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Ever wonder what happened to these stories after the Writeoff? See: https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/800295/writeoff-and-fimfic-stories
#21251 ·
· on Neighton's Cradle
Yo, absolutely. It’s a system* that I purloined from Horizon a while back. In ascending order, the tiers are:

Keep Developing
Almost There
Top Contender

*: I don’t practice the system anywhere near as systematically as it was originally put forth by Horizon. However, I find it super helpful to have these kinds of tiered groupings when I’ve got a whole bunch of fics that I’ve gotta rank against each other—I can give an overall finger-in-the-wind guesstimate of how I’m going to vote on a given fic while retaining the flexibility to move it around within its tier on my slate.

I think this might be of decreasing overall value if Writeoffs continue attracting fewer fics, though. It’s also prone to occasional weirdness because of my subjective fleshbrain—like if the first story I pull seems like an instant Top Contender, I know from past experience that I’m almost always better off calling it Strong and trying to make sure I’ve worked myself into a sufficiently critical headspace. But then again, every so often we truly end up with a Writeoff where it’s just Strongs and/or TCs all the way down and trying to rank them is agony.

#21247 ·
· on Dolda Anslutningar · >>MLPmatthewl419
Yo Matthew, this is cool.

#21245 · 3
Next time, folks. Got my calendar marked and everything.

NEXT TIME. :rainbowdetermined2:
#21238 ·
· on On A Scrap of Paper, Hidden Away in Applejack's Drawers · >>Bachiavellian
Congrats! This was a treat. If you can get it to FimFiction, please do so; it deserves more attention!
#21206 · 1
· on Neighton's Cradle · >>Light_Striker
Genre: Sunbutt Sunbutt Burning Bright

Thoughts: I think there’s a valid and interesting subgenre of Celestia’s Fall fics. I think this could even be the beginning of one. My beef with this, though, is that it’s only a beginning.

Now I’ve done this too with past minifics, so I can hardly throw stones. But it’s ultimately just not as satisfying for the reader to be taken through the buildup and “first disaster” of a logical plot arc without getting to experience the rest of it. Celestia’s fall has earth-shattering implications that don’t scan as well with just a fade to black and a trailing “Dunn dunn dunnnnn...”

But I feel like that’s more of an issue with topic selection and story structure rather than a knock against what we get here. What’s on the page is pretty good! But it’s more like an intro or a trailer than the full thing. Keep working on the rest of it, and it’s bound to be a worthwhile journey.

Tier: Keep Developing
#21205 · 1
· on Pinkie Pie's Pocket Pamphet to being Hap-P · >>PinoyPony
Genre: Instructional Text

Thoughts: I am, regrettably, not in the target audience here. I have a much greater preference for stories in these contests, rather than other artifacts. I’ll make exceptions when something absolutely knocks it out of the park, such as with this contest’s Scrap of Paper in Applejack’s Drawers. But even there, I prefer when the work includes some kind of more story-like thrust, or a deeper look into a given character’s psyche.

What we get here is a competently assembled episode of Pinkie waxing manic about one of her ostensible favorite topics. There’s nothing wrong with that. But ultimately I’m not getting a “story” vibe from it. I think it also narrows its potential by focusing exclusively on Pinkie’s manic persona; I feel like Pinkie is more often made interesting by exploring her greater but sometimes less obvious depths.

Sorry Author. On the plus side, though, I ain’t gonna ding ya either.

Tier: Abstain
#21204 · 2
· on Forgotten Lessons Remembered · >>Posh
Genre: Shadow Boxing

Thoughts: WOW was the beginning rough. I’m totally on-board with the potential value of an opening accent poem and dropping in in media res, but I got pretty significant whiplash from trying to figure out who was talking and what was going on.

Similarly, I felt like the end got really jumbled with Starlight’s very brief mention of Sunburst, and then having Sunset and Twilight run in. It’s a lot of new elements and moving parts to drop in right as you’re delivering the core emotional moment & message of the fic. Like I was with it up through “—won't fix a thing,” but it got muddled afterwards.

Here’s the thing, though: the story has some really good bits in the middle. I like Starlight’s internal struggle about facing Tempest given what happened during the invasion & its impact on Trixie. There’s a wonderful bit of character exploration that happens by having Starlight literally want to beat the crap out of Tempest for what she’s done. It delivers a proper balance of MLP friendshippy-lessony stuff and a visceral reaction to trauma to show Starlight’s head going here. And couching it in a lesson given by Sunset is even better. Tempest’s point is true and gets delivered well as well.

Tier: Keep Developing
#21202 ·
· on The Forever Friend · >>PaulAsaran
Genre: Max Headroom

Thoughts: Talking heads is another high-risk design choice for a story. It economizes word count by keeping the focus purely on the characters’ dialogue, but it also requires everything to come across through that dialogue. The only exceptions are things like the verbal pauses that this story uses, which again don’t chew up any words, but which can’t convey any other details either.

In this case, I think the story comes close to being effective even though it’s rendered in a more challenging format. It does a good job of portraying Pinkie’s character in the wake of a pivotal moment of her personal development. It also does a good job of building tension around whether she’ll be able to escape wherever she’s ended up. I think it also does a fair job of conveying enough detail about the setting to start to build a mental picture.

However, I still find myself uncertain who this mysterious entity is, and what the full meaning and implications of Pinkie befriending it might be. With respect to >>Posh-Chan, I think it can’t be Nightmare Moon because it explicitly states that it’s not a pony. Without that knowledge, the story hamstrings some of the impact that it could’ve had. I also feel that the pauses were a bit obtrusive, and really would’ve been more effective if rendered through showing Pinkie’s (and the entity’s) body language (if applicable).

Still, it’s not a “miss.” It’s actually one of the better such stories that I’ve encountered. And I think it has more potential that could be unlocked by adding a nominal amount of narration beyond just the dialogue.

Tier: Almost There
#21196 · 4
· on On A Scrap of Paper, Hidden Away in Applejack's Drawers · >>Bachiavellian
Genre: Feels

Thoughts: I’m usually a stickler for desiring a story in these contests. Usually. But this is the rare exception that really won me over despite being something different. It’s emotional, heartfelt, and well-voiced. The pacing and structure are good, too. I feel like there’s a progression in AJ’s thoughts/concerns, which build smoothly from the initial head-fake about peaches (because peachfics used to be a thing, and as >>Miller Minus noted, it’s possible to take a different meaning from the phrase “Applejack’s Drawers”) all the way through to AJ showing how she’s gotten to a state of feeling mostly okay. It’s a progression that feels almost story-like even though it’s kind of not.

This strikes me as the sort of high-risk/high-reward piece that deserves acclaim when it’s done well.

Tier: Top Contender
#21192 · 2
· on In Spirit Golden · >>Meridian_Prime
Genre: Origin Story

Thoughts: I kinda wondered from the first mention of green eyes if this was going to be a Chrysalis origin. I’m okay with that, and I like what the story did with her.

I think my biggest beef here is with some fridge logic around Solar Swirl. I don’t feel like the story presents a motivation for him going along with Gossamer’s request. She exhibits several behaviors that might telegraph untrustworthiness, including an explicit statement that she wants to gain the power to control the kind of magic that he’s researched. And I’m left wondering why he’d freely give her that power without any kind of compensation or assurances about her intentions for it.

Otherwise, though, this is pretty great. It’s clean from a technical perspective. It wins style points for diving right in with its first line and holding the action firmly out to the last line. And it probably makes the right choice by using its limited wordcount to focus on Gossamer from inside of Solar’s head—that strikes me as not just a choice to help preserve the reveal, but to make the most of the space.

Tier: Strong
#21165 · 2
· on Long Distance Beauty Calling or Something Like That
I might not be in this round, but >>Posh-Chan pulled review-aggro from me with the mention of Crisis on Infinite Twilights, so here we go. Yatta!

Genre: Multiversal Tinder

Thoughts: I was amused by the story’s core premise and final revelation. Granted, I’m a bit biased in favor of multiple-Twilight shenanigans anyway. But juggling multiple characters who are essentially the same isn’t easy, and I think this did a good job of keeping things readable and comprehensible throughout. It certainly doesn’t put much in the way of one’s ability to enjoy said shenanigans if one’s so inclined.

I do think the ending would benefit from a bit more resolution, though. The sudden cut to Spike at once both does and doesn’t wrap things up. Yes, some sort of impending mult-Twilight horseshoe-knocking is pretty clearly implied, but I don’t feel like that’s intrinsically satisfying given the otherwise high-concept pursuit of better living through SCIENCE! magic that the Twilights have engaged in. This might be personal bias again, but IMO it’d be much funnier to have the female Twilights descend into pseudo-intellectual arguments about how they’re going to share (or not) the object of their various pursuits, rather than stepping towards him with an unspoken “GET ‘IM!” And then there’s the matter of Spike himself pulling our focus away from the conflict that’s brewing right at the moment where it seems ready to start boiling over. I totally get running out of words in a Minific contest, assuming that the Spike-cut was a way of managing that—God knows I’ve had to face that word count struggle umpteen times myself. But it’s still kind of a bummer when it feels like there’s more to a story’s premise and potential that’s just being left on the shelf.

Nevertheless, I feel this does what it does pretty well and it’s bound to clean up well for FimFiction. Though if I could chide the Twilights a bit: who can find a perfect mate? Even “long-term reasonably happy and satisfied” isn’t perfect.

Tier: Almost There
#21131 · 2
>>Baal Bunny
I couldn’t get anything out of the prompt either, I’m afraid. D:

I have failed the test. I will diminish, and go into the West, and remain CoffeeMinion.
#21091 · 2
Got some fun prompts this time. I’m looking forward to digging in.

Eyy, welcome aboard! Any other new folks out there this time? We won’t bite, I promise...

(Posh, don’t bite the new people, y’all been told)
#21071 · 2
· · >>Light_Striker
I’ve been making noise about returning for the last six months. Can I finally accomplish more than making noise? Stay tuned!
#20824 ·
· on She Was Made for This
Nuts. Artist, I'm sorry this didn't fare better in the results. This helped inspire a story idea that I think will ultimately have legs and show up at some point.
#20805 · 1
· on Limelight
I really liked this piece. Troubleshoes doesn’t get nearly enough love! This gave me a pretty wild story idea as well. ^^
#20772 · 1
· · >>Moosetasm
Alas, I better call it now: I’m out. I came up with some good ideas, including a couple of usable outlines that will hopefully translate into future stories. I’ve also started on a story that I think has legs and that could’ve turned out nicely if I wasn’t so bloody slow this time around. The spirit is willing but the fingers and brain ain’t moving fast enough!

Godspeed to the rest of ya. Evidently I need to do some more training to get back into Writeoff-shape again. :rainbowdetermined2:
#20767 · 1
· · >>scifipony
Congrats! I look forward to reading the entries. Mine’s progress has been slow, but I’m still hoping to make it.
#20747 ·
· on The Other Side of Summer
Man, this is haunting and beautiful.
#20727 ·
· on For all we know, it may be there. It's not like you can check
I think this deserves a special award for being by far the most METAL submission this round. Seriously, this needs to be the cover image for an L-Train/Elias Frost track, or you could go the other direction and get into heavy wubbin' with someone like Silvahound or PVNK. Either way, I'll be kinda T.O.'d if this doesn't show up on Cider Party one a these days.

...sorry, what were we talking about? :-p
#20726 · 1
· on "There's a distinct lack of hugs in your future..."
This is pretty much top-tier work. I could beg for some more detail in the crystal ball itself, but everything else is unabashedly fantastic.
#20725 · 1
· on the reversal of Fortune
>>Miller Minus
Naw, I'm pretty sure this is an OC, not a canon character. (Though I still need to catch up on a couple of S8 episodes from mid-season... but I haven't seen this guy pop up elsewhere, either.)

Still though, very nice stuff here! Great comic-y style. I like how the slice of background is handled, as well as the pose and energy of our hero. I'd love to see what a fully-developed comic in this style would look like.
#20723 ·
· on Dedicated and Everything!
Thank you for the tarot explanation, as well as stating more of what you see here... I actually don’t see some colors very well, so that went completely over my head until you pointed it out!

Artist, this raises my esteem of the work. It’s simple but there’s clearly more going on beyond the obvious.
#20695 · 3
A’ight, if nopony else wants to kick this off, I’ll do so with a bit of self-parody. Anypony who recognizes the two source-fics for this gets +1 Innertube:

Queen Chrysalis leveled a withering glare at the shaggy brown earth pony stallion who stood trussed-up in the sticky green goo lining her bedchamber’s wall. She flicked her tongue out into the air, using it to smell the cloying stench of fear that radiated off her captive like the cheap perfume her agents wore when infiltrating pony retirement communities.

The hangdog-looking creature dared meet her eyes for a moment, before resuming his rightful contemplation of the black-stone cave floor that he hung several heads above by his upraised hooves.

“Glottis told me you were filled with a piquant, almost nutty-tasting love,” she hissed. “I’ll have to have his tongue examined... perhaps after removing it from his empty head.”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about, ma’am,” the stallion drawled, somehow hunching his shoulders even more than they already were, which already seemed to defy the physical possibilities allowed by his upright, locked position.

“You would toy with me, slave?” spat Chrysalis, stalking closer to him. The dirt and grime matting his overgrown coat gave him a darkened, almost changeling-ish appearance in the sickly green light. “Tell me: what name shall we enscribe upon your tombstone, at least if my beautiful little Scrimshaw is still looking for more arts and crafts activities?”

He shivered briefly, but then cleared his throat. “Name’s Dobbin, ma’am... and this is all a big misunderstanding.”
#20688 · 1
· · >>Moosetasm

Mein Gott, that was more than two years ago?! :rainbowderp:

Well yes, by all means, let’s again! Just need a prompt or summat to kick us off. Concepts, anyone? (Poking >>georg — you always seem to be a font of good ideas!) ^^
Paging WIP