These were just my thoughts reading them, I'm not a very good reviewer and I kind of suck at this, so please keep that in mind...
A Game of Twits:
I really enjoyed this just because it was so much like the show itself. It was predictable, and I knew it would be Luna almost as soon as the Queen character was introduced, but that still didn't stop me from feeling a little surprised I was right and then feeling all smug about it afterwards. I liked way you wrote Fluttershy and Twilight, they were perfectly in character and generally the characters were probably the piece's strongest area. I also really enjoyed the way you did the chess matches themselves, and it was also a funny coincidence because I'm reading through a series of short stories by Kurt Vonnegut right now and I'd just read one about chess called 'All The King's Horses'. (Although it's... pretty different in almost every other respect...)
But yeah, I really enjoyed it, and I'm not just saying that.
A True Magician:
Okay, so it doesn't win many points for originality; it is a theme that's been done before. But, I think that this is one of the better sad Trixie stories I've read, and it did actually make me feel sad, which is great. The beginning felt a little shaky and wasn't a great hook, but it definitely recovered afterwards and it did leave me feeling emotional. Okay, so maybe I'm easily manipulated and sadfics pretty much always get me, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it! And really, that's the purpose of fanfiction in general, right?
Benefits and Consequences:
This was a longer piece, so I didn't really think that much about the typos and slips, but there were enough to significantly distract me. Otherwise, some of the dialogue felt a little flat and I kind of expected what was going to happen, but it was still pretty fun to read. Spike's illness was an effective hook, at least for me, but when it was solved so easily I knew how the rest of the story was going to go down. Also, the way you actually slipped 'Double-edged sword' into the dialogue just to make it clear that you were following the prompt felt like you were worrying too much that your story didn't make it clear enough, and that threw me off a bit. Even though I have a lot to say, I did enjoy reading it, and I never felt like skipping onwards throughout the entire thing, so it's just a few little problems that I get the feeling arose out of the time constraints.
Call Me, Call me:
This made me sad too... If I had to choose which made me sadder, the previous Trixie one or this, I don't think I could decide. The use of imagery connected to the scrapbook was genius, and I really liked the way you described his travels all of Equestria. Damn, I don't have much criticism to say on this one, it was very, very good.
Funny, I was reading about epistolary novels a few days ago. I really liked this, probably because I like the idea of Inky/Pinkie being relatives and stuff, and also because I had never thought of the Gala incident like that. It was really fun to read, especially since I knew that Pinkie was never going to be able to attend any of Inky's things. It took me a while to realize what the italic sections were, but it was fun when I did finally realize so that was good. However, there were quite a few syntax errors and things which I'm guessing came from the time constraints and some of the letters sounded quite OOC, which did detract me a little. I still had a lot of fun reading it though, good job!
Creepy Doll From Down the Lane:
Damn. Very, very good, almost slow-clap territory if it hadn't had a few little problems:
-Lyra took it really easy at the start, didn't she? Especially when the doll was talking, I imagined she would be crying and screaming: 'Whoever's doing this, this is a horrible prank and you're a horrible pony!'
-The title made me think this was going to be a comedy, so I came into it with the wrong mood. I'm guessing you're referencing Jonathan Coulton's 'Creepy Doll'? Still, even with the title I was listening to 'Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space' by Spiritualized, and that made me feel very sad :(
-Ending was a little bit strange, not how I'd thought it would go.
But anyway, that was very, very good. I'm an LyraBon enthusiast so I guess I'm the perfect reader for this, but still, this really made me feel. Awesome. Thank you.
Awesome. Nice break from the emotional ones that have been toying with my heart for the last few hours. I like the idea a lot, and I really love Colgate's character; she felt like some thought had actually been put into her to make her unique. I didn't like the way you made your characters say 'double-edged sword' because as I said in Benefits and Consequences, it feels like you're not confident enough in your own abilities or your readers' intelligence to figure out which part of your story fits the prompt. Other than that, there were a few weird sentences and typos which were obviously accidental and a result of the time constraints. Overall, very fun to read and refreshingly lighthearted!
For the Love of All:
Amazing concept, great execution, fantastic world-building, completely original and to top it all off, it was a thumping great read.
My only complaint is that you're changed my Fluttershy headcannon against my will, so subconsciously I'm always going to be thinking about this story whenever I write Fluttershy from now on. I hate you. And I love you. (KIND OF LIKE A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD C WUT I DID THAR?)
I liked this because it didn't really tell a story- It was more of an explanation of a concept through a narrative, with a little bit of sister relationship exploration mixed in there. (What a mouthful) This was a really interesting and unique take, and I liked the ending very much. Not much else I can say, other than you get lots of point for originality. Very interesting, I'll be mulling this one over for a long time, I think.
I Dream of Daisies:
First off... You needed to go deeper.
I'm sorry, you can track me down and slay me now, I couldn't resist. But really, this was an amazing story which had me hooked until the very end. I would happily read a novel-length fic on Daisy Dreams, it was so good. It definitely achieved the Inception-vibe, although I'm not sure if that's simply because anything to do with dreams I now measure up to that film. (In my humble opinion, it's a modern masterpiece.) It really was great fun to read, and it didn't feel rushed or forced at all. I can see a lot of care and effort went into this, it really shows. I think... this might be my favorite so far.(Although it's very hard to decide! You guys are all so good!)
Cool! I really liked the motto and it git the prompt like a glove! I've only seen three of the first episodes of season two so far though, so I'm afraid the Iron Will character was completely new to me. Great take on the prompt, fun concept, well executed! No big complaints, either!
I hope I wasn't the only one who changed Pinkie's voice into Morpheus' when she spoke the reference! After that, I started saying things like 'there is no bowling-ball' to myself and I felt very silly. (I also said 'we're in the loading program' when Twilight asked where she was...)
I found myself thinking that Twilight and Pinkie felt OOC sometimes, but then Pinkie was deliberate so it's not that much of a problem. There were a few simple mistakes but I guess that was the time restraints again. 'The cost of her humanity' was probably the most jarring one, along with it's/its confusion and un-capitalized I's. The idea was very cool, and the resolution was awesome, but it felt like it just needed a little more polish and fleshing-out to hit the 'amazing' mark. (The important thing is that it definitely has the potential to.) The party ending felt like a little add-on which really didn't serve much purpose without being fleshed-out more, but this was still really great! Good job!
At the beginning, I kept thinking of Tron: Legacy and Spy Kids 3 (What is it with all these movies today!?) and that wasn't a bad thing. But Scratch playing a keytar? Really? I was expecting a PaceMaker! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRZEmdt-K9E) or at least a Teenage Engineering OP-1 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkQ5rEJaTmk&ob=av2e)! (I'm just kidding, I know they'd needlessly over-complicate things.)
The concept was either awesomely original or copied. I'm going to go with the first, but the Micheal Bay reference made me think that you just watched The Island and twisted the plot a little. It even copies the film's confusing-ness at the start, which if you thought of yourself deserves mad props. Frederick felt OOC from my headcannon but hey, that's my headcannon. Also the use of 'bloody' made me read their voices in English and Australian accents. Apart from all that, the pacing was great, it was executed well and it was a gripping read!
Pinkie Learns About Double-Edged Swords:
Cute! If there was an episode which was made to fit the prompt, I'm sure it would go like this. You hit the nail on the head with characterization, and the only complaint I have was that some of the transitions felt too abrupt, but that was probably just due to the time constraints. Other than that, I have nothing much else to say, it was fun to read!
Interesting. It's an interesting take on a very well-explored theme. I did find myself thinking that some of it was strange though. The mane six were chosen as Elements of Harmony because of their amazingly strong bond of friendship, why would Pinkie be longing for an even closer friend? It felt like you were trying to allude to Pinkie being in need of someone to have a romantic relationship with, but the ending didn't really show this. In the end the story left me with the message: 'The others aren't good enough friends with Pinkie and now she has a proper friend,' which I found hard to swallow. I think this would have been much more effective as a soft shipping story. Otherwise some of the sentences were kind of awkward, but overall it was solid in construction. Just the purpose didn't feel very clearly thought-out. Still a very strong entry, though!
Damn! This was the biggest tease ever. It's like a proposition for a story, and the story being proposed is a very, very cool idea. Trixie being Celestia's offspring did throw me off a little though, at first I thought it might be a fantasy. There were a few errors here and there that I guess were because you didn't get enough time to proofread. Otherwise this was really interesting, and would serve as a great hook for a much longer novel! Awesome!
Sword, Hammer, Stallion:
Flawless victory. Damn. I'm really speechless. That was fantastic. Not only does it follow the prompt to a tee, it left me with a touching message. It might have even changed my opinion on armed forces a little, that's how much this touched me. (I'm still going to call the CCF murder club, though.) But seriously, that was crazy good. The bit where he's having fun with his wooden sword on the hill gave me Zelda: TWW flashbacks and damn, nostalgia'd so hard. I really have no complaints with this, I'll leave that to someone who can actually critique properly... but wow. Amazing. This... just toppled Daisies for my personal first place. Amazing.
The Ueton Game:
Interesting. Very original idea, and the execution was pretty good. My only problem was that it all felt very sudden, probably because of the time constraints. We suddenly find out the Twilight has been playing this crazy game for x years and Applejack needs to play it too. It also felt weird that Applejack didn't get more pissed with Twilight... I mean, up until they formulate a proper plan to beat the game, surely from where she is it looks like she's stuck, and is probably going to die because of it? It also felt kind of comedic at times, like when Applejack was collecting things and they would just disappear, (again, Zelda flashbacks) which didn't really have to happen. Basically, the idea was a little too ambitious to finish in a weekend. I think that if it was a little longer and took its time building things up, it would be really great. Right now it's still pretty awesome, it's just I feel there's a lot of wasted potential. It was also weird how the game changed from organized dungeon thingies to an open field when they all went in, because it just felt like you ran out of time and had to resolve it quickly instead of having them defeat more dungeons together. Overall it was still great, and a strong contender, but could have been even greater.
I want to thank everyone who participated in any way, this really helped me fight my writers' block. It was a very last-minute thing for me, I had an idea in my head for something that I had wanted to write for some time, and since it kind of fit the prompt, I went ahead with it. I haven't been able to write much for a long time, mainly just because of motivation issues, but this really helped.
I had lots of fun reading every single story, and they were all great. I don't think anyone who entered shouldn't feel proud of their work, every single one of these are commendable. Of course, some are better than the others, but they're all at a very high-standard to begin with. I'm already looking forward to the next one: next time I'll actually prepare and allocate some time to it proper!
It's been an honor, mentlegen!