• Member Since 5th Jun, 2012
  • offline last seen Monday

JawJoe


I am a mighty thesaurus. Rawr!

T
Source

[Queen of Queens is now an audiobook! Part 1, part 2.]

Our kind has it that the life of a queen is the happiest, for they are blessed with the shortest time in this world. A mighty queen will be remembered for eternity, forever residing in the hearts of her people. The greatest tragedy a queen can suffer is to be forgotten – to be stricken from history.

I refuse to bend before oblivion.


As discussed in the Royal Canterlot Library.
As seen on Equestria Daily.
Featured in the Royal Guard.
100% approved by Twilight's Library.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 87 )

Loved reading this as you were working on it. It's a very interesting take on Chrysalis and changeling society in general. :twilightsmile:

By the gods this was beautiful and of its not featured yet i swear to the maker that the fimfiction audience is dumb.

At the start, I was afraid this would be some headcanon dump, less of a story than a "Hey, everybody, check out how creative I am" kinda thing. I was pleasantly surprised. The story was great.

Your take on changelings is good, too. You managed to make me sympathize with changelings without completely de-antagonizing them, as most people do in fics like these. I'm impressed. Great work. :twilightsmile:

Wow. This was a fantastic piece of writing. I'm kind of blown away, really. Great job!

Interesting and well written take on the Changelings.

This is such a unique take on Chrysalis and the changelings in general. I love it.

Wow. My expectations have been exceeded by far.

Awesome, I loved it, very intricate and touching.

Okay. To establish some balance, I have three critiques to start out with:

1. "As your consort, however, I will always stay and advocate against violence.”

2. I got lost at the invasion of Canterlot for a bit. Considering that you had been so inventive and trope-free up till that point, the song lyrics threw me (I could really have done without that, it was so violently against the tone you'd set for the piece) and even when I scanned back it took a few moments to realise that you skipped it entire.

I completely understand why you would do that: by big issue with Rob's Bloomberg is that it didn't mix things up enough and lost a lot of pace and flow by re-treading old ground. You wanted to avoid that, and in principle, I salute you. I don't think this was a anything like an optimal way of doing it, however.

3. Not enough purple. I know: crazy, right? Well, not so much. Considering the way you portrayed much of the opening third of the story, I really wanted some sweeping flourishes to fill the emotional gaps between the more specific details of what transpired. It wasn't evocative enough. It didn't quite have enough narrative voice.

So, that done...

By any and all gods do I love this story. I can't exactly wax lyrical about the writing quality itself. It's not there is anything wrong with it, but I would describe it as competent and polished – it gleams in the light rather that shining with it's own. I honestly don't mean that as a negative, either – just an honest appraisal of what I see. Because the thing is that that's in addition to what really makes this great.

You took a slice of the show and blew it up into something majestic – not just imaginative, or previously unknown. It's sheer scale of the concept screams epic. The ideas themselves spawn layer after layer of consequential assumption, making the world live and breath in ways that other world-building authors would be fools to ignore. It is internally logical, thematically gripping, and meshes with the seemingly contradictory source material in ways that add to the depth of the experience, rather than suffer because of it. That is something I am deeply jealous of.

Now, I feel the need to say that I don't think you quite nailed the prompt as strongly as some have, and as far as the competition goes you may suffer from that, for outside of the competition I am very much glad for it. The insights into the mortal world serve exceptionally well as a light by which to examine the hive.

All in all, to have created a story about a world that spans twenty years, that is poetically self-referential, and forms a genuinely emotional connection with a 'boss level' antagonist...

You, sir, are a magnificent bastard.

8/10 Prompt: Moderate (That's tied with Rise for my leading fic so far)

-M

4894443
"Advocate" is a noun as well. As for your other points, well, I had to cut a lot of this to fit under the 15k word limit. It was several thousand words longer before I went to town with editing. Sacrifices had to be made. Perhaps they were to the fic's detriment, but I really wanted to submit this to the competition.

Would you believe me if I told you this was originally planned as a slice of life comedy? Because it was. Oh how stories write themselves! Point is, it was going to follow the prompt much more closely -- before I actually sat down and started writing. It took about a hundred words before it swayed completely off course and went its own way. I'm genuinely concerned it'll be disqualified simply because it doesn't follow the prompt closely enough.

I'm glad you liked it. Here's hoping the judges will, too. :twilightsmile:

4894607 Ahh, cock. How was that not obvious? Ahh well.

I wouldn't worry about the prompt too much. There is certainly a fair chance that it could hurt your chances of the top spot, but I can see zero chance of you being disqualified for it. Hell, in the Most Dangerous Competition, I thought one of the top five didn't meet the prompt at all, and the 'Write-Off' group don't much seem to care first not last.

Still, if the prompt is a scoring method for this competition, I'll take it, as i think that's where my own entry is strongest :)

And yes, I totally believe how far astray a story can go. My initial outlay for PRIDE was very different from what it ended up being. Once the main character was fleshed out, I had to rebuild the ending to make it fit (and I'm not sure how well that worked out at all).

Your story will be in my collected day six blogpost later today.

-M

What can I say? To be honest, with all the "changeling-fics" pouring into the contest's story pool, it was only because of 4894443's not-so-subtle praising of this fic that I decided to give this one a read. In fact, I will not lie: there is a fair amount of vanity motivating my tirade that follows, since apparently my own work isn't "wow" enough in comparison... :ajsmug:

I don't want to give away much, not to mention what I say may have been pointed out by others already, so I'll write a slightly less lengthier review than I usually do: if one wants to read an interesting tale about changeling society, this is definitely worth a look. If one wants to read a story that takes the idea from the contest prompt and goes very far with it... not so much, I'm afraid...

Don't get me wrong: there are some spectacular ideas at work here, but all of these elements only really work on their own. As part of a story where all of this otherwise splendid world-building has to collide with the world of ponies, the whole thing feels almost forced, i.e "this had to be here too because of the prompt and stuff." Everything that happens prior builds up to a crescendo that it then seems to swerve away from at the last minute.

Better yet, let me put it this way: the most important parts of the story (particularly the ending) employ incredibly terse writing compared to what came before them, which makes it feel as though either what you have so far should have been a part of a much longer story, or the same terse writing should have been used the whole time, which could have allowed some more focus on the "how ponies are involved" bits. Considering the word count limit, the former option is obviously out of the question (within the confines of the contest, that is).

That said, I praise how you managed to construct a changeling world, and it is indeed necessary for us to learn about the "exterior perspective" in order for the comparisons to work, but this work focused way too much on that part and didn't offer much else, at least as far as following the prompt goes. Even the world-building itself takes a few leaps that I was reluctant to accept, but for being a unique take on changelings compared to what I usually read, I'll give that a pass.

Anyway, good luck on the contest! For all of my ranting, I must admit I have tough competition... :raritywink:

4899824
i.imgur.com/EkzUcNr.gif
You're just mad 'cuz I'm stylin' on you~

In all seriousness. Like I've told InquisitorM, I realise that this fic... doesn't really follow the prompt. And the last third of the story was subjected to a lot of editing (read: cutting). But that actually works, I feel -- this is first person, after all, and the point is to show how nothing matters to Chrysalis after the wedding. Of course she skips over it. Well, that was the idea...

I'm hoping that the sheer originality of the changelings as presented here will carry the fic in the contest. Only time will tell...

4922161
...and not even #1? Pah! Some people.

4924130 You know how it is in this economy. Gotta go where the bribes are.

After I read through this the first time, I went back to pick it apart, to find the things that didn't work. The slips, the mistakes, the little things that could have been done better.

Didn't find any.

This is one of the best stories I've read on this site in a while. It's one of the few stories, ever, that actually stuck with me while I was lying awake after turning out the light, waiting for sleep.

This is the second contest in the past few months that has turned out some exceptional work. If it weren't for the fact that they're so hard on the judges, I would say we should hold these things far more often.

You had my #1 pick for this contest. I hope you win.

4927309 Results up tomorrow, according to MaskedFerret.

Considering Queen of Queens has a 1st place and a did-not-place so far, it's looking like anybody's game.

After 2 votes:
16 Moonlight Palaver
12 Cranky Doodle Donkey’s Bad Asssssss Day
12 An Outsider’s Perspective
11 Pride
10 Queen of Queens
10 The Last Trumpet’s Call

Good luck, kiddies.

Hey, congratulations on winning 4th place! You all did really good!

I adored this story. I love love love how Chrysalis and her changelings are these beautiful and alien creatures, and their view of ponies is really intriguing. This entire story is like a good ol'-fashioned epic. Top stuff.

What a fascinating take on changelings. Feels very faerie.

Utterly tragic, beautiful, and the best examination of changeling society I've read on this site.

I won't sleep easy tonight.

from start to finish i loved your take on chrysalis and the changelings and just beautifully written on all parts.

It's come to my attention that Queen of Queens was branded #4 in Outside Insight, when it in fact tied for third place. Clearly it is the superior fic, therefore I call shenanigans.

This is utterly sublime. Masterfully told, described, and with the single most original and spellbinding conception of changeling society I've ever read. Congrats.

4964078
Hey, I put solid effort into my bribery and blackmail. I'm not apologising.

Greetings, JawJoe! Here begins the review you requested from WRITE.

First impression: This story is very repetitive at the beginning. It's entirely possible you meant for it to be, but if so, it's not creating any particular effect for me.

The first six paragraphs begin with "I." The next six paragraphs begin with "the." These paragraphs contain thirty-four sentences, and twenty-six of them begin with the subject. An average sentence in general writing is usually in the ten- to fifteen-word range. Twenty-two of these thirty-four are seven words or less. Nineteen of the thirty-four have a very straightforward form, with no kind of dependent clause, participle, introductory element, or some other kind of element with a built-in pause. That's actually not problematic on its own, but the exceptions are mostly clustered together, not sprinkled throughout for variety.

All this contributes to a very repetitive, plodding feel to the prose. Except for the "For I was the divine Queen of our kind" parts. There's a clear method to that repetition, and it's effective. The rest isn't done in such a way that it's obviously intentional, so it ends up feeling more like an oversight.

Foothills of Greenest Plains

That seems awfully contradictory.

What is the Spire of Ancients?

I don't get the purpose of this. It's almost like she's saying it for the reader's benefit. After all, she's the narrator, and she's just identified this place, so she obviously knows about it. So why does she need to ask herself this?

No matter who we passed

Whom

Credit where it's due, he remained mostly quiet afterwards

That comma feels more like a dash.

“I see to it that every new Queen remembers their heritage.”

It's become acceptable to use "their" as a singular, but since the queen will always be female, why resort to gender neutrality here? Just use "her."

I appreciated that

Kind of repetitive so soon after this:

I would appreciate if you brought these back.

I looked down at the thing covering beneath me.

cowering

beings such as me

Such as I.

Consort understood, and lay down as well.

The Lands of Our Kind existed for me, and were mine to toy with as I pleased.

In both cases, there is only one clause, so there's no need for the comma.

Rococo

That's not a proper noun.

golden-gilded

Redundant. That's already what "gilded" means.

Our journey was near-on year long

There's an issue of syntax here. If "near-on" is meant as an adverb to describe the predicate adjective "year long," which in turn modifies "journey," then you need to hyphenate "year-long." If "near-on" is only meant to modify "year," then you need an "a" in front of it.

But...

The unintentional near-rhyme gives a playful, silly feel to what should be a serious moment. It's undercutting the tone.

They the ink-figures skittered out of his shadow.

Typo.

Looking at the map, something caught my attention.

A dangling participle. "Looking at the map" attempts to describe Chrysalis, but she doesn't appear in the sentence in a way that a participle can modify. This explicitly says that "something" was looking at the map.

Her body was covered in hair and plumage, and wore a simple tiara.

Seems like you're missing a "she" in there, or else you're saying her body wore a tiara, which while technically correct, is strangely phrased.

You will accept my apology, that is an order.

Comma splice.

anything he could physically escape with

As opposed to what other kind of escape?

Its seams had gone weak, and gave out in a spot.

Unnecessary comma. That's only one clause.

to speak nothing of their three breeds

four?

Consort walked up to it, and took a large, rectangular, flat sack off his back.

The first comma is unneeded.

The thing had to be as big as him.

As big as he (add a was if that sounds too awkward).

binds

Bonds or bindings.

To me, it is ugly as sin

This presupposes that ponies (and changelings, for that matter) have a concept of sin. It's one of those cases where it's probably not worth opening the can of worms where a simple rephrasing would easily avoid the problem. This conversation is also starting to get somewhat talking heads. The characters are doing very little beyond their speaking verbs.

North-Western

Why not "Northwestern"?

but they are most wary of strange visitors

They seemed quite accepting of a dragon, several griffons, a minotaur, ... Really, the only one regarded with suspicion was Zecora.

The ponies, while often fearful of other kinds, were ultimately accepting.

My point exactly. She's directly contradicting him, but not in a way that feels deliberate. She's not saying it to him as a counterpoint or ruminating on his perception of it to herself. She just states it matter-of-factly, as if completely oblivious to what he'd said.

shorter even than me

Shorter even than I. Remember: comparatives are in nominative case.

Without noticing, I was already planning improvements for when this land became mine.

How would she plan without noticing? That's a pretty deliberate train of thought. This smacks of the cliched "let out a breath she didn't even know she'd been holding" flavor.

pray to our kind

Why is this just now coming up? Maybe she's grandstanding, but as an isolated comment, it lacks that sense. Yet she's never mentioned subjugating conquered races in this manner. For that matter, what good would it even do? It's not like they can answer prayer or would even be interested in pretending at it, what with the disdain they all hold for others.

lit up with light

Repetitively redundant.

in the middle of the night

That's what time it is? You probably should have mentioned that earlier. I've already got the scene in my head, and now I have to redo it.

higher pitched

Hyphenate.

kinda'

What's the apostrophe for? It's an imitative spelling, not a contraction.

accustomed to our customs

Repetitive.

holding of some pony food

Extraneous/missing words.

My horn lit up green, and tore me a bite.

No comma.

the pony fledgeling covered under its blanket

Cowered, yes? Or else there's a missing word.

I pounced her

Missing word. This is an intransitive verb.

Why these ponies chose to devote their lives to a being who will outlive and forget them, I couldn't possibly imagine. Ants worshipping the oncoming hoof.

I don't see the appropriateness of the analogy at all. She hasn't ascribed any ill will to Celestia, and an oncoming hoof has nothing to do with immortality.

Consort was closer, and went first.

No comma.

We landed with an inelegant roll, slamming into a large, growing crystal.

Note how often you've used this structure lately. Over this paragraph and the two surrounding it, you tack participles onto the end of five sentences.

His gaze wandered for a while before looking at me.

Phrasing. His gaze looked at her?

git

Not sure why he'd use an accent here.

I don't suggest taking that one, they might still be outside.

Comma splice.

For weeks candles and bonfires lit the nights and the sounds of fanfare filled the day.

Comma between the clauses.

the Sun had gone down

At this point, I wonder whether she knows that the ponies move the sun and moon, or if they heard as much but don't believe it. They'd at least have had evidence on two occasions, due to Nightmare Moon. Maybe you referred to this earlier and I just forgot.

He set down beside me.

sat

Your Queens have sent thousands to their death

deaths

heed to the tyrant

That's an odd phrasing. I've never heard of heeding "to" something, only heeding it.

pin his wings down and drag him down

Repetitive. Honestly, you could just cut the first "down."

one hundred and fifty-one

Proper phrasing doesn't include the "and," but I suppose it's up to you whether Chrysalis knows that.

as though I was insane

For a hypothetical phrasing, use subjunctive mood: were.

may have got

have gotten

That does it for the detailed items. This was definitely well written, and I enjoyed your take on the changeling society. I can't fault the characterization or the overall plot arc, and whatever technical quibbles I had should be evident from the preceding comments. You're clearly no beginner, so I don't need to go into any lengthy explanations.

I do have a couple of overall impressions, though, but I'll couch them first by saying that I'm not someone who reads between the lines well, so I certainly could have missed some subtle hints intended to explain these things. So what didn't sit right with me?

I actually liked the way Chrysalis's language became simpler at the end. I saw Inquisitor's comment otherwise, but there's really no right or wrong here. He may have preferred that she take a slower and more considered tone that often comes with old age and become even more verbose. On the other hand, I could see that she threw that off as another trapping of her failed lifestyle and couldn't afford to waste what little time she had left waxing eloquent. Resigned to her fate, she just couldn't muster the motivation to care.

This is not marked as an AU story, but from what I understood of it, it didn't mesh well with canon. I couldn't find where the canon invasion of Canterlot happened. I did see a reference to her gathering an army to do so, but it seemed to me like she never went through with it. So I'm kind of left scratching my head there. Right near the end, he still referred to the invasion as a future thing, but then what was she apologizing to Cadence for? I suppose I could go all conspiracy theorist and say that Cadence is actually a changeling from Cenotaph, but if so, that's a pretty big leap to expect the reader to make. I'm probably just being thick here, but I can't reconcile this with canon.

The story also refers to a specific threat made against Equestria. Canon makes it sound more vague, like intelligence instead of an explicit declaration. And at the wedding, ponies seemed genuinely surprised to see changelings there, even that such a thing even existed. So either they're quite oblivious (Shining Armor and his soldiers, particularly, since they'd actually seen changelings before) or those in the know are deliberately deceiving the populace. If so, for what purpose? Celestia's never seen to behave that way, and while your choice of narrator would limit that to what Chrysalis could learn about her, it still doesn't feel right to have such a serious departure in character without attempting an explanation.

It's also curious that such a huge civilization, right out in the open and not that far from Equestria, would have existed so unknown to the ponies. Celestia certainly wasn't surprised by their existence, but they seemed so exotic and fantastical to everyone else. It's like the chancellor of Germany vaguely knowing that Spain is there, but none of the German citizens have ever heard of it.

"To be" verb usage was a little high. Of the easy forms to search on, I counted 410, which is nearly one every other sentence. They're boring verbs, as they don't make anything happen. It's impractical to remove them altogether, but you could stand to choose more active verbs.

Lastly, and this may just be personal preference, but I feel like the story should have been told in present tense. By rendering it as past, you imply that she's relating it to someone else after the fact, but she dies at the end, so there's no opportunity. The very last couple of sentences kind of go to present tense, but that packs all this storytelling into those few moments, which isn't really feasible. I'd consider doing the whole thing in present. Actually, I think for a reader paying attention, it would make for a nice touch to switch to present for the entire last scene, or maybe just after Chrysalis finishes telling Cadence everything, since it'd fit with a feel that she'd caught the reader up to the present. However, most readers wouldn't even notice, and of those who did, many would assume it was an oversight or be uncomfortable with it.

Anyway, a very engaging read with a nicely nuanced character.

Keep writing, and have fun with it!

Pascoite, WRITE's mineral
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4989630
That was quicker than I expected. Let's dive in then.

>Typos & word usage
I'll get right on fixing these.

>Comma mistakes and boring syntax
My immortal enemies. While I'm not a beginner, I'm by now means an expert. I need to practise these, yes... thank you for pointing them out.

>beings such as me/I
The full(er) phrase is "to beings such as me." You wouldn't say "to I," you say "to me." Are you sure "me" is incorrect in this case?

>near-on year long
That's a genuine mistake -- I was convinced I had an "a" in there before "year." Fixing.

>The thing had to be as big as him.
I'm confident this is correct. A quick google search indicates "as big as he" and "as big as him" mean different things, and this is what I'm looking for. ("It was as big as him" vs. "It was as big as he was")

>shorter even than me
Ditto. I went and googled it again, and among the first hits I found this snippet dealing with the exact same issue:

Many educated English speakers prefer to use the nominative plus a verb rather than the accusative in such comparative sentences, especially in formal situations. They say, for example, My sister is taller than I am. or She ran more quickly than I did.
The alternative, omitting the verb as in the following examples, is considered to be even more formal and is avoided by most British English speakers: My sister is taller than I. or She ran more quickly than I.

I appreciate you pointing this out, as I'd never have thought of it. I choose to write in a more casual language, however, as well as follow British customs when possible. It's a matter of personal preference.

>Note how often you've used this structure lately. Over this paragraph and the two surrounding, it you tack participles onto the end of five sentences.
I do overuse certain structures, don't I? I'm looking at these paragraphs and I definitely see what you're saying. I really wouldn't know how else to phrase them, though. Well, there's something to improve on, I guess.

>Proper phrasing doesn't include the "and," but I suppose it's up to you whether Chrysalis knows that.
"What an uncouth American ruffian," JawJoe britished.

>gotten
Again, Amrican/British English difference.

>I couldn't find where the canon invasion of Canterlot happened.
Note that this was written for a contest where the maximum wordcount was given as 15k. You can see I cut it quite close. A lot of things were cut or at least thoroughly reduced. This is especially true for the invasion bit. That said, it's definitely in there. Specifically, it's this bit:

On the day of my wedding, they prepared a bouquet of flowers by my mirror. I picked a rose from the batch, twirling it with my magic before placing it onto my mane.

This day was going to be perfect.

I did not love the groom, for in my heart there was no room.

That day was going to be perfect.

For years after my failure, I didn't change a thing.

Everything after this happens after the invasion. I hoped that mentioning the wedding would make it clear enough. Couldn't afford to spend more words on something everyone's already seen.

>Right near the end, he still referred to the invasion as a future thing,
I'd like to know where exactly you're seeing this.

>they'd actually seen changelings before
They haven't really. Note how both Chrysalis and Consort remain disguised as ponies throughout the entire incident. The whole thing went down in a matter of minutes, in the dead of night. Considering at this point they have no idea what a changeling even is, I doubt they'd realise just from this.

>It's also curious that such a huge civilization, right out in the open and not that far from Equestria, would have existed so unknown to the ponies.
They probably know that there's a foreign land there. But the changelings, by nature, do not allow outsiders to enter. It makes sense to me that their information is limited. Equestria is also probably surrounded by all kinds of magical places and races from every direction. The changeling lands are just one magical odditiy of many, one that they don't know much about. That's my take, anyway.

>"To be" verb usage was a little high.
In most places, I struggle to think of better words. From a short run through the fic:
"It was my honour" "he was terrified" "The grass bed was a beautiful deep green" "My head was splitting" "the Spire of Ancients was built once upon a time" "Was he belittling me?" "I was in no danger" "my form was beauty incarnate" "change was scarce" "the Kingdom of Death was vast enough" "there was no searing pain"

It might be just me being a bad writer, but I genuinely can't think of better ways to describe the same things without using a form of "to be." Not without getting needlessly complicated.

But, as I've said above, boring sentences are an issue I'm aware of. It becomes especially apparent in fighting scenes, like where Chrysalis and Consort escape from Canterlot. That's the one you pointed out for its boring prose, too. But in an action scene, you want to deliver information quickly and effectively. Things happen. This happened. That followed. He did this. She did that. Any advice on making these scenes less boring without bogging down in unnecessary detail or overcomplicated structures?

>Present vs. past tense
I see where you're coming from. I just prefer writing in past tense, is all.

Overall, I'm glad you liked it. Thank you for the in-depth review -- it's exactly what I was looking for. I'll see how I can improve, going forward. Cheers!

4989630 Just some thoughts as I pass by:

How would she plan without noticing? That's a pretty deliberate train of thought.

Easily. I do that stuff all the time. It just means that her subconscious mind has taken the reigns of doing the work.

I don't see the appropriateness of the analogy at all. She hasn't ascribed any ill will to Celestia, and an oncoming hoof has nothing to do with immortality.

From the changeling point of view, queens are prized for their ability to change their otherwise-stagnant society – that ability is a gift to be revered. Ponies have short lives, and thus change naturally while their apparently-immortal monarch will keep everything essentially the same. This is a reversal of the changeling way, and seems anathema to Chrysalis. Celestia's long memory will stamp out the individual beauty of their short lives like the 'oncoming hoof' squashing an ant.

This was one of the analogies that made the story truly beautiful to me, because it encapsulated a way of thinking and not just the empirical details of how their society worked.

I couldn't find where the canon invasion of Canterlot happened.

On the day of my wedding, they prepared a bouquet of flowers by my mirror. I picked a rose from the batch, twirling it with my magic before placing it onto my mane.

This day was going to be perfect.

I did not love the groom, for in my heart there was no room.

That day was going to be perfect.

For years after my failure, I didn't change a thing.

4990707
4989630
>I don't see the appropriateness of the analogy at all. She hasn't ascribed any ill will to Celestia, and an oncoming hoof has nothing to do with immortality.
To add to what InquisitorM said, the analogy of the oncoming hoof doesn't (or shouldn't) imply malice. It implies ignorance or indifference. Chrysalis can't imagine why an immortal ruler would bother to remember or care about her mortal subjects. They mean nothing to her, just like how you don't care if you happen to step on an anthill.

That was the idea, anyway...

4990707
4990591
I did see that part about Chrysalis preparing for her wedding, but it was presented in such an isolated manner that it didn't necessarily draw me to her wedding with Shining Armor. The only bit of context that could have led me unambiguously there is the mention of flowers on the mirror—it's quite possible that this actually happens in canon, but I didn't care to go back and rewatch the episode to see, since that's a pretty minute detail to have the reader's understanding hinge on.

Actually, I interpreted this scene as Chrysalis choosing (or having assigned to her) a new consort after the death of the previous one. The wording has her as emotionally unattached because she still misses the old one at the time, and then by the end of the story, she's come to love the new one, too. I found it to be a nice but underdeveloped side theme, which I apparently invented.

As to the "oncoming hoof" thing, I can see what you meant, and it's certainly possible that readers wouldn't take it in a malicious light, but there's nothing there to dissuade anyone from doing so, either. Inclusion of a word like "oblivious" would remove all doubt.

On the use of nominative case in an "as" phrasing:
There's a fine line here, and it depends somewhat on the syntax used. When used as directly descriptive, it's a preposition, and can take a simple noun or pronoun as its object, and thus objective case. But when used to compare two things, it's a conjunction, meaning that a clause must come after it, complete with subject and verb. It's a nuanced thing, but if you read over the preposition and conjunction definitions of "as," along with the usage examples given, in the Webster's entry, it might help.

Take the sentence: You are as good as I at this game.

There's an implied "am" because of the use of "as" in the sense of a conjunction there. The verb doesn't have to be present; it's like the implied subject of "you" in a command. However, use of the objective case instead is so common that nobody bats an eye at it. And therein lies some of the difficulty in using Google for grammar advice: Much of what you find there is a justification of common usage couched as rules. However, common usage is okay in some respects, and it'd bother me more for an omniscient narrator. Here, it's reasonable enough to say that Chrysalis simply speaks this way.

On the use of "and" in numbers:
This is not necessarily a rule of grammar; if one exists in American English, I haven't encountered it, but then I haven't gone looking for one anyway. I'm speaking from the math and science community. In those circles, it's seen as improper. I've learned that from math teachers, not English ones. But it's yet another example of something that can be taken as particular to Chrysalis's voice.

"To be" verbs:
You get somewhat of a pass here, because first-person narration is essentially dialogue, and people do use them a lot in speech. Thus, I'm not as concerned about it in dialogue, either. I'll take a crack at a couple of your excerpted sentences, though they may not necessarily be the easiest ones to address.
>My head was splitting
My head felt as if it might split open.
>the Spire of Ancients was built once upon a time
Once upon a time, master builders had raised the Spire of the Ancients
>Was he belittling me?
Did he dare belittle me?
>my form was beauty incarnate
my form radiated beauty incarnate
>there was no searing pain
no searing pain tore at my body

Actions scenes can be trickier, as avoiding these verbs often does require a few more words to dance around it, yet you have the competing interest of wanting to keep sentences fairly short to keep the flow aligned with the pacing. But "action" scene says it all. Without action, it loses its punch. It really does require more work to think about how to phrase these things. But you can use active verbs even for things that are static. Say instead of "He was there," you use "He sat there." It still implies an action, even though he's not moving. It's a process now, not just a state of being. Part of it, too, is eliminating unnecessary auxiliary verbs, like saying "he went" instead of "he was going." There are specific uses for past participles, but most instances can be converted to simple past without losing anything. The only advice I can really give on this subject is to pour a lot of thought into your phrasings and pay attention to good action scenes that you read to see which ones manage to use more action verbs. See how they do it.

On the changeling nation:
I definitely got the sense that ponies didn't go wandering about in changeling lands, but there was never really a mechanism for why. Ponies are curious; they explore. It's not like changelings had built a physical barrier or existed in enough numbers to guard the border without any gaps in detection; in the latter case, they'd likely be seen, anyway. And it's not like you could prevent pegasi from seeing all those bluildings and landworks from the long lines of sight they have in the sky. That's not to say there aren't valid explanations; it's just that "they simply don't" isn't really a satisfactory one.

Oh, just spotted an instance of "the Cadenza." While it's possible to refer to her in this manner as a quirk of Chrysalis's, it only appears this way once, so it seems to be a typo.

4991111

I did see that part about Chrysalis preparing for her wedding, but it was presented in such an isolated manner that it didn't necessarily draw me to her wedding with Shining Armor.

No, and this was the one real flaw I pointed out myself. It's a simple device for skipping canonical events, but I feel it was overly simple in this case, and I had to skip back and re-read to work out where the hell I was in the timeline.

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I went and added one line to that scene: "Shining Armor would be mine." That should be enough now, right?

Incidentally, fimfic now shows Queen of Queens at exactly 15000 words. No-one touch it now; it's perfect. :pinkiecrazy:

Strangely... interesting. Somewhat sad too.

This was fantastic! It is one of my favorite takes on changelings out there, it managed to be original while still fitting the show events (most fail on one or the other point, I feel.) I really enjoyed every bit of this!

Goddamn, son. This is crazy good.

Bravo! Have a like, a fav, a feature recommendation and this ribbon:
i.imgur.com/6MrWqNZ.png

5066697
My! Thank you.

That was... that was something magnificent. It tugged at emotions I didn't know I had, and a few that I can't even describe. I love your take on changeling society, with it being the logical opposite of Equestrian society. You managed to craft a story that fit snugly into the gaps left in the canon, and it weaved around some sticky mires to boot.

Still, the whole thing felt a bit... dry, for want of a better word. The way you told the story was very much above average, but the story itself was lacking. I won't say "more detail" or "more polygons". Frankly, I couldn't even tell you what was missing, so what could I possibly add at this point? There was also this certain irony that I feel I have to point out. Chrysalis and the ponies of Equestria have a lot in common, I imagine: both are mortal, and both strive for indirect immortality. Just something I noticed.

This is worthy of a fave at the very least, but like Our Beloved Queen Who Brings Joy And Hope To Our Kind Under The Treacherous Sky the Third, I think the story is doomed to oblivion. Well, maybe "doomed" is the wrong word. I'll get back to you when I think of one that's more fitting.

'Grats on the recommendation, by the way. That's how I found this -- it's nice to know that the purple ribbon isn't entirely useless, amiright?

5094490
The story feeling "dry" probably comes down to the writing itself. People tell me the idea is good, the story is good, and I juggle themes well -- but the writing, the simple act of putting words after one another is boring. Word choice, syntax, etc.. The words are simple. The sentences are simple. Descriptions are either missing or are completely rudimentary. It's just flat out boring to read.

Some of that comes down to me intentionally keeping Chrysalis' language and thoughts simple. Some of it is because I had to keep the story under 15k words, and couldn't do the lengthy, self-indulgent bits of description I write as a substitute for substance in my other stories. And some of it is because I'm just not a good writer and my vocabulary is tiny.

Ideally, what's going on behind the words keeps the reader invested and interested to the end. The response I'm getting so far is that yes, it seems to work.

All in all, I'm glad you liked it! Spread the word. Tell your friends. :twilightsmile:

5094932 I would share this, but I'm a bit of an island. I don't make friends easy, and I'm not good at long-distance relationships. Shoot, even mid-range is troublesome to me...

My life aside, I'll be sure to recommend this to anyone that seems interested. I have to ask though; why the 15k word limit? If your purpose in writing isn't for the writing itself, you might want to take a closer look at your priorities.
Don't paint a picture to fit someone else's frame. It's easier to find a frame for a pretty picture than to make a pretty picture for a frame already made.

Unless that notion was entirely misguided, in which case, disregard that last bit. I tend to make fantastical leaps of logic, and I don't always nail the landing. :scootangel:

5113274 15k words was the limitation of the Outside Insight competition.

5113764 Oh. Sorry for my ignorance; I don't much care for contests. I mostly just write for writing's sake and, if by some bit of serendipity I'm working on contest material, I might give it a shot.

i.imgur.com/nlv3bOn.png
If you ever decide to write Ran's return journey (perhaps accompanied by somepony) I'll be here ready to read it. :pinkiehappy:

I really like this one. Given that I tend to ramble a lot, I'm always impressed by a writer who can make a short story seem epic and sweeping. For me, at least, this did that. I loved all the world-building and (unlike some, it seems) the clipped style didn't bother me at all. That snippet of the song did feel a little shoe-horned in, but overall I was really impressed.

Jeez 15k words on the dot.

I've been meaning to read this for a long time now. RCL finally forced me into reading this.

AND BOY AM I GLAD I DID

This was excellent. I loved how you built up changeling culture, and I really loved how you built up Chrysalis's character. This was pretty spectacular. I have no more words.

5241762 not a word wasted on it either:rainbowderp:

“She hails from Germaney province,” Consort said.

You really like German ponies :rainbowwild:

Yes, I've finally read this story. I didn't mean to keep putting it off, of course, I just never felt that I'd had the attention that it would deserve... but a site blog post? Not reading it would be an inexcusable insult.

Honestly, had I read it sooner, I'd have found that just the beauty of the prose and the brilliance of the ideas would lend me the required attention free of charge, and as I knew I would, I regret waiting until now to do so. When people said "new take on the changelings," I don't know exactly what I expected, just that it wasn't anywhere near the originality here. The overarching concept, of mortality and immortality, is already a new perspective, and the changelings were an excellent vessel for it. But you know not to stop there, and you build a unique idea of the changeling culture outside of, though still centrally grounded upon, that perspective. I freely admit, I have been rather a changeling-racist for a long time; I just don't like the icky, hive-minded, bug ponies, and I didn't think anything interesting could really come of them, save what had already been presented in the show. But this story, it makes them (and their beautiful lands) fascinating!
Aside from the excellent work done with the changelings (a story is, after all, more than just a revolutionary idea), all the interactions in here were priceless. From Whose Hooves Mould Clay And Stone, to the poor borderland ponies, to Chrysalis's comments about Cadance and Shining Armour, everything offered insight to the world and furthered the plot in a way that wasted no space at all -- likely at least partially a result of the trimming to fit the word limit. And what a plot! That is one thing that will always distinguish you in my mind from standard FimFic authors: your knowledge of how to construct a plot around a central theme so that it delivers a meaningful message. Your work is like traditional literature, and I think you would be extremely capable of writing "original fiction" (that term which I dislike for its implicit denigration of fan-fiction). If/when you do start on anything of the sort, do keep us posted :pinkiehappy:.

If I was forced to critique something, I'd say that the actual invasion and events following were rather lacking and loosely connected, seeming to lose their way. The writing dried up and became more simple, and events were breezed over leaving me rather unsatisfied and feeling as though I missed something. But then I'd be missing the point if I thought that a negative, wouldn't I? The prose there is designed to reflect Chrysalis's lack of feeling at that time, that "gaping emptiness ate away at [her] being." On that note, Chrysalis's physical transformation was a clever way to work in your talent for the repulsive and darker themes. ...And that's how the criticism turned into more praise. Whoops.

I came into this story looking for what exactly was wrong and I was one of the few going against the crowd and gave this one a thumbs down, I even wrote a rage review you can find here: http://www.fimfiction.net/group/201778/rage-reviews/thread/136372/rage-review-queen-of-queens

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