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It Could Have Gone Better · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Technical Ecstasy (or: Party Princess Shining Bright)
Octavia felt the first rays of dawn as a glowing warmth on her muzzle. She raised a hot mug of tea in her forehooves, but she didn’t sip it, instead savoring its aromatic notes of cardamom and citrus as they wafted upward. Her thoughts wandered as peacefully as the steam from her mug, or the faint flecks of dust dancing in the light that pierced the gauzy drapes.

The moment was fractured by a heavy thump from the floor above her. Octavia took a brief sip of the tea, as if it could ward away what would likely come next. But then, sure as death, Octavia heard more hoofsteps from on high, heading eastward, toward the staircase….

“Tavi,” shouted Vinyl Scratch, bursting through the door at the other end of their eat-in kitchen. Octavia took another sip as she regarded the manic mare’s deep grin and unkempt mane. “Tavi, I finally know how I’m gonna break into the big time!”

From experience, Octavia knew not to ask ask what her roommate was on about before finishing her morning ritual of tea and sun-praise.

“It's so easy,” Vinyl said, gesticulating with a fury that seemed undeterred by Octavia’s silence. “Princess Twilight got her wings ’cause she created magic, right? Or like, finished making some that some old dude was working on.”

If she concentrated hard enough, Octavia could almost feel the coziness of her bathrobe subsuming all unnecessary senses—

Vinyl ducked back through the door. Loud tromping on the stairs was followed by mechanical pops and screeches from above. Octavia took the opportunity to slam back most of the tea and mutter a quick thanks for the dawn while she could.

Then Vinyl was back, hauling a load of equalizers, keyboards, and cables in her magic. Octavia felt glad her mug was empty when Vinyl dumped most of the load unceremoniously on the table before her, scattering the mug, some salt and pepper shakers, and a wide red bottle emblazoned with a mustachioed pony under a huge sombrero.

“Okay, so, technology. All this phat-beat techno-wizardry I drop? It might work ‘magic’ with the ladies, but it isn't magic. It's just like… electricity, and stuff.”

“Isn’t the electrical grid powered by magic?”

Technically, yeah, but that’s just where it comes from. Everything on top of it? That's science. Or is it?!” Somehow Vinyl’s grin grew deeper.

Silence. Long, awkward silence. Octavia’s throat tickled but she refused to clear it on principle.

“...And so,” Vinyl at last continued after tapping her horn, “basically, I’m gonna use my magic to repro what I do on these babies, with this one. Then I’m gonna be the Princess of Gettin’ Down, and life’s just gonna be one sick drop all day and night.”

“I see,” Octavia said, glowering at her empty mug. “So you’ve finally done it.”

“Yeah! I know, right?

“No, I mean you’ve finally gone arse-over-knickers insane…excuse my Prench. That's not really creating new magic, is it? Imagine casting a spell to work the blender, then calling yourself the Princess of—”


“...I was going to say, Blending Things. I mean, if everypony who ever contributed the tiniest bit of magical research ascended to Alicornhood, shouldn’t the world would be teeming with them?”

“Or maybe it is, but it’s like a VIP-only thing?”

Octavia rose from the table and fished her mug out from the bric-a-brac. “Vinyl, you’re very dear, but do try not to be disappointed when—”

“Gettin’ me some blings, wings, and wubs tonight!” Vinyl interrupted, heading for the stairs. “WOO!”

And Octavia sighed, cradling her head in her hooves.

Princess Celestia had tried to welcome the newest Alicorn with a traditional, if hastily assembled, song and photomontage. But finding her attempts to summon the newling into the void rebuffed by a throbbing wall of sound, she instead teleported to the Alicorn’s location in the mortal realm, where a raucous party was unfolding.

Standing outside the small house at its epicenter was a haggard-looking grey earth pony holding a chipped mug. As Celestia approached her, the pony turned with eyes that made it clear she’d seen things. And slowly, the pony offered her the mug.

“Thank you… oh, that’s lovely. But… what's going on here?”

The pony turned back toward the ever-growing party with a sigh. “Have you ever lived with a pony who you loved dearly on the one hoof, but who drove you bloody mad on the other?”

Celestia took a long sip. “Yes. Yes, I suppose I have.”
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#1 · 7
· · >>Moosetasm >>CoffeeMinion
I’m honestly not sure if success or failure would be the funnier option with that much setup. In any case, an enjoyable Scratchtavia life-slice with some rather higher-magnitude shenanigans than the typical specimen, though the pacing feels a bit uneven due to cramming it in at the word limit. Still, I do love the exchange at the end.
#2 · 7
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I like this. I'm having a hard time finding anything to recommend, other than Scratch seems maybe a tad overdone (but that's hard not to do).

You used "Prench"! Yay! But I did not write this one, I'm pretty sure.
#3 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion
This one is hard for me to be fair about, since Vinyl Scratch is my favorite background pony (or I guess minor character at this point) and my interpretation of her differs from most, but I'll try my best.

This is a pretty humorous slice-of-life romp that has kind of a neat premise, although it does feel like typical Octavia-Vinyl shenanigans when you get down to it.

The last little section is what sticks out to me the most, no surprise there, and the prose learns to calm the fuck down by the end as well.

Seriously though, that was some flowery stuff at the beginning, and I'm not sure it being overwritten was intentional or not. I'm gonna take a guess and say it was.

There are a few typos in there as well, and one word even got repeated, but I can deal with that.

I'm feeling a decent to strong 7 on this.
#4 ·
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Holy crap, this is head-thumpingly good character writing. Vinyl isn't how I picture her, but hey, interpretation's fair game, and this manic madcap musician reasoning her way to alicornhood is something I can get. I'll say I was stoked, good sir, stoked by that part of the story. Left me with a grin on my face, so it did.

Octavia functions very well here too as the calm foil, nicely tolerant and even somewhat dismissive. You've done a good job with the characters here, and I will give you a high ranking just for that, because that sort of thing is my jam.

Where it falls down for me is in the ending. The story might actually have been improved by keeping to the one scene and having the discussion go on about the ridiculousness of Vinyl's scheme. Just rushing to "she's an alicorn now, and Octavia needs a drink" feels kind of weak for me. Although the moment between Octavia and Celestia is a good hook for a comedic comparison, it's just sort of there. I felt it was a twist for the sake of a twist, or at least could have been more smoothly integrated into the fic we got.

I'd say solid entry, if maybe a bit on the low side. Similar to the Daring Do one, you just change the ending and you're good to go, as far as I'm concerned.
#5 · 5
· · >>CoffeeMinion
This is a very well-assembled story that fits the minific format like a glove. The pacing is spot-on and the dialogue reads smoothly. But I'm afraid that as a comedy, things just didn't quite coalesce for me.

Dead honest, I felt like I've read this story before. That being said, I was around back when Epic Wub Time was the fandom's biblical text on Vinyl's characterization and when the post-S3 "everypony is now an alicorn" meme was at its strongest. So I acknowledge that I might have a different perspective than today's typical reader of pony words.

But just to give you my perspective, I had trouble with the jokes because they felt really familiar to me. Surprise is a big element of comedy, and I, personally, felt that I knew where and how this was going to end up. I'm sorry to have to drop such a dud of a review, but I do realize that this is almost entirely subjective so I'm going to take that into consideration while scoring this one.
#6 · 3
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I love me a good Scratchtavia fic.

I agree, success or failure in a Vinyl Scratch endeavor are usually interchangeable in their impact on others.

Here are two scenarios to illustrate:

Scenario 1: Success, in which Vinyl becomes the Alicorn Princess of ‘Wub’:
Celestia needs to intervene, Tavi never sleeps again, and no eardrums survive.

Scenario 2: Failure, in which Vinyl causes an out-of-control ‘rock you like a hurricane’:
Celestia needs to intervene, Tavi never sleeps again, and no eardrums survive.
#7 · 3
· · >>georg >>CoffeeMinion
>tfw you read an andrewrogue story that andrewrogue couldn't possibly have written

As much as I liked this (and I liked it a lot), I feel like the ending didn't quite stick. Octavia should probably be just a little more put out/exasperated with Celestia, seeing as she, y'know, upended all her notions regarding fairness and the function of magic in society.

And validated Vinyl. The worst crime of them all.
#8 · 2
Genre: Nostalgia

Thoughts: Okay, first off, props for capturing some of the spirit and energy of Epic Wub Time and related works with this. As others kinda indicated, this reads like it came out of a time capsule from earlier in the fandom... specifically the part I wasn't around for, though I've caught up a bit, and I suspect this would've fit right in.

Nostalgia alone isn't enough to carry a story, though (probably). Looking past that, I see some things that are working here, along with some bigger gaps. Both Octavia and Vinyl have strong characterization, and it's easy to enjoy their interactions. I think Octavia is strongly written at the beginning and end, and her moment with Celestia is a great way to bring the story's shenanigans to a controlled halt.

But I think there's a gap with the plot itself, and/or with Octavia as its central character. I can't help but feel like the entire plot of this just revolves around things happening to and/or in the vicinity of Octavia, rather than there being a "plot" per se. Maybe it boils down to personal taste, but I ultimately find it hard to care about any of what's going on since it all seems to be so random. Nobody is running around making choices or going through changes--except Vinyl. But she's not really the protagonist.

My other beef is with Octavia's dialogue in the middle. Right now I feel like she comes off as very harsh and sudden with her words. Maybe it's a consequence of not having enough spare word count to let the conversation warm up more slowly and breathe a bit, but I don't feel like the current version of it quite hits the mark. Also, "arse over knickers insane" is... a unique choice of insult. Strictly speaking, wouldn't that mean one's bottom was exceeding one's drawers? #2Lewd4Me :-p

I dunno though. Issues aside, I feel like this has a certain charm about it that manages to pull the whole experience together in the end. It's got some barriers to making me care about what's going on, but ultimately I think it pulls that off, too.

Tier: Strong
#9 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>Posh Naaa, the ending *made* the story. Two mares, connected by insanity and tea.
#10 · 3
Egad, the Writeoff's over, isn't it?!

Retrospective Ecstasy (or: Retrospective Princess Shining Bright)

Anyone remember FOME's Imposing Sovereigns contest from last year? Well, that's where this idea had its genesis. I thought the contest was a fun idea in itself; I felt like I had a fun story concept here; and I had some title inspiration from a song in a show that my Oldest was really into at the time. It seemed like the makings of a winner, and I even went so far as to try to line up a cover art approval for it.

The only catch is that I never got around to writing the bloody thing. Long story short, my 2017 was eventful, and I just never managed to get the right combination of time, energy, and inspiration to make ze majiks happen--during FOME's contest or otherwise. Fast forward to a couple weeks ago, when I realized this idea could be a good fit for both the prompt and the minific format.

The title bears a bit more explanation. I'd spent more than a year living with the idea of "Party Princess Shining Bright" as a title, but as I went to submit the story, the title didn't seem nearly so clever as it once had. So I switched it to the first thing that came to mind that seemed remotely suitable, which was of course the title of a Black Sabbath album. Still not satisfied, I switched it back and forth a few more times, and started mixing and matching pieces of title. Finally I decided to try splitting the difference as you see here, and found I rather liked it, bizarre and long as it may be.

On to comments!

>>FanOfMostEverything (FOME)
And here we are, with Imposing Sovereigns still exerting an influence after all this time. ^^ Thank you for your kind words. Mind if I quote your praise?

>>Trick_Question (Trick)
Prench forever! Also, overwriting Vinyl is one of the truest joys in life.

>>No_Raisin (Raisin)
Guilty as charged about the beginning, but I wanted there to be some calm before the storm. Also, I don't see the typos and repetition you mentioned... would you be up for PMing me on FimFiction with what you found?

>>BlueChameleonVI (Chameleon)
Thank you for your praise of the character writing! I fear the ending is mostly just kinda what it is, though. I'm as keen as the next bloke for more serious works, but this one's just here for shenanigans and a bit of heart.

>>Bachiavellian (Bach)
I know you were expressing a bit of not-enthusiasm with your review, but nevertheless I want you to know that I whooped and pumped my fist like yesssss when I saw it. I was aiming squarely at the look and feel of Epic Wub Time with this, and so to have someone call it out as being perhaps too reminiscent of that was almost better than I could've hoped for! ^^

>>Moosetasm (Moose)
Congrats for guessing this was mine! I'm not exactly sure what my "style" is, but I do enjoy writing this kind of manic wub pixie Vinyl.

>>Posh (Pantsu-Chan)
Look, I can explain: AndrewRogue turned into a dragon and attacked my hometown, and some local guys called the Greybeards said I was chosen from prophecy to slay dragons by shouting at them, so I shouted at AndrewRogue (only to stop his reign of terror--otherwise I'm sure he's a cool guy), and subsequently absorbed the power of his "Thu'um," which is Nordic for "ability to write ScratchTavia."

But yeah, I think Octavia could maybe be more indignant at the end. I think, at a minimum, it might emerge that it ain't just tea in that mug.

>>georg (jorj)
Always good to be a made man!