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It's All Rather Confusing, Really
#21121 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Alas:

I've been getting nothing from this prompt all day, and with the time change robbing some of us US people of an hour tonight, I'm pretty sure I'm out this round. See folks next time!

Mike
#21024 · 5
· on Patrimony
>>Dubs_Rewatcher
>>axxuy
>>No_Raisin
>>Pascoite
>>Monokeras
>>horizon
>>alarajrogers
>>AndrewRogue

Thanks for the comments, folks:

And I'm sorry I was pretty much absent this time around. Originally, I wasn't going to enter at all because I learned just before the prompt voting started that Timeless Tales magazine was opening from Feb. 17th through the 22nd for poems inspired by Puss in Boots, and I wanted to write one.

But I couldn't think of anything to say about Puss in Boots, couldn't come up with a story or a fresh take or anything...until I saw the prompt here last Saturday morning. I didn't think I could reach the minimum 400 words on a poem about the cat being the ogre's son, though, so I did the prose version here to get the story and images worked out, then spent all this week boiling it down into a four strophe terza rima ode in iambic pentameter that I submitted to the editor yesterday.

So we'll see what happens!

Mike
#20923 ·
· on Watching the Show · >>WritingSpirit >>Pascoite >>libertydude
Very nice:

Though as someone who isn't into baseball, I'll echo >>No_Raisin's comment that there's too much of it here. In fact, I'd recommend cutting the first three sentences entirely and starting the story with the last sentence of that first paragraph. That would give us the baseball and the dead brother right from the get-go. I'd also like some idea of how the brother died, but then I'm just nosey that way. Oh, and I didn't get an sense of Jeremy being there as a ghost. It all struck me as Max remembering stuff.

Mike
#20911 · 1
· on It's Not the Leaving that Grieves Me
This is a nice:

Recitation of events, but I'm not quite sure what the story is about. Maybe it's a fault in my own character, but saying that whaling is a tough and unforgiving way to make a living doesn't do much for me. I get a bit of sadness--"Ah, our nameless character has died"--but that's pretty much it. Maybe if the story addressed the title somehow and showed me what it is that actually grieves him since it's apparently not the leaving?

This a fine skeleton, a fine framework to build a deeper story around--and I swear, I didn't mean to make that pun, but now that I have, I'm not going to change it. At this point, though, I'm not quite sure what that story would be...

Mike
#20910 · 2
· on In the Melted Eye of the Beholder
I quite like this one:

Even though it's very passive and "telly" because I find myself thinking that that's entirely the point. Our nameless narrator reacted to her brother's cruelty as a child with passive acceptance, but something changed at some point, and she became the sort of actively aggressive person who speeds on motorcycles while wearing only a light jacket. But now after the accident, she's moving back to her original state of mind.

If that's what you're meaning to do here, author, bring it out more. Show us more of her after the first change so we can have more of the "compare/contrast" thing. Still, top of my slate so far.

Mike
#20871 · 1
·
>>vladspellbinder

Roger's got:

Some sort of figurative dice-rolling program that makes the call when ties happen.

Mike
#20860 ·
· on Out of an Orange-Colored Sky
>>scifipony

My theory:

From the beginning has been that Pinkie is a Sherlock Holmes level deductive genius, but that she can't directly access the portion of her brain that notices everything, collates it all, and draws conclusions. So her brain twitches her tail, vibrates her knees, flaps her ears, and makes her hear voices. That's her Pinkie Sense and the voices that she ascribes to Gummy and the various inanimate objects in "Party of One," for example.

For this story, I'm positing that Pinkie thinks her twitches are caused by tiny Pinkies that live in her various extremities and that the voices she hears come from tiny Pinkies that live in her brain. I just need to find the right way to say that in the opening scene. :)

Mike Again
#20856 ·
· on Out of an Orange-Colored Sky · >>scifipony
>>scifipony

My current plan:

Is to make it clear in the first section that it's Pinkie's belief that she has these tiny Pinkies inside her even though Twilight has told her that ponies don't work that way. By grounding the question of whether they exist of not firmly in her POV, I hope to make it seem less like a product of the story and more like a product of Pinkie's thought processes. We'll see, I guess... :)

Mike
#20855 ·
· on The Human in the Garden
>>GroaningGreyAgony

One thought:

About a way of getting more of the human stuff into the story--if you wanna make it clear that the guy is Thurber rather than the character from the story, for instance. Have Rarity find herself unable to speak in this odd dream but able to understand what the humans are saying.

Like I said, just a thought. :)

Mike
#20842 · 4
· on Out of an Orange-Colored Sky · >>scifipony
>>Anon Y Mous
>>Chris
>>Xepher
>>scifipony

Thanks for the comments, folks!

And congrats to the other medalists!

As for me, Zaid Val'Roa's pic gave me the opening scene--Pinkie knocked out of bed by twiches the likes of which she's never felt before--but as I started writing, I wasn't sure where it went from there. But I've had a little story lump drifting around in my head ever since the "Discordant Harmony" episode about Fluttershy trying without much success to give Discord regular doses of chaos in his life, something Discord appreciates but also resents terribly since he hates having the word "regular" associated with him in any way, shape, or form. It occurred to me while writing the first paragraphs of this story that Pinkie would be the perfect pony for Fluttershy to bring into the "chaos creation" process, and there was the set-up.

This being the first draft, it definitely needs its share of spackling, but I've got an artist working on a cover image--Discord yodeling while Pinkie plays the tuba--so I can do rewrites till she's finished with that.

Thanks Again,
Mike
#20840 · 1
· on Close Shave · >>PinoyPony
I'll agree:

With those above about the fun situation here, but I'll also agree about the roughness, especially when it came to visualizing things. The line, "Maybe that’s why so many stallions stroked their mustache when thinking" in the third paragraph immediately made me see Rarity with a big, bushy mustache. It's not till halfway through the story when Aloe says, "Thankfully, now you don’t have a beard, but a goatee" that I get the full picture. It always trips me up when reading, as I think I talked about on an earlier story this round, when I've got to rework the image in my head because I wasn't given complete information to start with. It's a similar thing with Sweetie Belle. I don't get any sort of description of what's happened to her at the top, so I had no idea how to see her till nearly the end.

Something else I'll bring up are the character voices. One of my favorite things about this show is how distinctly the characters speak--not just the sound of their voices but more importantly the words they choice to use. I tend to go too far on this--especially when I'm writing Applejack--but to have AJ say as she does here "It’s a little too far for a stroll" instead of something like "Kinda far for a stroll," or "I was caught off-guard" instead of something like "Caught me off guard's all," again, it might just be me, but I thought I'd bring it up... :)

Mike
#20839 · 2
· · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
The little back and forth:

With >>Rocket Lawn Chair got me thinking about a fully visual prompt for some future round. Make it a Pony round to give the artists a little direction, but for Monday through Wednesday, they put together any art piece they want to. Thursday the art gallery goes up, and we all give "up thumbs" to the ones we think we can write stories about. Friday, then, the piece that got the most thumbs goes up as the prompt, and we all have the weekend to write a story based on that one image.

That might be fun.

Mike
#20830 · 2
· on The Other Side of Summer · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
>>Anon Y Mous

My problem:

With pictures that already tell a perfectly fine story is that I look at them and can't see what I could possibly contribute...

Mike
#20829 · 1
· on Destroying Pedestria: yrotS evoL A · >>horizon
Nice, nice, nice:

And exactly 8,000 words, too!

As for my by-now-standard two suggestions, I'll advocate for moving the third scene to the beginning of the story. Here are my reasons: it'll let you start the whole thing with the line, "In the future, long after Equestria's bittersweet end..."; it'll introduce the temporal dislocation that the story's structure swirls around so very well; and most importantly to me, it'll give us the concept of yromem right at the beginning.

'Cause to give us two scenes of a cute little comedy about Discord wanting to know what it's like to be unlucky, and then in the third scene to say to the reader, "Oh, and by the way, here's this brand-new thing you've never heard of that it turns out is an intrinsic part of Discord's being," that's the sorta thing that makes me trip pretty badly when I'm reading. I'm much more receptive to that sort of paradigm-shifting stuff when it's given to me right at the start instead of slipped in after I've already settled in to a story.

On the other pseudopod, of course, that sort of "wait, what?" moment is kinda Discord's hallmark, so I'll just point it out, author, and leave the rest to your sense of duty.

My second suggestion is to make the scene after Sunset and the girls blast Discord a little clearer. Maybe Discord could realize that he's watching things from outside himself a little earlier? Also, if Harmony has rebalanced the world, wouldn't Sunset address him as Darrell immediately afterwards instead of as Discord? I mean, if Aria knows the whole story about Celestia and Darrell, wouldn't Sunset? And wouldn't Darrell know about the kids who've been using magic if he's been hanging around Canterlot High for any length of time?

Oh, and I had to Google "Vantablack," too. I assumed at first that it was a video game reference that I failed to get 'cause I don't play video games... Top of my slate here, though.

Mike
#20826 ·
· on Shadows · >>Xepher
I'm going to:

Largely agree with >>Chris and >>Xepher. The heart of the story--teenage Flurry learns that she's not necessarily a monster--is very nice, but the spectral analysis stuff left me completely behind and the Pinkie stuff seems to come from nowhere and lead nowhere.

But I find myself full of questions. Has Flurry permanently altered the sun's radiation signature? And if these three lines appear on the other readings Flurry took herself but not on the ones she took with Twilight's help, how is it that Twilight hasn't noticed them before? I'm guessing that whatever substances they're testing have been through this spectrographic process before, so wouldn't these extraneous lines have stood out as not normal? Does Twilight have her own detectable radiation signature? Or is Flurry unique in this way, too?

There's a lot here to work with, author--maybe Pinkie's continued failures to make something edible could be a lesson for Flurry in perserverance? And I hope you'll keep working with it!

Mike
#20815 · 1
· on Out of an Orange-Colored Sky
A lot of:

Good stories this round! But again, here I am with the comments...

Just one really, I guess, author. You give us a good idea of what Discord wants that only Pinkie can provide, but I'm a little fuzzier on what Pinkie's looking for and can only find in Discord. Maybe expand on Pinkie's comment that ponies call her peculiar and make her want someone in her life who won't look at her that way? I'm just always looking for that sort of "exchange of gifts" in a romance: both parties have something they can give that the other needs.

Mike
#20808 · 1
· on Displaced
>>Miller Minus

Makes sense:

Time to reshuffle my ballot!

Thanks!
Mike
#20806 ·
· on Displaced · >>Miller Minus
I'm always torn:

When it comes to judging the art in these "pic first" rounds. I mean, do I vote up entries that just appeal to me as visual images, or do I vote up the ones that I inspire story ideas in me?

Case in point: I love this picture, but since it didn't spark me with anything but the obvious stories last Friday, I placed it right in the middle of my ballot. But then after enjoying the story that it did spark, I found myself thinking I should move this pic higher. Is this me just "much adoing about nothing," or do other folks take that into consideration?

Mike
#20804 ·
· on Blue Moon, Fire Sun · >>scifipony
Another fine story:

I of course have comments. :)

The first has to do with the intro. Story beginnings are very delicate places, and I'm always scouring them for clues as I read so I can start visualizing things, building images in my head and bringing the story to life. And here, seeing "big for my age", "earth pony" and "taunting me about my cutie mark" in the third paragraph, I immediately told myself, "Oh! This story's based on that picture of Troubleshoes!" And that's the image of the narrator that stuck with me until the workmare calls the narrator "Blue Moon" about a fifth of the way through and a few paragraphs later when the narrator says, "but a filly could wonder."

Those lines, then, kicked me completely out of the story by destroying the mental image I'd built. So my first piece of advice is: use the word "filly" to refer to the narrator way back up in the third paragraph. Help the reader out as much as you can by working these little details into things early. Maybe you could even give us hints right at the top with Luna giving us some idea about where and when she is as she's starting this memoir. Is this Luna before her exile, just after her return, or some years after? Just a few words to make us realize that this is someone looking back on a life that's lasted centuries, and you've gone a long way toward giving me the clues I need to get grounded in things.

Secondly, I'd like a little more from Smart Cookie when he gives proto-Luna that history lesson near the end. These sorts of "everything you think you know is wrong" stories are always hard to pull off, and I'd like a little more of an idea of how this story deviates from the familiar fairy tale of Hearth's Warming Eve. Unless, author, you're planning on continuing and giving us the entire secret history behind the founding of Equestria. 'Cause that's a story I would definitely read.

Mike
#20801 ·
· on Artistic License · >>Chris
Lots of fun:

I support the concept of this story in its entirety, author, but as it stands right now, it seems to me to violate show canon pretty substantially.

'Cause we're told in the show multiple times that, during the thousand years that Luna was gone, ponies forgot that she had ever existed. They remembered Nightmare Moon, sure, but only as an imaginary monster at the center of a children's festival. That's the big discovery Twilight makes in the first episode: that Nightmare Moon is real, not that Nightmare Moon is Luna. At the end of the second episode when Celestia announces that this is her sister Luna, Twilight gasps right along with the rest of them. 'Cause that's the first time in hundreds and hundreds of years that anyone's heard the name Luna or known that Celestia had a sister.

So to say that "For a thousand years, that’s been equinity’s go-to expression of my power: Celestia banishing Nightmare Moon" doesn't work for me. Nopony for centuries before Twilight Sparkle thought that Nightmare Moon was real.

I'd recommend, therefore, shifting the focus a little. What Luna's returns really does, after all, is completely shatter everything every creature on the planet ever thought they knew about how the universe works. For most of the past thousand years, the whole world knew for an absolute fact that the one and only Goddess of All Creation was a pony who lived in a castle in Equestria. Luna's return destroys that monotheistic concept utterly and forces the entire world to reevaluate literally everything: either there's now suddenly a second Goddess of All Creation, or Celestia never was The Goddess of All Creation to begin with and has always been just a pony with family problems much like every other creature in the world has.

Like I said, I love the concept here. I'd just recommend that little shift at the beginning to line the story up with the internal history of the series.

Mike
#20793 · 1
· on The Human in the Garden · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I'm more than shocked:

That we collectively have been doing this Ponyfic thing for going on 10 years now without someone having done this story. Fun, fun, fun, and let me put up a link to James Thurber's "The Unicorn in the Garden" for folks who'd like to review what's happening on the human side here.

That being said, author, I have two concerns. First, why is this framed as a story that Rarity's telling Twilight? For Twilight to be here, I'd like us to see her learn something at the end. Otherwise, I don't see why she's even in this story. Just tell it straight: Rarity's having a nightmare that she lost her creative spark, and Luna pops in to help her out. They can then talk at the end to give us the larger context. Taking Twilight out of the story would also help the odd characterization of Rarity. Why's she being so snarky to Twilight? Did Twilight do something to upset her?

Second is the line, "he ran towards the house, shouting something in a horrid rage." One of the things that always gets me about the original Thurber story is the complete lack of expressed emotion between the husband and the wife. The emotions are there and huge and explosive, but these are people who would rather tear their own lungs out than be anything other than passive aggressive at each other.

Those were the two things that tripped me up while reading, but this is such a great idea, I hope you'll do whatever polish you want to do to it and post it on FimFiction.

Mike
#20724 ·
·
>>Moosetasm

Naw:

If I wanted to write a story based on it, I would send it to an actual artist as the concept sketch and commission them do up a finished version that didn't employ my patented "sandpaper for the eyes" style. But thanks!

Mike
#20719 · 6
· · >>Moosetasm
So my entry would've been:

A take on the Wheel of Fortune tarot card with Twilight, Celestia, Luna and Cadance as the winged creatures reading books in the corners, Derpy with a sword in place of the sphinx on top of the wheel, Discord as the red creature stretched out along the bottom of the wheel, and the green snake still a green snake 'cause, y'know, snakes're cool. The coloring was taking forever, though: here's as far as I got on it...

Now to see what pictures we actually got!

Mike
#20697 ·
·
I had a:

Lovely idea for a piece of artwork, but after spending the last several hours trying to put it together, I've decided that there's no possible way I can manage it. So I'm hoping it's a common enough idea that one of the actual artists will do it...

Mike
#20666 · 2
·
Ooo!

Another "art first" round. Always an adventure!

Mike
Paging WIP