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Help is on its Way
Original Minific
Transistional Pools
Alone Together
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#24339 · 1
· on Between a Rock and a Sad Place
Between a Rock and a Sad Place
The atmosphere and tone are conveyed early on and fit the overall message of the piece.
I found myself fairly invested in Yearling's musings. Even without any strong conclusions I found the character's reflection to be believable and worth my time.
"The rock silented in agreement." is a great sentence

The prose at the end about Yearling's actions get overshadowed by the much more interesting conversation between her and the rock. As such, they don't leave an impact and become hard to follow, making Yearling's escape feel incredibly sudden.
"It was small, but it let her slowly push it out of the way." - It took me quite a few reading of this sentence to understand what the second "it" was referring to.
#25415 · 1
· on Transistional Pools
This story feels torn between a few different ideas, and I felt like it was struggling to hit the harmony between them that it wanted to. The strongest idea here is the setting and the ambience. You've created an interesting location in Mittie's mindscape, and I found myself sucked into the melancholy of it all. I was captivated by the idea of water boiling and freezing at the same time, but I would have liked to see it be expanded upon, as it almost feels like a throwaway detail.

The second side here is the plot, or what's happening to Mittie. There's very little elaboration here, and I agree with this choice. To me this story is less of a story about escaping limbo, and more of a story about just vibing in limbo, so I feel like this is the least important element of the story.

The last side is the characters, and the relationships between them, and this is the side of the story I think needs the most work. I actually like Alina a good bit, but I found Mittie to not be especially interesting, which is an issue when the story is about her reaction and emotions caused by waking up in her mind's own purgatory. I also don't feel the big kiss scene in the end, and I think it's because I'm just not feeling the romantic chemistry between Alina and Mittie. Because of this the scene feels a little out of nowhere. I love the idea behind it though. It would be a big moment to shift both Mittie and the reader from uncomfortable and disorientated by the location into a calmness and comfort of a loved one. If you can expand this a bit more and make this transition work for the reader as well as it works for Mittie, I think you would have a really good story on your hands.
#25416 · 1
· on Adrift
I like the central gimmick of this one where the whole story is told through log entries, and I think it has an okay balance of the narrator attempting to solve technical issues and humor. I can't say I've seen too many stories about people drifting away in broken spaceships where they get messages from annoying telemarketers. I would definitely be down to read a longer version of this that has more detail on the issues Jocobee's ship faces and how he goes about solving or mitigating them.

As far as things I didn't like as much, I think starting the story with the narrator describing their dinner makes for a weaker opening. I think it's natural that the mundane aspects like food would come up a lot and it would fit well in a longer version, but it feels like a weird way to attempt to hook your audience. My other complaint is that considering the entire story is told in dialogue from the main character, I don't feel like his personality shines through so he feels a little bland during the parts of the story where he's not freaking out.
Overall this one is solid.
#25417 · 1
· on No Service
The story places its focus on the survival situation, and I think this is the right call as with a few nice descriptions the reader can use Joshua as a self insert. I particularly like the phrase "icy sterile brightness," but the entirety of the first two scenes are good at dropping the reader down into the situation. At the same time, I don't think this story goes as far as it could have. I feel like the 130 unused words could be used to milk the storm section and increase the desperation. To add to that, I'm not a fan of skipping over Joshua passing out and going from them midway back to the car straight into him waking up in the hospital. The drama would be heightened by including the part where he's getting even more tired of the snow and passing out, as as it stands it feels like the climax was ripped out of the story. This is why overall I don't find this story works for me.

The ending section in the hospital is alright. I do appreciate that this is the only fic in the contest to not have an ambiguous ending, but it's a bit stilted and the final line could have more of an oomph. The current version is a bit too abrupt for me.

I also found that the following few lines sounded pretty awkward when I was reading them to myself.
“Should we turn back and wait in the car? Wait out this storm?” "Wait out this storm" feels unnecessary because it would be obvious why they'd be waiting in the car, and I can't imagine anyone I know choosing this phrasing for these questions.
"He’d been saying that a while back, and he wondered if this was a fool’s hope, looking out here for a flicker of something." Using "this" in the sentence makes it feel definite and like a final clause. I think either making the last clause a new sentence, or maybe altering the world choice to make the second clause feel softer and a better lead into the final clause.
#25418 · 1
· on Matsya
First I just want to say that I love this style of prose. It's elegiac, and almost old-timey in nature yet it never reaches the point of obnoxiousness, and it makes the story itself so much fun to read.

This is interesting to me as I'm not familiar with Hindu legends at all, so on my first read before looking anything up I got a Lovecraftian vibe from the story. In this read the ambiguous ending worked very well with the tone I got from the story, although I was a little confused as to why the fish would be tricking the narrator, as it was established the fish was big enough to just eat them without pacifying them first. Looking up the character names made the vibe of the story more positive for me, to the point where I'm not entirely sure what gave the narrator a bad feeling. I mean obviously diving into a fish's mouth wouldn't feel good but it plants a seed of doubt in the reader and I'm a little unsure where the seed of doubt would be heading.

It could also be that this is meant to be both, where it applies a Lovecraftian frame to traditional Hindu lore, which I think is a really interesting synthesis and mimics Lovecraft's own story about the Canaanite god Dagon. That said, I could imagine some Hindi's might not like this interpretation.

I think for the most part this story has a good ambiguity that gives me a lot to think about but I would also love to read how others feel about it. (I also looked up the name Amalthea, so I think the boat is a stand in for the character's mother but I'm having trouble putting together that symbolism with the rest of the story.)

One last thing is a bit of a nitpick, but "I got up on the rail, shook my head, and leapt over. For a minute of terror I was caught in the churning wake left by the propellers" skips the narrator landing in the water and it made me feel like I missed something the first time I read it.
#24316 ·
· · >>No_Raisin >>CoffeeMinion
Hello, I haven't done one of these in a while. I was wondering, with rounds this small, do people normally post fic reviews after all the writers are revealed or do they write a fake review for their own story?
#24337 ·
· on Rain
Takes time the time to develop the emotional core of the story. In this case the setup needed the most time spent on it, and the focus given in the beginning makes the pacing of this piece excellent.
The portrayal of love in this story is realistic and I enjoy the focus of parts of a relationship that aren't in the honeymoon period.
I love how direct Dash and AJ are with each other. At this point in their lives it feels natural that neither of them have any qualms about taking direct action, especially with each other.

This is splitting hairs, but the brief inclusion of Sugar Belle slightly dampens the thematic elements of Applejack and Rainbow Dash being alone especially as she only has a small role.

I did find the last few paragraphs of the story, especially ending with the prompt, to be rather cheesy in the way it spells out the message. I think in a story like this it's earned to some extent, but I can also see people not liking it because of that.
#24338 ·
· on Silent Gestures
Silent Gestures
Out of all 9 stories, this one has the prose I found most fun to read. They make the most out of the limited amount of words and give a fullness to the story.
The thought that Spike knows Twilight well enough to know that she needs a friend but can't be distracted by a friend right now, so he gives her exactly what she needs for her problem gives me a warm and fuzzy emotional response.

I don't think the ending quote hits the mark it was aiming for. It's about individuality, but specifically having differences between people. That partially relates to the Spike knowing Twilight side because that aspect is about Twilight's individual character shining through, but without Spike acting as a foil it doesn't connect to highlighting the differences. As for the Griffin side of the story, there's contrast between how people act but it's mostly on a cultural level, rather than an individual level.

There are a few points in the story where my brain wants to jump down a rabbit hole of the lore presented by this story's attention to detail, namely my brain wants to know more about the conflict with the Griffin kingdom and the trade deal Spike is working on. The story shouldn't follow these trains of thoughts, but they're so specific that some readers might get hung up on them.
On second thought, there is some possibility that you could expand the Griffin conflict and have a slightly more complex resolution than Twilight just not understanding how Griffin culture works.
#24354 ·
· on Taste of Cherry
The Taste of Cherries
Well, it's not a Rockhoof and a Hard Place
I rather like the conclusion that Flutteryshy would be a logical choice to ask for euthanization, and of course she would never do it (see above.)
I have no qualms with the technical aspects of this story, and found the pacing to be appropriate too.

I agree with everyone else that the solution was too simple, but I would also like to say that it felt like the solution was just handed to Fluttershy. All she had to do was ask what would make her happy and Tempest just tells her.
Tempest is a soldier who wants to die an honorable death. She does not consider suicide to be honorable. From there I ask why is being euthanized considered an honorable death to her? It's not like Fluttershy is going to run at her with a sword or something, so I imagine to an uptight warrior type it would be equally as disgraceful.
#24355 ·
· on Crowns and Mimosas
Crowns and Mimosas
This piece is very much a talking heads fic, and that contributed a lot to both what I like about this fic and what I dislike about it. It's not really a story, it's just some musings on a subject.

I really like the subject they're talking about and their responses to it, to the point where I would say it is rather profound.
The mimosa joke is pretty solid and cuts the tension just before the end. I could see naming the piece after the joke ruining it for some readers though.

Typos ("a wan smile," "know thentruth")
I think the biggest thing that can be done to fix the talking heads vibe is to add more characterization outside of what Twilight and Celestia are saying to each other. Have them do more things to add depth to their emotions.
“You know, for a retired mare at the start of her ‘mimosa week,’ you aren’t very comforting.” - I don't agree with Twilight on this line in the sense that Celestia didn't say something obviously discomforting enough to warrant it, at least in the manner it's currently phrased.