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107637 No. 107637
#Collection #Event
Previous Thread: >>105796
Accolades and previous event statistics: http://goo.gl/hgnDc
Stories from this event: http://www.fimfiction.net/story/33043/Cutting-Ties
Voting for this event: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SSTP6M6 (See also: Voting on Entrants: A Primer)

Comments and ratings are highly appreciated!

Well, all I can say is... wow. The turnout this time was much larger than before, clocking in at an enormous 169,450 words. (For reference, the previous record was 97,696.) Since the turnout was so huge this time, the public voting stage is being extend until Mon, 2 July, 00:00 UTC. That gives everyone almost two weeks to read through and rate all the stories. Is that long enough? Who knows.

What's left to say? Go read them stories.
Unspoiler all text  • Expand all images  • Reveal spoilers
>> No. 107642
I'll give it a shot! :O
>> No. 107643
>year of the pegasus word story
oh my god

so i looked at the stats you did on the other thread: the average word count is 5175. if we take out the outliers, that drops to 4768. geez.

but, if you read like two fics a day (you'll have to squeeze a third one in there, but why not do the <2k ones all together?), finishing in 14 days won't be an issue
>> No. 107644
year of the pegasus what?

>> No. 107649
- The Note
I wrote you. Good luck!

Now I'm supposed to find four worthy opponents, yes? Gotta read 'em all.

- Overthinking It
A worthy opponent you seem on the first read. Early brainstorming had Fluttershy leaving the titular note of my story. Your ending is your weakest point, contrived and cliche that two ponies would just happen to have fallen in love with each other at exactly the same time.

- What We Leave Behind
I like you. I'm not sure that you're related to the prompt since your ties are undergoing transition but never seem to be even in danger of being cut.

- No Foals
Painful, but good pain. The bad part was how, after identifying with Rainbow's conflict, I found everything just fizzled.

- Cutting Ties with Pinkie
What happened in this story? I finished and was confused.

- Wings of Icarus
I like you quite a bit. You deserve another read.

- Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature
Another "wht happen and why do I care" story. Most unique part was the literal tie-cutting, but that's not really unique.

- Whack a Mage
Little connection to prompt, the unreveal was annoying, and overall I was disappointed. I don't know if you're by TG&P!T or a sham impostor, but either way "Pun" was a lot better.
>> No. 107650
whack a Mage - 6 - Errors ahoy, but the concept is a fun one. I like the idea of Trixie having an older brother... err... sister... err... older sibling. Some of the things you did just didn't make sense, even for trolling, but whatever, you got the point across. Thus, I award you with a 6!

Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature - 5 - If I remember this one, it's because of the ending. Otherwise, it's a apparently cliche plot on cutting ties. Though, I would be willing to bet it was funner to write than the other literal cutting tie stories. Thus, I award you a 5!

Only Half - 7 - I despise Diamond Tiara. That being said, the story was well written in my opinion and had a nice little twist at the end. The way it tied into the prompt was painfully obvious from the beginning, though. Thus, I award you a 7!

The Pink Slip - 5 - Meh... the prompt fell flat with me on this one. It seemed like ties were almost cut, but not quiet. However new ties were formed. I guess I'll give you some credit for being cheeky in that regard. Thus, I award you a 5!

A Cut Above - 4 - Huh... felt forced. Did really do anything to set itself apart. You did the literal take on cutting ties and then for extra measure threw in the whole cutting ties to the family thing. Thus, I award you a 4!

Okay, there are the first five ratings by yours truely. I'll do another five later today. Overall, I'm gonna say that this contest is going to be a 7/10. That is subject to change, though.
>> No. 107653
File 134003033789.jpg - (89.98KB , 607x381 , sweetie%20belle%20that%20is%20beautiful[1].jpg )
That cover image, zomg <3

Hmm, so the link to the story itself works, but if I try looking at the fic Write Off author, I only see rounds 1-3. I'm watching that author too, and I didn't get a new story alert.

Shrug. The direct link works, so it's all good. Now, time to get reading! I mean, get back to work... Then read!
>> No. 107655
/ le checks voting page
/ le range voting?!1

Oh, this is going to take a lot of time...

See, this means I have to decide on a utility function. I don't natively think in terms of "this story is a 3.4 and this one a 2.0." I can compare stories pairwise, and how does one convert pairwise comparisons to scores...

Time for ranking theory!
>> No. 107657
Woohoo! Time to get started! :D
>> No. 107658
Yay, reading time! <3
>> No. 107659
After some dicking around with partial derivatives and all that nonsense, I've decided on a linear ranking method. These turn out to be pretty darn simple: if you randomly assign opponents to each other, you don't have to account for strength-of-competition.

So, I'm going to do a Borda-count-ish thing as follows:

- Read and notes first
- Shuffle the list through Random.org, excluding my own story http://www.random.org/lists/
- Pick six groups of five (6 * 5 = 31 - 1)
- Order each group from best to least. Scores for each place are (4, 2, 0, -2, -4). Note that's <number below> - <number above>. Keep track of the total number of other entries that each has faced, N.
- Do this a couple times. Add each fic's scores for all heats.

- Divide by N.
- Sort.
- Normalize.
- ???
- Profit. (or vote at least)

For the interested / similarly crazy, here's the list of all 31 titles for your randomizing pleasure:

(Why? I'm happy to compare small groups, but big ones and assigning numeric scores don't work for me. I need to know where my numbers are coming from.)


Sins of the Sister
Overthinking It
What We Leave Behind
What They All Want
Curse, Bless Me Now
Long Live the Queen
The Note
Standing in My Shadow
Departure of a Friend
The Mane Six in: Tie Fighters
The D Word
Now Departing
No Foals
Knot on My Watch
Cutting Ties with Pinkie
Wings of Icarus
Sweet Escape
Secret Agent Cake
A Cut Above
His Other Self
The Secret of Ponyville
The Pink Slip
Only Half
Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature
Whack a Mage


Don't forget to take your own story out.
>> No. 107660
You lost me by here
>Order each group from best to least. Scores for each place are (4, 2, 0, -2, -4).

>> No. 107661
It's a stats thing. He's giving a pseudo-z-score offset to each of the stories, and then he'll create a normalized distribution out of that. Then he's going to use that to create a score curve from which to assign final ratings to the stories.

That way, all ratings are relative to each other, and will be the most accurate.

tl;dr: Anal-retentive nerdy stats stuff, but it's fairer.
>> No. 107663
Secret Agent Cake - 5 - I was really distracted from the main point of the story by you trying to write Mr. Cake in character. You tried hard and he came off as not as serious as the situation required. You played up the lovedovey Mr. Cake too much and not the secret agent. Also, this is very, very loosely connected to the prompt. I mean, I see where you could have connected, but you needed to push it more. Thus, I award you a 5!

Sweet Escape - 7 - This might be my favorite entry so far. I liked how you played up the exercise routine and I may have cracked a smile or two. At first it looked like you were going to have a very loosely connected tie to the prompt, but you pulled it together in the end. The only part I wish you had expanded on was Celestia agreeing to excercise. She only says, "Oh, I am not fat. *Gasp* I am. Okay, I'll exercise. I think you could have expanded that argument, have Celestia almost see through Luna's trick and such. Thus, I award you a 7!

World-Famous - 5 - Joy, another literal take on the prompt. And congratulations, you made me hate the Flimflam brothers even more. I absolutely despise cheapskates. The concept is good, I'll give you that. Execution was well enough. But you lose points with characters and the not so unique tie into the prompt. Thus, I award you a 5!

Wings of Icarus - 6 - Good concept. But I'm afraid I agree with Ezn on this one. Not much more to say. Very loosely tied to the prompt. Also, I think you mention things that Green shouldn't really know. If anything, you'll get a good story to work on after the competition. Thus, I award you a 6!

Cutting Ties with Pinkie - 4 - Well, another literal story. You tried to put in two ideas to the prompt. But, how can you cut ties with a pony that you didn't have ties with? I don't see enough of a tie to cut from that stallion. Also, I was left a bit confused. Maybe I just read things awkwardly, which still doesn't help your case. Thus, I award you a 4!

Ah, what the hay... let's throw in a DQ'd entry. Even though they might have broken a rule (Fimfic says a submission must have 1k words before it'll pass moderation, just for clarification. And the rules of the write-off said that the rules of Fimfiction applied.)

To Find Where I Belong - 8 - Whoa! The best score yet! Now, you may be wondering why. Cause I felt a connection with Star Shine (Whoa, I sound like a hippy there.). Anyways, with the exception of the struck through text, it was a short story, sweet, to the point, connected to the prompt, and left a large impact for so few words. It was the struck through text, which could have been better worded to better fit Star Shine's character, that lost MS some points. Good job! Thus, I award you an 8!

Well, there we go. Five more stories plus a DQ'd entry. I will continue tomorrow!
>> No. 107664
Yeah. No. Perhaps I will understand it better once I meditate on it in the morn. >_>
>> No. 107667
Simple non-nerd version tonight or tomorrow.

Most important thing: use your whole range, otherwise you're weakening your vote.

E.g. If you just want to pick the best six, rate those ones 9 and everything else that you read 1.
>> No. 107669
File 134004116448.gif - (311.19KB , 633x470 , 134592 - animated a_friend_in_deed derp eye_roll rainbow_dash Scrunchy_Face.gif )
Sins of the Sister: 4 — I have a feeling that you came from the Collab with this, but in all honestly, this suffered from a lack of believability. There were quite a few SDT elements throughout, and the way that AJ just lay over and took all of the Mafia's abuse didn't sit right with me. I was also really pissed off at how easy they got off—sure, a talking-to by Fluttershy is fine for a (mostly innocent) Jerkass dragon in the show, but here, they burned Applejack's fucking house down and mugged her and her brother. If they doesn't merit jail at the very least, then I'd be damned surprised.

Overthinking It: 7 — This would have gotten a higher score, except it really felt like two stories crammed into one. Abruptly, about halfway through, the focus moved from "Twilight loves Fluttershy" to "Twilight thinks she's a freak." That's not even getting into the fact that your flashback was unclear and the transition a bit muddled. The one thing that saved you was that each part was written astonishingly well—even the fact that you successfully pulled off first person impressed me. I thought the ending was a tad cheesy and Deus Ex Machina, though. If you had left Fluttershy's emotions unclear, perhaps only hinting at something, then that would have been more of a "satisfying" resolution than just having everything drop right into Twilight's lap.

Memories: 4 — This wasn't bad, I think. For the most part, barring a few instances, the grammar and setting potential were good, and it was definitely bearable. What happened, though, was that nothing made it stand out; nothing really impressed upon me. I've read fics where Discordlestia is referenced, and yours didn't do much to make it seem believable. You just assumed that they were a couple, without giving any details, and then assumed again that they would naturally drift apart, again without telling us why (as "Oh, she likes harmony better" is not a justifiable reason). Celestia, with her latent "racism," felt extraordinarily OOC; she's also never expressed any commitment to Harmony itself in canon, but only to Her Little Ponies™. Ultimately, I also thought you were trying too hard with the last "philosophical meandering"—had you done your job right, we should have been able to assume this, rather than need it to be laid out for us on a silver platter. The fact that Discord's sudden change in motivation to stalkerish following, what I felt was an entirely reasonable response (even shouting out to Celestia), felt weird didn't do you any favors either.
>> No. 107672
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There was a sticky request for the other thread, but given that it's about two weeks old and this one seem to be a continuation of it, I'm assuming this is the one that's meant to be stickied.

If I'm wrong, somebody please correct me. I'll fix it asap.
>> No. 107673
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I think you've got the right one, PinkieMod.

I'm leaving comments on the fimfic doc. I realize that might not have been the best way to do it, but I've already started, so I'm gonna keep doing it.
>> No. 107677
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Rule check! Is it still the case that voters have to vote on at least half (16) of the stories for their vote to count? Or did that get loosened on account of the number of entries? Wanted to make sure I had my facts straight.

My only reservation is, does this mean there'd be a uniform distribution of scores? I do agree to your point of using the full 1-10 range, rather than hugboxing everyone in the 8-10 range, but I'm not sure that I would personally want to give out exactly three 1's. Still, I love the concept.

I can't recall, did you get an entry submitted in time? FimFic comments would be fine for those who didn't enter the contest, but if an entrant leaves signed comments on 30 of the 31 fics, people might be able to put 2 and 2 together. I mean, unless you review your own fic, to throw people off your scent. Myself, I'll probably just review here as Author of "Oh God What Did I Write I Don't Even", like others are doing.
>> No. 107678
File 134004862652.png - (175.05KB , 911x997 , 133256767191.png )
You still have to vote on more than half of the stories.

>FimFic comments would be fine for those who didn't enter the contest, but if an entrant leaves signed comments on 30 of the 31 fics, people might be able to put 2 and 2 together.
Perhaps. But just as well you could be identified by someone matching how your reviews sound. "Author of X sure sound a lot like Y." Your anonymity is probably safer if you just comment on all of them, giving yourself a donkey review. Of course, this also means that a smart person could figure from deduction a smaller possible pool of stories to which you could be author by removing all the "Author of X" reviewers' stories...


Just do whatever. But if you're gonna post in ponychan threads, don't go using images that you normally would. (Combining file names with google searches makes identifying you pretty easy. Maybe you could go ahead and post an image another author typically uses, hehehehe. Red herrings.)
>> No. 107679
I'm planning on reading and voting on them all. But not mine. XD
>> No. 107681
Overthinking It: A bit confusing, I felt like the writing was choppy and hard to understand in places. It needed to be re-read, there were random tense changes once or twice and it was very distracting.
But, the characters acted their part perfectly, never breaking their personality that the show had developed. I was engaged the whole time and never lost interest. The ending was well staged, though, and I enjoyed speculating about the two mares' future together.
7, +for engagement and good ending, -for confusing plot and uneven flow
>> No. 107683


I will comment on my own fic if it looks like the pool of "fics I didn't comment on" is getting really small, yes.

Then again I've done a crappy job of anonymity so far anyway.
>> No. 107686
Well, now you just gave away that yours will be one of the last few stories you comment on.

Don't announce your plans, pal! XD
>> No. 107687
File 134005330477.png - (176.19KB , 566x662 , mlp__fim_vector__pinkie_is_srs_by_malaysian_cat-d3jwtt8.png )
Holy buck, my story decided to have a reference to a movie that I saw years ago and just had pointed out by my friend.
My unconscious mind hates me.
I feel like a lesser pony now...
If anypony catches this, it was NOT intentional. It's highly upsetting, though...
>> No. 107698
That sure are a lot of entries. I'll try to get around to reading them all over the next few weeks. Here are reviews of the ones I've read today:

(I'm doing the ratings after I've read everything, so all I have for now are my thoughts on each story)

Whack a Mage: The name caught my attention so this was the first entry I read. I don't really have much to say about it though. It was...okay, I guess? I didn't notice any serious errors with grammar (other than the comma problem that Ezn mentioned in the comments), but the story itself was kind of dull. It seemed a bit pointless (for want of a better word), I didn't really feel anything from it and your characters also seemed bland (I'm one to talk!) Sorry I don't have anything helpful to add :(
Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature: I nodded in approval at 'Ties-R-Us' and chuckled a bit at "None of your ties are safe! Rawr!" (but only because it was silly). Really, this wasn't very funny at all. Also, you completely lost me on that last paragraph, but I don't think you meant for it to be taken seriously anyway.
A Cut Above: I really liked this one! Frankly I wasn't expecting much from the short ones but you have done this very well. I laughed in a couple of places. "How un-smashing!" was brilliant and hooray for stripping off in the middle of a posh dinner!

Criticisms: Aside from the one slip up where Jacob was devestated by his parents' devestating display, I didn't find anything wrong with your writing. I guess that you could have cut some of the prose and written it 'simpler', but for a story this length I'd say that it's not really necessary.

You wrapped it all up very nicely in your second scene, and I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing out loud at "...Not to mention Sweetie Belle-" Oh my goodness, well done! I can also totally believe that Pinkie designing a dress would lead to this kind of disaster. I'm torn between this and 'Now Departing' for my favourite so far.

Cutting Ties with Pinkie: Your structure was a tad confusing and I feel like I'm missing something. Wasn't Pinkie going to do something to make it up to Rarity? For the most part, though, I understood what was going on.

I did like how you held off telling us what Pinkie had actually done until the very end. When I got there, it was something of "Ah, I see what you did there!" moment. Nice one. On a side note, that does sound like something Pinkie would do. Overall, I thought the story was okay.

Standing in My Shadow: I'm not fond of the premise of this one, but I read it anyway. I 'would' say that it should be a lot less wordy, but I'm not sure that the story would work if you did it that way. Hmm... It wasn't difficult to make it through to the end or anything, and I had a firm grasp of what was going on, but it also wasn't very entertaining. Like I said, I'm not fond of the premise, so it's probably just me.
Memories: This story was good - I like how you portray Celestia as the 'bad guy', rather than Discord - Reminds me of that TV series, Smallville. I thought you handled their relationship quite well, though I would've liked a bit more explanation as to why Celestia suddenly became obsessed with harmony.

Your writing style and pacing was, for the most part, very good. It was a bit dodgy at the beginning there, though. Also, towards the end I noticed that you were switching between past and present tense. I understood why you were switching TO present, and I'm assuming that the occasional reversions to past were just slip-ups.

Overall, it was a good read and very entertaining.

Now Departing: This was really good! There were a few typos here and there but, other than that, your writing is great. You captured the characters well and the plot was very entertaining to boot. I was going to ask about that ticket to Ponyville at the end, but I think I get it now. Overall, this story was very heartwarming and it's tied with 'A Cut Above' for my favourite so far.
Departure of a Friend: Nostalgia! I immediately noticed the similarities to that one 'Thousand Years Of Dreams' story. Good show! I loved that one to bits. You pulled the story off quite well, though obviously the effect wasn't quite the same. One thing I should mention is that towards the end you started slipping back and forth between past and present tense. Also, the flashback sequence feels like it should be put between weak scene breaks, or maybe put in italics - something to split it off from the rest of the story. Besides that, I thought your writing and pacing were good.

That's all for today. More tomorrow, hopefully!
>> No. 107710
File 134006244111.png - (737.51KB , 1450x908 , 182604%20-%20applejack%20artist%3Anoth-chan%20hugs%20rarijack%20rarity[1].png )
I know that feel.
>> No. 107713
Sins of the Sister: There were a few topics and sentences that didn't add to the story but instead took away by distracting me. The plot ended up being redundant and it wasn't quite worth the word count.
But, I loved the idea and the cannon characters rarely broke personality. The story needed a little more emotion, but I was compelled to finish as I still felt bad for the Apples. I only lost interest once.
6. +for idea, -for redundancy
>> No. 107714
File 134006349226.png - (1.24MB , 1664x1496 , Killdeathmurderdie.png )

I request that What They All Want be immediately disqualified with immediate haste as it not only contains copious amounts of blood in an explicit manner, but essentially what amounts to a drugging and raping of a character although it does not delve into it in the similar manner that it does with the gore. I'm not sure who in their right mind would think this is acceptable for a collection of stories that does not want to be inhibited by the mature rating and desires to be featured on Equestria Daily. By having this story in our collection, we both jeopardize our ability to published on Equestria Daily, and FIMFiction because of the lack of tag warning. This is why we can't have nice things, people.

The story itself reads like a fantasy the author has of killing his ex-girlfriend because nobody else should be able to have her. Make whatever judgments you may.
>> No. 107715
Woah, there was no rape. I have no idea where you got that, but I never said the thing.
I'm a female. I've never been compelled to anger like that after a breakup.
>> No. 107716
>Woah, there was no rape. I have no idea where you got that, but I never said the thing.
>essentially what amounts to
>> No. 107717
I had no intention of ever taking it that far. I don't write anything past second base, as that is considered clopfic.
I just re-read the whole thing, for good measure. I see nothing even suggesting at rape.
>> No. 107718

That is what we call, "Sexual Assault."
>> No. 107719

Okay, look. I am one of those ponies who loves pushing borders. I am the biggest pro-clop pony there is although I don't like grimdark.

You tried to write a shock fic. I get it. You think a shock fic is a good way to slam the reader in the gut and get a reaction. You're not a bad person for that even though it was basically a torture fantasy and frankly speaking as someone who knows what kind of brain-space torture fantasies come from that's sort of worrying.

What makes you a bad person is that you were instructed not to do something like this, and you did anyway. You broke the rules and you will be disqualified. Period.
>> No. 107720
I haven't read it yet, which I think I'll do now, but even second base is against the rules I think. There was a recent controversey over Breastfeeding being added to the "against the rules" list in /meta/
>> No. 107721
Where am I instructed not to write to this degree?
>> No. 107724
File 134006424679.png - (95.20KB , 911x598 , Snapshot_24.png )
read the rules
>> No. 107725
The existence or non-existence of implied rape isn't even important.

From the initial post:
(0) you adhere to the submission guidelines, http://goo.gl/syCJb;
(1) you start writing only after the prompt is released;
(2) you submit before the deadline;
(3) your story follows all posting guidelines of Ponychan and Fimfiction;
(4) your story uses the prompt to a reasonable and discernible degree;
(5) your story is not submitted elsewhere until the event’s conclusion; and
(6) you adhere to the submission guidelines (http://goo.gl/syCJb).

From the Ponychan posting rules
Gory content
[i]What's Not Okay[i]
visible organs
copious amounts of blood
overly suggestive or implied gore
mutilation, even if self inflicted

Sorry, that's all there is to it.
>> No. 107727
Okay, I'm terribly sorry for causing this trouble. I missed the ponychan rules I guess, that was pretty shallow of me. I'll try again next time, since I know this now.
>> No. 107729
File 134006461318.gif - (129.04KB , 300x232 , 133486371809.gif )
*Looks at /fic/*

*Finds all that, even on well-known story threads*


*Checks again*


Now, guys, probably without wanting too, but you are all sounding too butthurt and mad.

Don't worry about it Author, it happens to all of us. Hell, two guys here got banned in this very same place because of those rules, one of them twice. Take that as a learning experience, maybe ask someone to get a sense of what is allowed or not and keep writing. Personally, I found it interesting if nothing else, so you must have done something right, just not something right for this contest.
>> No. 107730

Like I said. I'm no moralfa... moralpony, but we do *not* want that content in this contest.

For what it's worth, your actual writing has its strong points.
>> No. 107731
Again, no rape was in my story.
I simply don't do that.
>> No. 107732
I'm sorry. It's my fault, of course, and it won't happen again.

Thanks dear <3
>> No. 107733
File 134006477025.jpg - (8.02KB , 225x225 , innocent scootaloo.jpg )
>one of them twice
>> No. 107735
File 134006503519.gif - (497.75KB , 500x281 , 1319862429164.gif )
Hey, you have a FiMfiction account? I'm XtxxtX, send me a message, I would like to follow and see what you write.
>> No. 107736
Oh, I'm fine. Just a little sad that I won't get to see how I measure up, but it really was a learning experience. I understand their want of me out of this, too. I am sorry I caused this, I hate being the odd one out that misses something and sets the thread on fire because of it.
>> No. 107737
Yes, nothing on it yet though. I really only started writing recently and this was my first real attempt.
>> No. 107740
File 134006532927.gif - (334.69KB , 300x187 , 1319072305063.gif )
That's kind of the point of the message, I am interested in seeing what you will make in the future.
>> No. 107741
File 134006535527.png - (327.27KB , 600x604 , 84816518.png )
Good point actually. I'd like to think that I did a good job of masking myself within the fic itself (i.e. not sounding like a nincompoop), but the more I post as "Author of X", the more likely I am to blow my anonymity. Implying that anyone cares.

So yeah, off to FimFic I go! :P
>> No. 107742
Sent <3
>> No. 107745
For the record, I liked your story. It's kinda annoying that Ponychan doesn't allow this kind of stuff, but they do have their reasons, and !!Celestia can set whatever rules he wants for his own site. Can't wait to see you publish it though.
>> No. 107746
Thanks <3
I understand and do feel bad for starting this.
>> No. 107747
File 134006778851.jpg - (57.38KB , 693x960 , 149730_408956145803658_100000678274898_1291656_1191550359_n.jpg )
Well, the flames have died down, everypony's moving on, you've learned your lesson. I'd say just go with the flow.
>> No. 107748
Oh, can I still judge?
>> No. 107749
File 134006812416.png - (381.37KB , 733x649 , Scootaloo_doubtful.png )
>Panel members should be relatively well-known and reputable in the community and should not be participating in the event.

Normally, no. but since your story is now disqualified... I don't know. Roger?
>> No. 107750
Not be on the panel, simply vote as I was doing before.

>> No. 107751
File 134006829430.png - (189.71KB , 1509x1509 , 46532bce_scootaloo_idea[1].png )
I don't see why not.
>> No. 107752
Judging and voting are not the same thing.

Anybody can VOTE, in the survey, once they've read at least half of the stories - unless you know who any of the authors are, in which case you have to refrain, to avoid bias.

Once the top... I think five stories are chosen, the JUDGES get a little bit of time to rank those finalists. Those rankings decide who wins the contest.

At least, that's how I understand it all.
>> No. 107753
I know, thanks though <3
Word confusion on my part
>> No. 107754
File 134006844276.png - (116.16KB , 610x542 , 4628_quizzical_scootaloo_by_moongazeponies-d3e5zo6_png-610x0.png )
Yep that's pretty much it.
>> No. 107763
Memories: The writing was extremely choppy and confusing. It was in great need of a polishing.
I ended up sympathizing with Discord, and it held my attention the whole time.
4, +for emotion, -for unclean writing
>> No. 107765
File 134007201003.png - (180.97KB , 668x995 , 133500677785.png )
"What They All Want" has been removed for breaching content rules.

I have nothing against the content personally, and it may very well be a good story. It just isn't suitable to post on Fimfiction without a mature tag, isn't suitable to post on Ponychan, and isn't suitable to post on EqD.

§3 of the rules has been amended to mention EqD's rules as well, since the anthologies are also posted there.
>> No. 107768
Okay, I'm going to write this out while it's still fresh in my mind, but I'll be getting to more later.

Starting from the bottom of the list:

Whack a Mage - 2 - This fic lacked direction. It seemed the author wanted a cheesy story with some silly encounters between familiar characters, but the execution wasn't there. There was no clear plot, just Phantomage running around being obnoxious. I admit, I smiled the first and second time bananas were mentioned, but that's about all I really liked. Plus, I don't think this one really followed the prompt.

Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature - 5 - There could have been something good here, but this fic lacks two things: punchline and identity. It was very short, but I think for what the author attempted, that is appropriate. It could have stood to be another 1000 words or so, but no biggie there. This fic just really needed to embrace its corniness. The joke was obvious, but it was executed in such a way that I was literally rolling my eyes. However, the author didn't seem to go all the way with this idea. I wanted to be facepalming and shaking my head at how silly the goblin was. I gave it a 5 because the grammar was good.

Only Half - 6 - One word to describe this: Almost. It's a decent attempt at a character study that I feel fell short due to time constraints. There was far too much telling, especially in the opening scene. I liked Silver Spoon in the end, but the author was too ambitious adding the part with SS's father. The mishap with Scootaloo would have been much more powerful, I think, if this fic was just a bit longer.

The Pink Slip - 7 - A compelling story; I was interested almost the entire time. It did feel rushed, but I think that's mostly excusable with the time constraints. Grammar errors never distracted me from the main story. Mr. Cake was developed fairly well at first, but unfortunately became one-dimensional later on. The part I grieve the most, however, was the ending. You took pity on your characters! Noooo! Be cruel! I think it was too happy for the tone of the fic. Pinkie could have come back to the Cakes, but the part with Bon Bon helping them out was too much, and the speech Mr. Cake had at the end was too generic. Still, overall a solid read.

The Secret of Ponyville - 5 - Started swimmingly, but lost steam during the 'tests'. There were a few spelling/grammar errors here and there, but it was fine for the most part. The main problem was the pacing: the tests Twilight had to undergo were supposed to be grueling and physically/emotionally taxing, but I never felt that way. They ended as soon as they began. I think the author tried too hard to tell me they were brutal, instead of showing. The part with Celestia and Twilight's family were the worst offenders. It did start to get a little trippy when Twilight came back the first time, enough so that I was doubting if even the encounter with Dash was 'real'. The author also had the head injury to explain everything. I did like that aspect of this story.

The Note (out of order, yeah I know) - 4 - This fic was all over the place with story flow. I had a hard time getting into it. The only character I had any sort of feelings for was Applejack (and to a lesser extent Applebloom). Twilight was mostly in-character but didn't develop at all beyond the show's Twilight. If you are going to include a canon character, you need to do something with them! Rainbow Dash was just barely in-character, if you assume she's in the same state as the 'Mare-Do-Well' episode. The idea, I think, was pretty cool, a 'cutting ties' instance where you're really just leaving the past behind, not actually saying goodbye to someone. I will admit, you caught me with the railroad tie pun.

A Cut Above - 6 - I'm usually not a fan of solid walls of exposition, but I was... fine with the author's storytelling here. The sentence structure, especially near the beginning, bugged me at times. I wasn't such a big fan of the obvious tie-cutting joke, nor the explicit tie-cutting statement that followed shortly afterward. The ending was pretty solid. This isn't a 7 or higher because there was no 'kick'. I kinda chortled at the ending, but the story didn't really engage me. I blame that mostly on the length.
>> No. 107770
What We Leave Behind: There was one flaw I found in this, and it was very small. The start was simply shaky, but the ending more then made up for that.
There was not a word in this fic that I did not enjoy. The characters were written perfectly, and the plot was just as exquisite. I truly felt like I was losing a friend and a big brother.
9, +for emotion and plot, -for choppy beginning
>> No. 107773
File 134007363298.png - (91.26KB , 500x505 , 133936451410.png )
Also, just so you know, since your story is no longer a part of the competition, you're no longer bound to the contest's rules. You don't have to stay anonymous, can post your story elsewhere, etc.
>> No. 107774
No, stay anonymous. It's fun
>> No. 107776
Thanks <3 I'll do so haha.
>> No. 107778
Just trust me, I am an expert in the laws of fun. I even have a nonexistent doctorates degree to prove it.
>> No. 107779
>> No. 107780
Thanks to the people who have commented on my story. You all have valid points. I had to rush the ending because it was 4:30 AM (I didn't have any time to write on Sunday) and I simply had no fucks left to give at that point. I wanted to have a scene where Fluttershy tells Twilight she's moving but I just didn't have time to add it in there.

Scene transitions are probably my weakest part of writing. Working under a deadline, I just didn't want to waste time thinking about the perfect way to do it, so I just plowed right ahead.

I guess I'm satisfied with the story. Glad to hear I pulled off first person well.
>> No. 107785
To Find Where I Belong: Had good potential, but I didn't quite understand what was happening.
>> No. 107795
For future reference, you can use the [?] (no spaces) tag to spoiler.
>> No. 107798
[?] Kind of like this. [/?]
>> No. 107801
Two more before I go to sleep:

Secret Agent Cake - 7 - Almost gave this one an eight, but it didn't quite cut it. The pacing was pretty good, but I could also feel the touch of a rush job (due to the deadline, of course). The beginning was pretty drab, the author introduced Mrs. Cake's friend simply as a plot device and the doubt Mrs. Cake had early on didn't develop at all. She just had the realization everything was fine and that was that. I felt like the author also struggled with some of the early dialogue, like he/she knew where the fic was going, just not how to start it off. It was definitely the most amusing fic I've read so far, I think the author really nailed the feel he/she wanted (the line about cupcakes flying and accentuating the direness of the situation... that was good). I didn't see any problems with formatting/grammar either. One last critique: the connection to the prompt was... dodgy. Yes, it was cutting ties, but I feel like Mr. Cake had already cut his ties, the story was just playing off of that as a means to show the Cakes' relationship. A cool story, just not quite what I was looking for in the context of this contest.

Sweet Escape - 8(tentative) - I really liked this one. The characters had just enough depth for a comedy like this: Luna and Tia weren't just generic sisters, and they didn't rely wholly on the traits defined in the show. I did feel some of the earlier jokes were a little forced, but most of them were spot on AND original. The bits with the butler and chef were so well-timed, and I feel like the umbrella duel was a reference to something, though I can't quite put my finger on it. Easy to read, entertaining and dynamic the whole way through, this is definitely my favorite so far. The only problem I have with this is its connection to the prompt. What is Celestia cutting ties with? I see some real character development at the end, I understand she's getting over a fault of hers... but where exactly is the tie-cutting? This is a fairly serious oversight which I would hate to see take points away from this fic. If the author would like to explain this and gives an explanation I understand, I have no problem bumping this to a 10. Maybe I'm missing something really obvious here.
>> No. 107803
I do agree with the bulk of your review, and I'm not attempting to change your score, but
I have to say that it would be very hard for a pony like Applejack to force charges on a Mafioso pony. She had no evidence besides the fact that the fire was magically started. Her claims would never hold up in court, and proceeding in this manner would have brought her more grief. That may be a lot of implication, and is probably something I should have touched on, but in reality and fiction, you have to assume some sort of vigilante justice to take down crime syndicates.

Also, what's an SDT element, so I can know to what you are referring?
>> No. 107804
SDT means show don't tell
>> No. 107805
So, more reading, more comments...

The Note - You silly story, thinking that telling things from Pinkie's POV in the style of the show is gonna win you points with fans of the show. It's okay, I still love you.

Only Half - You impress me. You're not quite my favorite to win at the moment, but close. You take a big risk with a antipathetic protagonist, but totally rock the house with her. Nice deployment of just-graphic-enough injury to boot.

Regrets - You're emo and your Dash is a moral-high-horse sue. It's obvious who I'm supposed to root for and I don't feel conflicted, the ending is obvious to anyone who has a passing familiarity with canon (RD doesn't live in Cloudsdale anymore? Shock!), and there's no pressing issue to be solved. Where's the plot? Why the framing story? I'm now noticing grammar bugs - not mechanical stuff, but unclear usage things. Gah!!

(Yikes! I need to say something positive, so I'll add I never really wanted to stop reading. I'm not sure why, but you do hold my attention. And I like the history you tell, but I'm a conflict junkie.)

Sweet Escape - You're fun, but do you see that title, "Cutting Ties?" I think you misheard it - that wasn't "cutting pie from tubbylestia's diet" - and if that was supposed to be funny, it wasn't. Not on prompt, so automatic 1.

A Cut Above - You could be longer, because I want to spend more time with that sweet, sweet, 3rd-omniscient narrative voice you have. But the moment a wild conflict appears, you turned off the Gameboy and hid. Still, you don't waste my time.

Overthinking It - I can't stand your ending. Pony A has a problem with indecision. She likes Pony B. Pony B sends letter, out of the blue, in which she confesses her love for pony A, out of the blue, which had it's origin in the exact same moment in their history as Pony A. i.e. Fate. When Fate makes problems, you get story. When Fate solves problems, you have deus ex machina, which isn't a good thing.

That said, your build-up is good, if a touch emo-emo.

Lyra Meets ... - My notebook says "dumb, dumb, too short." I don't have much to add.

Knot on My Watch - Hey, you see all those other fics with the literal tie-cutting. They all want to be you, because you are the Chuck Norris of literal tie-cutting Cutting Ties entries. I'm not sold on the Cupcakes reference, and my notes do say "Stupid but Fun," so not perfect, but well above average.

The Pink Slip - You're boring and slow to start, like I want to cut everything that happens before Pinkie gets laid off. After that point, you're competent if prosaic, but the damage is done.
>> No. 107806
Even bonus comments! Can't brain. Yes the mechanics and imagery in "Overthinking" are good. It's that ending, man; it haunts me.
>> No. 107807

Man, what the hay was I thinking? I thought it would be heart warming to have Fluttershy also love Twilight, but it just comes across as bad. I also basically had to cut a scene where Fluttershy would have hinted at liking Twilight.

I must have been completely stupid at 4:30 AM. GAHHHHHHH WHY DID I KEEP THAT ENDING. IT'S SO BAD. I HATE MYSELF SO MUCH.
>> No. 107809
Whoever reading my POS gracing this otherwise illustrious write-off? Accept my most sincere apologies. I do not know why I thought this would make a half-way decent entry and I do not wish to make excuses for it.

Safe to say, had I thought it out more properly, it might actually be readable. (ie. Actually having a plot for one.) As it is, it is a trainwreck and comments that I get so far accurately reflects that.

Again, my most humble apologies.
>> No. 107810

My connection to the prompt was in Celestia deciding to cut ties with sweets so that she could effectively loose weight. If cutting ties doesn't mean breaking off connections to a person, organization, place, or thing, then, I'm sorry, I misunderstood the prompt.
>> No. 107812

Boy that fella was a lot more charitable with you than I was. Well at least you're getting plenty of people telling you what you did wrong. It's not that Dash was a moral-sue; what she did was perfectly believable if teeth-grindingly cliche. It's that everyone around her were Hitler expys, made to make her look like an angel. This read like a parody of the am emo kid storming out of the house screaming "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ME!"

Being full of cliches is not the worst thing. In fact, writing cliches is a legitimate step on the path to writing better ideas. The standard send-off for negative reviews very much applies to you:

Keep writing, brony.
>> No. 107816
in my defense if he really had cut his ties, this whole scenario wouldn't have happened. so this is cutting ties again. that aspect of the prompt was the hardest part of this contest and i expect it will probably sink my chances.
>> No. 107819
His Other Self - 6 - I hate old people... err... ponies in this case. That and Glass came off as a creepy pedophilia in the first few paragraphs. Also, I think Glass could use a name change. He's a water and stone sculpter and he's named Glasswind? Meh... Also, I'd like to see some expansion on why Sweet wants to learn about him. I don't know my neighbors, they do strange things, I have no desire to find out about them. Otherwise, nice tie in to the prompt. Thus, I award you a 6!

Now Departing - 6 - Slight emotional impact, but otherwise it fell a little flat. It just came off as "I don't agree with you, but you should do it." and "I'm going and I'm sorry I'm leaving without telling anyone except you. I see room for expanision... or at least how I'd change this up. But I'm not going to tell you becuase I'm a horrible author who hate's fan fiction. Also, at the very least, AJ would have confronted AB... it's the way AJ would act. But I like the concept well enough and I saw the tie in with the prompt. Thus, I award you a 6!

Regrets - 4 - Meh... You only made me hate Rainbow Dash's father... a lot. Other than that, I'm not really going to remember this. Sorry, mate, I got nothing. Thus, I award you a 4!

Sorry, only three this time.

And I hate you all. You are all horrible people bent on breaking the mind of all ponies. Grr...

Kidding. Most that anger should be directed inward, but is being taken out on you guys.
>> No. 107825
Thanks, will do.
>> No. 107826


Very critical and very hug-boxy people have the same impact on voting; getting the 9 out of (7, 8, 9) is exactly* the same as getting the 3 out of (1, 2, 3). (*certain conditions apply, but Roger's trying to encourage good conditions. Try to rate all fics, folks.)

Remember all critiques are valid expressions of their reader's interaction with each story, and assume good faith behind all opinion.

Or, you're not a horrible person, you just wrote a story in 72 hours and maybe you made some mistakes.


For example, Tactical >>107667, I'm not reading flank-hurt in "Regrets" >>107809 and I'm not sure you are either, but the tone seems to be headed that way.

Authors, Don't be alarmed by negative reviews or rest too easy on positive ones. What matter are the distinctions each voter makes within his or her ballot. And remember most voters are silent, so [i]it ain't over 'till it's over.

I feel like I'm getting a bit of a trouncing myself, but strangely it's not as bad as getting the good old "go back and fix it." Nobody gets to go back and fix, and it's refreshing in a way that we all have to live with flaws. Strange.

Range Voting has a very important property:

>>The differences between scores determine victory, not the actual scores.<<

This is exactly true if every story receives the same number of votes as all the others. Roger's rule to vote for at least half is smart because it helps protect this property.

If we were voting on three stories and everyone votes for all stories, a (1, 3, 5) ballot has exactly the same effect as a (5, 7, 9).

Math proof Consider two stories, both of which have received N votes. A = total score for fic A, B for fic B.

A's average : A / N
B's average : B / N

Take each score for a, subtract the score for b, and add up all these differences. Call it D

Each d = a - b
so the sum is:
D = A - B

The difference between the averages is
A / N - B / N = (A - B) / N = D / N
If positive A wins, negative B wins, zero tie.

If any voter changes votes by adding or subtracting the same number from every score, the differences do not change and neither do any results. QED

If that condition is violated*, different entries receive different votes, inflating scores tends to benefit those that receive fewer votes - but this effect is smaller than the benefit of having an inflated voter vote for your entry. This helps explain why star-rating sucks (most people only star a few fics), but shouldn't be an issue here.

* If you have N and M votes, the power of a difference is proportional to (N+M) and the power of score inflation is proportional to (N-M)
>> No. 107828
File 134012006288.png - (176.77KB , 500x321 , tumblr_m2n7hoaRdd1r3k1m8o1_500.png )
Resurgence: 6 — This was fairly good, and my favorite part was how you developed Luna's worry of becoming NMM again from a subtle hint to a full-blown identity crisis. I do wonder, though, if you didn't slightly overdo it. I also think you could have done more to characterize Celestia—she felt more like a Gandalf Jesus figure than a real sister. There was quite a bit of Telling, especially toward the beginning (though you did get better later on). Try to work on that.

Curse, Bless Me Now: 6 — This had the potential to be good, but you really were trying too hard throughout. I realize that, being a oneshot, you didn't have the greatest ability to expand upon the cast, but I never really felt as though any of the characters had real motivation (aside from your main). The entire plot (and much of the dialogue) felt forced or choppy—you went from albino birth, to hardboiled PI, to magic homicide whodunnit, and so on. It felt like (if you've ever read the series) really wanted to write a Dresden Files-style fic (with ponies), but really just ended up trying too hard, and not conveying the situational tension or dry humor that the noir genre really invokes. Also, I didn't like the "Is Celestia/Luna" watching bits; they got really irritating, really quickly. I was also wondering exactly how well this fit with the prompt—cutting ties with his idea of a magic Cutie Mark was the most I got out of it.

Long Live the Queen: 4 — This didn't strike me as a "bad" fic, per se—instead, I felt like there was very little description of your scene and setting, and that ninety percent of the plot was ridiculously vague. I had no idea who your original "protagonist" was; I actually thought this was going to be a Daring Do fic. Suddenly, I was transported to an entirely different scene, hearing about some Queen I knew nothing about. The characters weren't developed enough for me to have real feelings about them (barring, perhaps, Luna). Your major problem was that everything was introduced retroactively—you moved from the end to the beginning. And while that might have been a good idea in some other context, the way you handled it was just muddled and unclear. I like the idea of Twi and the others as alicorns, but the execution was, quite simply, fairly sloppy.
>> No. 107832
File 134012271650.png - (1.22MB , 1622x1891 , bloom_new_rock_outfit_by_florainbloom-d4gar1m.png )
For those of you still confused about Eustatian's method, essentially what it boils down to is this:

– Rankings between large groups (29 stories) is difficult
– Rankings between small groups (5 stories) is easier

What you do is you put the stories into groups and make them "face off" against each other. You rank them from best to worst and assign a score from that. You do this multiple times so that the number of combinations become exhausted (so that luck on group assignation doesn't affect the results).


Round 1:

(1) Regrets, Memories, Resurgence, His Other Self, Sins of the Sister
(2) The Mane Six in: Tie Fighters, Only Half, Thesis, "Curse, Bless Me Now", The Secret of Ponyville
(3) Now Departing, The Pink Slip, World-Famous, Overthinking It, Wings of Icarus
(4) Whack a Mage, Knot on My Watch, Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature, Cutting Ties with Pinkie, The Note
(5) Long Live the Queen, No Foals, Sweet Escape, What We Leave Behind, Departure of a Friend
(6) A Cut Above, Standing in My Shadow, Secret Agent Cake, Never

Note: It's impossible to distribute the groups evenly since there's a prime (29) number of entrants. You can either make the groups uneven or you can give stories byes in each heat.

In each group:
·ith place is worth 10 – (10/(n–1))*(i–1) points, where n is the number of stories in the group.†

·First place is worth ten points.
·Scores linearly decrease as ranking increase (if first is 1, second is 2, etc.).‡
·Last place worth zero points.

† e.g. With 5 stories, the scores from worst to best are (0, 2.5, 5, 7.5, 10). With 4 stories, they are (0, 3.33..., 6.666..., 10).
‡ i.e., any n is scored higher than n+1, so first is worth more than second, etc.

Once you're satisfied with the number of heats you've run, calculate the average score that each story got (and round to the nearest integer so that you can submit it into the form).
>> No. 107834

I feel like...

Just deciding "I have to give out five 1 scores, four 2 scores..." would be just as good, until only one entry gets a 10?
>> No. 107835
You won't necessarily end up with an even distribution into each group.

You could have two 0's, one 1, three 2's, three 3's, six 4's, five 5's, three 6, two 7's, one 8, two 9's, and two tens. In fact, I'd assume that with a large sample size (a large number of heats) you'd have more stories in the middle ranges than the outer ones, a la normal distribution. I have no idea on that last assumption though. I'll run a simulation to see.
>> No. 107837
Roughly. There's a normalization step at the end, which may make a big difference, and the expression for raw points placing i out of n is...

(n - i) - (i -1)
or equivalently
1 + n - 2 * i

(i = 1 for best, i = n for worst)

No need for averages. Winning in a bigger group is more challenging and should be worth more raw points.

The normalization algorithm:

Let K be the number of stories with equal or lower raw score (lowest scoring fic counts 1 for itself).
Let Q be the normal quantile function. (available wherever fine statistical functions are sold, Excel NORMINV)
Let N be the total number of fics.
Z = Q((K) / (N + 1))

S = 5 + 2.5 * Z
Round to nearest.

The 2.5 constant means a z-score of 1.8 or better gets a 10. With 29 fics, that means, assuming no ties in raw score:
One each 0, 1, 9, 10 points
Two each 2, 8
Four each 3, 4, 6, 7
Five each 5

Or with 30,
One each 0, 1, 9, 10
Two each 2, 8
Four each 3, 5, 7
Five each 4, 6
>> No. 107839
Ah, I see what you're doing now. I'll see if I can draw up a template spreadsheet that people can use.

>> No. 107840

I was more planning to distribute a ton of terrible scores to favor my favorite entries as much as possible. Screw fairness, I have an agenda. :P
>> No. 107843
I'm afraid the references just sailed right over your head, then.

At the end, the connection between the perpetrator and the entity he controls is being forcibly severed, and the main character gives up his insecurities about needing to feel protected and appreciated.

I know nothing of The Dresden Files except that it exists. And I wasn't going for noir. A detective story, certainly, but not with the additional elements that noir connotes.
>> No. 107845
What is noir?
>> No. 107849
File 134014173611.png - (379.92KB , 1219x1296 , bloom_season_5_safari___by_costantstyle-d4siefz.png )
For those of you who wish to abuse the ingenuity of Eustatian's method without doing any of the calculations yourself, I present: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/68611394/VotingPrimer.pdf
>> No. 107850
I was afraid of the feedback I'm getting. I worried that, while the flashbacks say what they mean to and do it well, the story they tell would be incomplete or unsatisfying. I also worried that the 1st person character took too long and didn't matter, but weirdly, some people really like him and hated the rest-- I thought the scene with "Lulu" and where Twilight netted the sun were good.

I think it would have been possible to see what was going on with the Queen from the very first flashback. At least I intended it that way-- Five Elements of Harmony? Sunset followed by twilight? Remembering how she was taught to raise the sun?

Also, a lot of people just didn't like my writing qualit past the 1st person bit. I'd like to hear more of that.
>> No. 107851

Augh, Math! DXXXXXX
>> No. 107852

Thanks for the compliment. I never pictured my story being akin to a Game Boy, but I appreciate it nevertheless :D
>> No. 107860
File 134015169722.png - (109.09KB , 334x425 , derpy_hooves thinking gears.png )
Don't ever change.

I was initially leery about molding my votes to any sort of predefined distribution (uniform, bell curve, etc) but now I'm sold on the bell curve plan. It'll allow making use of the entire 0-10 range for these 29 entries. And a bell curve makes sense for a setting like this; many fics will be average (relative to their peers) with a few really good ones, and a few not-so-good ones.

The only part that's driving me nuts is that I'm positive there's some way to intelligently pick the groupings each round, so as to minimize the total number of rounds necessary. But I can't brain as good as I used to, and I was never that great at proofs anyway. But if Roger's doc could be enhanced to tell you "rank these five fics", "now rank these five fics", and continuously prompt you until it was "done", then spit out the results... though that's less a job for a GDoc and more a job for a web app... hrmmm...

Regardless, thanks for the work so far; I'll definitely look into this once I've finished reading.


Continuation of my FimFic comments:

>Five Elements of Harmony? Sunset followed by twilight? Remembering how she was taught to raise the sun?
After finishing, yes definitely, I appreciated these clues in hindsight. On my initial read, though, they all went over my head. I suspect that what gave me issue was that the first scene put my mind in the wrong frame of reference. Here's what I mean:

Scene 1: There's an Empress, we're confirmed to be in Equestria, we're in some ancient treasure vault. OC main character not giving too many other hints yet. Could be a Daring Do fic. Likely takes place in either an alternate Equestria, many years before Twilight & co., or many years after.

Scene 2: Oh, now we're in another time, presumably earlier than Scene 1. Are we in Twilight's time yet? There's a Queen instead of two Princesses, and five EoH instead of six. My mind instantly leapt to "not Twilight's era", rather than the correct answer. Admittedly I am not a clever pony.

Like I was saying before, IMHO minimizing Scene 1 would probably be best, as it removes some of these misleading distractions, and might allow more of your readers to put together the Scene 2 clues. As for Scene 2, I guess it depends on how mysterious you're trying to be. If you want the reader to be uncertain and putting together clues (which of course is totally fine, if done well), then you're probably on the right track, pending my Scene 1 suggestions. On the other hoof, if you want 100% of your audience to definitively know the Queen's identity by Scene 2, then you should probably have a more explicit description of the Queen, have somepony refer to her by name, or heck, put the scenes back in chronological order.

>Also, a lot of people just didn't like my writing qualit past the 1st person bit.
I don't recall anything specifically bad about your writing style itself, minus the points I already brought up, but most of those were plot/theme rather than style. *shrug*
>> No. 107863
Round two of my story comments - I'll try to sound like less of a bastard this time:

Regrets: I like the style in which this is written - makes it easy to read and understand, nice job. I also considered doing a 'Dash leaving Cloudsdale' entry, but I wouldn't have thought to do it like this. It's a cool idea - switching back and forth between the two time periods, so well done there. I feel like it needs something more though. The ending didn't really have a lot of impact. Keep at it though! Oh, and a final criticism: Your dialogue did feel a bit off in places, but only a few that I noticed.
Wings of Icarus: First off, I don't know how you did it but, for some reason, after reading the first few lines, I had to stop, turn on 'Two Steps From Hell - Protectors Of The Earth', then go back and start reading again with the background music. And it was epic. As for the rest of the story - the pacing was good, it flowed nicely and it was a good plot. I'd like to have heard more about this 'Palmer' guy though, what's his story? Also, I thought Green was a bit quick to admit to her mother what she'd been doing, especially after she'd promised Palmer that she wouldn't. But, overall, it was a nice story!
The Secret of Ponyville: Lose the gore. It's unnecessary and detracts from the story. An old spitit scouting/testing Twilight for his new soul reaver sounds like an interesting idea, but it wasn't done very well here. Not entirely your fault though, doing a convincing MLP horror story is bound to take a lot of time and effort - since the two don't exactly fit together naturally - and 72 hours (minus sleep, work etc.) isn't really enough. I had a LOT of problems with this story, here are a few of them... First off, at the start, Twilight says that the Farmer is 'a sick, sadistic pony'. But then she's suddenly okay with becoming his soul reaver. It doesn't make any sense to me. Secondly, lose the gore or give it some purpose - as of now, it just feels pointless. Thirdly, Rainbow seems out of character - Twilight was bleeding and obviously having some severe nightmares, wouldn't Rainbow stay with her? Also, she was extremely accepting of Twilight suddenly blurting out "Was there ever a crazy murderer in Ponyville?" Seems like the kind of question to which she'd respond "Uh, say what?" rather than "Why do you ask?" Finally, the ending. It had no impact whatsoever, because you didn't build up to it throughout the story. This needs a LOT of work, but stick with it (if you want to, that is...) - maybe read some horror stories and brush up on your tension-building skills, then come back to this and revise it. Oh, and you can keep the gore if you really want, but I really, really, really think it takes a lot away from the story, without adding anything in return.
Long Live the Queen: First off, I'm fairly sure that this story would be more effective if you cut it down a little, maybe to around 2000 words? As it is, my eyes kind of glazed over about half way through, and that's no fun. Also, I must admit that I spent a lot of my time in this story trying to get my head around just what was going on. In regards to the ending, I can see Twilight ascending to alicornhood (it's a word!) but...the other five of them too? I don't get it. But maybe that's just me. The 'time capsule' thing was a good idea, and Twilight's message at the end was nice too. This story could use some work, but it's not bad.

EDIT (after seeing your comment): In the first flashback, up to the point where you mention 'teacher', the Queen could be either Celestia (and Twilight has died) or Twilight (and Celestia has died). The way I pictured it, it was the former (Celestia was the Queen), but it actually works either way. That's very good writing on your part. Also, I didn't notice any change in quality between the 1st person and 3rd person narratives (but then, I'm not very perceptive of those things) I think most of my confusion came from the way that the story was structured, not from the quality of your writing. The scene where Twilight 'netted the sun' (as you put it) was particularly confusing, and I think it could be cut completely... EDIT EDIT: Oohhh, after thinking about it, my inner scientist tells me that this scene actually makes complete sense. The Sun wasn't 'literally' falling, it was dying because Celestia was dying, and Twilight was...renewing it? Yup, that makes sense. You just completely threw me off with that one sentence - "The sun was falling" No need to 'fix it' though, as it would seem that way to the ponies.

Only Half: Wow. You certainly know how to build up the tension - I was practically on the edge of my seat when they passed the Crusaders coming out of the clinic, heart-thumping and all that! 'Diamond Tiara breathed a sigh of relief' I literally did the same. Excellent writing, there. Overall, this story was brilliant - perfect pacing, flowed nicely, real emotional... I couldn't find anything wrong with it. Best I've read today and definitely a 9 or 10 when I get around to voting!
World-Famous: I was hoping for Trixie when I saw the title, but your story was good too. I think this is another one that could've done with being a lot shorter. I liked the general plot, the lawyer stampede and especially the ending but, overall, this entry doesn't really stand out against the others. I can't think of anything else to say, other
than "it needs a bit of something, but I can't put my finger on what, exactly."

What We Leave Behind: Believable, interesting characters, a nice premise and excellently written. I thoroughly enjoyed this the whole way through. The dialogue had a couple of hiccups but, for the most part, it was great and I could really picture it. I love this writing style, by the way (it's my favourite, in fact) - short, simple paragraphs - and you still created an atmosphere and evoked emotion very well. Those two lines of internal monologue (from "Maybe it's not what we do..." to "...and who - we leave behind") felt a bit cheesy, but the rest of the ending was great. And little Twily was sufficiently adorable. Nicely done.
Knot on My Watch: An interesting idea, I'll be mindful around my ties from now on. Some of your paragraphs were a bit long and over-complex - "Two streams of thought..." was the worst one, I had to read it three times to get my head around it. It wasn't bad overall though. I liked Twilight's terrible pun at the end, as well as Spike's reaction. Oh, and Gummy's telepathy was a nice touch. Pleasant male voice...my brain paired him with Pierce Brosnan's voice, probably because of that one episode of The Simpsons. :)
The Pink Slip: It all seemed a bit too fast-paced for my liking. He sacks Pinkie and then he's immediately out the door trying to get her back? Maybe you could have him fire Pinkie in private (sort of like you did) and then, later in the day, have him feeling like a scumbag with his wife trying to pry information out of him. Eventually he'd admit what he'd done and then, after a discussion, set out after Pinkie, maybe 'without' the threat of divorce (because I don't think that he should need anything beyond a gentle push in the right direction to know that he wants Pinkie back) Just my opinion. Overall, your writing was not bad, the characters were okay and the plot was good - but, like I said, I think you should slow down the pacing.
Sweet Escape: My thoughts on the umbrella fight - "It's over Celestia, I have the high ground!" ... *shot* ... Seriously though, there weren't enough Star Wars references for my liking :) Another interesting use of the prompt here, but it also didn't feel like it had a moral or a meaning or anything. I'd make a slice of cake/life pun but I'm too tired. I'll settle for saying that, because it lacks a moral or some kind of emotional journey, it doesn't really stand out against the rest of the entries I've read today.

That's it. There will probably be fewer tomorrow, since I'm getting to the longer entries now. G'night!
>> No. 107864
File 134015399636.jpg - (10.65KB , 225x225 , umad pinkie.jpg )
>mfw reading the comments on my story
>> No. 107865
this is a /fic/ thread why are you math :(
>> No. 107868

Right, gore is a no go... at least as is. I'd like to work on refining it, though. I know what parts I need to expand on and I can take care of Dash quickly.

Just need someone who'd be willing to work live on it with me. After this is done, of course.
>> No. 107869
File 134015430628.png - (122.85KB , 391x364 , KKKKKK.png )
>Oh, this looks pretty cool, maybe I'll help with voting or reviews or something since I didn't write a story
>clocking in at an enormous 169,450 words
>> No. 107870
File 134015432184.png - (28.13KB , 945x945 , shrugpony_twilight_sparkle_by_moongazeponies-d3cvkds.png )
@Pav Feira
A little sister. Story takes place in the past. Main character has a giant ego. I see what you did there.
I didn't really do anything there. I actually have no idea whay you're referencing.
>> No. 107872
>But if Roger's doc could be enhanced to tell you "rank these five fics", "now rank these five fics", and continuously prompt you until it was "done", then spit out the results... though that's less a job for a GDoc and more a job for a web app... hrmmm...
I could write a Perl script that did this for you if you want.

If you don't have a Perl interpreter, you can get one from http://strawberryperl.com/
>> No. 107873

The ambiguity was definitely intentional. I would like the reader to spend the first few paragraphs of scene 2 confused or assuming it's Celestia. Never addressing Twilight by name was definitely a conscious choice. I had hoped for a satisfying "oh" moment.

I worry about this being "confusing." It suggests to me that readers weren't able to nail the context for each scene I.e. your response to netting the sun. If I'm going to polish and repost this I want to know the specific problem...
>> No. 107875
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I'm basically just reading the shortest ones first, and getting longer as I go, and I'm keeping a list of what order I think they go in: I liked this one better than that one. That one was done better than this one. I figure they'll order themselves out, and I'm writing a short review of each one on Fimfiction as I go anyways, which I can refer back to for help. Once I'm done I'll go over each review, think about what I felt while reading that particular story, and give each one a number rating. I'll compare the list to the number ratings, adjust both accordingly, and then vote. I'm confident I'll be able to remain objective to my own story as well, seeing as I ranked my last one at 17th out of 22, and it ended up around that spot.
>> No. 107876
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You should have spoilered that. I accidentally read it.
>> No. 107877
You don't vote on your own story.
>> No. 107879
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... I didn't know that. Makes sense I guess, but I never thought about it. Oh well, I'll keep the list anyway, just to see how honest I am.
>> No. 107881
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I just got a fortune cookie that said, "You are careful and systematic in your business arrangements." So I think you should listen to my opinion about how to vote, even though I don't understand the problem with the old system: You should have people vote on their top five. Then The five with the most votes goes to the next round. Then people get one vote.

I have no idea what this head to head shit is. It's much too painful and difficult for my simple brain to understand, and you should feel bad for hurting me and those like me.
>> No. 107882
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>MFW four comments in a row, all directed at me

Poorly phrased, lemme try that again. I was all confused because Phantomage just felt like a brasher, more obnoxious (what with the breaking down of doors and such) version of Trixie. And I initially wondered why the author didn't just use the actual Trixie. Then that scene hits, where we learn Phantomage is Trixie's older brother and I was all "Ohhh, lol, gotcha." What with Phantomage's demeanor, Trixie's idolization of him, Phantomage name-dropping "great and powerful", it actually worked as some cute character development for Trixie.


Nah, you're working hard enough as it is. Don't worry yourself with even more sidework *brohoof*. I'm mostly puzzling on the algorithmic side, for how to minimize the number of rounds needed. I'm assuming you'd want to avoid putting the same two fics in the same group twice (if the user already said fic A is better than B, no point in asking that question again). And that you'd want to prefer grouping fics whose current z-scores are relatively close (if fic A's z-score is +1 and fic B's z-score is -1, it's probably safe to assume A is better than B. If fic C's z-score is also +1, then comparing A and C directly would be valuable). That's as far as I've gotten, though I haven't given it much thought.


Gotcha, that makes sense. Regarding confusion, I still point the finger at the first scene, because it's what led me to assume the Queen was not Celestia, Luna, nor Twilight. Maybe drop a hint or two that reenforces that the Queen's era is the same era from the show (plus a couple years)? Example, I think you could name-drop Pinkie Pie or one of them, since I don't believe you explicitly refer to the EoH as alicorns in that scene. That would answer some questions (okay, the Queen is somepony we know) while raising others (so wait, whose funeral is this), in a good way. From that point, I think the rest of the scenes would play out fine as-is.

Re: the sun-netting scene, I think you meant >>107863 instead of me. I was fine with that scene, personally.


Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm doing on this first pass. I just like the idea of taking my initial gut reactions, and processing them with a machine, because math.
>> No. 107884
Whew, I was afraid nopony would catch that. This pleases me then.
>> No. 107886
It's only a tool to make your voting easier and more rigid. If you don't want to use or can't understand it, there's nothing stopping you from voting as you normally would.
>> No. 107887
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Regrets: 3 — I'm starting to realize that I can't hugbox everyone (yes, I consider 4 to be hugboxing), so here're my thoughts. The one thing that I think you did right was putting Gilda in there, and having Dash's responsiveness to her suggestions have real consequences. That said, I didn't like any of the characters in this fic. Gilda, I realize, really is that much of a bitch. But not once did Dashs' mother, or her sister—her sister! Who basically raised her, from what I can see!—bothered even once to step in. They all felt completely flat and useless. I had no sympathy for Stormchaser, and while I realize that's what you were going for, it was lost on me, as I saw him nothing more than the straw man of a "victimized" teen or something. The letter at the end grated on me particularly, especially as that complete 180 came out of nowhere, and considering that Dash just took it at face value… Well. Let's just say that nobody in this fic was the slightest bit believable. You set out to write a sadfic, and instead got an angsty pile of mush with a resolution tacked on at the end.

The Note: 3 — First things first: the 1st person narration really grated on me. I only realized that it was meant to be Pinkie speaking after reading someone else's comments, and I still couldn't see any point to it. My initial reaction upon finishing it was to bump this down to a two for not following the prompt, but I gave you a three because I could technically see how, aside from the obvious pun, Apple Bloom leaving to run her own errands could technically be seen as "cutting the apronstrings" (I think Granny said a derivative of that at some point), so mreh. On the whole, I couldn't figure out what this fic wanted to do. At points, it felt like a sadfic (AJ angsting on the whole AB leaving plot line); at others, it felt like a mystery novel (especially whenever Dash was on the scene); and at others, it just felt plain weird (especially with Crazy Twilight™. Did you REALLY need her to go crazy like that? I mean, the whole randomness with Plans was nowhere near necessitated.) In short, I couldn't figure out why this needed to be written, what it was trying to accomplish, and why I should bother emphasizing with any of the characters. As a final note, you spent a LOT of time just narrating things to us which you didn't need to—there were a few scenes where you could have just skipped along to things that specifically advanced the plot.

Standing in My Shadow: 2 — Holy crap, but there is a lot of 1st PoV in this competition. And ugh, but I think you could have summed this entire thing up with a two words: Purple Prose. Seriously, there was not an ounce of actual story in this. Sure, it was interesting to read, but there was nothing in the way of an actual narrative or real characters. It was just pointless, meandering, pseudo-philosophical angst. Dress it up any way you want, but that's all it was. I saw the Trixie angle coming about halfway through, but that wasn't the point. For all intents and purposes, this was the mental health bio of an emo and self-pitying OC that you made up. And it didn't really mean anything. I suppose this just barely connected to the prompt, but I never found myself caring about the character, and, though there were no scenes and no actual plot, I couldn't find the will to want you to expand upon them. I'm sorry to say this, but this is definitely the worst fic I've read yet.
>> No. 107889
Thank you. But I fear you're praising my story unnecessarily.

Oh yes, I understand completely. I personally blame my own procrastination for this. Were it up to me now, I would have expanded the story significantly to give the characters more depth and reasons to why they did as they did. There was originally another scene I meant to add about Dash's high point of her relationship with her father, but I cut it out for reasons of time.

I appreciate the time you took to comment and read it however. Do you believe when I say I didn't mean it as a sadfic? More of a bittersweet kind. A mush of angsty feelings is NOT what I set out to do.
>> No. 107890
Don't be sorry. Last thread I said as much.

"...artificial sorrow and unrelentingly purple sentences that are easily three times as long as they should be..."

"...SWEAR to never write anything like it again..."

"This is complete bullshit and any of you that end up voting for this story will deserve to be shot for encouraging this level of nonsense."

Yeah. I realized that I dun goofed, but it was too late to change course.
>> No. 107897
Curse, Bless Me Now: A great, chilling story developed at a perfect pace. I literally got chills every time an 'incident' happened. I was engaged and wondering at every word.
The characters sure coulda used some more development, and I didn't understand how Shield had figured out that it was Shine, but that may have been me missing something. I also didn't see a plain connection to the prompt that effected the story.
8, +for engagement, -for lack of connection
>> No. 107906
My eyes hurt from that post. Use less spacing dude
>> No. 107907
Never - 10 - Very likely a work of... a certain author (not mentioning in interests of anonymity, but c'mon), it's certainly up to his standard. I had criticisms, though. The first: I've seen this done before, more than a couple times. None executed nearly as eloquently and masterfully as the author here, but I felt this story was taking advantage of my feelings. It was a torrent of 'here, feel sad' for all of the intro. I didn't feel like the author had earned the right to assault me like that; using death as a device as well as filly( ? ) Celestia was just cruel, and I this author clearly showed he/she had the ability to evoke emotions in other ways. Near the ending, I was thinking 'alright, get to it already'. The flowery language the author used eventually got the better of him or her and put a wedge between me and the ending. Now, all that I just said is merely a drop in the bucket to all the great things I saw. I hope one day I am as good a writer as this. Everyone should really read this fic, and I hope the author publishes it once the competition is over. I considered a 9, but then I remembered this line:

'The ring of young ponies bowed their heads and trotted away from their mourning ruler...'

F***. I'm very susceptible to prose like that. 10.

World Famous - 5 - I don't have much to say about this one. The whole time I was reading it, I was thinking, 'oh, that's nice.' I didn't really get engaged, didn't feel for the FlimFlam brothers. I started to feel something when they met again, but that was only before they admitted their faults. The author knew how to do everything in this story except make it compelling.

Wings of Icarus - 7 - This one had a lot of unrealized potential. I really liked how it started off, but once Green started meeting with Palmer, the flow got a little bumpy. The fic just jumped from plot point to plot point without giving the significance of events time to sink in. There was also a noticable abscence of depth in the body of the story. The end came off pretty well, but it lacked the kick I believe it was meant to have due to the above problems. I also feel like there is a lot of symbolism available with a story concept like this, but only the 'freedom' aspect of it was really tapped. Still a fairly enjoyable tale.

Thesis - 8 - Something of a rollercoaster, this fic brought a lot of elements together to form a pretty satisfying story, but deflated just a bit in the end. I was impressed by the author's ability to weave canon and storyline together. This really contributed to the immersion and suspension of disbelief in the fic. Twilight was SPOT on ('QED I love you' made me feel fuzzy) as was her brother and Cadence, judging from the limited exposure we have to them. Two items prevented me from scoring this higher: Celestia and the ending. Celestia was stone cold, which is just out of her character. I understand you're pulling from 'Lesson Zero' version Celestia here, but I seriously saw her as an unfeeling statue of ice. I also think she took it just a little too far with revoking Twilight as a student. The author took some serious liberties there that I don't feel he or she should in a short fic like this. It's essentially escaping the responsibility of your actions. The ending was far too explicit; Twilight never got to figure things out on her own, Cadence had to spell it out. It wasn't nearly as gratifying as it could be. Overall: stellar fic.

Cutting Ties with Pinkie - 6 - Good enough for a read, but I didn't have any more reaction than a heavy sigh at the end. The scene bouncing worked out really well until near the end when things just got downright confusing. I believe the author was going for the 'blindside' humor approach, where the tone is somewhat serious the entire time and then the reader all of a sudden realizes they've been toyed with. The execution here lacked that really powerful facepalm moment at the end. To do what the author intended best, the reader would have to pause for a moment, think about what they had just read, THEN come to the realization the whole thing was a joke... but the joke was plainly explicit. No need to think on it. I think the punchline also suffered due to how obvious it was. The idea has its merits, the followthrough just wasn't there.

Knot on My Watch - 5 - Unfortunately, this fic was dry and the joke far too obvious to be as amusing as I think the author wanted the fic to be. With the literal interpretation of 'cutting ties' the simpliest implimentation of a comedy fic, an author would need to really embrace the cheesiness and just be stupid corny. This fic tried to be both serious and silly, and ended up doing neither all that well. In fact, I found the serious side of the plot more engaging. The opening scene with Pinkie and Gummy was a good start, but that was all I really liked. I think if the fic's tone followed the tone of the title more closely, I would have liked it more. I will point out that, other than one confusing sentence, the flow/grammar was good.

No Foals - 7 - I wanted to like this one a lot more, I really did. It made me think; made my brain work to keep up with it, to figure out exactly where Dash is and where she's going. It's a brilliant character study on Dash, and I do have a penchant toward those, but something happened to this fic. By leaning on the reader as much as the author did here, he or she set up a situation wherin the lesson learned needs to be worthy of being learned. On that, I feel, the author took the easy way out, giving the reader a generic view on married relationships. I will say that the pondering Dash had about freedom vs foals was very appropriate for her, and AJ made a good match to Dash. The thing is, the issue of foals was only tangentially related (as far as I can tell - if the author wants to explain their thoughts on this I'd love to hear them, I know I'm not infallible) to most of the thoughts going through Dash's head. She was in pretty hardcore denial, and that line of thinking was cycled over and over, but where's the connection between the two?

sorry I ninja deleted on you. I accidentally hit the 'Reply' button while still working on formatting.
>> No. 107908
A chance for me to stand on my soapbox!


Cutting ties is an idiom. On it's own, no context applied, it means slicing up a common piece of formal wear (or wooden beam attached to railroads, if you want to go that far). If you wish to use the idiomatic meaning, you must use the entirety of it—which is a person leaving behind or giving up something or someone by severing the emotional, and usually physical, connection between the two. In your fic, Celestia had no emotional connection to the cake itself, cake was just a means to an end; a manifestation of her character flaw. Lacking the emotional connection (the core of the idiom's meaning), the fic doesn't really 'cut ties'.

Now, it's up to the people running this contest to disqualify you on that or not, so I won't give you an automatic 1. My job is just to give an objective judgement. I'd say there is enough merit to this fic to leave it in. Why? Cause it's a comedy, and by saying Celestia is cutting ties to cake, you're mocking the prompt itself! I consider that a valid mode of humor.
>> No. 107909
Okay. I've been leaving comments on fimfic, but here are my scores so far.

Whack-a-mage: In which r63 Trixie gets R63'd. I give this a 3. The meta jokes aren't funny. Your conclusion was unsatisfying. You did get some nice moments in, though.

Lyra Meets: In which Monsters Inc. messes with Lyra. This gets a 1. I was going to raise this to 2, but then I remembered your last paragraph.

Icarus: In which an idealistic young girl receives perhaps the most illogical Cutie Mark ever. I give this a 7. Despite its flaws I want to score this high just for getting feels to happen. I'm scoring these in the order I read them, so at this point your fic was beautiful to my eyes.

Curse: In which a hardboiled detective sets out to something something in the shadows between the ivory blah blah magical pastel ponies. This gets a 7. I'm not a clever pony and I don't have the patience for mysteries really, so somewhere in the middle this started to drag for me. It was probably at the point where the reader was supposed to have some clues and ideas floating around. The ending was... it reminded me of the ending to Watchmen, which is a bad thing. I loved this despite its flaws.

Regrets: In which Rainbow Dash lays out her deluded side of the story from that one time she ran out of the house sobbing because her parents wouldn't let her go out wearing black eyeliner. I wish I could give this a -3. It's not 100% justified but I have a huge hateboner for this one. I think the issue is that if I were to write a satire of the "emo teen runs away from controlling parents" story, it would come out almost exactly of like this. You know what I thought was going to happen? I thought Dash's sister was going to die tragically. That would've been a better story.

Overthinking: In which Twilight has an existential crisis and also she wants to bang one of her best friends I guess? Slow paced shipfic. Full of internal monologue. Fluttershy. Yeah, this is about the farthest thing from something I'd ever write or even that I'd willingly read. I can't give this one a score in good faith, but its actual writing was fine.

Thesis: In which Twilestia, except not. This gets a 9 for the simple reason that it did what it set out to do, it delivered feels, and while this kind of thing always runs the risk of being uncloppably cliched, this one never fell. Bravo, brony.

Memories: Exactly what it says on the tin. Seriously, guys. 4. I really wanted to hugbox this with a higher score, but its mechanics were distractingly off and there are some niggling plot holes.

Cutting Ties with Pinkie: In which... Actually, I have no idea. This gets a 2 for having a nice Rarity voice, a nice Sweetie voice, and a nice Pinkie voice while completely failing to convey the story.

Only Half: In which Diamond Tiara is a bitch, except she fails herself at being enough of a bitch. This gets an 8. You've already heard the main criticism, which is that Diamond Tiara is far too aware. So yeah.

Other Self: In which a young mare learns the story of one of the local crazies. I'll give this a 9 because it does something rare: It creates a deep, believable, sympathetic character without putting us inside his head, leaning on the audience's preconceptions about the character, or straight-out telling us to like him. This might not stand head and shoulders away from the crowd quality-wise but I'm impressed with what it did.

What We Leave: In which Shining Armor ships off to boot camp but not before he remembers Toy Story 3 said he's supposed to do. I'll give this a 6. This had the potential to be banally cliche and repetitive, but it went well enough. This didn't get a higher score because it's very slice-of-life; I didn't see any kind of profound meaning or emotional transition happening with Armor.

Note: In which Apple Bloom is rather worryingly good at running away from home. This gets a 5. The characterizations were nice, I especially liked Crazy Twilight towards the end, but the link to the prompt was nonexistent and the author threw in a cute little nuance towards the end for no god damn reason.

Resurgence: In which Luna literally fights a war against the mirror because she can't take the pony looking back at her. She's a hazard to herself! This can have yet another 7, god at this rate all I'm going to successfully do is downvote the ones that enrage me. I could nitpick at this quite a bit, but nothing really ruined it for me.

Queen: In which a first person character goes on a fanciful third-person adventure. This gets a 4 as opposed to lower because I wanted this to be good. Unfortunately, everyone else who commented on this got it right: The intro is pointlessly long, I didn't like the way the scenes told pacing to fuck itself and just dumped us at whatever level of action they felt like, and the ending just sucked.
>> No. 107910

Contest is over folks. Just finished Never. Go home. You've lost. So have I.

Why does it always end this way? I know I'm the worst writer, but does the distance between best and worst have to be so friggin' VAST?

I need to cut ties with myself. Smack my face into library shelves until the concussion gives me explosive amnesia so that I can start fresh. Forget everything I know about words and learn writing right - from the ground up.
>> No. 107914
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I haven't gotten to "Never" yet, but judging by the length, and that reaction, I know of only two ponies who could have written it. One of which I'm not even sure if he entered.
>> No. 107920
Having read all the fics, I've come up with the five that I think should be the finalists:

Only Half
Overthinking It
What We Leave Behind
The Pink Slip
>> No. 107924

I will note that this contest is supposed to remain anonymous, and though wild speculation is acceptable, actually going so far as naming names is a bit uncalled for. I'd consider removing that image in the spirit of anonymity, or maybe a moderator could do so.
>> No. 107927
I know I have absolutely no business doing so, but...

What fics seem to not have gotten a lot of attention? I want to give some feedback and I would like to start with the stories that haven't gotten a lot of attention.
>> No. 107928
it's still pretty early and there's a lot to go left. everything seems pretty well spread out so far. but if you want, jump into the middle of the list, most people are probably going top to bottom.

me, i'm low on reading time so i've been going by word count, reading the longest and shortest, then second longest and second shortest, etc.
>> No. 107930

Okay I'll start with those. Hopefully I'll have at least some done tonight
>> No. 107933
File 134019473621.png - (415.79KB , 1280x720 , Flim_Flam_brothers_yeah_S02E15.png )
Hiya readers!

I usually don't write lighthearted stories. But I figured this competition with this prompt was going to be overflowing with sad or heavy stories, and I figured this might as well be a good time to try and write something easy and episode-like.

Those who've remarked on the story have generally said that it's serviceable enough, but predictable and not particularly thought-provoking. Which is all, you know, fair enough: neither was really my goal.


PS: This YouTube video accurately reflects the state I was in as I wrote this story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOuNX2azWRQ
>> No. 107938
Thank you for the feedback, everyone! I agree with a lot of the critiques, notably with the ending, with Twilight not reaching the discovery on her own. Still, I am very happy to see the overwhelmingly positive reviews! This has exceeded my expectations, especially in light of the very strong competition.

I did have one question. While I understood and agreed with most of your review, I was uncertain what you meant by this one part: It's essentially escaping the responsibility of your actions. Could you clarify? Thanks!
>> No. 107942
Wow. The second person to say as much. I didn't think the link to the prompt was that deeply hidden, but here you go: >>107843

Hope that clears things up for you.

Serves me right for trying something new.
>> No. 107951
Resurgence: This had potential, and the writing was actually good.

I lost interest on page three and it was a bother to finish. Everything was drawn out and painfully repetitive. It did start good, but it wasn't worth writing or even reading.

3, +for good wording, -for repetitiveness
>> No. 107952

While I appreciate the consideration, I don't really think that my story can or should make it into the top five.
>> No. 107956

It was planned to be a much bigger part of things and you know how plans change, especially in a 72-hour time frame. I decided to keep the title for a few reasons, which revealing might give away my identity if anything else hasn't already, but the biggest was that I couldn't think up another one.

With time constraints, I didn't have enough time to go in-depth, make it specific to them, and still get to an ending. In fact, the original ending I had in mind was drastically different, but I didn't think it would fit AJ's character, so I changed it.

As such, if I decide to rework this, it will probably be about 3 chapters long of about 5-8k words each, would start at the beginning of the marriage, then cut to what's posted, and possibly include something later down the line. I am glad you liked the idea, and that both you and Pav think it's a good setup and counter to the usual shipping pairing (which was my intended goal).

I'll look forward to a chance at working on this after the write-off is done. Oh... and I promise to get reviews up sometime soon myself.


I can't tell if the "good pain" is a compliment or not, but yes, I had to rush things, so I'm afraid the ending kinda fell apart.
>> No. 107964
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Ask and ye shall receive!
>Don't worry yourself with even more sidework *brohoof*.
...Well, too bad, I did it anyway!

An addendum has been added to the voting primer (See http://dl.dropbox.com/u/68611394/VotingPrimer.pdf).

To make this process even easier I have written a Perl script which performs the heats for you. Get the script from https://gist.github.com/2961682 and then execute it with the command:
perl storyVoter.pl <inputfile> <outputfile> <groupsize>

Using the command:
perl storyVoter.pl help

will print more in-depth instructions on how to use the script.

>“But, Roger, I don't have a Perl interpreter!”

Putting my pity for your sad existence aside, there is a simple remedy to this problem. Go to http://strawberryperl.com/ and get the latest stable release for your system. Install it, and restart your computer. Voilà.

If you're still confused, or something went horribly wrong with the script, drop me a note in IRC (#fic on irc.canternet.org).
>> No. 107978
Not really a story, but a pleasing read nonetheless. Putting the shortness aside, I'd give it a 5, -for not really being a story, +for writing.
>> No. 107990
Maybe I'm just nitpicking (or maybe I've been very subtly trolled), but wouldn't it be better to finish reviewing the ACTUAL entries before you start passing verdicts on the disqualified ones?
>> No. 108010
It ties in with this statement: "The author took some serious liberties there that I don't feel he or she should in a short fic like this."

When you make what would be major changes to the canon world (such as having Twilight no longer be Celestia's student) in a short one-shot, you're not accepting all the ramifications of your decisions. How would Twilight's friends react? How would Luna react? How will Celestia deal with this in the long-term? Would Twilight really just accept this or will it come back to bug her? You're ignoring all the other effects Celestia's decision had and focusing only on the one that's relevant to your plot (Twi's immediate reaction). I'm not a big fan of that.
>> No. 108012
Again, these are continuations of comments made on fimfic.

Shadow: In which EMO EMO EMO OH GOD SO EMO. This gets a 5. I actually really liked this, but it could've been slashed to half its length, and the format was hit or miss. On one hand the format gave us the repetition I liked so much; on the other there were some things I really would've preferred "shown" instead of told. Also this loses points for brazenly breaking canon at the end.

Departure: In which Little Pip is Tiny Tim. I'll score this a 3. The writing wasn't good and the sads weren't good. What was good is that you tried to build Luna's character, but even that aspect was weighed down by your writing's weaknesses.

Never: There is absolutely no need for me to say anything about this one.
>> No. 108018
Ah yes, that makes perfect sense. I'll refrain from saying more, for the sake of anonymity, but once the competition is over, I have much to think about. Thanks!
>> No. 108021
Okay, sure. I just took a break from the longer ones with the shorter ones since they're... short. XD
>> No. 108025
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I haven't gotten through all the entries yet, but I'd like to comment on the ones I have read so far. I started with the smaller ones, and before I begin I just want to let you know I haven't really been keeping up with the other critiques in this thread, so if i say something redundant I apologize. Anyway...

Cutting Ties With Pinkie: You really nailed Pinkie and Rarity's voices in this, and parts of it made me smile (like imagining Pinkie covering a stallion in butter). It's a fun little piece, but my biggest problem is the lack of scenery description. Almost all of it was just talking heads, and while I know you probably didn't want to wax purple, there was so little information about the setting that I had a very hard time getting anchored in this. This is especially noticeable when you flash back to Pinkie in Rarty's shop; while I eventually figured out what was going on the lack of sensory details made it a lot harder than it should have been. Just adding in that they were in the shop or some description would help anchor the reader better and make them less likely to be lost when you go to the flashbacks.

In addition, I don't know if it was simply due to time restraints, but I really wanted to see what happened with the stallion. I think this is where the meat of the story is, since that's what set the plot in motion. The idea of a woman trying to protect her friend from a lecherous creep is fairly interesting, and I think you have the potential to put in some good characterization and funny scenes in here should you elaborate on it, but as it is, I'm just left wondering what happened. Not to mention I wanna see how Pinkie got it in her head to cover a stallion in butter and his reaction, especially if he was trying to get into her non-existent pants. Even if you don't show the actual act but only the scenes leading up to and after it, it would foreshadow well Pinkie's decision to cut all of Rarity's ties, since we would see her being super literal and such. Basically, good idea and voice, but needs more description and the important scenes added into it should you choose to revise this.

Regrets A story about Rainbow Dash's estrangement with her family. Drama between parent and child can be interesting and I think Rainbow Dash is the type of character whose backstory could reasonably involve it, but it has to be done very, very carefuly, and unfortunately I don't think it's working too well here. The characters came off as rather one-dimensional, especially the father, and the plot just, well, didn't grip me that much.

However, if you are planning to revise this, I think there are three major things you could do that would help make this story a whole lot better: flesh out the father more, draw on Dash's past failures and current situation more, and give Dash's sister much much more screentime. As you can see, these all deal with elaborating on things in the story, and I think that's the main problem; there's a lot of unused material and plot elements here that can make the story compelling but they don't show up, which is disappointing because the reader keeps expecting them to make a reappearance.

Let's start with the father. Now I know the main tension in this fic is that Stormchaser is dogmatic and controlling, and that RD wants to be unburdened and live her own life. I can relate to this, as can many others, and in and of itself it's not a bad dynamic. However, there is a give and take to this (I'll get to that more in the next point), and not only that, we should see where Stormchaser is coming from. Right now he is nothing more than "controlling emotional distant dad", which is a thing, but we need to see more of him to understand why he's like this. I think you tried to get at this with RD's mother and the stipend, but it didn't really come out too well. Basically, I can see the biggest hang up with Stormchaser is that he is worried about practicality. Shooting for being a flier isn't exactly a secure career path, and I imagine Stormchaser would be worried about RD throwing her life away. And that's the biggest drama you can go for--a character making another angry not because he hates her but because he loves her. If you draw on the fact that he is doing this out of father's love, or how he thinks father's love should go, then he stops becoming a cardboard villain and instead a complicated character, and instead of making it a relationship where there's a bad guy to hate and a good guy to root for, it becomes a complicated mess, and that's drama. That's real drama, and compelling drama, because you have to stop and think what's really going on and you lose something for either side you take, just like in real life.

Alongside that, I think it would help if you hinted at his backstory a bit. Obviously, he's super rigid with his ideas of what his daughters should be, but was he always that way? Did his parents shape him into what he is through their dogmatism, or did he try to taste the dream of being a flier and have reality beat him down, thus making him scared for Rainbow Dash and just wanting her to be secure? Does he belong to a long line of weather engineers? Does he have some sort of reputation to keep, or fear others will look down on him and his family if he has a wayward daughter? The more we know of him and how he thinks of things, the better we can understand his actions and the more realistic the interactions between him and RD become. On an aside, I think introducing their first conflict could be done a bit differently to seem more realistic. I just don't buy him saying "so now I assume you're going into the weather engineering business since your special talent is flying" or whatever the direct quote is (sorry don't have it in front of me). It just seems too direct. I get what you're going for, though, that he automatically assumes things for his children. I think a better way to start the conflict would be for him to just be happy for his daughter when he learns of her cutie mark, but to not start pushing weather engineering until she starts talking about the Wonderbolts. Maybe have him just think it's a silly little thing, but as she grows up and she keeps talking about it he decides to get serious and try to "set her straight" as you will. I don't know, something like that I could buy. Also, if you expand more, I think you should have more blow ups that start over small things, since that's usually what happens in real life. You mention RD reading Wonderbolts Today! in the fic--what does her father think of that? What would he do if he caught her reading that? Now that's a fight waiting to happen.

Next up, Dash's past failures, insecurities, and current situation. Remember how I said the relationship is give and take? Well, this is where I meant. You'll remember in canon that RD dropped out of flight school for not taking it seriously enough and that she ended up working weather duty in ponyville. She's also not in the Wonderbolts yet, although she's gotten their attention. Things like this should come up in the story, as it has a profound effect on RD and Stormchaser's relationship. You already touched on this with RD being afraid to follow GIlda's (shitty) advice, but I think you can do more. Firstly, the fact that RD dropped out of flight school and that she's not in the Wonderbolts could be taken as evidence in universe that her father is right, and that should be something that tears RD up. She's headstrong and doesn't want to admit if she's lost, so that should just add tons of frustration. Not only that, she has wound up doing what she sought to avoid, weather work, just to make ends meet. These things should really introduce the element of doubt into RD's mind, and her father should try to use it as leverage.

At the same time, you mention, in the letter, that Stormchaser thought he was wrong for what he did. It honestly felt way too abrupt for me, but I think it can be easily justified with some expansion. Now RD, despite failing to become a wonderbolt, has also done a lot of really cool stuff, not the least of which was save Equestria twice. Along with that she's done a lot of other things, and even attracted the attention of the Wonderbolts and the Princesses to perform at the castle, and that's no small feat. She can use that as evidence that she was right, to counter her father's arguments. At the same time, Stormchaser can see the great things his little girl has done and begin to rethink his stance--also I'd like to point out that if you go with the "worried about family image" angle I suggested earlier this could also add some more tension to the story witht he idea of whether or not his regrets are legitimate or for selfish reasons. Also, we come back to the stipend, and the question of whether or not Stormchaser ever really gave up on RD or if deep down he really did want her to follow her dreams but didn't know how to go about encouraging her to do so.

Now for the last point, having more of Sunny Day. I think this is actually the most important thing, as Sunny Day is probably the most crucial character to this story. She is RD's big sis, she is what Stormchaser compares RD to constantly, and she is the only one who keeps constant contact with Dash after Dash is disowned. She is literally character development waiting to happen, but the fact that she just fizzles from the plot with no real consequence is probably the greatest let down of the fic. She just needs to be here more, plain and simple. She can also help fill in parts of the story you can't really touch on very well currently. For example, I mention that I want to see more of what makes Stormchaser tick and how he came to be the way he is, but the story is third person limited from Dash's POV so it's unlikely Dash would try to understand her father. This is where Sunny Day comes in; she is on good terms with Dash, and she's on good terms with Stormchaser. She can be RD's confidant, and not only that, if she tries to reconcile things between the two, she can be the link that helps provide more information about Stormchaser as she tries to get RD to understand her father's point of view. This is especially true if she keeps up communications with Dash, as she can be trying to fix things between the two of them after the fight. I'm not entirely sure why she should disappear though, as that's something you'll have to figure out. I'd advise against killing her though, but that's just me.

The other big thing with Sunny Day is that she is the ideal child for Stormchaser and is the polar opposite of Rainbow Dash. She is ladylike, smart, and does what she is told, whereas RD is a tomboy, struggles in school, and is rebellious. Not only that, Sunny Day got where she wanted to in life and RD hasn't yet. With siblings, parents always draw comparisons between the them and it's the most annoying thing, trust me. However, you can really play that up here. Stormchaser always compares RD to SD, and that grates on RD. Hard. And that will put an additional strain on their relationship. Does Rainbow Dash develop an inferiority complex (which isn't that hard to visualize honestly)? Does she start to secretly resent her older sister against her will, despite how close they are and how much she loves her? Maybe this could be the strain that causes them to gradually stop talking, maybe Dash blows up on Day or something one day over this.

I think I had more, but I don't recall it at the moment. Regardless, those are my three big critiques. Honestly, this story just needs to use its available plot elements more, and to expand on a lot of things. I think if you took the time to work on it and include these things, you could move into a realistic drama of parent-daughter interactions and the breakdown that is gripping due to having no easy answers and no clear good guy, the way life works, and it would be a good backstory fic for Rainbow Dash, I believe. The core idea can work, it just needs lots and lots of time and TLC.

I'll post more in a bit. That took longer to write than I thought.

Cutting Ties With Pinkie: You really nailed Pinkie and Rarity's voices in this, and parts of it made me smile (like imagining Pinkie covering a stallion in butter). It's a fun little piece, but my biggest problem is the lack of scenery description. Almost all of it was just talking heads, and while I know you probably didn't want to wax purple, there was so little information about the setting that I had a very hard time getting anchored in this. This is especially noticeable when you flash back to Pinkie in Rarty's shop; while I eventually figured out what was going on the lack of sensory details made it a lot harder than it should have been. Just adding in that they were in the shop or some description would help anchor the reader better and make them less likely to be lost when you go to the flashbacks.

In addition, I don't know if it was simply due to time restraints, but I really wanted to see what happened with the stallion. I think this is where the meat of the story is, since that's what set the plot in motion. The idea of a woman trying to protect her friend from a lecherous creep is fairly interesting, and I think you have the potential to put in some good characterization and funny scenes in here should you elaborate on it, but as it is, I'm just left wondering what happened. Not to mention I wanna see how Pinkie got it in her head to cover a stallion in butter and his reaction, especially if he was trying to get into her non-existent pants. Even if you don't show the actual act but only the scenes leading up to and after it, it would foreshadow well Pinkie's decision to cut all of Rarity's ties, since we would see her being super literal and such. Basically, good idea and voice, but needs more description and the important scenes added into it should you choose to revise this.

>> No. 108029
Long review is long. But at the same time, it is very enlightening. And far more gracious than most of the other reviews I got. I thank you for that.

But I think you nailed the what was essentially wrong with the story. It was too short. Too short to develop any sort of meaningful relation. Too short to provide context. Too short to provide conflict. At this point, throwing words at it is the cure.

Procrastination is my downfall. Damn.
>> No. 108032
More votes!

Now Departing - 7 - A pretty solid fic that unfortunately suffered from OOC moments and POV confusion. Almost all of the fic is told from AppleBloom's POV, but Scootaloo's slips in there a couple of times, scrambling what was otherwise a very smooth character dialogue. As for character, Scootaloo is pretty much a young Rainbow Dash. I can accept her crying a little bit, but she's showing some real vulnerability in her talk with AB and her crying is pretty overt. Rainbow would hardly let any of these emotions be shown; Scootaloo I can accept being a little more emotional due to her age, but not to this extent. Apple Bloom is saying she loves and respects her family but is doing something she knows is disrespectful... this is something I would accept if you approached it from a different angle, but this way it's just a contradiction. Also, why would her family knowingly let Applebloom distress over her thinking her family wouldn't accept her decision? Seems a little cruel.
Other than those points, though, I thought this was a surprisingly powerful fic for its length. While the characters were a little OOC, it wasn't to a crippling extent. I liked the slight level of maturity that AB developed, it was necessary to make this premise work and differentiated the author's AB from the AB in the show. This is important because if a story just yanks characters from the show and does nothing with them (besides dance them around like puppets) the fic becomes flat very quickly.

The Mane Six in: Tie Fighters - 7 - An amusing crossover, this fic was fairly well executed but suffered from problems of tone and direction. I was drawn in by the beginning, but this fic, I felt, was too long and didn't vary it's tone at all. Wherein a typical story would behave more erratically switching between moments of emotion, action, and exposition, this fic just meandered through a plot comprising of action, action, and more action. I couldn't get immersed, and the length of the fic made it almost a chore to get through at times. I also had no idea where the fic was going, and really would have liked to have at least some kind of idea what was going on. In the end, though, this fic was fairly entertaining. The right lines were put in the right places, and Pinkie just kinda doing her own thing was silly as well.

Departure of a Friend - 4 - The prose of this fic unfortunately stumbled over itself a bit too often, and the ideas the author set out to show fell short of being realized. Around the middle of the fic, I was a bit confused due to lack of scene breaks.
I think the worst thing that happened to this one was its length. There were so many paragraphs that just told me how things were, when the power of the story could have been increased ten-fold if the author had shown these things instead. The connections to Luna and Pip were just assumed, the author didn't try to work them up at all. I felt like I was just assaulted with sadness. This didn't evoke the emotions it was meant to because I didn't know Luna or Pip yet. There were a lot of potential feels to be had here, but the execution didn't quite cut it.

Standing in My Shadow 6 - Props for the surprise twist and depth of character conveyed in such a short fic, but the author's prose and pacing I feel ultimately got the better of him or her. The first four paragraphs all pretty much said the same thing; I'm cursed, I'm sad, slave to fate, etc. Now there's nothing inherently wrong with that, but when you just repeat it in the style of diction you elected for, it becomes grating. Also, I understand you went for a more purple writing style, but at some points I was overwhelmed. Not every noun needs an adjective. I didn't really feel much for your protagonist. All you gave me was pity, so had some pity for her, but that never really went anywhere. I think if, perhaps, Trixie was in the position to change herself/her situation, but chose not to, the fic becomes much more interesting. With everything tied to fate, you're just going through the motions. There's no real conflict because there was never any other path to go down.

Are my reviews getting longer? I think they are.
>> No. 108033

Don't worry about it. We all procrastinate. I'm just glad I could help. Sorry if I was so wordy.
>> No. 108034
I actually really liked the fact that the author of 'Cutting Ties with Pinkie' left whatever happened specifically with the stallion out. In the end, what that stallion did doesn't matter, and I feel that by not writing it in, the author is displaying a strong sense of self-awareness with regards to their work. The important parts were that 1) a transgression happened and 2) Rarity forgave Pinkie. Including the actual transgression takes away focus from the important parts.
>> No. 108037

[?]First off, thank you, I'm happy there was at least something redeemable in this rushed abomination. Others have also mentioned that Apple Bloom's acting a little odd and I fear this is either because I completely managed to misunderstand family ties altogether, or I just failed to present my case well.

My line of thinking was that although she knew AJ has also left and returned once before, she feared that she would disappoint her family, for leaving to Canterlot. She's wrong on this(as Scoots also points it out rightfully), but it's that nagging feeling that she's not doing what (she assumes) is expected and rushes headlong into an admittedly rash decision, which is also something AJ has done before as well. The reason why the rest of the family stayed silent, in my view, is because this is pretty much the first occasion where Apple Bloom has taken such an initiative and even if she's approaching it the wrong way, she has to learn to be responsible of her decisions and their possible repercussions. With that said, they still love her, of course. She's just running from a confrontation and vehemently believes in something she should know better.

Apparently, I managed to stumble over myself a tiny bit too much with this idea. That, and/or I'm a heartless bastard.
>> No. 108038

That, AND I'm a dumbass, who's incapable of doing the 'chan.
>> No. 108040
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>>Don't worry yourself with even more sidework *brohoof*.
>...Well, too bad, I did it anyway!
Nooo~ don't do it, it's not worth the time, it's...

*plays around with the script*

Okay, actually, that's pretty sweet! Output plays nicely with the GDoc. And since the script generates its heat matchups randomly, this plays nicely with resuming later (e.g. run the script for three rounds, copy into GDoc, results aren't accurate enough, run script for another three rounds, append those to GDoc, etc). Cool stuff.
>> No. 108047
i didn't get to read anything yesterday, so i might as well throw a few feedbacks up i guess.

A Cut Above- 'Wundertoosh' is a hilarious name. 'Jacob' pretty much isn't, nor is it pony. oh dear, and your formatting ran out. oh gosh, and you actually went there. the framing tale is actually pretty amusing in and of itself, even if I saw where the 'fairy tale' was going. not a bad way to start off the reading portion of this contest.

Sins of the Sister- you really overdid the accent. i mean, "cain"? ew. i think i know where this is going. i don't really want to read a story like this, especially as long as it is. i'll say that for as much as you wrote, this looks pretty decent. it's just not my kind of story.

Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature- hooray for lyra wearing mens' clothes! this is going to be another necktie story, isn't it? yeah, this is not bad but it's really dumb. also not finished! but i'm sure you knew that.

The Mane Six in: Tie Fighters- okay really, enough with the tie-cutting, please. 10k words of this? ...oh wait, so it's going to be TIE-cutters. that's almost stupider. but this is actually kind of amusing. it falls a little flat in spots (Century Foxwhelp, the hell?), but it's not bad at all. "Windsor-Class Knotted Tie" is actually pretty hilarious, that's taking a joke in the right direction there.

Cutting Ties with Pinkie- i think this the first fic i've read that actually uses the prompt the way it was meant to be used. (edit after reading: i take this back.) unfortunately, this moves at breakneck speed and suffers from 'talking head syndrome'. it's really hard to follow the conversations because of that. it took me a while to realize that some of these are flashbacks; again, the pacing does this no favors. the idea behind is really great though, i hope you'll flesh it out after the contest.
>> No. 108052
File 134028244816.jpg - (106.94KB , 500x439 , fim_twi_human.jpg )
>mfw when math math math

Can't have this thread slow down, can we? Here's a batch of feedback. Some of these will not have scores; this is because I haven't decided where you place on the scale that is mai feelz.

Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature
The characters felt a bit wooden in the beginning, to be honest. "Sarcastically" is not what I would have used; I believe "begrudgingly" or its ilk in meaning is more accurate. There's this randumb tint to everything that happens after the opening scene, and it is in this that your biggest weakness lies: random is random when there's normality around to compare to. Bon-bon was not much of a foil, imo, so your fic ends up tasting mediocre - random, but mediocrely(?) so; though that may be because Bon-bon's signature lines, ranting about Lyra's hands obsession, are a very overplayed thing for me.

A Cut Above
The stiff upper-lip-style narration in the beginning caught my interest, and I have to say that you did a rather good job of not overdoing it. There could have been a bit more brooding on Jacob's part to build up the climax. The ending had "lolkay" written all over it, given the many improbabilities and the confounded silliness of the situation at large, but you know what? This is ultimately a fanfic of a cartoon, it was short enough to warrant me going along with it, and you managed to write something with me feeling okay about ponies have human names. Your fic had a difficult premise to work with - Pinkie being random ala nested narration - and I reckon you did the best you could with it. It's not spectacular; what I will say is that I am okay with this.

Cutting Ties with Pinkie
"Oh, look, someone's going to try and pull off a fic that suggests literal cutting ties, only for it to not be one! - owait, no, there's literal tie-cutting in here" was my first thought upon finishing. Tactical's nailed down some good points, so I'll just add some personal expansions on those. Your M2 and Sweetie Belle's voices are good. This is fortunate because apart from the dialogue, there's very little else in terms of setting, world-building and whatnot. I would have appreciated more meat on the descriptions. Rarity being mad with Pinkie? You give the conflict first and explanation later. The problem is that the rest of the fic is in between, plus all of those short scenes, broken and broken and broken, and by the time we get from Point A to Point B, we've lost that link due to all the metaphorical jumping around. There's not enough in the scenes to weigh them down as proper-feeling events in a timeline - they're just bits of dialogue. Dialogue which we can infer stuff from, yes, but still bits. While I did get the connection and stuff the first time, I feel that the driving force for Rarity being mad was extremely weak, due to said lost link. In a way, playing the series of events in a chronological manner would have killed my interest, so I'll take the chopped up scenes as a sort of necessary evil, where the good outweighs the bad. Yet again, it felt like there wasn't much you could do with the premise beyond this, but you did the best you could, and I will rate you higher than "A Cut Above", because I enjoyed inferring the backstory for myself - and I like it when an author bares his/her own work to rely on the understanding capabilities of his/her readers, risky as it may be.

What We Leave Behind
"Japonys" - cue minor facepalm. That much being said, I knew that I would like this as soon as I wrapped my head around Cloud Runner's scene. I was actually expecting more scenes like that, looking at the friends he would be leaving behind, and their various reactions betraying his different levels of significance in their lives, and I was a bit disappointed in that regard. The setting could have had more description, e.g. the Apple scene where I have near nothing to go on in terms of scenery, to add that extra vividness to the thing. Still, this is a tender, nuanced take on the prompt, and you did a fine job of it. When the contest is over, dear author, publish this. Publish this and make readers happy. Because /fic/ knows that Fimfic's full of bland crap, and what you have here is a nice little slice of warmth to share with the world. Your score is, in my mind, an evident 7/10.

"I was cast into my stone casing because of I was chosen by her." - uhhh...
"Their quite interesting"
lickerish - that's how you pronounce it, but it's spelt as "liqourice". Correct me if I'm wrong.
I have issues with Discord's voice. It's so...soft, and mopey. He's a lot more cunning in the show, a suave talker and more dynamic than this, I'd say. More lively, and confident. He's also intelligent, and that means rationalization when it comes to dealing with problems more often than not - or so I've observed from personal experience. The problem in question is Celestia not showing up, which in itself is a terribly lame way of her to deal with things. You'd think that immortality would have made Celestia more understanding when it comes to handling the emotions of another, and to spring that "There is no place for you" so suddenly? Ouch, man. The lack of rationalization - Discord immediately springing into action - portrays him as rash, which he is anything but; a bit contradictory considering that he's the spirit of chaos, but what have you? The corruption of the EoH was very smartly planned. Of course, this is all assuming that the time setting is after a long period of time for him to brood, like, say, one thousand years, which you imply is the case with " Fast forward one thousand years later and everypony that knew me is dead and gone, all the books are burned, and she teaches that I'm evil". Hearts grow cold, and I cannot quite accept that Discord would still feel anything after a rejection that happened a thousand years ago. Even so, the fact that you managed to convey all of that in 2k words is interesting to note, and the essence, the backstory is strong and sticks.

I love the Flim Flam brothers, so you get bonus points for going where very few writers have gone. You've also nailed their voices rather well, I feel. You managed to make the brothers' dialogue verbose so as to be accurate, yet not too long so as to drag. The fic was overall pleasant, if not linear in plot and sequence; you get 6/10.

The Pink Slip
It feels like there are quite a lot of commas missing in your sentences. The resolution was, eh, somewhat believable, though Mr. Cake's emotions at said point would have been a lot more mixed, rather than so quickly accepting, seeing as everything that's been happening up till then was a rush of running, regret and thinking. I felt that you didn't convey that well enough. You brought an interesting idea to the table, and you examined some relatively unexplored areas, such as Pinkie's place in the Cakes' family, as well as the business of candy-making in a candy-coloured society; you get points for tackling fresh material, even though the execution wasn't as good. Also, ohohoho *pink* slip, I see what you did there. I would have given you a high 7 if it were better-written; you get 6/10.
>> No. 108058
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My, my. So many responses, and through so many words too. (160,000+, yikes! I swear I'll read them all through and through, though.) Even still, looking at my own story's view counter, I reckon I got the short end of the stick with the placements, hehe. (Yet with barely 40 views I've already gotten so many responses, which is pretty awesome.)

Enough rambling, though. Here are all my spoiler-filled responses (not going to use spoiler tags because they're ugly):

>I like you quite a bit. You deserve another read.
Why thank you.

>Also, I think you mention things that Green shouldn't really know.
Do you have any examples? I thought I was being pretty careful with the third-person limited perspective.

>First off, I don't know how you did it but, for some reason, after reading the first few lines, I had to stop, turn on 'Two Steps From Hell - Protectors Of The Earth', then go back and start reading again with the background music. And it was epic.

>I'd like to have heard more about this 'Palmer' guy though, what's his story?
I had a piece of dialogue that I wanted to work in there, but the short of it is that his story is one he doesn't want to talk about, which is why he doesn't. The lines I wanted to have him say to Green about his past were contrary to the fact that he would ever speak them, so I left them out.

>Also, I thought Green was a bit quick to admit to her mother what she'd been doing, especially after she'd promised Palmer that she wouldn't.
I agree entirely. Everything between when Palmer begins constructing the wings to the start of the final scene is noticeably rushed.

>I really liked how it started off, but once Green started meeting with Palmer, the flow got a little bumpy. The fic just jumped from plot point to plot point without giving the significance of events time to sink in.
I am guilty of having wasted all my time on trying to make that opener perfect, followed by wasting what I had left on the ending. The general vibe I'm getting is that they were both the strongest points in the story (which is a relief). But yes, you're totally right: the meat of the story needs to be given more expansion.

>I also feel like there is a lot of symbolism available with a story concept like this, but only the 'freedom' aspect of it was really tapped.
I'd be interested in these if you're willing to expound upon this. Just reading this comment I'm sort of going “Huh?”

>>Tactical (http://www.fimfiction.net/story/33043/Cutting-Ties#comment/767628)
>The way you wrote the crash wasn't great. I found it rather weak considering what a scary event it should've been. . .
Eh, *pony shrug*

The fall happens very quickly. I can't have the narrator rambling on about it for a disproportionate amount of time just because it “should be scary”. Also, for the narration I went very heavily for an "actions only" approach. (Unfortunately I have this one irking sentence in the story that breaks this, “She wanted to crawl up into a hole and never come out,” that I have already murdered mercilessly in editing.) What would she do while falling besides scramble about in panic? Pray to Celestia? Hahaha.

>Seems like she knows all about Green and her flying, or is she a racist?
Racist? They're all earth ponies. The general feel of the scene I get is that the earth ponies have a sense of cultural pride, at the very least. However, yes, the teacher certainly knows about her failing attempt to fly. (Appleoosa is a small town.)

>You should get a little less subtle about it, whichever it is.
Eh, I quite like that scene as is. It's a little bit of manipulative sads (“Poor wittle Green, getting harassed even by her teacher”), but eh.

>[Palmer]'s got every reason to lay his story out to Green, after all.
Like I said above, he doesn't want to talk about it. :3

>The ending worked just how you wanted it to.
Phew. I really was putting all my bits into the intro/ending.

>>Pav Fiera (http://www.fimfiction.net/story/33043/Cutting-Ties#comment/777245)
>Is the MC just "Green"? For a pony, I was sorta expecting a second word in the name. "Green" by itself didn't strike me as ponyish. Loooks like she's part of the Apple family, so presumably "Green Apple", but so far no one (narrator included) has called her that.
Just Green. I don't like to think too much about names when they aren't that important. Shorter names are better just because they're quicker/easier to write/remember. Also, not all the Apples have Apple in their name, just most of them. It could just be implicit, anyway. “Green” sounds like a name to me whereas “Green Apple” sounds like you're talking about a green apple. (’tis why adj-noun pony names don't work). Bonus points for me: you get to imagine her as being green without me having to tell you she's green. Hehehe.

I had originally planned to have Betty say something about the land being green, and the skies being blue (akin to her “Apples don't fly” comment), but... well, Appleoosa doesn't really have any green, does it? Hehehe.

>Hmm, I was certainly caught off-guard with the ending. Between Palmer's dire "would you sacrifice everything?" questioning, and all of the lead-up into the free-fall, not to mention the title, I was sort of anticipating cutie mark, then splat. Which could've been poignant, though not very ponyish I suppose. Still, your ending did carry a good vibe of an earth pony overcoming their limitations. And I suppose with you presenting so many cues that this would end in failure, then pulling out an epic dive at the end, you sucessfully subverted expectations, which is always good.
After I had written the finale scene up till before “The only thing left to do. . .” I asked a friend which direction I should go. The difference between an uplifting and a crushing story was barely 200 words. He said, “It's pretty obvious from the title what's going to happen.” So I went for the uplifting ending. Besides, I read that everyone else was writing sad stories (the prompt kind of leant itself to those), so I needed some contrast from all that.

>Fridge horror: how did Palmer get the "Never give up on your dreams" letter on top of Green's bed? No wonder Apple Brown Betty didn't want Green hanging around him.
Hahaha, yes. I will tell you, at some points while writing this I thought, “Gee, this guy could totally appear like a pedo from certain perspectives.” I actually might have Betty confront him about that, though that might make the topic matter a little heavier than what I was going for (light-hearted and uplifting).

Again, thank you all so much for the comments/feedback etc. Thank you to Roger for hosting this event.
>> No. 108063
So I'm starting to feel really bad vibes - or not so much bad vibes; no feeling is bad - but a definite air of wholly justified negative that I think I can do good things with, but which is very frightening.

To put it simply, I feel like my sense of quality is broken. I'm reading a lot of stories and not liking too many, including my own. Am I just burnt out? Sour grapes over not writing as well as I'd like to think I can (and people have told me - get better critics)? I can make some guesses but won't because I'd give too much away.

Basically, what's bothering me is the theme of plot and conflict, something that I used to think I didn't care too much about (I like pretty words and credible characters), and now I've discovered it and I'm not really moved by anyone's - are we just that bad collectively, or can I not appreciate a good thing, or are my new-found standards too high or what?

I don't know. I do know that this storytelling thing is the hardest intellectual challenge I've ever tackled, harder than teaching myself calculus (the math discussion greatly amuses me). And whenever I take on a high-level intellectual project, I will hit walls like this: I become acutely, obsessively aware of a shortcoming until I fix it.

So while I might not become the next Gardez or Filler, I should stop idolizing them and button down until I can write a halfway decent short story.

And I'm getting obsessive enough to maybe not even finish reading because I do have a story that's begging to be written, the one I should have written if I didn't suck.

>> No. 108064

If it makes you feel any better, at least you had the courage to stay in the competition.
>> No. 108068
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Hello, everypony!

Just finished running a few multivariate regressions on the statistics from previous write-offs (n=60), and I've got some interesting results:

Regression sheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtsrpCk5CpXXdHFzakNpckNLTEwtcjFFMklBbGM1N2c

I sought to find out how much of the diference between stories' scores within their own competitions could be explained by these covariates (elaborated upon in the regression sheet):
Differences in number of views
Position on fimfiction
Word count
Length of the title

This is a heartening regression. The best R-squared I could eke out of the model was 0.1611, adjusted 0.0661, which indicates that most of the variation in scores is coming from variables that I haven't tested. That's exactly what we want, of course: otherwise there'd be little room for, you know, quality. The only variable of those tested of which we can be confident has explanatory power at the 95% confidence level is word count, which is also heartening if we assume a correlation between word count and effort.

The take-away here is: if anyone has a mind to complain about fimfiction placement or "hype" (as registered by numbered of views), they haven't a hoof to stand on, statistically speaking. Those things have not determined scores in the past, and there's no reason to suspect they will in the future. MOVING ON:

Regression sheet here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtsrpCk5CpXXdDlweDA1SmNqSjJySzlUN1ZnYzRTZUE

I sought to find out how much of the diference between stories' numbers of views within their own competitions could be explained by these covariates (elaborated upon in the regression sheet):
Differences in score
Position on fimfiction
Word count
Length of the title

Okay, now we're getting somewhere. The R-squared of this model is 0.557, adjusted 0.507. That's pretty damn high for something involving individual choice like clicking on a link.
Differences in score
There is a negative linear relationship between score and views at the 90% confidence level, and a positive exponential relationship at the 95% confidence level. When graphed together we get a parabola, which demonstrates that stories with higher and lower scores than average are more likely to be viewed than stories with average scores. This is understandable and expected for the stories with the highest scores in their competitions, less so for the worst, which seem to benefit from something of a "car crash" effect.

Position on fimfiction
There is little to no linear relationship between position on fimfiction and views. There is, however, a strong exponential one. This indicates two things: the obvious conclusion is that stories highest up on the fimfiction list get the highest scores. The less obvious, and quite interesting, conclusion is that since there is no linear relationship to speak of, there is no positive effect on viewcount from being at the bottom of the list. Instead, there regression would seem to indicate that stories in the middle are likely to do better than stories at the bottom.

Word count
No statistically significant effect. We might have expected there to be some sort of an effect here, but this would seem to indicate that, since word count is significantly correlated with score, the score a story gets is what drives view counts, rather than the word count.

Title length
You bastards. I threw this in as a joke, but it seems as though you people are more likely to click on stories that have higher title lengths, with significance at the 95% confidence level. Celestia damn you all.

—If you want your story to get a good score, make it ridiculously long (looking at you, "Never" author...)
—If you want your story to be read by a lot of people, bribe Roger to put it at the top of the fimfiction list, make it an actually good story that will get a high score OR make it an awful story that will get a terrible score, and (sigh) name it something stupidly long,

All righty, that concludes my less-than-rigorous report. Data below. If you have any more explanatory variables you'd like to suggest, hit me up at the email link.
Data: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AtsrpCk5CpXXdHE1ckZtUUJLU1VySWhoY0xyV3dfVnc#gid=0
>> No. 108073
More math! These are some interesting conclusions. Let's see... The only known factor affecting score, aside from quality of course, is "word count, which is also heartening if we assume a correlation between word count and effort." Excellent news.

Wait. What is this part?
>If you want your story to be read by a lot of people,
>(sigh) name it something stupidly long
Ignoring "Never" for obvious reasons, my story has the shortest title.
>bribe Roger to put it at the top of the fimfiction list
Too late for this.
>make it an actually good story that will get a
high score
Pfft lol.
>OR make it an awful story that will get a terrible score

Hey, everyone? "Thesis" is a bad story. Like, really really bad. You should all read it, so that you can talk about how bad it is. So bad.
>> No. 108075
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Some more reviews. I'll try to get these out faster, and sorry if I ramble.

Standing in my Shadow: The opening reminds me of the style of books written in the early 1900's. Maybe the prose is stilted or something, I don't know. Look at the opening of Diary of an Ex-Colored Man, as that's what it really reminds me of. I don't dislike it or anything, but I can see how it might not be for everyone.

I have two main complaints with this story, the first being the pacing, the second being the amount of sadness. I'll start with the pacing issue, as that's probably the easier to get out of the way. I really think that this could work as an introduction to a larger story, but as it is, it just kinda drags on. I spent the first three paragraphs thinking, "okay, this is nice, but what's going on and who's speaking?" It just dragged on with the narrator talking about how bad their life is and how much they hate it, which can work for a little while, but after three paragraphs of essentially the same thing over and over. I'd say cut it down a bit, and move to the main story quicker, or, if you decide to make the piece longer as a whole, put that as a prologue. Again, like Ex-Colored Man, make that the intro, and the rest of the story recollecting events, the actual events. You tend to gloss over things a lot in the story, such as the orphanage fire and the death of Trixie's friend and so forth, and without going into them you lose the effect and the reader doesn't really get a chance to feel for it.

That brings me to my next point the emotional response, the sadness. I'm sorry to say, but it was very hard to feel much anything. I know all writing is emotionally manipulative, but good writing hides it, and here it just feels like I'm being assualted with one thing after another just to make me feel sad. That's the problem, paradoxically: there's too much sad here, and cutting out some would actually make the fic more emotional for me.

Let me explain. Right now, the fic is simply one bad thing happening after another with no measure of happiness. I understand that feel and how it can suck, and I know you reference as much in the beginning of the story, so I get what you're trying to do. A feeling of hopelessness, of not having anything you do go right, that's depressing, and I get that. However, right here, the reader is not given a break from all the sadness. It just piles up and the reader is so innundated that they eventually become detached from the story, and unfortunately, this detachment comes through cynicism and a lack of suspension of disbelief, so then you run the risk fo readers seing your poignant parts, rolling their eyes, and thinking, "Great, more angst."

Now, like I said, the way to fix this is to remove some sad, and, actually, add some happy bits into Trixie's story. I don't mean you have to make it a comedy or anything, but cut her some breaks, allow her to enjoy happiness every once in awhile. The thing is, in life, even if you have a really shitty life, there will always be those brief moments of joy, of happiness, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. There are spots of hope--and those spots of hope make things more tragic. See, by showing happiness, not only do you give the reader a break from the sad and make things seem more believable, your sad parts seem a lot sadder in comparison since they crush the optimism that preceeded them. That's one of the most distressing things in life, feeling like you can't have good things because they're torn away from you when you get comfortable with them.

I know you are trying to do this, what with Trixie saying that she did have brief moments of happiness and with the scene of her sneaking her friends into the magic show, but as I said before, these moments are very few and they are quickly glossed over. What you need to do--in fact, this goes with all the other scenes in the fic--you need to go in depth and recount these tales, what happened, and show us how things happened. I don't even know how Trixie's friend died, or why it was Trixie's fault that the magician was in Ponyville. This could be one of the strongest moments in your fic in that it shows the reversal and snatches hope away from the reader--imagine Trixie's smiles and joy turning to pure horror in just a few minutes as she watches her friend torn from her--but we don't get that.

Along those lines, I think you should soften up the orphanage scenes some. I just find it hard to believe that everyone forever would hate Trixie--I know kids can be huge dicks, but I can't imagine all of them being that spiteful. The fire, too, needs to be explained, why it happened, why Trixie thinks it's her fault, and probably you don't have to kill every other pony in the orphanage. Simply expand the story more, add in more scenes from the various stages of her life about how she gets by, good times and bad. Buffer the sadness with small bits of happiness or at least pseudo-normalcy, and let us get deeper into Trixie's head to see how her guilt complex really comes about, how it affects her.

One last thing I'll mention, but I don't think you really need the scene with the Ursa Major wrecking Ponyville. Not only does it completely deviate from canon--Trixie's backstory stretches it very thin, but can at least be somehow explained--it just seems tacked on and extraneous. I know you want something to push Trixie over the edge, but I don't think that's the push you are looking for.

Departure of a Friend A fic about Luna and Pipsqueak's friendship and how Luna's immortality will eventually seperate them. Well, I hate to say it, but I'm not entirely sure what all to say about this story. I do have a few suggestions, though.

Firstly, get rid of the memes. I know that in life people want to reflect on good times and jokes, and like I said with Shadow, some lightheartedness and hope is needed in every sad story to make the sadness more poignant. However, making references to memes is not the way to do it. They lose those who have no idea what the memes are, and to those that are familiar with them it pulls them out of the story and it just seems unoriginal. They really do your story no favors. Remove them and replace them with your own original anecdotes.

Another thing you might want to consider doing is make Pipsqueak able to talk. I'm not saying you have to make him not sick, but I think your story could benefit from both characters interacting, instead of one talking at the other. That way, you can have Luna and Pip swap stories, recollect on the old days, Pip can ask questions, and we get a better feel of how he feels about this. Is he resigned to his fate? Does he understand it? Is he angry, sad, happy? When Luna says they'll meet again, does he believe her? It's harder to lie to a friend's face when they can talk back, after all. This gives you more oppurtunity to flesh out their relationship and make it personal between the two.

Other than that, there's not much else. I would suggest considering not having Pip die at the end--the finality can be accomplished just by the fact that both or one recognize that Pip is not going to be around much longer--but that's probably just personal preference. I can suggest things, but I really don't know what to fix that would make this fic any different than your standard Pip/Luna friendship tainted by Luna's immortality fic. I mean the fact that Pip is dying of illness and not old age is a bit of a change, but other than that, I'm having a hard time finding things that are memorable. I apologize that I can't help more, and maybe I just need to give it a few more reads. I don't know.
>> No. 108076
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oh no! he's onto us, RUN!
>> No. 108078
Five at a time, I figure. Here we go:

Only Half
* Enjoyed the story very much.
* One of the few stories that both didn't need to be very long and was, appropriately, not very long.
* Some of the imagery was a teeny bit cringe worthy (by this I refer to a half-eaten bowl of cereal).
* I find myself grappling with Silver Spoon's thought process here, in retrospect. We assume to some degree that a similar (if not identical) thought process is happening with her in parallel to what we see of Diamond Tiara's, but Spoon does come across in the opening exchange as the vicious one. Her change of heart is understandable, of course, but the speed with which she's able to shift the blame onto Diamond Tiara feels a bit too quick and easy for her, especially if she's actually affected by what happened to Scoots.

A Cut Above
* I laughed out loud in a hotel room and woke my parents up. Fuck the haters.
* The whole Pinkie and Rarity thing was very "dafuq". I don't know why it was there, and it wasn't nearly as funny as those smashing Wondertushes. I say throw it away.
* I bet if you asked Roger, he'd fix that italics derp for you.
* A bunch of mechanical errors, but that's to be expected.
* "In an act of buff defiance . . ." wat

* This story is being overrated, but it's very good nonetheless.
* Believable and compelling characterization of Celestia, which of course was the goal. And as the goal, it was most definitely reached. But I think Luna's suffers, probably from neglect by the author. Luna feels like a schizophrenic throughout (not in the "she's about to get sent TO THE MOON" way), and we never quite get much indication of how she's progressing. It seems like her development is a plot device, throwing Celestia every which way and basically double-helixing with hers (as Celestia grows soft, Luna hardens up, and vice-versa). It's fine for hers to be a plot device, if that's what you want it to be, but you give her enough stabs at development that she feels tugged between being a character and serving as a plot device to antagonize Celestia.
* This story could have been 5,000 words shorter and wouldn't have suffered much at all. That means that it probably ought to be shortened. Specifically: I felt Scootaloo added very little, I think you could probably find a way to merge two of the apprentice's deaths, and dat ending—lotsa unnecessary talk.
* Some weird—and occasionally downright bizarre—description:
"Her pupils shrunk, as if bearing down the enormity of time's deathly hall of mirrors."
"Princess Celestia stood on the bow of the Dawnmist, staring out at the gray expanse into which her Father once dove, never to return, so that she wondered if she too had become the master of a domain as insignificant as a blink in a cosmic equine's eye."
"Celestia's wings flexed, and for a brief moment her voice carried the neutral and majestic power of thunder rolling backwards."
* Dose scene transitions. I have to disagree with SLP here: I really didn't like them very much. One or two made sense, but going from picking up a bowl of celery to walking through a mausoleum? The connection really isn't there, nor is there any meaningful contrast.

Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature
>What the buck just happened? she thought, furrowing her eyebrows.
I agree with Lyra.
* I laughed at the opening, and didn't really laugh again. I feel like this was probably written in an hour or so, so I'm not too worried about saying that it didn't really do what it needed to do to be funny.

What We Leave Behind
* D'aww.
* notbad.jpg
* Some mechanical errors that I'm too lazy to pick out at the moment.
>Goes off to say goodbye to all his friends
>Sees one highly uninterested dude and an old guy who sells apples
* Velvet Glitter sounds like a perky pornstar name. I'm actually afraid to google it. She's a bit schizo as well. Yelling at hired workers and calling them lazy bums, no matter how kidding or joking, isn't something that a nice person would do. Even as a joke, it's quite bitchy. Imagine going to a McDonalds, and as they're making your food, you yell over the counter, "come on, you lazy bums!" Awesome? Possibly. But not nice.
* That ending was dragged out a bit longer than it needed to be.
* I'm nitpicking because this is a good story and I'm finding it hard to come up with major criticisms. That's a good sign. This'll probably end up with a high score from me.
>> No. 108099
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>Am I just burnt out?
Entirely possible. If you've been doing tons of fic reading recently (which is likely, thanks to the number of entries here), if you've been writing a lot, if you've been obsessing over your own writing... maybe take a short break after the competition? A week away from things can do wonders in terms of refreshing your mind.

>plot and conflict
>I'm not really moved by anyone's
>are we just that bad collectively, or can I not appreciate a good thing, or are my new-found standards too high or what?
All of the above, perhaps. Most-if-not-all of us are amateurs. The fics in this competition were written on a time crunch, keep in mind, so they likely aren't the most riveting plots on FimFiction. And certainly, as you read more and especially write more, flaws in writing become more visible and distracting. Something you enjoyed six months ago might now appear amateurish. Such is life, I suppose.

>So while I might not become the next Gardez or Filler, I should stop idolizing them and button down until I can write a halfway decent short story.
Pretty much this. In some other thread, I compared writing to golf. True, you can play in a competitive tournament *coughthisthread*, but typically, it's much more about yourself vs the course, and yourself vs yourself. As long as you're looking to constantly improve, only good things can happen.
>> No. 108123

Thanks. I plan to write a treatment tomorrow and not worry about voting for a day or two. We've got a fair bit of time, and I'm about halfway through, so no real problem.

Actually, I'm taking my negative feedback here as a challenge. I wish we did writing-to-prompt more often, too. All things to let my subconscious mull over.

/hugs back
>> No. 108126
Alright... let's get some more reviews out there.

Regrets - 5 - Another fic that starts to build up steam but fails execution of some of its more important scenes, taking the wind out of its sails and flattening the emotional impact it was meant to have. There were times I was really questioning RD's character. First was the Wonderbolt's scene. She's about to cry mere sentences into it. I understand she's much younger, but this is awful quick for RD. I suppose I can accept it, but the author is really walking the line. Then RD avoids confrontation. That's not RD at all, I think. Parts of your dialogue were rigid, like it wasn't any different from the diction in your exposition/action segments. It's very important for speech to carry character in it. What really deflated me was Dash's confrontation with her father. Understandably, it was rushed due to time constraints but still didn't deliver the punch it needed to. I didn't know young RD or her father well enough, and the scene felt it was only necessary. It didn't feel meshed well with the rest of the fic. I really wanted you to expand on the thread of thought with Sunny Day: that had me interested... but it didn't go anywhere. The sum of all of these things dissipated the ending's emotional punch before I even finished.

Long Live the Queen - 7 - This one got me more immersed than most of the other fics I've read in this competition. That said, there were still weaknesses that kept this fic from being as good as it could have been. First off, your propensity to avoid pronouns/proper nouns was more than a little distracting. The very sudden threat from the sun burning the world to a crisp was a bit off-setting. It felt like it didn't really fit. Perhaps a happier moment of Twi taking pride in controlling the sun for the first time would have been a good contrast to the sad ending. The scene with 'Lulu' turned Twi into a talking head meant to showcase the character Lulu. While Lulu was quite interesting, I feel the scene could have been more powerful with two ponies of rivaling intellect talking. Turning all of the mane 6 into alicorns, I felt, was a clear example of the author going easy on his or her characters. You can't have a compelling story if you try to avoid suffering and conflict, and that could have been a major source of both. The ending was... good, but disappointing. The sadness of the ending is not the same sadness the author was building up with the story! The end focused on how Twilight and those of her era were forgotten, showcasing a hopelessness that no matter how wonderful and majestic a life is, it will be lost in time. The author also added a really neat nugget of hope as well, giving the OC a chance to pass the knowledge on. However, the message that was built up was about change, breaking from the known, cutting ties with friends of the now, and growing in necessity. No one [except Tia and to a lesser extent Luna] expressed concern with what the future would bring, they were very focused on the now. That definitely hurt the closing paragraphs. Either way, the author crafted an interesting story with a meaningful message.

Curse, Bless Me Now - 8 - I'm gonna try to keep this one shorter. This was a pretty solid story, though there were a few things that kinda tugged at me while reading. Gumshoe was not well-defined until pretty much the end of the fic, which is odd considering how much time I spent with him. I didn't like that Celestia said she watches over the town, but I think that's just a personal preference. The antagonist's motivations were clear enough, but the cause of the series of crimes was not. I didn't feel for the antagonist all that much either. Very entertaining overall.

Resurgence - 7 - Low-hanging fruit that tastes sweet nonetheless. I was less than excited about this premise. It's not the first nor the last fic I'll see about Luna's fear of herself. Unfortunately, the author made the one generic part of this premise - Luna's fear - the strongest. I found myself reading about fear over and over. I'd like to say that alone, there is no problem with this... but it cannot be general/generic fear. It must be specific. Not just specific to Luna, but specific to the author's Luna. The former was followed to an extent, but not the latter. Celestia also seemed a bit generic as well. My advice to the author: stop worrying about the audience so much and make it YOUR story, not A story. You've certainly got the chops.

That's all for today.

I just read the fimfiction comments, and I find myself wishing Ezn had posted here. He brings up something about my fic that I really want to talk about. Gah, oh well.
>> No. 108128
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>I'd be interested in these if you're willing to expound upon this. Just reading this comment I'm sort of going “Huh?”

You... you want me to get philosophical? I don't know if you know what you're asking. Because I will write a goddamn 30 page essay on the possible themes here. Not because I feel like you missed that much, but because I'm that passionate about abstract subjects.

First things first, though; in order for me to waste your time with my ramblings on the subject, I'll need you to answer a question: What theme(s) did you mean to show in your fic when you started writing, and what themes do you think your fic ended up showing (if the two are different)?
>> No. 108131

> In some other thread, I compared writing to golf.

Looks like we're about to find out who's our Tiger Woods, then.

>> No. 108134

Glad you liked it! I'm particularly happy for your specific criticisms-- I too think this has potential and should be polished-- and I'm also glad that you liked what I did with Lulu.

Regarding me going too easy on my characters. My official excuse is that the six Elements should stay together. My headcanon (actually it's close to being canon) is that the elements are inextricably linked to their bearers.

The more honest excuse is that I pounded out most of the story in a last-minute burst and felt I didn't have time to do justice to the fact that Twi had lost her friends as well as Tia.
>> No. 108137
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I'd imagine he's checking this thread. I mean, I've discussed my FimFic comments in more detail here, so I'm sure the two of you could too.

Hey now, I don't have a sex problem; I just have a lot of love to give.

Seriously though, "Never" made me weep like a filly
>> No. 108138
Finished reading the stories and voted yesterday evening. Good work, everyone who wrote, even the folks who wrote things I didn't like -- my comments are at least partially coloured by my tastes and opinions, and the important thing is that you wrote something that you can feedback on and use to improve.

It was really hard to pick a top five because there's a whole cluster of really solid fics right at the top. But what the hay, let's go:
1. Never
2. What We Leave Behind
3. Only Half
4. Thesis
5. His Other Self

Again, well done everyone.

I'm watching this thread, so we can totes talk here.
>> No. 108144
In my original draft the head of the story read: "No dream worth having was ever gonna come easy." I removed it since it didn't seem to fit too well with the narrator used.

The theme I meant to convey was of independence, freedom, and not letting others tell you what you can or cannot do (cheesy, I know). I think the story conveyed this well enough, but not as well as I would have liked it to have as, as said already, the meat of the story needs expansion to make the road a little tougher for Green.

I would very much be interested in hearing what other themes you saw in it.
>> No. 108145
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>>—If you want your story to get a good score, make it ridiculously long (looking at you, "Never" author...)
>> No. 108157
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Departure of a Friend: 3 — Blegh. I had two major gripes with this story: first, that it wasn't mechanically great. There were several instances of LUS, SDT, and just complete instances where I wondered if you'd bothered to edit at all. Tense mistakes and grammatical errors abounded. I also shared EZN's distaste for the memetic aspects, but that wasn't the worst part. What I definitely did not like was how this aimed to be a sadfic, but never really delivered. You set up a scene: Pipsqueak, a young colt is dying, and Luna is going to see him. You gave us the characters in their positions, ready to be used. But then…that was it. There wasn't a narrative. There wasn't a progression that really tugged at the reader's heartstrings. Pip never felt like a real character to me, merely a plot device meant to evoke feels. You could've done a lot more to focus on his endless excitement for life (and his mortality) versus Luna's own tiredness and need for the wisdom that mortal ponies can bring. There was a whole, rich experience here that you could have had, and, if I may be allowed to poke at the topic itself, I would say that the worst issue was that you made it a child Pip, dying of cancer or somesuch, versus an older, richer Pipsqueak, who had lived—or not lived—with Luna, and was looking back on the wonders that he had experienced. There was so much you could have had, but it just wasn't there.

The Mane Six In : Tie Fighters: 5. Blargh. Yet again, I must start this comment with a verbal exclamation. The source of this comes from the fact that I had a love/hate relationship with this fic. On the whole, I found it readable and, in some cases, even enjoyable. Many of your jokes or nods had me cracking up, and the puns (along with many of the hilarious ideas, such as MasterJedi!Gummy) were really well-done. The ultimate problem, I think, came from the same direction. This was meant to be a parody/comedy fic, but in the end (though especially at the beginning), it looked extremely unoriginal, with nothing more than some dialogue and character names swapped out. Up until about halfway through, you could've matched each character and scene (!) with its Star Wars equivalent. Your writing was often quite choppy, and I really felt that I was reading a bastardized movie script rather than a real story. One moment I would be laughing, and the next I would be wincing as you made a halfhearted attempt to address some form of plot. Another gripe would be that I couldn't see at all how you actually addressed the prompt, so you lost points there. In general, by cleaning up a lot of this story that didn't need to be there, and making the whole thing a lot simpler and more streamlined, you could actually have a good comedy fic. You'd have a lot of work to do first, though.

Now Departing: 6. I did enjoy parts of this story, but I found myself wanting to know a lot more. I realize that time constraints may have made it difficult, but I wanted to see more of Zecora, or of the acceptance process, or what have you. It felt like we got a bit too much dumped on us at once. As a sad/reflective fic, it worked fairly well, but you had a big problem with unclear writing (I wasn't sure why Sweetie wasn't there, and what the problem was), along with general weirdness of idea. Apple Bloom going to study herbalism and alchemy in Canterlot is an interesting and fairly original idea, but I was irritatingly curious how in the heck she had managed it without anyone in her family finding out, and why she thought they would disapprove anyway. I got a bit too caught up in the "How did she manage to do this—and apply to a private school!—as a young filly, and without any other assistance?" There was a big shadow by plot issues over the characters, which was a real shame because I felt that the CMCs were IC throughout. Just as a note, but to strengthen the tie to the prompt, you might want to put more emphasis on Apple Blooms' reluctance to leave the Apple Family lifestyle versus her excitement at following her own interests and dreams, and how she ultimately chooses.
>> No. 108169
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Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature: Oh dear. I don't quite know where to start with this one. I think the biggest thing would be the ending. I don't know if you were under time constraints or you just gave up or what. It almost makes me wonder if I'm reading a trollfic (my apologies if it's not meant to be a trollfic, but with that ending I can't help but be suspicious). Regardless, all fics are legit until proven otherwise, so let's move onto trying to fix it up.

First and foremost, that ending has got to go, no questions asked. Anything funny or interesting you had beforehand it kills ruthlessly. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's move onto the main thing I think could be improved in this story, the prompt relevance.

This may sound weird, but I find your story ties in too closely with the prompt. What I mean is, if this story were to stand alone outside of this contest, it...well, it couldn't. Everything revolves around making that critical joke on the prompt, and when you remove that aspect it just crumples. Ideally, I think, a story should be able to stand on its own without relying on some sort of meta thing or required knowledge outside of canon to work. This is why crossovers are so hard to write well. If I were to read this story without the context of the contest, I would have no idea what was going on, or why there are even ties in the first place.

I think the easiest way to fix this, if you want to revise this story but keep the core theme, is to loosen up on the prompt. I think maybe a good way would be to go to something more general, like clothes instead of ties specifically. If the story is about clothes constantly being destroyed instead of a joke on cutting ties, then it becomes far more accessible and you can do a lot more with it, and thus you can start on making it longer and more involved.This means making the Tie Cutter something different than just the Tie Cutter, maybe some sort of generic clothes destroying monster?

Other than that, I would consider expanding the fic more and adding in more scenes of Lyra's distress. Set ups like this only really work if the antagonist continues to pester the main character, setting up a series of annoyances where the main character is blamed time and time again for something she did not do and no one believes her explanation because it is so out there. Cassandra Truth, in a sense, I guess. I wanna see the strain it puts on Lyra and Bon Bon's relationship and how Lyra reacts trying as hard as she can to catch this beast. Does it strike anyone else? Is it something that has been known to attack ponies' clothes before? Is there a way to stop it? These are questions you should ask.

So, in a nutshell, get rid of the ending, don't rely so heavily on the prompt, and bring the antagonist back repeatedly to torment poor Lyra.

Only Half: Wow. This story set out to deliver feels and it did so excellently. The idea of a lonely rich kid wondering who her real friends are isn't exactly a new concept, but you pulled it off well here and had me empathizing with a character I despise. We get a feel for why she acts the way she acts and although the reader cannot forgive her, we can at least recognize her. I think the really sad thing, aside from that ending (which, by the way, I loved to death. It's like when you go to break up with your girlfriend and she dumps you first, and even though you wanted out you're hurt 'cause you're the one who wound up being the "loser") was the solemn realization that Diamond Tiara is, ultimately, pathetic. You feel sorry for her, but not in the way that you forgive her her sins. It's a chilling thought. Also, I'm glad you didn't just flat out kill Scootaloo, as you didn't need to--the trauma is enough, and I think the idea that Diamond Tiara will have to inevitably face her again is terrifying for the filly and it gives a sense of real dread.

But a review isn't just to praise a story endlessly, is it? I'd be doing a disservice if I didn't try to find some way you could improve this. I don't have much to say, though; people have already picked up on Diamond Tiara's self awareness so I won't mention that again. One thing I would like to see, if you consider revising this story, is more of the consequences of Scootaloo's accident. You already set up the fact that Diamond Tiara doesn't really trust anyone else to be her friend, and thinks that people just use her for her status and money, and this is a perfect way to show that. People spread rumors and talk behind people's back--that's just how people are. I want to see Diamond Tiara's paranoia justified--maybe people begin to avoid her more than usual after the accident, or she catches foals whispering to each other secretively and giving her scared, disgusted, or pitying looks. I also want to see more of how ponies treat her beforehand when Silver Spoon is not around, that air of distance. Show ponies smoozing up to her just to be popular or ask for favors and things like that, then disappear completely after the accident. One last thing I'd like to see more of is Diamond Tiara and Filthy Rich's relationship. You hint at that they're very distant from each other, the type of parent who thinks throwing money at a child can replace a loving relationship. I want to see more of that in here; maybe when Filthy finally gets home he barely even talks to his daughter before moving onto more business plans. And what does he do when he finds out about the accident? Maybe get angry, but I think the best thing might be for him to do absolutely nothing--just continue to ignore his daughter more, not even giving the curteousy of recognizing her horrible doings. No attention is worse than bad attention, after all.

In short, great story, loved it to death. Just need to expand on a few things and you're golden.

A Cut Above: This is another one I don't really know much to say about. Not because I didn't like it--in fact I found it rather funny--just that there's something...off about it that I can't put my finger on and it prevents me from really thinking it's gold, but at the same time I can't put it to words so I don't know how to help you fix it. Perhaps I just need to read some more, I don't know.

I personally love the story in the beginning--the fairytale feel just makes it a lot funnier, like some sort of even weirder Dr. Seuss book. The ending also made me laugh--I'm not entirely sure if it was all in character, but it was absurd like something out of early ATHF, a kind of refuge in audacity if you will. If I were to make one suggestion, I would say think about making things even more absurd, so you can have even more refuge.

Cocerning the two parts, though, I have to admit you can have the story with both parts or just the first standalone, as either works. I honestly don't know how you should go about this, though.

In short, funny story, I liked it, but there's something about it I just don't like that I can't put my finger on. Sorry I can't help more, and hopefully another reviewer will be better able to assist you.
>> No. 108208
Last batch of reviews. No one will have to listen to my incessant ramblings any more after this.

What We Leave Behind - 7 - I want to gag right now. The wonderful execution of this fic was marred by the horrendously stereotypical structure. I understand we're in Equestria where things are a bit more idealistic than Earth, but this was generic and nearly soulless. I could see every scene really well in my mind. The author did a fine job of world-building and conveying the emotions of each character. The part when Shining talks with his friend is stupendous, but outside of that scene... where are you, author?? There's no you in here! I've seen that brother-sister relationship a hundred times. I've seen that mother-son relationship a hundred times. I've seen that boyfriend-girlfriend relationship a hundred times. This fic could have absolutely blown me away, but it comes up just entertaining me.

Memories - 7 - As with all fics that involve a romantic relationship, one of the pillars of the believability and immersion is that the relationship is given appropriate cause of origin. That is notably absent in this fic, which I feel could have made it much stronger. I did enjoy how Discord was built up, and how he gave a perspective that I could tell was inherently flawed, revealing the character flaws underneath. I would have like to know a bit more about why Celestia broke away, but I can live with what you gave me. Not bad.

Overthinking It - 7 or 8 - Ugh, I cannot make up my mind about this one! Every time I think I love it, something disappoints me. Every time I think I'm done with it, the author does something awesome. Let's go through the history of my poor, tortured mind:

"...the gentle babble of the brook..."

coherent, interesting mental dialogue

repetitive sighs

"Ah, I completely understand. Mosquitos are quite irritable."

original, genuine nightmare

Twilight becomes a machine of repetitive arguments against herself (excluding the 'freak' one, that's core of her insecurity)

Well-crafted, in-character interaction between Twi and Fluttershy

Twi's argument for not telling Fluttershy is generic.

"I’m Twilight Sparkle. I don’t take risks like that."
>love love love

Didn't explain the cause of Twi's feelings for Fluttershy and vice versa

In the end, I'll probably give this one an 8... but make the decision easier on me next time! /spoiler]

Sins of the Sister - [spoiler] 6 - A suspense story that ended up feeling more like slice-of-life. There was a hook, but it waned long before the fic ended. The conflict was also ended with force, making the resolution bland. I liked it much more when Applejack seemed helpless, and would have loved to see her think up a more creative way out of the situation. Apple Bloom seems to be the one the reader follows for most of the first half of the fic, but then her story suddenly becomes a minor part of the plot. I think this story needed a clear route from its beginning to its end.

Will respond tomorrow. Too tired atm.
>> No. 108244
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Thing seem to be slowing down here. I hope my reviews are helpful.

Out of curiosity, how many people here are planning on revising their stories and trying to send them off to EqD or elsewhere after this contest wraps up? It might be a bit too early to ask that, but like I said I'm curious.
>> No. 108248
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I'll definitely be doing that. No reason not to, after all.

Though I'll wait until the author of "Never" is finished hogging the Featured box. SS&E, you bastard...
>> No. 108249
>> No. 108258
Mine's far too short for EqD, but I may tidy it up before posting it in other places. From the sounds of it, you guys think my story is a nice short read :D

Though I'm debating whether to lop off the ending with Pinkie and Rarity or not. You guys seem conflicted over that xP
>> No. 108259

Definitely will be.
>> No. 108272

Definitely. Will need some expansion and bugfixes, but I'm definitely giving it a shot. Herbalist Apple Bloom shall reign supreme.
>> No. 108282
Oh, wow, it seems like I'm the only one not revising! Well I think a lot of these stories are goo, and the ones that need some work will be great after they're fixed, so I look forward to them!
>> No. 108284
Okay. Let's jump right into these.

Overthinking It:
I had to reread the first page before I figured out which character was under focus, or whether you were shuttling between them. It was a bit unsettling. A couple of cringe-worthy grammar problems, especially considering it's Twilight who's speaking. I appreciate descriptive language as much as the next reader, but some of it was overwrought, counterproductive, or just odd. Some of the dialogue was stiff, and some repetition. The time jump needs to be clearer. Broader stuff: it was a cute story, and you get some d'awws from me. I can believe that Twilight would continually second-guess herself like this. The shipping, though. We're just thrown into it without any kind of justification that either would feel that way. The relationship doesn't grow—it just is. Fluttershy's being the assertive one? Really? And she's reassuring Twilight that the relationship could work through visits WHEN IT WOULD HAVE WORKED EVEN MORE EASILY IF SHE'D STAYED! Also, sadfic. Expect to see a lot of these. We'll see if it stands out. Aside from some nagging mechanical things, the writing is good. Should finish in the top half, at least.

...And that's it. I'm out of steam. I wrote that review 5 days ago, and at this point it's clear that I just have zero motivation to continue. I'm not even going to make it through reading enough of them to vote. I hope that at least the one author finds this useful.
>> No. 108329
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Alright, I think I understand your comment on my fic. You didn't like how Sweet didn't go to the hospital right after the accident, correct? Or was it that you didn't like how no one ever mentioned it after the fact?

Here's what was going through my head during that part:
Sweet chose 'flight'; her actions are dominated by instinct for a while, and instinct is simply 'get away', it can't really get any more complicated than that. Heading to the hospital could only come in after she has her first moment of lucidity. When she does actually start assessing what happened (still running home at this time), she acknowledges that she should get help, but the trama of the event has blocked rationality from her mind. She wants to get away from everything even remotely related. She wants to feel safe, and the only place for that, to her, is at home. In this way, it's actually (attempted) character development: Sweet is flawed in her selfishness. That's one of the reasons why her actions later—helping Glass—are so significant.
Sweet never attempts to get help because she's already accepted failure. The fact that she could help Glass and lessen the negative impact her inaction never even entered her mind. To her, she's a terrible pony and there's nothing to change that. Kind of like a normal person would never think about spontaneously dancing in public. Sure, you could, but that thought doesn't even occur to the average person on a regular day. As for Bon Bon never suggesting it: she doesn't know the details, and she doesn't care. All she knows is that Sweet is sad and Bon Bon wants to make her feel better. It's very cut and dry to her. Plus, the entire point of their conversation and subsequent activities is to get Glass and the event out of their minds.

I will admit, however, the weakest area of my story's plot is centered around this event. I never said how Glass got from the ground, screaming in pain, to the wheelchair. There are ways to explain it, but that's just getting subjective. It's certainly something I'm not happy with, but I was approaching the deadline and had to make choices on what to work on and what I had to just gloss over. I did what I could with the time I had. I never thought my fic would get so dang long, so I had to make sacrifices.

Anyway, that's all I have to say about it. I'm glad you liked it.
I wasn't exactly satisfied with it. Too many things I wanted to fix.
>> No. 108347
I want to get my story to EqD solely to prove that I can actually write a sadfic.
>> No. 108386
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Minor thought while reading: the original rules stated that fics must adhere to the rulesets of Ponychan and FimFiction. Later on, we decided to officially add EqD's rules to that list for next time. However, EqD and FimFic have different minimum lengths. We'll likely need to explicitly clarify any conflicts like this between the three different rulesets. FWIW, 6 of the 29 entries (plus the DQ'd) are too short for EqD, so I'd presume we'd use the more generous minimum wordcount in the future. *shrug*
>> No. 108396
i think it was pretty obvious that rule was meant for content, not length
>> No. 108401
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I may consider raising the word count to be in line with EquestriaDaily's so that we don't have as many joke entries.
>> No. 108407
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I've never actually had a problem with joke entries, but I guess that's just me.

I was hoping to get through all the fics and review them before voting ends but I'm not sure if it's going to happen now.
>> No. 108412
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>MFW I've finally finished reading and reviewing

Whew! That was exhausting, but rewarding! There were a ton of talented entries in the running. The fact that the pre-registration had so many new names was extremely exciting, as I mentioned last thread. I hope that some of these newcomers are responsible for some of the best entries! I hope everyone had fun! I hope my rambling comments on FimFic were constructive and useful, whether or not I personally cared for your story! I hope this migraine goes away!

Thanks once again to Roger for not only organizing this whole operation, but for putting together the blasted GDoc and perl script. Picking my favorites out of the top 10 or so was excruciatingly difficult, which is a terrific problem to have. But, for how much I've blathered on, I feel obligated to follow the lead of others here, and list off my fave five.

Inb4 someone is all "bla bla, now we know you didn't write these". A) No one cares which one I wrote, and 2) I wrote all five of these, so shut up.

#5—Y'know what? Disregard the haters. All of them. My #5 goes to The Note. Deal with it. My opinions on this piece did a complete 180 in the middle of reading, in an unprecedented and thoroughly hilarious manner. The author had steel stallion cajones to attempt a stunt like this, and at least for me, it paid off. To top it off, there was great characterization and humor throughout. This simply had to be in my top five.
#4—While its premise might be a bit overdone, Resurgenge gripped me with the way in which the author handled Celestia and Luna's relationship, as well as Luna's inner doubts. In the end, Luna found the answers within herself in a very cathartic and heartwarming manner. I really enjoyed this one.
#3—I can get weepy at movies sometimes. Few stray tears well up, and I quickly wipe 'em away before the lights come up and my friends notice. But I don't recall the last time that a work of fiction has made me bury my face in my hands and sob for several minutes. Such was the case with Never. Further, this was amazing to have been whipped together in a single weekend, and it was a thought-provoking character study into Celestia and Luna's past. So why the heck is this down in third place? First, while the ending touched me dearly, and this is certainly a credit to the author, I can't shake the nagging feeling that it would have not had a fraction of the impact if an OC had died at the end, rather than, y'know. Second, and biggest of all, that prose. I found myself gripped by this story at so many points, and yet, I'd hit a particularly nasty pocket of purple, and bam, my immersion is gone. Fics that I ranked as low as #17 in this competition did not share this issue; that is a problem. This author could have such a larger following if they could address this. It's a shame, really.
#2—As a rule of thumb, if a fic makes me mutter exclaimations under my breath (e.g. "omigawd..."), that's typically a good sign. If it makes me drop my jaw in silence, as was the case with Only Half's ending, that's an excellent sign. The author was slowly twisting a dagger throughout the entire piece, and yet, the ending blindsided me and took the emotional impact in a completely unexpected direction. It definitely feels like the author could have made this longer, yet showed very mature restraint and kept this at just the right length. Well done.
#1—Comparing #1 and #2 was the hardest decision of them all. #2 (and #3 for that matter) gave me such a huge feel at the end. No Foals had a touching ending to a lesser extent, but it had such emotion throughout the entire piece that I just had to give it top honors. Without simply copy-pasting my FimFic comment here, I adored the bleakness that this author painted. I don't enjoy the suffering of AppleDash shippers or anything crazy like that. I just loved how soul-crushing this felt. This to me felt like a true subversion of FIM's feel-good values, something which all the grimdark and sex in the world couldn't hope to accomplish. And yet, the whole deal was wrapped up in a bittersweet, cautiously-optimistic ending. Additionally, it was a delightful character study of Rainbow Dash, with a nice twinge of unreliable narrator. Loved it.

And there we go! Like I said, I loved many more fics than just these five, so a hearty congrats to everyone who entered. I can't wait to see the final results! Now, off to lurk-mode with me.
>> No. 108430
File 134059492644.jpg - (85.25KB , 1000x933 , I_wut.jpg )

I spent about 20-30 minutes searching for the appropriate image to encapsulate "mfw," and I believe this is adequate enough.
>> No. 108435
So I decided to blame burnout and take the weekend to recuperate, watch a bunch of TV with my mother (who I don't see nearly enough of). Modern Family is bleedin' hilarious - we died over the Meryl Streep joke.

Then I sat down and plugged away at new-story for a while.

In short, I'm ready to jump back into reading tomorrow and then I read...

it appears that's what I have down there. I'm glad my extremely abstract sense of gonzo humor actually worked for at least one other person.

For those who didn't get it, the joke is that everypony has her own perspective of the situation: AB thinks it's an errand, Scootaloo jumps at the chance to go exploring, AJ has a guilty conscience, RD thinks it's a thriller, Twilight obsesses over the Problem, etc. etc., and Pinkie (at once telling the story and reading it over your shoulder) thinks all those misunderstandings add up to a huge joke. The fact that Pinkie's telling it really calls into question whether it really happened or if she's just exaggerating her own perspective of her friends - and forces readers to form their own interpretation as well.

Thus the story in a way cuts ties with the reader.

In my opinion, "The Note" is the cleverest idea to fall on its own face and I trust you all to make of that what you will. Mostly voting it down since I'm supposed to be entertaining, not clever.
>> No. 108451
File 134059977510.jpg - (14.14KB , 320x240 , _7uy.jpg )
There's 6 non-dud votes up right now. Everyone should do what they can to get at least half of the stories read and voted on. Your vote has a huge impact on the final results.


Well, I just think we need some way to keep the overall quality up to standard. Not many people are down to read so many words for a competition, and it's a real punch in the dick when there's a half-hearted entry or five lying around taking the piss.

Your review of VOTING has left me heartbroken. I'm never writing again.
>> No. 108472
File 134062510331.jpg - (11.12KB , 238x212 , images.jpg )
I'm a little over halfway done, at this point. I'm doing some kind of bell curve thing at the end, so you won't get any my votes until I've read through ALL the fics.
>> No. 108475
I took a break for a few days, but now I'm back with another 6 reviews:

Overthinking It: Aww! (at that ending) This story kept me interested throughout. I particularly liked how you had the multiple 'sides' of Twilight's mind arguing with each other, and how you weaved these thoughts in between lines of the narration. Although... that "You're a freak" business made her come across as very... Smeagol/Gollum-y. Not that I'm complaining though, it was a good read. So, I don't have any major criticisms, but here are some minor nitpicks (in case you decide to edit after the contest): First, that one line in Fluttershy's letter (the one directly after "I love you") feels too formal - 'suspected' doesn't feel right, nor does 'perhaps I shared your doubts about revealing this information' - and it kind of spoils the mood. Second, Twilight sighed three times in rapid succession at the very beginning - that felt a bit 'off' as well. Obviously, neither of those two ruined it for me and I enjoyed the read.
No Foals: You characterised Dash very well - Marriage doesn't really seem like her style, and I can imagine her having these kinds of issues. Your writing was good and it flowed nicely - not once did I find myself caught up with too much prose or anything like that. The 'important' thing was a nice touch as well. The only part I didn't like was during the scene where Rainbow flips out at the crowd - I think it would've been more effective if the crowd were silent (taken aback) after Rainbow's outburst, rather than telling her to take it outside. Overall, this one was great, well done. I missed the tie-in with the prompt though... was it about cutting ties to the freedom she had before marrying or something?
Thesis: I made a cup of tea to drink before I started reading this and totally forgot about it because I was so caught up in the story. It is cold now, but that's okay. So, I only managed to make one note when reading - and that is the 'love letter' paragraph of Twilight's thesis was brilliant and very Twilight, particularly 'even during wintry months, e.g. December', which made me laugh. The rest of the story flowed nicely and just 'worked'. The whole scene with Celestia rejecting Twilight was really well done (even though I am mad at Celestia for being so cold). It's interesting to read about things that might be going on 'behind-the-scenes' of the episodes themselves, and you tied this in very well with the S2 finale. Enough about what I liked, I must find something to critique! Erm... aha! The end paragraph feels a bit off - I think Twilight would have a hard time being that flippant about writing to Celestia, considering her mood at the time. Can't say that I could think of anything to replace that paragraph though... But yes, this was a very good read!
Secret Agent Cake: Wait... It WASN'T a dream? Between Mr. Cake's peculiar anatomy, exploding cookies and Donut Joe's seemingly random appearance, you had me convinced that this was all an elaborate fantasy of Mrs. Cake's creation (reflecting her longing for more excitement in her life). For the most part, I can't imagine something like this actually happening in Ponyville. It's an interesting concept to be sure, but I think it needs a lot of work to make it plausible. On a positive note, you kept the violence to a minimum and the ponies were true to canon in their choice of weaponry (baked confections). I do wonder how one could level a village with custard though... hehe.
The Note: I took a lot of notes during this one, let me go through the list: 1. The transition to the flashback was confusing. Someone else suggested moving the whole flashback scene to before AJ finds the note, and I think that would make it flow much better. 2. The POV character jumped around a lot. Personally, I don't mind this, but I hear that it's bad practice. However, it's understandable considering that it's Pinkie piecing together the story from what everypony told her afterwards. Also, wondering how Pinkie managed to get Winona's side of the story made me smile, nice one. 3. Throughout the story, the narrator seemed very casual and distracting. About a third of the way through, my attention started slipping and I kept having to re-read sentences. It got worse from then on, but I did manage to make it through eventually. I'd say the primary focus should be trimming down all that narration and keeping it simple (if you're considering editing this, I mean). 4. The dialogue was a bit off in places, particularly when Dash has come to give her reconnaissance report and eat pie (though not in that order, hehe). I'm sure that you can fix that in an editing pass, given that most of your dialogue was fine. 5. The scene with the customer service stallion was great, I can definitely sympathise with him. 6. 'Bivouacked' ...Whoa, where did that come from? I don't think Apple Bloom OR Pinkie Pie would talk like that. Changing it to 'camped out' or something would make the sentence flow better. 7. "It's like a portable mill for cutting ties" ...say what? Surely it was for cutting wood, not ties? I feel like I missed something there.

Aaand that's my list done. So, my general thoughts on this one: I liked Apple Bloom's reason for leaving and Applejack's immediate instinct to go and bring her home. The plot, overall, was good and I could see it (or something very similar) being used in an actual episode. However, with the narration the way it is, it wasn't particularly engrossing. But, with some work, I imagine that you could turn this idea into a proper, episode-style story - which you should definitely do (if you want to, that is...)

Curse, Bless Me Now: I love a good detective story, and this was no exception! It flowed perfectly and kept me entertained throughout. I especially liked your narrative style - it didn't linger on unimportant details, so you didn't lose my attention once. Gumshoe's character was great, with his own quirks (e.g. looking up at the palace and asking if he was doing a good job) and life outside of the main story (e.g. his thoughts of being a father). The case itself was cool and it was fun trying to guess what was going on, even though I ALWAYS get it wrong. The conclusion
was good, but the whole thing with the shadow creature seemed a bit rushed (understandable, given the time constraints). I did take one note that said "feels very 'human', rather than 'pony'" in regards to the atmosphere of the story, but that's not really a problem, I suppose. This story was great and it's one of my favourites in the whole contest. Nicely done!


Not many left now! EDIT: Cleaned it up a bit, sorry about that
>> No. 108480
Bah. I just found out that my punchline pun only works in American and Canadian English. The rest of the Anglosphere calls them railway sleepers, not ties.

It's not Pinkie's fault that ponies say they whack a bivvy to mean sleeping in small tent. She's never even seen a bivvy and doesn't know why you'd want to whack one, but if she spent time thinking about little word that doesn't make sense, she'd be stuck thinking all day and wouldn't have any time to eat or sleep or for anypony else and that would not be okay.
>> No. 108501

Yeah, I caught that thing about the sighing three times after I submitted and did a major face desk. And the letter could have been more "Fluttershy," but as I've said before in this thread, I finished writing this at 5:30 AM. I was just trying to wrap up the story and give it a quick editing sweep the next day so I could submit it before work, keyword being "quick."


Yeah, this was my first attempt at shipping, so I figured I would just start with the relationship being there. I have no idea how to develop a relationship yet, and there's no way I was going to try to do that in a timed competition. Considering how much I had to cut and how quickly I wrote at times, I'm pleasantly surprised at the reception I'm getting.
>> No. 108516
Oh, that would be the thing I was missing then. Thanks for letting me know, now I don't feel so clueless.

Also, Pinkie's logic has rendered my bivouacked point invalid. Well played.
>> No. 108521
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Well, surprisingly enough, I've read through all the entries and casted my ballot! Have to say it's been a pretty solid turn-out this time around; I was amused, enraged, delighted, enthralled, and some stories made me feel like a better person for having read them. Excellent job everyone (for the most part)

Anyway, I feel obligated to list my top 5, and with my judgment shades in place, here ya go:

No. 5: This was a tie between Resurgence and Curse. Cheating, yeah, but they're equally good. Resurgence did a swell job handling Luna and making me care about her turmoil. Curse on the other hand is a swell detective story that came out of nowhere and left me entertained... and hankering for LA Noire.

No. 4: The bitter tango of monogamy that is No Foals. It was gut-wrenching seeing RD's misery play out, but it was devilishly refreshing seeing this aspect of marriage. Plus the ending kept it from being too terribly depressing, so definitely a plus :)

No. 3: Sweet Escape. It was silly, entertaining, and the kind of organic hilarity I adore. I mean, seriously, umbrella sword fighting, on the ceiling, with afternoon tea? Brilliant!

No. 2: His Other Self. It was just... amazingly real. No big conflict, or major dramatics or adventure, but just a very concrete interaction piece of two very alive OCs. Simple things expertly told like this are what get my respect.

No. 1: No surprise, it's Never. Seriously, not only in terms of length, but also crafting a history for both past and future of the FiM world that tears at your heart. Purple prose be damned, I loved this thing! (Also I hadn't noticed; that's how sucked in I was)

And those are my top picks. Again, well done to the contestants, and best of luck in the judging round!
>> No. 108536
omg feedback on my story!

I do wonder how one could level a village with custard though.

trust me, you don't want to know...
>> No. 108540
File 134066945944.png - (7.59KB , 72x86 , Bumfriend.png )
Sweet Escape: This is gonna be a short one, because I don't have much to say except "Wow". This one pulled me in and I was laughing the entire way through. The premise is silly fun, I especially love the parodies of sword fighting and training montages, Luna was spot on and her lack of knowledge about modern times was hilarious without overstaying its welcome, and the whole thing was absurd and silly enough to keep me reading non-stop till the end. I guess it helps that I'm a sucker for lighthearted stories about Celestia and Luna goofing around as sisters. This story is actually something I would love to see as an episode, and I really hope you decide to submit this to EqD.

Sorry I don't have much to say on the constructive criticism end--the only criticism I can think of is that the connection to the prompt is really tenuous, so you might lose points for that, but at the same time that really helps this be a standalone piece--but this is defintely one of my favorite stories of the bunch. Great job!
>> No. 108543
From comment on FiMFic:
>So I give you points for defining Gumshoe without ever really needing to have blatant paragraphs of character description.
Thanks much for that, Pav Feira. I was getting a bit dismayed that people seemed to be missing that in the early going, but more are getting it now. I appreciate your detailed thoughts.

And thanks to all who provided feedback. Probably not the best idea, but I experimented quite a bit with this story. It's my first detective fic, and my initial try at a first-person narrator, so it was a huge risk that didn't quite pay off. I'll try to make something good of it upon revision.

And for anyone who's interested, the title is from the poem "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night," by Dylan Thomas. It's worth a read once you've finished the story. There are a number of lines that would have applied well, but I finally settled on this one.
>> No. 108548

Oh tush, you did an excellent job. Just add a little more meat on them bones and it will be more supreme.

Also that poem title is one of my all-time fav lines in all literature, and thanks to you I'm gonna go read it up for extra flavor!
>> No. 108667
Never- this writing is so purple. more purple than i'm used to, anyway. and hasn't the whole "celestia and luna as creators of the universe" trope been played out already? i mean, it's not even remotely canon at this point. "divine right of ennui"? they don't talk like this. oh god, she did not just actually call her "woona". way to deflate a poignant scene. i don't like their portrayal in the modern time period at all. in the scene directly after that, their bickering seems more befitting, but in the current time? with them both long grown? no. the suggested reason behind celestia's choosing of students is intriguing. the admiral is a great character; wish you'd let her shine through a little sooner. i like the inversion in stances that ends up getting inverted once again. the scene changes i enjoy; this reads very well for them. you're doing well at making this foal adorable and sympathetic. his line about celestia loving her father is fantastic. i thought the flashbacks were going in chronological order, but it seems you've thrown canon to the wind; that's a major problem with this fic. OH WAIT THAT'S THAT ADMIRAL OH SHIT SON NUH-UH

argh, i fucking hate sad fics and immortal-to-death stories. at its heart, there's little more to this than that, although i really appreciated some of the deeper conversations. still, i was hoping for something more. as a self-contained story, this makes a lot of sense and i curse season two for robbing us of the chance to write stories like this. but between the 'seen-it-before'-ness, the canon violations, the purple prose, the overblown dialogue at the beginning that was not, mind you, indicative of the entire piece, and at least some plying for feels, i can't give this top marks. the balancing factors are the length, though i would all but call shenanigans on that, and the pacing and characterization. oh yeah, and being the first entry to take the prompt seriously, that i've read anyway. i can see, in other words, why this has been so popular so far, but i'm not falling for it. although i am crying.

Memories- i do so love this kind of celesticord shipping. lots of errors in this, though, a lot of awkward phrasings that drag the whole thing down. also, i read it in Jon DeLancie's voice, and this doesn't sound like Discord, or anyone narrating their own thoughts for that matter. this just falls completely apart as it goes, and i'm not sure there's anything underneath the execution.

at this point, i've given up any pretense of reading everything fairly and am just trying to get through enough so i can vote. sorry, longfics, if you get missed, i'll read you later, i promise!

Standing in my Shadow- the voice is nice and strong, but this is taking way too long to get to any semblance of being able to piece together what's happening, not to mention the prose is swiftly getting flowery. funnily enough, this is along the lines of a characterization of trixie that i've considered, and therefore it rings very true to me. yes it's telly in spots, but overall i enjoyed this.

Departure of a Friend- playing the sympathy card, i see. i guess it's nice to see one of these stories about luna, since they're usually about celestia. this is really schmaltzy, though, no emotion whatsoever, nothing but telling and making some stuff up. this is very clumsy and there's already a better story with the same theme, unfortunately for you.

Now Departing- gee, i wonder if this is about death. you obviously have no idea how to use 'done' in southern american english. there's a lot of telling and retelling in this, like you were just trying to fill space, and that drags the narrative down. this isn't terribly interesting, but at least it wasn't about death.
>> No. 108708
Here are my picks, in order.

Never- I don't need to say anything about this one.

Thesis- I've heard a few people hate on this because it's sort of a typical shipfic, but I think it avoids cliche and does what it sets out to do-- weave the story with the episode-- quite well.

No Foals- Something that another commenter said about this one clicked with me: it subverts the whole shipping idea as well as the entire FiM universe. I like that.

His Other Self- Again, I like this because what it does is rare. The character is nuanced, interesting, and likable, and never leans on cliche.

Only Half- This had to compete with Icarus for this spot. Both this and Icarus were flawed, but successful and interesting. I chose this one because I thought it told the more difficult and- not to overuse the word- nuanced story.
>> No. 108710
Final round of story comments, brace yourselves for me sounding like a jerk again:

The Mane Six in: Tie Fighters: I think you tried to fit too much into the 10k words - as it is, this feels very rushed to me. It was fast-paced enough to keep me from getting bored, but there was nothing really outstanding about this entry. The story itself seems to take random turns in places - for example, near the beginning they completely
forget that they were going to Canterlaan and never mention it again. The dialogue just doesn't work for me - it needs a lot of work - and none of the characters feel particularly interesting. On the plus side, I liked some of your creative takes on events from the movies - the cockatrice pit, for example. Also, Rainbow growling like Chewie made me laugh - I think that I'd have liked it better if she did that more often. But yes, this was too ambitious for the deadline, in my opinion. Given more time, you could probably make something cool out of this, but it's not there yet.

His Other Self: This was one of my favourites! I was thoroughly engrossed throughout the story - you actually had me curious about Glass and his background from very early on. Glass' character was great - very interesting, believable and with a unique personality and background that I thought were awesome. Also, the word 'gravelly' instantly made me think of my favourite VA, so Glass gets bonus points for being voiced by Steve Blum. Sweet Cakes was kind of bland by comparison, she didn't feel so distinct, but that's my only critique. The ending was well done too - a nice conclusion to a brilliant story!
Sins of the Sister: Well, I wasn't really too gripped by this one - that I don't like the premise probably didn't help. I was kind of curious to find out how AJ solved the situation but, other than that, it wasn't all that engrossing. Your pacing was good, there were only a few instances of feeling bogged down in unnecessary detail - which was surprising considering the story's length. The ending was... okay. I'm glad to see that it all got sorted out but it didn't feel very satisfying. I don't really have anything else to add except the one note I made regarding the Apple Family accent: "Ah" in place of "I" is fine by me, but "cain" and "caint"? Those are just distracting, you should change them back to can/can't. Also, you've used "Y'all" incorrectly several times - it means "You all" (as in referring to a group of ponies), not "You" (as in referring to a single pony).
Never: I feel like this deserves a big, detailed review because of the amount of work that's clearly gone into it. Unfortunately, I'm not very good at that, as you'll see from my other comments, so I'll just speak my mind. My immediate reaction upon finishing was literally "Thank God that's over!" This was really painful to read because of all the purple prose, but I soldiered on, assuming that the ending would be worth it. To my chagrin, it wasn't. There was one touching scene in this - the one where Nova talks about his parents and Celestia's father - and that was absolutely brilliant. But the other nineteen-thousand words (including the deaths, even Twilight's) just didn't have any emotional impact whatsoever and I felt as if I was having to force myself to read on.

You obviously worked very hard on this so, like I said, I'm sorry I can't provide a whole lot of useful criticism - mostly I was too bogged down with soldiering through the prose to notice much else. However, there was one note I did manage to take: Celestia and Luna sounded a bit 'off' to me. I can't think of the right word - they sounded too... formal? Regal? Something like that - especially when talking to one another. Granted, I haven't exactly studied the sisters' speaking mannerisms, but it just doesn't feel right throughout this story. So, that's my two bits. Judging by the FimFiction comments, everyone else likes it, so I guess I'm just the odd guy out. In any case, keep writing! But you should really cut down on the prose - in my opinion, at least.


...and wham! I'll calculate my ratings and post them either today or tomorrow.
>> No. 108712
Read all of them, finally. Rather than trying to rank everything, I've decided to pick six for tens and zero everything else. Sure, you guys can do that fancy scoring stuff, but I expected approval voting going in and that's what I'm going to do

Picks :

1 Only Half
2 His Other Self
3 Now Departing
4 Never
5 Curse, Bless Me Now
6 Wings of Icarus
>> No. 108821
Voting done! Thank you for the spreadsheet and math formula.

Top five seems to be the done thing, so here you go:

5th: Now Departing - Heartwarming and well-written story with great characterisation. I loved all of this and couldn't find anything to critique. Apple Bloom has some awesome friends.

4th: A Cut Above - Quick, light-hearted and very funny, especially the whole 'story within a story' bit at the end. I'm sure that Sweetie will be okay...

3rd: Curse, Bless Me Now - A most engrossing detective story with a brilliant narrative style and a well-built main character. I'd love to read about Gumshoe's next case!

2nd: Only Half - Possibly the most powerful fanfic I've read, the tension in this is built masterfully! I'm glad that Diamond Tiara learned her lesson, even though she had to learn it the hard way.

1st: His Other Self - This was engrossing and entertaining from the get-go, but the thing that really made the story for me was Glasswind. He's the most interesting, best-written character I've ever read in fanfiction, bar none, and there was just something really likeable about him. A solid 10 for an awesome character and a brilliant story.
>> No. 108831
File 134092426151.gif - (263.15KB , 200x200 , wat_twilight.gif )

Here's my top 5, in no particular order:
Curse, Bless Me Now
Overthinking It
Sweet Escape

When do we begin the baseless speculation of who-wrote-what?
>> No. 108832
File 134092477326.jpg - (8.17KB , 320x240 , _1hh.jpg )
Probably whenever I feel like giving the list of authors out.

Could be today. Could be tomorrow. Could be right now.
>> No. 108834
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I'll add myself to the growing list of authors who are floored by the reception they are receiving! Thank you!

I believe not until Monday, once the finalists are selected, but Roger can correct me on that.

Thank you. I had certainly intended to keep the emotional pacing moving, and I am happy to hear that it worked in your case. If you don't mind me asking, were the "typical shipfic" comments said on IRC? I don't remember seeing comments like those on FimFiction or here, but I would certainly welcome constructive criticism for how to better avoid cliche.
>> No. 108835
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>Wait till Monday
I'm feeling generous.


You didn't really think I'd give you the whole list, did you?
>> No. 108836
File 134092923870.jpg - (84.17KB , 900x505 , 106105 - artist-daniel-h-n calculations chalkboard derpy_hooves physics smug.jpg )
And then we cross-reference that with a sorted version of http://goo.gl/FbbHu ...

Psh, like I have any clue who wrote what
>> No. 108837
File 134093051135.png - (639.73KB , 1860x2128 , Assius.png )

Here's a start, which Roger says is wrong, but I never cared about his opinion anyways: http://pastebin.com/cE7Xd2wp
>> No. 108930
Alright, a couple more that I promised myself I'd read for various reasons.

The Pink Slip:

Competing with Sweet Apple Acres? Interesting concept. The show rarely plays on their selling anything other than raw produce, though AJ did go for hawking baked goods at the Gala. Still, I'm not sure how much competition a single-ingredient specialist would provide. Interesting choice of "Ditzi Doo." After all, it is a canon name for some pony. "Alright." Hehe. Take that, Roger. Odd to clarify Sugarcube Corner as a candy shop. Maybe I just haven't been paying attention enough, but I always saw it as more of a bakery. Though candy shop may work better for the purposes of this story. An odd array of mechanical errors, but ones that would seem to be from rushing more than anything else. Some personalities felt a bit pushed to the extreme. Pinkie forgives that quickly? Bon-Bon's that self-sacrificing? I like Applejack's characterization, particularly that she understood Mr. Cake's position, but she's unmoved by the plight of a friend? Mr. Cake's internal conflicts felt authentic, and while the resolution felt pat, that's not out of character with the show.

Only Half:

"She motioned for Silver Spoon to follow her lead." Interesting inversion of the way their relationship turns out. Ha! Totally called that ending halfway through! I win all the muffins! I've got mixed feelings about DT's maturity level. It is higher than I'd expect of one that age, and yet the older ponies (Rarity vs Rainbow Dash, for example) show the same mismatch, commensurate with their backgrounds and bearings. Maturity comes with experience in multiple forms, and certainly DT might have been groomed for such an attitude through what material her private tutor teaches her (art, music, cotillion, etc.—things that would affect her world outlook) and what company her father keeps. As such, I can buy it, but it would have come across as more authentic if you had communicated similar mindsets from Silver Spoon, as another example of how that lifestyle has made them what they are. I'm really torn there, though, because since the story is told from DT's perspective, the lack of such a presentation reinforces the notion that she really doesn't know Silver Spoon at all. Likewise, I'm torn about SS's choice to end their friendship. On the one hand, I can seen her as being in such an emotional state that she makes a snap decision, oblivious to the signs around her, but as much chance as DT had to continue taunting the CMC, yet chose not to do so, SS didn't notice her silence and question why? If she's going to end the friendship anyway, what would it hurt to ask? In the worst case, it still ends, but there's a possibility something could be salvaged there. I'm sure there's a happy medium to be found here in both instances. I can tell you wanted to do more with the ending, as the tension built with her encounter with the CMC didn't hang for too long, and it felt like there was more to be mined there, as one of those instants that takes an eternity to pass. I find myself wanting more. What happens the next day? Alas, I don't find out, nor should I. It leaves me feeling just like DT, with one thing in my head: what now? Good job, and a clear favorite.
>> No. 108957
well i've read enough that i can vote now so i'll try to read as much as i can tomorrow and then vote. here's some feedback in the meantime.

Regrets- i don't like that it took that long to give the sister a name. this is bland, unoriginal, and suffers from telling.

Only Half- love the characterization. i knew something bad had happened, but this is actually not nearly as bad as i'd feared. this really reminds me of another story though, one about diamond tiara being lonely and not really knowing if she's friends with silver spoon... wait, that's it? it felt like there was so much left to be covered! well, this is still really good, best i've read so far.

The Secret of Ponyville- whoa, slow down pardner! this train's gonna derail if'n it goes any faster! also, there's a heap o' typos an' missin' punctuation on the tracks, an' that ain't helpin' things none. i think imma gettin' off before we hit the next station, anywho; this thing's headed fer crazytown! ahem. silly wild west accent aside, this is a pretty poor idea made worse for poor execution. twilight should be reacting to things, but as it's just jumping from one piece of dialogue to the next, there's no room for her to do so. plus there's lots of gore and that's never good. i just couldn't help but feel it was a weak mimicking of story of the blanks.

Long Live the Queen- the writing is hitting me as very well done almost immediately, and i'm interested to know who these characters are, the named princesses especially, but something is missing. but it seems like the real story isn't with this character, and that's kind of disappointing. this takes quite a while to get where it's going, but I do at least find the core concept interesting, so that counts for something. okay, the last line gave me shivers. like i said, it took a while to get where it was going, but this touched something in me. well done.

Wings of Icarus- the writing isn't stunning by any means, but i do like the idea of an earth pony, an apple especially, trying to fly. i also appreciate the earth pony superiority being espoused in her class, but i'm a little obsessed with things like that. the learning montage kind of drags because there's so little substance to each scene, and the pacing near the end doesn't play out, but overall this is a pleasant and clean fic.
>> No. 109198
File 134111569559.jpg - (14.81KB , 320x240 , _3yt.jpg )
There's under a day left for the public votes, and it seems to me that we're reaching an impasse on the sustainability of the current model. That is to say, not many people are up for reading 160k words of questionable quality. I know, big shocker.

Looking at it now, it seems almost silly to use judges as the final post and the public as the filter. In both previous events the judges barely had any effect (and in Round 3, no effect) on the final results. This seems to me a fair waste of resources, really, because the bottom half can be fairly well determined from the top half. (Obviously the stories in the middle could be here or there, but they probably weren't going to make the finals anyway.)

For the next event, I am thinking that I may, instead of using finalist judges, request that there be slush readers of sorts to help with the initial load. The public's vote is the final vote, and the private vote sorts out the wheat from the chaff. To me, this just seems like a much better use of resources.

The other obvious benefit of this is avoiding cases of rules being broken, like porn/gore slipping through the cracks. As this event seemingly gets larger, the chance of people trying to do such will probably only increase.

So if we were to reverse the roles, then, what would be a good number for the judges to accept? I was thinking that each judge would be given a pool of the stories and told to thumb-up half and thumb-down the other half. If each story goes to two judges, I hypothesise that around 60% of the stories will get at least one thumb up, and about 40% will get two. Do I put up those that got at least one, or those that got two? Do I send stories to three judges and put up those that get at least two thumbs up?

And... is there actually anyone who would actually want to be put in such a role? It's more-or-less pre-reading, only for competition fics.

Still, this event will continue to run as planned. The public voting ends in about 20 hours, at which point the judging will commence.
>> No. 109202

- First round voting: use your entrants as slush readers
-- "Write a story and then rank five which I'll randomly assign" is a lot easier to stomach than "write a story and, woah, read at least fifteen of these thirty holy crap have another week to do it"
-- Scales automatically.
-- rank rather than score so we don't have to ask whether my "5" is equal to Johnny's "3" or what-have you

- Smaller, more frequent write-offs. When we do this thing every four to six weeks, there's a lot of bottled up writing passion just waiting to hit the screen. Maybe a 48-hour event every two weeks? Let events overlap / pipeline.

- Invitational competitions (?)
>> No. 109203

Minor quibble:

Then there's no reason to read the non-finalists.
>> No. 109205
File 134112176899.jpg - (13.04KB , 320x240 , _3ss.jpg )
That's kind of the point.

Interesting idea. Say each person who submits is given 4–6 stories to read and sort. If they don't, their submission doesn't go up.

This might have some issues with unfair pairings, though, since it's only ~5 samples per story. Then again, if the reliability is on par with the judging, this works better since then I won't have to find judges.

On a related note, I would need some algorithm to sort stories randomly, but in a way that each set would have approximately the same number of words. There's probably a very primitive solution, but I can't think of one.
>> No. 109209
While I'm all for cutting down the initial volume of fics, I think some writers (heck, maybe even most) use this contest to see where they're at or if people are interested in their writing. So if we just cut out fics from these writers, it would be quite discouraging to them. I'm not saying we should go easy on writers who still need to work on their craft, but for every fic that gets rejected/cut for quality reasons, the author should get some fairly thorough feedback on exactly what they need to work on and some gentle encouragement on how to do so.

If you end up using judges to narrow down the field, I think 2 thumbs-ups should be required, and the public should not be told how many approvals each fic gets.
>> No. 109213
File 134112662092.jpg - (16.05KB , 320x240 , _8dpl.jpg )
Well, someone's gotta lose. This doesn't really change that. Cutting out the bottom half all at once even avoids having someone be absolute last.

I would highly encourage the level of good feedback that people have given throughout this event. I may even have to make it so that each person gives a paragraph or two to each story in their pile, just to make sure they actually read them.

(Oh dear, we're turning into a high-school English class...)
>> No. 109226
File 134114115334.jpg - (6.61KB , 251x189 , 8d5.jpg )
At least you actually get half-decent feedback from your peers in this. I think it's actually impossible for most students to give negative feedback. This may or may not be related to the fact that most teenagers have all the literary prowess possessed by a potato.
I remember my teacher telling us some stories about students having to give a presentation in front of the class, and how one of them was so nervous that they threw up before they could even begin. He gave failing marks to half of the class for his personal rating, but everyone had 80% or higher from the peer review marks. The two were combined and no one "failed" the assignment.
>> No. 109235
i think that just leaving it as it is (volume of stories/words can increase the voting time, have to vote on at least half in order for your vote to count, regardless of whether there are judges) would really be best. if the contest expands, some people are going to be left out. it may keep people from writing tens of thousands of words, even. a pre-reader system is just going to delay everything and add a lot of work for a contest with no prizes other than prestige. it wouldn't be worth it.

and i dunno about you, but next time if there are this many stories, i'm starting with the ones in the middle, wordcount-wise. those have been the best in this contest.
>> No. 109246
I'm at bronycon for the next eight hours, and I still have at least 4 fics to review.

>> No. 109250
File 134116335440.png - (12.34KB , 120x120 , Beggar.png )
I don't know about you guys, but knowing my story could get auto-purged for quality before the event even begins would remove all incentive to even try anymore. Maybe I'm just overly sensitive, but I don't like the idea of being booted out before things even begin despite giving my best shot.
>> No. 109256
I rather like the contest frequency and duration as is. 72 hours has been a bit rushed for polishing, but still comfortable for getting something completed, and every 6 weeks or so is a good interval for recovering from lack of sleep. A 48-hour event and/or every 2 weeks would kill me.

The problem with leaving it alone is that we're not getting the votes. I believe we've gotten about 30 votes in each of the write-offs, against usually 100-150 views of each story on average. The number of fics this time is scaring people off, even though they still only have to read 15 to vote. Roughly the same number of average views for each story, but less than half the votes, as of yesterday. We have to do something to weed the number of fics down to a manageable number, or we won't get the votes.
>> No. 109264
Okay, whew! I got in another few ratings (though I didn't get the chance to review them in-depth, being on my phone and all). Here's hoping that's enough!
>> No. 109269
the only way to cut down on the entries though is to either impose a strict wordcount limit (5k would have put this contest around 30k total, far more reasonable to read in a week) or say, "okay, x number of entrants can participate, first come first served." neither of those really appeal to me.

i wonder if it would help things to come up with another voting system. rather than survey monkey, where you have to do everything at once, and thus write things down so you can keep track, something where you can vote on each story as you go. i mean, some people prefer to be able to rank things off of the other entries, but that wouldn't actually stop them from doing so. i think that if lots of people are reading but few are voting, more would vote if they could vote directly after reading somehow. but i also have no solutions for that.

have some reviews instead.

Knot on My Watch- i sense more clothing related antics. bother. oh dear and a celestia's sun weather report opening. that bodes ill. well, pinkie's written very well. "take gummy with you, he'll tell you what to do." that's genius. oh and then it's real. i'm not sure what to make of that. "pinkie doesn't know what ties are" is a somewhat amusing plot, but "ponies don't know what ties are" i am finding harder to accept. this is... all over the place. it's not bad, it's just... what the hay am i reading? big downside is it ends too quickly, and i suspect that's the contest deadline at play. still, for what this is, it's not terrible, just weird.

World-Famous- oh yay a flim flam brothers fic! intro dialogue is suffering talking heads syndrome. eh, and then talky telly syndrome. that said, the dialogue is actually fantastic, and i can absolutely hear it in their voices. a legal stampede? that's hilarious. i want to say that this story feels well researched, like i can believe you've been there before. if nothing else, you've made flam a convincing character. nice ending.

Whack a Mage- i've been hearing a lot about this, like it gained some infamy early on, so i'm interested to see what the hubbub is about. oh goddammit and he cut their ties. why? did she really just ask him if he likes bananas? oh dear. not only is this guy pretty much just a male trixie, he's her brother too. i should have seen the signs; i was a fool! i'm in too deep now, it's too late! mayday, mayday! this story is like a lesson in bad ideas. they just never stop coming.

What We Leave Behind- excellent characterization all around, though i can't help but see cadence as slightly bland. that's just me though. great family dynamic in this. that guy just said "gravy!" this story is amazing. this is the episode we should have gotten before the season 2 finale, so we would actually care about these characters. oh shit, this is adorable as fuck, and heartfelt to boot. this is not what i was expecting to love out of this contest, but i'm glad i got to it now! oh fuck i'm reading this scene with twilight and i'm just going to die. i can't give it full marks though because of one thing: it didn't use the prompt at all! he's not cutting his ties, he's just leaving! that's a gross oversight and a major shame, but what a wonderful story this is.

No Foals- oh yay established appledash! oh, wait, that probably means they're gonna divorce by the end, damn. i really like the dialogue in the opening scene, because it convinces me that this is in fact later; they don't just sound like themselves from the show. this definitely needs proofread though. OH GOSH. i just looked up at the title and i know what this story's about now. man, this characterization for rainbow dash works so well! enh, it just kind of stopped though. and i don't see the prompt anywhere. darn, this is such a great story otherwise!

The D Word- uhh, i don't see a fic with this name. what?

The Pink Slip- uhh, they don't make candy. or at least, it isn't their main thing. i think you accidentally half a sentence. this doesn't really sit well with me as a concept. to do this well would require some humor, and i'm not seeing any. no, i just don't like this and it's got a lot of writing issues.

Resurgence- so, her tea then? wait, 'tiny, inept body'? oh, i thought she was a filly for a moment, but this is s1 luna. okay. i have to take a moment to express my complete and utter shock at the use of 'no-where'. i mean really, people use that hyphenation still? so given the title, the prompt and, more importantly, celestia's words in the opening, i know exactly where this is going, but that's not stopping me from enjoying the journey. that's the mark of a good story, and really the only problem with this is overembellishment in the writing, not to mention a bit of rushing through the end, but that's contests for ya. throw some more work into the denouement and this will be a lovely character piece.

Sweet Escape- it's funny, reading this right after resurgence, it almost feels like a continuation of that story. oh, but i like where this is going. oh hell, i can't stop laughing! you mean 'resigned' to her fate. this is the best luna ever. umbrella fight? what the hay is even going on? why can't episodes be like this? all i want is to see the sisters acting like sisters. this is amazing. it's not the most masterfully written piece in the competition, but no other story has kept me laughing from start to finish, and i think this may be my favorite now.

Thesis- twilight's reaction is kind of priceless. oh, darn. not a big fan of twilestia. well, this certainly does make that line from celestia a lot more poignant. this actually works pretty well as a reworking of the finale. but then drama, so much drama. ehhh. this is nicely written, but it's also just sort of there. there's not a whole lot of point to it.

Overthinking It- and once again, it's like i just read a story very similar to this one. weird. is it just me or is twilight really making too much out of this? i mean, she just moved to canterlot. that's it. it's normal to miss someone in this situation, but unless she was in love with fluttershy, geez, get a grip! ah. oh. okay. so that actually came through rather well, good job. murder ponyville what? hard to keep track of the timeline here. this is pretty realistic, as internal shipping-based monologue goes. there are spots where it feels less like twilight and spots where it feels more like her, so this isn't quite there, but a lot of good stuff is happening in this and you definitely know what you're doing. aw shit, except you just had to go and ruin it with "i've always loved you". dammit dammit dammit. that absolutely ruined the end of the story and i am so incredibly disappointed, even though this hadn't been anything amazing. also, where is the prompt in this?

The Note- wait. who the hell is telling this story? man i love how you wrote granny smith. "fire in her gums", that's amazing. this is a very weird story and i appreciate the different narrative style, but as it continues, i'm finding myself losing interest in it. rainbow dash is written well, at least. i think one thing that's bothering me is that your ponyville is very realistic, and all the bureaucracy they keep running into isn't adding anything to the story. twilight's dialogue is getting very not-twilight. i can't finish this.

Curse, Bless Me Now- so i know you said it was based off a story or poem, but i can't help but hear the title to the tune of duran duran's "is there something i should know?" wellm the albino unicorn thing is interesting at least. this is an engrossing tale at least, but i feel it's moving too fast. most of the action's been happening in the dialogue so far and there's almost nothing in between besides what's needed to keep the story moving. wait, did you use the slash across silk ascot's cutie mark as the prompt? i sure hope there's more to it than that. so the mystery and investigation are both structured well; what this needs is a steadier hand on the pacing. still, not bad for what it is, though i'm grumpy about the lack of obvious prompt.

His Other Self- oh look at me, finishing them all! this mare's voice is catching me pretty well. glass seems like a good foil for her, too, and the mystery is interesting. bon-bon is kind of a weird choice to have in this; why not just use another oc? god, she's melodramatic. bon-bon's reaction is very weird; she's not giving any thought whatsoever for how glass might be at the moment. this somewhat reminds me of a friend indeed crossed with two ponies, but without a lot of the emotional heft of either. the only thing keeping me reading at this point is sweet's narrative voice, because she's just such a whackjob. that said, glass's motivations are great and the ending is satisfying. this is probably one of the best-paced fics in the contest.

overall, i think the output was pretty good this time around. my main complaint was too many people writing about cutting neckties. i mean, i expected that, but it got old REAL QUICK.

here's my top 5:

5) Only Half
4) World-Famous
3) No Foals
2) What We Leave Behind
1) Sweet Escape

and here's a breakdown of what scores i gave out, because there were so many 7's:

9 ||
8 ||||
7 ||||||||||
6 |||
5 ||||
4 ||
3 ||
2 |
>> No. 109282

Since a few people have brought up the prompt connection, I was trying to go for a tie in the process of being cut. I wanted things to be more bleak, but time got the better of me, so I needed an ending. If it had gone how I'd originally wanted, it would have ended on the uncertainty of Dash and AJ's relationship still being intact, or even salvageable, but things changed.

We'll see how it looks after I get some time to fix it when the write-off is over.
>> No. 109293
Haven't been reading this thread? Here you go:
>> No. 109301
nope! that does make more sense now.
>> No. 109304
File 134118842382.png - (379.92KB , 1219x1296 , bloom_season_5_safari___by_costantstyle-d4siefz.png )
 – His Other Self
 – Never
 – Only Half
 – Sweet Escape
 – What We Leave Behind

>delays brought to you by Failed to process file™
>> No. 109326
File 134119724872.png - (7.59KB , 72x86 , Bumfriend.png )

A fabulous top five, if I do say so myself. Congrats to to all the finalists, and to everyone else, I still wanna say good job for sticking with it. There are a lot of enjoyable fics here, and like I said before with some work a lot of these can really shine.
>> No. 109344

is it time to wildly speculate on who wrote the other fics yet, or is that jumping the gun?
>> No. 109347
I made the top five?

>> No. 109348
My story is in the finals?
I was not expecting this. Let me go find something to drink so I can spray it out over my keyboard.
>> No. 109355
It was essentially impossible for any bad fics to make it into the runoff. There was an incredible amount of talent in this competition. These five entries earned their place.
>> No. 109359
Nice! Solid picks, all. Can't wait to see the final results.


For me personally, I don't frankly care if I get first place or twenty-ninth. I mean, sure, getting <3 is certainly great, but primarily I was interested in the feedback. Grammar is important and all, but I liked how so many of these reviews were focused on the feels. It also felt meaningful to see how Reader X compared my fic to others'. So, I wouldn't want the new system to jeopardize that valuable feedback, especially for those who want it.

Here's an idea that I had which is terrible, but at least I'll contribute to the brainstorming. I had a thought of some type of tournament. Comparatively rank five fics in a heat, top two advance. First round of heats could last 72 hours each, since it requires the most reading. Subsequent rounds could be shorter, because you've likely read most of the fics in the previous round. By breaking this into heats, you can vote on as many or as few heats as you have time/patience for.

Problems with that system: long. Granted, this current event's voting is taking three weeks, but my proposal is looking to take four or more. It also carries all the traditional failings of a tournament; if you have one heat with 5 trollfics, and one heat that has 5 amazing fics, etc etc, the final round will have the #1 fic, but not necessarily the #4 or #5 fic.

This could work. Give each voter a list of "recommended" fics. Service has access to the data, so it know how many times each fic has been "recommended", and how many times it's actually been "voted on". For each new user who "signs up" to vote, they get a randomly selected list of "recommended" fics, weighted on those that have the fewest count of "recommended"/"voted on" tallies, and such that the total length is around 30-40k. Every voter is expected to read every "recommended" fic, plus any others they have the time/patience to. Of course, not everyone will actually read all their "recommended" (e.g. people who think they'll vote, register, then get bored and bail), so that's why the actual count of "voted on" is also a factor.
>> No. 109361

What? I like the way you have everything, the good and the bad, out like this for the public. It seems a shame to more-or-less reject all the non-finalists.
>> No. 109362

I think most of the time, people wait til the results are almost out. About then, we'll get a list of the authors and that makes it easier. So, if you wanna guess, hold onto them for a bit.

In the meantime, I'm more focused on thinking about cover art and synopsis ideas. I was always bad at guessing games anyway.
>> No. 109401
i'm terrible at guessing games, mostly because i don't recognize writing styles at all.
>> No. 109415
Just a quick note, as I'm rereading this thread in a vain effort at procrastination.

Insofar as originality, I must admit that I took the original inspiration for the Smarty Pants scene from, as Tactical noted, Toy Story 3. As far as I know, however, everything else is mine. I may be extremely poorly-read, but I've never come across another fic where Shining gives SP to Twilight, or leaves for the army, etc.

As another note, to all those who say I missed the prompt of "Cutting Ties", I'd like to say that I was going for something a little subtler than cutting ties with, say, family and friends. If you looked closely, you'd notice that the ties Shining cuts are those with his home, with his childhood, and his own innocence. The sun rising at the end, "cutting free from the horizon," is meant to represent those ties finally being cut as he moves on to the next stage of his life.

In other news, my computer's Internet is now dead. #broughttoyoubymobiledevice #sadface #nogameses
>> No. 109430
File 134128682844.png - (634.38KB , 680x382 , Princess Trollestia.png )
U mad?
I'll be honest, I wasn't even trying, in fact I wanted to see if I could write something that looked like it had potential, but actually just made everypony that read it really upset.
In short: Your jimmies have been rustled
>> No. 109431
File 134128737670.jpg - (24.71KB , 480x320 , this Pleases Me.jpg )

I'm totally not using your story as a litmus test for the validity of people's opinions, nor mocking their wasted time, and I'm especially not judging Roger in any way because of it.
>> No. 109465
File 134132918168.gif - (909.04KB , 593x406 , 133996893705[1].gif )
Well, since everypony's airing their dirty laundry:

Especially if I were to follow the advice of some commenters, continue the story with additional chapters, and expand Twilight's understanding of different types of love, my fic feels like a derivative PG-rated clone of Romance Reports to me. Even the freakin' title. Sigh.

As I stated earlier though, it was too late to fix by the point I noticed it. And I'd like to convince myself that I'm merely using similar tropes to a somewhat different effect. Ah well.
>> No. 109496
Oh yeah? Well MY fic is a concept that's inherently problematic, whose very format will lose readers, and needs to be scrapped completely in order to be readable!

The horrible part is that the disjointed style is my candid writing. Tiny scenes happen in my head, and I hate trying to flow between them... in my head they all drop and happen in media res.
>> No. 109547
File 134135458820.png - (358.03KB , 894x894 , the_fun_has_been_doubled.png )
How about THIS revelation: the inspiration of my story was based on a youtube vid Roger couldn't stop laughing over. I figure, if he's gonna go liking something so short and silly, I should make the rest of you suffer as well by implementing it into fiction. Granted, it turned out to be more of an actual silly story than a trollfic, so I did have some restraint.

Yet, imagine: all that story, the exposition, setting, characters. ALL of it was built around a single 4 second video. A video that, at first, I found more strange than funny. But after watching it several dozen times, I too am obsessed with it. Quite so.

Roger, what was so funny about that video? Why did you find it humorous? Why did you do this to me? To us? Why? Why? Whyyyyyyyyy?

It was fun, though, and turned out to be quite the success all things considered. So yes, well done everyone, especially the finalists.
>> No. 109590
File 134137114090.gif - (375.75KB , 300x168 , 63d.gif )
What clip was this? You can't just spew about it and then not tell us DX.
Well, you could, but it'd be in poor taste.
>> No. 109591
File 134137153924.jpg - (14.42KB , 320x240 , _0op.jpg )
>> No. 109658

And now you know.
>> No. 109662
Congratulations to all the finalists.

Tsk. What you read of my entry is how bad my writing usually is.
>> No. 109712
File 134145650036.png - (379.92KB , 1219x1296 , bloom_season_5_safari___by_costantstyle-d4siefz.png )
All right, so now that we're mostly waiting on the judge's decision, I thought now would be a good time to discuss why I think the judging roles need to change.

The first, and perhaps most important, is that right now there's nothing stopping people from submitting borderline content. Relying on people's goodwill has worked mostly so far, but this is really something there ought to be no chances on. (There are some serious prudes on EqD that would kick up a shitstorm if they got to some clop from a link there.)

The second is that right now the judging seems to be fairly anticlimactic. When you have no involvement in the process at this point, there isn't much to do besides sit around waiting for the judges to finish their decisions. Not only that, but without a definite date for when the judges will be done, the results sort of just come up out of nowhere.

All up, this game will have taken three weeks for judging. That really is just too much. I think a two week time frame is more than plausible with the following method:

The preliminary round
– Lasts 1 week
– Each participant is given a set of stories to read and review
    – Additionally, non-participants may request to be part of the prelims
    – If a person wishes, they may request a second (or third, etc.) set of stories to read
– Anyone who doesn't submit reviews of their given group will have their submission forfeit
– The top half of the stories move on to the next round

The set sizes will be either five or six stories.

A bit part of this contest is the amount of crowd participation is reviewing other's works, in that rather than a normal in-depth review, you get an impression of the casual reader reaction. With this round in place, all entries are guaranteed at least five of these, while still allowing elimination to occur. Even better, nobody will actually come last (well, they will, but I won't say), which I think is more beneficial than the current system.

I think this will make participants motivated to put effort into reviewing the works given, since they know that in kind they should receive feedback. It also helps that the load isn't so enormous – reading five to six short stories in a week's time is easy.

Now, I'm not saying these have to be in-depth reviews. As long as an honest attempt was made, it's all good. The type of comments people have been leaving so far are what we're after.

Final round
– Lasts one week
– Operates identically to the initial round of the last four events
– Is when the posts will go up on EqD and Fimfiction publically
    – Being able to say that it's the final round will give readers there more incentive to read the stories
– Votes close two hours before results are announced; author list is revealed for last-minute banter
– Wrap-up signals definitive climax to event

So, yeah, thoughts?

Additionally, since I know some of you are the mathy type, I need an efficient ways to randomly sort stories into groups where the size of each group is roughly equals. Think of the problem like so:

There is a set of integers X, and we want to pseudo-randomly split them into groups (of size 6 or 5) such that the sum of the integers in each group is roughly equal.

I'll say the they are roughly equal if the standard deviation of the groups' sums is less than 500.

Secondly: is doing this pseudo-random shuffling even a good idea? It will pit the longer stories against the shorter ones more often, which may negatively affect the results.
>> No. 109720
File 134146189350.png - (17.79KB , 1293x179 , Lewml[1].png )
I like it. Thinking aloud...

Will the prelim round be completely private, or will they all be visible here somewhere? On the one hand, I did sorta like comparing reviews, just to see what different people had to say about the same fic. On the other hand, some fics did gain infamy (good or bad), so maybe keeping this phase private wouldn't be so horrible. Besides, the finals would be public anyway.

So to get into the prelims, everyone needs to read five fics. Then to vote in the finals, everyone needs to vote on 1/4 (half of the stories make it to the finals, then must vote on half of the finalists). For 29 stories total, that would mean reading between 8 and 13 stories in two weeks, depending on how good your prelim stories happened to be. Compared to this round, which was read 15 stories in two weeks. And if you were super-pressed for time, you could just read your 5 prelim stories in one week, and not vote on the finalists. I'd like to think that's doable for everyone, but then again I commented on 30 fics, so I'm not the best judge of that.

In the prelim round, were we voting each story 0-10, or ranking stories from first to last?

>There is a set of integers X, and we want to pseudo-randomly split them into groups (of size 6 or 5) such that the sum of the integers in each group is roughly equal.
Well, if you remove the "of size 6 or 5" clause, you could use a greedy algorithm.

- F fics and B buckets
- Take the B largets fics (in terms of wordcount) and put them each in a separate bucket. This helps ensure a smaller deviation in the final bucket sizes.
- Randomize the remaining (F-B) fics.
- For each remaining fic, add it to whichever bucket currently has the smallest total wordcount.

See pic. I ran this three times on the fics from this round, with B=6. Given the large outlier, Never's bucket was consistently of size 2 or 3, but otherwise, the group makeup seems fairly randomized.

If we tried to enforce both that each bucket's wordcount was close, as well as keeping each bucket's fic count close, that'd be tough when there's such a range in wordcount between fics. Maybe the greedy algorithm could be modified such that buckets with fewer fics were preferred. Hmm.
>> No. 109726
File 134146550769.jpg - (14.44KB , 320x240 , _3ee.jpg )
That's an interesting idea. One issue is that Never as an outlier makes even distributions very difficult, and even if they were possible, Never would always be in the same groups with the stories that have low word counts. Such a system would require a cap on word count. I'm not sure if that's a good idea or not.

Demetrius and I were talking about a different method. I have no idea if I actually understood half of what he was saying, but this is what I got from it, and the algorithm I'm implementing now.

Work required by each judge is determined by the work function W(n), where n is the number of words that judge's story pool contains.

Say that W(n) = n(n+1)/2

The goal is to rearrange the system such that the total work done by the judges is minimised.

Initially, distribute sets of stories to each judge. A story in a set is called a cell.

Then start an iteration, setting i to 0.
1. Select two random cells in the system
2. See if swapping those cells will decrease the total work required of the judges
  a) if so, swap the stories and set i to 0.
  b) if not, increment i by 1.
3. Go to 1 if i < 100.
4. End.

Essentially, this keeps running iterations until the system is in a relatively stable state, that is, no swaps have been performed for multiple iterations.

Balancing the word counts between the judges is the optimal system state as the work function is of complexity O(n(n+1)/2). However, it doesn't assume that the sets will be within any certain range, so it allows for such cases as Never. If someone gets Never in their pool. their total word count will just be a bit higher than other people's.
>> No. 109728
File 134146617431.jpg - (34.17KB , 512x384 , _4ez.jpg )
Oh, sorry, I forgot this part of your post:
>Will the prelim round be completely private, or will they all be visible here somewhere?
Private, but anyone can get the password on request, and all the participants will get the password. At least, here's hoping Fimfiction's password system works.

I think that'd mean you'd be able to place comments and they'd be visible to anyone with the password. So all of the participants would be able to see the feedback they get.

However, I'd be making a separate "Story" for when it goes public. I'd like all the finalists to be at the top of the chapter listing, followed by VOTING, followed by all the other prelim entrants; and I don't think there's any way to rearrange chapters on Fimfiction.
>> No. 109749

Again, it seems a shame to ruin the aspect we had this time of people systematically posting comments and giving feedback to all the stories, even the middling and bad ones. Fic writers love it when people leave them comments. This method would seem to lose that side of the competition entirely.
>> No. 109750
Again, you're mathing at me and I'm just not following it, but you talk a good game and I at least agree about the current judging system being anticlimactic and all. I guess the thing to do is try it out next time and see what happens.

I guess the main thing I don't get is, who are the judges for this then?
>> No. 109752
File 134148686515.jpg - (8.83KB , 320x240 , _5ty.jpg )
Everyone will still get feedback from at minimum 5 people.

I mean, I don't wanna sound brash here, but someone's gotta lose. We can't just keep everyone hanging on forever.
>> No. 109754
File 134149092289.jpg - (16.16KB , 320x240 , _9nb.jpg )
My initial attempts at an algorithm for distributing the stories has given this data: http://goo.gl/Xu8Ts

For the stories with moderate word counts, the results are suitably random. However, because Never so nearly matches the average sum, it often get paired with the same stories.

So is this an issue? Does there need to be a word limit (say, 12,500) on entries?

I would say no, as intentionally bloating a story is quite difficult in the context of the event. Forcing a large story on yourself is really a gamble—you could so easily begin to drag, and that would ruin your ranking—so I don't think it would effect any change in the way most contestants write their entries. For the most part, this method seems sound.

Alternatively, the stories could just be distributed randomly, but that would have people reading amounts of words in ranges from 10,000 to 60,000. Thoughts?
>> No. 109762
File 134149396194.png - (9.37KB , 376x517 , distribution.png )
My understanding is no judges, per paragraph #2 of >>109198. We'd do this every-entrant-reviews-six thing for the prelim round, cut the field in half, then do full voting (like this round's) to pick the final winners.

Checking out Never's distribution versus some average-lengthed fic, it's actually not that poor, though it's not that great either. It only gets matched with 11 of the 28 competitors. Not great, but I figure it's sufficient enough since we only need to separate the pack into top half and bottom half. Compare to an average-length fic, which gets compared to 20 of the 28 fics. I also checked one of the fics that Never was getting paired up with the most. It too suffers slightly—15 of the 28—but hey that's over half. Also, this only becomes an "issue" when someone writes a very large entry.

tl;dr—I vote "non-issue".
>> No. 109803
Here's a thought: Don't have wordcount be an issue
>> No. 109868
I think this is sound advice. Certainly there shouldn't be an upper limit, for the contest format reasons you stated. A lower limit might help weed out some of the crap, but I think I'd rather see people willing to give it a shot at the last second than not try at all. Because, I mean, there's not trying and then there's not trying at all.
>> No. 109872
File 134153651835.png - (94.22KB , 495x549 , dumbsurprise.png )
Looks fine to me, but I do want to express caution about a couple things here.

First, be careful with how much you require of participants. I think asking writers to vote on 5/6 stories is well within reason for 1 week, but requiring a review as well gets into the iffy zone. To avoid conflicts, I'd say you should be very clear about what length and content you expect from a review. I like that you're encouraging as much as feedback as possible, but the more you ask of the writers, the fewer people will participate. If you have any sort of method to motivate people to review instead of requiring it in order have their fic considered, that would be more effective. I do recognize there are not always nice solutions to everything, though.

Second thing: I'm not such a big fan of having the group vote choose the ultimate winner. When the participants/outside voters get this power, the most popular entry will win, not necessarily the highest quality one. If you have judges which are proven authors/reviewers choose the winners, it's much more likely the highest quality entrant will perform better.

Probably sounds a bit elitist, but I'd hate to see the same thing that happened to Fimfiction happen here. There are plenty of places for people to find popular fics. This should be a place for people to find quality fics (Not to say a popular fic cannot be good, or a quality fic cannot be popular!!).
>> No. 109875
Bit of a +/- thing here...

As Roger has pointed out, the judges' voting, while often exhibiting several different individual rankings, has never (or almost never) resulted in an averaged ranking that differed from the public one. That said, the panel may not have chosen the same 5 finalists as the public, given the opportunity...
>> No. 109987
There is a lower limit of 1000 words if I remember right. This could be increased to the EqD minimum for chapters of a work (or oneshots depending on how much you want to limit things.)

I like what I'm seeing for the plans for further rounds, but I have a couple suggestions:

1. Make it explicitly clear exactly what level of "review" is required of the participating authors. For instance, whether a single paragraph response on the story as a whole is sufficient, or if they would need to offer more or less than that.

2. Outliers in fic length such as Never are only going to screw up any algorithms based solely on wordcount. Perhaps giving it the (inaccurate) score of the average wordcount of entries would allow it to more randomly be matched with the other entries? If this problem is negligible, as I believe it may in fact be, then the processes already developed seem to be suitable.

That's all I've got. Though I think it'd be nice to make this into a monthly event. That's hopefully far enough apart that interested parties can compete in all of them, and that readers don't grow tired of the competition.
>> No. 110096
File 134165657472.png - (385.41KB , 800x800 , lyra_meets_lyra_by_johnjoseco-d4afto4.png )
It's almost time for the results to be revealed. Three more days, I think? I hope everyone had a fun time, no matter where you placed. Don't forget that the entire point of this writing competition was to have fun! (and win, for some of you)

At the very least, you have become a little better at writing just by participating. And if you can at least take away some of the critiques on your story, you can tweak it till it becomes even better. Yay!

I, for one, am looking forward to the next write-off. Should be just as fun then. As far as I know, that would be... three or four weeks from now?

Keep up the good work, Roger. As always, we appreciate what you do. <3
>> No. 110105
Three whole days? D: I'm in stitches.
>> No. 110133

Hopefully the next writing prompt will permit some quality meme-ness, mweheheheheheeeh.
>> No. 110263
File 134173030511.gif - (32.71KB , 321x360 , 24122328-321-360.gif )
Results will be going up at Mon, 9 Jul 00:00 UTC. That leaves about 17 hours for guessing the authors.

Here's the full list of participants: http://pastebin.com/ubQ3nMz2
>> No. 110274
theworstwriter wrote two?
>> No. 110281
I did write two, and I assure you neither one is amazing.
>> No. 110295

Someone else wrote two as well? Awesome. I just did it to see if I could. (Plus I wanted to experiment with something) It kinda turned out terrible, but at least I learned something for next time.
>> No. 110308
File 134176495227.jpg - (7.21KB , 239x211 , 23948652-309.jpg )
I almost wrote two, and mind you I was seriously considering it, but I had enough fun just writing the one, so I decided not to write the second one, which was going to be a complete joke anyway.
>> No. 110319

I really shouldn't have submitted that second story, judging by results. That's alright, I'll flesh it out until an actual story this time. :D
>> No. 110390
File 134178845454.jpg - (339.87KB , 800x600 , winx-bloom-the-winx-club-7457310-800-600.jpg )
1 hour till results.
>> No. 110392
File 134178879637.gif - (263.79KB , 373x200 , Eientei Dance.gif )

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy!
>> No. 110396

I echo that pic
>> No. 110410
File 134179202942.png - (379.92KB , 1219x1296 , bloom_season_5_safari___by_costantstyle-d4siefz.png )
Another write-off, another round of great stories. It's been an interesting three weeks—that's for sure. I could make a speech here, but that would require, like, effort (and nobody reads these flavour texts anyway).

So without further a do, let's get on with it.

. . .

(Elevator music)


Top 5

Gold Medal
Sweet Escape by Bob From Bottles (7.31)

Silver Medal
Never by shortskirtsandexplosions (8.56)

Bronze Medal
Only Half by The Great and Powerful!Trixie (8.06)

Copper Medallions
His Other Self by I_Post_Ponies (7.21)
What We Leave Behind by Golden Vision (7.06)

Top 10

Murky Medallions
Wings of Icarus by RogerDodger (6.80)
Curse, Bless Me Now by Pascoite (6.69)
No Foals by Flashgen (6.69)
Overthinking It by Nicholas Taylor (6.33)
Resurgence by UnlicensedBrony (6.33)

Top 30

Participation Certificate
Thesis by Pav Fiera (6.14)
Now Departing by Zay-el (5.89)
The Pink Slip by Cassius (5.88)
The Note by Eustatian (5.33)
Secret Agent Cake by PresentPerfect (5.21)
World-Famous by Chocolate Milk (5.20)
Long Live the Queen by Tactical!Rainboom (4.81)
The Mane Six in: Tie Fighters by shazb0t (4.53)
Memories by TheOnly (4.50)
Sins of the Sister by DJnickbeta (4.41)
Knot on My Watch by Casca (4.38)
A Cut Above by Compendium of Steve (4.35)
Cutting Ties with Pinkie by theworstwriter (4.05)
Standing in My Shadow by theworstwriter (3.88)
Departure of a Friend by Dublio (3.71)
The Secret of Ponyville by LunarShadow (2.53)
Regrets by Anon (2.45)
Whack a Mage by Minjask6572 (1.88)
Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature by WriterInTraining (1.83)

I extend again a congratulations to everyone who participated, no matter how well you performed!


Full vote breakdown: http://i.imgur.com/Xsjd3.png (also in the spreadsheet below)
Total number of voters: 20

Giant spreadsheet full o' numbers numbers and graphs and stuff: http://goo.gl/0WfPH

The Judges
The final five were sent to a panel of five judges: Cassius, Corejo, Dublio, Filler, and Pascoite. Their comments and individual rankings: http://goo.gl/ZY01f

Each judge ranked the final five from best to worst, 1st–5th. The scores for the finalists were calculated by the following: 25 – (sum of ranks). For example, a story that that was ranked 5th by all five judges would get a score of zero. Judge tally: http://goo.gl/Yn7BN

Global Results
Previous event statistics: http://goo.gl/oKXkh


Now for the esoteric awards:

Most Controversial
A Cut Above (3.05)
Thesis (2.77)
No Foals (2.59)

Least Controversial
The Note (1.58)
Lyra Meets a Strange Ugly Creature (1.64)
Only Half (1.66)

Most Consistent Reponses
Never with 8 (10)s
Wings of Icarus with 8 (7)s

Least Consistent Reponses
Secret Agent Cake with 3 (5)s and (7)s
Sweet Escape with 3 (7)s, (8)s, (9)s, and (10)s
Thesis with 3 (6)s, (7)s, and (8)s

They're all in the spreadsheet (http://goo.gl/0WfPH). Screenshots are for newponies.

Closing Notes
By request I've set up a mailing list to have you notified by e-mail when a new event is announced. If you'd like to be added to this list, send me an e-mail saying so, or drop your e-mail and a request in this thread (or otherwise find some way to let me know).

Again, thank you all—voters, submitters, spectators, mathemagicians, etc.—for your participation in making this a great success!
>> No. 110412
I am rather heartened that Never didn't win. Good job Bob from Bottles, Sweet Escape was awesome!

As for me, ugh. 5, 6, now 15. I don't get it. Looking forward to the format change.
>> No. 110415
File 134179538184.jpg - (14.76KB , 320x240 , _1ark.jpg )
| Results: >>110410 |

Can't win 'em all.
>> No. 110418
File 134179572033.png - (7.59KB , 72x86 , Bumfriend.png )

Well, congratulations to all who participated and stuck with it! I just hope next time I don't wuss out.

Oh, and I owe a lot of people reviews, don't I? Well, I'll try to get on that as soon as possible, if you want them.
>> No. 110420
Well, glad things are finally over, and I'm not dissatisfied with my place at all. I look forward to the next write-off, and the chance to work on improving my story to get it post-worthy. Look forward to it people with review threads.
>> No. 110431
File 134179746749.jpg - (35.59KB , 900x467 , doctor_whooves_in_a_sock_by_tehresistance-d41khq1.jpg )
Well, whew. That's all finally over and done with.

I have to say, I had a lot of fun with this. This was my first time for four things:
>Writing anonymously
>Writing a sadfic
>Writing off a prompt
>Writing under a time limit

I'm really honored that I made the top five, and I'd like to thank everyone who read and reviewed my fic. As for the judges...ouch. I won't lie—your comments cut harshly—but I feel as if you all more than deserve to make that kind of judgement. So again, thank you: Dubs, Pasco, Cassius, Corejo, and Filler.

I'll probably clean this up a bit, send it off to a reviewer, change Velvet Glitter's name, and do my best to put it on fimfiction and, hopefully, EqD.

I had a lot of fun in this competition, and I can't wait to try it again!
-Golden Vision

So how many of you actually guessed it was me who wrote this? Slipups in the IRC aside.
>> No. 110432
File 134179753408.jpg - (46.01KB , 250x250 , 23170290.jpg )
Congrats to Bob! The judges made a compelling case for why this deserved top honors. Grats to SSnE too; I know there was a bit of a cheering-for-underdogs vibe going on at some points, but yours was truly impressive and deserves to be up there. And of course, congrats to everyone, first or twenty-ninth, who chose to participate. It was a fun run!


H'okay, how did I fare? Lesse...
>Top of Participation Certificates
>Second Most Controversial
>One of the Least Consistent Responses
>Tied for Least Voted Upon (14 votes)
>Name got Ion-Strum'd on result page
>Cassius is in love with me???

Haha, I wasn't expecting such divisive results! I guess that's what comes from having a creepy OTP (sorry, EZN!) Still, considering that was my first foray into writing a romance fic (takes that one line about "the taste of strawberries" out behind the shed), and on a deadline no less, I'm pretty happy with how I fared.

Still not exactly sure what I'm going to do with this, though. Per earlier discussions, I can easily see this being Ch1 of about 6 or so, and I might go back to do that eventually, but I wasn't really looking to go that far at this particular time. I'm also having a difficult time seeing a much-more-satisfying ending within the bounds of a one-shot. I'm partially tempted to chalk it up as a learning experience, submit it mostly-as-is, and eventually give it the Director's Cut treatment at some point down the road. Dunno, I'll keep looking into it this week.

Specifically, I'm changing it such that Celestia expels Twilight for a year, not forever. I suspect this was a large factor in the "ice bitch" comments. I had initially written it as a one-year expulsion, but I changed it at the last minute due to concerns of adherence to the prompt—not the best of reasons. I also want to emphasize that she's giving Twilight the cold-shower treatment out of love / in Twilight's best interests. Much easier to do that in a multi-part fic. As for the Cadance scene... I really don't know. While I'm unhappy with her "this is why you suck" speech, I haven't yet thought of a better mechanism for Twilight to discover the answer from within, without first searching on her own for a few chapters. I'm not sure I can do better until the Director's Cut.

Anyway, while this wasn't for everyone, it did seem to resonate with a few commenters. Thanks for the feedback and critiques!


I'd meant to ask: was there a reason you decided to pull your entry? You don't have to divulge it if you don't want to, obviously. Just curious.
>> No. 110436

>Cassius is in love with me???

You wish.
>> No. 110440
File 134179824342.png - (277.07KB , 816x980 , mlfw4544-FLUTTERcry_sad_shaded[1].png )
I do.
>> No. 110441
File 134179837166.png - (207.03KB , 900x794 , tumblr_m4jqjxXbec1qc5ffho1_1280.png )
No worries Pav, I still wub you.
>> No. 110446
File 134179873744.png - (249.37KB , 502x359 , mygodbeesfreakinsweet.png )
Well done one and all! Most of my top 5 picks ended up as such, and I wound up somewhere near the middle, far better than the last one!

Huh, I'm curious as to why my story is among the Most Controversial. Was it because of the inspiration for it?

Anywho, I'm off to post my story elsewhere. Top of the evening to you all!

(Also random pic for the sake of random, and I'm a bit tired)
>> No. 110449
File 134179916366.jpg - (54.46KB , 960x540 , Beauty-the-Beast-beauty-and-the-beast-1705694-960-540.jpg )
Whelp, I'm pretty dayum lucky the thing made it that far. Sorry for word-bombing you guys. Purple is as purple does.

Congrats, Bob From Bottles. Your name alone deserves to be blasted into space and made to orbit the planet with its awesomeness. I do hope you spam EqD and Fimfiction as soon as possible.

As for now, I must go and save the universe. *rolls backwards into heaven like reverse thunder*

P.S.: Roger, I'm amused by your obsession with brightly-colored and easily marketable cartoons of estrogenical indulgence.
>> No. 110450
Yes, count me among your suitors as well.
>> No. 110467
File 134180216825.png - (239.83KB , 480x480 , 480px-Good_morning_surprise_by_johnjoseco.png )
First off, congrats to Bob From Bottles. Sweet Escape was the closest fic to 'flawless' in this competition. The tone and pacing were spot on, and the scenes were entirely original and engaging. I really liked it.

Based on the reviews I've done for you in the past, I sorta kinda considered you might have been the one behind What We Leave Behind. Not enough to throw a guess out there, though. Well done (although, if you read my review of it, you know I'm frustrated you didn't take it further).

As with everything I write, His Other Self was a bit of an experiment for me. Granted, I should probably get the core principles of writing down first before I start throwing caution to the wind, but eh, whatever.
It was chock full of errors, of course. The character Sweet was likely my biggest failing, and the plot hole of, "how the hell did Glass get medical attention" hurt the story as well. It was too long, I hated Bon Bon and wanted to write her out entirely, but I didn't have the time.

I wanted to see if people would embrace a story with no initial hook. I basically told the reader, 'if you invest your time with this, you might get something good at the end', and let the rest up to them. I figured it wouldn't be popular with everyone (and that showed pretty clearly), but for those who did allow themselves to become engaged, I feel like they got what I wanted them to get. I should probably stop with the overly-symbolic pony names, though (Glass cause you can see through him, he wears his heart on his sleeve, Wind cause it's also transparent and it's something you always know is there but never really give it a second thought like the town did). I only heard negative comments about it.

All in all, I'm pretty happy I participated. It was good to write out of my comfort zone. I'm utterly shocked I spat out 10k words in 2 days (I had trouble writing 15k over 3 months). My little experiment worked out fairly well, too. Even though the judges tore the fic a new one, I saw exactly what I wanted to see in their comments as well. It makes me want to write more!

A Director's Cut? That's not just an excuse to charge me more, is it? (btw, really liked Thesis—want to see more)
>> No. 110468
Do you anyone here?
>> No. 110474

Chance none.
>> No. 110480
File 134180504338.png - (44.21KB , 761x319 , Snapshot_34.png )
None of you guessed that my story was intentionally bad. It sure was fun to write though. I think I'll take the advice of some of the commenters, and patch it up a little before sending it through one of our lovely review threads. I'm kinda bummed that I never found enough time to read all of the stories and guess the authors, although I do remember calling SS&E's story right from the get go. Anyway, it's been fun ponies, I hope you all had as much fun as I did. Until next time.

Hey Roger, first of all I apologixe once again for all the trouble I gave you when submiting my story, especially considering it was a joke anyway. But as a small request, could we please have the full list of authors just a few days sooner next time, so I could have more time to investigate. I know a few other ponies like to do the same thing. Just a thought.
>> No. 110481

Oh, since other people are bringing this up, "No Foals" was an experiment for me as well. That's kind of why I love the write-off. It gave me a chance to say "I have 72 hours, a prompt, and no consequences. Time to do something new." That was kind of my fear too, since "No Foals" was an idea I'd thrown out to the /fic/ board months ago in a storyforge thread (one luckily deleted before the contest began). People seemed to like the idea, as it was the chance to deconstruct a common shipping pair, and find a logical reason said ship might fail with time.

It's the first shipping-centric story I've ever done, and possibly the first character-driven one as well. While I'm not entirely satisfied with how it turned out for the write-off, I am glad it was generally well-received.
>> No. 110483
File 134180581876.png - (134.29KB , 958x833 , 133989007148.png )
Well now I simply must find the time to go back and read them all; they all sound so good. Welp, my thread's almost to the end of its life, maybe I'll have the time then, before I jump back into the training grounds. Who knows, maybe I'll even find the time to discover the secret of first place.
>> No. 110484
Yeah, mine was the first time I'd tried a detective story or a first-person narrator, so at least I got some experience for it. And we finished in a dead heat. Heh.
>> No. 110489
World-Famous was what happened when I told myself to write something simple. Too simple, perhaps. Oh well. Glad some of you liked it at least, and sorry to those of you who didn't.

Congrats to the finalists for their success, and congrats to all the participants for getting something written!
>> No. 110519
Hey, tenth! Not bad at all! I learned a lot from this event and I'll definitely be coming back for the next one.

Congratulations to everyone who participated - and to the winners of course!
>> No. 110520
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Results: >>110410

Great showing, guys! Over 100k words in 72 hours is insane. Congrats to the winners for, well, winning, and to everyone who participated for managing to come up with something!

Knot on My Watch has 2 of the Mane 6 playing key roles, a weather report opening sort of lampshaded at the end, and a crazy concept that I tried to play straight. Definitely out of my comfort zone, but it was an interesting experience.
>> No. 110529
I was... 17th place and the first one to score less than 5.

Unlike a lot of contestants I didn't submit knowing that what I sent in was bad. I thought I had created something interesting, something that I'd like to read, as a reader. I also knew that it was rushed, that I'd taken risks that demanded more love attention than I had time to give.

I'm troubled by this result, to be honest. It shows that despite what I thought were my strengths, there are also ways in which I just don't know what the hay I'm doing.
>> No. 110533
You and me both, bro.

Of course, this whole ridiculous round of (four now) contests I've been in has taught me that I can't write in a vacuum, and I don't feel right/don't generally have the time to consult others for the writeoff, so I guess I'm doomed to failure.
>> No. 110536

Well, I am absolutely shocked that my story finished first, let alone made the top five. There were so many good stories this time.

Thank you to everyone that left feedback. It's given me a lot to think about as I edit. Especially Cassius's review. Even ranking me first, he didn't pull any punches, and I'm glad for that.

Also, thank you Roger, for putting on this event. I look forward to next time.
>> No. 110554
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So my rushed, cheesy ending, first attempt at shipping with no relationship development, had-to-cut-a-few-scenes, train wreck of a fic finished 9th out of 30? Not bad, I say. What probably helped was that I wrote in first person, which was a return to my roots as a writer, and definitely my biggest strength.

Not sure how I feel about this contest, honestly. I basically hated my story when I sent it in, and it ended up doing well. Go figure. I did not like creating something I perceived as bad, but this contest taught me that I'm a better writer than I thought, even when I rush things. Eh, whatever. I probably shouldn't overthink it too much. *Snickers*

I'll probably take part in the next contest and end up hating my story again.

Oh, and I'm really shocked that "No Foals" and "Thesis" didn't finish higher. I think those two definitely deserved to be in the top 5. Never was great storytelling, obviously, but it did not cause any stir of emotion with me. "No Foals" has a brooding Rainbow Dash, which I always like, and when Princess Celestia dropped Twilight as her student in "Thesis," I literally said "whaaaaat?" In a good way, I mean.

Oh, but going back to Never. I personally didn't have a problem with the purple. I'm actually trying to incorporate some purple into my style (much to the chagrin of a couple of my reviewers). I DID have a problem with Celestia saying "Woona" in a scene WHERE A PONY WAS DYING. I now have to buy a new laptop from how hard I face-desked onto my keyboard.

Also, Sweet Escape was fantastic. Definitely deserves the win.
>> No. 110654
Holy crap, but this is my fanfic so much; it scares me: http://myminiatureequine.deviantart.com/#/d56jixm.
>> No. 110677
| Results: >>110410 |
>> No. 110680
I thought the same thing!
>> No. 110702
I'm going to leave and pretend I never came to /fic/ now, if y'all don't mind...
>> No. 110758

There's no need to do that. Just think of it as a learning experience, and hey, you got a fic done. That's something to be proud of.
>> No. 110814
| Results: >>110410 |


What he said. The write-off is just a fun event to take part in and learn from. Don't leave just because you didn't place well or something.
>> No. 110830
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What would be the point? Your posts are all still there, and it's not like you did anything anypony should be ashamed of. Why not stick around? Nopony's forcing you of course, but I see no strong reason to leave, unless you're just bored of this site and need to go do other stuff. In which case, Why are you even reading this? Go
>> No. 111013

I thought I was good enough to at least make the top 50%. Granted, my fic was basically written with zero bucks given, and in two days instead of three, but I still pumped out so much writing that I thought for sure my effort would pay back at least a little.

Instead, the whole contest ran me into the ground emotionally, to the point where even a four-days-without-internet vacation to my grandma's couldn't get me back on track. I hadn't felt that drained in a very long time, and my drive to write has been completely curb-stomped for the foreseeable future. I couldn't even last a day in the accountability challenge - how sad is that?

Still, you guys are sorta right. I'm not leaving - this place is too much fun to lurk in, at the very least. But I do need a break or something.
>> No. 111048
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Well good luck to you. Breaks are good too. We'll be here waiting when/if you come back. Keep calm and pony on. /)
>> No. 111052
if you don't mind my asking, what was emotionally grounding about the contest? and why did you feel drained for four days? maybe this could help others.
>> No. 111054
During the actual writing weekend, I was panicking about meeting the deadline. The first day, what little writing I accomplished just couldn't come out right, and I ended up scrapping all of that work and starting over the next day on a completely different, nonsensical idea - which still turned out to be almost more than I could handle.

In other words, I effectively wrote my story in two days, and even without caring how it turned out, it was a squeeze.

Once the deadline had passed, I became stressed about how I was doing. Almost nobody read my story for several days, and on the off chance someone did, the feedback was rarely any better than tepid - especially compared to the nigh-orgasmic reactions some of the other stories were getting.

It got so bad that I couldn't even finish READING the other entries - I never did cast a ballot, since I had to completely dissociate myself even after I came back from my vacation. The "four days" was how long our trip lasted; I felt burned out for several days on either side of that.

tl;dr: The contest was stressful during the writing phase, and VERY stressful/unhelpful/unrewarding during the judging phase.
>> No. 111108
it seemed to me like there were some entrants who condemned themselves to failure from the beginning, maybe to protect themselves from going through what you went through. it's a very bizarre process, getting noticed for creative work.
>> No. 111112
May I ask if there is an estimate to when the next write-off will be taking place?
>> No. 111122
August 4th.
>> No. 111166
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>those post numbers

Do you know that for sure Dubs?
>> No. 111176
I wish to know this as well. Because August 6-12 might be unavailable for me to do any writing, and I was actually hoping to join this next event.
>> No. 111208
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I normally put the date for the next event in the "Event info" sheet of http://goo.gl/hgnDc

Each event is approx. seven weeks apart. The writing for the next starts Fri, 03 Aug 2012 04:00:00.
>> No. 111212
Alright, cool. I can probably find the time to write.
>> No. 111242
You can't go into these looking for feedback. You'll get some, but I barely got any myself.

Me, I got jazzed up after writing my entry for this, and that carried me through my entry for the Royal Romance contest, which I'd kind of been dragging on at the time.

Give it another try, man. Change your expectations, see if you can do it again without stressing out. After all, these are supposed to be fun contests since nothing's at stake.
>> No. 111391
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Must knock certain threads off the top page...


So I had to go back and count. On average, there was actually a pretty good rate of feedback; the average number of reviews per fic was 9, compared to the average number of votes per fic which was 17. That said, some fics did receive significantly fewer reviews, and I'm not sure there's much rhyme-or-reason to that. While my fic did end up with fewer comments than average, I definitely found those comments valuable.

In future rounds, I'd definitely encourage people to leave a short comment if possible. Even two sentences can provide very useful feedback. Plus I'm sure you'd like to get feedback on your own, so leaving feedback on others is paying it forward or whatev.
>> No. 111409
Oh snap, I DID get less feedback on my fic. D: Tied for last! And here I thought I was just being paranoid!

Did you count both in-thread feedback and fimfic feedback? ;_;
>> No. 111433
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