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Ignore It and It Will Go Away · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Dashed Dreams
Rainbow Dash stared blankly at the floor as she sat in her chair in the East Cloudsdale Flight School’s office wing. A near-tangible feeling of dread loomed over her like a thundercloud from which lightning could strike at any moment. Every moment that the office door remained closed was both relieving and dismal.

Her self-pity was interrupted when she heard a pair of ponies settle into the chairs opposite her. She heard the whispering voices of a mother and her son, and she thought she recognized the latter. She stole a sideways glance at the young stallion, awkwardly making eye contact with Dumbbell. “What are you looking at?” he retorted.

“A stupid failure!” she fired back.

“Yeah? Well me too!”

Rainbow couldn’t help but return her gaze to the floor as she nursed her wounded pride. She looked over at the empty seat beside her before breathing out a sigh. She promised herself that was the closest she was going to let herself come to openly crying.

At last, the office door opened and three pegasi—a young mare and her slightly taller parents—exited. Her mother and father kept telling the grey mare that they were so very proud of her in spite of her academic shortcomings and that they loved her and they would always be there for her. The young mare made not verbal reply, but wiped the tears from her crossed eyes as her mouth formed a smile which failed to hide the pain and disappointment she was so obviously feeling.

A pegasus stallion with a clipboard ran his spectacled gaze across a list of names before surveying the lobby. “Rainbow Dash and guardian,” he pronounced.

Rainbow’s ears stood up from her head and her eyes shot across the room. As her gaze crossed the stallion’s, his lips formed a frown. “Is your guardian here with you?”

“No. He’s at work. And my mom—well—she…”

The stallion raised a hoof. “I understand. Right this way please, Miss Dash.”

Rainbow stood up and began crossing the room, but noticed movement from the pair opposite her. She looked over just in time to see Dumbbell holding two of his left wing’s feathers in the shape of an L. His mother smacked his wing with one of her own and began to quietly scold him. It’s no less than I deserve, Rainbow thought to herself.

“Take a seat, Miss Dash,” the stallion instructed as Rainbow closed the door behind her. “Now, I understand your performance at ECFS this year has been—less than exemplary.”

“Just—go ahead and say it,” Rainbow pleaded. “I’m a failure.”

“Miss Dash, you are not—”

“My grades are already set! I know what this meeting is about! You’re here to tell me that I can’t come back next year, aren’t you? I know I failed all those classes; I—I did this to myself!”

“Miss Dash, please calm down,” the stallion instructed. “As for your academic record, this institution cannot pass you on to the next grade level.”

“So then, you’re kicking me out?”

The stallion sighed. “Miss Dash, I have your grades right here in this folder,” he said as he placed a hoof on his desk, “complete with a brief report of your classroom deportment according to each teacher. The one thing that almost all of them have in common is—”

“I didn’t take my schoolwork seriously. At least, not until it was too late.”

“And it is because of this reason that this institution must regretfully terminate your—”

“You can’t kick me out!” she shouted. “Because I quit!” she yelled as she flew out of the chair.

“Miss Dash!” the stallion called after her. But Rainbow was already out the door.

Rainbow had always been a fast flier. After all, she had performed the legendary Sonic Rainboom as a mere preteen. As she flew through the familiar, yet now suddenly hostile, halls of flight school, she wondered if maybe—just maybe—she could fly so fast that she could outrun her past—outrun her failure.

She doubted she ever would. And in that moment, she broke the promise she’d made to herself; she began to weep for the future she could have had.
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#1 · 4
I'm a bit torn on this. On one hand, it fits young Dash well, to show her so vulnerable and prone to lashing out. On the other, I'm feeling like I didn't really learn anything about her from this story. She's a slacker, she's self-destructive, she's aggressive, she's impulsive... these are all things I already know about her. So while this story tries to fill in the blanks around how she "didn't get kicked out" of Flight School, I feel like it ends up being too insubstantial, and saying too little, for me to really enjoy. When you're touching this up after the writeoff, I think you could spend some time looking at how this event informed Rainbow Dash's attributes, rather than simply showing us how those attributes played out in the event. Is this the(/a) incident that made her so insecure? Show us that, rather than just showing her being insecure. Make a connection between who she is/becomes and the event itself, and I think you'll find you've got a much more memorable piece of writing on your hands!
#2 · 3
For me personally, Rainbow Dash's voice is probably the hardest in all the Mane 6 to pin down, both in reading and writing. I'm saying this because while I think some of Dash's dialogue is pretty strong, I'm having having a hard time resolving some other lines with her in-character voice, and I'm not 100% sure why. For instance, this line strikes me as not very Dash-y:

“I didn’t take my schoolwork seriously. At least, not until it was too late.”

It's just a little too self-aware, especially with how you're trying to portray her as upset and evasive. Similarly this bit also sounds a bit too contemplative and formal:

The young mare made not verbal reply, but wiped the tears from her crossed eyes as her mouth formed a smile which failed to hide the pain and disappointment she was so obviously feeling.

IMO, an intimate third-person limited perspective like this still should sound like how a character thinks, if not how they talk. It just doesn't feel right to me that many of the sentences describing Dash's thoughts are these big blocky things sporting embedded clauses. In short, there's a good character moment here, but I'm having trouble enjoying it because it doesn't quite sound in-character to me.
#3 · 2
0/10; Rainbow is too stupid for this kind of self-reflection.

...oh, very well, I'll be serious.

The other reviews nail the issue with Dashie's voice and characterization. I feel like it might be truer to the character if she approaches this realization, only to project the blame outward at the last moment. An ignored epiphany, if you will. It's not that she didn't take her schoolwork seriously; it's that the schoolwork was beneath her, and exceptions should have been made for her, because she's So Super Awesome and she did a sonic rainboom when she was a toddler. Also, here's the football from that kick she blocked! And here's a picture of her blocking that kick!

Anyone who doesn't get that reference is a prep n a pozer n needz 2 watch Kong of the Hull11111666
#4 · 1
I don't know. I have too many conflicting feelings about this.

The ending thoughts feel pretty out of character for Rainbow Dash, and that knocks the whole story down some. The rest… does it want to be a slice of life, or does it want to be a drama? It doesn't quite work as either. There's something really grating about the emotional arc that I haven't been able to pin down; I hope someone else manages to describe it better.
#5 · 2
· · >>The_Letter_J
So... I sort of have a problem with the structure here. The way Dash keeps interrupting actually kinda inclined me to think there was some sort of punchline coming, because, seriously, why the hell is this administrator letting her keep running them over? Like, Dash is a kid here, right?

Beyond that... it's an emotive little piece that I can certainly empathize with, but I feel it sorta lays its cards out too quick. Dash is a poor student, understands it, and mopes about it. There isn't really a struggle or conflict here. This is just about a single emotion. In that way, it falls a bit more on the side of vignette than mini to me.
#6 · 2
I think I'm a little late to the party here. I have to agree with the other comments regarding the slight characterisation quibbles, though on the whole I enjoyed your portrayal of a younger, more vulnerable Dash. Her initial exchange with Dumbbell is suitably charged and sparkly (though I might question the use of the word 'retort' to signal an opening salvo), and:

“You can’t kick me out!” she shouted. “Because I quit!”

feels pretty much spot-on.

I'm personally struggling to see much of the prompt in this, though. But it was still a nice read, and with a little polish could be even more of one.

Thanks for sharing your work.
#7 · 3
A solid piece; not anything to write home about (sorry <:), but it gets the job done in telling the audience what's going on.

But like some others said, there's no new ground covered with Rainbow Dash; it's just a segment of her life, and one that she really doesn't have any control over. She spends most of this story reacting instead of doing anything.

What might have helped is if you pulled the whole 'Rainbow is getting expelled for her lack of school performance' into the earlier part of the story, perhaps through a series of quick flashbacks show Rainbow choosing to repeatedly goof off instead of study. This would have made the story fit the prompt better, as well as given the story something of a moral - “This is what happens when you ignore essential things in your life”. It would also give the ending more emotional power, as it would now show that Rainbow still has the same problem that got her into this mess in the first place.

All of that said, thanks for writing and sharing!
#8 · 1
She's way too understanding of her own failings (which is actually a sign of maturing) to do that "You can't fire me, I quit" bit at the end. As that's kinda the crux of the story, it makes the rest fall apart for me. Not badly written overall, but I'm not sure what I'm support to learn from this.
#9 · 2
I definitely agree with what >>AndrewRogue said about the (lack of a) punchline. It didn't take long to figure out that this was about Rainbow failing and potentially getting expelled. So I was expecting some sort of twist or surprise in there somewhere. But no, it's just "Hey, Rainbow's failing out of flight school! Let's watch that happen!"

I guess it works as a character piece, but it's not one I found particularly engaging.

And the ending doesn't really fit with what we've seen in the show. I'm sure that Rainbow thinks her life is over at that moment, but we've seen her accomplish everything she could have imagined and more. It feels like instead of ending with Rainbow giving up and crying over her lost future, it should end with her committing to not let anything hold her back. Then we would smile and say "Yeah, she did do that. She turned her life around, and rose above her terrible situation. Isn't that awesome?"

Still, I don't think this is a bad story. It can use a bit of work, it's probably not really for me anyway, but it's not bad.
#10 · 1
she wondered if maybe—just maybe—she could fly so fast that she could outrun her past—outrun her failure.

I'm so sorry, but I couldn't help but think of this picture, and this sort of ruined the ending for me :P

Anyway, this isn't a bad story at all. It's quite touching, vividly capturing Rainbow's dread, and the Derpy cameo successfully establishes contrast between Rainbow's loneliness and the support Derpy has from her parents.