The Writeoff Association 927 members · 663 stories
Comments ( 72 )
  • Viewing 1 - 50 of 72
RogerDodger
Group Admin

Event overview

Please refrain from saying anything that might compromise your anonymity. Doing so is grounds for disqualification. It's recommended you do dummy reviews of your own stories should it otherwise be easy to deduce which you wrote.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

I've missed two of these in a row. Here's hoping I can make this one.

Dublio
Group Contributor

I'll participate in this and give it a whirl. :pinkiecrazy:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

[insert standard litany of complaints and whining]

This'll be fun yaaaay :D

M1Garand8
Group Contributor

May or may not join this time, depending on the prompt. I have way too many stories to edit right now. :derpytongue2:

Jonathon Smythe
Group Contributor

I'm not sure what to make of this prompt. Hmm... I guess we'll see.

Silent Strider
Group Contributor

And, with this prompt, I officially proclaim Bad Horse a psychic :trollestia:

(And my last, unpublished — but submitted to a contest — story, if rewritten under a different point of view, would fit this prompt just fine. Oh, well; back to brainstorming.)

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

Good prompt this time. :)

Of course, that means I have too many story ideas now. D:

Yip
Group Contributor

I completely forgot about this again.

Oh well. I'll see if I can scrape something up.

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

Neat. Two of the prompts I submitted were the two highest rated.

Pascoite
Group Contributor

3455841
Too bad the site doesn't keep a prompt score anymore.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

Reminder: Actually submitting your entry is a good idea! (I almost forgot. :B)

RazgrizS57
Group Contributor

Time has escaped me this round. I surely won't be able to get a story submitted, but I'll still try and stick around to review them.

Silent Strider
Group Contributor

I'm trying to get my last scene written, to then submit it unedited to guarantee my spot, and lastly do a hasty edit. Mine, like nearly always in events like this, is going to be a photo finish.

I have the feeling that the selected prompt was not such a good idea. While it is a good prompt, almost every story I could think would end being either a mini-fic or something far larger than I would have the time to write. But that could be just me.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

Oh for craps sake this is going to be close...again. Hnnnnng why can't I have more time? Why universe why?? :flutterrage:

M1Garand8
Group Contributor

Well, looks like I can't finish my entry in time. I'll finish it and submit it on fimfic later instead.

(Really liked this idea I'm doing right now but I just can't get it done in any good shape before the deadline =/)

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

Nope. Didn't make it. Oh well, better luck next time...again.

To those who managed their time more wisely...may the best writer win! :twilightsmile:

horizon
Group Admin

3463041
> submit it unedited to guarantee my spot, and lastly do a hasty edit

You can do that? Every time I've submitted a story to the writeoff site, it gives me a confirmation message and the entry vanishes, and I don't see any way of returning to a previous submission.

To preserve my dignity (at least for another week), I won't say whether I submitted this time or not, but I will note that I was typing five minutes before the deadline. :unsuresweetie:

RogerDodger
Group Admin

3463724
Says so in the FAQ:

You may delete/edit a submission by logging in and going to the “My Submissions” page. You can only do this while submissions are open.

If you want a submission deleted or edited after submissions are closed, you'll have to take it up with the event's organiser.

Silent Strider
Group Contributor

3463724

To complement what RogerDodger said, in the "My Sumissions" page you will see two padlocks to the right of each of your stories. While you can still edit a story, the left padlock will be a pen instead, and you can edit it by clicking on that pen.

Well, thanks to the feedback given by the submission form (and the fact it randomizes the order of submissions :scootangel:) I can say that there were submissions after my reasonably late one, bringing the total to seven stories and almost 26K words. Though I will have to wait before reading them; I still have to read the fics that reached popular vote in Obs's contest first, plus a few RL things are likely to take up my free time for today.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

Sad we didn't hit double digits. Looks like this one wasn't on a good weekend for people. :/

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

I was going to wait until I had at least three reviews before I posted them, but since my first came out rather long, I'll just post it by itself to avoid a mega long comment.

My Big Brother, Stranger Forever

I liked this one for its main concept—that Twilight has an estranged older brother. And I appreciate how you tried to write a good dramatic story. There was some nice tension there, and I especially enjoyed Pinkie. It’s not easy trying to convey deep, hurt and bitter feelings between two characters, believe me, and it can be even more difficult when one of them is an OC and you’re under a time limit. So the elements I didn’t exactly find myself liking I don’t consider as reflecting on your overall ability as a writer. After all, you did have a very interesting idea with Twilight having a second older brother, one that is full of possibilities.
For me—I don’t know about anyone else—the story was going fairly well until they had lunch together. See, I know I’m supposed to feel bad for Pierce, but…I don’t. He didn’t so much come off as tragic as he did ignorant and full of self-pity. The reasons for this may be partly wrapped up in how he’s an OC, which by their very nature have a more difficult time finding empathy in the reader. If this had been an alternate universe story where one of the mane six replaced Pierce, and word for word nothing much else was changed, I very well might have really liked it. But as it happened, I found myself not enjoying Pierce more and more. Perhaps it was the fact that we were given very little to like about him first, or even have the hope of liking, before we were expected to feel bad for him (I understand I’m making an assumption that we are expected to feel bad for him—that may not have been your purpose). And for the tension and drama to really work its magic, we need to feel for both sides of the argument, for both Twilight and Pierce, and understand both their plights in order to really feel the tragedy of their present situation.
The first time you see Pierce he comes across as a disinterested, depressed person, which was sad for sadness’ sake, but not much else—again, at least for me. I think what else bothered me was that he was Twilight’s brother, and of course I love Twilight, and anyone who doesn’t like her in-story is almost immediately in my bad graces…and this guy was her brother. He of all ponies should have been open to her. But from the very first moment we see him, he isn’t. But I didn’t start to really dislike him until he lost his temper. I think it happened too soon; the emotion ramped up before I was properly invested, and so I didn’t really empathize with his outburst. He came off as someone who was too busy feeling sorry for himself to see that Twilight was trying to reach out to him—and while that in itself sounds tragic, it didn’t feel that way, because there didn’t seem to be any desire on his part to reach back. See, to me, that’s what real tragedy is; when both people want to reconcile, when they want to be happy with each other and have a good relationship, but their own flaws prevent them. When one party doesn’t even seem to want reconciliation, it doesn’t feel tragic.
Now don’t misunderstand me…I’m not at all saying that the backstory and personality you gave Pierce was wrong. For one, fanfiction is unique in that none of its readers are impartial in the way that the audience for regular fiction is—they’re all biased, because they’re fans. You could do one thing in normal fiction that works which ends up failing in fanfiction.
There’s nothing wrong in concept with Twilight having an estranged brother, who grew up with two perfect siblings and was bullied and developed a major complex about his lack of magic and inferior feelings, and that he would want nothing to do with Twilight. But as a fan of Twilight I receive that in a particular way. Which is why I think the biggest flaw was simply ramping up the emotion in Sugarcube Corner too soon. I was hardly invested in Pierce, I didn’t yet like him in any way, so when he lost his temper, I found myself entirely taking Twilight’s side of things. It made Pierce look like a victim of self-pity more so than of a tragic backstory. I was angry at him for making Twilight upset. When she said, “if you want to hate me then fine” I applauded her and cried “yeah tell him!” Which I don’t think was the response you wanted. I think you wanted me to see the tragedy of it all.
The “too soon” aspect is a result of the time limit, and that’s why I said I don’t blame you for my dissatisfaction. If I were to recommend any changes to the story, it would only be these two: first, to try to work something positive into Pierce’s personality. Notably, a desire for reconciliation (otherwise it won’t feel very tragic). You don’t have to come out and state it blatantly, that wouldn’t work, but just hint at it. We can clearly see that Twilight has hope, and that she wants a second chance—after all, she’s the one who sought him out. Perhaps you can work with the fact he attended Twilight’s party—that could be enough to show us that deep down inside, though he doesn’t want to admit it, he wants to be happy with Twilight (I know he changes at the end, but being at the end it didn’t prevent all my negative feelings towards him from piling up). Also, perhaps make him less blatantly resistant to Twilight’s arguments—maybe he wants to believe them, but he just can’t, as opposed to originally where he simply doesn’t seem to want to at all.
My second suggestion would be to parse out Pierce’s backstory over a longer time interval (something you couldn’t really do in the writeoff), and work up to an emotional outburst, after we have something to like about his character. We need to like him for his own sake, not just because Twilight herself loves him.
I know I’ve written a lot about what I didn’t quite like, but that doesn’t mean I hated the story or anything. Not at all. Like I said, the general idea of an estranged older brother, and Twilight now finding herself living in the same town, was very intriguing, and lends itself to a lot of great possibilities. And Pinkie was great as well. As I said earlier, it can be very tough to write bitterness into a character and have the audience like them and really empathize. It’s hard to work up strong emotions in your readers. But you made a good attempt, even if everything wasn’t as successful as you would want. ^.^

horizon
Group Admin

3464976
Jumping in from the sidelines: I don't know whether this will change your review any (it doesn't touch on most of the critique), but Pokey Pierce isn't an OC. He appeared in Call of the Cutie and popped a bunch of Pinkie's balloons with his horn, and he's a recurring background pony under the Hasbro-official name of "Royal Pin." If you google "my little pony pokey pierce" you'll find quite a bit of fanwork.

3464010 3464113
Good to know, thank you!

3464257
Yeah, looking at the comments above it seemed like a lot of folks got washed out by the deadline, and a few entrants were complaining about time pressures. For comps with longer stories, I get the sense that both overall quality and number of entrants would improve if the submission period was extended.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

3465847
Oh yeeeaaah that guy! I wasn't aware he had a name.
It doesn't really change anything for me though, because he just about might as well be an OC, but even so, that wasn't the reason I disliked him at all. It simply meant I had zero starting investment in him, and I wanted to admit that had he been replaced by a character in who I was very much invested already, like say Rarity, the so called "flaws" I currently perceived might not have bothered me. I was trying to admit my bias or subjectivity.

Thanks for the heads up. :twilightsmile:

Potential Albatross
Group Contributor

Feedbackin'

My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever

I enjoy the idea of yet another insta-brother for Twilight. Really, there should be a whole series of stories in which Twilight keeps introducing previously unmentioned siblings. She could have like fifty by the end.

The narrative style is fun, but at times seems a little too folksy with Twilight as the point-of-view character. Phrases like ”doubled, and then doubled again” don’t really seem to fit.

I like the brief exploration of Ponyville's 'wrong side of the tracks' - small towns are never all sunshine and pretty flowers, but this children's cartoon has the temerity to gloss over the realities of rural living. It's about time someone set the record straight.

Pierce’s blowup seems a bit contrived - he reacts very strongly to something Twilight doesn’t seem to have said. Maybe he’s reading an extreme meaning from an innocuous statement, but if so that probably ought to be explained.

On that subject, what Twilight did say seems weird. Pierce clearly knows her deal - it’s not like her magical ability or her station need to be explained.

Pierce seems to believe both that his family wants nothing to do with him, and that they’ve sent Twilight to check up on him.

Twilight and Pierce avoid looking at each other, but somehow still manage a great deal of communication by facial expression.

On to the more technical side.

Here’s a paragraph:

The workshop being so close to downtown was fortuitous. She didn't want to waste any time getting to an eatery. It grew palpably shorter with each step.

The first sentence is a bit awkward - using a present-progressive as a subject is best avoided. ‘The workshop’s location close to downtown…’ might work better.

The word ‘fortuitous’ is one of those that needs to fit perfectly, or else you give the impression that you’re straining for syllable count. In my opinion, half a dozen synonyms work just as well here.

On the last sentence, I’m still scratching my head over what grew palpably shorter. A strict grammatical interpretation suggests that ‘it’ is the eatery itself, but that doesn’t make sense. Best guess is the distance to the eatery, but that’s not really what’s conveyed by the text. It also seems that the eatery has not at this point been chosen, so how the distance to it could be known is unclear.

It may be a matter of opinion, but ‘palpably’ is not an adjective I would apply to a distance.

Tense mixup here:

She looked at him, but he's no more than a blue-on-blue blur.

And here:

The sound makes her want to wrap him in her hooves and squeeze until all the stupid has bled out of him like juice from an apple.

This simile:

She turned like an hour hand back to her sandwich.

doesn’t do much for me aside from making me think for a second about how an hour hand turns. Having done that, I substitute in the adverb 'mechanically'.

The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon

Footnotes in fiction really ought to be a criminal offense.

Other than that this is pretty great. I really enjoy Bluebood and Poncemercy’s linguistic, um, flexibility. My only minor complaint is that tying it in to the Discord story doesn’t really add much, and makes the following events a little less credible; it’s hard to imagine, after the return of Discord, everything going back to normal quickly enough for what seems to be an almost immediate vote on Blueblood’s pet project.

Regardless, ‘dirty cricket’ is definitely going into my personal lexicon.

Somepony Get Me Out!

This needs serious editing before I can finish it. I’ll include a few examples in the interest of being constructive.

She buried her muzzle through the ticks repeatedly and the timings on the book, her head cocking to meet the clock’s.

I feel like a word or two must have gotten lost in here somewhere. I’m pretty sure ‘repeatedly’ is out of place, but removing it or trying it in other places doesn’t really get me any closer to deciphering the sentence.

Nodding with her eyes shut briefly, she smiled knowingly, turning her head to glance at her clock before letting her eyes wander over the trees that dotted around the white spires, rustling slightly with every brushing of the cool wind.

Were here eyes shut briefly, or did she nod briefly? The structure of the sentence leaves it ambiguous whether trees are rustling or Cad(a|e)nce is. With a second’s thought, it seems like an action befitting trees more than ponies, but the reader shouldn’t really have to give it a second’s thought. This would serve better as two or even three separate sentences.

She began to take notice of the individual leaves sauntering towards the ground, their shades of red and yellow swirling with exuberance as she let out another sigh, her tone now lighter and happier than before.

Leaves do not saunter.

Princess Cadance let out a soft sigh as she allowed her eyes to close again, taking in the feeling of a cool breeze brushing past her, the rustling of the leaves still ever present on her hooves as one of those leaves fell past her, gliding past her body and under her left wing, gracefully going to float until it found its way to the ground.

This is another sentence that’s trying to do way too much. It has yet another reference to cool winds and yet another use of the word ‘rustling’. 'Gracefully going to float' just doesn't work.

Somewhere in there, she found a young, pink pegasus squeeze through in between the two ponies, giggling with a bubbly disposition as she looked up to the two of them.

‘Somewhere in there’ is an odd way to refer to what I’m interpreting as an imaginary scene based on the context. ‘Squeeze’ needs a tense adjustment. The ‘in’ in ‘in between’ is better dropped.

Equestrian Diplomacy

This suffers from failures of characterization. Twilight spends the entire first scene hand-wringing (hoof-wringing?) about Spike’s potentially disastrous future without actually doing anything to improve the outlook. Celestia, who presumably lived through the previous dragon/pony incident that’s referred to, apparently saw nothing wrong with dumping Spike on Twilight regardless of that experience. In the later scenes, Spike is portrayed with a random smattering of insanity tropes - not exactly a convincing portrait of the implied psychological damage inflicted by his upbringing.

Also, the title is only tangentially related to the content.


I'll get the rest tomorrow, probably.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

Got two more finished. I tried writing less words this time.

The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon

Footnotes! I simultaneously love and hate those things. Also, always a pleasure to see Blueblood put in his place. Man he is such a wimp.

Overall I had a lot of fun with this! Blueblood’s antics were consistently enjoyable throughout, and I liked the inclusion of characters like Shining and the princesses. Some of my favorite jokes were the subtle ones, like his penchant for awkward (and sometimes non-existing) words like smirksome or emblazonment. I’m glad you didn’t try to make it look like he was supposed to be completely reconciled near the end, because even though male suffrage is a good thing, Blueblood was doing it for all the wrong reasons. I was worried after Luna encouraged him that the story was expecting me to suddenly cheer for him, which I didn’t want to do, at least in any semi-serious way. But I thought you handled it well at the end, with Celestia easily outwitting him to isolate the suffrage bit from his proposal. And I dare say Celestia and Luna were in favor of stallions voting.

I can’t really complain too much anyway, since it was a nice bit of character development for Blueblood. Were he to be successful with stallions voting, I’d hate to think there’d be a statue of him erected someday.

For example, what would happen if you, Scootaloo, wanted to play video games instead of researching the mayoral elections? You couldn't. And what if you, Featherweight, wanted to vote? You couldn't.

Equestrian logic at its finest!

I also liked how Blueblood awoke Discord by explaining the law he wished to pass. It was a nice touch.


Somepony Get Me Out!

This was interesting. I’m sorry to say that it was hard to understand what was happening most of the time, though things got a little clearer towards the end, once we got a fuller picture of what happened to Cadance’s parents. Try not to worry, because confusing writing happens sometimes during writeoffs. The last time I was able to submit a story, no one had any clue what was happening in it. It doesn’t make you a bad writer, it just means you overestimated somewhere along the line. Missed some connections.

I think simplifying your language would really help; your sentences may not sound as pretty to you anymore, but they’ll be clearer, which is the most important thing. Also, instead of just explaining how Cadance and Shining are feeling, try to make it clear why they feel that way. Cadance crying doesn’t have much affect if we don’t know why she’s crying in the first place, right? And speaking of feelings, it’s usually a good rule for a character’s emotions to build up over the course of the story, and for the reader to see them build. That means if Cadance just starts crying out of the blue, it won’t work. Unless the story is about something like, “hey look Cadance is upset…but why?” In that case, you want to make sure you answer the ‘why’ as clearly as possible, and very importantly, that you don’t focus too long on Cadance being upset before you start revealing the ‘why’. In the story, we see a lot of Cadance being sad, but we don’t begin to see why until close to the end, so we spend a lot of time in confusion. For a long while all we see are her feelings, but none of the motivations for those feelings.

So overall I think that simplifying and clarifying/explaining are the two biggest things to work on if you plan to polish this story up. And remember, one hard to understand story doesn’t mean you’re a poor writer. :3

M1Garand8
Group Contributor

3465847

Yeah, looking at the comments above it seemed like a lot of folks got washed out by the deadline, and a few entrants were complaining about time pressures. For comps with longer stories, I get the sense that both overall quality and number of entrants would improve if the submission period was extended.

Well, in my case it wasn't so much that the period that screwed me over but that I didn't have enough free time to complete it in time. =/

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

I'm gonna guess at authors, because I've decided that should be a thing.

My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever

See 3464976 's review above. Basically that. This isn't a story so much as one guy being a jerk. I like "the one with no magic" stories--heck, I'm working on one---but he didn't get any sympathy from me. It could be the start of a story, almost, except there's no hook. More effort went into the individual words and sentences than into the big-picture story and structure and why we would want to read it. Also, what's it got to do with the prompt?

Author: PresentPerfect? Based on it being a character-based "what-if" idea, and well-written.


The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon

An amazing 7000 words in 2 days. Enviable.
I'm calling this as the easy winner of the contest.

Author: This would be obvious even without the wacky political hijinks and footnotes. The British humor, the control keeping all the humor consistently at about the same level, the twisted yet world-plausible logic, the wordplay--only one pony can write like that. This is obviously the work of Sir Terry Pratchett. Welcome to fimfiction, Sir Terry.

ADDED: GhostOfHeraclitus claims not to have even known about this story. If this is true, my second guess is horizon. Somebody else proposed Georg, which now seems more likely than horizon.


Somepony Get Me Out!

Confusing. Rushed. I am okay with leaves sauntering, but is she actually watching leaves falling in Ponyville from her window in Canterlot? The writer took a lot of little risks like that, which I appreciate, but taking lots of risks means making lots of mistakes, and as 3466529 pointed out, the mistakes are still there.

The story has a weird oil-and-water mix of comedy and tragedy in the ending of dooming Equestria through lesbian shipping. Comedy and tragedy can mix, but it's not working there.

Author: ???


Equestrian Diplomacy

The execution is very good. The story's interesting. It's an anti-pony story, having a message opposite that of the show. I'm fine with that. Stories like this are worthwhile, but very hard to connect with emotionally at 2000 words. This could work a lot better at 10,000 words, maybe, I think, by showing its inevitability and helping us understand Spike's mind at the end better.

Author: horizon? On account of the idea being a combination of abstract intellectual (nature vs nurture) and personal.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

Naval Gazing

An enjoyable CMC romp. The idea of staging a piracy within a play is great. I liked the running joke with silly naval pronunciations, because they are silly. Foxel, indeed. My only complaint is the implication that Equestrian justice applies only to important people and friends of princesses. That left an ugh in my throat while reading it. But I'll still call it for second place.

Author: Pascoite? Maybe horizon, because of the puns.


Ἐλπίς

I don't know if this is too long or too short. It's kind of an inversion of Harlan Ellison's "The Deathbird", which was 10,000 words (and better written, but with a shitty message). Perhaps imitation is the sincerest form of criticism.

I like the two kicks at the end, one brutal and one inspirational. I especially like how they are each delivered suddenly, in one short line, led up to but not telegraphed ahead of time. But I feel too much is left unclear about how the universe operates, what might have made Celestia make the opposite decision at the end, and why grooves that can suck her soul from her can also give it back. Readers should not have to Google the title to figure out what a story is about. Also, Luna is the temporary disposable or emergency-backup goddess we all secretly suspected she was.

Author: Pretentious prose, moody, Greek title making an obscure classical reference--I'm gonna say darf.


Memories of a Star

This is a good idea, as I see it: Study and contrast three magicians, Evening Stardust, Trixie, & Twilight, with respect to their friendships and how it affected them. Trixie sees she is acting like Evening Stardust, her idol, and compares his sad? life to that of Twilight, and realizes she ought to be more like Twilight. The plot (find lost workshop) should drive a character change in Trixie.

But the character interactions and changes are glossed over. Rarity should be there to catalyze a change in Trixie. An important question is: Why Rarity? Seems to me her function is to have somepony to talk to so we can hear Trixie's dialogue. Any other pony could have done. That means Rarity is wasted, a character with lots of stage time who doesn't interact, on the character/personality level, with the story. Rarity and Trixie get along too easily, given their past. If you put some tension between them, it might be easier to believe character change arising from it.

It's also a little odd that his workshop would be (a) "lost", yet obvious to anybody who wanders around the countryside a bit, and (b) freakin' gigantic inside--is there a mountain behind it?

Author: Silent Strider? Partly because Trixie plus fireworks.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

Man, all these other reviews are making me feel inadequate. :(

My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever: Twilight’s related to Pokey Pierce? And… also adopted. Okay. He’s got a heck of a victim complex going on there. I’m not sure Twilight’s reactions to him really indicate the depth of their relationship; that’s always hard with this kind of story. It might be a tad melodramatic as well. Nice to see pure season 1 stuff for a change, though.

The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon: OH BOY FOOTNOTES, nothing’s better for breaking immersion. Once I got over being angry at their existence, and then being angry at how damn many there were, this was pretty funny. (The turning point, I should mention, was “smooth bore”.) It is, in fact, a stupid amount of fun. I particularly like Poncemercy, if only for his speech patterns. He’s a fun straight character in that he’s almost as bad as Blueblood, but not quite. Blueblood’s continual malapropisms are likewise hilarious. I hate all the puns, though. That’s a bad author, bad! This maybe needs a bit more at the ending to give it extra oomph, but it’s really good. Also, I like how we have two stories in a row going back in time through the show and positing familial relations between unlikely characters, though.

Somepony Get Me Out!: I have to admit, I had a hard time understanding this story. There are a lot of word usage issues that render some sentences nigh meaningless. I couldn’t even tell you what it was about.

Equestrian Diplomacy: There’s a hell of a jump from “Spike worrying about his place in the world” to “Equestria being overrun by… something”. The whiplash induced by trying to piece together what was going on left me plodding through the rest, just nodding my head dumbly. Really though, I don’t think that first scene is enough to properly set up “Spike is evil now”. This needs a lot more to work. Also, what happened to the Alpha. Eww.

Naval Gazing: Love a good pirate story, and the setup on this is fun, what with all the double-blinds. Couldn’t help feeling it was fast-paced and that Pinkie was a little too random. In general, a lot of the humor is off-balance throughout, though it seems to get better as it goes. And OH MY GOD I KNOW WHO WROTE THIS BECAUSE YOU GAVE THIS TO ME AS A STORY IDEA AND MUST HAVE FORGOT SMOOTH MOVE GENIUS. :V But seriously, were some of those pirate puns really necessary ._.

Elpis: This is a really evocative and original take on the whole living-through-the-end-of-the-world, creation myth fic. Though I could have done without the direct ‘you’ address. Really, though, I like “quiet apocalypse”, and the scenery gave me an OFF vibe. The Butler adds a nice dose of surreality to the whole piece and you show an awful lot with imagery. Well done.

Memories of a Star: Once I let slide the “where the heck did Rarity come from?” question, this became a perfectly serviceable odd couple adventure. Needs more shipping. Also nice seeing a reformed Trixie who still acts like her old self now and again. I also appreciated that she was going after an old fireworks master. It’s too bad this feels like chapter 1 and doesn’t go any farther. Also, the writing was not as strong as it could have been.

Oh man and now I'm meddling in other peoples' reviews I should not be doing this.

3466529

there should be a whole series of stories in which Twilight keeps introducing previously unmentioned siblings. She could have like fifty by the end.

This is the best suggestion I have ever heard. It's a great idea. :D

3467670
I wasn't gonna say anything until I saw you compare the one story to Pratchett, and then I just had to know what you might have thought about the others and yes this is totally Ellison you are so right. :O Though I have to ask, what makes you think this is Celestia? Her body's described as glowing blue; I figured that meant Luna took over at some point, which is why she dropped the sun. :B

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

3467917

Though I have to ask, what makes you think this is Celestia? Her body's described as glowing blue; I figured that meant Luna took over at some point, which is why she dropped the sun. :B

Huh. Her reflection was a "white blur" at the start of the story, but that's all I've got to go on. I guess Celestia is default goddess to me. Interesting to reread it thinking of Luna.

Potential Albatross
Group Contributor

More feedback!

Naval Gazing

I should probably state a major bias on this one up front: I really can't stand the CMC. If they absolutely must be present, I'd much prefer if they would just spew their menstrual metaphors and exit stage left as quickly as possible. So, I had trouble getting through this one, for reasons that are mostly not the fault of the story.

The plot seemed like it was going somewhere, and then it devolved into a bunch of puns and ended.

On the puns, though, some of them felt like I was being personally assaulted. Cuts less? Are you serious?

“So, that’s the rum sum some dumb numb bum runs?”

Unless you know something I don't, I would bet that your audience hasn't earned this kind of punishment.

Ἐλπίς

The title is an issue. It's been covered already.

If you took the first and last five paragraphs or so (with some adjustments), I think you'd have a pretty cool short form deal. Everything in the middle seems like it's just there to hit the word count requirement. Bizarre asides about dentistry are inadvisable in almost any context, but especially this one.

Memories of a Star

The setup leaves a bit to be desired. Dense exposition, combined with stuff like this:

Oh, well, I don’t know much about that Evening Stardust pony, but I did read that he jotted everything that inspired him on a notebook, and most of his writings were never recovered

Wow, that is incredibly convenient!

You were under some kind of curse, I know. My daughter made sure I would remember, and made me promise to not hold a grudge against you. So I don’t.

Having trouble suspending disbelief here. Does Twilight send a quick letter home every time she has an issue with somepony, warning her parents not to hold a grudge against numerous ponies they may never meet? Cause that list would be getting pretty long by now.

In all, this story works awfully hard to retread the moral of the very first episode. Friends: good. Obsessive shut-in behavior: a legitimate route to accomplishment, apparently, but maybe not as fulfilling as one would hope.

I agree with PresentPerfect - needs more shipping.

Feedback complete!


3467645

I am okay with leaves sauntering.

'Saunter' is a strictly ambulatory verb. There are rules!

particularly in the ending of dooming Equestria through lesbian shipping.

I wish I had gotten far enough and/or understood it well enough to get that - dooming Equestria through lesbian shipping is pretty much my thing.

3467917

This is the best suggestion I have ever heard. It's a great idea. :D

It's probably one of those things that sounds really great in concept but loses its charm pretty quickly. Still, if you could keep the absurdity train gaining steam for long enough to smash it into something really cool, it could be worthwhile.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

3468804

'Saunter' is a strictly ambulatory verb. There are rules!

Art knows no rules! :raritycry:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3468737
Honestly, I likely wouldn't have come up with that if I hadn't read a story not long ago where Luna was the sister who survived to the end of the universe and then recreated it.

3468804

Unless you know something I don't, I would bet that your audience hasn't earned this kind of punishment.

Never have truer words been spoken.

horizon
Group Admin

Based on my experiences in the past two writeoffs, I'm going to try something a little different this time. I remember really looking forward to the immediate rush of post-submission reviews; but I also remember having to bite my tongue and not interact with others' reviews because of the anonymity rule. So I'm going to split the difference, by posting micro-reviews now, and then returning to expand on them after the judging period is over and authors can immediately respond.

My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever
First Impressions: Somewhat twee title, literary-looking textual style. Had to stop and reread first paragraph twice to parse it, which has me worried.
After Reading: Surpassed initial expectations! I love the writing and a lot of the details. Unfortunately, I never connected with Pokey, so while the reading was an enjoyable experience, the narrative feels thin now that I'm done.

The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon
First Impressions: GhostOfHeraclitus, is that you? (Also dammit, Bad Horse, you beat me to that joke. :V) The first sentence is too early to jump to footnotes, but on the other hand, it sets up that excellent footnote #3.
After Reading: Some good comedy! But in hindsight, it occurs to me that the story completely stopped being a comedy three scenes from the end … and yet carried itself to the finish line. To quote Shining Armor, "That's…huh. That's…wow."

Somepony Get Me Out!
First Impressions: Exclamatory title promises comedy. First few paragraphs promise drama. Is she … changing reality by reading her book? Also, "lour" isn't a word.
After Reading: I … think I'm going to have to reread this when I'm not tired. And take notes. Also, holy crap, "lour" IS a word (though so obscure it's better replaced).

Equestrian Diplomacy
First Impressions: Ambiguous title, slice-of-lifey intro promises introspective character piece. I'm looking forward; I like me some meditations on growth/change/aging.
After Reading: aaaaaaaagh that Alpha squishing took a creepy turn. Which would have been fine, if the first half had better prepared me for Spike's complete lack of moral compass. I feel like there's a section missing in the middle which bridges Part 1 and Part 2. (Also, not seeing the theme.)

Naval Gazing
First Impressions: Pun title promises comedy. First scene is adventure played very straight, but vivid and grabby. Nice Mane Six, except for Pinkie. Looking forward to Twilight Vs. Sky Pirates.
After Reading: aaaaaaaagh that took a random turn. CMC, why? Oh, stars, the puns. Again, this feels disappointing due to a failure of expectation; it started out as a pretty awesome adventure story and ended up as clever wordsmithery (except for that line), but leaping from Part 1 to Part 2 invalidated the Part 1 that I wanted to read.

Ἐλπίς
First Impressions: darf, is that y— ferchrissake, Bad Horse, leave me one punchline. Smooze apocalypse eating the motherbucking sun! This promises good things.
After Reading: aaaaaaaagh that through the bone into the nerve bit (among other torture-porn scenes) … I really wish I'd been braced for this with the forewarning of a Gore and/or Mature tag. :\ I appreciate the story's premise in the abstract but I'm a little too rattled to fairly evaluate. Will re-read before scoring.

What's up with all of this round's entries taking abrupt hairpin swerves halfway through the story? :unsuresweetie:

Memories of a Star
First Impressions: Ambiguous title, good bartering scene. Rarity out of nowhere, but okay, it's fine for an excuse plot; I'll spot you that and wait to see how the characters play off of each other.
After Reading: Gotta echo Bad Horse here — Trixie is a well-done Trixie, and Rarity is a well-done Rarity, but seeing them together I don't get a sense of Trixie plus Rarity, if that makes sense. Feels like they need more antagonism to overcome. Modulo that, enjoyable adventure.

(Rereading these, I'm worried I'm toeing the line of un-constructive criticism, so I'll make a point of being a little more positive in the longer reviews.)

horizon
Group Admin

3467917 3468804
> a whole series of stories in which Twilight keeps introducing previously unmentioned siblings. She could have like fifty by the end

I am now picturing the bastard love-child of Cheerilee's Thousand and Changelings, Changelings Everywhere. This has potential.

3468951 et.al.
> I am okay with leaves sauntering.

IMHO the greater context makes it work even if you don't appreciate it on its own merits: She began to take notice of the individual leaves sauntering towards the ground, their shades of red and yellow swirling with exuberance as she let out another sigh, her tone now lighter and happier than before. Reflecting the character's mental state in the scenery is a well-known literary device.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

3469532 YOU are not allowed to complain about puns. :duck:

Potential Albatross
Group Contributor

3469565

:> I am okay with leaves sauntering.
IMHO the greater context makes it work even if you don't appreciate it on its own merits

Fine, why don't they just amble, mosey, sashay, traipse, trudge, strut or stroll?

I will not yield!

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin

3469565
I dunno, looking at the sauntering in context, one does not simply saunter downward. If they were being blown across the ground, then yes, that would be some evocative imagery. But falling and sauntering/walking aren't really comparable. "Mosey" would be the closest word suggested by 3469697 that I could see working.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

3470208 Fair enough. I defend the use of surprising metaphoric descriptions, but sauntering downward is bad.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

Well, I ended up reading these because SOMEONE accused me of writing one of them.

For the record, I didn't. I had an idea, and started writing it, but it didn't turn out.

Fortunately, I would have lost anyway.

My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever

There wasn't really anything technically all that wrong with this story, but I didn't really find that it really did a whole lot for me; it wasn't bad by any means, but it just seemed a bit dark and didn't really accomplish anything with it. She was estranged from her brother, and... really still was estranged at the end, and nothing really happened save we found out that she had another brother and really did care for him.

The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon

This story was completely wonderful. The story itself was amusing, the scenes with Celestia were funny, Blueblood's general worthlessness was amusing, and the footnotes were hilarious; #6-8 were great, but #17 was a thing of glory.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

Somepony Get Me Out!

I never really got into this story; it felt like a bit of a mess to me. It felt like it was flashing between scenes without actually properly demarcating them, and I wasn't really sure when the story was set in time; it seemed to suggest at first before the wedding, noting that Shining Armor had sent Twilight an invitation by royal decree, but then later on it has Twilight being an alicorn, and I wasn't sure if it was different moments in time, like the end was way after the start, or if it was all meant to be at the same time - the impression I got was that the bulk of the story was set in the present, with a few flashes elsewhere.

Shipping dooming Equestria is always an amusing idea, but... yeah.

Equestrian Diplomacy

Someone actually thought I might have written this.

I read this over, and while I can actually see someone thinking that I might do so, I don't think it is quite my style.

Plus you know, it is terribly racist against us dragons. Why, I haven't plotted against anyone in quite some time.

Though I sometimes do wonder if World War I was my fault. I had some sort of plan involving Germany and the Ottomans... bah.

Anyway, I dunno if I can really say that I liked this. I thought the idea behind it was interesting, but I felt like the execution in a few places was lacking; the two scenes with Twilight and Spike were the two weakest bits of it, and while I liked the idea of Spike not really understanding how he is supposed to interact with ponies anymore, it didn't really work for me, and Twilight was just too cold.

Naval Gazing

I enjoyed this one, but I felt like the "history repeating" aspect to it was, unfortunately, very weak; it was only brought in at the end, and didn't really play a central role in the story. Still, it was funny, and the CMC being terrors to the poor pirates (and the crackers with mayonnaise) were amusing. I kind of saw the police pony thing coming, but the rest of it...

Honestly, I think the biggest problem was that the very start of the story didn't really have a whole lot to do with the rest of it. Sure it set things up, but it feels awkward and out of place in the story, like it doesn't quite fit.

Ἐλπίς

Gosh. I think I have to agree with Bad Horse on this one; it was an interesting idea for a story, and I think it was an interesting thing to read, but I don't know that it was actually GOOD. I did like the ending, though.

Memories of A Star

This story really felt unfinished, like it had been partially written, but was missing chunks. It wasn't that it didn't have an ending, but that it just felt like it was lacking; I think there could have been a decent story here, but it didn't really ever pull itself together and really feel like it had a point.

And, as Bad Horse noted, Rarity felt very extraneous, like she was just thrown in for no good reason. Indeed, I think it might have worked better if Twilight had been the one to go with Trixie, and set up for a better character dynamic and more of a lesson than we got.

Anyway, I have read all the tales and voted on them.

I have to say my biggest complaint about these was that the theme was not very strong in them; reading through them all, there's no way I would have guessed the theme of this contest was "History Repeats". The repetition was often in these stories only at the end, rather than as a pervasive thread throughout the story; Somepony Get Me Out, The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon, and Ἐλπίς were the only three where I felt like the theme was even all that identifiable.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

Equestrian Diplomacy
This story…where do I begin? My headcanon utterly rejects the idea of Spike ever turning against ponykind, let alone his friends or Twilight…but it doesn’t reject the idea of his dragon genes forcing him to do that, which is what you were trying to convey. I didn’t realize this was the case until Twilight spoke with Spike at the end, and he seemed to lack any true mal-intent. He wasn’t trying to capture her in order to kill her, or destroy Equestria because he hated her and wanted revenge or something similar. It was just more like a dragon’s way of saying ‘hey it’s been a while, and I’m still your friend’. While I could say you should try to convey this idea more clearly, it came through well enough for me.
I think my real complaint is in the tone of the story; it bounces back between serous and foreboding to lighthearted and funny and back to serious and tragic and then back to lighthearted. Twilight having to kill Spike because the fact that he’s a dragon makes him utterly incompatible with pony society is a tragic concept…but as soon as Spike is killed, we get a joke about how Celestia and Luna finally get a guilt free nap.
It was funny, yes, but it diminished Twilight and Spike’s story. I hardly feel the tragedy of it, and I want to. But the story barely focuses any time on it.
But I really think this is a side effect of the short deadline, and the tone issues certainly don’t anger me. If anything, it was the idea of Spike turning evil which really angered me (though I couldn’t have held that against the story, but rather simply reject the idea itself), until I realized he wasn’t really evil, he’d just become more fully dragon. I wanted to feel horrible about this, but I simply wasn’t given much of a chance.
Overall, I think this could easily be rewritten into a terribly tragic and effective story. That doesn’t mean getting rid of Celestia and Luna’s scenes or their role (they were very funny and enjoyable), but I think it does mean giving them the proper placement within the context of the tone. But hey, I’ve fallen myself into this same problem with writeoffs before. It happens.
Anyway, in the end I think it was well written, it just had some difficulty on where to place the emphasis. It’s a concept with a lot of potential, and I really want to encourage the author to give the story a proper chance. I think it could be a fantastic story, and the author, I believe, does have the chops for this.
I can say that because after reading everyone’s reviews, I totally know who wrote this. Hi __________!

Naval Gazing
I had a lot of fun with this one. I wasn’t expecting a CMC fic, but it was very enjoyable. Some of the funnier moments that stuck out to me were Apple Bloom’s tongue twisters and Sweetie’s endless hair pins…also puns rarely bother me, so I enjoyed all the ones you had here, and there were certainly many.
Overall I think you wrote the CMC very close to character, and the same goes for the mane six in the beginning. Pinkie may only have had a couple of lines, but they were spot on Pinkie lines.
There’s not much more I can think of to say, and between this and the other comedic fic so far with Blueblood, I’m at a loss as to which one I enjoyed more, or which I think is better.

The guard had already gotten halfway through making a dismissive wave when he noticed her wings and horn.

THANK YOU.

“I’ll let them go, alright,” Celestia muttered under her breath. “After fifteen to twenty.”

Good! If they had gotten off scott free I would not have been happy. You don’t throw the CMC into a cage and get away with it!

Ἐλπίς
I liked this. It’s hard to say exactly how much, because it’s one of those stories that I need to spend some time digesting. As it is, I’m writing this after just having finished it.
I’ve read a number of after-total-doomsday stories, and while none of them were the same, the main emotion behind all of them is. It's loss. I think that’s why Celestia tends to be a go-to character for these, because she’s an obvious vessel for housing that feeling. She’s presumably been alive nearly as long as Equestria in the show, and usually in stories like this she’s been alive forever. Compared to everypony else, she's the most capable of fully understanding all that has been lost, and really feeling that in her gut (since she's been with Equestria from the beginning), and thus we are able to better understand and feel it. But with one main emotion being the thrust of the story, there’s only so much you can usually do with it.
But I like the ideas you toyed around with. Celestia’s journey was a sort of backwards evolution, and we even learn that she’s been around since the very first signs of life. It helped to give the gruesome aspect of it an actual point, other than to simply torture Celestia. I also liked the idea of her flying around the world until it cooled and solidified—it further conveyed the sense of hopeless marching on, the feeling of futility but still not giving up and dying.
Where it really came together for me was when the Butler finally spoke, and we learn that this has been an endless process of Celestia and the same souls trying again and again to live and not end in tragic failure. It had the effect of curing my earlier feelings of loss, because even though everyone I know and love is gone, they’re not really, and the idea of them having lived many times over trying to get things right produced in me some complicated feelings that I haven’t yet sorted through. And of course, I was so glad that Celestia tried again, because I want all the ponies I care about to have another shot. And that’s precisely what Celestia does, and it’s great. She doesn’t turn back time and so undo the tragic doomsday, and she doesn’t set forth into a new future with new faces, leaving the old ones behind. She restarts the playing field, with the knowledge of so many failures, but she does it with all the same ponies. It’s a hopeful ending, but it also doesn’t cheat to get it’s hope, and I think that's one of the things I like the most. It shows all of Equestria as one team, trying for a single goal that Celestia helps guide them all to.
So yeah, I really liked it. :D

Memories of a Star
Overall this was a nice little story. I like the pairing of Rarity and Trixie, and for some reason, I never tire of listening to her refer to herself in the 3rd person. We got a nice little moment when Trixie is talking about how people can become too prideful to ask for help. I would’ve liked more moments like this, to build some kind of connection between the two of them, as otherwise it’s mostly just a story about looking for something that, while neat, doesn’t do much to really get me invested in any way. I think if this had been more a story about how Rarity and Trixie became friends than it was about finding a treasure, it would feel more…meaningful, I suppose the word is.
As it stands, it was fun. I also liked getting a little perspective on Twilight’s tutoring days from another student—it provides an interesting and unique view on her that we don’t normally see, how the other students heard these stories of her. I like the idea that even though she was a hermit, the other students still knew about her through rumors. It gives her a bit of mystery.
I liked how Evening Stardust was related to Twilight, but more especially that Velvet used to be in the Solar Guard. That’s a cool idea.

“Don’t tell me Twilight Sparkle vanquished a dragon too,” said Trixie, her eyes narrowed skeptically.

Oh, she’s done far more than that Trixie!


3473358

I have to say my biggest complaint about these was that the theme was not very strong in them

While I agree with you about this batch of stories, I thought I would point out that the prompt actually isn't the designated theme of your story, though it can be. But it doesn't have to. The rules on it are pretty loose, which is why sometimes I wonder why bother with a prompt at all, instead of just signifying each writeoff by its length. But as it is, as long as your story has some seminal connection to the prompt, it passes.

Prompted-by-Raridash
Group Contributor

There, I've finally finished the thoughts I've had about these stories. And only after being the last person to do it, too!

Initial Thoughts

My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever - Mostly about Twilight Sparkle with Shining Armor and how they no longer connect, I figure
The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon - Historically related
Somepony Get Me Out Of Here! - Oh hey look, comedy!
Equestrian Diplomacy - Not sure
Naval Gazing - Not sure
Ἐλπίς - It means 'hope', but not necessarily in a good way. I looked that up.
Memories of a Star - Not sure

Thoughts during the readthrough

My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever
- Quite well done, at least with regards to the atmosphere it set.
- Idea itself is alright enough, though considering its setting, it doesn't allow for much room for the story to wriggle.
- Considering that it's an unknown character, the idea of setting them up as an asshole with a bad history is forgivable here.
- Considering the type of relationship that Pinkie and Pokey shared before they went their separate ways, you can't just expect me to think that somehow, she would act as bubbly as she did.

The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon
- The humour was faaantastic.
- Being a story with a setting across different places, the variation of characters made sense, all of which had some role to play.
- The notations threw me in a loop. I feared that the story wouldn't be able to stand on its own simply on that basis, considering that being something straight out of essays. I'm glad to be proven wrong.
- More characters meant a higher chance of redundancy and, apart from a provision of humour and being chalked up as a character whose foil like qualities are not used a lot, Poncemercy's presence now feels... off.
- Maybe I'll go back and read it again. Does warrant a second read.

Somepony Get Me Out!
- Lour's a word apparently.
- The subject of keeping track of time as to when a Ponyville race occurs, considering that she's apparently in Canterlot (Not something explained very well as to why she's here for now), is completely pushed aside. There's a reason, though, so that gives it some pass. It would seem more logical for her just to worry about the anomaly instead of going "Nah" and going down a street full of leaves... unless she did this more often than the story lends itself to. This, by the way, is also NEVER explained.
- Wait, how does a biology fact relate to two ponies under the shade at all?
- Well, there goes all hope for any comedic possibilities: She's acting deppressed. And in no way is this played for laughs in some way.
- There is a sense of subtlety with the actions, I guess... they just don't fit with the story's title. Or with what had just happened sometimes. Her wanting to dance rather quickly after almost bawling her eyes out feels too sudden a transition.
- Wait, number? What the?
- And she broke down rather quickly, didn't she?
- Weak scene breaks are used a little too liberally here. And, at one point, it's a bad choice for a break.
- Forced comedic joke about faces made is forced. And unfunny.
- The story now seems tired of actually trying to show Cadance's psyche, instead opting to bank entirely on the exposition train. And it fails miserably because of the minimalist style here. It shows nothing much other than a back to back discussion where one side's doing all the discussing.
- Talk talk talk, cry cry cry, then talk talk talk again. It seems highly illogical a transition.
- The story also never seems to tell you exactly what Cadance did, in any way, UNTIL the end of the story. The fact that her relationship with Shining Armor seems to be open for talking and they seem to be open with their secrets, at least with regards to the general idea of it, it seems surprising that Shining Armor would not know about this ONE thing.
- Humour, grimdark, humour. How great are these tonal shifts, huh?!

Equestria Diplomacy
- A bit disjointed as there wasn't any buildup. Quite frankly, I'm unsure how a seemingly misplaced dragon wanting to find others like him would lead to him defecting Equestria, then making a sneak attack on the leader he defected to.
- I'm quite humoured by Celestia and Luna's interaction with the Canidan leader.
- That's about it.

Naval Gazing
- Hmm... okay, seems to be set in a casino. A bit weird of a place to be in Equestria, but a pony pun for Las Vegas' already there. Interesting setting, I'll give it that.
- Holy (yay!), the premise is of pirates getting away with treasure and it still somewhat holds up that the Mane Six would act the way they did! Doesn't seem logical that they didn't see the crowd's reaction, though something might've happened in between that warranted it. Honestly, the pirates and actors might've looked similar enough to be unrecognisable by the public.
- ...how the buck did the CMC get on the ship? Is this part related to the introduction at all?
- Humour's not that bad at times. And it fits with the tone of the ridiculousness of pirates existing here, alongside with casinos, especially since pirates usually are in the oceans, but are now in airships. It's gotten more subdued, though, and I found myself wondering about the Mane 6 more and more.
- Taking some liberties, the CMC's character seems intact.
- The banter keeps me invested in part, even if the initial premise is now almost absolutely unrealised for filler.
- The CMC seem to interact less with each other in the later part of the story, though.
- Apple Bloom's general strategising seems to have just dropped itself rather immediately at some point in the story.
- Ahahahah... kids are so insensitive to emotions...
- The narration jumped from more matter-a-fact to completely silly quite quickly in the end.
- The humour seems to become less relatable near the end.

Ἐλπίς
- The title makes a bizzare amount of sense, at least with the actualy meaning of it in mind.
- It fits shockingly well into the theme in both a generic manner of it being a part of the world's history as well as it being a personal struggle.
- A metaphor could be applied very fittingly about how we tend to jump into certain challenges that we KNOW we're going to fail at and someone, just someone, like the emotionless other aside from our protagonist, will act as the nagging conscience that tells us to stop. Something in us, however, either driven by emotion or 'pride', though, will just try again and again even if nothing fruitful can come out of it.
- I really don't have much to say. It's 2,000 words which justifies its length while conveying a full story.

Memories of a Star
- This story wants me to buy alot regarding how well the Mane 6 would probably react to seeing Trixie again, especially after the two episodes where, in both instances, her presence created a giant debacle.
- So their banter... is because of banners? Considering Season 3, that's got to be the flimsiest reasons to forgive someone simply because they were a business client. Though, apparently, she forgave her because Twilight did... I'm going to accept that briefly. My own knowledge of some seasons is lacking, so apart from "Rarity Takes Manehatten", if she's actually acted like this, then I shall be happy to be proven wrong.
- Rarity would not act the way she did about galloping were she actually on an adventure she had investment in. Like being with her friends. Or trying to find a long-lost workshop of which the previous owner had revolutionised design in some way or another.
- Show, don't tell. This seems to be a bit of an issue in the story, like here: "Rarity tilted her head. “Why would he write so many drafts?”

“He was afraid to ask for help,” [said Trixie, after a few moments, in a quiet voice.]"
Perhaps giving a weak scene break between the two quotations would've helped to establish that the silence lasted for that time. Or maybe, it could be interjected by "The cave became silent for a few moments."
- ...okay, that's a weak link. Evening and Twilight are related SIMPLY because they were both really smart recluses? Is it somehow magically the case that they're that? I really am clueless about this, considering how this description might fit a few more ponies too. That, and the fact that Evening's most known for his fireworks, while Twilight's well known for her magic as a whole.

Afterthoughts (Part reading through the reviews)

My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever
- Pierce does come off this way, but at the least, I guess his circumstances do explain how he could've gotten that way. Maybe, however, as a character to elicit sympathy, he could have been made to try and elevate his status, except he goes about it the wrong way sometimes and the right way sometimes, but that in all, he seems to have fallen in one way or another. That would give a more proper justification of his tantrum.
- Axis' review seems to generally sum up some of my later thoughts about it, but I find it an alright fanfic in general.
- I disagree with Ponyville having a darker side being a good thing. And hell, considering all the crap the ponies there have to deal with from the elements, adding it there only serves to make it a more unrealistic place than it should already be.

The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon
- General consensus is that the story is great. Nothing much to add here, apart from Discord being another character that might have been a little unnecessary here. Coincidentally, alongside with Poncemercy probably being a more important aspect of it than I initially thought.
-With regards to the tonal shift, it still fits considering how there were events prior to Luna and Blueblood meeting that helped to establish the embarrassment he'd feel later on.

Somepony Get Me Out!
- Whimsical digestion for the leaves!
- The story wants you to buy quite a lot at the beginning, it seems. Going through the assumption that she actually didn't have an unhappy life, you would go into it befuddled by her flashback.
- It is probably the way I think about these stories, but the sentence structures of this fanfic, or any for that matter, didn't seem to sink in nearly as much. But admittedly, it has some very clunky, ambitious sentence structuring upon reconsideration.

Equestria Diplomacy
- Not much is to be said here about the story that wasn't already covered, which is how much substance this story seems to hold.
- Spike does seem to have some semblance of a moral compass, though it's crushed a little under what he had done, along with his slightly dark sense of humour with regards to what he had seemed to plan to do.

Naval Gazing
- I'm still a little peeved at the thought that something could've been done more with the introduction, which seems almost unrelated to the main bulk of the story. Maybe removing that would've made it an improvement.

Ἐλπίς
- The story's probably overrated. And the dentistry analogy, while not incorrect, does seem out of place.
- I wouldn't say the middle is useless, however: It's there partially to pad out the story, but it's also meant to help you see what the protagonist is going through as she reaches what is the end of the 'road'. Granted, though: Most of it is just that. Most of the actual events that cause the grief she feels happened in the first and last part of the story.

Memories of a Star
- I would agree with TD with regards to the mythos moreso than the story as a whole: It feels incomplete. And there're too many blanks in it that leave you confused rather than intrigued, considering how the two unicorns in question seem to come up with not-the-brightest reasons as to why the two would be related.
- Shipping needs to be in this, dammit!
- Cool ideas don't float stories well enough, really: That's an aspect of it.

Overall thoughts

My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever - Alright fanfic regarding Twilight's relationship with an estranged brother, though the setting and the agony of suffering under someone else's limelight when other things could've been done is distracting.
The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon - This is a hilarious story. Just, wonderfully fantastic and with a wide cast of characters that successfully leave an impact during the brief time they're there. The theme's subtle in this, but still present enough to be something in the story that drives it through.
Somepony Get Me Out Of Here! - Very jumbled and all over the place story, though the concept's there and it plays with the theme well.
Equestrian Diplomacy - It's... well, it's not bad. Nor good. Probably middle of the road, apart from the sudden leap in time.
Naval Gazing - A story that had potential for the Mane 6 chasing the pirates ship as the focus or having a somewhat humourous story about CMCs being on a pirate ship that turned into a slight confusion with the two put together.
Ἐλπίς - Still an incredibly evocative piece, though it probably had a little too many hiccups that may make it a little hard to experience it in the same way in a second read.
Memories of a Star - Somewhat same thoughts as Naval Gazing, except with all the ideas about Trixie and Rarity being an unlikely duo looking for stuff about a long-dead unicorn with great abilities in a seemingly common interest, along with the little bits about Twilight's family history.

And that's about it. With regards to the actual theme, I'd agree with TD's list of stories actually relating to the idea in an identifiable way, though perhaps "My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever" could be considered a weak link to the topic, but still stronger than the other three stories, in that the way he is showing himself in Sugarcube Corner is similar to how his peers might have seen him when he was younger.

Pascoite
Group Contributor

Sorry, guys. I meant to post reviews and vote, but I'm not going to get to it. Ran out of time this week.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

3484579
Happens to me all the time. No worries. :pinkiesmile:

Silent Strider
Group Contributor

I was going to try something different with my reviews, but it didn't pan out. So, I'm posting below what I thought about the stories:

My Big Brother, a Stranger Forever

Interesting. The prompt is basically referenced in the very title for anyone that remembers the Canterlot Wedding episode. Pinkie is fairly well characterized, though that "kick his flank" comment threw me off; I don't remember anything similar from her in the whole series.

Pierce seems fairly well defined, with a palpable grudge, and Twilight... well, I thought there was something odd in her characterization. Besides the fact she begrudges living in a library, I mean. She seems to be too aloof and calm.

The change of heart at the end was a bit too sudden. There is some foreshadowing in the previous silence, but the lighthearted farewell, with the cute nickname, sounded quite out of place. Something that still pointed to a change of heart, but not so extensive, might have been better.

There are some factual errors too: Twilight's party didn't have balloons, Royal Pin / Pokey Pierce wasn't there (the party when he pops balloons is Diamond Tiara's Cute-ceañera), Twilight didn't choke on cupcakes with hot sauce (she drank hot sauce thinking it was juice), the library had at least a bed when Twilight first arrived. It might be a good idea to watch again an episode, or at least the relevant parts, if it will be heavily referenced in a fic, though I freely admit that I might be more than a bit nitpicky about such details. The reference to working with leather also broke my immersion.

In the end it was reasonably enjoyable, though I couldn't really immerse myself in the story.

The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon

So, the puns start with the title, with the whole confusion starting because Blueblood couldn't get into bed with the brew-serving mare :trollestia:

The whole story is quite deliciously done in a style heavily inspired by Terry Pratchett, though it seems to aim at a faster cadence of jokes and puns, which sometimes seem to roll out like greased lightning[1]; perhaps Douglas Adams is a closer match. It's hard to pull off such a large quantity of jokes and puns without feeling tired, and this story managed it fairly well.

And footnotes! I love footnotes. But, despite that, I believe it used too many footnotes for its size, as a rule of thumb I believe it would be better to halve their number for a piece this size, keeping the funniest ones while either discarding or integrating into the text the rest.

The characters seemed, well, as well characterized as one could reasonably expect in a story that attempts a far higher amount of comedy than the show. Blueblood was comically ineffective, Celestia was making sure the karmic boomerang[2] always found its mark, Luna had a role quite similar to her episodes, etc. No complaints in this.

What do draw complaints from me, though, is how elements from the real world were basically tossed inside the story with a very thin MLP coating, mainly the way Napoleon's Russian Campaign was more or less regurgitated inside. Making parallels and references is one thing, copying larger stories with a thin veneer of pony (and griffon) atop is fairly different, and this threw me off during the Luna scene.

(On the other hand, this does overcharge the prompt. History repeated twice in our word — once with Napoleon, once with Hitler — and then twice more in the story's setting :rainbowlaugh:)

Lastly, this whole plot is a huge "passing shit under the radar" achievement; it's basically about the right of nobles to make sex with whoever they want. While I personally don't have any issues with this kind of subject being used for comedic effect (it merely reinforced my fun), I expect this to not sit well with everyone.

(Food for thought: if Blueblood and Poncemercy knew of the concept, and even had a word for it, does it mean that in the past the droit du seigneur was in effect in Equestria? :trollestia:)


[1] Perfectly normal when the weather forecast is chocolate-coated rolling thunder.
[2] Also stored in a display besides the linguistic sickle.

Somepony Get Me Out!

My first impression is that the author is not a native English speaker, given the strange word choices and the even stranger grammar at some parts. My gut feeling is that quite a few of the strangest words were taken from a bilingual dictionary; I know first hand how badly this can mangle the writing :twilightoops:

I'm not sure I got the intent of the plot, or the tone. Sure, the repeating story is there; Cadance's magic sometimes goes awry and replicate the effects of Love Poison, and it happened in the past with her parents. The story seems to point to Cadance accidentally doing a TwiJack ship, which breaks the connection between them and the other element bearers, potentially dooming Equestria by making the Elements of Harmony useless. But how was the number of times between failures found? Why did Cadance keep using her spell after that? Why was she using it in the running of the leaves?

There's also a huge amount of confusion when it comes to time and space. The wedding is in Canterlot, the running of the leaves in White Tail Woods; the time is also uncertain. This kind of confusion is quite bad for readers, and many might abandon a story early if they aren't able to make sense of it.

Equestrian Diplomacy

It's an interesting concept, that of a dragon's solitary nature overruling his moral compass, though one that seems to have been debunked by the series (teenage dragons hanging together in Dragon Quest, the way Spike acts at the end of Equestria Games, etc); if published here on FIMFiction, I would think an [Alternate Universe] tag appropriate.

As for how it works, the huge jump between past and future is too jarring; I believe making the first part a flashback triggered by Twilight seeing the grown up Spike would have worked better.

It does also fall into a trap as far as making readers feel something goes: Spike does not feel like Spike, and there is no transition to ease the reader into associating the story character with the show character. There is no emotional investment, simply because that grown up dragon is, effectively, a stranger. If the story was at least a thousand words larger, with the extra words dedicated to showing Spike growing and changing, it could have worked, but the way it was done it's just an amusing fight scene that ends on a raw display of power.

On the other hand, I'm not really against the way Twilight was depicted. If I understood correctly, this story was set decades, perhaps centuries, after the show, and Twilight knew (or suspected) all the time what Spike would become; there is a shock, some grief, and she did say she was taking some time away, but she likely was preparing herself for what might need to be done for a long time already.

Two nitpicks: first, where is Cadance? Second, this is the single story where, for me, the prompt seems more forced, shoehorned by adding a reference to a previous dragon that went through the same transformation without mentioning anything more specific.

Naval Gazing

I have the same issue with the beginning that I have with any story that introduces alcoholic beverages to Equestria: I don't gamble, and I can't see gambling as a good thing. That first part, thus, caused a strong disconnect in me, up to the point where the actors came running.

The second part was nice, a fun romp by the CMC at first with a nice bit about them being utterly irritating to keep as hostages. It was not without flaws; Apple Bloom's Pavlov stomach stretched my suspension of disbelief to the breaking point, the pronunciation-based gags wore their welcome thin, and IMHO the author did a disservice to the story by attempting to make sense of the worth of things in bits (unfortunately, the monetary values in Equestria do not make sense).

The ending threw me off again. Not the punishment, or Celestia and Luna's involvement; rather, how they used deception with the CMC and, apparently, also the Mane 6. It's not something I could see them doing.

The connection to the prompt was a bit tenuous, but was there alright: the shows with the fake pirate attack only existed because of the previous attempt by pirates, and the new pirates used the show to cover their action. The story as a whole was a bit on the predictable side — I've seen enough stories of robberies done by disguised performers, which sometimes include previously bribing the officers that would be responsible for capturing the bandits — but still quite enjoyable.

Ἐλπίς

I'm not sure using greek in the title is a good idea, but that is mostly a nitpick. Of course, I use an addon for Chrome that defines or translates anything I select, so reading the title was but a couple clicks away, but it would have irked me if I didn't have this tool.

This story is the embodiment of the prompt, and fairly well done to boot, but it caused in me an almost immediate disconnect; I couldn't feel any empathy for the alicorn (Celestia? the glow on her horn was golden). It also dragged quite a bit in the middle; I believe it would have worked better as either a smaller or a larger story.

The fact I felt a disconnect, by the way, is the reason I could actually enjoy the story. That and how the wings basically dropped at the start, which made me think of the alicorn's body, from that moment onward, as just a shell that would be remade in time. Thus, I didn't even register all the pain and suffering, the mutilation; I glossed it over as a clay figurine losing bits, but with a promise of being made whole again in the end.

I quite enjoyed the presence of the butler, which made me think of a few (well written) death gods in literature.

Memories of a Star

I have to agree with Bad Horse here; Rarity feels like she was added just to give Trixie somepony to talk to. She wasn't used effectively. There were some opportunities for conflict, but the author backed away from them.

Also, nitpicking, but I do believe the way Trixie refers to herself in the third person is not quite right. In the show, at least, she uses third person when she wants to impress somepony else, and first person otherwise; in this story Trixie's use of third person seems somewhat random. She does show some of her forceful personality, which is nice in a story with a, I believe, reformed Trixie.

The way the prompt was introduced caught me unawares; it used a small quest by two unlikely partners to bring to light how two characters that don't directly appear in the story — Twilight and an OC — had similar pasts, but ended differently due to Twilight being sent to Ponyville to make friends. The link ended weak because of all the mystery around Evening's past, though; being more upfront with the OC's past, and perhaps adding more of Twilight's past to better create the foil relationship, would likely have been better. If also contrasting Trixie was the intent, then adding some of her past might also be a good idea, and could also be used to create some interaction with Rarity.

Axis of Rotation
Group Contributor

Congrats on Horizon, Bad Horse, and Pascoite on the top three!
And of course great job to everyone else who participated. Cheers all around! :yay:

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3485927
Indeed! There was a pretty clear consensus on the winners, too.

Well done.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

3467670

Author: Pretentious prose, moody, Greek title making an obscure classical reference--I'm gonna say darf.

Darf indeed. :rainbowwild:

  • Viewing 1 - 50 of 72