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AKA Postive Feedback Guy (TM). The same demon baby you know and possibly love from Fimfic, now with added underscore.
Gold medal
Not the Whole Truth
FiM Minific
1st
100%
225
In Your Quietest Voice
Bronze medalLightbulbMortarboard
Through A Mirror, Brightly
FiM Minific
3rd
85%
178
In Spirit Golden
Ribbon
The Grass isn't Greener
Original Short Story
4th
50%
163
A Good Glass of Gin
Not the Whole Truth
FiM Minific
6th
44%
8
Rest Easy, Justified
Ribbon
I Did My Best
Original Short Story
7th
0%
0
The Gift & The Well
#21073 · 8
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa >>CoffeeMinion
Right. Haven't done this before, but there's a first time for everything! Let's give it a shot.
#22710 · 6
·
Really, REALLY can't promise anything but I might try and put in an entry for this one? I'm currently trying to scrape my brain through creating midterm exams despite a) no teaching qualifications b) about a month of teaching experience so it entirely depends on whether I can finish THAT before the weekend....
#21293 · 3
·
Well that was close. Very nearly didn't get anything done at all. Not my best work, but I'm glad I got something in.

Time for bed now, I think.
#21638 · 3
· on The Changeling · >>Miller Minus
The conflict here is made pretty obvious by the title alone. But that's not the point of the story now, is it?

I may be totally off the mark here but: this feels like a story about the trans experience. Even if unintentionally, you've done a wonderful job of showcasing the subtle claws of dysphoria, both personal and societal, in a way that translates seamlessly to the world of MLP.

Execution wise, this is excellent as well. If I spent a lot of time I'm sure there are lots of wonderful things I could point out, but suffice to say that everything read cohesively, immersively and engagingly. Top-tier for me.
#21780 · 3
· on Kitsune · >>Miller Minus
I'm not entirely sure I understood exactly what was going on by the end, but that only added to my impression of an unholy masterpiece.

I want to give you a good review, but I'm not sure I can. It's intimidating.

But christ on a bike this is good. Every word feels carefully picked. By the end, every line lands like a precisely swung hammer. Guh. Loved this.
#21824 · 3
· on A Good Glass of Gin
>>Meridian_Prime
Who's this moron?

Anyway, retrospective is a go! First off, I'm pretty surprised that this did as well as it did. As my own comment revealed, I was a bit unsure of my execution of it--what you got was actually a second draft I intended to go back to on Saturday night before a sudden and rather horrific hayfever attack that left be bedridden for most of the next 24 hours. But I'm still pretty happy with the concept, and I'm very happy with a respectable fourth place.

>>Baal Bunny
Both the next too reviewers had much the same issue that you did with the story, so it's something I clearly need to address. The funny thing is though that I didn't really think very much about the whole Apocalypse angle--more specifically, I wasn't worried about it clashing with his idea of liking being a little more normal. In retrospect, this was a bit dumb, and why I really should have badgered my random friend who I press-ganged into being pre-reader into actually reading the damn thing before the submission date. Sometimes you really just need someone else to point out "why is that there" for you to realise something obviously wrong with your story.

My vague thoughts on the matter were along the lines of how some people think about the big bang. Namely, that when the universe eventually goes into total heat death, things will eventually collapse inwards into another big bang and the whole universe will start again. I was sort of thinking of the apocalypse less as 'God destroys the world just because' and more 'the world already ended (hence why we see no human characters at any point in the story) and God is just cleaning up and starting again'. However, this was very much confined to my head rather than anywhere at all in the text. If/when I rework this, I'll definitely need to either add that subtext in as actual text (or even actual subtext rather than JK Rowling-esque author headcanon) or just ditch the apocalypse bit. I'm not sure it's needed.

>>No_Raisin
I'm glad you like the concept! Most people seem to have approved, which makes me think I've got something worth chipping away at here. I'm even more glad you like the dialogue, since it is (as you mentioned) most of the story.

I go into a bit of detail above in my response to Baal about my flub a la Apocalypse--suffice to say, I have read less of the bible than you, and did not fully think through "hey let's just have the end of the fucking world in here lol". I did have some reasoning behind the decision, but I really don't think it holds up under scrutiny, and I will definitely be changing this part quite a bit. Maybe just make the story about Mr. Holy Trinity just generally slacking on godly duties, rather than specifically putting the Apocalypse behind schedule.

Your other point is... not wrong. I only really noticed when re-reading if after your comment, but there's definitely an abrupt shift once Mary comes along. Things like this are why pre-readers/long-suffering friends are essential. :/ I'll work on it--maybe expand it a little? But just having visitor after visitor feels a bit like I'm adding words for the sake of adding words. I dunno. I'll work on it.

>>WritingSpirit
You always write me amazing comments. Bombay Sapphire bless you. ^_^

Speaking of, your suggestion to actually name him is an interesting one, and actually has a lot of merit. To be honest, I was kind of considering it early in the writing process, but discarded it once I couldn't think of a name that felt fitting. The closest I came was just calling him 'Abe' as in Abraham, or 'Jay' as in Jay-Z Jehovah. But you've converted me back to the idea.

And man, the new Good Omens adaptation was great. Definitely part of where this idea came from (along with this Bon Iver song).

The interactions between Bombay Sapphire and everyone is pretty nice. Seeing as the majority of the story is carried by the dynamics of Bombay Sapphire's relationship with everyone, all you needed to do was to make those relationships feel grounded, mellifluous, and worthwhile, to which I can attest: "Mission Accomplished".

This was my big goal for this story, so I'm glad I got that right!

Yet despite that, however, it didn't really draw my interest further into the story any more than the premise already did. I think there are definitely some points of the dialogue that I think could be expanded further, like when Bombay Sapphire answered Enoch's question about why he was building the still, or his response to Mary calling him a child. As it is right now, it's good, but I personally believe more can be done to really let every one of Bombay Sapphire's moments with them shine.

That's completely fair. More than that even--you've given me some great pointer on 'where to go and try and flesh things out more'. You're right, both the 'child' moment and the actual first answer he gives to 'why are you up here doing this' could use more depth to them.

The issues about the use of Revelations in this story pointed out by my fellow reviewers is definitely what stopped me from getting into the story properly, in that Bombay Sapphire's motives as the story progresses seems to be inherently asinine.

Ouch. This, and the paragraphs following, pretty brutally deconstruct exactly how dumb I was being about the apocalypse issue. I answered in more depth above to Baal, but essentially I didn't think it through enough, and didn't make the rather shaky reasoning I had for God's actions clear in the text at all. The consensus seems to be this was a make or break issue that fell very much on the break side, and in retrospect I can only ruefully agree.This is clearly the biggest thing I need to fix here. And while I'm going to at least tinker with the idea of making the apocalypse angle work better, I think I am most likely going to stop serving the apocalypse and gin cocktail. Possibly start serving them in separate bars entirely.

Finally:
That's not how it works in our neighbourhood, Bombay Sapphire. You hear me, I know you can read the WriteOff comments from up there, you tempestuous backwards mongrel.

You really do write the best comments. Even when you're tearing me (and Bombay Sapphire) a new one.

Last but never least: >>Miller Minus
...Yeah, I really fucked up the apocalypse angle. I don't really have answers for your first paragraph here, as I didn't have any when I was writing this. And no, I don't think Sunday school would have helped.

I also found the dialogue to be stilted in places, and I'm not sure how much of that is an issue with the dialogue itself, or with the amount of character description that's gone into these interactions. Between most every line, I have to read about what each character is looking at, or what their eyebrow just did, or what a bead of sweat travelling down their neck is up to. All this stuff just slows you down, Author, and suffocates the dialogue.

Hmm. I was really trying to bring the scene to life, give the reader a proper mental picture of this dude and his surroundings. I may have been over-zealous with the descriptives. Thanks for pointing it out, definitely something for me to chew on.

As for the rest of your review, I think you're right about a bit of a mixup in terms of Big G being in the wrong. I was going for the 'don't run away from your responsibilities even if they kind of suck' angle, but it's not like he was asking for much. In some ways this is actually a harder thing to fix that the big issue about the Apocalypse, because I'm not really sure how to fix it at the moment. I'll work on it.

Thanks to everyone for the reviews. I truly appreciate the time and effort that everyone puts into them, it's one of the best bits of the Writeoff as a whole. See you next time!
#22763 · 3
· on Falling With Style
The usual disclaimer: I know about as much about art as I know about carpentry. That is to say, I can maybe put together an Ikea bookshelf, but it's going to be wonky and there will definitely be that one mysterious screw left over.

ANYWAY: I absolutely love this.

The perspective, the colour, the everything. Fantastic job, artist.

I actually got TWO really cool ideas out of this, but one of them has since mutated into a freaking novel-length epic about mutated cannibalistic pony tribes, time travel and the end of the world (don't ask) and the other isn't really something I can write right now (just, not in the right frame of mind) so you won't be seeing them in this contest. But when Pray For Rain and/or October finally make it onto Fimfic (hopefully sometime this century) you can be assured you were a big part of the inspiration!
#22764 · 3
· on Overseeing Her Domain · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I swear I can hear the chorus of Muse's Megalomania everytime I look at this....

Yeah, this is really good. You convey a real sense of something just being wrong, in that weird Lovecraftian sense. Both Luna and the moon are breathtakingly still, and not just because they are an actual static image--it feels like a scene of absolute silence and stillness, right before everything starts exploding to the sound of an orchestra and Thom Yorke wailing. Great stuff.
#21132 · 2
· on Half a Pair Short · >>Posh
Packing that amount of emotional punch in 750 words is both unfair and incredibly impressive.
#21224 · 2
· on In Spirit Golden
Aaaand here come the retrospectives. I'm lazy, so rather than pre-writing them all I'm just going to respond comment by comment in chronological order, and post them as I go. First up: >>Bachiavellian (Congrats again on winning!)

I really like the premise here, with the unexpected origin story and all. This executes its last line twist really well, and especially liked the repetition describing her smile. Gossamer herself is also really interesting, with the whole semi-psychopathy thing going on.


Much appreciated! The premise stems from an idea I had back in 2013 I think? So practically forever ago. I'd completely forgotten about it, but the prompt both jogged my memory and made me flesh it out beyond "Chrysalis becomes a bug thing willingly". The smile line was one of the last things I wrote, but I'm pretty chuffed someone pointed it out because it's one of my fave lines. As for Gossamer herself, I found her personality pretty naturally flowing from "who would willingly become a soul-eating bug demon thing?". There are surprisingly few kinds of people like that, haha.

One thing that's a bit of a nitpick (and may speak much more to my ability as a reader than yours as a writer) is the fact that I somehow read every instance of "Solar Swirl" as "Star Swirl", until I started my 2nd read-through. It surprised me how easily my eye kind of skipped over the familiar-looking name alliteration, to the point that I actually Ctrl-F'd the story for "Star" just to try to figure out where I went wrong. Now, I'm not saying you should change your protagonist's name just because one doofus somehow managed to misread it five or six times--I'm just offering my reading experience as a data point.


In retrospect, I probably should have ditched Solar Swirl for the writeoff version. Not his character - but his name and specific backstory, which I attempted to cram into one line about his 'vaunted predecessor'. I still like my idea for him, but I can definitely do a lot more with him outside of a 750 word limit. Given this is a FiM fic, I probably should have foreseen the name causing a bit of confusion.

Something that I think might be a little more than a nitpick is the way this story handles its information reveals. The first scene comes off a little like a "As you already know..." speech from both characters, until the paragraph where Gossamer talks about her psychopathy. I can tell you're straining against the wordcount to get all of your ideas in there, and I appreciate the volume of info you're trying to convey (about the characters, setting, mood, and set-up for the magic bits in scene two). But I still can't help but feel that you may have taken the path of least resistance a time or two too many. In the end, the scene is serviceable, but definitely not quite as engrossing as it could have been.


You are 100% correct about me straining against the wordcount. The start of this story was originally past the half way mark. I had to chop the opening 200 words or so three separate times as I was writing, and as it came down to the wire I was definitely having to make a few brutal editorial cuts. Perhaps, as you pointed out, a bit too brutal. Something for me to keep in mind for the next writeoff! Thanks for pointing this out.

My suggestion would be to focus on making your information dumps feel less like information dumps. It helps a lot when there's some kind of immediate concern or question presented to the reader as a kind of distraction, so I suggest doing something like heightening Solar Swirl's initial distrust of Gossamer, and making that seem like the driving conflict of the story. This'll help the complicated ideas in the first scene go down a bit easier, and would heighten the emotional stakes of the twist in the second scene.


This is excellent advice, and as I try and rework this for Fimfiction, I will be coming back to this quote. Thanks again!