Twilight and her friends are invited to spend a week-long vacation aboard the cruise ship Aurora. However, when trouble strikes at Ponyville, can a town that's grown used to having a pack of heroes manage to save itself?
Before Twilight could puzzle out what hooves had to do with reading, Rainbow was off
Best line here.
I'm honestly not surprised this story got the score it did. Writing this, I was aware of a great number of flaws with the story, and I almost deleted it the day before the submission deadline, but I finally decided to submit it anyway because trying's better than not.
This was my first bit of My Little Pony fanfiction, and arguably my first fanfic ever if you don't count things that only take place in a world and don't involve any established characters. However, none of the prompts really agreed with me. Mysterious creatures attacking Ponyville seemed like a story that's been told a thousand times, and was too broad and unoriginal for me to really have an idea jump out at me. A fire breaking out in the Everfree Forest was more specific of a problem, but I couldn't think of any way to do that that wouldn't be quite tragic: Fluttershy would likely be heartbroken over any animals she couldn't save, if she didn't get herself killed trying, and I didn't really want to write a tragedy.. Lastly, there was the mane 6 going on vacation. This seemed fun enough, and it was while I was pondering ideas on what they could be doing that I realized that a side effect of them going on vacation is they're not in Ponyville, a town that gets hit with disasters every other week. So I thought I'd be clever and write about that (Of course, go figure on day one of voting I come across another story that came up with the same premise.)
The prologue and epilogue were probably my favorite parts to write, and I probably should have written that story instead. My favorite part of the epilogue was the sense of things left unsaid: You know Pinkie Pie set up Spitfire and Rainbow Dash, and that some sort of shenanigans happened to make things go horribly wrong. You know Rarity got beat up by a famous pony. You know Twilight and AJ decided the trip was unsalvageable and turned to drink instead. But the specific details on these are left to the reader's imagination. However, it was only after submitting that I realized I could have kept that feeling with their reaction on coming back to find Ponyville levelled.
As far as the bulk of the story went, a big problem of mine was trying to keep things vaguely realistic. I wanted something to threaten Ponyville while the mane 6 were out, but it had to be something the townsfolk could handle on their own, there had `be a reason why it couldn't just switch to Princess Celestia saving the town (And I wasn't about to portray the princess as somepony who'd willingly let ponies die when she could do something, and even without Spike a letter could probably be run to Canterlot before the day was out), and I wanted there to at least be some foreshadowing in the prologue as to what disaster would hit Ponyville, ideally tied to one of the mane 6. So, I wound up picking a storm, because it's something one of the mane 6 deals with on a regular basis, something that's of great concern to a normal person, but is small enough for the goddess of the sun to reasonably ignore. What I probably should have done was just accept that most readers wouldn't ask the question of "Why didn't they just ask Princess Celestia for help?" and gone with a more typical villain like a monster or something. It was difficult to make the storm look dangerous without doing something catastrophic like having the tornado strike while most folks were still unsheltered.
All that said, there was some parts of the story I actually liked writing. I enjoyed the small scene I wrote between Scootaloo and Diamond Tiara, I love the idea of an adversary finding themselves in debt to the hero and realizing they need to turn around how they've been treating them. And I still like the premise of the citizens needing to solve a problem on their own. But it's still a very flawed story, and I pray that everything I do down the line is far better.
This is actually pretty well done, I always like the idea of any of the Cutie Mark Crusaders working together with either Diamond Tiara or Silver Spoon. Starting off as enemies, and then possibly becoming friends at the end. I really enjoyed reading it, it almost felt like an actual episode, all it needed was a few minor tweaks here and there. I give you a thumps up, nice story.