• Member Since 25th Mar, 2015
  • offline last seen 8 hours ago

The Hat Man


Specialties include comedy, robots, and precision strikes to your feelings. Hobbies include hat and watch collecting. May contain alcohol.

More Blog Posts353

  • 11 weeks
    Next Project: Continuing "RR: A Very Grim Hearth's Warming"

    Just a quick announcement that "Reaping Rainbow: A Very Grim Hearth's Warming" will be the next story I give some attention to. The story had a very warm reception and some great enthusiasm, and the only reason I wasn't able to give it some love was because Passing Familiarity was still being finished and needed more of my creative energy. Now that I'm getting back into things, you can

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    4 comments · 102 views
  • 12 weeks
    Back in action!

    Hello, everyone! This is just a quick post to say that I'm sorry for taking a little sabbatical after Passing Familiarity, but I think I'm getting back into the groove and there should be some more stuff coming soon, including some blog posts and the continuation of "Reaping Rainbow: A Very Grim Hearth's Warming." And for those of you who were hoping for more canonical Turing Test,

    Read More

    4 comments · 101 views
  • 19 weeks
    UPDATE: "Passing Familiarity" Concluded - "Ending C: Weight of the World"

    You're gonna carry that weight. (And, er, sorry it's a few hours late. I wanted to get it as close to perfect as possible. Thank you all so much for your comments and support. It has made this experiment more rewarding than you know.)

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    0 comments · 143 views
  • 20 weeks
    UPDATE: "Passing Familiarity" Endings A and B are LIVE!

    ...And the final ending, Ending C, will be uploaded tomorrow, concluding the story. Thank you all for your support during the publication, and I hope you will enjoy the multiple endings. I've been loving your comments, and I'm eager to see how the completed story is received. :heart:

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    1 comments · 141 views
Mar
13th
2016

The Hat Man Reviews: Scribblefest Entries #4! · 10:43pm Mar 13th, 2016

Two more today, folks! I meant to post this yesterday, actually, but things got in the way. Oh well!

Today, we've got a comedy and a romance. Let's see how these EFNW Scribblefest entries fare...


There's something people often don't get about comedy... it's surprisingly hard to write. So, is this fairly popular story funny? Well, let's hold off on that for a moment.

The story is about Spike learning pyromancy. He can make a ball of fire and hold it, juggle it, that sort of thing. Twilight sees this and freaks out about him playing with fire and has nightmarish visions of him burning Ponyville to the ground. She freaks out and goes way overboard, a la "Lesson Zero" or "It's All About Time," in an effort to prevent a disaster. Then something happens that I won't spoil that was, honestly, unexpected, followed by a heartwarming (?) life lesson at the end.

So, is it funny? Initially, I didn't think so. The whole "Twilight goes overboard preparing for stuff" isn't that funny to me without the visuals to work with it, which is why "Lesson Zero" is still funny. It's not badly written or anything, but I found myself just rolling my eyes going "Yes, Twilight freaks out, how much longer is this?!" But then, over halfway through the story, it suddenly got funnier. It started with this joke, wherein Twilight keeps Spike in a closet:

Twilight paced. “Making the room airtight, or even virtually airtight, would also impede the flow of oxygen into the room. And since not only is the fire rapidly consuming oxygen, but you’re also consuming oxygen by breathing…”

Spike scratched his head. “It’d make it hard to breathe?”

“It’d put out the fire pretty quick. Oh, and that too.”

As much as I typically dislike Spike abuse, that last line and the utter callousness of it finally got to me and I cracked up. And then there's the climax which really took the joke in a new direction. It's a little odd that a lesson is tacked on at the end; it almost feels satirical, and that might even be the author's intent. So, despite a slow start, this ended up being pretty damn funny. Maybe not the funniest story I've ever read, but definitely entertaining.

Recommended?: Yes. While not everyone will like it, I do think it was a good entry and the first genuine comedy I've reviewed for the contest.


Romance, Slice of Life, and... Anthro? Ehhhh... :applejackunsure:

Okay, okay, I won't judge. All I will say is that I'm not a particular fan of anthro MLP unless it's for comedy (like that fake "Apple Bloomers" show) and that I don't actually see why it's anthro instead of just, say, Equestria Girls universe. To each their own.

Hearts and Hooves Day has arrived (thought why it's still Hearts and "Hooves" when they have hands is beyond me -- okay, okay, I'll stop making jokes!) and Sweetie Belle is without a date. But she gets a letter from a secret admirer expressing their love and asking her to meet them at the clocktower. Not knowing who it might be, she decides to go and see who will confess their love.

I won't spoil the result, but I will say that Scootaloo is there, but wasn't the one that sent the note. Instead she was taking a nap in the bell tower. Also, she needs to take a shower. :pinkiesick:

It's hard to review this story without explaining too much about it. It's not entirely unpredictable, but just the same, it's not too cliched either. It's a silly little friendship/romance story about teenage confessions. Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo are written in character and the story does a good job of telegraphing body language. It's very readable and easy to visualize. There are lots of cute moments, and it's very much in the vein of high school romantic comedies, with just a bit of an anime flavor (though there are no "-chans" or "-senpais" in there).

Though this was a pretty conventional story, it succeeded at being cute and even a little funny. It's well-written without being too flowery and great if you enjoy shipping.

Recommended?: Maybe. :unsuresweetie: Well, it didn't wow me, but I can't deny that I enjoyed it for its familiarity. It's not bad, but it feels like it could have been written for any modern-day show, and doesn't quite feel like a "My Little Pony" story, if that makes any sense. Still, if you'd like something pleasant, familiar, and you're not so anti-anthro that you'd refuse to read a story with them, then it could be your cup of tea.


That's all for this round, folks! Stay tuned for the next one! In the meantime, enjoy this semi-topical comic. Peace!

Comments ( 25 )

I... Whoa. I'll admit, I didn't see this coming. Questions: is this part of Everfree Northwest that they asked you to do? Or is this something you do on your own? Just curious. Regardless, thanks for the honest review! I'll take your words to heart and try to improve the story. Thank you, The Hat Man.

-Ru

3806735 Nope, just did it on my own. And I have an entry in the race. If you're curious, it's "Marble's Horizon." Good luck to you! :twilightsmile:

Thanks for taking the time to review my fic :) I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! It's always a relief to hear when people actually laughed at what I intended to be a comedy :P

Thanks for letting me know about your review, too, and good luck in the competition! :>

3806811 Thanks! I'm interested in seeing how the competition goes and who-wins-what. :pinkiehappy:

Anthro? Ehhhh...

Oi. Anthro is a pretty useful writing tool, and a damn good way to skirt around some of the rules. A lot of times, if you just humanize everything, the mods will shut you down, since you could easily change the names and then turn it into an original work. Also, some things just don't fly in the EG universe. As for the bit about the hooves, I refer you to Shepherd0821's Types Series. When writing anthro, I typically refer to type 3, but have been known to use type 4.

Not ranting, just explaining why it so common on here.

Speaking of pyromania, did I ever tell you about that time I set myself on fire? Completely voluntarily, too. Long story short, sometimes, you shouldn't really test everything you think of.

3807314 There are kind of a lot of reasons why anthro often considered a bad idea, too.

I'm actually way more forgiving of anthro in art, actually. Visually, it makes a significant different, so I think it makes sense in that context. On paper, well, not so much. At best, it's a rather pointless cosmetic change that doesn't bring anything to the story. At worst, it's a symptom of authors having difficulties with creatively dealing with ponies, and frankly, creativity is something you kinda need. If it's supposed to be a crutch, the best thing to do is remove the crutch and learn to walk properly instead.

3807526 ... I didn't say anything about it being a crutch. It's a tool, like a hammer. And to be quite frank, most if the anthro fics I've read are actually more creative than a lot of the humanized or pony stories. More often than not, it even makes it more challenging to write a fic. They move differently than humans or ponies, so the way they act in an environment is different.

But, I respect your opinion. I heavily disagree with it, but I respect it.

3807560 I get that a lot.

But seriously, what does anthro bring to a story? Hands? Ponies kinda don't care that they need hands to do all the stuff we humans do anyway. Walking on two legs? Ponies seem to manage. Additional story conflicts? How does having a different shape change what happens in a story? C'mon, work with me here.

I've asked this question a buncha times, and I've never gotten a good answer besides 'boobs' yet. But hey, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

3807577 Boobs are good. Boobs is a good reason.

For real, though. Think of all the physical differences between humans and anthro. Hooves. Perhaps a character needs to sneak around. Gonna be difficult with hooves. Or what about traction? Hooves are bound to slip more than feet... That's admittedly all I got on that front.

On another front, there is a certain element of plot relevance. For example, in my story, Six Mad Mares, it is relevant that the director of the asylum is a ram, in that rams are rare in Equestria. He's an enigma, and his magic is strange to Cheerilee. In addition, is build is different than a pony. He's considerably taller, more muscular and has massive horns. This gives him a rather demonic appearance in their eyes. He's is meant to be frightening to them, and if he were just a regular human, it wouldn't make much sense without adding a layer of sexual oppression, which wouldn't make any sense because most of the asylum staff is comprised of mares.

*deep breath* so yeah. There are reasons it's done. Other times it's just an author's choice in character design. It doesn't make it any less creative.

3807617

For real, though. Think of all the physical differences between humans and anthro. Hooves. Perhaps a character needs to sneak around. Gonna be difficult with hooves. Or what about traction? Hooves are bound to slip more than feet... That's admittedly all I got on that front.

You say that, but ponies can sneak. Rainbow Dash ninja'd her way through a hospital. Traction?

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That's a rock mountainside. Looks smooth, too. Very steep angle. Probably around 70 degrees, at a glance. No real horse can do that. Ponies don't seem to care.

You see, you're saying all these physical differences like ponies give a damn. They really don't. If they had physical limitations, I'd be tempted to agree, but they don't. Ponies can do pretty much everything humans can. They can hold things, climb things, do weird backflips, stand on two hooves, dance, twirl, stretch, grab, grip, and grapple. They don't really care that you can't imagine them doing all these things. They just do them anyway.

Plus, I don't see how your second example is relevant. I just pictured everyone as ponies and it seemed to work just fine in my brain. I don't think it really matters.

So... I still don't think anthro has anything. Ponies don't care about physical differences, and the summary you described in no way requires anthro. Soz.

But regardless, I'm probably clogging up an otherwise nice review thread with more reasons not to use anthro. If you desperately want to continue this, do just pop a response onto my userpage, would you?

3807630 I'd rather not, actually. It's not something I'm keen on dragging out further, because in reality, I'm sure we both have better things to with our time. I could make the argument of retaining the humanesque features and environments, but I won't.

Have a nice day :twilightsmile:

3806800 Interesting. I am sorry my story didn't wow you, but I'm glad you were still able to enjoy it somewhat. I doubt it'll win anything, but thanks for the luck! I wish you the same. :twilightsmile:

-Ru

3807645
3807630

If either or both of you are interested, perhaps, as the story's creator, I can shed some light on my decision to make this story anthro?

-Ru

3808031 Noooot particularly. No offense, but I'm just kind of burnt out on the topic.

3808027 Oh yeah, I actually rather enjoyed it, but I'm trying to be more objective in my reviews. So when I say "maybe" I'd recommend it, I mean just that: some would like it, some not. Still, as stories of that type go, I thought it was a decent enough read. And who knows, it just might win one of the awards anyway! Last year's winner seemed genuinely surprised with his win, so who knows what will or won't make an impact. Good luck! :twilightsmile:

3808040 No offense taken. I just figured I'd offer an explanation to possibly ease the tension I'd caused with one of the aspects of my story. Sorry it caused some friction between you and HapHazred. :twilightsheepish:

-Ru

3808042 Thank you for your honesty, both in your review and your own personal view. I'm glad you found it to be enjoyable. :twilightsmile: Good luck to you, too!

-Ru

3807630
3807645
Hope two of my pals aren't having it out, are they? :unsuresweetie:

Well, I have to say, I'm pretty much in agreement with Hap, GG. In art, it actually makes a big difference, while in these types of stories, it doesn't often seem to matter. For the story in question, I really can't think of one thing that would have made a difference had it been EQG universe or just Human in general. I haven't read your story in particular, though, so perhaps it makes a bit more of a difference.

What I will say is that I think there is a narrow niche of things for Anthro that Hap might have missed and I tend to overlook: it's that tiny area where you want something that's a bit more modern and similar to the human world, but you want the characters to still retain some of their animal characteristics and instincts. For instance:

Now, you might have seen that clip before, but in this case, the characters need a modern setting, perhaps moreso than even something like MLP's native universe could provide. Some might say there's room for it and one should work with the limitation, but for others maybe that's a lot more effort than needed to tell what might otherwise be a simple story. But the above scene wouldn't have worked with humans. The bunny girl is hyper and frantic, the fox guy is a smartass, and the sloth is... well, you get the idea. The point is, they need to be human-like, but they still need to retain their animal traits or else the joke doesn't work.

I tend to dislike a lot of anthro stories or, at best, I'm ambivalent about them because they don't take advantage of situations where they need to be part human, but part bestial. Maybe your story drives that home a bit more than we're getting here, GG. (shrug)

Anyway, I didn't want to belabor a point or add fuel to the fire, but I thought it was an interesting topic of conversation. Thank you both for your comments and opinions! :twilightsmile:

3808105 It falls right into that little niche, actually. I wouldn't say we were having it out, just sharing in a debate.

3808105 I think that's a neato point, but I still don't see the point within the context of MLP.

Thing is, the ponies from MLP are technically anthro already. They're animalistic representations of people. Since they're all basically the same (as in, ponies equate to people) I still don't really see what's gained in that respect.

One aspect I really liked was the one in Kung Fu Panda, where each of the Furious Five represented martial arts styles that were actually practised, like monkey style and snake style. But that doesn't really apply much to MLP, since they're all ponies or some other fictional species. : / Otherwise, I'd be all for it.

3808031 Sure thing. I'd love to hear your take on it, if Hat Man doesn't mind.

3808105
3808221

HapHazred has expressed an interest in me explaining why I chose to make my story anthro. Would it be alright with you if it's discussed here, or would you prefer us to do this over PM?

-Ru

3808255 Sorry for the delayed response, but be my guest. I'm all for a discussion about it, long as everyone's respectful.

3808221 Whew! Sorry for taking so long to get back to you, HapHazred. I won't bore you with details or excuses as to why it's taken so long to reply, so on with the explanation!

Originally I was going to have the story be more along the lines of an adventure plot, where Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle would bond over their triumphs, as well as opening up to one another emotionally. I wanted them to be anthro for a number of scenes I had in mind involving martial arts techniques. I felt that readers might have been able to visualize the action more easily if the characters were more human in their physiology

Sadly, I fell behind in bringing the original idea to life, re-re-read the contest rules for submissions, and realized I had to scrap the story. I kept the original introduction, however. The story presented was the effort of a procrastinator who submitted a more simplistic story that was written during an approximately 16-hour cram session. Heck, if I hadn't let the mod/admin of the group know it was being reviewed for submission on the last day of the contest, I doubt it would've been accepted.

Sorry, getting off-topic and that's probably more information than you wanted/needed.

I do agree with you, to an extent. The characters of the show are, by definition, anthropomorphic. I could have just as easily set the story in the canon MLP or the Equestria Girls universe. But I didn't. I could go into detail about the pros and cons between these two possibilities in addition to the anthro choice, but I feel a simpler answer may be the better choice.

I just wanted to do it in anthro style. That's it. I started this story one way, and finished it another, but anthro was what I wanted to portray them as. It's not everyone's cup of tea, and that's okay with me. There are going to be people who like my stories and people who don't, regardless of what I do or how well I write, and I've come to accept that. I'm just here to share my stories, and to improve on my ability to make them, and make them well.

"Sweat, Tears, and a Video" is my story.

If there's anything I've mentioned that needs clarification, please let me know, and I shall try to do so to the best of my abilities.

Take care, HapHazred! :twilightsmile:

-Ru

3812190 I think that's pretty much the explanation that I (and maybe Hap) assumed. And hey, if you like that aesthetic, I've got no problem with it. It still doesn't quite answer my point that it doesn't really add anything to the story, mind you, but at least it doesn't really detract from it.

I'm a believer in the idea that one should choose elements that complement or help the story. Unnecessary elements can be problematic. The real problem with anthro, sad to say, is that it just has, you know, that reputation. You know what I mean. Now, I'm not judging (how could I when a lot of MLP fans have the same reputation) or pointing fingers, but a lot of people are a little creeped out by that aesthetic, and it's just a fact of life. This is why I tend to say that anthro has its place, but only when it adds to characters' personality traits as a necessary part of the story.

Anyway, thanks for the response!

3812799 Not a problem. I'm just sorry it caused some friction, and I'll try to exercise better judgment concerning story elements in the future.

-Ru

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