Hey! It looks like you're new here. You might want to check out the introduction.

Here at the End of all Things. · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
Lily's Letter
The contents of this story are no longer available
« Prev   27   Next »
#1 · 1
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa >>Rao >>Miller Minus
Very well-written and I definitely liked the ending, but I'm not certain whether or not the protagonist committed suicide at the end of the story, and that feels unresolved. It currently reads as though they did, since there is no landing described, no height given to the window, the direct implication of possible suicide a few lines earlier, and the "one last time" comment. Still, I suspect from my gut that this was not your intent.

I had a hard time connecting to the protagonist because you intentionally avoided detailing anything about their appearance, including their name or gender; but they're clearly not intended to 'be' the reader because they have too many specific flaws and desires. It would have made more sense early on if the protagonist were clearly a stallion, so it would be easier to hint toward romance more and more as the story progresses. Because of this cattiness, I felt like the protagonist's identity was the secret you were waiting to reveal, and found myself wracking my brain on who might hate nobility in the show.

I find myself uncertain why the mare would do this to the protagonist. Is it like a last fling, or what exactly? Is she being cruel? It seems like a rude approach, especially since the message at one point seems to be 'we can't ever do this again' at the end. Couldn't they still have non-illicit fun?

The protagonist's obsession with nobility is free-floating. We never get to see what nobility did to make the protagonist feel so strongly, and with an obsession this deep, I think we need to see that. Maybe even a hint as to the source of animosity toward marriage—perhaps the protagonist comes from a home broken into divorce by a noble's 'indecent proposal'.

Her name is actually Fleur Dis Lee. I realize that weakens the connection slightly to the other name, but I think it would be better to be canonically correct here because it doesn't weaken it very much.

If the evacuation tunnel connects directly to many points in the city, why did they need to cross the fence?

Pickier stuff:

I don't think ponies have chins, but isn't everypony's chin above their neck already?

I suggest italicizing the guards' imaginary three lines.
#2 · 1
· · >>Rao >>Miller Minus
Huh, interesting. It took a while for the story to grow on me, but by the time Lily and the protagonist were running around Canterlot, I was fully immersed. The prose helped a lot, there are vey clever wordplays in here which I liked a lot.

Ultimately, though, I have to agree with >>Trick_Question, in that we haven't really gotten to see what makes the protagonist dislike nobility so much. A few lines here and there to explain it through dialogue and inner monologues would've sufficed, but right now it just feels like drama fuel.

I suppose Lily is against the idea of meeting the protagonist ever again because she's starting her new life and that means shedding Lily Flower's persona away, previous ties included.

Also, this just a minor gripe, but if you're changing your name, why change it to something so similar to your original name?

Anyway, despite it's shortcomings, this was quite interesting.
#3 · 2
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa >>Trick_Question >>Miller Minus
Did not see that coming, boy howdy. What a reveal.

I feel a little uncomfortable with our nameless narrator, because I used to have similar opinions about the overly well-dressed/wealthy kids/etc. Seeing those opinions linger into adulthood and make somepony so bitter is a little peak into what could have been for me, so congrats on hitting that nail on the head, intended or not.

We get this nice contrast between Jack and Lily. While he held onto his youthful bitterness and hasn't done much of anything noteworthy or met anyone worth really caring about, Lily apparently let go of her ruffian ways. Whether this happened before or because of Fancy Pants is an interesting question, but regardless she seems to have fallen in love and made a genuine connection with someone.

Thinking about it again, her knowing that the throne was already moved is a great bit of foreshadowing about why she was already in the castle.

>>Zaid Val'Roa
I hated how they stared down at me, their squinting eyes throwing words like 'rabble' down their noses in an attempt to make me feel small. And most of all, I hated that it worked every time.

I think this answers the question of why he hates the nobles so much. They flaunt their class around in an effort to the narrator feel like garbage. He hates them, and probably himself a little, because it works so well. Marriage has, historically, been about building and handing down wealth and assets, so it's not unreasonable to link his distaste of marriage to his hatred of nobles.

Now, whether or not anypony actually called him names or belittle him is up for a little debate, I think. In the example above he's interpreting their looks as disdain, but never really gives examples of any direct action against him. And again at the end with the guards: they're never anything but polite, but he reads their looks as insults.
#4 · 1
· · >>Miller Minus
It took me awhile to figure out how to review this story. I'm still not sure what I think of it overall, but I do have some specific points.

From a technical perspective, there are a few grammatical and formatting errors. None of them are severe, but they did keep throwing me off. Nobles should not be uppercase.

I feel it would benefit from more insight into the protagonists point of view. While I respect the minimalist style (in fact, the style of this story is one of its best points for me), I didn't feel we had quite enough to actually understand where he's coming from. I think you can add more detail without changing the story's light construction. For instance, the exchange where Lilly observes that he has "no real friends," was excellent -- you nailed that, and it says a lot with a few words. But the line where the protagonist says "All nobles are the same!" felt weak. I don't feel his hate or understand why he feels that way.

Overall, points for an engaging style and a neat idea, but the execution needs polish.
#5 · 1
For something as big as Protagonist's distaste for nobility, I think its something that should be more strongly reinforced through the narrative than just a few mentions spread here and there. MC's main issue with Lily's wedding is not so much that she's getting married (although yeah, that too), but that she's getting married to a noble. I want to know what happened to get the protagonist to feel that way. They were reminiscing about old times, why not include a few examples of times the nobles were dicks to them? That way it'd be easier to sympathise with MC's point of view.
#6 · 2
I think this answers the question of why he hates the nobles so much. They flaunt their class around in an effort to the narrator feel like garbage.

It doesn't do that for me, primarily because it isn't an objective statement—it's the narrator's impression. I'd expect the narrator to see nobles that way regardless as to how they're actually treated, because they hate nobility. Without a concrete example it's just a reinforcement of the hatred.
#7 · 2
· · >>Miller Minus
Im here for the praise kind of things, I don't do well criticizing people-even when they literally ask for it. Aaaaand I've never reviewed anything before.


That twist had me shook. I remember reading someone's review earlier who said something about a twist but I did not expect that at all.

I like the writing style and descriptions. The scenes were a bit confusing at times but were laid out nicely.

PS please keep writing, I really liked this story.
#8 · 1
· · >>Miller Minus
There are some lovely lines of prose in this piece, and it was pretty well written, but I just couldn't connect at all to the narrator, doing reckless, crazy things that could be dangerous (not my jam...) and having so much hate and being convinced s/he was boring but not actually caring... I dunno, it felt like a character, but where were the genuine things to like? Why did the narrator expect their friends to react to Lily's letter if they didn't know who she is and she isn't someone famous? At least, not under the name Lily? I dunno, some of the prose was great, and I was caught up in the adventures and the dialogue in the middle--in my opinion, the best part--but the protagonist's bitterness in the beginning and worse in the end was unpleasant to me. I also don't feel like it's quite finished--it's really up in the air (oh my gosh, that pun was accidental but so bad I'm leaving it) as to what happens at the end and how it turns out. I hope you keep writing and maybe polish this up some! Explaining the protagonist's bitterness would help quite a lot.
#9 · 1
· · >>Miller Minus
Hmm, I'm at the end of the first section and still not sure what this story is about. The narrators view of him/herself is kind of negative, saying literally how little they hang out with friends, but then... passing a personal letter around to an entire table of friends seems to be the opposite of that.

Some of the language here feels anachronistic. Narrator looks for quill and paper, but ends up finding a pencil (with worn eraser) and a coffee shop receipt amongst magazines, all much more modern things. Ditto the reference to "high school" while talking about a castle. Or the joke about gasoline.

A fair ways in now and this seems like a pretty standard "teenage mischief" tale as they distract the guards, etc.

Okay, most of the way through and still have no idea of the appearance, name, or even gender of the narrator. It makes visualizing the story a bit difficult. At this point, I sincerely hope it's intentional, as Lily just "joked" with "What was your name again?"

Okay, for what is very clearly trying to be some sort of romance story, the narrator's sudden rant against love feels out of place compared to all the details the narration has given showing the narrator's view of Lily.

Okay, the twist/reveal here is well done. Foreshadowing was there all along, and it really works.

But what's up with the ending? S/he jumps out the window? To death? WTF? I hate cliffhanger endings. This is like cut-to-black ending of the Sopranos.

Overall, this reads like a pretty decent romp with an old friend (and romance bubbling up) but I feel very disconnected from the narrator. There's this hatred for nobility, which is never explained. They also stopped talking to Lily years ago, which is never explained either. Both of these elements seem like they're going to be core points in the story, but instead of answers that further the plot, the characters themselves literally bring them up and basically say "I don't know." That, combined with the unnamed, genderless narrator (and the characters joke about that as well) and cliffhanger ending, really makes this start to feel like the author is intentionally saying "Haha, no answers for you!" So, despite the general good feeling I had toward the story in the early bit of the castle romp, I'm left with a rather bitter taste in my mouth by the end.
#10 · 2
· · >>Trick_Question >>Miller Minus
Should've finaled.
#11 · 2
>>Cold in Gardez
This was very good, but I mid-slated it (still in the top half, though). The main problem I had was the establishment of both the relationship (who was Lily to the protagonist initially?) and the conflict (why do they hate nobles so much?). Without those it was too difficult for me to relate to the characters and feel anything for them or what they were doing... the protagonist wasn't very sympathetic and I needed more—especially since it seemed like the reader was supposed to be the protagonist.
#12 · 6
· · >>GaPJaxie >>ToXikyogHurt
>>Zaid Val'Roa
>>dragon discord
>>Cold in Gardez

Thanks for reading, everyone. This was my first time entering the writeoff, and if the goal of this competition is to gain feedback and learn about things that work in your writing vs things that don't, then I'd say this was a huge success.

Just to clear a couple things up: I decided to take an opportunity to experiment, and something I've always wanted to write is a story where the readers are, for better or worse, left with a ton of questions at the end. Xepher put it best when he guessed I was saying: "Haha, no answers for you!" I may or may have thought that at some point—maybe even verbatim.

I think in some ways the lack of info worked and some it didn't—especially with the narrator. Writing this again I would probably give them a name (though I might stick with no gender, Trick, because it's the current year after all) and a more fleshed out backstory, if nothing else than to get rid of the reader's idea that they are secretly someone from the show. But in terms of his relationship with Lily, and why she invited him? I think I liked how little I told. But I'd have to revisit.

And no... he didn't off himself. It's personally a pet peeve of mine when a first-person narrator kills themselves because then how were you tellin' the story, asshole? This made me think that the readers would know that my story would obviously never do anything so silly. I probably should have known better, especially in an anonymous competition...

Cheers, guys. Good luck in the finals to everyone who made it, and I'll see you at the next one!
#13 · 1
>>Miller Minus


Glad to see you got a lot out of it. I would love to see a second pass at this story -- or whatever you come up with next.

And I'm going to +1 CiG's comment above. This should have finaled. You were top of my initial slate.
#14 · 1
>>Miller Minus
I'm going through stories I saw praise for that aren't in the final.

I quite like this. It's fairly well polished, it's complete, it's nice prose.

It doesn't bother me that you say very little about the PoV character directly, we know what sort of pony they are from their actions. I'm going to call them Holden and see if you catch the ryeference.

I think the story is half about Fleur anyway, really. Who she was. How she wants to do one last irresponsible thing before becoming an adult. And offer an olive branch to an old friend, even though they probably don't deserve it. The interplay between the two is fun and believable and emphasises the contrast in their lives at the end.

I was tripped slightly because I presumed that Lily was Lily Valley, until she did some magic.

I would have scored this well, if I had been given it.
#15 · 2
Late audio review. Sorry.

#16 · 1
Published version