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#19689 · 12
· · >>Pascoite
>>BlueChameleonVI

I think the issue is less fearing that you're a spambot and more the fact that right now, the Writeoff is going through a clear unbalance when it comes to stories submitted v. stories reviewed.

This is perfectly natural: we all have busy lives, reviewing a story and commenting takes time, and sometimes it can be a bit of a drag. But ultimately, a lower activity in the reviewing phase of the Writeoff is bad for the authors. It means less criticism, and a much lesser feeling of accomplishment -- we write because we want to be reviewed, not for the sake of it. The Writeoff is both a competition and a workshop.

The issue here then is that if you submit nine stories, you're hogging what little activity the Writeoff is having. A couple reviewers -- me included! -- tried to focus on the stories with three or less comments because it's legitimately unfair to see how others hog more attention than you when there's no real reason for it. It's not an issue of quality; some of the 'ignored' stories were actually some of the best ones in this round.

Adding to this is the fact that the ballot of each writer is randomized. If you write nine stories, that's eight slots in that random ballot that you're taking from other authors who might have only submitted one; you're taking votes from them, views from them, comments from them... Admitting that you do this, in part, because you like having more notifications is only proof of this, really. Those notifications are comments that don't go to the other participants.

If you want to submit more than one entry, by all means do so -- but then pull your weight. In all honesty: submitting nine stories, and then reviewing none, is a dick move. You're hogging attention and spamming the writeoff without adding your weight later. You significantly make the round worse for the less lucky writers. Again: Posh is a great example.

I don't think flash fiction is the best way to learn how to write. I think it's a way to hon skills that you get through practicing with more traditional stories -- but that's beside the point. What I'm saying is, there is something to talk about when it comes to the topic of submitting such a large number of entries, but I don't think it's your possible reputation as a spambot.

In other words: pull your weight. Review at least as many stories as you submit. Otherwise, plain and simple, It's not fair to other writers who don't have the time to write more than one entry, or who like to polish what they send so that it's as perfect as possible, instead of sending a number of entries and hoping for the best. This is making the Writeoff palpably less enjoyable for some, and I've heard people talking about seriously considering leaving the Writeoff for this kind of stuff.

I can and will both understand and defend your desire to get better, but you can't do that at the cost of other user's experiences, man.
#2207 · 7
· on The Faintest Smile · >>Trick_Question >>Trick_Question >>Monokeras >>Leo >>Icenrose
Boy, is it me, or are the comments in this writeoff being way more callous than usual? These are minifics, people. It's about the best thing you can do with 400-700 words. It's not about changing your life, it's about telling a compelling story in the minimum amount of words possible.

I mean, this is about concept, sure, but execution is the key here, yo. Keep that in mind.

TL;DR: Dudes. Fellas. Buddies. Mates. Brosephanies. Chill the fuck out. There are some first-timers here, and while you might mean well by simply stating your opinion, try to ease it into the writers.

Weirdly enough, I'm not talking about the comments for this story in particular, just talking in general.


Now, story itself: yeah this was pretty damn neat. The body language was great, a full-fledged story was told in just a bunch of words, and we get a feeling of everything that's happened in a really showy way, which is commendable as hell given the format. I don't see why Brian's comment is seen as bad -- I saw it as a mixture of him being blunt and him being maybe a little bit dumb... But perfectly realistic.

And, like, one can't expect foreshadowing in here. That would be counterproductive, given the length of the story. It would sound repetitive. As it stays, the story is pretty much as good as it gets -- I wouldn't change a thing. Props, author. This is a go-to guide in good character writing.



>>Monokeras

I am more dubious on the need you had to make the deceased woman a military. There are thousand reasons why someone can die outside being a soldier, so plumping for that particular possibility gives a characteristic tang to your story.


Gotta say, this bit baffled me. It's a story -- details like this one give the story a bit more character. I can't see why one would criticise something like choosing how the dead character died.

I mean, I guess that if she was a truck driver and died in a truck accident, the story would have a weirder ring, but 'unno. This feels a little bit gratuitous a point to make, broski.
#1882 · 5
· on If, Amidst the Flames, a Pony
While I admire the narration, this would have way better if it wasn't pretty much If a Winter's Night A Traveller by Italo Calvino, only, y'know, in the Writeoff.

I mean, it's obviously not plagiarized at all -- this is clearly written from scratch -- but the concept is the exact same. You, the reader, are going to read a story, but it's faulty and you can't get to the end. You try to get another go, and it's a different story. And between bursts of story you read, there's a little adventure for ya.

It's a great concept, and this is well-written? But yeah, I think that taking the entire concept and baseline of the story from something that already exists is like... eh. Too much inspiration by Calvino, to the point where I can't really enjoy this. I just think that hey, I should re-read Winter's Night.
#15278 · 5
·
OH YES.

EDITING A TYPO FROM MY PHONE, 17 SECONDS BEFORE THE DEADLINE.

LIVING ON THE EDGE.
#15446 · 5
· on The Bonds You Choose, and Those You Leave Behind · >>GaPJaxie >>AndrewRogue
I'm going to be the bad guy here, I'm afraid?

Look, before we even start -- this is well-written. The dialogue flows, the prose is good, this is a well-constructed story. From a technical point of view I legit have nothing to say, which is a damn good thing. I don't know how many stories you've written, author, but this clearly shows that you know how to write one. If you've written a lot, hoo boy, does it show, congrats. If you haven't, hoo boy, it doesn't show, congrats too. Really good writing here.

But, story-wise? Eeeeeh?

I mean, this is just -- snotty ponies are snotty. Vinyl isn't snotty. Hell, she's portrayed in the least snotty way possible, with an added "gee what kind of girlfriend I wouldn't be if I didn't [ACT OF KINDNESS HERE] let's have mac and cheese" moment on top of it all. This a really, really predictable story, told in a really, really obvious way.

I'm not gonna call for subtlety because this story doesn't need subtlety. Vinyl being inconditionally supportive and outright explaining how she's the polar opposite of every other pony in the story to date is as subtle as a hammer to the face, because subtlety would make the story worse. Maybe something a bit less heavy-handed would've been slightly less jarring, but the idea is solid.

However, I do think this needs some more originality. Within three seconds of starting this story I knew exactly what was going to happen. The conflict is one I've seen, read, and heard a million times already -- both outside of ponyfic and in ponyfic alone. Especially regarding these two.

"Octavia's family/friends don't approve of Vinyl" tends to be a cliché subplot in most stories about these two, so as a main plot?

Eeeh. Again: really well-written. This is not a bad story at all. It is, however, really unoriginal. I say that if you added something to the story to make it stand out it would be pretty damn good, because the technical level is absolutely there and -- usually -- that is by far the hardest thing to get right.

But, as-is, this is more of an exercise in writing than a story per se. It adds nothing new to the table; it's readable but pretty forgettable, and we know what's going to happen within three seconds of the story. Those are pretty big flaws, sadly, so I'd say to me it's a definite mid-tier. Won't go to the bottom of the list any time soon because it's well written, but not to the top either.

I'm kinda feeling guilty about writing this? I don't want you to be bummed out, author, 'cause obviously a lot of effort (or a lot of skill) went into the story. The scenes flow well, the characters are well-defined, the prose is good, etc. It's just the storytelling, the plot, that's lacking. So, hey, you've pretty much almost there -- you just need to add some more flavor, something to surprise the reader, and you'll have a knock-out.
#18959 · 5
· on Clumsy · >>Oblomov >>Miller Minus >>Miller Minus
All the good stories I've read have no comments. Hardly fair, dang.

Author: I really liked this. It was honestly great. The main challenge of minifics like these is to tell something compelling in few words, and building an entire narrative within those limitations.

This story is the perfect example of that. It tells a lot with very little; the character interactions are gripping, the story is fleshed out and has a lot of weight to it, and the fact that the story is about what Matthew doesn't say, rather than about what he does say, is IMO a really clever way to tell the story.

Matt and how he reacts rings true, and the conversation with Ty is heartbreaking. Overall, I have nothing bad to say about this, and little criticism. No idea what I'd do to make it better; I can't see a way to do so.

Top of my ballot, with ease. Cheers, Author. This one's a killer.
#1575 · 4
· on To Make a Choice
Right, I gotta make a wrap-up for this. Ahem:

>>Ratlab
Yooooooooooooooooooooo--

>>Orbiting_kettle
--ooooooooooooooooooo--

>>Not_A_Hat
--ooooooooooooooo?

>>TitaniumDragon
Yo. Yooooo--

>>Bradel
--ooooOOOOOOOOOOOO--

>>horizon
--OOOoooaaaw shit.


Yeah that about wraps it up.

I'm so good at this.



Anyway -- thanks for taking the time to comment, guys. Awesome reviews, they meant a lot to me. You really made me think about what to do to improve this bit. Barely had time to write it, but still, I wish I'd had more time to develop it before the writeoff.

Oh well. At least now I have a really clear idea on what to do, which means you guys sorta did my work for me. Hahah. I didn't even pay you.
#15887 · 4
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak
>>horizon

I honestly don't think picking up that a story was fishy, and calling it out when you feel it is, is "a negative contribution". Honestly, it's kind of the opposite.

That aside, I'm fairly sure I'm not the only one who thinks the writeoff would be much worse without you; just this round alone you wrote two or three extremely helpful posts for the new writers, and your reviews have been a stable for quality criticism for ages.

As fucking ironic it is for me of all people to say this, don't undersell yourself, man. You truly make the writeoffs a better place, and I say that extremely cheesy thing with absolutely zero hint of irony.
#19107 · 4
· on At Least Seventeen Pictures
>>Cassius
YEAH.

YOU TELL 'EM.

>>Monokeras
I suspect the choice you made was not fully innocent. Write about children is like writing about foals in pony rounds, it’s a good way to earn general appreciation.


Funnily enough, this didn't even cross my mind when writing. I was kinda lost and had no idea what to do with the prompt, so I just thought about something unwolfish that could howl in the night -- a kid -- and then I thought of some kind of story with a moral I liked that I could tell.

I kept going back to how as a kid I was scared of the dark, but when I was taking care of my little brother, who was ALSO scared of the dark, I would suddenly stop caring. So I just went, eh, fuck it, that's an idea. Not the most original, but I certainly was not expecting people to think that its main purpose was it being cute. I like writing children, so I just wrote that -- the cute factor was kind of an accident.

>>Dubs_Rewatcher

Yeah I pretty much agree with this. I posted this because why the fuck not, but I'm not super happy with this entry, I think it's really bland. I took it as an exercise -- tell an entire story in 750 words and make it so it doesn't feel like you're rushing -- and a way to practice a kind of voicing I enjoy. The plot and the idea behind the story are IMO nothing to write home about.

Thanks to those who liked it, tho. Y'all legit.

As for your title... I'm not seeing how it's related to the piece aside from that line at the end. Am I missing a deeper connection?


Nah you're not missing anything. I finished it, had no idea what to call it, and I just went for the first sentence I could find that sounded good. The title means nothing per se.

>>Baal Bunny
Shit that is actually pretty cute a concept, especially if it's mentioned at the start -- 'he didn't say Mommy, he said Mom, beause that sounded more grownup/that's what Dad called her' -- but then he slips back to 'Mommy' and the narration doesn't call attention to it.

Now I'm iffed I didn't think of that myself. Dang.
#19657 · 4
· on Boar Guest's "Book of Fanciful Beasts", Chapter 5 · >>horizon
Gah hah hah.

So, as I've been saying over in the Discord Chat, this story is absolutely a reference to Jorge Luis Borges' Libro de los Seres Imaginarios, which I guess in English is translated to Book of Imaginary Beasts. It's a book I actually own twice, and it was the first Borges book I ever read. It scared the shit out of me as a kid.

I'm so sure that this is a reference to that book, not so much for the title -- which is, like, a dead giveaway -- but for the structure, too. This is actually a very well put-together homage to that book, because what Borges does is to create a sort of dictionary of mythological beasts, all of them weird as hell, and explain them and their characteristics based on old legends and what pieces of literature accross the globe have said about them.

It reads exactly like this story, which is why I liked it so much. The idea of random facts about the Air Rays (as well as the way they're told) was the entire point of this thing.

Okay, I'm being a little bit fuzzy here, because I don't know if I'm squeeing over the book or over the story. This is gonna be a bit long, but hey, the author went and wrote a fic about the one book I'd marry if it were legally possible. They sorta deserve it.


Look, the quality of this story is hard to read. On the one hand, if it's supposed to simply be a "translation" of Borges to Equestria, with a completely new imaginary beast, then the story is impeccable. Details about how Air Rays are voracious based on a single line Gryphons say is a very Borges thing to do. The style is brought perfectly well, and on that basis alone, this story would be a perfect ten from my completely and utterly unbiased point of view.

However, if we take this as a story, things change a little. The thing about that book is that Borges made up the concept and created an entire dictionary you can look at random to read about some imaginary animals you'd probably never heard of (there's literally an entry that's just "an animal dreamed by Kafka", go figure) and then chuckle and go back to your business. It's a great book, don't get me wrong, but it's a weird one, and it definitely benefits from multiple entries.

Because when you have an entirely original concept and you play it out like that, the book actually becomes something extremely rewarding for the reader, based on novelty and ability to lose yourself alone. It's a strange kind of worldbuilding, so to speak. But that isn't exactly translated to this minific entry, even if it really does a good job in imitating Borges' style.

First of all, because it really doesn't do anything... new? With that? It's just an entry. It's also the single most basic interpretation of the picture you can think of, which does not exactly add points -- you literally went and wrote a dictionary entry of the title of that picture and submitted it. Sure, you went and chose the single best dictionary ever written, but it's still kind of dry.

This doesn't tell a story, is the thing. The book told a story because it was a series of entries; one, by itself, just sorta happens on its own. I like how it paints Air Rays, I love everything about this minific, but I also understand that this is not actually a story, it's, as Bachiavellian said, a random collection of facts about Air Rays.

That's in the end what the story wanted to be, and I get that -- so in that regard, well-done, Author. If you told me you wanted to post this in fimfic as part of a bigger anthology of imaginary animals, I would beg you to tell me so I can participate and write one or two entries too. But as it stands, this kind of thing needs a narrative to work; the readers don't know what they're supposed to expect, and it's easy to think this is leading up to something.


So tl;dr: this is a great homage to Borges, but that's all it is, really. It doesn't really add anything to that idea, it doesn't tell a story with the format, it doesn't particularly benefit from being a ponyfic... It's just doing exactly the same thing Borges did in 1981, but it lacks one of the things that made that book special -- mainly, the fact that it was a dictionary, that it was a SERIES of entries that built on each other to create an entire catalogue of stories and books.

This, alone, in the end is nothing but random tidbits that add up to nothing and are left floating. I'm glad this wasn't on my slate, because I would have had a really difficult time rating it. My first instinct is to immediately place it first, but analyzing it on its own? I don't know, it's a tricky one.

Fucking props on the writing and on the imagination it took to write shit like the Air Ray dying of heartbreak after witnessing the filly feeding a windroc, though. Those details I loved; it's just that this doesn't work as a single minific.