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Crossing Over · Friendship is Short Shorts Short Story ·
Organised by CoffeeMinion
Word limit 1000–5000
Show rules for this event
#1 · 3
·
Welcome back to another exciting episode of Friendship is Short Shorts, where—

“Hold up, Mr. ‘Coffee Minion’ (if that’s even your real name)—this contest says it’s for ‘Short Stories,’ not ‘Short Shorts.’ Have you gone mad? This isn’t where you said you’d take us! How is this contest even relevant to your titular group!”


Ah yes, I was ready for this question. I will answer by offering a couple of personal observations about our traditional Short Story rounds. These reflect some opinions that are solely my own, but please bear with me for a moment.

First, the usual minimum of 2000 words means that authors have a good-sized hill to climb to even get something in at all. You can’t spend much time brainstorming without putting a serious crunch on your writing time. Granted, we’re setting a pretty good amount of writing time here, but IMO the point still stands.

Second, the historical maximum of 8000 words can be pretty beefy to get through as a reader if you’re trying to fit in reading around life. And if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself 8k deep with a fic that just hits the word limit super hard, that’s potentially a big chunk of time you’ve had to spend just to make that ultimately simple determination.

Which brings us to the 1k-5k limit of this contest. As with the last Friendship is Short Shorts contest, this is an experiment. But if I’m right about my thoughts here, I think this should create a favorable set of conditions for attracting slightly longer fics than last time. 1k isn’t unattainable even for people lobbing in an entry at the last minute, and 5k should give folks just enough space to explore while still making for a speedy reading experience.

Of course, as with any experiment, it will either work out or we’ll learn something. But one thing I learned last time around is that you guys still have plenty of fire in the belly for MLP! This’ll be the first Pony contest since the show ended—let’s send it off in style!
#2 · 1
·
Also, bit of housekeeping: nobody panic that there are no future FiSS contests scheduled at this time. Roger just redid the FiM & Original contest schedules last night to make more room for custom group events, which is great! I just need a bit more time to absorb that and adjust accordingly.

I should be able to get the schedule reworked by the end of this contest.
#3 · 5
·
Never enough poni
#4 · 3
·
Probably wouldn't enter this time — taking my time with Penumbra — but will be around to review. Hope we get to see some good stuff for this round too!
#5 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Ot is a false prophet.
#6 · 2
· · >>Bachiavellian
>>No_Raisin
Rip and Tear... until Ot is done.
#7 · 2
·
>>CoffeeMinion
As promised, just this once, I've voted for it. It's in the hands of fate, now.
#8 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Thank God.
#9 · 2
·
>>Miller Minus
Well. I suppose the meme will live on. This is a very good prompt, though!
#10 · 4
· · >>Baal Bunny >>CoffeeMinion
❗️If you are putting anything from season ten in, make sure to put a spoiler warning in the beginning❗️

I don’t want to see any gosh darn spoilers >:(
#11 · 4
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>Anon Y Mous

Season ten?

The show only went nine seasons...unless I've once again slipped sideways in space and time--or "spime" as we call it.

Mike
#12 · 3
·
>>Baal Bunny
There was a recent announcement about a series of “season ten” stories in the comics, though I rather suspect >>Anon Y Mous is just pulling our collective foreleg. :trixieshiftright:
#13 · 8
·
First time I’ve participated since 2015. Time to see if 4 years of not writing has improved my skills.
#14 · 5
· on Hooked · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Glorious. Clear winner. Don't even need to read the rest.
#15 · 2
· on Freebird 2 · >>WritingSpirit
I've read this 1.5 times and I'm not seeing what Scoots saw in Rumble. Maybe I'm missing it. I'll try again later. I only looked because Rumble got called out for being bothersome as a colt, so I figured it had to be there as a counter.

As a character-driven piece without substantial plot, this story worked for me. The mix between dialogue and narration was nice.

I feel like there's been a failure to deliver on the story title.
#16 · 4
·
Wow! Guys, this is a great showing. 13 fics is not only an increase from the 11 we had during the first round of Friendship is Short Shorts, but this event’s 35850 words blows the previous one’s 12553 words completely out of the water!

Now, of course, the different word limits make this an apples-to-oranges comparison. But take a look at who’s in the competition as well! We’ve got all three recent On The Verge medalists: thebandbrony, alarajrogers, and wishcometrue. We’ve got several returning participants from Uncharted Territory, such as myself, No_Raisin (who also medaled last time), Moonshot, and Lofty Withers. We’ve got thisisalongname, who’s back for the first time in a few years! We’ve got Writeoff veterans like Baal Bunny, GGA, and PinoyPony. And in an exciting and mysterious turn, we’ve got the ever-enigmatic Anonymous.

Guys, this is a strong field. Let’s all go have some fun and drop some helpful reviews on it!
#17 · 3
· on The Pants Macabre · >>CoffeeMinion
You got me. I didn't see it coming. In that regard, you succeeded.

You started losing me in a few places, but it was a close thing. Possibly an indication you should trim words a bit. If so, it didn't need much. 10% off probably would have seen me through all the spots I wanted to start skimming. Some other kind of tweaks might work too.

My first reaction—around the ice analogy—is that it needed to be a bit hammier. Before long—possibly by the next paragraph, but certainly somewhere in Discord's dialogue—I was satisfied with the hamminess.

Mission accomplished, space cowboy.
#18 · 3
· on A Bit More Cozy, A Little Less Glow
For years I've thought the Tori Amos song "Teenage Hustling" was perfect for a story about Sunset dealing with a younger villain who works by manipulation like she did.

Teenage Hustling

But I didn't know who the villain would be, until I read this story. Great idea. I honestly think that Sunset wouldn't actually have needed magical assistance to tell that Cozy is lying; she was a manipulator herself. She knows Cozy's type. In a way, she was Cozy; she was someone who understood the power of "the magic of friendship" and thought of it solely as a way to rise to the top and dominate others. But unlike Cozy, in the end, she had a conscience and could be shocked into awareness of what she'd become. Cozy is sociopathic in the extreme and has no conscience. (I wonder sometimes if she is a malevolent spirit who's possessed the body of a filly, rather than an actual child.)
#19 · 4
· on Dead Griffon Walking · >>_Moonshot
Griffons and an abusive father? Someone's been reading my wish list.

So I like what you're going for, here, Author, but I want to talk about how you're handing out information in this story, and especially how you're handing out context.

The finale of the story is saying that the son feels guilty for not living up to his late father's expectations/legacy, and that he's having a baaaad trip. Unfortunately this is absent from the the first half of the story. Not hidden! Just absent. The phone call doesn't hint at these things, and instead tells me that Gabe has his life together now, and that he's coming to terms with being his own griffon. These can be untrue, sure, but there should be some kind of hint that there's something fishy going on. Plus, there's a different conflict being introduced, in his being unable to settle into his new job and find new friends, but these aren't what the story is about, so it's kind of a false set up.

It's tough, because you don't want to reveal the twist too early, obviously. The way I generally like to pace out a mystery (and this is just my way) is to add three types of "clues" to it. Misleading clues, hidden clues, and well, regular clues. Looking back on the first half of this story, I don't see these three things. But as I was reading the first time, I could tell something was up, so I started looking for these clues, and I asked, How did his father die? Was it Gabe's fault? Is the person who brought Gio back going to show up? Will they start bringing more things back to life? Will the sister play into this more?

The reason I'm asking these questions is because I have no idea what the story is about yet. I'm kind of grasping at straws as to why any of this is happening. But having him hide what's in the freezer, or ask questions more pertinent to the plot, or having the father give more clues in his dialogue, would make me more riveted by what's going on.

The father going crazy with fatherhood, as I describe it, is better, and feels more like a regular clue. It's at this point, and no earlier, that I start to grasp something in the story that I can hold onto. It could be a hallucination, or he's truly coming back to life because of unfinished business with his useless son. And then, all of a sudden, the fridge has narcotics. Which is a regular clue that causes everything to click into place a little too quickly.

Also, I'd like to urge caution on having a character who was never really there affecting the environment in the story. Cooking dinner before Gabe gets home, for example, is a little hard to parse in hindsight.

The other thing I'd like to mention is that this story is pretty far outside of the mlp setting. Content-wise, whatever, I can get over that, but I'm really not sure why this story is taking place in equestria. With the phone calls, and the resume, and the supermarket job, and the narcotics, it's all sounding more like our world. Not to say you can't have that stuff there, it just lent the same effect as anachronisms, in my reading. Plus, the references to Luna and rarity felt kind of tagged on. It felt like I was reading a story about people who watch mlp, instead of characters who live in equestria.

But all that said, I wasn't kidding when I said I like what you're going for! I love a good, emotional horror story that is more about the characters than it is about spooky zombie birds. I never found the story as overindulgent in the gore, or the dead father elements, because it makes sense with the context of the story. And it's always nice to see a goodbird kick the habit.

Thank you for writing and gooooooooooooooooood luck!
#20 · 2
· on Stick to the Script · >>Soft Sticks
You're following:

In some big footsteps here, author. :)

The emotional beats are largely here, but I found myself stumbling over some of the details. For instance, I didn't get that these actresses were working on My Little Pony till the description of Soft Sticks at the beginning of the second section. So I'll suggest using all the business in the first section with them picking up glasses and putting down forks to give us some quick visual clues. Mention how different Flying In looks without her rainbow wig or something to let folks like me in on the story's conceit as early as you can manage it.

I also found myself wondering what exactly Film Magic had done. We're never actually told, and the others seemed so upset, I thought maybe she'd leaned over and kissed Soft Sticks full on the lips during a take or something. But if it was something really egregious, the producers could fire her for cause--I'm pretty sure actors' contract have language like that in them...

The continuity tripped me up, too. Is the first scene morning or evening? Film Magic asks how everypony's day was and Flying In is eating hay fries, but Last Looks is having pancakes. Mixed signals like this are especially rough at the beginning of a story when I'm still trying to figure out who's who and what's what. And it seems to me that Film Magic does whatever she does, then comes in to work the next day, and it's only after that that the characters are wondering if she might take a day off. Wouldn't it be more likely that, if she was going to take a day off, it would be the day immediate following her mistake rather than two days afterwards?

Like I said, though, the character moments are pretty much here. It's just the framework surrounding them that gave me problems.

Mike
#21 · 4
· on Callback
Very nice:

That second-to-last scene, though, feels like it's setting something up that then doesn't happen. With Twilight and Discord gone, I expected that the rest of Our Heroines would have to confront the transformed Fluttershy and Rainbow and that this would then lead to some final conclusion. But instead, the story just stops. I like what's here, author, but I need another two or three scenes to wrap everything up.

Mike
#22 · 2
· on Callback · >>wishcometrue
Big, big ideas in this story, wow. What a head you've got on your shoulders, Author, can I borrow it?

I do have some concerns though, and my main one comes from one simple thing: Your characterization of all these characters is all super on point... except for Fluttershy. I cannot see her doing all these things--being this all-knowing, calm-as-stillwater, godlike figure who speaks serenely, is aware of all of the rules of the underworld during her first trip there, and seems to always have a plan. It's weird to compare her to how well everyone else is characterized. Author, I may be totally off-base here... But is it because she's the perspective character? I'm not gonna lie, she feels like an omniscient narrator that's been inserted into the story.

Also, I think those big ideas got away from you a little bit. Or, if that's not the case, I can at least tell you that they weren't super clear to me, because I cannot make heads or tails of the final two scenes, or what they have to do with each other. Twilight and Discord are going, not to the underworld, but to an alternate universe? The rope that is the culmination of Discord's magic and emotions led Fluttershy and Rainbow... where exactly? I'm assuming not Equestria, because their bodies weren't available? And why is it a world that they need to fix? What's wrong with it? I wonder if this stuff comes from being out of time, seeing as the first few Discord scenes don't have any prose.

I dunno! Yeah, a good story for expansion here, I'd say. Would love to see how it gets fleshed out, if you choose to do so.

Thanks for writing!
#23 · 4
· on Daring Ponies · >>Baal Bunny >>CoffeeMinion >>PinoyPony
There's a lot of signs of a rush-job in this story, Author. Typos, breakneck pacing, and there's a bit around the middle where the dialogue punctuation starts going rogue. But there's no need to bang on about that stuff.

I really like the concept. Lord knows, at the end of Quibble's episode, it wasn't like his relationship with Wind Sprint was made perfect and would continue to be perfect forever. There's lots of room to continue butting their heads together, and an interactive book makes for a great way for them to learn lessons about each other.

I'm a little confused as to the message of this story, though, Author, because the opening scene doesn't really relate to the resolution. I feel this is another symptom of rushing, but since it's so important to get that right, I wanted to point it out. It was a little weird to drop Wind out of the story for the final battle and the climax. The lesson appears to be for Quibble, to not run off on his own when he has a step-daughter to raise, but that's not really present throughout the story. Indeed, he seems to be doing a lot to get them to bond, so when he runs off to continue the story it felt a little OOC for who he'd been leading up to that moment. Why even continue the story if the entire point was to hang out with Wind?

Another thing I want to mention is that the rules aren't terribly clear with this book. Who can you interact with? How much of this story is set in stone, and how much of it is a choose-your-own-adventure? What happens if you die?

Last thing I want to mention is that I think you can tell the in-book story through "Daring and Silica" or "Wind and Quibble", but not both. I really liked how you did this...

As they approached the treeline of the forest, Wind Sprint- or Daring Do took a sniff of the air. “I’d never believe island smells would be so earthy and fresh!”

Quibble- or Silica Sand smiled. “What did I tell you? You might enjoy the break from homework!”


...because it reminds us who's who, and acts as a transition from calling them Quibble and Wind to Silica and Daring. But after that, I recommend no longer calling them Quibble and Wind. It was tough to walk through the scenes when the character names kept flip-flopping.

I hope that all helps! Thanks for entering and best of luck in the shakedown!
#24 ·
·
Aw fuck. Was that today?

Well, I was way over the limit anyways. Fml as usual, I guess.
#25 · 3
· on Inner Strength · >>CoffeeMinion >>PinoyPony
This is sweet. And a good idea based on the last few episodes of the show to show what Sugar Belle went through during the finale. Before I get into it, uh... Psst, you don't need to tag spoilers. Abandon all safety, ye who enter the Writeoff, and all that jazz. Anything's fair game (especially now).

My only real concern about the story is that Sugar Belle is kind of damsel-y? She doesn't involve herself too much in the resolution, mostly just sulking and saying she should maybe be in Canterlot. I dunno, it was weird to me, contrasting her sadness with Big Mac basically fixing everything himself with a big speech. The best way I could describe it is that the conflict starts with her saying "I'm sad", then Big Mac gives a speech, then she says "I'm no longer said." Her contribution felt one-dimensional, I suppose.

That's all I got. It's a simple piece, but it accomplishes what it set out to do. Thanks for writing! And best of luck to you in these trying times.

One last thing:

“Water is probably the heaviest in there. Apples, Machete if we need it, flint and steel...”


I like to assume, based on the capitalized M, that Granny's bringing a blu-ray copy of the movie Machete just in case they need to bunker down for a long time. Or, indeed, she's bringing Danny Trejo himself.

Granny knows how to prepare for the worst.
#26 · 1
· on A Bit More Cozy, A Little Less Glow
Lots of good in this.
No, but also yes

But Cozy Glow is just as dangerous with out magic as she is with it.

I learned my lesson with Discord that keeping statues containing past foes in public places is a bad idea.

Once the annoying princess was gone, she could slowly manipulate these fools into doing what she wanted.

As well as some small mistakes. For example:
dangerous with out magic

she use the time grasp the likely situation she was in


I feel like some of these questions would have been answered before the fifth meeting.

This is excellent Cozy Glow.
She rubbed her eyes hard to help force some tears before looking up at Sunset. “I’m really, really sorry for everything I did.

But this seems a bit ham-handed for Cozy
Queen Chrysalis and Tirek were making me do bad things and I was so scared I didn’t have the courage to tell them no.


Overall, excellent story, but it feels like the setup to a longer Cozy Glow (failed) reformation story where I expect everyone would have regrets.
#27 · 1
· on Perfectly Imperfect · >>Baal Bunny
Adorable. Like something I might have written. Which I didn't. It's not at all like the Brick Party chapter of my first story, where a wedding triggers the expression of romantic feelings between other characters. Or like my latest story, where I do ship RariTwiShy. Clearly, had I written this, Fluttershy would have ended up with Rarity and Twilight as a throuple. FlutterCord is so passé. It's not like the finale would renew my interest in this ship. Not at all. Nope.

Probably my top 1-2 fics so far. Y'all should vote for it.
#28 · 4
· on The Things You Do for Love · >>CoffeeMinion
I have multiple questions:

Why all the "fuck"? When did Wallflower become an expert in the occult? Why does she swear by Odin and Thor's beard and all that? What does it mean to trap a soul? Does Lyra already have something to trap Bon Bon's soul in? What's she going to do with it once she's trapped it? Will she and Bob Bon be able to talk?

And on top of all that, it's a scene rather than a story, just an opening chapter rather than a complete work. It's got a lot of good stuff in it, but you really need to keep going with it, author!

Mike
#29 · 2
· on The Memory
The eyes in Celestia’s head were not Celestia’s, but somepony else’s.

Eww.
Two years

Sounds like retirement was overdue.
They’re blue.

I gasped. Then I checked Celestia's pictures on Google.
The old princesses had returned.

sick burn
what sticks and what stones

That was terrible, and you're terrible, Twilight Sparkle.
“As long as they don’t break my bones.”

It's like you're just asking for pain.
The tests indeed did not break any of Celestia’s bones.

You've let me down too soon.
“I had to change your eye color on your file,” Twilight said proudly, “but now everything is exactly the way it should be!”

Oh Twilight, we could never stay mad at you. Never change, you silly pony.
Even recreationally?

I love you, author. Never change.
not enough to put me to sleep for that long

Wait, you know how much it would take to put you to sleep for that long? Tell me more!
It always blew me away I know a pony who predates history.

Again with the old people jokes.
“What if I looked at your aura?” Twilight blurted out.

Ooh, Twilight. A bit forward of you isn't it?
She had so much still to learn.

I don't think you need this line.

I'm glad to see the aura innuendo continues.
“I’m saving my aura for marriage.”

NGL I laughed.
“I remember[ my last time. It was harsh, uncaring, and left me upset. Please, Twilight. Be gentle,],” Celestia said

Reading between the lines here.
“It’ll be over before you know it.”

Geeze, Twilight. Take your time.

Hm. We seem to have hit a mood shift. From here, the story seems to spiral around the point in ever wider paths, until gradually becoming one with the unbound fabric of reality.

Good story. The shift works for me. The attenuation works. Referencing the ultimate end midway helped with that, so it didn't feel so much like the story just drifted apart without a conclusion. Pat yourself on the back for me.
#30 · 2
· on Through the Mirror
I think this story tries to do too much. In covering ground already covered, with words hurried by length, this story leaves me wondering why. What new take did you have on this story that other authors haven't covered? I didn't see it.

There's nothing wrong with covering ground other authors have trod, but some kind of fresh perspective or unexplored relationship can help a new take feel fresh. I'll fall back to a more-technical look at the narrative and prose. Which I'm too tired to examine in detail tonight. Suffice to say that the prose within each scene more or less worked for me. Nothing deeply profound or surprising, but workable. Colorful even.

Between scenes... you lose me on the narrative. There's too much skipping. I don't feel like we settle down into any scene long enough to learn anything really deep or profound, or to provide insight into the characters. The strong central conflict that ties things together is missing.
#31 · 2
· on Callback
I was disappointed a couple times, because you established that a thing would happen and then didn't follow through.
💔 Death is real
💔 Rainbow beats up Charon and takes his job so she can return Fluttershy to the land of the living. Rainbow could have resolved the lingering spirits problem in this role; it's possible that Fluttershy did, but it's not clear enough whether her payment solved the issue for this batch of souls or for all souls.

The ending was kinda neat, but I don't feel like you did enough to deserve it. Nothing in the first scene foreshadows this outcome for me. The characters made no sacrifice (which leaving RD as the ferryman could have done).

You do get points for Greek mythology. I can buy that Fluttershy understand the rules, because we've had Greek mythological figures go through this process and also return and spread knowledge. I don't recall this method of escape in a story before, but I'll take it.

There's a reminder here folks—make sure to bury your loved ones with a coin so they can pay the ferryman.
#32 · 5
· on Freebird 2
>>LoftyWithers
I feel like there's been a failure to deliver on the story title.


It's the name of a song.

Now, I'm a sucker for moody character pieces and I'm goddamn sure whoever wrote this clearly knew that I would slurp every word of this up in half a heartbeat. It being tied to a song I'm aware of and aligning to its lyrical themes to near-perfection is just the cherry on top, even if it might come off as gratuitous to anyone else who has no idea of this song in the first place.

Looking at the story past the song, it's really neatly composed. From start to finish, the story knows what it wants to convey and sets out to do it without overstaying its welcome. Usually, I'd be glossing over a story like this with my every read, but I think it's really the little details that gave it the extra push it needed to grab my attention.

The dialogue is definitely where the heart of this story lies. Most of the conversation slides off pretty cleanly. I do think that one bit where Rumble recounts his memory of the obstacle course dragged it down a little, but otherwise everything comes across pretty well. Some part of me does wish for Rumble to have a more unorthodox approach to get Scootaloo to talk in the beginning, but that's really a matter of personal preference.

The prose plays off the dialogue well. It's rather simple and straightforward with a hint of cheekiness here and there. I really liked that we're given a glimpse at how their relationship works, especially with how understated it seems to come off. There are a few hiccups here and there that nudged the pacing for me in some places, but overall, everything panned out fine.

I think if there's really an issue with this story that stuck out to me, it's that I felt like this story starts to meander for me in consecutive reads. Stepping back and looking at the larger picture, this story is a really simple scene about Scootaloo being insecure on her first day as a teacher and Rumble recounting his experiences to convince her otherwise. There's not really much else going on alongside it, which usually means my interest begins to wane by my third read

As much as I admired the simplicity of the story as a whole, I do think there's more that can be explored beyond what we're given here. Rumble seems like a good place to start. It'll be interesting to see his character beyond the context of what the show and, in turn, this story had given us. It might also help sell the relationship between him and Scootaloo more if we get a clearer idea of what kind of pony he is in the context of this story.

I also think the perspective of this story is a little undecided as it is currently. I'm sure we're supposed to be viewing these chain of events from Rumble's end, though I think it sorta skips to Scootaloo in some parts. I think it's something that can be ironed out with a little more polish. It may also help with expanding Rumble's character further as well.

In summation, I think I like this story more than I don't. It doesn't quite hit the bar for it to fully satisfy me, but it's close enough for me to take notice. With some tweaking and expanding the focus a little, it'll definitely be a story that'll resonate with me as much as the song from which I believe its namesake came from did.

Thanks for writing, and good luck!
#33 · 3
· on The Memory
I'm usually:

A stickler about POV shifts in stories, but this one does a nice job of moving from external to internal--all that talk of Celestia's eyes changing can't be in her POV, after all, since she can't see her own eyes. It adds to the dream-like nature of things, too. Very nice.

I've got a nitpick, though: "a gradual diminution of aural essence" is odd since "aural" has to do with hearing. Maybe try "a gradual diminution of your aura's essence"?

Mike
#34 · 3
· on Hooked · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Pretty silly:

I felt myself at something of a disadvantage, however, since every time I tried singing the song in question along with Our Heroes, I kept segueing into "Sugar Sugar" by the Archies, something that might perhaps be even more insipid than the aforementioned song in question.

But as a random act of goofiness, this performs admirably. Maybe their getaway music at the end could've been the pseudo "Yakety Sax" that William Anderson wrote for "Ticket Master" and "Bird in the Hoof" 'cause then the narrative could pause while it overexplains the point, but other than that, set phasers on polka and we're off!

Mike
#35 · 4
· on Hooked · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Genre: High-Octane Madness

Thoughts: I can’t help but award this instant bonus points for reeferencing one of the all-time greatest pieces of Writeoff art with the following line:

the Royal Horses were smoking a hookah loaded with phoenix ashes


That line had me groaning with a sort of monochrome-ish agony, it did. And it’s representative of the level of abject comedic nonsense that we’ve got going on here. The writing is strong and on-point; the humor is gratuitous but rapid-fire, with the seasons joke being an early groaner. The Hasselhoof reference is both timely and appropriate for this kind of homage/satire. I feel touched by it—specifically in my thaumic control rod. Verily this story doth incite heat in mine humours—and the only cure beèth more bell of yon cow.

I have one but, though—and I don’t mean the one on my backside. The ending here is a teensy bit flatter than the rest of the nonsense leading up to it. Actually the very-very end is fine, but the couple of paragraphs leading up to it are comparatively meh. I would argue that you can’t let up on the intensity with this style of humor, lest you risk the audience pausing and realizing that it’s all just a big bucket full of gags. Other than that, though, I was totally hooked on a feeeeliiiiing—

Tier: Top Contender
#36 · 3
· on The Pants Macabre · >>CoffeeMinion
Genre: It’s A Goth-Off

Thoughts: Well I think it’s safe to say this wins a special commendation for Best Title. Great concept there. I’m going to have to pick on this for some other things, though.

The biggest issue that I have with this is that its opening is relatively slow and unfocused. Author, I can understand why you’d want to build up Zephyr’s crush on Inky the way you do here, but right now I feel like it’s just very slow getting out the gate. Similarly, the comedic aspects of this are slow to emerge, almost to the point where it’s a rough tone shift when Discord starts getting jokey. And honestly, as much as I hate to turn my nose up at a Discord scene, his appearance toward the beginning doesn’t feel like it’s firing on all cylinders yet. Maybe there’s just less humor in Zephyr’s obliviousness than the fic is currently banking on.

Once the pants come on, though, this turns into a much tighter story (pun intended). There’s a solid emotional core in Zephyr’s wish for confidence as he navigates his conflict between outward appearances, inner truths, and deeper aspirations. I feel like Zephyr is used well here, precisely because he is a loser, and we get to see him trying to step forward from that. This gets more cute and enjoyable as time goes on; it’s definitely a grower in that sense.

Oh, and the Discord line at the end was suitably groan-worthy. 8/10, Author; mission accomplished. I just wish the front was as tight as the back was (I regret nothing).

Tier: Almost There
#37 · 2
· on The Memory
It's interesting that a story about aura has such a strong aura about it.

I do think it could use a little further explanation, though--auras are spoken about in this story as if they were something the reader would be aware of, but we obviously aren't; I think there's more room to start your worldbuilding at a beginner level for our sake. I also don't follow the connection with marriage--is that meant to turn this story into a romance between Twilight and Celestia? If so, that doesn't really go anywhere, and it seems to conflict with the teacher-student motif being explored. And, I mean, characters have been married in the show and auras never came up. Is there some other piece of ancient magic history you could draw from?

I dunno. This story is tight. My only real qualms with it are the unanswered questions that could be addressed in a longer piece. You seem to have some dreamy ideas for Celestia and Luna's beginnings, and of previous alicorns, but my biggest wonder after reading this would be, Is Luna going to experience this?

Would love to see this expanded upon. Big ups, Author!
#38 · 2
· on A Bit More Cozy, A Little Less Glow
I'm going to be honest with you, Author. I think that, with a little expansion of the second scene of this story, the first scene would be rendered irrelevant.

What the first scene in this story essentially does is explain the premise of the story that is about to happen, but in and of itself it doesn't have any story. I was wondering, during that whole scene, where Cozy Glow was, if this story was so about her. If the story you were going for were more about Sunset and Twilight's relationship told via Cozy's reformation, then I could see the first scene working better, but as I understand it Twilight is about to disappear and leave Cozy and Sunset to play out the real story. So why not start there? The line about Cozy trying to come to terms with this body she hates would be such a great hook.

You may notice I'm talking like the story has only just gotten started. I really think it has! As has been mentioned, this is a wonderful idea that could make for a rocking good time. But, as is, it feels like it's resting on its laurels a bit too much. We have a premise, here. Now tell the story!

Otherwise, I wanted to give you kudos for your voicing change between both scenes. Switching to the perspective of a nefarious schemer was something you handled well. If you do expand this story, I reckon you might have a reader in me :)

Thanks for submitting!
#39 · 2
· on The Pants Macabre · >>Baal Bunny >>CoffeeMinion
But she didn't put on the pants. So the pun doesn't...

Anyways.

The comedy was a little rough for me on this one, I'm afraid. Agreed with Coffee that the story not trying to be funny in the first scene is a tone problem that should be patched up if you wish to revise this. If I can try and explain the uncertainty Coffee experienced with Discord's scene, I think it has to do with the dynamic between these two characters, as shown, not being terribly funny. It's mostly just Discord bullying Zephyr--who is immune to it anyways--while Discord distracts us by making irrelevant comments about himself and Fluttershy.

One of the ways comedy works is when a character in a position of respect/power does something to lose that respect/power. It's sometimes called the 'comic drop'. Like Celestia getting caught stuffing her face with pastries. Or, in most show-scenes featuring Discord, his ability to take everyone else down a peg simply by taking nothing seriously. Shit's hilarious. Here, the dynamic on display is one of Discord, who is clearly more intelligent than Zephyr, talking down to him. Zephyr is already low on the respect scale, while Discord is already high, and nothing really changes throughout the scene, so the comedy kind of fails to land. Now, how funny would the scene be if Zephyr managed to find a way to catch Discord off guard? If Discord got so frustrated with Zephyr that he did something terribly foolish with his magic that came back to bite him? I think you already have this dynamic hidden under the surface, a little bit, but if you dialed up Zephyr's obliviousness, it could work heaps better.

The same dynamic in that scene continues between Zephyr and el pants macabros, really, so the comedy is hinging on a funny accent and a lot of references to Zephyr's tight-ass clothing. And that stuff is okay, but it does wear a little thin after a while.

I dunno. I'm not a comedy doctor, I'm just trying to explain why it didn't work from me.

Other than that, I like that this has an actual arc! I disagree with anyone who calls this story a feghoot, frankly, because feghoots are generally written entirely in service of the pun at the end, whereas there is an actual story behind this one. So yeah. Thank you for surpassing my expectations when I saw someone call this a feghoot. There's more to it.

Thank you for submitting and good luck in the contest!!
#40 · 3
· on Hooked · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Hooked:

From a technical standpoint, it’s a good story. I’m not a great writer, but know enough as a reader when a story has stumbling points. It flowed well and there wasn’t any stand out points where the formatting tripped me up. Maybe there are more knowledgeable writers who can point out some improvements, but I wasn’t able to think of anything so good job in that regard.

As for the content, I felt it was an ok story. I’m not sure if it qualifies as a crack fic and it also doesn't seem as a great parody either, more like somewhere in the middle. Which isn’t a bad thing but these types of stories have their downsides. They are inherently easy to write but very hard to write well. Any story element that falls short or fails to hit a note with the reader can be chalked up to the inherit ridiculousness in the fic. So the bar for a really bad crack fic is pretty low. There are some good ones out there, but they tend to go to the extremes while this one plays in a relatively safe territory. While it has an element of parody, I’m not sure if that was something the author was striving for as it’s not something that is focused on. The impromptu musical element of the show is used but not in a way the pushes it to a logical extreme and seeks to disassemble it’s implications. The musical element seems to solely be used as a tool for comedic effect. The humor was also not something that really hit me.

As a reader, I’m biased when it comes to stories like this. I prefer coming out of them with something that I didn’t go in with. Whether that be a better understanding of something, a different view I hadn’t considered before or at least a hurting side from laughing too much at the ridiculousness of it all. Unfortunately I didn’t get any of those and as such I don’t think I can rank it as a top story. Well written, I just wish it had that something more.
#41 · 3
· on The Things You Do for Love
The Things You Do for Love:

I want to be interested in what is going on, but I get more distracted from wondering how we got to where we are. Not sure why Wallflower is an expert on dark magic, or even how old everyone is in this. I think the last line was an attempt at a laugh, but the story doesn’t really have the tone of a comedy, dark or otherwise, so it doesn’t quite hit. I didn’t really feel sad either as the writing doesn’t push that feeling and is more of an even neutral tone. I feel like I’m reading the beginning of arc number two in Wallflower the Zombie Raiser. There is some formatting elements that can be improved as well as smoother dialogue, though I can’t say I can point out how as those parts of a story also give me trouble. Over all an ok chapter 2, but a little lacking as a stand alone.
#42 · 3
· on Through the Mirror
Through the Mirror:

This feels less like an introspection into Sunset and more of a re-cap of the movie and comic. The new scenes/thoughts that we get are not fleshed out nor do they add to the original story. And some of the page breaks could be combined together, for instance the first three segments after the number 2 (not sure why there are numbers, assuming before and after time skip?) could have been combined into one section, with pillow-facing Sunset thinking about how her getting the crown went mostly to plan but now had a huge hurdle. Over all this story doesn’t bring me any new information than what I would get from having watched the movie or read the comic. And there are a few moments where I was briefly distracted with information.

When Sunset first comes through the portal, I was first distracted on how she lost some enchantments, of which I don’t know what they were as they weren’t mentioned, yet the enchanted journal still worked. Then was distracted as she was first surprised by what she found/didn’t find inside her bag, before the weird digits and new species. I figured the order of those would have been reversed.

I would suggest finding that one element you think the original is missing, and write your story by adding that element.
#43 · 5
· on Freebird 2
The conversation going on here, and the underlying concept, are quite solid. The only thing that I think is really murky here, which Lofty touched on a little, is the relationship between these two characters.

See, I don't think taking their relationship out of the story would affect anything in a material way. To me, the relationship has the same effect on the story as a pair of streamers do when they're tied to the handlebars of a bicycle. They're pretty, sure, but they aren't super integral to the operation of the bicycle. You could take them off and get from A to B just as quickly.

Part of that comes from these two characters not talking about their memories together at any point, outside of who they were when they were foals (i.e., when they weren't dating). So they don't appear to have any history in between their encounter at the obstacle course and now. Truly, Rumble could be serving Scootaloo coffee at a café, noticing her anxiety, and taking a quick break to sit down and cheer up an old friend. And the conversation could play out exactly the same. The other thing is, if I'm being honest, the conversation here isn't terribly deep. Again, friends could have this conversation just fine, but there are certain insecurities that you need a lover for.

But hey, nice bike, Author! There's nothing wrong with those streamers... But could they be an engine instead?

Thanks for writing!!
#44 · 2
· on The Memory
The Memory:

I really liked this. Just to get it out of the way, there are several grammatical issues as well as places you could smooth out the flow and dialogue. A good run through with an editor should fix those, but I would wait until after tweaking some other things first.

The story itself was very nice. At times it felt like the flow of the story was as serene as the clearing Celestia was revisiting. The idea is an interesting concept and I wish it had expanded even more.

The hangups I do have are all around a lack of explanation.

For instance, why did they not move Celestia to a hospital after discovering her? What exactly is “auras” in this world and what effect do they generally have? It’s never really explained why her eyes and hair are changing, are they reverting to their prior colors? Or are they just completely different, as they are described as a stranger's eyes?” Speaking of eyes, the way it is phrased is really odd. I think let others describe the descriptive changes to her rather than as a narrative description as the below part is an interesting hook but doesn’t really play into anything and is an odd way to introduce new information ahead of time.


The eyes in Celestia’s head were not Celestia’s, but somepony else’s. They captured the morning light with the same childlike twinkle as Celestia’s eyes. They gazed with the same intensity as Celestia’s eyes. They softened at the sight of her sister just like Celestia’s.

But they were not Celestia’s eyes.



I also think there is room to add more, as in more interaction and thoughts from both Twilight and Luna, as well as her own personal thoughts. She goes away for months but we never really know what she is thinking or even doing while gone. Seems like a good way to keep the pace slow and allow introspective into what the idea of “retirement” is to an immortal princess. I also thought it odd that no one mentioned the coincidental timing as it occurred immediately after she stepped down.

Still, well done.
#45 · 4
· on Dead Griffon Walking · >>_Moonshot
The confusion that Miller had carries onto me. For me, when I was reading, I looked back up at the title and wondered… is this another songfic? Maybe that's a clue that I'm missing. Concerning the track-record with this Writeoff and how many fics have been based on songs, I wouldn't be surprised if it was based off a song or another work. Crossover, if you will. I don't know, I might be going crazy.

I still have lots of questions. Some of the same that Miller asked. "Why the fixation on the refrigerator? Why does Gabriel feel guilty?"

I agree with Miller's idea that the plot-twist doesn't payoff. A lot of these fics seem to be suffering from going too fast. The idea of a plot-twist is cradled in the perspective of the long haul. Slower pacing seems essential for the payoff to be handled well.

Enough of the negative now. Here's the positive: even though this fic is dark (elements such as gore and narcotics), it does hit the spot for me in the emotional aspect. The fact that Gabriel is suffering from unchecked grief and guilt hits home for me. The resolve of him getting over and living life was the takeaway I got. (Forgive me if that's not what you were going for).

As always, I'm a novice reviewer. So take this with a grain of salt.

Thanks for writing!
#46 · 4
· on Callback
Genre: Flutterresurrection

Thoughts: This is a really hard story to review. I say this because there’s definitely an arc to it, and indeed even some shimmering beauty in the writing, and cleverness in the concept. But at times it’s presented in such a sparsely narrated fashion that my brain kept getting jarred out of the experience of reading. In that sense, this gives me the feeling of being unfinished and rushed across the finish line, which...

Well, as they say, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and all that. :-p

What I like most about this is the vividness of the prose. When it’s on, it is on. The stuff about Charon, and the river, and the afterlife, is pretty good in concept, but right now it feels very stapled-on; whereas the show itself has managed to borrow and number of Greek mythological concepts and integrate them in a way that feels more organic. I’m sorry that I don’t have more specific feedback here, but I was just jarred that BOOM, suddenly it’s Charon.

It’s also not clear why Fluttershy feels so strongly about preserving the memories of others when she clearly took steps to preserve her own and might have therefore known she’d be in the presence of folks who wouldn’t be getting that benefit. I mean, I get it that she would want to help them, but unless her plan was to die with a big pile of tokens for others, I have to figure she’d be willing to at least get the benefit of the one she died with for herself. I have trouble buying this logically, even though I understand that the story relies on this as a central part of its setup.

Similarly, I struggle a bit with the ending. If Discord created the rainbow rope that got them back, cool—but then why would he bail out without seeing the benefit? Or if his grief and power created it subconsciously... ehhhhhh, I have a much harder time buying that, and IMO it’s just not really satisfying. At least not as presented right now. The hints are there that he could do such a thing, but right now the payoff is really limited, because the resolution of the Fluttershy arc is almost totally disconnected from the resolution of the Discord arc. In fact, I might sooner argue that there is no resolution for the Discord arc; he just bugs out of town for a while. That ends up greatly limiting my satisfaction with the ending as a whole, which is a pity, because the Fluttershy arc ends in a way that’s really cool and compelling.

So that brings me to ranking this. I feel like this is a potentially Top Contender story that is hampered by some rough stuff in its current presentation. It is incredibly strong at moments, but it needs polishing. But this has the makings of a fantastic story. Please don’t lose sight of that bottom line amid all my other thoughts here.

Tier: Almost There
#47 · 4
· on Daring Ponies · >>PinoyPony
As always:

>>Miller Minus has a lot of good points, author. I'll focus my suggestion on each characters' motivation and payoff. What do Quibble and Wind think they want at the beginning of the story? How does that differ from what they actually need? And how do they get what they actually need at the end?

'Cause you've got a suggestion of that going on--what Wind thinks she wants is to be left alone to finish her homework; what she actually needs is a break; and she gets that break when, as Daring Do, she's captured and has to spend her time locked in a "room with the smell of fresh air, firewood, and a tinge of salty sea." I'd suggest strengthening that and giving Quibble a parallel set of want, actual need, and final fulfillment. I don't know what that would be: he wants to help Wind relax; he needs an adventure of his own; and he gets that adventure when he has to step in and take over the book's storyline? Something at any rate to give them each what they need instead of what they think they want so they're both happy at the end.

Mike
#48 · 4
· on Stick to the Script · >>Soft Sticks
I saw the post that Baal made before I read this so I have the spoiler bias. I could tell where this was going at the beginning.

I'm not swiping Baal's review completely to the side though. A little more grounding of where they actors are at, and what they look like (especially at the beginning) could clue in the reader enough that this is what I class to be an emotional piece covered with a finished coat of meta. A route you could go is Soft Sticks turned in her costume (cutie mark, makeup and hair extensions (good reference imo for meta logic, I remember that episode)) to the stage crew. You could easily put that at the beginning since they are having a lunch break and the likely excuse is that they don't want to ruin any props because… well… food.

Another question that I have for it is how bad was the foul-up with the ad-libbing? Details of what she did might help. (was it pretentious or just a moment where she overstepped her bounds because she just wanted to try something?) But then again, the fic does fine without Nitty-gritty details. This question is just a personal preference.

After that, there's no other comments I have.

(I'm going to start including this disclaimer in my comments) I'm still learning how to review, so take all what I said with a grain of salt.

Thanks for writing!
#49 · 3
· on Through the Mirror
This piece reminded me of "The Fall of Sunset Shimmer" by Minty Root. It follows awfully close, so I suspect some inspiration came from it.

Like Lofty said, there isn't anything inherently wrong with following a path that many have trod, sometimes, as Tangerine Blast's bio says "Sometimes you just want to hear your favorite story told a little different"

On a personal note, I have a soft spot for Sunset Shimmer, especially with what she goes through post- the first EQG movie. I enjoy this piece for the simple fact that it goes over a common perspective of the character written in different words.

Particularly the part where Principal Celestia comes in takes Sunset to her house is my favorite part. Capitalizing on that will help a lot. I'm a sucker for slice of life and slow scenes where heartfelt moments take place. Good questions to answer would be "What is Celestia's logic in taking Sunset back to her house? Would she be afraid of charges of kidnapping? Why weren't the authorities called to help find her parents? When Sunset mentioned that she is practically an orphan why didn't Celestia express more concern than she previously had? I know Sunset basically said 'don't worry about it' with a mindset of 'I'll overthrow you later' but Celestia would probably pry a little harder since this isn't exactly a situation that happens every day.

Also, with what thisisalongname said about the enchanted tomes losing their power seeming to be an unfinished plot device. Did you mean something deeper than that? Does this make her a little more freaked out since her magical instruments will not work in this world (I think the equivalent is an HIE where a person happens to have their phone, but surprise! It doesn't work. In response, Human freaks out because they are attached to their phone.) Maybe she thinks she is trapped in this universe and she thinks in order to get back, she needs her tomes which are rendered useless in this universe. I don't know what you are going for. There's a lot you can play with here.

I don't know if this is what you want. The reason why I'm going ham on this is because I see a diamond in the rough. A lot of polish, and you've got yourself a gemstone! Also, I would like to see how this turns out if you do decide to polish it!

I have to hand it to you, even if the writing is a bit rough, you've made me an excited puppy. I want more! But altogether, it's your decision.

Thanks for writing!
#50 · 3
· on Perfectly Imperfect · >>Baal Bunny
Monochromatic wants to know your location.

Right from my first read, I could tell that this was going to be one of my favorites from all the entries this round. The things that bothered me are really only prominent when my squinting got more intense in consecutive reads, but overall, I think the story did its job very well, flaws notwithstanding.

I love the dynamics between everyone here. Not only with our major players but also minor interactions like the one with Minuette as well. The dialogue is far and away the most natural that this round has to offer, aided by the little gestures that the characters were giving in between. Some of it may come across as nonessential to the larger narrative, but I think it's these kinds of interactions that really helps in making the whole story feel alive.

The story itself is earnest and straightforward. It doesn't beat around the bush, which is I think what plagues most romance stories that I find myself disappointed by. Might be because of the word limit but I've read a lot of equally-sappy romance with around the same word count that somehow couldn't get past the stage where their protagonist is still 'sorting out their feelings' for drama's sake so props on you for managing that right off the bat. The prose is balanced to a superbly-polished degree, comfortably weaving and interconnecting all of Rarity's thoughts with and alongside every line of action happening around her. Honestly, I think we're given just the right amount for this story to truly excel. It's a tease towards the end, and sure, the theme it started off with doesn't really come back in full circle, but I think that, in of itself, gives the story the perfectly imperfect charm to win me over.

I think if there's one thing that did stop my tracks a little, it's that Rarity—and this might extend to the others as well—does come across as a bit too lustful for my liking. I think there's definitely more ways she could view Twilight in that way beyond just her attraction to the physical, especially since that at this point in time, Rarity's probably well-acquainted enough to know what she likes about her dearest friend. She may not, of course, but I think the thoughts she had reserved about Fluttershy on the side seem to indicate otherwise.

Other than that, this story's great. Definitely primed to be published on FimFic, which is what I think is an ideal goal for an entry in a FiSS round, so mission accomplished with distinction.

Thanks for writing, and good luck!
#51 · 4
· on Inner Strength · >>PinoyPony
Genre: Click For “The Power Of Inner Strength” by Grip Inc. — Complete Album [Language Warning]

Thoughts: From the first time I read this story, I felt like there was something I wanted to provide feedback on, but I couldn’t quite place what it was. This has vexed me off and on for a couple days now. I think, though, that I’ve found a passage that helps get me there. I hate to quote whole big blocks at you, but I beg indulgence for a second.

“So, Granny, why is the whole town gathered here?” Applebloom asked as she sat by Granny Smith’s side.

“We need to gather in a safe place as the… uhm… what was it?” Granny Smith scratched her chin. “Oh! We gathered here until the storm passes.”

“We could’ve stayed at the farm for that.” Applebloom said. “We even have a cellar full of apples to last us through winter. Why didn’t we just stay there?”

Applebloom was asking tough questions.


While I hate to pick on this, I feel it’s representative of some not-very-economical prose that ends up peppering the story at various points. The story’s through-line seems to be about Mac feeling & expressing appreciation for Sugar Belle amid difficult circumstances, but there’s a lot of ancillary stuff—including this bit of back-and-forth between AB & GS—that takes up as much (if not more) of the story’s word count. I suspect this comes from a desire to flesh out both the conflict and the situation, which should help build toward the climactic showdown where Mac makes his feelings clear. However, given that the climax is ultimately more of a low-key moment between Mac, Belle, and her tormentors, very little of this setup ends up feeling necessary. Yes, it builds; but what it builds toward doesn’t need quite so much scaffolding, IMO.

The good news, of course, is that it’s probably easier to pare excess content out of a story like this than to have to bolt on some kind of an accompanying B-plot. Though I will say that I’d love to see the ending reach a stronger resolution. Right now, Mac reassures Belle by reiterating his love and appreciation... and then we roll credits. Consider the question of why they’d even want to join up with the rest of the town given that Mac just had to defend her from racist bullies; isn’t it reasonable to think that they might be better off just heading back home, as AB suggests earlier? I’m not saying you have to address that specifically, but I present it as an illustration that there are some unresolved things that could make the story end stronger.

Oh, and >>Miller Minus, I also assumed they were bringing Danny Trejo. This reads completely differently for me now that I realize that was just my personal interpretation. :-p

Tier: Keep Developing
#52 · 2
· on The Things You Do for Love
Genre: High On Bereaving

Thoughts: I hate to say this, but there were a number of things here that ultimately made it hard for me to get into this story. I think that any smaller combination of them would be easier, but right now it’s like a multi-hit combo that’s keeping me air-juggled and draining my health bar faster than it’s charging my limit bar (to borrow a few metaphors).

But before I dive into that list, I think this crosses over from something where I can firmly point at objective “problems” and gets more into the realm where I may not the target audience for the stylistic choices being made here. As I see it, that means my best option is to share what I can about my thoughts and abstain on the story itself. I hope that what I have to share will be useful as a personal opinion without being unduly discouraging.

The one place where I would definitely (and from as objective a viewpoint as I can offer) suggest making a change is around the beginning. Right now there’s rather a lot of beating around the bush before getting to the revelation about Bon Bon’s cancer. I can understand if this reflects a desire for scene-setting. I could also understand if this is being used as a way to convey Bon Bon’s inner turmoil. Nevertheless, right now it feels a bit... belabored? Consider that Bon Bon agreed to come have the conversation in the first place, and has already asked two other people; I have trouble thinking she’d have this much difficulty broaching the subject.

But past that point, we get into things that are much, much more “opinion-y.” Proceed at your own risk.

Right now there are a lot of content and referential decisions that are doing more to jar me out of the story than to develop its setting. For instance, the “Thor” and “Odin” references are surprising and unexplained for the setting. Later, the semi-on-screen bathroom usage strikes me as a distracting choice, and it kind of doesn’t end up adding anything other than to move the characters into the room where the book has been stored (which could just as easily be anywhere else). Similarly, the references to the ex-boyfriend’s proclivities are just like... why? It’s already clear that this is a darker-and-grittier EqG-land, but relatively little of that feels like it ends up mattering to the overall arc. And I mean, the arc ultimately boils down to Lyra talking Wallflower into agreeing to help preserve Bon Bon’s soul beyond death; as >>Baal Bunny noted, we don’t really get to see the resolution of the setup here. I think that could still be made to work, though it would also strike me as more intrinsically satisfying to see them attempt the ritual.

Like I said, most of those elements don’t feel objectively wrong to me, but as-presented right now, they also limit my ability to get into this.

Tier: Abstain
#53 · 2
· on Daring Ponies · >>PinoyPony
Daring Ponies:

This read like a rough draft. There is a story here, but it seems like it got lost in the writing. The personalities of the characters seem to switch arbitrarily and the relationship between suffers the same. The constant switching of names is confusing, as sticking with one set would work just fine for the story’s purposes. There are several questionable decisions being made, such as dad purposely putting him and his daughter in a book they can apparently die in. Over all though, I think the greatest shortcoming of this is that it can’t seem to decide what it wants the story to be about. I thought it was going to be a dad and daughter relationship building story, but they don’t really develop or learn anything. We are told at the end that there is some sort of change or growth, but I don’t know when that occurred or what caused it as it isn’t shown happening. It’s not really an adventure story either as exposition is thrown at us and then resolved in a mechanical manner. There is an idea here that can work well, but the story needs to be focused on what is important and strive to push the narrative in that direction.

I’m hoping this doesn’t sound too blunt or mean, it’s not my intention. I’m writing this really late as I won’t have time tomorrow to do any reviews so need to get what I can tonight before then. As such I’m not taking as much time as I usually do on my reviews.

Side note, the daughter is kinda unlikable as is, especially when she doesn’t want to help escape over a cookie? I mean, you can have a moment where they butt heads and her having a pettiness about her isn’t bad, but something so trivial in such a dangerous situation seems unlike something any normal person or pony would do.
#54 · 3
· on The Pants Macabre · >>CoffeeMinion
The Pants Macabre:

It took a while into this before I realized it was supposed to be a silly story. Even after that point I still felt like it wasn’t as silly as it could have been, maybe holding itself back. I think it should lean into the silliness and go all out. I might have some bias against this story as I only know Zephyr from clips from the show and not actually watching the episodes he is in, so it’s hard for me to nail down his mannerisms. I also couldn’t really put a voice to the pants, so much of that humor was lost on me. I think there is an excellent silly story here, it just needs to be shined up a bit.
#55 · 5
· on Dead Griffon Walking · >>_Moonshot
The biggest problem for me:

Was the non-Pony nature of pretty much everything here. There are certainly ways of approaching dark subjects in Pony terms, but this reads to me like a human story with a few nouns swapped out. So I'll recommend some world-building. What would be a good, menial job for a griffon to have in a pony city? What would be a good drug for a griffon to become addicted to? Maybe poison joke does something different to griffons than it does to ponies?

I'll also agree with the folks above about not having enough clues to come to any sort of idea about what was actually happening. I mean, granted that I'm pretty dense when it comes to the darker aspects of existence, but I missed the whole narcotics thing completely till I read the other comments... :)

Mike
#56 · 3
·
Well folks, I haven’t made it as far with reviews as I was hoping; chalk it up to a weird week. But as we stand here on the precipice of prelims giving way to finals, it’s time to invoke the ancient tradition of PRELIM MASHUPS!!!

The Things You Do For Being Hooked: While Wallflower tries to locate a pair of anonymous ne’er-do-wells who keep blasting inappropriately cheery music at all hours, Bon Bon develops a feeling deep inside of her that leads to Lyra being high on bereaving.

Perfectly Imperfect Pants (Macabre): Thanks in no small part to Discord feeding her dubious information, Rarity finds herself quite thoroughly confused about who among her circle of friends has a crush on who, and is led to do the only thing that seems reasonable under the circumstances: make wedding tuxedoes for all of them. Zephyr Breeze misinterprets this as actual interest in him and proposes marriage. Twilight officiates their wedding after going goth for no discernible reason.

Dead Callback Walking: A merry mix-up in Discord’s attempts to bring Fluttershy back from beyond the veil lands her as a spirit haunting a random griffon’s fridge in Pony New Jersey. After some initial awkwardness involving her disapproval of his drug use, the two come to bond through their glorious crusade against the undead who have also overrun Pony New Jersey. Discord shows up several weeks later, marvels at their success, and proposes marriage to the Flutter-fridge.

Daring Pony Memories: For those who can afford it, The Enchanted Tome can let you live a life of unending adventure, far beyond the dissipation of your physical body. The only catch is that you’re stuck sharing it for all eternity with a pretty explicit father-figure. Got daddy issues? Yeah, sorry, those aren’t going anywhere...
#57 · 2
· on Callback
>>Miller Minus
I'm pretty sure Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash came back to the Everfree Forest, considering the focus on the storm there earlier, along with:
She felt all around herself. In this realm, in this forest, everything felt right. But outside, everything was too orderly, too rigid. Poor little animals, forced to rely on help from ponies for survival because ponies had taken away all the wildness they could have kept themselves alive with otherwise.


Anyways, I don't think I have anything to add that hasn't already been said. This is a very good story, author, and with even just a little more work it could be really great.
#58 · 2
· on The Pants Macabre · >>CoffeeMinion
Zephyr lacked the words to properly describe the elegant and gothic assemblages of black buttons, black bows, black corsets, black gowns, or other, more ephemeral sundries—also black—in which she dressed.


That might be my favorite quote from this whole thing. A few other points made me chuckle, but this almost made me spit take.
#59 · 1
· · >>No_Raisin >>GroaningGreyAgony >>CoffeeMinion
Why were several stories missing from my voting slate? I understand why my own story wasn't there, but there were two or three others I didn't see. Is there a second round of voting and people randomly get assigned to only some of the stories for the prelim? I'm not sure how it works.
#60 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>alarajrogers
The roster is big enough that you don't get all the entries on your slate, at least during prelim.
#61 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>alarajrogers
Once you rank all visible stories on your slate, there should be an option to add more at the bottom.
#62 · 2
· on Perfectly Imperfect · >>Baal Bunny
Pretty good, some room for improvement. Before I realized that discord and fluttershy were already in a relationship, discord saying this is how you make chaos while proposing seemed really mean. I also thought rarity was a bit presumptuous with how she was saying the reason behind fluttershys crush, really should just ask the mare. Also, I thought that rarity and twilight were in a relationship already so was a bit surprised when it turned out they weren't. Still pretty good.

Fair warning, ice been drinking as it's my bday get together so all of the above may be wrong.
#63 · 2
· on Callback
Wow, reading this while intoxicated was a surreal experience. I think it started to lose it's almost dreamlike tone about two thirds the way through. I think capping the story off with a conclusion that tied everything together would have been nice. Also, there was a moment in there where friend was used like 15 times and could probably use an edit. Still an ok read. Good job
#64 · 1
·
>>alarajrogers
>>No_Raisin
>>GroaningGreyAgony
Yep, and this feeling of missing a couple of stories is something that stands out more clearly in a round of the current one’s size. Smaller rounds just put everything on your slate from the get-go (more or less), whereas with much bigger rounds, it’s more immediately clear that your slate is only offering a fraction of the stories.

However, as growing pains go, this is actually something I’m glad we’re encountering with FiSS right now. It comes part and parcel with growing from Uncharted Territory to Crossing Over. There’s something exciting (IMO) with chatter and review activity driving interest in a story that otherwise would only get however many eyes on it as part of regular slate distribution.

We’ve got a ways to go before we recapture the glories of yesteryear—not that that has to be a goal, per se. But signs of growth and health are encouraging!
#65 · 1
· on The Quality of Kindness · >>GroaningGreyAgony
What an absolutely gorgeous art piece! It’s both fun and foreboding; a perfect Horse-Charon. Thank you for making it, anonymous Artist. ^^
#66 · 2
· on Callback
Big thumbs up from me on this one! Choosing not to name the protagonists during their sections and using "friend" instead was a excellent mood-elevator. It gives everything an extra layer of dreaminess. I would love to see Discord's crafting of the rope expanded on--as it sits right now, it's coming off as out of left field, especially considering how there was no mention of it in the prior storm scene.

Excellent work!
#67 · 3
· on Stick to the Script · >>Soft Sticks
Genre: ACTION!

Thoughts: I was pumped when I sat down at the beginning of this story and saw a bunch of OC names. I generally try to give bonus points when I run into OCs, because it’s a higher tier of difficulty to introduce wholly new characters in a very short work than to just pick up and start telling a story with pre-established characters. However, I quickly started having trouble following things, because neither the characters nor their setting got any physical description during much of the opening scene. More characters kept showing up, but I had no way to mentally keep track of them except as a list of names.

It took me until quite a ways through this to realize the central concept that these characters were actor-ponies playing the M6+Starlight in MLP as we know it, but presented as a fictional show within some kind of MLP-ish universe. That’s a cool concept (and I regret that I still haven’t read GaPJaxie’s take on it). I also did eventually pick up on it. But getting there was rough. I can’t stress enough how valuable it is to ease a reader into the tone and setting of a story as early as possible; not only does it help them get a sense of what kind of story they’ve picked up (and if they would like to keep reading), but it creates an opportunity to start laying the groundwork for thematic elements, and overall selling readers on the work.

Now, I don’t want to dismiss this just on the basis of the beginning. I think that this gives compelling hints of a Ponyworld that’s both different yet reminiscent of the one we know. The differences in how text messaging on cell phones plays out for different kinds of ponies was actually quite clever and interesting. I’d like to see those differences developed more, in keeping with what I’ve said about wishing for more scene-setting in general. I can see these and other aspects of the concept shining through, but sometimes the limitations in description make it hard for me to paint a strong mental picture of what’s going on.

Author, I guess what this boils down to is a hope that you’ll keep tweaking this. Beefing-up the beginning to be less coy about establishing your concept and clarifying who these characters are would pay massive dividends IMO. One possibility might even be to start in the midst of the scene that not-Starlight “ruins” so that we as readers can see it for ourselves, rather than trying to piece together its details after the fact?

Tier: Keep Developing
#68 · 3
· on Dead Griffon Walking · >>_Moonshot
I didn’t end up commenting on this one during prelims, but I liked it. The biggest head-scratcher for me was figuring out what the MLP setting added to this, versus having it be a modern kid in a modern city. Its overall feeling seems very much like a modern/non-MLP tale. But beyond that aspect of it, I liked this as a slice-of-spooky. The concept of the dead dad who may or may not actually be there is cool, and I liked the physical descriptions that went along with his undoing.
#69 · 3
· on Daring Ponies · >>PinoyPony
I didn’t manage to post a comment on this during prelims, in part because I kept debating where to rank this. I think this has a really good concept; maybe I’m a sucker for adventure, but what stood out most to me was the level of ambition on offer. I thought it was great when the adventure swapped Quibble and Wind’s expected roles, as well as when it became evident that the adventure could adapt itself to the decisions they made & offer alternate paths. That’s fantastic concept-wise.

Where this faltered more for me was in the prose. It was clear enough much of the time, but as my colleague >>Miller Minus notes, there are some moments where things get rougher. It’s almost certainly not insurmountable with a strong editing pass or two, though; and concept indeed has legs!
#70 · 3
· on Perfectly Imperfect
Fun:

But there's a line at the end, author, about Rarity nearly squealing with joy "at having true royalty notice her at last." I'd suggest moving that idea right up to the front. It'll give the whole thing more emotional conflict if Rarity and Fluttershy have both been feeling more and more attracted to Twilight since she became a princess, but Rarity's been fighting it for Fluttershy's sake.

Mike
#71 · 1
· on Perfectly Imperfect · >>Baal Bunny
Genre: Monochromatic

Thoughts: So... take my thoughts here with some grains of salt, because I’m far from the authority on most of the ship activity going on here. IMO the greatest shipping moment on offer was Discord’s proposal, which utterly stole the show for me in terms of things I’m into. But to me it was a humongous swerve to go from everyone thinking Fluttershy was into Twilight, to Fluttershy accepting a sudden marriage proposal from Discord. I mean, maybe Fluttershy and Discord have been spending more time out of everyone’s sight than anyone realized (and considering that he can bend reality to his whim... okay, that’s fair). But I just have a hard time buying such a deep misunderstanding as the foundation for the story concept here.

However, with that said, I feel like this is easily the strongest story in this competition from a purely technical perspective. I mean, this thing is clean as heck, it’s got strong narration, and it does a good job with its depictions & analysis of all the characters. It feels very MLP while also going places that MLP didn’t, which is one of the absolute hallmarks of fanfiction.

Tier: Strong
#72 · 4
· on The Pants Macabre · >>CoffeeMinion
Best title of the round:

Though the pedant in me would rather the "The" not be there...

As it is, my only problem is with the last line since, as >>Miller Minus points out, she doesn't actually put the pants on. That's easily fixed, though--she could go into a dressing room, come out wearing the pants, and Zephyr's hairdo could burst into flames, and then we cut to Discord. Still, very fun.

Mike
#73 · 1
· on The Memory
Genre: Immortality Blues

Thoughts: And so we come full circle. This was the first fic that I read at the beginning of voting, and it’s probably the last that I’ll review. As such, I’ve spent quite a bit of time debating both how I would rank this, and what I would say about it. At moments, it’s beautiful. At moments, it’s unclear. Its theme leans heavily on headcanon that I don’t feel fully convinced of.

It is a diamond that needs polishing.

Let me focus on on the beginning, which is absolutely breathtaking.
There is a place way deep in the forest where the trees give way to a clearing. A flimsy shack leans on an old stone wall, both overgrown with weeds. The paint on the wood panels has all but disappeared, exposing the cracked wood underneath. The tin roof, sagging down at one edge, is frail with rust. The golden-orange veins move out from the joints of the roof and meet up with vines snaking up the corners. How it’s still standing is anyone’s guess.

Heck to the yes, Author. And do you know what I really love about this? It breaks some of the usual guidelines that I suggest to people about how to open a story. Here we get nothing but a vivid description of a freaking shack, and there’s not a single character in sight, nor any hints about the world, its situation, what conflicts drive it—but I’m completely hooked. I’m ready to lead wherever the story follows. Yeehaw, let’s croak us some toads.

I regret that a colossal butt soon presents itself, which will serve to begin illustrating what I struggled with as I read the rest of the story. This comes just a few paragraphs later, and carries us into the introduction of our first couple of characters, and through our first scene break.
This place is real. This is a memory. The first memory. This is—

Luna—

This is a dream.




The eyes in Celestia’s head were not Celestia’s, but somepony else’s. They captured the morning light with the same childlike twinkle as Celestia’s eyes. They gazed with the same intensity as Celestia’s eyes. They softened at the sight of her sister just like Celestia’s.

But they were not Celestia’s eyes.

“Good morning,” Celestia said to Luna. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

IMO this was almost equally as rough as the parts leading up to it were beautiful. The narrative voice whip-saws back and forth between detached/omniscient and inside Celestia’s head, which makes it very bumpy from a pure readability perspective. It also plants a seed of horror (IMO), which (IMO) doesn’t resonate with what the rest of the story turns out to be about. This is still early enough that helping ease the reader into your tone and themes is extra helpful, and right now these bits disrupt the somber, dream-like aspects of the very beginning.

The thing about auras was also challenging for me to get into, Author. I’m of two minds about it, though. I feel like all the worldbuilding you did to introduce and develop the concept was actually pretty strong. The detail about newlywed unicorns revealing them to each other continues to make me smile; it’s a great way of establishing what this means in the society by anchoring it to something understandable in ours. This all is good stuff. But like... I kept having trouble with the attempt to bolt this big of a societal & magical concept onto the Equestria we know and are familiar with. I feel like it’s fine to add new concepts like that, but it has to be done in a way that’s less purely an introduction to the concept and also partially a sales pitch for why the concept fits and has always been there. This plays out differently in an AU story, because the AU itself signals that things aren’t as we know. But in a story that by all appearances plays out just a little later in the timeline, having a big new concept like auras (IMO) needs more of that sales pitch.

The final scene is powerful, though. By that point the stage has been set for the heartfelt moment of acceptance that Celestia is able to convey. It’s moving and compelling in a way that a lot of the intervening machinations around auras and experiments and sisterly banter doesn’t quite attain. And again, I don’t want to knock that stuff—it makes sense in the context of the story that I think you’re trying to tell, which is ultimately about Celestia’s “death.”

It ends up working in the end. I just feel that it could use some tweaking to realize its full potential.

Tier: Almost There
#74 · 2
·
A’ight folks and folkettes, do you know how long it’s been since I last got to do FINALIST MASHUPS?! Cuz I sure don’t!!

The Pants of Memory: As Celestia’s cognitive faculties fade along with her aura, she finds herself drawn into an endless memory of this one really sassy pair of jeans that she wore as a teen. Her subsequent attempt to break out of her nursing home to go find them leads to the tragic defenestration of Zephyr Breeze. (Tragic in the sense that they’d just installed the window; it was young, and should have had a long and meaningful life ahead of it.)

Stick To The Perfect Script Imperfectly: Trouble has been brewing on the set of the long-running soap opera The Young And The Ponies, as on-screen romance bubbles over into off-screen love affairs. But when a new cast member is brought on to play a lusty eyepatch-wearing fashionista, the lines between on- and off-screen liaisons become so blurred that the network threatens to take them off the air if they can’t dial down the sex and violence...

Hooked on a Callback: Discord’s plan to save Fluttershy from death goes awry when David Hasselhoff unexpectedly moves the shooting location of his latest music video to Horse Hades. Fortunately, The Hoff is able to redeem his mistake by blasting one of his greatest hits and removing Horse Charon from the scene in his car, enabling Fluttershy’s escape. For not even the guardian of Horse Hades can resist all ponies’ natural tendencies to get swept up in impromptu musical numbers...
#75 · 3
· on Dead Griffon Walking · >>_Moonshot
I really liked the majority of this story. It isn't perfect, but most of my critiques have already been said so I won't bother repeating those. The ending, however, feels disconnected.

Like Miller said, there aren't really any clues for the ending, so I was blindsided by the narcotics, which had never even been vaguely referenced before. And the fact that his dad was, seemingly at least, a drug-induced hallucination was very jarring to me. The first time I had any reason to believe that earlier instances of his dad interacting with physical objects weren't what they seemed was at the very end when we find out the knives were never moved and that the blood wasn't real. I have experience with hallucinations, and one of the ways you are taught to dismantle them and remind yourself they aren't real is that hallucinations can not interact with physical objects. My initial assumption was honestly that a hallucination was interacting with physical objects and that cheapened the emotional buildup for me.

Also, while I really like the emotional buildup thats here, I do hope you add more for the finished story. I'm a sucker for some good emotional drama and turmoil.
#76 · 3
· on Inner Strength · >>PinoyPony
This story is short and sweet, but it feels very fluffy even though I don't think it wants to be. Like Coffee said, there are sections that feel like padding, and either removing them or tightening them up would really help this story feel more focused.

More importantly, though, is what Miller said about how Sugar Belle feels damsel-y, because I agree. Big Mac says that Sugar Belle is strong, but I don't see it here right now. I feel like even something as simple as some extra dialogue would help a lot. Maybe she talks about how hard it is to be strong sometimes or how someone in the crowd said something that struck an insecurity of hers, something to make the conflict feel more real.
Post by Soft Sticks , deleted
#78 · 4
· on Stick to the Script · >>007Ben
Sorry. Prematurely clicked the "post comment" button. Hope I didn't ping anypony twice.

Hi. It's me. Soft Sticks. You just read about me, the author and primary PoV character. Whether you realized it or not, you also read about one of my friends.

Thank you to >>Baal Bunny, >>PinoyPony, and >>CoffeeMinion for your practical writing advice. I will take it to heart and apply it to my future writing.

Now, as for the actual content of the story, all three of you pointed out that I didn't give the details as to Film Magic's incident. I assure you that was intentional. I had a few hundred words left to throw around; I could have if I wanted to. But the focus of this story wasn't the action, it was the reconciliation.

"You know how each episode is. It's almost formulaic at this point. Everypony ignores the obvious solution to the episode's problem so the drama can reach its climax, even though it could have been avoided if we just would have communicated."


Now for some more individualized responses.

The continuity tripped me up, too. Is the first scene morning or evening? Film Magic asks how everypony's day was and Flying In is eating hay fries, but Last Looks is having pancakes.


Upon reading this, I was struck with the horrible realization that not every pony may have been to an all-day-breakfast style restaurant such as IHOP. But it was my intention that the cast went there after the day's shoot.

(I'm going to start including this disclaimer in my comments) I'm still learning how to review, so take all what I said with a grain of salt.

Thanks for writing!


Yeah, thanks for reviewing! That's part of what makes this community so great. We've all got to start somewhere. Glad to have you with us!

I think that this gives compelling hints of a Ponyworld that’s both different yet reminiscent of the one we know.


Thanks. It's true what Baal said about following in some big footprints, which was a little intimidating. Glad I was able to make the world seem different.




I regret that I was not able to get in any reviews, but starting I promise to address that. Hopefully. Today looks like it's going to busy day, but I promise I'll get to at least the under-reviewed stories.
#79 · 5
· on The Quality of Kindness
>>CoffeeMinion

<bows to thunderous crickets> Thanks, CM!

The Quality of Kindness: Post Mortem

The sky was overcast in Morris County on the afternoon before the deadline, but the light in the clouds was strangely rich and enchanting. My photos could not do it full justice, but they served well enough to give this piece an interesting background.

This is a photo collage. Charon’s robes are from a Grim Reaper prop that I built for Halloween use; I just trimmed off the shoulders and narrowed it in Photoshop. The long face and underlying skull are from Creative Commons photos or equivalent. Charon’s pole is a lamp post that appeared in one of my sky pics.

See you next round, and here’s hoping there will be more art!
#80 · 3
· on Hooked
Hocked on a Peeling

>>LoftyWithers, >>Baal Bunny, >>CoffeeMinion, >>thisisalongname

Congrats to the medalists, and thanks for the kind comments and the contested bronze!

At the beginning of this contest, I listened to the titular song again after a period of abstinence and envisioned a set of comic panels that would tell the joke that lies at the heart of this story. Once I realized I could fit it to the prompt, it came out like this instead. I regret nothing.

I haven’t ruled out trying to get it onto Fimfic somehow, but it may take some consideration.
#81 · 4
·
FimFiction folder is now up! Please add your stories as you migrate them to FimFiction!

If you don’t have access to add your story, just hit me up on FimFiction, Discord, or by replying to me here, and I’ll make you a “contributor.”

I’ll be posting some more wrap-up thoughts later, but thanks everyone for your stories, and for making it a fun round! I’m definitely curious to know what you thought about the format, length, and any other details of this contest that you feel like commenting on. Again, feel free to reply here (or whatnot) and let us know what you think!
#82 · 5
· on Perfectly Imperfect
>>LoftyWithers
>>WritingSpirit
>>thisisalongname
>>CoffeeMinion

Thanks for the comments, folks:

And congrats to our medalists!

As several folks noted, this was heavily inspired by the RariTwi Bomb that Monochromatic put together for the week of the show's finale. I've been working on the next draft of the story ever since submitting this one, and I hope to get it posted to FimFiction by the weekend so I can devote myself to finishing up my entry in FanOfMostEverything's Imposing Sovereigns II contest. So much going on!

Mike
#83 · 1
· on Stick to the Script · >>Soft Sticks
>>Soft Sticks

Hey, unless I've seriously missed something, there's no way to DM on the Writeoff site. How can I contact you? Are you on Discord?
#84 · 1
· on Stick to the Script
>>007Ben
I set up an account with Discord and found you through the Fimfiction server. We can chat there.
#85 · 6
·
I'm so embarrassed! My clever plan was to comment on everyone's stories at the last possible minute so people wouldn't be able to observe which story I hadn't commented on and figure out which story I wrote. Maybe I take this anonymity thing too seriously? But between a high workload for end-of-month and preparing for Halloween, I have been swamped and haven't had time.

Everybody, I wiil be commenting on the fics, but it might not happen until Friday. Same for responses to the comments I got.
#86 · 5
· on Dead Griffon Walking
>>Miller Minus
>>PinoyPony
>>Baal Bunny
>>CoffeeMinion
>>wishcometrue
Wow, thanks for the seriously in-depth comments this time around. I really appreciate it! This was my first ever time trying to write horror, and all things considered I didn't do an abysmal job at the very least (even though it was totally a rush job :S), whew! Still, I learned a lot from your feedback about how to include information in the right places, and I will definitely be taking it into account during editing and for future stories to come.

Just a quick couple things. The title was just a reference to the phrase "dead man walking," a play on the fact that the father is dead, but that the son is the dead griffon walking -- someone who is about to face an unavoidable loss. Yeah, I realized a little too late that this story was way out of the normal MLP context, but better submit something than not, I guess. I'll definitely be tweaking it a little more to be more in-context. Finally, as surprising as it may be, it actually wasn't my intention during the writing process to link the narcotics with the hallucinations! I planned the manifestation of the father as some inexplicable force due to the guilt alone, but I see how the narcotics make sense, and maybe I'll try incorporating that into the final draft a little more. As for the interaction with physical objects, and also a little with the father's personality, I think I tried mixing something between the very little that I remember from Fight Club and Mr. Robot, but I don't think it quite worked out, so I'll be changing that a little, too.

Again, thanks for all the comments! Will try my best to get this out tomorrow, just in time for spoop :)
#87 · 4
· on Dead Griffon Walking
I published a thing

Now time to go study for midterms so that I don't disappoint my actual father byeeeee
#88 · 3
· on The Pants Macabre · >>CoffeeMinion
Personally, knowing that this was Zephyr Breeze, who is basically a joke character (like Cheese Sandwich, when you see him, you expect jokes, not angst or anything terribly serious), I was prepared for funny... so when Discord asks if they still try to summon him by chanting his name in a darkened bathroom, I was hooked. I actually like the whiplash of "this looks like an ordinary story" to "this is a ridiculous comedy" very quickly, as long as there's some setup to make me recognize at the start that maybe it's not going to be an ordinary story, and using the Zeph as the main character automatically does that.

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

I agree that Inky should have put on the pants at some point during the end to justify Discord's closing line.
#89 · 3
· on Hooked
I don't actually know the song that everyone was obsessed with that well -- I can't hear it in my head -- so I suspect this fell a little flatter for me than for others, but it was still overall a funny story.

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

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

However, overall this was a pretty funny story, mostly because of the ridiculousness of it and the fact that it's parodying a real and fairly stupid thing in MLP episodes. (I don't appreciate dramatic stories suddenly breaking into song. Unless it's the Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode.)
#90 · 3
· on The Memory
I found this haunting and surreal, but somewhat difficult to follow in a few places. There are elements that have no payoff -- what does Celestia's sudden eye-change color have to do with diminishing as an entity? Purple seems to be a normal eye color for ponies. Why does her mane turn green instead of pink, or falling flat? Not really a lot of explanation of auras, either, which are a thing that doesn't appear in the show as far as I know.

But the idea that memory becomes stronger as the end of life approaches hits really close to home for me and makes this a powerful story. Let's just say that's a reality I've begun to start living.
#91 · 4
· on The Pants Macabre
The Retrospective Macabre


OMG was the writing process for this one rough. I had family in town for much of the writing period, so my ability to do anything but brainstorm and ruminate was pretty limited until the night before this was due. I'd all but given up on submitting anything when my brain suddenly kicked out a hot remix of three old bits from my story idea slush pile. That left me with just some wee hours to write it, but at least I had a few older things to help serve as guideposts.

Before I continue, let me be crystal clear: I did not use anything written before the story-writing period for this contest began. However, my notes contained two little mini-scenes that inspired the moment where Zephyr watches Inky pass by in the morning, as well as Zephyr's summoning of Discord in the bathroom. The first scene was more of a mood/theme inspiration, written for different characters. The second scene was... well, I actually wrote an earlier bathroom scene, but it was focused on Zephyr trying to get Discord to help him woo Rainbow Dash, and the story it would've belonged to never went anywhere further than that scene. I just took the idea and wrote a new version of it from scratch. Again: no older material directly appeared in this.

It was actually the third bit from my slush pile that made the whole thing coalesce: the title itself. "The Pants Macabre."

Oh, but it's a lovely title. I've been sitting on it for a couple years, trying over and over to come up with some kind of Rarity-based story for it, but to no avail. Someone in the Discord chat mentioned that it elevated the story in their estimation, apart from anything else about the story itself. And I get it; I love the title. The last thing I expected was that throwing Rarity out of the concept, and fusing it with Zephyr of all ponies, would finally help get it off the ground. But here we are.

It's not without its problems, though. >>thisisalongname is on the right track in pointing out that it's possible to miss (at least up until it becomes robustly clear) that this was supposed to be a comedy. >>Miller Minus knocked my socks off with his evaluation that the comedy doesn't quite work because it's "hinging on a funny accent and a lot of references to Zephyr's tight-ass clothing". I knew this was a flawed piece from the morning after I submitted it, but I couldn't quite nail down why--though I started figuring it out in my self-review (>>CoffeeMinion). With respect to >>alarajrogers and >>LoftyWithers, I think this needs to be punched-up quite a bit to scan fully as a true comedy.

But I think this will get there. >>wishcometrue helped bolster my confidence that there were some laughs in here, and >>Baal Bunny gave a very specific suggestion about fixing up the end. (For what it's worth, I thought about having Inky do that, too, but it was so late and I was so tired by the time I dragged this thing across the finish line that I physically couldn't go back and make more tweaks.)

Anyway, thank you to all who read and/or commented on this! And regardless of the thing's shortcomings, winning silver is nothing to sneeze at!! :yay:
#92 · 1
· on Perfectly Imperfect · >>Baal Bunny
I am oblivious enough that I did not notice the hints of Rarity being into Twilight herself until a second read, but on the second read they were obvious and I shouldn't have missed them the first time. I especially liked the notion that Rarity finds touching Twilight's raw magical power with her own magic to be arousing.

The business with Discord proposing does seem to come out of nowhere, but on the other hand, canon fairly well establishes that Discord and Fluttershy could very easily be or become an item, and I don't see how it could be worked into the story that Fluttershy is into Discord when it's all about her being into Twilight. There's that one hint that Fluttershy is looking for a protector, and Twilight herself says that Discord's more powerful than she is; I don't know what more could be done.

Pretty good story overall. Well-paced, good structure. Aside from the one issue I have no idea how to correct and I am not even sure it needs correcting because canon, I think it's pretty darn good.
#93 · 2
· on Stick to the Script
I have to confess I really don't like this kind of story (the world of MLP is a fiction being portrayed by ponies), but this was well-written and I liked the theme -- friendship broken, maybe, by something someone did that was well-meaning but seen as awful, and the reconciliation afterward. And I can see how this would not fit in standard MLP, where friendship is an almost magical force and we'd know it couldn't be broken forever by a thing like this, whereas in a pony world where MLP is fictional, friendship may work like it does in real life -- fragile and conditional. So it wasn't a pleasant read for me, but the author's skill and the choices they've made are spot on.
#94 · 1
· on Dead Griffon Walking
Since I didn't get to this before it was taken down to be published on fanfiction, I think I'll comment in more detail on that version. But for this version, I wanted to say it worked for me; the fact that this seemed like such a darker, grittier version of Equestria made sense to me because he is a griffon and Griffonstone is a total shithole in canon. I wouldn't have bought this with ponies, but with a griffon, absolutely.
#95 · 1
· on Daring Ponies · >>PinoyPony
I'm not the biggest fan of this one to start with because I don't like the "story within a story" concept behind Power Ponies, or any other "and the characters all got sucked into a story." Particularly the Fridge Logic of what happens if you die? If you can be killed, why would you ever participate in the game, but if you can't be, then what are the stakes? This story does nothing to resolve my unease with the concept.

The kid is stressed out and mad at her dad for dragging her into this and she doesn't really want to play, so she doesn't help him and then she lets him escape without her. I get that, it makes sense, but it doesn't really make me want to read more about her; she's being a petulant jerk. The adventure itself isn't that interesting and most of the people Quibble is interacting with are fictional, so most of the adventure seems to have little point.

Quibble's well-done. Everything he does seems believable and his character seems pretty on-point. And like I said, the kid is believable and understandable, just not fun to read about.

I dunno. Not for me. But on a technical level it's done well enough. People who enjoy the story-in-a-story concept would probably like it better.
#96 ·
· on Perfectly Imperfect
>>alarajrogers

Thanks!

And yet, when I posted the revised version to FimFiction on Saturday, it gathered 2 "down thumbs" before it had gathered a single "up thumb." Ah, well... :)

Mike
#97 · 1
· on Inner Strength · >>PinoyPony
I haven't seen the finale yet so this doesn't quite make sense to me, and maybe that's because there's canon I'm unaware of. If Tirek, who steals magic, is on the rampage, why does it make sense for everyone to gather in one place where all their magic can be stolen at once? Why are ponies suddenly being racist? I mean, Spoiled Rich has always been an asshat, but you'd think that spouting off racist rhetoric toward the wife of one of her husband's greatest business partners would be a thing Filthy would have demanded she not do, a long time ago, for the sake of the business. And then other random ponies doing it as well?

So, assuming that those questions would have been answered by watching the finale, I feel like there isn't much there here; the conflict is that ponies are being racist to Sugar Belle and the resolution is that Big Mac gives her a pep talk. She doesn't do much of anything and to be honest, he doesn't really either; this is more like a scene than a story. That being said, as a scene, it's sweet, and shows Big Mac's emotional strength as well as physical.

Not bad, but needs expansion, I think. But then I usually want to expand everything. :-)
#98 · 2
· on Inner Strength
Inner Strength- A Retrospective

Overall, it was a great choice to send into the Writeoff. I got exactly what I needed to spruce this piece up! However, it won't be an easy fix.

>>Miller Minus
>>CoffeeMinion
>>wishcometrue

Who knows? Maybe Danny Trejo will have a cameo!

Jokes aside, I'm sorry for bunching the reply together. My reasoning is that each of these go into the same vein. You'll see what I mean in a second.

Miller points out the fact that Sugar Belle and Mac's interaction is one dimensional. However, wishcometrue has suggested a solution: Sugar Belle has an insecurity that is brought out. Bringing up that plot point would spice the conflict up. Plus, Coffee Suggests that the resolve goes a different direction (to go home instead of towards town), which can add depth and rearrange the structure of the story. (Mac and Sugar talk while going back to the farmhouse).

Coffee goes over the fact that this fic has a lot of scaffolding, with a reiteration from wishcometrue. However, the solution from wishcometrue also allows the scaffolding to be cut and/or tied in. This gets rid of unnecessary wording.

...with that, I kinda have a better idea of where I'm going.

With the synchronized comments, my real question is, are the three of you a hive mind?

Thanks for reviewing!

>>alarajrogers

I saved your comment out of the bunch for two reasons- it goes into a different branch of clarification, and also, it came later than all the others.

Hopefully this first part won't come off as mean. I know it will be terse though:

This is the reason why I put the spoiler warning label up. The ending will be hard to believe, but it does eventually get to the point of almost blatant racism. I'll leave it to you to watch it, it's not my place to spoil any more.

As I said to the other reviewers, yes, this suffers from a one-dimensional plot. I do have an idea of how to fix it though. As for expansion, I'll decline on it, since Coffee said to shorten the scaffolding of the story.

Even though I disagree with most of your statements, your comment was useful to gain another perspective! Thanks for Reviewing!

Verdict

One of my best googies yet, but I'll need to put it on pause. Many other stories are waiting in my lineup.
#99 ·
· on Through the Mirror
It does seem as if this is "Sunset Shimmer: This is Your Life!"

Where this shines is when it touches on what we don't already know. The hint about the enchantments that weren't going to work. The accepting of Principal Celestia as an alternate mother figure. These are things we haven't seen about Sunset in canon.

Expand on those, and the other areas where we haven't seen Sunset -- maybe what was her past like as Celestia's student before she decided she wanted power, maybe her interactions with the school body. How did someone who doesn't understand friendship get to be so popular she won the crown the previous years? Why did she want to win the crown the previous years, when there were no real stakes behind it? Those are the questions a story like this could answer.

I also think that if you want to keep it as, basically, a retelling of Sunset's life, you could punch it up with a framing sequence. Sunset is sick or injured and reflecting on her life. Sunset is writing her memoirs. Sunset is reminded of her past by an encounter with a filly who reminds her of herself. That kind of thing. If you do it that way, it's important to maintain a thematic linkage -- so Sunset's memories of the past should end up influencing her present in some way.
#100 · 1
· on The Things You Do for Love · >>LoftyWithers
Other people have mentioned some of the other problems with this, but ironically the thing that jumped out and hit me over the head was transposing a very specifically American problem, and moreover, an American problem that has only existed for about 30 years, into Equestria. Health insurance is not normal. We Americans think it's normal because we've dealt with it our entire lives but literally every other developed country has single-payer where the government covers illnesses, and even our health insurance back in the 1970's and 80's didn't have shit like copays and deductables.

Equestria is a very, very alien place, where they don't have television, their ruler is immortal, there are marauding monsters, science and magic co-exist, animals need to be taken care of by sapient beings even if they're living in the wild, weather is completely controlled and predictable, and friendship is considered a more powerful force than even love. Oh, and they reform most of their criminals. And a lot of this applies just as much to EqG, which is obviously a kinder, more forgiving place than the modern USA is. There is nothing about this that makes me think they would have health insurance, with co-pays, that some people can't afford.

Would have made more sense to make it liver cancer or something. Something that, even with the best care and frequent checkups, could have been missed.