The Writeoff Association 927 members · 663 stories
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PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
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3396099
Yaaay Pascoite's back. :D I actually read all your reviews!

Less than 24 hours until the reveal, guys! :O

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

I said I'd do these.

Why Pinkie?: I get what happens here, but I’m left largely clueless as to why what happened, happened. There’s no real explanation behind anything and what’s there to discern isn’t exactly justifiable, and the overall telliness of the story dragged it down in that respect. I can surmise this story was a stab at absurd humor, but there wasn’t anything I found funny either; just confusing. If it was all leading up to Pinkie’s last line, then it felt underwhelming. Again, largely because of the large amount of telling. Also, it’d have helped to put a comma in the title after the “Why”.

Inconvenient Helpers: This feels like a trailer to a much larger story. What you tried to do couldn’t really be accomplished in the given word restraint, but I appreciate the attempt nonetheless. As a minific, this really isn’t much of one, but with further developing and filling, this could be something spectacular. Also, I think the word you wanted was “thug” not “tug”.

Oceans I: Before I even started reading, I’m already frowning seeing this is apparently part of a series. Since the word limit is part of the competition, at first glance this looks like a cheap way to cheat the system and give you more writing room, and I don’t approve. But I’ll withhold judgement until I read the other two. Who knows, maybe they aren’t related? Anyways, I’m not quite sure what to say about this. I appreciate the atmosphere and I do love the association you built between the Night (Luna/Nightmare Moon) and the moon, but I don’t really see where the sand fits in all this. And the story was difficult to follow at times because of some pronoun confusion. But overall, this was nice little thing.

A Blackout in Ponyville: Ha, this was cute. A bit too simple and more of a scene rather than a full story, but cute nonetheless. And I think you’re kidding yourself; I fully understood what was going on despite not having read the comic. Good stuff.

The Sun Birds: All this story has going for it at the moment is its world building. The rest was somewhat confusing to follow given what little explanations there were, but I can see it definitely working out with the story being expanded upon.

Oceans II: While I still appreciate the atmosphere (seriously the stuff’s amazing), I have thoroughly no idea what’s going on here. Is this supposed to be Luna or the moon? Some other character? Given what I saw in Oceans I, I’m at a loss. It’s obvious enough the stories are related, but I don’t see any real connection between the two.

Mud: This doesn’t necessarily read like a story per se but rather an individual scene. It’s written well and while likeable, there wasn’t anything that interesting going on.

Keeping a Beat: This feels like the start of something; as is, it’s not really capable of standing on its own. The things you set up such as the band, the small audience, and his present life in general don’t do that well of a job connecting to his past, like there’s something missing. That said, this is a good start, but it needs more. I also have to nitpick seeing a phone there.

The Joy is in the Journey... Isn’t It?: While not much of an actual story, this was enjoyable and amusing nonetheless. Good show.

Berry’s Secret Shame: I liked the story, but curiously enough, I think it could’ve been shorter. There’s rampant telling with some unnecessary baggage and the emotions of the story come off as forced. That aside, I liked the character examination here.

Notebook: I really liked this story. It’s not the best written, evident by numerous errors I noted during my read, but that’s beside the point. This story’s another examination of character and I loved every bit of it. The only thing that really dragged it down for me was Twilight’s state of mind being a little extreme in some areas. If you can control her, and perhaps spend more time developing her, this could easily turn into something special.

An Equestrian Guar: horizon, is this you? Oh man, poetry. I find it very difficult to review poetry without going into paragraphs upon paragraphs about it, so I’m going to hold off until I can find the time to dedicate to doing so. But I will say that I loved just about every bit of it. Though it’s obviously uneven and repetitious at times, that’s somewhat expected given poetry tends to take a lot of careful time and effort, and you only had a day for the minific writeoff. The only real complaint I can point to is that it’s not really that “pony,” but I’d be nitpicking. This was a wonderful thing to read.

Oceans III: That was silly, stupid, and I loved every bit of it. However, I have to ask: How in the world is this at all related to the previous two Oceans stories? I get now that in some way, the trilogy is related to each other insofar as actual oceans to an extent. However, I failed to find a connection between them and am thoroughly confused as to why they’re marked as being in sequence but seeming to have little to no relation with each other. Maybe I missed something, I dunno, so I’ll be sure to rate each story as their own. And still, I don’t like that the three stories are apparently related because, again, on the surface it’s just a cheap way to cheat the system.

A Little Bit of Silver: Firstly, that’s a great hook. Probably the best I’ve seen from this writeoff so far. It’s also the simplest of the stories here, I think. It doesn’t try do anything spectacular or too meaningful and it excels at it. It definitely takes advantage of the word count. Great work.

Watching the Same Sunset: Okay, so this story’s about Sunset Shimmer getting a brain freeze and somehow ends up in the world of Equestria Girls? At least that’s what I understood what happened. Your Sunset Shimmer isn’t that great of a narrator, and her voice was plainly annoying to read. The first scene was good, and story as a whole probably would have been stronger had it been in the third-person, but I’m still at a loss as to exactly what happened after that first scene.

Why I Left: The meta commentary before the actual story was unexpected, and I think it could’ve done better without. The story itself is a bit of a novelty, as it’s undeniably unique, but it doesn’t really have anything going for it. I didn’t find that interesting outside of the premise though, which I think tried to go the path of a short scary story. A good way to take such an idea, but it didn’t really accomplish that.

Gone: This was nice. Like others in this writeoff, it doesn’t really read like a story so much as like a scene taken from a much larger thing. My only real complaint is a nitpick but I have to say it whenever I see it: phonetically modifying a character’s language to force an accent is wholly unnecessary and annoying to read.

Equestrian Defense Force: This story seems to know what it’s doing, but it doesn’t really have the proper reasons to uphold its actions. Things just happen and the characters are monotone, taking from the story the emotion it needed. Overall, I found the story lacking engagement and not having anything too worthy of particular note.

Where the Heart Is: It’s difficult to get a reader in the head of an animal, and while I don’t think this story necessarily succeeded in doing so, it at least made a valiant effort. Or at least, that’s what I was thinking until that twist popped up at the end. I did not expect that. Amazingly done.

Lost to the Ages: I’ve read many a scene before about Luna encountering the Nightmare as its own entity, and this doesn’t really try to do anything new with the idea. It’s a bit too direct for its own good, and the overabundance of dialogue hindered any sort of immersion I’d have had from appearing.

Lagan: Okay, that was absurd and I loved it. It was a little hard to follow, especially after about midway through when the shipped ponies really started to ship. That things get bogged down and then suddenly picked back up during that last half is the only thing I can really find wrong with it. Good flow, relatively even pace, and okay I’m done with the naval puns now. alexmagnet, I will be shocked if this isn’t yours.

Yet Another Challenge: I don’t even. The randomness was almost too much for me, but I was too busy giggling to care. Well done.

Under The Moonlight: Adorable, if a bit too predictable for its own good. The revelation was underwhelming though, because while we were made aware of Luna’s detachment from the present, these parts Celestia brought back—while nice—came out of nowhere and as such, felt out of place. The one thing I have to nitpick is strange overabundance of semicolons, which isn’t bad, just a bit distracting.

Dublio
Group Contributor

Thanks to everyone that participated in the writeoffs and everyone that had submitted reviews. It was much appreciated. May we look forward to throwing our hats in the ring at the next writeoff, and I hope we've all learned a lot from writing our stories. :pinkiehappy:

Pascoite
Group Contributor

I didn't necessarily agree with everyone on which stories I gave my top votes, but hey, we wouldn't all want to get along, would we? Since it's unlikely anyone would hype up their own entry as a top finisher, I'm not worried about ruining anonymity at this point, any more than other people who have shown their top picks. So these are the ones I liked the best, in no particular order, and a few final thoughts on what might really make them special, should the authors care to lengthen them a little to make FiMFiction's requirements for a solo story or even further to meet Equestria Daily's requirements for a one-shot.

The Sun Birds
This story had some wonderful world building, but was pretty constricted by the word count. I don't think you'd have any trouble making this 3k or 4k words, because there's a lot in place that can be expanded upon. I hit all the questions I had about it in my earlier review, so all that's left is to encourage the author to revisit this one.

Berry's Secret Shame
There's a nice idea here, but it needs to get further into Berry's head, as it's a little distant now. Depending on how many events you wanted to have Berry stew over in her head, this could easily be several thousand words long or just bumped up over the 1k mark. The danger here is making things maudlin and piling unnecessary tragedy on top of each other. One or two things are fine, but if she just broke up with the love of her life, her dog died, her house burned down, and her hair stylist looked at her funny, it's just a ridiculous confluence of circumstances. These kinds of stories take a light touch. Put yourself in her situation and really invest the thought in how she would feel at the moment. That kind of authenticity is what's needed here.

A Little Bit of Silver
This tried to make a reveal of something the reader's likely to assume from the start, so I don't think it's advisable to try and mask who the young soldier is. You definitely have some room for growth, as the few spots of telly language and talking heads automatically give you places to invest more word count. It's the core idea about Cadence's type of magic that's the compelling thing, but if the commanding officer has a few more pieces of advice to offer in the form of anecdotes instead of only aphorisms, this could probably reach one-shot territory.

Under the Moonlight
It's admittedly tough to do something new with the conflict between Nightmare Moon and Celestia and its aftermath, and there's not that much new here. The characterization sold me, but the orphanage angle was also intriguing. The danger is having it get maudlin here, as an orphanage will certainly feel like an obvious grab for the reader's heartstrings. Along those lines, I'd encourage you to give some deeper meaning to Luna's association with it. Beyond just feeling sorry for these children, what other reason might she have had for being a patron of this orphanage? Try to come up with something that's sweet but not sappy and goes deeper than just the default investment anyone would have with downtrodden children. In fact, to avoid something that veers uncomfortably close to emotional manipulation, I even had an idea where there was an organization like the Girl Scouts that used to be around long ago that Luna had started. She assumed it would have been disbanded after her banishment, only to find that they're still together, and Celestia takes her to one of the meetings, where the children are overjoyed to see her. Just an idea, but one that would touch Luna's heart as much without seeming over the top. This could easily go over 1k words, but 2500 might be a stretch. Still, I've played a bunch of minifics into full stories, so anything's possible.

horizon
Group Admin

For some reason, the results don't seem to be up yet, but time is up and voting is closed so I'll claim my stories and talk about them a little. Congratulations to our upcoming winners! (If the author of "Where The Heart Is" has any serious competition for first place, I will be amazed. Edit: Color me amazed! Nicely done, WB.) And a sincere thank you and best wishes to every one of the competitors. :twilightsmile:

My stories, from last to first:

Why I Left:
Was written in a deliberate effort to push the boundaries of the competition (and throw in a backdoor entry in nothing like my usual style). As others have noted, it's only ambiguously fanfic. In hindsight, the metafictional frame of it didn't accomplish what I wanted it to — introduce a sliver of doubt as to its provenance — but I'm not sure anything could have. It's a weak part of the story, but it's a necessary frame. I had no idea what sort of reception it would receive, so the fact that the reviews seem overall positive is pleasant.

(And for the record, I did not attend LPU.)

An Equestrian Guar:
Psych! Not mine. :trollestia: Though there's certainly predecent, as I wrote 121 lines of blank verse for EFNW's Iron Author competition last year. (I couldn't enter, as I was one of the judges, but I had nothing else to do in the room for two hours.) Hats off to its author for the audacity to enter poetry, and for introducing me to a new form to play with. Where did you learn about luc bats?

The Sun Birds:
The dense, multi-layered, worldbuildy one was mine; who here is surprised? :derpytongue2: I agree with the multiple comments here that this is hard to follow at its current size, and yes, I do plan to expand it. My greatest challenge was making it as meaningful as possible at 750 words — at its current size, it's almost skeletally lean. Moleysia and the language-barrier scene both are totally inadequate, and I never got to add in direct exposition of the mythology that drives the entire story (the notion that phoenixes, as the title says, are literally from the sun, and that they are building their mountain pebble by pebble in order to get close enough to it to return). I was happy with how much of that premise I was able to layer in through implication, but from the reviews, the full impact of the idea clearly isn't coming through to readers. I have a bad habit of writing stories that rely on readers paying close attention, and it's good to know where I can and can't get away with that.

If you were confused about the story, here's what's going on:

- It bounces back and forth between modern-day Celestia (three months after Luna's return and immediately after Philomena's renewal in A Bird In The Hoof), and alicorn filly Celestia (before she earned her sunbutt). I'm working with Journal of the Two Sisters continuity here, where she and Luna were both born alicorns and raised by Starswirl, and the expanded version will make that explicit.

- The italic, past-tense sections are Filly Celestia. Both she and adult Celestia are making identical pilgrimages to gunung banyak batu-batu (Moleysian – which is to say, Malay – for "the mountain of many rocks"). It's filly Celestia's first time; Philomena disappears occasionally to make this trip, and Celestia says bye to Luna and secretly sneaks after her pet to discover where she goes. Philomena discovers her halfway through and gets furious (this is the island scene), but relents and allows her to come along.

- Adult Celestia flies straight to Moleysia with Philomena, where Philomena makes a state visit to the Prime Minister. Celestia's just tagging along; this isn't her show. The moles worship the phoenixes and consider their mountain sacred ground not to be touched. He makes an offering of a pebble to Philomena to help them in their endeavor. (There's more I could do here to explore the overlap with Celestia's solar link, as Pasco points out.)

- Filly Celestia gets blown off course by a storm, loses Philomena, and has to figure out where the phoenix went by talking to the locals through their language barrier. An old mole tells her not to go any further — but she shows him the pebble that Philomena gave her along the way, and he realizes she's been accepted by the sun tribe and agrees to help.

- Both old and young Celestia fly up to the top of the mountain and add their pebbles to it. The mountain grows. The phoenixes celebrate.

Pascoite
Group Contributor

3399236
Something got screwed up with the site auto-posting stuff, and Roger's Australian, so it may take a while for time zones to creep around to where he'll notice.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

Wonder if it has to do with the recent scoring kerfuffle. :B

RogerDodger
Group Admin

Bug fixed. Results are up now. Sorry for the delay.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

Whoo-hoo! Thanks for the fix, Roger, no worries. :D

Silver was definitely the best entry, embracing, as I said in my review, the real essence of flash-fiction in ways that tend not be so in these contests. Major props to WB for showing us all how it's done. :D

But what I really want to say is, Chris you magnificent bastard you got me to vote poetry into my top spot. :D

ON TO MY SHIT

"Lagan" is a third type of seaborne junk to go along with flostam and jetsam. It sits on the ocean floor and is marked for recovery by a buoy. I found the word by looking those up, actually, because I didn't want to use the wrong one as the title, and then decided it would be far better. Glad someone appreciated it. As for the story, well, writing silly, random shit is apparently my par for the course in the minific contests, and this is just shipping ponies who are being shipped on a ship, and then the ship sinks because pirates. Bonus seapony Twilight at the end because I like seaponies. Why Twixie? Because they're about the most default ship I can think of besides maybe AppleDash. Also, Trixie is an inherently silly pony and perfect for these kinds of stories.

As for Blackout in Ponyville, my A/N was actually misleading: you need to know the MLP comics and Transformers trivia to get the joke, though it seems to have worked fairly well despite that. (I was expecting it to finish in the bottom five, honestly.) But given that last time, people couldn't recall details from EQG, I figured some warning was in order. For those not in the know: Animated Blackout's weapons are called Zander Cannons, and in Pinkie's micro-series comic -- The one that was based off Watchmen, remember? Why aren't you reading the comics? -- her party cannon's brand is listed as "Z&R", which is a direct homage. So the link in my mind was "what if Blackout had to go to Equestria and play nice to get his amazing weaponry?" Not "Why is Pinkie selling weapons to homicidal extraequestrial travelers?", that part doesn't matter. I'm glad people enjoyed it. :)

I think I'll do something I don't normally do with these entries and expand both just a tad before I post them. :B Great writeoff, everyone, I thought all the entries were compelling and fun reads, and I look forward to the next one! I just hope it's just not during Bronycon, I don't want to have to do a repeat of this one. D:

Silent Strider
Group Contributor

What, I got 4th AND 5th? I really didn't expect that :rainbowderp:

I still want to post reviews of the other entries, but that will have to wait until Tuesday at the earliest, more likely Wednesday.

BTW,
3378504 (and to RogerDodger)
The three with 749 words were mine :scootangel: Well, not intentionally; I think there is some inconsistency in the submission applet, it was overcounting the words for all my three stories by one (compared with the count at the gallery), so 749 was the most words it allowed me. Not a big issue, one word hardly is, though it was annoying. It also seems to count horizontal lines as words in some (but not all) cases, which is why Under the Moonlight has a weak scene break rather than a strong one.

Now, about my stories, if anyone wants to know more:

Inconvenient Helpers
This one started as Daring Do finding a mystical artifact, fighting increasingly dangerous battles against her enemies on her way to deliver it to the Manehattan Museum, finally getting home... only to notice that she felt more at home out in the world, facing danger. I finished it and... it was boring, repetitive, and perhaps treading a trail already trodden to death. Heck, the last book I've read had two of the main characters going through the same.

So, I kept the first scene, the one I actually thought had turned well, and used it as a kind of prelude for an old plot I had, about Daring, Trixie, and Cheese going out on adventures like some kind of grown-up and out of whack CMC. Atop that, I decided to do a running gag where Daring would end most scenes telling that things either would go well or couldn't get worse, only to have they start worse in the following scene.

The structure of short scenes telling just enough to connect with each other, leaving everything in between unsaid, I shamelessly stole borrowed from Insufficient Postage, though I couldn't pull it off nearly as well as in that fic.

In hindsight, for the purpose of the contest, I think I should have dropped Trixie's part and used the extra words that it would have freed to flesh out the rest and add a bit of dialogue.

BTW: Tug, ugh:facehoof:
And I do want to both expand this minific into a proper first chapter, and tell stories about those three adventuring together, but first I have to find time and, preferably, scout out an editor. Sometimes my (lack of) command of the English language gets in the way of telling stories.

Notebook
I blame PresentPerfect for the idea :scootangel:

It's basically a songfic of a quite famous Brazilian song for children, "O Caderno" (Notebook, in a literal translation); the song follows the life of a girl, from when she first start playing with writing implements to when she is already a grown woman, and ending with a plea to not be forgotten, from the point of view of the girl's first notebook. Quite similar in tone to "When Somebody Loved Me", from Toy Story 2.

So, I basically gave the notebook to Twilight, used her own life events in the story, and told it as Twilight going through the pages of the notebook; otherwise, apart from the very beginning and the very end, it's the plot of the song directly copied into another story (it didn't even need to be ponified :scootangel:). And, since I like happy endings, I answered the notebook's plea by having Twilight fill the last page with what is supposedly her happiest memory, finding her new friends.

The idea of the ritual, and not using magic, is directly lifted from the excellent Twilight Makes a Cup of Tea, BTW.

Under the Moonlight
The idea is simple. Luna spent a thousand years locked away, which means that almost everything she knew was gone; every living being apart from Filomena, Celestia, and (later) Discord; the castle where she lived; etc. And even the things that remained (say, old cities) would likely be unrecognizable. She was trapped in a completely new, strange world, with no way of going back.

So, I decided to express this by creating a scale of things she lost, from the most ephemeral to the most permanent; the feeling she got out of the place she lived at, ponies that she interacted with, the castle where she lived. In hindsight I bungled here somewhat by adding the scene with Celestia and Philomena, the two greatest examples of permanency and impermanency, too soon, which meant that any further example would feel shallow; I should have used a narrow escape with a guard first, to make Luna remember the guards and castle from home, to then have her pass in front of Celestia's study.

Not using names for the most part (Celestia is never named, Luna is named once at the very end) was another conscious choice meant to build intimacy between reader and character; given the result, I think it worked, though no review mentioned it.

BTW, the orphanage at the end was not meant to use orphans as a cheap source of feelings (which is why I attempted to imply that the orphans were happy and well cared for); all the feelings were meant to come from Luna finding that something she cared about, something she was certain was lost, had survived. I wanted it to be something related to children because Luna obviously loves them (her three episodes are about either helping or gaining the acceptance of children), I wanted it to be some institution or organization so Luna would think it gone when all original members were long dead and the physical places had decayed, and I wanted it to be something that would be "open" (in the sense that children would be there) in the middle of the night. An orphanage seemed the best fit, and it would also serve as a homage to the animation Children of the Night.

Chris
Group Contributor

3400302
No sweat! It makes it more dramatic if you have to wait, after all.

3400341
I guess I might have had a chance with your story if I knew literally the first thing about transformers. Sadly, all my transformers knowledge comes from having watched the first Bay movie and part of the third, which I think means I have a net deficit of information to draw on :pinkiesick:


Confession time, I guess: in a shocking twist, Horizon didn't write An Equestrian Guar. Nope, that one's on me.

I see that somehow my poem got third place, despite the fact that I couldn't spell Gaur. I looked up most of the other Vietnamese words I used to make sure I got the spelling right, but I thought I knew Gaur was G-U-A-R. Um... oops :facehoof:

For those wondering, a Gaur is a type of cattle native to Vietnam. And if you didn't figure out the poetic form, it's a Vietnamese Lục bát (literally "six eight"), which consists of alternating lines of six and eight syllables, with the following rhyme pattern:

-----a
-----a-b
-----b
-----b-c
-----c
-----c-d

And so on, until you want to end, at which point you conclude the last line (always an eight syllable line) with the "a" rhyme, and bring it full circle. Speaking of rhyme, the online dictionary I just checked says that Gaur is pronounced to rhyme with "bower." I've only heard it pronounced to rhyme with "far" (like I did in my poem...). I'm not sure whether that's a regionalism, or just me mishearing through an accent.

Which brings me to 3399191 's question: where did I learn about Lục báts, gaurs, and the rest? Unfortunately, it's not a very exciting story: starting about when I was in preschool, a lot of Hmong refugees and immigrants settled in my hometown (mostly from Laos, but also from neighboring countries). So I ended up going to school with a lot of Hmong kids, and picked up a few cultural tidbits along the way.

...Okay, it's not like we were writing Lục báts in chalk on the pavement during recess, but we studied them when we were learning about poetry, which I'm pretty sure we wouldn't have otherwise. Anyway, that's the source of any small knowledge I might have on the subject.

In conclusion, writing one-day poetry is hard (this one kept me up way past my bedtime, and it's definitely still got some rough spots, even without the Guar thing that I'm still kicking myself about). I was expecting something in the high single digits placement-wise, so third place is a pleasant surprise! Glad so many of you enjoyed.

And for my part, I know that I enjoyed reading the stories in this set. And especial congrats to WB, whose winning story I just kind of assumed was written by Pasco (which is a compliment), and to Pasco, whose second-place story had one of the best, most clever twists I've seen in a short story. In something like fifty words, I went from "this is pretty clever, writing from the dog's POV" to "Oh god, the author's not gonna pull a 'Winona's sick and dying' on us, is he?" to "AUTHOR, YOU MAGNIFICENT BASTARD." But thank you to everyone who participated!

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3400936
That is like, negative Transformers right there. :B

Silent Strider
Group Contributor

I said I would do my reviews, so here they are, even if late.

Why Pinkie?

The whole fic is basically an elaborate setup for a “To The Moon” joke, and I have to agree with what others have said about a fic not being the best medium for it. There are also a few mechanical issues that threw me off, like a paragraph that is half dedicated to Twilight speaking and the other half to Pinkie acting; this kind of mix can confuse the reader.

Oceans I

It’s easy to mix up who is Night’s interloper at the start. The moon? The ocean? I believe the first paragraph really needs to be reworked, and the quote at the start seems to do more harm than good. Apart from that it’s an interesting piece, with a nice idea.

A Blackout in Ponyville

The author’s note is, IMHO, wrong in that the only needed information from the comic — the model of Pinkie’s party cannon — is replicated inside the fic. If the other half of the info needed for the joke, the name of Blackout’s cannons, was also replicated, then being familiar with the material (apart from knowing what a transformer is and that decepticons are the bad ones) would only be needed to know that the joke is based on canon details.

While I don’t think a crossover was a good idea for the writeoff, this story actually conveyed most of what was important about it, and while the central joke was lost for most readers, it wasn’t the only thing going for the story.

The Sun Birds

A very good example of how to do world building by showing the reader and letting him or her assemble the picture. On the downside, the way it distinguished between present and past scenes was confusing; I usually see italics without a scene break used to represent thoughts, not complete changes between present and future.

Also, it shows how irritating using onomatopoeia in a fic can be.

Oceans II

An interesting bit of world building in a dystopian alternate universe setting, and in my humble opinion better than the other two in the Oceans series. Also, in that series, this is the only one where the initial ocean-related quote helped the piece. Competently done, though depressing in tone, making it not really my cup of tea..

Mud

Rarity being rarity, in a well done way, though I got some dissonance from how high fantasy the fabric description was. The description and the internal dialogue was quite good. But all of that is not related to the plot, with the story itself being just a poop joke presented in the last two paragraphs, which in the end made the whole thing feel too underwhelming.

Keeping a Beat

I’m not sure there is a story here; it’s two character introductions, with some hints of conflicts, but it stops at that. Even though the parts themselves seem well crafted, they don’t assemble into a whole.

The Joy is in the Journey… Isn’t It?

A good story overall, well written, but the ending loses it for me by both throwing me out of my suspension of disbelief when I see just what happened (being a traveling pony I can’t see Trixie making that kind of gross error), and gives me a definitely non-pony vibe for the obfuscated swearing. Also, the initial characterization of Trixie, in the second paragraph, is something I can’t really agree with, specially the begging part.

Berry’s Secret Shame

I’m not sure it fits the prompt, though I have to admit it’s an interesting, if depressing, view of a fan-given aspect of a background pony’s personality. But due to some family issues this hits all the wrong buttons for me.

An Equestrian Guar

Poetry. I’m definitely not the right person to judge poetry, specially poetry in a language that is not my native one, and the author sabotaged himself by not only using a creature most readers would likely be unfamiliar with, but also by misspelling it. But the story seems fine regardless, with my sparse knowledge of English poetry I can’t find any other flaw with this, and the fact the author was able to pull off poetry in such a short time limit is impressive.

Oceans III

The quote-like first paragraph IMHO does more harm than good. Also, from what I’ve read in other reviews, it’s basically a well known skit recounted as a pony tale — but a skit I don’t know, which means that it lost most of its impact for me.

A Little Bit of Silver

A little parable, coupled with some world building, and well written to boot. What’s more, it does a good job at keeping the identity of the well known character hidden while making it painfully obvious in the end, and that without pulling any dirty tricks. Truly impressive in a minific format.

Watching the Same Sunset

Feels somewhat rushed and leaves what, for me, seems to be the plot defining event — Sunset Shimmer getting through the mirror — without description.
The writing has Sunset Shimmer’s thoughts and words often in conflict, which pegs the character as an indecisive teenager, which I’m not sure was the intent.
Also, “And I am a human?” This is the kind of slip that, for me at least, shatters my suspension of disbelief.

Why I Left

Audacious, I will grant that, by using a human in the real world, having as the scenario an event known mostly to early US bronies, and pretending to be a real story. It’s an interesting take on Discord, one that I actually find believable. Very well done.

Gone

Not exactly a story, more like just setting the mood. competently done as far as showing the sadness and despair, but there are too many details that don’t match for it to have any effect, on me at least. Less than a week is certainly not enough time to lose hope about disappeared people, or ponies, being alive, unless there is a strong proof otherwise.

Equestrian Defense Force

A bit of a war story, or rather a collection of war vignettes, apparently in an unexplained alternate universe. They seem too disconnected, didn’t manage to get me to care about the characters.

Where the Heart Is

I’m not sure if I’ve seen something of the kind before; points for originality. Good use of first person perspective, and good characterization also. And it managed to keep the secret hidden to the end.

Lost to the Ages

One of the takes on Luna’s banishment, which I believe I’ve already seen done. While the writing is not bad, I’m not sure the bit of silly humor at the start is a good fit for the piece’s tone and I found the ending confusing.

Lagan

Silly Twixie shipping on a ship, with a mention of a long journey home to justify the prompt. Competently written, funny and amusing for those that enjoy this ship. It strikes the wrong notes for me, though, because while I love the idea of Twilight and Trixie being close friends, I actually dislike when it crosses into shipping.

Yet Another Challenge

Hum, I would tag this random if it was on FIMFiction.
The idea of Trixie wanting constant rematches against Twilight is interesting, but unoriginal. And the ending is too out of the blue.
I wonder if it went from being a story with humans to one with ponies, due to Trixie using a wand that wasn’t further described.

horizon
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Thank you both for the reviews!

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