The Writeoff Association 926 members · 662 stories
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Everyday
Group Contributor

Didn't quite get through all of the finalists. Have some reviews:

8. Cold Case
Not bad at all. I’m certainly amused. This seems compressed for the word-limit, particularly Rainbow Dash’s scene and the fact that we don’t actually meet up with Applejack. An expansion would certainly do this story some good.
And, of course, the “mystery” is painfully obvious. A good mystery needs twists and shock-value. I know this story was written more to be an amusing comedy, but if you can facilitate both, it would really make this story shine.

19. BBBCF
Well, that was strange.
The idea is interesting, but a little unclear. I think I’m outside the target-audience for this. I read the story, read the reviews, expanded my thoughts on it, and reread the story to see how much my understanding had improved.
It grabs the reader’s interest and doesn’t let go, and the writing demonstrates a skillful balance between dialogue and narrative.
This is a story that could really benefit from expansion, and it’d be interesting to see what it evolves into.

33. Orchard Mornings
It’s sweet, but… there’s not a lot of substance to it. It goes pretty much how one would expect it to.
I… really want to like this. And I do, don’t get me wrong. It just lacks something that would make it stand out beyond the sweetness of it—something revealing about the characters that makes me see them in a new light.
On a technical level, the story flows well at a calming pace. I never lost interest while I was reading.

36. The Red Dress
Overall, I enjoyed the writing. There are areas I’d recommend adjusting, such as—

Tired, now, tired, and back to the living room, did Vinyl go, trundling her way.

—but it flowed well for the majority and was quite poetic.
My problem arises when it comes to details that would benefit from being more concrete. The nature of their relationship is rather ambiguous, which makes it more difficult to gauge the stakes of the story. Since we don’t know how events unfolded, it’s also difficult to tell who we’re meant to be supporting in this. Was it a genuine accident and Octavia is being unjustly vindictive, or was Vinyl too stubborn to admit her fault and should apologize?
The writing is evocative, and there is an appeal to letting the reader discover the context through clues. It’d just help to give us more to work with.

46. From Afar
I like this quite a bit. Just a few minor things, really: making it more clear that Octavia is talking to somepony, rather than simply thinking out loud; thoughts shouldn’t have quotation marks; and I find it difficult to think Octavia wouldn’t recognize hairs from Vinyl’s tail. If nothing else, I think it’d at least inspire suspicion.
Still, I very much enjoyed this. It makes me smile.

Calipony
Group Contributor

4952511
You forget the role of the prompt BH. If the prompt is average, then you are bound to read middling stories.

Bugle
Group Contributor

I wonder when I'll stop being surprised by the fact that my tastes are drastically different from the rest of the WO's...

Congratulations to the medalists!

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

Congratulations to our winners:

Theigi for Swallow Down
Cold in Gardez for The Calligrapher
KwirkyJ for Companionate

And to FDA Approved, who guessed seven stories right.


And of course to Bad Horse, who wrote a story that he outright asked people if we thought it was dangerous to write because it embraced false ideas. Way to troll us all, Bad Horse. :V

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

4952511
Thing is, we produce fairly variable quality stories. I mean, my first writeoff ever, I wrote four quite good stories.

It was the only time I've ever medalled (though I've picked up a few fourth places).

I have a hard time blaming the writeoff for it. I think the reality is more that we actually produce material when a writeoff happens, which is better than not producing material at all. We're just more likely to go forward with a mediocre idea rather than not write anything at all when a writeoff happens.

I do agree that this round didn't produce terribly memorable stories, but the fact that we have, historically, "done better" (and with many of the same writers) suggests to me that the barrier is not necessarily what we think it is.

That said, minific rounds do generally seem to feel weaker than short story rounds. Writing a good 400-750 word story is harder than writing a good 2000-8000 word story.

4952519
I don't think that the prompt is the cause. You can write good or bad stories based on any prompt. Title Drop was a troll prompt and it produced a lot of good stories.

The Letter J
Group Contributor

Huh. Those are not at all the stories I expected to medal, based on the discussion around here. But I do think they're good enough to deserve it. Congratulations! :twilightsmile:

KwirkyJ
Group Contributor

4952534

(third) KwirkyJ for Companionate

What? ...WHAT? :rainbowhuh: Wow. Looks like I'll be writing a retrospective after all!

Hum, none of the top four stories were even on my slate. Guess I have some reading to do.

Moving on,

Life, Love, and Lives Loved
I want to thank everyone for the reviews. They were, well, fair :). I knew I wasn't going to score any points on technique; I have no formal writing training other than a decade old general education. Apparently ellipses are always supposed to be a certain number of periods; pesky rules.

People also mentioned wanting more of Celestia's thoughts. Partly this was word count (originally she spoke a bit more about her old student and the mementos of the time she still treasured, but I had to cut it for length), and partly a deliberate effort. My goal for the prompt was for their conversation to say something without actually putting it into words, and I guess it felt like explicitly spelling out her thoughts would detract from that.

The intent, when I wrote it, was that Twilight was worried Celestia would be sad about losing her mortal students, and Celestia picked up on that and tried to encourage her. There was originally more to it; in an earlier version, Twilight acted overly formal and initially called her "Your Majesty" then softened it after Celestia's reassurances. This just felt clumsy to me; both because it's cliched and because in the pilot episode she calls Celestia "princess" so I couldn't really go with an "Is it okay if I call you Celestia?" moment. Some other indications of that stuck around, with Celestia worrying that Twilight was too worshipful of her, and wondering why Twilight's first thought is resisting the idea of being Spike's family due to her own mortality. Unfortunately leaving only the more subtle stuff had its own problems; Celestia has an epiphany midway through, which was meant to be her realizing Twilight is really thinking about Celestia, not Silverwing, and it makes her look kind of dumb if you're following a different interpretation. If I rewrote the story, I'd try to change that. The ending loses its impact as well, without it having the secondary meaning of Twilight realizing that Celestia doesn't care and loves her students regardless.

Trying to write an implicit message like this felt tricky; it can't be too obvious, but it can't be too subtle either. And I can't use myself as a judge, since I already know what I'm looking for. I may have erred on being too obscure here; on the other hand, people reading the story were probably also burning through a dozen or so others and may have been less likely to analyze each word. But with a prompt like that I felt it was worth a try. Also, thank you Titanium Dragon for picking up on it in your review and giving me some assurance that at least I hadn't completely botched the delivery. Others probably got it, but you were explicit about it.

Also I have no idea how that repeating title snuck in. Damn you copy and paste!

Uhhh... okay. That was unexpected.

Give me a bit to climb out of my mental hermitic cave for this...

Calipony
Group Contributor

4952552
I agree the quality of stories is not directly related to the quality of the prompt, but there is some sort of interplay between the two. You can't expect ‘Ot’ to produce good stories.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

4952598
Why not?

Ot could mean:

Overtime
Occupational Therapy
Our Town
Operating Theater
Obsession Telescopes
Old Testament
Ordinary Time
Operating Thetan
Oblivious Transfer
Operational Technology
Operational Transformation
Optical Tweezers
Optimality Theory
Overshooting Top (a part of a thundercloud)
Offensive Tackle
Occupied Territories
Ѿ
Off Topic
An O-T map
Ought
Any title ending in the letters "ot" or starting with the letters "ot"
A story that played off of words ending in "ot".

Calipony
Group Contributor

4952634
Overimaginative Titaniumdragon? :derpytongue2:

Cold in Gardez
Group Contributor

4952591

Swallow Down was the highest story on my slate. I think it deserved its win. Congratulations.

I'll be finishing up my reviews over the next few hours. I got behind with some mundane real life stuff.

Congrats to KwirkyJ as well, and everyone who participated this time.

Bugle
Group Contributor

4952634

No, it can't mean any of those except the last two.

The "t" isn't capitalized. :rainbowwild:

Bachiavellian
Group Contributor

Cold Case

...or, "Bachiavellian breaks character and tries to do a comedy."

So, as everyone and their mothers probably noticed, I really hit the word limit hard. I think this could have easily been a Short Story entry instead, which is really ironic considering that one of my most doled-out pieces of criticism is "this was not a good idea for a minific." In hindsight, it's more than obvious that a mere 750 words weren't going to be enough to clobber a detective story together with.

Anyways, I was actually really stumped by this month's prompt. All I could think of at first were NMM stuff and shipping stuff, which were genres that I knew were going to be saturated. So I actually went to bed thinking that I wouldn't participate this time around. But in that weird haze right before I fell asleep, the idea suddenly came to me that it'd be funny if I did the opposite of the prompt. And for some reason, the thought was so hilarious to my half-asleep self that I woke myself up, giggling. After writing myself a quick note on my smartphone, I fell back asleep, and the next day, I kinda just pounded Cold Case together with a few hours to spare.

Regarding the obvious solution, my intentions was that it was supposed to be clear that Spike was the culprit, but not immersion-breakingly so. I was actually debating whether or not to have Twilight say "Spike's not feeling too well", but in the end I thought that mentioning a belly ache wasn't too obvious. Definitely a miscalculation on my part.

Anyways, thank you so much, everyone, for your reviews! They've been really helpful for me to nail down exactly what did or did not work. I'm glad that a lot of people enjoyed Pinkie's voicing!

... Sheesh, though, this comedy business is a lot harder than I thought it was. My respect of authors who can consistently pull off this genre has grown considerably.

Cold in Gardez
Group Contributor

Little late, but here's part two of three!

Swallow Down

This one topped my finals ballot. It’s hard to find much to complain about here.

Little things show the professionalism that went into this story’s crafting. Doors that ‘groan’ open, or two mares ‘nipping’ into bottles of cider. Evocative language, when used well, is often the thing that propels a writer from merely ‘good’ to ‘great.’

The mares’ accents are a little overplayed. I know it’s tempting, when writing dialogue, to write the way people sound, but that’s usually best handled with a light touch. Just give hints -- the readers’ minds will fill in the rest.

I like the central idea here, that Goldie’s suppressed feelings for Applejack are the only thing that keeps her from being as fully honest as her friend. There’s a bit of regret in there as well – could Goldie have been the hero, if only she had been more open with her feelings?


Companionate

I saw a lot of good things about this one in the thread before I got to it in my finals ballot. I liked it and it was well written, but it had a few things keeping it from beating out Swallow Down and The Spare in my rankings.

The structure here was interesting, and I’m not sure if if it worked out for the best. What I think would have helped is a bit more variability in the lengths of each of these segments. Right now they’re all about 4-5 lines, with a few shorter ones. All in all, they’re about the same, which creates a bit of a plodding rhythm in the reader’s mind. I think a shorter one up near the top, like you had near the bottom, would help break this up and signal to the reader, “Hey, they’re not all like this.”

In terms of content, the story was sweet but ultimately unsurprising. FlutterMac is well-trod ground in this fandom, and one thing that niggled at me while reading this was how parasitic Fluttershy came across as, almost like she were purposefully using Big Mac. Granted, being the kind soul that she is, it’s far more likely she simply didn’t realize his feelings toward her, but… she didn’t exactly glow when seen from Big Mac’s perspective, except ironically to Big Mac himself, because he is infatuated with her.


The Red Dress

I didn’t get this one in my prelim or finals ballot, but I did read it after quite a few people mentioned it as their favorite in the review thread. I think I have to defer to 4948931, who enjoyed it but found fault with a few language choices. It was a subtle, enjoyable portrait of a couple’s spat, that relied just as much on what the reader doesn’t know as what they do.


Explainer Horse

A cute fic, and I love XKCD, so its origin was immediately obvious. My favorite part was probably the names Twilight came up with for her friends.

It was a one-note comedy, and its length reflects that. I think if the author had managed to work another plot into the story it would’ve had enough depth to be a strong contender.

Put another way, Explainer Horse has a great idea but lacks much in the way of a story. The comedy is all derived from the central conceit (Twilight’s language woes) rather than anything Twilight is actually doing. Contrast this with Babel, my short story from the last minific round that was also about language problems. There, the language chaos was incidental to the actual plot, which was Carrot Cake’s relations with his friends and family in such a trying time.


The Spare

I think I ranked this one #2 on my ballot, actually. I expected it to finish much higher.

I’m not usually a fan of the “Prince Blueblood is an idiot” genre of story, because they treat him as a two-dimensional cutout rather than an actual character. This story falls into that same trap, but it redeems itself by following up with Sunset Shimmer, who is forced to realize that despite her own apparent worthiness, in the end she was treated no more kindly (in fact, less so) than the bumbling prince.

Give Blueblood a bit more agency, a bit more dimension, and I think there’s a possible longer story here. Something involving Sunset helping Blueblood achieve the same redemption that she attained, with the help of her friends.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

4952412 Now that everypony knows I wrote Faith, I can reply as author.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just bitchy because the idea felt unoriginal to me, and it didn't have enough space to delve deep?

I started a thread earlier saying that that idea, the "it's real if enough people believe it's real", is a dangerous, destructive idea, and maybe the story shouldn't have been written. I was trolling, but I also meant it sincerely. I wasn't comfortable having written a story that included that idea. My justification was that it was just supporting structure and not the focus of the story.

The story is about Celestia and Luna having groomed Twilight to take Equestria forward farther they they could, and having had to keep this terrible secret from her. If the reader wonders about something after reading the story, I'd want them to think about that moral dilemma, of keeping her in the dark, and watching and waiting while she undid them, for the sake of Equestria. Was it a mercy of them to not let Twilight make that decision for herself?

I would never have written a story to explore the "God Needs Prayer" trope, as it's a repugnant idea. To me, it was just a handy plot device to let me tell the story. I was surprised by your review saying "all you have is the story idea, without really going beyond it or doing anything terribly interesting with it," because there was this big obvious emotional story about Twilight unknowingly dooming Luna & Celestia which you seem not to have noticed, choosing to focus on what to me was just a plot device.

Bachiavellian
Group Contributor

4952687
The original typo was actually "Ot", with a lowercase "t". So technically, only the last few are valid interpretations of Ot. :derpytongue2:

Bugle
Group Contributor

4952699

That's what I said!

Calipony
Group Contributor

4952699
4952703

I knew WriteOffers were picky, but not up to that point. It borders mania! :derpytongue2:

FanOfMostEverything
Group Contributor

Congratulations to our finalists, especially theigi for earning his or her first gold medal! Now, I have some explaining to do...

Explainer Horse

Wow, you guys. I wasn't even expecting this to hit the finals. For it to reach sixth tells me that a lot of people here read xkcd. And, you know, that the story worked more often than not. In any case, I clearly need to write up the full idea. And believe me, this was not the full idea.

See, it all started when I got a copy of Thing Explainer a week before the contest started. What really struck me was the introduction. There, Randall Munroe explains how his fear of sounding stupid led him to use more technical language than casual conversation called for, and how writing the book helped him overcome that fear.

Well, the first part certainly sounds familiar.


"This is an anemometer. It measures your accelerative velocity and translates it into wingpower, thus gauging your cumulative H2O anti-gravitational potential. Any other questions?"

Now, we cannot say for certain whether Twilight's excessive verbiage is based in fear rather than, say, an eagerness to teach. However, it is highly likely that that fear lurks somewhere in her psyche. Forcibly constraining her vocabulary could be a great growth experience for her.

Unfortunately, that experience would take far more than 750 words to tell in full. Still, it was one of those ideas that demands all of your attention until you do something with it, and I could justify it with the given prompt. And so I submitted a silly little letter. Definitely going to flesh it out in the future, though.

Review responses follow:

4933732 (KwirkyJ)
Not only is your criticism pertinent, you even used the gimmick. Thank you for both.

4936192 (Regidar)
I’ll be honest, the metahumor was apparently so subtle, I’m not sure if it was intentional. What did you mean?

4940025 (sunnypack)
As has been mentioned, the constrained vocabulary was entirely intentional.

4941841 (The Letter J)
See above for how the inspiration for this story worked. I’m glad I was able to entertain you with what little I could offer in this format. There are few greater compliments than “I tried doing this and yours was better.”

4945212 (libertydude) 4945610 (Magello) 4952697
As noted above, this was a very heavily condensed version of the original idea. The full version will be a lot more than listening to Twilight struggle with a constrained vocabulary.

4947484 (Baal Bunny)
Glad you liked it. And I highly recommend Thing Explainer. If you enjoy this xkcd comic, you’ll like the book.

4950409 (Calipony)
Yeah, as is, this was pretty gimmicky. The blue light was meant to be the magic being released from the poison joke, though I do like the comparison to Cherenkov radiation. This was essentially a transition to a more constrained environment leading to a release of energy

4950429 (Bugle)
I'm glad you thought the experiment was a success. I'll adjust the variables and perform another trial.

4950961 (Trick Question)
You're completely correct about the name translations. I'll be sure to rectify that shameful oversight. Also, I'd love to see your version. Let's face it, it won't be hard for you to beat me to Fimfiction publication.

4952353 (Titanium Dragon)
You make a very good point about why the joke works in "Up-Goer Five" and Thing Explainer. Here's the thing: I thought I had done just that. The complicated thing being explained was how Twilight got into this mess in the first place. I suppose it's harder to relate to something as unfamiliar as the effects of a severe magical gradient between parallel dimensions on the intrinsic magic of Everfree flora. Without that familiarity, the awkward phrasing is just... well, awkward. Definitely something I'll have to bear in mind.

4937032 (Bad Horse), 4937277 (Bachiavellian) 4937907 (Loganberry) 4945744 (The Cyan Recluse) 4947284 (JonOfEquestria) 4948648 (Xepher) 4950787 (Everyday) 4951771 (Gba500)
Thanks for the reviews! :twilightsmile:

Bachiavellian
Group Contributor

4952703

:rainbowderp:
Somehow, my brain blanked and I read your comment as "It can't be any of the last two." Geeze, I must be really out of it today.

horizon
Group Admin

4952598

You can't expect ‘Ot’ to produce good stories.

The Last Dreams of Pony Island was originally directly inspired by Ot (note that all of the ponies have the letters O and T in their names, most of them using the "ot" combination), and then shoehorned into that round's actual prompt.

Speaking of good stories, congratulations to this round's winners! :twilightsmile:

4933069

Which punctuation error was this? It's by no means error free, but I'm curious what produced that kind of reaction.

Kritten
Group Contributor

Well, that's another Writeoff down.

If anything, I'm more surprised than ever that my story The Bell Toils was much more received than Rainbow Dash's Perfect Colt, but whatever. I'm also surprised to see Twilight Sparkle Gets Serious to Win the Friendship Games at the bottom with RD's PC because I actually liked that one a lot. It was a good comedy piece that really got me laughing, fda_approved. :twilightsmile:

And oy, Trick Question. I see that you're now guessing my stories. Guess I might as well change things up a bit if you're starting to know my style of improper English.

Anyways, congratulations to everyone who participated, especially to those who won. I'll be seeing everyone at a later date, then.

Calipony
Group Contributor

4952762
I didn't read The last dreams… to say the truth.

I just took a quick gander at the story page, Horizon, you're skilled at writing blurbs! :derpytongue2:

Everyday
Group Contributor

So, I wrote The Spirit of the Season, and it placed 61 out of 73. No harm done. When I wrote this, I didn't exactly set out to write "good" poetry. If people found it entertaining, that was more than enough for me. It's a shame it ended up being the only entry I submitted into the competition. I successfully called Cold in Gardez as a winner, though, so that worked out nicely.

To those who commented that it had no connection to the prompt:

And there are still other writers / who had achieved Writeoff-fame, / and with new entrants every time, / there are too many to name.

Or, to put it another way, there are Things Left Unsaid.

And to those who commented that it had nothing to do with My Little Pony:
"pegasus" "changeling" "a show they adore" "the magic of friendship"

Anyway, specific responses:

4933981 (Regidar)
I'm not sure how to interpret that.

4934812 (The Letter J)
I'm glad you enjoyed it so much. Thanks for giving it an "I loved it".

4939849 (horizon)
"more ing--" Now, why didn't I think of that?
"the, um, non-ingenious " You sound like Rainbow Dash talking about the "non-winners". I am particularly proud of the first stanza, so thank you for the praise there.
As far as poetic homework you assigned me, I followed the link and read up on it. The pattern for the poem was more precise than I expected, down to individual syllables, which only made the idea of rewriting more intimidating. Can I just get partial credit, instead?

4941815 (Foehn)
I'm glad you fun reading it.

4944403 (Trick Question)

Also, do I really write about gender and sex that much?

Okay, that was way more than I expected

I was amused by this reaction. I'd still call one-out-of-three "likely". I'm glad you found this cute. And don't worry: I would sooner characterize you as writer of "personal stories" (like you suggested) than I would the writer of "gender and sex stories". It's how I correctly guessed you as the author of Grey Area and That-Thing-About-Flash-Sentry-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, after all.

Unfortunately, it seems Titanium Dragon and Cold in Gardez missed it this time around. Oh, well. To those who read my entry, thank you and I hope you had fun reading it.

Everyday
Group Contributor

Not exactly a retrospective, but I wanted to say I'm a bit disappointed that my pseudo-entry, Hearth's Warming Cookies didn't come to me sooner. Judging by the response it generated, it might've actually done well in the competition, especially considering the version I originally posted was hastily written so I could post it as soon as possible.

I don't completely regret it, though. After all, there's something poetic about the fact that it came to me when I woke up on Christmas.

Bad Horse
Group Contributor

4952705 I think you mean it borders on mania. :trollestia:

Everyday
Group Contributor

Entry 9: I Love You by Titanium Dragon

Titanium Dragon, you wrote that? But... But it's so nice to Fluttershy!
How--?

Trick Question
Group Contributor

4952462
It bothers me deeply to leave this sort of impression.

Whether or not you believe me, I honestly was not trying to stir up drama. I might be incompetent at human interaction, but I swear it wasn't malicious.

I don't remember outright insulting anyone. I'm very sorry if I did.

I retract everything I've said in previous comments, and I apologize for it.

I'm done now. If you want to accuse me of anything else, you may, but I won't be here to read it.

Calipony
Group Contributor

4952815
Thanks BH! I was edge :raritywink:

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

4952826
I knew no one would ever suspect the super fluffy, near-dialogueless TwiShy shipfic to be a product of mine. :yay:

JonOfEquestria
Group Contributor

4945744 4945610 4945212 4941841 4940025 4937740 4936999 4936856 4935121 4935220 4935252
So, I wrote ‘Three or Four’. On the whole, I’m pretty happy. I think I’ve learned things, which is always the aim for me in these writeoffs.

The Cyan Recluse: Bizarre and entertaining? I’ll take that and be grateful!

Magello: ‘Conceptually this tickles my fancy. Twilight Sparkle is clearly friendly with Chrysalis in the story, so having it go to a romcom esque arranged marriage is fun and cute. Problem is that there isn’t the chance for any romcom to happen. Wish this was longer and had hijinks. I’d read the hell out of that.’ I think that’s a fair criticism. I may even write it myself, although if you fancy giving it a shot feel free – and I’m glad you think the bones of the story are believable, with some flesh put on them.

Libertydude: ‘I don't know what this is. Is it an action-comedy about fighting a crafty Changeling villain, or is it a romantic-comedy about manipulating your way to power through a forced marriage? The story can't really seem to make up its mind about what kind of story it wants to be, so I'm left just confused at what its purpose is.’ I think this is a very perceptive criticism. I didn’t realise that this was the problem until you mentioned it, but it clearly is. In some sense, I’d tried to short-circuit it by making Twilight a first-person main character, since she doesn’t know whether Chrysalis responds to her feelings or is just manipulating her – but that is hampered by Twi not really being fully aware of her feelings for Chrysalis anyway, so she can’t address that question. And besides that, I need to set a tone through the choice of language and dialog, and also the events that actually happen and so forth, so the audience’s expectations are set properly. Thank you!

The Letter J: Ouch… I think a lot of these issues might’ve been a bit better resolved if I’d understood whether this was a romantic-comedy or an action-comedy. If I do flesh this out, I’ll use the specific criticisms to make sure the logic holds together. Frankly, some scenes where, say, Twilight works with Chrysalis trying to get her ascension to royalty approved by some kind of Equestrian House of Lords would be a chance to develop their relationship more believably. For myself, I will say that I intended the ambiguity to be real. It’s not at all clear to me that Twi’s self-aware enough to know she’s in love, and that she might very well blow up her own wedding to someone she did love just because she’s a little bit crazy, especially as a bride. Frustrating that it didn’t work! Still, an opportunity to improve! And… I’m selfishly glad that you care enough to be angry.

Sunnypack: This certainly needs cleaning up a bit, so I’m on board with all the top comments. The ending… it wasn’t meant to be obvious what would happen there, which choice Twi would make – partly because I didn’t/haven’t plotted the longer version of the story. It also wasn’t necessarily the case that Chrysalis was marrying for romance, rather than for power.

Xepher: It’s all fair. I definitely rushed to get this in under 750… and I think some development of the ritual and finding a real reason for forcing the marriage would make sense. My original imagination was that Celestia knew what Twi wanted better than she herself did, and was pushing her towards it – but I later wondered if it was a Celestia scared of Twilight’s increasing power and trying to sabotage her, or even a Celestia gone slightly senile who thinks Twi-x-Chrysalis is romantic even though neither of the principals do. I’ll say one thing in my defence – the ‘Three’ in the title is the three things ‘left unsaid’ – the completion of Chrysalis’s ritual, Twilight’s threat part-way through, and Twilight’s ‘I do’ (or not) at the end. The ‘Fourth’ would simply be the implied, unsaid ‘I love you’ – so the reader is invited to choose whether Twi actually has feelings for Chryssy.

Journcy: Oh me oh my. They’re my secret weakness too, of course. Them and Trixie, possibly all together… Twi and Chryssy really are perfect for each other, of course. Driven, ambitious, awkward. I… never intended for the cutoff to be the only thing left unsaid – see my response to Xepher.

Bachiavellian: Hmm… I didn’t think Twi’s wording was that contrived. But I agree that pushing it into the marriage thing wasn’t adequately justified. I mentioned some possibilities I had in mind in my response to Xepher – though I’ll admit to some laziness in not deciding on one of them but rather leaving it open. Also, word limit.

FanofMostEverything: I think that’s a fair review. Thanks for noticing the love-goddesses! I did research for this thing. The ending ambiguity… fair enough, I suppose. My personal vision of Twi is sufficiently un-self-aware that she could conceivably miss that, even though its going on inside her own head – but I take your point.

HoofBitingActionOverload: I get what you’re saying – I need a longer story in order to set up some pre-development for Twi, and also the relationship between her and Chrysalis. Something I’d intended – which doesn’t seem to have been clear – which was mainly that they might both have been forced into this by circumstance, and that they didn’t have a fully-developed love for one another, though there’s certainly an attraction there, at least on Twi’s part.

Calipony: It’s supposed to be an unexpected buddy-cop romance, or something of that nature. I… thought Polychromatic helped sell that we were in Twi’s thoughts here? Maybe not?

Not_A_Hat: No, not a dream – but I’d imagined a few years between canon and the ‘now’ of the story, enough for Twi to gain some confidence and get into the Princess thing, to start thinking about what would get Celestia to give her some real responsibility – to fundamentally not have grown up, to still be seeking Celestia’s approval… that’s the development I wanted her to have during the story, to become her own pony, together with Chrysalis or alone, either one.

I… think that was all the reviews. I’m grateful for all of them. If I missed someone, I’m sorry. Your thoughts were important to me, but they’re all a bit jumbled up together now…

What do the ribbons mean?? :rainbowhuh:

Cold in Gardez
Group Contributor

4952882

They're awarded for participation in a given round.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

If you mouse over them, you'll see it will pop up a little alt text box saying what it is for.

In that case, it is a participation award - a consolation prize that means you didn't win anything else.

Everyday
Group Contributor

4952860

I mean, if you look at how nice you are to Fluttershy in I Love You and compare that to what happens in Rose Petals...

Basically, I never would've suspected you.

Disclaimer: I don't know how these things usually go. Forgive me.

Thank you to everyone who enjoyed my stories this round, especially 'Swallow Down'. Irony is fun, and not just the dramatic kind.

To tell you the truth, I thought 'Yours Truly, Cheerilee' would rank higher. That is the story I am planning on revamping and expanding later on. Oh, and also, I'm actually not on the CheeriMac train. It just seemed right at the time... which was 3AM Sunday morning on submission deadline day.

Thank you to everyone that reviewed my minifics. I got some really good feedback on a few of 'em this time around.

Finally, congratulations to Cold in Gardez and KwirkyJ on their medals as well! Both of them were well deserved!

4952889
Shouldn't everyone who wrote a story get one then?

Calipony
Group Contributor

4952874
Polychromatic has always sounded stilted to my ears. Multicoloured less. Variegated is what I would've used here.

Calipony
Group Contributor

4952920
Yes, but only one even if you wrote multiple stories.

Cold in Gardez
Group Contributor

4952920

No, some people don't deserve nice thi Yes, unless you get another device for this round (i.e. a medal, most controversial, etc).

4952659 I appreciate that coming from you. Thanks! :twilightblush:

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

I Love You

I came up with this idea right off the bat after the prompt was revealed. I figured that a lot of stories would be sad or wistful, about people not saying things that should have been said, so instead I decided to go full-on saccharine sweetness, a story about two lovers saying “I love you” without using words while they woke up to go about their day.

The question I spent the most time resolving in my mind was which pairing of ponies to use, so I was kind of disappointed that people felt like they were totally generic, when I felt like I chose them specifically because I could see the two of them being as cutesy and fluffy and adorable as possible, whereas I thought other characters might be less so. I can see now, however, how going full-on fluff might leave folks with that impression, because, well, it really was fluffy as all-get-out.

In retrospect, I should have gone with a less fluffy couple that would have shown more character traits, though this was, at its core, an experiment in me writing a story that was absolutely nothing but sugar and fluff, which was why I made the decision that I did – probably to the story’s detriment.

I was, frankly, rather surprised this even made the finals, given what it was, and the fact that I wrote it while severely sleep-deprived, which brought my usual writing flaw of repetitive structure up to 11. But I guess it was sweet enough to get a pass. It was not as tight as it needed to be, though, and, as folks noted, it didn’t do enough to show off the characters’ personalities, and was rather lacking in content.

Not sure if I’m going to fix this one up for FIMFiction or not, as it was kind of an experiment, but then again, I know there’s an audience for such things. Not sure if I can really extend the idea to a thousand words without it wearing on the reader, though.

4947614
Yeah, I went kind of overboard here with some of the details.

4933299
Heh, yeah, afraid it wasn’t a new entrant, just me. That said, the prompt was the entire motivation behind the piece; it was not shoehorned in, but rather the entire point of the piece, with them noting that they’d been saying it all morning. Super saccharine, I know.

4946833
I definitely let myself get bogged down in the weeds a bit in terms of some of the details.

4935548
Yeah, this was a pure fluff piece. I’m sure TwiShy fans would be happy enough with it, given what they seem to enjoy judging by the stories in their folder. :trixieshiftright:

4951093
I was aware that a lot of folks might just not care about this ship to begin with. I was just ladling on as much sugar here as possible.

4948648
Yeah, this was sugar and spice and everything nice.

4949324

Also, a comment on the writing: you are in the midst of a love affair with gerunds. You don't need to break up with gerunds, but I think you two should try an open grammar arrangement and see other parts of speech now and then.

This cracked me up.

4934812
Thanks! I’m glad it worked for you at the end.

4937032
Whoops, almost missed this one. Thank you for that. It seems that you had a common complaint for my stories this round, that they ended on the wrong line. I think you might be right in both cases, too.

Titanium Dragon
Group Contributor

4952901
Or Abandoned Sanctuary, where I poisoned her. Or The Butterfly's Burden, where she was left with the burden of being responsible for Discord and thus, in some sense, the fate of Equestria.

But I love Fluttershy, really! That's why I like to see her suffer. Kill your darlings and all that. :trixieshiftright:

Calipony
Group Contributor

4952943
Well done TD! Now I know that a super-sweet-maudlin slush can also be yours! :pinkiehappy:

4952953
Spare the rod and spoil Fluttershy?

Magello
Group Contributor

4952797

And it's pony because it's got one line about an orange pony so it's totally fine guys.

It should never have been allowed in the writeoff.

Everyday
Group Contributor

4952973

Excuse me, sir, but I'll have you know it has two lines about an orange pony.

Foehn
Group Contributor

4952511

If you have Aquaman, Baal Bunny, Cold in Gardez, horizon, Skywriter, etc., in a competition, and the winner is a crackfic with two jokes...

14 Ribbon skywriter That Secret Fire

I had to laugh, I'm sorry.

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