Don't put a hyphen there, and it's improper to put an "and" in the number like that.

>She is nonplussed.//
Consider how many people will have to look up that word before they even start on the story. You want to remain accessible.

>Yes, they washed over her implying that the sun was already high in the sky, which it was.//
Missing a comma for the participle. You also have quite the weather-report opening there, and the whole "her sun" thing is so cliched. Add to that the sheer number of boring "to be" verbs (4 of them in only 3 sentences), and this is a really poor hook.

>She would just a few simple minutes//
Missing word.

>for later possible use, should the occasion ever arise for her to use it//

>the definition of xanthippe was the third most important thing on the page; the second being a crude drawing of a scowling pegasus mare to drive home the meaning of the word//
Misused semicolon. There is no independent clause after it.

>and thus had a birthday//
You set this off with a comma on one end. Why not the other?

I'm a page or two in now, and I'm just getting crushed under the exposition. A couple of paragraphs is fine, but now you've gone on for paragraph after paragraph of the history and attitudes of this day. There are far more elegant and readable ways of working in exposition gradually and indirectly. The strength of your story is pretty much in the premise alone, and it takes you half your word count to get there.

>She bathed in the perfectly positioned beam of warm sunlight right at the hoof of her bed, and smiled//
Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>For a brief moment, she began panicking.//
And yet I never get that sense from her. Except for these few bland words about it, you never convince me of this. Have a look at the section on show versus tell, too.

>However, everything was cleared up with a simple use of the Royal Canterlot Voice from the mystery pony, as most things tended to be.//
Most things tend to be cleared up by the Royal Canterlot Voice?

>scanned the pile a she chewed//

>What book hast she given thee this year?//
if you're going to use archaic language, please get it right. The conjugation for "she" is "hath."

>Yes, We remember that one.//
If she's capitalizing "We" for herself, then why not "thee" for her sister?

>untying the bow that the package was tied//

>"Thou beguiled us with your subtextual actions, Tia!'//
Mismatched types of quotes. And archaic conjugation again.

>We can figure out who it's from later.//

>Dost thou appreciate the gift, sister?//
As a term of address, "Sister" would be capitalized.

>ninety three//
Here's the only spot you'd put a hyphen in a number.

>the head of the squid//
Such phrasings are needlessly indirect. "The squid's head" is much more direct and concise without losing any meaning.

>"I think I'll take him to court tomorrow and see if anypony claims credit for it. I'll be sure to let you know if I find out."//
Yes. You already said as much.

>Luna had denied Celestia's requests to help clean up the mess the two of them had made, part of the party did, admittedly, involve a food fight, and so Celestia was able to go straight to bed.//
The comma before "part" is a splice.

>Just like the other three hundred and sixty-four days of the year, Celestia was woken up by the sound of her alarm clock screeching in her ears.//
So you do a scene break for the short time skip between opening the presents and eating the cake, but you go without one for the entire night?

>Count Vichy's pompous smile flickered when he heard that Luna raised the sun//
This is another issue with the story. There are numerous passages where information is repeated or over-explained. Give the reader some credit.

>Not being able to say that out loud//
Another example of the same. Given that you punctuated it as thought, we already know she didn't say it out lous and can surmise why.

>the Equestrian toy scene would suddenly boom with toy squids//
More word repetition.

>With that bit of excitement passed//
Passed/past confusion.

>A great rush of maternal affection coursed through Celestia, and she hugged Blueblood with her wings and forelegs. Blueblood tensed up, surprised by the embrace//
This is the emotional climax of the story. And the entire context is told to me. There's very little here for me to visualize. You need to paint a picture in my head and let me figure out how they feel from it.

There's not a lot to say that hasn't already been said. The pervasive issues were a weather report opening, long initial info dump, over-explanation, and telly language. I will elaborate on one thing: "to be" verbs. Just do a Ctrl-f for "was" and watch the page light up like a Hearth's Warming tree. Counting all of the more common forms, I came up with 179. That's a ton. It's a little less than one every other sentence, but you tend to use them in clusters, which is a common problem, so they're very locally repetitive. That ratio isn't horrible for a shorter work, but to maintain it over a longer story just gets grating. This is a very boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. You need to be choosing more active verbs.

You're also very thin on the conflict or character growth. We get a tiny bit about Blueblood, since his involvement is an unexpected look at his character. But it's a minor point, and neither he nor Celestia show much emotional investment in what happens. She treats the whole thing as more of a curiosity. She's not apparently affected. What was at stake? What changed as a result? What new thing did we learn about a main character? I get that Blueblood's reveal was unexpected, but we're not going to be very invested in someone who doesn't enter the picture until the final few paragraphs. What is it Celestia wants? What bad thing might happen if she doesn't get it? What do we learn about her in the process? An engaging story will address at least one of these.
>> No. 129653
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.

>Granny Smith looked to Big Macintosh.//
Watch repeating "looked" so soon after the last time.

>both the color of apple juice//
Not sure why you're repeating that description, either.

>Applejack lie on her side on her bed, facing the wall away from him//
Lay/lie confusion. Also watch the participles. They can often be misplaced modifiers. It sounds like the bed is facing away from him.

>Although the sobbing had gone, it left shuddering motions in her sides in its place.//
Really awkward phrasing.

Spell it out as "okay."

>Ah’m allus fine.//
>Y’arready know.//
This is really too much. There are writers who insist on imitating strong accents, but there are several problems with doing so. First, it slows the reader down. Second it presupposes the voice the reader might want to use. Third, since these are predefined characters, the reader already knows how she sounds and will fill that in for you. It's more about word choice and phrasing. A strong visual accent is really a tough thing to get right, especially for a character who gets a lot of lines.

Smart quotes always get leading apostrophes wrong. This is backward. I see more of them. You'll need to do a sweep.

>(as he hadn’t come to any sort of conclusion as to what he could, should, couldn’t, or shouldn’t say before)//
Having the narration be this self-aware is really, really clumsy.

>Before he opened his eyes//
You never had him close them...

>Outside the room, Apple Bloom looked at Applejack’s door//
Why the perspective shift? You had me in Big Mac's head, and nothing of note happened with him. Then you jerk me over into Apple Bloom's perspective. If you weren't going to use Big Mac to any significant end, why not start with Apple Bloom from the beginning?

This is unnecessary. It's telly, for one, but you do more after this to get at her mood in a less blunt manner.

>it was for this reason that Apple Bloom was scared//
Same deal. You might want to read the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>whose face was still colored with concern//
Telly again, but also very clumsy to have your perspective character note things about herself so externally.

>but found she couldn’t continue//
And now you're in Granny's perspective. Read the section up top about head hopping.


>Apple Bloom became afraid.//
The point here is to get us to feel this with her. Noting her emotion as a cold fact is not the way to accomplish that.

>“They din’t live long ‘nuff to make such an impact on yer life ‘s they did ar’s. S’long as we never forget ‘em, an’ keep ‘em in ar hearts, it’ll hurt less an’ less ev’ry year.”//
Just... no. This is such a chore to read.

Unless it's a word that has to be capitalized no matter what, only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

>The words refused to leave her mouth, so they left her eyes instead, as tears.//
Okay, I see the poetic meaning you're going for, but this is really strangely phrased.

>She collected herself, and tried again.//
Also see the part about comma use with conjunctions.

>Death ain’t ‘good-bye’. It’s ‘See ya later’.//
Inconsistent capitalization in the quotes.

First, why the mix of plain and fancy quotes, and second, what exactly is the apostrophe contracting? It's an imitative spelling—you haven't removed any letters.

Well, the big things should be obvious. There is a lot of telly language in here, the accents are overwritten to the point of being burdensome to read, and you have a very inconsistent perspective. There's really nothing more to say about that than the reference material I already pointed out.

It's also pretty obvious that Applejack would be crying about her parents, yet you hold it back like it's some surprise. There isn't really any different conflict happening here that hasn't happened in many other stories.

This may warrant a bit more explanation, as canon isn't exactly definitive, but when do you envision this taking place? First, you have AJ's parents die before she went to live in Manehattan. But Apple Bloom must have been quite young at the time, so did Big Mac and Granny Smith really leave her unattended to see AJ off and welcome her home later? And in "The Cutie Mark Chronicles," AJ's pretty forthcoming about why she left town. Does this take place after that episode?
>> No. 129670
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.

>Just once I would like to sit with her and actually talk to get, and for her to listen.//

>will finally go out.....//
An ellipsis is three dots, and ending a synopsis with one is pretty cliched, anyway.

>It was a warm, crisp spring day.//
Weather report opening. These are vastly overdone. Your story has a point and characters. Just get to them. Wasting time on the weather only shows that you couldn't think of anything more to say, unless the weather is actually a major plot point. You can work the weather in later.

>as it's light danced across the rolling hills//
Its/it's confusion.

>Maternity Ward//
Why in the world is this capitalized?

That's a brand name (Jell-O), one that they presumably wouldn't know in Equestria. Probably better to use "jelly."

>his patience growing thin//
>this, she knew, was her last chance//
You really have to be mindful of whose perspective you want the narrator to emulate, or if you want to keep him outside of any perspective altogether. Look at these examples. The first is in the father's perspective. You don't discuss any external evidence of how someone could tell he felt that way, so you're telling us from inside his head. Likewise for the mother in the second example. Read the section about head hopping at the top of this thread. It'll tell you the rationale behind deciding if and when to shift perspective, but you absolutely shouldn't shift it within a single paragraph, as you've done here.

>"What a sight it was", they always told me, "Seeing the doctor fly up 3 feet in the air, because of a few minute old filly."//
That first comma goes inside the quotes, and there's no need to capitalize "seeing," since it continues the quote from before within the same sentence. There's a section at the top of the thread on dialogue punctuation/capitalization as well. Spell out numbers this short, and hyphenate your compound modifiers (few-minute-old).

>most baby unicorns have magic surges when they are little//
"When they are little" is redundant, since you've already identified them as babies.

>at the time, since she was only a young filly at the time//
Watch close repetition of words and phrases.

>she not get any allowance for a full month//
Syntax is off.

>So she took all of the bits she had saved up, and worked so hard on the dress.//
Also see the section on comma use with conjunctions.

>mom and dad//
When you refer to them in place of names like this (versus a more generic use like "my mom and dad"), they get capitalized.

This extended flashback in italics would be better used as a separate scene. With a proper transition, you wouldn't have to render it in italics. Italics are fine in short bursts, but they get irritating when they go on and on like this. They're intended to make things stand out, but when everything's italicized, it defeats that purpose.

>Yes mommy?//
Missing comma for direct address.

>"I know this is hard on both of you," Mom put her hoof on Rarities shoulder, "Especially you Rarity, since you loved this place so much, and I know we promised to give this place to you once you got older....but this is a big oportunity for us. You two would come with us too. We could all still be together-"//
Where to begin? You've pluralized "Rarity" where you needed a possessive. You've inserted a speech attribution without a speaking verb. You misspelled "opportunity," the capitalization/punctuation pattern is wrong, your ellipsis has too many dots, and you've used a hyphen where you need a dash.

One exclamation mark is plenty.

>My sister became too busy//
This is the third mention of Rarity being busy in the last four sentences. I get the picture.

Apple Bloom

>Orders flew in because ponies wanted their dresses to be made by one of the Elements of Harmony.//
This might require a bit more justification. There's no evidence in canon that ponies place any importance on this or even recognize them as such.

Seriously? You're going to put emoticons in your text?

>Oh, that old thing, I found it today while I was looking for some fabric.//
That's odd, too. She's sometimes out of touch with her sister, but so much that she'd ruin something she knew meant a lot to her? That's hard to take without some explanation.

>I felt a hoof come up and hit my face.//
And then Rarity hits her for pointing it out? You're losing me. Your left margin is also inconsistent. I at least see you do explain the incident with the dress later on, but she can't come up with a better story? And now it makes even less sense that Rarity would hit her.

This may cut it as video game dialogue, but not here.

>I look around at my surrounds.//


>The nurse's eyes, who I recognized to be Nurse Redheart, widened in shock.//
The "who I recognized" needs to describe something, but it can't describe the nurse, since she doesn't appear in the sentence. Only her eyes do.

>Applebloom, and Scootaloo all piled into the room//
Weren't they already in there? If not, whom did she hear when she woke up?

>" Um...I'm//
Extraneous space, and it's standard to leave a space after an ellipsis, unless it's a leading one or followed by punctuation.

>I don't even know why I asked, after everything she has said and done//
Tense shift.

Consider what sound she would actually be repeating. Sh-she

>No Rarity."//
Missing the opening quotation marks. And a comma for direct address, for that matter.

>Her were cheeks//

>you never had anymore time for me//
In this instance "any more" needs to be two words.

>never to busy for your other friends//
To/too confusion.

Not sure why I'm seeing this many obvious spelling errors. Any word processing software will catch these.

>with a large amethyst in the middle, and small diamonds surrounding it, the amethyst in the shape of a music note//
See how the focus wanders? It goes from the amethyst to the diamonds, and, oh yeah, something else about the amethyst.

>She rubbed the top of my head, "Sweetie Belle//
You can't just attach any given action to speech with a comma. There has to be a speaking action.

>"I hope so too." A voice said.//
And here's the opposite problem. You do have a speaking action, but you haven't punctuated/capitalized it as an attribution.

>I lid down//
Typo, but it also looks like you were about to pick the wrong one of the lay/lie combo.

>Meanwhile, after I had fallen asleep, Rarity had walked outside of my room, to speak with the doctor.//
Wait, how is she narrating events she didn't witness? Unless you tell me how she knows this or you have a framing story in which it makes sense, you don't do that with a first-person narrator.

>When she was hit by the cart, it must have triggered something in that part of her brain, and now the tumor has now begun to grow again//
Okay. How can he possibly know this? He's never seen it before now, so how does he know whether it's grown or not? And she hasn't been in the hospital very long. Even if the accident somehow caused it to grow again, t wouldn't be measurable yet.

>W-what will happen if she does get the operation.//
That's a question. Shouldn't it have a question mark?

>She can get a brain transplant.//
What? How would she even still be Sweetie Belle?

>Not many ponies that age WANT to donate.//
Why would any want to donate? A pony can't exactly live without a brain, so even a 100% success rate is still breaking even. And if you mean only transplanting part of the brain, you've already said that the part of Sweetie Belle's that needs to be removed would likely kill her, so how are the odds any better than that for a donor? There are some serious plausibility problems here. And her head's much bigger than Sweetie Belle's. How will her brain even fit in there?

>They only donors//

You see this spelling in commercial use often enough, but the correct spelling is li'l.


>Get better, Sugarcube//
That's not a nickname specific to Sweetie Belle. It's just a generic term of endearment, so it wouldn't be capitalized.

>Unfortunately, all ponies who do transplant brains do die.//
So those willing donors you mentioned earlier basically wanted to die. That's pretty creepy.

>They tried to smile as they lead Rarity out of the room.//
The past tense of "lead" is "led."

>one I haven't received from her in a long time//
Verb tense.

>Time Turner looked towards Rarity as I went in the operating room.//
Why the scene break? There's no shift in time, place, or perspective.

>She thinks that when she wakes up, I'll be right there by her side//
You're having Sweetie Belle narrate this, but it's presumably something she doesn't actually witness, since she'd certainly have a reaction to it, but we get none.

>I looked towards the window; It was almost morning in Ponyville.//
Don't capitalize after a semicolon.

> I raised my hoof gently to my head. The pain was almost gone, but still slightly there. I put my hoof to my head//
So she puts her hoof to her head twice?

>Replacing it was a series of stitches that made a line around my entire head.//
She'd have a bandage covering that, surely.

>"Sweetie, we have something to tell you."//
And this is why this whole scenario is incredibly cruel to Sweetie Belle. To put all this on her? And if I'm Rarity, I'm going to be put off by the fact that absolutely everyone accepted my decision without question. Sure shows the relative value they place on her and Sweetie Belle.

>The bright, bubbly mare was no staring at the floor//

>She could not cheer her up, for she was also suffering.//
Vague pronoun use. I can't tell who's doing what.

>My parents were sat just next to me//

You ran these two words together.

>Recalling that memory left a whole in my shattered heart.//

>She then used it to wiped her own.//
Verb form.

>We all walked through a long, golden hallway of the castle that lead to a garden full of statues.//
"Led" again.

>I gazed up at them for what seemed like hours, just gazing at their beauty.//
So she gazed, you say.

>besides my sister and I//
This is actually a spot for "me."

>I never thought to much on it.//
To/too confusion again.

Why in the world is that apostrophe there?

>I couldn't just go to Canterlot everyday//
In this usage, "every day" needs to be two words.

You're inconsistent at capitalizing this.

>A single tear dropped down her check//
Typo, and this is one of the most cliched things you could have possibly done.

Song lyrics...

This is an actual song that Sarah McLachlan sang. You know using non-MLP copyrighted lyrics is against FiMFiction's policy, right?

>It was a fire ruby in the shape of a heart, the same one that Spike had given to Rarity//
Doesn't this imply a lot of disturbing things? First, what did the gem have to do with Sweetie Belle or how she got her cutie mark? It's awfully indirect, saying that the song which caused it was inspired by Rarity, because wouldn't that mean her talent was singing things that had to do with Rarity? And what does this imply about her relationship with Spike? That she's going to inherit his crush? This is also pretty creepy.

>as she looking down upon the world//

I'd encourage you to use the [hr] bbcode character or something short and centered for scene breaks. The dashes you're drawing can go for multiple lines on a phone.

There's a mixed bag of mechanical problems, all pervasive, but not too many of them consistent, and all are certainly fixable. Really, the big problem here is the plot, and there are two tiers of it. On a fundamental level, some of the things that happen just don't make sense. I've pointed out quite a few of them, like how there's apparently an availability of donor brains, even though this always results in the donor's death. Why are these ponies signing up to be donors? On another level, there are things that potentially could make sense, but don't with the amount of explanation we get. For instance, I can believe that Rarity would be willing to make a sacrifice of this magnitude for her sister, but the context for doing it is nonexistent, so she just makes a snap decision and nobody tries to reason through it with her. I can't believe everypony thinks this is a good idea or is at least neutral about it. I can't just make that leap for you that her decision makes sense. You have to get me there.
>> No. 129696
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.

As used, it's a noun adjunct, and a plural one at that. You don't need the apostrophe.

>and I am immune to both poison and foodborne illness//
This feels more like a headcanon inclusion. What relevance does it have to the letter's message, and isn't it something Twilight would already know about her? This is the type of thing that makes letter-based stories or even the inclusion of a letter difficult to do well. You really need to think about what would be reasonable to put in the letter without using it as a device for infodump or exposition. And it's "food-borne."

>foals play//
I believe you intended a meaning more like foal's play.

>she thought, as she helped herself to more soup//
Why is this in past tense?

>What was the intent?//
This is the 17th "to be" verb in the first two paragraphs alone. This is bringing the action to a shuddering standstill. It's far more interesting to read about what happens, not what merely is, and the beginning of the story (insofar as this is effectively the first chapter), is a crucial spot to draw the reader into the characters and action. You really need to be using primarily active verbs.

>It is a detail of her environment, but not an important one. Catalogued, but without much importance to it.//
You're giving me some narrative whiplash. Take these lines from earlier:
>Well, no. That’s a lie. It’s actually incredibly important//
These lines come from deep in Twilight's perspective, essentially making her the narrator. But here, your narrator, while still adopting an informal tone, is decidedly external to her. She'd be awfully self-aware about her thought process to comment on it this way. I don't buy that she'd actually follow the train of thought like this .

Why is this hyphenated?


Typically, will-o'-the-wisp. Again later in the chapter.

>The letter had been there//
The use of past perfect would be appropriate in a past-tense narration, but you're using present, so go with simple past here.

>Applejack says, cutting Pinkie off with a chuckle//
This is the first bit of characterization I get from any of her lunch companions, outside of what they say. Their part is rather bland. They're not doing anything. They might as well be statues.

>She is analyzing, picturing. She sees the map of the farmhouse and barn and the areas around it as she knows them.//
See, this is much better than the spots I marked earlier. It still gets us in her analytical mood, but in a way that's more personal to her.

I wouldn't recommend doing this with Pinkie, especially since Applejack's getting a lot of dialogue here. It's not really an affectation Pinkie uses, and it makes their speech blend together.

>Twilight notices for the first time that Rarity has quite moved on past lunch and on to tea//
You just mentioned that she was still chewing, so this doesn't quite make sense, unless you specifying what she's eating, so I know it's not a lunch item, but mentioning it earlier kind of precludes doing so here. Might take a bit of restructuring.

>Less than five hundred words.//
This is a really odd thing to say. It smacks of you looking at the FiMFic word count to make a factual statement, but I can't see Twilight actually counting them.

>saw the latter//
Saw the latter what? I don't see a list of options anywhere. Maybe you meant "letter"?

>as if life was a dissertation//
Subjunctive mood needed here for the hypothetical. "as if life were"

>she has kept the regiment up//
Unless she's joined the military as well, you want "regimen."

>“Do they have coffee?” she asks, blinking. The sun is far, far too bright.//
And she's already commented that soup was a bad choice. ("It's so damn hot! Milk... was a bad choice." Sorry.) She wouldn't think the same thing here about a hot drink?

>It is no problem ‘t all, my dear.//
Your apostrophe is backward, but when has Rarity ever used this contraction?

>I found her on the couch this morning.//
Okay, now I have the context, but why did Rainbow stop by the library before going home? It doesn't make sense. She's familiar enough with the town to find Rarity's home in the dark, particularly since it's apparently her home now, too. It makes that earlier encounter a contrived reason to have Dash and Twilight interact. I see later, this gets a bit of an explanation, but it's weak, especially since Rarity was surprised Dash didn't go upstairs. I can't tell whether you're implying Dash just needed to get away, Rarity suspects she has a thing for Twilight, etc.

>Twilight has dared to try it only once, and the experience haunts her nightmares in an absurd fashion.//
How so? Without knowing, it's a bland fact. If you're trying to inject some humor, it's worth a little extra attention, and if not, you don't need this.

>Florid description has its place, she decides with certainty, like a mason laying brick.//
I don't get the comparison. There's no inherent parallel, and you don't make one.

>But, regardless//
These are redundant.

>A were about barrenness//
Missing word.

Missing space.

>You took my by surprise.//

>Twilight reaches out hesitantly with a hoof then put it down.//
Mismatched verb tenses.

>How could she tell?//
Verb tense again.

>T-thank //
Think about what sound would actually be repeated. Th-thank

>I think a lot depends on you answer.//

>food choice seem strange//
Yes, and everyone's choice of beverage, too.

>Am I being foolish?//
You're starting to wander outside what feels like natural conversation. A prepared speech, yes, but this is very fancy language for an off-the-cuff discussion, and people don't normally use direct address this frequently. What she's saying is fine, and the wording itself is nicely crafted at first glance, but it just doesn't feel authentic. Can you imagine two people at the next table in a coffee shop speaking like this?

>pegasi spirit//
Noun adjuncts are almost always singular.

>I’m going to head home now if I may take my leave of you.//
Needs a comma for the dependent clause.

Confidant/confident confusion.

I'll go ahead and comment on this chapter in lieu of waiting until the end. This is the kind of chapter I have to be in the right mood to enjoy, and I'm more forgiving in this regard than many readers. I actually liked it, but I'm not sold on its purpose. It does a great job of setting up a mood, and the character interactions were great (just watch the number of times you directly tell me how someone feels, either through the exact word, like "sad," or through an adverb form, like "happily"—it's forcing a distance from the characters that isn't good for engagement). There's barely a connection between what happens here and the stated plot progression in the synopsis or Celestia's letter. If either had mentioned a little more specifically that the vague things being wrong included interpersonal relationships (and I'm taking a bit of a leap to think this is a symptom of your overarching conflict), this would tie in directly. But without any such link, all I have to go along with the theme so far is these strange happenings with the grass and road. There are some great slice-of-life things happening in this chapter, but they go on far too long to be a nice sidetrack, and I don't see that there's a point yet. It's not that I don't trust there will be eventually, but you can only dangle that carrot so long before I give up and find something else to read. It really wouldn't take much—just give me some bread crumbs to make it obvious this is leading somewhere. If it ends up that you could have cut most of this chapter without affecting the story, then that's absolutely what you should do. Or if this is all important, let me see it. You spend so much time deep in Twilight's thoughts, so why is the majority of it incredibly vague with respect to her worries about her friends? There's a default amount she'd get anyway, since they're her friends, and I'm not getting anything above and beyond that. Honestly, it feels like she's far more concerned about these circles.

On the fence about this word choice, as canon has had to bow to using some human-centric words before, but it seems like you could get away with using "staff" here.

>your highness//
The honorific would be capitalized.

>storms and//
Extraneous space.


>who I have sworn to secrecy//


It's wholly unnecessary for your two letter chapters to be italicized. First, they're already set apart as separate from everything else, and it's obvious they're letters, so you don't need to make that distinction. Casting a letter in italics is only necessary if it's short enough that it doesn't even warrant being its own scene. Second, italics make things stand out, and by having the entire chapter italicized in both cases, you've explicitly shown me that nothing stands out. Not to mention that extended italics get irritating to read.

In the end, I think this story is promising. The mood and interpersonal moments are good, but my top three items would be to make me see during chapter two that these happenings are connected to the overall plot (Twilight coldly noted them all without presenting any suspicions that this was the case), watch where the narrative tone switches to something that feels external to Twilight, and watch the telly language (there's a short discussion of show versus tell at the top of this thread, if you need a refresher). As a related note, watch the number of "to be" verbs as well. A decent number of these are tied up in the telly language.

Last edited at Tue, Feb 11th, 2014 19:39

>> No. 129713
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 only critique I'd make of the synopsis is that it only has a short time to grab the reader's interest. It's best to avoid boring "to be" verbs in favor of something active there, and the couple you have wouldn't be hard to replace.

>The slight rise of pressure in her ear was the first tell.//
Pronouns work by antecedent. I've never been a fan of a character's first introduction being via pronoun. If you're trying to create an aura of mystery, a generic term is fine.

"Sodden" is already an adjective. Why are you making a fake verb out of it, and a passive one at that?

One exclamation mark is plenty, and italics are preferred for emphasis.

Spell it out as "okay."

>Thunder Lane//
Not sure if there's an actual canon spelling, but I've always seen it as one word.

>All she got in response was a look of abject terror//
This is little more than a cold fact unless you show it to me. In some places, that may be enough, but not here where you're trying to create an engaging action sequence right at the beginning of the story.

>rain driven//
Needs a hyphen for the compound descriptor.

>street-by-street, block-by-block//
Hyphens not needed on these.

>Golden Oak library//
Oaks, and "Library" would also be capitalized.

>was broken by the piercing scream//
Passive voice is a bad choice for an action sequence.

>But Rainbow Dash knew that she was no ordinary pegasus. She was the Captain of the weather team, the best flyer in Equestria, a lock for a future spot on the Wonderbolts squad, and most importantly, the Element of Loyalty.//
This all feels really contrived. She's faced with a huge storm, has only seconds to spare, and this is the train of thought she follows? You're slamming on the brakes in the middle of a race.

>a worried look//
You're directly informing me of character emotions an awful lot. Have a look at the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>fogged up//
Another spot where you need a hyphen.

>an audible groan//
Redundant. If it's not audible, it's not a groan, is it?

>spinning - neither//
Please use a proper dash.

>asked Rainbow, as she tried to pull Cloud Kicker off of a clearly blacked out Thunder Lane.//
Note that using a comma with an "as" clause tends to create a meaning of "because."

>"I... Oof... I don't know.//
Earlier in the story, you didn't leave a space after an ellipsis. Be consistent.

>Doing her best to support the injured leg, Rainbow guided Cloud Kicker a few steps to her left and slowly sat her down onto the ledge of the now over-flowing fountain.//
"Overflowing" is one word. Through this section of the story, you're completely undercutting any sense of urgency you'd created before. This wall cloud was supposed to be some hellish thing that would rip apart Ponyville if they didn't do anything to stop it. Well, they didn't get the chance to, and yet: 1) There's absolutely no damage to the town going on, and 2) they're not having any trouble moving around in the weather and are making no attempt to find shelter. A quadruped can limp on three legs well enough, and if this storm has such a legendary fury, and there's debris from the town flying about, wouldn't that be their primary concern?

>The leading edge of the left wing was clearly broken, the normally solid, smooth bone line rough and out of alignment. No bones had broken through//
Huh? It's broken but... not broken? I get what you're saing, but the language is confusing and misleading.

>a vicious shot of pain raced from his damaged wing straight through the rest of his body//
Watch your perspective. You've been in Dash's alone so far, but the way you tell it, this is in his head. Keep your point of view in mind as you write so that you only shift perspective when it's necessary and constructive to do so.

>betraying the pain he was trying to hide with sheer stubbornness//
Most participial phrases should be set off with a comma.

>Yeah, I'm ok//
This is already the 7th use of ok in this scene. Watch the repetition.

Commas directly after conjunction are rarely used correctly. This one is not.

>totally unused to using her left hoof for such motions//
Really? It's a little awkward, but would s person really have such a hard time using their off hand to take off goggles that it'd be worth mentioning?

>and this storm's only getting worse! We need to find some shelter//
This is coming very late in the game to be convincing.

>There's mostly businesses here Dash//
Missing a comma for direct address.

>shop keepers//
One word.

>unless you want to break into a store//
And given their injuries, does she really think anyone would blame her?

>A thought clicked in Rainbow's head. The library was just a few blocks past the edge of the square//
But she was already thinking about the library before. You went on for a while about how she longed to be back there. And then she suddenly forgets all about it?

>Just the thought of the bookish unicorn sent her mind racing back to what was supposed to be the biggest event of the night.//
And you're doing it again. While her mind should be primarily on her colleagues, the weather, and her own discomfort, you're going to have her reminisce? What this tells me is that the storm and her friends' injuries are minor enough that she can let her mind wander.

>Since her first introduction to the bookish unicorn//
Second use of that exact descriptor in this paragraph alone, and you're courting the edge of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome.

>the nerdy librarian//
And still in the same paragraph. Yeah, definitely LUS. There's a section on that at the top of this thread.

>'Fluttershy may be right',
Comma goes inside the quotes.

>But I'll never know if I don't ask her.
Dialogue capitalization. There's a section for this, too.

>day dream//
One word.

>the incessant assault of rain, wind, and flying debris//
So incessant that it's barely warranted mention? And I counted only one piece of debris.

>the accompanying thunder clap blowing out what few windows remained in Bon Bon's candy store//
You're really crossing the line from realism into movie-type theatrics here. And you've basically said here that there were already some windows blown out in the store. So why the earlier comment about not wanting to break into a store? They could have gotten in there.

>before the incessant lightning found its mark//
Right about here, I'm also noticing that you've repeated "debris" and "incessant" within a few short paragraphs of each other. The more unusual a word is, the less you can get away with repeating it. And what makes them think they'd get struck by lightning? They're next to a bunch of buildings... and headed toward an isolated tree.

>a flash that would have rivaled the sun itself//
The light and heat are generally more intense than the sun...


>payment for its untimely destruction. Rainbow paid//
Watch that word repetition again.

>Taking a gulp of acrid air//
Your sentence structure is getting in a rut. Every sentence in this paragraph starts with a participle, and two of them tack another on the end. Also note that participles imply concurrent action, and you've got some events in these that wouldn't logically happen simultaneously.

>trapped as she was//
Neither one of them can break that window?

>Seeing the confused look on Rainbow's face//
Watch that perspective again.

>Still, her mind tore at itself, squeezing everything it had into the slowly growing magenta orb at the tip of her horn.//
Yeah, maybe you ought to read the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.

>the hardened glass proving as resilient against her repeated blows as it normally did against the elements//
Consider how well Dash did against the bell-ring test in "Fall Weather Friends." And how she dive-bombed Applejack's old barn into oblivion. I don't buy that a simple window is giving her this much trouble.

>again when Twilight's face again//
More repetition.

>WHY HER, WHY... HY... HY...//
This is really over the top. Effective sad stories usually play more off subtlety than melodrama. Pull it back some.

>the pony that saved her life - and in doing so, captured her heart//
That's not exactly a healthy attitude...

>somewhat jagged scar about an inch long//
And she doesn't remember this at all? Twilight's going to great lengths to infodump it to her as well. This is crossing the line from natural conversation to gratuitous exposition.

>until you came to visit me in the hospital//
If she waited that long to get stitches, they're not going to do her much good.

>still budding//
Yet another term that needs to be hyphenated. I've skipped over quite a few. But they're living together, and you'd still refer to it as budding?

>ghost as it wreaked havoc on Rainbow's mind, twisting her heroism into increasingly ghastly//
More repetition.

The two biggest issues in my mind are the telly language and the logical inconsistencies in the plot. I realize the latter can be justified through dream logic, but at that point, the reader doesn't know it's a dream, and you obviously don't want to let on that it is in order to relieve that disbelief. So you're left with quite a few situations that don't make sense, and you can't have the reader carrying that through thousands of words before it gets explained.

There was also quite a bit of repetition of words, phrases, and sentence structures. One in particular I want to touch on is your use of "to be" verbs. Here is what I counted in chapter 2 alone: was/wasn't - 65, were/weren't - 14, is/isn't - 4, be/been/being - 16. There will be others hidden in contractions, too, but there are 99 already. That's not awful for this word count—roughly one every 3 or 3.5 sentences—but it could stand to be spruced up. These are very boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. Look to use more active verbs.

You also have a really abbreviated conflict at the end, which never gets resolved. Twilight attempts to help Dash, and while it's not necessary to take us all the way through to complete healing, but we're barely introduced to the mechanism for even addressing the conflict when the story ends, and without any indication as to how effective it is.
>> No. 129728
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.

Well, that synopsis leaves a lot to be desired. It tells me absolutely nothing. I honestly get more from the title.

>Before Fluttershy could say a word, she was grabbed by the tail and pulled into a nearby alleyway.//
>a stallion walked by, did a double take, then with only a brief sentence of explanation, started dragging her off//
These are seemingly contradictory.

>average sized//
Hyphenate your compound descriptors.

>Shocked, and more than a little nervous//
Yow. Get me to figure this out from how she looks and acts. Don't just tell me. You should read the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>His expression softened, then said//
His expression spoke?

Don't do that.

>Think about others, next time//
You have quite a few unnecessary commas. This one, for instance.

>He turned back to the alley entrance and stood guard.//
You ought to break up these paragraphs. You have five disjoint pieces of speech in this one, and it gets a bit cumbersome to have more than two or three. If you really have that much action to put between the dialogue, that action is probably important enough to warrant a bit more focus than getting lost in the middle of a paragraph.

>Keep your head in the game.//
This long exposition via heard-but-not-heard monologue comes across as pretty clumsy. These aren't things he'd reasonably say out loud. Do you normally go around admitting you find someone attractive, then speculating on their gender, all while within their earshot? There are better ways to get across what he's thinking than this.

>(it came with the apartment. Ah, the fridge, not the carrots. Those he bought)//
Enough with the parentheticals already. I was letting them slide, even though they don't work too well outside of a first-person narrator, but you're bombarding me with them now. Any time you do something that calls attention to the writing itself in an abstract sense, that's a bad thing.

>And no, he didn't name her, so shut up//
Before, he'd seemingly addressed "you" to these unspecified hatchlings, but here, he's pretty clearly speaking to the reader. Do not do this lightly. First, you haven't kept up a narration that will do so throughout the story, so it feels out if place. Second, by involving me, you've opened a can of worms. I need a reason to be there as much as any of the other characters do. So why does he want we to hear this story? Why do I want to listen? Under what circumstances is he telling it?

>expected. He'd expected//
Watch the repetition.

>your highness//
Capitalize the honorific.

>'Everypony', so why can't we have 'Everybuggy'//
In this usage, they don't need to be capitalized.

>and chose not to//
She's being awfully trusting here. He already said why he wouldn't want Chrysalis to have it, but he could have plenty of other motives regarding it. And that's assuming they can even trust him. Why is Twilight taking everything he says at face value?

>Cricket smiled, and said//
Also see the section up top about comma use with conjunctions.

Four dots in an ellipsis, and you're using an awful lot of them.

>that proclaimed him to be a (probationary) citizen of Equestria//
Okay, so we're apparently going to skip all the stuff about what makes him trustworthy and how much this means to him. That's kind of the only conflict you had going, and you've completely disarmed it.

>or if he needed to do so as a form of self-defense//
And who gets to judge what is justified? All of the use of this ability by any changeling ever could be argued as self-defense.

>Stupid, Fluttershy, now you've gone and hurt his feelings...//
You'd done a good job previously of keeping each chapter within a single character's perspective. What little subjective flavor you'd used in this one placed it in Twilight's head, but now you're in Fluttershy's. Is the shift necessary? Could you instead narrate one of their parts as perceived by someone else instead of from their viewpoint? Have a look at the section on head hopping at the top of this thread for a rationale.

>Rather than being offended, Fluttershy was surprised to see he was blushing//
Participial phrases can often be misplaced modifiers. Your leading one seems to describe Fluttershy, but that's not your intent.

>His cheeks turned a bright blue when he blushed//
Why? Insect blood isn't blue, at least not that I've ever seen.

>she felt twinge of//
Missing word.

>It contained everything he felt he'd need//
And now you're in Mole's perspective. You really need to give this some thought. But also note that you were in Fluttershy's point of view earlier in the same paragraph, which is a big no-no.

>She was such a cute little thing, she wondered how she and Angel Bunny would get along//
Comma splice. And who is doing the wondering here? I can't tell if you mean Fluttershy or Mole's bunny.

>it was Commander Mole Cricket//
And you've never indicated that Fluttershy knows this about him.

Unless it's a proper noun, only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

Italics are preferred for emphasis, and one exclamation mark is plenty.

>A great many things happened at once//
Yes you just got through using that conceit. It feels repetitive to say it again.

Doesn't seem like a long list of problems, but unfortunately, what's wrong here aren't things that will take a quick fix. First, the emotions are conveyed almost exclusively through telling. The perspective hops around in the last chapter, and there are a few plot problems.

On a specific note about word repetition, you use an awful lot of "to be" verbs. I counted over 70 in your longest chapter alone, which is a rate of about one every other sentence. These are boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. You should be choosing more active verbs.

Dash is suddenly going to obey a perceived enemy just because he has an authoritative voice? There's absurdity for the sake of comedy, and then there are things that just plain don't make sense. You're also pretty weak on the conflict. There's barely any tension here. Everything just proceeds smoothly on to a nice, happy resolution. You have a minor one in Mole trying to get citizenship, but 1) it's not something he's been working for, 2) he just has it dropped in his lap, 3) there are never any obstacles in his path, and 4) the big moment happens off-screen. A story needs something to drive it forward, and that something is usually conflict of character growth. For the former, what does he want, what is he willing to do to get it, what bad thing will happen if he doesn't? For the latter, what new thing do we learn about a character, and how does he change as a result? It's a nice series of scenes, and it's clever how you used Fluttershy's fangs, but there's not a story arc here.
>> No. 129729
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 lifetime of strict regiments//
While this could possibly mean something as written, I have to think you meant "regimens."

>that rivaled that of Canterlot's Royal Guard; a template for order and leadership//
Misused semicolon. There's no independent clause after it.

Write out numbers this short.

>Manual labor, management, engineering;//
There you go with the semicolon again. A colon or dash would work here.

>having barely discovered what ‘stage-fright’ was in her late twenties.//
Stage fright. And I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

Write out the numbers.

>wanted to flat out jump her bones//
And given how many of these you imply there are, she's still never been asked on a date? And given her personality, as you've established it, why doesn't she ask someone else? She's a take-charge type, so I'm not getting why it isn't a viable option.

>being been//

>But at the hooves of Rainbow ‘Professionalism’ Dash, Harshwhinny tasted only defeat.//
This is a completed action in the story's past, so use past perfect tense (had tasted). And finally we're getting to something remotely to do with the story's plot. That was a big wall of exposition to have to wade through so far. There are more elegant ways to work it into the narration. The readers are here to see things happen. Get to them already.

>her looked forward//

>nd thus//

And now, roughly 40% of the way into the story, something actually happens. We start out with a lengthy expository section that defines her character, then we get some action, but it's all narrated. We don't see her interact with any of it, and even the little bits of dialogue are alluded to instead of presented. That's not how to engage a reader.

>Harshwhinny grit her teeth//

>completely forgetting how much she hated lemons//
Given that this happens after she eats the first one, wouldn't it be a good idea to mention it then and give some explanation as to why she does it?

>business mare//
That would be one word, as with the human equivalent.

>stayed silent//
Missing a conjunction here? It's a possible stylistic choice but you haven't been using it so far, so this sticks out as being an oversight.

Extraneous punctuation.

>counter top//
One word.

>Miss Dash!//
The standard is to italicize a ? or ! that's on an italicized word.

Smart quotes break sometimes, and dashes are one of the usual culprits. These quotes are backward.

And leading apostrophes would be the other common thing that breaks them.

>squad of empty glassed//

This may cut it as video game dialogue, but not here.

First, watch your semicolon usage. You didn't attempt many, but every single one of them was wrong.

I was hoping for some depth to the romance, but this is really nothing more than a fling. You haven't made a stab at showing that Harshwhinny has any actual feelings for Dash. She's just looking for a fling, and going for something that has no emotional investment, even if that investment isn't in Dash herself, leaves everything feeling shallow. That can work if you're going for the laughs, but this isn't a comedy.

She thinks of Dash with disdain, but no more than those coworkers whom she used on occasion. And she lamented never being asked on a date, and this situation hasn't changed that. Sure, Dash asked her to dance, but Harshwhinny is the one being forward at the end, so it hasn't alleviated that tension, either. So I'm left wondering exactly what conflict you were trying to set up and how it's resolved. Harshwhinny's situation doesn't seem any different than it was before, except that she's taken up with someone she normally wouldn't have. But if that's improved her self-esteem or her life in any way, I can't tell.

Coupling that with the hefty starting exposition and the subsequent narrative-only beginning of the action, and it just doesn't come across as very engaging.

Last edited at Thu, Feb 13th, 2014 22:48

>> No. 129733
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.

>Chiselle loves her job as a sculptress and it provides her with some income.//
Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>she cannot sustain herself on her art alone and often take on side jobs to make ends meet//
Subject/verb agreement.

>Will all of her dreams come true, or will she decide it's too much?//
Rhetorical questions are pretty cliched and unproductive in a synopsis.

>‘Who has time to brush their mane a hundred times, every day?’//
Single quotes or italics. You don't need both.

>The pony//
I'm not sure yet how much of a problem this is going to be, but you're skirting Lavender Unicorn Syndrome here. There's also a section up top about this. As LUS goes, this is an incredibly boring and generic descriptor to use. Pronouns and names are your friends.

>“Who could that be? I don’t open up for another hour,”//
She could just as easily wonder this in the narration. Having characters talk to themselves in unrealistic ways is a quick method for hurting characterization.

>The unicorn opened the door to find a tall, tan-colored earth pony with dark red mane wearing a blue suit and hat.//
Okay, personal opinion time. This is not at all a reason for rejection. I know that the color schemes make physical appearance more interesting than it might be for a human character, and many readers in the fandom like seeing these descriptions for every new character, but I'd urge you to consider whether any of it is really relevant. If there's something about his appearance that becomes important at some point or gives us some insight into his character, that's fine, but if I forget every one of these details, is it going to make any difference at all? Consider how often we get very basic descriptions of characters in mainstream /classic literature, or sometimes no description at all.


Maybe you're saying something about his character by doing this. We'll see, but my first impression is that it's odd for him not to simply sign it "Dad."

>her mouth formed a huge grin as she happily skipped back into the kitchen//
The "happily" is a pretty telly word choice, but you don't even need it here. We already get her mood from the grin and the skipping.

>She placed the telegram onto the kitchen’s counter, suddenly she started giggling and skipped in place.//
Comma splice. And more skipping already? Unless you do something to acknowledge that it's repeated or use it in some thematic sense, this feels like an oversight.

>The young girl enjoyed French toast and coffee as she read the morning paper.//
After being so happy, this paragraph describes nothing but a daily routine. She sure doesn't sound like she's any happier than normal.

>two section//

>The final piece of the studio laid in a cabinet//
Lay/lie confusion.

>He was wearing a safety vest and hard hat which complimented his gruff face.//
Compliment/complement confusion. Unless you mean his clothes had nice things to say...

>Hello Digger//
Missing comma for direct address.

When using "Dad" in place of his name, capitalize it.

>“Welcome to Chip Off The Block!” Chiselle cheerfully sang to a white stallion that just entered. “Yes, yes, I’m here to place an order,” The earth pony replied in a haughty accent as he adjusted his purple bowtie//
You've got two speakers in the same paragraph, a capitalization error for the dialogue tag on the second one, and you're missing the period at the end of the paragraph. And it's "bow tie."

You aren't capitalizing the other races, so this would refer specifically to the Greek mythological figure.

Smart quotes get leading apostrophes wrong. This one's backward.

>Chiselle looked away and blushed, “Well//
You can't just attach any action to speech with a comma. It has to be a speaking action.

>the blocks marble//
Missing word.

>The black mane unicorn//

>one of the large block//

You spelled this as 'til earlier. Be consistent.

Please use a proper dash.

>“Good, I was wondering if you could cover the leading edge of the wings in gold foil.”//
This is the ninth straight paragraph of nothing but speech. There's also an entry on talking heads at the top of this thread that you should read.

Misplaced apostrophe. There's only one storefront.

>buttoned up shirt//
I wonder if you meant button-up?

>face. “Rut,”//
Extraneous space.

>The Pegasi sighed//

Consider what sound would actually be repeated. Th-thank.

>Her left green eye twitched//
"Green" is an unnecessary detail here. What difference does it make?

>He backed away and back//
Watch the word repetition. And I have to say you've lost my sympathy for Chiselle here. Getting what she's earned is one thing, but shaking this guy down for an inflated price? Seems more like mafia than someone I'd care about.

>“Right, I’ll see you around,” the red mare finished.//
Missing line break.

>Chiselle sat down a small shaping tool//
Set/sat confusion.

>His cutie mark, two drumsticks//
Missing comma on the other side of the appositive.

>and put some of it in front of his young daughter along with a cup of coffee//
He already put the coffee in front of her...

>Say, have you found out what she does for a living yet.//
It's a question isn't it? And what's with the teaser line? What does it have to do with the story?

The mechanical issues are a mixed bag. The biggest consistent thing is comma problems, both in splices and with conjunctions. But the bigger things are stylistic.

You have a bad case of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome. I won't rehash the explanation I referred you to of why this is a bad thing, but suffice it to say you're constantly bombarding me with information I already know, like her color, size, and race. Next is the sentence structures. You go through long stretches where almost every sentence starts with the subject, is about the same length, and has a similar inflection. That contributes to giving the prose a plodding feel. Finally, the whole story is very... factual. It focuses almost exclusively on relating event after event at the expense of communicating the emotions involved. If all I get is what happened, it reads like a history textbook. Including how the characters feel about those events is what makes it a story. But you have to be careful about it. I only saw a couple of places where you were being telly, but that's more a function of passing up most of the opportunities to give me emotional context than managing to avoid that particular pitfall. So before you go about adding all that in and end up doing it the wrong way, you should also read the section at the top of this thread on show versus tell.

Last edited at Sun, Feb 16th, 2014 11:28

>> No. 129746
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 grit her teeth//
The only accepted past tense is "gritted."

>The pink pony's sharp voice soon rang out again, shattering the hapless unicorn's hopes of having found some peace and quiet at last.//
Watch the Lavender Unicorn Syndrome. There's an explanation of the rationale behind avoiding it at the top of this thread. Suffice it to say you only have two characters, so you don't need to resort to such things to keep them straight.

>Her joints burned as her limbs strained against the metal handle, moving it up and down constantly, thus generating their cart's laughable propulsion on the tracks.//
This is just... odd. "Laughable" propulsion? I'm not sure what that's supposed to mean. And this whole paragraph comes across as rather sterile. I'm getting a very factual account of what happens to Rarity, but not much of how she feels about it.

>The moment the cart came to a full stop, the fashionista collapsed onto the metal handle, panting heavily.//
I've noticed you do this with quite a few of your participles already. These phrases like to modify the nearest prior object, unless they start the clause. By default, "panting heavily" wants to describe "handle," because of their proximity. I can figure out what you meant to say, but there's still a little speed bump. And if you're not careful with these, you'll eventually write something that's ambiguous or outright misleading.

>They would have to spend the night out here.//
You blast through these first two scenes rather quickly. In conjunction with my previous comment about needing to see more emotion from the character, there's not that much right here about how uncomfortable she is. Make me feel it with her, I'll be that much more sympathetic with her.

>almost pitch black due to the lack of any lighting//
That's pretty redundant. Isn't that normally the default cause of pitch blackness?

>"Pinkie!" she cried, "Darling, what on Earth are you doing?"//
Dialogue punctuation/capitalization. There's a section at the top of the thread for this, too. And don't capitalize "earth" in this context. It means our planet. For that matter most fanfic writers use something like "what in Equestria."

>She did a couple of flips in the air and landed perfectly on all four of her hooves, then spun around to face her friend, beaming proudly.//
And it's happened. Who's beaming proudly? It's completely ambiguous. Grammatically, speaking, Rarity is, but you seem to be going for Pinkie.

>While she was busy rubbing her eyes, the hyperactive filly//
This is also ambiguous. It sounds like Pinkie's rubbing her eyes, but I bet you mean Rarity.

>She could laugh at, and even//
Unnecessary comma.

>"Oh, for Celestia's sake, Pinkie Pie! If you insist on letting your hair down, at least wait until we get out of all this dust! Besides, straight hair isn't exactly in right now. If you'd just listen to me for once, you could--"
Thoughts are indicated either by your choice of dialogue tag or italics (or in some circles, use of singles quotes). If you're italicizing them, don't use the quotes.

>In the faint illumination, she could just barely make out the silhouette of her friend resting on her side//
Odd to mention this detail now, since she had no apparent difficulty in seeing that Pinkie's mane had gone straight.

>lay her head back down//
Lay/lie confusion.

>Her eyes widened at that.//
You've done this a few times, too. When you use "this" or "that" to refer to a broad swath of narration, it's awfully self-aware of the story. You could rephrase this or narrow the scope of the antecedent by just sticking an appropriate noun after it.

>"When was the last time that you did?"//
You're on the edge of being talking heads here. Any action in between the speech is minimal. I have a section on that up top as well.

It's a valid word. Just use it normally. Don't put sounds effects in narration.

>my folks faces//
Missing apostrophe.

>She was about to try calming her down when the unicorn suddenly collapsed onto the dirt, her whole body shaking as she sobbed uncontrollably.//
This is really over the top. If you want to get across intense emotions, less is often more. If you go too melodramatic, you lose the feeling of authenticity that's key to a sad story.

>ruined makeup//
So the long, sweaty day and the partial night of sleeping on the ground hadn't done that already?

>messed up//
Hyphenate your compound descriptors.

>She trailed off//
It's not necessary to tell me this when I can already see it from the punctuation.

>hum the chords//
How does one hum a chord?

>Dumb rock!//
Textual effects like this aren't usually a good idea. There's not really an artistic effect here—it's more a lazy way to avoid describing how she says it.

>Her mane and tail have inflated back to their usual poofiness//
Why the switch to present tense?

>"Tell me, now where will you go?
>How long should you be alone?
>Can't you see the brightness of our lives?
>Look up and reach for the sky!"//
These are pretty disjoint thoughts to be forming a coherent song. Really, this puts me in the mind of something from anime.

The only consistent mechanical thing I saw was punctuation and capitalization of thoughts and dialogue. Stylistically, you were pushing it on the talking heads and Lavender Unicorn Syndrome quite a bit.

Watch the "to be" verbs as well. They're inherently boring. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. Of the easier-to-find forms, you had 103, which is just a little shy of one every 3 sentences or so. That's not horrible, but you should probably concentrate a little more on choosing active verbs.

You got better once you made it into the main conflict of the story, but at least for Rarity, what really puts her in a tough place to start with is that she's making agonizingly little progress through a harsh environment. Yet that opening part of the story was very short on emotion. I need to see her getting desperate, frustrated, overwhelmed, and what have you. That's what sets up everything that follows. And as for what follows... dial it back a bit. You're making a little too much of an obvious grab for the heartstrings.

While I thought your reasoning through how Rarity would have the least to offer in this situation of all of them, I do have to say that this is a pretty common setup for stories we see: one character has an existential crisis, another comforts her and (sometimes) reveals a crisis of her own, and they both have a rather rapid and dramatic reversal of attitude. You have to do something to make your story stand out from the crowd, and while general quality of writing can to some degree, an original angle would really help you in this regard. Getting at the emotion behind it would, too, since it'd flesh out the character motivations. Rarity's part, for instance is rather spurred by very recent events to have such a deep-seated importance to her. Has she ever had these feelings of inadequacy before? Is this really a spur-of-the-moment thing, or has it been brewing for some time? And why are things just now coming to a head for Pinkie? She's been keeping this a secret... but doesn't make much of an effort to hide it from Rarity. She's upset about Applejack breaking a Pinkie Promise... but not Twilight. Why has she never brought it up with her friends before? These aren't the angles you have to take—I'm just brainstorming a bit here to get you thinking about what you can do to distinguish your story from the masses.
>> No. 129750
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 pony prisoner shivered, and coughed haggardly.//
Have a look at the information on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. Additionally, it's a little late to be adding in a detail like "haggardly." You've already given me a mental image of what this place looks like and what the character is doing, and now you're re-characterizing that. If you want her to look haggard, make that clear from the beginning.

>Ice coated the place, making the whole area colored in various shades of blue and grey//
Phrasing's a little off. Why not just "coloring the whole are in various shaded"? It's more direct and active that way.

>ice and crystal-encrusted//
Hyphenate the whole thing.

>Her heart filled with pure elation. For the first time in a long time, she felt joy.//
This has far less impact than it would if you got me to deduce from her appearance and actions how she felt. Have a look at the section on show versus tell, too.

>It’s ethereal mass//
It's/its confusion.

>The prisoner’s heart lurched.//
Scroll so that this line is at the bottom of your screen. Then look back up at the first word of each paragraph. I think you'll see a pattern. Unintentional patterns are a bad thing. Many intentional ones are too, but at least the author was thinking about them. You have to be conscious of your sentence structures so you don't get into a rut.

>As she crumpled to the ground, the ice creeped up her legs, threatening to engulf her.//
And along those lines, you also use quite a few participles, and besides being repetitive, they come with a few dangers of their own. A number of yours have been misplaced modifiers. Participles like to modify the nearest prior object, so grammatically speaking, her legs are threatening to engulf her. It's not hard to figure out what you meant here, but you have to be careful, or you'll eventually write something that's ambiguous or outright misleading. Also, it's "crept."

>Celestia grew even more worried//
More telling. Let me see what this looks like. If I figure it out, it's my conclusion, and you've gotten me invested in the story. If you tell me, it's a cold fact.

That song... I suppose lullabies can be very irregular, but this has no consistent rhythm. And what kind of lullaby has a phrase like "keep evil at bay"?

>When have our worst nightmares ever really come true?//
This is entirely immersion-breaking. You haven't had a narrator that will address the reader, so don't introduce one now. Rhetorical questions in an objective viewpoint are also a bad idea. For that matter, the perspective is wavering here. The opening scene was in Luna's head, but the second one had been in Celestia's viewpoint until the last couple paragraphs, which went to Luna for a brief stay before pulling back to omniscient. You should read the section on head hopping to see why changes in perspective have to be carefully considered.

>Pain was all she felt.//
What little emotional context I'm getting in this scene is telly. You're focusing on the physical sensations. How does she feel about this?

>The gleaming white unicorn horn of the princess was lit up in a glorious way.//
There isn't any need for the passive voice here. Keep it active. And when you use a word like "glorious," you have to be aware what you're saying. Celestia's your perspective character here, so this is her opinion. Why is she thinking that about her own horn, particularly when so much else is on her mind at the moment? Compare to your earlier description of the room as "beautiful." That's a more reasonable judgment for Celestia to be making, but this one isn't.

>revealing the horrible truth laying outside//
Lay/lie confusion.

>The magenta eyes of the princess//
This is an awkward indirect construct. You used another one earlier to describe her horn. Consider just saying "The princess's magenta eyes." It's much more direct and concise.

I have to say that all of these single-sentence and single-line paragraphs are starting to get grating. It's another effect, like using italics, for making things stand out, and when almost everything stands out, nothing does. And like italics, it gets annoying to read after a while.

>“No... please...” She said in a hushed tone//
Dialogue tag capitalization.

>She was helpless to stop herself from destroying all she loved.//
And like I commented last chapter, only two of the last eighteen paragraphs start with something other than "the" or "she."

>melting into liquid//
That's generally how it works.


>The sisters proceeded to tell each other their painful accounts of the visions they had seen, frequently breaking down into tears.//
And this is really the emotional crux of the story: sisters sharing their pain with each other and comforting each other. And you blast through it all in four sentences. And it happens off-screen. I normally save something like this for wrap-up comments, but I'll go ahead and discuss it here. A story needs something to propel it forward. Most often, that's conflict, but character growth can work as well. For conflict, you'd need to define what it is that someone wants, what she's willing to do to get it, and what will happen if she doesn't. Then you resolve the conflict. For character growth, you'd need to reveal something surprising about a character or show her working her way through a difficult situation in a way that we learn something about her, preferably that she's changed as a result. Either way, it's about contrasting before and after. What changed as a result of these events? Presumably how these sisters relate to each other and appreciate each other now. But we don't get to see them as they go through this meeting of the minds or what new attitude they have afterward. I like the story's layout, where we get to see both sisters' visions, but this reads more like a series of scenes, not like a story that communicates some meaning with those scenes. Do you want this story to say something about their relationship, or do you just want to have these few scenes play through without an overall message?

>I have no idea, they couldn’t have wandered far//
Comma splice.

>standing up and hooking his front leg around Cadance’s neck, giving her a peck on the cheek//
It's awkward to chain two participial phrases together like this, and you're missing your end punctuation.

When did Cadence become German? Or Scottish?

>standing near the throne, The large crystal//

>Celestia apologized with a smile//
First, the use of "apologized" is redundant with the fact that she explicitly said, "I'm sorry." Second, the majority of your speaking verbs here are unusual ones, which tends to call attention to the writing itself over the story. There's also a section up top about saidisms that explains the rationale.

>The crystal key to unveil it was broken//
Wouldn't it have been more effective to seal the trapdoor or destroy the magic door?

>It was good to have a sister.//
This at least begins to bring some meaning to the story, but it's awfully incomplete and understated to carry much significance. We can already assume she feels this way from her behavior at the end of the the show's second episode. So what's different about this time? There is some head hopping in this chapter, too—you begin in Cadence's head and move to Luna's for just the last few dozen words.

Against my normal format, I'll deal with the plot elements first, since I've already given you the long explanation there. The conflict/character growth is weak here.

On the stylistic front, a lot of the events the characters saw in the door were presented without much emotional context until near the end of each, and what was given was mostly telly. Surely these characters have reactions throughout the scenes they're witnessing. You also have some wandering perspectives. The overabundance of such things as very short paragraphs, participial phrases, and beginning sentence with the subject, particularly to open paragraphs, gets the writing in a rut at times. One recurring thing in particular was the number of "to be" verbs. Of the easiest forms to search, I counted 81. That's getting rather up there for this word count—it's a rate of one about every 2.5 sentences. These are inherently boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. I'd encourage you to choose more active verbs.
>> No. 129754
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 sat in the middle of her boutique//
I guess this is more a suggestion than an error, but since pronouns work by antecedent, it's usually a good idea to introduce the character more definitely in her first appearance, even if it's something generic like "the mare."

>the design was mesmerizing, the seams were strong, and the minimalistic use of gemstones added the perfect touch//
This illustrates a problem I'm already seeing. Contrast your three verb choices here: was, was, added. Which one do you think is more interesting? You have 8 "to be" verbs in your first 7 sentences. It's impractical to avoid that verb altogether, but it pays to choose active verbs where you can. That's especially important right here at the beginning, where you're trying to capture the reader's interest, but nothing much is happening here.

>audible sigh//
This is a far-overused phrase by inexperienced writers. It's also redundant filler. A sigh is audible by default. You'd only need to clarify if it wasn't.

>Impatience and excitement coursed through her veins//
You need to create a mental picture for these things. Show me what she does and how she looks in such a way that I deduce her impatience and excitement. That's how you get me invested in her character, how you get me to feel that with her instead of just knowing it as an abstract fact.

Have a look at the discussion of show versus tell at the top of this thread. This is detached from the very mechanical actions that follow. Instead, use her actions to communicate the mood. How would I know she was begrudging if I was in the room watching her?


>Her friend//
You've already identified her as Fluttershy by this point, so it's really off-putting that you continue referring to her almost exclusively as "her friend."

>that she didn't even know she had//
This is another cliched phrase that inexperienced writers overuse.

>She now felt relaxed, rejuvenated and more than prepared to take on her task once again.//
Show me through how she acts.

>imagining the marvelous gradient gracefully complimenting the fabric//
Compliment/complement confusion. Unless the fabric is saying nice things.

>One week later.//
Surely you can find a more elegant way of working this into the narration. You don't need to wield it like a hammer.


>stupid, little//
These are hierarchical adjectives. You don't need the comma.

>She'd many dresses before//
Missing word.

>bolts fabrics and spools of threads//
Missing word and inappropriate plurals.

>began to continue//
These are pretty contradictory.

>ensuring they were perfectly spaced out, yet close enough together to ensure//
Watch the close repetition of words or phrases.

Spell out numbers this short.

>Once again, a feeling in her gut reminded herself of her lies.//
Reflexive pronouns are used when the same person or thing is the subject.

>she managed to find her voice at this//
Using "this" or "that" to refer to the narration itself is a bad idea. Better to find an appropriate noun to put after it.

>sigh of defeat//
In addition to being telly, these are getting repetitive—you have quite a few of these "sigh of ____" phrasings.


>the white ceiling had filled her vision and she found it most pleasant//
You've done this a few times. Look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>as it usually did. It usually went//

There are some good artistic things going on here, and I appreciate how you ended it. But we'll get to the abstract stuff in a moment. First, the mechanical and stylistic things.

There's a decent amount of telling up front, which is one of the worst places to do that in a story, but it seems to improve toward the end. You use a number of cliches, and the declaration of time skips at the beginning of the last few scenes was rather clumsy. And I can't figure out why you persisted in calling Fluttershy "her friend." That's a very odd manifestation of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome. There was some repetition, but none more so than the plain old verb "to be." Of the few easiest forms to search for, I counted 121. That's immense for this word count, roughly one every other sentence. These are inherently boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. You really need to be choosing more active verbs.

So, to the plot itself... Well, this is obviously a character piece, so it'll live on character growth more than external conflict. You do have one small vehicle present for external conflict, and that's how Fluttershy and Sweetie Belle are being neglected. Yet they don't seem very troubled about it, so it's not played up as such, thus it doesn't trouble me, either. That leaves character growth, so what surprising thing do we learn about a character, how does a character address a challenging situation, and how does a character change as a result of the story's events? Well, there really isn't any of this, either. We already know Rarity's obsessive, so that in and of itself isn't shocking. She doesn't change through the story—she just keeps up this obsessive behavior. Now, a lack of change can be a watershed moment, too, as long as it's the character's choice to remain how she is as a response to a dilemma. But no such dilemma is presented. She just keeps on being the same Rarity she's been throughout the story. There are some other lesser-used methods for portraying character growth, but I won't get into them, since they don't apply here. Bottom line: this was a nice series of scenes, but I wouldn't call it a story. What message does it carry? How does it add to my understanding of a character? This can be a difficult problem to fix, but like I said, you already have a vehicle in place for doing so: Fluttershy and/or Sweetie Belle. If you'd care to delve into how all this is affecting them and what they do about it, then you'd have some real conflict. That's not the only avenue, of course, but give some thought to what you want a reader to take away beyond "Rarity acts like herself, only sometimes more intensely." I will say, though, that you have Rarity's voice down quite well.
>> No. 129756

Thank you for the feedback!

I won't argue with most of your observations regarding the technical issues. They seem valid, and since this story was a bit rushed and did not receive nearly enough editing, I will get right on to correcting them.

There are, however, a few points that I must insist on "defending":

1.) The reason the first few scenes are so "short" is because I felt that even the way they are now is a bit too drawn out, and adding any more would just be wasting the reader's time. However, if you believe it wouldn't hurt the story if I added a little more to that part, perhaps focusing on further immersing the reader in Rarity's misery, then I'll work something out...

2.) The "talking heads" thing. If it's okay, I would rather not add very much more than one line or two to offset the total absence of non-verbal details, again because I don't want to pad out the story too much.

3.) Why is Rarity's reaction "over the top"? Or, more importantly: why is "over the top" bad in her case? :D Based on how we've seen her in the show so far, it isn't exactly OOC for her. After all, we're talking about a notorious drama queen who is left stranded in the desert, and is about to be abandoned by her only companion -- not to mention one of her best friends. Needless to say, she doesn't take it very well...

I guess that scene is meant to be cathartic somehow. If you think it ruins the mood, though, then I'll dial it back somewhat.

4.) Regarding the final verse of the song, I imagined that it is an incredibly obvious reference to how the Sonic Rainboom appeared on the sky for them at the lowest point in their lives. That, and, in the context of this story, this song was written as part of somepony's silly-filly dream of becoming a singer, so a couple of "cheesy" lines can be expected... ;)


Okay, okay, just kidding. But seriously: is it that much of a "we've seen all this before?" I'll admit that it's a fairly conventional "sadfic", but I didn't try to take any shortcuts by doing something like "somepony close to me has died" or whatever. This story tries to focus on things that are present in the show, but are never actually pointed out: Rarity is almost always the least "useful" member of the Mane Six during any crisis, usually being relegated to a "damsel in distress" (with the exception of the Diamond Dog episode). Pinkie Pie is the Element of Laughter, and she loves seeing ponies smile and making them smile, but whenever they face a more complex issue than what can be solved by singing and over-the-top partying, her efforts become ineffective at best, detrimental at worst.

Rarity's outburst is the culmination of insecurities that she has kept hidden deep within herself, deep enough that even she wasn't aware of them until her friend decided to abandon her, which she saw as the result of her own incompetence in providing consolation. Yes, it's a "spur of the moment" thing in the sense that her own crisis only comes to surface once she sees just how bad the situation has turned out despite her efforts (up to that point, Pinkie Pie didn't mention wanting to actually leave them). This is the reason why that scene is so "over the top." Again, I didn't want to make the description of it any lengthier because I feared it would just make things drag on, but I wanted to present as excessively as possible just how horrible that moment was for her. Perhaps the way I messed up is that it looks far too similar to her "whining scenes," and I don't point out well enough that she's not overacting this time.

As for Pinkie Pie, the story suggests that beneath her invincible joyful demeanor hides an equally insecure pony, who needed just one more experience of inadequacy to start falling apart. It suggests that she tries her hardest to convince everypony around her that she can be happy no matter what happens, something that she uses to lift their spirits as well, but in truth it's more of a peculiar form of denial. She acts the way she does to convince herself just as much as anypony else. This is the main difference between her and Rarity. Hers is a more passive form of denial.

When Twilight broke her Pinkie Promise, she didn't do it in front of anyone else, nor was it such a big issue compared to how Applejack was planning on running away from them. Also, faking a promise is, in a way, even worse than breaking one. Both are a betrayal of trust, but the former is outright deception, and that's what set Pinkie Pie off. It meant that Applejack had zero faith in her from the very beginning. In the context of this story, her anger once she realized that was only fraction of what she felt. It was at that point she became convinced that nopony would ever ask her to help with their problems, beyond maybe throwing a party or two...

All that said, are the aforementioned concepts unoriginal outright, or simply not presented well enough to make the story distinguishable from others of its kind?

Thank you in advance for your help and attention!
>> No. 129761
1) & 2) Don't mistake additional story for padding. Padding is useless verbiage that accomplishes nothing. Adding an emotional context to the opening scenes wouldn't be useless. It would lay the groundwork for why their tempers are running short and how Rarity in particular feels like she's not helping. In fact, even before considering their motivations for acting the way they do, adding emotional context is a good idea anyway. If you're not establishing their mindsets in those opening scenes, then what are they there for? Just to provide the setup? If so, I could already understand what's going on if you started the story where they camped for the night. That would render the early scenes useless and warrant cutting them completely. Make them mean something. For th talking heads, it doesn't take much. Just a little movement here and body language there to remind me these are live conversants.

3) Yes, Rarity goes over the top in canon, but they're in lighthearted comedic moments. Levity's out of place in a serious sad moment, so I can only assume you thought her exaggerated reaction was sad. If you're trying to be funny, I'd say it's causing some mood whiplash. If you're trying to be sad, it's too much. The key word here is authenticity. If you see a real person in pain, they'll more often try to control themselves than let themselves go completely. You're dealing with emotions in a more serious way than canon does, so it takes a more realistic approach.

4) You at least might want to go with a fixed rhythm, but it's a minor part of the story and not really a sticking point.

5) I've personally seen only 1 or 2 other stories that directly dealt with the aftermath of Pinkie and Rarity being left behind on the hoofcar. But in a more generic sense, we see a lot of these scenarios where two characters are alone somewhere and reveal feelings of inadequacy to each other. And of those, the question of whether they're a good enough friend is also a predominant theme. That doesn't preclude the possibility that a good story of that type might come along, but it takes more for one to distinguish itself from the rest. Yes, it's hard to find something that nobody else has done, but it's not so hard to find something that nobody else has done well.

My main issue with Pinkie is that she's awfully willing to talk about her insecurities with Rarity. I she had no problem talking about it, then why would she have done so earlier? She should have already learned her lesson in "Party of One" that if she lets her imagination run wild about others' attitudes toward her, then she'll draw the wrong conclusions.I'd think Rarity would have to do more to drag it out of her. But Rarity barely mentions it, and Pinkie immediately comes clean.
>> No. 129762
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.

In two-word phrases, -ly adverbs are the exception to hyphenation.

>(that is, as high as the reclusive pegasus could comfortably manage)//
Minor gripe here, but parentheticals really only work when the narrator is quite intrusive, like when he addresses the reader directly or is a character himself. Fairy tales can also get away with it, since the narrator often takes on affectations in those as well. But if you're going to use a third-person narrator that's not deeply subjective, it feels out of place.

>farmer’s market//
You used "farmers' market" in the synopsis. Be consistent. The plural is more standard. You seem to use the singular throughout the story.

>; yet//
It's pretty redundant to use a conjunction after a semicolon. You might just want to use a period here.

>This time would be different, her resolute expression appeared to declare.//
Now, be very careful with your perspective. It appeared resolute to whom? The narrator? You haven't established him as someone there to witness it. To me? I don't know—you haven't described how this looks. To Fluttershy? Doubtful. Don't toss out judgments when we can't tell whose opinions they are.

>Her right leg carefully bandaged//
I've scanned ahead a bit and don't see how this happened. Did she return home to bandage it? Did she have one with her already and use it right there?

>Her right leg carefully bandaged, Fluttershy took a few tentative steps into the bustling market square, her yellow hooves making muted clacking sounds on the flagstone pavement.//
And back to this sentence. It can get clunky to have multiples of certain constructs in a sentence. You have <absolute phrase>, <main clause>, <absolute phrase>. And it makes the repetition stick out even more that both absolute phrases begin "her <body part>."

>Spotting the familiar face of the orange-maned mare at the carrot stand, she briefly glanced down at the ground, before reluctantly contorting her own face into an exaggerated grimace as she remembered her earlier resolution.//
You might want to break this into two sentences. There's a lot going on, and each action deserves more focus than all getting crammed together. Also note that participles imply concurrent action, so you're saying she spots Carrot Top (why don't you just go ahead and name her?) at the same time she looks at the ground, which doesn't quite make sense.

>whose resolve was somewhat stronger when it came to negotiating for the price of produce//
Kind of goes without saying, doesn't it? Anyone who's familiar with the episode you're playing off of will already know this.

Please use a proper dash.

What is this? You haven't been using a subjective viewpoint, and the narrator isn't a character. Did you mean for this to be Fluttershy's thought?

Again, use a proper dash. What cuts her off, though? There's nothing in the narration. Is it Carrot Top's speech that does so? Then don't use the intervening narration. After a cutoff, the very next thing needs to be what interrupts, or else the narrator is contradicting the cutoff by having time to put something else in there.

>an appalled expression on his face//
It'll mean more if you let me see it. If I were standing there, what would I notice about how he looks and acts that would lead me to conclude he was appalled?

>The noise//
Missing a paragraph break.

>one by one//
Set this off with commas.

>as she discovered she had unwittingly become the center of attention again//
This is just repeating information you've already given me.

>>confused words to each other in the heat of the moment, before hundreds of ponies, spurred on by the insistent words//
Watch the repetition of phrasing here.

>appeared to be growing more and more agitated//
How so? You might want to read the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>he crowd of ponies, who had gone from generally indifferent to mildly displeased to vaguely enraged in a matter of seconds//
I haven't seen enraged yet, and you're talking about it as if it's already happened.

>all at once feeling shocked and guilty and frightened//
Yeah, this is getting quite telly.

>Hiding under an upturned apple cart, tears began to form in her eyes//
You have a classic dangling participle here. "Hiding..." is trying to describe Fluttershy, but she never appears in the clause. This says her tears are hiding.

I'm noticing that you use a lot of "as" clauses, particularly here at the end of the chapter. There are 6 of them in the last three long paragraphs alone, plus two other uses of the word in different senses. Repetition like that gets your writing in a rut and draws attention away from the story. You're also pretty reliant of participial phrases. Just be aware of your tendencies so you can try to avoid them.

>innocent fruits and vegetables crushed and trampled underhoof among the casualties of the coming storm//
And yet you're not going to mention the poor lemon merchant? He likely wasn't the only one, either, which is pretty grim. I mean, there's funny, but that was downright violent.

You hyphenated this term in the previous chapter.

>unpleasantries -- and carrots -- that//
Such is the danger of using a double hyphen in place of a dash: on my browser, there's a line break between the hyphens of the first pair.

>perhaps that was the right thing to do. Her heart sank at this thought.//
You're kind of giving me perspective whiplash here. The first part is fairly subjective, but the following is pretty suddenly objective, particularly in that the word choice of "this thought" really places the sentence as external to her.

>day off that day//

>they all currently occupied the local donut shop on the exact opposite side of town//
Surely it wouldn't take long for a pegasus to zip over there and tell them...

>work -- after//

That last hyphen shouldn't be there.

>originally conceived the idea to construct the barrier in the first place//
"Originally" and "in the first place" are redundant here.

>She shrunk back a few inches upon spotting the edge of the barricade frontier constructed by the other rioters, observing their indignant expressions and industrious attitude.//
Another danger with the number of participles you use: they are commonly misplaced modifiers. By proximity, "observing..." seems to describes the rioters, but that's not what you mean, and it kicks me out of the story when I have to stop and figure that out.

>who was wearing a pumpkin shell as a helmet which slightly impeded his vision//
You really have the habit of cramming an awful lot into sentences. Besides causing them to lose focus, it also makes for extended asides like this one, which doesn't provide any vital information and serve more as stumbling blocks. This one's badly in need of some commas, too. Case in point: If you look over this sentence, it contains no less than four separate "which" clauses.

>and flew around the plaza assigning duties to the assembled ponies, forming haphazard ranks out of the ragtag band of rebels//
And like the time I noted your multiple absolute phrases in a sentence, here you have participles in series, which also adds to confusion as to what they describe. Are they nested? I.e., who's forming ranks, the pegasi or the assembled ponies?

>Mr. What’s-his-name//
All those words would be capitalized.

>began approaching her//
Besides just being a weak and overused action in general, this is the second "begin" in this paragraph.

Since he's trying to use that as part of her name, capitalize it.

One further note on repeated words: do a Ctrl-f for "was." You didn't use it too awfully much, but you use it in clusters at times, where it gets locally repetitive.

Well, the biggest definitive problems I can cite are the telly language at some inappropriate times, the very burdensome and over-long sentences that pop up frequently, and the repetitive structures of so many participles and "as" clauses, along with their attendant problems of ambiguity and synchronization.

In the humor department, it certainly had its moments. The "don't trot on me" was a nice touch. But I can't help feeling like you keep beating the same few gags over and over again. That Fluttershy's afraid to come out, that Ace is mentally reviewing his manifesto, and repeated scenes of ponies building up barricades and tearing apart stalls. Each one was funny at first, but then just dragged on past its welcome, only to show up again. Now, humor is definitely a subjective thing, and I didn't find this stupid—it's possible it just doesn't mesh with my sense of humor and readers would find it very funny. As such, if you care to resubmit, I'll have someone else judge it to get a different set of eyes, but I'd encourage you to consider the sheer number of recycled jokes. You might also want to have another chapter or two done, or maybe link a brief outline, so we can tell where the story might be going.

I can accept some level of comic absurdity, too, but it feels like a stretch that this is really the thing that'll set off Ace. And as to the specific infraction he saw, he hasn't caught anyone else doing it, yet he's going to ascribe this behavior to every seller in the market and, by extension, the government? It's a little hard to get behind his reasoning, and it'd help if he had a motivation that I could understand and maybe even sympathize with.
>> No. 129767
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.

>Distraught and humiliated, she slammed her Manehattanite apartment door, making it undeniably clear that she wished to be left alone.//
This is pretty telly language, which isn't a good idea right at the beginning of the story, where you want to grab the reader's interest and connect him to the character. Take a look at the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

It's not often that commas after conjunctions are correctly used. This one is not.

>Bang! Bang! Bang!//
Sound effects in narration are a bad idea. Better to describe the sound. It's also preferred to use italics and description to communicate emphasis and intensity. Bold and all caps aren't.

>The now-aggravated mare//
More telling. I have nothing to go on but your word to understand her mood, so it's pretty cold and distant.

>the sooner see what they want//
Missing word.

>She plastering her fake, signature business-smile on her face//
Verb form.

>T-Take this.//
Only capitalize the first part of a stutter, unless it's a proper noun.

>that’s nice to hear but I still have no idea what it entails//
Also see the section on coma use with conjunctions.

>he trailed off as his pupils shrank, inhaling and exhaling as he tried to calm himself.//
You don't need to tell me he's trailing off, since I can already tell from the punctuation. Beware what's implied when you use participles, too. For one, they're commonly misplaced modifiers. By proximity, you're saying his pupils inhaled and exhaled. I can sort it out with a bit of logic, but if you're not careful, you'll write something that's ambiguous or misleading. The other problem is that both participles and "as" clauses synchronize actions, and it's unlikely you meant his pupils shrank at the same time he tried to calm himself. It probably happened in series, not parallel, as they imply opposite moods. Finally, what's special about the "inhaling and exhaling"? They're not elaborated on at all, so I don't know how it's different from default breathing, which of course he'd have to do to live.

>His composure slipped a little//
How so? Let me see it.

>It appears that Stargazer has become… unstable because of it.//
This is a common mistake people make in writing letters in fanfiction. Who would actually put the ellipsis in there. I get tha it's a dramatic pause, but that's a speech affectation. What reason would she have for putting a dramatic pause in the letter, when it's meant to be purely informative. It just doesn't come across as authentic.//

You didn't capitalize this earlier in Stargazer's speech. Be consistent.


>She quickly averted her gaze from the book as unbidden thoughts of Stargazer's condition resurfaced.//
And she's sweeping aside his concerns very quickly. As much as he was afraid of it, wouldn't it take more consideration for her to think of using it?

>Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the book had lured in a new puppet to play with, using her very mind to lead her into its jaws. As the sun set and the shadows grew longer, a sinister grin spread across the unicorn’s face.//
You've been keeping a narration in Rarity's perspective so far, so it's a bit odd to have the narrator pull back to an omniscient point of view here for just the last few sentences of the scene. There are times that such a thing works, especially if you're creating a storybook feel by doing this and the beginning and ending of scenes, but you didn't start the story that way, so it just feels out of place.

>Rarity stood with another unicorn fashionista//
Given that Rarity's trying to rewrite something that happened to her, why is this scene shown from someone else's perspective?

>he made himself//
This is rendered in the same tense as when he trotted on stage, but he's presumably not still up there making it. So you need past perfect tense to show a completed action in the story's past: had made.

>Hoster was his name; famous for creating the first fashion convention in Manehattan.//
Misused semicolon. There isn't an independent clause anywhere after it.

>silencing the accursed sound. Moments after the silence//
Watch the close repetition of words.

Missing your closing quotation marks.

>And you, trying to destroy me?” it chuckled, “do you really think he didn’t already try that himself?”//
It already chuckled earlier in the paragraph. And the comma after "chuckled" is trying to make the two parts of the quote a single sentence, but you can't do that since you already had end punctuation on the first part.

If it was that desperate, why did it take them two days to get there?

>The walls//
Missing a line break.

>Twilight, why didn’t you do something about that moron? He was totally unprofessional!//
Do what? What sway does Twilight have over hotel employees?

There's a lot of dialogue around here that's unattributed, and when some of it doesn't even have a character action with it, it gets difficult to tell who's speaking.

That term doesn't use a hyphen.

Wait. How does she know this? It didn't say so in Rarity's letter, so did she send another one later? And if so, she knew a lot more about what she was doing when she used the book, which seriously mars her innocence. If not, then Twilight must have researched the book, but you don't mention her doing that, and Rarity told her very little to go on. How did she manage to figure it out? And when Rarity wrote that letter, she was awfully convinced of the book's danger to claim ignorance when she gave into temptation.

>A stallion in a black suit complimented Rarity on her dress.//
Well, yes, this rehashes what he said. That's unnecessary.

>Make yourself at home; my butler will retrieve anything you require.//
Comma splice. And nobody;s surprised o see her well-dressed and with a butler in a run-down hotel?

>“Fight it! You can do it!//
Missing quotation marks.

>encasing Rarity’s form//
You'll normally set off participial phrases with commas.

>the enraged alabaster unicorn turned to face Twilight, eyes blazing green
You're touching on some Lavender Unicorn Syndrome here. There's a section on this up top, too. And I know from reading, but grammatically, it's ambiguous whose eyes are blazing green.

>That night...//
There are more elegant ways of working this into the narration than stating it outright like stage directions.

You spelled this "marvellous" earlier. Is that a British spelling?

>Rarity’s sprang up from her bed and scream.//
Verb form.

>laying back down on her bed//
Lay/lie confusion.

>The end?//
Please don't do this.

This story's not bad, but the ending took an ending I didn't expect, more because I was expecting the unexpected. If that's too confusing, basically this ending was easy to see coming.

Mechanically speaking, the main issues were with commas and sound effects, but there was a smattering of other things. Nothing too serious. As to style, there was a lot of telly language here. It can be a difficult thing to wrap your mind around, but it helps to think as if you were a character yourself. Put yourself there as an observer. What would you notice about each character to deduce how they felt? Give me the same evidence. That's probably the biggest issue with the story.

The plot was fine, but seemed to move too fast. Rarity takes a scene to become familiar with the book and what it can do, but then she quite rapidly falls under its control. If she really believes that it's dangerous, surely she'd have more of an internal conflict over whether to use it. There's also a bit of a disconnect in how Rarity and Stargazer act under the book's influence. Stargazer was fully aware of what it had done, and was presumably okay with the trade-off until fairly recently. But Rarity seems pretty oblivious and shows no such resistance to the book's effects. There could be a reason for that, but we never see what it is. For that matter, wouldn't Stargazer think it'd add more impetus to his warnings not to open the book if he told Rarity that doing so may well cause his death? He's familiar with the book, so he should know that. It also takes a bit long for any of their friends to notice the fight. I could see if they were trying to get in and it took them that long, but the first indication we get is when Applejack's already breaking down the door.
>> No. 129769
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 synopsis isn't in the GDoc, obviously, but I'll comment on the one you sent in with your submission.

Unless this is some jargon of which I'm unaware (which would itself be a problem), you've misspelled this. I'm guessing you want "queues," but I can't rule out "cues," since I don't really understand what you're trying to say anyway.

>What you think you see becomes your reality and those who are there are blessed and cursed at the same time.//
Missing comma. There's a section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

To the story:

>Pinkie lay in her bed, staring dully at the ceiling. She tossed from side to side for a bit, roughing up the freshly laid blue bedspread.//
Watch out for your participles. They can often be misplaced modifiers. Participles like to modify the nearest prior object, so it sounds like her bad is staring at the ceiling. It's easy to sort this one out with a bit of logic, but if you aren't careful, you eventually will write something that's ambiguous or misleading. Despite its being a fairly minor example, you don't want to toss even a little speed bump this early in the story. Now take the second sentence. There's no ambiguity, because "she" is the only thing the participle could modify. However, you have identical structures here: <main clause>, <participial phrase>. Simpler constructs can pass by without notice, unless you string too many of them together, but the more complex ones become immediately noticeable when they're repeated too much. Again, somewhere in the middle of a story, this would probably escape my eye, but you don't want to establish a repetitive sentence structure right away like this.

>She continued to stare at the ceiling//
Since nothing has happened to make me think she wouldn't continue, this is just superfluous.

>to not//
I'm a stickler for split infinitives, and while I won't enforce them in others' writing as strenuously as in my own, this type is just grating. Swap these two words.

>She broke her stare-down with the ceiling//
And all three sentences in this paragraph begin with "she." I'm only three paragraphs in, and I already have the impression that the writing is going to feel very repetitive here. You don't want a reader thinking that.

>She sighed, returning the room to silence.//
Another danger of participles: they imply simultaneous action. The room wouldn't return to silence until after she sighed, not while she's doing it.

I believe you wanted "succumbed."

>“W-what was that?” she asked herself, “White light?”//
The punctuation in the attribution implies that both parts of the quote merge into a single sentence, but they clearly don't. There's a section at the top of this thread on dialogue punctuation and capitalization.

>Pinkie slid back under the blanket//
This implies a totally different positioning of said blanket than the earlier "flinging the blanket off of her." Just a bit more explanation of what exactly she does would clear this up.

>It was important to know that even with a memory like her own//
This could use a comma to set it off from the main clause.

>keep every party and social event she had planned kept//
Watch the repetitive word choice.

>Staring at the notebooks, thoughts of yesterday popped into her head.//
Yet another danger of participles: they can become dangling participles. "Staring at the notebooks" describes Pinkie, but she doesn't appear in the clause in a way that a participle can modify. This explicitly says that her thoughts are staring at the notebooks.

>Pinkie sense//
I generally see this capitalized. I think it's a unique enough thing to do so.

>She reached a hoof up towards her forehead.//
This is the third straight sentence to use "up." It's the little things like this that can disrupt a story's flow.

>full body//
Hyphenate the compound descriptor. Note also that you're in a stretch here where 9 of 13 sentences all start with "she."

>The mirror reflected her familiar imaged.//

>“A greasy mane is not candy-storing mane,” she said quietly.//
Missing an "a," I believe.

>She sighed again, and turned back to the window.//
This doesn't need a comma, as per the guidelines I've already referred you to. I'm getting near the bottom of the second page, and she's already sighed four times.

>strapped around to her waist//
Extraneous word.

>Sugar Cube//
Per canon, "Sugarcube."

>A sign of trouble brewing?//
I get that Pinkie's in an unusual situation, but she still has a way of speaking, even when she's serious. This just doesn't sound like her.

>shower head//

>Pinkie shot her hoof back and shook it about, letting the water fly off her hoof.//
Repetitive use of "hoof" where a pronoun would do.

And yet you go on to describe it as a little before sunset.

>Feeling it’s chill bite against her skin//
Its/it's confusion.

>she trailed off//
You don't need to tell me this when I can already see it from the punctuation.

Odd word choice for this situation.

>steaming up the window and mirror//
You'll normally set off a participle with a comma. Since you've gotten it right elsewhere, this is probably just an oversight.

>peering through the window//
You just had Pinkie use that verb in the last paragraph.

>She slowly and purposefully wet her mane..//
Extra period.

>The linoleum wall//
Really? If you've seen these, sure, but I've never heard of linoleum anywhere but the floor.

>All she could do was look down at Rarity. Pinkie’s face grew more and more distressed with each second, as she looked down.//
More repetition. It could work stylistically here, but not as it's phrased.

>Pinkie hastily made way for the door.//
Missing word.


>tripped over her feat//

>Pinkie stood frozen as she gazed down at the broken pieces. Tears welled in her eyes as she stood over the glassware.//
Hard to believe that her first reaction wouldn't be fright from the lightning bolt or at least wondering what it was.

>Pinkie sniffled gently and whipped her nose.//
I'm guessing you meant "wiped."

>She finally noticed the tiny red stains in her hooves and pulled away her hoof.//
Repetition of "hoof," but I'm not sure this would be viable. It's hard to tell exactly how hooves work in canon, as only the males have a different color for them, though the few times we've seen the females polish theirs to a shine, they must have regular horse-type ones. So how do these bleed? They're essentially toenails. There is a spot back near the heel that could bleed, but it'd be hard to cut that by picking up glass. This might need a little more explanation.

>once vibrant//
Another descriptor needing a hyphen.

>Storm clouds gathered around Ponyville; the night sky’s beautiful stars were nowhere to be found.//
Comma splice.

>Lingering memories and abstract thoughts entered her mind once again.//
This is a pretty empty statement if I don't get to see them or how they affect her.

>She looked back toward the window, stained with water, moving one muscle at a time.//
See, these are confusing. The second participle has to leap back over the first and its object to get to what it modifies.

>her bodies soul//
You have a plural where you need a possessive, and you're missing the end punctuation. The possession is odd here, though—her soul belongs to her, not her body. In fact, I'd think they're very distinct things.


>It was more a diary then it was an organizational tool.//
Then/than confusion.

>Sadness, loneliness, abandonment, and defeat.//
You've done a lot of mentioning emotions directly over the last few pages. What effect do these emotions have on her? We've seen some evidence, like when she ran back up to her room and got into bed. But this should be the norm. Show me the evidence of how she feels and get me to deduce her emotion. There's a section on show versus tell up top that describes this.

>Pinkies cheek//
Missing apostrophe.


>The window creeked open.//

>They too, had heartwarming grins on their faces.//
Either surround "too" with commas or don't use any.

You do this in a couple places. Use a hyphen for a stutter, not a dash. And you only capitalize the first instance of the beginning letter, unless it's a word you have to capitalize anyway, like a name.

>Everything was pristine and without boarders.//

>a hold//
You've alternated on spelling this as one or two words. Be consistent.

I've always been a bit dense at reading between the lines. So this is how I interpreted the ending: Pinkie died, and she's stuck in some sort of limbo where whatever she imagines comes to be. That's all I'm sure of. I think Twilight and Rarity died before her, and I guess Dash too, since she appears, though the journals never mention her. I'm not at all clear whether Pinkie killed them either in real life or by sucking them into this afterlife somehow. Really, none of this matters, unless I have it way wrong and it serves as a data point that you might need to be more clear. But it's not a huge deal for acceptance purposes, unless Pinkie did kill them, because then this kind of falls into the pile of overdone "Pinkie goes murderously nuts" stories. If she really is in control here, I don't get why the other ponies end up trying to coerce her to come out of her home, why they act so differently at the beginning of the story, why the red light hurts her, and why it took Twilight to explain the place to her (unless that's the real Twilight).

Really, though, this suffers from some very basic editing problems that most word processing software would have caught for you. There's also quite a lot of repetition in words, phrases, and sentence structures. It makes the writing get into a rut. That's the tough thing about writing: form is as important as function. It's not enough to have an engaging concept or good prose. It takes both.
>> No. 129773

Okay, I've finished the first round of editing. I've corrected the errors you've pointed out, added a whole lot more (hopefully interesting) substance to the first two sections, got rid of the "talking heads," and altered the ending slightly so it isn't just a straightforward "happy ending after a song."

By the way, I've since remembered why I didn't extend the first scenes any further and didn't force the "getting emotionally attached to Rarity" thing so much before. The original idea was to create a very stark contrast between the problems of the two. Rarity would have been her usual "complaining" self, her biggest issues being that she's tired and dirty. Meanwhile, Pinkie Pie is forced to admit to herself that her skill doesn't go beyond being a clown for everypony around her, which I believe is several orders of magnitude more serious. Admittedly, this fell apart somewhat once I introduced Rarity's breakdown scene as well. I suppose I was kinda hoping for everyone to think what I did: she only started doubting her own worth once the situation became that desperate.

I haven't extended the part with Pinkie's confession yet, since I'm not entirely convinced that she has any reason to hide anything at that point. Since you mentioned "Party of One," in a way, isn't the moral of that episode that not talking to your friends about your problems will only lead to false (and potentially even worse) assumptions? (e.g how she assumed they don't like her parties)

I do have a plan, however, in case you believe it wouldn't hurt the story: the noises Rarity kept waking up to were actually Pinkie getting up and trotting away, then coming back again because she couldn't decide whether to run home or stay. Rarity then notices the "straight hair" and starts asking what is wrong, Pinkie tries to deny it at first, then only talks about part of the problem, etc.

I don't know... what do you think?

Also, thank you again for all the help and attention!
>> No. 129775
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 naive mare that had left Ponyville so many years ago sat among the sounds of her assistant Coco sewing up the last of her designs. The young mare worked tirelessly as Suri sipped a steaming cup of coffee. The morning sun made its laborious climb along the buildings as Suri went over the past in her mind.//
You just spent your opening paragraph waxing poetic about the city, then we get only two sentences of what's actually happening before you shuffle us off to a flashback. Let me settle in a bit first. Set the scene, make these things connect. Show how her train of thought leads to the past instead of immediately jumping there.

>drug her down into the drowning depths//
Dragged. And I'm not sure whether the alliteration is intentional, but it tends to create a lighthearted mood. That's fighting the serious tone you're taking.

>The Knitting League were the happiest times of her life.//
That doesn't quite parse with the mixed plural/singular words.

>to not//
I don't harass authors about split infinitives too much, but this one's so easy to avoid. Just swap these words.

>With the coffee mug set aside//
But she didn't set it aside... unless this is supposed to be the action, but it's so passive for that.

>concern in her eyes//
Show me how this looks. Don't just give me the answer. There's a section on show versus tell at the top of this thread that explains.

>as she watched her employer. A sudden harsh sigh from Suri made Coco cringe.//
The story so far has been in Suri's perspective, but these smack of being in Coco's. For one, it's a bit much for Suri to say what made Coco cringe, only that she did. But Suri's not even looking at her right now, so she wouldn't see this. You really have to keep on top of your perspective at all times.

Only capitalize the first part of a stutter, unless it's a word that has to be capitalized anyway.

Please use a proper dash.

>“You know I don’t mean to yell at you like this, right?”//
This comes suddenly and with no transition. Suri was just yelling, and there's no description that she softened her expression or lowered her voice.

>ruffling the blue hair of her assistant//
You'll generally want to set off participles with a comma.

>Coco, in the meantime//
Needs another comma.

>“S-So, this Rarity--” she began before being cut off once more.//
When you have interrupted speech, the very next thing needs to be the interruption. When the narrator has time to say something in between, in undercuts the immediacy of the interruption.

>You have so much work to do and you just wanna hear about that good for nothing mare?//
Good-for-nothing. And see the section up top about comma use with conjunctions, too. You've done that several times.

>Coco ducked her head down, trying to concentrate on her work. Suri glared at the coffee mug, eyes twitching and blood beginning to boil over. She felt as though fire was rushing through her//
See, you're using two different perspectives in the same paragraph. Have a look at the section on head hopping, too.

>it’s cold fingers//
Its/it's confusion.

>her assistants every move//
Missing apostrophe.

Again, use a proper dash, and lose the period.

>Suri slid her eyes to the side as the sight of Rarity made every muscle in her body tense up.//
Every sentence in this paragraph uses "as," though only 3 of the 4 use it in a time-coordinating clause. Watch the repetition.

>Coco lay on the dressing room’s couch,//
Shouldn't there be a scene break here? And last time you had one, it was just an extra blank line. You need something more noticeable.

>As her hooves strained she remembered bumping into Suri on her first day in the city.//
Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>We have to go, it’s time to present my work//
Comma splice.

>Suri lead the way//

>Coco looked to Suri, trying to think of anything she could say to make the situation better.//
You've had a few of these, but this is the first bad one. Participles like to modify the nearest prior object, though you often have them skipping over that one to modify the subject. More often than not, a reader can still sort out what you mean. But here, you're saying that Suri is trying to think of something to say, but you probably meant Coco. It's ambiguous.

>Suri stood up and moved to Coco’s side.//
Missing a line break.

>To see her own creations in the hands of someone else.//
What are these "hands"?

>Suri felt a vessel in her head prepared to burst//
Verb form, and just awkward phrasing.

>Suri grit her teeth.//

>Suri in the meantime bore a hole into the young mare with her eyes.//
Bored. And "in the meantime" makes this sound like a casual action going on beside the main event. It's anything but.

>the orange one said//
Suri knows Rarity from Ponyville, and the Apples have been there since its founding. She really doesn't know who Applejack is?

>her voice prideful and every word dripping with smugness//
There's a lot of this in here, but just pointing out another spot where you shouldn't be directly informing me of your characters' emotions.

>looking down at the tattered dresses she’d work so hard for//

>spiders web//

>This isn’t happening, she thought to herself.//
Needs italics for the thought, and the "to herself" is pretty much always redundant for thoughts.

>A tear rolled out of the corner of her eye//
The single tear is one of the most cliched things to use here.

>She looked back one last time//
That's the third use of "look" in this paragraph alone. You use it 41 times in the story, which is getting up there. While I'm on the subject, of the easier forms to search for, you use "to be" 180 times, or about once every third sentence. That's also getting up there. This is a very boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. You should be choosing more active verbs.

There are some intermittent problems here with repetition and use of commas and hyphens. But the biggest issues is the head-hopping. The perspective constantly bounces back and forth between Suri and Coco, often in consecutive paragraphs, and sometimes even within the same paragraph or sentence. It's very jarring. You can change perspectives from time to time, but really consider when doing so gains you something. It takes a little time to get settled into a character's head, too, and by the time I have, you've pulled me over to a different one. This is your call, but you might do better to stay in Coco's for a while, since she's the one who experiences character growth here. She's the one who changes over the course of the story, but it happened mostly off camera. It might even be interesting to see what significance her gift to Rarity had. Maybe canon will explain it later, but so far, it's just been a generic gift, where it's the thought that matters. Compare to the gift Pinkie got, which meant a lot to Cheese. What does this mean to Coco? Like I said, you don't have to take this angle, but it's an example of how you could focus on some conflict. Or if you want Suri to be the focus, spend less time in Coco's perspective and show how, say, Suri sees some of her old self in Coco, but she's pushing her to toughen up because she thinks it's for the best, even though it hurts her to do it. There are a lot of ways you could go that would make the conflict better aligned with the perspective.
>> No. 129776
It's tough to judge on overview. Nearly anything can work if it's written well enough. We'll have to see how it turns out.
>> No. 129777
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 synopsis isn't bad. The only thing I'll say is that you could probably rephrase it to get rid of the "to be" verbs. You have a very limited time to grab the reader's interest, and keeping things active will do that.

>The day was so extraordinarily unremarkable that Pinkie Pie’s tail twitched nervously, and would not seem to stop//
You don't need a comma there, since there's no new clause. There's a full explanation at the top of this thread in the section on comma use with conjunctions.

>ambiguous disaster precautions in anticipation//
Your narrator is taking a subjective viewpoint in Pinkie's perspective, so you have to be careful with the voicing. It keeps up that connection to that character if the narrator speaks roughly in a manner like the character might, and this word choice isn't striking me as something Pinkie might say.

>whole half second//
If you're married to this phrasing, I'd recommend hyphenating "half-second" if for no other reason than to call it out as a separate entity from "whole," but having "whole" and "half" right together like this doesn't flow very well.

>sugarcube corner//
It's the name of the shop. Capitalize it.

>found herself//
Besides being a phrasing overused by inexperienced authors, this suggests that she was passive in ending up there. That's not the case, and it also robs this of action to phrase it this way.

In two-word phrases, -ly adverbs are generally exempt from hyphenation.

>her mane she was raking//
What does this even mean? You also have two instances of breaking and three (well, two and a half) of taking in all this rhyme. Go for quality over quantity.

>which would most certainly have impressed her contemporary dance teacher, if only she had one//
You're going to make the same joke twice in one paragraph?

>coup de gras/
coup de grace

>a lavender-colored voice rang//

>Twilight Sparkle walked into the kitchen, her brow first wrought in concern, then coated over with confusion.//
Watch the telling. We'll see if it becomes a problem. Since this is Twilight's first appearance, you don't want her seeming disconnected and blase, so it's not a good place for telling.

>Twilight decided the philosophical venture could wait.//
Wait, why have you wandered over to Twilight's perspective? She's not providing any new insight that Pinkie couldn't, so I don't see what it adds.

>22nd Batch//
I can let the "Batch-22" above slide in order to make the reference, but write out this number.

>- er-//
Pleas use proper dashes.

>Stop repeating what you say verba-who?//
And this just confirms that the word choice when Pinkie held the perspective was uncharacteristically highbrow for her.

>“Butter!” the pink menace repeated, and Twilight Sparkle shuddered in bitter agony.//
You're starting to lose me. Having Twilight act out-of-character for the sake of comedic ridiculousness can only go so far. If she's really this miserable, she doesn't have to stay, and I don't see a clear motivation for her to want to stay. She just keeps getting more and more frustrated without any thought as to why it's worth it to her.

Without hands?

>It was then that she made her sixth mistake//
Missing end punctuation.

>and crawled into the sink adjacent to Pinkie’s//
Pinkie's what?

>Pinkie sense//
Consensus is to capitalize this.

>Twilight began to understand that Pinkie had interpreted the statement quite differently from its intended meaning.//
That was already obvious. Don't over-explain this.

Two words, in this sense.

>Twilight did her best to mimic the complex movements//
This doesn't really carry any weight if you're just going to allude to it without giving any sort of description.

Mechanically, the only thing I saw consistently was issues with commas, so good job there. As to style, there were a couple spots of inopportune telling. You also went really skewed toward flowery choices of speaking verbs. There are only 16 instances of "said" in the story, though I also noticed quite a few of "asked" as well, which I'd also consider one that blends in. It may just be my perception, then, but consider toning these down some. There's a rationale given at the top of this thread in the section on saidisms. I pointed out one spot where the alliteration got grating, but on the whole, it felt forced in places where meaning was sacrificed for the sake of odd word choice to keep the alliteration going.

Now to perspective. I pointed out a couple of places where the perspective wavered between Pinkie and Twilight, and as I said there, I don't see what the perspective change buys you there. I also have a section on head hopping which gives some of the rationale behind deciding when a perspective change is a good idea. What exacerbates this is that the narration stays equally purple for both perspectives. It's a good idea to have a narrator adopt a voice at least in the ballpark of the focus character. You're narrator feels pretty appropriate for Twilight, but he uses words and phrases that I doubt Pinkie would know, and indeed in one case, she doesn't. Now, there are instances where a mismatch in narrator and character actually works, but it has to be consistent in that regard, whereas yours isn't out of place for Twilight. This story isn't marked as Random, not that I'm a fan of using that tag as an excuse to redefine characters willy-nilly, but Twilight just didn't seem like Twilight here. She has to hold the idiot ball almost constantly for this to work, including having no apparent reason for sticking around at all, and for falling victim to nonsensical puzzles of logic. I could believe filly Twilight acting like this, but adult Twi? She gets flummoxed by Pinkie, not pulled into her mindset. Lastly, this plays out more like a scene than a story. What was at stake? What changed about either of the characters as a result of these events? There's not an overall message here—just a scene about Pinkie using Twilight as a sounding board to work her way through making these cupcakes.
>> No. 129782
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, the formatting. The paragraph indentations are very inconsistent. This can take some trial and error to get right, as it can vary by browser and device. In Chrome, I'm seeing less than half the paragraphs indented.

>“Over there! I see one over there!” Yelled a high pitched voice.//
Dialogue punctuation/capitalization. There's a section on this at the top of this thread which gives some examples.

>Ribbet !//
Extraneous space. Why capitalize it or include the punctuation, unless you're going to make it a quote. You don't need to. And it's usually spelled "ribbit."

>revealing three bright colored fillies wielding nets//
You'll normally set off a participle with a comma. And hyphenate your compound descriptors (bright-colored).

Apple Bloom.

>What do you think Sweetie Belle?//
Missing a comma for direct address.

>instead of a frogs croak//
Missing apostrophe.

>Sweetie Belle shook out her captive into the jar and the three fillies looked in wonder.//
Also see the section on comma use with conjunctions.


>Sweetie Belle hopped up on her stubby legs with excitement!//
Why is an objective narrator exclaiming something? And there have been several times already where you've bluntly informed me of a character's emotion. Read the section on show versus tell, too.

>*Ding Dong*//
Don't put sound effects in narration. Just describe the sound.

>an older female voiced emanated from the kitchen//

>He leans forward//
Why is this in persent tense?

Please use a proper dash.

>The giant arachnid hissed and rubbed at i’s multiple eyes distracted.//
A couple of typos.

>Two Tone shrill cry of terror//
Missing possessive.

>“Is it true you outran giant spiders and scorpions”//
Missing question mark. And you keep switching tenses in this scene.

Most of these notes were compiled near the beginning of the story. As I went on, I just encountered more and more of the same problems. Really, this needs a lot of editing help before I can even dig into the plot or character.
>> No. 129787
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.

So, I'll tell you up front that script-format stories are one of those things that readers tend not to like unless they're exceptional. So this will really need to stand out.

>The citizens see him as a thing, I see him as a door//
Comma splice. And who is "I" here? You haven't established who this narrator is. And looking ahead, I don't immediately see that you ever do. Why are you narrating in a script anyway? Do you envision these as voice-overs?

Write out numbers this short.

>Summer suns celebration//
Summer Sun Celebration

>could I ask when this started to happen Fluttershy?//
Missing comma for direct address.

>Of course, you see when new animals come into town; they usually come to me first.//
Misused semicolon.

>she feels like something is dark and evil lurking in the forest
There's a lot of blatant emotional telling in here. You don't even have a lot of opportunity to give me emotional context, so you really have to get it right when you do. Consider how much communication is nonverbal. Scripts don't give us any of that, so it's inherently a lot tougher to make them enjoyable as something to read, versus seeing it performed. You keep switching between past and present tense here, too.

>Hmm...so these birds are attacking Ponyville you say? I shall go there to see what trouble and shall try with all my may to help.//
So you rhyme... and then tack on a couple more words? Zecora doesn't speak like this.

>Well now Twilight, I haven’t done anything to help yet. I hope that you are exaggerating and might even be telling tales.//
And now she's not going to rhyme at all?

>Turns out the bird is hungry, not for seeds and hot sauce//
Why would a bird be hungry for hot sauce? It's stated here as if it's what would be assumed.

>and the black and yellow coat//
Birds don't have a coat...

>I don’t what though//
Missing word.

>if we don’t go make sure the princess’s are ok//
You have a possessive where you need a plural, and write it out as "okay."

That's it? And Twilight just accepts her answer without argument?

>So you took away from the preparations//
Why does the font change here?

>Yes sir!//
Twilight's a "sir"?

>That feeling comes important later on in the story//
If you have to point that out, you're not doing it right.

>Most “high class” ponies in Canterlot never really want to near anything that doesn’t have the symbol of importance.//
How is this germane to the lightning bolt that just hit?

Don't use sound effects in narration.

>We take the son of a bitch out and we make sure he goes back to hell.//
Death is from hell? So how do ponies get to heaven then?

I just kept seeing the same mistakes over and over again. This desperately needs an editor, but beyond that, it blasts through all of these events without developing the situation or giving the emotional context that makes it come alive. You have to give the reader time to get invested in the story, and it's very difficult to do that with a script, since you're omitting all the nonverbal cues and giving me minimal description. It's like watching a movie blindfolded. I haven't counted, but I suspect it's not up to our minimal word count requirement either. This would have to come back substantially different for us to consider it again, with better immersion and likely not as a script.
>> No. 129797
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.

>Lyrica sighed, and began considering hanging up.//
Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. You're also overloading me on verbs here. "Began considering hanging up." Really, you can do without the "began." It's rarely a necessary verb, and it gets overused by inexperienced writers.

>Lyrica and Lyra both knew that her lease was not in jeopardy, but neither made comment.//
This is just odd. It makes it sound like they can tell that the other knows, but over the phone, that doesn't make sense.

>whinnying with irritation//
Read the section on show versus tell, too.

>mare friend //
One word, as in "girlfriend."

>After that, Lyrica left her message.//
Well, yeah. She goes on to do so. You don't need to tell me.

>Why else would she drop me and hire her as soon as she offered?//
This is phrased as first-person, but you haven't italicized it as a thought.

>At least I’ll have something to take my mind off this mess.//
Another statement that should be indicated as a thought, but you missed an indentation here.

>audible click//
As opposed to?

>She continued towards her destination, breaking into a run when she neared the station. Lyrica waited around for a moment, pacing back and forth irritably.//
This is a really abrupt transition. One second, she's running, and the next, she's pacing around while waiting.

In two-word phrases, -ly adverbs are generally exempt from hyphenation.

>A week later//
Why wouldn't this warrant a new paragraph?

>reporter was attractive//
Why is this just now coming out? Shouldn't you have shown me that during their interaction?

>she had a clear objective in mind: To reinvent herself.//
Only capitalize after a colon if it refers to multiple sentences.

>And so, she decided to start a band, coming up with a format for her group-to-be.//
That's a rather snap decision. Given that it's the theme of the whole story, doesn't this deserve elaboration and a focus on how she feels about it?

>She went to bed, and got up bright and early the next morning to make more flyers.//
You do an awful lot of these time transitions in the middle of paragraphs.

>But in the end, the consequential part of this story//
Referring to the story itself in narration is a mistake. The point is for the reader to get immersed and forget he's reading a story. Don't remind him.

>She sat down on her couch and practiced her guitar, then she got up and made a cup of tea.//
Last time you said where she was, it was in the taxi. So I suppose we're in her home now? You tend to blaze through things like this without giving an accounting of what characters did or where they went. They just suddenly end up somewhere.

>a stand of hair//

>Click, click, click, CLICK!//
Avoid sounds effects in narration. Better to describe the sounds.

>She came back finding that she had forgotten about her dinner, that her spaghetti was overcooked and her garlic bread was scorched.//
She's actually going to leave the house with a boiling pot going?

The two biggest things here are that you spend a lot of time listing actions without showing me how Lyrica feels about any of it. Just reading the events get boring. I want to know what sort of an emotional journey Lyrica's going on. After all, that's why the events are there, right? In a related matter, when you do give me some of her emotional context, it's in the form of blunt, telly statements that directly relate her emotions instead of getting me to deduce them. You also have a tendency to make time skips in the middle of paragraphs and include one or two insignificant events that occurred during it. But sometimes these events are acutally pretty important to the story, yet you still blast over them and give them to us in summary form only. That ends up hurting the pacing—we get detail about a day, and then rip through overnight or a couple of days with just one or two details. If those events are important, elaborate on them. If not, just do a regular scene transition and tell me it's the next day or whatever.
>> No. 129809
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.

>tearing out off a chunk of it//
Looks like you changed your mind on which preposition to use but forgot to delete the old one.

The indentation's a little uneven here. Looks like it persists here and there throughout the story. Note that this can vary by browser or device.

>from both her table and from around the cafeteria//
Repeating the "from" defeats the purpose of using "both."

>Ya’ve been at it for nearly two months now and I can’t imagine those cold walks home are helping ya rest.//
Needs a comma between the clauses. There's a section on comma use with conjunction at the top of this thread.

>She swooped her arms through her air//
I think you meant "hair"? And probably "swiped"? "Swoop" doesn't take a direct object.

>eyeing everyone else with a gleam in her eyes//
Watch the word repetition.

>blanks stares//

>Swabbing a napkin across her mouth, Applejack crumpled it up and put it on top of what was left of her lunch.//
Note that participles imply simultaneous action, so she wiping her mouth at the same time she's crumpling the napkin up.

>said Applejack//
Looking at your speaking verbs from the beginning, I see:
replied, shrieked, pouted, chirped, corrected, muttered, explained, sighed, countered, explained, gushed, and finally we have a said!
I'm estimating about 150-200 quotes in your story, and you only use "said" 24 times. That's actually more than I was expecting it to be, but when you've front-loaded the story with all these exotic ones, you've already created that impression. They become distracting and draw attention away from the story to the writing itself. There's also a section up top about these "saidisms," but I've pretty much given you the explanation here.

>Actual construction workers are fixing it up now, that leaves me to help out cleaning the rest of the school.//
Comma splice. And why are the other girls helping her clean up? The mess wasn't their fault. I could figure out that they just want to help her, but it's worth saying so I don't have to.

>The moon peaked through the eastmost windows//
Peak/peek confusion. You get this wrong a lot. And it's "easternmost."

>Fluttershy clasped the handle//
That's a really odd word choice. Maybe you meant "grasped"?

>emergency lights//
Why are the emergency lights on? That's typically only if there's a power failure or the fire alarm is going off or something. They wouldn't have those on for people to be in the building late—they'd just leave a small number of lights on.

>perpendicular to her forearms//
Is it really important that we know this detail?

Did you mean "interspersed"? Even so, that suggests a periodic thing, which you don't have here.

>an old-fashioned pocket watch//
I'm not sure what you're doing with this detail. It doesn't set the scene or tell me anything about the character. Maybe it becomes important to the plot? We'll see...

>“We have a…” The janitor readjusted the mops in the closet so that their ends all pointed in different directions. “... history.//
Looks like you're trying to put a narrative aside in a quote. Here's how:
“We have a—” the janitor readjusted the mops in the closet so that their ends all pointed in different directions “—history.

>Turning away from the closet, the group sped away from Discord with Applejack at the head now. Going around a corner, they came to a stop, their footsteps echoing down the halls. Sliding up next to the lockers, Applejack let out a deep breath.//
Have a look at this paragraph. Every sentence goes <participial phrase>, <main clause>. It's getting in a rut. I've noticed the sheer number of participles you use, too.

>lets not waste anymore time//
Missing apostrophe, and in this sense, "any more" needs to be two words.

>one of the doors handles//

>were a dizzying array//
Number agreement.

>near the back of the room, near//
More word repetition.

scanned of the ones on the right//

>Pinkie sped off to around a corner//
Extraneous word.

>Note to self: Never get between Pinkie and her cosmetics.//
Only capitalize after a comma if it refers to multiple sentences.

>Sliding out into the sink area, she waved her hands through the air, but the room still remained dark. Momentarily frowning, she flicked on her flashlight, casting a yellow glow around her. Grinning, she walked over the sink, humming as she turned it on.//
Another paragraph of very repetitive sentence structures. All three begin with participles, and two end with them. There are five participles in only three sentences.

You do need to capitalize both of these, since it's a word that'd have to be capitalized anyway.

It is unusual for commas after conjunctions to be used correctly. This one is not.

>shined a light//
"Shined" is what you do to brass or shoes. You want "shone."

> “It might have moved,” Sunset replied, “maybe we shoul—”//
As punctuated, the entire set of quotes would form a complete sentence, but it'd be a run-on.

>It was as big as person//
Missing word.

>t-the //
Think about what sound would actually be repeated. Not just the "t."


>“‘You think,’”//
Why the inner quotes? It's not a direct quotation.

>tried to catch their breaths//
It's a collective noun. Just use it in the singular.

>she turned her head over to the Applejack//
Extraneous word.

>She gather them in a group//
Verb form.

Again, consider what sound is actually repeated.

>definitely feral now,” Sunset continued. “It’s definitely//
Repeated word. And how exactly does a sentient species go feral?

>Sunset peaked her head out from around a corner//
Missing a line break.

>The thestral spun away from from the trap//
Repeated word.

>Bet you thought you’d got the best me!” she goated.//
Missing word, and you must be going for "goaded." A questionable choice of speaking verb, though.

>Reaching up, she grabbed her upper teeth and yanked them out//
The antecedents for your pronouns are getting ambiguous here. This sounds more like she yanked her own teeth out.

>highlighting her curves//
I'm not sure what I'm supposed to be getting from this...

>She ran a hand across her bare skin//
...or this. Where does she have bare skin? Her face? You haven't described her outfit enough for me to tell.

Why would this be capitalized?

Capitalize both parts.

That ending just did not make any sense to me. So Fluttershy is doing a bat costume and is pranking Applejack? The ending joke was just weak. Why would Fluttershy stop to say that rather than continue flying away? And it's not even funny.

The biggest problems here are assorted editing issues, repetition, and a need for some more emotional context. There are too many spots, particularly at the beginning, where you get focused on relaying event after event without showing me how the characters feel about it. This got better toward the end when you went into horror mode, but a word about that as well: Good horror affects all the senses. Too many writers focus on only what is seen or heard in general and for horror specifically. You do have the scene where Pinkie feels warm breath on her neck, so that's a good use of a different sense. What might they smell or taste? Admittedly, the latter is tough to do in this situation, but since it ends up being important, you could describe the flavor of the lipstick. You also have to ratchet up the level of creepiness gradually. Keep it going up a steady slope; if you rely on the same scares over and over again, the reader gets used to them, and they become stale and ineffective. However, you have a very limited number of encounters here: one with Pinkie and one with everyone else, when Applejack gets tangled in the net. I guess this depends on whether you want a fairly quick resolution here, but you could get away with putting in more scenes without making it feel padded, as long as it was building the tension. Finally, the most effective monster is the one you never see. It disarmed the tension somewhat for Pinkie to see as much of it as she did, and it let the air out entirely when Sunset immediately identified what it was and knew it wasn't dangerous. That'll hinge more on how much you want this part of the story to feel like horror or whether you really do want to keep it as light as possible.

Still, this wasn't a bad story, and I enjoyed reading it.
>> No. 129839
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.

>Boredom - the silent killer.//
I'd say to use a proper dash instead of a hyphen, but a colon seems more appropriate.

>Until now.//
These little quick-hit paragraphs work when they stand out. The more of them you use, the more you defeat their purpose. And I'm seeing quite a few of them.

>(which caused him to almost get tossed in the dungeon)//
Parentheticals work best in a very personal narration, like first-person or deeply subjective third-person.

>But then, suddenly, it hit him - literally.//
And now I will say: please use a proper dash, not a hyphen.

>in quite sometime//
In this sense, "some time" needs to be two words.

>While horrible weather reigned over//
Reigned over what? That phrasing suggests an object.

>And Twilight Sparkle was going to do just that.//
At least it's not the first scene, but a weather-report opening is still a bad idea. I'm also noting the sheer number of "to be" verbs I've seen already. They're inherently boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. You should be choosing more active verbs.

>"Discord?" she asked, in pure confusion.//
Check out the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. Bottom line: this is a big moment in the story, and you'll distance the reader from it if you don't get me to see the confusion for myself.


>she pressed play and kept her eyes on the bare wall that sufficed as her screen, happily watching each scene unfold.//
You do this a lot, but at least most instances haven't been confusing. Note that participles like to modify the nearest prior object, unless they start the sentence. So your "happily watching" tends to describe the screen. In fact, we have to go back through the wall and here eyes before we finally get to the intended object. It's a bad idea to separate a phrase so far from what it describes.

>it had to something absurd//
Syntax is off.

>...he really was childish, wasn't it?//
First off, "it" doesn't work here. Second, a leading ellipsis is for a continued sentence that left off earlier or for speech that's just becoming audible. You don't have either here.

>-you're the most chaotic being in all of Equestria//
Same deal with a leading dash.

>He stroked his goatee in thought, and arched an eyebrow.//
Also have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions.

>so- ...//
Don't use these together. They mean opposite things.

The word is "knapsack," but based on your description, I think you want "bindle."

Most of these detailed notes are only examples—the problems occur multiple times through the story. In addition, I'd point out the abundance of unusual speaking verbs you use. It gets better later in the story, but in the beginning, you did this enough that I definitely noticed it, and you don't want the reader noticing the writing itself so much. The rationale behind this is discussed in the section on saidisms at the top of this thread.

Well... okay. We're kind of tossed into shipping here without anything to build it up as natural and believable. Discord at least gives a tiny bit of explanation as to how he feels, but it's still quite sudden, and Twilight immediately decides she reciprocates? These characters need to seem real, and you have to develop some authentic chemistry between them. You can't just throw two characters together and ask me to provide the investment. This is one of the most common problems with shipping stories. The relationship itself is as important as any of the characters. It needs to be developed with the same care, and it needs to have the same depth.
>> No. 129841
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 have to say, that synopsis is the exact opposite of enticing. All I get from it is that there's a soldier involved. I have a better sense of what happens from the story's tags.

>"But it's "Thank you, Mister Atkins", when the band begins to play"//
If you're going to put this in quotes, the ones nested inside it should be single quotes. And you don't need that comma. That goes for the title on the story's main page as well.

>the only thing one could see were fields and farms//
Number mismatch

>suprisingly comfy seat//
You have to be careful of words that express an opinion. Your narrator hasn't taken on any character's perspective, so who is it that's surprised? It'd be a stretch to say it was the character being described anyway, but he's asleep and can't express any opinions. It's also misspelled.

>The red material of the uniform fit the stallion’s grey hair surprisingly well.//
Besides being repetitive in using the same word again, here's another unattached opinion. I'll also say the amount of past participles is a bit off-putting. Why not go with simple past for most of them? Tacking that "was" on saps the verbs of their action. It's a tense best used sparingly.

While this is an acceptable past tense, it's usually reserved for something like a balloon or bubble. I think "burst" would work much better here.

>He growled, clearly displeased by having to deal with such a passenger.//
See the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. Early in the story like this is the place to engage me, and telly language doesn't do that.

>“Thank you very much, “The grey pony replied politely.//
Misplaced quotation marks and dialogue tag capitalization.

>He was used to such reactions, but it didn’t mean he liked them.//
And now we've finally established the narrator as being in the passenger's perspective. But my earlier points about the narrator expressing an opinion still stand, since this character was asleep at the time.


>the medals on his chest shined brightly//
"Shined" is what you do to brass or shoes. You want "shone."

>wearer - a//
Please use a proper dash.

>The grey pony thoroughly checked all the details, not excluding the smallest ones.//
The second half of this sentence is entirely extraneous.

>He realized why the command has sent him here//
Why the switch to present tense?

>he’s learnt it’s layout//
Present tense again? And its/it's confusion.

>He took of his shako and bowed.//

>“I’m sorry, but we’re all out,” she replied bluntly.//
Now I have to wonder why you're using Applejack at all. She's never shown the least bit of disdain for soldiers or willingness to forgo a sale. So to put her in this situation begs explanation. Either get at what makes Applejack feel this way, or you might as well use an OC here.

Missed the closing quotation marks.

This scene was very heavy-handed. It could have been accomplished in the previous scene with some well-placed body language and a couple of muttered phrases instead of over-explaining it all.

>“murderers from Totenhoof//
More missing quotation marks.

>paid by the Princesses for slaughtering civilians and burning cities and villages to the ground//
Wouldn't this imply Applejack would harbor just as much of a grudge, if not more, against Celestia? So why hasn't Celestia done anything about this prevailing mood?

>It had been a few minutes and he had already ran into more Bearers//
See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions. And you have a bad verb form here (had run).

>Exactly one hundred and twenty, miss//
"Miss" would be capitalized, since he was trying to use it as part of her name.

>“She didn’t tell you…” The yellow pegasus whispered.//
Dialogue tag capitalization.

Spell out numbers unless they get exceedingly long.

Syntax is off, this really doesn't sound like something Fluttershy would say, and italics are preferred over all caps for emphasis or volume.

>orders, to//
Extraneous space.

Inconsistent spelling.

>Don’t think anypony from our town is going to join your band of murderers, sergeant!//
"Sergeant" would be capitalized as a term of address. But back to my earlier point about why ponies should regard Celestia the same way they do these soldiers. As close as Twilight is to Celestia, wouldn't she know the truth? Particularly for someone who appreciates facts more than unfounded impressions?

>ss well as//

>The lavender unicorn//
Why do you keep referring to them with these descriptors? He knows who they are.


>"Oh, boy",//
Comma goes inside the quotes.

>she laughed in response. - “Give me back my shako”!//
Exclamation mark goes inside the quotes, too. And what is that hyphen doing there? As she continues to talk, you don't have her speech in quotes, either.

You're inconsistent at capitalizing this.

>“And he hit me!” Rainbow Dash seconded her. “Let me at him!”//
Missing a bunch of line breaks in this area.

>Press gang//
I'm not familiar with this term. Did you mean something like a compulsory draft?

The story itself is fine, aside from the inexplicable use of canon characters in decidedly out-of-character ways. I can't help but think it would have worked with a cast of original characters, but forcing the Elements into roles that don't suit them... really, only Rainbow Dash was believable. Beyond that, this story needs a lot of editing help. There are just a whole lot of very basic and inconsistent errors.
>> No. 129849
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.

Book titles should be underlined or (preferably) italicized.

>I watched ten page unfold at the speed I usually read at//
Typo and a redundant "at."

>Myself and the child are so very similar in this respect//
Misused reflexive pronoun. They don'y work this way—they aren't nominative case.

>it makes me ask more questions; not about the way things are//
Misused semicolon. There isn't an independent clause anywhere after it.

>She sniffled a bit and went up to room//
Missing word.

>By the time that one kicked I could feel a trembling in my hoof//
Another missing word.

>upset stomachs fatigues me//

>Feeling rested enough//
I notice you go without commas after introductory elements, and they're really not required. But you should do so with most participles, even elsewhere in a sentence.

>more emotional of a pony than me//
Comparatives are in nominal case—"than I."

>let my imagination get the better me and actually imagined//
Watch the word repetition.

>Long married//
Hyphenate the compound descriptor.

>unsaid rule said//
Close enough to word repetition that it feels clunky, somewhat also because of the apparent contradiction.

>she is so much farther than reality than I am//

>Everyone will be too polite to give her anything but compliment//

>She got all sorts compliments//
Missing word.

I've now noticed a few unnecessarily hyphenated words like outdated and coworkers.

>it irk's me//
Get rid of that apostrophe.

>the sort of pony who humours them and lie//

>and my I don't have an absolute meaning//
Some wording got jumbled there.

I really liked this story. That should be evident from the small number of things I found wrong with it. There are a fre more, though. First, have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. I noticed quite a few missing commas from dependent clauses.

Second, you make one or two brief mentions of Sweetie Belle, but I found her strangely absent from the story. I realize that canon is vague about how much time she actually spends at Rarity's, but the implication is that their parents live nearby, since she goes to school there. Kids are good at picking up on when adults are acting differently. I'd think she'd notice. Sure, you may deal with her in later chapters, but I have to think she wouldn't have let it go this long without saying something. And sure, Rarity's not noecessarily mentioning everything that happens to her each day, but that seems like the kind of thing she'd remember.

Do you intend these chapter titles to actually mean these occur a month apart? Because that would be a huge amount of time between a death and a funeral. And with respect to the funeral... Rarity never mentions her mother at all. As distanced as she is from her own feelings, she still seems to be pretty well in touch with others', so why no observations on her mother? And why is her mother never placed at the funeral, or a visit beforehand, or anything at all?

Next issue: You have a ton of "to be" verbs in here. They're boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. Even for descriptions where you use one of these verbs, it's usually possible to recast it with an active verb, and you do so in some places. I get that the use of so many "to be" verbs can create a stagnant feel, and maybe intentionally so, but that's getting across enough in what Rarity says; you don't need it reflected so much in how she says it. I tend to give you some leeway in maintaining this mood, but that only goes so far.

Maybe you meant for it to be this subtle, but it seems to me that Twilight started out trying to get Rarity interested in things that interested her, but when Rarity didn't take to it, then Twilight shifted to taking on Rarity's interests. But there's never a part where Rarity actually discusses the philosophy book with Twilight, so I feel more like I'm completely inventing that. Even so, it's a nice subtext you might consider making clearer.

In a first-person narration, there's an implied audience. Normally, that can just be swept under the rug, but depending on the delivery, it sometimes begs the question of who's listening and why (and some scholars will assert this is always the case). Because of the somewhat conversational tone taken and the way these are dated, it does make me question this more than many other such fics would. So I have to ask: Are these journal entries? If not, why does she want to say these things, and whom does she want to hear them?

I'd encourage you to put in the occasional moment of happiness or levity. Effective sad stories work in contrasts. By interspersing lighter moments (or in some stories, action scenes), you make the sad moments stand out and prevent the reader from becoming inured to them.

Lastly, it's not at all clear where this story is going, and I'd feel more comfortable about it if I had more chapters to work with or a brief summary of your intended plot.
>> No. 129850
>There are no books, however, so she moves down to the next shelf.//
Given that she's specifically looking for books, why is she wasting her time with this?

>the spines have large words she can't pronounce//
Comma here.

>She takes this as a small victory.//
This paragraph is coming across a little bland, and the sentence structures are a bit repetitive.

>as if just now realizing she'd been addressed//
Just used "realize" a few sentences back.

>The spine is open//
Comma here.

>She moves down one more shelf, and is greeted with what she's looking for.//
No comma this time.

In this sense, "psych."

>What better place to store a journal than desk?//
Missing word.

>something or other//
Should probably hyphenate this.

>Pinkie likely does not hear her.//
Why not? I suppose I'll find out when we get to her part, but for now, it just leaves the picture incomplete, and without an apparent point.

>Behind them is a metal flask that she leaves alone, and another picture frame, that she removes.//
Nitpick, but you're using non-restrictive clauses here, so you really should have "which" instead of "that" for both of them.

>Rarity is right, it is actually quite warm and snug in here.//

>Well, I didn't think to bring anything with me. I thought about it//
Aren't these contradictory?

>Twilight makes the noise that means "please stop talking right now before I burst into flames".//
This period can go inside the quotes.

>It's a really fascinating, original sort of the sound.//
Extraneous word.

>one hundred and seventy//
Someone like Twilight would know not to put the "and" in there.

>She regrets that she hasn't kept in touch with him //
Given that he's gone, shouldn't this be a "hadn't"?

>This won't do, she'll have to sort them out by date.//

>The vase flowers//
Missing a word.

>Theoretically, they could be flipping through books all day trying to find the right one.//
Well, she estimated two hundred books. That wouldn't take so long.

Your narrator has been very dispassionate through the whole thing. While you did take on a little bit of personal voice for each of their sections, Pinkie's was the only one that sounded conversational, so this feels a little out of place, unless you want to do more of it.

>I can't even begin to imagine just important all of this work is!//
Missing word.

>Every iteration had small differences, and over the last half dozen, I was able to implant suggestions that would echo through into future loops, so we'd know to stop Pinkie from messing with it!//
There is a ST:TNG episode almost exactly like this... And a guest appearance from Kelsey Grammer. Do you have one of those too?

I kind of found myself wanting the cutoffs for each section to have a dash. And the allusions to Spike, Shining Armor, and Cadence don't make much sense. I get that these time loops may have gad a far-reaching effect, but now that they've stopped, what danger is Spike in anymore? I just don't get what Twilight is going to save him from. It's always hard to decide what to do with Pinkie in a serious story like this. She does have a strange mindset about things, but she also knows when to knock it off. You probably don't have any choice put to put her part last, but her attitude in it changed the tone of the story. Dash's part was fairly light, but then we eased into more serious treatment from the next three, which handled the themes well. They all had thoughts wandering around how they'd react to a similar situation. Well, Fluttershy didn't, but she still responded reasonably to the pervading atmosphere. Then we get to Pinkie, and it suddenly turns into a fun story, and then right back again when we get to Twilight. Then the story ends on an underwhelming note, what with the cryptic remark about Spike, Twilight's somewhat muted reaction to the loops' end (well, maybe not on her part, but it's certainly not contagious), and the lack of some pithy statement at the end kind of kept there from being a real conclusion. But I enjoyed reading it, and it was interesting to see how all the different perspectives interconnect. Based on what Twilight said, I guess each of them was supposed to have some sight difference? If so, I missed that. And was I right in thinking that Pinkie was somehow immune to the effect and realized how many times she'd been through the loop?
>> No. 129854
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.

>(and a single stir counter-clockwise, just to be sure)//
This would work better simply set off with commas. Parenthetical elements really do better when in first-person or sometimes a very deep third-person limited, where there's a very informal and conversational narrator. This narration is a bit formal for that.


>Twilight giggled as her horn shined bright//
"Shined" is what you did to brass or shoes. You want "shone."

>She felt a slight chill that morning//
This is a finished action in the story's timeline, so use past perfect tense: "had felt."

>with a bored expression. Casually//
Have a look at the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. We'll see if it's a pervasive problem. It hasn't been so far, and this isn't an instance of high emotion where it'd normally bother me, but right at the beginning of the story, it's important to forge a connection between the reader and your characters, and showing is the way to do that.

>As Twilight passed by him to creep onto her own bed,//
This is already the fifth "as" clause I've seen. You're creating a repetitive feel early on, and even if that doesn't keep up, it's the impression I have now. You also use quite a few participles, which have their own associated dangers. I'll point out if you fall into any of the usual traps.

>finishing a scroll for the Saddle Arabian ambassador. “Did you ever finish//
Watch repeating a word in a close space like this.

>feel for//
Extraneous space.

>Once he was sure it was the right one//
Be careful. Your narrator's been in Twilight's perspective so far. Just look at how often he makes personal comments for her. But this statement is in Spike's point of view. Unless you give me evidence of how she'd know this, it's in his head. Read the section on head hopping to see the rationale on when and how to change perspective.

>breaking the jewels//
Really, cloth would break long before the jewels would. I'm not sure what her concern is.

>I thought she might an exception//
Missing word.

>You didn’t..?//
You still need the three full dots for the ellipsis.

>Not many ponies would go that for a simple gift//
Typo, and the "not many ponies" is a little out of place, considering that she's not talking to one.

>Twilight fidgeted, Spike’s tone was sincere.//
Comma splice.

>Rarity’s the generous one, I’m just a baby dragon.//
Another splice.

In two-word phrases, -ly adverbs are generally exempt from hyphenation.

>whatever foundation laid underneath Rarity’s hooves//
Lay/lie confusion.

>Glancing at the clock, she noticed she was late.//
Here's one of the dangers I noted about participles. They connote simultaneous action, but she wouldn't do both of these at the same time. She'd first glance at the clock and then realize she was late.

>present her presents//
More clunky repetition.

>Rarity facehoofed, a massive impact on her face.//
This is... really strange. I'm not sure yet what the importance of all the rhyming is, but you're forcing some weird phrasings and word choices to accomplish it.

>her celebrations discrete//
Surely you meant "discreet."

>Except today, of course, but alas.//
Rhyming "alas" with "rash"? For shame.

>Rarity gasped, becoming quite aghast. “Surely you’re joking, the storm’s come to pass!//
Two things: Why is Rarity's curse forcing others to speak in rhyme as well? And how does that curse carry over to the narration? I could see if this were a first-person narration, such that the narration was still an internal dialogue. But it's not, so she wouldn't be aware of the narration. How then would she rhyme with it? It could even work if the narration and dialogue both rhymed, but you made sure never to require the rhyme to cross from one to the other.

>Rainbow said, her wings twitched in agitation.//
That's either a splice or a verb form error.

>quick as a volt//
Did you mean "bolt"? Because a volt implies nothing about speed.

>Rarity did not want try-//
Missing word. I can't figure out why the dash is necessary, but in any case, please use a proper one and not a hyphen.

>No one could stop her, not even Pan.//
What in the world would Pan have to do with any of this?

>until the dishes gleaned//
"Gleamed," yes?

>Twilight paused with an introspective spark. An idea formed, the creative’s spark.//
And you're going to rhyme "spark" with... "spark." Hm.

>To be honest Rarity, your gift is touching//
Missing a comma for direct address.

>Daring Doo//

What in the world is this? A Spaceballs reference?

I have to commend you for keeping up rhymes for that long. But poetry is something that has to stand out even more for us to accept it, and this relies too much on questionable rhymes and forced word choices/phrasings that sacrifice meaning. You really can't compromise there—you have to do both, and while that's especially difficult, such is the nature of the vehicle you've chosen. I'm also unclear as to what brings on Rarity's part of the story. Would it have happened anyway, or was it caused by Spike's act of generosity toward her? The structure of the story seems to favor the latter, but it's very unclear.
>> No. 129860
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, having so many quick-hit paragraphs here creates a feel that you don't have anything organized or significant to say, since you're relying on an artificial sense of urgency to create interest. Just say what the story's about. That's all that's required. It's also pretty cliched to ask rhetorical questions here.

Most commas after conjunctions aren't used correctly. This one is also not.

>Even with her gasping wails of pure distort//
I'm not sure what word you were going for there, but "distort" doesn't work.

>it became apparent//
It became apparent to whom? Me? Not so—I'm relying on you to tell me. The narrator? I have no idea who he is? Pinkie? She seems to know already. You have to be careful when communicating impressions or opinions that we know who is expressing them.

>stuttering for breath//
I assume you meant "sputtering"?


>the door garble//
I'm guessing you meant "gable"?

>She prodded at the brown fibbers in the welcome mat.//
"Fibers," I guess? There are far too many spelling errors already.

>producing a crestfallen expression//
Don't just tell me she's crestfallen. Describe her appearance and show me her actions such that I concluded it on my own.

If you're not going to capitalize all the races, don't capitalize any. Your use of "Pegasus" earlier would then refer specifically to the one from Greek mythology.

>rain saturated//
Hyphenate your compound modifiers.

>It was weird because make-up was top priority to Rarity, now it just reminded her of how “frivolous” she was.//
Comma splice.

>Tip-toeing slowly, the weeping grew louder//
Dangling participle. Who's tiptoeing? The sentence doesn't say. This explicitly states that the weeping is tiptoeing.

>She soon realised that Rarity was extremely light on her hooves.//
Why are you shifting perspectives? Not that it can't be done, but you have to carefully consider it. Read the section on head hopping at the top of this thread to get the rationale.

>she informed//
This verb requires a direct object.

>“Oh yes, the pony who makes everypony in town happy is “a nuisance”,”//
When nesting quotes inside other quotes, use single quotation marks.

>I’m I important//
Extraneous word.

Compliment/complement confusion.

>Pinkie’s eye’s reflected the brightest of blues//
Misused apostrophe.

>She hesitated, lying to Pinkie wouldn’t achieve anything//
You don't capitalize these interjected asides, unless the first word is one that has to be capitalized anyway.

Think about what sound would actually be repeated.

You're a little on the vague side here, but you're kind of falling into the most common trap of shipping stories: you just throw the two ponies together and expect me to already have a prefabricated investment in the pair. The challenge of shipping is to make the pairing feel natural and authentic. That means demonstrating the=at they have real chemistry together and (usually) giving evidence of the development of that relationship rather than dropping me into the middle of it. You do some things right along these lines, like relating Rarity's thoughts about how she's enjoyed watching Pinkie hop by her boutique these past years, and that they didn't go to Sugarcube Corner together with the intent of having a romantic encounter. So you're on the right track there, but as to the good and bad, you're drawing a little from column A and a little from column B. You have to be very cautious in presenting this relationship so that it feels authentic instead of unjustified. Aside from that, this story has lots of basic editing problems, like misused words and others substituted for others with similar spellings.
>> No. 129863

(Regarding the story discussed here: >>129746)

Resubmitted and requested you as the pre-reader. Thank you for all the feedback!

Last edited at Mon, Mar 10th, 2014 03:30

>> No. 129869
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.

Nothing's wrong with it per se, but it's completely quick-hit, one-line paragraphs. Such things are done to stand out, and when everything stands out, nothing does. It's a little of an eyesore.

On the title:
This can work as an overall title, as long as it fits the story. However, I have to say it's odd to see it as the title of the first chapter as well, for two reasons. First, you gnerally only see the story title repeated as a chapter title when there's only one chapter. Second, and interlude, by definition, comes between other things, not first.

>but still winter, nonetheless//
"still" and "nonetheless" are redundant here.

Your second paragraph, and the first one of any length, contains seven "to be" verbs. I suspect this will be an ongoing issue, but you definitely don't want to overload on them here, where you're trying to grab the reader's interest. They're boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. You should be choosing more active verbs.

>the conductor stated, flatly//
No reason for that comma to be there.

The conductor gave a noncommittal harrumph, and gently shook his leg free of Octavia's grasp.//
Don't put sound effects in narration. It's a valid word anyway. Just use it without the italics, put it in quotes, or describe the sound instead. Also see the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>hurriedly made her way back to her hooves//
That's different than having her stand up. This means hat her hooves are elsewhere, and she's going over to them.

>Her cheeks burned as she dragged it along the ground//
Surely she can carry it on her back...

>the case had been so heavy that she could barely lift it//
Really? They're not that heavy, and she's an earth pony, after all.

Okay. This is one of the most common things people do wrong in letters, particularly when the entire story is letters. They put things in a letter that are unreasonable for the format. People have plenty of time to plan what they want to write in a letter. I can buy single-word strikethroughs for misspellings and the like, but an entire sentence? Pinkie wouldn't have needed to change her mind about writing this. I could even let it go as a childish thing with her, but you've explicitly stated erasure marks on the paper. If she's erasing things, why would she strike things through? It doesn't add up.

I'm also noting that nearly every sentence in the letter ends in an exclamation mark. See my comments on the synopsis. The same thing applies. Exclamation marks make things stand out and overusing them defeats the purpose.

Well, I'll go ahead and say that they've kind of been given names now (Limestone and Granite), though that's comic canon, and I won't hold you to it.

>treble clef//
Her cutie mark is actually closer to an ampersand. And it's ironic that she plays an instrument that doesn't read treble clef... but I digress.

>“Cello,” Octavia murmured.//
They're both right. The old-fashioned long name is violincello.

>Not again. Not out here in public, where everypony can see you.//
Like where nobody's standing around on the platform or paying attention to her? You certainly haven't painted the picture of a busy area, anyway. By the way, I'm well over the five-minute mark on reading this letter. The train should have left already...

I also have to ask how they could give her a middle name of Octavia and not know what a treble clef is, given how prescient their naming schemes seem to be. For that matter, she has the longer name of "Octavia Melody" in the merchandising.

>she bit back her fury, and her anguish, and her astonishing self-loathing//
This is coming on all of a sudden, and without any evidence. You seem like an experienced enough writer to understand "show versus tell." (There's a section up top about that too, if you need a refresher.) You don't want to dump all this defining information about her in the form of a tell. That's not going to get me invested in her character.

>Her work at the symphony paid virtually nothing//
Top musicians actually earn a comfortable living. I have to think Canterlot would have one of the leading orchestras, and with her being a valedictorian, she should be able to live comfortably.

>then we sat around and smoked weed the rest of the night//
Just so you know, use of real-world drugs is against EqD policy.

>However, the idea never really gained a lot of traction//
You really think so? The idea is actually quite common.

>blighted plot of land like a great, graying wound upon the earth//
Alright, now you've got a character voicing problem. Vinyl holds your perspective here, and this word choice and phrasing plain doesn't work for the personality you've established for her. Unless the bad-girl stuff is just a front over an intelligent interior, but you've given me no evidence of that. If your narrator's in her point of view, then he needs to sound at least in the ballpark of what she might say in terms of vocabulary and phrasing.

>Celestia's light//
This is one of the most cliched phrasings in the fandom.

>But Octavia seemed to know exactly where she was going//
And Vinyl should know exactly why she does...

>along the way, they hadn't so much as glimpsed another living soul//
You already said as much.

>reacquainting herself with the scent of the place//
Why are you popping back into Octavia's head for the grand total of one sentence?

>She was quiet, for a moment//
Why is that comma there?

Consider where the missing letter actually is. 'S not.

Oh yeah, so Octavia could barely lift her cello at the train station, but now she's having not trouble traipsing through the woods with it?

Same deal as before.

>It's you! It's really you!//
This whole paragraph is not a good idea. One or two lines, sure, but this kind of thing gets old fast.

As a term of address, this would be capitalized.

>desperate bawling//
Less is often more in emotional moments. If you go over the top, it loses its power.

>the dark, raging waters of her soul//
Yeah, you're getting really maudlin here.

The perspective's really wavering a lot here at the end. You might want to read the section on head hopping, too.

These would be my main laundry list of issues: commas, appropriate narrative voicing, consistent perspective, some melodrama, some telly language, and overload of "to be" verbs. And lose the drug reference.

This story's also pretty weak on the conflict. It was pretty obvious from the beginning of Pinkie's letter that we'd get to this point, and we already knew that Pinkie was accepting of her. And Octavia was willing to go meet Pinkie, or she wouldn't have been at the train station in the first place. So there was no question that this moment would arrive. The real conflict that had been dangled in front of my face was how Octavia would relate to the rest of her family, and... we never get to see that. I really get everything I can from the story within the first few pages. It plays as a nice series of scenes, but there's not really a story there.
>> No. 129873
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.

>It's quite a strange thing, the power of words.//
It's a tricky thing to strike a conversational tone like this, considering that your narrator doesn't have a perspective. Consider this line from a bit later:
>her rather considerable wings//
This is again a perspective problem. The narrator is expressing an opinion, but whose? He hasn't adopted a character's point of view yet, so nobody in the story. He shouldn't express his own, unless he's been established as a character in his own right, like someone sitting down with me and telling me the story. So whose opinion is it?

>pony kind//
One word, as in "mankind."

>He began to ponder whether or not that was what had brought this about//
And now you're in this Baron's head. I'm betting you don't stay there long enough to justify taking his viewpoint...

>She was a pony who chose her words carefully, and always said what she meant.//
See the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>Even the guard, who was, on the whole, used to Celestia's little idiosyncrasies, felt a slight hint of unease//
Ah, I was right. Now I'm betting you don't stay with the guard long, either.

>They wondered//
You're doing an awful lot of wondering early on in this story. It's a weak action. Occasional use is fine, but you're relying on it a bit much.

>Richelieu cleared his throat once more and tried again.//
Speaking of weak actions, "to be" is an inherently boring verb. You have eight of them in this paragraph alone. Use more active verbs. They keep things interesting.

>it sound irregular//

>Celestia saw a few shudders go through the gathered ponies, but she didn't care.//
And now we're in Celestia's head. Definitely read the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.

That's a possessive.

>Their expressions ranged from unease to cautious optimism//
And add the section on show versus tell to your reading list.

>watered down//
Hyphenate your compound modifiers.

>The amount of them//
"Amount" is for collective quantities. You want "number."

>Ever social stigma, every bias//

>a rather large unicorn stallion name Iron Hoof//

>flying close to her, and she looked to see Luna flying//
Watch the word repetition.

>And now that you're standing on the battlefield, I'm afraid that you are now fair game.//
More repetition.

>"Sweet dreams, We hope?"//
Why would she capitalize "We" but not "thee" or "thou"?

>The smiles of both sisters fell, and they turned towards the horizon, igniting their horns to move the sun and the moon.//
I can find no reason why they'd be sad here...

>raise takes//
Did you mean "taxes"?

So, the biggest problems here are the abundance of "to be" verbs, a couple spots of inopportune telling, and a very flighty narrative viewpoint in the early going. I have to say that there's really not much sad there. The ending of the first scene stumped me as to what was supposed to be sad, and the ending of the story had a more forced sad feel to it. So she feels self-conscious about ordering a snowball fight? There are doubtless ones who would enjoy it. Instead of requiring participation, why not schedule a time for all who want to take part? And Luna knows how much fun Celestia thought it would be. Certainly, she'd be willing to help. There's not really a convincing reason here that Celstia can't have a snowball fight.
>> No. 129891
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.

>Pinkie scampered down the dimly lit road, chill winter air rushing past her, bouncing a little on every eighth step, mind a flurry of anticipation.//
First sentence already. Look how back loaded this is. You start off with a nice, clear image and your lead character. So far, so good. Then you tack on a phrase. Then another. Then a third. It gets clunky, and it steals focus from that nice first image. It's like the first Lord of the Rings Movie. It draws to a nice close. But wait, it's not over. Then it draws to a close. But it's not over. You get the picture.

>hope and worry coiled around her throat//
Depending on how you use it in the story, telling isn't necessarily a bad thing, but this is the first emotional note in the story, so you need to make it authentic and connect with the reader. Telling isn't the way to do that. There's a discussion of show versus tell in the OP of this thread.

>her stance was cheerful and confident, her ears up, head cocked slightly//
Same deal. You tell us her emotion, but then you make that unnecessary by going on to describe someone who we can identify as maybe no those exact emotions, but close enough.

What about Manehattan conjures a daiquiri? I'd expect something like a cosmopolitan or a long island iced tea.

>you –” Rarity dabbed at Pinkie's muzzle with a handkerchief. “– I//
In an aside put into a quote like this, you don't put a period as end punctuation (other end punctuation can work). The two parts of the sentence need to make sense when joined, though, and these would be separate sentences.

>Had her digression annoyed Rarity.//
This is a question, right?

>Pardon me if this is intrusive, but shouldn't you already know this?//
I was going to chide you for the preceding infodump, but I decided to let it slide. Then you went and made it superfluous...

>… Yes?//
You don't need to leave a space after a leading ellipsis.

>Pinkie took a gulp of champagne.//
And considering how she reacted to the last one, nothing happens this time?

It's only in specific circumstances that commas after conjunctions are used correctly. This one is not. They're not good things to use for dramatic pauses, if that's what you intended.

It's standard to italicize ! or ? when it's on an italicized letter.

Think about where the missing letters actually are. That's where the apostrophe goes. 'S okay.

>when the shock has subsided//
Why is this in present?

>Hush, and kiss me again, you silly, impetuous creature!//
Overblown lines like this really stretch the story's credibility.

>at a reasonably hour tomorrow//
Typo or missing word.

>Given that I will going away to work//
Missing word.

>Earth pony//
Don't capitalize this, unless you're capitalizing the entire two-word phrase and both of the other races as well. As it is, you're referring to our planet, not ground.

>and bit chubby//
Missing word.

First, this is well-written, for the most part. I'm glad you were able to keep the entire thing in Pinkie's perspective instead of ping-ponging between her and Rarity, a mistake many inexperienced writers make. There's not enough here to warrant a strike, but I do need to caution you about a couple of things.

First, I'd at least like to see a summary of where this is going, if not see a couple more finished chapters. Actually, first and second, because this would alleviate both of my concerns. You kept it clean so far, but you hinted at some possible behavior that could cross the line, depending on how explicit you get. The other matter is the stage of their relationship. I see your author's note that you want to write about the relationship after its start instead of leading up to that. This is fine, but it doesn't absolve you of the need to justify the relationship. It's not enough to throw the two characters together, have them act lovey-dovey, and expect me to believe they work well together or care about them. The easy way to do this is, well, to show the relationship develop. It's fine to start where you did in the timeline, but to have an instant attraction? It's pretty thin. I'm allowing the possibility that you had planned to address this in subsequent chapters through flashback or little details. There are lots of ways to make it work. Pinkie can have a fleeting thought about how Rarity standing in the sunbeam reminds her of the time when X happened and Rarity didn't even know Pinkie liked her yet. These are the things that make it real and make me believe these characters love each other, not just because you tell me they do. It's also necessary to show that they have real chemistry together in their moment-by-moment interactions so they they feel authentic. You actually do pretty well on that front, as they have some nice banter together. But look at what we get: Pinkie goes to Rarity's, keeps ogling her, and then she yearns to kiss Rarity without any sort of supporting evidence as to why she'd feel this way. And then, of course, Rarity instantly reciprocates, because everything's always rosy in real romance. Neither one suspected how the other felt, but they conveniently feel the same way at the same time, and kissing someone when you have no idea if they want it is always a good idea, right?

The viability of the romance is really the long pole in the tent here, but given our yes/no policy, I wouldn't be giving you this level of feedback if I didn't think you could make something special out of this.
>> No. 129894
I don't know that many people actually peruse this thread, so I'll cross-post this in the "Ask a Pre-reader" thread as well. Not that many people peruse that one either...

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

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

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

This is being done so I can get to more stories and reduce the queue wait times, so I'd target feedback to the authors most likely to use it. I'd give a full review to every story if I could, and maybe once the queue size is reduced significantly, I can go back to that, but for now, I need to concentrate on what's likely to produce the most return on my time investment.

Last edited at Fri, Mar 14th, 2014 14:11

>> No. 129916
File 139502258847.jpg - (64.41KB , 960x567 , 137978452445.jpg )

Hope it's alright to post this here.

I come here pretty often to read your critiques. It helps my own writing when I see so many examples of things writers do well and things they need to work on. This isn't meant to pressure you into continuing if you don't care to; I just wanted to let you know that your efforts are not unappreciated.
>> No. 129919
I'm not stopping altogether, just cutting back on the number of stories I do this for. If a story is close to being postable, especially if it's close enough that I'm not giving it a strike, I'll still give feedback here. I just can't do it for every story, for the time being.
>> No. 129927
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.

>top-floor window
Unless her room rise multiple stories, I don't see how this works.

>hooting of an owl//
During the day?

Write out numbers this short.

>Six Months Earlier...//
There are much more elegant ways of working this into the narration.

Her reaction to the letter is very... bland. I get that there's a certain numbness that comes in these situations, but I can tell you from experience that if you write an emotionally distant character as emotionless, it gets boring quickly. Better to show the contrast between what's going on inside and what she allows out.

>At the Hospital...//
Yeah... if you're going to alternate like this, even if it doesn't perfectly follow the pattern, it's not hard to drop cues in the narration that handle this nicely, and after it falls into a regular pattern, the reader will even expect it. It's making the story's time frame feel forced on me, a word I certainly wouldn't use to describe the rest of the story's aspects, so it sticks out.

>The nervousness she felt coming back to her parents' old house was always wiped away by Aunt Rosebud's smile.//
While this isn't a bad spot for telling, it's not exactly warming me up to this as a sweet moment, either. Instead of just naming it as nervousness, just a few words of physical symptoms would carry more power, like if a wave of warmth swept away her jitters whenever she saw that smile.

You don't need the comma. Transcribed text doesn't use the same rules as dialogue.

>thinking this was too strong//
Note how this phrasing is decidedly external to her mind versus something like her just outright stating that it was too strong. You've been using a pretty subjective narrator, and in my opinion, something like that would suit it better.

>she had felt insecure about her circumstances almost daily//
Way too vague. Give me a couple of examples.

>She 's//
Extraneous space.

>You still have your dignity.//
Wow. That's a really insensitive thing to say. It's actually great, but let me see some more reaction to it. Is Rose really able to keep it under wraps like that? Does Lily realize how it sounded? What does Daisy do?

>even though her kiosk was right between their booths//
Comma to set off the dependent clause.

>she wasn't worried about poverty itself. Shame was her great fear, and month by month a nightmare was coming true.//
You're risking being too blunt and over-explaining things here.

>If this exercise was supposed to help her out of her depression//
At this point, wouldn't she still be in denial about her depression? I don't know how you envision Equestrian law, but based on something you said earlier, I'm not sure they can keep her there against her will.

>and we both have things that need saying//
Comma for the dependent clause.

>This was wrong, she thought as he continued.//
But you haven't italicized it as a thought.

You spelled it "Sunny" earlier.

>who are you ta-.//
Use a proper dash, not a hyphen. And don't put a period after it. The only end punctuation you can put after a dash, and even then, it's optional, are an exclamation mark or question mark.

>Rose collapsed into sobs.//
For strong emotion, less is often more. People usually try to control themselves, under most circumstances. You don't want to be melodramatic.

>You taught me how to love.//
Ooh, that's pretty cliched.

>I wasn't. your only. secret. Was I?//
Using so many periods like this is kind of clumsy, but at least capitalize after them.

>I waited as long as I could, but this hurt was inevitable//
Well, only because he decided it was. Couldn't he have made the ultimatum before he cheated?

>This time the tears wouldn't come.//
Now, this is much more realistic, compared to her sobbing earlier.

>Daisy's look changed from curiosity to concern.//
Show me this. There's a section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. Keep it in mind.

>"They left me."//
Well, yeah, she told them to. You had me feeling sympathetic for her, but she just comes across as whiny here.

Oh, come on. Subtlety is a thing.

>would like to visit with you in a few minutes if you'd like//
Kind of a repetitive wording there.

>and everything would be confidential//
Another dependent clause needing a comma. There's some info in this under the section on comma use with conjunctions.

>Gathering all the pages she'd filled with her analysis//
You didn't give me the sense there were many. Aside from one vague statement, I only ever saw a few words mentioned, and there was never anything indicating she'd spent much time on it.

>He then engaged her in small talk for a few minutes before saying good night.//
And how does she react to this? Does it relax her? Make her feel like he's being insincere, or just trying to distract her?

>This wasn't day one of her recovery, Rose thought//
You do this a lot: italicize some thoughts, but not italicize others that are directly named as such. It's a bit jarring.

>began splaying outward as her head began to swim//
Watch the word repetition. And start/begin actions are weak anyway. Once in a while, they won't hurt, but they're also obvious. Any given action starts. It's only worth pointing that out when the beginning is noteworthy because it's an abrupt change or the action never finishes. They also sap some of the action from the main verb.

>Roseluck opened her eyes as the sun was rising.//
I suspect I'll go through and count your "to be" verbs at some point. Suffice it to say they're boring, and it's a good idea to limit them where you can. There are certainly times where a past participle works, but if you changed this to "Roseluck opened her eyes as the sun rose," I don't see that anything is lost. Then you also avoid sapping the action from your verb.

>Glancing toward the doorway, she noticed her new pad of paper beside the bed.//
Beware a few aspects of participles. One is that they synchronize actions, so she sees the pad at the same time she glances toward the doorway. While that's possible, you haven't described the layout of these things in a way that makes it intuitive, and I get the sense that one happens after the other anyway.

>This time doesn't have to be a waste. I can find the issue in my thinking//
This is quite an about-face from her thinking in the previous chapter. If that's intentional, you might want to ease me into it, say, mention how the new day has her taking a fresh perspective on things.

>you can only count on yourself//
Missing end punctuation, but since it's something she's jotting down, it's certainly possible that she would have left it off.

>Rose studied her final list//
Now look at the first word of each paragraph so far. Mix it up.

>But her nervousness was soon displaced by hope//
This is a pretty emotional point for the story. Show me this.

>They looked frantic.//
How so? None of the actions you described seem to convey this. Without convincing me of this through how they look and act, it's more of a cold fact that doesn't get me invested in the characters.

>She grabbed a simple tray of alfalfa and joined them.//
And then this. If her parents really look frantic, she's going to get her food first and keep them waiting? And she's going to be so lackadaisical about it?

>sor- sorry//
No spaces around the hyphens in a stutter.

>I was going through clinical depression.//
This is something I was going to bring up later, in the wrap-up comments at the end, but... Her depression is awful sudden. The implication that she "was going through clinical depression" as of yesterday is a little too abrupt. And this ties in with my problem with her suddenly deciding to attempt suicide. Yes, the events that prompted her depression are sudden, but the feeling itself is a bit more gradual. It's not like flipping a switch. And by giving it more of a forced, artificial treatment like this, you're robbing it of the power it could have.

>Honey, this isn't something you simply snap out of. Getting through this will take time.//
Yes. Likewise with getting into it.

>In fact, I was something of a monster to her.//
I could believe his wanting to apologize, but making an admission lik this really looks like plot convenience. You mentioned that the doctor had already spoken to her friends. Wouldn't he have spoken to her parents, too? Wouldn't he want this interaction to occur in a therapy session, where he could mediate? Or at least prepare her for this discussion?

>We've reconciled and he's loved me ever since.//We've reconciled and he's loved me ever since.//
Another spot where you need a comma between clauses.

Write it out.

>your doctor is off tomorrow and Monday//
Surely, someone else would have the authority to release her. As expensive as she's said this is, they'd force her to stay an extra two days for no good reason? Not buying it.

>Mom, dad...this wasn't your fault.//
As a term of address, "Dad" would be capitalized. And they don't react to this?

>Rose came away as sure as ever that the cause of her depression lay somewhere else.//
Why is she so intent on self-diagnosing? Isn't this what the doctor's there for?

>topics she had listed – the meaning of life, the importance of her work, and the issue of trust//
Given that you're detailing a list of examples or clarifications, a colon would work better than a dash.

>though given the circumstances of your breakup this week//
You'll normally set off a participle with a comma.

>she spent the rest of the evening drawing pictures of her with her aunt//
First, I'm surprised that you dropped this plot point as long as you had. She certainly felt like it was an important part of her life, but to lose track of it entirely undercuts that sense of importance. I'll also say again that she's making a very rapid recovery. She had certain feelings that drove her to attempt suicide, and they don't go away overnight. Yet she's very upbeat here, especially about the same things that had gotten her depressed in the first place. On the one hand, it's believable that her mood might swing all over the place, but erratically, not this very steady move from wishing herself dead to very optimistic. It's like you're condensing what normally takes weeks into a couple of days.

Write these out, unless it's a digital clock and you want to present it as a quote.

>She had found her balance.//
Again, this is absurdly quick. I'd also question that she'd be allowed to have something sharp like a pencil.

>you need to stay on your medication//
She hadn't been taking any... Don't spring this on me now.

>Well, that was the hard part//
Except... it wasn't. She sailed through all of it with very little trouble.

>Rose glanced at their booths and Lily broke the awkward silence.//
Another comma needed for a dependent clause. I should have pointed out enough of these by now to give you the picture. I'm not going to point them out anymore unless I'm flagging the sentence for another reason anyway.

>Rose discovered she was beaming, her first genuine smile since before the hospital.//
Okay, I really like this scene where she finds all the cards, and prompted by someone she doesn't know very well. This is a nice authientic emotional moment the likes of which I haven't seen since chapter 1.

>Instead her friends looked hurt, even angry. //
Show me!

>Now honey//
Needs a comma for direct address.

>Daisy entered the conversation.//
Well, yes. We can tell by the fact that she speaks. This sentence is the epitome of empty filler.

>Now is the time.//
So, the second half of this scene... I have to admit, his is something I have problems with in my own writing. Everything these characters say is utterly believable. Their emotions and the thoughts they're expressing are authentic, reasonable, and relatable. But how they're saying it comes across as a little too rehearsed. I'd recommend going back over it and rewording things to sound a little more natural and off the cuff.

>a yellow earth pony with an orange mane//
The reader is presumably aware of who Carrot Top is. You don't need this, unless there's something about her appearance that ends up being important to the plot.

>dreaded word suicide//
Since she actually spoke the word, I'd leave it at "dreaded word." It'd be a little more subtle.

Two words.

>Second, I'm not a philosopher//
>Well, here's my philosophy for today//
This is... pretty contradictory. If you're doing it intentionally, Carrot Top needs to be more self-aware about it and call attention to it, probably in a self-deprecating manner.

>But I'm making a new friend, and I wouldn't have it any other way//
The abrupt way you end this scene costs it some of its power. You do go on to have Roseluck reflect on it in the next scene, but what's her immediate reaction here? It de-personalizes it to leave that connection unmade when it's most raw and fresh.

>Obliging her odd request//
Missing an indentation here.

>as if the danger had past//

>"Thank you for saving me last week," she said, and they all went inside.//
Same thing here. This is way too understated. Subtlety is a thing, but so is not saying anything. How do her friends react to what she said? What does she think of their reaction?

>She is scared, Lily!//
Minor point, but Daisy's used her name for direct address two quotes in a row now. That doesn't seem natural.

>The next morning//
You tend to do this. <extended scene> <"time passes"> <a very small number of sentences>. And when you do, you tend to short change what happens on both sides of the time skip. How does Rose react to Carrot Top's advice? Is she agreeing just to agree? Does it make sense to her? Then the next morning, how does she feel as she gets out of bed, steels herself to go downstairs and say what she has to say, then speaks up? Definitely don't overstate things—leave something for the reader to intuit on his own, but you have to give me something. Don't make me invent the emotional investment. That's your job.

I will also say that it's a bit odd and convenient that Carrot Top has this expertise. If she has the education, why did she never get licensed? Despite a couple of testimonials in her favor, I'd be curious as to why. For all Roseluck knows, Carrot Top did apply for a license but was rejected. Using her with this almost deus-ex-machina ability smacks of "I need a pony with X expertise, but I really, really wanted to use Carrot Top in the story, so why not force her into that role?" She could use a more realistic background. We can't tell how old she is. Maybe she's a retired therapist? Maybe she writes an advice column on the side? Maybe she was a school counselor until she decided on a career change? I'm just spitballing here, but what you have for her seems pretty contrived.

>and several ponies expressed their delight that Rose was out front again//
Given how much emotional weight this has for her, you should probably give me a little detail. You don't have to do the blow-by-blow account of every customer, but something like a montage of well-wishing would get the point across.

>He. hurt. you.//
I bugged you about this before.

>When some other mare hears word that I was abused//
I guess I'll take her word for it, but I didn't exactly see anything from him that I'd call abuse. Daisy knows him, so maybe she's right, but she's ascribing motives to him that I haven't seen evidence of, and if it's not true, this could unfairly harm him.

It's just now occurred to me that all of Rose's customer interactions have been about flowers as decorations or gifts. They've eaten flowers in canon. Why isn't anyone buying them as food?

>exhibiting the grace and unconditional excellence//
I haven't seen any examples of negative customer interactions, so did this ever come up? It might be interesting to see how she handles it.

>Ponyville's clock tower//
They have called it "Ponyville Tower" in "Putting Your Hoof Down."

>Lily stepped out//
So why is Lily consistently staying out of things now? It says something about their relationship, but I'm left a bit mystified.

>some experimental desserts//
And we don't get to see what any of these are?

>Rebuked, Lily and Daisy looked at each other. "Sure," Lily said.//
Aside from a bit of vaguery from "rebuked" (which is a bit odd in and of itself, since that word choice would tend to be from Daisy and Lily's point of view, not Roseluck's), this is flat and emotionless. They looked at each other? How? In a way that would communicate fury, relief, shame, joy, ...?

>Rose met with Fine Print the next day, and a meeting with her creditors was scheduled for Friday at noon. That day at the steps of the town hall, her friends encouraged her.//
Something about this isn't sitting right. I'm not sure a scene at the lawyer's office would be particularly interesting, unless you can wring some emotion out of it in the form of Rose taking charge of things. But you fast forward here without a scene change and blow through this. I think it'd work better if you did a scene break here and did this part as a summary after the fact.

>A tear of joy trickled down her cheek//
The single tear is one of the most cliched things you could have done.

>nearing the edge of town, somewhere near//
Watch that word repetition.

>What if all those trees were dead and bare, and the animals all gone?//
Maybe not the best analogy... since it's getting to autumn, they will be this way soon, though that doesn't mean it all ends.

>That's how I felt when I lost my aunt.//
And she's never really dealt with this in more than a superficial way. I was looking forward to seeing her work through her attachment to a beloved relative, but if it happened at all, it was off camera.

Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but I thought you'd spelled this as two words or hyphenated it in a previous chapter.

>The flower shop was closed that day due to a scheduled storm//
They can't do business in bad weather? It didn't seem like it was an outdoor shop.

>Tux 'n Tails//
The contraction has apostrophes on both sides: Tux 'n' Tails. But I have to say, this is a civil suit. The three mares' business didn't exist at the time of the alleged slander, the business wouldn't have been a party to it anyway, since they were private communications, and only one of them is being named as having committed it, so they'd have no grounds to sue either the business or the other two mares. I also don't see how Lady Slipper could be a party to the action either, since the alleged slander had nothing to do with her. I suppose most readers won't know that, but but if you're going to branch out into something that requires a technical understanding, it pays to get it right. Google and Wikipedia are your friends for brief forays into unfamiliar territory.
>> No. 129928
>The slander part of that letter is true...sort of.//
Well... the plaintiff will have to prove that it's not true (which I think is the case, though you never explicitly said so) and that the person who said it should have known it wasn't true. The latter would be tough, since she actually did think it was true when she said it.

>or if this case turns criminal//
How would a slander case turn criminal?

>Lily looked Rose's direction//
Missing word.

>They say they already have evidence; let's see it.//
Well, that's one of the first things that'd happen during the discovery process. It wouldn't be a big deal.

>Sunb..., uh, the Plaintiff, won't be happy with anything that would let our business survive.//
Why is she so sure of this? I have to say I'm starting to buy into the slander argument myself. You've certainly gone out of your way to make this guy a villain, but I've never seen him do anything particularly bad. He cheated on her, but he was completely civil toward her, and I never saw him mistreat her. You shouldn't just declare someone a villain—you should show he's one, but keep him relatable, too. Some over-the-top, obvious super-villain would be even worse.

>Lily was searching the lobby with her eyes.//
As opposed to?

>The pegasus reached up and petted Rose's mane.//
"Patted," right? Otherwise, this is kinda weird.

Write it out.

>Tux replied, "No, Your Honor//
This lawyer is utterly incompetent. He brought a case he had no hope of winning. I was going to save this for the wrap-up comments, but I'll go ahead and say it here. This whole court case feels tacked on and tangential to the point the story was making. It smacks of throwing in more conflict for the sake of conflict (which I will address at the end). But even if it somehow worked, it just fizzles out here. It was never more than a momentary concern, and it wouldn't have made a difference to the story if you had removed it completely. That's a pretty good argument for doing so. I appreciate that you're throwing in a stumbling block so that her recovery isn't all rosy, but you've made a few of those already, and ones more directly related to her problem would be more effective.

>and possibly your freedom//
But... slander is a civil matter...

>I order Sunburst to have no further contact with Roseluck or any other owner of Ponyville in Bloom except with the court's permission//
So... she's pre-emptively slapping a restraining order on him that nobody asked for?

Well, I obviously see something in your story, since I spent 5 days reviewing it in this age of predominantly yes/no responses. So what drew me to your story?

First, I thought the opening chapter was a great, honest look at the kind of despair that leads one to become suicidal. Too many stories we get glorify suicide and/or use it as a gateway to Equestria. Or they deal with it as a constant tragedy that gets hammered at the reader relentlessly. This was grounded much more in realism. It's not without its problems though. All the things I had to point out multiple times? Pay attention to those. Here are additional issues that stood out to me that I wanted to comment on (in an unorganized fashion, as it turns out):

Chapter 1 was very good. It set up her conflict and couched it in terms of this beloved aunt that she'd lost. I was looking forward to some nice memories of times together and working through the pain of it. But you all but dropped that aspect of the story. And to some degree, that's just me editorializing. I think that would be a powerful story, but it's not necessarily the one you want to write. I do think you should have given it more than you did, however. She initially describes that as the source of her pain, and even if she's wrong about that, it severely undercut that initial assessment by having her discard it so thoroughly. I did touch on this once already, but she was awfully quick to go from having a few things go wrong with her life to being suicidal. Don't rush things. It needs to feel like it's progressing at a natural pace. I was going to try and show you that other readers may have had the same reaction, but if I look at the number of views for each chapter (490, 288, 264, 220, 244, 217), it actually looks pretty normal. I would have expected more of a drop-off after chapter 2 due to the abrupt change in tone and rather rapid pace of recovery.

Which is my second point. She goes from utter hopelessness to actively seeking her own betterment in just a few days. Yes, medication has something to do with that, but her mood is different from her attitude, and the latter is really what doesn't ring true here. Yes, she has setbacks, but not of the kind to make her question whether she's doing the right thing. It's a bit much that someone so cheerful just recently wanted to take her own life. Again, don't rush it.

Which leads to my next point: contrast is your friend. I already alluded to bad thing after bad thing happening to her before she goes into the hospital. Look at what you did afterward. She has some lovely moments with her friends after she gets out, interspersed with some little relapses. This is nice, and I'd encourage you to do even more with that. Higher highs ad lower lows complement each other to lend weight to the story. I'd encourage you to do that in the hospital as well (and really, I think she'd be there much longer than that, but if you really want to tell it this way, that's your choice). I don't know if this is a situation you've been through. It's really a surreal experience. You latch onto people you meet in there, but they're obviously relationships based on unnatural circumstances, so they encourage you not to try to maintain those friendships after you get out. But they can make for some nice, light, contrasting moments from her emotional turmoil. If you've never seen it, I can recommend the movie "Girl, Interrupted" as a picture of the ups and downs of this process. I thought it was a great portrayal, and for reasons I won't get into, I've never been able to watch it again. But getting back to the point... Not only does shuffling in some happy moments play to the contrast, it also avoids "piling on," or throwing tragedy after tragedy at the reader in an attempt to make the story more emotional, but almost always has quite the opposite effect.

I pointed out a few spots of telly language, and I think I mentioned that there's a discussion of show versus tell at the top of this thread. It speaks for itself, so I'll just say that this seemed to get worse the further I made it into the story.

Now, a word on repetition. I pointed out a few specific examples, but one particularly noteworthy one is the use of "to be" verbs. These are inherently boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. You should be choosing more active verbs, even when the character isn't actually doing anything. For instance, take "He was there" versus "He sat there." They say the same thing, but one says it in a much more interesting fashion, and you can even substitute other verbs for subtle changes in mood, like lay, idled, sprawled... You get the picture. But of the easiest forms to check, I came up with these counts:
was/wasn't: 253 (with 95 in chapter 1 alone)
were/weren't: 82
is/isn't: 96
be/been/being: 195
That's about one every other sentence. This brings an utter standstill to the feeling that your story is in motion toward some goal.

I already complained about the court case plot point, so I'll just say again that it felt weak, pointless, and an example of the "piling on" I mentioned before. It doesn't help that the whole thing seems to have enough techincal problems to be unbelievable anyway, but it's so extraneous to they story's point, and it really changes nothing. I honestly think the story would be better without it. If you still want to have some sort of confrontation with Sunny, fine, but this isn't working.

And then the ending was pretty weak. The last line had no thematic significance, so there was no stinger there. It didn't wrap up a conflict with a nice bow. It just... ended. Really, the line a way back about her recalling seeing the scenery behind the hospital and thinking it was beautiful—that was a much better way of concluding things. It summed up her new attitude and positive outlook.

I know this seems like a lot, but I don't go into this much depth for many stories, and certainly not for ones that I don't feel are worth the time investment to do so. I'm giving you this level of feedback because I want you to come back with something special that I'd be proud to post.

I'd also encourage you not to try to attach this story to ny specific events in the fandom. I'm glad that you didn't do so in the synopsis or an author's note, but you did in the submission comments, and I have to say as many people who'd think of it as a tribute would also think of it as a publicity grab.

Last edited at Wed, Mar 19th, 2014 17:22

>> No. 129933
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.

>Rarity wrapped her forelegs around the small tree, wincing as the sap melded into her fur.//
Watch the participles. First, writers tend to overuse them, and I already see three in just the first seven sentences. But this one's also a misplaced modifier. It wants to describe the nearest prior object, so it sounds like the tree is wincing.

Only capitalize the first part of a stutter, unless it's a proper noun.

Lose the italics. Narration isn't the place for sound effects, but it's a valid word anyway.

>grit teeth//
The only accepted past tense of this is "gritted."

You only need the hyphenation when the phrase modifies something that's right next to it. You don't need it for a predicate adjective.

>R-Right, mom.//
Again, only capitalize the first. And when using "Mom" as a term of address or like a name (versus a more generic usage, like "my mom"), capitalize it.

>As soon as she was out-of-sight//
Same deal with the hyphenation. I tend to point out only two or three instances, then leave the rest for the writer to find. And so I turn it over to you.

>Velvet was laying calmly and jabbering excitedly//
Three problems here. First, keep an eye on the telly language. I don't think it's hurting here, but it's popped up occasionally. Second, you've confused lay/lie. And third, you're using a lot of these past participles, like "was [lying]." There is a time and place for that tense, but using it too much is unwieldy, and having that "to be" auxiliary verb saps the action from your main verb. Really consider whether this is necessary. I think the previous instance was, but this one isn't.

Be consistent in your dash usage.

>She smiled.//
I'm only a couple of screens in, and this is already the 8th time you've used this action. It's getting repetitive.

Again, capitalize it as a term of address.

>And in the center of it all was Pinkie Pie, bags hanging from her eyes, diligently mopping the floors.//
Another misplace modifier. The "diligently mopping..." is so far from what it describes that it seems to refer to her eyes.

Spell it out. You got it right earlier.

>Fluttershy’s face sagged as she hugged a ficus. She just sighed.//
Why? She should be enjoying this, right?

>By the time Twilight made it home, Her brain//

>the telltale pitter-patter of dragon claws against woods.//
He's... running through the forest?

>She grit her teeth.//

>Gritting her teeth//
And she just did that. It's a common enough action in writing. Beware overusing it.

Think about what sound she would actually be repeating.

>affixing her daughter with a steady gaze//
Phrasing is off here. The direct object of "affix" should be the object being attached. I wonder if you didn't mean "fixed," though.

>Both Velvet, whose mane had been thrown into a mess, and Spike, who was smothered in dust, walked outside to watch Twilight fly off into the night. Their faces were blank.//
By now, I'm noticing an awful lot of "to be" verbs. You need to be choosing more active verbs. This one is inherently boring. It's much more interesting to read about things happening, not just being.

That's not a hyphenated phrase.

Spell it out.

>He laid on the floor//
More lay/lie confusion.

>He let out a loud groan as all the furniture in the room slid across the floor, just inadvertently dodging his wife's vanity cabinet.//
This one truly is ambiguous. Is he dodging the vanity, or is the furniture doing it? Grammatically speaking, you're saying the latter.

Same as before—what sound would actually be repeated?