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The Hat Man


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

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Mar
15th
2017

The Hat Man Reviews: Scribblefest 2017! Starlight & Diamond Tiara stories · 1:41am Mar 15th, 2017

Today I'll be reviewing two Scribblefest entries with very similar premises: Starlight Glimmer mentoring Diamond Tiara!


Image by ShadamyFan4everS/neezuneko

So, how similar or different can two such stories be? Let's examine them both, shall we?


First off, let me remind you that the theme of this contest is "Growing up wild and free," and there are six different categories represented by each of the Mane 6. I'll be evaluating these stories more generally with some attention given to how they address the prompt and what award they might get.

Both of these stories deal with essentially the same concept, as I said. Starlight Glimmer, former villain, mentors Diamond Tiara, another former villain. It makes sense, right? Well, these two stories also have the similarity of DT originally seeking Twilight's advice, but getting stuck with Starlight instead. And, as one might predict, both deal with the characters worrying about their past mistakes.

From there, however, the tales are quite different. Let's examine them both...


"The Next Best Thing" by Posh

Diamond Tiara is found to have snuck into Twilight's castle while Twilight herself is on a visit to Saddle Arabia. Spike and Starlight find her there, essentially demanding that now that summer vacation is over and now that Miss Cheerilee is leaving (not sure why), Diamond Tiara wants Twilight to be her new teacher. Starlight and DT have a discussion about why that is.

I'll give this story some credit for having some fairly snappy dialogue, which is good because it's very dialogue heavy. I also think it does a pretty good job on Diamond Tiara's characterization: she's a little snotty and has a bit of her old edge while still showing that she is, indeed, reformed. Starlight and Spike have some good banter too, although Spike gets shoved off to the side pretty quick, and I'm not sure I like how Starlight orders him around in this story. (After all, ordering around Spike is Twilight's job!)

However, I feel like the dramatic moments in this are a little forced and, when you get right down to it, it's just a conversation without much action except at the very start. It's also a sequel, which leads to one distinct moment where I went "Wait, who is she talking about?" This did not need to be a sequel, or, at the very least, it could have done without that one line.

Addresses Prompt?: I don't really see how this addresses the "wild and free" part, though it is a tale of growing up. I guess that counts?
Likely Award Category: Fluttershy - the comedic moments are lean; this is meant to be heartwarming.

Recommended?: Ehh, not really. I hate to say it, but this story feels like one I could shrug off. It's not awful, and it's written very capably (again, the dialogue is very sharp), but a single conversation doesn't hold up well enough as a story and the drama never quite hits me. Not terrible by any means, but nothing spectacular.


"Pink Diamonds" by ajvasquezbrony28

Diamond Tiara shows up at Twilight's castle, this time to ask her for help resolving a lingering issue: though almost everypony else has forgiven her for her misdeeds, Twist has not. Before Twilight can say much, Starlight declares that they will be glad to help... Twilight agrees, but only if Starlight takes the case. The two then go on a quest to try to convince Twist to forgive DT once and for all.

This story isn't quite as snappy with the dialogue as the previous story, and I noticed a few odd errors (that the author says he's already corrected, so that may be a moot point). Still, the characters feel right and the conflict drew me in pretty well. In addition, the story has a few funny moments bordering on slapstick which, while not laugh-out-loud hilarious, were at least amusing. As we follow Starlight's efforts to help DT, we also understand her own motivations for doing so. The payoff actually ends up being pretty sweet and even a bit realistic.

However, some of the slapstick feels like overkill, and there's a subplot of Starlight also not being forgiven by one of the ponies in her old village, even though it never really comes into play and I'm not certain it was necessary to the plot.

Addresses Prompt?: Not really, for the same reasons as the last story.
Likely Award Category: Fluttershy, with the possibility of Pinkie for the comedic bits. Still, the warm fuzzies work better than the comedy, so that'd be my bet for where it might place.

Recommended?: Mostly. Some of the comedy feels a bit forced, but I overall can say that I enjoyed it. It hits its mark with what it was going for, and the writer said he was trying to make it feel like an episode, and I think it does.


Welp, that's it for now! See you next time!

Comments ( 1 )

O-OH YEAH?!

WELL I'LL BET YOU'VE NEVER EVEN WORN A HAT IN YOUR LIFE!

In all seriousness, I see your point; this is an idea that I would rather have dealt with and developed over multiple chapters, rather than one. It just happened to be the only thing I could think of that could be executed in 6k words or less, which, ultimately, does both it and the story which preceded it a disservice. This'un feels less like a standalone tale of growing up and bossing around dragon children, and more an epilogue to a story that kinda sorta didn't need an epilogue.

Anyway, the reason for Cheerilee leaving as Ponyville's schoolteacher is obviously that she fled Equestria after being indicted by the crown for multiple counts of tax fraud and trafficking changeling larvae. Remember those Scootaloo/Sweetie Belle recolors in the first CMC episode? Changelings. Boom.

Thank you for reading, though. I delight in serving up adequately executed, heartfelt conversations. Like a bartender, but without that awful rum smell. :twilightsmile:

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