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Discrepancy · Friendship is Short Shorts Short Short ·
Organised by CoffeeMinion
Word limit 500–1250
Show rules for this event
#1 · 3
· · >>DuskPhoenix
Can short shorts save the world in these unprecedented times?

Let's find out, shall we?
#2 · 5
At the very least, they're comfy and easy to wear.
#3 · 1
Well, the prompt’s out!! Chop chop!

*looks at time*

...Or perhaps not.
#4 · 2
· · >>Rao
Oh no. My prompt won.

Oh no.

Ohhhh noooooo
#5 · 1
· · >>Light_Striker
Now you're contractually obligated (at least attempt) to participate!
#6 · 5

I have added 24 hours to the writing period. I am unlikely to do this again in the future. However, certain extenuating circumstances have led me to feel it is appropriate on this occasion.
#7 ·
Sadly I got crushed by the weight of the world and didn't write anything. Though one of my Minecraft buildings is greatly improved.
#8 · 1
Blegh. I have no idea how to feel. I started off thinking I had a great idea, but reading what I wrote over and over has made me numb to the quality of it. As long as you all rank my story number 1, it should be ok. :^)

Also, Fimfic dying for a day is what got me to try another one of these, so thanks for that, knighty.
#9 ·
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa
Congratulations to those who have made it in! I thought I might as well, especially with the extra time. But alas, the Horse was not with me this time. My two fragmentary starts will go back in the bag for now, perhaps to serve as future inspiration or later development outside of the Writeoff.

G'night y'all, and I look forward to reviewing the submissions!
#10 · 2
Combine them into a single, stronger entry for next time.
In other news, congrats to everyone for making it to the top 10!
#11 · 1
· on Dismaid · >>Zaid Val'Roa
One, the Majordomo, was a gaunt old stallion who looked as though he hadn’t been a horse in previous lifetimes and had only just avoided it in this one.

This is a great line even in a vacuum, and is then improved with the reveal of it being half true. However, that’s where my praises end.

The writing is perfectly serviceable, but there are a few problems with the story. The genre is clearly comedy, but it feels more like a concept you might laugh at in your head, not something that translates well into an actual story. There’s nothing here beyond the idea, no real humor aside from the above quote and “oh look, they’re all humans too,” which isn’t funny on its own.

The pacing goes from fine to “never mind, we have a word limit” after the first few paragraphs. The Maid spills her guts unprompted, and then it gets handwaved by saying she has sudden bouts of self-damaging honesty. I understand the intention was for it to be humorous, but it came off more like a mini exposition dump.

The lines about the dress being permanent weren’t necessary. Not only does it add little humor to the story, it actually takes away from it. Making it so she can’t take off the uniform removes some of the ridiculousness of the situation.

The Majordomo being a human could have been a neat little one-in-a-million encounter, but that quickly hops over into one-in-a-non-believable. It’s all played so nonchalantly with no straight man to provide a reference point for what’s “normal.” The Maid could have served this purpose, but she immediately accepts everything with no hesitation.

I have other minor gripes and opinions, but I’ll leave it there for now.
#12 ·
· on Forever
“Dress every lady like a whore, and every whore like a lady.”

Is that why most ponies go naked?
Makes sense.

I liked this story. It's calm and quiet, and it really lets Rarity and Starlight shine through the dialogue. It doesn't try to offer a definitive answer, but rather suggests a change of perspective to help reevaluate things. Quite nice.
#13 ·
· on A letter from Brass Tacks
This leaves me inmensely frustrated and I hate you, author, on a personal level for it.

I jest, but seriously, this was great, and I would've preferred a succint explanation by Brass Tacks scribbled at the end of the note before fleeing that at least hinted st what may have happened.

As it stands, this is a great, intriguing opener with lots of potential and nothing more.
#14 ·
· on Celestial Audit
I have a ton of respect for this story. It sets up all its pins then knocks them down in a very short word count. The story is tight, the writing is lean, and all in all it was a very nice read! My one gripe would be it seems out of character for Celestia to game her own system like that. Unless I'm reading this wrong, she kinda comes across as a moneygrubber instead of the typical benevolent princess one might expect. And the way Twilight reacts almost makes it seem like some kind of prank six hundred years in the making. To Twilight's credit, she does seem appropriately flabbergasted, so it's really only Celestia's character that I have trouble believing here.

All the same, this is a very enjoyable read. Thank you for submitting.
#15 ·
· on Dismaid
So, the Majordomo is Q and Blueblood is James Bond? Makes sense.

I enjoyed this story. However, I have to echo >>2Merr's comment. I feel there's too much crammed in the story. A tale of a human turned into a pony finding a place in Equestria thanks to the help of another displaced human is nice enough on its own, but under the constraints of the event's wordcount, the latter half feels like it's just plot twist after plot twist, with a new reveal coming every couple of paragraphs.

I recommend focusing on what you want to tell and make sure to spend enough time on that. As it stands, I can't give it that high of a rating.
#16 · 1
· on City of Suckers · >>Miller Minus
This story's interaction between Roseluck and Gallus is undoubtedly its strongest feature. Rose's character is super sharp and in-focus. the sass, the friendship--it's all there for her! Very nice job.

Where I feel the story suffers is, it lingers too long on the intro and Gallus's thieving reputation and not enough on the ending. It seems like the moral you were going for was, "The spoils of friendship taste sweeter than the spoils of treachery," but I think a little more out of Roseluck beyond her snippy last line could make that more clear, especially considering how obvious Gallus was in trying to yoink her pie.
#17 ·
· on A letter from Brass Tacks
I have a particular loathing for people that scream "MOAR" every time they come across an open-ended story.


This begs for another hundred thousand words. It's so irresistible it makes someone like me, a total sucker for ambiguous and open-ended stories, twist in my chair, hoping this will be expanded on.

Excellent read!
#18 · 1
· on The Waking World
I'm getting some inception-esque vibes from this one! You do a very nice job of establishing the tells of the dream world before you go breaking them and muddying the waters. Well done!
#19 · 1
· on The Short-Lived Case of the Incongruent Kitchen
A perfectly Pinkian mystery. While I'm not sure the relative narrowness of the story's scope would encourage multiple readings, it was an effortlessly fun and engaging read throughout.

Thanks for sharing!
#20 ·
· on Celestial Audit
Equestria has debt. Princess Celestia: 1 G07 7h15, FAM. Well done, I’m a sucker for stealth puns.

I have some problems, however:
Raven is referred to as “Raven,” then “Inkwell,” then “Raven” for a while, and then “Inkwell” again. Not only is this inconsistency jarring, you also don’t use her full name a single time. If a reader doesn’t already know who Raven Inkwell is, they would be very confused.

The plunger bit feels very forced to me. The story is comical but not absurd, so that line really sticks out in a bad way.

The ending is rather weak as far as punchlines go. There’s no indication for why Twilight isn’t surprised. She might think Celestia is incompetent, or playing a prank, or just has a tendency to put other things off, too.

There are some awkward lines that could use pruning:

Yes, Princess Twilight?" she answered, poking her head just through the doorway.

Removing this word makes it flow better. Someone poking their head through a doorway already implies they aren’t fully entering yet.

I am pleased to inform Your Highness that she is not mentally unwell

Maybe it’s just me, but it’s weird to see a direct address followed by an indirect one. I think you could do either Her Highness and she, or Your Highness and you, and it would be better. Again, though, it might just be me.

Please continue breathing normally for a moment longer, Your Highness.

I get that Raven is professional, but this line feels like something even a robot wouldn’t say.

A little interest adds up over the course of six hundred years or so, doesn't it? The current legal-speak is no less murky than it was six hundred years ago, too, but that's lawyers for you.

This last one is mostly preference, but it would be better in my opinion to rewrite the second sentence.

It’s a fine bit of horsewords overall, but those little things add up.
#21 ·
· · >>Bachiavellian
If the author’s anonymity is a big part of the ranking process, should we limit the number of stories we comment on this round? Otherwise it would be easy to know who wrote what after looking at the stories they’ve commented on.
#22 ·
· on It Screams
Well, they do say one has to suffer for their art. Or more than one in Glimmy's case.

This is also another entry that lacks an ending that really rounds up the whole story. Nevertheless, I found myself enjoying this one quite a lot. Starlight was charming the whole way through, and I was amused by Twilight's shock.

I still find it disquieting that we'll never know the fate of those new ponies in the pocket universe, but sacrifices must be made for the greater good.

Overall, though. Upper placement for sure. Well done.
#23 · 1
Usually, the suggestion that gets thrown around is to put up a fake review on your own story if you want to review them all. And, yeah, it's just as unfun as it sounds.

Personally, I've gotten away with straight up leaving my own fic as my only unreviewed fic once or twice. But don't tell anyone else, shhhh!
#24 · 2
· on It Screams
I’ll be upfront and say this is one of the ones I least enjoyed, though I initially found it difficult to put into words exactly why. The writing is mostly sound on a technical level, and barring two instances I’ll get to later, there weren’t any glaring mistakes, per se. It might sound odd, and this is just my opinion, but trying to make your characterization of Starlight more rounded seems to be detrimental to the kind of comedy you’re going for, especially when confined to such a small word count. I hope I can do a decent job explaining my reasoning for this.

After my first read through, I initially thought it might be a Starlight bash fic even though I’m 100% positive it isn’t. Her logic for putting the painting in the museum makes enough sense, but her attitude towards it makes it seem like she cares more about her reputation than the ponies she may have hurt. I understand you were trying to play this for comedy—which is exactly what you should do—but it fell short because you didn’t fully embrace the absurdity of the situation. For example, it would have been better to give Twilight and Starlight completely opposite attitudes from the beginning, such as by having Twilight only care about the ponies while Starlight only cares about getting her art into a museum with no concern at all for those she trapped. Or you could go even further and have neither one care about the ponies and spend more time arguing with each other about artistic merit. Instead, Starlight is shown to care just enough about the ponies to make her apparent lackadaisical attitude towards them feel more like the actions of a caricature one might see in a bash fic (which isn’t helped by the sentence: “So, I found a few willing and consenting friends--” she shot the frozen crowd a withering glare). Looking at the word count, I think this could just be the result of you having to trim and compress quite a bit, and might not be what appears in your average writing.

The ending is also sudden, which seems to be a common side-effect of the word limit for most of these stories. That’s not to say the ending is bad; I actually think the last line is a good one to end on. However, the preceding paragraphs don’t feel at all like they’re leading to an ending, which gives the impression of dropping off a cliff before driving the last couple feet to the finish. Again, I think this is the result of the word limitation, so I’m fairly confident this isn’t a normal problem in your writing.

As for the two instances I mentioned above: The first one was Starlight throwing her “arms” around Twilight, which is a simple mistake with a simple fix. The second was the inconsistency with how the 3D ponies were frozen. At first, they were locked in place by magic, unable to move their jaws. Later, they can speak, but are holding their poses? Later again, they’re back to being locked in place before Starlight unfreezes them. Nothing too major.

There were things I did like about this story. I like the happy little repetition, and I really like the overall concept. Starlight accidentally makes living copies of ponies and traps them in a pocket dimension because she wanted her lines to be straight. It’s wonderfully absurd, which is right up my alley. I just don’t think the absurdity is given the treatment it deserves.
#25 ·
· on Forever
I never considered the emotional implications on Starlight vis a vis Cozy Glow going full bad guy, so excellent work having my first introduction to the idea be so well done. I'm also a sucker for first person style and Starlight in general, so 1.5x point multiplier! Doubling down on what Zaid said, as is the custom: The entire piece is silky smooth, I absolutely buy the dialogue, and you ease us into the perspective character after just enough wondering if it's Starlight or Twilight (in my train of thought, at least).

Also, having worked at schools myself for several years on and off, I really feel Starlight's emotions and thought process here. None of my students ever went super villain, but even when one just has a garbage day I can't help but wonder if there was something I could have done had I bumped into them earlier.
#26 · 1
· on City of Suckers · >>Miller Minus
I know Griffons are jerkasses, but I hadn't quite taken them for such outright thieves, so this presents a really cool take on an immediate clash of culture. What sells me the most though is the environmental details; birds darting around, the scent of pie carried up into the sky, watering beaks I didn't even know they could do that, Gallus trash talking Gruff to himself. Little things add up, and these added up to an enjoyable little lesson on how am does do friendship.
#27 · 1
· on The Waking World
recursion start(dream)

I love ye olden baby Twilight, so props for subject matter. I've had recursive dreams once in a great while, and they can be well and properly terrifying, or just weird, and I think you did a great job capturing the small differences that can cascade through someone's psyche as they go through a more elaborate Nightmare Loop, I suppose is a decent enough name (like a time-loop, but without the sweet release of proper death).

I'd be happy to see this subject explored in a longer format. The paranoia that comes from this sort of looping is bound to be fantastic.
#28 · 1
· on The Short-Lived Case of the Incongruent Kitchen
So I stopped immediately right here to star this comment:
dark grey hat he placed on top of PInkie’s head

I don't know if you intentionally made a "Private Investigator" double capital there, but damned smooth joke if you did. Very well done.

As for the rest, now that I've caught up, simple and sweet. Detective Pinkie uncovering a mystery with a delightful ending is exactly as wholesome as it needs to be. Pinkie is perfectly in character, which is hard to do when she has to hold the spotlight too, and I appreciate that even Gummy gets in on the action!

Great work all around. Oh, and bonus points because I had to Google words I didn't know and that's always appreciated. One was a cheese so I don't fault myself too much for missing that.
#29 ·
· on Forever
Ah, the Cozy Glow conundrum. Twilight Starlight may never live it down.

I like what you’re going for here, Author, and like Rao this wasn’t an avenue of Starlight’s internal struggles that I ever considered. That said, you explore it twice—once as an internal monologue, and again as a heart-to-heart with Rarity. And if you ask me, the conversation is way more compelling than the monologue, which felt a little melodramatic. I wonder if that first scene couldn’t be reduced to a paragraph, or snipped out entirely.

It could just be me. I really like watching two characters be friends while a conflict hovers over their heads. And even though I had a hard time following Rarity’s logic here, so did Starlight (and so did Rarity), so I never felt adrift, and I appreciated the “not quite at a resolution but we’ll work on it” ending.

That’s all. Thanks for writing and good luck!
#30 ·
· on Dismaid
Zaid puts it really well when he talks about plot twist after plot twist. This is the type of story that doesn't spend much time answering any of our questions, its only intent being to introduce questions, and that's fine if there's more coming, but alas, the limit.

Here's a question: What do these displaced humans have to do with Blueblood being James Bond? Re-developing Earth technology is fine on its own, and it's not a secret operation, because as the Majordomo points out Earth tech is already all over Equestria, but then suddenly ya boi PB drops out of the sky to request some James-Bond-level tech, which is far and above soldering PCs or building planes. And he's doing secret agent stuff, not helping them get home. So why do any of these people care about his missions?

The ending line is kind of disappointing, too. The conflict of this story is set up to be about a lost human trying to get home, and the resolution appears to be that she doesn't need to get home, she just needs some of that sweet white stallion ass. That complaint could just be me. I'm not a fan of peoples' desires being replaced by romance (or lust), but that's already in the lore...

So yeah, it's a bit of a struggle, but I can appreciate the craft on display. Having read each entry now, I don't think any of us has as much fun writing their entry as you did, and who wants to knock that?

Thanks for writing !!
#31 ·
· on City of Suckers
Be still my BEATING heart, it’s Gallus. And look, you’ve met your Season 1 pony quota with Roseluck.


I like this, but I think Gallus is whiffing on the stakes here a bit. He was basically caught red-handed attempting to steal something. Probably would not go down well with Twilight and her staff. He’s lucky Roseluck is so cool about this.

All of this to say: maybe Gallus could be doing a little more worrying about all this putting his entrance into the friendship school in jeopardy? Maybe try a little harder to run away? Maybe don’t give the girl your name?

Other than that, though, pretty good. It doesn’t go out to win many awards, but the character work and dialogue are both nice. I just think the scene is missing some tension. Thanks for writing and gooooooooooooood luck.
#32 ·
· on A letter from Brass Tacks
Okay so this sounds like a premise for a novel. I'm not surprised people are asking for more; I want more too.

But here's the thing, as interesting as the premise of a reborn city is, I don't care yet about anyone yet. I don't care about Brass Tacks, and I don't care about the recipient of this memo. I have no context outside of this note as to what's going on, and Brass Tacks' opinion of the situation is all that I have to go on.

If you do expand this at all, I highly recommend starting at the beginning (hue hue). Let's meet the new archivist before anything goes wrong, because they're the main character here, presumably. It would be great to find out about them, what they think of the new job, maybe have Celestia welcome them in and hoof-wave away the fact that the position has a lot of turnover, that sort of stuff. Oh, boy, what an exciting position! Hey, what's this note? Oh. Oh dear.

By the way, didn't you get the memo? This is a Season 1 ponies round. Mentioning Celestia is simply not going to meet our quota. Minus three points.

Thanks for writing :V
#33 ·
· on It Screams · >>thebandbrony
This was fun! Me likey. I only wanted to bring up one thing, which is the reveal.

Twilight took a closer look at the painting. The crowd of stylized friends and neighbors marched in perfect lock-step, driving spears through Discord’s paint-splotch heart.

The canvas was also screaming very quietly.

“Well, no harm, no foul,” Twilight said with a shrug. “Congratulations Starlight! I don’t know how the painter’s guild will react to being made redundant, but if they survived the invention of the camera, I’m sure they’ll survive you.” Twilight turned around, took a long, gratifying sip of her ultra-refined-sugar-and-a-little-bit-of-coffee drink, readjusted her bag on her shoulder, stopped, frowned, and turned around. “Wait.”

She marched back over to the painting and put her ear to the canvas. Sure enough, she heard a tiny, high-pitched chorus of screams coming from the canvas.

Twilight leapt back.

So, we don't really get anchored into Starlight's or Twilight's perspective in this story, and for something slice-of-lifey and comedy-y like this, that's not that important. Comedies are omniscient all the time. But the narrator shouldn't be figuring stuff out moments before our two leads do.

When Twilight approaches the painting, we essentially hunker down into her perspective, and when the painting is revealed to be screaming, she says "no harm, no foul". Wait, wh—Twilight! It's screaming! Much harm, many foul!

And then there's a second reveal in the next paragraph, when Twilight catches up, but we've already heard that it's screaming. Why is she second in line?

Here's the thing: The line "The canvas was also screaming very quietly." as its own separate paragraph, is the perfect reveal. Shit's funny. The moment that line is read is the moment Twilight should be leaping backwards.

And sorry to harp on this, but that joke is the fulcrum of the whole story. I'd argue it's as important as the opening, for a story like this.

#34 ·
· on The Waking World
Splitting 1250 words into four scenes is tough. Spreads your story right thin, it does. And for a cerebral story about dreams, what's real, and what's fake? Man. I'm sorry, but I'm totally lost.

So we have one chase scene which Twilight thinks is not a dream. We line break when Twilight wakes up, and have a bed scene which Twilight thinks is real. Then a line break that accompanies no transition, we are just asleep again and experiencing one more chase scene that isn't a dream (according to Twilight), and then we wake up mid-scene without a line break. And then we line break into a fourth scene that's a direct continuation of what was just happening ahhhhhhhhhhhhh—

I'm all for stories where the reader is left to come up with their own theory, but there's a fine line between an open-ended story and a story where little to no clues have been presented as to what's going on. I'm unfortunately not the type to fill in gaps very well, and the only conclusion I could come to is that Celestia is torturing Twilight and secretly hates her. I had to come to the comments to see the recursive dream idea. But whose to say these scenes are even sequential? And since when did Sombra have anything to do with nightmares? Wasn't he more of an illusionist? AND WHY DID WE LINE-BREAK MID-SCENE??

Sorry. I'm too lost. There are many ways out of this forest, but I have no compass, and have been snared by thickets.

Thanks for writing, though! And good luck with your bad self.
#35 · 1
· on The Short-Lived Case of the Incongruent Kitchen
This is quite lovely. I struggle a bit, engaging with Pinkie Pie stories, though. She's strange, and that's the point, but that makes it hard to read her antics sometimes. So someone used the kitchen. What's the big deal? I yearned for a straight-man in the scene to give Pinkie the raised eyebrow and ask what exactly she was doing, so that I can point to them and say "Yeah, what they said." With Pinkie on her own, I'm just supposed to take her silliness at face value that something is wrong.

Speaking of something being wrong... nothing is. it felt strange that the conclusion to Pinkie's Pinkie Sense Attack was that "something was wrong." Her sense is always proven accurate eventually, although it may take some interpretation to find out how it was accurate, but here, nothing is wrong. Things are actually pretty right.

Plus, "the flour bags are closed with a different coloured clip for every day of the week so the flour could keep track of time?" That's... really weird. And what would lead the kids to using a different colour clip anyways instead of reusing the one that was already on the bag? How about just... there's less flour than yesterday? A new bag's been opened. Is that not enough of a clue?

I dunno. Overall me likey, it's a very complete and contained story. It just seems like it's missing something to really elevate it, although the only thing it may be missing is a character I like so I dunno :S

Thanks for writing!
#36 ·
· on Celestial Audit
Okay sure, Writeoff, I'll write my review a second time. No problem. Feel free to erase my work any time you want.


So, I liked this story the whole way through. It sets up the conflict nice and succinctly, the character work is nice, and then it ends. Oh.

It felt short a resolution, is my point. Twilight's "I'm not." feels like it should preceded a scene break, not end the story altogether. Like my boi Band up there, it raises questions about why Twilight isn't surprised. And those questions have answers! They're just not here. Celestia likes pranks and all, but woof. She doesn't seem to type to force Equestria into default.

And maybe you ran out of time? Because we are only just above the word limit. Either way, thanks for writing and participating, and good luck in the shakedown!
#37 ·
· on Dismaid
I agree with Miller's assessment that the fun of the writing oozes all over this. Like, I can imagine the author "tee hee heeing" at a keyboard while working on this. Great work on that.

I'll dissent from my fellows about the non-story-ness of it, though. A bit, at least. Ignoring the wibbly wobbliness of time translations between worlds for a moment, we have a little over a century (at least) of Displacements going on with no apparent luck on returning anybody home, so I'm quite okay on the focus being immediately shifted toward how the Displacements have effected Equestria and how our new Maid is going to fit in to the hidden caste.

Blueblood as James Bond is a little weird, especially given the tech level (I imagine there some magi-tech business a foot to help out), but I can roll with it as-is for the sake of bumping exactly into the word limit.
#38 ·
· on It Screams
I love when Starlight unintentionally commits war crimes and/or grievous affronts to life as we know it, so full credit for premise and execution. As someone who struggles with basic artistic actions like straight lines and rudimentary shapes myself, I completely sympathize with her desires and would absolutely abuse magic to get the job done if I could.

Good comedy between Twilight Glimmer and Starlight Sparkle (that's a joke for Ember) and a solid entry all around. Now excuse me while I learn to make a frapp at 3 AM.
#39 ·
· on A letter from Brass Tacks
Oh man, this isn't a breadcrumb or bait, this juicy chum in the water and the sharks are famished. If I read this as a prologue chapter somewhere I'd have that story bookmarked immediately. Ancient intrigue, cartography, immortals hiding stuff for non-obvious reasons? Hook me up to this IV drip.

Sure, not a whole story here now, but you got me so excited that I'm not even that concerned. Great work.
#40 ·
· on Celestial Audit
I am an absolute sucker for sneaky puns also (see my comment on Incongruent Kitchen, re: PInkie Pie) so shout out to the form name and double thanks to 2Mer for pointing it out. I tend to glaze over l33t speak unless it's really all over the place and integral to the reading.

Otherwise, interesting concept with new solo-Twilight dealing with mundane matters that suddenly aren't so mundane, but as my fellows said (paraphrasing): the writing itself is a bit jittery in places, and the conclusion is just kind of "oop there's the gag" and we're done. Which would be excusable when running up against the word limit, but there's still plenty of room to grow so it's pretty jarring.

I imagine this like a tiny Bonsai tree that was trimmed just awkwardly enough to be noticeable from the corner of one's eye. Still pretty, but also disconcerting.
#41 ·
· on City of Suckers

Thanks, guys. Quiet round, but it's always nice to get some feedback.

Be well
#42 · 1
· on It Screams
>>Miller Minus You're always helpful, buddy! Nothing but love :) Thank you for your critique.