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On the Verge
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#23220 · 6
·
I'm so embarrassed! My clever plan was to comment on everyone's stories at the last possible minute so people wouldn't be able to observe which story I hadn't commented on and figure out which story I wrote. Maybe I take this anonymity thing too seriously? But between a high workload for end-of-month and preparing for Halloween, I have been swamped and haven't had time.

Everybody, I wiil be commenting on the fics, but it might not happen until Friday. Same for responses to the comments I got.
#23130 · 3
· on A Bit More Cozy, A Little Less Glow
For years I've thought the Tori Amos song "Teenage Hustling" was perfect for a story about Sunset dealing with a younger villain who works by manipulation like she did.

Teenage Hustling

But I didn't know who the villain would be, until I read this story. Great idea. I honestly think that Sunset wouldn't actually have needed magical assistance to tell that Cozy is lying; she was a manipulator herself. She knows Cozy's type. In a way, she was Cozy; she was someone who understood the power of "the magic of friendship" and thought of it solely as a way to rise to the top and dominate others. But unlike Cozy, in the end, she had a conscience and could be shocked into awareness of what she'd become. Cozy is sociopathic in the extreme and has no conscience. (I wonder sometimes if she is a malevolent spirit who's possessed the body of a filly, rather than an actual child.)
#23311 · 3
· on The Pants Macabre · >>CoffeeMinion
Personally, knowing that this was Zephyr Breeze, who is basically a joke character (like Cheese Sandwich, when you see him, you expect jokes, not angst or anything terribly serious), I was prepared for funny... so when Discord asks if they still try to summon him by chanting his name in a darkened bathroom, I was hooked. I actually like the whiplash of "this looks like an ordinary story" to "this is a ridiculous comedy" very quickly, as long as there's some setup to make me recognize at the start that maybe it's not going to be an ordinary story, and using the Zeph as the main character automatically does that.

I am a simple woman. Show me an idiot being an idiot in a funny way, one of my favorite characters, and a moderately happy ending, and I am probably going to enjoy the story. Given that Zephyr Breeze's second-most-famous trait is his oblivious womanizing (mareizing?), I liked the fact that he did not want to hit on any other girls and was in fact offended by the suggestion; it made him a lot more sympathetic.

I agree that Inky should have put on the pants at some point during the end to justify Discord's closing line.
#23312 · 3
· on Hooked
I don't actually know the song that everyone was obsessed with that well -- I can't hear it in my head -- so I suspect this fell a little flatter for me than for others, but it was still overall a funny story.

I found "the humans with no names" to be disconcerting considering that the humans have names, although a typo in the story made me realize just now that both names closely resemble Anon (I wouldn't have caught this if Annette wasn't referred to as Anonette in one line.) I knew what you were going for, so it was still amusing, but not as much as if they'd literally been introduced as Anon and Anonette.

I don't like the implication that Beepee died; death doesn't belong in a funny story unless it's a dark comedy to begin with, like the one on Fimfic where Twilight accidentally kills everyone in Ponyville and then has to hide it from Celestia.

However, overall this was a pretty funny story, mostly because of the ridiculousness of it and the fact that it's parodying a real and fairly stupid thing in MLP episodes. (I don't appreciate dramatic stories suddenly breaking into song. Unless it's the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode.)
#23313 · 3
· on The Memory
I found this haunting and surreal, but somewhat difficult to follow in a few places. There are elements that have no payoff -- what does Celestia's sudden eye-change color have to do with diminishing as an entity? Purple seems to be a normal eye color for ponies. Why does her mane turn green instead of pink, or falling flat? Not really a lot of explanation of auras, either, which are a thing that doesn't appear in the show as far as I know.

But the idea that memory becomes stronger as the end of life approaches hits really close to home for me and makes this a powerful story. Let's just say that's a reality I've begun to start living.
#23356 · 3
· on Meat
Cupcakes was kind of a crap story, but important for the fandom because of the derivative works it produced. This story manages to tell a truly horrifying tale in a tiny number of words because it's building on something else.

All by itself, we would ask, why did Pinkie do this? Why Pinkie? Isn't this out of character? But because it's building on Cupcakes (which didn't answer those questions either), we can focus on Twilight's emotions, which are where the horror is. Not really with the excessively grimdark basement (where we aren't clearly shown anything anyway, so we can fill in the blanks with Cupcakes or any other horror gorefest), but the gut punch of my friend isn't who we thought she was.

When my son was around 10 I took him to see a highly recommended child psychiatrist who didn't take our insurance, so we had only one session. He gave us a lot of insight into my son's condition (severe ADD, inattentive type, also video game addiction) and helped us find ways to understand and help him. Six years later I found out this psychiatrist who I'd been remembering as a really helpful guy had been arrested for molesting little boys in his practice. I brought my son to that motherfucker. How much worse would it be to discover someone who was a friend, someone you cared about as a person, who you'd laughed with and confided in and had adventures with, was a serial killer?

The story does not imply the fate of Rainbow Dash, and I think this might be a problem. Going off Cupcakes we would expect Rainbow to be dead or mutilated, but Twilight doesn't act like someone whose best friend was murdered by her other best friend; the focus is all on the horror of learning what Pinkie is. Because the story leans heavily on Cupcakes I think Rainbow should be allowed to appear briefly, healthy albeit horrified, to let the readers know that the reason Twilight appears to be solely focused on the horror of what Pinkie is and has done, rather than grief for Rainbow, is that this diverges from "canonical" Cupcakes and Rainbow isn't dead.
#23383 · 3
· on Grave Matters
See, this worked for me, because while I didn't suspect anything on a first read, after the reveal I went back and saw clues. The reason for the cologne -- not the assistant's plans (although that ties in with what the assistant said about Edel, which was really him talking about himself) but the fact that he's covering his smell of death. Keeper hates to do it -- why? Digging a grave isn't a horrible thing to do; it's just a job that needs doing. But driving the dead back into their graves, particularly if some of them were friends, qualifies. Edel's obviously a red herring (famous for keeping her virginity? Really?) and probably doesn't exist except as an excuse to get the assistant to dig a grave.

That being said, Baal Bunny makes a good point -- if the assistant has risen from the dead, why is he doing his job, which presumably he did for money, rather than returning to his loved ones? Some setup for that would be good. Doesn't really make sense that an undead who came back because he was going to get married is spending his undeath working.
#23405 · 3
· on Medicine
I am always predisposed to like a Discord story, especially fluff with Fluttershy, but I think this needs work.

Fluttershy making herself sick helping a bear learn to forage for himself for three years because he prefers the taste of honey in a place that makes her sick is Season 2 Fluttershy, not post-reforming-Discord Fluttershy. There needs to be a much better reason why she keeps going somewhere that makes her sick. Take advantage of Discord's callous disregard for everything that isn't his friend, and give Fluttershy a compelling reason why she has to go and stupid reasons from Discord why she shouldn't that boil down to "I like you better than I like your bear friend so I care about you, not him." As it goes, I think you have them reversed, with Fluttershy spouting nonsense based on her emotional need to protect everyone at her own expense and Discord being the voice of reason. If Discord is ever the voice of reason you need an excellent reason for it.

I don't have so many issues with his voice per se -- he doesn't seem wholly out of character, aside from the fact that he is being the perfectly reasonable one and Fluttershy is being extreme and ridiculous. I feel like you could solve a lot of the problems just by giving Fluttershy a much better reason for having gotten sick and Discord's objections being basically "But I don't want you to" rather than absolutely reasonable and logical objections given that her behavior is silly.
#22992 · 2
· on What Hath Twience Wrought?
This was amusing. I have never seen the EG film with Timber, but I have to disagree that he's a Gary Stu because the barrier for Stuness is much higher for any canon character; a Sue or Stu isn't an improbably skilled or even flawless character (cf James Kirk, Spock, James Bond, etc...) but a character who warps the story to be all about them. To the best of my knowledge the EG story wasn't all about Timber, and neither is this tale.

I actually kind of liked how no one appeared to be particularly afraid of or concerned about anything going on, as if they're all just so very done with this. I wonder, though, if perhaps Timber should be made substantially less blase about the whole thing, to establish the contrast with Velvet, Twilight and Spike's attitude.
#22996 · 2
· on The Long Fall
This is well written, but I just don't like the premise. Of all people, Rainbow Dash seems like the last pony to let herself be pushed into doing something so often it stops being fun, or to let her friends drift apart to the point where it seems like her life is empty.

Doing things you used to love over and over until you're bored with them, and falling out of connection with your old friends, is a common part of growing into middle age. Most people don't commit suicide over it; they have a midlife crisis. Rainbow really seems to me like the kind of pony who would seek something new and different for her life. Thrillseeking by doing the freefall thing would be part of that, but not to the point of killing herself.

I dunno. You didn't convince me of the characterization. I don't know how much of that is actually the fault of the writer vs. me just refusing to believe the premise, though.