Before we begin, here’s a quick word from our sponsors:
“Your characterization is overall solid as is the plot. The only problems I have are the same as Seidio's. Grammar feels sloppy at times and not in the oh intentional first person way. I just felt there was points where you screwed up as all of us do. Just skim through it again to find errors and you’re golden. And with that, pow I’m gone. *Rushes to actually write something.”
Thanks for that, Khakispony. Now, back to the action!
You present a very promising synopsis. Let’s see what we have here...
Okay. So after reading this, I must say I rather like it. You explained that you’ll be basing this story off Lovecraft’s work (and you also explained to me the particular style of his work), and I’m really interested to see how that translates to ponies. Taking something so innocent and combining it with something so sinister really appeals to me for some reason. It’s not that I enjoy bastardizing the themes of the show, or that I believe MLP would be better in a darker universe (which it might). On the contrary, I feel that this juxtaposition (big-boy word!) of ideas actually serves to shine light on a whole new aspect of ponies--that is, taking a “perfect” word and showing it nothing but misery. The combination of these subjects--MLP and… horror, I guess--is something that I haven’t yet seen explored in fan fiction, at least to a great extent. Maybe some of your previous work dives into this genre, but I haven’t read it, so I wouldn’t know. I will say that I believe it opens the door to a world of possibilities, and I can’t wait to see where you go with this. This is a good story, and I urge you to see it through to completion. As a side note, I also want to mention that I enjoy your use of illustrations and varied fonts. Some will say it’s distracting, but I myself find it appealing. It serves to give the text a life of its own, and it makes the reading experience that much more engaging.
Your synopsis promises much more than what this chapter delivers, but as it’s only chapter 1, that’s completely understandable. So far, I can find no fault. I’ll have to wait for future chapters to be released before I can really figure out what’s going on. Given the nature of the story, in combination with my uncanny tendency to screw up facts, it’s likely it’ll be quite some time before I can analyze this properly. I should probably go familiarize myself with Lovecraft’s work before I slip any deeper into the chasm of ignorance.
Your characterization is good, though there are a few comments I have.
Doc: I like this character a lot. He comes across as sort of a senile, slightly-deranged type, which is evident from the narrative. I can also see him as taking the role of an unreliable narrator. There are, however, some inconsistencies that rather confuse me, but seeing how that was your intention, I’m sort of left in a pickle. I’ll bring them up anyway.
First, why doesn’t he have more comments on the terrorist attack he reads about in the newspaper? Something that occurs this infrequently would certainly stir emotions in the average individual, regardless of their sanity or ability to write coherently. Sure, he gives us five sentences on his involvement in the military as a physician, but it’s just not enough, in my opinion. The next part is what really surprises me: he reads the article, finishes his breakfast, goes outside (it was a beautiful, sunny, unremarkable day in Equestria…), and makes his way to work (I assume he’s going to work. He never really specifies, but the next scene has him in the director’s office). Okay, so wait a minute. Here were have this scientist guy: he just read a news article that not only informed him of a terrorist attack in Equestria that killed hundreds of ponies, but informs the reader such a thing hasn’t happened in thirty years. Not only that, but this character was there when that attack occurred! I’ve been lucky in life so far; I haven’t had any direct family members die, the worse injury I ever sustained was a broken arm when I was 6, and I’ve never been to war or been present during a terrorist attack. I can’t even fathom the suffering that individuals who haven’t been so lucky have had to endure. I can’t even begin to understand how they feel, and I can only postulate how they may look at the world. That being said, the Doc’s reaction to this article just seems… strange. Why is his response so, “Oh, well, that sucks. Time for work”? I realize that the intention was to make him incoherent, but this is a little much, no?
Second, I’m confused as to why he even brings up Twilight and her “magemicite” in the first place. I have a feeling she’ll be playing a large role later in this story, but the Doc’s mention of her out of nowhere just seems sort of random and out of place.
Finally, the largest inconsistency. Early in the story, in his rant with the director, the Doc took great umbrage at his assignment to evaluate the terrorist. Later on, however, he is more than eager to use this terrorist as the first test subject for his unnamed device. What, did he change his mind? With the style you’ve presented, that case is very likely, but this complete reversal in opinion really jarred the bejesus out of me. As soon as he learned of his assignment, I would have expected eagerness on his part. “The opportunity to serve justice, prevent crime, AND test my unnamed-super-awesome-magitechnical-mind-meld-device? Sign me up!” In all seriousness though, I can’t believe that in the span of all of 2 hours, this guy had a complete change of heart.
The director: Nothing much to say here. He is utterly despicable. Though I can’t help but wonder his motivations are… to show the rest of the world how great Equestria is? No, that doesn’t seem right. The director has the personality of someone who might say he cares about that, but in reality makes all his choices based solely on personal, selfish reasons--whether it be for personal gain, preservation of reputation, pride, etc… It’s almost as if he’s despicable, but not despicable enough. I mean, is he really all that interested in showcasing Equestria’s power to the rest of the world? For some reason, I can’t see him holding that view. I also think it seems rather convenient that, after his huge rant, the Doc is simply able to justify all of the director’s decisions with:
>He was a necessary evil…
Oh, well, that makes it all dandy. It’s as if you were searching for a reason the use the director’s character in the first place, but you left it up to the Doc to tell us of the director’s importance:
>Unfortunately, he was also good at managing that money. It was that reason alone that he was still the director of the institute.
Unless this character will only play the small role you’ve given to him in the first chapter, I’d look into developing another reason for his being there.
Jet and Rosie: Okay, I have serious problems with these characters. Here you have a) Jet, the jock-type, and b) Rosie, the fashionista/secretly-really-intelligent-type… Um, excuse me? You’re seriously telling me that these characters work in a psychiatric laboratory--a very professional setting--and Doc simply puts up with the nonsense? To me, that just doesn’t make very much sense at all. They seem almost cliche in their descriptions, which don’t go deep enough in the first place for me to really understand them. It’s almost like you tacked them on for the sole purpose of having Doc give his opinion about them. In the entire story so far, they do one thing: open the doors to the laboratory. Actually, scratch that. Only Jet opens the doors. I can only assume Rosie is standing in a corning filing her nails or something. Now, granted, if these characters were interns, their behavior might actually be a welcome sight. Some form of comedic relief, if you will. But as of now, I have no behavior--only description. Additionally, the reader learns that Jet and Rosie are in some form of a romantic relationship--in the workplace?! Oh boy, I can’t see this ending well.
Ferrum: The little twist you gave at the end was rather unexpected, and the chapter ends with a lot of questions that leave me ravenous for answers. There isn’t much to this character at the moment; I know he’s shy, I know he’s a rookie, I know he looks at the terrorist with fear, and I know that he’s from Salty Shores. Well, that makes for a rather interesting set of circumstances. I’ll have to wait and see how this character is further developed before I can anything with certainty. The only concern I had was his behavior with regard to his professional conduct (his holding of his weapon, etc…), but we’ve already discussed that.
The other characters, such as the Captain and the terrorist herself, serve their purposes for this chapter, and I don’t believe there is any need to rip into into them--at least not yet.
Hoover DAM, Garnot. I’ve never quite seen punctuation used in this way. Even though your ideas of “style” clashed with my ideas of “this is how it should be”, I actually really respect your attempt to create a unique narrative voice. It may not be technically accurate (nor aesthetically pleasing in some places, which you mentioned was another goal. I tried to point out the biggest issues) but you stray from the norm in such a way that gives the story a life of its own. An immersion factor, shall we say. As a budding writer myself, I can’t help but be awestruck at the flexibility of the English language. You see, I’ve always been one for “following the rules”--as we discussed--and I sort of get this nervous tick whenever someone tries to swerve from the path, probably because most attempts at this usually end in me rage-quitting the document. You, however, did so in a way that serves to emphasize the quirks of your main character. After you explained this to me, it all made much more sense. By all means, keep it up. It certainly is fresh. After all, you know how to break the rules much better than I do.
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