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On the chopping block today, we've got a Trixie story. As the title of the post would suggest, this is known as One Mistake Was All It Took, and it's written by Seth Typofather.

So far, we've got a prologue plus 5 chapters, and each of them is hovering around 1.5k words on average. A little on the short side on the per-chapter content; this may be necessary by design. I'll note how effective the chapter brevity is after I've gotten a ways in.


The first part we're going to tackle is the description. The short description reads thusly:

After the accident at her latest and final magic show, Trixie has to now find a new way to spread her talents.

In a place like FIMFiction, where Trixie reform fics are a dime a dozen, there has to be a little more pull to convince me to click on a story than this. It's... bland, uninspired. I don't expect anything unique coming to the table here, just a generic "Trixie was bad, so now she's going to reform and become better" story.

On to the long description!

Since deciding to try her hoof at performing for the residents of Saddlearabia

My general rule when stumbling across fics is that, if the first sentence contains a typo (first sentence of substance, for those four-letter hook first sentences), I won't read it because it will probably be riddled with them. In this case, Saddle Arabia is a horse pun on Saudi Arabia. A single word makes no sense in the name because it isn't the modeled pun. I suppose, if one has never seen Saudi Arabia on a map, they could assume it's Saudiarabia; still, this is an immediate red flag to me. The author doesn't care to know his proper names?

at the insistence of her new friend, Twilight Sparkle, after the alicorn amulet incident she figured it would be a walk in the park.

You neglected to capitalize the proper name of Alicorn Amulet here; it's a unique magical item and would have its name capitalized.

There's also... something wrong about this. Missing punctuation in the latter half, perhaps. It works--sort of.

Since deciding to try her hoof at performing for the residents of Saddlearabia at the insistence of her new friend, after the alicorn amulet incident she figured it would be a walk in the park.

I took out the name between commas because the sentence should be able to flow without the item between commas. I think the issue here is the unnatural pause after "friend" that's being caused by the necessary comma. It's grammatically correct, but the sentence flow is all wrong. I'd re-word the entire thing.

After Trixie's defeat at the hooves of Twilight Sparkle, their newly forged friendship found Twilight encouraging Trixie to explore and redefine who she had become. With the influence of the Alicorn Amulet a distant memory and an eagerness to please still gnawing at her, Trixie decided to try to impress a new crowd: The residents of Saddle Arabia.

Something like that is what I'm thinking of. You'd have to restructure everything to get it to work, and you need to embellish your description if you expect anyone to be interested in what you have to offer. Your initial sentence certainly didn't impress me.

To woo the crowd before her, the Great and Powerful Trixie attempted something so magnificent and so dangerous.

You'd need to add something in there that made it so magnificent and so dangerous. Right now, it's just magnificent and dangerous.

Try something like this:

To woo those assembled before her, the Great and Powerful Trixie attempted something so magnificent and so dangerous, the crowd would be talking about it for years to come, sharing tales of her feats with their foals and grandfoals.

At least, that was what she was expecting.

It doesn't lead very well into the next sentence, but we could re-word that to work with it as well:

Something she would regret for the rest of her life, or would she?

Original form here.

Now, her life of regret is all anypony remembers. She made a mistake. It's as simple as that.

So, to recap, my revised description is:

After Trixie's defeat at the hooves of Twilight Sparkle, their newly forged friendship found Twilight encouraging Trixie to explore and redefine who she had become. With the influence of the Alicorn Amulet a distant memory and an eagerness to please still gnawing at her, Trixie decided to try to impress a new crowd: The residents of Saddle Arabia. To woo those assembled before her, the Great and Powerful Trixie attempted something so magnificent and so dangerous, the crowd would be talking about it for years to come, sharing tales of her feats with their foals and grandfoals.

At least, that was what she was expecting.

Now, her life of regret is all anypony remembers. She made a mistake. It's as simple as that. Now she has to build her life again... perhaps in a different direction altogether.

Bear in mind that this was written before I even opened the first chapter of your story. If this isn't the way it's going to end up going, then you'll have to puzzle out the re-wording yourself. I just did a pretty thorough editing job on the long description, and as you can see, even your initial pitch needs a lot of work. From here forward, I'll only be pointing out major flaws, but I can say with a good amount of certainty that a competent editor will be necessary if your story is worth salvaging.

Credit to fongsaunder for the cover art.

No link to the author? :applejackunsure: What if I want to see more of their art? It's considered more polite to link the author, not just mention them. Most users will check out more of the author if they like it and it's a quick link, but most can't be arsed to Google search.


Sitting at the vanity before her, a levitated mascara bottle waving slowly at her eyelashes until they were perfectly curled. The Great and Powerful Trixie glared at her reflection, which glared back with the same amount of contempt she had for herself at what she had done with a certain amulet.

I commend you on a good first hook. The usage of vanity as a noun is definitely jarring and immediately sets the mood of how Trixie is viewing herself at this time--horrid, pathetic. That being said, you broke this into two sentences unnaturally. An editor would be able to fix this. You pull the reader in with a perfectly fitting description of her self, then kind of sour the whole thing with an unnatural sentence break.

practise

I wasn't entirely certain on the usage of practise--only that it's a UK convention. If you're not using British English, this should 100% all the time be practice, because that's the 'Murican way of doing things.

In this case, even if you are using British English, the word practise is a verb, and you're using it as a noun. You can read up on it here.

“Still insure about this?” A voice behind her spoke along with a door closing.

Noted: It should be unsure, not insure.

The quote isn't being punctuated properly. Whether you end the quote with a comma, a question mark, or an exclamation point, you don't just hack it off unless the thought is complete. In this case, you broke the thought unnaturally. This is due to your random capitalization of the letter A. I paused there in my reading and it made me think I'd be reading a new sentence which could stand alone, without the quote. I was wrong, and it broke the sentence flow because of it.

Also noted: Saying "along with a door closing" sounds incredibly unnatural, like you're just tacking on words to increase word count. Try something like this:

“Still unsure about this?” a voice behind her questioned, the door the newcomer had come through clicking shut.

I bet.” She mused,

Confirmed: You don't know how to properly punctuate quotes. Most writers don't seem to know how this works. You should have a comma here, not a period, and you're not supposed to capitalize the proceeding word unless you have a completely intact sentence following it.

The way she's talking here is by musing. That is her action verb by how she's speaking. That means it relates to the quote and should be a part of the same sentence, since it doesn't make sense that she's musing her attire on.
Punctuation rules. This is seriously the most aggravating thing in most stories to me, not even the misspellings.

on the azure unicorn's

I legit winced here. I'm pretty sure your story's got LUS all over it.

I know it’s hard, but please give it a try

W-well, I didn't see a sex tag, but... it's not altogether unwelcome. :ajsmug:

This was it, her moment of truth to see if she still has what it takes

Sorry to break it to you, but you switched tense mid-sentence. She went from the past to the present, then...

to be the travelling magician she left home for.

You talk about who she used to be, which works, but you switched tenses mid-sentence prior to that. Probably should fix that.

It took a lot of effort to get where she is today, and she’ll be damned if that moment will pass by and she did nothing to grasp the opportunity.

Ah! What?

You switched tenses again here. :ajbemused: Need help?

Back-pedalling slightly from all the collective stares

I know this is Alternate Universe, but this sounds like exactly the opposite of what Trixie would do. It feels like you were working at getting her to be a bitter in-character character, then you completely switch her personality. She's learning; she's not a completely different pony.

Clearing her throat Trixie thought they needed something bigger,

Noted: Missing comma. Ish. I mean, the sentence kind of sucks, but at least stick a comma in there.

I mean, the crowd is there to see Trixie perform. If they came to see her blow up six magenta balls above their heads, I'd think she was a shitty act too. You're stating the obvious here, and painfully so.

until the lights shut off until

Bad repetition.

the azure unicorn

IT BURNS

Just say "she," dude. No one wants to read that.

"Do you all wish for a taste of my magical brilliance before the interlude, a taste of what's to come in the finale?"

Great characterization here. Very eloquent and showboaty, in true Trixie spirit.

“You shall have all of the Great and Powerful Trixie’s secrets in one great and powerful burst!”

I don't think she'd announce that she's giving away all of her secrets, though.

Flinching slightly she brought her hoof back down to see her hoof covered in blood.

All right. The first surprise, and you got me good with it. I definitely wasn't expecting anything like this coming in.

Turning slowly she caught a glimpse of the remains of what was her horn scattered around her, in fragments.

AUGH

Dismemberment of a unicorn's horn is one of the single biggest causes of positive cringe that I've ever had the, em... pleasure? displeasure? whichever one, of experiencing. It just feels so... wrong. :twilightoops: That's a realm I will never go to. I hope you know what you're getting into, and that you don't leave a sour taste in my mouth by the end of this.

A familiar lavender unicorn

You even used the name that the syndrome refers to. :rainbowlaugh:

“LIER!”

Probably not the best time to draw attention to a word when you have it misspelled.

five hundredth and sixty seventh

*five hundred and sixty-seventh


“Come in, pardon my not meeting you at the door, Twilight Sparkle. This remedy I am brewing must have full attention or its effect shall be null.”

Too long of sentences, too long-winded for Zecora. A good attempt, but Zecora's rhymes are tough to get down, especially not without ample experience. I have a story with some pretty awful Zecora rhymes, but I wasn't trying very hard, either.

the end of it it to churn

One of these words is not right. :trixieshiftright:

“Good afternoon, is this my new student? Hopefully to her my books are fluent.”

We've seen one book in Zecora's possession. Plus, student and fluent don't rhyme. Definitely not a natural rhyme for her. :duck:

…Very well…if she is as slow as you say I shall make an exception this day.”

This is a good one, except you're missing a comma.

“You’re training begins next morning.”

You used you're wrong. It should be your.

The shaman

Oh, I see. Another LUS symptom.

“Getting a little desperate with the rhyming…?”

Not as much as earlier in the chapter.

I had to borrow an element from FMA with the circles,

I'm not sure which element you're referring to. Elaborate on what this is in the author's note. Simply put: Alchemy circles transmute something into something else of equal value. You don't need to borrow elements from an anime to use the same thing its premise works off of. Ed Elric can transmute with his hands because he's basically a living alchemy circle, if that's the element you're referring to--and I'd imagine expert alchemists could figure out some tricks to bypass the circle-drawing stage.

This is about the point that I'm looking forward to reading the next portion. I had to get through the entire headache of the prologue and most of the headache of chapter 1 to get to something interesting. I get the whole exposition phase, but you've got to figure out a way to make it livelier. It reads like a grocery list, almost... this happened, which makes it convenient to stick her exactly where she needs to be for the story. Blech.


Every time she chewed her head stung, the wound had still not healed, but what hurt more was her pride than anything else. Magic was her life, if there was any glimmer of hope to regain that power once more, she would take it with the best of her ability.

Wonderful characterization here. A little disappointing due to the grammatical mistakes, but I was still able to empathize despite this. Fix the grammar and it'd be awesome.

“You have never rested for one minute in your life have you?”

That sounds very OOC for Zecora. Too direct, too pointed. I can see Rainbow Dash or Applejack saying that, but definitely not Zecora.

manticorn

A manticore... made out of corn.

This review is too dry. Here's a video to break up the monotony.

AHN-DA-DA-DANA PURNINOY PURNINOY CHUNKY

“If you are quite done disturbing my Koi, student, try and repeat but remain prudent.”

The rhymes are tasteful now, not forced like they were in the beginning. Rework the beginning part to be like these rhymes.

==++==++==++==

Oh, I should mention that this scene transition sucks. There's something that exists in FIMFiction for it, the thing that I use to break up the chapters here. It's called a horizontal rule, and you make it by putting the letters hr into brackets [ ].

“Not so slow after all.” Smiled Zecora, tossing a blanket over the slumbering unicorn who snuggled into it. “You rest, I shall handle it for now until you awaken by the rooster’s call.”

Too many syllables in the latter part, not enough in the former. The rhyme has no pattern to it.

“With the likes of you, she is now safe and incompatible. Your attempts now are most laughable.”


“Like earth ponies, pegasi and unicorns. The elements are balanced and one cannot live without the other, with various exceptions of course.”

When I was, like... I dunno, 16 years old? and made my Facebook account, I was trying to find things to put on my user page, and I found an awesome quote that I still haven't forgotten to this day. "The grand elements of nature are indestructible." For whatever reason, I totally dig it.

I'm a little positively biased concerning the elements of creation, so I'm liking the parallel you're drawing in comparison to both transmutational and potion-making alchemy. I'm not sure who else may like this line being drawn, but I'm definitely appreciating it. You're pulling magic theory from other universes and using it to supplant a magic user with lost magical ability. This is... admittedly, one of the most creative uses of the Alternate Universe tag that I've seen in a very long time.

“Your first lesson is to master earth into your alchemical knowledge.”

All right, I'm questioning and secretly hoping for certain elemental models to be used. You're probably going to do wind water fire earth because lol generic, but fingers crossed.

“Fuck that, how are you so strong?!”

Oh, the beauty of the Alternate Universe tag. :twistnerd:

On all fours with her hind hooves stretched out, Trixie was doing pushups while weight in the form of stones were added to her back. Grunting with determination she pushed her forelegs to raise the frame of her body much to the shaman’s surprise. “More weight!” Trixie called out.

You can’t simply pander to one element by completely copying their characteristics, this is not the art of mystics.


Only a little too many syllables at the start, but solid otherwise.

Ask nature to lend a hoof, unless your connection to it is aloof.


Work on it.

“Please be light for me.” She asked sincerely.

You're letting loose a little more with the humor here. It's a nice break from the, em, decidedly serious tone of the beginning.

I mean, like, Trixie's horn is gone. I was expecting a lot darker than this, based on the dark beginning. The humor is good, and punctuated in just the right places, but... I dunno, the horror of dismemberment is just too strong with me. It feels like nothing happened to her.

Pushing her into denial would work here, I think. She's definitely catching onto this suspiciously quickly; you'll have to strangle her soon, or else it's going to be way too fairy tale for me to stomach.

for boding

*foreboding

Poking her head through the door, she shook her head. “I thought you had them, did we leave them at the last town?” Bright Flair replied, entering fully. Her features are where Trixie definitely gets her looks from, azure coat and silver mane and tail that complimented her violet eyes. Though the differences being her cutie mark and her overall appearance aside from her colour scheme were noticeable, unless one was a complete fool. Mane was definitely shorter in comparison to her long tail, giving her a tomboyish appearance. The cutie mark is a single light showing wooden panels of a stage, reflecting her talent for the stage and love of the spotlight.

Grocery list description. Too much detail too quickly. You should find a way to work the details into the story.

The main branch, no pun intended, of the apple farms is located there.

Sweet Apple Acres doesn't seem to deal much in export, actually. They sell most of their stuff to the locals.

You also hit quite a bit of conflict between tenses again near the end of this chapter.


to her koi pond

I'm almost certain that you capitalized koi earlier. I guess, if they're a common species of fish, you should go de-capitalize the other.

I also hope for some kind of Yin and Yang Avatar: The Last Airbender reference with koi.

I’m actually trying to get you unbanned though,

Royal decree, muthafucka.

Huh... yeah, that was short.


Further question on the matter will result in harassment charges.

Threatening a Princess with her decision? Shit, Twilight can overthrow Mayor Mare any day of the week. She's got the power and a higher authority.

I guess that's not really Twilight, though. I'd probably go corrupt with power. She does everything she can to remind herself she's not a Princess.

If she were to ban herself as an act of protest while Ponyville goes to chaos in her absence, Mayor Mare will think twice about her governmental choices.

Definitely Twilight in-character here. I commend you on solving the predicament tastefully.

“Then it should be best to continue your studies.” Smiled Zecora.

You can't communicate words by smiling like that. That's just not how it works.

“It is made of atoms, and the process of which you create ice, water and vapour is by rearranging their structure. Oxygen and hydrogen.” She placed a hoof in the puddle, marking a circle in the dirt inside before placing her hoof on it. The water bubbled intensely until it turned to a scalding steam which rose into the air, creating a small cloud that floated between the two mares. “Try turning this back to ice by copying this circle.” She held out a piece of paper to Trixie.

Why am I suddenly reminded of The Karate Kid? Seriously, this feels so Karate Kid. Maybe a little gimmicky training video feeling. Is that what you were going for?


All right, that's about all I got for your story.

My #1 suggestion is to get an editor. Some parts of it are a little rough, and others pull me out of the story completely by how jarring they are. A proofreader would be able to do a good amount of cleaning up, though an editor would help you re-word some of the more ambiguous or less enjoyable parts of the story.

I especially think your opening is a drag. Seriously, this story was a massive chore until I got past the generic cookie cutter beginning. It's tough being original, but this story's first portion lacks it.

I do commend the usage of the base elements of nature as a means of learning new magic for a crippled unicorn. That certainly is an original concept, but there's absolutely zero originality up until you get to the meat and potatoes of the training, and there's definitely none in the description, which would benefit greatly from the knowledge that this isn't going to be generic Trixie redemption fic #3543.

Basically, you waited far too long to bring anything special to the table. It felt like it was going to end up as droll and bland as any number of other fics, and when we finally did get to what was special, I was too caught up in looking for the little issues with characterization or, Celestia forbid, another one of those bloody typos that keeps pulling me out of the story that I could barely even focus on how cool Trixie's training was, the unique aspect of your fic that would be why you attract readers in the first place.

Re-brand the initial delivery and re-imagine the beginning to be an allusion, at the very least, of what's to come. It's like you had a literal checklist of Trixie tropes to shoehorn in before you could give us even a little breath of originality.

I should also mention that you're hovering dangerously close to the Mary Sue trope right now. Trixie just seems too much of a natural at doing everything; if you have something planned that will cut her down to size--like, tree stump size--then I can see a great author making a great story here. If you just want her to be naturally good at everything, there's nothing good about this building her up as a borderline goddess.

So, at the very beginning, I gave you my revised idea of the long description. It's ironic, but the long description still mostly works, and I hadn't even opened the first chapter. I'll re-post it down here with a little extra added, the flavor that you need to pull a reader in who's not interested in another Trixie redemption fic.

After Trixie's defeat at the hooves of Twilight Sparkle, their newly forged friendship has found Twilight encouraging Trixie to explore and redefine who she had become. With the influence of the Alicorn Amulet a distant memory and an eagerness to please still gnawing at her, Trixie decided to try to impress a new crowd: The residents of Saddle Arabia. To woo those assembled before her, the Great and Powerful Trixie attempted something so magnificent and so dangerous, the crowd would be talking about it for years to come, sharing tales of her feats with their foals and grandfoals.

At least, that was what she was expecting.

Now, her life of regret is all anypony remembers. She made a mistake. It's as simple as that. Now she has to build her life again... perhaps in a different direction altogether. A very special zebra can only give so much, but perhaps Trixie can harness the power of nature to overcome her own weaknesses and become something completely new.

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