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PaulAsaran


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 Posts406

  • 1 week
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CLXXVIII

    As I write this, I have been awake for 25 straight hours. The last few days have been a little hectic as I run around Hell’s half-acre trying to find the right car to replace the one I’ve lost. I finally found one at a good enough deal to warrant purchase yesterday. But after that and going out to eat with my dad (who was my chauffeur the whole time), I don’t make it back to my apartment until

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    11 comments · 319 views
  • 2 weeks
    Preview of Coming Attractions

    Although it has been grindingly slow, I am indeed making progress on Book 2 of Bulletproof Heart. Of course, when I say “slow”, I mean in the last 15 months I have produced ~175,000 words for the story. So yeah, if you count 11k-12k words a month slow, then I’m going slow. I do, but I’m the writer. I’m allowed to give myself tough standards.

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    16 comments · 284 views
  • 2 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CLXXVII

    Well, quite the day of mixed results. On the downside, I was on my way to work at 5:30 this morning when my car… dropped something. I don’t know what, I just know that it made a loud bang, I ran over it with my rear tires, and my engine died instantly. I was able to get it to the shoulder of the (very busy) highway before the power steering died, at least. Whatever I lost, it also caused all the

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    21 comments · 330 views
  • 3 weeks
    Concepts and Creations — One, Mother of Ponies


    This image doesn’t exactly fit, but it was the best I could find.

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    2 comments · 198 views
  • 3 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CLXXVI

    Review time! And for once, I have nothing to talk about. No big reveals, no curious discussions of life’s secrets, no big news in relation to what I’m writing and when it’s coming out. Been a pretty dry week overall. Well, in terms of events. Weather’s been a whole different matter. And we’re not here to discuss the weather.

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    19 comments · 348 views
Sep
12th
2019

Paul's Thursday Reviews CLXXV · 8:54pm September 12th

First off, a big and hearty “Thank You!” to KorenCZ11 who, unsolicited, gifted me new cover art for my most recent short story, How to Save a Life. It is awesome and a vast improvement over the previous one.

So I’ve been looking over my schedule for a while now, trying to find some way to cut down on how long it takes me to go through the 70k+ stories. I think I’ve found a solution, though it is one that requires a bit of patience from yours truly. Luckily, I have that in abundance. The plan, which I was already semi-doing in the first place, involves limiting the total wordcount allowed for each review blog to 90k, not counting the 70k+ stories in my Long-Term Schedule. This forces me to be a bit more selective about the order that stories go into each blog, but not significantly so. I wasn’t strongly adhering to the rule before, but I am now.

Why 90k? Because on average I read 210k words per week. Assuming I’m reading at least one 70k+ story per week (a decent assumption), that means I’m reading more than a blog’s worth of material every week at the very least and I’m gradually building up a lead. Or, in the cases when a blog’s review set has a really low wordcount, multiple reviews in a week. This method has been so effective at giving me a lead that at this moment I have hard-scheduled stories not due for review until Christmas. That’s right, more than a three month lead.

The catch is that I can have a lot of reviews to do in a week. A very real example is a coming week where I’ll be reviewing 40+ stories in a single week! The actual number of words read might not go up, but you add writing reviews to that wordcount and the actual time required for the work increases substantially.

The ultimate goal is to have such a huge lead that I can devote a single blog to nothing but 70k+ stories. I’ll basically end up spending months reading nothing but massive stories in the 200k-400k range of lengths. And I’ll be able to do it without missing a single review date. Best of all, this would let me cut down on the Long-Term Schedule waiting list by months. Which is great, because right now that thing is booked into 2021.

Looking forward to seeing how this goes. In the meantime?

Reviews.

Stories for This Week:

Under the Mistletoe by bathroomstahl
Do That Again by Bad Horse
Princess Celestia is Just Riddled with Bullets by Protopony350
Undead and Unconcerned by Banjo64
Just A Pony by Godzillawolf
Mr. Brightside by A Hoof-ful of Dust
Going Up by Chris
Surrender by Habanc
Black Magic Mare, Roaming Queen by Meta Four
Apropos of the Sinners by SpitFlame

Total Word Count: 85,318

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 2
Pretty Good: 3
Worth It: 3
Needs Work: 0
None: 0


Rarity is working to pick out the perfect decorations for Twilight’s castle when Fluttershy notices a certain plant dangling above the unicorn’s head.

This is a quick fix romance, nothing more and nothing less. There’s really not much to say about it other than that. As soon as you see the title, you know what this is about and where it’s going to go. No higher purposes, no confounding difficulties (well, other than Fluttershy being Fluttershy), no distractions, just one mare trying to work up the courage to get a kiss from another. If that sounds like your cup of tea and you’re okay with Flarity shipping, by all means give this one a go.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Snowfall Frost recalls the feeling of the Spirit of Hearth’s Warming Past walking through her. She remembers it fondly. So she decides to summon the spirit by pretending to want to end the holiday again, just so that she can get a bit more of that sweet ghostly bod. The Spirit is not amused.

But I sure am! This was a highly entertaining story in which a lustful Snowfall is ready to do just about whatever she has to in order to get the pleasure she seeks. The way Applejack treats ‘Biophilia’ as a weird thing only makes this more amusing.

There’s not much to this beyond the sexual humor, but that was enough for me. The cameo at the end was the icing on the cake. If you’re into sexual humor, there’s no reason not to read this.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
All the Pretty Pony PrincessesPretty Good
Burning Man Brony: Fear and Loathing of EquestriaPretty Good
The MailmareWorth It


Unfortunately for the human would-be assassins, ponies are immune to death by bullets.

Wow, was this stupid. I mean, I expected it to be stupid, just not this stupid. You’d think reading Swooty Bell Adventures would have taught me a lesson, but nah, I had to go into this with different expectations… if only slightly different.

None of this is a complaint. I was actually quite amused. Once you realize how dumb the story is intentionally being—which is within the first 30 words or so, Protopony wastes no time—you know to roll with it. Read this is you want to learn about how humanity doomed itself by teaching the ponies an entirely new form of… er… ‘Friendship’.

Bookshelf: Crackfic

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Swooty Bell AdventuresCrackfic


The zombie apocalypse has arrived! Nopony seems to care. Or even notice, for that matter.

This is just plain silly. Luckily, it was meant to be. There’s no logic here, no real purpose. It’s just Equestria with half the ponies as (mostly) mindless zombies. Zombies still capable of doing everyday things like go to school and work and the like. It’s exactly as weird as it sounds.

I’m a bit of a zombie fan, but this honestly wasn’t my cup of tea. Still, I can see the appeal, so I’m willing to give it a medium rating. Read it if you want to poke fun at zombies and the general stupidity that sometimes runs rampant among ponydom.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Undead Robot Bug CrusadersPretty Good


Coloratura’s life is back on track, with a new manager and a musical theme of classical music. In other words, she’s back to doing what she loves. So when she is approached by the parents of an up-and-coming DJ who tell her that their daughter is in the same boat, she is convinced to go and try and help this DJ out. Turns out that DJ Pon3 is not exactly in the same situation, and what Vinyl has to say about Coloratura herself will open her eyes to an entirely different mistake she made in the past.

This was nice. It’s Coloratura learning a valuable lesson and Vinyl getting some unusual attention compared to what stories like this usually do. The subjects range from pushy parents to fallen idols, but the central theme involves appreciating and respecting fans. It’s not a bad lesson to have.

This story does everything it needs to do, making good, efficient use of its short wordcount. I have nothing to complain about. It even comes with an interesting theory regarding how it is Octavia can so easily understand her mute roommate. Which, allow me to add, is a big bonus; I like it when people keep Vinyl mute as she is in the show. I’ll grant the show never specifies that she’s mute and the fact she never speaks could be nothing more than a running gag, but it’s nice to see people explore the idea.

A good showing for my first reading of this author. I look forward to more.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


Now this was something different. In a good way. Presumably set right after the Grand Galloping Gala of the episode “Make New Friends but Keep Discord”, the story focuses on a tiny point in time where Discord, omnipotent but not, omnipresent but not, learns a friendship lesson entirely on his own.

The story has a delightfully different narrative that is at once conversational and vividly observant, managing to tell so much in its very short span of time without ever losing its not-quite-whimsical nature. I must say, the narrative sells this. It sells it with expert precision, knowing exactly what to focus on and when. It begins with a light, pleasant tone that is unusual enough to catch the reader’s attention, talking about things that might seem silly or unimportant, only to zero in, suddenly and without warning, on what really matters, yet does so with delightful smoothness in transition.

I am immensely pleased. The story is an experiment in style that achieves everything it aims for. And as one who likes to write stories with ideas coming from songs, I must say that A Hoof-ful of Dust nailed the theme of the song for which this one is named. This definitely deserves more attention than it has, so get on to reading it, why don’t you?

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
The Good Ship LifestylePretty Good


Going Up

4,575 Words
By Chris

Derpy and Golden Harvest Carrot Top are best friends, so it’s not unusual for them to visit one another on a Sunday morning and just hang out. Today, Derpy asks a most unexpected question: if you could go anywhere, where would it be? Carrot Top’s answer? Up. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? Except Carrot Top’s friend knows silly. Maybe not as much as Pinkie Pie does, but she knows it well enough to sometimes make the silly possible. So if Carrot Top wants to go up, Derpy will make darn sure she goes up.

This was delightful. And, I imagine, a pain to write. Which makes it all the better. It’s a short but sweet story about achieving the impossible for friendship, buoyed ceaselessly by a chatty, witty narrative voice that always has a slightly different way of describing things. It’s one third Derpy being silly and confusing, one third fuzzy friendshipping, and two thirds highly entertaining narration. I have no idea where Chris found that extra third, but it was worth the effort, let me assure you.

Absolutely read this. It’s fun from beginning to end, and might even make you ‘d’awww’ before it’s over.

Bookshelf: Why Haven’t You Read These Yet?

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Letters from a Senior to a Junior ChangelingWHYRTY?
Bantam TalesPretty Good
Even in DreamsPretty Good
WyrmlysanPretty Good


Surrender

6,091 Words
By Habanc

When Princess Twilight Sparkle returns from a research mission in the Zebrican savannah, it is discovered that she has fallen upon a lethal, Discord-era anti-alicorn trap. Comatose and near death, her only hope is for Luna to perform a magical surgery she alone knows how to do.

This story had to have been a serious trial for Habanc to write. The majority of it focuses on Luna’s effort to cure Twilight of her illness, which involves a lot of magic-based terminology that must have been a strain for the author’s descriptive prowess. That strain shows through word repetition, needlessly complex word choice (likely in an attempt to add variety), and some moments of confusion. Still, I’d say they managed well enough under the circumstances. That being said, I feel Habanc tried a little too hard with the flowery prose at times.

Still, this is an intense read in which Luna nearly sacrifices her own life to save Twilight’s. Given that the story has the Dark and Sad labels, I was never sure that she’d succeed or survive the process, which works strongly in the story’s favor.

The only part of the story that went way off the tracks is the scene after the surgery where Luna is… uh… trying to put Twilight to bed? I guess? Habanc fails to adequately describe the this scene, and it is very confusing. Twilight was just in a bed. Luna performed surgery on Twilight while she was in a bed. And now she wakes up from her magic-induced trance to find that Twilight is not in a bed and needs to be moved to a bed but that bed is behind a door and this one thing is so vitally important that Luna nearly kills herself again just trying to get the door open and… and… What? Why? Is there something special about this bed that will make sure Twilight doesn’t die? And how did the door lock and seal itself like that if Luna had to practically knock her own teeth out just to get it open in the first place? Nothing about this scene makes sense. It almost seems as if the author threw it in there in a desperate attempt to make an overdramatic life-or-death moment.

But ignoring that one strange scene, the story is decent. A little too flowery with the descriptions at times, has a bit of a typo problem, but not bad on the whole. I’d say it’s worth the read if you’re into TwiLuna shipping and maybe a bit of magical exploration.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Upon Breaking RulesPretty Good


The mad genius behind Alarm Clock returns, this time telling a story set long before our special grey pegasus with indescribable interdimensional abilities lived in Ponyville. Ditzy has managed to escape from a mental asylum and is now travelling on her own. Or at least, she was until Trixie walks by with her wagon, notices her, and quite literally picks her up and carries her along for no apparent reason. It’s going to be an interesting trip.

This was a lot of fun, and that is 2/3rds Trixie. Seriously, this Trixie far out-Trixie’s Trixie. If you think the Trixie from the show has an ego and is interesting to watch, hoo boy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. From the moment she first opens her mouth, she entertains. Us, not Ditzy. Ditzy has no idea what to make of this pony. And they call her crazy. But Ditzy doesn’t have anywhere to go, so she has no reason not to tag along.

This is the story of a much younger, much more cynical Ditzy who lives on the run and her brief, two-day encounter with the one pony who could make Narcissus blush. It is highly amusing. That said, if true-to-show Trixie turns you off, you’ll hate the one presented here. Honestly, I think she really sells the story, but some people just aren’t as much fun. Beneath the humor, the wild storytelling, miscommunications, and the desperate need for attention lies two characters bonding and gradually starting to understand one another, even if they struggle to appreciate it.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. This one focuses less on Ditzy’s dimension-hopping abilities and more on Trixie’s self-absorption, yet does so to great effect. It’s an interesting bit of backstory to a favorite AU of mine. What it lacks in apparent overall intent it more than makes up for with its characters and relationship growth.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Alarm ClockWHYRTY?
Den Fjerde VægWHYRTY?
Beauty Will Tear Us ApartPretty Good


Apropos of the Sinners

49,866 (Partial Reading – Story Incomplete)
By SpitFlame
Requested by SpitFlame

This is a story about a family of troubled ponies: Bronze Pocket, a sinful miser who relishes in being an ass to all who know him, especially his own family; Cluster Tale, Bronze’s eldest son and personal student of Princess Celestia, with a certain cold aloofness; Nova Steel, Bronze’s second son who is known for his wild lifestyle and unreliable nature; and Airglow Sky, Cluster and Nova’s young half-sister whom even Bronze can’t bring himself to hate. Now, with the coming of the Summer Sun Celebration, they are all back in Ponyville. The question is whether any of them will survive one another.

This is a curious story. I’ve gone through 50,000 words of it and am honestly not sure it’s even started on its central purpose, whatever that may be. Everything I’ve read so far has involved the four protagonists interacting with each other and Ponyville at large. Bronze is a dick to everyone he meets (except Airglow, though he tries). Nova wants his inheritance of 5,000 bits to repay a debt to his fiancee, and is willing to get violent to get it. Cluster is set up as mediator but is wholly unwilling and uninterested, more focused on setting up the Summer Sun Celebration for Celestia’s arrival. And sweet Airglow just wants her family to be a family, if she can just figure out how to get her father and brothers to stop hating one another.

There are certain curiosities that are unclear. It has been clarified early on that this is before the Mane Six defeated Nightmare Moon, though not much before. So where is Twilight? For that matter, where is Sunset Shimmer? Is this before either of them became Celestia’s protege? Impossible to say. I was starting to think that maybe the Mane 6 are all present in the unseen background and this is the Summer Sun Celebration.

This became my dominant theory when, at one point, Cluster Tale takes the philosophical position that without Celestia there would be no morality, and thus all crimes would be justifiable. As soon as I saw that, my expectation would be that Nightmare Moon would arrive and, in the intervening time between her arrival and defeat, someone in the family was going to die. Violently. After all, why bring this up if it wasn’t pertinent to the ongoing events?

But by the time I stopped reading it was the night of the celebration and I no longer believe that will be the case. I shouldn’t be surprised. SpitFlame once told me he writes purely for the sake of proposing and debating philosophical points, and thus does he litter his stories with long tangents of characters debating or monologuing on topics that have no relevance at all to the story itself because, to the author, that’s more interesting. Which, I’m sorry to say, is almost certainly one of the major reasons this story has gone unnoticed.

The other reason is that the entire point of the story — the goal, the theme, the reason the entire story exists — remains unknown, even after ~50k words. I can see what appears to be little setups: a ticket for a train north, a note hidden in a book, a brother leaving town at the last minute for reasons not foreshadowed that sound fishy at best, and so on. This is all leading to something, but it’s taking so incredibly long to get to that something that it’s no surprise people stopped reading after a dozen chapters or so.

I imagine this makes it sound like the story is bad. On the contrary, I find it curious and interesting. The ongoing development of drama in the family keeps me wondering what disaster will happen next. The more I watch, the more I get the impression Airglow is to be the primary protagonist. And who, then, will be the antagonists, assuming there will technically be any? It’s all a giant mystery, and I look forward to seeing what SpitFlame does with it.

But it requires patience, and that is something a lot of readers have in short supply. This is not a criticism, merely an observation. Readers need something to hold their focus. SpitFlame’s chatty, overwordy, indirect, at times tangential prose is on its own a challenge to get through, so the average reader is going to need something riveting to hold their attention. Bronze Pocket going to a dinner just to be a dick to a bunch of ponies we don’t know in a long scene that has no clear relation to the overarching plot is not going to give them that, to say nothing for the regular philosophical ponderings.

SpitFlame’s writing is for a niche audience. This is a story for people who are reading for the pleasure of reading, who are smart enough or attentive enough to follow along with a winding writing style, who are patient, and perhaps who have a curiosity in applying philosophy to the world of Equestria. The average reader, on the other hand, will drop this quickly. I for one am saddened that I can’t rate this due to its incomplete nature, but for my enjoyment I likely would have given it a “Worth It” at this point in the story.

The big question is “where is SpitFlame going with this?” If it follows his usual MO, it’ll end on a needlessly tragic scene where everypony we care about dies or suffers horribly because of a nonsensical switcheroo with equally nonsensical reasoning behind it and no satisfaction to be had for anyone involved, reader included. SpitFlame likes those kinds of endings. My metaphorical money’s on Airglow committing suicide. Still, cross your fingers? Maybe she’ll get lucky and SpitFlame will give us an upbeat ending for once.

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
Civil DistinctionWorth It
Don't Look at the FogWorth It
Elements of HonorWorth It
The Confession of an Ardent HeartWorth It
Consoles vs. PC (Princess Edition)None


Stories for Next Week:
My Little Dashie by ROBCakeran53
Hatred by Azure Sandora
Oh, Helicity! by Featherprop
Something Like Laughter by Dubs Rewatcher
The Wrong Fork by PoweredByTea
No More Fun and Games by XenoPony
Back Off by Summer Dancer
The Princess's Choice by Monochromatic
The Savage Way by Horse Voice
Dear Someone, I Discord you so! by Lise


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Comments ( 34 )

My Little Dashie by ROBCakeran53

Oh boy I'm looking forward to this haha.

Apropos takes place ~30 years before the season 1 premiere, so Twilight hasn't even been born yet.

For that matter, where is Sunset Shimmer?

>implying Equestria Girls is canon

Well not in my eyes it's not.

After all, why bring this up if it wasn’t pertinent to the ongoing events?

This may shock you, but this stuff does become relevant later on. The philosophical dissertations in this story aren't isolated; principle themes like morality, loving ponykind, and Celestia's status as a leader are brought up till the very end and have tangible effects. Major plot points and motivations are dependent on understanding this Nietzschean deconstruction of moral values. There's three big players in the whole debate: Cluster, who represents rationality; Pyre (introduced at the end of Part I) represents nihilism; and another future character who stands in for some sort of existentialism. And, as you half guessed, all these view points come together and revolve around one huge mystery.

My metaphorical money’s on Airglow committing suicide

Good grief, Paul, what sort of monster do you take me for? Never. Although characters do die.

I likely would have given it a “Worth It” at this point in the story.

Gosh darn it, will I ever break free from the shackles of the "Worth It" rating? Why do you do this to me?:raritydespair:

Thankfully I can say that (imo) the story does get increasingly better as events play out, mostly due to things becoming more and more plot-heavy. The first two parts are there to set up the characters, and the whole first half (what I've written so far) is meant for development. Everything is ramped up to more traditional, fast-paced storytelling in the second half. Really. This isn't a bait-and-switch claim, or anything with some catch; I mean exactly what I'm saying. I obviously won't spoil the ending, but it's nothing else like I've written before. My previous stories were almost intentionally tragic and unsatisfying. This time I'll actually try to have things come together in some sensible manner—like Endgame!

I mostly just want to know your specific thoughts on the characterization itself. Judging by your descriptions of them, I'd say they're distinct and memorable enough to last you for another 150,000 words. What often annoys me with all-OC stories is that most of their OCs tend to sound really generic and same-y. My biggest challenge was writing Cluster. From a simple description of him you'd be hard pressed to think he isn't a Gary Stu. He's incredibly magically powerful to the point of being genuinely OP, he's smarter than pretty much everyone else, he's seemingly competent at everything, and he's Celestia's personal student. I suppose what sets him apart is his mildly sociopathic tendencies. I don't say that in an evil, foreshadowed-to-be-the-villain way, I mean it very realistically. He has difficulty with socialization, and his lowkey disdain of his family is only making him more resentful. That and he hates everything Celestia represents.

Who was your favourite character? Favourite scene?

I get that this story is as niche as niche can be and it won't be raking in any discussion threads or anything (although I would love for that to happen); I'm mostly writing for myself and what I like to see. I don't mean to brag or to come off as self-important, but I really think the last quarter of Apropos is mind-blowing, both in the action and character development department. It's the best thing I've ever done up till now. The first quarter is definitely the worst part of the story since I tried to introduce all of the characters first. I think it's a pretty good start.

Yeah, I wasn't really trying with that one. It's more of a joke I decided to write down for kicks that somehow drew a bit of a crowd. I didn't even bother finding an editor, and it shows.

By the way, I'm not a new author. You reviewed my other story, Undead Robot Bug Crusaders, a few weeks ago.

"Going Up" is the only one I've read, and it was a delight.

And I'm a little surprised you haven't read any Banjo64 before. No "Undead Robot Bug Crusaders"?

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Oh shit he's going there

I'm so glad you liked Going Up. :D It's just a pure delight.

MLD is up next?

*brace yourselves, everypony! :pinkiegasp:

You missed the fact that the story was stupid.

I am very glad you enjoyed my story. Thanks for the review!

5120193

Apropos takes place ~30 years before the season 1 premiere, so Twilight hasn't even been born yet.

Ah. Was that mentioned somewhere? Because the opening and the way it talked about Nightmare Moon's coming led me to believe this was happening much closer to the show.

>implying Equestria Girls is canon
Well not in my eyes it's not.

So any episodes that mention or actually show evidence of its existence—such as the Season 7 finale that gave us clear proof the Sirens exist in canon—never happened? Or did you merely decide "everything up to episode X is canon and everything after that is not"? I'm not saying it's wrong to do so, I'm just trying to get a clearer picture.

Wait, so you're actually making the philosophy serve a purpose to the story this time? Well now, that's a nice change.

Good grief, Paul, what sort of monster do you take me for? Never. Although characters do die.

The kind of monster who murders perfectly good characters for no purpose, makes other good characters be the bad guy for no clear reason except pissing off readers, and conceives of wildly elaborate and blatantly unnecessary ways to kill off heroes and innocents to make the villain appear even worse than they already are. Yes, I absolutely expect Airglow to be dead by the end of this, and likely for no plot-oriented or theme-based reason whatsoever. It's part of your MO.

Well, considering Airglow is the only one who doesn't act like a prick at least 2/3rds of the time and actually makes sense more often than not, she would be my favorite. And, seeing as she doesn't wax philosophical with every other breath, she also doesn't adore the sound of her own voice. So yeah, definitely Airglow. Another reason I expect her to die.

My favorite scene? I would rather go with the most memorable. And if I had to chose that, I think I'd go with the scene where Nova goes berserk, wrecks Bronze's home and threatens to kill him, all with poor Airglow watching. Something was actually happening there that was both dramatic (unlike practically every other scene in the entire story) and seemed to be advancing the plot. In second place is the scene where Bronze goes to that dinner and promptly gets himself thrown out by being an ass. That scene stood out to me, although I'm hard-pressed to say why.


The characters are definitely definitive. It's difficult to mistake any one for the other; their copious flaws are distinct enough from each other. The problem right now is that you're spending so much time on introducing the characters and showing us who they are that it's hard to find a plotline other than "Hey, meet these guys. They're all jerks." I get wanting to make your characters distinct, but there's such a thing as pacing, and this story doesn't have any. Your average reader isn't going to wait 50,000 words for you to set up the scene, they want to know where the story is going. Having a fast-paced conclusion doesn't mean anything if nobody's willing to read the rest of the story to get to it.

But, as you stated, in the end a story should be what the author wants it to be, even if that would be something most people wouldn't care to read. I've stated numerous times in the past that I only write for myself, and any attention I get off of it is secondary to the point. I long considered Twilight's Inferno to be my best work until recently, and that's a big ball of pain and suffering that many people consider too dark to handle. We all like our little niches.

5120206
Say, you're right! What the hay? I must wonder why I didn't see it in my records.

Oh, well. Records have been corrected.

5120209
I did indeed read that, but for some reason it didn't come up when I checked my records. That or maybe I just forgot to look?

5120206
5120209
Oh, wait, now I remember! I wrote the review for Undead and Unconcerned before I had the data for Undead Robot Bug Crusaders updated in my records, so at the time you weren't showing up in the records at all! This is what I get for waiting a week to do those updates.

5120432
You think so? Here’s what it said:

I will add that this event occurred many years before even the return of Nightmare Moon

There’s a lot of room for interpretation there. “Many years” is definitely not just before the show started. The event in question hasn’t even happened yet, which is the main purpose of the story and on which the compounding mystery depends.

I don’t why why people bring up the sirens from season 7. All that proves is that the sirens are canon, and not the events of EqG themselves.

The kind of monster who murders perfectly good characters for no purpose, makes other good characters be the bad guy for no clear reason except pissing off readers, and conceives of wildly elaborate and blatantly unnecessary ways to kill off heroes and innocents to make the villain appear even worse than they already are.

Yeah, but the difference is that Airglow is my character, one I created. I actually care about her. As if I care about what happens to the princesses. I’m just saying she’s one of the last characters to even contemplate suicide, let alone commit it.

And yeah, I’m not surprised Airglow is your favourite. I expected as much. She’s one of the few likeable characters in a sea of pompous jerks. It’s the reason why I chose to make her the main character.

Those are some good picks for best scenes. Although this really demonstrates how people’s opinions can vary. Your favourite scene was the drama-filled one with action happening, and while I really liked that one, my personal favourite (to write, at least) was the last chapter in Part II with Cluster laying down his life philosophy, which is the opposite of what you’re looking for. Fortunately you’ll be getting a lot more drama later on.

Anyway, I hope to finish this story within the next 6 or so months. There’s a lot to get through, with something like 50+ individual OCs.

5120432
Btw, if you want to see what I personally consider canon, here's a chart.
i.ibb.co/MpzZYGD/IHOuXfW.png

5120505
When it said "this event occurred many years before even the return of Nightmare Moon", I thought it was referring specifically to all that backstory of who Bronze was and al the shit he did to his wives, not the primary story. It sounded to me like "many years ago, Bronze was an asshole to his family, and now on the even of the Summer Sun Celebration our story is unfolding". I know you didn't specify it that way, but that's how it read to me.

Also, I seriously doubt the creators would give the Sirens cameos or show that they were banished by Starswirl, i.e. exactly what their backstory claims, if Hasbro didn't intend for it all to be canon. I get that people tend to be selective about what they personally attribute as canon, I do it all the time. But it's one thing to say "for my purposes, this isn't canon", and another to say "this thing that was clearly meant to be canon isn't canon no matter what anyone else says about it."

Oh, you care about Airglow? Well, now I'm even more sure she's doomed.

5120540
Is it weird to "care" about your own character? I feel like it's weird, or maybe it's just me. I dunno. She's my favourite character I've written and I just really like her.

If you want to know Airglow's fate you'll have to wait to read the whole thing... in what, 2021?:rainbowlaugh:

5120572
It's not weird at all. I love a lot of my own characters (a certain Rose comes to mind). But as I've learned over the years, both from my own actions and those of others, it's that we often hurt those we love the most. This goes quadruple for authors; we are mean to our beloved characters.

2021? Man, you're really burning the midnight oil, aren't you? Here I was thinking it'd be 2050!

OMG... you're reviewing it... the ur-fic... MY LITTLE DASHIE. :pinkiegasp:

Glad you enjoyed Going Up! It was a ton of fun to write, and although it didn't do terribly well in the contest it was written for (the judges, quite reasonably, feeling that the vocabulary was a little much for a story aimed at a six year-old), I'm glad to see that it continues to be enjoyed even some seven(!) years after I wrote it.

5120595
Oh my God, you’re right. Suffering builds character.

Also, is it weird to cry during sad scenes you write? There are some incredibly emotional scenes in Parts III and IV (especially the end of Part III) where while writing them (and reading them after I wrote them) I got sorta teary-eyed.

5120960
AYK? If you knew how often I’ve cried while writing my own material...

5120523 You consider seasons 3 and 4 canon? N00b. :duck:

5124204
Of course. The season 4 finale is only the greatest episode in the history of FIM.

5124239
I wasn't going to say anything originally, but... that hideous monstrosity? Seriously?

5124239 5124241 SpitFlame must be speaking ironically, because the alternative is too horrible even for me to contemplate.

5124281
Oho, I won't blame you guys for having such peasant-tier taste.

5124281
5124285
Eh, I won’t blame you for being so out of touch with reality that you actually think your misguided, elite taste is superior to ours which is based i reality.

5124344
I have my explanations for what I consider good. You want to know which episode is the true "hideous monstrosity"? Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep. What a ghastly abomination, full of cheap platitudes, artificial character behaviours, and a formidably bad third act. Probably the first and only episode in the series that I hate on a personal level, aside from a critical one.

5124362
This from the guy who likes a season finale with copious blatantly terrible decisions that make the princesses collectively look OOC levels of stupid for no other reason than to achieve a Dragon Ball Z-style battle all in the name of teaching our children that if you surrender everything that gives you a fighting chance and bend over the bad guy will magically disappear and not brutally rape and murder you because Friendship is Magic!

...

Yeah, I think this is one we’ll have to agree to disagree on.

5124493
What terrible decisions? I sure hope you don’t think terrible decisions = decisions that lead to bad outcomes.

It’s like Infinity War. The characters were forced into desperate scenarios where they only had bad options. Every action in that finale was plausible.

Why send Discord? Because he’s the only one who could find Tirek via those “magical imbalances,” as was explained. If they didn’t send Discord, by the time they got to Tirek he likely would have been strong enough to defeat them. And it made perfect sense: the characters accepted his involvement with extreme reluctance. It was a bet. One that failed due to his betrayal, which honestly made the plot more interesting than anything we had seen before.

There’s also some pretty good evidence to suggest this was a master plan by Discord all along. The annotated book he gave Twilight in the beginning, the sad looks he gave in the second episode while working with Tirek, and whatever else. Though keep in my this is just a theory, nothing necessarily confirmed.

Why give all the alicorn magic to Twilight? To hide it. Out of desperation. What else could they do? Face Tirek? He’d fuck them up, as evidenced by how confidently he broke through their door. Run away? Great, now Equestria is destroyed, and Tirek will likely keep getting stronger. Twilight was the only princess Tirek wasn’t aware of. It was the best bad option.

Yeah, Twilight gave up her magic to save her friends. She’s the Princess of Friendship, not the Princess of Utilitarianism. It’s perfectly in-character for her. If she gave up her principles that easily, what’s the point in fighting the villain anymore? Assuming she was fighting him for her principles of friendship. Besides, she literally couldn’t even scratch him, so it’s not like she had any chance of beating him to begin with.

That fight scene was alpha, and Twilight’s Kingdom is the most alpha episode in the show for it.

5124520
Yeah, no.

The stupid decision wasn’t sending Discord, it as sending Discord without moral backup. All they had to do was ask Fluttershy to accompany him. Boom. Problem solved. It’s not even a hard thing to recognize; you don’t make your first trust scenario with the guy who used to be your enemy something that could backfire and doom the entire world.

Discord “having planned it all from the beginning” is a nice little fantasy I know a lot of people have devised to try and legitimize the entire thing. But you have to buy it, and until Discord outright admits it (which will never happen), I’m not. Besides, if he did plan it all from the beginning that would make the gift he gave Twilight at the end useless, because it would have been based on a false friendship created through false intentions, thereby dooming the plan to failure from the get-go.

Why pretend Twilight doesn’t exist when you’ve got a stained glass window, modern literature and an entire population of victims that knows she exists? There was zero chance of Tirek not finding out, and suggesting the princesses weren’t aware of it makes them out to be Grade-A idiots. If you’re going to plan your massive strategy around something like this, at least make an attempt to hide the evidence! Instead of letting Tirek take you, why not go into hiding with Twilight so you can teach her what she needs to know and give her sage council so she doesn’t, y’know, doom all of Equestria in a mindless brawl at the first opportunity? At least that way they appear useful!

I can’t say much about them all giving Twilight their magic, no matter how bad an idea I think it was. There are at least enough legit counterarguments to that one to let me leave it be. It’s frustrating to admit it, though.

Also: “Twilight! You can’t let anyone know you exist! You must hide from Tirek! And you can’t tell any of your friends, even though he’s inevitably going to use them against you because that’s waht villains do.” “Alright, then. I’ll just hide out in my own home because nopony would ever think to look for me there!”

There is no argument that exists that will justify Twilight literally selling out her entire kingdom. Period. You cannot do it. There were plenty of other options to utilize. Hell, the instant she got her friends back she could have teleported the lot of them to the Moon or somewhere for safe keeping and then planned a proper action against Tirek instead of “shoot teh lazorth cuz am mad!!!!” Twilight is a smart pony who has proven herself more than capable of getting what she needs through clever planning and tactics. She doesn’t have to brute force Tirek into submission.

The fight scene was cool, sure, but it only exists for the message of “fighting doesn’t solve anything”. We taught the kids a lesson, right? I’m sure they’ll remember Twilight’s example when some gangbanger breaks into their house with a knife and demands they relinquish their gun and promises not to hurt them.

5124586
Why didn’t Fluttershy accompany him? Keep in mind it’s easy for you to say she could have been moral support with the benefit of hindsight, but first time watching I didn’t know what to expect. I assumed that Discord was going on a dangerous mission and wanted to keep Fluttershy out of harm’s way, and that he needed to stay focused and not bring any distractions. My assumption would be that Tirek would somehow steal his magic, or get away. Discord’s betrayal came as a surprise. He had already been redeemed, and it had never happened before in the show where an evil-turned-good character turns evil yet again.

Fair enough. Like I said, it’s just a theory. For all intents and purposes I’m taking the story at face value and assuming he didn’t plan anything.

Yeah, there were signs of Twilight existing, but how would they hide the evidence? They were out of time. It was a rushed plan which invariably had some flaws. I believe the idea was to buy Twilight as much time as possible to get her accustomed to her new powers, before having to face Tirek. Keep in mind what they were facing: Tirek was a being so powerful that up until then, only the Elements of Harmony had any chance of beating him. The Elements of Harmony we’re gone. They were screwed.

But here’s the lose-lose situation, in response to your idea that she should hide. Remember Discord’s ability to sense magical imbalances? When Tirek absorbed Discord’s magic, in literally the next scene he pinpointed exactly where she was in a random field. It’s almost certainly the case that Tirek gained Discord’s ability, and Twilight, hauling the magic of four alicorns inside her, is a pretty big imbalance. If she spent her time running away, a) great, now Equestria has no defence; and b) with the time wasted running away, she would not have practiced her new powers and would get caught. At least in the episode it showed Twilight practicing, to give a sign of some progress. It wasn’t much, but given time constraints (both for the writers and in the show itself) I don’t know what else they could have done. At the end of the fight Twilight hit Tirek with the biggest baddest spell ever, and it did fuck all.

Which is to imply, I don’t think running away from Tirek with her friends would be possible. He’d be right on them and there wouldn’t be any time to concoct a proper strategy. Yeah, logically she should not have given Tirek her magic, but these characters aren’t robots. They have emotions. I can’t imagine Twilight would be willing to let her friends get killed in front of her for any reason. There’s a moral argument to be had, what you would do or what I would do, but there are plenty of people who would act on impulse and save their friends. Twilight is rational but not perfect, and she is certainly part of the latter group. Assuming she did sacrifice her friends, Tirek could still not be beaten; and even if he was, now Twilight lost her friends, she’d probably become hella depressed and renounce her title as princess. Pretty dreary ending.

It’s like a robber breaks into your house and holds your parents at gun point, telling you to relinquish your own gun. I don’t know what you’d do, but I and many others wouldn’t be able to see their loved ones die, regardless of the outcome.

5124644
As I said: agree to disagree. I’m not going to waste anymore of my time or yours arguing on something that happened five years ago and which neither of us is going to budge on. We can merely accept one another’s opinions as fundamentally flawed and move on.

5124662
Fair enough. At the end of the day it’s a matter of personal opinion.

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