Hey! It looks like you're new here. You might want to check out the introduction.

#26150 ·
#26149 · 2
· on Out One Noon
Thanks for your feedback, as usual! Hats off to (Groaning) Grey.

No, it's set on a viaduct, which is a train track overlooking a valley. There are two images, the first which seems to proceed by revelation, and could be called "Mother Nature". The second you might think of as the actual mothers--the kind you would have a more temporal relationship to.
#26148 · 2
· on Sandwiches
If you please, go out, and tell the nurses
A double-pack of peanut butter’s needed
To go with all the jelly that I have
Upon my reading of these sandwiched verses.
#26147 · 2
· on It's Just Soup
I like this as a ribald play on the rhetorical apostrophe. I find myself wanting to poke around the reeds a little bit—I feel as though there is an innuendo I might be missing, or a punchline I might have overlooked. The rhyme and meter seem intentionally rough.

A few things, though. Either the word ‘bunghole’ means something quite different where I grew up, or you are leaving the reader with an image that will be difficult to get past. Also, the line about the cane cutters could confuse, or even be taken nefariously, as the allusion is not clear, since sugar does not grow in a swamp.

I accept and approve the gusto behind rhyming ‘celery’ with the abominable ‘interstellary’, as long as we agree that we’re being silly.
#26120 · 3
· on Family Ties
Arch-form rhyme scheme?

Careful with that first stanza, though. ‘Stolen’ and ‘role and’ won’t be any obvious rhyme to most readers, and the effect will be to defray the feel of your complex rhyme pattern.
#26119 · 2
· on Static Potential
Most of these short lines have sufficient consonant impact, except for the last one, which ought to ‘bite’ the reader.
#26118 · 2
· on On the Dreariness of Carrying a Hod of Bricks Downhill
Cathartic. Rhythmic, especially the phrase, “down, down and down”. These would make good lyrics for a heavy metal tune.

If someone is carrying bricks uphill, they are going against gravity, and so working against opposition, or perhaps their own well-being. I’m not sure what working downhill suggests. It would seem the easier way to go about business. It’d be hard to blame the worker for it. For me, carrying a hod of bricks anywhere would be dreary!
#26109 · 1
· on A Word from the Second Chair
All right, a little explanation is due!

I finished 'Windows' during the period of the drawing prompt, which I had confused for the time of the writing prompt. So I had extra time to revise what I had, to write something else, or to do nothing. This time, I went with the second option, but I wanted to try a completely different style than the first thing I had written.

I would like to say that this was "inspired" by the French avant-garde writer Alfred Jarry, but ultimately, perhaps, it is the product of some of the things that frustrate me in my own writing; I often get big ideas but have trouble describing how a character leaves a room, for example. So, no constraints. How did Roosevelt leave his apartment? Why, he used his towering legs, of course, which he has now because he needs them to leave the room.

It's poetry for people who hate poetry, as you say; or, as I judged it as I sat looking at it, a story for people who hate reading. But I refrained from disparaging it off-hand (I originally thought about giving it a self-deprecating title), because I really do love Dr. Faustroll, and it was, at least, an interesting exercise. You are forced to think entirely in the idiom of imagery, how action can be expressed that way, how to avoid repeating yourself, etc. The main interest is the depth and continuity of association, which, to be apparent, must have some sort of buoy. It was hard to write! Though, certainly, it could have been written better.
#26108 · 1
· on Love Flies Innuendo · >>Baal Bunny
This story is structurally sound, but my feelings about Simon and Ms. Olive are ambivalent. I think I am being asked to side with the latter here, and through her redemption to arrive at the author’s thematic purpose, which is to deconstruct (in a lighthearted way) what is natural and artificial, at least in terms of our ordinary way of speaking. But the relationship of the householders, played out through the activity of ‘innocent’ servants, has associations which are too close to those which might come from dysfunctional households (where parents work to undermine each other’s authority, use children as an outlet for frustration, etc.) for that to easily get across. Simon very singularly instills the bots with love and a sense of “wish”, but then turns out to be a liar and a bastard. Such a turn could only be poisonous for a child. Either that, or one must believe that hot-tempered Ms. Olive has a partial point-of-view.

My favorite element is the use of the prompt picture. The idea of a toy maze as a concrete metaphor for the need of characters to sort through their personalities in a complex living situation is suggestive, filled with potential for humor and tragedy. It is vivid enough that a reader could really chew on it, turn it upside-down and ask questions about it, while itself still retaining some sense of ipseity. It blends perfectly with imagery of artificial intelligence—in an age where we are more likely than ever to identify with machines and be willing to explore the notion of our own ‘artificiality’. But it needs the right tone.
#26066 · 2
· on The Wreck
Thanks for your input everyone. And thanks to GroaningGrey for the story art! Congrats, Rao.

I wanted to write a funny story where Zecora was somehow annoyed that everyone was speaking in rhyme, but I couldn't figure out how to make it work. So then I had the idea of incorporating the rhymes as a sort of magical real or symbolic element, and this is what came out.

I also didn't intend for it to be "poem-like". The rhyming by the cider cart is modeled after the way Zecora speaks in the show; the rhymes that occur between Maya and Zecora have a different mood. In part, I wanted Zecora to "rhyme", but not in the same way the ponies with "strange accents" were just doing.

The idea is: Zecora goes to a distant philosophical school which pushes the outer limits of reasoned argumentation, and comes home and sees a parallel in her neighbors who are having an argument over cider. Her pet frog makes the case for the futility of civilized order--the titular 'wreck'--using what she might have learned at the school. But she found something in the practice there, rather than the words themselves that might have been used there.
#26054 · 2
· on Paid Time Off
Those poor kids!
#26053 · 1
· on Welcome Home · >>Rao
Didn’t the princesses retire? Wasn’t there a ceremony and all that? My knowledge of show canon after about season five is foggy, but something here is jarring.

To me, this reads like two vignettes. Nothing which happens in the second part comments upon or expands the first. It could be really funny that Twilight thought her mentors had suddenly died, canon notwithstanding. Maybe they have headstones in the garden where they picnic. Maybe Celestia and Luna bicker over who has the better grave, and Twilight has to placate them. As it is, for me, it’s missing a through-line.
#26052 · 1
· on Fear and Rust · >>Rao
Some of the guys (gals?) have been discussing the fault of withholding information from the reader with regard to the “Happy Returns” story, but I think that is better applied here. I think you nail the tone of the characters pretty well; but all the time while I am reading, I find myself trying to piece together the context of their conversation. Only toward the end do I learn a critical piece of information—that Rainbow Dash has been recovering from a bad injury. Without this, the dialogue, which is intended to convey the emotional subtext of that event, feels soupy.

Your story is not that bad things happen to people. Your story—at least, your most interesting theme—is that hesitating fear can be more insidious and more dreadful than paralyzing fear. That’s plausible and something people can relate to, and would make a great fic with AJ and RD. You’re not too far.
#26051 · 2
· on Rhubarb Madness
A worthwhile commentary on the effectiveness of D.A.R.E.
#26037 · 2
· on Happy Returns · >>Rao >>GroaningGreyAgony
I think the premise is fine. The setting is precise and effective; the action, which is the conversation between the professors as well as the observations of the protagonist (in a story like this one), feels well-placed. It is the virtue of your writing.

I would qualify this story as “horror” rather than “science fiction”. It would fit right into a compilation like “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark”. The point is the graphic image of the cocooned professor, not the bait-and-switch, which is a device leading to the image.

Also, the story did not strike me as being irrelevant to the world-building of the source fiction. It falls, like many fan fictions do, in the gray space between flanderization and being relatively fantastical. But that is the fun of the medium (if there is fun to be had).

I’m not too familiar with the clichés of the fandom’s secondary fiction, but I thought the ‘vacation’ aspect of the changeling underworld was clever.

Probably the most important action of the story is the hoof-pricking at the treacherous tack. The whole fear embedded into the situation as a whole is distilled in that moment. It is a great image. But here, it is passed over fairly quickly. My intuition is that your story lies there, whatever it is that will get folks on your side, is in the encounter with the tack.
#26011 · 2
I prefer to think of it as 'horseliterature'.
#25977 ·
· on Something Seen on the Fridge
For this poem, I used a short line to give the flow an odd count, to keep it from being too "old-timey". It's something that happened to me. My step-aunt recently had brain surgery, and I stayed with her the first night she arrived back from the hospital, and helped clean her moldering kitchen.

The photo is of her sister. But it seemed to me, in that situation, the image of one vibrant young woman was as good as another.
#25976 · 1
· on Revealing Light · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I voted for this as my favorite submission. I think some readers may find it disjointed, but for me the image of stars and the throw of reflection blend together in a way which brings out the 'action-like' quality of the latter, something which is ordinarily regarded as "just thinking".
#25975 ·
· on Mooncurl · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I enjoy lullabies and folklore, and this poem, whose purport is to get the reader to re-picture a familiar image, fits the bill. I have read somewhere that the method of a bedtime story is to expunge the imagination of "dream stuff" by externalizing it, to allow more restful slumber.

In this connection, it seems like the poem is short, since it is really interested in the personification and character of the moon, and not the poetic image of the moon reflecting light, per se.
#25974 · 1
· on End · >>GroaningGreyAgony
"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow..."
#25973 · 1
· on Quiet Quitting. · >>MrExtra
The first and second lines, together, convey a sense of what the words represent. For me, it is the second line that is weak; 'cosmos' is too abstract in an image which otherwise carries the close feeling of frost.
#25955 · 2
Yo también
#25903 · 1
· on The Fallen · >>Monokeras
Sorry for the late response.

I am re-reading this now. I am interested in the kind of antitheses you set up. They evoke philosophical musings for me. But I am not interested in the story for its own sake. I wonder how ideas like I and un-I relate to you. There is something there, I'm sure, otherwise they would not have come up. If they (these 'philosophic' elements) had more particularity, they might make me (as a reader) see in a different way. That would be cool. But right now it is all in a raw stage.
#25901 · 2
· on Frozen Potentials · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Hmm, how would you frame a story like this, using the first person? I love the analogy between space travel and seeing people “embedded” in the surrounding air. But it doesn’t work out in the past tense, unless the speaker recovered their senses later and was merely interrupted in their reflections by a knock at the door. In the present tense, it might take the form of a journal entry or a radio transmission.
#25900 · 2
· on The Fallen · >>Monokeras
This is a ‘metaphysical’ story. The trick with “thus and so” type elements in a narrative is that they do not sheen over what matters to the author—and I don’t have a sense of what that might be, here.
Paging WIP