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HapHazred
Group Admin

Jeez, that was a long one. The closer they pass or fail, the more I have to write, apparently.

Anyway, I'm just giving everyone a heads up that I'm entering a rather busy phase of my degree just now: I have a lab report and a gated review to submit, and on top of everything else, I get my results from my exams this week (which means I'll either be very busy partying hard, or drinking myself into a shallow grave... possibly both), not to mention a contest that's very important to me has come up on the EQD: long story short, I have an OTP to defend, and whoever can't guess what it is can grow a moustache and call himself Watson, because it really is elementary.

So, I may not be able to go through the submissions folder for a short while. I'll be relying on my new reviewers who have shown themselves to give a few opinions, and maybe I'll be able to catch up with their help. Of course, if any other admin wants to take my place temporarily, that's fine too.

In any case, I have to get to doing mathematics. I'll still be online, but I won't be able to dedicate as much time to reading for a few days.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Professor Tacitus
Group Contributor

4062557 Darn. Oh, well. At least I improved.
If I could respond to a few of your criticisms though:
1) To justify his interaction with all these side characters, it was my intention to show how he had grown in his relationships with the town and how he had developed as a character. i didn't mean for it to be filler.
2) I definitely see where I could have been more subtle and clever in my descriptions. I'm not very good at "Show not tell" and it's something I really need to work on.
3) Tacitus does have a particular spot for Twilight, being the closest to him in personality, but I assure that there is no romance now or in the future.
4) If you liked Chapter 3, you'll love the story I'm going to write that focuses on that, my sort of backstory for the villain.
5) I admit, it's hard for me to write multiple characters interacting. I always feel that there was either to much or too little being contributed by one character or another.
6) There is a legitimate reason for Tacitus to be with them on this mission. I don't know how far you got, but Tacitus is vital to the story, and his character continues to evolve later on. This change in his character is linked to his relationship with his friends, and affects them as well.
7) I understand your concerns about Tacitus being part of the Mane 6. Later stories will feature him with a more independent role.

I'm sorry if this comes across rude, which is not my intention, but it's just my attempt to explain my choices. Tacitus isn't perfect, in fact there is room for lot's of improvement, but he's mine and I love him.

Black Ultron
Group Contributor

4062720 That's sweet.

HapHazred
Group Admin

4062720 It's never rude to defend oneself politely, as you have done, and I certainly don't want to deter people from it, even though I admit I'm not the most tactful of guys (although I'm certainly not the rudest either). Although there are a few reviewers who might disagree with me on that...

I can definitely see what you've attempted, but attempted and succeeding isn't the same thing, unfortunately. This might come off as vague advice, but try to think of things in terms of 'why'. During the first chapter especially, most of it served little purpose but to explain that he's opened up. The 'why' is clear for the chapter as a whole, but not for each individual encounter.

I asked myself 'why does Tacitus talk to spike about Power Ponies' and I came up blank.

I think I mentioned this before somewhere (maybe not here) but I often find that either something must progress the story, or be very, very fun. The same effect of Tacitus being introduced as a friendlier, outgoing personality could have easily been achieved without the need for all those interactions: a far more efficient conversation where the 'why' is indeed fulfilled.

As for the rest of the cast, again I asked myself 'why' they were there. Aside from Tacitus and Twilight, most of them didn't have any real, concrete purpose as characters. They didn't talk, they didn't influence a lot of what Tacitus or the reader was thinking any more than any other background character.

I understand if the whole 'why' mentality doesn't make sense... I'm a bit of a special snowflake in that regard, but it boils down to everything having a purpose, and there's still a lot in there that just doesn't really belong.

I hope that makes sense, and again, you're not being rude at all.

Professor Tacitus
Group Contributor

4062771 Thank you for being understanding and for taking my reply for what it was: an author's polite attempt to justify himself. Again, I definitely see your points, and it's obvious that I still need work.

HapHazred
Group Admin

4062814 No problem at all. I wouldn't have made this thread if I was afraid of people justifying themselves or calling me on my decisions.

HapHazred
Group Admin

I'm back! Hear me roar!

(an ego? No, my ego is perfectly under control.)

And I think it's well past time I reviewed 'Quizzical', by Jmac. It's currently the oldest in the submissions folder, and the only reason it's been there for so long is that I much prefer reviewing shorter stories.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Read through the first few chapters of Quizzical, by JMac

Accepted

Now, I like to think that I've aquired a rather good idea of what makes a well written OC: an interesting introduction, a character that fulfils the requirements of the story, and manages to distinguish herself from other characters.

Since Quizzical seems to have a thing for organization, let's do this in a manner of which she'd be proud:

Interesting and fun introduction: check.

Character that is defined by what the story needs her to be (socially awkward, bookish, etc.): check.

Distinguishes herself from other characters: Maybe she's a little similar to Twilight, but frankly Twi never struck me as all that socially awkward to begin with (just with different priorities). Quizzical is most certainly her own pony: check.

In other stories, I've faulted the main character for not wanting anything: and whilst Quizzical doesn't seem to have much ambition in the first few chapters, it's not her who's moving the story forward. The main drivers are Celestia, Luna, and most importantly, Twilight. I don't really think that in those first few chapters that I've read that Quizzical is the main character, so having her amble along struck me as perfectly fine.

It also helps that she's quite an endearing character. Despite the fact that if I met her in real life, I'd probably have banged my head against a table multiple times. Then drunk myself into the ground. But really, this:

“I was trying to decide what to do with this,” Quiz pointed to a framed photograph of her family. “If I put it out where I can see them it makes me homesick. If I hide the photo in my drawer I feel better for a while, but the homesickness soon returns. If I take the photo back out again it helps, but that is also temporary. I cannot decide which is better.”

It's like having a conversation with HK-47 if he got struck be an adorable beam (for those of you who are familiar with the droid in question). On that note, I think that the only way to really improve the character is if Quizzical referred to ponies as 'Meatbags' Okay, nevermind. I just really like that game.

The story progresses in a nice, well structured manner that's easy to follow. Chapter one: introduce the character and the overall situation. None of this waiting around to get to the meat of the story: I appreciate that. Chapter two: introduce the rest of the side character, the CMC, the schoolkids, the teacher...

Everything contributes. If I had to ask 'why is this happening?' I believe I'd find a reason every single time.

Now, for writing quality.

Do I have to?

Yes, HapHazared. It is required of us!

But I couldn't find anything!

Well, that can't be right.

Well, I did find one thing...

“Whatever you decide I will agree too, Miss Twilight,”

Quite frankly, if that's the worst I could find over three chapters, I think we can conclude that JMac knows his grammar. That isn't a mistake: it's a typo. The story is formatted nicely: each paragraph is short, it's easy to read, the spelling is fine... I was a bit thrown by Quiz's speech for a bit, but that's just her voice.

This is an easy accept. I'll also be keeping an eye on the story and finish reading when I have time. However I don't need to go further to know that this is getting in.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reading 'Fallacies of the Elements', because it's nice and short.

Just giving a fair warning, though: since only the prologue and chapter one are up, it's entirely possible I reject this story until I see more chapters. I'll still review and stuff, though.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewed Fallacies of the Elements

Rejecting... temporarily

First off, I've seen Dapper's stories before, and they were pretty solid. I have no doubt that as the story continues, it'll prove itself to be easy to accept into the library: unfortunately the story has only just begun, so I can't actually judge more than what I assume is going to happen.

And yes, I've made assumptions before, but only after I got to the meat of the story: here I get the impression that the story has hardly begun.

That said: it's an interesting premise. An episode goes down differently: what do? I'm glad Dapper didn't make Celestia some ultra-hard tyrant just to make this happen: she remains in character, and I'm glad for that.

Perhaps the first chapter moves a bit too quickly... but nothing I found jarring. It's just that their thoughts and reactions, especially when the whole mane six arrive, go by quite quickly. An area for improvement, perhaps? Like I said, I didn't find it all that annoying, I just feel it might have been handled slightly better.

So far, all I can say is that there is a large amount of potential here, and that all the characters are in character. Certainly it does nothing wrong, and I'd say that this might very well be a fun story to read when more comes out: I'm quite hopeful for it.

The most interesting character here is Celestia, actually. I kind of imagined the story would have Twilight as the most complex one, because she's at the centre of all this mess. But no, the decision is Celestia's, and she's the one who provided the most questions.

One element of confusion though: in the description, the story was described as a Slice of Life... but the description also sounds kinda' adventurey, what with the old adversary and everything (Sunset Shimmer? Or OC? I know Trix' is involved in this somehow, but I digress)

So, yeah. Give me more chapters, and chances are I'll let this in. I just need to see more of the story, enough for me to make a proper decision.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewing The Super Duper Party Couple

Again, this one is a sequel. I may be forced to reject it if it demands knowledge of the previous story.

Just to clarify, not all sequels will have this problem: if the original story gets into the library, this won't be taken into account.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Finished Reviewing The Super Duper Party Couple

Rejecting

Okay, well, why?

As in, why is this story here? What's happening? Why is it happening? We start the story, interestingly enough, at Octavia and Vinyl's kids birthday. Well, I ship it, so no bias from me. But I spend the first chapter wondering what the story was going to be about. Pinkie and Cheese are in a relationship (although you'd have a hard time guessing it from the first chapter) and they're catering the party. That's what their jobs are, so where's the problem?

Well, that's just it. There is no problem. The party goes perfectly. There's no conflict. Just Pinkie and Cheese doing their thing. I don't know why they're a couple, and so far, the story is just them... being party ponies. It's certainly not a strong beginning: I like my first chapter to begin by presenting the problem, or at least foreshadowing it. But anyway: I keep on reading, because maybe it's just a slow start.

Chapter two: more of the same. This time it's a different party: the summer sun celebration. Again, it's just the days events. No conflict at all. They work, they do their thing, chapter ends, and the story hasn't progressed.

Chapter three: Well, at least something happened. But here's the weird thing: Cheese and Pinkie's stocks run out in their store, right, so Pinkie goes to get more. She does on a train to Canterlot... for the warehouse? Can't they have a warehouse in Ponyville? Isn't that how warehouses work? They're close by? At least, close-ish? But anyway, I overlook this. She gets on the wrong train after some relatively nonsensical conflict with the ticketmaster (she dilates her pupils), and that's the big problem that she has this chapter.

BUT:

"Thanks Mommy Octavia!" Dancing Star told her mom. "Where's Mommy Vinyl?"

"She's working on her new track with her cousin Neon Lights in Fillydelphia. She'll be gone for 2 days." Octavia said trying to comfort her daughter.

"But she missed the summer sun celebration." Annie told Octavia.

"Yes, that's true," Octavia replied with sadness in her voice. "But wouldn't you like to buy those costumes?" She said smiling to hide sorrow.

You know something is wrong when Octavia and her kid have a far more fascinating story than the main characters. Octavia is having some serious relationship issues, and is probably having a hard time taking care of her adopted kid... Pinkie gets on the wrong train. Two chapters were dedicated to a couple of parties, but all I want to know is what happens to Octavia.

The focus of this story has gone wrong, somewhere. Pinkie and Cheeses story, in the first four chapters, has no conflict. They may as well be background ponies: stable, unchanging: the sort of plot device you use to highlight the REAL story, the story with conflict... Octavia and Vinyl have a real problem, and a story that's just itching to be told... but instead I'm stuck reading about how the CheesePie couple are organizing their parties.

That's not to say that they don't develop conflict. In chapter four, Cheese runs after Pinkie and they decide they've been working too hard. This is where I stopped reading, because I think I figured out what went wrong, and how.

The CheesePie conflict was given no effective foreshadowing. We see them work, but the author hasn't shown them stressed, or buckling under pressure. They just... exist. Octavia was shown to be stressed, sorrowful: in two brief lines she developed so much more story than CheesePie.

I think that Harmonic needs to take a lot more time to show us what's going on in Pinkie and Cheese's head, especially in the first four chapters. Even if it picks up later on, the beginning needs to be done correctly. It needs more tension, more reason to exist. I don't need to read about them organizing parties: that's filler stuff. The story is how their work is getting in the way of their relationship, how they're running themselves ragged, and maybe even how they're missing out on helping a pony with genuine problems (Octavia) because they're so caught up in their own romance... and if that sort of stuff happens later on, then the story really needs to get to these problems so much sooner.

Bottom line, always ask 'why'. Why did I read the first chapter? To see that Octavia and Vinyl's kid were having a party. But I should have been introduced to the main story, the CheesePie romance. Same goes for the second chapter.

I understand that this might be a bit of a confusing review, but if Harmonic has any questions, you're free to ask. But for now, I'm not letting this in.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewing Fluttershy's Bad Patient!

Because it's short. And... yeah, I'm lazy. But c'mon, I'll have it done by today!

HapHazred
Group Admin

Finished reviewing Fluttershy's Bad Patient

Accepting

There are a few problems here... mainly around Nocturne. I assume he's introduced in a different story, but I'm not supposed to take those into account. He's not introduced much at all, really, and it leads to a fair amount of confusion from time to time, which is quite a big setback.

But he's not that bad of an OC, frankly. He has a clear ambition: get the hell out of Fluttershy's house... a clear, recognizable behaviour pattern, and aside from one part where his eyes start to glow, he's pretty grounded. I don't really have a problem with him.

The story is short, but I think we've established that I prefer those. We get to the point really quickly, and we don't loiter around too much either. Within the first few paragraphs, we're introduced to the main problem, but not in a way that feels particularly rushed. For this kind of story, it's probably better.

Some of the writing felt maybe a weirdly paced at times, and ran the risk of being repetitive more than once (Let me help you! No!) but it kept changing things enough to keep me from being bored. Grammar is solid. Description might benefit from a bit more flair:

“I can't let a friend of mine go back into those woods alone and in bad health. You need a proper recovery, Nocturne. Here, come with me. You can stay at my house until you're well again.”

Could have been drawn out a bit more, breaking up the sentence, for example, but none of this was so much of a problem it became jarring.

It helps that the story was also quite an enjoyable one. Not very complicated, but enjoyable.

So, to sum up: it gets to it's point, does what it seeks out to do quickly and effectively, and is written well enough that I don't get jarred or confused.

Those are my standards, and they have been met.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewing Shooting For Friendship, by VB

It occurred to me that I had a guy review a thing for this group and his story hasn't even been looked at yet. Time to fix that. I may not finish today, though. It's getting late, and I'm a slow reader.

4082809
SEMPAI NOTICED MEEEEE~!:heart:

HapHazred
Group Admin

4082874 Sempai has had his eye on you for a while...:raritywink:

4082771 Thanks for the review! :yay: If you were curious about Nocturne, feel free to skim through the other stories featuring him: "The Gentle Dark" and "Kind Light". They're not the best stories ever, but it'll flesh out Nocturne's background a little and answer a few questions you may have had.

Thanks again! :pinkiehappy:

HapHazred
Group Admin

4083456 No problem. It's kinda' what I do.

4082973
Sempai has had his eye on you for a while...:raritywink:

...
Not certain if that is good, or very creepy.

HapHazred
Group Admin

4085303 Probably both.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Read through the first few chapters of 'Shooting for Friendship'

Accepting

This is going to be a short review, because I have so little to nitpick on. It's a fun premise: Sunset and the girls procure themselves some airsoft guns and have a whale of a time shooting each other. The character conflict is slow, but there: Sunset is still integrating the gang and learning to not be a meanie.

Everyone is in character, which I love: they're also treated well, with their strengths and weaknesses all... nice and correct. They're themselves, and it's really fun to read.

Writing wise, I don't have anything negative to say, so 'nuff said. I caught a small handful of mistakes in the third chapter, but nothing that even slowed my progress through the story.

Upvoted, and definitely letting it in.

4086007
...

Ok. Thank you. That was easy.

...

Nothing negative to say? Even constructive?
:heart:

HapHazred
Group Admin

4086019 Not really, no. You spent plenty of time on each character, it didn't feel rushed, the pacing was nice, their behaviour was in keeping with how they act, Sunset had conflict and they're being set challenges throughout the story.

If there's a way to improve it, I don't know what it is. You'll need a much more critical guy than me.

I'm not finished just yet, but I thought it was better to not keep everyone waiting and let this in, because it's an obvious accept. That said, if I encounter anything in later chapters (since I intend to keep reading) I'll be sure to let you know.

4086034
Ok, thank you.
*screeches* Ah made it into somthing! Ah passed! Squee!

Black Ultron
Group Contributor
HapHazred
Group Admin

4086046 Oh, you and your Spiderman, Ultron.:ajsmug: Never change.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewing Five Years Later By HaloEssence

I've never read a CMC grow up story, believe it or not. This'll be a first.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewed Five Years Later, by Halo.

Accepting

Don't get me wrong, I do have a few gripes with this story. My first great annoyance was, well, my day. I've just finished lectures, and done a lab on asymmetrical deflections. I've spent all of yesterday learning. I sit down, meaning to read through an MLP fanfic, review it, and see if it was worth letting in.

It's about school. Because I've obviously not had enough of that all day.

Then there's the Apple Family. Now, I know that in my early writing days, I fell into the Ahtism trap, but some of this is just too much. When you get words like 'fahnally', 'anythang' and the like, it becomes a real pain to read.

Then there's the endless footnotes. I don't know why that sounds like a good idea, because it forces either two eventualities: the reader has to ignore them, and they stand out like spilled ink on a blank sheet of paper, or I have to (and this really is the worse case) scroll all the way down, abandoning the story and loosing any semblance of immersion, then after I find out some little piece of information I really didn't need to know, scroll all the way back up, often spotting a few bits of story I shouldn't along the way, and have to find where I was.

Some bits of story make zero sense. Like Granny Smith becoming a meme-machine. Seriously? Well, I'm glad to know that our story is so conscientious of the internet. I was worried I wasn't going to get some good google-images humour.

And now I'm ranting. I'll stop now. We've got past the worst of it.

Now, for the reasons I'm accepting the story.

Each character has a clear conflict, and we get to these conflicts nice and quickly. This means that no time is wasted, and I never feel like I'm reading filler. This is good.

The story progresses smoothly enough, and spends time on each character. Again, this is a basic requirement that I like to see, and it's there. The grammar and writing is clumsy at times, but aside from jarring me from time to time (such as in the Scootaloo flashback: barely any emotions are present in the italic text, just dialogue) it's mostly harmless.

Don't be fooled by the fact that I have less to say about the good stuff than the bad: all those things I've said are easy to overlook once you've got the requirements that are fulfilled. The pacing works, the writing is satisfactory, and no character is useless to the story. I'm fairly confident that this trend will continue throughout the story, so I'm accepting it.

That said, I wish the story would have taken a few more risks instead of relying on already established tropes, like Orphan Scootaloo, SweetieXMash, Diamond Tiara is a bully, etcetera. Most of these make up the overarching elements of the story, and they don't do much to keep me interested. I'd have seriously loved to see Halo think more outside the box on this one: after five years, literally anything could have happened to the CMC, stuff that could have seriously rocked our world. Instead, it's kinda same-old, same-old. But like I said, it's a relatively harmless gripe.

Standards = met. HapHazred = drinking whisky victoriously.

Now I may finally be able to read something that's not about learning things!

4089255 Keep in mind, this was my first fanfic ever.

Plus the granny meme thing was my editor's idea.

HapHazred
Group Admin

4089308 I know, I know, and for a first effort it's actually pretty decent, so by all means don't feel bad. But I don't take that into account when I review things, nor do I expect other people to do that for my first story (which was a bit of a mess, frankly).

As for the meme thing... really? It makes Granny act completely out of character, it doesn't serve the story, and it's not even particularly witty. I get that some people might get a laugh out of it, but I have about the same sense of humour as a plank of wood. Granny Smith has enough comedic potential all on her own as an over-the-top elderly pony: when I was reading one of the comics, in an adventure involving plenty of madness between the CMC and Discord, where you'd think there'd be plenty of laughs to be had, my favourite joke came from Granny.

4089323 Actually, me and my editor thought up a short backstory on Granny's meme thing. See, about a year before the story takes place, Granny Smith was starting to lose some memories because of her age. AJ asked Twilight to help, and Twilight has an idea. When she was in the EG universe, Twilight discovered the internet. She bought a laptop and brought into Equestria so that she could study this phenomenon. Granny was taken to Twilight and after a memory retrieval spell gone horribly wrong, it was discovered that Twilight had accidentally downloaded the internet into Granny's brain and now she can only talk in meme.

Make sense now?

HapHazred
Group Admin

4089359 Well, it explains the how.

It doesn't explain the 'why', though. As in, why you'd need it in your story. I'm unclear what it brings and how it contributes. Aside from reminding people that the internet exists, which I don't believe furthers your story.

Also, until that explanation makes it into your story, it's pretty much useless. But if you do put that explanation in, it'll just detract from the story. Kind of like one of the characters of a story acting OOC and shouting memes all the time. Funny, that.

Like I said, it'll probably get some people laughing, but it's very much out of place. I would have really appreciated you using Granny's own sense of humour, so that it flows naturally from the characters instead of forcing internet memes on her.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Okay, it's half past midnight here at GMT, so I'll keep this short-ish. Since I've started this gig, I've developed what kind of standard I'm aiming for.

It's not bad. That is to say, it has nothing that I would consider a serious flaw. If characters feel redundant and useless, that's a serious flaw, and will stop your story getting in. If the grammar makes the whole thing globally unreadable, then it won't get in. If there is no conflict, or if several chapters, most importantly the first few, don't have any meaning, then it won't get in.

I will keep reading until I am confident the same quality level will be present throughout the story. This will vary with each story.

Some stories might have redeeming qualities. In fact, I think it's very rare that a story has no redeeming qualities. But it'll be even rarer for them to be so redeeming as to, well, redeem them entirely. I will point it out when this happens.

It's admittedly not a very high standard, and I'm sorry about that. I certainly don't mean to invalidate people who got in, or even worse, offend people who didn't. But given the stories that some admins have already put in, I don't think I can aim much higher without being hypocritical, and for those of you who didn't get in, I assure you, I wish you the very best of luck and sincerely hope that with practice, you will show real improvement. My first story got into the not-quite-good-but-not-bad-enough-to-fail-entirely folder on the AppleDash group, so I very much know what it's like.

I felt it would be better to clarify what's what now. That's what I'm aiming for, and those are the standards I will hold your stories to.

JMac
Group Contributor

4074642 Thank you for accepting Quizzical. I'd have said thanks sooner, but I've been AFK (at Ponycon). Now I'll have to submit more stories!

HapHazred
Group Admin

4091049 If they're anything like Quizzical, I look forward to it.

To the rest of you, reviewing Just like her... because it's a one-shot and I'm still lazy. Once this is done I'll have no more excuses, though.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewed Just Like Her, by Babs.

Accepting

Much like Verbose's story, there isn't much I can be negative about here. The moral is nice, the characters are in keeping with themselves, and the attention to detail is a treat. It's the sort of story that's perfectly suited to a one-shot and feels serious without really trying to be. Each character has a conflict that's enjoyable to read.

I guess people may take issue with the story itself, which is relatively unassuming: it's a slice of life without all that much gravitas, but why is that bad? If it's important for the characters, then it's important for me.

The writing may as well be perfect: if I can't pick errors and mechanical problems out, then that's not going to hold this story back.

Rarity and Sweetie Belle are by no means my favourite characters, but this story does their relationship justice, and reminds me a lot of For Whom the Sweetie Belle Tolls, for obvious, obvious reasons. I don't think that taking a few cues from the show is a bad thing, though, if that's what's been done.

So, aside from maybe being a little too slice-of-lifey for some, this is an easy story to like, frankly.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewing THIS! (Pegasus Feathers)

It's about the CMC again. I can't seem to avoid those three, for some reason. Ah well: it's been in the submissions folder for a while, so let's crack on.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewed Pegasus Feathers, by either Blu_Ray or Vanilla Mocha

Rejecting

I admit, this one is a bit of a close call, but I'm sticking with my gut here.

First off, the writing isn't all that bad. Sure there are mistakes, but frankly nothing that'll really stand against the story when you get right down to it. I noticed some (frankly annoying) comments on the story critisizing the story for grammar (sometimes falsely) but that's not the reason why I'm rejecting this story.

The story doesn't really explain what's necessarily going on. And I understand that this is kind-of a mystery story surrounding the three new kids at school, so it's not supposed to explain everything, but I don't really mean in that way. We don't get to see what the characters are thinking much: they just say things most of the time.

Wait for me!, she thought as she began to run faster. Not seeing where she was going, she stepped in some mud. Slipping, she landed on her back, and her whole dress was now covered in dirt. First the rip, now this. Ugggh...

"I can't believe that new gray-red pony." Apple Bloom said.

"What do you mean?" Sweetie asked, her high pitched voice cracking.

"She's all quiet, and just kind of looks around. Never really says a word. Except to Ms. Cheerilee, of course. But besides that, she says nothing." Apple Bloom thought it was odd.

"We were in school, Apple Bloom. We are supposed to be quiet." Sweetie Belle said.

"Yeah, but I was her partner today. Remember? We couldn't be a group of three. You two were partners for the algebra paper, and I was partnered up with her. She just sat there and creeped me out by staring into my soul." Apple Bloom hissed.

"She's probably just shy. I was shy at first." Sweetie Belle said.

It takes away a lot of the depth the story could have had, which is a shame: I love a good mystery. The events also happen with too little explanation: in chapter two, we go from the street to Sugarcube corner to the street again, follow Derpy for a bit... it's quite confusing.

You may have noticed the use of 'gray-red pony' in the previous quote: this is part of the problem: here, all we're told is the colour of the pony, not really what impression they give. Well, that's not entirely true... we get Scootaloo's impression of one handsome hunk of pony. On another note, that came off as a bit... forced, perhaps. I've never been big on love at first sight. Unless it's AppleDash

If the writing was better, the grammar just a bit more up to scratch, this may not have been much of a problem, but together, all these things add up.

I'd love for Vanilla or Blu_Ray (whichever is currently writing this) to take their time to explain what each pony is thinking: either by showing or telling, since at this point it'd just be nice to get a bit more of a feel of what each character is seeing. Also maybe take the time to devellop the relationships between the CMC and the new trio of ponies: we meet them in one chapter, and not a lot is done to really explain, again, what each pony is thinking about the other until they get in a conversation with another pony to tell them, which by then is a bit late and makes me feel like I've missed something (and who knows... maybe I did, but if the story was a bit slower I might not have).

This one misses by the skin of it's teeth, but I don't believe it's unfixable. If more care is taken to go over the thoughts, emotions, all those itty-bitty things, it'd probably be quite enjoyable.

Also:

It's mah cutie-murk! I'm App-ah Bloom 'en I love to wish fer mah 'murk, but ah now it'a nev'a happen.

Do I detect someone making fun of how people write the Apple Family's accent? You know I can't make fun of authors directly, but this is golden, if that was the intent. You sir, get all my moustaches. :moustache:

...and then you had to ruin it by actually doing it. And here I thought you were being meta.

Basically, this is a nice attempt for a first story, like many others, but I think it needs a bit of work to be good. I just want the author(s) to take more time to really explain things, and that's the real reason why this one doesn't quite make it.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewing... a crossover.

Commander Thorn in Equestria

Greaaaat. Because I'm known to love crossovers oh-so much...

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewed Commander Thorn in Equestria

Rejecting

This story falls into too many of the common pit-falls crossovers have. Namely, the main character (Commander Thorn) arrives in Equestria for no reason (and after a tragic accident, no less... stop the presses!), the two words clash way too much, since not much is done to really make the two compatible (comments like 'lets see her try to outrun an ARC-170' only serve to remind me that Thorn does not belong there), and relies on a lot of knowledge on the Star Wars universe (specifically the Clone Wars cartoon... incidentally, watch it: it's a fun show, cancelled before it's time).

That kind of sums up the problems I have with crossovers. There are a few other issues that got in the way here, too: namely, the first four chapters.

The first four chapters could basically be summed up with: 'pew pew pew pew!'

Okay, that was probably far too snarky for my own good. I'm sorry, I'll try to restrain myself.

The first four chapters is one big fight. There's not much in the way of thought or tact in how Thorn operates: BAM he's in Equestria, time to start shooting!

It doesn't help that the story has a rather bad habit of not formatting things correctly. Like excessive use of sound effects:

*Pshhhew*Pshhhew*Pshhhew*Pshhhew*

Don't get me wrong: a few is okay. I've done sound effects from time to time, too. But this happens far too often and really reminds me of (and I can't believe I'm saying this) Tobuscus from Youtube doing laser noises. And it can go on for a long time, too:

*Pshewpsewpsewpsewpsewpsew* "Gaah!"

"Stop dodging." Thorn said iritated.

*Pshewpsewpsewpsewpsewpsew* "Look out!"

"Got you now." Thorn retorted.

*Pshewpsewpsewpsewpsewpsew* "What is that thing!?"

"The last thing you'll ever see." Thorn replied.

*Pshewpsewpsewpsewpsewpsew* "Kill it!"

Incidentally, Tobuscus does good laser noises.

Then there was the flashback.

Putting his side arm back into it's holser Thorn remeniced. It was about the time he and Rex were in combat training back on Kamino, and of the first battle of Geonosis. When they were still phase one clone troopers.

Flashback.........

"I got another one!" Rex shouted while shooting another target.

"Don't get ahead of yourself Rex!" Thorn shouted back while shooting a target with his DC-15 carbine rifle.

This isn't a very effective way of doing a flashback. Making it italic and breaking it up throughout the chapter (in a manner similar to BatBrony's batman crossover) or using horizontal rules would have worked much better.

And finally, after the shootingfest is over, we're introduced to the mane six. Instantly, Thorn makes friends with them (like most cliché HiE), which just served to irritate me as I remember all the tropes best avoided. More time should have been taken for that.

I also take issue with Thorn being, quite literally, the only character able to do anything. It really kind of screams in my face that Star Wars > MLP, but that kind of unbalance isn't really what I think a crossover needs.

Is everything bad in this story? No. Before I make it sound like this is the worst thing ever, let me be clear: I can see why people would enjoy this story. There's flaws in how it's written, and how it tells the story, and heck, even the content, but most of the writing (aside from the stuff I mentioned) is okay, and the story does have quite a strong sense of fun that's present throughout the story. I can see why people would like it, especially if you like the source material.

If the author could just clean up stuff like the flashback, maybe cut back on all the annoying onomatopoeia, I'd probably be forced to accept this, crossover or no crossover. My loathing has limits, after all.

But for now, there are too many mechanical problems for me to be able to look past that. I guess you could say that I...

...let the hate flow through me.

I'm so sorry, I couldn't help it. Seriously though, I wouldn't mind accepting this if it was just formatted better.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Reviewing The Siren Song A Siren's Fight by Shadowmane.

I have a bad feeling about this one. This is because it's a sequel, and the prequel is not in the submissions folder, so there's a huge chance I will be forced to reject this simply because I don't know what's happening in this story.

Also, since someone (4089359 ) just increased my workload by about six stories, I've pretty much confirmed my beliefs that the submissions folder will never be empty. Woe is me. Thanks for that. :ajbemused:

(I'm not mad, just making fun of you, Halo)

HapHazred
Group Admin

4096762 It's fine. I'm addicted to stress. Among other things.

If I actually ran out of stories in the submissions folder, I'd run out of things to do.

There is only one cure to work! Caffeine! But what if it's the afternoon? Coffee at night is dumb, so I have a beer instead, right, that's logical, but NO! now I'm on whisky, so whatever, that's fine, that's fine, that's fine, that's fine, I'll just have a cup of tea instead... except now it's morning again.

Great! Time for coffee!

4074911
Next chapter is coming up fast and I'll definitely have the third by early March, as long as my pre-reader is up for it. This story will be getting into the library, I swear it!

HapHazred
Group Admin

4098098 cool beans. Looking forward to it.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Finished going through the prologue and first chapter of Sirens Song

Rejecting

I have no clue what on earth is going on. As in, I feel like I've been dumped in the middle of a medicine lecture with no prior learning and expected to know exactly what's going on. And believe me, I've done that. (I was curious, so I snuck in)

Because this is a sequel, I'm going to attribute part of this problem to that: who in the sweet bejeezus is Fuschia, why are the Dazzlings allied with the mane six, what on earth is this Hieraxe, the hell is going on with Trixie... my WTF levels are off the charts.

I think that Shadowmane tried to explain even more stuff in his prologue, which only served to confuse. Names are dropped, like Lyrica, Blissen, and Furen, with very little context.

This kind of epic world-building is great... but the time taken to present it needs to be multiplied exponentially, because I'm more or less dumped in a sea of names I feel I'm supposed to remember right away, but can't. And because it keeps on coming, I can't even ignore it: after reading through the first chapter once, I went back and tried to see if I could enjoy it whilst skipping over the endless exposition. I reached the end of the chapter and realized that I had missed pretty much everything.

If time has been taken to introduce all this in the previous story, please submit that one first. IF the prequel gets in, then I will be able to tread all... this, the Furens, the Blissens, all this new magic that's been thrown at me with no context, without a problem. Then we'll talk about this one.

As a standalone story, the first chapter is utterly unreadable, in my opinion, which is probably a shame because in context, that might have been some good worldbuilding, and the writing itself is adequate.

But HapHazred, what about the Yerochians?!

What? Italic text, what are you doing here? And what's this about the Yerochians? Are they feuding with the Firexians again? Is the Archduke Morinoc in trouble?

No, it's not the Firexians! A great cataclysm of Utarax spellweaving has occured, and you are the only one who can stop it!

Spellweaving?! Everyone knows that has been a forgotten art for millennia!

No longer, HapHazred! But there is a way to counter the Trigonoforce Incanations!

What? How? Italic text, you must tell me!

You must... review... Three From The Forest by Zodiacspear!

Zodiacspear?! Not the Bishop of Firexes?!

No... this is a new Zodiacpear...

(If you didn't understand any of that little discourse between me and italix, I suggest you read the prequel)

HapHazred
Group Admin

Finished reviewing Three From The Forest (or first six-seven chapters thereof)

Accepting

There's a fair bit to like here. The writing is solid, and the story is fun. Here, we follow a trio of foals. Our hero, Wanderer, is a young pony out to get his cutie mark. I'll be honest: given his name, I'd suggest he try hiking, but not all ponies are blessed with my intense deductive abilities.

I really like the detail given to him in this story. I feel he's an OC done well. He has a fun relationship with his mother, and more impressively, he acts like a kid. Like, a real one: I saw a fair bit of myself in him from the days before I became a social recluse/urban cowboy/mad engineer/soak. He makes mistakes, but not the kind of mistake you'd usually attribute a fanfic character, where we believe that having flaws is what makes for good character development, but just silly little kid decisions. Now, granted, I hate children, but since I seem to hate everything these days, I'll let it slide.

In fact, overall, this is a very nice story so far. I think it could use a bit more flair, as some of the writing can be a bit dull or simple, without much that really grabs your attention. In fact, that's probably the big weakness of the story: there's not a lot that the characters, the environment, or the situation, has that makes it all that unique. The kids are after their cutie marks, and whilst that's understandable, we've seen it before with the CMC. Wanderer likes Daring Do, as a lot of kids his age would (I was personally enamoured with Robin Hood, but whatevs) and their parents are also quite plain. I find it refreshing, but also at the same time it can get a bit dull. Their day to day lives are pretty unassuming: they want their marks and they deal with a bully. Again, it's not all that groundbreaking. I understand that it's the beginning of the story, but since it takes a while to get moving, it does get a bit dull.

Like I said, the story evolves quite slowly: it's tagged adventure but they don't really do much until the fifth chapter. I didn't mind, since Zodiac spent the beginning not wasting my time, and instead giving us some really good information about the protagonists, but it was a tad slow for my tastes, probably again because it was a bit plain. That said, we see their conflicts, what they want, what their day to day struggles are, and even if it wasn't adventure, it'd meet my standards because of this.

All in all, it's off to a good start, despite being a bit plain and slow for some. I'm happy to accept this into the library.

HapHazred
Group Admin

Finished reviewing The Very Apple Secret by Nightfire

Rejecting

I don't want to sound harsh, but I probably will anyway. This story is sorely lacking in almost every department. The characters may as well be robots: what emotion are we shown when Rainbow confesses her love to Fluttershy?

"Fluttershy, have you ever had feelings for somepony and not realize it until you see how much they feel about you?" Rainbow asked.

Fluttershy shook her head slowly, blushing slightly. She looked confused for a moment.

"But what does that have to do with anything?" She asked.

Rainbow Dash pulled out a bouquet of roses that she had been hiding under her wings.

"It has to do with everything."

The best we get is 'blushing slightly'. Think how you would be feeling if you confessed your love to somebody. Heck, just asking people for drinks is gut-wrenching enough (especially when they turn you down, but we'll talk more about my disappointing life later). Here, the characters may as well be cardboard cut-outs: talking heads, if you will. For that alone, I'd be rejecting the story.

Unfortunately, the story also starts with zero context. This confession begins within about five lines of starting the story. It's like Fluttershy quite literally woke up just so that Rainbow could confess her love.

Fluttershy awoke to a knock on her door. She opened it and found it was Rainbow Dash.

Take your time. A lot more. Entire one-shots are dedicated to this very act: you've thrown it away in one careless sentence.

We know nothing about what Fluttershy is even like! Now, I know that, since this is fanfiction, we can assume knowledge about the characters. But, watch this:

Rarity awoke to a knock on her door. She opened it and found it was Celestia.

"Oh. Hello Celestia come in." Rarity said, yawning sleepily.

Celestia walked into Rarity's cottage, shifting her hooves nervously.

"So did you want something Celestia?" Rarity asked.

Celestia nodded as she shifted her hooves.

"Rarity, have you ever had feelings for somepony and not realize it until you see how much they feel about you?" Celestia asked.

Rarity shook her head slowly, blushing slightly. She looked confused for a moment.

I changed the cardboard cut-outs around, in case you didn't notice. It doesn't take anything away from the story. Their voices are bland and unrecognisable, almost robotic, and given no context about who they are, they might as well be characters we've never even met before.

More of this in the second chapter. I don't want to belabour this negativity too much, so I'll just sum up what happens. Rainbow and Flutters are in bed, presumable straight after Rainbow's sudden confession. (If only it were that easy...) Besides being stupidly fast paced, the sequence of events barely even resembling reality (where was that discussion? Where they get to know each other in a new light? Where they learn about that romantic side of themselves? Are you honestly telling me that if you walked up to a friend you knew for years, and gave them flowers, you'd get straight to the cookie jar?), it's followed by the contrived appearance of Applejack.

Applejack acts in much the same way as Flutters and Rainbow: without any personality. Presumably, she is surprised. Okay. Still robotic and emotionless: she sounds surprised when she say's 'you're dating?' but we forget all about that next sentence.

The chapter doesn't even end on an appropriate note. We finish by learning that AJ was there because Winoa hurt her paw. If ONLY Nightfire had explained that BEFORE Applejack arrived, then her appearance might not have seemed so contrived and convenient.

This story is lacking in a lot of basic storytelling requirements, and that's coming from a guy who studies engineering.

I don't want to scare Nightfire, but this needs a complete rewrite and a lot of writing coaching. Normally I'd suggest a quick fix or an editor, but I don't think those are sufficient here, and I don't have the skills required to give you a quick solution or area to improve, since everything needs improvement. Except the spelling.

The spelling is good. I actually expected the spelling to be bad. But it's okay.

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