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On The Wings of a Dream · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
#1 · 11
· · >>Bachiavellian
The forest was quiet, with still air and streamers of sunlight piercing the treetops. Nothing flew; not a single bird chirped. Through the unnerving silence, Pinkie tiptoed, keeping her lip zipped. For all she knew, it was a party game, and if so, she wouldn't be the one who spoiled the fun.

Finally, she spied a flash of familiar yellow in a distant bush, and homed in, deliberately stepping on a twig as she got near so as not to utterly startle her friend.

"Oh dear!" Fluttershy screamed quietly. "Oh, hi, Pinkie. Please keep it down, if that's all right with you..."

"Fine by me," whispered Pinkie. "What game are we playing? Hide and seek? Statues? Outraged Conscience?"

"Oh, no, it's not a game," said Fluttershy. "It's that time again." She gestured with a wing, showing the bush and the nearby tree full of birds of all kinds: eagles, peacocks, finches, robins, chickens, a forlorn emu, all huddling together and looking mournful. Not a peep came from a single one of them.

"There's some sort of writing competition going on," said Fluttershy. "The participants have to write a story of two to eight thousand words in just a few days. They're all trying to win these medals that you can't even wear, because they're just illusions, or something like that. It's rather confusing."

"Well, that sounds like fun!" said Pinkie. "What's the problem?"

"Well... the writers go through a lot of quills. First Quills and Sofas sells out, then Barnyard Bargains, and after that they come looking for the birds. It's dreadfully upsetting, so my little friends are all hiding here. Nowhere else is safe."

"Oooh, Let me help," said Pinkie, drawing forth a cannoli-zooka. "No cute little bird is gonna get hurt on my watch--"

But it was already too late. From behind the bush, a stealthy limb reached forth and clutched at Fluttershy's wing, yanking out a large yellow tertial feather.

She uttered a piercing scream that echoed through the forest and leaped into the sky, followed by a whirlwind of shrieking and flapping birds, spiralling into the bright blue heavens.

Nowhere was safe.
#2 · 3
·
I have the day off Friday. If I fail to get in this time, I have no excuse whatsoever and should be shunned accordingly.
EDIT: Boo, the day off is kaput. It seems I must win this in a straight fight. :flutterrage:
#3 · 9
· · >>georg
>>GroaningGreyAgony

During one perfectly nondescript early-morning moment, Twilight was in the middle of pouring herself a cup of coffee in her kitchen. The next moment was a rainbow-colored tumble that happened so quickly that she only felt the twenty or so bumps and knocks and jostles after Rainbow Dash had already thrown her into the puffy bank of a high-altitude stratus cloud.

"You'll be safe here!" screeched the wide-eyed pegasus.

As Twilight felt the bruises settling in from the hypersonic extraction, she calmly rightened the coffee pot still held in her magical grasp and poured the precious remaining trickles straight down her throat.

"Explain," croaked the critically under-caffeinated Princess.

"You've been an Alicorn for like three years!" said Rainbow. "How haven't they ever gotten you yet?"

Rainbow Dash's eyes were enitrely bloodshot, to the point that nothing resembling the color white was visible. Her entire face looked like she had gotten whatever the opposite of a face-lift was, and there was a deeply concerning involuntary twitch in her left wing.

"Use your fucking words, Dash," said Twilight. "Who is trying to get me?"

"Th-the Writers, Twi!They're out of quills again, and they're not afraid to use us to write with!"

With trembling steps, Dash tip toed to the edge of the cloud and peeked down to Ponyville Square below.

"The ones who can't get away—they're good as gone Twi. I saw a baby pegasus, too small to fly, at Sugarcube corner on my way to you. Plucked absolutely clean. The m-monsters."

"Are you sure you aren't over-reacting again, Dash?" Twilight rubbed her eyes with a pinching cloud of magic. "Remember when you destroyed five-point-three million bits of weather equipment 'cause your turtle was sleepy? I had to implement a two percent sales tax increase in Manehattan to pay for that stuff, you know."

"Tank's a tortoise," came the automatic reply. "But this is serious, Twi, I don't—"

"Raaaainbow Dash?" croaked a small scratchy voice, from the ground below. "Rainbow Dash, is that you?"

Dash's eyes widened, and her head swiveled to find the voice. "Scootaloo!"

On instinct, her legs crouched in preparation of a jump, but Rainbow Dash caught herself at the last second.

"H-help me, Rainbow. Please!"

"H-hang in there, little squirt!" Tears threatened to spill from the Element of Loyalty's eyes. "I—I'm here for you!"

"It hurts so much, Rainbow Dash."

"Y-you're a trooper, you tough little thing, you!" said Dash as she backed away from the edge of the cloud. "It'll be over, soon. I p-promise."

Twilight blinked. She blinked again, voluntarily.

"What in my oedipal mother-figure's name was that?"

"It's sad, really," muttered Dash as she curled up into a fetal ball at Twilight's feet. "I think her wings are big enough for her to fly, now. But every time her feathers start growing in, there's another one of these contests. It's an awful cycle."

"Look," said Twilight. "I am not nearly awake enough to begin handling this."

Twilight began tip-toeing closer behind the unaware pegasus.

"I've been up busy all night, and I only have one day left."

Rainbow Dash froze and her eyes popped open, just as a touch of of magic tickled her wings.

"W-what were you doing all night?" whispered Dash.

Twilight smiled widely.

"I was writing, Rainbow."
#4 ·
·
Over Easter weekend?

I'll pretty much be singing and playing my guitar non-stop, so I doubt I'll be in this round...

Mike
#5 · 3
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony
>>Bachiavellian Darnit. Entries are closed. After that, I was so tempted to submit the prompt of 'Plucked!'
#6 ·
· · >>Super_Trampoline
Babscon weekend, alas. All of you have fun!
#7 · 6
·
Keep North Through the Mud, Cosmos Mariner—Destination Unknown. No Time to Think, Away We Go, One Step at a Time!

My City Was Gone On The Wings of a Dream. The Real Me, Never Every Time.

Daredevil, Settling an Old Score Greater Than Friendship. Unfinished Business?

Jack of Spades, Queen of Hearts, Ot, Lock, Stock, and Barrel.

Shoutouts to Simpleflips: The Virgin Twilight vs The Chad Starlight, Gluing All the Leaves Back on the Trees. Save Some for the Rest of Us!
#8 · 3
·
>>georg
Just throw your vote to “On The Wings of a Dream”. If you’ve been plucked, all you have are dream wings. It’s close enough to be justifiable.
#9 · 5
·
I voted on a prompt. May we all perish together.
#10 · 2
·
>>horizon
That’s not going to stop me!
#11 · 3
·
I am not likely to take part in the writing phase. I’ll consider drawing something.
#12 · 2
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa
On The Wings of a Dream


tfw inconsistent Capitalization
#13 · 5
· · >>Light_Striker
>>Miller Minus
You don't need proper capitalisation when riding on the wings of a dream.
#14 · 5
·
>>Zaid Val'Roa
Problem is, improperly capitalized dreams have a way of running out of money halfway through. In particular, there was a series of dreams that went ahead with far more funding than they needed due to overleveraged underwriting by the Perihelion Bank of Canterlot back in 350 CE, when the division of responsibilities in the New Celestial Government wasn't stable yet. The hidden losses of confidence in the solidity of the dreams slowly piled up, until they tipped over into the economic disaster later named the Icarus Scenario. Sudden shortages of essential commodities in the oneiromarket created a cascade of productivity crashes all across Equestria, which lasted until an emergency summit with some Saddle Arabian scientists brought into existence a thick black substance which Princess Luna proudly presented as a solution, stoking initial demand on the black market by making rations of it the only accepted payment for the occasional favors from her corvid agents all across Equestria's back alleys.

Unfortunately, disagreements over the proper disposition of the substance, as well as outbreaks of insomnia, made the resultant boom even more unstable than the bust, and after the terrifying rollercoaster of the next decade, from monthly stampedes to a few narrowly averted famines, the two diarchs finally hashed out the division of their courts that has lasted since. Celestia agreed to stay out of any further manipulations in the oneiromarket, concentrating her focus on more material goods, as well as keeping the energy of the sun confined to only the main part of the day, while Luna accepted the combination of lunar luminance limits and full responsibility for dream enforcement in exchange for the perk of being the only ruler to still be permitted to take caw-fee.
#15 · 5
·
Happy Easter, folks! :yay:

I hope y’all are faring well. I keep bouncing off various attempts at stories, but I might be onto one that works...
#16 · 6
·
Cue influx of Luna stories.

And I may or not be available in #mentors tonight, because the prompt fit an idea I already had, so I may or may not be finishing my own entry. If you want to ask, please do, and I'll PM if and when I think I might be able to fit you in.
#17 · 2
·
Well, traveling and stuff ate up all my mental energy. No dice. Good luck! Hope to read everything when I get home.
#18 · 6
·
I'm almost in this one.

I am finally starting to turn around my depression with the twice-weekly ketamine treatments, so I am now on the verge of being able to write again. I've used this prompt to restart a story I'd been working on, and I would submit it if I had the time and energy to finish it, but I don't.

However, I am going to finish the story this time, and I will be posting it in the folder before the contest has concluded (before the art portion is done, at any rate). I hereby Pinkie Promise it, which is a guarantee. So there. :derpytongue2:

Best of luck to everypony.
#19 · 1
· · >>Posh
I am defeat. :-(

Best of fortune to those still in the running.
#20 · 5
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>CoffeeMinion one day, we will feast together in the hall of the mountain king
#21 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion
All right. I'm ready for another try. Managed to come up with some work, edited it, and submitted it. Hell, I don't even care a fig whether or not I score highly. I'm just pleased as punch not only to have written something at long last, but to have actually finished something too. Boy howdy has it been too long.
#22 · 3
· · >>BlueChameleonVI >>Light_Striker
>>Posh
>>BlueChameleonVI
Well now I’m more bummed; you guys are fun to do this with, and I hear the Mountain King makes some pretty mean flapjacks...

Naw, Easter is a happy time, but it’s also busy. I saw that coming and planned to take Friday off to buy me some writing time. Thought I was set until I found out Thursday afternoon that I was going to be needed Friday after all. Past that point, my usual couple of time blocks I can squeak in over a weekend got chipped away by either overt Easter activities or tangentially related circumstances.

At least our choir’s Easter song was good both times we sang it! :-p
#23 · 2
·
>>CoffeeMinion

Yep, Easter's a good time. Had the family round for a nice big meal yesterday, finished of course with a lovely selection of chocolate eggs. Good time indeed.
#24 · 1
· on Illusion and Dream · >>Pascoite
Okie dokie. Before we start, I'll make the usual disclaimer: while I have tried to write these reviews with some view towards constructive criticism, there will inevitably be a dose of subjective personal taste and biases. I am not a certified, professional critic. Also also, I am covering my reviews behind spoilers so they don't influence other people before reading the fics. Lastly, there is a chance I might miss references to the latest seasons, so bear that in mind if I talk about something and you immediately think "Well hey, that happened in Season Eight, etc."

Bad stuff first: This fic feels way too insubstantial for a contestant. It's too nice, which is a problem because a major philosophy of story-writing is that there must be a conflict, however small, to engage the reader's interest. Here, though, there isn't so much as a hint of a problem until the test is mentioned halfway through, and even that is so nebulous and has such an unremarkable pay-off (not BAD, really, but it isn't particularly engrossing when it's revealed) that it feels unjustified, like Thorax's random cameo and the Tantabus being there. (Both could be removed and nothing would really change about the story). At the minimum, I think the "test" should be introduced much earlier as a driving question. If Scootaloo's dream escapism is a conflict, then we should see more tension between her escapism and her reality, rather than have it just be discussed all at the end.

This is also a problem because the slow sort of style you're going for is likely to bore some readers and possibly confuse the rest (at one point, you seem to call Luna "Big Blue Bertha", and for a moment I thought yet another character had walked into the story; I'm still not sure I understand what that was all about). The prose doesn't help, either. I noticed typos here and there, but at first I had no problem with them and just glided on. Later, however, they seem to get worse. Examples include:

- Twilight made you a tutor, and we need everypony we everypony.

- it's [N.B. should be "its"] impossible number of gossamer wings condensing and dripping in an out of existence

- Rainbow Dash was looking at her an eyebrow cocked and loaded [N.B. Missing a comma between "her" and "an eyebrow"]

It's not that the prose is a priority, but when the story itself doesn't engross as well as it should, little problems like those become harder to ignore.

Lastly, though this isn't a problem for me personally, I suspect some people might consider the premise a little on the obvious side (Scootaloo having flight worries? Luna coaching her to a moral? So what's new?). But that's me thinking how others might take it. I didn't mind it at all.

Now for the good stuff. I liked this one. It's not something to get the blood running, and you really needed to proofread it and iron out those typos before publishing. But the talk with Luna and Scootaloo was sweet enough, and I do appreciate your decision to just show ponies talking to each other about the dream and about the "problem" and facing reality. None of it is revolutionary or even particularly taxing. It's just a nice change of pace.

The best part for me is the trio of paragraphs at the beginning. This fic moves sedately, and that beautifully fits the evocative feeling and wonder in those paragraphs, with the almost Ghibli-esque reverence for the moment. The description of the countryside, the simile "guiding her... like an encouraging mother bird", the moment of uncertainty when she realizes she has full wings, it's all crafted so well.

In some ways, I even like the calm, patient style of the rest of the story. On its own terms, it's nice to have a fic which isn't about big spectacle or cruel drama, but about little pleasures and a dreamy pace. So regardless of my criticisms above, I did enjoy reading this one, author, and I salute your efforts.

And of course, I hope this comment helps you in some way in the future!
#25 · 1
· on Come Fly With Me
First read of the day! We're off to a great start!

To start, I like the emotion you put into this piece! To some, it may be mundane, but to me, it is refreshing to go back a couple seasons. The problems Scootaloo faced have a tendency to sucker punch ya in the feels.

Which, you got me! Bonus points considering I got less than an hour sleep last night and now I want to review this morning. Heh, good combo, amiright? :pinkiecrazy: .

Just a matter of minor things I picked up on:

"Raaaaaiiiiiiight Naaaaayooooow!"


I got a little confused who was saying this. It might be Rainbow, considering her inner thoughts are voiced in italics later on. But it was odd that it is a quotation, (meaning it is actually said) and in italics.

Another thing: Scoots went from a elated state of adrenaline back to her depressing reality. Considering she hasn't experienced flying of this caliber before, don't you think it would take some time for it to wear off?
...but that's just my opinion. For sake of keeping the reader engaged, it is nessecary to tweak a couple things. So, take this with a grain of salt.

But, all in all, great read!
Thanks for writing this piece!
#26 · 2
· on Conscience Does Make Cowards · >>Bachiavellian
Same disclaimer as in my last comment. I ain't copy-pasting, mate.

Again, I'll start with the bad stuff: The fic heavily sets up the disease at the beginning as the driving question, and then never (as far as I can tell) really explains it. My best guess is that it's like Discord being orderly, but a lot more gory: Twilight shuns her friends, and that causes her, as Princess of Friendship, increasingly intense pain. But note I call this a guess. I have no clue, and it's immensely dissatisfying to feel like the whole plot is a shocking swerve bait-and-switch. I'm not against the more psychological angle of the second half - I'd expect it to be present somewhere - but it feels less like a facet of the plot and more like a completely different thread just took over. It didn't feel well-balanced overall.

Instead, it shifts focus - most obviously around the point Spike enters the picture - to Twilight doing the whole martyr thing which I swear I've encountered in about a dozen plus stories prior to now, including canon ones. The ubiquity is not the problem - Scootaloo-Rainbow stories are a dime a dozen, and I still like those - but Twilight's brand of workaholic martyrdom I find tedious anyway. Especially when the disease is so grisly and horrifying, she becomes less a tragic figure and more an outright moron. Sure, she's getting nowhere medically, but after that one scene with the doctor, there's no frantic effort to solve the problem. She literally just papers over a massive haemorrhaging disease and acts outraged at anyone who points out the perfectly sensible, I mean, what the actual hell!? Couple that with her petty angry moment firing Feathery, and all sympathy I had for our main character dried up completely by the two-thirds mark. Which is a problem, because it lessens the investment I felt going into the finale.

Another point is that the worldbuilding is too vague for my tastes. The instant I read "Pegasopolan" and "Feathery Breeze", my first interpretation was "Alternate Universe", especially with the lack of Main Six and Spike. An AU with canon elements added, as it turned out, when Luna appeared with her dream-walker abilities, which left me uncertain whether this might actually be canonical, but in the future. My point is that, while I did clock that this was the future around the time Spike comes in... that's a huge chunk of the story where I was still trying to get my bearings. An OC like Whiteoak talking about a Great Sea didn't do much to resolve my confusion. This too is a potential problem because, if the reader doesn't get their bearings as solidly as possible, as early as possible, the ongoing confusion will distract them from the rest of the story, if only slightly. That diminishes the impact somewhat.

Also, what was up with the present tense throughout? Even ignoring those times it slipped up and went into the past tense anyway, what purpose did it serve? I can't see any other than as doing it just for the sake of doing something different. I adjusted eventually, (having been trained heavily for past tense stories myself, I needed time to adjust), but it still bugs me to an extent.

That said, this fic has a hell of an opening. Immediately, I found myself horrified and curious as to the disease, and for as long as I interpreted this as a kind of medical horror-slash-drama, I was really engaged. The frustration and nagging uncertainty around the disease, especially when even a professional investigation is throwing up no clues, really does suck you in and is a fantastic way to generate a sense of unease and mystery. I was really looking forward to finding out where Twilight got this spreading, bleeding illness, and what it was eventually going to be revealed as. The pacing is also nicely steady and patient, contributing greatly to the feeling of low-key dread as the story progresses. Very well written.

Character-wise, there's not much going on with Feathery Breeze. She's sort of a bland nice girl, which is fine and functional, but nothing remarkable. I've already given my views of Twilight. That said, I do like Celestia's humble and nostalgic retirement, as well as the reveal that Luna's delving further into the cosmos. Excellently executed, especially the wisdom shown by Celestia in comparing carpentry and gardening to emphasize boring order and uncertain chaos (I'm not 100% sure you're not exaggerating the difference a little between the two, but I got the point of the analogy). Although mentioning "Pegasopolan bath houses" and then having Luna say "Hail Twilight" didn't do much for my confusion re: whether this was future canon or an AU with a heavy Classical Civilization bent (reminds me too much of "Hail, Caesar!").

There are typos and spelling errors here too, but for the most part, the prose I wouldn't change a bit. Good style, comfortable reading, helps with the mood, I love it. I'll rate this on its craftsmanship, definitely.

So overall, most of my problems with it are probably more personal interpretation than anything concrete, but they were big problems. Hopefully, I've phrased them in a way that you might find something useful in all this rambling of mine.
#27 · 1
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>Pascoite
Genre: I am Important

Top tier writing, at least in my eyes. Often times, with an opening of a prompt, there are pieces that grow on you, that you feel for the characters and their inner fears. All three characters stand out. For the most part, this story gives you hope... nevermine the cliffhanger we know where it goes.

It's hard to nitpick this one since it is a good and solid piece. That- and I feel bad for critiquing it.

But, to be useful (if I'm not useful, then ignore this comment). A minor detail- a little bit of closure. True, it was solved that Vinyl's and Octavia's dreams merged and with the help of Luna being the facilitator (even if she did not intend it) provides a good ending, as a peek into her loneliness. However, it gives me a slight itch of- How? It is addressed that the dreams are merged. But how? Is it her fault and her lack of control of her powers or something a little more divine?

But, that's just me. It is hard to find dirt on something that is well-polished.
Thanks for writing!
#28 · 1
· on The Scootaloo Switcheroo
As usual, my disclaimer applies here too. Right, that's the last time I'm saying it, because I'm starting to sound like a broken record.

Bad stuff first: The twists in the last quarter feel a bit excessive after a while. I got the whole point of Scootaloo shoving Rainbow into a dream to survive the Ponyville apocalypse, and how Scootaloo's antics brought the white creatures and the Monster into the mix, but the contract thing confuses me. It says Scootaloo made a bargain when she was younger, only she didn't. Then she made a bargain when she was older. Following so far. But at times, especially with Scootaloo saying she changed her mind, it seems like the opposite is the case and the creature is just forcing it on her. I'm not sure if the creature or Scootaloo is the instigator, and it made it really hard to keep track of the details around that point. I can't help but feel that simplifying it would have helped, because if we're trying to piece a complicated story together, we're too busy for the emotional beats to land.

In that vein, I don't think the whole Monster thing is really necessary. It's cool and all, but the focus of the fic is totally on Scootaloo's insecurities and Rainbow's quest to snap her out of it. There's already a helluva lot of stuff going on, especially after a pretty thin and rushed changeling battle early on. I don't think we need a big old battle at the end too, especially when it happens mostly off-screen. The cold storm is antagonist enough at the finish.

While I'm at it, and as much as I like the back-and-forth between Scootaloo and Rainbow Dash at the end, I think it could do with some trimming. At one point, it stops to talk about Rainbow as a foal, and I still don't understand what that has to do with anything. Does it show Rainbow's not so different from Scootaloo? If so, it doesn't fully work, because Scootaloo had at least two friends as a foal and none of them seem to call her out as arrogant or snotty. Making the talk too long also kind of defuses the tension when the fight around them just sort of goes away. It was good, but anti-climactic. Maybe something more urgent is needed, like the fighting actually puts them at risk, to keep the tension going strong before the end.

And a minor point this: Luna comes across as a bit too judgemental, and I found it annoying. Yes, Scootaloo (somehow) almost caused the end of the world, but given Luna's whole history, you'd think she'd be a bit more sympathetic than this. I don't know, it just rubbed me the wrong way how she kept reacting like Scootaloo "had personally insulted her" over and over. At least tone the phrasing down or something, otherwise it makes it harder to appreciate her point.

The pacing is a little on the hectic side, especially just before the big final talk between Rainbow and Scootaloo.

That said, I honestly like this one a lot. I particularly like Rainbow Dash's characterization, especially the way her hot-headedness zigzags between being laughably impatient and being heartwarmingly protective. My favourite scene is the blizzard she fights through. The writing does a great job of selling just how big an ordeal it is on Rainbow, not just physically but to the point her mind starts losing it too (though you could've done more with that and left some lasting damage, because she seems mostly fine once she gets into Ponyville). Also, the scenes between her and Scootaloo are lovely. When there's so much adventuring and horror going on, these homey little scenes make the relationship feel more approachable, humane (so to speak), and sweet.

And damn this fic doesn't hang about. The beginning does a great job of teasing little clues that something is not right (or not so little, if Rainbow can explain away tons of snow just vanishing overnight! Um...) and the reveal of the fake Scootaloo was horrifying and chilling in just the right way. Not only does the horror work in its own right, but it makes the quest for the real Scootaloo all the more uncertain. I loved that kind of dread.

Overall, I'd say a definite good'un. It's rough in places, I won't lie, but I had a great time reading it, so kudos, author! I hope this review can help you improve it after the contest and turn it into something great.
#29 · 2
· on Conscience Does Make Cowards · >>Bachiavellian
Dangit! Why do you amazing writers have to make it hard for me to decide on my slate?

That aside, I liked this one for the fact of the imagery of a glimpse of the potential future post show.

oh I am so depressed.

This has a good ending to it, something hollow and satisfying at the same time.

Just a thing that I'll nitpick. (Gosh, now I'll be some type of closure fanatic critic from now on). Mysterious disease shows up, my presumption is that it is a effect of her inner self crumbling. When she finally becomes vulnerable, she heals, at least from what I can tell. (I'm going to sound like a hypochondriac.) But, the servants act like it is nothing contagious (which is implied, but it would help to mention that since Feathery seems to be the overly careful type). It also led me to make a fake implication when this sentence showed up:

“I’m not stupid,” she says. “I know it’s Feathery.


My mind went something like this: Of course, overly careful character assigned as servant poisons her ruler. But how?

..But then I realized- it is just them talking about unneeded hullabaloo around her castle.

But all in all, I liked the imagery of Celestia's cottage- that scene stood out for sure. I will remember that when weighing my slate. :Twilightsmile:

Anyways, that's my two cents!
Thank you for sharing!
#30 · 3
·
>>CoffeeMinion
I'm glad you at least had a nice time. ^_^ Come join me in the Oops No Time box if you like, and better luck with story-writing in the future…
#31 · 1
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>Pascoite
Bad stuff first, as usual: The mechanics of the shared dream are a bit too fuzzy-wuzzy for my tastes, especially when even that is called into question by Luna's "real in the ways that matter" line. Although I think I get why you did it, and it does help with the ethereal nature of the blending between reality and dreams, some kind of explanation would have put it on my good side. The vague blurring between two filly's dreams doesn't sit well with the clearer divides between ponies' dreams used in the show, and at least an explanation along the lines of "their mutual relationship was so strong that..." would've fit in with Vinyl's increasing concern. I appreciate ambiguity can help with setting an uncertain, even eerie tone, but it does come at the cost of stronger worldbuilding foundations. If nothing else, maybe this is a point to consider in future?

Usually, I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to subtlety and symbolism, though I really appreciated the picture symbolism at the end being used to encourage Octavia. But the prose is another matter, and I will admit I tripped up a couple of times here. The second scene, for instance, focuses more on Luna's reflections of her visits, but then suddenly the first dialogue starts up, and the rest of the scene is specifically about one particular visit. The transition is jarring, to say the least. On its own, not a huge problem, but with a story this vague and piece-by-piece, it doesn't smooth out the experience much. I think a stricter, tighter prose style or viewpoint, which was more focused per scene, would help solve that problem. For instance, devote one scene to Luna's reminiscence over the years, THEN cut to another scene BUT make clear this is about one particular dream she visited. Then scene plays out as before. Problem solved.

Another instance of unhelpful prose was the occasional way dialogue was handled. There was one point when three dialogue paragraphs were all Vinyl's, but the middle one was unmarked, and when Vinyl was specifically mentioned in the fourth one, it briefly tricked me into thinking Luna had spoken previously. Maybe you can appreciate it if I show it to you:

- Vinyl clambered out from under the bed and as before leaned over the mattress. “Hey. Would you play something for me? You did once. I really liked it.”

- Only that infernal arguing and radio answered.

- “Please? Nothing’s more important to me than music, so I’m not just trying to act interested. I don’t want you to lose that.”

- The bed shook slightly, and Vinyl let out a sigh, ducked her head down again. “I don’t know why I’m bothering. This is all in my head, right?”

I dunno. Seemed kind of clumsy here, and there were a couple other times where clearer dialogue markers would have made things less confusing and irritating than they should've been. Credit where it's due, though, the use of Luna's diction and Vinyl's outspoken attitude usually helped settle that.

Also, Luna's Royal Canterlot dialect seems inconsistent. A notable omission is the Royal We rather than "I". I'm nitpicking, though.

Also also, since when was Vinyl yellow, pale or otherwise? Perhaps I'm not experienced enough with hues, but that tripped me up, and not in a good way. I had to stop and go back, because it seemed like such a bizarre error.

But yeah, I'm really nitpicking. Honestly, I like this one a lot.

This fic I found rewarding to read. Early on, when Octavia was revealed to be the weeping foal, I paused and thought "Wait a moment, how can Luna possibly be here? She'd be Nightmare Moon's face in the sky at this point." And then the evil influence takes over, breaking Octavia. Without a single explicit word of confirmation, it was made clear. Well, I found the whole fic to be like that, neither talking down to the audience nor feeling like an unfair challenge. I say kudos, author. That's how implication-based storytelling should be done.

Also, I appreciated the slow reveal of the domestic dynamic Octavia finds herself in, and the dialogue between Vinyl and Luna, especially when Luna's bystander tendencies were challenged, kept me going, eager to see how this would develop. Vinyl herself is a particularly endearing character, whereas Luna's inner conflict was a nice dark touch with a hint of dramatic irony and even some tragedy in how her crueller tendencies caused the emotional breakdown she's ruefully watching. It's also a pretty grim but not hopeless backstory for the two foals' future musical talents, simple yet sweet. That ending is a good capper, and is as far as I'm concerned probably the most solid (or least problematic) ending of the writeoff thus far. No major complaints here.

Ultimately, my favourite read of the bunch. Well done, author, and hope you do well in the results.
#32 · 1
· on Come Fly With Me
My biggest problem with this fic is simple: from the moment Scootaloo is left alone with Rainbow Dash, everything plays out exactly as you'd expect it to. Scootaloo has insecurities around flying and talents, especially compared with Rainbow Dash, and Rainbow and she bond and do something nice together. Scootaloo even gets a flight with her! And most of it is presented as an easygoing casual chat between them with no major obstacles they don't surmount by talking it out.

I haven't done a tally or anything, but at least in broad strokes, this feels like the vast majority of Scootalove fics ever written. Barring a few minor garnishes and embellishments, there's not much deviation from the template, and the reason that's a problem is because it doesn't make the fic stand out in any interesting or personal way. Compare this, say, with Illusion and Dream and The Scootaloo Switcheroo. At heart, both are about Scootaloo's insecurities and touch upon her relationship with Rainbow Dash, but the former has a surreal dream element throughout and a different thematic focus on fantasy escapism, and the latter has Scootaloo's ambivalence causing a winter-themed apocalyptic disaster while Rainbow has to confront Scootaloo's mistakes and wrongdoing tactfully. To put it bluntly, they do something different with their core premise. They combine it with more unlikely or uncommon elements to give it a new spin, which affects the style and direction of their respective stories.

I think as a first response, that's what you really need to do here. Give a familiar story a shake-up. Scootaloo figuring out from Luna's enigmatic hints that she needs to moderate her escapist tendencies, that's different. Scootaloo doing a deal-with-the-devil that she regrets the frozen fallout of, that's different too. Scootaloo getting bullied and Rainbow cheering her up isn't really different enough, even with a few interesting embellishments on the periphery.

Now, I'm not saying there aren't any little twists and turns here and there, just that they're too little to shake my feeling of "been there, done that": Scootaloo shows a little more sarcasm and sass than expected, and Rainbow's complete inability to even remember her name fits well with the kind of undeveloped personality she had back in Season One. Best part was Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon changing their behaviour the instant Rainbow told them to shut up, if only because those two interacting directly with Rainbow Dash was something strongly different and fresh that isn't done very often.

Emphasize, capitalize, or logically develop those odder elements more, and I think you might be well on your way to improving this story greatly. On the plus side, there's nothing offensive or wrong about the story either (apart from an unironic use of "Buck" for a slang profanity, but that's my pet peeve, so I'll disqualify it as a petty consideration), and there are worse things than a story being just okay or meh. Occasional error notwithstanding, the prose seemed fine enough. And if only as a cookie-cutter kind of niceness, the story is at least nice in tone. It's not like it made me regret reading it. Strictly speaking, though, I think it could be a lot better, especially as a competitor that needs to stand out and do its own thing.

I don't know if this is helpful to you as a review, and I don't want to be discouraging at all. Just honest and pragmatic. From my point of view, this is a fundamental issue to tackle. I would strongly recommend that "add a twist to an old idea" point for future consideration.
#33 · 1
· on (Where Griffons Go) When It Rains · >>Miller Minus
Genre: Dancing in the Rain

This one is also a hard one to judge. I'm going to use the same disclaimer BCIV is using: I'm not well-versed in Season 8 or any season after season 5 for that matter, so bear with me.

From what information I've gathered around Gallus, or any Griffon from that matter, is that they are generally Scrooge-like and grumpy. BUT can have a heart of gold when you get to know them.

Shown here is a good take on Gallus doing something Spontaneous, beyond his nature to discover friendship. It is poetic that the spirit that Mr. Gruff describes as 'happiness' was brief but fleeting. Kinda of what some many of us experience with the fickle beast of motivation Even if it is against their nature, per se, it shows that it is not impossible for them to break out of it.

To me, (and this is a matter of opinion), that this could benefit from a little more interaction between characters. True, they count as distant, but what Mr. Gruff said to Gallus at the end made the read worth it. Maybe he felt something like that before, and he is gloomy because he lost it and cannot seem to find it. Maybe interaction with Gilda? Or maybe some of the cubs as he tries to explain this new exhilarating feeling he is having. Who knows? It might be contagious?

All in all! Good work! This one is unique and stands apart from the crowd!

Thank you for writing!
#34 · 1
· on (Where Griffons Go) When It Rains · >>Miller Minus
As well as the usual disclaimer I've been making ad nauseum, I have to make a disclaimer of a different kind here: I stopped watching the show after Season Seven, so my knowledge of the school students (et cetera, et cetera) is limited at best. I went ahead and read this, though, out of fairness and for the sake of completeness. That means you're getting the views of someone who will miss certain references and dramatic ironies, and who'll be taking this fic at face value. Hopefully, it's a useful additional POV for you.

As usual, bad stuff first: Might need a tiny itty-bitty little more polish here and there. Can't really think of anything beyond the occasional typo.

Maybe the plot was a little directionless in places. At least, until the ending when the overarching theme clicked into place and I realized everything did have a point, plus you get some leeway with a more slice-of-life style story re: firm direction. It only really occurred to me during the third quarter that, as much as I was learning about Gallus and his society, personal circumstances, and worldview, I didn't really know where this was going beyond the vague "animal spirit" throughline. I'm going to be generous and chalk this up to me not being fully on the right wavelength, but I thought I'd mention it, just in case.

Really, I was very impressed with this one. Such a lovely contrast between the naively curious Gallus and the cynical, prickly indifference of those around him. The running conceit of his warmth as a spirit animal was intriguing imagery, pleasant and (I'm guessing) significantly symbolic in some way. But if I've missed some deeper meaning here, I'm at least convinced by the surface level that the animal imagery does mean something important, related to his childlike innocence and, well, happiness in "spirit".

In any case, Gallus as a failing optimist who succumbs to the unpleasant worldview that surrounds him is a highly endearing character, mostly because he IS trying to make sense of his emotions, work out who to tell, and do stuff to that end. Add in my personal animal-loving bias, and he grew on me very quickly and very strongly.

Aside from him, Ginny and Grandpa Gruff made for a good supporting cast. Neither too stereotypical nor too outlandish in their antagonism, that ironically made the corrosion of Gallus' mind all the more tragic. Life just sucks around him, and this is how it is. That kind of brutal honesty in depiction works wonders to sell the predicament because it feels more realistic than, say, a cartoonier depiction of selfish grumpiness would have. Hits closer to home too.

The style was great. Metaphors like the arrows Gruff fires at Gallus give the piece some good artistic flourishes. The pacing is comfortable and lets us take in as we go the details of Gallus' day activities. I was thoroughly engaged.

An easy high-tier for me, if not my favourite of the bunch. I can't really offer much in the way of constructive criticism, and the only major thing - the kind of meandering purposelessness of the series of events - is probably more my own problem. It's not even particularly major. (You also get bonus creativity points for not using Luna or Scootaloo in any way whatsoever.) Good work, author, and good luck in the judging!
#35 · 7
· · >>BlueChameleonVI
Wow, this is a strong slate of authors. It's one of those rounds where you don't have to finish high to consider you've done well.
#36 · 1
·
>>Pascoite

Too right. I don't fancy my chances against Anonymous. That guy makes Tolkien look like a complete hack.
#37 · 1
· on Illusion and Dream
Dreams are hard to judge. There is a different function of logic in them that is not present in consciousness. So, to be fair, this one was interesting read. It followed the prompt well and made the dreamlike quality a little fuzzy, as it always is when we wake up.

I accidentally looked into BCIV's review. So, now my review is flawed.

I agree with BCIV that Thorax seemed to be a loose part that was added to this machinery. Not necessarily a part you should remove, but a part that can be done away with and the machine would be fine without with.

Then, my second is that the dream got lost at a few parts on me. The part where Luna had Scoots looking for something abstract that she couldn't point out. Then, the thing about pain, then what Scoots learned got a little lost on me... oh, then she woke up after catching a couple Zs from homework and asks Rainbow to go fly with her.

But, nonetheless, it was a good piece. It didn't grow on me, but that is the joy of discovery. Not everyone is going to like the same things. So I can say I am indifferent, but I can respect the good writing that was put into this one!

Great writing for the interaction between Luna and Scootaloo!


Thanks for writing!
#38 · 1
· on The Scootaloo Switcheroo · >>BlueChameleonVI
Again, in my review before this one, judging dreamlike quality is a toughie.

For me, this one is more clear with imagery with the right balance of dialogue. It traps the reader in the mess Scoots had caused. Plus, I do agree with BCIV that Luna using her crescent Moon like a scythe paints an epic picture in mind, making this stand out as an iconic piece. I have a weakness for bada** Luna.

My problem is (not nessecarily a problem with the piece) is that it switches off from a dreamlike quality, bridging from Rainbow's to Scootaloo's. However, this has a reality effect with it? Thimbulwinter? End of the world? Sorry, I'm lazy when it comes to implications and logic. I was confused whether this was all present in a dream (because Luna was there) or a reality (and now Scootaloo fits under the category of reformed villain loosely)

But other than that, this has the best of both worlds from two of the others- Illusion and Dream, having Luna and the dreamlike quality of it, whilst having the angst and warm and fuzzies of Scootaloo and Rainbow's relationship


And just like that, finished off with a great piece for the end of this round of reviews!
Thank you for writing! Good luck!
#39 · 3
· · >>Miller Minus
I make this my peace offering just in case an angry mob comes after me for my reviews. (Does anyone else feel like this when they review?)

Anyways, not entirely related to the Writeoff, but after reading a couple Rainbow and Scootaloo pieces, here is a little more to give you the Rainbow and Scootaloo fuzzies: here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Upgj3VBUkU

Anyways, good luck! I can't wait to see the results! (And the art!)

Edit: sorry- for some strange reason the url ain't working
#40 · 3
· · >>PinoyPony
>>PinoyPony
Thank you for reviewing! If anyone gets upset at you just point them in my direction and I will pile drive them.

Seriously, good job.
#41 · 2
· · >>BlueChameleonVI >>CoffeeMinion
>>Miller Minus
Aww! Thanks! :twilightsmile:
#42 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>PinoyPony
>>PinoyPony

All right! We've both done the whole gallery AND guaranteed two comments for each story. High five, fellow completionist! n_n
#43 · 2
· · >>Miller Minus >>PinoyPony
>>BlueChameleonVI
>>PinoyPony
You guys are kickin’ azz. ^^ The workshop aspect of this is the best.

Speaking of, I’mma get my own review thing fired up here too before long...
#44 · 1
·
>>CoffeeMinion
BIG TOP CONTENDER NO KEEP DEVELOPINGS
#45 · 1
· on Illusion and Dream
To start off, I really liked all the little bits of imagery scattered here and there. In particular, the butterfly and the runway do stick out to me as evoking pretty vivid impressions. The voicing is also pretty strong, which makes the more dialogue-heavy parts flow easier.

As for nitpicks, once or twice I did find myself wondering about Scootaloo's age; whether this was a slightly aged-up version or if this was show-age. It was never significantly distracting, and our other two reviewers didn't seem to have this issue, so just take this as one person's read. To put in my two cents about Thorax, I didn't think he was as distracting as Pinoy or BCVI thought, but I did think that from a pacing perspective, the entire first 1/3ish of the story (where he shows up) was definitely a bit slow.

To elaborate on that, I think one of this piece's biggest struggles is that it takes quite a long time to get to the central conflict. We don't hear a word about Luna's test until it's introduced by Thorax, and then Thorax suddenly leaves the picture. Maybe that's why our other two reviewers are put off by the way you used him—readers will naturally start paying a lot more attention when the capital-P Point of the story comes into play, so discarding what seemed to be a new major player feels out of left field.

I think it's also worth mentioning for a moment that this piece does suffer a bit from "Happening-in-a-Dream" syndrome. It's often difficult to convince readers that what happens in a dream sequence is important, even in a magical setting like MLP. I do have to admit that there was a moment or two where even the great imagery had trouble keeping my attention, because it's hard to shake off the presumption that what happens in a dream doesn't matter. Which, interestingly enough, does play into your payoff in a way, I guess?

As for the payoff itself, I think it's perfectly adequate and has a great sentiment. It does feel a little simple on my second and third reads, but I think you made a good choice to keep this entry short and punchy with the themes you've selected.

All in all, I think what would take this story to the next level would be working on a more grabby hook. Try to find a way to make the reader care more and care sooner. Your story has a few characteristics that make it easier for the reader to start clocking out (dream sequence, late reveal, etc.), so I think you should try to put a little extra focus on making sure you're really supergluing the reader to the page.
#46 · 2
·
Since likes are anonymous (and it would be rude not to answer back)

>>BlueChameleonVI
>>CoffeeMinion

High five! Or in this case, since it is a Pony round /)
#47 ·
· on The Scootaloo Switcheroo · >>BlueChameleonVI
Okay, so. I have a disclaimer too. Author, be warned: I didn't like this story. I think it's important we get that out of the way.

Sorry.

Let me start with the opening. I think you've put it in the middle of your story, and we only seem to get to it after two false openings.

When I first read this story, I thought you put your opening in the second paragraph. Rainbow Dash woke up in a heatwave. The joke that comes before this is a little rote, and it's not at all what the story is about. The heatwave is what it's about, right? Well, no, that gets blown off, and RD goes to play with Scootaloo in the mountains. Okay…

And then when the conflict is getting going, we flip back to Five Days Earlier. I'm not a fan of this writing tool, and this time is no exception, but when I read this part, I thought, Here's the actual opening! We have our two characters having a lovely conversation, we have Scootaloo's inner conflict being introduced, and we now have a much better idea of what is to come. Okay.

And then we get the Three Days Earlier part, and here, in the middle of the story, is where Fimbulvinter gets introduced. This event frames the entire story, and should really be up front if you want it to be in there, because finding it in the middle was pretty blindsiding. I would recommend combining the Five Days and Three Days Earlier scenes, and move them to the beginning. That way what needs to be introduced gets introduced, and we'll be a lot better prepared for what's to come.

Now, the characterization of Rainbow Dash really threw me. I get that Rainbow has a tendency to be lazy, and to think she's very awesome, and at times to be very awesome, but she does have an off-switch. When there is a real, dire conflict, she gets serious. She gets worried.

For example, in the first scene, she shows a flippant disregard for Scootaloo's safety with the goggles being thrown away, and in the later scene where Scootaloo introduces the trick, her fears of Scootaloo getting hurt just vanish for no reason. She does get better as the story goes on, but the second scene…

In the second scene, Luna and Rainbow Dash show a terrible lack of agency. Neither of them is in a hurry to save Scootaloo, despite one of them knowing that she's being mentally tortured. And speaking of Luna, I wished she hadn't been so obtuse about what's going on. Luna is certainly unclear when it comes to her own problems, but when it's other ponies' problems, and especially in the dreamworld, she's usually a clear-instructions kind of girl, I find. And she is not a throw the dead body on the table while we talk about it kind of girl.

On top of this, all three main characters in this story drop the ball seriously hard, in their own ways, in order to facilitate the conflict. Well, maybe not so much Rainbow Dash. I'm actually on board with her when she starts yelling at Scootaloo for what she did. I mean, I know that children do stupid things, but that crosses the line for me. I can't believe she would just toss Rainbow Dash into purgatory, and also destroy Equestria. She does have other friends.

But there is an argument that Scootaloo isn't responsible for any of this. Okay, well, you know who is? Princess Luna. I don't have a great grasp on the Fimbulwinter plot, but from what I understand, she has absolutely no right to be mad at anyone in this story. She knew about this contract for years, Fimbulwinter is directly related to her, she knows the antagonist personally and can order her around, the dreamworld is her responsibility, but it's the child who's been irresponsible? And where were you when RD was breaking Scootaloo out of her prison, Luna?

The ending, I think, is also a bit of a misstep. It seems like it's going for a "you're perfect the way you are," kind of ending, but then RD has to start a new contract with Scootaloo to "make her better," which seems like the wrong lesson. I'm all for subversion, but you can't just choose the opposite ending when you've been building up to the first one. What's to stop Scootaloo from spiralling again if Dash is encouraging her to be unsatisfied with who she is?



I do have something nice to say to you, Author. I have a lot of nice things to say, actually, and I'm not just making them up. Honest.

You have an incredible imagination. I wish I could dream up plots like this. I wish I could describe scenes and characters like you can. I like a lot of your comedy—taken on its own—too. You have great one-liners. You should be proud of all this.

Seriously, you're a fuckin' badass.

But is it at all possible to rein it in? Can the narrator try less hard to impress the reader with purple prose? Maybe save the jokes for less tense moments so they don't have to compete with the tension?

This next paragraph is gonna be about what I like, personally. Take that how you will.

But my recommendation to you, Author, is to not worry so much about what's cool. Luna's scythe, the changeling battle side-quest, the gorgeous scene descriptions, the bombastic plot—for me, it all gets in the way of the enjoyment. And there is a core plot here that I can really get behind. I love these two characters, and Scootaloo thinking she needs to be better in order to "qualify" as Dash's sister is perfectly heartbreaking. But if you ask me, the plot didn't need to be obtuse, it didn't need Luna to be so entwined therein, and it didn't need Equestria to be in danger. I just wanna know that Scootaloo will be okay. That she'll escape her bad dream. That her relationship with Dash won't be destroyed by this one little insecurity.

That story is in there, underneath it all, and it can really, really shine.

Thank you for writing, Author. Best of luck to you.
#48 ·
· on Come Fly With Me
This story is a column A and column B sort of thing. Stuff I liked and stuff I didn't.

Let's start with not-so-liked: The dialogue is a bit clunky. The characters felt like their traits were coming on a little strong, and it seemed, to me, that they were talking too much. The dialogue is given a lot of control over the plot here, but that sometimes makes it feel like the characters are just expositing to each other. And in a story about insecurity, having the characters dump their problems on each other in order to keep things moving comes off a little weird.

That, and I wasn't the biggest fan of RD's characterization at the beginning of the story. She's very, very meatheady about what's going on. I get that she's lazy and forgetful, but her disregard for the bullying happening in earshot is a little over the top. Who knows? Maybe I like her too much to think she would ignore cruelty, even if it is childish cruelty. But hey, maybe it's an opportunity to have her try and do the right thing, only for it to not come off like she hoped. That's very RD. Or maybe she just sees a selfish opportunity to gain a fan. That's also her thing…

But for the good stuff? The flight scene. Really top-drawer; your descriptions are great, it's heartwarming, I was into it. Only thing I would note is maybe make it less about Dash, and more about Scootaloo. It's her moment after all. Lines like this:

Off in the distance was Canterlot, and even though Rainbow knew, somehow, that they were nowhere near high enough, much less close enough... she wanted to think she could reach out and touch the tippiest-top of the tallest spire.


If you change that Rainbow to a Scootaloo, and really jump into her perspective for this whole flight, you'd have something special.

That's really all I have to say here. Sure, it's not the most innovative story, and you might not rank so highly for that reason, but credit where it's due for succeeding in what you set out to do. Tightening up the dialogue and weaving it into your great narration, and you'd have a great story. Maybe not a unique one, but a great one all the same.

Thanks for submitting! Best of luck in the voting.
#49 · 2
· on (Where Griffons Go) When It Rains · >>Bachiavellian
I like what you're going for, Author, and it's probably a testament to my enjoyment of the story that I'm only coming up with small-ish issues. But the issues I want to talk about, while not too damaging, take a lot of work to fix. So… good luck with that.

So number one, I think the narrator is trying a little too hard, at times. Taking the spotlight from what's going on. They're good at what they do, sure, but give Gallus and those around them a little more room to breathe. With the best examples of third-person narration, there's a certain invisibility to it that this story could really benefit from.

That, and I agree with Pinoy that there could be more interactions with other griffons, especially the children. I think I know what you're going for, having Gallus's mood improve greatly when he's alone, but then we're losing out on the conflict, because he's happy. Hi, I'm Miller, and I don't like it when the children are happy.

Last off, the pacing is a little rocky throughout. The running-with-the-storm scene runs a little slow, and while I like the conclusion you're going for, it felt a little fast, especially when you compare it with the speed of the opening. If you look at your story just as the first scene with Gruff, and the last scene with Gruff, that's kind of the core of the emotional throughline, so the pace-clash is definitely there.

Speaking of which, I have a question for you. How would this story look at around 2,000-2,500 words? It would obviously take a lot of cutting, probably of the book and the newspaper sideplots, and maybe adding some short notes about Gallus's experiences at a more high-level (I liked what Gallus was referenced to have done more than what he did sometimes). Give the Gruff stuff the spotlight, that's where the story matters most.

If you need more info than that just ask me after the round is over, I'd be happy to workshop with you more on this one.

Otherwise, that's all from me, Author. Good job, gold star, yadda yadda yadda good luck.

Thanks for writing!
#50 ·
· on Come Fly With Me
This story pretty much does everything right. The prose is great; I'm loving the voicing and the third-person Dash. And I have to say, it's refreshing to get such a chronologically early story these days. I can't even remember where the show actually first had Dash and Scootaloo share a scene, so it's really inspired that you decided to fill in the blank of their unseen first meeting. Great stuff!

Now, I'll be a bit blunt and say that despite the novelty of the premise and the excellent construction, I'm having trouble with the payoff. Specifically, because I can't help but to feel that I've read a lot of stories just like this one. You've decided to play things pretty by-the-book, and while that does infuse this story with a intangible sort of nostalgia, it also makes it difficult to really grab my attention.

The first 1/3 is fairly commonplace stand-up-to-bullies fare, which well-executed, but I think we can both agree that it's not the point of your story. The next bit is where a lot of payoff is happening, where Dash gives bad-but-actually-pretty-good life advice. It's nice, but I can't help but feel like it doesn't quite do anything that pony fic-writing gestalt hasn't already done before. And the last bits, with the flight itself, is a sugary endcap. It's like dessert—highly, highly enjoyable, but you'll have to seek substance elsewhere.

So in the end, I think this story does exactly what it's trying to do. And maybe I'm being unfair, because I think if I read this story 7 or 8 years ago, I'd have an absolute blast with it. But as I'm reading it today, the themes it touches do feel familiar, in a way that ultimately detracted from my personal reading experience.
#51 · 1
· on The Scootaloo Switcheroo · >>BlueChameleonVI
The structure of this story is very confusing. It feels choppy, disjointed and pieced together from beginning to end and it thoroughly ruined the experience for me.

There were moments that shone through, though. The climax is probably the best part of the story, if I'm honest. Based on the title alone, I was assuming that Rainbow was going to take Scootaloo's punishment for her, It would've been poetic, self-sacrificing, and a little heart wrenching when the dust settled and Scootaloo was left alone without RD.

Looking back at the very beginning, it's quite obvious it's a dream now that I know that little fact. You can't read in dreams, so that's a nice little nod to that fact at the start. Clever and subtle, I liked it.

What I didn't like is the lack of a true ending. Yes, the story ended, but that didn't mean there was an ending. You cut the story off right in the middle of the climax, and that hurt. When the ice melted, when the wolf was defeated in the town saved, Scootaloo could've had a quieter moment with her big sister. Things could've been said that took more time.

There's potential here, a lot of it. It hits a lot of notes that I like in stories, but they all just feel off-key. You just need a little more tuning, a little more practice on the basics.

Take your time, don't force all of that cool imagery into the story. Let it tell itself, just listen to the story and what it demands, then comply humbly.

You got this.
#52 · 1
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>Pascoite >>Miller Minus
I really like the idea of how you've got Vinyl talking in the dream without speaking. It's a neat workaround her in-show depiction as a mute, and it just feels cozy and right in a dream context. I also like the puzzle-ish aspect of this story, and touches of mystery it builds up here and there.

In terms of the actual conflict and story, though, I'm afraid I might have had some difficulties. For instance, the pacing feels a tad lopsided to me. We get a very strong hook, that does a great job of immediately telling us everything we need to know within the first few hundred words (the NMM situation, Octavia's conflict with her parents, Vinyl's presence). But then, for three scenes it feels like we're not actually progressing the plot in a significant way. Yes, we've getting some additional context about Octavia's emotional state, but none of that information is transformative to the reader's understanding of the situation. We already knew Octavia was struggling with her parents falling out with each other, so extra details like how she acts in school just don't feel essential enough to put the brakes on everything for several hundred words, in my opinion.

So in the end, I think you might want to focus on to keeping the reader invested/interested with a stronger plot thread that's directly related to solving the main conflict. I think your backstory/development scenes would work great, as long as the reader still feels like they maintain the forward momentum of solving the conflict. As it is right now, the fact that we don't seem to be doing much for a number of scenes compound with Luna's relative passivity throughout the resolution of the issue, which can really sap the satisfaction away from the ending.
#53 · 1
· on Illusion and Dream
Very intriguing. Very intriguing indeed.

It's a nice little vignette about fantasies and not getting bogged down in them, and I appreciate it.

The problem being, it feels like a vignette, not a story. There's no conflict, no real set up and no definite conclusion. It is a scene without connection or context, and it honestly hurts it.

There are strengths here, though. The imagery in the dream is very vivid and strong and had me sucked in from the first few paragraphs, Luna's riddle-like words and questions elicited some curiosity from me on where it would go, and I really liked how you handled it.

I just wish there was more! I want to know more about what caused Scootaloo to dream this. Were she and Rainbow talking about flying before she fell asleep? Did something set her off that reminded her of her condition? When she flies with RD after the dream, does she feel sad that it's not like her dream but enjoys the experience nonetheless because it's real?

I had far too many questions that left me far too unsatisfied, but there are very strong elements present here.
#54 · 1
· on Conscience Does Make Cowards · >>Bachiavellian
Third person present tense is an interesting choice, and for the first few paragraphs I was pouring over every sentence and word looking for a slip up. I found none because I was simply engrossed in the story.

This was a beautiful and poignant story, the disease functioned as a perfect metaphor for growing too distant and cold. It served as a driving force to get her to speak to Celestia, to make things right again. It was wonderfully moving and filled with such strong imagery and emotions. I was beginning to tear up when she was speaking to Celestia even!

It's a wonderful story.

But it doesn't fit the prompt, not really.

There are dreams in the story, but they don't correlate to what's happening. They serve to let us know what Luna is up to, and nothing else. If you had set it up a bit better, open the story with a dream of her friends who are long gone, that pain just pushes her farther away from those around her. Then the disease starts. The dreams become more intense, the disease gets worse.

That would have fit the prompt, but as the story stands right now....it's wonderful and I love it. It's such a good story, but it just doesn't mesh with the prompt.

Stunning prose, Author. Stunning.
#55 · 2
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>Pascoite
What does the monster under the bed fear? The answer is, apparently, itself.

I really liked this story. This is a wonderful impression of Luna's time on the moon with only the dreamscape to be her friend, and it's an even more wonderful impression of Luna's state of mind during that time.

There are little bits that are a bit...lacking in detail, mostly the shared dream. Not that it mattered that much or is dwelled on for long, but just something I would've liked to hear Luna's internal thoughts clear up.

Octavia's plight is very believable and well represented here, and Vinyl's worry is likewise. The final scene with the pictures touched my heart and wrapped this all up in the perfect way. Luna, likewise, has a very strong and omnipresent personality and effect. It all came across great.

But the pacing.

But the pacing. It feels well-paced for about seventy-five percent, but that final twenty-five just flies by like a bullet train. Very lopsided and left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Other than that? Great work.
#56 ·
· on Come Fly With Me
Methinks your voice got mixed in with the characters' voices quite a bit there. "Just joshin", "got no", "bupkis", etc. All very out of place, and honestly out of character.

Other than that, this interpretation of season 1 RD as a socially oblivious jock is very interesting, it also feels very cynical. The whole first third of this story feels cynical, obviously and it's so jarring to go from that to the touchy feely stuff. Tonal whiplash is real and should probably be watched a bit closely.

It's a very solid story, mechanically, I mean. Not too many grammatical mistakes except for the aforementioned "got no" said by Diamond Tiara. It also fits the prompt in a very different way from the other stories, which is refreshing.

It was a nice read with some problems, but good nonetheless.
#57 · 1
· on Come Fly With Me
One thing I often try to get writers to pay attention to is the first line, where you need a good hook. This one isn't bad, with some curious action going on that I want to stick around and see what's going on.

I like the character voicing right away. The narration sounds like Dash, with one tiny, nit-picky exception, and that's semicolons. That's another thing I'll point out to writers often. Dash is effectively your narrator, so she's the one choosing to use semicolons. That means she must be comfortable doing so and inclined to in this casual setting. Does that fit your idea of her character? It might. She is becoming more well-read, but it's still something that often doesn't sit right with me. Similarly, Dash calls herself things like "the older mare" in a few places, which doesn't make sense for the perspective.

The joke about horse puns is maybe a bit meta? I don't mind it, but historically, that earns you a lot of disdain from the voters.

I wonder why these girls are so apologetic toward Dash at first, and then they become hostile to her. I don't understand that change of heart. And I guess I'm a little surprised Scootaloo is willing to be this open around Dash, considering they've never formally met and she's self-conscious around her idol.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here, but you have the CMCs knowing each other before Dash knows who Scootaloo is. Does that mesh up with canon? I don't remember well enough to say, but I'll assume it does.

I like this story, but it doesn't leave a big impression on me, and there are two main reasons. One, the parting line is a kind of weird change in tack from what had been going on before. It's not something Rainbow had even considered before, or that she'd unknowingly foreshadowed or something. It just kind of comes out of nowhere. It's funny, I'll give you that, but it doesn't feel like it's tying a bow on the end of the story, more making a sharp left turn to a dead end.

And second, as others have said, this is a story that's been told countless times already, without adding much new to it. You do have a bit of a different angle in that it's the first time they're meeting, but at this point (in canon even) it's not clear how famous Dash is or if she's famous at all, so it could have a big effect on how touching (or creepy) it is that Scootaloo is already obsessed with her. A little more of that background might help.

There definitely is an audience for these. I know people who will gobble up any Scootalove story they can get their hands on, and this would stand out as a better-written example than most, and good writing can just make a story stand out in general. But a "their first meeting" plot is a fairly minor tweak on a long-lived fandom standby. If that's the only new thing you're going to bring to the table, it'd pay to accentuate it all you can. You have some pretty normal "getting to know you" moments, so make them abnormal. Make the story stick in my head because you did something I wouldn't have expected.
#58 · 3
·
Just a quick note to let authors know that I've created the "On The Wings of a Dream" folder over in the Writeoff Association FIMFiction group. (As well as the folder for last month's pony minific competition, if anyone expanded one of those fics out to a longer standalone story.)

Obligatory reminder: DO NOT POST YOUR FIC THERE UNTIL THE JUDGING IS OVER! I'd hate for you to break anonymity by jumping the gun.

The Writeoff group's folders are locked to those with "Contributor" status -- however, everyone who has ever participated in a Writeoff before qualifies for the upgrade. If you're not a "Contributor" to the Writeoff FIMFiction group, reply to me here with your FIMFic username, or PM me on FIMFic, and I'll fix that for you.
#59 · 3
· on Conscience Does Make Cowards · >>Pascoite >>Bachiavellian
First sentences again! We have a sharp action up front, which isn't bad, but someone reacting generically to a pain is pretty common. Look how it's structured, though. Twilight feels a pain, and her immediate reaction should be to say that "ow." But the narration (as you've written it, effectively her thought process) has time to wedge in quite a bit before that "ow" happens. That defeats the immediacy of it, and immediacy, while important for effects like this in general, is especially important if you're going to write in present tense (more on this in a minute). I'd recommend having her "Ouch!" come right after the pain hits her, then put the rest of the explanation after it. As you've arranged it, her shout is a much more conscious choice, so it comes across as her doing it deliberately, almost in a passive-aggressive way to let Feathery know she hurt her. I'd suggest paying attention to the ordering here, and give a more evocative description of the pain to have that hook right at the beginning, something more unique than "a stabbing pain."

It's easy to complain about editing in write-off entries, but you owe it to yourself to avoid making too many errors. The problem here isn't that there are a ton throughout. It's that you have several stacked up right at the beginning, so it sets a bad tone for how the rest will go. If you have to skimp on editing to meet the deadline, I get it, but do your best to make the opening page or so really clean.

You're also straight-up informing me of how characters feel at nearly every turn. There are places you can get away with that, but for the most part, you need to be putting on a stage play, not giving me the Cliff's Notes.

The effect you're going for here is a really tricky one to pull off, and you did it reasonably well, but the other side of that coin is that it's hard to keep it going over an entire story this long, and that's where you started to lose me. This should be an upsetting thing for Twilight, but the narration sounds so blase that she doesn't seem to care. If she doesn't, it's tough to make the reader care. Or if you're trying to make it sound like this has been going on so long that it's old news to her, make that clear right from the first scene (and you'll still have the problem of keeping that mood interesting for the whole story).

What does it buy you to have Twilight be a doctor? It doesn't end up being important to the plot, and you're drawing close to all those stories on FiMFic where Twilight always has whatever expertise is required for any situation. There's kind of a whole genre of those, and if you're not going to do something different with it, it might be better to skip it.

The ending to this left me confused. Kind of. I have to admit that while I normally avoid reading any reviews before the story, I have been reading the reviews of all of them, so I was already informed of Twilight suffering from a disease possibly caused by lack of friendship.

I just don't know what this ending means. It sounds vaguely hopeful, but maybe it's just capitulating to her circumstances? It has the feel of an open ending, but the trick with those is to lay out or hint at what the possible outcomes are, and what stakes the characters have in them. There are some obvious ones here, like many ponies will care if Twilight dies, but we didn't really see that on a personal level for the specific outcomes. Feathery and Celestia both very clearly care about her, but in a general way.

If I step back and look at the story as a whole, the seeds for that were planted all through it. Twilight sounding so lackadaisical about her predicament, for example. There's not that much emotional engagement to it, yet it's a story that should absolutely be driven by the emotion of what's happening. Same deal with Feathery. When Twilight dismisses her, that's supposed to be a big emotional moment for the story, but I never got a sense of what attachments Twilight had to her, so it couldn't impact me but so much.

You know how to do this, though, author, because you got it right in other places. The little touches of what Spike used to do when he was little, and how you mention Bookends. Those add so much realism to the story. They're what insists that this is an actual thing happening, because life is like that, with a million memories and characters and distractions.

I also like the idea of what Luna's doing, but I would have liked to see that developed more. Why did she feel it was so necessary to do that? How would it change the plot any if you'd instead just had them meet in dreams because it was the most convenient way? It kind of felt like a way to get Luna off stage for no reason, and maybe to make a prompt connection, too, though it's more of a side plot than the main thread. Is that enough? I don't care, because I don't hassle people about prompt relevance, but I do care if it feels shoehorned in.

I have to talk about the (mostly) present tense. It's different, and I can't call it wrong, but there are things it tends to be better at. It creates a real immediacy that accents poignant emotional moments, but as I said, the narration never gets very emotional, so it ends up fighting the tone you've created. This can be a very subjective thing, so gauge what multiple people say about it. For my part, I'll ask myself if the story would be as good in past tense, and I think it would, so then I don't see the benefit of using present, except just for the sake of being different. If you want us to feel like we're right there, in the moment with her, then it really does need to stick the emotional connection.

Now that I think about it, I wonder how hard it would be to write a present-tense comedy that felt like it earned the gimmick. The kind of sharp emotional conflicts present tense does a good job of are usually geared more toward romance or tragedy, but never say never. Jokes are almost always told in present tense, but I can't think of any comedy stories that are at the moment.

So. Pretty ambitious story, I like the thread of it, the prose was fine (minus the editing trouble), though I think it could use more emotional engagement, a firmer role for Luna to play, a fine-tuned hook, and more attention toward how to structure the open ending. You've got the framework you need.
#60 · 2
· on (Where Griffons Go) When It Rains · >>Miller Minus
I really love how you've almost made the payoff feel understated, in a way. It really lends the piece a sense of complexity and heft, and leaves me feeling very pleasant when all is said and done. Every griffon's voicing is strong, and the third person limited perspective really shines. This is definitely one of my favorite pieces this round!

One thing that still might need another look, though, is the hook IMO. The way the story starts off felt vague and odd to me on my first read. The first few paragraphs give us some fuzzy descriptions of the spirit, which immediately made me wonder if this was a dream, or if something magical was going on, or if Gallus was hallucinating. It wasn't until the fourth paragraph, when it's revealed that Gallus is a lot younger than he appears on the show, that I kind got the idea that this is his imagination, and that helped me start piecing together any sense of what was happening at all. I think it's probably important to get this info to the reader ASAP. Personally, I might have opened this story with a sentence like, "One day when he was just eight, little Gallus awoke....". YMMV.

Another thing worth noting is that while I wouldn't go as far as >>Miller Minus suggests, I do think this story does feel a tad slow at places. After some thought, I think I want to actually suggest the opposite of what he's saying. I'd like to see the book and the newspaper and all the other elements feel more important to the plot. As it is right now, I had to actually scroll back up to remember the newspaper once it was brought up again towards the end. And I was a little confused about why Gallus cared so much about the book (especially since Ginny doesn't seem to care much about it herself).

So my two suggestions kind of tie into each other in the end. Strengthen the hook, and bring up the immediate stakes a tad. I think you've got an excellent payoff and some great character work, so making sure your readers feel as invested as possible should be your next concern.
#61 · 3
· on The Scootaloo Switcheroo · >>BlueChameleonVI
Out of all the stories this round, I think this one has the most potential for improvement if it just had a second pair of eyes on it. It's brimming with energy and ideas and motion, but it does have trouble with executing on its ambitious goals.

In theory, I think I'd like what you're going for, in regards to the structure of the story with the flashbacks. But as they are right now, they tend to defuse tension, rather than building it up, as they should be. I think a lot of this has to do with where they're located. It almost feels like just before we actually learn something important about what's going on in present day, we're thrown back into the past. The fact that a lot of the lore-dumping in these flashback scenes doesn't seem immediately related to the conflict at hand really exacerbates this problem for a reader's first impression of the story.

Another thing I'd like to note from my own reading experience was that I found a lot of the dialogue exhausting to read. The voicing does feel strongly in-character, but you have to take into account how much emotional energy it actually takes to read emotionally charged dialogue and take it seriously. Just as a quick exercise, try glancing over every sentence of dialogue and seeing how many of them are all-capped, or end in exclamation points or question marks. When everything is depicted as ultra-high-energy like this, you're really risking washing out your reader's emotional taste buds with oversaturation.

In the end, I think you just need to pay a little more attention to how your readers are probably feeling at any given point of the story. Be aware of when you're beginning to tire them out, and try to avoid frustrating them with sudden shifts in tension and mood. Thank you for entering!
#62 · 2
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>Pascoite
First sentence, good hook. There's immediately some tension and mystery, so it'll keep a reader going to see what this is all about. Then there's a juxtaposition in the second paragraph of something very much not threatening, yet another source of tension gets attached to this new material.

The mystery gradually unfolds after that, and I like seeing the pieces come together. I'm going to go back to the review I wrote for "Conscience Does Make Cowards" in a minute, but first, I'll poke at the previous reviews on this story (once again, I cheated and read them before the story).

Herein lies a difficulty inherent in write-off feedback, so it's up to you how to weigh what different opinions you get. We have >>Bachiavellian saying the middle dragged and >>BaeroRemedy saying the middle was fine but the end was too fast. And they're both right, from their experience of reading it, but if you choose to make any revisions to address the pacing, which one do you listen to? Ideally, whichever one is going to represent the majority of readers, but good luck figuring out what that might be. In the immortal words of Fat Tony, "Listen to your heart."

I'm in the middle here, but closer to >>BaeroRemedy. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I can pinpoint the moment you looked at the clock and saw the deadline looming.

Here, I'll bring back in that earlier review I talked about (>>Pascoite). In the scene where Vinyl decides she's just going to ignore Luna, you're settling into a static situation, and I'd said it's harder to keep that interesting. You might want to make this so it isn't static. While I can understand a situation where Vinyl would be motivated to ignore Luna, it'd be more dynamic if she didn't. She's already shown she can upbraid Luna where necessary, so start on that earlier. Instead of ignoring Luna, have her criticizing her already, maybe even picking up on that danger Luna doesn't hint at until a few scenes later, goading Luna to get a rise out of her but failing until the existing scene where it works. Hell, maybe it works once earlier as well, but not in a beneficial way.

Basically, I think it'd help if there was a mechanic for continuing to build tension through those scenes.

Then toward the end, it kind of flies by. We get this nice imagery of Vinyl helping a juvenile psyche of Octavia's to recover, but there are only a couple places where it has a concrete emotional effect on Luna. Vinyl catches on to all this rather quickly, and the pictures she's helping Octavia color go by fast enough that no one of them sinks in that much. For my money, that section could stand to be expanded.

Effective mystery, good descriptions and imagery, rushed ending that probably got constrained by time, and maybe draw the tension with Luna out more gradually. And man, just when I thought I'd make it through this one without spotting any editing mistakes, there's one right near the end.
#63 · 1
· on Illusion and Dream
Oh, okay. This is Scootaloo. At first, I assumed it was Dash, and I was going to say you did a good job of using somewhat fancy language and still making it sound in character for her. But this might be a bit much for Scootaloo.

Let me go back to the first sentence, though, and see how good a hook it is. It's kind of a weird sentence, as someone said in the Discord chat. That alone might generate some interest factor, but it quickly dies down as the rest of the paragraph just goes on to tell me that things are very ordinary. It's nice descriptive language, but it's all telling me there's nothing to be excited about, which probably isn't a good idea. That's until we get to the end of the first paragraph, when we're finally told there is a reason to be excited. You've buried the lede, but at least only one paragraph deep. But it's not until the fourth paragraph that we find out why she's excited, and by proxy why I should be.

After that, we're only told that she found it exciting and that she'd been flying, and there's no emotional link to the memory of it. I can't visualize what's exciting her, so I can't be excited on her behalf. The weirdness of Luna showing up and mentioning the Tantabus is the first real hook, and that's a good page in. Much further than that before there's much shown about how thrilling Scootaloo finds all this, though, which is what the beginning of the story promised.

In short, you need a better hook. And decide whether that hook is Scootaloo or the Tantabus. Probably the former, as you likely want to keep the latter a surprise.

So, returning to how the language might sound advanced for Scootaloo, that's a really tough thing to account for as a writer. I've struggled with it myself. You want to write this beautiful, flowing prose, but you've picked a character not really suited for it. Plenty of readers can gloss that over, so YMMV. You might consider writing this as omniscient voice or choosing a perspective that matches better, though (maybe Luna?), unless you don't mind making it sound closer to Scootaloo's characterization.

Hey, cool idea of the Tantabus being turned to different uses.

Aw, the editing was great at the start, but now I've hit three obvious errors in the space of a few sentences.

This isn't a long entry, and it's not that it felt like it dragged in places. More that it feels like a very simple plot that didn't need that much space. Does that make sense? I didn't get bored with it as I read, but in the end, it didn't feel like it accomplished much. Like you could have done this in one of the minific rounds, and this might be a good expanded version of it you put on FiMFic.

Anyway, I'm a little mystified by Luna's motives here. Deliberately subject creatures to temptation in order to gauge whether they can resist it? And if they don't, what happens then? She yells at them, or she allows them to become lotus-eaters? Thorax felt like a pretty extraneous addition to the story. If you'd cut him out, I don't think the story would suffer for it. There's no evidence of the test Luna says he'd gone through as well; her mention of that is completely disconnected from what he does in the story. Give him a strong reason to be there.

This reminded me a lot of "Come Fly With Me" in that both are stories that tackle well-worn plots without adding much new to them. Your use of the Tantabus is creative here, but given my suspicion of Luna's motives, it didn't hit home for me. So then what I'm left with is a pretty standard plot, though certainly a quality example of it. That only buys you so much, though.

Plus I agree with >>BlueChameleonVI that you pushed off any hint of conflict until so far into the story that the beginning is pretty stagnant. It'll appeal to fluff fans, and there's nothing wrong with that, but it's really tough to write an impressive story that way. You did start out with some nice, evocative descriptions, but again, it's hard to take those, as they're worded, for a product of Scootaloo's mind. You stuck to her perspective well, except for one notable slip:
Scootaloo got a look on her face like somepony had just told her that flying was just falling and missing the ground.
This is a good writer, just not writing something that original.
#64 ·
· on Being the Lesser Evil
I like this one a lot, it's one of my top 3. I didn't care too much about the overlapping dreams, because it just felt like the premise/setting of the story that I had to get on board with right away without questioning it too much. Which sounds like a negative, but I dunno, I can do that. Plus, subtly chalking it up to an emotional moment, Vinyl caring about Tavi's predicament enough to worry about her in her sleep, makes me feel all warm and stuff.

With regards to pacing, I'm with >>Bachiavellian. I think if you view the story through a plot progression lens, you can see how the middle of the story drags, like Bachi mentions. The middle is introducing new concepts, but these concepts are effects of the situation (not liking music as much, not talking at school), where the beginning of the story gave us the cause (parents fighting), so it doesn't feel new, and it comes off as a pacing issue. The story is structured in a way that feels as if we should be seeing the effects gradually, and slowly making our way to the reveal of the cause. But it's backwards.

I think I can see why this happened, though. The story kind of has a hidden cause to it. It's not just that parents are fighting and Octavia doesn't like it, it's the specific concert where things went wrong, and now picking up the cello gives her parental-separation PTSD. In a way, it's like an invisible twist, or rather, it's a reveal that doesn't do as much as the reveal at the beginning of the story did, so the reader doesn't react. Or at least I didn't.

I liked that new reveal, but when the middle of the story isn't leaving me wondering about anything that's going on, it's a mite unsatisfying.

Speaking of the ending, I am also with the others that mentioned it's fast. Definitely a rush-job, and it's most obvious when I try to read the last scene and catch which actions and dialogue belongs to which character. They're all 'she', one of them is even calling herself 'it', and the nice and cozy room we were in "folded" itself and became terribly abstract. It's a recipe for confusion.That, and I don't understand the significance of the door and the rubble. It seemed to only be thrown in as a physical barrier for Luna to overcome, without much other circumstance or reason behind it.

Another thing I think could make this story shine is to make Luna more important to it. I agree with the other readers pointing out her passivity in the last scene as an issue, but I would take it one step farther and ask why the story is framed the way it is at all. If you take out the dream, and Moon-mare, you could have all of this take place with Tavi and Vinyl at school, and the plot would remain largely intact. Luna doesn't appear to do anything, except to make amends for her mistake at the beginning of the story. That's nice, but Octavia's plot is much more interesting.

There are certainly ways to make Luna more important to the story, but at the moment she's on the sidelines, which is dangerous when she's the perspective character.

One last nitpick before I go:

the hollow sound reminded Luna of skulls scraping across an ossuary floor


That's a gruesome image that kind of betrayed the tone of your story.

Thanks for writing and best of luck tomorrow!
#65 · 1
· on Illusion and Dream
Frog (n.) 3. an elastic horny pad growing in the sole of a horse's hoof, helping to absorb the shock when the hoof hits the ground.


Ohhhhhhhhh.



The plot of this story is entirely carried by dialogue, yet there's an awful lot of narration to it. Basically every space between lines of dialogue is filled with a character action, a character thought, or a saidism. I think that really hurt my understanding of the story, because I kept getting distracted from what everypony was talking about. But then, there's quite a few typos here, so I wonder if you would have noticed this on another read-through.

I think Luna's characterization is good here. I originally found her frustrating for being so obtuse, but on a second read (skimming past the narration) I understand more about where she's coming from. It seems she's not testing Scootaloo, she's testing the tantabus, to see how much it can help with unknown unknowns, and she can't tell Scootaloo because it would affect the test.

That's all fine, but I then start to wonder if this story is about the tantabus, or about Scootaloo. Author, on a re-read, I think this story would be stronger if Luna were withholding the information, but without telling us she's doing so. Have her lie to Scootaloo and say she's just visiting, encourage the filly to try flying, ask what it feels like, that kind of stuff. That way, if it's not working for the poor girl, the conflict is much more clear: You'd think this was the only place she can fly! What's going wrong?! D:

Then Luna can explain what's going wrong, reveal that she was testing the repurposed dream-demon, and explain unknown unknowns. That way, Thorax's introduction, and his practice at being more assertive, might be easier to tie in. And you can tweak all of that stuff to hit the beats you're looking for. Obviously.

Ahem.

Sorry if that got a little "not your story, asshole." Just an idea.

Last thing: I wanted to compliment you on your last scene. The characterization of Rainbow Dash was on-point, and for that I thank you.

Thanks for writing!
#66 ·
· on Conscience Does Make Cowards · >>Bachiavellian
Okay, I've got some really mixed feelings about this one. While I have to admit that I'm a capital-S Sucker for this kind of worldbuilding, and I think some of your ideas do have a lot of potential, the fact that the piece as a whole never really comes together coherently for me is a big issue, IMO.

We have what feel like three or so mostly unrelated plotlines, which intersect only towards the end in plot perspective. From a thematic one, the connection is even more tenuous between them. I mentioned in the Discord chat that it feels to an extent like you're tying to get the Princesses (Luna, in particular) out of the picture just for Twilight's arc to make sense.

As for characterization, while the voicing doesn't strike me as off, I have to admit that Twilight's motivations never seemed concrete to me. Which is probably a lot of the reason why the piece has trouble gelling together IMO. Give her some stronger immediate concerns! Actually, you've already got a pretty big flipping immediate concern (the whole bleeding and all), so maybe refocus on making this more of the driving element behind the plot progression?

In the end, I do think I understand what you're going for, but this piece could definitely use some thematic clean-up and some better defined character arcs to make it as solid as it has to be before it can deliver the punch it wants to throw.
#67 · 2
· on Goodnight Moon · >>Anon Y Mous
Wow, this piece is extremely attention grabbing!Great use of shape and color to draw our eyes to the sharply-defined, stark-white armor, that sticks out from the dream-like pastels of the background. It's also a really neat choice to hide Luna's eyes, here. Overall, really cool! Thanks for submitting!
#68 ·
· on Dream Reaper
I'm not sure why, but the lines between the stars do a really good job of evoking the style of a constellation map to me, so kudos for that. If I had to make a suggestion, I would say to watch your neutral space; there's a lot of area in the lower left where there's not much going on, and it makes the piece feel a little.... unbalanced in a way?

I'm not an artist, so I have no idea what I'm talking about. :P

Thank you for submitting!
#69 · 1
· on Comprehensive Responsibility
Huh, that does work, doesn't it? Three characters really do cover all of our entries.

Walp, I'd better enjoy it while I can; there's a good chance this can never happen again. :P

Thanks for submitting!
#70 · 1
·
Only six submissions?! :pinkiegasp:

That's remarkably weird. I really need to get myself back to health so I can contribute again.

I'm still working on mine. It might take longer than hoped because I may want to join the Incest competition which ends Tuesday, but I'm dedicated to finishing it. Maybe I'll ask for a prereader if I can find anypony.
#71 ·
· on Comprehensive Responsibility
Top of my slate for 2008 memes.
#72 ·
· on Dream Reaper
I love that idea of the scythe being just the constellations.

Very nice.

Also, is there supposed to be a surprise pony in the (nebula?) next to the moon? If so, you cheeky [redacted].
#73 ·
· on Goodnight Moon
Some pieces of her armor are wonky and her magic at its core is kind of off but otherwise...

Nice. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
#74 ·
· on The Scootaloo Switcheroo · >>BlueChameleonVI
I'm not an author, so I don't have much in terms of a commentary. All I can really say is, creative lines like these:

“Oh?” Luna’s eyebrow rose like a stop sign.

...

The stop sign remained.


Usually make for a more interesting read, than just flat-out telling what's going on, IMO. Thank you for writing.
#75 · 1
· on The Scootaloo Switcheroo · >>BlueChameleonVI
I don't have a ton to say about this one. The writing was good, it kept me interested. It just confused the hell out of me, and depending on how I interpret what happened, Luna becomes more and more of an asshole.

So the nice, fun world at the beginning was a dream Scootaloo had created for Dash to live in, but this actual end-of-world stuff and the slave master and the changeling-like creatures weren't just a nightmare? That'd be the easier scenario to swallow, but you seemed to be saying that was actually happening. And Luna's only reason to be angry is over Dash being trapped in a dream? Plus she knew about it long ago, didn't do much to prevent it, and let Scootaloo convince her to keep it all secret? That's... a lot to buy. A lot.

The way the story was told out of order isn't inherently a problem, but there are usually more elegant ways to indicate when each scene is happening instead of outright saying so in headers like you did. But doing so takes word count, and you were right at the limit.

There's a mixed bag of that. It's not that conversations tended to drag for me, but neither did they feel whittled down to the most important parts. So you had word count devoted to dialogue that maybe would have done better elsewhere? As it is, the story doesn't quite feel like it fits in 8000 words either. There's a lot of world-building hinted at that I just have to accept based on a few details around the edges. And they're rather vital parts of the story, too.

I think that's my total reaction to the story. There's so much crammed into it amid all the dialogue that I'm only getting the bare bones of it all. We're mixing present day and past, perfect dream and nightmarish dream (or not-dream?), Rainbow Dash's childhood somehow getting embroiled. It's a lot to keep straight, and this could easily be twice as long before it felt like a comfortable depth. And then the end just kinds of defuses everything without much going on?

The characterization is fine. I had no problems with that, and the premise is interesting. Well, I did have the same issue as the other Scootaloo/Dash stories in that some of the language usage doesn't really suit your choice of perspective character. It's just on the hectic and disorganized side, and it's probably too much story for this word count. Sorry I don't have too much helpful to say.

Oh, and the hook? You start out just saying things are pretty normal, and it's several paragraphs before we learn otherwise. The imagery is nice enough to have some enticement, but it's not a strong opening.
#76 · 1
· on (Where Griffons Go) When It Rains · >>Miller Minus
First sentence isn't on the active side, but it's still enticing. There's already character, implied setting, and something amiss set up, and the second paragraph goes on to say how that will be a poor fit for his society, so it generates interest well.

We have another story where a limited narrator in a young and/or lowbrow character's perspective is using rather fancy language. It's not something every reader will notice, but it bothered me.

A few small perspective slips, too, like how Gallus calls himself things like "the little griff" occasionally.

Interesting character study of a Gallus from the past, presumably before he went to the friendship school. To me, this actually ends up being a story more about Gruff than Gallus. Both of them have some nice new pieces added to their personalities, but Gallus is more or less who he appears to be in the show, and what he's hinted at about his past. Gruff is the one with more of a different take. In canon, he just seems like he couldn't be bothered to care about anything, but here, he does love Gallus. He just doesn't allow himself to show it, because nobody else will allow him to, either.

There's no dramatic payoff, and the one it does have isn't even in the story—it's the culmination of who he becomes in the show. Low-key character pieces like this won't appeal to everyone, but I like it just fine, and I like a story with good atmosphere. It's at a comfortable length, too. The plot kind of meanders, and there's not a strong plot thread, this "spirit" thing notwithstanding, since it's vaguely defined as well. This story's really aimed at my preferences, so I'm not going to be the best person to tell you how to improve it, and it's also not the kind of story where pacing problems would stand out to me, so I'll defer to others saying what those are.

I'll agree that some of the things like the book and newspaper are in a somewhat dangerous middle ground. The newspaper more so, since it's clear how reading the book is affecting this feeling he has. Little details like these can add lots of life to a story, but it depends on how much emphasis you put in them. If they're treated like trifles, then they're some nice seasoning on top of the story. But you made them sound important, only to not do that much with them.

The newspaper getting there at all was due to someone's flippant attitude toward whether Gruff was even alive, so maybe find a way to tie that sentiment into your later uses of it. Then he notes some of the articles in it, which leads to somewhat of a fascination with ponies, but that just becomes a dead end. What does he find so compelling about them? The pictures would show them smiling and laughing and such, right? Maybe he doesn't understand that but wants to, and then it links right up with how the story ends.

Plus we never got any evidence of Gruff's attachment to the newspaper. Gallus made it out to be a big deal in the morning, then he mentions it again after it got ruined, but Gruff never says a word. In Gallus's room, I could see that he was trying to calm Gallus down by not making an issue of it, but when Gallus takes it and comes back at the end of the day, and Gruff doesn't say a thing about it, it just downplays the investment we were told to build in it. Basically, you said it was important but demonstrated that it wasn't, and in a way that barely supported the story's point, if at all.

So a pretty good hook, and a story that hits my sweet spot for understated, atmospheric character pieces. It might be a little too much on the understated side, and some of the thematic elements could use tightening up, but on the whole, I really liked this.
#77 · 2
· on The Scootaloo Switcheroo
>>PinoyPony
>>Miller Minus
>>BaeroRemedy
>>Bachiavellian
>>Anonymous Potato
>>Pascoite

Ah well. I had come back with the hope that I'd improved and trained up my writing skills in the interrim, and had acquired the right mindset needed to participate. Clearly not, if this is the result.

Still, what is, is. I have taken many of these criticisms and used them to revise the story for FIMFiction.net. So for that useful information, for those of you who left it, I say thank you for commenting. Constructive criticism is always what I want and need to seek out in order to improve.

And congratulations to the medal winners. Overall, I was very satisfied with all the stories I read this round. Well done!
#78 ·
· on Comprehensive Responsibility
I got nothing to add to this one. It's a poke-fun picture. Amusing, but not a technical triumph beyond that.

So true, though.
#79 ·
· on Dream Reaper
So conceptually clever to have the scythe made up as a constellation. On idea alone, this one earns the middle spot on my slate with ease.

I think the remaining elements are fine and even beautiful in their own way, but compared with the ambition of Goodnight Moon, this one does feel a little underwhelming. Part of it is probably because of Bachi's point that there's a conspicuous empty area. Simple designs can be arresting on their own, but I think that relies on the execution of things such as angles and lighting and complementarity.

For instance, the scythe head being so low down on the right does mean it looks at first like just some wavy lines leading to the moon, thus harder to recognise as a scythe straight away. Also, the highly visible dark side of the moon sort of impairs one's ability to see the blade clearly distinguished. It needed to be darker. Lastly, the Milky Way behind it looks good on its own, but doesn't complement the scythe in any way that feels like it justifies its presence. It's distracting in its own right. Perhaps if it didn't cut through the scythe or was much dimmer, it would help rather than hinder the overall impact of the picture. It doesn't help that the constellation's lines are so faint as to be drowned out by it from a distance.

I should admit at this point that my credentials for art criticism are lower than my credentials for fic crit, which in turn weren't very high to begin with. At the very least, I hope I've isolated those elements useful for improving the art, or for considering next time.

And because I'm vain as hell, thanks for picking my fic as inspiration!
#80 ·
· on Goodnight Moon · >>Anon Y Mous
Easily my favourite of the three. The design of the crescent scythe's handle as a Cloudsdale-like piece of moulded wispy cumulus is brilliant, the kind of idea that makes me go "Why didn't I think of that?" You inspire your inspiration.

I do have to echo Anon Y Mous up there and say that some of the armour does look a tad off. The rear shoes stand out in this respect, but her left forehoof looks closer to a glove than to a gauntlet, and the shoulder spikes would work more if there were stronger signs she was leaning to her right more. Proportions like that don't stand out at a distance, but it might be worth being more ruthless about them close-up, or when laying down the outline.

I'm also uncertain as to a couple of flourishes, like why her eyes are concealed and she has yak-tacular glowing horns on either side of her head (I did wonder if they were meant to be eyes, but if so, they seem too far apart for that). Or why her mane is so big, love that rising tide of colour though I do. Overall, the piece is still strong and dramatic, but I'm puzzled by some of these embellishments, which might just be stylistic, but I'm not sure enough to rule out minor mistakes or misjudgements in layout or something. Or maybe I just keep comparing it to a more conventional depiction of Luna and haven't really grasped the benefits of the alternatives. I'm not really that artistically sophisticated, so if there's, for instance, a deeper symbolism involved, I'm stumped.

The swirly lines I don't get, either. Best guess is that they're meant to represent magical transfer from Luna to scythe. That holds from her horn to her crescent, fair enough, but then I see the lines from hooves to handle and I'm beat.

I really do like this one, though. I don't want to come across as too critical. As it is, this is a dramatic scene captured with original elements and an eye for serenity. Whatever my complaints about its wonky layout, the winter-themed armour is an inspired touch, and if I can't say why the swirly lines and Luna's face are the way they are, they're at least depicted reasonably well as-is. I even like the little touches, such as the glow at the base of Luna's curving horn and the almost bloodlike symbol on her chest. Nicely done!
#81 · 2
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>BlueChameleonVI
Thanks all for the comments. What I said in my fake review (>>Pascoite) is what I plan to do with the story. I don't personally feel like the middle scenes need to be faster-paced, just that they maintain or even build tension. The last 2 scenes do need some expansion, and that actually is where I only had about an hour left before a self-imposed deadline (giving me a decent bedtime for going to work the next day, that is).

I'm surprised so many people (>>BlueChameleonVI, >>PinoyPony, though Pinoy was more focused on why it happend in this instance rather than the general concept) hit a speed bump over the idea of a shared dream, seeing as how the show itself has done that at least three times. I didn't think I needed to explain something that I'm borrowing from canon. I might toss in a sentence about it, but I don't think it's going to be a source of complaints.

>>BlueChameleonVI Yes, Vinyl is yellow. Look it up. Many of the seemingly white ponies are just pale shades of other colors. From the wiki:
While DJ Pon-3's coat appears white in Suited For Success due to the lighting of the scene, a layout artist on the show noted that the character model's coat color is actually a very pale yellow, specifically the 24-bit hex triplet #FEFDE7. This is more clearly seen in the episodes A Canterlot Wedding - Part 2 and Magical Mystery Cure.

It goes on to say her brushable toy is actually white, though.

Several people thought the dialogue attributions were unclear, and I struggled with that while writing it. Especially in the scene where Vinyl had all the dialogue for a long stretch because she was ignoring Luna, I didn't want to get stale with tagging all the dialogue with the same character. I figured the reader would catch on quickly that she was the only one speaking and that the "it" later on was Luna referring to Nightmare Moon even more disdainfully than before, and I tried to keep their voices different enough that tags wouldn't be necessary, but that'll all change anyway with how I plan to revise it.
#82 · 2
· on Conscience Does Make Cowards
... Is it time already?

Yeah, it is.

Retrospective: Conscience Does Make Cowards

So, for anyone who hasn't seen it in the Discord chat yet, this was the story that was inspired from a literal dream I had of reading a really sad ponyfic. The dream itself was pretty barebones. I think the only specific things I remember about it was the disease, the feeling that Twilight was soul-crushingly alone, and the concept that the only person she could talk to was Luna, but only through dreams.

To be honest, I'm not all that satisfied with how this shaped up, in the end. I don't think I did a good job of making Twilight feel as hopelessly alone as I originally envisioned. Instead, she definitely comes across as a self-imposed recluse, and it kind of hurts the overall feel.

Still, I should admit that I really did enjoy some of the worldbuilding I did here, and I'm pretty happy with how Celestia turned out. :)

It'll probably take a lot more work to fix this up than to actually write a new story, so this will probably never see a revised draft, if I'm being perfectly honest. Oh well!




>>BlueChameleonVI
Thank you for your review! Yes, I totally agree that I did a bad job of handling Twilight's emotional state. I never do seem to get the hang of how to make my main characters make bad decisions without looking like assholes. This is definitely an area that I need to look into more closely.

>>PinoyPony
Thanks for your thoughts! I'm glad that the Celestia bits felt good to you, and I do agree that the whole piece is vague in a way that makes it easy to misinterpret the little things. I was definitely sloppy in that regard.

>>BaeroRemedy
It sounds like the story worked even better for you than it did for me, so I'm happy that you enjoyed it! As for the prompt relevance, yeah I knew I was stretching things. I'm not always the best when it comes to making my stories feel relevant to the prompt, TBH. Thank you for leaving your thoughts!

>>Pascoite
I agree with pretty much 110% of this. There are oodles of things that I struggled with while writing, and you've highlighted a great many of them from the perspective of how it impacted the reader, which is extremely enlightening. Thank you very much for your feedback!

>>Bachiavellian
Begone, thot.




I can't help but feel like I didn't really deserve the medal, but I appreciate it regardless. Thank you all for contributing to this round, and I'll see you next time!
#83 · 1
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>Pascoite
>>Pascoite

Firstly, if you describe someone as yellow, however pale, most people are going to imagine something closer to a Lemon Hearts or a Fluttershy than to a Vinyl Scratch because that, shockingly enough, is what "yellow" usually means. Especially when introduced description-first. "Off-white" at least might have been less confusing.

Secondly, the only unambiguous time I recall a shared dream being used was in "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?" where it was specifically a conscious and deliberate intervention of Luna's, not something that just happened.
#84 · 1
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>BlueChameleonVI >>Haze
>>BlueChameleonVI
There were also shared dreams in "Bloom and Gloom" and "A Royal Problem," and maybe others I'm not thinking of. Luna did facilitate those, but it's not a far cry from being deliberate to inadvertent, or even something that can happen without her. I'm comfortable leaving it as a given.

And I did say Vinyl was very pale yellow. You'd rather I conform to fandom perception than be accurate?
#85 · 1
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>Pascoite
>>Pascoite

"it's not a far cry from being deliberate to inadvertent" Well, if you insist, but accidentally fusing dreams with only a hazy reason as to why was basically my criticism in the first place. Besides, you can't accuse your critics of not adhering to canon one minute, and then admit to deviating from canon the next.

As for the colour: That's a false dichotomy. For starters, fandom perception and accuracy are not automatically mutually exclusive. "FEFDE7", according to Vinyl's page on mlp.fandom.com, is "yellowish white". Emphasis on the noun "white" being dominant. Fandom perception would actually be more accurate here. And remember you're introducing us to Vinyl description-first, before we've even pinned down who we're talking about, so it might be in your favour to nod towards a more familiar understanding.

In any case, accuracy would be replacing "ponies" with "significantly anthropomorphized fictional analogues of Equus caballus". That doesn't mean it won't look weird if you put that in a fic. You are writing for a fandom perception when you're writing for a fan audience. At the very least, that's a factor to keep in mind.
#86 · 1
· on Comprehensive Responsibility
Thanks for the memery, dude. You are getting last rank for using some sort of advanced graphics program for meming, you meemy. The pros use MS Paint and always will.
#87 · 1
· on Goodnight Moon · >>Anon Y Mous
Exquisite, elegant, curvaceous and non salacious. The moonscythe looks rather uncomfortable to use, but art is not always supposed to be comforting. Kudos for keeping the stars behind the moon. This will go to the top of my slate.
#88 ·
· on Dream Reaper
A sleek take on one of the story’s most striking visuals. Another member of the prestigious Moon-is-a-lot-closer-than-the-stars-and-goes-in-front club, though in a magical universe like MLP I suppose the stars could wind up just about anywhere. Gorgeous work on the starry background, and a wink to the “Horsehead Nebula” which I see that you did there. Extra credit for the looped scythe handles that a sapient horse might actually be able to use. This will neatly fill the only remaining spot on my slate.
#89 · 1
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>Pascoite
>>Pascoite
You'd rather I conform to fandom perception than be accurate?

you know Vinyl's a fan name for DJ Pon-3, right?
color IS perception, and perception is affected by surrounding colors. FEFDE7 in CMYK is only 9% yellow, which is perceived as white when the animation uses so many pastel colors, such as her blue hair. it's like calling Rarity a very pale cyan, it's very hard to perceive unless she's surrounded by brighter colors (in a recent episode where she's wearing gold armor, her grey is much more noticable)

that color range is more accurately a shade of white anyway, and those color names would be a better pick than starting with yellow and trying to desaturate it with adjectives.
#90 · 1
· on Being the Lesser Evil · >>BlueChameleonVI >>Haze
>>BlueChameleonVI
accidentally fusing dreams with only a hazy reason as to why was basically my criticism in the first place

Precisely, and I don't agree with it, which is why I said I will do minimal revision to address that, if at all.

Besides, you can't accuse your critics of not adhering to canon one minute, and then admit to deviating from canon the next.

This is a false argument, and you know it. This is no more a deviation from canon than is inherent in writing fanfiction at all. You just don't want to outright contradict canon without giving an explanation why or labeling it AU. The shared dream extrapolates from canon and doesn't violate anything that's been done or said in the show. It's a pretty minor change at that.

And introducing you to Vinyl description-first is the entire point. Just by saying she's white or yellow or whatever didn't uniquely mean it was her. People might assume that due to her association with Octavia, but not until more description is given (which I didn't do, since I only ever referred to her as a very pale yellow filly or just a filly) or she's called out by name. If I'd said she was blue, it barely would have changed a thing. It would still be ambiguous who I was talking about, until I named her, at which point people might assume she's blue because she appears that way in the dream for some reason. In that case, she isn't blue, so I'd put in some explanation as to why she appeared that way. But she is yellow, so there's no reason to. Bottom line, I'm fine with people not knowing who it was until she got named anyway. If it's just an argument of personal preference, then... noted.

>>Haze
This is largely a semantic argument, and while I can't call you wrong for saying she's white, I don't think you can call me (or the show's layout designer) wrong for saying she's yellow, just like both names are applicable to her. 9% is a fairly significant percentage to say you can ignore it, and if I'm to believe the examples in that article, I can have up to 60% yellow and still call it white, which seems extreme. Anyway, I can't imagine this is really going to be the thing the decides for people whether they like the story or not.
#91 · 2
· on Being the Lesser Evil
>>Pascoite

OK, chum. Just a friendly word of advice, chum: don't ever accuse other people of dishonesty, regardless of how weak you think their argument is. The kindest thing to be said about that accusation, especially to someone you don't know, is that it's extremely uncharitable behaviour on your part. I am not some internet troll out to annoy you.

"This is a false argument, and you know it." No, I don't "know" it. Shockingly enough, you don't have psychic powers. And I stand by what I said: Changing canonical rules is not what every fanfiction automatically does, and even if they did, there are such things as greater and lesser degrees of divergence. But you want to add on convenient rules, do whatever you like.

Just don't you dare accuse me of being dishonest when I was only trying to help. That's a shitty attitude to have, and I don't appreciate it in the slightest.
#92 · 1
· on Conscience Does Make Cowards · >>Bachiavellian
Sorry this comes in a little late.

I’m glad that I read this story more than once; the vagueness in some of the characters’ actions and the descriptions became more understandable on that second read through. Take that as you will, but I’d understood that the point of being vague is to eventually make sense, and I think you did that well, seeing as I enjoyed it more the more I read. That's just my opinion, though, and I don't know much about writing.

In any case, thank you for writing this, and best of luck in the future!
#93 · 1
· on Being the Lesser Evil
>>Pascoite
yeah I think Flax is a really weird choice to include on there, because (1) most everyone associates it with golden hair, (2) the article for Flax itself is categorized under "shades of yellow" instead, so someone at wikipedia must be drunk.
and...... so what? so you're throwing the rest of the off-white colors out with the bathwater? I hope not.

This isn't about semantics, but trying to understand how people perceive vision. almost all readers will associate her with white, no matter how much you argue with them in the comments that you're technically correct. that 9% is significant or insignificant only depending on the context, just like my example with how Rarity (who's closer to pure white than Vinyl) can suddenly appear grey in a specific shot.

though as far as semantics goes, "very pale yellow" and "yellowish" are so vague that the reader will just think "yellow" and not know exactly how much to dilute it in their mind. and then may (or may not) get distracted wondering why Vinyl looks like Fluttershy. it's telling instead of showing. there's a lot of writing advice out there about avoiding the adverb "very", because of situations like this.

Anyway, I can't imagine this is really going to be the thing the decides for people whether they like the story or not.

It's weird reading that by someone who critiques, but I can't argue with that.
#94 ·
· on Conscience Does Make Cowards
>>Anonymous Potato
The issue here, is that I wasn't trying to deliberately be vague. Any literary genius you see is purely by accident. :P

But really, thank you for leaving your thoughts, and your kinds words!
#95 ·
· on Goodnight Moon
>>Bachiavellian
>>BlueChameleonVI
>>GroaningGreyAgony

Haven’t done one of these retrospectives in a long time.

First of all I’d like to thank everyone for reviewing this. *ahem* thank you

Next, I loved the interpretation of chameleon’s Luna so much that of course I had to draw her. So, I took a different spin on their Luna, too. I gave her armor but sadly the horns on the side of her head didn’t translate as armor. I tried but I wanted to keep her hair as 2D as possible and giving it volume (heh) would have hindered the piece.

The strings did, as you said, link her to the scythe. I wanted to make them blue but they just looked faded and blended in if I did that.

Lastly, thank you for noticing that I didn’t put the stars in front of the moon.

Thanks ;3
#96 · 3
· on (Where Griffons Go) When It Rains
>>PinoyPony
>>BlueChameleonVI
>>Bachiavellian
>>Pascoite

Thanks for your comments, guys. They were a huge help in finishing the final product. If you're interested, you can find it here.