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On the Verge · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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#101 · 5
· on Eternal · >>Trick_Question >>Trick_Question
I tend not to review fics in rounds I didn't submit anything for, and I'm still gonna hold that up, because this will not be a review of "Eternal." No, this will be something very special, done in the service of a very special fic.

And by special, I mean I kind of hate it.

Anyway, without further ado, here is Greatest Hits Volume 1 for the worst lines in this cursed story. You're free to add more volumes to what should be an expanding and profitable series of albums, all dedicated to the near-infinite number of cursed lines in this entry. There are just so many to choose, and there's so little time.

The smile faded. "Well... yes. Of course I do, from time to time," she said. "Nopony wants to die, and when I evaluate my life, I worry I haven't done enough with the limited time I've been given. I don't worry about death much, but I might feel afraid someday when my time is finally up. Nonetheless, I still think I made the right choice. My job allows me to influence future generations in a much larger way than I could have if I'd accepted the band."

Cheerilee shook her head. "No, not at all. It's just a choice you get to make. Besides, even if you think it's a little selfish, it's your life. Don't let anypony else tell you what to do with it, do you understand?"

"We used to, but not so much anymore. He's nice and fun, but a little creepy," said Mango. "He wants to teach me about sex when I go diamond, and the idea grosses me out. I think his mom might let him do it, but I'm sure Daddy wouldn't agree. I can use him as an excuse until I have to remarry."

I swallowed an empty clot of air. "If I really wanted you to... would you marry me? Instead of Mom, I mean."

`"Mom... can I sleep with you tonight?" I asked her from the side of the bed.

It was a lot like being in a womb.

"Yeah, champ. That was totally a sex joke," he said with a grin.

"It's more like an exchange of power. Taking care of a frozen foal is more than just being a parent. It's a lifetime commitment, and you can't just decide to get a divorce without strong justification," he explained. "As for you, it's not your life anymore. Somepony else gets to tell you what to do with it. But they can't force you to be intimate if you don't want it. Plus, they usually want it more than you do, which gives you leverage."

"They're a foal fiddler? Well, sure. That's the whole point of frozen foals, dude."

"Think about it. We're like a wet dream come to life for those poor saps. The biggest problem with perverts who like foals is that when the foal gets a little older, they lose interest, and it's emotionally shattering," he said, skreetching his hoof across the strings which made a horrible, dissonant sound. "But this way, they get to love somepony for real, and you get the most committed caregiver you could imagine. It's like having a Mom and a wife at the same time. Win-win."

As tradition, the Owner walked to the podium all by herself, to light applause. Then the music paused, and the band began to play "Here Comes the Foal."

No, Sir, I don't like it.
Post by Trick_Question , deleted
#103 · 3
· on Eternal · >>Trick_Question
I admit I like this story (it's the sort of thing I would write, and kind of wish I had), but I don't think this is appropriate.

Assuming you didn't write this entry, it's a very bad idea to make it look like you did. Denying authorship in this manner is a fast way for people to take notice of you as an option.

Most of those quotes are way, way, way out of context.

Putting these lines back into context wouldn't help them. If anything they're worse once you get the bigger picture.

Rumble is not talking about actually marrying his brother in the normal sense of the word.

No, but actually yes. The story does a terrible job at trying to differentiate this form of marriage from the "normal" form, to the point where several aspects are pretty much the same. It is, for all intents and purposes, a lot like marriage in the normal sense of the word.

Skeedaddle's opinion on frozen foals is one of half a dozen conflicting viewpoints,

These viewpoints don't conflict nearly as much as you let on.

and the only one that's super-disturbing.

Considering just about every character Rumble comes across peer pressures him into doing this thing he is very on the fence about, and with good reason, I'm worried that you somehow found Skeedaddle's comments to be the only big offender.

And most of those comments spoil the story, too.

I would agree, if not for the fact that the trajectory of Rumble's decision-making was ever altered. He is consistently pushed into making a decision, and honestly it would be far more of a spoiler if he didn't. And, as you said, these scenes are removed from their context, though not their cursed potential.

It's fine to not like something, but cherry-picking comments out of context to shock people who haven't actually read the story and completely spoil it in the process is a rude thing to do, and it provides almost no useful feedback for the author.

Personally, I think shocking people without any kind of deeper meaning is the best case scenario for this story. I would not pay someone to read this story in its entirety, let alone encourage them to do it for free. The author has a lot to answer for, because best case scenario this is a story simply meant to shock readers, 2nd best scenario it's a failed satire, and well... anything beyond that and we get into territory that's too bad for me to even talk about.

Personally I think you wrote it, no matter how hard you try to deny it.

If the author turns out to not be you, then I owe them a small apology, but they won't be able to escape the tsunami of hard questions coming their way regardless.
Post by Trick_Question , deleted
#105 ·
· on Eternal
Disqualified for anonymity breach. 😔
#106 · 6
· on Eternal · >>Trick_Question
There is a pretty lively discussion on the Discord right now. Let me sum up my personal opinions.

Any time an author feels compelled to break anonymity is bad, and I'm sorry that you felt this way. I really wish it didn't turn out this way, and I personally don't consider you unwelcome in this group.

I really wish you had gotten more honest feedback that gave the story the benefit of the doubt. To be frank, this story offended a lot of people (myself included), but that shouldn't have come across as condemnation towards you as a person, especially without confirmation of the authorial intent of the story. I think it would have been far better if we had tried to express why the story offended us, the way I tried to do in my review. As your faux-review shows, you *intended* the story to be horrific, but I think it's safe to say that the story was not horrific in an entertaining way for many readers. This should have been the main point of the feedback you should have received.

At the same time, I do think the presumption of anonymity and the benefit of the doubt to both authors and reviewers is one of the most important elements of the Writeoff, and I am saddened that you felt the need to self-DQ. I do not fully agree with the tone of Raisin's comments, but I do wish you hadn't taken the nuclear option if for no other reason than the fact that it eliminates any chance of further feedback. Raisin's comment was one knee-jerk reaction to a story that was *meant* to be horrific and disorienting, and I can't help but feel like maybe a little prudence could have gone a long way when submitting a story that is designed to be risky and disturbing.

Speaking only for myself, even though you and I personally disagree on a number of topics, I think it's a shame that you don't want to participate anymore. If you do decide to participate in any future rounds, I would gladly welcome it! But I do wish that you won't quit on an entry just because some folks are offended by a story that was meant to be at least a little disturbing.

In any case, I really do hope for the best for you, and I'd like to reiterate that I'm sorry at how the situation turned out. Whether or not you decide to join us again, take care!
Post by Trick_Question , deleted
#108 · 17
· on Eternal
Please stop acting like a martyr because you can't stop writing about kids being raped
#109 · 5
So uh, maybe I’ll go look at some stories, and stuff...
#110 · 3
· on Little Dark Age
Genre: Dream Warriors

Thoughts: I’ll be honest, I didn’t think this was going to come together quite as well as it does in the end. I feel like there are lots of little things (as >>Baal Bunny noted) that cause this to stumble as it goes. A tale told entirely inside the dreamscape is risky anyway, because there’s a certain arbitrariness to the way everything works and flows, which is governed by the “controlling” dreamer.

However, with that said, I ultimately like the message that this settles on, as well as the shared moment of Nightmare Moon questioning whether she could change. Maybe I’m a sucker for the message itself, but I do feel like it manages to tie together the disparate elements on offer here (such as the phantasmagoric imagery) in a surprisingly neat bow. I think the delivery of Nightmare Moon’s self-doubt could be punched-up a bit more, perhaps by giving her a longer moment to contemplate Luna’s words. I also think the story runs a bit long in general for what ultimately boils down to a pretty simple message-fic. But again: this sticks its landing. I’ve been playing the Writeoff game long enough to know that’s not always an easy thing to do.

So kudos for that, author! I’d definitely give this another pass or two, and consider some of the other thoughts on hand from others—but this is a solid foundation. I think it’s got enough legs to clean up nicely.

Tier: Almost There
#111 · 1
· on Little Dark Age
Okay, so first off I really like the concept here. I'm a sucker for anything to do with Luna and NMM, and the idea that the Nightmare is some weird pseudo-Freudian part of her psyche is conveyed pretty well.

I have mixed feelings about the story as a whole. On the one hand, the general surrealism of dreams was conveyed well--strange imagery, odd jumps between places and topic. However, I found NMM's attempts to sway Luna a little... simplistic. Maybe I just read too many of this kind of fic, but her arguments felt like the most basic ones she could make. I dunno. I liked this, but I really think you could do more with it.

I do have to also note that there were some noticeable typos and general mistakes here and there; missing words, grammar issues, etc. Not the most important thing ultimately, always something you can fix later, but still.

Finally: if the title is a reference to the MGMT song, n i c e.
#112 · 2
· on It Wasn't Alive in the First Place... · >>PinoyPony
As Bachiavellian said, this gets that whole 'episode of the show' feel down nicely. The story is fun, the characters are mostly in character...

My biggest problems with the piece have actually been brought up already. First off, while her scene is nice, Rarity being POV at the beginning makes little sense given she not only doesn't return to POV but isn't really that important a character for the story as a whole.

I also think it's a bit odd how late the main conflict gets introduced. Pseudo-Ocellus should really be a thing a lot earlier. Also, you kind of gloss over whether or not P-Ocellus is actually alive, and the ethical quandaries that raises.

That aside, this is a fun little story, and could be pretty good with some cleaning up here and there.
#113 · 2
· on True Romance · >>Baal Bunny
This feels like an episode of the show--specifically, one of the episodes that the fanbase tear into.

If that sounds harsh I'm sorry, but I think the other commenters have gone a long way to describing why that is.

Let's start with what's good. The writing is impeccable. As I said it feels very show like, in that you capture that sense of childhood and wonder and just the right amount of poking fun that the show does. The real problem is, as everyone has said, True Heart and the town's reaction to her 'antic'.

She pulls a ridiculous amount of shit, a lot of which is aimed directly at the person who she ends up falling for, and gets away with absolutely everything. Which would be fine, if we were given some small clue that her actions aren't okay. That this is in some way the point of the story--sometimes people get away with shit, and 'true romance' is not necessarily a good thing. But there really isn't. Unless the title is some oblique, sarcastic reference, but that doesn't come through in the text at all.

So while this is a well written and mostly coherent story, you really need to deal with that in some way shape or form. Either make clear that this is not, in fact, a perfect love story, or give True Heart some serious tweaks.
#114 · 3
· on True Romance · >>Baal Bunny
Trusty and True's distressing relationship aside, I wanted to talk about the writing itself in this story. I found it to be a little janky, for three reasons.

The first is something I see a lot from really talented authors, which is that there is a lot of effort being put into making complicated sentences. Some of them come off just fine, but a lot of them feel like extra mustard is being added to sentences that could be broken up and made simpler.

Rapid blinks kept the mud out of his eyes while still letting him see the carpet of the back hallway drifting by beneath him. A quick glance over his shoulder showed Gramma marching along behind, her mouth a thin line, her little half-glasses hanging from their strap around her neck, her gray mane up in a bun as hard as a croquet ball he knew from creeping up and poking it when she would fall asleep in her chair in the parlor.

There's something to be said about writing unique sentences, but just be aware that I had to read the first scene of this story twice--some paragraphs several times--due to sentences like these that are trying really hard to do several things at once.

The second thing about the writing is that it is constantly pulling us to other scenes:

Every sound snapped off like somepony had thrown a switch. So when all three Apples shouted, "What?" at the same time, it sounded even louder.

But Gramma was loudest of all, Trusty was sure, her lecture that afternoon in the parlor back home very long and very specific about how disappointed she was in him, how he was grounded for the rest of the week, and how she was signing him up for another four-year stint at Coltillion.

In his bedroom, then, his blush just starting to fade after boiling his face constantly the past few hours, his ears perked at a throat clearing outside his open window. Looking up, he saw True leaning in, of course.

I really like these kinds of quick scene changes, but I want to urge caution, especially with how that second paragraph starts. As the reader, I'm being told that Gramma is there in the market square saying 'What?', and then being told that actually we're talking about later this afternoon. If you're going to do this, I recommend moving that "later this afternoon" to the beginning of the paragraph. Again, I had to read these paragraphs a few times to understand where we even are.

There are a few instances like this throughout the story, where we are flung to another scene for a fleeting moment, and flung again. It can be done, but I want to urge caution with how you do it, and how frequently.

Lastly--and I'm surprised nobody else had trouble with this!--your two main characters names both start with Tru, and I mixed up their names up constantly. I see this a lot in original fiction, where characters are name Karla and Karen and you can't keep them straight--maybe the fact that these two have pony names helped some? But I had a lot of trouble getting into the story because I couldn't remember which was which. This is an additional part of the reason I struggled with the first scene. I kept thinking True and Trustworthy were both in the room because their names were so similar. If that makes sense.

Now for the fun part, Author. You get to decide if I'm an outlier dumb-dumb stupidpants who can't read words good, or if I'm actually making good points. Isn't the writeoff grand!

Last thing I want to say: I'm not really sure why you've added the four-year timeskips and Coltillon stints. There wasn't really a feeling that a lot of time had passed between any two adjacent scenes, even though I understand they're being separated for four years at times? All of this could have happened within the span of a week or two, and the story would read the same. I think if you want to jump ahead so much, there should be way more allusion to how much these two have changed, physically and mentally, since the last time they were together. Otherwise, just compact it down. Like I said, the story works just fine happening over a few weeks.

All this being said, your dialogue is dynamite, and the story itself is so wonderfully MLP, abuse implications aside. There's a lot to like about this story, I just thought it could have been easier to read.

Thanks for writing and best of luck!
#115 · 2
· on First of Fall · >>thebandbrony
Hey, Author, this story is hella cool. Nice on.

But, while the writing is excellent, the story itself left me wanting more, as others have felt too. I'm noticing a lot of callbacks to "balance" but other than that I'm unsure what AJ has learned from the freefall, or what, if anything, was the conflict of the story.

I think the conversation/argument in the middle of the story could be clarified. I like dash's denseness (density?) when it comes to the differences between everybody's job, and how much each of them are truly "working", but past that naivety, I don't understand what the point of it was. Could use some cleaning up, but I'm trying to figure out how...

I think I can best describe it as this: The story is currently framed such that RD is meant to learn something, whether that was your intent or not. AJ and RD are from different worlds, and RD could do a little more to respect that. Okay, super. So why is it that AJ is the one being introduced to flying? I was kind of expecting RD being made to see what it's like on the farm, but this is the other way around.

Plus, I get the feeling that flying (and falling) are being overly romanticized a little here, because AJ enjoying the freefall is taken at face value, even when all the evidence is to the contrary. It seemed like a horrible experience. So my takeaway is that RD has learned nothing, unfortunately.

There's super lovely stuff here, I just think that the "who is learning" and "what they're learning" could be tightened up a bit.

Thanks for submitting!
#116 · 3
· on Not To Touch The Sun · >>alarajrogers
I agree with TQ that this entry is bogged down with tell-y exposition, and the issue manages to span the entire story--mostly it's exposition for what has happened, until the end of the story when it becomes exposition for what will happen in the sequel. Also, since what has happened is really, really horrible (everybody died), the emotions you're trying to evoke come off as heavy-handed. I'm being told that it's sad, instead if experiencing it through the characters.

I don't think you need to restructure the story or add scenes, necessarily. You can definitely keep this all as is, but ease up on the expositing and focus instead on dropping clues in the dialogue, and the characters act. By the time we get to using the spell, discord and twilight could have dropped enough clues for us to know what's going on, *and* we'll get more of a chance to see them interact with each other. As it is, the dialogue gets bogged down a lot, especially in the tea scene, and it gives the image of two characters taking 30-second breaks between replying to each other.

By the way, I'm a little confused by the "we need to carefully move the rig" problem. It felt invented, and I'm pretty sure no reader would have called that up as an issue if Twilight had simply warped the machinery outside. Going to find it after discord snaps it away felt a little like filler.

Also, like BB, I was not able to follow the time travel stuff, but then, I never am. I just kind of smile and nod when I read time travel stories. :)

Here is the thing, though, I love the big ideas with harmony, disharmony, and magic fueled by concepts. I think that stuff is the strongest part of the story. If the time travel stuff was clearer (maybe have twilight think up a metaphor to explain it to discord?), and the Interactions between the characters more compelling, you would have a serious winner on your hands.

Thanks for writing. Good luck!
#117 · 3
· on What Hath Twience Wrought?
I disagree with TQ on the parenting dispute super hard but we won't go there. I do want to talk about our boy Timmy though, which is also an area of disagreement for me.

I understand where the Gary stu vibes are coming from, but it didn't bother me to see a character who doesn't display any outward flaws in the context of the story. The story isn't really about him. Besides, the Gary Stu has some other important definitions, one of which being that all the good guys like them, which isn't the case here. Velvet doesn't like him, and the story is about her growing to accept that maybe he's not so bad, anyways. That said, it may be worthwhile to show off some flaws to give her more reasons to resist liking him.

I also don't think he came off as too amazing in this story. Everybody's capable of minor heroic moments. And I don't have any acetaminophen in my house.

Now then, the story was something I really liked. There is a little bit of tone clashing in that nobody seems to be too concerned about the danger re: murder-robot-pup. Lots of quips that may be better replaced with a little more tension. The release of tension is one of the goals of comedy, after all, but it needs to be built up first.

Otherwise, I found this to be particularly funny at times, especially in metal-weapon-bowser's lines, and the way that the source material has been expanded on. And the last line was a lot of fun. And a little MORALLY REPREHENSIBLE.

Yeah, I dig this one a lot. Thanks for writing, Auth!
#118 · 2
· on The Long Fall
Man, that's... argh. Good work, Author, for real.

I agree with what Bachi says that the flashbacks don't seem to lead into each other; I wouldn't say this is a malignant problem throughout the story, but I would say that all the stuff about the rainbooms doesn't have much to do with the friends drifting apart. It kind of splits the story into two halves that don't mesh. But they both killed me. If that connection was there you'd have a really solid story here.

I have a personal connection to this, too, so I may be biased (in a good way), but that sentence about falling giving you true freedom really struck a chord with me. I completely understand where she's coming from. Cripes, that part was my favourite.

You've done very well with Rainbow Dash's voice, though as Baal "Mike" Bunny mentions the prose could certainly use some tightening in the tense department. That did throw me off a lot, but I'd also like to point out that the coyness of her referring to "her companion" was frustrating. It's an obvious kind of smokescreen that kind of just distracts. I get that the twist is that her companion isn't really a 'companion', but I kept thinking Just tell me who you're talking about whenever she said that c-word. The trick is to not allude that she's with anyone, I feel, but I could be wrong.

But on the whole, I dig this a whole lot. Thanks for it, Author.
#119 ·
· on Little Dark Age · >>Miller Minus
The tone and voicing of this story kind of threw me on this one. It's one of those fanfics that doesn't seem anything like the show, and I can get behind that, but I like it more when there's a clear reason behind things like intense gore and swearing from canon characters. The story itself, and Luna's growth, fit the show just fine, so why have we dialed up to the M-rating? It's not like Luna confronting the nightmare is inherently a gory process. I hope that makes sense.

Speaking of voice, Luna sounds a lot like NMM here. She seems to counter NMM's petulance with her own petulance at every turn, and not only did that make it hard to tell who was talking at any given time, it also kind of hurts the message of your story? The concept here seems to be that Luna is finally ready to leave NMM behind, but doing that by shouting in her face and, well, acting exactly like her, makes me think she isn't really at all.

That's all I really have to say. Allow me to quote Meri's comment because I agree with it super hard and am not above plagiarizing my friends.

Okay, so first off I really like the concept here. I'm a sucker for anything to do with Luna and NMM, and the idea that the Nightmare is some weird pseudo-Freudian part of her psyche is conveyed pretty well.

I have mixed feelings about the story as a whole. On the one hand, the general surrealism of dreams was conveyed well--strange imagery, odd jumps between places and topic. However, I found NMM's attempts to sway Luna a little... simplistic. Maybe I just read too many of this kind of fic, but her arguments felt like the most basic ones she could make. I dunno. I liked this, but I really think you could do more with it.

I do have to also note that there were some noticeable typos and general mistakes here and there; missing words, grammar issues, etc. Not the most important thing ultimately, always something you can fix later, but still.

Finally: if the title is a reference to the MGMT song, n i c e.

Thanks for writing!!!!
Post by Trick_Question , deleted
#121 · 2
· on The Long Fall
I have little to add about the structure and execution of this piece that hasn't already been said. I suppose I'll mention that the present-day narration might be better suited if told in a third person voice, rather than first, to differentiate them more from the flashbacks.

Suppose you personify the sky, itself, as the narrator? Being spoken to by Dashie?

By far, my biggest criticism of this story is... well, what does it say that hasn't already been said? I read this, and I feel like I've read it a hundred times before. Whatever drama, and irony, Rainbow Dash committing suicide-by-plunging-attack might have held, it's been milked pretty dry by now. And I can respect someone re-treading well-trodden ground, but it helps if you add something new to the journey.

Right now, this story isn't saying anything unique. Surprise your audience, author.
#122 · 3
· on It Wasn't Alive in the First Place... · >>PinoyPony
It's been awhile since I've read a fanfic that could legitimately be a show episode. The character interactions, while a bit wooden at times, are really cute. You've got your characters dialed in!

The whole premise, while fascinating, is delivered in a lukewarm way. The drama of changeling melts coming to life doesn't feel like the main point of the story, partially on account of how the first scene with Rarity takes up half the total story (Bach's comment touches on that very well!). I would even say you could take out the beginning scene with Rarity, perhaps replacing it with a more streamlined exposition-y bit with Twilight and Ocellus (or any of the students working on the molt exoskeleton in the beginning). There's a ton of potential for that "freak out, then realize everything is okay" kind of bait and switch I think you're going for. Just keep looking for new angles and this story will come together really well.
#123 · 1
· on Little Dark Age
>>Miller Minus
Just randomly scanning my old reviews, don't mind me.

so why have we dialed up to the M-rating?

I didn't mean M-rating. It's not Mature. I just meant it's a lot more explicit than the show.

Bad Miller.
#124 ·
· on Little Dark Age
I'm a bit fan of surreal writing, and dreams are a great medium to tap into surrealist imagery. That said, the story felt trapped in a mold of "2 characters stand behind a set piece and talk." Not a bad thing necessarily. But with the grand settings you're using, it would be cool to get some more interaction/action going to ramp up the drama and to show the internal struggle Luna faces.
#125 · 1
· on It Wasn't Alive in the First Place... · >>PinoyPony
I don't want to be a broken record, but I have to second the complaint that the opening scene being Rarity's POV, when the actual meat of the story is Ocellus and nothing refers back to Rarity, doesn't make a lot of sense.

The story is cute. The plot isn't particularly engaging but the characterization shines, and I'm definitely enjoying the banter between the Student Six. The idea that Ocellus is basically eating constantly is not one I'd seen before, although I'm not exactly reading every Changeling fic in existence so maybe it's fairly common, but it seems original to me. A revision of the earlier portion to remove the "Oh my Celestia they're killing Ocellus" joke (or at least not have it be from the POV of someone who thinks that is true) in order to have the whole thing in Ocellus' POV, and I think the story would be greatly improved.
#126 ·
· on Little Dark Age
I liked this one. A number of issues other people had with it didn't particularly stand out to me (for example, Nightmare employing gore enough for it to be something Luna's used to vs Nightmare's entrances not always being that dramatic didn't strike me as a contradiction because both are a "sometimes" concept rather than a "constantly" concept). It does seem a little odd that Luna is just letting Nightmare do whatever she wants -- it's not clear whether Luna has no control over this dream or just chooses not to exert any, since her end goal seems to be to wear Nightmare down. The line at the end "Do you think I could get better?" "I think we already have" was very strong.

Oddly enough the thing I found most jarring was the shipping; Twilight being Luna's SO has no relevance to anything else in the story and seems to be just thrown in there for the sake of making shippers happy, or something. If Twilight is Luna's SO and this is important enough to the story to include it, maybe incorporate it more into the meat of the tale? Make some element of Luna talking about her recovery refer to Twilight specifically, not just generic "loved ones".

Overall I thought this was a strong entry.
#127 · 1
· on True Romance · >>Baal Bunny
I have to say that other people's perceptions of how abusive True is never jumped out at me; maybe I'm too used to the kind of story where the girl is a jerk but the guy wins her over in the end. I suspect that says more about me and about our culture than the story itself, though.

It does seem, though, that the story doesn't present anything to suggest that we aren't supposed to agree with Trusty that True is magnetic and worth the constant conflict, particularly given the function of names in MLP. It's like, the story wants us to think that this is the start of a love for the ages, while actually showing us a jerk and a naive fool who keeps being taken advantage of. I think if you want to convey that this is a worthwhile relationship, some element of True eventually showing remorse or even recognizing that she doesn't want to hurt Trusty's feelings anymore would be necessary.
#128 · 2
· on What Hath Twience Wrought?
This was amusing. I have never seen the EG film with Timber, but I have to disagree that he's a Gary Stu because the barrier for Stuness is much higher for any canon character; a Sue or Stu isn't an improbably skilled or even flawless character (cf James Kirk, Spock, James Bond, etc...) but a character who warps the story to be all about them. To the best of my knowledge the EG story wasn't all about Timber, and neither is this tale.

I actually kind of liked how no one appeared to be particularly afraid of or concerned about anything going on, as if they're all just so very done with this. I wonder, though, if perhaps Timber should be made substantially less blase about the whole thing, to establish the contrast with Velvet, Twilight and Spike's attitude.
#129 ·
· on First of Fall
This one's good. I'm not entirely sure what it's trying to say, which may be a problem, but the characterizations and the, just, friendship vibes are great. The seriousness with which Applejack takes her work vs. Rainbow's feeling that work is play if you love your job enough. I like the theme of balance, I like the dialogue. I guess I agree with other people though in that it's not entirely clear who's learning what or if this is maybe the culmination of something. A little expansion on those topics would help.
#130 · 1
· on First of Fall
Genre: Apple Falling Far From Tree

Thoughts: WOW there are some great descriptive passages in here. I really love the interactions between these two as well. It portrays a very deeply rooted friendship that could have easily been written as a relationship, but I feel like there was a deliberateness to showing them being close friends without being close in that way. AJ’s vulnerability is great to see, as is Dash’s realization that there are multiple ways of looking at the world.

Other reviews here are telling me that something is missing here, but I dunno, I think this is just a pure slice of life where AJ stops worrying quite as much while RD comes to understand why AJ worries while also helping her relax a little. I like the closeness that we see between these two, and the writing is frequently brilliant.

Tier: Top Contender
#131 · 1
· on First of Fall
I don't really know what to add that hasn't already been said, in terms of analysis, I mean. Just that I appreciated this as a solid bit of character interplay featuring two very well-realized voices and contrasting points of view.
#132 · 2
· on The Long Fall
This is well written, but I just don't like the premise. Of all people, Rainbow Dash seems like the last pony to let herself be pushed into doing something so often it stops being fun, or to let her friends drift apart to the point where it seems like her life is empty.

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

I dunno. You didn't convince me of the characterization. I don't know how much of that is actually the fault of the writer vs. me just refusing to believe the premise, though.
#133 · 1
· on Little Dark Age
This is another example of an old premise being retold, but I wanna praise it for bringing something a little different to the equation: the manner of personification, the way that Nightmare Moon is personified. I found the imagery of her as a carcass, the recurring motif of characters bursting from each other's viscera, genuinely disturbing (although the Twilight example laid it on a little thick).

In short, though a tried-and-true premise, the author managed to do something inventive with it, and I'm gratified.

That said, I found this a little too telly in execution. It's driven by expository dumps force-feeding the reader information, rather than that same information being doled out through character, action, and dialogue. I can see, for example, Nightmare Moon taunting Luna by discussing her wedding to Twilight, being a natural way of establishing what happened, and a more effective way than just having Luna reflect on it mid-scene.

...I actually found that element to be rather confusing in the story. As I understand it, Luna's shifting between possible realities. Is her marriage with Twilight just one possibility, out of many, or is that literally what happened in-universe? If it's the latter, then you need to make it matter a lot more than it currently does. If you draw attention to Twilight marrying Luna, then Twilight's marriage to Luna needs to matter a lot more than just being a background detail about the protagonist.

#134 · 1
· on Eternal
Well, I never got a chance to finish it before it got pulled, but I feel like this story was, indeed, treated unfairly. And I know why it was, but that doesn't make it less unfair. This is exactly the kind of thing they make trigger warnings for, and this is why... anything that smacks of pedophilia makes people so viscerally disgusted they lose their common sense (such as referring to a story about people who are not allowed to consent to sex until they're forty as "kids getting raped".)

I take this a little personally because I've written something very similar, very recently -- though in my universe, the people who live forever after getting themselves frozen before puberty are explicitly defined as having full adult rights as soon as they reach the same legal age that normally aging people are considered adults. Here's what's wrong with this one: if a person is considered of age to have sex with an adult, they should not be considered a minor under the total legal control of an adult. So when the frozen foals hit forty, either they should be explictly only allowed to have sex with other over-40 frozen foals, or they should be considered adults, or they should not be allowed to have sex... and the story really didn't need to bring sex into it at all.

Also, the whole conflation of "marriage" with "personal control of a human being" seems like, a very very weird choice unless you're writing a feminist satire of the fact that for millennia women in marriage were treated that way, which... this shows no sign of being, and if it was, the fact that this is presented as not utterly horrifying would make it... not very effective.

So, there are some weird choices here. But that doesn't mean that this was a horrible story or that it deserved the treatment it got. I wish I'd gotten a chance to finish it so I could actually comment on the characterization or the eventual plot of the story.
#135 · 1
· on Not To Touch The Sun
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic

Thoughts: I was frustrated towards the beginning of this, as it seems to wander for a while before setting its hook and showing us the state of the world. It also seemed to invoke a few naked-ish plot devices—particularly the clock—which might generally be easier to buy if introduced with a more action-oriented approach rather than just telling us about it through narration.

But, with all that said, I felt like this built into a journey that I was pleased to find myself getting emotionally invested in. I liked the back-and-forth uncertainty about which of Twi or Discord was more affected by their grim circumstances. There was a satisfying bit of an adventure/traveling feel when they had to go find where Discord sent the thing. I even very much liked Discord’s reveal at the end about the past experiments, as well as the decision to cut the story before their “final” try. In other words, this story is rather a bit of a grower, but it gets there.

Apart from just generally punching up the beginning and giving us more clarity about the state of the world sooner, the only real thing I would ask for here is to better address the question of what the audience should be feeling for much of the first half. What I mean is that my horror-radar (“hordar?”) keeps pinging me that it’s detecting trace elements of horror (or at least darkness/despair type feelings) in Twilight’s outlook on the world, but it never coalesces into a very strong feeling. By the end, that matters less, because the story has found its feet as something that isn’t quite horror (though is still rife with darkness). But earlier on, I feel like its emotional messaging is a lot less clear.

Nevertheless, this is pretty effective. I do think some revision would help it, but it packs enough punch that I don’t have a problem high-tiering it as-is.

Tier: Strong
#136 · 2
· on What Hath Twience Wrought?

Thoughts: Before I get started, can I just point at one specific line?


This, my dear Author, is the quality content I come here for. But it doesn’t stop there—this whole thing is a fun little romp that’s backed up with a solid amount of substance vis-a-vis Velvet not being sure how she feels about Twi dating Timber. Bonus points for including Timber, letting him be his charming-but-dumb self, and making it work on both humorous and substantive grounds; truly I think Timber offers a lot of untapped potential for fan exploration, even this many years after he entered the scene.

Good Girl was great. The whole setup with her was great. The apparent central conflict was a great way of pointing at the real conflict—that being Velvet’s internal conflict. And the punchline at the end was a solid kick in the biscuits.

Shut Up And Take My Vote!

Tier: Top Contender
#137 · 2
Just as a heads-up: I went ahead and created the FimFiction story folder for this Writeoff here. Please do not post your stories on FimFiction yet! Wait for the results to show first. One anonymity break is more than enough for this round.

Adding to the group folder is reserved for folks with “Contributor” status, purely to prevent spam. Anyone who’s written a story during this round (and who isn’t already a Contributor) is welcome to become a Contributor. Just ping myself or Horizon and we’ll add ya.
#138 · 3
· on Not To Touch The Sun · >>alarajrogers
I feel like I've done a lot of authors a disservice this round by just saying "I don't know what else to add here." Per usual, I haven't really had the time or energy for a lot of in-depth reviewing, and by the time I get around to doing just that, other people have generally said everything I want to say.

I guess, for this one... I don't know. I agree that you'll want to seed hints about the twist throughout the story. Maybe have little things stand out to Twilight as uncannily familiar? Give her intense emotional reactions to stuff without really knowing why?

Seeing Flurry, for instance. As far as Twilight knows, Ashen Heart is still alive out there, but she hasn't seen her in centuries. Naturally, she'd be emotional, right (that's something that goes, surprisingly, unstated in that scene, by the way: Twilight doesn't seem to have any emotional reaction to Flurry being alive and eleven years old, even when she probably... should)?

Suppose she's confronted with a feeling that she didn't expect, though. Grief. Or guilt. Or something she has no explanation for. Something she has to rationalize away.

I applaud your attempt at giving me a twist at the end of the story. You really did catch me by surprise with the reveal. But I think you did your job too well. A good mystery like this, the breadcrumbs should be obvious on a re-read.

I don't see no breadcrumbs. Maybe Twilight ate them all. Give her a break; she's been hungry.
#139 · 3
Congratulations to our winners thebandbrony, alarajrogers, and wishcometrue! Evidently all-lowercase names are where it’s at this round!

For those who can’t get enough Pony, stick around—we may have just said goodbye to MLP:FiM’s broadcast run this past weekend, but we’ve got another contest for the Friendship is Short Shorts group coming up later this week! Truly the ride never ends!!
#140 · 4
· on True Romance
>>Miller Minus

Congrats to our medalists, and thanks for the comments, folks. With the series finale this weekend--and I had a house full of relatives, too--I missed commenting on some of the stories, so my apologies for that.

As for the story here, I decided to take my inspiration from the alt. text >>GroaningGreyAgony put in the image even though that meant the character had to be a jerk. I don't often write characters who are jerks, so I thought it'd be a fun challenge to try writing a romance between two jerks. And it was a fun: I just didn't quite rise to the "challenge" part... :)

I already have a couple scenes sketched out that I want to insert in the middle of the story based on some incidents from my own childhood. Not only do I recall being quite a jerk when I young, but I recall most of the kids I hung out with as being jerks, too. So I'll see if I can't round these two into jerks who grow up to be maybe not quite so jerky. I think I'll have to hang a lampshade on the names, though: I like them too much to change one or the other. I mean, "Trusty and True Heart sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G" simply has to appear somewhere here!

Thanks again!
#141 · 4
· on First of Fall
Thank you all very much for your compliments and critique! >>Trick_Question and >>Miller Minus, I shared your doubts about the ending as-is. I think taking your advice and doing a little bit more in the way of tightening up the "who's learning what" moral is gonna lead to a much more satisfying conclusion.
#142 · 2
· on It Wasn't Alive in the First Place...
First off, I just want to congratulate the winners, thebandbrony, alarajrogers, and wishcometrue! This concludes a great competition at the end of Gen 4!

Now, onto retrospect:


To address the elephant in the room, yes, I now look back at the ethical quandary of the piece. Some of my excuses can begin at ‘but it’s spooky season!’ or even as far thought out as This is not the first time extreme violence sneaks into my writing. But, it’s about time that I throw away excuses and learn from this mistake, instead of running from it for months at a time.

In fact, once you brought this fact up, I was half tempted to contact Roger and DQ myself. What stopped me is what happened to TQ. I figured that I don’t want to repeat the same action, so I stayed until the curtains dropped and revealed who it was (and judging by how many were able to guess it was me, I figure everypony knew who it was). I’m ashamed of the fact that my experiment of throwing out a moral and going for action and humor would result in a monstrosity.

That elephant aside, I want to thank you for giving me the first pointers, I realize that the lack of description of what caused P Ocellus to come alive in the first place is a blunder. I’m still trying to gauge what can be inferred in a story and what cannot. Plus, the whole deal with Rarity was a waste of words. Plus, I can’t nail her voice well either.

“Me think, why waste time say lot word, when few word do trick?” [Kevin Malone, Year Unknown] (I won’t apply that to this retrospect though. I need to be thorough.)

I would cut the review off here, but I also got more reviewers to thank. But all in all, thanks for reviewing!


This is going to be a very messy review. Lots of stuff repeated. (That’s not a bad thing, just hard to reply to).

As for the stuff that Posh didn’t touch on, I do agree with you on the fact that I could’ve taken a science-y route and avoided the ethical mishap in the first place. My only problem is that where there isn’t a whole lot going on, the piece takes shape of a college paper instead of a story. That’s what I was trying to avoid. But, as always, I take joy from learning from my mistakes.

As for the one-third each formula, I think I will keep that in mind. Since I’m still a novice writer, I’d best be sticking to the formula.


I’m glad that at least one person sees that the ethical quandary was an honest mistake. That wasn’t the intention of the story.

Originally, Starlight was going to be the POV of the first scene, so there is still some writing I failed to clean up. As for the thought you had, that entire paragraph, If it was a joke, then ignore me, but if you truly feel that way, I just want to let you know that any review or critique is welcome. As I always say, I’m doing this to learn! It’s better to speak your mind in a critique than hold your tongue.

As for Microparagraphing, if I got the point right, dialogue is okay, action isn’t. Is it whenever I get a small paragraph with action, should I expand it? Or was it delete? Eh, I believe it was both!

That last part with Twilight was supposed to be a joke. The fact of the matter is that the students were studying, in theory, of how things can become sentient through unorthodox magic. Little tidbit, if you will, but detail I excluded.


Don’t worry if you are piggy-backing on other reviews and critiques- too often that the words get stolen right out of our mouths in the Writeoff. If anything, I doubt I’m the only one that appreciates an abundance of them. I’m also gonna sound like a broken record, but repetition is the key to learning. That, and also, I know for sure that the mistakes and rough edges are something that a lot of people notice, and not just one. I know for sure what to change and what not to change.

[Final Verdict]

When it came down to it, I had fun writing this. It soured when it was brought to my attention: HUGE ETHICAL QUANDARY HERE. It’s my own fault. I will do my best to kick the monstrosity in my writing back down to Tartarus from whence it came.

‘Til another Writeoff! (And sooner than you think!)
#143 · 2
· on Not To Touch The Sun
>>Baal Bunny
>>Miller Minus

Wow, second place! And I believe this is the first entry I've managed to ever get into a Writeoff! (I don't do well with short writing deadlines, as anyone who follows my stuff on fimfiction could probably guess.)

Thanks all for their comments. What I take away from this is:
- more showing, less telling (which expands the size, but that's ok now that the Writeoff is over)
- better explanation of the time travel and what the results will be
- more hints that this is not Twilight's first time trying this. (Her unconcern with the location of Ashen Heart was supposed to be a clue, but I can see that by itself, that's not enough.)

This worked out very well and I'm very pleased with the results of this Writeoff (for me... little disappointed in the drama that blew up around some other entries.) I will definitely try to do this again sometime.
#144 · 1
· on Falling With Style
Hey artist, I haven't read the story, so I don't feel entirely qualified to talk about your fabulous art. Feel free to ignore this review!

First impressions give me claustrophobia. The dominant yellow/orange color scheme of this drawing are entirely overwhelming. I don't know the themes that the fic is trying to encompass, but the subject (Rainbow) feels very oppressed by the colors in this drawing, and by extension, so do I.

Structurally/anatomically, you've illustrated Rainbow Dash nicely. The environment, however, can use some greater detail to denote depth. I can't really tell how deep the cliff is compared to the rocks adjacent to the grass. All the outlying terrain seems like rushed filler that I'm sure you'd have devoted more time to, if you'd been allowed.
#145 ·
· on Would you…?
(Here's another pic I'm reviewing without context of the fic, and waaaay after the event is complete, so feel free to ignore.)

I like some of the details, such as the ruffles in the mane, and the highlights in the eyes. most of the facial details feel natural. This characters is very legible, and the action they're trying to convey is very clear.

You've also worked some proportion into the character's forehoof gesture, and the subject of said gesture.

The perspective clash of this drawing is the main thing that bothers me. The boards of the table indicate a higher overhead perspective, while the angle of the forehoof/ medallion tell us a different perspective. I don't know whether it should be a shallow perspective or an overhead perspective.

I feel like the horizontal lines across the table should be closer together. And, lastly, I like how you've proportioned the character's facial features, however, I would probably make the shape of the cheeks something other than round. Slightly angled for the cheekbone, or a slight bulge for the lower jaw. Something along those lines.
Post by Rocket Lawn Chair , deleted
#147 · 1
· on Overseeing Her Domain
Fic is up! Thanks again, hope you like it.