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I've Waited so Long for This... · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
#1 · 4
Deck the halls without restriction!
(La la!)
Now's the time to write some fiction!
(La la!)
Don some cozy warm apparel,
(La la!)
Eschew movies with Will Farrell.
(Fa la!)
(La la la, la la la la!)

With the white blank screen before us,
(La la!)
Strike the keyboard, join the chorus.
(La la!)
Enter now your prompt submission;
(La la!)
Plot our written exhibition.
(Fa la!)
(La la la, la la la la!)

Fast the writing period passes,
(La la!)
Don't stop typing, lads and lasses!
(La la!)
Stories finished, we all settle,
(La la!)
Christmas ornaments for medals!
(Fa la!)
(La la la, la la la la!)

(To the tune of War Pigs)
#2 ·
· on Turnabout
I like that this story has focus. That's probably the greatest strength any story can have in the minific format; to choose something that can be accomplished in the appropriate length and just do that one thing. The quality of the prose isn't compromised, even in not using the full 750 words.

Still, I can't help feeling that the standard problems of minifics are present underneath, if well-hidden: the wider story leading to this scene is far too long to ever fit in a minific and can only be hinted at through character dialogue, and while we get a pretty good sketch of that larger story, it's a little frustrating to know that there's so much more that can't possibly fit into being seen. I really can't hold that against the author, given the constraints. But it does color some of the enjoyment of some parts of the story, and I can't do much about that.
#3 ·
· on Ashes
This story suffers from a common problem of minifics: it chooses to try to take on a story that is hard to do within the length constraints of the minific format. Grief is a complex process that takes many people, especially people who are emotionally closed-off like Applejack, a long time and circuitous route to fully deal with.

It's a good thing that the story doesn't try to cover the whole of Applejack's process, but just the most significant moments in "breaking the wall." Even just that needs, I feel, a little more length than was possible. Some of the prose feels a little thin, perhaps out of necessity. This one uses the full 750 words, and uses them well enough, but still feels slightly bare. Maybe three scenes is just too much for any minific to really hack, at least without some extreme finesse.

Still, the emotion that was intended comes across to me, so points for that.
#4 ·
· on Continuance · >>Dreamy Days
I have to say that I think this is the weakest offering. I hope that there are no hard feelings over it, author. It's not bad, so don't feel bad; the other two stories are just stronger to me. There are two main reasons: the first is that I have difficulty buying the premise in this one, and the second is that there isn't really a story being told to completion here.

The premise that Celestia will just zap everypony into alicorns isn't something I find credible. Maybe that's just me, but for a variety of reasons I just don't see it. I also have difficulty buying into the motivation for this, that she just doesn't want to see any more ponies die. She's been doing that for at least a thousand years, without cracking or budging on the issue before now. I can't help but think she's comfortable with it as a necessity.

There also isn't a complete story being told. Celestia and Luna talk about the story at hand (hoof?), and... that's it. Ran out of words. Can't really blame you for not having a lot to work with, given the constraints of the minific format, but it might have been much more compelling to do a concisely focused story about the results of Celestia's imminent actions, rather than a dialogue about the debate over it before anything actually happens.
#5 ·
· on Ashes
The balancing act of minis is not biting off more than you can chew while also making sure you still get a proper mouthful, and I think this story hits that economy point very well. The walkway up to the door of AJ finally accepting that maybe she needs help coping with her grief is the perfect path to hit, here.

Grief is hard, and seeing Dash try her best—and fail at first—to comfort Applejack through it is remarkably endearing. Also possibly the advent of Rainbow Dash spending more and more time on the farm? :wink wink: Twilight also doesn't quite get it, but she gets her up to the door enough for Rainbow Dash to pull her through, and that's also sweet.

Every piece of a support group is important in different ways <3
#6 ·
· on Turnabout
I really enjoy the opening paragraphs. Very solid descriptions of the Sun, Celestia, and the... gazebo, which kind of sticks out but reminds me of Re:Zero a bit for how out of place it is, so I still dig it and obviously where else are you going to have a nice cup of tea?

That said, there's a lot of "just roll with it" going on with the assumed narrative leading up to the banishment. Which isn't at all to say I'm not down with the cyclical banishment thing, or extending Equestria's timeline even further back. All great things! But squaring those ideas up with canon and Sunset Shimmer existing apparently right now at the beginning of a millennium long vacation really press my suspension of disbelief without some supporting history. Which, naturally, is all but impossible to do in 750 words or less.

So we've got some cool ideas tied down by an unfortunate case of "more than I can chew in the word count-itis." Still, solid mid-tier for sun swimming and plasma boiled tea.
#7 ·
· on Continuance · >>Baal Bunny >>Dreamy Days
Rational is nothing but painful.

Careful, Tia. You're liable to make Discord swoon with that kind of talk.

Celestia is very clearly, just, absolutely over everything, and you do a fine job illustrating that, dear author. Though a clue as to exactly when we are, or whose death pushed her over this edge, would be go a long way toward getting me on board with her rather extreme plan.

Luna, despite her protests, doesn't seem to try that hard to talk Celestia out of her plan. Based on the raw text she seems to trust that Celestia will see the error of her ways, but I don't quite buy it, though I can't put my finger exactly on what doesn't sit right. Maybe it's that even in the nigh-utopia that is Equestria handing everypony keys to their own personal WMD is an idea worth just a l i t t l e more pushback than it's getting here.

Still, neat idea, solid character work. I'll never get tired of "end of her rope" Celestia.
#8 ·
· on Turnabout
Nicely written:

But I'm not quite sure what exactly's happening here. I get the basic set-up--Celestia and Luna have been exiling each other to their respective heavenly bodies for untold millions of years--but where does this scene fall in that ongoing sequence of events? Is Celestia going to now spend 1,000 year on the sun, then return to Equestria and start the continuity we know from the show by exiling Luna as Nightmare Moon the next time?

The mention of Sunset, though, makes me think that this has to be an AU of some sort. I mean, if this is more than a thousand years before the Nightmare Moon exile, then the Sunset Shimmer we know won't even be born a couple millennia. But I just don't get enough information here to figure it all out.

I'd love to see this expanded with enough background material for me to piece it all together, but right now, I can't make it work.

#9 ·
· on Continuance · >>Dreamy Days
>>Rao pretty much:

Sums up my reaction. I like the open ending, but I need more build-up, more of an idea of how we get from the end of the series with the sisters retired and Twilight ruling Equestria to the start of this story with the sister back in the castle. If it's Twilight's death that's triggered Celestia's decision here, Celestia can maybe cite Twilight's work as Princess of Friendship with having made such a change in the characters of all ponies everywhere that she's sure they can handle being alicorns now. I just need more background again in this one...

#10 ·
· on Ashes
Very nice:

The only line that made me scratch my head was AJ's “Everypony says I should be happy..." I can't imagine anyone--especially not anypony--who would tell her that she should be happy in any way that Granny has died. Other than that, though, this does a nice job of showing us AJ taking that first step.

#11 ·
· on Continuance · >>Rao
Thank you all for your feedback. This is my first time writing a story in years, so I had no doubt I would be somewhat rusty. It's also my first time participating on this site, and I hope to use it to improve some more. I'd like to provide some of my thought processes that went into writing the story, and compare what I intended to your feedback.

Celestia's plan was indeed extreme, but that's why I thought this would be an interesting topic to explore. You said you had trouble believing that she would ever do this, and I agree, if she were thinking rationally. But I was hoping I made it clear enough that Celestia was specifically avoiding thinking about it rationally, and when Luna suggested she go to bed and sleep on it and she'd change her mind, Celestia knew that she was right. Which is why she avoided going to bed and instead stubbornly wanted to push her plan forward immediately. Everyone has a breaking point, no matter how strong they are, especially in the face of strong and terrible emotions like those of losing a loved one, and I was hoping that would be demonstrated here. If you didn't understand these things in the story, perhaps I need to work on ways to make them more explicit in the future.

Surely, the results of the conversion of everypony in Equestria into Alicorns would be extremely interesting. However, I felt like that scope far outstrips the 750 word limit. That's more like the territory of a novel. This scene was the best way I could think of to demonstrate the weight of the dilemma, although perhaps it wasn't as successful as I hoped.

Does who died matter? I felt like it didn't, for the scope of the story. I think the most important parts are the fact that it was somebody Celestia loved dearly, and their loss finally broke her after thousands of years. I felt like explaining beyond that would be a waste of precious words.

While Equestria is no doubt a diarchy, I always felt like Luna was much more passive as a ruler than her sister was. Especially after her return, I felt like Luna still feels unsure of herself after going down the path that led her to become Nightmare Moon. Thus, I felt like she would be comfortable with trusting Celestia to know what is best for Equestria, since in her eyes, Celestia has never gone off the deep end and tried to harm ponies as much as Luna has. When Luna said that she trusts Celestia to make the right decision, she didn't mean that she trusts her "to see the error of her ways," as you put it. She actually meant that she trusts Celestia to make the best decision for Equestria, no matter what it is, even if that means turning everypony into Alicorns. If Celestia believes that is a good path for everyone's welfare and happiness, Luna will support her, no matter what. I realize this is a lot of implication to glean from a couple of sentences of dialogue, so I will be sure to try to imply these things much more clearly in the future.

>>Baal Bunny
Why do you believe this story takes place after the ending of the series? If I implied that in any way, it is certainly a grave error. Unfortunately, I saw no way to give more background without preserving the important parts of dialogue that actually speak of the dilemma that is the focal point of the story. I do not want to blame the word count limit, since the essence of a good writer is being able to tell a good story despite any such limitations. So perhaps I should have focused on other details, and the dialogue I presented here was not actually the most interesting part of this scene.
#12 ·
· on The Great Spell
We have a constricted round, but this would be a top contender even with more contestants. The 'simple' shapes are skillfully rendered and volumetric, the lines and curves are graceful, the lower perspective adds a sense of supremacy and power, and the coloring and shading is just enough to round out the scene. Kudos, Artist!
#13 ·
· on Triple Threat
Ascension to godhood is often a road of turmoil, and this suggests that well. The pencil sketch is evocative but rough, the foreground forehoof needs to be somewhat larger, for instance. Given the other artwork in this round, I believe this will take second place; still, thanks for contributing, Artist!
#14 · 1
· on Continuance · >>Dreamy Days
>>Dreamy Days
Welcome to the party. It's a bit scant these days but new faces are always welcome. In celebration of shaking the rust off—a feeling I'm all too acquainted with—let's continue the dialogue!
Does who died matter? I felt like it didn't, for the scope of the story.

It does a little bit, I think. Maybe not many specifics about the individual, but at least some deeper clue to who exactly this pony was to Celestia for their loss to drive her into such a desperate state that she's fundamentally alter the makeup of the nation—arguably the world since suddenly there would be a whole country of immortals overnight—without anypony's consent.

Based on Luna's speech and the castle setting, we're looking at season ~3-9 for the timeline. Celestia is no stranger to loss and coping with grief. It's perfectly reasonable that, eventually, one straw would finally break her back (and to reiterate, it's plainly clear that she's at wits end) but that straw would have to have been a mighty heavy one. Knowing anything would help me, as a reader, align myself better with not only Celestia's grief, but also her desperation to never have to go through it again after coping normally for so long.

But! You are absolutely correct that word economy is a high priority in mini rounds. If it were me, I'd have her counting out or naming spouses/friends/lovers/whatever she just lost as Luna bursts in to help give the mystery pony some context and identity, just by way of example.

She actually meant that she trusts Celestia to make the best decision for Equestria, no matter what it is, even if that means turning everypony into Alicorns.

This is a perfectly reasonable reading of that section that I hadn't considered. I think Luna bursting into the room like she owns the place sets her up as more sure and assertive in my mind, which is where the disconnect between my reading and the intended reading of her response to Celestia's plan. A shift to a cooler introduction would smooth things into the "I trust you, onee-chan," perhaps.

This is kind of rambly because I'm tired and it took 2 days to write it between work and napping at home, but I hope the added thoughts are useful all the same. Maybe next round I won't be in the ER for the writing period and we'll get to square up in the ring :)
#15 ·
· on Continuance
Thanks again for the insight, I appreciate it. Hope whatever you're going through gets better soon.