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Wind and Rain · Original Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
#1 · 5
Oh, hey. A Pic2Fic event.
It's been a while since one of those, or at least since I participated.
Here's hoping I can set aside the time!
#2 · 1
I wonder who will take part in the event. As time goes on, the number of entrants seems to taper off gently… :(
#3 · 1
We seem to be getting spread out with all the multiple events.
#4 · 1
Yeah, given what is left of us, I wonder if that politics does really pay off.
#5 · 2
You guys:

Picked my prompt again! Now I'm gonna hafta enter and come in last! It's already a tradition at this point...

#6 ·
· on Skywater · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
Not to be confused with Skywriter.
#7 · 4
· on Bonk
For those of us on mobile, here's the link referenced by the caption:

#8 · 1
· on Bonk (Big Oof)
This gets better the more that I look at it.
#9 · 1
· on Chosen
Mazahs! Our demon fellow seems to be fine with grabbing strong electric charges by their sensitive areas.
This is bold and striking (yeah), despite the zipatone background. Simple and powerful, I will count it as an upper tier effort.
#10 ·
· · >>Baal Bunny
Friends, can someone link me to the writeoff discord please?
#11 ·
· on Skywater
Or Skywalker
#12 · 1

Click on:

Where it says "Chat" up at the very top of the Writeoff main page.

#13 · 1
· on Spring Showers · >>Bachiavellian >>PinoyPony >>Bachiavellian
Careful with that umbrella, lest you short out!
This is okay on details and weird on proportions, due mostly to her torso being waaaay too long. (Perhaps extra room was needed for the internal fusion pack.)
The details of the drawing help, such as the well executed hand on her umbrella, the flower growing from the base of the signpost and her partial reflection in the rainy sidewalk. Artist, I think the largest thing holding you back is taking more care in planning your drawings; use the rule of eight (or 7.5) and actually place a ruler over your drawing and mark it out. Your details will be much more impressive when placed on a solid foundation.
I'm placing this piece in the middle tier.
#14 ·
· on Wind and Rain · >>PinoyPony
A simple juxtaposition of two album covers. It meets the standards of connecting to the prompt, but doesn't form anything more resonant, though it may inspire someone to write a fic based on 60's-70's music.
This will go in my lower tier.
#15 · 3
· on Bonk
I've uploaded the picture for the artist.

Their issue was trying to upload an image with dimensions 6912x5184. To get an idea of how big this is, you'd need 20 1080p monitors in a 5x4 grid to display every pixel in it.

This is too big for the server's memory limit to hold in memory when trying to process it, and unnecessary since it'll be resized down to a maximum of 1800x1800 anyway. The fix is simple: resize before uploading.

But yeah, the error message when running into this is rather cryptic. This artist isn't the first person to be confused by it.
#16 ·
· on Cast Me Down, Lift Me Up
Windblown tree meets buoyant river. Simple and natural, but something about it doesn’t pop, for me. I’ll call this a mid tier piece.
#17 ·
· on Bonk (Big Oof)
Pony in an OF round?
Bonk, indeed.
#18 ·
· on Bonk · >>Bachiavellian
Moody and ethereal, almost separate from the gross materials of the earth. If you took this pic yourself, artist, extra credit.
#19 · 1
· on Child of Sandstorm and River · >>PinoyPony
Evocative of the forms of Monument Valley, and exquisitely detailed. I am tempted to ask if she lives in Candyland. The artist either used dark paper or the gamma on the scan was off; adjusting this could have helped this piece to ‘pop’ more. Still, a very thorough effort, and an upper tier piece.
#20 ·
· on Skywater
A sky-in-puddle pic. This one gains a dynamic feel from the two dark tree trunks in the center that show the bottom of the puddle just as the rest of the surface shows the clouds in the sky. Good job on composition; I will rank this as upper tier.
#21 · 1
· on wend and reign · >>PinoyPony
A word jumble and semantic salad. A creative approach, but you might have done better to include other homonyms and definitions. This piece will wind up in my lower tier.
#22 ·
· on Crashing
The dark background hides much at first glance. Not quite as compelling as the other piece the artist did for this round, but still a dynamic take on the idea. I will rank this as mid tier.
#23 ·
· on La Trahison des petits chevaux
I Magritte this differently than the other horse-drop-ins in this round. It is rather derpy to submit poni to an OF round, but... here you are, saying it's not. The mind reels from such contradictions and meta-cross refs.
Kudos for crediting your source!
#24 ·
· on Chosen
I really like the borderless stylistic choice here.You did a really good job with the binary shading here, which really makes the whole thing instantly recognizable despite the shapes themselves being simple and few. One of my favorites from this round; thanks for submitting!
#25 ·
· on Spring Showers
Like >>GroaningGreyAgony says, this one's got a bit of a wonky grasp on perspective and porportions. The shading also feels a bit funny to me, although I'm not well versed enough in drawing to say why. I do like the little touches though, like the reflection and the barcode. Thanks for entering!
#26 ·
· on Wind and Rain
I have to admit that I didn't get the joke until GGA pointed it out. The pun is eye rolling, and photoshop job looks clean, but I'm not sure what else I can comment on outside of that. Thanks for entering!
#27 · 1
· on Cast Me Down, Lift Me Up · >>GroaningGreyAgony
A simple, understated photo that's open to a lot of interpretation. I don't know enough about photography to really comment on the framing or composition, so all I can really say is that it conveys itself quickly and comes across cleanly. Thanks for entering!
#28 · 1
· on Bonk (Big Oof) · >>PinoyPony
I'll be honest, the messy photoshop job on the left side kind of turned me off at first, but for some reason the Applejack image did make me smile. I'm just going to go ahead and assume that the submitter didn't realize that this was an OF round. Also, it's odd that another entry (I'm assuming the same submitter) does the exact same joke. Thanks for meme'ing!
#29 · 1
· on Bonk · >>GroaningGreyAgony >>PinoyPony >>CoffeeMinion
I think you may have missed something. Look closely at the top blade. :P

Unfortunately, I really can't vote up a pony picture in an OF round. The photoshop job on this one is cleaner than the other one, and I like how it undersells its joke by contrasting it to the largeness of the windmill. So I'll put it above the other entry that does the same joke, I guess. :P

Thanks for submitting!
#30 ·
· on Bonk
Argh, thanks for catching that!
#31 · 1
· on Child of Sandstorm and River · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I actually didn't see the woman at first. I think it has to do with the fact that her outlines are less thick/defined than the ones of the rock formation.

I'm always impressed by really cleanly done physical coloring, and this certainly takes the ticket. Between the rock striations and the sky, it's just technically impressive that you made everything feel so clean.

I do have to mention that the tones of brown throughout along with the fact that your black isn't quite true black, kind of does mute your colors a bit. The whole thing has a pastel-y feel which made it harder to pick up all the visual information on first glance.

Overall though, I still like this one quite a bit. Thanks for arting!
#32 ·
· on Skywater · >>GroaningGreyAgony
This is a cool shot, and I did end up personally liking it more than our other photographic entry. The shape of the puddle feels good at this angle, and it was a good choice to ensure that the reflection rather than the foreground was in focus. Very evocative; thanks for entering!
#33 · 1
· on wend and reign · >>PinoyPony
I mean, it's a pun? Well, two puns technically.

I'm not sure what value this gets out of repeatedly copy and pasting its joke, and I'm also not quite sure if this piece really takes advantage of the fact that it's visual art. It's there just to deliver a pun already in the title, which makes it kind of feel redundant.

Thanks for entering!
#34 ·
· on Crashing
I ended up liking this one a lot (and not just because I did a similar thing some rounds ago :P). I didn't see the sihouette in the gallery thumbnail, which I assume was by design. It's a nice surprise, and it feels moody to me despite its simplicity. Thanks for submitting!
#35 ·
· on La Trahison des petits chevaux
This is the closest one out of our three pony entries to making me feel like it belonged in this round, just because the caption has a meta-ish interpretation. But I have to admit that I'm still not all the way sold.

As for the piece itself, the beige background was a nice choice that complements the vector's color scheme very well. But since the art itself is borrowed, that's really the only thing I feel like I can comment on. :B

Thanks for submitting!
#36 ·
· on Chosen
At first the background seemed just a detail to fill in the background (thus making this piece easier to look at), however, by scrolling down or up slowly, it creates the illusion that it is raining. Idk... maybe just me. To me, it creates the illusion that it is raining.

Thanks for arting!
#37 · 1
· on Spring Showers · >>Bachiavellian
Also a piggyback of >>GroaningGreyAgony Proportions are a tad-bit off. It's not enough to distract from the image and feeling that you are trying to convey, but is noticeable enough that it may need some fine tuning.

To gain another perspective, I'd like to draw attention to the umbrella- it looks a little funny to me. The spindles are at weird enough angles that it would have trouble delivering tension on the yellow canvas above correctly. Or... It may just be me. Perspective is a weird thing to toy with, and it's often a hard thing to capture.

All in all, Thanks for arting!
#38 · 1
· on Cast Me Down, Lift Me Up · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I'm a sucker for photography. To me, I can appreciate this one a little more. I don't know a whole lot about taking a camera and playing with it's settings, but I can tell that some care went into this one. Just look at the water. capturing something, mid-frame and in motion is a hard task, especially when something (such as wind) is always driving it. To me, that part is very detailed. Also, its grey-ish blue contrasts greatly against the dead brown and gray. Kinda brings attention to itself.

Thank you for arting!
#39 ·
· on Bonk (Big Oof)
I get that most of it is supposed to be a meme (reading the other reviews from above) so it fits because of its genre. Memes generally have hastily prepared photoshop jobs (C'mon, you want to get your meme out there before someone beats you to it). But, I guess that's where the trail runs cold. I cannot really provide any critique, since this is more of a comedy/joke piece in nature. Plus, it's obvious that this a Pony in an OF round, which kinda puts a damper on a formal review.

With an echo from >>Bachiavellian, Thanks for meme'ing!
#40 ·
· on Bonk
Okay, so this was a toss-up with a couple spots in my slate because of what >>Bachiavellian pointed out (I honestly did not expect that, especially with Roger manually uploading it from the link (yes, also I saw the link). Like in a review before, I'm a sucker for photography. But, unfortunately, with the small detail (Pony in an OF round) it has a tough time fitting correctly in my voting slate.

Thanks for the "Where's waldo Twilight?" piece!
#41 ·
· on Child of Sandstorm and River · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Echoing >>GroaningGreyAgony. The colors contrast hard against everything else (the tones of which are very off). It is very hard on the eyes with the colors (dark reds and bright oranges and yellows) in the rock formation. In my opinion, chalky whites, salmon-y pinks and oranges would help it. But, if you were trying to bring attention to the rock by using these bright colors ignore me. Also if it was a problem with the scanner, as GGA suggested, then ignore me.

However, there is a lot of good in the piece also. Human is done proportionally, which I must give props to (I can't draw proportionally to save my life). The chinks and weathering in the rock is also a good detail (if you told me to draw a rock right now, a irregular gray blob is all I could manage) so bonus points there too. Clouds are also a good addition to the piece (very realistic clouds IMO).

Thank you for arting!
#42 ·
· on Skywater · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Idk why, but the details and style of this remind me of a piece back in the day: Broken Are Bonds We Forged in Life.

I think the other entry fends better than this one because to capture still water may be a lot easier than moving water. However, that is not to retract from this piece. Often, we are looking down at the ground, that we don't pay attention to the expanse of treetops nor the skies. Sometimes... the water has to remind us of that.

Thanks for arting!
#43 ·
· on wend and reign
Since we already had a meme entry, if feel the need to pop one

7-year-old computer upon startup with Discord, Spotify, Steam, and Skype

Alright. Enough of that. Here's the review: I agree with >>Bachiavellian that the copy and pasting fulfills its purpose and is something that I could honestly expect to see on display in a exhibit. It is quirky in the right ways. However, I think >>GroaningGreyAgony is right in which it needs a little more variation with including more homonyms and definitions. Maybe to make it more quirky, put in different languages too (extra points if it doesn't have any connection to Greek or Latin) to give it more mysteriousness. Plus, it would require that the viewer figure out pieces to the puzzle of what the different languages are saying.

Thank ewe faure arting!
#44 ·
· on Crashing
As GGA and Bachi said above, this takes the cake with the silhouette. It wasn't too hidden for me (probs since I was using dark mode), but good take nonetheless. It's a hard one to judge since its simplicity- which can be taken as a good thing and a bad thing just depending on the viewer. To me, there is nothing major to improve on. I guess the only thing I can think of that may be of use to you is that the sail seems a little static for what is going on. IMO, the sail should be more flayed and tattered in the wind since the waves are telling a story that the sea is in the midst of a storm.

Either way, thanks for arting!
#45 ·
· on La Trahison des petits chevaux
Borrowed art huh? Hmm...

Hard to Judge again. It seems like all the Pony entries in this OF round are hindering my ability to organize my slate. Not just because i need to be fair with Pony in the OF round (which may or may not be an honest mistake) but because it has a twist to it, one was a meme, and for this one, it's borrowed (I hope with permission (I did my research, there's seems to be no trail of a person in the comments asking permission)).

Other than that, ngl, I had to use some google translate to uncover the meta portion of it, but that's the only thing of the submitter's work that is on this piece.

Thanks for submitting!
#46 ·
· on Wind and Rain
This went over my head. Sorry. I wanted to post some reviews on the art, but this is the hardest one to make a review on/judge. From >>GroaningGreyAgony I get the fact that this comes from two different album covers (one referencing wind, and the other referencing rain) but that's where the fun stops. It doesn't provoke any more thought than the pun.

Again, hard to judge. Sorry if this came off as terse.

Thanks for submitting!
#47 ·
· on Chosen

#48 · 1
· on Spring Showers · >>Bachiavellian
She thicc... with metal and plastics.
#49 ·
· on Wind and Rain · >>CoffeeMinion
Did my dad make this?
#50 · 2
· on Cast Me Down, Lift Me Up · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Someone uploaded a photo of where I live as an art piece and I don't appreciate it. >:(
#51 · 1
· on Bonk (Big Oof)
Rainbow Dash finds out she has stage 4 breast cancer, and she don't even got breasts.
#52 · 1
· on Bonk
Why is there another horse entry? Are you guys going blind or something? Is your eyesight failing?

Do you need a doctor, and if so, how much would it cost me?
#53 ·
· on Child of Sandstorm and River · >>GroaningGreyAgony
This is so metaphorical...
#54 ·
· on Skywater · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Nice entry, but I'm not sure if it was necessary to use the entire Bee Movie script as the caption.
#55 ·
· on wend and reign
#56 ·
· on Crashing
Is that supposed to be milk? Or... nah, I'm not gonna say it.
#57 ·
· on La Trahison des petits chevaux
This is so metaphorical...
#58 ·
· on Chosen
I'm no artist, though I occasionally fake it. This is pretty awesome, though. Lots of character and mood for such a sparse piece. Reminds me a lot of Batman The Animated Series, which is never a bad thing.
#59 · 1
· on Spring Showers · >>Bachiavellian
This must be a cyborgirl, and the juxtaposition of such a highly advanced artificial life-form waiting for a bus is delicious. Very expressive style. Have mercy, she's been waiting for the bus all day!
#60 · 1
· on Wind and Rain
He did. I tried to tell him I was skeptical about this not tapping too deeply into the Deep Dad Humor, but all he said was: "Hi Skeptical, I'm Dad!"

It was at that point that I hung up on him.
#61 · 1
· on Cast Me Down, Lift Me Up · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Melancholy and thought-provoking, this shows us the fallen glories of yesteryear floating down the river--and perhaps passing a van down by that river. Are we the tree, or the river? (Or the van, for that matter?) Life makes sense only in reverse, but must be lived forward, unless you put your van in reverse.

But I digress: This is muddy and moody AF. I feel like the framing could be tighter, but there's a rawness to this that appeals.
#62 ·
· on Bonk (Big Oof)
We got us a deep fried meme here, boys! MEME'S BACK ON THE MENU!!!

I find it delightfully blasphemous to have a straight-up pony meme in a highfalutin' Original round. And I agree, this has a good collage feel to it.

I should probably lowball this because it's the kind of thing that's not supposed to be done during Original, but I'm not going to and you can't make me, sugarcube.
#63 ·
· on Bonk
Oho, props to >>Bachiavellian for catching the tiny pony!

This is neat but very, very subtle. There's no way in hecc that I would've spotted the pony if I hadn't been pointed at it.

Nevertheless, I like it, and for similar reasons as BIG OOF.
#64 ·
· on Child of Sandstorm and River · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Now this is a beaut (butte?). Good coloration, good shapes, straightforward but interesting composition. Admirable stuff.
#65 ·
· on Skywater · >>GroaningGreyAgony
This is so flippin' cool. It gets huge points with me for its masterful treatment of something that could be meh unless done well.
#66 · 1
· on El Sueño de la Razón · >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny
So, this entry is kinda about ponies, but it's really original fiction, but it's based on a pic about ponies submitted to an original fiction round.

I haven't been this confused ever since Quiet Boy and Moon Horse. :P

Overall, the characters here do a great job of coming across as charming and likable. I really do like the first-person narration, and even as a guy who usually turns my nose at meta stuff, I thought most of the self-referencing bits did carry their weight.

If I had to lodge complaints, I did think that the ending might have left things feeling a little over-resolved. Like from a plot perspective, the act of reuniting Pookums with Mrs. Jameson kills about four or five birds with one stone, which kind of stretched my suspension of disbelief.

My more minor complaint would be that the very beginning and the very ending definitely felt like the weakest meta bits to me. I, admittedly, do seem to have a lower tolerance for meta than most, so YMMV.

In the end, this held my attention all the way through and ended up being the kind of thing that pretty much everyone can easily enjoy. So that's definitely a win in my book.

Thanks for submitting!
#67 · 1
· on Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away · >>Bachiavellian
The setting here:

Is just gorgeous with pretty much exactly the right amount of words for me to picture everything. Still, I would've liked a better image of the boat itself through Aewyn's eyes, her sitting at the helm looking at the mast and sail standing out against the blue of the sky--one mast, we're told, but I would've liked to have seen it, and I found myself wondering if it had a single sail or a mainsail with a jib or two, and letting me follow her as she walks from stem to stern would be a lot more visceral than telling me the boat's forty feet long.

The charcters were equally well drawn, though having Richard Dawkins appear as himself wanted to pull me out of the story. As for the story itself, that for me was the weakest part of the whole thing. As the first chapter of a novel, this would be terrific. We get the classic Person in a Place with a Problem that I always look for in a story's intro, but there's nothing close to resolution here. We meet these People in this Place, watch a short expedition and a little immortality angst occur, and then we're done.

What's here is really nice, but as it is now, it doesn't really go anywhere. Of course, being right at the word limit didn't help, I can only imagine. The story never dragged or felt long, but I really wish Aewyn would've come to some sort of realization about something just assuage my desire for a bit of closure.

#68 ·
· on El Sueño de la Razón
I would've welcomed:

A wider scope at the end, too. Maybe Sammy could see that there's this larger world of mysterious spirit things out there and that he has some sort of regulatory role to play in it. Give me a little "call of destiny" there, and I'll be happy.

#69 · 2
· on Skywater
>>Bachiavellian, >>PinoyPony, >>No_Raisin, >>CoffeeMinion


Thanks for the gold! Congrats to Nonny, and also to SuperTramp for the chutzpah award...

It was due to be rainy in my area over the time of this contest and so I had high hopes of getting some dramatic rain shots. This didn't work out but I did have the chance to stop by a local park and scout for photo opportunities. Out of over 80 pics, I selected this one and Cast Me Down for submission.

Idk why, but the details and style of this remind me of a piece back in the day: Broken Are Bonds We Forged in Life.

How interesting... The photos were taken with the same instrument (my LG G6 phone). Good eye!

Thanks to all for the great comments!
#70 · 2
· on Cast Me Down, Lift Me Up
>>Bachiavellian, >>PinoyPony, >>No_Raisin, >>CoffeeMinion

Cast Me Down

Thanks for the great comments! Most of what I have to say for this one was said in the retro for Skywater.

I do like to take care when doing photography, but I have to report that I used no special settings. My phone camera was adequate to the task, and I just took two shots and chose between them. My only edit was to crop and color correct / add vibrancy in Photoshop.The interesting color of the water I ascribe to the overcast early-evening lighting.
#71 · 1
· on Child of Sandstorm and River
>>Bachiavellian, >>PinoyPony, >>No_Raisin, >>CoffeeMinion


Thanks for the perceptive comments!

I sort of doomed this piece by doing it on gray paper. I tried to save it in Photoshop but I probably need to redo it.

I'd originally intended to just do a black and gray pencil sketch of a rock form eroded by wind and rain, but my colored pencil leads were just sitting there begging to be used, so I had a go. At least it was an instructive lesson on getting the basics right.

The human figure was an afterthought meant to add more visual interest and possibly a story hook. I drew her on a separate sheet of paper and merged her in with Photoshop.
#72 · 2
Oh ** I feel so bad, seeing a writeoff with only two fic entries. I've hated myself every time I've skipped writing something. Now it's been years since I last published something on fimfic. Now it's forever since I even entered some fiction here. Two entries? Ugh.. Let's get back on board, everyone!!! (I speak to myself as much as anyone.)
#73 ·
· on El Sueño de la Razón · >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny
Meredith == Mare (as shorthand.)

SUPER meta... not a fan.

Transform into a ... brooch? So full shape-shifter. Not just Changling.

Okay, doubling down on the meta... You either own it or you die by it.

Some nicely poetic bits about Meredith, but... Are we really expected to believe a corvid companion needs to google "carrion"?

Meta again, with the "thing like me" bit. Game-fucking-on!

"...Not a squish and not a splash but something distinctly related." That should be added to the Thog-O-Matic!

WTF? This was very solid until this point. But suddenly I feel the author took off and got drunk. I had to re-read here several times to sync up.

And we're back... fantastic prose, following non-sense... onward!

And "we" know what a human hand is.

...Lots of stuff... Yeah, it won me over.

I'm reading all this is some solid Downton Abbey accents.

"Before someone texts the city's health inspectors?" really throws the sense of time out of wack. Until now, this was "Downton Abbey" or some fantasy world of similar timeline. "Texts" as a verb breaks all that.

"Time and a place..." crow-on-human sex? Okay, I guess...
"Derpy" and the meta compounds again. WTF?

There was some amazing writing in this story. It could literally stand on its own. But the author dragged in this weird meta-narrative framing and Derpy/MLP on either end. Literally considering the artwork ("depressed pegasus" or something) would've played far better, in my opinion. Forcing a My Little Pony context here was a negative.

All that said, I've not (yet) read the other entry in this one-horse-town.
#74 · 1
· on Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away · >>Bachiavellian
"The boy already was sitting on the edge of one the left hull"...

"One the Left Hull" better be a good character. :-)

"he slipped off the side of the hull like a fish." Totally seemed like he was on deck and awkward until now.

"off the hull and into the Seashine’s cabin." Sure sounds like she walked into the sea. If the cabin isn't IN the hull, then I'm not sure what this was describing.

Interesting foreshadowing with calorie counts. (Lacking a better term.)

Explanatory background is spinning... Telling us about milkfish being needed is one thing. Telling us they won't bite is step two. Pivoting to money is a third, pivoting to this new city of Marvia is a fourth. And now she's suddenly gone from teaching Micah about fishing (with no resolution, even though they "needed it") to putting money in a safe and them both sleeping.

#Cespelling IZ dum

"she crushed the milkfish’s proboscis to kill it" That's fun and alien!

Very "victorian" rules for how the kid is told to deal with a gun. (I mean that as a compliment.)

The tavern scene (Looking for Work -> Bulletin Board) is VERY cliche.

Story: Richard Dawkins, Natural Philospher!
Me: "It's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if it pays off for 'em."

Some weird, deeper lore about true blades. Good stuff.

Confusion about which pier is which feels forced. Beyond "two" even humans tend to put signs up. Surel even Aelfs and Humans would read/noticed those in a super busy port.

Mike/Micah is a thing? Again, feels forced. Hope there's a story-based reason for that misunderstanding.

"plastic bins of water" The use of plastic oddly anchors us into a certain timeframe. I hope that's intentional.

"Aewyn was at the rudder when she noticed Micah gingerly stepping into the cabin, where Richard sat on his bed..." So are we in the cabin or at the rudder? All three participate in the following conversation, and I just can't picture a bed (in a cabin) in direct conversational distance to someone at the ship's rudder (or wheel.) If that's the intent, this is a weird ship.

Similarly, how do they swim when under sail/power? Aewyn goes from rudder (important when moving) to swimming, with no mention of cutting power, lowering sails, or dropping anchor. I surmise that maybe Aewyn is a mermaid or something, but Dawkins and Micah are both supposed to be human.

Now insert lots of vague analogues for creatures of the Galapagos and Darwin's voyage.

... And the rest of the story.

Damn, this tried hard, and did well. I feel my only complaint was the confusion early on. Why Dawkins? Why Galpagos? Why all these hints of other things when there was this better story with Michah and Aewyn this whole time? The "alt universe" stuff felt a bit forced, but there was strong writing otherwise.

My secondary complaint was that we were given to believe that Aewyn was not human, but we NEVER saw any detail as to what that meant, or even a hit as to what that implied to the larger world this story (could? should?) was building.
#75 · 2
· on Spring Showers
... There's no deadline on doing these retros, right?

Art Retro: Spring Showers

When it comes to art, I think I'm at that stage of picking up a new hobby when I'm starting to realize just how out-of-depth I really am. This was going to be my little foray into something with a better sense of perspective, but I think it ended up being a bit more than I could chew. Holy god the lips alone took like a solid hour of trial and error before they looked like anatomy that belongs on a human body.

Overall, I still had a lot of fun doing this, but man, am I rapidly developing respect for anyone who's put serious time into learning how all of this stuff works.

I have a dumb explanation for the torso. I actually did use the 7.5 rule when I did the original sketch, but when I transfered to digital, I realized that I had made the face too long/tall for it to look very feminine. So I ended up shortening it by about 30%, and to compensate I shortened the torso and legs a bit as well. But it looks like I didn't do a good job of that. :P

Dear god in heaven, do not talk to me about her goddamned hand. I ended up staring at my own hand for so long that eventually I got sick of it and took a picture of it to keep open on my second monitor while I worked. It took me so long that I basically gave up on doing her other hand. Originally I was planning to have her other hand doing something near her face, like checking a watch or holding her hand out to feel the rain. But yeah, that plan went out the window when I realized how difficult digits are to draw.

Thanks for your thoughts!

Can you believe that I spent like 2 hours looking up proportion/figure videos on youtube? Goddamn, this arting business is tough! :P

Yeah, there was a moment where I kind of realized that there should have been another umbella rib in the front middle, but then I'd have 7, which struck me as weird. Plus, I had kind of sort of accidentally did the umbella's coloring on my lineart layer, so I decided to just cut my loses and leave the damn thing the way it was. Perspective is a bitch, yes.

Thank you for your thoughts!

Only two 'c's? I'll have to try harder and earn that coveted third 'c' next time. :P

Thanks for the comment!

Fun fact: Originally, she was just supposed to be a regular girl waiting at a regular bus stop. But, well, I'm addicted to sci-fi, so about halfway through the sketching process she turned into a robot or a cyborg or something. :P

Thanks for your thoughts!
#76 ·
· on Come Sail Away, Come Sail Away
"Don't try it!" cried Twilight Sparkle, as she perched precariously on a stone just barely jutting out of the magma surrounding them both. She motioned to her position. "I have the high ground!"

Angel Bunny smirked ruthlessly, and advanced across the levitating platform.

"You underestimate my power," he said...

Retro: I Like Boats

For real though, shout out to Mike for being my dueling partner this round. :P

So it's been a good long while since my previous Writeoff entry featuring sailing, and I felt like giving the concept another whirl. It's been almost ten years since I learned the basics of sailing on a weeklong school outing, but I'm still just a little bit starstruck at how fun it was and how emotional the experience was to me. One of my long-term fantasies is still about moving somewhere near the sea and buying a boat just to cruise around in for a day or two at a time.

Regarding this story, this was actually one of the only times where I ended up following my outline almost exactly. I knew I wanted to write about characters living on a sailboat since I saw Crashing, but it took me a surprising amount of time before I had even any solid character concepts or plot points. Outlining took about a day, and when I was done I estimated that I would need about 10,000 or 12,000 words to put the scenes together the way I originally imagined them. Well, I ended up trying my best with only 8,000 words, anyway, since I felt that the basic bones couldn't be any more condensed.

>>Baal Bunny
though having Richard Dawkins appear as himself

Story: Richard Dawkins, Natural Philospher!
Me: "It's a bold strategy Cotton, let's see if it pays off for 'em."

So, I might just be the stupidest person on this hemisphere. Because while I actually don't have explicit familiarity with Richard Dawkins, I must have heard his name somewhere for it be lodged in my subconcious and ready to be dredged up at a moment's notice. This was actually supposed to be a reference to Charles Darwin, to complete the whole Galapagos/Galapers parallelism. As in, RiCHARd DAWkIN vs CHARles DArWIN.

When I saw Mike's review, I googled Richard Dawkins, saw his Wikipedia page, and head-desked for a solid minute at work. Nice going, brain.

>>Baal Bunny
Thanks for leaving your thoughts! Yeah, I seem to have trouble with making my stories feel like they've actually finished. I think I'm doing slightly better on the minific side of things, but I definitely have more work to do for the SS rounds, for sure.

Regarding the boat descriptions, to be honest, I kind of wanted to keep the description understated. Which, I guess, was kind of completely done away with by the bit of exposition that Aewyn drops to Rich, so yeah, I'm clearly a literary genius. Thanks for pointing this out as a problem area.

Appreciate your review!

Okay, wow, there's a lot of feedback here, and I'm loving it. It does make responding a bit difficult though, but here goes nothing!

"One the Left Hull" better be a good character. :-)

You'd think I'd notice this typo when I was scrounging for each and every word I could find after going over the word limit by about 250 words. You'd be wrong, though.

"off the hull and into the Seashine’s cabin." Sure sounds like she walked into the sea. If the cabin isn't IN the hull, then I'm not sure what this was describing.

Yeah, this whole bit in the beginning with trying to describe how the boat was laid out was something I was nervous about. I couldn't find a good point to slip in that the boat is a catamaran (two hulls, the cabin is between them) until late in the scene (when Aewyn's cooking), so I just kind of crossed my fingers and hoped that the reader would just roll with it until then.

Explanatory background is spinning... Telling us about milkfish being needed is one thing. Telling us they won't bite is step two. Pivoting to money is a third, pivoting to this new city of Marvia is a fourth. And now she's suddenly gone from teaching Micah about fishing (with no resolution, even though they "needed it") to putting money in a safe and them both sleeping.

I actually had absolutely no idea that this scene would be so confusing. Dang, I usually think that I have a much better sense of this sort of thing. Thanks for pointing it out!

Very "victorian" rules for how the kid is told to deal with a gun. (I mean that as a compliment.)

Thanks!! I actually spent quite a lot of time trying to come up with a retro-y take on the four rules of gun safety, so I'm glad that it paid off for you!

The tavern scene (Looking for Work -> Bulletin Board) is VERY cliche.

Let me tell you a secret, buddy. I am actually physically just made of cliches like this. It's tropes all the way down to my atoms, man.

"Aewyn was at the rudder when she noticed Micah gingerly stepping into the cabin, where Richard sat on his bed..." So are we in the cabin or at the rudder? All three participate in the following conversation, and I just can't picture a bed (in a cabin) in direct conversational distance to someone at the ship's rudder (or wheel.) If that's the intent, this is a weird ship.

I was actually imagining this kind of set up: https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/attractions-splice-spp-540x360/06/74/1f/4d.jpg
The cabin opens up in the back to where the rudder would be. I was kind of iffy on how clear this would be to the reader, so it's valuable to know that it felt awkward. Thanks!

Now insert lots of vague analogues for creatures of the Galapagos and Darwin's voyage.

Why Dawkins? Why Galpagos? Why all these hints of other things when there was this better story with Michah and Aewyn this whole time?

The implication was supposed to be that the Rift is letting creatures from the real world into this world. And the lonely shellback was supposed to be a reference to Lonesome George, the last individual of a species of Galapagos tortoise. Basically, he got cockblocked by interdimensional tomfoolery. :P

As for why spend all this time with incidental details, I'll just have to admit that this Galapagos Islands deal was something I came up with early on in the brainstorming process, and I just hung on to it to give the characters a reason to be going somewhere. Definitely something that should have been re-thought.

My secondary complaint was that we were given to believe that Aewyn was not human, but we NEVER saw any detail as to what that meant, or even a hit as to what that implied to the larger world this story (could? should?) was building.

The main point was that she aged differently. I've always kind of had this idea banging around in my head of a mixed-species family that all aged at different rates, and this was me playing with the concept.

Thanks so much for all your thoughts!
#77 ·
· on El Sueño de la Razón · >>Super_Trampoline
Thanks, >>Bachiavellian and >>Xepher:

And the one other person who voted this round, if I'm reading the stats right...

This story came about entirely because of Super Trampoline's image. I had the same reaction as Sammy does and had to try writing a non-Pony story about it. I'm stripping out the Pony stuff and making the characters into Ploomy the pegasus from the My Little Mythos cartoon series, doing some different stuff with the ending, and then I'll start submitting it around to the various places I submit stuff. If none of them want it, I'll try FimFiction with the Derpy stuff put back in. So many options!

#78 ·
· on El Sueño de la Razón · >>Baal Bunny
>>Baal Bunny

Glad to have inspired you with my not paying attention to what type of round it was. I'm just happy I managed to submit something for once!
#79 · 1
· on El Sueño de la Razón


If anyone's interested in reading what I turned this story into after the contest ran its course, it's now called "The Sleep of Reason" and has been posted on the Zooscape website. Thanks again for your continued comments on the projects I put together around here!