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Silver medalMortarboard
They Stood Against the Sky
Original Short Story
Beyond Good and Evil
Bronze medalLightbulb
Glass Masquerade
Original Short Story
All the Time in the World
FiM Short Story
As the Anemometer Spins
It Could Have Gone Better
FiM Minific
Cutie Mark Guidance Services, Ltd.
Gold medal
Hazardous Cargo
FiM Minific
Sleight of Mind
Keep Pretending
FiM Minific
It Could Have Gone Better
FiM Minific
Big Important Wizard
Hazardous Cargo
FiM Minific
#18700 · 9
· · >>No_Raisin
"All the Time in the World" is such a cruelly ironic prompt.
#18169 · 5
· on Trixie's Smoke Bomb
This art speaks volumes to me, on both a spiritual and intellectual level.
#18188 · 5
· on Slightly Offensive Turban · >>Anon Y Mous
"Some of my best friends are Earth ponies"?
#18597 · 5
· on Babel · >>Miller Minus >>Roseluck
In the off-chance that this is actually someone's effortful and genuine attempt at an entry, I apologize. But as it stands, I am 90% sure this is either a crackfic with an intentionally ridiculous amount of typos (I have written down all that I found, but it's not worth my effort to organize it here unless the author is genuine) and a non sequitur ending, or it was an attempt at a fic that the author wrote without ever hitting the backspace key or scrolling back up once and gave up on by the end, but for some reason still submitted to the Writeoff.

In either of those two cases, I would really prefer that this kind of story not be submitted in the future. Against my better judgment, I actually put the labor into reading it all the way through, thinking it might just be an amateur writer I could offer constructive criticism for. Now, instead, I feel like I wasted my time for nothing.

An actual review, in case this is a legitimate attempt:

This story reads as one random minor obstacle after another. None of the characters have any depth to them, apart from—possibly—the MC. Even then, we're given a lot of backstory about her that bears no relevance on her future actions in the story, and worse yet, the MC doesn't seem to be much more than a passive observer (and an occasional problem solver for minor obstacles). Lesser loose ends or hints of greater significance, such as Mahalile's vehement disagreement with the central tower plan, never have any hope of being addressed again. The major loose ends, such as King Nimrod's place in this all—why he wants to pierce the heavens, why he suddenly took a stand against God at the end, why he was seemingly placed into the same language group as Ned and Ahnna, why he's coming in through the window through a pulley at the end and then just ending the story right there—are not even tied off. None of the interminable descriptions about central tower-laying, or wind circulation, or three-pointed starring, has anything to do with the story's momentum.

If I can say one good thing, besides the token service done to Ahnna's motivation as a character, it's that the ending scenes where Ahnna and Ned are trying to escape the tower produce some degree of a tense atmosphere.

But yes, let us not forget the typos. Typos typos typos! Here are just a random few I found:

"Ned rolled his eyes, almost as if to catch a glimpse of his thoughts. Just about everyone had been used to Mahalile’s neigh say nature."
"The temperatures were becoming more difficult to bare."
"The tower acted as a log interrupting it’s current."
"The thought bothered her about as much as gnat."
“But Ahnna,” she was hoping she wouldn’t say it, “the interior tower has no such decay.”
"She wasn’t sure what to while shaking in the sight of the LORD."
"In her mind, God’s face seem both foreign and familiar, almost shifting into everyone she’s even known and people she never will."
#18528 · 4
· on No Sun Sought, No Saex Stone Scarred · >>CantStopWontStop >>Icenrose
Unfortunately, I think I'm left with more negative things to say about this fic than positives. On the other hand, most of these are minor-to-moderate constructive criticisms, and the story still cohesively holds itself together by the end of it all, so it's still more than a fine attempt.

1: The central storyline isn't clear enough. The first part of the story, up until Knutr's death at sea, reads like a series of random events in the village. The vandalism with the fish intestines obviously makes you think Knutr was innocent, but then it turns out this whole matter is just irrelevant backstory? The forestalling of Aegir's statue makes you think the sea god's wrath is going to be invoked, but then nothing comes of it? Astrid's pregnancy appears to be more than incidental, but then that's also a dead end? And last but certainly not least: What did happen to Agmundr? My first theory was that there was some faked-death/love-triangle shenanigans going on, especially with the pregnancy, but that is mistaken. My first impression upon reading the shocker ending sentence is "ghost after all," but the story just falls so flat if it's only a drawn-out "generic rival comes back to generically haunt the MC" pattern. The last theory I can plausibly entertain is that Agmundr caught some sort of disease while retrieving Knutr's corpse, but even that doesn't connect all the dots.

2: The writing on a technical level is unimpressive. At least, apart from the ancient Scandinavian flair, which I think was done convincingly and consistently. But that aside, there are several typos ("That day, the people of Sóknardalr saw in the skies over the fjord darken in a sudden squall," "no trace Knutr," "able bodied" -> "able-bodied"), an overuse of commas in places, and bland constructions.

Overall, I just don't feel that this story is memorable enough. It reads like an overly inflated flash fiction tale.
#17926 · 3
· on A Little Shortcut
Not much to say that hasn't been said already. Though, I might add that I found the start rather slow; there was minimal reason other than filler to spend any time developing Twilight at the start as a jaded, Rainbow-Dash-Presents-like version of herself.

Also, it's cavalry, not calvary. :e
#18165 · 3
· on Slightly Offensive Turban · >>Chris >>Anon Y Mous
Hm, personally, I liked it better when it said "White Power."
#18535 · 3
· on Auspices of Love · >>Hap
"Having an intimate experience with sublime beauty" is going to have to be my new go-to euphemism for masturbation. Sorry, "naked air guitar," you've served me well.

At any rate, this is a story that seems to only gain its momentum and focus gradually. The beginning is a big, confusing slog in which the characters are too distant. Even the small-talk somehow manages to be cryptic. It would've been much better if the author just came out and said, "The city is abandoned of all but raiders due to an impending apocalypse. The lovers Carolyn and Gene want to spend their last days together doing something special."

All in all, there's too much dancing around the basic points of the story, including the comet(s), the two's seemingly shared disease (I don't understand why they are sick in the first place, and it has a minimal impact on the plot anyway), and Carolyn and Gene's history with each other. Carolyn hints at some sort of falling-out in their past ("For once she didn’t feel the leftover disgust of knowing there was nothing between her and him."), but this is never brought to light. A recurring theme of "disgust" is clearly indicated, but I don't know why. I also couldn't even accurately discern Carolyn and Gene's ages by the end of the story. At the beginning, they act like young adults or older teenagers; throughout the middle, and taking into account their family anecdotes, they're maybe more like older 20s or early 30s; but no one has been named "Eugene" in about half a century, much less ever called that in lieu of just Gene (“Eugene?” she said at once).

But that's enough of the ranting. I did eventually become invested in the story, the characters, and their plight, even if it dragged or rambled at times and didn't tie up all its loose ends. In particular, I think the ending scene is paced marvelously, and is the jewel stone of the tale.

EDIT: Actually, in retrospect, I stand somewhat corrected; it was at least mentioned at the beginning that they were (formerly) college students, so that establishes their age, even if I sometimes wonder if they really act like it.
#18759 · 3
· on Their Princess · >>PinoyPony
To keep my impression short and to-the-point: The amount of typos is execrable, as though you didn't proofread it once, or even pay that much attention while typing it. The choreography is serviceable but nothing memorable (except for the part where Twilight seemingly teleported from the Ponopoly board into the shower). Nonetheless, the characterization and genuine warmth of the storytelling was consistently above many of even the better authors here, which is rather remarkable.

Keep at it!
#17461 · 2
· on The Altar
My review:

Plot and Pacing: The strongest selling point, which is both important and difficult to achieve in the flash format. So, many points on you for that one. I was very genuinely interested in the mystery, which progressed at just the right pace, neither underselling the intrigue, nor overstaying its welcome.

I admit, when I read the line about the cigarettes, and stopped to think and resolve the mystery, I thought, "Oh no, not the Mushroom Samba episode"... That device just always seemed so awkward and unfunny to me. But then when the story ended three sentences later, I realized that delicately leaving it to the reader's imagination avoided every negative consequence of the trope and kept it funny and still somewhat mysterious. Major props for that. At least, that is if my hypothesis that it is some sort of mass drug-induced hallucination is correct (the opaque "faint vapor" still remaining around the base during the incident, together with the hint that it was one or more cigarette-smoking teens behind the mystery, makes me think it's plausible. Literally the only explanation I can think of, that connects the dots).

Characters and Dialogue: Of course, there's almost nothing to discuss. Usually a story without character or dialogue can feel monotonous, but that was happily avoided. I might wonder, though, whether adding another line or two about the Doctor could be even greater (Is he a wino, too? Or is he our One Sane Man? Is he even interested in the statue? Seems not, since it seems to indicate a lot of time passed before he even visited it).

Style, Flow, and Grammar: Not a grammatical mistake was spotted. The style seemed standard but effective. The Slavic flourishes like "militsioner" were a nice touch. The "flow" seemed slightly criticizable at times (but this is a very subjective thing): E.g. "An old lady screamed for her son, crossing herself non-stop with one hand and dragging the wet linen across the dew-coated yard with the other. Once the pale young man emerged, she pointed a bony finger toward the square at the center of town, babbling about the statue that stood there." It took me a moment and a re-read to understand the situation, since what does the wet linen have to do with it? I would imagine that such a frightful site would cause one to momentarily stop doing laundry, but apparently not.

Final: All in all, this fic will rank quite highly on my vote.