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Hounded · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Show rules for this event
#1 · 4
· · >>GroaningGreyAgony >>Heavy_Mole
This post is a public commitment to write something, and critique/review any other writers' somethings. Because if I don't force myself to be publicly accountable, I will slack.


Also I won't actually offer meaningful critique of any art that's made because I don't know enough to speak intelligently about it, but I will ooh and ahh appreciatively at any pictures that get drawn.
#2 · 1
Your commitment is noted and appreciated.
As one of the remaining artists, I should note that comments on posted art are always welcome, even if they are not informed critiques.
#3 · 3
This is FUTURE CHRIS, come back to the past to inform you that you paid the toll, banished the blank page and were rewarded on this day with something that you were not necessarily looking for, but necessarily were in need of; and that while your attitude toward me is flagellating, mine toward you is tender, generous, and forgiving of faults.

Without you, maybe, I would not understand how beautiful the creative process is, that the whole meaning of it is being open to something one does not yet grasp, however acrid the way. And at the very least, I would be less empathetic toward others who aspire to follow that way more directly.

But enough of that--just pretend I'm not here.
#4 · 2
#5 · 1
I am in as well!
#6 · 2
I hadn't really planned:

On doing anything, but I saw Chris's post and finished up my latest AugieDog story earlier on Saturday than I thought I would, so I popped over to see what the prompt was. A story then popped right into my head, and, well, there was nothing else for it but to type it out.

#7 · 1
· on Where the Wild Things Aren't · >>GroaningGreyAgony
So that'w why her coat is yellow...
#8 · 1
· on Where the Wild Things Aren't · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Isn't that a comedy of situation. Adorable. Love the idea!
#9 · 2
· on Doodles · >>Baal Bunny >>Heavy_Mole
I decided to do reviews this round in alphabetical order, and this story is immediately making me regret that decision, because I'm finding it very difficult to make a useful review of this one.

So, let's start simple: there's plenty of editing work to be done here. From stuff like wrong word/wrong tense ("He reached over and pet her wrist"), oddly-constructed sentences (you like long, flowing sentences, which is fine, but sometimes that leads to an irrelevant aside thrown into an otherwise-coherent thought where it really ought to be separated out), word repetition, and a pervasive telliness (probably at least partly a result of wordcount limit, but take a look at paragraph #8: that could be multiple fun scenes, or at least a nice band of dialogue that feels more like part of a story and less like a summary) are all things that could be improved without altering the style or tone you're aiming for.

But more broadly, I must admit that this story leaves me confused as to its broader purpose. Sometimes, this is because the reviewer is dumb or not reading carefully and misses obvious stuff. And sometimes, that reviewer is me! But even if that does turn out the be the case, I think there's value in seeing what seemingly obvious things a reader managed to miss, so let's go:

As far as I can tell, the literal plot is, "Cranky is feeling less grumpy now he's married, so he decides to find his long-lost son so said son can do chores for him and his wife, but said son can for unclear reasons only be found by having someone who makes Cranky miserable bring him back, but when he finally finds somepony he despises, she just brings him Fluttershy and tries to hawk him some candles." Obviously, that's incoherent. Or rather, it's obvious that the sentence I just typed describes an incoherent plot, not that that's your plot, because I'm assuming this is a metaphor. It's just... I can't figure out the metaphor. Is Cranky yearning for his youthful vigor/having a mid-life crisis? That would explain how "Roofus" (his younger self, metaphorically) would help give him the energy to spruce up the house and how he could be brought back by re-creating the feelings of misery that he associates with that period of his life, I guess. But the ending feels totally nonsensical with that interpretation; Cranky getting hung up on Fluttershy's gender, or the story closing on the candle angle, don't make any sense with that interpretation. Is there some other interpretation I'm missing? Probably, but, well, I'm missing it.

So in the end, I'm kind of baffled about what this story is supposed to be about, and that makes it hard for me to speak intelligently about what would improve it. What I can say, though, is that there's some great humor in the way you mix love and hate with contrasts like "Cranky became more and more convinced that he hadn’t met a pony with whom he shared so little in common, and whose presence he detested so indubitably. At the end of their conversation, he was nearly in tears of gratitude for her appearance," and that (ignoring for a moment the stuff I mentioned in the first paragraph) your narration has a pleasantly languid yet evocative quality, even if I'm often not quite sure what it's evoking. There are plenty of good things here to build on, is my point, even if I'm not sure exactly how to help you stack them into the building you're trying to make.
#10 · 1
· on Ruby Ruckus · >>Baal Bunny
This is going to come out harsher than I intend it to be, but the fact is that my immediate reaction upon finishing this story was: so what? Like, the three diamond dogs are wandering around and hungry, they snatch a gem from some (cultist?) ponies, and something goes wrong for said ponies because of the switch. But so what? I don't know what the stakes are, I don't know what this ruby is, I don't know if the Doggos just accidentally saved Equestria, accidentally doomed the universe, or accidentally did something largely inconsequential! No, you certainly don't need to explain everything in a fic, but I don't feel like you gave me nearly enough pieces to even try to construct the narrative.

Truth be told, this feels like the setup to a story, not a story itself. Oh sure, you could change the focus a bit so that it's a story that tells us something about the dogs (one where them taking the gem and its negative consequences for the ponies thematically reinforces their in-show distain for how their actions affect others, perhaps, or one where their theft redounds against them at the end in an echo of how kidnapping Rarity cost them their home at the start), but my guess is that you'll be happier theming this baby up by adding to the backend rather than by trying to insert/intersperse.

Right now, I read this as some post-Dog and Pony Show blank-filling that doesn't serve any larger purpose. And that means that I'm looking for meaning in your waypoints and coming up empty. Rather than just being able to enjoy, for example, some very nice survival concern imagery, I'm trying to figure out what that's supposed to tell me; I'm looking at it for meaning instead of for/as setup, because I can't find the meaning. Once I have that purpose, that meaning--what are you telling me about these dogs, about Equestria, etc. that I don't already know?--then I think a lot of my ennui about this fic will resolve itself.
#11 · 1
· on The LMNOPs of Harmony · >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny
Okay, I love the penultimate paragraph, but I find the very last one a bridge too far. Yes, yes, bitch as in female dog, I get it. In a longer story, that could be worked in in a way that's funny, but I think that here it undercuts the largely sweet humor of the rest of the fic because it's so short; it makes it feel like you wrote this specifically to make a bitch joke, which is kind of a different tone of intent than I was getting from the first 730 words.

Past that, though? It's a cute idea, and I enjoyed reading it. I think you could really pump up the name puns/sound-alikes--I'd aim for every single changed name to be at least two of dog pun, FiM soundalike, and different word/identical meaning--but it's very respectable work for 24 hours. It's an insubstantial little story in the end, but that's fine: not everything needs to have a deep message, especially not in 750 words or less. I think you found something here that's a good fit for the length, and I appreciate that in a story.

As a nitpick, I'm not sure why you had Dash/Lash being the one to argue against cool adventures; that sounds like more of an AJ attitude to me, or maybe Twi, or Rarity, or... well, any of the other main six but Dash, really. One could chalk it up to the AU, but since Pinkie/Vera is explicitly playing to type, it seems odd to have Dash/Lash play against it.

But all in all, this one got a few smiles out of me, and that's never something I'm going to complain about!
#12 · 1
· on The Nature of Prophecy · >>Baal Bunny
What a brutal last line. I felt miserable in a kicked-in-the-solar-plexus way when I read that, which is exactly as intended; you set everything up for that conclusion in a way that immediately made sense upon reading it without being obvious along the way that that was the emotional beat you were building to. Excellent work, there.

I feel like this story needs to be slightly longer; the second scene could give us a little more of Celly's thoughts/impressions/how she's figuring, but I realize you're right up at the wordlimit, and you got enough in there for everything to make sense. I just think the flow would be better, and fit the first and third sections better, if it wasn't almost pure dialogue with no internal thoughts/impressions.

But even beyond that gut punch at the end, I really enjoyed this fic. We got off to a great start with a dry-humorous glimpse of SS's critique, and even as that tone became increasingly serious, it never felt anything less than cohesive. Nice job!
#13 · 1
· on Treed · >>Baal Bunny
Cute idea; it feels like something that could have come from certain seasons of the show (albeit with a more slapsticky/less wistful tone). It does feel like the ending lacks some oomph--it's no letter to Celestia, natch--but it's a fine lesson nonetheless.

I think the tense choice might have been a mistake. Not that there's anything wrong with having your story be in present tense, but in this particular case, you start off by having AJ remembering something, so it feels confused for the first couple of paragraphs, until you've got enough of the same verbs in a row that it's clear what you're doing. This is one of those "you're not wrong, but you're not making it easy for people to tell you're right" situations: think about the reader's first impressions, especially given that a fanfic reader can absolutely be excused for suspecting unclear tense in a story is a result of authorial incompetence rather than the result of a grammatically correct but potentially misleading decision.

Beyond that, though, I thought this was exactly the kind of stupid/pointless thing Dash would do, and that kind of hitting characterization hard in a short space is always nice. All three come through clearly, even with Winona not having much character beyond "farm dog"--nice job there!
#14 · 1
· on Where the Wild Things Aren't · >>Baal Bunny >>GroaningGreyAgony

That's not a criticism; that's exactly the reaction this story was going for at the end, and you got it. Uuuuuuuuugh.

Okay, so: I like that you start heavily dramatic, the better to be undermined later, but I'd take another look at some of your choices there; "the steady step of the condemned prisoner facing the gallows" doesn't really jive with Equestria, for example, and could be easily enough replaced without changing the overall tone. But in fact, I would change the tone in an important way: I'd keep this entire story from Fluttershy's PoV, rather than start with Rarity and shift over for the punchline. Because you need Fluttershy's PoV for the last line, but you could keep pretty much the same beats by staying there the whole way. And as a bonus, you could get an earlier fake-out on the reader by making the early going really sound like Flutter is a werewolf, then pulling that rug out on us as soon as Rarity starts talking!

But now I'm getting dangerously close to telling you how I'd write your story, rather than just what worked and didn't. As-is, this was a funny little idea, way to write an "I'd like to be a tree" story in the year of our lord 2024, and uuuuuuuuuuugh.
#15 · 1
· on Treed · >>Chris >>Rubidium >>Chris
All my comments:

For this whole round, I feel almost certain, will start with the words, "What >>Chris said." Just like old times! :)

'Cause the past tense/present tense thing is what hit me right at the beginning, made me stop and blink and start over again. Keeping it plain ol' past tense won't trip me up that way. I'll also say that, if Winona's been barking continually for "a couple hours," that seems like a long time without AJ going to see what's up. Oh, and there's an extra "pony" as the third word in the penultimate paragraph. Still, I'm always impressed when folks can conjure up a complete story in wunna these minific rounds, so definite tunmbs-up for that!

#16 · 1
· on The Nature of Prophecy · >>Chris
What >>Chris said:

This story put the idea in my head that Clover the Clever becomes Celestia, and I like that idea a lot. It clears up some points of Equestrian history that have bothered me so much, I've written a couple stories myself trying to make them make sense.

As I said in commenting on the previous piece, complete stories always get a high score from me in minific Writeoffs, and you've definitely got one here, author. When expanding it to meet the Fimfic minimum, in addition to Chris's points, I'll add that some "scene setting" would be nice: describing where our narrator is when she's examing the Crystal Heart at the beginning, adding a few visuals as they're leaving the Empire, stuff like that. But yeah, this one's pretty much there.

#17 · 1
· on The LMNOPs of Harmony · >>Chris >>Rubidium
What >>Chris said:

That last paragraph really doesn't work with the tone of what's come before, and, well, there's no real story here, is there? All the ponies are dogs, and they've had their own doggy adventures there in Dogestria—Caninia, I suppose? But other than that? It's fun, but with more than 200 words till you reached the limit, author, I would've liked a little story...

#18 · 1
· on Ruby Ruckus · >>Chris
What >>Chris said:

For me, it needs a little more context to make it into a story, an expansion throughout so we can understand how the dogs' actions have effected the world around them. Oh, and an extra tap of the "Enter" key between paragraphs, please. It makes thing much easier to read.

#19 · 1
· on Where the Wild Things Aren't · >>Chris >>Rubidium >>GroaningGreyAgony
What >>Chris said:

The whole first paragraph here is kind of wasted real estate when writing a minific. I mean, all those words to say that the moon was full? But I completely agree about rewriting this to stay in Fluttershy's POV throughout. And our second piss joke this Writeoff: I'm surprised there aren't any fibrous nuggets anywhere... :)

#20 · 1
· on Doodles · >>Chris >>Heavy_Mole
What >>Chris said:

I can't say that I have any idea what's going on here, either. I'd suggest jettisoning all the Roofus stuff and have the story be about Cranky moved to tears when he meets Whoa Nelly and learns that he can still hate others even with all the happiness he's fallen into. But it definitely needs some more work.

#21 · 1
· · >>Rubidium
It occurs to me that, in the interest of providing the most complete possible reviews, there's one more thing I should add:

What >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny >>Baal Bunny said :)

(And thank you, Augie, for reminding me of the poopfic-off. Truly, one of the writeoffs of our times...)
#22 · 1
· · >>Chris
I have to ask: what was the poopfic-off?
#23 · 1
· on Treed · >>Chris
The tense thing didn't particularly stand out to me - the second sentence making explicit the passage of time relative to the first made the tense shift feel very natural. I agree with >>Baal Bunny that "a couple hours" seems much too long for Applejack to wait before going outside, but I don't think much changes otherwise if she only waits a couple minutes. The sentence structure at the beginning is a bit repetitive - your first six lines are all "some assertion" "But, contrary assertion" (and the sixth line even includes both halves of that pattern another time in the description of Winona's growls), and it would be nice for that to vary a bit more.
Rainbow Dash characterization was great, not just in her competition with Winona (which, to be clear, was fantastic), but also just in all the individual exchanges with Applejack.
The ending was definitely the weakest point - it felt to me like you were trying to append a moral to a story that didn't really need one.

On the whole, though, I really enjoyed this - the complaints I have are very minor details, and the substance of the story felt very strong both in concept and execution.
#24 · 1
· on The Nature of Prophecy
I think my main issue with this story is that the impact of the ending hinges on Celestia being right that she could have predicted Luna going evil, and we just don't get much reason to believe that's true (Star Swirl says it is, more or less, and by convention the old wizard giving exposition is probably telling the truth, but we're forced to take him at his word) - I would have liked to have seen either some interaction with Luna that suggested the relationship wasn't working, or some better justification for why the heart is able to make the prediction it does.
The pacing of the whole second half feels very rushed, which might be a word limit thing - basically everything after leaving the Crystal Kingdom (Empire?) feels like it's trying to tick the necessary checkboxes to set up the conclusion.
I did like the Star Swirl characterization at the beginning, and the concept here is interesting, but on the whole it doesn't quite land.
#25 · 1
· on The LMNOPs of Harmony · >>Baal Bunny
I pretty much agree with >>Baal Bunny. There are plenty of solid lines, but there's not really a plot as such, and "parallel universe except they're dogs" isn't quite enough to hang a story on.
Dash/Lash didn't feel against type to me - she's not arguing against adventures, just pointing out that lots of adventures are already happening.
Is there a wordplay I'm missing with respect to Rovera's name? All the other names seem to be referencing their pony equivalents, so I assume there is, but I can't figure out what it would be.
#26 · 1
· on Ruby Ruckus
In addition to the above, I was a bit thrown by the repeated mentions of hunger/tiredness - it seemed like you were setting something up with those and the decision to enter the cavern in search of food, but as soon as they spot the gem that thread just sort of disappears. Not sure if it was meant to be a thematic commentary of some sort - if so, it went over my head.
#27 · 1
· on Where the Wild Things Aren't · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Rereading this before commenting, the "antique toothpick" line remains fantastic.
I disagree pretty strongly with >>Baal Bunny regarding the opening paragraph - it's true that the scene-setting at the opening isn't terribly efficient plot-wise, but this story is fundamentally a shaggy dog joke, and those don't really want to be efficient. Besides, the story really needs to set a dramatic tone in order to subvert it later, and the opening felt to me like it did that very well.
I think I agree with Chris about the gallows line - it's not necessarily unreasonable for a darker take on Equestria to involve the death penalty, which isn't substantively all that different from the semi-permanent petrifications we see in canon (and I do think, given the basic structure of 'set up dramatic situation, then subvert it hard for a punchline', that it makes sense to suggest a somewhat darker take on Equestria than the default assumption), but I did find myself spending more time arguing with myself about whether Equestria would have gallows than I think is desired. That said, while the line stuck out on reread, I don't remember noticing it much on initial readthrough, so I might just be being over-influenced by Chris's comment.
The perspective shift felt fine to me - from Rarity's perspective this is a horror-drama, and from Fluttershy's perspective this is a comedy, so lining up the perspective change with the genre change seems reasonably natural. I actually think doing this all from Fluttershy's perspective would weaken it somewhat, since then the pulling of the rug would feel much more like authorial sleight-of-hand than it currently does, which would take focus off the absurdity of the situation.
#28 · 2
· on Doodles · >>Heavy_Mole
As I understand the story, Cranky takes the lesson from Pinkie's intervention that unexpected good things have to come to him via ponies he personally dislikes, discovers to his disappointment that his character growth has made him get along with nearly everyone, is relieved to discover that the MLM pony sucks enough to hate her, and then is disappointed to discover that in fact this formula doesn't work when she tries to pass off Fluttershy as his son and Fluttershy tries to justify the whole setup with a fairly nonsensical moral. That's not literally incoherent - Cranky's actions follow from his beliefs, and his belief in a loose sense follows from his experiences - but it does require Cranky to be kind of a psychologically bizarre alien. I'm not sure if this is meant to be a sort of lolrandom comedy that just doesn't match my sense of humor, or if I'm just missing the point entirely.
#29 · 1
· on Doodles · >>Heavy_Mole
Have you ever met an old man who is too immersed in his own worldview? Cranky is that in this story, and this impression of mule-like stubbornness is carried through well.
Go find your son, Cranky! He is your candle in the darkness
#30 · 2

That would be https://writeoff.me/event/32-All-In, in which both PresentPerfect and Pascoite submitted poop-themed fics (apparently based on a prior conversation they'd had, but neither knowing the other also intended to write one). Also, both fics were right near the top of the randomly-ordered list along with a booger story PP also wrote, so a bunch of reviewers who were just reading everything in gallery order got three kinda gross-premised stories in their first half-dozen or so reviews. Good times!
#31 · 2
I will have something in for the art round.
#32 · 1
· on Treed · >>Chris
“Yeah! Winona doesn’t have wings, does she? So how can she catch me if I fly away, huh?”

“She… can’t?”

“Exactly!” Rainbow nods triumphantly, as if she’s proved some particularly brilliant point. “So, I’ve gotta get past her on hoof.” She flops her head back down. “I’ll let your dog keep thinking she’s got a chance for a little longer, then jump down and outsprint her to the fence when I’m good and ready. You go do your farm stuff, s’cool.”

This is really nice. Rainbow and AJ are well-voiced in this germ (and I suspect that AJ's "voice" is behind the tense confusion in the first two paragraphs--trying to keep it familiar, informal). Far from being inane, I think Rainbow demonstrates some wisdom here with regard to interacting with dependents. For that reason, I was expecting AJ to observe something about how much closer she feels to her because of how her "family" instinct has married with her personality.

Maybe AJ is used to Winona barking all the time. Here, it reads as being a bit of zany humor, which is slightly out of tone with the rest of the story.

Great use of the prompt.
#33 · 2
· on The Nature of Prophecy
Admittedly, I puzzled a bit over the way the theme of ‘prophecy’ is elaborated in this story (first being related to magic and then likened to something like artificial intelligence), but I think what you basically mean is to distinguish between something in the future which can be avoided in contrast to something which can’t.

For my taste, you don’t have to prove that C could have done something to evade her confrontation with her sister—it’s the ambiguity which is important. This is a modern twist—unlike our Greek predecessors, we take it for granted that observing a thing changes the nature of the thing.

It seems like Star Swirl is aware of this. In the middle passage he startles, and refuses to comment on his student’s further questions on the matter; in the third passage he discounts the artifact’s capacity to prophesize. It is almost as if C has become the subject of his experiment, though of course he disappears before his “proof of genuine prophecy” is ever realized.
#34 · 1
· on The LMNOPs of Harmony · >>Baal Bunny
I like the last line. It’s no cheap pun.

The creators of said puppy show would no choice but to use ‘bitch’ as a general noun, if they are as obsessed as the creators of the pony show (and the fanfiction authors therewith) are with inserting horse terminology, even where it is not really needed, as a mark of virtuosity.

If you can have “Fillydelphia”, why not “Bitchigan”?
#35 ·
· on Ruby Ruckus
This one is not quite out of the oven, as others have said.

Though in my case, the question is not so much "So what?" as it is "Then... what next?"
#36 · 1
· on Where the Wild Things Aren't · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I would add that I like how Fluttershy’s famed arboreal fantasies are only alluded to here, rather than pegged down with a callback. This gives a satirical edge to a well-paced and well-characterized punchline.
#37 · 2
· on Doodles
This was a great round, and I was really impressed by both the respectfulness and the analytical rigor of the participants. It was very useful for me, anyway; though it seems, like Celestia, that I read my own prophecy when I came back from the future to offer support to Chris (I also happen to be a 'Chris'!").

>>Baal Bunny
In this story, Matilda has passed.

How do we know? (How are we supposed to know?)

A few allusions to death: how she "descends from parted clouds", and how Cranky shuts the door on his guests "like a coffin lid".

The big clue is supposed to be Fluttershy's encomium to MLM and how it gets us motivated, sometimes, to pretend; followed by Cranky hearing Matilda's voice "lilting, from inside."

The point is not to trick the reader but to have them engage with the subject without preconceptions. Being so subtle is risky, and in this case, was not executed skillfully enough.

Straightaway I would remove Fluttershy's last line, first because the touch of dark humor adds too many layers to what is happening, and second because one has to be careful with irony, generally (it's a double-edged sword in terms of reader rapport).


Matilda has died, and Cranky wants to repeat his happiest moment. He invents a son to this end, which constitutes his inner monologue. His visits to Ponyville only tell him about himself: physically weak, afraid of aging, etc. He is in an absurd situation. His charade is exposed by an insufferable solicitor, who is herself roped in a scheme. Amiable Fluttershy points this out to him in an innocent way, and he winds up with quite a different message from that in "A Friend In Deed".

I have thought about having Matilda in the dialogue slipping in something along the lines of, "The Lord giveth", but with less scriptural overtone.

Thanks to everyone who read and commented, and to Groaning for once again providing artwork--you, sir, are a prince.
#38 ·
· on The LMNOPs of Harmony
Congrats to our medalists:

And thanks, >>Rubidium, >>Heavy_Mole, and >>Chris again for the comments. Like I said earlier, I wasn't planning on entering 'cause minifics and I have never gotten along. But the prompt drew me in, and I didn't have time to do anything more than what's here before the deadline hit. I think there might be a story here somewhere, but I'm gonna hafta think about it some more. Oh, and "Rovera" is just "Rover" with an "a" at the end to make it a girls' name... :)

#39 · 1
· on Illumination · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I know that look. He's trying to think of something to write...
#40 · 1
· on Heartbroken · >>GroaningGreyAgony
"Although the Crystal Heart was a beacon for doom-laden prophecy, none of us could deny its penchant for strident coloration and condensed movement."
#41 · 1
· on Rebel Rebel Rebel · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I love the use of colors in this one - the way the dogs seem to loom out of the shadows and the brightness of Rover's eyes against the duller colors of everything else both give a very eerie atmosphere.
#42 · 1
· on Heartbroken · >>GroaningGreyAgony
This is fantastically cool, and I wish I knew enough about art to say something more intelligent about it. I love the sense of motion, the slightly uncomfortable elongation of the ponies, and the way you did the layers on the heart, but there's also something about the composition that makes it more than the sum of its parts, and I wish I could put a finger on what.
#43 · 1
· on Where the Wild Things Aren't
>>Zaid Val'Roa, >>Forcalor, >>Chris, >>Baal Bunny, >>Rubidium, >>Heavy_Mole

Where the Mild Things Are

Thanks for the silver! Grats and welcome to Rubidium, grats and welcome back to Chris, and thanks and condolences to Zaid, Baal and Mole.

I felt my way through this fic (It was initially going to be a dialogue with Luna concerning her take on lycanthropy) and only picked out the punchline when it was mostly done; I am fortunate that it worked out so well. I appreciate the suggestions and intend to act upon them in one way or another should I bulk up this odd tale for presentation on Fimfic.

Thank you very much for the lovely and thoughtful comments, I am glad to see so many faces here.
#44 ·
· on Illumination


This one turned out to be a poser. On the first day of the drawing round, I already had visual notes(*) for all the stories, but I was no better at unraveling its meaning than anyone else. The draft sketch I had for this one did not feel compelling and I was considering leaving this story undrawn.

In the darkest hours of the final night, when the other pics had all been executed, scanned and uploaded, I considered Cranky wearing a candle flame instead of a toupee. That felt worthy of being put to paper, so here we are.

(* If anyone is curious to see the visual notes, I'll put them on the Discord server.)
#45 ·
· on Dog and Pony Show
Dog and Pony Show

This one didn't change very much from the initial conception, I just tried to select a faster breed of dog for canine RD (she's roughly modeled off of a greyhound).
#46 ·
· on Bark Below
Bark Below

Thanks to all for the gold on this one. This was the first and easiest story in which I found a strong visual symbol, and it was also straightforward to execute. Most of the pieces I did were colored pencil on black paper, and I was tempted to leave the sky black on this one. Doing the blue fill in was the longest part of the drawing.
#47 ·
· on Rebel Rebel Rebel

Rebel Rebel Rebel

Thanks for the praise, this was certainly one pic in which using black paper added to the presentation.

This one changed a fair bit from the draft sketch as in the meantime I was inspired to make it a reference to a certain album cover. I do this sort of thing a lot but it is rarely recognized; I suppose I am often too subtle, or just too old.

The title refers to Rebel Rebel, one of the songs on the album.
#48 · 1
· on Heartbroken
>>Heavy_Mole, >>Rubidium


Thanks for the lovely comments! I always appreciate feedback.

If you look at the draft for this piece in the Discord server, you can see the central principle on which it was constructed; Celestia attacking Luna with their resulting poses forming the curves of a heart shape. There is a concept in animation called the line of action which is used to construct visually dynamic poses where anatomical accuracy is not a concern; here, Celestia's intended movement is like a blow that causes Luna/NM to curl up upon impact. These shapes were drawn to conform to and accentuate the outer heart shape, which was roughed out with a ruler; the rest was freehand.

I hope that these notes help to guide your finger somewhat. : )
#49 · 1
· on Bark Below
Thanks for all the arts, but mostly for this one, because I love the visual of Dash's tail hanging so tantalizingly close yet out of reach. Just an excellent visual that represents my story in a very literal way, but also captures the spirit of the whole thing <3
#50 · 1
· on Treed
>>Baal Bunny

Thank you all for the thoughtful comments. I haven't been doing much writing this past year, and I do almost no ponyfic these days, so it's nice to hop back in like this. I'm glad the voicing came through, sorry about the tense stuff (it was a product of the wordlimit; there was a longer intro that was less ambiguous about us being present-tense in the first draft, but it was one of the things that got trimmed to get to 750, and when I thought about just switching to past, I realized that both I liked this fic better in present, and switching would add another ~50 words anyway), and my intention with the timing at the start was that AJ heard Winona run off barking a couple hours ago and was just now going to see where she'd gotten off to, not that AJ'd been listening to continuous barking for hours. Anyway, good and right criticisms, and stuff that'll be easy enough to clean up, I think, so thank you! I'll also certainly poke at the ending and keep an eye on repetitive phrasing; to repeat myself, a lot of ideas and suggestions up here that I feel are really useful and accurate.

So thank you all again, congrats to the other medalists, and thank you to everyone who entered a piece. It was fun to come back to this, and even though I'm probably going to continue to be occasional-at-best with participation, I love that the writeoff exists and that you all are just so generally great.