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It Could Have Gone Better · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M.
Dear Princess Celestia,

I’m going to die alone. And, really, it’s all your fault.

Your Most Faithful Student,

Twilight Sparkle




“I’m so sorry, Celestia!” said Twilight the moment I teleported into her moonlit room. The words were cocooned in embarrassment and frustration, and they also had a very distinct slur to them. “It was a joke, and I told Spike not to send it. But he thought it would be ‘cathartic’.”

“I see.” I let a bemused smile creep onto my face. “Where is he now?”

“Banished to hish—I mean, his—room. Maybe for the rest of the week. I haven’t decided yet.” Groaning, she shook her head. Her footing faltered for just a moment. “Teenagers, right?”

“Twilight,” I said. “You’re drunk.”

She regarded my words for a moment and then shrugged with both wings.

“Yes, I am,” she sighed. “No sense in trying to hide it, I suppose.”

Her horn glowed and two full crystal flutes of sparkling champagne popped into the air. Taking the one she offered me, I sipped it and I enjoyed it immensely; Twilight had excellent taste.

We sat belly-down on the floor and drank in silence. After we had both drained our glasses, Twilight magicked them away and brought forth a new pair.

“Okay,” she said. “So, the minotaur in the room.”

Deep in my heart, I was proud of her. Not too long ago, these kinds of circumstances would have left her too frightened to speak. Or too frightened to shut up.

“I admit, I’m curious. But, I’m also worried, Twilight.” I place my hoof over hers. “Nopony writes a letter like that without some truth in it.”

“No! I don’t blame you!” Twilight paused. Then she gulped down a mouthful of bubbling wine. “Or, maybe I do? A little, at least? I mean, you are the reason why I’m a Princess. Yeah, I’m a Princess because I earned it, but I wouldn’t have—couldn’t have!—earned it without you! And I’m really grateful that you helped me reach my potential, but being a princess makes it really, really bucking hard to date!”

“Hence, the wine?” I asked.

“Hence, the wine!” she proclaimed.

Her horn flashed and conjured four coconut halves with paper umbrellas and straws poking out of them. She thirstily attacked two at once while passing the other tropical drinks to me. They were also very bucking good, and we consumed them quickly.

“Bad date?” I asked.

“Yeah,” sighed Twilight, defeated. “He… Well, he was nice. But he couldn’t get over it. He tried to. Like I said, he was nice. But it was too big of a deal, I think.”

Twilight’s expression cracked, and my heart broke. She sniffed and brought the tips of her feathers to her eyes to wipe away the moisture. With a blast from her horn, every coconut bowl was full again and sprouted several more sunset-colored parasols each.

“I like the umbrellas,” she muttered hoarsely as she resumed her alcohol intake.

“I’m sorry, Twilight.” I found myself looking deeply into my own drink, as if all the answers would be spelled out in floating coconut flakes. “It’s really how it tends to be, outside of the suitors that are blatantly trying to curry favor.”

“I guess I suspected as much,” she said. “I’m just… I’m grateful for my friends… But I think I just… I just want… Ugh!”

“I understand, Twilight.”

I squeezed her hoof, and she relaxed just a little. There was still tension in her shoulders, and her ears swiveled this way and that.

“Does… it get any easier?” she asked, tentatively.

“No,” I said grimacing.

Twilight’s ears dropped instantly, even as she was trying to process my response.

“But you should give him another chance,” I said.

“Why bother?”

“Twilight, look at me,” I said in a voice I hadn’t had to use in a long time. When her tired eyes met mine, I continued. “Not many ponies can get over it, but nopony gets over it on the first date. If he can, he will be able to see past the crown, given time. But only if given time.”

“Okay,” she said, nodding resolutely. “Okay…” she said again. She sniffed, and forced a smile. “I guess I should be thanking Spike after all.”

“That can wait for the morning.”

I lit my horn and summoned two tankards filled with golden ale.

Twilight’s eyes widened.

"You’re the best,” she whispered.

Giggling, we clank tankards, and much of the frothy beer spills to the floor.
Pics
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#1 · 6
· · >>BlueChameleonVI >>Bachiavellian
Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M.

I'm sure everyone who stayed up late finishing their entries can corroborate this.

I have a soft spot for small conversational pieces, they can deliver a solid experience in a single scene, and this does precisely that.

Twilight's princesshood being an obstacle to a normal relationship is something you don't see too often, and when you do see it, it's usually focused on contrasting her longevity with that of normal ponies. This is much simpler, and therefore more relatable. There's a lot of drama to be had regarding Twilight's status as a hurdle to pass in the pursuit of love, and you did a good job presenting that idea as well as addressing it with Celestia's view on the matter.

I only wish it could've dwelled deeper on Twilight's thoughts after Celestia gives her advice, because I feel the story wraps up too quickly from that point onwards. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed your story.
#2 · 2
· · >>BlueChameleonVI >>Bachiavellian
I want to like this more than I do, but I have some nagging issues with it that I want to address.

1. I'm not sure why this has to be told from Celestia's POV. You want to use 1st person narration when you want to capture someone's unique perspective on things, but the narrative doesn't require this, and it would be pretty much the same if you just switched it to 3rd person.

2. The drama wrapping up as cleanly as it does. Well, I get you can only do so much with a minific, but it's also frustrating to see Twilight go from mach 2 resentment to leisurely stroll in the span of what seems like 5 minutes.

3. Okay, pet peeve of mine, but are we still doing the whole "bucking" thing?

Mind you, there is also quite a bit to like here. I find it both humorous and relatable that Twilight can't get a date because of something she doesn't even control, and we get to see a side of her here that we normally don't in fics.

The grammar and style is also pretty solid for the most part, although you did change tenses a couple times.

I guess I'm feeling decent to strong 6 on this.
#3 · 4
· · >>Bachiavellian
Some great Celestia/Twilight interaction, but it ends up feeling shallow given the intensity of the first few lines. It’s a product of the word limit, yes, but it hurts the story nonetheless. Still, great to see these two interact more casually. I’d love to see this one expanded. Maybe have Luna weigh in. Goodness only knows what drinks she’ll contribute…
#4 · 1
· · >>Bachiavellian
Why is the last sentence present tense?

Aside from that, it's nice enough. It's always fun to see Twilight and Celestia acting more like peers.
#5 · 2
· · >>CoffeeMinion >>Bachiavellian
The word "grimacing" needs a comma preface.

The last line shifts to present tense for no obvious reason.

I'm concerned about Twilight drinking this much alcohol. You need to at least lampshade it by implying she can't kill herself with liquor because she's an alicorn or something. Celestia seems not to care in the slightest.
#6 · 1
· · >>Bachiavellian
I'm really not sure about this one. For instance, the opening letter grabs my attention because it throws me for a loop, but it soon becomes clear it's there as simple bait.

Pet peeve moment: Maybe I'm biased by my dislike of seeing explicit alcohol and drunkenness in an Equestrian setting, but this OOC, OTT letter really soured my attitude towards the rest of the fic. If you're talking about dying alone, let alone blaming someone for it, even to lead in to another subject, you'd better have a hell of a lot more gravitas than this. Dating issues are not gravitas. Seeing "bucking" used unironically didn't help matters, either. There isn't even any real need for this fic to read like it's trying for a Teen rating. It's like listening to a kid swear; they think it makes them sound adult and edgy, but it's really just embarrassing to watch and annoying to put up with. Kids, for Pete's sake don't do this.

OK, rant over.

On to the actual subject matter: I do like this idea that Twilight struggles to date because of her status. I'm with >>Zaid Val'Roa on that one. The talk at times is at least nice and pleasant, and rushed ending aside, I came away feeling the better for it. For the actual subject matter, I emphasize, and not for that opening. Sorry, it really did put me off.

I do have concerns about Spike posting the letter without Twilight's permission. I'm sure there are better ways for him to drag Celestia in than to break Twilight's trust and violate her privacy like that. Not forgetting the opening still sours a lot of the fic for me. This wouldn't be that hard to fix for me; have Spike write his own letter expressing his concern and what's going on. It'd feel more honest and wouldn't come across as "clickbait-like" misleading of the reader. After all, we've only got 750 words at most. We want to know what to think as early as possible, and the current opening scrambles the signal.

I do like "the minotaur in the room". Unlike "bucking", it's clever, it works with canon, and my reading eye rolled right over it all comfortable-like.

On another note, I approve of the whole "give it time" moral; this sort of thing does require adaptation, after all. But >>No_Raisin has a point about it feeling like it wraps up a little too neatly. If I were writing this, I'd possibly make the ending more pensive; we know troubling times are still up ahead, because this isn't something you resolve overnight. Especially given the apparent strength of feeling on display, that should be a point of emphasis.

Overall, an interesting read that's a bit teeth-on-edge off in certain respects for me.
#7 · 1
· · >>Bachiavellian
Genre: Drunken Alicorns

Thoughts: I think this is well-structured and it feels pretty complete within the word limit. I feel kinda awkward trying to judge this on the authenticity of the experience, though. My first thought was that this seems like an alarming amount of alcohol... and I have a hard time seeing past that. Maybe >>Trick_Question's suggestion about making Alicorn alcohol tolerance clear is a good idea.

But then I also haven't had this kind of conversation quite like this either, so I'm drawn back to the alcohol...

Hmm. Well, I guess I'm failing on objectivity here. I guess maybe the one kinda objective-ish thing I can say is that I feel like it's too subtle what the stallion's problem with Twilight is, so I kinda don't get that whole bit.

Sorry author, I'm pretty sure this story deserves a better review than I can give it. :-/

Tier: Abstain
#8 · 2
· · >>Bachiavellian
I’d like to think Celestia is slightly more responsible than to enable somepony who is already drunk enough to write a hurtful letter into more drinking. She also seems to enjoy the drink herself, when her thoughts (unless she is a shameless hedonist) should be focused on Twilight. I expected something like her sipping it, but being unable to enjoy it due to the situation. That’s just an example, I think the concept is good, just execution-wise it was a little off.
#9 · 3
·
Oh wow, I was so caught up in writing art reviews that I forgot to do my own retro. Somebody, hit the lights and the pyrotechnics! We're going live now!

Retrospective: Nothing Good Happens After 2 A.M.

Okay, I am a bit disappointed that this didn't make it, but definitely not surprised given the general direction of the reviews. I think a lot of the problem is that the hook probably comes across more strongly than I intended. It was supposed to be mostly jocular, but a lot of readers seemed to take it as mean-spirited from Twilight and/or Spike. Which is totally understandable. I meant for the opening to turn heads—I guess I just overdid it.

Still, had a bunch of fun writing this!

>>Zaid Val'Roa
Yeah, this was actually the first minific I've written in a long time that significantly overshot the word count. I've been getting pretty good at guesstimating a first draft at 700-800 words, but this one was poised to hit 900+. So the ending did get a tad smushed. Happy you enjoyed the story!

>>No_Raisin
For point 1, I thought I would use Celestia's perspective to make more observations about Twilight than I actually ended up doing. I think there ended up being only one direct statement about Twilight. Two if you squint. You're totally right that I should have taken advantage of the first-person more.

2, you're on point. Like I said to Zaid, the ending did get smushed due to wordcount, and I kinda had to hurry through Twilight's lesson-learning.

As for 3, I am never going to figure out how to cuss in a ponyfic. I remember all the ways back, Summer Island caught a bit of heat for using real-life swears, so I thought I'd ponify it this time around. It's a bit of a balancing act, I know, so hopefully I'll get it closer to feeling right next time.

Thanks for your thoughts!

>>FanOfMostEverything
100% agree with your statement that Twilight's character arc feels shallow and rushed. And Luna would totally bring mead. She's an old-fashioned girl. :B

>>Trick_Question
I wish I could say that she's drinking so much because of Alicorn immortality, but truthfully, I think I just lost count of how many drinks I made Twilight gulp down. Yeah, I was having too much fun writing, and I got sloppy. :derpytongue:

>>BlueChameleonVI
I definitely see where you're coming from. I'm trying to use adult themes with the drinking and the dating, but I've got kid-gloves on the language. It's a tonal dissonance, and you've got grounds to complain. Like I said to Raisin, pony-swearing is apparently a hit-or-miss sort of deal with me, so I'm still trying to figure out what I can get away with.

As for Spike, I was hoping that Twilight's "teenager" line would give the impression that he was older and rowdier. In any case, it definitely wasn't supposed to come across as mean-spirited, so I probably dropped the ball somewhere.

Thanks for your observations!

>>CoffeeMinion
See my response to Trick for why Twilight is apparently a part-time beer keg.

As for her stallion problems, I'm trying to go for a sense that ponies are basically freaking out (positively and negatively) over her princess-ness too much to genuinely date her. Like, being nervous messes, or being over-excited. I really didn't want to spell it out, because I don't think that's how emotionally hurt people talk, but I understand if you had trouble parsing out the idea. It would probably have been a better idea to err on the side of clarity rather than subtlety in this case.

Thank you for your thoughts!

>>Moosetasm
Yeah, that letter wasn't supposed to come across as angry or hurtful. In my mind, it was kinda silly and more of an excuse for Celestia to meet with Twilight and talk. Celestia's drinking is supposed to be in solidarity, and not a personal thing. I think I can definitely stand to make that clearer that she's enjoying the drinks because of her company. I've definitely got some work to do to clean up the tone.

>>axxuy
>>Trick_Question
>>No_Raisin
...although you did change tenses a couple times.

Why is the last sentence present tense?

The last line shifts to present tense for no obvious reason.


Okay, for some reason, all of my stories come out of my head in present tense, and I need to consciously take effort to transcribe them into past tense. In this very story, I think I caught and edited about five or six sentences I originally wrote in present tense. I have no idea why I think my fics in present tense, but yeah, it slips sometimes. I think like half of my writeoff entries have at least one tense error in them. I think in this case, I finished up writing really late, so I was just eager to get the last sentence out of my system and be done with it, and I forgot to check its tense. Blugh!