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Biomedical engineer by training. Scientist by mentality. Writer and gamer by time spent. Nerd by choice.
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#16871 · 7
·
Sorry for my silence thus far in the contest; I've actually written comments about all of the stories (even the non-finalists) and will be posting them after we post our Official Prize Post. I just didn't want to tip my hand early. Cold in Gardez, GAPJaxie, and I all had a lovely discussion about the stories today, so you all can expect the final awards post to go up shortly after the contest ends.

For those of you who haven't read through the finalists yet, I hope you enjoy them.
#2864 · 6
· on The Spell · >>The_Letter_J
While the old idea of the “character gets tasked with an impossible challenge to see how they react” is actually a good story idea – everyone deals with failure in different ways, even Captain Kirk – the problem here is that the story doesn’t really seem to do a whole lot with it. These sorts of things need to be contextualized a lot more powerfully than this was.

The Kobayashi Maru showed off Kirk's character - both his willingness to cheat and his lack of belief in the no-win scenario. Spock's own solution - to sacrifice himself to win - also said a lot about him.

This didn't really say much about Twilight.

You need context for this to feel significant. Twilight simply later on figuring out the growing spell is just kind of bland. It needs to say something about her, and this doesn't.
#1315 · 5
· on The Plight of the Unicorn-American
My god, this story is full of puns.

Beautiful, beautiful puns.

I do enjoy how you managed to make horse names out of human names, though.

Anyway, I liked this on the whole, but I'm kind of a sucker for false documents. Writing a fake magazine article about the plight of unicorns in human society was a cute idea, and the idea that they're a largely-ignored minority who struggle with the fact that only virgins can see them is deeply amusing to me. The exploration of the various meta-issues surrounding having a bunch of sentient unicorns as a normal part of society is a lot of fun, and this was a silly little piece of historical fiction that made me smile.

The off-hand joke about the Buffalo made me chuckle, but it also made me wonder if there are Dragon-Americans as well, and how they're faring.

Then again, if this was written by a certain dragon in California with a history of writing false documents, that might have been intentional.

Not that I'm naming any names.

*cough* Horizon *cough*

Sorry, got something caught in my throat there.
#1341 · 4
· on Certainty's End · >>Dubs_Rewatcher >>horizon
This story has a bunch of malapropisms, instances where the wrong word is used in the place of a homophone (word that sounds the same as another). Through instead of threw, to instead of too, ect.

However, the largest issue here is that the story feels kind of empty. It is very focused on the action, but it doesn’t really lend them much meaning. Who is Liar? What did he do? Why is he condemned to death? What is the House of Death? Who are his friends? Who is the Priest?

The problem is not that these questions aren’t answered so much as that they have no meaning at all. In the end, who the Priest is doesn’t matter. But no one in the story ultimately does, not even Liar, because I’m given no context as to why I should care. What are the stakes here? Why is this important? Why was this something I needed to read?

The story didn’t really answer those questions. It was a lot of action, but lacking in emotional context. I was given no reason to care about Liar emotionally, so I didn’t. Lack of understanding of the setting is one thing, but I don’t even understand the protagonist’s mindset here.
#2858 · 4
· on Where in Equestria is Carmen Sandiego?
>>TitaniumDragon
Incidentally, the "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?" theme song is one of the most marvellously terrible pun songs of all time.

Steal their Seoul in South Korea, make Antarctica cry Uncle,
From the Red Sea to Greenland they'll be singing the blues,
Well they never Arkansas her steal the Mekong from the delta,
Tell me where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
#2860 · 4
· on Once, I Had Wings
A bit of a melancholy story, this is about three characters and their linking flying and wings to freedom.

My biggest problem with this story is that Twilight’s bit in the middle doesn’t feel connected to the other two; while it, too, deals with freedom, it doesn’t feel like it has the same sort of emotional tenor behind it as the other two did. Celestia and Spike’s bits are both about nostalgia, while Twilight’s is about the present. It doesn’t work thematically.

My advice would be to rework it somehow so that all three parts are linked thematically to nostalgia.
#2866 · 4
· on Love, Or Something Like It · >>CoffeeMinion
Spike has a dream about Rarity wanting to bone him.

There are some indications this is not an ordinary dream, but a dream he is trapped in, possibly by some sort of succubus-type creature, and that Luna is trying to rescue him from it, though it might simply be that he doesn’t want to have dream-sex with Rarity and Luna helps rescue him from something he knows is hurtful (as apparently, this isn’t the first time he’s had a dream like this about Rarity).

Unfortunately, as >>FanOfMostEverything , this is one of those stories where “Well, that happened,” and we’re left without a greater context to why the situation was important. Absent that context, there isn't much here.
#3595 · 4
·
>>horizon
I ended up not tossing my hat in the ring this time. I had a story written up but frankly, it is just garbage; the central idea is, I think, okay, but I'm just not happy with anything else about it, and I have to completely rewrite it to bring it up to any sort of standard I'd remotely want to show anyone else.

Ah, well. First round since I started that I ended up skipping. But I said after the last time that I threw in a crappy original fic that wasn't worth reading that I wouldn't do it again just for the sake of entering.

Good luck to everyone who actually got something done!
#1313 · 3
· on No Story! I Had Fun!
>>The_Letter_J
A Basilisk for One took advantage of the fact that previously, writeoff stories were given sequential numbers. This meant that it was possible to look at other writeoff stories before the round officially started.

Horizon's story took advantage of this fact by including references to other stories in the same writeoff, before they'd been officially published anywhere. It was a metafic, and it was glorious (though I think that it strayed a bit too far into weirdness in its Being John Malkovich crossover). Some of it was really brilliant, though, and it was a beautiful bit of mindscrew.

EDIT: Apparently in addition to being a mage, Horizon is also a ninja.
#2744 · 3
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Woo! Not sure if I've got any more in me, but I'm definitely in this round.