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Comment posted by Dragon Blaze-X deleted at 5:25am on the 1st of March, 2013

finnaly found his true fammily

will his jorny be fruitfull

jorny into the unkown

Here, have a spell checker.

Spike a lone dragon has finnaly found his true fammily but will he go with his brother and learn the ways of the Dragon or stay with his friends in ponyvilie. And will his jorny be fruitfull or will he regret going on this jorny into the unkown.

No.:facehoof:

Correct this. I wont even bother with the story until the summary is legible; you only used a handful of words here and a third of them were spelled incorrectly. That does not bode well for the actual content you were trying to entice  us to read.

...

Come to think of it, I'm pretty sure this site has a spellchecker built in already. You purposefully avoided using it. How and why?

>>2198198 sorry dude just was in a rush to get out thier and the summry was last min i forgot to send to my 15 betas first just got caghut up in my first story ya know :twilightsheepish:

It was your average day in Ponyville and. The birds were signing with Fluttershy, the Apples were in the fields harvesting crops in the field, the Cakes were baking fresh bread while Pinkie Pie watched Pumpkin and Pound Cake, Rainbow was sleeping on a cloud, and of course Twilight was studying the art of organization.

** Trite introduction.**

** Unnecessary information dump that does not contribute to setting the mood.**

"Agh! Twilight you've read that book like a bazillion times! It's amazing you can't recite it word for word," groaned Spike.

"Well, I can't help it if's such a good book", she replied excitedly.

** -If’s- should be –if it is-, but that only Band-Aids the problem. This sentence could be corrected to be –“I can’t help that this book is interesting,”-**

"Yaa, a really goo…. (*Burp*)."

** There are several things wrong here, so I’ll start with this: Why is he agreeing with her? He just finished poking fun at her for re-reading it. What about her argument compelled him to change his opinion?**

"Huh, that's weird it's bright red with the royal seal; must be important". Spike said curiously.

** Either you just set precedence for others sending Spike scrolls, or you implied Celestia sometimes grabs a napkin and scrawls something out on it. **

**Your sentence structure breaks down here. It should be –“blah blah blah. Blah. Blah blah, “ said the goat.- When you vary from it, the variance should be intentional and not accidental.**

** This seems odd anyway. Try literally saying the character’s lines out loud in the tone you want.  **

"Well, let's find out". She said while picking it up with her magic. "Ahem:

** Sentence structure with dialogue is still broken. You almost had it though.**

"My faithful student: the dragons are migrating out of season. There are massive amounts of strange new dragon species I have never seen before and also other mysterious bests migrating with them. Unfortunately, that is not all. Unlike in previous migrations, have been choosing to roost within pony villages. Thankfully, there have been no reports of violence or unrest aside from the initial panic at their arrival. Judging by their current course, they will arrive in Ponyville within a matter of days. Should you have the opportunity, I would request that you investigate the situation. Sincerely, Princes Celesta."

** This does not have the feel of a magically powerful and amazingly wise god-princess.**

Twilight dropped the letter and rushed for the door. "Spike! Prepare the observation equipment from the last dragon migration,"

**Just re-write this sentence.**

"Will do," he yelled after her.

** Same**

While Twilight leaves Spike to gather the necessary equipment, Twilight went to gather her friends.

**You changed your tense for no reason. **

Being the closest, Pinkie pie who should be at Sugercube corner.

**This is barely a sentence.**

But as luck would have it, she happened to stumble upon a certain snoozing pegasus.

** Where? How? Show me through description. You haven’t described a single thing after that introduction.**

"RAINBOW DASH!"

"HU-WHAT! Twilight, why'd you wake from me from my nap?" The cyan Pegasus asked grouchily.

"No time! Just gather everyone for an emergency meeting". The purple mare responded before rushing off to sugar cube corner.

"Well, might as well get everyone else". The pegasus sighed.

30 minutes later

** This is just a personal preference, but I rather like how most authors either incorporated passing time into the story or give their time-jumps a special symbol.**

"Ok sugercube we're all here so tell what's going on," Questioned Applejack.

** –Questioned- should not be capitalized.**

"Princesses Celestia requested us with the task of investigating an out of season dragon migration".

**-”…Requested us…”- is wrong.**

"Eep!" goes a yellow pegasus at the mere thought of giant, flying reptiles

****

"So what Twi, all kinds of animals do stuff out of the ordinary stuff once in a while, like when a bear asked Fluttershy to watch his cave for a week," Rainbow Dash stated bluntly.

"But that's not the weird part. It is that they're are flying through heavily populated places like Laspegasus and other villages, even resting in them, and there's been no violence, no damage, no nothing!"

**Las Pegasus. –They’re are- should either be –they’re- or –they are-. **

While the others let it sink in, she continued. “But it gets even stranger. There are even dragons and creatures that have never been seen by anypony or even the princesses, all traveling together for some reason. "

"So do we get name some dragons Twilight," asked Dash.

"Well most likely, bu…"

"Sweet I'm goanna makes awesome names for 'em like, uh, Starburst twister, or um, Fiery…"

"Dash! Focus! "First, we need to prep the town first", stated the violet mare. "Applejack is the trench from last time still available?"

** Terrible character descriptions, just like with fluttershy earlier.**

** remove the -“- from –“First…-**

"Sorry sugercube, but the mayor had us fill up the whole."

** Hole, not Whole.**

"Oh manure," Twilight grumbled. "Alright, we'll have to get some ponies to help to have diged back up we only have a few days. Rarity, how soon can you make us some camouflage cloths to help us get close?"

**Assuming “manure” is profanity analogous to the S word, you used it in a strange manner.**

**-Digged-, not –diged-**

**Unnecessary comma next to Rarity**

**-…Some camouflage clothes…-, but her just assuming that Rarity would an could is impolite.**

"Of course darling, I'll have the stealthiest dresses ready before you can blink!"

"Pinkie Pie, Rainbow I need you two to warn the town and let them know the dragons will be passing through JUST passing throe".

**-…JUST passing throe- should be -JUST passing through- **

"On it!"

" Okie dokie loki."

"Fluttershy… Fluttershy? Ugh," Twilight said as she looked at the pink-haired Pegasus hiding behind a bookshelf. "Fluttershy please come out, we need your help."

"Nnn-ooo Twilight, I really don't like big scary dra- dra- dragons," the pegasus whimpered.

Twilight simply sighed, "Fluttershy we need your help and besides these dragons aren't hurting anypony, heck from what the princess tells me there wasn't even a single pony harmed. Heck the only signs they were even there was their snoring, flatten grass and moved stones if anything their as ductile as Spike (I sure as Tartarus hope so), she thought."

**You used the wrong word. –docile- describes gentle animals. –Ductile- describes how soft and malleable something is.**

"Well, if you say so Twilight. I'll go with you if you insist.

Thank you, Fluttershy. Your affinity for animals will make this much easier.

**This should be in quotes, as if spoken. Mostly because it was spoken.**

5 days later

Just before 7:00am, the main six were walking towards the ditch with, Fluttershy bringing up the rear with Spike with a little red wagon stuffed with goodies and equipment,

**why does this end on a comma?**

"So Twilight," asked Spike. "How long do we have to wait for the dragons and the other creatures show up?"

"Hopefully not long its only afternoon and the reports from Celestia said they passed Appaloosa 2 day ago so they should come here soon".

**-days-, not –day-. The period should be bound within the quotes. **

"I sure as heck hope so! I spent the last 2 days making up awesome new names for those dragons Rainbow" dash piped up.

** –dragons Rainbow” dash- should be –dragons,” Rainbow dash-**

Sigh smooth move Dash you never say that (yes this is the author speaking) to but it simply Dashy- mic- impatient pants (god I sound like Pinkypie) got more then she bargained for again.

**This is literally you, as the author, talking to the audience. Cut that out.**

Almost out of nowhere a dull thunder came approaching from the south, causing ponies to bar their doors and windows with gusto. Before long the ponies and Ponyvile were surrounded.

**-Ponyville-. Also, this was a bad description but it’s still better than some of the ones earlier.**

There were dragons of all shapes and sizes, along with strange creatures they could hardly recognize. Some liked like wolves, others lions that looked like trees, and griffins of stone, sand and gems the rest were too bizarre to be described.

**-Some liked like- shoul be –looked like-, to say nothing of the descriptions given here.**

Fluttershy just stared in horror, too scared of the surrounding creatures to even faint. Dash and Applejack just hugged each other in fear while Twi and Rarity stared in wonder at the creature's diversity and beauty. And just as Celestia predicted, the beasts and dragons landed with out so much as damaging a single shingle on a house.

"By Celestia they're beautiful!" Rarity barely able to control the tears coming down her face from the creatures beauty.

**Almost a good description here, but tears o not come out of the face. They pour from the eyes, stream down the face, pain little patters in the fur on one’s face, leave trails…**

"WOW LOOK AT AL-*MPH*" was all Spike could say before five pairs of hooves covered his mouth.

"Shhhhh are you trying to get us killed Spike," the now much less terrified Rainbow Dash whispered harshly.

"Muhgbmouhgewoh," was all he good get out in response.

**-all he could get out-**

As the day rolled on into midday, the seven friends were constantly observing, sketching, and of course naming the multitude of new species. After of cores the time it took to get over their freak out (took like an hour just to get Fluttershy calm enough to faint).

**…I…think you mean –After, of course, the…- but I’m honestly unable to tell.**

All was quiet as the group began to quietly eat their lunch as to not disturb the thousand or so carnivorous creatures around them for miles. Then sky darkened as quickly as the dragons appeared and much to Fluttershy's dismay the seven friends looked up to see the biggest mother-fucking dragon in all of recorded pony history.

**…this is just lazy.**

I mean this thing was huge just to help me put it into perspective one wing from the tip to its base equaled the entire Canterlot mountain from tunnels underneath to tip of the tallest tower and I repeat that is one wing! Its claws made as long and thick as red woods and teeth that shone almost as bright as the sun. Its scales where colored like blue lighting, claws that could easily hold all of Ponyvile with room to spare. And it was looking straight at the ponies hiding in a ditch. Without making a sound, its wings folded back, its neck inclined and then it was hurtling down towards them. As it dove from it extreme height that would make even the great Rainbow dash would faint from lack of O2. It burst into sapphire flames that shrunk and narrowed till it passed mock 1 and crashed to the ground with the force of an averagely big meteor, kicking up dust and rocks and shaking the town to its foundations.

**Well…at least you started giving proper descriptions.**

As the dust settled a dragon of 8ft stood in the middle of the creator in a way it looked a bit like Garble (sorry it was the only way I could describe him without saying human), but radiated power and wisdom much greater then Princess Celestia could ever have. He wore camo pants with a black sleeveless-t and a sleeveless black trench coat on top of his head was spiky Wight hair sticking straight back and a horn from his forehead that went up a few inches before going parallel to his muzzle.

**This is literally you, as the author, talking to the audience. Still. Cut that out.**

Now back to our pony friends after all the dragons and craziness they do what all ponies do when they don't understand something that looks intimidating or scary they…

RUN! Cried the six ponies (Jesus I could hear that from here man and dam that Fluttershy has some big lungs yeash and I thought Pinkypie was loud).

As the ponies ran Twilight plucked Spike up with her magic and placed him on her back. As the ponies ran back threw the dragons, barely noticing the effects of Fluttershy's shout scaring the dragons and creatures shitless from the break in the calm.

They did, however, notice that the blue dragon was following them, seemingly without a care in the world.

As the ponies entered town they went to the safest building they knew of. Twilight’s house.

As soon as the main six got there they locked the door and Twilight put up her strongest barrier around her home and maybe her final resting place. As the dragon neared the tree house it stopped and examined the barrier before him then he slowly raised his hand and shattered the barrier with a casual flick of its wrist.

While it was little force to the dragon Twilight was flung across the room from backlash of her spell being smashed to bits with a force that would make even Big Macintosh green with envy. Seeing their only defense shatter so did their hopes of living to see another day the only thing they could do was h in the corner with Twilight.

"Well this is it sugercube it was'- knock knock- "nice knowing you perhaps-" knock knock, "what in tarnashen is going on here," Said Applejack as her farewell speech was interrupted with more incisive knocking. The six ponies looked at each other for a few minutes till Pinkypie being Pinkypie shouted: "I'll get it" much dismay of the five ponies. As the door opened there stood the dragon, as calm and patient as could be.

"Ahem may I come in". He said in a voice that sounded quiet young roughly one of a 25-year-old stallion.

"Uum s-ur-e" stammered Twilight.

Even in his new form, he was way too big for the library, but managed to crouch and awkwardly shuffle his way inside. "Thank you miss now to cut to the chase your probably wondering why I am here well I came to look at the young hatchling that was with you when you ran into this here library. May I see him?"

“Why? What's it to you lizard lips" said Rainbow dash finally her feisty nature briefly overcoming her fear.

"Well, if you must know I am just trying to confirm a "hunch," if you will."

"It’s okay Rainbow dash he seems nice enough". Said Spike with a sliver of uncertainty as he stepped out from the huddle of ponies.

"It's okay young one, I won't bite," Said the drake with his eyes closed, while trying to put on a smile to help calm the young dragon as he walked closer. But as soon as he opened his eyes he stared at Spike with utter shock before dropping to his knees and embracing Spike in a tight hug

**-tight hug.-**

As a single tear rolled down his face and said in a voice that was filled with happiness "I missed you brother".

** Period inside the quote, comma before the quote.**

Spent a few minutes on it, but I was really just looking for individual examples of different problems.

2 questions.

1) Are you in high school/College?

2) What do you read?

My guess for the first is that you're in middle school, or early high school. Nothing wrong with that, but you'll need more practice writing before you can actually make the text on a page display the ideas you wish to convey. Basically, keep writing. It gets easier and, as you write more, you get better. There is no substitute.

In the interim, I suggest you get a proof-reader or a Beta (if you prefer that term)

----

Recommended reading ( I would normally recommend my own story, but I'm in the middle of updating it. Since I rewrite almost all of it every few months I now have loads of new errors to fix. Still...here's Thick Scales):

--------------

The Iliad-Simply for background

The Bobby pendragon Series

Pedestal-An amazing Pokemon fic

Understand -An oneshot novellete.

Animorphs-Simple but well written book series

The Bartimeaus book Trilogy-example of just about everything you would need to make the story better

Kindred Spirits -Spike and Gilda centric

It Takes a Village - Spike centric

WOMP - clever

Eternal -Celestia and Twilight centric

Hexonxonx - Vinyl centric. Intense.

Background Pony - A quarter of a million views. Enough said, I think.

On Pins and Needles - This made me like SpikexRarity shipping.

Song of... - Mechanics, and a bit of a lesson in writing in different styles

The Carnivore's Prayer - Same as above

-------

Later,

~Lord Doxkid~

>>2199050

was in a rush

Just a helpful pointer: If you want to write good fiction don't rush, EVER. You rush, you make mistakes, you make mistakes, you're screwed.

Now granted, some authors can 'pull good stories out of their asses' (as I like to call it), but that's because they've been doing it longer than other people have. They're the experts.

[Good] Fictional writing REQUIRES patience, end of story.

>>2208136 thank you for you advise my firend any other tips :pinkiesmile:

>>2208434 You are welcome.

As to other tips: read, read, READ. Next to everything that I know about fictional writing I got from reading other good fiction.

Other than that: "He who can take criticism can likely take anything else while he who ignores his opposition is doomed to failure," ~Anonymous.

Good luck.

>>2208475 thanks man and hounstly it took 15 betas just to get it this good imagen what the orriganl would look like:twilightblush:

WTF........ BROTHER..... WELL THAT WAS CRAZY...:derpyderp2::pinkiegasp::rainbowlaugh::twilightoops:

>>2387227trust me waite till you meet the rest of the fam and his firends

So Spike have a brother that know dragon magic? Hm....well.....Spike you know little about your own kind, so say your goodbye.

>>2422995 trust me dude everything pony now including the 2000 year old princess is very little and bias

>>2423064 Oh now I'll be waiting for the next chapter then.

Come on we need updates.... we wanna know whats coming next and its been mons=ths since the last one!!!:twilightoops:

>>2453938 sorry man but I got research papers and I have writers block with ch but if nessery I can split it an make two:twilightsheepish:

>>2454379dont worry dude after the report I can work on it and get it proof red

>>2454462 yaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.... (overexagerated exitedness)

Keep going dude. It's crazy a giant dragon is Spike's brother. I love the story already.

>>2506405 did you not seem transform he more badass in small form the huge trust me

>>2454532 ch2 is nearing MAHAHAHAH

Okay, well a cursory read of your story description, the second question cancels out the first, because we know he's going to go on the journey, otherwise the second question wouldn't exist.

In short, yes, I'll be your beta. lol

Ohhhhh.  Snnnaaappppppp IT'S AWESOME:yay:

>>3047810 wow you read it all that fast?:twilightblush:

Ima fav and like because THIS IS FREAKIN AWESOME

dude I need more i mean like 50 more chapters:trollestia:

You have my interest good sir.:pinkiehappy:

>>3047951 well forchanly this is only ch 2 of of a llllllllllllllllloooooooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggg ass journey of war new comrads maby some love a boat lode of one linners

Spike a lone dragon has finnaly found his true fammily but will he go with his brother and learn the ways of the Dragon or stay with his friends in ponyvilie.

lol wats a sentence amirite?

jorny into the unkown

lol

Description is addled.

>>3072641 Look the word up.

Hi there! I’m Golden Vision, of WRITE, and I’ll be your reviewer today. I hope that this review will be both enjoyable and informative.


In the absence of any other place to start, let’s begin with the synopsis: the cornerstone of every story’s readership.

The synopsis of a fic is the harbinger of the literary prowess to come; however, the synopsis of A Dragon’s Path contains a number of spelling, grammatical, and syntactical errors that make it difficult to read.

Spike a lone dragon has finally found his true family but will he go with his brother and learn the ways of the Dragon or stay with his friends in ponyvilie. And will his journey be fruitful or will he regret going on this journey into the unknown.

should be:

Spike, a lone dragon, has finally found his true family, but will he go with his brother and learn the ways of the Dragon, or stay with his friends in Ponyville? Will his journey be fruitful, or will he regret going on this journey into the unknown?

(Mechanical fixes have been underlined. The most frequent mistake was a missing comma)

Although the synopsis may appear to require the least effort on the author’s part, it is often the most important when attracting and retaining an audience. Readers want to feel invested in your story—in the world that you plan to create—and an abundance of mechanical or other errors can break that immersion before it’s even had the chance to form. Like it or not, the synopsis is a reader’s first taste of a story, and an un-edited one is the easiest way to completely turn off a large base of your potential readership.

On the surface, this sounds like an interesting concept. Somewhat along the lines of Dragon Quest, it offers us a chance to delve more deeply into Spike’s character: his past, his future, and his sense of belonging. Most often, that link to dragonhood comes in the form of a parent—more commonly a mother—so a brother’s presence may provide a more unique aspect to the storytelling process.

Delving into the first chapter, Encounters of the Brotherly Kind, it quickly becomes apparent that this fic’s opening resembles what is called a “weather report”. Although a weather report is most often used in the context of a phrase such as:

”It was a beautiful day in Ponyville. The birds were chirping, Celestia’s sun was warm, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

We can most clearly see the equivalence with A Dragon’s Path by comparing this example to ADP’s opening sentence:

It was your average day in Ponyville…

A major problem with weather reports is their descriptive nature. While another fic may describe the weather and surrounding geography, and ADP may instead choose to lay out everypony’s current activities, the fact that this is a very passive description of a scene weakens its ability to draw a reader in.

As with the synopsis, the “hook” of a story is most often the opening sentence and/or paragraph. It’s popular to use, for this hook, an action scene—in media res, the act of throwing a reader right into the middle of the plot, is fairly well-known in this context—a piece of dialogue (preferably engaging and relevant to the plot)—or some other piece of prose that grabs the reader’s attention and doesn’t let go.

It’s most often undesirable to have a weather report opening because it fails to accomplish a hook’s stated goals. A reader may come into a story expecting sunny weather, or expecting Pinkie Pie to be baking or babysitting; however, that’s not what they came for. These are generic, stock actions, and so can disregarded. In this story’s case, readers open the first chapter to join Spike on his journey of self-discovery; consequently, the story should begin with a situation relevant to that premise in order to properly repay those readers who have given you their time.

There are also a number of mechanical problems present on the first page alone: punctuation mistakes, spelling errors, repetitive vocabulary, and missing semicolons and commas. For a reader who may have ignored similar mistakes in the synopsis, their presence on the very first page may only serve to further dissuade their continued enjoyment of this fic.

Further on, a multitude of dialogue errors become apparent. For example:

"Yaa, a really goo but befor he could finsh his sarcastic comment…. (*Burp*)."

should be:

”Yeah, a really goo—” Before he could finish his sarcastic comment, a loud burp echoed through the room.

Note that proper punctuation—such as an em-dash and closing quotation marks—have been added to this piece of dialogue, while the action following that dialogue has been separated into its own sentence. Note also that the action has been described in more depth, and as a complete sentence. Normally, the direct enunciation of sounds such as burping, crunching, or other noticeable noises is looked down upon in prose; however, if an author must, it’s most common to do so with simple italics, and with the addition of an exclamation point if necessary. Thus, in the absence of better description:

(*Burp*)

becomes:

Burp!

Moving on, it’s slightly confusing as to why Twilight’s book is of any import. It’s a fairly generic Twilight think to have present, but unless The Art of Organization is relevant to the upcoming story, it may well be better to open up with a different situation.

that's weird it's bright red scroll with the royal seal; must be important

It’s a bit odd that Spike would find this manner of mail strange and Celestia is (presumably) their only regular contact; thus, they’d probably be used to receiving royal missives (as in The Ticket Master, Dragonshy, and Return of Harmony). Therefore, Spike would be more likely to recognize it as:

“It’s mail from Celestia!”

and less likely to give a full physical description, which is better suited to more objective narration.

Relevantly, it’s not yet apparent whose point of view this story is from, yet. I would guess Spike, but we’ve seen nothing yet of his inner monologue, thoughts, or perceptions; it seems that the writing style focuses more on scene-wide actions and dialogue than any one character’s perspective. While that may not be an intrinsically bad choice for a story, it does make it a bit more difficult for the reader to connect with the characters on an emotional level.

Just quickly, good job on leaving out the final quotation mark before reading the letter’s text (same character speaking, new paragraph, and so on). Not many authors remember that—it can be a fairly little-known grammatical rule—so good work there.

It’s an interesting thought for the dragons to be migrating out-of-season. Upon reading that, my mind immediately jumped to what could have caused this—some kind of domestic political dispute? A new villain or monster so terrifying that even dragons are running from them? Whatever it is, it’s an eye-catching concept. However, at this stage in the story, I can’t help but wonder whether it might be more effective for the first chapter to open with the arrival of these dragons, such as with:

Twilight Sparkle’s world was covered in scales.

Rubbing her eyes to make sure that she wasn’t still asleep, she pushed the curtain aside and peered out of the window once again. Sure enough, they were still there: long, reptilian tails, elongated snouts with sharp fangs, horns and wings that stretched farther than most ponies’ bodies…

...and of course, scales. Scales everywhere.

It’s not the most well-written opening, but it should get across the basic idea: that Twilight is waking up to a surprising event ( Ponyville being covered by dragons). From here, we can go into (perhaps) a letter to or from Celestia, or an interface with the dragons. Perhaps something like this happens a few pages down the line, and I’m merely taking issue with things that aren’t there (though the hook still needs much improvement).

Moving right along.

Should Celestia’s letter remain in the next draft, I will say that it does its job—exposition—fairly well, excepting the numerous mechanical mistakes peppering it like much of the surrounding prose. Twilight’s reaction, however, comes a bit too quickly—the reader sees very little of her actual reaction, as she immediately rushes out the door to go accomplish her next goal. There’s very little characterization here; Twilight’s dialogue and actions comes across as a means to an end (that is, moving the plot along), rather than purporting to illustrate her thought process and/or emotional state in any meaningful way.

This pacing is a problem for the rest of the scene (short as it may be). There’s very little description of what her actual journey is, and though a scene-cut through telling or expository information can be useful, the writing here is too short and choppy to make up for it. In much the same vein, there’s precious little description to go along with this change in scene. Where is Rainbow Dash? Outside of Sugarcube Corner? On a cloud above Ponyville? How does she react to Twilight’s approach or actions?

There’s a definite lack of visual information here—both of the surrounding area and of each pony’s body language and/or actions—and that can be damaging to a reader’s immersion. After all, unlike in a naturally visual medium like television or film, writing needs to convey that same imagery through words instead of pixels.

"RAINBOW DASH!"

"HU-WHAT!

Do be advised that it’s a very unpopular decision to use capslock in almost any situation. Italics are much preferred, along with exclamation marks (which you have here) or speech tags corresponding to loud, explosive dialogue (i.e. “shouted,” “hollered,” or “exclaimed”).

Another problem within the text is the overuse of descriptors or epithets to refer to characters instead of their name or a pronoun. This particular issue is colloquially known as “Lavender Unicorn Syndrome.” For example, it’s largely preferable to use “Twilight” or “Twilight Sparkle” to refer to that particular character rather than “the purple mare.” There are several reasons for this—I would direct you to Ezn’s Guide, on the FimFic FAQ for a more thorough explanation—but the most important one is that it detracts from your prose. Longer, clunky epithets take the place of what should be a simple name (or pronoun, if you’ve recently referred to that character), and so can cause the reader to stumble over words that should just flow automatically. Although it may seem necessary to avoid overuse of a character’s name, as long as the writer takes note of which character has last appeared, the use of pronouns should void any feeling of repetition that may otherwise appear.

It is, of course, possible to use epithets in some cases—and at times even necessary—but only when strictly relevant or significant. For example, it would be a rare time when “the cyan pegasus” became useful, but far more common is to refer to Celestia (in Twilight’s point of view) as “her mentor,” or “the princess.” Epithets and descriptors can be a necessary way to paint a certain picture in the reader’s mind, but because they can be so blunt in their purpose, it’s recommended that they be used sparingly.

As a quick aside, the most common scene cut convention on FimFic is to use the {hr} BBCode tag, which provides for a simple horizontal line (plus appropriate spacing) between distinct scenes.

Scene 1 [ hr ] Scene 2

Removing the spaces between the brackets and the words, this becomes:

Scene 1
Scene 2

Keep that in mind. It’s a much cleaner way of doing things.

As the next scene progresses, it becomes clear that there’s an overabundance of both speech tags and adverbs. We’ll get to the latter problem in a moment.

Speech tags are, put simply, verbs that are used to illustrate dialogue. They include (but are not limited to) words such as: said, stated, questioned, replied, shouted, and whispered. The most common of these is said, and it’s common for a reason. Due to its simplicity, it’s a very plain, vanilla word that can be used often without too many problems. A writer need not worry about repetition with such words—with similar words including “he,” she,” “they,” “the,” and “and”—and so it’s often preferable to re-use “said” a few times rather than to constantly switch around terms, using vocabulary such as “stated,” “questioned” (in place of “asked,” which is a similarly vanilla verb), or “mentioned.”

With that said, this fic has an overabundance of those “variety” words. The following:

...like when a bear asked Fluttershy to watch his cave for a week," Rainbow Dash stated.

would be better served by the replacement of “stated” by “said,” as follows:

...like when a bear asked Fluttershy to watch his cave for a week," Rainbow Dash said.

Note that I’ve removed the adverb “bluntly,”  which was previously modifying the word “stated.” With “bluntly” specifically, it’s more common to represent that same descriptor or idea through body language or tone rather than an adverb. In general, though, it’s commonly considered bad practice to use adverbs any more than strictly necessary. If at all possible, it’s greatly preferred to use body language (to express the same idea or tone), or simply a better, more descriptive and relevant word.

This is part of a larger debate on Show, Don’t Tell (which we may well get to later) in which it’s better to show a reader a picture than to tell them what it’s a picture of. Words paint pictures, after all, and it’s much nicer to see the picture than to merely get the headline. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the inverse is true as well, and an author is only cheating themselves if they choose to directly give the reader that information rather than illustrate its existence.

As a quick example, take the following:

”Get out of here!” Rainbow Dash said angrily.

So, be this piece of dialogue (and associated verb), we know that Rainbow Dash is angry. However, we know this only on an intellectual level—there’s no actual emotional investment or belief that she really is upset. Instead, like children, the readers are told to accept this at face value. This is a practice that can harm immersion; thus, it’s better to expand upon the action. How might we do so?

”Get out of here!” Rainbow Dash snarled. She bared her teeth, pawing at the ground. She flipped her mane out of her eyes and glared.

Those parts meant to show Dash’s anger have been bolded. As we saw earlier, one way to replace adverbs is to simply use a stronger verb—in this case, snarled is an excellent way to convey that feeling of scathing, sudden irritation or rage. Additionally, to deepen this image of anger, examples of body language allow the reader to construct a more cohesive picture of what this “angry Rainbow Dash” looks like, thus enhancing believability. She bares her teeth and glares, which give us the clear image of a maddened pegasus who is not to be crossed.

Let’s take a moment to step back and look at some of the possible improvements we’ve discussed. They include:

—Lavender Unicorn Syndrome (the overuse of epithets)

—Speech Tag Variation

—Adverb Overuse

—Show, Don’t Tell (Body Language)

To apply these all at once, let’s take an excerpt from the fic and see how they work:

Original Version

"Eep!" goes a yellow pegasus at the mere thought of giant, flying reptiles

"So what Twi, all kinds of animals do stuff out of the ordinary stuff once in a while, like when a bear asked Fluttershy to watch his cave for a week," Rainbow Dash stated bluntly.

Revised Version

Fluttershy let out a high-pitched squeal. When Twilight turned to look at her, Fluttershy's hooves were held tightly over her eyes, head pressed against the ground. Twilight nearly facehooved. I thought she’d grown out of this ages ago.

Rainbow Dash groaned. With a twist of her hoof, she shoved Fluttershy's hooves away from her face and pulled her upright. "Oh, c'mon. They're just a bunch of fat ol' lizards." Fluttershy whimpered.

Dash turned back to face Twilight, who raised a skeptical eyebrow. "And so what? All kinds of animals do stuff out of the ordinary once in a while."

In the revised version, we've done a few things:

1.) Corrected spelling/grammatical errors to improve readability

2.) Changed examples of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome to full names or pronouns where appropriate

3.) Expanded told emotions to shown body language (e.g. groaning, hiding, etc).

4.) Provided the narrative with a concrete point of view (Twilight’s)

The fourth point is something that I’d like to address further. For most of the story thus far, the perspective has been that of an objective cameraman, watching the scene but without giving insight into any one character’s thoughts or perceptions. While this is a valid way to write a story, A Dragon’s Path would likely benefit from a more concrete form of the third-person perspective, in which each scene is narrated from the point of view of a specific character. This specific character may be Twilight, Spike, or whoever the author believes to be the most interesting or relevant to that particular scene.

In the example above, as you can see, I’ve chosen Twilight. Through her inner monologue—that is, her direct thoughts—we can see the situation through her eyes, gaining a better appreciation for her perspective while also becoming more immersed into the story. Similarly, when Twilight “raises a skeptical eyebrow,” we’re able to add in the adjective “skeptical” because we can see the emotion and reasoning behind her actions. By writing—or rewriting—a story in third person limited, then, an author can allow the reader to feel as though they’re standing in Twilight’s shoes—or horseshoes, as it may be—thus enhancing the reading experience.

Moving back to the story proper, Dash’s question about naming the dragons seems more than a bit odd. Most dragons in FiM canon already have their own, given names, so it makes little sense that Rainbow Dash would want to give them new ones. Furthermore, she’s shown very little interest in dragonkind as a species before, so her sudden enthusiasm in the subject is also strange.

Similarly, there appears to be no clear reason as to why Twilight would require another trench. They know that the dragons are approaching, but there’s no reason to suspect that they would land in any predictable location, much less the same plot of land as last time. It may be unwise to give the task of warning the town to Pinkie—a pony known for her ability to skimp out on “small” (i.e. important) details. Why not give that job to Applejack instead, a pony widely known for her communication skills?

As reflected in Twilight’s revised inner monologue earlier, Fluttershy’s attitude here is quite out of character (OOC). Even in Dragon Quest she only displayed an extreme reluctance to approach any dragons, and that was nothing compared to the apparent terror she feels hear. In any case, she gets over this fear so quickly (in the space of a paragraph) that its presence makes little to no sense—it’s barely a pebble, let alone a roadbump or actual conflict. It’s resolved to quickly to actually mean anything. Were this story actually about Fluttershy, this problem could actually be elevated to a meaningful character arc or plotline, but as this fic is about Spike, this fear only serves as a one-dimensional, temporary annoyance.

A scene break is missing between the “infodump session” and the dragons’ appearance. Furthermore, with all of the buildup after Celestia’s letter, we get to see precious little of the ponies’ actual preparation, which is somewhat odd. As a technical note, it’s uncommon to write out the numbers of dates or times (seven o’clock in the morning, or seven A.M. is the norm, rather than 7:00). The same is true for standard, everyday numbers (i.e. “two” instead of “2”).

Rarity’s eruption over the dragon’s supposed “beauty” is very odd, especially considering that she’s been in a similar situation before (Dragon Quest) and didn’t react in that way at all.

The transition from “reactions to dragons” to “the day going by” is nonexistent. This is a scene that needs further development greatly—the readers are expected to jump from “terrified ponies” to “ponies studying dragons” without so much as a hesitation. Although pacing can be a difficult concept to master, in a situation as basic as this, good or bad pacing between and throughout scenes can make or break a story. Transitions are a necessary concept in any piece of writing; otherwise, the reader can feel lost—as though they’ve been unceremoniously dumped from one idea to another.

Quite a bit of the narration in this section suffers from an overly-colored voice, which stands out all the more due to the objective narration that preceded it. Take the following sentences:

took like an hour just to get Fluttershy calm enough to faint

I mean this thing was huge just to help me put it into perspective one wing from the tip to its base equaled the entire Canterlot mountain from tunnels underneath to tip of the tallest tower and I repeat that is one wing!

Grammatical objections aside, the sudden shift to a familiar, colloquial—and first person, even, in the second quote—way of speaking is extremely disturbing to the reader’s sense of immersion. To read through a story, fanfiction or no, a consistency in narration is required. A familiar, first person tone is possible—Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn pulls this off with flair—but in this story, where the established voice is that of a third-person, emotionally distant narrator, there can be few things more turbulent than a shift such as this.

Going back to pacing, there really isn’t enough in between “settling down to observe” and “giant dragon appears” to convince the reader that the two things didn’t just happen in close proximity to one another (chronologically speaking). These scenes feel too rushed—too abridged—to really give the reader a proper sense of time throughout.

As a momentary aside, it’s somewhat puzzling as to why the Mane Six would spend their time observing and “naming” the dragons when Celestia’s original request was to discover the reason for their untimely migration. Why not interview one of the smaller dragons? Why not take specific notes on one of the more unfamiliar species, and cross-reference that with Twilight’s knowledge of dragonkind? There are many avenues that could make sense in this scenario, and unfortunately, Celestia’s letter comes off more as an excuse than a rationale insofar as it propels the plot forward.

And now we come to the pivotal point of the first chapter: the arrival of the dragon. As the final scenes of Chapter One seem to go together, thematically, the dragon in question must be addressed as a whole, rather than piece by piece.

one wing from the tip to its base equaled the entire Canterlot mountain from tunnels underneath to tip of the tallest tower and I repeat that is one wing! Its claws made as long and thick as red woods and teeth that shone almost as bright as the sun. Its scales where colored like blue lighting, claws that could easily hold all of Ponyvile with room to spare.

Going by scale alone, the idea that a dragon of this size could possibly exist is ridiculous; the idea that it could land in or near Ponyville with completely obliterating the surrounding countryside and the town itself entirely inane, if not impossible. Ignoring the objections to its biological feasibility—when discussing dragons, “because magic” can occasionally be an acceptable answer—the collateral damage alone would be immense: unfathomable, even. A beast of this size, travelling at such a speed, would not create a “moderately sized crater”; it would bring about a localized extinction event!

Furthermore, moving onto the “humanoid” version, the description is largely incoherent, and reminiscent of many an amateur’s introduction of an OC. Now, introducing a character can be difficult—tone, atmosphere, and physical appearance are all things that must be weighed and considered—but here, the impression given to the reader is a sense of self-importance that drags the quality of this OC down.

Let’s take a quick look at this dragon’s introduction.

As the dust settled a dragon of 8ft stood in the middle of the creator in a way it looked a bit like Garble but radiated power and wisdom much greater then Princess Celestia could ever have. He wore camo pants with a black sleeveless-t and a sleeveless black trench coat on top of his head was spiky Wight hair sticking straight back and a horn from his forehead that went up a few inches before going parallel to his muzzle.

Once again, ignoring the concentration of spelling errors and grammatical mistakes, this description gets quite a few things wrong:

1.) It compares a new character to an existing character. Namely, Garble. There’s no better way to break immersion in a story than to refer explicitly to a person or object outside of the scene during a third-person, objective narrative. If it were Twilight or Spike comparing him in their heads—and if this were a more personal account, and if either of them actually recalled his name—then it might work, but here, the comparison just falls apart.

2.) It compares an OC to a canon character, and suggests that they are superior to that canon character. This is easily the biggest misstep. Princess Celestia is the closest thing that canon has to a god (capital G or not), and regardless of that fact, she’s indisputably the most coolheaded, regal, and powerful being we’ve met (perhaps excepting Discord re: the last point). Saying that a character—and especially your specific OC—is superior to a canon character in something that said canon character is canonically the best at is an incredibly huge misstep. It’s a classic problem with self-inserts and Mary Sues—it’s like saying that your pegasus OC can fly faster than Rainbow Dash and do three Sonic Rainbooms in a row while making three hurricanes,—oh, and by the way, he’s also an alicorn. This is a clear and, sadly, widespread problem in the fandom, and one that any aspiring author should take great care to avoid.

3.) It gives the character unrealistic physical characteristics. Excepting the “larger than Canterlot Mountain” description from thirty seconds ago, there are quite a few points here that should raise red flags for any careful author. Most ponies don’t wear clothes, and from Dragon Quest, it’s quite apparent that no dragons do. “Camo pants,” “sleeveless t-shirts,” and “black trench coats” are inventions of 20th century Earth, and almost definitely not something that an Equestrian dragon would wear—and especially not the fashion of choice for a being “wiser than Princess Celestia.” And white hair? Dragons don’t have hair, or even fur of any kind. I mean no offense, but this entire description comes off as an author’s wish-fulfillment fantasy of “what would look really cool on my awesome OC.”

Those are the main three problems here. Let’s move on.

The dragon’s ability to follow the Mane Six and then break Twilight’s barrier with ease—Twilight being the Element of Magic and Celestia’s personal student—is also a hallmark of the classic Mary Sue. The fact that he’s so willing to assault a pony’s home, rather than approach them diplomatically (and without causing quite so much fear and panic) casts some very large doubts on the reader’s ability to sympathize or like him as a character, especially given the revelation that comes later. It’s also OOC; it’s unlikely that Spike is being held prisoner here, so what could this dragon possibly have to gain by effectively breaking into Twilight’s house? In the words of Nanny McPhee, he did knock, but that’s effectively nullified by the fact that he had to so thoroughly terrify the ponies beforehand.

The dragon’s first few words to the Mane Six do very little to establish him as a character. Perhaps he’s portrayed as being “polite,” but this is in stark contrast to his prior actions. Furthermore, he jumps right into things without even introducing himself or apologizing for scaring them. This comes off less as a character moment than a piece of clumsy writing—it would seem that the story is trying to “get to the plot” at the expense of characterization, setting, and good prose. This scene is incredibly rushed, and as it’s the climax of the chapter—and thus the story thus far—needs to be the most well-developed scene of all, which is why its actual execution is so disappointing.

To end the chapter, the reader sees him crying and embracing Spike, calling him “brother.” Though instantly recognizing some long-lost sibling is no more contrived than the average Disney/Pixar film, it’s quite the odd thought to think that Spike (barely a hatchling) has a brother (“wiser and more powerful than Celestia”) who instantly knows who he is. There’s no suspension of disbelief here; this situation is completely unbelievable.

This review shan’t go into the second chapter, both because we’re already approaching five thousand words of review here, and because I suspect that I’ve given you enough to work on already. Now, for some words in conclusion.

I understand that English isn't your first language, but the grammar and overall mechanics of this piece are easily its biggest problems. Fix the spelling, fix the punctuation, and fix the syntax, and at the very least, this fic will be readable for the average viewer. After that, you’ll want to take a long, hard look at the characters involved. Are they believable? Are they enjoyable? Take a few minutes to really evaluate if Spike’s brother is a necessary OC, or just a self-insert Mary Sue. Then work on the pacing and the general concepts of storytelling, as I’ve outlined above; this comprises Show, Don’t Tell, Lavender Unicorn Syndrome, and similar ideas.

Once you’ve done all that, then you might have the makings of a story. For now, though, this fic needs a lot of work.

Grade: 0/10 Pinkies

:pinkiesick::pinkiesick::pinkiesick::pinkiesick::pinkiesick::pinkiesick::pinkiesick::pinkiesick::pinkiesick::pinkiesick:

Let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this review. I’d be more than happy to help.

Cheers!

Golden Vision

WRITE’s Pocket Spycrab

>>3185267:ajbemused: not cool dude not cool I just have trouble and I work as best I can and get any help I can for I will make this fic great one way or another

>>3188104 I can understand getting jugged harshly but if you don't have a reason behind it I will just straight up ban you from here. are we clear:ajbemused:

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