“So, this is basically a Human-in-Equestria story, except the "human" is a cat firin' his lazers, and his totally heterosexual life partner is sailing the multiverse to rescue him. In an Age of Sail Warship.”
1. I’m going to ignore your snide comment and won’t hold it against your credibility as a reviewer (even though a rather large part of me would very much like to since I generally view my characters as my own children. Children that I often put in harm’s way and neglect, but children who I will come to the defense of if I find a remark against them that isn’t something they had coming).
“What the actual fuck? I love how crazy this concept is! Splaznor. Splaznor the lazenator!”
2. Please keep the expletives to a minimum. I hear enough of them listening to my own family’s regular, non-fighting conversations as well as the plebs that inhabit my school, and I really don’t need any more exposure to them from people ,outside of stories I read, if I can help it.
On a note that pertains more to your comment, thank you for liking the concept. I admit, I’m a better conceptual and idea guy than a executor, so what little ego I have is very much bolstered from hearing that my tale has clout at least on the theoretical level. Though I feel I must point out that the laser-cat’s name is Splazor, not Splaznor (though in a flashback sequence, I may decide to name one of his older brothers who used to pick on him for his own amusement Splaznor now that I think about it). Thanks for the name “lazenator” by the way. I’ll be sure to use it somewhere.
“But it doesn't quite work quite so well in execution.”
3. Execution, thy name mean’s frustration!
“First, I fear you're running the risk of writing a stereotypically-bad HiE fic minus the human. You know, the ones where it's just an excuse for Pinkie to throw a party for the OC and the main conflict never really shows up.”
4. Really? I thought with the whole “laser-cat who constantly gets into adventures and misadventures thing” on a ship that can traverse space and time whose gone to who knows how many different universes and fought with who knows how many different types of enemies with who knows what range of power levels that I “think” (though am not really sure) I managed to convey somewhat (like with the last line in my tale), that Equestria is pretty much guaranteed conflict up the wazoo (the kind that involves property damage and drama on a scale Equestria has never seen and might not survive).
Though I admit, they’re definitely will be a pinky pie party, it won’t be the peak of the rising action.
Though I have to ask, did I properly manage to convey this, or is this something that I gradually convey from chapter to chapter?
“You know how Splazzy has that odd-colored horn in pony form? That should probably go. Pony wings, horns, and coats are a single color with few exceptions (Pipsqueak and Cadance are the only two that come to mind). If you leave that in, you're just giving the Legion of Sue-Haters ammunition.”
5. Really? There are people who ‘dis on this just because the main character has a crimson horn? Even if no one in the story really cares and it’s just something that makes him easier to visualize and identify? Something tells me that these people spend WAY too much time on the internet. But then again with the number of times I’ve watched the Nostalgia Critic, Angry Video Game Nerd, Angry Joe, Linkara, and Spoony on youtube, who am I say who has spent too much time on the web?
If you want to actually make him not-a-Sue, you have to ruin his life at the beginning (but not so he can wangst about it, oh no).
6. Was there ever any indication that he was a Mary Sue (aside from the horn thing)? And if you’re talking about him wining about being turned into a pony, he’s a little boy! Think the kind of tyke that loved watching “manly” cartoons as a child like Transformers, GI Joe, any of the Gundam series, any of the zoids series, any of the Dragon Ball series, anything having to do with the DC or Marvel Universe, etc while eating sugary series on a Saturday morning and jumping up and down on a high that not even the world’s most powerful narcotics could match if they were all combined into a survivable concoction.
You know, the kind of young male quite a few of us were that HATED anything girly like Strawberry short-cake, Polly, Barbie, Dora the Explorer, and even My Little Pony (or at the very least, didn’t like to admit it to anyone, as the fact that I used to own a copy of Barbie and the Nutcracker Suite and watched it often can attest to). He’s not exactly going to be thrilled that he’s now been reduced to a cute and cuddly equine with no hand like limbs that most people would never take seriously; even if he was a cute and cuddly feline with hand like limbs that most people would never take seriously to begin with. Likewise, much like a little boy, he’ll eventually get over it and stop “wangsting” (though even then, the wangsting won’t be like the kind modern anime’s and Frank Miller are so fond of. More like a petulant child whose parents didn’t buy him the exact toy he wanted who claims to hate them forever and ever and ever but that eventually calms down and comes to his senses).
Though, again, I wonder if I’ve properly managed to convey or hint at this in this chapter and/or if this is something that should gradually come to light as the story progresses.
“I say take away his lazer-power and let him be a bitchy kitty-turned-unicorn. It's a fine line to walk, but making him hilariously useless when he's used to being basically Reepicheep or Puss-in-Boots has the potential for serious fun.”
7. I disagree with you and agree with you at the same time on this matter. While I agree that laser should not be “as powerful” as he is normally while on Equestria (which I’ll explain away with him using most of his power in the fight and his body not being used to absorbing the kind of magical light that Celestia’s sun outputs and thusly not being able to emit lasers as powerful as his normal ones or lift, jump, and run as fast as he usually can due to his body’s lack of solar energy), I disagree that his powers and abilities should be taken away completely. After all, you said it yourself. He’s the “lazenator.” Part of the fun of a fic like this is seeing him manage to take down single-hoofedly, or almost single-hoofedly, threats that the average Equestrian would find insurmountable and perform dazzling feats. Likewise, part of the fun also lies on him getting beat-down by some of the larger threats of this supposedly “girly” and “fru-fru” world we all love so much. Though him being a bitchy kitty turned Unicorn will certainly be where a good portion of the story lies, I’m afraid that combined with him being “hilariously” useless, that it isn’t enough to hold the story until things start heating up. Combined with him being significantly under-powered, sure. But you might as well say this story will never meet your standards, as the power he possesses while in Equestria is a story point I will not budge on.
“You're writing in third-person omniscient with all the subtlety of a five-year-old armed with an automatic shotgun.”
8. And the anvil of irony strikes me on the head again.
“ You don't have to jump cut five times in as many paragraphs to foreshadow meeting the mane six - it's a bleeding HiE fic, of course chapters 2-4 are meeting the ponies. In fact, you can chill out a lot and trust your story to unfold in due time. Keep notes for yourself, and only keep the reader informed of the important stuff. “
9. Umm…I wasn’t really for-shadowing him meeting the mane-six as much as I was trying to paint a picture of the effects of Lazor’s epic yelling of, “Noooooooooooooooo!” across the land without outright stating the names of those . It was a picture silly and childish in its humor I admit, but since we’re talking about a children’s television show intended for young girls, silly and childish are not that much of a stretch in a tale about it (if that’s what you getting at that is).
“There's a ton of info-dumping in this chapter. Like when you introduce us to Spirit of Adventure. She's a universe-hopping, time-travelling sail-driven warship. Bitchin! But, you've got this discription that reads like a history textbook written without the benefit of an editor with all kinds of useless trivia about this pirate named Entropy Beard.”
10. “…all kinds of useless trivia?” You make it sound like the information about him was the size of Mount Everest. I admit, I’m not entirely sure if three to five (maybe a little more) things constitutes a blurb, so may I please be informed as to if that is going over-board
“Why the heck should I care about him? Law of Conservation of Detail. (And if you're foreshadowing, you should introduce him in relation to another character, like the Captain.)”
11. I brought him up because he’s technically responsible for the ship’s current state and the state of its crew and because I wanted to explain just what the heck had recently happened in their lives.
“Here's what I'd keep and how I'd unfold this chapter:
Start with Splazzy moving around in his sleep and falling out of the crow's nest. This gives you a chance for a brief visual establishing shot of Spirit.”
12. Alrighty then.
“You may then add a brief shot of the Cutie Mark Crusaders seeing something fall, but just leave it implied that it's our intrepid feline sailor.”
13. Alrighty then.
“Now the Reader is wondering what's going to happen next. Presumably, they're familiar with the Crusaders (very good chance - they don't call it fan fic just 'cuz fans write it). So, they'll be curious about what kind of character Splazzy is.”
14. Alrighty then.
“So you tease by SHOWING a slice of the life aboard the Spirit. Showing means the Author imagines what's going on using imaginary senses. I want to smell the coffee below decks and hear the tachyons whistle through the rigging. The best way to show a place is to send a character walking through it with a purpose. In this case, the Captain is checking that everything is shipshape before turning in for a well-deserved rest. Don't just tell me that there's was a battle. Show the damage and sprinkle the description with little hints of relevent explanation (which you can pluck from the Captain's head).”
15. Hrmmm…though your words are not entirely strange and alien to me, I believe I do not understand fully.
“The Captain doesn't know that Splazzy fell overboard, so when you hint at their relationship - perhaps the Captain thinks something like "with Splaznor on watch, the ship's in good pands" before he falls asleep. That's what we call Dramatic Irony: you give the audience pieces of the story that the characters haven't realized yet, and it very powerfully foreshadows what will happen when they figure it out.”
16. Alrighty then.
“That's a natural point to cut back to Splazzy and let the Crusaders meet him. And that's about all you've got this chapter that I'd want to keep.”
17. Alrighty then on the first sentence, but not so much for that second line.
“Yes, I'm talking about a near-complete rewrite of the text - but I promise it'll be fun. Let your imagination play with the setting without worrying about what has to happen to make the story move forward. You've already figured out the events, now make them come to life by finding little details to surprise your readers with. I think you may even find that it's not a cut to get rid of the info-dumps.”
18. Alrighty then.
“That takes care of the imaginative stuff, now let's talk word-craft.
>Against the whims of Lady Luck and her fellow absolutes and sisters of Destiny and Fate, this ship, the E.R.M.S.S. "Spirit of Adventure," if the golden plaque that still shined prominently on its aft section was anything to go by, had somehow managed to accomplish something none of the other "sailors of time" had ever managed to do. It had managed to defeat the dreaded pirate "Entropy Beard" along with his infinite armada and his equally dreaded pet, "The Void Kraken" and freed the ever flowing river from his wanton pillaging and polluting for good.
This paragraph is really bad, and much of your prose is similarly hard to read. A good 90% of style is elegance and only 10% or less is "expressing the author's individuality."
I don't know how much grammar you understand - I'm going to assume "very little technical terminology; I just write."
The biggest problem is that the main interesting details do not happen in the main clauses. If we strip away all the supporting stuff from these two very complicated sentences, we're left with the main subjects and verbs:
This ship | had managed to accomplish
It | had managed to defeat ... and freed ...
You have two other supporting clauses, "restrictive relative clauses" to use the jargon.
plaque < that | shined
something < none | had managed to do
The defining feature of clauses is that they have verbs. In that paragraph - a good-size one: 99 words, you have only five verb phrases. Three of them are variations on "had managed to."
You want verbs because they paint the best pictures. You want clauses because they're easier to connect. Instead, you have a huge mush of phrases:
against the whims
of Lady Luck and her absolutes and sisters
of Destiny and Fate <-- this is an abuse of "of"
on its aft section
along with his pet
Reading the paragraph is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I guess the main thrust of this paragraph is Entropy Beard - you're gonna cut it anyway for info dumping, so I have no shame in rewriting it to demonstrate clarity.
>Still, she surivived.
Ships are "she." Simple tense.
>Entropy Beard, the dreaded pirate, commodore of an infinite armada, and master of the Void Kraken, pillaged and polluted the river of time no more.
You describe him with a lot of nouns without verbs. That suggests stacking up a lot of apposotive phrases like this. Yes, it sounds a little strange, but at least it's clear.
>The ship had survived - and won.
I'm being poetic with the repetition. It also functions to bring the focus back on the ship before I introduce the plaque.
>A golden plaque shining on her stern named her the E.R.M.S.S. Spirit of Adventure, to which she could add the title Defiant of Ladies Luck, Destiny, and Fate.
>No other crew sailing time had even hoped to face the pirate,
Just saying that they didn't is a "well, duh," sort of thing, isn't it?
>but the Spirit of Adventure did and won.
Because, if you're gonna do poetic repetition, you might as well be proud about it.
Putting that together
>Still, she surivived.
>Entropy Beard, the dreaded pirate, commodore of an infinite armada, and master of the Void Kraken, pillaged and polluted the river of time no more. The ship had survived - and won. A golden plaque shining on her stern named her the E.R.M.S.S. Spirit of Adventure, to which she could add the title Defiant of Ladies Luck, Destiny, and Fate. No other crew sailing time had even hoped to face the pirate, but the Spirit of Adventure did and won.
Use simpler sentences for clarity. When things go together in a list, make the grammar similar as well.
Here's another example from my own writing:
>She found the paint, nails, and scrap wood to replace the broken shutters, to shore up and patch the walls, to fix the stairs' squeaky treads, and a myriad of other small tasks.
The repetition of "to" is required to hold the list together and to make it a list of nouns including the "a myriad." There's a list inside the list, "to shore up and patch;" not repeating the "to" in that one keeps it separate from the larger list.
That's the sort of thing I'd like to teach once you have the high-level things figured out. Show-don't-tell, and I'll take another look.”
19. Alrighty then.