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The Other Job · She-Ra Short Story ·
Organised by QuillScratch
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
#1 ·
·
Hey everyone, it's time for another She-Ra writeoff. Usual caveats apply: don't tell anyone what you wrote/drew until the site does, be good to each other, and drop me a note (here or on discord) if you have any questions!

Good luck 😁
#2 · 1
·
I wrote some words for this!

I just wanted to note: Having it be from Thursday-Monday sure does make writing something a lot more accessible, as I was able to get things done even in between a reasonably busy weekend in terms of social events. I think this might just be at the right sweet spot for me personally, in terms of pressure to get something done in a short time span while also not demanding total devotion to fic.
#3 · 1
· on A Wasted Day · >>Pascoite
Aww man, I was really digging this alt universe!
#4 · 1
· on Honor/Power
Kyle's kind of adorable in this, liked the references and I can definitely imagine the gang in the tank on their way to Thaymore feeling Adora's absence, good work!
#5 · 1
· on Revolutionary Girl Adora
Utena, but with pon—She-ra. That's a different take, for sure.
#6 · 2
· on Honor/Power
I really like this! Though it's just dipping into a few moments, I think it really fleshes out a characterization for Kyle that preserves his goofiness while also giving him some weight. That perspective makes the rest very sympathetic and even melancholic at the end. If anything, the third section is just a little bit weaker than the rest, but that's probably because I really like the more full interactions of the first two bits, and the point is that Kyle is having to put aside the things that make him interesting as a character (and person) in order to be a faceless horde soldier.

I sort of wish there was more, but I really don't know if there -should- be. I think the discomfort of the ending is kind of the point.
#7 · 1
· on Jobs and Destiny
Ooooh, I love getting to see more about Bow's backstory of parents wanting him to be a historian. Even though this basically hinges on an OC, Varnish is introduced and defined in a deft way for such a short span - all of the parts about him talking with Glimmer are revealing in an interesting way, and that leads naturally into his mentor-ish role that follows. I also feel like you had a kind of kinetic style in the beginning where the humorous jokes and moments were ones that I could almost immediately picture taking place in the show itself. Great stuff.

In some ways this feels a little more like a sketch than a full story, but I enjoyed what we got!
#8 · 2
· on Revolutionary Girl Adora · >>QuillScratch
I've never seen Revolutionary Girl Utena, so anything you take from that is going over my head. Ideally, it should be transparent, so someone like me can perfectly well understand the story without feeling like I'm missing out on context or seeing things that I can tell are obvious references but don't get. That's the danger of writing to a specific property when the event doesn't call for you to: Only some readers will be familiar with it, and it's better to write something that stands alone. And then it's not only a crossover but an AU as well. This could be pretty risky.

Catra's reaction sure made it seem like she knew what to expect when she accepted the duel, but both she and Adora sure didn't later. I can't tell whether they're just not familiar with the culture here or if Netossa is doing something out of the ordinary. I'm also left not knowing what the consequences are. Will Netossa be okay? If Spinerella has run into the woods, is that a serious infraction for missing classes? Are these duels sanctioned, so that Adora won't be held responsible?

Yeah, I assume a lot of this is context driven. Like I have no idea what this blue robot she's dreaming about might be. I'm just not going to understand much of this story. You've set up the "Horde" side as the sympathetic one, which is against character, but it probably fits with Utena that way? Without that knowledge, I don't understand the choices you're making.

Taco Tuesday. Ha, now Adora is Sonata Dusk. Unless Utena actually used that too?

Ah, the old anime standby of the delinquent-heavy classes that get shuffled out of the way. Pretty cliched, but I'm guessing it wasn't your choice. Well, of course it's a choice, but it's something you decided to preserve from the source material.

The inside was dimly lit

I realize you're trying to be atmospheric, and maybe this is directly taken from Utena, but it's cliched and just doesn't make sense from a practical standpoint. Any shop room would have to be well lit, or it would be too hard to see what you were doing, not to mention being dangerous.

a doweling machine

That's a little on the obscure side. I've never heard of one, in any case. The point is: it feels inconsistent for her to know what this is but have to mentally shrug and call something "some kind of table saw" just a bit earlier.

Another thing by wrapping these two properties together is that it feels like you're name-dropping for its own sake. Like it makes sense from a She-Ra mentality to have Hordak make Entrapta his second, but this story doesn't do anything with it. There's nothing about their relationship that matters. You toss her name in once, then she dies, and she never got any screen time or spoke one word. You could have made this an OC and it wouldn't have mattered. Don't include characters just to include them. Use them in a way that it matters that's the character you chose.

This may also be my lack of knowledge about the source material, but I don't know why Hordak's loss meant Entrapta's immediate death, whereas the same didn't happen with Netossa and Spinerella.

“I took care of Hordak,” Adora said.

Wait, but did she? Entrapta died instead. Or did they both die? That wasn't apparent, especially since there was no blood, and he didn't fade away like Entrapta did. I don't know whether that still means Hordak is out of the running or not. I'm confused. Or is Adora lying to her?

Now I'm wondering where Adora's ring came from. It was implied Netossa had lost it, but she still had hers. I'm also wondering why Mermista didn't have to declare her second. Does someone only have to do that the first time they get in a fight? Then you have a huge advantage in taking on a noob, since you know their second but they don't know yours.

Why would Glimmer bring Angella to the final fight? Adora had no idea who her second was, so it'd suit Glimmer more to keep that secret. It's not a requirement, as Adora doesn't have Catra there. Is Glimmer just acting out of a sense of fair play?

By the way, Mermista is another spot where the crossover feels odd. It makes sense from the She-Ra universe why people might assume Sea Hawk was her second, but within the context of the story, there is none. Catra just assumes, and I'm left scratching my head as to why she thought that. You're hoping I'll import the various She-Ra relationships, but you're not doing anything with them. But then you don't do them all the same way, as Adora and Catra have a very different relationship here. When they finally do have some conflict at the end, it feels forced. Catra hadn't ever discussed the aftermath with her, and she's suddenly passionate about it? Plus it was odd that there were never any consequences to Catra killing Sea Hawk.

I liked this as I was reading it, but it feels more like "let's drop some She-Ra characters into Utena roles" than "let's meld the two universes and see where they go." A lot of the She-Ra elements are there in name only. At least I thought so until the end and...

Well, the "it was all a dream" trope is a difficult one to pull off. When I get to the end, you don't want me saying, "So all that stuff I just spent an hour reading didn't matter?" The trick is to make it matter. Have there be lasting consequences to the stuff that never happened. As it is, you took what was a very serious story, then turned it into a joke and for a piece of Horde strategy that I don't even understand the purpose of.

So I appreciate your skill, author. This is the product of an experienced writer, but for me, it's missing something in the concept, it could use more of the She-Ra elements exported to the Utena setting rather than just the names and a vague sense of the personalities (Bow was a bright spot on that front). And it definitely runs the risk that it's inaccessible to people unfamiliar with Revolutionary Girl Utena.
#9 · 1
· on Jobs and Destiny
You don't need to put a title at the top, as the site will already do that. In this case, it didn't hurt you, but if you were pushing up against the word limit, it might have cost you some valuable words, particularly in a minific round.

A few editing issues crop up, particularly some speech tag capitlaizations.

In the early going, there's a lot of the same stuff happening over and over again. Lots of removing debris, cleaning up spent equipment. It gets repetitive. Don't deal so much in generalities. Specificity is your friend. Don't tell me someone is "removing debris." Tell me someone is using this specific ability of hers to pick up this specific piece of equipment and do this specific thing with it. A few examples like that paint a fuller picture and allow me to extrapolate the rest than having you give me the fifty-thousand-foot view. You do give me a few specifics, but a lot of it is left vague and thus ends up sounding repetitive.

She-Ra tossed another robot to the pile and glanced over her shoulder at her.

It took me a minute to decipher she's looking at Frosta. You just trailed off about Bow, making me think she'd be looking at him, and you'd just made a typo in using "her." But then suddenly Glimmer is there, and maybe you meant her? This is hard to decipher.

"It's not funny!"

But nobody was acting as if it was...

Bow released a breath he hadn't realized he was holding.

This is the third-most cliched thing in fiction writing. It'd be better if you could break yourself of ever using it.

With all Master Varnish said about Bow not being able to spare even a moment of work, I'm surprised the next thing he does is take Bow away from his work...

This really feels like two stories. The first didn't have much of a point, but the second was a nice exploration of this guy trying to help Bow keep his interests secret. That was a nice moment for them. But little of the lead-up to it was necessary. Just the last bit of it, with Glimmer trying to give him a sense of urgency to help with the outside clean-up and referring to his expertise with tech, would have been enough to establish why the second part was happening. All the rest of it, with the repeated descriptions of people moving junk around and fearing they'd buried Bow, wasn't necessary. Maybe you felt like you needed that to hit the minimum word count, but I think you would have been better served developing the second part a little more instead, maybe having Bow delve into exactly what his position is. Not just tech versus history or trying to find a balance of the two, but also why he doesn't share his parents' strict pacifism.
#10 · 2
· on Honor/Power
Right away, I'm confused by where everyone is. The first line is addressed to Lonnie, but then Kyle's the one who reacts. The nature of the line makes me think Kyle's hearing this over the radio, but later it seems like Adora is saying it, and she's there with Kyle. That could be made clearer.

A few minor editing things and perspective glitches, but I'm not really making a point of copying that stuff out this round.

Nice Skeletor joke.

Though I'm surprised Kyle would know who He-Man was. He's on a different planet, and until recently, the princesses weren't aware of any other planets. Though I suppose the Horde would. I just think He-Man is recent enough history that that would have happened after Kyle got sealed away in this pocket universe.

I enjoyed this look at Kyle, but the different parts of the story felt disconnected. The last two have a good transition between him imagining himself as a hero, then coming to the realization that real war is something very different. The first two have the one connection about the skeleton and feeling useless. But those are two very different themes, and they don't flow through into a single, coherent narrative as well. Plus that last scene emphasizes how wrong things feel. Partly because it's not make-believe, but your first focus is on Adora not being there, yet she really hasn't been. She's there in the first scene, but that doesn't focus on how Kyle finds her presence comforting, for instance. She's simply there, which is unremarkable to him, she's not there for the fantasy battle, and then her absence is suddenly disconcerting to him. Make that all connect. I think the ending is the point you wanted the story to make, but the first scene isn't working toward that. This needs some thematic unity.

Good character exploration of Kyle, though.
#11 · 2
· on A Wasted Day
A couple of minor-ish editing things.

The story's mostly told from Scorpia's perspective, but in the Lonnie scene, the narrator keeps telling me what's happening after Scorpia leaves, so watch out for that.

I'm with >>Wanderer_D in that once the forgotten job was revealed, I thought it was a sweet AU, but then it was all a dream...

Since I've already commented on one story that pulled the dream reveal trope, I won't go through the explanation again, but this one did a more effective job of it, because there were consequences to the dream. It let us know how Scorpia truly feels, and it set up internal conflict for her as she goes back to business as usual.

Up to that point, it was also a pleasant slice of life/comedy mix. YMMV, but to me, pulling the SoL/comedy-to-serious switch is more likely to work than the other way around. Having some low-key entertainment, then finding out it's serious after all feels like it still preserves both moods, while serious ending in silly can tend to invalidate the serious part.

Fun story with a bittersweet ending.
#12 ·
· on A Wasted Day
It took me slightly too long to realise this was in AU territory, which I will attribute to sleepiness, and which absolutely made the ending hurt more.

Besides formatting/editing nitpicks, I have no real complaints here. Maybe I'm still emotionally stabilising myself, but that ending threw every worry I had about this story being nothing more than fluff* out the window. Really good job, author!


*which isn't even a complaint. I like fluff!
#13 ·
· on Jobs and Destiny
This is gorgeous.

You know, I had real doubts during the opening scene of this story. And I'll be honest, author: if I were reading this elsewhere, I likely wouldn't have made it past that scene - between the run-on sentences of the opening paragraphs lacking any punch and the "we killed Bow" joke not quite landing (I blame the medium - it would have worked great in an actual episode, imo, but feels off in fic), I really struggled to get into this one.

But oh my god, am I glad I did.

The conversation with Varnish was an absolute delight to read. Soft, caring, and fleshing out Best Boy with just the right level of detail? I love it. Really solid work there, author. I'd quite my favourite bits, but... I'm just gonna gesture wildly at the last dozen paragraphs or so instead. They're pretty great.
#14 ·
· on Honor/Power
In this house, we love and respect Mr Bones ☠

This was a cute entry. Kinda feels like a little dig at the fandom ("hey, remember all those theories that Kyle was He-Man back in S1?") but if it is, it doesn't come across as mean-spirited at all.

I do think this story needs more unity - I can kinda see how the last two scenes link, but beyond setting up the Skeletor joke I'm not quite sure why the first scene is there (though don't get me wrong - just as a standalone scene, I kinda love it. Bit messy, but cute and fun). The timeskips are relatively buried, too, which isn't a bad thing but it does make the story's structure a little murkier.

All in all, though, a decent entry with a solid idea behind it. I enjoyed it!
#15 ·
· on Revolutionary Girl Adora
This fic is pure, unadulterated anime. Whether that's a good thing or not will probably vary by reader, but I don't think I've ever read a story that so faithfully recreates the experience of anime for a reader: from varied, interesting fight sequences, to slow exposition of world rules that seem to constantly shift in service of the need for tension and drama, I can safely say that this is the second most anime writeoff entry I have ever read.

Even though I could vaguely recognise the title as a reference to an anime I haven't seen, I never felt like I was lost in the crossover - okay, I did, but in that "anime logic doesn't make sense" kinda way rather than feeling like I was missing a reference, which was Good, Actually. The constant twists and turns kept me on my toes as a reader, and the AU changes were absolutely fantastic. We don't get enough AUs in the writeoff, imo. We should have more.

I wanna criticise the ending for pulling a "it was just a dream" style twist, but actually:
a) it was signposted
b) it was well-written and cute
c) it made me laugh
d) adora is an anime nerd lmao

So I won't do that. Instead I'll just say that I think this fic could work just as well with a serious ending (despite being an affectionate parody? of anime tropes, it stands alone really well and could carry on strength of writing alone) as it could with the funny one, and I trust the author to have picked the one they like the most. Because when two things work just as well as each other, that's really the only decision that matters.

I liked this piece a lot: really well done, author. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and have a small breakdown over trying to rank this round, because all of the stories were amazing and I don't know how to judge them aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
#16 ·
· on Revolutionary Girl Adora · >>Pascoite
Actually popping in again, because I haven't really looked at other comments before making mine this round, but I wanna provide some balance and a different perspective here.

>>Pascoite talks about importing relationships wholesale from canon (e.g. Hordak and Entrapta, Mermista and Sea Hawk) as if that's a bad thing, but imo this is one of the strongest things about fanfiction. Even in an AU as distant as this one, fanfic allows us to know that our readers will make certain assumptions and connections, because we can assume a knowledge of canon (otherwise, why would you read the fic?) I think this piece does a fantastic job of delineating between the things which can't be assumed in context of a she-ra writeoff and things that can - the author knows to go ham on the anime exposition, not just because it suits the anime genre but also because the audience may be unfamiliar, but gracefully steps back from any and all she-ra exposition beyond "here's how to translate from canon to AU".

Every fanfic I have ever praised for pushing the boundaries of the medium and being generally amazing art has known this. Every single one uses assumed reader knowledge in incredible ways. It's the greatest strength of the medium! So while I can understand the criticism from a general writing improvement perspective, I did feel the need to drop in and gently disagree on that front - I think it's one of the things this fic did really well.
#17 ·
· on Revolutionary Girl Adora
>>QuillScratch I didn't mean that importing relationships was a bad thing. It's that the story completely relies on it. Entrapta never does anything in the story. Before the dream reveal, her name only gets mentioned twice, and she never interacts with Hordak at all. Same with Sea Hawk. The story never gives me a reason to think Mermista even knows who he is, and given that so many other characters are acting in ways I wouldn't expect them to from She-Ra alone, then I can't assume Mermista and Sea Hawk are going to be the identical ones I know. Then like Entrapta and Hordak, Sea Hawk gets dispatched without an indication that he actually meant something to Mermista.

It's fine to let readers bring in their preconceived ideas from the show about what the characters are like and what relationships they have, but that can really only be done when you're operating solely in the She-Ra universe. When it's already been signaled to me that this world works differently and the relationships aren't the same (we've spent the whole story seeing Adora interacting with Catra and Glimmer in ways she never would in She-Ra), then it feels lazy to include Entrapta in such a superficial way without doing anything to demonstrate that we can take her relationship with Hordak as the standard one. I know why Hordak cares about her in She-Ra. I don't know why Hordak cares about her in this universe. They certainly haven't been through the same experiences.

It kind of depends on how much the author wants me to be affected by her death, so it may not be necessary to delve into their back story (though even a sentence or two would accomplish a lot), but at least show them palling around a bit before she's gone so I can see that there is a relationship there, instead of just taking his choice of her as second as implying there must have been one, even though there was never any other evidence of it. (He doesn't even seem to care she's gone.) It doesn't take much. Just drop in some nominal demonstration of their relationship, some little one- or two-sentence interaction that speaks for it, and then you're being clear about what the rules are.
#18 ·
· on Revolutionary Girl Adora
A couple of thoughts about the choices I made re: some of the relationship stuff...

1) The biggest concern I had from the top was simply fitting within 8000 words. I wound up totally fine, but at least half the time in writing I was very apprehensive about whether I'd go significantly over, so I cut back on stuff that might have elaborated more. This is the least legitimate excuse, but it's there. I think the ideal version of this fic would be longer and specifically aim to flesh out the characters more - but it's also complicated by the fact that I think one thing that works here is how fast it moves.

2) The ending and reveal that it's not an actual AU was from the start essential to my entire idea about the fic. This was borne out through a few different things - one of which is the hints that something was up, which are pretty unequally distributed (like the kind of throwaway mention of Lights Hope in a dream), but definitely come out in the fight with Glimmer, which hinges on Adora kind of finally putting things together and trying to somewhat communicate that to Glimmer. I'm not super satisfied with that, but that's the idea. But that also affects, like, the way I wrote some of the characters - most obviously that the characters who aren't 'real' characters who are experiencing the simulation don't get direct lines. Bow, Entrapta, Sea Hawk, Spinnerella, etc. all are mentioned as talking and they do stuff and exist, but more as projections of the experience that the other characters are having. Again, I'm not sure this is a -good- choice, given that the reader doesn't know this and instead they feel kind of weirdly flat, but it was a choice. But as it comes to the relationships itself, that was also... sort of a choice? It's meant to be a deliberate reflection of how the 'real' characters feel about stuff in the 'real' world - so Hordak has Entrapta as a second and hangs out with her which reflects him actually liking her a lot in the real world, even if he wouldn't, like, ever admit that. That's also why Catra would vaguely know that if Mermista had someone important to her, it'd be Sea Hawk, right?! Except no, not really - she likes Sea Hawk but I tend to see her as such the protagonist of her own story that she'd try to be two steps ahead and pick Frosta instead (which never came up, haha) because she wanted to win so much. Angella's presence is also weird in that way - both Adora and Glimmer have some things to work through since this is meant to be set post-her-death, but I couldn't quite figure out how to communicate that right.

So really I'm kind of unsatisfied with this at least in terms of how it measures up to my goals, but happy enough with the anime pastiche aspect. (It's funny that no one had actually seen Utena - especially since I used the aesthetic of Utena in a vague sense but none of its actual rules or setting or framework) I wish I could do it better but I'm not actually sure that I'm capable of writing it right. Hrm.