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It's All Rather Confusing, Really
#21679 · 1
· on The Butterfly Effect · >>Caliaponia
When I first read this:

Three days ago, I was even more confused than >>Pascoite. The prose was completely impenetrable to me, and while I could tell from the sentence structure that a story was happening here, I had no idea what it was or what it had to do with Pony. So down to the bottom of my ballot it went. I mean, the other nonsense entry this round at least had ponies in it...

But coming back now and reading the other comments has shown me what I missed completely when I first looked at it. Knowing what's going on, I find it to be quite a nice story. Still completely impenetrable as far as the prose goes--I'll suggest with the others above that you add words that us humanities majors might recognize--but I'll definitely have to move it up on my ballot.

Mike
#21668 · 2
· on In Your Quietest Voice · >>Meridian_Prime
I got:

That the first section is Rainbow's POV--the talk about living in a cloud city and how much freer the sky is than the ground and all--but since so many folks are having trouble, a little more showing that it's her would definitely be in order. Also, in the rest of the piece, Fluttershy's lines are scooted over on the left, but her line at the end of that first section is scooted over to the right. That might be adding to the collective confusion.

It's the second section, though, that threw me. We're in Fluttershy's POV, but I can't quite see her thinking of herself as "a big fish in a small pond." More in character would be "a small fish in a small pond," seems to me. And then having the final word of the section be "pitiless"? Maybe she would think that she's determined to be pitiless or that she needs to be pitiless to get through this. Unless you're trying to convey that she's changed a lot with the passage of time? I couldn't figure it out, though.

I also got confused by the line "Think she’ll bring that boy of hers? Pinkie’s been wanting to meet him for years." It sounds to me like Rainbow's saying that Pinkie's youngest, who's just graduated from something, has a son who Pinkie's never met. Is that what's happening there? 'Cause that opens a whole 'nother confusing can of narrative worms...

Still, I always like when the dust and ashes stage of a relationship is shown in such a tamped down fashion. And this does that really well.

Mike
#21624 ·
· on Yes, Twilight, There is a Celestia · >>Meridian_Prime
I thought:

You were going for the double twist when Twilight said, "I'm the only princess in Equestria." I thought Luna was going to object, no one in the scene was going to notice, and Luna was going to vanish in a puff of logic when it turned out that she isn't real, either. But that twist doesn't happen, so I can't figure out what Twilight's line quoted above actually means.

So yeah, this is a fun idea. But I'd recommend pushing it even further in the direction you've already hinted at: Equestria in fact only has one princess, and it's Twilight.

Mike
#21573 · 1
· on Ode to the Artistic Temperament
In case folks:

Wanna read the final version of this--and even hear me reading it--it just got posted on the Silver Blade website. :)

Mike
#21572 · 1
·
Hmmmm:

The thing is, I'm just a couple hundred words away from finishing The Casebook of Currycombs, the MLP-Sherlock Holmes pastiche I've been working on for nearly two-and-a-half years now. I'd really, really, really like to get it done, so I may end up skipping this round. We'll hafta see if any of the pictures reach out and rattle my teeth.

Mike
#21515 · 2
· on On the Night Shift
Thanks, folks!

Congrats to the other medalists, and sorry I didn't get around to commenting on all the entries. I've been a couple days behind all week and thought the contest went till Monday...

As for the story, it came together pretty quickly. After seeing the prompt, rebel that I am, I decided I wanted to write about a night instead of a day. Nightmare Central come straight from there, and then the character who thought she was doing a terrible job delivering nightmares when in fact she wasn't. If I do more work on it, I'll clear up what happens with the first client, so thanks again!

Mike
#21499 ·
· on The Trip
Very nice:

The only thing I could suggest looking at would be the narrative voice. Whenever you've got a 1st person narrator, the question becomes: is the narrator contemporaneous with the action, or is the narrator looking back on a past event? Right now, it reads to me like a mix of these. The way the narrator pops into present tense in the third paragraph makes it seem like the narrator's reflecting on the situation as it's happening, but the vocabulary and sentence structure sound a little old for such a young character--words like "however" and "relented" and "hysterics" and the line "So out I went" strike my ear as more something an older person would say than a kid.

Mike
#21476 · 2
· on Days Gone By
Very nice:

My only comment--as useless as it is since you're right at the word limit--is "more!" More details, more dialogue, more character bits--I'd like an idea of what drove our narrator away and what kept the female character here. Basically, all I got is: turn this into a short story. 'Cause it's a short story that I really, really, really wanna read!

Mike
#21468 · 1
· on Drinks Without Friends · >>libertydude
The POV here:

Felt really weird to me. We're kind of in Dave's, but not really. We get a little bit of his thoughts and feelings in the first paragraph, but after that, it's like we're pushed outside. We just get surface images till the very last line, and there, we're completely removed from Dave and are floating around, seeing things that we're specifically told he doesn't see.

I made the whole thing really distancing. I mean, this is a minific, but halfway through, I couldn't remember if Dave or Nate was the law student we'd started with. I had to page up to the beginning of the story to check because without a strong POV, I'd gotten completely detached from the character.

So that's my advice: put us firmly in Dave's head. Let us see what he sees and hear what he hears, and give us the thoughts and feelings those sights and sounds stir up in him.. As it is now, I'm so far outside, I've got no connection at all.

Mike
#21467 · 2
· on More Work To Do
This has:

Some nice images, but I couldn't quite find a story in it. The tense switching from past to present and then back to past again didn't help, either, especially in such a short piece.

Maybe the length is the problem. Maybe showing me the narrator doing something big first would help, something more "important" than scattering some seeds. Establish that the character has the power to do mighty deeds, and then give us this small scene to show the prompt in action and that there are no unimportant actions. The contrast might help make things feel more complete.

Mike
#21452 · 1
·
Hmmmm:

This Saturday is looking to be three-and-a-half bears for me, but I'll see if I can get something together.

Mike
#21354 ·
·
Over Easter weekend?

I'll pretty much be singing and playing my guitar non-stop, so I doubt I'll be in this round...

Mike
#21349 · 1
· on A Job for Heroes
>>Miller Minus

Not so much smart:

I'd argue, as rusty and crusty with experience that can resemble smartness in a dim light... :)

Mike
#21348 · 1
· on Hungry, Hungry Hippo
Thanks, folks!

And congrats to our other medalists. I'm still conflicted about the ending on this one--I wanted to do this whole "fantasy vs. reality/happy ending vs. unhappy ending" thing, and I fell in love with the image of the story ending with the computer shutting off. But I think I'd rather have the animal folks browbeat Steven into submitting the story since that's what my brain has to do to me every single stupid time I finish a story...

Anyway, it still needs more stuff in the middle, too, so on to the 2nd draft!

Mike
#21335 ·
· on Bartown, USA
I'm left feeling unsure:

About whether Mary's lying to herself and us throughout the whole story. In the first scene, for instance, she tells the bartender that she's "gonna get a job downtown." But at the end she thinks that she'll soon be in the city "making real money," and the line in the middle of the story where she says she "used to have a good job" just muddies the waters even further. What is her actual employment situation now, and what's it going to be when she gets to the city? Does she have a job lined up, or is she going to be looking for one? 'Cause the story seems to be saying both.

And this exchange with the neighbor: "How big’s your apartment?" "Six hundred square feet." "Oh dear. And how many people." "A hundred, just about." To me, that's her saying she's sharing a six hundred square foot apartment with a hundred other people. I know that can't be right, but that's what it says. It made me wonder if any of the stuff Mary tells Tam about everything being "all worked out" is true.

So by the time I got to the end, I found that I didn't have enough reliable information to know what emotions the author wanted to inspire in me. Is this the story of a young woman finally regaining some control over her downwardly spiraling life, or is this the story of her downward spiral getting worse? I honestly don't know, and I'd like to.

Mike
#21334 · 1
· on Necromance Like No One's Watching
Again, a lot of fun:

I like the literal omniscient narrator, but he does seem to check out during the last scene--which is odd 'cause, if he's telling us the truth at the beginning, that's the one where he gets mentioned and all. The story itself seems like that, too, sort of tumbling to a stop rather than coming to an ending. I guess I wanted one more scene to give a little closure to Elmere and Aldor's relationship now that she's the queen and he's still a necromancer. And I'm scowling at the non-use of the pic it's supposed to be inspired by. One zombie dancing hippo in Aldor's backyard, and you woulda been there!

Mike
#21333 ·
· on Hungry, Hungry Hippo
I'll pretty much agree:

With >>Meridian_Prime and >>AndrewRogue as to the strengths and weaknesses here and suggest that more stuff should happen in the middle. Give the hippo story the full three act treatment--what we have right now is pretty much just the first act--and have the author and his assistants kicking each other around throughout the whole process. And put me down as wanting one story to end well while the other doesn't. Either the hippo enters the contest and the author doesn't, or vice versa.

Mike
#21331 · 2
· on A Job for Heroes · >>Cassius
A lot of fun, yes:

But I found the beginning very confusing--I wasn't sure which of the two named characters was "he" and which was "she" for several paragraphs, for instance. Giving Merryn an action tag after that first line of dialogue would've helped a lot and maybe would've given you a chance to describe her a little. Is she tall? Chunky? Sporting blonde pigtails? Give me clues to start visualizing the characters as quickly as you can.

Also, the fight scene seemed long, long, long to me. It would probably work really well on screen or in a comic book or some other sort of visual medium, but my experience has always been that, when you've got nothing but words to work with, fights are hard to make interesting. The only advice I've got is: focus on a few pertinent details, keep things as short as possible, and change every "was" or "were" into a punchier verb.

Like I said, though, a lot of fun.

Mike
#21324 · 1
· on Cages
Very nice:

My only quibbles are pretty much the same as >>Meridian_Prime's. I can't glean enough info from the text to figure out what Eli's crime was and how Jonathan fits into it. Give me that, and you're all set!

Mike
#21309 · 2
· on The Gift & The Well · >>Watchglass Mercury >>Meridian_Prime
I never got:

Any real image of what anything looked like. I kept thinking we were outside in a park around a drinking fountain or a spigot with a garden hose attached or something. But then the ending with the queen coming in made me wonder if we're dealing with a terrestrial situation at all--once again, never having taken biology in school leaves me confused as to how the insect world works. In the end, though, I couldn't form any pictures in my head of what's going on here. Everything was way too abstract for me to feel any attachment to the goings-on...

Mike
#21308 ·
· on Tense Times in Toon Town
Fun:

But, yeah, the Lucas joke is where things went off the rails for me, too, and the "iris to black" instead of actually showing us the ending got me a little scowly. I do love the call back in the last line, though. As for suggestions--'cause I'm full of 'em!--maybe the power of the Perspectiplex could allow Eliant to shift the angle of the Lucas letters to deflect the meteor and save the world? He's already had his own perspective changed, after all, and if wold be a way to tie the whole piece together.

Mike
#21271 · 4
·
Ding-dang artists:

I was planning on spending this weekend finishing up my entry for Shrink Laureate's Season 9 Bingo Writing Contest. But then I looked at the gallery, and now...

Mike
#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
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