• Member Since 14th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen Apr 5th, 2014

fic Write Off


Writefriends from all over Ponychan gathered in a war of words on the weekend of August 4th. But who is the greatest a/fic/ionado? The decision is yours. Vote, rate, and choose your favourites!

The stories listed above VOTING are the finalists.

Authors are anonymous, so you won't know who wrote what until the voting stage is over.

Unlike previous events, the final decision is entirely up to the public. Yes, that means you. So take a gander, enjoy the show, mull it over, then head down to the survey to cast your vote.

This round also introduces a new addition the event: /art/. Instead of worded prompts, the prompts were drawn by our drawfriends in /art/ (See: Sweet Music - Art<->Fic Relations for which story was written to what prompt).

Chapters (22)
Comments ( 36 )
Author Interviewer

Very glad you left everything in. Very disappointed Bon^6 didn't make it. D:

Every Night Is a Swan Song
Hmm, in the first paragraph, I'm wondering why, if the Salt Lick Lounge is known for its seediness, loudness, and uhh... violence-ness, then why the hay is a harpist performing there? Also got confused by the name drop of Starshine, who I initially assumed to be the harpist, not a third party.

A number of comma splices, early on. :unsuresweetie:

I'm sorta confused as to what either party's intent is, for being called backstage. Then again, the harpist is "returning the crowd's lusty gaze", so, um. :trixieshiftright:

Huh, they upgraded their stage since Bluebell visited last night? Plausible if the harpist is really drawing in a crowd. Just interesting.

Hmm, judging from her narrow-eyed reaction backstage, I guess the whole lusty gaze bit was a bit misleading :twilightblush: Similarly, Bluebell's words seem to be at-odds with his wandering hooves.

I feel like the narrator's tone is sorta drifting around, in general. Consider:

The tone of triumph transformed into a theme of love, a slow melody that warmed the crevices of Bluebell’s heart. He had never felt like this before. Feel-good music was one thing, but this was another ballpark entirely.

It's like, there's this flowery, artistic expression of emotions, followed two sentences later by a somewhat coarser description. See what I mean?

Oh. Oh I see! Very interesting twist on the prompt image. Rotting to death :twilightoops: Okay. Quite a different story from a few paragraphs ago.

Mmm, a slight suspension-of-disbelief that, in his condition, Bluebell could sucessfully knock the harp out of the harpist's grasp, but for the story, it works well enough.

So, overall thoughts. Very interesting twist on the prompt image. Without the prompt image to sway me, though, the story doesn't really seem very poni (could easily be told using humans with only a few word swaps). That said, I don't see any way to change that in this particular tale. Starshine's relationship with Bluebell was a little confusing. I initially assumed she was a marefriend until the end revealed unrequited love... and yet Bluebell apparantly felt that way about her too, given his last thoughts... and yet Bluebell was off chasing the harpist's tail. *ponyshrug* The story also seemed to jump around, regarding its tone. It started with this lustful, unobtainable love, then switched to almost light comedy at lunch, then suddenly horror (this one is good and a necessary surprise) with some relatively shocking imagery (liquefying bones, crushed skulls), and then in the end, Starshine sadly declaring her desire for vengence. As I said, one of those tone shifts is central to the piece, but I think the others just feel a bit distracting in this short of a story. The characters felt a little one-dimensional, though that can't much be helped with 3 OC's in a 2.6k story. Arguably though, the point of the story wasn't to fully flesh out the nuances of Bluebell's character, but rather to shock the audience with a surprise twist, which it did quite sucessfully.

The End of the Season
Intriguing, I don't think I've read a fic that centered on Granny before. The prompt image certainly lends itself well to this, though. And oh my, her visitor! And the intents of said visit! :pinkiegasp: Inb4 someone points out how tragically behind I am on my reading, but this already gets an A for originality in my book.

I'm enjoying the interwoven flashbacks. It does lend itself to the feeling that Granny has this wealth of memories, and any little action in the now (particularly with this visitor) can cause those memories to bubble forth.

"As do I." A great heaving sigh followed. "Applejack has wonderful taste in mares..."

Goodness. So far, she's shown interest in Granny's father, Granny, presumably AJ if she were single, presumably the mare that AJ is seeing... :rainbowkiss: This point aside, I'm enjoying how you're characterizing her: a bit mischievious, a fair amount emotionally fragile, a lot sincere. It's a side we don't normally get to see.

That was touching! I really enjoyed this one. The flashback was left slightly vague/open-ended, but with plenty enough hints to piece it all together. The present scenes were a touching tale of reminiscence, one final offer, and what is likely a final farewell. If I had to pick one point to quibble about... I do enjoy seeing a more fragile side of the visitor—a side that's alone and disconnected from everypony else in the world. That said, she felt almost a bit desperate here: talking about all the ponies she's had eyes on, talking longingly about her days with Granny, making the offer (a second time, I believe?) to Granny (I would keep this part), lamenting her Forever Alone status. It felt like it was pushing the line from lonely to needy, but only a little. Still, great story. Thanks for sharing!

Joie de Vivre
Oh. Hi, Civic. Wait. Hi, Pinkie Pie. :rainbowhuh: My feeble ginger mind is getting confused from the start.

"Can I ask you a question or two?"

Pinkie looks at him and shakes her head, but walks over to him anyway. "You already asked me a question, and you didn't even ask first. You should know better, Featherweight."

"Sorry," Featherweight says, and then realization crosses his face. "But if I have to ask before I can ask then how am I supposed to—"

This is brilliant. :pinkiecrazy:

Well, snap. I'm already at the end. That's usually a good sign if I completely lose track of writing comments, but it's not very useful to you the author, eh? So let's see...

Well, one of the only stream-of-consciousness comments I left was about my feeble ginger mind being confused, and... that's still sorta the case! But not in a "what the hay did I just read?" way, but rather in a "wait, okay, the author is challenging me to piece this together" way. That's actually somewhat rewarding, given that a lot of fanfiction in this community seems to be awfully overt and clear in the name of mass appeal.

Okay, after reskimming this and thinking a few minutes, it's finally obvious what happened:

Diane's in a coma and dreaming up a magical land of ponies, inspired by elements in her life: an interest in cooking and pink, her school's colors, and apparantly a pony music box. Her father sold his farm in order to keep her on life support, and apparantly boarded up her bedroom, just as she'd left it. I feel especially dumb for missing the connection of the name Diane, especially as I've made a similar use of that name in one of my own stories. :derpyderp2: In my defense, I was thrown by the last two paragraphs. For a moment—with the parallels between the statue and the music box, and then the loaded line about a full life right next to the statue's description—I thought that Diane had become the statue, which confused me a fair amount.

Okay, I feel dirty for typing this on FimFiction, but... I kinda liked the human parts better than the pony parts. :twilightoops: By which I mean, the human parts seemed more focused. Yes, we were talking about a couple buying a house and a college girl in the hospital—two stories that seem fairly unrelated—but given the presentation of the story, it was pretty clear that, somehow, these stories related to one another. So, figuring out that mystery kept me engaged as I read. Those stories were relatively focused, too. The farm story led pretty linearly to discovering the bedroom, and the farmer's story led linearly to him at his daughter's side in the hospital.

As for the pony side, as a standalone piece, that could be a nice pony story. In the context of the whole story though, I didn't really feel like it integrated well with the other story threads. It wasn't as focused as the other two story threads, unless there was some symbolism there that flew over my head. Pinkie is off helping some colts, undergoes a number of dangerous actions (she seems semi-aware, semi-unaware of said danger), turns a bit serious as a result of nearly hurting somepony, then ope, BTW this quest was a ruse, surprise appreciation party! The end of that was good and fit with the other story threads, but the journey there (again, unless I'm missing the symbolism) felt too meandering IMO.

Still, as I said, the story was an engaging page-turner. I was interested in the mystery that you were painting out, and once I started to brain, I enjoyed the ending too. With a little bit of tightening up, this story is a solid contender.

I quite liked this one (The Good You Might Do). It had a good pace and intelligent things to say. The ending was a turning point, however it wasn't climactic. In a short story, that can work though, and I think the author pulled it off. The trick here is to not leave the reader wishing for some obvious further conclusion to the story, and ths one avoided that trap well. More could definitely be said in this tale, but there is no obvious path forward the story must take, so the reader isn't feeling as much of a need to write their own conclusion. At least, I'm happy with how this ends. The sum of all possible continuations would be separate from what is here, so what is here... Is complete. Very well written.

That twist ending was depressing as all hell, probably do in part that Lyra and Bon-Bon are my favorite ship. Quite a vivid and well-written journey through surrealism, but I may never be able to forgive you for that ending. :raritydespair:

Bittersweet Music
Okay, I've not even finished the first scene, but I gotta say it: your Fancypants is delightful. So much tounge-in-cheek and glibness. Love it. And you even made his monocle pop away in mock shock. Author, you are a card. :twilightsmile:

Hmm, this is an interesting take. Fancypants didn't seem to mind much the idle gossip of his social circle in Canterlot, but here in Ponyville, with a very similar crowd, he seems bored out of his mind. Arguably, he could've been equally bored in the episodes and just maintaining his composure, given how intrigued he was by Rarity. And also, it's working with the whole playfully immature air you're giving him.

"I even went so far as to actually wear pants today."

No joke; thank you for this. Fancypants's lack of pants has been a constantly grating source of irritation for me. :twilightangry2:

Fleur... I wouldn't exactly call her a "nag", but it seems like she's being negative for the sake of being antagonistic. I guess it's plausible that she's simply getting fed up with Fancypants's snark, but her perspective doesn't quite feel as defined as his. Or something. I dunno.

Spike rolled his eyes. "So what's the difference?"

"Problems have solutions."

Seriously, dude/dudette. Loving Fancypants.

Okay, the Mane 6 are apologizing to Spike. I get that. He doesn't need to perform if he doesn't want to anymore. Get that. He might get booed / his feelings hurt. Get that, even. But, the Mane 6 just seem so obstinate about keeping him off-stage. Especially when you consider they were about to perform themselves, and just taught themselves an episodic-style lesson about doing your best vs. winning, and they were the ones who got him to sign up in the first place. It's like, their warnings make sense, but it felt like they were taking things too far when they talked of rigging the judges or getting his entry pulled. Y'know?

Fancypants watched, patiently, as Rarity ran down the hall and rushed into the room with them...

Holy. Shit.

I really liked this one, and I love-love-loved Fancypants, and yet, there's a few bits that kinda nagged at me. On the one hand, I have this sinking suspicion that the story was a bit longer than it needed to be. On the other hand, I can see how most every scene had some significance, so I don't really see an obvious point to slim down. Perhaps cuting out the Mane 6, except for Rarity obviously.

I'm not really sure how to describe the next point that's bugging me, but I'll give it a shot. In hindsight, like I said above, all of the little scenes contributed to the story, and built up toward the ending. But while reading it, I don't know, it sort of felt meandering? If that makes sense? Fancypants gets bored and causes a fracas at his wife's special event. Then he stumbles across Spike, by happenstance. Then the story tangents into male bonding, and Fancypants helping Spike to—as Fleur put it—earn his "cutie mark", and then it all circles back to Fancypants and Fleur's original conflict. It didn't so much feel like two entertwined stories, so much as Spike's story suddenly stealing the limelight, and then "oh right, gotta resolve the first conflict" at the very end. Since there was clearly a part of the story involving Spike and Rarity (and possibly the rest of the Mane 6, if you keep them), maybe it would help to add a Spike/Rarity scene near the beginning, before Fancypants meets Spike? That might help Fancypants and Spike feel like equally-weighted main characters, rather than Spike "hijacking" Fancypants's story.

And the ending... while jawdroppingly "Magnificent Bastard", there was also a large chunk of "What the Hell, Hero?" Fancypants effectively played Rarity against his wife, getting her into a catfight, and... that rekindled their marriage? Not to mention, it calls into question why exactly Fancypants helped Spike in the first place: for Spike's sake, for Fleur's, or for his own? Prior to this point, I had no reason to assume it wasn't purely for Spike's sake, since Fancypants is just that awesome, but the whole chessmaster maneuver ultimately made me question his motives. Not to mention what this says of Fleur—that she understood the scheme fully in hindsight, yet still went lovey-dovey toward him at the end. Hmm.

Don't let the wall of text scare you though; I'm nitpicking. This was a thoroughly enjoyable piece, and easily a top pick!

:raritycry: Oh for Celestia's sake! That's beautiful! :applejackunsure:

(and it makes me sympathetic to all those Rarijack shippers) :raritywink:

Melody of Solace
Hmm. I would've figured that this kind of narrative style would grate on me, but you seem to be keeping consistent in it, and it's got a sort of charm to it. I'll roll with it for now.

I want to comment about a pony being named Melody, and her granny's surprise that Melody is musically gifted, but I don't have time to go into a diatribe about pony names and cutie mark destiny :derpytongue2: [Edit: though, that's before I realized we were going for the earth pony vs unicorn angle]

Stylistically, I dunno. The opening paragraphs were all this very telling-a-story style of narrative, so it was a bit unexpected when actual dialogue appeared. I half-expected to see any dialogue be woven into the narrative, a la "Her voice was really soft, like she was telling me some kind of secret. Told me that she had no idea I could play like that. Course, I didn't think I was playin'. I was just plinkin' away at the keys!" I almost feel like going dialogue-less like this would fit the initial style better, but I'm not sure if that would actually make the story better or worse, so... hold that thought for now. [Edit: I could actually see that style working, if you committed to it. If you want to go for a more normal style with dialogue, then you might want to tone back the narrator a bit.]

Actually yeah, just a few paragraphs into the dialogue bit, the narrator's voice from the beginning has disappeared :unsuresweetie: It's back again after the scene break, but yeah, if you're gonna do this, you gotta commit all the way!

The pacing got a little weird in the middle. The competition was supposed to be at the beginning of the year, but then suddenly we're at winter break and the competition is after winter break.

That... felt odd. Melody had a natural knack for things, was gifted enough to make it to school without any formal training, enters a competition to prove herself to her peers... and her first instinct is to cheat. I mean, karma gets her in the end, but it just felt like a surprising decision. Still, her acceptance of her fate does offer some pathos.

There's an interesting tale in here, but I kinda get the sneaking suspicion that the author was improvising the story as they wrote it. The end was good, and the beginning was good too, but the beginning didn't really feel like it led toward the end. Maybe if Melody felt less confident; more raw talent and less musical excellence. Give her some more time at school to be bullied, build the relationship with Lyra, and develop her reasoning not just for entering the competition, but for cheating at it. Changes like those could give the climax and resolution more emotional oomph.

Memories of Chaos
Ah okay. It took me a second to get into gear, but it looks like Discord is stuck in stone prison, and this is some sorta mental prison that he's trapped in? That he can see outside ponies, can walk and talk, and so forth? Gotcha.

Hehe. Lampshading a reason to allow him to talk out loud :rainbowwild: At first I wasn't crazy about this; it seemed too bluntly directed the audience. But then when Luna appears and we start acting out the memory, it actually sorta works.

In the flashback, though, I'm not getting a very strong characterization of Discord, IMO. I'm feeling it in the opening paragraphs and internal monologue, but his dialogue isn't really sounding in-character to me. For instance, “Of course not! I would never imply such a thing!”

Aha. So the hole into reality is an interesting hook, as is the fact that Luna is the conduit. Revenge, though? I've seen this tried a few times, and it always seems too strong. Consider what happened canonically. Discord comes back to Equestria, taunts one of the Princesses who imprisoned him... and that's essentially all he does to her. Sure, he screws around with her country, and harrasses her pupil, but he's far more motivated by his love for chaos rather than seeking revenge

...And yet, now that I've hit the mindscrew parts, I'm sorta intrigued. And then literally, after typing that, I scrolled down a few more lines to find the end of the fic. Damn.

Well, as you can tell, I had personal beef with the characterization and the revenge motive. That said, messing with Luna—slowly, subtly nudging her mind in to a particular disposition—was quite an interesting part. It's just a shame that part was only a small part of the fic. I'd totally be interested to see more of Discord messing with ponies' heads, and the aftermath of those tamperings. I do also give you props for going Discord/Luna, given how manestream Discord/Celesita is, in comparison.

Made of Dreams
Sorry, I don't have very many notes for this one. On the one hand, it was a nice story that held my interest well and didn't ever really jolt me out. On the flipside though, it didn't really have much room to grow.

Parents who force a life choice on their kids is a trope far older than poni, but it does at least work here to set up the conflict.

So Bon Bon's unhappy with the hand (hoof?) that Fate has dealt her. She sees some examples around her of ponies playing their cutie marks straight, and others subverting them. The latter only really seems to sink in when it's Lyra though; Cinder Flare and Cheerilee kinda fly right over her head for whatever reason. That's a little odd, as Cinder Flare seems to be her PFF growing up. :trixieshiftright: Anyway, the story covers those points nicely enough, but it doesn't really go anywhere from there. There's conflict against her mother, which disippates when she moves away, and internal conflict, which just ends with a belch at the end. :twilightblush: It doesn't really build or resolve. I'm not saying that the story had to end with Bon Bon finding the alternate interpretation that lets her enjoy her life. It's just that, by the end of the fic, not much has really changed for Bon Bon, for better or worse. Basically, I'm left wondering "What next?" and I'm not sure even Bon Bon knows.

Still, not all bad. Competantly written and nothing that broke immersion. The story simply ended too soon.

My Sunshine
:rainbowderp: Well, the second paragraph was not what I was expecting. That's an interesting hook.

I'm perfectly willing to give this a chance, given the hook, but for the record after two scenes I have no idea what's going on. Part of this is "waking up into nightmares instead of reality." Part of it is also the sentence structure, which I think is being done intentionally to match this dreamy, confused state. Or maybe it's just past my bedtime. But bits like, well, this whole paragraph, I'm having trouble following:

She’s looking out over the city, taking bites of her breakfast. She seems younger in the morning light, almost as if I’ve seen the exact same thing years before. Then again, our routines aren’t very spontaneous. I take a moment to look down in front of me, at the music box still playing. I can’t hear her voice as she tugs me away from my seat, but I must have lost track of the time, because when I look up we’re in the practice room, with the sun going down out the window.

It just feels like the train of thought is jumping all over, which again, I'm pretty sure is intentional. It's just throwing me for a loop.

Ah, but Sonata does eventually lampshade the confusing nature of these... flashbacks? Even he's not sure if they're flashbacks? Hoo boy. :fluttershysad:

Huh. Well I think that's one of the few times where I've had no clue what was going on for 90% of a story, and yet still thoroughly enjoyed it. The confusing, blurred nature of the flashbacks, for better or worse, did effectively how muddled Sonata is in his current state. The other bits—with the darkness, the running, the growling—while those bits did effectively create tension and suspense, I also feel a bit cheated, because as best I can figure, those were his distorted perspective of his escape to the school? Admittedly, I've never been so mental as to be committed, so I can't speak from experience. But if my guess was right, then stuff like the music box becoming older over time, hearing Petal's voice, encountering a single flickering candle... those only seems to line up with reality (or what I presume reality at the school to be) on a fairly metaphorical level. Either that or Sonata has completely lost it... which is plausible. :eeyup:

That was certainly one of the more intriguing entries. I'll probably need to give it another read or two to figure out what I'm gonna give it, score-wise.

Fun little flying scene to kick things off. I liked the imagery :pinkiesmile:

Goodness, apparantly everypony missed the memo that we had rain scheduled for today... which is interesting since in the first scene, RD's cloud was the only one in the sky. Oops, nevermind! :derpyderp2: I jumped the gun; Twilight's explaining what the deal is. Also, Angel is worst pony. Hmm, something creepy is underhoof, it would seem.

Hah. I think this is the first time I've seen Pinkie described as "nebulous". Interestingly appropriate usage, in context.

Heh, Simpsons reference. I see what you did there.

Vinyl scowled and asked, “Then why can’t you hear me?”

What?! No! No, that can't be...

/me rereads all of the relevant scenes.

:rainbowderp: Well played, author. Well played. The line “Pinkie, dear, this isn’t that kind of party. This is serious!” might have cheated, possibly, but every other relevant scene seems to be explained away! And it didn't really rouse my suspicions the first-go-round either, because Pinkie Pie. Clever.

Ah, interesting little trick that Vinyl has. Bonus points is that she does need to be looking at Pinkie for her trick to work.

Hmm... I'm a little torn. Considering the situation that Pinkie and Vinyl are in, my normal expectation is that any other pair of ponies wouldn't be nearly so nonchallant. But this is Pinkie and Vinyl we're talking about here—some of the most laid-back ponies in town. So in terms of characterization, it works, but it terms of the story arc, it feels a touch anti-climatic.

Did Vinyl just burn a record with her horn holy shit that's awesome

Great story! We had a creepypasta build-up, a comical twist with Pinkie, and Vinyl ended up creating a neat solution to the problem (I did like the whole dissonance/harmony bit). The only real snag, like I mentioned, is that once Vinyl appeared (climax and particularly the falling action), the pace and energy of the story kind of faltered a bit compared to the earlier build-up. Still, I liked this one.

His Heart Too Full For Words
Meep, already halfway through and no comments. Better take a quick word break. I'm actually not feeling too critical about Color Bound. I was a little worried at the start that this would be all angst and mopeyness. And true, there's a fair amount of this, as well as a pretty heavy amount of being inside his head, between italicized thoughts and narrator mindreading. Yet, it's not really all woe-is-me; he's making a fairly rational case for his hopelessness, frustration, and anger. And he's already showing signs of not being one-dimensional, as I just hit the scene break after the CMC's visit, and he changed his tune about exercise.

It's a little tough though, since the story is really about his thoughts. As such, the story is pretty heavy with them. And with Bound's character, it's really not something that could be better expressed with actions or speech; it really sorta needs to be him there, lying in bed, fuming at the world, with us hearing his thoughts. It's been working for me so far, but I'm unsure if there's a better stylistic way of tackling this kind of story.

Suddenly, shipping! :trollestia:

Hmm. On the one hoof, the scene with AJ was touching, even if the "omigawd so hot" elements sorta came out of nowhere. And, with Bound suddenly discovering joy in his life after so much misery, it's completely justifyable that his outlook on life would shift drastically. But on the other hoof, right at this scene break here:

A cool breeze wafted across Bound’s face as he wheeled down the path to Sweet Apple Acres.

Right there, Bound became a totally different character. Before, he was silent anger, pessimism, and a fair amount of scorn for others (his mom, Scoots). But now he's all optimism, speaking his heart, and turning to butter in AJ's hooves. The turn is good and necessary; I'm just taking issue with the (seeming lack of) transition between these two states.

Still, for such an angry and internal-focused OC, I found Bound to be fairly engaging. There were real factors to his anger, and resolving those factors (if fairly quickly) made for an enjoyable tale.


Just started this fic and all I can think is White Box. Which isn't a bad thing, mind you. And a little later I'm thinking Sweetie's Letter. Also not a bad thing. I'd mention an OC/Applejack shipfic as well but I can't think of one off-hand, and this shtick is getting a little old.

In any case, this story is really very different from both of those two.

I liked it. One thing I wouldn't compare it to is one of those HiE stories where the first two chapters are spent listening to the main character complaining about how much their life sucks. Bound complained and angsted, but so would anyone in that kind of situation, so it was believable and made him sympathic. I got a little misty-eyed at his exercise scene.

Far as recommendations for improvement go, get rid of the shippy stuff. It spoils the tone. If you must keep it, though, I think some more poetic(ish) language would make it fit in better – talk more about AJ being beautiful and less about Bound stammering and blushing, basically.

He played for No One, and No One listened.

Effective closing line. Nice job.

A Deck with No Hearts

I like cards.
I like magic.

I like trains.

While it's sort of working for the pacing of this scene, the prose is awfully broken up. One sentence of dialogue, one sentence of thought, one of dialogue, etc. No scene description? Setting? Name of the protagonist? Body language?

Hmm, an interesting premise with the love triangle. Blue says he doesn't feel romantically about the protag's performance, but I'm not really sure what I can and cannot assume beyond that. Blue seems romanced by the harpist's performance, to be sure, but does he feel romantically toward the harpist himself? What about the protag? He loves Blue, but does Blue reciprocate? Blue seems embarrassed when the protag calls him out, yet doesn't seem deterred from eying the harpist. There's a few different scenarios we could be in, and at this point, the backstory isn't clear. [Edit: I guess this does become a plot point later on. It just came across as mostly confusing at this point in the story.]

“Ah, yes, you’ll do. What would your name be?”

The laugh I made at this reveal sounded roughly like "GHYAP!" This has potential :pinkiehappy:

Wow, whether this is his intent or not, Blue is coming across as a jerk :unsuresweetie: The protag made a clear point that this performance was meant to show him "the romance of magic", yet he's not even paying attention.

I'm quite curious how a non-unicorn is pulling off these tricks. These sound more impressive than magic feats I've seen humans pull off.

In the end, I'm sorta miffed at Blue. The protag wasn't exactly being subtle about his feelings. Sure, Blue was busy swooning over the harpist, so maybe the protag should've caught the hint, but couldn't Blue have just turned him down in plain terms in the beginning? As it stood, the protag had to make a big romantic gesture, and the harpist had to butt in, telling the protag that Blue wasn't into him and embarrassing him in front of a huge crowd. Kinda a dick move there by the harpist, but it wouldn't have come to that if Blue had just spoken for himself earlier.


First thought: The wizard from Cirque de Zale who became a magician because sleight-of-hand tricks are the real test of skill.

Well this is a first. Don't think I've seen M/M in any of these write-off fics before.

It held my interest, and it's a tight, well-crafted little story, but it's not very pony. Far as complaints go, that's not a death sentence, but I really cannot help but feel that this story could have been told about humans with minimal tweaking.

Still, good show.


Well, it sure as the consarned cinnamon swirl doesn't help that *you* won't ever talk about 'em either!

Try italics instead next time ([ i ]you[ /i ] without the spaces).

That was cute. Not much more to say, I'm afraid.


Nasty case of Yellow Pegasus Syndrome in this one. Pronouns, good author: please use them.

The pink party pony

I know it's not cool to nitpick about possible typos in these events, but

Twilight was unphased by Pinkie Pie’s sudden appearance


This was a pretty long story compared to the others, but sadly a lot of that came from your wordiness, author. Stuff like

The unicorn stared at Pinkie Pie with a deadpan expression, before lifting up her violet shades and squinting skeptically at Pinkie.

is pretty good evidence that you'll need to chop a lot of word cruft out of this story once this is over. That may even help speed up the pacing problems Pav mentioned.

Overall, though, I quite liked this one. The language faltered here and there, but it was an interesting idea nicely executed, and reading about an evil music box trapping everpony in Ponyville is certainly a pleasant break from all these important heirloom music boxes that lead to heavy emotional stuff. What's more, it's refreshing to read about Vinyl without also reading about Octavia (what is it about evil music that splits up shipping pairs?) Good job, author.

Oh, and also... Rainbow Dash found a box, and then Rainbow Dash was in a box. (Sorry.)


I liked the imagery and the trippy way Twilight faded between reality and hallucination.

Predictable and a little one-note (or focused, if you'd prefer that), but well-written. It didn't blow my mind, but it's very nicely done.

Not much to say about this one. I have to say, the average quality of this write-off's stories is pretty damn high!

WestFillya Waltz
MFW opening line. I suppose that means my favorite time of day is when your daily commute is driving directly towards the sun. That is, my backside is a blinding hue of white.

Nothing against this particular author or story, but I think this is the fourth or fifth story in this anthology alone to use the expression "in righteous fury."

I admit, I'm curious to see AJ of all ponies keeping such a keepsake. Doesn't really seem in her nature to keep such a fancy little thing—oh wait, I think I see now. Wait, cinnamon swirl?

the kind of old-fashioned, culturally insensitive depiction that would have made Applejack's friend Twilight roll her eyes


Ah, good to see that you're integrating this backstory with the canonical Aunt and Uncle Orange.

A nice, sweet tale of sisterly bonding, and the oft-wondered-about Apple parents. Some of AJ's idioms seemed a tad overdone at points, though no issues with the accent itself. A few grammar flubs, but no worse than any of its competition. It accomplished its goals nicely. I don't really have much else to critique it on.

The Good You Might Do
Goodness. Well this is gripping, to say the least. My one issue so far is that, so far, Twilight's been fairly passive with her visitors. She's just sort of sitting there, listening to them and nodding, whereas they're sort of rambly. I mean, yes, in actuality it's Twilight's mind which is the rambling one. Still, she just feels awfully passive and just floating along in some of these visits, whereas my initial assumption for Twilight would be full-to-the-brim with questions.

That said, her sort of spaced-out nodding and general confusion with Dr. Canter does sort of match my mental image of a patient, potentially enough to counteract my expectations for Twi's behavior. Also, we feel sympathetic for her since she's getting this good advice during these visits, but appears unable to remember any of it with Dr. Canter.

Considering that these visitors are in Twilight's head, they seem a bit too self-aware. Like, Rarity should be Twilight's understanding of Rarity. Yet, she seems to know herself a little too well, versus how Twilight would know her. Contrast with, say, Spike, who sounds wordier than normal (somewhat justfied) but seems more like Twilight's understanding of Spike. [Edit: Though, I just remembered Canter's point about these "visits" potentially being flashbacks to actual visits, so perhaps that's where Twilight is garnering this extra insight.]

I'm not sure if it's Twilight who's hitting her stride, or if it's the author, but the clarity of these interactions seems to be steadily improving. The scenes with Dr. Canter, by contrast, are falling apart, which is offering a good indicator of her mental state. Compare with the earliest visit with Pinkie Pie—which yes, the author was making parts of this deliberately confusing as the audience starts to put things together—but the whole affair felt very muddied together back then.

I agree with Nonsanity's point that while Twilight's spell and Twilight's recovery process easily could be further chapters in the story, but the story doesn't require their explanation. One point where this didn't work for me was the music box itself. The only item that Twilight brought with herself? And she's never had anything like this, canonically? Inquiring minds must know! This is just sort of dropped unexpectedly on us, and being a one-shot, we never get to find out.

I'm also a bit confused about the advice her friends were giving her. The overarching themes were A) Twilight has strengths, 2) she should accept help from her friends, and iii) Twilight doesn't belong here. The last point felt a bit out of place, since she kept latching onto these parting words quite literally, and attempting to run away based on that advice. When the friends were otherwise offering good advice points, I was confused why they'd end on an unhelpful point.

This was a very interesting piece, and it's generally pretty brave to attempt something like this. Nice job.

His Heart Too Full For Words
I didn't perceive the nervousness as being overly “shippy”. I thought it was a pretty natural reaction of a sheltered boy meeting a strong and friendly girl. It's a little one-sided crush that's consistent with the character and keeps the dialogue flowing—not really a big deal.

That said, I'm not a fan of parentheses in narration.

The resolution is a little weak, I think. It's mainly a fault in the story's length, since the first act lasts a good measure longer than most. It's a lot of set up with an unimpressive finisher that I'll call “solace in music”. It's not in any way related to the first act, other than that it solves the problem introduced by it.

The first act draws the character well, which I think is why the character's cookie-cutter resolution is a little anticlimactic to me. This is paced well, though, in that I can actually recognise three distinct acts, but I don't know if such a structure works in short stories; this is begging for just a little bit more.


Enjoyed the Background Pony references, although I'm not sure ending your story with a reference to another one is a particularly strong finishing move. I think I'd've enjoyed a little more.

Gonna agree with Pav here. Nice writing, nice story, but "what next?"


It's a real song. Not sure I like that. Props for not giving a link, but still.

Otherwise this was pretty trippy and confusing, which seems to be the intention. I think I understood it at the end, though. Poor Sonata.


Heh. Remember Memories from the last Write-Off? This was like a superior version of that, and not just because you went for a less popular ship.

Nice job.


Not terribly pony, and the twist wasn't really foreshadowed, that I saw. Not a bad story though; the constant tone shifts were neat.

As Pav said, the narrator was joltingly inconsistent at times, flitting between flowery and informal.

Made of Dreams
Unless you say otherwise, she's going to be a Powerpuff Girl for the rest of the story.

Eh, can't say I enjoyed this. Cinder Flare disappears for no reason. Lyra just gets thrown in at the end to deliver a self-admittedly weak fable that doesn't really resolve Bon's conflicts.

The whole "cutie-mark vs. fate" thing has been overdone a lot, as well, which is why I think the plot didn't have much bearing on me.

It doesn't help Bon Bon's case that her mum is made from sugar, spice, and everything nice.

Joie de Vivre
>French title
Let's do this

Mm. I can't brain this right now. I'm interested, but I need to think on this more.

compliment != complement

Music box eats ponies and is then defeated by music.

I wasn't really engaged at all while reading this. There's a lot of words that should be cut out here. Just from the top of my head, the first and last scene are entirely pointless. The coda with Vinyl playing for the town has no meaning, and the flowery weather-report intro is a sure-fire way to lose the reader's attention. You could have just as well started the story with “Holy shit, guys! Rainbow Dash is missing!” and you'd have a better hook.

I find it hard to believe that ponies would use 3.14… as their circle constant. I doubt they'd have the same historical failings as us. Surely they'd use the true circle constant.

Vinyl's deafness makes no sense. Sorry, I just can't swallow it. No way. You've even got her talking to people in casual conversation—a supposed deaf person conversing with regular speech. What? No.

And no, I don't think someone could compose if they were deaf from birth. I'm sure you will bring up Beethoven, but I'll remind you that he was not deaf for most of his life. He'd know what the sounds are by memory, having heard them before. Also, I don't think he ever composed being fully deaf—he had complex supporting equipment to help hear/feel the vibrations.

As far as accepting ridiculous premises is concerned, my suspension of disbelief relies on the Rule of Purpose. I could accept Vinyl being deaf if it actually had any consequence to the narrative. But it doesn't, nor is it even consistent with anything she does throughout.

Essentially, this story waffles on a lot and has a deus ex machina resolution. I mean, surely you can get a better finisher than “Destructive interference breaks the magic spell!”

Bittersweet Music

"The competitive aspect is nothing more than a motivator," she said. "It encourages ponies to do their very best and pursue the achievement they deserve. Ponies perform better under preassure."

Hah. She sounds like me talking about the write-off. :twilightsheepish:

The possessive form of “it” is “its” (no apostrophe).

Bravo. Really. I'm doubtful that this will be topped. Fancypants is so British it hurts. The oration is brilliant, similar to You'll Never Know Until You Try It, only with a solid story to complement it.

I can't think of much else to say. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Melody of Solace
In which Holden Caufield plays the piano.

I liked the narration, much like I liked Catcher in the Rye's narration. Some people don't like the narration in that book. I think those people are weird.

Earth ponies don't study music, but there are many successful earth pony musicians? That doesn't add up.

Unfortunately, the time crunch is dreadfully obvious here. I can almost see the exact point where you began the mad rush to pull a resolution out of your arse. Needless to say, there is much more of this story to tell.

The WestFillya Waltz
More Apple family reminiscing and headcanon injection... fun.

This is tying with The End of the Season for most unsubstantial story. There's no conflict. Nothing happens.

Every Night Is a Swan Song
In which a harpist mare steals the youth from stallions, a la Succubus.

This was very engaging, and the description was well done. But...

“Screw you!”

Seriously, what?

I would have preferred the harpist murdered Bluebell without issue. It seems so blaze to have her be defeated by mere will. The story could extend with Starshine trying to get revenge on the harpist, giving her more meaning to the story and also giving the story more than one peak of conflict (Bluebell's defeat, then Starshine's revenge). Otherwise, Starshine is pretty unsubstantial to the story.

Fancy Pants is awesome.
That thing about dragons having 6 times as many vocal cords, head canon.


Now that this is over, I can respond.

Okay, I've tried to better explain why Discord is so out of character. I don't know if it works or if people will accept it. But it's there. As for more messing with minds, that would be pretty much the entire next chapter... if I get around to writing it. I'd like to write it. Discord is a fun character to write in 1st person. Thanks for the short overview of my story.


Thanks. I try.

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