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First Impressions Critique: Of Time Lords and Ponies - By Arched Lightning · 2:54am Aug 28th, 2014

First Impressions Critique: Of Time Lords and Ponies - By Arched Lightning
Link to Story: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/210445/of-time-lords-and-ponies
Link to Fimfiction's Writing Guide: http://www.fimfiction.net/writing-guide
Link to What Words Do I Capitalize in a Title?: http://grammartips.homestead.com/caps.html
Link to [Guide] To Write an Applejack: http://www.fimfiction.net/blog/73621/guide-to-write-an-applejack

Date Created: August 27, 2014

Note: Due to immense work school is putting on me for the current year, I will only be limited to working on these critiques during either the weekend, or days where I'm lucky to have no homework (or when I'm totally not goofing off on YouTube/playing video games with friends). That does not mean that I will be quitting critiques though, so if you feel like you want someone to critique your work, please, by all means, just ask me and I'll have one up for you whenever it's possible. Also, if you find any typos, just leave a comment telling me about it, please.

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- First Impression -

Going back toward the realm of Crossover fics, Of Time Lords and Ponies, co-written by Arched Lightning and Funnybunny514, is a Crossover fictional story about The Doctor, from the popular television series, Doctor Who, re-telling of his adventures with the Mane Six from the first-person perspective of Silver Star, the daughter of The Doctor and Twilight Sparkle.

Ugh, it's one of those fics, you might be thinking. The author simply wanted their beloved non-anime-waifu in a relationship with their second favorite fictional character, and that's it.

Sure, the story itself may be questioned on whether or not the real purpose of it was because the author simply wanted to think about their two favorite characters smooching, but you'd be surprised when you discover when the story as a whole is actually a legitimately competent story.

Moving toward the story itself, it's been tagged under the Romance, Crossover, and Adventure tags. Pretty self-explanatory, and it doesn't really need advice when it comes to the most basic functions on what the tags themselves really mean. The Crossover tags simply mean that they're forcing two or more different fictional stories together, and the Adventure tag means what it says, adventure.

The Romance tag is pretty simple, but still it could be worked up on for a few people publishing under the tag. When writing a story, make sure the story makes it clear in what direction the romance is coming off from. Don't simply force two characters together without a real explanation on why they're getting together. There's build-up in a relationship, and if you skip that, then that will only leave confused or angry readers to follow in your wake.

Downward, the description of the story could use plenty of work on to really clarify what's trying to be said. In the description, there are grammatical errors, words being fully capitalized – rather than italicized – to show emphasis, the main character introducing themselves twice, and just plainly confusing sentences. Revising the entire description is highly recommended, as that is the first thing readers will read when getting into your story. If the description isn't correctly written, then the first thing that potential readers would think is to only hope for the best for your story. Get grammatical errors out of the way, and then crack down on making the sentences understandable after the first read, then you'll have a lot more potential readers.

Other than that, you might want to get an editor for your story. Yes, it can be seen that both of you, Arched Lightning and Funnybunny514, edit the story yourselves, but to be perfectly honest, neither of you are really doing a good job at it, at first glance. Hire someone else who properly understands how to write efficiently, listen to their advice on what to change – everything, including grammatical fixes to sentence revisions to plot advice – and you'll have a smoother story in no time.

Though, when the word "hire" is used for when finding an editor, I'm pretty sure anyone would be willing to do it for free, as long as they have the time.

- Grammar, Punctuation, and Style -

At first glance, the story itself is a lot different when it comes to the description, though, which is pretty good. Some common nuances found within the description is that it's "cutie mark", as neither of those letters are capitalized. Sure it's a noun, but just because it's a noun doesn't mean it's automatically capitalized. Same as how you would say: "Those headphones are blue," you capitalize proper nouns, not common nouns.

When putting emphasis on a word, or multiple words, in dialogue, thoughts, and narration, do not, and I repeat, do not use capital letters. Capitalizing all the letters in a word only makes you look like a tool. Instead, use the italics tool, as it is a way more popular way of putting emphasis on words. Using capital letters for volume in dialogue is alright as well, so long as you aren't abusing it.

When someone's name, or what they're called by, appears in dialogue, a comma should be put before their name. “What in Equestria are you talking about my dear?” should be changed to "What In Equestria are you talking about, my dear?" Rarity is still addressing the pony as "my dear", so a comma should still be before it.

When showing what a character is thinking in a third-person perspective story, quotation marks should be avoided when writing a story, as well as using apostrophes as quotation marks. Quotation marks are used in a story to signal dialogue for the reader, and mashing up the two will only lead to confusion for the reader in the future. It is very possible to go without using quotation marks/apostrophes, but you can also use italics if you really must have the need for them. But how could I possibly write thoughts in a third-person-perspective-told story without using quotation marks, you may be asking yourself, and if you are asking yourself this, then you really need to look back at what I just did there.

Also, this sentence: "'But they had one advantage,’ he figured ‘at least i know how these things operate’." This sentence could easily be fixed to "But they had one advantage, he figured. At least I know how these things operate." Put the period inside the quotation marks when using dialogue, capitalize the words that need to be capitalized, and know where to put a period, which is after "he figured".

Two things to note that could be used to improve your story, after the basic editing, that is, would be to work on the dialogue a bit more. The dialogue in general will be covered later in the critique, but since Applejack's dialogue is a style more for the author, it's best to be covered here and to have advice of more of it later in the critique. The way Applejack's written is, in opinion, a bit heavy too heavy on the accent. There is a good link here to a great blog post on how to improve on how to improve on her dialogue, and you can look around for any other things that could help you on a character's dialogue if you're having trouble with them as well.

The second thing to be addressed is that showing and telling aren't really used at all during the entirety of the story. Showing and Telling, if you don't know, would be the difference in writing to describe how something interacts with the five senses to immerse the reader toward something they can relate to. You can interchange in between showing and telling to really give a good sense in the tension that's trying to be added into the story. Really emphasising on the tone can really improve on the story if you know what you're doing, and if it is being used properly. Though showing and telling could be explained through an entire three paragraphs, it's much easier to understand once the difference is seen:

"Tell: Princess Celestia looked down at Twilight Sparkle’s dead form, lying in the bed. She remembered doing the same with her previous students.

Show: Princess Celestia looked down at Twilight Sparkle, an age-worn face on a pillow. Her eyes were wet with tears. Twilight’s face appeared to change before her eyes – to green, to brown, to yellow. All old, all smiling… all with permanently closed eyelids.

Tell: Pinkie turned on her chainsaw and menacingly walked over to Rainbow Dash, preparing to cut her in half. Dash was horrified.

Show: Pinkie revved her chainsaw and skulked across the room. Dash started crying."

There are some smaller things that could use some work on, as the inconsistent grammar is all over the place. Some sentences, such as "The Guests rooms here" and others should not have extra capitalizations within them for words that do not need to be capitalized. The TARDIS could also be pulled down to simply the Tardis after introducing it as the T.A.R.D.I.S., as it doesn't really seem necessary to capitalize each letter in the name, also that it gets annoying after a few times. Some names in the story, such as The Doctor and Twilight aren't capitalized, and there are sometimes hyphens in names, such as "Flutter-shy". There are also some sentences that are missing required commas, punctuations, and different sorts of things required for the sentence, but they can easily be fixed by revising the story over again.

Breaking the third-person perspective early for this one paragraph, some slight nuances that I've experienced while reading the story, though are not required to be changed, would be the paragraph spacing. I'm normally used to double spacing, and the way the story is formatted now is alright, but I prefer it when the paragraphs are double spaced between each other, sort of how they are in this critique, so then you can super-easily identify individual paragraphs, and it's less of an eyesore, but that's just an opinion.

- Story -

The main plot line is something you would really expect in a crossover fic between My Little Pony, with the exception of The Doctor getting down with Princess Twilight. After the introduction of the main characters, breakfast, and all of that, The Doctor and Twilight come in and they have a family moment and what not. Later on, The Doctor goes on about how he had met Twilight through one of their adventures together.

Going more in depth into the story, the first thing that can be seen is the first paragraph, which is the first-person protagonist falling to sleep. Really, the first paragraph is, in opinion, utterly useless and could be removed from the entire story to benefit it. The first paragraph could easily be added after the break, after the main character had woken up, so then the break wouldn't be needed to be shown. Sure, the first paragraph could be said to add more detail to the story, or maybe said to show the location in which she is currently in, but the only necessary sentence in the paragraph would be when it goes on to tell that she was in a guest room in Saddle Arabia.

After the first paragraph, the character wakes up by her brother, and gets off of her bed that she had slept on. One thing that makes me confused is that in the first paragraph of the story, it said that "the soft red rug that adorned the middle of the room made for a great place to lie down." Did she begin her sleep on the rug, or was that some useless imagery added to the story for filler? Although this can be fixed with simply five words removed or added, it confuses me.

The dialogue between the Silver Star, the main protagonist, and her brother, Clockwork, is, at first glance, a bit stale. An example for what I mean would be: "I forgot about that. I'll just grab something to eat and then sit in boredom." I roll my eyes and laugh a little. I walk to the bathroom with more spring in my step than before. To readers, it just seems a bit unnatural for a 13-year-old filly to go on screaming about her mane and then say this line a few lines later, while commenting on everything that she does through the routine of waking up and talking. Stuff like "with more spring in my step than before" is a good start when trying to advance creating interesting commentary on visuals for the reader, but this example takes it a bit too far, as the imagery is a bit useless, and it also causes confusing imagery for the reader.

Also, I'd really like to meet a 13-year-old boy or girl who's constantly sarcastic and takes all jokes as what they are: jokes. Seriously though, it doesn't really seem like much personality was added into the originally made characters, since you had nothing to go off of as a base plate. With The Doctor, Twilight, and the rest of the Mane Six, it's pretty understandable to differentiate between character personalities. You may not be able to spot on target and hit the personality you're aiming for when creating a text, as that's pretty hard to do, especially with Applejack, but having a base plate for characters is why writing fanfiction opposed to original fiction is made easier. This story tries to create a bridge between original fiction and pre-set fiction, whereas it doesn't really good on the support for the original side of the fiction, and it also has its seen problems on the pre-set side of fiction as well.

Getting the characters correctly on a pre-set fiction story is pretty important, because "if you give everypony new personalities, you may as well give them all new names as well, and label your story as original fiction instead." A fantastic way to go about remembering what all the characters are like when they interact with one another, as well as objects, is to re-watch a couple episodes centered around them to see what they're really like. If you're writing a fanfiction about Sunset Shimmer, I'd advise to watch Equestria Girls at least twice while paying extremely close attention as to everything the character does while on screen. If you're writing a fanfiction about Applejack, then go about watching the shows centered around Applejack, which can be found out through a quick number of searches via Google, as well so on for the rest of the characters. "What I like to do while writing character dialogue is imagine it being said in that character’s voice. Then, if the dialogue is worded in a way that’s out of character, it’ll become clear to me because it just won’t sound right."

Going more in-depth on getting the correct personality for pre-set fiction, after the scene in which Rainbow Dash was sent into the past by a weeping angel, The Doctor, instead of – what I think he would do in a situation like this – explaining what had happened to Dash toward her friends and jumping to the rescue via time machine for their reunion, he instead has to be reminded by Twilight that yes, they are inside a time traveling machine which can travel back in time to where Dash had gone to. The Doctor, in opinion of watching the show since the 9th Doctor, has always seemed to be an energetic genius who always jumps to action in the best way that he sees fit. Sure, he has those moments of regret for when it comes to messing up with someone, but, in opinion, it doesn't seem likely that he would be the one to let that cloud his thought while he has the potential to save someone. In another opinion, what seems like the most likely thing to happen would be that the Doctor would reassure her friends while simultaneously working his magic on the Tardis, not even giving them time to mourn as he's too busy explaining why Rainbow Dash hadn't died, though that's all just opinion.

That little scene in which Twilight has to reassure the Doctor herself by reminding him that he has a time traveling machine, something he's been traveling with for the majority of his lifetime, that could save their friend seemed, in all honesty, like a cheap build toward the relationship of Twilight and The Doctor. Sure, Twilight got that little moment to reassure The Doctor, as if she's some kind of hope of light at the end of the dark tunnel, which sounds extremely cheesy, but there could had been plenty of other and much better ways for that situation to play out, and that would be of The Doctor knowing what to do, since he is a genius after all.

Going off onto the Mane Six, there seriously could be some heavy revisions on the dialogue for Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, and Applejack. There's also the fact that some of the characters in the story need to be told things twice in order for them to understand things, of which being that they're standing inside a time machine, and other things as well, but make sure to fix that redundancy so the then story can go off smoother and quicker than what it's already at.

For Pinkie Pie, make sure you're not writing her off as some cheap balloon in which you can simply fill with static electricity and it'll go off on tangents like nobody's business. Write Pinkie Pie as if she actually has a personality, and really re-think on why she only has three lines the entire story, something physically and mentally impossible for Pinkie Pie.

For Fluttershy, don't write her off as if she's a walking doormat. Off from season one, Fluttershy could be seen in multiple scenarios in where she isn't as cowardly as many people think, as well as getting tutoring from a certain minotaur on how to act even more courageous. She doesn't break down the instant she thinks that her friends are in trouble, the more likely thing that would happen is that she would be reassured by her friends that nothing like that would happen, not go into a full-blown crying fit as if she was some kind of foal. Also, why does Fluttershy have more lines than Pinkie Pie? What, do you have something against Pinkie?

For Applejack, she's the most ordinary pony you can possibly get to relate to a non-psychopathic human. Writing her dialogue is pretty hard at first, but once you get it, it's pretty easy there after. The first thing would be to not stress extremely hard on each and every syllable that she says. Most likely everyone in fimfiction has heard Applejack's voice at least once, and can remember what she sounds like. Sure, switching some words around and letting her use words that she is more likely to be using, like "sugarcube" or "reckon", but don't force her to say some weird southern things not even she would say. This guy explains how to write Applejack way more than I do though, so I'd advise you to click that link.

Another thing that's been spotted as a nuisance is that the first-person narrator, Silver Star, goes off on to tangents way more than a narrator to a story should. Although it's nice to get off into a tangent to explain a couple of key plot points to the story, or maybe add a little more information to the reader to enhance to mood and/or tone of the setting and/or characters, the story has the narrator go off on to tangents that no reader would really care all that much about. Not only does that bore the reader to be forced to read past that unimportant wall of text placed there for some ambiguous reason, it also wastes their time, something that not a lot of readers have much of.

Although tangents can really be a bad thing for the story, it can also be a very good thing as well, as, stated before, it can be used to enhance the characters and their relations to one another so then readers have a good understanding on where one character is to another. A good use of a tangent used in the story would go along the line of this: "The thought of me fussing over my mane like Aunt Rarity made me chuckle to myself." This line alone can tell the reader that, one, Silver Star treats Twilight's friends as aunts, two, the relationship between Rarity and Silver Star are pretty strong, and three, it adds a little humor to the tone to lighten up the mood of the reader.

An example of a tangent being used poorly in the story would go along the lines of this: "Rosaline often visited Applejack to learn some of her favorite treats. I swear if mom and dad didn’t have Rosaline, Rosaline would have been an Apple for sure. I never got how she earned three hearts for a Cutie Mark. I think it's her compassion for others." The narrator goes off into unimportant information, and it creates more sentences than what are needed to give the information. A revised version of these four sentences could look something like this: "Rosaline often visited Applejack to learn how to make some of her favorite treats. Although I could never really understand what three hearts represented as a cutie mark, it probably has something to do with compassion towards others." Revising something like that again to make it fit with the narration style would be a good start in simplifying your paragraphs to give out the information needed in a quicker and more interesting way.

The story also begins off as if the author believes everyone who is reading the story has already watched the entire series of Doctor Who and expects readers to know as much as they do about the show. In the world of fanfiction, especially in crossover, there are plenty of people who haven't watched a single episode of things you have, even if the story is based around that series. Going back onto tangents, this would be a good topic to go on a tangent, so then any reader who doesn't understand how the Doctor Who universe works can understand anything and everything that comes their way, for when it comes to who and what exactly is The Doctor, how the Sonic Screwdriver and Tardis work, as well as anything else that needs explanation.

Some prevalent plot holes are also spottable throughout the story, which really raises questions for literally every reader that reads the story for the first time, at least if they have an understanding on the Doctor Who universe. Make sure when writing the future of this story to not leave out any important plot points as "it just happened". When beginning a story, make sure that the readers hear the end of it, or some will be driven angry to figure out what happened. Some things like that would be as to what happened with the weeping angels that The Doctor encountered and escaped from, and how did he deal with them? What had happened to the ponies that were being teleported by Starswirl the Bearded before the story ended? Obviously, those two can be easily solved by simply writing the next chapter of the story, but make sure that you have a list on all of the plots that need to be covered, so then nothing is simply forgotten about as you move on with the story.

The first plot hole, acclaimed to be both pure bullshit and ass-hattery, would be that the Sonic Screwdriver is capable of detecting magic which can be deciphered down to what kind of specific magic it is, as well as The Doctor being capable of reading it to understand what exactly had happened to Twilight and Rarity. Sure, it could be said that the sonic screwdriver is capable of detecting differences in air pressure with different pitches in super-sonic wavelengths to find that there had been a teleportation just recently, but the fact that both The Doctor and the sonic screwdriver are capable of telling apart the magical signatures of both Rarity, Twilight, Starswirl the Bearded, and any other unicorn using magic in the crowd is simply going over the limits of what they have to work with. How did he know that Twilight nor Rarity hadn't teleported away off to somewhere before they got there?

- Conclusion -

Breaking the third-perspective of the critique, I would personally recommend this story, being a Doctor Who fan, to any try-hard Doctor Who fans I knew who loved fanfiction. Though, for anyone who isn't interested at all for The Doctor, I really wouldn't recommend it for them. Sure, this story has a lot of interesting storytelling for the first chapter, and that the following chapters could quite possibly follow up on something Doctor Who fans could relate to, I really wouldn't recommend the story to anyone outside the fandom, as they might see the story, at first glance, as a "bad romance fanfic", frantically attempting to make their two favorite fictional characters smooch for some odd and pathetic reason. To be honest, the only reason why I go through and bear with some really bad things that happen during some stories I read is because I genuinely believe it will either get better as time progresses, or that I'm already too invested in the story to stop because one thing made my jimmies rustled. This story, for example, is a great example of me expecting something to get better as time progressed, and I would actually have to say it did get better further down the story.

Though, me saying that also implies that the first half of the chapter could really use some revising, but really, the entire story could use some more revising to be brought up to a more satisfactory level for the average reader to enjoy. If you're going to stick with the entire plot with Twilight and The Doctor, make sure, for the love of fucking god, that you show exactly why those two are getting together, what they see each other as, and the things that they have been through together. Building a relationship for a story like this is critically important, and I can't stress enough emphasis required on 'critically' with just italics alone. Show that the story is not just some "bad romance fanfic" and really give extreme thought when writing anything that you write in the future, as one major mistake can really land you in the 'shitbin' for a lot of readers.

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Comments ( 1 )

Thought you should know: the link to 'how to write for applejack' leads to the 'capitalization' page.

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