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True Colors · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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Le Solitaire
The contents of this story are no longer available
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#1 · 2
· · >>MLPmatthewl419 >>Fenton >>Garzeel
That was lovely, and I must commend your ability to make me care about these characters in little over 5k words.

Which is why I believe the story's shortcomings aren't due to your lack of skills as an author but probably due to other factors. Lack of time? Started to write too late? Writer's block? House was flooded and had to fight the sharks that swam in? Whichever the case, I feel this story only skimmed the surface of its potential. The relationship between Palette and Du Hast Hoc was barely brushed upon (Hah!) even though it is arguably the most important one in the story. Likewise, Silver and Syccamore shone in the small parts they had, but they never got properly fleshed out.

The foundation for a great character piece about an artist finding meaning through his craft is there, and I trust you can deliver with a little bit of time.

Also, I'm sorry if your house did get flooded.
#2 · 2
· · >>Garzeel
First off, this is an amazing little story you got here.

Second, I find myself, once again, echoing >>Zaid Val'Roa. This time about how it could use more depth, more vertical storytelling[1]. You have amazing character relationships, but they could get better. Wonderful characters themselves, but they need more time to shine. It just... needs to go a little deeper to hit the oil field.

Regardless, amazing story. Thanks for contributing.


[1]Part 1,Part 2
#3 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>Garzeel
Nice work! Strong characters, with a meaningful personal conflict, in a well-rounded setting, all couched in (mostly) crisp prose. There were a few stumbles (pretty sure it's 'gall', not 'gaul'; the non-standard linebreaks seemed like a strange choice; I felt like there were a few odd word choices or sentence flow issues) but looking past that, there's a lot of strength in the foundations here.

I do feel like the themeing is a bit loose; the connective tissue between 'these are the problems', 'these are the actions', and 'this is the meaning' didn't really seem to come together properly for me at the end. So, Pallete feels things, that solves his problem of 'not loving painting', so he decides to stay? Sounds good! I just wish I had a stronger idea why feeling things solves his problem, and why that, in turn, causes him to stay. And how it all ties into this line:

Du Hoc knew that he was no longer the only one who sensed things such as this.

What are 'things such as this'? It seems like it should be really, really important to the story, since you totally switched character viewpoints to mention it, and the last line and the title both seem to be making Du Hoc an important character, but I'm just not picking up on what you mean at all.

All in all though, this was really nice. It had a few slips and felt a little weak at the end, but on the whole it feels fundamentally strong.
#4 · 1
· · >>Garzeel
I don't have much to add here. You only have OCs, and still managed to make me care for them, and that feat is already something in itself.
See >>Zaid Val'Roa's comment for both the praise and the concerns.

I hope to see this expanded on FimFic.

Thank you for sharing.
#5 · 1
· · >>Garzeel
Going to agree with previous commenters. This is a great story idea with good characters, and I would really like to see it expanded a bit. I can feel where you're going with this and the arc is intriguing, especially the mentor relationship with Palette and Du Hoc, and the examination of their similarities. Right now it feels like a painting that just needs a little more shading and detail to make it really shine. Seems to be a running theme with a lot of these entries, which totally makes sense!

Your prose overall is solid, and I would enjoy more exploration of Palette's artistic perspective while he's taking in his surroundings (which could also be an opportunity to expand on how it feels to *think* one is in love with painting when they're not, really.)

Like other readers, I found there were some places where the word flow and sentence structure threw me off. I wonder if some of this could be improved with different punctuation choices and/or a little more variance in sentence lengths (breaking some of the longer ones into 2 or more shorter ones, etc.) But I do think the longer visual descriptions serve this concept well. Thank you for your contribution. If you decide to do more with this, I'd very much like to see what comes of it.
#6 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>MrExtra >>Garzeel
I'm... sorry. I like that you've gotten a lot of positive reviews! But I've got to be the odd man out here. This story really didn't connect with me, and I see it as having a lot of structural flaws, both in the framing and in the characters.

First, the story has no conflict -- at least, not any conflict that it succeeded in making me care about. Sure, nominally the conflict is that Palette Glaze needs to realize he fell in love with the benefits of painting and not painting itself, but... frankly, so what? I'm not in love with writing C++ code, but I enjoy the benefits software brings to me and others, and I don't regret my choice of tech career. Looking for the results and not the thing itself isn't inherently bad. There are people who would feel differently of course, but the story needs to establish why this character feels differently so that we understand why it's a big deal to him, and I just don't see that here.

Second, Du Hoc. Put bluntly, he's an ass. Yes, Palette Glaze learns his lesson over the course of the story, but when he says, "What do you think you know about me?" he's not unjustified. At that point, they've known each other for all of a few hours, and Du Hoc is already presuming to know everything about him. Maybe Du Hoc is some great font of profound personal insight, but if so, the story doesn't establish that in a way that Palette Glaze or I as the reader can find meaningful. We're told he's wise, and later he turns out to be right, so that justifies it -- but if I were in Palette Glaze's place, I'd be feeling just as much anger and resentment at the presumption as he did.

Third, the entire lesson essentially happens off screen. He chats with a mare, he has a few drinks in a bar, he laughs, and... suddenly he has some big life revelation? Why? That needs to be explained, and the story really gives us nothing to work with here. Yes, it's warm, and yes, it's fuzzy, and yes we can be glad he learned how to have friends, but we only know that because we've read that story before and we're filling in the (large) blanks. The text certainly doesn't tell us what happened, which is a shame, because that's the meat of this sort of character-driven slice of life.

Phew. Sorry for the long rant -- and yeah, please don't take the negativity as discouragement. It's obvious a lot of people liked it! But this really didn't work for me.
#7 · 1
· · >>Garzeel
Genre: "Wheat Stain"(?)

Thoughts: My feelings fall somewhere between >>Not_A_Hat and >>GaPJaxie here. On the one hand, I like the idea of the wise old dude imparting unexpected wisdom on the young buck who's obsessed with the thing and not the reasons behind the thing--it brings to mind Stephen King's line about art being a support system for life and not the other way around (presuming I haven't butchered the line too badly). That's a good lesson, and I can see room for Palette to need to learn it, and I can see that Du Hoc would want to teach it.

But on the other hand, I feel like the depths of revelation and change in Palette happen way too fast considering where he starts. Granted, Twilight learned a lot of core lessons about the magic of friendship after just a single two-part episode, so it's not like Palette couldn't learn things somewhat quickly. But ultimately this isn't even a two-parter's volume of adventure. I'm going to just quote >>GaPJaxie and be done with it:
He chats with a mare, he has a few drinks in a bar, he laughs, and... suddenly he has some big life revelation?

Again, it's not a bad concept but I feel like the progression is just way too fast.

I liked the interactions between Palette and Du Hoc for the most part. The flirting with Silver was good too. I didn't like the happy-slappy green pegasus guy though... just something about his dialogue wore out its welcome right quick. Maybe it's a bit of Wacky Sidekick -syndrome. But I think if we'd had more time following Palette and Du Hoc on their brief road trip, it could've given the story more breathing room to learn about the characters and their pasts without having to pony up that information quite as quickly.

Tier: Keep Developing
#8 ·
· · >>Garzeel
Out of all the stories in this round, this is the most “laid back” I’ve read, and I mean that in a good way. This is a simple story about an artist going on a personal journey, and it definitely hits all the right beats for that kind of story. I also enjoyed how the characters were mostly down-to-earth (save for the flamboyant Sycamore), having unique character traits without becoming too over-the-top. It can be difficult to show this much restraint when it comes to character portraits, especially since the limited word count often calls for more extravagant characters. Another thing I enjoyed was how the plot was rather thin, mostly just focusing on Palette’s emotional growth. In fact, I think the story would’ve been stronger if the driving situation (the Du Hoc apprenticeship) was downplayed even more. This is a character piece, not a plot piece, and the parts that focus on Palette as a character really let the story shine.

That being said, the story doesn’t always click in the right ways. For one, the talk about Palette’s painting talent largely feels like an informed attribute. Other than the Silver Song painting, there’s not much demonstration of his ability, and that’s a problem when the whole point of the story is that his paintings are affecting his life. I also thought the opening description of Du Hoc went on a bit too long. I get that it’s meant to establish his legendary status and show Palette’s worship of him, but it ate up enough paragraphs that I thought could’ve been more effective if it was spread out through the story. And finally, I’m not really sure what the final message is supposed to be. Don’t get into art if you’re not fully committed to it? Realize your limitations as an artist? Talk about your art to gain different perspectives on it? I don’t know, the message on the end feels vague enough that I think the story might be better without it. Sometimes, what you learn isn’t always clear, and a confused stallion like Palette probably needs more than one night at a bar to figure things out.

But in the end, this was a relaxing and introspective story. It really felt like a character study of Palette instead of a plot-driven story, which was rather refreshing from a lot of the other stories done this round. Tinker with it a little more, and I’ll bet this’ll turn out grand.
#9 ·
· · >>Garzeel
This was a fun story that sucked me in from the beginning, but it lost that power as it approached the halfway point and petered off from there. I also believe that the weakest part of this story was the technical execution.

Similarly to >>GaPJaxie, I think this story felt truncated. Especially near the end things started to get really telly. Sycamore jumps up on a table and starts going on an epic rant and just as it starts to build..! We get told it was good. I WANTED TO HEAR THAT STORY! Sycamore is probably the least developed or consistent character (besides the 'friendly townsponies') in the story and cutting off the interactions here really hurt him. We get told he's 'roguish' and kinda wild, but his personality bounces around for a little bit before he settles on what I dubbed 'Shakespearean Actor'. The most roguish thing about him is his bottomless supply of winks that he passes out like confetti and the fact that he likes to have a good time at the bar. Never once do we see him steal a kiss or cheat at cards. He needs more development.

Du Hoc knew that he was no longer the only one who sensed things such as this.
This line is a great example of how telly this story got in the second half and was to a minor extent in the first. How do we know that Du Hoc sensed this other than you spelling it out? Did he notice Pallet's thousand mile stare out the door? Did Pallet's nose follow a sent across the room? Was he rubbing a hoof along the grain of the wood? Words are cheep, but visceral descriptions leave an impact. We have Five Senses: Sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. Everything we perceive is a combination of these so use them to build out the setting for the readers, and have the characters perceive and react to them. Then they can react to another's reaction to build the next perception. Like salt you don't need much, but it makes everything 'pop'.

Finally, the technical side. This at least is concrete and easy to fix. Things like put thoughts in italics, try not to use parenthesis, and watch where you break and join thoughts. A good proofreader and a text-to-speech program should fix that.

Overall, I think this story has a lot of heart. I liked Du Hoc and Pallet and their story has potential. You just need to let the story stretch out it's legs, try to show rather than tell, and do a little editing. Good job. Keep it up!

P.S. - Sorry if it seems like I'm dumping on your story, but I think a little bit of criticism does more good than a thousand 'good jobs' when working to make a story better.
Post by Garzeel , deleted
#11 ·
>>Garzeel Naw, there's nothing about your style that took anything away from my enjoyment of the overall story. I really like many things about your writing, and I think the style suits the subjects and setting here. You did a good job with descriptive passages illustrating each scene. And I get the sense that you truly care about these characters, which helps me to care about them too! I *love* the paragraphs that describe Silver's laughter and voice and appearance when Palette first meets her. I found it one of the most beautiful and evocative passages among so many that I've read this round.

I'm working on refining my style, too, and trying to get better at editing myself. Lifelong struggle. :) I wish you the best in finding the voice that works best for you.