• Member Since 2nd Sep, 2011
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago

PresentPerfect


Writer, RCL co-curator, EQD prereader, dramatic reader, VA, fic reviewer. Vote for my next fic to release!

More Blog Posts2168

  • Thursday
    The ride never ends

    Last night, I had a dream -- I later couldn't decide if this was about an episode or a fanfic -- in which Spike, down in the dumps due to romance issues, has to help a young stallion named Ereshneighgal find love or woo his love or something along those lines. Dude was wearing this cool turn of the century newsboy outfit.

    Read More

    8 comments · 136 views
  • Tuesday
    Fic recs, February 25th!

    This is the interstitial blog promised last time. I'm really cranking these out of late! :O This one's got a surprising breadth of not-the-usual readers. Otherwise, nothing special to report today; I'm embroiled in watching Critical Role and pining for a D&D group with similar energy. D:

    H: 0 R: 3 C: 2 V: 0 N: 0

    Read More

    2 comments · 153 views
  • 6 days
    Fic recs, February 22nd: Top Ten of 2014 edition!

    Yeah, I'm doing the thing, mostly because this took me quite some time to pull off and I don't want to sit on it anymore.

    Welcome to 2014! I read some good stories back then, and here I've picked ten and used the Also Liked column to find ten more stories to review! The key for everyone because I expect no one to remember these things:

    Title of Top Ten fic

    Read More

    11 comments · 165 views
  • 1 week
    Fic recs, February 21st: Luna Farrowe edition!

    The next reader on my list: the ever-popular Luna Farrowe! Who I really should have been watching sooner. :B List of previously reviewed readings:

    wille197's Unicorns Are Magical

    Read More

    7 comments · 132 views
  • 1 week
    Fic recs, February 19th!

    Dave Bryant needs financial help!

    Scribbler's begun a reading of Blueshift's Cake Story, with Lochlan O'Neil, Keyframe, mmichal154, Wish Lotus, IMShadow007 and BasicallyBB!

    Read More

    5 comments · 174 views
Sep
3rd
2015

Fic recs, September 3rd: OC Slamjam edition! · 11:44pm Sep 3rd, 2015

It's official: the Slamjam is over! Mango Leaf, written by Wanderer D, was our winner, and we've all had a fun time getting to know these characters. I, of course, kept a running review document as the contest went on, and that's what you're getting now! I'm going to assume you know what the purpose of the contest was already. If you want to meet the characters or refresh yourself on who they were, go here.

A couple caveats:

-Reading these stories in round order is suggested, even the ones that aren't really that good. Some characters live on in their opponents' stories, so you'll want to know them! The reviews are written with a mind to having read everything by the end.

-I don't have authors for all the stories, and likely never will unless everyone comes clean. Character names in italics represent unknown authors.

-As people publish their stories, I'll try to keep this updated. Right now, I just have a link to each round, where you can find the stories listed under it.

-Evergreen is still the best ;_;

I think that's it. :B Onward!

Highly Recommended: 9
Recommended: 28
Conditionally Recommended: 25
Vaguely Recommended: 16
Not Recommended: 24

ROUND ONE

Return to Sender by chono: This is not an auspicious start. Wooden dialogue, punctuation and capitalization errors, plus I can’t say I’m terribly interested in a character who just knows things about others’ relationships. I mean, even Cadence reacted to things she could see. Worse, Love Runner’s role is delivering a package and nosing into Hazel Luck’s life, and Hazel just accepts that “she’s the expert” and immediately dumps her boyfriend. Not to mention it’s just the same scene repeated over and over, with no actual end. And Hazel Luck doesn’t have any character to speak of, which is bad, since this is supposed to be her story. N

A Proper Heath by Admiral Biscuit: This starts out in Proper Prim’s POV, which makes for a really solid opening scene. The author is doing what I think we were supposed to be doing, which is understanding their opponent’s character and writing them as well as their own. Unfortunately, this wastes a lot of time with scenery, describing characters, giving us Heather Rose’s background and so forth, that the word count catches up with it and the ending feels rushed. Still, aside from a couple punctuation flubs, the writing is pretty solid. Not bad. C, for Slice of Life Fans

Heather Rose vs. Proper Prim by trombrony98: This has, at the same time, more and less going for it than the last story. I wasn’t as interested in the “drunken idiots in a bar” plot, but for some, it can be more interesting than “two ponies talking”. Except that this is also a “two ponies talking” kind of story. Unfortunately, they’re just talking about themselves, and I found the expository dialogue grating. I will say that, being the first true “versus” entry, it was interesting to see how the two authors use the characters differently. So this gets a bit of a bye. V

Luster Lock vs. Bristle by Burraku_Pansa: Not much actually happens in this story, but it has some things going for it. Luster Lock is a keen character, and makes a strong impression from the get-go. Bristle isn’t as strong, and I really didn’t get his line about primer. But as a moody piece introducing characters, it works; it would just be better if it weren’t a stand-alone. C, For Slice of Life Fans

Bristle vs. Luster Lock by Aquaman (700th review of 2015!): And we have our first legitimately awesome entry! This is a tense caper, with Luster Lock a cat burglar trained (possibly unwittingly) by Trixie and Bristle a street sweeper who knows a lot about snooty rich ponies. The writing is great, the dialogue is snappy, the characters are used well. I can’t think of anything to say against it! H

Mizuko vs. Oddluck by Razalon The Lizardman: I’ll admit, I was not expecting much from Mizuko. This is well-written and gives a good sense of being a stranger in a new place. That said, the story itself is… odd. It’s about Mizuko trying to find a jeweler in Manehattan, ending up lost and getting accosted by a (very strange looking) dragon, only to be saved by Oddluck. There’s a great deal of attention given to character descriptions, Oddluck’s used well as far as her talents go, but this is another case of “trying to fit the whole sheet in” and has expository dialogue because of it. Also, I can’t say Mizuko is terribly interesting as written. Still, exceeded expectations quite a lot. V

Oddluck and Mizuko by Savoured Thoughts: It’s never a good sign when the main character’s name isn’t spelled right in the first sentence. This is just chock full of usage problems of every sort imaginable. Amusingly, again the story pair is similar, with Mizuko this time being the one to save Oddluck from drowning. There’s really nothing more to it; it feels like it was padded just to get over 500 words. N

Come, Come… I Wish to Play by Straitjacket: Straitjacket traps Wispy Willow in a maze, wanting to ‘play’ with him. This is a very poor story. It’s rushed, the characters have neither character nor motivation, and I’m honestly not surprised given Straitjacket’s character sheet. N

The Dawn Reveals by Peregrine Caged: Wispy Willow breaks into an abandoned, and purportedly haunted, mental hospital, to find out it’s not quite abandoned. What impresses me most about this story is that the author made really good use of a really poor OC. I mean, Straitjacket’s even OTT and OP like in his own story, but in this it’s utilized for atmosphere. This is a pretty classic horror movie setup, but it works. The writing isn’t perfect, but it is good, and overall, I enjoyed this. R

Mercurial by ArgonMatrix: Another case of “used the opponent’s OC well”, this one, and without the lack of the author’s own OC, to boot. The story unfolds well, Lilligold’s very odd talent gets room to breathe (I love the neon cactus), but most of all is Whitewash, doing his best to bluff his way through a consultation in a field he’s not prepared for. Unfortunately, this seems to be another story that fell prey to the word count or the time limit, if not both, and the ending just sort of ends. Still, I appreciate the melancholy note at the end, and I really like the excerpt of the romance novel. C, If You Don’t Mind Ambiguous Endings

Whitewash & Lilligold by Monarch Dodora: Whitewash apologizes, more or less, for what he did to Lilligold’s shop. This is pretty amusing and a good example of a dialogue-heavy story that fills us in on what just happened without overdoing it. That said, it’s also pretty compressed and likely was written nearer the deadline than the other. Still fun. C, For a Laugh

The Battle by Copper Coin: Price Back butts heads with Copper Coin at a writing contest. God, this character is a complete tool. There’s something to be said for good villains, but I just hate him. There’s a little bit of character humor in this, keeping things interesting, but mostly I was kind of gobsmacked by the author writing about a writing contest in a writing contest. And writing a story where his character cheats and loses. At least he gets a comeuppance, but even that isn’t all that satisfying. A weird case of a story that isn’t bad, but that I dislike anyway. V

Write and Wrong by libertydude: Price Back and Copper Coin give statements to the police about their altercation. What’s great about this is how obvious a liar Copper Coin is, trying to paint himself as a saint while simultaneously going overboard on “Price Back is evil”. I’ll admit the writing in Copper’s story is stronger, but I enjoyed this one a lot more. It’s a hoot! R

How Unladylike by Streamline: This is really weird. Streamline is an executive of, essentially, Walt Disney, and he meets Minié Ball at the theme park, where he slowly discovers her racist streak. And that’s literally all there is to the story. I mean, his techniques are kind of clever, but just ending on “Yup, she’s racist” elicits a “Well, yeah, I read her character sheet, too” response from me. I had a hard time putting my finger on the setting, too. Mostly, I just felt lost while reading this. N

Minié Ball vs. Streamline by Magello: Boy, Streamline has a really strong character in this one. Doesn’t change the fact that Minié Ball is really uncomfortable as characters go. I mean, this story is just about Antebellum and exploiting immigrant labor. At least he makes an objection to her, even if he doesn’t follow through. C, Only If You’re Not Easily Offended

Silver Lining vs. Haystacks by Clouds in Clouds: This story has a lot of problems, writing-wise, but foremost is that Haystacks comes off extremely flat, like the author read his character sheet and said “That’s good enough.” I saw the poor writing and knew I wouldn’t be in for a fun read, but this is bad in ways I had never conceived of before reading it, I’m sorry. N

Haystacks vs. Silver Lining by Haystacks: Against all expectation, this story is a continuation of Haystacks’ character sheet, wherein an unnamed first-person narrator interviews him to essentially fill out his details. That makes this a real standout, if only for approach. Anyway, where the previous story was about Haystacks inexplicably asking Silver for help fixing his wagon, this one has him and his narrator finding her, lost at a fair and crying. There’s really very little to it, just showing how gentle he can be, but the insights we get into the still-unnamed narrator are intriguing, at the very least. And of course, the writing is excellent, as I did expect. I foresee a Haystacks vs. Bristle matchup in the future. R

Candy Cane vs. Mango Leaf by Sleepy Panda: Candy Cane discovers the joys of frozen yogurt, as peddled by Mango Leaf. This could have been a decent slice of life, but I actually blame Mango Leaf’s author and the vagaries of fate for matching these two characters up. This is odd because it spends a lot of time having others gossip about Candy Cane to explain her character to the reader, then it hitches on Mango Leaf’s one really odd quirk: his hatred of hot beverages. Which Candy Cane has as a cutie mark. Things go swiftly downhill from there, and I honestly can’t blame the author for making use of what they were given. I still cannot honestly imagine ponies criticizing each others’ cutie marks. That was really fuckin’ weird. V

Mango Leaf vs. Candy Cane by Wanderer D: Dear God, this one’s about the same thing. At least it recognizes that Mango Leaf is an inherently ridiculous character, and plays his oddity up for comedy’s sake. Candy goads him into entering a winter food competition (lovingly set up with a fantastic poster image), he takes the bait, and then things get even funnier. It turns into a good example of how to write OCs into Ponyville, believe it or not. R

Rachis Barbule vs. Obvious Question by Cosmic Cowboy: This is a well-written, highly uncomfortable story of the sort I’m starting to dread from this contest. The main problem is Obvious Question, who comes off oblivious enough to the goings-on around him that he feels autistic. (He reminds me of a few people I know.) It’s not a happy feeling. That said, I have no idea what a Folly is either, so I couldn’t help but identify with him, which only made reading the story worse. I’ll admit, the intermission interview was a clever way to get both characters talking about themselves, and avoiding Rachis giving his cutie mark story kept this from getting too transparent. The ending’s a little rushed, but the format is one I’ve seen before, so it’s not bad. C, If You Like Comedy at One Character’s Expense

Let’s Get Down to Business by Bugsydor: This is a pretty standard kind of “introduce two characters” story: Obvious is called in to do his thing, and in doing so, help Rachis do his thing even better. And in doing so, this showcases both characters perfectly. It’s not quite as exciting or scenery-ish as the previous story, but I think it does what we were supposed to do, and that’s worth something. R

Spring Blooms by TacticalRainboom: Spring Blaze celebrates his coming-of-age birthday at a crazy after party with his friends. This struck me as a standard “club scene” fic (albeit, sans Vinyl Scratch), with Summer Heat as an exotic dancer. It’s a very odd story, honestly. Spring Blaze is written as very uptight, and so the scene with Summer Heat grinding against him is delightfully uncomfortable. Then he has a conversation with her afterward, and this almost gets into a discussion about Puritanism and demonization of sex workers, but instead she plays it off as a “you’re gay” joke. The ending almost worked, darnit! C, If You Don’t Mind Pointless Endings

The Visitor from Stalliongrad by Static Shower: Static Shower bothers Iron Curtain on a train. What makes this great is Static, written as rambunctious and irrepressible from the get-go. Watching excitable kids being excitable, to the consternation of super-serious adults, is always funny, and this is no exception. Ignore the spelling errors in the first few paragraphs, this is worth the read. C, For Laughs

Iron Curtain vs. Static Shower by Captain Unstoppable: Amusingly, this is the same kind of story: kid bothers Russian by being irrepressible. It even has the same “Are you a pirate” question. c.c But after that scene is over, Iron takes a shine to the kid and teaches him how to stand up to bullies, which gives this a good bit more depth, while being no less funny. R

Minx vs. Quick Study by Minx: This story perfectly shows off why Minx is not a good character. “No I don’t. Sorry. It must have been one of my split personalities. I don’t think she killed them though.” It’s overdramatic and unbelievable. N

Quick Study vs. Minx by WIL_I_ZIN: This story has its share of problems as well. It’s first-person Minx serving drinks (hah!) to a down-in-the-dumps Quick Study, but it’s rushed, telly, and has word usage issues. Most of the humor doesn’t work, either. And yet, I like it more than its opponent, go figure. N

Booster Bones vs. Mist Whisp by RainbowBob: Booster Bones tries to get to the bottom of his own haunting. Booster is a very strange character. I’m not sure his author quite knows what to do with him. The attempts at comedy are just that, which is disappointing, since it should be easy to wring laughs from a character who hasn’t quite grasped the idea that he’s dead. Aside from that, this has basic writing issues and the narrative voice is really strange. Overall, this just doesn’t work. N

New Lesson by Lucky Stars: Lucky Stars is hired to tutor Foxglove’s daughter, Figgy. There are some very awkward sentences in this (“The result of the two ponies’ behavior was a long, agonizing silence.”) and overall, there’s not much to it. The characters are introduced, Lucky and Figgy have a little tutoring session, Lucky leaves. I’m honestly not sure what the point was. N

Little Toy Train by KitsuneRisu: Lucky Stars catches Foxglove shoplifting. Tonally, this reminds me of Bristle’s entry, likely helped by one of the characters being a thief. It’s not quite as well written, though the dialogue really caught my attention. It just feels a little rushed, is all (odd, since it also feels a little long), but it makes for a good, tense read. R

Follow Your Dreams by Glyph Dance: Glyph Dance clocks out and runs across Loud Mouth giving a motivational speech in a part of Manehattan known for ponies (and others) who do just that. The setting really caught my attention, the writing breathing life into Manehattan in big and small ways. Unfortunately, that was tempered by long paragraphs where the narrative stops to provide details like what characters look like or Glyph’s motivation. This story really spares no effort in dumping the characters’ backstories on us at any opportunity. In the end, it doesn’t amount to much, but this at least has a lot more going for it than other stories. V

Loud Mouth vs. Glyph Dance by Dubs Rewatcher: Loud Mouth attempts to deliver coffee to Glyph Dance’s construction site, only to be involved in a small accident. This is a great piece. The writing flows smoothly and Loud Mouth’s headspace really glows. There’s a bit of tension threaded throughout the story on account of Loud’s preoccupation with Glyph Dance’s daggers. I will say it’s odd that the motivational speaker ends up getting the motivational speech in the end, but this is a good read. R

Just Another Night in Old Canterlot by Loam: Crisp Dawn saves Loam from some rowdy bar patrons. This was obviously not edited and it’s chock full of errors. And I think if I read one more story, even a good one, where the characters meet, sit down, and talk about themselves, I’m gonna scream. N

Ace Artisan vs. Staccato Spark by Vivid Syntax: While picking up his marefriend from the concert hall, Ace Artisan almost literally runs into Staccato Spark. What I like about this is they end up more or less bonding over shared artistic difficulties, and they each learn something from the other. That said, it’s just a story about two people talking, but at least it’s not as blatantly “here are two characters I need to introduce” as most of these. C, If You Like Stories About People Talking

Staccato Spark vs. Ace Artisan by Staccato Spark: Staccato Spark runs afoul of a pair of ponies trying to have a romantic date. This has some minor spelling issues, but the thing that really struck me as odd is how naked and expository all the dialogue is. It doesn’t sound like real people talking. It doesn’t amount to much, either. N

Wind Whistler vs. Dreamer by Kailandi: Dreamer’s quest lands him in lockup for the night. I’ll admit, I don’t think too much of either character, but I feel the author’s done pretty well with this. Wind Whistler in action is fun, and Dreamer is… Well, a plot device, I guess. The conflict is basically “what happened to make this guy pass out at midnight”, and them not being able to figure out that he’s asleep. The writing’s okay, though there’s a definite issue with using commas to end dialogue that should be ended with periods. Can’t say I’ve seen that one before. There are also no scene breaks, which makes for a bumpy read. It’s okay, I guess. V

Strange Bedfellows by DannyJ: “I had sex with your brother” is the best reason to get two of these characters into the same story. Redwood is a hoot, and this story had me laughing quite a lot as she needles Arrow in front of his sister, and then has a pleasant chat with that sister. I said I was going to scream if I saw another story that was just two characters talking about themselves, but I guess all it takes is a steady hand with characterization to make that fun. R

The Stargazer and the Ranger by Belligerent Sock: Lunar Glint’s stargazing expedition would go a lot more smoothly if not for a certain Ranger constantly interrupting. This is a fun piece, juxtaposing a serious character with a non-serious one (she calls him a hoser!) for good comedic effect. That said, it doesn’t amount to much, and feels very short. C, For Laughs

Observation by Nightwolf289: Evergreen leads Lunar Glint to a site where Duskvines bloom. This one suffers for comparison to the previous story. Even though it’s more solid as stories go, it’s thin on content and I didn’t get a good sense of either character like I did in that one. Still, it’s okay, and decently written, just nothing to write home about. V

Flowers Forever by Fillygree: Calluna hires Fillygree to help make corsages for a wedding, and is less than pleased with her performance. I felt like the conflict was really contrived, the two of them butting heads for no good reason other than to have them do so. This is lampshaded in a scene that has a divergence into cake for no particular reason. The ending just sort of sits there. Overall, I just wasn’t convinced by any of this. N

Melon Rind/Firefly by Melon Rind: I was very confused by this story. Firefly’s apparently spelunking in a labyrinthine cave for forbidden crystals? And Melon Rind is down there and throws a hammer at him? Plus there’s all the ridiculous magical doodads Firefly carries. And then this just ends. It feels like part of a longer story, and it doesn’t have much of a point on its own. N

Fismits by Dafaddah: A friend sets Firefly up on a blind date with Melon Rind. Kind of an interesting setup, but ends up being two ponies talking about themselves. And Firefly, of course, knows all the Element Bearers, and that’s all he talks about. There’s really nothing to recommend here. N

Dala, First Entry by Dala: Trinket visits Dala to get help with making some new regalia for Princess Cadence. Much as I like neither of these characters particularly much, this is really solid as far as giving them a reason to interact goes. That’s about all I can say for it, though, other than it’s decently written. Dala is an alchemist, which in practice just makes it look like she can do wacky unicorn magic without a horn. Neither character is particularly affable, and putting them together makes for a fairly dull read. Not to mention the story is another “in the middle of something bigger” kind of scene, and I think Dala’s continual grousing about other ponies was supposed to be funny. Didn’t stick with me. N

Trinket vs. Dala by Trinket: This has almost the same plot as the previous story, only this time, Trinket’s just looking to use a forge to do his work at. Worth noting that this is the only one that made use of Dala’s weirdo magic birth defect, and just goes to show how silly it is. Trinket’s a lot more interesting, I suppose (the bit about what he does when he’s bored was neat), but Dala’s not, and this doesn’t amount to much more story than any of the others have provided. N

Mild Manners vs. Clue Seeker by Pearple Prose: Mild Manners hires Clue Seeker to find a lost dog. The draw here is Clue Seeker’s noir narration. It’s not the best noir I’ve seen, but I appreciate it nevertheless. Mild Manners, on the other hand, feels off; I mean, he’s supposed to be quiet and polite, but he’s very pushy. I mean, understandably so, sure, but you don’t expect a character with his description to be all “chop, chop”. Gotta say, the story itself isn’t terribly interesting, and it ends on a down note for Mild Manners. I think he’d have gotten the same result if Clue Seeker hadn’t even been involved. This also suffers from the oddest editing error ever: missing sentences. There’s one that stops partway in, and another that’s completely not there. There’s a space for it, and Mild Manners reacts as if he’s been spoken to, but there’s nothing there! That seems to be the true mystery. N

The Bargain Before Nightmare Night by Yarnweaver: Oh my god I hate Bibidi Boo. I mean, I wasn’t predisposed to like her before reading this, but the author has her speaking in rhyme and in the third person. D: Anyway, she closes down Barnyard Bargains on Nightmare Night, much to Tidy Till’s displeasure, and he has to keep a smile on while checking her out as fast as he can. Admittedly, that’s about the only story I could pull out of these two coming together, and there’s something to be said for earth-analogue business practices in Equestria (especially coming from Filthy Rich, he seems like a nice guy), but this is well-written and passes the… Uh, Bibidi Test, I guess. :| And while the ending doesn’t make a bit of sense, I’ll admit I was amused by it. Not too bad. V

Campaign of Terror by Bibidi Boo: Bibidi Boo has made a habit of terrorizing Tidy Till, since that’s her thing (for whatever reason). Unfortunately, it’s also rushed as hell, switches POV at the drop of a hat, and wastes a really funny first line. I do appreciate the existential crisis she puts him through, at least. I’m not sure the humor will cut through the writing issues for most readers, though. V

The Ponies You Meet While Making Milkshakes by vren55: A strange mare embarrasses herself in Minnie Milk’s cafe. So, Falcata is the other “displaced through time” character, and I gotta say, she’s just as much fun. Granted, it’s the same joke as my or half of the Luna stories out there, but I don’t care, I liked her dialogue. That said, this is just another “sit down and tell background” story, so it gets boring halfway through. Not all of the jokes work (see also: Falcata gets a wingboner for no reason), and Ye Olde Equestrian isn’t always on, either. C, If You Enjoy Comedies About Ponies Out of Time

Caps Lock vs. Loosestrife by MerlosTheMad: Caps Lock ends up on a train car with a very strange, uptight mare. So yeah, this is the story I lost to. I am highly amused that Caps’s first thought is “Ooh, she’s a cosplayer”. I mean, c’mon. :D Also coffee is important to both stories goddamn I suck at this. XD Anyway, this is a fun piece, with Caps Lock a very strong character who bubbles her way through the conversation. This is a story about two disparate ponies coming together in an unexpected way, and it’s a lot of fun. R

ROUND TWO

Vanilla Skies x Hazel Luck by Civviq Writer: A unicorn applies for a weather job. Well, our first entry from round one bye Vanilla Skies sadly trumped no-show Hazel Luck. It’s… not great. It has that weird “one step forward, one step back” style of writing, where everything has to be gone over and explained at least once if not more times. Despite having an interesting setup, this goes absolutely nowhere, with wooden dialogue and inconsistent formatting. Again, not an auspicious start to the round. N

Steam, Snow, Salt, Stamps by Admiral Biscuit: Heather Rose helps Luster Lock with a particularly difficult lock. Ahh, things won’t all be doom and gloom in round twoom. I mean, two. <.< I have a feeling the better authors are going to shine with the extra wordage to work in, if this story is any indicator. The writing is lovely, with little bits helping it along and making it very pleasant to read. Both characters feel alive and real, and the addition of the leering stallion gives this a bit more tension than one would expect from something that’s still easiest described as “slice of life”. I do take umbrage with the POV shifting in the final two scenes, but that’s a small price to pay for giving me hope for the future of this contest. R

The Facts of Ponyville by Burraku_Pansa: Luster Lock bumps into Heather Rose on the road, and right after she’s had her mane done, too. If there’s anything I like about this, it’s insinuating Heather Rose into the daily life of Ponyville, without going overboard about it. Her various meanderings really drive home just how much she contributes, and how little acclaim she gets, which is perfectly acceptable for an OC. Of course, I also liked the copious amounts of untranslated German, even if it got a little overboard toward the end as well. Then there’s Luster Lock’s cockamamie plan, which made this amusing, if nothing else. Still, it’s missing something I can’t quite put my finger on. My instincts say “it was rushed”; maybe it just pales in comparison to its opponent. C, If You Like OC Fics

This Time for Sure! by Razalon The Lizardman: Wispy Willow bumps into Mizuko, who ends up following him on his latest ghost-hunting mission. The dialogue’s a distinct improvement over Mizuko’s previous entry, but it still suffers from forceful description and POV shifting. That said, there’s an in-joke at the start that I really appreciated, and a creepy ghost encounter in the middle. My main issue, though, is that Mizuko feels really tacked-on. I mean, Wispy definitely needs a sidekick in this story, but there’s nothing about her character that otherwise feels necessary. Still, again, exceeding expectations, and I’m pleased the author is improving. V

Wooden Wails by Peregrine Caged: Seeking solace from the city, Mizuko goes diving for pearls, but get caught in a thunderstorm. The main problem with this story is that so much of it is spent setting up, and Wispy doesn’t show up until that’s done with. Worse, the writing for most of that setup isn’t terribly interesting, though there’s some good atmosphere at play. Once they meet up, however, things pick up, with a fun ghost-hunting adventure that turns thrilling. Mizuko is used a lot better than in her own story, and this was even able to surprise me, which is always appreciated. C, If You Can Get Through the Intro

Intraview by ArgonMatrix: Price Back is sent to write an article about Glimmering Gardens, but an enchanted flower shop is hardly a story. Boy oh boy, does this story pop. I really appreciate the authors who take time to include other good characters beyond just their assigned OCs, and Written Word jumps off the page almost from the get-go, to say nothing of Price Back. He works as an excellent foil for Lilligold, too, trying to force her into the story he wants to tell. This one’s boosting Lilligold to the top of the “OCs I’m rooting for” list! R

Self-Respect by libertydude: Once again, a weird case of convergent creativity: Price Back runs into Lilligold at a wedding, where she was hired by his editor. If not for the fact that he first met her at her shop in the previou story, this could almost be a prequel. Written Word also pops in this story, though in this case, she rather overshadows the other two. She’s a hoot! Unfortunately, this wasn’t supposed to be “Lilligold vs. Written Word”, and the two main characters are sadly underwritten by comparison. I did appreciate the lesson in self-respect Price gets, but yeah, this is definitely lacking something. C, For Laughs

Pecans, Passions and Propriety by Magello: Oh my god, it’s like a Reconstruction romance. Best part? No fucking racism. (Okay, a little fucking racism, but it’s not the main focus this time.) The writing is excellent, and while cheesy, it’s good cheesy, wrapped up with a delicious tragedy. H

Haystacks vs. Minié Ball by Haystacks: Minié Ball offers to buy a farm. Romantic overtones? What’s with this? Are people secretly colluding with their opponents? Anyway, this is a distinct departure from Haystacks’ last entry, since his interviewer narrator isn’t hanging around. I find I rather miss them. That said, this focuses more on business than romance, and also gives a really good sense of setting, and of Haystacks’s character. A lot is said with body language and pauses, and I really appreciate the direction this goes in. I’m glad I didn’t actually have to vote on these. H

Mango Leaf vs. Rachis Barbule by Wanderer D: Rachis gets lost in Haywaii. This is a very pleasing slice of life piece, if for no reason other than as a window into Hawaiian culture. (Which gives away its author, I do believe. Which, according to TacticalRainboom, isn't Hawaiian enough.) It’s also got an element of continuation from Mango’s previous entry, mentioning Candy Cane, and a good bit of fun is had at Rachis’s expense. There’s a bit of finger-waving at those of us who criticized Mango’s personality quirks last time, but honestly, I enjoyed this. R

Rachis Barbule vs. Mango Leaf by Cosmic Cowboy: Fuck me sideways, someone decided to write poetry. So, this is about Mango Leaf and Rachis getting in trouble because they displease Nightmare Moon. I… I don’t even. Impressive as it is that the author wrote this much poetry in this short a time frame, this distinctly has some metric issues. I will say the story itself is fun, though! C, If You’re Forgiving of Poetry

Summer in Stalliongrad by TacticalRainboom: Iron Curtain and Summer Heat butt heads in a bar known for forbidden wares. It’s weird; I thought the narrator was Iron Curtain, but that turns out not to be the case! This mostly turns out to just be a string of Communism jokes, but quite a lot of them are actually funny, and the punchline is hilarious. This may not be the best story in the contest, but I had a lot of fun with it. R

The Ambassador and the Dancer by Captain Unstoppable: Iron Curtain saves Summer Heat from zombies. I’m not even halfway joking. This is amazing. It’s a hilarious and ridiculous setup to get the two of them together. Iron Curtain’s motivation for saving her is hilarious as it is heartbreaking. There are a couple tiny bobbles in the writing, but I don’t care, this is just about the best story I’ve read in this contest. H

Quick Study vs. Booster Bones by WIL_I_ZIN: Quick Study tries to get rid of a pesky ghost. This did not impress me. The writing is awkward and overwrought, and while Booster Bones is rather a hoot, Quick Study is wholly bland. The story doesn’t really go anywhere, and the comedy is entirely in Booster’s dialogue, making the rest lackluster by comparison. Plus, there’s a POV switch at the end, and this has the dubious honor of being the first entry to use a dreaded Youtube link. N

Detective Novels Are a Dame a Dozen by RainbowBob: Booster Bones decides to crack down on books. While not the greatest example of noir storytelling, the author has definitely improved over their first entry. Again, Booster takes center stage while Quick Study is just sort of there. I have to say, I found the idea that Booster doesn’t know what a library is pretty far-fetched. I mean, a lot of the other changes mentioned in Baltimare make sense, but I’m pretty sure libraries existed when he was alive (the lampshading doesn’t really work). It’s slightly less comedic than its opponent story, and has a lot of similar problems, but it also holds together a bit more in the end, if you can get over that one issue. V

Misplaced Enthusiasm by KitsuneRisu: Foxglove sneaks in to listen to Loud Mouth speak. This is a pretty good ‘characters interacting’ story, with Loud Mouth trying to help Foxglove over his ‘problems’. I’m not sure this would have a lot of traction if you’re not invested in these characters from round one, either. C, If You Like OC Fics

Loud Mouth vs. Foxglove by Dubs Rewatcher: Attempting to burgle a radio station, Foxglove runs afoul of an unexpected late-night guest. The scene with the two of them is perfectly tense, sinister even. There’s a lot to like, like how Foxglove openly justifies his actions in front of her, and Loud’s own self-doubts in her first scene. This is really good, harkening back to Bristle vs. Luster Lock. R

Priorities by Vivid Syntax: A construction project is interrupted by discovery of a body. Gotta say, this was a fantastic way to make use of Loam. She’s characterized well, and serves as a good foil to Ace’s corporate self-centeredness. This turns into a really emotional piece about what we leave behind in death, and ends up being one of the best entries of round two. R

Wind Whistler vs. Redwood by Kailandi (Review #2400!): Wind Whistler tries to cheer Redwood up as they work on a tough case. The author made a good decision in having the two characters know each other. It makes sense, given they’re basically both in the same profession. The problem with this story is not a whole lot happens. They chat, we see Redwood get chewed out by her superior, Wind Whistler sees her afterward and deduces everything we’ve just read; there’s a lot of back-and-forth that doesn’t accomplish much. The same goes with a lot of the telly narration, that has a tendency to rehash what we’ve just been over. But overall, I think it’s step up from last round (I like how it references both characters’ entries), and the two characters work well together. C, If You Don’t Mind Telling

Liaisons by DannyJ: Wind Whistler, recently promoted to Acting Captain of the Royal Guard, gets his first assignment: meet with the liaison from the EIA, a group they don’t exactly get along with. This was a gem. It’s very strongly about friendship, not just as it pertains to ponies, but to organizations. It’s also pretty funny, if not outstanding. But overall, a very solid entry from another character I’m going to be rooting for. R

Lumber and Larceny by Belligerent Sock: Fillygree becomes caught up in Evergreen’s wood investigation. The main issue with this story, as I see it — aside from the incomplete sentence — is a certain compression to the word limit. This feels like it wants to be at least twice as long, setting up a deep mystery before getting into the chase scenes. It suffers most by having the villain reveal his plan all at once, instead of the two characters figuring it out. Still, it’s pretty solid for what it is, though I think that compression really holds it back overall. Any excuse for more Evergreen! C, If You Don’t Mind Rushing

Fillygree vs. Evergreen by Fillygree: Evergreen helps Fillygree out of a blizzard. This story is really weird, and I can’t put my finger on why. It’s a nice look into Evergreen’s hermitry, but it’s not a whole lot else. I felt like a lot of it was going in circles: what Fillygree was doing out there, how Evergreen gets on by herself, what Fillygree did or didn’t pack. It’s not bad, it just doesn’t leave much of an impression. V

Gross Product and Firefly by FloydienSlip: Firefly walks an Equestria devoid of magic. And much to his dismay, Gross Product is a prankster, even after the end. :V I gotta say, I’m glad authors are starting to take liberties with the setting in this round. First zombies, now this! Unfortunately, it’s just another “characters meet and talk about themselves” story. And, I mean, the whole point is “finding hope in a desolate wasteland”, but the idea just isn’t done justice. So much more could have come of this. Might be worth a read if you like post-apoc. V

Economics 101 by Dafaddah: Firefly attends Twilight’s weekly magic seminar, only to find out they’re having a guest speaker. I was thrown off when the scene switches and Gross Product is introduced as “Gap”, but I guess it makes sense. Oddly, this also ends up being primarily about Gross Product’s family issues. It’s just weird, because there’s almost no interaction between Firefly and “Gap” himself. Might be of interest if you want to see OCs with a strong place in Ponyville. V

Trinket vs. Mild Manners by Trinket: Trinket shows Mild Manners around Hoofshear, for some kind of secretive family business. The big draw in this is of course trying to figure out why a Canterlot noble is out in the middle of BFE. (I am so glad that abbreviation works in MLP!) He lets the cat out of the bag without much prompting, however, and the story runs out of steam after that. It’s a neat way to get two disparate characters together, but nothing really comes of it. N

Mild Manners vs. Trinket by Pearple Prose: Trinket bumps into Mild Manners in Canterlot. This story is incredibly dull. They both just kind of stand around, doing stuff. Worse, it shows just how much of a one-note character Trinket is, and Mild fares little better. While other entries have felt compressed, this feels overextended, with far too much time passing and very little happening. N

Battle at Bibidi’s by Yarnweaver: Don’t be fooled: despite the title, this is actually Tidy Till vs. Merry Weather. Interestingly, Dawn Gleam also shows up, bringing Merry along on a Dark Magic hunt. While not the best written entry (there’s a random Magic School Bus reference, of all things), I can’t deny it’s certainly interesting. (This author writes Bibidi better than I think anyone possibly could.) It does kind of feel like the author ran out of time and/or word count, but there is very little I don’t like about this. R

Falcata and Caps Lock Play Games by vren55: Pretty much what it says on the title, which unfortunately makes this rather similar to Caps Lock’s entry, without that story’s good writing. This is telly and rushed, and about Minecraft, which is about the least interesting game ever, if you ask me. I didn’t like the way the flashbacks worked, nor does this have the humor and enjoyable dialogue of Falcata’s previous entry. Some late-game angst from Falcata isn’t really enough to turn it around, either. N

ROUND THREE

Vanilla and Luster by Civviq Writer: Luster Lock tries to show Vanilla Skies a way to have fun. This makes the cardinal sin of starting off with a bored character; there’s no better way to turn off a reader. That opening certainly sets up expectations, though: this story is dull as heck, just Luster Lock telling Vanilla about herself before flying off. Hopefully, this will be the last round we deal with this kind of thing. N

Supercell by Burraku_Pansa: Vanilla Skies recruits Luster Lock for help with a storm. This story, meanwhile, starts off with a weather report subversion. It got a chuckle out of me. Actually, this whole thing is full of little bits like that that are really funny. And the rest, well, there’s some pretty excellent, not to mention tense, weather wrangling, and this is a creative way to get two characters together, especially since one of them is wholly out of her element. R

For a Lily by Peregrine Caged: Lilligold rushes to Manehattan to retrieve one of her plants, where she bumps into a love-struck ghost hunter. This story feels fluffy and slice-of-life-y, but it actually acquits itself well. There’s a bit of mystery, an interesting intersection of magical plants with ghost hunting, and a satisfying resolution, on top of Wispy distinctly romantic aim toward Lilly. It’s a good OC story, and the only thing I can criticize is a POV shift toward the end. R

Cutie-Crossed by ArgonMatrix: A chance encounter turns into years of friendship, and maybe something more. Yeah, the authors are definitely collaborating. It’s interesting how these two entries are like mirror images of the other. Lilly, for instance, is the one with romantic designs. I was surprised by the way this story goes; I wouldn’t be surprised if the time frame, lengthened though it might have been, was a factor in the ending. Yes, I think this one wanted to be a good bit longer. For what it is, though, it sets itself up well for the follow-through. R

Haystacks vs. Mango Leaf by Haystacks: Haystacks rushes to see his old friend, Mango Leaf. Goshdarnit, I wish we were done with the ‘vs.’ titles. Though the narrator from Haystacks’ first story remains absent, she is at least mentioned, and in the context of that story, which was fun. But the writing in this story. Whoa. Haystacks has really outdone himself this time. The descriptions are the kind of thing you can get lost in. And Mango has such a strong character. His relationship with Haystacks is surprising and convincing. There’s continuity with both of Haystacks’ other stories, and, more surprising, references to other characters neither has encountered in the contest! H

Mango Leaf vs. Haystacks by Wanderer D: Mango Leaf recounts his time training in the Royal Guard. I love how these characters grow on you. For instance, I got really excited to find out that not only does Mango have a girlfriend, she’s pregnant. Also that she’s Gillette from Rachis Barbule’s stories oh my god. Also, he’s treating Haystacks’ last story as canon shipping, which is fantastic. But yeah, this being a story about how the two of them met in basic training? Totally unexpected, very original, highly entertaining. If you’re less inclined to read about two people talking, this one will satisfy over Haystacks this round. But I honestly think they’re equally good. H

Runaway Train by TacticalRainboom: Quick Study and Summer Heat have it out over a certain novelist. This piece is great for a couple reasons. The stallion caught in between his foalhood friend and the mystery mare who stole his heart is melodramatic to the core, and an absolute hoot. Even when he’s not on screen, he’s stealing the show. The conversation on the train between the two mares uses both of them well; there were just a couple spots where I couldn’t figure out who was talking, and that’s my only real complaint. The best part, though, is that there are no romantic undertones between Quick and Cliffhanger. Or, if there are, they aren’t brought into play. Because, y’know, guys and gals can be friends, and you don’t have to love someone romantically to want to defend them against a person you think is bad for them. Plus, it’d be cliche. R

Heat of the Moment by WIL_I_ZIN: Cliffhanger and Quick Study go to a bar to unwind. What can say? This doesn’t make use of the characters as well as Summer Heat’s story did. On top of that, there’s a few too many adverbs, some minor punctuation issues, and a lengthy conversation that I found rather dull. N

The Lady and the Architect by Dubs Rewatcher: Ace Artisan gets a surprise while accompanying his marefriend to a job interview. Yet another entry in a long line of “using the characters in novel ways”, Loud Mouth turns out to be Ace’s old marefriend, whose heart he kind of broke years ago. That said, I’m not so sure I like the direction their reunion goes. I mean, that Loud’s friend sends her off on a half-cocked drama fest is funny; it’s Ace’s apology that feels off, like he’s not really apologizing at all. There are some issues with the writing, POV especially, and it doesn’t amount to much, though. Rather a disappointing performance after last round. C, If You Don’t Mind POV Jumps

Foundations by Vivid Syntax: Loud Mouth bumps into a stallion who looks like he needs someone to talk to. Interestingly, it’s this story that continues off of Loud Mouth’s last entry, with Foxglove, and builds off of Ace’s encounter with Loam, as well. This turns into a very deep, emotional piece, with Loud Mouth (used particularly well!) helping Ace through a rough spot with Nocturne. I mean, even if you haven’t gotten attached to any of these characters, I think this would be pretty riveting if you’re into relationship drama and character interaction. R

A Maniac Morass by Belligerent Sock: A green intelligence agent gets embroiled in a criminal caper with a ranger who is actually green. Evergreen vs. Redwood was one of the matchups I was super looking forward to, and I’m sad Redwood wasn’t able to do anything for it. Anyway, this is zany, perfectly paced, and the best Smooze fic since For I Am a Jelly God. (Hope that’s not spoiling too much.) In short, it’s everything I wanted. H

The Artifact by Dafaddah: Firefly tells his new student the story of where he got his magic pendant. So the major downside to this story is that it features a really great character, and she’s not Firefly. Whirligig is a ball of energy and hilarity, and she steals every scene she’s in. Honestly, I wish she’d been the OC instead of Firefly. I mean, even Mild Manners is written particularly well, showing the author has definitely been learning. Unfortunately, the side plot about a manticore felt awfully contrived; I would have been happy just to see Whirligig interrupt Firefly’s story, which itself was decently interesting, detailing Firefly and Mild building a device that lets anypony cast spells. It’s a decent enough story overall, but could use a bit of work. C, If You’re Into Magical Headcanon

The Forest Festival by Pearple Prose: Mild Manners accompanies his parents on a trip to Ponyville, to get in touch with their roots. There are some flashes of brilliance in this one, like a tiny sentence wherein Mild connects with Twilight on a deep level, but otherwise, it suffers from a narrator who isn’t particularly interested in what’s happening around him. That’s the only reason I can find to explain why his voicing is just so dull. It absolves itself a bit at the end, with some father-son bonding, and it’s a definite step up from Mild’s last round, but overall, it’s not something I’d really suggest reading. V

Struck-Through by Yarnweaver: This is really weird. I think the metafictional bits are actually from Tidy Till’s perspective, but he seems to have extra-fictional awareness, which is both confusing and perplexing. And maybe a cry for help, I’m not sure. Anyway, along with Falcata, we get to see Caps Lock, Minnie Milk and Loosestrife (though she’s not written terribly well :(), trying to stop Bibidi Boo, who they seem to have mistaken for the sorceress who took Falcata’s leg. I can’t fault the author for fitting all these characters into the story, at least. Meanwhile, Tidy is… haunted by Bibidi’s memory? I’ll be honest, this story is really confusing, despite having followed the whole contest. It's equal parts amazing and a mess. C, If You’ve Read Everything Leading Up to It

Falcata and Tidy Till Go Diehard by vren55: Falcata tries to foil a robbery at Tidy’s till. This story is fast-paced, has some definite issues in the writing (like the description of Tidy’s mane), and is distinctly a different sort of mess from Tidy’s story. In fact, I’m now starting to wonder if my appreciation of Falcata’s first story wasn’t a fluke. Either way, the three-legged time-lost swordspony continues to assassinate her opponents, winning by another default. N

QUARTERFINALS

(All the finals entries are in the same document from here on out.)

What You Love by Burraku_Pansa: Lilligold seeks an emotional component to help perfect an old plant idea. Wow. LL’s author went all out on this one. The prose is thick and poetic, highly evocative, and effortlessly paints Hoofington as a real, breathing place. Lilli’s history is communicated through beautifully scatterbrained journal entries. Things tone down a bit once the two characters meet, which likely signals a shift in Lilli’s mental state, but I kind of missed the poetry nevertheless. The ending is pretty fascinating, though I have to admit, I couldn’t quite figure it out. Still, this was a pleasure to read, and one of the strongest entries I’ve seen all contest. H

L-Block by ArgonMatrix: Trapped together in the same prison, Lilligold and Luster Lock fight hopelessness to find a way out. Wow, damn, this story is dark. First of its kind to really work, too. It’s got the claustrophobia of The Cough with nothing but intense emotional character interaction, punctuated by some good horror. That said, it is rather hard to accept this kind of thing happening in any Equestria, and backstory or motivation for the villain are sadly lacking. (Not that I could figure out a way to include them, mind.) Still, it’s creative and a chilling, and has made this bracket quite the close game. R

Mango Leaf vs. Summer Heat by Wanderer D: Wedding preparations remind Mango of a past love. The OC soap opera continues, with Mango Leaf and Gillette’s wedding on the horizon. I have to say, I’ve gotten very invested in these characters over the course of the contest, so that was a really compelling way to start, and that plus Mango’s former infatuation with Summer Heat makes this one of the boldest entries to date. Yet he still uses the vs. title what gives It’s a fun tragedic romance with a bit of humor, and fills in Mango’s backstory nicely. Summer’s given some depth, too, in a very emotional scene toward the end. R

Playing It Straight by TacticalRainboom: Summer Heat coaches Mango on how to express his feelings for a certain pony. Okay, talk about bold: this one ships Mango Leaf with Haystacks. Plus using the mutual traveling thing to give Summer and Mango a history. Summer herself is probably better than she’s ever been, quite the good friend if you ask me, and very entertaining as she works her magic on Mango. This is definitely for romantics, especially if you decry the lack of M/M pairings in MLP fanfic. R

Limits by Vivid Syntax: Sargeant Evergreen has to save Ace Artisan from his own stupidity on what was supposed to be a pleasant hike. Speaking entirely of the character, this is Ace Artisan’s greatest failure. He’s just such a blind idiot in this story, I wanted to strangle him. But that’s good, innit? The main characters of this piece all pop, Nocturne included; it’s just Ace’s bold-faced asshattery that takes front stage. I was slightly off-put by the anti-earth pony sentiment suffusing the narrative (Evergreen’s dialogue echoes Ace’s internalized inferiority), but on the whole, this piece works, thanks to good description, excellent pacing and great characters. R

Cold Companionship by Belligerent Sock: A Vanhoover architectural event gets snowed in, sending ponies into a shelter made of ice... This one’s kind of surprising. At first, I didn’t feel it was as strong as the previous story, but once it kicks into disaster flick mode, the characters’ dynamics are really solid. (Plus, Nocturne is great.) Not to mention, it’s great to see the hero lead off his speech with “I’m an architect, I can help”. I’m just really impressed the author came up with a way for an architect to save the day. It’s not quite as tense as it maybe could have been, but it’s got a very satisfying end for the characters. R

Convalescence by Dafaddah: Falcata questions her honor after being saved by Princess Twilight. Though this again brings up all the reasons I never liked Firefly to begin with (he knows the mane cast, why shouldn’t he know one of the OCs too?), it’s definitely the best Falcata story. Sadly, the bulk is just the two of them trading backstories, but the emotions come through well, and I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in her angst in the first half. The ending is kinda cute, too. C, If You Don’t Mind Lengthy Backstories

Falcata vs. Firefly by vren55: A soldier from Equestria’s founding applies to be a part-time weather wrangler in Ponyville. I’ll say this: Falcata’s author has definitely improved over the course of this event, but this still has a lot of issues. (You should’ve heard the facepalm when I read about “Cranky and Muriel’s wedding”.) That said, the idea is funny and there’s some interesting bits of history scattered through the interview. That improvement means a lot to me. V

SEMIFINALS

How Mango Leaf Stole Winter by ArgonMatrix: Mango Leaf travels to Elmshire, hoping to escape winter’s wrath and find a new locale to sell his wares. This is a lengthy poem, more or less “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” in style, but with a few five-line stanzas to break things up. It’s not the best poem I’ve ever read, but I forgave a lot because of a running joke about characters asking why they’re speaking in rhyme. Overall, it’s lighthearted and a good bit better than many poems I’ve read on this site. That said, I was sorely disappointed when the poetry ran out. Now that’s saying something. C, If You Like Poetry

Mango Leaf vs. Lilligold by Wanderer D: A visit to an old friend to get flowers for his wedding lands Mango Leaf in the position of counselor. Y’know, even if not a whole lot happens in this, there’s a real depth to the characters and the ongoing story of Mango Leaf that I continue to find engrossing. If you’ve followed these characters as I have, this is a good read; I’m not sure it would work if you haven’t, though. R

Due North by Dafaddah: Firefly and Falcata’s forest vacation is interrupted by a pack of timberwolves. Given that this is supposed to be about Evergreen and Firefly, it’s a little disconcerting that the best character interaction is between Firefly and Falcata. That said, this is a fun romp through Evergreen’s neck of the woods once more, with some interesting ideas. Evergreen herself is well-written, and her spat with Falcata provides a strong start to the story. That said, Firefly is somewhat overshadowed in his own piece, and I continue to be wholly nonplussed by his character. At least he doesn’t exactly save the day; well, I guess everyone helps, in truth. Still, this is worth it for the Evergreen/Falcata angle. C, If You Like OC Stories

FINALS

Here we are, the finals, a two-way battle for supremacy and a sadly absent battle for third place, because Evergreen couldn’t make it again. :( But it’s been such a ride, I can’t help but put a little blurb in beforehand. Well, there it is, let’s go.

Mango vs. Firefly by Wanderer D: Mango Leaf and Firefly go into the Everfree in search of a change. This is, surprisingly, a deconstruction of Firefly’s character. And I kind of wish it wasn’t, because it comes off as mean-spirited, coming from his opponent. There’s an attempt to turn the tables on him, but it doesn’t feel as genuine. Add to that the copious editing errors (the whole thing feels rushed), and this amounts to a very disappointing finale. And Mango doesn’t even get married! D: I mean, who does that? C, If You Don’t Mind Editing Mistakes

A Contest of Wills by Dafaddah: Mango Leaf discovers Firefly to be a hard sell on his first froyo. As a swan song for Firefly, this turns out to be one of the most shocking entries in the whole contest. It starts off as a lighthearted slice of life, with Mango trying harder and harder to convince Firefly to try his frozen yogurt. (Also, it has Twist, which is great all by itself.) Anyway, though hardly perfect, this is by far Firefly’s best entry, and just in time, too. C, If You Like OC Stories

What Doesn’t Kill Us by ArgonMatrix (800th review of 2015!): Lilligold gets an unwanted escort for her expedition. Wow, what a story. It’s one of the best examples of journal-writing I’ve ever seen. Despite obviously focusing on Lilli, it gives us a good look at Evergreen too, along with a great reason for them to do things together. Most of all, I adore all the G1 references, starting with but not limited to “Mount Draggle”. The leadup to the end builds some remarkable tension, given the medium, and while the ending was a surprise, I feel it was the right way to take the story. This is one of the best entries I’ve read in the whole contest, and I’m sorry it isn’t one of the winners. H

And there we have it! What a contest this was. There’s no better way to really get to know characters. I hope we never do this again. D:

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 33 )

It’s never a good sign when the main character’s name isn’t spelled right in the first sentence. This is just chock full of usage problems of every sort imaginable. Amusingly, again the story pair is similar, with Mizuko this time being the one to save Oddluck from drowning. There’s really nothing more to it; it feels like it was padded just to get over 500 words.

:rainbowlaugh:

I can probably write something far better than my own entry. Which is part of the reason why I'm holding the collaboration. I hope to use Oddluck a lot more in my stories, hopefully I'll be able to give her recognition eventually. Every single word I wrote down was a result of procrastination. I probably could of made it to round two if I just finished the story.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

3367620
It's only 102 stories, spread out over a month. :B That's way less than MMDGC.

Haha wait no it's not D: I'm thinking Outside Insight. Which only beat this by 9 stories. c.c; geez

Huh. That might well be the first H you've ever given me. Cool. And yeah, there's an awful lot going on with the ending of "What You Love"—clearly much more than I had the space to make adequately plain.

Wanderer D
Moderator

So... many... stories...

Edit: Yeah, I'm not too proud of how angry the last story was. I already talked to Firefly's Author Daffadah about it via PM but... I should have done a better job by the end.

Wow. Rated higher than I thought I would be. I absolutely plan on bringing them altogether and publishing them (not to mention expanding a little where I had to cut, especially in my second round), so I'll shoot that over whenever that happens.

Thanks for the kind words, not the least of which for that mess of a round two entry.

Holy shit! I got a recommended and a highly recommended from you! I have new found confidence in my ability! You have doomed the world.

While I certainly wish I could've stayed in the game longer, you'll never hear me complain about an H on something of mine. Our universal gratitude goes to you once again for your time.

And an H for the zombie idea I gave Captain Unstoppable isn't a bad shake either. Even if he also lost.

Glad you liked the adventures of Summer Heat so much c:

Kudos to reviewing them all dude.

and yeaaaah Crankie and Matilda's wedding. *facedesk facedesk

that was my bad (yes i'm Falcata's author).

That said, the story itself is… odd.

Such an obvious potential joke... nah, I'm better than that.

but there’s nothing about her character that otherwise feels necessary.

Why do I keep getting singled out when there were many other authors who made that mistake in round 2?

3367781 You said Cranky and Muriel, not Minnie. :derpytongue2:

3367740 You mean Captain Unstoppable.

Ah, forget it, my editing skills aren't needed here.

Good golly, Miss Molly, that's a lot of reviews! I suppose the time span of the contest made it easy enough to handle, though. Still, thank you for this!

I'm amazed I managed to wrangle a C with my semifinals showing—I thought I performed quite badly there. Still, glad I could end on a high note with What Doesn't Kill Us.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

3367645
I think you were headed for an H with your Circleship entry, except you never finished it you butt D:

(I think it was Circleship...)

3367740
Obviously, you had the Midas touch. (Noting here that everyone Midas touched basically died.)

3367781
Matilda. Matilda. @_@

That said, you must teach me your ways of destroying your competition before they can even write a word. :V

3367831
One inherent problem in this contest is that it came with its own tropes, which didn't become recognizable as such until you'd read a dozen or more entries. So I was more likely to get exasperated by stuff in bracket 2. :/

3367853 I"M STILL MIXING UP THOSE M'S!!!!

Yeah, I realized after my first entry that I needed an editor to fine tune things.

I'm happy that I improved in between rounds, though.

Thanks for reviewing!

3367896
It was, and you'll be unhappy to know that I haven't touched that fic in forever and still have no immediate plans to. Why can't you get on me about a fic of mine that I enjoy writing, man?

Wow! This competition was a pressure cooker that just built up steam with every round. I haven 't been subjected to such continuous stress since my undergraduate days!

That being said, it was a blast, and I really appreciate how all the high intensity feedback made me grow as a writer. Kudos to Obs for running this thing. I hope he'll do so again next year – 'cause I'll need at least six months to recover!

3367653
As I said in response to your PM, don't sweat it! There's certainly a lot I would have done differently given the time.

In fact I intend to do just that, as I'll be expanding Firefly's story with more chapters and a lot of stuff I had to cut because of a lack of space. I wrote him with a specific story arc in mind, which I could only show in bits and pieces in the contest.

A closing note: thank you Present Perfect for noticing what I was trying to do in A Contest of Wills! You even got the Star Trek reference! I had Many such references peppered in these stories, but you're the first one to catch on. Perhaps I was being too subtle with my little pony technomage!

You cray, brah.

But your efforts are appreciated. Thanks for always taking the time and sanity to do these kinds of things at the risk of...

oh wait. You're already crazy and full of cranberry juice.

Nevermind.

Although I highly disagree with one of your critiques.

Come, Come… I Wish to Play by Straitjacket: Straitjacket traps Wispy Willow in a maze, wanting to ‘play’ with him. This is a very poor story. It’s rushed, the characters have neither character nor motivation, and I’m honestly not surprised given Straitjacket’s character sheet. N

This is clearly the best story in the entire competition, and I don't see how anyone can say otherwise.

It disappoints me that no one else recognizes its brilliance. It only outshines Minx's entry due to brevity, which makes it wittier or something.

I appreciate the kind comments. Thanks for reading, cutie pie. :raritywink:

Not many people seemed to like the genre shift I made in my last round. Not a few people openly wished I had kept writing the serious stories that gave me my first two wins. Hm. Can't please em' all, I suppose.

I'll be publishing the collection soon, probably in the next day or two.

3367896 I KNOWWW!!!!! :fluttercry: I keep getting mixed up!

Damn, you read em all and kept them all neatly orginized and had notes too. How did your mind not fracture into a billion little pieces? XD

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

3368044
Uh, because obviously you're dumb and also a butt, and the comment to which I am replying is proooof :V

3368280
Straitjacket/Minx/Bibidi Boo OT3

3368660
As said above, the time frame made it easy. The first round was the hardest. :B

>mfw you still haven't given me an N

You love the racism though. You love the Minie Ball.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

3369833
I love the Reconstruction romance and desire more. :B

Thanks for the reviews, man. I'm always looking for ways to improve, and I think you've left some good advice on what needed to fix my stories. If I've gained anything out of this, I'll certainly be trying to inject more Written Word in some stories I write in the future.

Round 1: V
Round 2: R
Round 3: C

Dang, if only I'd gotten them in a different order, then I'd have something. Anyway, regarding that bit at the start of Struck-Through:

I think the metafictional bits are actually from Tidy Till’s perspective, but he seems to have extra-fictional awareness, which is both confusing and perplexing. And maybe a cry for help, I’m not sure.

That was actually supposed to be a yet-to-be-revealed third party who was manipulating events in order to pit certain ponies against eachother in a bid to find a champion to challenge for his release from Tartarus.

What threw a wrench into his plans was Tidy leaving his post after retaining bits and pieces of the previous rounds, including one that never made it into the submitted entry for Round 2.

I figured that the true villain was limited to a list of random ponies to work from (our commendable Compendium), and could only get rid of ponies when they had parted ways with their opponents, and then only by striking through their names on his list with good ol' fashioned quill and ink (he doesn't get around much, being locked up in Tartarus and all that). And once he ran out of ink, he had to send a proxy of sorts out to get some more from where else but Tidy's RBB store. That way the proxy could clean up Bibidi's opponent's branch (Since she clearly was the more dominant and in-control pony in all of her encounters she was the one to move on by his count), and then Strike-Through Tidy's name on the list after checking out at his line.

Hopefully that explains what was going through my head for that last round.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

3371390
...I don't even.

Whitewash & Lilligold by Monarch Dodora: Whitewash apologizes, more or less, for what he did to Lilligold’s shop. This is pretty amusing and a good example of a dialogue-heavy story that fills us in on what just happened without overdoing it. That said, it’s also pretty compressed and likely was written nearer the deadline than the other. Still fun. C, For a Laugh

Oh hey, I never saw these reviews. 'course, I flaked out in round 1, so I didn't exactly keep track of the rest of the contest with any amount of enthusiasm :V

Thankyou, in any case, for Conditionally recommending my entry even though it was the most train-wreck thing I've ever written. You're right it was "likely written nearer the deadline": I started it one hour before cutoff, at 5am local time, after realizing I had no way to complete my intended entry within anything less than double the allowed wordcount; it was literally an entry in the vein of "fuck it at least I'll submit something". As you can no doubt tell from several months of following me, I do have issues with the whole 'finishing anything at all' thing :B

(If you're at all curious about my intended entry pleasebecuriouspleasebecuriousohgodIneedvalidation), it's just over yonder. It's much, much better, I'll make no bones about that. Never got close to finished, though, so :raritydespair:)

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4298908
Oh cool, I'm glad you saw this. :D

I might be even more interested in that entry if it were posted to Fimfiction somewhere...

4298962
Urrrgh, you're gonna make me finish this thing, aren't you :trixieshiftleft:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4299026
Finished things are good! :V

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!