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It Could Have Gone Better · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Thank You for Coming
“So, uh, thank you both for coming today,” Twilight Sparkle said. She tapped her index cards on the table for the fourth time, making sure their edges were perfectly aligned. “I know it’s, uh, a long trip, and—”

“I live here,” Starlight Glimmer said.

“Well, not you you, obviously. I was thanking her for coming a long way. But, uh, thank you too, Starlight.”

“You’re welcome,” Sunset Shimmer said. “Nice castle.”

“So, why are we here?” Starlight asked. She peered around the Friendship Castle map room. “And why are the girls all here?”

‘Hi! Hiiiii!” Pinkie waved at them. “Sunset! Hiiii!”

“Hi Pinkie.”

“Yeah, why are we here?” Rainbow Dash asked. She yawned. “You made me get up early for a meeting?”

“It’s noon, Dash.” Twilight tapped her index cards on the table again. “Anyway! This is a very important day for Equestria and for all of us. After Flurry Heart was born, Cadence, Luna, Celestia and I agreed that Equestria needs more alicorns. So, based on your unparalleled accomplishments and experiences, I would like to ask the two of you—”

“YES! YES!” Starlight shouted. She jumped upright, throwing her hooves into the air. “I knew it! I knew it! Oh, thank you! Thank you Celestia!”

“Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh it’s really happening, isn’t it?” Sunset let out a sob. Tears ran down her cheeks in dark tracks. “I thought, I thought it would never happen after all those mistakes I made! But I kept hoping and praying and telling myself that friendship would win in the end and I was right! Thank you Twilight Sparkle!”

“Okay, uh, wait—”

“What am I the princess of?” Starlight spun in a circle, her eyes darting around the room. “Is there a new element? How about Sorcery? I could do that. I could totally do that!”

“Calling it now, Princess of Fire,” Sunset said. “No, no, Princess of Magical Fire!”

“Sunset!” Starlight cried. She wrapped the other mare in a tight embrace. “We’re going to be princesses!”

“Oh, you deserve it!” Sunset sobbed. “The moment I saw you, I knew you deserved to be a princess! You’ve overcome so many obstacles, saved Equestria—”

“Okay, stop.” Twilight gavelled her hoof onto the table, stunning the room into silence. “Let me clarify: we’re not turning you both into alicorns. Instead we’re—”

She got no further. The two mares gasped simultaneously and jumped away from each other. Their horns lit, filling the air with an electric charge, like a meadow waiting for the first strike of lightning from a spring thunderstorm.

“So, that’s your game?” Starlight growled. “Only one of us gets to be the next princess? Very well! I will settle this quickly.”

“Ha! You?” Tiny flickers of flame danced in the air around Sunset’s mane. “I knew you for the mewling little sycophant you are the moment I saw you. I will wipe this castle clean with your hide!”

A magical switchblade snapped open beside Starlight. Its edge glittered, as wicked as the snarl on her face. “Bitch! You think I haven’t been preparing for this day? I waited years for this!”

Sunset howled in response and dove forward, leading with her horn. Sunset met her charge. The air snapped and burned with violent magical energies. Errant bolts of lightning scored the crystal walls black. Fires hotter than a dragon’s breath turned the silken tapestries above into drifting ash. A terrible, all-consuming roar filled the hall as the two contestants grappled with each other, hooves hammering into flesh, shaking the castle to its foundation with each blow. The crystal floor cracked beneath them, no match for the terrible forces unleashed by each mare upon her foe.


The room froze. The battered combatants staggered apart. Sunset licked blood from her muzzle. “What?”

“Stallions,” Twilight continued. “We decided Equestria needs an alicorn stallion. We want you two to help us find the right one.”

Silence. Little bits of flaming tapestry drifted through the air. Rarity brushed one off her shoulder, leaving a smear of soot behind.

“Oh,” Starlight said. “Oh.”

Sunset sat. “Huh.”

More silence.

“But…” Starlight tilted her head. “If I marry that stallion… yes! I can still be a princess!”

She vanished in a flash of magic. Sunset gasped, stood, and galloped out the door in pursuit.

A profound silence settled on them like an ashen pall. There was also a real ashen pall, of course. Fluttershy coughed quietly.

Finally, Rainbow Dash spoke for them all.

“I thought Starlight was gay.”
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#1 · 5
· · >>No_Raisin
I like the idea here, but it's played a little bit too random to invoke feelings in the reader. I think if you pulled back a little, it could be funny and also allow us to connect to the characters. As is, it's silly but a bit too nonsensical. The change in emotion is too abrupt and severe.

I think making this a longer piece would help a lot. I need to understand why Sunset and Starlight care about being princesses rather than alicorns. The ending doesn't make much sense; where are they headed? They don't know anything about who the stallion is.

The gay joke fell a little flat, in part because Starlight clearly isn't interested in marrying for love.
#2 · 4
· · >>Chris
Guys, I'm having a dilemma at the moment.

I found this fic funny, but not exactly good...?

I laughed because of how schizophrenic it got with the tone and how rabid Starlight and Sunset got, but at the same time none of this makes any sense.

At the same time I suspect this wasn't supposed to make sense, but even if we're being generous with characterization flexibility this is really jarring.

Also agreeing with >>Trick_Question about the ending punchline, which felt really... off somehow.

I guess I can't give this such a low rating, considering it is a comedy and I did laugh outright a couple times, but again I'm not sure if those laughs were earned.

I'm feeling a light to decent 6 on this.
#3 · 3
I have to agree on the ending gear shift not working, especially for Sunset. She’s in it for the wings, not the crown. And Starlight “Death to the Establishment” Glimmer getting excited to rise up the ranks of established society doesn’t compute very well either. I did enjoy the bulk of this absurd pile of reformed unicorns doing reformed unicorn things, but some stronger characterization and room to breathe will be good for it. (And if we’re introducing some sanity to the proceedings, how would these two help locate viable candidates? How would anypony, aside from using Twilight’s Google Map?)
#4 · 2
Genre: Totally Legit Princesses-To-Be

Thoughts: *crack* Okay. So.

I can speak only for myself here, but I thought this was rip-roaring hilarious. It brings a style of humor from a more less civilized age, perhaps exemplified by DWK, which lets me draw a mental straight-line from the magical switchblade to that joke at the end. It’s crude, but I thought it fit the overall ponies-behaving-badly motif. And on that note, obviously Starlight and Sunset would never act this way, much less to each other. But this is one of the more amusing deviations into that specific flavor of bad-behaving null-canon space that I’ve read in a while. I also like how complete this feels, with a conflict that escalates in a way that’s economical with its wordcount but also vivid and clear.

Tier: Top Contender
#5 · 4
What are the index cards for? And why were the rest of the mane 6 invited? Other than to be a peanut gallery and to supplement a gay joke, that is...

I'm afraid I'm with the "didn't quite track" camp on this one. The total lack of subtlety just doesn't work for me, as it's not very immersive at all. I don't feel like I'm reading a story, but words written by a brony having a lot of fun. And it's great that you had fun! I just wish I could have had it too.

Here's an example: With the fighting unicorns, the entire time their duel is being painstakingly described, I'm assuming Twilight is just standing there and letting it happen before she finally steps in a couple paragraphs later. But then, she's doing that because the author doesn't want her to step in yet. See what I mean?

Anyways, the idea is stellar. The alicorns' idea is believable, and why not have Starlight and Sunset seek out the candidates? It's just that the execution left me at arm's length.

But that's just my two cents. And unfortunately, unlike the last absurd comedy entry I just commented on, this one is on my slate... I may have to abstain.
#6 · 4
Sunset and Starlight's dueling was pretty funny. And you could do a pretty good story about searching for more alicorns. But this just didn't cohere for me. Which is to say I don't really have a lot to add to the criticism that has already been given. Loved Starlight's switchblade, though, that got a good laugh out of me.
#7 · 1
I'm with >>No_Raisin on this: "funny, but not exactly good" is right where I fall with the story.

The thing is, this is a really obvious story. From the moment Starlight cuts Twi off, all the remaining beats are totally expected. Now, you can tell a story where the audience knows exactly what's going to happen, but you need some other hook; an attachment to the characters, say. But because this is character-destruction comedy, I don't have any investment in the characters. So all I'm left with is a few chuckles, which is... well, it's fine, and to be honest, this is probably going in the top half of my slate (I'm not very happy with the way my slate looks right now; there's one story that's clearly up at the top, two stories clearly at the bottom, and the nine currently in the middle are all stories I'd rate between a 4 and 6 on a 1-10 scale, yet one of them's getting second and one's getting tenth. Ack!), but it's just another insubstantial jokefic at the end of the day.

Which is fine! Write insubstantial jokefics, and don't let anyone tell you not to! I'm just explaining why I can't muster more than a "well, I guess it had some funny lines" by way of reaction.
#8 · 1
Okay, I giggled like a damned idiot at the "switchblade" joke. For some reason I don't understand, it struck me as so perfectly Starlight. The other jokes were mostly hit or miss with me, but I think this was a matter of personal taste because I was never actively annoyed or bored by them.

Other than that, though, I'm sorry that I don't have a lot else to say. The story does what it wants to do (absurd, caricature-based humor), and I think individual readers' mileage will vary because of the specific flavor of this comedy. In the end, it put a smile on my face, so I'm happy I read it.
#9 · 1
There are a couple of working gags early on, such as the "I live here" line and Rainbow's complaining about being up early. And I suppose I'm at least open to the idea of their wanting more alicorns, and the two immediately assuming they're in line for alicornification is a good gag.

But then... man, I dunno. I'm not feeling anger like I did with a couple of other fics, but I am feeling keenly disappointed. Sunset and Starlight seemed to become more and more unhinged, and it didn't feel natural. The humour started to feel belaboured, because there were seven paragraphs devoted to the two assuming the best, and I'd cottoned onto the punchline by at least the third.

And this was just the continuation of a good gag. After that, the reactions and hostilities felt forced, and uncomfortably so. It's like you understood the theory of the two-faced joke, but neither had any idea how to make it work nor stopped to think if it would actually work with these two characters, who strike me as far too level-headed in canon for this to land. (Or rather, in Starlight's case, I hasten to add, she is unhinged in canon, but not this kind of unhinged, if that makes sense.)

The switchblade thing was just cringeworthy. Also, the logic of the real reason for summoning them was ropey; if they want stallions, why go to this trouble? Why bring in someone who's least experienced with Equestria itself and one who's still no expert when it comes to friendship? The only answer I see is because you wanted to make a gag, because nothing in the story makes a convincing connection between recruiting these two and getting stallions.

And the last joke was not even a joke. Or else my sense of humour is so warped that I can't grasp it, but seriously, what? What the hell has homosexuality got to do with anything, all of a sudden? Why is this random flat note of a comment the note to end on?

This fic has no deeper theme or message that I could parse, and what little story is there is just... there, so it relies entirely on character and comedy, and for me, neither worked. It's a shame because the beginning wasn't actually that bad. I sure as sugar hope this isn't another crackfic. EDIT: Sorry, author. I shouldn't have said that. It was a bridge too far on my part, and insulting besides. I should not have made this accusation.

I dunno where I'm placing this one, but it won't be in the top half. I don't know if the good beginning makes this more disappointing or less disappointing, but either way I consider the construction and character-mismanagement disappointing. I think you should look at the beginning of the story, consider making the whole fic more consistent in tone and quality, and learn from that example.