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Ot · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
#1 · 4
·
Haha!
Ponies!
#2 · 6
·
Stile looked up at the bulletin board, straining at the tip of his hooves. "Can somepony tell me what the prompt is? I can't see it from here. I'll pay, honest I will."
--Michael Bloomberg Goes to Equestria

"Hey! I'm trotting here! I'm trotting here!"
-- Dustin Hoffman Goes to Equestria

"This isn't very funny." The fox stopped pacing in circles and flopped down on the floor with his nose stuck into his bushy tail. "I mean it's kinda neat and stuff, but it's not funny."
--Michael J. Foxx Goes to Equestria

"I dinna want to be cheered up, and I don't care that you're throwing me a party! I'm trapped in a big green body I have no idea how to use, and everybody's looking at me like it's another Shrek sequel."
--Mike Myers Goes to Equestria

"I wanted a change of pace after Harry Potter, but this is not exactly the kind of spellcaster character I had in mind."
--Daniel Radcliffe Goes to Equestria

"..."
--Charlie Chaplin Goes to Equestria

"I'm never leaving! This place is fantastic!"
--(The Artist Formerly Known a Prince) Goes to Equestria

"I hate foals. They're barely equine."
--Emilio Estevez Goes to Equestria
#3 · 2
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa
Is it time for a bunch of straight men to write stories about lesbian horses again?
#4 · 5
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>>No_Raisin
Rude.
There are gay horses sometimes.
#5 · 4
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"I'm not just gay, I'm fabulous!"
--Elton John Goes to Equestria
#6 · 9
·
You did it.

You absolute madlads did it.

Welp, let’s make this one for the ages!!
#7 · 10
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If there are any people who are not in on the joke prompt, it's a typo from almost five years ago that these madmen here wouldn't let die.

https://www.fimfiction.net/group/200535/the-writeoff-association/thread/203327/#comment/4662277

... Oh lord, it's come to this at last.
#8 · 6
·
The Otstrumentality is nigh.
#9 · 7
· · >>Baal Bunny
Oh my God. I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was... We finally really did it.

You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!
#10 · 6
·
"Mother of me..."
--Princess Celestia
#11 · 7
·
Wow.
#12 · 5
· · >>Bachiavellian >>horizon
>>horizon

I assume:

You'll be doing a sequel to "Last Dreams of Pony Island" in honor of the Ot Connection?

As for me, I've got a couple other contests on FimFiction that I'd like to finish my entries for this weekend, so I'm likely to sit out this historic occurrence. Or should I say "likely to sit ot..."?

No, no, I shouldn't.

Mike
#13 · 5
·
>>Baal Bunny
Or should I say "likely to sit ot..."?

No, no, I shouldn't.

You just did, bucko, I'll fight you and your entire family lineage for making that pun. >:(
#14 · 5
· · >>PinoyPony
Holy shit. I can't believe we're finally here. Did I have plans this weekend?
#15 · 7
·
Oh God, it finally happened.
#16 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>PinoyPony
>>Baal Bunny
Alas, the “no explicit sequels” rule is still in effect.

Which just means *someone else* is gonna have to write the Pony Island sequel while I try to sneak something else in for this historic occasion.
#17 · 1
·
>>horizon
Is it bad if I admit that I’m super excited to have you back? Cuz... I totally am. And I’m hoping that other Writeoff vets will come home for this one, too.

...This is gonna be off the bucking hook!
#18 · 2
·
>>journcy
If you do decide to write something, go for it! I know time can be tight for some, but anything is welcome at this point. Besides, the chat is going insane saying stuff to the nature of "if there is anything you want to write just for the heck of it, now is the time to do so".

...within confines of course... >>horizon
set the boundary.
#19 · 8
·
O_o
Well.
This is certainly an interesting time to try and come back into the fold. No idea how I'll pull this one ot...
#20 · 9
· · >>Chris
I actually have an idea for this one, but it's stupid. Really, really stupid. Still, when has that ever stopped me before?
#21 · 8
· · >>horizon
>>alarajrogers

Betcha I can write something stupider!

...Granted, I don't have an idea yet, but I bet I can come up with a stupid one!

UPDATE: I have officially passed the 2000 word mark, so as long as I can get to the end of this thing and edit it up in the next couple of days, I expect I'll have an entry. Out of respect for anonymity, I will neither confirm nor deny the stupidity of my idea. It's totally stupider than alararogers', tho

UPDATE II (Saturday night): JUST DELETED 3800 WORDS CAUSE THEY SUCKED HERE WE GO BOYS

UPDATE III (Sunday night): Got a finished story! It doesn't have things like "editing" or "cohesion" yet, but hopefully I can get that done after work tomorrow. BUCKLE YOUR BUTTS

UPDATE IV: Turns out Alarajrogers didn't submit a fic (boo! hiss!) so I'mma claim victory in the stupidest prompt interpretation battle by forfeit. Woo!
#22 · 3
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa
I am sorely disappointed in all of you.
#23 · 3
·
>>Chris
Chiming in to join the over-2000-word club! Now, how that translates into an entry, I have no idea, but I've still got a few nights left to square that away...
#24 · 1
·
>>Anon Y Mous
I'm disappointingly sore in all of you.
#25 · 6
·
Two years. Almost two years since my last submission.

Well, let's see wot happens.
#26 · 2
·
I’m going to miss this. I swore I wouldn’t, should it ever happen. But duty has called in other directions these last few days. Not even Ot could stop that, in the end.

To anyone still writing: fight well, my midnight brethren. :rainbowdetermined2:
#27 · 6
·
It's 3 goddamned AM and I have goddamned submitted.

Because I, of all people, am not allowed to skip out on the Ot round, methinks.

I hope all of you like reading unedited messes.
#28 · 3
·
And once again, I'm not getting anything entered. Flying out of the country in a couple days, and have a lot of work stuff I've had to get done before then. *sigh* Hopefully I can use this vacation to get some writing done though!

Good luck, and have fun to the rest of you crazy fools. (Still can't believe Ot finally won.) :-)
#29 · 4
·
Did I say I was laying off participating in the pony fic rounds? And particularly eschewing Ot? I did say that, didn't I?
What the hell am I doing, up at this hour?
This one's for you, Coffee.
#30 · 3
·
It's 3 goddamned thirty AM, and I have submitted. With over an hour left! What the hell! I'll actually have time to do some editing this round! Or get some sleep before work!

... Nah, editing.
#31 · 4
·
Submitted with 1m 50s left—talk about cutting it close!
#32 · 3
·
Just looking at the gallery titles I can already tell I'm going to love this round.
#33 · 2
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To all the (other) entrants: you are all annoyingly talented and I've no idea how I'm going to pick my top five let alone three.
#34 · 2
·
So I wake up this morning:

After a night of troubled dreams and find that I have an entry in. Can't wait to read it!

And the others, too, I guess....

Mike
#35 · 4
· · >>georg
So, I’m all done reviewing/ranking/author guessing now! But I thought I’d do one more thing, here.

See, I’m a big believer in the importance of beginnings and endings. A good first line hooks the reader right into your world, and sets them up for what’s to come. A good last line cements a story in the reader’s mind, and ensures they won’t forget your fic ten minutes after they’ve read it. So I’m gonna go through every story’s opening sentence or three (as decided by me, what constitutes the “first line”), and their closing sentence or three (ditto), and tell you what I think of them. I’ll spoiler-text the last last lines, and anything else that feels spoilery, and we’ll see what I have to say. As with my regular reviews, feel free to disagree and/or ignore; openings and closings can be such personal things, that peoples' opinions are bound to differ.

So, in the order I reviewed them:

Well It Starts As A Joke…

Right, so this is the story of that one time me and the girls got absolutely clobbered.


It's very catchy and hook-y, but I don't know that it sets up the tone or narrator well. Because Scootaloo's voicing is all over the place in the fic, this isn't able to "set" her voice for me. And since it doesn't sound like Scoots from the show, it doesn't build character right away. If Scoots' voicing was more consistent throughout your fic (something for when you edit!), this would be a lot stronger, but even now, it's got a lot going for it in the drag-the-reader-in category.

“And that,” she said to the snoring mare next to her, “is why I’m in your house Ms. Punch.” She shifted slightly, getting comfortable. “And why I owe your daughter a kidney.”

She frowned, glancing up at the ceiling thoughtfully. “Not sure why she wants one bean so bad but, well,” she shrugs and closes her eyes.

“Whatever.”


I didn't remember this was how the fic ended until I re-read it just now, so, not a great sign for memorability there :( Problem is, you've got one nice joke in the reveal that Scoot's isn't talking to the Pink Pony we might guess she is, but that doesn't have much to do with the plot, it doesn't tie anything together (how they got the bottle was such a tangential bit to begin with), and then the bean joke and the nothingburger of a last word just do nothing. If you made Ruby more important to the story, you could still end on that note with this kind of structure, but I'd definitely rethink the content of this closer, if I was you.

Daring Do and the Greatest Adventure

Daring Do pored over the ancient codex. It was a secondhoof copy of a thirdhoof account, but she'd worked with far worse and still uncovered more than one ancient treasure that could've spelled the end of the world. Compared to the Voyneigh Manuscript, this was foal's—

She winced. Okay, bad phrasing, but the point stood.


The significance of those last two lines is lost on the reader at the time, most likely, but they'll pay dividends in a bit. That's mostly how I'd describe this opening; it doesn't draw me in, but it feels very appropriate in hindsight. In that sense, you're setting up the reader well, but maybe not hooking them as strongly as you could.

She grinned, then considered the Diadem of Pansy in one corner. Retrieving it had nearly made her miss Last's third birthday party. "Don't I know it."


I love that reveal, and how it takes some of the sting out of Daring's decision. She still has to give up some things, but not everything, you know? And of course, it's sweet in the same way the rest of the fic is. Good thematic reinforcement, while offering juuust enough of a twist to feel playful.

Kill All Bugs

“Specialization is for insects.”
— Robert A. Heinlein


The first quote does some nice work; it sets up the pastiche and preps us for changelings. But the actual content feels strangely irrelevant? If this story was in some way about the importance of generalization, or if there was something in your backstory/setup that made the weakness of a non-hybridized army a point, I'd get it more. Here, it feels like you just picked it because it was from the right book and had the right animal, which is pretty surface-level; whether it's adaptring the story to the quote or finding a better quote for the story, I wonder if you can make this set up your fic even better.

Moondancer died on the way up.

Optrunco Thysanoptera.


Great whammy line, and closing on the prompt is never a terrible idea. The only question I have with it is that it feels so anti-war in a story that doesn't really have any anti-war themes (or pro-war, particularly. Like I said in my review, theme this baby up!). This whole story is about a raid on a semi-neutral third party for purely political purposes. That Moondancer died fighting someone at least two, maybe three degrees separated from Equestria's war, all because someone upstairs thought it might help with negotiations, is much more Forever War than it is Starship Troopers. And if that's where this story ends up going, that's an amazing ending. But if you aren't going for anti-war-from-ground-level, then this isn't the way to finish out. All depends on what you see this story as meaning, really.

The Lizard of Ot

"Treasures unfathomable!" the unshaven stallion peering from the shadowy alleyway hissed.

"Really." Spike didn't even bother putting a question mark at the end.


My only problem with this is that ("unshaven" notwithstanding"), those first two words feel like one of the FlimFlam brothers talking. Love Spike's response though, and love the humor of the narration; it sets up the kind of humor you gird the story with well.

"Be right back," Spike said, and started out.

A Friendship Ambassador's duties were never done...


This would be a stronger ending if we'd built up at all to Spike being "always on." That's something you could work into the story in a couple of places with minimal effort when you edit; I'd definitely consider setting up how Twi's promotion keeps him busy with this sort of thing. Other than that, this does feel anticlimactic because of how quickly the story resolves ahead of it, but like I said in my review, I also think that's appropriate to the story you're telling.

Belshazzar

Her eyes squeeze, closed the whole time


I can't tell if the lack of period is deliberate, to create more of a stream-of-consciousness feel, or if it's just an accident. Since you don't seem to do it elsewhere, it leads me to suspect the latter (and if not, the failure to do it elsewhere still makes it a bad idea IMO). Either way, as an opening, it doesn't tell me what to expect, which I tend to feel is not the way to start a fic-opening dream sequence. I'd rather you gave me something more solid, then subverted it; that lets me know that things aren't as they seem while still hooking me in, instead of having me open by questioning whether you're doing this because you're clever or because you're a bad writer.

To be clear, you're not a bad writer :) All I'm saying is, don't let your opening give me an excuse to wonder if you are!

Twilight keeps falling.

The last thing they hear before the unbridgeable chasm closes is one last cry.


I hesitate to say too much about this ending, because the fact that it doesn't pack much punch to me is mostly to do with the rest of the story, rather than the ending itself. You're closing on potentially tragic imagery, but you just gave me 8000 other words of potentially tragic imagery, most of which was imaginary, and that weakens this ending. And because your writing style doesn't change, you end up implying by construction that everything after Twi wakes up is also imaginary, Inception-style, which takes even more of the punch out of it. In a slightly different context, this could be deliciously tragic, but right now, it's overwhelmed by what comes before. So that's where I'd start tinkering, not here.

The Circle and the Cross

This isn’t a story of distant shores. It isn’t a story of far-flung lands, nor of exotic locales. This isn’t a story of the places that lie at the edge of the map. It’s not even a story about coming home, and leaving those faraway lands behind.

This is a story about a circle and a cross.


As I said in my review, super meta. I like it, but I also wonder if it's a good setup for your fic, which is mostly drama, when it leads the reader to expect something more silly. Also, this probably won't land so well outside of a contest context; something to consider when you're editing this for elewhere.

For a long moment, we look at each other in silence.

And then, to my joy, I’m blinded by a flash of light.


Syrupy-sweet, as you no doubt intended. After all that suspense, it feels good to end on something wholesome. I wish you told us who and what, but that's a wish you're absolutely right not to grant, so... yeah! A pleasant way to end, that ties right back into the prompt.

Wotchmen

Ot all started with a typo.


See, that's just funny, and I love it. Doesn't tell us much about the setting or plot, no, but it's very hook-y, and clever in a way that's immediately appreciable. Plus, it does set up the tone, albeit in ways that aren't immediately obvious. I like this one.

"Well," he whispered back, "what else are friends for?"


As I alluded to in my review, this would be a lot stronger if it had anything to do with Ot, since we were just introduced to the idea that Ot needs a friend and all. But instead, it feels to me like it's applying the right lesson in the wrong place, so to speak. Poly feeling uncertain about her friend-level based on her backstor is something you only really started setting up a few paragraphs beforehand; addressing that at the end doesn't feel like a resolution to either the emotional or the event-level stuff this fic was all about.

Overtime

Why was she doing this?


Never a bad idea to start with an open-ended question. It basically forces the reader on for a couple more paragraphs, which gives you time to introduce a character or event and give me something to care about. It's a pretty generic opening, but that doesn't mean it's not perfectly fine for what it is. This is a solid single, rather than a homerun, but there's a lot of value to hitting a single when you're leading off.

“Well, you’re the one that wanted OT,” joked the sergeant.

“Yeah. I guess I did. I’m getting paid for this, right?”


It's a nice, jokey line to end on after the higher drama of the standoff, so tone-wise this is good. The fact that it calls back to her not getting paid makes it almost feel like that's an important plot point instead of a throwaway, though, and if it's an important plot point then I admit that that sailed right over my head. Readers assume that whatever you're ending on carries particular weight, even if you don't necessarily mean for it to!

Obsolete Thaumatology

“Last name?” asked the disinterested-looking receptionist.

“Uh, how about, ‘the Bearded?’”


It's 99% great, so I'm only going to mention the one part I'd change; "Uh," sounds to me like a "duh" opening, i.e. casual insulting. I feel like SS should be more prickly/bristly, or at least less casual, based on the rest of your fic. It's tough to communicate tone in your very first words, so I'd play around with that if I were you. But beyond that, nice little bit of conversational humor to open on!

“That sounds delightful,” said Star Swirl.

And for the rest of the afternoon, he thoroughly forgot all about spells and research and studying.


I already said everything I had to say about the last line in my review, so... go re-read that, I guess!

The Odd Testament

In the beginning was the Word. And the word was “FUCK!”


It's a great opening... as long as the tone of your fic stays irreverent and crass (ties in with my "this'd be a great minific" thoughts, FWIW). It sets a tone immediately, and the internal contrast between biblical and swearing may be shooting fish in a barrel, but that doesn't mean it doesn't work!

And when the glorious and terrible end finally came for this Cosmos, he was sure it would be riding both a pale and a dark horse.


By contrast, I feel this isn't nearly as strong as your first line, because setting up Satan as a chess-master-y manipulator doesn't match what you've been doing with most of the rest of the fic. It doesn't have a lot of payoff; though you could read that ending as a joke, the more serious way you've portrayed him makes it feel almost serious--at least, in contrast to the rest of the fic, and that's what matters. I've already talked about where I'd end the story, but regardless, I think you want to close on a "incompetent deities +curse words" note, because that's your schtick here.
#36 · 4
·
Well, I haven't had a lot of time this week to do reviews (hopefully tomorrow), but now that we're closing in on the end of the round and everyone's presumably read everything, I can at least bring back another Writeoff tradition —

Mash-ups: Original Theme Edition!

Belshazzar and the Cross: The angry mob drags Twilight Sparkle out of her castle and burns her at the stake. They realize a little bit too late that the "O" actually represented a disguised nirik.

Daring Do and the Lizard of Ot: Last Frontier asks her mother where she came from. Daring Do and Caballeron look at each other. He tugs at his collar. "Well, sweetie," Daring starts, "when two ponies who love each other very much defeat an ancient draconic guardian and find their Ot…"

Obsolete Testament: Star Swirl asks Celestia how to cope with returning to a culture that's entirely unchanged from when he left Equestria. She drags him to an alternate universe and puts him to work fixing the sex-and-murder monkeys.

Well It Starts As Overtime: "You just HAD to call this a peaceful night," White Lightning shouts as their cop car approaches the scene of a drug-fueled, cat-murdering, filly-kidnapping, mayor-stabbing rampage.

Wotchbugs: After realizing that Ot is entirely, 100% the fault of humanity, Equestria and Apocalyptica's war fleet team up to teach them a rainbow-colored explosive lesson about the dangers of invoking memes.

BONUS THREEFER
The Circle and the Lizard and the Greatest Adventure: Three words, Sparity fans. "Lamia-dragon hatchlings."