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Gold medal
Lightning in a Jar
Original Short Story
Silver medal
The Long Road Home
Original Short Story
A Fairy and Her Hero
Great Expectations
FiM Short Story
How Sunset Rose
Closing Time
FiM Short Story
Some Trade-Offs Mean More Than Others
Out of Time
FiM Short Story
Sunset's Rest
Distant Shores
FiM Short Story
Doll Judgement
The Killing Machine
Original Short Story
Eye of the Storm
Original Short Story
Pleasure in the Job Puts Perfection in the Work
A Matter of Perspective
FiM Short Story
Ceci N'est Pas Twilight Sparkle
The Next Generation
Original Short Story
My Son Went Missing. But I Might Find Him In Another World
#3494 · 6
· on Under the Bed · >>Trick_Question
>>Trick_Question >>Rolo >>FanOfMostEverything >>Ceffyl_Dwr >>Morning Sun >>TheCyanRecluse >>georg >>TitaniumDragon >>PaulAsaran >>Icenrose >>Exuno >>Monokeras >>libertydude

Under the Bed

Thanks for the reviews everyone, and congratulations to the medalists.

I'm glad so many people ended up liking this story. In truth, I wasn't expecting much from the story. It was a bit half-assed on my part, and I stole borrowed the punchline from this thread on reddit about short horror stories. I honestly kind of figured more people would have seen the like before, and thus would fall flat like it did for some of you, but I guess that gamble paid off.

Like libertydude said, I do think that presenting the story within a frame narrative works better than just telling it straight out, because it takes the horror to much darker implications about "something normal in this world that we all know might actually be something horrific, and nobody ever noticed." It's a different type of scary than the monster under the bed reveal, and I think the story would have been weaker without it.

As a story, I don't think there's much room to expand it, and I never tend to bother with my minifics most of the time anyway. Maybe I'll get around to throwing them into a fic compilation one of these days.

Thanks again, and see you all next round!

Also I'm of the opinion that the story was all BS and Fluttershy was just fucking with everyone.
#3603 · 4
· on Tequila Sunrise · >>CoffeeMinion
So a carnivore, an omnivore, and a herbivore all walk into a bar creepy experiment....

This could probably stand to be longer, as is often the case with writeoffs. It's an interesting premise, but as it is, doesn't go far enough and the conclusion of "this sucks but friendship maybe?" is a bit tepid.

The time frame strikes me as a bit odd too. The actions and conversations seem like ones that would take place way earlier than 63 days into imprisonment, though I suppose Jane has personal issues and that can always throw things off.

Writing seemed pretty solid. Good descriptions.
#3607 · 3
· on The View Through the Window
This could definitely use an editing pass. Noticed lots of little typos here and there, though it's stuff that can be cleaned up easily.

A bit disjointed and hard to follow, which I suppose was likely the point. Still, I feel like the roundabout nature it takes to build up to the reveal kind of undercuts the impact, and makes it difficult to care about the characters involved. Ending on a reveal is pretty common for a short story, but if you want to draw more emotional depth out of this story, you may be able to do so by moving the reveal to the midpoint and giving the characters a chance to really react and let it sink in.
#3622 · 3
· on Event Cascade
A huge amount of the wordcount of this story is filled with technical jargon of airplanes. I'm sure it's very authentic, but it doesn't make for interesting reading unless you're an extreme aviation enthusiast.

There's not much story left behind the technobabble either. Something goes wrong, the plane crashes, roll credits. The story could easily be expanded beyond he ending, to see the results, investigate what went wrong, see the impact on others like potential family, or anything.

Chris is characterized somewhat by the narration, but Patrick doesn't really have any chance to actually show personality, other than what Chris tells us about him.
#3776 · 3
· on Bluebirds · >>Scramblers and Shadows
>>Baal Bunny >>billymorph >>Not_A_Hat >>CoffeeMinion >>georg >>horizon >>Scramblers and Shadows >>Remedyfortheheart >>Hagdal Hohensalza

The Killing Machine is like, society maaan...

4th place! And probably just a single vote or so off of getting my first medal. Oh well. I've got a good idea for the next pony round, let's see if I can pull it off.

To the surprise of very few, I wrote the story about lesbians in a writeoff about Killing Machines.

A week or so before this writeoff, I saw a yuri visual novel on Steam called "Highway Blossoms." About two girls in the american southwest who drive around on a road trip then fall in lesbians. I thought "that sounds neat," and bought it. A few days later, I came up with the premise for Bluebirds, loosely based on the general premise of lesbian hitchhikers in the southwest. Then the writeoff came along, the prompt was Killing Machine, I blanched, then decided to do it vaguely anyway. Only after I had fully written the story did I actually bother to read Highway Blossoms. It was pretty good, if you're into that sort of thing, but I'm certainly glad I waited until after I'd finished writing Bluebirds to read it.

In any case, Bluebirds. Alcoholic Navajo girl with nothing to live for meets insane white girl who's thrown away everything. It's not a particularly healthy relationship. They barely know each other, their compatibility is based only on lust and physical proximity and a desperate need for companionship of any sort. Their trip is ill thought out, and will almost certainly end poorly.

According to my cursory google research, bluebirds are a symbol of the sun and morning in Navajo culture, and it is allegedly the meaning of the name "Doli." There's also a early 20th century Belgian play, later adapted into a number of movies called The Blue Bird. Something about children leaving on a fairytale adventure to seek this mythical bluebird of happiness only to find out that it was just sitting around at home the entire time.

I agree with a lot of the critique in that this story simply needed more. More angst, more conflict, more fleshing out of the characters, maybe a little more time spent with them, more time emphasizing the crippling poverty of Doli's surroundings.

A few things I wanted to address specifically:

No, what first really made me blink here was Brittany's out-of-nowhere gaydar and Doli's unforeshadowed lesbianism.

Really? Doli spent a significant amount of her narration heavily focused on Brittany's physical appearance, often describing in almost worshipful language. She keeps getting lost in Brittany's eyes, staring at her cleavage, getting anxious about having a pretty girl naked in her shower, and is flustered at the offer of sharing the bed. I'm not sure how I could have made it any gayer, other than throwing in some telly narration of "oh look how lesbians I am"

>>Scramblers and Shadows
Because the deepest possible basis of attraction is educational background and race. Okay, sure.

The line in question here is more of a bitter aside, an acknowledgement that being half white was the only way Doli's ex was able to escape the crippling poverty of the Navajo Nation (and leave Doli behind.) Whether or not Brittany recognizes it as such is up in the air, but she deflects it and turns it around to tease and flirt anyway.

In any case, thanks to all of you for reading and reviewing Bluebirds. I hope you enjoyed it, and if not, oh well. As it's original fiction and I can't get horsepoints for publishing it, I doubt I'll do any revising, but I'm getting close to starting on an original novel soon anyway, once I finish my current horse-project, and getting in OF practice is always welcome. Congratulations to our finalists, and I look forward to seeing many of you at Bronycon.
#4251 · 3
Anyone who listens to the Writing Excuses podcast is probably familiar with Brandon Sanderson, who wrote Elantris, Mistborn and finished the Wheel of Time series. He also gives a series of writing lectures at BYU, and I just went back and watched the course intro. I'd recommend watching the lecture (and the series) in its entirety, but I found his comments on workshoping particularly relevant for this forum:

Brandon Sanderson - 318R #1 (Course Overview)

This is some really solid advice.

I dunno about this prompt though. I'm not all that keen on original minfics anyway. I've got the free time to write, but eh. We'll see.
#5329 · 3
· on Contractors
>>Trick_Question >>FanOfMostEverything >>Orbiting_kettle >>Misternick >>Not_A_Hat >>Bachiavellian

Thanks for the reviews, everyone.

The only idea I really had going into this was "the idea that Twilight's Sparkly Castle was built by a bunch of low paid construction workers, rather than magic, is amusing." as I wrote it that also shifted into "and something vaguely sinister is going on" but I didn't really have a good idea for what it was, and that was reflected in the story, and apparently was a bit unsatisfying.

Oh well. I wrote the whole thing in an hour while sitting in the video game room of a convention. I'll save the effort for the next contest.

See you all at the Original Short Story!
#10555 · 3
· on Sunset Shimmer and Discord Go BACK TO THE FUTURE
>>Novel_Idea >>Posh >>Kritten >>Fenton >>TitaniumDragon >>FrontSevens >>CoffeeMinion >>eusocialdragon >>Rao >>TheCyanRecluse >>Posh >>horizon >>MLPmatthewl419 >>MLPmatthewl419

7th place huh? This makes the 4th Sunset story I've gotten 7th with. :3

Thanks to everyone for reading and reviewing! Your feedback was all very useful. I've already got a pretty solid idea on what needs to be changed and edited to fix some of the issues with the story, and if I'm punctual about it, you might see the story up on fimfiction by Monday. I've even got a coverart for it already.

The story was definitely written in a rush, and still ended up the longest writeoff entry I've ever done.

The eighties things were sort of… there, their only real involvement being scenery where the narrator takes a minute to sightsee and go “Look, the eighties! Leg warmers! Some crooner singing about the power of love wink wink”. I feel like how I put that is a bit harsh, but that’s honestly the vibe I got from it. The references were just references and weren’t enough to interest me. I think I would’ve liked more involvement in that sense, I suppose, if at all; making leg warmers plot-relevant or forming jokes where the punchy bit of the joke isn’t just the phrase “leg warmers”.

You're not wrong. Most of the story was written on Sunday, and as I sat there writing, I realized I couldn't actually think of any particularly clever or in depth 80s references, and didn't have time to do the research or have an editor around to consult. So it ended up being rather shallow.

I'm not 100% sure if him shaking off water a bit later is the joke I think it is, but I sure as hell hope I read it right. Can confirm, ladies love the bikes.

I'm glad somebody mentioned this. It was my favorite joke and it still makes me giggle.

I really wish more follow-up had been done on the siren meeting. That plot point getting dropped entirely was a major factor in the feeling of incompleteness — it seems at least as worthy of follow-up as the Twilight-parents thing, because on its face it doesn't seem to square with canon.

Honestly, I figure Sonata probably forgot about the whole event within a few days, let alone thirty years. Humans all look the same to her. Either way, my planned changes also involve some improvements to Sonata's role, so we'll see how that pans out.

Thanks again, and I'll see you all again in another writeoff!
#1958 · 2
Alright, it's been awhile since I've participated in a contest, and contributed with my own gimmick, but without further adiue, it's time for Oroboro's Review Haiku.

Whatever it takes
You must keep the lights turned on
Money and madness

Thou Shalt Not Eat Of The Tree
The Forbidden Fruit
A curious mind damns Man.
A pony just sighs

Modern Farming Techniques of Earth Ponies
The soul of the farm
The soul of romance, unknown
The souls of the dead

Completely Safe in the Reference Section
The onus of books,
Alluring power calls
A storm of fashion

Twice Paid For a Lie
False Reality
Only death can set us free
To fight for our home

The dynamic duo
Secret matchmaking brings horror
Quite a daring heist

Applejack v FBTwi
In laws and apples
A Princess reigns above both
Whatever it takes

Natural Dreams
Power in nature
A promise to protect it
Consumed by magic
#3600 · 2
· on Historical Retrospective · >>Hagdal Hohensalza >>horizon
War. War never changes.

I've decided that the haiku gimmick is old, and I have a big block of free time, so I'll actually try writing reviews for once.

Interesting fictional nonfictional document. It reads like a historical essay, because it is one, I guess. There's none of the usual story stuff to consider, so all I can really say is that this entry seems to have accomplished its goal.

The only think I don't really think works is the interruption at the end. It's mildly amusing, but if the author was suddenly shot while typing it, there wouldn't be an emdash. You could probably end it on a more somber note, with the author knowing they'll probably be killed for publishing it, but choosing to anyway.