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And at the End, You Shall Remain Alone · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
#101 ·
· on Behind the Magic Eight Ball
This one tries to cram so many ideas into the story that it ends up being a chaotic mess of half-baked ideas. While Pinkie is often very chaotic, I don't think that's the way to write her.
#102 · 1
· on What Dreams Are Made Of
I wonder if the author read my story called The Campfire at the Edge of the Universe, but I don't think anyone actually read this one so the chances are slim.

Also, as others mentioned, the opening line is rather awkward, but what follows is one of the better stories I read so far in this round. Aside from one missing period, I didn't spot any technical flaws, and Luna sounds pretty in character. The description of Flurry's dream is pretty atmospheric and the story doesn't spoil too much of the mystery.
#103 ·
· on Resolve's End · >>TitaniumDragon
“I was living the right way. The natural way. Then they despoiled themselves.”

So, Chrysalis thinks her way was right, but then says the other changelings "despoiled" themselves. Implying the way wasn't quite right, after all. Chrysalis also seems to be in a reformed changeling form – the narration describes her as "brightly-colored", while canon Chrysalis is anything but; and yet, she's apparently starving, somehow. From a technical standpoint, I spotted some superfluous commas and, especially by the end, repeated use of the same "the changeling (verb)ed" construction to describe Chrysalis' actions.
#104 ·
· on To Anyone Listening · >>TitaniumDragon
I doubt someone from the world crumbling during apocalypse would have time to write a poem about that, but I guess that's the author's poetic (pun not intended) licence. Also, depending on how long the message travelled across space, not being good at poetry would be the last thing to worry about when writing a reply (addressee being long dead would be my bigger concern). Still, it's a nice story.
#105 · 3
· on Resolve's End
>>Samey90
Chrysalis is starving because she can't make it work:

Again the changeling snorted, lifting her leg and showing the holes in it; up close, Maud could see the color fading into black here and there, like some ichor was seeping up from beneath the changeling’s skin and corroding her cheery exterior. “This is what happened the last time I tried that.” An angry tear rolled down her cheek. “They all made this work.”


She tried to become a rainbow moose, but she can't actually do it, hence why she still has holes in her legs and is fading back to black.
#106 ·
· on King of Shadows
A fic where waking from a dream into a nightmare is the desired result to the main character? I actually feel conflicted about how I like or dislike this fic because, as a sappy romantic, I was enjoying the brighter version of Sombra (the comic arc on the subject was one of my favorites). Then you reveal that he was caught in an illusion, and he remains the black-hearted villain, and I sighed to myself, disappointed. Not disappointed in a bad way, mind you. I was slightly too hopeful before your little twist, which, in a meta-way, made me fall into the trap as well.

I agree with the above that this story begs for greater context, which is severely limited by the wordcount. As the trap relies heavily upon the contents of your heart, I wonder if Sombra often thinks about these other paths his life could have taken. Might be interesting to read how this vision begins to gnaw at him, weakening him for his eventual downfall.

There was a paragraph near the end that I felt became borderline telly—where you give a more detailed background to Sombra's wife and friend. It's possible it stood out to me and nobody else. Pretty minor nitpick, though. Overall I had a very positive experience with this story. Give it a little more context, and it could be a real gem.
#107 · 1
· on Diamond Ponies Aren't Forever · >>Baal Bunny >>007Ben >>007Ben
I can't really say why, but I really liked how this one read in the opening. I usually don't like muiltiple OCs in minifics, because it's often too demanding to establish more than one blank slate within the short confines of the format. But I didn't encounter that here, mostly because I think you do a great job of giving us a sense of Lapis and Fluorite's relationship ASAP.

But, I do feel like the word limit shows itself in other ways, here. For instance, most of the first half feels breezy and light, save for the occasional line or two that feels clearly there to frame the time/setting of the story. But once our mystery mare shows up (with half the word count remaining), things immediately feel much tighter. The sensation of railroading gets even worse once the remaining word count is halved again, right when you reach the last 3 paragraphs.

This makes your reveal feel really oddly paced—the story starts rushing just when it introduces its mystery, and then it gets even more frantic as the twist comes around. As a result, odd things happen, like how the mystery mare gives the couple a fake name, only to admit she is lying after speaking another two or three sentences.

So, yeah, the word count is killing you, here. And while I like what you did when you had the space to do what you wanted to do, I'm just not as pleased by the whole product. Part of (and some would argue, most of) the minfic contest is managing your word count, so I would suggest looking out for this, next time.
#108 · 2
· on Afterword · >>horizon
I really like the payoff, here. It falls into that sweet spot of being just significant enough to make me feel the emotions you intended me to feel, while still not over-reaching the scope of a minific. And, I'm a sucker for these family relationships kind of story, so I just had a great time reading this.

My biggest complaint, would be that your narrative structure feels really funny to me, personally. The first 1/3 is a tonally quiet exchange between AB and AJ, the middle 1/3 is a high-intensity scene between AJ and BM, and then we're back down to super-low key for the last 1/3. as AB leaves AJ alone with her thoughts. It's a bit of a roller coaster, to me.

I think it would have suited the theme of this story the best if we actually went the other way around. Start with Big Mac bursting in on AB and AJ. Three ponies in the room, high energy. Then go down to a muted convo between two ponies. Then, finish off with an intimately lonely scene with only one pony in the room. This would even reflect the subject of the story, about being how the ponies in Applejack's life are leaving her.

So, yeah, I think the takeaway here is that you need to try to manage your audience's energy levels. Taking us up and down and left and right will give us a bit of whiplash, especially when this piece is supposed to be a thoughtful one instead of one with a twist or a reveal.
#109 ·
· on Forever Together
I like the idea of a moved-out-of-the-house Spike; it gives the the warm and fuzzies in a way that's not entirely rational. Overall, I'm really in love with the idea, here.

But, I will have to say that a lot of this story did feel like fluffy padding. There's about 5 or 6 paragraphs of conflict almost precisely smack dab in the middle of this story. Which feels funny, because the story seems to end about 1/3 of the way from the words actually stopping. The rest of the word count is spent on cute stuff, which is—of course—cute, but not really driving or resolving the conflict.

So it does feel like we spend a lot of time spinning our wheels and not moving. And while it can certainly be entertaining just to be in the presence of these characters, it does make a lot of the story feel a little sparse.
#110 ·
· on For Mother · >>WritingSpirit
I had the same interpretation as >>TitaniumDragon, and I actually disagree with him about this story being too difficult to understand. I do think you've struck a good balance between keeping a sense of intrigue while giving enough away to be comprehensible.I actually kinda went "Oh! Huh!" and sat up in my chair about two or three lines into the nurse's convo with the patient.

What my biggest complaint would be, is that I think there's actually not quite enough meat and gristle here to really make this piece feel satisfying. I think a lot of it is this odd combination of this being a "dealing-with-the-aftermath" kind of story, while also having its main characters be curt and mostly emotionless. In more ways than one, it makes us feel like we're being told a story, rather than experiencing one. Like >>Foehn says, there's just not an awful lot of investment on the reader's part.

I would suggest raising the stakes, somehow. Maybe make the patient confrontational about his euthanization? Or make this even more of a failed mission, and make the agents seem desperate to control the damage/fallout. Right now, the clinical way the two character speak to each other just diffuses a lot of tension. I really think that one or both of them need to sound like they care about what's going on.
#111 · 1
· on Forever Together · >>Pascoite
Pleasant and cozy. Certainly made me smile. I liked your little bait-and-switch intro, which, in my opinion, delightfully pulled off its party trick without overstaying its welcome.

Not much I can say about the fic as a whole aside from complimenting its warm tone and banter that felt very much in-line with the show and its characters. I agree with >>TitaniumDragon's point regarding a lack of lingering impact, and I might be able to make a suggestion.

Way I see it, you end the story with a nice, lighthearted gesture that, to me, feels too low-resolution. Rather than a focused emotional blow, we're left with this indistinct feeling of warmth. Maybe that's all your story was looking for. Nothing wrong with that.

However, if you want something with staying power, I might try ending on a more specific gesture. Perhaps Twilight or Rarity (or somepony we don't expect) pulls him aside to share a few private words. Maybe he pulls one of them aside himself. Maybe their exchange involves tears or a gift. One of the trickiest things about the Mane Six is how often their individual characters become lumped into a single block. Giving Spike a little one-on-one with one of these characters could remind us that, though he loves them all, there's something unique about the way he loves each of them, and vice-versa.

That's my two cents. I liked your story, and I wish you luck!
#112 ·
· on My Immortal
Clickbaited by the title. Stayed for the chuckles.

I think I've read a few joke fics this round that have gone over my head, and reading through this, I'm starting to understand why this one worked for me where others did not. It pushed the absurd concept just far enough, contrasting it with Twilight's eager-to-please attitude in front of Celestia, then landed on an explanation that was not convoluted or tiring to understand, albeit still ridiculous.

I love Twilight's dialogue the most. Nothing crass or disrespectful about it, which comes across exactly like somebody who's just read the book but hasn't put everything into practice. Finally got her hooves on Slumber 102, I assume.

Anyway, as somebody who can't write punch-lines for crap, I think I'll be able to look back at this fic as a reference if I try my hand at comedy in the future. Great work!
#113 · 1
· on Diamond Ponies Aren't Forever · >>007Ben >>007Ben
I'll agree:

Pretty much with >>Bachiavellian here--having Celestia appear in disguise and then almost immediately reveal herself was a little whiplashy. But you've got some solid bones here, author, to expand the story so it's long enough to post on FimFiction. I'll definitely look forward to seeing its final form there!

Mike
#114 ·
· on Resolve's End · >>Naiad
I think I'm with >>Baal Bunny: I'm left with a few too many questions about how the mechanics of this change work, given the fact that in canon it's spurred by a conscious, deliberate change of heart. The lampshading in the middle about "the last time I tried" to talk is a good start, but just raises more questions than it answers: what was the epiphany she came to then, and how does she get from there to the bitterness she's at now?

Compounding the problem is that I'm really getting mixed messages from Chrysalis:
“I was living the right way. The natural way. Then they despoiled themselves.”

“They all made this work.”


And while it would be very natural for her to have mixed feelings about the situation, a minific doesn't allow you the luxury of nuance.

Finally,

“Get away from me,” the changeling said.

Maud wished she had the words to tell the changeling how wrong she was.


As written, this reads like Maud disagrees with her final statement telling her to leave. I think I get what you were going for, but you may need to overhaul that section to bring the point out more clearly.

On the bright side, I do really like the offhand observation about "the antithesis of rock" near the beginning. The descriptions are good, and both characters feel quite in character. There's definitely the core of something good here.

Thanks for writing!
#115 ·
· on The Wound in the World · >>Pascoite
Just to start off on the right foot, I want to say that I was never bored reading this, so you've already won, in my book. I think a lot of the story's strength comes from the intrigue it builds around its big ideas, like the nature of the Wound, or the beautiful futility of building a an entire city for only yourself.

Which is why it strikes me odd that this story is kind of set up almost as a character piece. And a character piece about Discord, no less.

Discord's first person narration isn't bad, but it never got above the point of being serviceable, to me. But my biggest issue, is that I'm really not sure how much it actually adds to the story. In my personal opinion, Celestia and Luna are by far the most interesting parts of the story, so if you're going to filter their interactions through an outside first person perspective, there needs to be a good reason to do so. But it feels like most of the payoff to Discord's arc is the last couple of paragraphs, which is something that you just as easily could have thrown in as dialogue between the sisters.

In the end, the story feels like it's built around Discord, but there's this dissonance about it. If Discord is our main character, then why isn't he doing anything? But if the point of the story (as I suspect) is about the Sisters, then why is Discord there at all? I can't help but think it would suit the themes of the story even more if we got this story from one of the Princess's POVs, and they could mention how even Discord doesn't visit them anymore.

Now, I don't want you to forget that I liked the story. Because I really did! But at the same time, I do think that it needs carve out its scope a little more cleanly.
#116 ·
· on My Immortal
I have to say:

How happy I am that so many folks this time around decided to take the prompt in a non-gloomy direction. The only thing I could suggest for this one would be to have Twilight dressed in some outlandish get-up when Celestia walks in, but that's just detail stuff. Much abundant fun here.

Mike
#117 ·
· on For Mother
Your Story's Theme Song: Ceephax - Memory Lake

The first time I read through this story, I was left bemused more than anything.

Now, part of the reason I felt that way was because I didn't really sit myself down properly and instead skimmed it on a whim. I generally do that with every story on this list, so it's not a prerogative reserved only for your entry, unfortunately. I did, however, make a note to come back to this one after some time had passed and read this with fresher eyes. I could pick this apart on my first go, but honestly, 6 a.m. me flying high on my insomnia is more prone to churning out rants than writing reviews.

So I waited. Then I came back and read this properly. About two to five more times, as I would with every other story.

And sure enough, when it comes to this story, I quickly found myself in an interesting dilemma.

First off, I should mention that without >>TitaniumDragon's interpretation of the story, I don't think I would've grasped fully at the narrative the story's trying to tell, and in turn, everything else that was structured around it, so kudos to him for figuring some semblance of it out. Personally, I'm with >>Bachiavellian on the opinion that it showed enough for the story to make sense without losing its mystery. The story was delivered with an admirable dash of restraint on the writer's part, to which I salute you.

With that knowledge in mind, I took a step back and look at the plot in its simplest form: a nurse who is actually a secret agent comes in to dispatch her colleague. Honestly, looking at that alone, I can safely say that this is something I'd look forward to reading and expect to enjoy.

But I didn't. Like with >>Bachiavellian and >>Foehn before him, the story didn't deliver anything to me the emotions I thought I would feel. There's no emotional progression throughout, none of the intrigue, none of the amazement, nothing. To me, it's all a flatline.

On that note, I sighed, walked away to make myself another cup of coffee, sat back down and read through it again, hoping to invest myself in this story, to no avail.

And then it clicked.

Now, I should mention firsthand that I'm a person that can find enjoyment in the everyday monotony. When it comes to entertainment, I can live my life on the barest of things, be it listening to Bonobo, Moderat, Hammock, and other similar artists, or watching the movies made by the likes of Roy Andersson and Yorgos Lanthimos.

I won't comment on whether I'm flaunting my hipster prowess here; I'm just saying that when it comes down to it, I'm very easy to please, so my opinion here might not be shared by everyone. I'm also not discounting the possibility that you weren't aware of what you were doing, and that you yourself may be thinking that this story doesn't live up to your own expectations. I would say, though, I have an inkling that you know what you've set out to do when you wrote this, but if not, then feel free to laugh at my dissertation and burn this comment as a pagan offering to Santa Claus.

Now, I've mentioned earlier that the story was delivered with restraint with regards to divulging the little bits and pieces from the full picture. I think the same reasoning can be said for the story's emotional progression, or apparent lack thereof, as well.

The story tells of the aftermath. The calm after the storm. There's a sense of dread, though that only pales in comparison to the apathy permeating throughout. Our two agents here are on the cusp of death. They realize it, and they realize it well. They're not fighting it; they've accepted it. Whether they come to that conclusion separately or not, they knew, after everything that happened, that this moment would come.

The story, in turn, reflects that train of thought, not only in their interaction but in the descriptions leading up to that scene. Everything was set up and portrayed with a cold detachment, the description of the patient's body being a great example of that— nothing visceral yet no injury held back. The picture I got, in the end, was painted eloquently. Not perfectly, as there are a few missteps here and there in my opinion, but it did enough to capture my attention.

>>Foehn does have a point in that this feels like something cut out from a larger narrative, but if I'm being honest, I believe this scene would only look weaker when it's placed within a larger narrative. I also do think >>Bachiavellian's suggestion about raising the stakes isn't needed, mostly because I don't think this scene was supposed to carry any tension nor do the characters actually care about their fates beyond this. After all, the title does imply that whatever that was done, it was done 'For Mother', and not them. They served their purpose, and that's it. That's all we need to know about them.

Not discounting the opinions of my fellow writers, of course, because in the end, what I'm stating here is just another opinion, after all.

This story wasn't written to cater to us emotionally. It wasn't told to give its readers any emotional catharsis. While I'm usually apprehensive, if not aggressive, when it comes to stunts of this vein, this one just works for me. If I'm being honest, it's so far one of the only narrative-based stories I've read on this site that did it well. Where many stories fail, this story succeeds in tying the narrative together with the atmosphere, having them build upon each other to push through the theme at its core. It's cohesive as it is compact, and when I read the story with everything I've said in mind, I find myself enjoying this entry wholeheartedly.

Now, I'd nitpick, but they're mostly just word choices and some such to polish it up. I do want to mention one little nitpick I have, and that's regarding the title: I think it'll be a lot nicer if you'd only capitalize 'Mother' instead and leave 'For' uncapitalized. I feel like it brings a lot more emphasis to the latter word of the pair and, at the same time, fits together with the prompt rather neatly.

I'm pretty sure this story isn't going to gel with everyone as it did with me. Nevertheless, even if it doesn't make it past the finals, I just want to let you know that I like this story a lot, and really appreciate that you spent your time writing this.

Thanks for writing! Hope to see this in the finals!
#118 ·
· on Afterword
Y'know, for all that this doesn't feel particularly ambitious to my novelty-seeking brain -- it's a straightforward slice-of-life with no crazy headcanon or unusual worldbuilding to cram in -- it feels like it works. It's right in that sweet spot where show-don't-tell carries the emotions, and the exposition is worked quite smoothly into the dialogue. Good job!

That said, in editing I would really bear down on the pacing here. >>Bachiavellian makes a great point. More than that, though, Applejack's turnaround from sisterly camaraderie and nuzzling to sending AB outside so she can be alone happens in the blink of an eye, with no inciting incident that I can see. Both of those give the story an uneven feel that's holding it back from its full potential.

Still going to be near the top of my prelim slate, I think.
#119 ·
· on King of Shadows
This is pretty good. I really did love it up till the end. The end was just not... for me. I really do love everything else about it, and with an expanded version I probably would not dislike the ending so much. Sorry that this isn't really in-detail, but the others basically covered it.
#120 ·
· on Twilight, By Herself, On A Holiday Afternoon
After reading this one:

I had to go back and check the "Guessing" list to make sure GaPJaxie didn't have an entry this round. My only question has to do with the phrase "time clone". It's very evocative, as they say, but it's not quite explanatory enough for me to figure out what's going on logistically with the operation Twilight's set up here. Just give me a few more hints as to where they come from and where they go when they're done with their shifts, and I'll be happy.

Mike
#121 ·
· on The Eternal Kingdom of Princess Evergreen · >>Foehn
This is very, very ambitious with the jumping perspective and the imagery-heavy prose. And for the most part, I think the elements that you took a risk on really work out. The back and forth adds a sense of mystery to an otherwise simple scene.

My main issue with this one, is that I just didn't connect to it emotionally very much. I'm going to be blunt—this kind of feels like a "look at this sad pony and be sad" sort of deal. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that there's no contrast to the sadness. We never see any of our characters being happy (outside of a few-sentence-long imagination sequence), so there's less reason to care when they're not happy. The ending tries to frame this as bittersweet, but it's a hard sell considering that the first bits didn't quite land for me.

I'm kind of picking up that this might be a response to the Camp Fire, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. But then again, I think I have a pretty strong personal aversion to mixing real-world and ponies, so maybe I'm just being silly about it.

So, I think my final advice would be to try to find a way to make the reader a bit more invested in the main characters. Which is a very tall order for an all-OC cast in a minific, I know. But the piece really does rely on us making a personal connection to what's happening, so to make it work the way you want, you have to find a way over that hurdle.
#122 · 1
· on King of Shadows
Adding one more bit to the above: I particularly like how proximity to the Heart is mucking up Sombra's Dark Magic. We know it doesn't keep doing it, but that it happened at all gives the Heart a small feeling of being a more active agent in the greater Crystal Empire story; more akin to the Tree of Harmony than a pure artifact.

Also the little "Rawr I'm evil" shout was a nice emotional touch.
#123 ·
· · >>Rocket Lawn Chair >>MLPmatthewl419
In for the art round, in for a pound.
#124 · 1
· · >>MLPmatthewl419
>>GroaningGreyAgony
For the few, the proud
#125 · 1
· on The Wound in the Way · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I absolutely adore this one. I love the little telescope and the way his paw is raised.

One tiny gripe is that on the bottom his hair should have been outlined in white or light grey so we can actually see it.

Keep on arting, artist!!

Edit: was I hallucinating or did his hair always have the light grey outline? If it did my excuse was that I wrote my initial comment on mobile, but if it didn't have the outline-- how did you edit it?
#126 · 1
· on Delicate Reflections · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
Ugh! Another great one!!

The perspective shot with celestia in the tub is amazing. I can only dream to do perspective successfully.

I love how the little bubbles express just how delicate mortals’ lives are, and the tiny little *pop* at the bottom is perfect.
#127 · 1
· on Mayflies
This was somethin' else. Most of its punch rests on the twist, 3/4ths of the way through, and it lands pretty effectively.

If I'm gonna criticize... I dunno, I'm not sure Gold Leaf is characterized especially strongly? Besides being a clumsy, terrified servant, I mean. She's effective for the purposes of the story, but she feels more like a vehicle for Celestia to express something about herself (her lack of pomp and pretention), rather than a unique character. More like an archetype, you feel me?

Which would explain why she mistakes her and her daughter so readily. :P

Nevertheless, I'm giving this a pretty high rating. It manages to say something unique about Celestia while grazing (but never indulging in) the old immortality blues cliche. Well done.
#128 ·
· on Escape
This is incredibly familiar. I swear we've seen a "Celestia visits Tartarus, and offers Tirek a second chance" minfic in the writeoff, at least a year or so back.

At least, I think that's what this story was about. I'm not all that sure what its focus is supposed to be, whether that's Celestia's ghosts, or Tirek himself, or... I don't know, is Celestia trying to make herself feel better by offering Tirek a second chance?

I just feel like the themes that the story's trying to work in there don't coalesce into a very effective whole. Lovely prose, haunting imagery, but the message here feels confused.
#129 · 1
· on Delicate Reflections · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
I can’t review all the art pieces all the time, so I’m only going to cover, say, half of the entries in this round.

The Good: Kudos, Artist, this is a beautiful and thoughtful piece. The figures are full of character and life, the spherical perspective is well handled, and the soap bubbles are both an excellent way to convey scenes from the past, and a metaphor for the transience of life. Well conceived, well composed, and well done indeed!

The Meh: The piece is a pencil sketch, which in itself is not bad, but combined with the unintended color artifacts and shading of what seems to be a cell-phone photo of line art, it looks unfinished. Artist, changing the lighting in your environment, the photo settings on your device, and/or using image editing software to clean up and enhance contrast of your art, will go a long way towards making your pencil sketches look clean and polished.

In light of the factors above, this piece is destined to go in both the highest and lowest tiers of my slate. Thank you for contributing!
#130 · 1
· on Delicate Reflections · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
I don't normally comment on the art rounds, but this is outstanding. Excellent use of multi-point perspective, especially in the first image.
#131 ·
· on My Immortal
Well, since I misjudged the Jinglemas timeline and I'm done with that entry, might as well jump in here with some reviews.

This one has a really odd beginning. The first line is a bit cliched, but still a decent enough hook, getting me curious as to the subject matter and wanting to see what's going on. But then the second paragraph comes in like a huge damper. We jump from a nice active, opening begging to have context established to a pretty mundane setting that's not only short on descriptive imagery but also seemingly tangential to what the first paragraph was doing. At least by the second sentence of it, we start to get the picture Celestia has an issue with the decor, but then we find out she actually likes it now, so it drives me back to wondering what was up with the opening quote and why we're on this tangent. It leaves the first sentence of this paragraph feeling like a non sequitur.

It's also a paragraph full of opinions, and it's not until the end of the paragraph we learn whose opinions they are. I'd encourage you to establish that perspective earlier. So, a rocky beginning.

Finally, the third paragraph brings it together, and that's not too far to get in for a minific, but it still leaves me with a tonal whiplash that doesn't seem to be accomplishing something. It's close to working, but there's a fine line between a nice bait-and-switch and something that doesn't quite make sense. For me, it's that Celestia is kind of simultaneously complaining about both parts: she prefers the new version of the castle to the old, but she preferred what the old meant about Twilight's disposition, and I lack the context to call that more than a contradiction.

Now I'm only 3 paragraphs in, and I'm already spending way too much damn time on a single entry.

Another fine line thing here, but I don't know offhand what a caryatid is, it's just beyond indicated by the context, and I don't know why something simpler wouldn't have worked.

I see a couple of minor editing things, but I tend not to point those out in write-offs, since editing time is limited.

In the end, it's funny. The character-destroying kind, as I don't think canon Twilight would blindly follow something that should strike her wrong without asking for clarification (though how she plays it after that point—totally in earnest but not really attached to the idea—does work well for her). So... it's kind of hard to divorce myself from this. Random humor is fine, but random OOC humor is more of a stretch. It's the first story I've read, so I don't know how I'll deal with that in voting, but if I'm trying to be objective, the complaint I had about the beginning sending inconsistent messages about Celestia is the only one I'll maintain. And it is nice to see a not-obvious take on the prompt. Perhaps a weak link to it, but I don't care about that.
#132 ·
· on Behind the Magic Eight Ball · >>Pascoite
I'll agree:

With everyone above and call this a box of jigsaw puzzle pieces that've been dumped out onto a tabletop. There might be a picture here, but it's gonna take a bit more work before it becomes apparent what it is. I'll suggest focusing on Applejack, on how she might feel or what she might do knowing that she just got this other pony fired. Something, though, to take things on from here...

Mike
#133 ·
· on Twilight, By Herself, On A Holiday Afternoon
Immediately, I find the atmosphere of this one intriguing, but then it starts to drag, and I'm not sure how many of the first dozen paragraphs you actually need. Of course, the Big Issue is second-person, the usual criticism of which is that the author is telling me that I'm doing things I almost certainly wouldn't do. Given the premise, I could actually see taking that and using it, in the sense that our perspective character wasn't doing all this voluntarily. But that's not the direction you went.

Frankly, I don't understand the last line. I suspect it's a parting joke, but if I don't get it, then the story ends on an awkward note.

In the end, I still like the mood of the story, but ultimately, it seems like a lot of dressing up a simple concept unnecessarily. Plus why is Twilight such a hot commodity? She doesn't mention any of the other princesses needing to do something like this. That puts me of a mixed mind about things like the protagonist's interactions with her coworkers. Ultimately, they lead nowhere, but they do add a spark of realism. In a story this short, readers are going to be looking for significance in everything, so in this case, it can lead to an effect of a plot point that got dropped instead of a little touch of lifelike authenticity.

But back to feeling like the story is overdressed—this huge organization, the decision to render it in second person... again, readers are looking for significance when a story's length doesn't permit extraneous things, yet I don't see how either one is really necessary. It does create a vague sense of scale to know Twilight has made duplicates to manage this, and to know how many of them she uses, but we see a small slice of that without knowing what the rest of the organization is for. Is the entire thing just to handle date requests? Or for all her correspondence? Or generalized personal assistant duties? There's at least something there, but I don't understand the decision to go second person, because it doesn't add anything. I don't know enough about the character I've inhabited to have a rooting interest in her or care what happens to her, for instance. I don't identify with her. Are some or all of these clones facing the end of their existence once Hearts and Hooves is over?

Nice atmosphere, cute character interactions, but on the superficial side.
#134 · 1
· on The Emissary · >>WritingSpirit
I can't straighten out the perspective. The narration is stating opinions and personal impressions, but it wavers as to which character's viewpoint it's using. Some of the early description isn't quite landing, either, like I can't really visualize what's so awkward-looking about a tall character bowing.

In the end, I guess this was about convincing Torch he didn't have to be alone when he died? It seems like you meant the Emissary to be Spike, but since he's described as tall, maybe he's older here? I don't know.

So much of the story is spent on the Lord-of-Old even having the concept explained to him that it's not particularly emotional when he gives in or even reacts favorably. There's no journey for him. It's like, a couple characters plead with him, and he spontaneously becomes convinced, with a smile the only evidence of what this means to him or what kind of change comes over him. Yes, we're assured it's the "biggest smile of his life," but that's like a shipfic assuring us two characters are in love while never doing much to prove it to me.

This is another one that has pretty nice atmosphere going on, but that doesn't take me through a satisfying character arc.

There is a school of thought that a minific doesn't have to have a plot, that it's enough to create a memorable image and surprise you in some way. In that vein, I could see the Twilight time clones story as surviving on concept alone, but I don't have even that here. It's a scene set up to make Torch sympathetic, but it's not really invested in his arc enough to get it there.
#135 ·
· on The Game of Thrones and Ponies
If there are going to be Game of Thrones references in this, they'l go over my head.

A few editing issues. Nothing that inhibits understanding, but enough that it does hurt how well the story is presented.

The perspective jumps around a lot, and the atmosphere immediately puts me in the mind of this all being posturing over a game, so it's not going to surprise me when it turns out that way. Let's see if you do something else with it.

Well, no you didn't. You kind of play all your cards up front. If Twilight weren't so over the top at the beginning, you might have suckered me in to thinking something nasty was going on, but when I can spot the twist right up front, then the rest of the story is just a prolonged confirmation, there isn't a lot to it. I don't have a lot to say about this. It's just a pretty standard "they were only playing a game" story.
#136 ·
· on A Slow Death
Oh, hey, a story about Twist. Don't see many of those. You have my attention.

Eh, then we lapse into an after-the-fact narration telling me that the story is already done and happened long ago. That's a tough way to tell a story in an engaging way. There's no immediate tension, and it's laden with exposition.

And I can't gauge her mood. She's drinking, so she must be stressed about something, but she's still hot for Goldmane.

The further in I get, the more editing misses I'm seeing.

One dose of drugs hooked her? That's pretty extreme. Yeah, this is a case where all the action predates the story, and it's hard to get those right.

Really, I don't understand enough of the characters' motives. Did Goldmane not want a child? Or someone else didn't want him to? I'm guessing the former, since he's not around her anymore, but this just kind of pokes around the edges of the situation without investing it with much power. Things like: the depth of Twist's feelings for Goldmane, how she felt about her child, what sort of environment existed around that family. I don't get a lot from Twist about how she feels, but she's your main character. If she's not putting her turmoil on display, then how is the reader going to care? She doesn't seem to much.

Frankly, you're trying to compound two problems for her. Losing a child and being an outcast are enough for a story of this length. The drug addiction was too much for this story, and it's probably too much for even a longer version of it. Piling on more tragedy doesn't always mean making the story have more impact. Sometimes it just makes it more unbelievable.

I applaud your choice of character, but it could have been anyone. There's nothing that uses her characterization any. If you're going to use her, make it matter that she's the one you picked.

I don't think telling this in flashback mode is helping, since the in-the-moment mood is where the story's energy should come from, and even those emotionally charged parts are told in such mundane language that it's not consistent with her mood. Think about what would actually be going through her mind as she experienced these things, then compare to how the story just tells them as a list of facts. I get that she's emotionally distant from it now, but that still needs to develop some tension, and there are ways to accomplish that, but in this word count? That's a tall order. You would have been better off showing all that while it was still raw.
#137 · 1
· on Forever Together
This is an effective bait and switch, but once we get past that, the story's very level. Spike does talk about hypothetically losing touch with them, but we're never given any context as to why he thinks that? What's going to prevent it? I like >>Rocket Lawn Chair 's suggestion to give some sort of uniqueness to at least a couple of his interactions with individual characters.

I'll expand on that a bit. One thing I often tell writers is that being specific will almost always carry more power than speaking in generalities. When a shipping story tells of all the wonderful times a couple has shared, that doesn't evoke any reaction in me. But seeing just a few examples of it will really illustrate their relationship and bring it alive. The same goes here. Even a quick hit for each of them will do a lot, or if you pick two or three of them to give a little more in-depth look, it'd mean a lot more. You really could use more of a picture of what's at stake here, though. Spike's obviously concerned about something, but it's pretty nebulous what.
#138 ·
· on For Mother
This one suffers for too long a lead-in, at least to me. It plays so coy as to what's going on, but it also takes a lot of word count before it starts to build up tension, so I'm just waiting for something, anything, to happen.

Hm, a few editing misses here, too. Were people rushed? Some repetitive language, too.

Watch that you're consistent about what you're describing. The nurse notices that it looks like there's an emptiness under the sheet, but then she can see his feathers directly.

By the end, you've confused me a lot. Some ponies died in the fire, and it's a good thing? What's a Basis? If feels like there's not enough context to define all this. There's some kind of experimental stuff going on that they don't want Celestia to be aware of, but then what was the fire? Something seen as accidental or routine from Celestia's viewpoint, I'd have to think. Not a battle, anyway. And why would the nurse have to die? She knows as much now as she did before, so what changed? The guards aren't being disposed of.

This story was clearly plotted with the ending in mind, which is fine, but it doesn't give enough context to have much meaning behind it. I don't really buy the changeling angle, and here's why: the patient sure doesn't react as if he's against the greater plan, so he wouldn't be a pony captive. And if he's a changeling, why would he have done the preening thing?

And man, this author never met a participle he didn't like.
#139 ·
· on The Wound in the World
I have no idea what I just read.

I mean, it was entertaining. I'll give you that. I'm afraid that I don't really have anything useful to say about it though. I didn't really understand exactly what they were doing or what led to it, but then I wouldn't be surprised if I'm in the minority on that one. The Exile confused me—is it Twilight and her colonists who've been exiled, or are Celestia and Luna in exile? I can't tell whether the Wound is sentient, and if so, what it wants. Unlike >>Bachiavellian I can see a purpose in using Discord as a perspective character. I've gone on record many times as saying that the perspective character isn't necessarily the main character, and it's completely possible to demonstrate an emotional or character development arc through a different character's observation. And as much as I don't know what's going on, Discord doesn't either, so if that's the state you want the reader in, it's not a bad viewpoint to use for that. And independent of whether that was a good idea, I found his voicing well done.

So... a fun read? But didn't knock my socks off.
#140 ·
· on A Slow Death
Echoing the above a bit with praise for packing quite a bit into a tight box.

I think the detraction stems from what I'm going to call "Keyhole Syndrome," (because it probably has a real name already but I don't know it). We're peeping through a keyhole at a radically different future from one we might expect from the world we know, which is absolutely fine. But with that small window, we miss all the history of how and why we got where we are. That can work if the deviations from the norm are easy to trace backward to a recognized event (villains win somewhere, so-and-so never meet, etc.) and the audience can fill in the blanks on our own a little bit. We don't have that here.

Now that said, I'm quite curious how we got to the point in the world we're at and I would absolutely read a gangster/noir-style pony fic centered on building up this feeling you've seeded here.
#141 ·
· on Behind the Magic Eight Ball
This may just be me, but my first impression was that AJ had run out of the tent, so I was confused at how they'd all managed to catch up to her so quickly. Editing's mostly good, but a couple of slips.

This was really cute. It's not going to leave a lasting impression, and the only surprise it held was the gag about Pinkie's writing staff, but if you'd played AJ's situation seriously, I don't know that it'd be that memorable either? Just because that kind of "living without romance" angle has been done a lot, so it's hard to put a fresh angle on it. The thing is, you do play it seriously, though. If AJ was just telling Pinkie she's wrong, then the attention is more on the comedy side of the story. But she's genuinely hurt by it. That does set up Pinkie's need to resolve the situation better, but it also calls for more of an emotional arc from AJ on it. As it is, she's pretty stone-faced about it. We're kind of informed she's angry at first, then the focus is more on everyone else, then AJ immediately accepts Pinkie's explanation. You made it out to be a major thing, then downplayed it.

I like the idea, though, and as the more slice-of-lifey pieces go, this would rank pretty high for me.
#142 ·
· on To Anyone Listening · >>TitaniumDragon
Okay, poetry.

I'm a proponent of it, but it's hard mode, and if you're going to take that on, make damn sure you do it well.

The meter is close to being regular, but it's not quite there. Using the usual / for stressed syllables and _ for unstressed, here's your first stanza:

/_/_/_/
_/_/_/_/
/_/_/_/
/_/_/_/

I could see the second line differing from the first, as long as the fourth matched it. Or if it remained oddball, but the second line from every stanza was like this. But that's not what happens, and the meter is all over the place. For the most part, you do regularly alternate stressed and unstressed, though there are even a few slips from that. Mostly, it's that there's not a regular pattern of syllable count.

The poem reads like the three speakers are aware of each other. Kind of weird, but poetic license and all.

Some minor editing issues, like where you have Twilight's eyes licking her lips.

Well, your ending line is a good way to lampshade the faults in the poetry, given that Twilight had already said she adapted it as best she could while translating it. I don't see the point in sending a response, though, once they've already concluded the senders had destroyed themselves. It's an odd way to communicate that message, unless the senders naturally speak in poetry, so I don't know how seriously they'd take it. Except they never seem to question that.

I get a weird dissonance though. The story's all about civilizations ending in ruin, and how Equestria narrowly avoided that fate as well, and then you end on a joke.
#143 ·
·
Holy crap, 2 art pieces.....................

>>GroaningGreyAgony
>>Rocket Lawn Chair
Gj you two
#144 ·
· on The Eternal Kingdom of Princess Evergreen · >>Foehn
I'm not so quick to pick up on these kinds of things, but my read of it is that this is a parent explaining to his child how to deal with their home burning down, and she's intermittently seeing it through her imaginings of being a princess. It took me until pretty far in to determine that, so I spent a lot of the story being confused about the formatting.

The thing that still confuses me is that the italicized scenes start out being escapism, and there are abrupt changes back to the normal font. By the end, the escapism is mostly gone, and she's already incorporating the rationale into her fantasy world, except the font change still happens abruptly, getting cut off with a dash. It seems like maybe those two effects should go hand in hand?

I'm also having trouble buying into the dad's argument. Yes, there are benefits to fires, but he's trying to play it as a blessing that they happen, even when they threaten lives and homes? And that regularly? It doesn't seem like that'd be an advantageous place to live. I get that this may well be a reaction piece to the many fires this year, but it feels like an odd sentiment he's trying to juggle.

The child simply buys it, too, incorporating it into the fantasy without having an emotional journey about it. This kind of third-person princess persona of hers does have a change of heart, but a snap one.

You appear to have edited this partially in a word processing program and partially directly on the site, because of a difference in what the quotation marks look like.
#145 · 1
· on The Wound in the Way · >>GroaningGreyAgony
Huh, well that's really interesting. I haven't read the fic, so I'm gonna be commenting based on just the art. In which case: I like it.

While the main yin-yang would have been a reasonable piece by itself, the Diarchs in the two corners really compliments it. I applaud your choice on that. My only gripe is it makes the other corners feel unreasonably empty, which really detracts from my experience. Another copy of the Diarchs could work, but honestly, I'd include a Twilight and Cadance there. Sure, it might lose the strict duality theme it has running, but I feel it would make the piece stronger on the whole. Hey, you could even argue that Cadance and Twilight can fit the theme. I sometimes do.

While I think it could benefit from a few changes, again, I do like it as is. Don't forget that.
#146 ·
· on What Dreams Are Made Of
This narrator has an oddly formal way of speaking, one which doesn't seem to suit present tense at all. It feels like language appropriate for a prepared speech, not something off the cuff that we witness in real time. Like some flowery vocabulary and strict grammar? I could buy that, depending on the speaker. But "fatigue dulls not her smile"? Who talks like that?

A few typos, probably due to rushing. One's a pet peeve of mine, though: "between you and I" is absolutely incorrect grammar.

In fact, that "I" begs another question: who's Luna talking to? She's confiding a lot in me, but she never lets on who this audience is. That bugged me a lot.

The other thing is that Luna is so certain that Flurry Heart's dreams are a portent. Or maybe she's just disturbed by the imagery, but why would that strike her so badly? From all the dreams she's seen? People dream weird, dark shit sometimes. Maybe you want to play it that ponies don't, but that's not going to be the default assumption here. So we don't get Luna's line of reasoning behind why she finds this so disturbing. You spent an awful lot of word count talking about how most babies dream and what most mothers want to hear about it. That would have been better spent giving this some more meat.

I liked the fridge horror aspect to it, but to me, it needed to connect the dots better. It'll still finish high on my ballot.
#147 ·
· on Resolve's End · >>Naiad
This...

Okay, it's an interesting choice of characters to have interact. Conceptually as well, the one who lives off emotion paired with the one who naturally shows very little. It's nice to have Chrysalis go through her spiel, but I couldn't quite figure what the issue was. It sounds like she wants to change like the rest of her hive did, but when given that chance by Starlight earlier, she refused it, and that part of her decision to pursue it now never comes up.

So we get her explanation, but then it's just left there as the whole point of the story. Except it doesn't go anywhere. She describes what her problem is, but there's no indication of how she'll even start going about resolving it, or what she'd even consider a resolution to it. On Maud's side, too, she just listens, but she doesn't help Chrysalis through any of it, suggest a course of action, sympathize with her... barely anything. So what was her purpose in the story? Just to get Chrysalis to explain her position? She could have done that with an internal monologue.

This is a great setup and a cool choice of characters. It just needs some more development.
#148 · 1
· on Blooming, and Wilting · >>Bachiavellian
Hm. Lots of stories this round with some pretty easy editing problems.

You have some unnecessarily repetitive language early on, like two close mentions of her "garden."

I like the idea here. Maybe I'm just becoming more of a hopeless shipper than I used to be. But there are some things this story desperately needs.

For one, how does Tempest not know Willowbark is married? This is someone she must have talked to lots of times. By the way, I do like the occasional meetings you show, that seem to progress by seasons. But I have to imagine they've had a lot more meetings than that. Two or three banal interactions aren't going to be the basis for Tempest deciding she's fallen in love, after all. Yet in these conversations, Mumbles has never come up? They always talk at Tempest's place and never Willowbark's? That's supremely convenient.

The other is more or less something I just mentioned, but that we need a lot more to conclude Tempest is really in love. They've talked about nothing, really. It wasn't Tempest noticing that Willowbark took an interest in something important to her, or that they unexpectedly found a shared interest, or that they had some really noteworthy experience one time that really resonated with Tempest. It's a few conversations about things Tempest isn't portrayed as being particularly into, and then bam, she's in love. It takes some more care to build that up in a plausible way. One thing you absolutely did right: show specific interactions instead of relying on vague summaries. But show how, at the time, they had a strong effect on Tempest. Show that Willowbark is (unintentionally) endearing herself to Tempest. Show that there's a nice, balanced give and take to their relationship.

So, nice setup, I'm surprised I like Willowbark as much as I do, considering how little I know about her, I genuinely feel bad for Tempest, and this needs some more context to sell the ship.
#149 ·
· on King of Shadows
There's a bit of a strange evolution in perspective here. It starts out sounding omniscient, even conspicuously saying a couple things that wouldn't work in Sombra's viewpoint (he wouldn't know what the other councilmembers heard), but after he goes to see Diamond, it moves into his perspective.

Okay, I'm admittedly dim about such things, but I didn't get the ending. I think it has to do with the door that shows someone their worst fears, but is this when he created it, and he's seeing his fear of becoming a tyrant? Or is he already the tyrant, and he's seeing his worst fear of watching his family be consumed by the darkness? Or a false past of even having a family, because he fears attachments like that? I think there are several interpretations that could work here, though my reading of it supports one of the last two better.

The writing's mostly good, but there's one very explain-y paragraph, and you're relying a lot on the reader inferring that Sombra would care about a wife and child the same way any normal person would, instead of showing me how he specifically does. That leaves it feeling a little generic, since it's just letting the reader assume the generic impact.
#150 · 1
· on Diamond Ponies Aren't Forever · >>007Ben >>007Ben
Why are you using Steven Universe characters?

I would suspect you of being the same author as "For Mother" due to the same fascination with participles.

My first reaction is that there's a lot of language that doesn't really need to be there. For example, it takes the story a long time to get going. The anecdote about them getting engaged doesn't carry much weight, since you don't have time to give much detail about it. You tried—you didn't just say "they got engaged"—so you're on the right track there, but it needs more, if you want to expand it, or it could stand to have that trimmed. Just having them as a happy couple would be enough. How important is the engagement to the actual story's plot? It's not really relevant to their attitude toward the Crystal Empire.

This is also a story trope we've seen lots of times before: the vagrant who, when invited in, turns out to be someone important. What's Celestia's aim here, though? If she reveals who she is, nobody's going to turn her away, so why's she trying for stealth? I don't get what she's about. It's like she's the Publishers Clearing House Prize Patrol, ready to spring her good favor on a randomly selected citizen, possibly even that she's targeted this particular household. Yet she wants to remain secret, and... well, there's yet another level I don't understand. She lets Lapis know who she is, and it wasn't an inadvertent reveal, but she doesn't want him to tell Fluorite.

I wish I knew what game she was playing. The only part of this story that's unique is the vigil they keep for the Empire. I think your best move would be to play that up as the story's centerpiece. Explore it, show what it means to this couple, what it means to Celestia. Draw a parallel with Celestia's own sense of loss, whether or not this takes place after Luna's return. This is interesting now, and it could be a really memorable story with the right focus.
#151 ·
· on In Manehattan, You're Never Alone
I just don't have much to say about this. It's not to my taste, but the only thing I'd put forth toward actual criticism is that it seems to be trying too hard. It uses a lot of ridiculous plot twists, but other than that, there's not a lot of madcap stuff happening, and it's not uproariously funny. It's more situational than there being actual jokes. It's a really odd ending line, too, for the same reason: it's still situational instead of an actual joke, and that's not a ringing ending note for a story that thrives on being ridiculous.

I'm tempted not to vote on it due to the taste disconnect.
#152 · 1
· on Escape
This was beautifully written. Unfortunately, I don't have the foggiest idea what it means.

For those in the "a minific doesn't have to tell a complete story arc" school, this would be an easy ballot-topper. But I'm left wondering what the point was. We start out with Tartarus torturing Celestia with subverting her love of roses and images of her sister's prison. Sister angst, which is an obvious interpretation of the prompt, and which I haven't seen yet, even as I approach the last few stories. I was looking forward to it in this case, since Tartarus screwing with her would be an interesting angle on it. But then that just gets dropped.

That confused me at first. I thought the scene break there meant the rest of the story happened at a later time, but now I believe it's that she was going into Tartarus anyway to speak to Tirek, and the roses/moon stuff was just what happened when she first got there. So it's weird to go into all that and then abandon it entirely. In a longer story, yeah, that's nice atmosphere, but then it's just begging to be revisited as thematic. Here, you'd benefit from greater focus, and the word count could be used to develop the second scene. Assuming my interpretation is right, I'd drop the scene break.

So, on to that. What's Celestia's aim here? She's just going to offer him parole out of the goodness of her heart? I have no idea what she's trying to accomplish or how she arrived at this decision. Thus I don't understand the stakes, so it elicits little more than a shrug from me when he refuses her.

Beautifully written, but it feels like two very loosely connected stories, neither of which comes to any sort of conclusion.
#153 · 1
· on Afterword
This story takes a long time to get going. That's probably word count better spent on reinforcing the story's emotional punch.

Why's Big Mac rushing off to Our Town? Sugar Belle is staying in Ponyville now, interning with Mrs. Cake (even though we haven't actually seen her at Sugarcube Corner since). Oh, okay, this is a future story. Still, odd that she'd go live back there unless Big Mac went with her. I guess you never said Big Mac still lived at Sweet Apple Acres, but you never said he didn't either, so the reader's likely to assume the status quo.

In the end, this feels like a story about Applejack suffering from empty nest syndrome. Granny's died, Apple Bloom is away at school, Big Mac has moved out to be with his family. But here's the problem:

You don't ever indicate that until the story's last couple of lines.

That's not going to build up any kind of emotional investment in her situation. Hell, the story doesn't even try. Everything is presented factually. Granny's gone, but nobody expresses missing her. Big Mac leaves, but nobody says they miss having him around. Apple Bloom will need to return to school, but Applejack only states that as a fact. So the whole thing feels like this mundane situation that Applejack doesn't really care about until we're told finally, in the last two paragraphs, that she actually does, but only mildly. There's no emotional arc here, and I'm not going to empathize with Applejack due to a little perfunctory stab at it in the closing passage. That's what the entire first part of the story's about: building up that investment so that there's this big house of cards you've constructed for her, only to have it all come falling down, and for someone who's so predicated on family, she now has none present, for someone who had such aspirations for the family farm, it's just her now. I think this is way too understated. You're writing it to Applejack's external stoicism, but she's your perspective character, and that's not the way she feels internally.
#154 ·
· on Mayflies
I already like both these characterizations, but you need to decide who the story's about. Especially in a story this short, jumping back and forth between perspectives is going to result in it feeling unfocused. You keep hopping back and forth between their viewpoints.

A few editing issues, but mostly clean.

I really like the twist at the end. It was a clever way of showing from Celestia's perspective how time flies for her.

I kind of want a little more from it, though. We never learn that much about Gold Leaf, and we learn absolutely nothing about Golden Bough. I'd like to be able to see the similarities myself instead of having to take Celestia's word for it. Now that I look back on it, I can't define either one's personality. Gold Leaf had first-day jitters, but I have no idea what her mannerisms or interests are, so I have even less chance to spot those same things in Golden Bough when she gets a couple of very ordinary actions and one line of dialogue.

One way to alleviate that might be to actually cut back on what we see of Gold Leaf. She gets a lot of screen time, only to remain so nebulously defined. If you make her appearance as brief as Golden Bough's, then they're both flashes in the pan, and coupled with the title, even more emphasizes how ephemeral they are to Celestia. Except that makes her seem very impassive toward them, which probably isn't the point you wanted to make. So I think developing them more is the better course, and you could have traded off some of the unimportant details of Gold Leaf dropping the cup in order to gain some space to delve into their characters a little more.
#155 ·
· on Moonlight Shadow · >>Monokeras
I don't agree with >>Foehn that the character choices are problematic here. Celestia is the perfect one to fall into a guilt trap, though possibly not the one to seek that remedy from it. And either Twilight or Sunset would be good in the role of someone who cares for her and hates to see her slip into this destructive cycle.

I do think that it's a bit over the top, though. I referred to piling on in an earlier critique, and that applies here, too. Celestia's not only drinking, but she's also smoking, and she's also doing drugs, and at some point, you're making negative gains by continuing to heap more on. Melodrama isn't a good thing, and both Celestia's and Sunset's prominent exclamations just add fuel to that fire.

I assume >>bloons3 is just joking here, as it's pretty standard to throw whatever from the human world in. I mean, cigarettes are going to trigger an AU tag, but not cocaine? Anyway, there is one facet to this. I spent a while at the beginning of the story wondering whether this was Princess Celestia or Principal Celestia, and the use of cigarettes had me convinced this was an Equestria Girls story until I encountered a little horse anatomy or talk of Luna's situation in Equestria.

I'm not sure the perspective change to Sunset was a good idea.
#156 ·
· on Tireless
A few small-ish editing things.

I'm getting confused by the character moods. AJ complains Fluttershy is being slow, but when AJ suggests coffee, which would delay them, she's annoyed that Fluttershy doesn't want any. Then Fluttershy, who seemed in a rush to get on the case, is content to walk slowly to town.

Ultimately, I don't know what the point was. Something about Twilight feeling like she was short on companionship, but more about AJ getting a new appreciation for Fluttershy. That doesn't really hit home though. It's so understated as to be easy to miss. It's not going to take two ponies to bury something as small as a bird, but the point about them doing it together is well-taken. However, there's an interesting bit of characterization for Fluttershy that I've seen turn up in a few stories, and one I've used myself. This story has the perfect setup for it, too. AJ mentions how something will come along to eat the bird, and as an animal lover, wouldn't Fluttershy want that, in these times of scarce food? Some starving wolf or fox or whatever could really use the meal. Of course, they should consult Twilight first, but then why aren't they waiting for her before they bury it?

Cute story, and I like the character interactions, but it's a little unfocused in character attitudes, perspective, and message.

And yay, managed to review everything in one night! Now it's 4 in the morning, and I'm going to bed, dammit.
#157 · 1
· on The Wound in the Way · >>GroaningGreyAgony
I like this, and it's a shame that something has to finish last. Nice use of the Taijitu working with the flying princesses from canon art of a similar concept. It's kind of odd to have Discord searching different ways in both, and that aren't particularly attuned to how the story described them. Which of the two princesses he's facing in each, for instance, or perhaps some method of searching that differentiated feminine from masculine, for the part each one is in. Cool picture though, and far above what I could do.
#158 ·
· on Delicate Reflections · >>Rocket Lawn Chair
I love this, and the difficulty in getting the distorted images was well handled. It's not so apparent in the broken teacup, but the others show it well. The facial expressions in the large one are spot on, and I appreciate line art, as it's the one type I'll ever venture into, even though it takes me far too long and never turns out that great. But I digress...
#159 · 1
· on My Immortal
The story is fun. The only thing I'd consider changing is the Sex Mines part. Not because it's offensive or anything but I'd change it to Sex Farm because they're ponies ... and also for a Spinal Tap reference.
#160 ·
· on Moonlight Shadow · >>TitaniumDragon
>>Posh
>>Pascoite
>>Foehn
>>TitaniumDragon
>>bloons3
Merry Xmas everyone! :)
#161 · 2
· on The Wound in the World
Oh hey, I guess this means I can reveal myself as still alive.

First ever minific. I think I was a little over-ambitious:
(WitW notes doc)

If I hadn't been trimming down as I went, the first draft of Wound probably would have been ~1500 words long. It lost a lot of context and characterization from that to this.

Oh, and thanks to whoever was inspired to make artwork because of this! That's one of the coolest things to happen to me in the past few months.
#162 · 1
· on Behind the Magic Eight Ball
My initial thought:

Was to make this very much an interior Applejack story--she gets the prompt as a fortune from Pinkie, outwardly laughs it off and is inwardly very upset about it--but then I started wondering why Pinkie would say such a thing to AJ, and everything derailed from there. Like I said, I still think there's a story in among these various shards, and I hope to have it ready to post on FimFiction before the new year kicks in.

Thanks, folks!
Mike
#163 ·
· on Behind the Magic Eight Ball · >>Baal Bunny
>>Baal Bunny
This reviewer clearly doesn't know what he's talking about.
#164 · 2
· on Behind the Magic Eight Ball
>>Pascoite

Shhh!

Don't spoil the illusion! :)

Mike
#165 ·
· on Moonlight Shadow
>>Monokeras
Merry Christmas!
#166 · 1
· on The Emissary · >>Pascoite
Completely slipped my mind that the first round was supposed to end today. Well then, now that my story's out of the running, there's only one thing left to do:




It's Rewind Time

First off, I'm glad this one managed not to tumble through the first round. Not exactly happy with how this story turned out. It's usually what happens when I'm half-focused, as I was (and still am) preparing another pony-related story to be released on FimFic on new year's day, which I had a lot more fun working on compared to this story.

Looking back at it, the concept is still a bit too nonspecific. I guess it did help in simplifying things by a lot, but with how broad it was, I think it only makes things a lot less weighty in the end. This story would probably be better off narrowing down to something more specific than just resort to "it's culture, bro."

Nothing much else to say. Except maybe that I'm half-awake in the process of writing this? Though to be honest, that applies to almost everything I do these days.

Onwards to individual responses:




>>Foehn
The opening was probably the part that I most enjoyed writing. I'm like J. J. Abrams, in the sense that I know how to start a story but always trip and fall flat near the finish line.

Pretty much agree with everything else you said. Not sure how I'll go about extending it unless I tweak a little

>>TitaniumDragon
Glad you liked the idea, at least! The latter point you made about old man Torch's POV was one of many things that bugged me while writing this. Couldn't figure out a way to settle all them issues I had on my hands with the time I had left, so I just went ahead and try to circumvent them instead.

It's also probably a reason why I withheld their names to try to make it at least interesting.

>>Bachiavellian
The story hinges too much on the reveal, to be honest.

About them not being shown as dragons, I was trying to pull off something that builds up slowly and gradually. Guess I may have been a bit too vague on my part.

>>Pascoite
I think I used the word 'lanky' to describe Spike as both tall and thin. Don't know if there's a better word that describes it better (I'm sure there is), but it's the mix of both that Torch finds unappealing. Also, yes, Spike is older here.

Pretty much nailed my biggest problem with this story on the head, in that the whole story just comes off as too impersonal, which I find it does because I didn't really sink my teeth deep enough to really bring it out. It's something I'm still figuring out when it comes to even my longer stories, much less my minifics.

All in all, fully agree with what you said here, though I just want to add that a minific shouldn't have to sacrifice plot to create an image that is memorable and astounding. Not misconstruing your words or anything, just inserting an addendum to your point.




Thanks a bunch for the comments! Good luck to everyone still in the running, and have a good Christmas!
#167 ·
· on Resolve's End · >>Pascoite
Thanks for the feedback, everyone! This idea had started to come to me back when FOME was doing his recent villain-centric contest, but at the time, I wasn't sure how to make a full story out of it. Looking back, it might've been too ambitious to think that it could fit all wedged into a minific like this, but oh well. "Cool idea, needs more development," seems to be a common theme throughout these comments, which I totally agree with.

>>Pascoite
It's nice to have Chrysalis go through her spiel, but I couldn't quite figure what the issue was.

The thought in my head was that Chrysalis, having failed a whole three times in a row to accomplish anything lasting or significant through the villainous ways we've seen from her in canon, realized that things weren't working. She was alone, shattered, demoralized, all that stuff. When she sees that the other changelings have managed to turn things around for them by adapting their methods, she attempts to do the same, less out of an earnest desire to change and more out of a recognition that what she's been doing simply isn't working.

Which probably didn't come through very clearly in the story itself. Will have to have a think on that.

On Maud's side, too, she just listens, but she doesn't help Chrysalis through any of it, suggest a course of action, sympathize with her... barely anything. So what was her purpose in the story?

In all honesty, I picked Maud because the idea of Chrysalis, who literally needs love, coming across one of the least loving ponies around felt tragic and ironic and stuff. Which actually made me think of Limestone first, but then the parallels of Maud being an abnormally antisocial pony and Chrysalis being an abnormally selfish changeling hit and I thought there was a much better chance of a good ending for Chryssie down that road.

But I do agree, Maud doesn't end up doing very much here.


>>horizon
I'm left with a few too many questions about how the mechanics of this change work, given the fact that in canon it's spurred by a conscious, deliberate change of heart. The lampshading in the middle about "the last time I tried" to talk is a good start, but just raises more questions than it answers: what was the epiphany she came to then, and how does she get from there to the bitterness she's at now?

I think my reply to Pascoite covered a bit of this, but to clarify more: "The last time I tried" was meant to refer to Chrysalis' first attempt at going the garishly-colored Thorax route, sharing love, all that stuff. The epiphany that lead to her bitterness was that she just couldn't get it to work for her.

And while it would be very natural for her to have mixed feelings about the situation, a minific doesn't allow you the luxury of nuance.

Yep, definitely seeing that now!

As written, this reads like Maud disagrees with her final statement telling her to leave. I think I get what you were going for, but you may need to overhaul that section to bring the point out more clearly.

Where's a :facehoof: when you need one? Thanks for the catch, I can definitely see how that doesn't read the way I wanted it to!

>>TitaniumDragon
I really enjoyed reading this comment, because you nailed some of the things I had in mind while writing this story. Especially what you said about her being maybe rotten--the concept that stuck in my head with this story idea was Chrysalis being so bad at loving other people and getting them to love her back naturally that she's simply not capable of sharing love easily the way the rest of the changelings decided to.
#168 · 1
· on The Emissary
>>WritingSpirit
For my part, I agree that you should never have to sacrifice plot for anything in a minific, but the two schools of thought I mentioned are ones illustrated in a book I'd recommend: The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction. It's a series of essays by professionals who are all well known and published in the field of short fiction. And even the professionals disagree on this. A couple of the essays say that just because you're writing something very short, that doesn't absolve you of needing a full plot arc. But another couple say that flash fiction's whole point is to create a stark and memorable image in the reader's mind, and if that means plot gets pushed out of the picture, so be it. And at least one took a more extreme position, saying that image should be not only the primary focus, but the only one; such stories explicitly shouldn't have a plot.
#169 ·
· on Resolve's End · >>Naiad
>>Naiad
I'd suggest a little different road for Maud. She's the least outwardly expressive of her love, true, but that doesn't mean she's bereft of it. In fact, she has explicitly said she loves Pinkie very much. And Pinkie says Maud is as emotional as any other pony, but she just doesn't show it. Chrysalis is in a unique position to sense the truth of that. Appearance doesn't matter to her, and she could feel as much love emanating from Maud as she could from anyone else.
#170 ·
· on Resolve's End
>>Pascoite
I'm reading what I said and realizing I didn't explain myself very clearly. Yes, I realize that Maud's hardly bereft of love--and I think the story insinuates there's at least a little empathy going on there--which is why I ended up picking her as the other character here. I'd originally thought of Limestone, who I think would have had a much harder time connecting with Chrysalis, but reconsidered to Maud precisely because Maud was the more loving of the two. Sorry for the confusion!

That being said, ooo, I really like some of that. I hadn't thought about how Chrysalis' emotivore status could be used there, but now that you mention it, yeah, that could possibly work fairly well with Maud's stoicism. I'll definitely have to think about how to implement that the next time I come back to this idea.

Thanks for pointing that out!
#171 ·
· on The Game of Thrones and Ponies
This is funny, but the twist is too obvious. What's more, it doesn't really need to be a twist. Telegraph from the start (intentionally so) that the ponies are playing a board game/inhabiting characters for the sake of the game, and you'd have a stronger piece.

Also would let you play up the ham a lot more, too. ^^
#172 · 1
· on The Wound in the Way · >>GroaningGreyAgony
This deserves praise for tackling a rather unusual and esoteric subject in the story it pertains to. I like the use of the yin-yang symbol, especially when Discord is thematically supposed to represent one of these sides, except your image shows Discord completely ignoring his role in favor of some personal mission, breaking the archetypal fourth wall. That, along with the cartoony style, are two elements which fit perfectly with Discord's character. It looks like he's passively generating chaos by virtue of his existence alone, at least that's how I read it.

I was a little off-put by the images of Celestia and Luna, which seem to be clipped images that don't follow through with your style. And I liked your drawing of Discord so much that it was a bummer to not see more of your hand applied to the two sisters. That's probably my only complaint on this, though. Fun visual overall!
#173 ·
· on The Wound in the Way · >>Cosmic_Cowboy
>>Anon Y Mous, >>MLPmatthewl419, >>Pascoite, >>Rocket Lawn Chair

Congrats to Rocket Lawn Chair, and thanks to all for the silver! Not bad for a last-minute job.

I’m not sure that anyone got exactly what I was going for with this one. I started this by thinking of Discord seeking the Wound, but the Wound was always behind his head where he wasn’t looking. I imagined a two-panel comic showing him looking to left and right with the Wound eluding him, and after that the Yin-Yang suggested itself.

I usually do a pencil sketch and scan it, and sometimes “ink it”–that is, draw over it–in Illustrator. In this case, while I drew a quick sketch on paper for layout, I drew Discord directly using Illustrator’s Bezier tools without overlaying, and I am very pleased with the result. I think I really nailed him on the bottom, where he’s holding the opera glasses. I did lighten the stroke on his hair over the black background, and it looked okay on my main monitor.

After sleeping on it, I had the idea that having the Sisters chasing each other around the “World” would help the image, and I barely had time to shoop them in before going to work. Had I a bit more time, I would have drawn them from scratch.

Thanks for all the great comments!
#174 · 1
· on The Wound in the Way
>>GroaningGreyAgony
Forgot to say anything earlier. I'm flattered that art could be inspired by a fic as weird and experimental as mine! Thanks! And great job with it, too. Tight and clean.
#175 ·
· on The Eternal Kingdom of Princess Evergreen
I'm happy to finally have written something again, though I wish I'd done a better job. I think I got some good takeaways, though, which is always nice.

>>thebandbrony
I'm glad you enjoyed it.

>>TitaniumDragon
>>MLPmatthewl419
>>Bachiavellian
To be honest, it didn't touch me emotionally either, which I think Bach summed up well:

this kind of feels like a "look at this sad pony and be sad" sort of deal


I have a habit of falling back on these sort of stories in minific rounds, and I think I'll learn a lot more if I start moving beyond them. They really don't lend themselves to anything interesting.

>>Bachiavellian
>>Pascoite
Cheers for the helpful feedback in spite of how lacklustre the story was! I really appreciate the detail in these reviews - I knew the story was flat, but was having trouble spotting exactly why (other than the above). These really gave me something to work with.

You appear to have edited this partially in a word processing program and partially directly on the site, because of a difference in what the quotation marks look like.


Good catch.
#176 ·
· on Diamond Ponies Aren't Forever
The streams shall run in gladness
The lakes shall shine and burn.
All sorrow fail and sadness
At the Mountain-King's return.


Thank you all for your reviews! This idea actually came to me a while back when I was more active in Writeoff. Almost everything about how I thought that story would go changed dramatically since then, but the core idea--crystal ponies isolated from the Crystal Empire when it was banished--remained. To this end, I was influenced by the company of dwarves in The Hobbit, a group in exile from their home. Yet it wasn't until recently that I discovered a song that fit. The songs I'd already heard had too much agency to fit with this particular story. The one I found speaks more of a longing to be home than a drive to recapture it. This was the song that played as I wrote my story:

The King Beneath the Mountains by Clamavi De Profundis

(P.S. It's also a fan-made song using a poem by Tolkien that the movies didn't use.)

>>TitaniumDragon >>Foehn

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed.

>>Bachiavellian >>Baal Bunny >>Pascoite

Thanks for the feedback. Definitely a lot to think about.

Two major things I want to improve:

having Celestia appear in disguise and then almost immediately reveal herself


and

What's Celestia's aim here, though?


Firstly, Celestia is canonically a terrible actress, and her act crumbles rather quickly. This was deliberate. There's some light foreshadowing in there

“M-my name is G-golden Ray,” she answered, shivering. Lapis hadn’t noticed her shivering a moment ago.


(heck, even her fake name itself--a golden ray of sunlight) but i guess not enough.

Secondly, this is set after 1) the Empire's banishment and 2) Luna's banishment.

“A vigil through--the night...”


Again, too subtle. Also, the aucience didn't know this was Celestia yet (though suspicions may have been there), and could have overlooked day/night clues which would have stood out like a sore hoof had Celestia's identity been revealed by this point.

I said two, but now you're here. So let's do three.

Individual tongues of fire appeared and disappeared, and much more quickly than the colored leaves had done months ago. ...

He sipped and swallowed, and felt momentarily warm. ...


He caught himself starting to smile, but allowed the feeble feeling to fade.


Somewhere along the line, I forgot that I was going to try and incorporate a theme. Actually, it seems to be about the middle of the story when the couple gets their visitor that the theme gets shoved to the back burner. Nobody even commented on the theme, instead wondering why the first half was so long. For those keeping score, that's Subtlety: 3, Author: 0. I'm not sure whether to abandon the theme entirely or rework it and bring it into the forefront.

But yeah. Definitely gonna send this over to FimFiction before too long. I've got some cut content sitting just below the body of the fic in the word doc, and I've got a pretty good idea for another scene that will go at the end, plus some general polishing of the ending half/third of the fic. Once again, thanks to all; Happy Hearth's Warming and a Happy New Year!
#177 · 1
· on To Anyone Listening
Thanks to everyone who commented on this! I have not really written anything in a while, so I was kind of determined to get something done this round. I had the idea of a lonely immortal of a doomed civilization somehow interacting with the Equestrian princesses and seeing the contrast between the niceness of the ponies and the awfulness of his own civilization, while his own words create a bit of disquiet amongst them because he seems to see them as being super good without recognizing that their civilization has its flaws as well. But I could not figure out how to fit it in 750 words at all.

So instead I decided to take a totally different tack and write some poetry.

It's definitely rough in a few spots, and a number of you commented on that. I did not really have enough time to properly polish it at all, as I only switched tacks in the last few hours of the writing time, and it shows. For that, I apologize.

>>Foehn
>>Baal Bunny
>>Pascoite
>>Samey90
So to clarify what I was going for - it was indeed supposed to be three survivors of three different apocalypses, each of whom survived and started sending messages out into space (nuclear war, a terrible plague (that might have been engineered), and autonomous war robots destroying everyone). They had detected each other's messages some time ago (the meeting of the minds) - and were basically looking out for other civilizations that might be out there, and finally found Equestria, a world that actually looks like it might be inhabited, so are sending a message to it to let them know that others are out there.

The alternating columns were meant to indicate the three different speakers, each of which explained the disaster which destroyed their world in their first stanza, then talked about their loneliness and reaching out to the stars in the second.

A signal seen/a signal sent/a meeting of the minds was intended to indicate a transition, as they were all separate to start out with, and then finally detected each others' signals and began communicating with each other (and mulling over the destruction of their civilizations). Thus, the poem becomes much more intermixed at that point, as the three are now talking about when they were communicating, and thus, the lines were intermixed in one stanza, rather than spread out between speakers who were all alone.

The rest is about them looking for other minds, and thus, giving some context to their message - they're lonely, and want to speak to others.

Seeing how you guys were puzzled by some of these conceits, I think I need to work on making what is going on in the poem a lot clearer - several of you expressed confusion over what was going on with the three speakers, and that is pretty crucial to understanding the poem and the thrust of the message (it was indeed a joint message, or meant to represent such), so clearly I failed to do a good enough job with that.

As far as the inhabitants of the world of Equestria almost destroying the world - there was Discord, and Tirek, and Nightmare Moon/Luna herself, all of which were potentially civilization-destroying disasters.
#178 · 2
· on Delicate Reflections
>>Anon Y Mous
>>GroaningGreyAgony
>>Cold in Gardez
>>Pascoite

Hey, look at that! First time my art's won a medal! This wasn't a drawing I'd planned to make, but I couldn't get the idea out of my head, which says something to the impact the story had on me after reading it. Really glad Mayflies ended up doing so well overall.

As to the poor sketch quality of the final product, I'll have to see about scanning the sketches before processing, something I've done in the past when I can sneak them on to the work scanner when nobody's looking. Frankly, I'm not much of a photographer.

Thank you guys for all your feedback and encouragement. Also, special props to >>GroaningGreyAgony for his fantastic drawing. When I joined the write-off earlier this year I didn't expect to see art involved, nor did I expect it to add so much to the experience of writing. The vast creativity of this wonderful community never ceases to amaze me. There were plenty of good stories this round, and hopefully I'll be able to contribute some writing of my own next time.
#179 ·
· on The Game of Thrones and Ponies
So the results are in, masks are off and now is the time for a grand reveal, yes? Well truth be told there is nothing really to say, was just a spur of the moment made with intent to make people smile. If you cracked even a tiniest smile then my goal was reached, if you expected something more well sorry to disappoint.

Still was fun for me, might join another time. Maybe even actually comment on the stories instead of lurking in the shadow.
#180 ·
· on Blooming, and Wilting · >>Pascoite >>TitaniumDragon
... Is it time to do retros already?

Retrospective: Blooming, and Wilting (Or, Tempest is Super-Bae)

So attempt number two at a Tempest Shadow-centric minific, and it looks like I did somewhat better. Go me!

Yeah, so I'm just gonna go ahead and promote Tempest to honorary alicorn, because I'm starting to obsess over her while I'm brainstorming for ideas as much as I do over the Princesses. Like I said last time (>>Bachiavellian), Tempest is basically an excuse to write Season-One-Luna stories again, which is just fantastic. She's got the exact same shtick (used to be badass villain; now is sad-ish and freshly-reformed) with some extra edge sprinkled in (muh horn!). And on top of it all, the "real name" thing's more darling three paragraphs of Rarity-dialogue! What's not to love?

Anyways, regarding what's probably the one of the more obvious shortfalls of this story:

I found it hard to believe that Willow never in all that time mentions her husband.

For one, how does Tempest not know Willowbark is married? This is someone she must have talked to lots of times.


... Yeah, this was silly of me. Like a bad stage magician desperately trying to hide his soaking sleeves after his disappearing-a-glass-of-water trick catastrophically failed, I was just kinda hoping people wouldn't notice.

It was a bit of a balancing act, having to let Tempest get invested in Willowbark enough for the ending to hit, while also being blindsided by some kind of revelation that Willowbark would never be interested in her. All I could think of was either making her married or a homophobe, the latter of which I dismissed for obvious reasons. I mean, in hindsight, maybe just giving her a boyfriend would have sufficed, while not making Tempest's ignorance too unbelievable.




>>TitaniumDragon
>>Foehn
Happy ya'll liked it! Yeah, when I originally outlined it, I was actually pretty scared that it wouldn't fit in a minific, and I did the thing I usually hate reading, which is chopping up a minific's wordcount into a lot of tiny scenes. But it looks like it paid off in helping it feel more complete than my usual stuff!

>>Baal Bunny
Don't laugh at me, but I actually included that comma because I thought a little pause might make the title feel a bit.... more meaningful? Deeper? Don't ask me to explain what possessed me to think so. :P

Thank you for your review!

>>Posh
Okay, now I need somebody to write a story about a couple casually inviting Tempest over for a three way, before ending up with waaaaay more melodrama than they bargained for. I mean, have you seen "Open Up Your Eyes"? This chick's got a lot of unresolved stuff going on.

>>Pascoite
Yeah, I definitely didn't give this the editing pass that it deserved. It's what I get for writing literally all of my minifics at the last possible hour before I pass out.

Regarding Tempest being in love, I was kind of hoping that the little things (like her heart racing, or her smiling) would kind of telegraph the fact that she's developing affections. But I can see what you're saying, with how these need to have a more meaningful foundation for the romance to really feel genuine. Thank you very much for your thoughts!




Congrats, as always, to our medalists (especially to CiG, for sneaking all his entries into the Top 5).

See you guys next time!
#181 ·
· on Blooming, and Wilting · >>TitaniumDragon >>Bachiavellian
>>Bachiavellian
I did catch the little reactions Tempest had. It's not that you didn't portray her as acing like someone in love. It's that her responses are disconnected from any specific stimuli. When Tempest's heart races, what specifically about Willowbark prompted that response? To a degree, some of that can be physical attraction, but a lot of it needs to be genuinely liking the person and finding them compatible, Sp look for ways to work in things like that. A particular expression Willowbark has on her face that reminds Tempest of the time they did such and such, and she looked so adorable when she did this thing, etc. Then the relationship is based on shared experiences rather than vague heart racing.
#182 ·
· on Blooming, and Wilting · >>Bachiavellian
>>Bachiavellian
>>Pascoite
One thing worth considering is to compress the time frame here; you have her know her for quite a while - months - which makes us feel like there needs to be more development there in terms of her personality, as well as making it feel like more of a stretch that she doesn't know that the person is married.

But Tempest is not really used to dealing with normal people emotions and being a normal person; if it was just knowing her for a few days, and getting totally caught up in the idea of like, actually liking someone for the first time, I don't know if you need to include a huge amount of depth for the attraction. People are sometimes attracted to other people just because they're friendly and pretty and nice to them; that sort of superficial attraction is common, and is especially likely for someone who is more inexperienced. So if she only sort of knew Willowbark for a shorter period of time and had built up this big thing for her in her head, that would be entirely believable to me, and would also explain how she doesn't know that Willow is married as she doesn't actually know Willow that well yet. It would allow you to preserve your "magic trick" of making us feel bad for Tempest and having the rug yanked out from underneath her, while reducing the fridge logic.
#183 ·
· on Blooming, and Wilting
>>Pascoite
Yeah, I do agree—I definitely kind of just said that Tempest was in love, without giving her a reason to be in love. Which is pretty inexcusable the more I think about it, considering that the perspective is 3rd person limited and not omniscient. Hindsight, 20/20.

>>TitaniumDragon
That's part of what I was debating, actually. I wanted the disappointment enough to leave Tempest in tears (basically just for that last line), but I didn't think I had the wordcount to describe any altered or abnormal state of mind that Tempest might be in. So I did take a shortcut and just stretched out the time period. But I can see why that didn't work for a lot of people.
#184 · 2
· on Diamond Ponies Aren't Forever
>>TitaniumDragon
>>Foehn
>>Bachiavellian
>>Baal Bunny
>>Pascoite

FimFic version is up.