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#17594 · 10
I'll be in the #mentors channel of the DIscord server on Saturday. Spotty during the day, but pretty solid at night, from around 8 PM to 2 AM Eastern. Anyone wants another pair of eyes on their story, ask there or PM me directly via Discord or FiMFiction.
#15294 · 7
· · >>Kitcat36
To the new participants:

Welcome! It's nice to see you coming to develop and show off your writing skills. First off, one thing I'd like to add to horizon's commentary above (>>horizon). Yes, don't strain yourself to put more into commenting on others' stories than you're comfortable with, but if you do decide to go into some detail, horizon mentioned thinking about not just that something in a story bothered you, but trying to track down exactly why it bothered you. What I want to expand on with that is that the process of doing so will really help you in your own writing.

It's a lot easier to see problems in someone else's story. In your own, you know what you meant to say, you know all the elements of your universe that didn't explicitly make it into the story, you know your characters. It's harder to realize that you didn't communicate something, because you already know what was supposed to be communicated. So when you actually think about how that communication broke down in another's story, it's a more effective way of seeing how someone else perceives your story. Even if it's only pondering this stuff in your head instead of typing it out to the author, your writing will improve because of it.

Also read the reviews that others are leaving on the stories you didn't write (preferably after you've read the stories and (arguably) after you've registered your vote) to see what kinds of things they're looking for. You'll always learn something, even if you completely disagree with their critique.

Now, my main point. I used to do this thing where I offered reviewing help to the new participant who finishes the highest, as a little incentive to put in a good effort. The problem is that while the previous recipients were happy for the opportunity, not one ever actually took me up on it. One transferred it to a friend, and that didn't end well. The rest never sent me anything. So with the number of new people in this round, and with my reviewing queue pretty empty at the moment, I'm game to offer it again, but I have to ask: would any of you use it?
#15884 · 7
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak · >>horizon
7 ballots ranked you in first place. Nobody else got more than 3. I don't know what that means, but it's damned interesting.
#17405 · 7
I'll be in #mentors Saturday evening/night again, if anyone wants an outside eye on their story, or you can PM me from FiMFic, if you're not in the Discord server.
#7612 · 6
· · >>Pascoite >>Trick_Question

I guess I'm up for another go. Anyone who wants some feedback on your story before you submit it, the post linked above explains how it works. Few will apply, even fewer will be chosen!
#15532 · 6
· on Monsters · >>Cassius >>Trick_Question
I read this because I wondered what all the fuss was about. I'd been skipping most of the comments that were directly about stories except where one of them caught my interest. This title isn't an attention-grabber, and nothing in the comments stood out to me until today, when it got some pretty strong language from some.

I don't get how several people interpreted this as potentially trying to be funny. The part with the balloons could be a comic setup, but as nothing had taken a comic tone before that, I wasn't in the mind of a comedy at that point. Plus there aren't that many options with their technology for catching something that flies, though maybe some kind of launched net might work better. But I digress.

This is a very difficult subject to deal with, not only for portraying anyone in even the slightest sympathetic light, but also in giving it the gravity it requires to feel like it's done for more than shock value or pathos. And in my mind, Dash, does behave as if she's giving it the proper weight. She's not making light of the situation, and she treats it very seriously. However, she's not dealing with it in a healthy manner. Saying that this all goes away once Scootaloo is of age is dodging the problem, and she pretty much admits that. What floors me is that the doctor is content to sit back and do nothing but listen and occasionally ask a question leading Dash to more self-examination. And while it's valuable for a psychiatrist to avoid being too judgmental about things, this is different. She's being very irresponsible in failing to discourage behavior that's destructive to more than just Dash, and she's failing to discourage conduct that's very seriously illegal and immoral. For that matter, why would she spill the beans to Scootaloo's family? Shouldn't Scootaloo be able to seek treatment with complete confidentiality? Urging her to involve her family in her healing process is one thing, but forcing her to, and quite possibly without forewarning? If one thing makes the whole story fall flat to me, it's the doctor's completely unbelievable conduct. A story like this should be real, very starkly real, and she just kicked my suspension of disbelief out the window right when the story couldn't afford to do so.

I mean, I can't really say myself what a realistic portrayal of this problem would be. I only know what I've seen when my wife likes to watch Law and Order: SVU, and I don't doubt that has a lot of Hollywood embellishment, so Dash herself didn't come across as fake to me. I'll defer to those who know the subject better.

The secondary issue is how over the top Scootaloo is in the first scene. I never got a comic vibe from her, but going over the top is certainly one way to effect comedy, so maybe that's where some of the other readers are picking that up. But even if it didn't create genre dissonance for me, it still made this feel far less authentic than they should. Someone who's been dropping subtle hints she feels aren't being perceived would just go to more overt things, right? Like directly stating what she wants, not forcing the issue.

So on a type of story that requires the utmost adherence to realism and authenticity, you lost me on both counts. But I don't fault the writing itself. The word choice, sentence flow, etc., were well done, so I have no doubt you're an able author. You just picked a subject that you couldn't fit in the word count, give the gravity it needed, do the research for, and all that stuff.
#17600 · 6
And an addendum to what kind of help #mentors offers. You can ask specific conceptual questions, get help planning a story, or have someone look over a partial or complete draft. Any phase of the story is fair game.
#18681 · 6
Reminder: I'll be available in #mentors or via email/FiMFic PM for anyone who wants another set of eyes on their entry. However, I'll be out of town on Sunday, so I can't promise I'll be on duty then. I'll try, but I don't know what the hotel wi-fi will be like or what my schedule will be. If you want help, even on an incomplete draft, you might want to play it safe and ask on Saturday. I will keep a status message up in #mentors saying whether I'm on duty.
#19917 · 6
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Almost an hour and no comments yet? What's wrong with you people?
#3825 · 5
· · >>Kitcat36 >>Pascoite
I meant to try something new this round, but I should have said so when prompt voting was still going on. The writing period snuck up on me, and I have email notifications off, so... I guess I lose out.

Anyway, here's my idea. I'll help one person a day with their story. On Friday (which won't happen now, since it's already Friday), that might mean only helping flesh out the premise and warning of any pitfalls I can envision with it. On Saturday, that might be seeing the start of the story or maybe even a rough draft. On Sunday, that might be giving a full review of the finished product. Whatever you have done at the time. Just provide me a link to the work in progress, if there is one, and I'll go over it before making myself available for an hour for live discussion.

So here are the rules. Send me a PM on FiMFiction saying what day you want. Obviously, Sunday is more useful, but that means most people will pick it, so that also makes any one person less likely to get it. So do you want to play for better odds or feedback on something that's as close as possible to being finished? The choice is yours. I will randomly choose one of the people who requested each day and notify them by 1 PM Eastern time on Saturday via FiMFiction PM that they were selected. I will only contact the selected ones, so if you don't hear from me, you weren't picked. I will be available any time between 7:00 PM and 11:59 PM Eastern each day. The clock gets triggered when you send me a link to your in-progress doc. I will spend an hour leaving comments and suggestions on it. Take whatever time you want to look over those, then contact me by a method of your choice (FimFic PM, email/Gchat, Skype chat, Google hangouts, Skype call). I will spend up to an hour talking to you about your story and answering questions, and I will leave it up to you to establish that contact. Just make sure all of that happens during those hours. Keep in mind that you'll need to send me a contact request on Skype first if you want to use that, and identify who you are if your Skype ID differs much from your FiMFiction one. I use this same user ID on Google, gmail, and Skype as on FiMFiction and here. I will not reveal which authors I did or didn't help, but if you want to tell people, that's your business. I will not be entering the write-off myself, so I have no conflict of interest.

Will this actually help? That's up to you to decide. In short story rounds, I've made the finals often enough, but it's been a long time since I got a medal in one. I also often differ quite a bit on what stories I think deserve to be the top finishers, so take that for what it's worth. I may persuade you to do things that other reviewers don't like. In fact, that's probably guaranteed to happen, since most choices you make will appeal to some readers and not to others. Almost nothing is universally liked. Still, I think it will be a net positive.

If this works out well, I may do it regularly, or I may expand to minific rounds (where I could probably help several people per day).

I'm interested to see whether I get any takers and if it makes a difference.