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Seeing Double · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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Counterfeit Image
Coloratura awoke, surging upward from her bed. Realizing it was a dream, she took a sigh of her relief. She ran a hoof through her mane, thankful that she was it just a dream. Her heart rate slowed back to normal

She found herself fighting on the inside to crawl out of bed. Would she chance it to take another shot at falling asleep? Would she finally have a nice dream? The lazy part of her wanted her to stay and chance it, but she knew that rolling the dice once more would give way to more nightmares. She spent hours in and out of superficial sleep that reality and dream were becoming difficult to distinguish.

She got up, flicked the light on, and donned a bathrobe. Peering through the fogginess of eyes, she glanced at the clock on the wall. It read that she was up at the uncomely hour of 2:00 in the morning, which, if she remembered correctly, was the hours that REM sleep should be occurring…

She couldn’t remember when she last had a full eight hours of sleep let alone worry about whether or not she was getting REM sleep or not.

She strode to her studio. Even in the darkness of the studio, the outside city lights dazzled and twinkled in an expanse below her, a view that automatically won her heart when she first got this space. She took caution not to let the light on, privacy was a hard thing to come by especially around the most obsessive of fans. Thankfully, she hadn’t had as much trouble in recently as she had in previous years.

She propped up her stand and flicked on the reading light. In the dark, she began practicing her chords, warming up her voice. Even if her walls were soundproofed, she kept her voice low, still adjusting to the shock of being awake. Even if her voice was as ghostly and beautiful, phlegm and gunk tickled her throat and chords due to the dust of the city. Or that could just be because the deficiency in sleep she had.

After hitting the wrong key three times in a row, she shut off the light and stormed towards the couch.

Even if nightmares weren’t real… they were affecting her performance. She wasn’t getting the rest she needed, and the journalists were sensing it like sharks smelling blood in the water.

She stared at the newspapers framed in gold about the room. Even if the darkness forbade her reading, she knew them by heart. They were her moments of triumph, her golden age. After firing Sven Hooves, her productivity had taken a hit, but altogether, this is what many of the newspapers claimed to be another golden age of singer and pianist Coloratura.

Her smile quickly was stolen from her. She felt hot tears run down the sides of her face. Now, here she was, faltering. The peak of her career seemed millions of miles behind her now. Every little bit of practice, every brainstorm, every performance seemed to suck out all her energy like the Sirens of old. She hated to think of her fans as such, but she couldn’t deny how she felt.

Alas, another thought entered into her mind. She had to make a tough decision: Quit now and let millions down, or take the slow, gradual fall into oblivion. She tried to delay the choice, but even now, here it was, at her doorstep.

She looked at her half-reflection through the darkened walls of the studio. Everywhere, she saw a ghostly reflection of herself, life-sized cardboard cutouts and professional portraits of her that fans would want nothing more to get their hooves on. A counterfeit image of herself, posing as an upright, confident, energetic, kind pony.

An there on the couch, the reality: a slouching, indecisive, lethargic, and selfish pony.

She buried her face in her hooves.

She needed help. But how?

Suddenly, she heard a knock at the door.

Who could be up at this hour?

Coloratura quietly walked through the hall. She paused at a mirror to adjust her image, fixing up her robe, wiping up the last of the tears and conjuring up the warmest smile she could manage.

Cautiously, she peeked through the peephole.

Instantly, she unlocked it and swung the door open. “Applejack? What are you doing here? At this hour, no less?”

“Its a long story. But ah think the better question is what are you doin' up?”

Help came.
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#1 · 2
· · >>PinoyPony >>Baal Bunny >>PinoyPony
And then, suddenly, Applejack!

I'm unsure what to say about this. It feels like it was lifted from a larger fic. There may be some late-season reference I'm missing (and if that's the case, then accept my humble apology for my ignorance of canon), but right now the Applejack appearance seems too random to lend any weight to the final line.

As a musician myself, I can identify with Coloratura's worry of being washed up. However, I believe you can do better than nightmares as the way those insecurities manifest. There's promise in the wrong notes-portion of your story. Maybe those latent feelings can come out in the form of her trying to sing a famously challenging piece from her old repertoire only to find she can no longer hit the high notes. Or something else like that. The emotional core is there. If you choose to continue this, your job should be to frame it in a convincing way. Thank you for submitting!
#2 ·
· · >>Baal Bunny >>PinoyPony
This one does have a emotional core to it, one, I unfortunately relate to. Unfortunately, it has some technical issues that need re-worked. I get that Coloratura is having a hard time in her career, and that's great and all, but the Applejack resolve seems to quick. In fact, I think I have to echo what >>thebandbrony said. I get that AJ is her childhood foalhood? friend, but what is AJ doing in this scene? It seems all disjointed, and as thebandbrony said, it seems lifted from a larger fic.

Another thing that bothers me is that the relation to the prompt seems loose, even last minute. I feel like the part about looking at her photographs seems spliced in there so this piece may be entered. Again, revisiting the 'lifted from a larger fic' mentioned before.

Sorry if that sounds harsh. I guess my advice to you is that you've got a good emotional piece here, but the relation of her work life and her emotions needs to be re-worked. Just focus on that and you'll be just fine!

Thanks for writing!
#3 · 1
· · >>PinoyPony
I'll agree with:

>>thebandbrony and >>PinoyPony. I almost feel like the story shouldn't really begin till AJ's sudden appearance. Their actions and conversation could show us all the points that the story right now is telling us as well as letting us know why AJ's even there, and once Rara's confessed her feelings of inadequacy, AJ could start helping her see beyond it. Or something. It would just be more engaging to me if I get to discover Rara's problem along with AJ...

#4 ·
· · >>PinoyPony
You saw the beginning!

One strategy you might employ next time you're in a prompt context is working backwards from the ending. Let it come to you in a "flash".
#5 ·
Counterfeit Image

Not feeling well today, so I'll make this one quick and leave the yakking for another time.


The latter part wasn't covered in my faux-post. Thank you for the advice on how to make the emotional tones stronger in that scene, as the impact of a failing a piece she was prevoiusly able to do rather than chords would speak more in volumes.



>>Baal Bunny

That always seems to be the conundrum with my writing lately: where to begin and where to stop. Why use lot word when few do trick? Maybe I should work backwards as Heavy_Mole says. I notice that I can think of good beginnings, but the endings need a lot of work. But, with the advice both of you given, I have a better idea of what I need to do. Thanks for the advice! You have no idea how much I needed it!


Good try, but not far up on my list of edits due to huge technical errors. But, not entirely dropped either.