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In Over Your Head · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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A Thany-Mendored Spling
"Just look at yourself." Each word popped like a balloon filled with rotten milk. "It's disgusting!"

"Hey, hey, hey!" The second voice gave off the aroma of freshly cut grass: sweet, clean, and refreshing—unless one happened to be allergic. "Maybe instead of grousing, you could try coming up with a way to fix this?"

"Excuse me?" The first voice conveyed an impression of raised eyebrows. "Have you ever met me?"

"Forget it." The third voice sounded like one of those dogs whose face seems to be made entirely of melting ice cream. Not that dogs can talk, of course. No, no. That would be silly.

(Note to self: when next out at Sweet Apple Acres, give that dog of theirs the power of speech. And a top hat. All talking dogs should have top hats.)

"Nothing can be done," the third voice continued in doleful tones. "Too far gone. Too far gone!" The words crumbled like cinnamon coffee cake and became a howl echoing through the spring evening all around, the twilight—

Don't use that word; don't use that word; don't use that word!

—softly wrapping around the houses and shops of Ponyville as if each step wasn't carrying him another decimeter closer to dissolution.

Or rather the howl would have echoed if it had actually been audible.

"Audible?" The first voice, not having eyeballs, rolled its larynx. "Do you honestly think I have a larynx? Or was that just today's entry on that word-a-day calendar your precious princess gave you?"

(Note to self: change every word on the rest of the calendar's pages to 'eleemosynary' and give it a different definition each time.)

The second voice sighed a flowery sigh. "She gives the most thoughtful gifts, don't you think?"

"I don't think," a fourth voice piped in. "At least, I don't think I think. At least, I don't think I think I think. At least—"

"My point is—" The second voice spoke over the cracking sound of a cricket bat shattering across something roughly the size and shape of the average skull. "—she's always taking time out of her busy schedule—"

"To destroy everything good and proper in the world!" The first voice bubbled now, those bubbles being all that was left of the soap that had formerly filled the soapbox the speaker would have been standing upon if the only legs it had access to hadn't been currently dragging along the road through the center of town, ponies stopping and staring with jaws slack and eyes bulging. "And by 'good and proper,' I of course mean 'oblong and obsequious.'" A scritch-scritch-scritch as of claws scratching a scalp rustled forth. "Don't I?"

"Hmmph!" The second voice's snort gusted out both ears simultaneously. "I'll tell you what you mean! You mean that hope springs internal!" Another spate of claw scratching. "Or is that external?"

"I hope not," Discord muttered, raising his gaze to the gold and purple arched doorway at the top of the steps. "And I'll have you know that none of you is being at all helpful!"

A moment of silence, then: "Run," the first voice whispered somewhere beneath his antelope antler.

"Agreed," the second voice murmured from his beard. "She'll only think this is a trick, you know. Or a joke."

Discord sighed. "No help at all." Shaking the flowers he was holding to partially straighten their wilting stems, he changed his tuxedo from purple to orange, drifted as light as dandelion fluff up the stairs, and knocked on Twilight's front door.
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#1 ·
I realize the lack of cohesiveness is intentional, but I think it would be much easier to read and follow the story if each voice had a distinct personality. I started skimming when it became obvious everything was random and it didn't matter which voice was speaking or what it said.
#2 · 1
There was certainly some descriptive turns of phrase here. I especially liked:

drifted as light as dandelion fluff up the stairs

That being said, I did find I was wanting some firmer characterisation to anchor the voices more strongly in the narrative. It did at times feel like a single monologue being delivered through different mouths, rather than from individual (ish) entities.

As a rule, I generally struggle with Discord fics, but here the character isn't too overdone, and suits the set-up quite well. I approve.

Thanks for sharing your work.
#3 · 3
· · >>Trick_Question
Even though the chaos of this makes it a bit of a rough start, I enjoyed it. Also, I love the title!

Synopsis: Discord has a crush on Twilight, and is walking through the town on his way to her castle, to give her flowers and express his feelings. Along the way, his hopes and fears and generally chaotic, Discordian voices offer their thoughts, along with his own (italicized) observations.

So, my thoughts:

- I like that each voice had a personality of its own — Voice 1: Doubt and Pessimism, Voice 2: Hope and Optimism, Voice 3: Despair, Voice 4: Um... Gibbering Chaos? Anyway these are all a bit like angels and demons standing on your shoulder and offering their thoughts, except very much in Discord-style.

- I do feel it would be more effective to personify the voices (give them an appropriate elemental name), instead of giving them generic labels. I can see where you might want the reader to tease that out from the words the voices speak, but this being such a short, seemingly chaotic piece makes it more difficult to catch on and enjoy the reveal at the end. At least for me.

'oblong and obsequious.'

- Seems like you're going for alliteration here instead of meaning, which is fine, but it would be more effective if both words related better to the kind of things that Discord's negative side wants and misses, now that he's being forced to observe his nature and change for the benefit of everyone else.

- I'll observe a pet peeve of mine:
", ponies stopping and staring with jaws slack and eyes bulging."

This line is fine, of itself, but I see lot of authors tack "out of the blue" ideas like this on to other distinct ideas as a way to tie them together with a comma, and all it does for me is knock me out of immersion. I really think this idea – that ponies are shocked to see Discord walking down the street, holding flowers and talking to himself – would be much better suited as a short, standalone paragraph.

- I love the fact that even Hope (2nd voice) gives up and recommends that Discord run away. Poor Discord!

- Finally, now that I read back over it, I also get the feeling that the dialogue could go on for a few more lines as a better (and more humorous) build-up to the ending. It doesn't feel to me like there's enough tension built up to release by the end. But as it is, this story is short and sweet for the few words it has available.
#4 ·
· · >>Southpaw
I think the voicing could probably be stronger. I didn't pick up on the personalities you did, so it seemed completely random.

Not that doesn't makes sense, mind you (though where's the fun in that), but as a literary device it would have helped me.
#5 ·
· · >>Icenrose
>>Trick_Question I absolutely agree. :)
#6 · 4
So, Inside Out meets Discord. Interesting. The intermixing of 'voices' is causing quite a problem, though.
#7 ·
Well, let me be upfront about this: I understood diddly-squat. Except for some pony names randomly thrown in here and there, I don't see the point. The name “Discord” made me bristle at the end. I don't like Discord, so each time I see him mentioned in a fic, I take it as a good excuse for a poor quality plot.

Well, don't get me wrong: I love random fics, especially random comedies. But I was unable to make head or tails of this one. It’s not badly written. It's just… nonsensical.

Sorry, my mind is flawed.
#8 · 1
Callooh! Callay! A frabjous, beamish tale of that most chaotic of emotions and the struggle a spirit has with it, especially when it’s directed towards such a frumiously orderly entity. First-person Discord (or third-person limited, in this case) is always a fascinating perspective to explore, and this one manages to balance signal and noise almost perfectly. I see that my opinion’s in the minority, but I still got a big kick out of this.

Cheese out of Q outgrabing mome raths.
#9 ·
Each word popped like a balloon filled with rotten milk.

... That certainly paints an image. Bleh.

I mean that as a compliment, Writer. ^^ That sentence is indicative of the imagery present throughout this story - vivid and visceral. While I think the four voices (five, if you count Discord himself) are distinct from each other (as >>Southpaw points out), I agree that a little extra refinement of their voices would go a long way. For the minific format, I think four voices may have been one too many - Voice Two could just as easily have cracked a cricket bat over Voice Three's (metaphysical) skull to shut up its dolorous moping, and then you wouldn't need to include a fourth voice for the sake of that one joke.

All the same, I had a lot of fun with this story. Thank you for adding some levity to the competition!
#10 ·
Discord asks Twilight on a date.

This tried way too hard with some of the descriptions, and consequently, they ended up being a distraction – doubly so because some of them (in particular, conveyed an impression of raised eyebrows) felt almost painful to read.

I’d like to say that this didn’t really come together for me, but it did. However, for a lot of the middle, my attention was drifting as I felt like the voices and the various descriptions left me disconnected from what was going on. I just struggled to focus on it.

That said, I do think this was an interesting idea, though I think establishing more clearly earlier on that the voices are Discord’s would be helpful, as well as maybe making them a bit more distinct.
#11 · 1
Author, I'm sorry, I couldn't keep up with the voices. I like Discord, and I wanted to like this, but the presentation is just too much to keep up with in its current form. I'll give you credit for trying to capture Discord's internal thoughts, though; this could be the start of a longer fic that expands a lot on that idea.

Tier: Needs work
#12 ·
I've definitely seen worse Discords. I appreciated the non-traditional poetrism; I think that's by far your strongest point in this. Some of the humor is take-it-or-leave-it, but that's just part of the nature of something like this. I think the overall point of representing the kind of nerves that such a situation brings about really came through, though.

Agreed that some way to track the voices better is neccesary, or else abandoning the concept that each one ever speaks more than once altogether. I could tell they had distinct perspectives, but it was still frustrating trying to sort it out and double check what had happened.

"Hey, hey, hey!"

...I still can't but hear Fat Albert here, though. I'm honestly not sure if it's fitting or not.
#13 ·
A Thany Mendored Spling — B — Interesting concept and wonderful descriptions, but totally blitzed by the swarm of characters. Even though this is Discord, and each abstract concept given voice does not *directly* correspond to a particular emotion/state/cookie, spelling them out a little and keeping them distinct, possibly even thinning the herd out might help.
#14 ·
Well, this was... interesting. The chaotic nature certainly fits Discord... But it's also a bit too chaotic and difficult to follow and comprehend. At first, heck, halfway through I thought this story was about the after math of Discord winning and breaking the universe! (And thus spent quite a bit of time trying to match the voices up too the mane six... which made it even more confusing when they switched around... O.o )

It definitely get's points for creativity, and for the amusing twist at the end... But it looses a couple for being a bit too random and incomprehensible.
#15 · 1
Congrats to our winners:

And thanks for the comments, folks! The original version of this--and the version that'll be going up on FimFic later today--has eight or nine different voices--Discord himself loses track near the end. In rewriting it this past week, I've tried to give each of the voices more character and to make voice one and voice two into a clearer pair of antagonists. I've also moved Discord's name and the setting up into the 2nd paragraph--though one of the nice things about having a story description and a cover image on FimFic is that readers'll have an idea what they're getting into before they even start.

This idea came to me immediately after seeing the prompt, but I almost didn't write it 'cause the multiple voices in Discord's head is a concept I've used before. But then I realized that I'd only done it in the Discord POV sections of Philosophy, the third of my "clop trilogy." Which meant most folks hadn't read it and therefore wouldn't recognize it here. :)