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Ribbon
The Twilight Zone
FiM Minific
22nd
64%
125
The Deep
Mask
All In
FiM Minific
64th
32%
42
Better dead than sorry
#8909 · 4
· on No Boys Allowed
This story did not end up gelling well with me.

I found Spike's speech to be less like a toddler's, and more like… Hulk? There is a definite green-smash feel to some of his wording. "Twi have girl time, want girl time too," is something I can very vividly imagine a sulking Hulk saying.

And then… we entered fetish territory. The moment dresses were brought up I got a sinking suspicion, but then we got full on blushes and promises of, let's call it what it is, fetish sex. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't mind fetishes in general, but if you start by selling a story as a cute toddler adventure, maybe don't end with plans for bumping uglies?

PS. "forelegos?"

PPS. So wait, what is the prompt connection here? Twilight's room being off limits => Twilight Zone? So dressing up => entering The Twilight Zone? I am confuse.
#9050 · 3
· on Invaders From Another World
>>horizon and >>GroaningGreyAgony have said almost everything that was on my mind.

My advice on writing would be: Read the story out loud. It's an incredibly powerful way to gauge its flow. It makes unnecessary repetition and awkward wording really stand out. I think it should be the number one tool when you're editing your story - after number zero, the spell checker.

What I think could have elevated this story considerably is if you went for a humorous take. As others have said, we really needed to see what was happening inside Octavia's head. Does she think they're some sort of pest? Are these invasions maybe a regular thing? Maybe they're like annoying tourists, trying to peep on giant ponies, and ponies have in turn taken to just swatting them down like flies?

A pony trampling tiny space invaders seems like an inherently funny concept to me, and I'd have loved to laugh with it.
#9352 · 3
· on The Happiest Ending · >>Chinchillax
Everyone has brought up great points, so I don't feel like there is much to add.

I just wanted to say that the "And, like all eternities, there was eventually an end" was a line that particularly stood out to me. Very nicely put :)
#6257 · 2
· on How to Play
Someone in the discord chat mentioned that they were writing on a phone. Maybe it was the same author, and that would explain the numerous misspellings. Distracting, but not a huge detraction from the story as far as I’m concerned.

I rated this story slightly above average. It had an interesting tone and setting that stood out in the crowd, but it also had some unfortunate choices that left me feeling… icky. From my reading, the whole story was about a chance-meeting with a possible new romantic partner. I guess that most writers here come from fimfiction background and are used to gay horse stories. However I found that bringing such an aggressive pickup strategy to a realistic setting felt intrusive and unwanted.

As a thought experiment, can we imagine everything written exactly as-is, but with the opponent being a guy that fancies himself suave? Suddenly the tone shifts, and the whole “I think I like you” lean in eye-sparkle thing is a whole lot more invasive, especially in a convention setting. My thoughts are, if this would not be OK for a guy to do, it should not be OK for a girl either. A preference to same-sex shipping should probably not override basic necessities of establishing a likable character rapport.

Kind of related, I felt that the “women in videogames” line used to introduce the fact that the protagonist was a girl came too late – an earlier indication as to the protagonist’s gender would have been appreciated, given that it’s important to the story. The line itself also felt a bit clunky in execution, almost as if its only purpose was to convey that single fact and nothing else. In that case, ditching it altogether and giving a clear indication earlier in the story (preferably first paragraph) would’ve been better.

It feels like I am going really hard on this story. It was just one of the few that really stuck in my mind, and as a result I might’ve ended up overthinking it. Overall, again, a slightly above average story with cool use of title drop, but just not one I could personally find much enjoyment in.
#8908 · 2
· on It's a Good Life · >>FanOfMostEverything
I found myself delighted by the introductory paragraph, and it got a right cuckle out of me. Finding out that it was a somewhat disposable joke was mildly disappointing.

There were a number of moments that took me out of the fic's world, and I don't think it's a good thing. "Spoony," for example, only ends up evoking the image of this guy, which I doubt was intentional. The meta joke about stories was trying to be a bit too clever for its own good, again taking me out of the scene at hand. Finally, the elaborate cigarette lighting trick is the longest descriptive passage in the story, making it stand out… but then it doesn't do anything with the spotlight.

For all my grumbling, I found the humor very agreeable. Silver Rod was nice to listen to, while DT and Spoony were a bit of a mixed bag. Their banter fell a bit short from what I'd imagine children to sound like, acting more like trampolines for Silver to bounce off off.

I do wish we had gotten anything to tie the story together at the end, instead of an abrupt end.
#8910 · 2
· on Monsters · >>Ranmilia
You have evocative writing, but the plotting left much to be desired.

As others have pointed out, guns are a hard sell in equestria unless you do their setup beforehand. However, I did not have that much of a problem with the gun itself.

What I had problem with was a sense of general aimlessness. We spend half the wordcount in service of a fairy good scene of Golden Earring disposing of bodies, but that follows makes basically no use of it whatsoever. There is nothing that ties thematically with her actions and what follows. What's more, we have 3 main beats to the story that taken as a whole make very little sense

- Golden Earring is disposing of the bodies of her husband and his last lover
AND THEN
- A timber wolf attacks. She starts running, and we don't see anything from the timber wolf
AND THEN
- Some other person shows up
AND THEN (bonus twist round)
- It turns out he's the timber wolf, oh noes!

It seems like the different parts are not logical plot points that we move through, but a seires of very tangentially related events. I see no reason inside the text for the timber wolf to turn out to be a timber-were-wolf. I see no connection between Golden Earring's actions and her comeuppance. What is the theme of the story? What is the moral? What is it trying to say?

I honestly have no idea. It has the texture of a horror story, sans actual horror.
#9141 · 2
· on Quackers Goes to the Fair
>>Ranmilia
Your concerns are both valid and well argued. I guess we will have the answer after the prelims.

Maybe it would be worthwhile to bring this discussion to the Discord chat and see what people there think. I would imagine that a clarification on the rules is also possible (for future writeoffs).

PS I think that you are right, and the fic is not prompt-appropriate. But it's also the one that brought me the most joy. I can't bring myself to score it lowest.
#6346 · 1
· on The Coup
>>horizon
but I can't envision any possible reason to give a freaking stove Dolby 5.1 surround-sound.


This already exists: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sectorqube/maid-oven-make-all-incredible-dishes

Welcome to the future. It's here and it's shit.

So, what can I even say about this story? It's amazing!

I think that some people will dismiss its humor as just that, but it's closer to reality than you might suspect. We already have different "smart" devices fighting each other. One of the more high-profile cases was when Phillips tried to DRM it's Hue system, forbidding use of "3rd party light bulbs." It made the news in 2015, and now they seem to have "accidentally" done it again. A firm tried to DRM the coffee pods for its "smart" espresso machine. And that's on the heels of the largest DDOS attack ever - it happened not 2 weeks ago, and used hacked Internet of Things devices as a botnet.

To that end, I found the portrayal of AI to be a spot-on punditry of the actual policies of these companies. The escalation was handled great and I couldn't help but grin throughout the whole thing.

I last read a Cold in Gardez story literally 2 years ago (which reminds me I must read Salvation redux now it's complete), but am gonna make a bet he's the author behind this one.

PS Everyone should follow @internetofshit.
#8903 · 1
· on Reveries
I did enjoy the flowery wording of this one, though think it might have made for better contrast to use it only in the Night Light segments. Then you might use simpler language in the "reality proper," and add to the idea of Night Light being trapped in a dream.

As for the story, it does what it means to and is prompt-appropriate. It did not do much for me on the creepiness level, but hey, still an enjoyable little thing.

Thanks.
#9448 · 1
· on The Deep · >>RogerDodger
With only a few hours left until the next Writeoff, this retrospective is much later than I would've liked it to be.

Before everything else, a great big THANK YOU to everyone who shared their opinion on this story. Your insights were invaluable! I hope to be able to put what I learned here to good use in future works.

Thank you again :)

So, few words about this story. It was indeed inspired by a Daft Punk song, as Ranmilia pointed out. On the day of the Writeoff, I was working. I ended up driving through almost the entirety of my little country that night. I had read the prompt, and was trying to come up with a story idea on the way. It was Daft Punk's Touch that gave me the idea.

Alas, I could not stop to write on the road. By the time I got home, I barely had the strength to keep my eyes open.

So I went to sleep.

On the next day, I awoke with less than 2 hours left before the Writeoff's deadline. At that point I was convinced that I won't be able to finish a story in time, but still, I sat down to give it a shot. And, with only 3 minutes to spare before the deadline, this is what I managed to write. For what it's worth, I was happy with the result. Making finals was also a great honor.

>>FanOfMostEverything
Thank you. Unfortunately, I don't think I will end up expanding the story. While it can definitely use more breathing room, I doubt my ability to get it to 1000 words without it overstaying its welcome. And yes, the backronym was very tortured :)

>>Orbiting_kettle >>SPark
Thank you!

>>Zaid Val'Roa
You bring a very good point about the dissonance of the probe's thoughts. While it was intended, maybe it was not handled in the best possible way. My aim was to portray a mind that is emotional, but that funnels those emotions through an "artificial" worldview. The idea was, what if a mind that is extremely analytical by nature was also emotional by circumstance. Still, as you say, could've been handled better.

>>Kami
Your well thought out and reasoned negative critique wa just a joy to read. Very good points. You're right in saying that it could have been anyone's personality. My focus was not exactly on who the probe was. Instead it was about what existence is like for an emotional, intelligent being, locked in a prison of time. It is indeed a feels grab. My sole motivation in writing it was to explore a feeling of loss, loneliness and despair.

I can't comment on prompt appropriateness. I thought the sci-fi element was close enough in spirit, but that's about that.

Thank you for your thoughts.

>>Exuno
"It mostly just makes me go :("

Mission accomplished!

>>Ritsuko
Indeed, there was a missing comma in this that bugged me to no end. My own fault for not budgeting writing time appropriately.

>>CoffeeMinion
I actually have some ideas about how the particular situation came to be, but it was never the focus of the story. Ultimately, it really is just a slice of sadness. Thanks for the thoughts!

>>Xepher
Great points!

I was wondering about how this situation can come into place. For the most part, my thoughts are that the probe had to be rushed to launch. This left many necessary avenues unexplored. There were some implications to the design that had not been understood at the time. I also speculated that the probe self-improved over time, which resulted in constantly raising processing power. So, she self improved, but that lead to her perceiving time slower and slower, because her thoughts were getting faster and faster. The prison of her mind ended up only shrinking. And, in the vast voids of time between anything happening, all she had to hold on to were Twilight's memories. She relives them, and in reality they /are/ the only thing keeping her sane. But the cost is unimaginable loneliness.

There are obvious solutions to the probe's anguish. For example, it could build its own virtual reality, and relive the memories there, "experiencing" touch. For the purposes of this story though, I went with no such solution.

>>Morning Sun
I had initially considered if it should be Twilight herself, or an AGI with her memories. Ultimately, I went with the AGI. I thought that putting Twilight in that torture box was too much, even for me.

Then again, if an artificial consciousness feels pain, is it any less deserving of sympathy?

>>Ranmilia
Tough beats indeed!

The song was very much what inspired the story. The italics were meant to represent the duality of the intelligence on board of the probe. They are the unbidden thoughts, the deep longings, stuff that is beyond its control. I do think that using those next to more reasoned (even at times machine-like) thoughts makes for a nice contrast, and it was one of my goals. Though it did not work perfectly, I want to stand by it.

Thanks!

>>Not_A_Hat >>QuillScratch
And last but by no means least, the podcast folk! Thank you both for talking about my story!

Ah, that second to last line. I thought it would be readable, but turns out not. That's an ISO8601 date code, for the year 3271. It was only meant to indicate a far future point, and to be the reason why the probe basically knows how much time has passed. It's basically a computer's version of something like "I looked back at the clock. Only thirty seconds had passed."

Making the assumption that people would read it that way was entirely wrong, though.

"At that point in the structure there should be something revealed, and a backronym is not gonna cut it." - 100% right. I messed up on that.

The 300ms time passage was indeed just a zinger (I was actually gonna try and calculate the time it would take to cross through a solar flare at relativistic speeds and put that there, but ended up just putting in something that sounded about reasonable, without much thought). It's unfortunate that it ended up attracting attention, but I should be more mindful that people are going to pay close attention when there are this few words on the page.

I had not read Hammerfall, btw. Indeed some very similar ideas going on, as far as time perception, but that one is even faster.

And indeed, Exuno was right that the point was that these thoughts go through her head over and over and over again. The story is very much a "meditation on loneliness," as Xepher put it :)


Till next time, folks!