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Reversal of Fortune · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
#1 · 5
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa >>CoffeeMinion >>Moosetasm
Hewwo?? Is anywone thewe?
#2 · 3
· · >>georg
>>Anon Y Mous
#3 · 3
· · >>Moosetasm >>CoffeeMinion
>>Zaid Val'Roa If a tree falls in a forest, and nobody is around to hear it, who chopped it down, and are they trapped under it?
#4 · 3
· · >>Moosetasm
>>Anon Y Mous
I was gonna say something clever, but then I didn’t have enough coffee. D:

Anyway, I hope to stage a TRIUMPHANT RETURN this round. I’ve had to miss the last few because of heads-down work on my pony novel that wrapped last month, but my desire is and was to keep participating.
#5 · 2
>>Anon Y Mous
Absolutely not.

I did. But don’t send help; I like it under here.

Have you written us an opera?
Don Juan, Triumphant!
#6 · 2

Another "art first" round. Always an adventure!

#7 · 2
That Ace Combat 7 reference prompt tho
#8 · 5
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Now taking commissions to create an anonymous piece of art for this round. $150 will probably be enough to motivate me. Will accept blank checks.
#9 · 3
“Coco Pummel Apples, Twirling and Spinning—”

“LOS CABALLOS ESTÁN LOCOS! Let the Moon Bear Witness!”

“Skies Unknown. Hidden Motives?”

“Poke It With A Stick, Straight Through the Heart.”

“Champagne for Our Real Friends, Real Pain for Our Sham Friends. That Makes Sense!”

“The New Nightmare; Reversal of Fortune.”

“Hollow Day! Happily (N)Ever After?”

“To Everything There Is a Season. I Did My Best Winter Wrap Up… Now, Please Leave your Talent at the Door.”

“Not Exactly an Ideal Scenario.”

“Time’s Up!”
#10 · 2
>>Rocket Lawn Chair
I’ll double that offer.
#11 · 3
Thiz’ gud prompt. I’d love to just write for it as-is. Looking forward to seeing art options. :rainbowdetermined2:
#12 · 3
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa
Noooooooo! I missed prompt submissions! rip "Slice of Writeoff." (even though this is technically round 101 and not 100)
#13 · 1
This could be… interesting.
#14 · 3
I'm still bummed there were no dalmatians prompt.
#15 · 4
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Huzzah, a FIM short story round!

…And just in time for the ascended Writeoff commentfic known as You Are What You Wheat to get an extremely unexpected Equestria Daily feature! Maybe that's a sign that we should co-write another commentfic while we're waiting for the art to go live.
#16 · 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!) ^^
#17 · 1
The night was hot...
The night was humid...
It’s too damn sultry in here!
Throw Mama from the Friendship Express?
#18 · 4
As usual, I'll be hanging out in #mentors or available via PM if anyone wants help polishing their entry before the deadline.
#19 · 2
· · >>Pascoite
Good on you! Will you do any art critiques?
#20 · 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.”
#21 · 1
My hat's in the ring! Nobody eat it 'till this thing is over.
#22 ·
I had a:

Lovely idea for a piece of artwork, but after spending the last several hours trying to put it together, I've decided that there's no possible way I can manage it. So I'm hoping it's a common enough idea that one of the actual artists will do it...

#23 · 2
I’m in, and again I’ve stayed up too late only to arrive at a poor thing indeed, having butchered my original conception. Be it fair or foul, it’s up. Good night, all, and good luck!
#24 · 1
· on Displaced
I actually giggled out loud when I saw this. I absolutely Adore the moon craters, and the stars look accurate. This is going high on my slate :D
#25 ·
· on For all we know, it may be there. It's not like you can check
Well, when it’s nighttime on the sun I think I’ll go and check.
#26 ·
Was that directed at me? I didn't see it until this morning, and it's not marked as a reply, so it's obviously too late for me to beat the deadline, but to answer it, yes, if people want to ask me to look at art before it's submitted, I will. I heard it came up once in the Discord chat whether there would be a mentor-type thing available for the art as well, and if anyone wants to step forward to take that role (or help out on the writing side as well, since there's no rule stating there can be only one (seems like a movie reference in there...)), please do. But if people want to PM me to ask my opinion on art entries, I'm willing, and one person has done so in the past. Just be aware I don't know much about art, so I can't speak to anything technical. I can just say what I liked or didn't like about it.
#27 · 2
· on "Well, this is new."
Is it rapture time already?

A simple yet effective piece. And DAMN that's a great interpretation of the prompt. I don't have much to say that wouldn't sound like an idea for a fic, so I'll keep it to myself.

I think this one will inspire!
#28 ·
· on For all we know, it may be there. It's not like you can check
I'm curious what you used for the alicorn impression. Is that the red spot of jupiter? The flat surface of a tree trunk? Either way, I think the repetition of the same image may hurt the effect a little. Still, I feel this one is meant to inspire more than perform well in the standings, and I expect it will accomplish that goal.

Thanks for submitting!
#29 · 2
· on Bad Luck? I Don’t Know Her.
I couldn't really figure out why I loved this at first. It's wild, unhinged, beautifully stylized. Discord is a proper catastrophe of a creature, and this drawing wants us to know it. I love all the work that went into the small details, like the horseshoe around his claw, or the tiny reflection in the mirror.

Very well done, artist. This should be on postcards for Friday the 13th. This should be graffiti-ed on a wall somewhere. I don't know how, but more people need to see it.
#30 · 1
· on "Well, this is new."
Ooooooh, I get it. Couldn't really tell what was going on from the small thumb nail but seeing the full size image makes it obvious. Very nicely done.

But what does it mean? Is something going to be thrown up into the air?
#31 · 1
· on Bad Luck? I Don’t Know Her.
So okay check it out I like this one a whole lot. It's an easy slate-topper (or slate-top-three-er, at least, we'll see) and it should rake in a couple fics, I feel.

The good news is that I am the first one here—(Damnit, RLC)—so it's not my job to find something wrong with it. Nah, it's perfect. It's got hella style. It's crazy in-character. It's got subtle details. Dang, artist, great work.

I hope this one inspires some pre-reformation Discord, the objectively more fun Discord.

But, uh... Is that a signature I see?
#32 ·
· on Play It as It Lies! · >>horizon >>GroaningGreyAgony
Somebody ping horizon!

I'm not much of a tarotician, so I don't know if there are subtle details in here that I'm not picking up. Also, interesting that you've used a golf reference as your title?

Discord looks okay in this rendition. But if I can only think of one critique for this picture, it's that his incredibly expressive face is kind of MIA. He has a real middle-distance, vacant look about him here. Neither sinister nor elated, just kind of there. He almost looks possessed? The open-mouth isn't helping either.

More pre-reformation Discord please!
#33 ·
· on Dedicated and Everything!
The Duality of Rarity.

Despite its scratchiness, there's a fair bit of artistry on display with this one. I don't see any... foundation lines? sketch marks? Whatever you call them. It looks like this was done very quickly, without much planning, and that sort of one-stroke design really sells the piece, along with the whole two-faced theme you have going on.

My only critique would be the halo—I think decreasing its size down would have made it easier to draw, and would make it look less like a flying saucer.

But I like it. I can picture this flashing by on the walls of the tunnel as my subway pulls into the station.
#34 ·
· on Limelight
Oh yeah this guy! What's-his-hooves! With the bad luck and such! I'm kinda surprised we only have one of him this round. Good opportunity for an author to add some life to him, though.

I'm afraid I'm having trouble determining the idea behind this fic. Trouble Shoes (thx Google) looks kind of non-plussed to be where he is, or maybe a little bit disappointed, but where is he? Without the background of the image I can't get a good idea of the situation, so all I know is that Trouble Shoes is a little unsure about this spotlight.

Well it could just be me not remembering the episode well enough. But still, a little more life to what's going on around him would go a long way here. As it is, I worry it would only inspire authors who were dying to write a sad Trouble Shoes fic.

Thanks for entering!
#35 ·
· on She Was Made for This · >>Anon Y Mous
Don't cry over spilled water. Especially when you're the physical embodiment of the undo function.

I have no idea what's going on here. From my first glance at the picture, I imagined the circle was the earth losing its water, and that this pony the size of several planets. Is she a God? A gargantuan space-dweller? What's her deal, yo?

I suppose that's up to the authors.
#36 · 1
· on "There's a distinct lack of hugs in your future..." · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
Alright, this one's a goodie. Great job on the emotion. That mouth shape is on-point.

I'm not sure what the black-fog border does for the picture, but hey, you're the artist. I do wonder how it would look without it, though.

Thanks for submitting!
#37 · 1
· on Displaced · >>Anon Y Mous
"Those are some... graphic cave drawings you left up here, Sister."

These pieces are so inspiring! Love this one a lot too. I'm not going to lie though, the scale of this drawing seems rather off. Not between the moon and the earth, but between Celestia and the moon. The fact that she is the size of entire craters, and that we can sort-of see the moon's curvature, makes her seem colossal to me.

But still, her expression is perfect. Good job, you!
#38 · 2
· on The Other Side of Summer
Nobody ever anticipates the Fall.

A very evocative piece that tells a story of loss in a simple glance. Dynamite work, artist. This is the first image that I've wanted to open full-size and have a look at the details.

Top drawer!
#39 ·
· on the reversal of Fortune · >>CoffeeMinion
I'm going to assume this guy has an Irish accent because stereotypes are the best.

This picture's got great style. I'm not caught up on the show so I'm not sure if we're supposed to know who this is? But still, I like his design a lot. My only critique is that his right hooves are a little lumpy, which contrast with the straight-edges that are his left hooves.

Good work!
#40 · 1
· on The Other Side of Summer
I loved this. Simple, evocative, and does its best with what it has. The contrast between the trees, the sky, and that poor lonely pony. Probably my favourite this time around, but that's because I'm a sappy guy.
#41 · 1
· on She Was Made for This
>>Miller Minus
The circle is the pen function on programs like photoshop, etc and the blue mark is where the artist messed up I assume?

I hope that helps!
#42 ·
· on She Was Made for This
No question, this cuite mark will get you a job. And possibly arrested.

The moment I saw this, I was actually reminded of a fic from a previous round. Not sure if that's where you got your inspiration, artist, but I enjoyed the mental callback.

This is cute. My headcanon says this used to be a highly-detailed and grossly over-polished drawing before she went to work. All that's left to undo is a little blue smudge. And herself, of course.
#43 · 1
· on "There's a distinct lack of hugs in your future..."
Glad we got to see at least one fortune teller drawing this round! Madame Pinkie Pie is always up to the task!

My eye was immediately drawn to her eyes, then the jewel above her head. That jewel is downright mesmerizing, artist. It makes a curious contrast to the lack of glassy details in the crystal ball and the earring.

The dark fog sets an effective mood. There's an encroaching gloominess to not receiving hugs, especially for Pinkie Pie. I wonder if she's seeing somepony else's future, or her own?

I think my only critique would be with the eyes. At first glance they look alright. After a longer look, there's a few tiny differences in the size/shape/position of the pupils, which makes her expression barely dip into the uncanny valley. Putting eyes front and center is a tricky game, so I applaud you for that.

I agree with >>Miller Minus on how well you captured the emotion on her face—and that's something her massive eyes contribute to in a positive way. She looks about to burst into tears.

Nice work overall, and I wish you luck!
#44 · 6
· · >>Moosetasm
So my entry would've been:

A take on the Wheel of Fortune tarot card with Twilight, Celestia, Luna and Cadance as the winged creatures reading books in the corners, Derpy with a sword in place of the sphinx on top of the wheel, Discord as the red creature stretched out along the bottom of the wheel, and the green snake still a green snake 'cause, y'know, snakes're cool. The coloring was taking forever, though: here's as far as I got on it...

Now to see what pictures we actually got!

#45 ·
· · >>Baal Bunny
>>Baal Bunny
Wow, that’s really good. You gonna finish it anyways?
#46 · 3
· on Play It as It Lies! · >>GroaningGreyAgony
>>Miller Minus
As if I would pass up commenting here. ^..^

Fun Tarot fact: in ChocolatePony's MLP Tarot deck, which is my go-to for my drunken divinations, Discord is The Devil. This is extremely relevant because one of my craziest Tarot stories is how, literally five minutes after I bought my MLP Tarot deck, a friend of mine broke my deck by pulling two Discords in a row. [1] [2]

(For the Tarot clueless, this is supposed to be impossible. There's one of each in the deck.)

Some information about what a Tarot reader would see in the card spread here, in case it helps people writing stories:

• The position of the cards is difficult to draw meaning from without more surrounding context, but the fact that they are crossed over each other is significant. The most common reading with two cards in that relative orientation is the Celtic Cross; the two center cards, which are the first two to be drawn, cross over each other like that. (Although in a Celtic Cross, the first/underlying card is upright and the second/overlaying card is sideways, so we're probably looking at the reading from the side relative to the reader rather than sitting across from her in the way that a querent — i.e., the person getting the reading — normally would.) If this is a Celtic Cross spread, the bottom card represents what the querent is bringing to the table, and the top card represents the challenges they face.

• The card in the background, The Sun, is a Major Arcana. Think of Tarot as a deck of playing cards with an extra 22-card suit added in, to represent more significant forces acting up against the more mundane background of the four standard suits. The Sun is one of those, often representing illumination (in the epiphany sense), vitality, or the universe aligning your way.

• In the MLP tarot, The Sun is Celestia — actually, one of three Celestias in the deck, representing Celestia in her divine station as mover of the heavens. (She's also III. The Empress, as Princess Celestia the secular, political leader of ponykind; and the Empress of Horns, as Celestia-the-pony.) However, the imagery used on this card appears to be the symbology of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck (the one most people think of as "default Tarot"), without any apparent pony elements. Still, there might be some subtext here of Discord crossing Celestia — or covering her, depending on how shippy you're feeling.

• Discord's card here doesn't actually have any equivalent in a normal Tarot deck; it simply breaks the deck format. There's no symbolism from any of the usual minor suits that stands out to me, and there's no numbering placing it within the Major Arcana (though the "Chaos" in Greek lettering underneath does at least hint that way). Arguably (especially given the circular curve of the dialogue?), this might be "0. The Fool", the first card of the Majors, representing naivete, innocence, exuberance, and the start of new journeys, but it feels like less of a stretch to say that Discord's just chaotically inserting himself somewhere that there's not supposed to be a place for him.

• You have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how deeply it bothers me that Discord is holding the "This Side Up" box/sign the right way up. ("… good job, Artist," horizon said grudgingly.)

[1] Anyone who wandered by my drunkwriting Discord the last time I was giving out readings got to hear the full story. If you're curious, search the channel for "deckbreaking".
[2] Art credit for the linked meme: Haze
#47 · 1
· on Dedicated and Everything! · >>CoffeeMinion
It's not lost on me that the original art (before the later red vandalism) is in green and purple. This does a marvelous job with subtext that I fear people aren't going to properly appreciate. The story behind this all but writes itself.

Great job with a minimalist aesthetic here, artist.
#48 ·
· 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.
#49 ·


If I wanted to write a story based on it, I would send it to an actual artist as the concept sketch and commission them do up a finished version that didn't employ my patented "sandpaper for the eyes" style. But thanks!

#50 · 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.
#51 · 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.
#52 ·
· 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
#53 · 2
· on Displaced
>>Miller Minus
I mean... we don’t know the actual size of ponies. They could be one hundred foot tall beasts for all we know.
#54 · 1
· on "Well, this is new."
Clever prompt interpretation! Simple image, but clean.
#55 ·
· on Bad Luck? I Don’t Know Her.
Amazingly great illustration, especially considering the "writeoff" isn't exactly an artist hotspot. The connection to theme is a bit fuzzy for me though. This seems like straight up "bad luck" not "reversal" which _slightly_ makes me wonder if this wasn't already in the works. Still a great entry though.
#56 ·
· on Limelight · >>Miller Minus >>Zaid Val'Roa
Quick and clean. I think I get the idea of being in the spotlight means "a star" and that reversed his typical bad luck. I feel this may be from the same artists as the Bad Luck discord one. Similar papers and white balance, as well as style.
#57 ·
· on For all we know, it may be there. It's not like you can check
Very quick entry, mostly basic photoshop. About what my own skill level would be, so I can't complain. It even uses the same great base image of the sun as I used for the cover of "The Hole in the Sun."

That said. Cleverness of prompt interpretation is fun, and provides a lot of "prompt" material to the authors.
#58 ·
· on Displaced
Ah yes, the inevitable counterpoint to Luna in the Sun. Glad we got both prompts in though, so we can have stories from both angles.

Artistically, this one feels a TAD rushed, with back, middle, and foregrounds feeling like separate things pasted together. The look on Celestia's face is pretty great though, and (like nearly all art in these contests) better than I could make myself, so I'll leave it at that!
#59 ·
· on Play It as It Lies! · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I'll leave the deeper tarot interpretations to the experts. Suffice to say, I love the basic gag, of "This End Up" on a tarot card.

Art wise, it feels mostly cut/paste and not originally drawn (apologies, artist, if I'm wrong on that.) So I'm judging this one by the gag alone.
#60 ·
· on Dedicated and Everything!
Yeah, very simple, artistically, but the visual metaphor is strong. I'm reminded of notebook sketches in middleschool, where a beloved crush tramples your heart, and the dreamy stuff gets vandalized by later reality.
#61 ·
· on She Was Made for This
Heh. You get a solid "Heh." from me. (At least she's a PC Pony, not one of them dreaded "Macintosh" things that can't even spell the name of an apple.) :-)
#62 ·
· on "There's a distinct lack of hugs in your future..."
I like the connotations here. The artwork itself reminds me of a background painting that'd be in Adventure Time. Critiquing a tad, I can't make out any snout/muzzle. Feels like, even at the straight on angle, there'd be some shadows to denote a more equine face. Still though, a strong evocation of emotion, and really on prompt!
#63 ·
· on The Other Side of Summer
Oh that is a beautiful, beautiful use of visual reversal! Absolutely an A+ concept here! The skill level is no Monet or anything, but this _evokes_ and that's wonderful!
#64 ·
· on the reversal of Fortune · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
Decently drawn, with some traditional art that I'm sure is harder to work with. I'm not sure I grasp the concept though. Unless the pony here himself is "lucky" (and leaving the viewer?)
#65 · 1
· on the reversal of Fortune
Yeah, I think this is the embodiment of Fortune, in which case he's pulling a full reverse, forklift-style. Beep, beep, beep!
#66 · 2
· on "Well, this is new."
Each time I came back to this drawing, I laughed a bit harder. This is a positively hilarious thing to visualize. Part of the delight came with discovering what was happening on my own. For now I'll leave it be so I can come back and laugh a bit more later.
#67 ·
· on Play It as It Lies! · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Yeah, the "THIS END UP" gag got plenty of mileage out of me. I couldn't quite figure out what was going on with the text at the top of the card at first, thinking it was another tarot symbol or...something. Then I caught onto the Roman numerals arranged into a Discord-appropriate "MMMMMMM..." and I had a good laugh about it.

Artist, this drawing is a fun piece that keeps on delivering jokes to the curious mind. Currently, I'm puzzling over the base texture you're using for the card illustrations, because that's a minute detail which makes them actually look like printed cards—and I'm not certain whether I should find that amazing or incidental. Whatever, I think that's neat.

Making tarot art was an idea I'd toyed with originally, but eventually canned. I'm so glad it ended up being used in this round in some form regardless—and a highly competent form to boot! The images are clean and precise (a tad too much in Discord's case, perhaps). It did proper justice to the concept of Discord invading the fragile world of fortune.

Thank you for your artwork, and I wish you the best!
#68 ·
· on The Other Side of Summer
Man, this is haunting and beautiful.
#69 ·
· on Limelight · >>Zaid Val'Roa
Now that you mention it... are the purple and red splotches on this drawing from Discord's wing and tail?

#70 · 1
· on Limelight
So ronery~
I like this picture, with a few simple lines, you managed to make a really sad Troubleshoes. I mean, I'd be sad if I somehow lost 60% of my legs, but that's besides the point.
I feel that, if you really meant to have good 'ol Troubleshoes under the limelight, it would've worked better if you had darkened the rest of the image. That way, the isolation would've made him feel like he's really the focus of all who are watching.
Nevertheless, nice entry.
#71 · 2
· on Limelight · >>Rocket Lawn Chair >>horizon
>>Miller Minus
It is.
#72 · 1
· on Limelight
>>Zaid Val'Roa
Brown splotches.
Boys, I think we have another match. Get this to the lab!
#73 · 1
· on Limelight
Sorry, I got distracted by the CSI. Here's a real review.

I like this piece. Aside from the suspicious splotches, this is very clean, and makes a pretty effective statement in how isolated he feels. I love how his limbs are tucked into his body, like he's trying to make himself invisible onstage. Kinda tough to make yourself small when you're such a big pony. Poor guy.

I probably would have liked to see a smidgen of texture or shadow in the pool of light. Maybe the barest hint of floorboards extending beyond the light. It kind of looks like he's sitting on a yellow cushion or an egg yolk.
#74 ·
· on For all we know, it may be there. It's not like you can check
This sparks my imagination. Thanks.
#75 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Well, didn't think I'd actually make this contest. No ideas until I had one. The judging of the last one was brutal, but the entries are always so good and fun to read. Nevertheless, I sat down and eight hours later, I've submitted my first draft. Yes, I'm going to clean it up and post the edited version, but I've got a completed story should I derp out. Best of luck to everyone (everypony?). I made my best effort to grab your heart; please write something wonderful for me to read in return!
#76 · 1
· · >>scifipony
Congrats! I look forward to reading the entries. Mine’s progress has been slow, but I’m still hoping to make it.
#77 · 2
· · >>PinoyPony
Good luck back.

My first paragraph stood there the longest time, to be truthful. I had to ask myself, why?

I knew the idea well enough, even where it would go, but zip nothing nada, word constipation despite the deadline. I walked away, came back, walked away... Ridiculous. Write or go watch an anime!

I forced a motivation check. Fear of not finishing?

Well, that was then true already and I was already living the consequences. Fear of the story not being good?

Wouldn't know until I finished it. Fear of a mangling a character in ways a reader might not like?

Could well be. Often's the case and I can't know until it's read, and that means it has to completed and submitted. Was that any reason not to practice?

Would it kill me, maim me, scar me, or otherwise hurt me to let the words flow and stop thinking of why not to write?

Would anybody ever know*?

...Well, I got myself there.

Please find your zen zone.

*As it turned out, yes.
#78 · 3
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa
I want to contribute this time, but I can't. I'm still unable to concentrate due to depression. I had a Rarity story started that I might finish eventually.

I start ketamine treatments again tomorrow, so hopefully I'll be back in the swing of things soon. Good luck to everypony!
#79 · 3
I wish you the best, Trick.
Take care.
#80 · 1
Just in case I change my mind, I'm not gonna be too specific here, but I've got two premises, neither of which looks like it'll get off the ground for this round. Ground... round... ground... round...

The first is basically an expansion/sequel to something I actually wrote for the last horse round I participated in, and as much I'd like to have this thing be submitted as a short story, it seems too much of a retread. I'd probably be better off writing the full story out-of-competition, so then I can at least expand what I've already done without seeming like a rehash.

Then there's the second premise, which sounds great buuuuuuut I've yet to come up with a proper story for it. Or rather I've yet to come up with a good way to tell this story. Writing scene-to-scene has always been a big challenge of mine, making scenes cohesive enough to form a whole, and that's my big issue here.

If I submit something, good. If I can't, not as good, but I won't cry over it.

I mean, I've contributed to the She-Ra rounds more than Dubs Rewatcher, so I still have that victory at least.
#81 · 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:
#82 · 1
“The spirit is willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised.”
#83 · 1
· · >>scifipony
Why am I still up?
What is this thing that has appeared at my fingertips?
#84 · 1
I've decided to pledge to give my critiques without reading anyone else's first.

I feel that what an author needs most is that I as a reader give my unvarnished opinion of what the author's words made me see or feel or think about, without outside influence that might color my native judgement. That way the author will know whether or not their words achieved their desired result in at least one person's mind.

While it's up to everyone to do as they please, I find it dissatisfying to read critiques that essentially say "what he said" before having rendered a clean critique first. I hope, however, that I can influence anyone who reads this to do as I've pledged.
#85 ·
Submit already.
#86 · 1
· · >>PinoyPony
Finished my final draft an hour past the deadline last time. Finished an hour before this time. Maybe next time I'll finally submit right as the round finishes.

... honestly, I could use the extra sleep tonight, though. Gotta be in traffic court in seven hours. :P
#87 · 2
· · >>scifipony
Welp, I submitted my story, and I'm a little past the time.

Your comment is what stopped me from giving up. Just so you know. Thanks :Twilightsmile:

I know this might be a little Random. After all, I spent the final 5 hours of the night putting together a fiction last minute. I'm not in the best state of mind right now. >>horizon I feel ya. It's the crazy things writers will do.

Knowing the lack of quality, however, I'll get spotted and destroyed.
#88 · 1
· on Shadows · >>Baal Bunny >>Xepher
Today's a snow day, so instead of going to work, I'm going to see if I can't read and comment on 33,000 words of fanfiction. The best plan, yes? Yes!

This was a fun, feel-good fic, and a great one to open with. There's a lot of very natural-feeling moments throughout--stuff like how Shiny is shouting into the 'telephone' from the background, for example--that give your story a pleasant sense of verisimilitude. Some of the Pinkie stuff does feel a little far afield of that (this is "personal preference" rather than "definitive advice," but I wouldn't have her give Twilight anything that constitutes a lethal poison; that strays a little bit from where I feel the rest of the fic's tone is), but not so much that it really broke my immersion. And Flurry's teen-portrayal (and the smart decision to physically other her in ways beyond "just" her alicornification, i.e. ways that can be read as not just "better than other ponies") is a genuine, relatable grounding to base a story on.

I did feel like Twilight and Flurry's testing ran a little long, and didn't have enough payoff. Or rather, went too long without payoff; there aren't any particularly enlightening-to-the-reader revelations until we get to the end, so everything between "I have a theory!" to "It's me, silly" is just buildup--and I it felt like too much, to me, unless you're going to have some meaningful-to-the-reader secondary revelations mixed in there to keep the audience's interest up. I think a little more could have been done to address Flurry's teen angst towards the end as well; as-is, that feels like the heart of the fic for the first two-thirds, then gets almost entirely sidelined (I did like the callback to Pinkie ending, though. Don't change that!).

But overall, a very solid entry, and one that I enjoyed reading. On to fic two!
#89 · 2
· on Artistic License
So... you wrote an entire fic about Celestia and Luna critiquing the actual picture that your story is based on? The meta is strong with this one.

This is basically just a "two ponies talk to each other for a few thousand words" fic, but I really like how the dialogue flows. It doesn't just go through a list of talking points about the pic, but it segues naturally, detours into personal moments and anecdotes where appropriate, and generally feels like two people who are nominally talking about something, but are really just talking. So, this is the second story in as many that I've read today where I'm going to praise it for feeling natural.

The penultimate line also made me giggle, which is good.

Where I'd spend a little time cleaning up on this is in mood shifts. The way the conversation moves from topic to topic feels natural, but as a reader, this fic goes from light to heavy and back again at warp speed. Sure, people talk like that, but a story should have smoother transitions than real conversations "need" to.

Nice work, author. And now, on to... well, shoveling, since the snow seems to have stopped, and it's only going to get colder as the day goes on. Best I do it now, rather go outside once we hit "you could permanently damage your lungs if you don't wear something over your mouth and nose" temperatures, and they're coming! Ah, Minnesota... anyway, back in an hour or two for some more reviewing.
#90 · 3
· on Artistic License · >>Anon Y Mous >>Chris
So this was a pretty fun read. Some references or hints may have gone over my head, but I'll do my best to give my honest, over-analytical impressions.

The exchange between the two sisters is very casual and flows naturally. There's something very honest and relatable about Celestia looking at a piece of work with herself as the subject. Digging deeply into the subject with her sister gives her an excuse to say things about herself she's been needing to say. It gives her pause for introspection, reflecting over the unique light another pony sees her in, which is also where the meta element plays nicely into this story. The actual artist could be reading this story and wondering similar things about their relation to the writer. Not sure if the name "Lawn Chair" is an inside joke, but I can only assume the artist knows what it means.

The way Luna and Celestia converse reminded me of the way we treat fandom, and how we enjoy media. We love reading too deeply into things, even though we know we may be totally off-base. There's something really fun about it. We love discovering what it says about ourselves. Secretly, I think we love talking about ourselves, especially when we're trying to fool ourselves into thinking that we're talking about something else. Which isn't a bad thing, because we're each able to bring some fragment of uniqueness to the art. Speaking of which, the "Death of the Artist" line is a pretty funny and completely appropriate punctuation to end the story.

Anyway, what do I know. I'm supposed to be unconscio—um, I mean, I enjoyed the story. Hope the artist gets a chance to read it, too!
#91 · 1
· on Destroying Pedestria: yrotS evoL A · >>horizon
Now, this is one of those stories that just feels impressive. The timeline screwery is clever, but never anything less than clear, and all the little lexicographical choices bring that cleverness to life. There are clever stories that make you feel smart, and clever stories that make you feel dumb, and I'm finding this very much in the first category. Plus, having Discord set out to destroy the world for perfectly valid reasons feels so pitch-perfect to me. Of course, those reasons only seem "perfectly valid" because he actively refuses to do the slightest thing to confirm his beliefs, but, well, that feels pitch-perfect, too!

My biggest problem is with the EqG stuff, or rather, the voicing on the girls. I think keeping to the language used in canon would be a much better choice overall, but whether or not you agree with that, opening with "Holy shit" was objectively a bad choice: it immediately tells the reader that we are specifically not in EqG-world, but somewhere else (real world, probably? another alt?), and that's the exact opposite of what you want to do. Our first moments after Discord gets dumped outside the school should reinforce the new setting, not undercut it.

But that's fussing over one word--and still only couple dozen words, if we extend it to the fic-EqG voicing not matching the canon-EqG voicing generally. This was a fun fic to read, top to bottom.
#92 · 3
· on Close Shave · >>PinoyPony
I'm going to start with the negative: there's some distinctly weak writing in this piece. The second sentence of the fic, for example, isn't actually a sentence, insofar as it appears to lack a direct object (her "dark purple hair was..." what, exactly?). Or take this passage:

The elixir on her fur proved her immobile- at least without Rarity’s levitation spell help. Thank Celestia that the kitchen was just w flight of stairs, then her room.

The first sentence is parsable, but has a misused word in "proved," an inconsistent-in-its-spacing hyphen in place of a dash (that's the least of your troubles, really, but it's there), and mangled word order in its back half. The second sentence is almost pure word salad. I'm not trying to be mean, but there are plenty of places in this story where there are enough issues that figuring out what you were trying to say was a real chore, and a few where I simply wasn't up to the task at all.

But the parts I could parse? Well, I think there's plenty of promise there. Prank wars can be low-hanging fruit, comedy-wise, but sticking Rarity with a beard/goatee is great. The more you do with that--the more you can make her question her femininity--the better. Sweetie the floof ball is a great visual. Also, you can play up AJ's blase-ness about it even more; expanding that divide between Rarity's image-consciousness and AJ's disinterest in the same will help bring out the comedic contrast that you've already got.

Right now, the word- and sentence-level construction is what's holding this back. But a story with a good idea and weak writing is a thousand times easier to make great than a technically perfect one that's just boring. With a bit of elbow grease and a good editor, I think this will clean up nicely.
#93 · 1
· on Artistic License
>>Rocket Lawn Chair
Don’t pretend like you’re the artist of the picture that the story is based on isn’t screaming inside of pure excitement.
#94 ·
· on Blue Moon, Fire Sun · >>scifipony
This is another story where the writing is a little weaker than I'd like it to be--some run-ons, some flipped words (using "day" instead of "night," etc.)--but in this case, comprehension was never an issue. It did affect my reading experience, insofar as tripping me up in a story which already has a somewhat languid pace and style makes the whole work seem longer and slower than it really is, though. On that note, I think the pace could be picked up a little more, at least in the early going; I get that you're setting the stage, but given that the early searching and the nighttime work both are communicating essentially the same things to the reader (not including the lunar prayers bits in the latter scene when I say this), one or both could be pared down without losing much.

Get past that, though, and there's some nice dark history going on! I like that you kept us in Blue Moon's perspective, and left a lot of the history unexplained or implied; it's occasionally frustrating for the reader, sure, but it helps us understand this as a story about Blue Moon, and not just one where she's your excuse to dump backstory on us. Her characterization was the highlight for me, and I came out of this fic with a crystal-clear picture of who she was, how she thought, and all that jazz.

It also feels like a rather dark story, though given the time frame, that's perfectly reasonable. Still, I'd have liked to see more reaction from Celestia, at least; Blue may think this is all normal, but I suspect that even at that early juncture, Celly would show more distaste/disgust with the de facto enslavement of children, even if circumstances dictate that she has to accept it for the moment. Plus, that gives her a bit more characterization, which is always a good thing.

With or without that, though, the setting feels strong, with the uncertain day and night, the stones, sensing the spirit in the moon, and all of that coming from Blue's limited and incomplete perspective.
#95 ·
· on Out of an Orange-Colored Sky · >>Baal Bunny
Hey! I just listened to that song a couple days ago, although, isn't it about the nuclear apolcalypse? Rest in pieces, Fluttershy's cottage.

Ahh. I love this one. I'm a sucker for lovey-dovey-feely-friendly stuff.

Should I start a motif like what baal does or raisin? Probably not. But I'll give you what the tone of this story was: cozy

I felt warm this entire story, and no, it was not all because of the roaring fire next to me. The beginning descriptions are marvelous in descripting Discord and Pinkie's antics. The metaphors and voicing are spot on for this fic. I especially love how there are tiny little Pinkies and Discords onlooking the story and how Fluttershy most likely does not have these cuties in her body.

I do have to confess that I'm a die hard Fluttercord fan but the idea of Discord and Pinkie is... adorable.

This is placing high on my slate. Good luck! <3
#96 ·
· on The Human in the Garden · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I love the crossover, I love that I didn't realize it was a crossover until halfway through, and I love the dramatic irony of the last line.

I'm not usually a big fan of human-equestrian stories, and I was put a little on-edge by the opening (not that it was bad, just that in isolation it set up a bit like a much worse story might. One about, say, Rarity discovering Lyra's hand fetish?) but the otherworldliness of both the situation and Rarity's description of it made it an easy sell for me.

My only real piece of advice is to watch Twilight's dialogue. I think the vocabulary and turns of phrase you gave Rarity are appropriate to who she is and to the situation she was describing, but there were places where her voicing started to bleed over into Twilight's text. But man, the moment of revelation here put a big silly grin on my face without ruining anything that came before it, and that's something I love to get out of a fic.
#97 · 1
· on Out of an Orange-Colored Sky · >>Baal Bunny
Aw man, I got the first review on every story but this one. CURSE YOU, ANON Y MOUS!

But anyway, this story gave me a perfectly whimsical Pinkie from its very first sentence, and never reneged on its promised humor. Discord and Pinkie play wonderfully off of each other in your writing, with the tiny interior thems a perfect thematic bond. Are Pinkie and Discord in love? Clearly not... but now I definitely ship "mass of tiny Pinkies X mass of tiny Discords." So, thanks for that.

The topsy-turviness of the whole "love" "triangle" feels positively Gilbert and Sullivan-ish to me, and I mean that as the highest praise. The constant parade of throwaway sight gags and puns added to the story rather than obscuring it. And the whole thing ends up being, despite all the other places it could have gone, a wonderfully cute hit of friendshipping. Excellent work all around.
#98 · 1
· on The Human in the Garden · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I'm more than shocked:

That we collectively have been doing this Ponyfic thing for going on 10 years now without someone having done this story. Fun, fun, fun, and let me put up a link to James Thurber's "The Unicorn in the Garden" for folks who'd like to review what's happening on the human side here.

That being said, author, I have two concerns. First, why is this framed as a story that Rarity's telling Twilight? For Twilight to be here, I'd like us to see her learn something at the end. Otherwise, I don't see why she's even in this story. Just tell it straight: Rarity's having a nightmare that she lost her creative spark, and Luna pops in to help her out. They can then talk at the end to give us the larger context. Taking Twilight out of the story would also help the odd characterization of Rarity. Why's she being so snarky to Twilight? Did Twilight do something to upset her?

Second is the line, "he ran towards the house, shouting something in a horrid rage." One of the things that always gets me about the original Thurber story is the complete lack of expressed emotion between the husband and the wife. The emotions are there and huge and explosive, but these are people who would rather tear their own lungs out than be anything other than passive aggressive at each other.

Those were the two things that tripped me up while reading, but this is such a great idea, I hope you'll do whatever polish you want to do to it and post it on FimFiction.

#99 · 1
spent the final 5 hours of the night putting together a fiction <snip> I'll get spotted and destroyed.

I, for one, will give the benefit of the doubt to most grammatical and spelling issues in an obvious first draft, so long as I can get the sense of it and it isn't that you don't know the basics. (Goes for everybody's work, btw, because, well, deadline.) Of course, story, character, and feeling can override a lot, too. Never hurts to bring it up that you've post a first draft, tho.
#100 · 1
· on "Well, this is new."
Pinks has Resting Twitch Tail! O noes!
A simple piece, but effective at conveying the joke. Nicely done, Artist.