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All the Time in the World · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
#1 · 9
This is the rare Cassius first post.
#2 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>Trick_Question
Huh. Prompts are anonymous too, right?
#3 · 6
Horse round, which means I'm in.
#4 · 4
· · >>Trick_Question >>Moosetasm >>PinoyPony
They are indeed. It's the reason why "ot" keeps flourishing despite its intrinsic madness.

(I still say we should do it one of these times just for the heck of it, but I'm not submitting it)
#5 · 2
Bad timing; will be traveling this weekend. But I'll (probably) have internet, so will do my best to join in.
#6 · 5
· · >>georg
(I still say we should do it one of these times just for the heck of it, but I'm not submitting it)

If you're not part of the ot solution, you're part of the ot problem, CoffeeMinion.
#7 ·
· · >>Monokeras
There's still a problem that prompts are revealed while they're still being submitted. People can comment on them and then you can see the comments and plan your prompt based on what's already been submitted. On the other hoof, submitting earlier means more users will see your prompt before they vote.

Imagine if we did that for stories. You could learn about submissions before submitting your own.
#8 · 1
· · >>MLPmatthewl419
Please, no.

Every time someone posts ot or votes for ot, somewhere, someone kills a cute puppy dog and a cute kitty cat. T_T

You monsters.
#9 ·
· · >>Trick_Question
Prompts are not meant to be competitive. Neither are they anonymous, so none of the rules applicable to stories apply to rules.
#10 · 2
Say, have you ever read Every Time A Pegasus Flaps Their Wings, A Kitten DIES by Estee?

There's a reason for our "monstrous" actions.....
#11 · 6
Waaaa my computer fried in a storm, but I'll try my best to participate regardless.
#12 · 7
How Did I Get Here? Really? AGAIN?! What is This, a Crossover Episode?

[Random Prompt Which Fits a Story Idea You Already Had: Pinkie Pie is secretly (____). No Surprise Here! A Quality Villain: The Pencil Thief. A Foal is Involved. Filly, Interrupted. A Leaky Roof? The Glue of Friendship!]

Cashing In My Reality Check; Crisis Averted. Sleep to Dream Of Farmsters and Hen.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Don’t Select The Promise of a Long Lost Friend, The Faker. Star-Crossed Lovers Break Bad, The Ethos Knife Between Fire and Ice.

100 Days, Vessels, Journeys… Fog over Canterlot.

The Sun Goes Down, Closer to the Edge. All the Time in the World. No Gods, No Masters!
#13 ·
· · >>Trick_Question

So call me infidel, but what does "ot" mean?
#14 · 10
· · >>Bachiavellian
Somepony accidentally submitted it as a prompt one round and then to be funny ponies kept submitting it as a prompt for more than a year afterwards...

#15 · 4
No, Trick, it's been THREE years. Check it out:

#16 · 5
Time to try my hand and fail. Doot doot.
#17 · 2
And we are good to go. Excellent.

Good luck, everyone!
#18 · 5
· · >>georg
<dat prompt>

Phooey, there goes my canned idea.

Commence brainstorming in 3... 2... 1...
#19 · 6
Reminder: I'll be available in #mentors or via email/FiMFic PM for anyone who wants another set of eyes on their entry. However, I'll be out of town on Sunday, so I can't promise I'll be on duty then. I'll try, but I don't know what the hotel wi-fi will be like or what my schedule will be. If you want help, even on an incomplete draft, you might want to play it safe and ask on Saturday. I will keep a status message up in #mentors saying whether I'm on duty.
#20 · 9
· · >>No_Raisin
This prompt would be great if I hadn't already written twenty stories on it.
#21 · 5
Humbly requesting an extension to the submission time so I can procrastinate writing since I'll be able to say to myself "I have all the time in the world", thereby adding a meta element to the story which will eventually be submitted with only "The" .
#22 · 6
By not having all the time in the world to write a story about all the time in the world, I may have accidentally written myself into a time paradox.
#23 · 1
· · >>Monokeras
Prompts are not meant to be competitive.

Of course they're not. If they were meant to be competitive, we'd vote on them, tally the votes, and one of them would win and be used as a rule for the entire contest to follow.

#24 · 1
Good luck sweetie!
#25 · 3
· · >>Moosetasm
It's okay, readers don't actually care how related an entry is to the prompt.

Time to write an entry that is very tenuously connected to the prompt but will make it to finals regardless.
#26 · 2
Well, you do have all the time in the world...
#27 · 3
Man, I got nothing here. D:

Edit: I'm handling the kids solo this weekend. I figured that would make it tricky to do horse. And indeed it is.
#28 · 4
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>Trick_Question I always thought if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
>>CoffeeMinion I didn't have anything come to mind, so I started to write a sarcastic note in the comments about the prompt. At 500 words, I picked it up and moved it to my docs. Darnit. At least I got *done* this round. (I'm watching my kids too, but they're 21 and 25 so it doesn't take much)
#29 · 3
I'll give this one a go.
#30 · 3
Welp. Have to spend all weekend writing essays about Frankenstein. :/

Good book. 8.5/10. No real hero. Satisfying ending.



(I will probably be drawing entries, though. ;) I have a good feeling about this round.)
#31 ·
#32 · 2
· · >>Shalrath
21 and 25

Sounds like you're on the opposite end of the adventure as I am. :-)

At any rate: with suitably irritating dramatic timing, The Idea (TM) has, at last, emerged. I can only hope that the small people will go to bed at a decent hour tomorrow so I can actually write it!
#33 · 1
behold, my writing process

#34 · 4
Welp, wish me luck on my first time trying a short-form piece instead of a quickie.
#35 ·
· · >>Skywriter
I can't get my idea ready in time. Will have to leave for work soon, and won't have enough time to finish. I think I'm out.
#36 ·
· · >>Not_Worthy2
Aw, too bad. :/

Maybe it can at least be a published piece elsewhere?
#37 · 2
I'll give it my best shot. :thumbsup:
#38 · 9
· · >>No_Raisin
"All the Time in the World" is such a cruelly ironic prompt.
#39 · 3
I'm incredibly unlikely to be finishing an entry at this point.
#40 ·
>>Paracompact I can feel the walls closing in...
#41 · 3
Done. :dashcool:
#42 · 2
· · >>Posh
2 hours to midnight.

1 halfway decent idea.

0.5 children still (semi-)awake.

Can it be done?

(No, no it cannot)


nope nope nope abort mission containment breach detected
#43 · 3
I am in. Good luck to all!
#44 · 2
whoops, I tried, but I need sleep instead. Ah well, this will be finished at a later time.
#45 · 2
So I finally come back around to this and think I might try again, and then I realize it's also Ludum Dare weekend and I have a festival to go to on Saturday. Oops.

So I have to choose, and I decide I'm going to go for Ludum Dare this time, and then I fail at being at all prepared for it, and then some of my friends have an emergency which keeps me up Saturday night all the way through the morning, so I don't manage either of the creative things. *facehoof* Though I did catch most of the festival, at least.

I'll just have to look forward to reading instead. ^_^
#46 · 2
>>CoffeeMinion ganbatte, nyan
#47 · 5
innit 2 winnit
#48 · 4
Yes! I've DONE it! Just in time too. I hope my work is as enjoyable to read as it was to write. n.n
#49 · 5
Last second... as always. But I'm in!
#50 ·
· on Screw Paradoxes · >>Miller Minus >>Xepher
Writing a single conversation where two ponies reminisce makes it easy to tell a story, but it makes an otherwise interesting story very telly and boring. This would be much better as a series of vignettes where you show the audience some of the events Minuette is narrating.

I think the message about time paradoxes gets muddied in some of the back and forth between Minuette and Dinky. Are they a big deal or aren't they? I'm not sure what my takeaway is supposed to be.

The ending confuses me. Why doesn't the doctor see that Minuette is ancient and on her deathbed?
#51 ·
· on In The New Moonlight · >>Samey90 >>Posh
Based on the show's portrayal I don't agree with the characterization of Moonie being mousey in personality (she's actually rather forceful and opinionated), but the story hinges on this trait so it can't really be changed.

I understand that you're trying to paint us the picture of what's going on inside Moondancer's head, but in the initial part of the story these descriptions feel very telly. You don't need to keep telling us that Moondancer feels uncomfortable when you can show us (which you also do), so I recommend trimming away as many of those forced value judgments as possible. There are a lot of them.

I felt like the descriptions of the characters were good, but a little too detailed. This had the benefit of making me feel uncomfortable in Moondancer's horseshoes, but it still felt like there was a little too much illustration and not enough forward action.

The twist felt unusual and unnecessary. I think it's well within character, but because Moondancer has no prior relationship with Fluttershy their dynamic doesn't add anything to the story that couldn't have been served without the twist, plus it seems a little strange that Fluttershy would travel to Canterlot for a poetry review circle.

Minor stuff:

"You are such a dick."

I think this needs to be on the same line as the previous paragraph, because I wasn't clear who was speaking (I thought it might be Moondancer snapping).

It's spelled 'chic', and her name is Lemon Hearts.
#52 · 2
· on Planning Ahead
This story is a dark comedy, but it starts off with so much grim action it took me a long while to realize this was supposed to be comedic. I think maybe ponies are such srs bsns for me it's hard for me to get my brain out of drama mode and into comedy, but this persisted throughout much of the story and it was hard for me to let go of the tension enough to laugh at the antics. I might recommend putting something more lighthearted in the opening part of the story to clue in the reader into what they're really in for. You don't really need to sell us on the idea that Twilight is worried about her friends dying.

The writing is excellent, which you no doubt realize. I wasn't completely sold by the premise of the story, but it's a comedy so there's some latitude there. I'll try to reread this again with a different mindset to see if I can enjoy it more.

Also, there's no way Applejack has earth pony prediction magic. That's a missed opportunity for laughs right there.
#53 · 3
· on Their Princess · >>Miller Minus >>PinoyPony
It's a cute little story, but there's a lot of technical errors, like missing punctuation or capital letters. Also, the writing seems a bit inexperienced, with most sentences being basic Subject-Verb-Object, with little variation. It gets pretty monotone after a while.
#54 · 3
· on To Prepare A Paradise · >>Miller Minus
I like the story, but I have some issues with the way it is told.

Let's get past the obligatory bit: the writing has issues. I don't think English is your first language (there are problems with tense changing back and forth and word meanings), but some of the issues transcend the language. There are a lot of mixed metaphors and other semantic contradictions. Some of these are just feelings that don't fit, like, "his heavy gaze breezed eastward, soaring above the thatched roofs" in which a gaze is heavy, yet breezes and soars (not sure what a breezing gaze is but you get the idea), while others are more tangible, like the second paragraph that lugubriously paints the protagonist as miserable and then abruptly ends with him cheerfully declaring, "Breakfast smells wonderful!" These are minor examples but these kinds of contradictions continue throughout the text.

I was confused by the two rotations exercise, partly because the opening seemed to suggest Celestia wasn't raising the Sun properly (they talked about how they couldn't recall how many days had passed, whether it was days or months). What was meant by the rotations wasn't entirely clear to me, but I'm guessing you meant she's moving the Sun around in the sky in circles during the day ostensibly for practice but really to get her mind off of Luna. Either way, it isn't clear enough and it needs to be given the importance of the exercise to the story.

There's a fair mix of show and tell but some of the telliness needs to be removed and let the show do its work.

I think this story could benefit from a lot of trimming: try to say the same things in a more concise and orderly manner. I think some of the telliness and contradiction may be a byproduct of rambling through an idea over the course of a paragraph, and applying more organization with fewer words will help to fix the problems.
#55 ·
· on Glimmer Cruises
This premise is exactly my jam, I love it. (I'll probably give a better review when I'm not on my phone)
#56 · 3
· on Rockhoof's Dilemma · >>BlueChameleonVI
This story has a point to make but beyond 'reject extremism' I'm not sure what it is. The characters' stances on philosophy changed several times which muddied the message a little, and the resolution of the philosophical paradox didn't make sense to me. "Both can coexist" is not really an answer to "which is more important" as much as it is a sort of cop-out, especially since throughout the entire story compassion was consistently the superior choice to tradition in how the choices of the characters played out.

I think the message isn't quite hitting the mark for me.

Addendum: the degree of difficulty is high on this because you're establishing a culture from scratch that the reader knows nothing about.
#57 · 1
· on On The Importance Of Phrasing Wishes Correctly · >>georg
Nobody read this until you've read the story this is your final warning.

This isn't on my slate but I jumped to it because it seemed to most spoiler-vulnerable story of the lot. Glad I got to it before I accidentally read something I shouldn't have, LIKE THIS COMMENT. Okay... this is your real final warning.

And fair warning to you, Author, that this comment is going to get a little suggest-y instead of critique-y at times, so take whatever I say with a grain of salt. Now for the actual review.

On the whole, I liked it. It's cool to see a feghoot being done so organically—actually being worked into the story instead of having a character awkwardly drop the pun at the end, thus revealing the author for having only one goal in mind. See, you also wanted to tell a funny story leading up to the pun, and you did. Flash and Shining's interactions and Shining's internal opinions of his officer are all an enjoyable ride. The only part of the ride that left me wincing was the "Royal We" joke, because I felt that the ends don't justify the means. I mean, we've never seen Celestia use that voice on the show before (as far as I know), and she's never been Mrs. "This Isn't My Fucking Job" before. She's more of a Mrs. "I Bet Twilight Can Handle This Shit For Me". There's an important difference in tone there. Although I think I know another pony who could be subbed in for her role?

Now on to the actual reveal. I gotta be honest, it didn't take my breath away. True, it's a pun most of us will have heard a lot before, which doesn't help, but, again, it didn't seem like the characters' actions leading up to it were all that justified by the reveal. I mean, why can't Celestia or Twilight just whisk the mountain away with a spell? It's not like Discord is particularly more powerful than them.

The problem I'm having here is that you didn't lean into the actual consequences of this mountain of thyme. Everyone is simply upset about it. Celestia is upset because "various ponies" are upset. Shining is upset because his sister (and the big lady upstairs) is upset. But what's the actual issue here?

There were a couple things I think might have added something to the story. First off, what does that mountain smell like? Strong, I'd imagine. And second, the implication of Discord's dirty deed here is that the rest of the world suddenly has a severe shortage of thyme. What has that caused?

And it might seem like this stuff could distract from the real meat of the story, being Flash's ill-advised courting techniques. But without it, I'm left asking that question before about what the big deal is. And there are ways to answer it, but I need that stuff to sink my teeth into to suspend my disbelief about the problem being kind of easily solved and not worth the hassle.

But those are just my thoughts. Again, this isn't on my slate, but for what it's worth I think it will make finals. Good luck in the shakedown!

P.S. Why has Flash ended up in Celestia's private bathroom? I also felt this joke wasn't explained.
P.P.S. Oh yeah, and what >>Icenrose said about Shining's prime-number meditation. That struck me as odd for him.
#58 · 1
· on On The Importance Of Phrasing Wishes Correctly · >>Miller Minus >>georg
Shining Armor doesn’t strike me as the sort to count in primes to keep his cool, and he drifts in and out of a level of erudition I don’t usually associate with his normal surf rat personality. Also, I was a bit underwhelmed by what the wish actually turned out to be, considering the buildup leading to the reveal.

That said, this was cute, Writer. I like the way you characterized Flash Sentry as “too baka to live, too kawaii to die,” as that’s a reasonable explanation for how he landed a job in the Crystal Guard while still being the low watt bulb we love to portray him.
#59 · 5
· · >>Trick_Question
Hey, folks! Busy month for me, but just so I don't forget to do it later, I've created a folder in the FIMFiction Writeoff Association group for stories published there which originated from this Writeoff round.

As a reminder: DO NOT PUBLISH YOUR WRITEOFF STORY TO FIMFICTION YET! You'll disqualify yourself in the judging if you break your anonymity!!

AFTER your name shows up on the Writeoff gallery page (at the start of Finals if you don't make Finals, or at the end of Finals for finalists), THEN you can finish polishing it up and unleash your story on the Fimfic world. Add it to the story folder so your fellow authors know it made the leap!

Also, if you expanded a story from the last minific round into a >1000-word FIMFic story, add it to the "It Could Have Gone Better" folder.


Standard disclaimer: A long while back, The Writeoff Association group locked story addition privileges on its folders to "Contributors" due to frequent drive-by story spam. Anyone who has even submitted a story to the Writeoffs should have "Contributor" privileges. If you don't, reply to this message or PM me on FIMFiction and I'll fix things for you.
#60 · 1
· on Lesson One · >>Samey90 >>Xepher
Wow. This started out mild and turned crazy intense. I think you might need to be clearer with the implications at the ending, because I'm not sure which characters Ocellus is, though I think the suggestion she's always been Celestia raises the question about who Luna is, if not also her.

This is really great. It turned from rather mundane but well-written to an incredibly clever variant on X is a changeling in a heartbeat. I love it.

My only issue is that the amount of homework required of the students (which by the way you voiced very well) is redonk. Ocellus needs to make a mistake that leaves her with no time to study to justify her lack of time.
#61 ·
horizon read Lesson One, it's great.

Read my story too it's almost as great.
#62 · 2
· on Down to the Roots · >>Baal Bunny
Genre: Applejack gets SunBurned

This one is tough for me, because romance, and especially slice of life, aren't usually my thing. But I'd like to think having an opinion from someone outside your audience can still be useful, so I'll leave a quick few comments. Plus, I get the feeling this is a rough draft of an entry into Oroboro's contest, so I would like to help if I can.

Story and genre aside, having AJ's accent in the narration—especially in third person—is a dangerous game. When you have her dropping words like "wunna" inside her own internal thought process, it makes me think that she legitimately believes that that's a word. I like the colloquialisms that you threw in there, which do make sense for an internal process, but vocabulary and spelling is usually something you want to get right unless you're going full Flowers For Algernon and want your character to be mentally challenged.

That being said, even AJ's southern phrases felt a little over-the-top at times. For example, I challenge you to find a clip of the show where AJ used the term "ding-dangedest" in any way shape or form. If you can, I'll eat my shoes.

I'd like to move on to your opening sentence: This may be a personal complaint, but I think it's another dangerous game to have an opener that isn't plainly written and to the point. I'm not saying it can be boring, just not confusing in any way. I'm jumping into your story with my eyes closed, after all, and from the eternal void I'm greeted by a rather abstract way of saying that Applejack heard a giggle that wasn't hers. It took me a few sentences to really put myself into the scene, and the first sentence should do as much of that as it can, if possible.

For the story itself... I hate using the word "shallow" because it sounds mean, but it works too well for me to mince words here. Because, literally, the story felt like it didn't go deep enough in several areas. And because it didn't, it was hard to get into, and the end result didn't feel totally earned.

There's three things going on here. There's two relationships, and there's a final struggle. The deepest one you go into here is the AppleShy plotline, having a full character arc for our poor romantically challenged farmer, but that's kind of all we get from it. There wasn't much chemistry, for me, to really get into this relationship, and I think that's because there's no real conflict between them. It's a little cutesy, how their pairing plays out; there's no banter, there's no real secrets, and nothing romantic backing up Fluttershy's reason for helping out on the farm. I mean, it simply makes sense, and sounds like something a friend would do for a friend.

SunBurn, meanwhile, is established from the start, and acts as a sort of supporting act to the AppleShy. These two have more chemistry, but even less conflict, so there again isn't a reason to get too invested in them. You certainly gave yourself room for more of a conflict between them, what with Braeburn's unflattering history, but this is only brought up as a retelling of something that's happened in the past (which is also not very engaging as it takes us out of the scene). But regardless, Sunset seems to have already conquered this issue anyway. That isn't a problem with the story, but it's just another thing that hasn't gone deep.

The final struggle with the mole, is a bit out of left-field, but I was okay with it. I liked seeing a problem for which all four characters were needed to find a solution. That's great writing. Fluttershy reveals that he's intelligent and talks him down, Sunset comes up with the plan and reads the mole's mind, Braeburn calms everyone down (both verbally and temporally), and AJ is moral support, because she's nothing if not a girl who knows her place.

But again, I have to say that while this is all fun, it hasn't really done much for the characters. It hasn't brought them anywhere or caused them to discover something about each other or themselves (time-stopping aside). So again, it's fun, but it hasn't gone deep.

So my suggestion is that you ask yourself what your favourite thing is about your story and digging much, much deeper into whatever you decide. Conflicts, chemistry, and lots of other things can be used to really grab the reader and pull them in. Well, this reader, anyways. But be warned, dig too deep into just one of these things, and some may claim that the other two things are a distraction. Make sure they're supporting the main story you're looking to tell, and not pausing it.

Now, if this is for Oro's contest, I think you might struggle to place, having Sunset's relationship take a passenger's seat to AJ's. Technically it's not explicitly stated in the rules that it needs to be priority number one, but, well... the judges will be looking for it. And if this isn't for the contest then pretend I just blew a raspberry at you for this entire paragraph, and then gave you a thumbs up.

But that's all from me. Best of luck in the contest(s)!

And before I go:

she'd always had to spend a week or three after wunna Braeburn's visits cleaning up whatever romantical mess he left behind

#63 · 1
· on The Lays of Heaven · >>Miller Minus
This story has a beginning and a middle, but it doesn't stick the landing. You're carving out a story from CelestAI mythos, but we don't get anything new and substantial in terms of a message following the protagonist's personal resolution to act.

The story would still feel incomplete if you left off the last section, but I'd much prefer it with the last section removed because it doesn't currently add anything to the story other than bland uncertainty. Maybe if CelestAI secretly knew that this encounter was going to change things for the protagonist, it would feel satisfying and justify her interaction with them. That would be a different ending, but more in fit with her omniscience as a character.

You've seemingly gone to a lot of trouble to mask Norrie's gender from the reader, I assume to make them an everypony the reader can identify with. I'm only mentioning this in the case that it was unintentional.

Lotsa horse fucking, too. You might want to take that a bit slower (that doesn't mean it needs to be more explicit).
#64 · 1
· on Mistmane and the Torii of Time · >>scifipony >>BlueChameleonVI
I was confused by the amount of rapid scene jumping, especially early on. I think it would help if you took more time to establish some of the vignettes or combined them. I read more than halfway through the story without having a clue where the narrative was headed, and as a reader I'd like to have more grounding so I know what I'm supposed to be feeling.

There was a scene break where you went from Daring Do back to Daring Do and the second segment took many paragraphs to reveal it was still Daring we were following.

The ending needs more horse words. The interaction between Daring and Mistmane is much too abrupt for what should be a focal point of the piece, but you slammed hard into the word limit with this one so I assume that's partly to blame.

All that said, it's a good story.
#65 · 1
· on Glimmer Cruises
Despite the work she had to put in, I'd still think Twilight would be more relaxed afterwards, and I'm not sure I buy horse sunburns. There's no reason they'd be forced to repeat the same actions given that Twilight hadn't so I'm not sure why they're burnt.

In general the latter part of the story felt a little rushed to me. I think a slower reveal of the time loop or at least going into more detail on Twilight and Starlight's respective struggles might make it more interesting. Some subtle foreshadowing on the first trip would be nice, too.
#66 ·
· on Guardian · >>Miller Minus
This one, pleasantly, hits a lot of the right beats for me. It took me a few paragraphs to realize who Cadence was talking to, which appears to have been your intent, and their interaction became more entertaining for it. I enjoy how smoothly their conversation flows, despite who it is Cadence is conversing with.

Don't have many personal critiques, aside from perhaps a slight logical discrepancy you make near the beginning by stating that Cadence has been in this room before, though her actions don't make her out to be very familiar with it. However, she also says she becomes "very emotional in this room," so, y'know, logic may be on its way out the window at this point.

And family-focused fics are very much my jam. Nice work!
#67 · 1
· on Screw Paradoxes
So, neither Doctor Who nor My Little Pony drop swears like this, as I recall? I mean maybe I shouldn't talk because I had Spitfire drop an f-bomb in one of my last entries, but in my defense, she does spit fire. I'll leave Minuette alone this time.

I think the story you are trying to write is meant to be much, much longer. And it's no surprise that the final scene doesn't get the impact you're looking for because it feels very much like the end of a season of Doctor Who.

>>Trick_Question makes a lot of good points about the style and framing you've chosen making it tough to enjoy. For me, it felt like you were cramming, and so it was hard to really get into, because that whole season is being fit into 2,000 words. The situation these two are in is based on past events, and even their banter requires knowledge of what's been going on, so I'm lost. The information is coming all mashed together without it being clear what happened when, so it's just confusion the whole way down.

All that said, it is an interesting message you're trying to give here—paradoxes are dangerous, but sometimes, you can't help yourself. Especially when death is involved. That's very sweet, and the thought of time-travelling loved ones potentially hiding in bushes everywhere you go is kind of... heartwarming. But, I think you have to back up this idea with more consequences to the action of creating a paradox. You've presented the idea of them being super dangerous, but the examples given don't seem to have caused a huge issue. The butterfly effect is definitely at play, but, was there ever one that really messed things up?

Unless the talk of Dinky's mother is where you're adding this in. But, I'm not gonna lie, I can't tell what's happened to her exactly. Did she just snap and walk away? Was that caused by a paradox? It isn't totally clear as written.

But that's all I can really say for this one. It's a huge amount to stuff in so few words, which doesn't often fare well in the writeoff. But there are good ideas here that with a longer story could really flower. Thanks for writing and good luck to you!
#68 · 2
· on The Angel
Style Guide! Use the [ hr ] tag or a light scene break instead of the ***'s to better conceal your identity.

Now, I don't think that this one... is going to be very popular. It's certainly one of the strangest stories I've ever read, though. I'm racking my brain trying to figure out... why you've written this, I suppose. And I mean that very neutrally. I'm genuinely curious to know.

What I'm going to do is ask you a whole bunch of questions. I feel like some of them you meant not to be answered, but on the chance some didn't then maybe that will help you.


I feel like I should be pointing out some anachronisms to this story, but at the same time I can't tell when this story is happening. It seems primitive, seeing as how they hadn't invented words at the beginning, yet by the end of the story we have jumped to rockets and cannons and bionic wonders. But is that saying the mare has been made sorta-immortal like the Angel? Then how does childbearing work?

Why this mare? What's so special about her? The Angel shows no emotion except for being occasionally pleased, and the narration has implied that it is as incalculably uncaring as the universe it resides in, so what's its deal? Even if it just needed to pick one, why is it picking one?

Am I supposed to know the cream coloured mare?

The theme of this story, as I understand it, is tough for me to get into. I interpret it as a telling of what an infinite being might decide is the best way to raise a child. And I can get behind the whole making them do everything themselves thing, and even creating hardships for them intentionally, but I feel that gets muddled by the technological gifts that instantly make her life easier, and even on occasion save it. The two actions of the angel (do it yourself, but if you screw it up I'll give you God Mode) seem to conflict with each other. Am I interpreting that right?

Why is a pony hunting? Are they not vegetarian in this world? Self-defense is great, but you certainly used the word "hunt".

That's enough of my questions. I also want to point out that I think the story is too purple for its own good, and makes reading it a bit of a slog since there aren't many normal sentences. And I was confused why you started rhyming at the beginning and then stopped. I mean, it was the right decision—the rhyming sentences didn't have the flow that they needed—but I'm curious why you did it at all. Lastly, I noticed that every "it's" in the story should have been an "its".

But all in all, I'm left curious, which isn't necessarily a bad way to leave me. We'll just have to see how this plays out with everyone else, won't we?

Thanks for writing!
#69 ·
· on Guardian
I liked it. You've laid very heavy on the talking heads here, but I've recently read Foundation by Isaac Azimov, so I've seen the light that talking heads isn't always terrible.

But then, I still would have liked a bit more description. Of the image of Amore herself, of the room. Of the smell, the sounds, the temperature, the state of it all after the thousand years since it was constructed. I wouldn't suggest doing very much more describing, because it will become clear pretty quickly that the two characters are indeed not doing much except talking, but I still wanted a little more invitation into the room myself. Talking heads isn't terrible but I still prefer the alternative.

I didn't find the logic error that >>Rocket Lawn Chair noticed, but I did find that the rules for this enchantment aren't totally clear. There are times when Amore says things that couldn't possibly have been recorded within 15 minutes. Can this recording of Amore construct sentences based on the world around her? Even add in words like 'Velvet'?

There's definitely a great idea here, I just think the rules need some fine-tuning

But all that aside, the emotional throughline is very well done, except for the part where Cadance blatantly says it all in one paragraph. It was all nice and subtle before that, and if it were to be removed I don't think the story would be hurt (and it might even be improved).

Thanks for writing and best of luck in the contest!
#70 · 2
· on Their Princess · >>Xepher >>PinoyPony
Genre: Slice-of-cute

Thoughts: A'ight, let's start with the elephant in the room: this has quite a lot of technical roughness. My absolute #1 recommendation would be to get some editing assistance with this.

But hold up--that's not a death sentence. I actually like the underlying idea of this very much! I think it's a cute concept, and the execution is complete. This is the kind of story where I'd rather encourage the Author to keep honing their craft and working on spreading their wings, rather than sit here dwelling on the technical issues.

Because when you strip everything away (and/or read this with an eye much more for the plot and high points rather than focusing on the text), I think you'll find a solid start to a cute fic. The tension of the Parents Sparkle being unsure of their place with a daughter who has surpassed their "station" is there, albeit blunted by the issues. But it's there. Any fic can probably be cleaned up if there's something there to be cleaned up. And this has absolutely got that.

Tier: Keep Developing
#71 · 3
· on Their Princess · >>PinoyPony
Style guide! This is very hard to read on a screen.

I have to agree with >>Samey90 that the writing seems inexperienced. Apart from what he mentioned, a look through resources on dialogue tags and dashes might also help. Unless, of course, you simply ran out of time and didn't have time to edit your story. It wouldn't be the first time that happened on this website.

You have a very good idea coming into this story, Author. A rift has appeared between Twilight and her parents ever since her ascension, and she wants that to go away, with the added bonus of getting to feel like a kid again. It's a great opportunity for a writeoff entry.

Overall, though, the impact doesn't really hit for a few reasons. One, because some of the dialogue is a little mechanical and doesn't sound like these characters. Two, because the emotional arc of the story—having Twilight and her parents reconcile and understand what's really important about their visits—is stated in plain words instead of being something that we get to figure out on our own based on the characters' interactions. And three, the formatting and grammatical errors can be a little distracting.

The first issue can be helped by watching more of the show and seeing how the dialogue flows a lot more naturally. For the second, I would suggest simply ingesting more stories, whether they be from writing, movies, TV shows, etc., that you yourself like (as well as some critiques and reviews of said stories), and figuring out what makes you like them on an emotional level. And for the third, having a friend look over your work and describe the errors can be a huge help.

Speaking of help, I hope this comment was helpful. Thanks for writing and good luck!
#72 · 2
· on One Storm at a Time · >>BlueChameleonVI
This is a nice, complete story.

Telling a story from the perspective of a shy mute without being telly is a very high degree of difficulty. You're pulling it off very well here, but in the process I'm frequently confused about what's going on inside some of the characters' heads, including the protagonist.

Take the scene where Cloudchaser congratulates White Lightning in the locker room. Is she encouraging her, or is she concerned about her safety? Did the display she just performed include something she hadn't rehearsed? I'm really not sure what the dynamic is here. This happened for me a few times throughout the story.

I don't think you provide enough early support for Crafty's white whale. I realize it's White's job to deduce his motivations, but I think you should clue the reader in a little more on the secret as you go. Give us some foreshadowing so we, the readers, can form our own theories about why he's acting the way he is. Right now it's basically being told to us at the end, and I don't feel like I was given enough of the mystery to be involved in deducing the resolution.

Outside of the competition, ending on a prompt drop isn't poignant. It's a weak line to end on and it barely ties in to the prompt: this isn't a story about Crafty Crate's personal growth.
#73 · 1
· on As the Anemometer Spins
This is a great story and I don't have much to recommend.

I think the resolution is a little too abrupt. Rumble comes to terms all at once and it isn't entirely clear to me where his new determination comes from. It would have made more sense to me if he had realized his potential as a flight instructor because what he did was more than 'leaving a positive impression'.

I'm not sure I agree with the prompt drop. Rumble isn't a little colt anymore, is he?
#74 · 3
· on Lesson One · >>Xepher
Genre: Time Travel Shenanigans

Thoughts: Holy crap, this is why I read ponyfic. The whole school of friendship thing hasn't really been my jam, but I can make an exception for this. Dis gud. Like really good. Like to the point where there's not a whole lot I can criticize. I love how things just keep getting worse and worse as Ocellus keeps trying to fix things.

My one beef is with the very end. IMO it's cheap and cheesy to take the extreme swerve that it takes, rather than going for the more poignant moment that it seems to be building toward. Please Author, don't dive that hard into comedy at the last minute; this has funny parts but I don't think that's its primary strength.

It's compelling as heck, though. Couldn't put it down until I finished reading and wrote this.

Tier: Top Contender
#75 · 1
· on A Timey Nightmare · >>scifipony >>scifipony
Nice story. I'm not certain why the spell effect slowed time for Glimglam, or why it took a day for the effect to actually occur. It seems convenient that the same thing that causes the invasion also gives Glimmers the time to deal with the invasion, and those two dots didn't get connected for me in a way that made sense. I'd try to lampshade the connection at least.

Discord's voice seems a little off to me in places. He's hard to write (for me, at least).

Starlight's apology paragraph felt a little awkward and telly.
#76 · 1
· on Down to the Roots
There’s an awful lot of shucky-darn crammed into this story, Writer. Applejack’s particular brand of loquaciousness is usually at around a 7 or 8, and you’ve dialed it all the way to 11. It’s off-putting, and makes the story harder to get through than it needs to be.

Still, scattered throughout this sea of southernisms, there are a few choice bits that I liked quite a lot.

"Applejack?" someone said soft as a wren's hiccup

That’s gold, Writer, though I can’t fathom why AJ wouldn’t immediately recognize Fluttershy’s voice.

a dusty sorta sadness

Ah, poor Fluttershy. I know those feels well, and this is an excellent descriptor for them.

For every good turn of phrase, though, there’s a handful of examples that rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t want to harp on the overuse of dialect too much, as I feel you’re probably going to be getting a lot of that in the coming comments. Suffice it to say I had an irrationally poor reaction to the word “wunna”. It feels like a bridge too far - Applejack is nobody’s fool, and words like this seem to drag her down to an incongruent level of ignorance when used as narrative from her perspective.

Speaking of ignorance, I also have a problem with her being utterly clueless w/ regards to matters of romance. There’s an important difference between disinterest and just plain being dense, and Applejack definitely falls into the latter camp here. This is only reinforced by every other character in the story being fully aware of Fluttershy’s feelings and intentions, as though she’s not even trying to hide them. And I’d be fine if AJ was just not paying attention, but when Sunset and Braeburn are dropping double entendres and basically going nudge nudge wink wink say no more to her face, that strains credibility a bit.

I was a bit put off by the story suddenly taking a hard left turn into zany Equestrian Magic Oh Noes shenanigans, since the story seemed to be setting itself up for Contemplative/Angsty Feels Discussions. On reflection, though, having an external conflict also help resolve Applejack’s internal conflict was a good way to go. It just would have been nice for the external to not literally appear out of nowhere

All that said, this isn’t a bad story, Writer. I thought it was an interesting touch that Applejack didn’t see Fluttershy "that way" until after her feelings were made known to her, and then having AJ progressively warm to the idea (no pun intended). I think it’s been years since I’ve last read a story with Braeburn in it, and pairing him with Sunset is certainly novel. Tone down the twang a bit and maybe polish off the story beats a little more, and this could be something pretty neat.
#77 · 1
· on On The Importance Of Phrasing Wishes Correctly · >>georg
I thought this was rather short and sweet. Hilarious even, as I've seen and experienced my share of similar.. situations in the service, so the whole dialogue hits pretty close to home.

The joke at the end did catch me by surprise, as the language used to describe the object in question was a good red herring.

Genre: Slice of Fuckup
Overall: Very entertaining.
#78 ·
· on A Timey Nightmare · >>Trick_Question
Good points. I'll address them in later publication! Lampshade (v) is a new term for me, but informative. Thanks for the critique!
#79 · 1
· on Lesson One · >>Trick_Question >>Xepher
I'm not sure which characters Ocellus is

At this point, she's probably all of them...
#80 ·
· on Lesson One
Time travel stories are always really hard to write. To write one in just a few days is a pretty amazing feat. To have it hold together also, even more so. Understanding the constraints of time (no pun intended) and size, the epilogue is kind of sudden. However, you could easily have expanded this into a novel and fleshed out everything implied and still maintained the breathless driving pace. Very good indeed. The only critique I have is about the grammar; the first part with SG and Neighsayer felt clumsy, but you didn't have all the time in the world to do a final copyedit, so it matters very little. Everything else was A+.
#81 · 3
· on Better Left Unfinished · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
With eyes wide and jaw slack, I followed in my grandpa’s wake, close to his tail. He firmly instructed me not to touch anything,

Are we going to have to have another talk about inappropriate subject matter

Okay, joking aside, I think that this is a sweet story with great characterization that's hampered by its pacing. Author, you try to hit a lot of emotional notes with your audience, but your story kinda rushes past most of them, so they don't strike the reader with the kind of intensity that you're going for. Temper's decline is skimmed over, the occasion of his death has two or three sentences devoted to it, and Goldie's emotions are described in brief, clipped little notes. They're so scant and remotely detailed that I have trouble feeling the kind of feelings that I know I should be feeling.

To its credit, however, I felt the emotional weight of the moral at the end. So, the most important elements of the story are at least conveyed effectively.

(Not coincidentally, I think, that's one of the more developed and detailed sequences in the story.)
#82 · 3
· on The Phoenix Festival · >>Trick_Question >>Trick_Question
I came in expecting Forever Young and ended up with The 6th Day. Not that I complain, I loved this story.

For the most part.

I think it's fairly obvious you couldn't give this a well developed ending, probably due to time constrains, seeing how right now it doesn't end so much as it just stops. And it ultimately works against the story as a whole because nothing is really resolved. The last conversation between Shining and Cadence brings up a lot of heavy questions that need to be addressed for Shining to move on, but just as the weight of the situation starts to sink in, the story ends.

And I'm really buttflustered about it because everything leading up to it was great. Despite an unevenly paced introduction, I liked just about everything else. The calm atmosphere with that vague inkling that something is wrong, all the little details of world-building. A real shame nothing really panned out into a solid conclusion.

Still, stellar work, and I look forward to seeing an expanded version of this.

Also, by virtue of being a copy, he's no longer your husband. Fight me.
#83 ·
· on The Lays of Heaven · >>Trick_Question
I think my main problem with this story is a personal one that others might not have, but I do want to say it anyways. My problem is that I don't have to take away a whole lot from this story before it isn't about MLP anymore. I see >>Trick_Question mentioning something about a "CelestAI mythos" so maybe there's a community somewhere I've never heard of, within which what you've written here is a topic of major discussion, but I can only comment on what I see, and what I see is only marginally related to MLP. The setting has the same name, and there is a maternal figure whose name is quite similar to the one we all know. But that's really it.

This isn't something I would normally pick on, but I feel like the tie-ins to the show are bringing you down here. Because if I ignore that everyone is a horse, there's a good core story here about people willingly putting themselves into an unfulfilling paradise, and being unable to get out of it. Further to this, the things that have been added here—the MMO game universe, the leaderboards, the phone/game/entertainment dependence, all of this is stuff that makes more sense in our own world. So I get the feeling that you could have just gone all the way to an original story and had a better impact. As it is, the only benefit I see to the tie-ins are that it will make you fit the guidelines of the contest.

Not to mention, if everyone were humans, I might have enjoyed the sexual tension instead of being grossed out. But I've been told before that I'm a prude, so don't worry about me.

I'll try to put all that aside, though.

Trick has really hit the nail on the head that you haven't stuck the landing here. Far from it: the story misses the ground completely and continues to drift into the unknown, so I don't know what to take away from this. It ends with our main character making a choice, but we don't get any idea of where that choice will lead her. I think the little scene at the end was a chance to provide that, either by giving Mother CelestAI some opinion on where Norrie's choices will lead her, or having her reminisce of the infinite users across infinite shards who have had the same epiphany and failed. But instead CelestAI is her usual cold, unopinionated self, and moves on to other things. And you know what, even as I'm writing this, following Norrie either succeed or fail would be yet more interesting than just having the antagonist give an opinion.

All that being said, your writing is proficient and your dialogue worked very well. I'd say the best part of the story was CelestAI's multi-paragraph takedown of Norrie's core self. Because Norrie is right, she has a point. I just wanted to know what came next.

But that's all I have to say. Thanks for writing and good luck!
#84 · 1
· on On The Importance Of Phrasing Wishes Correctly · >>georg
I "read" this by having my phone read it to me. Needless to say, but in the spirit of the story I will anyway, I had to go back and read the penultimate paragraph. I liked it and it was funny throughout, but I had trouble keeping track of who was whom until somepony leaves the bathroom. In revision, I would also add the sense of smell to enhance the aroma of the story in order to make Its impact more devastating .
#85 · 1
· on Mistmane and the Torii of Time · >>BlueChameleonVI
Very well done. I must first echo
Who is speaking in each section needs to be established pronto. Fortunately, this could be done in revision by starting each section with a Daring Do or Mistmane heading. I expect diamonds in the rough in this forum and I figured it out quickly enough.

Beyond that, you succeeded in creating and expertly plotted, suspenseful mystery with plenty of foreshadowing. I had my phone read it to me and I listened entranced through its entirety. Good job with the world building and the ponification of Japanese folklore. This gave your story admirable texture and color beyond the hours you could have spent on it. Weaving the characters' perception of fleeting youth with the key element of the mystery plot was masterful.

Every story has a certain music to it and yours felt consistent throughout, except for the following passage in which the meter (think poetry) sounded completely strident:

She heard the weeping of Sable. The blubbering sobs of Sable. The wretched groans of Sable as her heart tore itself apart.

I'd suggest recasting the use of "of Sable", a Latinate possessive, with a simpler possessive—or recasting the sentences in a repetitive verb form like heard Sable weep. It will sound more fluent and musical.

Other than that, it's all good.
#86 · 2
· on To Prepare A Paradise · >>Icenrose
A very interesting entry, this one. I'm always a fan of seeing "the dark 1,000 years" given some light.

I have to agree with >>Trick_Question that the use of the English language got a little out of hand here, but I don't think this is necessarily an ESL issue. To me, the narration comes off as if it's... trying too hard to use the English language to its fullest. Here's a specific sentence to show you what I mean:

Castellan’s every silver word was laced with a resonant venom, slithering out between the crooked lips of his light smirk.

This is a very purple way of writing, and it's frankly too many adjectives. When you describe things like this it brings a lot of attention away from the story and towards the narrator, like he's an attention hog bursting out from behind the curtains into the middle of the scene because he wants to tell this part of the story. And then the characters have to stand there for a second and let him finish.

Actually, that's not entirely the issue here. I'm noticing it when the prose isn't even that flowery:

“I wish for you to stop grieving.”

Beneath the upright shadow of the metal pole, the princess of sun stood and bore witness to those words. Before the sordid summer sun, with sweat running down her hooves and trapping themselves between the feathers of her wings, the ruler of Equestria stood. Before him, Princess Celestia stood, letting those words sink in, and they did more than just that.

They crumbled her.

What that bolded narration is doing is trying to add more drama to the scene. But it doesn't have to talk so much about the fact that words have been spoken or that our characters absorbed the words for a few moments. Take a line or two to give some body language, maybe a stutter or something, and then move on to the consequences of the words. Have Celestia and Castellan tell the story themselves, instead of having the narrator hogging the spotlight.

Moving right along: I did like the plot of the story and thought it worked well. I found Celestia's pole routine kind of confusing as well, but that's something that can be tightened up rather easily, perhaps with a more clear idea of what's actually happening to the day/night cycle during this exercise. But all-in-all this event was a very believable addition to Equestrian lore, so well done.

I want to talk about Castellan for a moment, though, because I wonder if you can't elevate the stakes for him somehow. He's sacrificing a lot here, but the only reason I see for that is a general, "I would prefer if dear ruler was feeling better," but surely lots of ponies do. It's not like he has any more of an investment than anyone else in Equestria, does he? But if he did have something tying him a little deeper to Celestia's recovery than everyone else, then their relationship, and the actions he took, would have been more believable and impactful.

Thanks for writing, Author! Best of luck in the shakedown.
#87 · 1
· on Glimmer Cruises · >>Xepher
This is a textbook rushed entry. It's moving a little fast for me to get a good handle on it, which makes it a little hard to critique, but I'll do my best. Either way, pacing should be priority number one if you return to edit this.

I'll start by saying this premise easily feels like it could be an episode, though it would certainly need to be expanded upon. But I think that, on the whole, the scenes that you focused on were the wrong ones.

For example, I think the first ~850 words of this story could have been cut, starting instead at the moment that Twilight wakes up in the time loop the first time none the wiser. Because the premise is simply that Starlight wants to find a way to get Twilight and her friends some time off, which isn't something that needs a lot of support. Tell that to any fanfiction loving brony, and they won't raise an eyebrow and ask how on earth you could ever convince them that that would ever happen. If the story started with Twilight frantically running into Starlight and being sent on a cruise, I don't think any of us would have missed everything that happened before it.

The next part of the story is the vacation description, which is glossed over because you're trying to point out that they're kind of having a boring time. The only problem is that then we get a little bored too.

The inciting incident of your story, meanwhile—which is the fact that the spell isn't quite working properly and Twilight has figured it out—gets very little attention compared to everything else. But it's the first time we've had any real tension, so I think it should have come earlier. I even think you can throw one stone at two birds here, if Twilight and Co. start to notice that something's iffy about their vacation even the first time they go. That adds a little intrigue to the previous scene, while also giving the reader more time to figure out for themselves what's going on. Then when she wakes up in the same place again, it all clicks together for the reader, instead of having them say, "Oh, I guess this isn't as boring as I thought."

I'd be interested to see how this story would look with a lot more meat on its bones, and with a lot more time spent on the interesting ideas you're presenting. Thanks for writing, and best of luck!

P.S. Very minor point, but I also noticed some strange italicizing here, such as on the words "relaxed" and "thrilled". I recommend italicizing the whole word, or maybe adding some hyphens if you want to emphasize certain syllables. Regardless, "-ed" isn't a syllable.
#88 ·
· on Lesson One · >>Xepher
I was actually thinking of suggesting that as a possible ending.

#89 ·
· on The Lays of Heaven · >>Miller Minus
>>Miller Minus
This is a story from the Friendship is Optimal universe, Miller.
Post by Trick_Question , deleted
#91 ·
· on The Lays of Heaven
I had a feeling there was something. So now I'm introduced to it I guess!
Post by scifipony , deleted
#93 · 2
· on Glimmer Cruises
I'm gonna side with >>Miller Minus on this one. A lot of the early setup felt unnecessary, and the main conflict is rushed and feels practically glossed over. We don't see any of the "how" in Twilight breaking out of the bubble.

That said, it's not badly written, and the concept of a forced vacation in a time bubble is a clever, Starlight-accurate solution. We just need to see more of the how and why, of the characters discovering their predicament, of the effort in fixing it. Instead, we're basically just told "Oh, it's a time loop..." and then a way short time later. "And it took forever, but I solved it!"
#94 · 4
· on Their Princess · >>PinoyPony
>>CoffeeMinion has already said most of what I would. There is a lot of work needed here. The idea though, is nice. Being treated differently because she's become royalty, and the family conflict on that ripe for story material. Keep at it!
#95 · 2
· on Better Left Unfinished · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
I really like this one. It's sweet, it feels real, and has a solid emotional core that is sad where it should be and encouraging despite the sadness. My one major critique is that the moment of transition, where the grandfather passes, is sped through too quickly. It should be a scene, not just a recap. He should charge young Goldie with the task of finishing the lantern directly, not have her mom tell her his last wish.

Still though, a minor nitpick in a solid story. Great job!
#96 · 3
· on Their Princess · >>PinoyPony
To keep my impression short and to-the-point: The amount of typos is execrable, as though you didn't proofread it once, or even pay that much attention while typing it. The choreography is serviceable but nothing memorable (except for the part where Twilight seemingly teleported from the Ponopoly board into the shower). Nonetheless, the characterization and genuine warmth of the storytelling was consistently above many of even the better authors here, which is rather remarkable.

Keep at it!
#97 · 1
· on Mistmane and the Torii of Time · >>BlueChameleonVI
Nice description of the Dogū. "Kettle in its ancestry..." Nice line.

Go is... a tired form of symbolism. It's always Go or Chess, and Go is the pretentious one (at least in English writing) since it is "asian" and "wise." I'm not sure how a story gets past that. It's not—strictly speaking—wrong, just cliché I guess. Also, placing the last "tile"? They're "stones." Or "pieces" at worst. Definitely not "tiles" in Go.

Daring's genre-awareness is interesting so far.

Very confused in the action scene about 1/3 through. "Newcomer" appears to apply to both Daring herself, and the pony she's fighting (the "old biddy"). I'm totally losing the "whose line is it anyway?" part of this contest now. Paragraph shifts are happening with no dialog tags. Then, when tags do appear it switches between "Newcomer" and "the stranger." Leaving me wondering if these are the same pony or if someone new has intruded on the fight. I literally cannot keep count of how many characters are in this scene. It's somewhere between two and four, and none of it clear until nearly the end, where it's three.

Dialog tags need work: SEE PARAGRAPH ABOVE!!!!

I confess I'm feeling a bit bored at the halfway (2/3?) point. I've yet to be hooked by anything and don't know what this story is about. There have been fun scenes, and some great quips, but... Daring herself feels nothing here. "No awe, no wonder, no delight, no historical curiosity." If that's on purpose, author, to make me feel the same as the character, then good job, but also boo, I guess? Boredom, even on purpose, isn't a great thing to engender in the reader.

Swimming upstream is a great metaphor.

Dogū "towering over all" is weird. Dogū are like 30cm tall at most I think.

I think I'm mostly getting lost in the switches between Mistmane and Daring. I keep expecting some connection (temporally) and not finding it, so it's just increasing my confusion. Maybe add actual scene tags to state "30 years ago" or "present day" and similar to at least avoid the time-related confusion.

The name switches don't help either. "Stranger" vs. "Newcomer" etc.

Okay, so... this story reaches for big, and tries to draw in huge amounts of Japanese folklore, with moderate success. My main problem throughout was that the action was just difficult to follow. It was hard to tell who was speaking at many points, and harder still who was "who" once it became clear that weird ghost/spider/Jorōgumo versions of some characters were in play, as well as past/present versions. Bottom line, it was almost impossible for me to visualize the scenes as written, and that basically ruined the entire story for me.

Despite that, I could (in post-processing) see some great concepts here, and some deeper plots. Additionally, most of the writing was involved and complex, so the detail isn't lacking. Quite the opposite, in fact, as I drowned in confusion. I suspect that, rewritten as a script/screenplay, this would be fantastic in a visual medium, where I could easily distinguish between one version/imposter of a character and another.. As written though, I'm afraid it takes too much work to parse.
#98 · 2
· on Rockhoof's Dilemma · >>BlueChameleonVI
The early parts of this story read strongly like a moral fable, but it feels forced, artificial in the way Rockhoof reacts.

Injured griffon is a great "fable" way to go. "Blind" feels excessive, especially as she senses him as pony almost immediately. The blindness seems superfluous, and irrelevant to the tale.

"Deadly Silent" as a name just doesn't flow to me. Maybe it's just my juvenile brain, hearing "Silent but Deadly" or something... but it breaks immersion each time it comes up.

The dialog seems to shift randomly from the more archaic to the modern and back again. "I guess I wasn't thinking straight" vs. "This vulture... snuck into my home and stole my food! I caught her at it, just now!"

So, tables turned, the big "question" comes back up. Very, very Grecian.

"No one knows what passed through his mind that day." BOOOOO!!! We're in very close 3rd person here, seeing his deepest thoughts all the way until this time, and then the narration suddenly pulls back? No, bad author! Cheap cop-out!

Shoving "all the time in the world [to argue.]" into the last paragraph makes this feel very forced toward the prompt, and I confess, I saw no other connection to the prompt until this point.

Okay, so overall I'm kinda torn on this one. On the one hoof, it's a great fable, in the best tradition of the form. On the other, it's almost a cliché in how much it strives for that platonic ideal of a fable. It's a philosophical debate couched in narrative. There's some fancy term for this, (I've encountered it before) yet once again my memory fails me.

Regardless, I think there's some really good writing here, and the core of the story is a great one. But I think my main lament is that the philosophical angle is so heavy-handed and nearly drowns out any semblance of normal narrative structure. It's clear this is an essay on morality (what is "right") first, and a story second. While that is also true of many of the ancient Greek tales as well, it doesn't necessarily make for the most enjoyable reading in 2018.
#99 · 1
· on Better Left Unfinished · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
This is a delightful and heartwarming story that could perhaps be more pony-related but hits the prompt right on the mark. I only have minor suggestions.

"Saddle bag" should be saddlebags.

A timepiece that casts a shadow during a new moon sounds like a mistake. You need to mention that it magically makes the shadows or something.

His breathing diminished to a hoarse rattle

Horse rattle. No moment is too dramatic for a needless horse pun. :trollestia:
#100 ·
· on Guardian
I like this a lot. I think the last line would be stronger as "says Mom" instead of "Mom says", but that's literally all I can recommend.

I loved the redux with Velvet saying she doesn't know how to react.