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Pre-reader 63.546"s Equestria Daily Feedback Thread Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 23[View All]


As everyone should know by now, Equestria Daily has gone almost exclusively to short bullet-point reviews, except in cases where only a small number of items need to be corrected for posting. I enjoy giving longer reviews, but can no longer do so through Equestria Daily, so I will post them here. I will only do so for stories that in my estimation would have passed the old automoon system; others will get only the bullet-point treatment in the email.

This thread is only for the authors in question and me. They are free to ask questions or ask me to remove their reviews from the thread for any reason. For any other traffic, I will ask a mod to delete it. General questions about Equestria Daily or the pre-reading process should be posted here:

Note that I won't give an exhaustive list of errors; I'll provide a representative list of the types of problems I find and leave it to the author to scour his story for the rest.

To avoid repeating myself, I'll post a few of the more common discussion topics up here; your review may refer you to one or more of these.

Dash and hyphen use:
Hyphens are reserved for stuttering and hyphenated words. Please use a proper dash otherwise. They can be the em dash (Alt+0151) with no spaces around it or en dash (Alt+0150) surrounded by spaces. Some usage (primarily American) employs only the em dash, while other usage (primarily British) employs an em dash for cutoffs and an en dash for asides. It doesn't matter which system an author uses, as long as he is consistent.

Comma use with conjunctions:
There may be other grammatical reasons to place commas, but in the simplest forms, commas accompany conjunctions to separate clauses, not to separate two items of a compound subject, verb, or object. The most common simple sentence forms are:

He performed this action and that action.
He and she performed this action.
He and she performed this action and that action.
He performed this action, and she performed that action.

Dialogue punctuation/capitalization:
When transitioning from a quote into a speech tag, you use a comma in place of a period (other end punctuation would remain unchanged), and the tag is not capitalized by default. Here are the most common forms:

"Speech," he said.
"Speech." He performed a non-speaking action.
"Beginning of quoted sentence," he said, "end of quoted sentence."

Lavender Unicorn Syndrome (LUS):
This is overuse of descriptors such as "the lavender unicorn" when referring to a character. Most times, a name or pronoun will do, and they blend in without pulling attention away from what's happening in a story. These descriptors also tell us information we already know, for the most part. If anyone doesn't know that Twilight is a lavender unicorn, it'd be odd to find him this waist-deep in the fanfiction community.

When it's okay to use them are (very sparingly!) for a bit of flavor, when they actually do impart some new information, or when there are a lot of characters present, such that names quickly get repetitive and pronouns are ambiguous.

Talking heads:
This refers to conversations that have back-and-forth dialogue with little in the way of action to separate them. The characters may as well be disembodied heads floating in a featureless void, for all I know. Half of a conversation is nonverbal cues. They carry so much of the emotional content of what's said, so give the reader the complete picture. Use the same techniques as show versus tell. Speaking of which...

Show versus tell:
It's better to get the reader to interpret a character's emotions than to tell them outright. Devices for doing that include body language, reactions, facial expressions, actions, and sometimes speech and thought. The three biggest red flags are outright naming an emotion (sad), -ly adverb form (happily), and prepositional phrase form (in excitement). The last one in particular is almost always redundant with an action it follows. You'll bore the reader just throwing cold facts at him. This is akin to an actor expecting the audience to intuit his mood from his actions and speech rather than stating it outright. The latter is more efficient, but also quite boring. Showing is not always necessary, but is a better idea when emotions run high, the story is at a critical plot point, you want the reader to feel something along with the character, or it's early in the story where you need to hook the reader.

The verb "said" (and to a degree, other common ones like "answered," "replied," "stated") blend in without calling much attention to themselves. It's okay to use other speaking verbs like "shouted," "muttered," "whispered," etc. to convey a mood or tone of voice, but after a point, the reader starts noticing the choice of speaking verb more than the speech itself, which is a bad thing. The more often an author uses more exotic ones, the more the reader will remember them more than the story. A good mix of mundane speaking verbs, more unusual ones, and going without a speech tag at all will serve a story well.

Head hopping:
It is okay to change character perspectives within a story, but doing so too abruptly or too often is jarring to the reader. An author must consider whether the information he's presenting would be available to the intended perspective character. If not, then he must consider whether the information is important enough to be necessary, can be presented in such a way that the perspective character can perceive it, or if a shift of perspective is truly the best way. And if a shift is justified, then be prepared to stay in that character's perspective for some time. Staying there for only a sentence or paragraph just jerks the reader around. And when changing perspectives, do so smoothly. Imagine a camera, gradually zooming out of one character to a more objective viewpoint, then zooming in on another.

Authors can find further information and other reviewing resources here:
685 posts and 4 image replies omitted. Click View to see all.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3071

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>the road to school to the bus stop//

So which is it? I realize it could be both, but it's just confusing reading it this way. I'm not sure whether she's walking to school or the bus stop. Either way, this seems to say school is her destination, but the very next sentence talks about her going home, so I can't figure this out.

>as of billions of tiny little cotton balls had covered everything//


Just in the first screenful, you have 12 instances of "was" or "wasn't." There are over 100 in the story. That's a lot for this word count. If I factor in other forms of "to be," then you're even more awash in them. It'd pay off for you to phrase things with active verbs where you can. "To be" is boring. Nothing happens. It's impractical to avoid it altogether, particularly in dialogue, since people don't creatively phrase things to get around it when they speak, so you get some leeway there. I'll pull out an example.
>Her bike was in the shop, so her only ride home was the local bus that ran by every fifteen minutes.//
If I rewrite this with active verbs, it could be something like this:
>The shop still hadn't finished fixing her bike, so she had no other way home except the local bus that ran by every fifteen minutes.//

>She also realized that because of the snow the bus would be late//

Why? Is the road not plowed? Is the bus always late when it snows? I'd like to see her justification.

>Once she had reached school, she noticed one of two things.//

This says she only noticed one thing, but then you have her go on to notice both. Even if she only noticed one thing, this wouldn't work for the perspective. You're effectively using Sunset as your narrator, so if there's something she doesn't notice, the narrator can't notice it either.

>Not that the substitute cared, he was dozed off in Ms. Harshwhinny’s chair//

That's a comma splice, and the syntax is off for "he was dozed."

>low voiced//

Hyphenate multi-word descriptors like this when they come before what they're describing.

>She was the newest of the group therefore she shouldn't know either.//

Needs a comma.

>But she guessed that's what the hushed whispers were for, but it didn't seem to comfort her in the slightest.//

The two uses of "but" create the feel of a double negative. Plus Sunset should know whether she was comforted or not. "Seem" shouldn't enter into it. That'd be someone else's impression of her.

>twenty third//


>Shock overtook Sunset’s face, then confusion, then understanding.//

This is a bad idea in two ways. First, it's better to demonstrate how a character feels through their behavior, body language, and dialogue, instead of directly naming emotions. It's more realistic that way. Think about it: you don't know how some random person you see in public feels. There's not a narrator telling you. But you can observe them and figure out how they feel from how they act. That's how it works in real life. So when you have to figure out a written character the same way, it's more authentic.

And second, you're using Sunset as your viewpoint character. That means you also have to be careful exactly what things you use to give her emotion context. Only she could know what memories are running through her head, for example. A narrator in another character's viewpoint couldn't tell you what Sunset is thinking. Along those same lines, consider that Sunset can't see her own face to make the judgment you're having her do here.

>twenty first//


>what Sunset did know, was that she was going to be there for Applejack//

Why is this such a big thing for her? The other girls know AJ well, and they're not moving to do anything. Why not? Do they know AJ would just rather be alone? Have they tried in the past and nothing's worked? Seems like that's the kind of stuff Sunset should ask about before she unilaterally decides she's going to fix AJ.

>Losing a parent was hard//

This kind of begs the question of how Sunset feels about her own parents.

>Lunch time came around//

Why are we only halfway through the day? You already said "The rest of the day was a blur of classes" as if it's already over.

>Do you....//

Only three dots in an ellipsis. A four-dot one is a specific use case in formal nonfiction.

>I don't know dear//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>At a time like this, she really needs her friends.//

Then why have none of her friends ever done anything about it?

>the bell for the period to end rung//


>When she arose from her bed//

Needs a comma here to set off the dependent clause.

>today,” She said//

Capitalization. Dialogue tags don't get capitalized unless they start the sentence.

>up,” There was pity in her eyes.//

The narrative part here doesn't have a speaking action, so it can't be a dialogue tag. It needs to be a separate sentence, so end the dialogue with a period. Both of these dialogue mechanics issues persist throughout the story. I'm not going to mark any more, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.

>the older woman//

AJ is your perspective character now, so you're saying she chooses to refer to her own grandmother like this. In your own thoughts, would you call your grandmother this?

>turnin’.” She turned//

Watch close word repetition like this.

>Seeing how nothing she said was going to get though her stubborn granddaughter’s head, Granny Smith decided to let it go.//

Why are you jumping over to Granny Smith's perspective for a single paragraph? Stay in AJ's head.

>Applejack didn't even bother to shower, she just threw on her work clothes and headed out.//

Comma splice.

>blanketing it in white//

Most times, you'll set off a participial phrase with a comma.

>It was quiet, most mornings were.//

Comma splice, and you have a close repetition of "most" in the next sentence.

>Apple Bloom hated getting up this early, it was the bane of her existence.//

I'm seeing a lot more of these comma splices lately. I'm going to have to stop marking them.

>I wasn't even old enough to talk to them. I don't even remember what Momma looks like and it hurts Applejack! It hurts!//

This'll take a bit more explanation to get into. If Apple Bloom never knew them, then why does she have such an attachment to them? THis is a very over-the-top reaction. She'd love them just by the fact they're her parents, but she didn't have a reason for so personal a relationship with them, so give me more about why this matters so much to her.

>I was four, remember?//

She just said she wasn't old enough to talk to them before they died. A four-year-old can't talk?

>Apple Bloom you can't blame yourself//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>I’m the reason their dead//

Their/they're confusion.


Only capitalize the first part of a stutter, unless it's something like a name that has to be capitalized anyway.

>walking passed Applebloom//

Past/passed confusion; Apple Bloom.

>I miss my parents in Equestria//

Ah, there we go. But as relevant as this is to identifying with AJ, she barely touches on it. This is the only mention it ever gets.

>The usually kept girl//

Something's off in that phrasing.

>she had went//


>Oh, Okay//

Why is "okay" capitalized?

>Sunset hadn’t been friend with,//

Friends, and that comma is unnecessary.

>bit bile//

Missing word.

>confused and not sure what made her friend leave so abruptly//

Don't jump over to AJ's perspective like this.




When you have an apostrophe on the front of a word, be aware that smart quotes will turn it backward. You can paste one in th right way or type two in a row, then delete the first.

>recognized the immediately song//

Syntax is off.

>years...” her voice trailed//

The ellipsis already means she's trailing off. Narrating it as well is redundant.


young ’un

It sure doesn't end up taking much convincing to get Apple Bloom to give up her guilt. Part of the power in a story is the difficulty involved in achieving what the protagonist wants. This is all pretty straightforward. At least Apple Bloom doesn't come around when Applejack first spoke to her, but they just make the same argument to her twice, and the second time it works. Plus having everyone come over for dinner ended up not mattering to this. It had nothing to do with what Applejack said to her, so that leaves it feeling extraneous. Plus that's another example of a problem being fixed very easily. Everyone shows up, and Applejack's immediately in a good mood. They didn't have to work for it, so there's less of a payoff when they get the effect they want.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3089

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>A quiet chime sounded and the creature’s characteristics popped up in the lower left of her visor.//

You have a number of places like this that could use a comma between the clauses. When a conjunction separates two subjects that each get their own verb, you'll normally put a comma there. In this case, you have "chime sounded, and... characteristics popped up." Here's another spot a bit later wi the the same issue:
>Luckily she heard its skittering legs at the last second and she was able to throw up a personal shield in time.//
Assuming this is going to be a pervasive thing, I won't be able to mark them all, so give the story a scan for these.

>thirty three//


>according to her helmet’s heads-up-display//

Participial phrases like this normally get set off with a comma.

>take a step back to take//

Watch the close repetition of words or phrases like this.

>faster than light travel//

Whenever you have an entire phrase that acts as a single adjective in front of what it describes, hyphenate it. So, "faster-than-light travel." The exception is if there's a two-word phrase starting with an -ly adverb. Those don't use hyphens.

>it more closely resembled a gangly insect rather than a spacecraft capable of faster than light travel//

Now I'm going to revisit this sentence. This is narration, but it's expressing Twilight's opinion for her. Mostly, the narration has been pretty factual, but here, it's taking on Twilight's viewpoint. It could stand to be more consistent. Limited narrators essentially take on a character's identity, while omniscient ones are formal and factual for the most part. Your story has sounded mostly omniscient to this point, but some spots like this one sound limited. The problem is that I can't tell what you intend. If you want omniscient, then you can't let character opinion like this creep into the narration without explicitly saying is what that character thinks. Or if you want a limited narrator, then establish that more definitively from the start, and have it poke in with a subjective statement like this more often. The longer you go without something like this, the more it feels like omniscient narration with occasional perspective mistakes than a limited narration.

And here's another thing that doesn't work if you're using a limited narrator:
>The alicorn mare//
This would mean that Twilight is choosing to describe herself with such a phrase. People don't think of themselves in such formal, external ways. For omniscient, this kind of phrasing is fine, as long as you don't overuse it.

For that matter, if you want a limited narrator, then it's really not necessary to have so much italicized thought. The narration already is her thought, so let it express those for her. By making them quotes, you're forcing a distance between the character and reader that works against the point of using a limited narrator.

>Then I saw the fire….//

A four-dot ellipsis is really for quoted excerpts in formal nonfiction writing. It's possible to actually do that in fiction, like if you were showing a research paper Twilight had written, and she did something like that in the paper. But for trailing off, just use three dots.

>much needed//


>As the purple pony settled in the padded pilot’s seat, the canopy swung down and locked with a pneumatic hiss as the airtight seal pressurized.//

It's really clunky to have two "as" clauses in the same sentence like this, plus they effectively over-specify the chronology.

>high pitched//


>at best, thirty light minutes away//

No reason to have a comma there.

>burnt out//


>excuses.” Twilight quipped//


>Princess.” The voice boasted back//


>Regret maybe?//

If you've got a word italicized for emphasis, then include a question mark or exclamation mark on it in the italics.

>“Anyway,” Twilight decided to file that thought away to think about later, “I//

And this is the opposite problem. You have something punctuated/capitalized like a speech tag, but it has no speaking action. Add one in or make it a separate sentence.

>several thousand light year//


>it was nice to finally have somepony to talk to; especially one that knew her so well.//

A semicolon is really only correctly used if you could replace it by a period and have both resulting sentences stand as complete, but what comes after it here couldn't. A comma would work fine. This is the only one I've marked, but most of your semicolons are misused.

>hideous!” His voice came in//


>gut wrenching//


>“It wasn’t your f…” His voice cut out//

An ellipsis is for a gradual fade. If the voice cuts off suddenly, use a dash.

>Too bad I don’t have time to catalog everything. The mare thought with some indignation.//

You're really intermittent at getting this kind of punctuation/capitalization issue wrong, so I can't tell whether you're making careless errors or don't understand the rules. There's a short section on dialogue capitalization/punctuation at the top of this thread.

>two hundred and sixty//

Someone as scientific as she is should know it's improper to use "and" in a number like this.

>the recording, along with any information she had gathered since her last data drop//

You need to pair that comma with another at the end of this descriptive aside.

>The three that her scanner failed to pick up anything//

Syntax is off here.

>Whatever monster created the life forms within//

It's starting to get stretched very thin that I have no idea what's going on. In a novel-length story, it's easier to put off something for thousands of words, because that's only a small portion of the whole thing, but when I'm closing in on 20% of the way through, and I don't have the first clue 1) what made Twilight run away, 2) why they want her to come back, and 3) whatever you're talking about in this sentence, then you're stringing the reader along too far. There is one exception to this, but it's not one you're using: that the limited narration can't address any of this because it's so abhorrent or traumatic to her that she forces the thoughts away before she can dwell on them. She's been given no motivation to do so.

By the end of chapter 1, I didn't know what the story's central conflict was supposed to be. There was just some banal interaction with an alien life form, then a mild but vague confrontation with another pony. I asked myself then whether it was okay prolonging even identifying the conflict this long, and I decided that it sometimes takes novels several chapters do to this, but now that I'm well into chapter 2, it's getting to be too much. Either let the reader know what the conflict is sooner or give Twilight some plausible reason why she refuses to even think about it, as well as demonstrating her having to fight off such thoughts.

>her conscious overruled her//


>Depressing the acceleration bars of her control yoke, her vessel’s pulse drive kicked on//

This says that her vessel's pulse drive depressed the acceleration bars.

>gentle decent//


>sunward facing//


>flattened mesa//

As opposed to... an unflattened mesa?

>drew her ire attention//

It feels like there's a word missing here or something, but maybe it's just an expression I'm not familiar with.

>dark thoughts muddled her mind//

When you leave something so vague like this, it loses all meaning.

>sparks arching//

Usually sparks are described as "arcing," though what you have is possible, if unusual.

>burnt out//


>A cluster of thick crimson crystals//

Is this the plutonium? I don't know of any plutonium compounds having such a color, but if this comes straight from the game, then I suppose it's at least consistent with the source.

>her world turned to red//

Ah, so we finally have some drama. But it still does nothing to bring a sense of unity to the story or explain what's caused it all. What has the most forward momentum so far is wondering why the story's giving me the impression that all the evidence of intelligent life she's found are from the same source. There's only the most vague back story about why she's out here and what she wants to accomplish, so that part isn't compelling.

>ear splitting//


>Lined with flakes of ablative skin, they//

What's "they" here? The only candidate I can see is the flakes, but then this says the flakes are lined with flakes.

>peeked around her cover briefly, just long enough to take a peek//

Watch the close repetition.

>but every second she wasted, meant the sentinel grew closer//

No reason to have a comma there.

>an angry, computerized scream//

Is it alive? It kind of sounds odd for a computer to be angry or scream. What purpose would it serve?

>Violet eyes//

Once again, keep in mind you're using her as the perspective character for a limited narration. Why would she remark on her own eye color?

>the two flying sentinel’s//

Why is that a possessive?

>Her ears swiveled around and locked in on the whirling and buzzing//

Maybe you meant whirring?

>accelerate around next bend of the crevice//

Missing word.

I'm going to pull some examples out of the end of chapter 3 to make a point. Here are all the participial phrases you use in the last screenful:
>using her powerful hind legs to accelerate around next bend of the crevice//
>searing away the shadows//
>Galloping along the rocky floor//
>reminding the little pony that she was still being hunted//
>Flaring her wings wide//
>placing a hill between her and the sentinels//
>opening the canopy just in time to leap into it//
>Throwing her harness on//
>slowly trudging after her//
>Staring forward once more//
>letting her breathing fall to a more manageable level//
>already mulling over ideas on how to patch it//
That's over 5 paragraphs and 20 sentences. So you're averaging 2.4 per paragraph, or a little more than one every other sentence. That gets to be very structurally repetitive. The reader notices, albeit perhaps unconsciously, that he's seeing the same elements over and over again, and it feels repetitive. This is even more true the more unusual an element is, and participial phrases don't turn up much in everyday speech, so they stand out easier. The same is true of words. You wouldn't blink at seeing "the" 4 times in a single sentence, but you'd remember seeing "ventriloquist" twice on an entire page. So just watch for getting in a rut with these.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3090

>newton meters//
Torque units are usually hyphenated.


Why is this capitalized? Is it a trademark or something?

>deep space fighters//


>showing the Equestrian fighters angle towards her//

The verb form here should be "angling," unless you mean that to be a noun, in which case, "fighters" needs to be possessive.

>“I was hoping.” The Equestrian captain answered//


>one way//


>She was the furthest pony from Equestria//

There are other ponies in the same system. She will be when she warps again, but for now? If this is true, it's true by such a tiny margin that it may as well not be.

>twenty five//


>Guilt wracked her//

The previous paragraph already describes the circumstances of this. Don't be so blunt with her emotions as to state them outright. Focus on what thoughts and images go through her head (which you've already done) and how this makes her feel physically. But to those thoughts, even though you'v covered what they are, pay a little attention to tone. The narration is essentially her internal monologue, so think about not only what she'd say in her head but how. These are painful images, so she wouldn't be stating them stoically as if reading from a history book. You've got some word choice in there that's in the right direction, like acrid and devastation. These are not factual words, so they let her opinion creep in. That's good. But some of this might get painful enough that she can't complete a sentence, maybe she'd emphasize a word here and there. Basically, give it the inflections she might use if she spoke it out loud.

>the Equestrian pilot//

She knows his name, right? If so, why make such an impersonal reference?

>many more sights that brought a flood of memories to the forefront of her mind//

Another spot where it's way to nebulous. Just a one-sentence example or two of these memories will carry far more weight than leaving it as a bland generalization.

>Griffons, Yaks, and the Dragons//

Why would these be capitalized? She doesn't capitalize pony.

>Twilight Sparkle seemed lost for words//

To whom? She's essentially the narrator. She'd know whether she was at a loss for words. "Seem" wouldn't enter into it.

>a maelstrom of conflicting emotions swirled through her head//

You're doing that vagueness again.

>Twilight saw the explosion happen again, just like it did every time she dreamed of that day.//

See, she's not fighting the thought. She's letting herself see it. So why is the narrator withholding the identity of "he"? You're not setting this up to be plausible as to why she keeps skirting the issue.

>Its ponies like us//

Its/it's confusion.

>“But those families…” She began, only to be interrupted right away.//

Three things here. First, you have the same dialogue tag capitalization issue. Second, if she gets interrupted, she'd get cut off with a dash, not trail off with an ellipsis. And third, when someone gets cut off, the very next thing needs to be what cuts her off. The fact that the narration gets to wedge all that in there takes away the sense that the interruption is sudden and immediate. Just end the speech with a dash, remove that narration, and go right to his speech in the next paragraph.

>His words echoed across the void and they might have worked in the end but he would never know because she was already gone.//

This needs a couple of commas, and it's weird with the perspective. If she's gone, she wouldn't know any of this. It's like you're shifting to his perspective.

>learn her tactics and anticipate her actions//

Really, what are they going to do to her, though? They won't shoot her down, and unless she's somewhere out of her ship gathering resources (which she doesn't even need to do anymore), they couldn't capture her either. I don't get a sense of what the actual peril is.

>month long/


>duel levers//

This means they're for fights. You want "dual."

>worn out//


>Carefully setting down a crate of lustrous emril ore, the alicorn princess followed the sound back into her ship’s cockpit.//

I mentioned a while back that you use a lot of participial phrases. I haven't seen a cluster quite that extreme again, but there are a couple dangers of using them. One is that they imply synchronized action, so here, she's going back to the cockpit while she's setting the crate down. Whenever you use a participial phrase, make sure you actually intend the actions to be concurrent.

>a hostile scan; ever! The most they’ve ever done is a cursory scan//

I don't understand the difference. What makes a scan hostile?

>high pitched//


>Somepony was screaming and only when the attack had ended did she realize that it had been coming from herself.//

This is a very cliched thing.

>It represented the only safety she had but she knew she would never make it in time.//

This is pretty much the same dilemma she faced with the sentry bots. Does the game repeat like this?

>dizzyingly speeds//

You have an adverb where you need an adjective.

>The gangly insect-like spaceship//

I don't know how many times you need to describe it as such.

>a house-sized rock//

I don't get a sense for how much cover this provides. Some of the things she's done aboard the ship make it sound bigger than a house, so this wouldn't obscure her.

>now donut-shaped asteroid, where she could now//

Watch the close word repetition.

>the inevitability of her inescapable fate//

She just got finished saying the other Equestrians were only minutes behind when all this started. She seems to have conveniently forgotten.

>closed her eyes shut//


>Having reached the end of their short energetic lives, the Equestrians//

This makes it sound like the Equestrians reached the end of their lives.

>taxing their weapon’s heat dissipation systems//

That should be a plural possessive, assuming there's more than one weapon in the fleet.

>Hellish lights danced by her cockpit and out of the corner of her eye, she saw several of them slam into her fellow ponies’ shields.//

Comma splice.

>chance… Twilight’s thoughts trailed off//

The ellipsis already connotes trailing off. Narrating it as well is redundant.

>One that was piloted by a friend.//

If he's a friend, why hasn't she named him in 6 chapters?

>Four million suns worth//


>I have run the numbers again and again. She reminded herself//


>a pony//

This makes it sound like she doesn't know who it is.

>damaged, yet un-breached//

You don't need that comma, but if you want it there, you need to pair it with another after this.

>small wave had just crashed, sending a torrent of frothy bubbles racing up the shore to be followed by a small//

Watch the close word repetition.

>downward spiraling//


>He asked almost more as an accusation, than a question.//

No reason to have a comma there.

>Did you find any friends? Did you find any allies? Did you find the peace you were looking for?//

I don't get his argument. She left so Equestria would have peace. He's not addressing whether it worked.

>they found a natural adversary, and.//

And what?

>lit by the ambient light//

Lit by light? Seems self-explanatory.

>Her own little science vessel only served as target practice to them//

She keeps denigrating the ship, but it's taken out quite a few enemies and survived. It's been ringing false for a while now. Not that she wants to seek out combat, but she keeps saying it's inadequate in a fight yet proving otherwise.

>Memories poured forth of their own accord. She saw her friends again, smiling at her, beckoning her.//

You're being needlessly vague again.

>coast line//


>a gentle decent//


>Lifting a hoof, she gently ran it along the multi-tool’s smooth rounded surface.//

Another spot where a participle synchronizes actions that probably shouldn't be. You also need a comma between smooth and rounded.

>She had no more use for it anymore.//

The "no more" and "anymore" are redundant.

In the end, I'm unfamiliar with the game, so I don't know how much about this story was driven by it. For instance, why Twilight never reveals who the friend she rescues is. But again with that as an example, there are some things you can get away with in games that you can't in stories. It makes no sense from her perspective to keep his identity secret, unless you give her a reason to. Same with whatever villain she was referring to. It's still a little off-putting how far we go into the story before we know much about what's going on, but I gather the game is like that as well, so I can take that as being consistent, where it still works with what narration you've used.

Other perspective issues are her use of impersonal descriptors, particularly for herself, and the odd way you have so much quoted thought when the narration is already her thoughts. I can live with the latter, though consider how distancing it is to have the narrator become a middleman relaying quotes when it's supposed to be identically Twilight.

There's some mechanical clean-up needed as well, and I provided examples of all the kinds of problems I saw, though certainly not an exhaustive list of every instance, so take those examples and apply them throughout.

AnonymousCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3097


Thank you for pre-reading my story. I've read through your feedback, and I just wanted to respond to some of your notes and ask a question or two if you don’t mind.

First, I fully agree with all of your notes on my problems with mechanics. I'm actually a little embarrassed at some of the dumb mistakes I made. I’m sorry about that.

As for my issues with having consistent narration, I get why switching back and forth is an issue and I’ll work on rewriting parts of the story where this problem is evident. If I might ask, would you prefer a limited narrator or an omniscient narrator for this story?

Some parts of the story do reflect things in the game and I know they sound weird if you haven’t played it before. Examples include the hostile scan comment, how the different enemies act, the strange way plutonium is presented, and how the computers screech or scream.

With regard to your comments on the story, I see why there are issues with the main plot. One of the reasons why is in the game itself, the main character never has his/her backstory explained. He/she is only referred to as The Traveler in the game and no reason is given as to why he/she is trying to reach the galactic center. I wanted to leave the exact circumstances of what happened to Twilight as a mystery. Same with the identity of the pony who followed her. My intention was to parody the game and not delve into either backstory but I can understand why it didn’t work. I never intended this to be a long story in the first place and to be honest, I don’t have any canon background for either. Would this be a killing stroke to the story then?

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3101

I apologize for taking so long to respond. I sometimes forget to check this thread, as I don't get many responses anymore.

The idea with a crossover is that someone who knows nothing about the other material won't be lost. Oddly enough, it seems that people who are familiar with the game will also be lost, quite by design. So all that is to say that anything you've done to mirror what happens in the game (skimping on Twilight's back story, computers screaming, etc.) are fine. They'll hurt immersion for readers new to the game, and I don't think it would hurt the crossover nature to add that stuff, but no, you don't have to.

Between omniscient and limited narration, that's entirely up to you. There are strengths and weaknesses to both, and it'll come down more to what you're comfortable using or feel provides a better story. I think what you have is much closer to limited, so just from a standpoint of how much effort it'd take to make it all uniform, that's the easier route.

Omniscient tends to work better when you want broad overviews of events and want to be able to say what any character is thinking or what other thing is going on across the universe. But you'll normally want to keep such a narrator formal and factual. Limited can only portray what one character at a time knows and perceives. You can jump to multiple characters, but you shouldn't do so often or abruptly. It's best to keep to a single character per scene if possible.

Limited is usually the better choice when the story is focused on the experiences of a small number of characters or you want the reader to identify with one or two in particular, since a limited narration gives a much more intimate portrait of that character. But it's possible to do it either way.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3109

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

There are a few standard things like editing mistakes and close word repetition, but the biggest thing, and the one I'll discuss some, is that the perspective is really unsteady.

I'll begin at the beginning.

>Twilight Sparkle asked Spike for the umpteenth time//

"Umpteenth" is an opinion, so in the first sentence of narration in the story, you're already clearly using a limited narrator. That's fine. The only characters clearly present so far are Spike and Twilight, and this could reasonably represent either of their opinions, but I don't know whose yet.

>the princess//

Next sentence. This isn't something either one would reasonably use. Twilight wouldn't call herself that, and Spike knows her too well to use such an impersonal reference. You don't think about your friends or yourself in your own head as "the person," do you? It's just as poor a fit for a limited narration unless it's a reference they would reasonably use (like "her number one assistant" for Spike, as an example). So I still can't tell who holds the perspective, but it's leaning a little toward Spike.

>nervously wearing a groove into the platform//

"Nervously" is an opinion, so we're still definitely in a limited narration, and it's favoring Spike's viewpoint so far.

>The young dragon//

By the same token as "the princess," Spike wouldn't refer to himself as this, so you've seemingly drifted over to Twilight's viewpoint now.

>Despite his smile, his voice sounded as nervous as Twilight looked.//

Now I can't tell anymore. The comparison of his smile to his voice feels external to him, yet Twilight wouldn't know how she looked. She can't see herself, after all. You're just flicking around to perspectives all over the place.

>the concern in her friend's voice cutting through her inner excuses//

Only Twilight could possibly know this. If you'd phrased it as Spike surmising this, that'd be different, but when stated as fact, this has to be Twilight's perspective.

>Spike whirled around and felt his heart leap into his throat//

Likewise, only Spike could possibly know this, and it's just a couple paragraphs after the previous excerpt I made.

>As she drew near, he struggled to not simply lose himself in adoration of her. Not today, today was too important to lose focus.//

Definitey in Spike's head here. And look at the second sentence. Not only are you conveying Spike's opinion, but the narration is taking a conversational tone to where it sounds very much like dialogue. That's another indicator of a limited narrator in his viewpoint.

>he found himself cut off//

The "found himself" instead of just leaving it facutally at him getting cut off now places this back in Spike's perspective.

>Twilight smiled, though it was more in defeat than anything else.//

Back to Twilight.

>Spike chuckled at the memory of Discord's version of their roleplaying game.//

Next paragraph, and back in Spike's viewpoint. You actually stay with him for quite a while, but you don't exactly have a choice, as he's the only one present anymore. Though you still fight that with these references like "the little dragon." Spike wouldn't call himself that.

And so goes the rest of the prologue. Now, as we start chapter 1:
>Formal events in Canterlot were always glamorous affairs//
A narrative opinion, but I don't know whose. It's not Spike, since he isn't there, so you haven't carried over the perspective from the previous chapter. It's important to establish perspective immediately.

>Unfortunately for Twilight Sparkle and Rarity//

In the next paragraph, we now know which characters are even present, but we don't know which one holds the viewpoint.

>hoping the beverage//

It's not until the end of the third paragraph that we get something that can only be from Twilight's perspective.

>a decidedly hard gleam in her eye//

"Decidedly" is a judgment Rarity would make, and Twilight can't see her own eyes anyway, so this has jumped over to Rarity.

>Twilight silently promised herself//

Still the same paragraph, but only Twilight could know this.

>Despite her own words, Rarity frowned a little and looked into her nearly drained glass.//

Except for the one slip, you'd stayed with Twilight, but now we're more explicitly in Rarity's head.

(There's an awful lot of smiling going on. There are other words for that and other ways to display the same emotions.)

>Rarity, whose gaze seemed focused on something in the crowd//

And back to Twilight.

>hile she couldn’t find fault with her friend’s logic, she still felt guilty about agreeing with it.//

And to Rarity.

>in the tone she reserved for friendly lectures//

Probably back to Twilight, but this could plausibly be Rarity's opinion.

>Rarity couldn’t help but chuckling.//

Only Rarity would know what she couldn't help doing.

>Twilight could only sheepishly nod her head//

Same deal, but this is in the same paragraph. You should definitely not use multiple perspectives in one paragraph, even if you have good reason to shift the perspective in the middle of a scene.

>Freed from her station at Twilight’s side, Rarity navigated the little clusters and islands of ponies//

Over to Rarity again, since Twilight's no longer present.

>if Spike had been a young stallion instead of a baby dragon, he would look like the pony before her//

That's a little too on the nose. Give the reader some credit.

Oh... so it's not just supposition. She immediately sees through his disguise? I'm not sure what to think about that.

>Fire Heart could only stammer at first, petrified by both Rarity’s invitation and her intensely hypnotic stare.//

And now back to my tracking of perspective. You're in Spike's head here.

>Rarity found herself stealing glances at her companion//

Just a paragraph later, back to Rarity.

>Despite her words, Rarity’s body language told a very different story//

You've used that phrasing multiple times by now. And this is in Spike's head.

>Rarity watched his change in demeanor with a mixture of guilt and regret and found herself//

Back to Rarity. You also use this "found him/herself" phrasing a lot.

>His fate was truly sealed however, when he felt the insistent tug of unicorn magic on his collar.//

Once more to Spike.

>she felt him begin to follow her//

Back to Rarity.

>For her own part, Twilight Sparkle, Princess of Friendship, had endured just about all she could of the gentry and, with Rarity being safely distant to spare her any embarrassment, had begun to tell the more unpleasant ones just what she thought of them, titles or no.//

Oh, we're going to Twilight now.

>For all her expectations, the reaction each pony had for the other was decidedly different from what she had thought.//

And just as quickly back to Rarity.

>she realized the pony in front of her was sweating with fear//

And to Twilight.

>Rarity only half listened to Twilight’s rambling apology and a feeling of doubt began to eat away at the back of her mind//

Next paragraph, back to Rarity.

>Leading on a strange stallion, toying with him//

Is it really any better if she's leading Spike on?

>happy to be away from the closer scrutiny of the nobles around him//

You'd actually stayed with Rarity for a while, but this is Spike's viewpoint.

>Fire Heart visibly scowled//

This would be Rarity's observation.

I don't need to continue this any further—you should get the picture by now.

One other thing you ought to watch. Look how repetitive this sentence structure gets here:
>The ingredients congealed into molten mass as he continued to read, watching in surprise as they began to liquefy, turning into a bubbling crimson broth.//
You have main clause, "as" clause, participial phrase, "as" clause, participial phrase. Furthermore, "as" clauses and participial phrases serve to synchronize actions, so every single verb in this sentence happens simultaneously. That's probably not reasonable, but it's also hard to keep track of.

I hadn't been keeping detailed notes through chapters 2 and 3, but I had to pull this excerpt:
>Slowly releasing a breath she hadn't realized she was holding//
This is onr of the most cliched things you could have possibly written.

Perspective was obviously a big problem. Why so? Rather than retype it all, I'll just refer you to the section on "head hopping" at the top of this thread.

The other thing is that I never got a sense of the actual romance here. This is another time I'll refer you somewhere instead of typing out a bunch of advice myself. Off his homepage, Aragon has a series of blogs linked on writing romance, and they're worth reading. In short, there doesn't seem to be any more than a physical attraction here, and I don't know why Rarity's toying with Spike at all. Aragon goes into this in depth, but make sure the reader knows exactly what both of them like about the other, what they'd each give and take from a relationship, and why they each think the other would be good relationship material. The story makes it clear they're in love, but in name only. I have the "what," but I'm missing the "why."

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3112

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

The opening gets a bit repetitive in structure. It's also a tad confusing. I tried to figure out why it was italicized. I assumed it was because you were starting with an omniscient narration before easing into a limited perspective, then it's a couple paragraphs in before it becomes apparent he's writing something. These kind of bait-and-switch openings can work when they make for a nice surprise, but there's really no payoff here. It adds confusion without getting anything back for it, and when your opening note has no plot relevance (the fact that he's a writer is relevant, but the reader already knows that from reading the front-page description, and what he's writing about has no importance), it doesn't make a good hook.

This also creates a dissonance that may be justified, but it's hard to tell. He's a prospective writer, so it's hard to know whether to take deficinencies in his writing as intentional or stemming from you. For instance, look at what he's written. Every single sentence but one starts with the subject. That creates a repetitive feel. That's probably still going to be the majority of what you write, but when it's this prevalent, it can get plodding to read. Then look at how many "to be" verbs there are. By paragraph of the things he's written, here they all are:
is, is, is
be, is (you're actually doing quite well in this paragraph—lots of active description)
are, are (both of these use passive voice, which compounds the problem I'll discuss in a moment)
are, are, is
It's not overwhelming, but there are quite a few of these. The problem is that these are boring verbs. Nothing happens, and the several instances of passive voice even accentuate that nothing happens. Even a description of something static can use active language, like "he stood there" versus "he was there," and you've got some active descriptions mixed in as well.

Again, am I to take that as a deficiency in his writing or yours? If the former, then I think it'd help immensely if he immediately glances back over it and is dissatisfied for some of these very reasons, or at least a vague sense of them. If it's not until much later in the story that he learns to spot such things, the reader's not suddenly going to remember all this and excuse it. That ship has sailed.

The one thing that does seem to bleed from his writing to yours, at least what I've seen from the first page alone, is some repetition. His "so thus" is redundant, and you have a "start on his description of the station, but it was starting" that exhibits close word repetition.

I see georg already left a comment to this effect (more on that later), but if you've done anything to address it, it isn't clear enough. The only things he acknowledges having trouble with are identifying parts of speech, staying focused, and descriptive language.

Moving on.

>oversized shield shapes and configurations//

This just sounds weird. What's a shield "configuration," and how does it differ from a shape in this context?

>Baked Bean then sighed, slid his pencil into the spiral binding along the top of his notebook, before placing it into his saddlebags.//

The syntax is off here.

Now that I'm a little further in, I see that the overuse of "to be" verbs is continuing outside Bean's writing.

>Celestia’s bright sunlight//

This is a very cliched thing.

>soot and cinders//

He sure tried to make the station sound inviting. Why did he not mention any of the downside like this?

>adjectives – or were they adverbs//

I'm surprised someone who fancies himself a writer wouldn't know the difference. He doesn't even seem to care.

>brass sculptures//

Outdoors? They would be a nightmare to keep shiny.

>wealthy. The whole city was rich, both in atmosphere and monetary wealth//

More close repetition.

You're really hammering in that this guy's poor and everyone around him is rich. I get the point. The only reason to go on at length about it like this would be if it changed, like he's getting angrier and angrier as he thinks about it, but the narrative tone stays constant.

>and while she didn’t usually have time to meet with ponies for very long//

You have a few spots like this where you could use a comma to sett off a dependent clause, but mostly you're good about that.

>no,” he stopped.//

That's not a speaking action, yet you've punctuated/capitalized it as if it is one.

>having a very loose understanding of the rules made it so difficult to know if he was doing things right or wrong//

So he actually is a bit on the ignorant side. This is probably early enough in the story that it doesn't feel like you're unreasonably hiding it from the reader, though like I said about all the inactive "to be" verbs and repeated sentence structure, it'd help if he acknowledged something sounded off about his earlier attempts, even if he couldn't pinpoint what.

It is getting a little off-putting that he's so focused on physical descriptions, and ones that aren't that interesting anyway.

>nicker of annoyance//

>frustrated breath//
His mood is already coming through fine through what he does and the narration's tone. You don't need to short-circuit that by directly identifying the emotion for the reader. You'd already said he was frustrated anyway.


This is one punctuation combo that's never made sense. How do you trail off emphatically? They're opposite effects.


Only three dots. Four is for a specific nonfiction use.

>“There! He’s running away!” A guard shouted.//

You've capitalized the speech tag. It should still be lower-case, even if the quotes doesn't end in a comma.

>She then spun him slowly in the air in front of her.//

Looks like you meant to put a blank line before this.

>There was a few moments//

You have a singular verb with a plural subject.

>same emphasis on vowels and consonants//

That's awfully vague. I can't come up with how that would sound. It's also described kind of weird. If vowels and consonants are emphasized, then what else is there?

>You tend pick up//

Missing word.

>in embarrassment//

Here's another spot where you directly named an emotion that you didn't need to.

>I think you mean you were looking for adjectives//

Yeah, you're revealing this so far after it came up that leaves me feeling like it's the author's mistake for several pages. I'd recommend at least saying he has trouble with parts of speech pretty early on. It's fine to leave it generalized like that, but then it sets it up better. Getting the reader to see something as character incompetence instead of author incompetence can be a tricky business.

>“Yeah, it’s something like that, I guess.” He replied.//

Punctuation/capitalization of speech tag.

>I should have revoked it many years ago//

Seems like "repealed" would be a better word choice. But here's where my suspension of disbelief starts to kick in. Her power hasn't changed over the years. If she could have repealed it long ago, she still can. And it's entirely possible to repeal a law in such a way that its effects are retroactively nullified, i.e., she doesn't still have to follow it because it was still in effect when the nose touch happened. THen when you do try to explain it, you just gloss it over. That's kind of unsatisfactory.


> Bean’s legs again//
Watch the close word repetition.

>happened, truly. If you happen//



Leave a space after each ellipsis.

>Yes, Ma’am//

No reason for "ma'am" to be capitalized here.

>really…expect me…to…marry//


>“Wait. You’re the Princess,” Bean spoke his sudden thought//

That does't really parse. The speech can't be the speaking verb's direct object since you already gave it one.

>You…you couldn’t…couldn’t//


Celestia sure is using direct address a lot. Think about how often you actually do when you're having a one-on-one conversation. There are really only three reasons people do so:
1) to get someone's attention
2) to disambiguate who should be listening to them
3) for emphasis
You don't need either of the first two when there are only two people in the conversation, and when you use too much emphasis, it loses the effect, so this isn't working well for the third case, either.

Celestia's behavior is kind of all over the map. When her nose first gets touched, she's very low-key about it, and she treats Bean quite playfully. Yet she goes on about how it's a very serious situation and she needs to do whatever she can to avoid it. Those two things don't mesh. Either this is a terrible occurrence or she's gently guiding him through something inconsequential. Don't play it both ways. The premise itself as well—your synopsis tells of very serious places the story will go, yet having it all founded on something as lighthearted as a nose boop undercuts the tone, unless there ends up being a good reason why a nose touch in particular should be taken this seriously.

The last thing I have to say is that this will be a very difficult thing to pull off well. Of course, I have the benefit of the extended synopsis, but that actually makes things worse in this case. If I had no idea where you planned to take it, then I wouldn't know to be afraid, but you're going to be greeted with a ton of skepticism when you introduce an OC and ship him with a fan favorite canon character.

You really have to get the reader in the character's corner, but I have no reason to yet. He's not endearing. I know very little about him. He's an aspiring writer a little frustrated with his lack of progress, he's pretty cliched in his disdain for the wealthy, and... that's it. You're not going to get a reader to care about him with such a limited portrait, and caring about him is crucial to making a ship between him and Celestia appealing.

One method I've heard is to come up with a list of five adjectives or short phrases that will cover as much of the character's personality as possible. It helps if a couple of them are contradictory, because real people are just like that. Make sure the story exhibits those traits, and try to show at least three of them the first time he appears. You don't have to do that literally, of course, but it's at least a good mental exercise in making sure your characters are well fleshed out.

Maybe you'll do a convincing job of the ship later on, but for one thing, you need to get the reader on board with Bean immediately, and for another, this situation is so ripe to be mishandled that I wouldn't be prepared to approve it sight unseen anyway. So even if you fixed all that stuff, I'd want to see the story far enough along to evaluate how well the shipping is pulled off.

Oh, one more last thing. You'll get a lot more views if you publish on FiMFiction.net. But even if you leave it in GDocs, it'd look a lot better if you cleared the comments out. They just make the story look messy, and you don't want to air your dirty laundry and let everyone see spots where reviewer thought it needed work. That'll bias the reader toward seeing the same flaws.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3113

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

You have a few editing problems like comma splices and consistent confusion between "its" and "it's." More than that, though, I'm seeing a couple more subtle but pervasive problems.

First, the perspective. You're using a limited narrator in Chrysalis's perspective in the prologue. That's clear from the conversational tone you take, as if Chrysalis herself is vocalizing her inner thoughts. But using her as the viewpoint character has several implications. When the narration refers to her as something like "the dethroned queen," it's Chrysalis choosing to call herself that. People don't think about themselves in such external and formal ways. They would tend to use just pronouns and names, except in unusual circumstances. Another example is where you say she didn't feel the tears coming from her eyes. She is the narrator. If she doesn't know the tears are there, neither does the narrator.

Then at the end of the prologue, you go over to Thorax's perspective for only a couple of paragraphs. It's a jarring shift to him that needs to happen much more smoothly, but is it even necessary to? There's nothing critical to the reader's understanding that happens after she leaves, so why not just stop there?

The rationale behind maintaining a steady perspective is discussed at the top of this thread under "head hopping."

And second, you use a ton of participial phrases. They don't turn up that often in everyday language, so they stand out easily when overused. In addition to getting repetitive by having a lot of them, authors tend to place them in the same positions in sentences, which makes them repetitive in structure, not just makeup. They also cause several common errors, and the more you use, the more likely you'll have such mistakes.

I'll pull out some examples to show you.

Here, you start three consecutive paragraphs with a participial phrase, so again, it's not just having them in the sentences but also using the same placement within those sentences.
>Spotting a hidden alcove in a small gorge//
>Nursing her sore joints//
>Continuing on into the cave//

Here are all the other participial phrases within those three paragraphs:
>gliding down to the ledge that jutted just beyond the opening//
>landing without her usual finesse//
>largely ignoring the aesthetics of the place//
>instead following the cave wall around to where the stalactites and stalagmites gave way to a tunnel//
>leading deeper below ground//
>her eyes perfectly adapted to seeing clearly in the deep and dark places of the world// (This one's actually an absolute phrase, but it's another type of participial structure.)
>letting her see the corridor//

So, you're really repetitive with those. Now to the kinds of errors that pop up. Participial phrases like to describe the closest noun or pronoun that comes before them, unless the start a clause, in which case they describe the clause's subject.
>She was surprised to see a carved door at the end of the hallway, taking a moment to register that fact with her beleaguered brain before proper intrigue could even start to take hold.//
Because if its proximity, this sounds like the hallway is taking a moment to register the fact. It's pretty clear a hallway can't do that, but it still creates a sentence that doesn't feel quite right, which isn't good, and eventually you'll run into one of these situations where it truly is ambiguous what the participle describes.

>Continuing on into the cave, Chrysalis noted it’s rugged, natural appearance as on notices an ant, largely ignoring the aesthetics of the place, instead following the cave wall around to where the stalactites and stalagmites gave way to a tunnel leading deeper below ground.//

Participles mean things happen simultaneously, so here, she performs every one of these four actions at the same time. That can be a lot to keep track of, plus the multiple instances of the participles forcing things to sync up can feel oddly worded. But more to the point, that synchronization sometimes doesn't make sense. She wouldn't follow the cave wall to the deeper passage until after she'd gone inside, yet this says they happen concurrently.

I'll read on a bit to see how the human stuff goes initially.

You're directly naming a lot of emotions. That doesn't make for engaging writing. Think of how you have to interpret real people. You don't just innately know someone is happy. You deduce it from how he looks and acts. You might see him laugh and smile, then conclude he's happy. It feels more like real life when a reader has to interpret written characters the same way, so focus more on the evidence of how your characters feel than just telling the reader. There's a section on this at the top of the thread as well, under "show versus tell."

So you introduce Allan in the first scene of chapter 1. All I learn about him in this scene is that he recently started dating someone, and this fact surprises his father. That's nothing to go on. I don't have the first clue what he's like or why I should care what happens to him. You need to define this character better so that he's immediately interesting.

A good exercise for this is to make a list of 5 or 6 traits he has that give a fairly complete description of his personality. Try to make at least a couple of them contradictory, because real people are like that. Make sure the story demonstrates all those traits. And I don't mean just saying what they are. If he's a huge D&D fan, then don't just say he is; show him rattling off a bunch of game statistics. Furthermore, make sure you demonstrate at least 3 of those traits the first time he appears.

He doesn't show up again until 3 scenes later, and I don't learn anything new about him. It's still just those couple of bare facts that hardly elevate him above generic.

Chapter 2 does a good job of keeping to a single perspective per scene and having that viewpoint character interpret the behavior of those around him instead of stating others' feelings as fact. But in this first scene, you're having Thorax do quite a bit of exposition. He knows very specific things, and I get that you've already had Chrysalis able to read Allan's memories, but this still strains credulity, and a lot of it isn't even particularly relevant at the moment. Exposition is often better handled by meting it out in small bits as it becomes important to the plot. All these things that Thorax intuits aren't necessary to understand the story at this time, and note that he's doing a far better job of characterizing Allan than the time we actually spend in Allan's viewpoint. That's not good.

Chapter 3 goes back to having unsteady perspective. The first paragraph immediately establishes Allan's viewpoint, but it only stays there until the third paragraph, which switches to Thorax. The 11th paragraph goes back to Allan, then the 14th returns to Thorax. The 19th seems to go to Twilight, and you stay there for the rest of the scene.

By the 28th paragraph, you're still with Twilight, but look at this:
>Turning her head back to look at him, worry written plainly onto her features. He’d stopped moving, and looked like he was on the brink of tears//
The latter part is clearly her opinion, and it's something she can observe. Fair enough. But in the first part, how could she perceive this? She can't see her own face.

So now I'm a prologue and three chapters into the story, and I still know nothing about your protagonist except from one sentence in the prologue and some exposition Thorax dropped about him in chapter 2, and that's not much to go on. I have no idea who he is, and I have no investment in what happens to him. When the reader doesn't care about your main character, it's all but impossible to keep the story interesting.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3118

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>The maroon silk carpets, the paintings on the walls, the vases; the Thief could have taken anything in the palace and been set for the rest of her life.//

That's not really a correctly used semicolon, since you couldn't split the sentence there; what comes before it would be a fragment.

Note that you have quite a few "to be" verbs early in the story. By paragraph through the first screenful, we have:

was, was, was, been
was, be
were, wasn't, was, been
wasn't, was, be, be, were, were

This causes several problems:
1. It's very repetitive word choice for a key part of the sentence.
2. It's a boring choice of verb, since nothing actually happens. The readers here to see some action; don't just tell them what is. Even when the situation is static, it can be described with active verbs. "He stood there" has more momentum to it than "he was there," for example. You do get somewhat of a pass for dialogue, since people don't creatively avoid that verb when they speak, and you don't want the dialogue sounding unnatural, but in narration, use active verbs wherever you can. Some "to be" verbs are fine, but you have way too many.
3. The beginning and end of the story are particularly bad places to overuse this verb. The beginning sets the tone that the rest of the story will be just as repetitive and static, and the ending will create more of a lasting impression.

>Bathing in the shadows, she cautiously crept across the right side wall, a candle illuminating only just in front of her, her eyes darting back and forth in a calm paranoia scouting for an outlier.//

You want to avoid repeating structural elements as well, and you've been pretty good about that so far, but it can be very clunky to have multiple ones of the same kind in one sentence. Here, you have <participial phrase, main clause, absolute phrase, absolute phrase, participial phrase. And since absolute phrases are another kind of participial structure, this sentence is really loaded with them. That can be fine in small doses if you want to create the feeling of someone rushed or overwhelmed, but you don't have that here. This character is very much calm and focused, so let the language convey that in its tone. Furthermore, participial elements create actions that occur simultaneously, so you have a lot going on at once. That's hard to keep track of and visualize. And that's precisely why it works in the situations I noted, because it helps you to feel jumbled then, but you don't now.


That only expands to "nothing is," not "nothing was," so you've switched to present tense.

>Quickly, whispers spread in the criminal underground like a silent plague//

You just talked about whispers in the previous sentence, and this isn't worded in a way that makes a thematic repetition, so it just feels like an oversight.

>impossibly incredible artifacts that had no way of being truly confirmed beyond the whispers//

And now you're repeating it again.

>an high ranking//

a high-ranking

>once impossible dream//

When you have a whole phrase that acts as a single modifier before the noun or pronoun it describes, hyphenate the phrase. (The exception is for two-word phrases beginning in an -ly adverb.) So "once-impossible dream."

>It was all scarce, as only a damned fool would break into the palace inhabited by gods, but that was no concern of hers. As far as she was concerned//

Watch the close repetition of "concern," but this very much is her concern. She may not consider it much of a threat, but she still does have to deal with it, and that by definition makes it her concern.

>the very night Luna loved so dearly would cloak her enemy to perfection//

But wouldn't that work for pretty much any enemy Luna could have? And so wouldn't Luna know that? And so wouldn't she have developed tactics to counteract it? Avoiding Luna's attention is of course the goal, but it's not like that advantage can't be immediately revoked. Does the Thief have a plan in case that happens?

>The most important thing she needed to gather during her earlier reconnaissance outings were the exact moment the guards changed their shift.//

You have a plural verb with a singular object: thing... were.

>As two or three guards passed, their heavy footsteps almost as loud as their breathing, they didn't stop for a second, with any sort of suspicion in their minds violently surpassed by their will to clamber into bed after another long shift.//

A couple of oddities here. The "as they passed" would imply the "they didn't stop for a second anyway," since that would be the default. And the Thief doesn't presume these thoughts on behalf of the guards; they're stated factually, which has her reading their minds.

>it was a silent as her//


>Taking a deep breath just as loud as it could be//

That doesn't sound like she's carefully keeping below a threshold; it sounds like she's taking the loudest breath possible.

>It was where the door was.

>It was where the crown was.
>It was where her legacy was lying in wait.//
In the light of my previous argument against "to be" verbs, this is a horribly stagnant way to phrase what should be one of the story's most exciting moments.

>she could have cared less about//

People use this phrase wrong all the time. If she could have cared less, that means she does care some, which is precisely the opposite of what you're trying to say. Actually, she couldn't care less.

> to the right of the second to last hallway//

All the language you keep using to this effect is both repetitive and confusing. I have no sense of a map in my mind, so this is all meaningless, but it's also unimportant to the plot. Just say when she makes turns and when she's in a hallway, but you don't need to keep reiterating which direction or that it's the next-to-last hall.

>She could hear the old guard's words now, bouncing around her head in a booming echo, swelling with fear, pride and jubilation that she was only moments away from her prize.//

Here's another problem with participles: then like to modify what's near them, so this really sounds like the echo or the guard's words are swelling with pride. It's located way too far from what it's trying to describe.

>Looking around once last time, she turned to the lock on the door, a plain and inconspicuous mechanism that looked//

More close word repetition.

>Tying it carefully around her horn, the Thief cast a spell//

And there's that synchronization of participles I talked about earlier, except this time it's not action overload, but contradiction. This says she's casting the spell while tying the fur, but she wouldn't work the spell until after she'd finished.

>a spell that could replicate the aura of any unicorn (or in this case, alicorn) with a piece of their fur//

This would be a sentence fragment, so the semicolon before it is improper.

>She slipped through the door frame and closed it behind her//

This sounds like she closed the door frame, not the door.

>anything like like what rested before her//

Inadvertently repeated word.


Are you sure you didn't mean "sparkled"? You haven't given this a direct object, and "speckle" is transitive.

>like and eternity//


>A pair of magenta eyes caught her vision in the corner of her eye.//

Watch the repetitive use of "eye."

>has assumed//

You've gone to present tense.

>and while Twilight gathered she was currently scared out of her mind, she certainly made no show of it//

This is weirdly phrased. At first it states as fact what the Thief couldn't know for sure, but then it explicitly says the Thief has zero evidence of it. It's fine for her to speculate, but make it clear that's what she's doing. Oh, wait. You've gone over to Twilight's point of view. I'll see if that's a warranted shift, but you've done it so abruptly that it's jarring and confusing.

>Twilight scanned the mare with her eyes//

What else would she use? This'd certainly be the default anyway.

>the Princess nodded her head towards the crown on the pedestal.//



It's better to leave a space after an ellipsis, unless it starts a sentence or is followed by other punctuation. It formats better on FiMFiction, since you can't control the typesetting.

>The Princess stepped forward, her whole upper half of her body now revealed to the Thief. Her own crown was missing from atop her head, leaving the only thing different about the Princess to be her wings.//

It's really strange for this to be coming from Twilight's perspective. Have you gone back over to the Thief? It's hard to tell. Even if you're staying with Twilight, it's odd for her to choose to refer to herself as "the Princess." In fact, it was strange all along for the Thief to do something similar for herself, but it's a conceit you see from time to time so you can hide her identity.

>With that's Twilight's warm smile//


>Cerise's posture tightened, unsure of what the Princess was attempting to accomplish.//

Now it does seem you've gone back to Cerise's perspective. And it explicitly says her posture was unsure, not that Cerise was.


Leave a space. In fact, it's better if you use a single-character ellipsis instead of three separate dots, but it looks like you're editing directly on FiMFiction, which won't do that automatically.

>the Princess turned to Cerise.//

Capitalization. This has no speaking action, so it can't be a speech tag. It needs to be a separate sentence.

>There was a clear look of sorrow sparkling in her eyes//

And this is back in Cerise's viewpoint. Twilight can't see her own face to describe this, and it's not how she'd perceive the emotion anyway. You don't have to look in a mirror to know you're happy, after all.

>At least...I was.//

Leave a space.

>Everyday I wish it was something else.//

>everyday I tell myself//
"Every day" isn't the same as "everyday." You picked the wrong one. And with where this is going, why aren't the CMCs the ones tackling this problem?

>other pony's things//

Unless she only steals from one pony, that needs to be a plural possessive.

>If I ever see you near these walls again, I won't be so forgiving.//

Wait, what? She's condoning theft as long as it's not from the palace? How is that fair?

>She couldn't see her now//

I can't tell which is which.

>the Equestria's ruler//

Extraneous word.

I like this idea, and it is just like Twilight to be that understanding. I've also thought about this problem of a pony having a cutie mark that would drive them to do things that were illegal or unethical, and it's interesting to think about. I am a little surprised she didn't suggest Cerise consult the CMCs, since this is precisely their bailiwick. I'm even a little bit sympathetic to Twilight saying Cerise can't help what her talent is, but it does rather absolve her of any responsibility for her actions, which is a hard position to get behind. And I still can't get over her basically saying it's okay for Cerise to keep stealing, as long as it's not from the palace.

You've actually set up a very interesting philosophical question here, but you sidestep it instead of exploring it. Not that you have to—if that's not what you want your story to be about, fair enough.

Aside from that, it's mostly mechanical and stylistic things I've already marked, like the repetitive word choices, preponderance of "to be" verbs, participle issues, and unsteady perspective.

Thief and the Princess Country code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3120

Thanks again for reading, it is a huge help! I went back and fixed all the grammar related edits and removed a plethora of "was" and "been" words. I just wanted to address your comment at the end about the plot, because I do like to know what people think about the story.

In MY eyes, Twilight is not condoning theft as long as it is at the castle. She understands that theft is illegal, and the effect it can have on the life of a pony. She also knows that it is Cerise's destiny, so she explains that she's going to let her go, but that if she comes back to the castle, there won't be a second chance. Finally, in one last line of dialogue, she attempts to convince Cerise that, while she may not be able to stop stealing, she can possibly use that talent for other than sole material gain (think Robin Hood, or maybe even working for Equestria in some sort of way with this talent).

I liked writing this story because it could be approached in lots of ways, and I wanted to give Twilight a dilemma that wasn't so easily solved, one that she could handle in the wisdom of Celestia and Luna. If the story doesn't come across that way, I totally get it, so let me know! I am not adverse to changing things around :)

Thank you again so much for the proofread! I am very very grateful and i hope I am not bothering you with this reply!

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3128

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>Some times, to ensure that something - or someone - is safe, we resort to drastic measures.//
"Sometimes," and please use proper dashes, either en dashes with spaces or em dashes with no spaces.

>Sometimes, those drastic measures have long reaching consequences.//

Needs a blank line before this to separate the paragraphs, and when you have a multi-word phrase acting as a single modifier before the thing they describe, hyphenate it: long-reaching.

>My entire life has lead up to this.//
The past tense is "led."

>shines through the thick waxy walls of the chrysalis, shining//

Watch the close word repetition.

>I’m not a huge fan of this color//

This sounds almost comedic, which is undercutting the tone. Also consider the disconnect between what the narration says and how it says it. This character is alarmed and upset, but the narration is delivering it in a flat tone with no emotion to it. And since I'm breaking away to make a comment anyway, I'll say that you have pretty repetitive sentence structure. To this point, I've only seen one sentence that didn't start with the subject. When I keep getting the same beginning over and over again, it gets plodding.

>Will it hurt? Will it burn? I’m so terrified, and I suddenly realize I do not want to die, not like this, but I can’t struggle. I can’t move, I can barely see a few inches in front of me! No, I want to get out, but I can’t! I’m hyperventilating, and probably using up what little air there is in here. It’s crowded, I’m trapped, and I wish I could be anywhere but here.//

Ah, this is what I was looking for. Why not create this tone earlier? This actually sounds terrified.

>The air smells like my breath, and I wish I’d brushed my teeth.//

Again, this is undercutting the seriousness, as it takes a comedic mood.

>I wish somepony else were here//

You keep using this "I wish" phrasing. It's getting repetitive.

>I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Perhaps I should start at the beginning.//

Okay. This opens a whole can of worms. You're implying an audience, but you haven't defined one. Furthermore, by making it present tense, that audience is there with this character inside the chrysalis, and yet she hasn't been speaking aloud, so... who's listening and how?

>Queen Quartz was exhausted.//

This is kind of jarring. The first two paragraphs of the scene don't mention anyone but Flex being there, so he's presumed to be the perspective character. Then in this paragraph, it's evident the queen is, and then I have to look back over the opening two paragraphs to see whether they still work in her viewpoint or if you've done a clumsy perspective shift. Either way, there's a big speed bump here. Establish the queen's perspective right away, or this just gets confusing.

>stars knows//

With the prevailing tense, this should be "knew."

>The captain wobbled caught himself an inch before his muzzle hit the floor.//

He just wobbled a paragraph ago, and the wording is off here.

>before her expression turned somber again.//

Keep in mind you're using her as the perspective character. How can she see her own face to make this judgment? Keep the narration limited to things she can actually perceive.

Chapter 1:

Chapter 1 has the same repetitive sentence structures the prologue did. Such an overwhelming majority of narrative sentences start with the subject. It's understandable tha lots of sentences in a first-person narration will start with "I," but it's worth trying to work around that where you can. You're also falling back into the limited narration sounding very unemotional at a time the perspective character wouldn't be.

>A spray of warm water hits my side and I curl up reflexively.//

>I feel damp silky fur against my hoof, and it comforts me.//
Look at the inconsistent comma usage here. The second one is correct.

>hot water//

She only mentioned it being warm. When did it get hot?

>rubbing my main//


>for her muzzle looks feminine//

This is awkwardly wedged in. I had to read the sentence twice to get the syntax. I'd recommend setting this off with dashes instead of commas so it's demarcated in a way the reader will expect to find a disjoint thought.

>Is that good, or bad?//

This is the type of spot you don't need a comma with a conjunction. It's just a compound structure, not a separate clause with its own verb and subject.

>So many questions, sister.//

>It’s a rather long story, sister//
>There isn’t much time, sister.//
>Because you have no other choice, sister.//
>It’s the closest way in and out of our hive, sister. //
>I will remain up here, sister//
>chorusing We’re here with you, sister// (This one needs a comma to set off the quote, too.)
>Relax, sister//
>You’re not crazy, sister//
>Welcome to Hive Quarry, sister.//
Family relations get capitalized when used as terms of address.

>My eyes are teal, and lack pupils//

>somepony had tried to straighten out Pixie’s crooked horn, and missed a few spots//
Another few spots that don't need the comma.


Note that smart quotes always get leading apostrophes backward, since they assume you want a single opening quote. You can paste one in the right way or type two in a row and delete the first. Apply this through all the chapters. You also sometimes forget to put the apostrophe on this word.

>as far as our hive and I are concerned//

>Welcome to the Hive//
Inconsistent capitalization of "hive." Just make sure you go through the whole story, whichever one you choose, as there are other spots.

>She lets me go as soon as my hooves brush against the ground, humming gently as I unsteadily catch my balance.//

It's ambiguous who or what is humming here.

>landing gracefully next to me, folding her wings back and heading off at a quick pace down the street.//

I'd recommend insterting a "then" after the comma. As it is, the participles mean that all these things happen at once, yet she wouldn't head off until after landing.

>My legs wobble as I follow her.//

You just used "wobble" not long ago.

>half-crumbled building. The corner of it has crumbled//

Watch the close word repetition.

>My immediate thought is that it depends on what the question is//

But she knows what the question is. It's "do you trust me?"

>I get a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I shouldn’t question it//

And then the close repetition of "question" in a different sense feels strange.

>Pixie smiles, and levitates the rope around my midsection.//

Don't need the comma.

The changeling//
Now that Flurry knows a name to call her, why would she fall back on this descriptor?

>This is insane, there’s no way I’m jumping down there!//

And you're starting to capture that narrative voice you've been missing for a lot of the story. She's upset, so the narration sounds upset, like the thought would actually be vocalized inside her own head.

>My stomach lurches, and darkness consumes me as I fall.//

But now you've gone back to the narration sounding pretty emotionless when the character would be decidedly otherwise.

>high pitched//


>The water gets closer and I scream.//

See, the tone of the narration is at a decided contrast to what's actually happening to her and what her actions say she must be feeling.

>The changelings don’t flinch but they buzz their wings//

Needs a comma.

>He says//

Missing a comma, and you started the italics before the actual quote.


Please use a proper dash. I'll just leave it that you need to go through the story for these.

>Don’t scare her, Axiom! The male voice chides.//

Seems like you meant that to be a speech tag, but you've capitalized it.

>they all looked like Pixie, but they all have subtle differences. One, the most female-looking of them all//

A lot of repetition of "all."

>so that I can’t really tell what their gender was//

Why have you switched to past tense?

>My eyes dilate//

How does she know? She can't see them. She can perceive the effect it causes, but then that's what she should be narrating.

Chapter 2:

>baskets slung across their back.//

They don't share a single back between them, do they?

>a questioning look on my face//

Perspective again. How can she see this to know? More to the point, when you're questioning something, is your mind really on what expression you're wearing? You're more likely asking a mental question or feeling confused. Some specific things you might note, like raise eyebrows, but not the overall expression.

>She spins around and walks backwards to face me.//

I'm having trouble visualizing how she could turn around and while facing Flurry walk backwards and stll approach her.


No hyphen.

>The changeling clears her throat and I look up at her.//

Needs a comma, and you have a close repetition of "look" in the next sentence.

>breathe, sister//


And I'll break in here to say this chapter is doing a much better job of the narrative tone When she's upset, the narration shouts, for instance, and it generally reflects her mood well.

>I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding//

This is one of the top three most cliched things you could possibly write. It's up there with "a single tear ran down her cheek" and "it was a dark and stormy night."

>but when looks at me for a split second//

Missing word.

>but when I try to concentrate on one//

Needs a comma here.

>slung under their backs//

Wait, how does that work? The stuff's inside them?

>Bridges of the sparkly grey stuff connects towers//

You have a plural subject (bridges) with a singular verb (connects).

>light shines through it, lighting//

So the light lights?

>I’m not kidding//

This really creates the feel again that she's aware she has an audience for her story. It's just weird.

>making Hive Central looks//


>and when I turn to follow her//

Needs a comma here.

>Welcome to being part changeling, sister.//

>Try not to freeze, sis!//
>Relax, sister//

>I want to mimic her stance//

Needs a comma.

>Her wings are spread slightly, and shimmer in the cool light.//

And that doesn't need a comma.

>take my eyes of the female changeling//


Chapter 3:

>Queen Quartz lifts my head gently with a hoof, and helps me to my hooves.//

Don't need that comma.

>They’re… something//

It's quite possible that's the correct word choice for the thought that got cut off, but if it's the same thought getting picked back up, it sounds like that should have been "there's."

>The Queen stops suddenly//

Needs a comma here to separate the clauses.

>an unreadable expression on her face. I can’t make out her emotions, even though I’m standing right next to her. I catch flickers of fear, grief, a pain I can’t even begin to describe, but they’re gone as soon as I’m able to name them.//

Okay, this passage is odd. She starts out saying the same thing twice, then contradicts it.

>Queen Quart//



You don't need to hyphenate two-word phrases starting with an -ly adverb. There's no ambiguity in what modifies what.

>they celebrate their differences, and remember the outstanding//

Don't need that comma.

>You have no reason to apologize, Flurry Heart.//

She's been using direct address an awful lot and continues to do so throughout the chapter. Think about how often you actually do when you're talking one-on-one with someone. It's not much. You don't need to get their attention or make it clear whom you're addressing. That leaves emphasis, but the more emphasis you use, the weaker it gets.

>not even their royal guards couldn’t keep you safe//

You have a double negative that's changing the meaning to something you didn't want.

>Queen Quartz’s face contorts into an expression of unbridled grief.//

You've been doing this a lot in this chapter. Avoid directly naming emotions, particularly in an in/of/with phrasing. Normally, the answer is to describe what the character does and how they look to get across the emotion without saying it. Here, however, we have a narrator uniquely attuned to emotion. You can still do it the regular way, but it'd be interesting to play with the unusual perceptions she has now and talk more about how the emotions taste or what physical sensations they cause her.

>arching like lightning//

While it's possible you actually meant this as written, it's more likely you intended "arcing."

>The grass below my hooves are soggy.//

You have a singular subject (grass) with a plural verb (are). I also don't see the need to italicize this entire scene. It's plenty obvious it's a flashback, and extended passages of solid italics just get irritating to read.

>I can see the outline of a rabbit between the branches of the hedge. False alarm.//

Why's she so sure that isn't a changeling? Can she tell?

>It had served its purpose, and killed itself to avoid interrogation and punishment.//

Don't need that comma.

>back, my back//

Watch the close repetition.

>my brow furrowing in a mixture of shock and outrage//

Let her actions and the tone of the narration carry the emotion instead of just saying what it is.

Chapter 4:

The beginning of this chapter is stagnating under all the "to be" verbs. Some of these are unavoidable, but just the sheer number. Here they are by paragraph for the first couple screens:
I'm, I'm, that's, I'm, I'm
be, am, am, is, being, you're, is
that's, there's, I'm, I'm, be, be
be, be, they're, isn't
it's, being, it's, is, is, be, that's, are, that's, I'm
It's, isn't, I'm, isn't, I'm, I'm
it's, I'm
See how that get's better suddenly? But for the first 6 paragraphs, you're averaging over 6 per paragraph. This is bringing the story to a grinding halt.

>Its like looking at a crowd//

Its/it's confusion.

>and the wing roaring past my primaries feels nice and cool//

I think you meant "wind."

>the wind yanks my wings up painfully. Ouch. Note to self: don’t suddenly unfurl your wings while falling.//

This doesn't fit the mood at all. First, she's supposed to be fearing for her life and in pain, but the delivery sounds like she's bored out of her mind. Then she injects levity into a situation that doesn't call for it. You're killing the mood.

>And then it hit me. Not a solution to my problems, just the ground.//

And again. She's supposed to be fearful, and the story hasn't been making jokes until now, but suddenly you're going for lowbrow humor? This is tonal whiplash.

>As I’m taking a deep breath to start explaining what happened to me//

Needs a comma here to set off the dependent clause.

Why doesn't Flurry feel like she needs to go finish her conversation with the queen? She just kind of left.

>Axiom shifts uncomfortably, and I almost want to comfort her//

That's a weird, repetitive juxtaposition.

>work. I’ve got a lot to work//

Watch the close repetition.


Usually "pincers."

>His glowing eyes and the tattered remains of his hivemind leads//

You have a compound subject but a singular verb.

>She wouldn’t tolerate excuses, no matter the cause, no matter how important this mission was for the good of the Hive and changelingkind.//

Why have you switched into past tense here?

>few haphazard pods for his siblings to catch a few//

Close repetition.

>they made due//


>KI-77 is almost jealous of his former sister as he trembled before his Queen.//

Switched to past tense again.


Missing space.

You have a good start to the story here. The plot and characters are interesting, and it doesn't drag. The only issues are some low-level mechanical ones that are easy to fix, plus the unevenness in having the narrative tone follow the mood of what's happening. Sometimes when Flurry is upset, her narration sounds upset, but at others, it only says she's upset while sounding like a documentary voice-over. If you could take a crack at these things, I could definitely see posting your story.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3138

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>Your door opens slowly and an indigo pony muzzle pops through the grasp//

There are a few spots like this, where you could use a comma between the clauses.

>wizard- Lord Swirlystar, or something like that- she//

Please use proper dashes. There are lots of these throughout the story.

>Evidently, you were also a source of powerful magic which allowed Luna an easy route back to her world and filled Luna with a sense of, as she put it, ‘regeneration’.//

This seems like we're missing an awful lot of interesting story. We're kind of past where they're figuring things out and on to where it's more routine. Did Luna instinctively know it would work this way? Or did she have to go by trial and error? We're also kind of missing their emotional investment in the process. Don't just say this is how things work. Let me see how the characters feel about it.

>Kicking her silver shoes off and removing her crown and headpiece, she places a single hoof up onto your bed.//

Participles make things happen at the same time, so she kicks off a shoe while simultaneously putting a hoof on the bed.

>“Of course!” a tinkling noise briefly emanates from behind your head and the lights click off.//

The part after the quote isn't a speaking action, so it shouldn't be lower-case as if it's a speech tag.


You don't need hyphens in two-word phrases starting with an -ly adverb, since it's not ambiguous what modifies what.

>standing aside it//

You meant "beside," right?

>“Violence is your sleep aid?” She asks intently.//



The typesetting formats better if you leave s space after the ellipsis, especially if you use a program that automatically converts three dots to a single-character ellipsis.

>“Now it is four of six,” she grins.//

Another non-speaking action as a speech tag.

>eyes fixated on the television//

"Fixed" is closer to what you want. People confuse the two a lot.

>your highness//

Honorifics like this should be capitalized.

>gently run over Luna’s hooves, you can hear the gentle//

Watch the close word repetition.

>the quiet ambience of snuggling; the scratching of your fingers against her coat and the soft ruffling of her feathers.//

What comes after the semicolon couldn't stand as an independent sentence, so it isn't used right. You're defining somthing here, so a colon would do fine.

>You’re the Princess.//

He hadn't been capitalizing that when it wasn't used with her name.

The fact that Luna has been helping him sleep is so generic. What kinds of problems had that been causing in his life? How much better are things now? That's the kind of thing that makes a story out of directionless fluff.

>Noticing you in the corner of her eye, She//


>she hissed playfully//

Why are you going to past tense?

>Although…” she sighs blissfully//

Non-speaking action used as a speech tag again.

>her hoof was taken care of//

Gone to past tense again.

>having her many brushed//


>once in awhile//

"Awhile" and "a while" aren't interchangeable. You need it as two words here.

>one peeked open//

>began to quiver//
Switched to past tense.


Why can't anyone spell this right?

>“I’ve always been fluffy,” she winks.//

Non-speaking action used as a speech tag.

>Inhaling gently, you let out a quiet, muffled groan of approval.//

The participle is synchronizing things that shouldn't be. How can she let a groan out while breathing in?

>“Nothing,” she grinned.//

Non-speaking action used as a speech tag, and it's past tense.

>Luna’s voice sounded far away.//

Past tense.

>Her head lies on your chest, her mane gently brushing across your chest//

Watch the repetitive phrasing.

>Walking her over to the couch, you sit her down.//

Synchronized actions that shouldn't be.

>Nabbing a blanket from a nearby chair, you spread it out and tuck Luna in it, running your hands behind her back and flanks to make sure she is securely snuggled down.//

And that's an awful lot of actions that are supposed to be happening all at once.

>“She is so embarrassing,” Luna cringed.//

Non-speaking action as speech tag.

>But, don’t worry//

It's rarely correct to put a comma after a conjunction.

>Luna sighed//

Past tense.

>Princess Luna tilts her head. “What do you mean?”//

Missing a line break before this paragraph.

Okay, the good news: the writing here is not bad at all. I think you're a capable author, and I think you can write the kind of quality we'd be happy to feature. But this story isn't it, not in its current state.

Basically, nothing happens. Everything is so superficial. I mentioned before how it would help to delve into the background of how all this came to be and what it means to them, but it's just the cuddling with a small bit of lip service paid to giving it any depth. I'm looking at the author's note for the last chapter.

>it became a reflection on the growth of a relationship, the capacity of cuddling to heal and comfort//

But it really didn't. Each of them did take a turn at getting sick, and each one took a turn at caring for the other, but the cuddling didn't have any sort of additional effect. What kind of situation does he have in his life that this cuddling made a real difference to him, when it was the catalyst that made things turn out for the better? Same for her. Why is this such a big deal to Luna? I'm missing all the context as to why any of this matters, and the human character never gets much personality. I don't know anything about him. Maybe that's an attempt to make him so he can fit any reader, but it leaves him without enough definition to give me a rooting interest in what happens to him.

>I forget who it is, but one of the better writers on this site has as their bio, "Stories about ponies are stories about people." Wise words indeed.//

That would be Cold in Gardez.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3144

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

Your synopsis is littered with semicolons, and none of them are used right. You should be ave to replace one with a period and have the resulting sentences stand as complete, but that wouldn't work here.

>A few others congratulate me and I stop to thank them before finally opening the door to the drama room.//

You have a number of spots like this, where you could use a comma betwen the clauses.

You're inconsistent at whether you use proper dashes or double hyphens.

>wants to date me?//

When a word is italicized for emphasis, it's preferred to include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.

>a neutral expression//

That's a really external evaluation. She can't even see his own face to say how this looks. More immediate to her would be her emotional state, not how she looks. You don't have to look in a mirror to know how you feel, after all.

>I still kept my eyes aimed upward//

You've slipped into past tense.

>“Alright,” I say. “Thank you. I’ll leave.”//

This just feels weird. It's very abrupt, it doesn't sound natural, and it doesn't answer the janitor's question.

>My eyes burn and shake my head from side to side.//

This doesn't make sense.

>My ears lay tight against my head.//

Lay/lie confusion. "Lay" requires a direct object.

Three things strike me about the prologue. First, such a preponderance of the narrative sentences start with the subject and are about the same length that the story gets in a structural rut. Second, you sometimes get relatively heavy on "to be" verbs. These are inherently boring verbs, as nothing happens. You really ought to be choosing active verbs where you can. And third, the whole point of the story is to believe Gold and Jade are in love, but we barely get any reason why. We just have to take the narrator's assurances that they are. You only spend a single paragraph building it up. There are a couple of nice anecdotes in there, and that's one of the better ways to depict a relationship: demonstrate it.

Real people have a give and take. They bring things to a romance and get things out of it. They also believe the other person does as well, so that they're more or less equals. I won't go into too much detail, as someone else already has. Aragon has a good series of blog posts on writing romance linked off his homepage, and they're worth reading. If you want this romance to feature prominently in the story, you have to quickly get the reader invested in it, and so far, it comes across as pretty superficial.

The beginning of chapter 1 is pretty heavy on "to be" verbs again.

>My heart fell to my hooves, and breathing suddenly became very difficult.//

You've slipped into past tense again.

>his ears lay back//

Lay/lie confusion again.

>But…” he trails off.//

The ellipsis already means he trails off. Narrating it as well is redundant.

After class starts, you blaze through an awful lot of the day in a single paragraph, and it sounds so stoic. Gold should be very emotional about this, but you wouldn't know it from the narrative tone.

>I look up at him and nod; he smiles; we walk our respective ways.//

It's pretty clunky to have more than one semicolon, unless they're part of a superlist.

>and her intoxicating scent of rose water and sweat//

She normally smells sweaty?

>well,” Sandy Prose pauses.//

You've punctuated/capitalized that like a speech tag, but it has no speaking verb.

>a, “Hi, Gold,” in//

You don't need the first and last commas here, as this isn't actually dialogue.

>go to him without going//

Watch the close word repetition.

>I know very little about her home life; about what happens outside of these walls.//

Misused semicolon.

>I look away from my friend, glancing around the cafeteria.//

It's ambiguous which one is glancing around. Gramatically speaking, Pale is.

>I feel the bile rising to the back of my throat again; my eyes beginning to water.//

Misused semicolon, and this part of the story is another exaple of where the narrative action depicts someone who's very emotional, yet the tone of the narration is rather bland. For a limited narrator (and first person is as limited as it gets), the narration is the character's thoughts. If she's upset, her thoughts wouldn't be so calm and lifeless.

>“You can’t lie to me, Gold,” her voice has turned dark, dangerous.//

Non-speaking action used as a speech tag again. It's also kind of over the top that Rhubarb is so immediately mean. What's her motivation? Gold's only said simply that she doesn't like Rhubarb, but this is outright malicious.

>“Oh, and,” she says, looking down at me, “if she’s dead, you will be too.”//

I don't get this at all. Rhubarb is so pointlessly antagonistic that it's coming across as more of a caricature. It doesn't feel very authentic. And so what if Jade did ask Gold out and Gold turned her down? It's not like Gold has an obligation to date her. I can't figure out Jade's motivation. I can't imagine she'd be any happier if the two were dating.

>that phantom odor of rosewater and sweat//

What's her obsession with the smell of sweat?

>laying in a small, sterile cot//

>My black cat beanie, black cat socks and black-and-pink choker lay in a heap//
Lay/lie confusion.


Don't hyphenate two-word phrases starting with an -ly adverb. There's no ambiguity in what modifies what.

>she was depressed enough to contemplate suicide if I didn’t accept//

Why's she become so convinced this is true? She's stating it as fact, yet she's only basing it on what Rhubarb said, whom she shouldn't believe anyway, and Pale vaguely not answering a question about it.

>his red eyes showing his concern//

You just had his voice showing concern a couple paragraphs ago, but you should really avoid directly naming emotion like this anyway. In real life, we have to read little context clues about how people look and act to determine how they feel. It comes across as more realistic when we have to do the same for written characters. So just describe how he looks and what he does, and let me conclude that he's concerned.

>Oh, Honey//

That's a generic nickname. It wouldn't be capitalized.

>Mister Gold, can you leave us?//

This is pretty iffy, questioning her without a parent.

>Hearing myself say that I love Dawn is so foreign; so strange.//

Misused semicolon, and I still have very little picture myself of what makes her love Jade.

>her…” I trail off.//


>Over the next few minutes, Detective Strike asks me more specifics on times and the ponies I met or recognized in the crowd.//

This will be tricky. You haven't necessarily done anything wrong here, but it depends on exactly what you want this story to be. If you want it to be more of a mystery, then think of it in those terms. You want to present evidence to the reader so that he can keep or disregard the bits, but you don't want to skip over things, because then you're jumping the gun and saying none of that is important. Hearing what Strike asks is a bad thing to skip if you want the reader trying to piece together the mystery. That's the draw of one, after all: seeing if you can solve it before the story reveals the truth.

However, if this is less a mystery and more about Gold's experiences, then it may be reasonable that she's so shocked about all this that it barely registers with her. That's up to you, but make sure the whole story is consistent in that regard.

>There was no sign of sadness; no sign of depression//

Misused semicolon.

>If anything happened to trigger her depression, it wasn’t me.//

I still don't get what ever made Gold buy into this line of thinking. Rhubarb first suggested it, and it was all based on Gold rejecting her, but Gold knows that isn't true, so why would Jade kill herself before getting her answer? This isn't feeling like an authentic train of thought.

>It’s okay, Honey//

Again, that wouldn't be capitalized.

>I think I had information for them that they weren’t expecting and that could really help the case.//

What information is that? Just that Jade never got to ask her? I'm kind of surprised Strike didn't already know the janitor had seen her waiting. Seems like a person and place she would have already covered in her investigation.

>“Oh, Siamese, Honey,” he squeezes me.//

Capitalized nickname, and non-speaking action used as a speech tag.

Overall, the major things I see are the lack of a match between the narrative tone and Gold's apparent emotional state, and that I don't know enough about the actual love interest to feel they actually are in love. It's important to get that right when it's a central feature of your story. Maybe you'll get to that later, but if that's the intent, you're quickly running out of time. If you don't get the reader invested early, you risk them dropping the story. To wit, you have a fairly precipitous drop-off in views between the prologue and first chapter, and I wonder if this isn't a main reason why.

Another possibility is that there's nothing inherently pony so far. You could make these human characters, and you'd barely have to change anything, certainly nothing important.

Back to the love interest, though: one of the more powerful ways to show they work as a couple is through anecdote. You made the right choice in having Gold reminisce about feelings she had for Jade, as that establishes them well before hand, but they're a bit vague and unfocused. Sprinkle some more throughout, and go for specific events, times she did something that Gold found endearing, what things about Jade's personality and appearance that Gold noted. And give me the other side. What are some times Jade found Gold endearing or remarked about some quality of Gold's she enjoyed, and maybe Gold didn't realize it at the time, but she's putting the pieces together now. These don't have to be long, but it does take specificity. Not just that Gold found Jade pretty, but that the green dress with the white stripe that really accentuated her shoulders, or the time she just had to stop by the roadside to make sure the ladybug had crawled safely away and wouldn't get stepped on by anyone... These are just examples, but note they're short, yet they're not the least bit generalized, and they pick a couple of details to really focus on and give a vivid picture of who these two are and what sparks their interest about each other. This is a great way to get reader buy-in.

I will say that there's writing talent here. The sentence-level crafting usually shows a pretty good flow, and you've done a good job of characterizing Gold. Instead of having her give an expository description of herself, as many authors are wont to do, you let her personality come through in her interactions with others. That's absolutely the right way to handle it. It is a little odd that you'll apparently later cast her as a famous cat burglar, yet she's a minor (still quite possible), and this hasn't even gotten the slightest mention in the story so far (if it's going to be that important to the plot, it seems a curious omission, though not an impossible one to manage).

So if you could give me a better taste that there's an actual in-depth love interest here, and have Rhubarb a little less cliched, and if you could have the narration convey her emotion better... Well, I'll expand on that a bit.

Internal thoughts sound a lot like dialogue, so think of the narration as being a lot like that. These are actual things that would be running through Gold's head, even if they're not italicized or quoted as thought. In fact, having that avenue available means you should rarely, if ever, need to use italicized or quoted thought, and in fact, you don't have any. But it's not just what the narration says—it's how it says it. If she's angry, the narration should shout. If she's confused or chocked, it can fumble for words. If she's excited, it should sound joyful. And adding italics (emphasis) on just the right words here and there changes not just the meaning but the cadence.

So yeah, if you can do that (and just maybe have something irrevocably pony about the story?), I could see posting this.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3151

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

I don't understand the point of your first scene break. There's no jump in time, place, or perspective.

>The record began to spin and he delicately lowered the needle//

You have a number of spots like this, where there are multiple clauses, essentially where each subject gets its own verb (record began... and he lowered). Most times, you'll want to put a comma between clauses.

>“No, no!” He cried//

Jus because the dialogue ends in an exclamation mark doesn't change the rules about not capitalizing speech tags.

>Is that an ice sculpture of a dragon, he wondered//

Isn't that a question?

>It jumped and immediately galloped towards a blue flame that Star Bright hadn’t noticed until now and simply stood there, transfixed.//

This is a little confusing. Thorax galloped toward a flame? I'm not sure why. Maybe this happened in the episode this obviously references, but I don't know that you can count on readers remembering it in that much detail. And the way this is worded, it sounds like Thorax is the one standing transfixed, which is contradictory to him galloping.

>Star Bright picked up the bouquet and held them//

You're using a plural "them" to refer to a singular "bouquet."

>that,” He heard Roseluck comment//


>“Oh, so many,” Star Bright pointed to the graph containing multiple circles of different size and color./

You're trying to use a non-speaking action as a dialogue tag.

>she smiled.//


>I don’t get to participate in question and answer part of the tours//

Seems like you're missing a "the," and you're using "question and answer" as a single modifier, so hyphenate it.

>silver tongued?//

When you have a word italicized for emphasis, it's preferred to include any exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.

>the stallion’s gardening//

It's ambiguous which one you mean. They're both stallions, after all.

>had perhaps they had fallen //

Wording is jumbled here.

>Star Bright stood still for a moment and watched Silver Script’s determined gaze that was so focused he didn’t even blink, at his forelegs as they bent down so that he could ruffle through the soil, and at his wings as they occasionally extended.//

I can't quite parse this. Where does the "at" come from? As near as I can figure, it branches from "watched," but "watched at" is a strange phrasing.

>You’re making daddy so proud.//

When used effectively as a name, family relations get capitalized. So "Daddy" would, but "your daddy" wouldn't.

>Silver Script himself even tried//

>Star Bright even recalled//
Watch the repetitive "even" phrasing so close together.

>juicy looking//


>the stallion//

You're really overusing that as a descriptor.

>Silver Script paused and his eyes darted around.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>dropped the trowel into the toolbox//

But they already put the tools in the box.

>reaching out to place a hoof on Silver Script’s cheek, keeping it there until he made eye contact.//

The way you've used these participles means they happen at the same time, but they'd have to happen one after the other.

>far off look//


>looking for story ideas.” He looked//

>already open. He turned to ask Silver Script if he had already//
Watch the close word repetition.

>Star Bright bowed down as Princess Luna entered the room//

Take a look at this paragraph. It's symptomatic of something that's popped up occasionally. Every sentence starts with the subject. Every sentence is an independent clause with a compound structure or some sort of parenthetical element following. When you see the same structure over and over again, it can get in a rut. Go for a little more variety.

>Princess Luna seemed to catch on to his nervousness//

This is a pretty advanced topic, but your narration has been omniscient so far. However, "seem" is a subjective thing, so it wouldn't work with an omniscient viewpoint. You could say it seemed to him, because that's a factual statement. By leaving it as "seem," it's the narrator's opinion, but your narrator doesn't inhabit a viewpoint that can have an opinion.

>“I apologize, I was wool gathering.” She snickered.//

I don't understand how she could do that in the middle of a conversation, and one that's still too new for her to have lost interest in already.

>sky,” Star Bright struggled to get the last word out.//

Non-speaking action used as a speech tag.

>immediately found themselves on the floor. Star Bright immediately//

More close repetition, and you're falling into the rut of all the sentences in this paragraph starting the same again.

>What does the Canterlot Astronomical Society need to send me a letter for,//

Isn't that a question?

>Starry can invent a new type of star, it said, you can’t even get a book published.//

That quoted thought would be a comma splice.

>she…” he let the rest of the sentence trail off.//

The ellipsis already means he trailed off. Narrating it as well is redundant.

>“That,” Star Bright continued. “Was//

Here's a spot where it sounds more like the quote would be one continuous sentences instead of starting another at "was."

>took a gulped it down//

Jumbled wording.

>The pegasus flew into the next room while the unicorn//

These are also getting to be very overused descriptors, plus I can never keep straight which is which to be able to tell them apart.

>“How can I say no to a friend,” //

Isn't that a question?


I've only ever seen that spelled "whinny."

>now empty//


>now stretched painfully thin//

That's a close repetition with the previous "now," and you've got an opinion creeping into the narration again.

>Okay, he thought, plan B. Just tell him, he thought, just get it out of the way.//

Repetitive speech tags.

>He went to work preparing the muffin and wrapping it up, flew into the living room, slowing his speed as he turned the corner.//

You must be missing a conjunction before the "flew" action.

>Silver Script returned with kiss with one of his own//


>flanking each side//


>Another unicorn approached the couple.//

Repetitive with what the previous character did.

>Star Bright took a step forward, and pointed a hoof to himself.//

You don't need that comma. It's just a compound verb.

>floor to ceiling//


>He leaned over//

There's been a lot of leaning in this chapter.

>Idiot, he thought, facehoofing, he doesn’t know.//

That's rather harsh. He should know whether he's ever mentioned it before. And since he knows he hasn't, how does he expect Silver to figure it out? That's not something he'd reasonably intuit.

It's kind of interesting to see the change in Star. He's confident right now because he's the one who knows his way around Canterlot. In that sense, it's reasonable that he's forgotten his fear of making a speech, though I hope you'll have him remember at some point and give an appropriate reaction.

>as Silver Script’s gaze toured the room, his eyes getting wider and wider as his jaw continued its slow descent//

It's pretty clunky to have multiple "as" clauses in the same sentence, and they tend to fight each other for the sentence's timeline.

>first time//


>either unaware or ignoring the stallion’s current state of mind//

As I've noted before, you're primarily using an omniscient narrator so I'm going to assume that's what you want. This is closer to being from a character perspective. Someone who's omniscient would know which this is by definition. He wouldn't have to give an ambiguous choice.

>Los Pegasus Review//

>Cloudsdale Chronicle//
>The Manehattaner//
Newspaper titles get underlined or (preferably) italicized. I wasn't sure whether you intended "The" to be part of the official name of either of the first two, but if so, include it as well.

>widest reaching//


>pegasi market//

Noun adjuncts are singular, even if the term is plural. For instance, you say "ham sandwiches," not "hams sandwiches." So this would just be "pegasus."

>The sound of glass shattering hit the bedroom floor//

This says the sound hit the floor.

>the glass figurine//

The way you refer to this it's like I should know what figurine you're talking about, but you haven't mentioned one before now.

>Silver Script stared at the wall//

What's the point of a scene break here? You haven't changed time, place, perspective, or anything else.

>matter of factly//


>Caliper nodded, his horn glowed, and the pieces of the statue floating into the air.//

The verb form "floating" doesn't work with the syntax. There's some pretty repetitive wording in this paragraph, too. You use some form of "float" twice and "pieces" three times.

>She gleaned over her clipboard//

Are you sure that's the word you mean? I've never heard "glean" used in that sense.

>Silver Script nodded, but didn’t speak. Raven turned to Caliper and nodded//

Repetitive nodding.

>She turned her attention to Star Bright.//

This is pretty redundant with the fact she uses direct address with him.

>“I could write it!”//

Why the hell didn't Star think of this long ago? I mean, his husband is a writer. Is he really so clueless that it would never occur to him ask Silver to do something that he does as a very serious hobby/aspiring career? Star's holding a massive idiot ball here.

>I need the alone time//

Why is he using "the" instead of "some" here? This is the kind of strange phrasing you hear from Starfire on Teen Titans. And why isn't Silver upset that Star had never considered asking him to write the speech?

>S… s…//

Presuming that this is Silvy that he's trying to say, capitalize all those instances of it. It's a name, so it has to be capitalized.

>rest his head against the door//


>knowing there was a purpose to the landscaping, though never quite able to figure out exactly what it was//

Then how does he know? Did someone tell him? Or he just assumes there is?


Include the question mark in the italics.

>The Trenderhoof//

Extraneous word.

>I am actually here looking for an astrophysicist named Star Bright.//

Huh? He writes travel articles. Why's he doing an interview of nothing having to do with travel? You could have just made up an OC here. I don't know what it adds to have it be Trenderhoof specifically, and it doesn't make sense.

>says that if Star Bright isn’t in the cage,” he said, making air quotes. “He’s probably hiding. They said//

Since he uses "says" and "said" in the dialogue, it's pretty repetitive to have "said" also be your speaking verb.


This isn't picking up a sentence left suspended earlier, so capitalize it.

>He glanced over at the castle door, praying that Silver Script would come and rescue him.//

The last "he" mentioned was the guard, so this sounds like it still refers to him.

I'm seeing very few speaking verbs other than "said" and the occasional "asked." Often, we have the other problem, that authors aren't using "said" enough and are relying on too many unusual ones. This tends to steal attention away from the dialogue. But you're pretty extreme. Toss in a more interesting one every so often.

>He then began//

>He then turned//
Repetitive beginning to consecutive narrative sentences.

>Sorry I didn’t realize what was happening and I was just trying to get to know the stallion who wanted to interview me.//

Huh? He's not allowed to talk to other stallions? You're pressing the limits of credibility here.

>The wind rustled the leaves and an owl hooted in the distance.//

Needs a comma.

>the cage?//

Include the question mark in the italics.

>they were teleported//

Twilight said way back in the series pilot that teleportation was pretty hard. And Star hasn't been depicted as someone particularly gifted in magic.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3152

>Star Bright tapped the call button on the elevator, and moments later, a single bell rang out, and the elevator doors opened with a quiet whoosh. The two stallions stepped in, and the doors closed. The unicorn tapped the button for the basement, and Silver Script immediately felt himself drop.//
This is about as bland as a paragraph could be. You could have said, "They took the elevator down," and I could have intuited that all this other stuff would have happened exactly as you stated it. If you're going to add detail, make it mean something. You just have obvious, empty filler here.

>“You weren’t kidding when you called this the cage.”//

How does he say this before he even sees it? The door doesn't open until the next paragraph.

>flanked either side//

Redundant. That's what "flanked" means.

>He glanced at the unicorn beside him, enjoying the way he had cast a spell to block the kiss from his view.//

Why were they cheering if they didn't see it? And why does he care?

>the Manehattaner//

Underline or italicize, and last time you had "the" capitalized as if it were part of the name.

>a note//

That's not really an instrument. You might want to mention it after what it's attached to so that the list makes sense for what prompted it before the colon.

Ah, a villanelle. One of my favorite poetic forms. You've almost got a regular syllable count, though not a regular meter. Of course, neither is required for a villanelle, but since you're so close to the former, I didn't know if you were trying for such. Most lines have 7 syllables, but some have 6 or 8.

>"And you just made that up on the spot?"//

He really came up with something as structurally demanding as a villanelle off the top of his head? I don't buy it. For Zecora, maybe, but not here. What would you lose if this just happened to be something he'd written a while back but remembered? And then it's far more realistic.

>get out of your manes so you can get back to work,” Star Bright said. “We need to get//

Three uses of "get" in just two sentences.

>to to castle//


>Why did he make it sound like he was talking to me,//

That's a question, right?

>He lay his head//

You have a direct object, so use "laid."

>jealous.” He said//


>dropped. He reached a hoof to his chest as he felt his heart drop//

Close repetition.

>“How else could you have meant it?”//

This is a rather manufactured drama. Both of these guys are awfully thin-skinned.

>How could you do that,//

I don't know why you won't punctuate all these questions with question marks.

>he thought as he tried to think//

That sounds kind of contradictory.

>let Silver Script let//

Close repetition.

>clearly unimpressed//

>saw clearly//
Repetitive to have these in consecutive sentences, but it's also a narrative opinion creeping in again, which doesn't work for an omniscient narrator. To whom are these clear?

>“What’s wrong with your wing?” he asked//

Who asks this? I can't tell whether it's Trenderhoof or Star.

>plucking out his remaining feathers//

These guys didn't come across as the type to do this. Not only is it completely tactless, it's also probably criminal. You can't just go and start yanking someone's hair in public.

>he saw//

You have this exact phrase 3 times in the paragraph.

>“You were taking so long,” Trenderhoof said with a soft laugh. “That we ordered for you.”//

You do this a lot, where it makes more sense for the two parts of the quote to make a single sentence, yet you've chopped them into two. I've seen far fewer where you made the mistake in the opposite direction. Essentially, he says:
“You were taking so long. That we ordered for you.”
More likely, he says:
“You were taking so long that we ordered for you.”
Then it would look like this:
“You were taking so long,” Trenderhoof said with a soft laugh, “that we ordered for you.”
I finally commented on it, but I've seen you do this in all the chapters so far.

>flipped the table over//

What the hell? Besides sounding like a lazy meme reference, what'd be the point of this? He's punishing the restaurant for something that has nothing to do with them.

>“Well, you see…” Silver Script began but let his sentence trail off.//


>The pair of unicorns began to circle him, the flickering lights causing their shadows to disappear and reappear around him.//

Okay, so this is a dream?

Ah, it is a dream. I'm not sure it's worth having this come as a surprise. If I knew from the start it was one, it wouldn't be any less powerful, and it'd head off all these suspension of disbelief issues. But that's up to you.

>your highness//

That's an honorific. It would be capitalized.

>Reached reached//

I think you meant one of those to be his name.

>he obediently laid down//


>month,” The pegasus continued//

Capitalization. You also use "massage" 6 times in the first couple screens of this chapter .

>“How did you—” Star Bright began, but was cut off//

This is similar to the deal with the ellipsis. The dash already means he go cut off, so you son't need to narrate it as well.


Include the punctuation in the italics.

>What has gotten into you,//

It's a question, so make it one.

>uncharted territory//

They're married, right? How is this uncharted?

>agreement,” She began//


>back to back//



Include the question mark in the italics.

>The outside facade of the Silver Frames Art Museum didn’t look particularly inviting. In fact, when compared to the surrounding establishments, it looked downright intimidating//

You've got opinions creeping into your narration again, so you're breaking from an omniscient viewpoint.

>Silver Script paused for a moment before slowly turning his head back to Star Bright, whose head was now turned up to the sky//

>Star Bright’s gaze turned to face him, but immediately turned away again.//
Close repetition of "turn" in each sentence, and these sentences are even close together, so you have 4 of them over just 3 paragraphs.

>his muzzle against his//

A lot of these descriptions and actions get ambiguous, including the ones where you use "the stallion," since it could apply to either, ad there's not always enough context to sort it out quickly.

>“It is my duty to ensure that your trip through town goes smoothly.//

You didn't close those quotation marks.

>guard gaze//

Missing possessive.

>indifferent expression, the only difference//

This still creates a repetitive sound, even if they're not close to each other in meaning.

>Silver Script ignored the ponies who were attempting to approach them//

That's kind of an awkward way to bring up what these other ponies are doing. And why are they doing it?

>the pre-recorded script ended.//

You might need to do something to delineate these better, or put the mention of the recording before what it says instead of after. It keeps appearing to be dialogue, and I have trouble figuring out who says it, and then after the fact I see it's the recording. It's a little confusing.

>on the altar//

I would have expected "at" the altar, but if this is an expression you're used to, it's fine.


Include the question mark in the italics.

Okay, this chapter is getting bogged down in lengthy descriptions of what these architectural designs mean. For one thing, most readers aren't going to care, and it's not even important to the plot to get this much detail. For another, you're trying to convey something visual, and as subjective as artistic interpretation is, you're never going to give the reader an accurate enough text description to really link the artistry to its appearance.

>The Tasty Treat//

You've been inconsistent in capitalizing "the."

>turning back to the couple//

Set off the participial phrase with a comma.

>The two stallions shrugged//

I don't get the shrug. What sentiment are they expressing? Her actions shouldn't be a mystery to them.

>You wouldn’t know them.//

They wouldn't know two Elements who'd saved the world numerous times and had a bestselling journal about them published?

>Did I introduce him to Silvy,//

It's a question.

>stallions shoulder//

Missing apostrophe.


Include the question mark in the italics.

>Fancy Pants had managed a seat to the interview in order to report to the local news//

Why's someone like him doing journalism?

>The Manehattener//

Underline or italicize the title.

>Trenderhoof leaned in and rest his hoof on the pony’s knee.//

The verb form of "rest" is off, and I've cheated by looking ahead and seeing that there's quite a bit of leaning going on in this chapter, too.

>Has he always called me his partner,//

It's a question.

>This is too much, Silver Script thought, I can’t let him do this anymore.//

If you took out the attribution, the two quote parts would form a comma splice.


Include the exclamation mark in the italics.

>Silver Script could hear the sounds of chairs scratching the courtyard as ponies stood up and backed as far away as possible//

This is in the castle. No guards are coming over to head off a rapidly developing incident?


Include the exclamation mark in the italics.

So even the princesses are there? And nobody's going to intervene when a heated altercation starts?

>star studded//


>with an expression on her face even he couldn’t identify//

The "even" makes it sound like he's an expert at interpreting expressions or something, but I have no reason to think he is.

>so that he could he//


>the two stallions simply rest//

Why'd you go to present tense?

>The pair were interrupted by a gentle coughing, and immediately separated, Star Bright looked down and pawed at the ground while Silver Script scratched the back of his neck.//

That second comma is a comma splice.

>the bat ponies in front of the podium began playing the Equestrian Anthem on their horns.//

Maybe a little odd that he didn't notice them until now.

>“Thank you, Equestria,” He said//


>He waited until the crowd quieted before beginning.//

But he already said something. He's not exactly beginning.

>looked up to his husband, who was now looking//

Close repetition.

>“Since antiquity,” Star Bright began.//

And many paragraphs later, he's beginning again?

>Silver Script beamed with pride at the pun//

It kind of loses something if you have to point out that it was one.

>whispering about why they were asked to come there.//

This is unnecessary, as in the very next line, Silver goes on to do just that.

>The Manehattener//


>much to small//

Too/to confusion.

>back and gave Silver Script a wink before turning around and disappearing back//

>before,” she said before//
Close repetition.

>The center of gravity of our love is everywhere.//

I'm not sure what he means by that. As a matter of physics, no, a center of gravity is always at a single point.

I see lots of complaints around the fandom that there's a short supply of good M/M romance. It's not something I normally read, so I can't say whether that's true, but I do think you have a good story here. It gets a bit sappy and simplistic at times, and the two behave in rather childish ways for married adults, but whether that's problematic depends on the story. This is close to show tone than something more serious, so despite the comments I left to that effect, that's not something you need to change. Were you to try writing some original fiction with the goal of getting it published, then there's more of my advice here that I'd press you on, but that isn't necessary.

The main things I do want to see you work on a bit are fixing the mechanical things, the repetition, and working on the perspective, where there were a few slips into a limited narration. There's not a lot of work to be done, and I've pretty much laid it all out for you, so I hope that makes it easier. I'd like to post this, and when you're ready, resubmit and mark it as "back from Mars" so I know it only needs a spot-check of the edits.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3161

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

Kind of bold to do an in medias res here. One of the big emotional moments would be Twilight seeing the filly appear and realizing what she was, but you're skipping all that. It can work, but I'm hoping that conflict's of a different nature so it doesn't matter your forgoing some obvious engagement,

>but it only turned more probably the more she thought about it.//


>it has always has been//

Extraneous word.

>Whatever choices she has made or events that have happened must always happen, else a paradox would arise.//

I can't really parse this sentence. I think the syntax is off. Plus I can't figure out why it's in present tense.

>and how exactly whoever was responsible for this, had obtained the power and means//

There's no reason to have that comma. I also don't understand Twilight's conclusions. She's decided that the filly wanted to come here or someone sent her intentionally. Couldn't this just be an accident? Or some natural phenomenon?

>However, she herself was of the future, albeit one that no longer has meaning.//

Switching verb tenses again.


Only capitalize the first part of a stutter, unless it's a word that has to be capitalized anyway, like a name.

>nodding assuredly at the filly//

You'll normally set off participial phrases with a comma.

> scholarly.” She said//

Punctuation/capitalization. You got it right earlier in the paragraph, so I don't know why you're getting it wrong here.

>patting her on the filly on the back//

Extraneous words.

>A mundane chore like that came off as perfectly choreographed performance akin to a fireworks display.//

You'd been in adult Twilight's perspective so far, but here, you switch to filly Twilight. Until you get comfortable with how to do a perspective shift and whether doing so is justified, it's better to keep to a single perspective in each scene.

>chore” she admitted//

Missing punctuation.

>Filly Twilight noted the slight twitches on the older mare’s face, but paid it no mind. The thought of becoming as focused and precise as the mare in front of her was nothing short of awe-inspiring.//

Here, you're popping into the filly's perspective again. So far, you've never stayed there more than a single paragraph, and we don't learn anything essential while there, so there really isn't a need to shift the viewpoint.

>exactly?” Her past self asked//



Needs a space after the ellipsis.

>my sister is taking the exam later this week//

Wait, what? Twilight has a sister?

>it’s pipes rusted//

Its/it's confusion.

>Her eyes squeezed shut as the tears fell in vain, staining her fading body as she bawled it all out.//

Try not to be structurally repetitive, like the two "as" clauses you have here. Because they also set a sentence's timeline, they're also kind of fighting each other.

>The door swung inward to revealing the dusty floor//


>She took scope of all it//

Missing word.

>Thank you Mayor Mare.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

The perspective is unsteady in this chapter, too. It starts with the Mayor, then quickly goes to Twilight within the first page.

>I can’t...” Twilight trailed off as she surveyed the place again..//

The ellipsis already means she trailed off. Narrating it as well is redundant. And you have an extra period at the end.

>Mare on the moon//

Mare in the Moon

>every shelve and surface//


>the clouds we still off in the distance//


>as she cleaned, humming a tune to herself as she reflected on the friends she had made here in Ponyville//

Repetitive "as" clauses again.

>nothing beat having real friends around to talk too//

To/too confusion.

>“What was that?” She asked as if hoping somepony might answer here//

Capitalization, typo.

>She reached hoof//

Missing word.


Missing space.

>herself- no//

>She saw Waning Star- no//
Please use a proper dash.

>turned corner//

Missing word.

>Twilight brought a hoof to mouth//

Missing word.

>Holding them back for so long in spite of her impending existential unravelling, was a feat in and of itself//

No reason to have that comma.

>I am..was//

Looks like that was supposed to be an ellipsis?

>continue to live on in her? ”//

Extraneous space after the question mark.

>layers of dust that bedded it’s surface//

Its/it's confusion.

>I hope so very much”//

Missing period.

>It faintly smelled of ink//

You just used "faint" a few sentences ago. It's repetitive to use it again so soon.

>This is my last letter to you Celestia.//

>Why didn’t you wake me up Twilight?//
Missing comma for direct address.

>I can-”//

Use a proper dash.

I do wonder how all this is supposed to fit in with canon events of where all the girls were when Twilight took her test, but then you have it marked AU, so you can place them wherever you like.

There'a very interesting idea here, but it does need a lot of editing help. I couldn't even note everything. I got most of the technical things, but there are also plenty of places where the phrasing just sounds off, and it's going to take an editor going through it in detail to help you iron all that out. If you can, it's definitely a unique take on events, and it could be a pretty engaging story.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3171

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>who sounded like they were in discord//

That's a pretty odd phrasing.

>Since Kamino laid only a short distance from Bluegrass//


>took her time to take//

Close repetition.

>But don't get your hopes up about any of them Violet.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>we often go out and eat at the ice-cream parlor, if you want to you can join us there in the weekend!//

Comma splice.

>Maybe this could change now. This could be her great chance to finally form some friendships.//

This just comes across as bland, and that's a problem with the narration in general. You're telling things from Violet's mindset. If you thought you had an opportunity to get somehting you really wanted, wouldn't you sound excited? Yet the narration just says it here with no emotion. It doesn't sound like Violet cares much about it. The whole point of using a limited narrator is to give your character a very personal voice, but you're not using it.

>lancing over towards Rose—who smiled back at her—her body calmed down.//

This says her body glanced over.

>Violet thought “I'm not gonna write down anything anyway”//

Needs commas to set off the dialogue.

>It was kinda awkward for her to search these three, especially Rose, so much on this day.//

Strange phrasing.

>Kick it up one last notch everypony!//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>While she was in hospital, her parents arranged for her to move to Kamino and rented her a small house on the edge of the city while they were off doing business around the world.//

It feels unnatural to have two "while" clauses in the sentence, plus they're fighting each other for the sentence's timeline.

>The previous owner left barely any furniture and a sheet of dust had already settled in when Violet first entered her new home.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>most walls facing the outside were made up of mostly//

Repetitive word choice.

>None of this made sense to her, so emotions of joy mixed with uncertainty, and ultimately fear.//

So those emotions what? And instead of listing those emotions, give me symptoms of them so I can figure out on my own what they are.

>the pony that had saved her earlier//

When talking about intelligent creatures, it's preferred to use "who" over "that" or "which."

>Apparently Violet mumbled without noticing it first.//

But right after this, she does say it. I'm confused.

>decorated with few abstract paintings//

Seems like you're missing an "a," or else this tends to say Violet would have expected more paintings than there were.

>If you like and feel like it//

Strange phrasing, and kind of repetitive. Just one of those is fine. You don't need both.

>It is pretty tempting don't you think?//

Needs a comma.

>erratic movements//

That's pretty vague. What does she actually do? And here's another spot where Violet should be quite emotional, yet her narrative tone sounds bland.

>Taking a deep breath//

Set off participial phrases like this with a comma.

>whenever you want to become a Sorceress//

Needs a comma here to set off the dependent clause.


Missing space.

>I didn't think you'd actually join as//


>Despite knowing this, she did not want to admit anything of the sort, not even to herself.//

The narration is essentially her thoughts, and it said so explicitly, so she very much has admitted it to herself.

>Even though our main targets are the witches//

Needs a comma here for the dependent clause.

>That's a different story entirely, let's just go after the witch for now.//

Comma splice.

>Whenever I fight one of them//

Needs a comma here.

>All muscles in her body tense up//

Why'd you switch to present?


Missing space.

>And we would never force you to become a Sorceress if you don't want to, we just wanted to show you the door.//

Comma splice.

>slowly walked away, her hoofsteps slower//

Close repetition.

>An ebb and flow of happiness and subtle terror//

You're directly naming emotion again.

>On the outskirts of Kamino laid relics of ancient villages.//

Lay/lie confusion. They're tough verbs to keep straight. Short version is you need "lay" instead of "laid" when there's not an object being laid down.

>decelerated in its descend//


>the civilian pony//

What are you differentiating "civilian" from? The girls aren't government employees or anything.

>Turning around, no immediate way back out could be seen anymore.//

This says that no way out turned around.

>now spreading//


>They counted somewhere between seventy and a hundred.//

That's a rather large number to be able to estimate so quickly, and yet have such a large error band.

>Violet immediately threw herself on the ground and shielded her face, her body trembling.//

Here's another paragraph that sounds very stoic for what iolet's going through. That's the only major thing holding your story up.

>Reaching the apex of her jump//

You'll normally set off participial phrases with a comma.

>Releasing the shot, the magical arrow zoomed forwards//

This says the arrow released the shot.

>around the bridge. Rose turned around//

Watch the close word repetition.

>You can get up now Violet.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>barrier.” Amber said//


>Giant images of various tapestries hushed over the walls//

I can't imagine "hushed" is the word you meant to use here. I don't even know what it would mean in this context.

>the walls, folding around the walls//

More close repetition.

>Scattered around the field laid common objects//

You need "lay" here again.

>form. Its form//

Close repetition.

>Amber if you'd let me//

>go ahead Rose//
>Don't worry Violet//
Needs a comma for direct address.


Missing space.

>After having traversed about half the distance, the witch's head sprouted rose flowers//

This says that the head traversed the distance.

You're sure using "conjured" a lot during this fight.

>And even then he didn't even seem to realize I was there, he looked right through me.//

Comma splice.

>a whim of her parent's//

She has more than one parent, right?

>looking for more words. She had looked//

Close repetition.

At this point, it's going to take me forever to go through the whole story in detail, and I'm mostly finding the same problems over and over again. The point is for you to learn how to fix them on your own, not have me fix them for you, so I'm just going to read the rest of the story without further comment, then come back at the end to say if I found any plot or characterization problems.

In chapter 4, I don't understand this: "It was still too early in the day for them to attack any ponies." I haven't watched Magica Madoka, but is there really something in there where witches can't attack early in the day?

>thing,” while grasping for Rose's hoof, Violet tossed her head from side to side to look for a path away from the Walpurgisnacht, “we//

You have a non-speaking action you're trying to use as a speech tag. It seems like you want to use a narrative aside here. This is how to format one:
thing—” while grasping for Rose's hoof, Violet tossed her head from side to side to look for a path away from the Walpurgisnacht “—we

You're using "salve" when I think you mean "salvo."

In chapter 5, Violet says she has the ability to skip back in time to getting out of the hospital again. So why doesn't she do that when Amber gets killed? She could have stopped it from happening. That's what she already did for Rose.

Okay, so she does after Rose dies again. But I wonder why she never did after Amber's death.

The editing's gotten noticeably worse in chapter 7. There are numerous slips into present tense and several places where you're missing a space between words.

>Hardly any pony would care if this bridge was suddenly destroyed//

That's just really, really hard to believe.

I'm noticing more editing problems than usual in chapter 11.

In chapter 14, I get this:
>a singular tear//
That is one of the most cliched things you possibly could have said.

Yeah, the editing did noticeably decline the further in I got.

All told, I like the characters, but then I don't know how close a match this is for the show, since I've never seen it. Most of what I know about it comes from the one or two other crossovers I've read. It's interesting how Violet becomes the complete opposite of her original personality over the course of the story.

So, all the things I mentioned in detail over the first few chapters was present through the whole thing. You need to work on the editing, and the narration is pretty bland during emotionally intense moments, considering you're using a limited narrator who takes on characters' identities.

Even if you fixed all that, there's a subtle problem here: why is this an MLP story? There's nothing pony about it. You could make these characters human, and the only thing you'd have to do is a search-and-replace of hoof/hand, mane/hair, etc. You wouldn't have to rewrite the characters, setting, or plot. It doesn't matter that they're ponies, it's immaterial to the plot, and it doesn't even come up very much.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3174

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

Chapter 1:

>W-Well, it there’s anything I can do for you//

Only capitalize the irst part of a stutter, and you have a typo there.


It tends to format better on FiMFic if you leave a space after an ellipsis, especially if you use a program that auto-converts three dots to a single ellipsis character.

>And her eyes…their soft raspberry-red hue contrasted perfectly with the rest of her, giving them a captivating look.//

Note two things here. First, this expresses opinion in the narration (perfectly, captivating). Second, the ellipsis makes this sound very conversational, like dialogue. That combines into making this a limited narration in Ticket Stub's perspective. But it doesn't stay there. Only a couple of pages in, Ticket Stub leaves, and the perspective moves over to Sonata. It's usually not a good idea to change perspective in the middle of a scene anyway, but it's really strange to start the story in a perspective that will soon be abandoned and is an unimportant character. I'd be surprised if he even turns up again.

>the red-horned unicorn//

Keep in mind what this means to the perspective. This is Sonata choosing to call him this in her own thoughts. Do you do that with people you know well? Do you think of your grandfather as "the gray-haired man"?

>An exasperated expression//

You outright name emotions a fair amount. Think about how you could tell that someone you saw in public was exasperated. You wouldn't know he was automatically. You'd have to interpret the context of what he's doing and how he looks. It's more authentic when written characters mimic this real-life effect.

>Two months ago Equestria had been the victim of what had since become known as “elemental bleeds”; instances of the heretofore-unknown Elemental Planes superimposing themselves over patches of Equestria.//

You should be able to replace a semicolon with a period and have both resulting sentences stand as complete, but they wouldn't here. You're making a definition or clarification, so use a colon.

>“Aww, I bet it’ll be fine,” smiled Sonata.//

How do you smile dialogue?

>how…” Lex trailed off//

The ellipsis already means he trails off. Narrating it as well is redunant. You use this speech tag nearly very time you have an ellipsis.

>Unaware of the nonplussed expression on her boyfriend’s face//

And now you've drifted to Lex's perspective. That's the third one in the scene already.

>Much to her chagrin, he hadn’t noticed//

And now you're back in Sonata's head. The perspective is incredibly unsteady in this story.

Chapter 2:

>So why,” he lifted the pair of boarding passes in his telekinetic grip, waving them in Sonata’s face, “do we have tickets//

You've punctuated/capitalized his like it's a speech tag, but it has no speaking verb. It sounds like you're trying to do a narrative aside. Here's how:
So why—” he lifted the pair of boarding passes in his telekinetic grip, waving them in Sonata’s face “—do we have tickets

>A look of incomprehension spread across Sonata’s face.//

Besides being very blunt with the emotion again, look at it from Sonata's perspective. She's held the viewpoint in the chapter so far, but how can she see her own face to say this?

>Tale to-//

Please use proper dashes, not hyphens, for interruptions and asides.

>He doubted it would be that easy, since it was likely that Tall Tale had experienced their own problems.//

And now you're in Lex's head.

This is a rather big thing, that he would be granted part of Equestria to rule, but it's just... there. I have no idea how or why this occurred.

>Sonata blinked as Lex looked at her with an inscrutable expression. She was about to ask him if something was wrong, when he leaned towards her, giving her just enough time to feel surprised before he kissed her gently.//

And now you're back in Sonata's viewpoint.

>They had confessed their feelings for each other only a few days ago//

I hope we'll get to some of their backstory eventually. It's a lot to expect the reader to just get invested in this relationship because you say they're in love. You have to demonstrate that. If I don't know why they love each other, what they like about each other, what they each give and take from a relationship, then I'm not going to care much about it.

>Much to his surprise, the stallion was reading the paper intently//

And you've gone to Ticket Stub's viewpoint now, and it only stays there a couple paragraphs.

Chapter 3:

I'll obviously never get through the story if I keep up that level of detail throughout. For the next few chapters, I'm only gong to note new issues I see, and then I'm going to start skimming just to get a flavor for how the plot and characterization go.

>She stumbled on the unfamiliar word, trying to sound it out.//

Why do you feel the need to explain this? Don't you trust the reader to figure out what's going on?

>evidence that his anger had not abated//

And again. It's like you're afraid the reader won't pick up on something unless you spell it out explicitly.

>His eyes had changed back to normal though, indicating that he was finally getting his temper under control.//

Again, you're over-explaining things, but it's also repetitive to keep using the same indicator for it.


Note that smart quotes will make leading apostrophes backward. You'll often have to force it the right way by pasting one in.

Chapter 4:

>Kicking her way free of her blankets, Sonata unsteadily climbed to her feet.//

You do this from time to time. Note that a participle synchronizes with the action it's attached to, so she kicks out of the blanket while climbing to her feet. More likey, she'd kick free before standing. You have to be careful when you use participles that you actually do want the actions happening simultaneously. Sometimes it doesn't make sense for them to. In fact, you do this again later in the same paragraph:
>Rushing to the door, she stepped out into the hallway//
Then again just one sentence later:
>Pushing past them, she hurried to Lex’s room, throwing the door open.//
She couldn't open his door until after she'd rushed there.

>His brow furrowed in thought, not answering immediately.//

Another problem with participles is that they can be misplaced modifiers or dangling modifiers. This is one of the latter. Presumably, Lex is the one who's supposed to be "not answering," but he doesn't even appear in the sentence. This says his brow wasn't answering. You have this problem occasionally.

>The responses came from Sonata and the engineer came in chorus//

That wording got jumbled.

For all that you keep mentioning Lex is the only pony fit to rule all of Equestria, I have no idea what's going on. I know you want the story to stand alone well, but I feel like I'm missing lots of context.

Chapter 15:

>Because Sonata’s back was turned to her, she couldn’t see the wolfish smile on Kara’s face.//

But if Sonata's the perspective character, then the narrator can't tell me things she doesn't know or perceive. This is a little bit of a different problem with perspective than the ones you'd been having earlier.

In chapter 20, when the spiders have attacked and gone, Nosey is wandering around town and talks to Sonata. But the last time we saw her, Lex was telling her his story. This just leaves me confused about where Lex is now.

Chapter 23:

>Nodded back to her//


Chapter 25 is basically one solid block of exposition. It's rather tedious to read.

In chapter 26, it's pretty cliched to have one of these "as you already know" exposition by dialogue sessions.

What are these italicized paragraphs? Flashbacks? It's just confusing.

Chapter 28:

>Quietly climbing to his hooves, Lex quietly//

Another spot of close repetition. I might as well flag these when I see them, but at the speed I'm reading, I won't catch many.

Chapter 31:

>Barely noticing Fireflower running behind her, Lex’s entire world came to a halt as he saw her//

Just another example of a dangling participle. I've seen others. This says his world barely noticed Fireflower.

>“Rockwood’s right,” Breezyleaf looked like she wanted to cry//

Another non-speaking action used as a speech tag.

Chapter 32:

Just because you have a character doesn't mean it adds something to inhabit his perspective. That's the case here. I don't see what we learn of value in this chapter. He's not someone we'e supposed to care about, and there's no important information we get from him that couldn't have come from someone else.

Chapter 33:

More of these italicized paragraphs that are supposed to be flashbacks. They're confusing. At first, they look like they're character thoughts. Flashbacks typically deserve to be separate scenes, but then they'd need to be longer than these.

What these changes of perspective also mean is that you're constantly going over the same events 2 or 3 times. There can be value in showing different interpretations of the same thing, but that's not exactly what you're doing. That'd be more like if two witnesses to a crime remembered it differently. Here, you don't give me anything new from each perspective. They both describe the same events in the same way. And you do this often enough that I'm spending a significant amount of time rereading the same things multiple times.

Chapter 36:

>starting to bubble slightly, heating up enough that it was actually starting//

Watch the close repetition.

Chapter 39:

>Sonata laid on the ground//


>Lifting it, the hole suddenly turned back into a piece of cloth. //

This says the hole lifted it.

Chapter 43:

>Holding it in his telekinetic grip//

See how you start 4 paragraphs in a row with a participial phrase? That gets pretty repetitive.

>still laying where it had fallen//


Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3175

Chapter 44:

>The goddess was far larger than himself//

Reflexive pronouns are for when the same person or thing is the subject.


Typo, I believe.

>whom it was//

That's actually a situation where "who" is correct.

>the Night Mare’s had been displeased//

Why is that a possessive?

>of whom Lex was mostly sure had been the subject of that carving//

The "of whom" should just be "who."

Chapter 45:

>He named his remaining request then//

Authors love to do this kind of thing, but they fail to consider whether it works with the perspective. The scene is in Lex's viewpoint. The narration is his thoughts. He knows what he asks for, so why isn't it in the narration? There has to be a motivation for the narrator to avoid mentioning it, and the convenience of creating tension doesn't count. He has zero motivation to avoid mentioning it in his own head, so he has zero motivation to avoid letting the reader know here. It would work from a perspetive that didn't know what he'd asked, and it might work in an omniscient narration, depending on how it's handled. But it doesn't work with the perspective you've chosen.

Chapter 46:

>Sonata laid down beside her boyfriend//


>Yawning again//

You're in that rut again. Of the scene's 7 paragraphs, 4 start with a participle.

>well played Night Mare//

Missing a comma for direct address.

Chapter 47:

>you know…” he turned slightly red, “to//

Use the aside formatting I discussed earlier.

>he was loathe to do that//

The adjective form is "loath."

>this,” he gestured to Severance, “here//

Aside formatting again.

Chapter 49:

>I love you so much, Sonata.//

He's known her for, what, a few days?

Chapter 51:

Look at these repetitive paragraph beginnings right at the top of the chapter:
>Turning away from where they were embracing in a tangle//
>Pausing as she reached the threshold//
>Turning away//

>He knew that there was no way that a flimsy wooden door could feasibly contain an artifact-weapon forged by a goddess, but he’d be damned if he had to let the thing witness private moments between himself and his beloved, let alone interject its opinion.//

The chapter had been in Sonata's perspective until here.

>Sonata wasn’t sure what made her think that the weapon was a “he.”//

And in the very next paragraph, you're back to Sonata.

Chapter 52:

>between Sonata and I//

That's actually a spot for "me." You wouldn't say "between we," but that's the same thing as "between Sonata and I."

>Lex grit his teeth//

Past tense is "gritted."

It strikes me that since they defeated the dragon, there's very little momentum to the story. Nobody's really struggling for anything, and there's no developing conflict.

In Chapter 58, I don't see what the purpose of the last scene is.

>Canterlot Chronicle//

Newspaper titles should be underlined or (preferably) italicized. This goes for the ones you mention later, too.

Chapter 60:

>“It is my royal duty, sister,”//

When used as terms of address, family relations, get capitalized.

>pony that was having a nightmare//

It's preferred to use "who" over "that" or "which" when referring to an intelligent being.

Even skimming, I'm only getting through about 10 chapters a day, and it's going to be forever before I get a reply to you. So I'm going to have to pick up the pace and just try to get the most basic picture of each chapter. Inevitably, I'll miss things, but I did want to be able to give you some feedback on whether the overall plot makes sense. It means I'll barely catch any detailed stuff, though.

Chapter 75:

>But as loathe as he was//

You're using the verb spelling "loathe" where you need the adjective spelling "loath."

Chapter 76:

>the edge of his periphery//

That's sure redundant.

The perspective is bouncing around a lot in this fight scene.

Chapter 79:

>The pudgy fish-monster was fairing even better.//


Chapter 80:

So precisely the right scroll fell out of Lex's bag by chance? There's an old guideline about writing that has a lot of truth to it: Coincidence is a fine way for characters to get into trouble. It's a terrible way for them to get out of trouble.

Chapter 87:

>start in surprise//


Chapter 88:

>clearly taken by surprise at Nosey’s request. The newsworthiness of everything they’d gone through hadn’t occurred to her before.//

These are from two different perspectives. The second is obviously Nosey's impression, but the first wouldn't work for her perspective. She'd just know she was surprised. "Clearly" wouldn't enter into it. That's someone else's assessment.

Chapter 91:

>She paused, then added. “That’s the other world we were sent to.”//


Chapter 95:

>We didn’t know our enemies strength then!//

You have a plural where you need a possessive.

Chapter 96:


That'd probably be spokespony, like the human-equivalent spokesperson.

Chapter 99:

Some of this battle language gets repetitive. Like you describe a "sickening crunch" twice.

So I apologize for not being able to get through everything. I stopped after chapter 100, because it was getting to be a chore to keep going at it, and it was making you wait an inordinate amount of time for a response.

My main issues are these: The story doesn't stand alone well. I did at least get a sense of who the characters were and why some of this was happening, but I did feel at a big disadvantage for not knowing who Lex is, what he'd gone through to get him to this point, and the world-building involving Everglow. It's not like I can't understand this story's plot—mostly, I do, but a little more on that later. It's that I don't understand what motivates and informs this story's plot.

It doesn't feel like there's a strong overall story arc here. Lex has this lofty, fairly abstract goal of ruling Vanhoover. The synopsis seems to say he wants to rule all of Equestria, though nothing I'd read so far speaks to that. This would seem to be a big concern for Celestia and Luna, except that in 100 chapters, they only show up once, vaguely hint that they have their own machinations, then promptly disappear for dozens of chapters again.

The perspective gets jumpy at times, in two ways. It's fine to change perspective characters at scene breaks, but there are numerous places where you abruptly switch in the middle of a scene, sometimes only for a few sentences, and rather than go into a lenghty description of why that's a bad idea, I'll just refer you to the brief discussion on head hopping at the top of this thread. But back to the times you do confine perspective shifts to scene breaks, you spend quite a bit of time recapping events from the new perspective. Now, I know it's a time-honored thing to show the same scene from multiple perspectives, and it's not that fact that you do so at all that's problematic. It's how often. Many of these times, I don't learn anything useful in the new perspective, or at least not right away, so that some of these retellings could be shortened or cut entirely. (And frequently, something that could be cut or shortened should be cut or shortened.)

And any of the editing issues I had to point out in the first few chapters were present throughout.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3180

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>My injury from the assault course yesterday//

She doesn't say what the injury is. That leaves things pretty vague.

>I stepped inside the elevator and was elevated 18 floors//

Watch the close repetition of "elevator" and "elevated." That's a strange enough use of "elevated" that I'm guessing you did this intentionally, but it's not creating an effect. There's nothing thematic. It feels more like you're trying to be humorous, but she never makes a joke of it, and just as quickly, it's gone, so I'm not sure what you were going for. And 18 is a short enough number that you should write out the word.

>allowing me to walk through the hall down to "Office #467".//

You'll normally set off a participial phrase with a comma.

>This wasn't my office but I had been sent an email//

You have numerous places through the story like this, where you need a comma between clauses. You have two subjects, each with its own verb (this wasn't... but I had been...), so put a comma before the conjunction.

>my usual office "Office #20".//

That's a strange repetition of "office."

Wait, why would office 467 be on the 18th floor? Usually the numbering scheme reflects the floor, so I would expect 467 to be on the 4th floor. For that matter, how do they have email? They don't have computers.

>yeah we were that professional we had a mini courtroom installed//

This feels really odd just tacked onto the previous sentence as it is.

>The main disputes that were debated in the courtroom were just petty things like let's say they get a raw brand deal, then they can settle that in our courtroom, of course it occurred to me that these were things that could be settled around a desk not in an EBI courtroom, but I kind of enjoyed the company especially because I had lost touch with the team ever since I graduated so it was always good to catch up.//

Man, that should be several sentences. For one, it's not grammatically correct as a single sentence, but for another, you really can't do this much in a single sentence and expect the reader to keep up with it.

>spinning on chair//

Missing word.

>I've been waiting for you." He said.//

This isn't how to punctuate and capitalize transitions between speech and narration. There's a guide to this at the top of this page.


3 dots is plenty.


And 2 isn't enough.

>Right on it sir.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>This toy wasn't given a valid reason.//

Do we get to know what the given reason was? Without knowing, it's hard to empathize with her. She may be in denial, or she may have been treated unfairly.

>which he constantly teases me about//

Why did you switch to present tense? You use it several times in this paragraph.

>to the suspicion of Twilight.//

What does Twilight do to make Dash think she's suspicious? Let me see that.

>Was it really that obvious.//

That's a question, right?


I don't know what you meant to say here. Maybe "amiss"?

>your being give no work//

you're, given

>"I told you there would be risks when joining law enforcement didn't I?" Twilight said//

Missing period at the end. This also speaks to a lot of the back story that I'd really like to know, as it informs what their relationship is like now. You're glossing over some pretty important things.

>"Where have YOU been?!"//

You already had Twilight speak in this paragraph. Keep to one speaker per paragraph.



>Her enthusiasm rocking me.//

This isn't a omplete sentence, and absolute phrases make poor stylistic fragments.

>I paused before realising I should probably clarify something//

Missing period.

>""Bye Rainbow Dash!"I//

Extraneous quotation marks, missing space.

>Think of him as a virtual egghead.//

This is explicitly speaking to an audience. This means Dash is aware of her audience. And this opens up a can of worms. Who's listening? Why? Whay does Dash want to tell her story to this listener? Where are they talking, and when? Unless you're prepared to incorporate all that into your story, it's best to refrain from addressing the reader.


>"I-It's the v-victim"//
Missing periods.

>just as I start to see how much they really mean to me//

When did this happen? This says there was a big change in her life recently, where she gained a new appreciation for them, but we didn't get to see any of it happen. We don't know what it means to her. We're just assured it's really important, but that's not going to get the reader to identify with her. Demonstration is far more powerful that statement. Let me see this change in their relationship, and it'll mean a lot more.

Chapter 2 just has more of the same problems, so I'm not going to note editing details for it

>now door-less doorway//

>notably annoyed carriage driver//
She's just been informed of Scootaloo's murder, and she's using humor? You need to have a consistent tone here.

>We don't have time to be running around trying to find a crazed killer. We're already up to our necks in paperwork, we simply don't have the manpower.//

Huh? What kind of policeman would ever say something like this? This is completely irresponsible and not plausible.

Dash isn't going to ask Blackhoof about the body in his office? She might keep silent if she feared him, but nothing like that happens.

>I'd forgot I'd been given a suspension the day after the incident.//

What incident? And why? The reader's not going to be engaged in her situation if they don't know.

There are a lot of electronic devices for a story not marked as AU.

This is an interesting idea for a story, and heaven knows there's a lack of good mystery stories around. But the editing needs a lot of work, and you gloss over a lot of the background of what gives the situation its emotional gravity. You may well get to that in future chapters, but you can't string along readers too far before doing so, and you need to give some of it early on just to generate interest in the story. If a reader's not invested in the conflict from the start, they'll drop away from following the story.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3196

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>"Spike?" she yawned again, rubbing an eye with her hoof, "You up yet?"//

That pattern of capitalization and punctuation says the two parts of the quote form a single sentence, but if so, you've stuck a question mark in the middle of it. There's a brief guide to capitalizing and punctuating dialogue at the top of this thread.

>and she had come to assume//

>She had come to notice//
>and came to estimate//
You have to be careful of repetitive word choices and phrasing like this. All these excerpts occur in just the first few paragraphs of chapter 2.

>wiring running from the girl's side//

Consider that you're having the narrator convey her thoughts and feelings as if his own. That means the narrator essentially is Lisa. But why would she refer to herself using something as external and impersonal as "the girl"?

>she'd recognize a hamburger anywhere//

If she's so into being a pony, why would a hamburger appeal to her that much?

>The wind has picked up as well, whereas before it was hardly noticeable, it now howled through the girl's ears, and tugged at the flapping sheets she wrapped around herself.//

You've slipped into present tense, and that second comma is a splice.

>Just a walk's away//

I don't quite get that wording.

>city limits-//

Please use a proper dash. In this case, however, since you go on to give examples, a colon would work fine instead.

>some sort of half-burnt fence of some kind//

Repetitive phrasing. And don't be so vague. "Some fence of some kind" does nothing to create a visual. What does it look like?

>been- medical//

Another spot that shouldn't be a hyphem but a dash or colon would do.

>awoken- not//

I can't keep marking all these. Suffice it to say you need to use dashes for asides or interruptions.

>the girl asked timidly//

I haven't been marking all these either, but here's another spot of her very impersonally referring to herself as "the girl."

>"Sorry, I-I'm sorry." he replied//


>No, no," Lisa cut in, "It's fine.//


>Time and time again, Lisa would spot the strange man and his briefcase scurrying about the city. As the minutes turned to hours//

It's kind of hard to justify "time and time again" within just a few hours.

>watching as the noise slowly returned as the same people who had disappeared into the buildings//

That feels like an incomplete sentence. As those people did what?

>the girl, like so many other confused citizens, were//

The subject for "were" is "the girl," but there's a number mismatch.

>A hand raised from the crowd.//

The story's been from her perspective, but this wouldn't be how she perceives her own hand raising. I'm surprised she counts herself among the residents, though. She's not familiar with this place, so I don't know why she thinks of herself as part of "we."

>you are welcome to ask us any questions you'd like."

>She turned, and began walking towards the side-door of the building, her colleagues trailing behind.//
That doesn't sound like someone willing to answer questions. I don't know if you did this on purpose.

At this point, I'm going to pick up the pace and stop marking more instances of the same things I've seen so far. This means I'll chiefly comment on plot or character issues.

The biggest issue is the mechanics, but there are also lots of world-building questions left unanswered, and the pacing is really slow.

To those questions... how is it that only a minority lives in these simulations, but it's such a crisis to even feed them when they wake up? What infrastructure is there to keep these sims going? How do the users pay for it? What motivation did all these people have to go into them in the first place?

And the pacing. It seems like so many chapters were pretty identical. Lisa engaging with managing the awakened people, talking to Pinkie, etc. So many chapters didn't have anything consequential happen. In that sense, it's slow, because it takes lots of scenes for the plot to advance any. But it's fast in the sense that so many of the scenes are very short, and that usually means you're not developing things enough. You're just not able to give things much depth. A great example of that comes in chapter 28:
>I've grown to love my life in this reality just as much as Equestria.
The story really never tells me either side of this. I know from watching the show how much Twilight loves her friends and enjoys living there. But show me your personal vision of that. Don't rely on the show to do your work for you. And on the human side, I never get any sense that Lisa likes it there so much that it rivals Equestria for her. She enjoys the organization tasks she's assigned, but until this statement, I had no clue she'd developed any attachment to the real world. She did want to find out what was going on, but she never came across as loving the real world anywhere close as much as she loves Equestria.

I don't quite get the title, either, as only certain ones of the humans are in a pony simulation. Was it initially created with that as the only world, and then they expanded it from there?

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3197

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>Sunday around Princess Twilight’s school was rarely too exciting a locale, and today was no exception.//

The first sentence already sounds odd to me. You open with the time, but then you say it's the place that's unexciting. We know from canon that the school can be very active, so it really is the time you should be focused on. I'd recommend changing that "locale" so it's saying that afternoon is what's typically boring, not that place.

>The time was nearing noon, and Celestia’s sun hung lazily above without a single interfering cloud in sight.//

This happens enough that we have a term for it: the weather report opening. It's so common that it's cliche, and you don't want to begin the story giving the reader the impression that he's going to see a bunch of unoriginal stuff. Unless the weather is an important plot point, skip it.

That first scene really does nothing. It gives me a basic locale, mood, and character, but does nothing interesting with any of them and doesn't set any plot point into motion. I wouldn't be lost without it, which is a pretty good indication that it's extraneous.

Same with the second scene. Nothing happens.

>What mattered was the fact that he could see it with his own two eyes, feel the ground with his own four hooves; the bitter winds on his grey coat.//

Misused semicolon. You should be able to replace one with a period, but what comes after it here couldn't stand as a complete sentence.

>This was the proof. He was back.//

This is trying to be dramatic, but I have no context for why it would be. You can't just drum up tension artificially. You have to get the reader to care about it first, and I have no idea what's going on or who this is, so I'm pretty low on tension right now.

>“Hello?” She asked//

Don't capitalize speech tags that follow dialogue. GDocs used to cause problems by automatically doing this when the speech ended in a question mark or exclamation mark. I don't know if that's what's happened here.

>filly,” The omnipresent voice continued to urge.//

Well, you're even doing it with a comma, which GDocs doesn't cause. You sometimes get this right, though.

>she spread two feathered wings//

>Silver landed two claws and two hooves//
You sure like to enumerate her appendages.

>The young hippogriff//

Be careful with your perspective. You're using a limited narrator who takes on Silverstream's identity. He'll vocalize her thoughts and opinions for her, and he takes a conversational tone. That forges a closer connection between the character and the reader than an omniscient narrator will. But the trade-off is that the narrator can only tell me what Silver knows or perceives, and he has to perceive it the same way she would. The narration should be considered Silver's stream of thought, so she's the one choosing to refer to herself as "the young hippogriff." People just don't think of themselves (or others they know, for that matter) in such external and abstract terms. Phrases like this are hurting your choice of narrator.

>headmare Twilight’s//

When used as a title attached to a name, that would be capitalized.

>“Little pony, I-”//

Please use a proper dash for asides and interruptions.

>hoping that wherever this strange being was, they were getting her good side.//

Also beware of explaining a character's motives, especially in a limited narration. Just have her hope this. Don't say she hoped it, because then the narrator becomes a middleman nd stops being Silver. Something like "she posed in case this strange being had a view of her good side" gets cross that she's hoping so without saying it.

>“Wow. You should really get out more often," She gave the darkness a flat look.//

You can't just tack any given action to speech with a comma. It has to be a speaking action. This one isn't, so make it a separate sentence.


>I… ugh//
Note the inconsistent spacing. The Second is preferred, since it tends to format better.

>He deep, resounding laugh that shook the very crystal Silverstream was standing on.//

Phrasing is off.

>“No, you see, the trap is-”//

Again, use a dash. Just sweep the whole story for these.

>It was true that this was a flaw in his plan the unicorn had not considered.//

Don't switch perspective like this. You'd been in Silver's head, but now you've jumped to Sombra's. There's a brief discussion of "head hopping" at the top of this thread that will explain.

>the unicorn couldn’t help but commend himself on such a purely genius move.//


>The unicorn grew confused at this, usually ponies went completely insane after less than half this amount of climbing.//

Comma splice.

Yeah, your perspective keeps wandering back and forth. That's not a good thing to do. Whose story do you want this to be? You can switch perspectives at scene breaks, if you want to show both sides. You can even shift perspective during a scene, if you do so smoothly and have a good justification of why it's a good idea. But for the time we've spent in Sombra's head so far, nothing important gets revealed. It doesn't matter that we'r in his perspective. If you don't make it matter, there's no point in doing this.

>Slowly, Silver removed two feathered wings from her face//

You're really obsessed with enumerating her appendages.

>his prisoner//

How is she a prisoner? She isn't confined.


When you have a word italicized for emphasis, it's preferred to include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.

>At this, Sombra was completely taken aback, “But my magic…//

You have a non-speaking action as a speech tag again.

Just note that once I've pointed out a couple instances of the same problem, I'm not continuing to do so. That doesn't mean there aren't any others.

>You don’t feel resent towards me//

Resentment or resentful



>But the airborne Silver wasn’t paying much attention, all of that was directed towards the gorgeous sights below her.//

Comma splice.

>But the hippogriff made a fair point, even while he wasn’t able to bend it to his will just yet, Equestria did look quite lovely from this perspective.//

Comma splice.


Capitalization on the same word again.


I don't know why you're missing this in contractions so much.

>they won't even know its you//

Its/it's confusion.


Why do so many authors spell this wrong?



>created my the magic of ancient alicorns//


>unnoticeably shrinking//

If it's unnoticeable, then how is she noticing it to include it in the narration?

>it’s time for my friends and I to leave this place//

This is actually a spot for "me," not "I."

> it.He had done it.For//

Missing spaces.

>the hippogriff cheeks//

Missing a possessive, but again, this is a very external term for her to use about herself.

>their made their way//


>The monsters were quick to overtake their former master and cloak him in shadow from above, but none could get too close.//

That sounds contradictory.

>Sombra, look, the portal! It’s getting smaller!//

You're hitting an awful lot of tropes in this story.

>I guess i’ll be starting school pretty soon. Accept-//

Seems like you meant "except."

The story itself isn't bad, though it's pretty predictable, but the two biggest issues are the persistent editing problems and the unsteady perspective.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3199

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>The Ponyville Hospital wasn't actually busy, the nurses had me waiting simply because it was me in the waiting room.//

In the first sentence, there's already a comma splice. That comma is just tacking together two complete sentences. You could use a dash or semicolon there, or you could actually split it into two sentences. There are times intentional comma splices can work, but not as the first sentence, since the reader has no context for whether you're doing it to create an effect.

>I was receiving from from other ponies//

Two things. First, the obvious repeated word. Second, "to be" verbs aren't very engaging to read, and it's a good idea to avoid them where possible. If you just said "I received" instead of "I was receiving," it doesn't hurt anything, and then it's more direct and active.

>A lich is an undead creature by the way//

I know it can be fun to do something like this, but consider what it means to the story. You've made it so that I'm not longer an observer of action that has nothing to do with me. Now you have the narrator aware I'm there and speaking to me. That makes me a character, and I need to be justified like any other character. Why am I listening to him? Under what circumstances? Why does he want me to hear it? Typically, if you want to address the reader, you do so from the start. A common tactic is to have the narrator invite you in to sit down with him, and he explains that he has a story he wants you to hear. But if you just start randomly addressing the reader out of nowhere, it's jarring. Presuming that's not what you want to do, then find a less obtrusive way of working this information in. I bet all your readers know what a lich is anyway, but if you want to say it, then try something like "...one begins to understand that sort of attention given to a pony lich such as myself. Most ponies don't feel comfortable associating with the undead, after all."


Are you using that generically or as the actual title of the book? If the latter, then capitalize and italicize it.

>Oh the questions you’re sure to have, though you’ll have to be patient, as they will all be explained in good time.//

Okay, so you really do want to do fourth wall breaking. Unfortunately, this does mean that the reader needs a justification for being there. Is Bone telling me this story some time later? It sounds more like he's in the moment, which places me there at the hospital with him. Did I come with him? Am I some random person in the waiting room?

>my job to Luna is to look into the unsolved deaths of ponies; a very grim profession I assure you.//

You should be able to replace a semicolon with a period and have the resulting sentences stand as complete, but the part after it here wouldn't be. A dash would work, since it's a change in his train of thought. A colon could, too, since you're clarifying or defining something.

>pale and white//

That's an odd phrasing. White is pale. Why do you need to mention both?


Missing space.

>The deep black of frayed hairs on my leg rubbing against her to reassure her while my horn glowed to levitate the small precious load.//

That's a sentence fragment, and with this limited a narrator, they can be used stylistically, but this whole thing is a grammatical element called an absolute phrase, and they make poor fragments, since they're supposed to describe something, so when they stand alone, there's nothing for them to describe.

>I wish the phylactery life sustain effect didn't cause so much issue with appearance and degradation of my physical features.//

Two problems with what's going on here. First, you're digging into addressing the reader, and I don't know what motivates him to explain it or why the listener wants to know. But also consider that in a first-person narration, you're giving me the character's internal thoughts. Those thoughts are occurring simultaneously with the action. So he's just been called back to see the doctor. Surely, he's just going to walk back there. If he has to wait in the examination room for a few minutes, then he's go time to think about these things, but you're having him think about them while he's walking with the nurse. Why would this be on his mind right now? It doesn't feel authentic. It also means that whoever he's talking to is walking back there with him.

>I should have--”//

This is one reason why it's better to use an actual dash than a double hyphen. You can't control the typesetting on FiMFiction, and it's put a line break between the hyphens, at least on my screen.


You hadn't capitalized that in the previous chapter.

>Oh come on Bone,//

You've made this error a couple of times. When you use direct address in the middle of a sentence like this, it takes commas both before and after.

>Having spent a few centuries as a lich, my lips were almost entirely gone.//

This says his lips had spent a few centuries as a lich, not that he had.

>lying snuggly against the mare//

In this sense, it seems like you must have meant "snugly."

>She stirred../

Extra period.

>who I initially believed//

Whom, but as this is the character speaking, it's up to you whether he'd get that right.

>which appeared to large for her head//

To/too confusion.

>The color of her irises were of a deep red that spoke of blood and violence.//

It's getting repetitive to have all those "of" phrases. You could just drop the second "of" and be fine. You also have a number mismatch of a singular subject (color) and a plural verb (were).

>Passersby ponies//

When you use a noun in front of another noun like this, it should be singular, so "passerby." But instead of saying "passerby ponies," why not just "passersby"? It goes without saying hey were ponies. That's the default, and if they were anything else, he would have said so.

>letting all those around us to see and know//

You don't need that "to." In this kind of construction, it's implied.

>I second I walked through those great doors//

Wrong word.

>hoof step//

That'd be one word, like "footstep."

>better more pressing matters//

Put a comma after "better."

>Regardless, they had better things to do//

You just said that.

>stone mason//

>repair man//
These should be single words. But what is this "man" you speak of?

>here the last time I visited. “I should come up here//

Try to avoid repeating a word close together like this, unless it's an extremely mundane one (like "the") or you're doing it on purpose for an effect.

>far off//


>my myself//

One of these shouldn't be there. Actually, neither one should. Grammatically, "me" is the correct choice.

>I opened my mouth was ready to answer her//

Phrasing is off.

>The two sisters began whispering to each other and I shook my head.//

There are two clauses here. That is, you have two subject that each get their own verbs. Normally, you'd put a comma between them, just before the conjunction.

>Surely you must remember me Celestia,//

Needs another comma for direct address.

>I'll just be back tomorrow and we'll have this same conversation once more.//

Another spot that needs a comma between the clauses.

>Luna may be smaller than Celestia but don't let that fool you, of the two Luna is the one you should be afraid to anger.//

Comma splice, plus you're talking to the reader again. Even if you'd framed the first chapter as Bone having an audience, we're in a flashback now, and the audience wouldn't be in the flashback with him, so it makes even less sense to acknowledge an audience now.

>I am only suppose to receive//


>on to how they passed away//

You don't need that "to."





>against my horn and pressed against//

Watch the close repetition.


Don't use a comma with an ellipsis.

>This is my royal decree and I am sure my sister also agrees with it.//

Needs a comma between the clauses. I also don't understand Luna's purpose here. It's of paramount importance to make sure this filly is cared for responsibly. What makes her think Bone is capable of that?

>a shield of black between myself and the two princesses//

Another spot where "me" is appropriate instead of "myself." Reflexive pronouns really only get used when what thet refer to is also the subject of the clause.

>head .“I//

The space and period are in the wrong order.

>A feeling I had never experienced till now, utter despair and loss, those were things you just never encountered as a lich.//

That second comma is a splice.

>still living//


>They've been running while we were talking.//

Well, you've established an audience for him, but 1) you were addressing an audience before he got to the doctor's office and 2) the flashbacks aren't in a format that would work for an oral retelling, since he's presenting all the past dialogue as quotations. People just don't recount things that way.

It also strikes me that Bone is giving the doctor a ton of unnecessary information. The doctor doesn't need her life story. He only needs to know anything that might affect his diagnosis. I'm sure you can come up with a way of justifying why he tells her complete history, but the reason you have right now is pretty thin.


Missing space.

>Whether she had returned to sleep or just lying there//

The verb forms are inconsistent.

>Her name doesn’t seem to be listed.. great.//

Not sure if that was supposed to be an ellipsis, and why are you in present tense?

>Annoyed that I had no choice but to do this//

Beware just bluntly naming his emotion. It's not a good way to engage the reader. Plus the previous sentence already paints him as annoyed.


I hadn't noticed until now, so I might have missed other examples, but you'd had fancy style quotation marks and apostrophes through most of the story. This is a simple style apostrophe, though. Maybe you directly edited this part on FiMFiction? But now that I look, I do see other inconsistent styles of these. Make them one uniform style.

>mid section//


>4, maybe 5//

These are short enough numbers that you should write them out.

>Or was she genuinely afraid of the fall from the slab to the floor.//

That's a question, right?

>My impatience came out as a groaned//

Phrasing is off.

>Being a foal//

Participial phrases like this are normally set off with a comma.

>My spell broke and she dropped unceremoniously and harshly to the ground.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.


Another number you should write out.

>that sound of tears hitting the metal below her was something couldn’t stand any longer//

Missing word.

>Acting on a hunch, my horn glowed with magic//

This says his horn acted on a hunch.

>examination on her physical well being//

That's usually phrased as "of," and it's "well-being."

>I finally I detached//

Extraneous word.

>then; held them up to her//

Drop the semicolon. You don't need anything there.

>opened her shut eyes//

That sounds pretty self-explanatory. You can't open them if they aren't shut.

>would have delighted//

Missing word.


Extra comma.



>I looked a the cadavers//


>That won’t do; if we’re forced to spend an extended amount of time together, I have to call her something other than “Foal”.//

You've gone into present tense again.

>You, until I find a more suitable one, your name shall be,” I looked at both of her parents then at the clipboard that contained their names, I choose 1 name from each to form hers. “...mm.... Life Sapphire. Understood?”//

Okay, this is kind of a mess. The "chose" is present tense, the comma before it is a splice, the number should be spelled out, and you have a non-speaking action masquerading as a speech tag.


Extraneous period, missing space.

>She nuzzled my leg even harder and shook her head at me.//

Does she really have so little attachment to her parents that their deaths have no effect on her? She doesn't appear to care in the least. And if she breathed in fire to the point she burned her voice box, shouldn't she be in a lot of pain?

>Just how can this possibly get any worse?//

Present tense again.

>29 days,” I replied, “and she stayed with the corpse for nearly 2 hours//

Just scan through the story for numbers and write them out. The most common cutoff is that if it takes more than two or three words, then you can use numerals.

>but has she been able speak again?//

Missing word.

>Life Sapphire’s hoof, then pricked her skin underneath//

He's not really drawing blood from her hoof. That's like trying to do it from your fingernail. Just have him draw it from a foreleg or something.

>I wanted to kill him then and there for causing even the slightest bit of discomfort to her.//

That's... extreme, especially for someone who obviously wants nothing more than to help her.

>blood work//


>life threatening//


>I looked to Doctor Horses and completely blanched, my undead heart would have skipped from over a hundred miles away at that moment if it still beat.//

Comma splice.

>But first, how about you tell me how long have you’ve been referring to her as your daughter.//

Same deal I talked about earlier with her life history. Why does this matter to her treatment? It doesn't seem like a reasonable thing for him to ask for, much less delay him over.

>I bite//

Present tense.

>Well then, seems like you have some explaining to do.//

Why's he pressing Bone on this? There's zero reason for him to.

>Anytime I tried to work on them while she was awake resulted in me finding a crying filly attached to my legs.//

Is she crying over her parents? If not, then doesn't he find it suspicious that she has no attachment to them?

>I would begin to work on the seventh day when she came up to me with a bright pink soccer ball.//

That phrasing is off. I don't see what "would" has to do with it.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3200

Is that soccer ball in the picture actually pink? I can't tell.

>if it had not tug in a way that I experienced guilt and sadness.//

Another phrasing I can't figure out, plus you're directly naming his emotions again.

>Emotions were beyond me, this was frustrating to no end to feel them again.//

Comma splice.

>Unable to process bodies under such conditions, the frustration steadily built for over a minute.//

This says the frustration was unable to process bodies.

>I snapped and flung my scalpel in frustration across the room.//

And now you're repeating "frustration" in the next sentence.

>For six days I had played her games, dealt with her, had to train her to use the toilet!//

So why isn't he looking forward to the opportunity to turn her over to an orphanage?

>She began to tear up and my vision softened.//

Needs a comma.

>I don't have words for it//

>an act that can only be described as terrifying.//
>I am beginning to realize she has much more to her//
You've gone to present tense again.


Extra period.

>Great, I'm stuck doing this whether I desire to or not.//

More present tense.

>it’s meaning//

Its/it's confusion.

>forcing me to paused//

>her breathes//

>Tear glands protested their inability for an undead creature to cry.//

But you had him cry earlier. Why can't he now?



>blood work//


>be it viral or fungal//

Fungal isn't very common. It's weird he says that but not bacterial.

>Setting the results down, Doctor Horses horn glowed//

Missing possessive, and this says his horn set the results down.

>her with his horn.//

I don't know what this is doing here.

>She’s still in critical condition//

I haven't been given reason to think she's in critical condition, and the doctor seems awfully calm if that's the case. Plus my earlier comment about him listening to a bunch of info that has no bearing on that.

>I’ll examine her, but you must give me a complete history of everything that transpired while she was in your care?//

Why is that a question?

>she was going much slowly, starting at her bulbous head//

Who is "she"? You're also missing a word, and "bulbous" is a really strange word to use her.

>Mothers shielded their foals as we neared and stallions snorted at me like I was some sort of apparition to be challenged.//

Needs a comma.

>learly this only proved how little they understand that my work advances//

Present tense.

>she held but with a bright smile//

I don't know what you meant to say there.

>back, ready to kick it back//

Watch the close repetition.

>six times the length of her body. What was just a few hoofsteps for me must have felt like a football field to her//

Six body lengths shouldn't be a big deal, especially if she can walk to the park.

>watche dher//


>soft beat of my heart from it’s locked safe far away..//

Its/it's confusion, extra period, and you're really using this concept an awful lot, to the point it's getting repetitive.



>I didn’t have a real reason beyond I felt like if Sapphire could see my face in the sun//

That's a rather jumbled phrasing.

>centuries old//


>tried to get through, though, as they tried//

Close repetition.

>The sun made me uncomfortable, its light hitting against my centuries-old flesh almost burned like a flamethrower of photons.//

Comma splice.

>No, nice felt ill fitting to describe what I was feeling//

Ill-fitting, and missing period.

>pent up//


>it's sealed container//

Its/it's confusion, and this concept is getting very tired by now.

>How has this little foal, who can't even speak, touch me in ways that hundreds of ponies through the centuries couldn't.//

Present tense, the verb form of "touch" is off, and this is a question.


Missing space.

>My heart my pounding at that point//


>She’s cute and it’s affecting me!//

Present tense.

>they looked at Life Sapphire and I understood the nomenclature.//

Capitalization, needs a comma, and "nomenclature" is a really strange word for this.


Extra punctuation.

>given how awful I sound when I laugh//

Present tense, missing period.

>She moved to hide behind my hooves and I felt this parental need to expose her to them.//

Needs a comma.

>Why don’t you join us Life Sapphire, I'm Alluring Flower.//

Comma splice, the first part should be a question, and you need a comma for direct address.

>here” I assured her.//

Missing comma.


Missing space.

>trying to understand Sapphire and I//

"Me" is the correct choice here. To illustrate, only leave Bone in there. Would he say "trying to understand I" or "trying to understand me"?

>I most certainly have given them everything by the days end//

Present tense, missing apostrophe.

>Luna's decree concerning Life Sapphire and I//

Same thing with I/me.

>Friendship express//

Both words would be capitalized.


"Everyday" and "every day" aren't the same thing. The one you have means something close to "usual."

>am I becoming attached? Did I just admit that I’m looking forward to spending more time with her?//

Present tense.

>I hung my head at the mares stare//

Missing apostrophe.

>“Genetic Disorders”//

If this is just the title of one article, you're fine with it in quotes, but if it's the title of the whole journal, use italics instead.


Why is that capitalized?

>I actually worried what my profession I might be doing to Life Sapphire.//

Phrasing is off.

>Doctor Horses adjusted his glassed//


>Doctor Horses stopped his hooves back.//

I don't know what that means.

>he then got between myself and Life Sapphire//

Use "me" here, since Bone isn't the subject.

>W-wait, I'm a necromancer pony! Death is a quick and easy fix, I could... No, no that isn't right in the slightest.//

>no matter what happens//
>I can save her//
Present tense.

>Now it was Doctor Horses turn//

Missing apostrophe.

>won't that you’ll die//

Missing word.


When you have a word italicized for emphasis, it's preferred to include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.


Extra period.

>Both myself and Doctor Horses//

Both Doctor Horses and I

>I saw within her the potential to bring you back to life.//

So she deliberately set up Bone Daddy to sacrifice his life? That's not a very nice thing to do.

>your personal pupil//

What's she going to teach an earth pony? I mean, I guess the alicorns might have earth pony characteristics, too, but they're typically shown as magic instructors. Celestia's school is just for unicorns, after all.

>care of her personally//

care for

>she will stay in the castle with myself and Celestia//


>fulfilling my commandment beyond what any pony would ever have expected of you.//

But Luna pretty much said the exact opposite just a bit ago, that she put him in the situation on purpose because she wanted him to make this choice.

>daddy loves her//

When used in isolation like this (as opposed to something like having "her" in front of it), "Daddy" would be capitalized.


Why is that capitalized?

>I don’t know when we transition there//

Present tense.

>Just stay here with daddy//

Capitalize "Daddy."

>I already felt my weakness growing//

>I held onto her hoof as long as I could now//
The comma after this is a splice.

>heart beat//



Extra period.

>brighter than ever before//

Needs a comma after this, and the rest of the sentence is pretty repetitive with the previous one.

>in that feeling moment//

You sure you didn't mean "fleeting"?

>daughters first words//

Missing apostrophe.

>where now gathered//

Where/were confusion.

>than onto a platform made for her to stand on//

Than/then confusion.

>What hurts is the heart your sharin'//

Your/you're confusion.

Okay, you get some leeway with songs, but the syllable count is pretty uneven, and some of the rhymes are quite a stretch. Were this straight poetry, I'd definitely call it out. As a song, it's okay, but it could be better.

And just a warning: if song lyrics go on for more than a screen, readers will start skipping over them. You might want to add a bit of narration after every second or third verse to break it up.

>And now you cleared mine of all it's strife//

Its/it's confusion.

It should be clear that the major problems are editing, wavering tense, and the way you address the audience. It also feels like it's skimping on the depth of their relationship. The scene of them in the park is good. It demonstrates that they're becoming a family instead of just having the narrator assure me they are. You need more of that, or else the story's pretty superficial.

Then the ending just seems engineered for maximum sadness, particularly that picture and the deathbed love confessions. You have to earn that kind of thing by carefully building up their relationship like I just talked about. The more relatable it is, the more it'll grab the reader. Plus the feeling that he was unfairly roped into this by Luna adds a sour note.

AlzriusCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3202


Thank you so much for taking the time to pre-read my story. I appreciate all the feedback you've given me, and wanted to reply to some of the points you raised. Please note that I don't use chan boards, so I can only hope that I won't make too much of a mess with the formatting.

First, I've gone through and fixed the various typos you located; thanks for catching those.

With regard to the two largest edits you noted, those being the the changes in perspective and the instances of participles synchronizing with the ensuing action, I disagree with the points you raised.

In regard to the first (perspective shifting), I don't believe that this is actually a problem. While I would certainly believe that there's an editor's guide or style manual for writing prose fiction that says you shouldn't do this with regard to third-person narration, the practice is so widespread in contemporary fiction that I don't believe that this point is anything other than academic. For this style of narration, if there are multiple characters in close proximity to each other, and all of them are viewing, hearing, or otherwise experiencing the same thing, then there's really no issues involved with altering perspective from paragraph to paragraph. As you didn't say that it caused confusion or other issues of comprehension, and that I can find examples of this in virtually any contemporary novel written in the third-person, it's not an issue that I'm overly concerned about.

The same can be said for having participles that synchronize with the action that follows them. Simply put, while this might violate some rule regarding grammatical syntax, I find any such rule to be arcane. I've seen this particular usage of participles used any number of times, and it's always been very clear that it's meant to indicate how two actions are happening so quickly that they might as well be simultaneous. The understanding, once again, is clear, and so this seems more like an issue of style than anything else.

These were the major things I wanted to discuss, and so I'll just go over a few others briefly.

>This is a rather big thing, that he would be granted part of Equestria to rule, but it's just... there. I have no idea how or why this occurred.

Chapter five is devoted to the backstory covers the main character's motivation and how he got to where he is now. Putting it there, right after the first major problem has come up, instead of in the opening is called "burying the lede."

>Why do you feel the need to explain this? Don't you trust the reader to figure out what's going on?

There's no particular vice in simply stating something directly. It's only a problem when it's done too often, and with no other descriptive aspects to indicate what's occurring.

>Chapter 25 is basically one solid block of exposition. It's rather tedious to read.

That's an issue of perspective; I've had some comments that it was helpful and informative. Either way, however, it was necessary. Powers and abilities need to be outlined upfront, lest they simply seem to appear out of nowhere. Given that this involves the way that magic works, there wasn't much opportunity to utilize it in a more active context. Hence, the chapter had to be what it was.

>Just because you have a character doesn't mean it adds something to inhabit his perspective. That's the case here.

I disagree. We've already established that the villain is intelligent, and so their perspective needs to be taken into account simply because not doing so, especially after so much lead in, is anticlimactic. At the very least, the dragon's perspective and motivation needed to be acknowledged, especially as a lead in to showcasing his perspective later in the fight.

>More of these italicized paragraphs that are supposed to be flashbacks. They're confusing. At first, they look like they're character thoughts. Flashbacks typically deserve to be separate scenes, but then they'd need to be longer than these.

It's because they're not longer that they're not separate scenes. While the flashback in chapter thirty is its own scene, these flashbacks aren't long enough to warrant that, as you noted. Likewise, you were able to figure out that they were flashbacks and not thoughts, so the issue of confusion doesn't seem to have been overly burdensome. I'll certainly admit that it doesn't help that I'm using italics for both thoughts and flashbacks, but the context is clear enough that I'm not overly concerned.

>What these changes of perspective also mean is that you're constantly going over the same events 2 or 3 times.

This is necessary because otherwise you risk having relevant characters who essentially disappear during the sequence of events. During certain scenes (most notably action scenes), it becomes necessary to account for what everyone is doing. Hence, if you keep the perspective tightly focused around one character for any length of time, you need to go back and account for what other people were doing during that same period. To put it another way, showing what those other characters were doing is the new information that's given.

>He's known her for, what, a few days?

A few weeks, actually. Chapter five covered that in more detail, but by this point they've known each other for several weeks, albeit only been in a relationship for a few days (and already admitted that they love each other; both of them are very passionate individuals).

>It strikes me that since they defeated the dragon, there's very little momentum to the story. Nobody's really struggling for anything, and there's no developing conflict.

Not everything needs to be conflict. In this case, the following chapters were about resolution, as their business in Tall Tale comes to a close while simultaneously laying the groundwork for the next phase of their adventure.

>So precisely the right scroll fell out of Lex's bag by chance? There's an old guideline about writing that has a lot of truth to it: Coincidence is a fine way for characters to get into trouble. It's a terrible way for them to get out of trouble.

In fact, all of the scrolls fell out of his bag, as it says his possessions were scattered about. It's more of a coincidence that the scroll contained such a helpful spell, but that's nitpicking. It's more salient to say that coincidence isn't really a problem so long as it's used sparingly. Given how often I've subjected the main character to bad luck up until now, a stroke of good luck was called for.

>The story doesn't stand alone well. I did at least get a sense of who the characters were and why some of this was happening, but I did feel at a big disadvantage for not knowing who Lex is, what he'd gone through to get him to this point, and the world-building involving Everglow.

The issue of not seeing more of what Lex went through to get to where he is now is a legitimate one, albeit one that I've tried to make clear with various flashbacks and exposition. (That, and I'm not sure how much his backstory would work as its own tale.) With regard to Everglow, that's also an artifact of this story picking up from where the previous story by a different author left off. As it stands, Everglow functions more as a background element than anything else partially for that very reason. Should the story move back there, the world-building would be much more front-and-center.

>It doesn't feel like there's a strong overall story arc here. Lex has this lofty, fairly abstract goal of ruling Vanhoover. The synopsis seems to say he wants to rule all of Equestria, though nothing I'd read so far speaks to that. This would seem to be a big concern for Celestia and Luna, except that in 100 chapters, they only show up once, vaguely hint that they have their own machinations, then promptly disappear for dozens of chapters again.

That's because the arc is so large that it can seem flat. For example, Lex openly admits that he wants to rule an independent kingdom (breaking away part of Equestria's territory) in chapter 44, and later on reveals that to be a stepping stone in his plan to taking over all of Equestria. The early chapters likewise establish that he demanded that Celestia and Luna abdicate in his favor, and was prepared to fight them when they predictably said no. Sonata convinced him to stand down, and instead the Royal Sisters told him to go rule Vanhoover, which needed help in the wake of the recent disaster anyway (killing two birds with one stone). They're not unaware of his ambition, in other words, but are letting him exercise some of it in an place that needs exactly that. While it's only hinted at, the two chapters they appear in subtly indicate that they're hoping this will mollify his further aspirations.

Having said all that, I want to mention once more how much I appreciate you going over everything and putting as much time and effort into my story as you did. Thanks again!

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3280

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>If only that was rhetorical.//

You'll normally phrase a hypothetical statement like this in subjunctive mood: "If only that were rhetorical."

>I wasn’t always the fluffy purple pony as I write this.//

Feels like there are some words missing. This doesn't really make sense as written.

>homo sapien//

homo sapiens

>I hear you ask//

I'm hoping that at some point, we'll know what audience she's addressing.

>But I kinda miss being one//

"Kinda" isn't something I'd expect to see formally written. Keep in mind she's writing this in a journal, not speaking it.

>Technically speaking though… Nevermind, it’s complicated.//

This is another spot that comes across as a spoken affectation, not a written one.

>I was on records//

Usually that's just phrased as "record."

>But no//

Here's another thing that doesn't make sense for a written record. How does she differentiate italics from normal font? Is one print and the other cursive? When people want to emphasize something in writing, typically they'll underline it, write in all caps, or make it dark.

>All horse parts and all tiny?//

How does she know she's tiny? What reference is she using to compare size?

>“Hey, Twilight!” A voice to my right shouts.//

Capitalization f the speech tag.

>“Hey, Twilight!” A voice to my right shouts.//

This is a common issue with journal or letter stories. When people write such things, they tend to sum up conersations, not present them as quoted dialogue. People also write such things well after the conversations happened, meaning they wouldn't even remember what was said well enough to make them quotations.

>scale covered//


>for second//

Missing word.



>guards-” He cuts himself off//

Use a proper dash not a hyphen, for cutoffs. And the punctuation already means he was cut off. Narrating it as well is redundant.

>we were wondering if you could help carrying her//

The verb form of "carrying" isn't right.

>hospital?” He asks hopefully//


>I turn to look at her in shock//

>I stumble backwards in shock//
Repetitive, but you should also strive to demonstrate emotion, not name it. If I have to figure it out from her behavior, it's a lot better than you just telling me what it is.

>“See!” She shouted in jubilation.//

Capitalization, and you've gone to past tense.

>me!” She shouts//

Capitalization. You get the picture. I'm not going to mark any more of these.

>the…” I pause for a second, “stuff//

You're trying to make that narrative action a speech tag, but it has no speaking verb. You could do it as an aside. Here's how to format one:
the—” I pause for a second “—stuff

>shifting to lay on my side//


>peop— uh//

Don't leave space on either side of an em dash.

>I’ll fill you all in//

Who is it she's writing this for? She never says. I can only assume it's for her own benefit, except then she wouldn't say this. Whatever you're doing here, there isn't any reason why you're doing it that way.

>I watch silently as the dragon pushes open the wooden door. It creaks as the room within is flooded with light. A distant bookshelf is illuminated in the far back, spines shining as my eyes pass over them.//

There are a few things that many authors tend to repeat to excess. "As" clauses are one. You have one in every sentence of this paragraph. It gets repetitive.

>the wealth of knowledge at my fingertips//

Except she doesn't have fingers...

>I pour over the history section//


>I began my careful descent of the stairs//

You've switched to past tense.

>dusting on of the shelves’ larger tomes//


>the pony in the room//

That's a strange way for Twilight to refer to herself.

>I walk to the rightmost shelf and began browsing//

Past tense again, and it's the same verb as the last time.

>The reply came a second later.//

Even more past tense.

>Twi—” Spike’s cry is cut off//

The dash already means it gets cut off. Narrating that as well is redundant.

>I began rapidly trotting down the path//

Yeah, I think you've got a problem with that particular verb for some reason.

>Silence wafts through the streets, early accentuated by dull wind whistling through the alleys.//

I don't know what "early" has to do with it.

>I began to draw closer//

I'm not going to mark these past tense errors anymore. You'll have to scan for them.

>what looks like fresh ropes//

You have a singular verb with a plural subject.

>I’m surprised when I realize just how sturdy the pass is, whoever worked on it did a good job.//

Comma splice.

>My vision clears somewhat as the pain lessons.//

This says she's learning pain. You want "lessens."

>Truly, Celestia spoke highly of thee before she was banished,” she lets go of my aching head, but I continue to stare at her.//

You have a non-speaking action used as a speech tag.

>thou are not Twilight Sparkle, are thou//


>Next is the pink pony from before, smiling brilliantly despite the situation, she catches my eye and gives a quick wink causing my grimace to lessen slightly.//

Comma splice.

>between Nightmare Moon and I//

This is actualy a spot for "me."

The diary entry at the beginning of chapter 3 is confusing. Previous chapters made it sound like they were entirely entries. Now this one makes it sound more like the first short scene is the entry, and the rest is a flashback of live action. Yet this entry says it's going to describe what happens, then ends before it does so. Is the chapter to be considered the rest of the written record then? Or are we being made privy to events the diary doesn't describe?

>My fur laid flat//


>It — her — stood with a proud and intimidating posture//

That "her" should be "she."

>Thou needs//


>thou represents//

If you're going to use archaic language, please research it so you can get it right.

>I opened my eyes slowly, fearing the sun’s light would sear into my retina//

She only has one retina for two eyes?


That's a proper noun and shoud be capitalized.

>harms way//

Missing apostrophe.


Don't use a comma with a dash or ellipsis.



>“Uh, well—,” I looked around and saw Rarity roll her eyes.//

No comma.

>why don’t I go get Applejack before you start.//

Isn't that a question?

>I wasn’t not sure//

Double negative.

So there are a few overall problems. Some are easy to fix. There are a few persistent editing problems, and it's inconsistent about its delivery format, as to whether this is a diary/journal, whether the entire thing is supposed to be the written record or just some of the scenes, who her intended audience is, and lots of slips into past tense, especially in chapter 3.

Those are more mechanical and stylistic things. As to the plot, we're three chapters in so far, and you're not really starting to deliver what the synopsis promised. I think you'll eventually get there, but you can only string a reader along so far before he starts to lose interest. We know nothing about this human character, except that she's not as grammatically fastidious as Twilight and somewhat prone to profanity. But I know nothing about her personality, what her life on Earth was like, and she's not taking any measures so far to try getting back home or convince anyone of her predicament. I don't even know what her aim here is. She seems to have some prior knowledge of how the pilot episode plays out, such that she's advancing that plot on purpose. I do appreciate that you're not doing a complete rehashing of that episode. Some of the same events have happened, but it's taking a different direction.

Still, we're pretty far into the story now not to have an idea of who this human character is, what she's like, what she's trying to accomplish in Equestria, and how she's going to go about doing that. If a reader doesn't have a pretty good idea of the story's conflict by now and doesn't know the character well enough to have a rooting interest in her, he's not that likely to stick with it.

For an example, look at your by-chapter view counts. No chaptered story retains all its readers to the end. That's just an unfortunate truth. The best stories tend to keep about half of them, and even good ones keep about a third. That's through all the chapter, though. You're down to a third in chapter 2 already, and a fifth in chapter 3. That'll pick up a bit when the story is complete, as some people wait until then to read it at all, but you're dropping readers at a pretty high rate. Now, that's not a problem in itself for us—we want good stories, regardless of what the reader profile looks like or how many views we expect it to get—but I think it's illustrative of the other problems I've spelled out that we do care about, namely that we're lacking so much context and we still haven't gotten to the main conflict yet.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3281

I'm sorry it took so long for me to notice your post. I get so few replies anymore that I've fallen out of the habit of checking for them.

To your point about perspective switches, I don't doubt that you can find this in common use. There is some rather poor writing that gets published these days. It's inevitable with the sheer quantity of it. That doesn't make it good, and authors commonly use "I've seen real published works do this" as an excuse. There's good rationale behind why this is a bad idea, and I've gone into that. I can point out lots of examples where a change in perspective is confusing because it isn't apparent immediately that the perspective has changed, so the reader will initially attribute the opinions and impressions to the wrong character. It also inherently makes perspective shallower. The longer you stay with a character, the more they will identify with him, so when you keep rapidly dipping your toe in various ones, it's less immersive. And in many case, nothing useful was accomplished by the change. Take the dragon. Why did we even need to know his motivation? It isn't important. He's dead and gone, so it has no effect on things. You could have had Lex surmise his motivation and not bothered with using the dragon's perspective.

You can get away with lots of perspective changes like this in an omniscient narration, and I wonder if the examples you're citing use that kind of narrator. It's fine in that case, but it's a poor fit for limited narration, at least within a scene. Having a set of 5 scenes that each use a different perspective is fine, but inhabiting 5 different perspectives in one scene is just jumbled.

On the issue with participles, it appears you've misunderstood me. It's perfectly fine to use them when you intend actions to be simultaneous, but they break when they're used for actions that can't be. If you're saying you've seen real fiction do this, then again, that's fine if those publishers want to accept it, but that doesn't make it right.

About exposition, I agree that the information in that chapter is useful. I disagree that this is a good way to present it. The best way to handle background information is to work it in little by little, in places where it's relevant to the plot. You essentially have this as something like a textbook chapter, and it's not going to be much more entertaining than one, unless the reader is just really into your world-building.

Yes, there doesn't have to be constant conflict, but the two major drivers for any story are conflict and character growth. You go through a long stretch without conflict, which would be fine if there was interesting character growth going on as well, but for me, there really wasn't. I can skip a large number of these chapters without losing anything, and that's not good.

Yes, the arc is long, but that doesn't explain why Celestia makes one brief appearance in 100 chapters. It stands to reason this would concern her, but either deal with that or don't. It's fine to have it be something completely off camera, but you brought it into the story's forefront only to do nothing with it. If the reader's left to wonder how this is developing in the background, that's one thing, but you're the one who made a plot point of it, then promptly didn't use it again.

There's definitely writing talent here, but the biggest thing is that I just think it suffers from a lack of context. I wouldn't even recommend giving all that context, as that would mean rehashing significant parts of the other author's story. This one's just not a good entry point. If the original story's author wanted to submit his story to us and it got approved, then we could add yours, with his permission, as a sequel or side story, but main posts have to work for readers new to the material.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3304

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.


Needs another dot.

>Sunbursts’ cheeks flared even brighter and he went silent for a moment//

You have a number of spots like this where you need a comma between clauses. Sometimes you get it right. You'll normally use one with a conjunction when it separates subjects that have their own verbs, as you do here (cheeks flared, and he went). You usually don't use one when the conjunction just separates subjects that share one verb or one subject that performs two verbs. You also have the apostrophe placement wrong on that possessive, and it's an error that popped up multiple times in this chapter alone.

>His face was redder than his mane!.//

Extraneous punctuation.

>Starlight’s looked up at Luna. Her eyes lit up at the remark//

Starlight's what? And you've been using Starlight as your perspective character. The narrator's been expressing her opinions for her and taking a conversational style. Essentially, the narrator is Starlight, so you have to consider what she can perceive and how. She can't see her own face, so how does she know her eyes are lighting up?

>You’re right, princess.//

When using a title as a term of address, it would be capitalized.

>embraced each other in a hug//


>Starlight’s teeth shone in a grand smile//

Similar to her eyes brightening, how would she know her smile was shining? She can intend for it to, and she could see by his reaction that it was, but she can't observe it directly to make it a statement of fact like this. Those are the kinds of things you have to think about when keeping to a perspective.


No need to capitalize any of that.

>“You want to drag me,” Sunburst pointed at the speeding coaster, “on that?//

You have the narrative bit punctuated as if it's a speech tag, but it has no speaking action. There are 3 ways to handle this. 1) add a speaking action to it, 2) break it up into multiple sentences so the narration isn't a speech tag, or 3) format it like a narrative aside, like so:
>“You want to drag me—” Sunburst pointed at the speeding coaster “—on that?//
This version of it has him stop speaking while he points. If you don't want the speech to stop while he points, the dash placement changes:
>“You want to drag me”—Sunburst pointed at the speeding coaster—“on that?//

>He had no choice now than to endure.//

That phrasing is off, and how you fix it will depend on which part of it you want to keep. It'd be "He had no choice now but to endure" or "He had no other choice now than to endure."

>Her heart raced in anticipation//

Missing period.

>his mind calculating how much every foot in elevation would add to the speed on the way down//

Why'd you pop over to Sunburst's perspective? There's no reason to. You could make this Starlight's perspective by having her presume that's what he's doing, but by stating it as a stark fact, either you're in his head or she's reading his mind.

>three hundred feet//

There's a difference of opinion about where the cutoff is between needing to spell out numbers and use numerals. For me, it's more about how many words are involved than how big the number is, but if you're willing to spell this out, why not the rest? You've already had several short numbers in chapters 1 and 2.

>seemingly looking for a last minute escape//

See, this does effectively stay in Starlight's perspective. That "seemingly" makes it her judgment instead of her somehow having absolute knowledge of it. This is the kind of thing you should be doing to keep the perspective steady.

>Let’s do it-//

Use a dash or double hyphen here. Dashes actually work better with FiMFic's formatting, but you had some double hyphens last chapter.

>I did for you//

Missing word.

>the long journey took its toll when you were pulling such a heavy load//

Why do you need to say "you" here? It's true of Trixie, so just use her. It can be a tricky business to address the audience.

>yawned tiredly//

Beware over-explaining things, and adverbs are a common culprit for this. You've already described her as fatigued, so the reader's already going to assume the yawn means she's tired. There's no point in having that "tiredly" there.

>silently wondering what was going to happen//

Similar deal. She clearly doesn't know what's happening, so you don't need to spell that out for the reader.

>Sunburst shielded his eyes, expecting the worst.//

Here's another spot where you need to couch this as Starlight's interpretation of what Sunburst must be thinking.

>hovered in front Trixie//

Missing word.

>After getting some food in her belly, she could do with a nap.//

The "she could do with a nap" is the narrator vocalizing her thought. That's fine. Now look at this:
>Hey, there’s Starlight! What are the odds I’d see her here? I’ve been so busy with my tour that I haven’t written to her in awhile.//
This is also Trixie's thought, but you're presenting it as a quote. It's odd to have thoughts done both ways. The former is more suited to a limited narration (essentially what you have), and the latter more toward an omniscient narration. When you already have a mechanism to present thought more personally, why fall back on quotes? It's really only necessary if there's some reason it has to be made clear that the thought happened precisely that way, word for word. Otherwise, let the narration express the thought. Something like:
>Starlight was here! What were the odds Trixie would see her here? Her tour had occupied so much of her time that she hadn't taken any of it to write Starlight in a while.//
And note two things about that. One, I cut out a couple of the boring "to be" verbs (active verb choice is always more interesting), and "a while" isn't the same thing grammatically as "awhile." You have it as the object of a preposition, so it needs to be a noun form, not an adverb.

>A low cost game for a high cost prize?//

When you use a multi-word phrase as a single modifier for what follows, hyphenate it, unless the first word is an -ly adverb. So this would be low-cost and high-cost.

>a look of mild annoyance on the mare’s face//

Remember your perspective. Why would Starlight refer to herself as "the mare"? You don't mentally call yourself "the person," do you? Also, you should really try to avoid directly naming emotions like this. Let the characters' actions and appearance speak for themselves. Think of them like actors. One doesn't come out on stage and announce that he's annoyed. You figure that out on your own by watching him. That's how we read people in real life, so it feels more natural when an audience has to interpret it the same way for a character on stage or in writing.


Another spot where a hyphen isn't appropriate for a cutoff.

>It makes my head hurt.//

Really? She's pretty smart. Maybe she just doesn't want it to soak up their time, but I doubt she'd find it intrinsically annoying,

>They’d seen the tracks stretching across Corrals of Fun; circling the entire park.//

For a semicolon to be properly used, you should be able to replace it with a period and have both resulting sentence stand as complete. But the part after it here couldn't. A comma is fine here.

>The two trotted up to the queue and found their place in the steadily moving line. Their turn came and they took a seat in one of the train cars, waiting for the rest of the passengers to board.//

You fall into this trap sometimes. I've just waited until now to say something about it. This is incredibly mundane. It's not interesting, it doesn't add to the setting, it doesn't advance the plot. Nothing. It's exactly what the reader would expect to happen, so you can let it go unsaid, unless you want it to accomplish one of those things. So I'd recommend one or more of these: 1) cut it, 2) use the opportunity to give me some richer description of the scenery Starlight's looking at while this goes on, 3) spice it up with some language showing how Starlight feels about all this, or 4) let these characters have some sort of interaction while they're waiting so that you can explore their character a bit or work toward advancing the plot. You do this a fair amount in the story, where there's just this dispassionate listing of actions, one after the other. You have this narrative style you've chosen where we get a front-row set to Starlight's thoughts and impressions, so keep checking in with them. Don't let it get bland. Keep her train of thought going.

>Thinking of my friends, architecture and entertainment seem more like earth pony specialities.//

She forgot about Trixie awful quickly.

>one hundred foot drop//

Go back to that explanation os when to hyphenate phrases. This should be "one-hundred-foot drop."

>Starlight countered//

Missing period.

>“It smells like-”//

Another spot that shouldn't be a hyphen.


If his follows Earth convention of countries with similar names, that would be Yakyakistani.

>Which reminded her; she’d been so nervous about meeting Sunburst that morning that she hadn’t been able to keep down much of a breakfast.//

Another misused semicolon. In this case, you're clarifying or defining what she was reminded of, so a colon would be appropriate.

I realize you didn't want to write out a massive chapter, but it might help if you gave the sense there was more to it that you left out. A time skip scene break, some instances where Starlight missed out on what the guide was saying because she wasn't paying attention or something. As it is, they only passed like four attractions. That doesn't make for much of a tour.

>The only problem, Trixie wondered, was how?//

Similar to what I was saying about limited narrators before, you don't need to say Trixie wondered this. It's already implied, just because she's the perspective character.

>where there were going to eat//


>The magician//

Similar problem as before. This means Trixie is choosing to call herself "the magician" in her own head, which is weird. People don't do that.

>Maud blinked slowly once, her way of expressing surprise.//

How does Trixie know that about her? She might surmise it from Maud's answer, but this comes before Maud gives it.

>She knew how scary Starlight could be when provoked.//

Same as the earlier "wonder." The narration is already presumed to be things Trixie knows. If they weren't, the narrator couldn't say them. So just say that Starlight could be angry when provoked. That inherently means Trixie knows it.

>silently wondering if she should be freaked out about Maud's habit of talking to rocks//

And here you go with the wonder again. Just have the narration ask the question. That already expresses it as wonder.

>For my greatest trick, the Great and Powerful Trixie will make sure they kiss!//

This is kind of a reservation I have about the story. Trixie seems to see getting them to kiss as a goal separate from any meaning. She should be thinking about doing so bcause she presumes that's what Starlight wants. But I really don't know why Starlight wants it, so the romance needs some work from her end as well.

That's probably the biggest thing here. The point of a romance story is to convince the reader that these characters are a good match, have genuine feelings for each other, and belong together. So far, I'm just thrown into this with assurances they do, but aside from some blushing and giggling, it's not apparent. What do they actually like about each other? Be specific. Have Starlight reminisce about a couple of significant times she found Sunburst endearing. Real relationships have a give and take. The people roughly want to be equals. There are things they expect to get out of the relationship and things they expect to contribute. What are those?

And that's the short version. For the long one, which is highly recommended reading, look up Aragon's home page. He's linked a series of blogs on how to write good romance, and it covers what you really need to be including here. As it is, I have no reason to believe these two love each other beyond the narrator just assuring me they do. Demonstrate it.

This is a cute story so far, and there's a good setup for how this cast will interact, but it needs something more on the romance front.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3323

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>Rarity’s pleads//

Pleas or pleadings.

>“Yeah,” Rainbow shrugged.//

You have a non-speaking action for your dialogue tag.

>“It’s not quite weekly, then, Darling.”//

That's just a generic term of endearment. It wouldn't be capitalized.

>“…she feels she really failed her parents’ happiness.”//

You're not picking up a previous sentence held suspended, so capitalize this one.

>Rarity liked to see her life through the lens of a teenage drama series—light-hearted, sometimes petty, and surprisingly good at handling darker topics.//

Okay, backtracking a bit. You start the scene with this, which is definitely in Rarity's train of thought. And it continues this way. But not long after, we get this:
>Maybe it was how convinced Rarity sounded—as convinced as an old cat lady is in her independence—or maybe it was Fluttershy’s own consideration that made her want to believe what she was hearing twice.//
This sure sounds like Fluttershy's perspective. It'd be odd for her to note how she sounded in this case, and she wouldn't know what Fluttershy believed. But you only stay there one sentence. Soon enough, you're back with Rarity. There's not a good reason to switch perspective here, and even if there were, it would need to be handled more smoothly. You ought to just stick with Rarity.

>“Of course, Dear.”//

Another term of endearment that shouldn't be capitalized.


Needs a leading apostrophe since you're eliding "because."


Extraneous period.


That's a short enough number to write out.

>Chopin inspired ballad//

Hyphenate the first two words.

>the chamber choir//

I'm no aware of anything Chopin wrote for more than one voice, and there aren't even very many of those. It's certainly not a genre Chopin was known for.

You like to do these long stretches of unattributed dialogue, and it can get confusing to figure out which characters are speakin which lines.

>decent to Hell//


>death and Hell is//

Number mismatch.

>take that math!//

Seems like you need a comma for direct address here.


And that definitely does.


Extraneous period.


You have a lot of these spots where you need a proper dash for a cutoff.

>Just imagine if our missions were just//

Watch the close word repetition. This is a word many authors tend to overuse anyway.

>The latter//

The latter of whom? The only pair you mention are Rarity and Fluttershy, but you mention Dash after that, so it confuses the issue.

>“But if I steal what has been stolen, I have still the sin of stealing.”//

And I have no idea which one says this. It sounds more like Rarity, it makes more sense for Dash, and Fluttershy is the most recent character indicated. So... I'm lost. I guess it's Fluttershy? But that that's a rather abrupt perspective change from Rarity noting she had to track her lies.

One other thing about perspective. In the scenes where Dash holds it, the narration sounds identical in tone and word choice to the scenes where Rarity does. Yet note how different their dialogue sounds. There's a disconnect in narrative voice.

>“Umm,” Rainbow had to think hard for a moment.//

Another non-speaking action used as a speech tag.

>Rarity quite liked the setting: she felt the tea, still steaming in the refreshingly chilly air, absorbed a particularly pleasing sweetness, there and then. It balanced out well with the aftertaste of a well executed tea hijacking.//

Here, you're in Rarity's viewpoint.
>Remembering was so hard already, but Rarity talked about boys all the time.//
And just a few paragraphs later, you've jumped over to Dash's head.

You're falling prey to something that plagues authors, and I really can't figure out why so many fall into the trap.
>Rarity leaned back and took a sip of her tea.//
>Rarity took another sip of her tea//
>She finished her tea with one more timely, dainty sip.//
For some reason, authors lose all imagination when characters are sharing drinks, and all they can think to have the characters so is some variation on "take another sip." Sometimes they use a different verb than that, but "sip" is by far the most common. Think about when you're sharing a drink with someone. What other things do you do with it? I could recommend a couple of stories that do a good job with this if you need examples.

>Technically, we got the money through the ring through illegal means.//

I think you meant tha first "through" to be something else.


Don't captialize this. I'm not going to mark all these generic terms of endearment. Just do a sweep for them.

>“Well, when you put it that way,” shrugged Rainbow, satisfied enough.//

>“Right,” Rainbow grinned.//
Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>3 hour//


>bit more, they had spent a bit//

Watch the close word repetition. And you didn't stay in Dash's perspective long. You're back in Rarity's head now. If it's worth going to Dash at all (and it probably isn't), surely it's worth staying there a while.

>Rainbow could imagine her one the other end of the line//

I think you meant "on." And are yachts going to be their specialty? It seems odd that both capers have involved them so far.


I've never heard this as an insult. Are you sure you didn't mean foul?

>I just let her borrow a pen from my pencil case and she must’ve liked yours. She just forgot to return it, probably.//

"Just" is a word many authors overuse without realizing. You have 36 in this chapter alone, which is a ton for the word count. I see 7 of them on the same screenful around this.

>It’s bad manner//

I've only ever heard that as plural "manners."

>Functions class//

I have zero idea what this is. Be prepared that much of your audience won't understand it. I asked a British friend, and he'd never heard of it, either.

>make up//

You keep writing this as two words, but for cosmetics, it's one.


Use a dash. This is also something I'm not going to keep marking.

>Still, I’ll never understand why popular girls can’t just use pencil cases; she wouldn’t even need your pen if all hers weren’t for her eyes.//

Usually, it's the limited narrative voice sounding off, but here, it's the diaogue. This doesn't sound like something Dash would say, and I can't imagine her using a semicolon.

>like the rhythm or rowing//

I think you meant "of."

>The sharp turn in tone from self-praising to quiet reminiscent//

Kind of repetitive use of "sharp" with how you recently described her smile, and you're not making a thematic connection. And you need a noun in this syntaxm so use "reminiscence."

>didn’t go unnoticed to Rainbow//

didn’t go unnoticed by Rainbow


When you hae a word italicized for emphasis, include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.


I get that's a common British word, but it's not something Dash has ever said. Unless you're reimagining her as British.

>And, I know//

No reason to have a comma there.

>but,” Rainbow shrugged//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>hoof beats//


>“It scares me to say it,” lifting her head, Rarity pushed her hair back again.//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>Rainbow stopped spinning, looking a little sick.//

Your perspective is bouncing around in this scene again. This has to be Rarity's viewpoint, since Rainbow can't see herself to evaluate how she looks, but then you have other places that can't be Dash's viewpoint. Keep the viewpoint steady.

>Now that we’re cool,” Rainbow stood up//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>Rarity would miss their commodore//

Are you sure you didn't mean camaraderie? I can't imagine what a commodore has to do with this.

>lifting her nose up with uppity//

The syntax doesn't make sense here. "Uppity" is an adjective, but it's in a spot where a noun needs to be.

>old fashion restaurant//

This could make sense as stated, but I wonder if you meant old-fashioned.

>As the second and final crescendo rushed in, Rarity pulled the glass away, idly stirring the shimmering drink as she looked into the distance behind aviator sunglasses.//

It's awkward to have multiple "as" clauses in the same sentence. It's repetitive structurally, and they fight each other for the sentence's timeline.



>“I’m not—“ she paused//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.


Huh? What color is a mermaid?

>Rolling her eyes again and rolling//

You had this same close repetition earlier in the scene.


Don't italicize these sound effects. You've already done that a number of times. All the ones you've used are legitimate words. Italicizing them makes it seem like they're supposed to have siginficance.

>against on//

You only need one of these.

>maniac laughter//

You sure you didn't mean maniacal?

>twenty one//


>three month difference//

You're using the whole phrase as a single adjective, so hyphenate "three-month."


Spell it out.

>And,” Rainbow pushed up straight//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>telling one friend that another was dangerousto be around, was terribly tough//

No reason to have a comma there.

>about caring about//

Close word repetition.

>rubbed of on her a bit//


>it confirm Fluttershy's fears//


>benefit it the doubt//

benefit of the doubt

>Dash,” taking Dash’s hands, Fluttershy faintly noticed how rough they felt in hers./

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>I’m thinking of—“//

Note that dashes have a tendency to break smart quotes. It's given you a set of opening quotes here, whereas you need closing ones. You can paste in the right kind.

>so,” she shrugged//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>at all time//

at all times

>an indignant, ‘oof’//

The "an" makes this not a direct quote, and so it doesn't have to follow all the rules of quotes. It doesn't have to be capitalized, which you have right, and it doesn't need the comma.

>I was thinking—“ she held the ring up, and it sparkled in the low lamplight, “—of//

You finally got one of these right. There are several ways of handling non-speaking narrative actions, and this is one. But the narrative action doesn't take end punctuation in this format, except possibly for an exclamation mark or question mark, if appropriate. So drop the comma.

Okay, this is good so far, but it does have a few problems. It has more editing problems that your previous submission, and it consistently has a couple of those, like using narrative actions as speech tags and some wavering perspective. That's the stuff that I really would like to see fixed up, and fortunately, it's on the easy side to address.

On the story side, it's just barely starting to feel like there's an actual plot. The sentence-level writing is great, and the character voicing is good, except for some slips in narrative tone and word choice for Dash's perspective, but I spent the whole first chapter wondering when we'd get to knowing what the story was even about. And I still don't.

Rarity and Dash are pulling these heists for the thrill of it. There's no direction to this, no ultimate goal they have, and they're not set up to have a character development arc so far. There's nothing to push them through some sort of change. Fluttershy could serve that function, but she hasn't yet, if indeed she will. It sure seems like she has an agenda, but just like Rarity's overall one, it has no focus I can see. So I know what everyone's doing, but I don't have the first clue why.

One of the biggest questions to ask about a story is: so what? What does it matter that the events of the story happened? Do characters change as a result, or do they set up and resolve a conflict? I don't even have a hint of where the story's going, except that maybe Fluttershy will try to influence Dash to stop.

The thing is that your extended synopsis you gave us does promise a well-defined plot arc. It even sounds like an interesting one. The regular synopsis doesn't, though, so I don't know how an average reader would know this was going somewhere. They could trust you're a good enough writer to come through for them, and personally, I do think you're a good enough writer to make this work, but just be aware of how this appears to a reader new to you. You've created kind of an uphill battle to keep them invested in the story, but that's your risk to take. I just think it'd help if you did start bringing in elements of the overall plot by now. Sweetie Belle's barely been mentioned, after all.

In the end, I really am only looking for those mechanical and perspective fixes, and they won't take you long. Just go through the submission form when you're ready again, and choose "back from Mars" so we know this only needs a cursory look.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3364

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>She had done this?//

When you have a word italicized for emphasis, it's preferred to include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.

>That’s how long time had passed//

That's a strange phrasing. I've only ever heard it as "how much time."

>We only just got here?//

Why is this a question?

>Celestia lead Twilight//

The past tense is "led."

>Has something happened in Canterlot that ponies don’t know about.//

And why isn't that a question?

>“Let’s not worry ourselves with it,” Celestia brushed it off.//

I pointed out some typos and mechanical things last time, at least through the first two chapters, and you've only fixed about half of them, if that many. This is one that keeps popping up here and there. You're using a non-speaking action, but you're punctuating and capitalizing it like it's a speech tag. Either that action neds to be a separate sentence, you need to add a speaking action in front of it, or you need to use the dash format I showed you last time.

Authors of intermediate experience tend to lean on a couple of elements too much. They're nicely descriptive, but they don't turn up much in everyday conversation, so they stand out easily, and it doesn't take much before they become repetitive. One of those is the participial phrase. And it's not just the repetition of having them at all; it's employing them in the same place sentence after sentence. For example, all of these are within a span of just 3 paragraphs, and they all come at the nds of sentences:
>carrying a bag full of gems//
>sitting down on his small bed and put a few gems in his mouth// (and in this one, the verb forms are inconsistent)
>reminded of another pressing question that had been on her mind since her ascension//
>facing the dragon//

>the moon—shaped like a slice of apple pie this night//

How is that even possible?

>Beyond that door ahead lie the key that would change her life forever.//

Lay, not lie.

>Even the door hinges were made of crystal, and slid open without a single creak.//

You have a number of spots like this where you don't need the comma, since it's just a compound verb. There's only one subject that gets both verbs. Commas are used when there are verbs that each belong to a different subject.

>And there, on the nightstand, was the price.//

I believe you meant prize.

>She did the first thing that popped into head//

Missing word.

>“I think I know why,” the baby dragon spoke up, pointing to the night stand, absent of its crown.//

He sure seems calm about this. And then you have Sunset's quoted thought in the same paragraph, which is equivalent to dialogue. You shouldn't have dialogue from more than one character in a single paragraph.

>she dashed passed doors//


>The room she needed to go//

Missing word.

>to stop in her track//

The standard phrasing is plural: in her tracks.

>spells design to cancel out//


>glass “No immediate danger…//

Missing a period on one sentence and closing quotes on the other.

>others, like Sunset Shimmer, succumbs to the call of power//

You have a plural subject (others) with a singular verb (succumbs).

>Chapter Tree//

I can't tell whether you're making a joke or if this is a typo.

>the her upper body//

Wording is off.

>hide ones//


>So this is how Spike pick things up.//


>every single one of them were wearing//


>had ran//

had run

>grab it, then run as fast as she could back through the portal. But Celestia might grab//

Watch the close word repetition.

>burglar the thing//


>W-what option.//

Why isn't that a question?

>to whomever wins the title//

That's actually a spot for "whoever."

>I can’t say certain//

for certain

>his daughter is home school//


>Me and Luna//

Luna and I

>waxing poetics//


>It just too convenient//



She's female, so protegee.

>make due//

make do

>Ironic, isn’t it; a world of magical creation, where its dominant species has to live without it.//

What comes after the semicolon is a sentence fragment, so the semicolon isn't used correctly.

>How could you be so sure I’d be the one to come after you.//

That's a question.

>The dog I am?//

I don't know what this means. If it's some sort of epithet, then I don't know why it's a question.

>Images of Twilight pulling at her mane and yelling at bookshelves came to mind, and she blushed.//

This sounds really external to her for the perspective.

>todays lunch//

Missing apostrophe.

>and,” Spike helpfully propped up on Twilight’s leg, “I wanted you to meet my dog.”//

Non-speaking action used as a speech tag.

>It’s not everyday people bring their dog to school//

"Everyday" and "every day" don't mean the same thing. You have the wrong one here.

>oh, and the Fall Formal. Sunset Shimmer wins every year anyway//

Sunset wins what? The Fall Formal is a dance. Anyone who's seen the movie will know what you're talking about, but you never actually say it.

>Just thinking about learning more about the world was nearly enough make her forget about her mission.//

That's rather extreme to use "about" 3 times in one sentence. Can't you rephrase that?

>and streamers and everywhere//

Extraneous word.


Missing space, and it's made your quotes backward.

>mistaken…” the door suddenly opened to the gymnasium, and through it came… “there//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>white, plain shirt, blue tattered jeans//

See ths inconsistency here? You twice have a color followed by a condition, but you treat them differently with commas.

>So, uh, if I wanted to appeal to the athletes, who’d I talk to.//

That should be a question.

>all.“ Alright…//

The space and quotation marks are in the wrong order.

>all five of them goes//

Number mismatch.

>I would advice caution//


>had literally ran//

had literally run

>I’m not the brightest students around//


>fell into steps//

fell into step

>Stepping outside, the sun was considerably lower now//

This says that the sun stepped outside.

>was the was the same//


>gets on my nerve//


>cooking dinner to your family//

cooking dinner for your family

>get it touch with ya//


>you haven’t see it yet//


>Sunsets voice//

Missing apostrophe.

>we at CHS has to offer//

"We has" is an incorrect conjugation.

>would jumps//


>wreck havoc//


>squatting down to giving him a scratch//


>Pinkie and Fluttershy doesn’t//


>I like coming here and watch Rainbow Dash play//

The verb forms don't match.

>Have you never even talk to each other?//

And that verb isn't right, either.

>I’m almost peddling backwards.//

Homophone confusion. This means she's selling something. You want pedaling.



>putting on the breaks/


>Bullies like this version of Rainbow Dash was the reason//You have a plural subject (bullies) with a singular verb (was).

>Let’s give Sunset Shimmer the what for!//

I've never seen that phrased with "the."

>“I-I didn’t know you were just acting…” At least I should’ve… I’m so sorry!”//

I'm guessing that middle set of quotation marks shouldn't be there.

>never coming up and talk to me//

Verb forms don't match.

>your not a ten-year-old girl anymore//


>At least Fluttershy step up when it counts//

Verb form is off.

>he simplest assumption might be the correct one//


>played an important roll//


>How’d you know Apple Acre made cider?//

Sweet Apple Acres

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3462

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

This is something I caution many writers about: avoid "to be" verbs whenever you can, especially at the beginning and end of a story. Your first paragraph started out fine enough, with only one such verb through most of it, but then you pile up 4 more in the last few sentences. This creates a very stagnant feel right when you're trying to make your story look very interesting to a reader. Lots of times, it's not hard to rephrase. Take this sentence:
>That’s what my dad would have believed//
If instead you say:
>My dad would have believed that//
What do you lose? And it's more active language.

Then your second paragraph as one in its only sentence. The third paragraph is well done! But in the fourth, you're back at it, with 5 of them in just the first line.

So I guess Flash is bi? Because he was definitely flirting with Twilight in the first EqG movie.

>“By the way, Princess Twilight is gonna be coming down for a couple of weeks, so get ready to have Flurry stolen from you all the time,” Flash Sentry chuckled//

"Chuckle is borderline as a speaking verb, as it's intransitive, but at least keep it to what he would actually laugh while saying. In other words, keep the quote short for a verb like that. It feels very unnatural to have him chuckling out that entire thing.

>found.” I replied, a wide smile reached over my face//

Punctuation, typo.

For that matter, going back to your fourth paragraph, you don't seem to be settling into a tense. You keep shifting between past and present in the narration.

>did anypony hear it?//


>Is anypony putting the dots together? Are they looking at us?//

You're switching tenses again. This would be fine in present if you wanted it to be a quoted thought, but then italicize it. However, quoted thought is usually not a good idea in a limited narration like this, since the narration is already supposed to be his thoughts. Presenting it as a quote adds extra distance from the narrator that really shouldn't be there. So it's probably best to keep it as narration, but then it needs to match the narration's prevailing tense.

>looking at us? All I wanted was to look //

Watch for close word repetition like that.

>what other ponies think//

More present tense. I can't keep marking all these, but you need to go through and scan for them.

>reorganise.” I said//

Punctuation. You're consistently missing this as well. There's a guide to punctuating and capitalizing dialogue at the top of this thread.

>have a quick peak//

Peek/peak confusion.


Just use three dots. Four is for a specific nonfiction usage.


Why is this capitalized?

>Admittedly, I was blushing like crazy, but my head sank and my voice lost a lot of volume in an irrational attempt to make sure nopony heard me, he only smiled harder though.//

I can tolerate some comma splices as taking on his voice, but the one at the last comma here is really awkward.


Leave a space after the ellipsis.


Please use a proper dash.

Basically, this needs a fair amount of editing work, but I don't want to get bogged down in the details, so I'm just going to skim the rest and only stop for new issues.

Watch for places like this:
>My face had nothing but horror painted on it.//
It doesn't make sense for the perspctive. How can he see his own face to make this evaluation? And why is that what's cluing him in to how he feels anyway? There should be far more readily readable symptoms.


Don't do this. Consider that the effect you're trying to create is that he says this very fast, but what actually happens is you make it more difficult to read, so it actually makes it slower to parse. If you want him to speak rapidly, just say that he's doing so, plus the italics already add emphasis.


This may cut it as video game dialogue, but in writing, it's unnecessarily vague. The fact that a pause is happening is relatively unimportant. What's important is what happens during the pause, and you're skipping that.

>“Sunny, I’m so sorry//

You have an extra line break before this.

>I’m here for you, sunny//



Missing end punctuation.

>It’s okay Sunburst,//

Missing comma for direct address.

>Not out of anger, or spite, but out of embarrassment; shame I guess.//

For a semicolon to be used correctly, you should be able to replace it with a period, but what comes after it here couldn't stand as a complete sentence.

>“Hi dad.” I croaked//

A couple of punctuation errors, but what's new here is that family relations get capitalized when effectively used as names.

>I-I’ve got someone for you to- To meet Dad.//

When it's still part of the same sentence, don't capitalize after a dash.

>So. Damn, Much.//

You're missing a number of quotation marks through this monologue. If one paragraph ends with his speech and the next immediately picks up with more, it's fin to leave the quotation marks of the end of the first paragraph, but you still have to refresh the opening quotes with each new paragraph.

One word that authors tend to use a lot without realizing how much is "just." You have it 38 times in your story. That's quite a lot for this word count. You don't want writing tics like that standing out to readers.


I don't know how you prolong a "p" sound. Without spitting on someone, anyway. Are you sure this is how you want him pronouncing it?

Okay, we occasionally get complaints that there's not enough M/M shipping in the fandom, so I'm trying to give you as much leeway as I can, but there's just not enough here. There are a few main issues.

First, I don't have a basis for why these two are in love. I know nothing about why they like each other, what each one thinks they give and take from a relationship, etc. Rather than go into a long speech about this, I'll just refer you to Aragon. He has a series of blogposts linked off his homepage discussing how to write convincing romance. We need some more here, or it's just the reader having to take your word for it that these characters are in love.

Second, there's no conflict. The whole thing is about Sunburst trying to overcome his fear, yet we never see any basis for it. He's convinced that he's going to be met with disapproval from any public signs of affection. But none of that ever happens. He seems to think that gay relationships are stigmatized. But I never see any evidence of that. Everything they do is steady progress to the goal, and aside from Sunburst's lack of confidence, there are no obstacles for anyone to struggle against. Everything they have to work through turns out fine on the first try.

And third, this is an extremely common plot. Original romance is hard to write, but those first two items are already handicapping you, since they're also very common missteps that writers make. You have to do something to stand out from the crowd, and that can be a very authentically rendered conflict, exceptional writing, taking a fresh angle, etc., but you're falling into most of the traps. You do have M/M shipping making this move a little to the unusual side, but that alone isn't enough.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3463

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>As the charge nurse//

Pretty soon to repeat that already. I think readers will already pick up that you're talking about her duties here. It's like you're smacking the reader over the head and saying, "Hey! Notice this!"

So you have 3 paragraphs of intro material, and in it, you use 12 "to be" verbs. That's a very stagnant way to start your story. Not much is happening. I bet you can rephrase most of those with active verbs. The stretch starting with "If she had any strategies at all" through the end of that paragraph is actually pretty good. It uses active verbs for things that lots of people wouldn't as a reflex, and it makes for a much more interesting read as a result.

>“Aaugh!” The draconequus groaned//

I can't tell whether you meant that to be a speech tag. If so, it shouldn't be capitalized.

>could have sworn she hear her desk shrieking//


>With Luna as her witness, Amethyst could have sworn she hear her desk shrieking in agony, cracking and shuddering under the strain; which wasn’t really surprising given that Discord’s dictionary was roughly the size of Harry the Bear.//

A semicolon should be used such that you could replace it with a period. What comes after it here couldn't stand as a complete sentence, though. A comma or dash would be fine there, depending on what rhythm you want.

>Snapping his fingers again, the pages of the dictionary rapidly fluttered backwards//

This says the pages snapped his fingers.

>if anything is weak and helpless here//

Needs a comma here at... well, here.

>The purple unicorn//

You're using Amethyst as your perspective character, so she's the one choosing to call herself this. That's just weird. It's like you mentally referring to yourself as "the fanfiction-writing human."

>the little unicorn//

This seems to be from his perspective much more than hers.

>fifteen minute break//

fifteen-minute break

>“I can take my break right now, Discord, if that’s what you would prefer. I am at a natural gap in the schedule…”//

Looks like you have an inadvertent line break here.

>muttering something under her breath//

This doesn't quite work with the perspective either. She's essentially the narrator, yet the narrator's phrasing this as if he doesn't know exactly what she said. That means she doesn't know what she said, which isn't true.

>need to wait a moment. I need//

Watch the close word repetition.

>was two IV poles with drip lines//

You have a singular verb with a plural subject.

>the small pegasus//

Now that you've begun a new scene, I'm not sure who holds the perspective, but none of the characters used so far would plausibly refer to Fluttershy like this, so it doesn't worj for the perspective.

>with a small smile//

That's pretty close after the last use of "smile."

>the lake situated behind the hospital surrounded by a grove//

The phrasing here lack clarity. I gather you're saying there's a lake behind the hospital, and that lake is surrounded by trees. But what it more readily says is that there are multiple hospitals, and the hospital surrounded by trees has a lake behind it.


Extraneous punctuation.

>Fluttershy rolled her eyes.//

She just did that 3 paragraphs ago. I'm betting you didn't notice you repeated yourself, but if it was on purpose, you have to do something to acknowledge the repetition, like adding "again."

>because— ” Discord trailed off//

You have an extraneous space between the dash and quotation marks. And Discord didn't trail off. That would be an ellipsis. A dash is an abrupt cutoff. For that matter, you don't need the narration repeating what the punctuation already tells me, no matter which one of those it is.

>mumbling something Fluttershy couldn’t quite make out.//

This is the first time in the scene it's apparent Fluttershy is your perspective character. Make that clear from the first sentence or two. You don't want a nebulous viewpoint going on this long. This also means it was Fluttershy earlier describing herself as "the small pegasus."

>“Yes… I’m sure he is guarding your ‘body’” Discord muttered.//

Missing comma at the end of the quote.

>The only visible symbols, were K, La, H, Ge, M, and L.//

That first comma has no reason to be there. And if there's a joke buried in here, it's gone over my head. To my knowledge, there are no elements M or L, but that doesn't help me decipher the joke.

>he rubbed his chin a forepaw//

Missing word.

>Those bluebelles’ compliment your tail too, the blue really sets off your natural coloration.//

I don't know why that apostrophe is there, the comma is a splice, and you've confused compliment with complement.

>Poisonous Joke//

It's just poison joke.

>“Oh, no reason…’ Discord trailed off//

You've opened with double quotes but closed with a single. And it's redundant to say he trailed off when the ellipsis already means that.

>If Discord didn't know any better, she might have been counting to herself.//

Here, you seem to have jumped into Discord's perspective.

>slogan. ”//

>say— “//
>“ —and finally//
Extraneous spacenext to the quotation marks. That second one has also made the quotation marks backward.

>the wilting draconequus//

That's an awfully clinical and external reference for her to use about someone she knows well. Do you use similar terms in your own thoughts for your good friends?

>a look of shocked disbelief//

How can she see her own face to make this assessment? You have to think about how the perspective character would perceive the things the narration says. You don't have to see yourself to know you're shocked. There are far more immediate symptoms.

>Discord’s gave a little shudder.//

Discord’s what gave a little shudder?

>the yellow pegasus//

You're having her describe herself in a very external way again.

>Discord couldn’t see her face, but if the way her ears were flicking and how her shoulders tensed were any indication, Fluttershy was not in a good mood.//

Now you've popped over to Discord's perspective, but it doesn't accomplish anything vital to be there. It just makes the narrative voice harder to follow.

>and— “//

>“ —Discord//
Extraneous spaces, backward quotes.

>Her heart ached to see Discord miserable like that//

This is stated kind of clinically. Let the narrative tone carry it. Have the narration sound like someone with their heart breaking, both in what it says and how it says it.

>well being//


>teen aged//


There are a few pervasive things, like several of the mechanical problems I had to point out multiple times. The bigger issues are with perspective, both that it jumps around a fair amount, but also in certain phrasings that don't make sense with the perspective. If you can tune those up (and, hopefully, keep those lessons learned going forward into the as yet unwritten chapters), I'd be happy to post this. The rest of the plot you've laid out doesn't sound problematic on its face, but of course there's always potential differences between the plan and the actual executed product. I trust you can handle it, so just rein in those few things. I'd only need to skim it for those specific issues, so you can mark it as "back from Mars" when you're ready to resubmit.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3489

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>pouring over a text//


>Buzz off, Princess Luna. I'm not dreaming and you have no authority here. I'm busy.//

You're using a third-person limited narration, not first person. The first sentence here could reasonably exist in either, but the second explicitly says "I." Either switch it to third-person pronouns (and rephrase as necessary to make it sound good) or make this a quoted thought by italicizing it or putting it in single quotation marks and possibly tagging it as a thought. Really, the former is the best method, as presenting quoted thought in a limited narration kind of defeats the purpose of using a limited narrator in the first place.

>Yes, Ma'am//

Ma'am is just a generic term. It souldn't be capitalized. This is a recurring issue.

>your Highness//

The "your" gets capitalized too.

>Their visitor left.//

Honestly, the way you keep having very abrupt time skips mid-scene like this, it's very reminiscent of a trollfic. It's also a symptom of this story feeling extremely fast-paced.

Something I want you to try: read the first three pages of your story, and skip over any sentence that has dialogue in it. Only read the ones that are purely narrative. They're incredibly repetitive in structure. It's rare to see one start with anything but the subject. Many of them, particularly in the dialogue-heavy portions, are extremely short and have the same inflection. It gets very plodding to read. Having the dialogue mixed in does help mask the effect, but it can't eliminate it entirely. If you don't throw some variety in there, it has this subtle way of making the writing sound dull.

>heavily wooded, with heavy//

Watch that close repetition.


Normally, this is how you'd handle capitalization in a stutter, but when you have a proper noun or something else that has to be capitalized anyway, then do so for all instances of it in the stutter.

>Spike had known up front it was a losing battle.//

You've done a good job of keeping to Twilight's perspective, but this sure smacks of being in Spike's.

>Came a new noise rustling and swishing from the left.//

There have been a couple times you've used that verb now without a subject. It's really strange. Is that a regional usage or something?

>in embarrassed surprise//

Whenever you find yourself directly identifying a character's emotion, instead think of how you can get the character to demonstrate that emotion without ever mentioning it. What does Starlight actually do that would lead an observer to think she was embarrassed and surprised?

>making a lot of fuss about he was going to find and beat up this ghost thingie//

Seems like there should be a "how" in there.

>said to me 'Let's//

>I said 'Trixie//
Needs a comma. Just because it's a quote nested in another quote doesn't mean it behaves by different rules.



>four mile hike//


>What did you just see.//

Isn't that a question?



>toward the roadway as Twilight started toward//

Watch the close repetition.

>started back//

You've used both of those fairly recently, too.

>Starlight's eyes narrowed as she began to follow the princess.//

This should still be Twilight's perspective. Why would she refer to herself as "the princess"?


Why is that capitalized?

>A silent nod to Princess Celestia, who made sure the sun rose for everypony (weather permitting).//

The sun rises regardless of the weather.

>Twilight might have been her mentor, but, hey. Zecora.//

The narrative voice you're taking for Starlight is identical to the one you took for Twilight. They should sound unique, so that a reader could determine one from the other solely by tone. You do give them a little bit of distinctiveness in their dialogue, but it's missing from their narrative voices.

>No syrup; just butter. Twilight.//

The semicolon isn't really used right, and I have no idea what that second sentence is supposed to be doing.

>join her guest for a glass of apple cider. Spike himself joined//

Close repetition.

In fact, that paragraph is kind of bizarre. I noted before how you were employing some pretty drastic time skips. Yet here, you're going into mundane, irrelevant detail.

>But verrry interesting//

Missing period.

>Twi, why don't you go take a quick nap.//

That's also a question.

>one time student//


>Mustang bothers//


>The princess eyes//

Looks like you meant to have a possessive there.

>That afternoon//

Seriously, with the time skips. Why don't you use scene breaks for these? That would also make the perspective changes less jarring.

>Spike didn't complain. Not that anybody noticed.//

Well, then this necessitates a jump to Spike's perspective. You'd been in Twilight's, but jf she didn't notice it, a narrator in her viewpoint can't either.

>Sugar Cube//

Canon tends to make that one word, but in any case, it's a generic nickname and wouldn't be capitalized.

>Saint Michael//

If you want to do this, I won't stop you, but it means there's a ton of back story missing as to who this is to them and what being a saint even means in this world.

>No one paid attention.//

Whoever's holding the perspective must have...

>She held up a hoof.//

Looks like you meant to have another line break here.

>As they rose they thinned into glowing threads, and as they rose further, Twilight could make out phantom eyes and mouths just taking shape//

There's an inconsistency here in setting off the "as" clauses with commas.

It's a little off-putting that the entire aftermath is told as a narrative summary instead of getting to see any of it happen "live."

>ways, Starlight Glimmer on her way//

Close repetition.

>back to the Changelings//

You mentioned something about changelings before, and I thought it might have been a throwaway joke, but there's actually something to this? Why was she there? It seems pretty irrelevant to the story, yet it's brought up as if it's important.

>The 285th Rule of Acquisition//

So Twilight's a Ferengi now?

Okay the comedy aspect of the story is fine. It's funny enough. But it doesn't end on a joke. Really, you have to go a fair amount back from the ending to find a joke. So that sure creates the sense you're trying to have the story make a point. And that's fine as well—you do. But now the problem is getting to that point. In sending a message, a story will usually resolve a conflict and/or show character growth. And we're still good. Twilight solves a problem and learns something from it. But herein lies the issue: it was rather uneventful. She doesn't struggle to understand what Luna's trying to tell her. It doesn't cause her any difficulty to exorcise these non-spirits. There's not a single obstacle in her way. It's a very linear progression from see problem, to know how to deal with problem, to solve problem, with no setbacks. That makes the problem sound quite easy to solve, which weakens the plot arc and doesn't build any tension. When I'm not given any reason to doubt it might work, then I pretty much know how the story's going to go, and I'm just waiting for the explanation. It doesn't create any suspense or momentum. Well, there is a little. The point at which they figure out a lot of the special effects are fake does put a break in the steady rising action, but for one thing, it occurs rather early in the story, and for another, it then disarms a lot of the sense of danger.

This was a pretty good story, though. It's well on the way, but I think it could use a little more attention. To recap, the bigger issues I see are:

1. Decide what you want the story to be, and give it a more impactful ending in service to that. Do you want it to be primarily a comedy? Go out on a big joke. Do you want there to be an actual message? Then don't give Twilight such an easy path to victory, and have the ending draw a conclusion for her.

2. Twilight and Starlight need some distinction between their narrative voices. They sound the same. Maybe they have the same snarky attitude, but they should have different mannerisms and outlooks and speech tics and all that.

3. Having scene breaks would serve you far better than those strange time skips.

4. A couple of pretty common stylistic issues, but watch for having repetitive sentence structures and telling the reader outright how characters feel.

And as a final side note, it's really hard for people to find your story if you keep it on GDocs. You'd get a lot more viewers by posting it on FiMFiction.net, but it's up to you where you want it.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3491

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>There was no surprise on her face; a little confusion, perhaps, but that was it.//

How can she see her own face to tell this?

>pedantic as it turned out//

I have no idea what you mean by "pedantic" here. It wouldn't seem to fit.

>A pained expression instantly highlighted her face.//

You're doing it again. You've kept to Twilight's perspective well so far, at least in terms of what she can know or perceive, but you have to consider how she'd perceive things. She can't see her own face to evaluate her expression. She might presume it by piecing together bits of it. She'd notice if she was clenching her teeth, for instance, because she can feel that. If she has a pained expression, there's a reason why as well, and that's going to be on her mind much more than deciding what her expression looks like. Whether the pain is physical or mental, she's going to be focused on the source. So be sure to stay mindful of the narration being reasonable in terms of what she could know or perceive, how she would perceive it, and where her attention would be.

>cutting into her hemispheres//

This is just a really weird image and phrasing. It comes across as more comical.

>It tilted back//

The door tilted back? That's a weird motion for it. Is the hinge mounted horizontally?

>Not a single audible noise could be discerned.//

As opposed to... her discerning inaudible noises?

>Twilight naturally took several steps back//

"Naturally" feels odd here, like you're trying to justify it to the reader. It doesn't feel very "in the moment."

>A half-hearted, weak, contemptuous smile twisted onto her lips.//

This is getting pretty subtle, but look at how you're trying to convey her emotion through her lips. If someone else held the perspective and was trying to interpret Twilight's mood from this, it'd work fine. But for her to associate it implies something entirely different. There's a cause and effect relationship. If she's very deliberately making her mouth do that, then again it could work, but I wouldn't understand her motive in doing so. Whose benefit would it be for? Nobody else is there. It seems more like the cause is the emotion and the effect is what you're describing here, but then the emotion shouldn't come from the action. Think about how you'd perceive that emotion in yourself. Not from how you held your mouth. Come at it more from the angle of why she feels this way, and then let the smile be a side effect of that.

>as though a strain of anxiety//

>as though expecting an attacker//
Watch repeating that phrasing in consecutive sentences.

>Her expression, in its vibrant, often glowing countenance, assumed a readily calculated and studied apprehension.//

Again, this isn't how she would perceive the emotion, and you really shouldn't be outright naming the emotion anyway. Imply the emotion through what she does and narrates, not by telling me what it is.

>Sugar Cube Corner//

Canon has spelled "Sugarcube" as one word for that.

>like an outlet rushing with decision//

That's a really strange simile. What kind of outlet are you talking about? The only one that comes to mind is electrical.

>This observation left her positively burdened with even greater apprehension.//

Don't be so vague. When I don't know what she's apprehensive about, it's hard to connect with her. What kind of fears does this inspire in her? Run through a couple. An example or two will carry a lot more meaning than a generalization.

>just then testified acutely to something out of a surreal novel//

That's a pretty awkward phrasing. And I'm not sure how that would be surreal. Dark, foggy, and shadowy is definitely creepy, but it doesn't strike me as surreal.

>most importantly there was nothing disorientating to be seen//

This is also awkwardly phrased. I'd recommend cutting it and joining it with the following sentence. It'd be a moot point, but for future reference, it's "disorienting."

>That is, a rather routine observation, but not so much anymore, apparently.//

That's also pretty awkward. It's also stating things that should already be obvious to the reader.

>as though she had more to add but dared not to//

Remember, she's effectively the narrator. Why would she be speculating on this? She should already know.

>Again, there was absolutely nothing significant to be described here.//

That sounds much more like it's coming from the author than from Twilight.

>to herself//

I don't know why authors love to use this phrase so much. Who else would she be thinking it to?

>in a similar patter just as before//

I'm not sure you really meant to use "patter" there, but this is a strange phrasing either way.

>And now a screwdriver was drilling a wide pin into the frontal part of her head.//

I don't know what a "wide pin" is in this context or why a screwdriver would be used on it.

>nudged against the corner, so that if you wanted to sit down over it you could only use the half which was in the open space//

That's a pretty obtrusive description of it, and "nudged" is a weird word choice for this.

>annoyed by this inconvenience//

Don't over-explain emotions. This is already apparent from what she says and how she says it.

>For whatever reason//

But she's the one who did it. She should know why.

>the colour drained from her already pale face.//

How does she know this? She can't see her own face. She might deduce this happening from other evidence, like her face going cold or something. You have to think about what she could actually perceive.

>castle of the two sisters//

This is a place name, so it would be a proper noun. You use this name again later.


Why doesn't she call out to them? She's been looking for someone, and now that she's finally not alone, she's content to just watch?

>Darkness abound.//

Why are you in present tense?

>in the most coarse intrusions of the self-deprecating soul.//

This is getting really purple. I can't even decipher what it means.

>it resembled a forlorn disposition//

The first scene was in pretty good shape, but the further I get into the story, this is getting worse. It's like you consulted a thesaurus and deliberately chose the most formal-sounding words you could find. That'd be bad enough on its own, but consider that this narration is supposed to be Twilight's thoughts. She's watching some very strange things happening. She's not going to have to presence of mind to dredge up lots and lots of fancy words. A narrator who speaks like this is a narrator who has the inclination and attention to do so, and Twilight really doesn't right now.

>posture pedantic//

I don't even know what this would look like. I've never seen "pedantic" used to describe a position. It can mean rigid, but not in a physical sense, and the connotation of why it would be rigid doesn't fit the situation.

>extreme trepidation highlighting her face, which was panting//

Again, she can't see her own face to make this judgment, but that shouldn't be what clues her in to how she feels anyway. And this says her face was panting, not that she was.

>stolidly silent//

Another weird phrasing. This implies she's forcing herself to stay silent despite temptations to do otherwise, but I have no idea what those might be.

>Many ideas were developing in her mind//

You're being very vague again. I have no idea what's on her mind here, so I'm not connected to her as a character.

>Oh, you gotta be kidding me//

Compare this to her narration. They're both her, but the narration is far more formal than her speech. Ideally, they'd sound the same. People don't think that much different than they speak.

>— she suddenly paused, turned around, staring blankly at the rest of the party planning cave in its gloominess —//

Don't leave space on either side of an em dash.


What's she ambivalent about?

>Sugar Cube//

The canon name has that as one word.

>Things like that only disappear when they hit their expiration date.//

Huh? How does that apply to a table?

>This scrambling of the mind was, of course, a consequence of the returning head pains.//

This sounds like an external evaluation of her, not something she's making herself.

>besides a mannequin//


>Saying all this, she had gone up to the second floor//

How? Last thing you said about her condition, her head was hurting, and she'd had to brace herself to keep from falling, and suddenly she's upstairs?

>nothing of particular significance//

Exactly the phrase you used earlier.


And I'm pretty sure that's not the right word choice.


I don't know what you mean by this. Her peripheral vision? Then say so.

>She got up; the smile had vanished from her lips; so did the resolution from her countenance.//

It's a bad idea to have multiple semicolons in a sentence.

>— she waved her arm around —//

No space around the dashes. This is an ongoing problem.

>her eyes vaguely lit up//

This isn't a speaking action, so it needs to be a new sentence.

>So she leaned back against the tree, instinctively stretched out; heavy eyelids drooping...//

That's not really a correct use of a semicolon. You should be able to replace one with a period, but what comes after it wouldn't be a complete sentence.

>A bump in the tracks gave everypony a start.//

What? Are these train tracks? I'm looking ahead, and it takes a while to get an explanation.

>notes of disappointment//

You're directly calling out emotion again.

>From a quick glance one would think their expressions were half-hearted, barely conveying any feeling; but this was merely a consequence of the drowning out of noise, of the dark, of the risk they were taking.//

This is backing off to a rather external perspective.

>Not right after the long silence, but some time later, when they had resumed the fragmented conversation.//

But this is the first thing we've seen. There was no indication the conversation had restarted, and you're retconning it after the fact.

>but with vexation, as though unconvinced of this hypothesis//

But she's your perspective character. "As though" shouldn't enter into it. She knows what her attitude is.

>I need to set my prioritizes straight.//


>steam frequency//

What does that even mean?

>There was the lodging//

Why wouldn't you just call it a house?

>hardly even phased Twilight//


>hooves over her head like she were a peasant pleading before a king.//

That's not a spot for subjunctive mood, and once again, this is a very external judgment of her. If she's suddenly in pain, she's not going to be looking for imagery of her posture. It doesn't make sense for the perspective.

>but felt like his tongue were impossibly heavy//

Why are you jumping into Spike's perspective here?

>I understand, princess//

A title would be capitalized when used as direct address.

>She couldn't believe what she had allowed her student to do. But it was the only way.//

And now you're jumping to Celestia's head.

>a primordial key//

What would "primordial" have to do with this?

>This was obviously a great annoyance//

This sounds like Twilight is talking to the reader, not herself.

>like her brain had discarded all its excess dopamine//

This is very clinical and doesn't fit the tone of all the other description you've been giving. It at least suits her personality to think in these terms, except that you haven't been striking this tone throughout the story before.

>your Venerable Majesty//

The "your" would also be capitalized.

>Come on, come one//


>I mean alicorn magic, sister//

"Sister" would be capitalized when used as a term of address.

>Or, not even matter//

There's no reason to have that comma.



>Where did it begin, princess?//

Capitalize the title used for address.


I can't fathom why Luna'd be malicious about this.

>or it just doesn't exist now?//

Missing word.

>poking into her hemispheres//

That's still a really strange way to refer to a brain.

>I understand, princess//


>Using her magic//

Set off the participial phrase with a comma.

>apparently looking for a particular one//

You've left Twilight's perspective here.

>Spike was considerably taken aback//

He was also taken aback two paragraphs ago.

>her trembling lips twisted into a thin, weary smile.//

This is lower case as if it's a speech tag, but it has no speaking action.

There's definitely a Lovecraftian sense about all this. The pervasive atmosphere, the creepiness, the sense of overwhelmingly impending doom. Lovecraft even often had these types of open endings, where he lays out that this horror exists and leaves it to the reader to imagine what consequences that has.

However, Lovecraft still wouldn't leave it needlessly vague. It's a little hard to get that invested in the ending, because I don't get a good feel for how her friends are doing without her, why she was the only one who could accomplish this, whether the existence she's had during this story is what she'll indefinitely continue to have, whether she's actually in any danger. For that matter, these aliens are never painted as being malicious. They're ominous, sure, but we don't know their intent or that they were even doing any of this deliberately. It may be their mere existence has this effect on reality, and they weren't trying to hurt anyone. Of course, with any Lovecraftian creation, that won't be the case, but I don't see the evidence of it.

So that all speaks to why the ending feels underwhelming to me, even though it had an effective build-up. There were some consistent mechanical issues that wouldn't be too hard to fix, but the biggest issue, really, is how much of the phrasing sounds unnatural. I commented on that in a few spots, and it was worst in the middle of the story. The first scene wasn't bad at all in that regard, and the end was only moderately so, but all the stuff in between felt pretty forced a lot of the time.

Again, I suspect you're going for a Lovecraftian feel by having a very formal and somewhat archaic sound to the narration. You don't keep it up, though. Twilight's voicing wavers quite a bit, and especially her dialogue doesn't sound much like the narration, which creates a disconnect. Lovcraft maintained that throughout, and it fit the personalities of his characters. And even though he used many unusual words, he didn't really use them in strange ways. Here, I can't tell whether you're stretching for some pretty odd metaphorical usage or just aren't familiar enough with the words to use them optimally, but the end effect is just that it sounds unnatural and stilted, whereas Lovecraft would only sound overly formal, yet correct.

So that'd be the biggest thing that needs fixing: the strange word choices and odd phrasings, and not strange and odd in a way that supports the story's atmosphere.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3492

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

In just the first two paragraphs, you blast through 6 different perspectives. It's fine to start with an omniscient narrative voice if you want to show what everyone's up to, but your narrative voice actually takes on those characters' identities. In the next scene, you do stick to Pinkie well, but you don't actually have much choice—she's the only character there. Once the party starts and there are other characters around, you start hopping heads again. If you're going to let the narrator voice characters' thoughts for them, it's best to stick to one perspective per scene, until you gain the experience to know when it's worth shifting the viewpoint and how to do it smoothly.

You also need to watch for repetition. For example, these phrases occur over the space of just 7 paragraphs:
>Twilight made her way//
>making her way to Twilight's side//
>as they made their way to the water-filled trough//
>Rainbow Dash and Applejack made their way back to the main table//
>As the ponies made their way to the punch bowl//
>Gummy made his own way over to the apple bobbing trough//

The entire first chapter just recounts things a reader should already know from "Party of One." You could have easily cut this chapter altogether and just made a reference to it to set up your story's context. You don't want to spend a whole chapter telling readers something they already know. Same with chapter 2. There's a teeny bit of Pinkie's thought process put in there, but for the most part, I'm just reading a transcript of an episode.

You sometimes use hyphens where you need dashes.

>a mixture of confusion and forced cheeriness in her voice//

Two problems with this. First, it directly names how she feels. Most times, you want to demonstrate character emotion, not tell what it is. It's like the difference between saying someone is happy and that they're smiling. The latter creates more of an image, and it's closer to how we read people in real life, so it comes across as more authentic. And second, Pinkie wouldn't figure out these emotions of hers by the sound of her voice. She'd already feel them internally. You don't have to look in a mirror or listen to your voice to know how you feel, after all. Keep in mind how she'd actually perceive her emotion.

Chapter 3, and we're still covering episode happenings while barely adding anything to them. You're filling in Pinkie's thoughts on the matter, but they're exactly what I'd expect. Until you deviate from the obvious, pick up where the episode left off, or diverge from it into an AU, there's no point in rehashing all this. Start where something's different from the episode.

>accidental running into a wall//


>the yellow pegasi//

Fluttershy is only one pegasus, but even so, why would Pinkie refer to her friend in such an impersonal way?


Unless it's a word that always has to be capitalized, only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

Pinkie's already run off by the time Apple Bloom asks about her at the end of chapter 3, so it's breaking perspective for Pinkie's narration to be able to tell me it happened. And then you pop back to Pinkie's head for a couple sentences, then to Gummy's.

>curl up besides his favourite pink pony//


>wait for it//

That's not Pinkie musing in her narration. That's the author talking to the reader. If you don't establish the kind of narrator that will do that right from the beginning, don't throw it in now. It's also a strange piece of comic relief in a story that's been entirely serious for a long stretch now.

>It is worth mentioning that in a world filled with talking pastel ponies, this was not normal.//

Yeah this doesn't work with the perspective.


Missing space.


You keep using that as a past tense. It should be "gritted." But you're also using it often enough that it's a bit repetitive.

>Thinking about the journey ahead of her, her stomach let out an audible growl.//

This says her stomach was thinking about the journey.

>her hut isn't that deep within the forest's boundaries//

Why'd you switch to present tense?

>Maud was the only one of them to not have a nickname, being the elder sister, and just way too Maud to change.//

But she has as much of a nickname as Pinkie does. Pinkie is just short for Pinkamena, and Maud is short for Maudelina. They've said in the show their full names are Pinkamena Diane Pie and Maudelina Daisy Pie.

>Had she noticed or cared//

But if she didn't notice, the narration can't say it was there. That's the way limited narration works.

>Leaving the farm, you'll find yourself on a dirt track leading in opposite directions. Turning right will take you towards Rockville train station//

Why is the narration addressing me now?

>Reaching out to pet him, the young timberwolf flinched at first//

This says the timberwolf pet itself. This is just one of the kinds of problems that commonly turn up with participial phrases, and you're definitely using tons of those.

>The pastel pink pony//

>the earth pony//
Why would she refer to herself like this?


Missing space.

All of those are examples. It's far from an exhaustive list, as I didn't have time to document everything. But really, the biggest issue is that I don't understand why any of this happened and what it means.

So let's start with the background. Everyone's being terrible to her, and nobody's acting like they should. That doesn't mean you have to conform to canon characterization perfectly, but it does mean that when you deviate from it, you need to justify that. So sure, it's possible that Twilight's just plain mean. But she doesn't start that way in the show, so you have to connect the dots to show me how we get here from there.

Take the ending as well. Pinkie finds this place to live and a companion, but no point is ever made of any of it. The story doesn't come to any kind of a conclusion. It just stops. Now, I know it's a lead-in to your comic, and it probably does answer all these questions, but for us to post a story, it needs to be fairly self-contained. It doesn't have to give all the answers. We've posted plenty of stories that were only one part of a series, and the entire narrative took several stories to tell. But while each story may leave the overall plot arc suspended at the end, they still have their own subplots they wrap up, such that each feels like a complete story. Yours doesn't It just feels like the setup for a story, which is pretty much what you want it to be. But it's not the kind of thing we're looking to post.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3497

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>an exasperated hoof to her face//

Well, to be fair, it's not the hoof that's exasperated. But more to the point, it's better if you imply emotion than state it outright, and from what she does and what she says, you could cut that "exasperated," and it would still be clear.

>come on!//

If you have a word italicized for emphasis, it's preferred to include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.

>a clear sign of intense effort//

This would seem to be from Starlight's perspective. Trixie would note intense effort from how much she was concentrating or straining herself or something. Evaluating the outward evidence is more in Starlight's court. Yet in the next sentence, you go on to say what Trixie could feel her vein doing, and that's not something Starlight could know, so I can't tell what perspective you want this to be. It's definitely not omniscient, but you don't have a steady viewpoint.

>for someone that//

For sentient creatures, it's preferred to use "who" instead of "that."

>especially for someone that wasn’t under the tutelage of an alicorn//

This is maybe a little off point? Starlight could teleport before she met Twilight.

>Magic began building up at the tip of Trixie’s horn, sending crackles of magic//

>like that, you know. If you force things like that//
Watch close repetition of words like this.

>build up//

When you use this as a noun, hyphenate it or make it one word.

>to not//

Swap the order of those.


That format means there's some kind of interruption at that point in the narration, but you've already had the interruption occur. It's also more inexperienced writers who try to emphasize sounds like this. You don't need the all caps or the dashes. It's a valid word as is.

>The worry on Starlight’s face subsided as soon as she saw Trixie’s open but bewildered eyes, spinning around in their sockets as she blinked to regain focus.//

The perspective is unidentifiable here. Starlight can't see her own face to call the expression worried, but if Trixie's eyes are spinning, she wouldn't be able to see it either. So who holds the viewpoint here?

>Trixie mumbled, obviously woozy but disappointment still hanging in her voice.//

Obvious to whom? Must be Starlight, but in the next paragraph, we get this:
>asked Starlight, obviously relieved that her friend wasn’t hurt//
You're jumping perspectives back and forth constantly. Plus this is once again a repetitive phrasing. And you don't want to over-explain why characters do things.

>exasperated Trixie//

That's really strange to use as a speaking verb, but it's also mis-aimed. The direct object of that verb would be the person getting exasperated by the speech, not the speech itself.

>she laid down next to her//

Lay down. They're tricky verbs to keep straight.

>She’s been in way tougher situations than this before//

Why is this in present tense?


Smart quotes always get leading apostrophes backward, since they assume you want a single opening quotation mark. You can paste one in the right way, or you can type two in a row and delete the first. Like a lot of the things I'm marking so far, this is just one example. You should scan the whole story for other instances.


What was she going to say? Assuming it's "whoa," you're spelling it wrong.

>Silence filled the empty room.//

Whatever perspective you were using, neither one of them is still there to witness this.


Yeah, you spelled it wrong.

>Starlight furrowed her brow in anger.//

You don't need the "in anger" at all. It's already clear how she feels.

>burying the lead//


>Gosh, why does she never think of the consequences?!//

>Trixie does what her first impulses instruct her to do//
>like she always inevitably does//
You're in present tense again.

>amount of times//

"Amount" is for collective quantities, like money. You need "number."

>“Ohh,” Trixie shoved her hoof in her face, “I am such a screw up.”//

You're trying to use that as a speech tag, but it has no speaking verb. You can add a speaking action, have the narrative action be a separate sentence, or format it like a narrative aside:
“Ohh”—Trixie shoved her hoof in her face—“I am such a screw up.”
if she doesn't stop speaking for the action to occur or:
“Ohh—” Trixie shoved her hoof in her face “—I am such a screw up.”
if she does.

>“Wait a minute…” she paused.//

Another non-speaking action used as a speech tag.

>five minutes to three, right before the evening bell rang.//

Huh? The evening bell rings at 3? That's not evening.

>to herself//

I think this is pretty obvious.

>to not//

Again, reverse these.

>past, but she knew that if she wanted to grow past//

More close word repetition.

>“OOH!” she jumped//

Non-speaking action.

>Using her magic to scoop all of the pieces into a neat little pile next to the table, Trixie quickly picked up a nearby decorative flower pot and placed it in front of her crime.//

Participles mean that things happen at the same time. Make sure that's what you intend when you use one. This says she scooped up the pieces while picking up the flowerpot. But it seems more like you meant for those to occur one after the other.

>Making great haste to ensure that nobody would notice her deviousness//

You're over-explaining what's obvious from her behavior.

>It takes a lot to shake Trixie//

Present tense again.

>slid inside the room//

>slid the cabinet door closed//
Pretty close together to reuse that word already.

>to…” her voice snagged on the word, “apologize//

Formatting is off again.


That's just an awkward and made-up-sounding word. Try "presumably."

>the confused mare//

Through most of this chapter, you've done a better job of sticking to Trixie's perspective, but this is a slip. You're having Trixie choose to refer to herself this way, which is unnatural.



>Trixie found herself incredibly exited//


>girls night out//


I'm going to have to agree with the commenter who said Starlight's office is covered with personal effects. Maybe her statement about her office being devoid of personality was a joke, but there's no indication of that in the story, so I have to take her at her word.

>drenching the sky will all sorts of oranges, pinks, and purples//


>Going with reservations at Shetland’s was definitely the way to go.//

Close repetition of "go."

>Finally landing on the sweep of hair towards the front of her scalp, Trixie’s demeanor brightened.//

This says her demeanor landed on the sweep of her hair..

>Licking the bottom of her hoof, Trixie raised her foreleg and moved a bit of hair a few millimeters to the right.//

Another participle creating a synchronization problem.

>such attire//

>her usual attire//
Close repetition again.

>girls night out//


>having friends really is a unique and amazing feeling//

Present tense again.

>around at the mishmash of ponies trotting around//

Close repetition.

>as this was around when most ponies went out to dinner//

And this isn't long after those two.

>slammed right back into Trixie’s conscious//

I'm not sure whether you meant conscience or consciousness, but what you have doesn't make sense.

>jokingly flirt with each other all the time//

>Whichever works.//
Present tense.

>She took a step outside of the doorway and closed them behind her.//

What does "them" refer to?

>hang up//

As a noun, either hyphenate this or make it one word.

>I had to do the usual, guidance counselor-type stuff//

No reason to have that comma.

>amazed somepony could ever think that way about themselves//

Don't over-explain her attitude.

>“Wow,” Starlight blinked away what seemed to be tears rimming her eyes.//

Non-speaking dialogue tag.

>It’s warm, inviting smell//

Its/it's confusion.

>with a glance back at Trixie and an accompanying nod of approval, the two made their way inside the doorway.//

This says both of them glanced back at Trixie. In other words, you have Trixie glancing back at herself.

I'm seeing lots of the same problems through these chapters, but I hope I've given you enough examples to scout through the rest of the chapters for them. I'm not going to keep up this level of detail or keep pointing out repeat issues from here on, so that I can finish more quickly.

>“Wow,” admired Starlight//

That's really questionable as a speaking verb.

>small, lit//

You don't need that comma.

>Both Trixie and Starlight took seats opposite of one another.//

That's kind of obvious, right? Is it possible for only one of them to take a seat opposite the other?

>Trixie was finding more and more about Starlight every day that continuously astonished her//

See, this is one of the big problems with this story. This exact sentiment is nice. But you never give me any evidence of it. They're acting nice and lovey-dovey, but what actually clicks for them? What specific times did they share that meant a lot to them? What little quirks do they have that endear them to each other? Just stating this as a generalization doesn't carry much power. Give me a few short examples. That's what will bring it to life.

>even later, their food//

They never ordered...

>the attractive features//

What features? What does she like about them? This is way too vague. You're making the reader do all the work for you.

>Trixie, stopped herself from shouting.//

What's that comma doing there?

Okay, their heart-to-heart about how Starlight's never been disappointed in Trixie is nice and a bit of a different angle, and one really tied to their unique histories, but it still needs to be more specific. Starlight keeps talking about "all the times" she was proud of Trixie, but we don't get to hear the story behind a single one of them. Spend a paragraph each showing me a couple of specific events Starlight recalls where Trixie made her proud. That will form a far stronger connection with the reader than a vague description.

Through all this dinner, we never saw them, y'know... eating dinner.

>She still couldn’t quite put a pin in what her new feelings towards Starlight were. Admiration? That was certainly there now more than ever.//

>Maybe it was respect?//
She's already said her friend was hot, You're kind of past the point of her figuring out her feelings.

>a nearby store she said she wanted the two to visit, or an idea for a book she wanted to read//

This is really close to the kind of thing you need. Instead of being vague, you've told me they're talking about a shop and a book. But give me more. What kind of shop? What does she like there? What book? What interests her about it?

>If Trixie had read more books, she might’ve called this situation a “catch-22.”//

This doesn't make sense. You're giving her knowledge about a book you say she hasn't read.

>trusty, little wagon//

Don't need that comma.

>angry that he was making a bad day worse//

You're over-explaining again.

>doing so could put at risk the friendship between you and the only pony in all of Equestria who’s ever gotten close to you//

This isn't a terribly original situation. Do something to make it different from every other story out there. It's fine to have this, but give it something more.

>pepper her with kisses//

That's quite a leap from where she was before. What does she actually love about Starlight?

>whomever it was//

This is actually a spot for "whoever."

>cheer leader//


>… I//

>… Trixie//
Don't put a space after a leading ellipsis.



>pay you adieu//

I've only ever heard that as "bid" you adieu.

>her nerves had not one relaxed//


The first four paragraphs of this chapter keep saying the same things.

>both out of excitement and out of worry//

Directly naming emotions again.

>“Hmm,” Starlight shrugged.//

Non-speaking action.

>with sarcasm//

You don't need to explain the joke.

>Taking a moment to scan Trixie’s face and see what the magician was planning, Starlight closed her eyes and nodded her head accordingly.//

Another spot where you've synchronized things that shouldn't be.

>Starlight opened her eyes.//

In this paragraph, you've jumped over to Starlight's perspective.

>one-hundred percent//

You're using the whole phrase as a single modifier, so hyphenate all that.

>not to mentioned//


>Starlight sat quietly, sipping her juice box, as a voice began to echo out over the loud speakers.//

You've ended two sentences in a row with an "as" clause. It's structurally repetitive.

>loud speakers//


>first hand//



That's not a hyphenated term.

>we’ve know each other//


>Emotion caught in her thought.//

That's a strange phrasing. Are you sure you didn't mean "throat"? Even then, it's pretty vague.

>tear filled//


>I’d say you’ve got a whole lot going for you than just that.//

Seems like you're missing a "more" somewhere.

>“Hmm,” comforted Starlight//

Another really questionable speaking verb.

>this,” she gestured to the stage, “didn’t//

Aside formatting.

>nerves and excitement therein spread all throughout her body, heightening every nerve//

Close word repetition.

>stages emergency celebratory fireworks show//

Missing apostrophe.

>“Hmm,” smirked Starlight.//

How do you smirk a sentence? It doesn't involve making a sound.

>And she was going to enjoy every, single second of it.//

No reason to have that comma.

There are a couple typos in the author's note.

This was a cute story, but it suffers from being nearly identical to the vast majority of other shipping stories out there. First, what went right? You did establish the basis for why Trixie would love Starlight. It's not an unusual basis (one often applied to Twilight in older stories), but it's there. I'll go ahead and take this opportunity to plug the series of blog posts Aragon wrote on how to do good shipping. They're worth reading. What they're really about is proving to me that two characters work together, that they genuinely love each other, that they're good relationship material for each other. Each has things to give and take, and they find a good balance.

And that leads to what went wrong. I don't know what Starlight sees in Trixie. The narrator is constantly there telling me she does. It's not like you skipped the subject altogether. But I just have the narrator's word. Demonstrate it. Put it on full display.

Aside from that, you had a few common stylistic issues, like too many blunt statements of character emotion and a perspective that kept jumping back and forth between them. There were some other assorted editing errors, and I was by no means comprehensive. I did mark examples of all the types of problems I saw, but not every instance of each, so please use these as guidelines to make a good editing pass through the whole thing.

None of these problems are insurmountable. Most of them aren't even that hard to deal with. Put some more work into this, and I could definitely see posting it.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3499

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

Chapter i.i:
>She was like a kitten readying itself to pounce on a toy mouse; primal instincts urging her to intimidate her prey, while woefully unaware of how sweet and friendly she really looked.//
That's not a correct use of a semicolon. You should be able to replace one with a period, but the part after it would be left as a sentence fragment in this case.

>in mock agony//

>her friend mocked//
Pretty close together to use that word again already.

>“Alright,” Starlight reached out with her mind//

You're trying to use a non-speaking action as a speech tag.

>cleverly dampening Twilight’s magic hoofprint//

If you mean something akin to "suppressing," the preferred term is "damping."

>Next taste of magic, Twi, Starlight kept her horn humming with power, Teleport literally anywhere else, and I'll still be able to sense your alicorn foot—.//

I don't know whether you meant that narrative bit to be a speech tag (it has no speaking verb) or a narrative aside (it isn't formatted correctly), but in either case, "teleport" shouldn't be capitalized, and a dash counts as end punctuation. Don't ever put a period or comma after one.

>They were somewhere high in the very sky, upon a certain pirate zep, no less.//

Now you're losing me. "Zep" is an incredibly informal term I'd expect an expert to use as jargon, not someone like Starlight. "Very" sky is also a weirdly extravagant phrasing, and what does "certain" mean here? It sure creates the sense that I'm supposed to know which one you're talking about.

>blather “Hi, guys—!”//

Needs a comma, since it's presented as dialogue.

>“You,” she shakily rose a hoof to Starlight’s chest, which swelled with pride, “you//

Another non-speaking action used as a speech tag, plus "rose" is intransitive. You want "raised."

>He grabbed the handle of a silver platter cover, “Feast your eyes, on, this!”//

You're doing that non-speaking action thing again, and don't use commas for dramatic pauses like that. Also, when you have a word italicized for emphasis, include any exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics. This comes up repeatedly through the whole story, so please scan for them.

>sake! "//

Extraneous space.

>day?” he lifted that claw, much lighter than the prior one.//

>“Ooh,” Twilight chewed, “Starlight,” she struck the table, “tell//
>“I’m,” Twilight shuddered as she stared down at her plate, her muzzle swaying, “I//
More non-speaking actions. And on that second one, you shouldn't put more than one speech tag on a single quote anyway.

>Slowly, her face lifted, wincing with every inch. Twilight’s face//

Kind of repetitive to mention her face twice so close together.

Chapter i.ii:
>His shoulders drooped, ear frills wilting, “That’s ridiculous.”//
Non-speaking action.

>O-or, there’s something that won’t let me//

There's rarely a reason to put a comma after a conjunction. It doesn't belong here.

>this, is, the answer//

Trying to use commas for dramatic pauses again.

>Spike laughed a shallow sob.//

He's crying? Why?

>whole, horrible//

You don't need the comma. These are hierarchical adjectives—they'd sound really odd in reverse order.

>Starlight sat beside him, pulling him in for a hug, “Celestia//

Non-speaking action.

>back whatever he was about to say, pressing the back//

Close word repetition.

>“It’s somewhere here,” she circled the area, “south of Klugetown.//

Non-speaking action.

>This was an emergency; life and death, for Harmony’s sake!//

Misused semicolon.

>face.“It won’t be, Spike—” she choked on his name//

Missing space, non-speaking action, and you just used "choked" in the last paragraph.

>He looked to scared//


Chapter i.iii:
>Guilt panged her in the belly.//
That's a really strange phrasing.


Why doesn't anyone ever spell this right?


That should be double quotes.

>“Um,” Sunburst fixed his glasses, “y-yes//

Non-speaking action as speech tag.

>The words had barely left his lips when she turned and began galloping down the hall. She made the next right, down a stairwell ringing with clamor on the other side of them.//

I'm not sure what "them" refers to.

>Propping herself on its golden rim, she beheld her home decked in banners, streamers and balloons, all of which were pink and lavender.//

She pretty much already said that.

Chapter i.iv:
>And yet, Starlight couldn’t shake the feeling that she was being watched through the trees.//
There's rarely a reason to put a comma after a conjunction. There shouldn't be one here.


When you have a two-word phrase starting with an -ly adverb, don't use a hyphen.

>crossing the Sea//

Why is this capitalized?


It's not a good idea to start addressing the reader when you haven't established them as an audience and been doing this all along.

>In fact, it’d be downright hilarious.//

I don't get why she'd find it funny that her one chance to save Twilight was no longer available.

It's worth noting that "just" is a word many authors tend to overuse without realizing it. I've seen it numerous times in the chapter already. It has 39 total, which isn't that bad, but you do hit clusters of them in spots.

>three, headbutting tribes//

You don't need that comma. If reversing the order of the adjectives would sound really strange, then don't use a comma.

>thrumming with magic//

You keep using that phrase, or some variation on it.

>Starlight felt even more unease pile up inside of her//

There are a fair number of times you outright tell me how she feels, like this excerpt. It gives the reader the information but not the mood. This comes across as fairly cold. How do you feel when you're uneasy? Both physically and mentally. What kinds of thought go through your head? Communicate those kinds of things so the reader will deduce the emotion on his own.

>Turning back toward where she’d come from, Starlight leaped a foot back like a startled kitten.//

Repetitive use of "back."

>Wariness and curiosity//

You're directly identifying her mood again.

>whole, accursed//

You don't need that comma.

>thrumming like that of a heartbeat//

This is already the fourth time you use "thrum" i the chapter.

>warm and lovingly//

You're mixing adjective and adverb there.

>The Humans Sunset Shimmer lived among come to mind.//

The verb tense is wrong, and I don't know why you're capitalizing "Humans" when you don't capitalize any of the pony races.

>wEll,” the smiling witch rose her arms, turning as though presenting the eerie clearing, “HeRe//

Non-speaking action, and "rose" is intransitive. You need "raised."

>Clapping her ears, her belly slapped against the soaked grass.//

This says her belly clapped her ears.

>UnCoMfOrTaBle,” her knuckles hung limply at her sides once more, “aRe//

Non-speaking action.

>"Or did you somehow know already?” She already knew the answer, somehow.//

Very repetitive phrasing.

>Which means, they know why I'm here//

Don't need that comma.

>“EuGh,” Hydia briefly swatted the air in front of her face, “fLoWeRs//

Non-speaking action.

>twist the narrative like her boastful friend, twisting//

Close repetition of "twist."

>OnE iN tHe SaMe//

one and the same


Missing space.

>“When she had absolutely no reason to.”//

She picks right up speaking in the next paragraph, so the convention is to leave the closing quotation marks off this one.

>tHe BuRdEn Of ThEsE BoAsTs ArEn’T//

You have a singular subject (burden) with a plural verb (aren't).


Only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

>the mare//

Weird of Starlight to refer to herself in such an external way.

Chapter i.v:
>a tormented by both the elements and the witches’ parting words//
Extraneous word.


Missing space.


Again, only capitalize the first one.

>curled in an embrace with her tail silky, wavy tail//

Something got jumbled there.

>In a flash and a yank in her horn//

I don't know what "a yank in her horn" means.


It's preferred to spell out numbers that short.

>But, I tried telling you that Twilight isn’t here//

There are only a few specific circumstances where it's valid to have a comma after a conjunction. This isn't one of those.


Consider what sound she'd actually repeat here. That word doesn't have an "s" sound in it, but that's what you're having her say in the first part of the stutter.

>“That reminds me,” Fluttershy’s voice was low with amusement,//

>mean," Starlight glanced left, where Fluttershy stared ahead with furrowed brows, "on//
You're trying to use a non-speaking action as a dialogue tag.

>You should get nice and clean before you get sick yourself.//

A very muddy Starlight just hugged Fluttershy. Don't they both need a bath now?

>“Starlight, if you don’t mind my asking,” Fluttershy looked to her, concerned and curious, “where did you go?”//

Another non-speaking action used as a dialogue tag. I don't know why you're suddenly doing this a lot.

Chapter ii.i:
>Come in, come on//
You sure you didn't mean both of those to be "in"?

In this conversation, they're calling each other by name far more often than people normally do in a one-on-one talk.

>laugh at my face//

Unless there's something funny about her face, the phrasing is normally "laugh in my face."

>Your herd.//

Well... a group of horses is a herd, but a group of ponies is a string.


This is an awkward way to format sound effects, but it's also kind of coming out of nowhere. Her dialogue didn't sound like she was getting ready to cry, and suddenly she is.

>Starlight Glimmer flung forth, her breast filling haltingly, an icy caress upon her sweat-matted coat//

This just plain doesn't flow well. It's got multiple awkward phrasings, and the way you've inserted a phrase in between "flung" and its direct object is a big speed bump.

>It’s nice of Starlight’s brain//

You've switched to present tense.


Missing space.

>Why are in my room?//

Missing word.

>thought,” Starlight winced, a sharp flaring in her forehead, “nhg//

Non-speaking action.

>somepony’s prickly//

Present tense.

>“Eh,” she scratched her mane, “I’ll//

>“And besides,” Starlight’s ears perked, her voice was unusually tender, “...I’m//
Non-speaking actions.

>make an exception for you. I’d make//

Close word repetition.


No hyphen.

>Why take this hypothetical scenario a so seriously?//

Extraneous word.

>Starlight,” she approached, pushing her back into bed, “why//

Non-speaking action. I'm going to have to stop marking these if I ever want to finish the story. You need to do a good sweep for these.

>They’ve certainly done weirder things//

Present tense.

>flash-crisped in fire, her entire world flashing//

Close repetition.


Missing space. And the narration in this paragraph is so dull for what's happening to her. The narration is supposed to be her thoughts. But compare how the narration sounds to her dialogue. They're completely different. She's yelling and screaming, yet her narration sounds like she's bored.


That's a really weird word choice. I can't see it referring to anything but her stomach, but why would that be burning?

>soot covered//


>was the too much//

Not sure what you meant to say there, but this isn't it.


That isn't a proper noun.


That's just a generic term of endearment. It wouldn't be capitalized.

>yah had t’ find//

Don't over-write her accent. Readers know what she sounds like.



>Where’s it?//

Nobody would use a contraction here.


Backward apostrophe.


What sound would she actually repeat? There isn't a "t" sound in that word.


Only capitalize the first one.


Don't put a comma after an ellipsis. The ellipsis already counts as end punctuation.

Chapter ii.ii:
Why are you putting the letter in quotes?


Leave a space after the ellipsis.


Needs another dot.

>It all felt dead.//

I'm barely a page into this chapter, and I've already seen 10 uses of some form of "feel." It's getting very repetitive.


That's the one punctuation combo that doesn't make sense to me. How do you trail off emphatically? They're opposite effects.


That's not a correct use for an apostrophe, and sound effects don't need to be italicized.

>two, strong//

No comma here.

>“I can’t—,”//

Don't use a comma with a dash. The only thing that a comma would replace is a period. Otherwise, don't use one.



>“I mean,” Starlight breathed deep, “you’re a great friend//

>rate,” Starlight’s eyes rolled, “but//
Non-speaking action.


Missing space.

>Forgiving her crimes, then teaching her friendship; tolerating her failures, letting her laze about the castle a year after graduating....//

One too many dots at the end, and that semicolon isn't used right.

>“And,” Starlight waded through memories, “the//

>“So,” she sniffled, “even//
Non-speaking action.

>awful, hollowness//

Why would you put a comma there?

>well,” she snorted like a pig, “I//

Non-speaking action.

>I don’t know how long you’ve laid here//


>But, let’s move forward//

No comma.

>“I,” Twilight’s voice wavered, “I…//

>“T-Twilight,” she gulped her hammering heart back down her throat, “you//
Non-speaking action.

>And so I refuse to believe, that Spike//

No comma.



>Do you me to start crying over it?//

Missing word.


Only capitalize the first one.

>She lifted a foreleg and brought it down, “I’m//

Non-speaking action.


Don't need that hyphen.

> just…” the tension in her muscles slacked, “Just//

Non-speaking action, capitalization.

>“Well,” she turned over a hoof, “it’s//

Non-speaking action.

>as the blanket left her flanks and lower back, as the ground fell away.//

It's pretty clunky to have multiple "as" clauses in the same sentence, much less stacked up together like this.


Only capitalize the first one.

>one, boiled//

>solid, violet//
No comma.


Missing space.

There's an awful lot of sighing going on in this chapter.


Missing space.


Extraneous period.


Backward apostrophe.

>Unless,” Twilight turned her head, “you//

Non-speaking action.

>groaning “Twilight!”//

Needs a comma.


Missing space.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3500

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>shined like silver//
"Shined is the past tense for the transitive version of the verb. You want "shone."

>dragons breath//

Missing an apostrophe.

Chapter 1:
>Goddesses blinding glory//
Missing apostrophe.

>recoiling back//


>recoiling back from the thunder like a blanket yanked away//

Let me revisit that. It doesn't make sense. Something recoiling is doing so of its own volition, yet you're likening it to something that's forced to move that way. One's doing that thing, and the other is having that thing done to it.

>pale, blue atmosphere//

No need to have that comma.


The insignias on our spacecraft don't use the periods.

>sweet breeze that smelled of blossoming flowers and sweet//

Watch the close word repetition.

>damming judgment//

I assume you meant "damning."

>She shifted from leg to leg under her bulky suit//

It's usually awkward to have the first reference to a character be by pronoun, since pronouns work through antecedent. Even a generic mention would be fine, if you don't want to give her name yet.

>The blue-clad scientist//

It becomes clear in this paragraph that she's your perspective character. In that case, it doesn't make sense for her to say this. It's something very external to her, not something she'd call herself. Keep in mind a limited narration is essentially that character's thoughts. In your own head, would you call yourself something like "the jeans-wearing fanfiction author"? That's why this kind of phrasing usually doesn't work for a limited perspective.

>Twenty-percent oxygen.//

You don't need that hyphen.

>but it should cause more than a slight headache//

Seems like you meant "shouldn't."

>“It’s a gamble”//

Missing punctuation.

>I should run more test//


>her face no longer hidden behind the gold-coated visor//

But Astra had already referred to Liz's eyes flicking around. How could she see that?

>as the equine-like creature slowly slinked from its hiding spot//

You've ended 2 sentences in a row with an "as" clause, which gets structurally repetitive.

>The scientist//

Again, why's she referring to herself in such an external manner? Maybe you're trying to use an omniscient narration? Much of it does sound omniscient, but near the beginning of the scene, you had this:
>The blue-clad scientist was no stranger to extra-terrestrial organics, but the sheer bounty and variety of it around her astounded and frightened her//
This isn't something Liz could know. An omniscient narrator could, or Astra could, but Astra wouldn't call herself "the blue-clad scientist." A little later, we have this:
>Immediately strange mutters and murmurs and gasps could be heard from the bushes and behind the trees.//
This wouldn't really be omniscient since nothing is strange to an omniscient narrator. That opinion creeping in there makes it sound like a limited narration, but there's already some ambiguity over which one holds the perspective. Yet later we get this:
>It was as good of a blessing as she would get.//
This is clearly Liz's impression of things. It's best to choose one character whose experience of these events you want to relay and stick with her. Don't let the perspective hop back and forth between them. Keep it to what one can know or perceive.

>her short blue hair the same color of her suit bobbing around her head//

This makes it sound like the suit is bobbing around her head.

>Don’t be shy little one.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>We don’t mean any harm?//

Why is that a question?

>“LaLuna!” several of them pointed ecstatically toward Astra, rushing to meet her.//

The lower case says you're using that piece of narration as a dialogue tag, but it has no speaking action.

>recoil uncomfortable//


>space,” she hacked as one of the winged creatures clung to her arm, pulling her along as well//

Non-speaking action used as a speech tag again.

>“Won’t you live a little?” she poked at the pouting academic.//

Same, plus another of these very external character references. If you want an omniscient narration, they're not exactly wrong, but they're still not a great idea, especially when you try to get really fancy with the phrasing like this. Keep it simple.


"Exaggerated" would be a much more normal phrasing.

>Such was the cause for celebration.//

This sentence just sticks out as something that doesn't need to be there.

>sweet smelling//


>feather friends//

feathered. And I guess you're referring to birds here? Though I can't imagine why birds would be jousting with pegasi.

>we just hit the freaking jackpot Astra.//

>This is big Liz//
Needs a comma for direct address.

>with glee.//

I haven't really said anything until now, but it's weak to name emotions outright like this. Demonstrate how they feel through their appearance and behavior. If you say someone smiled, I know he's happy without you ever having to use the word "happy." It's a more authentic and engaging way to get emotion across.

>It gave a startled gasp and a heavy blush.//

I'm not sure why a pony would blush at this. If anything, it might get mad.

>If was only several minutes into the trek//


>excited by such unknown possibilities//

Similar to emotion, don't outright name motivations. This is also completely vague, to the point it means nothing.

>astronauts legs//

Missing apostrophe.


Having sound effects in narration like this doesn't tend to fit the tone of a serious story. Just describe what it sounds like.

>Both of their hopes were dashed//

This is said so blandly that it doesn't convey their emotion. Show me how they react. And if you intend to have a limited narration, let the tone of the character thought carry the mood.

A little tangent on that. Look at this excerpt:
>It would be the achievement of a lifetime.//
This is Liz's thought stated as narration. That makes Liz the perspective character in a limited narration. I'm reading her thoughts and impressions of what happens around her. If she's angry, the narration should sound like something an angry person might say. It should reflect her mood. So when she sees the ruined city, have the narration state her impressions, consistent with how someone in her mood would. It's not just what the narration says, but how it says it.

>What had once been a city built for gods, was little more than a shell of cracked marble and overgrown and crumbling stonework.//

Don't need that comma.

>did their hearts stop trying to leap out of their chests//

Whichever one holds the perspective can only know this about herself, unless she cites what she sees the other doing that leads her to conclude it.

>now dulled//


>And on the statues, one was borne a crescent, and the other a sun.//

That's a really awkward phrasing.

>I thought they are referring to them//

The verb tenses don't match here.

>“Are you sure they are referring to us?”//

I think you meant to say "aren't" here, since otherwise this would contradict what Liz just said.

>“Are you anticipating these little guys to draw spears on us then,”//

Isn't that a question?

>they were set side by side as the head of the table//

I think you meant "at."

>Comethe,” he motioned them over as the smell of food wafted through the air.//

Non-speaking action.

>the newcomers every move//

Missing apostrophe.

Isn't Astra going to do something to test whether they can eat the food?

>“How old do you think it is,”//

That's a question.

>“Hard to tell really,” she shrugged//

Non-speaking action.

>once great//


>same,” the Commander breathed a sigh a relief.//

Non-speaking action.



>strange, yet tantalizing dishes//

Don't need that comma.

>aging yet soft bedding//

Too soon to reuse that phrasing already.

>she could feel Astra lay beside her//


Chapter 2:
>She could see it all across the horizon//
Same thing you did in the second scene of chapter 1. You're using a pronoun for Liz before introducing her, even generically.

>Like vibrations traveling up from the soles of her feet to the cap of her skull, resonating like an amplifier.//

Watch the close repetition of "like."

>The feeling of everything ripped from you in an instant.//

Be careful addressing the reader. There's a lot implied by doing so, a lot you probably don't want to take on.

>strange and powerful beings. A strange peace surrounding them.//

Close repetition of "strange," and I'm not sure you meant that sentence to be a fragment.

>the two goddesses horns//

Missing apostrophe.

>like a nightlight, then growing into a raging inferno. The power ripped through them, the very ground underneath Liz’s feet trembling like an earthquake.//

You're really using a ton of these "like" phrasings in this scene. Shift some of them over to metaphor, where you'd say they are the same thing, not "like." Those don't get repetitive as easily. Or you can switch some to a different word than "like."

>a solitary tear//

This is one of the most cliched things you could have written.

>among the ruin//

"Among" goes with a plural, not a collective. You could say "among the ruins," but if you mean it as an abstract conxep so it needs to be collective, something like "amid the ruin" would do better.

>the ruined gates//

This is the third use of some form of "ruin" within just a couple paragraphs.

>the blue goddesses lips//

Missing apostrophe.

>cold, stone floor//

You don't need that comma. A rule of thumb is that if two adjectives would sound strange in reverse order, then they don't need a comma.

>unmistakable sensation//

>unmistakable voice//
These are just a few sentences apart.

>through the corridors//

>through the maze of corridors//
Repetitive, just two sentences apart.

>light suddenly assaulting her vision//

>dazed by the sudden flash//
Close repetition again. I don't know why you're just now doing this so much. Maybe you were rushed in writing this chapter or didn't do as much editing?


I don't know how she'd be able to pronounce that final "e," this needs a proper dash instead of a hyphen, and you have an extraneous period.

>back and disappearing into the shadows.

>Astra was already pushing the two of them back//
Close repetition.

>high-intensity light of her camera//

>light of her camera//
And again.

>Leave me,” she gritted desperately through the pain.//

Non-speaking action.

>Liz would never get a chance to tell Astra leaving her was not an option.//

This sure makes it sound like Liz knows of future events. You're kind of trying to back out into an omniscient voice here, but it's not working.

>a jet-black creature with twin fangs like daggers get bombarded//

That "get" isn't the right verb form.

You really are using "corridor" and "light" an awful lot.

>like bugs//

>like towering tombstones//
>like a drum//
That's all in the same paragraph. This chapter is just chock full of repetition.


Why is that capitalized?

>Fire shot from her space pack and jets of white-hot exhaust that kicked like a cannon burned in the night sky.//

I haven't marked it until now, but you have this problem quite a bit as well. When you have a conjunction, look and see if there is both a subject and a verb on each side. Here, you do: Fire shot... and... jets... burned.... When this happens, put a comma before the conjunction. You really need to scan for these. The very next sentence has the same issue.

>Foxtrot Echo Alpha Romeo//

A little Easter egg, I see.


As one word, this would be an adjective. You need it to be two words.

>Power plant//

In engineering circles, that's usually one word.

>Access corridor secured.//

Three things: I'm surprised the ship is big enough to have anything that would be considered a corridor. The entryway wouldn't really be considered one anyway. And aircraft/spacecraft typically take on naval terminology, so it would use the term "passage."


That needs to be a dash.

>They shot past her cracked and torn ivory towers//

I don't know what you're trying to say here. The way it's worded, it sounds like she owns the towers.


Again, this kind of story isn't really suited to having sound effects in the narration.

>chair, her helmet striking the side of her flight chair//


>thick, slimy, saliva//

The first comma is warranted for the reasons I discussed earlier, but you never put a comma between an adjective and a noun/pronoun that follows it.

>Eject! Eject! Eject!//

You got the first two right. This is another thing I'd seen but hadn't commented on yet. When you have a word italicized for emphasis, include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.


Sound effects in the narration again.

>the cold nighttime air//

>through the nighttime air//
More close repetition.

>Straining her neck//

You'll normally set off a participial phrase with a comma.

>straining against the seat restraints//

Even though they're not the same words, that still sounds repetitive.

>God make them stop.//

Whether that's direct address or invective, it still needs a comma.

>She could tell her hands were bound//

>she could tell she wasn’t alone//

>That’s the name of the fish right?//

Needs a comma.

>its hard to read you//

Its/it's confusion.

>Astra- Why//

Use a dash.

>“Its probably better if I just show you,” Pavo sighed.//

He sighed a line of dialogue just a couple paragraphs back. When you use a nonstandard speaking verb, it sticks out easily if you repeat it soon after.

>first hoof//

That would be one word, like "firsthand."

>its strange to me, too.//

Its/it's confusion.

>That pretty much what I expected//

Seems like you meant to use "that's."

>you’ve probably already had the dreams, see the vision//

The verb forms don't match.


Use a dash.

>“Right you are, Elizabeth Warren,” Pavo smiled//

Non-speaking action.

>hawk-like eyes//

>beady eyes like a hawk//

>Every sentient creature wiped in an instant. All except us.//

How do changelings live then? Where would they get love?

>“Why would they do that to their own and themselves.”//

Isn't that a question?

>I can only imagine such a fate as the ponies of Equestria and their leaders was a better one than if they succumbed to the nightmares invading.//

I can't parse that. Something's off in the phrasing.

>an old pain bubbling to the surface//

I don't know what this means. Is Liz feeling pain? Or does it appear to her that Pavo is?

>The mimicry,” he waved a hoof over himself, “it became a memorial.//

That one looks like you're trying to put a narrative aside in a quote. Here's how to format one:
The mimicry—” he waved a hoof over himself “—it became a memorial.

>Believing themselves to actually be pony.//


>Astra strode out the fire//

There are a number of times you use "out" by itself where "out of" would sound a lot less awkward.

>the grief genuine//

How does she conclude this? Just stating it as fact has her reading his mind.


Missing period.

>straightening up//

Set off the participial phrase with a comma.

>the distraught Commander//

>the crying Commander//
Weirdly external references for Liz to use for herself, and a fairly repetitive phrasing.

Good story. Obviously there are lots of little things to fix, but it's just lots of instances of a small number of problems, so they're not that hard to fix. My only issue plot-wise is what the changelings have been eating if there aren't any other species available for love.

Just because the problems are mostly cosmetic, I would earmarked this story to be fast-tracked when it came back, but because they're so pervasive, I will have to do a full read-through again. That just means it's not a sure thing it'll pass, but it's headed in the right direction, and if you care to do the editing work, I could see posting it. I hope to see it get resubmitted.

AnonymousCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3501

Hey, this is SpitFlame. I'm going over your suggestions for "Don't Look at the Fog," trying to fix any weird words or phrases, as well as any instances shifting perspective. I'm also gonna include a fairly lengthy first scene detailing what Twilight was doing with her friends before she went out to see the comets, as to add weight to her position.

In short, I'll try to take the Hemingway approach by simplifying the prose, keeping in mind that this is all though Twilight's POV. But I gotta ask: to what length do I simplify things? It's gotten to the point where I feel like I'm botching the atmosphere. For example:

>Just staring at the white vortex, that intangible pulp of gas—of those interlocking, contradicting constituent elements—it nearly left her in a stupor.


>As Twilight approached cautiously and uneasily (much to her surprise), the darkness about seemed to creep from every corner, as though the black, jagged shadows possessed a sort of latent sentience.

Do I change this kind of writing?

As for the ending, I'm gonna keep it more on the sad end, with her not seeing her friends, because it's supposed to be tragic. For Twilight, anyway.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3505

Either one of those sounds fine, mostly, though "pulp" does seem like an odd word choice there. I'm not sure what idea you're trying to convey with it. It doesn't get me to visualize anything, and I'm not sure what you want me to picture with it. When I say something sounds strange, I don't mean that it's spooky or eerie or unsettling. Those can be very intentional. I just mean when it doesn't flow well, like a word choice that isn't right for the situation. It can also mean that the word or phrase doesn't feel like one the character would use, but that's not so much a problem for Twilight.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3507

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

It's a little strange that you submitted the story to us under the title of your chapter, not the overall story title.

>There was a wild forest around me and I had appeared on a small pasture.//

You have multiple clauses here, so you'll normally want to put a comma between them. And the normal phrasing would be in a pasture, not on one.

>It gave out a pitiful creak and I cringed//

Another spot that needs a comma. When there are two subjects that each get their own verb (It gave... and I cringed), put a comma before the conjunction. There are a few exceptions, but I'll deal with those if I see any.

>no worse for the wear//

Normal phrasing would be "no worse for wear" or "none the worse for wear."

>I caressed one of its wheels gently.//

I though she didn't trust wheels...

>pretty civilized//

>pretty clothes//
Those are pretty (heh) close together to repeat that word already.

>I frowned, confused at the creature’s answer. Did he like it or not?//

This is a pretty subtle thing, but it can have a big unconscious effect on your readers. The "confused at the creature's answer" feels like it's talking down to the reader. You almost always want to avoid explaining a character's mood directly. Especially in this case. The "Did he like it or not" very clearly portrays her as confused. The frown, too. So not only is it over-explain-y, it's also redundant with the nicely un-explain-y stuff you already have.

>I repeated the question.//

Same deal. She just repeated the question. I can see it for myself in the dialogue. You don't need to tell me what you just finished telling me.

>I waited for a few seconds and the silence became a little uncomfortable.//

Needs a comma.

>in annoyance//

Just like character motives and moods, you should avoid naming emotions outright. This kind of phrasing with an in/of/with emotion is almost always redundant with something else already in the sentence, like the flicking tail you have.

>in shock//

And just a sentence later, you're using the same kind of thing again. It'd do you well to develop an aversion to these phrasings.

>the guy said and I glanced at him//

Needs a comma.

>“Trixie is a pony and she can talk,” I pointed out the obvious fact//

The quote need a comma, and that's an odd choice of speaking verb, since the wording would require it to take the speech as an indirect object, but it's not a verb that can take one. At the least, you should make that attribution a separate sentence, but honestly, I'd cut that part out. Her speech gets the idea across perfectly well on its own.

>exclaimed “Aha!”.//

Needs a comma, like any dialogue would, and that period is extraneous.

>that silly kid’s show I used to watch//

Ah, so it's one of those stories. I'll stay tuned to see if this actually makes a difference to the plot, but I think it'd work better if they thought it as some generic performance art and weren't aware of MLP as a show. It's kind of cliched.

>I thought Discord had sent me to another dimension.//

It's getting repetitive that she keeps saying this.

>“What is that?!”//

If the girl is familiar with MLP, why do Trixie's fireworks surprise her?

>now useless//


>Damn spell… I//

Up until now, you hadn't been leaving a space after an ellipsis, but it's the better choice. You can't control typesetting on FiMFic, and it tends to format better this way, especially if you use a single ellipsis character instead of three separate dots (many word processors will automatically convert it to a single character if a space or other punctuation follows it, as has happened here), since you may end up with a line break in between the dots.

>That was the perfect place to spend a day in//

You don't need that "in."

>“Trixie Lulamoon,” I read the wording//

Cutting "the wording" would help you in two ways. One, it's pretty extraneous to have, since it's obvious that's what she's doing anyway, and two, it's another case of it making the grammar wonky.

>They all spoke about Trixie and the other ponies like we were all part of some kind of fictional show that had ended years ago.//

But it took the girl a minute to realize who Trixie was, and she got scared at Trixie just doing her usual antics. If this girl has tons of MLP stuff on her phone, especially about Trixie in particular, then she's not reacting right. Or if this is just Ttixie inadvertently doing a reverse image search or something, you need to describe more of what Trixie's actually doing with the phone so it's clearer.

>the instructions about logging in//

Wait, is she using this girl's account, or has she set up one of her own? Either way, that was quick for someone new to the technology to already know what this even is and how to use it.

>now useless//


>I felt the wagon shaking and the night outside was replaced by a bright day.//

Needs a comma.

>Jumping off the bed, I ran outside//

Note that participles mean things happen at the same time, but these two actions should happen in sequence, not simultaneously.

>A chuckle from above me made me jump like a spooked cat and I looked up at the grinning draconequus//

Needs a comma.

>“Horrible,” I drooped my ears//

The comma says you want that to be a speech attribution, but it has no speaking action. It should be a separate sentence.

>praising my thoughtfulness inside//

You're over-explaining things again. Since she's the narrator, have her actually, y'know, praise her thoughtfulness inside, instead of just telling me she did.

This was a cute story, but I was hoping there'd be a stronger conclusion to it. Yes, Discord can be a sore loser, but there' usually a method to his madness, a point he's trying to make. So what is it he wanted Trixie o learn from her punishment? And it was odd for her to find out that she was a TV show character without her ever seeming to understand that or having the story explore that any. It ended up not mattering that Trixie went to the human world, and nothing that happened there was important. It's just Discord having a tantrum, and really, anything could have occurred there, and it wouldn't have mattered what. The outcome would be the same.

Usually, what I'm looking for a "before and after." What's different about Trixie, the world, or her little corner of it because the story took place? What lasting consequences are there? Is she traumatized by the experience at all? Did she get some ideas for her show? Does the fact that she might be fictional mean anything to her? Did she find herself wishing Starlight were there to help her out of the situation?

It's a cute idea, and it's mostly well written. What can you do to give this a plot arc and some character development, so that it's not just a series of events that won't matter much tomorrow? What can you do to give the story a message for me to take away from it? A few of those questions I asked are some good starting places, but you can certainly come up with your own as well.

I wouldn't need to give this a full look-over again, so if you decide to address those things and resubmit, you can mark this as "back from Mars" to let us know it only needs a quicker spot-check.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3508

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

The first thing I want to point out is a pretty subtle part of perspective, one that many readers won't even consciously notice. You're using a third-person limited narrator in Mixtape's perspective. I can tell that because the narrator is taking a conversational tone and expressing Mixtape's opinions and thoughts as if his own. Essentially, Mixtape is the narrator, and this differs from first-person only by the choice of pronouns. So far, that's all fine.

However, you really have to take that to heart: Mixtape is the narrator. So the narration has to sound like him. It needs to have the same mannerisms, personality, vocabulary, intelligence, etc. as Mixtape. It shouldn't sound much different than his dialogue. You're pretty good on that front, too. Second, the narration has to be limited to what he can know or perceive. Again, you're fine there. But then comes the catch: the kinds of things the narration says have to be plausible in terms of how he's perceiving them or that they'd have his attention in the first place. So let me pull out some examples from early in the story.

>his yellow gaze//

What possible motivation would he have to mention his eye color here? I know readers like to get physical descriptions, even though they're often not necessary, but you have to find a way to make it reasonable he'd even be thinking about what color his eyes are. How often do you think about your own? Certainly not in a fleeting, incidental way like this.

>Threadbare, a cyan-colored unicorn//

This is a good friend of his. He already knows what she looks like. Why's he going to be running down a description of her in his mind? You don't do that with your own friends. If you want to work in a description of her, fine, but do it in a way that makes sense for what he'd be paying attention to. He might notice a new pair of earrings she had on, for instance, and comment internally that they matched her cyan coat nicely, but that whenever she flicked an ear, they banged against her horn. Now you've got a way to bring her color and race into his thoughts that's plausible for him to mention them. This is the kind of thinking you need to follow when deciding whether his narration should say something. 1) Is it something he can know or perceive? 2) Is it consistent with how he would know or perceive it? 3) Does it match his character voicing to word it the way you did?

>Mixtape’s large, curled ears//

Same as the first example: what's his motivation to mention the size and shape of his ears? Give him a reason to, or don't bother describing them.

On to other matters.


You do hyphenate multi-word phrases used as single modifiers, in most situations, but when it's a two-word phrase starting with an -ly adverb, you don't, since there's no ambiguity in the chain of what modifies what.

>“Do you have enough…” she said her words between loud chomps on the wad of pink gum in her mouth, “...to retire on?”//

That speech tag doesn't quite work. Speaking verbs are supposed to take the speech as their direct object, but you've already given it one in "her words," so there's no longer a grammatical function for the quote. The ellipsis formatting is weird, too. Normally, in this structure, you'd replace the first one with a comma and just get rid of the second, but if you're trying to say she stopped speaking while that narrative action happens, there's a different way to format it... except that wouldn't make sense, because the aside says quite the opposite. So she doesn't stop speaking for the aside, and there's a format for that, too:
>“Do you have enough”—she said her words between loud chomps on the wad of pink gum in her mouth—“to retire on?”//
Also note that your first ellipsis is a single character while the second is three separate dots. That can cause typesetting problems. Mostly, it's the word processing software that automatically converts three dots to a single character, but it only does so when you follow it with a space, line break, or other punctuation. So for your second one, you have to trick the software into doing it, and it's not easy. The best way I've found is to put a space after, go ahead and type the next word, then highlight the space after the ellipsis and delete it. If you just backspace the space out after typing it, you'll usually make the software convert the single-character ellipsis back to three dots.

>Threadbare stared at him with her huge, blue eyes, and blew another small bubble.//

As a contrast to what I said earlier, it does make sense for him to note her eye color here, even though he should be familiar with it, because he's really paying attention to her eyes. However, you don't need either of these commas. The latter, because there's no new clause here—it's just the second part of a compound verb, not a new verb that gets its own subject (compare to the following sentence, which does have two clauses). And the former, because these are hierarchical adjectives, which gets down in the weeds to explain, but a fairly reliable test is to see if they'd sound really strange in reverse order. If so, they probably don't need a comma.

>huh?” she smiled//

That's captialized like a speech tag, but it has no speaking verb. How do you smile a sentence?

>“I bet there’s somewhere out there called Ponyville or something.”//

I have no idea what joke she's making. Is she unaware that there's actually a town named that and through dumb luck gets it right? If so, I still don't get the joke she's making. More likely, I think she's being sarcastic, and they're already in Ponyville, but you haven't said where they are, and after looking ahead a bit, you still don't later on, so how would I know for sure?

>He looked into the box of organized cassettes next to him, and lit up his long horn.//

Don't need that comma.

>urgency in his voice//

Okay, let's go back to the perspective issue. Is this how he would perceive his own urgency? By hearing it in his voice? This feels like an external evaluation of it, not his own. From his side, there are far more immediate ways for him to identify his own urgency, bcause he feels it before he says anything. What symptoms does he get from it? And this phrasing almost makes it sound passive, too, like it just happened that way, whereas he's doing it very deliberately.

>for awhile//

"Awhile" and "a while" aren't grammatically the same thing. You need a noun here to serve as the object of the preposition "for," so it has to be two words in this usage.

>store, playing tapes and records for the enjoyment of the whole store//

Watch the close word repetition. And why wouldn't the store be playing its own music? A turntable seems to be a pretty cumbersome thing to haul around just to play music there.

>Threadbare about her third foal//

Now I'm getting really mixed messages about how old everyone is. Threadbare has 3 kids of her own, but she aso has a brother young enough that he shouldn't be listening to explicit song lyrics. This could all stand to be clearer.

>Not since the CD had overtaken the market. Not since the patronage to his store fell into nothing.//

You keep hammering this point, and it's getting really repetitive.

>Three days prior//

This kind of makes it sound like you're saying it closed three days before the previous scene.

Look at this whole paragraph, though. After the first two very short sentences, the rest all end in a participial phrase. Try to avoid that kind of structural repetition.

>bandaids places haphazardly over his body//



It's a bad idea to put sound effects in narration like this. They tend to create a comic or whimsical effect, which doesn't match your story's tone. Plus this is the formatting you've used for his thoughts, so it looks like he's thinking this. Just describe the sound.

>Mister Bristle was a hefty, tall light blue earth pony.//

Same thing I said before. Mixtape is familiar with this character. What's prompting him to give a full description?

>plummeted into bankruptcy//

Do you mean that in a legal sense? Because he hasn't described any legal proceedings.

>by far anything as complex as the soundboards in the recording industry or even a modern microwave//

I don't understand this phrasing. "By far" means he surpasses that. Something like "much less" would be closer to the meaning you're looking for. This is also fighting one of the major plot points. He's incapable of fixing CD players, but he still sells CDs. Just because he can't fix the equipment doesn't mean he can't sell the music for that medium. So what was stopping him from selling whatever the current format of choice is?

>his messy cyan-and-pink mane//

Why's he describing his own color? He has no motivation to, and it's not where his attention would be right now.

Why is Mixtape so fatalistic about finding another job? Does he expect he's just going to starve now? Not all ponies have jobs derived from their special talents. He could work as a waiter or salespony, for instance. I'm surprised he just immediately decides it's impossible he could do even the most menial of jobs.

>As Mixtape closed the door on the outside world; to the smells of asphalt in rain and hayburgers; the sounds of the ponies walking down the street and the taxis roaring on by.//

I don't understand your use of semicolons here. The last one could reasonably be the delimiter in a superlist, but not the first, since what comes before it isn't a list item. In fact, this isn't even a complete sentence.

>They were too busy on errands to slow down; to talk.//

You should be able to replace a semicolon with a period and have both resulting sentences stand as complete, but that wouldn't happen here. That's just a compound infinitive. A comma would do fine.

>His ears laid back against his head//

Lay. Those are tough verbs to keep straight.

>Their colors, cyan and pink, clashed against his purple pelt.//

See, here's a spot where it does seem plausible that he'd give some physical description of himself. This one works.

>It had been a storming//

This sounds like a military action. You have an extraneous word.


Don't need that hyphen.

Through this part of the story about him getting his cutie mark, you're using simple past tense, which means it's still occurring in the story's present. You need to use past perfect, but you only are in a couple sentences.

>His grin fell, suddenly on high-alert//

No hyphen, and this says his grin was on high alert, not that he was.

>The fear still held fast to his eyes//

This feels more like an external evaluation, like what someone else would see. He can't see his own eyes to say what the expression was, but you could go with less of an overall summary and more of individual things he could tell he was doing, like if his eyes were wide.

>bubbled up old emotions//

But you don't say which ones. This is just vague. Not that you should directly name emotions very often anyway, but you might be able to get away with it here. Give me something to go on, though. This says practically nothing.

>yet, the piece that actually read the disk//

It's unusual for a comma after a conjunction to be used correctly. This one isn't.

>“Hey,” an unfamiliar voice pulled him from his reverie.//

Another non-speaking action used as a speech tag.


No hyphen.

>The stallion nodded and grabbed his changepurse from under her wing.//

Wait... who is "her"?

>“Mixxy…” he said it//

Another spot where you already gave the speaking verb a direct object, so it can't take the speech as one.

>There was hope in Equestria; hope in selling his box of overstock.//

>It was lunchtime; time to move elsewhere.//
Misused semicolons. Commas or dashes would do fine.

It's counterintuitive that Mixtape has just the one box with him on the street, yet to hear the way he talks about it, he has a pretty comprehensive selection in it. How big is this box? He conveniently has exactly the CD Coral wants.

That's not a good place to end a chapter. In a really long work, a chapter in the middle somewhere could do this, as long as it was infrequent, but it doesn't create any momentum heading into the next chapter. Mostly, you'll want a chapter ending to leave on a cliffhanger or to wrap up a plot point. This just kind of fizzles out. There's a little note of hope, but then you carry on past it, and nothing happens in the last bit.

In fact, not that much happens in the whole chapter. It's a big deal to Mixtape, but he doesn't get that emotional about it, so it's all pretty low-key. You're going to have a tough time enticing readers to give it a chance. His business has gone under, he's lost his place to live, and he's just kind of quietly stoic about it all. You have to get the reader in Mixtape's corner, and a lot of times, that takes being specific. His store is closing, but he doesn't come across as being that broken up about it. He does relate the anecdote of ponies who used to come by to play music, but it's left pretty vague. Same with his apartment. He's going to be evicted, but we don't know what this place means to him beyond a simple place to live. What details about it catch his eye and jog his memory? You have to use opportunities like this to bring it to life and make it vibrant. I think you're capable, but you've chosen a pretty mundane situation, so you need to do what you can to liven it up.

At first, I was concerned that all your other stories have been on hiatus for a long time, but you say you have this whole thing written. You should take all these points, particularly the mechanical ones, and scan through your other chapters for more instances of the same.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3513

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

Right away, you have an accessibility problem. In the first paragraph alone, I get several words and phrases that I have no idea what they mean, nor are their meanings apparent from context: oneiric, "the supercelestial sphere that girds the firmament," asanic. If you're going to send the reader to the dictionary, that necessarily means they're taking a significant pause in your story, which isn't a good thing. Either that, or they're just plowing through without knowing what you mean, which isn't any better.

Then in that same paragraph, there's a subtle perspective problem that also introduces an unintended ambiguity:
>His tourmaline irises scintillating in the light of day//
The narration is voicing Trixie's opinions and impressions for him, so he's the limited narrator here. What's his motivation for mentioning his own eye color? I can't fathom why it'd be on his mind. It's irrelevant to what's happening. Plus I don't know what color you mean by "tourmaline." That's a generic term for a group of minerals that can occur in just about any color; Trixie's canon purplish color isn't common at all, so it's not what's going to come to mind when you use that word.

>where her devoted lover Trixie now laid//

Lay. These can be tough verbs to keep straight. Lie/lay/lain doesn't take a direct object, and lay/laid/laid does.

In fact, you're using a ton of very fancy language for Trixie. She doesn't speak at all like this in canon, and I realize you're making an AU here, but if you're going to make such wholesale changes from her canon personality/intelligence level, then why use her in the first place? You might as well construct an OC. Or else do something to bridge the gap between her canon self and your version, to show me how we get here from there, but do it soon. You can't string the reader along too far before it just loses the sense that this actually is Trixie in anything but name.

>Trixie stood up ,//

Extraneous space.

You're really overusing the parenthetical elements. You have one every paragraph or two, which is abnormally high. You want me remembering what I read, not your writing quirks. I did a Ctrl-f, and there are 26 of them in the chapter, which is actually a little more often than once every other paragraph.

>though he found such emotions confusing and, consequently, frightening//

There's an awful lot of background informing this, but we don't get to see any? Or have him reminisce about it at all? This is a pretty powerful part of his personality, but you're leaving it incredibly vague.


That's just a generic term of endearment. It wouldn't be capitalized.

>as a part of the ‘reformation’ he was meant to be undergoing//

This is another big tease to a lot of background. I hope the story will get into what all this is soon.

>is’ he once overheard Twilight say//

Needs a comma, same as you would with any quote.


No reason to hyphenate that.

>dead eyed//

But that does need one.


Please use a proper dash.

>Has Spike gotten back from Rarity’s, yet?//

No reason to have that comma.

>Twilight, being not only very intelligent but also highly attuned to Trixie’s emotions, realized the stallion had mistaken her gentle reassurance for piteous condescension (as he was wont to do when it came to certain conditions of his), so she allowed him to change the subject.//

This really smacks of having switched to Twilight's perspective.

>still defensive//

But he doesn't act defensive. You're purely informing me of this; you need to demonstrate it.

>“Good,” Twilight kissed him once more//

The comma says this is a speech tag, but it has no speaking verb.

>self awareness//

>self esteem//

>Besides the few comforts all ponies need to live contentedly were the tools of Trixie’s mission in life; the mission of all magicians—and ultimately, of all living things.//

You have a number of questionable semicolons. You should be able to replace one with a period and have both resulting sentences stand as complete, but the second part here wouldn't.

>nigh forgotten//

You're using this phrase as a single adjective that precedes what it describes, so hyphenate it.

>the most prominent being an old tepaphone he liked to tinker with, but could never seem to make work//

Unless I look up what a tepaphone even is, this doesn't create a mental picture at all. It's pretty meaningless.


Comma would go outside the parentheses, since it has meaning to the outside sentence, not the parenthetical element.

>Brushing the tangles from his hair and levitating the various pieces of his outfit around his physique, a thought struck him.//

This says the thought that struck him was what brushed his hair and levitated his clothes, not that he did.

>Are you ready, yet?//

No reason for that comma.

>Oh sh-//

Use a dash.

This is not a good place to end a chapter. The two best ways to do so are to end on a cliffhanger or to wrap up a plot point so that the next chapter will move on to something new. This just stops, and doesn't seem to have any purpose in where it stops. It doesn't so much conclude as feel like it got cut off.

>borne of Canterlot patricians//

Seems like "born" would work better there.

>life,” Trixie grinned//

Another non-speaking speech tag.

>Ponyville Express//

Newspaper titles get underlined or (preferably) italicized.

>who Trixie regarded as intelligent//


>once azure//


>containing with the letter ‘X’//

Extraneous "with."

>death defying//


>it kept him Twilight’s good graces//

Missing an "in."

>Trixie shrugged//

Needs a comma here to separate the clauses.

>both parties going their separate ways//

The "both" here is redundant. It's not possibly for only one party to go its separate way, after all.

>This was meant to be a playful gibe at Trixie referring to himself in the third person during their talk with Cheerilee//

If you have to explain a joke, it's not really a joke. You don't need to spell this out. It's pretty obvious.

>in which lied the healthiest course of action//


>Overwhelmed, instinct demanded//

This says that instinct was overwhelmed.


Extraneous comma.

>“Uh, yes. I agree,” Trixie laid a light kiss on her cheek.//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>exchanged warm greetings; with Twilight inquiring//

There's no independent clause after the semicolon, so it's not used right.

>Twilight hoped to sidestep the issue, along with any more of Rarity’s vexing double entendres.//

Four things here: don't over-explain Twilight's motivation, you have a non-speaking action used as a speech tag, having to explain it was a double entendre creates the same issue I brought up earlier about explaining jokes, and even having been put on notice that a double entendre is present, I still don't see it.

>The entire trend of modern Ponies’ naming conventions//

Why are you going off on this tangent? What relevance does it have?


Underline or italicize, same as before.

>less trained//



When usedthe same way a name would be, family relations get capitalized. Direct address is one of those situations.

>“Yeah, and Mom still gets mad at him over it,” Sweetie and Rarity both shared a chuckle.//

>Vice Chancellor,” Rarity held the folded-over paper//
Non-speaking actions used as speech tags.

>who had been in thought trying to discern what would drive Trixie’s father to make such a statement//

Who's holding the perspective here? You really haven't taken any viewpoint but Trixie's, yet this would have her reading Sweetie Belle's mind. Or else you've jumped to Sweetie Belle's perspective for only one sentence, for some reason.

>endeavoring to alter the course of the conversation//

You're over-explaining character motives again.


Use a dash.


That doesn't take a hyphen.

>birth; when//

Another spot where there's no independent clause after the semicolon.

>“You’re ri-”//

Use a dash.

>“Don’t be silly,” Twilight was embarrassed, but not enough to stop him.//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>once more, “Could I ask one more//

Repetitive phrasing.

>“It’s fine. Ask away, Sweetie Belle,” Twilight slid her hoof from Trixie’s, and casually nuzzled him.//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>Island,” she glanced knowingly at Trixie, before returning her gaze to Sweetie Belle, “That//

Same, and don't capitalize when re-entering a quotation.


Normally, this would be the correct format, but since that's a name and has to be capitalized under any circumstances, capitalize all instances of the first letter in a stutter.

>Trixie had been preparing himself to make the following sacrifice, “No, it isn’t true.//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.


Don't be among the majority of authors who can't spell this right.


Use a dash.

>Twilight rebuked the whelping//

You used "whelpling" earlier. If he's actually whelping, there's a whole lot more going on here than I care to know.

>“Yes, and don’t forget,” Rarity held up the newspaper again//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

And just like I said of the previous chapter, this one picks a rather poor place to stop. It just ends, without tying up a plot thread or creating any tension. It just fizzles out, feeling more like you just ran out of things to write instead of drew it to a conclusion.

So there are a few mechanical/stylistic things, whatever I had to point out multiple times, but the biggie is that this is so densely purple that it's a rather impenetrable read. Very little of the fancy language is definable from context, and you shouldn't be forcing the reader to either skip those words or leave the story to consult a dictionary. This really feels like you grabbed every fourth word and looked it up in a thesaurus, deliberately picking the most obscure synonym for it, quite possibly without considering whether it suits the fine shade of meaning you wanted. There is a certain Victorian quality to it, I suppose, but you don't want to alienate a broad audience just to appeal to a niche one. Well, maybe you do, but a general audience is what we're geared toward.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3514

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>since the it’s founding, the woods outside the seaside town of Serenity Falls have been haunted.//
You have an extraneous "the," and you've confused it's with its. Also, this tends to say the woods' founding, not the town's. It's fine to double-space between sentences in that it's not grammatically incorrect, but it can break FiMFiction's typesetting. This will depend on the individual browser and device being used, but on my computer, there's a line break between the second and third sentences of your synopsis, and that line break's ended up between the two spaces, meaning the second one looks like a small indentation on the next line. There's nothing you can do to stop FiMFic from doing this, but it won't happen if you single-space.

>fifty four//


>the Equestria's//

Why do you have "the" in there? Also, the second comma in this sentence is a splice. It's just tacking two complete sentences together without a conjunction.

>Hope Is//

Why are these capitalized?

>just to keep the mystery alive...//

Authors like to do this, but really, when would you in an actual letter? Trailing off is a speaking affectation, because you're losing your train of thought or having your attention diverted or some such. Those kinds of effects don't happen when writing a letter, so it comes across as inauthentic.

>With love, Princess Twilight Sparkle//

The signature should be on a separate line from the closing. This comment and my previous one both apply to Celestia's response.

>A warm ocean breeze blew across her face//

Pronouns work by referring to things that have been previously named. so it's always a bit odd to have the first reference to something to be by one. I can presume this is Twilight, but it takes you 6 paragraphs to say so.

>“Come on Spike,” she gave a nod//

The way you've punctuated/capitalized that, you're trying to use it as a speech tag, but it has no speaking action. You can't just tack any action onto speech like this. You do this a lot.

>platform, “The//

Even then, when you transition back into the quote with another comma, the second part of the quote shouldn't be capitalized.

>They walked down from the simple platform, and began down that road, alone.//

That first comma isn't needed, since it's just two verbs assigned to the same subject. It's when there are distinct subject-verb pairs, or separate clauses, that you need a comma. It gets repetitive as well that you use "alone" again in the next sentence.

>the next train wouldn't be in for several days//

This is pretty much the same thing you just said.


Why is that capitalized?

>ago.” he offered, “Serenity//

That first period should be a comma to transition to the speech tag, but you can't go back in with a comma, since the to parts of the quote can't be crammed together into a single sentence. Basically, you need to swap your comma and period.

>one could see the entire cliffside...//

Why are you trailing off here? What sort of incomplete thought are you trying to convey? I don't see one. It's pretty cliched to do this, so make sure it's actually necessary.

>necessary.” she tried to sound friendly, “Whatever//

Yeah, you've just generally got lots of problems with your dialogue mechanics.

>your highness//

An honorific like this should be capitalized.

>she reached out to take the key.//


>not wanting to offend a princess//

Your narration has been from Twilight's perspective, but this is from the innkeeper's. Don't jump around like that. And while he's questioning whether Spike is a pet, Spike isn't going to speak up for himself?

>She felt a bit guilty to be spending so much time on such a personal project when speciesism and xenophobia were still so prevalent. //

This is kind of an odd sentiment to throw in there. Is that part of her duties? Or something she feels is a personal responsibility? It's just a strange contrast to make when it's not going to be a theme for the story, and it doesn't come up again.

>his voice lowering to a hush//

Missing end punctuation.


Go ahead and capitalize that since it's not picking up an earlier sentence he left hanging. Also, I see you're using fancy-style quotation marks, so you must be using software that automatically converts them. They'll typically convert three dots into a single-character ellipsis as well, which also helps with FiMFic's typesetting, since it might put a line break between dots if they're separate. It'll help head this off if you leave a space after an ellipsis, which triggers the automatic conversion.

>they was only one place//


>spoke frightfully, as if even speaking//

>seemed to agree that the Mare was real, but none of them seemed//
These are just a couple of examples, but you need to watch for close word repetition like this.


I don't know what this is supposed to mean. Maybe you intended "off-hoof"?

>I don't get it Spike,//

Needs another comma to set off his name for direct address.

If Twilight isn't finding out anything about the ghost in town, how'd she even hear of it in the first place? She must have better records than they do at the source. I'm just getting really mixed messages about how well-known this ghost is.


Only capitalize the first part of a stutter, unless it's something like a name that has to be capitalized anyway.

>cozy looking//


>We have a bit more investigation to do tomorrow...//

I don't understand why she's trailing off here. It's a complete thought without a continuation implied.

>a list of ponies to ask for details//

When did she get this? In the previous chapter, she was lamenting the lack of anyone who would tell her anything, so how does she suddenly have a list of ponies who will? At least she does say it was difficult to get them to talk, but I'm not clear on how she even knew who to talk to.

>they’d burned any notes they had//

Why would they do this? Twilight never says, and it doesn't seem reasonable. It feels more like narrative convenience to make her task harder than a plausible turn of events, unless you explain it.

>who she hadn’t terrified enough//


>Even talking about her was enough, in the mind of the town, to bring about her ire.//

See, this is pretty key to what I was talking about, but you're just glossing it over. I haven't actually seen her trying to pry information out of anyone, so I just have to accept this narrative vagueness for one of the more important elements to the plot. The only instance was with the innkeeper, and he wasn't that reluctant to talk.


Why is that capitalized?

>I dunno Twilight//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>vaguely recalled that this region had been of strategic importance in a war//

Somehow, it doesn't seem like Twilight not to know that.

You're suddenly using a lot of colons in this chapter. It's an unusual punctuation mark, and like anything unusual, it's very easy to overuse. You want me remembering what I read, not the fact that I saw a bunch of colons.

>A soft glow shown through the windows//


>her insatiable need for answers bid her continue//


>Around the room//

You start two sentences in a row with that, and it's not done in a way that makes it look deliberate for effect.

>At the back of the room//

This is the fourth sentence in a row to use "room."



>dress - Twilight could hear the wet hissing of her breath - her //

Use a proper dash.

>She gasped as she yanked it back, only to have it nearly torn from the socket as the dark bride grabbed it, her veil exploding in tatters as she turned swiftly on Twilight, who was momentarily frozen as she beheld the full sight of a face, pale white, rotting skin pulled over the bone like rags, seaweed and brine oozing from the empty sockets of her eyes which penetrated twilight as if her very soul was naked in the frigid wind, rotten seawater gushing from her carnivorous mouth as she let out a shriek like a thousand pieces of glass shredding through Twilight's body like it was made of paper.//

Really? That's all one sentence? It's also incredibly repetitive. There are 5 different "as" clauses here. It's a bad idea to have more than 1 in a single sentence. It gets really clunky, since it over-specifies what happens when, and it synchronizes actions that shouldn't be. You also have a lower-case "twilight."

And it continues. 4 of the next 5 sentences have an "as" clause.

>“Couldst not leave well alone, foolish child princess!//

You're missing a word or something. That doesn't make sense as written. And why do you have a line break after it?


Why is this capitalized?

>Pleases she can understand. Understand I?//

I don't understand why she would speak so poorly. It's not like it's a foreign language to her?

>“Try? She must try??

One of each punctuation mark is plenty.

>above the churning see//


You're also in another big stretch of "as" clauses here. In this paragraph and the previous one, there are 6.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3515

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

This really needs a better hook. Your first sentence sounds like thousands of other stories on the site. What can you do to make it stand out?

>Rainbow Dash you shiftless//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>Thinking huh?//

Needs a comma.

>“Says the pony spying on her brother’s date,” Rainbow crossed her front legs together with a smirk.//

The comma says that narrative bit is a speech tag, but it has no speaking action. You can't tack just any action onto a quote.

>Rainbow opened her mouth but this time she was ready.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.


This is already evident from what she says. Don't throw in needless descriptors. They make the story weaker, because they hand-hold the reader.

>Rainbow look—//

Needs a comma for direct address.


Smart quotes always get leading apostrophes backward. You can paste one in the right way, or you can type two in a row and delete the first.

>wishing she had put it another way//

Don't over-explain character emotions and motives. Let her actions and dialogue speak for themselves.

>indignant, almost hurt, expression//

Same deal. Don't tell me how Dash feels. Demonstrate it through how she looks and acts. Be specific. How do people in that mood behave? Have Dash do those things. If she were an actor needing to portray that emotion on stage, what would you tell her to do?

>in agitation//

And really avoid these "in/of/with emotion" phrases. They don't demonstrate the emotion, and they're often redundant with some action you're already having the character display.


Backward apostrophe.

>no Applejack//

>Applejack don’t sell yourself short//
Needs a comma for direct address.

>Rainbow patted her shoulder, “some//

Non-speaking action used as a speech tag, and it doesn't parse for both parts of the quote to be a single, connected sentence, so you shouldn't have it lower-case here.

>She looked morose.//

You've been using Applejack as your perspective character. How does she know what she looks like? That's not what would clue her in to how she was feeling anyway. You don't have to look in a mirror to know you're sad.

>That I ran roughshod over my own big brother until he became the quiet middle kid.//

Well... I can see her feeling responsible, but the way she's saying this, it suonds like she thinks there's something wrong with being quiet.

>think you it’s because//

Extraneous word.

>Rainbow gave a skeptical snort to make her feelings on that perfectly clear.//

You're over-explaining her emotion and intentions.

>mostly,” Rainbow leaned forward//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>Rainbow shrugged.//

I want you to try something. Maybe you can just do it in your head, and maybe you'll need to edit a copy of the story to see it well. Try reading this, but skip any sentence that has dialogue in it. Just read the ones that are purely narrative. I'll even do a little of that to illustrate. Here are all such sentences for a stretch of a few paragraphs:
>Applejack snorted and shook her hoof off. She looked morose. She paused while she waited for Rainbow, who was clearly struggling to answer. Rainbow held up her hooves. Applejack smirked. Rainbow rolled her eyes. Rainbow prodded her with a hoof. Applejack scrunched her face. Rainbow gave a skeptical snort to make her feelings on that perfectly clear. Applejack couldn’t quite repress a snort. Rainbow leaned forward. Applejack tilted her hat back. She saw Rainbow stir and quickly preempted her. Rainbow leaned back, mollified. Applejack lightly punched her shoulder.//
See how plodding that is to read? Almost every sentence, one after the other, is so much the same. It gets very plodding to read when there's that much structural repetition. These all start with the subject, and all of those subjects are one of them by name or pronoun. They're almost all about the same length. They almost all have the same constant downward inflection. It help mask the effect to have all that dialogue mixed in, but you still need some variety in how you're constructing your narrative sentences. At some point, the masking effect of the dialogue isn't enough, and even before then, it'll have a subtle effect on how enjoyable it is to read. You do fine in the longer passages where there's little or no dialogue, but when there's a lot of it, you lose sight of the narrative variety. Mix it up some more.

>are.” Applejack pointed out.//

That one actually would work as a speech tag, but you didn't use a comma. And your choice of speaking verb is repetitive with the "point" earlier in the sentence.

>table,” Applejack eyerolled//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>Rainbow snorted.//

And by now, a lot of these narrative actions are getting repetitive in a more basic way. There's lots of head shaking, shrugging, nodding, and snorting.

>Applejack took a bite. “Yeah, I know you weren’t being serious.//

So... is she talking with her mouth full? Seems like that would bear saying. Or that she finished chewing before she spoke.

>Rainbow helped herself to her own apple. “So yeah.//

Same thing.

>in surprise//

Cut this. It's telly, and it's just repeating what's already evident from what Dash just did.

>Realizing how loud and upset she’d become//

This is all self-explanatory.

>“Yeah, I got that,” Rainbow coughed.//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>I wasn’t there so maybe I don’t know the whole score.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>I can’t huh?//

Needs a comma.

>if it all it took//

Extraneous word.

>that—” Applejack sighed, looking depressed, “—but//

Looks like you're trying to do a narrative aside here. The formatting is mostly right, but the aside shouldn't have a comma. But this is another spot that doesn't work for being in AJ's perspective. How does she know that she looks depressed? She can't see herself.

>It’s not that you shut him down or pushed him aside or anything//

Needs a comma after this to separate the clauses.

>She crossed her two of her feathers together.//

Extraneous word.

>“Well, yeah,” Rainbow shrugged.//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>settling for staring out and watching the sunset//

So isn't she thinking or something? We're in her perspective, so we should be privy to whatever's going through her head.

>Rainbow Dash shook her head.//

>Applejack shook her head.//
Lots of these narrative actions have continued to be the same few over and over again. These two are even in the same paragraph.

>like—” she sniffed and stopped//

Non-speaking action used as speech tag.

>“I’m sorry.” Rainbow mumbled.//



You did something like this earlier with S'all, but that's not whre the missing letters are. This should be:
'S alright

>Applejack’s voice sounded tight, but seemed to lessen after she cleared her throat.//

This could potentially be from her perspective, but it doesn't really feel like it. The "sounded" and "seemed" feel more like someone else's impression of her than her own experience of it.

>I don’t know which one of us right//

Missing word.

>“And you can’t pay me back for this, since I don’t have any siblings. So have fun with that!”//

Except by the way Dash reacted to the mention of Zephyr Breeze earlier, AJ could easily get her back that way.

>It was good to be helpful.//

So you've spent the whole story in Applejack's perspective, only to jump over to Dash's for a single sentence at the end? That's a bad idea. The whole point of the limited narration is to get the reader close to AJ's character, then you abandon it right as the story comes to its conclusion. Taken in isolation, it's not a bad line to end on, but it's really undercutting what the perspective does for the story. This is absolutely the wrong time to be head-hopping.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3516

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.



>same, gentle//

You don't need that comma. If two adjectives would sound really awkward in the opposite order, you usually don't need one.

>the lost soul that played within the ponyquins have transferred//

You have a singular subject (soul) with a plural verb (have).

Your framing device for the story just isn't working. First, the narrator addresses me explicitly. He knows I'm there. Now I'm a party to the action, and like any character, I need a reason to be there. Why am I listening to him? Why does he want to tell me this story? Under what circumstances is he doing so? Because you're telling the story in present tense as well, even more is implied. At the end of the first scene, where the narrator gets his gear together and leaves, that means I must be gong with him, since I'm still there as he picks up narrating the next scene. So what's my purpose in going?

>Perhaps I can turn this into a learning experience for Twilight’s students; using Celestia’s light to help those from beyond.//

If a semicolon is used properly, you should be able to replace it with a period and have two complete sentences, but that wouldn't be the case here.

Now, look how often you're directly identifying character moods and emotions here:
>pang of guilt//
>a comforting hoof//
>sigh of relief//
There's a section at the top of this thread that gives a brief overview of "show versus tell," and it'll explain why these tend to feel more distant.

>my abilities as a lantern keeper//

He'd been capitalizing his job title earlier.

>I always have doubts; that little voice in the back of your mind wondering about all the possible disasters waiting just around the corner.//

Another misused semicolon.

>Exorcising the Carousel Boutique//

There's no reason to insert "the" in front of the shop's name.

You have so many short, punchy paragraphs that they quickly lose their effect. That's supposed to add emphasis, but when everything's emphasized it's the same as emphasizing nothing. And it leaves your story feeling very choppy. You need to consider how many of these really warrant being treated special like this.

>I begin to chant my family’s mantra; a phrase passed down through generations.//

Misused semicolon.

>exploding successive light in turn//


>Glancing at the room numbers, it//

This says that "it," whatever it is, is the one glancing at the room number.

>I skid do a halt//


>I can’t be teleporting, I would’ve noticed the magic flash if it were.//

What does "it" refer to? Seems like that should be "I."


Use a proper dash.

>Looking back to the mirror, the figure//

This says the figure is looking in the mirror.

>small, pink//

No comma.

>Inching closer to the mirror, the filly//

This says the filly is moving toward the mirror.

>A hideous scream erupts from its mouth, bearing down at me with a mouth full of jagged teeth and black pits where the eyes would be.//

This doesn't make sense. The participles have to give action to a noun or pronoun, but the only ones available are the scream or the mouth. The scream wouldn't have teeth, and the mouth doesn't have a mouth. You have some consistent problems with dangling participles, where they try to describe something that isn't in the sentence.

>sending a bolt of panic shooting through me//

This is another problem with the story. If you're panicking, what's going on in your head? You'd be mentally shouting, desperately trying to think of a way out, casting your attention all around, and probably having your train of thought jumping around. Yet the narration sounds so calm and factual. In a limited narration (and it doesn't get any more limited than first person), the narration is the perspective character's internal musings. They need to be appropriate to the mood of what's going on. You're undercutting the tension by making his mental process sound unemotional. Just after this passage, things improve a bit on that front, but it's been pretty bland until now.

>Just what kind of magic was Princess Twilight using to attract such wickedness to her castle?//

This comes out of nowhere. Why would it naturally follow that Twilight must be doing this? This feels like some background I should have had already.

>Run, A little voice whispers in my ear.//

Capitalization. That should be treated the same as any speech tag.

>needless fears//

Yet the narrator hasn't expressed any fears.

>back in the hallway.

>Turning back//
Watch the close word repetition.

>in frustration//

The further issue with this kind of "in/of/with emotion" phrasing is that it's almost always redundant with an action already in the sentence that demonstrates the emotion well enough on its own, as is the case here.

>Getting back to the task at hand//

3 of the last 4 sentences have started with a participial phrase. Don't be so structurally repetitive. Participles are also a fairly weak way to start a sentence.


This stands out as a really strange word choice. I don't know what you intend it to mean.




Why is that capitalized?


Is that a British spelling? I've never seen it as anything but "falter."

>O’ Lantern of Souls, o’ guiding light./

What are the apostrophes for? "O" is a legitimate word, the same as "oh." With the apostrophes, you're making them a shortened form for "of."


Use a dash.

>Sparing a glance out the window, everything appears normal.//

This says everything is sparing a glance.

>Gingerly placing my hoof against each step, there//

And this says "there" is gingerly placing his hoof.


Np hyphen.

>My heart’s a jackhammer; adrenaline’s pumping in my veins, mind awash with all manner of possible threats; each one more terrible than the last.//

Misused semicolon, and the narrative tone hasn't been matching his mood.

>Leaping away, my horn flares to life//

This says his horn leapt away.

>Locking eyes with the creature, my lantern reveals the full extent of its monstrosity.//

This says his lantern locked eyes with the creature.

>Wiping the sweat from my brow, I raise my lantern to get a better look at the room; but not before weaving a small protection ward, just in case.//

>The walls are lined with dozens of books, far too many to sift through in one night; although it looks as though Twilight has already done most of the legwork.//
Misused semicolons.

>In its centre//

"Its" refers to the room, but that's located so far back that there are lots of other possible antecedents in between. It isn't clear.


Use a dash.

>Wait, what was that sound? A rattle? A groan? I snap back around to face the gargoyle, but it remains still. I know I heard something… didn’t I?//

Finally! This is the kind of narrative tone the story's needed all along. It's conversational, it communicates his mood, it feels like an authentic thought process under the circumstances. You need to be doing a lot more of this.

>Trotting back to the table, I place my lantern down//

Another potential problem with participles is that they mean things happen at the same time. Make sure that's sensible. Here, he wouldn't place the lantern down until after he'd trotted to the table, yet you have him doing them simultaneously.

>My lantern isn’t getting brighter, and the dark magic only grows; swirling around in a winding spiral as it sucks in everything.//

Misused semicolon.

>I’m losing my footing! It’s sucking me in! I’m trying to run, but I can’t escape its pull!//

Nine of the last 10 sentences have ended with an exclamation mark. Like my earlier comment said about numerous short paragraphs, emphasizing everything has the same effect as emphasizing nothing.

>o’ bringer of light, o’ guider of-//

No apostrophes, and use a dash.

>I’m in luck, it’s right beside me; the only source of light in this Celestia forsaken place.//

Misused semicolon.

>It’s lit, but only just.//

Then why couldn't he see it in the dark?

>those that seek the light//

When referring to sapient creatures, it's preferred to use "who" instead of "that" or "which."

>O’ great Celestia//

No apostrophe.

>Head my words!//


That was a fairly creepy story, and not a bad homage to Lovecraft. There are a few problems, though, like the dangling modifiers and choppy style of short paragraphs. However, this also feels like two stories.

We start out with this protagonist investigating something pretty vague. He already knew it was a child and that he'd seen it at Carousel Boutique, but were just briefly told that, so it doesn't carry much weight. Then he helps the filly, but we don't know anything about her predicament, so there's no sense of resolution in seeing her release. Glow immediately assumes Twilight's caused all this, but he doesn't say why he thinks that. He seems to have suspicion regarding the princesses even before all this started, but I can't imagine why. Then suddenly we're in eldritch horror territory, and it veered off on a tangent to get there.

Lovecraft is all about rich description, yet we don't get much exposure to what these horrors are. There's not much that the protagonist sees. Not that he needs to see the central threat directly—as they say, the scariest monster is the one you never see—but we do need to see evidence of it, and there isn't a lot that's disturbing to the senses. Plus it's mostly focused on what he hears and sees. Horror in particular needs to engage all the senses.

And again, the framing device isn't helping at all. I have no idea who I am to him, and after the first scene, I must still be with him, but he doesn't talk to me anymore, and I'm not experiencing any of this with him. Honestly, I think you should drop the frame. You'll still need some way to get me up to speed, though it'd be far more effective to work in that material gradually as it becomes germane to the action, instead of dumping a bunch of exposition up front.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3517

Chapter 1:
>A tentacle-like thing appendage//
Seems like you only meant one of those words to be there.

>You shall reveal me your secrets.//

Really needs a "to" in there, as "reveal" doesn't take an indirect object.

>The pink-maned, white-coated unicorn filly//

You're in her perspective, which makes the narration her thoughts. What motivation would Celestia have to describe herself?

>there seemed to be some form of predatory intelligence there//

Watch the close word repetition.

>Her magic reached out and a bundle of sticks floated up beside her.//

Needs a comma to separate the clauses.



>Where it touched the walls of its prison the color seemed to drain from the wood.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>…and I think it likes me. You will love it, Lulu.//

When we don't get the beginning of the sentence earlier in the story, go ahead and capitalize after a leading ellipsis.

>It can't be dangerous if you can carry it with a stick.//

This is a wonderful line of child logic.

By the way, I poked at you a bit about perspective in the previous scene. In this one, it feels more like you have an omniscient narrator. In that case, phrases like "the unicorn filly" are fine, as long as you don't use them too often (you don't). I still think that prior scene felt more like it was in Celestia's perspective than an omniscient one, because it was expressing opinions that Celestia would hold without attributing them to her. There's a fine line between the narrator stating an opinion of his own and stating it on a character's behalf, and you were a little on the bad side of it there, but in light of how this scene feels, you're more in a gray area overall.

>Her pink mane flew around as Celestia shook her head with worrying emphasis.//

Pronouns like to look backward to grab what they're referring to, and since the last character you mentioned was Luna, this tends to say she's the one whose pink mane is flying around. It caused a little speed bump in my reading, and if these weren't characters I already knew, I'd find it confusing.

>A shudder ran down Luna's back and she took a deep breath.//

>A golden aura alighted around the little unicorn's horn and the jute satchel opened.//
Needs a comma.

>Then she looked a the pastry//


>The aura flickered and the bread fell in the bucket.//

Needs a comma.

>to purple eyes surfaced//


>The golden glow reappeared around the satchel and a small flask floated out.//

>With a twist, the cork was removed and Celestia poured some milk into the bucket.//
Needs a comma.

>Four mismatched approximation of eyes//

"Approximation" should be plural.

>And if get all bloated//

Missing word.

>Blorp sounds kinda right but I don't think it's good for a filly.//

Needs a comma.

>everyponys mane//

Missing apostrophe.

>Uhm, I don't think I'll like to dance with a lot of clothes on.//

You have an extra blank line before this paragraph.

One thing I was looking for with this story: does it stand alone well enough? If not, then I'd just post it with the related story you already have on the blog. But a solo post is better for you, so I'm reading it to see if we can do that. The only hangup I have yet is that I just got several characters introduced as if I should know who they are. And I don't remember them appearing in the other story, so it's not exactly an issue with stand-alone-ness, at least with respect to the other story. I can follow who Sottile and Donna Copper Horn are well enough, but Luna brings up Millet in a way it feels like I'm missing a joke.


You're inconsisten about capitalizing that.

>half rotting//


>two fillies laid on a bed of moss//


>the tendrils marking the path of destruction left by the diminutive warrior slowly retreating and rejoining the main mass//

This was a little confusing at first. I thought it was saying the warrior was rejoining the mass.

Chapter 2:
>A few creaks and a very unladylike swear later//
This could really stand to be set off with a comma.

>nopony comes ever here//

A couple of those words sound out of order.

>Look, we put her down, and if she doesn't like it we'll find some other place." She put the bucket down, then put it on its side.//

Three uses of "put" in just two sentences,

>forth and back//

I don't know why you're reversing the normal order. It doesn't hurt anything, i suppose, but it doesn't accomplish anything either, as far as any apparent authorial intent.

>fang circled//

You're using this phrase as a single adjective, so hyphenate it.

>Her smile widened and she clopped her hooves together.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>brown coated//


>When there wasn't//

Needs a comma here to set off the dependent clause.

>again to her bowl and grabbed the spoon again//

Close repetition.

>"'s nothing."//


>That could actually be a good thing, Luna tended to break easily under Donna Copper Horn's look.//

You have a number of comma splices like this, and while most of them don't seem too out of place for a child's perspective, this one did feel a little unwarranted.

>it—" Her sister raised her head. "—Only//

For a narrative aside breaking a quote, 1) don't capitalize the aside, unless it starts with something like a name that has to be capitalized anyway, 2) don't give the aside end punctuation, except possibly for an exclamation mark or question mark, if appropriate, 3) don't capitalize the speech the picks up after it, unless, again, it's a word that has to be capitalized anyway.

>face first//



>I'm not stupid.".//
Extraneous periods.

>kitty—"Celestia bit her tongue"—but//

You got that one right, but the narrative part needs spaces to separate it from the quotes.

>high — sometimes unreasonably high, in Celestia's opinion — standards//

>the — was//
Don't put spaces around an em dash.

>laying on the floor//

Lying, and needs a comma after this to set apart the clauses.

Chapter 3:
>letting out a squeak//
You'll usually want to set off a participial phrase with a comma.

>he turned his head and rummaged in his saddlebags.//


>stood simply//

These sound awkward in this order. I recommend swapping them.

>then become wider//

You've gone into present tense here.

>If you were worried//

Needs a comma here to separate the clauses.

>Luna pulled out her tongue.//

Did you mean stuck out her tongue? I'm not familar with this phrasing, unless it means she's gripping her tongue with her hooves or magic and pulling it out.

>looked down at the black mass covering her fore-legs. A couple of eyes looked//

Close repetition.

>and— and//

No space around the em dash.

>on the top of it//

In the sense you're using this, I've never heard it with a "the" in there.

>behaviour—" He stopped and bowed his head to the side. "—anything//

Aside formatting. It'd be one thing if you got it wrong but consistently so, but you seem to do it a different way every time.

>Master Sottile sorely missed his staff now, it would have helped understanding it better.//

Yeah, you've got lots of these comma splices, and while they could possibly suit the narrative tone while using the children's perspectives, it doesn't fit with Sottile. Donna's dialogue has a bunch of them, too.

Chapter 4:
>And then the small creature had come to It and had put itself between the threat and Itself.//
This is a confusing phrasing. It sounds like Celestia put herself between the threat and herself, which means she's in two places at once. The capitalization scheme does clear it up, but it's pretty hard to notice.

>"I don't know if it can do anything not wrong."//

I'm unclear who speaks this paragraph. I think it's Copper Horn, but I'm not convinced it isn't Sottile. Same with the preceding paragraph, for that matter. I think Garvino says it, but it might be Sottile or Copper Horn. You're relying on narrative actions associated with the quotes to inform who's speaking, but in several paragraphs, multiple characters have actions, and the speaker may not always have one at all. It's confusing. I think I can follow it, but I'm not certain.

>Blinking. Copper Horn looked to Garvino//

Did you mean that period to be a comma?

>the chords of a harp//

Chords refers more to the sound, not the actual strings, and that changes the meaning.

>of the cistern, projecting Luna's shadow on the floor of the cistern//

Repetitive phrasing.

>again fun//

Swap the order of those.

>but —"Her voice dropped even more, skipping on the border of the audible. "—maybe//

No spaces around the em dashes, needs a space between the quotes and the start of the narrative aside, and the aside shouldn't be capitalized or have end punctuation.

>here"–she tapped on it with her hoof–"and//

You actually have this one formatted right. Almost. You're inconsistent with whether you use em dashes or en dashes for them. You have en dashes here, which should have spaces on both sides. Em dashes wouldn't have any.

>It was a difficult choice to make, there were too many possible scenarios requiring different parts of Itself.//

Comma splice.

>The hammering of raindrops on stone and earth was a rustled in the distance.//

I'm not sure what you meant to have there, but this verb form doesn't parse.

>Soft, pink curls//

You don't need that comma, since these adjectives describe different aspects.

>and then it was over."//

Since she immediately picks up again with speech in the next paragraph, the convention is to leave the closing quotation marks off this one.

>When we walked back//

Needs a comma here to separate the clauses.

>I could see it."//

Again, you don't need the closing quotes here.

Chapter 5:
>laying on the surface//

>"I don't like it."//

It's not at all clear who says this.

>Copper Horn closed her eyes, and took a deep breath.//

No need for that comma.

>it"–She squinted her eyes–"dried//

Capitalization, inconsistent dash type. And note that placing the dashes with the narration means she doesn't stop speaking for the action, so make sure that's what you want.

>when she sees a foal//

Needs a comma after this to set off the dependent clause.

>she can't really help herself and start stuffing them with food//


>when we all started//

Needs a comma here.

>what we are having here//

That's a really strange verb tense for the situation. Just "what we have here" would do better.



>pulled out some herbs she threw in the kettle//

This is a really strange phrasing as well. It makes it sound like she's retrieving herbs from the kettle.


That should really be an em dash.

>took another small jar//

>took a pinch of green powder//
Close word repetition.

>She's still likes everything//


>hungry looking//


>that– What– Must//

Dash formatting.

>There was a crunch//

Needs a comma here.

>Shaking her head//

Set off participial phrases with a comma.


>contain–he snorted–Slimey//
Dash formatting.

>chewed through//


>I'm sorry Master.//

Needs a comma for direct address.


Dash formatting.

>it's lines traced in ash//

Its/it's confusion.

>walked to the hole in the wall laid on his stomach to look through it//

Missing word.

>small, internal court//

No need for that comma.

>the fillies room//

Needs an apostrophe.

>but…I mean–//

Dash formatting, and you've been inconsistent about putting a space after an ellipsis.

>In the meanwhile//

You're mixing usual phrasings there. It's either "meanwhile" or "in the meantime."

>When they arrived//

Needs a comma here.

>turned his head and nodded towards them, then turned//

Close word repetition.

>Luna's head laid on Celestia's side//


Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3531

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

That should really be a plural possessive.

Why is that capitalized?


You're generally only going to hyphenate phrasal adjectives like this if what they describe comes after them.

>Rarity purses her lips and holds a finger over it//

What is the "it" here? Her lips? If so , you're mixing singular and plural.


I guess I don't understand why this wouldn't be "speeching."

>12 minutes and 21//

Write those numbers out as words. They're short enough.

>called," she steals a look at her book, "'fashionably//

You did the correct formatting for a narrative aside in a quote earlier on, with the dashes and no commas. Do the same thing here.

>pulling out candy apple//

Seems like there's a missing word.

>See everyone?//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>We zoom in in//


>clashing ... the//

You're inconsistent in how you space your ellipses.

>the smirk of winner//

Missing word.


Needs a space. It's also broken your smart quotes. For that matter, you have a large chunk of story about 20% of the way through where you revert to simple-style quotes. Keep them consistent.

>cun -”//

>“- try//
Use a dash.

>its cut off//

Its/it's confusion.

>as they walk through the doors of Sugarcube Corner, a bell chiming as their shoes hit linoleum floors//

It's pretty clunky to have two "as" clauses in the same sentence. It sounds repetitive, and they can fight each other for the sentence's chronology.

>Ms. Cake//

Why not Mrs. Cake?


I don't get why you didn't spell it chic. If there's a meaning in that choice, it's gone over my head.

>her hair is seems//

Extraneous word.

>The - ah//

Use a dash.




When you have a question mark or exclamation mark on a word italicized for emphasis, it's preferred to include that punctuation in the italics.

>small, "Oh!"s//

You don't need that comma, since it's not a direct quote.


Italicize the exclamation mark.

>the bands live structure to make the most three less members//

Seems like you're missing an apostrophe and a word.

>our new practice are//

Area, I presume?


This could make sense as is, but I wonder if you meant maniacally.

>Rarity, who’s equip//


>Rarity explained//

>Rarity rolled her eyes, but hardly meant it.//
Why are these in past tense?


Why is that apostrophe there?

>her face become puzzled//


>we cut to the wide shot shows Sunset walking into the barn//

Something's off in the phrasing.


Be careful when you use a leading apostrophe. If you have the fancy quotes enabled, it will turn such an apostrophe the wrong way. You can paste one in, or you can type two in a row and delete the first.

>Sunset sighs out in frustration, holding her forehead in her hand.//

These "in/of/with emotion" phrases are rarely a good idea. They're often redundant with emotional cues already present, as is the case here. Sunset's behavior already makes it clear how she feels. You don't need to state it outright.



>we see Applejack break into the scene and slings an arm over each of them//

The verb form of "slings" doesn't fit here.


I'm surprised by the number of people who don't know how to spell this. It's y’all.

>then gibes a flat line frown//

Did you mean "gives"? And "flat-line" would be hyphenated in this usage.

>They’ll have to back for it soon.//

Missing word.

>There's a pause, where Applejack and Rarity stay silent.//

Yes, that would be what a pause is. And you just recently had a "There's a pause" paragraph.


You'd been putting spaces around your en dashes.


Missing end punctuation.

>I should this.//

>When Dash drop on the grass//
I don't know why I'm suddenly seeing so many of these obvious editing mistakes. Did you not read through this after you wrote it?


Backward apostrophe.



>Fluttershy lies down//

You got the right verb here
>When Dash drop on the grass and lays down//
But not here.



>manages a,//

When you put something like "a" in front, you're making it genric and not a direct quote anymore, so you don't need the comma.


You don't always use the apostrophe. You don't really need it, though. It's just a nickname.

>Rainbow Dash using her free arm as a pillow//

You just used "her free arm" in the previous paragraph.


Include the exclamation mark in the italics.

>She then points it to Pinkie and mouths, what happened?//

You're inconsistent at putting that comma there. (It does need one. And it needs to be capitalized, too.)



>a, “Hi.”//

You don't need the comma or the capitalization.

>Oh, I’d love to see you try, Love.//

Why is "love" capitalized?


You're inconsistent about whether you put this kind of thing in single or double quotes.

>Sunset pushes off the wall, and walks to the middle of the circle.//

You have a few spots like this, where you don't need the comma, because there aren't multiple clauses. This is just a compound verb.


That's not a spot where hyphens go in numbers.

>follow in suite//

I've heard of "follow suit," if that's what you're going for.

>every so sorry//


>looks at Flutterhy with sympathy. “Look//

Repetitive word choice.

>“Now, breathe in – “//

Those closing quotes are backward, and I suspect many of them throughout the story are when they've been set off from a dash with a space.

>stops speaking in opt to hyperventilate instead//

I've never heard that phrasing It's weird. I would have expected "stops speaking in order to" or "stops speaking, opting to."

>simple base line//


>the focus in on Fluttershy//

Something's not right here, but I don't know what you meant to say.

>Twilight looks down at her book.//

This is a narrative aside, so don't put a period on it.


That's not where hyphens go in a number.

>They share one more small, seemingly smaller laugh in comparison to the sky that engulfs it, before watching the sky in content silence.//

I don't know if I'm supposed to be getting anything clever out of this. It just feels repetitive with two uses each of "small" and "sky," and the "small, seemingly smaller" doesn't really even make sense to me.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3546

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found. Of course, not everything is a black-and-white issue; this is not a list of things you have to fix, but take each under advisement.

>they finds//
>they decides//
Typos. Unless you're trying to be weirdly gender-neutral and use a singular verb for this on purpose, which 1) will confuse most readers and 2) you aren't even consistent about:

Chapter 1:
>worn out—tired//
I don't see what that "tired" adds. It makes the sentence choppy, and it doesn't change my understanding of anything.

>But, work was not exactly what I had always dreamed it would be.//

It's only under certain circumstances that a comma after a conjunction is appropriate. It isn't here.

A word about "to be" verbs—they're boring. Nothing happens. It can be awkward and cumbersome to avoid them altogether, particularly in dialogue, but it's a good idea to use more active verbs where you can. Too many of these ones just makes a story feel stagnant and lose momentum. So when your very first paragraph already has 4 of them (was, was, be, were), it sets the tone for the whole story. You do want to create the impression that your story will lack action.

>together, played some music, went out to a club, or just chilled together//

Kind of repetitive use of "together."

>I poured myself a long glass of orange juice//

Also repetitive with the "something cool and long" she mentioned recently.

>I poured myself a long glass of orange juice, and retired to the living room.//

That comma is unnecessary, since it's only separating a compound verb, not distinct clauses. There's a brief discussion on "comma use with conjunctions" at the top of this thread that will explain.

>My phone beeped again. Already in a conversation with someone, it would only make that sound if a different person sent me a message.//

This is a rather obtrusive thing to put in there. It's way too explain-y. Consider that the narration is essentially her train of thought. Why would she need to work through an explanation of this to herself? It sounds more like her explaining it to an audience who doesn't know how phones work. There are subtler ways to go about something like this.

>I smiled, at least he had read the profile I had posted.//

Comma splice. And would this really relieve her? If it was someone randomly contacting her, it would worry me less than someone who had researched me first, but I guess it depends on the nature of the app.

>It was such a corny, and well-used pickup line//

When you have a conjunction between a list of only two adjectives, don't use a comma.

>lifted it to my mouth—took a sip.//

Some of these dashes you use are really awkward. And I'm not sure why you prefer it this way. I can't say it's wrong but it does feel unnatural, so it does harm the story's flow. A comma would be fine here, and I'm not sure if you were simply worried it wouldn't be. But it'd essentially be a list without an "and," something called asyndeton.

>The usual reply of, "Only the pretty ones,"//

You don't need either comma. This isn't being presented as a formal quote, so it doesn't have to obey all the rules of one.

>Or, he's a player and uses the same corny lines on all the girls he chats up.//

No comma.

>we can chat more?— I asked.//

I'm not sure you meant to format it this way, but did you mean that "I asked" to be in the same formatting block? It'll differ by device and browser, but that "asked" ended up on the next line, so "I" just kind of hangs out by itself and looks wrong. The reader will catch on by now that the right-justified stuff is Rarity, so they don't ned to be reminded of it here anyway. I don't think you need the dialogue tag.

>I ignored the thirty-six messages from Rainbow Dash, and activated the app she had forced upon me.//

No comma.

>No one with all positives existed, unicorns were in Equestria, not Canterlot.//

That first comma is a splice. Now, splices can be used to effect at times, but Rarity is a pretty formal speaker, and this isn't a situation that has her scared, angry, or otherwise far out of her element, so it just doesn't seem to suit her.

>Reading the profile, it seemed to be the absolute minimum to fill in to make a profile.//

Repetition of "profile," and by this phrasing, "it" (whatever "it" is) is the one reading the profile.

>I watched the message counter on Rainbow Dash's name tick up by two more, and swapped to a browser window. I simply typed his nickname into a search engine, and tapped go.//

Neither of those commas should be there. I'm going to be spending hours copying out examples of this if I keep at it, so I hope you get the picture by now. I'm not going to mark any more.

>I said, my voice betraying my intrigue//

This is a subtle but important aspect of perspective. If she's intrigued, that should come through the tone of her thoughts, i.e., narration. The fact that she'd even notice what her voice was doing doesn't put her attention in the right place. It also creates the chain of evidence that she realized she was intrigued from the sound of her voice, which doesn't make sense. You don't have to listen to your voice to figure out how you feel.

>(the app he had contacted me through)//

We should already know this. If you've mentioned it before, this is redundant. If you haven't, then you should have. This also isn't something she'd reasonably think to herself, which makes the narration feel less like her stream of thought and more like something for the benefit of an audience she's aware of, but you're not framing the story that way.

>grabbed up the work I still had to finish, and shoved them into my folio//

A little disconnect there in the collective (treated as singular) "work" being the same thing as the plural "them."

>Pulling out into traffic, I was startled when—rolling forward—the brakes suddenly locked up and stopped me; just as a large pickup was swerving into the lane I almost entered.//

Okay, numerous problems here. Let's break it down. As placed, "rolling forward" tends to describe the brakes, and once again, it's awkward to have it be a harsh break with dashes. The participial structure means that things happen concurrently, so she pulls out into traffic at the same time she stops, whereas they more reasonably would happen one after the other. And the semicolon isn't used right. You should be able to replace one with a period and have both resulting sentences stand as complete, but the part after it here would be a fragment.

>No sooner was my key in the front door lock and turning, than my phone beeped.//

No comma here.

>The message was Rainbow Dash asking if I was interested in going to a nightclub.//

Again, his sounds more like she's explaining this for the reader's benefit than actually thinking it to herself. Who would actually think this? If she just made an offhand remark about it being Dash, the reader can put two and two together to understand this.

>—If you must know, I am awaiting a reply from that guy I mentioned last night.—//

Formatting again. FimFic put that ending dash on a line by itself. I'm not familiar enough with all the formatting options to know what would be the best way to fix it, but it's worth looking at things like this to see how they appear on screen before you publish them.

>I also don't want NotABug to contact me//

This shouldn't be in present tense.

>I sent.//

I get it by now. This helped the first time you did it, but after that, these attributions on the texts are really obtrusive. I wouldn't recommend using them after that first one.

>but there was some things//

Mixing singular/plural.

>If either of us think the answers are too short, we get to ask a question.//

In this case, "either" would be treated as singular, so that should be "thinks."

>I was all-in, he was a stranger after all.//

Comma splice.

>—So you read my bio before looking at my cleavage?—//

Maybe intentionally on your part, but this makes her rather hypocritical. She was complaining earlier about people only paying attention to that, so she could head off the problem by having a picture that didn't show any. So for whatever reason, it's worth it to her to use that photo.



>Expecting him to ask a deeper question was one thing, having him spend such on something so strange made me remember he was a programmer, after all.//

The first comma is a splice. A semicolon would do fine there.

I don't understand why you'll let his texts go all the way across the screen, but you're taking care to truncate hers so they stay more right-justified. Shouldn't they both have about the same width?

>Reaching for my glass of juice, I took a slow, satisfying drink.//

Synchronization again. She wouldn't take a drink until after she'd reached for it, but this says she does both at the same time.

>I would look deeply into your eyes.//

I guess I'm a little surprised Rarity doesn't react to the fact her question related to a hypothetical girl, while his response was directed at her.

>Using my magic, which Twilight said I shouldn't use except when necessary, I collected a tub of ice cream from the freezer and a long-handled spoon.//

Does she have levitation power, though? I don't remember her ever doing that.

>But, he had come back with something actually sweet//

No comma after the conjunction.


You hadn't been hyphenating that until now, but the next couple are.

>neither of those have//

Same as before, this would be singular: neither of those has.

>Are, you there?//

Why is that comma there?

>I felt its joy//

>The drive home was a joy//
These are in consecutive sentences. I can't tell if you did this on purpose, but it doesn't come across as such. There's an art to letting the reader know repetition is deliberate. The three typical ways are to use words like "still," "again," or whatever else might be appropriate to acknowledge it; to use italics in the right spot to acknowledge it; or to use the repeated element at least 3 times.

>Collecting a fresh tub of ice-cream, a spoon, and my usual juice, I settled down at the end of the couch//

You have a consistent problem with these participial phrases synchronizing actions that shouldn't be.

>and pulled a comforter (kept folded under the coffee table for just such a situation//

Pulled a comforter where? And you never closed that parenthesis.

>work my work//


>Snapping the shot, I double-checked the picture//

More synchronization issues. I won't keep marking these, or they'll pile up and really slow me down, but you need to scan for them.

>Although, it was mostly seeing//

Comma after a conjunction again.


That's not where hyphens go in a number.

>back on the couch, and had to fight to keep tears back//

Close repetition.

>Staring at the patterns, my creativity seemed dead.//

This says her creativity was staring at the patterns.

>against my friends and I//

People make this kind of mistake all the time because they're deathly afraid of using "me" where it should be "I." In this case, "me" is actually the right answer. To illustrate, have her be the only one. Which sounds right, "against me" or "against I"?

>was five calls//

Mixing singular and plural.

Whatever emojis they exchange aren't coming up in the story. I just see an empty square.

>There was just words//

Mixing singular/plural again.

>I tried to work out what to do, there was no keypad appearing to type on.//

Comma splice.


Unless it's something like a name that has to be capitalized anyway, only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

>It's body was inky-black//

Its/it's confusion, and you don't need that hyphen.


Only capitalize the first part.

I guess I'm really surprised that Rarity isn't put off in the least by seeing him for real. She's never encountered anything like this, and she immediately wants to hug it?

>started to cut through my emotional wreck, and I started//

Close word repetition.

>I saw my folio laying on the floor//

Lying. Those are tough verbs to keep straight.

>"I don't know why talking to him in person seemed so important, when all I needed was some good rest.//

Missing your closing quotes.

>practically pranced through the house to begin my day. I had the laundry on, practically//

Close repetition.

>bra and panties I wore under my work clothes was//

Mixing singular/plural again.

>Bright, summer colors//

You don't need that comma. The non-foolproof test is to see if two adjectives would sound really awkward in reverse order. If so, you don't use a comma.

>my bosses number//

You have a plural where you need a possessive.

>Looking at it, the text//

This says the text looked at it.

>"That worm couldn't get me fired if she wanted to.//

You need to start a new paragraph here.

>hope the promotion goes unnoticed//

Why are you in present tense?

>broke the peace of my thoughts, "Just don't let her break//

Close repetition, and you're trying to use something without a speaking action as a speech tag.

>this,"—I gestured at the empty folio—"around//

You almost have this format right, but there shouldn't be a comma.

>black, Swiss Viole fabric//

No comma.

I've been floating through this scene so far, kind of confused. Does Rarity not remember him emerging from the phone?

>It was just as I imagined; just as I designed it.//

Not really a correct use of a semicolon.

>Mottled alabaster skin//

She just used "alabaster" a few paragraphs ago. That's too soon for keeping an unusual word like that from sounding repetitive.

>Turning, I created a single-faceted plate out of my magic, and hovered it around as I turned//

Close repetition.

>Reality was the bane of a muse. It cramped them, restricted them.//

What does "them" refer to? I don't see anything plural that she's said.

>reassuring hug of my bra, and the tug of the g-string were reassuring//

So the reassuring thing was reassuring? You don't say...


Only capitalize the first.

Okay, so she does recognize him now. But her reaction is inconsistent. The first time, she immediately wanted to hug him, but the second, she backs awway and refers to him as a monster.

>There was multiple tones//

Mixed singular/plural.


Only capitalize the first. I think you get the picture by now. I won't keep marking these.

At this point, I'm going into skim mode. I'll explain why at the end, but I just want to get an overview of where the story's going. I might chime in with a few more plot-related notes or new mechanical issues, but mostly I just want to get the gist of the rest of it.

>I will remain discrete//


>set a menu down discretely//

Same issue, and awful soon to repeat the word. You probably need to look up th difference between discrete and discreet.

Wow, you really glossed over dinner. I barely even noticed her ordering or eating, and she's already talking about getting dessert and paying. This is a pretty big missed opportunity to show them interacting. He probably doesn't understand a lot about food.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92UCountry code: ponychan.png, country type: customflag, valid: 3547

Chapter 2:
In numbers, hyphens only go between the tens and ones (and ten thousands and one thousands, and so on) place.

Well, this chapter certainly drags. Yes, we're getting a new viewpoint, but it's still telling us a bunch of information we already know. The only new thing is Bug's origin, but we didn't have to get it as a narration-only, after-the-fact summary. Those are really hard to pull off without getting terribly boring, and that's pretty much what happened here. His history could come out a little at a time as he converses with Rarity. Bite-sized chunks is often the way to play this. A huge block of exposition rarely works, because the reader has no reason yet to care about all this as much as you do.



Chapter 3:
>and…" I said, trailing off//
The ellipsis already means she trails off. Narrating it as well is redundant.

>dress and top that fitted me perfectly//

In that sense, the past tense is just "fit."

>the cost of a new mobile phone//

She doesn't have insurance on it? If not, might she be lamenting that?


You'd only hyphenate that if you're using it as an adjective.


Discreetly again.

>looked positively loathe//

This is the verb form. The adjective is "loath."

>and saw dollar symbols almost literally appear in the woman's eyes//

You already pulled that with the guy in the cell phone store. It's repetitive.

Chapter 4:
This has a ton more of these "I sent" tags, and they're really unnecessary. Plus they look weird when they go back to regular font, but it's still right-justified, since that's not the part that's supposed to look like a text.


No reason to have a hyphen there.

>And I have the best,//

Comma should be a period.

And now you are changing formats so the speech tags on the texts aren't in the same paragraph as the actual text. Neither one looks great, but this way probably makes more stylistic sense. You should be consistent, in any case.

>hold back,//

Another comma that should be a period.

>just send me a massage//

I can't tell if that's your error or Fluttershy's. I'm guessing yours, since nobody makes a joke about it.

>—NotABug, remember what I told you about touching in places? That goes for most of my—our body. Unless you really like Rainbow Dash, and I mean really really like, don't let her do anything unless you are sure you want it.—//

I guess I'm surprised at how little Rarity cares about this. Most people would consider someone else using their body for sexual purposes to be a serious invasion.

>want to,— I sent NotABug//

I'm going to stop marking these. It seems like it's only cropped up in this chapter, but maybe I missed some earlier ones. If you were using quotation marks, the comma would be correct, but since you want this to visually look like the actual text, you can bend the rules, but be consistent about it. Don't go with periods in the early chapters then switch to commas later.


Don't hyphenate that.

Chapter ?:
Basically, I'm satisfied that I know all I need to about this story to render a verdict except one thing: how explicit the material will get that prompted you to put the [Sex] tag on this. So I'm going to ultra-skim the rest to find those bits and see if they're tame enough. So I won't be taking near as many notes, but I will if I happen to notice something.

You have a number of places where there are two blank lines between paragraphs.

You also should really look at how these text messages appear on screen, both on a computer and a mobile device. You'll find that some of them have line breaks in very inpportune places, like having only the final dash on the next line. It'd behoove you to add or take out a word here and there so it all looks nice.

Chapter 6:
>High School//
That shouldn't be capitalized.

>Given your activities,"—Fleur gestured at the portfolio—"I gather//

Drop that comma. You don't use one in this format.

Chapter 8:
British spelling? I've only ever seen "moxie."

>making me do go through this farce//

Jumbled wording.

>I'm not going to get anymore work from you, am I?//

"Anymore" and "any more" aren't the same thing. You need two worse, since an adverb wouldn't parse there.

>What's up, sis?//

Seems like you want Sweetie Belle to be as correct as Rarity in how she types. As a term of address, a family relation should be capitalized, since you're effectively using it as a name.

Chapter 9:
>comfortable teddy that NotABug seemed insistent on sleeping in. I couldn't blame her—it was comfortable//
So you're saying it's comfortable.

>"Comfortable enough to get some more. Time to add some things to my list.//

Ah, confirmed for comfortable. But you didn't close your quotation marks.

>dare not to accept me//

In this kind of phrasing, the "to" is implied. Leave it out.

>what,"—she gestured at what had become of the game machine—"is//

Drop the comma.

Chapter 10:
>out voted//
That should be one word.


None of those hyphens should be there.

>I wondered if she were awake or asleep//

Was. This isn't hypothetical.

Chapter 11:
>Rainbow's fingers explored the edges of my wings, gently running her fingers//
So... Rainbow's fingers were running her fingers?

>checking my email, checking//

Watch the close word repetition.

>—We're at the front door,//

You're missing the ending dash, and don't you normally put color behind these?

>she— This//

Em dashes shouldn't have space next to them on either side.

>Hiya Twilight!//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>looked stunned. She looked//

Close word repetition.

>If you think I'm going to let you feel sorry for yourself over something this inconsequential, you've got another thing coming//

It's "you've got another think coming."

>led them free//

That's a rather odd phrasing.

Chapter 12:
Okay, this is a real odd bird. The whole story's been about Rarity so far. It did spend a little time in Bug's perspective early on, but the bulk has been in Rarity's. And now after 100k words, you're going to introduce a new one? I mean... I can get why you want to use Windigo's viewpoint, but if you were going to, it would have been better to have little bits of it throughout the story. This isn't the kind of thing to spring on the reader now. I'm not going to make you change it, but this was a pretty bad idea, and there are ways of getting a lot of this chapter's info across while staying in Rarity/Bug's perspective.

Even with this kind of thing, I still see readers gush over bad decisions because they think it's cool to see part of the story through these other characters' eyes, but frankly, your average reader isn't too sophisticated about what they want from a story. I haven't actually looked at the comments to see if you got that kind of a reaction, but really, this is the first serious mistake I've seen you make. As long as you're going down that road, I hope you'll at least make it a little worthwhile, and that means inhabiting Windigo's viewpoint somewhat regularly from now on. If you have that major break in the story's structure only to abandon it immediately, that'd make things even worse, because then you've got a huge case of "one of these things is not like the others."

I really don't even see the value of utilizing Windigo's perspective anyway, unless you want to make him into a sympathetic character at some point. It just detracts from having this feel like Rarity's story.

To wit, the readership dropped significantly for this chapter.

Chapter 13:
You're falling into a trap the last few chapters where you start lots of sentences with participial elements. Authors of intermediate experience tend to do that, when they've learned to use such thing but not to do so in moderation. The problem is: they don't turn up a lot in normal conversation, so they stand out easily when repeated, like a fancy word. You won't notice "the" five times in a sentence, but you would notice two uses of "ventriloquist" on an entire page. These things are best used as seasoning, so don't let them overpower your story. FWIW, the author of Grendel put out a writing guide, and he considers participles a particularly weak way to start a sentence.

Another part of the issue is that you're doing this in the same places a lot, right at the beginnings of paragraphs. I'm going to paste in the first phrase from some consecutive paragraphs to illustrate, and I'll mark them with an asterisk if they are a participial element.

>Smiling at how NotABug had kept up her half of our deal*

>There was two new aspects (note you have a singular/plural mismatch here)
>Actually, flexible didn't even begin to cover it.
>Opting not to wrap my hair or tail*
>All my life I'd been a show-off.
>I'm turning into a pony monster
>I agreed with myself.
>Picking up the underwear*
>A mare's tail
>The barbaric option
>My mind derailed
>Leaning into the cups*
>Grabbing up the panties*
>No, no, no.
>I pinched the hem down
>Sitting upon my sewing seat*
>Rigging my sewing machine*
>The buttonhole foot had to go
>Taking out a seam ripper*
>Humming to myself*
See how it builds up? That started with one every third or fourth paragraph, which is already pushing it, but then you hit a stretch where the majority are. Couple that with other participial elements in the other parts of those paragraphs, and it's a structure you're abusing.

>"Phrasing," Rainbow Dash said.//

So she's Archer now?

>the two officers each wore the severe uniform of a police officer//

So the officers were wearing officers' uniforms? You don't say.

>There was plenty of things//

You keep using singular "was" to refer to plural objects.

So you put a pretty big disclaimer on this chapter, but if this is really as explicit as things get, you're nowhere near having a problem. Honestly, her odd focus on shapeshifting her genitals comes closer to the line than any of the sexual innuendo.

>The fashion was the give away.//

In that sense, "giveaway" is one word.

>on principal//


>came free of the egg, both her little wings buzzed//

So these aren't going to be like show changelings who start out looking like grubs?

>Yes, mother.//

"Mother" would be capitalized as a term of address.

>between Rainbow and I//

between Rainbow and me

Chapter 14:
Don't italicize sound effects like this. It's a valid word, so just leave it in normal font. Trying to get visually fancy with sound effects is a rather amateur thing, unless you're going for a children's story feel, which you clearly aren't.

>I'm sure you have more important things to do with your day than using psychological games on innocent women.//

That "using" should just be "use." It's a type of infinitive.

>NotABug looked around the room and her eyes fixated on our new mobile phone.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>P.O. Box//

There's no reason to capitalize "box" here.

>Uma no Sushi//

I noticed this when you first used the name. Horse's sushi? Heh.

>Should we suggest it?//

I was going to save this until the end, but I'll go ahead and say that the weirdest thing about this story is how unsurprised everyone is. They just all regard Rarity as if she's barely outside the norm. She looks rather horselike by now and has a massive horn, and she's carrying around a daughter who looks very much like a horse, and people hardly even consider her a curiosity. That's some pretty hard suspension of disbelief to get over. And now she's the one suggesting Sweetie Belle combine with Byte? Her own sister, Rarity wouldn't have any idea what might happen, has no idea what the long-term implications are, has no idea if this is even a good thing, and she's going to tell Sweetie Belle to try it? And Bug is the one being the voice of reason? That's pretty hard to swallow.

>Making my way to the kitchen, I left my little family and set about making//

Watch the close repetition.

There's a parallel to good fiction structuring that you might think about using at the restaurant. It's that you shouldn't have a steady rising action to the climax. That's true in multiple ways. One, that there are lulls in what happens so it's not a monotonous climb. And two, that whatever conflict the story has doesn't just go linearly to its resolution. It's not interesting to read a story where everything works in the protagonist's favor and they have no real obstacles to success. So when everyone likes everything the chef makes them, it really saps the narrative of interest. There's no question in my mind that's how it will end up, because it's been that way on every visit to the restaurant so far. I might as well just skip over the scene, since I can already tell how it's going to end. You don't want me to be able to do that. And the chef said so himself, that he needed feedback to make good choices. That includes not liking something. By removing the possibility of failure, you've also removed the possibility of much interest.

Now step back to the story as a whole. Rarity had no real resistance to Bug joining her. They've had no trouble relating to her friends, maintaining their relationship, getting a love interest, having a child, setting up a business... What is there to keep me reading to find out if it'll work? I know it all will. There's no tension. The only slight source is Windigo, but he hasn't given them much trouble either. Bug didn't fare too well against him the first time, but Rarity easily dealt with his trap in the car. In well over 100k words, he's only made those two attempts on them. There's just a straight line from defining every conflict to seeing it resolved, and that's not an interesting way to drive a plot arc. Nobody has any setbacks. I like the story for the good characterizations and interactions, and that's a different way of generating interest, but the plot is honestly kind of dull. It's more a story about character growth, which can be a fine substitute for conflict, and that's what's keeping me interested in the story, but like I said, her character growth is just a constant stream of success, and it'd be a lot more engaging if you sprinkled in the occasional failure. Maybe keep that in mind going forward?

>do some work while NotABug does//

Watch the close repetition.

>Which, is something I should be working on now.//

No reason to have that comma.

Author's Note: who's Hando?

Chapter 15:
>if it were new//

>in future/

Missing a "the."

>cubical farm//


>He walked around and bundle//

Verb forms don't match.

>half hour meeting//

Since you're using "half hour" as an adjective here, hyphenate it.


There's not really a reason to use an apostrophe for a nickname.

Chapter 16:
>Everything about the transformation has been horribly mundane//
That should really be "had."


Same deal as before with the italicized sound effects.

I have to say, this chapter is really dry. I see authors do this all the time: take a subject they know a lot about and show off, to the point it's pretty incomprehensible to someone without that knowledge. To a degree, understanding it isn't critical—I'm just supposed to get a general idea of what they're doing and accept them as experts, but it's still a lot of verbiage to plow through that doesn't mean anything to me. You might want to keep these exchanges less technical.


No hyphen.

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