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It Could Have Gone Better · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
Perfect
Rarity woke up to the sound of Fluttershy rolling out of bed. She groaned as she shifted over, coming face to face with the clock. It was 3:00. Way too early to rise even for her.

“Dear, what’s the matter? Are you still stressing over what Humid said yesterday?” She was answered with complete silence, only the rustling of the curtains told her anypony was actually there.

Her hooves slid themselves out of the warm bed and she shivered. She shook the sleep from her legs and stared out the now open windows; it was pouring out there. Fluttershy had a bright yellow raincoat on and looked like she was about to explode she was so tense.

Rarity yawned, “Shy, he doesn’t mean anything. He was just an angry pony looking to let his anger out on someone. Unfortunately that pony was you.”

She shuffled pass Rarity, combing her hair and brushing her teeth at the same time.

“Your cottage is perfectly fine as it is. It’s perfectly habitable and no animal has died in your wonderful hooves. Besides, you don’t need to change your entire life all because one pony out of thousands says he doesn’t like it.”

Fluttershy stopped brushing her hair and inched towards Rarity with tears in her eyes.

“What if-- what if he was right? What if I could do better for them but I haven’t been for my own selfish wants?” She seethed.

Rarity was taken aback and silence overtook the room. Thunder cracked outside and the rain poured even thicker sheets of water. Fluttershy took in sharp breaths. She had her head down and her pink hair covered her tear soaked face, “It really got to me Rarity. What if I’m not perfect for my animal friends?”

This time it was Fluttershy’s turn to be taken aback. Rarity was laughing at her. She had shoved a hoof in her mouth to stifle the sound but had failed miserably.

“I’m so very sorry dearie. It’s just so ridiculous!”

Rarity hugged her marefriend. “Having a perfect house or life or even self is impossible. Even if it were I would not have it any other way.”

She took Fluttershy’s hood off and moved a strand of hair gently out of her face. “If we were perfect there would be nothing to aspire to. Nothing to be. The world would be an empty husk. The day we are all perfect is the day Equestria dies,” she said with a huff.

“Wow… that uh-- that got pretty dark towards the end there Rarity.” They both giggled and the air suddenly felt a lot less tense. Fluttershy’s breathing had gotten more controlled.

“You know what I mean. Think about it. If my shop had perfect money, lights, clothes, and decorations, would I really be setting up shop in Manehattan?”

“Hmm. I guess not.”

“And I’m so much happier that I did. So many more ponies get to see what I’ve done and I hope to one day get to share my talent all over Equestria.” Rarity threw her hoof to the roof and arched it across, painting a picture. “I once heard a pony say ‘perfection is the enemy of progress’ and he was right. If we strive too hard we eventually stop, too overcome with negativity and stress to become what everypony says is perfect. But if we actually become perfection we become complacent in our lives, unable to push ourselves to create new and exciting things.

“So yeah. Your cottage isn’t perfect and it could be better, but guess what? So is everything else in this world.”

She closed her mini speech with another huff. She looked over at the clock. 3:07.

“I you don’t mind me, I think I’ll be heading back to bed, care to join?”

Fluttershy smiled and, without hesitation, took off her raincoat.
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#1 · 7
· · >>BlueChameleonVI >>Anon Y Mous
This is a nice little slice of life. I think it suffers from telliness issues, though:

Fluttershy had a bright yellow raincoat on and looked like she was about to explode she was so tense.


This isn't the right way to tell us that Fluttershy was tense. Show her doing something that a nervous pony would do. Describe her body language and her face. The trick is to get the audience to come to the conclusion you want them to come to without outright telling them what judgments they should be making.

I'm not sure it's realistic that no animals ever died under Fluttershy's care. Death is a normal part of life.

I'm left just a little confused about what was said to Fluttershy. "You could do better by your animals and I don't like your cottage"? Some clarification might help the reader to empathize.
#2 · 5
· · >>Anon Y Mous
This fic left me confused, and not in a good way.

Context is important, even if there's a distinct lack of one, but the reason for Fluttershy being upset here is really weird, in that it doesn't really add up.

I'm pretty sure animals have died in her care, because animals die and death is a part of life and so on, so I don't know what the deal with that is. Of course animals die in her care.

Also, I'm not sure how this stallion came to say these things to Fluttershy, or how they even crossed paths.

Also also, I'm not sure, given how tell-y and blatant the message is, if this whole thing is meant to be taken straight or as a parody of a lower-tier episode of the show. Probably the former.

I think there's something good here, but it's really muddled as it is now.

I'm feeling a strong 5 to a light 6 on this.
#3 · 4
· · >>Anon Y Mous
The Rarishy feels crowbarred in just so Fluttershy could have another pony to talk to at 3 in the morning, and the conflict itself feels less than compelling. Animal care is the one area where Fluttershy has always had a degree of confidence. If we’re at a point in the timeline where Rarity is expanding to Manehattan, then by all rights, Fluttershy would’ve more likely calmly, politely torn Humid a new one rather than take stock in his backseat zookeeping.

And yeah, not to hammer it in, but death does happen no matter the quality of the caretaker.

Suffice to say, this one is far from perfect. I can see what you were trying for, but you didn’t quite get there.
#4 · 2
· · >>Anon Y Mous
I like the scope of the story; it's not too big or too small for a minific. You've also done a great job setting up a tone very quickly, which is super important with minifics.

That being said, I'm having a little bit of trouble following what's going on in Fluttershy's head. It's a little bit of a stretch for me to imagine her being so unsettled by a random pony's passing comment. A stretch, but ultimately believable, I think. What's harder to swallow is how easily Flutters seems to come back from it. If she was disturbed enough to lose sleep over it, I'm really wondering how a seven minute talk can fix everything.

And I might just be crazy, but I cannot figure out why she had the raincoat on. It's probably bugging me more than it should, but I'd really like to know why she wants to go outside.

Overall, I really think you just need to be clearer with what you're trying to say about these characters. Subtlety is a sliding bar, and IMO you could stand to nudge it a little more towards the "overt" side of the spectrum.
#5 · 1
· · >>BlueChameleonVI >>Anon Y Mous
You know, I can't tell if they're in Rarity's house, or Fluttershy's.... Maybe that's just a minor detail, but there are a lot of minor details missing here, which would've filled in the context to richen this nice little scene. In this case, whose house they're in would tell me if Fluttershy intends to leave her cottage in the middle of the night, or return to it. Very significant either way, but right now it feels like neither.
#6 · 1
· · >>Anon Y Mous
I know it's just a coincidence, but three fics with the word "Perfect" in the title is pretty funny. All of them involve love as a major subject. Two of them involve weddings. Two of them involve "just take our word for it" Rarity-shipping right off the bat. I find that pretty droll, what?

OK, I've had my moment. Onto the story itself, brave comrades!

I'm not gonna mince words: This does have an amateurish feel to it. Not fatally so, because the kernel of the concept is fair game. Fluttershy has a moment of self-doubt and Rarity talks her out of it, showing how much they love each other (not necessarily in a romantic sense, though, but in a platonic friendship sense). The talk about perfectionism is... well, perfect icing on the cake, and easily my favourite part.

It's fine, but here's where I think it needs improvement: the attention to detail is currently inconsistent. And it matters, because if we get bogged down puzzling over whether the elements make sense or fit together, we're too distracted to feel the emotion you want us to feel. Let me give you some examples, with suggestions for how to make them do what you want them to do.

Firstly, setting the scene stops our imaginations worrying over what we're looking at. >>Haze makes the point that at no moment in the fic do we find out where this is all happening. It matters because, unless there's a dramatic justification for delaying the reveal, we want at least a hint as to how the lighting, the colour, the layout of the set, and so on will serve the story going on inside it.

After all, Rarity's boutique is very different in style and mood to Fluttershy's cottage. Revealing which one it is will give us an idea as to whether Fluttershy is trusting Rarity enough to bring her to her own bed (which would subtly put a more desperate spin on her reaching out to Rarity later; she's already proven she can trust Rarity enough to let her into a private place) or if Rarity is the master of the territory (which would make Fluttershy more like an intruder or an odd element, and so give the impression that Fluttershy is feeling slightly more inferior).

Neither setting is "superior" to the other; they work in different ways to paint a different scene and create a different mood. Imagine, for instance, this happening in the wild, natural comfort of Fluttershy's homey den versus the civilized, grandiose palace of Rarity's glamorous abode. Plus, human brains are greedy for visual clues; if you don't provide enough for us readers, it feels unsatisfying, and we might start making up our own against your wishes.

Secondly, the setup for the characters feels a little loose. Who, after all, is Humid, and why would Fluttershy take his word so seriously? Especially as others have mentioned before me: if this is Fluttershy post-character development, that snags against her increased confidence and ability to stand up for herself.

Do we even really need a bully character? Introspective moments can be much more powerful when the characters air doubts they've arrived at all by themselves. Without an external source that can be blamed and used as a target, the focus concentrates on the character and their inner world.

Also, you jump into Fluttershy and Rarity discussing this a little too quickly, and since you're also assuming from word one that they're a couple, it's a little too fast for us readers.

It's good that you want to get us to the point and avoid a slow start, but something this heavy and serious needs at least a little build-up. Look at Soft Stitches, for example; that fic has a great build-up to the main problem with characters treating it slowly and carefully, hinting at what the issue is, and I think if you did something like that, you'd immediately enrich the story you want to tell.

Next, I'd probably focus less on getting to the heart-warming reconciliation as fast as possible, and more on letting the characters guide each other to a mutual understanding. You've got the essence, undeniably: Fluttershy has self-doubt, and Rarity will talk her out of it. But you make Fluttershy seem too vaguely misguided. What "selfish wants", for example? You can't just say things like that, because readers can't gauge how accurate or real the claim is; we generally require examples or demonstrations, so we can better appreciate or judge what the character thinks.

More to the point: Fluttershy may be totally right, and she does spend too many hours going off to indulge herself (or, this being Fluttershy, "indulge" herself), or she may be wrong and she really works to breaking point trying to meet her animals' needs. Or it could be somewhere between those two extremes.

Without knowing, we have no baseline from which to judge Rarity's response, and whether it's sensible or not. I'll also add that Rarity's "no animal died under Fluttershy's care" is an unrealistic claim, though it is at least an example of how good Fluttershy is, so you do (at least sometimes) grasp the principle of exemplification I was talking about.

Also, don't just have Rarity obviously bowl Fluttershy's argument over. I find it's much more interesting to have both sides be right, at least in part, so that there's a great struggle before we get our victory. It's the difference between a close, tense match between two equally strong opponents, and a boring curb-stomp where it's so obvious who'll win that watching the match is just a predictable formality.

Finally, though I won't harp on the point (other commenters have made the case anyway), the prose does need a bit of tidying up. This isn't because of grammatical or stylistic pedantry; it's a kindness to your readers to help them slide through the prose and feel they're being guided through the story.

For instance, >>Trick_Question makes a point about depicting how tense Fluttershy is. Telling us she "exploded" - a violent, sudden action - doesn't match the trembling, slow burn of actual tension. Think about body language: how it matches up to emotions, how it reveals what a person might be thinking or feeling. I'd strongly recommend finding a book about the subject, mostly because it's quite surprising just how many ways people can communicate non-verbally.

And finding words that pair off together can help; when I described the differences between Fluttershy's cottage and Rarity's boutique, notice how the choice of words combine to give each one a distinct flavour? All words can do that, and your job is to find the words and metaphors that complement rather than clash with what you're trying to say ("explode", for instance, pairs very well with an angry outburst; even if it is a bit predictable, it at least fits, and that's fine).

Sorry if all this advice is too much. I'm probs drowning you with words here, though. I don't want to give the impression I'm talking down to you by dumping so much advice here, so soz if it comes across that way.

To be honest with you, the fic as-is won't score highly on my slate. I'm judging the fic as presented. I do get the impression you might be a beginner, though I do think there's promise here. The discussion about perfectionism is certainly more thoughtful than your average "and then they kissed" shipfic.

If nothing else, I'm OK if you want to leave this comment alone and try something else your way instead.

(Well, that and I'm partial to Rarishy, but keep that under your hat, eh?) ;)
#7 · 1
· · >>BlueChameleonVI
Thank you so much, guys! I never thought I would get this much feedback. As Blue could tell, I'm a beginner. Like, beginner beginner. (And I won't let that stop me!)

To calm yourselves:
and no animal has died in your wonderful hooves.


I'll insert "horribly disfigured death" in there somewhere.

I'm gonna be honest, this fic is bad and I knew it was bad from the moment I hit send. I tried to fit probably a ~3,000 words story into 750 words. I figured I'd never write if I didn't have something to motivate me.

My excuse: I wasn't inspired by the prompt as heavily as I expected, leading to this mess.

The truth: It's bad and I wrote it bad.

Now onto the mano y mano...

>>Trick_Question

I don't want to come off like I'm excusing my fic but I looked over that one line for so long knowing something was wrong but not quite realizing it. Will be fixed if I ever look at that story again lol.

>>No_Raisin

Also, I'm not sure how this stallion came to say these things to Fluttershy, or how they even crossed paths.


Hm. I don't think that matters in this context buuuuttt…

Context is important, even if there's a distinct lack of one, but the reason for Fluttershy being upset here is really weird, in that it doesn't really add up.


I think this does. If it was in the new season I should have made Humid some high up vet pony she looks up to if she was ever going to be bothered by his comment.

Thanks for the review <3

>>FanOfMostEverything

Fluttershy would’ve more likely calmly, politely torn Humid a new one rather than take stock in his backseat zookeeping.


I laughed.

The Rarishy feels crowbarred in just so Fluttershy could have another pony to talk to at 3 in the morning, and the conflict itself feels less than compelling.


Aww... I liked Green. You are right that it's crowbarred in at least ~3.76%.

>>Bachiavellian

What's harder to swallow is how easily Flutters seems to come back from it. If she was disturbed enough to lose sleep over it, I'm really wondering how a seven minute talk can fix everything.


Can't argue with that. We'd need at least 23 minutes to fix it...

>>Haze

You know when you have a scene written perfectly in your mind but you forget to put in minor important details? That was me.

Btw she was leaving to go to her cottage. ;)

>>BlueChameleonVI

Now.

Onto your review.

Reasons I love you: you wrote me the longest of your reviews.

Reasons I hate you: you wrote me the longest of your reviews.

I'm not gonna mince words: This does have an amateurish feel to it. Not fatally so,


'not fatally so'? I'm honored lmao.

Rarity is the master of the territory (which would make Fluttershy more like an intruder or an odd element, and so give the impression that Fluttershy is feeling slightly more inferior).


I wanted to make it Rarity's boutique just because of what you said above. She'd feel uncomfortable and already wants to go home in the first place.

Do we even really need a bully character? Introspective moments can be much more powerful when the characters air doubts they've arrived at all by themselves. Without an external source that can be blamed and used as a target, the focus concentrates on the character and their inner world.


You're so right about this and I'm stealing it now. Thanks.

Sorry if all this advice is too much. I'm probs drowning you with words here, though. I don't want to give the impression I'm talking down to you by dumping so much advice here, so soz if it comes across that way.


No, no, no. It's perfect!!!! Thank you so much for all your advice. None of it was harsh or demeaning. I think I might read an article or two on how to: show not tell. Thanks again <333
#8 · 1
·
>>Anon Y Mous

"Reasons I love you: you wrote me the longest of your reviews."

"Reasons I hate you: you wrote me the longest of your reviews."

The point is you do have feelings for me, my schmoopy-doopy Anonny-wonny. (flutters eyelashes)

Seriously, though, and Hearts and Hooves Day references aside, I did consider tearing my comment down for being so excessive, and I worried for a while it came across as belittling. Still, curiosity stayed my hand; I wanted to see how the author would take it, and act accordingly.

Therefore, if you'd prefer me to leave it alone, then of course I shall. I certainly hope it helps. And anything for you, lovey-dovey sugar bear. (flutters eyelashes)

"I wanted to make it Rarity's boutique just because of what you said above. She'd feel uncomfortable and already wants to go home in the first place."

That's fine. Like I said, neither one of them is superior or anything. It's a matter of what you think would work for the story.

"You're so right about this and I'm stealing it now. Thanks."

It is something I picked up here and there, but it appeals to me a lot and I do think it has a stronger effect than if the antagonism came from an external source. A lot of writing seems to me to be a form of psychology, albeit not the labcoat sort.

Anyway, feel free. I was kinda stream-of-conscious-ing here, so if I toss out an idea or two you want, why not steal? Nothing here's nailed down. I thought it'd be nice to be comprehensive, just in case.

"No, no, no. It's perfect!!!! Thank you so much for all your advice. None of it was harsh or demeaning. I think I might read an article or two on how to: show not tell. Thanks again <333"

You're very welcome! If you do return for more writeoff events, I hope you find the inspiration to produce some fine work. Glad I could be of some help to you, and like I say, at least the comment's there if you ever want to refer back to it.