• Member Since 22nd Jan, 2015
  • offline last seen February 6th

Madame Ponka


I write stories based on a little girl's cartoon at 3:00 AM while hopped up on pizza rolls and bagels.

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Graduation is supposed to be one of the best moments of your life, right? Well for Twinkleshine, it's anything but. As she begins to transition from her school life to the real world, she realizes she has no idea what to do! She could calculate the magical polarity of stars in an instant, but Celestia forbid if she has to figure out what to do with her life.

(Created for Everfree Northwest's Scribblefest 2017.)

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 6 )

This looks great, dear!~ :pinkiehappy:

Quick review:
This story works with the theme of anxiety about an uncertain future, which is pretty relevant because I think it's something everyone's felt at least a little bit of at some point. However, it's too focused on Twinkleshine's thoughts inside of a short timeframe of a couple weeks or so. This fear and its impact could be more fully explored by possibly expanding the scope to encompass more: maybe a little earlier to examine how it builds from a distant uncertainty into an acute crisis by graduation day, and then carried further afterwards to see how this influences Twinkleshine's life and what she does to achieve resolution.

A few mechanical problems need some attention. There's various punctuation mistakes involving question marks (mostly that some are missing). Various said tags need work—some of them can be eliminated, and others could benefit from more apt placement.
Example of a said tag that can be eliminated:

“Good times,” Lyra said as she took another bite. “So, graduation?”

This could be streamlined to:

“Good times.” Lyra took another bite. “So, graduation?”

Example of a said tag that could stand better placement:

“Where’s Lemon Hearts and Moondancer? Haven’t seen them all day,” Lyra asked.

Should be more like:

“Where’s Lemon Hearts and Moondancer?” Lyra asked. “Haven’t seen them all day.”

Finally, there's a bad recurring tendency throughout the story to unnecessarily and awkwardly turn verbs into nouns by using the "gave a <something>" construct. For example, "Lyra gave a laugh" is vastly improved and made more natural by just writing, "Lyra laughed." Eliminate this "gave a ..." construct ruthlessly. It's not something that should ever be used, in my opinion. It kills the active vividness that verbs should have and makes images that should be simple and straightforward into something awkward and convoluted instead.

8017662

Thanks so much for the review! It means a lot! I'll keep this all in mind. Thanks again. ^_^

As 8017662 Winston already said, the dialog tags really need some work. Placing them early in a paragraph let's the reader quickly envision the speaker. If I read three sentences, thinking it's one character, only to find out some new voice entered, then it breaks immersion.

On a similar note, the narrator's own thoughts need to be seperated from the other characters' dialog. This is first person, so internal thoughts of the narrator are as much a part of the "conversation" as the spoken dialog, and deserve their own paragraph breaks.

There are a lot of minor typos and other technical mistakes... "her" instead of "she" or "digged" instead of "dug" and similar. Nothing too major though, which is good.

Overall, this is VERY dialog heavy. There is almost no action, and very, very little description. We literally do not even know the narrator's gender until halfway through the story. Other ponies are only "known" if one has paid careful attention to canon. What this leaves is kind of a "voices floating in the darkness" effect. In my own writing, I often use more dialog than most, so it's not inherently bad, but there needs to be just enough physical description to paint a "set" in the reader's mind, and enough small interruptions of action to remind us that these are living, breathing characters.

There's a phrase I'm sure you've heard, "show, don't tell." This story has some problems there, as the character are literally telling ALL their problems to each other. Now, it's not that dialog-focused stuff can't work, but the problem is in the "literally." Every pony in this story seems to recognize exactly what their problem is, then they state it out loud in various discussions. While that can be factually accurate for very smart people to do (I too was an introspective super nerd in college) it doesn't make for the best story. We never want to hear a character say "I am sad." But that doesn't mean you have to describe tears or anything either. If you want to focus on dialog, there are many, many ways you can write it so that we can understand the sadness without them just stating their feelings.

All that said, I see some real potential in this story. The dialog, while sometimes too direct in subject matter, had the flow and language to make me believe it. There was a book title, "Interstellar Nova" which I found to be a hilarious oxymoron as well. Beyond that, the emotions that are on display here feel real, even if a bit awkwardly expressed. That period near graduation is on of the most tumultuous in life, and the feelings the characters express are very, very real.

If I can give any advice, it is the following:

1. Set a thesis. So much in this story focuses on academia, so this should be easy. But a story needs a core focus, just as much as a research paper. Figure that out early, and hook the reader, then go into the depths of storytelling.

2. Work on description and action. Non-dialog is rare in this piece, and is needed to balance things out. Remember that while things may be clear in your own mind's eye, you have to paint the picture for others to make them see the same thing.

3. Think about conflict. I'm not saying every story has to have a fight scene, but "conflict" is a core ideal in western storytelling. In this case, it feels like a classic example of mare vs. the uncertain future. That is strong, relatable, and potentially quite powerful. We see hints of this in the narrator, but it waxes and wanes in a way that robs it of those stronger traits. If you want to write a story about the unknown future, then own it. Focus on it. Don't distract the reader with descriptions of hayburgers, or let your protagonist get the Salutatorian title she already knew she would. Let her fail, or let her exceed. Stories are boring when everypony gets exactly what they expected.

8023917

Thanks for the review! It really means a lot to hear some feedback! ^_^
And sorry for the late reply. I got sidetracked with other things. :P

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