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Technical Writer from the U.S.A.'s Deep South. Writes horsewords, and reviews both independently and for Seattle's Angels. New reviews posted every Thursday! Writing Motto: "Go Big or Go Home!"

More Blog Posts460

  • Thursday
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXII

    Wow, last weekend was a busy one. Family gathering was relatively small this year, for obvious reasons. Although I must emphasize the “relative” part; usually when there’s a big holiday like the 4th, we end up with 20 people or more present. This weekend was “only” nine, including me, my parents, and my brother’s family of six. That’s right, six. That boy is a glutton for punishment, I swear to

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    7 comments · 263 views
  • 1 week
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXI

    My preliminary editing of the original fiction version of Guppy Love is all but finished! Soon I will have the entire story stored in GDocs and ready for prereading, which means it’s about time I started really looking for prereaders. I intend to ask the prereaders of the MLP version to come back to evaluate the changes, but I’d like to get a few others to offer a fresh perspective. I’m

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    16 comments · 309 views
  • 2 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCX

    Howdy, folks. I’m afraid I don’t have much to report this week. Well, other than the very real possibility of maintaining 2,000 words/day of writing this month. Feels like I haven’t pulled something like that off in ages. Pays that I’m finally cutting down on the video games again. It comes in phases.

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    4 comments · 324 views
  • 3 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCIX

    The past week has been one of highs and lows. The brief crash has led to me being two days behind on my reading schedule. The good news is that I’ve got a Vacation Week coming up in a couple weeks that I can use to easily make up the lost time. The bad news is that my current major reading project was scheduled to be finished the day before its review gets published, so I’ve no choice but to

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    7 comments · 364 views
  • 3 weeks
    Charity Stream!

    I usually save these kinds of things for my main review blog, but this one's time sensitive, so: my old friend Cerulean Voice is hosting a charity stream! Head here to get the details.

    0 comments · 81 views

Paul's Thursday Reviews XIV · 10:45pm May 19th, 2016

Aaand we're back for another round! For this week, I've not much of anything to say extra. Things are going well, so well in fact that I'm thinking about trying something very soon. More info on that on Sunday. For now?

Stories for This Week:

Therapist Visit by ABagOVicodin
Lines and Webs by Airstream
What is Left by OnionPie (Recommended by CoffeeMinion and Pascoite)
Feed Them by RainbowBob (Re-Read)
Destination Unknown by Pale Horse (Re-Read)
Total Word Count: 231,597

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 1
Pretty Good: 2
Worth It: 2
Needs Work: 0
None: 0

Little known fact: I’ve always wanted to have a sit-down with a psychiatrist, just to see what they might say about me. Granted, a single visit wouldn’t be enough (probably), but it’s always been a curiosity for me. Now, Princess Luna? I imagine she’d be a therapist’s playground. I also find it hard to believe she would desire one.

Yet, in Therapist Visit, this is precisely what she finds herself doing in a desperate attempt to solve her problems. Taking place immediately after the events of The Crystal Empire, Luna feels alone and utterly replaceable, with the strong suspicion that Twilight Sparkle is being intentionally groomed for that purpose. She thus hires a therapist, although her exact intentions regarding this move are unclear initially even to her.

This story is an unusual one in terms of presentation. The entirety of it is viewed from the perspective of our nameless therapist. At no point whatsoever do we get a single piece of narrative, nor do we get to hear what the therapist is saying, even when he’s speaking. Instead, we only get to read what Luna is saying. No, really, that’s it; not a word of narrative to be found. This was a risky move on the part of the author. Some would argue that it paid off in the creativity department.

I respectfully disagree. The style of the story comes with a lot of caveats that severely hurt my immersion and appreciation of the tale itself. For starters, the complete absence of narrative forces the author to come up with new ways to convey emotion and key information. ABagOVicodin’s solution is to force Luna to use unnatural lines that would never be used in a real conversation. The biggest example of this is how Luna never actually speaks our mystery therapist’s name, instead simply referring to him endlessly as “Therapist.” Now, this would be okay if we knew that “Therapist” was the guy’s name, but we don’t (and, as we find out in the last chapter, it isn’t), and so we have this extreme awkwardness. You can’t convince me that it is common practice to go around calling therapists by their job title, especially when their real name is known.

Superior word choice would have helped this story a lot, but not as much as literary manipulation. All the paragraphs are plain, and at times a little long. Extremely emotional moments fail to come across as such because there’s no way to determine how Luna is meant to sound while she’s talking. Is she angry? Is she amused? Is she happy, annoyed or sad? There’s no way to know… at least, not until the author plugs in some key phrase to make things clear, such as an apology for crying. Of course, by that time it’s too late.

My suggestion to the author would be to make use of alternate punctuation methods. They can be tricky to utilize without coming off as annoying or redundant, but you’d be amazed how something as simple as an ellipsis can affect the way a sentence sounds. I am a firm believer that using punctuation creatively – if not always in grammatically correct ways – can act as guideposts for a reader’s emotional reception, and I feel that just such a method would have been the best route for this story. As it is, it was very hard to be immersed, especially when an emotional keyphrase is dropped in long after the rant is done and I’m thrown for a loop because I was interpreting the scene completely differently.

Don’t get me wrong, the story itself is decent. Maybe not strong, but it held my interest from beginning to end. There were times when I questioned what the author was doing – and I still have some things I’m not thrilled with – but it was not a bad story by any means. If the delivery had been stronger, I would have rated this at a ‘Pretty Good’ level.

Despite the fact I feel unsatisfied, I have every intention of reading the sequel. After all, this is one of ABagOVicodin’s early stories, and I’d love to see how/if things improved with time.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Lines and Webs

161,563 Words
By Airstream

Tyrantlestia. Anyone can conceive of a story for the theme. Some do a decent job of it. Most do a downright crummy job. Regardless, there are plenty of readers out there who hate the concept. For my part, I’ve always seen great potential in it, but it’s just so common a theme that I never expect much from it in any given story.

Enter Lines and Webs. I had, in the beginning, little interest in this story; just another Tyrantlestia tale to line the already vast bookshelves. But then it became something of a hit, and I realized after talking to a few people that I wouldn’t be satisfied until I cast my own brand of judgement upon it.

For those of you unawares, Lines and Webs operates under the premise that Celestia was created to promote Harmony, while Discord was crafted to promote Chaos. The world was meant to remain in balance, and so Luna was created to maintain that balance, swaying her allegiances and goals appropriately. Then, things went wrong: Luna fell to the Nightmare and Equestria was without her guidance for a thousand years. With Discord already out of the way, there was nothing to stop Celestia from abusing the Elements of Harmony into mentally manipulating all of Equestria into a ‘perfect world’ of harmony, peace and blind obedience, with Twilight Sparkle being the ultimate culmination of those plans.

Until Luna finds a way to pull the curtain from Twilight’s eyes. Things get nasty from there.

As with so many stories, I have mixed feelings regarding this one. On the one hand, the concept is as solid as can be, provided you’re not opposed to Tyrantlestia on principle, and it is worked magnificently… eventually. The bad part, at least to me, comes in the delivery, which I feel is much, much bigger than it needs to be.

Half the story is devoted to building the situation. We know Celestia’s controlling everything, we know Luna has plans regarding Twilight, but Twilight remains completely clueless. The end result is us watching Twilight bumble around the metaphorical chess board for 26 of the 44 chapters as she goes on Everfree adventures, mentally manipulated into falling in love with the stallion hoof-picked by Celestia, and generally recognizes that something is inexplicably wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of important information brought up during the first half of the story. Still, I can’t help but question if it was really necessary to make this section of the story so phenomenally long, especially considering how fast the latter half of the story moves. How many of the scenes given to us could have been skipped without much – if any – impact on the overall story?

Now let’s talk technical. Honestly, there’s not much to complain about here. Oh, sure, there are typos and the occasional odd turn of phrase, but they’re no more common here than I’ve come to expect in quality fanfiction. What really bugged me was Airstream’s constant insistence of using pointless page breaks. I couldn’t tell you how many times the author gets to the end of a scene, adds a page break, and then resumes the story from exactly where the scene broke off. This was thoroughly confusing at first, intensely annoying from that point on, and unpleasantly consistent from beginning to end.

Follow this with monologuing. Airstream’s dialogue works well in many cases, but every now and then a character will begin speaking. And speaking. And speaking. And speaking. No narrative interruption, no emotional pressure, just a constant droning explanation that we are meant to believe went completely uninterrupted despite the gravity of what is being said. This is not how real-world communication works, and it is frustrating to see. More important from a stylistic standpoint, it forces the reader to push through the emotions on their own, to react and respond to what is being said without any guidance or narrative support. There are no emotional guideposts, and as such the emotion is killed for all save the most emotional readers.

To say nothing for the overlong paragraphs. Seriously, Airstream could do to learn when to break things apart.

These criticisms aside, the truth of the matter is that this story is a strong one. The characters are interesting, the reactions are real, the plot well-woven. Even the reasoning behind Celestia’s turn to evil is fully realized, and made all the better by her total capitulation to her own corruption – i.e., she doesn’t seem to recognize that what she is doing is evil. That in particular was a nice touch and cemented her place as an exemplary Tyrantlestia compared to those I have read in the past. Despite the excruciatingly slow pace of the first half of the story, I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end. The horror of the mind control (a longtime hot topic for me), the recognition of consequences, the steady collapse of all that we know and believe about Celestia and Equestria, and the awareness that all our friends have become enemies…. It’s a big package.

I can’t place it among my favorites, but I will definitely be reading the sequel.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

What is Left

25,656 Words
By OnionPie
Recommended by CoffeeMinion and Pascoite

Well, this was a hefty punch in the feels.

What is Left stars Sweetie Belle and is an unforgiving assault of drug abuse, murderous intent, suicidal thoughts, catastrophic debt and a desperate need to rebuild a sisterly bond. It begins with drug-addicted Sweetie arriving back in Ponyville years after having abandoned the sister she’s come to hate, now so deep in debt that she has to cough up the money soon or the ominous stallion following her around will exact a more fatal method of payment. And so Sweetie does the one and only thing left to her: convince the sister she left to give her the money she owes. But Rarity’s life is far from the perfection Sweetie envisioned.

Reading this story is like watching a trainwreck; you’re horrified by the reality of what you’re seeing, but you can’t turn away. Sweetie’s desperation to survive combined with her steadily resurfacing feelings for her sister makes for an interesting dynamic that keeps the story going. When we need a break from all that drama, Sweetie’s constant fight to lose her shockingly capable stalker keeps the tempo up. The pacing and overall arrangement of the story’s plot is noteworthy, no one chapter feeling slow or unimportant.

Then we have the characters, who are well voiced and properly developed, especially considering the context of the events (well, except for the villain). It’s almost painful to see these two beloved characters and how far they’ve fallen over the years. OnionPie gives their tragedy a voice that resonates, eliciting strong emotions that only grow as the tale progresses.

The writing style is nothing to scowl at, either. There are times when OnionPie does a great job giving us distinct, delightful views of the things Sweetie is seeing without going overboard with flowery prose or overlong descriptions. This isn’t so much about the descriptions as it is a talent for setting the mood of a scene. Seeing as a great many writers find this incredibly difficult, I am pleased.

Yet I can’t praise everything. There are one or two moments that felt unpleasantly forced for the sake of keeping the story going in a specific direction. The best example is how the entire story plays around what Sweetie believes to be a party, and Rarity keeps correcting her that it is a ‘gathering.’ Not once does Sweetie bother to ask about the distinction, and never does Rarity bother to elaborate. It would be fine if it had happened once, but no, the topic is danced around continuously for most of the story, with predictable results. It might be a classic storytelling move, but that doesn’t make it a good one.

Despite a stumble or two of that variety, this story is stellar. Well, assuming you’re okay with seeing the lives of two icons of the MLP universe falling apart. Make no mistake, this story is a tragedy, so if you’re looking for your happy ending, this might not be for you.

Yet it is most certainly a good tragedy, and one that I am very happy to have read… in a manner of speaking. OnionPie has my attention.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?

Feed Them

4,537 Words
By RainbowBob

Ah, zombie fics. They are one of the most interesting types of horror, which can be utilized for a great variety of uses. Considered by many to be a reflection of a number of our primal fears, few genres of horror are as prolific, save for the ever-dominating slasher fic. As it turns out, RainbowBob is a major zombie fan, so it was inevitable that he would attempt to put forth a MLP variant.

In Feed Them, the zombie apocalypse has hit Equestria and thoroughly wiped it out. The events leading up to the fall are never explained – which is typical of zombie stories. We find ourselves watching as Spike, the lone survivor of Ponyville, struggles to cope with his new world of death and misery in the only way he knows how: taking care of Twilight.

This story has a lot going for it. The narrative puts the atmosphere into place a little too quickly, but still manages to keep it going. The sense of desolation is made apparent very early, as well as the constant sensation of wrongness. But where the story really shines is in Spike’s monologue, which runs through the course of the story and is, for all intents and purposes, the main element.

It is this monologue that draws out the meat of the story, and displays RainbowBob’s ability to relay information without exposition. We gradually come to understand more about the world he’s in, even if that information is vague. Indeed, the vagueness of the story is all part of the plan, leaving us with enough snippets to grasp the hopelessness of the situation, but leaving things open enough for us to question the details. This is, to me, a key element in horrors: letting the readers’ imaginations fill in the blanks can be so much more terrifying than just telling it to them straight.

In the end, this story is more of a psychological horror, with a specific focus on the mind’s need to rationalize through irrationality. I enjoyed it as much this time as I did last time. However, I should emphasize that it is a zombie fic, so if that’s not your cup of tea, you may not get much out of it. There’s also the obvious misery that is the overall feel of the story, so look elsewhere if your interest is in ‘happy’ tales.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

I should also point out to those interested that this is the story that inspired my own 'Them' tales, all of which are canon to Bob's universe and written with his blessing. In addition, my Becoming Them was conceived by bob and given to me to finish when life removed him from the MLP equation.

Destination Unknown

4,114 Words
By Pale Horse

Ah, yes, this one. I remember this one. I think it’s the very first OctaScratch story I ever read, and I recall liking it quite a bit. As I re-read it, I found myself questioning my old and current interests.

Destination Unknown is told from Vinyl’s perspective, and is about her life and future. As it turns out, Vinyl is a changeling, but unlike the changelings we know, she has completely integrated herself into Equestrian society. So deeply has she rooted herself that her ‘Beloved,’ Octavia, is well aware of the truth of her existence and accepts it wholeheartedly. But Happily Ever After doesn’t come easy for a rogue changeling.

The good thing about this story is that it finds ways to delve into changeling culture – or perhaps, a lack of culture – without providing a lot of details. It puts forward the vast differences between changelings and ponies, while also demonstrating that the two are not mutually exclusive of one another’s existence. Pale Horse’s interpretation of changelings is interesting. Perhaps straightforward?

And there is, of course, the melancholy that saturates the story. From beginning to end, that’s pretty much what defines it. It’s not sad, per se, just slow and restrained. What makes this so strange is that Vinyl is the narrator, and who here thinks of her as being slow and restrained? At the same time, one could argue that this works in the story’s favor, actively demonstrating through narrative voice the character’s mood. Besides, the idea of Vinyl being something of a wild animal is really a fandom construct, so who is to say that the narrative isn’t a more accurate depiction?

But with that plodding style comes another major concern: exposition. That’s what this story is, one long, endless stream of exposition. To me, that’s not bad, but I know that some people would consider this a major turn off, so it warrants mention.

In the end, this story doesn’t feel as strong to me as it did the first time I read it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good story, but its singular tone – generated by the style of writing – doesn’t lend it any favors. I recommend it for OctaScratch fans and those interested in changeling culture, or for some general light reading.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Liked these reviews? Check out some others:

Paul's Thursday Reviews XXIV
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXV
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXVI
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXVII
Paul's Thursday Reviews Have Returned!
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXIX
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXX
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXXI
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXXII
Paul's Thursday Reviews XXVIII

Want me to review your story? Send me a request! Check my profile page for rules.

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Comments ( 15 )
Author Interviewer

Ahh, you're the one who writes all the Them stories. :) You should read that one I reviewed recently, Undead and Unconcerned.

ORLY? Very well, I shall add it to my RiL. Too bad it'll take me over a year to get to it. -.-

...then again, I suppose I could add it to my Recommended list.

Thank you so much for reviewing my story. I'm relieved it worked out relatively well for you, and I appreciate the constructive feedback. You're great at what you do. Keep up the good work!

If you ever find the time, and wish to see an example of mind control handled horrifyingly well, go watch Jessica Jones on Netflix.

I rather liked "What is Left." And I rather didn't like it. The writing was great, and it skillfully creates moods and atmosphere. My biggest issue with it is that it's too common in stories for suicide to come out of nowhere, and it kind of did in this one, too. Rarity's melancholy because she's melancholy, and it's never built up that much about why she does. That's the difference between it being something that simply happens in the story and something I feel bad about because I could see it coming and I was right there with Rarity watching her sink. And since that's the biggest emotional punch the story has, it deflates a lot of it for me. The rest was good, though. Since you;re following along with Sweetie Belle and get to see all her bad choices and motivations, that part carries a lot more impact.

Eh-heh, I'm not sure if I want to see mind control handled 'horribly well,' but we'll see.

I'll admit, there definitely could have been more direct information regarding just why Rarity is suicidal in the story. However, I don't begrudge the author for not revealing the details there. I felt as though there was enough subtext given that the reason has been laid out, if not as clearly as I would have liked. My opinion may be colored by the fact that I haven't read very many stories that involved suicide, though.

This is the most common type of complaint about my stories, though it's a new one for this specific case in this story. I personally prefer to set the stage to tell a great (or not-so-great) story, and mostly use subtext to explain how the stage itself was built, giving the reader room to fill in with their own imagination, which often makes the experience more personal and therefore powerful. Rarity being depressed and suicidal is simply part of Sweetie's Journey, a brick in the bridge she has to cross, and it's not part of the scope of the story to show exactly how things got to how they are - the story is about Sweetie Belle having to deal with what she has.

This writing philosophy can backfire in some cases, however, as in yours, where not enough "backstage" information is given for readers who enjoy details like that. I may be wrong in my strategy. I'm still growing as a writer, and I appreciate your feedback.

3957820 Yeah, I can see how cutting to Rarity's history might not work well with the story being about Sweetie Belle's experience. Plus if Rarity's not of a mind to speak about it, she's not going to guide Sweetie Belle through an expository reminiscence about it, either. It's still possible to touch on things through Sweetie Belle's experience, though. I guess the one thing I might have been looking for was Sweetie's reaction to finding out Rarity was suicidal. Yes, she does freak out when Rarity tries to drown herself, but there's another level to it. Part of it might be how much it actually caught Sweetie Belle by surprise. Had she started to pick up on Rarity's depression before then, or did she have no clue?

So yeah, Sweetie freaks out. When someone discovers something like that though, there are a few sentiments that people typically have about it. 1) I can't believe Rarity of all ponies would do this. It's not like her. Something must have gone horribly wrong. 2) I was afraid this might happen, She has a long history of behavior like this. 3) It wasn't even a serious attempt at suicide. She knew I was here, and she knew I'd rescue her. She used to pull this every couple years when we were young. She's such a drama queen.

We didn't really get that from Sweetie, though. She has the reflex reaction, but not the thoughtful one that follows it. Or maybe it's in there, and I'm just not remembering it well enough. I read it months ago.

Little things like that can go quite a distance in establishing the plausibility of a suicidal character by implying that history where it wouldn't fit the story to actually show all that history. Getting blindsided by it is trickier, because then I just have to take the narrator's word for it, which makes it less real.

Bah, I spent too long drafting a reply that touched on these aspects of the story, and y'all went and made it largely redundant. :ajsleepy: But I'll post it anyway, in the hopes that it might add some ephemeral value:

I agree there was a lot of subtext underpinning Rarity's motivations at the end of What Is Left. As I understand it, the core of her motivation aligns with the story's recurring theme of dreaming; while Sweetie is willing to embrace dreams and ultimately chooses to join her life with them in a very tangible way, Rarity is tired of living a life of illusory success; she feels she's failed as an entrepreneur and a sister, and she can't bear it any longer. However, part of the problem is that a lot of what drove Rarity to get to this point has already occurred off-camera before the story begins; she's already made her choice, and she's pretty firmly not open to change, which makes it very difficult for her to have a satisfying arc. That is, unless we posit that a different outcome to the gathering might have left her willing to reconsider, in which case a big part of the tragedy becomes that Sweetie's eagerness to help ultimately creates the situation that shatters any possibility of getting through to Rarity. But then we as readers have to accept on faith that things are as bad for Rarity as she makes them out to be, which is hard, because Rarity in the show doesn't seem as likely to let either her personal or financial situation deteriorate so badly without seeking and accepting help.

So to this day, honestly, I don't agree with her decision, regardless of the fact that I understand it in the context of the world that's presented here. But the thing is, all the story's moodiness and symbolism add up to something so compelling and beautiful that I can't help but embrace both the story and its quirks. It's tragic in a way that I find uniquely haunting. The final moments moved me to tears when I first read them.

I'll grant that I'm substituting a highly subjective experience in the place of continuing to poke at what feels like an inconsistency. I can offer little in my own defense, save to point at the overall strength of the work. :pinkiecrazy:

I didn't know XIV followed after XXVIII :derpytongue2:

Other than your atrocious counting this is another great set of reviews!:twilightsmile:

I disagree.

Those responses might be typical, but that doesn't make them obligatory or even natural. Those are the responses we throw into a story because that's what people want and expect to hear, and they want and expect to hear them specifically because they're always thrown into the stories. We get the same thing with homicide, homosexuality, exile, etc. And yet, just because that's what we're told everyone thinks, that doesn't mean it is what everyone thinks.

Sweetie Belle is portrayed as a largely selfish individual in the story, and she was focused on her own issues. Sure, finding Rarity trying to commit suicide was a shock, as is appropriate, but none of the reactions you suggest fit. It's been made abundantly clear that Sweetie doesn't know her sister like she used to, so how could she have formed any of those ideas? The one and only thing I would have liked to have seen different was for Sweetie to actually go through the trouble of asking "why?", which doesn't necessitate any of those reactions. At worst, this indicates that Sweetie had so much on her mind that she couldn't formulate a proper response to what was happening.

Bah, my counting is infallible! It's my typing that needs work.

But y'know what? I'm keeping it as is. It amuses me, and will continue to amuse me whenever people point it out in the future.

3958208 There's still something fundamental missing in the reaction. I guess I don't understand the difference you're making between "typical" and "natural." For me, natural equals typical, or it equals atypical plus a good explanation.

Say John gets burned by a match. Typically, he's going to jerk his hand back. If he doesn't than I don't understand why, unless a motivation is given Maybe he wants to show he's tough, or maybe he did something dumb and hopes to play it off without anyone noticing. If the story says that, fine, or if it's built up his character as the type to do one of those, just as fine. It's either typical or it's atypical with an explanation.

Now take Sweetie Belle. Maybe she doesn't know Rarity that well anymore (never mind that she at least thinks she does in some regards, since she accurately predicts how Rarity will treat her request for money, which isn't the first one she's made, and she speaks of these as periodic interactions). But it doesn't matter. They grew up together, and she saw Rarity into adulthood, by which point her personality is pretty much fixed. She has lots and lots of context as to how Rarity behaves. Even if she doesn't know Rarity as well now, she'd still latch onto whatever context she did have. That's what people do. They try to make sense of things based on the information they have.

So she goes into the bathroom and catches Rarity in a suicide attempt. There's the immediate "oh shit" reaction, and sure, she could be so shocked that she's not going to do some soul-searching and scour Rarity's past for signs of trouble right there in the bathroom. But eventually she will.

Hence those three options I came up with. To me, they're the most sensible ones, but if you don't think so, that's fine. The point is that there'd be something. She has all this context from their earlier lives together, if not more. Sweetie Belle's learned that this wasn't Rarity's first suicide attempt, which would even more prompt her to look back and see if she could figure this thing out and try reconcile it with what she knows about Rarity. And she doesn't have to do it right away. It's been long enough since I read it that I don't remember how much time elapses between the suicide attempt that actually occurs in the story and Rarity's death, but it's more than a day. Sweetie Belle's still going to be so shocked that she can't give it some thought over an entire day, especially when she was seen otherwise dealing with things in a normal way in between? And that context I keep referring to is a huge step in characterizing Rarity as someone who would take the mere reason to be suicidal and turn it into a motivation.

Seeing that suicide attempt is either going to surprise her or it isn't. And I don't mean the actual event. That'd surprise her no matter what. You see a huge flash of lightning and you know the thunder's coming, but that big boom can still make you jump when it actually happens. I'm getting more at being surprised the person was capable or likely. So whether or not Sweetie Belle will be surprised is tied to all that context she has. A perfect stranger? You won't move on to trying to justify it, because you have no context, so there's no way to say whether you should have seen it coming or not. But this is her sister, whom she's lived near, if not with, for many years.

For someone who isn't shown walking around in a daze, who's been given evidence that this is a chronic problem by now, who at least at one time knew Rarity very well, and who's had a day or more to deal with it, you really think Sweetie Belle wouldn't have moved past the reflex "oh shit" phase? That she's still so shocked that it's not "natural" she'd start trying to reconcile Rarity's suicidal feelings with what she knew about her? I don't buy it. That's something people do within minutes, if not right away, moving from the "how could this have happened?" in general to the "how could this have happened with this person?"

Actually, Sweetie was only with Rarity for a few hours. I think she had something along the lines of five or six hours left to live when she discovered Rarity for the first time.

But regardless, I can see there was a miscommunication. When you spoke of reactions, I assumed you meant immediate, and didn't realize you were extending it to the entire fic. In that case, yes, I can see why it would bother you. It bothered me, too; as you'll recall I was wondering at what point she was going to ask her sister "why?" I still don't think it needed to be in the same fashion you were suggesting – indeed, I don't think those specific reactions would have fit with the story or Sweetie's character – but the question certainly should have come up, either in the open or at least in her mind.

3958210 What's life without amusement? :pinkiecrazy:

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