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The Morning After · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Three Unicorn Tail Hairs
“We’re going to get expelled!” The skinny ferret looked up and down the corridor while gnashing his teeth. “Well, you will. I’ll get thrown out into the Dark Woods and eaten.”

Raindolph slipped inside the storeroom and grabbed the ferret before he could escape. “Hey, you stole the keys from the Dean’s office for me. If we give up, I flunk my final project and we get kicked out of school. We get caught, same result. That leaves…?”

The ferret hunched his skinny shoulders and glared at the floor of the storeroom. “We find three unicorn tail hairs so you can finish your project.”

“From a virgin unicorn. And here’s the only place we can find them.” Raindolph ran his fingers over the magic mirror while his familiar muttered quietly behind him.

“Why do we have to wander around some weird dimension where unicorns aren’t as ‘friendly’ as they are here? Seriously, a virgin unicorn? How’s a mirror going to find one of those?”

“Tuning.” Raindolph touched two last spots on the mirror and the surface began to shimmer. “Now the portal is restricted to dimensions with our desired parameters. All that’s left is—”

Raindolph made a frantic grab to catch his familiar's tail before he could run.

The dark house on the other side of the mirror looked almost normal except for the low ceilings and distinct horsey smell mixed with cedar and vanilla. To Raindolph’s pleasant surprise, the second floor bedroom did have a unicorn mare sleeping sprawled out over most of an ornate bed with her violet tail draped over the edge.

“So is this the first bedroom you’ve ever snuck into?” whispered his familiar from where he was perched on the back of the young mage’s neck.

“Shut up.” Raindolph crept around to the back side of the bed and inspected the coiled tail, but a few quick magical gestures made his heart sink. That, and one other thing.

“Go ahead,” hissed his familiar. “Trim her tail and let’s scram before somebody finds out.”

“Two things,” said Raindolph. “One. She’s not a virgin.”

“Nidricks,” cursed the ferret. “What’s the other thing?”

Raindolph lifted his chin to reveal the sharp scissors resting firmly against his carotid artery, held in a light blue glow of magic. “She’s awake.”

To be honest, Raindolph had never really anticipated sitting at an undersized kitchen table while explaining his plans over tea and biscuits to Rarity the Unicorn, who was taking the whole unusual circumstance far better than expected. She nodded and made little sympathetic noises while keeping his teacup filled, and once he had fully explained his graduation project to the unicorn, she very politely removed the sharp sewing implement from against his neck.

“You could have just asked.” Rarity tapped her chin thoughtfully. “Although I may not be… qualified, I think I have a solution.”

The University Testing Grounds were adjacent to the Dark Woods for a very good reason, because any wild spells or explosions from somewhat-less-than-successful ex-students could be directed where they would not unduly disturb the citizenry. While the morning sun rose high over the blasting range, Raindolph came skidding to a halt in front of Dean Plaigiosphere, who had just begun to pack the student folders and test results back into his pointed hat.

“Good morning, Rainsford! I’m surprised you made it,” he bellowed, due to an accident in his youth which had rendered the elderly teacher nearly deaf. “Had your grading sheet completed too.” He pulled out a thick sheet of paper with a crimson ‘F’ at the top and placed it on the nearby table.

Plaigiosphere frowned thoughtfully when Raindolph presented his freshly-finished wand, still warm from the final curing. “Seems fine on the outside, but let’s see how it performs. Start with a simple blasting spell.”

Raindolph held out the newly-created wand and squinted nearsightedly at the pitted stone disk at the other end of the range. The three thin purple tail hairs had been devilishly difficult to get tied into the remaining wand enchantments, and there had not been any time to test the results. He let his breath out slowly and focused his magic into a simple blasting spell, hoping that the fresh wand would at least make sparks.

It was the last thing he remembered for quite some time, although he did survive the experience with only a broken arm, and Dean Plaigiosphere eventually regained what little hearing he had left.

At least he passed.
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#1 ·
· · >>georg
The dark house on the other side of the mirror looked almost normal except for the low ceilings and distinct horsey smell mixed with cedar and vanilla. To Raindolph’s pleasant surprise, the second floor bedroom did have a unicorn mare sleeping sprawled out over most of an ornate bed with her violet tail draped over the edge.

I thought that was Twilight at my first read, and got very confused by the punchline. Apparently that was supposed to be Rarity though. I suggest you describe her as white-coated rather than violet-tailed, since Twilight's tail can also be described as violet.
#2 ·
· · >>FanOfMostEverything >>georg
Using Twilight's tail hairs for your wand is a bad idea, y'know? =P
#3 ·
· · >>FanOfMostEverything >>JudgeDeadd >>Posh >>Morning Sun >>georg
You can write very well, but this story really didn't click for me. I'm sorry. :fluttershysad: My review is going to be pretty harsh.

I find the protagonists repulsive rather than sympathetic. Consequently, I'm not able to become interested in their plans nor the outcome.

It would help if you more succinctly gave the audience the hint that the story is based on Harry Potter at the beginning of the story. I found myself uncertain where things were headed until the end of the story.

I can't believe for a moment that Rarity would be willing to help the protagonists. Especially not after the way they "introduced" themselves. Rarity's calm reaction is completely inconsistent with her character.

There is no possible way Rarity's house would smell "horsey". Rarity doesn't shit on a hay-covered floor.

I think "Rarity isn't a virgin, Twilight is a virgin" detracts from the story. You rely heavily on unflattering stereotypes regarding virginity that are irrelevant to the theme of the narrative. It seems to be an attempt at light humor, but it didn't work for me.

I get the central idea of the story: "even Twilight's butt is powerful". However, this is inconsistent with the fact that Twilight's magic abilities in the show aren't native to her: they're specifically because she is studious (unlike the protagonists).

I can't understand why the student passed, even if you ignore the obvious fact that he failed the written portion of his examination. Are these mages being tested for their ability to get lucky during a scavenger hunt? If it's all dependent upon the materials, how does that show evidence of magic ability? The result was disastrous, and proved he didn't know what he was doing. Again, I think this is an attempt at humor, but it didn't work for me.
#4 ·
· · >>georg
The opening of this story has a lot of 'as you know, Bob', that I think you'd be better off without. Furthermore, the resolution basically falls into the MC's lap; he stumbles through a portal, but everything works out alright in the end because he lucked onto a generous mare. As such, it's rather unsatisfying. The ending helps a little; it's not exactly a joke, I don't think, but it kinda reads like one, and that freshens things up a bit?

I think I wanted to like this more than I did; talking animal sidekicks, wacky hijinks, and Harry Potter influences? These are all things that I like in one way or another. But for me, they didn't really fit together well.
#5 · 2
· · >>Baal Bunny >>georg
I'd really like to know what universe this is a crossover with. It's Potter-ish, but familiar/animals in HP don't talk.

Story-wise, I'm all for universe-hopping hijinks, and liked that this Raindolph (weird spelling) is a bit of a douche. Rarity (though I'd initially thought it was twilight as well) holding scissors against his neck made me smirk. That scene was well done.

Some things that weren't though, was that the protagonist is never described. We see a talking weasel, and for the first half the story, I assumed Raindolph was also a ferret or something. By the end, I'm assuming "human" because that's kind of the default outside of this fandom. However, when you're writing in a content for MLP stories, and your protagonist is NOT a pony, you should probably mention it somewhere.

Second problem is that far too much backstory is implied for the Dean, eating up space that could've made the story more understandable given the word length. For example, how in the world would Twilight NOT go crazy and want to know everything about this new creature/wizard/whatever and his world? Yeah, she'd maybe give up tail hairs, but only after 36 hours of intense interrogation of Raindolph, who'd then never make his exam.
#6 · 2
· · >>georg >>Kitcat36

This isn't quite:

A crossover with my "Cluny the Sorceress Squirrel" stories, but it's close enough that I'm giggling in an ever-so-slightly-unhinged fashion. See, I've had stories about a squirrel sorceress and her hapless human familiar published in the last 9 issues of the annual Sword and Sorceress anthology--including the most recent volume in anyone's looking for a Thanksgiving present. Folks can read the first story about Cluny and Crocker for free on my old LiveJournal site if they're interested: the story's called "Familiars."

So I of course want to see more of the ferret--have him grousing about how that purple unicorn asked so many questions, they almost missed the test and maybe give him a name--but I also had a little trouble with the POV in the last section. We seem to have come unmoored from Raindolph, but we aren't moored to the professor, either. It's way too nebulous for me: I'd recommend keeping everything firmly in Raindolph's POV throughout. Fun stuff, though!

#7 · 2
· · >>Trick_Question >>georg
I have to say, I’ve been curious about this one since I saw the title in the gallery. Let’s see where it goes.

Oh ho. It took me a moment to adjust myself to the intended setting, but you definitely have me intrigued.

This was an enjoyable romp. The other reviews have plenty of helpful and pertinent advice, but I was honestly having too much fun with this to notice most of the issues. Some nice spacial shenanigans to pair with the temporal ones from my previous review.

>>M1Garand8 >>Trick_Question
They were from Twilight's tail? I assumed they came from Sweetie Belle's based on how the wand went so horribly right. Clearly there are too many purple-tailed unicorns about.
#8 ·
I think that was the whole point of the fic, as I mentioned twice in my review. I'd be very surprised if it weren't supposed to be that pony.
#9 ·
· · >>Trick_Question >>georg
My interpretation of the punchline wasn't quite "Twilight is so powerful, man, you have no idea" (as yours seems to be), but rather Twilight's virginity is so absolute, it increased the wand's power a hundredfold.
#10 ·
· · >>Rao
How does virginity get "so absolute"? Do your bodily excreta lose mystic power with every tongue-kiss or sideways glance? :rainbowhuh:
#11 ·
· · >>georg
Hmm… That mage definitely sounds like an AD&D character. They're supposed to talk with their familiar through a telepathic link.

A ferret would be useful for a mage, to troll things out.

So the story. At least there’s an arc, but the word limit hurts it very much: you had to squeeze your plot into that mini-format and consequently fell into the “all’s well” mould: somehow everything runs smoothly despite minor hitches.

not sure a mage can judge the virginity of a mare at a simple glance. Even for a vet, this takes some sort of “involved” examination.

I too got misled into thinking you were describing Twilight.

And I didn't get the explosions at the end were due to the mare they had been lopped from (I expected Sweetie Belle’s hair to say the truth), but rather due to the nature of the enchantment itself. The ending fell a bit flat for me.

overall, not great, but not bad either. Will certainly end up floating around the middle of my slate.
#12 · 1
· · >>georg
I'm a bit surprised our intrepid mage didn't get a face full of hoof, or worse. Also curious if he got Twilight hair or Sweetie Belle hair. The former makes sense due to the obvious potential power boost because she's, you know, Tengen Toppa Twilight. But Sweetie makes sense since she's young and innocent and all that. Could go either way, and it's fun to speculate.

Fun to see some some D&D/Potter-esque crossover hijinks.

Think "Holy Virgin Marey"
#13 · 3
· · >>Trick_Question
Yeah, while the writing's certainly witty, and the gag with Rarity and her scissors sharp (:V), I can't help but fall in line with the points people are criticizing it on. Not much is done to contextualize what's going on with the protagonist and his familiar and to what universe they belong, and the last scene devotes more time than necessary to trivia. That's time that could be better spent clearing up the specifics of who and what these people are in relation to the MLP-verse.

Also, while I don't mind a good lolvirgin joke, using Twilight for such comedic material is kind of overplayed. Suppose they wound up at Twilight's instead of Rarity's, and you subvert the joke rather than playing it straight; Twilight's not a virgin and she's insulted by the assumptions the protagonist makes about her based on her lifestyle.

However, this is inconsistent with the fact that Twilight's magic abilities in the show aren't native to her: they're specifically because she is studious (unlike the protagonists).

I don't think that's a hundred percent accurate. Most of it can be traced back to her hardcore bookishness, sure, but I think the show establishes Twilight is simply innately powerful. Or, at the very least, that she has incredible magical potential.

She's a unicorn whose special talent is magic, after all. If Boast Busters is anything to go by, that's unheard of. Of course, why Glimglam can match her spell for spell is a question that I don't think anybody has a sufficient answer for...
#14 ·
· · >>Trick_Question
Several people have suggested that the wand was made of Sweetie Belle's hair; I do hope though that's not what the author intended. It'd just feel kinda creepy and inappropriate if a child was given such a role, in a story where the joke basically relies on pondering the characters' sex lives. (Plus, the ending wouldn't make much sense in this case.)
#15 ·
I'm not sure I agree entirely. Keep in mind that cutie marks appear after a talent begins to be mastered. Twilight hatched Spike after she worked her ass off as a foal to learn magic earlier than other foals do; only then did she earn her mark.

There's a question about destiny, yes, but I think in general that's been shown to be secondary to effort (which is always necessary).
#16 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>Rao
The most disturbing aspect to me is that it is implied that the protagonist examined Rarity's vagina. He didn't cast a spell to determine she was a virgin, he looked under her tail.

Not sure if anyone has mentioned that up in the comments above...
#17 · 3
· · >>Trick_Question >>georg
I think a closer reading shows that he looked at her tail (which, we must grant, is fabulous), but that he cast a spell to make the, ah, determination.


Proper review coming later (maybe). Short version: it worked for me.
#18 · 5
· · >>Trick_Question
I'm with CoffeeMinion. Based on the line:
“Shut up.” Raindolph crept around to the back side of the bed and inspected the coiled tail, but a few quick magical gestures made his heart sink.

It really seems like the purity check was done via magic. Less invasive, but certainly no less rude.
#19 ·
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>Trick_Question
Ah, I can see it now! Originally, I thought his heart sinking was more related to doing something that allowed him to notice the scissors at his neck... too quick a read.

Honestly, though, it's a little weird and gross either way, no? Despite fairy tales, I have a hard time visualizing virginity as this binary component that magic can easily detect because it's so important to know whether a mare has been 'ruined' or not. (I might be a bit cynical at the moment: please ignore.)
#20 · 3
· · >>Trick_Question
I mean, if it bugs you it bugs you, but it's not unheard of as a trope. Consider the recent show Galavant (which was excellent and featured Weird Al a few times), where they did basically the opposite of this by making unicorns gravitate toward the virgin king.

With that said, I took the ponies... ah, status... as merely a contributor to the humor here. I've seen people drawing parallels between this and Potter, but for me, all the irresponsible and ill-conceived magic going on give this more of a Discworld vibe. As such, I didn't think the words spent on the professor were wasted at all; they help establish this as a tale of the other world first, and a pony tail (ha, ha) second.
#21 · 2
The Great

Solid writing all around. Very nice interaction between Rain and his familiar here.

The Rough

A bit of an idiot ball plot here. Like, I realize the answer is "because we'd have no story," but seriously, why was trying to steal them his first instinct? Like, he -clearly- entered a dimension where the creatures were intelligent and civilized. There are potential answers for this question, of course, but it bugs me from the get go.

The ultimate punchline kinda falls flat to me. Like, I get it, but the way it's delivered forced me to think about it for a second (i.e. wait, did Raindolph just fuck up his wand himself or was it just uber powerful Twilight hairs). It wasn't much, but that momentary disconnect robbed the punchline of it's power.
#22 · 2
· · >>The_Letter_J
Just for addenda: I'm exaggerating my mood a little here and complaining about culture, rather than the story itself. This story is far less disturbing to me now that I realize he wasn't doing what it seemed like he was doing (I thought maybe the magical gestures were telekinetically "moving things out of the way" or something, and he's in exactly the right position to do that thing). I know the virgin trope is common enough not to seem creepy to most readers.

I still think there's disclarity by implying which ponies are involved rather than coming out and saying it in some fashion. It seems abundantly clear to me that the first is Rarity and the second Twilight, so much so that I'm flabbergasted so many ponies here disagree with that—but that does indicate a problem getting the message across to readers.

Also, I agree that "even Twi's butt is powerful" is an appropriate joke despite my nitpicking. I disfavor the virginity stereotypes of those two members of the Mane 6, but despite that displeasure, it works: Rarity is indeed the first I think of as "experienced", and Twilight is the last. So it's the right choice if you want to tell the story implicitly without naming ponies... but why is that path desirable?

I think it would be a much better story if you subverted reader expectations somewhere rather than leaning heavily on those expectations to tell the story in an overly-implicit manner.

There. I said it. :derpytongue2:

I can't imagine this is anything but Potter because the way they describe making the wand is neigh-identical to how it's done in Potter. (That said, I haven't read Discworld and I have no idea how much whatsherface stole from other fictional realms. I also haven't read Potter but I saw the movies and have seen enough wand-making references online.)

...also, why not make this one story have twice as many comments as any other story! Yaaaay for comment number twenty-two. You must be thrilled, author. :facehoof:
#23 ·
This was strange, and I couldn't really wrap my head around it. There's next to no explanation as to the why.

He has to make a wand, and need unicorn hairs. Why? What does virginity have to do with it? How is Rarity calm? What? Why? How? All these questions, and I have no idea what you're trying to get at.
#24 · 2
· · >>Trick_Question
And I can't see how you could possibly think that this is Potter ;P Yes, the idea of using unicorn hairs to make a wand was almost certainly taken from Harry Potter, but the only vague similarity is that Raindolph appears to be a student at some sort of magic school, and that idea is hardly exclusive to Harry Potter. Everything else in the story makes it very clear that this is not a Harry Potter crossover of any sort.

Author, I suppose this goes to show that you should be careful with associations. You probably should have known that people would make the jump from "unicorn hair wands" to "Harry Potter," and you might have anticipated that this would cause some confusion. It probably would have been best to either cut out the connection entirely (maybe Raindolph could need the unicorn hairs for a potion or ritual instead), or to double down on it and just make this a Harry Potter crossover.

As for the rest of the story, I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't quite work for me. I love stories about different magic systems colliding and interacting, and Human in Equestria stories have always been something of a guilty pleasure for me. So mashing those two things together should produce a story I'd love, but this one just fell flat for me. I think that at least part of the problem for me was that it was just too anticlimactic. It seemed like there should have been a lot more to it than there was.When I first finished it, I was certain that there was some sort of joke I was missing. But unless everyone else here missed it too, it doesn't look like there was.

I ended up putting this story right in the middle of my slate, but I think that it's the one that I would most like to see expanded and put on fimfiction.
#25 · 1
· · >>The_Letter_J
Author, I suppose this goes to show that you should be careful with associations. You probably should have known that people would make the jump from "unicorn hair wands" to "Harry Potter," and you might have anticipated that this would cause some confusion.

Or, maybe you're completely wrong, and it is intended to reference HP. :trollestia:

Everything else in the story makes it very clear that this is not a Harry Potter crossover of any sort.

Like what, exactly? You say "everything else" isn't Potter, but you don't name a single example. Some wizards in HP can talk to animals. The only thing I can see is the existence of other dimensions, and that isn't far outside Potter mythos because there are alternate dimensions—just not so many. That was required for the narrative (as it is for any narrative where HP crosses with MLP).

The wand construction description is pure Potter. It's unmistakeable, down to what they describe on Pottermore, with the magical cores and the wooden casing and how it's put together. There's just no way this wasn't the author's intent.

Seriously, this thing is 99% Potter references. Doublin' down now. :rainbowdetermined:
#26 · 3
· · >>Trick_Question >>Trick_Question
I think you will find that you are the one who is completely wrong.

I didn't give a single example because literally everything else in the story is an example. But if you want a list, here you go:

1) There are no talking animals in Harry Potter. Yes, Parseltongue is a thing, but it is incredibly rare and there is no indication that similar abilities exist for other animals.

2) There are no familiars in Harry Potter, just pets. The two are not interchangeable, and this ferret behaves much more like a familiar than a pet, even if you disregard its ability to speak.

3) It's the Forbidden Forest, not the Dark Woods.

4) There are no Deans at Hogwarts. Except for Dean Thomas, but that's different.

5) Students do not make wands.

6) While unicorn hair can be used to make wands in Harry Potter, nothing is ever said about the unicorn in question needing to be a virgin. In fact, Harry Potter seems to completely do away with the "unicorns only like virgins" bit of mythology, and instead just says that they just prefer women more than men.

Raindolph ran his fingers over the magic mirror while his familiar muttered quietly behind him...Raindolph touched two last spots on the mirror and the surface began to shimmer.

a few quick magical gestures made his heart sink

Magic in Harry Potter is almost entirely performed with wands. Yes, wandless magic does exist, and he could have used a wand in that second quote, but there's no actual indication that Raindolph uses or even has a wand other than the one he makes.

8) Raindolph is referred to as a "mage," which is a term that is never used in Harry Potter, as far as I can tell. If this was a Harry Potter crossover, he'd be called a wizard.

9) "Nidricks" is clearly a made-up word, which fits better in a made-up fantasy world than in Harry Potter.

10) The story mentions "University Testing Grounds," which makes it obvious that Raindolph's school is not Hogwarts. Also, magical universities apparently do not exist in Harry Potter, and everyone is just done with school after they graduate from Hogwarts.

11) "Raindolf" and "Plagiosphere" might be able to pass as names in Harry Potter, but they sound a lot more like typical fantasy world names.

12) "F" is not a grade in Harry Potter. Their grading scale is O-E-A-P-D-T.

Start with a simple blasting spell

While a Blasting Curse does exist in Harry Potter, this really seems more like a generic fantasy sort of thing.

He let his breath out slowly and focused his magic into a simple blasting spell, hoping that the fresh wand would at least make sparks.

Again, that isn't how magic works in Harry Potter.

I'm sure that with enough stubborn determination, you could find a way to justify all of those points and fit them into Harry Potter somehow. But I think it is clearly more likely that the author just took some inspiration from Harry Potter. In fact, I have a feeling that this story started with the thought "what would happen if Twilight's hair was used to make a wand like in Harry Potter?" But the story clearly evolved beyond that and left Harry Potter behind.

And to the author, I was genuinely surprised to see that this story made it into the finals, but I am glad that it did.
#27 ·
· · >>The_Letter_J
It's the Forbidden Forest, not the Dark Woods. There are no Deans at Hogwarts. Except for Dean Thomas...

:ajbemused: I'm actually unsure whether your response is supposed to be a joke.

You gotta be bucking kidding me. With the possible exception of students not making wands (but since it's the main element of the story, I'd let that slide too), every one of these examples is a tiny, completely unimportant and irrelevant piece of minutia. Almost nopony here would know the difference, or would think "wow this is so different from Potter", even if they could. If I wrote an HP-inspired story it would be exactly like this one, and I would change the names of simple things for originality because this isn't an HP contest.

I respect your geek cred, but the assertion that "this can't have been HP-inspired because of all this extreme trivia about HP that I know" doesn't make any sense to me. Half the stories in this MLP competition have more breaks from MLP canon than this story does from HP canon, for goodness' sake. :derpytongue2:
#28 ·
· · >>The_Letter_J
Also I don't mean that nearly as awful as I probably sound :facehoof:

I'm just saying that the nonpony elements of the story could have been solely inspired by HP because most ponies don't know all the HP facts that you do; and many who do I doubt would consider them essential to the genre.
#29 · 3
· · >>Trick_Question >>Trick_Question
I respect your geek cred, but the assertion that "this can't have been HP-inspired because of all this extreme trivia about HP that I know" doesn't make any sense to me.

That is literally the exact opposite of what I said.

I said from the beginning that this story clearly took some inspiration from Harry Potter, but is not actually a crossover with Harry Potter. And my main point was that it either took a bit too much or not enough inspiration, because people got confused. Consider comments like this:
I'd really like to know what universe this is a crossover with. It's Potter-ish, but familiar/animals in HP don't talk.

And your own comment:
It would help if you more succinctly gave the audience the hint that the story is based on Harry Potter at the beginning of the story. I found myself uncertain where things were headed until the end of the story.

If this story had either been a full Harry Potter crossover or had been a bit less Potter-ish (as I suggested earlier, needing the hairs for a ritual instead might have helped), this sort of confusion would not have arisen, and the story would be stronger for it. Personally, I think the author was trying to make the story explicitly not Harry Potter, which is why they used a familiar instead of another student, for example. But they apparently didn't go far enough.
Admittedly, this definitely isn't the story's biggest problem, but it is an issue.

Finally, your entire argument is laughable, because the fact that some wands have unicorn hair cores is just as much of a piece of unessential trivia as anything else I listed.
#30 · 1
Finally, your entire argument is laughable...

I love you too! :heart:
#31 · 2
· · >>The_Letter_J
At the risk of escalating things further, I feel like I should say one more thing.

I don't think I disagree with much of what you're saying. I believe a lot of this has been miscommunication, and I'll gladly take responsibility for the bulk of that. But I am trying to get an important critique across. I'm probably not doing a good job of that so I'll try one last time.

Let's pretend for a moment that you're the author. My critique is this. If a decent proportion of readers believe that your story is a Harry Potter story, and perhaps some of them downvote it for not tagging it as a Crossover, that is your fault as the author.

Writing is not a one-way street. It isn't just about you, the author. It's a communication between you and your readers. I've seen every Harry Potter movie and am familiar with many other fantasy movies and books. If I believed this was Harry Potter, so will other readers. If you don't want that, it's your fault as the author for not making the story look less like Harry Potter.

Put a more positive way, the power to prevent misinterpretation of your work is in your hooves. You cannot expect your readers to know as many intricacies of Harry Potter that you do. That isn't realistic. It doesn't matter how "right" you are—what matters is what your readers see. It's a mistake to blame your readers for something that you have control over.

I'm not suggesting that you're doing or saying any of these things I'm arguing against. I'm trying to provide a general warning to the author, whoever that may be: if you expect readers to not identify this story with Harry Potter, I think you've failed. You need to differentiate what you're writing from Potter more than you have.

Naturally, if the author doesn't care if readers think it's Potter, then my critique is moot.

And again, if I were writing a Potter-inspired story, it might look just like this one. So unless you're the author, you don't know whether or not they were basing this story on Harry Potter.

That's all I have to say. I apologize if I hurt anyone's feelings or if I misspoke. I agree with the vast majority of the things you've been saying. I just feel that the critique about this seeming like a Harry Potter story is a valid one, because there's a chance the author didn't want the story to seem like HP in which case I think they need to change things. Likewise, your critique that the story isn't like Harry Potter from a technical perspective is useful to the author if they did intend this to be a crossover.

I'm done. I'm not going to respond anymore if this discussion continues to be as aggressive as it's been (or maybe not at all in either case, as I don't have the fortitude to handle it right now). If you or the author don't like what I've had to say, I'm sorry, and feel free to ignore it. That should be the way any critique is handled, after all.
#32 · 1
Hmm. I read this and commented a bit but never really reviewed it.

I think this could use a great deal of clarification and fleshing-out, particularly in the framing pieces. But I'm a fan of what I see so far. I could see this turning into a strong story on FimFiction.

Tier: Almost There
#33 · 3
First of all, I will, of course, deny having written this story. But I guess we'll see in about six hours.

But yes, it does seem that we are in agreement here, we just came at it from different sides. You read it and thought "this is clearly a Harry Potter thing." I read it and thought "this is clearly inspired by Harry Potter, but isn't a Harry Potter story." But we both ultimately arrived at "author, you need to be more clear about what you're doing."

And author, I'm sorry that we filled up your story's comments with our arguing. I hope you at least got something useful out of it.
#34 · 1
· · >>Trick_Question >>Trick_Question >>georg
Rarity's house could very well still smell horsey. I mean, horses smell like more than hay and horseapples.

Besides. By word of Faust from way back when there are no bathrooms in Equestria. Only flowers in need of fertilizer.
#35 ·
>>Morning Sun
We see a bathroom in the Pinkie Sense episode, when Faust was still working on the show.
#36 ·
>>Morning Sun
I don't really agree. 99% of that zoo-smell is shit and unwashed flesh/hair.
#37 · 4
Wow, look at all the comments. Well, 24 out of 50 or so isn’t that bad, considering I wrote a HiE. I’m still not sure what’s up with Google Docs. Everything I write is double spaced, but when copy/pasted into Writeoff or Fimfiction, it turns into triple spaced. Fimfiction actually cheats and turns triple-spacing back into double spacing for display purposes, but it’s still a pain. Anyway…

Harry Potter? Seriously? The_Letter_J had it perfectly here. In short, HP does not have familiars, they have pets, and they don’t talk. The students don’t make their own wands. They’re wizards, not mages. You know, there were wizards in fiction before JK Rowling. Lawrence Watt-Evans has a magnificent series set in Ethshar with wizards and magic and dragons, oh my. And of course AugieDog has his Cluny the Sorceress Squirrel series (published, too) which I drew a lot from. (Hey Augie! You have Fanfiction now! :)

The word limitations crippled a lot of what I was trying to do, since I was putting 1.5k words into a .75k sack. I chopped the final version until blood ran under the door. There’s pruning, and there’s arboricide with extreme prejudice. Sadly, the word ‘adult’ in front of unicorn caught the axe, so some people thought those were Sweetie Belle’s tail hairs. Sorry. Ditto for making it crystal clear that Raindolph was using a *spell* to check the (ahem) suitability of Rarity’s tail for his final exam project.

The power of purity has long been a matter for literature. Jesus being born of a virgin (although the word is more properly ‘maiden’ but bear with me). The Church’s insistence on priests being celibate. Sir Galahad who had the strength of ten men because his heart was pure. The theory that the only way to catch a unicorn is to put a young virgin out in the woods, and the unicorn will come trotting along and put its head down in her lap to be captured. (Read The Unicorn Creed by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough for some really funny approaches to the subject.)
So in a Darwin sense, intelligent magical creatures in a magical land who don’t want to wind up being harvested for their parts get… innovative, as anybody who has killed a few hundred rats in a MMORPG to find only one or two quest item tails can testify.

>>Baal Bunny
>>Morning Sun
JudgeDeadd : Good catch. The word ‘White’ got clipped in the bloodbath it took to crop this beast down to fit.

M1Garand8: Using *alicorn* Twilight Sparkle’s tail hairs for the *unicorn* tail hairs called for in your wand instructions can be a very bad decision.

Not_a_hat: One shortcoming of the minific is the inability to get out the crayons and color in the background.
“So all we need to do is invade the castle, sneak down to the dungeons, free Princess Luna from her chains, and sneak her back out again.” Pinkie Pie rolled up the map she had just shown to Twilight. “Piece of cake. Oh, and we need to get some cake too while we’re in there.”

“What was that, Pinkie?” asked Twilight, who was still blinking due to the blinding speed of the presentation.

“Explaining things for the audience,” said Pinkie. “Now come on. We need to hurry before the opening credits start.”

Baal Bunny: I *thought* about trying to match this up exactly with the Cluny story background, but I decided to use them as inspiration instead. Many thanks for your little fuzzy idea spawner. :)

Xepher: The expanded (or non-chopped) version that will show up in FimFiction has Rarity keeping a few ‘color swatches’ of her friends to use when crafting outfits. If expanded, it would be a full wall cabinet with carefully-labeled patches of mane/tail/coat hair from nearly every pony in town.

FanOfMostEverything: That’s really my goal with most of my stories. I want you to have so much fun reading them that you don’t notice the gaping plot holes and poor grammar. If I do it right, I can roll right on into publishing whole series on Amazon, or write political advertisements, whichever lets me keep my soul and put a pool in the back yard.

Rao: Well, I don’t think Rarity would hold still for *that* kind of purity test.
“Pardon me, darling, but I’m going to beat you senseless with this chair while screaming at the top of my lungs now.”

AndrewRogue: Raindolph *is* an idiot ball. He’s at the bottom of his class, but still skilled enough to make a very difficult wand out of impossible to find materials. Perhaps he just has test anxiety.

Shadowed_Song: Fantasy has a long history of requiring really dumb rare ingredients for spells/potions/devices. Look at Twilight and Cadence traveling to the end of Equestria to get the cure for Discord’s Blue Flu.

Yeah, I can see that conversation.
Twilight Sparkle: (stomps hoof) I am not an inexperienced virgin! Why I’ll have you know I’ve kissed a stallion dozens of times.
Rarity: Good night kisses from your father don’t count, dear.
Twilight: Oh? Um.

Yeah, I can see that if Raindolph hung around Equestria too long.
Rain: Excuse me. Ladies. Why do you all keep coming back here?
Lyra: I don’t know. There’s just something… exciting about you.
Rarity: I’ll admit, darling. I find your presence quite soothing too.
Sparkler: Can I lay my head in your lap?

And yes, I plan on publishing it on FimFiction, as a one chapter and can be expanded if demanded.

AndrewRogue: I like Trick_Question’s comment about ‘Even Twilight’s butt is powerful’ :)

Trick_Question: One thing to remember is when you’re exposed to a particular scent for a long time, your brain tends to edit that out. Somebody who works in the sewers for a living can still smell roses, even if a newbie at the same site can’t. I’m quite certain that Twilight Sparkle’s first (unspoken) thought when she went through the mirror was “What is that strange smell?”

Thanks, guys. Look for this shortly on FimFiction.
#38 ·
· · >>Baal Bunny
>>Baal Bunny
I know this chat isn't really still going on, but I was checking some stuff and just followed the link to Familiars and wow, was it great! Do you have the title of the book you published that's the collected Cluny stories? I need more!
#39 · 1
· · >>Kitcat36


I'm still writing that book, and I've vowed not to take part in any more Writeoffs till it's done!

But then I vow a lotta things...

Right now, there are 11 shorts stories about Cluny and Crocker, ten of them spread out in the Sword and Sorceress series of anthologies--vol. 19, then volumes 23-31--and one in a collection called What Happens Next from Furplanet Books. I'm pasting the first 8 stories together and writing a bunch of connecting material to tell the story of Cluny and Crocker's first year at Huxley College, and I've been determined to get it finished for about three years now.

Maybe by next summer?

#40 ·
>>Baal Bunny
Oh, OK, I guess I misunderstood something I read about it. I hope work on it goes well! I would really love to read it :twilightsmile:

Can you let me know when it comes out so I can buy a copy?