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WritingSpirit


Try again. Fail again. Fail better. (Ko-Fi / Tip Jar)

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There is a saying in my family.

That Mill Finish will never be a mare you’d want waiting at your doorstep.

I suppose there is some truth to that.


The original draft of this story was written for Undome Tinwe's Dramatic Contest,
as part of the Quills and Sofas Speedwriting group

Many thanks to the following for their invaluable feedback:
Atom Smash Decaf HapHazred The Red Parade Scrying Mind Shaslan Undome Tinwe Vis-a-Viscera

Artwork by LA-ndy

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 8 )

Of all the foods one could ever get in the heartland of the Czequestrian Republic, Mill Finish went with macaroni and cheese.

It’s neat to see a new country pun for a location I haven’t seen ponified before.

Anyway, this was good, evocative stuff. I can’t believe it doesn’t have more attention.

Pretty great story. i like Millie finish she’s a fairly realistic oc

I am writing this comment because this story was placed in the "I Just Want a Comment Group" (presumably by you?) and then someone signed it up for a different comment group, so I presume the following is desired and will be welcome. :derpyderp1: If not, just let me know!:

Thank you for this interesting noir-like piece. :pinkiehappy: It succeeded in creating a stifling, cold, and oppressive atmosphere. I was on-board for this story in the first part, but I gradually became less engrossed in it as I read. That said, I do not typically read melodramas, which is what I think you were aiming to craft, so someone who is more of a connoisseur of that art may have a different conclusion than mine! (And, looking at your writeup for the story it appears that many others have provided pre-feedback, so take this as the comment of an outsider to the genre--the extent it is worthwhile may depend on what you want to achieve.)

One theme, other than Millie's unsettled troubles appears to be about missed opportunities for closeness between siblings due to overwhelming complexities of past experiences--which comes through!

However, the ending seemed a bit overly dramatic in the sense that it seemed there were a few unanswered questions that I either missed the answers to or else I think the story would have benefited from either avoiding the questions or framing up answers to them. (See below for elaboration).

It was a good decision to frame the story with the stork and to use same as a lens through which to view the subject. And you also made a direct association in the story with the subject and birds! A great way to strengthen the imagery. :coolphoto:

As for me, I'd like to think that she’s out there somewhere, living her life, doing her best.

Seems a little melodramatic. I suppose Photo Finish thinks that Mill is spiraling toward death because she has not written? But how long has it been since she departed? Not writing for a month is one thing, and five years is another. In all that time, Photo Finish didn't ever seek Mill out or hear about her (I guess she is letting her go like a stork in her photos--doesn't want to interfere)? Maybe Mill changed her name? You did well, however, in setting this up earlier with Photo Finish's stated questions.

I am also surprised that Mill slipped out without Photo Finish noticing despite Mill having "suitcases aplenty". I suppose Photo Finish is a deep sleeper? :coolphoto:

Mill Finish will never be a mare who would be there for you when you need her most.

*Minor: It is odd to change tenses within a single sentence. Perhaps change the first "will" to "would" since the rest of the story is told in the past tense. Another way to revise this sentence could be to add a colon--":" in the line immediately before it and to surround the sentence with quotation marks: then you can play with time inside the quotation marks and could even write two "will"s instead of "would"s!

I'm not sure where to start with this one. That's not intended as an insult, or criticism. Reading this story felt to me like reading a foreign film. The language is familiar, but not used in a familiar way. It lingers where I want it to press on, and barrels on where I'd like it to stay a bit longer, yet I can't say that this is a bad thing. It's the language of this story, and it's caught me off-guard in a way that's both disarming and welcoming.

I appreciate the mood you build with this piece—heavy, haunting, full of unspoken history and a longing for something intangible, perhaps even unimaginable. There's a lot going on under the surface, many things these characters don't have to say to each other, and you've done a wonderful job of saying just enough to let me peek behind the curtain. Though it leaves me slightly outside my zone of comfort, I'm glad I read it.

This is a work of art.

To be fair, I’m always enchanted with writing that’s way out of my league. This is definitely one of them, as it took a second read for my comprehension to get better handle on what’s happening. That one is on me. Still, it doesn’t diminish the fact that this is well done!

First off, you had me at the imagery. The old city in the Czequestrian Republic. Bloated Cement. Weaving tram in between buildings. Ornate fountain. Antique lampposts.

A careful disassembly of my equipment later, I’m on the nearest tram back to the rickety apartment I for now shall call home. As always, I would seat myself at the rightmost window seat in the second-to-last row. Oftentimes, my yes would just trail along with the silk of the scenery as the tram weaves between the buildings. Some may find their architecture fascinating, I’m sure. If you’d ask me, however, the view can feel a bit too close to home.

So far, I like the image you’ve painted for us- through the keen eyes of Photo Finish, we get to see a beautiful and historically rich setting.

In between the sundering flush of feathers, I notice a couple cuddling on the fountain’s marble rim. From beneath his chin, where her head had rested upon his crossed hooves, she looks up at him and smiles. He notices seconds later and smiles back. He leans in for a kiss.

A burst of life fills my aching lungs as I light up the cigarette in between my teeth.

First thing that comes to mind is the last detail leading up to this one: the lovers at the fountain. If not jealousy towards them, I wonder if looking at picture-perfect scenes drains her energy. It would make sense since work makes things drudgery, and if her occupation tells us anything, it’s less a pleasure and more a chore. I was proven right by a later paragraph:

I could perhaps spend my time here regaling about its beauty, its tranquility, but nothing about it catches my eye unfortunately. I fear it is what happens when you see so much of it come your way. You become disenchanted by it. Your mind wanders.

How intricate. When you live a life like Photo’s, naturally you take it for granted. There are probably a lot more consistencies, but this is one that I like the most.

Same goes for the beautiful descriptions of estranged sister:

Her coat wafts with the prodigious blue of the summer sky. Her mane, one I remember to be a frilly mess of prospective silver and prosperous gold, has been trimmed and combed back, a respectful attempt to be easy on the eyes.

Carves a twinkling river that slides down my back.

This is the finest way I’ve ever seen crying described!

For the briefest moment, we vanish into each other. We convulse, we simmer, we softly linger onward, as one.

Like two unsynchronized waves slowly coming into phase with each other.

Millie smiles. A waxing moon from ear to ear. “Slowpoke.”

Cheshire cat-ish. But more soothing and less creepy.

“Of all the things you choose to take after me. What would Maman think of you, following in my hoofsteps?”

Comes to think of it, perhaps smoking was Photo’s form of rebellion, while Millie’s was more limitless and free. Photo is the stuck-up one while Millie’s the fun one, to put it crudely.

But what takes the cake is this one:

I watch as she swirls in between the antique street lamps. Her shadows, in their multitudes, thoughtlessly fall upon me. She laughs freely, vociferously, into the silent night; I withhold the urge to do the same.

I got ‘When Marnie Was Here’ vibes. Just the grace of Marnie swaying with Anna all the while singing in hypnotic lullaby. This has the same energy! Chills!

Howdy, hi~!

This was banger. The subtle emotion at play through the whole piece was absolutely beautiful. The characterization of Photo Finish and her sister was stellar and I love the interplay between the two. Their relationship feels... real in that way how theres those little tensions between them and that small connecting cord of love. The bittersweetness of the ending really punctuates that, showing the loss and the regret encapsulated within it,

I think what really sells this is the theme and atmosphere of the story. The unquantifiable quality of the piece that really sells this story. All the little moments really just make up this one big gorgeous picture that I really loved.

Thank you for the story, absolutely fantastic read ~!

ah, yeah, this is way above my level. the atmosphere and the descriptions are just downright literary, and i love the subtlety in the depiction of this estranged relationship. i wish i had better things to say than the fact that i just felt it, drank of it, as the story washed over me. though i'm someone who has never had a familial relationship like this, so i can't speak with authority, it felt like i was truly dans la peau of someone who was, with all the complexities of such a love between two sisters with nothing in common but their shared foalhood, and it felt like i gained some insight into how people work through this.

for some reason this piece gives me the feeling of what the English translation of L'Élégance du hérisson would be like, though i've only read the original, and it's been so long since i read it that i'm probably muddling it up with other books i've read. i think it's the introspection of the main character, and their keen eye for the little mundane details that really set the mood of it.

the photos of the storks, possibly the same one, bookending the piece, were also a really great touch, setting the atmosphere for both the reader's entrance and exit tot he story. other things i really liked: the random bits of French (Maman in particular), Czequestria, Mill Finish as a pun name

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