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Forbidden Knowledge · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
#401 ·
· on Not On the Outside
I quite liked this one. It started as a comedy, and then slowly transitions to a drama that deals with PTSD. That sort of change could easily be off-putting, but the story handles it organically and there's no one point where it suddenly switches tone, which could cause issues. It's still kind of unusual to switch like that, but in this case I don't think unusual is the same thing as bad.

The characters were fun too. The Hearth's Warming play characters are kind of tricky, since if they're too different from the characters that play them it feels off, but if they're too similar then it feels like you're just reusing the Mane 6. This story hit a nice balance between those. And as previously noted by others, Starswirl was awesome.

If I have one complaint, it's that it feels like the story drifts a little, particularly with the tonal shift. But to me it came off as a slice of life more than a comedy, and I don't mind as much when slice of life stories meander and don't have a clear end. A very pleasant read.
#402 · 1
· on A Faint and Curious Voice
So... I got aroung putting this story up in FiMFiction. Here it is.

I addressed most of the issues presented, as best as I could. Once again, I appreciate the feedback I got from everyone. I'll be sure to participate in the next events.

I wish the best to the finalists, I'll check if I haven't given critique to any of them.
#403 ·
·
For the first time:

In a while, it doesn't look like I'll have time to even read and rank all the finalists let alone comment on them. I just had too much penguin juggling to do this week...

Mike
#404 ·
· on The Outer Dark
I think this is a very good fic, but it's also pretty one note; without much in the way of an explanation of what happened, it never tries to be anything more than an elemental horror story. But it's a very well done elemental horror story. It uses imagery and metaphor in a way I can only envy, and if there were any technical errors I was far too enthralled in the telling to notice them.

Rarity's voicing just feels weird, but that actually kind of works within the story. It gives a dissonance with the show, and that fits because the entire story is about being dissonant with the show.

This isn't the kind of story I seek out, but I'm impressed all the same. This gets the highest marks from me.
#405 ·
· on Pinkie Pie Saves Equestria And/Or Bakes A Cake
Somehow all the stories I ranked earlier didn't make it to the finals, so I'm staying up way too late reviewing because all the finalists I've read are far too good to go on the bottom of my ranking.

Unfortunately this story didn't change that!

I kept thinking that the story was going to go too long and wear out the welcome on its one big joke, but somehow it always kept things just fresh enough. It probably would benefit from moving a little quicker, but it never got tedious either. The premise is a fairly simple one, Pinkie Pie breaking reality, but it has a lot of fun with that premise. I'd definitely recommend this story to friends if it ends up published.
#406 · 2
· on Standards and Practices
It's a little humbling and a little cool — speaking as an author who has only missed the finals twice in the history of the Writeoffs — to have read all the finalists and be able to say, "Yeah, even the one that I'm ranking lowest on my slate was a better story than the one I submitted." I think that's a mark of how far the Writeoffs have come, to have such universally strong contenders among the second round, and even more strong stories (not talking about mine here) missing the cut.

Great job, everyone. ^.^

That said, let's take a look at "Standards and Practices". While this isn't a bad story, it definitely has some places where it needs work. Most of them have been covered by the other commenters (the "it was all a dream", the incompleteness feeling of the plot, S&P needing to be a bigger deal than it is). For me, though, the most disorienting moments were the ones where it felt like the story was suddenly breaking the fourth wall:
"I was being so cynical and uninterested: snarky, even!"

"'rated E for Everypony' is the phrase I've heard whispered on the winds of legend."

I'm not sure why "snarky" bugs me so, and it feels nitpicky, but I just cannot see it as something a pony would say — and here it's coming, not even from nightmare Cadence, but from the one in the S&P-adhering world. And citing ratings is just straight-up meta. Not that you couldn't do a solid examination of that premise, but to have it be the only instance of medium awareness makes it stand out like a sore thumb; Luna here probably needs to talk about the concept in more Equestrian terms, and you might need to refine your lampshade about the fate of the show world hanging in the balance.

What do I like here? Strong hook, generally solid writing (though I spent a lot of time confused about what was dream and what was real, which might have been the point but wasn't fun as a reader), interesting character takes. Pull your central premise together with some editing.

Tier: Almost There
#407 · 1
· on We Are All Made from Silence
I thought this was going to be a feelings fic. Then things got weird.

Other than that... it's kind of hard to describe, really. It's hard to tell how much of this is supposed to be metaphorical and how much is literal. Truth be told, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it.
#408 · 1
· on Only, Only, Only You
I'll Nth not being someone who could judge poetry on technical merits. All I can judge on is whether I find it pleasing, and I definitely did here. More than once I stopped to reread a line aloud to myself, quite enamored.

I'll second Everyday that I particularly liked this set:

Come closer here—my heart, my host.
Come closer. Hear my heart, my host,

The same words, but different, really gave those lines a punch I wasn't expecting.

Giving the Nightmare a voice was also something new to me, and you did it well. It's sad and plaintive without judging. Setting it as a poem works perfectly for evoking emotion without getting bogged down with details like a story about the Nightmare would probably have to.
#409 ·
· on Completely Safe in the Reference Section · >>Bremen
>>Bremen
Personally, I didn't have a particularly hard time categorizing this, in between the central premise that being in the reference section would make the book safe, and then the fire-based aardvark traps. It came across to me like one of those absurdist Monty Python documentary-style sketches. I'm definitely not saying you're wrong to have bounced off this one (your reading experience is legitimate, and people fail to connect with stories for all sorts of reasons), but this sort of played-straight absurdity is definitely a thing.
#410 ·
· on Only, Only, Only You
Just as a follow-up on my earlier comment >>horizon: As much as I appreciated this poem — and as much as I gave it a boost for the ultra-hard-mode execution of being a strong poem in a short-story round — it ended up just outside my top three. Competition at the top was fierce, and the bottom line is: I'm just not certain a poem can really be made to work in a short-story competition. Poetry demands intense attention while reading; this definitely offered language to reward that, but getting through this lengthy of a poem kind of feels (for better or for worse) like plowing through a novel. (And, having written my share, it's got that same insane engagement curve on the authorial end, too.)

Honestly, though, the biggest problem with this — and the last short-story round poem I remember reading, which was long ago from Georg, and also worthy of applause as an ultra-hard-mode Writeoff entry — is that it simply wanted to be shorter. When you've told your story in 500 words and realized you're only a quarter of the way to the minimum wordcount, a sort of panic sets in, and you start looking for ways to pad it out. (I get it. I've been there.) There are three sections in this poem, and though there's a sort of narrative progression, I don't see a whole lot of thematic development as it goes on, which tells me that probably the poem that's now "scene 1" might have been intended as a standalone piece. It certainly works as such. And the fact that the remainder of it circles over the same ground — while it gives you more room to luxuriate in the wonderful language — does wear a bit, if only by the nature of the format. It's a mark of your skill that you were able to keep it that fresh that long.

I'll be rooting for you to break the short-story competitions' poetry high water mark — 8th out of 49 with The Last Dreams of Pony Island — but please be proud of this no matter the results.
#411 ·
· on Pinkie Pie Saves Equestria And/Or Bakes A Cake
A fun little romp of a story, this had me smiling from beginning to end. It was silly all the way through, though I do have to admit that it may have played a bit close to Swarm of the Century in that the whole story was Twilight ignoring Pinkie Pie’s actual plan for fixing things, while she did her own unsuccessful thing.

Still, I can’t really hold it against it too much; this was a fun story in its own right, and a number of the little jabs – the line about Spike’s comics, Pinkie Pie’s own nature as an eldritch monstrosity who doesn’t really understand Twilight (or anything else, really), the battle with the monster – all worked well.

Pinkie Pie was a lot of fun here, and Rainbow Dash worked well enough as herself. Twilight was okay as well, and some of the things she did – and the arguments she got into – were certainly amusing, though as noted before it did feel like a bit of a repeat of Swarm of the Century, albeit from a different perspective.

In the end, I liked this, but its similarities to Swarm of the Century (and a bit of the repetition, as well as the fact that the story had something of a foregone conclusion) kept me from really whole-heartedly embracing it.
#412 ·
· on Only, Only, Only You
I wanted to like this more than I actually ended up liking it. Writing a big long poem like this for the writeoff is fairly impressive, but I have to admit a lot of it felt a little bit on the forced side. Some of the word choices here ended up feeling too flowery, and it sort of kept twinging me a little bit in that a lot of it felt like it was just a bit off, in a way that I myself have often struggled with (which is one reason why I don’t write much poetry). There’s a sort of… I guess you could call it constructed flow that I feel like I default into, and this poem twigged me on that same flow at times, as it never really feels sufficient or quite right, like it is a bit forced.

I never really fell in love with this, even as we see the Nightmare try and resume her relationship with Luna.
#413 ·
· on Thou Shalt Not Eat Of The Tree
Adam has a conversation with Applejack about whether or not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Applejack is rightly suspicious… after all, it is a pear tree.

This story amused me, all the more so for the foregone conclusion, but I felt like Adam’s reasoning here was a little scanty. I’m not really sure what this added to the myth, unless there was some implication that she sent him off to the wrong tree because Pony and Unicorn were really eating from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

I got Applejack and Rarity’s characters pretty strongly here, but in the end, it didn’t really seem to do much with the myth.
#414 · 1
· on Trade
Gosh, a Twinkie story?

A deliciously sad one?

Well, this worked well enough. The Shopkeeper did his job well, and Pinkie Pie was Pinkie Pie, but a sad Pinkie.

That said, I do have to echo some unhappiness with Pinkie Pie not walking away with anything; it is all about trades, and Pinkie wanted nothing but to erase the memories of her loving Twilight. But… well, I’m not really sure that even makes sense. Is that even knowledge? Is Pinkie just going to fall in love with her again? And given that the whole thing centered around trades, her getting nothing doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense.

I’m also left with some fridge logic – why does Pinkie think she went there in the first place? Does that count as ancillary knowledge? Or not?

I can’t say that I didn’t really like this, because I did, but the ending felt like a bit of a let-down after so much build-up – I was expecting SOMETHING there, but instead I didn’t really feel like I got much and was left still feeling kind of confused.
#415 · 2
·
Results are in! (And I was a bad non-changeling who stayed up all night playing games to be awake for it ...)

Congratulations to Cold in Gardez, billymorph and Bachiavellian for their medals, to Corejo for our first-ever double Controversial winner, to Titanium Dragon for overtaking second place in the FIM scoreboard, and to everyone for another great round!

CiG finally ends his short-story gold-medal drought, and commandingly so. Completely Safe in the Reference Section joins our list of biggest gold-medal blowouts, not breaking Dubs' record of a 3.03x multiplier from second place, but settling in as a comfortable runner-up with 2.80x.

I'll be over here savoring my story's placement and taking some small and meaningless consolation in my best-guesser spyglass. (No analysis this time -- just good ol' style matching and some tactical voting of "Anonymous" given our author/story ratio.) Looking forward to the retrospectives, otherwise see y'all next time.
#416 · 1
· on We Are All Made from Silence
Have to offer an enormous apology to everyone this round for being so lousy at reviewing. Long and short of it: I got invited to a university interview, so pretty much all my time was divided between work and interview prep (for real, this has been me the past two weeks).

It totally paid off though when the interview finally arrived yesterday, and it was partly thanks to a writeoff entry I submitted with my application! So, like, literally, I’m not even sure what to say. Just thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who commented on that thing, because it’s difficult to express how much it means to me to have gotten on this course – joining this website has been the best decision I’ve made all year.

And I swear to God, next round I will totally make up for my lack of reviews. Pinkie Pie promise.

_____________________________________


As for We Are All Made from Silence, I wish I had more to say about it. But the truth is, it was almost as last minute as you can get, and so it kinda ended up being a weird blend of some of my earlier work – judging from the comments, I think some of you knew it was mine, or at least suspected it. And to address a common complaint: the bit where Scootaloo meets her shadow-half was something which I added in the last ten minutes before the deadline, so it wasn’t thought through at all. Lesson learnt, I guess. Don’t leave it all until last minute :facehoof:

Otherwise, I’m delighted at the response this story’s gotten, and for all the useful feedback. Another few good solid editing passes and I think it’ll be ready for fimfic.

So sorry again everyone. But thank you all again!

EDIT: Forgot to add -- Congratulations to Cold in Gardez, billymorph and Bachiavellian! In particular I'm glad to see that Completely Safe in the Reference Section did so well, considering that was my top pick.
#417 · 2
· on Trade · >>horizon >>RogerDodger
Reflections and an open note


Hi, everyone.

I'm gonna go into a bit of a long thing here, so I do want to get the short-stuff out of the way first and foremost. Thank you to everyone who has read and commented on this story and sent their feedback. I'm not sure if I'm going to go anywhere with this, however (maybe, depending) because this entire ordeal had been quite frustrating for me, and it's something that I feel I need to address (nothing bad, though!)

There have been quite a number of thoughts on this story, a lot of which are due to my writing, and a some of which are contradictory, so I might not really know how to address them all. This does not mean I do not find your feedback valuable. I'll try to clarify certain points and get to the meat of things, all in due time. But first, there's an issue that I want to bring up.


OPEN LETTER TO ROGERDODGER

I don't join this competition often. This is my 2nd time only, and while it's been fun, it's usually just on a 'whim' kind of deal for me. I haven't written at all for the past 5 months due to issues that some of you are aware of, and mainly, I was using this as kind of a way to force me back into writing.

So what happened was that I booted up a tab on my browser and left it open, using the timer as an indication to how much time I had left, and I went about my business.

It would be many days later when I take a glance at the clock and was happy that there was still always enough time left. But then, I started to realize that the clock wasn't moving.

The clock stops.

After refreshing the browser, it turned from 2 days 13 hours to 11 hours left, and I had to pump out the fic in its entirety in the small remaining time I had left. Due to timezone differences, I started at about 11 pm and wrote straight up until 6 am, and I had no time in the morning to give it a proper edit or even do more than call my friends at the last minute to take cursory glances (to which I am extremely grateful).

Now, not to get the tone wrong, but I realise this comes off as the ramblings of a petulant child, but I'm not actually trying to bitch about it or say omg this was the fault of everything. I should definitely have kept better awareness of the situation, and the blame was entirely my own. I am of course also very happy and grateful to your work on this site and for organizing it, and for, well, everything that you do on behalf of the competition, which is very very cool.

However, I think it's important that if you're going to use a timer as a reminder or a notification for users, it really shouldn't stop half-way through its run, especially when people are relying on it as indication of progress. It's a good tool, a useful tool, but it should work so that people CAN rely on it faithfully.

As a manner of testing, I opened it up on another computer and it also stops there after a while (tested using the prelims clock) so unless both of my computers are busted, this is a thing. I used chrome and MSIE for testing, and I don't know how long it takes before it stops but it is somewhere between 6 and 18 hours.

If this issue is already known, I'm also sorry for bringing it up again.

Right, now that's done, let me address the comments.

Delicious, tasty comments.

The story above also is used to highlight another thing. I'm fully aware that this story is a bit of a mess. if you didn't bother to read, the tl;dr version is that I wasn't paying attention to time, and I forced everything out scant hours before the contest ended, which resulted in a rushed and horribly composed piece of work. You guys have literally read my first draft, and I'm honestly terribly embarrassed by it.

So before anything, I'd like to apologize for this.

Since everyone seems to have their own ideas and interpretation of the story, and a lot of points have been repeated, I'd like to address the story idea itself rather than talk to individual people.


Firstly, the burning question:

Pinkie traded away her knowledge of her love for Twilight in exchange for a cake recipe. This is definitely what happened.

I thought I was more concrete with the ending, but it seems I need to point to it more. I'll fully put my hand up for this one. Some people got it, some didn't, but I'd like for everyone to get it. This was not meant to be as ambiguous as it turned out.

There was one little thing that made a big difference that as a mistake I noticed as soon as the entry closed. I'd forgotten to italicize one single word, which I believe would have changed the reading quite dramatically.

Pinkie's last line in the shop : "I'm taking nothing", had the wrong stress. The stress was supposed to be on the word 'taking' rather than 'nothing', but I had forgotten to italicize it.

"I'm taking nothing" was meant to put the emphasis that it was more of the sacrifice that she had to make in order to preserve their friendship, in line with the repeated use of 'sacrifice' in the previous few exchanges with The Shopkeeper.

Of course, there could be other ways to point to it, but I am much for a fan of subtlety in my writing, so if anyone else has any ideas on how I can gently poke at it without painting it red, I'd love to hear thoughts.


On the subject of POV

I also realize the weirdness of the POV jumps in the intro and outro. Not gonna make excuses here, I'm just going to have to fix it. I'm wondering, however, how to frame it from Pinkie's side without being overly dramatic. Any thoughts on this?

However, to address the comments that they're unnecessary, I'm afraid I respectfully disagree with that.The whole point was to show the difference in Pinkie's character from before and after, when she was burdened and when she was then later lifted from her burdens. She acted heavily in the intro because she felt heavy, and she was back to 'normal' in the end because she was no longer weighed down. The bookends were just meant to be perspective juxtapositions.


The Shopkeeper's accent

It definitely could have been made more apparent earlier. Thank you to those who mentioned this!


On excessive back and forths between Pinkie and the Shopkeeper

I'm not sure about this one. Not because I don't see the point, but because some people have told me it wasn't enough for the point I was trying to make, and then there are some telling me it's too much for the point I was trying to make.

If anything, I think it's about how I presented the idea, which was awkwardly done. What the idea in my mind was, was that I was going to keep it open for interpretation, but writer's direction was that the shop, on a mystical level, serves as an path to help people make the decisions that they want to be are too afraid to. Pinkie went there because on some subconscious level she wanted to. The shop was just a tool for her to help herself. Thinking back, perhaps I should have left all the ideas of 'I have to do this' and the 'you already know what you want' to the very end, right before the final drop, leaving the earlier scenes open for reminiscing. I don't know. Thoughts would be appreciated, on the heels of this being what I was trying to accomplish.


On Pinkie GETTING nothing

The idea was that what she got, symbolically, was her relationship back to steady shores rather than the rocky mess of an unrequited love. What she got physically was the cake recipe because, well, it's something, and also it's that symbol that conforms to the friendship.

I know that something was throwing a lot of people off, and I think it was the mishandling of the final line, but if anyone else has any reasons why they got the vibe that Pinkie got nothing out of the exchange, please let me know what it was.


have I missed anything?

Please! Ask a question. I will send you a pizza roll.


Final word

Once again, I do have to apologize to the readers. I'm terribly upset at myself, a little bit angry (not going to lie) and this was really messily done. Having explained myself and the ideals, I would definitely love any thoughts in which I could strengthen this, and perhaps any noise about maybe even if it were worth it at this point, because I kind of feel like it's just full of cracks. Maybe I'm just tired, but either way. Regardless of what happens, all your feedback has been and certainly will be invaluable to me learning from my mistakes and working my way to throwing a story together better.

Thank you to everyone who read it, and thank you to everyone who voted for it, and thank you to everyone who took the time to comment. Thank you all for liking the OC and setting! I do enjoy having fun with them. I appreciate your time very much, readers, so thank you, and once again thanks to RogerDodger for putting all of this together.

Peace,
KR
#418 · 1
·
Got confused when submitting. "The Outer Dark" was me. Really, really surprised it wasn't obvious!

And it should feel like Memento, CiG, as it's basically a sequel to it.

Thanks, and it was fun.
#419 · 3
· on Completely Safe in the Reference Section
Coming in late:

As this is one of the ones I never got around to, I want to offer one suggestion as a guy who's worked in a public library for 25 years. At the end, have Twilight reveal that she got the idea for keeping the Codex in the open stacks from reading the Codex. It makes the book even more of a character in the story, and, well, no one who's ever worked in a library is going to think that their security system actually stops book theft unless they're under some sort of malign influence... :)

Mike
#420 ·
· on Completely Safe in the Reference Section
>>horizon

That's actually a good example, since try as I might I've never really been able to enjoy Monty Python either (except for Holy Grail, which is far into pure absurd comedy territory), and now that I think about it for much the same reason.

And honestly, that comparison is probably as good a mitigation of my review as it's going to get. It just didn't work for me, but that happens.
#421 · 2
· on Return To Sender
I came up with this idea when the first previews for The Crystalling started airing; that is, coincidentally, why Starlight doesn't show up anywhere in the story. I even tried to write it up at the time, but I couldn't think of a way to make it a workable story, and it was only through the encouragement of a friend that I ended up rewriting it for the Forbidden Knowledge prompt.

Comedy isn't really my forte; I have occasional moments of inspiration, but generally speaking when given a set of A and B my mind will skip right to the quickest path between them and ignore other options. This makes for a lousy comedy, unfortunately. I think that's the problem with this story; I came up with a few jokes, but too much of it is played straight to really be a full comedy.

Additionally, I tried to work in at least a bit of a point; Twilight complains about the stallions just seeing her as a "pair of wings and a horn" as a meta-allusion to the objectification of women. Pepe Le Pew got brought up, but I was actually going with the opposite; there's an unfortunate tendency to excuse objectifying women for their beauty as "complimenting" them, and I tried to use the example of objectifying Twilight as a broodmare (something much more clearly objectionable) as a metaphor to show the problems it can cause. In hindsight, this was probably another misstep; treating it too seriously would be tonal whiplash in a comedy, and not treating it seriously enough muddled the message and also interrupted the comedy.

This was my first short story (as opposed to minific) and it shows. Additionally, I kind of tapped out near the end; the scene with Zecora definitely deserved to be longer, at least, as well as more descriptions and less summarizing. I probably would have done better to do more outlining and pacing myself, but again, first short story. For both my minifics I just had a single scene in mind and let it flow.

>>Corejo

I maintain that Zecora doesn't make a habit of using iambic anything :p. I certainly didn't try for it in my story; I tried to give the lines decent flow and matched syllable counts (and even then I missed one), but I can't do scansion and it wasn't worth trying to make someone do it for me. Any resemblance to actual meter was purely coincidental.

>>Bachiavellian

For the most part I agree, though I think that particular scene works better as a reference; I can't think of any way to make it actually be funny. But having established the suitors better first would probably have at least set the scene for it better.

>>georg

This probably could have used more Twilight and suitor scenes; I blame conservation of effort, since I'd went through the two obvious candidates with Blueblood and Trixie, and adding more would probably have involved putting more effort into coming up with OCs.

Good call on it needing physical humor, though again I'm not very humorously inclined. I also wanted to avoid any scenes of Twilight running from or physically struggling with the suitors, for obvious reasons.

>>TheCyanRecluse

I actually tried to minimize the troubling aspects of Shining's mortality as much as I could. Admitedly, "skirting the subject" is a pretty clumsy way of minimizing it, but... all the other ways I could think of were worse. Any attempt at treating it more delicately would involve actually calling out him being dead, which felt wrong in a comedy fic. I actually wouldn't mind any suggestions here, if you have any.

As for the second point.. yeah, this was an idea I had but with no idea how to end it. I was actually fairly happy with what I eventually came up with, but I can see why it comes off as meandering. The scene with Trixie, for instance, was written before I even had a clue how to end it, and originally the story actually ended at the Zecora scene. It would have been better if I'd come up with some clever ending that involved pieces from every scene, but... I've got nothing. That's the problem with clever endings.

>>TitaniumDragon

I think of it like this: If scientists discovered a dozen people in the world had a gene that meant their babies would be extremely smart, athletic, and free of mental and physical health problems, those people would be mobbed. More to provide donations to other couples, probably, but that wasn't an option in this story.

Now imagine that this gene gives their children super powers and immortality, and well. People have done much more to accomplish much less towards securing their children's legacy.

>>Cold in Gardez

This is a tricky one. Certainly I want to avoid any problematic elements, and unlike Pepe Le Pew I tried to avoid any scenes of Twilight actually being chased, or the suitors trying to batter her door down, or anything like that. My goal was more to paint her as annoyed by all the stallions trying to flirt with her than them being aggressive or stalkerish about it, but that might not have shown through as well as I intended. Ironically writing out more scenes with the suitors, instead of summarizing them, might have helped with this.

I'd hoped to avoid any unfortunate implications by having Twilight be the one in the position of power, and also portraying the suitors as clearly in the wrong, but clearly I wasn't entirely successful.
#422 · 2
· on Twice Paid, For a Lie
So yes, I wrote this thing. I don't know exactly what set it off - I think I wanted to do something akin to the first scene with Trinity in the Matrix, and it kind of grew from there. In part, too, because I wanted to address what I see as the prime philosophical question in Smile - Namely, should they let the ponies stay dreaming, or should they attempt for freedom?

To me, there really is no question there. I come down very hard on the latter side. So, what grew out of there was the following :

Twilight has had time to recover, and in that time has decided very strongly she's going all out to save Equestria. Luna finally agrees to this, albeit reluctantly, because on some level Luna just wants to turn herself in and be free of itall. The reason Luna is never present visibly is she's serving as a 'conduit' if you will, akin to the Operators in the Matrix - her active intervention is necessary to keep Twilight in the world.

I retained the Phonebooths from Matrix, only in this it is Moonlight - Luna can add/remove Twilight only under moonlight, which is why the AJ chase is so long whereas with Pinkie she's able to vanish instantly, and with Dash she has to break the cloud cover.

The reason she is 'killing' her friends is because the 'Lings as I see it don't actually control all of Equestria - we're talking one hive here against a nation of presumably a hundred million or so if it's analogous to the same era in the USA. So I went ahead and checked out where S3/S4/S5 largely visited and it was pretty much 'Crystal Empire (Entirely faked), Ponyville, Canterlot, and Manehattan' - thus the backstory is that the rest of Equestria is held at bay by the threat of 'If you try to take this back, we'll drain all the ponies and disappear'; this way they remain alive, if imprisoned, so there's a cold war going on.

With Twilight, this means she needs them to not realize she's awake and active - so the goal of Codex is to make them think somepony or something has gone wrong in their Dream and is targeting the Elements. Thus, the Lings won't expect there's a real-world actor until too late, and be unable to retaliate against their loved ones, since they don't even know the Elements are acting against them.

The Smile world, after all, is more brutal as the true Buffalo scenario shows in the original piece.

Bridging to 'Why don't her friends know?' was easy - someone fucked up, the Lings got wise, and so memory-scrambled everyone in the original 'study group' again, as well as AJ & co. There's a bit of a hole here in figuring out where they think Twilight is; I was leaning towards Luna/Twi faked that she'd passed on as well, and nobody in the Dream knows because that's less desirable knowledge.

The other big story point I couldn't find a way to get across was Celestia - Luna opines in the original about Celestia not knowing, and being unwilling to tell her because she's happy. It was a simple leap for me from there to have it be Luna is actively intervening to keep Celestia from realizing - that she's been editing Celestia's memories in the same way, because to her PoV, her sister is happy in the false world, and after Celestia endured so many centuries of pain and isolation and stress, Luna would rather she live a happy lie than be forced to face the magnitude of her last failure.

To Twilight, that reasoning means nothing - what makes her accept the status quo is the Changelings are using Celestia to move the sun (and possibly moon), and so to free her too soon would be to alert them to what's going on. Still, it's one of those 'It rankles at her, and she's livid Luna has been preventing Celestia from doing anything at all, even if it's to play resistance leader on the inside'.

So once I had all that down, I set out to actually -do- stuff. Which meant we have Codex (Not-Twilight) during her thing. I debated having her have conversations with 'Artemis' - preserving the 'Code name related to their interests/domain, but not immediately obvious', but I thought even Artemis would make it too obvious too soon. I think in the publishable version I will because I can use it for small bits of exposition dump and explore some of the bits - like Celestia's inaction - that I had to leave out in this entry.

I seeded the story with all sorts of 'glitches' ongoing. Off the top of my head I know there's AJ's cart having the apple barrels change position, guardsponies changing Pony Tribe during chases, Codex wall-jumping off malleable walls, and moments of high-stress allowing 'original' language to pop through. I'm curious if anyone picked them up.

And admittedly wishing more had actually commented on it, because right now I have no idea if anyone did see that or not, besides >>Icenrose (And thanks for calling it out, because I appreciated it!)

There's other fun stuff I want to play with in it, too. Like that Twilight in full possession of both sets of memories is something of a badass. It has the more 'real' Twilight's knowledge of how cruel the world can be combined with Princess Twilight's growth as a leader; whereas 'real' Twilight would be too afraid to act decisively because she lacks the experience/conviction, and Princess Twilight would be far too horrified by reality to handle it, the melding of the two produces Twilight Sparkle, Rebel Leader.

Or play with some more of how Luna still thinks this is doomed to fail, but is going along because isolation is even worse and so there's a conflict between her inner self-loathing, her desire to not be alone, and her belief that in many ways they'd be better off helping the Changelings introduce a breeding program, then be re-cocooned. Or cocooned for the first time in Luna's case, it's uncertain if they ever actually caught her.

Anyhow, onto what I think most needs work :
1. Action scenes - I'm less good at writing those, and to me they still feel flat, but I don't quite know what I'm missing. It's one of those 'I can sense something's not there, but unsure what'
2. Codex's plan - Specifically, sell the 'killing' better. The original plan had her talking AJ into it, then Rainbow seeing it happen and giving chase. Later when Codex comes back, and it's clear Rainbow won't listen, she crossbows her; in that, the other three who are 'Out' of Spike, Pinkie, and AJ, all understood what was up, but Rainbow Dash is too hotheaded to listen.
3. Developing the 'mythos' aspects - I think Codex - Artemis conversations as chapter bookends may work for this. But if so, I need to be very careful not to give away too much what's going on for new readers.

Oh! And I also wonder if anyone noticed what the Cupcake/Apple/Crossbow bolt all have in common - that's another egg and a callback to the Matrix. Spoiler : They're all Red

Then another, with Pinkie 'Knowing' - this I really like and do think it works well, and her rationale - that Gummy never grows bigger, and that Maud isn't Maud - keep with oddities from the show. The Gator is obvious, but with Maud I'm playing with the idea real-Maud is actually a very very bombastic individual; that she tried to rescue Pinkie, only to get caught; and that the reason she's so low-affect is that the 'Dream' is suppressing her more strongly than other ponies. When Pinkie says she's never seen Maud so happy in-show? It's true, because Pinkie can somehow see the 'real' Maud buried under the layers of Dream-conditioning.

And the last big thing I still want to work in if I can figure out a way : That the Changelings are using the Dream to test scenarios. Specifically, things like 'How do we beat Sombra?' 'How do we beat Tirek?' and so forth. And that when the Elements face them, its all bets off and a whole lot less palatable - only to have their memories written to show-versions after, because of course 'Tirek drains ponies and very soon after they die' doesn't gel with the happy go lucky world they face. If I make this more long-form I might incorporate that again, because it'd make it a double-crossover! But it's probably trying to put in too much; that'd be more for a prequel or something.

But overall, this suffered as many of my WO entries do due to work schedule. The new WO is nice in that it gives me a ton of time Sunday to work - and I did, as I stayed up all night and was still doing edits right up till the deadline - but there never was really time to do a solid first draft, then a full revision or two like I wanted.

...I am so tired of working weekends.

>>ZaidValRoa
See Trick Question's comment - the original story shows how Twilight gets out.

>>Everyday
So, can you elaborate on this now? Because that comment is still confusing the heck out of me.

>>Foehn
You were SO CLOSE to making the last leap, Foehn, as to why they are so similar. Alas :p

But thank you for the detailed feedback because I do agree with nearly all of it.

>>Trick_Question
Oh, I'm fine with stepping on your hooves! Buuut lack of time stopped me from adding more to the basic narrative. What I want it to be is a rebuttal to the idea that a Happy False Reality is better than an Unpalatable True One.

But yea as you can see there's a lot I had going on there I couldn't incorporate.
#423 ·
· on Only, Only, Only You · >>Corejo
Ooh, is this the first time an entry has double-won most controversial?

This was my #1 in both prelims and finals and I still super love it.
#424 ·
· on Miracle
I guess 9th place is...

Meh. Whatever. I guess I could have done worse, considering I had less than twelve hours in which to write, so that's something.

I'm afraid to respond much further right now, because I'm dealing with a lot of stuff that's causing me a lot of irritation and anxiety and I'm going to end up carelessly spouting off and sounding like a dick if I don't watch it.
#425 · 2
· on Thou Shalt Not Eat Of The Tree
In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Pony discuss life, truth, and ear scratches.

Hey, eleventh place is not that bad. And it’s the second time I’ve placed there too.

Yes, this is my story. When the prompt ‘Forbidden Knowledge’ was announced, there was only one possible direction to travel. Admittedly, the plot was somewhat straightforward and the end results foreordained, but the Tree of Knowledge was the original Forbidden Knowledge, and I had to cover it.

Pony is of course Applejack, or Orangefruit as Morning Sun put it so well, and Rarity channels her very ancient Unicorn ancestors here. There are unicorns mentioned in the Bible, but generally they are considered to be rhinos of some sort by modern scholars. Pegasi, no. Sorry Rainbow Dash fans.

I cut down to the bone here, since this is a Morality Play, or possibly a Parable, and descriptions in that format are almost skeletal. Example: A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering his seed, some fell along the path and the birds came and ate it up…

Note the farmer, the seeds and the birds are all unadorned. We never know what kind of birds they are, or if the farmer is married, or even what is being planted. Just farmer, seeds, birds.

I went back and forth on the dialogue a few times before bringing in Rarity Unicorn in order to balance things out. One of the prime rules of storytelling in this way is to minimize the number of characters, but I needed the differing POV to show the animals all were united in their trust of God (except for Serpent, that snake in the grass) and to provide a sounding board for Pony. Eve intentionally did not have any lines because she would only be duplicating Adam’s dialogue, and I wanted to show him arguing his point on his own.

His point being “What if…” and in particular “What if God was wrong?” Adam as shown here is very much Mankind, constantly striving for more, from getting a helpmate to contemplating alternate explanations of events that Serpent told him. In a way, he’s right. Mankind yearns for explanations they discover themselves, they want to struggle against adversity and imagine things the way they could be instead of the way they are. We are Rikki-tikki-tavi and our motto is “Run and find out.”

Even if we wind up eating from the pear tree and getting kicked out of the garden.

In a deeper sense, Ponies are unlike Mankind because they are not marked by Original Sin. They have followed God’s command, so they do not need a savior, they do not need redemption, and they most certainly go straight to the Heavenly Pastures when they pass away. This is something almost untouched by ponyfic in the EiH stories, and probably for good reason, because there are quite a few young people who react to Christian religion much like Dracula regards the cross. Instant downvotes there. Still, it would be a *major* point of discussion among the churches. Imagine if aliens land at the UN building, greet the assorted diplomats, and their first words are “Have you heard the word of Jesus Christ?”

I have this mental image of a Catholic family at home when there is a knock at the door and two ponies in starched ties outside.

“My name is Bright Starshine and we are in your neighborhood discussing the Word of Luna with you and your neighbors…”

Brings a whole new meaning to Moonies.
#426 · 1
· on Standards and Practices
What's here on the screen:

Is pretty much a spackle job. I kept changing the concept as I wrote, then I'd go back and try to rework what I already had to fit the new concept. I'm pretty sure there's a story in here somewhere, but this isn't anywhere near it yet. My dislike of meta makes me want to throw the whole thing out, but another part of me feels like I need to explore ideas that I dislike and see what I can do with them.

So if this ever appears on FimFiction, it'll likely be quite different--maybe Luna and Cadance teaming up against the S&P "ponies in black" who are running around Equestria reworking ponies' brains when they get too far out of alignment. I dunno at this point, and I'm juggling way too many penguins right now to put this anywhere but the back burner: I've got a story with a May 15th deadline, then I'd like to get the fifth chapter of "A Great Wall" finished before the end of the month, et cetera, et cetera.

Mike
#427 ·
· on Foundation
Thanks for the comments, everyone! I will publish this on FIMfiction at some point, greatly improved by you r suggestions (I hope!).
#428 ·
· on Only, Only, Only You
>>Morning Sun
I'll have a better version on Fimfic soon!
#429 ·
· on Trade · >>KitsuneRisu
>>KitsuneRisu
I know that feel, man. I've complained enough about my own abbreviated schedule this round. I'm glad yours came together better in the short time you had.

I liked Trade. I like more that it signals you getting back into writing! :) Thanks for swinging by the Writeoffs, and I hope to see more of you both here and Fimfic!
#430 · 2
· on Not On the Outside
Retrospective: Not On the Outside

First off, congrats to CiG billymorph for their wins and everyone else for participating!

Secondly, regarding my own entry, I'm going to have to open up with a bit of an apology. I know we have some military folk here, and I noticed in chat that at least a couple of you guys didn't appreciate the way I handled the subject. For that, I'm really sorry. For what it's worth, I'm also not quite pleased with the story.

What's there is basically only half of what I originally outlined, but on Sunday I lost several hours of writing time, unexpectedly. A lot of people seemed to notice that the story feels oddly paced, and they're totally on point about that. There was supposed to be at least one more scene of character development with Dawn before her breakdown, and then at least two more afterwards to connect her arc with Star Swirl's and bring things to a close. I really tried to include as much as I could, and I ended up staying up till 3 on a workday night before I threw in the towel.

Anyways, the main inspiration behind this one was that I wanted to do a double-subversion of the prompt. I was pretty certain that "Forbidden Knowledge" was going to draw in a ton of dark/sad stories, so I thought I'd write something of a comedy instead, with a character learning something she didn't want to. Then I thought it might be interested if the story ended up being about a serious topic in the end, anyway. I originally played with Twilight, Celestia, and Luna as the MC's, but I really couldn't think of a way to showcase character interaction between the three of them that didn't use every cliche in the book (NMM, millennial regret, etc.). IN the end I went with the Hearth's Warming Eve characters since they were more of a blank slate.

As for the results, a lot of readers seemed to like Star Swirl, which makes me glad! The inspiration for him was equal parts Robin Williams from Flubber and the Doctor, with a sprinkle of Mordin Solus from Mass Effect. >>horizon (horizon) does make a pretty good point, though, that he comes across as a bit more of a jerk than I originally hoped. The idea is that the combat training is something that Clover really needs, and that Star Swirl really does care about her well-being, but he's too socially awkward to tell her up front (at least, initially).

For now, I'm going to be thinking very hard about whether or not I want to edit this one and publish it. I want to be sure that I can approach the subject matter with all the respect it deserves.

Regardless of what I decide, thank you so much, everyone, for reading, reviewing, and rating this story! I really appreciate all the feedback I've gotten, and I'm very flattered by the bronze medal. Thanks for another fun event, guys!
#431 · 1
· on Trade · >>KitsuneRisu
>>KitsuneRisu
That doesn't really sound like something I can fix. If the timer stops after a long period of inactivity, that's the browser being too smart for its own good. If the browser decides the process is inactive and halts the event loop, there's no code I can have in there to wake it up (because the code won't be run).

There was a problem beforehand of the timer becoming out of sync, which was fixed a while ago. But in this case, the only solution I can think of is that you don't trust a timer that isn't ticking.
#432 · 1
· on Trade
>>RogerDodger
That's an unfortunate shame!

Thanks for getting back on the issue, though. Guess nothing will beat pure diligence in any situation.

>>horizon
Well, them's the breaks. I'll just need to polish it up and maybe have it ready to post by 2018! Yeeey~
#433 ·
·
Whhhhhhhhaaaaaaatttttt????

I thought I had another DAY before voting closed!!!

I didn't finish my voting or my reviews! At all!

I am a terrible person!

Where is the crying flutters icon when you need it?? ; (
#434 ·
· · >>RogerDodger
Hum. Given that these threads seem to die immediately after a writeoff ends, and earlier in the thread people were using aliases to hide their identity while posting, would it be worthwhile to let an author respond to posts by using the alias system to remain anonymous?

I think a major benefit of the system is letting authors get advice and constructive criticism, but that's sharply limited when they can't actually respond to it and everyone disappears as soon as the anonymity is over.

I know in the past people have suggested using the Discord chat after the writeoff ends since people stop checking the thread, but I tried using the Discord chat and it's extremely busy but with very little actual writeoff discussion. Seemed like it got thousands of lines of chat a day, but with maybe a few dozen actually being about the writeoff, and with no easy way to search through it.
#435 ·
· on Pinkie Pie Saves Equestria And/Or Bakes A Cake
Hey everyone, sorry for dropping out of the thread these last few days I've just got back from holiday and this was a very pleasent surprise. Thanks everyone for voting Pinkie Pie Save Equestria And/Or Bakes A Cake so highly and congratulations to Cold in Gardez and everyone else for their great entries. I feared that Completely Safe In The Reference Section would blow me out of the water, but I'm still chuffed to get the silver. I'm starting to pick up a nice collection of medels, which is rather flattering.

Anyway, this story was an interesting one for me to write. It was actually my aborted attempt at the last FiM Write-off 'Look, I can explain' but I ended up being busy that weeked so it was lucky that this prompt fitted so well into my original idea. All I needed was to ramp up the mythos a knotch and it slipped in no problem. The core idea, as many have identified, was to look at the absolutely insane world of Pinkie Pie as if it were totally sensible and that seemed to work marverlously. Its great to see that everyone enjoyed the humour and bought into the crazy nature of Pinkie Pie. I was quite worried that the story was too fast paced and choppy as it rarely paused to explain itself, but that seemed to be the oposite of the problem.

As many people noted this story has a lot of similarities to Swarm of the Century. It's hard to argue against that becuase it was the whole point. This was the same story told by Pinkie Pie in all but the content. The idea was to dive into the sheer dificulty Pinkie has communicating with ponies even when she knows the answer and her arguments with Twilight were supposed to be as much her failing to talk as Twilight failing to listen. I don't feel from the comments that this came across nearly as strongly as I hoped it would. In many ways I didn't have the time to write a more concise and focused story to communicate that, so I'll be going away for a bit to do a proper re-write I think. (After Alicornitus updates.)

Anyway, to adress some specific comments:

>>horizon Yeah, last line was a tricky thing. I had maybe 10 minutes to finish up by the end so it could have done with a final polish. For the last Write-off it would have been:

"Pinkie! Can you please, please, explain anything that just happened in the last five minutes."

I pursed my lips, struggling to put my thoughts into an order that she could understand. "Umm... Pinkie Sense?"

“I but– You can’t– It doesn’t make any– ARGH!” Twilight slammed her hoof against her head. “You know what, I don’t even want to know any more.” She took hold her of broom handle again and began to walk away. “I’m going to go hit the thing in my basement with a stick until the world starts making sense again.”


Alas, I'd completely forgotten about it when I came to writing the scene. XD

>>Everyday
"Travelling by mirror is always weird." It took me just a moment to recognize it, but nice callback to Green Isn't Your Color


Thanks, this is also a refference to Through the Looking-glass and What Pinkie Found There which remains one of my favorite Pinkie Pie fics.

And thanks everyone else for leaving their thoughts.

See you all next Write-off
#436 ·
· · >>Bremen
>>Bremen
Using aliases still breaks the anonymity rule.

I'm going to have post reply notifications done soon enough, so this shouldn't be too much of a problem.
#437 ·
·
>>RogerDodger

I wasn't saying I was going to do it, just asking if it might be worth amending the anonymity rule since the system was in place anyways.

I guess we'll see how much reply notifications help.
#438 ·
· on Twice Paid, For a Lie
“Take the Blue pill, and the story ends. You wake up in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe.” Remy stares at the other pony and grimaces. His eyes lock on the pill that almost seemed to glow within the surface of that black coat.

“Are you offering me drugs?” Regardless of Remedy’s question the black pony continues. Remaining emotionless behind the veil of his dark circular shades. Showcasing yet another glowing pill with his other hoof.

“Yeaahh…-You’re totally offering me drugs.”

“Take the red pill, and you remain in Wonderland. And I show you just how far the rabbit hole goes.”

“And sexual favors?!” The white colt shuddered in his seat at the creepy remark of strange drugs and strange acts. When Remedy made to move, his companion spoke out once more catching him off guard.

“Just remember! I’m only offering the truth.”

“Relax! I only want some water. Jeez!” The mare like stallion did just what he stated. Lifting the glass of water that was placed aside and bringing it to his lips. Unable to answer or think. “You know? Ponies usually ask for a date or a dinner before ‘this’.” Remy gave a nervous smile and stood up to make his leave.

“Where are you going?!” The special agent colt held out his hoof and motioned for him to stop.

“I’m leaving. This is too weird.” Remy remained uneffected by the simple request. Pushing his way through the same door he came in.

“But you’re the chosen one!”

“Talk to me when you’re not high!!!”

“But you’re suppose to save the WORLD!” The bald earth pony rushed out of his chair and stood in front of Remedy. Pushing his muzzle against his.

“Holy c%$&! How many of those have you had?!” And thus the two ponies that escorted Remedy to their secret hideout had to subdue the poor white stallion. Who in the end was overpowered by highly trained agents.

“Help me! I’m being violated! VIO-LATED! HELP ME! Oh! Not like this! Not like THIS!!!” Poor Remy screamed for his life as he was pulled back into the room.

-Remedy’s Introduction into the Matrix.

By Remedial Fortuitous Heart


NEGATIVES
-Scene Sequence
The content of the story is plentiful! I could see countless chapters being made to create and draw out this plot into a much bigger scale, than what we see here. Which gives room to a bunch of interactions and story twists that make this story much fun to go back to for countless reading sessions. By all means make it as colorful as you wish! The one thing that hit me was how much the story was lacking in explaining itself to its audience. The scene were well made and thought out but the overall effect was cut off short with how cut off everything felt. This was a big project story idea turned into a short story entry. I don’t blame you, but it could have been more. You’re not the one to blame though. I can see this piece doing big in fimfiction where there are no restrictions. For now take this as a reference that big ideas can fall short when limited to such a short amount of wording. This advice is more along the lines to help you get through to a finals round.

-Conflict
The conflict of this story seems to be everywhere. Where it doesn’t seem to lack on the excitement, what it does seem to lack is its own pacing. The constant mood of action and suspense can wear out and bring expectation to your readers. It would mean a much harder time trying to bring out the climax point of the story, which should have been the reveal. The ending scene was more along the lines as the only calming scene within the whole story and didn’t seem to have an edge compared to the other scenes that made up it’s build-up content. Another way you could have made things interesting is with Rainbow trying to escape or acting paranoid about the reality of things. Though your version you end up making Rainbow the main character for the ending and she just accepts it no hard feelings whatsoever. This seemed to break the tension you placed within your story and just left my interest with a constant flatline. It’s not bad where you’re going with the story it’s just that you gave out a spark and then a much smaller less effective one at the end. It was a good try but with a story like this lacking a high hitpoint for it’s climax I seem to just wanna stay back in the dream world chasing after Codex. Leave me something, or give us something, to remember the story by.

-Entertainment
Overall it was a fun read. Though it plays out the same song and dance the entire story. Stalk, kill, and chase. For three scenes and even then it feels like in the end we’re left with a cliffhanger of the same formula of stalk, kill, and chase. There has to be a calm before the storm. A moment of peace and tranquility to accent the good of what Twilight is trying to defend in the end. Even with Rainbow. Having it drawn out as just obvious would be just assuming we’re gonna take it by the author’s desired effect. You have to plant that seed and till it till it becomes a tree. Much like a reader’s interest. You have to watch it grow to have any attachment at all. Just giving me a plant makes me wanna shunt it somewhere out of the way or not care if it withers and dies. You need to be able to have that bond as reader and writer. “Hey! I’m here to entertain you! This is what I have to offer.” “Alright good sir! Please! Play with my emotions and imagination.” You can do a lot by just those means alone. I would love to see how you would play out a good murder scene and play with the characters here in a dark but classy setting. Without the twist of alternate realities.

POSITIVES
-Idea
The whole premise of turning the Matrix into a ponified version of itself was actually pretty interesting. I never thought the two would mix well until I read this. Though you tried hard to explain how it came to come to this point of events, we never actually understood it was all just a mind controlled dream world. I for one was hooked on the town trying to find this murderer of a pony and loved following how one by one the mane six fell. (Even if we only got to see three of them.) Point being, I think this story would have been much better if you kept the dream like world and left the ending with Rainbow waking up seeing her friends in an almost skeletal state. Giving it the impression that you originally attempted, while also not really hinting that it’s the Matrix afterall. We don’t often times get to read gruesome murder stories, let alone even think of them with how much “love” we seem to tolerate within this fandom. So it was a very refreshing change of pace. Giving it that “The world is not as you know it” ending seemed to draw the story back several yards from the endzone here. There was certain elements you could have played with to make it stand out, such as more struggling and expressions to deepened the emotional losses felt within each pony. I just couldn’t feel what Codex and Rainbow felt when they were chasing/running from one another. The guards felt like they were placed in there for decoration more than anything. The way a story should be read is like reading a pulse. There should be high times and low times. Which will create this mesmerizing flow of events that should be a lot smoother to read. When a story comes to life so will the reader’s imagination.

-Content
The content really would have been played with more here. It’s a twist we’ve seen several times over for anyone who has seen the Matrix, it’s memes, and it’s products placed about in society. Often times when people reader they expect to see a twist in their thoughts and a spike in interest. The main spike here in this story was the ever expanding killing spree of a mysterious pony named Codex. Who is taking out each one of the Elements of Harmony and must be bringing about certain doom. In the end we find basically a pony version of a storyline we’ve followed before with, not one chosen one, but six of them? While that was different, the story didn’t have much in terms of being unique to itself. The whole eating of the cupcake, apple, and whatever Codex fed Rainbow (If she did feed her.) Was smart and well played out. Even though the scenes could have been drawn out longer for more effect, is in the end looked like it was a copy of the “red pill, blue pill” scene from the movie which is probably said movie’s biggest meme. I’ll say this now that I hate anything considered to be created for the sake of trolling or promotion of insulting others just for a laugh. Each scene was admirable lengths and added to the story without overdosing me on making it something completely complex in nature. The pacing was nice and made way for an interesting story. Even with it being considerably confusing and somewhat a mere copy. The main difference this piece brought was the elements of the characters within the story. Aj’s drawle, Rainbow’s faithful emotions for her friends, Pinkie breaking the 4th wall. That made it ever more believable that these characters do exist in this story. Though Codex could have been played to be more of a side character rather than um...Twilight Sparkle who. I really think would have much more of a harder time even pretend killing her closest friends. Especially with her um...alicorn condition. So in the end with have two highly constructed universes coming together in a short story. (The Matrix and MLP).

This story was a great read. Not at all sleep inducing and it never held the reason for me to pick up a dictionary or stop my read at all. It remained dark, classy, and mysterious in its own way until the ending where Neo leads the ponies to freedom of the evil oppressive robots. I mean Twilight Sparkle and changelings! The writer here uses elements we normally see as very bloody and kinda traumatizing, IE “Thank you Pinkamena for the cupcakes!”. It remained pretty much realistic to both us and the mlp universe. (Except that crossbow...Though we did see spears at the end of season 5.) Alright enough with the fandom banter! This story reminds us of mortality without it being dressed in nothing but its own clever style. My advice is to make this your own story by making it more of Luna investigating these gruesome scenes within a pony’s dream and trying to track this aforementioned killer who thinks of nothing but killing. There’s a lot of ways you can spin this and my head is reeling about trying to figure out a way to not make this soo….”Matrix-y”. Either way in the end it is your work and it’s obvious there’s some pros and cons. You make it what it is. Not the movie that it’s based around. Shape and form it to share something beautiful.