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Horse Jesus died for your sins too, Twilight
#17083 ·
· on Shipping & Handling · >>Haze >>Bugle
So...... about 10 different people wrote this story. I will leave the exact authors ambiguous for those who may or may not want to claim appropriate responsibility and/or condemnation.

It began with the idea of doing an exquisite corpse, which in this case meant each author only got the first sentence of the previous paragraph. Then, along the way we broke every rule, basically. I ended up writing 2 sections in confusion whether we were going to do a 2nd round with the original 4 people or bring new people in. One author wrote 2 paragraphs instead of 1, kind of. Once I gave someone two sentences because I was worried it wouldn't work otherwise. And one final author saw the entire thing and had to try and wrap it up in ~36 words. And then a different person gave us the title, based on the closing line to an alternate director's cut ending that wasn't even used.

For a disaster, I feel like this is surprisingly legible.
#17061 ·
· on Just Like Old Times
I don’t know what happened here, don’t ask me. I wrote this at 2AM and it turned into... something.
#17060 ·
· on Walking on Eggshells · >>CoffeeMinion
I basically wrote this to ask the question: what if Rainbow Dash was a boy?

Maybe I’ll write more at some point in a format that allows me to explore the idea with enough space. It’s my own fault... in writing I realized that I’d need about 2500 words to actually do it. And I didn’t have that, but I submitted what I could cram into 750 regardless. Most people saw this as shipping, which makes sense, but that element was meant to be part of the setting. Which is why it’s just established in narration rather than built to. Thanks for reading, anyways!
#17010 ·
· on Along the Way
I get your arc! I actually don't see this as incomplete, but the problem and solution are pretty subtle, and also, I don't know anything about recent pony episodes so the school/EEA stuff threw me off too. Strangely, you also have the "problem" of actually having the scene with the pegaspy being really good. I like her, immediately! Which is good, but which makes me want to actually see the sleepover, and sort of pulls attention away from Twilight's arc and final realization.

And to some extent, that shift in Twilight is a little odd, contextually. Basically, shouldn't the opportunity of the school already give her the kind of friendship-fulfillment or problem-solving-needs that she wants? Since she's a princess and everything, doesn't she have a higher-order of responsibilities? But I think these are just problems with the show and universe as much as with your actual story, and again, I haven't watched since season 5, so.
#17004 · 3
· on My Gift To You · >>moonwhisper
Angel's not dead, he's a changeling. All the animals are, which is why one of the birds talks and why the raccoon changes into a bear.

This was good, but I think the beginning of the story is confusing in a way that's problematic, but hard to put a finger on exactly. I think Pascoite is probably right in terms of the arc of this story works a lot better if the last twist is a subversion rather than an explanation. The hints of something being 'off' are totally fine (Raccoon->Bear is the ideal amount of '...huh?'), but there's too much off, because there's really no clear sense of why Fluttershy would be doing any of this or what's going on.

I almost feel like this would work better if the stuff about how long it had been didn't come until you see Twilight herself. It's really hard to explain exactly how to pace something like this, and I don't want to just push in to say 'write it how I'd write it!' But rather than having a lot of mystery all swirling around at the very top, I think it'd help to slowly introduce it to people as it goes. Not to necessarily explain each part or have it railroaded into a misunderstanding that you expect from the reader. But just to get them acclimated a bit at a time. Okay, it's a picnic and Fluttershy is worried about things - why? Because it's for Twilight's birthday. But things are behaving weird - or are they? It's small enough that you don't quite feel like it requires an explanation. But then Twilight show's up and she's old. Huh? Oh wait, this explains things....... the reader thinks for one moment, until they realize it totally doesn't. And then you drop something like the bird saying 'Your highness' to really do one last totally disorienting thing to hammer it in, before pulling the curtain up for the reveal.

I'm perhaps being overly picky here, but it's because I think there's a lot that I like in this story. It just feels a little out of sorts, and if you can tweak some of it, it'd really come together. But writing something like this is very much an art and not a science so... apologies if I've overstepped my bounds in talking through it.
#17002 ·
· on The Cycle of the Sun
I like this quite a lot!! I think it benefits from a different angle than the average stories about aging, looking at recognizing a figure you looked up to is human as well (well.... pony I guess), but then getting across that it doesn't make them any less important. There's a dignity in this that's very nice.
#14999 · 4
· on Cymothoa Exigua · >>Cassius
You're all wrong. Only Exuno got it: Blinky is turning into a draconequus, and it's all a metaphor for homosexuality and being accepted by your family. Oh, and Blinky's dad disappears because he was a ghost and secretly dead the whole time. Gosh, the subtext is really clear here, I don't know how anyone missed it.


No, but Cassius's interpretation is probably closest to correct. The genesis of the idea was thinking about a parasite that replaced body parts, and then how maybe that gives someone certain body parts they always really wanted... And whether that itself would be a kind of 'cold comfort.' Blinky was just the first name I thought of for a pony when I started typing. Actually a lot of this wasn't wholly planned but rather came together as I put words down. So he got a sister named Winky and then I forgot to actually do anything with her. (I would argue that I do actually like the cutesy names though, because they clash with the tone) The Jeffersons reference was dumb and just something I threw in out of a habit of making dumb semi-obscure references... Sorry, Ran!

I realized upon writing this that changeling would be the natural alternate interpretation (and I had visualized the wings as like those of roaches, which further cements the comparison) but I also thought the story's title would give away the intention clearer than it did. In my mind, this draws a contrast with Monsters, another horror minific I did a long time ago--there's a lesson here about being aware of your setting's mythology and using it purposefully you to aid in your story's interpretation, rather than get in the way and confuse things (though rereading it, I'd probably write that story differently today too). Regardless, I found the diversity of interpretations to be an unexpected benefit, and felt the ambiguity worked in the story's favor. It's always a little creepier when you never know exactly what bad thing is going on, but are certain there's something not right.

Thank you all for the many, many comments and discussions.
#14934 · 2
· on My Little Pony: The Movie: The Unofficial Fix-Fic
There's a pearl??


I just figured in a pony movie there'd be some magic macguffin, and it was underwater, so
#14921 · 3
· on My Little Pony: The Movie: The Unofficial Fix-Fic · >>Bremen
This was written because Exuno told me to write something that was movie spoilers.

...I haven't seen the movie.

I knew A) there were seaponies and B) there's some pony named Tempest something??

Yeah, I think this is the intended result all along.
#13514 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>TitaniumDragon >>Posh >>Trick_Question
Together, Haze and I wrote 25 fics, which increased the size of the finals by 13. We then took 12 spots. So if we hadn't entered this round, there would be one less person in finals. Just saying.

Also, yes, we both wrote every fic within 24 hours. I was thinking of potential ideas for a week beforehand, but didn't start any stories until the day of. It took the full day but less total time than I thought, though I was really drained by the end. I don't plan on repeating this stunt, as I will be returning to my pony retirement.
#13501 · 2
· on Determination
Hmm, this is a difficult piece to really critique. Rereading to review I like it better than I did upon the first read. Still, there's something slightly off about it that undercuts the emotional arc that you're building. I think the easy thing to say is 'show don't tell' but I've always been much more fine with telliness when used appropriately and working within this span of words, I think being direct is an advantage.

All I can really do here is briefly talk about how I would write this differently - and take that with a boulder-sized grain of salt. But I think your overall frame of Trixie pulling the wagon is less helpful than it is distracting. You've got kind of a nice three when talking about determination here: Trixie being determined to be a good magician, Trixie being determined to seek revenge, Trixie being determined to learn to be a better friend (even if it means swallowing her pride!). I really like that rule-of-3 structure, but you step on the first part, assuming the reader can fill in how important performance was to Trixie. The second is better. But then the third is kind of in a different form from the first ones, and comes across a little stilted. I would have written this in three chunks, each focusing on and developing the importance of each of the three determinations. As it is, the parts with her pulling the wagon feel to me more like filling space than actually adding to the central message.

I think the text here is solid to me, but lacks a spark that ties it together, which is a hard problem to diagnose. Really thinking about it, it might be that you just assume too much on the part of the reader. I really would have appreciated some serious, emotional consideration of what her initial training meant, or what the revenge consisted of; as it is, it feels like you invoke the ideas without explaining or developing them, which feels like a missed opportunity.

But then that's not the story you wrote, and maybe not anywhere close to the story you wanted to write and there's nothing wrong with that. And fitting into 750 words is always a tricky balance. Anyways, it was worth reading, so, thank you.
#13400 · 1
· on Spoon B4it: The Forks Awakens
Author Notes:

I think most people didn't get this one, which is fair because it was a reference to a series of fics from a writeoff over two years ago. I think the framing makes more sense in that context, as I subverted/reversed the plot of the original fics. Please note that despite the title, neither this nor the originals were deliberately written badly to try and win the spoon.

"Wesley" is just a joke reference to something else. It was in every way a poor decision to include, but I did so anyways because I didn't expect many people to understand this story to begin with. So why not double down on opacity! (obviously this has been a winning strategy in all of my comedyfics, I am so good at writeoff)
#13363 · 5

Starlight Glimmer's Brand New Dealer
Starlight finally starts to fit in and and understand the in-jokes. Turns out, helping somepony hide a body is a really great bonding experience.

Giving and Receiving Twilight's Butt
Rarity can't see what the big deal about Twilight's rear is. Literally.

Discord Channels the Wisdom of ithkushllldkow
...and is even more incomprehensible than before, somehow.

Explorers We Get Wi-Fi
It turns out that ponies engineered the development of our species tens of thousands of years ago, all for one final end goal: creating the Internet.
#13315 · 2
· on Lunnas APM · >>CoffeeMinion >>Caliaponia
The title (Lunnas APM) is a reference to https://writeoff.me/fic/746-Lunnas-Ache (with APM being the abbreviation for 'actions per minute,' commonly used to indicate skill in something like Starcraft)

References to things that no one remembers are the best references.
#13314 · 2
· on Explorers We · >>Trick_Question
First line of the linked wikipedia article:
A dugout canoe or simply dugout is a boat made from a hollowed tree trunk.

#13310 ·
· on Explorers We · >>Trick_Question


If that's the intended joke, yeah, it's a significantly better story than I had thought, even if I don't know that it's highlighted exactly right.
#13309 ·
· on Explorers We · >>Trick_Question
'Dugout' is in fact a thing, just a somewhat obscure thing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dugout_canoe

And I'm not sure whether people in Mali would use 'torches' or 'flashlights,' but there's no real reason to expect the US variant. In some ways the language oddities here don't bug me as much, as it's the kind of specialized language used by people within a specific field of study and they're also in-story-canon foreign language speakers so I can wave away the awkwardness as fitting the plot of the story.

Also, it's kind of turning the story on its head, but I think the idea of a Hasbro executive seeing this is really amusing,
haha. That's certainly a weird different direction to take.
#13233 · 4
· on What She Doesn't Know
#13232 · 4
· on Can't Hurt Her
#13206 · 1
· on Five Score Divided by Four Plus the Square Root of Negative Nine · >>Trick_Question
This is a reference to Five Score Divided By Four, which is a fic on fimfic about humans on Earth who turn into ponies, starting with their cutie marks. (It's perhaps more notable for stirring up a lot of drama through inspiring a lot of bad fics set in the same universe or whatever, eventually resulting in a quasi-ban on the stories as site policy)

This fic takes that basic premise and runs through it very fast in order to focus on absurdity; since the pony you would turn into is indicated by the mark that appears on your butt, then if you were to change that mark then you'd change the pony that you turn into! Which is obviously not how magic would work, but it's a good enough joke, albeit one that probably doesn't make sense unless you know the original source it's referring to.
#13184 · 3
· on A Little Space · >>Not_A_Hat
Smith Apple the Applesmith
#13180 ·
· on CMC Inc.
I think I need to jump in here and defend this fic a little because I feel like some of the criticisms so far don't ring true to me.

First, I want to say that I think your beginning is totally solid. The business plan bit and the banter up front moves through quickly and hits a lot of jokes, which may or may not be funny to all readers but comedy is always hit or miss. This good streak continues into the next joke about 'adventure' capital rather than 'venture' capital. It's right when you hit the last sequence with the businessponies that I feel like the fic goes flat. You totally have a joke here too - that the CMC are talking to exactly the people than can help them, but they don't understand this because the ponies talk in buzzwords. But I think it's too extended or doesn't resolve clearly enough. I'm having a hard time diagnosing why... I don't know that Flim & Flam as Glib & Glam actually add much, and it might be stepping on the rest of your punchline? That's the thing, I feel like you do have a narrative arc here, about the CMC wanting to be businessponies, only to miss the point and miss their chance. But it's harder to balance a narrative where the key event doesn't happen.

It's really tricky, and when reading back through a second time I can absolutely see all the pieces that you're laying out, but they're not connecting together in a satisfying way, at least to me in my initial read. But then again, comedy is so subjective, that you have to listen to a lot of perspectives and figure out how exactly you want to pitch the humor and to who. I feel like this fic is very very close to a thing I'd like a lot, and that's worth saying rather than solely focusing on the rough edges.
#13125 · 1
· on The Best Dealer · >>Trick_Question >>Fenton
Actually, yeah, to come back to this with just a couple of suggestions after talking with some people about this fic...

I think this could really work if you put in a subversion one way or another. Like the absurd would be Fluttershy revealing that she's gotta get rid of this dude because he's dealing Butterfly Dust on her turf and best not step if you don't wanna get rubbed out. Or the more show-tone would be for him to wind up in the cottage with Fluttershy serving tea and talking about 'Oh! I don't even know what Butterfly Dust does, does it make their wings sparklier??' while Angel and the bear are giving him death glares and he's scared stiff.

As it is, it ends but not quite with enough of a turn to really satisfy the reader. You're almost there though!
#13074 · 3
· on To Be a Dragon · >>Fenton
I was going to comment on this but I wasn't really certain what to say in terms of judging it or offering advice.

But instead I want to try something entirely different, and just talk about what I think the story is saying (or could be saying) because that's interesting and maybe we should do it more often!

To me, the best part is the penultimate paragraph. But first there's other stuff... First you get some interactions with Ember that serve to highlight how dragon culture and pony culture differ. Then it feints a little towards Spike and Ember as a ship, but crosses back for a brief moral on how Sparity is weird. (Which, yes, agreed, but it comes across as slightly pedantic because I've heard that a lot. Others' mileage may vary.)

Finally though we have the penultimate paragraph, where there's the hint of an entirely different story under the surface here. Spike is attracted not even necessarily to Rarity but to pony traits. In contrast, he doesn't find Ember attractive. And he knows that this isn't what's expected of him. It's slightly tragic in that I doubt Twilight would be bothered if Spike had a crush on, say, Sweetie Belle, but she is instead vaguely directing him towards Ember because she's worried about him and is viewing his fixation in terms of age, not in terms of species. But in the process, it's causing Spike to be pushed in a direction he's clearly uncomfortable with. There's (quite obvious) parallels here with someone being attracted to a gender or physical characteristics that they're 'not supposed to,' but rather than it being an obvious (and boring) lesson where some character is a bigot so that their intolerance can be a foil to acceptance, this is a much more interesting nuance in having Twilight be supportive but in exactly the wrong way to actually help him. I like that!

I don't know if the story is totally balanced to get this message across, or if its entirety was planned by the author, but there's something good under the surface here. Thanks to the writer.
#13063 · 3
· on Lunnas APM · >>Posh >>Caliaponia >>Haze
I think the joke here (aside from it's not sex) is that Luna is making him play really bad grindy games (cookie clicker). I appreciated that it set up for one obvious ending but then kind of jumped over it entirely and landed in a different dumb joke.
Paging WIP