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Titanium Dragon

TD writes and reviews pony fanfiction, and has a serious RariJack addiction. Send help and/or ponies.

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Read It Now Reviews #41 – Of Flies and Spiders, Is It Gay for a Stallion to Give a Unicorn Mare a Hornjob, Politics by Other Means, Siren’s Call, Luna, I Had No Idea · 1:54am Jul 29th, 2015

I posted an expanded and revised version of a story I wrote for the “I Regret Nothing” writeoff today!

The Tenth Anniversary of the Death of Jonagold Apple
by Titanium Dragon

1,631 words

After learning that it is the anniversary of the death of Applejack's father, Pinkie Pie decides to throw her friend a party to cheer her up.

Too bad Applejack has no clue what's going on.

While it is labelled a comedy, it is more of a comedy in the sense of KitsuneRisu’s Barreled Up, and there’s a fair bit of focus on Applejack’s character and thought processes here - but also a fair bit of humor as well. It made the top 10 of the write-off, and I think it is even better now, so I hope you folks all enjoy it.

In other news, I’ve also been reading OTHER recent write-off entries, as well as some other stories which have caught my eye, and I thought I’d point you in the direction of some good ones.

Today’s stories:

Of Flies and Spiders by wYvern
Is It Gay for a Stallion to Give a Unicorn Mare a Hornjob? by Aquaman
Politics by Other Means by totallynotabrony
Siren’s Call by Thornwing
Luna, I Had No Idea by GigaBowser

Of Flies and Spiders
by wYvern

Romance, Tragedy, Dark
8,065 words

Glitter was banished from her hive because she's different: instead of feeding on love, she feeds on anger, fear, and sadness. Ponies are easily fooled and more easily manipulated. Staying undetected and sustaining her dietary needs, she goes through life bringing misery to those around her. But everything changes when he turns up, tearing down walls built throughout a lifetime.

Why I added it: This was my favorite story from the last write-off.

Glitter is a changeling who feeds off of negative emotions instead of love. Spreading misery and hate all around herself in order to feed, eventually it backfires when the father of a scared little filly in a haunted house attraction (an excellent feeding ground for her) kicks her in the head.

And then, feeling guilty, helps take care of her, along with his albino daughter, and shows Glitter something she’s unused to being directed at her: genuine compassion.

But there’s a reason she was kicked out of the hive for being a freak…

Someone once described a story of mine as a “kick to the gut and a knife to the back”, and that is more or less what this story is – a tragic little story of someone who literally can’t have what they want.

Recommendation: Recommended if you don’t mind such direct tragedy.

Is It Gay for a Stallion to Give a Unicorn Mare a Hornjob?
by Aquaman

Sex, Comedy, Random, Slice of Life
3,332 words

After a long, hard night of drinking and disreputable behavior, Caramel and Thunderlane attempt to answer one of life’s most impenetrable questions. In the process of exploring the matter, a few other pressing concerns arise.

Rated Mature for language and subject matter, not for explicit content.

Why I added it: Aquaman always asks the most important, hard-hitting questions with his stories.

Mature Content Warning: This story contains some cursing and a lot of ponies talking about sex, but no on-screen sex.

Caramel and Thunderlane have a long, rambling, drunk conversation over what exactly constitutes gayness, starting with the question in the title.

But they aren’t gay.

Not at all.

They’re as straight as can be.

They just want to, you know, make sure.

This is a rambling drunk conversation about what exactly in magical ponyland constitutes gay behavior on the part of a stallion. It is funny, and there’s a lot of good lines in it, but it is dumb as hell and exactly what you think it is.

But I laughed a lot, and wanted to quote bits at people, so I can’t really complain.

Recommendation: Recommended if you like rambling drunk conversations about totally not gay sex.

No homo.

Politics by Other Means
by totallynotabrony

1,509 words

"Twilight, I'm glad that you handled Prince Rutherford's declaration of war without violence, but he should have never been given the chance to make that threat."

Why I added it: It caught my eye over in the popular stories box.

Shining Armor and Spitfire meet with Twilight to make it clear just how serious Prince Rutherford’s declaration of war, however aborted and ill thought out, was, and just how important declarations of war and other forms of mass violence are. They are deeply skeptical of Twilight’s solution to the problem.

But maybe Twilight isn’t quite as naïve as they thought…

This story, despite its dark tag, actually made me laugh at the end, but I feel like the middle of it got a little bit repetitive; honestly, this story could have cut down by a good amount of its already short length and still carried its full punch. I think it also presented Twilight as being too naïve in the earlier sections; it didn’t do enough to really lead into the ending, I think, and while that added to its shock value, it also made it feel kind of incongruous.

I think it might have been better to either shorten this considerably, or to go into more depth with Twilight’s counters having more depth of meaning to them, given the ending, but as is, it doesn’t quite come together. The ending is solid, and the idea is there, but it needed a bit more time in the oven.

Recommendation: Not recommended.

Siren’s Call
by Thornwing

Adventure, Human
6,524 words

Sunset Shimmer is finally happy, or so she thinks. Her perfect world gets turned upside down one night when she receives a visit from a former siren. What happens next explains quite a lot.

Why I added it: This was a writeoff entry originally, and I liked the core idea behind it.

Aria tells Sunset Shimmer that the world of Equestria Girls is actually a prison – she has been trapped there for much longer than she thinks, and the sirens have been trapped there for over a thousand years. Everything there is just a distorted copy of ponies in Equestria.

And as long as you’re there, you’ll never die – you’ll just be trapped in high school for the rest of eternity.

Aria wants to be free.

And she needs Sunset Shimmer’s help to get back to Equestria.

The core idea behind this story is solid, and while the first chapter works as a standalone story, it is a bit long for what it is; the story feels kind of draggy, as Sunset Shimmer takes ages to really be brought into the fold. The slow pacing makes the reveal much less punchy, and I think it would have been much stronger had it been a sharper break with less verbiage spent on it.

The story is interesting enough to keep an eye on it to see where it is going with the core idea, but as-is, the story doesn’t really have an ending; this is more of the beginning of something that could be interesting.

Recommendation: Read It Later – this shows promise, but is incomplete.

Luna, I Had No Idea
by GigaBowser

4,189 words

For years, Luna has endured the guilt of Nightmare Moon and subjected herself to the nightmares of the Tantabus as punishment. When she lost control of it, her friends in Ponyville were able to stop it and things seemed all right for a time...

...but what about Celestia? What about Luna's closest friend, a pony who had no idea what was going on in her little sister's mind?

Why I added it: It was featured.

Celestia talks to Luna about finally letting go of the Tantabus and ceasing and desisting in her efforts to beat herself up over what she did, and making it clear that she forgives Luna.

This story ended up rubbing me the wrong way for a couple reasons. First off, it didn’t feel like it made very good use of the characters; they were very weepy here, and I think it crossed the line into them being too weepy and emotional. We’ve seen Celestia at her most emotional, and she doesn’t end up breaking down like this. Luna, likewise, tends to be more reserved and cagey. It isn’t out of character for them to cry, but it felt like a lot of the story was devoted to that, and a lot of the lines were pretty generic and didn’t feel especially “them”. Yes, maybe some of them could have been them, but most of the story was consumed by a fairly generic back-and-forth that didn’t make much use of the individual, specific characters of Luna and Celestia.

The second problem was that the story ended up feeling like it was trying too hard to be emotionally manipulative. The story devoted a great deal of its length to a weepy conversation that I never really connected with, and that resulted in me feeling like I was seeing the strings that the author was trying to pull. The story felt like it was trying too hard to make me sad, and thus I ended up not connecting with it emotionally at all.

One other thing I noticed is something that a fair number of stories do with their opening paragraphs, and I’d thought I’d make note of it here specifically:

The atmosphere within the castle walls was quiet and peaceful. There was an air of tranquility that filled the hallways and rooms, nothing but complete silence to be heard except for the soft breathing of a sleeping pony. Everything was completely serene until a blinding white flash revealed a rather anxious-looking pony suddenly standing in the front entryway.

This is the opening paragraph of the story, and it very nearly made me click away.


First off, it uses the passive voice rather than the active voice. Secondly, it starts out pretty telly, and not all that excitingly. The reason that a lot of stories start out in medias res, or with dialogue, or with something else is because that serves as a hook; this first paragraph only really gets to anything interesting at the end of it. Had it simply started with “Twilight! You said Luna was here?” and then had Twilight be startled by Celestia’s sudden appearance, it would have been a stronger hook. It still could have integrated the description of the environment into the next few paragraphs, via description or via dialogue (What are you doing here?), and it would have avoided starting out with several sentences which just aren’t all that interesting.

I think that this story wasn’t a bad idea – having Celestia try and deal with Luna’s literal inner demon once and for all was a good idea for a story, which was why I clicked on it in the first place – but it just didn’t end up connecting to me in the way it needed to.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

Of Flies and Spiders by wYvern

Is It Gay for a Stallion to Give a Unicorn Mare a Hornjob? by Aquaman

Politics by Other Means by totallynotabrony
Not Recommended

Siren’s Call by Thornwing
Read It Later

Luna, I Had No Idea by GigaBowser
Not Recommended

The Writeoffs have been producing a number of interesting stories, and have certainly been adding to my ever-expanding reading lists. Not to mention my own story list; the writeoff is a major incentive to get stuff done.

I hope you folks have been enjoying my increased rate of story releases; hopefully I will be able to keep it up.

And I definitely hope you all enjoy The Tenth Anniversary of Jonagold Apple.

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later – Important: 73

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later – High Priority: 305

Number of stories listed as Read It Later: 1633

Comments ( 9 )

The Politics story was such a let down. I don't know what I wanted out of it, but I wanted something.

I dunno. Something worth reading.

You missed a tag. #shamelessselfpromotion

That goes without saying. :V

Can I request review for one of my own fics?

I'd like to see mine torn to bits so I can improve. :twilightsmile:

Good as always, though. :ajsmug:

You're free to ask, but there's a good chance I won't get around to reading it for a long while, if ever.

Of course, on the other hand, I might just read it on the spot because I'm bored and it looks interesting. I'm mercurial that way.

Your best bet is something fairly shortish, something in the range of a few thousand words, as sometimes I'll grab one of those stories to fill out a set.

A more reliable bet is probably going and poking a group that does that sort of thing:

Authors Helping Authors

The Proofreader Group

Overly Extensive Editors

Shorter break between this one and the last. That's fine, I still can't read them quick enough.

Someone once described a story of mine as a “kick to the gut and a knife to the back”, and that is more or less what this story is – a tragic little story of someone who literally can’t have what they want.

You know, I actually thought about not tagging it as a tragedy, because in the end, I don't think it is in the classical sense: she got what she wanted, accepting the consequences. Then again, it's natural to perceive the ending as tragic, which is why I did tag it after all so people would know what they get themselves in to.

Well, the story undoubtedly revolves around peripeteia - there is a reversal of fortunes/circumstances that takes the protagonist from her previous nasty life to a new, better one, but the new one ultimately and inexorably leads to her death. I think Aristotle would have classified it as a tragedy on that basis.

3279863 You might be right. Thank you for teaching me a new word! :twilightblush:

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