Reviewers Cafe 571 members · 343 stories
Comments ( 428 )
  • Viewing 351 - 400 of 428
OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Pony-Me™ by TheMajorTechie
Amount Read: All currently published (through There is always the unknown.)
Verdict: Reject (6/10)
Reason:

This story has two main issues that are holding it back from an accept: pacing and inclusion with My Little Pony.

First off, I’ll talk about pacing. It’s not really that bad, but it’s extremely linear and moves from point to point in just a few hundred words per chapter. While the story is decent, it moves through it at a very quick pace and doesn’t allow much time for anything to really sink in or develop.

Secondly, how it’s related to My Little Pony. I get how it is, but MLP almost seems like an afterthought in the plot. Yeah Lisa is Twilight, but very little is done with working with the actual world of MLP. This could have just as easily been a standalone sci-fi story with just some explanation given about what Lisa’s simulation was about: a story like where it’s not actual set in Equestria this needs to have the original source material seem like an invaluable, integral part of the story, and I didn’t get that from this.

However, I will say that the premise and writing are pretty good. While the plot is moved through rather quickly, it still is interesting, and reminds me a lot of the avant-garde sci-fi of the 1960s in the same vein as The Twilight Zone. Finally, it’s written to the point that even though it’s written in 3rd person past, it doesn’t feel like it’s being told in the past. It does a good job of walking you through the story as it’s happening and making you feel involved.

So, to summarize, the story and writing aren’t bad, but it’s the auxiliary things that hold it back. It moves too quickly and doesn’t feel much like a My Little Pony story, and for those reasons, I am rejecting it.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: An Applejack Year by kalash93
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (4/10)
Reason:

“Apples” - kalash93

Unfortunately, there’s not really much else to this story.

We get Applejack going through what a normal year looks like for Sweet Apple Acres, and there’s not much else in it. No real depth, no emotion, no exploration. It’s just very straightforward, telling you what Applejack does throughout the year. Even though it’s presented in first person, Applejack herself doesn’t add much to the story. She can be a rather introspective and wise mare, and none of that comes through. It’s just her talking about apples in a few really long walls of text that are tough to get through because of just how dense they are.

So, for not really giving me anything special with its premise and presenting it within some big blocks of text that can (and probably should) be broken down into some smaller ones, I am rejecting this story.

Title: Regal Regrets
Author: Mewrilah
Read: 100%
Decision: Reject
Score: 3

Arh, where to begin with this one? This story is a confusing jumble of technical problems and almost textbook writing issues. On the technical side, there are noticeable issues with captializations, commas, and apostrophes. That alone sinks this story; a Cafe fic needs to be technically sound due to the fact that unlike other places we do have standards in place. You must understand that I have to be harsh on this, considering you got a mention in this fic in a highly competitive contest. I can't be soft on you. Now, in terms of other issues with this fic, the plot is confusing, jumbling back and forth between awake and not, future and past, dreams and reality. By the end I really didn't have a clue of what was going on. Maybe your intent was to convey exhaustion, if so, then congratulations, of not, then that's a serious issue. This story is supposed to be a romance, but there is really hardly romance in it. I remember a panel at Bronycon about shipping versus romance. Romance is when two characters get together logically because they like each other for concrete reasons and they have a special shared history. Shipping is when alien brain worms make characters get together for... reasons. This is clearly alien brain worm shipping. In terms of prose, there are some significant issues. You have some runon sentences and issues with fragments. Also, you deploy an excessive number of elipses, especially when writing dialogue to the point where instead of adding drama, it becomes distracting by giving the impression everyone is trying to hold in their breath to avoid smelling a really bad fart. Finally, the protagonist is extremely flat and the only characteristics we get about him are not demonstrated by his actions or even his words, but instead by us having to be told them. The rule is show don't tell, and it's a good one. You took 7000 words to tell a tale ultimately that was confusing and led to nothing. There's plenty of guard x princess romance out there which do a far better job and with even less. If your prose were cleaner and narrative easier to understand, perhaps this would have had a faint chance. As it stands, I gotta send it to the firing squad. Such a waste.

Title: Pillow Talk
Author: Captain Unstoppable
Read: 100%
Decision: Reject
Score: 4

It's a mess, a philosophical mess. Alright, to be extremely blunt, your story could have its word count chopped in half and nothing would change. The entire first third or so of the fic is some of the most amazlingly rambly prose I have ever seen. Talks about hot chocolate, and quilts, and adding salt to drinks, and none of it is in service at all to the story. In a longer fic with room for faffing about, sure, you can meander, but this is a 6K long oneshot; you gotta make it tight. Then there are this fic's issues with prose. Simply put, pick back over it with a fine tooth comb. You make copious uses of dashes, always incorrectly. There are two kinds of dashes. One is a single short dash that joins to the end of the word before it. The second is a single long or a double dash that is isolated by spaces. You did the latter kind of dash but didn't bother to space it out. I noticed you used a fair number of dashes and semicolons in place of commas. Unfortunately, more exotic punctuation does not add merit to a story. Your prose is also extremely telly, you need to decide whether itallics are for thoughts or emphasis -- don't do both in the same story as it confuses readers. Lastly, your sentences and paragraphs are quite samey in size and complexity, leading to a kind of monotonous prosody. This story was hard to sit through. And now for characters. Big Mac doesn't have much of a canon personality, but I can't see Rainbow Dash being quite so sullen and bitchy over a philosophical problem like this. Simply put, purposefully not giving a damn about big questions, the future, and so on is just her style. This story honestly should have used an OC instead of her. Now, the saving grace of this story is the philosophy. The search for meaning is the entire essence of philosophy and you do it in a way that is in service both to our comforts and thoughts as human being, as well as to the true vastness of questions in an incomprehensible universe. The snuggles were cute, but unfortunately, the slog through all the rambling, issues, and OOC content is not compensated Those two things, even in their fairly small doses, bump this fic up not isnignificantly, but everything else, especially the prose and polish problems, crushes it down well below the threshold for acceptance. I expected far better from a first prize fic.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Behind the Laughter-My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic by Smashology
Amount Read: Through New Blood, New Dawn (Season 1)
Verdict: Reject (2/10)
Reason:

Whenever I take a longer story, I fully anticipate to try and read as much as I can. It’s why I don’t take many longer stories in the cafe: I wouldn’t have the time to read them all.

Unfortunately, there’s a reason this story I only got a chapter through. That reason being it’s written like a script, which may even be against site rules (but I’m no admin so can’t say).

It’s very confusing. I had to really power through to get even just one chapter read, because there’s dialogue and action mixed throughout, and it’s not very clear when one part ends and when another one begins. On that, the different colors were very confusing, because it’s hard to tell who’s saying what when.

Another criticism...where does this take place? Earth? Equestria? They’re all ponies, but they’re talking about Hasbro and randomly throwing Kool-Aid ads from the 80s in. Just adding to the confusion, honestly.

In short, this is a very difficult story to get through, and I wasn’t able to. For that, as well as the fact that it’s straddling not being allowed on the site, I am rejecting it.

Title: Not Enough Warmth
Author: Doctor Disco
Read: 100%
Decision: Accept
Score: 8

Way to go on this fic. While not 100% grammatically perfect, this story conjured a lovely little atmosphere of warmth and intimacy between friends. I had a great time reading about the interactions between Octavia and Derpy. I foudn it amusing at the start how Octavia always quarrels with the hearth before she can get a good fire going. This story is a nice but simple adaptation of the idea of seeking warmth together in cold conditions and it's really quite cosy. It's not a super great fic, but I won't lie about it bringing a noticeable smile to my face. All in all, welcome to the Cafe.

Comment posted by Captain Unstoppable deleted Feb 12th, 2018
Princess Amore Dudette
Group Contributor

6318773

I'm happy for you, but in the future, please refrain from posting in this thread. Thank you. :twilightsmile:

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Proverbial Roses by Ice Star
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (4/10)
Reason:

The main downfall for this story is its speed. Everything happens way too quickly, and there’s a lot presented here. The story is very open and shut for a story I don’t think should be open and shut. Celestia and Luna’s relationship has been toyed with for years, and I don’t think there’s ever been any stories suggesting that they’re really mother and daughter, not sisters. But there’s so much potential there, so much that could be worked with, but it’s located near the end of the story and then glossed over and shut. This could have done so much better if more depth was added to it, but there’s not, so I felt I was left hanging at the end. For that reason, I am rejecting this fic.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Bad Vibrations by FamousLastWords
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (4.5/10)
Reason:

I have two principal issues with this story: the amount of material, and Twilight.

First, the amount of material: there’s too little. In just under two and a quarter thousand, we get a section of anhedonia from Rarity, a conversation, a fight, and Rarity reminiscing. There’s way too much for how little story there is, and as such, it all happens rather quickly. It felt like there could have been something there, but because so much was trying to be done all at once, the parts suffered and the whole then felt very skimpy and incomplete.

Secondly, Twilight. She’s very out of character in this. I’d believe she gets distracted easily, but she seems to almost not care about Rarity. And when she’s confronted about it, she gets mad. When have we ever seen Twilight get mad because others thought she wasn’t being there for those she cares about? I know inevitably someone is going to point out an instance for me since I mentioned that, so then the followup becomes how often have we seen Twilight get mad when confronted versus how often have we seen her get upset and blame herself? Virtually the second Rarity mentions something, Twilight explodes on her and essentially accuses her of being ungrateful. She wouldn’t do that. When confronted about being wrong, she never fights back, she doubles down and tries to make up for it.

So, for a main plot that doesn’t seem very realistic along with moving very quickly and not allowing any of the scenes to really be robust, this story is rejected.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: We Who with Songs Beguile by Loganberry
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (5/10)
Reason:

I like stories that give us some new perspective on the world, something that when we finish, we step back and start thinking.

I got that first point well enough from this story, but almost nothing in the way of the second point.

Mainly, this story happens. What happens in it, though? Not much, really. One of the songbirds in Fluttershy’s choir is talking about ponies from his perspective, and that’s it. It meanders, doesn’t really have much of a point, and doesn’t seem like the author has some goal in mind while they’re going through it. It is a slice of life by the purest definition, and doesn’t do much else with it.

Next, the comedy tag. Did I miss something? I didn’t really see any comedy in this story, and it didn’t even appear as though the author was trying to write any humor. I guess looking at the world through another’s eyes could be slightly comedic since they’ve interpreted the world differently than you, but that’s a very liberal definition of comedy and even then, it’s not like this bird’s perspective is that wild, given his circumstances.

So, simply put, this story just...happens. You open it, you read it, you get to the end. There’s nothing that sticks with you, nothing that makes you think, no new perspective on the world of My Little Pony. For those reasons, I am rejecting this fic.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: A Letter, Unsent by KendallKun
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (6.5/10)
Reason:

Don’t let the reject fool you, I thought this was a pretty decent story.

However, I have to reject it mainly on its ending, because there’s too little of it. We get some good writing about Trixie throughout, but then it switches tones into how she’s changed, and we see very little of that. Especially when it’s mentioned in the description that the story shows how friendship has changed Trixie, you expect to see some really good portions of the story dedicated to that, and I just didn’t get that here.

The rest of the story was good, if repeated a bit more than needed. Trixie was written well and the writing was clean and smooth (as well as in 1st person, a personal favorite of mine), and writing it as a letter was I think a good choice. So, while I think there’s a good story in here, it needs more depth and development on the tail end. For that reason, I am rejecting this fic.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: A Piece of You by JackRipper
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (7/10, second opinion by Milo_Chalks)
Reason:

This was a good story, and a tough choice on where it stands. However, it ultimately has a few key issues that prevent it from being accepted into the group.

The principal issue I had with this is the pacing. There’s some good emotion in this story, but it really undoes a lot of it when it’s moved through so quickly. While it was an issue throughout the story, it gets especially evident in the last scene. The entire story is building up to the inevitable conflict where Fluttershy finds out (either through Rainbow Dash or someone else), and it’s just very rushed, leaving you dissatisfied. For a story that builds up so much tension throughout, it just doesn’t deliver on it at the end.

Another thing that I feel could have been improved was the emotion. I know I said there’s a good amount, but you’re dealing with an extremely heavy, nuanced, and complex topic here, and just having a good amount isn’t enough. There are so many layers you could have worked with — why Dash did it in the first place, what would be going through her mind afterwards, what Fluttershy must be going through, their relationship and why they didn’t end it, and so on. For a story about such a heavy topic as infidelity, it stays rather conservative when it comes to the emotionality of the work.

That being said, I did enjoy this, and thought it do some things well. I feel that it tackled the issue of cheating well and showed it in maybe a bit more realistic light than we usually see it. It’s easy to just fall into the heuristic of “if they cheat, leave them”, but relationships are more complex than that. As mentioned in the story, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy are too connected for the solution to be that simple. There’s too much history and emotion between the two of them for just ending it right then and there to be the easy choice. And this story also avoids the other end of the spectrum, not making it seem as though anything is admissible if your relationship is good enough. It portrays a complicated problem with a complicated solution that beat out complicated alternatives, something I think is difficult to do and shows some strength on the author’s side.

However, this story fell short. While it did present its central issue well, I thought that it didn’t allow enough of the potential emotion to come through and moved through it too quickly, and for those reasons, I am rejecting it.

Title: One Letter At A Time
Amount Read: All
Author: Silent Whisper
Rating: 6.5/10 (Reject)

Reasoning: This story was, in my opinion, very well written. It flowed well—for the most part—and had great grammar and spelling. However, it cannot be accepted due to the lack-luster plot. I’ll admit, this was a rather sweet idea. I love Derpy’s character, both canonical and fanon, and having her deliver complementary letters to ponies? Awesome. But it just wasn't carried out to the best of its potential. The story could have been longer, giving more feeling to those who received the letters, and letting Twilight and the others ponder the author’s identity. What stood out to me was that the characters chosen to recieve letters seemed a bit arbitrary, and not all in much need for reassurance. If the letters had been delivered to the Mane 6, it might have worked better. But it the end, I was left feeling a little unsatified with a storyline that was just a bit too short.

Title: Spacebound Equestria
Author:TheMajorTechie
Amount Read: 25%
Rating: 2/10

Reasoning: Going into the story, I wasn’t expecting anything. It seemed, simply, to be a self-indulgent, poorly-written “edgy” piece. And I wasn’t really wrong. I didn’t read the whole thing due to two reasons: I could already tell the quality of writing, and I just really wasn’t interested. It’s your standard sci-fi, dark ‘grand’ adventure, with plenty of cheesy dialogue and strange scenarios. Nothing felt genuine. It was more of “hey, let’s have all of ponykind be threatened oh no” more than anything else. Although I do have to give some credit where it’s due. This fic wasn’t by any means good, but it did have decent grammar and spelling, which was a nice surprise. The writing itself was stiff and boring, but it wasn't undeniably bad. So, it is for these reasons that this cannot be accepted.

Milo_Chalks
Group Admin

Title: No Need to Say Goodbye
Author: Silent Whisper
Amount Read: All
Verdict: 8/10

What can I say? another fantastic fic, really. It’s stunning and captures the relationship you really laid out in the first one. Not only that but you have given this one progression, you’ve given it something to cling on to. I genuinely cannot wait for the next one because I really want to see where you take this. Whilst giving it a new theme, and proper progression and a new relationship, and giving it something interesting and different from the first one. You didn’t take away what made the first one so good. You kept its style and its prose which I personally could never get sick of. The whole beauty behind this miniature series you have is showing the depth of this relationship with barely a single word of dialogue to show for it. You’ve created a powerful romance with almost no interaction, and that is something truly special. That will be difficult to avoid in the next chapter but with some careful writing, some planning, and equal depth, I can picture it just as great as the previous two. Bravo and looking forward to reading it!

Princess Amore Dudette
Group Contributor

Title: Here Comes The Snow
Author: ST4RSK1MM3R
Amount Read: 100%
Rating:
Plot/Theme: 13/20
Technical/Structure: 8/10
Characters: 6/10
Subjective: 3/10
Total: 30/50
Verdict: 6/10 - Recommend Rejection


The story dives right into the narrative by introducing our character in the middle of a fight scene. The action sequence isn’t half bad, albeit possibly a little too rigid for my personal tastes. The design choice to jump right into the middle of a fight almost worked for me with its pacing, its flourish, and the initial ‘lull’ that some narratives have in regards to the opening.

My only concern with it is the context for certain nuances within the events occuring.

But the Griffon did not show any pain. He looked up, right into his eyes, and growled. “You damn mercenaries, don’t you know what you’ve done!?” He began coughing up blood.

I don’t quite understand the stakes of the fight here. The Griffon has lost the war, sure, but what does this mean for his people?

We get some sort of answer to this that only raises more.

“That's what I fight for. The removal of borders. What has borders given us? Nothing but war, pain, and misery. Borders are nothing but a symbol of power, an imaginary line drawn across the land. Why should we hate and kill others just because they live on the other side of that invisible line? We’re going to start over from scratch, that's what V2 is for.”

This is an excerpt taken from another Griffon to the protagonist. I don’t quite understand the antagonist’s motivation. He’s saying that he’s trying to remove war and suffering, but I’m seeing this people create just that. The apparent hypocrisy between motivation and action lends itself a somewhat unsatisfactory climax.

There was minor transitional issues as well.

For a split second, everything in the world was quiet. No sound. None at all. And then PJ gave one small gasp of air, his eyes turning to him in shock, giving him one pleading look, to do something, to help him, before his legs gave out, and he collapsed to the ground, a spear going right through his chest. He was dead before he hit the ground.

It was a cold day.

I read this and the first thing I’m thinking is out protagonist has ADD or something. “Oh no my friend is dead. I wonder what the weather is like.”

And then there is some dialogue that sounds like it’s trying to convey some hidden message, but I just don’t get it.

“You and I are the opposite sides of the same coin. When we face each other we can finally see our true selves. There may be a resemblance, but we never face the same direction.”

I feel this is slightly edgy. If I picture what this description is telling me, they are two sides of the same coin, but when they face each other, they see their true selves but, oh wait, they can’t face the same direction anyway so I guess it doesn’t really matter. And if they can’t see their true selves unless they’re facing the same direction, how does he know there’s a resemblance?

The story ends off with the following passage:

In the following years, one mare would travel to this location and place flowers at the grave of a lost love, a fallen soldier. Sometimes she would look to the sky, and wonder. Sometimes she would listen to the snow.

I’m not entirely sure what the underlying message here was in relation to the rest of the narrative. ‘A war won, but its repercussions never forgotten’ is the first thing that pops into my mind, but the round-about-way would practically beg for there to be a multitude of people crying out in silent anguish rather than a single mare whom I don’t even recall being mentioned anywhere in the exchange between Cipher and Pixy. I don’t see this strengthening the emotional impact of his death anymore that the previous line delivered. I do see the previous line being slightly abrupt in its current state to end on, but I think a little tweaking with the phrasing could resolve that issue quite nicely.

This narrative has a strong prose with a good flourish. The concept is interesting, but there are just a few things I found in it that I think prevent it from being a truly spectacular piece. With a heavy heart, I’m rejecting this story at this time.

Princess Amore Dudette
Group Contributor

Title: Wielder of the Orb: Of Magic and Ponies
Author: TheMajorTechie
Amount Read: 1 chapter
Verdict: Recommend Rejection

This is going to be a really short review, and I sincerely apologize for this, but this story was virtually unreadable for me. I couldn't tell what was action, dialogue or thought because there was no distinction between any of them. Having quotation marks for dialogue or italics for thought are useful tools in rectifying this issue, something I know you make use of regularly from the other works I've reviewed. I won't even bother breaking this down to a score because I don't feel I can assign it a proper value without understanding it first.

Lome
Group Contributor

Sleepless

Story by Samey90, Review by Lome

Six genres might be too many for this fun, flawed fic...

It seems only fitting that a story centered around psychosis would in and of itself be a bit of a mess. ‘Sleepless’ reads like a homage to Stephen King's earlier works, which is both a praise and a critique. Suffering from both a lack of focus and benefitting in equal measure from that same issue, this story is hard to pin down to a single genre.

I believe the primary flaw with ‘Sleepless’ is it can’t quite decide what it wants to be. Is it a psychological thriller? A slasher? A cautionary tale on revenge? The short answer is it wants to be everything, and in doing so we see that this jack of all trades is also a master of none. ‘Sleepless’ works best as a grimdark storm of violence, and wanes when it tries to be a heady mystery thriller.

Opening with a fairly flat hook, ‘Sleepless’ wastes no time in establish the basic conceit of the story; Diamond Tiara has been suffering from insomnia, and all work and no sleep makes … well, you know the rest. I was disappointed to see too much vital plot information given away so suddenly, I was hoping to savor the reveal and wonder along with the characters in the story who the killer could possibly be.

In fact, the information was so overt in the opening chapter that I was immediately skeptical. I was hoping so badly for a big reveal at the end, a subversion of the information, an ‘aha’ moment where everything suddenly clicks into place and my many questions are answered

Sadly, no such ending presented itself and I was instead left scratching my head at numerous plot holes and extreme leaps of logic that seem to exist merely as an excuse for gratuitous violence. I should note that several times while reading the first few chapters of this story I had to physically look away from the screen and turn to my partner to express my bemused confusion.

Why can’t the police tell the general size of the murderer? Why would the police consider a suspicious drowning death a suicide? Why did Ruby drown after being in the water for what felt like ten seconds? Why does no one suspect the one character who has clear links to all the murders? Why can bodies only be found by accident, despite the entire town actively searching for them every single day? And so on.

The first major offense in this category comes from Midline Shift, who notes Diamonds obsessive tendencies and immediately concludes that she needs to be institutionalized. There was a real opportunity here during this introductory scene, for a cat-and-mouse style series of questions and answers; a bit of ‘I know you know’ in the vein of ‘Dexter’ or ‘Death Note’ would have been fantastic here.

This would have fit well considering the authors use of internal dialogue, and seeing the exchange from a one-sided point of view would have been intriguing. Instead, a single quirk is raised, compounded by insomnia but presented as though it was smoking gun proof of insanity (Which her father apparently agrees with and...  diamond, too?)

Okay, so if I can be a backseat driver for a moment here- What I would have done is open the scene with Diamond and Midline Shift, thrust straight into their first session. Diamond prepares a list of answers she knows have worked on other doctors before, only to be immediately thrown off by an unexpected question. Here we could see that this filly is smart, calculating, paranoid, and hiding something.

Midline would smile and stare, a blank slate that can’t be read- this relationship would continue throughout the story as the two sides become increasingly more distrustful of each other. Later on the voices in her head could join the inner dialogue, and ultimately her stay in the asylum would have more meaning and impact.

On the same token, I need more reasons why the townspeople are vilifying Vinyl Scratch in the beginning of the story aside from a vague notion of a rumor. Maybe she really did kidnap a young filly years ago, and when ponies start to go missing she is the first immediately obvious choice for questioning. Perhaps the police (they can still be incompetent for the sake of the plot) can’t pin her down for anything and that further agitates the town.

As it stands, the accusations carry so little weight to them that it's hard to feel a sense of injustice. If this were more of a mystery, perhaps Vinyl would be a red herring, at least sowing the seed of doubt in the reader's mind as to who the killer is. Unfortunately, because of how quickly it becomes apparent that Diamond is the culprit, Vinyls story becomes instead a b-plot that loosely ties back into the main story.

If the intent was less of a mystery and more of a thriller, then having an established, intelligent Diamond works well here too. Perhaps she cant control herself, but her own self-preservation and the thrill of the game keeps her from turning herself in. Missing bodies remain missing (perhaps one shows as a rising action towards the end). This helps perpetuate the paranoia and uncertainty. Dead fillies is horrifying, but missing ones are even worse.

Another essential element I felt was missing were the stakes for the protagonists. As it stands, Diamond doesn’t even seem worried about getting caught and considering her age and her father's influence, it’s easy to understand why. Likewise Vinyl seems to lose her motivation to live pretty quickly, which makes me feel nothing when she is brutally beaten. The same goes for her assailant, who is essentially the same character, a flippant drunk that the town reviles based on idle rumors.

Either way, I feel as though the choice to overtly show the gore and violence puts this story more firmly in the category of a grimdark slasher. In this way the story works best as-is, though the crippling stupidity of everypony related to the murder investigations is so noticeable that it's incredibly distracting.

In this instance having Diamond brutally kill her victims, then hide the evidence of her misdeeds still works very well for the narrative. There’s no reason for the police to be so bafflingly stupid in their investigation, we could instead see the frustration of being tasked to find missing children while simultaneously having nothing more than rumor to work with.

If ‘Sleepless’ were primarily a mystery- make it less obvious who the killer is, keep the children missing until the climax, increase the list of suspects and give everyone a flaw and a secret they don't want getting out. Vinyl could be an excellent Red Herring, or a surprise reveal at the end in this case.

As it stands, ‘Sleepless’ works best when it sticks closely to a grimdark, gory narrative. The brutality of the kills, the sense of real danger associated with beatings, they work very well in this horrifying setting. In many ways, it feels as those someone has dumped pure rage into the water supply, and the times where the violence reaches a near Tarantino level of violence is both visceral and satisfying. Just don’t think too hard, or you’ll likely start to question the logic of the townsfolk and some of the conclusions they draw with little to no evidence.

Another pass through the draft wouldn’t have gone amiss either. A lot of the language is repetitive, including character names- sometimes in the same sentence. I also have to point out that the phrasing and structure of certain sentences feel a bit like the author perhaps speaks a second language. Some of the wording is clunky in a way that is a bit distracting, again a bit of editing would go a long way here to smooth over these small imperfections.

While I understand a lot of the characters that make the more illogical accusations are under duress (and/or the influence of alcohol), I still feel like more could be done to justify their actions. It wouldn’t take much, maybe another rumor or a small spark, but again I say the eruptions of violence would be made all the better if it was uncertain what the fate of the children actually was.

I feel like I am perhaps being unreasonably nitpicky, but I only do so out of appreciation for the ideas being presented in ‘Sleepless’. I feel like with a bit more direction and clarity, with a single genre vision, this story could have ascended into greatness. As it stands, it's a fun read with a lot of potential that is so all over the place that it’s hard to predict.

A story that isn’t quite sure what it wants to be, which simply adds to the madness and makes it all the more schizophrenic. If you’re looking to sate your bloodlust whilst yourself feeling like you’re descending slowly into madness, give ‘Sleepless’ a read… or maybe get some sleep, you don’t look so good...

Hook 5/10

Tone 8/10

Character 6/10

Plot 6/10

Grammar 7/10

Final Score 6.4/10

Verdict: Reject

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Adrenaline Spike by FamousLastWords
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (6/10)
Reason:

I thought this story had a lot of promise in its premise, but ultimately, it was its execution that kept it back.

Mainly, I didn’t think this story did enough with the premise it set out to capture. It went for a very tricky situation and aimed to show it maturely which I think it did, but there’s just way too little of it. I thought the interactions between Rainbow Dash and Spike were really good and there was a lot of promise there, but it’s moved on from rather quickly. I was hoping this section of the story would be longer because I do think the other parts added a lot to the feeling and showing the almost trapped feeling Rainbow and Spike have, but the section with them together is so crucial and needs to deliver more.

Like I said, though, there’s definitely promise in this. It has a good premise and sets up the main conflict well, but then doesn’t deliver as much on it as it could. For that reason, I am rejecting this story.

Princess Amore Dudette
Group Contributor

Title: The Religion of Peace (NSFW)
Author: Raw Cringe
Amount Read: All
Rating:
Plot/Theme:9/20
Technical/Structure:8/10
Characters:5/10
Subjective:4/10
Total:26/50
Verdict: 5/10 - Recommend Rejection

There’s a lot in this story that doesn’t really work from a narrative standpoint, even after one takes into the account that this a satirical piece that isn’t meant to be taken seriously.

As with much of fanfiction that satirizes some popular icon like Donald Trump, where we dial up the level of inanity to ludicrous proportions, we get something here that’s not really grounded in logic.

This is a big turn off for a large grouping of audience, but for me, I can appreciate the inanity as long as it does something to enhance whatever’s being satirized. The real question I’d like to present in this review is: Does it?

That’s a hard question for me to answer. So much of what was happening seemed completely unconnected with each other, and I even had a hard time following with what was going on.

Take the Birth Control Clinic, for example. I’m not sure what the clinic even does for the equines. It has doctors, yes. They walked into it above ground, but it’s deep underground and is powered by magma so they have some connection to Earth somehow and they monitor the humans for some reason..? I don’t really understand, and this doesn’t seem to be any clinic I’ve ever heard of.

And then we get to the part where Pinkie is locked inside a door for three hours and they can’t open it because the connection is unstable, I think? Then Twilight Sparkle pulls out an AK-47 on the doctor and makes him open the door and it doesn’t seem to matter anyways, so yay, I think. Perhaps I am just really confused about what happened in the scene, but that’s how I processed it.

I noticed that the narrative had some direction overall, but the characters’ stakes in its resolution didn’t seem to matter. And that never becomes more apparent than when you get the amusing situation of the devil himself showing up and preventing Twilight Sparkle and company from killing Trump for the sake of the MLP religion in the human world.

And to quote the story, in its own words:

"This is getting ridiculous."

It’s hard for me to boil down to what this narrative is really making fun of. Trump is evil and ponies are good? Are ponies evil? They seem to have a cult religion mind controlling everyone, and Twilight has an AK-47 and threatens ponies with it, but then again there was a confrontation between the devil in them, so who knows?

Even if everything didn’t mesh together well for me, there were a few points of high marks for this narrative, particularly with the characterization of Trump. It is truly hard to satirize someone like Trump, whose speeches and actions already appear satirical in nature. I honestly believe the author would get paid good money at The Onion for this depiction of Trump.

And then, at the end, everything about Obama was amusing. One particular line cracked me up.

"President Obama..." Sam muttered, quietly. Obama leaned in to hear him speak.

"You shoulda got welfare."

Though I am rejecting this story in its current condition, I have seen much, much worse, and this narrative was amusing enough to give me a pleasure experience from its jokes even if I wasn’t entirely satisfied with its plot.

Princess Amore Dudette
Group Contributor

Title:The Following
Author:AusFlick
Amount Read: All that is published.
Rating:
Plot/Theme:12/20
Technical/Structure:8/10
Characters:8/10
Subjective:4/10
Total:32/50
Verdict:6.5/10 - Recommend Rejection

This narrative has a lot of promising features about it. Given that there is only one chapter currently published, the grounds for acceptance or rejection can only be obtained from what I’ve seen of it. This, of course, is not an easy decision to make.

That being said, I simply don’t think there’s enough story there to pass it just yet.

This, however, doesn’t mean that what you have is, by any stretch of the imagination, poor execution. The characterization in it, right from the beginning, appears to be strong, and its premise is enough to maintain my interest. It gives off this Slenderman-like vibe toward the end, and I am curious to see where the author takes it from there.

I’ll need to see more, however, to see whether or not this will be just like every other narrative out there with this premise, or if it will give its own voice to the sub-genre. The answer to that question will be achieved with the publishing of a few more chapters.

There is one main critique I can say of what I have seen so far with regards to its setup. The scene of Fluttershy and Zecora didn’t really cut it for me. The scene seemed to adopt an ‘after the fact’ description for much of its existence, and its only purpose thus far seems to serve is setting the scene for the action that has yet to take place.

Given this setup, it has me worried about how well the execution of the action leading up to the story’s climax will pan out, and that’s my main reason for rejection at this time.

Princess Amore Dudette
Group Contributor

Title: Vinyl and Fleetfoot Drink Coffee and Nothing Happens
Author: Samey90
Amount Read: All
Rating:
Plot/Theme: 15/20
Technical/Structure: 7/10
Characters: 7/10
Subjective: 6/10
Total: 33/50
Verdict: 6.5/10 - Recommend Rejection

Vinyl and Fleetfoot Drink Coffee and Nothing Happens is story whose premise is exactly that. I didn’t really know what to expect from a title like that, and what I got wasn’t altogether unenjoyable experience to read.

It’s really just a story about two mares talking about some life events, and then it kind of just ends. And while it was an enjoyable read as a whole, there was the ever present question for the deeper significance within the narrative, the why behind it all. What has really happened within it that we should take away from? I’m not so sure.

There are times where the dialogue within the story was somewhat questionable, and for a narrative whose success depends heavily on its use of dialogue, this becomes a vice which is hard to overlook.

Vinyl nodded. “After one of my early gigs, I slept in an old cart, next to the speakers and all my equipment. When I woke up, my friend had to take me to the orthopaedist in that cart...”

“And what did he say?” Fleetfoot asked.

“That I have magnesium deficiency and that I shouldn’t drink so much coffee.” Vinyl shrugged and took a sip. “So I started to eat chocolate. After a few months, I broke the cart when I sat in it.”

“I started to train because my mother thought I was fat,” Fleetfoot lowered her voice to a whisper. “Even when I became a Wonderbolt, she only said that now I should try even harder.”

Vinyl mentioned the cart three times in two paragraphs, and while I don’t raise much issue with its repetition (although I feel concision can easily be applied here), I find the phrasing to be slightly awkward. I posit this adjustment:

After a few months, I had to find a new place to sleep.

Perhaps I am nitpicking here, but I feel that small adjustments to the dialogue here and there will draw less awkwardness with the characterization of this piece.

And there are certain lines of dialogue that I don’t think really works in its current state. Take this, for example:

“Same with me,” Vinyl inhaled the smoke and held her breath with her eyes closed, letting it fill her lungs. “My technical crew isn’t fun anymore since I gave up drugs.”

“You were–”

“I don’t wanna talk about that, okay?” Vinyl sighed.

If Vinyl didn’t want to talk about the time she took drugs, why did she voluntarily divulge the fact that she took them in the first place? She sounded particularly shameful of having done that, so she just created a level of awkwardness, which she didn’t even acknowledge.

It’s entirely possible that Vinyl finds Fleetfoot to be a trustworthy ally, and therefore she’s a little more loose about her secrets, but I felt this line would come across more natural if she pointed that out. Like, ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with me… I don’t normally tell anypony this…’ would have been enough for someone like me.

The story ends with them talking about dreams with one another and then walking out of the bar after it stops raining. This last bit of conversation seemed inconsequential.

The bit about Fleetfoot’s mother, however, does raise one additional question. I’m not sure how long she’s been on the team of Wonderbolts, but even still, the dialogue gives me the impression that Fleetfoot hasn’t spoken with her mother since she was a kid (on the account of her running away)… but earlier in the narrative it was mentioned that the mother had told her to train harder now that she’s become a Wonderbolt, so I’m a little confused. Is this implying Fleetfoot has been a Wonderbolt since she was a little kid?!

I’d love to have seen this dynamic between Fleetfoot and her mother fleshed out a little more here, but it’s hard to say what kind of impact that would have on the rest of this story. And I suppose that can be said of a lot of different paths this narrative could take. It seems to raise a lot interesting points without delving too deeply into any of them.

Which is alright for the narrative. Not every story needs to delve deeply into the heart and soul of a character to be enjoyable. That being said, I must still reject this story at this time for the aforementioned reasons.

Princess Amore Dudette
Group Contributor

Title: A Great PinkieBurn Day
Author: Darth Redbeard
Amount Read: All
Rating:
Plot/Theme: 4/20
Technical/Structure: 5/10
Characters: 3/10
Subjective: 1/10
Total: 13/50
Verdict: 2.5/10 - Recommend Rejection

After reading the story in its entirety, there are two very, very glaring issues I find with this story. The first presents itself right in the opening paragraph of the story.

The train was rocking along the tracks as we speed towards Ponyville. I was on my way to help my cousin Applejack and her family at Sweet Apple Acres. I guess I had better introduce myself. My names Braeburn Apple. I live in Appleloosa running the family orchard there. Bet you cannot guess what I help grow. Yep, you guessed it. Apples. I am also going for another reason. I have a small crush on one of my cousins’ friends, even though she nearly started a war between the Buffalo and us. I have not told my cousin yet, since I have no idea how she would take it. I mean, her cousin dating one of her friends. That would not be good. In addition, I have no idea about one more thing that this trip will help me decide. I want to move to Ponyville to be closer to my cousin, but at the same time, I do not want to leave Appleloosa.

There is a issue with its flow and transitioning of thoughts. The thoughts are jumbled, causing a whiplash effect with regards to the focal point, what’s drawing the reader’s attention at any given time.

One moment it’s talking about Braeburn going to Ponyville, but it barely gives the reader two sentences of setting the scene before jumping onto the fact that he has a crush on one of the mane six. And then it jumps from that to Braeburn thinking about moving to Ponyville.

This doesn’t give us nearly enough time to establish Braeburn’s characterization, his motive, or any other number of reasons for a reader to be particularly invested in the narrative.

The lack of establishing basically anything is apparent throughout.

The other glaring issue, which is linked to the first and therefore is also presented in the opening paragraph, is the story’s pacing.

Everything is happening way too fast. The entire narrative was over pretty much instantly, and the execution as result, to be quite frank, is a mess.

Here’s a rundown of what happens:

‘I’m here!’
‘You’re crushing on Pinkie.’
‘I have a crush on you Pinkie.’
‘I knew it.’
‘I’m staying in Ponyville.’

There’s not time nor depth given to flesh out any of the character’s motivations, and unfortunately this does not give a lasting, satisfactory resolution for me. It is for this reason that I am rejecting this story at this time.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Stuff My Sister Says by Demon McRae
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (5.5/10)
Reason:

Whoa mama, what a story.

Ahem

The first thing I’m going to point out, before getting into the story itself, is the writing. Errors happen, and while this story isn’t really egregious in its mistakes, there were still enough that I feel I have to make a point of it. It’s a simple fix, really: just go through with a fine comb and clean it up. While some were more recurrent than others (the wrong form of “your” gets used quite a few times), it’s not like they were always made, showing it’s more a lack of proofreading than any real problems with the author’s writing.

For the story, I’d say I have two main critiques of it. The first is the humor in the first part of the story. There are some parts that I legitimately thought were funny, but the problem is that it just gets old. Comedy can be hard to write because you very easily run the risk of oversaturating the plot with jokes, and this did that a little bit. There hardly went a paragraph without some witty one-liner, and after a certain point, they lose their power. I’m a huge fan of absurdity and one-liners (Mitch Hedberg easily being one of my favorite comedians), but eventually, you have to know when to cut back on them. Unfortunately, that line gets crossed, and while it’s not painful to read, it just gets boring. Maybe if it was condensed a little bit there would be enough to keep it funny, but after many chapters of it, they just lost their ability to make you laugh.

Secondly, there’s a really huge contrast in the start of this story and the end of it. It starts out as a very silly comedy fic, but after about the party chapters, its tone drastically changes to a regular slice of life with maybe an odd line thrown in here and there. I thought there was some decent potential in the second half, but even then it was like the first half in that it needs to be a little more condensed. Most of the interesting material, regarding Runway and her own life, is very back-loaded and is only really touched on in the end of the story and isn’t given a whole lot of time to be worked with.

So, what do I make of this? I think there are really two potentially good stories in this: the first half would make a good comedy if it was condensed more and had the fat trimmed, and the second half would make a good slice of life about two sisters if it was more evenly distributed. However, it doesn’t handle either idea particularly well and then combines them into one story where the first chapter and the last chapter are of wildly differing styles. So, for those reasons, I am rejecting this fic.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Last One Standing by kalash93
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (6/10)
Reason:

I will say, for a first story, this actually is pretty decent. However, while I think there’s a good concept behind this, there’s one big issue that I saw that kept me back from accepting it. That issue being that this story more or less just serves as a giant headcanon dump. It’s interesting, I can’t deny that, but it just becomes a lot to get through without much breaking it up. Eventually, you get to the point of just wanting it to get on with it because it takes up a pretty significant portion of the story and is just long paragraph after long paragraph.

However, I think it did have some good parts to it in there. Death is an interesting concept, and one a lot of people try to stray from, so it’s pretty commendable that someone would try to tackle that issue head on for their first story. And it captures the feeling of being at the end of life well, especially through showing Ruby and having her serve as a sign to Twilight that it’s about to happen.

So, while I thought this story had some good ideas, its execution wasn’t quite up to par since it just kind of dumps it all out at once. So, for that reason, I am rejecting it.

Lome
Group Contributor

Title: Silent Night by OkemosBrony
Verdict: Reject (6.8/10)

Can generosity overcome sorrow?

‘Silent Night’ is both a light, heart-warming story of friendship and a sobering look into depression and sadness. While these two themes are portrayed very well, the transition from one to the other is quite jarring. The story begins with a small setting hook establishing the cold, windy night.

As a hook, it does it’s job well enough, but I want to feel cold, isolated, enveloped by an encroaching darkness. For your consideration, I present the original hook, followed by an example of a re-write:

White fog escaped from Applejack’s nostrils as she exhaled into the night air. It quickly dispersed, being caught on a cold wind and ferried away.

***

Applejack shuddered, what little warmth she could muster billowed from her nostrils before being whisked away into a sea of darkness and snow. With a frigid bench beneath her and a dim street light above, she sat in the furious storm. Alone.

Following the hook, we’re given a quick setup that establishes the dark world Applejack finds herself in, and the pony who is trying desperately to rescue her from it. What follows feels a bit extreme, out of character, and downright dark. As this tone is established in the beginning of the story, this is fine.

The dialogue also at times feels far from friendly or helpful and more like something that would permanently damage a friendship and maybe even leave emotional scars behind. I can’t help but be bothered by the following scene, the presumptions Rarity makes here feel strange and the wording is a bit harsh:

You deserved to know the truth, horrible and bleak as it might have been.”

“They were just trying to protect me,” she said.

“You’re a terrible liar, Applejack. You don’t really believe that, do you?”


Rarity forcing Applejack to confront the death of her mother just feels.. cruel at times. I’m no expert in emotional trauma, but I know forcing your friend to relive their mother dying of disease by immobilizing them in the  blistering cold is probably not the appropriate measure.

“I said no!” She got up off the bench to leave, but was quickly engulfed in magic and forced back down

It’s cold, it’s dark, it’s dramatic; Up until the point where Applejack asks Rarity if they would have been friends had Twilight not come along. Enter the dramatic left turn. This question and the subsequent chain of events following it pull the story along a path that is so tonally and thematically different that for a brief time it feels like a different story.

This moment makes up for this distracting element by having great, natural dialogue that doesn’t feel rushed but also moves along at a nice pace. It also reads like a real (albeit darker) episode of Friendship is magic, complete with a few friendship lessons worthy of a letter to Princess Celestia.

This moment of ‘Silent Night’ is definitely its strongest, and more true to form in every respect to the show. Rarity is no longer uncharacteristically aggressive, nor Applejack dishonest. Given the situation, its easy to give AJ a pass, but it’s harder for me to understand Rarities actions and motivation. Aside from the implication that this is all for the greater good, it feels a bit misguided; like that friend who tells you to ‘get over’ your depression or that you should just ‘be happy’ without fully understanding the totality of the situation.

Perhaps it just bothers me that a role that should probably be filled by a professional is instead being handled in a blunt-force way that feels like it could easily backfire. I suppose in my mind, the approach just doesn’t feel like something a good friend would do, this is of course made up for later on but it still lingers in the back of my mind throughout the story.

Grammatically the story fairs well for the most part. There are, however, a few sentences that feel a little redundant. The worst culprit I found is the following:

[The air] quickly dispersed, being caught on a cold wind and ferried away. Looking down, Applejack parted her mane which the wind had blown into her face. The same wind that had carried her breath away was also blowing her mane around, getting in her face and bothering her.

The last sentence feels unnecessary as it conveys no new information and exists only to reinforce the previous two sentences with identical descriptors. Perhaps instead a bit more scene setting could have been used. For example, it’s shown later that she is sitting on a bench, but no mention is made of it until another character sits next to her.

I was also unsure what the author was referring to here:

...filling up the holes left by the townsponies earlier in the day.

My assumption is they are referring to hoofprints, but for whatever reason the way it's worded makes me imagine the townsponies had spent all day digging holes all over ponyville. It’s a small thing, but the occasional redundancy or oddly worded sentence can at times pull one from fully enjoying the story.

In the end, ‘Silent Night’ feels like two stories with distinct tones glued together with a bit of drama and conflict. With a few tweaks, this story could become something great, an emotional rollercoaster that switches gears from dark sadness to heartwarming happiness while still feeling very well-crafted and true to the source material. ‘Silent Night’ has its flaws, but its stellar second half is enough to warm even the coldest hearts even in the darkest winter nights.

Hook  7/10

Tone 6/10

Character 7/10

Plot 6/10

Grammar 8/10

Final Score 6.8/10

Verdict: Reject

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Without Another Word by Jack of a Few Trades
Amount Read: All
Verdict: (6/10)
Reason:

I love emotional stories. What can I say? I was excited to pick this story up and read it, but ultimately, I felt as though there was something lacking in this.

I finished reading this and felt as if something was missing in this story. After thinking it over for a bit, I think I figured it out: the emotion. There’s some here, sure, but it feels like a slow burn. Grand Pear has received some pretty harrowing news, that his daughter he had previously disowned has died and their hatred was not mutual, but there’s never really any intense moments of emotionality in this. It didn’t really hit me that hard when I read the part about him getting the letter, and it doesn’t feel like the gravity of that situation is portrayed well. The rest of the first chapter and then a good portion of the second chapter also seem to almost want to not talk about it, just dropping little bits here and there but never allowing it to totally develop.

Then, when the climax of the story happens, it doesn’t really hit you that hard. It all kind of hinges on one single line, and while it’s a good scene, it’s too little for a very emotional story to center on. You’re dealing with a stallion who disowned his daughter, then found out when she died that she never gave him up the way he was quick to do to her. There’s a lot you can work with this, and I don’t feel as though enough of it came through. And I feel that could be said about this whole story: you’re working with a very rich prompt with a lot of potential to smack you in the face with feels like a freight train, and this felt more like a love tap.

So, in short, I don’t really think that this story handled its prompt poorly, but it didn’t use enough of the emotion that it could have. With a pretty great upvote/downvote ratio and an EQD feature (please tell me your secrets) I was expecting a torrent of emotion, but was left wanting much more than I got. For that reason, I am rejecting this fic.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Please Kill Me by Jackripper
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (4/10)
Reason:

Twilight wants to die.

That’s basically the whole story in four words. There’s really not much else to it, nothing I can really critique in here. There’s some slightly amusing images of Twilight trying to kill herself (emphasis on trying) you might make in your head, a scene with Luna that I have no idea what it means, and then pretty much nothing else.

I hate to tell you this, but this is probably my shortest review ever. There really just isn’t practically anything in this story to work with, so I can’t really judge it that well. So, for having a very barebones story and not really leaving me a whole lot to work with, I am rejecting this story.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Rebuilding by JD McGregor
Amount Read: All currently published (through Chapter 6 - The New Kids)
Verdict: Reject (6.5/10)
Reason:

This is an example of a story I liked but have to reject it. Sorry to say it, but while I thought this story did a lot of stuff well, it had one issue that’s holding it back for me.

That one issue? Its pacing. This story is almost 30,000 words as of when I read it, but very little gets done in it. It drags its feet for almost the entire story, especially in the first few chapters. There’s so much delaying of the action, and whenever it’s touched upon, there’s very little of it. This fic feels much shorter than it actually is because of how uncondensed it is. Packing too much into too little is a big problem, but this has the opposite issue: it doesn’t pack enough into what it has.

The second issue is only really evident in the last published chapter, and something I need to mention before we get into the positives: dialogue. The dialogue itself isn’t bad and feels fairly natural, but there are often multiple speakers in the same paragraph. An easy enough fix, especially cause it’s only in chapter 6 that I really noticed it (other than that, clean writing throughout).

Now, like I said, I thought there were some really good ideas in this story. I’m personally a fan of exploring Starlight’s backstory, because of what she had to to act the way she did. The fandom’s knee-jerk reaction to learning about her background was (and often still is) that she’s completely blowing a minor issue way out of proportion, but this story approaches it in a realistic way. Starlight has shown herself to be vulnerable deep down, and this story allows that to come forth and give us some look not only into her mysterious past, but also the frankly enigmatic origins of Trixie. There’s clearly some thought put into this, and both Trixie and Starlight are given believable backstories with similar vulnerabilities, and you can see how those impacted the mares they would become.

The summary for this story is that there’s a lot of good ideas in here, but ultimately, it’s hurt by its lackadaisical approach where very little happens. 60,000 words is a reasonable-length novel, so it would be like getting halfway through a book and the plot not really advancing beyond the first few chapters. Were this story 15,000 or fewer words my decision very easily could be different, but it just doesn’t pack enough into what it has. For that reason, this story is rejected.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: We Are Okay by Harmony Pie
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (6/10)
Reason:

I have two main reasons for rejecting this story: how much happens in the story, and how it works with the subject matter.

First, I’m going to go with what goes on. To start, there’s a whole lot in here, and it’s very disjointed. There are a lot of short little sections, and they bounce around so I can’t tell when this is really happening. It’s very jarring to read, because it’s very hard to create a scene and get involved with the story because you’re constantly wondering what’s going on.

Next, the subject matter. I don’t think it was insensitive or poorly done, but it’s played very conservatively. Twilight is in a pretty terrible place in her life and is having some fairly troubling and invasive thoughts, but the way it’s presented, it feels to be handling this almost a little too delicately. It seems to tiptoe around a lot of the issues she’s having, and I get it: writing this without being too insensitive is difficult. But the opposite can be true, where you play it too safe and just want to very quickly touch on some of the more sensitive topics. This is a very difficult topic to get right, and that means there is a very delicate balance you have to hit. Unfortunately, this erred on the side of too delicate.

That being said, this story isn’t overall done poorly. While it played it a little too safe, it’s not presented in an insensitive or otherwise problematic way. It’s a very serious issue and a very tough one to present, but what you get from it is good. Twilight’s mood, cognition, and reaction to her invasive thoughts are pretty spot-on, but as I said before, it needs to take a little more of a front and center role. It’s just standing right on the outskirts, and for that reason, I am rejecting it.

Princess Amore Dudette
Group Contributor

Title: Ciphers
Author: Grand_Moff_Pony
Amount Read: All
Rating:
Plot/Theme: 17/20
Technical/Structure: 8/10
Characters: 8/10
Subjective: 9/10
Total: 42/50
Verdict: 8.5/10 - Recommend Acceptance

I always find stories whose execution at this caliber to be the hardest to review, if only for the fact that it pushes the limits of my writing knowledge to formulate any kind of meaningful criticism.

The grammar and spelling were fantastic. The added flourish contributed a lot to maintain the reader’s engagement, and it really brought the world around Fleur to life as she interacted with everything. Additionally, it adequately conveyed the emotional impact I was looking for from the bond her mother force upon her.

The romance in this narrative is bitter-sweet. Fated to marry into royalty, Fleur must cast off her feelings of true love. In doing so, she becomes a hollow version of herself until she is like a ponnequin whose sole purpose in life is fulfilling her mother’s wishes, even at the expense of happiness. And the way the author handles the story’s resolution is very authentic, showing that she has a breaking point, and she must pick up the pieces of her life before she can move past her family’s impossible standards.

If there is one major quip I have about this narrative, it’s that the parents, or any other characters apart from the two romantic partners, aren’t featured more. It somewhat detracts from the weight of Fleur’s inner struggle with their lack of physical presence. There’s something about the telling of their power over their daughter that just doesn’t replace having them there in the flesh.

Worse yet, a somewhat convoluted message can arise from this design choice

Cipher wrapped a hoof around hers, drawing her eyes. “For what? The letters? Fleur, we both knew your family was messing with the letters. Heck, I know a few of the mail ponies were helping them too by conveniently misdirecting a few of them. But we managed alright in the end.”

It’s telling us that the mail ponies sometimes misdirect their letters, but I’m not certain how they would benefit from this aside from possibly monetary compensation. There also wasn’t enough to suggest that Fleur’s parents would need to do this, if that was the case, because I understood from the context that they had first access to all of Fleur’s letters anyway, negating the need for this contrivance. If I knew more about Fleur’s parents, then perhaps I’d be able to understand it easier.

The only other qualm, which isn’t a major issue, I had with the story possibly lies with its opening. I think there were a few contextual clues missing from the first few paragraphs, which made me have to reread it two or three times to fully appreciate what the narrative was giving me.

That being said, the story was a fun time, it presented an excellent flow with its plot points, hitting all the right beats to give us this beautiful narrative. I eagerly accept this story into the cafe.

Princess Amore Dudette
Group Contributor

Title: Parent-Princess Relations (NSFW)
Author: Silent Whisper
Amount Read: All
Rating:
Plot/Theme: 11/20
Technical/Structure: 8/10
Characters: 4/10
Subjective: 4/10
Total: 27/50
Verdict: 5.5/10 - Recommend Rejection

Parent-Princess Relations tells the story of an incestral relationship between Twilight Sparkle and her father, Night Light. After reading the story, I couldn’t really tell you much of what it’s about other than there was sex and that there was domination play in it. This is all well and good for the niche audience that this caters to, but for the average John or Jane, they’ll probably put this down after the first few paragraphs.

This is mostly due to the set-up of their relationship. They seem to fall into a rigid, stereotypical situation that doesn’t quite line up with the personalities I’d expect from these characters. Twilight Sparkle, especially, felt out of character for the first half of the narrative for the smut later on to become possible.

Dressing up the narrative with quick one-liners such as ‘for science’ and ‘reading Questionable Sexual Actions: You and Your Inner Brat' isn’t enough to explain her awkward characterization. Twilight might do something for science or do research beforehand, but these actions are mere supplements, not the essence of what motivates her toward action.

For example, Twilight could read the book, but she could have just as easily read something else, say How to arouse your unwilling partner. She might try to learn to hone her skill of seduction, or look for some other way for to garner her father’s attention. Any said reasoning given to allow for an authentic set-up to execute the smut later on could be reasonably provided in a thousand or more words.

My point being, why is choosing to be a brat what Twilight resorts to in order to garner Night Light’s attention? Reading a book on how to do it doesn’t really explain it, and we don’t really know that she wants to be punished by him until later on, so we have to make wild assumptions in order to maintain our suspension of disbelief.

Night Light isn’t without his fair share of idiosyncrasies.

Night Light quirked an eyebrow. “Sure thing, princess. Heh, remember when that was just a nickname?”

Although this statement is accurate, it’s awkward within the context of the scene. It reads to me as him stopping the natural flow of their build-up to remind his daughter something she already knows.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be happy to teach you your place, just as soon as I finish reading this article, okay?” He smiled gently at Twilight as he unfurled the newspaper page and continued reading, humming to himself.

Is he teasing her by way of abstention or does he really want to finish that article? I don’t quite get to see his inner thoughts here, and what was given wasn’t enough to prevent my mind from wandering to how he wasn’t too distracted from actually finishing it. Given that he was obstinate about finishing that article, and I couldn’t imagine him actually finishing it, it appears to me that Twilight is being written into the forced role of subjecting herself to being a brat, which inherently clashes with her typical characterization, in order to garner his attention.

Aside from the faults I find with the characterization, the hook isn’t particularly strong. The opening paragraph appears to have a temporal issue.

“Daddy!” squealed Twilight as she pounced on her father, crumpling the newspaper he had open in his lap. Night Light beamed at his daughter as his horn lit up and he levitated her up onto his lap.

This reads to me that she was already on his lap when Night Light levitated her up onto his lap.

Other than that, I didn’t see anything that really struck me as something that sets this story apart from any other of its sub-genre. I have the firm belief that ninety percent of what makes a clopfic great is its setup.

That being said, when you get past the initial hump in the story, the smut is pretty decently written, and does have a satisfying resolution. Also:

Celestia above, it felt so wrong, and she felt so exposed, and… she didn’t want it to end.

I agree with you here, the last part reads fine.

Sadly, though, for the aforementioned reasons, I must reject this story at this time.

Sparky Brony
Group Contributor

Story: Vader’s New Empire

Author: Raptormon132

Amount Read: All

Score: 5/10

Decision: Reject

Why:

There are two major parts to my typical review. First off, the objective, which covers grammar and spelling. I can be quite forgiving in this department, because I don’t have a 100% grammar rate myself. That’s why I have an editor who goes through my work and helps make it understandable to our fellow readers. So, consequentially, I can allow some errors to pass because I don’t demand 100% perfection, because I cannot offer it myself. This story, however, has enough spelling errors, and bad grammar to completely jar me out of the story. I was no longer immersed in the story. All in all, the story is written very mechanically. Let me provide a few examples…

Flipping over Captain Bestial's extended arm with the war hammer gripping it, he raised his lightsaber, and with a quick slash, he lopped off the captain's arm. He landed on his feet, as Captain Bestial cried in agonizing pain, with his lopped off arm, still gripping the war hammer, falling to the ground with a loud thud.

He’d just lopped off the arm, you don’t need to say lopped again, ever. I mean never.

Tempest Shadow nodded, looking intensely at the Storm King. "Yes, Your Excellency. The lightning naginata of Fulgur will do well in countering against his weapon. He won't be a problem."

For one thing, it’s a proper name, capitalize! For another, that is the only time you need to put the full name of the weapon into writing.

Darth Vader intercepted and blocked the strike with his lightsaber, and was quite surprised that the unicorn's magical weapon was able to not be sliced by his more superior weapon.

Ummmm, wut? I mean seriously, WTF?!?

I’m sorry, but this story fails on grammar.

I will continue on to the subjective portion. I actually did like this story. One big thing about crossovers is avoiding having one genre of character be totally OP or totally nerfed in the alternate universe. You also need to think of how the characters move into the MLP world, or vice versa. Portal caused by the explosion of kyber crystals with the loss of the first Death Star…believable. And by providing a glimpse of what he was doing when he got sucked into the MLP universe, it gives the reader an idea of what is going on in his head. It’s easy to establish as him being in the mindset of just after Episode IV. Excellent work there. And then you brought in one of my favorite game characters. Fidget! I can’t believe, someone put Fidget into the MLP universe! As a sidekick to the Storm King, awesome. Not enough for me to look past the atrocious grammar, but an excellent addition nonetheless. For the rest of the story, I wanted to smack Grubber, even harder than I did in the movie. Docking points for upping his annoyance factor right there.

In summary, all in all a fairly decent story, but the mechanical writing, the unnecessary repeating, and the miserable grammar, all put this story firmly in the reject list. I’m sad to see it there, but I simply cannot in good faith accept this story into the café. Though I truly appreciate the submission.

Sparky Brony
Group Contributor

Story: Escape from Klugetown

Author: Raptormon132

Amount Read: All

Score: 7/10 Second opinion by Lome

Decision: Reject

Why:

Okay, this is the next in line when it comes to stories set up like this. And I’m glad to see it’s been accepted into Scribblefest. Sad to say, though, I must reject this story from the café. Let’s start off with the grammar. As in my last review, this story is written rather mechanically. While this is a great improvement over Vader’s New Empire, it still doesn’t have the stuff to make it. I will say, though, the improvements between that story and this are quite significant.

On to the subjective, I know quite well the events of the movie, and the recounting of them here has been done quite well. I was wondering where you would insert Vader, and it worked. I’m quite pleased there. With Tempest in the marketplace, and having him there with her. It worked quite well. Then you had the mane six (though it’s a big ole strike right there with calling them the Mane Six in the story) encounter him. I was afraid that he would just tear through the story. He didn’t, and having Pinkie Pie save Twilight. That was fantastic! While it is in line with what she does in the big battle in the end of the movie, it works very well. And I applaud you for that.

All in all, this was far more pleasant to read than the previous story. But like the previous story you submitted, it’s a fail, on grammar. And I’m sorry to see it added into the list of rejects for the Café. Though keep writing, the quality is improving. Thank you for your submission!

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Experience Point by Verbose Mode
Amount Read: All currently published (through Chapter 7: Solo Queue)
Verdict: Reject (5.5/10)
Reason:

I’m attacking the darkness!

As a general statement, I can really only think of one way to phrase this whole story: it was okay. The writing is okay, there are a few errors but nothing really abhorrent, the pacing is okay, the plot is okay, and the worldbuilding is okay. There isn’t really a whole lot that stands out in this story one way or another for the most part, but there is one thing I disliked and one thing I disliked.

My dislike is the direction the story has. Namely, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of it. They get transported to the world of My Little Pony and make it to a monastery of centaurs, but there doesn’t really seem to be any quest that they need to embark on; even Daring Do’s personal journeys aren’t talked much after she’s introduced. I think there was a lot of potential to make an adventure since it’s crossed over with Dungeons and Dragons, the game that virtually any game with quests can thank for introducing the idea of adventures and quests, but they’re all just there and not doing a lot of moving forward.

However, I did like the potential I saw in the characters. While maybe their personalities are rather one-dimensional, they’re being put in an interesting situation and their struggles of adapting to the new world are being explored. None of them are just intrinsically knowing how to live in this world, and making a bunch of nerds have to survive when they’re in the unforgiving wilderness with powers they have absolutely no idea how to use is interesting.

Overall, this story isn’t really anything special, but isn’t bad. However, for not really standing out that much, I have to reject it.

OkemosBrony
Group Admin

Title: Starlight and Trixie Babysit Flurry Heart by Samey90
Amount Read: All
Verdict: Reject (5/10)
Reason:

My reasoning behind rejecting this is rather simple and succinct: it tries to fit a lot into the story, and the stuff it does focus on never really gets overly funny.

To start, there’s a lot of little scenes throughout this, and I wish that there had been fewer but longer ones. With such short scenes, there’s not really much time for the humor to be set up, and once it does happen, there’s not really much time for it to linger and sink in. Obviously you don’t want to have a huge setup for little payout, but when you don’t have that much setup, you don’t get much anticipation and unexpectedness once the humor does happen.

Second, I thought the humor was okay but nothing that really stands out. I definitely thought Trixie’s eccentricity was the star of this story, and honestly would make for a more interesting prompt than the two of them trying to babysit Flurry Heart, I feel. But instead, we get two very quick Cloud Kicker scenes and a long passage that just infodumps us the story of The Sibling Situation, a completely unrelated work that’s irrelevant to the story.

So, this story tries to fit a lot into just a oneshot and focuses its attention elsewhere than I think it needs to be, and for those reasons, I am rejecting it.

  • Viewing 351 - 400 of 428
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!