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The Morning After · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
After Party
Pinkie Pie sat down at a table in the lobby of Ponyville’s Starbits coffee shop. She carefully set her latte on the table before slouching into her chair. Fluttershy delicately landed on a second chair, and placed her iced latte on the table. Rarity arrived last, a pumpkin spice latte in her magic.

“Pinkie Pie, are you alright?” Rarity asked, bringing Pinkie’s attention back to reality.

“Y-yeah. Sure,” she replied gloomily.

“Um, Pinkie? This doesn’t have anything to do with what happened last night, does it?” Fluttershy inquired.

“No. Yes. I don’t know.”

“Oh, Pinkie,” said Fluttershy, “nopony really meant any of those awful things they said about you last night. You know that.”

“She’s right, darling,” added Rarity. “You know how those two can get when they’ve had too much cider.”

“But everything they said was true!” Pinkie lamented. “My parties do suck and I am weird and I don’t fit in with everypony else—I never have! Not here in Ponyville, not with my family; my whole life, I’ve been trying to find the impossible balance between who I am and who I want to be! This is who I am,” she said, pulling at her straight pink hair, “and I hate it! I hate Pinkamena! I want to be Pinkie Pie!”

“Please, calm down,” Rarity stressed. “They were inebriated. They would never say those things they said last night to your or to each other’s faces.”

“And besides that,” Fluttershy added, “they were yelling at each other twice as much as they were yelling at you. If—if that helps any.”

“If you so terribly hate who you are, then why not just be who you want to be?”

“Because,” Pinkie began, sinking back into her chair, “they don’t like Pinkie Pie. They don’t like the mare I’ve pretended to be ever since I saw that rainboom when I was a filly. They don’t like her or her parties, or anything else she tries to do, even when it’s for them. All I ever wanted to do was make everypony happy. I—I thought they were my friends.” Pinkie crossed her forelegs on the table and rested her head on them. She looked as if she were about to cry.

“But you still have us,” Fluttershy replied. “I sought out Rarity when Applejack and Rainbow Dash started yelling at each other. I was right next to her by the time you tried to break them up. When you bolted out of the room, and my and Rarity’s cutie marks vibrated, we didn’t even need the map to know what our friendship problem was.”

“And our cutie marks haven’t gone off again just yet,” Rarity continued. “We’ve talked with the others, and they’re quite apologetic for their behavior last night.”

“That doesn’t make it hurt any less. The things they said are still true.”

“Are they, Pinkie? Are they really?”

“I’m not Pinkie, Rarity. I’m just Pinkamena.”

“Ok, well then why aren’t you Pinkie Pie?” Pinkie raised her head and stared quizzically at Rarity, but gave her no answer. “If there’s somepony you want to be, and that’s not who you are right now, why aren’t you that pony?” Rarity reiterated.

“I—I don’t know,”

“Listen to me, Pinkie. Your friends were in the heat of the moment. They were intoxicated. They were already arguing with each other even before you tried to intervene. You were simply unfortunate enough to get caught in the crossfire. You’re ready to base your entire future off a hooffull of drunken remarks?”

“We still want to be friends with you,” Fluttershy said. “We’re worried we won’t ever see Pinkie Pie again. That’s who you want to be, right? You want to make us happy? Well, nothing would make us happier right now than to have Pinkie Pie back.”

“Aw. You really mean that?”

“Of course, darling.”

The corners of Pinkamena’s mouth rose, forming a smile. As her smile grew, Pinkie’s hair curled up again to the same degree. Rarity and Fluttershy glanced down to their now-vibrating cutie marks.

“Now, Pinkie Pie,” Rarity began, “I trust you’ll be better about letting things and circumstances define who you are, won’t you?”

“Of course, Rarity. But that’s kind of a hard statement to take coming from a white unicorn holding a pumpkin spice latte.”

“Oh. Yes. My one weakness,” she replied as the trio shared a round of laughter.

See? Hardly ten seconds into being Pinkie Pie again, and they’re already laughing! You can do this, Pinkie!
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#1 · 3
· · >>ChappedPenguinLips >>007Ben
Yeah… no. I can see the serial number stamped on the manufactured drama here. Pinkie’s had moments of doubt, yes, but even in “Party of One,” she was still trying to be the same pony, just to a rather surreal audience. The ease with which her friends dispel her doldrums only underscores how hollow this feels.

Also, I have no idea whatsoever to make of the third- and second-to-last lines.

I see what you were going for here, but next time, you’ll either need to better justify your choices or pick something better supported in what we know about the characters. Also, having the offenders apologize in person would’ve really helped.
#2 · 2
· · >>007Ben
Hm. I feel for Pinkie Pie, because I've been in her shoes, but I don't feel for her because I hardly think it's her. The whole time I was thinking Pinkie would, yes, get upset over her friends drunken remarks, but not once did I think she'd question her entire life and who she was. I couldn't suspend my disbelief for that one, sorry. Pinkie is the kind of character that always bounces back (literally). It'd be rather out-of-character for her to stop being... well... uh, Pinkie Pie over drunken remarks or getting her feelings hurt. Did you see how fast she bounced back when Fluttershy ripped her and Rarity in Putting Your Hoof Down? If she bounced back from that with ease then well... I'll put it this way. I couldn't imagine drunken remarks of "hey your parties suck" would be even comparable to: "a pony who wastes her life away pursuing pointless passions no one gives a rat's ass about." Did I get that quote right...? Close enough.

Choose your characters wisely. Pinkie is not your character. Rarity or Fluttershy would have both been better fits than Pinkie, I'd say. And even about that I think Rainbow would be perfect in Pinkie's position. Rainbow is the one with confidence issues.

Plus, in it's current state, having Applejack and Rainbow comfort Pinkie would have been much more effective, and realistic, probably, than having Flutters and Rares.

Also. >>FanOfMostEverything mentioned these two lines:

“Of course, Rarity. But that’s kind of a hard statement to take coming from a white unicorn holding a pumpkin spice latte.”

“Oh. Yes. My one weakness,” she replied as the trio shared a round of laughter.


Ask NaturalBornDerpy, I'm a sucker for all things pumpkin and that includes making fun of people for drinking pumpkin spice lattes.

However.

What was the joke here? It just felt like because pumpkin spice lattes were mentioned there had to be a joke revolving around it, and, well, it didn't work.

The dialogue was really well-written and Rarity and Fluttershy's character made this fic an enjoyable read so you get five out of ten pumpkin spice lattes, with extra whipped cream ;)
#3 · 1
· · >>007Ben
I'm not reeeeally a fan of being told through dialogue what happened last night, here. It feels overly telly and it's just tough trying to piece together what happened and also trying to follow Pinkie's reasoning. I think it's because this story is all dialogue, so it's going a bit too fast and telling me too much for me to digest.

It also feels a bit... contrived, like it doesn't all jive together. I mean, sure, the problem feels like a legit problem for Pinkie to have, and she does get extremely depressed sometimes. FoME points out that the problem feels like it's solved too quickly, and I agree with that. I might also point out that the turning point (when Pinkie starts to listen to Rarity's reasoning) is triggered by a very similar line of dialogue. Let me show you what I mean:

“If you so terribly hate who you are, then why not just be who you want to be?”


Pinkie responds to this immediately with an answer.

“If there’s somepony you want to be, and that’s not who you are right now, why aren’t you that pony?” Rarity reiterated.


Pinkie hesitates [“I—I don’t know,”]

I'll assume that's just an accidental inconsistency, but it does stick out.

I feel like what happened here is the outline of this story involved beats or plot points to hit, and I should note, the pacing feels natural for a helping-a-friend-get-over-something-moderately-sad kind of story. It's just that the dialogue in between feels a bit stilted between the telling about events last night and the generic-feeling emotional dialogue. Like you did a paint-by-numbers picture instead of something that looks like it was made from scratch, and not only that, but the colours don't quite match up.

Also, the joke at the end doesn't really fit. It's just awkwardly set up. I get pumpkin spice lattes are an easy target, but a reference to it is not funny by itself.
#4 · 1
· · >>007Ben
I must – alas – more or less agree with what has been said before. The conflict here is too easily solved. Of course we all know Pinkie is a depressive who tries to forget her malaise by overacting and squandering away her life in countless parties. But, in her innermost self lurks Pinkamena, always ready to spring to the fore.

In any case, your voicing here is wrong (imho): Pinkie being Pinkamena, she should speak like her. But it's Pinkie we hear speaking, so that causes a dissonance.

And besides, yes, the finale change in her mindset is much too easily triggered. I would've expect at least AJ and RD stroming in unexpected with some sort of present. As such, i agree with FoME: it sounds hollow.
#5 · 1
· · >>007Ben
Genre: Sorta comedic slice-of-cheer-up

Thoughts: Most of what I would say has been said already, but I'll call out a couple of things: The white unicorn joke IMO misfires because whiteness doesn't carry the same connotations in Equestria. Also, the way that Pinkie talks about herself having two selves seems a lot more in line with specific fandom interpretations of Pinkie than we see in the show; it feels weird to me that Pinkie would refer to herself as being two essentially different personas rather than talking about how things are affecting her single unified sense of her feelings and behavior. I think a case could be made for there being two personas, but this currently sidesteps doing that. It's also hard for me to visualize RD and AJ going off on her like this.

Still, I think this has potential. A lot of the basic pieces are there.

Tier: Needs Work
#6 · 2
· · >>007Ben
There are things I like a lot about this story that affect me on a personal level, but it also has issues.

Listing details on all the lattes at the start seems unnatural. You end up using it at the end of the story, but you didn't need to list the drinks at the beginning for the callback to make sense.

I'm not sure if cafes have "lobbies", exactly? That seems like the wrong word.

It seems strange that all three mares arrive at the same time when it appears clear from the conversation that Pinkie fully intended to be alone. Were they following her? Did they plan a meeting and Pinkie decided to come even though she felt horrible? It's weird.

I really hate the trope of Pinkie being "Pinkamena" when her hair is straight. Pinkamena is her bucking name, and Pinkie is a nickname she uses. She doesn't "turn into Pinkamena", she's always Pinkamena. I know you're using it as a duality reference (that I have issues with which I'll comment on later), but I can't see this and not mention it irritates me. The only reason ponies identify Pinkie that way is that the first time on the show her mother called her by her full name was the first time we saw her that depressed. But that was complete coincidence. Her mother still calls her Pinkamena even when she isn't depressed. It's not really your fault, author, but arrrrrgh I hate that so freaking much.

Independent of that, I don't like how Pinkie is referring to herself in this schizy way. She isn't schizy like this at all. I do like the duality aspect, yes (and the first half of this story speaks to me very deeply), but I'm not buying that she imagines herself as two ponies because she doesn't toggle often. She can toggle between moods, and she may waffle over who she thinks she wants to be; but she's rarely broken down like this so it doesn't make sense for her to compartmentalize her depression in this manner. This isn't how bipolar depression works. I think you're close to the right idea, but you're not quite there.

I don't buy her transformation back to manic at all. This is happening too quickly, out of nowhere. Especially the slight dig at Rarity, that's totally out of left field, and it makes me read this story as a Tragedy: she's still bucking up big time the very moment she lets herself be free. It's like, practically the first thing she does when she feels better: screw up socially by insulting Rarity. Dear Celestia, that stings. I strongly suspect this story is supposed to be read as a tragedy.

Separately: I don't believe her friends would say those sorts of things to her even if they were inebriated. You need to show me that with words if you want me to buy it. You can't get away with telling extreme out-of-character stories to us third-hoof with no details and expect it will seem realistic.
#7 · 1
· · >>007Ben
The characterization feels really forced. The conflict tries it's best to convince you this could actually happen, but it just doesn't match up with what we've seen of Pinkie Pie. Interesting concept, but the execution fell a bit flat.
#8 · 2
· · >>007Ben
This just doesn't work for me, as it feels too out of character, both for Pinkie, and for AJ and Dash. Pinkie is used to taking criticism and having ponies say things mean about her. She's the absolute best at deflecting that sort of thing, as her ego is 100% actualized and internal.

Secondly, Dash and AJ would say stuff mean when drunk, yeah... but it would be stuff they were actually upset about, not things said just to be mean. They might be annoyed that Pinkie's party ruined crop of apples, or if the cake made Dash too tummy-achy to fly at practice. But this sounds like it was something way worse, and unless I can see/understand that as a reader, then I can't buy the impact it's having on this friendship.
#9 · 7
· · >>Monokeras
These last few days have been crazy. Like, I knew they were going to be crazy what with travelling 600 miles home from my university, but I hadn't counted on two riders in my car, getting lost, getting a flat tire somewhere in Tennessee, and having my phone (which functioned as my GPS) die on me while we were on the road. Apologies for starting and not finishing reviewing my slate. But, hey, it's over. I'm safe at home for another 10 hours or so, and I didn't make the finals (no surprise there based on my personal Writeoff history and the reviews this round). So, without further ado...


After "After Party": A Retrospective

>>FanOfMostEverything >>ChappedPenguinLips >>FrontSevens >>Monokeras >>CoffeeMinion >>Trick_Question >>Shadowed_Song >>Xepher

Pure personal philosophy and headcanon this was, and it really showed in its poor characterization. I'll begin by breaking down the headcanony parts.

Pinkamena Diane Pie is first seen (timeline-wise, at least) eking out a miserable existence on her rock farm. This chapter of her life ends, of course, when she sees the rainboom, smiles, and subsequently decides she "wanted everyone she knew smile, too." Hence, the divide between Pinkamena Diane Pie and Pinkie Pie in my mind. (Yes, I'm aware of the existence of Cupcakes, et al, and no, I was not intending "Pinkamena" to be interpreted that way. Perhaps another addition to the growing list of oversights.)

I'll admit, Pinkie Pie was my least favorite character in Season 1. She was weird. She was random. She was unpredictable. She was wild. I didn't understand her and frankly, I didn't try to. I am and always have been very logical. To me, Pinkie was just the "comic relief and side gag" character.

Upon rewatching the Smile Song, however, I caught something that had I had previously excused away as a "random Pinkie Pie song." Her life's calling, her mission statement, her reason for existing on the planet, is spelled out right in her song. "There's one thing that makes me happy, makes my whole life worthwhile/ And that's when I talk to my friends and get them to smile!" For once, I understood Pinkie Pie. (Well, as much as anyone can be expected to.) This pink pony can be anypony she wants to be, but she chooses to be Pinkie Pie because she knows it will make others happy, and that's the story I wanted to tell. Unfortunately, "After Party" did a rather poor job of doing that. I'm now considering a first-pony slice-of-life style rewrite where Pinkie goes about her day suppressing her depression while spreading cheer to others.


The philosophical undertones highlighted in this story (mainly by Rarity) can be reduced to four questions I ask myself probably too often to not have sufficient answers to them:

1. Who am I?
2. Who do I want to be?
3. Why aren't those two the same person?
4. What can I do to make them the same person?

I guess I kind of just projected those questions/feelings onto a "what if" scenario where Rainbow and AJ hit Pinkie a little too close to home. Perhaps I projected just a pinch too much of my own emotional fragility that I similarly mask with a positive demeanor, a "game face," if you will. Character choice from there on out (both the map and the meetup) was a significant contribution to the shortcoming of this story.



Thank you all for reading and reviewing. I promised myself and my readers that I'd get another chapter of History Lesson over on FimFic ready to publish soon, so I'll reluctantly have to opt out of reading and reviewing the finals. Good luck to the finalists, especially the ones ranked high on my slate!
#10 · 3
·
>>007Ben
Like, I knew they were going to be crazy what with travelling 600 miles home from my university, but I hadn't counted on two riders in my car, getting lost, getting a flat tire somewhere in Tennessee, and having my phone (which functioned as my GPS) die on me while we were on the road.

Now that’s a rough ride or I don’t know what the term means.

Good old maps won’t die on you anywhere. Paper is still useful, ya know? Naff, but useful! ;)

Hopefully your car hasn’t be hijacked.

“A Flat Tyre in Tennessee”. What a wonderful title (or prompt) for an original fiction story…