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Here at the End of all Things. · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
#501 · 6
· on Lily's Letter · >>GaPJaxie >>ToXikyogHurt
>>Zaid Val'Roa
>>dragon discord
>>Cold in Gardez

Thanks for reading, everyone. This was my first time entering the writeoff, and if the goal of this competition is to gain feedback and learn about things that work in your writing vs things that don't, then I'd say this was a huge success.

Just to clear a couple things up: I decided to take an opportunity to experiment, and something I've always wanted to write is a story where the readers are, for better or worse, left with a ton of questions at the end. Xepher put it best when he guessed I was saying: "Haha, no answers for you!" I may or may have thought that at some point—maybe even verbatim.

I think in some ways the lack of info worked and some it didn't—especially with the narrator. Writing this again I would probably give them a name (though I might stick with no gender, Trick, because it's the current year after all) and a more fleshed out backstory, if nothing else than to get rid of the reader's idea that they are secretly someone from the show. But in terms of his relationship with Lily, and why she invited him? I think I liked how little I told. But I'd have to revisit.

And no... he didn't off himself. It's personally a pet peeve of mine when a first-person narrator kills themselves because then how were you tellin' the story, asshole? This made me think that the readers would know that my story would obviously never do anything so silly. I probably should have known better, especially in an anonymous competition...

Cheers, guys. Good luck in the finals to everyone who made it, and I'll see you at the next one!
#502 · 5
Yay, it's finals and I've still got something in contention! A piece of art ;.;

Anyway, this is your regular reminder that there's also a Writeoff FIMFiction group, and I've just created the story folder for the round. IF AND ONLY IF you're not in finals -- meaning, your name is now displayed by your piece on the Gallery page -- then feel free to edit your story based on reader feedback and post it to FIMFiction! (Otherwise, wait until the round ends so you don't disqualify yourself.) When you do, you can add it to the Writeoff folder and everyone will get a notification to go appreciate the new version there!

In order to add your story to the Writeoff folder, you need to be a "Contributor" to the group. This is just due to spam problems in the past. Everyone who has ever submitted a story on writeoff.me qualifies as a "Contributor" -- PM me on FIMFiction or tag my comment on this thread if you've joined the FIMFic group but can't add stories to it!

Also, if you got knocked out in prelims (as I did) this is a great time to respond to all the feedback you've been accumulating. It's traditional (but not necessary) to write a little "retrospective" outlining your original goals for the piece and clearing up any misunderstandings and thanking readers for their critique. Meanwhile, do some reading on your brand-new finals slate and help us decide our winners!
#503 · 1
· on Flutterflesh · >>Zaid Val'Roa
Well, it's not as though the dalek thingie was submitted as it is, there was obviously some work done to it.

Either way, while I like the image, I think it could've had a more interesting background rather than just black with a few shades of colour near the writhing mass of flesh.
#504 · 3
· on Euvem
What bothers me the most is that the dot isn't properly centered.
#505 · 5
· on Monsters
>>Baal Bunny

I just read your story. In full this time.

Now I know my voice or opinion is not even remotely competent or relevant, but here it is just for the record:

While I won’t enter into the debate to know if it had or not its place in a competition like this, I’d say it was more than fine with me. I agree with Cassius that the tone of the first scene clashed a lot with the rest, but I found your story exceedingly interesting, sensible and realistic. Once again, I’m absolutely no reference to gauge any writing against, by I’m positive if I had I decided to tackle the same subject, I would’ve done zillions times worse than you did.

So thanks for that. And most of all, thank you for having me made forget that this was a pony fic.

Please keep writing and going out of your comfort zone.
#506 · 4
· on Calm of the Void
Artist, you've captured the feeling of loneliness at the edge of the world, with a touch of yearning for what may or may not be over the horizon, hinting at the choice yet to be taken. The execution feels a bit scribbly, and a second pass could improve this. I am placing this in the mid-upper tier.
#507 · 3
· on Melatonin · >>Trick_Question
Melatonin - A Retrospective

Ah, crumb. “To think I had such high hopes for how this was going to play out.” ^^

But no, I don’t think this story deserves to be in the finals, either. There’s a lot of excellent stories this round, and mine is an incoherent mess. A few good ideas strung together in the loosest possible terms do not a decent story make, let alone a good one.

A big part of the problem is that the first dream is the original seed for the story, and (aside from the fact that it wasn’t Twilight in my dream) line for line it’s a transcription of one of the first melatonin dreams I had. My plan was to see where the narrative took me, then go back and retroactively massage the first dream into place, or cut it and replace it with something else. As has so often happened before, once the story was finished I promptly forgot to do so and switched to copy-editing mode. I’ve always had a problem with missing the forest for the trees in my stories, and sometimes (like this round) it’s more apparent than others.

Still! I’m pretty confident I can turn this into something great - you’ve all provided feedback that allows me to have a pretty clear roadmap for how to do so.

I meant “relish” as in, “enthusiasm”, but considering it’s Pinkie Pie, I should probably have chosen a better phrase. I think scarfing it down will suffice too. I’m glad you found the story a pleasant read!

I have never once thought your feedback on one of my stories was unduly harsh, and I’ve always appreciated the lengths you go to when providing feedback on stories you see potential in. You’re spot-on regarding how the conflict in the first set of dreams doesn’t gel with the final one, and I’ve got some thinking to do on how I want to tie everything together more seamlessly.

What stung was your feedback on character voicing, as that’s usually something I pride myself on. But you’re absolutely right - having Rarity say “darling” three times in five thousand words is inexcusable, and having Applejack swear for a one-off expedited transition doesn’t make sense. It’s important to keep in mind, especially in fanfiction rounds, and I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.

Oh, and the werewolves line - I read somewhere at some point that werewolves always attack those closest to them in their normal human lives first. I think it’s been awhile since modern media has portrayed them like that, though, and the line barely makes sense anyways. It’ll be one of the things on the chopping block when I start hacking away.

Thanks again for your feedback!

The Tasty Treat scene was probably re-written more than any other scene in the story, and it shows. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. And word choice needs work too - Sunset isn’t Twilight, and that’s something to bear in mind when narrating.

Using heat as a motif was never a conscious thought in my mind while writing, but now that you mention it, I that could be interesting to explore. I’ll keep it in mind. Thanks for your feedback!

I appreciate the love, yo. ^^ I had a feeling the climax was going to be a sticking point - anytime you write “you’re right, I didn’t try very hard” as a handwave in any context is probably a bad sign. I like the notion of having an antagonist right up until the very end, rather than a ham-fisted lesson on realizing you’re not alone. It’s definitely something to bear in mind.

Thanks again for your advice!

>>Zaid Val'Roa
Yep. All of this, yep. The dreams deserve better treatment than face value lip service to the final conflict, what little of that there is as the story stands. I appreciate you calling out the Twilight line, because that’s one of the few things I was pretty pleased with, too. Going back and making the other dreams just as relevant is the top priority for the rewrite. Thanks for thoughts on how to do so!

I have pretty high hopes for Melatonin 2.0. Until then, congrats to all the finalists, and best of luck!
#508 · 1
· on Melatonin
It's easy to get in the zone with characters and miss a beat. I hate it when readers point out that my voicing is off, but it still happens from time to time.

Rarity's darlings aren't really a problem, they were intended as an illustration of overt voicing not being needed, because I thought it might help to focus on subtle details more. (I learned that from listening to bookplayer feedback, actually.)
#509 · 4
· on Not a Thing to Do/But Talk to You · >>Trick_Question
Also, now that I no longer have to stay silent out of my intense curiosity as to how many people would mis-guess me as having written this [1]: THANK YOU, author, for making my Embrax windmill-tilting a little less lonely.

I'd like to note that, as of the time of this post, there are still no stories posted to FIMFiction with the tags Thorax, Ember, and [Romance].

(... I'm not sure this one was intended to be shippy enough to move that needle, but it's worthy nevertheless.)

Psych. :V

[1] Seeing as how I'll otherwise never know -- since I'm now an illegal guess for it in the guessing page -- can you please let me know if you did?
#510 ·
· on Not a Thing to Do/But Talk to You
Granted, though there is at least one chapter with those tags. You just can't tag chapters in an anthology, sadly.
#511 · 1
· on Lily's Letter
>>Miller Minus


Glad to see you got a lot out of it. I would love to see a second pass at this story -- or whatever you come up with next.

And I'm going to +1 CiG's comment above. This should have finaled. You were top of my initial slate.
#512 · 2
· on Euvem · >>Zaid Val'Roa
You’ve made an intellectual effort on this one, Artist, but not a serious artistic effort. The Euvum is described as being more than a black dot. I’m not really expecting you to draw an nth dimensional object, but you could at least try to show something more. This one will wind up being outranked on my slate by others that generated more eraser-dust.
#513 · 5
· on Should I Stay or Should I Go. · >>regidar >>ToXikyogHurt
>>Zaid Val'Roa
First of all, I want to thank you all for your honest and straightforward reviews of my story. I can't tell you how much it means to me that I can actually write on a site like this, and have my work seen by writers who will give it a good look over and tell me what is lacking.

After each review, I'd take what was said, and with that in mind, I'd reread my story again, trying to see it from the perspective of that person, or at least trying to see it in a new light. Doing this let me really see my writing with new eyes.

Although I submitted the prompt for this round, I didn't really have anything specific in mind for it. Other than that it was a quote I liked, and I'm a fan of post apocalyptic stories. When it got picked, I saw it as a sign that I should take the dive, and actually submit a story.

I ended up procrastinating till almost the last hour to start working on it.

I've been told that the best way to write is to make an outline of what I want to happen, and then flesh out that idea. This led me to simply stare at my screen for over an hour with nothing to show for it. So I did the only thing that has ever worked for me. I just started writing, and let it take me where it would.

Other than the vague concept of Twilight thinking about jumping off a cliff, I started with no idea how this was going to play out, or even what the tone of the story was going to be. Shoot, I didn't even know if she was going to jump or not.

>>Zaid Val'Roa
Self reflection is something I like in a story as well. Although looking back at it, doing almost the whole story in that manner was perhaps a miscalculation on my part.

And as for horses doing horse things. I always saw them as being more like cats, and small enough to sit on laps.

Yeah, my grammar is atrocious. Commas confuse me. Semicolons make me wonder, and I've been told that in general, talk like Yoda I do. I have a lot of work to go in that regards.

As for having something more unique for Celestia to talk to Twilight about as far as death. I wanted to avoid putting anything here that wasn't fact. I wanted to make it clear that she wasn't telling her an opinion or belief. But a fact. The universe is vast. Energy can't be destroyed. These are things that are irrefutable.

I guess this story just ended up not being about the questions of life and death, as much as it is about Twiligh's need to know. Something that I feel I didn't set up well was the depth of that need. I fell into that old trap of knowing what motivated a character, thus forgetting to explain that to my reader.

This feel of Twilight being uninterested is a failing on my part. I wanted to try writing her here as a form of high functioning sociopath. I wanted to make a version of her that looked at the world, and didn't quit gel with the emotions of those around her. I just forgot to tell any of this to the readers. So her reactions to the things going on have this unexplained sense of detachment from her. Again, a failing on my part to properly represent her character.

I think setting the scene is a vary important part of the story, it sets the mood for the whole work to come. That and I do love me some scenery-porn.

I love the irony of the fact that it seemed like her tryst was a form of setup for the child at the end, when in fact it was the other way around. Nearing the end, I really didn't want Twilight to jump, so I looked back at that part, and thought what better to ground Twi in reality, and pull her back from her existential crisis, than that.

The point of the scene with the lover was to show an example of how Twilight could do silly things in her need to find things out. I didn't even think of using for this. Which is why it would feel sloppy in that regards.

I have a lot of shortcomings as a writer, but the one that bugs me the most is my inability to write in the proper perspective. In the scene where Twilight looks back to the time her grandmother died, what I wanted to do was set up the genesis of this question. I was not sure if I could shift the story into a flashback without breaking the perspective. So I did it as her actively thinking back, a mistake in retrospect.

And yes, as a fan of mlp, I can understand your frustration with me explaining who Twilight Sparkle is, and how she thinks. I just don't want to fall into the fan fiction trap of working with characters the readers would already know inside and out. What I was trying to do was write a story that a non fan could read and not get lost in. The only question my non mlp fan asked was "who is Pinkie Pie?"

Thanks for the praise on that last scene. I think how a story is ended is paramount to the execution of it as a whole. It was for me, the easiest to write. Or, at least came the easiest, with no need for second guessing or rewriting.

I tried to do as much showing as I could in a story existing solely in the mind of the character. Anything that had to do with her emotions, or how she reacted to the idea of certain things, I tried to do through subtle hints in her movement, and the scenery around here. In retrospect, perhaps a little too subtle.

A true point about Twilight not realy seeming to be the type to kill herself out of curiosity. I was going to try and portray her in the the light of being somebody that can get hung up on an idea and not let it go. She would get overly obsessed over it, not being able to let go of it. As I said previously, I simply forgot to.

As I was writing this story, it was telling me what kind of story it wanted to be. Wow, that sounds really corny, but is true nonetheless.

After finishing it, I found that it was a story about how people can get lost in the big things, the great questions in life. When in truth, in the day-to-day of our lives, it doesn't really matter. When compared to the love of her child, and the responsibility of taking care of her, all the knowledge in the world can't even compair. Hopfuly one day, I can do justice to that idea.
#514 · 5
· on Let Me Know · >>Zaid Val'Roa
I can't believe I got a piece of art done for my story, and such a good one to boot. Now I feel almost obligated to fix the problems in this story, and then post it on fimfiction. If for no other reason than to show off this artwork, if you'd be willing to loan it to me.
#515 · 4
· on Calm of the Void
This work really captures the feel of the story. Having Twilight be seen as so small, standing on the edge of the precipice. It hits all the right keys. Thank you for making such art.
#516 · 5
· · >>TrumpetofDoom >>Lamplighter >>Kitcat36
Congratulations to all the finalists! And much appreciation for everyone providing so much thoughtful feedback on all these stories.

I read my slate and a few more, but fell behind on commenting. Though I'd have liked to offer critique before any author names were revealed, I hope it's okay to continue responding post-prelims to some of the stories that didn't make finals. /n00b
#517 · 2
Go for it.
#518 · 3
I'd love to get anymore feedback on my story, learning is the reason we're here right?
#519 · 2
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak · >>Zaid Val'Roa >>Aragon
I want to say something productive and witty, but I need a cigarette and a cuddle after that mind fucking you just gave me.
#520 · 2
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak
#521 · 1
· on Should I Stay or Should I Go. · >>ToXikyogHurt
Well, it's not something that can't be worked on very well. I stand by what I said, you have a very good potential story here that you can rough out of the draft.
#522 · 1
· on Onslaught Against Entropy
The little Twis are a bit too small to make out. Varying their size could help. Apart from this, I appreciate the Buck-Yeah-Equinity spirit. Upper tier.
#523 · 2
· on Let Me Know · >>Zaid Val'Roa
Nitpicks first: Artist, after doing so much to provide dramatic contrast for the clouds and rocks, you should have given Twilight some additional attention. Even thickening some of the lines that outline separate areas of her body would help clarity. The rocks of the cliff under her look a bit too regular as well.
Apart from that, Twi is well proportioned and executed, and the artwork glows with color along with the silver lined clouds. Well done. A top tier effort.
#524 · 1
· on Another Pony’s Poison · >>Pascoite
I actually went through a double twist with this one. At first I was confused by Sunset reacting so strongly to Celestia's emotions. It didn't even occur to me at first that she may be a changeling/Chrysalis. I figured, "oh, it's her Empathic abilities going kinda nuts from being back in Equestria for more than five minutes." Which, if intended, is a fantastic misdirection of expectation.

And then the descriptions start going into sweets and sours and it all starts to fall together for real. I'll have to come back for seconds after I work through some more of the finalist slate, but good job.
#525 · 5
· on Monsters · >>Baal Bunny >>Trick_Question
>>Baal Bunny
I don't think this requires a start-from-scratch reimagining. I just think it's a very difficult subject to deal with when you have a limited word count, limited time to research it, and (especially) very limited time to bounce it off people whose reaction you value or let it sit fallow for a while so you start to forget the particulars before you view it with your own fresh eyes. It's a pretty good stab at it already. The unfortunate thing is that stuff that's an outlier for whatever reason is just ripe for people to pick at, so the further out there you go, the less people will be forgiving in acknowledging that this is an early draft. I think you have a good basis here for something to expand upon. But it has to be a labor of love.

If you post this to FiMFic, two big segments of your audience are going to be folks who condemn you for writing it, no matter how good it is, and folks who, like both your characters, would love to see this scenario play out to the fullest. Neither one will be happy. If that's not going to bug you, then expand on this. If it is, then you gave it the biggest try you could.

And I know where you're coming from. I have a really hard time writing irredeemable characters, because I like to think nobody is, so while I can write sad or tragic endings, I can't do grimdark.
#526 · 4
· on Those That Have an Eagle’s Leave · >>ToXikyogHurt
“One does not simply ride pretty princess ponies out of Mordor.”

This doodle is hasty enough to leave scorch marks on an Ent’s eyebrows. Still, Artist, I award you one Silmaril. You may pick it up at your convenience from the heights of the sky, the bottom of the sea, or the mantle of the earth.
#527 · 2
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak · >>Aragon
Genre: (wake me up) Wake Me Up Inside (I can’t wake up) Wake Me Up Inside...

Thoughts: HOLY CRAP we get a horror piece. TBH I didn’t see this as “tragedy,” likely due to some of the consent/knowledge issues other reviewers have raised. I think it even manages to avoid being “sad” in the grandest possible sense, because something is clearly not... finished at the end.

I see it more like horror. Discord and Fluttershy have uncorked The Hanky-Panky That Mare Was Not Meant To Know, and the end result is scarier than a litter of squid-faced babies shouting, “Ia! Ia! Fluttercord fhtagn!”. The concept that Fluttershy would give birth to a universe is frickin’ terrifying, and original, and I love how the formatting supports the big reveal of it. Is there a principle like, “in good horror there’s nothing scarier than white space when you know more words are coming?” Cuz if there isn’t, there should be.

BUT WAIT! THERE ARE PROBLEMS!!. Or something. TBH I wasn’t super-jazzed about how 100% of the responsibility for the pregnancy seemed to be saddled on Discord. That’s something that I feel could be addressed without a ton of effort or rework, though. It might even make it more legitimately tragic for us to see a little more of what these two star-crossed lovebirds had in mind when they decided it was time to paint a room yellow. (Like... in the sense of gender-noncommittal baby room colors.)

Regardless, though, this provides an incredibly creepy atmosphere in a neat little package carrying a lot of oomph. How much oomph, you say?

Tier: Top Contender
#528 · 4
· on Paint It Black
Well shucks. I ended up reading this really late and didn’t get a chance to review it, but I also ended up top-slating it for prelims. I thought it’d be a shoo-in. I guess people thought it was overdone, or not funny enough, or something?

I dunno, I stone-cold guffawed at a lot of this. We’ve got Rarity freaking out gloriously; we’ve got Mr. Cake the coffee-fiend; everything is OTT exaggerated; and Starlight saves the day via another dubious governmental reference.

What’s not to like?

What’s not to like, you monsters?! :-P
#529 · 5
· on Santa Bring Me A Dinosaur · >>regidar
Santa Bring Me A Retrospective

Thanks for reading! Like I said in my self-review, the decision to keep Santa as one of the commercial trappings of Hearth’s Warming was a mistake. At time of writing, it felt so tangential to the intended scope and meaning of the story that I just defaulted to it without thinking through all the implications. Even if I had though, I probably wouldn’t have guessed that this would help sabotage Santa’s relatability as a character. It never occurred to me that he’d come off as whiny, either; I figured that the plight of having the life choked out of him would garner at least a little bit of sympathy.

But then maybe I made this one too personal to know how that would really scan.

This year I found out I have sleep apnea. Or maybe I developed it, then found it out. It’s hard to say for sure. Either way, I went through a months-long period of not being able to get real sleep at night. It’d seem like sleep, but my brain would keep having to wake me up constantly to deal with the fact that I wasn’t breathing. So the dream Santa had was straight out of a profoundly disturbing experience I had several years ago that suddenly made a lot more sense after the diagnosis. It’s a demon I was hoping to exorcise by writing about it.

While I was dealing with that stuff this year, I got really anxious as well. I worried about lots of things. Within the scope of writing, I worried that my best days as a writer might be behind me. It’s stupid and petty, but I started fixating on the fact that I now measure in years the time since my one real “hit” on FimFiction, as well as my one Writeoff medal. I know those are problematic yardsticks to judge an author by, but it’s where my mind went in the middle of months of sleep deprived weirdness. So while I’ve never actually been a fan of the “gods need belief or they’ll fade away” trope, I invoked it here because it gave me a way to draw some parallels to that fear of “fading away.”

I’m better now, mostly, thank God. It took more than a hippie-horse telling me to believe in myself to get there. But once the medical side of it was mitigated, I felt really dumb for fixating on the other stuff. This story was, in part, my attempt to exorcise those demons as well. Santa’s closing speech about his situation kinda says it:

“I don't want to keep worrying about which entity is on top now, or seems like they’ll be on the ascent in the near future. I just want to be… me. I want to do this. And I don’t think it has the power to stop me anymore if nopony really knows who I am. I forgot just how glad I was to be here. I’m probably not above angling for a little recognition every now and then, but it’s not going to define me anymore. It never should have.”

This was definitely a wake up call about what I hadn’t done to make him relatable. Good feedback. Though this also makes me hope I’m not being too whiny!

i now wish for a story exploring the misadventures of Thanatos and Santa Hooves, darnit

Loved this. ^^ They ended up with some fun chemistry. Gives me hope that a FimFiction version will clean up nicely.

>>Zaid Val'Roa
I might need to solicit more specific feedback about how to show him caring more. I don’t have a lot of objectivity on this story; less than most.

Good call(s) with this stuff, thank you for pointing it out!

Glad to entertain! ^^ I haven’t written Discord in forever, but he’s super-fun.
#530 ·
· on The First Princess · >>moonwhisper
I thought this was cute, belatedly, although the idea that Sibsy is making Gen 5 is an amusing one.

I don't know if that was intentional or not, but it seems a bit off base!
#531 · 5
· on The Double Bar

As many of you no doubt guessed, this was my entry this round — I think it's safe to say that this piece could only have been written by a musician, and nobody else here advertises themselves as such.

I came up with the title before I figured out anything about the story. The double bar, as >>QuillScratch noted briefly in the podcast, is the musical symbol for the end of a piece, and I spent a bit of time debating whether to go with that or "Coda", before deciding that not every piece has a coda. Then I had to work out what kind of place the Double Bar would be.

Well, obviously, it would be a bar.

...Actually, it would be two bars, wouldn't it?

And it kinda went from there. (I briefly considered also having every drink served in either half of the bar be a double before deciding that no, that's stupid.)

Those of you who identified it as attempting to be a story about the bar (>>Lamplighter sort of, >>Baal Bunny, >>Not_A_Hat, >>CoffeeMinion) are correct that that was the intent, and I appreciate your suggestions in the vein of how to improve it in that direction.

Those of you who felt the conflict needed a bit more meat to it (>>Trick_Question, >>Not_A_Hat, >>Zaid Val'Roa, >>CoffeeMinion)... well, yes, Octavia having a bit of trouble writing a piece of music isn't a conflict that's going to carry very far. The intended Part B of that, which clearly I didn't play up anywhere near as much as I should have, is that she's not just trying to write music, she's trying to write music that Princess Luna will enjoy, and she's worried about what might happen if Luna doesn't like it — still maybe not super-high stakes, but it would at least be something that doesn't get resolved until the final scene.

The Quartet for the End of Time that got name-dropped is a real-world piece, for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. I have no idea what circumstances might have led to the composer writing Equestria's version, but I think it's safe to say that they wouldn't be the same as they were in our world (namely, it was written in a concentration camp in WWII).

The theme and variations is a fairly standard and fairly self-explanatory musical form: you play a melody (the theme), and then you mess around with it, usually making it more complicated (the variations). Here is one of the classic examples, which does a lot of the normal things one might see in a piece of that form, and pretty much all the ones I explicitly used (also, it's Mozart, so you should listen to it anyway).

On to individual responses:

I can't say that I know enough about how music works to be able to audibiilze what the music might sound like, but this is simply a restriction on writing about music in a story.

Sure, that's a thing that I knew going in I'd have to be aware of. I tried to write it so that you didn't need to be able to hear the music in your head to get a sense of what was going on (because otherwise that cuts out a huge chunk of the potential readers), but that it might add a bit if you could.

(That said, if you're looking for a good auditory reference, about 0:52-1:08 in this video is kinda the sound I had in mind.)

Learning to write fiction has taught me how much it shares with nonfiction: you have to do your homework. Your research definitely shows in this piece, and the result is outstanding.

I agree with the general point, but I'll note that it helps when you're already very familiar with the subject matter.

I was a bit concerned about whether or not the musibabble was going to get in the way; it certainly wasn't as much as when I did Setting the Beat, but that story had a lot of it. From the sound of your review, it looks like there wasn't too much musibabble in that scene, just not enough anything else. Which is a problem with a different solution.

>>Baal Bunny
That's an intriguing suggestion, and I'm not opposed to it except to the extent that it would mean I have to come up with more names (there are fewer terms that work for both music and alcohol than you might think). I'll see what I can do with it.

You mentioned the first sentence during the podcast; I didn't respond at the time, because I didn't trust myself not to break anonymity. I'll say now that I described the sign the way I did because I was trying to avoid actually using the phrase "double bar" until I got to the end of the segment, where I named the place. From your comment, it sounds like you'd be fine with that in theory and it was just a failure in execution; I'll play around with your suggested alternative phrasing and see what shakes out.

The point of having every scene be in the bar was, indeed, to try to strengthen the setting-as-character idea. Thank you for picking up on that.

>>Zaid Val'Roa
Thanks for your time and your suggestion. I'm unlikely to go for this one, because most of the composition would likely be done away from the bar, which... see above.

Absolutely, this piece needs expansion to be what it wants to be. I'm generally of the opinion that perfection has been reached not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to remove — but with this one, yeah, there's stuff that needs to be added.

Thanks, all of you, for your time and your comments.
#532 · 5
· on Monsters · >>Chinchillax >>GaPJaxie >>Cassius >>Trick_Question >>ToXikyogHurt
Doing anything more with it:

Is really the biggest issue for me right now, >>Pascoite. I mean, I appreciate more than I can say the time folks took to comment on the story, and the points you raised, the points >>GaPJaxie raised, the points >>Cassius and >>ToXikyogHurt and >>AndrewRogue and >>Ranmilia and >>regidar and >>Trick_Question and everyone else I forgot to link to raised, they really helped me clarify in my mind the ways in which the version here doesn't work and pointed me toward the many things I'd have to do if I wanted to try fixing it.

But, well, even if I suddenly became as adept as Jaxie or CiG or horizon at going to the deep, dark places this story needs to go, the best case scenario is that I end up with a piece about a Rainbow Dash who's a perpetually unhappy and frustrated pedophile. Is that a something anyone wants or needs? I can't imagine that it is.

So, yeah. Fallow at this point. I've got a Currycombs chapter and an entry in the big Jinglemas story exchange that need finishing as well as revisions on my djinn story from the last original fic round and my ever-expanding library of magical squirrel stories. Not to mention finishing up reading the stories here!

Thanks again, all,
#533 · 9
· on Monsters · >>Cassius
>>Baal Bunny
the best case scenario is that I end up with a piece about a Rainbow Dash who's a perpetually unhappy and frustrated pedophile. Is that a something anyone wants or needs? I can't imagine that it is.

I need to answer this question by pointing to this radio story: This American Life Episode 522. Please listen to it before deciding not to ever release this.
Pedophiles—particularly the kind that are trying desperately hard not to act on their impulses—get very little help in modern society. No one wants to talk about them or give them the kind of psychiatric they need.

A story that explores a pedophile's worst fear and then showing them triumphing and safely getting through it without acting on that impulse? That's powerful stuff! Fictional examples of someone overcoming a trial like that could help people like this.

By all means, please put a "Warning: Rape, Pedophilia" on top of the story. You may need to spoil the story to give a proper warning for it. Probably put it under the M tag. Perhaps post it under a pseudonym. This is not a story you want everyone stumbling into. (It's not a story I would have read had it not appeared on my slate). Just don't think there isn't an audience for a story where a Pedophile doesn't act on their impulses, because there is.

With our modern world, people have so many mental health problems and everything in between, there's an audience for every story. Even if that audience is just a few people with a very specific trial in their lives.

And if you don't want to edit it and it's 80% there, just do like Hank Green does and get it out there.
#534 · 8
· on Monsters
>>Baal Bunny

Hey man.

Thanks for taking the feedback well. I just wanted to let you know, while I stand by the substance of what I said (this subject matter is delicate, to say the least), the way I said it was... not great. I posted in anger. I tore into "the author" instead of giving calmer feedback. I really shouldn't have gone off on you like that.

Monster had issues, but it would be massively hypocritical of me to criticize someone for trying to cover exceptionally dark subject matter. You tried to swing for the fences, and learned something in the process. That's what the writeoff is about! So don't let me discourage you. Good luck!
#535 · 7
· on Monsters · >>Trick_Question
>>Baal Bunny

I can understand where you're coming from, and I myself as an author have often felt that same sense of futility in writing things that aren't appealing to a general audience. Really, I hope you distance yourself from this experience, shake yourself off, and ask yourself do you want to write this story. There's no shame in either answer.

I will say that I feel that you got a raw deal here. I appreciate your work and the thought you put into the piece. I was honestly impressed by your ability deal to give a realistic nuance to a set of people widely considered across all societies to be the worst, most depraved type of people, as well as the care and thoughtfulness you put into that process.

I was considering writing a much longer post and essay on the importance of an honest and human portrayal of the pedophile in media, but >>Chinchillax covered a good amount of what I was going to say. I discussed this briefly in the discord chat, and I wanted to repost it here for you to see:

You may find it interesting that the chief objectors of this particular instance (of deeming a story inappropriate) are Trick and I, who both have an academic background in mental health. Part of that inevitably stems, at least for myself, I can't say for certain for Trick, from an understanding about what the condition of pedophilia entails, and the difference between the public perception of pedophilia and what we know.

The fact of the matter is that when you cut away brass tacks, pedophiles are ultimately still people, and particularly tortured people. There is no cure for pedophillia. We can barely even treat it. You can literally castrate them and it will not inhibit their sexual preference or desire for children. Pedophiles don't get to choose to be attracted to kids, they only get to choose not to act on those attractions.

I want you to imagine for a second how shitty your life would be if you could never have sex with someone you were attracted unless you were willing to do something amazingly evil in order to get it.

The prevailing societal opinion on pedophiles is that they are literally the worst people ever, an assessment that I can't say I exactly disagree with, but they are still people, and I find their stories, particularly stories of their successes in managing their condition to be very important and socially significant, both for the pedophiles themselves, but also for educating the public on how utterly miserable their condition is.
#536 ·
· on Those That Have an Eagle’s Leave · >>GroaningGreyAgony >>GroaningGreyAgony
Simple and straightforward, both in the drawing technique and for the joke. And yet, that makes it effective.

My only question would be why Trixie is here in the first panel. She doesn't really play a role in the story, nor in the joke. I thought at first it was Glimmy, since she's more or less always with Twilight, before realising the colors didn't match.

So yeah, good job.
#537 · 1
· on Tramonto · >>Bachiavellian >>Zaid Val'Roa
The more I look at it, the more I like it.
Sunset's face is absolutely well rendered, those black eyes seemed to gaze at the emptiness she's feeling (BTW, I' understand why the caption is here, even though I think it's pointless since I find the meaning pretty obvious)

I'm not so sure about the purple and grey part. I wonder if it's supposed to represent the empty bed, Twilight's fragrance still lingering in the air, or something completely different. I'm pretty sure it has to do with Twilight though (since it's purple).

Probably a top slater.
#538 · 1
· on Flutterflesh · >>Zaid Val'Roa
I pretty much agree with >>QuillScratch on this one (holy crap, Quill, are you talking about arts? What happened? :p).
Even if I take into account that wasn't made from scratch, I still sense that you put some efforts into the composition and I respect that.

The result is effective, disturbing and quite powerful (infuriating too because I thought my screen was dirty too at first). It only deal with one aspect of the story it is based on, but I believe it truly captured that aspect.

A high tier without a doubt.
#539 ·
· on Onslaught Against Entropy · >>Zaid Val'Roa >>horizon
Pretty much like the others. I like the angry Twilight in the middle, but I think I would have prefered if the small Twilights were of different sizes, in different postures etc.

Also, I don't know what to do with the caption. Is that shameless promotion? Referencing a well-known deviantart artist? Something completely different?

Whatever it is, the whole picture did leave a good impression on me. The little Twis are details, the main intention being well rendered with the angry Twilight in the middle, on her way to prove Celestia wrong.
#540 ·
· on Undiminished · >>horizon >>GroaningGreyAgony
It took me some time to realise this wasn't Celestia but Twilight (I haven't read the story).

Aside from that, the composition is excellent, and all the little details add together and to the whole. Hat off for the picture of Twilight's friends. It felt very lively and real, despite its small size and the lack of colours and background.

Zis iz eksellent stuhff, Zis iz gud. Top tier.
#541 · 1
· on The Same · >>dragon discord
I'm on the same boat here, Twilight's face conveys so much here.

I'm more concerned with the background. I mean we have a very rough sketch of what I suppose is a window. While i don't mind rough drawings, the problem here is that it kinda clashes with Twilight, who is skillfully drawn. I guess it came from the timeconstraint, and you didn't have time to finish it.

However, I think I see why it's here. Light comes from the window, while Twilight is looking at a small thing (a seed? a marble?). For me, I feel like she's giving one last look at the world she had built, before returning to the light, the real world. And that's a dichotomy I absolutely love, despite my nitpicks.

So good job author, you'll end up in the high tier.
#542 · 2
· on Ancient Amniomorphic Arts · >>Zaid Val'Roa
I unfortunately didn't read the story that comes with this, and the subject it represents doesn't help guessing what this all about (same goes for the caption). So thematically, I'm kinda out.

However, the lighting on the vase is gorgeous. The different shades of black and white are very well balanced and fit perfectly. I wish I could say more than "it's pretty". I'll try to read the story and come back with something else, but for now, I can already say that this one won a lot of points in my slate.

Thank you for your work.
#543 · 1
· on You Didn't Look Back, Not Once · >>GroaningGreyAgony >>Zaid Val'Roa
This one is my top slater without a doubt.

First reason, the execution is awesome.
I'm not sure but I believe it's the first time we have a watercolours painting, and while many may think it's not really painting, this one should prove them wrong.

Second reason, it made me feel what I didn't feel from the story it is based on.
I could recognise what I was supposed to feel, but, I don't know why, I didn't. But this painting here, holy crap, it's powerful.

I will disagree a bit with >>Zaid Val'Roa on the washed colours (mainly because of matter of taste). I think having them clearly separated is more effective than blending them together. However, I do agree with the lack of purple. I think Twilight should be present in this picture one way or another.

But anyway, great job, author, you did great for me. And yes, we have so many good artists this round (I'm glad art rounds are back again).
#544 · 2
· on Onslaught Against Entropy · >>horizon
I couldn't say for certain, but I believe those links in the caption may be the source of the vectors used.
#545 · 2
· on Tramonto · >>Fenton >>Zaid Val'Roa
I think the purple bit is supposed to be the collar/shoulder of the jacket she's wearing. As if the light is coming from the upper right.

...And while I'm here, I'd better leave some thoughts on the piece. Will have to agree with everyone that this is pretty amazing. I mentioned in the chat that this really evokes those old greek drama/tragedy masks for me, which is a great thematic selection IMO. Nice work!
#546 · 1
· on Those That Have an Eagle’s Leave
why Trixie is here in the first panel

I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be Rarity. The artist is following a convention of using outline colors to represent coat colors, but a white line would be invisible, so they improvised.
#547 ·
· on Tramonto
Yes! I see it now. I'll go a stop further by saying this is Twilight's old jacket (since it's purple).
#548 · 2
· on You Didn't Look Back, Not Once

And yes, we have so many good artists this round (I’m glad art rounds are back again).

The artists were here; they were just busy writing stories instead of drawing for a while. :)
#549 ·
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak
The writing in this is exceptional, and the story told is subtle and moving. But elements of that story don't quite jive with me, like the implication that Flutterblob became Flutterbang and is the origin of the Biblical creation myth -- like, what? And Celestia's implied romantic feelings for Twilight Sparkle, though thematically appropriate, come across as gratuitous.

The latter point is one that I could overlook in another writeoff, but after Monsters... I don't think I'm capable of not finding the parallel between the two, even if it's executed differently.

This was top on my preliminary ballot, and unless something changes in the finals, it might just ride out the rest of the round up there. So, you know, good work, 'n stuff.
#550 · 3
· on The Bonds You Choose, and Those You Leave Behind · >>AndrewRogue
Definitely sweet, with strong writing and characterization. I'm always a fan of stories that manage to impart some character into someone who's, largely, a blank slate on the show, as Octy and Vinyl are. Vinyl's earnest offer of boxed mac 'n cheese is touching and sweet, and reinforces the theme of the class difference between she and Octy.

Octy's end of things feels a little weaker, however; we get that she's in love with Vinyl, but without a larger context... it's hard not to see the other characters' side of the argument. Not the bourgeois shit, but the fact that she and Vinyl, as far as we can tell, just met. And I don't get a sense that this relationship between them is one that is worth striving for, to the extent that all true warriors Octavia does.

I dunno. It's still really good, darbro.
#551 · 5
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Gonna try and catch up on the finalists before the end of the round. Wish I had until the weekend to do it, but one makes do...
#552 · 1
· · >>Pascoite
If you post this to FiMFic, two big segments of your audience are going to be folks who condemn you for writing it, no matter how good it is, and folks who, like both your characters, would love to see this scenario play out to the fullest.

I disagree with Pascoite's implication here that those who enjoy erotica (even specifically this sort) are incapable of appreciating something on a delicate subject that isn't erotica. I think you'd receive a very positive reception from "that segment". I've never seen anypony pilloried for not writing erotica, and almost nopony reads for one reason only.

I want you to imagine for a second how shitty your life would be if you could never have sex with someone you were attracted unless you were willing to do something amazingly evil in order to get it.

Even if you're lucky enough to be attracted to adults as well as children, the psychological pressure knowing that many people would kill you if they knew you were attracted to kids can still be a source of constant trauma. As I mentioned before, there are many reasons why it doesn't voluntarily show up in the clinic with anywhere near the frequency it must occur in gen-pop.
#553 ·
· on Monsters
>>Baal Bunny
I replied to two responses here but the reply is only showing in the mane forum. Just so you know it exists.
#554 ·
I tried to push hard and review as many as I could during prelims. I am now amused to note the correlation between being on my prelim slate and being knocked out before finals. :trollestia:
#555 · 2
· on Wake-up Call
I can see why this story got such good art, Writer - you’re very good at imparting a particular existential ennui in Sunset. I had to step outside into the sunshine for a bit after reading this one, and I’m almost as much of a hermit as Sunset is.

I mean that in the best possible way. ^^ I like it when a story evokes a visceral response, even when that response is a lead weight on my chest.

I agree with >>Trick_Question w/ regards to Sunset’s depression - her behavior extends far beyond standard breakup melancholy if she’s unable to summon the willpower to leave the house for days (weeks?) at a time. I don’t think that’s a bad thing with regards to the story, though - if anything, it helps paint a more complete picture, and could even be part of what led to Sunset and Twilight’s breakup.

Speaking of, I don’t think you need to alter Twilight’s standoffish behavior, but you may want to weave just a bit more context for it into the narrative. I have a pretty good guess from what you’ve already said here that the breakup was spectacularly bad. I’m not saying you should explicitly state how things went down - I think that would do more harm than good for the mood you’re setting - but if the breakup was bad, and mostly Sunset’s fault, that might help explain why RD, AJ, and the rest don’t have as much of a presence in the story beyond text messages. If both parties were aggrieved, I agree with Trick that the other girls would be more involved.

Although, I get the sense that everyone is at least a few years older - high school students don’t generally move in with eachother, nor do they rent (buy?) houses. Time has a way of testing our bonds, and it may be the other girls have too much going on in their lives to spare more than a text or a phone call.

This is all speculative, though, and I think it's interesting to try to piece together what I can from what you've stated within the story. The only real nitpick I have is that I don’t have a firm sense of how quickly things have progressed since the breakup. Has Twilight moved all of her stuff out in a couple of days? If so, Sunset’s depression was a problem long before they actually broke up. Has it been a couple weeks? If so, the other girls would likely have started beating down Sunset’s door to try to help her out - unless they have a compelling reason not to.

All of that said, I don’t actually think you need to change much of anything - I love this story as it stands, and I’m fine with the vagaries I’ve outlined above. The point of this story is the mood, not the specifics, and I think too much specificity would be to this story’s detriment. Anything I said above, maybe address with an idle line or two for context and nothing more.

Make no mistake, Writer - I love this story. It’s an excellent mood piece, and I hope you publish it once the competition is over.

Final Thought: Wait, if today wasn’t a nice day, and Sunset’s been in bed all day, who closed the curtains?
#556 · 3
· on You Didn't Look Back, Not Once
Who thinks painting with watercolours is not really painting?
#557 · 3
· on Monsters · >>Baal Bunny
>>Baal Bunny
So again, I'll apologize

I don't think you have anything to apologise for in making an honest attempt. Don't be too harsh on yourself. I bear you no ill will.

I regularly get words like "fun," "cute," "romp," and "meringue" applied to my stuff, and that's the way I like it.

Particularly since this sort of thing is way outside your norm. I don't have the courage to tackle hard subjects at all. Also, "meringue"? I'm intrigued.

You tried something difficult and often the only way to improve is to try hard things. One won't always succeed, but the real value is in making the effort.

And, wow, I've tried for a half-hour forty-five minutes to write something more encouraging that won't come across as condescending or trite, neither of which I mean, and I still can't find the words.
#558 · 1
· on Entropy · >>zaponator
My only complaint is sort of an incidental one, in that I don't think Starlight has actually been to that future before. Every time in "The Cutie Re-Mark" Starlight and Twilight travel to a screwed up future, it's always back to the approximate "present" of the new timeline. That being said, if it looks similar enough (and by all description it certainly does), then it's totally reasonable that she'd think "oh I can fix this like last time." So, no real points off. It's just a weird bit of non-meshing headcanon, maybe.

All that out of the way: I was hooked pretty much start to finish, if not by Starlight's meddling curiosity, then by the flawless interplay between her and Trixie. Both of their voices are spot on, I think, and the banter and laughter couldn't be any better.
#559 · 2
More feedback is ALWAYS welcome, so yes, please do go for it! (Though I don't think there's anything about my story that hasn't been covered so far).
#560 · 7
· on Chrysalis' Kingdom: All Falls Down · >>Winston
>>Zaid Val'Roa
>>Miller Minus

Hey everyone, thank you very much for your reviews and comments, and taking the time to read this! I knew it wasn't going to do very well, but I guess I wrote it anyways because of wonderful encouragement in the discussion thread (see page 2, for example) and because it was kinda fun for me to jump inside a character like Chrysalis' head. She's totally different from me, so being in her head was pretty cool.

Unfortunately, I didn't really come up with anywhere new to take the story, as you all noticed. I anticipated that comment. v_v I'm basically a discovery writer, with some minor planning and outlining, but usually once I find somewhere to start something starts to take shape. If it isn't obvious from where I started, I wanted to really look at how Chrysalis was losing everything she valued in the specific episodes. I also think she had a moment she really considered taking Starlight's hoof. I'm a tremendous reader so I know how words should go, generally, but getting the story right? Still way beyond me ^^'

I also finished this in the middle of the night, and I'm NOT a night owl, so the ending got away from me a bit. I hope it wasn't mind-numbingly boring, having it basically be a summary of events. I really appreciate you guys reading it.

I...was aware of the lack of new. I just liked writing it, I guess. I wanted to make her more nuanced--particularly where she was suffering debilitating hunger in order to provide her drones with what they needed to carry out the attack, and barely resisted Starlight's attempt, and indignation at a pony thinking to understand...and just utter, utter shock at what happened and probably denial too. Thanks for your feedback; the way you worded it (even though I flinched at the "Author, if that's really all you see in her, then one questions why this story really needed to be written" section) helped me to realize that morally ambiguous or a nuance about her is where I need to focus. I dunno that she's terribly morally ambiguous, but I am seeing what you're getting at.

You're right; her arc in the series pretty clearly denotes the aspects I presented and I didn't get into the ones I found more interesting. I honestly wanted to do something more with her mind trying to cope with everything crumbling around her, but it was the end, I was tired...

And mostly, I wanted to give you a giant hug. It's been so hard to wait to tell you that! *glomps* Thank you so much for the kind words about my writing!

>>Zaid Val'Roa
Thanks for your feedback. I was worried about the episode retelling in particular, and (especially as I was tired when I wrote it) I ended up kind of rushing through what happened without putting emphasis on some things I'd hoped to. I mean, we can all see she gets mad at Starlight trying to lecture her, but I felt like she must be hiding real indignation and belief that it literally wasn't possible for a pony to understand changelings and how dare she? but that's probably pretty clear already, so again, I run into the problem of nothing new. I appreciate your comments about what could make the story better--seeing in a new light, or from a new angle, or adding a layer of emotion. I'm thinking about how to do that. Though I'm not 100% sure I can make a decent story out of this anyways.

I was really glad to see your review of my attempt! Thank you so, so much for your positive comments about my prose (and Chrysalis' perspective). The intimacy was really something I wanted--I wanted to be IN her head, not just watching--but I know I missed on a lot of other points. Thanks for the reminder about having a clear "hook"--I always imagine a literal hook, sinking into the reader, reeling them in and keeping them there, and I need to put one in this story. I'll put more thought into what I want people to take away, too. Even if I don't do much of anything with this attempt, I will use it in the future.

>>Miller Minus
Thanks for taking the time to comment. My attempt to use the prompt......well, I wanted it to feel to Chrysalis like it was The End of All Things; that's how I saw it. I clearly didn't communicate it well.

I was also really happy to see your review, Trick. I appreciate you branching out from the issues the other reviewers had mentioned. I didn't even realize I was bouncing back and forth between two styles, the narrated and the episodic, or that that could be confusing. That's something I know more about how to work on than plot...

I really want the reader to feel like they're inside Chrysalis' head for this story. I get what you're saying about showing vs. telling, but I think I'd go with describing Chrysalis' sensations vs what someone looking at her would see, because I don't want to back out of her head far enough to look AT her. I want to look THROUGH her eyes, if that makes sense. I appreciate your critique, though. I can definitely keep working on it.

As a side note, am I the only one who has their thoughts basically go white when they're absolutely furious? Most people, most stories, describe "seeing red," but I always feel like pure emotional energy is blinding me, or something more like that, and it's burning white-hot, like staring at a star/sun... I don't actually see "red" as such. I was afraid of losing the reader if I talked about seeing white, though. I guess that would have been the time for more showing, hmm? For me, when I get truly furious to the point where I snap, coherent thought falls away, and most sensations do too, but for the heat of rage and the blinding white fury. I can't see clearly, sometimes at all for the most intense moments, and all I can do is cling to what control I've got and stand there and shake, or to lash out violently at something, basically feeling helpless to stop.

If that sounds like an insane person talking, I'll stop; does it help explain if I mention I have a younger brother with an absolute talent for getting under my skin? It doesn't help that I apparently don't look seriously angry when I am, and I'm short and not super athletic (bit chubby...) so few people see me as a threat and being brushed off doesn't help... Oh my gosh, SHUTTING UP NOW.

Nope, not me, but maybe this means I should read that story to see how my attempt came off to other people, if it seems that similar.

Ah, it took me forever to find that comment! I just happened to glance it in passing in the thread... At any rate, I intend to look at that story and see what it did. Maybe that will help me figure out how to do what I want a little better.

Wait, aren't those two comments referring to the same story? *headache intensifies* OK, maybe I just need to read that fic and see what I make of it, first... Shoot. Less helpful than I may have thought, getting such different reactions.

And once more, I'd like to thank the people who encouraged me enough so that I actually wrote this, entered it, and left it submitted.
Thank you:
Posh (>>Posh, your review post though you didn't know at the time)
Seriously, thank you. ALL THE HUGS.
CoffeeMinion (>>CoffeeMinion, >>CoffeeMinion)
TrumpetofDoom (>>TrumpetofDoom)
moonwhisper (>>moonwhisper)
Bachiavellian (>>Bachiavellian, >>Bachiavellian)
Pascoite (>>Pascoite)
Ranmilia (>>Ranmilia)
Monokeras (>>Monokeras, >>Monokeras)
Trick_Question (>>Trick_Question)
I almost cried when I read that, especially the last line. Thank you.
(Sorry if I came off insulting or rude in later comments)

Also Horizon, indirectly (>>horizon, >>horizon)

I can't thank you all enough, those who reviewed and critiqued my story, and those who helped me stay strong enough to write the story, submit it, and leave it up. Thank you, thank you.
#561 · 2
· on Should I Stay or Should I Go.
I'm inclined to agree. I like the setup and concept, the order of scenes, the resolution. It could be such a lovely story; if only it were finished. That's why I was so annoyed.

My drafts are nothing like this; I write perhaps a paragraph of plot, then mostly wing it. There's far more here than that. I can almost see what it wants to be at every turn, and it just isn't there. What this needs is expanding to fill the gaps, along with some proper editing.

I love the irony...

Important lesson here then. It doesn't matter what order you think of things in, we only see them in the order they appear in the writing. You can write a later scene because of an idea you had in an earlier one, but there's nothing stopping you going back and tweaking the earlier scene to fit your new idea a little better. Drop some foreshadowing in. Spin a line of dialogue a little differently.

Twi's kid keeping her grounded in reality really does wonders for this little arc. I'd love to have seen some of the process of Twi:
Deciding to get some
Finding a stallion
Convincing them
Realising she's made a mistake
Separating amicably
Having a foal that she loves, despite the separation

That takes time, of course, and we were limited here. Hell, that on it's own is an entire novella to me. I wonder if you just tried to write far too much plot, given the limits here. Reached too far and spread the writing too thin. That's certainly how it seemed.

I'd like to see this become what it was born to be.
#562 · 1
· on Lily's Letter
>>Miller Minus
I'm going through stories I saw praise for that aren't in the final.

I quite like this. It's fairly well polished, it's complete, it's nice prose.

It doesn't bother me that you say very little about the PoV character directly, we know what sort of pony they are from their actions. I'm going to call them Holden and see if you catch the ryeference.

I think the story is half about Fleur anyway, really. Who she was. How she wants to do one last irresponsible thing before becoming an adult. And offer an olive branch to an old friend, even though they probably don't deserve it. The interplay between the two is fun and believable and emphasises the contrast in their lives at the end.

I was tripped slightly because I presumed that Lily was Lily Valley, until she did some magic.

I would have scored this well, if I had been given it.
#563 · 2
· on Wake-up Call
I did a reading of this story. Blame regidar.


Also, sorry for sounding groggy at the begining, it took me a while to get into the rhythm of the reading. Also, I think I said bird instead of bare near the end.
#564 · 2
· on Melatonin · >>Icenrose
Late audio review. Sorry.

#565 · 2
· on Lily's Letter
Late audio review. Sorry.

#566 · 1
· on Melatonin · >>AndrewRogue
No worries, yo! I appreciate the feedback all the same. You made some excellent points, particularly regarding how the climax, being set in a dream, is really more self-actualization than anything else. That's definitely something to bear in mind.

And the whole base premise of the story itself being obscure side effects of an uncommon non-prescription drug doesn't do the story any favors, of course, but for the sake of not scrapping the story entirely I may just let that one ride. ^^ I can only say that when I first started taking it, I had weirdly intense and unsettling dreams for a week, and then kinda nothing afterwards. That has confirmation bias written all over it though, so /shrug, haha.
#567 ·
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak · >>horizon >>CoffeeMinion
Blah, blah, audio, etc.

#568 · 1
· on Melatonin
Yeah, I wouldn't worry too much about the side effect thing. it is apparently common enough that when I searched it it immediately popped into autofill, so my particular ignorance of the subject might be somewhat unique. Just thought I would mention it.
#569 ·
· on The Dressmaker's Lament · >>Morning Sun
Blah, blah, audio, etc, Amarynceus has some cute art yeah?

#570 · 1
· on Spelling Trouble
More reviewing of things not in the final:

This has its strengths but something stops me liking it as much as I want to.

I enjoy comedy when it comes from simply exaggerating some of a character's traits. But I think the core of them needs to stay believable.

I just don't quite buy Fluttershy here. I realise she's being played for laughs; I'm fine with her asking felids for writing advice. Having secret murder-plans could be fun, because it's so absurd. But much of her dialogue sounds more like Twi to me. She's a bit too sarcastic. A bit too aggressive when she's being passive-aggressive.

Midnight amuses me, just being a bitch out of nowhere. Her timing is great. But I don't see Flutters really putting up with her for no reason. Fluttershy's acceptance of the situation seems rather too quick and neat, I would expect Midnight to have to bribe Flutters into accepting help.

I don't know where you'd go with it, but it would be funny to see more of this Midnight, hopping between the mane 6/7/8 trying to offer advice but also being abusive. I think it would need a bit more setup though.
#571 ·
· on Here at the end, of all things! · >>ToXikyogHurt
I'm writing this really shorthand, because the comments above cover most of it.

I liked this story[1], but it needs an edit.

Obviously unfinished, as Horizon says. The characters are... misaligned? Not enough to be unreasonable to the canon, but enough to be jarring and abrasive to read. The start/introduction needs to be refined and made more interesting; when the story got into swing, it was a series of fantastic one-liners and ideas, but everything before "Prince Aragonite" needs to be tightened with a spanner.

General notes; Rarity needs to complain about Twilight's fame -- and her own -- less. It needs to be a punctuating remark, not a constant source of lament. If you say it once, you understand where the character's coming from. If you keep repeating it as you do, it reads as an unhealthy obsession. That would be fine if you weren't also playing up Rarity's "bitchiness" for the story. As a one-two punch, it makes her too unlikable to be sympathetic, which you kind of need her to be.

[1] Actually, it's the best I've read so far.
#572 · 3
· on The Bonds You Choose, and Those You Leave Behind · >>AndrewRogue
Here's how much I disliked this; I got to the point where Octavia's colleagues -- who are indistinguishable from each other, because they aren't actually real characters -- are talking about the 'stock' of her fiance, the lowered standing, etc. and I worked out everything that was going to happen. And I was so confident that I stopped reading. I am going to make my prediction here, then scroll up and see how close I got by skimming through. I want to emphasize I have only read up to the line:

The ice in her voice caused Parish to blanch, but, to his – or the wine’s – credit, he persevered. “You must understand, Octavia. You being so closely associated with a… with the… you getting married to a pony so... far outside our social standing would lower the stock of the quartet in Canterlot’s eyes.”

Octavia quits, because they can't accept her love is more important. It's very dramatic because nobody has ever before conceived that love could be more important than a career or social status. This will be treated as far-out and inconceivable in universe, as if it's a profound statement. Obviously, her family doesn't approve. Octavia sticks to her guns and gets married and gazes off into the sunset with the ruthless determination of the rightness of her decision, as if there were any actual conflict to it.

Alright, I'm going to finish reading now...


Man, the only thing I got wrong was I didn't think to include "Octavia realizes the transparency of high society, even though there's no nuance to its awfulness". If I hit that one, I'd have got bingo.

Final note:

Swan laughed again. “Oh, don’t pretend you’re above all of this, Octavia. Of course you care. You’re one of us. One of Equestria’s movers and shakers. The ponies with a direct line to the princesses. Your family alone owns… what, a third of northern Equestria?”

“Forty percent,” she corrected, entirely on reflex.

This is absurd. It's an absurdly big number and an absurdly big in-universe implication. This is like saying her family owns everything from Washington state to Wisconsin in the US.
#573 ·
· on The Dressmaker's Lament · >>GaPJaxie >>Morning Sun
This was a story that felt far too infatuated with itself.

You tried to make a meal entirely of spices. Seasoning's good, but there's a reason it's meant to be an accent rather than a portion. There's more words here than ideas to sustain them, and worse, not enough reason behind them being written.

A sentence needs more intent behind it than the elegance of the sentence's own sake, and there are long stretches where it seems the intention was just to show off the author's ability to write pretty prose, without conveying anything meaningful with that prose.
#574 ·
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak
This story needs a latin title.
#575 · 2
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak · >>TrumpetofDoom

Okay, this is meta-criticism, but it's a serious problem.

The first of these: You're trying to make this story a tragedy, but you haven't quite done the work to establish it. It's sad, but it's not tragic.

You're telling the author what you think they were doing -- you could be entirely wrong, and I have good reason to believe you are, since the only reason to genuinely think this is a tragedy is a throwaway in the first four lines which seems to mostly be there for poetic purposes -- but then explain why they're wrong at doing the thing you think they're doing.

it reads;

"I will tell the author what they're trying to do, and I will tell them how they failed at it"

When, really, it's very possible the reason they didn't actually succeed at being the thing you're telling them they are is that it's not what they were trying to be. Maybe the reason this story fails as a tragedy is that it's not a tragedy?

You make very concrete, definite assumptions about the author's intentions that I just don't see in the work itself, and your opinion seems to hinge on it. I would advise, in future; "IF the author were trying to accomplish this-"

Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what's wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.
Neil Gaiman

Also, Twilight being immortal isn't canon. Hell, Word of God might even contradict it; "Twilight won't outlive her friends" being the swing-both-ways phrase.
#576 · 3
· on Maker of Makers!
I don't get it, I don't get the appeal. I understand what's here I just think... if the joke is that it's too dense to be meaningful and readable, then the punchline is severely undercut by how effective and straightfaced the performance is.

There needed to be more nods and moments of levity if this were a joke.

There needed to be more relatable ideas and much lighter prose if this were serious. Currently this is so purple it's in the ultra-violet spectrum.
#577 ·
· on Wake-up Call · >>CoffeeMinion
Sunset is sad.

She is sad because X happened.

Wasn't much impressed, because of the same critiques that >>AndrewRogue wrote (and spoke) about. There is no change. Without that context, I don't understand this Sunset Shimmer very well, much less care about her. I mean, it could just as easily be about any other character going though a period of depression and ennui, and it would read the same. With some change (upward, downward, sideways, whatever), the story would be saying something about this character and this emotion, not just wallowing in it like sadfics do.

Unless the coffee at the end is supposed to be the change, but that's way too subtle to decipher.
#578 · 2
· on Twilight Sparkle at the Gate of Heavenly Peace
My top five, now that Regidar and Baal Bunny's entries are no longer in the running (sadly):

Heat Death
Beyond Deity
The one I'm commenting on.

Initially I had Cold in Gardez's entry above Beyond Deity, but I had to knock it down a notch after more introspection—however, it's still the best-written story of them all, as usual.

I will say that Cold in Gardez definitely wrote a pony story this time around. It wasn't a pony story because of the ponies or the references to Twilight Sparkle, though. It was a pony story because it was clearly inspired by Sombra's return and the mindset of the abused and forgetful crystal ponies.

CiG has a hard time being able to tell whether or not he wrote a pony story, so maybe this is helpful. (Maybe it isn't.) But what constitutes 'pony' to me is something that was clearly inspired by show elements. It doesn't need to be the characters, though reliance upon an established character is the easiest approach. This story would be less effective without FiM because of the framework of the mental status of former slaves with missing memories that it rests upon, and that's the best way to write fanfiction: use the source as an essential prompt to the underlying ideas you're sharing.

The most common element I find that works with pony is the nature of Friendship as a supernatural force. It's an upbeat aspect that can shine through in even the darkest of fiction. But there are countless others. I often rely upon the magical aspects such as Twilight's OP abilities (specific things she's done in the show) and the Elements.
#579 ·
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak · >>Aragon
This is excellent. I'm only about halfway through my finalist slate, but so far this is an easy #1.

The framing of this story is very unusual, from the way it handles breaks and whitespace to the use of (parenthesis). Going into it, I expected not to like it, as I usually find formatting-based framing devices to be overly gimmicky. But here, it absolutely worked, and was a critical part of establishing a distinct narrator voice. The flow of the story makes the off beat (parenthesis) remarks feel entirely appropriate, and despite the unusual structure, it remains easy to read and understand. The story itself, while simple in concept, is told with a remarkable amount of color and feeling, and it sucked me in all the way to the last word.

Whoever wrote this, thank you! This was a pleasure to read.
#580 ·
· on Welcome to the End of all Things · >>LiseEclaire
I quite enjoyed this! It wasn't without its flaws: the shopkeep being asian is a bit of an overused cliche, the pacing felt rushed throughout and particularly at the end, and it was at times much wordier than it needed to be. But the premise was interesting, the exploration of it felt easy and natural, and I could imagine this shop existing in Equestria -- with all the magic and what.

If I had to give one suggestion to improve it, it would be that it doesn't foreshadow Moondancer's fear of being overshadowed, so her revelation at the end that one perfect item isn't all there is (as it were) doesn't feel terribly emotionally meaningful. While the story isn't really about her personal arc, I think building that up a bit more would make the ending feel more solid.

Still, quite good.
#581 · 1
· on The Bonds You Choose, and Those You Leave Behind · >>AndrewRogue

I am going to have to double down on these comments. I enjoyed it, it flowed well, the dialogue and sentence/paragraph construction were both very solid, etc. But it felt a bit paint-by-numbers. There was nothing really new or surprising here.

Will make the top half of my slate just due to quality of execution, but I would have loved to see more from the actual story.
#582 ·
· on Another Pony’s Poison · >>Pascoite

I actually have to give almost the opposite review! I think the ending is the strongest part in what is otherwise a fairly weak story.

To be clear, when I say the ending is the strong part, I mean the concept here is strong. It's original, its creative, and it's full of narrative potential. Sunset Shimmer being a changeling alters her entire relationship with Celestia, and the questions of Sunset's true identity and if Celestia knows add rich complexity to an already quite layered connection. I would love to see a story that explores this concept in detail, and hope the author expands on this notion in the future.

Unfortunately, as written, I think this story's execution is lacking. I didn't pick up that she was a changeling until the end, and without that detail, it's a pretty bland and melodramatic "Sunset/Celestia reconcile" story. The twist really got my attention, but by the paragraph before the twist, I was getting pretty bored with the story. I think the foreground plot needs a lot more polish if it's going to hold the readers attention until the background plot kicks in.

This story will end up near the middle of my slate, but seriously author, I would love to see a second try at this concept. You've got a really cool idea here, and with a little more fiddling, it could be really strong.
#583 ·
· on Not a Thing to Do/But Talk to You
I'm... not really sure what to say about this one. I see it getting a lot of praise in the other comments. I can see that it's a well constructed slice-of-life story. But from my perspective, not much happens. Like, the dynamic is well executed, and the characterization is certainly good, but I wasn't sure what about this was supposed to grab me.

I think I may abstain on this one, because it is not my kind of story, but that doesn't mean it isn't objectively good.
#584 · 1
· on The Dressmaker's Lament · >>Morning Sun

I'm going to +1 Mr. Number's comment, with some footnotes. I do think it should be emphasized that the spices on display here are of a most excellent quality. The prose is engaging, the narrator voice is colorful, and the ending is clever. But, as said, there simply isn't enough substance here to carry the day.
#585 · 1
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak
What a bizarre prologue.

Some very odd punctuation going on here; sentences broken into multiple paragraphs, paragraphs with parentheticals next to commas, etc.

"Count your teeth..." WTF? But I mean that in a good way. This story is doing something so very strange, but it's working so far. Let's see if it can maintain it though.

Okay, what an interestingly grotesque scene describing Fluttershy. Reminds me very much of Julie E. Czerneda's "Species Imperative" series, specifically bit in the second (or third?) book where we see the final Dhryn form.

The odd pacing/punctuation continues, yet with everything else, I don't think it's mistakes, but deliberate. Which is why "There were good news" and "There were bad news" throws me, as those seem like much more obvious "mistakes" yet...

The "talk" with Discord works for the most part, but the reveal (if it was even supposed to be that) was already given away by the opening sentences. The "Fiat Lux" bit too was kind of predictable.

In the end, I think this story fits into a weird space for me. It's so strange that it isn't likely to be forgotten easily. And it mostly works, despite the strangeness. I said earlier we'd see if it can maintain, and it did, but to continue the metaphore, I don't think it quite stuck the landing. So, a strong contender and a really good effort to pull off something so odd so well. Not quite top tier for me, but close.
#586 · 1
· on Wake-up Call
Yes I definitely think the coffee is meant to signify change (and not just because of my coffee-centric worldview). The coffee is a step that Sunset is taking towards rejoining the world, as opposed to continuing to hide from it. And I think it's therefore also meant to have implications for her acceptance of what's happened with the relationship.

(But then I might simply have been sidetracked by the coffee.) :-p
#587 ·
· on The Dressmaker's Lament · >>Morning Sun
Disembodied voice for the first paragraph. I think it's Celestia, but... the voice is very off to me, especially the "if I do say so myself!" line. Sounds more like Applejack doing a bizarre mockery of Rarity (if she spoke like Blueblood.)

Oh, it is Rarity... hmm... okay, the voice is still. Okay, yeah, now I'm going back and rereading it all with Rarity's voice in my head and it works a bit better. Still sounds a bit off to me, because these are thoughts, not spoken words, but it's closer. This DEFINITELY needs to be shown as Rarity earlier, as it totally threw me into the wrong sound to start with.

Okay, a bit further through now, and... yikes is this some dense purple prose here. Yes, Rarity is rather fond of it in canon herself, but... again, that's spoken. This is so dense to feel like I'm drowning in overly-ornate turns of phrase.

Rarity vs. Giant Grab references seem to go completely against the rest of the tone.

I found myself starting to rush through the rest, as this story really was dragging for me in pacing. The stream of conciousness goes on far too long to show the cliche we've seen even in canon too many times... a frazzled Rarity rushing to complete a dress. We get it, and the story needs to get there faster.

Okay, the ending... despite coming far too late, is a cute twist. Rarity's idea is clever and amusing, so points for that.

Overall, I think there's a great little idea here. The key word is little though. All the fun bit is in the last half a page. The entire rest of the story sets up only that Rarity is making a (wedding) dress, and that she is (predictably) frazzled about getting it right. That needs to be way shorter.

Secondly, the stream-of-conciousness is a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, it probably is the right choice for the payoff at the end, but... as it reads now, the prose is far too dense and purple to be enjoyable, especially as it's revealing almost nothing new the entire time. There are a few bits here and there which sound exactly like Rarity, but then so much more that sounds like what someone trying to imitate her from only a few sound bites might do. Does that make sense? Let me try again: Rarity, in the show, has plenty of moments where she speaks with all the flourishes of fancy prose she can. But a good majority of her dialog is actually pretty normal sounding. This story forgets to switch it up, and so it comes across as over-the-top the entire time, and that just doesn't work at 2,000+ words.

Still though, I really do love both the idea and the reveal (the paragraph with the mirror is a fantastic way to do that) in this, so really hope the author can rework this and punch it up. I think it could fit just perfectly around the 1,000 word limit for FIMFic.
#588 ·
· · >>Trick_Question
Pascoite's implication here that those who enjoy erotica (even specifically this sort) are incapable of appreciating something on a delicate subject that isn't erotica

That's... taking a rather large leap from what I actually said.
#589 · 2
· on The Bonds You Choose, and Those You Leave Behind · >>AndrewRogue
Frederick and Parish don't sound like very "pony" names.

Okay, a full page into this, and all we've seen is the "You can't be serious" trope dragging on with still no clue to the subject of the conversation.

...And the subject is marriage. Vinyl ship incoming? Sincerely hope this is more than the usual "don't marry beneath your station" cliche.

"She’s not a yak" reads dark to me. She's debating someone's classist ideas with a racist one herself?

Starting to see a few typos, missing words, and other technical problems.

Surprisingly touching scene there at the ending. Unfortunately, at least for me, the rest of the story really doesn't do much.

This is a story (almost) as old as time. From Helen of Troy, Romeo and Juliet, The King and I, to Downton Abbey, the "forbidden love" thing has been done so, so many times, and this story really doesn't bring anything new to it. None of the characters that tell Octavia she'll be "ruined" are more than basic archetypes, and octavia herself is so determinedly non-emotional (she focuses on the bite of pasta, or the tea, or whatever) that it's hard to feel much of anything in most of the scenes.

The exception, is the ending, as mentioned. Vinyl's casual, welcoming attitude is a nice contrast to the cold shoulder of all the others. So, overall, while this is well written, both in general prose and in specific dialogue, it's retelling something I've seen too many times before to genuinely grab my interest.
#590 · 1
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak · >>MrNumbers
I get and agree with your general point that misidentifying problems leads to suggesting the wrong solutions, and usually I'm better about saying things like "it seems to me that X, and if that's the case..."

That said,

Tragedy, one feels, is about to happen.

seems to me to be a pretty clear signpost of authorial intent, particularly in combination with the first line. Seeing it at word 5, and then again before we even get into the story's main body, really primes me to expect it, and that expectation makes it hard for me to see what else could really have been meant. If they didn't intend to write a tragedy, and they don't want the audience to think they intended to write a tragedy, then it might behoove them to remove or change the things that might lead the audience to think they intended to write a tragedy.

(Also, that first sentence is still objectively incorrect, in a way that I am not willing to extend poetic license to cover. "Childbirth is enough to kill a mother" is sad, and I have never argued otherwise, but it is not tragic without additional conditions, and those conditions are not obviously present.)

Also, Twilight being immortal isn't canon.

No, and I never said it was — but I'd still be hesitant about just taking the opposite as a given, either, which the quoted line from the text reads to me as doing. As you note, that WoG could mean any of a number of things, and the only alicorns about whose mortality we actually know anything quasi-definite are Celestia and Luna, who I think it's reasonably well-established are immortal. So, sure, "is alicorn, therefore is immortal" is a generalization, but if the only real point that might be against it is an ambiguous WoG, I don't think it's an unreasonable one. It's certainly not uncommon.

And you know that if it goes live on FIMFic, someone's going to complain that it's VIOLATING THEIR HEADCANON—

Look, the point is, those are waters into which I would not want to wade without at least some sort of defense, and it might be cleaner and less distracting just to sidestep the argument entirely if it's not directly part of your premise.
#591 ·
· on Another Pony’s Poison · >>Pascoite
Wow, I'm a couple pages in and haven't seen anything I felt I needed to comment on. That's almost certainly a good thing. I like the pacing so far.

Okay, starting to feel a little heavy on the self hate here.

It drags on a little too long in the office before the hug happens.

Wow, that twist of an ending! Superbly done! And here I was, all ready to talk about how Sunset was far too uncertain and weird about accepting forgiveness, but that's all justified by the twist!

That said, I did have to reread the last couple of paragraphs a few times to fully parse who was doing what and when. There's a lot of "her" and "she" and other unattached pronouns in there. Deliberate, I'm sure, for obfuscation purposes, but it makes it a bit difficult to follow.

So, yeah, overall, I'm a big fan of Sunset, and the "reconciliation with Celestia" story is right up there with Luna's redemption for me in terms of powerful moments I can't get enough takes on. But this story did that in a way that was feeling just ever so slightly off (but still emotionally strong) to me. Then it twists it all in the ending, making it both happier and sadder at the same time. Absolutely a brilliant way to go, with foreshadowing all the way through, and deserving the same sort of rewind as The Usual Suspects.
#592 ·
· · >>Pascoite
You said the segment of people who would like to see the characters have sex will condemn you for writing it (without sex).
#593 ·
· on Here at the end, of all things! · >>ToXikyogHurt
I've been in those seats: aisle at one end, wall at the other, and a conveniently placed pillar in front of my seat, obscuring 1/3 of the stage. That's a thing.

My first impression here was that things took a while to get started. Agree with others above that this could use some judicious trimming, especially in the beginning. You could cut a few of the hints at Rarity's annoyance and I think readers would still get it. As it is, I felt like Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship, wouldn't take quite so long to pick up on her friend's anger and ask about it directly. I do like the realistic tension in the first scene: characters trying (badly) to communicate and still maintain some public decorum while navigating to their seats.

There are a few bits that felt out of place, or I didn't quite understand them. Rarity's remark about Foppish Dandy's sexuality was one. The remark and Twilight's reaction both seemed very--well, human. I wasn't sure if Twilight meant it's not nice to call someone gay, or to gossip about their sexuality, or to use it for jokes about their sense of fashion. If this is important to the story, it could use a little more in-world context, I think. If it's an offhand joke moment, it's throwing me off as written. The other line I didn't get was the "discretion" thing.

Anyway: that escalated quickly. I didn't expect their night to turn out this way--I'm sure they didn't either--and the escalation was presented in an amusing fashion. Drunk!Twi and Rarity are fun, and Luna's arrival is a brilliant and funny way to wrap things up.

This is an interesting premise and a good set-up for some character exploration, and I think with some of the suggestions here, author, you could tighten it up into something pretty great.
#594 ·
· · >>Trick_Question >>Trick_Question
No I didn't. I said people who find the subject matter reprehensible would condemn it, and people who wanted to see it end that way wouldn't be happy that it didn't.
#595 · 1
· on Santa Bring Me A Dinosaur
Same, it'll be fun to read a more expanded and uniquely-tinted version~
Post by Trick_Question , deleted
#597 ·
I misread part of the condemn thing as going with the second group.

But my overall rebuttal is the same. You said the 'segment' of Fimfiction who wanted to see the story end in Dashaloo sex would not be happy. I'm saying that isn't true: that 'segment' includes many people who are fully capable of appreciating other kinds of stories than pure clop, and despite wanting to see the story end with sex, many of them would in fact fully appreciate the story as written and support Baal's work.
#598 · 2
· on (The Flesh Is) Weak · >>TrumpetofDoom

seems to me

And it seems to have taken you exactly three words to miss my point.


The definition you're arguing is the second listed definition, which is to say it's both the less frequently used and not the only definition. A tragedy can just be a very bad sad thing. Like, say, Fluttershy dying during childbirth.

The author might have meant to use the second one and failed at it. I personally don't see it though.

but I'd still be hesitant about just taking the opposite as a given, either, which the quoted line from the text reads to me as doing.

Right. Which is to say, in the canon of this story Twilight is mortal. Because the author is allowed to take that stance. It's fine.

You're arguing in bad faith. You're arguing someone, somewhere might have issue with taking the stance that Twilight is a mortal for the purposes of this story, when you're the only one listing it as a problem.

You've set your story after Twilight's ascension, so you're implying that being an alicorn is not a sufficient condition for immortality. This is an uncommon position to take, and there's not really any evidence to support it (certainly less than the alternative).

As seen here.

It's an uncommon position, sure, but it's not a wrong one, and to judge the story harshly for it;

The line would work better in reference to Celestia and just about anypony else, even pre-ascension Twilight. As is, though, it's not a good justification for why Celestia won't reciprocate Twilight's desires. If you want Twilight to still be mortal after becoming an alicorn, make that clearer.

There's no reason for it if the author implicitly implies it and that meaning is conveyed. You understood the implication correctly; the author has done their job right. That's the core of show-don't-tell! The information is there, and the information doesn't contradict canon, so going this far out of your way to nitpick it shows to me that it upsets your personal headcanon -- or the idea of it violating another hypothetical person's headcanon -- which is again a horrible way to review.
#599 ·
Also I'm being stupid because I can see what you meant now. :facehoof:

I just wanted to say that I think the 'clopper' segment is actually likely to be supportive of the story.
#600 · 1
· on Solacing Dreams · >>Zaid Val'Roa
Cool concept! I love Luna and all the creative ideas folks come up with for her character and abilities. I could definitely see her doing something like this.

Unfortunately, I didn't get as invested in this as I might have. My issues are mostly technical: I had trouble getting through a lot of it because of sentence structure/length, a few errors and similar readability issues. I don't want to pick on this one story too much, because I run into it a lot and commit my fair share. Some of that is to be expected while rushing just to get all the images and ideas out of our heads in some semblance of order.

One thing that helps me is to read each sentence aloud, noting the rhythm and phrasing, the places it falls naturally to pause and breathe. If something sounds awkward or unnatural, I may try rewriting it several different ways--splitting up longer sentences, rearranging words, experimenting on innocent punctuation marks--until I find the flow that feels best. Sometimes I'll find simpler word choices or whole phrases I can trim without losing meaning.

I know that's not a specific critique, really, just something I thought to mention in case anyone else finds it useful. I'm glad this story is here, and I would be glad to read it again if it has not yet reached its Final Form.