More Blog Posts157

  • 9w, 2d
    Doctor Who Humble Bundle

    Hi guys! Very important news: There is a Big Finish Doctor Who Humble Bundle up! These are full cast audio plays and you can get them for really cheap, which doesn't make me bitter as I paid a heck of a lot more for them a while back. OH WELL.

    https://www.humblebundle.com/books#

    Seriously though. $15 for a ridiculous amount of Doctor Who. It is such good value you'd need to be insane to say no if you're vaguely interested.

    Just to help tip you into buying, here is what they have:

    Tier 1 - Pay what you want

    Dalek Empire 1 & 2. This is a collection of two series of audio plays, 1 hour each and 8 in total. The Doctor isn't in them, these are the adventures of those roguish Daleks as they try to take over the universe and kill everyone. It is a lot of fun, though the first series is better than the second, I think.

    Tier 2 - Pay the average

    You also get Dalek Empire 3, which is 6 x 1 hour stories, featuring David Tennant (though this was made before he became the Doctor)

    There is an additional locked content, which is rumoured to be the collection of three stageplay adaptions, where they got the original cast of official stageplays from the 60s, 70s and 80s to record them. I hope it is them as they are... interesting

    Tier 3 - $15

    The Lost Stories - 8 stories, 1 1/2 hours each

    This is the best bit, I think. Back in the mid 80s, Dr Who was cancelled (put on 'hiatus') for a year, and everything they were going to make got scrapped. This is a collection of stories that were going to be made but weren't, or ones that were going to be made but passed over for other scripts.

    Basically, they are a mixture of amazing (Point of Entry) and mind-bogglingly awful (The Hollows of Time). All of them written by tv professionals, and some of them scuppered only by circumstance. There are more good than bad though, and the bad ones (for my money Mission to Magnus and Hollows of Time) are SO awful they go right round into becoming good.

    Meanwhile I am still D:, we will see what the new year brings

    5 comments · 109 views
  • 10w, 4d
    The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Thingy Things

    I saw the new Hobbit film! Yeah, that was a thing. If you like a 2 hour fight scene, then this is the film for you! There was a lot to like but I found myself clock-watching quite a bit during it. Can you guess which are real spoilers and which are hilarious fake ones:

    Smaug dies in the pre-title sequence

    They accidentally film a page of Peter Jackon's fanfic from when he was 12, when Gandalf is rescued by the X-Men teamup of Galadrial, Elrond and Christopher Lee who must fight the Ringwraiths! Radaghast turns up late, having popped round the back to get the car (his rabbit sled). Then Sauron turns up and they have to fight him too!

    Christopher Lee does kung-fu and somersaults everywhere

    Thrushes talking to people is silly and so was removed from the adaption. But ravens talking to people is perfectly fine.

    The orcs team up with the sand worms from Dune

    Legolas has gained the power to defy physics and can run up falling masonry in midair.

    Orcs and goblins are literally made of paper. It is not unreasonable for one character, even a peasant, to cut through 50 of them in one go.

    The chief orcs have 1000 hit points and are practically invincible. Thankfully they stay nowhere near the battle.

    Bard just vanishes from the film about 3/4s through, but not before he has SURFED ON A CART TOWARDS A MONSTER!

    Thorin gains the ability to spawn fully armored battle goats using only the power of his mind

    Radagast saves the day by summoning eagles and air-dropping Beorn at the attacking Orc army. This is so efficient we don't even need to see the army be defeated, we can just assume it is.

    Beorn, the shape changing bear guy, is only in the film for five seconds. His actual role in the story is given to Legolas.

    There are only four armies

    24 comments · 258 views
  • 25w, 4d
    Rise gets 5th place!

    The results for the EqD contest are in! Rise came 5th out of 109! Not bad, not bad at all!

    That means I am a winner and as I am in the top ten, I get some art too! Yay! What art that will be, who knows! I'm very happy about the placing though!

    Go read it if you've not yet! http://www.fimfiction.net/story/210454/rise

    10 comments · 273 views
  • 27w, 3d
    BUCK 2014 Fanfiction Panel

    Hi guys and gals!

    BUCK is coming up this Saturday, and is very exciting (if you are going, that is!). Even more exciting than that is that there will be a FANFICTION PANEL starring all your favourite people (and me).

    If you are going to BUCK, please come along and say hi! It will be at 11am on the Saturday morning, more details here: http://buckcon.org/events/word-crimes

    Joining me, will be Knighty, Scribbler, Arcanium, Greatodyer and Metaphor

    (You may remember that Scribbler did some amazing readings of some of my stories, and Arc decided Scootaloo sounded like a pirate for our Fimfic charity livestream. I certainly haven't forgotten!)

    Come on, how amazing does that sound! If you're at the con and don't go, your life will be full of tears!

    (No idea if the panel will be filmed and put online, I don't think so, unless anyone is planning on going along with a camera!)

    4 comments · 237 views
  • 28w, 19h
    'Rise' has, uh, risen

    I am a machine! A pony machine! It turns out that after a few weeks of scraping out a few hundred words on another story, the threat of a deadline on this one got me there with time to spare!

    Yup, 'Rise' is now complete, and actually within the word limit. The response has been amazing, and so I really hope it doesn't disappoint. Some of you might be upset it is a self-contained story (though it was always going to be, and the ending was the first thing I thought up). I may return to this idea though, and I have no problem with anyone else wanting to riff off it!

    http://www.fimfiction.net/story/210454/rise


    I ended up above a thousand words above the word limit. Fimfic's word count isn't as accurate as gdocs, but it was still a bit much. I ended up removing some minor bits, but also the firefly section. I will leave it below, and might drop it back in after the contest has finished! So uh, sorry if you liked that bit!


    Something caught her eye. A flicker of light above the enormous entranceway to the castle. It was fire in a jar.

    No. Misty narrowed her eyes, looking closer. She started to storm toward the entrance, a new sense of determination rising. It wasn’t fire. With a leap she rose into the air, ignoring the screaming of her sore wings as they took her closer and closer to the jar.

    It was sitting on a ledge above the door, sending gentle light all around. It wasn’t fire though. She pressed her face against the smooth glass, watching the trapped fireflies within, circling their tiny prison.

    “Don’t worry, I’ll get you out of there!” she whispered urgently, looking this way and that in case a pony should see what she was up to. When she was certain the coast was clear, she hefted herself onto the top of the jar, which seemed to be made out of metal. Despite the obvious join, she could see no gaps in the top. She tried using her sword to pry it apart, but nothing would budge.

    “Damn pony magic!” she cursed, sinking down beside the jar in defeat. She watched her pained reflection, illuminated by the streaks of light from within. An idea formed in her mind; she slowly stood up and hefted her front limbs against the jar. “Okay, little buddies! Hold tight!”

    Straining against the glass, she hefted as hard as she could. It began to scrape against the ledge and then started to violently shudder and topple. Misty fell forwards as the jar launched itself onto the ground, barely managing to not fall herself. Below her, it exploded into a thousand shards of crystal that lit up as the fireflies danced free, soaring into the black of the night and vanishing amongst the stars.

    Misty smiled. She had done it. She had struck a blow against the ponies the like of which had never been seen before. It wasn’t enough though. Winter was still coming. But there was something the ponies didn’t know. Misty was coming for them.

    Now to finish Seapony story!

    5 comments · 355 views
  • 28w, 1d
    EqD Prompt Competition Madness

    Okay guys, I have put everything on hold in a frenzied attempt to actually write a story for the EqD Outside Insight Summer Fanfic Contest. I have posted up what I've done in order to shame myself into finishing it. Another 5k by tomorrow... it's doable!

    Actually, my worry is that it will be too long, as the limit is 15k. But then I guess you all still get a bonus story, so everyone wins!

    Let me know what you think!

    Rise

    It is about Breezies, but EVEN SO give it a go!

    5 comments · 272 views
  • 30w, 4d
    Video Review: Twilight's Best Friend

    I just got messaged by Emeraldcomet who showed me a video review he did of my story Twilight's Best Friend. I always like to see what other people made of my stories (and if you do something like this, please let me know!)

    It's an old story (early 2011 I believe) but still one of my favourites, if a little rough around the edges in retrospect! Anyway, check out the review here:


    3 comments · 282 views
  • 31w, 17h
    Prompt fics!

    1 comments · 270 views
  • 31w, 1d
    Free and Cheap Doctor Who audios

    I know a lot of you also follow Doctor Who, so it would be totally remiss of me not to mention this. Big Finish, the company that make Doctor Who audios, are celebrating their 15th anniversary this week. Over the course of 15 days they are putting up different special offers.

    For the next 24 hours only (so GO GO GO), they have several of their audios for download for £1 each. A pound! Or whatever that is in dollars. And they accept Paypal! There's no excuse! Three of the ones on offer are some of my favourite stories in any medium ever, which is why I'm pretty keen to spread the message. So seriously, even if you are only slightly interested in Doctor Who, go and pick up the following, in order of preference (again, £1 a download! Mad cheap!)

    Jubilee - The story the New Who episode 'Dalek' was adapted from, but much more massive in scope, and even better (and 'Dalek' was a 10/10 episode as it is!)

    The Holy Terror - By the same writer, by turns absolutely hilarious and terrifying. Also it features a shapeshifting penguin from the Marvel comics

    Spare Parts - An origin of the Cybermen story. It is credited as 'based on' in the New Series episode 'Rise of the Cybermen', but apart from a few scenes, there is not much similarity. As this one is good.

    The offer is good for the next 24 hours only! Go go go! The link to all the other offers is here, but everything else pales in comparison to the above.

    Also they have put up some free short stories. I've not listened to them yet so I've no idea if they're any good.

    No Place Like Home

    The Ratings War

    2 comments · 210 views
  • 31w, 4d
    Most Dangerous Game Judging Reviews - 4

    The last lot of reviews for the Most Dangerous Game competition. Don't forget to vote for the finalists here! I will upload the reviews of the finalists after the competition has finished.


    Rest for the Weary, by Nightwolf289

    Story: A dying soldier travels to Equestria, turns into an alicorn and meets Fluttershy.

    I didn't really get a feel for this story, I'm afraid. There's an awful lot of timejumps that just skip over all the character development, so it is more like getting snapshots of something longer than an actual story. All we know about the soldier is a few melodramatic speeches, and despite the length it seems like everything happens too fast. There's not really much more to it than 'Fluttershy cares for someone', which is a well-tread trope all by itself.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria, OC alicorn, shipping (a bit)

    Less is probably more in this case. The OC alicorn part, for example, is unexplained, and nothing would change in the story would the human have been turned into a normal pony. The human himself is very undeveloped, which makes the relationship undeveloped. The story skipping months in between sections doesn't help this either.


    Two Roaming Souls, by Belligerent Sock

    Story: In the future, Spike wanders the lands with a little human, looking for a witch

    I wanted to like this story more than I did. The style is good and the start is intriguing, but as a whole it feels very incomplete. The entire story is about Spike travelling into the forest with a human (who remains a cypher) to find a witch. They find the witch, it turns out it is Zecora, and she informs them that the girl is a seventh Element of Harmony and... that's the end. It feels more like chapter 1 of a longer work than something in its own right, as it ends just as it begins to explore its premise.

    Also the human speaks in anagrams. I found that annoying, as it just created more work to actually enjoy the story.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria and Seventh Element of Harmony

    While the actual setup of the story is nice, the human aspect feels very disposable. Due to the aforementioned language issues, there is no real engagement between her and Spike, and she remains a mystery. In many ways you could replace her with any other creature or even object, and the story would work the same. The writer tries for a double-score by inserting a seventh element right at the very end, but this backfires and just raises more questions than it answers. Sometimes, less is more.

    The whole thing feels like the setup to something longer. It's a story I'd enjoy reading, but taking this chapter as the entire story, doesn't feel complete at all.


    The Hunter’s Story, by Borg

    Story: A pony hunter discovers that ponies are actually intelligent.

    An oddly dark story; part of the style is quite simplistic in places, but that helps make it feel that big darker, as it's left to the reader's mind to work out some of the nastier stuff that is left unsaid. I liked the general concept behind it, but everything happens very fast. There's not really much time to get into any of the character's motivations and the idea that this character (and many other humans) have been in Equestria for over two years and yet none of them ever realised ponies could be intelligent stretches credulity too much. None of the ponies really react as if Equestria has been under siege from humans stealing ponies either, it's all business as usual. If there was more time spent working on these background issues, the story would have ended up a lot stronger.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    I like that the prompt wasn't a straight human arriving in Equestria, and actually involves another maligned idea, that of 'ponies arriving in our world', instead postulating that this is because humans actively travel to Equestria to hunt them. As before though, it's not really developed much past that, and there are several glaring plot holes that distract from absorption in the story.


    Trial by Flower, by AugieDog

    Story: Ponyville's third (fourth) most popular seed seller gets to help out when crocodahlias attack.

    Crocodahlias! What a great name! This story gets points from me just from the cleverness of this. It's a nice story; the characters are all well defined in a short space of time, the main character has a good voice, and the pacing is good. There's not a whole lot of incident in the story, but it is short so this works in its favour.

    Prompt: Second person and OC shipped with mane

    Two prompts used here, with varying degrees of success. I thought the second person narration was excellent: there's a good use of voice, and the writer gets all the characterisation across effortlessly. I also appreciated the use of the format in skipping time from the point of view of the main character as well. The shipping is less successful - I enjoyed the distraction of him liking Twilight and her not knowing his name, when the real ship was with Fluttershy, but that ship, whilst telegraphed early, lacked an amount of substance, based mainly on Fluttershy liking the look of his backside.


    Awakening, by Razalon the Lizardman

    Story:  A human travels to Equestria and discovers he is really a fictional character created by ponies who record the adventures of lifeless meat-puppets onto crystals for entertainment.

    The idea of a human travelling into the fictional Equestria being flipped on its head is an interesting one, but I'm not sure the story really explores this in any meaningful way. The set-up, that Lyra and Iron Will have a room full of meat-puppets that they move about and film on crystals is a bit hard to accept given how outlandish it is, and there's not really much effort put into explaining why this is a logical chain of events.

    For a story told in second person, we don't really get any view on the character's emotions. He (I assume) sees the bodies of all his family and friends lying discarded, and barely seems to care, then we are told they break down, but the narration style doesn't change at all to reflect this. Then the main character recovers really, really quickly! It's an interesting idea, but not really supported by the rest of the story.

    Prompt: Human and Second person

    As I said before, I really liked how the 'human in Equestria' prompt is turned on its head, even though the story doesn't really fulfil the promise of the concept. The second person narration starts well, but as the main character practically drops out of the story for the last third, it becomes more third-person. It feels like a trick was missed at the end, if the point is that the main character is undergoing mental turmoil, you would expect the narration to focus on that rather than a clinical description of what everyone else is doing.


    Eternal Love, by BumbleFlow

    Story: Luna falls in love with a pony.

    Pretty much as it says on the box. Unfortunately this story is riddled with grammar and spelling errors which are very distracting. I am generally quite laid back about stuff like that, but even I found it hard going. The sentences are either really short or really long with lots and lots of commas, that makes it a strain to read, though the style does improve towards the end. I'd suggest to the writer that they go over their story and use what they learnt as they wrote it to rework the start.

    As to the story... I was intrigued by the description, about how Luna falls in love with a mortal and decides to make him immortal, but... that's the entire story. That's it. That's actually the ending of the story. I don't like judging stories on what they're not, but it feels like the interesting idea happens at the very end and then isn't explored. The rest is a rather rushed romance.

    Prompt: OC falls in love with mane character

    Yes, falling in love with Luna is dangerous, as far as the fandom goes! Props to the writer for trying a tricky one. However there is no real build up to any of the relationship, and the actual 'getting to know each other and falling in love' section mostly happen between chapters 1 and 2. The OC doesn't really have much of a personality either. As a result, the reader never really gets a chance to get to grips with what is going on.


    Weeping Fire, by Civviq Writer

    Story: There's quite a few grammar errors I picked up right off the bat, which unfortunately spoiled the reading of this. The story is about the reader travelling to Equestria and turning into a pony where they meet their terrible alicorn OC, Weeping Fire, fall in love with Applejack and then go home.

    I feel like it falls too far on the side of 'parody' for my liking, especially given the contest rules about no parodies. The story is also very rushed, with so much going on that it's hard to get involved at all. Making it longer or focussing on one or two of the many plot elements inside it would have helped focus the story, as it is there is just too much going on and it becomes confusing.

    Prompt: second person and OC alicorn

    I'll give the writer points for trying, there's more than one prompt used here! (Yes, I know you only need to use one, but fortune favours the bold!). There's definite second person and OC alicorn, also an attempt at human in Equestria (though they are ponified so it doesn't count) and one of the mane 6 falling in love with an OC (the main character falls in love with Applejack, but it is unclear if she returns the feelings, as this is near the end and it feels quite rushed.

    I think the narration counts as second person (as it seems to be narrated at the reader), there are tense mistakes and it shifts into first person a few times, which is distracting.

    The use of the OC alicorn doesn't really seem to have much to do with the story, in that if you take her out it would pretty much be the same, given how light the actual story is. Their name also changes halfway through to 'Healing Fire'. Additionally, calling the alicorn a 'terrible Mary-Sue' in the story seems to push it too far into 'parody' which is against the rules. Still, I will give points for effort, as there is a big effort to go all-out.


    Servant of Chaos, by Yukito

    Story: A unicorn is left with wings after an attack by Discord, and everyone hates her for it.

    This story is a bit of a mixed bag. On the one hand, it's quite refreshing, and paced well. Nothing about it outstays its welcome, and the basic idea is nice. On the other hand I found the core concept hard to swallow - yes, the story talks about how terrible Discord's attack was, but only briefly and then we only get the hatred towards the character to back it up. Without that foundation, everyone seems mean for the sake of making a sad story sadder. The ending also seemed very contrived, with the main character getting a chance to save the life of the little pony that befriended them, when no-one else could! That said, I liked the style, and I don't say that often about first person present tense!

    Prompt: OC alicorn

    An interesting use of 'OC alicorn' as they aren't technically an alicorn... or are they? Sadly the story doesn't really seem that interested in exploring that idea. It's also very difficult to place the setting - is it in the past, the present day, or the future? We  have a mention of Celestia, so whilst everyone is hating on this pony for being 'marked by Discord', surely someone would have thought 'hang on, they look like a princess!'. None of these are deal breakers, but their omission was very odd, especially in a story dealing with the experiences of someone in the main character's situation.


    Foals, by Scarheart76

    Story: Celestia has babies

    This story annoyed me. I'm seriously really annoyed right now. Not because it was bad, far from it. It was a great story, or at least start of a story. Yes, what we have so far is excellent, but it is clearly just the setup for something longer. More than anything, this is clearly a chapter 1. It's a story I'll be wanting to follow, but in its current state it isn't even a story and as such is impossible to judge. If it is complete... it's not a story. If it isn't complete, then it is very good, but can't be compared to the other, complete stories in this competition.

    Prompt: OC alicorn and Human in Equestria

    The OC alicorn aspect, ie Celestia's babies is very good. Yes, they only appear at the end, but their impact is felt throughout. The human in Equestria aspect is literally shoehorned in and serves absolutely no purpose at all. You could remove the parts with the humans and not a thing would change about the story.


    The King in the Mountain, by Carabas

    Story: So, it turns out Celestia has a brother she keeps locked away in Tartarus!

    I'm in two minds on this one. On the one hand, the pacing is quite odd. The first section where Celestia arrives at Tartarus doesn't really add much (if anything) to the plot and actually, I found it a bit confusing, as it wasn't apparent it was Tartarus Celestia was going to visit until she actually entered. The meat of the story starts 1,500 words in, which is a bit of a pace killer for a piece so short, especially as this preamble doesn't really seem to add much to the overall themes of the story.

    Once we get to the story proper, there's bits I liked, and bits I liked less. I liked some of the sprinklings of pre-history put into the story in a non-infodumpy way, I liked the idea of each alicorn having some sort of personal 'Nightmare' within them (which begs the question, what is Twilight's?) and the author has some fantastic turns of phrase. I can buy into the central concept, but the OC alicorn comes across as a bit comically villainous for my liking, murderer of cities and children that he is. As a result, there's not really a moral argument to be had (as he's super evil and is unrepentant about it), it's not about what to do with him (as he's been locked up there for years) or how Celestia feels (we know from the start she is still quite angry, as yes, he's a horrible murderer). The ending was interesting, though! I feel like the story would be stronger as a whole if it had more of that ambiguity in it.

    Prompt: OC Alicorn

    We've got an evil black alicorn, though it seems like Carabas is playing it a bit safe by having him be a sibling of Celestia's from pre-history. The story is certainly about the evil alicorn, and there's some interesting alicornisation stuff thrown in to boot. It's not the first evil black alicorn I've seen, and it won't be the last, so while it loses some points for originality, it gains those points back by using it in a more novel way. Once the actual story starts, it gets quite a lot done in a short space of time.


    And That’s How Equestria was Made..., by Dusty the Royal Janitor

    Story: Equestria is created!

    This is a tricky one to judge, actually. It's not a story in the traditional sense, instead it is a creation story, set out like a tale of old. There's no real plot or thread moving through it apart from 'the creation of the world', but at the same time, this isn't something that type of story really sets out to do, so that isn't a failing. The style of writing certainly feels right and I like the G1 references. There's some nice original idea here, but it does feel more like a source document to support other stories than a work in its own right.

    Prompt: OC Alicorns

    OC alicorns! Loads of them! Coming out of your ears! I feel that the writer has played it safe a bit by having all the OC alicorns as god-like beings in the distant past, but then he does do some ridiculous things such as having one with six wings and yet still make it feel 'right' in the sense of yes, these are akin to the crazy Greek gods. There's also an alicorn Lauren Faust called Faust; I know that is a lot of people's headcanon and I won't begrudge anyone for it, but it isn't the most original idea and dangerously skirts the 'don't use any existing OC rule' for this competition.


    Remember Vigil, by Supersnot

    Story: An alicorn called Vigil stands guard over something mysterious, and meets Twilight Sparkle.

    I feel this is a story of two halves. On the one hand, there's an interesting idea here, the writer doesn't overplay his hand by revealing too much, and it's a very focussed story. On the other hand, there's not much to the plot, nor is there really an exploration of why Vigil is standing watch over something he knows nothing about, apart from some ponderous asides. Stylistically the story is quite difficult to get on with. Part of this is due to grammatical issues with comma overload, but part is due to the voice. It's very stilted - at first I assumed this was because Vigil was narrating it, but once it hits third person, the narrative style is the same, and then Twilight talks in the same tone. It's quite heavy going, I'm afraid.

    Prompt: OC Alicorn

    It's an interesting use of an OC alicorn, in that they're not obviously all-powerful, but just stuck in a location as a guardian. Unfortunately it does mean they are interchangeable with any other guardian character such as, say, a sphynx or golem or anything. There's nothing about Vigil that makes him uniquely alicorn, nor does the story explore this; you could swap him out with any other mythical long-lived creature and it would read the same. It's a minor criticism, but something that struck me, especially in a competition that revolves around the prompt.


    The Magnificance of Pinkamena Diane Pie, by The_Weatherbug

    Story: Pinkie Pie gives a speech about how earth ponies need to murder everyone else, all earth ponies are cool with that.

    With dark stories, and especially stories like this that have a plot which relies on pretty much every aspect of the theme being changed completely (in the olden days, the unicorns and the pegasi murdered babies! Flim-Flam get to adopt Apple Bloom! Pinkie Pie's a bit like Hitler! Everyone is into good old ultra violence!) there needs to be some sort of easing in and worldbuilding to ensure the suspension of disbelief. There's not really anything like this in the story; instead we have Pinkie Pie as 'Pinkamena' giving an angry rant about how in the distant past, the unicorns and pegasi were jerks, so the earth ponies need to kill everyone and take over, and the entire audience is absolutely fine with this concept.

    Pinkie doesn't sound anything like Pinkie Pie. It could be argued that this is the point as she is 'Pinkamena', but then that begs the question of why use her in the first place if her personality is going to be completely different. The story tells us that Pinkie is a bit crazy, and that everyone is going along with her for some reason, but never why. Given the use of 'you' in the second person, this lack of motivation is a bit strange. The idea of angrily wanting justice for some ancient wrong which is completely out of living memory is actually an interesting one, and relevant to our own world, but this story doesn't really explore that. The idea that something bad happened thousands of years ago is seemingly met with a logical 'let's kill everyone now, then!' without any dissent. Then Pinkie murders Thunderlane because he's a filthy pegasi.

    Also there's a spelling error in the title.

    Prompt: Second person

    The narration isn't really that involving. For example, early on apparently 'you begin to rant a little', but as the story doesn't give a hint as to what 'you' are ranting about or anything you say, it creates a divide where 'you' don't feel that you are 'you' at all, as you don't know what 'you' are doing. Unfortunately, the narrative style doesn't add anything to the story. 'You' are just a passive onlooker, watching Pinkie Pie give a speech so there's never a chance to do anything interesting with the prose style. All of the action is taken up by Pinkie Pie and other characters; it would just take a few tweaks to turn this into a third person story.


    Outlier, by FanOfMostEverything

    Story: A human wakes up in Equestria, has a chat with Lyra, leaves.

    I need to be quite careful here, as it seems that this is an authorial self-insert. I was going to mention that I felt the use of long, verbose speeches upon waking up in Equestria didn't seem particularly 'realistic', but then I don't know the author. Perhaps this is how he speaks. The latter half of the story flows better and is a lot more naturalistic, but the first half feels really stilted. I can't tell from the story whether the human knows what is going on (he certainly has some long speeches prepared and knows some mysterious acroynms [which are only explained in the author's notes, bad writer, bad!]) but at the same time acts confused and doesn't even know if ponies speak english. I imagine this is more down to the length of the story and tryng to get everything in it that needs to be there, but having such self-assuredness alongside confusion about some of the basics was an odd mix.

    Actually, that's a thread that goes through this story. I like the central idea, but there doesn't seem to be any point where the main character has any sort of change or comes to a decision about his situation. He seems to arrive in Equestria already knowing what he is going to do (nothing) and why, but at the same time is quite surprised. Apologies if this is not what is happening, but that is my reading of it. It feels like the important part of the story happened in the moments before the story began.

    Also, there's a Harpflank and Sweets reference. That made me smile.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    This is a story that is not only all about the prompt, but grapples with it and attempts to deconstruct it, the idea being 'what would it really be like?' or at least deals with that question for the author’s own situation. I can even forgive the use of Lyra in this sort of story, as it is needed for the deconstruction genre. I'm not sure if it goes far enough in this respect, in that while we are told the character's thought processes, we don't really get to understand them.

    7 comments · 349 views
  • 31w, 5d
    Most Dangerous Game Judging Reviews - 3

    Some more reviews for the Most Dangerous Game competition. Don't forget to vote for the finalists here!

    Beneath Harmony, by Rootbeer Dew

    Story: The OC alicorn-related origins of the Tree of Harmony

    A bit of a tricky story, this. There is an exciting tale in here, but the style makes it really tricky to get into. For some reason the sentences are all really short and most of the paragraphs are one sentence each. It is also unclear exactly what is going on at the end, and why the alicorn is asking for forgiveness.

    Prompt: OC alicorn and 2nd person

    As mentioned, the style of writing is extremely hard to read as it's quite stilted. The whole story isn't second person, as it breaks for third person for a section. The OC alicorns are undeveloped apart from several unneeded detailed descriptions.


    A Sparkling Gem, by Havok SCOUT

    Story: Someone is kidnapping ponies!

    This is a story which had a much stronger start than ending. Actually, once the villain is revealed, I'm not really sure what to make of the ending, where she just gives up and everyone forgives her for kidnapping children and sucking out their lifeforce in a horribly painful way. Though it is Scootaloo, so maybe everyone is secretly happy? Despite the story being second person, I didn't really get a handle on the main character (or even realise they were an alicorn until halfway through). Overall it feels like it runs out of steam at the mid point.

    Prompt: Second person, OC alicorn

    In many ways, the prompts seem the least important part of this story. Yes, it is in second person, but this style doesn't really add much to the story, and it is functional at best. The alicorn aspect may as well not be there, save for a few mentions, and there's an attempt at shipping that doesn't really go anywhere. Points for effort, but I wish any of these had been developed and worked into the story a lot more.


    Those Forgotten, by shinygiratinaz

    Story: Discord has locked up all the alicorns

    Really, this story is two separate but linked vignettes: an alicorn who is imprisoned and thinking about his life, and Celestia confronting Discord about it. The first section is okay, but the character is not really developed much aside. The second section has an effective ending, but Celestia's sudden confrontation with Discord is jarring - surely if he really had kept all the alicorns locked up that would be her first priority; no explanation is given as to why she's suddenly getting round to sorting it out now. Also she talks about 'defeating Discord' as something that would let them free... but didn't that happen 1000 years ago anyway? It's a nice idea, but too short and needed more exploration of the ideas and motivations.

    Prompt: OC alicorn

    The OC alicorn in this story is more symbolic of the whole race of alicorns that Discord has locked up, rather than a character in his own right. As such we don't really get a sense of character from him, especially as the story is a tale of two halves, and the second half is just Celestia and Discord. I like the concept overall, and the ending is actually effective, but could have done with more fleshing out.


    And the Prairie Grass Blew, by Avid_Reader

    Story: Flashback Granny Smith shipping

    This is one of those stories that I dread reviewing. There's nothing /wrong/ with it per se: technically it is well written, there's nothing about it that strikes me as bad... but at the same time it was just a slog to get through. It lacked any sort of spark that encouraged me to want to read more. It's difficult to express why though, since as I said, technically it was good. I think it is a combination of flat characters and lack of incident. Not bad, but not good, either.

    Prompt: OC shipped with main character

    This feels a very 'safe' use of the prompt. Granny Smith is no-one's favourite character, but at the same time is one of the few characters in the show who clearly had some sort of relationship in the past. There's not a lot in the relationship either, it all feels pretty much by the book, with very few hooks.


    Omega-7, by KaBar41

    Story: Some humans arrive from space to shoot some aliens and rescue some horses.

    This is a very military story, complete with men with guns shooting things until they explode and lots of swearing (I am not a fan of swearing in stories based on MLP, but I won't hold it against the writer). The story assumes that the reader knows what the world is already, as there is not a lot of effort put into the worldbuilding, either. It feels like the reader is expected to understand the setting before it has been portrayed. There's no explanation of who the 'Com' aliens are until much later, and then only briefly. It feels a lot like a crossover, in fact, in that the writer is writing in what seems to be an already defined world.

    The story as it stands is very light and ends almost as it gets going. The most interesting part is the intro where it states "All of these accounts were taken from helmets and interviews" and then unfortunately turns into a normal story. Something told via interviews and 'helmet-cam' pieced together in a documentary style would be far more interesting.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    Military humans in Equestria is an old trope, and this story doesn't really do much with the idea. I feel like I've read this story already several times. Additionally, the use of Equestria is very vague. You could easily replace it with any other planet/lifeforms and the story would play out identically. I did like the mistranslations used in dialogue though, that was interesting.


    Our Little Accident, by JMac

    Story: The life of an alicorn born to two scientists.

    I thought overall that this story was quite sweet, and certainly an enjoyable read. It takes place over a long period of time, which means some sections that could be felt to be important are skipped over, and others (most notably the start) are covered in a lot of detail, making the lack of detail in others feel strange. But if not being long enough is the only criticism, then we're in good hands.

    Prompt: OC alicorn

    The story is about the childhood of this OC alicorn. As it encompasses a large span of time, it is by necessity quite brief in places, though gives a decent overview of the character. I feel it would have been effective if there were some more character beats, as mostly we are told what this character is like rather than shown it. The parts where we are shown it is good, and I'd like more in that vein. Also perhaps a bit more to explore the ramifications of the ending for all the characters.


    Wander, by Jet Howitzer

    Story: A human arrives in Equestria with a fish

    This story feels more like setup than an actual story. We get the box ticking of a human arriving, meeting a pony, then meeting Celestia and then it ends. While his backstory is interesting, it isn't really developed or explored. The pacing of the story is also strange for a complete tale, as the first half deals with the pony Whisper meeting him, and the second half about Celestia. If this was just a chapter 1, it wouldn't be a huge issue, as a standalone work, it is.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    This story doesn't really do much with the prompt that is out of the ordinary, or explore it much. The entire story is about the human meeting ponies and Celestia and agreeing a way forwards, and... that's it. It reads more like the setup to a much longer story. Whilst the Hitchhiker's reference is cute, it does take up an awful lot of the story, and skirts very close to the 'no crossovers' rule for this competition as it feels like most of the story is about the babelfish (or Adams Fish, as in Douglas, I assume).


    Tainted Reflection, by Imperaxum

    Story: One of Pinkie Pie's reflections from the mirror pool escapes destruction and goes to live with the griffons

    Yes, you've read that right. No, it isn't season 3 still. There was a time when Fimfic was flooded with every possible combination of these stories, and it feels a bit odd to see one pop up now. The first third of the story being basically a novelisation of that episode hurts it a lot, but I guess it is a necessary evil to bring the reader up to speed and ensure it is a complete entity. Once the story becomes original, it improves a lot more. It's a fun, interesting read, though ends a bit suddenly, I assume due to it coming up to the word limit.

    Prompt: 7th element

    I struggled to find the prompt in this story, to be honest. I assume it is a '7th element' due to one mention (though technically it is Pinkie's element split in half). It feels really shoehorned in to the story, as if this was a story being written anyway and just had this prompt pushed into it to make it eligible. It is a tangential relation at best, which is a shame as overall I liked the story.

    Ascension, by BlazzingInferno

    Story: A newly-ascended alicorn has a hard time adjusting

    This story is an enjoyable read: the characters are decently strong, it is paced well and has enough in it to keep the interest. That said, it feels a little light overall. The story works towards a 'moral', but it seems to be at the expense of everything else. There's a bigger story in there that has been restricted by such a tight focus. That said, I did enjoy reading it.

    Prompt: OC Alicorn

    This story deals more with the effects of alicornisation in an interesting and readable way. Whilst the reader feels sympathy with the main character, there's not enough backstory to really gain that much appreciation of their character. I appreciate wanting to keep some of the pre-alicorn stuff til the end, but this does affect how the reader sees the character. What there is, is good though.


    Johnny Never Knew What Hit Him, by Horse Voice

    Story: A human who is injured in a war travels to Equestria, becomes an alicorn, gets engaged to Rarity, yada yada

    This is a story that is far more clever than its premise would have you believe. Pretty much every point that I felt wasn't done well turned out to be absolutely deliberate, and fits together into a quite engrossing narrative with a scary monster at the end. Perhaps my only criticism was that the ending felt a bit rushed, and doesn't really get to grips with what the main character is feeling after all the revelations thrown at him. Still, a good, entertaining read.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria, OC alicorn, OC shipping and 7th element (sort of)

    This is mainly a human in Equestria and OC alicorn story, with the other prompts being handled in a very interesting way. I don't want to say more than that because it's a good surprise, but it all feels natural, and very effective. I was fooled, at least!


    I Ain’t Your Sacrifice, by Dragor

    Story: A pony finds himself in the clutches of a cult who is murdering foals to resurrect King Sombra.

    Well that was grim! There's stuff to like in this story: it's not too long, the backstory is nicely laid out and it has a good ending. That said, a lot of it relies on the characterisation of the main character, but this doesn't really come across. He starts off not wanting to get murdered and deciding to escape, and then almost instantly decides to join up with the evil murderous cult, all the time giving a lot of chatty dialogue. Perhaps if this was developed more, the story would flow better.

    Prompt: I don't know

    I'm genuinely unsure what the prompt used here is. I am assuming it is 'OC alicorn' but aside from a mention of the character being 'red and black' and about how special he was when born, it isn't mentioned anywhere in the story. There is an exchange where he states he is a unicorn 'yet has a horn'; I assume that was an error and meant to be pegasus with a horn? It's not clear.


    In Times of Need, by Pascoite

    Story: Luna summons a human to Equestria to help.

    There's a lot to like here. Pascoite's style is good as always, and it's an easy and interesting read. That said, the story itself feels rather piecemeal. While the parts where the same actions are narrated from different perspectives are good, the shifting of viewpoints from Luna and the human at the start, to Twilight at the end confuses the story somewhat. Luna vanishing only to reappear having solved the crisis off-page is jarring; I think this story would benefit from something more from her point of view at this point, rather than having to rely on her explain what happened to Twilight. I got the feeling that the story was supposed to be about sacrifice, but as this is held back as a late twist, it's not really built up to as much as it could be.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria and Seventh Element

    Points for using two prompts in a way that feel natural, though I don't feel that either are adequately explored. There's not really enough time spent with the human to get a good feel for him (and it felt strange that for someone who lived in a world where MLP was a real show he didn't recognise Twilight) and he drops out of the narrative at the end as the story becomes more about Luna. It actually feels like you could swap out the human for anything else and the story would work the same.

    The seventh element idea is more interesting, albeit introduced late and  not really delved into much. As Twilight notes, Luna is very flippant about this; perhaps more buildup on this note, especially early on using the viewpoint of the human as an advantage could have helped.


    The Janitor Named Dustbowl, by MrAlbum321

    Story: A janitor is secretly an alicorn, and his secret is uncovered during a robbery

    There's a lot to like in this story. It has a sweet overtone, is paced well, and doesn't overstay its welcome. The early parts could do with more development, as we don't really get a feel for Dustbowl's world and life before it all goes wrong, but it's nice to have a story like this that deals with a more mundane destiny. That said, there's an awful lot of casual swearing which kept breaking suspension of disbelief.

    Prompt: OC alicorn

    Straight in with the OC alicorn, this is a story where a character isn't alicornised by mistake, but explores the idea of someone becoming an alicorn for more mundane reasons with no amazing powers. It's an interesting way to look at the prompt, though the explanations offered at the end by the princesses seem slightly rushed, especially given the rest of the story. It also feels like the story could have done with more development as to the character's prior experiences early on. Though this is rectified later in the story, not knowing his motivations make him harder to understand.


    Red Tornado, by Alaborn

    Story: An alicorn is a general who has beat the griffons and now wishes to die

    War stories are always a bit tricky, as it's very much against the ethos of the show. This story gets around it by skirting about the issue a lot. The first half is mostly a very dry description and summary of this war with a smattering of character points, the second half is about this character wanting to become mortal. I don't feel that the two halves really join up that well, or at least the first half really should have used the opportunity to build on this alicorn's character more, rather than using him as a device to narrate some history and worldbuilding.

    Prompt: OC alicorn

    Really, the OC alicorn aspect only appears in the second half of the story, the first is just a description of this griffon war. Once the story gets around to addressing the alicorn and his wish to become mortal (which seems to necessarily involve dying) it becomes interesting, but there's not much that is really developed and we don't really get to know him that well.


    The third alicorn, by Monokeras

    Story: The life of Celestia and Luna's brother, who is basically pony Fate.

    There's a lot to like in this story. It's told from the viewpoint of the titular character, in a very archaic style, though the writer manages to consistently get the 'voice' right and keep it interesting - an especially impressive feat as that sort of style doesn't really do it for me. Less successful is the voice of Celestia, who seems to vary between being very regal and giggling out sentences.

    The idea of Fate who designs cutie marks is a good one, and I especially liked the exploring of the show canon through this character's perspective. It even used Cadance without setting my teeth on edge. I wouldn't mind reading more about this character!

    Prompt: OC Alicorn

    The OC alicorn in this story is Celestia and Luna's brother, and the use of him as a very mythical figure feels very natural, and plugs in some existing gaps in the universe, namely 'where do cutie marks come from, explaining them in a satisfying way.

    8 comments · 377 views
  • 31w, 6d
    Most Dangerous Game Judging Reviews - 2

    Here's the second lot of reviews for the Most Dangerous Game contest - remember to go vote for the finalists here: https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/351973/the-most-dangerous-voting-contest

    There are some good ones in this lot, promise! There was quite the fight for a place in the top 5, some very good stories only narrowly missed out.


    Faun, by Present Perfect

    Story: There's a half-human, half-pony running about the Everfree forest. Someone's been naughty!

    Wow, that was dark. I'm a big fan of taking a crackfic premise and dealing with it in a totally serious way, and this story really does it, going straight for the throat and holding back no emotional punches. I heartily recommend this one. Perhaps I might have wanted to see a bit more about Lyra's thought processes and experiences over the last ten years (that's an awful long time), the letter at the end is completely unneeded, and it partly feels like a 'kick the cute puppy' story (the moral is 'abandoning your helpless baby in the forest for ten years expecting that monsters will eat it is a bad thing to do') but then again, that's what the writer sets out to do and he nails it.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    I was going back and forth on this one as to whether it was a bit of a cheat not having an actual human, but I decided it was totally appropriate, dealing with the aftermath of such a visit in a way I don't think has been done before. Also having the human literally be 'Anon' but taking the premise deadly seriously. That's the sort of thing I appreciate. It's original and feels like it explores the concept well.


    Home, by KitsuneRisu

    Story: A human travels to Equestria because he's the best and no-one appreciates him and he is king of card games.

    I love unreliable narrator stories, and this is a good example of one. The narration is engaging and it slowly creeps up on you how wrong everything is. The character has a very consistent voice, and it is clear the writer has thought through all the many layers of the story, creating something that is actually pretty brilliant.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    Definitely an interesting take on 'human in Equestria', albeit one that isn't 'real'. I won't hold it against the story though, as there was nothing explicitly in the rules against it, and it is done so well. This is a story built around the prompt and that actually uses it to its advantage.


    Succession, by Archonix

    Story: A young alicorn meets Queen Twilight Sparkle

    As a story, this is very enjoyable. Personally I love stories which are really well grounded in the writer's world, yet don't serve everything up on a plate. There's an awful lot in this story that is going on under the surface and isn't thrust in the reader's face. The writer's style is very readable, and despite the length, it flies by really well. There's great character work, and I really can't say enough good things.

    Prompt: OC Alicorn

    The character feels natural and not forced, and their character was good, if not developed too much. As a prompt fic though, the focus of the story is on Twilight, and the OC alicorn used to explore her and the history of the world. That said, it's a good story and what we have is well done.


    The Shaman, by Skyguy7_13

    Story: Celestia is keeping a human locked in her dungeon.

    Apparently Celestia owned a dungeon that is full of dead bodies and poo. That's how the story opens. There's a human locked in a cell in these conditions, for the crime of killing and eating a pony, but it turns out it was a changeling so that's okay. Luckily Celestia locked him in the cell with the skeleton of his victim, enabling Twilight to figure it out because no-one else bothered to check. Yes, suspension of disbelief shatters, I'm afraid.

    This story really needs a spelling and grammar check, it's littered with all sorts of errors that are very distracting, a lot of them changing the meanings of the sentences themselves.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria and shipping with main character

    While a shaman might be more interesting than your average human, this character remains completely undeveloped. It's not explained why he felt the need to eat the imposter changeling rather than warn anyone about it. We are told he's gone mad from imprisonment, but then is absolutely fine and making funny quips. Then out of nowhere he turns into a zebra and immediately ships himself with Zecora. This story feels very rushed, and needed a lot more space to develop character and the ideas.


    A Brush with Beauty, by Burraku_Pansa

    Story: A human wakes up in Equestria

    This is an enjoyable read. The style is very readable and while the plot itself isn't particularly novel, there's enough interesting ideas going on here, relating to a wider tale about the human condition rather than just 'human in Equestria'. Does it go far enough in this respect? I'm not sure, but I like what I read.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    I found this story hard to describe, as the actual plot isn't really much more than 'human in Equestria', though with this story it is all in the presentation. The writer manages to take the prompt and make it interesting to read, if not entirely interesting in execution. That said, I'm still not exactly sure what was going on in the story at the end, though it seems like there was supposed to be deliberate ambiguity.


    Fairy Tale Garden, by MissyAngel

    Story: A human in Equestria has a chat with Twilight about going home.

    This was a nice little story. It's a two-hander (hoofer?) between the human and Twilight where they chat about life and about how the human would get home, but it felt easy to read and quite light. If I had one criticism, it would be that the human seems to change their mind about definitely wanting to stay to becoming really homesick a bit too quickly, and Twilight's dialogue feels off (she says "ya" a lot) but apart from that it was very solid.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria, second person and seventh element

    Three prompts, all of them used well, I'm impressed. The writer painted a very good picture of the character quickly and easily from the start, the second person style felt natural aside from one tense slip that I noticed, and the seventh element aspect was not only appropriate, it was what the story and its ideas were built off without being obnoxious.


    Prologue: A New Life, by Super_Big_Mac

    Story: A genre-savvy Japanese schoolgirl arrives in Equestria.

    I didn't have much hope going into a story explicitly called 'Prologue' but to my surprise, yes, this was a self-contained story which was more about discussion of genre and storytelling than just an intro. That said, I found the initial section which talked about this character's life in relation to storybook logic far more interesting than when they actually go to Equestria. She meets Pinkie and has a fourth wall breaking conversation, then goes back home. It's rather brief, unfortunately, and any revelations the character makes are ones narrated to us rather than shown as a process. There's a lot of tense slips too; this may have been deliberate in parts due to the nature of the story, but there's some early on which clearly can't be on purpose.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria/OC alicorn

    Arriving in Equestria, the human promptly turns into an alicorn. This feels rather shoehorned in, as it's not particularly important to the plot as they then leave Equestria after a brief chat with Pinkie. Any pony type would have had the same effect (sans 'alicorn magic'.). In fact, for all it adds to the story, they didn't even need to have turned into a pony.


    Rarity dates Prince Nightshade, by Dream Volt

    Story: Rarity dates a changeling Prince

    This story is pretty much what it says on the tin. Rarity meets a changeling, falls in love with him instantly and they decide to marry after one date. This story is either a sequel to something, or firmly within the writer's headcanon, as there is a dizzying amount of other events referred or inferred with little to no explanation. A story like this really needs better worldbuilding. There is also not much incident, and it is strangely lacking in any sort of twist (The twist is yes, they do really want to get married after one day, which is... odd as no reason is given).

    Prompt: Shipping with main character

    Despite the story being first person, there is little in the story to explain exactly why Rarity is in love with this character apart from him being a prince. We don't get a grip on his character at all, and both he and Rarity sound the same (neither much like Rarity).


    Union, by JakBed96

    Story: Twilight's boyfriend decides to get married

    I'm in two minds about this story. Originally I was going to complain that the relationship between Twilight and this character is undeveloped, and the main character is a cypher who feels a bit creepy. Then I got to the end and it turns out that's the point of the story. I actually liked the ending and how it changed how the rest of the story worked, but believe it would have been more effective if we'd actually seen some more interaction between him and Twilight. It achieve what it sets out to do though.

    Prompt: Shipping with main character

    As I said, originally the relationship was really undeveloped, but then as a twist ending (spoilers!) it turns out he was using dark magic to ensnare Twilight and make him love her. I'm not sure if this is cheating in regards to the prompt though, as it turns out it isn't 'really' shipping because she's being mind-controlled. It's probably not, but even so it feels like the 'easy way out'.


    Fingers, by WiseFireCracker

    Story: A pianist finds himself in Equestria... turned into a pony with no fingers!

    As a story I rather liked this one. It's well paced, it has some good incident, and I was left curious and intrigued by the character. It certainly feels like a complete story, and one that doesn't always go the expected route either.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    The human is ponified straight away, but it deals with the ramifications of being ponified as the central point of the story. There's some interesting flashbacks and a good sense of character.


    The Price of Harmony, by Quill Scratch

    Story: An alicorn grows up in the Everfree raised by Zecora and her human husband

    If ever there's a story where the moral 'too many cooks spoil the broth' can be displayed, it is here. Only instead of cooks it is ideas, and instead of a broth, it is a story. The tale of this alicorn is nice and well-written, but there's so much pushed into the story that when the ending comes (and it is a good ending), it hasn't been built up to appropriately as we still don't have a good grasp on the character due to everything else the author has been trying to push in.

    Prompt: All of them... sort of.

    It's a valiant effort, but a self-defeating one. The alicorn's father (we never know if he's the natural dad) is a human in Equestria. He is married to Zecora in the Everfree forest. There's some mild Derpy shipping too. There's some stuff with the Elements in at the end, though it's not quite a 'seventh element' story. It's in second person. The issue is, that the story's ending really relies on the reader having a firm handle on the character, but given the large timespan the story takes place over and the dizzying amount of ideas thrown in, there's never a chance to do this. I don't want to sound too down, because I did actually enjoy reading this story. In this case though, I think less would have been more.


    Entertainment for Immortals, by Saakra

    Story: A human is sent to Equestria by Discord to stir up trouble.

    Perhaps there is a fun story here, but the whole tale feels really rushed. There is barely any introduction to the characters, and it almost seems like the reader is supposed to know who the bizarrely-named 'Omnispar' is. The moment he turns up in Equestria, he gets blasted by the Elements for little defined reason, then turns into a pony with a swastika (yes, really), swears a lot and gets banished to the moon. It's over really fast, there's no buildup of anything and little humour apart from swearing and swastikas, which isn't funny by itself.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria and seventh element.

    While the story is primarily a seventh element story, there is an aspect of HiE, though the human gets turned into a pony (for little reason) very fast so it doesn't really count. The seventh element part is just a story concocted by Discord so isn't a 'real' element (and if it somehow is, there's little exploration of it). If you removed that mention, the story would still run the same, as the element doesn't factor into anything.


    Special, Deluxe Special, by DeluxeMagnum69

    Story: A human arrives in Equestria and discovers he is special.

    I found this story really hard to read. The text is littered with some really odd turns of phrase which are just stilted or strange. It feels like it hasn't been proofread at all, and a single sweep would probably sort most of these issues out. With them in, they're just too distracting. The story itself feels like something I've read many times before, and unfortunately as it gets to the end the plot becomes more and more rushed, skipping over most of the interesting parts.

    Prompt: All of them

    This is another story where whilst a noble effort in including all the prompts, the end result is very messy, and the story probably would have been better off with just a few. The second person narration has issues, as mentioned above. The Human in Equestria angle is unremarkable, he turns into an alicorn for little reason (and the story would have been identical had that part been skipped), there's something very rushed in the end about him being a seventh element and needing to sacrifice himself for some reason, and then he and Twilight suddenly kiss to fulfil the shipping aspect, with no warning. Points for effort, but this is a story that has too much too fast.


    You Are A King, by Kalash93

    Story: Equestria's old king gets a visit from Luna

    There's a lot to like in this story, but I feel it gets buried under too many flashbacks. I like the idea of a previous king being bitter over being left alone and seeing everyone else thrive, but despite all the flashbacks we never really find out why he's in the predicament he's in, or really much about his personality beside 'belligerent'. This is the sort of tale I'd like to see fleshed out a bit more.

    Prompt: Second person, OC alicorn

    The OC alicorn is done well, though as mentioned we don't really get too deeply into his motivation and relation with the princesses apart from the 'he is pompous'; there's a much more interesting story waiting to be told, I think. The second person narration is functional, though I don't' think it adds much and the story could easily be told in first or third person with few changes.


    Happily Ever After, by spideremblembrony

    Story: Applejack and co end up in a parallel world with an alicorn superhero team.

    This is a bit of an odd story. There was lots of parts I liked in it: some decent twists and nice ideas. That said, most of the story, despite its length, feels really rushed. There are so many characters in it that there's no time to get to know anyone or their motivations, and once the villain is revealed they are dispatched with very little explanation as to their motives. A story that could benefit from being a lot longer, I think.

    Prompt: OC alicorn

    Going into an alternate universe to do the OC alicorn seems like taking a bit of a 'safe' path when this competition is all about danger, but then again it has some decent twists in the tale. That said, the ending where all this is revealed is very rushed, and could easily have done with some fleshing out. We don't really get a grip on the characterisations of these alicorns, or get the chance to care about them, mostly due to the sheer amount of characters in the story.


    8 comments · 387 views
  • 32w, 22h
    Most Dangerous Game Judging Reviews - 1

    The finalists in the 'Most Dangerous Game' competition have been announced - check it out here: https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/351973/the-most-dangerous-voting-contest

    I was 'lucky' enough to be asked to judge by Obs, which was really nice until suddenly 64 fics appeared at the last minute. I am a classy guy though, so I endured through all 64 and wrote a review for each one. Rather than dumping them all in a megapost I will make a few posts of 15ish stories each, so if I've not got to your story yet, don't worry!

    I'm not posting reviews for the finalists yet, as I wouldn't want to sway anyone's decisions, nor will I be posting scores, as Obs asked me not to.

    For a prompt competition like this, I judge in two criteria - out of five for the story itself (was it a genuinely good story) and out of five for the use of prompt (was it done in an interesting way, did the prompt actually add to the story, how much skill did the author use in carrying out the remit of the competition, etc). In that way, you could have a poor story bolstered by a genius way of using the prompt, or an amazing story hampered by the writer just doing a brief nod towards the prompt.

    Anyway, without further ado:


    Exchange, by Murba

    Story: Two humans trust the changelings to save their baby.

    Overall I think I liked this story, though it could have done with being more developed. The central concept was good (and I was mildly surprised to learn that it was Chrysalis they were going to, not Celestia, but as a whole the story seems lacking in incident which is a bit strange for a story where two humans hand their baby to a sketchy cheese-pony and are handed back an egg in return. Everyone seems a bit too accepting of what is going on, which feels slightly odd.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    At first I was a bit nonplussed at the use of humans in this, as it felt like the story could have been told with ponies making the same deal, though the second half explores why this is the case more. There's some nice ideas in the story, but again not developed much.


    By The Power Of Patriotism!, by RainbowBob

    Story: Celestia must battle George Washington to stop him merging with the Tree of Harmony

    I enjoyed this story, it's weird and silly and actually entertaining. It made me laugh and had some clever ideas, and for a comedy, that's all I really want. That said, Celestia's voice felt really off, I couldn't imagine her using any of the language in this story, which broke some of the immersion for me.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria and seventh element

    Crossovers aren't allowed as per the competition rules. Do historical figures count as a crossover? Probably not, though it feels against the spirit of the thing, as it is still inserting an established character into a story rather than something wholly original. Thankfully it's not the only prompt used so I don't have to make some sort of firm decision based on this, though I feel George Washington with a cyborg hand as the 'Element of Patriotism' (and Kennedy as the 'Element of Adultery' is veering too far into parody territory. Under the rules, comedy is allowed but parody isn't. There's a thin line, but nowhere are the prompts themselves taken seriously.


    All Skin and Bones, by Redsquirrel456

    Story: A human necromancer attempts to restore the dead pony race

    Well, that was grim! Well-written, but grim! There's some great ideas here, very evocatively portrayed in an interesting manner, and some good twists. But boy, it's grim. The story is marked mature for violence, and it has lots of swearing and newborns getting their heads caved in with a spade, and a dog getting its head stamped by a hoof and its brains flying everywhere. While the subject matter is dark, I'm not sure it needed to be this needlessly cruel. Good story, but leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    There's a lot of questions asked and not many answers, but this is done in a satisfying, interesting way. We're in some sort of post apocalypse with no (or perhaps one) pony survivor, and the human comes across as a vivid character. Albeit one who likes to swear.


    Returning with Purpose, by Tineid

    Story: All the elements of harmony are going super-powered, what's going on?

    There's a good story in here somewhere, but the pacing of this story is all wrong, unfortunately. I liked a lot of the concepts, and especially the 'twist' with Twilight near the end, but all the character moments and interesting ideas are skipped over which is odd, especially after a detailed set up.

    Prompt: OC alicorn and seventh element

    Okay, whilst the OC alicorn is a bit 'same old, same old' and isn't really developed at all (again, the ending of the story feeling really rushed), the seventh element aspect is well done, and actually gives an interesting twist. It's a shame the consequences of this aren't really explored.


    Careful What You Wish For, by Cloudhammer

    Story: Two human scientists find the alicorn amulet and end up in Equestria

    That brief synopsis is pretty much the plot of the story. Whilst there's some good character work and the plot seems to start to be interesting... it just ends. This feels like the first half of a longer story as all the plot is getting set up, but not a cohesive story in itself, which is a shame. What we have is good, but it's just setup.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    The inclusion of the alicorn amulet raises some interesting questions, though these are never answered. There's a good twist at the end, though I assumed it was the case due to the introduction of the story. The story doesn't really follow through on exploring the premise, instead just ending as it gets interesting.


    In Between, by M1Garand8

    Story: Celestia and Luna's middle sister waits for them to be unbanished.

    While this story has some nice ideas behind it, much like the middle sister it feels like the middle of a story. Alternate universe stories can be quite tricky, in that they require a lot of groundwork in order to maintain suspension of disbelief, and often come across as stories striving to solve a problem that didn't exist until it was created for the alternate universe. This story took a while to get the foundations laid (initially I wasn't sure if it was alternate universe, it was potentially future or something else) and then ends before the resolution. What we're left with is Umbra, the third alicorn, running about, thinking of her childhood and putting her plan into motion which (seemingly) works fine. It feels like it needed something additional to make it work - as it stands, this new alicorn takes the place of Celestia, whilst both Celestia and Luna get the 'Nightmare Moon' spot. To avoid being a retread, it needed something additional, I fear.

    Prompt: OC Alicorn

    The use of alt universe makes the OC alicorn more palatable, though at the same time this feels like the 'safe' option as it isn't 'real'. Whilst I don't like to judge stories based on what they're not, I was hoping there would be some further twist to explore this, such as it ending with a stable timeloop where Umbra 'resets' the world to save Celestia and Luna at the cost of her existence, creating the G4 universe we know, or it turning out that while she was moping over Celestia and Luna being trapped, it was actually her trapped, or... anything. As it is, the story is a pretty straightforward transposition of this character with Celestia.


    In Memoriam, by Bachiavellian

    Story: Celestia and Luna's carer sits at home waiting for news

    There's not much to this story, unfortunately. It starts with a nice little character piece with a young Celestia and Luna, then moves to some foreboding description and then... it ends. The story reads more like a prologue to a longer work than something in its own right, as the majority of it is buildup to a story that doesn't happen. It's told quite well, but there's not much to tell.

    Prompt: OC alicorn

    The OC alicorn in this story, Cantata, is portrayed as Celestia and Luna's... carer? Babysitter? While the character seemed solid enough, there's not enough to really get a grip on what she's like and her role in the story. Additionally, her alicorn-ness isn't really a factor, aside from one or two mentions of having wings and horns. You could have made her a normal pony and the story would not have changed at all.


    The Sun Shines Over The Delaware, by Anemptyshell

    Story: A parallel Equestria where it was colonised by the British

    Well, that's original! The premise is certainly intriguing, but it isn't explored. Is Equestria just in the place of America? What's it like for the people living there? How does this society work? Why are the British wanting to invade and enslave everyone if they've already colonised it?  My main issue with this story is that it is more a synopsis of events that happen, not a story in its own right. Apart from the mention of ponies and Celestia, you could be mistaken for thinking it is George Washington fanfiction.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria and Human shipped with main character

    I'll give the writer points for the idea of telling the story from the point of view of an already existing human colonist, but this idea isn't really explored at all. Likewise with the shipping, that just appears at the last minute. The time jumping nature of the story makes it very hard to get a grip on any of the events in it. Also, does using George Washington, an already established human, go against the spirit of the 'no crossovers' rule? Not sure.


    A Princess in Time, by NorsePony

    Story: The story of Cadance's mother and the fall of the Crystal Empire

    This is another story that I wanted to like more than I did. There's some really clever stuff in here (I especially liked the two-word chapter 5) but the focus is all over the place, as if it isn't sure whether it wants to be about Cadance's mother, the rise of King Sombra, the origin of Cadance or the defeat of Sombra by Celestia (she stabs him through the chest with her horn, don't you know). Any combination of these ideas would be good, but trying to fit them all in at different points makes the story feel insubstantial. The short Cadance section, for example, could be removed entirely without affecting any of the tale (yet that's where it gets the title from, I wonder if it was originally going to be a different tale entirely).

    Prompt: OC Alicorn

    The OC alicorn here is Cadance's mother, ruler of the Crystal Empire. If you're going to add another alicorn, that's probably the most suitable point. I actually liked the focus on her at the beginning and then learning her fate off-screen, that's effective, but we don't get to know her in enough detail to care about her fate. She's regally and princessy, and that's it. Ponies are on her side because the alternate is King Sombra who is King Evil, not because of any personality aspect she has, and the story only really develops her as 'not evil like King Sombra'. It's a tricky one.


    Our Shining Light, by Cobalt Coda

    Story: Cadance's bodyguard falls in love with her, but will she return the gesture?

    This is a nice, entertaining read. It's a good ship pair, and I felt for the most part, with the omission of a bit of melodrama, the plot moved at a good pace and finished as satisfyingly as it could. All that spoilt it for me was the rather repetitive and annoying use of speech tags (not every speech needs to have one), the frankly rather ridiculous secrecy around Shining Armor's 'busyness' and the fact 'Cadance' is spelled wrong consistently.

    Prompt: Shipping with main character

    Shipping a recently married character! That's a bold move, and the writer pulls it off well and appropriately. Everyone feels natural, with the aforementioned throwing under the bus of Shining Armor. That felt very forced for plot purposes.


    Fading, by Rinnaul

    Story: A human in Equestria is dying from exposure to magic.

    This is a nice little story of Celestia talking to a human in hospital for whom exposure to magic is fatal. Most of the story is told well and naturally, though there are a few instances where it falls into the trap of 'two characters telling each other stuff they both know'. That said, the story is very short, and doesn't really get the time to explore the premise or build enough character to get an emotional impact.

    Prompt: Human in Equestria

    I want to say the whole 'magic is fatal to humans' is original but I'm sure I've read that before, even in this same contest. The ideas are nice, but the story is short and doesn't get the chance to either explore this or the character enough or make the experience a unique one. You could even swap out the human with an Equestrian allergic to magic and it would read exactly the same apart from one mention of television.


    Wish Unfulfillment, by hazeyhooves

    Story: Pinkie Pie has to keep quiet or an evil genie will curse her.

    This was a short, fun story. The plot is simple and goes along at a good speed, the central idea is funny and well-handled, and it doesn't outstay its welcome. My only criticism would be it feels a bit rushed in places, especially some of the time jumps which are odd given the narrative style, but overall it's a solid, entertaining story.

    Prompt: Second person

    This is actually a good and unusual use of second person, in that it is actually from the viewpoint of a canon character (Pinkie Pie) rather than yet another 'reader in Equestria'. Honestly it felt like a breath of fresh air. The style was actually fun and humourous, and got Pinkie's voice right most of the time.


    Strangely Familiar, by Silent Strider

    Story: There's a human at loose reshaping the world with the power of his mind. Also, Trixie.

    While I enjoyed reading this story, there's probably too much happening in it, and the end result is muddled. The use of all the prompts adds unnecessary complexity to the story, moreso than it needs to have. I liked the use of Discord at the end, though feel there was more potential in this tale than was actually realised.

    Prompt: All of them

    There's a bold effort to use all the prompts here, but not all of them are pulled off. Least successful is the shipping (Trixie x human, it seems to come out of nowhere) and second person (a few short sections are second person, it doesn't add anything to the story, really). The idea of the human having a seventh element that is reshaping Equestria according to his memories is interesting but we don't really spend much time with him or get into the effects too much. The OC alicorn as some sort of ancient guardian is also quite insubstantial and is more of a plot device. But it is a good effort, and most of these are used in imaginative ways.


    Time & Disregard, by RazgrizS57

    Story: Time and Disregard are alicorns who are literally 'time' and 'disregard'

    This is a nice little slice of life story about two alicorn brothers who encapsulate concepts and can't be seen by anyone else. While low on incident, it's written really well and there's some excellent characterisation and ideas. I really liked it, it's sweet, and I'd like to see more!

    Prompt: OC alicorn

    The idea of conceptual entities has popped up a lot, but I like the idea of them being brothers, counterparting Celestia and Luna. The relationship between the two characters is very well drawn out, and dare I say it, interesting.


    Mush Story, by Dafaddah

    Story: Twilight goes to the human world and falls in love.

    Is this a sequel? It doesn't state it is anywhere, but it starts as if assuming the reader has read some sort of previous story, and goes on about a character called Alice who I don't know nor am given any reason to care about. If it is a sequel, it does a bad job of standing on its own, and if it isn't, the writer does a bad job of worldbuilding (stories that do not stand on their own are my bugbear). EDIT: it does mention it is a sequel in the description, that’ll learn me to jump right in!

    The plot is that Twilight falls in love with a human, but we're never given any reasons why she does apart from knocking out his tooth, and there's lots of timeskips so we miss any and all character development. Was this character in the original too? Am I supposed to have read it to understand what his character is?

    Prompt: Shipping with main character, human in Equestria

    Again, as it is a sequel there is pretty much no context given to what is going on, making it very confusing. The romance is front and centre, but also completely skipped over. No reason is given why Twilight would fall in love with this human, whose sole personality is 'nice' and 'gets his tooth knocked out', and if I sound grumpy it's because I dislike being tricked into reading a story which claims it is standalone but blatantly isn't.

    13 comments · 454 views
  • 33w, 3d
    Blueshift @ BUCK

    As you can probably guess from the title, I have cracked and bought myself a Saturday ticket to BUCK, the UK pony con in August. Do not make me regret this, I will be missing Doctor Who which is back on tv the same day!

    Is uh, is anyone else going?

    In other news, I have now read 54 stories for Ob's 'Dangerous Game' competition, with 10 more to go. Please blame Obs for my lack of writing productivity. I expect his beard in the post as recompense for my time.

    19 comments · 220 views
  • 34w, 3d
    State of the writer: June

    17 comments · 246 views
  • 35w, 11h
    Blueshift First World Problem Woes

    14 comments · 319 views
  • 35w, 5d
    Sea Ponies!

    Hi guys, I have posted a new story, and it's all about SEA PONIES! Or at least a pony who claims they are a sea pony. Check it out and let me know what you think. I'm writing the rest RIGHT NOW.

    The Truth, Or Something Beautiful

    I will leave you with the sea pony song!

    8 comments · 244 views
  • 36w, 23h
    Go buy X-COM!!

    It's the Steam Sale again and they have X-COM: Enemy Unknown for pennies! Well, £3.74, or whatever that is in your American moon money. The DLC is also super cheap, you definitely want the Enemy Within expansion too! And you can get the game and all the DLC for like, £8!

    I would hope by this point everyone would already own it, but I know there are people who resisted. It is genuinely one of my favourite games of all time, and I tend to hate games!

    (Also, then you can read my X-COM crossover story and understand it more!)

    26 comments · 325 views
  • 37w, 1d
    250,000 Story Views Party

    24 comments · 301 views
Dec
18th
2012

So you’ve written your magnum opus, it’s perfect, you release it into the world and… no-one reads it. Damn.

A lot of people ask me how they can make their stories more popular, so I thought I’d put some advice down here for posterity. This post isn’t about story writing. Of COURSE that is the most important thing in writing a good story, don’t think it isn’t. But once you’ve done the hard work in writing a brilliant tale, there’s a lot more you should do to attract readers and I see people making the same obvious mistakes again and again. Maybe your story is brilliant, but if people never click on it, they’ll never get to read it!

Title

What’s your story called? Maybe it’s a spinoff of a popular tale like Fallout Equestria or My Little Dashie. Don’t go calling it “Fallout Equestria: Fall Harder” or “My Little Thunderlane”. You instantly restrict your readership before you begin to just the people who have read the original. Your story should stand on its own two feet.

Your title should be unique and also relatable to your story. There are so many stories with extremely generic titles. You might want to call your Flutterdash ship fic “ON THE WINGS OF AN ANGEL” but that tells the reader absolutely nothing about the story (unless it is about Angel growing wings). Stuff that sounds nice but is generic should be off the board, you want a title that instantly conjures up your story to mind and trips off the tongue. This will also help in passing along word of mouth because people will be able to recall your story more quickly.

(If anyone wants to write ‘On The Wings Of An Angel’ about Angel getting jealous of a Flutterdash ship and growing wings, be my guest).

Also remember that no-one knows your OC. No-one cares about your OC. Don’t name your story after your OC unless it’s a clever title. There’s about five million stories with the title “The Adventures of Floaty McPegasus”. You might love your OC, but no-one else does, your story title may as well be “The Adventures of Blah Blah Blah” for all the impact it will have on the reader.

Description

This is ridiculously important. It's this which will convince people to click on your story in the first place. The quality of your writing makes them stay. The short description is what is used on the front page now, so make sure it grabs the reader. Advertise your story's unique selling point. Intrigue them.

There are a lot of stories with very vague descriptions. “A story about Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash”. Avoid this. There’s nothing unique about this – about 100 stories are submitted to fimfiction a day, you need to make sure your description shows the reader in a very concise manner the following:

WHAT your story is about

WHO is in your story

WHY it is unique and worth the reader’s time.

If you can't find a good way to quickly describe why your story is unique, odds are it's not and you're already in trouble.

Again, remember that no-one cares about your OC. A description along the lines “This story is about Marmite Showers my OC” will not interest anyone. Why would anyone then decide to read that? How about: “Marmite Showers accidently delivers a truckload of weapon-grade Marmite to Twilight Sparkle’s house. Can he save the day before all of Ponyville is poisoned by the toxic yet oddly delicious goo?”  That’s more exciting, though some people hate rhetorical questions (they would be wrong. Your description needs to be short, you should use all the tools at your disposal).

Take a look at stories which have 1000+ views and see what their descriptions are like. Most of them will probably get right in there with the key unique selling point of the story to pull the readers in.

Don’t be self-deprecating

There is nothing worse than a story’s description or opening lines being a note from the author about how “This is my first fanfic and it’s probably rubbish” or “I know my story is awful don’t hate me too much”.

It’s not charming. It won’t make people treat you nicer. All it will do is completely reduce any expectation a reader has of a story. Telling your reader this story is likely to be awful will make them think it’s awful even if it isn’t. It puts people in the mindset that they’re about to read something bad. If you really, really have to mention that it is your first story, put that in the author’s notes at the end. Don’t tell us your story is terrible, let the reader make their own mind up!

Exciting opening

Your first chapter, indeed your first LINE is so important that it needs to grab the reader and not let them go. Most people will click onto the first chapter, and if you've not captured their attention, they'll drift on to the next story. The opening to your story needs to be exciting, it needs to be dynamic! Attention spans these days are really short; you need to make sure your story starts with a metaphorical bang that makes people want to keep reading.

This does NOT include starting chapter 1 with a long, ponderous author’s note, or some really dry prose or descriptions. If you’re writing about an OC, remember that no-one cares about your OC at first, the job of your story is to make the audience care about your OC, then you can delve into them a bit more. Knowing that Marmite Showers is black with a yellow mane does not make the opening of a story exciting. Knowing that Marmite Showers has just accidently delivered industrial grade poison Marmite to Twilight Sparkle’s house does.

Chapter length

Yes, I know it’s tempting to share your work as quickly as possible. Dash out a few hundred words and mash ‘publish’ and it’ll be in the public domain. Stop! Stop now!

There are lots of stories with really tiny chapters, of about 500-1000 words. Seeing a gigantic list of chapters in a story is really daunting. The story might not even be that long, but being faced with a mammoth list of chapters can flick a switch in your reader’s head and make them leg it. Play the long game; make sure your chapters are big and meaty. Aim for about 3-5k a chapter, each chapter starting and finishing in an exciting place and moving the story forward. That’ll help give your story momentum and keep your readership.

When to upload

Don't upload a gigantic story all in one go, that's also off-putting. You want to reduce the feeling of 'not reading that!' which people might have as a gut reaction. In the same vein, don't scrape the bare minimum and upload 1000 words. That won't be enough to enthral your readers and make them stick around. That’s the number one problem I see – people have an interesting idea, but publish the story the moment it hits 1000 words.

When your story is uploaded onto the site it hits the front page. That’s a massive boost, that’s your best advantage to getting readers. Your story needs to be in its best, most enticing form. Not barely formed and weakly limping across the site. When you hit publish, I recommend having about 5-10k of your story done, that's enough to leave people wanting more, but not scaring them away from your gigantic story. A story will get most of its hits on the first day because it appears on the front page, you want to use that to maximum advantage.

Image

Yes, this is shallow, but we live in a shallow world. Make sure you have an exciting image for your story. Pony Creator images are an instant turnoff. If you find yourself uploading a Pony Creator image, stop and throw your computer out of the window.

Your story picture has to be eye-catching. If you can’t draw, ask an artist if you can use their art. There’s a ‘source’ option on the image upload function to enable you to properly credit the artist and link back to their own site, so it can be a good deal for the artist as well to be attached to a popular story!

For most of you, the above may seem astonishingly obvious, but just check the front page for recently uploaded stories. Odds are that about half of them will make some obvious errors which will cause perhaps a good story from getting noticed.

Agree? Disagree? Got more advice? Leave comments below! Remember, again, this post isn't about writing an amazing story, it assumes you've already written something brilliant. Obviously that's the most important thing!

Blueshift · 5,268 views · Report
Comment posted by UseFistNotMouth deleted at 8:59pm on the 18th of December, 2012
#2 · 114w, 3d ago · 10 · 4 ·

Also boobs, show a little skin in your cover pic and you are good to go.

Source: Ex-Ponyfall Writer

Wanderer D
Moderator
#3 · 114w, 3d ago · 6 · ·

You lie. :derpytongue2: Everyone knows the secret to have someone read your story is to include the phrase: "Soft Drinks and Pie" in the description. Not... your common sense.

#4 · 114w, 3d ago · 2 · 3 ·

Many of these things I incorporated into my story. Listen to this guy everypony, he knows what he's talking about.

#5 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

eeyup!:eeyup:

#6 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

Well, I already do all this... it's just the time that it's uploaded that kills me. When I uploaded my story, I thought it would've taken a good 12 hours like before! Instead, it came one hour after submission at 12... in the night... when I wanted it when people WEREN'T sleeping.

MnM
#7 · 114w, 3d ago · 11 · ·

You forgot to mention that if you really want your story to popular, you must have an original idea.

Unless it's Halo...

-Liam

#8 · 114w, 3d ago · 4 · ·

...So what happens when you do all of the above and your story is still forgotten?

#9 · 114w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Really good advise. :twilightsmile::twilightsmile:

Wish someone posted this sooner. :twilightoops:

#10 · 114w, 3d ago · 7 · ·

You mean that people don't want to read my story "The Inferno Within the Shadow of Darkness" about my black and red Alicorn-Zebra-Dragon-Minotaur who falls in love with Twilight Sparkle and saves the world from his mother, Celestia? Awww. But I had the Pony-Gen image ready and everything. :fluttercry:

#11 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625292

Well you can't have NWS images, though yes, sadly sometimes a racy image can help even the most mundane fic. I wouldn't recommend that though!

#12 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

Hmmmm, by this logic Green would have never gotten read. But then I suppose minimalism in a title is striking as well. And the image is very memorable.

Ezn
#13 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

The main problem with rhetorical questions is that on a site like this, where at least half your readers are fic writers themselves, you run the risk of having them come up with their own answers to your rhetorical questions and going off to write their own stuff, or at least preferring their hypothetical versions of your fic to your actual fic.

Good advice in general, though.

#14 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625314

Knighty has added some new admin from various timezones (including me!) so that there should always be someone online to approve fics!

#15 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

That’s more exciting, though some people hate rhetorical questions (they would be wrong. Your description needs to be short, you should use all the tools at your disposal).

They can get really annoying when you over do it, though. Something like "What if a new pony name Marmite Showers came to Ponyville? What would happen if he asked Twilight Sparkle on a date? What if she said yes? What if they got married and had five children? Read and find out!"

It's a big pet peeve of mine and I see it way too often; not as much in this fandom, but it should still be avoided.

#16 · 114w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>625291

I think I'm supposed to take offense to this on principle. So... I'm offended? :unsuresweetie:

#17 · 114w, 3d ago · 3 · 1 ·

>>625331

I would. Got me 300+ likes when normally I would of had 7.

#18 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625343 And now I know :facehoof: :raritydespair: Can't complain, though... still got a lot of views, even for 12 o'clock.

#19 · 114w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Bang on. Preach it brother! Every single element you list as a mistake has turned me off at one point or another. Excellent.

#20 · 114w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>625336

Oh yes, I can think of a few fics off the top of my head that have attracted readers with a super minimalist approach. But also a lot more that got ignored.

#21 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

Did practically everything you suggested with my two highest read stories. Results speak for themselves. Anyone who wants to attract a stable and size-able readership should take heed of this blog. :twilightsmile: :moustache:

Title, Synopsis, Length, Opening, Art; all are extremely important and to overlook one is at your own peril! :trixieshiftright:

#22 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

Agree with all points.

I will keep them in mind before publishing my current story.

Question: is there a place to run short descriptions by? I know my long description is good but I am having trouble with the short version.

#23 · 114w, 3d ago · 6 · ·

>>625345

    Researcher: The average radio listener listens for eighteen minutes a day. The average Howard Stern fan listens for - are you ready for this? - an hour and twenty minutes.

    Kenny: How could this be?

    Researcher: Answer most commonly given: "I want to see what he'll say next."

    Kenny: : All right, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern?

    Researcher: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day.

    Kenny: : But... if they hate him, why do they listen?

    Researcher: Most common answer: "I want to see what he'll say next."

#24 · 114w, 3d ago · 6 · ·

Actually you can start with Marmite Showers' mane (and by this I mean to prove your point, please don't hate me :fluttershysad:)

Marmite Showers had a black and yellow mane.  It had been a beautiful mane. Lush, shimmering, styled to perfection. The very epitome of the equine coiffure. He had loved that mane. Adored it. Cared for it. Given it his every waking moment.

Had.

Now the black and yellow strands of what had once been his most treasured possession in all the earth littered the ground around his feet. The grass was thick with the bristly remains of his crinière, a million lustrous strands immersed in the sticky brown apocalypse that had flowed forth from the package he had, just moments earlier, attempted to deliver to one Twilight Sparkle.

Her eyes shone blacker than the blackest depths of those shattered jars now slowly sucking the soul from his shaven pate, the remnants of her magic glowing in their inky depths, to be extinguished like the last sputtering embers of Marmite's self-worth.

"I hate that stuff," she said, and slammed the door.

#25 · 114w, 3d ago · · 1 ·

This... makes sense, actually. Will make note.

>>625291 Fuck you

#26 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625359

I tend to run mine by friends. It's especially useful to run them by people who haven't read your story to see if they find it interesting or not. The problem I find is that as I know what my story is like, my mind tends to fill in the blanks when writing a description and I miss out obvious stuff.

#27 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

Obviously the correct way is to use all those blackmail points you've been saving up to make highly followed writers advertise your story.

#28 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

You should add the line at the very end, "Sadly, if you do all of this, you might not have a popular story." I've seen a lot of stories (and written two) that followed every single one of these things, and it doesn't work sometimes. Sometimes, it's down to just being lucky.

Oh, and this:

...stop and throw your computer out of the window.

You missed the perfect moment to use the word "defenestrate". I am disappointed in you.

#29 · 114w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>625370

Perhaps swearing at people is your special talent?

#30 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

I agree with everything in this.

The only problem is that the authors who would most likely benefit from this the most probably aren't even aware of the existence of this post.

#31 · 114w, 3d ago · 3 · ·

>>625367

I... I think I love you. :twilightblush:

#32 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625360

I'm fairly certain I'm still supposed to be offended. Blargh.

#33 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625380

Well, at least I've written it down so I (or someone else) can point them this way!

#34 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625376

I am saving the word 'defenestrate' for a special occasion (no, seriously!)

#35 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

A description that raises more questions than it answers is always good.  Another way to hook people is the juxtaposition of a seemingly disjointed title and description.  

For example, SS&E's Gift:  "Then one day, a mysterious pony visits from out of town.  She wishes to meet Rarity, but not to thank her."  (It also helps that I knew Gift means poison in German.)

Example of juxtaposition:  Clop It! by PrettyMonster:  "This is not a clop fic."

#36 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

Nooooooo! Your common sense is burning my ears! :fluttershbad:

#37 · 114w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

>>625383 Lets elope and make writing babies! :raritywink:

>>625375 Flattery also works.

#38 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625394   It better be a damn good moment, and you better link me to it.

If it isn't worth it... son... I am disappoint.

#39 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625389

Oh well. I guess ironic trolling is not for me. I was simply pointing out how much attention can be garnered negatively, as opposed to positively. If it was overly offensive in your opinion, then I acknowledge that you were offended and will try to avoid offending you in the future.

#40 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

I noticed another Story labeled "The Great Pony War" - perhaps that title indeed needs changing! :facehoof:

#41 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625411

But... I wanna be offended!


...Am I trying too hard? Yes? Thought so...

#42 · 114w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

What a great idea for a blog post!

But seriously! This one is a lot better than my take on the same idea, and combines some ideas I've been pondering since, particularly the bit about needing a good first chapter that I've been trying to teach others.

I'll probably link back to this thing. And yeah, Pony Creator images are not a good idea; why? Because they LOOK lazy. They look like the author doesn't care, and if the author doesn't care, why should we?

#43 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

Excellent Blog!

I especially agree with the "Don’t be self-deprecating" part; it is a negative double-whammy for me (as a reader).

As a potential reader I do not care if it is the first or the 573th piece of fiction you write - some authors have gained a following and reputation (good or ill) but the majority are blank sheets in the eyes of most readers, including you. No need to point that out.

Also, it does not matter to the story itself, so why would you make it part of the summary? At this point, no matter the answer you give, it will count against you:

A) You didn't know better - which casts your skills as an author in doubt.

B) You felt your story is really not good - which casts a negative light on your story.

C) You want to garner sympathy and deflect criticism - see A & B

So for Faust's sake DON'T!

If you honestly want to get feedback put a line in the Author's notes ("Feedback, good or bad, and criticism is always welcome") and/or get a pre-reader.

#44 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

>>625367

Honestly, I'd read that story. Seriously.

#45 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

This might be literally the most inconviniently timed piece of advice I have ever received:applejackconfused:.

Well, I'll still take any advice I can get.

#46 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

You should add that writing stories with a ridiculous concept is also generally a bad idea, like a ravenous vegetable critiquing the food and service at Sugarcube Corner and if they don't do a good job then they'll go out of business. That was my mistake. Nobody said it was bad... out of the eight people who actually read it, that is. They actually seemed to like it. But, let that be a lesson. Don't write stories about sentient, hungry vegetables.

Comment posted by reader of the night deleted at 9:19pm on the 18th of December, 2012
#48 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

Yes, this is shallow, but we live in a shallow world. Make sure you have an exciting image for your story.

I wouldn't exactly call it shallow. I expect the picture of a story to be related to the story in some way and therefor help the description along with giving me an idea what the story is about. Just because it's not written text doesn't make it any less valid.

... of course, if the picture is generic or has nothing at all to do with the story, that's not helping. ESPECIALLY if it promises something the story isn't

>>625343.

grats to that.

#49 · 114w, 3d ago · 3 · ·

>>625426

You... realise who you're talking to, right? :twilightoops:

#50 · 114w, 3d ago · · ·

I can attest that this advice given here works, and I am still learning to apply it all to my writing.

One thing I would suggest is that if your story fits within a popular group, then join and add your story to it. I have found that it increased the number of views for those that have gone into their groups.

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