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aka "The guy who reviews fics over at One Man's Pony Ramblings"
Gold medal
There Is Magic In Everything
FiM Short Story
1st
100%
548
The Sweetest Water
Confetti
Staring Into the Abyss
Original Short Story
4th
83%
421
There's a Hole in My Chest
Ribbon
Hearth's Warming Care Package
FiM Short Story
6th
79%
392
Going Up
Ribbon
Behind Closed Doors
FiM Short Story
9th
73%
345
The Arena
Gold medal
* Princess Not Included
FiM Minific
1st
100%
260
Relinquishing
Gold medalMask
All In
FiM Minific
1st
100%
260
110%
Gold medal
It Could Have Gone Better
FiM Minific
1st
100%
255
The Dragon of Hoofholt
Ribbon
Best Laid Plans
FiM Minific
4th
97%
248
An Apathetic Apostate
Silver medal
Ignore It and It Will Go Away
FiM Minific
2nd
98%
246
To Be Forgotten
Silver medal
Famous Last Words
FiM Minific
2nd
98%
246
The Last Line
#17669 · 8
· on Two Birthdays · >>Moosetasm >>Trick_Question
"Oh! You and your friends could fix their friendship problem!" said Pumpkin.


Okay, now I can't get the image of the main six running around town, blasting divorcees with rainbow lasers, out of my head.

This strikes me as the kind of story composed of individually good elements, which fail to gel. Pinkie's voice doesn't sound right at all to me; it sounds like she's talking down to the kids, which isn't really her MO, and she's altogether too staid in terms of her conversation. You could replace her with a different pony, but that would change the dynamic of the story. Or you could change her dialogue, but that would alter the tone.

Also, I didn't mind the nature of the conversation intrinsically, but I didn't think it was set up well. I had problems with these kids having not noticed for... years? Multiple birthdays, at least... that their parents are divorced. That timeline really stretched my suspension of disbelief.

As you move forward on this fic, I'd think long and hard about how get characters, dialogue, and backstory all working synergistically with the premise. Right now, each of those four things are fine in a vacuum, but the first three are each individually pulling against the fourth when you combine them.
#5446 · 6
· on Relinquishing · >>Not_A_Hat
Relinquishing: A Retrospective

I don't actually have a lot to say before getting to individual responses, but I want to say that I'm very gratified by the positive response to this story. Seeing the comments trickle in here over the past week has been a much-needed pick-me-up, and the little gold medal is a wonderful cherry on top. Thank you all.

I'll probably put a touched-up version of this in microfic collection on FiMFic over the weekend, assuming I have time to do that touching-up by then. Now, person-specific comments!

>>Morning Sun

That's exactly what I was going for, and I'm glad it came through!

>>Bad Horse

Between this and the nice things you said about Wyrmlysan on TD's recommendation blog, you have been disconcertingly nice to me lately. I think your evil facade is slipping, and the mushy-hearted Nice Horse is starting to peek through!

>>Cold in Gardez

I haven't been around for the last few writeoffs, but I certainly see what you mean about the line being blatant. On one hand, I want it to be; Celestia's trying to socratically guide Twilight into expressing herself so that she doesn't just stew. On the other hand, I don't want readers to think I think they're stupid. I'll take a look at it, but I don't think I want Celestia to be to subtle--if not for the reader's sake, then for Twilight's.

>>GaPJaxie

Thank you!

>>Baal Bunny

Given to someone who's got a copy of Morning, Noon & Night on his bookshelf, that's high praise indeed. Thanks!

>>devas

Sorry that this story didn't work for you. Unfortunately, I don't think I can make it work; if a glimpse of how life doesn't always conform to your plans, not just despite, but even because of your successes, isn't something you see as worth exploring, then I don't see any real way to address that in the context of this fic.

That's not to denigrate your opinion at all! I'm just saying that I don't see any way to address your comment, in the context of this story. Thank you for taking the time to think about it, regardless; I do appreciate the comment.

>>FanOfMostEverything

Thank you!

>>TheCyanRecluse

Celestia's gotten genre-savvy to the point where she doesn't really bother with contingency plans any more, assuming instead that some conveniently-located savior of Equestria will pop up without her bothering to worry about it overmuch. The ancient Unicornians, being less versed in the ways of preordained success, didn't want to leave anything to chance :) In all seriousness, though, thank you!

>>Not_A_Hat

It's funny; I would have thought that a story where Twilight goes from being forced to the sidelines during an event which was a lifelong goal to "cheered up" in a few hundred words would show her to be very shallow indeed! My goal was to show how important this was to Twilight, and how it had been a benchmark she measured herself against, hoped to achieve, perhaps even planned on, growing up. It sounds like that didn't come through clearly, though. Do you have any suggestions to communicate that more clearly?

>>GroaningGreyAgony

Thank you!

>>georg

"Epilogues by georg" should be a thing.
#11620 · 6
· on To Be Forgotten · >>Misternick
First off, congrats to CD and GGA! All three of your collective fics were strong entries. Also, shoutout to Everyday for writing my personal favorite fic, at least of the ones I read. Apologies for not reviewing it, but I read a bunch of fics at the last minute and didn't have either the time, or much to say that hadn't been covered by other reviewers, by then. And most broadly, thanks to everyone for entering and reviewing!

And speaking of other peoples' reviewing, it's time to talk about the most important of things: MY fic. That's right, let's do...

To Be Forgotten: A Retrospective

This story started out significantly over the word limit, and I had to trim it back significantly to make the wordcount limit. That almost always happens to me, and it almost always results in a stronger fic than I would otherwise have put out. It's one of the reasons I like minific rounds; they encourage me to take a scalpel to fics, and find the digressions and needless throw-ins that I might otherwise not even notice.

In the case of this fic, though, I was able to cut it down to a bit over 900 words without too much trouble... but getting rid of the last 250 words was a challenge, and I think the end result suffered for it. That doesn't usually happen to me in a minific round. Anyway, the good news is that I'll be able to flesh this out a little more when I'm ready to publish it, whether on its own or in my minific collection, and that it held together well enough for most of you to enjoy it even as-written! Plus, I did cut a bunch of unnecessary words in order to make it to the word limit, so the process was still ultimately a beneficial one.

Now, on to the comments!
>>CoffeeMinion
>>Light_Striker
>>JudgeDeadd
>>Fenton
>>Ceffyl_Dwr
>>TitaniumDragon
>>eusocialdragon
>>PaulAsaran
Thank you all for taking the time to comment, and I'm glad you all enjoyed the story!

>>Misternick
>>Misternick

Thank you for taking the time to comment! I appreciate your thoughts, and I'll keep them in mind as I fill out this fic. But I'm going to have to respectfully parry "Words have actual real meanings" right back at you; you seem to be operating under some nonstandard definitions of both "immortal" and "remember." >>Light_Striker covered the former more than adequately--how it's arguably used more frequently to refer to a non-absolute state of continued existence than to a creature literally incapable of ever not being alive. And while "remember" is occasionally used in the absolute sense you're using it in, it's much more commonly used to indicate a certain level of familiarity. I wouldn't say that I "remember" Samuel Pepys, when all I know about him is his name and that he wrote a medieval diary.

But regardless, I would like to suggest, that you're looking for a level of specificity in this conversation which would have no place in a conversation. Lawyerly precision can be wonderful in certain contexts--but I think it would ill fit this particular dialogue.

Please don't take this to mean I'm blowing off your comments, though. I do appreciate that you had trouble picking up on what Tirek's situation entailed, and that's something I agree can be addressed. Thank you!

>>Foehn

Finally, picked up the book


*Headdesk* On the plus side, I'd have had to find one more word to cut without that typo...

Seriously though, thank you for the comments and the catch!

>>Monokeras

I must admit that I haven't read that fic, but given that it's Carabas, I wouldn't be at all shocked if he did the same idea better. I'll give it a look!

>>Cold in Gardez
>>georg

Glad you liked it! Also, fun fact for you two, and everyone who liked the ending: I originally conceived of this ending on a more open-ended note, but luckily realized early on that that wasn't satisfying. Tirek's one of the few legitimately evil characters the show's given us; ambiguity doesn't really suit him.

>>Ranmilia

Looks like this is twice (>>Ranmilia) that I've failed to impress you in a writeoff :( Sorry to have put together something that wasn't to your tastes for a second time; I guess I'll have to look at the stories you did praise the last few times, and see if I can't put together something you can enjoy next go-round!

>>AndrewRogue

I mean, 500 years is the gap from us to King Henry VIII. And other than him and perhaps a couple dozen other people... how many people from that time can you even name without resorting to google? You'll certainly leave out a whole heap of people who could legitimately have claimed to be among the most important and influential people in the world, at the time. Likewise, I wonder how big a deal will Tirek will really be a few hundred years on, when he's just another name on page 544 of some history book, under the heading "list of foes vanquished by Twilight Sparkle."

At least, that's my interpretation. I must admit that I tend to see things going all "Ozymandias" a little faster than many authors, but I feel like 500 years is a LONG time. Thanks for comment, and I'll keep that in mind when I revise!
#11031 · 5
· on Caponeira · >>Monokeras >>Ceffyl_Dwr
I'm going to agree with >>GroaningGreyAgony that there should have been a more explicit connection between the martial arts and the last four paragraphs. You can make it clearer in the first part that the children are terrified and that Pinkie's being indefatigabley Pinkie to cheer them up, say, without spoiling any sense of "reveal" that you want to maintain. And if you put in something like Maud recognizing the pattern of hoofbeats... again, the stronger a connection you can make between the ending and the rest of the fic, the better! Right now you've got two solid pieces of a story, all that's left is to fuse them together.

>>Monokeras

The joke is that "pone" is a horse pun. I thought it was perfectly appropriate to an MLP fic, but then, I like puns.
#11035 · 5
· on The Case of the Nickering Knickers · >>Fenton >>GroaningGreyAgony
A+ work as a pun vehicle. That's all there really is here, but then, I'm not convinced that there should be anything more to a tale of this one's... let's say, "caliber." In that spirit, I don't really have any advice for this one: it is what it is, and I don't think I could offer substantial critique that would improve "what it is."

(Okay, one piece of advice if you decide to publish this on FiMFiction, want to troll your readers a bit, and have a LOT of extra time: write a 12,000 word "bonus chapter" of Twilight asking a lengthy series of yes-no questions that ever so slowly, with ever so many digressions, lead to her extrapolating what's happened. Don't put that in the fic, of course, but the idea of it existing off to the side would be funny, albeit a bunch of work for a relatively small payoff)
#9562 · 4
· on Agent of a Foreign Power · >>TitaniumDragon
Sometimes, there are terrible stories that don't require a lot of advice in order to be cleaned up. And sometimes, there are very good stories that nevertheless have a lot of things that could still be improved upon. I mention this up-front because I'm finding that this is the latter sort of story, and I don't want you to get the wrong impression from my comments. This is a very good story, and the fact that I'm about to dive into a whole bunch of things I think you should do differently should in no way detract from me saying that it's very good.

Okay? Okay.

First off, I never quite figured out what "dying" constitutes for a ghost. Is Tyler "dead" in the grey cube, or is that part of his minimalist "living?" If so, what does "dying" actually look/feel like? Are there any perceptions at all? Does being dead stop him from perceiving everything, or does basically-free (data-wise) stuff like text still get processed? This can all be cleared up.

To expand upon what people above me have said. Shangri-la is an interesting place, but right now, it doesn't feel terribly coherent. The swan and Jessica are both threats that just sort of... appear, and then are summarily dealt with. The first part of fixing this is establishing more about the fundamental nature of Shangri-la. It's a fantasy land that's constantly changing, I get that (and that's all good, as far as it goes), but what--besides the whirlpool and permanent death--define what Shangri-la is like? I got the impression that it's a place where you face regular low-difficulty but high-risk challenges; both swan and Jessica had pretty straightforward "solutions," and in both cases a bunch of the obvious alternative routes were explicitly disallowed, seemingly to help point Tyler in the right direction. This makes sense to me; people come to Shangri-la to experience the thrill of being able to die, and to properly enjoy that means being put in situations where one could die. But people also don't come there just to commit suicide, so the risks should be real, but avoidable with a bit of awareness.

Anyway, if that is what you're going for, it can be much more explicit. Tyler's been here, he knows how the world works, and he doesn't need to be coy about it. If you had a different idea, then that can likewise be expanded upon.

Finally, I wonder about your choice for the ending. Tyler's been pretty clearly established as someone who would go to great lengths to avoid dying, so the suicide felt like it came from too far out of left field to me. I mean, we don't even see his identity begin to be threatened until Jessica, and that's already near the end of the story. If that's how you want him to go out, then--since it's a fundamental break from his character as established from the very start of the fic--then the story should really be about his fear of death, and the challenges to it which he encounters. Right now, that feels like a late-introduced arc to me, rather than the story's arc proper. As-written, I could much more easily see him going back to faux-Jessica; that kind of surrender to unreality rather than facing the stark reality of death would neatly parallel his original decision to upload in the first place.

It'd also be a super downer ending, much more so than your current one; rather than "just" dying, he'd be giving up. So if you want do end on your current dark-but-triumphant note (overcoming his fear of death twice, first by giving up Annwyn, then by taking the plunge), make your story, start to finish, about how Tyler, a person who definitely wouldn't go into the whirlpool by choice, became Tyler, who would rather die than give up something he holds fundamental to his identity


Yeah, I warned you I had a lot to say. But remember: this is still an excellent story. The fact that I think there are plenty of things it could do better does not take away from that at all. Nice work!
#11026 · 4
· on Dashed Dreams
I'm a bit torn on this. On one hand, it fits young Dash well, to show her so vulnerable and prone to lashing out. On the other, I'm feeling like I didn't really learn anything about her from this story. She's a slacker, she's self-destructive, she's aggressive, she's impulsive... these are all things I already know about her. So while this story tries to fill in the blanks around how she "didn't get kicked out" of Flight School, I feel like it ends up being too insubstantial, and saying too little, for me to really enjoy. When you're touching this up after the writeoff, I think you could spend some time looking at how this event informed Rainbow Dash's attributes, rather than simply showing us how those attributes played out in the event. Is this the(/a) incident that made her so insecure? Show us that, rather than just showing her being insecure. Make a connection between who she is/becomes and the event itself, and I think you'll find you've got a much more memorable piece of writing on your hands!
#11033 · 4
· on Do We Have Eyeballs?
This was good fun. I love a story that pokes a bit of fun at the conventions of the medium (i.e. giant cartoon eyes), and which takes its silliness seriously.

That said, I think the character choices could use a rethink. AJ and Applebloom to start, fine. But Twilight not knowing basic pony anatomy seems like it's pushing it--and since it's "pushing it" in a way not directly related to the central silliness of your fic, it sticks out to me.

I'm spitballing, but what about keeping this all Apple-centric? AJ goes to ask Big Mac, who pulls a Nightmare Night decoration out of storage for examination, and when they see there's just one big hole, they take it to Granny Smith, who gives them basically the same explanation (with the same reveal) as Celestia in your current writing. There are lots of combinations of characters you could use, of course, but that's one quartet that would fit your current roles, character-wise, off the top of my head.

Even as-written, the humor is there. Tweak the characterization a bit to play to character's type instead of against it, and I think you've got a great comic minific!
#11122 · 4
· on Calamity from the Skies · >>CoffeeMinion >>Posh
I like this one; it simultaneously pokes fun at the frequency with which disaster befalls Ponyville (always good for a giggle!) and reinforces the importance of getting in the dang shelter instead of rubbernecking. I think you could tone down the "death" description, personally--the contrast of grandiosity to mundanity is all well and good, it's the "The ponies are literally described as just having murdered something" bit that I think is a bit of a distraction--but that's a niggle. Ditto character choices; two ponies who've been shown to be calm in the face of disaster are a weaker choice for the story than is ideal. But both of those are details, really. The core of this is great.
#17702 · 4
· on Daring Do and the Fearful Physical · >>BlueChameleonVI >>FanOfMostEverything
There's a great setup here--I love the soul-sucking bit in particular--which is followed up by a merely okay conclusion. The problem is that it doesn't flow neatly from the setup: the setup's all about building up what a disaster her body is, while the conclusion's about... fulfilling her insurance requirements, maybe? I don't even know why her having a clean bill of health is important, which is kind of a problem when that's what you're leaving us with by way of resolution.

If I were you, when this is over I'd delete the last few paragraphs and re-approach the ending with a keener eye towards what your setup actually set up. Maybe make the punchline center around how horrifically close to (literally) falling apart she is. Or you could tie it back into the whole "protect my identity" thing, which is kinda there right now, but feels like an afterthought when we don't even know what the point of her medical visit was in the first place. Something to wrap it back to the core ideas you spend most of your verbiage on.

But that's just another way of saying "I really enjoyed reading nine-tenths of your story," so you're closer than I'm probably making it sound.