Submitted to EQD but not approved.
Thanks again to everyone who enjoyed this story but it's definitely not up to their snuff. I am just glad that so many people here enjoyed it. I will iron out a few places of dialogue and make some other corrections which you all pointed out in the comments. I am working on flash fic #5 now so I should get both done about the same time.
Dear Liam Neighson,
Thank you for your submission of "Scootaloo's Father's Day" to Equestria Daily. At this time, I cannot recommend your story for posting due to mechanical errors and some issues with the plot.
To address the former, I would recommend taking this story to one of the many reviewing areas in this fandom: the Training Grounds on Ponychan or MLPchan, or one of the reviewing group on fimfiction, like /fic/, WRITE, or The Equestrian Critics Society. I found issues with comma usage, dialogue tags, sentence fragments, as well as use of interrobangs and all-capitals for emphasis (italics are preferred). I will also include an admonishment to "show, don't tell", if only because this story is not consistently either. For instance, I was able to figure out who Scoot's foster parents were from her mention of them "arguing about imaginary creatures" (and to say that I was surprised you chose Lyra and Bon-Bon for this role does not come close to my actual reaction). Compare that to lines like "Apple Bloom addressed her depressed friend" or "Diamond Tiara was unswayed by the admonishment from an adult". I think if you can put this under the eyes of a competent reviewer, you should be able to work most of these problems out.
As for the latter issue, here's how I see it: this is a story about Scootaloo feeling left out of Father's Day celebrations because her dad's not around. Yet ironically, she's left out of a significant portion of the story, and then she gets to watch other ponies reunite with their own fathers. That seems cruel, though I'm certain unintentionally so. But I do have to ask, what is the purpose of bringing in the mane cast's fathers? Why is Scootaloo not a part of those scenes when the story is supposedly about her? This isn't to say they're bad scenes, necessarily, though Pinkie, Twilight, Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash only get short reunions while Rarity and her father engage in a far longer scene. Again, I ask, why is that?
Lastly, I would like to discuss dialogue. There are numerous spots in this story where the dialogue feels off. Pinkie in the first scene, for instance, does not really sound like Pinkie to me, though this could be a show tone issue. I would compare her diatribe about eating other pony's vomit to her "cloud wrestling" monologue later in, despite the slightly steamy shipping implications at its end. That felt far more Pinkie to me; I'd suggest getting an opinion on this from your reviewer as well. Furthermore, Scootaloo has some dialogue issues, like with telling the story of her dad and the line "It seems nothing can bring back my father." Pinkie dialogue can be hard to pin down, but I have no qualms in stating that that does not sound like something Scootaloo would say.
The dialogue tends to get better as the story progresses, but I would like to point out one other sticky spot: Magnum. I could not get a handle on his relationship with his daughter, nor his character at all. Part of the problem is that he's not got a lot of character to begin with. There isn't much in the way of emotional cues in that scene, and so I have no way of knowing how to read his lines. For the most part, I took them as the wistful ramblings of a half-senile man, which I don't think he really is. But frankly? Some of what he says could be extremely creepy if taken the wrong way. I recommend looking over that scene again to make sure it conveys what you intended it to. Then again, as it could very well stand apart as its own story, and regarding my previous comment, you might want to just cut it down to AJ and Big Mac watching what's happening rather than running us through the whole thing, should you wish to keep the mane six in this.
There is one more thing I wish to address, but this is not to be considered part of the rejection: Are you honestly implying that Celestia is Scootaloo's mother? If the ending is meant as a joke, then ha ha, you got me. But if not, it would explain why Celestia would move heaven and earth to reunite a single filly with her father on Father's Day. It is also perhaps not where you might want to end this story, as the implication, coupled with Scootaloo's words earlier, is that Celestia regularly has sex with her guards and occasionally gets pregnant. The problem is, there's no way to tell, and you might want to think about that.
Please feel free to respond to this email if you want to discuss any of the issues I've brought up. This is your first strike out of a possible three, and there's no time limit for when you can resubmit, so take your time in polishing this story and working the kinks out, so that it can be the best it can possibly be upon resubmission. Thank you again for submitting to Equestria Daily.
-Pre-Reader Noir Voice
From Golden Vision' thread (/fic/ reviewer)
Review: Scootaloo's Father's Day
Hi there, and welcome to your review—the first one of the thread! I'll warn you up front: I'll take no prisoners with this fic, so expect as harsh a review as I may think you deserve. With that said, let's dive right in, shall we?
So let's start simple. I'll definitely agree with Prereader Noir on Pinkie's voice. It's not only overdone, but completely unbelievable. You may be familiar with the term flanderization; taken straight from the source, it means "to take a single (often minor) action or trait of a character within a work and exaggerate it more and more over time until it completely consumes the character." This pretty much describes the behavior of nearly every major character in your fic.
Let's look at Diamond Tiara. Canonically, she's certainly a little bitch—she's a playground a bully; it's her way or the highway. She's a tease, a braggart, and certainly not the nicest filly in school. But what you've done here is make her into something completely sociopathic. She doesn't display remorse; hell, she doesn't even seem human (er, pony). We all knew someone like DT at some point in our lives, but they grew out of it. More than that, they weren't mirror images of Prince Joffrey from Game of Thrones—who, by the way, is, canonically, a sociopath.
Rarity? I can't even imagine how her father functions around her when she's, apparently, a complete bitch to him (for the record, your PR's observations check out—it does sound like he's hitting on her; I labelled him "Creepy McCreeperpony" within three lines of dialogue). It would've added a lot of depth to her character and their relationship if this would be the one "dirty" activity that she would willingly take part in and even treasure. In the meantime, though, all I got was a bunch of screeching and incoherent babble that made me want to slap her for being such an ungracious, antisocial twat.
Going back to Pinkie, she felt like nothing more than a pink-colored cardboard cutout animated by the sheer caloric content of fifty pounds of cotton candy. Her dialogue pained me to read, and she was never more than an incoherent, babbling mass of insanity. Likewise, Night Light's glaring incompetence was just…terrible. Maybe he's a poor cook. Maybe he forgets things occasionally. But forgetting his own bags, forgetting Father's Day, setting the kitchen on fire and almost burning himself alive while cooking toast… It really makes me wonder how he manages to breathe without giving himself lung cancer.
The other characters—the fathers especially—weren't really interesting. Scoots just felt kind of inconsistently angsty (her "rant" early on sound more like the words of a social worker than a depressed filly), the rest of the Mane Six weren't interesting—as well they shouldn't be, as I didn't want them in a fic about Scootaloo—and the parents called in by Celestia—such as Nimbus, Spectrum, and Pinkie's dad (I forget the name)—just fell flat. Pinke's dad especially felt odd in how he spoke, his diction appearing somewhere between backwood Amish farmer (which I expected) and upscale British noble (which I didn't). I got absolutely no feel for where any of these "new" characters were coming from, and I didn't really care about them or their relationship to the Mane Six.
To be plain, most of this fic was unnecessary. Honestly speaking, you could cut it down to three to four thousand words, and none of what you cut would harm the story in its absence. If anything, it'd make it tighter; more concise. The whole introduction of Scootaloo's "backstory" was minced and contrived, and each scene with the Mane Six and/or their parents was one that I was wasting not reading what the fic was about.
Your scenes were extremely short; at some points, it felt more like I was reading a series of dribbles or Father's Day vignettes than a coherent story. The few times when Scootaloo thought about her dad felt forced and annoying, while the entire sequence of events with Celestia and the letters made absolutely zero sense until the end. I'm still wondering why she needed to invite the rest of the Mane Six if the only problem was Scootaloo not having a father.
Now, I, again, agree with the Prereader: I was not expecting the Lyra/BonBon foster parent angle. Judging by the way you handled that here, neither did you. Their names weren't mentioned; they didn't even do anything in a story that should be very much about them. It's a matter of unfortunate implications that it seems like all of Scootaloo's problems come from the fact that she was adopted by a lesbian couple. It's a bit of fridge logic that only occurred to me as I was writing this review, but which seriously deconstructs the story if left alone.
The introduction of Wind Shear was both unsatisfying and rage-inducing. I'd been waiting alongside Scootaloo (with some irritation) for some resolution to the story, and instead of an actual emotional solution, I get some Adonis pegasus striding through the door and flashing his chest muscles at me.
You gave her a Marty Stu for a father.
He's perfect? Wow; I'm just about drooling over here. No way—he's flirting with Cheerilee! I almost can't take his awesomeness. Holy crap; he fought a Hydra by himself? He's the Captain of the whole Solar Guard? Scootaloo doesn't care that he's been gone; she just rushes to him and hugs him and the plot is solved instantaneously!
I want to punch this guy in the face.
I'm not even going to get into the whole Problem of Celestia, as that's a potential subplot that does nothing but crap all over her character for abandoning her children and then absolutely ignoring them for their entire lives. At the bottom line, there's no good conflict in this story—Scoots is occasionally emo, and occasionally not—most of the scenes and plotlines are useless—the Mane Six and their parents do not need to be involved, save perhaps for Rainbow Dash—and any tension there might have been (such as when Dash is trying to force Scoots to get to school) was just wiped away without even exploring the relevant relationships or characterizations.
You had quite a bit of stilted dialogue—in other words, the words felt forced; they weren't there as part of a natural interaction, but rather to "tell" the reader something directly, or to move the plot along. The narration seemed, quite often, to "judge" the characters; in a first person PoV, that's okay, but in third person objective, things get a bit weird when our impartial narrator starts calling Diamond Tiara names like "the little brat that she [is]." This PoV problem is also part of a larger issue—you tried for Omniscient, and didn't quite make it. In some places, it looked like you were going for Third Person Limited, but that didn't quite work out either. You couldn't decide how you wanted to tell your story, and its flow and coherence ended up suffering for it.
Quite a bit of your scenes could use some work insofar as they establish the current setting; I feel like a lot of the action is taking place in a vacuum. There was some speaker confusion at times, and you really need to work on how you "Tell" the reader certain details about a character or piece of information. A lot of your word choice and diction—such as "guffawed" for Rarity, or "cornsilk eyes" (really?)—didn't make sense at all, and needed to be reworded.
You can speak English, so that's one thing. Then again, given the sheer volume of grammatical errors I found, I'm questioning that statement. You need to do a dedicated grammar sweep—or, if you must have a proofreader do it, then look it over alongside them. I noted far too many sentence fragments, improper punctuation marks, and general Oxford mayhem for these to be mere typos.
Even on the surface, a lot of this fic just didn't make sense. In reality, at least, Father's Day is a holiday in which irritated, overworked parents pack up their kids in the car to go visit Grandpa, during which Dad will waste the day watching golf with his father in law, and Mom will fume over the kids drawing on the walls. In this fic, apparently, it's the responsibility of the fathers to come to their kids; it's not so much "Father's Day" so much as it is "Kids-Who-Have-Fathers Day."
Moreover, the entire subplot of Wind Shear and Celestia eloping was just filled with awkward questions. So the Princess (as the PR, again, noted) has random, condom-less sex with her guards (Which begs the question: how many other illegitimate children are floating around out there? Could that explain why Blueblood is such a dick?)? When Scootaloo was born, she just gave her up to an orphanage (which is implied by the fact that she has "foster" parents instead of "adoptive" parents) instead of having a trusted family of the Royal House raise her instead (or, god forbid, raise her herself like a responsible mother)? I suppose we're meant to assume that her father had a good reason to abandon her for years and years, even though he seemed able enough to come off his job when asked personally by his boss. I'm sure even Guard Captains have offices, barracks, or vacations—even if Celestia wouldn't acknowledge her, why couldn't Scootaloo just be raised in a Royal Guard daycare of sorts, with occasional visits by her father whenever he returns from being on tour? And heck—unless there's a war on, I can't even imagine why he'd need to be away so much (or why Scoots just couldn't live in Canterlot with him and his subordinates).
So all in all, the only thought that I have coming out of this is that the Princess of Equestria and the Head Guard of the Solar Army are exceptionally shitty parents.
Overall Score: 8/25
Now, I hope you're still with me.
With all that negativity out of the way, I want you to know that there is a way to fix this fic. It's not dead in the water, as much as my lengthy rant may have tried to convince you otherwise. It will, however, require a substantial rewrite.
For starters, get rid of the whole Mane Six subplot. All of it. If you want to write a separate series of dribbles focusing on them, then so be it, but I came for a story about Scootaloo, and I expect to get it. That instantly solves most of your current problems, but opens up a whole new can of worms as, currently, there really isn't anything in here about Scootaloo.
So fix that. Make it a fic about her and Rainbow Dash—or about her and her foster parents. Maybe both. I've honestly never seen Lyra and Bon Bon in positions of parental authority like that, and the idea of them adopting Scootaloo is just too bizarre for me to imagine—but not necessarily in a bad way.
Slash out Tiara's sociopathy; no antagonist (except Joffrey) is Pure Evil. Maybe her father doesn't spend that much time with her, expecting a pile of presents and paychecks to take the place of a day at the park. Give her a motive for her aggravation; make her more than the cutout of an generic antagonist. Maybe Scoots confronts her near the end, and the resolution of the fic makes them realize that, insofar as parent troubles go, they might not be so different after all. Maybe it won't make them friends, but perhaps it'll be Scootaloo stopping AB from beating up on the "bully duo" in the future, rather than Sweetie Belle stopping her. Everyone's the hero of their own story, and sometimes, those stories need to be heard.
Here's a hard-lined part that you really have to do, though, if you want this fic to get any respect from Equestria Daily: cut Wind Shear out. Completely. Scootaloo's parents are dead, they abandoned her, she was found beneath a shooting star—anything that doesn't result in Brad Pitt crossed with Jack Bauer showing up at Cheerilee's doorstep. Scrap the Celestia angle; burn it, completely. Scoots doesn't have parents. Or maybe she does, but she—and certainly we—don't know that. "Dad is away at work" is a hell of a lot less poignant than "I've never met my parents." It certainly gets rid of the problems with the Celestia/Shear relationship, as well as any parenting problems that show up as a result of even implying as much.
I can't promise it will be easy, and I don't even know if you'll be willing to do this much for just one fic. But rest assured: this fic needs a total rewrite just to be considered for Equestria Daily.
As a final note, due to the nature of this review, I didn't consider it necessary or even wise to undertake a line-by-line commentary in-doc. If you would like, I am still capable of doing so over the next 1-2 days, but I will warn you of the inefficiency of editing words that will likely be deleted and rewritten in any latter drafts.
Regardless, should you wish to undertake this admittedly massive revision, I wish you the best of luck, both with this fic and in future stories that you may write.
Hope to see you again!
#1354220 · 12m, 14s ago · · ·
>> Golden Vision
Yep, that's about what I expected, haha.
I'm just gonna throw in the towel on this one and say fuck it. It's not worth the rewrite. It was a 48 hour flash fic that happened to hit the featured box and get ~500 favorites. And that's more than enough for me. If the pre-reader crew and english majors can read it through to the end and still take the time to say I can barely speak english I feel accomplished. At least some aspect of the story made them want to see it through and help me make it better.
I think a lot of the problem is that in writing fast I chose to forsake depth for breadth. I tried to introduce a slew of dads (new characters) and make up a reason for them to all show up to Ponyville. So I intentionally made them all one-dimensional and exaggerated every aspect of their personalities so that the scenes that highlighted them were just grab bags of their foibles. I mean, if I was writing the Hearth's Warming Eve pageant episode, and introducing a handful of new and non-recurring characters for a 22 minute episode, I don't really care about why Commander Hurricane is such a dick and Private Pansy is such a pussy. The important thing is that I can understand that they are unlike each other in as few words as possible. So making Diamond Tiara more three-dimensional by giving her a conscience wasn't really the goal. And making Scootaloo's dad seem like Superman was intentional.
Excuses aside, I am most glad that you did feel the need to analyze the characters so much. The fact that I made Scoot's parents Lyra and Bon Bon was just a fun nod to the fandom (similar to the "James Baxter" line being a nod to Adventure Time fans). The decision was a double edged sword obviously as putting scoots in a stable home life but without a father figure - biological or otherwise - is hard to do without making it a lesbian couple or super single mom. And the fact she is an only child is pretty much canon. So between the choices of omitting the information and pandering to part of the fandom I chose the latter. If that implied she hated men because she has lesbian moms then I guess that didn't cross my mind right away, I just thought it would be cute.
In the decision to make Scootaloo's dad a royal guard, I could have omitted the identity of the mother completely or made her mother Celestia because of a simple joke Nicole Oliver made in the season 1 DVD bonus features. I chose the latter, again. It was dumb of me to try and write a story - that didn't make light of it - without directly addressing the implications, haha.
I am going to work on the grammar corrections and fragmentation etc. but rewriting this story isn't as appealing as writing a fresh one. I think you would agree with me.
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I'll be sure to come back and ask you about some reviewing help if I ever decide to write anything that will require the amount of polish that you expect or that EQD expects.
No point in trying to shine this turd I squeezed out on a weekend.
#1354380 · 0s ago · · ·
Also, you might want to take a look at this.
As much as I value hearing what I did wrong, or could do better. I also would like to get a feel for what I did correctly, or what you enjoyed in the story. From what you wrote above, it sounds like none of it. so to me it seems like I am doing nothing correctly.
Also, using a rating system for a review doesn't really help the author. They obviously came here for assistance - not approval - so any kind of arbitrary scale to use as a measuring stick is just another way of adding insult to corrective surgery. Plastic surgeons don't give people a X/10 score before they go in to get a nose job.
I am not here to get any sand out of my vagina about the review but as Benman says:
A line is defined by two points, and a path to improvement is defined by something to move away from and something to move towards.
So for future reviews I hope you choose to take that into consideration because for a lot of new /fic/ members the above post is probably not encouraging.