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End of an Era · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
#1 · 10
· · >>Everyday >>QuillScratch >>Syeekoh
Welcome to this new WriteOff round!. This time, Roger, our enlightened and beloved tyrant (don't forget the $10 you promised me), proposes you a Short story pony contest.

Short story means a story no less than 2,000 but no more than 8,000 words, unless your nickname is Horizon, you feel happy-go-lucky and you goal is to be admired for your ability to flout the rules;

Pony should be self-explanatory so let's not lose time writing to much about this, though maybe that's what I'm doing right now, so okay, right, I pack it in. I would just add that you can also write about griffons if you like. Or diamond dogs, if you have anything interesting to say about them. Even Rarity's parents.

Prompt submission starts right away. Don't forget to:

• Capitalise your prompt when necessary, unless you want to attract the ire of said tyrant on you;

• Prompts must be short and not name any character (except Pinkie Pie by special request of Trick Question);

• Rating is T so refrain from any explicit prompt (unless 1. you're Trick Question; or 2. you plan to write a Star Trek crossover where Spock mates with Twilight Sparkle in which case go ahead we lack horror stories);

• ‘Ot’ is Owfully tired (what? I made a mistake? Where?);

• As long as the voting process has not started (see below) you can change your prompt any time by deleting the old one and entering a new.

Prompt submission ends Thursday, 14th (aka Bastille Day) at 12:00 GMT, whereupon the voting process begins.

You are allowed to upvote as many prompts as you deem fit. You can have an idea of how your own prompt fares by clicking on the Prompt submission button.

Prompt voting ends Friday, 15th at 12:00 GMT at which time writing begins. All stories must be checked in Monday, 18th at 12:05 GMT sharp. Late submissions will be spurned and ignored. Be wary of using characters or situations that reference too recent an episode, as many contestants do not watch the show on a per-episode basis. Using misaimed words like ‘anybody’ instead of ‘anypony’ risks you being pigeonholed as a philistine. ‘Anybunny’ is reserved to Angel or Everyday. You have been warned.

To conclude, the usual motto which goes along the lines of “Don't compromise anonymity. Doing so is ground for disqualification and we'll send Majin to fuck you as a complimentary punishment. It is highly encouraged – though in no way compulsory – to write a fake review of your own story.

Good luck, and don't fret too much: whatever you write, my own entry will be worse, so go ahead.
#2 · 4
·
>>Monokeras

I got mentioned in the new-and-improved introductory post.
Neat!
#3 · 7
·
>>Monokeras
Don't compromise anonymity. Doing so is ground for disqualification and we'll send Majin to fuck you as a complimentary punishment.

Well now I'm just tempted to compromise my anonymity D:
#4 · 4
·
It's not important to keep your prompt anonymous, though, I'm pretty sure... We'll see if I actually enter this. Chances....meh, we'll see. It's so much fun just to come in and read all the posts, nevermind the actual entries! The Writeoff crowd is cool beans.
#5 ·
·
Blarg, I can't believe that the last time I actually participated was the previous MLP short story round...

To be honest, though, I haven't been feeling very good about my own writing, as of late. Still not sure if I'm going to be able to scrounge up enough motivation for this one. :S
#6 · 6
·
Okay. I can do this. We can do this. This write off... it's on.
#7 ·
·
Ooh, lots of interesting prompts so far!
#8 · 2
·
Definitely count me in for this round.
#9 · 1
·
It's been a very long time since my last Writeoff, but who knows, maybe this is when it'll finally happen again?
#10 · 4
·
"Writing period: Trotcon" :facehoof:
#11 · 1
·
Of course it's the weekend of the Eldritch Moon prerelease. Well, at least it's not a minific round; that'd eat up most of the writing period.
#12 · 4
· · >>georg
We're at 3 Les Mis song titles/quotes. I can appreciate that.
#13 · 2
·
I dunno if I can actually enter, given weekend plans and especially that I can only type with my right hand for a while, but I hope I can. This is the most relaxed I've been with the most free time going into a writeoff in a long time. Fingers crossed! (on the good hand, of course)
#14 · 1
·
Alicornacation


Reckon I can get away with just submitting the first chapter of Alicornitus if this prompt wins?
#15 · 2
·
Here's hoping that all those on the fence will find a way to participate this time. :twilightsmile: We had a pretty small Original Short round last time, and more entries would be great!

(I'm hoping to join in as well... I could start to get a decent participation streak going... but time is ever unpredictable with little ones.) :raritydespair:
#16 · 2
·
>>Monokeras
I'm strangely okay with the added stipulation on compromised anonymity.
#17 · 1
· · >>FanOfMostEverything
Okay, I have the time to write for this one. And I have a story I really want to write, so here's hoping the prompt allows for it as I don't want to wait 12 weeks to get to it.
#18 · 3
· · >>Syeekoh >>Bugle
>>Bugle
You could always write that story just because you want to write it.
#19 · 4
·
>>FanOfMostEverything
Nonsense.

Utter, complete nonsense.
#20 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>FanOfMostEverything

It's a very different experience writing something in the WO, however, and I want that experience for this story.

Also, most of my non-WO writing time goes to my blog.
#21 · 2
·
>>Bugle
I daresay you could write it for the Writeoff regardless. Just stick a title drop in there somewhere. :-p

But then I'm not the biggest stickler about stories being a 100% match for the prompt. All things being equal, I'd probably rather read a story someone is passionate about writing.
#22 ·
·
Seven and a half minutes. Hype!
#23 ·
·
Some Assembly Required.
I am so curious to know who submitted that one.
#24 · 2
· · >>Kitcat36
I'm somewhat disappointed Random-Pretentious-Sounding-Phrase didn't win, but it gave it a good shot. So, how many Lost Cities fics are we going to get this round? I'm taking bets.
#25 ·
·
>>billymorph
hmmm, could be interesting...I wasn't thinking about that. It would be sweet, though
#26 · 2
·
Pretty sure:

I'm out this round. I'm involved in a "submit something every day during July" contest sponsored by Zoetic Press that I'm writing a series of linked poems for, and the San Diego Comic-Con is next weekend, so I need to get a lotta stuff done this weekend before heading down there.

Mike
#27 · 4
·
Oh cool I got an idea almost immediately after seeing the prompt.

Tonight, we write.
#28 · 5
· · >>Monokeras
Well, I know what I'm writing!

I definitely don't have the talent to pull it off optimally, but I think I have the talent to pull it of well enough to be entertaining to some.

Best of luck to all writers!
#29 · 1
·
>>Bugle
Good luck Bugle!
#30 ·
·
End of an era...
#31 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Funny, there's this idea I had some time ago for a story that fits the theme.
Let us see if I can pull it off before the deadline.
#32 · 1
·
>>ZaidValRoa
Oh yeah, as per my usual, I'm pulling from a desperately moldy old idea that just might fit this.
#33 · 5
· · >>Kitcat36 >>Pascoite
I meant to try something new this round, but I should have said so when prompt voting was still going on. The writing period snuck up on me, and I have email notifications off, so... I guess I lose out.

Anyway, here's my idea. I'll help one person a day with their story. On Friday (which won't happen now, since it's already Friday), that might mean only helping flesh out the premise and warning of any pitfalls I can envision with it. On Saturday, that might be seeing the start of the story or maybe even a rough draft. On Sunday, that might be giving a full review of the finished product. Whatever you have done at the time. Just provide me a link to the work in progress, if there is one, and I'll go over it before making myself available for an hour for live discussion.

So here are the rules. Send me a PM on FiMFiction saying what day you want. Obviously, Sunday is more useful, but that means most people will pick it, so that also makes any one person less likely to get it. So do you want to play for better odds or feedback on something that's as close as possible to being finished? The choice is yours. I will randomly choose one of the people who requested each day and notify them by 1 PM Eastern time on Saturday via FiMFiction PM that they were selected. I will only contact the selected ones, so if you don't hear from me, you weren't picked. I will be available any time between 7:00 PM and 11:59 PM Eastern each day. The clock gets triggered when you send me a link to your in-progress doc. I will spend an hour leaving comments and suggestions on it. Take whatever time you want to look over those, then contact me by a method of your choice (FimFic PM, email/Gchat, Skype chat, Google hangouts, Skype call). I will spend up to an hour talking to you about your story and answering questions, and I will leave it up to you to establish that contact. Just make sure all of that happens during those hours. Keep in mind that you'll need to send me a contact request on Skype first if you want to use that, and identify who you are if your Skype ID differs much from your FiMFiction one. I use this same user ID on Google, gmail, and Skype as on FiMFiction and here. I will not reveal which authors I did or didn't help, but if you want to tell people, that's your business. I will not be entering the write-off myself, so I have no conflict of interest.

Will this actually help? That's up to you to decide. In short story rounds, I've made the finals often enough, but it's been a long time since I got a medal in one. I also often differ quite a bit on what stories I think deserve to be the top finishers, so take that for what it's worth. I may persuade you to do things that other reviewers don't like. In fact, that's probably guaranteed to happen, since most choices you make will appeal to some readers and not to others. Almost nothing is universally liked. Still, I think it will be a net positive.

If this works out well, I may do it regularly, or I may expand to minific rounds (where I could probably help several people per day).

I'm interested to see whether I get any takers and if it makes a difference.
#34 · 1
·
>>Pascoite
That's an awesome offer, from an awesome author! I still don't know for sure if I'm really going to get something done, but I am going to give it a shot, at least. I can't commit to having a story written at this point so I won'ttry to sign up but I am so grateful you're doing this!
#35 · 1
·
>>journcy
Hey, Neigh Miserables was a great musical. "Do you hear the ponies sing, singing the song of angry mares..."
#36 · 9
·
Hi, I'm new. New-ish. I've been on FIMfic for years now, and I'm trying to get back into the swing of things after a two year Rip Van Winkle-ing.

So this seems like a nice way to do that. I hope I can put something together that'll be worth submitting.
#37 · 1
·
Okay, the selected authors have been notified. Good luck, everyone!
#38 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Crud. This was my best opportunity to write this weekend... And my story is MAYBE a third of the way done...
#39 · 1
· · >>TheCyanRecluse
>>TheCyanRecluse
I've hit my increasingly traditional panic point as well. Having a lovely weekend; just not eking out much writing time.

Alas, if all I get done this weekend is fleshing-out an old story idea into a synopsis I can actually write at some point, I'll call it a win.
#40 · 3
·
Success! Story finished!

Not edited, mind, but I've still got time for that. Probably.
#41 · 2
·
>>CoffeeMinion
Ah, but you see, my problem isn't lack of story ideas or synopsis's (Synopses?)... It's a lck of ambition to actually get down and drty and write the damned stories!

Which is why I enjoy these competitions so much. they force me to get off my duff and write!

Unfortunately, it's a rather large duff, and sometimes it takes quite a lot to force me to get off it and put words to paper... Or fingers to keyboard rather... O.o
#42 · 2
· · >>Everyday
Whelp.
My story's done... Though I've gone way beyond the word limit. Thankfully, I still have ~20 hours to get rid of the superfluous...
Uh...
Three thousand words.
Yeah, I can do this.
#43 · 1
· · >>ZaidValRoa
>>ZaidValRoa

Perhaps, rather than rid yourself of so much, you could keep it for publication?
If you want it to be part of the writeoff, I'd at least recommend not permanently deleting those additional words. Keep them for reference.
#44 ·
· · >>ZaidValRoa
>>Everyday
Yeah, I'm making a copy and see what can I trim down.
I hope I can end up with something I can submit, I'd hate to sit out of yet another writeoff. This is the first one I've actually had time for which to write since May.
#45 · 2
·
Finished my first draft. Given my tendency to overwrite things, I'm pleasantly surprised to announce that it's only fifteen words above the maximum!

I'll be spending the rest of the weekend revising it for submission. Staying up late writing My Little Pony fanfiction is a socially acceptable way of spending one's Sunday, right?
#46 · 2
·
Just handed my thesis in this friday, and somehow totally missed the event notification that arrived during last-minute revision frenzy. Shoot! Well, I'll be doing some reviewing and look forward to the next event.
#47 · 4
·
BWHAHAHAHA! It is DONE!

Now all I need to do it format it, fix all the formatting errors, and edit it properly.

All in about fifteen minutes. Because I need to work tomorrow, and I need sleep if I'm going to remain awake through pointless meetings. O.o

This.. this is not good.
#48 · 3
·
Clock is ticking, Ben. Clock. Is. Ticking!

Not sure how much longer my caffeine-induced final push has the steam to keep going.
#49 · 2
·
Finished yesterday evening, and now everything is as edited as it's going to get. Time to sleep, then go to work tomorrow and spend the rest of the week hitting refresh on the discussion page every two minutes.

Good luck everyone!
#50 · 2
·
Aaaaaand done! Time to crash.
#51 · 5
·
It's funny; I've had a fantastic weekend IRL, but I've managed no writing time whatsoever. Now choosing between sleep or a last minute suicide-push...

Nah. Go well, friends. See you in 3 weeks!
#52 · 4
·
Ok, I decided to do just one good story this time instead of two 'meh' ones, so it's loaded and ready to go. Unfortunately, my Alicorn Pon Farr story did not get finished in time, so it will have to wait until later.

Princess Twilight Sparkle stared up into the alien's dark brown eyes, caught up in the rush of hormones as her heart hammered fiercely and the scent of his musky sweat washed over her.

"Pheromones from the alien being," she gasped, scribbling furiously in her notebook. "Too strong to resist. Fascinating. Must investigate further."
#53 · 3
·
Hello Everyone. If you are reading this, this means that, and I quote, "I'm back!" :D

I already had story in the works and I believe it worked really well with this prompt. I already submitted it and I can't wait for you all to read it. I know it might not get views but I hope that I will get a good response for it. Took me all three days to make it and I am happy with the result. Take care everyone and I will see you again soon.

~Broman.
#54 · 3
·
And it's done.

I have few illusions about it advancing very far, but I hope you all like it regardless.
#55 ·
·
>>ZaidValRoa
Whelp...
Managed to get it down to 8.6k words, bu it wasn't the same. The flow was choppy, and some parts felt rushed.
Guess I won't be taking part on this round.
...
Again.
...
Dang it...
#56 · 2
·
I have produced what I am certain is a brilliant entry in the wake of Trotcon. Now I can sleep guilt-free. Good night!
#57 · 2
·
Phew. Got it in under the wire. We'll see how this goes.
#58 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I admit, I found the prompt initially only lead me to sad and disheartening ideas. I have this sense that our fandom itself, such as it is, is winding down. That's the way of the world of course, but still sad. So "End of an Era" felt particularly depressing to me, as I turn to Pony to cheer myself up.

That said, I rallied and just managed to get one in under the wire. Kind of proud of it, more so than I thought when writing the first parts, as things really only came together in the last bit, but did so better than expected. Wish I had more time to really rewrite the middle though. Oh well. Let's see how it fares!

Best of luck to all!
#59 · 3
·
I know I'm not gonna finish my entry within the next 40 minutes, so I must admit defeat.

But I fell in love with my story idea, and really wanted to get some good feedback, so I'll finish it as soon as I can anyway. I guess I'll post it in this thread and hope it doesn't get lost (like last time). reviews plz?

also:
I don't know what the contest's turnout will be, but since many people are predicting we'll mostly get stories about doom and gloom.... I have to apologize, because my story was exactly the opposite. and now I can't add to that (assumed) minority.
#60 ·
·
I completely and totally chickened out. Ugh. The idea I had when I voted for the prompt ended up seeming either too cheesy or too Lost Cities-ish (which I know I would NOT have done justice to) and the other idea I thought about.... I thought it was kind of interesting, to me, but I am a total coward and am too sure it would be WAYYYYY sub-par to writeoff standards to even try putting it on paper (er...screen). argh. Sorry guys. I really thought I'd do it this time.
#61 · 4
·
So the bad news is ... I lost Friday to working on a story that was going absolutely nowhere (a shitty political rant about Donald Trump, because I didn't learn my lesson last round apparently). Then I lost Saturday to tabletop role-playing, and I had another RP session earlier today. With the time remaining, there's pretty much no possible way that I should have been able to pull together anything above trollfic quality.

The good news is, somehow I did anyway.

And for the first time in like six months, I'm actively happy with the result.

I'm not gonna jinx this with predictions (I'm not! I'm not!), but anyone who's been here for long enough knows how critical I am on my own stuff. For me to turn out something I'm happy with ... well, that's a big deal.

(/Braces for incoming critiques)
#62 · 2
· on Solitude for the Modern Businessmare · >>Kitcat36
Well that wasn't a ship I expected to see, ever.

Not a bad story, though. Cleanly written, eloquently worded, well thought-out, and very, very Rarity. I don't know if it's anything particularly special, but that might just be because I don't care much for shipfics myself. I'm sure I'll appreciate it more once I read some lesser fics.

EDIT-- Oh, and I don't really see how this connects to the prompt. Rarity ending an era of loneliness is pretty shaky, if you ask me.
#63 · 1
· on The Next Dawn
It takes a lot of practice to pull off old-timey writing right. I'm not sure if anyone in the Writeoff can actually do it properly.

This, for instance, like a lot of attempts, is just modern writing with words and phrases replaced by ancient-sounding ones (not often correctly, either). To make those phrases fit, though, takes a different pace and style of expression that's really hard to learn. I'm not sure I could do much better, to be honest.

Basically, I think this would have been more engaging if the thee/thous were toned down a bit. The action was okay, but there wasn't really a plot that went anywhere different from where it started, at least not enough to hold my interest in the characters or the events.

If I had to describe this fic in a sentence, I'd say it's a dramatization of the war between the Solar Empire and the New Lunar Republic, alternating perspectives between the two generals. That's probably what the author intended, but it has no ambition. It didn't do anything new with the generic collective headcanon story of this war. And if you're not going to do anything new with a story, why retell it?
#64 ·
· on Shut Up
Huh, quantum mechanics. what a way to begin. this is either gonna be pretentious or amazing.

・this is a lot of Telling. I hope this pays off in the end. (where's the ponies?)

・・halfway through the story before I start getting much of anything to latch my interest onto. I don't exactly feel sympathy when he tears up the tickets, just some curiosity. however, the emotional moment gets summarized instead of explored. that let me down.

・・・okay, so the story does have a point in the end, where it wraps it back to the beginning lecture. and though the smug, detached style doesn't appeal to me at all, I can tell it was a deliberate decision by the author. It might have worked, but...

I just don't think this story achieves its goals, at all. a slice of life molded into a meaning of life. but it's not leisurely enough to be charming, and the grand revelation is too obvious. like trying to mix water and oil, the story about these 4 ponies/people didn't blend into the bigger theme.

sorry, but even with all the cute character details and quirks, this story missed me. it was tossed in the opposite direction from me.

There are no old ponies' homes in Equestria.

well, there was something that looked like one in the Mare-Do-Well episode.

Shut up.

okay, fine. whatever you want.
#65 ·
· on Heartbreak
This fic conveyed that it really was a new era very well, and its somber tone. Some nice parallels to canon as well. Overall very well written and I enjoyed reading it.
#66 ·
· on Childhood's End
Hm. I'm sure I would have appreciated the dream and cutie mark symbolism more if I hadn't been up all night writing.

I do like this one, though. It was well-written and the characters were great. Not only were they believable and likable, but their composition is good for the plot's needs, as well. Though I think those needs could have been addressed a little further in the end. This is edging towards 8,000 words, and I suspect the ending had to be a little rushed/condensed. I'd love to see this without a size limit someday.

But it's time for the tree sap joke to die.
#67 · 1
· on Historical Gaps
Oof. A few points lost out of the gate; it’s A. K. Yearling, as part of the J. K. Rowling pun. Still, an entertaining opening, so it balances out. I think we’ve all confronted that particular relic of doom.

Important note: Capital-E “Equestrian” refers to the magical land of ponies. Lowercase-e “equestrian” refers to horse-based sports.

Historical revisionist Celestia is far from my favorite interpretation of the character. As such, you present me with an interesting dilemma; I don’t want to like the subject matter, but I can’t deny that it’s well-argued. Equestria’s historical myopia has been repeatedly demonstrated in the series, and when ruled by an immortal, it’s hard to believe it isn’t at least partially intentional. Still, the poor job of hiding the truth feels off, and covering up those who didn’t fall to the march of manifest equine destiny feels superfluous. So did killing the younglings in the cloud fortress of pega-Jedi; that feels like it was done more for shock value than anything.

In all, this needs some polish in both editing and proofreading. (Nothing kills the tension of a scene like “benbefit.”) Still, while it’s not much to my personal tastes, it’s a very intriguing premise that will do quite well when tightened up.
#68 · 5
· on He Come to Town · >>Bad Horse
this fic's title = i see what you did there.

the first scene's great. even without the references, the conversation starts out pretty entertaining, while giving a good picture of our characters. the way Lyra casually joins in adds a nice touch of humor. goofy potato flute! I would've liked to see more hints of their shared history together. the end of the scene feels like an awkward transition. so stopping by the shop wasn't really important, except to establish Brave's character?

scene 2 threw me for a loop. it repeats the bit about getting smacked in the face, but now the story doesn't look like a comedy anymore. hey this is a serious real-life problem, being disconnected from his family like that. also, Button is mentioned, but never shows up in the fic. now I feel sad!

the next couple of scenes go back to funny again, parodying the videogame material. it loses some clarity though, I didn't immediately catch on that they were doing the "cutie mark coaching" thing! the story does feel weird at this point, that his wife signed him up for this against his will.... she's controlling the story, instead of the Link-pony most readers will want to read about. he seems like he's trying his best to satisfy his friends and family, but they're all pressuring him to quit his "job"

I like the humorous glow of this story, and I think it should be the main focus. Brave Heart shouldn't be in a passive role, I think it would work stronger if he was the driving force. perhaps if he was the one insisting on continuing his adventuring way of life, oblivious to how silly he acts in town, and he gradually learns his lesson. instead of just being handed a new job, with others telling him how to live his life, which seems almost depressing.

the main problem is the conflicting tones. revise this story to crank up the comedy level, and the "friendship lesson" won't necessarily be watered down. many FiM episodes do this, keeping things silly and entertaining until it's time to be serious.

and I did want to see more interaction with Next Gen, Button, Lyra, Bon-Bon. I know the CMC are cute and all, but maybe they could be replaced? Lyra already sorta does that in the ocarina scene.

hey wait, can't he just retire off all those rupees jewels he hauled home?

I was expecting some kind of joke about Twilight Princess at the end there. heh heh.
#69 · 3
· on Writer's Sin · >>The_Letter_J >>007Ben
This entire story is fundamentally flawed in its premise. For one, why is Celestia’s butler reading her a bedtime story? And then there’s the central conflict, Twilight plagiarizing friendship reports from moralistic fables. I reserved judgement throughout the story, waiting to see what extenuating circumstances might have led to this… and the answer is nothing. Twilight Sparkle, the faithful student, the mare who went insane because she didn’t have a lesson to submit, cheated for no given reason.

And what was the outcome of Twilight’s fear and worry? For the most part, exactly what she thought would happen, according to “Lesson Zero”-level panicked logic. The story spoils itself! The idea that Celestia even can reverse Twilight’s ascension is extremely disturbing, to say nothing of the frankly ridiculous degree of the punishment. Dethroning a reigning princess for plagiarism? On the first offense? It’s not like Celestia knows about the other cribbed reports, and that’s putting aside the ludicrousness of the cribbing itself.

Sorry, but this flat-out does not work, and its straightforward structure only hurts it worse. There is a viable variation, but you'll have to drastically rework most if not all of the story.
#70 ·
· on My Little Fentsie · >>horizon >>Morning Sun
Getting back into the reviewing game. Here goes nothing!

Another day, another dollar.

Another story, another opening line. Not a great hook, since it’s a cliché line. This (and the scene that follows) gives me the impression this story will be quite ordinary.

There were missing articles [soaking into clothing as careless driver swiped the gutter], which made me think they were grammar errors, but I realize this could be third person limited POV from a Russian’s perspective (considering he gave the pony a Russian-sounding name). If that’s the case, I think more missing “the”s and “a”s would make it more obvious. Otherwise, they look like typos.

However, even though it’s third person limited POV, there’s this: [The mouse, on the other hoof,]. Like, why wouldn’t he say “the other hand” if he’s a human?

This seems almost like a parody of My Little Dashie, both from how quickly Kerfentse turns this man’s life around from extreme tedium to extreme happiness and good fortune, but also from this line: [Indeed, he had been working upon a plan - save up enough money to relocate to the country, perhaps buy a farm or townhouse or cabin where nobody was around for miles]. It gets progressively more ridiculous as… okay, yeah, this is a parody. xP

I’m a fan of the ridiculous. This is pretty ridiculous, and some of the jokes really work for me, but it’s a bit too overplayed in places for my taste. I don’t think this is a particularly creative parody of My Little Dashie—once it passes the point of being a serious story, the Mary Sue-ness of Kerfentse isn’t quite as surprising, and the overplayed jokes don’t help. But, it does what it sets out to do and it’s a decent comedy.

Looking back at the opening, I’d appreciate a joke or two to signal that the author recognizes how dull and cliché the opening is, because it’s played straight and it just gave me the impression I’d be in for a dull story.

And now I even see it in the title--My Little Fentsie. I'm a dumbus. XoX
#71 · 2
· on Saved by the Bell
Ah, the “graduating Sunset” subgenre. This should be interesting.

I hate to undercut an emotional scene, but Friendship Games made it clear that the principals know about magic, and that Sunset knows they know. And while Equestria may not be common knowledge, the entire school knows that magic exists. Just something to tweak for the final version.

In the end, this wasn’t bad, but the word limit curtailed the emotional tension. This feels like it needs a lot more lead-up before it can get a satisfying payoff, and the conclusion feels a little rushed, or at least unsatisfactory for the content that preceded it. Still, this is a promising base. You’ll just need to develop it further to reach its full potential.
#72 · 2
· on The Stratospheric Council
Oh my. That’s quite an opening.

Not sure how to fell about Twilight’s enthusiasm. She can be distracted by new knowledge and new possibilities for friendship, yes, but it takes a unique thick-headedness to miss the very obvious belligerence on display. Especially after she had such high hopes for the yaks.

The establishing scene of the temple is wonderfully atmospheric, if you’ll pardon the pun. The bit with the cupcake was especially nice, a good way to show that under all the bluster and calcified tradition, they’re still ponies.

This was quite nice all around, a wonderful bit of world-building and a good blend of hope and tragedy. Thank you for it.
#73 ·
· on Harmony is Clockwork · >>wYvern >>Morning Sun >>Cosmic_Cowboy
Ooh, nice myth.

I’m sure Ancillary will play a critical role in the story.

Oh. This was a very cool alternate universe, though not everything is clear. I had a tough time figuring out the choreography of the run from the flood, why everything went nuts upon unsealing the cavern escapes me, and I feel like there's something about the nature of the Sealed Forest that I'm not getting. Still, with some clarification and expansion, this should prove even more fascinating.
#74 · 1
· on The Last Days of a Sentenced Mare · >>horizon
I have no idea what you mean by “a shtick of squishes.”

In all, this is the exact sort of story I was afraid of with this prompt. I’m abstaining from this one. I cannot approach something with subject matter I hate this much fairly or impartially. Even with the happy ending thrown in, almost as an afterthought. I will note that the timeframe feels confused. It seems like the first time Tirek emerged, but all the talk of Twilight’s daughter and unidentified husband blur the matter.
#75 · 1
· on One
I quite like your approach to how a hivemind handles pronouns.

Wow, Chryssy. Got enough adjectives there?

In all, this was fascinating, but there’s one collection of details that kills it: The various identities the narrator tries to claim. One has a parallel universe analogue supporting his independent existence, one has a long and loveless history behind him—corroborated by numerous angry townsfolk, no less—and one…

Okay, that one could work, but in general, that part of the story didn’t. Still, aside from that, a well-done exploration of the changeling condition. And no one said the Deceptive Queen Chrysalis couldn’t have manufactured that memory…
#76 · 2
·
>>Xepher
With respect: There may be fewer people at the party than there used to be, and not everyone who was there at the beginning is still there, but the party ain't over yet.

Heck, I didn't even know there was a party until a year and a half ago. :-p
#77 · 3
· on My Little Fentsie · >>FrontSevens
>>FrontSevens
I haven't read this story yet and I might not for a while, but wanted to jump in to provide some context based on the name-drop in your review: Kefentse is the meant-to-be-ridiculous super-Mary-Sue OC from the card game "Twilight Sparkle's Secret Shipfic Folder".

[img]http://66.media.tumblr.com/29e23dc2a7b053eaac889b16f5618140/tumblr_inline_nfizc9nlcN1qdybq6.png[/img]

(roger give us img tags plz)
#78 · 1
· · >>horizon
Shoot, I found me a little continuity snarl in my entry--a minor little editing mistake that I'm going to be kicking myself over.

I apologize in advance.

EDIT: I have found several tiny continuity snarls.

Dear Princess Celestia, today I learned that there's no such thing as overediting.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go breathe into a paper bag for the next week.
#79 ·
· on The End of an Era
The perspective shift after the introduction is quite jarring. You might be better served by either cutting the first paragraph entirely or using it as the story description on Fimfiction.

Oh dear. That second section ended prematurely. Midsentence, no less.

Oh dear, oh dear. You’re alternating perspectives. Bad idea. Very bad idea.

Wanting to die making the world a better place definitely seems like anything but the opposite of duty and responsibility. Also, this is quite literally telling rather than showing, which is especially odd since the section that does so interrupts one that was going to show the strength of the bond.

Wait, I thought Burnished’s aspirations were a glorious death. Why should he worry about climbing the ranks away from the hypothetical front lines?

If any of the ponies Celestia trusts more than Burnished could be changelings, why does she still trust them more?

Over twelve hours since he’d gotten any rest? Should I feel that’s arduous somehow? I assume you meant a longer time.

Why are Canterlot guards making Pinkie Promises?

… Yeah, this needs work. A lot of work. For example, how did they control guard assignments? I honestly thought Chrysalis had replaced Celestia and was deliberately pitting the Guard against itself. Instead, she’s hugging an idiot ball bigger than she is. If nothing else, she should’ve blasted Burnished during his monologue. You’re going to want to work with an editor here. You have an interesting idea, but it’s going to take a massive effort to make it work.
#80 ·
· on The End of an Era
The intro is in first person, but it then cuts to third for the start of the story. The first segment also cuts off in the middle of a sentence, just the word "Fancy" hanging there by itself. Several dialog tags are punctuated wrong, and other sentences switch tense halfway through. Then we cut back to first person, and the third scene ends with a stray sentence with no proper subject.

Okay, I'll stop with the technical critique. Sadly, the rest of the story doesn't improve, and the many technical problems make it very difficult to read.

As to the story itself... it makes little sense to me I'm afraid. I'm sorry, but I can't really credit this with much.
#81 ·
· on One · >>PegasusMesa >>wYvern
An interesting concept, though the pronouns really got on my nerves. It sounded too much like the House of Black and White in Game of Thrones. "A girl must learn to be no one."

Still, I like the idea of a changeling trying to find individuality. I think Chrysalis's character didn't really work for me though. She's equal parts vicious and kind, with no sense given to the reader of the internal motivations driving either side. I guess I feel the emotions described weren't actually shown. It was like watching puppets try to act out a play that was supposed to have feeling.
#82 · 1
· on My Little Fentsie · >>Morning Sun
Okay okay, this is short and you've got my curiosity up, so I'm sneaking in a quick read before I start my slate.

And what I'm finding is a story that could definitely use some tune-up, but one that I enjoyed for all that. It definitely hits with some twists — dear sweet Kefentse messily killing a mouse, the lawyer neighbor, the Fields medal — and if that level of writing/absurdity were consistent throughout, this would easily be strong. My big complaint is that this feels like it's on a much slower burn than a comedic takedown ought to be.

The entire opening scene, for example, pretty much plays Dashie straight. There's a big contrast between the deliberately uninteresting narrator/opening and the later insanity of (say) Kefentse becoming elected President as a nonhuman teenager, and contrast is good, but you're opening with a full scene of deliberately dull and that's leaving your hook unbaited when you most desperately want the reader to bite. Since it's clear you don't mind this being a satire of Dashie, one way to accomplish that might be to turn Dashie's elements up to 11 — have him work at a literal boredom factory, maybe, making featureless grey cubes? Have him walk past a literal murder-in-progress on his way home that he does absolutely nothing about except for lament how cruel people in the city are? The thing is, Dashie is the fandom's most-read story and you can basically assume that your audience knows beat-by-beat how it goes, so any time you're simply retelling Dashie instead of brutally twisting it is dead time in your story that gives the audience nothing new.

Kefentse, on the other hand, is a popular OC from a fanon product that not everyone's going to know about. It might be worth it to lavish some description on her in the first scene (and maybe to crack a cheap joke about how the narrator was expecting a pony in a box because reasons), and start up front with a clear description to establish the sheer absurdity of the character. You end up telling us about her appearance piece by piece, which is an admirable alternative but again leaves the first scene empty.

This has also got a curious case of exclamation point abuse, which (I just checked) isn't a reflection of the story you're parodying, and I'm really not certain what they add.

I guess the big takeaway here is: for a straight-up parody like this, escalate early, escalate often. When you raise the absurdity level here (e.g. random Midas touch) it fires on all cylinders, but there's a fair amount of dead space between laughs.

Tier: Flawed but Fun
#83 · 1
· on The Empty Throne · >>wYvern >>ShortNSweet >>Cassius
Despite a few minor technical problems (some missing words and punctuation problems) this one really hit home for me. Of course, my first instinct is to say it's cheating to use the story of Luna's fall, as that story, no matter how many versions of it I read, still has the biggest emotional impact for me.

That said, this was very well done. The image of the empty throne, and the desire to erase Luna from things is really powerful, as is Celestia's desire to prevent that. Her speech at the end and her reasons for refusing the title of Queen, are great.

My one complaint is that not enough reason is given to the council members' desire to strip Luna's title and lands. As Celestia herself asks, what would it accomplish to transfer them to Celestia, especially so soon. I understand they're simply "the bad guys" in this narrative, but if you make their reasoning logical (without being cruel or petty) it can make the story that much stronger.
#84 · 2
·
>>Posh
The good news is that, having discovered them, you can fix them before FIMFiction publication. A goal that a lot of authors have here is to put the written-in-a-weekend story through the crucible so you can improve it before posting the "final" version.

It might add noise to the reviewing signals, because being told about problems you're aware of is not nearly as helpful as being told about problems you don't see. And it might drag the story down a bit in the rankings, depending on whether readers catch the goofs too. But we all realize (or should realize) that the deadline is tight and what's posted here suffers from that. A flawed Writeoff draft is definitely not a reflection of your skill as an author.
#85 ·
· on My Little Fentsie · >>Morning Sun
>>horizon
I do appreciate the context here, so thank you :>

That being said, author, in my opinion, the name alone is not enough to pick up that it's a comedy from the first part, since I don't think enough people would recognize the name--I agree with horizon on this. I still think the first scene is a little too dull. You did get across the extreme Mary Sue-ness of the character, though, so good job on that :>
#86 ·
· on The Next Dawn
^I have to agree with the review above about the use of archaic language and diction. It's almost haphazardly tossed in among more modern-sounding language that comes across as anachronistic. At times it's difficult to take seriously, and it took me out of what was otherwise some fairly engaging introspection and action.

My suggestion would be to limit the old-timey language to the Princesses themselves. The other characters can still sound formal, but without the "ne'ers" and "thee/thou"s that characterize your narration.

Beyond that, it feels like a by-the-numbers sort of fantasy war story with an MLP bent to it. Not bad, by any means; as iterations on a common premise or theme go, I found it engaging enough.

I just didn't find it innovative. And if you're dealing with such well-beaten subject matter, you owe it to yourself and to your readers to innovate.

I'd give this a passing mark, overall, however.
#87 · 3
· on The Day the God of Time Stopped by for Tea
Was the iambic pentameter in the title intentional? Because if so, well done.

I'm not gonna lie, I enjoyed this thoroughly for most of its run. The dialogue, the characterization of the God of Time, the way the narration seemed to be in on the joke the whole time (:V)... The characters play well off of one another, too. Your prose was a pleasure to read, and your dialogue equally so.

Which is why I was sorry to see it fall flat at the very end. The last few paragraphs are a really abrupt tonal shift, and the story ends on a dark (albeit darkly comedic) note, retroactively turning the entire story into the set-up for a punch-line that feels like a literal punch. It's not just the shift in tone that's abrupt; the ending feels abrupt. It feels like the end to a second act meant to set up a third where Twilight outwits the God of Time and wins back Fluttershy's, uh... time.

I also found it curious that neither Twilight nor Fluttershy thought of their friendship with Discord, MLP's OG trickster god, in a situation where Fluttershy is forced to contend with a trickster god.

Three other things that I didn't really enjoy: Angel's sickness is unspecified (and I don't think even implied); the God of Time's unbroken rant at the end felt really out-of-place, and why is there email in MLP world.

But it's good comedy overall. Good writing, good characterization. I'd love to see a more fleshed-out conclusion if and when you repost it to FIMfic, or wherever.
#88 ·
· on The Concubine or How Luna Got Her Groove Back · >>Derpmind
I really wasn't expecting this story to go where it did based on the title and first scene. You start with a shameless sex comedy and a premise willing to go as ridiculous as Luna literally forgetting to breathe after her return from banishment. Where you end up is a surprisingly played-straight romantic comedy, probably directly inspired by "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" (disclaimer: which I know nothing about beyond Google's summary). It's a strange gear-shift, and I found myself wondering at several points throughout the story if this really knew what it wanted to be.

It does, I think; it settles into its gentle and sweet and sappy groove midway through, and feels like it connects. But the tonal roller-coaster here makes this an odd reading experience; hooking readers with sex jokes means you're going to lose them when it turns serious, and the readers who would appreciate the romantic comedy might get turned off by the up-front silliness.

I feel like, having won a Writeoff with a comedy that equally veered between emotional extremes, I ought to offer some advice on how to make that work. And that would be: start and end on the same tone. Where you start and end is your foundation, the core of your story; you can veer from it as long as you close the story on the tone your opening promises, but it will feel lopsided if you change your core in midstream.

This would, I should emphasize, be an easy Strong if it didn't feel bait-and-switchy; the down-home wisdom and subtle shipteasing of the latter half landed for me, and there were some smiles in Luna's goofy S1 out-of-placeness. Right now it feels like it's kind of on that lower border; it'll probably land at the bottom of my Strongs, but I think it still deserves the tier.
#89 · 3
· on The Concubine or How Luna Got Her Groove Back · >>Xepher
Bawdy, low-brow Luna-centric comedy, and it works very, very well. It feels a little season one-y, like something that'd be written before Luna Eclipsed (royal we and archaic diction notwithstanding), but that's not a bad thing, per se. Personally, I felt nostalgic reading it.

Sure, some ponies might say that preparing for winter in spring was a little silly. But Granny Smith had a name for those ponies: dead.


This line, in particular, had me rolling.

If I had any one criticism in particular, it'd be that Celestia is a bit too quick to go back on her anti-harem stance with Luna. Drawn out a little more, over a longer period of time, with Luna constantly wearing down on her nerves until she capitulates? I could see that happening. In the course of a single conversation, going from "it's a sign of decadence" to "okay fine have your damn sex orgy"? Seems a bit of a stretch.
#90 · 2
· on The End of an Era · >>horizon
Disclaimer: I am a person. Therefore, I have biases. I try to look at things objectively, but that does not mean I always succeed. Furthermore, I'm not an authority. If any of my critique does not make sense on its own, poke me to convey my reasoning, and upon hearing it, decide for yourself if it has validity or not. Also, all exaggerations and comparisons made are not to ridicule, but to better convey the essence of my critique. Last but not least, my reviews contain unmarked spoilers, although I may use the [.spoiler] command occasionally.

I picked this one first from my ballot because prompt drops in titles always make me feel apprehensive. I deduced that this might be a new writer, or at least a writer new to the writeoff, and since my new-found leisure time has boosted my enthusiasm for writeoff stuff at the moment, he/she might most benefit from me taking a careful look at his/her story.

First off, your dialogue attributions and dialogue beats are fine. I never had problems with identifying who said what, and I never stumbled across pesky said-isms. Well done!

Now to critique:

1. The first and last paragraph (which are the same).

I appreciate what you tried to do here, but I don't think you revealed enough during the reveal in the last scene, or about the protagonists inner workings in general. I understand the refference that Burnished supposedly joined to guard to choose greater meaning over having a comfortable, normal existence, but after the reveal, there's no answer to the question: in what way did Burnished's life differ from a regular changeling's life before to give the refernce meaning after the shift in interpretation?

I also think you would've needed to bring more of a reference to "the two ponies that mattered the most". In the opening paragraph, one defaults to Luna and Celestia, but there's no conrete replacement for them in the ending. Also, it's weird they're called ponies, which they most probably weren't considering the reveal. That's a though one, though... maybe "individuals"?

Anyway, yeah: the paragraph works for the opening, but falls apart after the reveal.

2. There are (too many) point of view shifts. During the first scene, you shift from third person limited (Burnished's perspective), to first person (Burnished's perspective), to third person limited (Burnished's perspective), to third person limited (Stalward's perspective). The horizontal lines and tripple line breaks you employ to mark these rather add to the confusion than alleviate it.

3. In addition to the POV shifts, you shift in tenses, too. Stick to either past tense or present tense, especially within a single sentence. "Stal smiles at the sarcastic comment as Burnished continued inside from the balcony overlooking greater Canterlot."

4. The character's nicknames change too often for such a short story. Stalward Shield is referred to as Stalward and Stal, and Burnished Halberd as Burnished, Bernie, and Halberd. That's a bit much IMO. I also don't think Celestia would shorten one of her guard's names under any circumstance.

5. You omitted some quotation marks. While I can tolerate typos quite easily, this breaks immersion for me 100% of the time. I'd try to be extra careful with these.

6. Your characters don't have voices of their own. Especially Burnished, who referres to things as "un-fun" but simultaneously "reciprocated" a hoof-bump. That's not consistent, and while I think either style would've fitted the character, consistency is something you should care about. Unless you try to signal that he is unfamiliar with the language and changelings speak a different one, but that would need some explaining of its own.

7. Celestia's reasoning why she chose Burnished for the job of investigator seems faulty to me.

"You’re right, there are those I trust more. The simple and unfortunate fact is that any one of those ponies could be the changeling, whereas you’re a relatively recent addition to the royal guard, and as such, are a less likely suspect."


If anything, I'd think a recent addition to the guards would be more likely to be an infiltrator responsible for recent events. Also, the fact a changeling could mimic the appearance of absolutely anypony, no matter how long the original was in the guard, is completely ignored.

8.
Since after heading there, he could get a good night(day)’s rest, as it had been over twelve hours since he had gotten any sleep.


Wat. Ponies have an equal split between waking/sleeping time? *Envy intensifies*

Regardless of the validity of 12 hours waking time being a reason to get some rest, this sentence illustrates something that I found scattered throughout the piece, as it reveals a tendency to include explaining things that need no explanation, and inclusion of information in a clunky and telly way.

Take the whole paragraph:
Burnished figured the first logical place to go was the guards’ barracks. Since after heading there, he could get a good night(day)’s rest, as it had been over twelve hours since he had gotten any sleep. The barracks had armor strewn about, spears lined up neatly on a spear rack, and many other things one would expect to see in such a place, but Burnished was way too tired to pay attention. He promptly climbed into a cot, and fell asleep.


You could shorten the thing to : "Burnished felt dog-tired/exhausted (depending on the voice you're going for), so he headed straight to the barracks, climbed into a cot, and fell asleep."

That's still pretty telly, though. You could instead try to work in some more visual data, or things the reader can empathize with, e.g.:

As Burnished left Celestia's chamber, his eyes darted from one corner of the corridor to the next: white marble, lit by a bright, magic chandelier. No traces of green to be seen. This corridor was clear.

He continued staring at the sparkling chandelier, his eyes slowly losing focus. He closed his eyes, shaking his head; he'd be a lousy investigator without getting some sleep first.

He made his way to the barracks, and found them dimly lit as ever: there was always somepony sleeping here. He started out to his usual cot, but had only gotten a few steps far when a carelessly dropped vambrace caught his left front hoof and sent him stumbling. With unwanted momentum, his right front hoof kicked a helmet, which went flying, smashed into one of the bed-posts, and cartwheeled across the stone floor.

Burnished froze, and stoically endured the angry grunts and muttering that followed the racket he'd made. The rest of his journey towards his cot went without further incident, and he fell asleep almost before his head connected with the pillows.


That is, of course, written in my style and you need not copy that. I just wanted to illustrate how you could convey the same information without getting too telly, painting a clear picture for your readers to envision, and deepening the immersion and conncetion with the protagonist.

Additionally, my version is longer and slows the pacing, which is something I think you should consider doing. The story felt rushed to me, almost throughout the whole piece.

9. It's a bad choice to use quotation marks to signify internal monologue, as it confuses the reader: was this something he thought, or did he actually talk to himself? I'd personaly go for italics.

Concluding Remarks:
I liked the idea, but the execution had problems. I'm also not really convinced a story in which the real motives of the protagonist have to remain hidden until the last scene can work well in a POV that does share insight, although limitedly, into the protagonists thought processes. (Someone's probably gonna prove me wrong on that soon.)
#91 · 1
· on The Yo Mama Mandate
her own little sister and one of Applejack’s little sister Apple Bloom’s best friends Sweetie Belle

This is a nitpick, but nitpicks about the first few sentences are important because they have an early and outsized effect on engagement: You're going through some extreme verbal contortions here to establish that the narrator is not familiar with the show's cast, and it's really not helping the story flow. (In fact, you're overestablishing that fact. You've already introduced "Applejack's little sister Apple Bloom" on first reference, and so subsequent references — unless you're mangling English for effect — should just use the name.) I'm thinking you probably meant this as a joke, but IMHO it's a lot of buildup for a weak punchline.

Contrast with, say:
On her way to the town hall, Twilight was reported to have either a spring in her step or a skip in her step. More research is required.

This plays very effectively off of the narrator's lack of knowledge and fanatic obsession with irrelevant detail in a way that doesn't bog down the story or require detailed re-parsing of the sentence. Much funnier.

Experts still debate to this day whether it was Twilight who sat opposite Pinkie or Pinkie who sat opposite Twilight. Until more evidence is brought forward, the reader is encouraged to decide for themselves for the sake of imagining the discussion.

Okay, this is beating the joke into the ground.

Kudos for the smooth transition into the actual Yo Mama joke, though, and especially for leaving the punchline itself unsaid and explaining the joke around it. That sense of subtlety is sharp, and really welcome after the barrage of bludgeon-humor.

… and the twist of the Luna scene really elevates this from the rough early going. The fact that it sort of comes out of nowhere after beating your core joke into the ground is exactly the sort of comic wit this story would have fallen flat without.

Overall this feels rough, but on balance it ends up a decent crackfic. I'm not really sure what else to suggest here.

Tier: Almost There
#92 · 4
·
Wow:

One story per author this round? I can't even remember the last time that happened!

Mike
#93 · 1
· on Historical Gaps · >>The_Letter_J
Well, there went my hopes of this being a story about Applejack in Daring Do's role (Someone write that, by the way).

***

There's a lot of rough editing (missing letters/words litter the story), and I'm not really fond of the formatting (italics to signify a flashback never has worked for me. And using different colours for specific sections was more distracting than anything. Especially the red, which was very difficult to read. Oh and I also think you used unnecessary scene breaks in the red text section.). But I only bring that up to point it out to you; it doesn't really affect the actual content much.

So what about the content? Well, it's interesting. Not my thing (I'm really not a fan of stories that portray Celestia as a warlord of some sort), but I can't say I was disinterested. I fully expected to dislike it out the gate when realizing AJ Yearling was NOT Applejack (So sad!), but you managed to keep me interested in whatshe actually was discovering. I'm a sucker for good world building. And while it doesn't fit my personal tastes, this is pretty solid world building.

So I think I agree with FOME that with some polish and tightening (and possibly some reformating), this could do well.

Verdict: Close, but not quite there.
#94 · 1
· on The End of an Era
wYvern managed to capture most of my thoughts, so rather than simply repeat him, I'll just add a few more.

The establishing shots at the beginning of (some) scenes feel like they'd be better used in proper prose. This isn't a comic book or a TV show where you're using text to help explain what/when you're looking at something. It's pure text, so you can just, well write it! "Two hours later, Twilight found herself outside the Royal Canterlot Library" reads a lot better than just "The Canterlot Library"

The other major point I wanted to hit, and this is a big one, is that a lot of the dialogue doesn't really feel natural. Some of it is just too expositioiny, and some of it just doesn't feel like a real conversation. It makes it really difficult to believe these are real characters for me, because it doesn't feel like a conversation that could actually happen, just one to further the plot. I'm sorry for not really explaining this well, t's difficult to do as it's more of a "this feels wrong" than something I can point to and go "this is wrong because of X".

The impression I'm getting from this story is that you're a new writer. And there's nothing wrong with that! We were all new once, and we all made mistakes like these. So I think the best advice I can give you is to just keep on trying. THis is definitely not horrible. Just, well, the flaws stand out.

Verdict: Better luck next time.
#95 · 1
· on Slingshot · >>FanOfMostEverything
MLP with a hard sci-fi bent. That's... not a combination I expected to read for a contest like this.

It might just be me, but a lot of the science seemed a bit inaccessible, and when it's the foundation for literally everything about the story (the premise, the action itself even), that can be a problem. Again, perhaps I'm just a dummy, but the section in the middle where the narration explains Luna's plan to save the world felt difficult to follow.

But on the other hand, Twilight's inner monologue was well handled; her interactions with the other characters (especially Flurry) were charming and heartwarming, and the specifics of this universe's rules and technology showed considerable thought. I was a little worried that it'd go all hopeless cosmic-horror-story by the end, and that "Hope" would just prove to be incredibly ironic, but that didn't happen, and you managed to end on an uplifting, if bittersweet, note.

Even if this story's a bit outside my ken, I liked it enough to give it my mark of approval.
#96 · 4
· on A Soul Falls From Grace · >>ShortNSweet
I'd like to issue a challenge to you, author: Rewrite this story without the entire first scene.

I keep saying this — and I'll keep saying it forever — but: The opening of your story is vital, vital, vital. Those first few paragraphs are your chance to grab the reader, and with a weak and rambling lead they're going to wander away. Here, you're leading off with five paragraphs of exposition and an unnecessary introduction to the main character (not to mention, you wander between present and past tense). You do have something interesting in that the Mane Six are dead, but by explicitly setting that out as background material, you make it into an idea rather than a hook which can drive the story.

Basically, your actual story starts with "Sanguine Soul was well known by her friends and family as a joyful mare." Learning about her is still exposition (and I'm not in favor of exposition as an establishing shot), but at least it's exposition about the character we'll be spending all our time with.

All that stuff about the world falling into darkness? Don't dump it at us! Dangle it in front of our noses piece by piece, and it can become part of what draws us inward. Sanguine lives in a world where everypony's lost hope. (Why?) Because there's villains roaming the streets. (How did that happen?) The Mane 6 are dead. (Wait, what, why!?) Then you get to smile and steeple your fingers and work that into the fabric of your narration as you go.

And so the day came where her resolve would be tested, where everything around her fell.


Story Title: "A Soul Falls From Grace"


You probably didn't want to telegraph your ending so much, either. Imagine how differently we would react to "My Little Dashie" if it had been called "Rainbow Dash Leaves At The End". ;-p



… okay, and as I continue reading, I'm seeing a lot of writing tropes and decisions that I associate with newer authors.

I hope it's okay if I derail my review to talk about that a little.

And I hope everyone keeps in mind that we've got a vast, vast difference in experience levels here, all competing in the same pool; I'm up near the top of the scoreboard, but I'm also creeping up on my 40th birthday and have been writing for three-quarters of that. It might be hard for you to see the criticism (and the low votes) here, but readers are comparing your story against the work of literal published professionals such as Baal Bunny and iirc Bad Horse — we're not going to get much better from here, and you'll improve quickly as you write and learn and work the basic mistakes out of your system.

And you definitely have a reasonable foundation upon which to build here. Your spelling and vocabulary are pretty clean; it looks like at least a little editing work went into this, which is something we can't take for granted on the tight Writeoff deadline. You do have some interesting ideas, like the literal incarnation of your main character's good and evil side — and even if this story chases down a black hole of grimness (and wholesale murder) that feels out of place to me with pony, there are clearly sub-fandoms like Fallout: Equestria where that's welcomed, so there's certainly an audience for the sort of story you want to tell here.

One of the major disconnects you're going to find between younger/newer authors and more experienced ones is in their opinions of the core of your story — which (and I really hope I can describe this objectively rather than as a value judgment) is revenge porn. Innocent filly has her world ripped away from her, (literally) struggles against giving in to vengeance, piles up a mountain of corpses and achieves justice but not happiness. The "porn" aspect of it comes from the detailed depictions of the death and torture on both sides of the equation, and from the way that she casually rips apart a roomful of armed adults once she gives in. This is not inherently a bad thing — it's in the same blunt wish-fulfillment bucket as, for example, the fandom ur-story My Little Dashie — but it's a story that appeals to its specific niche without much traction outside of it, because the vicarious thrill of the gore mutes everything else about the story.

One thing that I as a reader would have liked to see more of, for example, is a character arc in which Sanguine is faced with meaningful choices and makes sacrifices. But early on, her choice is ripped away by Vengeance literally taking over her body without any input on her part — she wakes up having just been forced to kill a pony — and that loss of agency reverberates throughout the story in ways that nullify a lot of its emotional impact for me. For instance:

”I can get you inside,” whispered Vengeance in her head. ”All you have to do is let me take control.”

I really don't understand why this choice is supposed to be significant when we already know he doesn't need her permission.

And then Vengeance tries to talk her into it by promising her that he'll "just teach them a little respect". But we, and she, have already seen Vengeance torture and murder a pony to death. Sanguine even threw up because of it! The fact that this is never brought up, and Sanguine sort of goes ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ <(ok) and accepts his word for it, breaks my immersion hard. Someone who's reading for the vengeance porn would probably give you a pass on that, but this is a general audience.

I could keep going on like that, but you'll get enough feedback from other reviewers if you want more starting places for your editing, and the biggest thing I want to emphasize (both to you and to other newer authors here!) is:

Even though this is a story that needs a lot of work to reach its full potential, the solution is to keep at it. Every time you revise a story, you get better. Every time you write a story, you get better. Every simple mistake you make and get called on is a mistake that you don't have to make again, and the process of becoming a good writer is nothing more or less than graduating from simple mistakes to interesting mistakes.

Thanks for joining us! I'm afraid this one's not going to get a great vote from me, but it's an early step in a journey that can end with Writeoff medals and Featurebox stories and maybe even earning money for your writing.

Tier: Needs Work
#97 · 2
· on The Last Days of a Sentenced Mare
(Trigger warning: rape)
#98 · 2
· on The Last Days of a Sentenced Mare · >>Icenrose >>Syeekoh
… that said, I do have an objection to the content here, but it's not the objection you think.

Blacked out both for rape discussion and story spoilers:
The standard objection to rape as a plot device is that it's a cheap shock. I don't know whether that's a fair critique or not, but what I do know is: it's throwing off the tension curve of your narrative. When you start describing Twilight's friends being tortured, the rape is literally the very first thing we hear about — followed by Rainbow Dash's wings being chopped off. You've opened with two haymakers, and short of crossing the M line with Cupcakes-level detail, it's just literally impossible to go any farther.

The problem with that is that you've still got characters left to break, and by definition whatever you follow it up with is going to be underwhelming. In fact it is: Rarity just gets pooped on. Extending the boxing analogy, that's barely even a jab — more like a feint. When Rarity and AJ stand up and fight back, my only reaction was, "Well, duh, if that's the worst he can dish out then no wonder."

I mean, if Tirek's willing to violate Fluttershy's personal safety and Dash's personal pride, he's going straight for the heart. The least he could do is murder Applejack's family members in front of her. :-p

There's a fridge-logic problem here, too, which is that the detail you're relaying negates your framing story. Twilight's attempting to boost her family's morale and persuade them to stand up against Tirek. Describing in thrust-by-thrust detail the horrific tortures that resistance fighters are enduring really seems counterproductive to that effort.


Anyway, agreed with >>FanOfMostEverything that the ending feels kind of tacked-on: GRIM GRIM GRIM GRIM hope, with not so much as a nod from the academic toward the moral lesson the grim was supposed to impart. Also agreed that the timeline here is quite weird — but much more than the timeline, the thing throwing me here is that this is explicitly established to be princess Twilight Sparkle, and yet the voice is distinctly not Twilight's: it's too formal, with a tinge of archaic speech patterns.

Is this meant to be the Tirek-dominated AU maybe? Or an AU more generally? If so, it needs to be more heavily lampshaded and we need to be shown the differences between universes more explicitly.

So, yeah. All shock value aside, this has some dicey logic flaws that leave me with a lot more questions than answers. You definitely want to be careful with the content — or maybe you just want to go full grimdark, and ditch the T rating on editing — but the content isn't the problem, it's just masking some fundamental premise and structure issues. The (prose) execution, no pun intended, seems fine for what it is.

Tier: Needs Work
#99 ·
· on Solitude for the Modern Businessmare
>>Cosmic_Cowboy
I'm with Cosmic Cowboy here, on...well actually, pretty much everything. I really don't see how it fits the prompt at all. It was a pleasant read, but the ship seemed so unlikely I had a hard time deciding whether it was supposed to be a real ship, or just a friendship. I enjoyed your depiction of much of Rarity's behavior and thinking, though.
#100 · 1
· on Gotta Catch at Least One
Well, that was definitely supposed to be a comedy. I'm not sure it really hit the right notes for me, though. It was rather odd. ...it also makes me want to get a new phone with enough memory to play Pokemon GO even more now. I may be missing some aspect of the story, not having played it outside of a few minutes' explanation from friends and some time with my brother's phone. I don't know for sure. Making the EqG Luna a gamer!Luna threw me for a bit of a loop--I'd never considered the possibility, I guess? The writing wasn't bad, and you got each character's voice pretty well, but the jokes just didn't make me laugh. This one definitely deserves a "random" tag