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Scampy


25/♀️ -- Anything can happen, but it usually doesn't.

More Blog Posts28

Jan
13th
2020

Introducing The Scampy Scale - Fic Reviews #1 · 2:25am January 13th

Y’know what’s way easier than writing my own stories? Talking about other people’s stories!

In the past, I’ve written a couple of reviews, and they were all good and fun and everyone loved them forever. Probably. Point is, I like to think I was pretty good at that kind of thing, and I’d like to do more of it.

Those of you who lurk around in the comments sections of fimfic may have noticed me leaving lengthy reviews on various stories, particularly when I feel the author deserves to be recognized for the effort they’ve put into a story.

I’m gonna be real with y’all here—most of the stuff on this site frickin’ sucks. As a visual aid, let me introduce The Scampy Scale™!


tl;dr - I hate almost everything

Alright, setting my ego aside, here’s the rundown. As is hopefully evident, my opinion is that the vast majority of the stories on this site are pretty... Well, let's say "underwhelming." For those of you who know the standard deviation for normal distributions, I'd say around ~85% of all stories on this site fall somewhere between kinda alright to completely terrible—in my eyes, anyway. There are very, very few stories that actually stand out as worthy of praise.

In the past, I’ve specifically contained my comment reviews to stories that were at least a 3/5 or above, because shit y’all, I don’t like hurting people’s feelings. But the truth is that objectivity often stings. If I’m gonna review stories and do it right, I’m gonna have to do so without being limited by the fear of coming across as too harsh.

In these review blogs, I will provide relatively contained reviews of stories I’ve read recently. The review will end with a rating, and stories will be added to a set of libraries based on their score. Now, while I don’t think that the entirety of a story can be fairly summed up in a single number, my hope is that I can identify stories of similar quality so that people know what I do and don’t like, building a solid foundation that my critiques and reviews can stand on.

To kick off this series of reviews, I am going to review a couple stories from different categories so that you can get a better idea as to what I believe qualifies a story for each rating.

So, without further ado, let’s get to it!


hearts, deep in their hiding places by Nines

Thearts, deep in their hiding places,
Her heart lies buried beneath the willow tree...
Nines · 8.9k words  ·  38  6 · 532 views

Everything about this story is built from the ground up to be as emotionally gripping as possible, from the unique structure to the evocative language to the absolutely phenomenal dialogue. While I’m not exactly the biggest fan of romance stories (barring SunFlower cuz it’s canon y’all), Applejack’s desires here are as understandable as they are frustrating to watch her deal with. Her affections aren’t treated as some lofty goal that she ought to pursue, because real life isn’t always that simple, and this story is nothing if not realistic. AJ knows that what she wants is not only the opposite of what she needs, but the opposite of what Fluttershy needs as well. Unfortunately, knowing what the right thing is doesn’t make doing it any less painful.

The interwoven flashbacks work perfectly as a roadmap for AJ's emotions while still being very easy to follow, and the brief depiction of self-harm—and more importantly the thoughts that occured as it happened—was accurate, respectful and most importantly, real. Every line of this story is laced with care and insight, and while it doesn't end with the catharsis AJ wants, it does end with the one she needs. Nines has created a powerful example of life working out as it should, even if it’s not how we’d like.

Rated 5/5

---

It takes a while by BittyBug

[Adult story embed hidden]

Yes, you’re looking at this correctly. This is an Anon-a-Miss fic. An Anon-a-Miss fic with romance in it. By all rights, it should be an absolute disaster by concept alone. Fortunately, it’s not as bad as all that. I’m gonna cheat a little on this one, as this is one of those fics I’ve already kinda reviewed in its comment section. Is it lazy? Sure, but it’s my review and I’ll do what I want qB^)

So when I think of SadSunny fics, I view this as a sort of baseline. Anything less than this level of quality just isn't worth it. To be clear, this story is far from perfect. Those of you familiar with the Anon-a-Miss template know how these stories go—Sunset is bullied, big sad stuff happens, then Twilight comes in and screams at everyone so much that their ear drums call it quits and rise up in revolution against their cochlear overlords. It’s tried but certainly not true. This story certainly suffers from some of the same cliches, but what sets this one apart is how those cliches are presented. Suicidal thoughts and self-harm are often treated as “press here to add feels” buttons, and as such come across as insultingly shallow. Here, though, Sunset’s struggles are portrayed in a pretty bleak, sobering manner. Things don’t just magically get better because she has friends. Those thoughts and urges stay with her, poisoning and overtaking whatever positivity she can build for herself. And while the Twilight Yells At Everyone Forever thing is certainly over-the-top with constant swearing and out-of-character dialogue, there’s one line in her rant that hits so, so hard that it makes the whole thing worth it.

Now, the shipping element isn't a horrible issue, but I am left wondering if it really belongs. We wind up with a lot of “Oh she’s so cute and I’m so gay for her” bits that detract from otherwise devastatingly heavy scenes. Overall, the romance diminishes this story more than it adds to it, especially towards the ending. The last few chapters of this fic, which are dedicated entirely to the romantic stuff that’s been treated as a subplot up until now, honestly feel like they belong to a different story.

While It takes a while has its flaws, BittyBug really knows how to save the intense and heartbreaking scenes for the perfect moment to maximize how much they hurt. Those powerful moments may be few and far between, but they’re enough to elevate this above the trash-filled sea of most other Anon-a-Miss stories.

Rated 3/5

---

That's all for now. I really enjoy doing these kinds of reviews, so hopefully I'll start getting these out somewhat regularly. In the meantime, y'all can check my library to see a few fics that I have ratings for but have not yet reviewed. There's not a ton there right now, but I'll be sure to add things as I read them so I can get to a review eventually.

Thanks for checking this out. Here's hoping you're looking forward to more.
~Scampy

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Comments ( 32 )

I fear the Scampy Scale's power.

Ooooo! This will do wonders for my To-Do list of a library!

Are you looking at completed stories for the reviews or does it not matter if it's done or not?

5185195
For now, I'm sticking to completed stories. It's pretty difficult to gauge a story's overall quality when the overall story isn't available to read.

5185199
Few, I'm glad. I mean my story has only been going for a under a week. I still have to get to Sunset beating the sirens before I can even consider it complete.:derpytongue2:
edit: few is a sigh if someone gets confused.

Suicidal thoughts and self-harm are often treated as “press here to add feels” buttons, and as such come across as insultingly shallow.

Ain't gonna lie, I might be guilty of that on maybe three counts1. I didn't think it would be insulting, I just wanted to add drama to my stories.

That sounds horrible when I put it that way. Shit.

1I say "might" because I don't know if I treated it well enough, but I assure you I treat the subject with seriousness.

5185222
Ok, well... Don't do that :v

5185187
This is great.
5185188
Replace "oh no" with "complete and utter garbage" and I have a similar scale tbh.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

this is good :D

5185234
you are good

5185228
Last time I used suicide in a story was months ago. I should've known not to take such a heavy subject lightly. I'll chalk this up as a learning experience and think a bit more before I write.

Ugh, I remember reading Background Pony years ago and it was so good that I kept remembering it years afterward and it only got better with rereads

J_Q

Is SunFlower actually canon?! I knew she was bi but...

5185254
See this face?

i.imgur.com/EFgDwjL.png

This is an "I'm in love with her" face.

Therefore, SunFlower is canon and they get married and live happily ever after. QED.

EDIT: I'm being bullied :v
i.imgur.com/3XHR5sB.png

5185254
Pls don't encourage her :(

5185187
This is perfect. I'm going to use this.

Excited to read your reviews, Scampy! It's cool to see your opinions. Might be able to add a few fics to my to-read list for this year!

5185290
5185187
Just so everyone is clear, I'm the one who made that image :v

Also thank you very much. You are a good bean.

5185291
LOL. Well then, I'm still going to use it, but now it's even more perfect.

5185293
You're even more perfect :o

5185254 It’s canon in Scampy’s heart. It’s scanon.

Let me guess. Your own stories are rated at the top of the scale.
I at least wont disagree since anything dealing with the mind is, more often than not "life-altering"

Sorry about the pun, I could not resist. But to be honest things I have read from you I would put rather high for just how much thougth you put into them.
As far as I know the ideas are unique as well as how you write them.

5185324
I wouldn't rate my fics at the tippy top. I think they're good, but not anywhere close to the kind of stories I consider to be 5/5. Sticking to the complete stories, and disqualifying Tummy Flutters for being too gay, I'd rate them something like this:

Last Light - 3/5
The Time We Have Left - 4/5
Bad Habits - 3/5
Day Zero - 3/5

5185330

disqualifying Tummy Flutters for being too gay

wdym? is that a thing? that's not a thing, right?

Tummy Flutters is like gay/5

5185590
you're gay/5

also yeah ok that's a fair point

J_Q

5185257
You know what. I completely understand now.

5185590
Even if it were a thing, it wouldn't apply to Tummy Flutters.

Tummy Flutters is three gay.

5185656
Three gay / 5, got it. So approximately 60% gay?

No i don't think so.

Tummy Flutters is like 15 gay / 5.

Thanks.

I expect all of my published stories would fall into Yeah, I Dunno About That One or Oh No.

I almost feel like crowbarring open the objectivity-in-art debate but that seems like an objectively bad idea.

good scale! looking forward to getting more recs

I'm here for the Scampy Scale.

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