• Member Since 8th Jun, 2012
  • offline last seen Feb 1st, 2018

The Apologetic Pony

It's all about diabolical calculations of empathy, yo.



Philomena's memories, in the time betwixt (though not exclusively) Nightmare Moon's banishment and her show debut: an epic adventure ensues.

Consider this story as written pre-season 3. Somehow, this thing was featured on Bronyland on 11/15/2012! I'd appreciate any constructive criticism or praise you have to offer so, please, comment away! Ultimately, we all want to improve and advice from you is the fastest way for me to do just that. Thanks for reading!

Now there's a sequel!

Chapters (19)
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Comments ( 36 )

Excellent start with an unusual point of view. Will watch to see how this develops. Oh, by the way, did a word get dropped in the first sentence of the last paragraph? " My brightly feathered finally realised --- " seems to be missing something.

>>Bronzedragon Thanks for the feedback, it's all very much needed for my first fic! :scootangel: There was indeed a word missing there, it's since been amended. Much more more to come. :rainbowdetermined2:

Little old nit picker here, did you mean “My brightly feathered self'” Murphy is an sob.

Not bad so far, but to be honest, the phrasing feels a little heavy. I can't really think of a better way to put it than that, but it feels almost reminiscent of antiquated literature from previous centuries, or something. If that's the style you want to go with, then okay, but to me it feels kinda stiff, and it's hard to imagine how it will lend itself to that comedy tag.

I thought I commented.


Alright, so you asked for my opinions, so here they are! I'm no critic, but I'll do my best.

Firstly, I think your use of descriptive language is absolutely spot on. Perfect. On par with that of professional authors even. Seriously, it's fantastic, and you should be proud of yourself for that. It's a major accomplishment.

Unfortunately, it's not quite perfect. My main complaint was, despite the phenomenal quality of the writing itself, the pacing seemed a bit off. Everything seemed to be going by too fast, and I didn't have a lot of time to take things in, so I was left a little bit confused at times.

I think it's a really great idea, and I'm interested to see where this goes. I'm not going to favourite it just yet, but I will check back every now and then to see how the progression is working out. You've got the potential to make the feature box here, you just need to figure out the right way to get there.

1392249 First of all, Thanks for the feedback.
My intention from the start was to make it feel rather dreamy, I very much wanted these to be memories, not a simple recount of the past. A part of this was minimising the detail for transitions between scenes, so that it became flashes of significant events separated by vague, slightly unrelated ramblings in between. As a you've said, this tends to make it quite 'jumpy', because well, distant memories are just that. I felt if I added too much explanation as to how Philomena got from point a to point b, it would lose some of the dreamy quality. Or even lose the feeling that the tale was being told by the speaker herself from the present. Either way, I'll certainly take your opinion into consideration for future chapters.

I wish I'd never have to write dialogue again.:twilightoops:

I really, really like the feather-write system of messaging.

1498191 I'll make sure it crops up again then. :trixieshiftright:

I've since fixed the conflicting categories, thanks for inadvertently pointing that out (or not?). :derpyderp1: I'm afraid I can't help how I write, if you don't like it fair enough, I hope I don't sound too defensive here, but I wont be able to change it all that much. Many thanks for the critique.

Allright, motherbucker, you called for the TWE, so here comes the thunder! :pinkiegasp:
Badfic checklist? Bitch, please, this don't need no checklist.

In all seriousness, this is one of the more interesting stories I've read in quite a while. For what it's worth, it's just about the only one where I read the WHOLE thing before getting around to the review itself. I don't need anything over a chapter (two at most) to know my opinion of a story, but I really wanted to see where it was going. I'll just outline a few thoughts here.
- Style:
It's unavoidable, but the writing style IS archaic and purple. Mein Gott, is it purple. It actually got a bit better in the later chapters, and I know that it's the chosen style for the story to be written in, but you're gonna catch some flack for the overly florid prose. That's just a given. Don't confuse this sentiment for thinking that I don't appreciate it, though! I can see why you chose to write it this way, and I think it fits well. Sure, some people will be chased off before they can get into the flow, but I like the way it sets up the character of an ageless creature.
- Editing:
This needs a little work. The most common mistakes I'm seeing are things like odd double-spaces where they shouldn't be, missing small words, and odd or incorrect word choices. Puncuation needs to be cleaned up—things like using a colon where you should be using an em dash, or a comma where you should be using a semicolon. Small things, but an error in the wrong place can be distracting to the reader. I'd advise you to find someone to go back and help you clean this up.
- Storytelling
This, by and large, is very good, and just laconic enough to be believable as some creature's reminiscences. Some parts move too quickly, and I'd suggest that you spend a little bit more time on the painful parts of your main character's memories, especially in the earlier chapters. The things that haunt him should be always in the forefront. Not really harped upon, but cropping up like a splinter in his mind, constantly causing a subtle ache.
Technically, you do a fairly good job of balancing short, choppy sentences with longer, flowing ones. Occasionally, you FORCE a sentence to be longer and flowy-er, which isn't a good habit to get into, but by and large (again), you're on the right track.

Rating: 4.5/5 Pinkies :pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiesmile:


Some ending thoughts...
This might be the first story based around a phoenix I've ever read. It's a similar concept to the myriad fics trying to capture the feeling of the Sisters' seeming immortality, but I love the alternate perspective. The main character is both repulsed and drawn inexorably to ponies and companionship alike.
Long story short, you've EARNED a thumbs-up and a fave from me, mate. Keep writing, or I swear to Woona I will cut you. dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/emoticons/misc_Twilight_crazy.png

-OtterMatt: TWE's Resident Master of Music

I never hoped I'd get as a precise and detailed review as this on my story, let alone prior to completion! I can't thank you enough! :pinkiehappy:
I seem to be averaging at around a chapter every two weeks for now, though, like most things in life, the rate won't be kept particularly constant. When I'm up to it, I WILL get round to slowing down some of the darker moments in the earlier chapters, as I can see what you're getting at. But at the moment, I'm more inclined to keep pumping out new chapters before fixing old ones (grammatically or otherwise).
A thousand thanks for the favorite and up-vote too, you've given me a bit more motivation to trudge on in my purple quest, even if it be through dubious methods! :rainbowlaugh:

That was pretty harsh. In a good way, mind.
There's things worth pointing out, but I just don't want to right now, because I'm still digesting all the feels. I think you did a pretty damn good job of making Charlie real in the short time we had with him, and I have to give you props for not explaining everything with his family. There's a great magic in the things that are still mysterious, and it's not easy to capture as a writer.

I felt pretty guilty myself doing such horrible things to Charlie, but I guess, it was worth it in the end, I did have to make sure this thing lived up to the 'sad' tag sometime. Strangely enough, "Gravity" has been the only chapter so far thats almost written itself so far. Thanks for the ongoing feedback, it's really encouraging to know somebody is enjoying what I write! Looking forward to the pending enlightenment.

"Out of it came: a tinderbox, a rugged hatchet, a large blue water bottle (filled) and a few carrots."

*Cough* RPG *COUGH*

MMmmmmmmmmmmmm, Charlie's death scene was good, his speech, however, was not. Not as in writing wise, I just mean it was a wall of text, you can split speech without descriptive language like this:

'Derpherp a herp herp a herp djksfkjasd sdf;as; dlf eopwvakdsfvdkjfsd o jsd vskdfk sd jfsk df sadk fsdk

'iuhasfpsdpfspidfpisdhfpihsdoihgoirhdsfvoroif dsfoihsjad fasdj asdopojif sdopijfsad pofsadpj sdpj f'

That, is interesting. I never thought of splitting the speech; I'm still hesitant to do so in unease that it will break up Charlie's monologue in what I wish to be a fluid story, Charlie's story. Point take. I'll have to think about that... Oh and thanks for the advice, as ever.
And a day later, I made it just that!

I—ooh... Ow. Dude, what happened here? If I had to guess, I'd say that your comma key went rogue and took over your computer during writing, because you have about a hojillion too many in there. You've always used a lot, and occasionally in incorrect places, but this is on a whole 'nother level, mate.
I'd review your comma rules and go back and edit this, or have someone else do it, because this chapter in particular is just hard to read. :applejackunsure:

On it. :unsuresweetie:
Removed a significant number of them now, hope it makes the reading a bit easier. When I looked back at it I was amazed to find so many! As always, let me know if there's anything else of note (or if there are still too many commas for that matter), cheers both for this and in advance. :ajsmug:


Fuck yeah, Mote..... because I didn't misspell more.

Heh... I just keep liking this story. I'm honestly at a loss as to how it's all going to round up and come together. Welp, I'll find out one chapter at a time, I suppose. :rainbowdetermined2:

Always good to see you're still enjoying the scrawlings, thanks for all this encouragement, it really helps at times. My impression is that there's a while to go until this tale ends, but within the foreseeable future, whatever that means. I wish I could tell you how does end, but, I've heard people don't like spoilers. :rainbowlaugh:

I feel this comment is symbolically significant.


You may remember that this fiction got submitted to the FimFiction Gold Archives months and months ago. If you do, here's the answer to it. You ain't forgotten.

This story is a special case. The idea is good and interesting. Against many other fictions it is a fresh wind to travel through the history of time with an independent point of view. Philomena's exhilaration that comes with her immortality is a permanent source for trouble, standing against her being as a 'lower creature'. It's the reader's choice whether to like this or not, but it keeps the traveling from getting stale. She is a phoenix after all, with a fire burning deep inside her, so I would interpret this as a fusion of her 'animal spirit' and the pov. That alone could save a place in our Archives.

But then there is this other point. While I, as a reader, can feel the fun you having yourself at writing this, I can also see the rough edges that come with your relative young age. The punctuation is what I only can call raw. Commas are set where none should be, as if you were following the 'a break, a comma' saying blindly. This is fatal. Furthermore, there were semicolons and colons used where a simple comma, or a dash in some cases, would have done the job just fine. That you are using single quotes instead of double quotes is uncommon but not entirely wrong. That again it's wrong whenever they have a space on each side. But okay, this seems to be more a problem of typos. The fact that you tend to go:

"Direct speech." He said.

Instead of:

"Direct speech," he said.

Can't be excused with that. Yes, there is a development through the chapters, but I still would highly recommend to get into contact with a proofreader/editor who takes a little time for you. This easily has the potential to become a great fiction, but as it is the punctuation takes the most wind out of your sails to reach the level of a featured story. And until that changed, I'm afraid that I cannot approve this for our Archives.

Carpe noctem,

Ah well, that's fair enough. Thanks for taking a look at this, I have to admit, I thought I had been forgotten long ago.

This story has been reviewed by: The Equestrian Critics Society

Story Title: Millennial Heartstrings

Author: The Apologetic Pony

Reviewed by: Shahrazad

Millennial Heartstrings is about what it’s like to live forever. It’s a fairly realistic look at what happens to a lonely mind as the years grind away at it. The twist is the narrative comes from Philomena instead of a more obvious choice such as Celestia or Luna. It’s an excellent choice since we don’t really know much about the character and this story fills in those blanks nicely. It fills them in with melancholy, sadness, and a side order of purple prose.

Full Review

Score: 6.5/10

Thanks for reviewing this, its always helpful to get some criticism. I'll try my best to take what you've said into consideration for the future... and beyond!

Simon o'Sullivan here, working on my way to get this review done for you. My faithful Beard will help me with this task.

By only reading the first chapter I noticed that, when I checked a previous review you got, few changes were made following it. During first person narration I understand the use of ellipses, though I'm not a fan of them outside of actual dialogues. What really called my attention were those brackets there that, though it's true that they're correctly used here, could be replaced by commas, which you're quite fond of.

Comma overuse is usually the opposite of the problem I usually see. There are instances where commas are wrongly used. Here's an example.

cocked my head and looked up, into her queerly sorrowful gaze.

That comma there isn't necessary.

With its narrow minded view of sophistication, but to an objective layman, was closer to a rampant elitism and, hats. Often silly; occasionally garish, hats.

This is the greater clusterfuck of comma use. Turn the semicolon into a comma, and delete the two commas before "hats".

Now, as much as I like Garfield's comics, where he has the voice and knowledge of a man who's lived a long life, a venerable sage, if you might, it's hard to find comfort in seeing Philomena speaking like that. But only because of the obscure word we find every now and then, but also because it's odd to picture how she speaks about her doubts revealed by the Sun or things like that.

I had been explicitly (fore)warned

That part looks weird to me. I would rephrase it to avoid that half of a word between brackets. Maybe something like: "Ever since the first of my youths, I had been explicitly warned about blahblahblah yaggidish maggisidh." You get the idea.

My Beard gets moody when it sees comments in the middle of the story, such as the joke Philomena makes about time killer/healer, which doesn't add anything to the story aside from showing Philomena won't be able to earn a living as a stand up comedian (though the idea of having a bird telling jokes in a comedy club sounds hilarious)

and thus unmolested

My dirty mind strikes again! This is correct, I guess, but I would've gone with "undisturbed" for the reasons I made this joke.

Plus, ponies never looked up.

They must have the filthiest of ceilings if they don't see how many cobwebs and monstrous dirt they have there.

I needed to leave. Right now.

This is another greater problem in the story. If you're writing a story in the past (or telling past events) you have to remember the rules if indirect speech. Now becomes then, this becomes that and so on. These mistakes make the story confusing when time applies and, while I enjoy some timey-wimey stuff, I’d rather only see those in Doctor Who crossovers.

the building a warehouse.

Something's missing here, maybe the "of" between "building" and "a".

There are also some walls of text that sometimes cover the screen almost completely. Do your best to try to split them into smaller paragraphs.

The last point I should mention is the story. Or, in this case, the lack thereof. I’ve read the first three chapters, but there doesn’t seen to be any kind of... adventure, so to speak. The adventure tag is used for stories about... well, adventures. Travels, action... Imagine a story about a great war: ninjas fighting pirates. While the long lost ninjirates (a cultural mix of ninjas and pirates) try their best to find a relic that shows that ninjas and pirates were once allies, and those were the origin of the ninjirates. Have one ninjirate as the main character (or a group, if you want) and send them on an epic quest fighting against enemies like orc leprechauns and pixie trolls. THAT is an adventure. Probably the delirium of a madman as well, but you didn’t ask for a sane reviewer.

What I’m trying to say here is that there’s not much of a story here. Sure, things happen, but they don’t seem to be like a story. They’re just chapters, pieces of information here and there, but nothing else. Sure, Philomena gets her ass kicked in one part, but that’s pretty much it. While I’m not expecting Philomena to turn a fierce army of Diamond Dogs to ash with a fireball torrent, I expect dialogues and... well, events of some sort taking place. I mean, we have the ageless Philomena; she would be able to tell her version of moments like Luna’s banishment, the fight against Discord or even Sombra. There’s a lot to tell, considering that you have an unlimited amount of nothing official save for what Celestia told us. Other than that, there aren’t witnesses. Philomena could’ve been one, and using her point of view, could’ve shown the real tragedies behind the events. This is just a lot of exposition and barely touching most of the events mentioned, which I’m afraid it doesn’t qualify as a story to me, and would make certain readers lose interest, as there’s no such thing as a story taking place.

Okay, these three chapters were enough to get me with enough bases to work on a review and things to improve.

-Comma overuse, sometimes misplaced where they shouldn't be and vice versa (though in much lesser degree). Read the segments out loud and notice if the pauses sound natural and, if they do, leave the comma or remove it accordingly. You also use them for subordinate clauses, which you seem to be a fan of. Not a bad thing, though.

-Tense "shift". Not as using verbs in present or past, but the idea that the narrator seems to be change from telling a story that happened a long time ago to telling it as it happens. The comments like the "OW" when she's thrown against the floor don't help you either. Fix those and/or remove them.

-I've seen people using double space because they were used to writing using typewriters, but I'm afraid this is not the case, for they fall randomly and not always in the beginning of a sentence in the middle of a paragraph.

Other than that, I don't see that much of an issue. It's slightly purply, but not enough for me to throw you a brick to the head, and we're talking about a bird who doesn't give a back flipping damn about time because she has unlimited regenerations. She's like the Doctor, but without the alien invasions.

That is all we have to say for now. Good luck and keep improving.

Simon o’Sullivan and Beard, WRITE’s Manly Reviewers of Manly Fics

Yup, I'd have to agree with all those, too, many, commas, included. Admittedly, I'm not sure when (if ever) I'll fix them for this particular story, it was more of an experiment than anything. Though I'm going to fix the flaws you've pointed out for the sequel I'm currently writing at the very least. I hope you don't consider that a waste of your efforts. Of course, thanks for the helpful review!

I can see the faults people could talk about, but they are forgivable within the context of our narrator.

The structure almost moves alien and dreamy like intended; after all, this story is being told by a bird! From that point of view, the story works brilliantly with Philomena's constant use of "mortals", confusion at typical everyday things, etc.

I am glad to finally find a writer who makes the most out of perspective! And now... the next chapter.

Grand bit of symbolism there, author!

Philomena gets her name upon the death of the figure who managed to change her most.
A new name may as well be the equivalent of a rebirth.
Rebirth through death.

...Is this what the end feels like?

Thank you so much for all of your kind comments! I squealed in delight once I realised you'd read the entire thing in a single day, haha. It's a real rarity for someone to enjoy my writing as much as you have, and I'm glad the eight months I put into this thing was worth something, other than simple self indulgence. If you're so inclined, let me know what you think of the sequel too, I'd certainly appreciate it.

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