• Member Since 4th Mar, 2012
  • offline last seen Apr 12th, 2016

MrAlbum321


I write MLP: FiM fan fiction in my spare time, which is approx. once a month due to my current schedule. I don't put out much, but what I do put out hopefully will be good, if not now then later.

T

Untitled Journal Entry
With the Fire We test the gold, and with the gold we test our servants.

A wise man said that, once. A long time ago. Something Lyra mentioned.... But that is beside the point.

Well, here I am, after what feels like both an eternity and the flicker of a fraction of a second. I am now tasked with writing down my new friends' exploits long after the events have begun to sink into everyone's collective comprehension. While I have already left a detailed, emotion-shorn and lifeless historical record to the Royal Canterlot Library, I know how much can be missed from reading those dusty old tomes. For example: What about the motivations of the actors at play? What drove them to do what they did? Why are they who they are, and are they who they truly claim to be? So much of this is lost amid the desire to perfectly preserve the facts above the souls.

This is an attempt to change that.

When is the page the fount of life?
When is the fount the words of strife?
When are the words the curses of old?
When are the curses the tale to be told?
When is the tale the mark of fate?
When is the mark the signs of late?
When are the signs the prophecies bare?
When are the prophecies the truth to be shared?
When is the truth the path we must seek?
When is the path the steps for the meek?
When are the meek the leaders of war?
When are the leaders the good no more?
When is the good the source of pain?
When is the source the ending refrains?
When are the refrains the lines on the page?
When are the lines the monster's cage?
When is the monster the core of us all?
When is the core the reflections small?
When are the reflections shown to the world?
When are the shown the reality unfurled?
When is the reality the author's domain?
When is the author the parrot's refrain?
When is the parrot the harbinger now?
When is the harbinger the page's brow?

-Pantrostic

*Author's Note* Not Worthy has been incredibly gracious enough to help edit this work as I create it. Without his input, the story would be far more groan-worthy than you could imagine. I hope you enjoy it!

Chapters (7)
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Comments ( 18 )

Just to let folks know, I'm going through a degree in Mechanical Engineering. This means that, after the next two chapters, expect LONG waits in between chapter updates. I apologize for the inconvenience, but that is the reality of my current situation. :pinkiesick:

I hope you enjoy what is written! :raritystarry:

Sincerely,

Mr. Album

Hey, OtterMatt here, with your review from WRITE.

I have to admit, I was hoping that I'd be able to write a much longer, more in-depth sort of review here, but I've read what you've got four times now, and I keep losing my thoughts about it.

What I can tell you, though, is that you've clearly put a great deal of effort into building your characters, and it shows. I can quickly tell that there's a lot more going on internally and behind the scenes that is waiting to be revealed, and I find Pantrostic to be both realistically handicapped and likable. He has his flaws, and his issues (oh, does he have issues...), and he comes across as someone a reader can at least sympathize with, if not relate to.

One thing I know I can pull out so far: your storytelling is a bit too "tell-y" for my tastes. I suppose that's a bit of a given with a first person style that's so conversational, but I felt like Pantrostic was giving us a few too many infodumps. Granted, I'm sure you'd rather get the info out early.

For the first chapter, I felt like there were plot threads running around all over the fic like so many unsupervised children, but I have no way of knowing how many of them are important at this point in the story. All I really know is that I felt a bit overloaded on info after chapter one, because I didn't have any indication on what I needed to keep in my memory for later.

With the addition of chapter two, I feel like I've got a slightly better handle on what's coming, but now I'm wondering how much of the first chapter will fall aside as the apparently epic plot rolls into motion. I'm not totally convinced that Pantrostic merits the Hero's Journey archetype setup, especially when he has so many problems at home to solve—and we're not even sure how many of those are due to deficiencies in his character or merely happenstance. If the former, then we expect those problems to be quickly solved when he returns, having grown as a character due to the journey (as per the archetype), and if the latter, then the journey runs the risk of feeling useless if his life isn't improved at the end. While this isn't really "pacing", per se, it is related to it. If the plot threads remain loose and don't get resolved, then the reader will retroactively feel like the story dragged in the early chapters.

As far as what you mentioned in your request, I don't have any problems with the backstories or anything like that. Frankly, I think you've handled things pretty well, I'm just hoping that all these items will add real depth to Pantrostic instead of just a simulacra of it.

Final Verdict: 3/5 Pinkies :pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiesick::pinkiesick:
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Closing Remarks:
I realize that I'm giving you a lot of information but not a lot of fixes, but these are mostly impressions. Part of being an author is being able to work around a reader's impressions, like when a painter gets "it's too dark" from a critic instead of the more specific "use less green and more yellow."

For all of that, I can tell you from your characters and writing quality that I'm not worried about your plot. At least, I feel like you know what's going to happen, and what it's meant to accomplish, and that's a pretty darn good first step.

I may keep an eye on this fic, not entirely sure yet, but maybe we can negotiate another review a few chapters from now.

- OtterMatt, WRITE's Organic Mustelid
djotter.blossers.net/StorageBank/WRITE01.png

Excellent work.
-I noticed just one typo

The stallion noticed a glow coming from Pony 2’s forehead

And maybe should "Then why isn’t the club open?" be "wasnt"?

-invisble horn, great idea

I will be reviewing while I write, please excuse any inconsistencies. Remember that I am just a new author, so consider my comments, but do not follow them blindly. It could be me who is learning from you. Feel free to remove this text afterwards.

Just control-f what ever I point out
-for another thing of Pollenborne
thing?

-son-of-a-mule
not sure if that's tribalist (racism)

-if people like it people like it
Add a comma "If people like it, people like it"?

-write something that complicated but now
no comma after complicated to indicate drowsiness?

-using my movement to heat up
he must be moving really hard then

-always gorgeous somehow
maybe a comma, not sure

-magic again because it
I'd prefer "for" in place of "again" to make the sentence flow better

-I can barely wait the next few days
something seems off

-Yes! I can wait for that!
should it be "can't"? Maybe it means he can hold out that long, but "can't" makes more sense

-satisfy her instincts
already used the word "instincts"

-She’s not quite old enough yet!
improve flow by removing "quite"?

-NIGHTMAREDAMNIT
Nice

-Kill me with Celestia’s forehooves
I've read "buck me with Celestia's fore hooves" before, i can see that being used. But "kill me" by a benevolent goddess?

-Holy Tartarus
nor did I hear about holy hell

-the neighborhood knows
knew

-feel like they kill
felt

-by what was surely the smartest ponies
who were

-black as the darkest room of the darkest night of the year
"of" used 2 times. Can you come up with a replacement for "darkest"?

-I can count far beyond the number of dust-motes in a lazy sunbeam
poetic, i like

-The same journal that still sat in the same
same used twice

-Barbara’s gonna throw a fit at that; we had just conquered the mildew in the bathroom, and if more gunk like that ends up in my room..
mixing past and present tense

-magical alchemy
thats like saying magical science, either they are the same, or completely separate.

-I sat back, and was finally able to take a deep breath since yesterday.
replace "a" with "my first"

-Every warning siren went off in my head
why would he take that comment as flirting?

Okay, I've been at it for almost one hour now. I'm off to bed, but I will continue later.
Honestly, I would remove the "sex" tag. It is only implied right now, but perhaps I am just de-sensitized.

See ya big guy. Based on your OC, you seem like a nice, intelligent but insecure young man who yearns to meet that special person.
I wish I could find someone like you.

Fey out.

Hello again, and thank you all for your comments and reviews! I merely wish to mention a couple of responses to your responses, to clear up a few things.

-I can kinda see what OtterMatt got at with parts of the story being too "tell-y". This is one of the biggest problems with my writing, and I actually had to re-write the story several times to flesh out details and make things more clear and more immersive. While I am more concerned with writing new chapters at this point, I will keep this in mind and try to counter it.

There were also parts where I felt that the reader did not need to know the specifics of the particular environment Pantrostic was in, such as his classroom in the first chapter. This is because such a place wasn't important to the story Pantrostic the character is trying to tell, a concept which the long description sets up. It will be a heck of a challenge to balance reader immersion and character believability as the later chapters proceed.

-Yeah... the first couple of chapters are an info dump. At least I have lots of stuff to work with now! I will make sure that all of those plot threads have meaning as the story progresses, even as the story starts to pick up the pace and live up to the "Adventure" tag.

-The Journey may be universal, but the Heroes themselves are never the same. So on the one hand, there may be merit for a potential hero to meet certain qualifications before taking the Journey, but on the other hand, it may not matter in practice. One thing I know is that anyone who arises and answers the Hero's Call puts themselves on that journey, regardless of who or what they are. I would like to know the specifics about those qualifications OtterMatt mentioned, just for my information.

-Felyon: Thanks for the proof reading! If this story needs anything, it's a dedicated proof reader. I do have a couple comments:

-The son-of-a-mule thing... Yeah, I didn't see it that way, since I was simply trying to replace "son of a b****" to stay within a Teen rating. But that is a good point; that phrase would be rascist in the MLP universe. I'll think about it, because it may reveal something about Pantrostic's character later; after all, he used that phrase to describe himself. Perhaps he hates something about himself?

-I used the Sex tag because of the flirting, and because Pantrostic is married, and in a VERY unconventional relationship to boot. Because of the Teen rating, I won't graphically describe any sex when it happens (and yes, it will happen), but because it is important to a couple of the characters, it became an important part of the story. Hence, the tag.

-The very first draft of this story was actually a comedic one-shot self-insert. Over time, Pantrostic showed just how different he was from me, and the story expanded in scope and style to a dark adventure/epic. For example: I have NEVER gone through anything as traumatic as what Pantrostic went through, and while I am passionate, I almost always defer to the needs of the people around me, rather than push my own opinion. I am also practical; I go with what is objectively present, not what I wish to accomplish. I can also be very insensitive to the emotions of others, and end up apologizing whenever I stumble over another's toes. While I am clumsy, I am otherwise healthy, and don't have anything nearly as crippling as Pantrostic's weak magic to deal with.

Last but not least, while a part of me is looking for someone, I know that blindly throwing myself around in the pool takes time and effort, and may not produce anything lasting. I am also of the firm belief that the closest of friends make the best spouses, which means being friendly first before moving to a potential next step.

.... In retrospect, that doesn't disagree with the qualities you attributed to me, Falyon. However, like with all interpretations, it lacked information, and I hope I gave you a better picture of who I really am, since the character of Pantrostic seemed to resonate so well with you. OC's are not always self inserts; even though Pantrostic started as one, he is no longer such a character.

Anyway, that's all I have to say at this point. Once again, thanks for commenting!

Sincerely,

Mr. Album

You seem to go into the small details, which is what I love about this story. But, beware, if you go too in-depth, the story can get boring and repetitive. The pacing is quite nice, as well. It isn't going too fast and it isn't going to slow. Seems to be in the norm in that area. I do like where this story is heading as well. There isn't much for me to say that the other reviewers haven't, so I'll leave you with this pathetically small one.Anyway, keep on writing! You're pretty talented at it.

Rating: 9.5/10

Review from the group:TheBronyFiction

have an awesome day fellow brony and, as always...

*Brohoof*

I'm not usually a fan of poetry, but this is pretty well put together. Still reading as i go, but so far i don't see anything wrong. If i do, I'll let you know. Keep up the good work.

Thank you for the story :)
It's a bit puzzling from the start, but when you read more it clicks :)
:twilightsmile:
Btw your most dangerous game entry is really good also :) I found this story thanks to it.

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Thanks for enjoying both my stories! :twilightsmile:

I know that it takes a chapter or two to really click, since the story has been worked on over the past two years. The first chapter used to be MORE dense and hard to get through, would you believe it :twilightblush: I'm still trucking along, writing when I can and when I have time.

Sincerely,

Mr. Album

This review is brought to you by Zero Punctuation Reviews

Intros take too much effort to write and are stupid anyway. Might as well cut to the chase: today’s super late review features a rather interesting fic, blatantly titled “My Little Poem.” It is "interesting" as in: "I have no sodding clue what to say about it." I mean, it’s… okay. Solid. Readable. Nothing that would make me fart my mind out of my brain through my arse, blasting my body through the roof in the process, but also nothing that in any way insults my intelligence or human rights in general. It balances out its missteps, some of which are pretty huge, with things still worth discovering, akin to searching for gold nuggets among dried cow turds.

The story opens up with a weird scene in an alley that I think is supposed to be a flashback. It’s hard to tell, and this kind of vagueness often returns throughout the story like an obscure fetish porno ad on an illegal download site, which can be both intriguing and frustrating at the same time. They seem to suggest a far greater story at work than what we perceive right away, but after a while it only serves to bog down the pacing. It's the difference between "being served hot chocolate by a handsome stranger" and "them opening all the taps and flooding the room with hot chocolate": the former leaves you content, as well as wondering what they truly intend, while the latter only has you wishing you could drown already and be done with it. Vague narration and tell-y narration don’t get along well, the same way as how a sausage and a vagina dentata aren’t good partners in bed. They give birth to "special" children with malformed faces who cry and bang their heads on the wall a lot, thus holding back the juicier details from the readers for too long.

Anyway, as far as I can tell, the alley scene ended in a "dropped the soap in the prison shower" moment, and the next chapter starts off with a dream sequence that of course plays out like your stereotypical "reliving your memories" thing. It's decent and even throws in a few good dream-like elements, but ultimately I just wish it would be half as long and less blatant. After that, we are at last properly introduced to our main characters: Pantrostic, the not-so-subtly named a unicorn who writes poems and whom I shall refer to as "Panty" from now on (don't look at me, the story did it first! It was... awkward...) and Barbara, his wife/foster child (it's complicated). The former studies at Celestia's "send your self-insert Mary Sue super-OP OCs here" school (for unicorns), since he is a total wiz at writin' rhymes and shit, yo! Meanwhile, the latter is a pegasus, a cocktease for her husband, and... that's about all we get to know at first. Later on, we also find out he has a kid, who is also a speshul snowflake, just like his dad.

Panty goes to take part in his graduation ceremony, he bumps into Twilight Sparkle and Princess Celestia, deciphers an ancient poem for them because he is the only one who can, and ends up being given the mission to travel somewhere and decipher more stuff with Miss Sparkly-Poo because he is so speshul that they need him. I won't spoil the rest of it, if only to give you the chance to decide whether you like it or not.

Writing is solid, with little to no errors, although a recurring annoyance are the "Panty getting lost in his memories" segments (i.e “flashbacks,” which are just shit writing) and his internal rants that are italicized as though they were "thoughts." The latter is particularly awkward, since the narration is from first person perspective and it already "speaks" his thoughts, so it seems redundant. Perhaps the author was going for a "damaged psyche" feel, with Panty's mind and subconscious talking to each other or whatever, but the fact that I have to assume rather than deduce this means that he's not very good at it.

The reason why I said this story is okay is because it's immersive, or at least it started out that way. While reading it, I actually found myself being "surrounded" by the events and the characters, instead of the text just coming in and pouring right back out of my head, with me doing it all just for the sake of writing a review for it. However, not unlike a good shroom trip, it starts with a very uncomfortable first phase, one which may prompt less-devoted members of the audience to kill themselves before the juicy bits kick in. And if the shrooms themselves are tainted... Well, don't expect to have any cute visions, maaaaan...

"My Little Poem" drowns the reader in tell-y exposition. Admittedly, it tends to do so with decent stuff, but often too much of it all at once, akin to the hot chocolate I described before. It constantly rushes ahead with things that should be savored while drawing out other elements that should be dealt with swiftly.

To offer one example: Panty gets a note from the headmaster at the school. He remembers that the guy had a beef with his dad for whatever reason, and of course the note is a lengthy apology for that very issue. Sure, Panty goes on to rant in his head, which basically boils down to "this isn't over, dickhead," and they end up talking later on (read: immediately afterward), but the way this is presented still breaks down the door instead of trying to knock on it first and wait for me to let it in. I mean, I'm okay with adding more conflict to the plot, but to have it rammed into my colon like a butt-plug wrapped in barbed wire is just too much. Most of the other details that are needed for clarity are brought in the same way, which becomes really annoying very quickly. All the while, the story meanders between in medias res and "exposition through monologues" constantly. Look, either spend time calmly building up your world, or just stick to simple scenes that gradually reveal our surroundings. Don't try both at once, because that only makes the pacing schizophrenic and me unhappy...

Panty's character is fairly inconsistent as well, not to mention has quite a few Sue-symptoms, which is why I don't regret the nickname I gave to Celestia's school earlier. He starts off as the sympathetic "my life sucks and I can't change it" type of protagonist à la Dante Hicks from "Clerks" (or whoever you prefer), although this is already kinda conflicted by the fact that he is supposedly a wiz at writing poems... Oh wait, so he's the "mysterious and reclusive genius" now?

Fine, whatever. Plenty of real life geniuses struggled with having frail personalities and/or health problems (in Panty’s case: being allergic to… something). This would also explain why Panty might be a star of his school, but he's only a lil' bitch outside it, but the problem starts when he can instantly go from "meek and awkward kid" to "I AM AN EXPERT AND WISE AND SUPER CONFIDENT," even when met by freaking Princess Celestia herself. You never see the transition of him pulling himself together or anything. He just goes ahead and becomes Sherlock Holmes for a few minutes, solves a few mysteries, lectures everypony, and suddenly goes back to being "omg please no im so fragile" again.

Make up your mind, dear author: is this guy a pussy or not? If you want him to gain confidence or lash out, then either add some buildup to it, or cut out the bullshit about him being weak-willed. Jesus, at times this fic reads like it’s a story of Eeyore where it turns out he’s a retired veteran green beret with PTSD.

My lengthy ranting may seem like it contradicts what I said at first, i.e "I have no idea what to say." That is because this story does the weirdest thing ever: it writes really well about really poor concepts (or sometimes vice versa). It coats stale corn flakes with gold leaf, marshmallows, and those dragée things on cakes that are made from sugar and look like small metal pellets. This makes it hard to actually develop a consistent emotion for the fic and say something based on that, either ripping it a new arsehole or licking its dong up and down.

We get an interesting story about Panty's family... through a dialogue where he "omg totally destroys" one of his rivals. We are introduced to a unique poem structure that Panty has to translate… which implies it was taught to him at some point, so there’s no reason somepony more stable than him couldn’t work it out instead. Panty bitches and moans about his life and acts all tough, then turns into a wuss in front of everyone, which could work and portray him as flawed, except he then turns into... I won't even dodge it anymore: a Mary Sue hero. His character tries to appeal to us through sympathy for his weakness and the tragedies that happened in his life, but it all comes across as desperate after a while.

I actually promised myself I would read through the whole thing this time, but all these things I mentioned wore out the appeal of the story by the third chapter. It was promising at first, but the flaws eventually brought it down to just "mediocre." A passable read, but one that tries to be at least three different kinds of stories at once: experimental, slice of life, and adventure, all without giving us the best of either. As for the "poem element" of the fic, it is seldom used and doesn't offer anything that spectacular, which is kinda sad considering that it bears the word “poem” in the title...

To quote JC Denton: “what a shame…”

5347482

I mean, it’s… okay. Solid. Readable.

Such seems to sum up your entire bibliography, DAvy, ol' boy.

5347482

First off, thanks for reading the story! Second, that conflicted feeling you're getting from the story was intentional, although the quality fluctuations you point out are troubling to me. I won't ask you to point them out, since your time is yours to spend, but know that your review made me think about the story. I don't know if I can fix it without a complete rewrite from the ground up... which would be the fifth or sixth rewrite at this point....

I had no desire to write an entertaining protagonist or story. There is a lot more going on than I've let on, so hopefully as more chapters get written, certain things will make more sense.

Yes, Pantrostic is inconsistent. There's a combination of reasons why, but despite my best efforts I seem to have failed to show or explain them adequately, at least in the story's beginning. That dream sequence was there because the original drafts did not explain those elements at all, and there's enough material in Panty's past to write an entire prequel. If I wanted to finish this story in my lifetime, I'd need to somehow condense that past into a Cliff Notes version as best as I could. It's clunky, but I didn't have better ideas that would let readers know at the start what kind of character Pantrostic is, so that they aren't blindsided by his more negative qualities.

He thinks he's weak, but he isn't. He starts off very passive, believing that the world is out to get him and ruin his life more than it already has. I won't spoil it much, but these aspects are planned to change as the story progresses.

Real life is messy, inconsistent and confusing. For many people, it is a constant struggle to not trip and destroy everything you've worked for. Let's say that life metaphorically tripped Pantrostic off a cliff around the end of Chapter 2 (Parenthood and Fires to the Brain), and now he needs to find a way to survive with as little damage as possible. As of the story's written content, he's still falling, if not already having hit rock bottom.

Thanks again for reading my story. Make of my thoughts whatever you will.

Sincerely,

Mr. Album

5359603

You're welcome. To be honest, I had no problem with the initial vagueness of the story, but it got to a point where it was more annoying than mysterious. Even if there is no immediate explanation for a character's actions, they should still at least be consistent with our general impression of them. To give an example, while babbling about parties, Pinkie Pie should not grab a machine gun mid-sentence and start gunning down zombies while spewing one-liners like Duke Nukem, at least not unless it's a comedy/random story (which this one is not...)

I don't suggest this just to adhere to the readers' wishes, but more because it's hard to identify with the character if they keep changing their personality every five minutes. Either that, or give at least some indication that they have a proper reason for acting the way they do, and it isn't just the Sue-isms I pointed out.

Other than all that, this tale is still promising. Just need to fix a few more leaks on your ship as you set sail for the uncharted seas...

5362150

One more thing (yes, it took me ages to bring up this point, my fault not yours... kinda gives you an idea of my availability for this site and writing in general XD ):

I actually don't have a consistent editor, proofreader or set of prereaders. Most of my double-checks happen by going into the IRC chat for The Writer's Group and asking the folks there if they want to take a look at whatever I'm working on. They have caught important things before, but it's not the same as a consistent collaborator who works with me and supports whatever effort I can muster.

As you can imagine, my grammar needs a dedicated proofreader, and I need an editor to bounce ideas off of before I commit them to paper. I've made the rounds with a couple of groups (a submission attempt with The Royal Guard pointed out just how bad my grammar is unedited, I've posted in OEE (or was it Looking for Editor? I forget which) with nothing tangible yet, just to give a couple of examples), but nothing has panned out yet. The demand is high, and the supply is low....

Anyway, just a thought that I finally got around to expressing ;) Thanks again, and I wish you the best!

Sincerely,

Mr. Album

5413045

Perfectly understandable, and in no way your fault. And if I see signs of effort, I definitely don't bring up grammar issues as a major negative. I think that, at certain points, your story came across as something that hadn't really been looked at after the first go, which is why I criticized it. Separate editor or no, one can tell if something is completely raw or has seen the author's own "chisel" more than once.

Still, I wish you the best in finding what you need. :raritywink:

The mare squealed with delight. “Excellent response! You will be a wonderful parent!” she exclaimed as the glow from her forehead levitated the frozen stallion to her side.

This line made me smile with joy. I loved the setup, and the story makes me wonder "Who is this mysterious mare?" Great work Mr Album!

Mr Album, once again you have sastified my hunger for all things pony related. Now all I have to do is wait for the next episode to find its way onto Youtube.

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