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#7432 · 5
Hi everybody!

So… I threw myself under the bus into the writeoff ring for the first time since summer 2015. You can blame/thank Horizon for that. Reviews will follow…
#7525 · 4
· on The Collision of Seasons
"It was obvious she wanted it from the way she dressed. It was money the cheap bastard should've put in payroll to begin with."
These last two examples don't fit: neither one has an opposite presented. The first one also falls somewhere between completely tasteless and flagrantly offensive. It isn't needed; drop it.

Otherwise I thought this was brilliantly written. The characters are solidly unlikable in that special way that still makes them compelling to read about, especially their special brand of caustic friendship.

One final gripe: your pseudo-POV jump at the end threw me. I went back through the scene breaks to see if I had missed something, if you'd actually been jumping back and forth and that I'd just misread. After another reread I can see why you did it, and I can't deny how good a twist it creates. I think you could do some work to make the shift less jarring, like a stronger scene break or some meta narrator line to clue the reader in.
#7548 · 3
· on The Job
Whelp, that was a thing. Obviously this isn't a complete story. It's more of a key chapter for a novella I'm planning out (and for that reason I'll be unpublishing this version). This was all of the story that could manage in the time allotted. All the same, I should've put a couple more sentences in to make the nature of the world clearer. Sorry about that!

There's no relation to SSR here. Rat just happened to be Roy's monicker for his lowly apprentice. It rolls off the tongue faster than Maggot, my first choice.

As for the utility of the candles, there really wasn't supposed to be any beyond ceremony. The two women and their skills are being sold like circus jugglers, a form of exotic entertainment not typically seen in the 'modern' world.
#7688 · 3
Once again my unedited horsewords have washed up on the writeoff's red shores...
#7733 · 3
· on The Destiny Trap · >>AndrewRogue
At the beginning of Trixie and Starlight's conversation, I really wanted to see Trixie drop into first person to illustrate their friendship vs. when the cards come out and she's using her stage presence to astound and amaze.

This was a good story, but it was over too fast. The bond that led Trixie to do what she did at the end wasn't shown enough, and neither was Starlight's newfound despair. The same can be said for the climax, when it looks like all is lost the characters need to react more.

Developing Blackstone a bit would be nice, too. How did she know when she knew? Has she done this before? What about Trixie's sacrifice made her relent?
#7520 · 2
· on Marjah
Welcome to the top of my slate, author. How's the weather up there? Don't mind the "CIG was here" scratched into the back of the armchair.
This was great overall, and I'm sure you don't need gushing praise from the likes of me. Instead let me point out the one thing I found amiss:
The opening sentiment about the treatment of women feels out of place. It's in the very beginning, before the veracity of the narrator really comes into question. I'm not saying the statements made are true or false, but they gain a certain taint from the narrator's obviously affected state of mind. What's more, the narrator never comes back to this idea. Dust, religion, and violence are reiterated beautifully, but the idea that this kid might grow up to abuse his wife doesn't enter into the picture again. Hence my feeling that it's out of place.
#7585 · 2
I'm about to un-publish The Job as I mentioned before. This is in no way some sort of sour grapes move; the feedback this round was great, and I'm glad I was able to participate. I just have loftier plans for this concept that might not jive with this version being available here.
#7736 · 2
· on What You Wish For · >>Morning Sun
A year ago, when I participated in the writeoffs regularly, I got raked over the coals repeatedly whenever Spike and anything approaching romance appeared in the same story… I wish you better luck with that than I. I peddle my romances elsewhere these days.

At first I thought they were playing poker; either way it goes on a tad too long. Their interplay is nice, but I confess the word choices for Spike don’t feel quite right, and it didn’t improve as the story progressed. I understand that he’s older now, but it still doesn’t feel quite like an evolution of the on-screen Spike. There isn’t much in the way of body language from him either.

About the time they started packing up the game, you started dropping some downright telly descriptions in the midst of the action. Descriptions aren’t bad by any means, but you could show stuff like this:

The vanilla pudding with cherries tasted just as good as Starlight imagined it would. It had just the right level of sweetness, but there was something else there. Something she couldn’t pinpoint right away, but with every bite it became more evident.

That paragraph could easily involve Starlight swishing the pudding around in her mouth, comparing its taste and texture to various other dishes she’s had and scanning the kitchen shelves as she tries to puzzle out the mystery ingredient.

Likewise, the explaining of Starlight’s relationship to Spike is just that; a textbook explanation. Her reaction immediately after she asks him out is better; her panic comes through in the prose.

Overall, I feel like the heart of this story is Starlight’s uncertainty, her asking Spike (and herself) why. I think you could tighten this up a great deal, considering how much verbiage you’ve devoted to her internal thought process versus her actual interaction with Spike, be that through speech, sight, or action.
#7763 · 2
· on Walk With Me, Twilight Sparkle · >>georg
I know this whole concept has been written again and again… but I loved this all the same. This is a pleasantly complex, fallible Celestia and a suitably adorable young Twilight (which is really saying something considering how few words you put to that use).

My complaints are few:
The initial mention of Cadence felt forced to me. This is already a description-heavy story (and justifiably so), but I’d like to see a spot of action right there, perhaps her seeing something that reminds her of Cadence or of her sudden appearance.

This story isn’t very long, but you could tighten up the prose a bit all the same to keep things moving (and thus keep the reader’s interest). Once Celestia and Twilight start walking, things really picked up.
#7938 · 2
· on Solving for Death
For all the humor you've thrown at us here, I expected a good laugh from the last line. I'd consider that revision priority one.

I'll echo what others have said about the POV shifts being jarring. This was a fun ride, but the tone felt too inconsistent for me. The more serious middle just seems to come out of nowhere and vanish just as quickly. In a way I wanted the confrontation with Celestia to be a more serious version of the one with Spike, where Starlight gets her night of work because Celestia considers it her special way of grieving... but then again I wouldn't touch the line with Celestia 'helping' with the spell; that was solid gold.

The happy ending felt a little too easily won. For the reader, that ten minutes goes by in a heartbeat. Why not milk it a little more and let Celestia zap her a couple more times at her request, all to the utter horror of Spike.