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TBD · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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CMC Inc.
The three fillies stared at the piece of paper for a long time, considering how short it was.

Scootaloo broke the silence. “I thought we were trying for businessmare cutie marks, not apple cutie marks.”

Apple Bloom nodded. “Yeah. But everypony knows you need a business plan, so ah borrowed this from sis so we’d have somethin’ to look off of. ‘Course ah like apples, but ah wouldn’t want to compete with her, so here.” She crossed out the first word.

Scootaloo nodded. “Good. But what's phase one, now?”

“Oh, I know! Rarity was talking about that!” Sweetie Belle pranced in place. “She said that ponies starting new businesses need venture capitol.”

Apple Bloom cocked her head. “All right, ah guess we can try that.”

“Venture?” Scootaloo said with a frown. “You sure you got that right? Because adventure is way cooler.”

“Hmm. Adventure is pretty cool. Sweetie Belle?” Apple Bloom glanced at her, only to get a shrug, so she put in the revision.

Sweetie Belle narrowed her eyes. “Phase two is a question mark?”

“Well, we’re good at asking questions,” Scootaloo said.

“Maybe.” Sweetie Belle frowned. “But still, that’s not very business-like.”

Apple Bloom turned to her. “What should it be, then?”

“TBD.” Sweetie Belle said, grinning. “To be determined.”

Scootaloo nodded. “Much more business-y.”

“Alright.” Apple Bloom wrote in the new word. “Last one - profit.”

Sweetie Belle shrugged. “That one is simple enough.”

Scootaloo grinned. “Yeah. Let’s do it.”

The three fillies cheered, chorusing: “CMC businessmares go!”

“The horror! The horror!”

Apple Bloom’s ears drooped as she watched their latest prospective customer disappear down the road. “Well, that’s a bust,” she said, pawing the dirt.

“Yeah, we didn’t even get halfway through the pitch.”

“Still better than Fluttershy,” Scootaloo grumped.

Apple Bloom rolled her eyes. “Well o’course - she doesn't like dragons. But even Twilight stopped listening after we mentioned parasprites.”

Scootaloo stomped her hoof. “But parasprite wrangling is awesome! Who doesn’t want excitement?”

Sweetie Belle raised her hoof. “Um. Remember, she almost got Ponyville eaten once.”

“Whatever,” Scootaloo said, rolling her eyes.

“Seriously, girls.” Sweetie Belle started pacing. “How are we going to get to profit if we can’t get past adventure capitol? We’re not even at TBD yet.”

“Ah know,” Apple Bloom sighed. “It doesn’t make any sense. Ponyville’s practically the adventure capitol already. It shouldn’t take much more.”

Sweetie Belle bit her lip. “This one might be another bust.”

“Excuse me,” a new voice interjected.

Apple Bloom looked up to see a unicorn mare and stallion approaching. “Who’re you?”

“I’m Equity Stake, and this is Secondary Market,” the mare said, smiling just slightly too widely. “We’re looking for Glib and Glam."

“Glib and Glam?” Sweetie Belle cocked her head. “Who are they? I’ve never heard of them.”

Secondary snorted. “Only the leading providers of immersive experiential thrills. The wider Equestrian market is ripe for disruption, and we’re looking for the next blue ocean.”

Equity kicked him in the shin. “Ignore him. They’re travellers. We’re supposed to meet them at an upscale hotel somewhere near here.”

Apple Bloom gave the pair an odd look. “Well, ah dunno if y’all are in the right place. Ponyville ain’t anywhere near the ocean. But if you’re looking for a fancy place to stay, the nearest’d be the currycomb.”

“Excellent,” Secondary said. “Come, Equity. We don’t have time if we’re going to get in on the ground floor of the next big wave.”

Equity hesitated. “You three look like forward looking fillies. Care to join our focus group as young entrepreneurs?”

The fillies exchanged a look. “Uh, thanks, but no thanks.” Apple Bloom said. “We’ve got capitolin’ to do.”

Equity shrugged. “Suit yourself,” she said, following Secondary.

Scootaloo shook her head as the two left. “They’re weird.”

Apple Bloom nodded. “Yeah. Who’d want to be on the ground when a wave’s a-comin?”

Two more strange unicorns passed them on the street. Their coloration nearly matched Apple Bloom’s, though their manes were a little darker. They both wore enormous saddlebags that completely covered their flanks.

“Buck up brother, mine.” The taller of the two spoke in hushed tones. “We’re almost there. Mustn’t keep the investors waiting.”

“Do those two seem weird to anypony else?” Sweetie Belle said, watching the two leave.

Apple Bloom’s frown deepened. “Ah dunno, they did sound awfully familiar.”

Scootaloo snorted. “Still not as weird as the two from before.”

Apple Bloom chuckled. “Yeah, Celestia only knows what they were trying to get us into.”
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#1 ·
And that is how three little fillies caused the market to crash and put Equestria through its biggest recession since the Grand Hay Bale incident of '84.

Ah, to be young and ignorant of the intricacies of bussines ventures.

This was a nice story, the begining drew me in and kept me hooked, eager to see where it would go. And then the story doesn't really go anywhere.

We get this glimpse at Flim and Flam's next scam, the CMC miss out on potential investors, and the whole story ends with a "Boy, wasn't that weird?"

I was really hoping for a more satisfying conclusion. Maybe a cut to the aftermath of their little enterprise and the girls learn a valuable lesson about the corporate world.

Much like the CMC Inc., the story never got off the ground.
#2 ·
· · >>Ranmilia
I don't really get the point of this. There's some clever wordplay with the "venture capitol" business, but other than that, there doesn't seem to be a structured plot. Just a series of ideas all converging on the CMC.

I'm also put off by the first half of the story being an extended internet meme...

Also, nitpick: you want to use "capital," not "capitol," in both the senses that you use it here. "Capitol" refers specifically to a legislative building.
#3 ·
· · >>Ranmilia
...And that's it?

I dunno, I kinda agree with Posh. This feels like a story that you came up with a bunch of neat ideas for and then just threw it all together without actually adding a plot.

The general mechanics are good here; the sentence/paragraph level stuff seems pretty solid, the characters mostly feel right, it reads fairly smooth, but in the end, it just kinda whiffs by.

What it's lacking, I think, is narrative. Which is a pretty simple idea, that basically boils down to something like: Event A causes Event B causes Event C. In this story, wanting cutie marks causes the CMC to get into "Adventure Capitol", which causes them to meet some investors, which causes... nothing? Two narrative events, with no real conflict, makes for a pretty weak plot.

Well, stories can get by without narrative if they have something else to lean on... jokes, pretty words, philosophy, a theme, but yeah. This feels to me like it's lacking narrative.

Also, being able to type again is wonderful, even if I do have to hover my hand awkwardly over the keyboard!
#4 ·
I think I need to jump in here and defend this fic a little because I feel like some of the criticisms so far don't ring true to me.

First, I want to say that I think your beginning is totally solid. The business plan bit and the banter up front moves through quickly and hits a lot of jokes, which may or may not be funny to all readers but comedy is always hit or miss. This good streak continues into the next joke about 'adventure' capital rather than 'venture' capital. It's right when you hit the last sequence with the businessponies that I feel like the fic goes flat. You totally have a joke here too - that the CMC are talking to exactly the people than can help them, but they don't understand this because the ponies talk in buzzwords. But I think it's too extended or doesn't resolve clearly enough. I'm having a hard time diagnosing why... I don't know that Flim & Flam as Glib & Glam actually add much, and it might be stepping on the rest of your punchline? That's the thing, I feel like you do have a narrative arc here, about the CMC wanting to be businessponies, only to miss the point and miss their chance. But it's harder to balance a narrative where the key event doesn't happen.

It's really tricky, and when reading back through a second time I can absolutely see all the pieces that you're laying out, but they're not connecting together in a satisfying way, at least to me in my initial read. But then again, comedy is so subjective, that you have to listen to a lot of perspectives and figure out how exactly you want to pitch the humor and to who. I feel like this fic is very very close to a thing I'd like a lot, and that's worth saying rather than solely focusing on the rough edges.
#5 ·
The narrative and pacing here is solid, and the writing is great. However, the story as a whole kind of fell flat for me. The most obvious intended jokes are a very old South Park reference, and jokes about the CMC not knowing what the phrase 'venture capital' means, or recognizing two of their adversaries. Those all work, but the primary joke (the middle one) needs more attention to make it the focus of the story in a way the reader can identify with it.

For one thing, I feel like the only way to fully appreciate the middle of the story would require me to understand what the other words were after 'apple' in the title of the plan Bloom swiped. That flew right over my head, and the audience needs to be clued in.

Also, I have no idea if they were using a pseudonym (which they're not likely to do even in Ponyville, they haven't in the past) or if the investors didn't understand them properly and there's another level of confusion there, or what exactly the names are about.

I'd suggest dropping the Flim and Flam bit at the end because it's non-sequitur to the rest of the joke. The main thrust of the joke is children misunderstanding a phrase one overheard, and adding obliviousness to Flim and Flam (which doesn't make much sense, even) does not further the overall theme. It just drags out the denouement, weakening it in the process.
#6 · 1
Mostly with these two. This feels like the author just wanted to write some CMCs and slapped something together to give them an excuse for hijinks and jokes. It's not terrible, but it's just basic character work and banter and some light humor.

I'm looking for higher aims than this to reach the top of the slate, but as something written to get an entry in, this is fine and fair practice. Hope to see you back in future rounds, don't be afraid to be more ambitious and take on a narrative, you can do it! Thanks for writing!