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#2140 · 7
· · >>horizon >>MonarchDodora
I broke up with my girlfriend today. Longest relationship I've ever been in.

I turn to writing instead of the bottle.

I did an experiment. How much could I write in two hours, no planning, no editing. Just story idea, execution, submission, idea, execution, submission.

I got... results.

Hope this doesn't tank my score too bad though. Not my best work.
#3977 · 4
· on The Day the God of Time Stopped by for Tea · >>wYvern >>ShortNSweet
“Why? Because as I’m sure I’ve mentioned, I’m a business pony at heart, and it’s high time I started making a profit. Do you know what I’ve been doing these past millennia? Building demand. As any good business pony knows, and I think you’ll find that I’m a very good business pony, all commerce runs on the principle of supply and demand. And for the longest time, there was just too much time! Too much supply! Did you know, in the earliest ages, there was so much extra time lying about that no pony ever died? Your Celestia is a holdover from those early years. A bit of a hoarder, that one, but who can blame her? Business was hard then. Who would spend money on something you could pick up anywhere? Something as common as air and water? So I waited. I let you little ponies use my time for free, let you waste it. And you ponies really are so very wasteful, have you ever noticed? Hundreds of millions of years passed, and ponies began to die. I didn’t step in then, though. I decided to let them taste it for a while, let them develop a terrible taste for bitter inevitable death. Even then, I didn’t step in. I was building up demand. The less there was, the more valuable my stock became. So I let them die for a few millennia, let them forget the banquet of everlasting life. But our time is now, your time is now, Fluttershy. Time is running out for us all, but yours quicker than most. Because I’m back, and I’ve brought eternal life back into the world. For a price. And you, Fluttershy, owe me quite a bit.”

Writer's Pro Tip: Every line of text in a paragraph, especially dialogue, past the fifth halves the amount of readers who will read past the second or so.

The entire story ended up being a setup for an exposition dump which makes no sense.

Literally just off the top of my head, here's some things the God of Time could have done with his powers instead if he needed money: Wine and cheese, reforestation for lumber mills, antique restoration, archaeological fraud, "organic" refridgeration -- Fresh, never frozen!, honestly anything requiring fermentation, miracle surgeon, the manufacture of complex minerals and fossil fuels...or if he's just in it for the long game, set up investment banking ten thousand years ago and live off the accumulated interest.

Instead you took the concept of this character towards extortion and fraud.


You never establish why he needs money, other than that he does. Why the mane 6 as his first customers? So he can trivially kill the only 'possible' threat to a mad God? If he's the God of time, what threat would they pose anyway? Why murder Fluttershy? He's repossessing her of her time, which he has an infinite amount of, just killing her accomplishes nothing! It doesn't even send a better message than giving her just enough to say goodbye! Or let her live and pay off the interest indefinitely for threat of repossession! And, perhaps of greatest personal interest to me, why wasn't Discord, Fluttershy's canon God friend, involved?

Look, what I'm trying to say was this was interestingly written, but you do nothing in service of your own concept. His character interactions make no sense. His means of making money in no way support the concept you've given him; the only thing that ties his extortion to his powers is that he's selling his powers as a product. That connection is not in and of itself interesting or explain why there aren't better, more ethical ways for him to do this. More importantly, they don't explain why he wouldn't try those, or would try those, or anything.

There is no explanation or justification for anything here other than this is what has happened. And it strained my suspension of disbelief to snapping point.

That he's being unethical with his powers could have been interesting if the end result wasn't so nonsensical.

And I don't see how it really ties to the prompt either. I mean, I do, I just find that connection tenuous.


I was going to critique that a god with a unique currency to offer does not need money, and would not need business schemes to get what he wants. Then, I thought about how making money seems to become its own merit in the humans of our world, even if they already have more than they could ever hope to spend in a single lifetime... which means it kinda isn't a valid critique.

It's simple; Because that's not established in-story. Your critique is valid.
#9761 · 4
· on Miskatonic Electronics · >>horizon
Oh hey, I came second. Neat.

There isn't more of a story here because it was just meant to be a quick, snappy piece whose sole purpose was to entertain. Adding more to it might have made it a better story but it also was far more likely to weigh the piece down, in my opinion. Pretty happy with the final balance.

There's a scene in my head where Luke goes in to Dave's room and there's just a live goat, bleating in pain and misery, its entrails organized into a complex pentagram.

"Dave! I'm trying to study!"

"Sorry man. Check it out though; Totally retro, just like gramma used to make."

"You can do the same thing with a laser pointer and three glass prisms, and a bag of donor blood."

"Correction: I can do the same thing with a laser pointer and two glass prisms. You see, I optimized-"

"For fuck's sake, Dave, can you please put this thing out of my misery?"

"But if I kill it, I'll lose all kinds of fidelity. Besides, then it'll start to stink, and trash pickup isn't for another three days. Don't you just have noise cancelling headphones?"

"Eugh. Yeah, fine. What are you using it for, anyway?"

"Literally -- literally -- the only way I could get us off AT&T and back onto Comcast."

"Oh. Shit, yeah, man, I'll get it some water then. Does it eat carrots?"
#15736 · 3
· on The Bonds You Choose, and Those You Leave Behind · >>AndrewRogue
Here's how much I disliked this; I got to the point where Octavia's colleagues -- who are indistinguishable from each other, because they aren't actually real characters -- are talking about the 'stock' of her fiance, the lowered standing, etc. and I worked out everything that was going to happen. And I was so confident that I stopped reading. I am going to make my prediction here, then scroll up and see how close I got by skimming through. I want to emphasize I have only read up to the line:

The ice in her voice caused Parish to blanch, but, to his – or the wine’s – credit, he persevered. “You must understand, Octavia. You being so closely associated with a… with the… you getting married to a pony so... far outside our social standing would lower the stock of the quartet in Canterlot’s eyes.”

Octavia quits, because they can't accept her love is more important. It's very dramatic because nobody has ever before conceived that love could be more important than a career or social status. This will be treated as far-out and inconceivable in universe, as if it's a profound statement. Obviously, her family doesn't approve. Octavia sticks to her guns and gets married and gazes off into the sunset with the ruthless determination of the rightness of her decision, as if there were any actual conflict to it.

Alright, I'm going to finish reading now...


Man, the only thing I got wrong was I didn't think to include "Octavia realizes the transparency of high society, even though there's no nuance to its awfulness". If I hit that one, I'd have got bingo.

Final note:

Swan laughed again. “Oh, don’t pretend you’re above all of this, Octavia. Of course you care. You’re one of us. One of Equestria’s movers and shakers. The ponies with a direct line to the princesses. Your family alone owns… what, a third of northern Equestria?”

“Forty percent,” she corrected, entirely on reflex.

This is absurd. It's an absurdly big number and an absurdly big in-universe implication. This is like saying her family owns everything from Washington state to Wisconsin in the US.
#15740 · 3
· on Maker of Makers!
I don't get it, I don't get the appeal. I understand what's here I just think... if the joke is that it's too dense to be meaningful and readable, then the punchline is severely undercut by how effective and straightfaced the performance is.

There needed to be more nods and moments of levity if this were a joke.

There needed to be more relatable ideas and much lighter prose if this were serious. Currently this is so purple it's in the ultra-violet spectrum.
#16534 · 3
· on A Change of Heart · >>Xepher >>CoffeeMinion

The only problem I saw was that some of the ideas don't particularly lead naturally into themselves on the first read-through.

But your other criticisms are... I mean, they don't literally hum the words, that's what the italics are for. It's a common thing in writing to have sounds like that convey a meaning or expression that isn't explicitly verbal.

It's a hum with an intonation implies that implies 'welcome'. It is not the word 'welcome', hummed.

I think most of what's lost you here is on you, and not the author, as it came across fine and clearly to me even on one read-through. Blunt objects are also known for often being dense.

Sorry I can't comment more, author; Not familiar with the EQG setting at all, haven't seen any of the movies, so I'm afraid a lot of this is otherwise lost on me, but what I did understand -- and what was relevant to be understood -- came through clearly enough. And the idea of Twilight being a Soylent addict always does my heart good.
#2197 · 2
· on In Defense of Death · >>FrontSevens >>The_Letter_J
I gotta say, I didn't like it that much either, sorry author, but in their hypothetical defense I think you've kind of missed the point just a little.

Unreliable narrator seem to be the key words here. Because the voice was a character, they just didn't bother to introduce themselves. Because they let their tone convey that character for us.

Show-don't-tell is important from the author's perspective, but this is obviously from the point of view of a third party. The conversational tone, almost casual campground-tale style of telling, is the key indicator here.
#2598 · 2
· on A Long Came A Spider · >>Orbiting_kettle >>Not_A_Hat >>horizon
>>horizon >>Orbiting_kettle >>Not_A_Hat

My usual writing style consists of having several ideas, discarding all but the strongest, and editing it down three times as long as initially getting it on the page.

This one I wrote in its entirety in fifteen minutes, without a single editing pass, knowing it was a terrible execution of a lacklustre idea, because I was very mentally unwell and became a being composed almost entirely of self-spite, the day I wrote my entries. It was an intentional decision at the time, because a lot of my close friends call me a perfectionist and that I don't enjoy writing for the sake of writing, so I went Ah Ha! I'll show them what happens when I do that! I'll show them all!

And forgot I was actually kind of sort of showing a lot more people than I intended with that declaration.

But you guys I super respect and now I made you go ahead and read this ill-conceived experiment, so I'll leave you with this instead, if you haven't heard me say it already.

This writeoff was, for me, the literary equivalent of waking up with a hangover and discovering you had cooked drunk the night before, baked inebriated and sauteed while sozzled. You do not know how the eggs got up on the ceiling, you do not know why you thought combining Italian food and Mexican was a good idea at the time, and then, and then, after finally surveying the mess that is the kitchen, you turn around and find immaculate dinnerware set up, and realize you had planned on entertaining.

The idea that some people actually showed up is as of yet inconceivable. That two attempts made the finals is equal measures baffling and mortifying.
#4206 · 2
· on Opal, Gemstones, Salt, Wood, Crystal and Stubbornness · >>Cold in Gardez >>Posh >>The_Letter_J
>>Cold in Gardez >>Xepher

Oh I love you two so much right now.

This story was written as satire of sadfics, everything I hate about the genre, why they work anyway, and how they tend to do critically well in spite of it.

I took literally the most retread, worst, most boring initial concept I could think of with only one rule in mind: "Make it sadder".

There's enough of a framing device and background, linear plot to justify the progression, but not enough that you're punished for skipping an entire pony you don't care about.

The fact that this is now the best I've ever performed in a Writeoff is... something I'm going to need to go and reflect on.
#4222 · 2
· on Opal, Gemstones, Salt, Wood, Crystal and Stubbornness · >>The_Letter_J

I liken it to Cabin in the Woods. It's satire of a standard horror movie, because it works as a standard horror movie.

This is meant to work on its own as a standard sadfic because if it didn't, I would be mocking as an outsider, as someone who didn't understand the genre well enough to ape it. When I write it like this, I prove that's not the case, which is why I got a comment like this from you before the reveal:

and it exceeded my expectations for a genre that I long ago grew tired of.

So where's the parody?

The parody is in how ridiculously over the top it is.

To paraphrase a discussion I had with Chuck Finley when submitting this: First all the Elements died, sure. AND Rainbow died young AND Rarity killed herself for her art AND Discord died. AND Twilight died, what a twist. AND Pinkie had dementia AND she couldn't have kids AND her last words were missing Dash but forgetting she was dead AND Applejack is the last one AND she's dying too AND so is the tree of harmony AND Celestia is crippled by mourning AND Tyrant Celestia overtones AND Luna is sad AND harmony magic is dying too.

The plot arc is inconsequential and only hints at a larger, more interesting story. There is no character arc because Luna is only really a framing device. I was blatantly emotionally manipulative. There is no moral, no deeper message or meaning -- Death of the Author if you want to make it about regrets though. Everything, everything I hate about the sad-tag genre portrayed here absolutely straight.

I really don't know how much more I could do to this to make the pastiche more obvious without making it less subtle. Subtlety was important to me because, well, to draw this back to Cold In Gardez's last comment:

I'm conflicted now, though. As a satire I'm fine with it doing well in the rankings -- however, we both know that's not why it did well. It did well because plenty of people were fine with it on its merits as a sadfic.

That was my objective, and I think I accomplished it nicely.