• Member Since 25th Feb, 2013
  • offline last seen Last Thursday

Titanium Dragon

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

More Blog Posts593


Read It Later Reviews #45 – Kaleidoscope, Idols, Inadequecy, Spike’s Slightly Dangerous New Hobby, Weatherpony · 12:49am Apr 11th, 2016

Scribblefest judging is winding down, and I’m working on getting the last few stories judged. Expect some more review posts early next week on the rest of the stories, but I’ll be getting all the rest of them read and judged this evening.

Reminder to those who are participating - I'm but one judge of nine, so my opinions are not the final word on these stories.

Today’s stories:

Kaleidoscope by Winston
Idols by BlazzingInferno
Inadequecy by Regidar
Spike’s Slightly Dangerous New Hobby by FrontSevens
Weatherpony by HapHazred

by Winston

Drama, Slice of Life
6,084 words

Thanks to a newly found common interest, Rainbow Dash and Rarity seem to be getting along great—right up until they have a very sudden, and very hurtful, falling out.

But Rainbow Dash thinks that maybe there's more going on than it looks like on the surface. Could an old toy be the key to unlocking the solution to a serious problem?

Why I added it: Scribblefest!

Rainbow Dash helps to model a dress for Rarity, but while things seem to be going well between the two of them, there’s something wrong with Rarity; her latest dresses are just not up to snuff. There’s something bothering her, but she doesn’t seem to want to tell Rainbow Dash about it.

A story of two conflicts, this is a story not only about the conflict between Rainbow Dash and Rarity, but also a conflict between Rarity and herself, to which Rainbow Dash is a sympathetic observer. The characters are well-voiced, and the overall shape of the story is reasonable enough.

Where this story feels like it comes up a bit short, though, is in the emotional exploration of its subject matter. It ends up coming off as a bit trite; in particular, Rainbow Dash shopping around for an apology feels… strange and not like something which would happen between friends. Moreover, it seems like an overly expensive gesture, and Rarity ends up coming off as a jerk when she gets it, to the point where it felt a bit strange. The overall resolution was cute and worked well with the introduction, but I couldn’t help but feel like the conflicts all ended up a bit compressed, and like the scene where Rainbow Dash went around buying stuff really didn’t add anything to the story.

Overall, this is the sort of thing that I suspect people who enjoy interactions between Rainbow Dash and Rarity might find okay, but it isn’t going to knock your socks off. I was left feeling kind of ambivalent about the piece; it wasn’t bad, but it didn’t feel like it quite came together emotionally for me.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

by BlazzingInferno

Slice of Life
3,080 words

Scootaloo and Spitfire have a little chat.

Why I added it: Scribblefest!

Rainbow Dash takes Scootaloo out to spend the day watching her practice at the Wonderbolts Academy, which is a lot less fun than it sounds.

While sitting around totally not being bored and being happy she’s there, really, Scootaloo encounters Spitfire during one of the Captain’s breaks. She’s overjoyed and overawed at first, but it quickly becomes clear while talking to her that Scootaloo has little conception of what a Wonderbolt really is – and why even being on top of the world might not be all it is cracked up to be.

This story starts out with Rainbow Dash and Scootaloo, but it is really about Scootaloo, with a side-focus on Spitfire, and each of their personal problems. Scootaloo isn’t anything yet, but knows she wants to be Spitfire and Rainbow Dash, but by the end of it, she isn’t so sure of that. Meanwhile, Spitfire is Captain of the Wonderbolts, but she seems awfully lonely and isolated for being as cool as she is.

I think this was an interesting story overall, and I think Scootaloo’s realization that just because Spitfire was on top of the world doesn’t make her happy was kind of interesting. It was sweet at times, and the story has a nice pair of bookends that tie it together well.

If it has a flaw, though, it is that it is a bit too straightforward. The characters’ conflicts are, if not resolved, at least largely so in very short order via a conversation in a way that feels kind of too straightforward. I think that Scootaloo’s internal conflict and realization that she doesn’t really understand Rainbow Dash and Spitfire as ponies – and perhaps that they aren’t nearly as perfect as they seem on a Wonderbolts poster – was interesting, but it felt underexplored by the end of it.

Still, if you are into Scootalove, this is probably up your alley.

Recommendation: Worth Reading if you like Scootaloo.

The Inadequecy
by Regidar

Drama, Slice of Life
6,039 words

Princess Cadance is nearly ready to deliver Princess Flurry Heart into the world, and Shining should be the happiest stallion in the world. After all, he's about to become a father—what stallion wouldn't rejoice at this fact?

And yet... something's eating away at him. Keeping him up nights. Driving him to speak with anypony that'll listen. An anxiety. A fear. A doubt.

An inadequacy.

Why I added it: Scribblefest!

Shining Armor is terrified of becoming a father. He is worried that he isn’t good enough even for Cadance, yet alone two alicorns, and is going to not be able to love his foal as much as he should because he’s jealous of her.

This was actually a pretty well-written story overall, but I have to say that I never actually connected with Shining Armor’s characterization here as someone who would be worried about being inferior to his wife/daughter magically. Thus, this was something of a hard sell, and the story didn’t really try to sell it at all – it just started off with the assumption that he would be this way, which, while it worked alright, I never quite bought into it.

The overall course of it was decent enough, with him going from his subordinate, to his sister, to his father, and finally to his wife about it, but ultimately it felt a little bit by-the-numbers in that regard – an awful lot of stories seem to involve this very same story structure, and the problem with it is that while it can work well, it can also make it seem like you’re making progress without making so much. I thought that his discussion with his father worked fairly well, but Twilight’s conversation with him felt pretty ephemeral in retrospect.

This was alright on the whole, and I think that if you like the idea of Shining Armor feeling inadequate, this is an okay execution of it. That said, I feel like I’ve seen better executions of similar ideas, like Cadence in A Minor, which did a better job of selling me on that central premise. Here, it felt like we were set forth with the idea that he was inferior, and it goes through trying to fix him, but I never felt like the root cause of his inferiority was properly sold to me to make me really believe it.

Recommendation: Not Recommended.

Spike’s Slightly Dangerous New Hobby
by FrontSevens

Comedy, Slice of Life
4,693 words

Spike’s having a great time with his new hobby, pyromancy.

Twilight has a few concerns. Mainly, that one mishap could cause all of Ponyville to burn down. So, of course, she takes a few precautionary measures.

Just a few.

Why I added it: Scribblefest!

This is a very silly story about Spike’s dangerous new hobby – namely, juggling fireballs.

After showing Twilight his ability to control fire, Twilight decides that he needs to do it safely. Under her supervision. With, you know, proper fire extinguishing equipment. And welding equipment. Away from anything flammable. Or any possibility of anything flammable being even remotely nearby.

But I’m sure it will all work out okay, right?

The first half of this story went gratuitously over the top with Twilight freaking out about safety, while the second half was… not really what I expected, but really, was what really sold me on the piece. The first half really served as a setup for the second half, where it escalated from “eh, that’s kind of funny” to actually getting a smile out of me.

If you’re looking for more grounded humor, this is probably not for you, but if you are in the mood for something which goes over the top for the sake of a joke, this is likely something you’ll enjoy.

Recommendation: Worth Reading.

by HapHazred

Adventure, Thriller
6,245 words

When the weather factory in Cloudsdale suffers a catastrophic failure, weatherponies and Wonderbolts alike are scrambling to salvage the situation. Among them is a weatherpony whose special talent, her very reason to be, is to control and harness the weather's power, and she might well be Cloudsdale's best and last hope.

Her name is Windy Weathertop, and she is the only Earth pony in the weatherpony corps.

Why I added it: Scribblefest!

This is an action story centered on Windy Weathertop, an earth pony who became a weathermare with nothing more than a pair of artificial wings, a grappling hook, a bow and arrow, and her wits. Her enemy is gravity, but she’s the best weatherpony in Equestria.

Or so everyone keeps telling us, anyway.

This story is an action piece, and as such, it is serviceable. Windy goes through the clouds, making her way through the story as she saves ponies and works to save Cloudsdale from an out-of-control weather factory. Assisting her is every weatherpony in Equestria, including Rainbow Dash.

This story’s action is good, but I have to admit that the story tried way too hard with ponies repeatedly saying that Windy Weathertop is the best pony ever. While it sometimes is funny, it also sometimes feels kind of gratuitous – one of those examples where we’re being told something we should be being shown, and frankly, it seems to sort of come down to “Only one pony could save us!” way too much as an actual line.

That said, if you can forgive the story trying way too hard to impress us with Windy, the action in this is serviceable enough, and Windy’s battle against her old foe gravity is fun to read.

Recommendation: Worth Reading if you’re an action fan, but it probably won’t interest you if you aren’t big on such.

Kaleidoscope by Winston
Not Recommended

Idols by BlazzingInferno
Worth Reading

Inadequecy by Regidar
Not Recommended

Spike’s Slightly Dangerous New Hobby by FrontSevens
Worth Reading

Weatherpony by HapHazred
Worth Reading

Huzzah! Content! You can all recall the search teams.

Number of stories still listed as Read It Sooner: 123

Number of stories still listed as Read It Later: 441

Number of stories listed as Read It Eventually: 1890

Comments ( 13 )

I had the same problem with Weatherpony. I did have a realization that a lot of that 'best weatherpony alive' stuff comes from the weather team she works with, and they are painted a bit hapless. I think it could have worked with a bit more focus on that in a longer story. That the non-pegasus weatherpony has a fairly inept pegasus team.

Yes, having the only competent weatherpony on your team be an earth pony - and her constantly having to do ridiculous things because her team is totally inept - would certainly be amusing.

That said, IIRC, I think at least some of it came from Spitfire.

Note to self: getting a smile out of TD requires burning Ponyville to the ground.

According to Trick Question, you can also manage it by doing horrible things to Fluttershy.

Idols by BlazzingInferno
Worth Reading

You can all recall the search teams.

I don't know, with that WR I'm not convinced you aren't a changeling replicant :trollestia:

In all seriousness, thank you for the review, and I'm glad you enjoyed Idols. I'd like to think of it as a different brand of scoots love, considering she wasn't getting yanked out of some horrible life situation by a deus ex Rainbow machina. She was just a kid with a kid's naive view of the world and some issues with her mom. And yeah it was short... I need to write more long stuff.

I haven't forgotten the genesis of that! Some day soon (but not soon enough) I'll give Fluttershy a tear-free romance that ends happily. I have most of it planned out, but it's stuck on one of many back burners. Sigh.

3862007 3862020
Why not both?

3861825 3861745 I think I can see where you're both coming from, but to be fair, I don't think I've ever seen a weatherpony in the show who wasn't Rainbow Dash actually come off as a competent weatherpony. :twilightsheepish:

I mean, you've got Rainbow Dash on one hand, who can fly fast enough to make little homemade tornadoes, and then you've got the B team:


(Most of those guys are seen in Ponyville's weather team, too, so they're not just rookies)

One of the things I wanted to do was show her learn to do what a normal pegasus can do better over time, using a creative array of strange devices, inventions, and ideas. However, as you might've noticed, Weatherpony sort of slightly manhandles the Scribblefest word limit as it is, so I opted to skip directly to the parts where she becomes a sort of weather-related Batman, which is what I always wanted from her.

The take away from this is that you need to write a longer story involving that character. Chop chop!

3862080 Now I'm getting ideas for a sequel... >.>

oh man
thanks for the review though

Nah, it wasn't bad (I didn't downvote it), I just wasn't overly enamored with it.

It was a lot better than other stuff I read by you that you wrote a long time ago; clearly you've gotten a lot better as a writer.

3864617 well, thank you
that's all I can really ask of myself

Login or register to comment