• Member Since 21st Feb, 2015
  • offline last seen Dec 13th, 2017

Mike84


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When a student from Fillydelphia by the name of Frank Blanket appears in Ponyville upon recommendation of Princess Celestia to interview Twilight Sparkle and other citizens of Ponyville about matters related to cutie marks he soon turns out to be more complex or "quirky" than expected while his studies too touch upon subjects more significant than meets the eye.

Before his research can get really under way, he and the Mane6 end up in a whirl of events and suspicions caused by an elusive attacker of uncertain motives targeting the minds of citizens of Ponyville.

A chain of events is set in motion that may prove vital to all of Equestria in the end.

The story is set not long after Twilight's coronation and the events of the first three episodes of season 4.

Note: Since it is impossible to combine "Adventure" and "Slice of life" I ultimately decided for "Adventure", since the story will include stuff that goes beyond every day life, but it also has a lot of building up and character introduction that would run well under the "Slice of life" label.

I appreciate any feedback, constructive criticism, views or opinions a lot :pinkiehappy:

A PDF version of the entire story (including different scripts not available in fimfiction) can be found here.

Chapters (72)
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Comments ( 82 )

I liked this. :heart:

5656990
Thank you very much :twilightsmile:
I will bring up more very soon.

Hi there. Chronicler here. I figured I'd be a good friend and take a look at your fanfiction effort.

I'm not much on comments, so I'll just say that it's a rather interesting concept that I haven't really seen before. (If anyone else has written something similar, I guess it just wasn't popular enough for me to notice.) As good as it is, though, I do see room for improvement. Spelling is mostly fine (except for cutie 'pox', not 'pocks'). For grammar, I can't help but feel like there's a lot of missing commas. I don't have time to thoroughly proofread this, (too busy writing my own fanfiction) but I'm sure it shouldn't be too hard for you to find an editor who would be willing to help you.

Overall, not a bad start for your first MLP fanfiction. :eeyup:

5664004
Hi Chronicler,
I got to admit that comas are sometimes kind of my bane. Not that I would deliberately ignore them or deny their importance (they can make the difference between life and death in the meaning of many sentences) :twilightoops:
I'll do my very best to avoid and correct mistakes where I can (thank you very much for the correction. A pocks on me for getting the pox wrong :raritywink:).
I posted the next chapter now.

5664004 And a pox on me once again for not having realized until today that I got mixed up with the editor so what corrections I had applied here wasn't saved until today. Now the corrections are applied though. Thank you again for them.

The fact that it's taken me this long to comment on the previous chapter should be a testament to the limited time I can set aside for new things. :ajsleepy:

Anyway, good work on these last couple of chapters. The only notable issue I'd like to point out is an inconsistency with Applejack's dialogue, specifically that you kept switching back and forth between regular words and accented words (such as "I" & "Ah", and "you" & "ye" (though personally, I'd rather use "ya" instead of "ye" to avoid sounding like a pirate)). I honestly don't know which form of speech you're trying to use, so it would look much better if you chose one and consistently stuck with it for the entire story. I'll admit that I had a little difficulty with this early on in my first story, but once I figured out a style that seemed good to me, I was able to stick with it more easily as I kept going.

When I write my fanfiction, I always reread through the new chapter more than once before posting it online, which frequently helps me to correct nearly any errors that might exist (as well as improve in areas that seem lacking, at a second glance), so maybe you might consider doing something similar with this story. Anyway, keep up the good work. :twilightsmile:

5683385
Thank you for your feedback :twilightsmile:
I admit that, being no native English speaker and not living in an English speaking country, trying to immitate Applejack's dialect is posing a special challenge for me and I'm afraid it is notable that I am sort of experimenting since I have seen it reflected in rather different ways in various comics too. Applejack too doesn't always seem constant for in the series one does hear her say "I" as well as "Ah" and if there is a system behind it I haven't yet been able to figure it out (so I basically imagine the words being said by her and then decide what I think would sound better).
I did follow your advise to get rid of all the "ye"s though as she really doesn't say that. I hope to get more consistent with the style of her language as I practice it. Also,
For the non-native writer things may get mean
come the day that Zecora will enter the scene :raritywink:

Still reading this story with each new update. Much of what I've been seeing appears to be just fine. Not excellent, but not terrible, so just fine.

Aside from the still-frequent absence of commas, the area that I think could use some improvement would be the use of archaic words and phrases, as you've called it. For example, I've almost never heard of someone taking a "draft" of some drink, and I'm pretty sure someone like Scootaloo would never say such a complex word as "balderdash" (a word that I myself certainly have never heard of before :rainbowderp: ). My best advice for this would be to keep in mind who is more likely to use advanced terminology (ponies like Rarity and Twilight) and who is more likely to use casual words and phrases (ponies like Rainbow Dash).

5858699
Thank you for continuing to read my story :pinkiesmile:
Your feedback is very helpful in improving the story. So far I only got one other non-native speaking proofreader. I hope to improve about the commas in particular. With the archaic terms the feedback from a native speaker is really invaluable and I appreciate it a lot. Dictionaries which I may consult for rarely required terms such as those which you named do sometimes point out the archaic nature of a word in which case I would not use it. However, these (online) dictionaries do not always provide the detail needed and I have on other occassions consulted native speakers to get the exact connotation of similarly translated terms like (bewildered, nonplussed, dumpfounded, astounded, flabbergasted, puzzled, stunned, taken aback etc.).

For example, I've almost never heard of someone taking a "draft" of some drink, and I'm pretty sure someone like Scootaloo would never say such a complex word as "balderdash" (a word that I myself certainly have never heard of before :rainbowderp: ).

In case of draft (which the dictionary only points out to be spelled "draught" if I was going for British English) I would appreciate your help a lot when looking for an alternative. Would "gulp" be the term most commonly used or is there another term you would suggest?
Dictionaries tend to be even less detailed on the connotation of derogatory terms or insults. I want to keep the language of the story clean so I didn't want to go for the "bull shit" which I presume to be the most common term that could have been used while "nonsense" sounded too harmless / not fierce enough to me. Is there a term you would suggest that Scootaloo might use (as in not being too harsh if this was an actual episode) but that sounds stronger than "nonsense"?
Today by the way I wrote a chapter which included Princess Luna where for the first time I could quite intentionally use some archaic words :raritywink:
I am going to continue posting one chapter per week here. The writing is progressed far enough so I think I can keep this up to the end of the story.

Still reading this story with each new update. Much of what I've been seeing appears to be just fine. Not excellent, but not terrible, so just fine.

I hope to improve. Admittedly there is a lot of buildup, character introduction and characters getting to know each other and so far not much more beyond that has been posted here. Nothing posted here so far would probably be categorized as anything more than "slice of life", but there is going to be the "adventure" part in it.

I'll admit that I'm not that good at giving advice on what would be the best way to make improvements. I tend to write with rather generic descriptions that get the point across but don't provide much of an immersive atmosphere. (In other words, as good I am, I don't exactly see myself as a great writer.)

However, I can still help with pointing out some of the more obvious details that I think could use some improvement. Some examples in this chapter alone, I think you meant to say "know" but forgot the 'k', and I personally would replace the word "thread" with "topic" considering the context of that sentence. But the one that really stuck out to me were two particular words in the middle of the chapter that are obviously German, and knowing next to nothing about that language, I have absolutely no idea what they even mean. :rainbowhuh: The only hint I could get was to read the context of the rest of the sentences around those two words. From that alone, I would suggest "mood" for the first one and "confused" for the second (though I would highly recommend that you ask for other opinions, for as I just said, I tend to come up with rather generic descriptive words).

5903772

I'll admit that I'm not that good at giving advice on what would be the best way to make improvements. I tend to write with rather generic descriptions that get the point across but don't provide much of an immersive atmosphere. (In other words, as good I am, I don't exactly see myself as a great writer.)

A reader needn't always know the solutions to something that could be improved about a story. I appreciate your feedback very, very much and will make changes you suggest that I agree with or (in case I prefer the was it is) I may not make the changes, but I am really very thankful for your feedback Chronicler. :twilightsmile:

I think you meant to say "know" but forgot the 'k', and I personally would replace the word "thread" with "topic" considering the context of that sentence.

I turned the "thread" to "topic" in this chapter, but which sentence were you refering to about the word "now" that should be "know"? Both words are used several times throughout the chapter, but I didn't spot the sentence where it was mixed up (or was that in an earlier chapter?).

But the one that really stuck out to me were two particular words in the middle of the chapter that are obviously German, and knowing next to nothing about that language, I have absolutely no idea what they even mean.

You probably mean the word "Schadenfreude"?

I thought that one had by now become a common word in the English language and seeing that this was Twilight's thinking (in another really good fanfiction I read she has been using the word "Doppelgänger") I thought I could go with it. "Schadenfreude" means something like "malicious joy" about the misfortune of others. "Gloating" may be the closest English equivalent, so I might change it.
But which was the second German word you refered to? The only other I could think of would be "faux pas", which is French rather than German and which I thought was even more common in English than in German (at least I couldn't spontaneously think of an English synonym and had to consult Wikipedia for it; where at least they claim for Faux Pas to have been used in the English language for some 300 years. A Faux pas means

a socially awkward or tactless act, especially one that violates accepted social norms, standard customs, or the rules of etiquette

.
Or were you refering to two different terms altogether?

At the moment I'm in a bit of a difficult spot at a later part of this story (while I haven't posted it all here yet it has reached page 200 by now and may accelerate the frequency of posting new chapters here a little) and I am noticing myself that in the most recent chapters many characters are so far talking like high brow lawyers all the time (which may make kind of sense since the chapters revolve around a hearing in a legal matter, but it still doesn't sound very much like MLP so far). :twilightoops:

Sorry for not being specific with where I had found certain issues. I guess I was in a bit of a hurry and didn't bother to look back after I had finished reading. :facehoof: Anyway, after a quick look-over that last chapter, I found much of what I had pointed out was around the part where Mayor Mare has Twilight pose for photos with her. The "knew" with a missing 'k' is at the beginning of that paragraph. You correctly identified the longer German-sounding word that also happens to be in that paragraph. The other one I had wanted to point out was "mien" just a few lines before that paragraph. And as for "faux pas", it is used in the English language, though it tends to be part of high class vocabulary, so I would expect only Rarity to use it (which is exactly what I saw here, so good job on that).

As for this latest chapter, I would recommend something different than "lair", for that word implies the home of someone evil, and since I've never heard of the word "scandalmongers", I would also suggest changing that to something a little easier to understand. Also, it's "facehoof", not "hoofplam" (even the code for the emoticon I used above says so).

5915672
Thank you very much! The hint about the word "mien" was particularly helpful since I had been using that word a number of times in future chapters but could now get rid of all of them by replacing them with "expression", "look" or "face". And thanks also for the new / knew which I had indeed overlooked (the trouble with words which remain words even if short by one letter). I turned "schadenfreude" to "maliicioius joy" and "hoofpalm" to "facehoof" (the later making indeed much more sense with the lack of palms on hooves).
I haven't yet come up with satisfactory alternatives for "scandalmonger" (gossiper would probably work, but it would sound kind of strange because the word "gossip" had already been used in preceeding sentences and somehow it sounds less strong than "scandalmonger" to me). Some other English words I have found are probably either even more obscure than "scandalmonger" (anyone ever heard of "flibbertigibbet" or "quidnunc"?) while other words seem to be focussed on the notion of someone talking a lot ("chatterer", "prattler") or giving away secrets ("blabbermouth", "tattletale") without making clear that whatever is said is just gossip without any truth to it.
As for the "lair" I feared that by now the word has become so totally associated with a villain's or monster's hideout that it might be unusable. The German word "Lager" (which got nothing to do with beer) would just describe a place where somebody sleeps without said place being an actual bed. The image in mind would be some kind of improvised camp bed / cod / mattress on the floor or the like. I haven't yet found a usable word for it, but in both cases I'm going to continue looking and asking for them :twilightblush:

I haven't found any major issues in the last few chapters, so I'll just state again that I'm still enjoying this story. Particularly, I like how Pinkie Pie struggled to understand a certain word she apparently has never heard of (and fail to even pronounce it right :rainbowlaugh: ).

On that note, I should probably point out why I still recommend that you ask for other opinions on issues that I point out, because I'm still discovering words and phases that I've never heard of before in my life. In this case, I'm referring to the word "schadenfreude" (had to look back on an earlier comment to make sure I spelled that right). At the time I had first pointed it out, I was being honest when I said that I had never heard of that word before. However, in the days since, I have seen and heard the use of that word on three completely separate occasions, which now leads me to believe that it really is used in the English language, albeit not very often. So... yeah, my bad on that one :twilightblush: .

5967885
Thank you very much.
Playing around with the word epiphany and letting Pinkie turn it into something that made more sense to her (epicfunny) was a lot of fun (epic fun?) for me:rainbowlaugh:
I got to admit that Pinkie Pie is sometimes the most difficult character for me to work with, especially in some chapters of a more serious tone which are not yet posted here (just a few more chapters to go before some more serious business will start (chapter XXIII) which was only hinted at so far and in ways that couldn't yet be seen as hints). In any case Pinkie's discarding the option of training her magic after having been told that she can apparently do some things even powerful magicians could not because
"I am much rather a party pony anyway. That's what my epicfunny told me, remember?"
was one Pinkie moment I really enjoyed to write.

On that note, I should probably point out why I still recommend that you ask for other opinions on issues that I point out, because I'm still discovering words and phases that I've never heard of before in my life. In this case, I'm referring to the word "schadenfreude" (had to look back on an earlier comment to make sure I spelled that right). At the time I had first pointed it out, I was being honest when I said that I had never heard of that word before. However, in the days since, I have seen and heard the use of that word on three completely separate occasions, which now leads me to believe that it really is used in the English language, albeit not very often. So... yeah, my bad on that one :twilightblush: .

No bad at all, and I will stick with the "malicious joy" as a more understandable alternative anyway. I really appreciate your input a lot. So far I got one other reader helping me to find and correct mistakes, but you are the only native speaker.
I'm very thankful for any views, opinions, feedback and corrections I may get from all ye native speaking readers out there. :twilightsmile:

we share a similar OC it seems. I haven't used mine in any stories but i have a pony OC. The Similarities: Both Earth Ponies , both from Fillydelphia and both are scholars.

Differences, mine is red furred, black/dark brown mane and tail, only finished primary school before he went out of Filly to travel the world. His cutie mark represents planning/tactics, he stumbled into Ponyville after 2 years away from Equestria. He's a scholastic genius even outwitting a Canterlot professor.. but.. he's also a naive and child at heart.. and socially awkward.. more than Twilight even. In short, he's smart as an adult.. aswell as innocent and curious as a child.

5980827
Hi and thank you very much for posting here:twilightsmile:
Those are some funny similarities. What is your OCs name? What does the planning/tactics cutie mark of your character show?

The pony I use as an avatar here is not the character from the story, Frank Blanket, by the way.
I liked the idea of an earth pony as a scholar and also that of one who is not born to riches. I recall that in some very, very early planing stages I thought he would become a villain, but the character turns out to be much more complex than I had expected and he keeps surprising me.
Not too long ago I noticed something that really took me totally by surprise, namely a number of paralells between this character and a historical figure. I am obsessed with history and while I am not American (or a native English speaker for that matter) I am very fascinated by Benjamin Franklin.
Quite recently I suddenly had a bit of a :rainbowderp: moment when I suddenly noticed: that not only did Frank Blanket sound somewhat similar to Benjamin Franklin, but Frank is from Philadelphia... pardon Fillydelphia, that he wears a hat that causes some raised eyebrows (as Benjamin Franklin's fur cap did when he was sent to France as an embassador), that he is very curious and (beside the Academy) much of an autodidact, that he invented stuff to make things easier for ponies (Franklin among other invented bifocals while Frank Blanket comes up with the modified horseshoe), while Franklin was not exactly a "hobo", he did run from home at a young age and both of them are writing a lot, and they both are / were socially capable (there may be a difference between our characters here). Frank Blanket is a bit of a nerd (quirky), and self-conscious about his cutie-mark, but not quite socially awkward ("showing the hoof the other pony likes best" as he put it))...
I was really baffled when I noticed all these paralells for I had never ever consciously intended Frank Blanket to be some kind of Equestrian Benjamin Franklin.
Frank Blanket also is far from perfect, quite smart, but not outwitting everypony and well aware of it. We are going to see some more flaws of his character too.

I guess this chapter demonstrates pretty well one of the major downsides of a near-utopian society. Crime is so rare that when somebody eventually does break a law, the authorities are left unsure on how to apply a proper punishment.

Even though there were again a few words I've never heard of before, all of them were spoken by Frank, so I won't bother recommending any changes (unless you really want me to). The reason is because, as he's your original character, I can never know for certain how he is supposed to act or how he usually speaks. For canon characters, it's easy to get a second opinion for improvement because we are all familiar with them, but for OCs, the final say always lies with the creator.

Speaking of OCs, I actually happen to have one of my own (though I haven't included him in any more than just one chapter for any of my stories). His name is Rusty Wrench, and he's a unicorn whose special talent involves mechanics and engineering. If you're interested in hearing more, I can send you a PM (whenever I can find time to do so, of course).

6023192

I guess this chapter demonstrates pretty well one of the major downsides of a near-utopian society. Crime is so rare that when somebody eventually does break a law, the authorities are left unsure on how to apply a proper punishment.

The near utopian society plays a role but also the small village aspect. I don't see Equestria as a whole as bare of crime and social problems. I'm very likely going to write more stories in which I may go beyond Ponyville and to larger towns in which it may be more frequent an issue than is the case in the almost everyone knows almost everyone kind of community which Ponyville probably is.

Even though there were again a few words I've never heard of before, all of them were spoken by Frank, so I won't bother recommending any changes (unless you really want me to). The reason is because, as he's your original character, I can never know for certain how he is supposed to act or how he usually speaks. For canon characters, it's easy to get a second opinion for improvement because we are all familiar with them, but for OCs, the final say always lies with the creator.

I absolutely really totally want you to.
A recommendation may not necessarily result in a change, but I am very interested in which words come across as "sort of off". Dictionaries are of limited usefulness when it comes to figuring out not just the meaning but also the connotation / "feeling" of a term. So even in case certain unusual terminology may at times be intendet with a quirky character like Frank knowing about these terms can really help in future chapters as well. Besides, I'm always eager to learn and increase my knowledge of the English language:raritywink:

Speaking of OCs, I actually happen to have one of my own (though I haven't included him in any more than just one chapter for any of my stories). His name is Rusty Wrench, and he's a unicorn whose special talent involves mechanics and engineering. If you're interested in hearing more, I can send you a PM (whenever I can find time to do so, of course).

Please do!
A unicorn in a more craftmanship / rusty kind of profession sounds quite interesting. A bit like the unicorn equivalent to the earth pony as an academic (even though I expect the horn and magic abilities of a unicorn would come in really "handy" in mechanics and engineering).
Are you on skype by the way? Maybe we can chat there too?

It wasn't until after reading this chapter that I suddenly remembered that, in the episode "Twilight Time", Diamond Tiara was shown to have a butler (I forget his name, but his name was mentioned). Then again, since you're saying this story happens before much of season 4 (including that particular episode) it kinda makes me wonder how you might plan on accounting for that discrepancy.

Also, you made a little typo somewhere in the middle of this chapter where you put a 'b' in the word 'grandfather'.

6076543
Thank you very much for the feedback :twilightsmile:
I corrected the "granbdfather":twilightblush:

It wasn't until after reading this chapter that I suddenly remembered that, in the episode "Twilight Time", Diamond Tiara was shown to have a butler (I forget his name, but his name was mentioned). Then again, since you're saying this story happens before much of season 4 (including that particular episode) it kinda makes me wonder how you might plan on accounting for that discrepancy.

Indeed, I think by now that buttler even had a second appearance in some episode (I don't remember for certain). I try to keep my story as close to the episodes as possible, but in case of that butler from the series I had to ignore him.
He is definitely not identical with Swallowtail and he isn't going to be refered to in this story.

"Oh for Equestria's sake, Twilight!" Rainbow Dash shouted and pulled her into a hug. "Go ask some egghead for the right words! And darn you for turning me all sappy now!"

Ever since you had mentioned this quote and asked for advice on how close to dirty words you should go, I was wondering when this part would come up. Glad that I was able to help (among others). :ajsmug:

While I was reading through this chapter, I figured it might be a good idea to mention a little something about grammar in dialogue. I'm not sure what it's actually called, but those three periods (...) are used to indicate either a pause in the middle or the speaker is trailing off at the end (I'm sure you've already got that figured out). However, a common mistake many people tend to make is to also use it for sudden interruptions, when a dash (—) should be used instead. It makes it easier to tell the difference between "slowly trailing off..." and "a sudden stop—" (If you can't figure out how to type it, don't worry. I've never figured it out, myself, and have been using the old copy&paste method ever since the day another editor first mentioned it to me.) Sorry for failing to bring this up earlier, by hey, better late then never.

6105603

Ever since you had mentioned this quote and asked for advice on how close to dirty words you should go, I was wondering when this part would come up. Glad that I was able to help (among others). :ajsmug:

Yes, "for Equestria's sake" may perhaps be a little highbrow for Rainbow Dash, but then again she went "in the name of Celestia" on Derpy in the last roundup. The tricky part about some words is that they sound a lot harsher to the native English speaker than their German counterparts do. "Verdammt", the German counterpart to "damn" for example isn't considered nearly as harsh over here. I have not come up with a really good alternative for "darn" there and would appreciate any suggestions from you (all of you who read this).
The next chapter (I'm going to post it tomorrow) is going to include one case of perfectly innocent language rather hillariously misunderstood by Twilight (looking forward to posting the next chapter, for that one was really a lot of fun to write. Some flying lessons with Rainbow Dash for Twilight). :rainbowlaugh: :twilightoops:

Thanks for pointing out the — to me. There are in fact quite a few more cases of interruptions or unfinished sentences brought to a sudden rather than a trailing stop in the story. I'm going to look through them. Having looked up the different key combinations for the — it turns out that with the writing program I am using and the lack of a numeric keypad on my keyboard copy pasting is indeed the only option for me to produce that — at all.

6105603
Checked out on all the ... in the story so far. It is much of a case by case thing to decide where the — works better (in case of sudden interruption in particular). I wonder if Rainbow would think of the story as 20% cooler vor 100% more dash in it:rainbowdetermined2:

Glad that you continue to accept my advice. :twilightsmile:

For this chapter, one part I liked in particular was when Rainbow Dash talked about once flying as high up as she possibly could (good work on describing how such an experience would be like). I could easily imagine a scenario where she might be tempted to break the record for the highest altitude reached by a pegasus. Perhaps someone else reading this might be inspired to write a short fanfic with such a premise.

Now, I'm not sure if it's because I happen to be early this time and you haven't had a chance to do some further editing, but it looks like there's quite a few things that need to be fixed. (Do I even need to point out the chapter title? :applejackunsure: ) In the first portion, 'look' should be 'lock' and for the words 'save' and 'saver' you should replace the v with an f (not the first time I've seen you mix up those two letters in certain words, to be honest, so you might want to be aware of that). In the middle, the part where Twilight asked about asynchronous flapping should be a separate paragraph (I'm guessing you just forgot to hit the enter key there).

The reason I tend to take a while with writing my stories is not only am I a rather slow writer, but also I carefully read through each chapter more than twice before I post them online. (I think I further explain my writing and editing methods in one of my blog posts, if you're interested.) I don't know how much time you have available for writing, but if you have an opportunity to read through a chapter again to check for errors, it might be a good idea.

Edit:
6106358 Interestingly, I recall once reading a rather funny short fanfic on this site about Twilight teaching grammar to Rainbow and of course Rainbow mentioning that "dash" joke. I forget the name of it, but the cover image is distinctive enough that you'll know it when you find it. :raritywink:
(Speaking of cover images, I'm not sure how it looks on your end, but the one for this story has appeared as a broken image to me for a while now. I'm guessing it might be an issue the site has been having lately, so I don't know if it's something I should just wait for it to be fixed on it's own or if other people are having this issue (in which case I'm just going to wildly guess that you could simply re-upload the image).)

6111209

Glad that you continue to accept my advice. :twilightsmile:

Glad and grateful that you continue to give it:twilightsmile:

Gee, having reread the chapter now I feel I owe you an apology. It was a mess! :twilightoops:
The difference between save and safe is easy enough to keep in mind (the one with the v being the verb) and since I did that one more than once it is even worse a blunder!
I usually read all my chapters once before posting them here and also got one reader (non native English speaker) who is helping me a lot by proofreading all the chapters. I think that somehow I must have missed rereading this one by the time I wrote it (much earlier this year) for the amount and severity of mistakes was beyond what I could excuse with being no native speaker. In the corrections now I also weeded out some unnecessary words and changed a few for more fitting ones.
I hadn't reread this chapter before I posted it yesterday (confident that I had done so before) and apparently it is not a good idea to post too early in the morning while still sleepy (that must be my excuse for having written "Kapitel" instead of "Chapter") :twilightsheepish:
I will be more careful in the future and not allow for "being sure to have read it before" deter me from rereading it again. It is particularly embarassing for me for this is a chapter which was really a lot of fun to write for me.

I don't know why the cover image disappeared here, but I uploaded it again and it seems to be back now.

For this chapter, one part I liked in particular was when Rainbow Dash talked about once flying as high up as she possibly could (good work on describing how such an experience would be like). I could easily imagine a scenario where she might be tempted to break the record for the highest altitude reached by a pegasus. Perhaps someone else reading this might be inspired to write a short fanfic with such a premise.

I am pretty sure such stories exist already. Fanart definitely does. The scene in the story was not inspired by any art or story that I had seen before writing it, but later on I saw some really beautiful artwork with pretty much that scene (Rainbow getting close to where breathing is no longer possible) like this one by JP Hyper.

By now I am writing on the 58th chapter of the story. Next monday I'm going to post the first chapter in which Zecora appears. As you can imagine she is a particularly interesting challenge to write :rainbowlaugh:

I can completely sympathize with you about the difficulties of writing in rhymes. In my case, even though my currently ongoing fanfic is meant to be an alternate take on Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks, I will not be writing any specific song lyrics at all, and will only go as far as describing the message behind each song. (Some time ago, I had once joked that even Scootaloo could be a better songwriter than me, and I'm sure I don't need to explain how that's saying something.)

On that subject, I don't think you need to write Zecora's dialogue in the format you used here. That should apply to song lyrics or poetry, but since Zecora is simply talking then it should be formatted like regular dialogue. At least, that's what I've seen in practically every other story I've read, so I'm pretty sure that's how it should be written. I'm not completely sure why, but I'd guess it's because half the fun in reading/writing Zecora's dialogue is figuring out where in the paragraph those rhyming words are.

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It is also a delightful challenge however, so no sympathy necessary :raritywink:
Zecora will appear and talk again in the story, but it is quite a couple of chapters before her next appearance. Of course just rhyming is still far from actually making song lyrics where one also has to keep a melody in mind.
While it may not be necessary to write Zecora's dialogue in the form I used, I think it makes things easier to figure out for the reader (not exclusively but especially for those who are no native speakers) and I don't really see a reason not to write in verse form when somepony actually does talk in verse form (even if it may be just her way of talking).
In one of my favorite books of all time, "The neverending story" (the book is very different and in my opinion MUCH deeper and more interesting than the movies) there is a character who can only speak and only understand verse and when she and someone else are talking it too is formated in this way. I think it is really easier for the reader that way and it is rather clear from the context that no singing is intended.

Sorry if it's be a while since my latest comment. Though I'm sure you already know by now how infrequently I tend to comment on most things. Anyway, this story seems to be taking quite an interesting turn these last few chapters (I actually almost hesitated to read through this latest chapter, due to how Twilight and her friends treated that pony who turned out to be completely innocent), and I always look forward to what's next.

For areas of improvement, I haven't noticed anything specific to point out, though there are a few things coming up frequently that I should note. First is your tendency to mix up certain pairs of letters which end up changing certain words in ways I'm sure you don't intended. I had previously mentioned v and f, for words like live and life or save and safe (and if I correctly remember your response, you seem to have a pretty interesting method of keeping that in mind, with v for verb). However, I've noticed another pair of letters that you seem to keep mixing up: d and t, for words like side and site or thread and threat (that last example in particular, the two words have very different meanings). I'm not sure how I can help you to avoid mixing up that set of letters, but I think it's good enough that I'm at least pointing this out.

The other frequent issue has to due with Applejack's dialogue, where you seem to keep switching back and forth between regular text (I'm going) and accented text (Ah'm goin'). (I particularly noticed this issue in the previous chapter.) I honestly don't care which of these two you decide to go with, but I must insist that you pick one and stick with it for the whole story. I'm pretty sure I had already brought up this inconsistency once before, so I'm a little curious why it seems you've done nothing about it. (How far in advance do you write these chapters before you publish them? Perhaps I'm just reading the ones you finished before I first brought this up and I've simply yet to see the actual results.)

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However, I've noticed another pair of letters that you seem to keep mixing up: d and t, for words like side and site or thread and threat (that last example in particular, the two words have very different meanings). I'm not sure how I can help you to avoid mixing up that set of letters, but I think it's good enough that I'm at least pointing this out.

It certainly helps to point these out, thank you very much :twilightsmile:
I got to admit though that when checking out all the threads respectively threats and related words (threatening, threadbare etc.) I didn't spot a case where those two had been mixed up. Is there a concrete case in the past chapters?

The other frequent issue has to due with Applejack's dialogue, where you seem to keep switching back and forth between regular text (I'm going) and accented text (Ah'm goin'). (I particularly noticed this issue in the previous chapter.) I honestly don't care which of these two you decide to go with, but I must insist that you pick one and stick with it for the whole story. I'm pretty sure I had already brought up this inconsistency once before, so I'm a little curious why it seems you've done nothing about it.

As for Applejack's language I did get rid of all the "ye", which indeed are no feature of Applejack's language. However, as I said back then Applejack is not thoroughly consequent in her use of "I" / "I'm" respectively "Ah" / "Ah'm" either. A main source for me to study Applejack's language are the transcripts of the episodes. In any case she uses both throughout the series:

Like I wrote back then, I always imagine how the words would sound in a movie scene when spoken by her and then decide for the "I" / "I'm" respectively "Ah" / "Ah'm" depending on what sounds better to me in the given context. Also I take it that the whole situation and whoever Applejack is talking to may have an influence on her choice of words, but I am rather certain that both variants have already been used throughout the same dialogues in the series. Therefore, as the author, in this case I must insist myself to let Applejack talk the way I feel comes closest to the way she does in the movies. I admit that the inconsistency may look a little confusing, but with both being present in the series, both are meant to be present in this story.

How far in advance do you write these chapters before you publish them? Perhaps I'm just reading the ones you finished before I first brought this up and I've simply yet to see the actual results.

I do write them pretty far in advance. I can't say exactly when I wrote the last chapter I posted here, but the final page of that chapter would be page 160 in the original document while by now the story has reached page 267 (chapter 59).

Today I added a few lines to Chapter XXXV of the story. This story and its planned sequel take some events from the official comic releases into account and some lines added to chapter XXXV (I left author's notes below the chapter from which you can see exactly what was added) make it clear that the events of this story play after the events of the story "The Return of Queen Chrysalis" from the first four comics of the official series (obviously because Twilight was still a unicorn in that story) but before the events the form the frame story of the Fiendship is magic comic about Queen Chrysalis.

I added a few lines to chapter IX today which will spare some ill timed and long winded explanations in a much later chapter. I posted the exact changes in an author's note underneath the chapter.

Thanks for informing us precisely what kind of edits you added to those earlier chapters. :twilightsmile: For my stories, I try to do the best I can to avoid needing to make any major edits more than a week after publishing a new chapter. So far for me, that's only had to happen for the very first couple of chapters of my latest story, after I made a rather poor and confusing choice of words in many places. (But despite my best efforts to fix all of that, it still hasn't been enough to negate the seven downvotes it got right on the first day. :fluttershyouch: I must confess that I'm a little surprised this one has not yet received even one.)

Anyway, back on topic, it seems that you've made me discover yet another word of the English language that I've never even heard of: remand. I actually had to look it up in a rather large dictionary to find out what it means. To be honest, I can't say for sure if your admittingly frequent use of that word is because you didn't want to use something as extreme as the far more familiar "arrest", so I'll leave that choice up to you.

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Thank you very much for your post and feedback :pinkiehappy:

Thanks for informing us precisely what kind of edits you added to those earlier chapters. :twilightsmile: For my stories, I try to do the best I can to avoid needing to make any major edits more than a week after publishing a new chapter.

I want to avoid any major edits too, but if I change anything about the content I will post the exact changes underneath the chapter. Changes about the content are usually the result of events in later chapters which I hadn't foreseen myself (while I got a general idea of the story I am sometimes no less surprised by turns of events than the characters are and oddly enough some of the totally unforseen events which took me by utter surprise sometimes seem more interesting than some of what was planned for a long time).

So far for me, that's only had to happen for the very first couple of chapters of my latest story, after I made a rather poor and confusing choice of words in many places. (But despite my best efforts to fix all of that, it still hasn't been enough to negate the seven downvotes it got right on the first day. :fluttershyouch: I must confess that I'm a little surprised this one has not yet received even one.)

I guess that as an author one must live with both, the up- and the downvotes. I only hope that if downvotes come, they come with some comments on what exactly it is that the voter doesn't like. I cannot promise to make every change proposed, but I do promise to take constructive criticism very serious and that I appreciate it a lot. Your's has been helping to improve this story a lot Chronicler and I owe it to you, for example, that in all my future writings people will be able to tell if there is a sudden / fierce or a slow interruption in any characters words depending on whether there are three dots or a dash. Thank you for that one :twilightsmile:

Anyway, back on topic, it seems that you've made me discover yet another word of the English language that I've never even heard of: remand. I actually had to look it up in a rather large dictionary to find out what it means. To be honest, I can't say for sure if your admittingly frequent use of that word is because you didn't want to use something as extreme as the far more familiar "arrest", so I'll leave that choice up to you.

Perhaps late time effects of a semester of "English for legal purposes" at the university over here are showing :raritywink:
There is a reason however why I avoided words like "arrest" or "imprisonment". The English language (same as German) has a number of different terms for keeping someone in custody. The term "remand" (or alternatively "detention") usually refer to custody prior to an actual trial, at a point that is when someone is suspected but not convicted of a crime. Due to the principle that a suspect is innocent until proven guilty (which is usually common in democracies and which I presume to be a principle in Equestria too) the circumstances of a "remand" / "detention" before a trial tend to differ very much from "imprisonment" after a trial / definite finding of guilt (and the very courteous treatment of Frank that has been referred to is somewhat reflecting this).
The term "arrest" of course describes the act of denying a person the freedom of movement rather than the state ("remand" or "imprisonment") the person is in afterwards. In many cases in the story the term "arrest" could have been used instead of "remand". However, the term "arrest" is much more connoted with the implication of guilt / crime than the term "remand" is. Therefore especially those who are convinced of Frank's innocence or who are generally uncomfortable about locking anyone up would most likely use the somewhat "softer" terms "remand" or "detained" rather than arrest.

There may be a few more legal terms in the upcomming chapters since the hearing is taking some time. But don't worry, it won't be all about legal persnicketinesses, but there will be some moments which I hope will be read as rather intense / surprising.

I guess that as an author one must live with both, the up- and the downvotes. I only hope that if downvotes come, they come with some comments on what exactly it is that the voter doesn't like. I cannot promise to make every change proposed, but I do promise to take constructive criticism very serious and that I appreciate it a lot.

And within a minute or two I got three thumbs down :twilightoops:
Like I said, I would very much appreciate your comments on what it is that you dislike and feel should be better. I want to take constructive criticism very serious, but unfortunately thumbs down alone don't help me to improve what needs to be improved about the story. I hope that the thumbs down do not deter readers too much for the story is in dire need of more readers. Thumbs down without any notion on what the criticism is based on can hurt :ajsleepy:
What is it that you dislike about it?

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Scandalmonger works just fine for me. I'm not sure it's a real word, but it's obvious what it means, so I have no problem with it.

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Thank you for the feedback :twilightsmile:
I had found the term in an online dictionary where they actually had the recording of it being pronounced too. Perhaps it is is somewhat dated term or maybe also one common just in the UK (though usually that dictionary points out when there is a strong regional connotation to a term). However with the word "scandal" being clear and the part "monger" being found in some different terms (war monger, fashion monger, scare monger) too I guess I'll go with the term "scandal monger" there.

6250330 From my experience on this site, one or two downvotes for no apparent reason are to be easily expected (probably just some random troll). However, what does surprise me is that you got three in such a short time frame. (And with impeccable timing, I might add. :unsuresweetie: I hope I didn't unintentionally open a floodgate with my previous comment.) Anyway, my point is that, sadly, you just can't expect most (or even any) downvotes to come with an explanation. Heck, with my aforementioned story that got seven downvotes on the first day, I was actually very fortunate to receive just one comment with constructive criticism that I was able to use to help me fix the problems with it. (Basically, I was being a bit too much of a Captain Obvious. The whole concept of "show, don't tell" is something I'm still working on, but at least that bad start made me realize that it's worth being well aware of.)

Since it seems like you really want more readers for this story, I've got two suggestions that might help. One is that you could try submitting this story to Equestria Daily, which will occasionally feature some excellent fanfiction on their site. They do have rather high standards, however, so you'd better read over their submission guidelines before deciding to try this. (In my case, to be honest, I've been hesitant to submit my first story due to the unoriginal cover image (it's literally just the Lego logo :twilightblush: ).) My other suggestion is more like a personal favor from myself. My stories have gotten a few people who regularly comment on just about every chapter I publish. Perhaps once I'm finished with my latest story (which should be about two months from now), I could make a note about your story and see if they might be interested in it.

Anyway, I didn't see anything in serious need of improvement in the latest chapter, so I guess that'll be all for this comment. Keep up the good work.

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Thank you very much for the recommendation :twilightsmile:
A while back RockingScorpion suggested to me to try to submit the story to Equestria Daily. At the time I wasn't certain enough where the story was going, but by now with the story likely to be finished within the next month or so (and also with the certainty that this is but the first story in a series) I am feeling confident enough to give it a try and before I posted this I sent the submission to Equestria Daily. I'm curious as to whether or not it is going to be accepted. In any case it is in accordance with the guidelines.

My other suggestion is more like a personal favor from myself. My stories have gotten a few people who regularly comment on just about every chapter I publish. Perhaps once I'm finished with my latest story (which should be about two months from now), I could make a note about your story and see if they might be interested in it.

Thank you very much for the kind offer. I would be most obliged :pinkiehappy:

Comment posted by luaithre deleted Jul 31st, 2015

I have to say, this story has been taking quite an interesting turn these last few chapters. I'm certainly looking forward to what's coming up next. :eeyup:

For editing advice, the major problem I'm seeing now is that, in some places (like near the beginning of this chapter), I'm having a very hard time figuring out who is speaking. Now, I'm pretty sure that you shouldn't just put "said (character name)" after everything, but entire paragraphs that consist of nothing but the piece of dialogue could be a little problematic. There are a few cases where such frequent labeling would be unnecessary, particularly in a back-and-forth conversation between just two characters, because once you've initially identified who the two speakers are, readers will be able to easily know who is speaking on each side. However, when there's three or more characters present (as is the case for pretty much the entirety of this chapter), you'll need to keep identifying when someone new is speaking. Describing a character's actions just before he or she speaks can avoid the need of "he/she said", though it would be far more helpful if that action and dialogue of one particular character were put in the same paragraph. I can't think of a more simple way of describing this issue than this: one character per paragraph, and one paragraph per character (to a certain length).

I'm honestly having a hard time articulating the issue I'm trying to point out, so hopefully I did good enough at explaining it.

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Thank you very, very much for your feedback Chronicler, it is helping a lot :twilightsmile:
I reread all of the chapters about the hearing and (apart from eliminating some mistakes I hadn't spoted earlier (such as the mare in the name Mayor Mare being not capitalized at one point)) I added a number of lines where it was either not a 100% clear who was speaking or else where it became clear only relatively late within a long statement who the speaker was.
When writing this I have it running in my mind a bit like it was a movie and sometimes what I write down doesn't take into account what information that "mind-movie" provides while the text does not. Your feedback is really very helpful there and I appreciate it a lot.

With the hearing concluded the upcoming chapters will provide some more information and be a bit of a "calm before the storm". I'm by now working on what I expect to be the antepenultimate chapter of the story and more likely than not I will finish it this month (or the next), while the posting of the remaining chapters here will last a little longer if I continue with two chapters a week.

Unfortunately it is not likely to appear on Equestria Daily. The day after I applied there I received a mail stating:

Thank you for submitting your story to Equestria Daily, but, unfortunately, I cannot recommend posting it. Due to the high volume of stories we receive on a daily basis, we cannot give specific feedback on why. Our Editor’s Omnibus contains a thorough list of the issues we look for in our reviews, and also contains resources for finding proofreaders and editors. Give it a look and ask the linked reviewing groups for help, as they will go a long way toward improving your writing! This is not a strike.

I got to admit that I failed to figure out which of the issued from the list of the editor's omnibus the story has. Oh well, it was worth the try :unsuresweetie:

Now the story is starting to get very interesting. All the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where it all leads.

For editing advice... I'm sorry to say that I'm now reaching an impasse. :ajsleepy: As much as I'd like to keep helping you (and how much you appreciate my assistance), I'm afraid to say that I'm now struggling to figure out what advice I should give. Storywise, it's certainly very good, but for grammar and sentence or paragraph structure, although I can definitely see a lot of room for improvement, I must confess that my specific knowledge on that subject is rather limited, and if this story is going to get the improvements it needs, I think it might be best for you to seek further advice elsewhere.

Luckily for you, I managed to stumble across something only yesterday that I think could help. This group is dedicated to helping writers find editors for their stories, so if there's anything on this site that can help you, I believe this would be your best bet. Again, I'm very sorry that I'm now struggling to offer any further help, but perhaps you may soon be able to find a much more qualified editor. :twilightsmile:

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Now the story is starting to get very interesting. All the pieces of the puzzle are starting to fall into place, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where it all leads.

The showdown phase is on its way now, but there is still some action and afterwards some tying up of so far loose ends to come :raritywink:
In the original document of the story the chapter I just oploaded ends on page 236 and I am now on page 300, but I expect to conclude the story in the foreseeable future.

For editing advice... I'm sorry to say that I'm now reaching an impasse. :ajsleepy: As much as I'd like to keep helping you (and how much you appreciate my assistance), I'm afraid to say that I'm now struggling to figure out what advice I should give. Storywise, it's certainly very good, but for grammar and sentence or paragraph structure, although I can definitely see a lot of room for improvement, I must confess that my specific knowledge on that subject is rather limited, and if this story is going to get the improvements it needs, I think it might be best for you to seek further advice elsewhere.

Please don't worry Chronicler. Like I said, I appreciate your help and input a lot, but it shouldn't make you feel obliged to write something when you don't really know what to write. Honestly, it has always been a spirit lifter whenever I found a new comment from you here :twilightsmile:
I still hope to perhaps gain some more readers who are also ready to share their views and opinions and did join the group you pointed out.

I noticed that you made a brief reference to my OC, Rusty Wrench, as we had discussed a few months ago. I had a feeling he would eventually come up, and I'm glad to see how you wrote it in this chapter.

Seeing as I'm still at a loss on how I could help you improve your writing, I'll just say that the story itself is still impressive, so keep up the good work.

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Aye, there was the little tribute to him which I inclueded after you mentioned him in May :raritywink:

In a PM another reader pointed out that chapter LI was too much of a wall of text with too few paragraphs. I added another paragraph there to hopefully break up the wall of text impression a bit.
Usually I am using paragraphs mostly when one character stops talking and another one begins or when there is some kind of change of topic, time, location (though in case of the later two I usually leave a blank line) or the like.

I'm seeing that "wall of text" issue in this chapter as well. The problem is made even worse if you don't always indent your paragraphs, as is also the case in this chapter. I don't recall ever hearing any objective recommendations for such an issue, so I'm just going to throw out a random guesstimate and suggest that each paragraph should not have more than ten lines, perhaps a dozen at most. Try to find good points within the massive paragraphs where you think the subjects would work in separate paragraphs. (For example, Frank thinking about acting and then actually acting would best fit in separate paragraphs.)

The fact that this advice had never occurred to me until someone else had brought it up proves that there's only so much I can do on my own, and that you'll need to search for real editors, such as within that group I had recently pointed out.

I have to say, the concept of this "switchling" sounds really interesting. :twilightsmile: In fact, I can easily see this as a concept that other fanfiction writers might be interested in including in their own stories. (Assuming, of course, this story ever becomes popular enough for that to potentially happen.)

Unfortunately, I need to bring up the "wall of text" issue again, because that is exactly what I see right at the beginning of this chapter. Like I said in my previous reply, you need to find at least acceptable points to break up a paragraph so that it doesn't exceed a dozen lines (remember, that number is just an arbitrary recommendation of mine, as I've never heard any specific advice on such a matter). Once again, the story itself is great, but grammar and formatting need some work, and as much as I'd like to help, I'm afraid there's no way at all that I can dedicate the time necessary to go through all of this. :ajsleepy:

I guess I should point out that, even though you've already joined the "Looking for Editors" group, I don't think that alone will be enough. According to that group's main page, if you want an editor then you'll need to post a request topic in the group's forum (after reading the guidelines, of course). Although it's not a total guarantee to work (I'm still waiting for a response to my post in the "Art for Fanfiction" group regarding a cover art for one of my stories), I'm very positive that you'll be far more likely to receive help than by just sitting around and simply hoping that a good editor will just randomly come to you.

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Thank you very much for your feedback :twilightsmile:
You certainly have a good point about the wall of text issue in this chapter. I added quite a few word wraps and indentations in order to break it up a little.
I got to admit that our perceptions / preferences about the use of paragraphs (as in leaving an entire line blank) differ a bit. I am probably very strongly influenced by printed books and therefore very much used to the concept of entire blank lines as a sign for a switch of time and / or place, setting (e.g. by other characters showing up) or at least a very strong change in topics. Same as the wall of text issue is a problem I'm afraid that so can be a too frequent use of blank lines when those lines don't indicate any of the aforementioned things.
I hope that the use of intentations (which don't come across as indicating a comparable change of situation as an empty line) may be a bit of a compromise to work with in order to make it easier to keep track of how far one has read while also not breaking up the text too much.
It's true that I haven't been active beyond joining groups in my quest for feedback. Maybe I'm a little vain in not wishing to push people to read my story but still very much hoping for them to do so. Perhaps I'm going to be more active once the story is completed.
I'm currently working on what I expect to be the last chapter (LXIX) before the epilogue of the story. However, I am planning a sequel and some of what these final chapters include is sort of preparing the stage for the next story. I came up with more than 20 possible titles for that sequel already but am not really happy with anyone of them, since they all cover but just one aspect of a stroy that is likely to have more than one story line (in fact I also need to sort out which of these story lines would come up in that sequel and which I could keep for a third story lest the second becomes too unwieldy).
Speaking of titles, I'm also trying to come up with names for all the chapters of this story. Just Roman numbers aren't exactly attracting a lot of curiosity. However, I have come up with usable titles for a meagre nine chapters so far :applejackunsure:
Even the title of this story "Lessons in Quirks" may not be quite covering what the story developed into, but I haven't had any better idea there either.

Now this was quite another significant chapter. I certainly hadn't expected Discord to be the actual writer of that book. Also quite interesting that he went to great lengths to restrict himself due to a Pinkie promise, and greater lengths still to work around that self-imposed handicap. I wonder how the others will react when they find out. (Among Discord's antics, I found it rather notable that you had him use a real pipe, while the actual show (along with practically all other cartoons) uses only the phony kind that blow bubbles.)

With this chapter revealing such a huge portion of the mystery, it's suddenly got me thinking of something else I should mention that might be useful for people looking for a story like this one. In case if you haven't heard, there was a rather recent update to this site where new category tags have been added, and I think that one of them, "Mystery", should be added to this story. Feel free to also add any other category tags that you think this story fits under. The maximum number of such tags allowed is six (though you certainly don't have to have that many, of course), and only certain pairs of tags are mutually exclusive (such as "Adventure" and "Slice of Life", as you had already mentioned).

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