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The Morning After · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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The New Castle
Twilight Sparkle's eyes shot open as she sat up in her sleeping bag. She glanced around the large purple bedroom quickly, its unfamiliarity made her heart pound. It took a moment for the purple alicorn to realize it, but she was in her own room in her new castle.

She did her best to shake the cobwebs from her mind as the previous day's events quickly came back to her. Everything from the lengthy magic battle involving Tirek to the small earthquake from the castle growing from the living earth came pouring back to memory. Twilight rubbed her forehead gently as she surveyed the room more carefully.

It was a sparsely furnished room. She hadn't had the time to purchase new furniture after saving the world for the umpteenth time. She'd had to borrow the sleeping bag from Applejack who had said she could keep it as long as she needed. It was kind of her but, Twilight wanted to return the bag as soon as she could.

Twilight slid out of the bag, every part of her ached as she did so. Crystal floors, while pretty, were not suitable sleep surfaces. She grumbled as she twisted to her left then right as her spine popped. "Make a note Spike, after breakfast we need to go to the spa and get the full treatment," she muttered, "And I swear if they charge me for it after all I've done..."

Her voice trailed off and it soon dawned on her that she was alone. "Spike," she called out, "Where are you?" She repeated herself a little louder and followed that with an outright shout of, "Spike," that echoed through the room and out into the hall.

"Twilight," called back Spike, "Where are you?"

Twilight gingerly stood up and limped to the door. New furniture and a spa treatment were definitely in order. "No," replied Twilight loudly, "Where are you?"

"I don't know! I got up to use the bathroom and I couldn't find it!"


"I've been wandering the halls since at least two in the morning," replied Spike, "I'm scared, hungry and I want to go home!"

"This is home," called out Twilight as she trotted down the hallway.

"This place has bats and scorpions..."

"We'll get an exterminator. Can you tell me where you are?"

"One of the scorpions said it was gonna rock me like a hurricane. I didn't know they could talk!"

"What are you near?"

There was a pause followed by Spike shouting, "A set of stairs and a featureless purple hallway near some featureless purple rooms!"

"Just stay there," called Twilight, "I'll find you!"

After twenty minutes of running to and fro Twilight found the stairwell and made her way up to see her dragon friend curled up near by. She quickly through her forelegs around him in a tight embrace, "It's okay, I've got you!"

"Twilight," muttered Spike, "I don't like this place. What do we need a whole castle for anyway?"

"I don't know," replied Twilight, "But for now let's get out of here. We'll grab some breakfast, do some shopping, get a spa treatment..."

"It better be free... they owe you."

"Darn right they do."

"Twilight," asked Spike, "Do you need me to make a list."

She sighed and shook her head, "No, I've got this."
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#1 · 4
Before I get started, I have to stop and comment on something:
"One of the scorpions said it was gonna rock me like a hurricane. I didn't know they could talk!"

Dear author, I love you.

Genre: Comedy/entitlement?

Thoughts: This had a great early comedic buildup. I mean, who isn't up for a skewering of the Crystal Castle playset every once and again?

Where things started to falter for me was when the joke about the town owing her came up again. This is probably a matter of opinion, but for me, it isn't the greatest joke. And when the ending seemed to hinge on that, rather than building toward the conclusion of a plot arc per se, I knew this wasn't going to be a top contender for me. It's hard to tell a complete story in 750 words, but that's really what I'm looking for as a reader.

I'll give it a lot of props for that buildup, though. This reads like the start of something fun.

Tier: Needs Work
#2 · 2
This doesn’t know what it wants to be. Dramatic eulogy for Golden Oaks? Humorous jab at the Castle-Tree’s ludicrous size and confusing layout? Laying the groundwork for a Tyrant Sparkle story? It can’t settle on a single tone and suffers for it. Once you pick a genre for this, I’m sure you’ll be able to make it great.
#3 ·
I'm really not sure what this was going for. It reads kinda like the one-note comedies that show up regularly in the minific rounds, but doesn't seem to have a central joke for a kicker.

Maybe it's because I'm not much for slice-of-life, but I think this needs more of something, and it's not really important to me what that is. Just more of some sort of emotion.
#4 · 1
I'm fairly certain this story is going for comedy. I wasn't sure if Twilight being entitled was just plain OOC, but I think it was just going for jokes there.

This story just feels like a few jokes strung together, and the jokes mostly don't do anything for me. The scorpion joke is going for random humour (besides being a reference), but random humour for the sake of random doesn't do it for me. Twilight's entitlement bits just seem too cynical for me. I might've liked it if it came from a more innocent place ("You'd think they wouldn't charge you." "Huh. Yeah, I mean, I've saved Ponyville how many times now?"); something like that would both be in character and it could be funny, too.

The crystal castle being big and generic-looking is a good joke, though, although the execution is a little botched. But for the most part, the jokes don't really land for me. Feels kind of flat and forgettable. Oh, and there were some grammar errors, too (comma splices and misplaced commas).
#5 · 1
· · >>Trick_Question
Other people have interpreted this as comedy, or satire on the awful new castle, but I don't really feel this way; I feel there's a deeper theme in this story. I didn't really enjoy it on the first reading but it's grown on me after the second or third time.

"I don't know! I got up to use the bathroom and I couldn't find it!" [...] "I've been wandering the halls since at least two in the morning," replied Spike, "I'm scared, hungry and I want to go home!"

"This is home," called out Twilight as she trotted down the hallway.

I really like this part; it truly makes you feel for Spike (and to a lesser degree, Twilight) being distressed and upset by the forced move to a new, unfamiliar place, after abruptly leaving a home they've grown to love and identify with. It's the strongest thing about this story.
If you wish to expand and publish it, Author, perhaps try focusing on this particular theme -- you're likely to find a lot of readers who remember their own moving home, and are all too familiar with the feeling.
#6 · 1
I feel there's more that needs to be said here. But the story doesn't say it. It's straddling some awkward line between heartfelt retrospective and comedy. The song reference is... funny? I guess. But why are there scorpions and bats in the castle? That wasn't canon as far as I recall, so it's an odd/forced insert, seemingly only in service to the later song reference. The double-hit of "the spa shouldn't charge" doesn't play at all for me. One is kinda ha-ha, but the repeat from Spike just seems weird. The bits about everything being featureless and purple are kind of amusing, and the story could do more with that. If it goes to comedy, make that the central joke, and skip the more melancholy bits. As written though, the story doesn't know what it wants to be I feel.
#7 · 2
You have some run-on sentences, and a touch of purple alicorn syndrome. You don't need to relate the color of her bedroom to her coat color, or (to be honest) mention either one of them, because the story isn't about those things (especially if you want the bedroom to seem alien to her). Well... unless you plan for her to blend into the background for camouflage, that is. UPDATE: the room color is fine given that you're establishing it throughout the entire castle later.

I don't think Twi would demand free service, especially now that she owns a castle and (somehow, which the show has not indicated exactly how) large piles of bits. Even if she couldn't afford it, she's not that kind of pony. She might ask if she could have a massage on credit, perhaps.

Wouldn't Spike need to pee more than eat if he never found the bathroom? Wait, don't tell me. I don't want to know.

Oh dear Celestia, that joke is just unforgivable. Send it over to Scorpion Days and see if they'll take it there. :trollestia:

Alright, I've finished reading it, and I'm a little confused.

What does this story want to be when it grows up?

The eye-rolling joke you tossed in is totally out of place. You can't take an otherwise-serious story and plop a groaner directly in the middle like that without confusing the hay out of your readership. I'm left wondering if the whole story was supposed to be a comedy... but nothing seems to be intended as funny, other than commiseration humor for Twi and Spike.

The recipe looks like this to me:

65% commiseration humor
32% serious drama/angst, reflection on 'why' Twi's life had to change
3% unforgivable joke

You can write fine, but I think you should reflect more about what the purpose of the story is. Even if you're not a message-writer like me, surely you intend for an audience reaction. If it's comedy, you should turn the dial up to eleven. Litter it with unforgivable jokes. Or else remove that joke and turn up the commiseration humor a little more, because currently that humor is producing more sympathy than giggles.

Even though I suspect you might be trying for comedy, this piece has a lot more drama in it because the comedy parts (with the exception of the Joke That Shall Not Be Named) feel dramatic and invoke too much sympathy to allow the audience to chuckle.
#8 · 1
Oh Celestia this. This is exactly right.
#9 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion
All of the comments here are fair based upon the story as it is written. It's not great. It's all over the place.

I suppose the most honest answer for how it came out the way it did is simply haste. I found out about this event about 22-25 minutes before I had to go to work. I wouldn't have been able to submit anything by the time I got back from work so I had to do this thing fast.

In between getting ready for work and writing I basically just threw together the first thing that popped into mind as I went along. I picked two characters, a setting and then tossed it into a blender and hit frappe. By the time I was done I had head out.

I knew it wasn't good. I didn't expect this to do well. I certainly knew it wouldn't make it into the final and truthfully I didn't care about any of that. I'd cranked out something very basic quickly that I can go back to and pick out the parts that I think work and make something more concrete.
#10 · 1
Dangit, I should've PM'd you about the Writeoff coming up. D:

Still, I think you started something with potential, especially considering that you threw this together in the time you did.