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End of an Era · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Show rules for this event
Writer's Sin
“And they all lived happily ever after.” His requested oral reading completed, Celestia’s butler closed his book and looked up, expecting to see her Highness in better spirits than when he began. He was met with disappointment when he saw her lingering somewhere between troubled and meditative. “My lady, was the book not to your liking?”

Celestia’s expression improved briefly as she felt herself yanked back to reality. “The choice of book was fine, but the moral of the story seemed a bit… familiar.”

“Tis true, your Highness, the lesson seemed a bit overstressed at times, even coming across a bit cliché, dare I say it. Though, it leaves one wondering—”

“I was actually referring to the words themselves.”

A look of confusion appeared on the butler’s face. “Your Highness?”

“The phrasing of the words seemed a bit like…”

“A bit like what, Princess?”

No. It couldn’t be. She would never. But if she did… Celestia sat up on her throne. “I have one more request for you, Silk Tux,” she said as she levitated the book towards herself.

“Your wish is my command,” he said with a bow.

“Bring me Princess Twilight Sparkle’s friendship reports.”

“At once, My Lady,” he said as he turned to trot out of the room. A moment later, he returned, carrying a large number of neatly-stacked scrolls in his magic. Celestia’s demeanor had regained its former appearance, though she seemed to be somewhat consoled at the reappearance of Silk Tux. “Here they are. The friendship reports of Princess Twilight Sparkle, as requested.”

Celestia thanked her butler and began reading the first line or so of each report before separating them into a second stack. She finally settled on a single report and laid the rest on the ground. She then opened the book to the second-to-last page and began glancing back and forth between the book and the friendship report. Silk Tux watched a look of disappointment mingled with denial take hold of Celestia’s face as she shook her head. A second later, she flipped to a page at the front of the book and began scrutinizing it, apparently looking for something specific. When she found what she was looking for, her eyes widened and her jaw dropped, as if gasping inaudibly. She whispered to herself a single word: “No.”

Finally, Silk Tux could take it no longer. “What is the matter, your Majesty?”

Celestia slowly looked up, but did not make eye contact. After a brief pause, she slowly began. “My dearest pupil, Twilight Sparkle, has plagiarized one of her friendship reports.”

“….” Spike said.

“Uh huh,” came Twilight’s reply. She flipped another page in her book.





A purple dragon claw appeared at the top of the book’s spine. The book slowly lowered to reveal the face of a mildly frustrated baby dragon. “You didn’t hear a word of that, did you?”

“Oops. Sorry, Spike. I guess not,” Twilight replied sheepishly.

“Princess Celestia sent you a letter this morning. She even put in in an envelope and sealed it with her royal seal.”

Twilight knew what that meant: the letter was for her eyes only. “So, it must be pretty important then,” she said, laying her book aside.

“I guess,” Spike replied as he passed the letter into Twilight’s magic. The Princess shined a magenta light on the envelope, revealing previously hidden words within the sun-shaped seal which read, In Nomine Celestia.

“Well, it’s definitely the official seal of Princess Celestia.” She opened a desk drawer and produced a letter opener, with which she opened the envelope. She removed the letter, unfolded it and began reading. Spike watched as her eyes moved along the lines, making steady progress down the page. The farther she read, the more nervous she became. Without warning, a horrified look took hold of her face and she released the envelope, her shrunken pupils fixated on the page before her. The envelope floated down to the ground, landing a half foot in front of Spike.

“What is it? What does it say?” asked Spike.

Twilight muttered to herself as her eyes raced through the letter. “……. tomorrow? Oh, no no no no no no!” She dropped the letter and began frantically looking around the room, all while biting her lip and doing a sort of nervous dance.

“Twilight, what’s wrong?”

“What’s wrong?! Everything’s wrong!” she shouted. She began spurting words a mile a minute. “Princess Celestia found out I plagiarized one of my friendship reports and she’s summoned me to Canterlot! She’s gonna punish me like I’ve never been punished before! She’s going to take away my tiara and my title as Princess of Friendship and my wings and my castle—I won’t have anywhere to live! I’m going to have to live on the streets! But not the streets of Ponyville because everypony here is bound to find out; and I don’t dare set hoof in Canterlot—”

“Twilight, breathe!” Spike interjected. The alicorn drew several short breaths before resuming her spiel.

“I mean, Princess Celestia herself lives in Canterlot! I’ll have to live out the rest of my life in self-exile some place far, far away just to try and cope with the shame of being named a plagiarizer! And that’s assuming Celestia doesn’t banish me herself! Or worse!” She turned her full attention to Spike. “What if she sends me back to kindergarten to learn how to write all over again? Not even magic kindergarten, but actual kindergarten!”

“Aw, enough with the kindergarten already, Twilight! Get ahold of yourself!” Spike said. “It’s not as bad as you’re making it out to be. You’ve got to take action!”

Upon hearing Spike’s advice, Twilight was struck with an epiphany. “You’re right, Spike. I have to act rationally. And right now, there’s only one rational thing to do. If anypony needs me, I’ll be right over there in the corner, curled up in the fetal position, cuddling my blankie and sucking my hoof.”

Spike slapped a claw over his face. He allowed his claw to slide down his face and his eyes to reopen, only to see Twilight levitate a rug to use as her “blankie” and do exactly as she said. Spike sighed and crossed the room. “C’mon, Twilight. All you did was play—playjuh—whatever’ed one of your friendship reports.”

Twilight removed her hoof from her mouth, producing an audible pop. “Plagiarized! Spike, do you even know what that means?”

Spike scratched his head. “Actually, no.”

Twilight was in Spike’s face a moment later. “Stealing! Theft! Taking somepony else’s words and claiming them as your own! As a writer, it’s the one thing you’re never, ever, ever supposed to do! And I did it! Since my friendship reports led me to becoming the Princess of Friendship, I can only imagine the consequences will be loss of my title and wings! And it wasn’t just one friendship report, either! Celestia only found one! I must have plagiarized at least five!” When she had finished speaking, she whimpered, returned to the fetal position, and began petting the rug.

Spike’s expression dropped. “Oh. Well, in that case, you might actually have a good reason to worry about getting punished.”

Twilight looked out the train car’s window, watching the countryside flash past her field of vision as the train hurtled them towards Canterlot. She walked to the back of the sparsely-populated train car once more and looked out that window. A moment later, she focused on her reflection in the glass and straightened her tiara for the hundredth time before beginning the trek to the front of the car again.

“Hey, Twi, could you please quit pacing? You’re making me nervous,” said Spike as she passed him. Twilight sat down next to her dragon and elicited a sound that was half sigh and half whimper.

“I’m sorry, Spike. It’s just—well, I’m so stressed—I can’t even—”

Spike put a claw on Twilight’s right foreleg. “Remember that trick Princess Cadance taught you?” Twilight nodded. She drew a deep breath, closed her eyes, and extended her right foreleg into the air. She retracted her foreleg to her chest while simultaneously exhaling. With her eyes still closed, she extended her leg again.

Without warning, her mind’s eye was filled with a vision of a shining white alicorn standing upon a towering throne. She stared down her muzzle at Twilight, appearing both regal and very dissatisfied with her actions. “Twilight Sparkle,” her Royal Canterlot voice boomed. “I am most disappointed in you. You were my most trusted student; now you have committed the highest offence any writer can commit: plagiarism. As such, I hereby revoke all privileges you possess regarding your status as my student and as the Princess of Friendship.” With that, Twilight was lifted into the air, and her tiara flew across the room by Celestia’s magic. Her former mentor’s eyes glowed white and the golden tiara studded with purple gems disintegrated into a pile of black dust. Golden magic surrounded and forcefully unfurled her lavender wings, and she soon felt a vague sense of pressure as if her wings were being pulled in opposite directions. She glanced in both directions and confirmed what her senses were telling her. When her pleading eyes returned to Celestia, she was met only with a cold, almost hateful glower. Twilight shouted in fear and fell, as it were, into the real world, where she collapsed onto the floor of the train car.

“Twilight, what happened?” asked Spike. “Are you ok?”

Twilight ignored the question and instead began sobbing as she lay there on the floor. “What am I going to do, Spike?” she asked in a defeated tone.

Spike offered no answer other than hopping down from the bench and hugging Twilight’s neck, a gesture the alicorn readily returned.

Twilight paced back and forth in one of the palace hallways, glancing occasionally at the door to Celestia’s throne room. Honestly, she wasn’t sure what was worse, getting the actual punishment, or experiencing the dread and suspense of waiting for it. After a half hour of pacing, she looked up at a clock at the end of the hall to see that only five minutes had elapsed. She had just resumed her pacing when the door behind her opened, startling the already on-edge Princess. A guard poked his head out and declared flatly, “Princess Celestia will see you now.”

Twilight’s heart jumped up into her throat, and her stomach nearly went with it. Her entire body felt cold and clammy. She tried to begin walking, but her body protested.

You know what’s going to happen. You’ll never forgive yourself for this. Nopony will blame you for running away now. Pull a “Sunset Shimmer,” her intellect told her.

What will everypony think of you? asked her emotions. You’ll be the laughing stock of Equestria! Just run away!

With pure willpower, Twilight forced her mind and body into submission and began the walk of shame down the carpeted aisle of Celestia’s throne room. Each step, each movement of each step, was a battle to keep herself moving forward. She fought through the dread that pulled her backwards with the force of a team of earth ponies pulling the train to Appleoosa. Lift right front hoof. Lift left rear hoof. Move both hooves. Lower right front hoof. Lower left rear hoof and lift left front hoof. Lift right rear hoof. Move both hooves. Lower left front hoof. Lower right rear hoof and raise right front hoof.

Twilight kept her eyes on the segment of carpet directly in front of her, for she knew that Celestia—no, Princess Celestia; best to address her by her title from now on—was at the end of the room, watching her as she tediously and laboriously trudged onward towards the throne. She glanced sideways at the stained-glass windows from time to time to get her bearings and judge how far she had ventured into the throne room, but she didn’t dare look up.

Once she reached the foot of the throne, she came to a halt, closed her eyes, and braced herself for the worst. “Princess Twilight Sparkle,” Celestia called out.

“Y—” The word caught in Twilight’s throat. “Yes?” she finally eked out.

“I’m quite sure you know exactly why I have summoned you here. I need to know, Twilight, did you or did you not plagiarize one of your friendship reports?”

Twilight’s ears instinctively pointed backwards as she lifted her head and gazed upon Princess Celestia with tear-filled eyes. She answered her teacher—her former teacher—with a quaking voice. “I—I’m sorry, Princess Celestia. I—I did.” If Twilight could have been given a choice between being stabbed with a dagger or seeing that look of disappointment appear on Celestia’s face, she would have chosen the dagger; the knife would have hurt far less. She abruptly bowed her head low as the tears begin to flow. In doing so, her tiara slipped from her head, clanging unceremoniously onto the ground. She glanced at it briefly, before symbolically deciding to leave it where it had fallen.

“I don’t believe I need to remind you how serious a breach of professionalism an act of plagiarism is, Twilight. There will be serious repercussions as a result of your actions.” Twilight heard Celestia’s wings ruffle. She imagined the same Celestia as from her vision; a regal, towering figure who stood as ready to pass judgment on her as a lion ready to pounce on a mouse. Rounding out the analogy, she felt every bit as helpless as the mouse. “Effective immediately, you shall forfeit your tiara, your title as Princess of Friendship, and your right to rule Equestria and Ponyville.”

Twilight’s cries began anew, this time audibly. She fought a losing battle to keep herself composed, biting her lip to stifle her whimpers. She watched through blurred vision as her tears landed on the carpet. She heard the sound of Princess Celestia’s hoofsteps as she descended her throne, and out of her peripheral vision she watched a golden aura engulf her old tiara and remove it from her line of sight. She glanced up just in time to see Celestia raise a hoof towards her.

In truth, Celestia hated acting as disciplinarian to her beloved pupil. It broke her heart to see Twilight sobbing at the foot of her throne, even more than it broke her heart to confirm that she had, in fact, plagiarized one of her friendship reports. She walked towards her pupil and extended a hoof to embrace Twilight. Just as she was about to initiate the embrace, Twilight looked up and—flinched away? Did her own dear pupil really think that the punishment for plagiarism would be physical abuse? Celestia recoiled at the sight of her cowering pupil as the final vestiges of her resolve melted away.

“My dear Twilight Sparkle,” she said, fighting back tears of her own as she enveloped Twilight in a golden aura. “I love you like the daughter I never had. Why do you think I would raise a hoof to strike out at you?”

“Because—” she sniffled. “Because I don’t deserve to be an alicorn and I don’t deserve a castle and I’ll never be your student again! You’re going to take away my wings and my castle and my friends, and you’re going to exile me some place far away! Or worse!”

Celestia pulled Twilight into a tight embrace and let her cry on her shoulder. She gently stroked the back of Twilight’s neck and waited for her crying to subside. At length, she placed Twilight back on her own hooves. Once she had composed herself, Twilight began. “Princess Celestia, before you send me away, I want to thank you for this wonderful opportunity you’ve given—”

“My dear pupil,” Celestia said with a chuckle. “What makes you so sure that I am going to banish you?”

A look of confusion crossed Twilight’s face. “You mean—you mean you aren’t going to banish me?” Celestia shook her head. “Well, then where will I live?”

“Princess or not, the Tree of Harmony gave that castle to you. It is your home, Twilight, and I would not take it from you.”

Twilight furled her wings, giving them one last sorrowful glance. “Is it going to hurt when you take away my wings?” she nervously asked.

“You will keep your alicorn wings as a sign of my mercy, just as you lost your tiara and title as a sign of my justice and judgement.”

Twilight turned her gaze to the tiara still floating in Celestia’s magic. “So, who’s going to be Princess of Friendship now?”

“That I do not know,” Celestia replied as she looked thoughtfully at her student’s former tiara. “In time a new candidate may reveal herself, or perhaps himself. And maybe, just maybe, it will one day return from where it came,” she said with a wink. Twilight’s face was graced with the first genuine smile it had worn in the past two days, though it was soon replaced with a renewed expression of confusion.

“But, I failed at being your pupil. Surely I can’t be the Princess of Friendship again if I can’t even be the student of a Princess.”

“Know this, Twilight, that you are still my most faithful student, and that I am reinstating your friendship report assignment. You may have faltered in your actions, but I saw how heavily your heart weighed on you, and how much you value my forgiveness. However,” she paused a moment and donned an expression indicative of the highest degree of seriousness. “Should I catch you plagiarizing again…”

“I swear, Princess Celestia, I will never plagiarize another friendship report ever again. I’ve learned my lesson.”

“Really?” the Princess replied with a gentle smile. “And tell me, what lesson have you learned?”

“Everypony makes mistakes. Sometimes, those mistakes have life-altering consequences. I’ve learned through my own mistakes the value of maintaining my professional integrity. But even more important, I’ve learned that having a faithful mentor in my life is invaluable, and that it’s never too late to ask for forgiveness and start down the right path again. There are going to be consequences, but there is also hope.”

Celestia spread her right wing and turned towards Twilight Sparkle, indicating a wing hug, which her restored pupil readily accepted. “I look forward to reading more of your friendship reports in the future, Twilight Sparkle.”

“And I can’t wait to get back on the right track,” replied Twilight.
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#1 · 3
· · >>The_Letter_J >>007Ben
This entire story is fundamentally flawed in its premise. For one, why is Celestia’s butler reading her a bedtime story? And then there’s the central conflict, Twilight plagiarizing friendship reports from moralistic fables. I reserved judgement throughout the story, waiting to see what extenuating circumstances might have led to this… and the answer is nothing. Twilight Sparkle, the faithful student, the mare who went insane because she didn’t have a lesson to submit, cheated for no given reason.

And what was the outcome of Twilight’s fear and worry? For the most part, exactly what she thought would happen, according to “Lesson Zero”-level panicked logic. The story spoils itself! The idea that Celestia even can reverse Twilight’s ascension is extremely disturbing, to say nothing of the frankly ridiculous degree of the punishment. Dethroning a reigning princess for plagiarism? On the first offense? It’s not like Celestia knows about the other cribbed reports, and that’s putting aside the ludicrousness of the cribbing itself.

Sorry, but this flat-out does not work, and its straightforward structure only hurts it worse. There is a viable variation, but you'll have to drastically rework most if not all of the story.
#2 · 5
· · >>Bad Horse >>007Ben
Why would Twilight plagiarize well-known bedtime stories for her friendship reports? That's just a failure of common sense, never mind why Twilight Sparkle would plagiarize anything in the first place.

There's a bunch of weird stuff like that in this story. Why is erudite, educated Spike, who's worked as Twilight's assistant for years, unaware of even the word plagiarism? Why does plagiarizing a single friendship report mean that Celestia can revoke Twilight's titles? Luna tried to take over the world and she got to keep her crown; Discord tried to take over the world three times and he gets to have tea with Fluttershy on Tuesdays. Twilight's offense, besides being highly out of character, does not match the punishment.

I could see this working as a comedy, where Twilight reads Spike an old fable, realizes the similarity between its message and the contents of her friendship reports, and starts freaking out about accidentally plagiarizing Neighsop (or whoever), and then Celestia by coincidence asks her to Canterlot, and Twilight freaks out and - you know, something like that, something that would be perfectly in character for Twilight to do: berate herself for making a simple error which she then blows out of proportion. There'd also be room for some meta-commentary on the whole notion of writing in general, on the fact that there are only so many original stories out there, and that most everything is just iterations on well-beaten premises and themes.

This is not the way to tell that story, however, sorry.
#3 · 2
· · >>007Ben
I could see this working as a comedy, where Twilight reads Spike an old fable, realizes the similarity between its message and the contents of her friendship reports, and starts freaking out about accidentally plagiarizing Neighsop (or whoever), and then Celestia by coincidence asks her to Canterlot, and Twilight freaks out and - you know, something like that, something that would be perfectly in character for Twilight to do: berate herself for making a simple error which she then blows out of proportion. There'd also be room for some meta-commentary on the whole notion of writing in general, on the fact that there are only so many original stories out there, and that most everything is just iterations on well-beaten premises and themes.

I just might plagiarize that.
#4 ·
· · >>007Ben
I kept expecting there to be some sort of clever twist here, like discovering that Twilight had written the book, or that the author of the book was the one who had plagiarized Twilight's letters. If something like that had happened, this story could have work as a comedy. But instead it played everything straight, which means you don't get to ignore logic like comedies sometimes do. So I found myself wondering why Celestia's butler was reading her fables, why Twilight would be driven to cheat, why Spike doesn't know what plagiarism is, and so on.

You know what’s going to happen. You’ll never forgive yourself for this. Nopony will blame you for running away now. Pull a “Sunset Shimmer,” her intellect told her.

The story also would have been more interesting if Twilight had decided to run away and live with Sunset instead.

On the whole, I think this story is actually pretty decent, but the concept is too flawed for me to call it good.

to say nothing of the frankly ridiculous degree of the punishment. Dethroning a reigning princess for plagiarism? On the first offense?

I don't know about that. I think that the punishment is fitting and makes sense, especially since Celestia made it clear that Twilight can still re-earn her position. And Twilight doesn't seem to do any actual ruling right now, so it's not like this will destabilize the government or anything.
#5 · 4
I think whoever wrote this story might be slightly psychic, because this is a relevant thing that apparently just happened. Even more relevant is the first comment:
If Twilight Sparkle ever stole notes from Moondancer during her school years, I don't think she would be qualified at all to be princess.
#6 · 3
Is it some sort of strange coincidence that a story that plagiarizes a cinematic trailer is immediately followed up by a story detailing the consequences of plagiarism?

As others have said, the issue of this story is mainly in the conceit of its premise, which, barring any potential explanation, reveal or understanding, comes as completely and inexplicably out of character for Twilight. The story also lacks any sort of tension, because the scene progression is essentially:

Celestia: I'm going to punish Twilight for plagiarism

Twilight: oh no I'm going to punished for plagiarism

Celestia: you are punished for plagiarism

Twilight: I've learned my lesson!

This could very well work in a longer form story that details how we got to Twilight plagiarizing some work and there being some fear built up over being found out, but not in its own story. A story that goes exactly as dialogue states it will go is not a story that has good grounds for dramatic tension.

Opinion: Heavy Maintenance Required
#7 · 1
· · >>The_Letter_J >>007Ben
So, I'm going to slightly disagree with the previous commentors in that I found the story to be hilarious! Mostly because of exactly what everyone else said was wrong about the story, actually. Everything about it is absurd. From the notion of a butler reading Celestia a bedtime story, to the idea that Twilight would plagerize, to Twilight's reactions to being found out, to the actual consequences of her actions being precisely what she envisioned them to be. It's all just so stupid! And I love it! This just struck my funny bone perfectly.

Now, this all comes to a screeching halt in the last scene which is played way too straight for my liking. It's like it forgot to be absurd all of a sudden and had to remind us "oh, no, everything is going to be alright eventually." I think it would have been way better if it was taken even extremer.

Celestia: Also, as you are no longer the Princess of Friendship, I will be relieving you of your friends. Henceforth, they will be Princess Cadance's friends.

Twilight: But, you can't do that!

Applejack: Sorry, Twi. Official orders. I'd ask you to help me in the moving of Sweet Apple Acres from Ponyville to the Crystal Empire, but I'm not allowed to talk to you anymore.

Twilight: Applejack? When did you get here.

Rainbow Dash: Well, this isn't so bad. I hear Princess Cadance is just got into the Daring Do books. We'll be able to gush about them together in no time!

Twilight: But that's what we used to do together...

And so on and so forth. You get the picture.

So yeah. This was a pretty flawed story (for the reasons others mentioned), but for me the flaws made it more enjoyable, not less.

Verdict: Delightfully stupid (and I mean that in the best possible way).
#8 ·
· · >>Bugle
Your alternate ending is hilarious, and if the entire story had been written like that, it would be near the top of my ballot. But to me, the story wasn't absurd, or it at least didn't act like it was trying to be absurd. It seemed like it was playing itself straight the entire time, with some bits that were odd, but not so intentionally odd that they were funny. I think the only part that I thought was at all funny was Spike's reaction when he learned what plagiarism is.
This could just be a case of different tastes, which is always a risk when writing comedy. But I feel like I can almost always tell when someone is at least trying to be funny, even if I don't think that they are. And this story did not look like it was trying to be a comedy at all to me.
But hey, I could be wrong.
#9 ·

You're probably right that it wasn't intended, the more I think of it. But I think it could be shaped that way with little effort.
#10 ·
· · >>007Ben
Entry number 2, File Code Name, Writer's Sin

I don't know why people assume this story to be bad, in fact, I really enjoyed it. The whole thing kind of reminds me of a certain episode from the series and it even strikes on par with friendship lessons. I do enjoy the subtle moments between both Celesita and Twilight, they do act as if they were mother and child.
#11 · 5
· · >>007Ben
Writer’s Sin - Good quality, if a little preachy. If published, I have to add this Never The Final Word.

The day was over, the offense of her beloved student dealt with, but as Celestia glided down the hallways of her Canterlot home toward her bedroom, something still bothered her. It was not necessarily the plagiarism, as Celestia herself had made special mental note of thousands of little turns of phrase or interesting word plays over her long and diverse reign. Still, she had learned to trust her instincts, and after a brief shower and brisk drying, she turned to her bedroom library and let her mind wander.

Eventually, she withdrew an older Daring Do book, one which had come out near the beginning of the series when the writer was still getting her hooves underneath her, so to speak. Celestia paged through it at random, and finally stopped at the page she vaguely remembered.

Daring Do bowed her head as she faced the Museum Review Board, who had just delivered a devastating slap at the proud pegasus’ technique in artifact recovery. She took a deep breath, trying to at least sound repentant before addressing the old fuddy-duddies who had never set hoof outside of their own museums in decades, if ever.

“Everypony makes mistakes. Sometimes, those mistakes have life-altering consequences. I’ve learned through my own mistakes the value of maintaining my professional integrity…

Celestia placed the book down, picked up a scroll and a pen, and wrote three words, using her magic to send the resulting message to Spike with enough force that it might actually knock him on his rear when the scroll emerged, which was just fine for the solar diarch.

She walked over to her chair and took a seat with the book in front of her to read while she waited.

She did not expect to be waiting long.

#12 · 1
· · >>007Ben
Okay, as usual, I'm reviewing at the last minute, so this will be kinda brief.

Okay, what the hell? This makes almost no sense. Twilight Sparkle, the princess of paranoia and paragon of virtue... Plagarized her friendship lessons. The same lessons she learned about with her friends and dictated to Spike then and there.

I don't recall her having time to look through the library for a philosophy book, and carefully read the passages out to spike.

Actually, for some odd reason I thought the book Celestia was reading (Or rather, having her butler read to her... Which seems a bit arrogant for Celestia) has been written by Twilight... And Celestia was accusing her of plagiarizing her own letters. Which also makes no sense, but could fit in with a comedy or crack fic.

Leaving aside the ridiculousness of the whole plagiarism thing, there's then the nature of her punishment... Which is more or less everything that Twilight's fevered, paranoid imagination can come up with. I mean, really... Kind, loving, motherly Celestia's response to her student plagiarizing is to strip her of her royalty. BEcause plagiarism is a far worse crime than, say, I dunno... Brainwashing an entire town and causing a giant brawl?

Sorry, this just does not computer for me. The twilight freak-outs were kinda funny... But they lost a lot of their humor in the end when they turned out to be far less exaggerated than expected.
#13 ·
· · >>007Ben
Last minute! YAY! Okay, I actually enjoyed reading this, at least for most of it. I was enticed by the idea that for some reason, Twilight Sparkle of all ponies would plagiarize something. Why would a pony like Twilight ever plagiarize something? I was never told why. That's what made it so interesting, and that definitely would have worked, had a justification been given.

My only other issue is that Twilight predicts Celestia's punishments for her pretty much verbatim. If this was supposed to be funny, that would work wonderfully, but as is, it feels more out of place than Twi plagiarizing. Other than that, the fic itself was well written aside from the plot elements I mentioned.
#14 ·
· · >>billymorph >>Bad Horse
Writer's Sin Post-Contest Analysis

A big thanks to all of you who took the time to read my half-baked fanfic.

>>FanOfMostEverything >>Posh >>Bad Horse >>The_Letter_J >>Bugle >>Broman >>TheCyanRecluse >>the_Doc

Somebody up there (The_Letter_J, I think) called me a psychic because of the perceived prediction of current events. In actuality, I was ponifying the 2008 story of Timothy Goeglein, who had all the students in my college amphitorium on the edge of our seats with his riveting testimony. After rising to the rank of White House Office of Public Liaison, he was found guilty of 20 counts of plagiarism, called into the Oval Office, and fired, but forgiven, by the President. As a brony in the audience, I couldn't help but make parallels to a certain pair of alicorn Princesses.

That said, the story didn't deliver as intended. From a perspective outside Timothy's story, Celestia's punishment understandably comes across as harsh, despite the fact that this story has the added weight of Twilight's ascension being a nearly direct result of her friendship reports, thus tainting her reign before it ever even began. I plan to add a scene where Celestia has to compose herself before allowing Twilight to enter her throne room. Not only has Twilight failed her as a student, but she feels she has failed Twilight as a teacher. She hates the fact that her pupil plagiarized almost as much as the fact that she is no longer able to co-reign with Twilight. Since Celestia coronated Twilight, it would come back on her in the public's eye if she acknowledged the plagiarism and did nothing about it.

As for Twilight, it looks like my best option right now would be to set this in an AU where her solution to Lesson Zero was to not "find a friendship problem, [but to] read about one." She then goes through a stack of books, finds one she likes, and looks up at the sun only to see three quarters of it is already below the horizon. Frantic, she scribbles the moral out word-for-word and passes it to Spike. Relieved and exhausted, she goes up to her bed and crashes. The once-a-week problem never gets solved, causing her to resort to this method several more times before it's all said and done.

Reactions to the butler were mostly negative, so you probably won't be seeing him in the revised edition.

As for the ending suggested by >>georg , I actually toyed with this idea in the early stages, but ultimately decided to forgo it. Besides, it's already been written now, so making that the offocial ending would be--well, you know.

Final Thoughts: I'm beginning to see a disturbing trend in my fanfics. I seem to be having trouble putting together coherent stories within the time limit. Is this something that comes with practice?
#15 · 4
I'm beginning to see a disturbing trend in my fanfics. I seem to be having trouble putting together coherent stories within the time limit. Is this something that comes with practice?

Absolutely, though it doesn't all need to be practice. There's a lot of little things you can do to make things easier for you. Here's a few I use.

1) Preplanning - You might not get the prompt before the start of play, but they can be extremely broad and fit a wide variety of stories. Having a few broadly sketched out and picking an appropriate on the weekend is a good strategy to shave a few hours out of prep time.

2) Actual planning - The level of detail people go into with plans varies a lot, I rarely do more than sketch but at least hit all the major scenes and characters. It all pays for itself, regardless. You lose less time to thinking mid story and it cuts down on the editing load as everything that should be in the story is there on the first pass.

3) KISS - 2-8k sounds like a lot, but its about half a dozen 'scenes' at best before things become hopelessly rushed. That means events can't be too complex or you'll never be able to explain them in detail, nor can you have too many characters or they'll blur into one. Just remember, less is more and ending early because you finished your plot is almost always a bonus.

4) Manage your Ambition - The Write-off is a great place to float new ideas and try out new things, but these can be a double edged sword. A complex idea that falls apart mid-way through is one that will score very badly, while something less ambitious but well executed will be far more consistent.
#16 · 2
Final Thoughts: I'm beginning to see a disturbing trend in my fanfics. I seem to be having trouble putting together coherent stories within the time limit. Is this something that comes with practice?

To some people, yes. To others, no. I wouldn't worry about it. The time limit is IMHO much too short. That's why I don't usually participate anymore. In, say, the 1930s, a novel would be 80,000 words and take a good writer 2 years (100 weeks) to write. 8000 words would have taken them 10 weeks to write. Nano-wrimo's goal is 50,000 words in 1 month, and a lot of writers I know consider that insane.