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Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.

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Looking for brave writers · 12:31pm Apr 21st, 2016

Did that get your attention? I'd like to think we're all brave writers, of course, but it takes a little extra courage to take something you've created, your baby, and set it in front of everyone for them to judge. Not just to turn it loose into the world – we all do that when we publish stories – but to ask, to demand that your friends read it and find its flaws. To critique it in front of the whole world.

And that hurts. It hurts no matter how good of a writer you are. When someone criticizes your story, they are, at some level, criticizing your abilities as a writer. That's tough for some people, myself included, to deal with. My normal reaction when reading a harsh review of my stories is to instantly say, "This person has no idea what they're talking about."

But that's not true, of course. If someone has a problem with your stories, a lot of times they're correct. We have trouble seeing the flaws in our own writing because we're too close – at some level, we don't want to see the flaws. It takes other people to find them for us.

I bring this up because The Writeoff is preparing for its next MLP Short Story contest. If you don't know the drill, it's pretty simple: go to this website, create an account, and on Friday at 1200 GMT, start writing a story based on the prompt! You'll have 72 hours and 8,000 words, both of which sound like a lot until you actually start writing, and very quickly you'll realize it's not enough time, and not nearly enough space. It's hard.

But here's a fundamental truth: doing hard things is how you get better. If you want to be a better writer, if you're brave enough to face up to your own mistakes and weaknesses, The Writeoff is the place to go.

So, what else is new? This week was busy with earthquake relief operations in Japan. I'm on the planning staff, so I'm staying in Tokyo making sure all the pieces of this operation fit together smoothly while other people get to go out and actually deliver supplies and the like. I won't complain, though – it's nice to be involved in an actual operation that's doing some good, instead of just practicing for another war we hope won't actually take place.

If you haven't checked out The Adventuring Type yet, then you totally should! And not just because I want to shamelessly shill for a story, but because I think it's pretty fun to read. Also it has new artwork:

The Orithyia at Sunset

It's been a while since I've done any artwork, so it was fun to pick the tablet up again. I'm not a landscape artist, which obviously shows, but I'm still happy with how it turned out.

Report Cold in Gardez · 870 views · Story: The Adventuring Type ·
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Comments ( 23 )

I reman frustrated and impressed by your multi-talentedness! I need to get involved in a writeoff other than the 800-word mini fic ones one of these weeks...

You should totally enter this weekend! It's a great way to force productivity.

Also, somewhat related, I can't tell you how happy I am that Beyond the Curtain is beating all the Spike/Ember stories in the feature box.

My biggest problem is that it always happens to be on the weekend. Not only am I busy on weekends, but I get a limited amount of sleep. If it were to be the same amount of time purely during the week, or if it spanned a full week instead of the time currently given, I would have a much easier time. As it is though, I would essentially need to write the whole thing on a Friday if I were to try to enter one.

Agh. Fine. I was planning to sit this one out again, because busy, but it seems I'm easily guilted into reconsidering. (And it helps that I kind of adore writing and desperately want to do more than I've been doing.)

Also yes, 3886090, you should totally get in on this. I need more good writers to lose to.

That's tough for some people, myself included, to deal with. My normal reaction when reading a harsh review of my stories is to instantly say, "This person has no idea what they're talking about."

To be fair, I find I'm far more critical of people who like my stories, but like them wrong.

Good luck being a big damned hero, again.

Aw hell, why not? It's terrifying but so was moving. Okay, bad example, moving was a wash all around. But I've been forcing myself into doing new and uncomfortable things for years. Surely I can submit myself to the ultra-terrorviolence of writing. 72 hours for 8K? It'll be like Night again.

As for Japan: blessed are the feet of those who bring good news and all that. Good luck and Godspeed.

>MFW this post

As I've said elsewhere, it pleases me too, though I'm not sure how much is my achievement and how much is slow-rumbling nascent anti-Ember backlash. :pinkiesmile:

Are you brave enough to face dragons?

This is very frustrating--I'm gone this weekend, for only the second time this year. Since I'm not interested in the non-pony writeoffs, I'm going to get to go three months without participating. That sucks.


I'm out this time around. I'll still be writing two or three thousand words this weekend, but they'll be dedicated to finishing the ding-dang 4th chapter of Wànlǐ Chángchéng / A Great Wall, a chapter that's already twice as long as I'd thought it was gonna be. :twilightoops:


Despite the cheap hook, I'm glad I clicked. That artwork is dazzling. Definitely reading!

Honestly, I've tried write offs and I didn't really find they made me a better writer. Working under a time constraint like that imposes a bunch of compromise, in my opinion, means you don't get a chance to reflect on your writing enough while you're writing it. More than anything, I think the type of story you write is important to your growth as an author, and both the prompt and the lack of time to come up with an idea means you probably won't be writing a story that stretches your bounds.

I only find that they're good for lighting a fire under your ass to make you write, if you're the type of author who could use that.

1) It looks great.

The Orithyia at Sunset

Isn't that from Lost Cities? :rainbowhuh:

Oh man, for a sec I thought you were looking for editors brave enough to tell you what sucks about The Adventuring Type, and I was all like "How? There is no such thing."

I'm not brave when I'm in the WriteOffs. I'm more of a "too naive to notice the danger" type. :pinkiehappy:

I don't enter writing contests because they just make me feel horrible. Like I'm dying inside.

Really though, they should do some of them during the week instead of over a weekend for the writing part.

You know what. Sure, I'll give it a shot. Be the second one I attempted and hopefully I will finish something this time.

Well, heck!

I finished the chapter this morning, went to look at the prompt, and got hit by an idea square in the chest. So I guess I'll be trying for an entry this time after all!

Mike Again


You're already doing better than I am, then.


It wasn't:

One of the prompts that I voted for, and the idea that hit me first has mutated into something rather different over the course of the last nine hours, but at least it's looking like the title I started with might still fit. Ah, such is adventure!

Mike Again

I'm a brave writer!

... For once...

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