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Rot · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
#1 · 8
Look at that word limit! It’s so tiny!! XD
#2 · 7
"In 9 meters, commit genocide." - Starlight Glimmer
#3 · 6
Pretty diverse prompts in this round. "Empty Cans of Hatred" in particular really mutters my buffin.
#4 · 6
The show my theatre school was running just ended, so I'm finally free on a Saturday! Is this the round I finally get back into the Writeoff?
#5 · 3
· · >>LoftyWithers
In an attempt to continue a hallowed Writeoff tradition, enjoy a horrific mashup of YOUR prompts, fillies and gentlecolts! Liberties were taken only for the sake of stringing this nonsense together:

Lost Luster made Bedroom Eyes at The Hornwyrm. “Keep Dancing, Gobble Gobble Gobble. I’m Wanting to Have a Good Time while Pushing the Boundaries of PG-13.”

“Bug Off!” barked its Monster-in-Law, Rot, in tones like Empty Cans of Hatred On the Edge. “I’m Nearly almost dead but not quite.”

“'Tis Just a Flesh Wound,” Luster purred. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. The End is Never the End is Never the-”

“Twilight, Twilight, Nihil, Nihil!!!

Fire Upon the Deep smote them all.
#6 · 4
PG Is a Wanting

Nihil is of the Good,
But Nihil Have The Rot.
Dancing Upon the Bedroom Bug--
Veil Off, Never On--
Gobble Time of Nearly Flesh.
Gobble Twilight, almost Empty.
Gobble Hornwyrm, Hatred Deep.

Monster Edge, Pushing Fire.
Eyes in Cans Wound Just Beyond.
Lost the Law Most Wonderful.
'Tis the Time to Boundaries.
End the Year, The 13 dead.
It’s the Twilight of the Luster--
A Never not quite Keep the end.
#7 · 4

...Did Ot just sneak into a prompt?
#8 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>LoftyWithers
Ugh, the one prompt I had the least hope for developing a workable idea. Drat.
#9 · 2
· · >>LoftyWithers
This is 100% where I’m at with this. I had a tentative plan that isn’t adapting well at all. I didn’t expect this would win! But oh well: hard mode engage
#10 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion
If it helps, Rot is the German word for red.
#11 · 3
That is officially something to go on. Thank you!
#12 · 4
· · >>Anon Y Mous >>007Ben >>KwirkyJ
This prompt is the most disappointing thing since my son.
#13 · 3
Cassius isn’t a disappointment :(
#14 · 4
still slightly less disappointing than the blank page I have after wasting most of today
#15 · 2
I have an incomplete idea for a story, but... it's just not there. And I could strip it down to 750 words, but the pacing would be absolutely murdered. I don't see myself getting anything in this round. Good luck to those who do!
#16 · 3
· · >>Anon Y Mous
*slowly reaches for anonymous button*

*backs away*

Nah... even if I put it as anonymous, people could probably still tell it was me since my writing style is so clunky.
#17 · 3
Do it!!!!!!! I have a need 2 read
#18 · 2
And although my son eventually committed suicide in a truck stop bathroom, the story I submitted will be around forever. It will never go away. It cannot be undone.
#19 · 2
Amazingly, somehow, I am submit.

Also am ded, need sleep. D:
#20 · 4
· on Meat · >>CoffeeMinion
Genre: Cupcakes 2: Electric Boogaloo

Rest in pieces, Rainbow Dash. You will be missed. 😔✌️

Now, onto the story. I love the idea that Pinkie Pie still acts like herself even after she’s been caught. That’s good. I have to admit that I was giggling throughout this because of the absurdity, but that doesn’t mean you did a bad job. It just means that the setup wasn’t there. That’s no fault of your own, either, you didn’t have enough words to do so.

Well paced, but I have literally no idea where to put this on my slate.
#21 · 4
· on At the Funeral Pyre
Genre: Flutterreflection

Thoughts: I came close to committing blasphemy with this story and not adhering to my usual review format. That’s because this isn’t a story in the usual way that we get stories; it’s more like a piece of in-character reflection. Perhaps it’s a journal entry, or a monologue. It isn’t narrative in the usual sense. However, the voicing is strong enough to make interesting reading regardless. It’s perhaps a bit of a simple treatment of death’s place in life, but it has deliberateness in its emotional balance by touching on the contrast between how animals and pegasi understand death.

This is ultimately kind of not a story, but it has a through-line that leaves me feeling like I’ve been on a short but satisfying journey. It’s a bit tricky to rank. But I think it’s a great first story to kick off this contest.

Tier: Strong
#22 · 3
· on Grave Matters · >>CoffeeMinion
I find myself:

Full of questions. If this is actually Keeper's assistant, I'd expect some more emotion from the old pony--having to kill a friend who's just died might well be a disturbing experience. And if it isn't his assistant, why is he assisting him? The whole situation doesn't make sense to me, in fact. I just can't see how the two of them would've gotten to this point. Maybe start the story with the scene before this when you expand it for posting on Fimfiction to set up why the assistant is here and not heading into town to see his fiancee.

There are also lots of commas that should be periods in your dialogue tags: the one after "assistant" in “You jerk,” growled the assistant, “That one almost got me!”, for instance, and the one after "Keeper" in “Quit yer belly achin’ lad,” fired back Keeper, “You’ve got feet to go yet.” And when you use "ask" in a dialogue tag, the dialogue really oughtta end with a question mark... :)

#23 · 6
· on Facts and Feelings · >>_Moonshot
Genre: Halt And Catch Fire

Thoughts: This review likes big “but”s and, regrettably, it cannot lie.

What I really like about this is the strength of the character voicing. Everyone sounds super on-point, such that it’s easy to pick out who’s talking even when attributions get skipped. Mudbriar’s dialogue is particularly good, almost to the point of stealing the show. It’s great to see one of our later-season characters getting the fic love they deserve—and Author, if you’ve written more stuff with Mudbriar, I’d like to read it.

What works less well for me is the background antics leading to fire and injury. It comes off as checking the “zany” box but is perhaps a bit too random to feel like it quite fits. I imagine that’s intentional, at least to a point; Pinkie catching on fire is a Broad Comedy Moment if I’ve ever seen one, and it even mostly works. But right now it’s got almost a disharmonious resonance with the randomness of the topics and flow of the central conversation itself—especially when the end feels so disconnected from what they’d been talking about.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with some friends sitting around at a cafe and spitballing how they’d take down a rogue Twilight. There’s nothing wrong with humorous asides while they talk about this. There might be something wrong with Fluttershy having such a chill reaction to Pinkie being on fire, though I suppose that allowances must be made for this being Pinkie. But when the ending veers away from what most of the conversation has been about and centers on Mudbriar looking like a bigger fool than the folks who caught themselves on fire... I have a hard time following.

I’m probably going to end up ranking this lower than the quality of the prose otherwise deserves, in part because right now I have a hard time visualizing what this story is trying to be. That’s not to say that it’s bad, or that it couldn’t be tuned-up and focused a bit more! It totally could! I just think that right now, as-presented, as a reader I would find this much easier to get my arms around following that kind of tuneup.

Tier: Keep Developing
#24 · 4
· on Meat
As noted previously, this definitely is building on the setting from the cult classic Cupcakes, yet still lays enough groundwork to stand on its own in a gruesome kind of way.

In broad strokes, my impression is that Twilight's reactions come across as rote. Expected. Dispassionate. They are real to her, but for us, the reader, there's nothing particularly interesting about what she's experiencing and displaying. "Oh, isn't it so horrible, she's going to puke." Also, I'm not sold on the structure of this overall: on the train also technically finding Pinkie and the basement (reflection / ascended flashback), then fast forward slightly to the Canterlot prison cell. It's just weird, and seems more distracting than purposeful.

The kicker at the end pulls this together, and it is interesting seeing how that this is somehow still very much like the Pinkie Pie we otherwise know. However, as so little of the story actually ties directly into that last line, it feels listless.
#25 · 3
· on Unknown Recipient
I exist, and I find it nauseating.

Twilight is clearly unwell... She's commenting that her actions feel not her own, that they are ultimately meaningless, that a mental itch of hers keeps being prevented from being scratched, and her connection with her friends is surreal.

Looking for a direct connection to the prompt, maybe it's a rot of the mind? How does the title fit, where the first words on the page are 'Dear Princess Celestia'?

Technically, there are only a few flubs. Hyphens should be en- or em-dashes, a missing space after a period... little things.

I'm not sure what this story is trying to do. Is... is this a suicide note?
#26 · 3
· on Facts and Feelings · >>_Moonshot
This, right here, makes me perfectly unsure if this is Equestria or the EQG side of things: "twiddling her mane." Would Fluttershy 'twiddle' with hooves?

I'm not sure what else I can add that isn't covered by CoffeeMinion's response. The zany background events are so bizarre and so pointless and so heavily ignored that I'm left scratching my head.

Looking at the section after the hard break, a few things... Why is Maud apologizing for Mudbriar? Why would she specify 'detail(ing) his opinions as an apology' rather than as part of an apology? Also, Rainbow concludes after reading it that she and Mudbriar think alike and asks if his words are earnest, to which he lies. If he lies affirmative, it means that what he wrote was a lie, defeating the purpose of writing it to begin with; if he lies negative, it would suggest to the others that his words were a lie even when they were not which would appear to defeat the purpose of writing it. Curioser and curiouser.
#27 · 3
· on Grave Matters
Lots of punctuation oddities in need of an editing pass. This is especially important because the assistant's last line is very difficult to parse... It wasn't fair that he got ill at the same time he got engaged? His becoming ill is what lead to his to-be-married-ness, and something about that is unfair? As-written, it makes no sense, so I'm lead to conclude that something critical is missing.

Also, as the assistant's face is partially rotten, is this part of his disease, and/or connected to the scarf and cologne mentioned earlier? Alternatively, was the assistant actually dead the entire time?

I cannot understand what these characters are actually doing or what their motivations might be.

Needs work.
#28 · 5
· on Iron Hearted · >>alarajrogers >>Bachiavellian
This has a very compact, elegant arc that concludes itself, yet also feels like it could tie into something bigger.

There were a very few technical faults:
Accidental quotation: only a sensation,”
Wanting a comma after 'pale': the pale well-grained wood
Period to comma: she clarified. “About

A few adjustments I might make:
and smeared itself over the pores
there was a surprising, thick firmness to the substance
one of Zecora’s gardening tools in her teeth: a small spade-like instrument with a pointed end. <<< I would name the instrument.

I bring these up as nit-picks because it's otherwise so well crafted. The sensation of the decaying wood and actually working with it really clicked for me (perhaps because I have done similar work before?), Tempest's triggers and denials are reasonably paced, and the turn with Zecora's arrival cements the arc.

As an existential threat to this, however, is this Tempest also "Fizzlepop Berrytwist" or whatever from The Movie, and, if so, what evidence do you have of her being a killer?
#29 · 3
· on At the Funeral Pyre
Building off of the title, my take on this is that we have Fluttershy delivering a eulogy, celebrating life in the midst of death.

As Coffee noted, it definitely has an arc to it: going from the dead corpse of an opossum to a fire, contrasting dead and alive, soil and sky. Also an interesting bit of worldbuilding with pegasi burning their dead, used in service of the theme.

The emotional tone overall is muted, only really showing at the end with that last line, which might be to its credit. It lets the reader put what they want into it; and might also connect to Fluttershy's more down-to-earth perspective (literally!) and more experiences with death itself (with all the critters she cares for).

Different, but definitely interesting.
#30 · 3
· on Final Glimmer · >>CoffeeMinion >>alarajrogers
The Anti-AT Field is approaching infinite zero! At this rate, independent bodies will soon be unable to hold their form!

It may seem callous, but I'm calling most of this a waste of space. If it's about "saving" Starlight, then the resolution is a deus ex machina. If it's about Princess of Entropy, what was the point of the first five hundred words?

Also, the last paragraph contradicts itself. Starlight replies in effect that she can't end death, yet continues to say that she will prevent death "for as long as we all desire". So she can for all intents and purposes end death after all? The two are consistent if and only if death will eventually come, though perhaps only after an indefinite (infinite) period of time.

Probably 'She'? : “No, Dis-“ He snapped,
Also missing a line break following that paragraph.
#31 · 4
· on Ferment · >>Bachiavellian >>Baal Bunny
Best guess: AppleDash for sake of AppleDash.

It's never exactly explained what Dash is on about, nor if overnighting with Applejack (with whom nothing other than sleep is intimated, I remind you!) will remedy it in the short or long term. There's a solid hook with Dash's angst and longing, but it isn't resolved in a meaningful way yet.

I have difficulty buying this as something Applejack would actually say:
But hey, I always knew she had the biggest freak flag of any of us, and it's great seeing it fly, y'know

The last line is unclear, Applejack's smile touching Dash's (smile)... i.e., they kiss? If so, that's a very odd way of describing it, and seems a stretch for Applejack at least.

I did like this in particular: 'we'll pour you into a guest room'
#32 · 4
· on Medicine
I'm confused. Is the antidote/potion (vaguely implied to be citrus-derived, but quite possibly not) what's curing her disease, or the laughter, or both? Why does Mr. Bear need Flash Bee honey, specifically, as opposed to, say, anything else?

This strikes me as an excuse to write a Discord/Fluttershy moment, which I could get behind more readily if the setup made sense (see above) and, more importantly, Discord actually sounded and behaved like Discord. ETA: My primary metric is whether I can imagine Q (of Star Trek fame) behaving as the text would suggest, and it rarely steers me wrong. I have difficulty reconciling the personality of Q with the requirements of the text.

There are several small technical issues, mostly centered on punctuation.

As-is, this leaves virtually no lasting impression on me. Needs Work.
#33 · 3
· on Peanut Butter Chocolate · >>libertydude
This one hits like a load of bricks. Or maybe a piano. Well done.

First, the critiques. The first two paragraphs stand out as being off-tense compared to the rest of the story. Past, whereas the rest is very much present. The other quibble is using ice on sore limbs... I guess that's what people ponies do often enough, but it's wrong.

Those aside... what a somber drama, focusing on the dread of knowing things are falling apart, and not quite mustering the strength to do something about it.

ETA: I was reminded of this particular A Softer World comic, as it happens
#34 · 5
· on The Cutie Mark Crusaders Create a Compost Pile
In solidarity with Cheerilee: why?

It's not really about the CMC who do a thing then bicker, it's not really about Cheerilee who finally caves to the stress and brings alcohol to work, it's not really about the compost... Why? Setting-wise, the observation about already having their cutie marks is superfluous -- these events could reasonably take place at any point after Season 1 and the founding of the Crusaders.

As a side note, I was tickled that the title's initialism, CMCCCP, contains as a substring the Cyrillic for the USSR (CCCP).
#35 · 5
· on Murder Most Fowl · >>CoffeeMinion
Either I'm missing something, or the story is. Raven manages to wrest control of the nation and it is implied that she is putting Celestia in the position of steward, but it isn't clear how any of this will resolve the problem at hoof, nor is there anything stopping Celestia from regaining her position.

The intro (er, first third of the entire story) feels clunky and crude. In a story this brief, nobody cares about the hair color of the OC. The second sentence is a slogging river of concepts. The explicit sounds are coarse and handled inconsistently. And so on.

This is clearly trying to be funny, but it is not working on me.

Needs Work / Abstain
#36 · 3
· on Medicine
I'm so-so about this. Exploring some of the diseases of the pony world is definitely with the theme, if you permit generalising some of the "rot" theme away. But the execution is lacking. An attempt has clearly been made to keep it short, but the dialogue remains lacklustre and indistinct. The effects and symptoms of Swamp Fever are weakly represented. Discord doesn't really sound like Discord. There is nothing to explain why a bear would need specifically Flash Bee honey to last through the winter, only that he likes it. I would personally have Discord ridicule Fluttershy's tendency to confuse "like" with "need to live". The whole "teaching" bit just moves the goalposts but does not excuse it.

Fluttershy's alright. Discord needs real work.
#37 · 5
· on Murder Most Fowl · >>CoffeeMinion

Also, Raven’s not an oc, but I do agree we didn’t need the description.
#38 · 2
· on At the Funeral Pyre
It may be an innocent way of treating death, even for animals, but I believe it fits the setting quite well. It may just be a little tale told to critters to help them understand. And as was said, the last line is very effective in putting it all in a specific perspective. It turns it from a simple perspective about the cycle of life and death into more of a reassurance. "It won't be so bad even after we die, so don't fret so much."

While imagery of wriggling maggots may border on the grotesque, this is certainly no Baudelaire. It is used in a way to illustrate, not elicit disgust.

Overall: It's up there.
#39 · 1
· on Final Glimmer · >>alarajrogers
Genre: Orange Tang Apotheosis (hi >>KwirkyJ)

Thoughts: Now that's an attention-getting opening paragraph. Hits one like a ton of bricks, and immediately establishes the stakes.

Or sort of does. I genuinely didn't expect this would end in Starlight's ascent to Alicornhood, so props for pulling off that kind of surprise! I guess if I'm going to complain, I'd say that this juggles a lot of characters for such a small word count, and the story gets crowded at times. I also think the final paragraph could give a stronger summation of what Starlight believes her new domain to be, and how exactly those powers would work.

However, with that said, this passes the likeability test for me. It maintains a strong emotional intensity and the prose is very clean, if dense at points. I really want to see the ending tweaked, but I think this gets the job done even as-is. What puts this over the top for me is that it manages to be gripping throughout.

Tier: Strong
#40 · 2
· on Grave Matters
Genre: Horrible Bosses: Extreme Edition

Thoughts: I truly hate to post "me too" so early in a reviews thread, but I find myself equally as full of questions as >>Baal Bunny seems to be. Before I get to that, though, I should say that I enjoyed the dark vibe that this presented, and I became more invested as the story started dropping thematic and textual hints that pointed in the direction of Keeper doing-in his assistant when all was said and done. So in that sense, I'd say there's some good material here, and even a fair bit of hook!

However, the revelation of the assistant being undead... just totally comes 100% out of nowhere. It also doesn't pay off the Edel Weiss stuff that was built up in the middle, nor the assistant's ostensible plans for later. I don't know how to square that at all with the rest of the story.

But, with that said, I think you're onto something here for much of this. It's moody and interesting. It could use some grammar/spelling cleanup, but the good stuff shines through.

Tier: Keep Developing
#41 · 2
· on Meat
Genre: <joke already scooped by >>Anon Y Mous>

Thoughts: As I read this, I had this very distinct feeling that this was building toward an ending line that would either make or break the story as a whole. That's because there isn't really room enough for much in the way of a plot to develop. And indeed, not much does; this is basically just a few scenes focusing on Twilight facing horrible news more-or-less alone, and it drills into her thoughts and feelings about them.

The ending line wasn't quite what I was expecting, but I think it sticks the landing pretty darn well. Congratulations on that front, Author.

I return to my thought above about there not being a lot of plot here. I feel like that could pull this downward somewhat in my rankings, because I want plot. (Har har, yes, inevitable joke is funny.) Especially when we have something like this that murders a character (by which I mean Pinkie, though I could also mean her victims), I want more scaffolding and structure and stuff around it to answer the same question Twilight wants answered: Why? This story in some ways does a thing that I've done myself in the past: it tosses an awful situation out in front of readers, does a pert little bow, and scampers off, leaving them alone with their revulsion.

And yet, for what this is, I think it does so pretty well. Twilight's aghast reactions are sparse but well-communicated. The detail of kicking everypony out of the train car is pitch-perfect. It never gets telly, not even when presenting the guards' feeling of horror, nor when picking through the structural weirdness of the flashback. I mean, it is weird, but I think it worked far better than I would expect.

This story takes some big risks. First, by invoking Cupcakes. Second, by being so dang sparse, as I've already noted. Third, by leaning on a flashback. And fourth, by leaving us as fundamentally unsatisfied with why as Twilight must be. And yet, I'm pretty sure that was exactly what the Author was going for, and I can in no way deny their success.

When one of our Authors rolls in with something this bigly risky and weird and pulls it off regardless, there's really only one thing I can do--

Tier: Top Contender
#42 · 3
· on Meat
Cupcakes was kind of a crap story, but important for the fandom because of the derivative works it produced. This story manages to tell a truly horrifying tale in a tiny number of words because it's building on something else.

All by itself, we would ask, why did Pinkie do this? Why Pinkie? Isn't this out of character? But because it's building on Cupcakes (which didn't answer those questions either), we can focus on Twilight's emotions, which are where the horror is. Not really with the excessively grimdark basement (where we aren't clearly shown anything anyway, so we can fill in the blanks with Cupcakes or any other horror gorefest), but the gut punch of my friend isn't who we thought she was.

When my son was around 10 I took him to see a highly recommended child psychiatrist who didn't take our insurance, so we had only one session. He gave us a lot of insight into my son's condition (severe ADD, inattentive type, also video game addiction) and helped us find ways to understand and help him. Six years later I found out this psychiatrist who I'd been remembering as a really helpful guy had been arrested for molesting little boys in his practice. I brought my son to that motherfucker. How much worse would it be to discover someone who was a friend, someone you cared about as a person, who you'd laughed with and confided in and had adventures with, was a serial killer?

The story does not imply the fate of Rainbow Dash, and I think this might be a problem. Going off Cupcakes we would expect Rainbow to be dead or mutilated, but Twilight doesn't act like someone whose best friend was murdered by her other best friend; the focus is all on the horror of learning what Pinkie is. Because the story leans heavily on Cupcakes I think Rainbow should be allowed to appear briefly, healthy albeit horrified, to let the readers know that the reason Twilight appears to be solely focused on the horror of what Pinkie is and has done, rather than grief for Rainbow, is that this diverges from "canonical" Cupcakes and Rainbow isn't dead.
#43 · 2
· on Unknown Recipient
This is plainly metafic about how MLP main characters suffer from failure to retain lessons learned in previous seasons, and continuity failures and characterization "rot". But I'm not sure whether it's metafic as in commentary, giving an in-universe look at a thing we've all seen and postulating an in-universe force behind it, or if this is total fourth wall breakage and Twilight is literally talking about Hasbro and the show's producers and writers.

I think it makes a difference. A story that provides an in universe explanation for Twilight and her friends backsliding would be cool; a story that only points out she's a fictional character in a poorly written show is just eh.
#44 · 1
· on Facts and Feelings · >>_Moonshot
I'm assuming Mudbriar was introduced in the later seasons, since people all seem to recognize him. I was weirded out because I didn't, so I thought he was an OC.

However, the story doesn't really jell any better now that I know who he is. Like, at first we have the argument about who would win, Twilight or five pony grls (that joke doesn't really work because there is no feminine equivalent of boi as far as I know), and Mudbriar is being pedantic and annoying. But then Pinkie is on fire and neither Rainbow nor Fluttershy are reacting in a way that makes sense, and in particular Fluttershy is... really really weird.

Then Mudbriar writes his own opinions as an apology, but we never get to find out what those are, except that Rainbow thinks they are the same as hers, and it turns out they were a lie anyway because he doesn't believe them, or something. Where were you going with this?

It starts as what looks like a fun slice-of-life about Fluttershy and Rainbow maybe putting a pedantic bore in his place, but quickly turns into... wtf?

I think you should probably throw out everything that happens after Pinkie turns the oven up and rework the opening scene into a different fic with a different point and a different ending, because unless this all turns out to be a dream I cannot see any way the later stuff is salvageable. The story doesn't seem to have a point.
#45 · 1
· on Murder Most Fowl · >>CoffeeMinion
The title tells you well enough what Princess Raven is going to do next.

Canterlot is going to feast for weeks. After they clean up, that is.
#46 · 1
· on Iron Hearted · >>Bachiavellian
>>Tempest picked up one of Zecora’s gardening tools in her teeth
>>jumping to her feet
Is it horse or man? Make up your mind.
#47 · 3
· on Grave Matters
See, this worked for me, because while I didn't suspect anything on a first read, after the reveal I went back and saw clues. The reason for the cologne -- not the assistant's plans (although that ties in with what the assistant said about Edel, which was really him talking about himself) but the fact that he's covering his smell of death. Keeper hates to do it -- why? Digging a grave isn't a horrible thing to do; it's just a job that needs doing. But driving the dead back into their graves, particularly if some of them were friends, qualifies. Edel's obviously a red herring (famous for keeping her virginity? Really?) and probably doesn't exist except as an excuse to get the assistant to dig a grave.

That being said, Baal Bunny makes a good point -- if the assistant has risen from the dead, why is he doing his job, which presumably he did for money, rather than returning to his loved ones? Some setup for that would be good. Doesn't really make sense that an undead who came back because he was going to get married is spending his undeath working.
#48 · 2
· on Iron Hearted · >>KwirkyJ
She blew up an airship with people aboard who couldn't fly. The fact that they'd all escaped was a thing she did not know at the time. If Tempest Shadow isn't a killer, it's because her would-be victims have always had absurd luck.
#49 · 2
· on Meat
I enjoyed this story. I thought it packed a whole bunch of detail into the short format. Nothing felt wasted or extraneous. It could make for an interesting longer piece in which Twilight has to really deal with the baggage that has been placed upon her which honestly is quite considerable. You could even keep the ending somewhat similar in that really there is no happy or pat answer or solution to what had happened and what she'd hoped to get as some final answer just isn't there.

Just a thought anyway.
#50 · 2
· on Iron Hearted · >>Bachiavellian
I don't really have much to say about this one. It fulfills the prompt, it's tight, and while it doesn't directly explain what Tempest is doing cutting rot off a dead tree, we can draw our own conclusions, particularly since Zecora is present.

I like the notion that Tempest is haunted by the thoughts of who she's killed. She was always the darkest of the reformable villains, I think. Nightmare Moon plainly had a plan for keeping the world alive after she drove off the sun, judging from the Starlight screws with time episode, Discord has had many opportunities to kill and always chooses to disable in a ridiculous (or psychologically damaging, pre-reform) way instead; Starlight meant well and Sunset just needed to be shown what she'd become. I mean, maybe the Pony of Shadows was as bad, but the truth is that was Stygian possessed by an outside force. Tempest did everything she did in her right mind.
#51 · 1
· on At the Funeral Pyre
An interesting and well written piece. It reads like something I'd imagine Fluttershy would write. It's factual but a gentle recertation of how animals and pegasi handle death differently. The most negative thing I might say about it is that there is an error or two in it that frankly even after you read it over could miss. Nothing that is truly criminal though.
#52 · 1
· on Unknown Recipient
A nice little letter that is big on mood but left me wanting to know more. What was it on this particular day that happened that prompted the letter? We don't really know and maybe it's not important but then again maybe it is.

In some ways the story feels meta but in others it also feels like something somebody who wakes up one day to find a whole lot of life has happened or passed them by while they worked and now it's like you're doing what you do because you have to pay bills, get the kids out the door, clean up a mess, do what your boss or some other boss that you never interact with says and so on.

It's interesting.
#53 · 3
· on Ferment · >>KwirkyJ >>Baal Bunny
The hook here is really excellent; it grabs my attention and segues very nicely towards the central conflict. Overall, I really like this one. Your voicing is strong, and the overall payoff (while small-scale) feels good for the amount of time that we spend with our characters.

I do have to note, though, that there's about a 200 word stretch in the first 1/3 where not much happens. Dash beats around the bush a little, and while that's totally in-line with her character, it does take away a little bit of the steam that you've built up with the opening hook. It'd be a very small change, but trimming a sentence or two away here and there might really help streamline this area of the reading experience.

Another thing I'll have to note is that while the show does practically canonize AppleDash, I was still caught a little off-guard by the romantic notes at the end. To me, things felt pretty platonic until that one moment, and it made the exchange feel a little less significant than it should have.

But don't get the wrong idea from my nitpicks. Overall, I think this is still one of my favorite entries this round. Thanks for submitting!

I have difficulty buying this as something Applejack would actually say:
But hey, I always knew she had the biggest freak flag of any of us, and it's great seeing it fly, y'know

I think this was supposed to be Dash talking. But yeah, I was also a bit confused by this line until I re-read the paragraph, since from the paragraph break and the fact that the first sentence starts with "AJ", I automatically assumed that this was Applejack talking.
#54 · 1
· on Peanut Butter Chocolate · >>KwirkyJ >>libertydude
I enjoyed the story. Nice pacing and an effective use of dialog that pushes the narrative along to its ultimate conclusion.

I don't agree with the previous opinion that it is a story that is particularly somber piece that focuses on a character knowing things are falling apart and doesn't quite muster the strength to do something about it.

As far as I can tell it's the story of a guy who has a relationship with a girl and it's going well because they're just having fun (whatever that may be). She expresses deeper feelings for him than he has for her. He then more or less decides to get whatever he can out of how she feels for him that night before he'll ultimately break it off albeit over a short period of time.

Whatever negative feelings he has ultimately spring from the fact that he doesn't want to hurt her but he's going to. She's ultimately just a sometimes thing whose company he enjoys as such but that's really it. In a longer piece one could get into some of his psychology a bit more because the character has a little of that Tom Frank from Nashville in him. Kind of full of himself but also kind of hates himself too. That's where the rot lies.
#55 ·
· on Iron Hearted
Hm. Okay, I went back and reviewed the movie. Never do this. Nothing in The Movie makes any sense. Things are actually left rather ambiguous – Tempest starts zapping things with her still on the deck, it cuts to her blowing up stuff attached to the ship (masts, cargo, &c), then cuts to the water where more parts fall amid the fireworks (notably the wheel), and then it's done with that scene; the crew later just shows up with no explanation how they got there, and they only state that their ship was "sunk" by "that crazy unicorn".

I can accept the interpretation that Tempest attempted to destroy the airship with all hands, but it's a stretch. I can accept that she took the crew prisoner instead, but then their undetected escape is a stretch.

"Wait – you said 'people'!"
"'People' is fine, it's 'human' we can't say."
"You just said 'human'!"
"Oh, no! Wait, so did you!"
"Oh, no!"
"Let's just back away and pretend this conversation never happened."
#56 · 2
· on The Cutie Mark Crusaders Create a Compost Pile
There is a disconcerting lack of Cheerilee fics in the world, so you've won brownie points from me for writing one. The voices here sound strong, and the prose does a great job of getting out of the way and letting the events unfold.

I have to admit, though, that this one didn't have an awful lot of payoff for me. It kind of structures itself as a comedy, but there are only two jokes here—the fact that compost smells, and casting Cheerilee as a daydrinking teacher. Both of these ideas have potential, but we only really get a very surface-level exploration of them.

In terms of conflict arc, I'm also having trouble feeling satisfied. There's a mini-arc about Scootaloo learning that compost does stink, and there's another about Cheerilee deciding to bring booze to class. But neither one feels very developed, because in the case of the first, the solution/answer is too obvious to the reader and in the case of the second, it feels a little like a repetition of the same joke that we ended the first scene on.

So in the end, I think this piece needs some refocusing for its payoff to work correctly. For example, I can see a ridiculous physical comedy involving the CMC gathering the compost, or a character-based comedy focusing on Cheerilee's growing "I-can't-deal-with-this-shit"-ness. Right now, you might be spreading yourself a little to thin for the scale of a minific, which makes the jokes feel sparse.I think if you laser-focus on the aspect of this situation that you find the most humorous, you'll be able to squeeze out a lot more laughs-per-word with the concept you have here.

Thanks for writing!
#57 ·
· on Ferment
I think this was supposed to be Dash talking. But yeah, I was also a bit confused by this line until I re-read the paragraph, since from the paragraph break and the fact that the first sentence starts with "AJ", I automatically assumed that this was Applejack talking.

Quite right you are. My mistake came from the paragraph splitting making Applejack the next logical speaker, and the "AJ" leading things off further lead me down that path. Upon review, it's more clear (especially from the speech patterns) that this is Dash speaking again. I'm still not fully sold on "freak flag", but I suppose that's within the bounds of artistic license.
#58 · 2
· on Final Glimmer · >>alarajrogers
Your opening here is amazing, in my opinion. You immediately raise the stakes with a situation that has a clear and concrete problem that begs the main character to come up with a solution. The thriller tone of the story is set right off the bat, and you've introduced the entire scenario and most major pieces within the first hundred words. This is a top-tier beginning, in my book.

However, I think it's kind of clear that you're running really hard into the constraints of the minific format. After Celestia and Luna literally pop into the scene, things start happening really rapid-fire, without a lot of exploration of the ideas the events represent. To illustrate my point, there are a mere sixty-seven words between Glim-glam's dustification and the reveal that she is now an alicorn. Having such a short period between a stinger like that and a reveal as big as a character's alicornification really makes both events feel less significant. In the end, we get a short paragraph of dialogue from Starlight that just tells us another set of big, high-concept ideas, and the story ends before we get a chance to actually explore any of them.

So personally for me, this story is not one I would have attempted to write within 750 words. There's a whole boatload of game-changing ideas that need a lot of space to develop without making them feel like afterthoughts or fake-outs. I'm just not sure that there's a way to fit all of that into a minific properly, as much as I did enjoy the set-up here and the conceptual idea of these revelations.

Thank you for entering!
#59 · 1
· on Peanut Butter Chocolate
I'm not seeing this interpretation supported very well by the text...

Not that she’s planning [being gone from my life] now. [...S]he means what she says.

A code uttered by Ponyville mares, a subtle escape clause for when the nagging doubts take control.

The conversations growing stilted [over the following weeks], eyes glancing toward the clocks ever more often, the conveniently increased workload to justify canceled dates.

These passages strongly imply that the narrator views the fault and decision being with his partner. There may be more going on psychologically, e.g., projection or unintentional self-sabotage, but neither seems set up or explored, as it stands.

That is not to say that this well is dry. An expansion could pry into why he holds this conviction (a pattern of previous relationships? a story he keeps telling himself?), or plumb the actual – versus predicted – progress of the relationship and whether/how it degrades, or, as you propose, fully turn it on its head and make him the one actively pulling away.
#60 · 1
· on At the Funeral Pyre
More of a monologue than a story, but that is a hazard of minifics. For what it is, it's very nice. Fluttershy having this attitude towards death is very believable.
#61 · 2
· on Final Glimmer
Strong opening, but it kind of falls apart as it goes on. The sudden appearance of many characters who aren't already established to be there, like suddenly Discord or suddenly Sunburst, makes me think of that episode of Rick and Morty where there are alien parasites who keep inserting false memories to make everyone think they have always been there. I mean, it's not like it's illogical for them to be there, but with no description of their presence other than them suddenly saying something, it feels like they're pasted in. The whole thing seems like you either mentally or actually physically cut out half the text you intended to be there to make it fit the size, and then the business with Starlight's apotheosis is... an intriguing idea, but badly handled. Reads like an amazingly detailed outline for a story rather than an actual story. I recommend expansion; this might actually work at 2,000 words.
#62 · 1
· on Ferment · >>Baal Bunny
The fact that everything Applejack brings up is not part of what Dash thinks is within the "everything" that is "wrong" is a problem. I mean, yes, drunk people act like this sometimes, but in a minific where you don't have the advantage of earlier or later story to show us what she's reacting to, it feels like there's no there there. I find it hard to believe Dash would consider "everything" to be wrong when in fact most things are quite cool.

On the other hand, Applejack's reactions were just about perfect. So I think maybe this story would work better if we got some hint as to exactly what Dash is afraid of or what she thinks is going wrong.
#63 · 3
· on Medicine
I am always predisposed to like a Discord story, especially fluff with Fluttershy, but I think this needs work.

Fluttershy making herself sick helping a bear learn to forage for himself for three years because he prefers the taste of honey in a place that makes her sick is Season 2 Fluttershy, not post-reforming-Discord Fluttershy. There needs to be a much better reason why she keeps going somewhere that makes her sick. Take advantage of Discord's callous disregard for everything that isn't his friend, and give Fluttershy a compelling reason why she has to go and stupid reasons from Discord why she shouldn't that boil down to "I like you better than I like your bear friend so I care about you, not him." As it goes, I think you have them reversed, with Fluttershy spouting nonsense based on her emotional need to protect everyone at her own expense and Discord being the voice of reason. If Discord is ever the voice of reason you need an excellent reason for it.

I don't have so many issues with his voice per se -- he doesn't seem wholly out of character, aside from the fact that he is being the perfectly reasonable one and Fluttershy is being extreme and ridiculous. I feel like you could solve a lot of the problems just by giving Fluttershy a much better reason for having gotten sick and Discord's objections being basically "But I don't want you to" rather than absolutely reasonable and logical objections given that her behavior is silly.
#64 ·
· on Ferment · >>Baal Bunny
Rainbow Dash dealing with negative thoughts and feelings and lesbians, all in one story? Author, it's like you made this story just for me! I'm definitely biased because this story checks two of my boxes, but I really really like this story. I think the characterizations are great, I love the interactions between Rainbow and Applejack, and that ending really set off those butterflies in my stomach.

This story isn't perfect, but I still love it. Definitely my number one.
#65 · 1
· on Peanut Butter Chocolate · >>libertydude
I actually do feel it's self-sabotage.

"I think I love you" being code for "I'm going to break up with you" is on the face of it ridiculous. What would ponies say when they genuinely feel love, then? I think the narrator has had multiple break-ups, which may be his fault and may be because he has abandonment issues that lead him to unintentionally push ponies away, but he doesn't see his own role in them so he thinks they're pretty much entirely initiated by his partners and wholly impossible to prevent.

The tragedy is that that makes this a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because he thinks it's about to be over, he's preparing to pull away emotionally. This will, of course, end the relationship, but he'll feel like it came from her so he doesn't recognize the power he has to cause it, or stop it. And all of his relationships will end up this way unless he gets therapy or ends up with a really determined or clingy pony, because he doesn't recognize his own role in it, and every time they say they love him, he'll see it as the beginning of the end.
#66 · 1
· on The Cutie Mark Crusaders Create a Compost Pile
Yeah, this is a little aimless.

A compost pile, by itself, isn't that funny. It has humor potential, but just saying "they're making a compost pile" doesn't really bring it out. And Cheerilee perceiving this as a reason to drink when the CMC have, frankly, done so much worse... I dunno. This needs to be more absurd, I think. You don't have a lot of space and you waste a lot of it on things that are very normal rather than funny and then there isn't really a climax of any kind, or even much of a punchline.
#67 · 2
· on Murder Most Fowl · >>CoffeeMinion
This one was genuinely funny, and also met a true story structure, something not every minific does.

Problem: Guard-geese implemented by Shining Armor, who doesn't live there, are leaving filth everywhere.
Conflict: Princess Celestia is a pacifist and does not want to dispose of the geese.
Resolution: Raven recognizes that Celestia's pacifism means she will not stand in the way if Raven stages a "coup" and takes over.
Climax: Raven implements her plan and takes over Equestria.
Implied ending, not shown: Raven serves lots and lots of roast goose.

It's obviously Celestia allowing this as a workaround for her own pacifism, letting someone else take the burden of decisions that will result in the death of waterfowl; this isn't really a coup, it's Celestia going "oh no. oh dear. whatever will I do." (in a deadpan voice)

I liked it.
#68 · 2
· on Iron Hearted · >>Bachiavellian
Genre: Iron Maiden

Thoughts: So, this was pretty great.

From time to time I bump into the cottage industry of Badass Tempest works that have carved out a niche in ponyfic. It seems like she’s easy to portray in a similar hard-edged way as Limestone, except that Tempest and Limestone are almost opposites. Tempest is sometimes more like a weapon than a pony, and perhaps shows her character best through the way she tries to hold herself apart from her surroundings. Conversely, I tend to see Limestone as being more vulnerable than her stony exterior would suggest, and I feel like she comes across best when showing how she tries—and fails—to fit with her surroundings.

I take you through that seemingly random digression into headcanon because I enjoy how this flips the usual script that I’ve seen with Tempest. Here she’s not strictly trying to “fit in,” except inasmuch as she seems to want to be a good-faith participant in whatever rehabilitation program Zecora has offered her. It’s a great and logical pairing that I wish we could’ve seen in the show. And here, both characters present themselves, their viewpoints, and their motivations, very clearly. It adds up to a story that completely works on a character level. The quality of descriptions is excellent, too; it’s vividly stanky, which seems rather the point.

I feel like I could keep going, but I might as well cut to the chase and save both of us some time. :-p

Tier: Top Contender
#69 · 1
· on The Cutie Mark Crusaders Create a Compost Pile
Genre: S1-S2-ish

Thoughts: I enjoyed the first half or three-quarters of this greatly. The prose is cracking, and the shenanigans are promising. Cheerilee considering bringing alcohol to school to handle dealing with the CMCs is a good joke and I don’t care what anyone else says. The self-awareness of the whole thing was a delightful cherry on top.

Let me be blunt with my “but” here, though: right now it kind of just ends, as opposed to ending somewhere. But Author, I have significant faith in your ability to stick that landing a little better when this jumps to FimFiction. It’s otherwise A-class, top-tier writing and light comedy. Thank you sir, I’d like another!

Tier: Almost There
#70 · 3
· on Murder Most Fowl · >>CoffeeMinion

The only thing I could suggest would be that this not be the first time Raven has staged a bloodless coup and taken over Equestria in order to solve some problem that Celestia doesn't want to deal with. But don't let us readers know that till the very end after Raven has taken care of the geese and abdicated the throne the way she always does. :)

#71 · 1
· on Peanut Butter Chocolate · >>libertydude
I'm going with:

Self-sabotage, too. Our Narrator makes a "cosi fan tutte" argument right at the beginning when he says that every mare in Ponyville behaves in this same way, and that's the sort of thing that signals an unreliable narrator to me. When a character says, "Everyone's wrong but me," that makes me think that it's actually the character who's wrong and refuses to recognize it.

If that's indeed what you're doing here, author, I'd recommend strengthening it a bit. Maybe have Our Narrator go through a quick list of other mares who've broken up with him and let us see by the circumstances that he actually maneuvered them into it like Big Mac breaking up with Sugar Belle because he thinks she's about to break up with him.

#72 · 1
· on Peace Was Never an Option
This piece gives me a 1930's cartoon feel, with the round head and the loose noodly arms of the protagonist. The sinister goose blob utters feathers as it prepares for the attack. This is definitely going places on my slate. Ayep.
#73 · 1
· on Back Where I Belong
Dark, detailed, and dramatic. I see what you did with the alt tag. This is definitely going places on my slate. Ayep.
#74 · 1
· on Unknown Recipient
The text of this one definitely does feel like Twilight, which is something that a piece like this absolutely needs. And the general pacing of this from one idea to the next is solid, IMO.

I'm a little less satisfied with the whole text strike-through gimmick. This sort of thing has always been a little immersion-breaking for me in epistolary fics, because I can't help but think that any letter-sender would surely not send out a copy full of errors they clearly didn't intend the recipient to read. I personally don't think that the written letter format is one well-suited to expressing these fleeting, moment-to-moment kinds of thoughts.

As for the subject matter itself, my interpretation is that it kind of straddles that line between meta and not-quite-fourth-wall-breaking. It's clearly a commentary about the nature of the world of Equestria. This kind of thing is not personally my cup of tea, since I often don't like being reminded that I'm reading a story,

I have to admit that in the end, the overall effect felt a little telly to me. Part of this might be that I'm predisposed against commentary/meta type entries, but I think some of it also comes from how simply Twilight lays out her psychological problems and insecurities. You do have another 150 or so words to spare, so I kind of want to see a little more space used to flesh out some of the ideas that we have here.

Thank you for entering!
#75 · 2
· on Facts and Feelings · >>_Moonshot
The dialogue here flows really nicely, and the character voicing feels very good. Overall, it's really easy to follow along with the conversation, despite it's density and complexity, so really well done with that!

To be honest, I'm having a bit of a tonal issue with this one, though. The whole bit with Pinkie catching fire came really out of left field to me. Up until that point, I thought I was reading a low-key SOL, but then I had to rapidly change gears and read the story as an absurdist comedy. Then, about a hundred words later, I'm shifting gears again because the last line struck me as kind of somber and dark.

So overall, the payoff came across really murkily to me. I wish I had a clearer idea from the start what this fic is going to be about, especially considering the constraints of the minific format. Itr's hard to suddenly shift gears when you only have 750 words to play with, so correlating your reader's expectations with the end result can be really important.

Thank you for writing!
#76 · 2
· on Peace Was Never an Option
This is pretty dang hilarious. I might wish that a bit of the roughness around where white meets color was a bit smoother, but I also think it’s neat that there’s color at all! I’m guessing this was done with a mix of tools, and from my own limited experience, I know it’s not easy to get edge lines to play nice with coloration.

Overall very fun.
#77 · 2
· on Back Where I Belong
Very cool. Very creepy! Perfectly captures the essence of the story, IMO. Love the details such as the name on the gravestone and the perimeter of bugs. My only real complaint is that the central figure’s collar looks more like he’s into disco or vampirism than digging graves, but that’s probably as much my brain making weird leaps as anything. ^^
#78 · 1
· on Medicine
I really like the message of this one and overall payoff of this one. It's rather small-scale, but it says surprisingly a lot about our characters in a space that fits into the minific word count cozily.

... Honestly, maybe a bit too cozily.

The problem that most poorly-paced minifics face is that the payoff and ending gets squished down for the sake of fitting it into the word limit. This is one of the first minifics I've read that has somewhat of the opposite problem. There's a lot of superfluous actions and dialogue that kind of distract from the simple and sweet point. For example, almost everything past Fluttershy's "I would rather be sick..." line doesn't end up adding all that much to the main point of the story. It's fun dialogue, but the wind-down is so long that on my first read-though, I honestly thought that I had missed the point of the entire story. It threw my internal sense of the pacing on a loop, and it wasn't until my second or third reading that I think I understood the story the way you meant.

That doesn't necessarily mean you should just snip it off, but I do think that maybe you should consider altering it in a way that keepds the message of Fluttershy's self-sacrificial kindness in the spotlight. Otherwise, I think you risk your reader getting confused at all the extra fluff and starting to grab at straws that aren't there.

Thanks for submitting!
#79 · 4
Okay folks, just when you thought you were safe to go back to the Writeoff, it’s MINIFIC MASHUPS!!

At The Meat Pyre: If you and your fellow Writeoff participants can all make it through 750 words of Pinkie waxing creepy about her pitch-black and murdery headspace, you’re in for a treat: a free catered lunch of locally-sourced barbecue, served with a nice Chianti and a side of fava beans! thp-thp-thp-thp...

The Cutie Mark Crusaders Murder Most Fowl: Raven Inkwell’s masterstoke of pest removal comes when she cruelly misleads the CMCs into trying to surgically extract goose wings for transplant onto Scootaloo. The kids end up scarred for life as they try over and over to no avail, but boy do they work cheap!

Facts and Grave Matters and Feelings: Rainbow Dash and Mudbriar get into an altercation that ends when she frustratedly smashes him over the head with a rock. The next day, Maud makes her dig him back up and administers some magical cologne that resurrects him. But for her crimes, Dash is cursed for the rest of her days to wander the land and make unwanted remarks about who she thinks is and isn’t a virgin.

Fermented Glimmer: In which Starlight drunkenly crashes a party and laments to her friends why she’s never made a move to win her would-be special somepony, only to discover that she’s actually crashed a family gathering at the Apple farm, and possibly atomized the entertainment they’d hired. Embarrassed as all get out, but still quite thoroughly drunk, she attempts to cast a spell that would make her the new Princess of Love—if that domain wasn’t already taken. One awkward trip to the void later, she ends up married to Shining Armor, who only seems able to mumble a single phrase, over and over again:

#80 · 1
· on Grave Matters
So this one really has a nice, distinctive flavor of mood. You do a lot of things that build on that mood, like giving Keeper such a spartan name and not even giving the assistant one at all. It alienates the reader, but in a way that's conducive to the overall tone.

Still, I might be having trouble with overall payoff with this one. For one thing, this doesn't feel particularly pony-ish to me. Swap out a couple of identifying nouns, and I think this story fits a gothic dark fantasy universe better than it fits the MLP one. This is a YMMV sort of thing, but I personally place quite a bit of my enjoyment of a fic on how well it utilizes the characters and setting of MLP, so for me, the general detachment from the canon universe is a damper on my experience.

Another issue that I had is that the twist, while certainly unexpected, doesn't really give any new insight to the events and themes here. As a result, it feels kind of empty, since it's not playing into the main structure of the narrative that I'd hope a twist would.

So overall, I'm not entirely satisfied with the way it hangs together in the end, despite how much I enjoyed the mood and atmosphere.

Thank you for submitting!
#81 · 3
· on At the Funeral Pyre
This story hit close to home for me personally, given I was just told about my grandfather's death. Can't say it makes me feel better, but it does at least make me understand some things about death a little bit more.

A strong story.
#82 · 1
· on Ferment

Thanks for the comments, folks:

And congrats to our medalists!

As for this one, as soon as I saw the prompt, I knew I'd hafta do a story about the controlled rot of fermentation. Which meant cider, AJ, and Dash. And considering how we see them in the series finale, I figured I'd do a little dialogue scene covering the moment when they first get together. I'll hafta make it longer for posting on FimFiction, but that'll give me a chance to make Dash's inner turmoil more explicit and to set up the romance angle more strongly.

Thanks again!
#83 ·
FF group folder is up
#84 · 2
· on Peace Was Never an Option
This reminds me of Cuphead and all other retro-ish cartoony things.I love the little motion lines around Raven's hoof, and I love the Paper Mario feel of how the colors come out of the outline. And of course, Celestia all the way in the background is great.

10/10, would honk again.
#85 · 1
· on Back Where I Belong
I've always been a fan of the whole drawing-on-a-black-background thing ever since I found out that it's what they did for Batman TAS. I love the moon here, and the grimy feel that the gras and the worms give to the piece in general. Our main character here looks a little more horsey than most depictions on MLP, but it does add to the whole disconcertingness of the mood, here.

10/10, would be re-killed by this fellow again.
#86 · 2
· on Back Where I Belong
Love the hoof marks. It does look like he’s holding his Bob Ross Afro, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing 🤔 10/10 I’d let him kill me.
#87 · 2
· on Peace Was Never an Option
#88 · 1
· on Peace Was Never an Option
Thanks for making this! I totally stole it for the cover art on my revised version. ^^
#89 · 2
· on Final Glimmer

Yes, you're all absolutely right that this thing hit the limit hard... my first draft, which was already spare and rushed and almost more of an outline than a story, was 1100 words and I had to cut 350 of them. I'm probably going to treat this as more of an outline for a future story than an actual story; it needs a lot more expansion to make sense.
#90 · 2
· on Peanut Butter Chocolate
Yes! After four long years, I finally manage to get a medal in the FiM round!

In more composed words, thanks to >>KwirkyJ, >>Misternick, >>alarajrogers, and >>Baal Bunny for your comments. This was a very difficult story to write, both emotionally and artistically, and I'm happy many of you enjoyed it. I'd originally wrote it with Robin and Pinkie Pie, and seeing how their relationship deteriorated to the point Pinkie goes to her canon husband Cheese. I didn't think I could explain that adequately within 750 words, so I focused on another OC instead to give me a little more creative freedom.

To answer some questions, yes, I was going for a character who was self-sabotaging his own romantic relationships. Not because he's a womanizing jerk, but because he lacks so much self-confidence and self-respect that he can't understand the idea he can be in a stable relationship. His claims there are codes for mares to dump their paramours was meant more as a self-justification for the deteriorating relationship that would follow, mostly because he would be doing many of the things that will alienate Greenie from him in the future. A sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

I also thought of Robin as someone who would still continue the relationship for some time, just so he can give Greenie a longer period of happiness. In his mind, breaking it off right there and then would simply be cruel, while slowly drifting apart would provide a little cushioning for Greenie to realize things aren't working out and break it off on her own terms. Because deep down, he does want it to work, but his lacking self-respect makes it hard for him to see there may be somebody interested in him just because they like him. For him, their tryst on the couch will be the final romantic gesture done purely out of affection before everything else goes downhill.

Above all else, Robin was a difficult character to write consistently, and many of you pointed out the vagueness/inconsistencies to his character. I think revision will mostly focus on this aspect and expanding how Robin got this worldview (perhaps brief flashes of other relationships?). There's a lot of potential in an expansion, and I'm definitely interested in seeing where it could go.

Thanks again for your input, and I hope you all can see an improved version of this up on FimFic soon!
#91 · 2
· on Iron Hearted
Another really late retro. Don't turn out the lights yet, I'm still here!

Retro: Iron Hearted

So after seeing Tempest and Zecora standing next to each other in the finale, I just absolutely had to write about the two of them together. Seriously, they fit together so well I'm almost kicking myself for not coming up with it sooner.

I ended up focusing the story mostly on Tempest, because I have an awful track record with trying to write Zecora's dialogue, and coming straight off the heels of the poetry round, I absolutely did not have it in me to write a bunch of couplets. But, hey, nobody complained about her dialogue this time around, so I guess it was passable!

And yeah, this story continues my trend of transplanting S1 Luna tropes onto Tempest. Because it's perfect, and Tempest is perfect, and I have a clinical need to write about sad angsty horses.


Can you believe that I actually do still try to edit my minifics? I don't blame you; I wouldn't believe it either, considering how absolutely fucking riddled with errors these things still turn out to be even after I read them aloud to myself before submitting. Blugh! :P

<<< I would name the instrument.

I would too, if I wasn't just completely pulling a wood-scraping tool out of my ass. I'm sure a word for this kind of tool exists, but damn if I know what it is.

Happy you liked the imagery! As someone who's probably touched a log about five times in my life, I'm glad that I could come up with something that wasn't completely ridiculous.

Thanks for your comment!

I just keep using human words with ponies. It's a bad habit of mine. I recall catching some flak for using "girl" to describe a filly once, even though that's been done on the show. It might just be that I have a high tolerance for this sort of thing. :P Thanks for leaving your thoughts!

I'm glad you liked the concept! Yeah, I'm just kind of in love with the idea of Tempest right now, enough to make me almost forgive the movie for how aggressively sub-par it was. She's just super interesting to me.

Thank you for your comment!

I'm glad you liked it! I really had a brain-click moment when I saw Tempest and Zecora together in the finale, and I realized that their characters really both complement each other super well, since they're both outsiders with a very unique approach to viewing their surroundings. I had a lot of fun playing around with those ideas here, and I won't be surprised if I end up writing about this pair again. :P

Thank you for your review!
#92 · 3
· on Murder Most Fowl
A Retrospective Was Never an Option

I think this is the first time I've ever written a retro after transferring a fic to FimFiction. As such, I'm not looking at this from the perspective of: "Oh, these comments give me ideas about how to improve this!" Instead, I'm more focused on how the feedback helped influence my thought process as I picked it up and chucked it over the wall.

And yes, I did a speedy transfer of this because I wanted to slip it in under the wire for FoME's "Imposing Sovereigns 2" contest. I teased a couple people on the Discord chat with some hints about the story I wanted to write for that contest, but for various reasons I failed to get it off the ground during the contest period.

I didn't go into writing Murder Most Fowl with any intention of using it for Imposing Sovereigns 2, and it was only after the fact that I realized this checked enough of the requisite boxes to work for that. TBH this was just a by-product of wanting to write a similar "Princesses Behaving Badly" fic as It's Not Good from a few Writeoffs ago, and it ended up being filtered through a few late-night sessions playing Untitled Goose Game. Nothing more, nothing less.

Gotta say, this was a bit of a rough first review; it certainly pulls no punches. And yet, it proved very helpful as I went to revise the story. It provided a good list of things to make sure to address.

...Raven's not an OC, though, so I at least have you there. :-p

>>Anon Y Mous

Hey, so before I say anything else, thank you so much for the art! It was a great expressive piece, and I hope I didn't offend you by marring it with a censored bar on FimFiction. I originally thought this would come in as E-rated, and I only bumped it to T-rated in the end as a hedge against complaints about the pony-on-goose violence.

That said: adding the description of Raven was the sort of damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't thing that pops up in Writeoff stories from time to time. The issue here is that you don't have any kind of long or short description, or even cover art, to help establish the story's parameters. I ran into something similar in Bra Quest!, where I needed to establish Limestone's age, because it mattered for the rest of the story. Here I didn't know if everyone would know who Raven is, so I decided to establish it, even though it made things clunky.

I was super glad to be able to cut that in the FimFiction version!

Exactly! :D This was a very encouraging comment, so thank you. I was trying with this to tell just enough of the story to get the rest across, and this confirmed that had worked, at least somewhat.

This was probably the most encouraging comment, though! This, more than anything else, helped confirm that I'd not totally struck out. Writing comedy is hard enough as it is, and the minific format only amps-up the difficulty. This also helped plant some seeds about how I wanted to refine Celestia's character in the revised version. I ultimately chose to play her more "straight" and less deadpan, and to make Raven slightly more absurd to help balance things out. But this was helpful!

>>Baal Bunny
I spent a long time thinking very, very seriously about the idea you gave me here. The ending you propose would be very much in keeping with Untitled Goose Game itself. It's a good idea, and it could've worked.

I ultimately chose not to go in that direction. It wasn't a question of not wanting to do it. It wasn't even a question of having it in mind as I started revising the ending. Instead, it was just a matter of how the ending ended up playing out as I revised it. I found what I feel is a funny little moment where Raven's newfound sense of power starts going to her head, and Celestia is left playing the straight-mare to the hilt. Showing more of Raven's reconquest of the castle would've been great too, but I didn't think it needed it after I amped-up that moment.

So thank you, because I very well might not have done as well by the ending as I did without this thought!

ℍ̮̀ ̵̹̒𝕆̠ͤ͜͠ ̪̾̿̊ℕ̱ͮ͌ ͬ̀𝕂̌
#93 · 2
· on Facts and Feelings

Thanks >>CoffeeMinion, >>KwirkyJ, >>alarajrogers, and >>Bachiavellian for comments.

A couple people mentioned that this round brought a lot of experimental entries and this certainly was one for me. Completely switched up my usual prose and writing area to... mixed results. The prose by itself turned out alright, I guess. Except everyone completely missed the story message. So oops. I guess I'll be trying to find where I made my big mistakes in the retro, then.

I think I really messed up when dealing with an unlikable character. The story wasn't meant to be about making Mudbriar look silly or putting him in his place. There are a total of 14 Mudbriar stories on Fimfic so I guess my goal was to try and do him justice, not necessarily by making him less unlikable, but by making him understandable. So my explanation for why he always acts like a know-it-all is because he's insecure, and doesn't ever feel confident enough to voice his own opinions or choose a side. The last line was meant to convey that the only "real" part of his personality was ironically to pretend to hold the opinions of another in order to hide the rest of his personality. And then naturally the rest of the story was Mudbriar being too in-character and not winning sympathy points from anyone.

Obviously, I got super sidetracked trying to get to that point as the comments suggested, which hit me hard with the word limit. Way too much focus on the black humor, which given humor is my weak suit, really didn't pay off. Way too much focus on the other characters shooting the shit instead of focusing on Mudbriar himself. And so on.

Hopefully I'll do much better with any future entries. And maybe some day this will somehow become worth publishing, and then we'll have 15 Mudbriar stories on Fimfiction!