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It Could Have Gone Better · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
As Perfect As It Could Be
The rehearsal had gone as perfectly as it could have. That did not come as a surprise to anypony except maybe the couple: it was the fourth one. Had it been any other couple, everypony would have called it excessive. But it was not any other couple, it was Rarity and Twilight Sparkle who were (eventually) getting married here. Two inveterate perfectionists if ever there were any. And that was how Applejack knew they had not been replaced by changelings.

So despite the constant edits and refinements to the order of events, everypony gathered at Sweet Apple Acres could have gone through this wedding in their sleep. As perfectly arranged and executed as it could be.

Even so, there was a big gap between "as perfect as it can be" and "perfect," and everypony knew it. And everypony knew what was missing. Who, rather. Five friends just could not fill out the stage like six. Rainbow Dash's absence was palpable. The downside to being the best flier in Equestria, was that there was no helping things when a problem came up that only the best could handle. And so as storms raged off the coast, the remaining ponies practiced the motions. Too much had been set in motion to reschedule.

The rehearsals had all gone as perfectly as they could, in the certainty of disappointment. The dangerous moment was the real ceremony. If there was any version that would fail it was that one. Because for the date of the real ceremony, unlike the previous days, there was hope that Rainbow might make it.

An inevitable disappointment was easy to cope with. Even if every movement through a room was calculated to leave space for a pony who wasn't there, if there was nothing to be done, there was nothing to be done. If an expertly crafted dress, hung unworn from a rack because the pony it was fitted for could not possibly be there, that was unfortunate. It was a short tale, if sad. If she might have been there, but was not, then that was a tragedy.

Rarity fretted. She felt exactly as she imagined she would when she first imagined this day so many years ago. All the excitement was there. But her artistic endeavors had early taught her what it felt like to have all her nerves laid raw. She had for all this time been counting on her future lover to calm her, reassure her. Now Twilight Sparkle was a wonderful, beautiful mare, what she was not, was calm in stressful situations.

It was a small ceremony, extensively planned, but small. If only because even if they had invited more ponies, the combined neuroticism of the two brides would have driven most of them away. Rarity did not tell her almost-not-quite-but-so-close-for-Celestia's-sake-just-kiss-me-already wife what she had overheard Applejack and Pinkie discussing. A betting pool for whether or not they would actually go through with the plan, or if Celestia would end up officiating the marriage of their sleeping bodies amidst piles of fabric and strewn notes. And she most definitely would not tell her what she had bet. That was a story for their—grandfoals.

She heard a bird scratching at the window of Applejack's graciously lent office. She stood up. It was time. As she passed out of the house, she tried to be more disappointed about the bits she had just lost than the dress rack in the corner with its single occupant.

The grass was soft under her hooves. She resolved to throw out all her romance novels; they were worthless, failing to capture a thousandth of what she felt.

Pinkie Pie fell in with her, as planned. The plan didn't include a desperate scan of the horizon, but they managed to do it without stopping or slowing. Wouldn't want to worry Twilight. The rows of pews in the middle of the orchard came into sight. The only blue visible was the sky. There was a glimpse of holy Purple between two trees. She could hear ponies chattering. Pinkie left her side and took her place.

No, then.

She raised her leg and softly took the first step onto the path. Her hoof brushed the soil with a thunderous [em]crack[/em] and the sky was full of color.

The ceremony began. Rainbow Dash was exhausted, naked, sweating, dirty, and clumsy. It went perfectly.
Pics
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#1 · 1
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For italics use i tags, not em.

As for the story itself, there are several awkward moments in terms of sentence structure or punctuation, but overall this is a lovely bit of character work.
#2 · 2
· · >>BlueChameleonVI
This is very good, if a bit telly in form.

I'm not sure what you meant about the bet with Pinkie Pie, and I can't see Pinkie making that bet. She's an eternal optimist and even if she weren't, it's a pretty callous thing to do when your friends' emotions are on the line.
#3 · 2
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On a character level, this is one of the stronger entries, from what I've read so far.

The pairing of Twilight and Rarity doesn't feel as arbitrary as it could be, and while I wish I could've seen them interacting with each other, I'm at least glad I got to read about how each of them feels about the situation.

There is an awful lot of telling, though, which bothers me, because I have this nagging feeling that this could be told in a more organic and dialogue-heavy way, instead of the narrator just telling us about everything.

There is some issues with turns of phrase, which can be confusing and which is also why I took my time reading this. Also, there's that one formatting error that sticks out. Whoops.

It's pretty sound, though, as far as grammar and style go, with a few hiccups.

I guess my big issue with this entry is the amount of telling, which I'm not a fan of.

I'm feeling a light to decent 7 on this.
#4 ·
· · >>BlueChameleonVI >>Baal Bunny
sorry, imma be the dissenting opinion here....

romance -- and perfectionism -- is inside the head. this is the perfect use for meandering, circular, "telly" prose. expressing both themes so intensely that it's overwhelming. it's all done intentionally here, and I love it.

okay, I'll yield just a little for who think my view is crazy.... add some more physical-world action for pacing. Don't replace any of the stuff I like, just add in one or two more subtle events to imply the passing of time (thus the anxiety of waiting). I liked the line "She heard a bird scratching at the window..." and if I were writing this I'd sprinkle a few more in that same style. It's not even 750 words, so surely they'll fit.

Anyway, I really loved the last few paragraphs. They blend imagery and colors, cause and effect, and it all feels humorous yet so romantically sweet. Quite poetic, and my favorite of this round.
#5 ·
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I'll grant you that the detached narrative voice is a deliberate stylistic quirk. That allows the visuals to come through and express the thoughts and emotions of the characters. For the most part, it's very well done, and I'll applaud it for sticking to such a technique and making it work.

I won't fault the romance, though this is definitely one of those where it's just assumed ahead of time that these two are in romantic love with each other. Everyone has their genre tastes. I'll even overlook the [em] formatting goof near the end; that would be petty of me.

This could be a solid entry. For the most part, it leads to the reveal in the last sentence well.

But after granting all that, I do have to criticize some odd language choices, because this sort of style - more than usual, because it focuses on evocative language and visuals - becomes very rickety very quickly when it stumbles. For instance, the first paragraph does lay out the essential background for the scenario, but it feels strangely workmanlike, and somewhat slowly paced.

Namely, I think this is a long-winded way of introducing us to the perfectionist standards of the soon-to-be-weds. There had to be a better alternative than by going "the wedding had to be perfect, they were practising a lot, if it was not these two then it would be excessive, but it is these two, who are getting married, they are perfectionists..." There's a sense that it's repeating itself, or being redundant (I've committed the crime elsewhere, true, but still). The resultant plodding pace is not as bad in the rest of the fic, but I do think you need overall to be a little more economical, even ruthless, as you feed us this information.

The focus of the main fic also feels slightly too loose. Rainbow's MIA status is given a good chunk of the exposition, that's fair, and it does contribute to Rarity's nerves - as do a fair few other things, like Twilight also being twitchy and Applejack making a bet. Moreover, we do need to return to that baseline; that Twilight and Rarity are getting married. This sounds tight enough in summary, but in action somehow the net result is that the whole thing sort of meanders from point to point with very little urgency. It's hard to explain, because (like I say) on paper it should work, but when reading the thing over, I get the definite sense that this big, heart-stoppingly stressful event is as pleasant as a dazed wander through the fields on a carefree summer's day. The mismatch between the emotion it should be conveying and the emotion it is conveying strangely makes it seem sluggish and not particularly attentive, which I guess is where that loose feeling comes from.

On an unrelated note, some of the smaller choices are weird. The changeling line was so unexpected it took me out of the piece for a moment (why mention changelings, all of a sudden? I was on high alert for a while). Plus, I agree with >>Trick_Question; the bet seems really out of place.

Maybe it's just me and I'm completely missing the point, but even allowing for >>Haze's intriguing point that style reflects content, this felt way too ponderous and doesn't go far enough to convey the tension it talks about. I'll call it a possible solid entry, because I do see what you were going for, but I think it errs too much towards redundancies, detached tone, and a lack of urgency.
#6 · 1
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Very nice:

But I'll echo >>Haze's suggestion of more physical descriptions. Give each paragraph a very specific, very concrete image of Rarity doing something: plucking a single stray leaf from one of the roses attached to the bower covering the path she's going to be walking along and like that. This will help ground the piece and more importantly for my feeble little brain, will tell me right away whose POV we're in. As it is right now, the first five paragraphs are being told to me by an invisible floating eyeball. A very erudite invisible floating eyeball, sure, but since this is Rarity's wedding, I can't imagine she would allow anyone else to be the POV character for it.

One other thing that I'll just throw out there 'cause it's probably too broad for what you're doing, but maybe Rainbow comes crashing in with a rain cloud trailing after her and soaks the whole wedding party, thereby making the occasion even more perfect? Just a thought... :)

Mike
#7 · 1
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With its lack of emphasis on action, or physicality, and the total absence of any written dialogue, this feels like a summary of a story rather than an outline -- or even a newspaper report on a wedding. A framing device like that might help your story out, author. If you carry this to FiMfic, that might be a good approach to take.

What it's going for right now, though, isn't working. At least, it's not working for me. Sorry.
#8 · 1
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Genre: Wedding

Thoughts: During prelims I mentioned that I had abstained on a second story, but I declined to leave a review because my feedback was essentially: "I'm sorry, this story just isn't for me."

This was that story. Author, I apologize for calling it out now, but my finals slate is sized such that I'm going to end up reviewing all of them--including my own, which I hate doing, but them's the breaks.

Anyway, my issue here is that the narrative style just isn't my cup of tea. It's very distant from the characters, and for whatever reason, I find it difficult to stick with for any length of time. My instinct is to abstain here, though, because I can't tell if the story itself bears changing, or if it's just that I'm being triggered unnecessarily by a style that doesn't appeal to me.

Tier: Abstain