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Closing Time
FiM Short Story
Cold as Starlight
Look, I Can Explain...
FiM Short Story
Eye of the Storm
Original Short Story
Borrowed Power
Bronze medal
Things Left Unsaid
FiM Minific
Illusion of Choice
FiM Minific
All In
FiM Minific
Where The House Is Not, Home
Time Heals Most Wounds
Original Minific
Swan and Albatross
The Morning After
FiM Minific
Entering and Breaking
Look, I Just Want My Sandwich
Original Minific
Beelzebub's Koala
Best Laid Plans
FiM Minific
#9825 · 8
· · >>Remedyfortheheart
I dare people to do this round without labeling stories in their reviews. No "Good or bad" story tags. Just pure unbiased neutral optimism.

I cannot make heads or tails of what you mean by this.

Additionally, 'just pure unbiased neutral optimism'... it is (1) impossible to be purely neutral, and this lies in opposition to '[imposed] optimism', and (2) in large part contrary to the educational benefit of having others dissect and critique the work presented.
#7011 · 6
· on 'Twixt My Sheets She's Done My Office · >>Posh
But where's this "Office"? Does that mean the "official role of wife" or something?

The 'office' in this case seems to be strictly the role of "making the beast with two backs two-humped camel", though one could extend it to all aspects of a beloved bride-to-be.

Unfortunately, nearly all the subtext in the referenced material—suspicion, betrayal, importance and duty of marriage, etc.—is not utilized in this story, so 'office' is diluted in meaning. In Othello, when this line is spoken, Iago is conjuring reasons for enacting one of Shakespeare's most evil plots on his superior officer and former friend. The exact line is "I hate the Moor: and it is thought abroad that 'twixt my sheets he has done my office. I know not if it be true: but I, for mere suspicion in that kind, will do as if for surety." Playing into this is Iago's dysfunctional relationship with his wife and his apparent disdain for all women, derogatory references to marriage ("[Casio is] a fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife…", "A thing for me? It is a common thing […T]o have a foolish wife."), and recurring themes of mistrust, suspicion, and duty, especially between Othello and his own wife, Desdemona (to say nothing of class and race boundaries at work there). Here, however, "twixt my sheets my office has been done" serves simply to point to someone else in the sack… wearing another's skin and supposed mind magic is the interesting twist.

Thus, as implied in my earlier comment, the title and its history add little to the work.

Others seem to have largely addressed my thoughts on this work. Adequately written, but does nothing novel with the concepts at play nor has space to reach adequate depth.

I'm actually surprised I've not read any previous stories addressing this issue.

It's deservedly mature-rated, but I offer this as a longer form work that does so, if more obliquely:
#1190 · 5
For this event I would side with remaining 'General,' as some people may have some ideas already in mind that would be preempted with the additional constraint; moreover, it seems unfair to change the rules so soon before the event itself. For the future I would be inclined slightly to move to 'Original', if only to simplify the issue of derived versus non-derived works -- I have not found it a problem, myself, but as you say the issue has arisen consistently.
#7761 · 5
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Writeoff Live Reading

with KwirkyJ

In about twenty-one hours from this posting, starting around 9pm Eastern Time, I will be performing a number of live readings of this writeoff's submissions in the Discord chat. Expected to run two hours or so, but that is only a guess. Other readers are welcome to participate!

Maybe your story will be read!
#4596 · 4
· on Beelzebub's Koala · >>Monokeras

Beelzebub's Koala
Wherein an alien radiolithovore attacks the first Mars colony.

Not_A_Hat got it mostly right, only missing the very subtle clues that the planet may not have been Earth, specifically: environment suits for the creatures outside, the colder mantle (lack of geologic activity), and the sudden arrival of a singular source of such purity… Probe RTGs don't count because plutonium instead of uranium (or something). Zaid's perspective does not fit with the facts, but upon reading the 'actual koala with attitude' idea, I had a good smile. Ceffyl, I realize in hindsight that 'drunk' is a poor word choice given the creature's reality, but its being a bit loopy makes sense from (1) eating a huge meal after starving for millennia or eons and (2) that meal being of the richest and purest concentration of radioisotopes it has ever encountered. For Monokeras, I posit that its physical appearance is irrelevant beyond what its features (claws, presumably a mouth) facilitate to the story; given liberty of another few thousands words, I might be convinced to include some more descriptors… however, you are correct that the story is hollow, if not exactly lacking.

This was a 'try to approach the prompt from an abstract perspective to re-interpret its meaning' and falling short in a number of ways. To begin with, my final prompt was several hundred words over and was even feeling incomplete in that state (as Mono observed)--I tightened things down, but the core issue was not able to be remedied in the time- and word-constrained situation.

There was never the idea of Lovecraft while writing, but I was cognizant of some of the themes of Ray Bradbury's "The One Who Waits". A friend over skype commented that the creature bore similarities to Lovecraft's Bokrug and Suthoggua (typos not mine).

I am not surprised this one fell up flat, but I didn't feel like I had a strong idea to work with in the first place. Had I another few thousand words, I'd probably get into the creature's head and make the confrontation with the human colonists a more reflective--I had originally intended to have more of it being thoroughly bemused by the things as it carried on to carve open a fission reactor.

Finally, thank you all for reading, and especially those who made the time to leave their comments on this experiment.

Yet further evidence that subtlety and/or experimentation is a dangerous gamble in WriteOffs….
#6956 · 4
· on 'Twixt My Sheets She's Done My Office · >>Trick_Question
The title means that Chrysalis supplanted Cadance's role in the bedroom—literally, between (twixt) the sheets. The words themselves are an adaptation from a line by Iago in Act I Scene III of Shakespeare's Othello, but knowing this adds nothing to the story here.
#9444 · 4
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony >>horizon
I must admit, Something CoffeeMinion and/orAndrewRogue can read to his kid(s) tempted my endorsement until I noticed the lack of space after "and/or". Similarly, the number of prompts that fail as Title Case—as stipulated in the rules/guidelines in addition to being generally good form—drives me to despondency. If the submitters cannot trouble themselves to take their prompts seriously, then neither will I.
#10631 · 4
All my available time--about four hours--yields five disjointed stanzas of iambic septameter. Curious experiment, but my hat is not to be in this ring. Here's to some piercing reviews, maybe. Good luck, everyone!
#7291 · 3
· on Entering and Breaking · >>CoffeeMinion >>Trick_Question
So, Entering and Breaking. I'd like to start by saying that I personally wasn't very happy with this one, and I'm surprised it did as well as it has.

My initial (and, really, only core) idea from my idea jar (thanks, CoffeeMinion!) was "sugar as metaphor for debilitating substance addiction." Naturally, the microfiction format doesn't lend itself to deep exploration, so I set out to write a little scene showing a pivotal moment: where a character is made to realize the hole [s]he has dug for themselves. Cue my brain rolling to a blunt Berry Punch I like to read and write, a little inversion of the supposed-dentist having a sweet tooth, and you arrive at the core premises for this piece.

Now, it has been noted that these characters have contrary canonical information in the episode, "Amending Fences". I don't care. I forgot about that entirely in the process of writing. Mea culpa. Sorry it threw some people, but I'm glad people were willing to put up with it.

Unfortunately, I think an essential element I had hoped to convey was missed by every reviewer: less important is the addiction than the fact that it is debilitating. Pinkie Pie is not the central addict, because she doesn't have problems. Berry Punch is not the central addict because she doesn't have problem. Berry Punch may well be an addict in her own right, but she seems to have her act together, at least for her friend. Again, too subtle for my own good, and mea culpa. Related to this is the alcohol in the smoothie: first, it's Berry, so of course there's alcohol in it; second, there probably isn't much, and it's well offset by the fiber and complex sugars; and third, it is entirely possible that the blood sugar spike is exactly what Minuette needs to get going. Shrug.

Final notes:
* The use of semicolons for sentence fragments was deliberate; the four-dot dashes was not doing my homework and misapplying the "omission including full stop" for "tailing off" (tailing off as opposed to interrupted).
* Other substances, such as salt, may have been a better choice…
* Sugar probably doesn't result in significant drowsiness per se, but a sugar crash does induce lethargy and usually an upset stomach—excuse enough to want to just lay down and die. Minuette's forgetfulness here is, accordingly, probably more a product of sleep haze than anything else.
* I'm glad some people picked up on the nastiness of corduroy for a pillow.

Thank you all for your thoughts!
>>GroaningGreyAgony >>FanOfMostEverything >>Rao >>Trick_Question >>Syeekoh >>Bremen >>Posh >>AndrewRogue >>Xepher >>Shadowed_Song >>CoffeeMinion >>Monokeras
#7866 · 3
· on San Palomino · >>Morning Sun
An attempt at original, speculative material doesn't quite achieve its goals.

On the surface, there is an Equestria which is slowly dying as its population "leaves" to be part of the Eternal Dream. No small amount of time is spent laying out the breadth of wonder of the Eternal, which, while beautiful and quite competently-executed, is relegated to the role of surface and setting. (There are parallels to be drawn with "Friendship is Optimal" (relevant to another story on my slate) and the film "Inception", but they are not crucial to discussing this particular work.) This exodus serves as a backdrop to the core of the story: Celestia struggling with her feelings.

It is slowly revealed--somewhat evident from early in the first section but carefully expounded upon--that Celestia is conflicted about her responsibility to the real Equestria and a deep sense of loss, both towards her people, her friends, and--most of all--her sister. Indeed, Luna's stubbornness to remain within the Eternal in opposition to Celestia's dedication to Eqeustria, is at the story's heart. Unfortunately, because so little is provided (or even intuitable) about Luna's rationale, this conflict is little more than an "unstoppable force meets immovable object" stalemate, leaving the reader wanting for a "third option".

Ultimately, the resolution supplies itself, with Luna--at the prompting from two of Celestia's subjects--exculpating Celetia of the unthinkable task of concession. Yet, as relieved as the sisters are to meet once more, there seems to be no discussion of the issues that separated them to begin with, draining the resolution of lasting significance.

Accordingly, the essential conflict deserves attention. Make the resolution also a reunion--connect the sisters' disagreement with the heartfelt meeting and this will be a much stronger story.

The exclusion of articles and pronouns (e.g., Celestia began, and turned [her] head away to) lends a poetic air to the work, but is a very sophomoric choice as it reduces clarity and serves little apparent purpose than declaring sophistication. Additionally, while the actual count is low enough, the number of "said softly"s and other such diminution of speech was striking; like the above, create context and tone with structure and context as much as with mere words.

TAILS (sum of 20 points)
Technical (Correctness) : 5
Abstract (Clarity) : 3
Impact (Consequence) : 3
Language (Congruence) : 3
Structure (Composition) : 6
Gestalt (Considered): Strong