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Jan 20: Board Organization Discussion
Jan 15: Staff Update, and Rules Update

Pre-reader 63.546"s Equestria Daily Feedback Thread Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 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:
604 posts and 3 image replies omitted. Click View to see all.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2669

I apologize at taking so long to respond, as I thought I had checked this thread much more recently that I had.

So, first, I did find this an engaging story despite my confusion, and that's nothing to sneeze at. Really, that's all an author can hope to do: keep the reader interested in what happens next. And you've got that. It just takes pushing through a lot of material to get there, material which is unclear as to what it means or if it'll ever be explained.

Your plan to get to why the humans are there earlier is a good one, and I urge you to state as early as possible that the central conflict is that a human has been killed. That makes the humans' presence immediately relevant, which is the perfect time to sneak in a little back story as to why they're in Equestria. It's hard, but if you can come up with thoughts Rarity would have about the situation or dialogue between her and whoever else is there that feels natural yet illustrates this back story, that's the ideal way to work it in.

All of those words with "Nacht-" at the beginning... the endings have different genders, but "teule" should be feminine like "königin." Interesting that none of those words have an adjective ending. Maybe because "Nacht-" is a noun adjunct instead of an adjective? The only one I remember this way is resistance group, "Widerstandsgruppe," and the entire class was flummoxed as to why that "s" got added there, since we figured it should be an "e" if anything. But here, "Widerstand" is also a noun adjunct to a feminine noun, so... I don't get it. But you have a pattern there, so you're probably correct.

If you have any further questions, please ask. I would love to see this story succeed.
This post was edited by its author on .

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2671

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.

>But the lives of its people, particularly one Anna Erklass, faces irrevocable change//
Number mismatch: people faces.

>Winter has come//
Why the switch to present tense?

Please use proper dashes for asides and cutoffs, not hyphens.

>lest it drew//

"Lest" phrasings use present tense. Actually, they use subjunctive mood, essentially an infinitive form, but present tense is easier to explain.

>doubled down//

"Doubled over" would be a more familiar phrasing. What you had is more widely recognized as a blackjack play.

>The doe//

You're definitely using a limited narrator, since you express her thoughts directly as narration. Pay attention to the implications of your word choices, then. You're asserting that she'd describe herself in her internal thoughts as "the doe." People just don't think of themselves so externally. I take it you're withholding her name as some sort of reveal, but again, consider what's implied by your limited narrator doing so. It means she's avoiding revealing her identity even to herself, in her own thoughts. Why would she avoid the subject? This is a fairly advanced topic, but there are lots of little details that cascade out of how you decide to tell a story, and this is the kind of baggage that comes with a limited narrator. Any choices have pluses and minuses, and you ought to work within those. You make references like this in the first chapter, too.

>without mercy nor compassion//

This is actually an "or" phrasing unless you want to say "with neither mercy nor compassion."

>who she had failed//


>whose purpose are yet to be revealed//

You have a plural verb with a singular subject.

>the pair of foals she protects//

Why the switch to present tense?

>their gaze were fixed//

>Reindeer magic were//
More singular/plural mismatches.

>the doe could hear//

>she could see//
Besides being a repetitive phrasing so close together, it's rarely necessary for a limited narrator to say what the focus character heard or saw. The narrator effectively is the character, so it's already implied the character can see or hear whatever the narrator mentions. Conversely, a limited narrator can't describe things the focus character can't perceive. It's only worth using perception verbs like this when you want to emphasize that it's something most characters wouldn't notice or that the character was specifically keeping an eye/ear out for it.

>It was once one star a week or two ago, before a split occurred, and the star was forever split in two.//

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean, and there's nothing here to give it any sense of importance.

>It was then, that the doe looked down upon the sisters, and realised then that it was their sign//

That first comma just has no reason to be there. The second one's unnecessary, too, and you've been using a fair amount of them in the same situation. You only need one with a conjunction when there are separate clauses, but here, the same subject is linked to both verbs. There's also a repetitive "then" phrasing.

>Lilja has done her duty, and will soon resume her duties//


>which could shatter at anytime//

"Any time" and "anytime" aren't interchangeable. An adverb doesn't parse here; you need it to be two words.

>day.” Sint said//


>humility, and//

Extraneous space.

>merry, yet sad smile//

You don't need that comma, but if you want it, pair it with another after "yet sad."

At the beginning of the first chapter, look how often you use direct address. Many authors do this. It's just unnatural. If there is a large group conversing, it can be necessary to make sure the right person is listening, but in general people just don't do this that much, especially when there are only a couple people. Here, you have only two; there's no question about who is speaking to whom. In this case, people only use direct address for emphasis, but you're emphasizing things so much that it loses its effectiveness. Five of the first six paragraphs use direct address.

>But she was already gone.//

This is a little off with the perspective. The narrator's been voicing Anna's thoughts for her as a limited narrator. The two are essentially one and the same. So if Anna's already left, how can the narrator know what Erklass replied?

>where the were no trees//


>As the wind howled against the mountainside, in a moment, Anna forgot her grievances with her grandfather, laughing as she gracefully leapt off the walkway and into the open air.//

It's pretty clunky to have multiples of certain elements in a sentence, like your two "as" clauses here. Not only does it get repetitive, but these (along with participles and absolute phrases) synchronize things, so it starts to lump a lot of actions ontop of each other, often to the point they couldn't actually happen simultaneously.

>as she gave herself up to the pull of the earth, letting it take her where it would... yet confident of her capacity to determine her own fate, as the air currents brushed lightly upon the soles of her outstretched hooves//

And this is in the next paragraph. You're definitely abusing the "as" clauses and participial phrases. I did a Ctrl-f on " as " (including the spaces to make sure I got it as a single word), and you have 58 of them in this chapter. That's a lot of times to use this structure. Sure, not all of them are used in this sense, but try it yourself. Do a search on " as " and watch the screen light up. Also notice how they tend to occur in clusters

>filled the city, immense pines and firs, filled//

Watch that close repetition.

You're inconsistent at times how you format thought. You have it italicized in places, in single quotes in others, and sometimes only tagged with a thought attribution.

>brushing away a strand of reddish-brown mane/

Given it's her perspective, it seems odd for her to comment on her own hair color, unless it's different than what she's used to.

>evening, shimmering//

Extraneous space.

>“Oh, hello, sis!”//

When effectively used as names, family relations get capitalized, so it'd be "I went with Sis," but "I went with my sis."

>I am//

Extraneous space.

>And really, sis//


>One of them, one with a pure white coat//

Redundant use of "one."

>but on second thoughts//

I've only ever seen that phrased as singular.


I have no idea how that's supposed to sound. Do you actually have her pronouncing the "w"?



>“Say,” Anna said//

Given her piece of dialogue, that's kind of a repetitive choice of speaking verb.

>“I…” Anna said, trailing off//

An ellipsis already means trailing off, so narrating such as well is redundant. The same would go for pointing out an interruption or cutoff when you'd used a dash.


Why is that apostrophe there? What missing letters would come there?

>Luna, the dark-coated one//

>the white-coated child, Celestia//
As long as they've been in the story already, you don't need to keep specifying which one is which.

>in askance//

I've never seen anyone use "in" with that word.

>old, greying mare//

I get the picture. At every opportunity, you tell me she's old. It's gone past repetitive and into grating.

>Her sister flashed a look of concern//

You're doing this an awful lot in this chapter: outright telling me how characters feel. This has the effect of being more abstract and thus less relatable. The point is to make the story lifelike, as if the reader were standing there witnessing it. So how can you tell someone's concerned? It's not something you can observe directly. It's something you interpret from how the person acts and looks. So how do people behave such that you would deduce they were concerned? Have her do those things. It's like the difference between saying someone was happy and saying they smiled. One just feeds me an abstract conclusion, while the other gets me to see the evidence and draw my own conclusion, just like I would with a real person.

>a look of sadness//

I've been glossing over lots of these, but I want to point out the four main ways authors get too blunt with emotion: saying it as a noun (his sadness), adjective (he was happy), adverb (he grinned excitedly), or putting it in a prepositional phrase (sighed in relief). You're mostly doing that last one, and it's the most extraneous kind, since it almost always is redundant with information already in the sentence. The excerpt I've made here isn't redundant, but it's still a far too blunt way of communicating sadness.

>How could I forget your fondness for these, sister//


>miss, if/

Extraneous space.


Putting sound effects in the narration like this tends not to work with serious stories. They belong more in comedies or children's stories.


You must have done your editing in more than one place. You mostly use fancy-style quotation marks, but you have simple ones here. I haven't been paying attention, so I don't know if you have simple ones elsewhere, but you should sweep the story to make them consistent.

>stacked with, she gasped, a few slices of chocolate cake//

That's really strange to punctuate that aside with commas. It reads like you're trying to make it a speech attribution. It'd do much better with dashes.


Two-word phrases starting in an -ly adverb don't take hyphens, since none of the hierarchy of what modifies what is ambiguous.

>looked over them, a kind look//

Watch the repetition.

>What ith us around//


>as light//

Extraneous space. You should probably do a search for double spaces to make sure you catch all these.

>In all honesty, cousin//


And now that we've gotten yet another character introduced, namely Platinum, I'll say that several of your characters tend to run together. Anna and Elsa don't have very distinctive personalities. We don't know too much about them yet, but personality also comes through character voice, and their dialogue sounds so similar that I wouldn't be able to tell them apart without speech tags saying who was speaking. Adding in that limited narration reflects personality as well, I've now got Lilja, Anna, Elsa, and Platinum who all lack distinctive voices. Sint didn't speak too much, so it's hard to gauge him yet, and Firefly was unique, but the rest aren't very distinguishable. What can you do o give them little quirks and mannerisms? Play them off each other, have each react to these quirks to highlight them in the reader's eye. This is a bit of an exaggeration, but ideally, you would only have to tag dialogue for each character once, and their voices would stand out so much that it would never be in question which one was speaking. I realize they're all royals so far, which at least explains why they all use a formal tone, but they all use the identical formal tone.


No hyphen/


red, blue, and yellow

>a symbol of the future that awaits Equestria//

Not sure why you broke from past tense here.

>paused - with a knowing smirk//

Use a dash.

Sledge115 2674

Hey, mate, thanks for the time taken to review my story.

First off, I've always had the nagging feeling of repetition in my writings, but until now I didn't realise it was the repeated use of 'as'!

Massive thanks for the character voices tips, I suppose it's something rather noticeable now that I'm going through all of the bits of dialogue.

Overall, though, the problem I'm having with character voices lies in the fact that I'm struggling to balance the formal, royal tones with their characterisations. Anna, for example, is much like her namesake, except a tad bit more formal, and there the line sort of blurs between formal and casual and of course, avoiding anachronisms.

The email mentioned back from Mars. Do I try to resubmit it as 'back from mars'?

At the end of it, I cannot state enough how thankful I am for the feedback. Cheers!

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2677

Yes, one of the pull-down menus on the submission form is whether the story is a new or returning submission, and one of the choices has language about it being back from Mars. Use that one, as it helps flag it as something that's largely problem-free, and it won't require as much scrutiny.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2678

>every Hearth’s Warming with my grandparents, on the Northern coast. We would take the ferry to get there, which traveled up and down the coast every day. But the ferry left our hometown at 4 AM. So every//
Watch the repetition. It's possible you're doing this deliberately to create an effect, but it doesn't feel like it. You have three uses of "every" in just four sentences.

>me and my older sister//

At her age, and the formality implied by having her write this for an audience, I think she'd know to say "my older sister and I."

>dad wouldn’t hear of it//

When you essentially use a family relation as a name, capitalize it. So, for example, it'd be "there's Mom" but "there's my mom."

>house on the coast was a big, beautiful house//

Watch the repetition.

>And every year when we came to visit//

Normally, you'll want to set off a dependent clause like this with a comma.

>mane almost like a lion’s mane//

>endured us with feline grace, such as a long-suffering monarch of the forest might endure//
Some individual instances would be fine, but in the aggregate, you don't want this much repetition showing up in your story.

>Anypony else who tried it would feel her displeasure.//

It's very vague what this means. I assume you mean the cat's displeasure and not the granny's, but even so, how do you feel that? The cat just was restless? Or she'd attack you?

>Not that I had ever noticed before//

And this is the 3rd paragraph in a row to use "notice."

>But on this day when my granny’s cat was gone//

Another spot where you need a comma to set off a dependent clause.

>or if they were there because now that my granny’s cat was gone that meant it was finally safe for the rest of them to come out//

Hm. Especially since we've been set up for this as a Nightmare Night story, I wonder if it wouldn't occur to her the cats might be there to threaten whoever had the old cat put to sleep. May it'll play out that way...

>I pushed the paper aside, and turned to look out the window at Ponyville in autumn.//

This is the opposite issue. You've done this several times now, but it was justified. This one doesn't feel that way, though. It's all a single clause—the same subject does both verbs—so it doesn't need a comma.

>The next morning I left my sister’s house, and locked the front door behind me.//

No comma needed.

>I would never tell her that, but…//

This is far more a speech affectation. People trail off as they speak, and it requires no extra effort. It does take a deliberate effort to put an ellipsis on the page, though, and you're representing this as something she's written, not something she's narrating. So really consider if it adds something to have this and if it's really reasonable for her to do this. It's one of those things that often doesn't work in stories that are supposed to be journals or letters or other articles of writing. Another is dialogue. By the time people write something down, there's no way they could remember entire conversations word for word enough to present them as quotations. A few lines that stuck in their mind, sure, which is why you're still fine here, since you've had very little dialogue, still well within what she could remember reasonably. Though because of the manner she's writing this, I could see her hamming it up a bit in a way she wouldn't with something more limited in audience.

>fit in//

This is really going to depend on how you envision this writing. If she's published it as a book, then italics are fine here. I kind of get the sense that's what this is supposed to be. But if you intend this to be handwritten, I think italics don't work. How would you differentiate them from normal font? One's printed and one's cursive? When people want to emphasize something handwritten, they more typically underline it, darken it (essentially bold font), or write it in all caps. So just go with whatever works for the delivery medium you envision here.

Okay, you're getting into an awful lot of dialogue in this scene. I assume this isn't "live," but still something she's written. If she means it as a story, that's fine, but if she's writing it up as a formal account of what happened to her, it's not coming across as authentic.

>one of a kind librarian//

You're using "one of a kind" as a single modifier right in front of what it describes, so hyphenate it.

>Hi, Sweetie Belle!//

Compare this to a few paragraphs back where you had: "Hi Sweetie!" It's a quick enough instance that I won't grumble too much about using the comma for direct address, but since you're willing to, you might as well in both places.

>Belle!” She said//


>And yet, only ponies have cutie marks.//

It's rare for a comma to be justified after a conjunction. You don't need this one.

>Twilight cast a spell and the map on her table came to life.//

Needs a comma.

>entire planet, along with the sun and the moon. The entire//

Watch the repetition.

>Me and my friends spent so many hours in that wood//

Again, I think she's old enough to know that should be "my friends and I."

>And yes, that includes cats. But there’s a difference there.//

You have a bunch of single-line paragraphs here, and there's no dialogue or quick action. Such things are usually reserved for special emphasis, but when everything is emphasized, effectively nothing is. It suggests you're probably not giving enough description or aren't organizing things very well.

>Cats, I think we can all agree, have destiny in spades.//

Where's this coming from? I don't see her justification for saying it, much less her assurance that I'll agree.

>and when she smiled//

Needs a comma after the dependent clause.

>Hi Fluttershy//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>“Oh, no. I was just going out to do a little weeding. Hold on.” She turned and poked her head behind the door. “It’s just Sweetie Belle! I’ll be just a minute.”//

"Just" is a word many authors tend to overuse. You have three of them in this short excerpt. You have 42 total in the story, which is fairly high for this length a story. It's not awful, but like many authors, it's not only the raw total, but that they occur in clumps. If you do a Ctrl-f for it, look how they get clustered, so even if it's not too repetitive over the whole story, it still is locally.

>Her face lit up with a huge grin and her eyes seemed to shimmer.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>a rare moment of anger//

>a little cry of frustration//
It's usually best to demonstrate emotion than inform of it, unless it's a fleeting thing that doesn't matter much to the story. This is one of the worst kinds, where you have an "in/with/of mood" phrasing, because it's almost always redundant with a behavior already mentioned. In any case, think about how you would know a stranger you saw in public was angry or frustrated. When the reader has to interpret the same cues he would in real life to deduce an answer, it comes across as much more authentic.

>Fluttershy nodded excitedly.//

>Fluttershy continued happily.//
And using these emotion adverbs has the same effect.

>There were hoofsteps and Discord appeared in the doorway himself.//

Needs a comma.


You don't need to hyphenate two-word phrases beginning in an -ly adverb. There's no ambiguity in the modifiers.

>thank you my dear//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>As I left Carousel Boutique//

Set off this dependent clause with a comma.

>cats, unlike ponies, never have any doubts about who and what they are//

Hm. Surely not all ponies have doubts. I have to think there are some who are convinced from an early age what their talent will be, and they turn out to be right.

>A very old mare opened the door and peered out at me.//

Watch the repetition. This is the 4th straight sentence with a "... and ..." structure.

>a cat jumped up and laid down across her lap//

Lay/lie confusion. You usually get these verbs right, which is no small feat.

>see it from their point of view, I could see//

Watch the repetition.

>nooks and crannies to hide and chase//

That phrasing is off. How do you hide a nook? Or chase a cranny?

>looking ahead to her own inevitability//

How would Sweetie Belle know this before Goldie even spoke? She's reading Goldie's mind. But it's also over-explaining what the dialogue says anyway.

>scrap book//

That's one word.

>Leaving the book on her lap//

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

>She closed the book shut//

How else would you close it?


Missing apostrophe.

>miss… Bell//

Since she's attaching it to a name, "Miss" would be capitalized.

>everypony had adorned their masks and costumes to become something else//

I think you meant something closed to donned. Adorned means they decorated their masks.

>who don’t yet know//

Not sure why you went to present tense here, as the rest of her action is past tense.

>Tonight was the night the monsters walk among us as our friends, and everypony gets to look into the darkness and see themselves there, reflected as in a mirror.//

You're mixing tenses again. That story at large is in past, and while it's okay to make a present-tense statement to represent an ongoing condition that's still true, you'd have to make the whole statement present tense. And this doesn't feel like a situation that warrants such.

>you’d be surprised at how many of those there were, unless of course you knew my sister//

I just wanted to tag this, because it ties into a comment I made early on about whether this is supposed to feel like something she's written or if it's supposed to be a standard narration. In standard narration, it's a bad idea to address the reader, unless you're going to do so consistently throughout the story and establish why it's being done that way. And having this as something she's written would establish it, so that'd explain why she's doing so, if that's what you intended. I'll come back to this at the end.

>and when I turned and looked at her//

Needs a comma here.

>I didn’t want them to put you to sleep as well just because my sister wasn’t here to take care of you.//

I didn't get this sense, though. You wouldn't put a cat to sleep just for that. It seemed more like the prior cat was put to sleep because it wouldn't tolerate anyone else, to the point it'd get violent, so nobody else could take care of it. Opal's not that way. She's not hostile toward everyone, particularly Fluttershy. So putting Opal to sleep wouldn't be the only option. I'm surprised it even came up as a possibility. Or maybe it didn't come up, but then why mention it now? The way it's phrased, it sure sounds like it had been discussed.



>She turned back to me and the emotions in her eyes were pony emotions.//

Needs a comma, but this is just a strange sentence. It's awkwardly phrased, and it's infuriatingly vague. There are reasons for emotions that may be more attributable to sentient creatures, but the same emotions exist.

>she said quietly//

Your last dialogue tag was "she said softly," which is fairly repetitive, plus you have a lot of paragraphs lately that begin with "dialogue," she said.

>I hesitated, and nodded.//

No comma.

>but, I must be going//

Another comma after a conjunction that shouldn't be there.

Okay, at the end. I liked the story. But I'm still not sure what you want it to be. Take the bit that even precedes the story:

"A Nightmare Night Tail"

The cutesy pun tells me that it's supposed to be fluffy. Fair enough. Your choice of specifically linking it to Nightmare Night versus just having it happen to take place then sure makes it sound like you mean it to be spooky, but the use of "tail" immediately disarms that. You're sending mixed signals, but that's a minor thing. Now the biggie:

"by Sweetie Belle"

This one threw me for a loop. As I said before, there are only certain scenes that actually read as if this is an account meant to inform. She would have written it long after the conversations would have occurred, yet she presents them as quoted dialogue, and that just isn't plausible. On the other hand, if she meant this more as a bit of entertainment with some insight, like an essay she might submit to a magazine, for instance, that's more excusable, since she's just trying to reconstruct it as best she can. Some authors might even explicitly have her say it's her best recollection and not necessarily an exact account.

That just adds to an overall feel of inconsistency. She addresses the reader in some places but not in others, which makes her waver on whether she has an expected audience and who that audience might be. Then we have Goldie Delicious, Discord, and Fluttershy acting evasive and appearing to know more than they let on, as if this is some great secret. It's unclear whether Goldie and Fluttershy actually know, maybe just that they suspect there's a larger truth they can't quite grasp, but Discord knows. More to the point, all three of them act like this is more than a simple secret, that it's something they're reluctant to let her know. I never got a picture of why that might be, because Sweetie Belle sure didn't treat it as any sort of forbidden knowledge once she found out. To wit, she's writing it up for anyone to read. Don't the cats care if this becomes public?

Getting back to that subtitle, having it be so generic-sounding doesn't mesh with her revealing some great truth. It kind of reduces it all to a banality, but I can't believe she'd use her own dead sister so flippantly in a spooky story, so I'm left thinking she wrote it in earnest. Yet she doesn't quite make a point out of it. Knowing cats have these abilities and philosophies is one thing, but the very emotional event of seeing her sister one more time is at best tangential to that, and yet that's the big splash that's begging to carry the story's message. So the message gets a bit muddled. Here's where I'm at a bit of a loss. I wouldn't advocate excising that powerful moment, but how to tie it back in with the theme? Maybe just before Rarity smiles back, have a brief epiphany where Sweetie Belle gets the full impact of how the cats not only serve as guardians of life, but ushers to the rest that comes after, and she picks up her new little guardian with a feeling that as long as the cat is around, she'll share an unbreakable connection with Rarity until she sees her again for good. Maybe. I'm just spitballing here, but keeping the story's theme focused and coherent like that will strengthen what it's saying.

I see at least one commenter complaining that the prose style changed from beginning to end, and I see what he's talking about, though I wouldn't necessarily call it a problem. The early story has more of the non-dialogue scenes, and you're more descriptive in those. In contrast, the last scene has fairly terse narration. It's fine for narrative tone to change as suits the mood, but part of that is also going to be tied in to how I'm to take the story. As something written after the fact for a literary audience, I'd think she'd keep up a more consistent tone throughout, since she's had plenty of time to organize her thoughts before writing it, and she'd be in a more stable mindset. If, however, I'm to take the narrative scenes as what she's written and the conversational scenes as "live" or flashbacks (which, related to what I said about the plausibility of quoted dialogue, are more typically how such a thing would be presented), then it's really only the written scenes that need a consistent tone, which they already have. The conversational ones would actually occur over larger skips in time, not just the few evenings it took her to pen the account, plus it would put her in the moment of the emotions involved, making a tonal shift more authentic.

Honestly, I think removing the subtitle and author credit would solve almost all of the problems. What difference would it make if we're to see this as a standard narrative than as a document? A little less unusual format, sure, but it doesn't change the meaning of any of it, and it divests you of a lot of the incongruities in format I've been talking about. The only additional thing to turn it back into a regular story is to reword the few places you address the reader.

When you have Sweetie Belle actually writing something, then we have to question her motivation. Why does she want to write it? What does that accomplish? I don't get a sense of that. As a normal story, it's enough to say these events happen and leave the reader to derive meaning from it (and it's perfectly fine for that to still be in first person), but for her to commit it to paper shows that she thinks there's something in there that other ponies should learn from it, yet she never says anything of the sort. It lacks the kind of conclusion that would make it authentic as a character-authored piece, because it's a lot of trouble to write all this out if she has no purpose in doing it. Yet she never expresses a purpose. Plus it gets back to my point about why she thinks it's okay to reveal what she learned when everyone else acted as if it wasn't okay. Even Discord warned her about it, then she called him dangerous, which never turned into anything. That was kind of a Chekhov's Gun to set up tension there that subsequently went absent.

To be frank, this almost works as a standard story, but if you really want it to be something Sweetie Belle's written, it needs more thought put into how it's being presented, both with how much of it is supposed to actually be her writing and whether she's doing this as a bit of persuasive writing or just something with entertainment value, not to mention making it clear which of those attitudes she holds. I enjoyed it, and I'd like to see it succeed. If you have any questions, please ask, either here or through the email thread.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2682

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.

So I see you're starting with the weather. That's a very common thing to do, and it makes it a lot harder for your story to stand out. The weather isn't even important to the plot, so not only is it a cliche, it doesn't even matter much. You've got interesting ideas for plot and characterization in this story. Get right to them. Start with something revealing about a character, or drop us right into some action.

>Once all the apples had been gathered, Mac pulled the cart over to the next tree, then repeated the process once//

I know they're meant in different senses, but try to avoid close word reptition like this for all but the most mundane of words.


Apple Bloom

>He bucked the tree and a bombardment of apples fell into the cart.//

Needs a comma between the clauses, since each subject gets its own verb.

>Sweetie gave me her half of her sandwich during lunch//

That first "her" really changes the meaning to one I think you didn't intend.


It's preferred to spell that out as "okay."

>Applebloom tilted her head, confused//

The furrowed brow and tilted head already paint a picture of confusion. There's no need to short-circuit that picture by telling me it's confusion.

>spotting her//

This is similar. It's obvious from what she says that she spotted Lily. You don't need to explain every detail.

>as she raised as hoof//


>here says you're new here//

Watch the repetition.


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

>Peering down at his sister, the rightmost corner of Big Mac's mouth curled upward.//

This says the corner of his mouth is peering down at Apple Bloom.


The past tense would be "ungritted."

>axle to one of the cart's wheels had rusted shut//

I'm not sure what this means. How would an axle be open in the first place?

>personally maintained the farm's equipment himself//

The "personally" and "himself" are redundant.

>with a sense of urgency//

Don't tell me this. Demonstrate it. What does she do that makes her appear urgent?

>the yellow filly straightened to attention to the call of her name//

Two things here. First, here's how to format a narrative aside in a quote:
Applebloom—" the yellow filly straightened to attention to the call of her name "—help
That's if he stops speaking while that action happens. It actually seems here like he wouldn't. In that case, the dash placement moves outside the dialogue:
Applebloom"—the yellow filly straightened to attention to the call of her name—"help
And the other thing: Big Mac knows Apple Bloom very well. Why would he refer to her as "the yellow filly"? You're using a limited narrator in Big Mac's perspective, since the narrator speaks his thoughts for him. So this would also be his thought. You wouldn't think of a brother or sister in such abstract terms, would you?


For how you've used this, you don't need the hyphen.

>his mind processing everything that had occurred//

This is so vague as to mean nothing. It's pretty clear what he's doing anyway. You don't need this here.

>referring to the house just down the road//

You're over-explaining things again. Just say the house is there, and the reader will make the connection.

At this point, I wonder why Lily has suddenly lost her shyness.



>There was also the fact that it's been years//


>two fillies, who looked back and forth between the two//



Leave a space after the ellipsis.

>relief washing over him//

He's the limited narrator, Let me know how this feels, both physically and what mental imagery he has. This is a great place to use simile or metaphor to create a vivid picture of the emotion without having to name it.


When you have a word italicized for emphasis, it's customary to italicize an exclamation mark or question mark on it as well. You did it right earlier.

>The mare turned to Big Mac//

This is similar to having Big Mac's narration refer to Apple Bloom as "the yellow filly." He knows Mendy well. Why would he use such an abstract descriptor for her in his own thoughts?

>'cause I sure as horseshoes don't recognize her.//


>Paw Mend look down to her//


>why don't you two come inside and make yourselves comfortable.//

That's a question, isn't it?

>the stallion looking back at her with a pensive look on his face//

Now I have no idea whose perspective you're in. Big Mac wouldn't call himself "the stallion," and he wouldn't be able to see the expression on his own face.

>she looked over her whither//

You've confused "whither" with "withers."

>his old friend//

See, now this is the kind of descriptor that actually makes sense, since this is one way he'd think of her. You generally want to keep to name pronouns, or terms descriptive of relationships between the characters, if they know each other.

>See you're still wearing that yoke//

>Mac pawed curiously at the yoke around his neck//
That's not really a yoke. It's a horse collar.

>with a mortified expression//

Describe it. It means a lot more if I witness it than if I hav to take the narrator's word for it that it was mortified.

>a might awkward//


>she had to clear her throat before finishing with//

Capitalize this.


Italicize the question mark, too.

>From the way Big Mac stiffened his shoulders and avoided eye contact, she could tell his parents wasn't something he liked to bring up.//

>Somehow sensing the change in atmosphere, the mare smiled, yet her ears folded back.//
The first statement is from Mendy's perspective, and the second is from Big Mac's. See how the perspective is wandering back and forth? It should stay more consistent than that. It is possible to shift it in the middle of a scene, but rarely more than once. You don't want to keep jumping around.


Only capitalize the first one. You get this right intermittently.

>Her eyes were red and puffy//

Why? That usually means she's been crying, but he would have noticed that before.

>'cause I do.//


>Less, of course//

Needs an apostrophe, since you're shortening "unless."

>We both would have had to give up on our dreams to raise our child//

Huh? He couldn't work on the farm? His parents seemed to manage okay.

>Didn't have the heart, or the courage to do so.//

So what did Mendy tell her? Who does she think her dad is? And why would that be preferable to knowing it was Big Mac?



>Lily found that an odd request//

How can he tell? What does she do?

This is a really hard story to judge. It's fine for what it is, but then it never strives for that much. It's pretty obvious as soon as Apple Bloom takes Big Mac to Lily's house and Mendy is introduced how the rest of the story is going to happen, at least in a broad sense. That's not necessarily a problem, as long as the story tosses in a few surprises in the details, plays an unexpected angle, manages a nice feat of characterization, or has such an earnest authenticity that it resonates. And along that front, I do like how Mendy lies about Lily's age, but Big Mac's figured her out before Mendy even attempts it, so it takes away much of the unpredictability.

Perspective plays into this, too. The story is told through Big Mac's eyes, so we should have a front-row seat to his emotions. And while we do get some subjective thought about what he wants out of this relationship, he spends the whole time being rather calm and stoic about everything. Mendy's the one having a near-breakdown, yet Big Mac's the one framing the reader's view of the story, and his emotions are largely absent. There's some behind the scenes, but really, I have a far clearer picture about Mendy's feelings than the one whose head I'm supposed to be in. Then when he does start to get a bit fatherly, it seems like too much too soon. Here's a filly he's known for a few hours, and he's sidling onto a swing up against her, asking if she'd like them to do things together, and gazing at the sunset. There's a bit of a creepy vibe. Lily started out so shy, and now she doesn't mind the adult she's just met promising to buy her sweets at Sugarcube Corner?

It even makes for a weak ending. What point is the story making? Big Mac finds out he has a child, but he only deals with some pretty superficial existential questions, and he doesn't really come to a conclusion about it. He's at least decided he wants to spend some time with Lily, but it's fairly vague and noncommittal. He hasn't made some realization about his life, the situation with Mendy is up in the air, and he's only just started down the path of being a father, while still leaving open all the questions he asked himself.

Now, there's nothing wrong with open endings, but there's a trick to them, and that's to attach clear stakes, both positive and negative, to each of the viable options. That makes him, and consequently the reader, conflicted over what to choose. Or make it so there's a clash between what he'd prefer versus what is likely. Just something to get the reader invested. If the characters, particularly the perspective one, doesn't appear to be very passionate about how things go from here, then there's not much reason for the reader to, either. So really lay out his thoughts on the subject. There's a lot here that would concern him: Lily's well-being, his own sense of responsibility and family, what's good for Mendy. These are all intimately tied up in how he proceeds from here, so compare and contrast the good and bad of each of these threads against what he chooses. Then the reader knows what fallout will happen from any course of action. If there's not that impetus given to all the possibilities, the reader's just going to envision the nice fluffy option. There's a definite art to open endings.

To illustrate, here's a column that deals with several kinds of specialty items in stories. You can skip down to the part about open endings. It goes into more detail than I could here.


That's really all that's lacking from this story: some kind of overall message or completed character development arc.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2691

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found, so it's up to you to use those examples to scan the full story. 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 laid on the other end of the life raft//

Lay/lie confusion. They're tough verbs to keep straight.

I'm not sure why you capitalize "coast guard" some times and not others. Is it that you leave it lower case when you're referring to an individual servicemember and upper case when you refer to the whole organization?

>The stallion’s voice was heavy with guilt.//

You've done a pretty good job of avoiding this so far, but it's best not to name emotions directly, if you can help it. Better to make the stallion act as if he's guilty than just say he is. If you were a stage director, what would you tell the actor playing this role to do so the audience would interpret him as feeling guilty? That's how you have to think about it.

>With a towing line between the ring on his waist buckle and the life raft’s handle//

Is this wise? If the raft gets grabbed by something, he'll go down with it. Keep in mind how swimmers always hold a victim from behind. It's so the victim can't grab hold of the swimmer and put him in danger. The swimmer needs to be in control, and the same would go for the pegasus here. He needs to be able to cut that line away in an instant, so better if he's holding it somehow than having it fastened to him.

>He knew that risking their own lives was a part of their job, but that didn’t absolve them from worrying about each other.//

Try to avoid over-explaining thought processes like this. You do it in a couple places. It's not exactly hard to figure out, and it can feel like you're talking down to the reader. I'll revisit this later, as there might be an issue with perspective.

>Jason could feel the situation slipping away from them.//

I want to flag this sentence as well for when I talk about perspective.

>troublesome castaways//

You just called him troublesome a bit ago. It's an unusual enough word that it stands out when repeated that closely.

>Settling himself below the helicopter, his friend was forced to battle the overbearing winds and currents, just to keep the life raft in one place.//

If he's beneath the helicopter, he's also getting quite a bit of downwash from the rotor. On a helicopter this size, roughly 20k pounds weight class, he's probably getting a good 30 kts of wind, and that'd be a significant hindrance to a pegasus. It's bad enough to have that on a swimmer, but with a pegasus actually trying to fly there, he's in a significant column of air moving downward, so it'd take a lot of effort just to maintain altitude. There's a reason you don't fly anything under a helicopter. There are lots of regulations in place for formation flight and shipboard landing to keep helicopters from getting into each other's rotorwash, and that's essentially what this pegasus is doing. (I do a lot of aerodynamics work for the Navy having to do with operating helicopters aboard ships.)

>her limply body//

You have an adverb there where you need an adjective.



>usefulness on the field//

in the field

>please,” he pleaded//

Pretty redundant choice of speaking verb.


Why'd you change the spelling?

>seemed to struck his nerve//

Verb form is off.

>pegasi aerial support//

Noun adjuncts are always singular. For example, you say "ham sandwiches," not "hams sandwiches."

>full of hope and desperation//

Directly naming emotions again. Demonstrate them instead.


Only capitalize the first part of a stutter, unless it's something like a name that has to be capitalized anyway. And consider what sound he'd actually repeat. There isn't even a "t" sound in that word.

>When he raised his head, he noticed the raft moving away from the yacht’s hull.//

I'll go ahead and mention this here, even though it's a perspective matter. You'd been telling the story recently through Jason's eyes, even having the narration express his opinions for him. So why are you switching to the dad here for a grand total of one paragraph? You have to consider perspective changes carefully, and I don't see that it accomplishes anything here, plus it's pretty jarring.

>Placing her on the medical stretcher located by the left wall, she covered her with a rescue blanket to prevent her body from further losing warmth.//

Participles make thinggs happens simultaneously, but she wouldn't use the blanket until after placing her on the stretcher.

>Despite being the main mechanic, her medical magic had found itself handy here.//

This is a very extraneous statement. It doesn't add anything.

>knowing how perilous the situation was for her colleague//

There are quite a few little places like this where you over-explain characters' mindsets. Just let their actions speak for them. What does she do that might clue the reader in? Does she have to force her thoughts to stay focused? Does she keep peeking out the door to try catching a glimpse of what's happening in the water? Things like that.

>at time like these//

Singular/plural mismatch.

>as her emotions sometimes really did tend to interfere with her work//

This is really tough to bring it in. You ought to show it happening anyway, but this isn't a good time to establish a history of it. For one, just saying there's a history means next to nothing. Examples speak far louder. But with the amount of action going on, you can't afford to go off on a tangent, and it would imply her mind is wandering to such things, which would be strangely self-aware at the moment.

>troublesome stallion//

You're going to call him that again?

>their mouth//

There's only one mouth between them?

>But thanks to his stubbornness and irrational behavior, her friend was now in the middle of what could turn out to be an actual suicide mission.//

Well... no. What the stallion did has no bearing on his daughrer still being inside. He jeopardized what the pegasus was doing, but it doesn't change Jason's mission.

>A sudden bright point appeared on the water’s dark surface.//

Missing a line break.

>began to carefully observe his environment. His ears, clogged with water, soon began//

Watch that close repetition of "began."


You hadn't been using that capitalization pattern in chapter 1.

>thousand ton//



It's preferred to show emphasis with italics.

>On the both sides//

Extraneous word.

>he could see the railing still attached. He noticed//

You have a lot of these unnecessary words framing his perception. Unless you want to point out it's something most people would miss, it's not worth saying that a character saw or noticed something. Just say it's there. These are wasted words.


INconsistent with the terminology you'd been using.

>he went passed//

Passed/past confusion.

>He took of his flippers//


>lest he fell//

It's a rather involved explanation, but use "fall" here.

>five…” he paused when Baton Rouge’s growling scream filled the helicopter’s interior, “…four//

When you want to put a narrative aside in a quote, use dashes, and the aside doesn't take end punctuation (though it can take an exclamation mark or question mark where appropriate). It should look like this:
five—” he paused when Baton Rouge’s growling scream filled the helicopter’s interior “—four

>Panting slightly//

Set off the participial phrase with a comma.

>'Cute', Jason thought sardonically.//

The comma goes inside the quotes.

Hm. With you using meters and words like "torch," this doesn't feel consistent with someone who's in the US Coast Guard. It's not impossible, but it is unlikely.

>On the top of the huge furniture pile right in the cabin’s centre laid… a four feet tall iron safe.//

Lay/lie confusion, four-foot-tall.

>hers right mind//


>sat himself right before the quivering tablecloth before he gently pulled it away//

Time is of the essence here. Why isn't he just grabbing her and running? He can't afford to coax her out.

>"Well it’s about time,”//

For the most part, you have simple quotation marks in the story, but you're mixing styles here.

>the rest of debris//

Missing word.

>causing the cabin’s door to slam shot//


>Her efforts were constantly monitored by Joe the co-pilot, and Night Shade.//

No reason to have a comma there.

>You’ll hurting yourself//

>she didn’t even knew//
>became a one big hum//
Wording is off.

>buckling over. It was over//

Watch that close repetition of "over."

>the yacht’s bow finally disappear//

Wording is off. There's a lot more of this problem in chapter 3. Not sure why.

It feels rather tacked on to suddenly introduce this subplot of Rouge being a mother. It'd be far more effective if it'd been there all along.

You keep calling this a crash site, and I don't know why. There wasn't actually a crash, not so far as we've been told.

>helicopter’s cabin edge//

helicopter cabin’s edge

>If they don't pull back now, they might never return safely to the base.//

I'm wondering why Sam hasn't been giving them regular readouts of how much fuel reserve they have. They know how much it takes to get back to shore, so he can figure out how long they can stay on station.

>on your fifth//

I don't know what this means. Is he referring to five o'clock?

>the small external crane//

It's called a winch. A crane is something different.

>Although Night Shade’s tried to sound serious//

Wording is off.

You're mixing both styles of quotation marks a lot in this chapter again.

>We’ll be pulling you out while underway, so hang on//

I don't know that they'd be allowed to do this. At the very least, they'd have to stop once they'd lifted Jason and Lion Heart up close to the cabin, since the wind would be prone to bashing them against the fuselage.

>Jason voice//

Missing a possessive.

>In the dim green light of the cabin//

I haven't been inside a helicopter at night, so I don't know what color the actual lighting is, though on Navy ships, it's usually blue or red for areas adjoining the outside, for the same reasons that would affect this crew: they don't interfere with night vision goggles, red preserves the eye's ability to see in the dark, and they don't carry as far, so they more likely keep from giving away position. There may well be green coming from the instrument panel, but actual lighting might not be green.

>every kind of weather conditions//

Singular/plural mismatch: kind -> conditions

>Can you reach the main point in present conditions//

They could potentially hot refuel from a ship. Is the storm big enough they couldn't safely rendezvous with one?

>got the professional help//

Extraneous "the."


I'm actually surprised this is the first time you've had this misspelling, but maybe I just missed some. It's worth doing a global searh to see if there are others.

>Coast Guardian//

The typical terminology is Coast Guardsman, if not just airman.

>further in dangerous territory//

Usually phrased with "into."


It's just a nickname. It doesn't need an apostrophe.

>the pilot’s cockpit//

Why are you specifying "pilot's" cockpit there? It's useless information.


Even though there's no actual ship called the Legend, class names would still be capitalized.

>In the aft section of the vessel laid a flat rectangular landing area//

Lay/lie confusion.

>The fluorescent circle in the middle crossed with a longitudinal line marked the exact point for the helicopter to land.//

I'm not aware of any deck markings for Navy or Coast Guard ships being fluorescent. There's in-deck lighting outlining the shapes of the markings. The longitudinal line is called a line-up line.

>replying," replied//


It might be easier for them to do a hot refuel than a landing. That just requires them to hover above the aft port corner of the flight deck and lower a refueling hose.


Ship names get italicized.

>present course and speed//

What they'd most care about is the readings from the ship's wind indicators, night/day, and the sea state. They can look those up on a reference table which will show the difficulty of landing and whether it's even authorized. The ship can also steer to the most advantageous angle, usually into the wind, unless the wave direction is significantly different than that.

>signaling officer//

Full name is LSO or Landing Signal Officer.

>control tower//

A ship like this doesn't have a tower. That post is the HCS or Helicopter Control Station. And it's not just the HCS and LSO giving them info. There's a device called a HARS bar on top of the HCS which stays level to give the pilot an indication of the horizon.

>garage opening//

They're hangars, and there are two of them. But they wouldn't have the doors open in this situation.//


As a term of address, family relations get capitalized.

>With one engine intact//

Did the other engine quit? I can't imagine he'd have enough torque to hover on one engine with that many people aboard.

>helped the survivors to exit the helicopter//

I doubt they'd be allowed to get out before the chock-and-chain guys had finished, nd they definitley wouldn't shut down the engines until then.

>to crew//

Missing word.

Minor detail, but none of these servicemembers are observing proper protocol for disembarking a vessel.

>survivor's ambulance//

There's more than one survivor, right?

>“Oh, and Jason…” the pony captain finally turned his attention to the human, “… not bad, for a bipedal.”//

Use that formatting I showed you for putting a narrative aside in a quote.

>Jason thoughts//

Missing possessive.

>He was impressed with the little filly and how brave she had been.//

Really? Once he grabbed her so they could leave the vessel, it sure seemed like she was panicking and making things difficult for him.

So now I'll go over perspective like I said I would. Pay careful attention to which character's thoughts and opinions the narrator is expressing at all times. You make some pretty abrupt shifts at times. It's much easier to change perspective at scene breaks, since you don't have to execute a transition, and there are times it seemed like that's why you used them—you switched to a different point of view even though there was no time skip and sometimes no change in location. That's fine, but even within scenes, you'll jump from one character to another. Many of the scenes start out even sounding omniscient.

For instance, take the scene that starts with:
>In the meantime, Jason, while being half-blinded by the helicopter’s search light, took his time to enjoy the view of his friends doing something for a change.//
The "for a change" takes this into the realm of a limited narrator, since it's expressing Jason's impressions on his behalf. The rest of the paragraph still works from his viewpoint, but in the next paragraph, it abruptly shifts to Lion Heart:
>At first, she could hardly make sense of her surroundings, and the dizziness in her head made her barely contain the urge to vomit.//
These are things only she could know, unless they were clearly couched as another's interpretation. (Saying something like "The green tint to her face and her wobbly knees sure made it look like she'd barely fought off a round of nausea." would frame it more as Jason's perception and keep the point of view with him.) You do stay with her for a while, and the transition to Sam's perspective isn't as abrupt, but you only stay with him for a single paragraph before moving over to Jason again.

As to the whole premise... I wonder why they even bother with helicopters anymore now that they have access to pegasi who are more maneuverable, likely faster, and capable of lifting proportionally greater loads. It wouldn't be too hard to come up with an in-universe explanation. In fact, you kind of have one already: none of the pony races are particularly good swimmers, so they need humans for that function, and it would be hard to carry the human out there in the first place. Though Equestria has those flying chariots pegasi can pull. Just might be worth saying why they need to keep the human doctrine on how to operate. Plus does it work in reverse? Do humans bring anything in effecting rescues in Equestria?

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2692

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found, so it's up to you to use those examples to scan the full story. 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 longer she lied in that bed//

Lay/lie confusion.

>her world decided to enforce it's twisted form//

Its/it's confusion.

>hundreds of years worth//


>That word brought on nothing but worry and panic. It brought on sadness, and a strange kind of depression that not even she could describe.//

This is all so vague. It's mean a lot more if there were concrete examples of this. Give me a quick anecdote about a time she felt this way before. Otherwise, it's just abstract and detached.

>The ones that tell the tales of those who were unfortunate enough to stay awake that dreaded night.//

She's not a child, though. She's apparently managed to fall asleep every time before. So why is this such an issue? I know she'll fail to fall asleep this time, and as it gets closer to the deadline, it'll be a source of anxiety for her, but there's not a history of failure that should be making her act as if it's a chronic problem. In fact, she's never failed before. For that matter, I'll go ahead and voice a concern I already have from reading your extended synopsis. Why isn't there a system in place to sedate ponies who can't fall asleep? Why leave them to die? It doesn't seem like there's a purpose in doing so, like a certain number have to be sacrificed to maintain the way it works.

>Jazz had also heard the rumors.//

You already talked about the rumors. Why bring them up again as if they're something new?

>felt her dark brown mane press against her face//

What relevance does her mane color have here? I ask because you're using a limited narrator here, implying that she'd choose to bring up her hair color, and I don't see a reason for it.

>end up the the rest of the ponies//

Wording got messed up there.

>She even had a cute stallion of whom she had her eye on.//

Wording is off there too.

>Is it because of the things she thought?//

Why are you going to present tense?

>Her golden-colored eyes snapped open.//

Same deal as her hair color. Why would she mention it here?

>There were pierced through the darkness like a sewing needle.//

Wording is off.

>considering that she has more than enough money tucked away somewhere for college//

Switched to present tense again.

>Her heart was beating so fast, it resembled the rumblings of a train.//

I don't get what about a train's rumbling inherently equates to speed.

>nail biting//

Hyphenate, but... what do nails mean to a pony?

>It was if Death himself was perched upon her shoulder.//

Missing word.

>She contemplated turning on a radio, but deemed that a horrible idea for reasons she didn’t really know.//

You do this a lot: use a comma with a conjunction when it's merely separating a compound verb. You only need one when the new verb gets its own subject. There's a brief guide to comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

Well, I'll go ahead and voice concerns I have, and maybe the story ends up addressing them.

There's one monster, and there are apparently safe places it can't go. Why not evacuate ponies to these safe areas? Why not evacuate ponies in general and monitor the monster's movements to keep shifting ponies around to places where the monster isn't? Why not try to kill or banish the monster? And again, why not sedate ponies who can't fall asleep? This monster has a single week to patrol the entire nation. It shouldn't be hard for a small number of awake ponies to remain hidden from it. Statistically speaking, it'd be nearly impossible for it to find them, let alone travel far enough to search all the far-flung cities. It seems like it's going to spend the entire week chasing her, so any awake ponies anywhere else in Equestria will be fine. There are some parts of the premise that don't quite make sense.

>The chances that Jazz and Crest, roommates in the same household, disappear during the same Townsend are next to nil.//

Switching to present tense again.

It's quite rare to see your sentences start with anything but the subject. It helps when there's dialogue to break the narration up, but you don't have any yet, so it especially stands out. It makes the sentence structures repetitive, like reading a list.

>They moved in a seemingly random and quick manner.//

This doesn't seem like it'd be Jazz's evaluation, so it's external to her and doesn't fit the narration you've established.

>Her eyes were sleep//

I don't know what that means.

>She looked exactly how Jazz wished herself could had looked.//

Phrasing is off.

>It was odd.//

The indentation is off here.

>as if it was bleeding for Jazz and it alone.//

I don't know what the "it alone" is supposed to refer to. The sky turned color for its own sake? Or did you mean to use "him" there?

>She turned back to Crest and her quiet, shallow breathes.//

You're using the verb form "breathes" where you need the noun.

>Her body rose and fell with every breathe//

Same thing.

>next to it’s fallen master//

Its/it's confusion.

>selfish — waking//

Don't put spaces around an em dash.

>she most she could do//


>full blown//


>Jazz’s shakes grew rougher, and faster, until eventually the mare was almost pushing her friend off of her own bed.//

You're using a limited narrator, so you're having Jazz choose to refer to herself as "the mare" in her own thoughts. Who does that?

>Jazz had never heard of anypony who had actually woken up during the fated week.//

I'm confused. How would she know if anyone had woken up during Townsend versus not being able to fall asleep in the first place? She mentioned ponies disappearing, but how does she know which one of these situations applied to them? There's never been someone who was awake at any point during Townsend who was still around afterward to say what happened. Yet she can still differentiate whether they woke up early or never fell asleep? How?

>“Oh no, no... “//

Extraneous space, which has made your quotation marks backward.

>as they realize that their darling daughter had become a victim of The Townsend//

Switch to present tense. I'm marking a lot of the same things over and over again, and I'll be at this forever if I keep doing so. At this point, I have to leave it to you to find these things yourself.

>Tossing aside every childish will//

Strange phrasing.

>Her eyes were as wide as dinner plates//

Besides being a cliched phrase, how would she know this? She can't see them.

>she a bit too bothered//

Missing word.

>It had taken Jazz a few moments//

>It took her a little longer than she’d like//
These are in the same paragraph. Then in the next one, we get this:
>It had taken Jazz approximately ten seconds//


Use a proper dash.

The indentation is very uneven in chapter 3. It's probably a result of importing from GDocs or some such, but since you're leaving blank lines between your paragraphs, you don't need to indent at all.

>“Just… calm down."//

Notice how you have a mix of quotation mark styles. Keep these and the apostrophes consistent throughout the story.

>If somepony else was still awake, they’d have to be there, right? J//

Extraneous letter at the end.

>She passed the homes of ponies of whom she just vaguely knew.//

That second "of" shouldn't be there.

>flower and coffee bean covered//

Hyphenate all that.

>since she made her way to the police station//

This makes it sound like she's already been to the plice station, but she hasn't gotten there yet.


Use a dash.

>It sounded like a pig was being slaughtered right in front of the world’s largest megaphone.//

That's kind of comical for how serious this is supposed to be. And how would a pony even come up with a pig being slaughtered as a comparison? That presumably doesn't happen in Equestria.

>Whatever the creature was, it rammed through the glass doors//

How'd it even get in? I'm guessing it only searches each building once, so if you hole up in a place it's already checked, wouldn't you be okay? Unless it saw you go in there, of course.

>full maximum//

Pretty redundant.

>monsters footsteps//

>this monsters steps//
Missing apostrophe.

>the shrill cry that the screeching cry that//

Something got messed up there.

>behind her as an astonishingly quick pace//


>It’s defeated cries//

Its/it's confusion.

>It’s lights shown brightly//

Only use "it's" if you want it to expand out to "it is" or "it has." If you want to show possession, don't use an apostrophe. That's just the way all possessive pronouns work, like my, your, his, her, our, their. No apostrophes. And you've confused "shown" with "shone."

>Opening the door with her injured hoof, she jumped behind the desk.//

The participle makes these actions happen at the same time, but they'd more likely happen one after the other.

>dimly swinging//

I have no idea what this would mean. How would something swing in a dim manner? They have nothing to do with each other.

>fully wail in fright//

Why would she give away her location like that?

>Jazz had somehow managed to cry herself to sleep.//

So falling asleep after the deadline doesn't count, I guess?

>small leak dripped monotonously into a small//

Watch the close word repetition.

>eight, soulless//

Those are hierarchical adjectives, so they don't need a comma between them. Basically, they describe different aspects and would sound really awkward in reverse order.

>She had to forget about monster//

Missing word.

>and the poor mare//

That's a rather external assessment for her own limited narration to make about herself.

>The blue mare//

That too.

>even close, unable to reach even//

Watch the close repetition.

>Jazz lied back//

Lay/lie confusion.

>Whether or not she got out of there alive or not//

Redundant "or not."

>Why would it come down here.//

That's a question, right?

>Whatever what coming upstairs//


>medium pitched//


Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2693

Note that this list is not comprehensive. I picked out a few examples of each kind of error or problem I found, so it's up to you to use those examples to scan the full story. 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'm going to illustrate a point. By paragraph, here are all the "to be" verbs in the first screenful:

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

First, that can get pretty repetitive. Second, that's about the most boring verb possible. Nothing happens. It's a good idea to pick active verbs wherever you can (dialogue gets somewhat of a pass), but it's especially important to keep the beginning of the story from feeling stagnant like this.

>it was nearly impossible to read with a glance//

>I glanced around me//
Try to avoid close word repetition like this. These instances of "glance" are only two sentences apart. There's another just a couple paragraphs later:
>I glanced back at the doors//

>finding it the same//

>finding the more I examined this world around me//
>finding the endless forest to be the only thing else//
>finding only pitch-black ahead of me//
>finding the warm, orange glow//
>finding it empty//
These are all within the first two pages.

>inside was as dark as night itself//

>I peered inside the doorway//
>As I inched closer inside//
>When I took a step inside//
>I ventured further inside//
>Something inside me//
>I took a few cautious steps inside//
And so are these. For that matter, how many times can she go inside? She inches inside, then takes a step inside, then ventures further inside, then takes a few cautious steps inside.

>As I pass through the doorway//

Why are you switching to present tense?

>My eyes drifted further to my right, ending at the wall just next to me; a counter with stools seated on the side facing the dining room.//

For a semicolon to be used right, you should be able to replace it with a period and have both sentences stand as complete, but the second part here would be a fragment.

>She rest her head lazily against her hoof//

The verb form is off.

>She looked tired, but relaxed, and her smile looked as though she had just seen an old friend. But, as inviting as she looked//

And 3 uses of "looked" in only 2 sentences. Yeah, repetition is going to be a significant problem.

>I glanced around at the dining room again, hoping for a little more direction on what to call this place, “restaurant is located.”//

You have that punctuated and capitalized as if it's a speech tag, but there's no speaking verb.

>Luna’s…That’s a rather odd name for a restaurant…//

How so? Luna's answer is completely reasonable. Why wouldn't the narrator assume that?

>She poured a glass, and slid it over to me.//

You do this a fair amount too: use a comma with a conjunction when it's only separating a compound verb. You only need one when the new verb also has a new subject. There's a guide to comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>She raised her hoof, and rest her head against it once more.//

Another unnecessary comma, and the verb form's off again. Come to think of it, it's the same verb as last time. Are you just used to seeing "rest" as the past tense of it? It's not an accepted one. You do this throughout the story.

>I pushed the menu away, and leaned back on my stool for some breathing room.//

No comma.

>My eyes darted around the room once more, deciding I could look past its sickly nature.//

This says her eyes decided she could look past its nature.

>a cup coffee//

Missing word.

I'm seeing enough uses of "small" and "smile" that they're also sticking in my head.

>I couldn't say I had never met a pony so cryptic before.//

I'm not sure this says what you want it to say, due to the double negative.

>None of the keys looked nothing like a modern key//

Same thing. I think this says the opposite of what you wanted.

>down from the stool top down//

More close word repetition. There are more of these than I'm noting—I just wanted to pick out some examples.

>One way lead up a set of rickety wooden stairs, the second led//

You spelled the same verb two different ways (the second is correct).

>“It keeps us from any…” Luna paused to contemplate for a brief moment, “sleepwalking mishaps.”//

If you want to break into a quote with a non-speaking aaction, here's how you do it:
>“It keeps us from any—” Luna paused to contemplate for a brief moment “—sleepwalking mishaps.”//
This turns up again in chapter 10, where you at least get the dashes right, but you needlessly capitalize the aside.

>Who knew what else lay beneath the surface of such a pony.//

That's a question, right?

>In fact, this entire restaurant is one giant riddle.//

You've switched to present tense again.

>With a small turn//

>With a small turn of her hoof//
These are in the same paragraph.

>on sitting on//

Extraneous word.

>barely hiding my discontent//

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

And in this chapter, you have 12 uses of "small." 8 of them are on the last screenful.

From here on, I'm going to assume I've provided enough examples of things from the first two chapters, and I'll mostly only bring up new issues.

>The more I tried think about //

Missing word.


Needs a space after the ellipsis.

>I had to think about how I got to this forest and why I’m in this restaurant.//

Tense shift.

>I waited the pony’s reply//

Missing word.

>it often lead to making baseless assumptions//

You're using the present tense form where you need the past.

>She watch the mare//

>I caught her eyes shift to me//
Verb form.

>down the dark hallway passed the bar//

Passed/past confusion.

>as the realization that everypony was trapped inside these woods//

You've got a clause without a verb here.

You have a number of spots in this chapter where you punctuate a question with a period.

>hanging from it’s elongated jaw//

Its/it's confusion.

>It placed his//

You're vacillating between calling Discord a "he" and an "it" a number of times.

>Discord, is my name.//

No reason to have a comma there.

>Something about the way he spoke made me feel even more uncomfortable than Luna.//

Luna doesn't feel uncomfortable.

>matter of fact//

In this usage (it's acting as a single descriptor for something that follows it), hyphenate.

>His eyes ran over my for a second.//

My what?

>I lost mine quite sometime ago.//

His what? He mentioned insanity, not sanity. And this is an instance where "some time" needs to be two words.

>play anymore tricks//

And "any more" needs to be two words here.

>How could it have changed.//

Isn't that a question?

>“She’s locked up, that doesn’t mean she’s crazy.//

Missing the closing quotation marks.

>all out sprint//


>I read, “Luna’s”//

That's not dialogue, so you don't need the comma.

>bright, neon//

Those are hierarchical adjectives (the non-foolproof test is that they'd sound really awkward if you reversed the order), so you don't need a comma between them.

>But, all this darkness offered no other hints as to where I was.//

There's rarely a good reason to put a comma after a conjunction. This one doesn't belong.

>I remembered coming in from fog.//

Missing word.

>Stumbling across the room, my hoof missed a few passes at the door handle//

This says her hoof stumbled across the room.


Is that even a word? I'd expect "mesmerizingly."

>When she slammed the bottle back down, her hoof and foreleg hit the table with enough force to cause it to shake.//

This is exactly what happened a bit ago.

>A chill crept down up//

How does that work?

>I only grit my teeth//

The past tense is "gritted."

>coalesced in shifting wall of fog//

Missing word.

>The words were just barely above a whisper, hardly audible even in the dead of the night. I only managed to catch them by listening carefully.//

You've essentially said the same thing three times.



>Coming to the top, however, some odd sound from behind me caught my ear.//

You occasionally have these dangling participles. This says some odd sound came to the top.

>refusing to acknowledge the dread crept up my spine//

The verb form is off.



>safe…” Her voice trailed off//

The ellipsis already means trailing off, so narrating it as well is redundant.

>Her eyes searched my own as her head fell slowly to the side.//

>Her ears perked as something like joy pushed through the madness.//
>I furrowed my eyebrows as I pressed back into the door.//
>Frantically, she clapped her hooves as an exuberant grin spread across her face.//
>She groaned as she hit struck her head a few times with her hoof//
>I rubbed my head as I looked at whoever had burst in.//
>Luna said as she stepped into the disaster that was the crazy mare’s room.//
>Shivers radiated into me as I slowly realised this crazy mare—Twilight, apparently—was utterly terrified.//
>I took my leave, though I kept staring daggers at Luna as I passed.//
Those are taken from a stretch of only 7 consecutive paragraphs. See how often you use those "as" clauses? It gets very structurally repetitive when the same element keeps turning up.

>showing the disappointed boredom on her face. Her eyes were still half-closed, keeping their disinterested aura, but her gaze held some resentment//

Look at all those emotions you're not demonstrating. None of this paints a picture. I just have to take the narrator's word for it in the absence of evidence, which just leaves it so abstract. Show me what I'd see if I were there witnessing it myself, and let me draw the conclusions.

>“As I said before,” she said//

Fairly repetitive use of "said."

>struck a cord//


>Surprise, annoyance, and resignation warred with each other for control of my expression.//

I haven't been marking all the spots where you blatantly tell emotions, but I wanted to call this one out for a specific reason: it doesn't fit your narration. How does the narrator know what her facial expression is? Certain things about it, she could feel, but that would be the position or condition of body parts, not the emotion driving it. Look at it this way: do you have to look in a mirror to know you're sad (plus the narrator here can't see her own face anyway)? There are far more immediate ways you know your own mood then from how you look.


Broken tag.

>who I recognized//

Whom, if your perspective character would know that.


Consider what sound she'd actually repeat. There isn't a "c" sound in that word.

>But, I suppose it was all for naught.//

No reason to have a comma there.

>Rarity turn her attention to me.//


>she said with a laugh as a smirk broke out//

You've mentioned her smirking more than once now. You use it a lot for Luna, but you acknowledge the repetition there, making it thematic. For Rarity, it just feels repetitive.

>I should have known would be of no help//

Missing word.

>"Purple coat, really frazzled," Doormat brushed her mane from in front of her face//

You've punctuated that like a speech tag, but there's no speaking verb.

>But, damned if it wasn’t something.//

That comma shouldn't be there.

>the sickly sweet liquor//

Wine's usually considered separate from liquor, but I suppose it depends on whether your character knows that.

>a faint sounds//

>The door swung opened//


Missing space.


Did you mean "thwack"? And don't italicize that. It's a valid word, and putting sound effects in narration suggests a far more lighthearted atmosphere than you have going here.


Usually spelled "gibberish."

>patted on Pinkie on//

Extraneous word.

>Her gaze trailed from Pinkie to myself.//

Reflexive pronouns are really only for when the same person or thing is the clause's subject.

>The feeling from the cur Rarity’s icy gaze burrowing deep into the back of my skull made sure even that small kernel of happiness was short-lived .//

Extraneous space before the period, and that's just strangely phrased. It took me a while to parse it, and it is a valid construction, but it takes a bit of picking apart to figure it out.

>Then heart lept//

Missing word and typo.

>Twilight didn’t even acknowledge Rarity; nor did she ask my permission as she slid into the seat across from me.//

What's that semicolon doing that a comma wouldn't?


Same deal with italicizing that sound effect.

>"This way,” came Twilight’s whispering voice. The cook’s busy in the freezer."//

Missing your opening quotation marks for the second part of the quote. And note how you've mixed simple and fancy style quotation marks. Make sure you use one kind throughout the story. I have seen authors use one kind for quotation marks and the other for apostrophes, and that's fine, as long as you're consistent. I see a lot of this in chapter 14, and while I don't recall seeing it before this, it might have escaped my notice.

>less trees//

"Less" is for collective quantities, like money. You want "fewer."

>away, ghosting away//

Close repetition.

>at wits end//

at wits' end

>pulled the door opened//


>As the door swung open//

Set off the dependent clause with a comma.

>dusty, musty//

That rhyme tends to create a playful mood, which isn't what you want here.

>cellar!" The darkness called out//


>head first//


>who glared at the mare//

Another dependent clause that needs a comma.

It occurs to me now that our protagonist has never wondered why Fluttershy doesn't fly up above the fog to see the terrain. Now that Dash has been discovered, that'd apply to her, too.


No reason to hyphenate that term.

>as her eyes drift closed completely//

You've shifted to present tense.

>soldout crowd//


>before stopping just past myself and Twilight//

Another spot where a reflexive pronoun isn't appropriate.

So far, the buggest issues are sheer repetition and occasional blunt naming of character emotion, though there are a few persistent editing errors. I do have one concern going forward. All of the other bar patrons are caricatures of canon characters, but pushed so far that they're obviously not their canon selves. I get that they're supposed to be part of a dream logic, and so they don't have to be realistic, but I gather that Luna more or less is the actual Luna. I do wonder why Luna chooses to act in such an antagonistic manner, though. And it does call into question why to use these characters in particular. If the protagonist turns out to be someone who knows them all, then they may well be drawn from her own subconscious. But if they're strangers to her, then I don't know why they're even there. It's pretty random to pick real ponies who happen to personify these qualities, which suggests they're then deliberate choices on Luna's part, and I'm not sure why she'd populate this place with such disrespectful parodies of her own friends. That just leads me back to the assumption that the protagonist must know them all, as it's the only explanation that makes sense; furthermore, it's really the only explanation that makes this a pony story at all, since otherwise, they're just archetypes who have no meaning in this universe, and then they could be human or whatever without changing anything. So if you don't already have some sort of connection planned, I'd encourage you to think about why these specific ponies are represented here and make it plausible that the protagonist or Luna (whoever's invented them) would choose them in the first place and decide to portray them in this manner.

I'll emphasize again that I didn't mark every instance of every problem I saw, particularly after the first few chapters, so I'm leaving it to you to recognize the kinds of things I've pointed out and scan the story for other instances of the same. If you can tune this up a bit, I'd be happy to post it.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2706

>Shooting through where the ill-fated structure used to float//
>leaving a trail of blue for any ponies who might look up at her//
>carving another swath through her sky.//
>Finishing her turn//
>lit by the afternoon sun//
>scattering a few flecks of loose cloud//
>Stretching her body back and forth//
>feeling her blood flow subside//
>protruding from her mailbox//
>not bothering to close the little door//
>signed with Spitfire's cutie mark//
You use a ton of participial phrases. These all occur on the first screen, in only 6 paragraphs. They're a structure many authors of intermediate experience tend to overuse. I see the appeal: they lend a sophistication and they're descriptive, but you also don't encounter them that much in everyday speech, so they're unusual. The more unusual something is, the more easily it sticks out when repeated. They're also not the kind of thing Dash would use that much in her own thoughts. It's particularly clunky to see more than one in a single sentence. In addition, there are some common problems that crop up with them, and you likely have those when you use so many.

A little further in, you have a bunch of Dash's thoughts presented as italicized quotes, but you have the type of narrator who can simply state them for her. So why are you going for two methods of delivery there? It's inconsistent. It's possible to do so, but generally as an occasional thing, not like the huge number of quoted thoughts you have. Unless you want to recast the narration as omniscient, that is. Then you wouldn't have to worry about matching the narration to Dash's voice. It's up to you, but you need to decide what kind of narration you want.

>It was the simple things that made life good sometimes.//

A lot of what the narration says is factual, but this is clearly Dash's opinion. That raises two issues. For the first one, look back at this line:
>the pegasus continued on at full speed//
If you're going to have the narrator express Dash's opinions as his own, then you're using a limited narrator. Essentially, the narration is Dash's internal stream of thought. But why would she refer to herself as "the pegasus"? That's very external. People just don't think about themselves in such terms. The other issue: you don't have the narration express her opinion very often. If you really want a limited narrator, you have to keep that personal voice going, or it just reverts to feeling omniscient. Then, when you do have an opinion creep in, it feels out of place. And the personal voice could use a little work, too. Take this line:
>She reached into the box and fished around within until she was confident she had extracted its contents.//
That doesn't sound like something Dash would think. It's got advanced word choice and very formal construction. It ought to sound like something she'd actually think to herself or maybe even say out loud.
>boring social stuff she never bothered with//
Now, there you go. This sounds very much like something Dash would say. It's clearly her personal impression, and it takes on her voice. This is how most of your narration should sound.

>the Carousel Boutique//

You don't use "the" with most proper place names, unless is actually part of the title. You go to the store, but you go to Target.

>forgetting to close the window behind her//

If you want a limited narrator, keep in mind that the narrator and Dash are the same. If Dash forgot, so did the narrator; he can't tell me she forgot.

Now that she's going into this social event, the narration is getting very bland. Compare it to the beginning of the story. There was lots of description and imagery. Now it's very bare-bones. Give me a little detail. And if you want a limited narration, speckle it with Dash's personal observations about what's going on.

>demonstration to show her//


>A quarter of the present//

Missing word or typo.

>I look forwards to meeting him.//



Extraneous comma.

>Confusion crossed Golden Goose’s face.//

Try to avoid outright naming emotions like this. It's closer to real life when the reader has to interpret behavioral cues and deduce emotion. How does he look that Dash would interpret as confusion? Give me the visual and let me figure out the emotion.

>the subtle changes in his expression//

This means nothing if I don't get to see them.

>Golden Goose had spotted them and approached the couple.//

Wait, he tried to invite himself along with her. I got the impression that was his way of getting there. If he was going anyway, why'd he press to be her date? Maybe he's got a crush on her, but I've seen no signs of that.

>small, round//

These are hierarchical adjectives, so they don't need a comma. The not-foolproof test is that they describe different aspects, and that they have a natural order they like to be in, such that if you reverse the order, it sounds really awkward.

You did better when there wasn't much dialogue, but now that we're in the middle of lots of conversation, take a look at your narrative sentences. They're quite repetitive in structure, all starting with the subject, and all about the same length. Try to throw a little variety in there.

>Rainbow flashed an apologetic look. Rarity returned an annoyed one.//

Describe them. This doesn't paint a picture. You're making me do the work.

>we gotta talk about it//

This again highlights the need to decide what kind of narration you want. If Dash was having that much of a reaction to it, then that should have shown up in the narration. Yet the narration was silent about it. For an omniscient narrator, that's fine. For a limited narration, that implies Dash either had no reaction or was avoiding thinking about it.

>At least I know what your tongue tastes like now.//

This also seems like something that should have been mentioned at the time, but it's a gray area. It is kind of nice to be surprised by it now, but it'll depend on your narration. Like if you have a limited narration and Dash doesn't mention it when it happened, that implies it didn't surprise her or she didn't notice it, neither of which is the case. I'm also surprised Rarity did it, as nobody else would have been able to tell, so it wasn't necessary to keep up the act. I'm guessing she did it because she wanted to.

>Rarity donned her own winter outfit and the two left the hotel room with their luggage to check out.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>around at the snow stuck to the tops of the trees and sitting on the buildings around//

Watch that close repetition. Plus the "around them" phrasing is kind of repetitive with the "behind them" in the previous clause.

>She studied its contents as she passed and made a mental note for later.//

You're really in a rut of starting narrative sentences with the subject. But also consider that you appear to be using Dash as your limited narrator, so you tell me she reads this flyer, but you don't tell me what it said. Essentially, this means Dash is refusing to think about what it said, like she saw it but it didn't register. And yet you say she's filing it away. That doesn't compute.

>a second snowball interrupted her.//

Capitalize that. There's no reason not to have it as a new sentence.

>She scooped up a large wad in her forehooves flew up with it//

Missing an "and" or a comma.


Two-word phrases starting in an -ly adverb don't typically take hyphens, as there's no ambiguity in the hierarchy of modifiers.

>Below, the rhythmic click-clack of the wheels reminded its occupants of its progress. Inside, a pegasus and a unicorn sat side by side on an upholstered seat.//

Repetitive way to start those two sentences (though I'm glad you're not using the subject). However, this is decidedly omniscient.

>"Then I never"—she paused to get some air—"want to see your face ever again!"//

This sounds like she stops speaking for the pause. In that case, the dashes go with the speech:
"Then I never—" she paused to get some air "—want to see your face ever again!"

>laying on her back//

Lay/lie confusion.

>Followed by, Spending more time with her would be so awesome.//

That kind of phrasing, which doesn't really use a speaking verb, tends to work better with a colon instead of a comma.

>Come on Rainbow,//

In the middle of a sentence, direct address takes commas on both sides.

As Rainbow goes around to visit all her friends, you're using direct address a lot more than feels natural. It's not necessary for them to know when to listen, since it's only two of them at a time. It's fine for emphasis, but that should be an occasional thing, not a significant portion of the time.

>a familiar voice called from the other side//

That's pretty much the same phrasing you used at Fluttershy's house.

>Concern grew on her face.//

Let me see how this looks.

>Rainbow heart//

Missing possessive.

>She looked up and launched herself into the sky//

Just more of this rut where every sentence starts with the subject. Beginning here, you have ten sentences in a row that do so, and many of them are about the same length.

>Instead she turned her attention to the pony saying them. Rarity looked so animated talking about her passions, and Rainbow could tell she was enjoying her self-promotion. She was so nice to look at, from the way she moved her head to how her shoulders shifted when she changed topics.//

I just want to flag this for later, for something I'll talk about in wrap-up comments.

>Another pause.//

A little of this goes a long way. Authors like to use this sentence, but really, it means next to nothing. What's important is what happens during the pause. What little action does Dash do to signify she's thinking? What goes through her head? That's what makes the pause meaningful.

>Rainbow took a breath and focused on Rarity's deep blue eyes. She then turned her thoughts to what was behind them.//

Flagging this for later, too.

>"Well,"—Rainbow walked in front of Rarity—"I figure,//

Lose that first comma. Also consider whether the dash placement is what you want, given what I said earlier about how that indicates if the speech stops or not.

>Rainbow felt Rarity's chest move under her wing as she breathed.//

You already said as much.


So far, you'd always included an exclamation mark or question mark in the italics (which is the standard way of doing it when the italics are for emphasis).

Okay, I'll bring back in those lines I tagged. But first I want to say how nice it is to see a romance done this way. It's not perfect, but it's far better than most we get. For one thing, Rarity's not super-conveniently already in love with Dash as well. She's just willing to give it a try and see if Rainbow can win her over. Now, I do think there would tend to be at least a tiny attraction there in the first place, or it'd seem like Rarity's agreeing to the date for charity reasons more than anything else. I mean, she would admire Rainbow as a friend anyway, and it might be nice to see that creep in a bit than the slightly guarded disdain she exudes all the time now. Anyway, I like seeing the slow burn here, where it takes them some time to establish a relationship, not just diving into it, and that the story doesn't stop there (you are going to add more chapters, right?), since it's a pretty cliched thing to have their agreement to date or kiss or get married (I guess the jury's still out on that one) as the story's goal.

I don't know if you intended it this way, but Rarity's adherence to by-the-book ways that couples are supposed to behave smacks of Twilight and her sleepover manual, and it lends her a naivete that's quite cute, especially if I take it as not personal naivete but universal, as in that's just the attitude that ponies in general have. It keeps things closer to a show tone, which of course isn't required, but I found it charming. The tongue thing kind of works against that, though...

Now I will get to those excerpts I said I wanted to discuss. I do see Rarity's attitude toward this relationship, but the more I think about it, Rainbow's doesn't quite make sense. I think the pieces are there; it's more that they're out of order. So look at the first one. Rainbow's reciting all the things she likes about Rarity, but why is she just now thinking of this? The "omigosh" moment where she decides she wants to date Rarity was based on simply enjoying the kiss and possibly the companionship. But isn't that the time for her to take stock of what she likes about Rarity and decide that it really is a romantic interest? I mean, that's what makes people want to be together: they enjoy each other's personalities and get along well. Yet Rainbow does't know that yet and hasn't even considered it? That's hard to buy. I have to think she has gone over this stuff in her head, and pretty much anywhere between the fake date and her realization she wants a real one, whether it's little by little or in a rush, is the time for all this to occur to her.

Then look at the second excerpt I flagged. Now we're even later in the game, and surely she's thought about what qualities she liked in Rarity by now. Maybe on not such a formal level, but there needs to be something. This is far past the point she should be a mindset deeper than "I feel funny when I look at her."

So what I'd really like to see is this kind of self-searching about what attracts her to Rarity start much earlier, before she realizes she enjoyed the fake date much more than she meant to, and definitely before she goes to all the trouble of actually asking her out.

Be careful how you do that as well. You don't want to be vague. Working by example is often the most powerful way to go. So rather than just say she appreciates Rarity's generosity, have her reminisce about a one-to-two sentence anecdote from a time she saw that generosity in action. Instead of just saying Rarity is pretty, have her recall a time that Rarity's beauty struck her, and maybe that she didn't understand her reaction at the time. Things like that. Aragon put together a good series of blogs on how to make shipping realistic; they're linked off his home page. It might be worth reading through a bit of that to get more in-depth information on what I'm getting at here: that Rainbow needs to have, at least on a subconscious level, a sense of what she likes about Rarity and what each one of their give and take from the relationship would be. That's really all this story needs on a conceptual level.

The mechanics are pleasantly clean, too, except for all the structural repetition of subject-first and participial phrases. I mentioned that participles can go wrong in multiple ways, which are misplaced modifiers, dangling participles, and synchronization problems. You had a few spots that strayed into gray areas, but nothing outright wrong, which is impressive. I'm not sure whether you're just careful about your participle usage or if you're incredibly lucky. Like the number of licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, the world may never know. Anyway, that's the other thing I'd like to see from this story: more variety in your sentences so they don't get bogged down in having the same things over and over again.

Oh, and sort out what kind of narrator you want to use, as that affects how well the narrator's voice should match Dash's and how appropriate it is to present so much of Dash's internal thoughts as quoted material versus narrative comment.

If you can get a handle on those things, I'd be happy to post this. In fact, there aren't any pervasive plot and character problems to where I'd need to read it in detail again. I'd just want to spot-check things, so you can mark it as "back from Mars" when you're ready to resubmit.
This post was edited by its author on .

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2711

Right away, there are some subtle oddities in the perspective. First, we get this:
>the pink earth pony//
People don't think about themselves or others they know in such abstractly external terms, so this would seem to be an omniscient narrator. But a little later, this turns up:
>chuckling at her employer’s silly question//
This expresses an opinion in the narration, so it'd tend to indicate a limited narrator. It's most likely Sweet Roll's viewpoint, but it's possible this is Cherry judging her own question as silly. Shortly after:
>The fun hadn’t yet begun!//
That's not just an opinion. That's the narrator directly taking on one of the characters' voices. So you definitely have a limited narrator, and probably in Cherry's perspective. So you have to be careful to keep it that way.

>crystal blue eyes//

I could see her commenting on her own hair color, since it's hanging right in front of her face. But she can't see her own eyes, and their color isn't relevant to what's happening, so why would she mention it?

>“Hmm, that looks good!” She exclaimed//


>Recipes were unnecessary, for she knew them all by heart.//

Then why'd she clip them up? Just knowing what she wanted to make should be enough.

>a two-oven kitchen//

You're using a lot of repetitive language around here. Within three paragraphs, you mention recipes three times, "mixed" gets used twice, You say she has two ovens twice.

>Everything was first name basis.//

First-name, and it seems like there are a couple missing words.

>the corner of his shiny black eyes//

One corner for two eyes?

>“Oh,” she mentally grasped his meaning.//

You punctuated that as if it was a speech tag, but there's no speaking verb.

>The tantalizing aroma of chocolate and sugar wafted from the kitchen.//

Watch your perspective again. Cherry is your perspective character, but she's in the kitchen, so she wouldn't know what was wafting out. And it's more Burt who finds it tantalizing. You seem to be switching perspectives, but there's a finesse in doing so, and it's rarely necessary in a story this short.


I was giving you the benefit of the doubt that "Burt" was short for something, but now this? They're supposed to be ponies, right?

>lanky, yellow stallion//

Those are hierarchical adjectives, so you don't need a comma between them. The non-foolproof test is that they describe different aspects and that they tend to sound more awkward in a different order.

>A few awkward seconds and a wink from a fellow taxi passing by later, her head popped up.//

Now this seems to be from Manual's perspective.

>A wry grin started to form on the edge of his lips//

Missing your end punctuation.

>“Long enough.” He said//


>mug, watched//

You have an extra space in there.

>Slipping out of her boots, she left them on the mat next to the door.//

Keep in mind that participles make things happen at the same time, but she wouldn't leave her boots on the mat until after she'd slipped them off.

>The mare smiled back and pushed the cart around the corner into the kitchen.//

And given your limited narration, this is essentially Cherry referring to herself as "the mare." People just don't do that.

>as she were their mother of sorts//

Missing an "if."

>as she were their mother of sorts//

That's not the first time he's used direct address is it? If you're calling attention to the formal title he uses, that's not what direct address is.

>“Yeah, who is it?” A husky voice grunted from behind the door.//


>your Majesty//

The "your" gets capitalized in that phrase, too.


Spell out numbers that short.

>The mare flinched//

That odd reference again. For that matter, she knows Nutmeg well, so it's odd for her to think of him as "the stallion."

>now rabid//


>her voice laden with urgency//

Odd for her to describe the emotion in her voice instead of the emotion she's actually feeling. Authors often fall into this trap, like saying the perspective character had an expression of rage. But that's not how we perceive our own emotions. Would you have to look in a mirror to know you were angry? Would you have to hear your own voice to know you has a sense of urgency?


Don't put a period after a dash.

>Yet, a little nagging voice in the back of her mind told her otherwise.//

It's rarely valid to put a comma after a conjunction. This one doesn't belong.

>Flinging open the door, she tackled him with a hug.//

Another spot where a participle synchronizes actions that should probably happen in sequence.

>the light pink earth pony/

Another odd reference. Do you call your grandfather "the gray-haired man"?

>Cherry rubbed her hooves together, a few embarrassed chuckles escaping her lips, “Um,//

Another spot where you punctuate something like a speech tag when it has no speaking verb.


Write it out.

>wait. . .” her mother’s voice trailed off//

The ellipsis already meas she trailed off. Narrating it as well is redundant. It's also weird that you're using Cherry as your perspective character, but the camera stays behind after she leaves.

I just noticed your paragraph indentations are pretty uneven.


Both parts of the hyphenated name would be capitalized. Look for this eery time you use that name.

>Dropping into a side alley, the pink mare peeked around the corner//

More synchronization issues.

>Cherry found herself in small dull room//

Missing word. Plus the "found herself" phrasing means it was unexpected, but she knows where she's going.

>we’re— Oh//

Don't put a space after the dash.

>The pink mare//

Another odd reference.

This is a nice little behind-the-scenes kind of thing showing what Fili-Second gets up to during her free time, but ultimately, I'm not sure what the point was aside from being a simple fluff piece. Cherry doesn't have to struggle to achieve anything, and any interesting things we learn about her (namely the fact that she does all these charitable activities) happen right up front, so they don't develop through the story. It's nice that she's trying to reach out to the Mane-iac, but what does it accomplish? Is this helping to rehabilitate her? Or has the Mane-iac expressed on her own that she wishes she would have visitors? There's really nothing that changes as a result of these events, and nobody has to go to any trouble to achieve something. What message did you want the reader to take away from this? That Cherry is a nice person? That's fine, but it doesn't need a whole story to convince me of that. Show me what a difference that has made, not just that she drops in on these ponies in need, but that it's really changed their lives for the better. Particularly for the Mane-iac, since that's the one you chose to dwell on. What sort of change has come over her due to Cherry's attention? Compare the before and after. Show that the Mane-iac has become a better person. Something like that.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2717

>"Keep doing that and you'll go deaf in one ear."//
As opposed to... having them on straight and going deaf in both ears? I'm not sure what Sugarcoat's getting at. That Lemon shouldn't be wearing headphones at all?

>Lemon sighed heavily, and shook her head to clear her mind.//

The same subject does both verbs. That makes it a compound verb, not a separate clause, so you don't need the comma.


Take care that you don't include the quotation marks in the italics, unless the entire quote is italicized. This happens throughout the story, so scan the whole thing for it.


You don't need the apostrophe, since you're eliminating an entire word, not clipping some letters off this one. You use this spelling a couple of times.


And you don't need that apostrophe either. You're not clipping letters off, just making a spelling imitative of a pronunciation of what is still the whole word. You do this one a lot. A global search and replace would get rid of them.

>in genuine surprise//

You were doing well at demonstrating emotion instead of naming it, but then I get these two close together. Something like this can work sparingly, but not if the emotion is important to the story, and you don't want to lean on it much. Have them act accordingly so the reader can deduce the emotion without you saying it.

>Vinyl made a face.//

Describe it a bit. This is so vague it doesn't mean anything.

>Lemon could see curiosity//

Yeah, make her act curious. It's more realistic when a reader interprets behavior then when he just has the narrator drawing the conclusion for him. That's how we read other people, so it feels more natural. There's no narrator in real life telling us how people feel.

Oh, the cloud's real? That's... interesting.


What she said in conjunction with the giggle already gets this across. You don't need to spell it out.

>Her embarrassment//

Just describe the change in her behavior and appearance. Don't leave it as some abstract assessment of her mood.

>and her cheeks pinked//

This is a subtle thing about perspective. Consider you've been telling the story from Lemon's viewpoint. She can't see her own cheeks to notice this. She may conclude that by the fact they've gotten warm, for example, but not through direct observation. You have to consider how the viewpoint character can and would perceive what the narration describes.

>This is about losing yourself, and being where you want to be//

No need for that comma.

>They rubbed, they squeezed... they massaged.//

Okay, this is kind of coming out of nowhere. And I'm nervous that this is the Romance tag coming in, specifically because it comes out of nowhere. We'll see, but it's curious that this elicits no response from Lemon. If it's unexpected, it should surprise her. If it's not unexpected, then it speaks to a pre-existing relationship, yet they sure haven't acted like they're in one until now.

>She sat back, and gazed outside again.//

Don't need that comma.

>every time I thought screwed things up//

Missing word.


You do, however, italicize exclamation marks or question marks on a word that's been italicized for emphasis. You'd been doing so until now.

>She squeezed Lemon's hands, and grinned knowingly.//

Don't need that comma.

>and looked like it had been for a while//

Wait, how could she possibly tell this? Even one second after it was gone, what evidence would there be of it? When it rains, I guess she might tell by how wet the ground is, but she's looking up.

>Indie, no!//

Italicize the exclamation mark.

>Lemon shook herself off, and stood as tall as she could.//

No comma.

>putting on an expression of determination//

Think of your perspective again. Lemon can't see this, so it's odd for her to evaluate it. She could say that's what she's attempting to do. But more immediate to her would be the actual feeling. So how does that affect her? That's what makes more sense to say. What thoughts are going through her head? What physical sensations does it cause? Put yourself in her place and say how you'd experience it, not something that's an external observation of it.

>Lemon placed her hand to her heart, and looked at Indigo.//

No comma.

>clearly flustered//

So give me more description of her that paints a picture of her as flustered. If you were a stage director, what would you tell your actress to do to get this across? A play doesn't have a narrator to tell the audience Indigo is flustered. It's entirely upon the actress to get that across. For the most part, written characters work best when they do the same. You give me the visual through which I can infer the emotion.

>once in awhile//

"Awhile" and "a while" aren't generally interchangeable. You do need it to be two words here so there's a noun to serve as the preposition's object.

>That was a pep talk worthy of me!//

Italicize the exclamation mark.

>"Yeah. I wonder,"//

You wouldn't bother putting any other end punctuation in the italics, though, unless the entire quote is italicized. So leave an ending comma, period, dash, or ellipsis outside the italics.

>Indigo batted away one of the little hearts popping up around Lemon's head.//

Okay, you're kind of going weird on the cartoon side. The actual movie didn't have these effects, and I couldn't tell if the raincloud was supposed to be some magical power Lemon had, but now it looks like you're going for cartoon logic. So I'll reiterate that the movie doesn't do this, and you're going for an even more serious tone than the movies, so this feels like a big step in the opposite direction.

>Lemon rubbed her hands together, excitedly.//

That excitedly is once again blunt, but it's also extraneous. She already comes across that way.

>She held her shirt away from her body//

This sure sounds like she's taken it off.

>Indigo peeled her shirt off and walked across the field to the locker room.//

O-kay. She has something on under it, I trust?

>It was white, and much smaller than before.//

Oh, wait, it's there permanently, even when she's in a good mood? That could be clearer. I'm not sure how the reader's supposed to figure that out before now, since her canon portrayal doesn't include it.

>She put her headphones on, and loaded a new playlist//

No comma.

>one that she had downloaded from Vinyl's player when they'd exchanged numbers//

Why didn't you mention it at the time? Did Vinyl suggest she grab it? Did Vinyl even know she did?

>The music started up, and the last bit of cloud whisked away.//

Oh, okay. It does go away.

Okay, aside from a tiny bit of blushing, I can't fathom why you tagged this as romance. There's no romance in it, and even the vague hints at such are completely extraneous to the plot. Not that that's really a problem. That kind of thing tends to get you downvotes from people who came in expecting all-out shipping and get barely a whisper of it. It's not exactly mistagged, and it's your risk to take. To wit, your like ratio is hovering below 20:1, and based on the quality of the writing alone, I would have bet on higher. That tag is probably hurting you a bit.

The more important point is the story that you start with and the one that actually finishes. They're both fine, but they don't really connect. It wouldn't be hard to address that, though. So let me look at the before and after pictures.

At the beginning, Lemon is moping around about how all her friends are in a bad mood, and she feels distant from them. Vinyl shows up and gets her to calm down by playing music. (For that matter, why was it necessary for them to listen while looking out the window? Nothing happens out there, and Vinyl even tells her to close her eyes at one point, so that she can't see anything outside. And it's only through serendipity that the window performs a function—she sees Indigo running out there, but Vinyl didn't set it up that way; she had no idea Indigo would even be out there.) So calmed, Lemon decides she wants to invite all her friends to a party to get them all to reconnect.

At the end, Lemon confronts Indigo, and she makes an argument at least related to the problem. It doesn't address that desire for a get-together, but it does address the root cause of what's bugging Indigo, so it would probably still achieve that desired effect. But she stops there, and this idea of a party is completely dropped. Tie those threads together!

Make some stronger connection that the calming effect of Vinyl's music has enabled Lemon to see the situation clearly and act to resolve it. Don't forget about that party. Indigo wants to take Lemon out for a shake, but what happened to the rest of the girls? You don't have to show all those interactions if you don't want to. It'd make the story significantly longer, and it might be hard to make them all seem necessary and interesting. But just indicating that she's going to have a similar talk with each of them is enough. It shows that she's going to solve the problem that was presented way back at the beginning of the story. As it is, she's re-engaged with Indigo, but she's forgotten about the others. The ending hits a different target than the beginning was shooting for, and there's nothing accomplished by the shift. I'd like to see you have thematic closure here. And it's as simple as this: Like I said, make it a little more clear that Lemon couldn't have thought of and implemented this plan if Vinyl hadn't calmed her down first. After Lemon makes up with Indigo, have her mention this plan of throwing a party to her, and Indigo says it's a good idea. Then the story closes with Lemon going off to talk to the others the same way she had with Indigo. Now you have a consistent plot arc, and all those pieces relate to it, for the price of only a couple paragraphs.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2723

Note that for a lot of the mechanical stuff, I only pointed out one or two examples of each kind of problem, not every instance of each. You should look for other instances of the same things, as in many cases, there were other spots that needed to be fixed.

>regardless of if you studies//


>Valentine's day//


>My only true love is the basketball game tomorrow?//

I can't figure why that's a question.

>My sport friend//

>the redhead//
People just don't think about others they know in such external, abstract terms.

>this- even in my head- that's//

Please use proper dashes, not hyphens.

>one-hundred percent//

As you've phrased it, hyphenate the whole thing.



>...how fast does this girl work?//

When you have a leading ellipsis, you still capitalize after it if it's a new sentence. Only leave it lower-case if it's picking up from an earlier sentence that ended in an ellipsis.


Needs a space.

>bouncy hair bounces//

It does, does it?


The missing letter is the "d" at the end. Why is the apostrophe on the beginning?

>I'm came here//

Phrasing is off.

>considering Pinkie//

Set off the participle with a comma.

>The pink-haired party animal//

Yeah, these kind of references just don't work for a limited narrator, and first person is as limited as it gets.

>cheesy I love you message//

cheesy I-love-you message or cheesy "I love you" message

>Me and my heart freeze.//

Somehow, I think Twilight knows grammar better than this.



>Her shining green eyes lock with my magenta ones.//

Why in the world would she mention her own eye color?

>I instinctively twirl a piece of my indigo hair//

Same deal with the hair. Why would she even notice the color? It's unimportant to her and irrelevant to what's happening.

>Yer spacin' off.//

I've always heard it as spacing out.

>Now, I'm gonna head out now//

Watch the close repetition.

>a one time thing//


>once in a lifetime sight//


>I thought it was a phase that most people went through when that age came around where that part of you becomes aware to you.//

This is really awkwardly phrased.

I'm curious as to whether this is supposed to be happening before or after she falls for Timber Spruce.

>Applejack is one of my closest friends. She's kind, caring, hardworking, but what drew me towards her was her honesty. Her honesty is almost as beautiful as her. I see her honesty always shining through those vibrant green eyes.//

I have a feeling I'm going to need to refer to this passage later, so I'm marking it for now.

>Friendship has a theoretical 28% chance of ending if subject is not attracted to other girls but open minded, theorized 85% chance if subject hates girls attracted to other girls.//

Where is she getting those numbers? Her own estimation? Did she find some sort of statistics to support this?

>Option 3: kiss Applejack.//

I'm always taken aback at how common this is in fanfiction. You wouldn't do this in real life out of the blue. Not the least reason for which is that it might get you hit and possibly disciplined.



>feels like the millionth time, I feel//


>me and Spike can curl up//

Yeah, Twilight wouldn't get that wrong.

>I walk up to the home, nervously and with careful steps.//

>I adjust my glasses nervously.//
>Nervously, I set my backpack//
>that nervous feeling//
These all occur within the same screen, and the last two are in the same paragraph. I get the idea. You should avoid directly telling the reader how a character feels. If Twilight's nervous, how would she act? What would she look like? What questions and images would run through her mind? Think about how you can tell a stranger in the street is nervous. You want the reader observing the same clues you would. If you give the right clues, the reader will get the emotion you want him to without ever having to say it. Since that's how real life works, it comes across as much more authentic.

>a feel a blush//


>the fashionista//

Another oddly external reference.

>But my nails are the least of my concern right now.

>Applejack is.//
I get what you're trying to say, but this doesn't say it. You're saying Applejack is the least of your concern.

>Even then, the darkness doesn't go away.//

Why would it? Glasses just change focus, not the light level.

>I slowly breath outwards.//


>I can remember every time you took me to your family farm, and I can remember every time we went to the library together. All the times I tried out those delicious apple fritters I helped your family make, and all the times we picked out books together so we could read and talk about them.//

Okay, gonna mark this for later discussion as well.

>A candy heart.//

It's a nice pattern, but the way they'd been left so far is really haphazard. How could Applejack be sure Twilight would even see them? Only one of them had been reasonable so far.

Okay, summation time. I'll bring back in those two passages I marked. The first one lists a few qualities Twilight likes about Applejack, and the second lists a few specific activities they've done together. You're on the right track with those, but they show up awfully late in the story, they're fairly vague, and there's not a lot of them.

Before I elaborate, I'll refer you to someone else who already has. Aragon has written a series of blog posts about how to portray a realistic romance, and he's linked them off his user page. I think they're worth reading, and I think they'd help you here. The bottom line is that there needs to be a reasonable give and take here, that each one brings things into the relationship and gets things out of it. They have to have genuine reasons for wanting to be together, and they have to be more or less equals in it. That's a paraphrase, but I'll let Aragon do the heavy explaining. because he's put a lot more thought into it.

The way most authors do romance wrong is to expect me to care about the couple without ever giving me a reason to. Because I like MLP, I already like these characters and so have some interest in seeing them happy. But that's not enough for me to immediately believe they're in love. This is a very common plot you have going here, where one character harbors a secret crush, and when she finally acts on it, the other very conveniently admits she's also had a crush. Add in the "do I like girls?" gayngst, and your foundation is a collection of cliches. People do harbor secret crushes, but the odds against two secret crushes matching up are pretty big. It's still a common story type for Twilight to admit her crush and for Applejack to have never considered it before, but she agrees to give it a try. While cliched, it's still more realistic. Though that would obviously nullify the angle of the candy hearts. It's your story, and it's ultimately up to you what you're willing to change and by how much, but when you're writing the same thing the reader has seen done countless times before, it's incredibly hard to make your version stand out.

So let me get back to what I was saying earlier about why Twilight likes Applejack. The most cliched stories never even get to that. They expect me to buy into the relationship simply because the author says they're in love, but you've at least started down the road of justifying it. But like I said, it's well into the story before we get any of this. Start laying that groundwork right from the first paragraph. Sprinkle it regularly throughout the story. Twilight's mind should keep coming back to what she finds endearing about Applejack. That's part 1.

Part 2 is being specific. You also took a step in the right direction by listing those activities Twilight said she liked doing with Applejack. That way, it's not some big, vague "I like her." It shows the kinds of common interests they share. It suffers in the same ways as part 1, in that you only address it this one place in the story, it's buried way toward the end, and it's still a little on the vague side. An example always speaks far louder than a generalization. So give me more examples, and elaborate on them a bit. The time Twilight tried fritters. Don't leave it at just that. Give me a few sentences about it. How she took a bite, but it was still too hot, and she had to fan her mouth to keep from burning it, but once it cooled enough to swallow, it was so good! And Applejack must have seen the streak of cinnamon on Twilight's cheek, but it was a good hour later before Twilight noticed it on her reflection in the farm house's window. The reflection of her and Applejack walking side by side, the blonde hair like spun sunlight, and Twilight just knew it must smell like apple pie.

Maybe that rambled on a bit long, but you get the picture. I don't need an entire scene of it, but a few sentences to give me a vivid picture of how each one of those events happened, how they made Twilight feel close to Applejack, how Twilight started noticing how much she enjoyed the companionship and found her friend attractive. That adds so much life to it and really makes their relationship feel authentic. It's the right kind of detail in the right kind of places that can convince a reader of anything.

And then part 3. Because you're using Twilight as your perspective character, it's harder to get at what Applejack thinks and feels. The only two ways are for Twilight to read it from Applejack's behavior or for Applejack to say it outright, but like Aragon says, they need to be equals. By now, it's painfully obvious Twilight is in love with Applejack. You have to convince me of the other direction, too. And you don't have that at all. I just have to take your word for it. She hasn't demonstrated anything of the sort. Whether she just now decides to give Twilight a shot or she's also been harboring a secret crush, I need to know the same things from Applejack's side: What is it that she likes about Twilight? What does she find endearing? What does she expect their common interests to be? They don't talk until the end, and since you stay with Twilight as your limited narrator, this won't come out until late in the story, but it's an essential thing to include. Give me that same kind of evidence that Applejack loves Twilight.

That's how you stand out from the crowd, because most authors are content to assume any given reader will automatically believe in the romance. Problem is, that's making the reader do the author's job.
This post was edited by its author on .

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2738

>It seemed she wasn't the only pony who had difficulties to sleep tonight.//
The phrasing is off here. It should be "who had difficulty sleeping." And why does this specifically call out ponies? Spike isn't one. I get that she doesn't see him until she looks through the door, but who else would it be? Only a few characters might be there after hours, and even fewer with a male voice.

>was sat at a reading desk//

Phrasing is off again. "was sitting."

>not being able to prevent her mouth from speaking//

I don't understand her mindset here. She hasn't given a reason why she wouldn't want to speak.

>"Not this one too" he commented//

Missing a comma.

>I know Twi,//

In the middle of a sentence, direct address takes commas on both sides. This doesn't say that he's telling Twi he knows; it says he's acquainted with Twi.

>the same category than the Pinkie Sense//

The normal phrasing here is "as" instead of "than," and you don't need "the" in front of "Pinkie Sense."

>she lectured him//

I don't understand why she's angry. She might say he's not likely to reach a conclusion, but this makes it sound like he's doing something wrong by researching it.

>and instead, finished//

The only reason to have a comma there is if you had a new subject, but you don't, so it's all still one clause.

>then, looked straight//

Same thing as my previous comment.

>raising an eyebrow//

You'll normally set off participles with a comma.

>Once more, he took a moment to clear his thoughts.//

What does he do? This is stated as fact, and the story has been following Twilight's mindset so far, so this would require her to read his mind. What behavior does she see that leads her to this conclusion? Just give me that behavior and let me reach the conclusion myself.

>Are you sure Spike?//

Needs a comma for direct address.

Through this area, you're heavily concentrated on dialogue. Don't lose sight of the narration, or it becomes abstract, like they're talking in some featureless void. Let me see all the little nonverbal things that go on in a real conversation and the little things that happen in the background. It adds a lot of life to a conversation.

>Spike couldn’t hold it against her- after all//

Please use a proper dash for asides or interruptions. There's a guide to them at the top of this thread.

>after all, he hadn’t be very clear about why he felt the urge to find some answers. Maybe it was time to stop beating around the bush.//

Hm. You started the scene with the narrator relaying Twilight's thoughts and impressions, but now you've shifted over to Spike. It's not a good idea to shift perspective around unnecessarily, abruptly, or often. So consider which viewpoint really is needed here. If you do want to shift it, it can be done, but it takes some experience. It's usually better to stick to one character per scene. So was it really necessary to start the scene with Twilight? Or do you really need to go with Spike here? Can you tell this scene from just one of their perspectives? It's still possible to get at how both feel; one of them will be internal impressions, and the other will be how the first character perceives and interprets their behavior.

>Pinkie promise//

That's a pretty unique thing. It'd likely be capitalized.

>He didn't add that he has felt from the rock the same feeling he had when he sometimes thought about Rarity.//

You have a shift into present tense here.

>But the idea was so alien to her that she could only stare at her little friend, mouth slightly agape.//

See, you're going right back into Twilight's head. If you had an omniscient narrator, it's easier to jump around, but you have to keep things factual and attribute all opinions to the characters in that case. Your narrator takes on a more personal voice that that when he's speaking for Twilight or Spike.

>Seeing her stare and her mouth slightly agape, Spike concluded Twilight wasn’t convinced.//

Beware feeding me the conclusion. Just give me the evidence.

>He didn't insist, preferring to wait patiently for the young alicorn to end her brainwork.//

And you're back in Spike's head again. This keeps skipping back and forth. Also consider that a narrator in his perspective essentialy gives m his thoughts, so you'e having him refer to Twilight as "the young alicorn." People just don't think about others they know in such abstract terms. They think of friends and acquaintances by name, pronoun, or some kind of descriptor that defines their relationship. You wouldn't think of your grandfather as "the gray-haired man," would you?

>she said in a joyful tone//

Rather than just say she's joyful, let me see her acting joyful so I'll conclude it on my own. It feels more realistic when you paint the picture and I interpret it, since that's how people interact in real life. We don't have a narrator telling us how people feel; we have to figure it out through observation.

>If you are right Spike//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>like I did for -you!//

That should be a dash, except I don't quite get what's cutting her off here. There isn't an abrupt change in her train of thought.

>Imagine Spike//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>take a good sleep//

A more typical phrasing would be something like "get a good night's sleep."

>They had sent a letter to Ember that morning to ask her if she could receive them today//

Needs a comma here, since a new clause is beginning. There's a brief explanation of why at the top of this thread in the discussion called "comma use with conjunctions."

>"Brace yourself" warned Twilight.//

Missing comma.


Missing a space.

>"Indeed your Highness."//

Needs a comma for direct address, and the "your" would also be capitalized, since it's part of the honorific "Your Highness."

>I think that we would be more comfortable with a drink, don't you think//

Pretty repetitive use of "think."

>Spike noticed the appetizing gemstones//

Needs a comma after this.

>but he pushed his gluttony away//

And this.

>each one of them lost in their thoughts/

Spike and Twilight already had time to think about it. I'm not sure why anyone but Ember would do so now.

>Spike had tried to bring the subject//

Awkward phrasing.


Missing a space.

>I'm still young//

Needs a comma after this.

>in shame//

It's common for authors to directly identify an emotion in a phrase like this, but it's often redundant with something else already there. Her blushing and turning away already relates this mood, so you don't need to say it.

>may had avoided//


>but that’s over now//

Set this off with a comma.

>one of my hypothetic subject//

one of my hypothetical subjects

>a disturbing smile of a predator//

The first "a" should be "the," but don't tell me it's disturbing. Describe it and let me see it for myself. You're also using Spike as your perspective character here, so he's the one who finds it disturbing. Wouldn't that make him decide something was wrong here and be cautious?

>laying lazily//


>from jewels to golden candlesticks//

Odd for you to single out candlesticks here, unless you're going to list a lot more of the kinds of objects he has. Otherwise, it makes it sound like he obsesses about them in particular.

>but now she was closer to him than she had never been//

Needs a comma before this, and the phrasing is off. You need "ever" here, not "never."

>he was really, really big//

But she'd seen Ember next to him before, so she already had a good size reference.

>he hadn't been able to prevent fear from giving his voice a whisky tone//

So describe how it sounds. And I don't know what "whisky" means here. Are you saying he's drunk?

>don't oblige me to make you comply/

That's awfully formal language. She didn't talk like this in the episode.

>what is this egg//

what this egg is

>but that wasn't making him smaller.//

Set this off with a comma.

>you Lordship//

Set this off with a comma, and it's "Your Lordship."

>And how will you do that little one?//

Needs a comma for direct address.


Set off the participle with a comma.

>"Spike!" whispered Twilight loudly,//

That comma needs to be a period, since the following quoted passage starts a new sentence.

>three hours flight//

three-hour flight

>He hadn't expressed any enthusiasm nor interest, settling for listening.//

That isn't a "nor" situation. Use "or."

>The rock farm was in sight//

Needs a comma here.

>Twilight pointed to the group//

Just say "Twilight pointed out." This phrasing is confusing.

>Torch was last//

Needs a comma here. But why wouldn't he land first? He's the one who needs the most space. The rest could easily land around him.

>made the alicorn and the two dragons jumped//

jump. But this is another of those odd references. I can't tell yet who holds the perspective in this scene, but whoever it is would know all the character well enough that they wouldn't need to call them this.

>even less dragons//

The typical phrasing is "much less dragons."

>"We came because of Holder's Boulder" answered Twilight.//

Missing comma.

>"They are…,"//

On this one, you don't need the comma when you already have some other end punctuation. The comma only replaces a period.

>she cut her.//

That's violent. I suppose you meant "she cut her off," except you ended Twilight's dialogue with an ellipsis. A cutoff would be indicated with a dash.

>I didn't silly//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>I've never heard there had been any earthquake here before//

But in the episode, Limestone said Applejack had planted the flag on a fault line, which pretty much means there had to have been an earthquake there at some point. Maybe not in Pinkie's lifetime, but it must have happened sometime, and with Maud's knowledge of geology, she'd probably be able to tell when.

>so let's hurry//

Set this off with a comma.

>every Pies//

every Pie

>was waiting them//

was waiting for them

>from what we have gathered, it seems more than probable//

What have they gathered though? It's just a feeling Spike has, so I don't know how that makes it probable.

>My ancestors have found it here//

Remove the "have," or it means his ancestors are still in the process of finding it there.

>shout Limestone//

The verb form is off.

>Torch had picked Holder's Boulder//

picked up

>looking closely to the rock//

looking closely at the rock

>his look completely enthralled//

Don't say he's enthralled. Show me how he looks and acts.

>A small smile began to creep on his face, which soon became a thunderous laughter.//

What does the "which" refer to? The smile? His face? Neither one becomes the laughter.

>open mouthed//


>such a giant creature genuinely laughing//

I don't understand why his size makes it seem remarkable that he could laugh.

>after Torch had calm down//


>egg shaped//


>Welcome among Equestria Irony!//

Use "to" instead of "among," and it needs a comma for direct address.

>asked Spike to Torch//

Spike asked Torch

>except for Torch//

Needs a comma after this.

>It is a long story my little dragon//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>which dates from a thousand years or so//

Phrasing is off. There's nothing saying when this thousand years is. Presumably, in the past.

>a young and candid dragon//

"Candid" is a really strange word choice here. I'm not sure what you meant to say.

>sobbing on Maud's shoulder//

Set off the participle with a comma.

>Don't be sad pink pony//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>It happened a while ago//

Needs a comma here.

>I heard that the dragon has moved on since//

That's kind of a flippant end. And very convenient that he not only figured out what the rock was, but he knows the specific instance. Plus everything was a well-known legend, except how it turned out was more a rumor or item of gossip? It doesn't match up. He does go on to explain what happened, but the "I heard" doesn't quite work here.

>his gift has remained//

Needs a comma after this.

>not only ponies have//

not only have ponies

This conversation is losing the narration again. Check out the section on "talking heads" at the top of this thread.


Make him act this way.

>as everyone was pondering the revelations//

This is very vague and glib sounding.

>to broke it//


>new informations//

"Information" is a collective term. It's already plural.


What he says doesn't sound patronizing at all, so I don't know why he'd look that way.

>allowing smiles to appear more often than what she was used to//

This is oddly phrased, and I'm not sure whether she's referring to her own smiles, Torch's, or everyone's.

>It was all thanks to Pinkie Pie, this pony really had a gift to make someone smile.//

Comma splice.

>Laying outside the house//


>he was enjoying that moment//

You only spent one paragraph in Ember's perspective and now you're already going to Torch's.

>and Torch watched the shadow landing in front of him//

Set this off with a comma, and use "land."

>Good evening Torch//

Needs a comma for direct address.


Move this to the end of the sentence, and "the black alicorn" is another oddly impersonal reference for a limited narrator.

>each other eyes//

each other's eyes

>afflicted by the banality of her own words//

I don't even know what this would mean, but it's better to demonstrate it anyway instead of just telling me she feels this way.

>My body may haven't changed//

Needs a comma here.

>My sister was well aware of your feelings//

Needs a comma here.

>looking away//

Set off the participle with a comma.

>where there wasn't any stars or Moon//


>All your prose won't make up for the thousand years of waiting Luna.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>I'm deeply sorry Torch.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>but at least, I expected a friend//

You don't need that comma.

>Why showing yourself only now?//


>His voice was less of an order and more of a request.//

This is pretty self-evident. It's not phrased anything like an order.

>Long talks would be needed, they had a thousand years to catch.//

The phrasing is way off here. I think you meant something like it would take them a lot of talking to catch up on a thousand years.

>each other company//

each other's company

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2754

Right off the bat, I'm seeing a lot of repetitive sentence structure. It's not until the end of the fourth paragraph, or the eighth sentence, that you start with anything but the subject. A lot of them are about the same length, too, which all combines to give it the feel of what we call a "list of actions." You seem to have a habit of this, but it improves a little further into the story. The other mitigating factor is that dialogue tends to help break up this effect, so once you get to the parts of the story that have some, it's not as noticeable. It's still worth making a pass and seeing if you can vary your narrative sentence starters a bit more.

>I stomped forward to keep his momentum going, and waited until he bumped into the door before I lit my horn.//

>Then I threw it open, and watched as he fell in a heap on the sidewalk.//
>I topped it off, and spooned a dollop of vanilla icing in afterward//
I bet I'm going to see a lot of this. You don't need these commas, because they just separate verbs that are linked to the same subject. Use a comma when it separates clauses, where each verb is linked to a different subject. So it's "He does this and does that," but it's "He does this, and he does that." I'm not going to mark any more of these. They're just the ones I saw on the first page or so. You get it right as much as not, and there's some artistic license allowed for flow and cadence, but I'm not feeling it with these ones.


Write out the words.

>She’ll probably just tell me to make friends with all these weirdos.//

Maybe you'll get to this later in the story (and if you do, I'll surely forget to come back and edit this comment out), but my first reaction is that she'd gleefully say the princess of friendship must be willing to meet all these wierdos who so desperately want to be friends with her.

>She stuck the towel in her ear//

It's really obtrusive to refer to a third-person character at the beginning of a scene by pronoun before we have any other sort of descriptor for her, be it a name or even something generic like "the mare," since pronouns work by antecedent. Particularly with your first-person narrator, it creates the feeling I should already know who you're talking about because of the conversational style. You wouldn't do this in a real conversation, after all, and a first-person narrator is having a conversation with the reader, more or less.

>The door jingled as another customer trotted through the door.//

Kind of repetitive use of "door," but I can't help thinking you meant to use "bell" for the first one.

>I’ve never had anypony try to pay, before//

You don't need that comma. You typically only set off adverbs with a comma when they come at the beginning of a clause.

>I glanced over my shoulder as I heard her gasp.//

This chapter is showing just as much repetitive structure in the narration's sentences. It's natural to have a lot of sentences in first person that begin with "I," so it's a good idea to avoid it where you can. Not just sentences, but paragraphs too. This is your eighth paragraph of the chapter, but it's already the sixth to start with "I."

>she’ll ask//

Put that in past tense.

>She looked up at me with an expression somewhere between terror and awe.//

Describe it to me in a way that I can picture it. You're making me do all the work.


There is a surprising majority of authors who don't know how to spell this. Please don't be one of them.

>single, dramatic//

You don't need a comma between adjectives when they're hierarchical. To spare you the long explanation, if they describe different aspects and would sound really awkward in reverse order, you probably don't need the comma.

>I’m pretty good at those//

You've gone to present tense again, and it's done in a way that tends to make it sound like she's actually talking to the reader. That opens a big can of worms that's not worth dealing with, as you'd have to establish who I am to her and why she's telling me the story. It's far easier to leave it as internal musings to an undefined an unimplied audience.

>Fun fact.//

This is kind of the same. Her explanation of how to make a yeast donut was fine, as it could actually be thinking about that on her own. It lends a sense that she's not particularly engaged with what Ravenwing is saying, and it's fine in present tense, since it's something that continues to be true, not a one-time occurrence. But then tacking this on the end makes it sound far more like it's said for someone else's benefit who's a party to her internal thoughts, and that creates the same audience problem I just talked about.

>I swear, I could hear her soul deflate.//

Same thing. If you left it all as past tense (I swore), it's still all consistent. The second part wouldn't make sense in present tense, so the possibility of having this entirely present is moot, but the way you've mixed tenses, it's like she's sitting there telling me the story now (I swear) about things that happened in the past ("I could hear" versus "I can hear"). And you haven't done anything to define my role as an audience, plus the way the story is delivered would have a lot of trouble working within that frame anyway, for a couple of reasons. You're not delivering the past events as flashbacks, but Twilight is also relating the kind of detail, including speech that's remembered word for word well enough for her to present it as quotes, that isn't reasonable for something told even hours or days after it happened. You're even inconsistent about it, since there are others of these little observations stuck in that are still past tense.

>I didn’t turn around because I didn’t want to see the way I was sure she was looking at me.//

And for the first time, one that doesn't have a comma but needs one.

>hot, soapy//

These are also hierarchical adjectives and don't need a comma.

>trotted into the living room, plopping down//

Note that participles make things happen at the same time, but she couldn't plop down until after she'd trotted in there.

>this is the first time I’d ever had another pony in my apartment//

You're in present tense again.

>I felt myself blush a bit.//

A tad repetitive with her noticing Ravenwing blushing. The trick with repetition is to make it obvious it's intentional. For instance, if you emphasized "myself" here, it calls attention to the fact it's been repeated, which makes it clear that it's on purpose.

>said, “Because you said//

Not the best choice of speaking verb when it appears so soon after in the dialogue.

>I will give her this, though: she may be crazy, but she can follow directions like she’s not an idiot.//

Present tense again.

>Most ponies are a bit awed the first time they see Celestia in the flesh. But I suppose when you’re planning to ascend to her level, that makes the meeting a bit more… momentuous.//

And again. Plus that's "momentous."

>she’s coming over here!//

When a word is italicized for emphasis, you'll normally include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.

>My words trailed off//

That's already evident from the fact that her dialogue ended in an ellipsis, so narrating it as well is redundant.

>What’s wrong.//

That's a question, isn't it?

>Besides, it’s not my fault that she’s so, so… Intimidating.//

You don't need to capitalize that last word, as it still parses as part of the same sentence.

>She likes to do that.//

Gone to present tense again.

>What— How//

Don't leave a spae after the dash.

>tonight. Why don’t you stay with me tonight//

Kind of repetitive word use.

>A mare in my, uh, situation occasionally has need of a method to move an unconscious pony. Don’t ask.//

And now you're explicitly making conversation with the reader. You do this so irregularly in the story and without setting it up that it's just not working well.


Don't put a period there. The dash is already end punctuation.

>it’s a good thing//

Present tense again.

>“I don’t” —she rested her forehead on a hoof— “I don’t//

Don't leave those spaces around an em dash.

>Seeing it in person was a bit more breathtaking than the photographs I’d collected.//

Wait a minute. She's collected all this intel on Twilight Sparkle, even gone to her parents' house, and she says she's travelled a fair amount for her catering business. And she hasn't ever been to Ponyville since the castle formed?

>Spike —little purple baby dragon, first mentioned page 1 in the executive summary, dedicated chapter starts page 73— jogged//

No spaces around the dashes, and write out the number.

>Here we go.//

Here's the time to make something an italicized thought. This would sound weird rendered in past tense, but in present, it's not meshing with even the occasional addressing the reader, since this is an in-the-moment comment and not said in retrospect.

>Style number 73//

Write out the number again, and I wonder if it's psychologically telling that you chose the same number as the page Spike's on.

>She looked confused, and maybe a bit offended.//

So describe it to me. I get the meaning but none of the experience if you just tell me.

>she” —Copper jabbed a hoof at me— “pony//

>Glimmer —first mention page 184, Twilight Sparkle’s first and current apprentice— trotting//
Take out the spaces around the dashes.

>looked at me with a “told-you-so” sort of look//

So she looked with a look, you say?

>Turns out I’m the evil one.//

Gone to present tense.

>Sparkle looked confused again.//

And I want to know what it looks like again.

>Sparkle and Starlight both looked at me, mouths agape, then looked//

There are a lot of uses of some form of "look" lately.

>I guess she’s seen too many//

More present tense.

>lay my head down//

When you have a direct object, it's "laid."

>and slash or//

I'd recommend hyphenating that so it's more immediately clear how to parse it.

>She said something but it didn’t register in my brain.//

Needs a comma.

>24 hours//

Spell it out.

>I’m back to that train of thought again//

>I’m surprised to hear myself say//
Present tense again.


Don't hyphenate two-word phrases starting with an -ly adverb.

>she hasn’t shut up//

>She seems… brighter//
Present tense.

>I feel like this is the terrible, squishy, emotional moment that I was afraid would happen. And you know what? It didn’t bother me that much.//

Present tense and addressing the reader again.

This is a very cute story, and I'd love to post it. It's got two areas it needs work on, though. One, it's got a lot of excess commas. Two... well one and a half. I like the way Sprinkle unknowingly befriends Copper, but it could maybe use a little more of Sprinkle's thought process as to why she picks this particular pony to drag off to see Sparkle out of the many she could have. What's different about her? Simply that she talked to her and inadvertently got a little more back story on her than she had with others? She's still not going to realize until later that she was actually becoming friends, but the reader still sees what's happening. As you have it, though, it feels a tad serendipitous while it's happening, not that there's something subconscious going on. It's not like there's a huge twist that you have to keep hidden. In that case, it's often more satisfying to see the gradual change happening rather than get it retroactively.

And two. The story can't decide on its delivery method. Most of it's in a standard limited past tense, in which the narration can be taken as the character musing to herself as things happen. But switching to present tense for the more meta observations and addressing the reader directly speak more to a situation where the reader is a defined entity, and Sprinkle is sitting down with me some time after all this happened to tell me about it. That's an entirely different story mechanic, and it takes establishing who I am to her, why she wants to tell me, why I want to hear it, and under what circumstances she's telling me. That's usually done as a frame story around everything, and like I said earlier, it doesn't make sense for her to retain such detailed knowledge of events that long afterward, so storytellers tend to speak more in summary (which can be very hard to keep entertaining) or use flashback scenes to show me these past events "live," occasionally punctuated with short scenes in the "present" where she interacts with her audience. The vast majority is a standard narrative type, so it'd be far easier to edit the few bits that don't conform than to recast it to account for the audience.

If not for that last issue, I would have approved the story and left you to fix the detailed stuff while you were waiting for it to get posted, but the audience issue does create an odd dissonance that I want to see ironed out. That's a small enough part of the story that I wouldn't have to give it a full read again, so you can mark it as "back from Mars" when you resubmit.

Lastly, a word about publishing. Our normal requirement is for an initial submission of a chaptered story to be at least 3k words, which would mean posting your first four chapters at once. That said, it's more from our perspective that we want to see that much so we can make sure the quality holds up long enough. Since we've seen in excess of 3k, I'm fine with letting your first post be shorter than that, and if people complain, we can say we've already seen the whole thing. But your plan to post a chapter a day isn't going to maximize its exposure. You will (I think) fit within FiMFiction's limitations on how often you can possibly show up in the update slots of the feature box, as long as you post slightly later each day, even by just a few minutes. But getting a tie-in audience from EqD won't happen with that frequency, since we don't usually have a story updates post every day.

So I'll tell you how to post updates to EqD, in case you don't know. When you add a new chapter, send an email to the main box (submit@equestriadaily.com) with a subject line of "STORY UPDATE: The Donutier." Include a link to the story's EqD page, which saves the blog folks from having to look it up. They'll put it in a story updates post. This is why updating daily doesn't maximize your exposure. Since we don't do an updates post every day, several of your new chapters will get lumped into a single updates post, and the more times you get to be in an EqD post, the more readers will see it. Personally, I'd recommend posting a new chapter the day after the previous one has been in an update post, which would run about every 3 days. But that's up to you. When the story is complete, do the same thing, but use "STORY COMPLETE" in the email subject line, and you'll get another solo post.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2755

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 pony that threw this to the ground//

This was a consistent problem in your previous draft, and while it's a minor thing overall, I would like you to get into the habit of using "who" instead of "that" when you're talking about sentient creatures.

>Equestria Daily Sun//

Newspaper titles would be underlined or (preferably) italicized.

>few obviously foriegn//

You don't need that comma as the adjectives describe different aspects.

>first name terms//

First-name would take a hyphen, since you're using the whole phrase as a single descriptor.

>The Captain//

>the sergeant//
Be consistent about capitalizing ranks. Normally, these would be usages that call for lower-case.

>shook his head as if he could shake//

Kind of repetitive.

>asked Rarity curiously//

Doesn't the fact that she asked make it self-explanatory that she's curious?

>that it all been a nightmare//

Missing word.

>Their expressions were mirrored on the face of the marshal first class stood guard outside Southgate//

Seems like there's a missing word here, too.

>Place grounds//


>Guten abend//

I haven't been paying attention so far, but do you intend Nocturnal Equestrian to be like German in that the nouns are capitalized? If so, you missed one here.

>Her guide smiled in return//

For a few paragraphs starting here, there are a ton of "to be" verbs, which just brings the action to a grinding halt.

>das erste Pony//

You still have a bit of a gender cross here. "Das" is neuter, but "erste" has a feminine adjective ending.

>You’ll just have to pick up on the details we go along.//

Missing word.

>look the Inquisitor gave her wouldn’t have looked//

Watch the close word repetition.

>smiled down from them from the Moon//

One of those "from"s should be an "at."

>with the enforcing the//

Extraneous word.

>Who with//

"With whom," if Twilight uses proper grammar, and I think she probably does.

>as if there as//

Typo. I marked this one last time. In fact, you've missed a couple things I marked before. Like how you normally italicize foreign languages, but you left it in normal font once early in chapter 2.

>in the hope that the sentence was similar enough in both languages that an accent was all that was needed//

It gets really clunky to have three "that" clauses in a row.

>She couldn’t see hair nor hide//

That's essentially a double negative. It'd be "She could see neither hair nor hide" or "She couldn’t see hair or hide."

>to enquire further//

You only use "enquire" four times in chapter 3, but the first three all occur within a few paragraphs of each other.

>Wie gehts//

That usually has an apostrophe (wie geht's), since it's a contraction of "wie geht es."

>the pony that did this to you//

Who, not that.

>waiting transfer//


>her mental image also included Daring Do amongst the students, fast asleep, drool running down her blue cheeks//

I marked this last time. I don't understand it in the least. Daring Do is tan, not blue. If there's supposed to be some hidden meaning here, it's lost on me.

>as she walked passed the unicorn//

Past/passed confusion.

>happen. Normally, nothing would have happened//

Watch the repetition.

>in a gesture for Rarity calm down//

Missing word.

>but the Nocturnal Equestrian had failed to mention Glimmer was imprisoned in Free Cloudsdale until the last moment//

I'd recommend putting the "until the last moment" after "failed to mention," or else it sounds like Glimmer was moved to Cloudsdale at the last moment,

>a wavering second hoof//

You just described her voice as wavering.

>the white unicorn//

Why would Rarity refer to herself in such an abstract and external manner?

>but seeing as this was Free Cloudsdale//

Needs a comma before this.

>who much further is the prison//

How, right?


Same problem with the "enquire" from last chapter. You only use this 5 times in chapter 4, but 4 of them are all within a page of each other, and those 4 are all used as exactly the same speech tag.

>the pony in the booth as a unicorn//


>He was a turquoise blue and his white mane settled into a strange ice-cream-like swirl.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>don’t you, dad//

As a term of address, a family relation gets capitalized.

>the mare that arrested me//

>the tyrants that think they can rule over us//
>You’re the only pony that knows such a spell.//

>using Nocturnal Equestria’s official name//

I don't get what you mean here. She didn't say it, and there's no obvious place she would have (in that strange way you have of giving me in-the-moment dialogue, then narrating that some other dialogue occurred without actually showing it to me, that is).

>They are everywhere and can go everywhere.//

It's not until I got here that I realized I have no idea what Concordia is.


Why'd you hyphenate that?

>with an obeisant bow of his head//

That's such an unusual word that it sticks out like a sore thumb. I remember seeing it just a couple pages ago. When you have fancy word like this, you have to go pretty long before repeating them.

>It was a shame she couldn’t invite Moon Dancer, goodness knows that mare deserved it.//

Comma splice.

>Thunderlane apologised profusely—a string of apologetic statements//

Sounds self-explanatory.

>Inquisitor’s right eye//

Missing word.

>she laughed nervously at that//

This needs to be capitalized. It has no speaking verb.

>She shrugged off her saddlebags, and fished out a navy blue modern-style caparison out of them.//

No need for that comma. It's all one clause.

>as she gave the caparison one more look//

You're using a fair number of "as" clauses lately. You're also using "caparison" so often that it's getting grating. I don't even have a clue what one is, and other than some sort of garment, there's no context. So I can either ignore it and move on without knowing or leave the story to go look it up. Neither one is good.

>wordless agreement, before she fell into step beside her new companion. The two of them trotted through the streets wordlessly//


>hoof steps//

That'd be one word, same as "footsteps."


Comma goes inside the quotes.

>gave way to abandoned buildings. These in turn gave way to abandoned warehouses//

I can't tell if that repetition is intentional. It doesn't really call attention to itself the way thematic repetition would,

>once thriving/


>ironically legal in its use of colours//

"Its" is singular, but the antecedent is plural.

>ponies that didn’t know their own place//


>Flam pulled open a drawer, and plucked out a book.//

You don't need that comma.

>Daring Do books//

That's just a character, not a title. You don't italicize those.

So there are still a fair number of detailed things, but that's not too surprising, since you added a chapter.

There are a lot of things I mentioned last time that haven't been changed much, if at all. I do like that you tell me it was a human killed far earlier, so it doesn't feel like a pointless reveal. The rest are, I admit, subjective-ish things, and maybe they just bother me more than they wold anyone else. So I asked another pre-reader to give me a second opinion.

He's not someone who understands German or Dutch, so a lot of that dialogue was lost on him, when there was no context given to imply a translation. He also couldn't fathom why you changed the language for both main parts of the city. Having one different is fine, but why both? What does it add? If one side spoke English, I don't see how it would affect the story at all. For your source material, it's fine for the author to have both sides speak foreign languages if they want, since there's still context for such a thing to exist on Earth. But in Equestria? Where the show has them speaking English? I don't understand why you'd change that.

He was also mystified about the humans. You do say the victim is one earlier on now, but even with the benefit of reading an additional chapter you hadn't published last time, there's still no justification as to why humans are here at all. They just are, and we have to accept it. They turn up a bit in chapter 5, but still no background on how Earth and Equestria came into contact, why all this is happening... Maybe you get to this later, but the reader's only going to give you so much leeway. 20k words and 5 chapters is a really long time to string the reader along without starting to explain things. Ideally, you want to work in explanations gradually, but from the start, rather than hold it for ransom. There are even ways to make withholding information like this work, but none of the perspective characters have been given a motivation to avoid even thinking about it.

You do a better job of defining the jargon this time around, but it takes the reader a little while to get used to it to the point they become fluent, so when you start throwing around "homotopic" and "heterotopic" every other sentence in places, it makes me pause and think about what each means and what the implications of each are. That's a big speed bump to the reader.

It's a shame, because this is a very interesting world, and you've definitely got writing ability. But when two of us agree that it just leaves us scratching our heads, it's not a good sign.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2764

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 some oddities right away. For one, the language gets quite repetitive. You use similar descriptions several times, like how all the statue-like rows of ponies are standing there, and how machine-like and precise it is. But then you describe it as unnerved, which doesn't quite fit, since you don't make anything out of that contrast. It's just a contradiction that isn't played for a point. Eventually it does settle into highlighting that contradiction, but it takes a couple pages.

>regulating the temperature regularly//

Here's a specific example of close word repetition.

>three… ”//

Don't leave a space before closing quotation marks.

>Some way down from the hangar, was a battlefield.//

No reason to have that comma.

>snow riddled//

You're using that whole phrase as a single descriptor, so hyphenate it.

It's an odd quirk of perspective that she refers to herself as "the construct." That's a very external way of thinking about herself. People just don't do that. Maybe this AI is different, but the narrative tone so far hasn't supported this disassociated self-view.

>long ranged//


>a new cover of snow//

You just used some other kind of "cover" in the previous sentence.

>Explosions and flak rocked the trenches//

What's flak doing near trenches? It's an antiaircraft weapon.

This second scene doesn't really have an identifiable perspective, which is strange after the tight one the first scene had.


Please use proper dashes for cutoffs and asides//

>Uneasy looks//

>Several apprehensive looks//
Besides being repetitive that close together, it's a bad idea to bluntly inform the reader of character emotion instead of demonstrating it through how the characters look and act.

>Twilight Sparkle//

And I'm left with a mystery as to what this means. I have no idea which side she would have favored, and aside from some vague proclamations of how legendary she is, I have no idea what help she would bring either side, and if she's fighting for a side she would have opposed, how they could have made her do that.

>Magi Ward//

Why does one pony have a plural title? That's like saying "Lieutenants Bolt."

>frozen meat mixed in with the scent of oil and fire//

You made almost exactly the same comment in the first scene.

>These were real, feeling ponies.

>A strange feeling//
Just another example of close repetition.

>The ones that did obey ManeFrame, however, were quickly cut down by what she supposed was their enemies.//

You're kind of all over the map as to whether these are supposed to be formidable weapons.

>she couldn’t possibly had known//


You've referred to both ManeFrame and the less advanced ones as "the construct," so it's pretty confusing to tell which one you're talking about at times.

>ManeFrame panicked//

She just said her armor was basically impenetrable. What's she so afraid of?

For that matter, you've been using ManeFrame as your perspective character. If she's panicked (which you go on to repeat in the next paragraph), why doesn't she sound panicked? The narrative tone is completely calm.

>pegasi stallion//

Noun adjuncts are singular. You don't say "hams sandwiches," for instance.

>a pegasi//

You keep trying to use that as a singular term.

>She didn’t need to say it out loud, by exercising her vocal capacities helped her think clearer.//

Jumbled phrasing.

>as that was what they were called//

That's self-explanatory, since, y'know, that's what you're calling them.

>Whole databases cannot explain the chill that ran down her spine when she spied the endless rows of turrets and batteries that lined the hull of the airship.//

It's been in full view the whole time, and she presumably has knowledge of what it is.

>circle was carved into the bulkhead and the circle//

More repetition.

>imploded its now shared interior with the second airship. The clash of twisted metal seemed to bend outward//

If it's imploding (what would cause it to do that anyway?), why is it bending outward?

>what the sun might’ve looked like//

Why don't they know what it looks like?


That's a collective term. It doesn't have a plural.

>chosen to forgone//

Verb form is off.


Consider what sound he'd actually repeat. There isn't a "t" sound in that word.

>We saw Sparkle falling east of here, not far from our position.//

From that far away, they could tell it was her, but not that she had armor on?

>The vigil Lieutenant//

I can't figure out what you're trying to say. Did you mean "vigilant"?

>walking off with the Magi//

This bit doesn't parse.

>She laid there//

Lay/lie confusion.

>unleashed an unholy amount of flak at the Glider//

What's the point of something as low-tech as flak when they have all these energy weapons?

>A sign hang//


>A grimace quickly crossed face when she opened it, the squeal metal on metal echoed beyond the entrance to the building.//

Comma splice, two missing words. You have quite a few of these areless kinds of errors.

>was no coordinates//

You have a number of agreement problems like this, too, where you have a mix of singular and plural.

>it was impossibly dark outside//

Why does the dark matter to her? With all her technology, visual light is really her only means of navigation?

>She looked around in the dark interior, and despite her penetrating optical sensors//

So she can find her way in the dark. Now you've contradicted your earlier statement.

>brows frowning//

I don't even understand how a brow can frown.


That's a collective term. It doesn't need to be plural.

>An unfounded fear, she found//

That just sounds strangely contradictory.

>In her state, she didn’t give any thought as to why the beacon was still broadcasting after at least decades of abandonment.//

Then why was she even looking for a medical facility in a completely abandoned town?

>extremely guarded ponies//

I don't think that means what you intended it to mean.

>somewhere behind some rubble//

That's needlessly vague.

>pair of quartets//

Awkwardly phrased.

>pure adulterated//

That's an oxymoron.

>an almost alarmingly fast rate//

Alarming to whom? ManeFrame is your perspective character, so presumably her, though she doesn't seem alarmed by it.

>suppressed gunponies//

I don't know what you're trying to say here. This doesn't make sense.

Many of your semicolons are misused. You should be able to replace one with a period, but in many cases, one of the resulting sentences would be a fragment.


You use this for the wrong verb tense in more than one place.

>before long her canter transformed into a full gallop. Before long//

More close repetition.

>ManeFrame herself was trying to catch her breath//

But... she doesn't breathe, does she?

>She swilled around rapidly//

I don't think "swilled" is the word you meant to use.

>The stallion, meanwhile, looked conflicted as he watched the metallic mare, his face half contorted by guilt and half by shock.//

You're really bluntly identifying emotion here.

>His sternness from before gone, and almost feeling relaxed//

Why are you switching from her perspective to his? The second part of that sentence isn't something she'd know, unless you frame it as her interpretation, but before now, you'd been using her perspective.



The plot seems fine. I'm a little lost as to what's going on, and to a degree that puts the reader in the same boat as ManeFrame, except that she does know more than she's letting on. It's hard to say how well the plot is going, since we've barely gotten into it. There's not much else to say beyond what else kept popping up in the detailed comments. So there are lots of scattered editing issues, lots of strange phrasings, repetitive word and phrase usage, and some places where the story's logic doesn't hold up.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2765

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've scanned my matrix a thousand times over and everything seems to be in relative operational order.//

You need a comma between the clauses, since each verb gets a different subject.

>Where do I begin?//

This whole paragraph. Look, I've seen plenty of stories where the narrator talks directly to the reader and is aware of his audience. There are tricks to getting that to work, but you're just springing this without framing it in any way. So your narrator is talking to me and knows I'm here. That opens a huge can of worms relative to the usual generic undefined audience implied for any given story. Now there's an explicit audience, so "undefined" isn't good enough anymore. Who is this audience? Why do they want to hear this story? Why does the narrator want to tell it? Under what circumstances is he telling it? All that's usually accomplished through some sort of framing device. It's one thing if the narrator is musing to the air or to himself, but he's pretty clearly speaking to someone, and you never establish who or why. That's a pretty important piece that a story told in this way needs, and there are other caveats that come with it.

That said, you try. At first it sounds like he's addressing his Guardian, though a few questions he asks wouldn't seem to fit that well. But then he goes on to explain who his Guardian is and how the system works, and it discusses her in a way that's no longer with her or anyone in the organization as the intended audience, so it's inconsistent with how the framing device starts out. And when you have a nonstandard delivery like this, consistency is the key, both in that it hold together and that it maintains a constant way of doing so.

>The machine certainly warped reality around its zenith; similarly to how a Taken tear in reality might, only with further reaching consequences.//

Misused semicolon. It's not a list delimiter, and what comes after it couldn't stand as a complete sentence. This is a recurring problem.

>becoming more acute the nearer we became//

Watch close word repetition like this.

>with my blue hard-light proboscis//

Given the events he's describing, how is it relevant what color his nose is? Why would he even mention that? Anyone in his audience would know that already or be able to see it on him, so it's also self-evident. It's a detail he'd have to have a plausible reason for saying.

>vine green//

As you've used it, hyphenate this.

>either instantly causing the demons to either//

Not only repetitive, but redundant.

Now you're throwing around a lot of terminology like Hobgoblins, Glide... I have no idea what any of this is, yet the narrative tone is treating it as if I should. It's tricky to provide context when it's something the narrator might not have a reason to explain, but context is very important for crossovers. You have to assume your readers have never seen the crossover material before and make the story so that they can still understand it. I'm getting lost. I don't even know what it's a crossover with, as your synopsis doesn't say.

>as the warped closer and closer//


>An explosive shot eviscerates the closest Goblin//

Why are you switching to present tense here? You end up wavering back and forth quite a bit.

>well placed//

That'd be hyphenated, but note that you use the phrase twice close together.

>My curiosity mingled with my grief//

He's directly identifying his emotions a lot. That's not a particularly engaging way to write, since that's not how you interpret real people's emotions. Let me see the evidence of his grief so that I'll make that conclusion on my own.

>night black//


>a two hundred yards//

Extraneous word.


Write out numbers that short.

>the Goblins prostate//

Unless you're making a very uncomfortable anatomical reference, you want "prostrate."

>My emotions became a great froth of confusion, horror and disgust//

Yeah, quit just outright telling me how he feels.

>power ,//

Extraneous space.

>My cerulean eye//

Why would he comment on his own eye color? Do you ever do that? It's not even remotely relevant to what's going on, and there's no reason he'd even think about it, much less decide it's a detail that needs to be part of the record.


Leave a space after an ellipsis, unless it's at the beginning of the sentence or immediately followed by other punctuation.

>a device possible of instantaneous transportation//

Seems like you meant "capable" there.

>astonishing amount of nearby organic life unlike any seen since well before the Collapse. I would investigate this astonishing//

More close repetition.

>`"You're hurt."//

Some kind of extraneous punctuation there.

>swaths of golden light. In my immobile condition I could see only see the swaths grass//

More close repetition, and the second one is missing a word anyway.

>serendipitous affection//

That seems a really strange word choice. Maybe it's a bit serendipitous that Fluttershy is so kind and happens to find him, but the way you've phrased it, it was equally coincidental that the previous Guardian had been kind, and I don't get that sense at all.

>response to my pained attempt to respond//

Repetition. Note that I'm only providing some examples of repetition. There are a lot more.

>peaks over the horizon//

I don't know why writers in this fandom have so much trouble discerning "peak" from "peek."

>the zenith of the horizon//

This is a nonsensical phrasing. A zenith is a point directly overhead, while the horizon is distant.

>"I've never seen anything like you before, poor thing."//

He's robotic, right? I'm surprised she immediately recognizes him as something living and not some sort of device.

>she addressed to them,

Don't break a sentence across paragraphs like this.


Write it out.


Consider what sound she's actually repeat. That word doesn't have a "t" sound in it.

>I found you laying in the grass//

Lay/lie confusion.

>its not in Equestria//

Its/it's confusion.

>a world you want too see//

>somepony that we could get you back too//
To/too confusion.

Now that we're further into the story and it's apparent the narrator is recording this as a log, I'll point out a little more about how the framing feels off. This is essentially the same thing as a journal-based story, and one of the major problems with those is that they're recorded long after the events actually occurred, so that it's unreasonable for the writer to recall dialogue so precisely that he can present it as entire quoted conversations. But this narrator is mechanical and can record it to that degree of accuracy. However, then his purpose is a little different. If he wants to record it so it's available for someone to play back in the future, then it's still a little odd for him to put the emotional context in there, too, since it's not the same thing as making a factual record. He's not just mechanical, though, so it's not that he doesn't have emotions.

Basically, the story is written more like he's relating it to someone years later and recalling what happened to him, not like he's recording it in the moment as a way of documenting it for historical or informative purposes.


I can't imagine that's the word you intended. I don't see how it makes sense here.

>moving in a linear motion//

So it moved in a motion? Seems like a tautology.

>this creature, and most likely the rest of her kind, possess//

Number disagreement: this creature... possess.


What? Why is he just now lapsing into this informal word choice? It feels inconsistent with his character.

>negatively effecting the poor, innocent creature quivering//

Affecting. As you've worded it, his response causes Fluttershy to exist.


Use a proper dash.

>war mongerers//


>rust red//

>blood coated//

>I turn to my Guardian.//

I would italicize this brief flashback, or it's initially confusing as to whether he's talking to Fluttershy.

>She looks directly into my sad blue eye and says,//

>I looked directly into her ice blue eyes, and said,//
Again, don't break sentences across paragraphs. I'll have to stop marking these.


Use a dash.

>Slow down Blue//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>I shook myself, "Sorry, Fluttershy.//

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

>While all these emotions danced within myself//

Reflexive pronouns are really only appropriate when the person or thing they refer to is also the clause's subject, and that's not the case here.

>but so was her//

but so was she

>the scope of her affect on the City//

Effect. Using "affect" as a noun means something like a personal quirk.

>war mongering//

That's one word.

>was the source of our rise and our fall. "//

Extraneous space, and when one paragraph ends with a word of dialogue, and the next one begins with a word of dialogue by the same speaker, it's customary to leave the closing quotation marks off the earlier paragraph.

>preventing the death of however many millions of us remain//


>low quality//

>two minute//

>for you and I//

People make this mistake all the time because they're so afraid of misusing "me." Consider this:

"You and I" is equivalent to "we." (They're both nominative case.)
"You and me" is equivalent to "us." (They're both objective case.)
Just make the substitution. What sounds correct, "for we" or "for us"?

>She shook her head in both denial and confusion, "I still don't understand//

You're using a non-speaking action as a speech tag again.

>She visibly began to quiver slightly//

If it were invisible, he wouldn't have seen it to be able to say so, which makes it self-explanatory.

>Fluttershy began to noticeably break down further//

Same deal. If it weren't noticeable, he couldn't have described it, since he wouldn't have even known about it, so it's pointless to say so.

>Composing herself as much as she could, garnering the fragile situation//

Two problems here. First, these are things only she could know, but you're saying them from the Ghost's perspective. And "garner" is a poor word choice here. It typically means something like earn or warrant. That doesn't make sense in this context.

>Crystal tears formed in the pupils of Fluttershy's ice blue eyes//

That's not where tears come from...


Use dashes for asides and cutoffs.

>buttery hooves//

The use of any reference to butter when describing Fluttershy has become horribly cliched.

>Her expression resolved into one of internal strengths mingled with both honest determination and downright fear.//

Jeez, that's a lot of spoon-feeding of emotion. She's your actress, and you're the stage director. What do you tell her to do on stage to convey these emotions to the audience? That's how you have to think about it. Have her do those things. Then you'll never have to name a single emotion, but the reader will still interpret them exactly how you want.

>Her ice blue eyes//

How many times are you going to call them that? You just did a couple of paragraphs ago, and you did several times in previous chapters. It's getting very repetitive. If you mean it to be a thematic repetition, there are ways of doing that smoothly. Vary the description a bit here and there while still hovering around elements of ice. I wouldn't get too creative with using a dozen different words for blue, though, as that also gets very cliched and potentially confusing. Maybe work in the color by metaphor more than naming it directly in a few places.

I guess I'm a little surprised Fluttershy doesn't just see this as an extension of her position as an element, since they're both linked to kindness. And maybe wonder why the other elements aren't seeing something similar.

>Are you sure about all of this, Blue?//

Look how often you use direct address during their conversations. Then think about how often you actually do in a real conversation, particularly when it's one on one. Direct address is used for emphasis or to get someone's attention, and that doesn't really apply in the vast majority of your uses. Or it can be used to clarify the intended recipient, but that's only necessary when there are more than two characters present.

>its the word of a Ghost//

It's/its confusion.

>and a Ghost never tells a lie//

This does nothing to change the fact that he's still asking her to take his word for it.


You'd used English units not long ago. I can't remember which chapter, so I can't go back and find it, but I'm pretty sure you used inches or feet. Be consistent.

>bedtimes stories//

Noun adjuncts are singular. For instance, you say "ham sandwiches," not "hams sandwiches."


I can't fathom what you intend this to mean. Is it some jargon that has another meaning beyond the typical one in the source material for your crossover?

>even us Ghosts don't know//

You're using that in the nominative case, so it would be "we Ghosts."

>to protect her who I chose to be the Guardian of the world//

But he didn't choose her. He just found her and determined that she'd inherited the position. So there's no way that's the standard reply.

>and it's functions//

You keep using the wrong form of it's or its. Keep in mind that "it's" is a contraction for "it is" or "it has." "Its" is a possessive pronoun. Possessive pronouns never have apostrophes, like my, mine, your, yours, his, her, hers, its, our, ours, their, theirs, and whose.

>lime pony//

But she's not anywhere near a lime color. Plus Blue knows her name now, so why keep making such a formal and impersonal reference to her?

>little more than whim//

Missing word.

>I stared in mock terror at my motion sensor.//

I don't understand the use of "mock" at all. He goes on to say he's detected a Vex, so why wouldn't this be actual terror?


Another really strange word choice. The tentacles trail around behind the main body, trying to catch it?

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2766

I'm not sure what this intro to chapter 6 is supposed to be. A dream? In any case, it doesn't seem like the kind of thing he'd record in a log. In fact, it doesn't even seem to be part of the log, and if you were going to break from that format, waiting until chapter 6 isn't the thing to do. It just makes it feel out of place.

>organic organisms//

Isn't that redundant?

>He heart skipped a beat//


This long preamble to getting back to the battle is weird. I mean, I see the point from a story perspective in leaving a cliffhanger between seeing the Vex and its attack. But from Blue's perspective, why break journal entries there? What reasonable person would actually do that? Then you go from the first entry being very in the moment, as if it's being recorded right when the attack occurred, to the second entry waxing philosophical before getting back to the action. It's two vastly different styles that don't mesh well, since they're supposed to be happening right together. It also disarms the sense that this attack was sudden, if Blue has the chance to muse on all this right in the middle of things. It creates a disconnect in the immediacy of these consecutive entries.



>Transmuting my old Guardian's Thorn into physical existence in front of Fluttershy's stoic face.//

That's a sentence fragment, and a participial phrase isn't a good way to do one, not to mention it's not a good place for one.


It's preferred not to use sound effects in narration like this. Just describe the sound.

I don't know why you keep italicizing Thorn. That's reserved for things like title of major works and names of ships. Weapons, like Mjolnir or Excalibur, don't use italics.

With all this mention of the weapon being toxic and radioactive, how safe is it? Wouldn't it cause residual effects on Equestria and on Fluttershy herself?

>"I just killed something."//

Y'know, I'd have expected her to struggle with this before doing so as well. It didn't take much to convince her to use the weapon, and she had to know it wasn't going to be something gentle. This is definitely a realistic after-the-fact reaction from her, but it seems like she would have had one earlier on as well.

>Still she stood still, silent for a few moments, pondering quietly, adrenaline sill pumping.//

Three uses of "still" in the same sentence.

>A single tear//

That is about the most cliched thing you could have written.

Chapter 7 is another weird departure. When you've established a consistent delivery for 6 chapters, then it's jarring to have that change this far into the story. I'd encourage you to do something like this within the first few chapters and set the precedent for it early.

>"Ghost, you make anything of this?" The Guardian asked//

Don't capitalize a speech tag following dialogue.

>An steel, oval table adorned took up most of the space//

Jumbled wording. It sounds like you changed what you wanted to say and forgot to edit out the old stuff.

Around here, the narration is expressing lots of opinions, so it's a limited narrator, but I have no idea who holds the perspective. That hasn't been established for the scene.

>who. "//

Extraneous space.

>Caydes question//

Missing apostrophe.

>that vaguely represented horses//

Strange word choice. I assume you meant "resembled."

>Ikora raised here hand//




>a great gains//

Mixing singular/plural there.

>Ikora continued Cayde's sentiment//

This is completely redundant with what she says. Let the dialogue speak for itself.

>loosing whatever was left of my mind//

While it's possible this has a valid meaning, it's an unusual use of the word. I have to think you meant "losing."

>Her eyes were clearly bloodshot, her complexion, pale, her expression, void by terror.//

There's an implied verb in each of those list items, so you don't need the commas after "complexion" or "expression."

Since chapter 8 picks right up after chapter 6, it throws a wrench in the works as to when chapter 7 happens. Did Blue really transmit his logs while Fluttershy was hugging him? It's implied by how the chapters are ordered, yet it's never mentioned he did, and it'd be a weird time for him to, since he's otherwise preoccupied.

>'heroes are remembered, but legends never die'".//

Capitalize the first word, and the period goes inside the quotes.

>song birds//


>find couple of friends//

Missing word.

>She trailed off//

I already know that from the ellipsis at the end of her dialogue. Narrating it as well is redundant.

>we should've gotten their already//

There/their confusion.

>as the panic in my voice became obvious//

Obvious to whom? He's already feeling panicked, so it's irrelevant that it's in his voice, and he's got bigger things on his mind that listening to his tone.




There's no reason to italicize that.

>Screams that curdled blood//

What does that even mean to him? He doesn't have blood.

>as my Guardian stood frozen as the crimson daggers tore her armor to pieces//

It's very clunky to have multiple "as" clauses in a sentence, much less stacked up in a row.

>lived to tell the tail//

More homophone confusion.

>Extending her hoof forwards lightning fast, an orange orb of dense fire-energy//

This says the energy extended her hoof.

>found themselves on fire themselves//


Fluttershy still has an awfully quick change in her attitude toward killing Vex. She's always the first one to claim that dangerous animals, like the manticore, are simply misunderstood. I don't know how and why she's already decided that the Vex are any different. Reacting to an immediate threat is one thing, but signing on for the long haul? I want to see that process, or it's just the reader having to take your word for it that Fluttershy has changed in a very fundamental way.

>an three//


>Ironic, my old Guardian belonged to this class and subclass as well.//

How is this ironic?

>I can teach you how to bear the fire//

You're correct that you don't need the closing quotes on the previous paragraph, but you do need opening quotes on this one.

>Minotaur spotted behind the formation//

How would they differentiate this from the minotaurs indigenous to Equestria?

>center most//


If the good guys can so easily scan the Vex and see where they are, what's keeping the Vex from doing the same?

>the Titan observed the alternating patterns that the metallic creatures employed, quickly deciding upon an action plan//

The "deciding upon an action plan" is located so much closer to the "metallic creatures" that it seems to describe them.

>Guardian's presence//

There's more than one Guardian there, right?

>positioned on an elevated position//

So they're positioned on a position?

>Guardian's armor//

Again, there's more than one, right?

>the gap between themselves//

There's no reason to use a reflexive pronoun there. "Them" will do fine.

>the bottleneck the squad leader had intended for//

That "for" is completely extraneous.

This battle is going very well. As much as you build up the Vex to be fearsome enemies, only the death of the Guardian in chapter 1 ever paints them as such. Since then, they haven't presented much of a challenge.



>they grew close the mysterious Vex machine//

Missing word.


Missing apostrophe.


Y'all. I don't know why so many people can't spell this.


Why would the apostrophe go at the end? The missing letter is at the beginning.

Again, I have no idea what you're crossing with. A quick Google search for some of the jargon would tell me, but that's not the point. Really, it doesn't matter, since it should be accessible to everyone, and for the most part, you're fine, but everyone's motivations are pretty murky until I got well into the story, and a lot of terminology is thrown around as if I should already know it. The weaponry, all the types of units on either side... all of it means nothing to me, and little of it is described.

Aside from that, I'll say that it was an engaging story, and you do have writing talent. Since I don't know the source material, I can't tell whether Blue is entirely of your own invention or if you've just copied his personality from it. But he's a well-defined and interesting character. Fluttershy is mostly in character, but I already discussed how her transition to being a willing Guardian was rushed and mostly off camera.

A lot gets bogged down in the details of the writing, though. All those things where I said I would have to stop marking them? Direct address, repetition, etc. All that needs attention, and there's a lot more than what I pointed out. And the other bigger issue is the delivery. I also discussed how it feels inconsistent about who Blue's audience is and how he's addressing them, plus how chapter 7 fits into the timeline. It takes attention to detail to fix those things, but if you can get them under control, then I could see posting the story.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2769

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.

>bit...” her grin receded to a simple smile, “Really//

You have that narrative bit starting in lower case as if it's a speech tag, but there's no speaking verb. Then when you transition back into the quote, you use a comma, yet you have th dialogue capitalized.

>Twily!” said Shining Armor, nuzzling her, “Your//

And again. You're saying the two parts of the quote are a single sentence with that punctuation and capitalization in the narration, but the punctuation and capitalization of the dialogue say the exact opposite. This is a pervasive problem. There's a quick guide to punctuation and capitalization of dialogue at the top of this thread.

>student” said//

Missing comma.

You use direct address a lot, far more than would be necessary for the characters or readers to know who is speaking to whom. Think about how often you actually do this in a real conversation. Using it too often makes dialogue sound less realistic.

>me” Twilight//

Missing punctuation.

>Starswirl's Magical Matrix Theories//

>Amniomorphic Formulae vol. XII//
Book titles would be underlined or, preferably, italicized.

>the purple unicorn//

It's worth reading the section on Lavender Unicorn Syndrome at the top of this thread, but more than that, it doesn't work with the perspective. Twilight holds the point of view here. Essentially, the narrator's been taking on her internal voice. That means that she's choosing to describe herself as "the purple unicorn." Who thinks about themselves in such abstract and external terms?

>"You're so cool, Rainbow Dash!"//

In the first scene, you had fancy-style quotation marks, probably from MS Word or GDocs or something else that uses smart quotes. I found it a little odd that you had fancy quotes but simple apostrophes, but as long as you're consistent, it doesn't matter. Yet in this scene, even the quotation marks are simple. you need to pick a scheme and use it throughout.


One exclamation mark is plenty.

>the pegasus captain//

Another oddly external reference for the perspective.

Hm. So you're going to do one of these episodes for all of the elements? That's probably not a good idea, for several reasons. One, it's cliched, so it takes real necessity to overcome that. Two, it's predictable, so after reading just two of these, I know how the other four are going to go. I could just skip them and lose nothing. And three, these characters all have a similar experience, so focusing on one or two of them is enough to get the story's point across. You can still have them all going through it, but imply it rather than show it explicitly. Maybe later on, the rest of the girls mention having similarly odd experiences. Something like that. But saying the same thing six times doesn't accomplish anything.

>the party planner extraordinaire//

I'm going to stop marking these. Suffice it to say there are only specific types of this kind of reference that work with a limited narrator.

>thou has//


>Pinkie.” Came Maud’s roaringly ecstatic approval//

That sounds like a speech tag, but the punctuation and capitalization is wrong.

>Credit where it’s due, Sis//

You've correctly capitalized a family relation when it's used as a term of address, but you didn't earlier when Twilight called Shining "bro."


One thing about smart quotes is they always put a backward apostrophe on the beginning of a word, since they assume you want a single opening quote. You can paste one in the right way, or you can type two in a row and delete the first.

>visiting stalls and securing various foods at ludicrous speed//

This is incredibly vague. I don't know what she's doing or why.

>I told ya mom//

Capitalize the family relation, and it needs a comma for direct address.


Why is the apostrophe on the front? The missing letter is at the end.


Fancy Pants

>Bravo Rarity//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>as a spotlight illuminated the Mistress of Ceremonies, Photo Finish, as she prepared to personally give Rarity her award//

It's very clunky to have two "as" clauses in the same sentence, plus it can muddle the sentence's chronology.


Please use a proper dash for cutoffs and asides.

>it.” she finished up with a wink.//



Extraneous punctuation.

>Fluttershy trailed off.//

I can already see that from they way her dialogue ends in an ellipsis. Narrating it as well is redundant.

>“It’s truly my pleasure, Mayor.//

Missing your closing quotation marks.

>mind did a mental//

Isn't that self-explanatory?


Backward apostrophe.

Now that I'm moving on to chapter 2, I won't keep marking these same things. Assume you need to scan the whole story for them.


An exception to multi-word modifiers is that you dn't need a hyphen for two-word phrases starting in an -ly adverb. It's already unambiguous as to what modifies what.



>her grandson’s//

A strange way for Applejack to refer to him, since she is the perspective character. People think of others they know through names, pronouns, or some kind of descriptor like this that defines the person's relationship to themselves. If she didn't know Big Mac, this kind of thing might make sense.

>Granny Smith and Macintosh turned around upon hearing his family’s returning hoofsteps.//

I assume the "his" refers to Big Mac, but it's awkwardly phrased. Why mention both him and Granny Smith, but then only attribute the family to him?


You don't need that hyphen.

>I had never actually been out to the country before//

Then why does she have that accent? Did she pick it up over the years? I guess having a southern accent doesn't exclude being a city dweller, but canon has never established a southern city, just small towns and rural areas.

>mare- clearly from the city -walks//

Use proper dashes and the spacing appropriate for the kind you choose.

See, in chapter 2, you're focusing in Applejack. It's fine to tie in later that the other girls had similar experiences, but showing them all up front detracts from the story, besides being repetitive and predictable. You've obviously already seen the strength in keeping this Applejack's story, so you must also see why having the other 5 is extraneous, and the beginning of a story is a really poor place to have extraneous information.

>Alright, Sugarcube//

You hadn't been capitalizing "sugarcube" before. It shouldn't be.


When you're using "Ah" in place of "I," it has to be capitalized just the same.

>But AJ’s efforts gradually lessened them, tossing them into a sack to be used as compost later.//

This says her efforts tossed the weeds into a sack, not that she did.

>I hear the Ponyville Fair is going on for the next few days.//

Doesn't sound like the kind of thing they would have only just heard about. They go into town a lot and are involved in community events. Why wouldn't they be certain of this? Especially since a fair is typically where a farm would showcase its products...


I don't get why she's trailing in. She's not picking up a previously suspended sentence. She's not just getting into earshot, she's not just becoming conscious, etc.

>It’s easy to tell if something’s hurting you//

Missing quotation marks.

>hand yer mother an’ I//

"Me" is actually appropriate here. You wouldn't say "hand I a sickle."

>AJ looked unusually solemn//

That's a very external observation for her to make about herself.


When you have a word italicized for emphasis, include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.

>raised!” Exclaimed/


>A single tear escaped AJ’s eye./

That's about the most cliched thing you could have written.

>the word around them//



Use a proper dash, and don't ever use a comma in conjunction with one.

>resulting in her only being forced backwards several feet while maintaining her footing//

This is a pretty clinical description, versus how Applejack herself might describe it. Keep in mind the narration is her thought processes for the kind of narrator you've established.


Write out numbers that short.

Likewise with the other 5 girls, I don't think switching to Alura's perspective in the middle of chapter 3 is a good idea. The story's not about her, and she's not undergoing any crisis, redemption, or emotional struggle, so she's not a compelling character. She's also not going to be observant about Applejack's inner conflict, because she doesn't care about it. So it really does nothing for the story's message to use her viewpoint.

>the plant creature’s//

Another odd reference.

>She didn’t have much time to ponder as her joints buckled, eyes wrenching shut as she fell to the floor thrashing.//

Another spot where you have two "as" clauses in the same sentence. Then you have a third one in the next sentence. Don't lean so much on a construction that's relatively uncommon in everyday speech. It stands out very easily when overused.

>whereas before she had felt desperate, Applejack now felt empowered//

Now you're switching back to Applejack's perspective in the middle of the scene. It wasn't a smooth transition, and I think it highlights why it wasn't necessary to leave her perspective in the first place. Another problem, though, and one that's popped up intermittently in the story. You directly name emotions and moods a fair amount, whereas it's more engaging to demonstrate them so that the reader will figure them out on his own. Saying she's empowered is a cold fact. Making her act and sound empowered created a much more vivid image.

>The farmpony//

Another odd reference. And you call her that six times in this scene.

Look at how you arrange your paragraphs in the epilogue. It's pretty characteristic of how you did through much of the story. Whenever you have dialogue, so many of the paragraphs have a bit of speech, then a speech tag with an action attached to it, then back to the speech. They're all structured the same. That's another form of repetition that can make a story less interesting to read.

>Luna mainly keeps an eye out for nightmares//

But wouldn't Luna notice when the same ponies were dreaming for far too long? And just about anyone would notice when they hadn't seen any Ponyville residents in a while. This bad guy hasn't thought through her plan too well.

And when Applejack says her friends should have been in her dream... why weren't they? If that's what would have made her happy, then wouldn't the magic make that happen?

This is a very show-tone villain, one that comes and goes with a seemingly serious threat but ultimately doing no harm. She has less motivation that any of the show villains, though. She's basically the same as Chrysalis, needing to feed, but I don't know why on this scale. Chrysalis had an entire hive to feed, but Alura is alone. Why does she need to capture a whole town? It'd be far easier to hide the disappearance of one or two ponies, so she had no hopes of staying undetected, unless she took over the whole nation, but she had no designs on that, so I'm left stumped as to why this exact scope was appropriate and workable for her. I think it would help if she had a viable plan in place.

And as I mentioned before, I think it's detracting from the story to go through each of the girls in chapter 1. It's also detrimental to use Alura and Twilight as perspective characters late in the story. Once Twilight wkes up is the time to tie in that all the girls had been affected, and it's enough for them to say something to that effect. We don't need to see what their dreams are. It's easy enough to figure out what they might be, and the specifics aren't important. The real journey is Applejack's, and I'm glad to see you tied that into the epilogue again, because it felt like you'd dropped it before.

Again, remember that Applejack holds the perspective and that the story's really about her. Don't lose sight of that. During the fight scene, a lot of the action takes on a more omniscient feel; it describes an outsider's view on the fight, not so much Applejack's experience of it. And keep up the story's theme. Her anger at having her parents' memory used against her should be driving a lot of her emotion in the battle, and then it keeps that tie going to the epilogue instead of letting it drop away and then finding it again. You might want to dwell on the ending a bit more, too. It rushes to make the story's point, and Applejack dismisses the opportunity to see her parents rather quickly. It almost sounds like the story's saying she doesn't need them because she's happy with her friends, but it seems more like she was angling for a message of coming to terms with their loss and honoring what they meant to her, then finding happiness despite that, not finding happiness as a means of replacing it. So don't rush that ending. It's where everything comes together and you express what the purpose of having the reader there is.

Then there are the detailed fixes of stylistic and mechanical things, and I spelled all those out for you. Just note that I only picked out examples to help you find the rest on your own. What I listed is by no means exhaustive. There's a nice story in here, though, and if you can tune it up, I could see posting it.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2771

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 she glared at the apple in front of her//

This is pretty extraneous, as you've already said it was an apple and that it was in front of her.


Leave a space after an ellipsis unless it starts a sentence or has punctuation right after it.

>teleporting the apple to where she wanted to go//

To where she wanted it to go, right? She's not going along for the ride.

>Almost there Trixie//

Needs a comma for direct address. You regularly leave these off.

>to appear in the air right above Starlight and gently knocking//

Those verb forms are mismatched.

>the mare//

You're using a limited narrator in Trixie's perspective, so you'e essentially saying that she'd refer to Starlight like this in her own thoughts. That's awfully external and formal for someone she knows well.

>her eyebrows furrowed in annoyance//

You mostly stay in a gray area of this, but it's better to demonstrate emotion instead of outright telling the reader what it is. How would you know someone you saw in public was annoyed? Think about the details you'd notice from their appearance and behavior. That's the kind of context to provide, since it mirrors how we perceive real people. It comes across as more authentic.

>a teasingly way//

You've got an adverb where you need an adjective.

>hoping the slight shakiness to her apologetic smile wouldn’t give away that yes, she had in fact been thinking of such things//

There are more subtle ways of saying such things. You don't want to over-explain.

>how was she supposed to concentrate on moving the apple across the table when that drip-dripping of water needed to stop.//

Isn't that a question?

>announcement, ”Shall//

When you transition into speech with a comma like that, don't capitalize the speech.

>Sugar Cube//

Canon has that as one word, and the "corner" after it is part of the name; it should also be capitalized.

>I was think//


>once again Starlight rolls her eyes and smiles as she sees through it//

Why are you switching to present tense?

>crumb filled//

When a whole multi-word phrase is a single descriptor, hyphenate it.

>the only one’s left//

You have a possessive where you need a plural.

>addressing the motherly mare standing behind the counter//

Another strangely external descriptor for someone she knows, plus this is all redundant. She used Mrs. Cake's name, so we already know whom she's talking to, and the reader will presumably know what she looks like.

>signifying she was ready for their order//

You're over-explaining things again.

>Pumpkin and Pound were just being extra fussy tonight about bath time so I took over so she could help Mr. Cake settle them down.//

You need a comma between your clauses.

>a sarcastic “Fascinating”//

You're not really present that as a quote (the "a" makes it generic), so you don't need to capitalize it. And the comma goes inside the quotes.

>Starlight said, taking her own quick glance at the counter, “We//

Capitalization on transitioning back into the quote again, and you're using this sentence structure a whole lot. Look how often you have these participial phrases (usually an action beginning with an -ing verb), especially tacked onto the end of some narration, especially with speaking actions.

>yes, Any//

Why is that capitalized?

>she grinned//

You have that as a speech tag, but it has no speaking action. How do you grin a sentence?

>ones she paid attention to were the one’s//

Same issue with possessive/plural confusion, but I don't know why you got it right once and wrong once in the same sentence.

>alright - Trixie admitted she made a mean pastry so it was best to stay on her good side- but//

Use proper dashes. You had one earlier, so you know how.

>“One slice of chocolate cake and one slice of strawberry shortcake coming right up,” she said, ringing up the cash register, “You two feel free to take seat.//

Here's a different issue. By going out of the quote and back in with commas, you're saying that both parts of the quote come together to make a single sentence, but if you put it together that way, it'd be a comma splice. Then you have a typo at the end.

>in town center//

You'd normally phrase that with a "the" in there.

>what few night spots there were in this little town//

Watch the close word repetition. You use "town" four times in this paragraph.


Unless you're picking up from an earlier sentence that trailed off, capitalize a sentence that starts with an ellipsis.

>Wanting to keep it and keep seeing that smile//

That's awkwardly phrased.

>a small, yellow unicorn foal with a carrot-colored mane appeared levitating and dripping with water right in front of Mrs. Cake, startling her and spilling coffee all over the table.//

You don't need that first comma, since those two words describe different things about Pumpkin, and the way you worded this, Pumpkin is who spilled the coffee.

Why would Trixie teleport the napkins instead of just levitating them over? It's not like teleportation would be any faster, and she knows it could be problematic.

>baited breath//



One too many dots there.

>Still in the dispensary, but still//

Another example of close word repetition.



>your first truly successful transportation spell//

Teleportation. She's levitated stuff before, which is transportation.

>After we’ve practiced this enough to make sure you got down teleporting inanimate objects//

Needs a comma after this to set off the dependent clause.

>Didn’t want to spoil the celebration my messing up a teleportation.//


>she glances outside//

Gone to present tense again.

>Celestia’s Academy for Gifted Unicorns//

Per canon, it's a school, not an academy.

>What’s rude about me that//

Missing word.

>And, well, it was kind of true what she was saying.//

That "well" phrasing is repetitive with the previous sentence.

>Starlight’s panicked eyes//

And you already described her as panicked earlier in the same paragraph.

>Honestly, still surprised myself//

Missing word.

>smiling to let Starlight know she wasn’t having any hard feelings about this//

You really need to stop spelling out everyone's motivations for what they're doing.

>Though had to create that spell//

Missing word.

>Her little tale of her educational woes//

You also have this tendency to repeat information the reader already knows. If you just left it as "her tale," what would it lose?

>Trixie, of course, simply waved it off, “Go//

Another non-speaking action used as a speech tag.

>anyway so they deserved being burnt down anyway//


>still giggling Starlight//

still-giggling Starlight

>I even helped saved Equestria//


You're right—there isn't that much to this story, but there is a bit of development to the relationship between the two. It'd help a lot if you made more of a conflict about it. There's nothing anyone struggles with here, be it Trixie still trying to avoid making Starlight angry, working through some shame at admitting her past mistakes (kind of convenient for Starlight to ask about school, then, instead of Trixie bringing it up), or whatever. There really needs to be something at stake so that there's some tension in the story. There's never any question how it'll turn out, because there are no obstacles to resolving a conflict or someone experiencing character growth. You've got a setup that'll support it, so just add that.

Aside from that, there are obviously some editing and stylistic issues here, and I just marked some examples. It's not an exhaustive list.

Anonymous 2772

Dear Pre-reader 63.546,

So, took most of the stylistic advice given in that review, and decided to rework the ending scene a bit to draw out more of a conflict. Pulling out a bit more "defensive ego" Trixie to add a bit more conflict to Starlight's comments about Trixie's education to get them more annoyed at each other before getting into fuzzy friendship speeches. At the end of the day it is still a fluff fic, which I would argue is defined by minimal conflict, but I do like a chance to write out egotistical Trixie more so why not.

Will update and resubmit to EQD once worked through

Oh, and most of my stylistic stuff with quotations is due to my misunderstanding some rules about quotations when you want to have more than one sentence interrupted with a description of action or whatever. Fixed most of those I believe.
This post was edited by its author on .

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2773

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.

>Is- is//

Use proper dashes for cutoffs and asides.

>Her horn connected with his and the spell began to glow between them.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.


Having sound effects in narration like this tends to work for very specific kinds of stories. For a more dramatic one, it's best just to describe the sound.

>would be//

Hyphenate multi-word descriptors used as single modifiers.


When you have a word italicized for emphasis, then include an exclamation mark or question mark attached to it in the italics.

>Chrysalis' mouth opened wide and a wispy pink mist began to flow from Celestia's heart.//

Needs a comma.

>never learned it's lesson//

Its/it's confusion. Possessive pronouns never have apostrophes.

>What're you-//

Use a dash.

>now blackened//


>I- I//

That can be a dash or a hyphen, depending on how you want it to sound, but for a hyphen, don't leave a space after it. For a dash, the spacing depends on what kind. There's a guide to dashes at the top of this thread.

I could see Twilight attacking Chrysalis in a fit of rage, but that's awful quick for her to have a complete about-face in her attitude toward friendship and harmony.


Italicize the exclamation mark.

>What are you going to do Twilight Sparkle?//

Needs a comma for direct address.


Italicize the question mark.


Use a dash.

>I'm sorry, princess.//

Princess would be capitalized when used as a term of address.

>half burnt//




>Celestia...she- she//

Use a dash, and leave a space after an ellipsis.

>Gently breaking Shining's embrace, Twilight trotted over to the window, looking up at the midday sun.//

Participial phrases imply that things happen at the same time, so you have her doing all three of these actions simultaneously, yet they'd more logically happen in sequence.

>sugar cube//

Needs a comma for direct address.

You're using a lot of unusual speaking verbs, to the point they're drawing attention to themselves. There's a section on saidisms at the top of this thread.

>Chrysalis..." Twilight trailed off//

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

>Pinkie jumped on the map and confetti somehow burst out of her mane//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>The maps noises//

Missing apostrophe.


Use a dash.

>"Uh, what do you mean the writers-"//

This is really not the kind of story that's going to support meta humor.

>Rainbow cut her off//

Similar to trailing off, you don't need to narrate a cutoff when the punctuation already indicates it.

>and, it's our duty to help anypony who's having a friendship problem//

The comma should go before the conjunction, not after it.

Now that I'm through two chapters, I'm going to mark fewer things. I wasn't being comprehensive anyway, but I'll assume I pointed out enough examples that you can find those things from here on. Plus I'll be at this forever if I keep it up.

>complimented by expensive looking chairs and furniture//

Chairs are furniture. And unless the furniture has nice things to say, you want "complemented."

>I hate portals..." Rainbow groaned//

When's she ever been through one?

>We're very much in the Crystal Empire, but not our version of it. A parallel universe.//

Why wouldn't this already be obvious to Twilight? Or everyone else? The mirror's never done anything else but send them to parallel universes.


Why can so few authors spell that right?


Family relations get capitalized when used as a term of address.

>This Shining Armor was identical to the one Twilight new//


You really use a lot of ellipses. It tends to make the writing choppy. They're really better when used here and there for flavor, but too many becomes a writing tic, and you want the reader remembering what happened in the story, not that he saw a bunch of ellipses.

>Twilight turned around to see that the guard was standing at attention//

I've noticed little things like this popping up in the story, and it's worth combing through it all to make sure your narration is consistent. You're using Twilight as your limited narrator. You have the narration take a conversational tone and express Twilight's thoughts and opinions as his own. That means your narrator must also be confined to what Twilight could know or perceive. So how can she identify him as a guard before she's seen him?

>Twilight had been there during session only once and knew that the citizens of the empire would come to Princess Cadence and her brother with their grievances and concerns.//

This sentence is fighting itself. The "been there only once" tends to make it sound like her information might be unreliable, yet she "knew" the second part. A "but" would make it sound like she understood the seeming contradiction, but you have "and," indicating that the two parts are linked, or that one implies the other. It doesn't quite make sense.

>it said it's name//

Its/it's confusion.

>She remembered Thorax from recent events in her own world.//

Her reaction already implies this. And you don't need to spend a paragraph rehashing an episode the reader's presumably seen, or else there's a whole lot more about your story he won't get, either, like what "klutzy draconequus" is supposed to mean.

>Rainbow said the word with distaste//

>Applejack was reticent//
You still have spots like this where your're giving me the emotions as cold facts. This doesn't create a mental image. How is Rainbow acting that Twilight would interpret it as distaste? What about Applejack makes her seem reticent?


A name has to be capitalized, so capitalize it in every part of a stutter.

>Silence hung in the air as the ponies made sense of Zecora's odd wisdom.//

Watch the perspective again. How would Twilight know that's what the other girls are doing. The narration can only say what Twilight knows, sees, hears, thinks, etc.


That's really stretching for a rhyme.


Why is the apostrophe on the end? The missing letters are at the beginning.

>pegasi guards//

Noun adjuncts are singular, even when they go with a plural. You say "ham sandwiches," not "hams sandwiches."

>we just do we just do//

Repeated phrase.

Twilight might not like what Cadence did to Thorax, but she's still been affectionate to Twilight. I'm surprised Twilight's willing to send her to Tartarus instead of just incapacitating her or escaping.

>It's going to hurt us... inside.//

That's awfully melodramatic.

>a small tear forming in her eye//

And the single tear is about the most cliched thing you could have written.

>Twilight slowly began//

This is the second "began" action in the paragraph. That's a verb that should be used sparingly at best, as is "started." It's obvious that any given action begins, so it's only worth pointing out when that beginning is notable, like if it's abrupt or the action never finishes. Then you have another "began" in the next paragraph.

>she was physically millions of light years from her actual home//

Huh? I though this was supposed to be a parallel universe? So there are all these copies of the same characters all within one universe? That's strange.


Really stretching for that rhyme again.

>Everfree forest//

"Forest" is part of the proper name and should also be capitalized.

>Zecora and Twilight sat down as well, stifling a small chuckle.//

This sounds like they both stifled a chuckle.



>Not just out of sadness, but out of guilt and shame too.//

Very blunt and clinical with those emotions.

>Sometimes her magic even frightened herself//

Use a reflexive pronoun when it refers to the same person or thing as the clause's subject. That's not the case here, as "herself" isn't the same thing as "magic."

>Twilight reminisced.//

I guess that's supposed to be a speech tag? It isn't punctuated like one, plus it's a very strange choice of speaking verb. Or if it's intended to be a separate sentence, it's really vague.

>"Alternate universe Dash." Applejack reminded her.//

And now you're starting to miss several of these commas when transitioning from speech to narration.

>just leave a book with the details on your greatest weapon just//

That's a word that many authors tend to overuse.


Those are spelled alike, but they don't come anywhere close to rhyming.

>the Everfree itself had died along with it's monstrous inhabitants//

Its/it's confusion.

>Many of them gave the guards furtively glances//

You have an adverb where you need an adjective.

>sofa+quills and sugarcube corner//

Store names would be capitalized, and you got the first one backward.

>the library lacked it's usual quantity of books//

Its/it's confusion.


That's not a place to hyphenate this phrase.

>Hearts and Hooves day//

"Day" is part of the holiday name.

>She might've... hid//


>ah doubt Rarity would be too keen//

When you use "Ah" in place of "I," you need to capitalize it the same.

>500 yards of your sister, even if she is under 24//

Write out numbers that short.


One question mark is plenty.

>there weren't any other passerby//


>For once luck had favored them, and the Cakes were busy tending to their twin foals in another room.//

So what room were they going into? The Cakes' bedroom? Seems like a bad idea. Pinkie should know what room to try.

>A blue and pink balloon themed bed complimented the yellow walls//

Complimented/complemented confusion again.

Okay, you made enough improvements from the last submission that I started taking detailed notes, but I'm at the end of chapter 7 now, and I'm just finding more and more of the same problems. I'll never get to the end at this rate, and there are lots of stories in the queue, so I'm going to have to stop here. The plot mostly seems fine so far, but I obviously haven't read the whole thing, so there may be problems later on. Lots of mechanical issues, and it's hard to identify with this alternate Twilight when she makes such a snap change in her attitude. Seeing it happen gradually so that the reader fully understands the change will get them invested in the character, but this happens so fast here. Plus we get nothing about the other elements. They're our beloved ones one instant, and the next, they're evil alicorns, and without seeing them descend into that transition, it loses a lot of its power. Demonstration is always going to be more engaging than having to take the narrator's word for a bunch of off-camera stuff.
This post was edited by its author on .

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2777

I normally put my wrap-up comments at the end, but I don't want you to get intimidated by the length of my notes and never get to it. So I'll put them first.

The good. I read this whole thing. I'm a slow reader, and I've only read 2 or 3 stories longer than this, because I simply don't have the time. But you held my interest enough to keep going. Normally, I'd read the first few chapters to get a flavor for things, then skim the rest to make sure it doesn't go off the rails or violate our content standards. Or if I have enough ammo to reject the story in the first chapter alone, then there's not much point in continuing. In fact, I could tell from the first chapter that I'd end up sending this back to you, but I read every word of every chapter anyway, because it was an interesting story.

Now the bad. There's a good story in here, and even the wordsmithing was pretty good, but it gets bogged down in lots of stylistic things. They're all detailed below, so I won't list them here, only to say that the biggest thing was being repetitive. But I am very disappointed at the sheer number of easy-to-detect errors, like missing words, I found that even a cursory proofreading pass would uncover. I don't know that you've done even that. We expect to see well-edited stories; we don't have time to be your proofreading service. It's one thing if you consistently miss a rule of grammar that you might not have known, but when I keep seeing obvious typos, it speaks to lackadaisical editing.

I also want to note that I didn't have time to show you every instance of every problem. I did show you every kind, and from these examples, you should be able to find the rest. If you go only by what I've noted, that's probably only about a quarter of them.

As interesting as the story was, I did find some things odd about it. I agree with one of the commenters who wondered why you put Chrysalis in the role you did if she wasn't going to act anything like Chrysalis. By the end, we get a hint to why (which is a point I'll revisit shortly), but it's over 60k words in before we find out. That's a huge amount of time to expect a reader to just roll along with a character who is Chrysalis in name only. An AU tag only goes so far; you generally want to show basically the same character changed in a small number of ways. Here, we have a character who might as well have been an OC until the one glimmer of canon Chrysalis from her. Even making it clear that something is off about the whole world from the beginning can support this kind of conceit, but you play it straight. For that matter, while Aria and Sonata (Sonata far more so) do behave like their canon selves, they have very different abilities, to the point they also could have easily been OCs without losing anything. Tagging them as characters instead of using the OC tag will get you more viewers, but it's also a bait and switch when those characters share little to nothing with the canon ones. Tirek is the same.

Now, about the reveal of Chrysalis. The story really doesn't complete any of its arcs. Adagio does consolidate her power, but there's a hint about Chrysalis's past that doesn't come to fruition. Chroma arises as an enemy, but she isn't completely dealt with. Echidna also steps up, but they haven't dealt with her. Everything is pretty much sequel bait, and while there's nothing with sequel bait, you still want each story to stand alone well. This just sets the pieces up without knocking any of them down, and as such, it's not a very satisfying read. I began to get the sense that would be the case when I was on chapter 10.

This story really feels like Fellowship of the Ring to me, where it's all establishing the parties and stakes involved, leading up to this pact being formed. The distinguishing factor there is that FotR supplied the back story, too, so that I had the whole picture of what was going on, even though the book itself had kind of a weak stopping point with no real conclusions. Here, I have very little idea of what's going on or why. It's less a standalone work in a series and more a fragment of what should have carried on longer until it resolved some subplot arcs.

It speaks to how engaging the premise is that I stuck with it for the whole ride, and I wouldn't have spent dozens of hours reading and compiling notes if I didn't want you using them to improve the story into something that'd really shine. But it does really need a lot of detail work, and you should give some thought about how self-contained it is.

>treble cleft//


>twenty fourth//


You're telling the story in Adagio's perspective, but you do things that are inconsistent with that, like having her point out her own eye and coat color. Why would she bother mentioning those? It's not relevant to what's happening.

>Popping the cork loose, she poured about half the bottle into her goblet//

One thing you have to be careful about with participles is that they make things happen at the same time, so make sure that's what you want. Here, she couldn't pour any until after she'd popped the cork. This is a problem that comes up occasionally.

>stuck up//

Hyphenate your multi-word descriptors.

>sharing in her master’s disdain for the overly pompous Count Fancy Pants.//

That was already evident from what she said. Don't overexplain things. For that matter, this seems to have jumped over to Suri's perspective.

>I’ll need a new dress-//

Please use proper dashes for cutoffs and asides. You use hyphens throughout the story where you shouldn't be. There's a guide to them at the top of this thread.


Mix 'n' match

>I can talk him into investing into the existing guild//

That second "into" should be an "in," right?

>“I’ve always wanted to visit the Lunar Kingdom anyway,” Adagio smiled.//

You have that last bit punctuated as if it's a speech tag, but it has no speaking verb.

>I have a proposal for you….//

One too many dots there.

>stitched together ensemble//

stitched-together ensemble

>two layer affair//

two-layer affair. I can't keep marking these or I'll never finish the story, so suffice it to say you need to sweep for these.

>feel to the tops of her cannons//


>fell to her fetlocks//

And very repetitive to use the same phrasing for both parts.

>Having become satisfied with his efforts//

You'll normally set off an absolute phrase with a comma.

>Just remember Adagio//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>mare that stepped through them//

>a pony that could name every member of said guard//
When referring to a sentient being, you normally use "who" instead of "that."

>ball room//


>of which there were copious amounts of//

Redundant "of."

>Count Copper Coin would surely be in attendance and earning some more favor with him couldn’t hurt.//

Here's another thing you do a lot: fail to put commas between clauses.


Leave a space after an ellipsis.

>mare,” she placed a hoof on Suri’s back, “put//

Here's how to format a narrative aside in a quote:
mare—” she placed a hoof on Suri’s back “—put
if she stops speaking for the action and:
mare”—she placed a hoof on Suri’s back—“put
if she doesn't.

>really Fancy//

Needs a comma for direct address again. This is an intermittent problem.

Here's another thing you do: use copious amounts of participial phrases. They're a nicely descriptive element, but they also don't turn up too much in everyday conversation, and when something's unusual, it stands out a lot more easily when it keeps turning up. Take these:
>silently judging her//
>Slipping out into the hallway//
>Squeezing her eyes shut//
>threatening to burst forth in a torrent//
>rocking against the cold stone//
These all occur in a span of only six sentences.

>Looking up, her fear of what Fancy Pants might do//

This says her fear looked up.

>Y-your majesty//

The honorific would be capitalized. Looks like you leave it lower case every time you use it.

>Calm yourself my little pony.//

Direct address again. I'm going to stop marking these.


Titles get capitalized when used as terms of address.

>nervous tick//


>corridors amongst the grand corridors//

Repetitive word use.

>I almost had him forget why he was here?//

That's an awkward phrasing.

>in?” Adagio//

Extraneous space.


There are a few spots like this where you must have edited directly on FiMFiction, because they use simple-style quotation marks and apostrophes, whereas most of the story uses fancy ones.

>The earth pony//

Another descriptor that doesn't fit the perspective. Why would Suri call herself this?

>last part. Her back felt like it had managed to find every last//

>fault but her own. And for all her faults//
Close word repetition.

>wild wilderness//

Seems pretty self-explanatory. There's a reason "wilderness" has "wild" in it.

>The Canterhorn Aqueduct; a snake of sturdy granite that had once supplied the old capital with fresh water.//

For a semicolon to be used properly, you should be able to replace it with a period, but what comes after it here couldn't stand as a complete sentence. A comma would do fine, since it could be an appositive, or a colon would work, since you're making a definition or clarification.

>Eighteen ears of corn were roasting away, lashed to sticks that were angled over the fire.//

You have three instances of "were" very close together here. For one thing, various forms of "to be" are very boring to read, since nothing happens. You should choose active verbs where possible. For another, you're using them as unnecessary auxiliary verbs. If you just wrote this as "Eighteen ears of corn roasted away, lashed to sticks angled over the fire," what would it lose?


Note that smart quotes will always draw a leading apostrophe 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.

>“Hmm,” Iron Will glanced to the jasmine coated pegasus mare at his side.//

There's another non-speaking action used as a dialogue tag.

>unlady like//


>So she sighed and poked Adagio again; harder this time.//

Another misused semicolon.

>almost looking past Suri. “Are we almost//

>probably start by introducing ourselves to Mayor Glimmer. She probably//
More close repetition.

>families that controlled//

Use "who."

>What does that even mean?

When you have an exclamation mark or question mark on a word italicized for emphasis, include it in the italics.

>a thin flow of ponies were//

The subject is "flow," which doesn't agree in number with the verb "were."

>laying on that hard to define line//

"Laying" takes a direct object. You want "lying."

>guess though, she'd guess//

Close repetition.

>ponies that//


>“Will,” she nodded towards the crowds.//

Non-speaking action used as a dialogue tag.

>Pressing onwards their path//

This says that their path pressed onward, not that they did.

>It’s small yard//

It's/its confusion.

>“Well, space is something of a premium in Ponyville,” Adagio shrugged.//

Non-speaking action used as a dialogue tag again. I'm going to have to stop marking these, too.

>As it should have.//

What does "it" refer to? The gates, right? So why is it singular?

>neatly planted flowers//

You just had a "neatly" in the previous paragraph.

>She ran a hoof down its rough surface//

Same problem. You have a singular "its" referring to plural objects.

>She turned her attention to the rest of her guards while they galloped off.//

This sounds like the rest of the guards are galloping off.

>hoof falls//

That'd be one word, the same as "footfalls."

>Sugar Belle took the lead//

Repetitive with what Adagio just said.

>pony that sold it to me//


>This confused Adagio//

What comes after this already illustrates the point, so it's redundant to say it so bluntly up front.


As one word, this is a noun, but you're trying to use it as a verb.

>to not//

This kind of phrasing should have the words in reverse order.

>Adagio’s expression had changed to one of suspicion.//

But she's the limited narrator. How can she even see it to make that evaluation? Besides, that's not what would clue her in to the emotion. You don't have to look into a mirror to know you're angry, after all. How would suspicion manifest itself internally? Through her thoughts, physical sensations, more deliberate actions than observing her own expression.

>declared, voice dripping with a smug sense of pride, as if she had just declared//

Close word repetition.

>miss Glimmer//

"Miss" would be capitalized when attached to a name.

>self assured//

"Self" words get hyphenated.

>tower, near the towering//


>Aromatic odors of cooking//

That's an awkward phrasing.

>The ever so slight tingle in her nostrils told Adagio that the food served here used a bit more spice than some of the other establishments she had dined at in her life.//

The previous scene had been in Suri's perspective, and she's the first character mentioned in this scene, so the presumption will be that she holds the perspective. It's not until here that I discover you actually want Adagio's viewpoint. You need to be clear right at the beginning of each scene whose perspective it represents.

>The smell of food had gotten her own stomach growling at the thought of an early lunch, so she followed after, her mind contemplating the nature of the food waiting inside.//

Repetitive use of "food."




One too many dots there. Four-dot ellipses are really only for formal writing.

>The cursed nature of the Everfree, was one of those stories that never went away.//

Why in the world is that comma there?

>Lumberjacks that dared//

Use "who."



>the forest itself//

>The lodge itself//
Repetitive phrasing in consecutive sentences.

>Its shining eyes peered at Adagio for a moment, before beginning to preen.//

Its eyes began to preen?


As a parallel to things like racist or sexist, it should have the same -ist ending.

>I’d suggest that you bite your tongue.//

Missing your closing quotation marks.

I guess I don't see the point of visiting the lodge. It took up a significant enough amount of the chapter that I would have expected something momentous, but it was just Adagio overhearing something, asking about it, and verifying that it would happen. Then she leaves. That's pretty mundane.

>mane her, forelegs//

Misplaced comma.

>wings twitching with a nervous energy with a pale blueish-purple coat and neat blonde mane//

That phrasing is really weird.


Please, please don't be among the majority of ponyfic authors who can't spell this.

>mysterious ponies and their associate was indeed a mystery//

That's pretty self-explanatory.

>in a form of argument//

Odd phrasing.

>on her back. “Aria! I don’t want your bird on my back//

Repetitive. And then you have another "back" just a couple sentences later, even though it's used in a different sense.

>her parent’s bedroom//

She only had one parent? This turns up more than once.

>resting on the mantle//

You use this exact phrasing again in the next sentence.



>its razor honed edge cleft into the wood//

That's not an accepted participle form of "cleave."

>the sheer horrible goofiness of the lines they had just finished throwing at each other//

That's really explain-y. And it smacks of having to assure the reader that a joke was funny. If he doesn't already know that, then it wasn't.

>Spitfire rolled her eyes//

Repetitive. Will did the exact same thing not one sentence ago.

The story's starting to feel like a series of fetch quests. Not that a story can't function as such, but it's really hard to keep those interesting once the word count gets up there, and by now, I'm over 20k into the story, which is awfully far in to still feel like a series of fetch quests.



>Adagio lead the way into Ponyville.//

The past tense is "led."

>Laughing to herself Adagio’s spirits rose//

This says Adagio's spirits laughed to herself.

>She could feel her anger beginning to rise again//

>which made her all the more angry//
You're fairly often blunt with emotion like this instead of demonstrating it. What evidence is there of her anger? (What does she do? How would it show up in the narrative tone? How does it make her feel, physically?)

>focus on Starlight. If she was going to try something, Adagio needed to focus//

Close repetition.

>assuage a guilty- noble- conscious//


>that was flaw//

Missing word.

>it should be effecting Ponyville already//

You need "affecting" there. As phrased, it means the storm is causing Ponyville to be there.



>pegasi cold resistance//

Noun adjuncts are singular. You don't say "hams sandwiches," for instance.

>being shook//


>Aria grit her teeth//

The past tense is "gritted."

>storm like//

Most of these "like" descriptors you use should be hyphenated or a single word. But my main point is that you use these an awful lot.



>I will have conversation with her//

Missing word.

>stop bringing up my parents?//

>do anything about them?//
Italicize the question mark.

>cisterns worth/

In that phrasing, use a possessive.

>streets that lead out of the square//




>since it’s founding//

Its/it's confusion.

>Ranger’s later.//

Why is that possessive?

>Let Sombra and I//

People are so afraid of misusing "me" that they make this kind of mistake. "Sombra and I" is equivalent to "we." "Sombra and me" is equivalent to "us." Which sounds right, "let us" or "let we"?

I wonder why Adagio is having so much trouble swimming. I assume because the situation's specifically designed to make it difficult, but there's no indication of that, and horses are naturally pretty good swimmers.

>somehow accusatory. This was all Adagio’s fault somehow//


>only to bump into something else//

>only to face Sonata Dusk//
Repetitive phrasing.

>somehow floating just to block her path//

And that comes soon after those other uses of "somehow" I just noted.

>vice like//


>flickering candles. In the flickering//



Missing a letter or apostrophe.


Don't put the asterisks around that.


If it's a word like a name that has to be capitalized under any circumstances, then you need to capitalize all instances of the first letter in a stutter.


Consider what sound she'd actually repeat. That word doesn't even have a "t" sound in it.

>Adagio grit her teeth//

The past tense is "gritted."


Same deal with what sound would be repeated.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2778

>mayor Glimmer//
When attached to a name, a title gets capitalized.

>sun up//


>the stunned baroness//

Adagio is the perspective character. Why would she describe herself in such an abstract way? People don't do that.

>Ignoring that crack//

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

>Thank you, consul//

Capitalize the title used as an address.

>What, is that?//

There's no reason to have a comma there. They aren't for dramatic pauses.

>“Not that many,” Spitfire answered.//

Chroma didn't ask how many. She asked how often.

>occasional explores crazy enough//



The comma only replaces a period, not any other kinds of punctuation.

>can not//




>seemed content to let Suri hold the tray. Her horn began to glow, brighter and brighter, before the lady of storms seemed//

Repetition, but "seem" is a weak verb that should only be used sparingly anyway.


Needs another comma on the other side of the appositive.

It's a little strange that while in Starlight's perspective, we never get to see why she so suddenly changes her attitude toward Adagio. To battle Chroma, sure, but it's treated very stoically, like Starlight neither reconsiders her position or only reluctantly seeks Adagio's aid.

>every step sent burning lances of pain through Adagio’s body//

You already used that exact phrasing just a dozen or so paragraphs back.

>But she grit her teeth and pushed ahead.//

She sure is gritting her teeth a lot. And they all have the wrong past tense.

>a few more step//


>pair were lounging on a pair//


>the right stallion said//

Why do you need to qualify that? You said only one was a stallion, so it's not like there's a left stallion.

>besides the point//


>ally lip//

I have no idea what this is trying to say.

>counter attack//


>directions.” Starlight answered.//

That sure sounds like a speech tag, so the dialogue needs to end with a comma.


You've got a mix of quotation mark styles there.

>Approaching them, her eyes practically blazed with anger.//

This says that her eyes approached them, not that she did.

>You hid here I presume//

Needs a comma.


Typo. This happens more than once.

>The water soaking the fields just added to the misery.//

This is already the third mention of "soak" in the chapter, and we're on paragraph three. The first two were more thematic, but this one doesn't appear to be.

>lances of pain//

You keep calling them that.

>Pushing those dark thoughts aside for the moment//

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

>her temper already growing short with Sonata’s mangling of her name//

Set off the absolute phrase with a comma.

>everypony that’s//

Use "who."

>deciding that Starlight had been battered enough for now//

Don't over-explain this.


Extraneous comma.

>the hoof//

Extraneous space.

>There was far too many conflicting tones//

Number mismatch: was... tones.

>Breathing in and out//

Set off the participle with a comma.


What's going on here?

>squinting at what what bits//

Repeated word.

>pushing her way through the underbrush and picking her way//

Repetitive phrasing. I'm only grabbing occasional instances of repetition, either ones I'm afraid you wouldn't catch or ones of a type I hadn't noted before.

>The shadows were oppressive, every one of them could be hiding a monster and the ongoing roar of the storm would made it hard to hear anything lurking its way towards her.//

Comma splice.

>pegasi weather resistance//


>The temptation to lay down//

Lay/lie confusion.

>her head hung low and her shoulder’s sagged//

Extraneous apostrophe.

>Her mane, blown out of their usual pigtail style//

"Their" is a plural pronoun, but it's referring to "mane," a singular noun.

>For she probably wouldn’t get up again if she did.//

That "for" is really awkward. Drop it.

>Panic gripped Aria’s chest now//

But the narration doesn't sound panicked. Plus you've mentioned panic a fair amount lately.


Unless their hair likes to argue, you probably want "dreadlocks."



>and you had beasts//

It's probably best to avoid talking to the reader, unless you're going to establish who the reader is and talk to him regularly throughout the story. You could make it a quoted thought, and then it would work. Or you could rephrase it without "you."

>just couldn’t get high enough with one broken wing and the stones were just//

Repetition, and pay particular attention to this word. It's one many authors tend to overuse.

>took a firm hold of the nets and hauled Aria up like a fish in a net//

The imagery of her being in a net kind of loses its power when she's actually in a net.

>captors. They//

Extraneous space.

>calm, leader//

This comma shouldn't be there.

>pony like//

Make that one word or hyphenate it.

>re-aligning himself on the pack again//

The "re" is redundant with the "again," and "aligning" is a strange word choice. Maybe you meant "alighting"?

>charge head//


>Caprataur’s have Aria//

Why is that possessive? You need a plural.

>Heartlands is//

Number mismatch.

>...Even if it ended up being the right decision in the long run.//

A leading ellipsis is for a previously suspended thought, or for something just becoming audible (the speaker is coming into earshot, the listener is waking up, etc.). This doesn't really warrant one.

>We...we can’t…"//

Here's a side effect of not leaving a space after an ellipsis. Similar to smart quotes, some word processors will automatically convert three consecutive periods into a single-character ellipsis, but it won't do that if an alphanumeric character follows it. It will if the next thing is a space or punctuation. Based on that, you've gotten one of each kind here. It's better if they're consistent. And here's yet another spot where your style of quotation marks varies.

>ponies that had angered her//

Use "who."

>we most like will have to face Chroma//


>trampled grass//

How does trampling result from the storm?

>sense of menace that permuted the very air//

Sounds like you meant "permeated."

>It was a little gesture but one that signaled to Adagio that Lightning had been smiling through the pain, as it were.//

You're over-explaining things again.

>Suri wasn’t prepared to take that response unchallenged through.//

I assume that's supposed to be "though."

>That one,” she jabbed a hoof at Adagio, “didn’t even know what a caprataur was! ”//

Extraneous space at the end, but it also looks like you're trying to do a narrative aside again. Use the format I showed you earlier.

>the occasional flashes of lightning providing its//

You have a singular "its" referring to a plural "flashes."

>strike, her muscles tightening, ready to strike//

More repetition.

>the camps construction//

Missing apostrophe.

>from the rocky wall to wide open gap//

Missing word.

>A few caprataurs, were gathering water from their reservoir in clay jugs.//

Why is that comma there?

>due either being female or too young for them to have grown in yet//

Missing word, and this is the third aside in the paragraph. This is another type of structure that gets repetitive when used too often.

>From there was an unwashed mass of caprataur’s crouching half in the rain//

The "from there" is awkward, and you have another possessive that needs to be a plural.

>half in crude shelter//

Missing word. I don't know why you suddenly have a bunch more of this careless kind of error in this chapter.

>the right wall of depression//

Missing word. I'm finding too many of these to keep marking them. You need to read over the story word by word to find these.

>least…” Starlight trailed off//


>I like a little to be flashy with magic as much as the next mage//

That "a little" sounds unnatural there.

>Equal parts dread and anger//

More directly naming emotions.



>along side//


>most absolute vile//




>Tough as old, battered leather.//

Leather? As in the tanned hides of dead sentient cows? Why would a pony be that acquainted with it?

>lance of pain//

Oh, so Aria gets those now, too?

>leader that had caught her//

Use "who."

>all mighty//


>She was the only one among the group that//

Use "who."

>a mix of tired looking, focused or on the verge of nodding off.//

"Mix" usually goes with "and," not "or," and aren't "tired-looking" and "on the verg of nodding off" essentially the same thing?

>any pony//


>he topped off the side of his timberwolf//


>They moved as fast as they could, pumping legs and wings with as much power as they could muster.//

That pretty much says the same thing twice.



>Stop failing//

Typo, but repetitive with the narration just saying she was flailing.

>as she lead the way//

The past tense is "led."

>what might lay beyond//

Lay/lie confusion.

>“half baked”,//

>“local color”.//
Punctuation goes inside the quotation marks.

>a sharp snap sound//

Phrasing is off, and the comma that comes after this is a splice.

>It’s tip glowed//

Its/it's confusion.


in case

>shadows; invisible or imaginary.//

Misused semicolon.

>dryly as a desert//

You have an adverb where an adjective would be more appropriate.

>Let’s rest of the night.//

Phrasing is off.

>It was only after she and her friends had become powerful, had ascended, were they able//

The syntax is off here. The phrasing would either go without the initial "it was," or the "were they able" would be "that they were."

>how far removed from Equestria, The Heartlands really were//

No reason to have a comma there.

>She mulled over//

Mulled over what? It's a transitive verb; it needs a direct object.

>having been around the stallion for not even half a day yet and Chroma//

That "and shouldn't be there, you need a comma after "yet," and I'd lose the other "yet" you have at the beginning of the sentence so you don't have two of them.

>For an idiot he was.//

Then why is he still in that position of authority? Couldn't Chroma remove him? That brings up another issue. You're using Chroma as your perspective character here, and she's said she doesn't want to be called that, so why is she using it to refer to herself?





You're inconsistent at capitalizing "rangers."

>the instinct to run punching through his alcohol addled mind//

Chroma wouldn't know this, so you're jumping to his perspective for some reason.



>Spitfire’s brow furrowed as her mind began to sort out the full reality of the situation.//

Now you're dipping into Spitfire's perspective.

>hadn’t actually ever spoke//



There's only one baroness. ex-baroness's

>had ran//

had run

>A bolt of lightning struck the ground and inch from her hooves.//




>There was a message to deliver and justice to mete out//

And now you're going into the crow's perspective? I guess you do sometimes see brief glimpses at a different perspectives and the ends of scenes, but this is an odd choice for one.

>With a strangled caw, in toppled backwards//

Typo. A lot of these are pretty careless errors that you should have been able to catch on a quick read-through of your own work. Not knowing some of the more difficult rules of grammar is one thing, but this is pretty basic.

>And as the last bits fades away//


>edge of the rim//

The rim is the edge.

>crack of dawn revelries//

They're... partying at dawn? That doesn't seem like military discipline. Are you sure you don't mean reveilles?

>The act of running of a restaurant//

Phrasing is off.

>Sonata Sat//




>building up and appetite//




>these pony’s//

Mixing plural and singular.

>It’s art, philosophy, and architecture were without peer!//

Its/it's confusion.

>’re the only ponies trying to do anything about Chroma...she won’t be stopped unless we do something about her.//

Repetitive phrasing.

>Time to see what laid beyond the darkness.//

Lay/lie confusion.

>Huffing slightly, her whole body//

This says her whole body huffed.

>“Hey, everypony!” Lightning Dust announced having returned from one of the caves and she was wearing a massive grin on her face,“I found the road!”//

The narration bit is missing a couple of commas, and the way you go back into the quote with a comma means both parts of the quote come together to form a single sentence, yet you gave end punctuation to the first part. Plus you're missing the space between the comma and the quotation marks.

>She, Aria, Sonata and Suri just watched this display with a mixture of bemused, confused and annoyed expressions.//

Lightning apparently holds the perspective here. Aside from this being blunt with the emotions again, you're having her somehow see and evaluate her own facial expression in an external fashion.



>maintained stone. It was difficult to maintain//

Another example of close repetition.

>but by Lightning’s reckoning they had walked quite a while before the first glimmer of something besides an unending stretch of tunnel.//

Seems like you meant to have more to that sentence, like an action for the glimmer.

>The ancient buildings in all their finery remains//

Typo. Or maybe something else? For some reason, you switch to present tense for the rest of this paragraph.

>and it they continued to follow//

That's a valid construction, but one that's going to cause most readers to stumble the first time through it.

>wars and diplomacy alike//

>buildings and statuary alike//
These are in consecutive sentences.

>I don’t know too many other ponies who’d actually find old scrolls and books about farming, interesting.//

Why is that comma there?

>These ones mostly depicted ponies engaged in making artwork of their own; painting and sculpting mostly.//

Two uses of "mostly" in the same sentence. I'm only pulling out maybe a quarter of the instances of repetition I'm seeing.


"Anymore" isn't the same thing as "any more." You picked the wrong one here.

>those that had their weapons, drew them before advancing as a group again//

No reason to have that comma.

>the darkness head//

I don't know what you mean by "head" here.

>a massive open hole that was once a lake of some kind//

What's their evidence of this? That's a strange conclusion to draw about a generic hole.

>Every step they took kicked up dust from a carpet of crumbled grass and picked their way past half crumbled stone benches.//

This says that their steps picked their way, not that they did.

>“This must have been open to the sky at one point,” Starlight mused, looking above their heads.//

So they're in a strange underground city listening to creepy music, indicating someone else must be there, and they're just very calmly talking and not trying to be the least bit stealthy? Why would they do this?

>It could come from any number of sources//

And they just barely got away from several encounters where everyone was trying to kill them. Why are they suddenly going to assume this is the one encounter that'll go smoothly?

>Aria lapsed into silence remained locked in a fierce glower.//

Syntax is off.

>It was vitally important that she find out where this gold had come from.//

That's a pretty clinical phrasing. It states the fact, but it doesn't express her mood about it. Remember, it's not just what you say but how you say it.

>different, ornate//

You don't need the comma, since these describe different aspects. Another way to tell (sometimes) is that if you reverse the order, they sound really awkward. That generally means a comma isn't needed.

>The gems had been cut so well that Lightning didn’t think she could see a single flaw on their surfaces.//

Not surprising, since they don't have to be done that well before you need magnification to see a flaw.

>But...please,” she winced//

How do you wince a sentence?

>But then she slowly, she let out a deep sigh//

Syntax is off.

>For the music cut out at that moment a large illusion spell on the high cave ceiling puffing out with it.//

Syntax is off. This is happening a lot in this chapter. I wonder how it's escaped your notice. Don't you read back over your work before you publish it?

>Landing hard, the wind was forced from her lungs for a moment.//

This says the wind landed hard.

>It’s carapace//

Its/it's confusion.

>it dangled light a straight waterfall//



You use this twice just a couple paragraphs apart.

>sixty feet distance//

In this kind of phrasing, it's "sixty-foot."

>and sound//

With the long parenthetical phrase before this, it wasn't apparent at first how this bit was supposed to parse.



>massive bulk//

You'd already described it as such not long ago.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2779

That's just a single word, no hyphen.

>A final, rattling grasp,//

I have to think you meant "gasp." And the comma after it has no business being there.



>she looked glanced//

Extraneous word.

>It seems that none of them had left yet either.//

Switched to present tense.

>Sassaflash was laying on her stomach//

Lay/lie confusion.

>the sound of pounding on manor’s front door//

Missing word.

>adult hood//


>The bath just overflowed!//

Wait the upstairs bathtub overflowed without any of the downstairs plumbing getting backed up? How does that happen?

>While she trailed off//

Redundant with the fact that her dialogue ended with an ellipsis.

>destroying the pony’s homes//

Presumably you meant that to affect more than one pony (who apparently owns multiple homes).

>Your highness//

The whole term is an honorific, and it would be capitalized.

>tore mighty furrow//

Missing word.

>As the broken stone rained down upon Sombra, he rolled back to his hooves summoning a pair of crystalline swords as he went.//

You're using an awful lot of "as" clauses around here, to the point they're becoming repetitive. But it's especially clunky to have two in the same sentence, as you're over-specifying the synchronization.

>the quarrels clattering uselessly against it//

You just called them bolts. It's a subtle difference, but bolts and quarrels aren't the same thing.



>had lead her fellow guards//

The past tense is "led."



>Sugarcoat did have point though.//

Missing word.

>empty grain sacks laying around//

Lay/lie confusion.

>We,” she waved a hoof at her fellow guards, “have//

Use that narrative aside formatting I showed you.

>out pace//



Missing space.

>They had the beginnings of a riot on their hooves and while Ponyville might be full of brave ponies, but with the stormcrows, it could turn into a massacre.//

That "but" doesn't parse.

>The crow leapt into the air, kicking out with its hind legs//

Huh? Crows don't have hind legs.

>pegasai weather resistance//



Another word that I can't believe the majority of authors can't spell.

>you and the lot that can still walk, will get these injured out of here and stay out of our way!//

No reason to have a comma there.

>change tacts//

Change tack or change tactics, depending on what exactly you mean.

>lest the detonation scattered//

"Lest" goes with infinitive forms, so just use "scatter."

>your majesty//

Capitalize the honorific. But also note that when you used "highness" earlier, that's the proper address for a prince or princess. This one is used for a king or queen.

>Sombra grit his teeth//

The past tense is "gritted."

>push onto Ponyville//

"Onto" and "on to" don't mean the same thing. What you have means to move to the surface of Ponyville.

>stormcrows. Another//

Extraneous space.

>With the tunnels of Centum Cellae behind them now//

It's always a strange thing to have the first reference to a character in a scene be via pronoun, since there's no antecedent for it. There are times it works to keep the person's identity vague, but there's no reason for that here. Even if you don't name names and use something generic like "the group," it's better than just using a "them" when you haven't said who they are.

>She wondered how it was fairing?//

That isn't a question. And in this sense, it's "faring."

>Don’t you pegasai//


>between the group//

That's not a good place to use "between." For one, it refers to there being two things; for more than that, "among" is the correct choice. But "in the middle" or some such is a more normal phrasing anyway.

>There’s no record of where they were placed afterwords//

An afterword is like an epilogue or author's note.

>They were just…unexpected.//

I don't know what "they" is. The things Sonata said? You hadn't been referring to them in the plural.

>aligning itself//

That's a weird phrasing. Maybe you meant "alighting"? If so, don't use "itself."

>Equestrian Mints wide open arches//

Missing apostrophe.

>it had brought with all the memories//

Missing word.


"Cowardice" is probably a better, simpler word to use here.

>While you were dealing with the mint//

You're inconsistent at capitalizing "mint." Unless you're using it as a title, you don't have to, but even in that case, you're mixing and matching.

>the bustling ponies that worked on them//

When you're talking about sentient creatures, use "who" instead of "that."

>As they continued towards Roam//

You're leaning on those "as" clauses again. Starting here, you have four of them in just three sentences.

>Pausing for a moment, her tail//

This says her tail paused. It also says the action that follows happens at the same time as the pause, which is contradictory.

>You have all of us to.//

That's either an incomplete sentence, or you've confused to/too.

>The sparser cloud cover finally allowing some non-alchemical created light into their lives.//

You haven't been in the habit of using sentence fragments in the narration, so this doesn't feel like it belongs.

>The close packed brick constructed insula apartments giving way to the wealthier single family domus built from marble and other more expensive materials.//

Same deal.



>round about//


>It lead us away from the caprataurs//

You don't need to capitalize this, since it still parses as part of the same thought, and the past tense is "led."

>What was it dad said?//

Family relations get capitalized when effectively used as names. So it'd be "What was it Dad said?" but "What was it her dad said?"

>A single doorway lead//


>the sizes all all off//


>a icey//

an icy

>an and end//


>Apparently it's rainbow nature wasn’t part of her alicorn state.//

Its/it's confusion.



>Key words, would still be the best way//

Why is that comma there?


Don't use a comma with an ellipsis.

>it’s body was full of holes//

Its/it's confusion.

>it was been unmistakable//

Syntax is off.

>how so hopelessly naive//

I'd go with only one of "how" or "so." As phrased, it sounds like she's asking a question.

>She had barely began//


>The leather ranger armor//

They make armor out of the cows they talk to?

>The next vision took place inside//

This is an odd lead-in. For one thing, it makes Adagio seem very aware that it isn't real, and I haven't gotten that sense so far. But it also makes it feel less in the moment with her, as if she's cataloging things instead of experiencing this very unexpected and disturbing imagery. When something like that happens, you probably wouldn't have the wherewithal to reflect on it until afterward.

>collection of scrolls were piled//

"Collection" is treated as a singular noun, so you need "was."

>We’re coming in?//

That's really strange as a question.

>“Destroyer of Dreams”,//

Comma goes in the quotes.

>He extended a clawed half//

Half what? I don't understand.

>now had a purple gem was set//

Syntax is off.

>Sonata’s was a light, airy pink color, Aria a sturdy looking orange and Suri a striking red color//

Note how you start (correctly) using a possessive, then switch to plain names for the rest.

>came up her fetlocks//

Missing a "to" in there?

>the magic of the Elements having fixed the broken one//

>happy that the damage to her horn had likewise been healed..//
Well, that's inordinately convenient. And the second one has an extra period.


One dot too many.

>I’m honored to that you think that I’m worthy//

Extraneous word.

>spoiled, power hungry, vainglorious, excuse//

Don't put a comma after the last item in the list.

>The sixth element, isn’t just magic//

Why is that comma there?

>a monsters//

Plural/singular mismatch.

>a different tact//

I commented on this tact/tack confusion earlier.

>I have friends now that can help//

Use "who," not "that."

>If you wish to stay hiding down here//

Missing your opening quotation marks. You're fine at leaving the closing ones off the previous paragraph, but you do have to refresh the opening ones for a new paragraph.

>self evident//


>I have made me case.//

Typo. And she really hasn't made her case. She just made a vague statement about how they should consider using a politician for once, but she didn't really say anything persuasive. I'm not sure why she thought that'd be enough.

>finding herself laying on the floor//

Lay/lie confusion, and you use these "found herself" phrasings quite a bit.

>to sent Chroma packing//


>guess work//


>inbetween bits//

in-between bits

>doing a happy loop around his master//

Ambiguous way to describe Aria, since you just described him as Master Tirek.

>Tirek’s eyes lit up as she took in the group.//

Who is "she" here?

>Both his cheer and sentence were cut off//

I can already see that because of what should be a dash. Narrating it as well is redundant.

>the Elements presence//

Missing apostrophe.



>slamming her to the ground and pressing a hoof against her head//

>She began to press down on Aria’s head//
So after she pressed a hoof against Aria's head, she began pressing a hoof against Aria's head?

>shattering dispelling//

Needs a comma or an "and."

>She and her friends began to rise from the ground, slipping free of their bonds. Rainbow motes of light began to flow between them//

You really needs to watch how many times you use "begin" or "start" actions. They're starting to get repetitive, but they're also rarely necessary. It's obvious that any given action will begin. It's only worth pointing out that beginning when it's significant for some reason, like it's abrupt, or the action never finishes.

>The magic reached its crescendo//

People often say this erroneously, but it's nonsensical. The error arises from thinking "crescendo" means a peak, but it doesn't. It means an increase.


Seriously, do a search and replace of that spelling.

>I was so wrapped up in the fact we beat Chroma that I forgot about her third part!//

Not to mention that Adagio seemed to forget about Chrysalis's fate.

>north west//


>Turning to face Adagio and her friends, she//

This says Adagio's the one turning to face her friends and... herself, somehow.



This aside about Cirrus feels really shoehorned in. Many readers aren't going to get the reference, and indeed, such clouds appear in many different things, so it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly which one you mean.

>“So...how do you make this thing goooooooo-” Adagio began, only to break into a shriek//

A word about cutoffs. When speech get cut off, the very next thing in the story needs to be what cut it off, be it speech or an action. The fact that the narrator gets to wedge in "Adagio began, only to" undercuts the sense of suddenness and delays the effect from the cause.


Pay attention to how this would actually be pronounced. How do you prolong a "k" sound without sounding like you're hacking up something from your throat? In this situation, you wouldn't do that.

>The ramshackle easily covered half the mountain//

The ramshackle what?

>Continuing to channel,.//

Something got messed up here.

>Bolt, after bolt, after bolt//

You don't need those commas.

>most of them wide as a house//

That's not the way real lightning works. They can appear wide, just because they're too bright to perceive accurately, but the actually bolt is very thin.

>Chroma cackled with glee//

You already had her as gleeful earlier in the paragraph.

>blow her hooves//



You're using a possessive where you need a plural.

>Oh my…,”//

No comma. It would only replace a period, and it doesn't get used in conjunction with any other punctuation.

>“Stars above…,”//

>“Woah…,” Aria muttered.//
Please stop putting commas after ellipses, and please, please, please, learn to spell "whoa."

>“...Stars above.”//

Why is Adagio saying the same thing as Suri? If it's intentional repetition, you have to do something to acknowledge it. Otherwise it comes across as an oversight.

>pointed to there once being some manner of city having been built there//

That's a really convoluted phrasing.

>the ash up to their fetlocks//

Set off the absolute phrase with a comma.

A word about your descriptions.
>Starlight had managed to land them near a jagged looking cave, running into the depths of the mountain. A relatively flat patch of mountain ground surrounded it, maybe large enough for a house or two to stand side by side upon. A few charred posts behind them pointed to a bridge having been there at one point, while a half collapsed pile of cinders and ash beneath a charred outline to their right pointed to what may have been a set of stairs before the conflagration. Perhaps more worrying and unmistakable though were the smoky tendrils of blackness that still clung to the cave edge.//
It just gets annoying when the narration keeps adding qualifiers or saying very vague things. Give me things that are definitive, concrete. Look how much you waffle in this paragraph. It's not jagged, it's jagged-looking. It's not flat, it's relatively flat. It's not large enough to encompass a house, it's "maybe" large enough to hold "one or two" houses. It wasn't a staircase, it may have been one. It's not more worrying, it's perhaps so. A little of this is fine, but in the aggregate, this is just telling me the narrator doesn't know anything and is engaging in all kinds of conjecture. I don't want conjecture. I want to know facts.

>way.” Lightning Dust argued.//


>thing they could hear were//

Number agreement: thing -> were

>blood curdling//



I have no idea what this means anyway, but you'd been spelling it differently.

>mid air//


>Instinctively, she went for her rapier, thrusting it at the fuzzy little death ball.//

Since I'm on the last chapter anyway, I'll point out another example of something that's been a problem throughout the story. Look at this paragraph. I skipped the first sentence to copy this one out, because the first one is the only one that doesn't end in a participial phrase. The sentence structures in this paragraph are incredibly repetitive.

>these little ponies fault//

Missing apostrophe.

>The only talking I’m interested in doing, involves both of you surrendering.//

Why do you have a comma there?

>The following few minutes were among the most terrifying of Adagio’s life//

And yet the limited narration in her perspective is awfully bland about it. A limited narration is supposed to take on the character's voicing. If she's terrified, the narration should sound like she is.

>We got out flanks//


>when it shows it’s snout//

Its/it's confusion.


Usually spelled jeez, geez, or geeze.

>sick more monsters on me//




>It was still amazing to Raindrops how fast the remaining Everfree Rangers had been subdued.//

She's supposedly startled by Sombra asking her the question, and it makes her jump. So how does she have time to muse on this entire paragraph before reacting to it? By detaching the reaction so far from the cause, it loses cohesion.

>Everfree forest//

"Forest" would be capitalized as well. It's part of the name.

At this point, I wonder what Apple Bloom's perspective on her sister is. Or if it even is her sister in this world. Otherwise, I'm surprised nobody's asked her, since they all know Applejack will be a potential enemy.

>Suri grit her teeth//


>Across the way, Adagio grit her teeth//

One sentence later, and she's doing it, too?


Canon spells it "tatzlwurm."

>windy pattern//

I'd suggest using "winding," or it sounds like you're talking about air.

>wurms beady little eyes//

Missing apostrophe.

>“Thank you Aria,” Adagio nodded.//

How do you nod dialogue?

>the beasts side//

Missing apostrophe.

>mountain side//


>guess work//



One dot too many.



>It was unmistakably her to//

To/too confusion.

>Echidna’s voice then began to rise over Aria’s, her tune becoming more forceful and quicker paced. The tatzelwurms began to shake the confusion from their heads//

Two more examples of those "began" actions, and in consecutive sentences, no less.

>As she came in low, her horn began to glow as she summoned up a spell.//

And the "as" clauses are still being overused. Two in a single sentence here, and the previous sentence has one, too.

>Element’s rainbow//

There's more than one element, but you have a singular possessive.

>as Chroma’s castle was exposed and began to list to the side as it crumbled//

Two more "as" clauses and a "began" action in the same sentence.

>Despite the bright and sunny they found themselves in//

The bright and sunny what?

>your majesty//


>Considering that nature of the visions//

Phrasing is off.

>her friend’s assault wounding her just as emotionally//

So put that on display. Don't just expect me to take your word for it.

>neither Sombra nor Chrysalis were//

With an either/or or neither/nor structure, the verb takes the number of the last item. So, since you'd say "Chrysalis was," that's the one to use.

>for not long after King Sombra arrived//

I'd recommend a comma before his name, or it sounds like you're saying something happened not long after he arrived.


One dot too many.

>the what that would all entail//

Extraneous "the."

>“Thank you.”.//

Extraneous period.

>mane bane//

I don't know what you were trying to say here.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2780

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 night, however, she came to notice her former student had been spending a lot of extra time in the library.//

You just called her a "former student" two sentences ago, and you still haven't mentioned her name. You ought to change one of the two.


Please use a proper dash for cutoffs and asides.

>a rather tired Starlight Glimmer jumped frantically in the air on the intrusion//

You have that lower-case like it's a speech attribution, but there's no speaking verb.

>calming on seeing it was the Princess//

Let me see this happen. What exactly does Starlight do to make Twilight conclude she's calmed down?

>the unicorn admitted//

You're definitely using a limited narrator in Twilight's perspective. Just look at your second paragraph, where you use an informal, conversational style, and you have the narrator expressing Twilight's thoughts. This means that I'm to take the narration as Twilight's stream of consciousness. Would she really refer to Starlight, someone she knows well, as "the unicorn"? Do you internally think of your grandfather as "the gray-haired man"? People just don't take such an abstract and external view of others they know.

>thing, done as soon as possible//

No reason to have a comma there.

>Where Pinkie Pie was involved trouble and craziness was sure to follow.//

And you do need a comma here, to separate the clauses.

>the alicorn’s twitching gaze//

You already said earlier in the same paragraph that her eye was twitching, and worse than Twilight internally referring to her own friend Starlight as "the unicorn" is her referring to herself as "the alicorn." You don't refer to yourself in your own thoughts as "the person," do you? It doesn't make any more sense for Twilight to do the same. This is why Lavender Unicorn Syndrome rarely works with a limited narrator. It only makes sense when the reference defines a relationship with the perspective character or when the character being described is someone the perspective character doesn't know.

>“Pinkie Pie cornered me this morning, believe me I tried to run but escaping that mare is impossible.” Starlight said//

Punctuation. Actually in several places. That period should be a comma, and this piece of dialogue is missing a comma where it needs one, and the existing comma is a splice.

>wincing at the recollection of the pink mare’s seemingly impossible knowledge of where she would teleport to//

Now remember you started the story in Twilight's perspective. You had the narrator expressing Twilight's opinions and impressions. This is not something she can know, unless she's reading Starlight's mind. Twilight might conclude this is what Starlight is thinking, but show me the chain of evidence leading her there. If you just state it as a fact, mind reading is the only explanation. In reality, what you've done is shift into Starlight's perspective, but really consider if it's necessary. Does the reader need to know this? If so, is saying it from Starlight's perspective the only way to get the information out there? And then, should you have just been in Starlight's perspective from the start? You don't want to jump around from head to head too much, or it just gets jarring, having to constantly re-evaluate whose train of thought the narration is supposed to represent.

>Entwining two souls is not something that should be undertaken lightly, the consequences could be disastrous!//

Comma splice.

>Pinkie is a stalker in the making//

Needs a comma after this to separate clauses.

At this point, I'll say the conversation has a "talking heads" feel. There's little narration, and plenty of paragraphs are going by that either have no narration or the only narration is a speech tag. When you have a real conversation, you're not typically hyper-focused on the speech only. There's scenery around, people do things, and there's body language and facial expressions that communicate just as much as the words do. Don't skimp on all that.

>Starlight seemed unimpressed and/or disturbed by the thought.//

Give me the evidence. But I do like that you're framing this as Twilight's perception of what Starlight's thoughts must be instead of stating factually what they are. This is what I was talking about above, keeping things grounded in Twilight's perspective.

>the Princess gave her former student a stern look//

Again having Twilight making an oddly external reference to herself, and again punctuating/capitalizing a non-speaking action as if it's a speech tag. Plus you've already mentioned she was Twilight's former student. At least this descriptor works with the perspective, since it uses Twilight's relationship to Starlight, but this is another danger of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome: it repeatedly tells the reader information he already knows.

>sauntered on out//

You have a number of places like this where you string several extraneous adverbs together. If you dropped the "on," what would you really be losing?

>Starlight looked gloomy//

Who's making this judgment? Twilight's left the room. Starlight can't see herself to make this evaluation of her appearance.


Please don't use tildes like that. Just describe how she says it.

>Boulder woulder//

Both words would be capitalized, since the whole thing is a nickname.

>Pinkie looked towards her pet alligator, and gave him a disapproving frown.//

That's all one clause (each verb doesn't get its own subject), so you don't need the comma.


And whose opinion is this? Odd for it to be Maud's, but Pinkie wasn't there at the beginning of the scene, so she shouldn't be holding the perspective. If you want the narrator expressing his own opinions independent of the characters, that can work in a comedy, but then you need to remove spots like that second paragraph where he's clearly relating Twilight's thoughts as if his own, in order to make it more of an omniscient narration.


Adverbs that communicate mood are a bad idea to overuse anyway, but you keep using them in a repetitive manner. Look how close together these are and how they're all tacked onto a speaking action. Really try to get a handle on these -ly adverbs. They're fine if they change the way something is perceived (quickly, softly, etc.), but when they convey a mood or emotion, they should be used sparingly.

>What plans do you normally have for world domination, anyway? Gummy asked.//

Yeah, I think you'd do better to try casting this as an omniscient narration. Having a narrator who does supply opinions and impressions more readily works with comedy than with most other genres, and there are very few places you do so where the narration really takes on one of the characters' voices, so it'd be far easier to clean up those couple of spots and have it this way, since it's what most of the story is doing anyway. Then a lot of the Lavender Unicorn descriptors are fair game, as long as you don't keep using the same ones and don't overuse them in general.

>Who needed to walk normally anyway? Maud apparently//

Here's one of those spots where the narration takes on too personal a voice to work as a comedic limited narrator.

>Pinkie Pie stated the obvious as if it was a seldom known truth.//

That's uncomfortably close to explaining the joke, and if you have to explain a joke, it isn't a joke.



>Now I have even more family, wait until I tell our second cousin twice removed!//

You have a lot of these comma splices. Sometimes they work in dialogue, but they're like seasoning: a little goes a long way. Use them to emphasize that someone's rushed, bewildered, or some such. If you use them everywhere, they lose their punch.


You use some form of "seem" an awful lot. For one thing, it's going to tie the impression too closely to a particular character's voice, and for another, it makes the writing less crisp when you keep using these vagaries. Tell me what things are, not kinda maybe like they might be.

>Plot convenience, silly//

Unless the story's going to make some meta point about the show or fanfiction or authors or something, meta humor is just going to feel misplaced, and it's not the kind of humor that retains its impact on reread.

>followed after//

The "after" is redundant.

>a ornate//


>each signifying their intended usage as necklaces//

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

>Pinkie complemented the oblivious Starlight//

Unless you're saying Pinkie goes well with Starlight, you want "complimented."

>Arcanium-rich Magimysticite//

I supposed you're making a shout-out there? The thing is, canon has used real mineralogy every time, so it rings false when you start making things up.

>something seemed to pass//

You're really using "seem" too much, and if you do want an omniscient narrator, they shouldn't be using it to describe their own impressions at all, since it's directly contradictory to the concept of being omniscient.

>Maud state//


>What’s going-//

Use a dash.

>We need to catch her before Twilight notices!//

Now you're pretty much just reinventing the dilemma of Trixie finding the cutie map table before Twilight returned.

>Where is the ice cream flavored rocks//

you're mixing singular and plural there: is... rocks.

>The stallion looked at Pinkie before turning and galloping back into his house, slamming and locking the door behind him.//

Why would he do that? Everyone's used to Pinkie acting like that, and the townsfolk in general don't know Maud, so this isn't exactly unprecedented behavior to them.

>he’s magnesium rich basalt, and this is just marble so it’s Okay//

I don't know why you capitalized "okay." And I don't see how this circumvents cannibalism. It's like saying a Kazakh eating a Honduran isn't cannibalism, since they're different kinds of people.

>“ENOUGH!” Starlight raged, having had enough.//

Redundant. Or the kind of humor I'd expect to see in a random trollfic, if it was intentional.


Use a dash.

>You’ll be fine silly//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>sad horse noises//

I don't even know what these would be. What does a real horse sound like when it's sad? I doubt many readers know. Horses upset in that way just usually keep quiet.



>prods fondles//

Missing comma.

>like it were the whoooole world//

Verb form is off, and that's not the kind of error I'd see Maud or Pinkie making.

>I have a deeper understanding you now//

Missing word.

>with your spiritually//


This was a great premise, but you really gloss over any sort of point to the story. Starlight getting her comeuppance, yeah, but it's not done differently than many other stories or even several episodes of the show. The real draw here is what Pinkie and Maud learn from the experience, but we don't get any impressions or character growth resulting from either one, just a single line of dialogue that they appreciate each other better now. That should be the high point of the story, where you really examine the emotional impact on all involved, not just left to a few sentences and then forgotten as we go to a routine denouement for Starlight. Aside from needing to make more of a point (why does it matter than any of these events happened, either in how a conflict was resolved or in how any of the characters have changed?), you also need some unity to how the narrative voice is used. You're closest to an omniscient narrator who can still sound conversational, so it would be easiest to remove the few traces of the narrator sounding like it's one of the characters. Then a few editing things, and while I'm not a fan of the meta humor, it's not the kind of thing I'd require you to change.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2784

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.

>don't you Sachet//

Needs a comma for direct address.



>Her face colored and I would have wagered that she looked down behind her sunglasses.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>Fluttershy gasped theatrically//

Doesn't that imply it's insincere?

>She glanced at me as we stopped at the corner, looking across Fifth as wagons and buses rolled on by.//

It's fairly clunky to have multiple "as" clauses in the same sentence, plus it confuses things by over-specifying the chronology.

>looked horrified//

And how does it look? As a conclusion, it's just a cold fact, but if I get to see what makes her look that way, it's a lot more real.


If the whole quote is italicized, it doesn't matter whether you include the quotation marks in the italics, but don't have one of them italicized and the other not.

>smiling with a tinge of embarrassment//

How does he conclude she's embarrassed? He doesn't know it as a fact, so he's making a judgment call based on how she looks and acts, so let me see that same evidence and draw my own conclusion.

>I paced her//

That's a fairly unusual verb, so it really stands out that I've already seen it 3 or 4 times.

>Unlike when I did magic//

But... what he's describing is doing magic. He even says so. He's contradicting himself.

>I though only Princess Celestia could teleport//



You're inconsistent about italicizing that.

>See that compass on my hinny?//

You sure you didn't mean "hiney"? Maybe this is just a regionalism I've never heard, but as far as I know, a hinny is a donkey/horse hybrid.


You've been getting this right, so it must be an oversight here. When you have a word italicized for emphasis, include a question mark or exclamation mark on it in the italics.

>saying "Um/

Missing comma.

>sent Rarity and I//

This is actually a spot for "me." "Rarity and I" is the same thing as "we." "Rarity and me" is the same thing as "us." What sounds more correct, "sent we" or "sent us"?

>visibly calming herself//

If it's visible, then shouldn't I get to see it, too?

>The yellow pegasus was reminding me of my lost friend and it was all sorts of disconcerting.//

Needs a comma between the clauses, and since he knows her name now, why is he making such an external reference as "the yellow pegasus"? You don't think about your friends with descriptors like this, do you?

>tail in the air//

Set off the absolute phrase with a comma.

>a Staff Sergeant//

In that usage, there's no reason to capitalize the rank.




The human equivalent "on the other hand" doesn't have that as a single word, so why would this?

>Sangre jumped on the stage and Telephoto rounded on her.//

Needs a comma.

>as I trotted over to her as she landed//

Really clunky having those stacked-up "as" clauses again.

>Just talk to me about anything you want to know and I'll translate from photographer to normal pony speak.//

Needs a comma.

>returned from the hell we experienced together. By the time I returned//

Watch that close word repetition.

>all together//

In this sense, "altogether."

>wondering wistfully whether I could be more than just a friend//

I get that this is only a fleeting thought on his part, but for one thing, it comes out of nowhere, and for another, it really sets him up for one of the big Gary Stu criteria, which is that romance with one of the main characters is suggested, especially without building up to it. They've only just met. His incredibly unique and powerful talent doesn't help. I don't even see how it's necessary for this story. The one time travel incident, sure, but that wasn't the only way to get her to her appointment on time, and even if that's critical to the other story, it makes this one a questionable point of entry to the series.

>I found my special talent trying to find my father when Celestia refused to believe he wasn't involved in an aborted attack on the stadium in Fillydelphia and the destruction of the adjacent bridge.//

All this is really muddying the waters. It's pretty much irrelevant to this story, at least the details of it, and while I realize that connects to your other story, it doesn't help this one stand alone. It makes it feel like there's a lot more you aren't telling, and it bogs down this story with details that ultimately don't matter.

>that seemed to have magically appeared over my hoof//

It's weird to say this now after it's already been there awhile.

>Her plan failed; Twilight forgave her for her mistakes; she's since then become quite a hero in her own right—a savior of worlds.//

It's pretty clunky to have multiple semicolons in a single sentence, unless they're part of a list. This really doesn't sound like Fluttershy's speech, either.


Sunset is female, so she's a protégée.

>Change— Um//

Don't leave a space after an em dash.

>ten minute break//


>By the end of the shoot, I felt emotionally drained, limp like a ragdoll, but practically vibrated anyway.//

You never say anything to justify this, though. What's been so stressful for him? Just worrying that she'd make him talk about Sunset again? Then give a couple of little hints, or it's just vague.

>There was a real wind now and the traffic was loud.//

Needs a comma.

>She looked me in the eye as said, "but//

Missing word, capitalization.

>I predicated a lot of decisions in my life on her, going against what would make me most happy just to get away from everything tied up in that morass.//

This sounds more like a prepared speech. It's nothing like off-the-cuff dialogue. Would you really talk like this?

>eye opening//


>I'll talk to Twilight if I have to because she's better about such things.//

Needs a comma. This is a strange thought, though. Twilight's going to force Sangre to publish something? What would be her motivation for doing so? At least he already said it's something ponies deserve to know, but Fluttershy gives no reason of her own for wanting to spread the word, and if Celestia hasn't done so herself, i don't know why she'd presume to, and then she's so certain Twilight will feel the same way.

>help— Oh!//

Don't leave a space after the em dash.

>Something tells me that something very special is going to happen when you talk to Sunset Shimmer again.//

This carries zero impetus. The cutie map missions are about overcoming some struggle to make something happen. She didn't struggle for anything here. She stumbled into the answer, and she didn't have to convince him of anything. Just mention casually that Sunset is still alive, and the solution dropped into her lap. You're really stretching to make this into a big moment, and it's just not working. Him finding out Sunset is still alive should suffice. Let that speak on its own. You don't have to over-dramatize this to make it powerful. Less is often more. I'll discuss that a little further at the end, because it's very relevant to the story as a whole.


That's not a hyphenated word.

>oblivious of their good deeds//

Set off the absolute phrase with a comma.


Don't put a period after the closing of a letter.

I don't get why he's not writing for Prance anymore. Because he feels like there are more important things to write? Why can't he do both? One's already a steady job for him, and he doesn't have a reason to believe the other will be, except for Fluttershy engaging in some really out-of-character cronyism. He's pretty vague about it. I can't believe it's because he thinks rekindling his friendship with Sunset won't leave him enough time.

Wow, that's really off-putting that you don't mention his name until the end. I guess that's supposed to be some dramatic reveal when tied in with your other story? I haven't read it, so it means nothing to me. It's another way this story doesn't stand alone well. The information is withheld from me as if it's significant, and when I finally find out his name, it's inconsequential.

Fluttershy's voicing seems a little off. You do say that this is some time in the future, well after her first foray into modeling, so she may have changed some, but that's never addressed. If Brandywine had noted, for example, that she acted much more confidently and assertively than he would have expected, given what portrayal she'd had in canon to that point, and maybe speculated that she'd grown through her many successes as an Element, it'd be a less jarring a take on her, since it'd directly address and explain the difference.

Initially, I very much liked this story. It was a nice tale about someone with some inner turmoil being pressed into an encounter with just the right pony to help him. He's reluctant to talk about it, but she's very patient with him and eventually draws him out to confide in her. She's easing back into modeling in order to make Rarity happy, but in a way that's more agreeable to her and that Rarity probably would not approve of, but Rarity's not there to object. So far, so good.

Then we get to his special power and his back story. Not so good.

Keep in mind that if this story were to get a solo feature, we have to treat it as if the reader will come into it with no prior knowledge except for a general awareness of the TV episodes. And that's exactly what I have.

In general, that first impression I had is of a very workable story. It's when the specifics get fleshed out that it falls apart as a standalone entity. A lot of that has to do with your OC character. To illustrate, there's a concept we call "piling on." It's where you add as much tragic circumstance to a situation as you can, which very often ends up making the emotional engagement much less, since it has severely diminished authenticity and believability.

For an example, it's common to write stories about Scootaloo as an orphan. It becomes maudlin when authors continue to add tragedy by making it that both her parents died in separate but equally improbable accidents, there were no other relatives to care for her, and instead of living in an orphanage, she has to fend for herself in the streets. It just gets to be ridiculous, and the character is so far departed from a realistic situation that it's hard to relate to her.

As we start, there's this OC writer. Then we learn he has an ability that not even alicorns have; not only can he teleport to any place he can envision, but at any time, too. That's overpowered. Then we learn his mother was a terrorist leader who tried to kill Brandywine and is now such an elite villain that she's been banished to Tartarus. His father has been falsely accused of complicity and banished twice, but Brandywine managed to break him out at least once, which, according to canon, is exceedingly rare, as Tirek is the only known escapee. Upon meeting Fluttershy for the first time, he immediately speculates on a relationship with her. He discounts it just as quickly, but bringing it up in the first place has done the damage. And then main cast member and fan favorite Sunset Shimmer is not only his subordinate, but is his best friend and is infatuated with him as well.

That's a lot to swallow.

It's quite possible to build all that up in context, but to the uninitiated reader, which we have to assume everyone is, it's difficult to take him as anything but a Gary Stu. With all that I said about "piling on," it's quite possible to tell this story without all the grandiose back story. While it's also quite possible all that is required by the main story of the series, none of that is apparent here.

So while I found the premise interesting, the characterization good, and the writing solid, enough of the details contribute to it not standing alone well so that I can't recommend it for posting. I also can't see you wanting to change those details. That leaves the best course of action as submitting "Sunset Shimmer Goes to Hell," presuming that it provides that context in a reasonable way, and then adding this one as a sequel to it in a story updates post.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2785

>Relax Starlight, I -//
Needs a comma for direct address and a proper dash.


Leave a space after an ellipsis, unless it begins a sentence or has other punctuation right after it.

>hoping the slight shakiness to her apologetic smile wouldn’t give away that yes, she had in fact been thinking of such things//

I marked this last time. It comes across as really condescending to your readers when you feel compelled to spell out your character's reasoning or motivation. There are far subtler ways of getting the same impression. Something like "She smiled quickly—no need to let Starlight know that was actually the case." That way the hope is carried in how it's expressed, and you don't have to say it outright. Give your readers some credit. If you give the right clues, they can figure things out.

>but before Trixie could respond with yet another burst of defensive statements/

Set off this dependent clause with a comma.

>It’s alright Trixie.//

Missing another comma for direct address. I only pointed out a couple of these last time, since it should be pretty self-explanatory how to fix the rest, once you've seen how to fix one. There are a lot of these I didn't mark. I was leaving it up to you to scan the story for them.

>that Trixie oh so loved to see//

That's pretty unsubtle, too. If you describe it as a "wonderful" smile, for example, it implies Trixie loves to see it, and it doesn't beat the reader over the head.

>overly leaky faucet that just wouldn't stop dripping//


>if they kept up the lesson//

Needs a comma after this to separate the clauses.

Here's another problem I pointed out last time that you don't seem to have done anything about. I'll list all your speech tags for the first scene, along with the words that immediately follow.
>Trixie said, slightly biting//
>Starlight said, her brow furrowed//
>she said, hoping//
>Starlight said, offering//
>Trixie said, glancing//
>Trixie said, flashing//
>Starlight said, pausing//
>Starlight said, already heading//
>she said, glancing//
>Trixie said, once again smiling//
See how every single one of those has a participial phrase (-ing or -ed verb) tacked on? It gets incredibly repetitive. Most of the speech tags in your story are like this.

>Trixie,” she stood up and raised a hoof in the air as if making a formal announcement, ”shall//

That second set of quotes is backward for some reason. This is phrased like a narrative aside, so you need to use dashes, and don't put a comma at the end of the aside:
Trixie—” she stood up and raised a hoof in the air as if making a formal announcement ”—shall

>just a tad//

You use this same phrase in consecutive sentences, and as early in the story as it is, you'd even used it more times previously.

>but since they had become such close friends//

Needs a comma after this to separate clauses. This is another thing I picked out some examples of last time and left you to find the rest on your own, but you appear to have fixed only the specific ones I marked. Again, I'm not marking all of them.

>obviously seeing through her ruse//

Way too blunt again. It's like you don't trust your readers to figure any of this out. Something like "Well, she could never hide anything from her friend" gets the same thing across without saying it outright.

>Evening Mrs. Cake//

Another spot that needs a comma for direct address. I'm not going to mark any more of these either. There are lots of them. Please go through the whole story and fix them.

>a sarcastic “Fascinating,”//

You don't have to capitalize it when it's made generic, like by putting the "a" in front of the quote. I pointed this out last time.

>Oh, yes, any good magician needs a disappearing act, and Starlight here says mastering teleportation would be the best way to go about it.//

Isn't it one of the highest principles of illusionists never to explain how a trick is performed?

>Mrs. Cake gave the unicorns a smile.//

This is in Trixie's perspective. Why would she call herself and Starlight "the unicorns"? It's strange for her to think of herself in terms of her race.

>as she once again took on the air of confidence that came when she got into her showmare mood, standing up just a bit taller as she began to wave her foreleg with her words//

It's really clunky to have multiple "as" clauses in one sentence.

>alright - Trixie//

Please use proper dashes for asides and interruptions. This is something else I'm not going to mark every instance of. Please go through your story looking for them. Hyphens are only for hyphenated words and stutters.

>You two feel free to take seat.//

Missing word. I pointed this out last time, too.

>to pre-emptively pay for tip//

Missing word.

>Sugar Cube//

Per canon, that's one word.



>But, at least there was coffee soaked chocolate cake to enjoy//

No reason to have that comma, and in this situation it's "coffee-soaked."

>you two. It seems she still hasn’t quite gotten control over her baby magic yet. Let me just go get you two//

You still have quite a few places where you repeat a word or phrase close together like this.


One too many dots.

>the two unicorn mares//

Again, really strange for Trixie to describe herself in such external and impersonal terms.

>on your head."//

Note how most of the story uses fancy-style quotation marks, but you have simple ones here. They need to be consistent. You should check through the whole story for this. I see other spots. Same goes for apostrophes, as you're also inconsistent at those. This usually results from writing most of the story in something like GDocs, which uses smart quotes, and editing directly on FiMFiction, which doesn't.

>“I guess…” she glanced outside//

The capitalization says this is a speech tag, but it has no speaking action.


One too many dots.

>how do you except me to believe//



One too few dots this time.

>the only one’s throwing a tantrum//

You have a possessive where you need a plural.

>that – “//

Backward quotation marks.

>“ I am a great illusionist//

Extraneous space after the quotation marks.

>I found way to do my act//

Missing word.

>You’ve honestly haven’t//

Syntax is off.

>Part of her wanted to say yes, she was absolutely perfect so of course she hadn’t changed at all.//

Comma splice.

>all the teacher’s she had ever had//

Using a possessive where you need a plural.

>gentle smile on her face as she gently//

Just one more example of close word repetition.


Usually phrased as "touchy-feely."


Another spot that needs a dash, and the quotation marks are backward.


Don't put a comma after an ellipsis.

>this was the kind of moments//

Mixing plural/singular.

Seems like you did a better job of adding some consequence to the story, but it still needs a fair amount of mechanical cleanup. If you can manage that, then I could see posting it. Just please keep in mind that for all the recurring things, I'm only marking a couple of examples. There are a lot more than those in the story.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2794

>which was good since Rarity hadn't once paused with telling her story//
Yet the story intro doesn't create this feel. You go through mundane things like who's there and where they're sitting, then oh by the way, Rarity was talking the whole time. Bring that in from the start.

>Rarity cast her gaze skyward for several aggravating seconds.//

I'm having trouble identifying the perspective. This is the narrator getting aggravated, so you must be using a limited narration, but I'm not sure whose viewpoint he represents. The opening paragraph was so bland that it didn't take on a personal voice, but here, you do. You need to tweak things so the perspective is consistent. It's good practice to keep it the same for an entire scene, unless there's a compelling reason to shift it, and even then, it shouldn't change too often or abruptly.


Leave a space after an ellipsis, unless it starts a sentence or is immediately followed by more punctuation.

>the pegasus//

The only time so far you seemed to have adopted a perspective, it was Rainbow Dash's, yet if she still holds it, this means she'd choose to refer to herself as "the pegasus," which is weird. Plus she's not the only pegasus there.


When a word is italicized for emphasis, it's preferred that exclamation marks or question marks on it be included in the italics.

>she pointed at Applejack, who wore a similar smile,//

Don't put a comma at the end of an aside like this.

>It was almost disturbing//

And the perspective has gone vague again. I have no idea who finds this disturbing.

Compare that to the first chapter, where your narrator really does take on Applejack's voice well. The perspective in the prologue is pretty unidentifiable.

>Her brother nodded//

The last female character mentioned is Granny Smith, so the "her" would seem to refer to her.


I can't tell whether you're writing the accent here, but really, if you spelled it right, how would it be pronounced any differently?

>"But it ain't fair!" she protested.//

Again, it's kind of vague who "she" is, since Granny spoke the previous quote.


What in the world is this? I don't know how it'd sound different from the "Ah" you've been using.

>began to trot back up the path to their home. She scowled some more, then started//

"Begin" and "start" actions should be used sparingly anyway, so it's a bit much to get two so close together. It's self-explanatory that any action begins, so it's only worth pointing it out when that beginning is significant in some way, like it's abrupt or the action never finishes.

>It just titled to one corner and rested there.//


>Applejack finished catching up.//

That's kind of a strange phrasing. Why not just say she caught up?

One thing that could stand to be tuned up is the abundance of "to be" verbs. They're everywhere. They tend to stagnate a story, since nothing happens. It's usually not hard to phrase things with an active verb, and it makes things much more interesting to read. Of the forms that are easy to search for, I count 50, which is pushing it for a chapter this short. That's a little less frequent than once every other sentence, so that's how often something doesn't happen. You get somewhat of a pass for dialogue, but the paragraph starting with "Applejack wasn't sure how it was possible" is particularly awash in them. It's not a requirement to keep these to a minimum, but it does help your story flow better.

>back into his saddlebags//

>back inside the wagon//
Kind of repetitive phrasing in consecutive sentences.

>Applejack later learned that the seeds they were buying were bred to do well in the late-season harvest.//

This is a weird choice, since it pulls the story out of being shown "live." It's a narrative summary after the fact, but shouldn't that return them to their discussion around the table? That'd seem the place to give a denouement like this.

>She never got to enjoy it, though.//

Never got to enjoy what? The storm? She's never expressed an affinity for them. The apples? It'd be a long time before they sprouted, so she'd have to be grounded a very long time for that. And why was she grounded anyway? Granny Smith never seemed to be getting mad at her, and she never gave any warnings. Applejack's limited narration never expressed that she was pushing things. So it just comes out of nowhere that there was a punishable offense committed in the first place.

I'm not sure I understand the point of this story. There's no punchline, and Applejack doesn't illustrate a life lesson from it. She just tells about a time they helped someone fix a wagon wheel. I don't get why the girls would enjoy listening to it. It just doesn't go anywhere.

And as I start the second story, I find it really odd that you don't return to the framing device of the girls listening to Rarity and Applejack. It makes it feel like Rarity immediately starts into her story without anyone discussing or remarking on Applejack's, and that only heightens the sense that the first one had no point, since the girls aren't getting anything out of it. At least you do cut in later, but I don't understand why you wouldn't between stories.

I don't understand how Rarity didn't already know about all this damage to her home. Did she buy the place sight unseen?

>gruffy stallion//

I don't think "gruffy" is a word. Are you sure you don't mean "gruff"?

>her parent's house//

She only has one parent?

>("Told ya.")//

Like the handling of the framing device, this is causing me some cognitive dissonance. You're in a scene that's showing me events as a flashback, yet you're still letting the present cut in. But the flashback scenes are being told more like a narrative summary that as if they're actually happening now, so it's less engaging. This almost reads more like a diary entry in that regard.


Italicize the exclamation mark as well.

>It took her all of two seasons//

As in six months? That's not very long to repay a business loan. She's very fortunate.

The second story does right what the first story did wrong and vice versa. Rarity's actually making a point, and a nice one at that, whereas Applejack's story was pointless. On the other hand, Applejack's story felt a lot more in the moment, as we see it play out "live," with the action and dialogue going on as if in the present, while in Rarity's story, most of the action is delivered via narrative summary, so it comes across like reading a newspaper account of it, not like I'm witnessing it. If you combined Applejack's in-the-moment feel with Rarity's having a message to relate, you'd be on to something.

>He didn't want to walk in with soaking hair again//

This seems to be from Big Mac's perspective, which is strange, since Applejack's the one telling the story.

>Big Mac!!//

One exclamation mark is plenty.

>good mornin', sis//

When used as a term of address, family relations get capitalized.

>They told her what the plan was supposed to be.//

And you're lapsing into narrative summary again. Show me these things happening. Don't just assure me they did. I'm really not engaged with Applejack and how she's feeling so emotional about watching her siblings together. It's supposed to be a departure from the routine, but when it's the only instance I get to see, it doesn't feel out of the ordinary. You need the reader experiencing it the way Applejack does so they'll feel the same way.

Nice touch with the repetition of "don't make this a routine," and I like the way Granny Smith has the only flawless dish, yet she sleeps through it. This one makes a nice point as well, so I guess the first story was just an aberration? It sticks out when you're leading off with a weak one, though.

>"Broke?" Rainbow Dash asked. "You seriously went broke for a while?"//

Yeah, see, shy would Dash wait to ask this until after Applejack had told another story? You need to use the framing device more consistent with how they'd actually have their conversation.

Nice touch with Apple Bloom getting her first bow from Rarity.

>She didn't say anything, she simply nodded to her friends and took her seat again.//

Comma splice.

This is a really cute idea for a story. It just loses something in the execution, where Rarity's story and part of Applejack's second one feel glossed over, plus the framing device didn't pop up in any of the places it should have. Fortunately, those shouldn't be a big deal to address, as there's not a ton written yet. I'd recommend letting the frame story poke it between each story, either at the end of one chapter or the beginning of the next (or both) and keep the narrative summarizing to events that don't build up the emotional investment in specific ways. Plus the first story really needs a point to it. I'd say you found a nice balance in the first story as to what events to show "live" and what to summarize, while the next two did a better job of having a point.

I'd love to see this fixed up so I can post it. It's a delightful little series of slice-of-life moments with just enough of a message to each to keep it from being fluff. I'm interested to see where else you go with it!

Ion-Sturm 2803

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Still going at it, eh? Tenacious, moreso than I am (or was, possibly ever will be). But I digress, I just wanted to say that what you're doing is worthy of commendation. Many of these exhaustive lists don't seem to get a reply, and those that do rarely move into a proper conversation (although that is from a rather quick skim of just the last fifty posts).

Getting a 'Thank-you' from someone who you've helped is nice, but one from a person who just sees you doing your job? Ah, now that is a fine thing indeed. So, thank you, for helping these people find their words. And thank you for keeping some of that old /fic/ spirit alive.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2805

I appreciate your appreciation. There are a fair number of these stories that do get resubmitted, and the authors will ask questions through email or just revise on their own. So I do get more responses/resubmissions than are apparent here, but still on far less than half of them.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2806

>It had been almost a year now she had been living in this castle and it had taken at least eight months before she finally felt confident she understood its design and the locations of each room.//
The wording of the first part doesn't quite work, and the last part means that each room has multiple locations. Maybe that one's intentional. Needs a comma between the clauses, too.

>who to send//


This first chapter is rather ungainly. It goes through nothing but exposition, where it could have gotten at the same information by showing me some quick scenes of the events in question, and then it's more gradual and pertinent than having to settle in for a history lesson. Narrative exposition just isn't a terribly engaging thing to do in large amounts, particularly not at the beginning, where you're trying to grab the reader's interest.

>But, there was nothing.//

There's rarely a reason to put a comma after a conjunction. They're not for dramatic pauses.

>Her friend’s cutie marks//

She has more than one friend, right?

>And hope that that wasn’t some horrible evil out there that would try and kill her.//

While "that that" can be a valid grammatical structure, I don't think it's what you wanted here.


Leave a space after an ellipsis, unless it starts a sentence or has other punctuation right after it.

>sans the Cutie Map itself//

Why isn't the map also a little to the left?

>relief palpable across her face//

There ar an awful lot of times you directly say how a character feels instead of demonstrating it. Twilight's an exception, since as the limited narration, how the narration words things and the conversational style it takes can also convey her mood. But for other characters, spend more time focusing on the evidence of their emotions instead of just identifying them.

>the pegasus’s neck//

It can be ungainly to use this type of reference anyway, but you have to be particularly careful using them in a limited narration. Keep in mind that this narration is basically Twilight's stream of thought, so you're saying that she'd choose to refer to her very good friend Fluttershy as "the pegasus." You don't think about your friends in such abstract and external ways, do you?

>She knew they weren’t laughing at her. Not like that.//

Now you seem to have shifted into Fluttershy's perspective, but you don't stay there. It's not a good idea to shift around limited perspective suddenly or frequently.


Note that smart quotes always get leading apostrophes backward, since they assume you want an opening single quote. You can paste one in the right way or type two in a row and delete the first. But the apostrophe isn't even necessary for this spelling. The accepted variations are til, 'til, and till.

>There was fear evident in her voice//

I think I can avoid a longer explanation by simply posing this question, considering that this is Twilight's limited narration: do you have to listen to your own voice to know how you feel?

>The mare in question//

Again, a very external reference for someone Twilight knows well. In your own thoughts, you don't refer to your grandfather as "the gray-haired man," do you?

>nearly running into it, as it was still slightly out of position//

Well there you go. Except the "still" suggests she noted this before, yet the story didn't mention it.

>just somewhat to the left of where she had intended it to appear//

Actually, this brings up a question. Is Twilight central to this universe? To her, "left" depends on which way she's facing, so not some sort of global "north." If everything's always to her left, then it's not that way for everyone else. There's actually quite a bit of comic absurdity inherent in that, and it would do you well to use it.

>Until then, he figured that it was just Twilight being Twilight//

Without Twilight hedging a bit, like saying that he appeared to be thinking this, it breaks the perspective, as it's either transferred over to Spike's viewpoint or Twilight's reading his mind.

>Besides, there were a couple of comic books upstairs in his room that were calling his name. And who was he to deny them?//

Yeah, you've definitely switched to Spike's perspective. You can get away with this more in comedies, since a close emotional attachment to the viewpoint character often isn't as crucial, but you're really pushing it. Plus the transitions between perspectives are abrupt.

>It was time to try and feel out what Spike and her’s relationship was in this world//

Yeah, you need to smooth out these perspctive shifts or just confine it all to one perspective. This is a jarring transfer from Spike's head, and we didn't even get any important information that Twilight couldn't have reasoned her way to while there.

>without being arousing//

Wording is off.

>Spike knew her better than anypony else//

But Spike isn't a pony...

>unsure exactly where she was going with this//

There's a short discussion on "head hopping" at the top of this thread that might shed some light on why your constantly shifting perspective isn't a good thing.

>But he didn’t seem to notice her confusion, as he was glowering, irritated at her for how he thought she was going about this whole thing.//

And now you're inhabiting two perspectives in the same sentence.

>Spike grit his teeth//

The past tense is "gritted."

>See, Spike had never fully forgiven Starlight for what she had tried to do//

This really sounds like the narrator is talking to the reader.


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

>But let’s not get into that//

If you're going to have the kind of narrator who speaks to the reader, you need to establish that from the start and use it consistently, and it also doesn't blend well with the limited narration representing Twilight's (and occasionally other characters') viewpoints. It implies that this is Twilight addressing the audience, and that means she's aware she has an audience, which you haven't established, either in a meta sense or that she's explicitly telling someone the story.

>who I could trust//


>as seen above//

Yeah, you really shouldn't wait until near the end of the second chapter to introduce fourth-wall breaking.

>“Nope. No plan here.//

Missing your closing quotes.


Why's she using this now when she included him in "anypony" twice earlier?

>Nothing much seemed to be different. In fact, it all seemed to be exactly the same.//

"Nothing much" isn't the same as "nothing." These two sentences are pretty contradictory.

>famous celebrities//

Aren't celebrities inherently famous? You don't need to say so.

>of which they were intimately familiar with//

You have redundant prepositions. It's just "with which they were intimately familiar."


The official episode title doesn't use a hyphen.

>Grand-Galloping Gala//

And that doesn't have a hyphen, either.

Why are you spending a significant chunk of chapter 3 recapping the entire show?

>She continued on, ignoring his comment.//

But she didn't ignore it. The whole last paragraph was a train of thought it led to.

>Shining’s and Cadance’s pregnancy//

When you use separate possessives, it means they separately own the thing. These two own it jointly, so only put it on Cadence.

>hoping to alleviate her stress some//

It's not a good idea to spell out motives like this. Let his actions and behavior speak for him.

>It never even registered that that was, in fact, the difference here. Something so simple was completely overlooked.//

Here's a fundamental problem with the kind of narration you've chosen. The narrator basically is one of the characters, so he can't know what the character doesn't. Yet here, the narrator representing Twilight explicitly says he knows something she doesn't. It's contradictory.

>‘A Wholly Comprehensive and Detailed History of the World’//

Titles don't take both italics and quotes. As a book, this one just needs italics.

Twilight's sure holding the idiot ball here. There's only so far you can stretch that, and I fear it's going to take up the whole chapter.

>There was quite a lot of things in her books//

Number mismatch: was... things.


That apostrophe isn't where the skipped letters are.


Include the exclamation mark in the italics.

>comedic interruption//

If you have to tell the reader that something is funny, chances are that it isn't.

>his face a cross between worry and irritation//

Show me the evidence of it. Just naming emotions doesn't paint a vivid picture.

>pith hat//

The proper name is a pith helmet.

This makes me wonder if there are multiple Discords or if by his nature he inhabits the entire multiverse.
>Maybe her Discord wouldn’t know she agreed to do so.//
Well, I guess that answers that question.


The way you have this punctuated doesn't make sense.

Alright, at least you depart from her obliviousness for a good joke about her having a contingency plan to overthrow Equestria.

>Rest assured, Spike//

She uses direct address with him an awful lot. Think about how often you do when you're having a one-on-one conversation.

>apple or cake-related disasters//

You presumably meant the "related" to apply to the "apple" as well, so stick a hyphen on the "apple" as well.

What's with all these one-sentence paragraphs? They're for emphasis, and when everything is emphasized, effectively nothing is.

>Though, little did she know, that the timelines had never diverged because they had never been one, singular stream in the first place.//

Again, you're having the limited narrator in Twilight's perspective saying things Twilight explicitly doesn't know.

>His deflated some.//

His what?

>been—” Her eyes found the clock, tick tocking from up on the wall. “—almost//

When you put a narrative aside in a quote, it doesn't get capitalized or take end punctuation (except possibly for a question mark or exclamation mark where appropriate).

>“Sure, Twi. Whatever you say."//

Notice your mixed quotation mark styles here. You ought to make them consistent throughout. The fancy ones usually come from MS Word or GDocs, and the simple ones from editing directly on FiMFiction. The same goes for apostrophes.

>but the slight differences in where others stood in relation to her home universe had unsettled her. As such, she wasn’t entirely sure why she felt so relieved to be back home.//

Actually, it sounds like she does understand. She stated it outright then said she doesn't know.

>She was incredibly curious as to what sort of Twilight had ended up here.//

But she met that Twilight. If she wanted to know so bad, why didn't she stop and talk?

>She, here referring to Other Twilight.//

That's less Twilight talking to herself and more the author talking to the reader.

>After everything, after all that time and effort, that was the difference?!//

It's kind of hard to take this as the story's climax when you've been telling me exactly this since the beginning.

>Twilight Sparkle had been transported to an alternate universe where everything was moved slightly to the right.//

I thought she went to one where everything was shifted left. Or have you switched which Twilight you're talking about?

>It looked as if she was about to say something more, but then didn’t.//

How does she know what she looks like she's about to do? She's not watching herself in a mirror.

>I’ll tell you later.//

It'd take her less than ten words to sum it up. I don't understand why she won't.

>lay down for a while//

Lay/lie confusion. They're tough verbs to keep straight.

All these one-sentence paragraphs are getting really grating.

It's kind of weird that the cutie map can take her to the other universes. It only did in canon because Starlight was changing the past, so Twilight returned to see what changes that had made in the present. She's not doing anything to the past now. I guess I don't understand why you're using the map for this and not, say, the mirror, which does go to alternate universes.

>But, I do understand a little bit.//

There's rarely a good reason to put a comma after a conjunction. This one doesn't belong.

The idea here is funny, but it's basically one of those "joke is in the title" stories, and you stretch that joke over two full chapters after a very expository intro with Twilight strangely oblivious to the fact that she herself keeps saying things aren't in the right place.

The perspective jumps around a lot, shifting from Twilight to Spike on a whim, and often having Twilight's limited narration say things she doesn't know. The perspective and the mechanical things I noted would need to be addressed, but the story is also significantly longer than it needs to be. There's lots of filler, like the exposition-heavy first chapter, the summary of the show's six full seasons, and repeatedly having Twilight notice yet not notice that things are slightly moved relative to her expectations.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2807

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 isn't the worst thing in the world, but note that your opening paragraph is kind of stagnant, which isn't the best way to hook a reader. This is because you have three "to be" verbs in only two sentences, plus the last of those is in a passive voice structure. The more you word things actively, the more engaging they will be. Take this one:
>Nobles were always where the most 'unusual' would originate from//
Try "The most 'unusual' would alwas originate from the nobles"
or if you really like the nobles heading the sentence, "Nobles had always provided the most 'unusual'"
It's not generally too hard to rephrase things with active verbs and structures.

>None of these had ever broken her composure or caused her to stop in her tracks, the last rays of an Equestrian sunset already bleeding from the walls and falling to shadows on the floor.//

I don't see the connection at all. What comes after the comma is an absolute phrase, which modifies the entire dependent clause it's attached to, usually, and serves to synchronize actions or place dependencies on them. So this is trying to say the last rays bleed in while some other action is occurring, but there is no other action, just some statement about her past tendencies. It doesn't make sense.


Your narration tends to be in Celestia's perspective, but it's strange for her to see this as dramatic. There's no reason for her to, and it comes across more as you trying to convince the reader that it is.


This is the verb form. The noun is "swaths."

>the ageless goddess that was her new teacher//

This seems to be more from Twilight's perspective than Celestia's. Why'd you switch for just the one sentence?

>She regained her composure immediately, after all if this filly were to live in the castle//

The comma you have is a splice, and you need a comma at the end of this to separate the dependent clause.

>young - Twilight's//

Please use proper dashes for asides and interruptions.

>uncertain expression//

Keep your perspective in mind. You're having Celestia evaluate her own expression when she can't see it. Even so, seeing it wouldn't be what allowed her to know how she felt. In an example I use frequently, you don't need to look in a mirror to know you're happy.

>as kind as she appeared to help her little student see in the dark halls//

I can't figure out what you're trying to say.

>taking it upon herself to interrupt when it became clear the filly was struggling to explain herself.//

You're really over-explaining her motives. Let her actions and the tone of her narration speak for themselves. The reader can figure out a lot of this with the right clues.

>Everypony knows that nopony bothers the princess and here she had just requested that//

It's really not a good idea to keep jerking the perspective back and forth like this.


Almost what? I don't get why Twilight says this.

>Well, Twilight I//

Needs another comma. In the middle of a sentence, direct address gets commas on both sides.

>Celestia closed the door behind her carefully waiting with her lips pursued in a dark room until even the echo of her hoofsteps had all but left her mind, a single word taking up the mental space where the dying melody had been.//

That's such a busy sentence that it loses focus. Plus it needs a comma to set off the participial phrase, I'm not sure why the "in a dark room" even needs to be there, and if she's closing the door and pausing, there weren't hoofsteps to echo just then, so the timing sounds a little strange.


You don't need to hyphenate two-word phrases starting with an -ly adverb.

>And with the knowledge of after all these years there would be no more tears to choke back lest those words be true//

Awkward phrasing. The "of" would do better as "that."

>shelves of bookshelves//

There are... shelves on shelves?

>Most of their value was not in their original content, the text written in them was not what was advanced.//

Comma splice. I'm not going to keep marking these, but note that I see others.

>her coat came in contact with one of the werelights, warming her white coat//

Watch the close repetition of word or phrases like this.

>She laid the book down on the table without a word and located a small wooden end table overshadowed by the many bookshelves that towered over it.//

It sounds strange to shift focus from one table to the other like this. It almost makes them sound like they're the same table. And all that business about the bookshelves towering over it is irrelevant.

>the sun princess//

It's strange for her to refer to herself in such an external manner in her own thoughts (which is essentially what a limited narration is).

>She stared at the holes that marked missing words in entire sentences.//

Awkward phrasing again. I'm not sure what "entire" does here. If the words are missing, then they aren't entire sentences, are they?


Unless it's a word that has to be capitalized anyway, only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

>"Princess, if I'm not failing... how come you didn't tell me?"//

I'm lost. Didn't tell her what? She expected an update from the princess to confirm that she wasn't failing? I can't imagine why.

>thirteen year old filly//

thirteen-year-old filly

>no more than three bolts of fire maximum//


>There were nothing//


I don't know, I'm with Sunset here. We're never given anything to say the rules prevent her from hitting all three targets with a single blast.

>A small spark too light next to Sunset Shimmer//

I can't parse this.

>you are not here-" She swept a wing to indicate Canterlot Castle behind them. "-for the//

Please use proper dashes. And narrative asides in quotes like this don't get capitalized or take end punctuation (except possibly for exclamation marks or question marks as appropriate).

>it feels right!//

When you italicize words for emphasis, it's preferred to include exclamation marks and question marks attached to them in the italics.

It's hard to get invested in this disagreement between Sunset and Celestia when we're only seeing the culmination of it. There's a lot of history here, but it's hard to get that across in the moment. Some of it gets skipped, other parts show up as expository dialogue that has trouble sounding authentic.

>the sun goddess//

Another strangely external reference for Celestia to use for herself.

I'm not sure it's a good move for Celestia to issue an ultimatum to a strong-willed student. We'll see how that plays out, but it seems like a drastic step. It might feel more justified if we were privy to Celestia's earlier efforts with Sunset.

>Have you ever talked with Princess Cadance? I have seen the both of you talking at the past two Summer Sun Celebrations//

Why'd she ask the question when she immediately answered it herself? She didn't do it in a rhetorical manner.

>By dawn//

Missing a line break here.

>I do think you will reconsider the harsh words that you spoke to me//

They weren't actually that harsh. Sunset was obviously frustrated but she wasn't insulting or outright disrespectful. I'm still on Sunset's side.

>I know that you are a very smart young mare but the extent of focus you've devoted to your studying is unnatural. There is more to life than the mastery of magical arts and the solitary state you've withdrawn to since you arrived from Tall Tale is not acceptable.//

Another couple of sentences that need a comma between the clauses.

>Princess Celestia stood outside the same room that a young Twilight Sparkle would call her own.//

This is a strange thing to say in Celestia's perspective, since she wouldn't know this yet.

>lunch box sized//


>"Nu-uh," Twilight pouted, "The//

The use of commas here indicates the quote is one continuous sentence, so why are you capitalizing "the"?


Italicize the exclamation mark.

>was to inept at socializing//


>Cadance nodded vigorously.//

Missing a line break.

>Cadance too, looked//

Same, and there's no reason to have a comma there.

>"Hi, Shiny! Hi Auntie!"//

Look at the inconsistent comma usage for direct address.

>her and Twilight had been playing on//

she and Twilight

>if she didn't know better she'd say that the princess looked a bit sad//

You started the scene in Cadence's perspective. Why'd you switch to Twilight? Or if that's where you want to be, why'd you start with Cadence? This is a very short chapter to necessitate a shift of perspective. And then you go over to Celestia's point of view.

>her subjects strolling in the distance, Cadance and Shining Armor among them//

You only vaguely mentioned something about Cadence leaving, so it came as a surprise to me to find her in the distance now.

>not knowing that they would meet again//

Once more, you're having the limited narrator say something the viewpoint character wouldn't know.

And the last chapter has one of the things I hate most to see in letters. There are lots of things crossed out that Celestia presumably has changed her mind about saying, but in a stroke of supreme convenience, they're still available for the reader to see, even though Twilight isn't meant to. This is a huge cheat and absolutely destroys a sense of realism in letters. The fact the she never sends it is immaterial; she fully intended to when writing it, so she must either not mind that Twilight would be able to see all the crossed-out stuff, or I shouldn't be able to see it either. The only way to justify something like this is if it's something Celestia was writing for her own benefit and she never intended anyone else to read it.

>you have accomplished many thing//


>has so much potential//

Missing end punctuation.

>continue to study magical practice and theory, heading toward a brilliant future - one where I wish to see you continue//

Repetition of "continue," and just another example of a place where you need a proper dash.

>I know that you hardly enjoyed any of my prompts for you to be enrolled in a few classes at my School for Gifted Unicorns//

I don't understand what you're saying here. Twilight was very enthusiastic about attending. It's also pretty awkwardly phrased.

>what I have done and why...//

Very, very carefully consider whether to put an ellipsis in a letter. They're speaking affectations, and they arise out of circumstance, not because the speaker planned it that way. Yet actually writing one is a very deliberate act, one which the writer must have decided is critical to the meaning. The kinds of things that lead to one in speech just don't happen in letters. Coming into earshot/waking up obviously don't happen. Losing a train of thought wouldn't happen either, since the writer can just pick back up when she does get back on track, and she wouldn't be inscribing the three dots to pass the time while she was thinking about it.

>the some of the//

Extraneous word.


This is the same deal as an ellipsis. Really think about whether the ltter writer would go to the trouble of putting a dash there. If you got interrupted while writing, would you just continue on when you got a chance? Of course. You don't stick a dash there to let the recipient know an interruption occurred. If she's really cutting off the sentence, she'd just stop writing. She'd have to think it altered the meaning enough to include the dash if she bothered to put it there.

>to make me realized//


>casting dramatic shadows on her face//

Why would Celestia think they were dramatic? How could she even what her face looked like?

>it became harder to breath//


>The rest lie around her//

Why'd you switch to present tense?

>Yet, right now Celestia//

Commas after conjunctions are rarely used correctly. This one isn't.

There's not a bad message here, but it does really muddle things that this relies on some other continuity to help define the relationships. It leads to things feeling a tiny bit off, so this may not be a good point of entry into the series. Ultimately, it didn't matter that I tended to agree with Sunset, since it seems like I'm supposed to.

Chiefly, a lot of the baggage informing the conflict between Sunset and Celestia is left unspoken, and I'm guessing that's covered in more detail in another story, but having it come to a head here doesn't carry as much gravity when I don't have the history of it or the stakes that each of them attaches to it. Same goes for Celestia's desperation to use these Faithful Students as some sort of companion (and I had to read the comments to understand that—it's not evident in the story). Plus the perspective skips around, and the long letter Celestia writes has a lot of little things that harm its credibility and authenticity.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2814

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 first scene is still really repetitive. A dark aperture forms. So far, so good. But then a second one forms, and it behaves exactly like the first. Then a third forms and behaves exactly like the other two. You say a lot of the same stuff three times.

>A flock of seagulls, circling above it, moved en masse away from it.//

If they're circling above it, then they're not moving away. And the first three sentences of this paragraph are all structured the same, which sounds repetitive.

>She sighed in content//

As a noun, "content" doesn't mean what you want it to mean here.

>The windows shuddered from the force of the winds//

They just did that about a page ago.

>across and draped a hoof across//

Watch that close word repetition.

>they sighed in content//

You just used that phrase, and "content" is still used wrong. Plus you really ought to avoid using these "in/with/of emotion" phrases. They do nothing to create a mental picture of what's happening.

Wait, are they in the Crystal Empire? If so, why do they need to build a fire? The Crystal Heart keeps the cold weather away.

>Cadance stammered//

You just used that as your last speaking verb. It's an unusual enough one that it stands out when repeated. Plus it's not even that necessary. I can see she's stammering without the narrator telling me.


Opal doesn't really have a color, since part of its charm is the interplay of colors the water in it creates.

>clad in crystalline armor//

>clad in full sets of armor//
Kind of repetitive phrasing close together.

>the guard’s otherwise stoic faces//

One guard has multiple faces? That's a singular possessive you're using.


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

>Another drop of sweat ran down Twilight’s muzzle and she shook her head.//

You have lots of places like this where you need a comma between clauses. When each verb goes to a different subject, you have multiple clauses, and you'll normally want to put a comma between them.

>as they stalked up to him//

"Stalk" is a strange word choice here. They're not trying to be sneaky, they don't mean him harm, and they're not upset with him.

>Cadance could only stare//

There's a lot of staring going on.

>her…” Shining trailed off.//

The trailing off is already evident from the ellipsis. You don't need to narrate it.

>Shining looked at this wife//

He has another?

>before nodded//

Missing word.

>His muzzle curled into a smile at the sight of his foal.//

He's been looking at her the whole time. When did he not have sight of her?

I do wonder why everyone accepts her explanation so readily. She really has no way of proving it.

>Twilight Sparkle squinted in the light of the mid-afternoon sun as she.//

As she what?

>while trying, futility//


>“I see,” Twilight said. “So that’s who would have gone after Flurry Heart.”//

But you're not going to say who? That's a pointless tease. It's also not one that works with the narration. Since you're using an omniscient narrator, he knows who, and he has no motivation to withhold it.

>The hole, almost in response, suddenly expanded by a quarter of its size. Another hole appeared to the side and it grew and grew before it finally joined with the much larger hole. The winds increased in intensity from there.//

And now we're getting the same play-by-play we did in the first chapter.

>Crystal watched the display with intent.//

I'm not sure if this is really what you meant. It could be valid, but I suspect you meant "intensity."

>but thought to go there//

Seems like she does the exact opposite of this.

>jumbled information//

>jumbled together//
These occur pretty close together.

>staring at it intently//

She just did so in the first sentence of this scene.

>Finally, she indeed saw the star that sat atop her tree-like castle at the northern end of Ponyville. Ponyville, then, was there, on the far side of that star.//

That basically says the same thing twice.

>To her, it seemed bottomless.//

And again, this just restates what the last sentence did.

>Ponyville, which still remained hidden behind her castle//

You just said more of it came into view, but now you're saying it's still hidden. Which is it?

>She reappeared directly over the large pointed star that was the highest point of her castle.//

You've already mentioned the star several times, and you've already noted it's at the top of the castle several times.

>but,” she pointed toward the general direction of Sugarcube Corner, “Princess//

When you have a narrative aside in a quote, use dashes, not commas:
but—” she pointed toward the general direction of Sugarcube Corner “—Princess

Why does Celestia keep using direct address with Twilight? It's not like she has trouble keeping Twilight's attention, and it's not like Twilight is unsure she's the one being spoken to.

>But, we have a duty to perform.//

No reason to have a comma there.

>Recollections of prior conversations came rushing back and she thought about Miasmus.//

That's so vague to the point that I have no idea what it's talking about. What conversations? Just Crystal's descriptions? You go on to say that anyway.

Twilight's friends explaining Miasmus's back story gets very talking heads. Paragraph after paragraph goes by with no narration but a short speech tag.


I have to think you meant "heartily."

>Fluttershy had reappeared, now carrying Starlight in her forehooves//

Why is this necessary? Starlight can levitate herself.

There's quite a bit of repetitive language throughout this fight scene.

I'm not sure why Twilight won't take Crystal's advice on how to fight them. Yeah, it might hurt them, but it won't kill them, and it's better than the alternative.

And I see one of the commenters made the same point I was wondering about. If Miasmus was such a threat, why didn't Crystal make sure he was dealt with while he was still weak?

>Said figure whirled around and, with energy coursing through their horn, they shot a blast of magic which barreled right into Starlight Glimmer.//

What does "they" refer to? I think you meant the horn, or you're going for a non-gender-specific pronoun, but it sounds really odd.

>tightened her Stetson//

I don't know how you'd do that. It's not an adjustable hat.


You don't need the apostrophe, since you're not cutting any letters off the word. You're just skipping a word.


Italicize the question mark.

>Crystal drove all four of her hooves into Celestia’s back.//

Why would she do this? It'll end up hurting Celestia, too, and from what Crystal already said, it takes a concentrated magical blast. Physical attacks won't do anything, so she's willing to hurt Celestia without it accomplishing anything?

>the blob laying in the snow//

Lay/lie confusion. You need "lying" here, since there's no direct object.

>lying in the snow//

Well, you get it right this time, but it's repetitive to have the same phrase in consecutive paragraphs.

>The blog tumbled through the snow//

I didn't think they had computers.

You use some form of "blob" 8 times within barely a page.

>But, that’s what I’m here for.//

No reason to have that comma.

>I don’t know who you two are related//


>Twilight let out a breath that she didn’t know she had been holding.//

This is the second most cliched sentence possible.

>winced in response//

>hummed in response//
These are in consecutive sentences. And then this occurs not long after:
>smiled weakly in response//

>trotted in their direction. Twilight following closely behind//

Seems like you meant that period to be a comma. This would be an odd place for a sentence fragment, and you haven't been in the habit of using them.


Italicize the question mark.

>The tremors shook the castle which in turn nearly threw them off of their hooves.//

This says it's the castle that almost knocked them over.

>larged holes//


Every time these holes form we just get the same description again.

>She could see pink-colored cloud//

>This is worst-case scenario.//
Missing word.


>it doesn’t exist anymore!//
Include the exclamation mark and question mark in the italics.

>staunch smells//

I'm not sure that means what you want it to mean.

>Twilight kept staring for long moments and then turned//

Missing your end punctuation.

>Twilight stepped off the map and examined.//

Examined what?

>They watched her with intent.//

What intent? Again, I think you meant "intensity." But there are lots of places like this where you give a generic descriptor instead of saying specifically how it looks. Let their personalities come through. Don't be so vague.

Twilight's awfully blase about being dropped off in a universe where she apparently just died and doesn't really know anyone here. Crystal Faire absolutely ditched her. It all happens so quickly, suddenly, and without reaction that it loses its gravity.

>she thought aloud//

Then look at the next paragraph. You use "thought" four more times there.


Both parts of a hyphenated word get capitalized in a proper noun. And the title of the episode didn't use a hyphen anyway.


You don't need to hyphenate two-word terms that start with an -ly adverb.

>Twilight could make out everything; the bookshelves built into the wooden walls, the wooden horse head that sat on the middle table, and the grand sun painting that took up most of the ceiling.//

The semicolon isn't used right, as what comes after it couldn't stand as a complete sentence. You could use a colon there, since you're clarifying "everything."

>most obvious question; “How are you here right now?//

A colon would be more appropriate, since you're defining the question.

>The smells of freshly baked bread and the sweet smells of cakes and other sweets filled her nostrils; they too were as she remembered them.//

Another misused semicolon. This one should really be a dash. Also note there's more repetition in this paragraph: 2 uses of "smell" and 3 of "sweet."

>They each wore concerned frowns.//

You tell me characters are concerned quite a bit.

>I… tell me this; Flurry Heart… she broke the Crystal Heart, right?//

That semicolon would work better as a colon, since you're defining "this."

>she looked at Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy//

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


Why is that capitalized?

>globed eyes//

That's a really strange word choice. It just means they're round. But they always were, right? That's just the default. If they're not, then something is really wrong.

>Twilight furrowed her brow and struck the ground.//

But she's on a balcony, well above the ground.

This story has kind of derailed. At first it was about Crystal Faire trying to save entire universes, and Twilight got swept up in that battle for her own, but now we're on our second chapter of Twilight's existential crisis of being in a similar universe to her own. It's tangentially relevant, and it's not really going anywhere to have her constantly hem and haw about whether to tell her friends what she knows.

>pouring over a lot of history books//


>soy eggs//

We've seen Pinkie use eggs in baking, and Fluttershy's henhouse isn't necessary if she's not collecting the eggs. I don't know that you need to specify they aren't chicken eggs.

>and viola//

That's a musical instrument. You want "voila."

>words multiverse//

But that's only one word.

Man, and now half this chapter is going to be a lesson on timeline branching? Most readers already understand that, and even for those who don't, a far shorter explanation would do.

>infinitely many time//


>gives rise to infinitely many and always increasing amount of Crystal Faires//

Missing a word, and "amount" is for collective quantities. You want "number."

>now blank canvas//


>now empty teapot//


The story's definitely improved, to the point I read everything you've published so far. It does deliver on the interesting plot, but it really gets bogged down in chapters 7 and 8 when nothing much of note happens, and we get a pretty self-explanatory science lesson where there are only a few pertinent details.

It still gets pretty blunt with just naming character emotions instead of demonstrating them at times. And I pointed out lots of places where it was vague or repetitive, but nowhere near all of them. The repetition was the biggest problem I saw on the mechanical side.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2815

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 sat down upon her hind legs, wrapping her front ones around herself for warmth; teeth chattering as she rubbed herself in a vigorous attempt to keep out the cold.//

The semicolon isn't used right, as what comes after it couldn't stand as a complete sentence.

>“Add f-f-f-freezing to freak-ky f-f-forest,” she stuttered.//

The stuttering's already obvious from the punctuation. Narrating it as well is redundant.

>Apple Bloom began shivering again, though not from the cold. She didn’t want to admit it, but her fear might actually be true; she really was all alone. That was the last thing she wanted to believe. Her only choice was to keep trying in hope that somepony she knew might also be in the dark, scary woods with her, where the tree branches hung overhead like dragon claws.//

Two things to say here: First, you've used a fair number of these "start" and "begin" actions already. Use them very sparingly. It's self-explanatory that any given action will begin, so it's only worth pointing out the beginning if it's significant in some way, like it's abrupt or the action never finishes. And second, look how many "to be" verbs you have in this paragraph. There are five of them. They're inherently boring verbs, as nothing happens. It keeps things more interesting if you can use active verb choices.


Why do you have an apostrophe here? You're not cutting off any of the word.

>HEL— Ow!//

Don't put any spaces around an em dash.

>If it wasn’t a dream, then how did she get here in the first place?//

For the most part, your narrator sounds omniscient, but you occasionally lapse into having it sound limited. Asking questions is one way, since this is essentially the narrator voicing Apple Bloom's thoughts for her. But if you do want a limited narrator, there are a few problems. One is that you take this conversational tone so rarely that the whole thing sounds omniscient anyway. Another is that you use descriptors for her like "the filly," which she'd never use to refer to herself, so it doesn't fit a limited narrator. It's probably easier to remove the few traces of limited narration, but it's definitely harder to write omniscient than most people think it is.


You really have a lot of stuttering in the chapter, and it's getting to be a bit much. And unless it's a word that needs to be capitalized anyway, only capitalize the first instance of it in a stutter. And those two-dot ellipses need another dot.

>she trembled//

That's a really odd choice of speech tag. How do you tremble a sentence? It's not even a transitive verb.

>Her ears frantically twisted and turned, trying to identify where the noise was precisely coming from//

This is pretty much exactly what you said in the first sentence of this paragraph.

>looking around with wide, terrified eyes//

She just looked around in the last paragraph.

>ripping the bow of her mane//

While that's potentially valid, I still think there's a typo making it mean something other than intended.

>as soon as it had came//


>staring around into the darkest parts of the woods//

So she's looking around again? It's getting repetitive, and it's incredibly vague each time. Give me some specifics so that it's different each time.


Only capitalize the first.

>If Applejack had been there, she would have been so proud of how brave her little sister looked right then.//

Another spot where the narration changes to feeling limited.


One dot too many. A four-dot ellipsis is for excerpts from source material in formal writing.

>the small filly//

You're having the narrator take Apple Bloom's voice, so why would you have her refer to herself like this?

>once quiet woods//


>Her mouth was dry after that last scream she tried desperately to catch her breath as she ran.//

Something got messed up there.

>Why was this happening to her.//

That's a question, isn't it?

>drawn out yawn//


Really? She's being pursued by an ominous figure in a scary place, and she's going to sleep?


Extraneous period.

There are far better ways to indicate something's a dream that italics. They're fine for short passages, but you don't want to use them for extended ones, much less entire scenes. They get irritating to read, for one thing, and for another, they add emphasis, but when everything's emphasized, effectively nothing is.

>made her stomach grumbled//


>hope beaming from her eyes//

This is her experience of the dream. How can she see her own eyes to make this assessment?

>all too familiar voice//




>Applejack looked down, rather baffled by Apple Bloom’s frantic state//

This paragraph feels like it's from Applejack's perspective, but it's Apple Bloom's dream.


Land sakes


You're doing that unnecessary apostrophe again. You'll have to scan for these.

>back.“Don’t ya worry little sis.//

Missing space, missing comma for direct address.

>Her heart skipped, and she suddenly stumbled, her hooves flailing as she collapsed onto the forest floor. She lay on her back, panic rising as she tried to roll over and up again, but she couldn’t move a muscle. Her eyes were heavy as she looked up at the black sky and wished she could feel the sun’s rays one last time.//

Watch that you don't fall into a rut with repetitive sentence structures like this. You have three in a row with "as" clauses, and the first two both have an absolute phrase on the end of the main clause. Then you have a bunch more "as" clauses in the next paragraph.

You have a disconnect, considering you're using a limited narrator for Apple Bloom. The narration essentially represents her thoughts as well, but when you have quoted thoughts, you write out her accent, yet the narrative doesn't. They're basically the same thing, so why treat them differently? It's also a good reason to avoid writing an accent too much: if you actually did put it in the narration, it'd be really annoying to read that much of it. To her, she doesn't have an accent, after all. It's better to leave the accent up to the reader to imagine. It's more about word choice and phrasing to get the character voice right.

>the little filly that had been lying there moments before had vanished//

Yeah, your perspective's jumping around. You started the scene with Apple Bloom, but then you switched over to this shadow.

>Do not fear little one.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>all too familiar voice//

Same hyphenation as before. And maybe it's not such a good idea to use the same phrasing.

>But I assure you//

>Apple Bloom started to feel a little reassured//
Kind of repetitive and self-explanatory.

>Indeed, Apple Bloom was right.//

And now you're jumping over to Luna's perspective. Check out the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.

>wait while I’ll contend with this shadow creature//

That verb tense of "I'll" doesn't quite work.


You're definitely overwriting her accent. How would this even sound any different from the right spelling?

>the Shadow//

>the shadow//
You're inconsistent at capitalizing that.

>it’s golden eyes shining with rage//

Its/it's confusion.

>The Shadow slithered across the ground..

You just had it slither a few paragraphs ago. That's an unusual enough word that it stands out when repeated too soon.

>thou’ thinks thee//

I have no idea why an apostrophe would be there, and if you want to use archaic language, please research how to use it right.

>dared not to risk//

The "to" is implied in that type of phrasing. You don't need it there.

>There it was again, Apple Bloom eyes darted around//

Comma splice, missing possessive.


The apostrophe is on the wrong end of that word.

>This is not a dream at all//

How would Luna not know this? I mean, in "Princess Twilight," she was the one telling Celestia what was or wasn't a dream.

>pegasi control//

Noun adjuncts are singular.

>“Indeed,” Celestia nodded, “I believe//

You're using a non-speaking action as a speech tag.

>Apple Bloom insisted//

Missing end punctuation.

>all too familiar sound//

You really like that phrase.

>messed up covers//

messed-up covers

>Rise and shine everypony!//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>she wondered aloud//

Missing end punctuation.

>Apple Bloom let out a giggle, “Oh well//

Non-speaking action used as a speech tag.

Well, you've tagged this comedy, but there's not a hint of it to be found so far. So I can't evaluate how well it does with the humor.

There are a few pervasive mechanical problems, but the most consistent thing is the perspective. You wander back and forth between sounding omniscient (particularly in the prologue) and limited (in chapter 1), but even when you use limited more consistently, you hop around to different characters abruptly and often. It's not a good idea to jerk the reader around like that.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2816

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.

>looked about, but in the gloom of her room, nothing looked//

Watch the close word repetition.

>The pegasus's soft words were cut off//

You're using a limited narrator for her, so the narration is essentially her own thoughts. Why would she refer to herself as "the pegasus"? People just don't think of themselves in such external terms. And you used an ellipsis to end her speech. If she's getting cut off, use a dash.

>small basket beside her bed that contained a small//

Watch the word repetition again.

>her soft tone succeed//


>the cyan pegasus//

This is someone she knows well. You don't think of your best friends in such abstract terms, do you?

>That idea didn't really help, however, in fact, it mane her limbs become even more rigid as she shivered.//

That second comma is a splice, and you have a typo.

>hoof step//

That'd be one word, like "footstep."

>too much to bare//


>Darkness covered most of the scene the only light was that of the moon streaming in through the window.//

Run-on sentence.

>an another//

Extraneous word.

>then pause//




>"Wait!" A small voice called//


>the pegasus's//

Another oddly external reference for her to use about herself.

>it was not only herself seemed to feel terrified//

Phrasing is off.

>A filly that//

For sentient creatures, you'll normally use "who" instead of "that."

>thing sin//


>this pony who's house she's invaded//

Whose. And why are you using present tense?

>the yellow pegasus//

Another odd reference. You'll need to scan for these. I'm not going to keep marking them.



You sure have characters scoping out escape routes through the windows a lot.

>against all of her better judgments//

This seems to have shifted to the batpony's perspective. There's no way Fluttershy could know this.

>cautiously shuffled forwards//

Phrasing is off.

>If there was one thing Fluttershy knew how to do; it was how to calm something down when they were frightened.//

That semicolon should be a comma.

>Pleased to meet you Moonlight.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>her attention seeming lost elsewhere//

You've been using "seem" a whole lot lately. It's getting repetitive.

>Fluttershy's expression turned to slight concern//

Keep the perspective in mind. How can Fluttershy see her own face to note this?

>'She must really be hungry?'//

Why is that a question? It's not really phrased like one.




Why is that capitalized?

>faces hoofed//


>I got lost one time and, well I've been all alone ever since//

That's a really strange explanation. Nobody's gone looking for her? They're not that close to the mountains, so she wandered far away. Wouldn't she stick around the mountains if she wanted to be found? She also makes it sound like it's been quite some time since she got lost. We never get an explanation of any of this.

>Moments ago, she'd been wary of no more than a simple hoof step, maybe getting too close was not the best idea right now.//

Comma splice.




What's that apostrophe for?

>Nothing in the pegasus's honest expression suggested as much, however.//

You've slipped over to Moonlight's perspective.



>every other pony//

Missing end punctuation.

>the presence of the apple where insulting to her guest//




>wondering around out there alone//


>if you wanted to." Fluttershy offered//


>hiding the fact that she suspected Moonlight may have come back to steal food tomorrow night either way//

That's over-explaining things. This is where a limited narrator comes in useful. Just have the narrator express that thought instead of saying the Fluttershy hides it. The fact she doesn't say it out loud already tells me that.

>Yet, it was far from the monstrous assertiveness she'd once harbored.//

No reason to have that comma.

>reached right past it hug hugged the pegasus's forelegs tightly//

Phrasing is off.

>you." She assured her//

>common." She finally admitted//

This is really strange that Fluttershy never asks about her family. Nobody's looking for Moonlight? That never occurs to Fluttershy? She just assumes a lost child will be forgotten and written off. And Moonlight never expresses anything about her family either. Maybe that's telling, that batponies just operate that way, but Fluttershy couldn't assume that to be the case. It just feels like a huge chunk of the thought process here is missing.

Aside from that, there are still lots of typos and mechanical things here, and numerous slips in the perspective.

Anonymous 2823

Ayy, cheers for the details feedback. I'm the guy behind >>2814. This is actually immensely helpful, and I'm glad that you took the time to do this. People who are willing to dig this deep are too rare and, obviously, you can't improve if no one says anything. I'm working through all the line items that you did bring up and then I'm going to take care of those broader mechanical problems.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2824

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 word about your synopsis: it basically tells me nothing. Twilight's very close with her friends, but an old threat will require their intervention. This could describe tens of thousands of stories on FiMFicition. What's different about yours? What's going to grab a reader's interest and make them choose yours over all the rest? You're not giving them much to work with.

Since the author's note in chapter 1 is nothing the reader needs to understand the story, it'd be a much better idea to put it at the end of the chapter. You don't want the first thing the reader sees once he's decided to read it is something that isn't the story.

>Celestia’s sun//

And then the very first phrase of the story is something incredibly cliched. Every other story on FiMFiction calls them "Celestia's sun" and "Luna's moon." It doesn't set a good opening tone for the story's originality. For that matter, this is what we call a "weather report opening." Unless the weather will soon be pertinent to the action, it's irrelevant and boring. It tells the reader you don't have anything more interesting to say.


I don't get why she needs to specify "pony" here. What difference does it make?


You don't need an additional period after the abbreviation.

>Perhaps shorten it the acronym//

Extraneous word.

Another thing. Your first paragraph has 7 "to be" verbs. The next has 2, then 2, then 3, and so on. Those aren't terrible in isolation, but stacked all together? "To be" is a very boring verb, as nothing happens. It brings the story's action to a halt, and you don't want it feeling stagnant right from the beginning. It's not hard to rephrase a lot of these things with active verbs.

>the traditional earth pony town of Ponyville//

You haven't billed this as an AU. While Ponyville was founded by earth ponies, the big selling point for it with the Equestria Games committee was that all three kinds of ponies coexist well there. They do some things by earth pony tradition, like Winter Wrap Up, but I wouldn't call it a traditional earth pony town.

>Lyra however, was very much in favor of something more modern.//

If you're going to use that comma, you need to pair it with one before the word as well.

>Twilight didn’t really care for the term Throne Room to describe her place of study either//

But she doesn't really use that as a study room. She does have a library in the castle.


Extraneous period.



>stretched her neck to the side and grimaced, stretching//

Watch the close word repetition like that.

>she had lost track of the time and Spike, bless his heart, had fallen asleep//

>She extinguished her everburning candle, and opened her wings wide//
You have the comma usage backward here. In the first, both subjects get their own verb so they're separate clauses and need a comma. In the second, the same subject gets both verbs, so don't use one. There's a guide to "comma use with conjunctions" at the top of this thread, and I'll just leave it at tat instead of marking any more.

>the drake’s//

You're using a limited narrator here, essentially Twilight's inner thoughts, so why would she choose to refer to Spike with such an impersonal term?

>She turned in horror, to find her fear had been realized//

There's no reason to have that comma.

>Spike had sneezed and singed off more than half of her beautiful tail.//

Well, there are kind of two things here. One, it's obvious what's happened, so the drawn-out explanation feels kind of condescending. And two, having it that drawn-out implies that Twilight stands there with her tail burning, thinking through all this before she does anything about it. That undermines that it would be a reflex, panicked action.

>Her tail was gone and she was balancing chemical reactions?!//

Why does she need to balance them? Doesn't she already know what the reactions are? Or has she never considered them before? Seems like she would, living with a fire-breathing dragon.

>you walking fire hazard!//

She's being awfully insensitive about this. It's not like he can help it, and she already spoke to this being an ongoing problem, so she should already know to give him a wide berth.

>She glanced away quickly with her cheeks coloring//

Consider again the perspective. How does she know her cheeks are coloring? She can't see them. She might conclude it from the feeling of warmth, but even then, the more pertinent conclusion is that she's blushing.


Write out numbers that short.

>Spike knew that when Twilight started to go off on one of her rants, it was sometimes best to not add fuel to the fire.//

Why are you hopping over to Spike's perspective now? It's not impossible to, but i don't see what it adds, plus this was a very abrupt transition. It's usually better to just stick with one character per scene.

>After a moment’s stare, one of her eyebrows suddenly rose.//

You just told me something else "suddenly" happened in the previous sentence. This is a word that should be used sparingly anyway. If you write it well, it will inherently feel sudden. Having to say so is like assuring the reader that a joke is funny.

>Spike suddenly widened//

How does he do that? Is he puffing up with air or something? I don't understand.

>gonna…” Spike trailed off//

The ellipsis already means he's trailing off, so you don't have to narrate it as well. The same thing goes for indicating interruptions with dashes.

>sure - I’d//

Please use proper dashes for asides and cutoffs, not hyphens.

>creepy; um, PRETTY… yeah, pretty forest//

For a semicolon to be used properly, you should be able to split the sentence there and have both parts stand as complete.

>Suddenly, his demeanor changed//

And there's that word again.

>What… message?//

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

>Beside, she couldn't let their tea get cold!//



Write it out.

>nodding her head in excitement//

Just a paragraph ago, you had:
>Melon Seed’s wings trembled with excitement//
Beyond just being repetitive, this "in/with/of emotion" phrasing is one you should avoid anyway. It's more engaging to demonstrate the emotion that name it, and with these phrasings in particular, there's almost always a demonstration of it already present that makes the phrase redundant.

>On a perpendicular line of thought, are these cinnamon buns the only thing the Princesses are having?! Where are all of the other servers with enormous platters and feasts piled high, ready to impress, and fit for royalty?//

The only reason to use present tense there is if you want it to be a direct quoted thought. If so, then italicize it.

>eventually found herself pouring the tea//

This implies she's oblivious to how she got there, but she isn't.

>light from the window lit//

So the light lit? Anyway, this is another paragraphs awash in "to be" verbs. You don't have any until the second half of it, and then five instances of "was" pop up in only four sentences.

>Melon Seed wings twitched with excitement//

Missing possessive, and that's pretty much the exact phrase you started the scene with.

>Why sister//

When used as a term of address, family relations get capitalized.

>However, It//

Extraneous capitalization.


Twilight's female, so protégée.

>soaking to bottom//


>After moment//

Missing word.

>Celestia sighed, and looked over her left shoulder to the new serving mare, the one with a melon slice for a cutie mark.//

And now you've skipped over to Celestia's perspective, where the whole scene had been in Melon's. I don't see that the shift accomplishes anything. What do we learn with Celestia that we couldn't have with Melon? For that matter, when you use a limited narrator, you need to make sure it stays consistently limited, so when you go through Celestia and Luna's long exchange, check in every couple of paragraphs with one of Melon's observations about what's going on, or else the whole thing tends to lapse back into sounding like an omniscient narrator.

>Right away, princess!//

Titles also get capitalized when used as terms of address.

>and then used her magic to pour fresh tea into her cup. She then stood up//

Repetitive "then" phrasings. The perspective has a hitch in it here again, but it's something comedies get some leeway on. If you'd stayed in Melon's perspective for the whole scene, you couldn't have the bit at the end, since she leaves. So maybe it is okay to move to Celestia's perspective, but you need to do so smoothly. You start with Melon, then you go a long time sounding omniscient, then you go to Celestia. A smooth transition would make that omniscient part much shorter and more gradual.

>ship, Hecate,//

You don't really need those commas. An appositive can go without them in this kind of phrasing.

>The fact that she was judged as such came as no surprise//

You never say how they did so, which makes this have little gravity.

>That, and her mode of speech and dress seemed odd or archaic.//

This seems to be in more of a crowd perspective than in Tempest's. And without any new information, like examples of specific events, this paragraph just ends up repeating once or twice what the scene's first one already said.

>The Lunar Princess slowly stirred her tea//

It gets irritating to read extended passages in italics. Just make this a separate scene in regular font with a segue.

>shutting them closed//

What else would shutting them do?

>the Lunar Guards that stood without//

When referring to sentient beings, it's preferred to use "who" instead of "that."

Okay, you already summarized what happens in this scene before we even got to it, so what's the point of reading it? It ends up being an important emotional moment, so I'd keep the scene and cut the summary that precedes it.

>the alicorn stood and drew near//

This is her mother. In your own thoughts, would you refer to your mother as "the lady"?


Leave a space after an ellipsis.

>hoof steps//

That'd be one word, like "footsteps."

>the cloaked unicorn//

It's even more odd for her to refer to herself in such an external manner.

>thousand yard stare//


>the look on Tempest’s face making her shudder as if touched by a sudden chill//

Seems to have shifted to Meadow Lark's perspective.

>hoping the other mare either didn’t catch on//

Sounds like you meant to put another option on there.

>She watched as the taller mare’s mood seemed to darken again.//

And this is definitely not in Tempest's perspective. You're jumping around too much, and I bet you don't even realize you're doing it.

>her brows furrowing in confusion//

You'll normally set off an absolute phrase with a comma. Otherwise, it makes it sound like she paused her brows. I had to reread it to parse it right.

>I hear that the Diarchy of olden times, is ruling in harmony again//

No reason to have that comma there.

>How in Equestria could she not know about…//

You keep skipping back and forth between their perspectives. It's jarring.


>the Library//
Why are those capitalized?

These two are using quite a bit of direct address in their conversation, unnaturally so. Consider how often you actually do in a real one-one-one talk. It's used to get someone's attention, disambiguate who's intended to hear it, or add emphasis, and that last one is the only reason it might be necessary here, but emphasis should be sparing, or it loses its effectiveness.

>gazing at the horizon//

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

>but there was a sense that perhaps this little pony wanted more from the interaction and seemed disheartened about something//

Don't over-explain things. This was already apparent from her speech and behavior.

>“You sent half of my bucking tail… TO CELESTIA?!”//

Shouldn't she already know this is how it works?

>besides the point//


>I suppose it’s possible. Wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility.//

He... said the same thing twice.

>She’s never done that as an alicorn before.//

You need to be careful managing the verb tenses and quoted thought versus thought as narration.

>"Don’t tell me to calm down! I. AM. CALM."//

Note how these quotation marks don't match what you use through most of the chapter. They should be consistent.

>Twilight growled and spun on her heel, stalking off to a cabinet near the window.//

Look how structurally repetitive this paragraph is. Three things authors of moderate experience tend to lean too heavily on are participial phrases, absolute phrases (another kind of participial element), and "as" clauses. They're nicely descriptive, but they don't turn up much in everyday conversation, so they stand out as unusual much more easily when used repeatedly. Moreover, authors tend to use them in the same few places in sentences, so it's not just the repetition of having them in the first place, but where they are. So by sentence, we have in this paragraph:
Main clause, participial phrase
Main clause, absolute phrase, participial phrase
Main clause, absolute phrase
Main clause, participial phrase
Main clause, "as" clause

I'll grab that last excerpt again. Note that all three of these structures mean that things happen at the same time. Yet Twilight doesn't stalk off until after she turns on her heel. Make sure when you use these structures that you don't synchronize things that shouldn't be.

>lavender alicorn//

Another reference that doesn't make sense for the perspective, but it's also a very cliched type. In fact, the practice was named after this one exactly! There's a brief discussion of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome at the top of this thread that will explain.

>punctuating her words by her hoofsteps//

Set off the participial phrase with a comma.

>one hundred and ten percent//

Someone as scientific as she is would know it's improper to put "and" in there.

I still don't get why Twilight is being so hard on Spike about this. It wasn't his fault, and she should have known better to steer clear of him.


Why is that capitalized?

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2825

>Perhaps she had gone too far//
You've jumped perspective again. There's a short discussion of head hopping at the top of this thread.

>Twilight brought a hoof to her face//

Missing a line break.


Not sure why that's capitalized.

>back to Spike and dropping her voice back//

Watch the close word repetition.

>gave a hearty chuckle and his guardian’s colorful imagination//


>as she looked back at him, shaking her head as her ears folded back//

It's pretty clunky to have two "as" clauses in one sentence. In addition to the repetition, it muddles up the chronology, as it tries to synchronize lots of things.

>she certainly had a flare for the dramatic//


>there was a mare that//

Use "who."

This is a really cumbersome passage where Dash evaluates all her friends. It's largely irrelevant, and it goes on awfully long. It's hard to keep a tangent interesting.

>air density//

Why would she bother with that? You have to be going a few hundred miles per hour before it's worth accounting for density variations.

>The Unicorn//

Why are you capitalizing "unicorn"?

>the pegasus//

Another strangely external reference.

>a truncated “Whoa-!”//

When you put "a" in front of a quote like that, it makes it generic and not an actual quote. Thus you don't need to lead into it with a comma, which you got correct, but you don't need to capitalize it either. And it's redundant to call it truncated when you're also using a dash.

>The populace of this city//

You just used "populace" a paragraph ago.

>protected and incentivized it’s citizens//

Its/it's confusion.

>She grit her teeth.//

The past tense is "gritted."

>The only plausible answer that Tempest could see, was that Luna had somehow been enthralled by some magical device or stratagem//

No reason to have that comma.

>the one pony that//


So after getting a long ramble from Dash, now there's a long ramble from Tempest. I don't get why she's heading to the library when she's already concluded she can't trust anything she finds there. And why doesn't it occur to her to see what the batponies have to say about any of it?

>it’s patterns and movements//

Its/it's confusion again. Possessive pronouns never have apostrophes, like hers, yours, and theirs.

>your highness//

Honorifics like this should be capitalized.

>humming to herself, while Twilight turned back to her breakfast groaning to herself//

Repetitive phrasing.

>Twilight lit up her own horn as she straightened the bathrobe she was wearing once again, cringing as she remembered entering the dining room only minutes ago.//

Two "as" clauses in a single sentence. And the previous one had another.

>the Castle’s//

Why is that capitalized?

>scrunched up muzzles//

scrunched-up muzzles

>Relieved that she successfully diverted attention away from her tail//

Don't over-explain things like this.

>If we don’t, win this time//

Why is that comma there?

>Without looking up, she chimed in//

>She rolled her eyes, doing air quotes with her hooves//
Missing punctuation.

>Spike sprayed tea out his nose with//

With what?


Not sure why you randomly capitalize races in some spots and not others.

>turned back to assistant//

Missing word.

>shouted “MAIL’S HERE!”//

That is a direct quote, so you need a comma.

>muttering, “and//


Now we're back to the shipping plot. I hope there will be a point to it sometime. It's odd to pop over to a generic romance when there's no established connection to the main plot. Not that it can't work as a subplot, but there's no preamble to it. It's just suddenly dropped on us that Dash is in love with Rarity, but we just have to take the story's word for it. If you want this plot to be engaging (aside from the readers who like all shipping no matter what), it takes building it up to make the romance believable. What does Dash like about Rarity? What does she think each of them would give and take from a relationship? Aragon has a series of blog posts linked from his homepage that discuss how to build an authentic romance. They're worth reading.


Needs an apostrophe or another letter.

>I am happy to hear whatever it is you have to say; whatever it is you want to ask!//

Misused semicolon.

>Rarity’s brows knitted//

Unless you're talking about sewing, the more standard past tense is "knit."

>Her friend was obviously beating around the bush so hard, there wasn’t much of a bush left.//

Now you've abruptly switched to Rarity's perspective.

>Rares!” She insisted//

>YEAH!” She near-shouted//

>Let me guess: A strapping and muscular earth pony?//

Only capitalize after a colon if it refers to multiple sentences.

>bringing her hooves together beneath her chin and fluttered her eyelashes//

The verb forms don't match.


Spell it out.

>I suppose I’ll have to keep you in a moat or something//

Missing end punctuation.

>now sweating dragon//

now-sweating dragon


I have to think you meant aviation. This term refers to the electronics. In fact, it's a portmanteau of aviation electronics.


That's not one word.

>“Yeah, just like you followed the instructions and “burned the water” while trying your hoof at spaghetti, eh Twi?//

Missing your closing quotes, and when you have nested quotations, alternate double and single quotation marks with each nesting level.

>exclaiming, “that//


>Why are you trying to get away from Rarity, did you just escape from a dress fitting that went terribly wrong?//

Comma splice.

So I'm 15k words into the story now, and a significant chunk of it is spent on Rainbow's love interest, Spike's growth, and Twilight's tail, none of which yet have any apparent relation to the story the synopsis promises. We only got one short scene of that in the entire second chapter. You can only string along readers for so long before they're going to want to know what relevance any of this has. I'll press on, but if I were reading this purely for pleasure, this is about the point I'd drop out.

>you see darling//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>free of charge!.//

Extraneous punctuation.

>Rarities left flank//

You have a plural where you need a possessive.

>Her eyes darted away, considering her response.//

This says her eyes considered her response.

>was the Elements of Harmony//

Number mismatch.

>now apparently now//


>Sister’s Castle//

Shouldn't that possessive be plural? And the canon name is Castle of the Two Sisters, unless you're saying that changed over time.

>upon the Lunar Princess upon//

Kind of repetitive.

>She the silent unicorn again//

Missing word.

>er sister, and now… her niece?

This is Tempest's reminiscence. Why is it taking on Celestia's perspective?

>Now, the geas had broken//

How'd that happen? Seems like an important even worth describing.

>hoof-written note she had received last night. It was hoof written//



That's a proper noun.

>ear to ear smile//

ear-to-ear smile


earth pony

>leaning her head in conspiratorially//

Set off the participial phrase with a comma.

>leaning her head in conspiratorially//


>looking mare looked//


>Corner-” she leaned back again in a normal voice “my//

Missing a dash.

>returned to her stage whisper//

Missing punctuation.

>Master of Ceremonies Mode//

I don't get why that's italicized.

So now there's yet another plot going on that has no apparent relation to any of the others? That brings the total to four. It's like reading four separate stories, not one story with multiple subplots.

Going into chapter 4 now. Well, chapter 3 part 2. But I'm going to cut back on what I note now, because I don't need to keep saying the same things over and over. If I've already noted something multiple times, assume you need to scan the whole story for it.

>Applejack stumbled backwards in surprise//

Missing a line break.

>Pinkies ears and mane//

Missing apostrophe.

>barrel.“Trust me!

Missing space.

>anypony that could fill that roll//


>butter yellow pegasus//

That's one of the most cliched descriptions in the fandom.

And for a chapter that promised to continue your fourth subplot, a fifth one has popped up. Honestly, this feels like an anthology of unrelated stories more so than a single coherent one.

>paying if forward//


>‘body’” Discord muttered.//

Missing punctuation.

>I thought the bluebelles’ color added a nice compliment.//

Unless they have nice things to say, you want "complement."

>Feeling curious, Moonlight’s eyes//

This says that her eyes felt curious.

>Manehattan Times//

Magazine titles get italicized, too.

>reaching orangish red glow//

Missing word.


Apple Bloom

>don’t know my away//




>she excitedly agreed represent//

Missing word.

>yelled “we//

>growling “how//

>shouting “FOOOOD//


>to…” At this point, Rarity trailed off//

The ellipsis already tells me she trailed off.

>Spike’s jaw fell open, his arms quickly went slack by his sides.//

Comma splice.

>Leeeeeroooyy Jennnkinnns//

Meme humor is a good way to make sure your story doesn't age well. And this is already a very old joke.

>exclaiming “Thank//


>pegusi// (you get this one wrong several times)


>The greatest loss however was that of Cloudchaser, and she had steadily been losing to Team Pink’s air superiority ever since.//

It's been so long since you mentioned Granny, and a lot of other females have come up, that it's very ambiguous who "she" is here.


This is a type of law. You want "ordnance."


Missing an apostrophe, when it's short for "because."

>a “Ooh-Rah!”//


>Staff sergeant Octavia//

>colonel Smith//
When put on a name or used as a term of address, ranks get capitalized.

>I won’t let you down, Ma’am.//

"Ma'a," wouldn't be capitalized.

>General Rarity//

She just showed up and hadn't been a party to the action. How is Granny Smith already identifying her as a general. particularly when she only has 2 followers?




Scootaloo's female, so protégée.


No reason to hyphenate that.



So it should be obvious what mechanical and stylistic things need work. Basically anything I had to point out repeatedly, and again, I just marked some examples, not every instance, so there are still plenty for you to find. The biggest ones were repetition and how the perspective constantly wavers. Changing perspective over scene breaks is fine, but shifting it within a scene takes some finesse to accomplish. You don't want to jerk the reader around to various characters' heads, and while within a perspective pay attention to whether the narration fits how that character would say or perceive something.

But the overall issue, like I said earlier, is that this feels like a collection of unrelated stories instead of anything coherent. There are some weak ties, like how Rarity and Rainbow Dash strode into the food fight after coming in from their shipping plot, but the shipping has no bearing on the food fight, so there's no tie-in; what happens in the dating plot doesn't matter to what happens in the food fight. Furthermore, the story only advertises that it's going to be about this Tempest adventure plot, but so far, we see precious little of it. It's only been a small part of any chapter, and seemingly diminishes more with each successive one. I think I saw only one scene of her in every chapter, and in the last few, they were very short scenes. Nothing of consequence has happened in any of them, and at 33k words in, you're stringing the reader on an awful lot with the hope that all these subplots are going to start influencing each other, and that Tempest's plot will start going somewhere.

Each of the subplots is fine on its own and could make for a cute story. They're not badly written either. But in the assembly, they don't make a whole, at least not that's evident so far, and it's a lot to ask a reader to hang on for that. I usually don't pay any attention to a story's voting ratio or number of views, since they can be misleading about quality, but they can be illustrative at times. And you have a huge drop-off in views at chapter 4. I think this is why. It's not clear the story is going anywhere. A drop-off is normal, but most quality stories retain about 1/3-1/2 of readers through the final chapter, but you're already down to 1/2 by chapter 3 and 1/4 by chapter 5. It's not that we care how many views a story will get, and there can be good reasons why quality stories wouldn't get many, but I think they're telling you something in this case.

reply to feedback 2826

Thank you for your detailed input. I relish feedback like this, because I want to get it right, and improve. I will fix the perspective changes, and I will give Tempest a more balanced follow and conflict in the early going. The subplots have their uses, but I see your point. I am heading out on a cruise to Alaska tomorrow, and in my downtime, will peck away at these fixes. I guess I will flag you when I am done, unless there is a better way to notify that it is ready for review again... Thanks, mate!

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2839

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 assume your synopsis is supposed to be formatted as multiple paragraphs, but you don't have indentations or line breaks between any of them.

Right away, you have a stagnant feel to your story. This is why: Over your first eight paragraphs, which is how much of the beginning fits on one screen for me, you have 7 instances of "was" and 2 each of "be" and "being." So, 11 "to be" verbs in 8 paragraphs. This is a very boring verb, as nothing happens. It's very possible to rephrase a lot of that with active verbs. You don't have to get rid of them altogether, but reduce them where you can, especially at the beginning, where you want to create a feeling of action. For instance, what does it harm to rephrase "being able to help ponies who needed assistance" as "helping ponies who needed assistance"?

>Wha made Celestia sick//


>A tiny smile curled Celestia's lips and she sat up in her bed//

Most times, you'll use a comma with a conjunction when it separates clauses (where each subject gets its own verb: smile curled, and she sat). Conversely, you normally won't use a comma when it's one subject performing both verbs or two subjects performing the same verb.

>if her loyal subjects saw their princess taking a day off they would naturally feel justified in doing the same//

And along those lines, you need a comma in there.

>When her sister Luna was young, she used to try to shirk her duties//

It's not clear which of them "she" refers to here.

>... And//

Don't leave a space after an ellipsis when it starts a sentence.

>Luna would come to her bedchambers to check on her and she could pretend to be sick//

Needs a comma. I trust you get the picture on this by now. I'm not going to keep marking them.

>(long story)//

This is really intrusive, and I'll tell you why. It implies that she's actively telling the story to an audience, yet you haven't defined any such audience. Until now, it was the standard type of narration that doesn't address anyone in particular, but this makes the narration very self-aware that it's talking to the reader. Coupled with the limited narration you're using, that means Celestia is aware she has a reader (or listener), yet we don't know who that is or what her motivation is to tell them. It's the kind of thing that belongs in a frame story, like if you'd started by having her invite the reader (or some other explicit audience) to sit down and listen to her tale, but it doesn't belong in a standard narration.

>The alicorn//

We term these types of references Lavender Unicorn Syndrome, or LUS, and they have their uses, but you have to think about whether they're appropriate. Because of the limited narrator you're using, the narration is Celestia's stream of thought. So you have Celestia choosing to refer to her own sister as "the alicorn." Besides being vague as to which one of them this means, it's just not something people do. Would you refer to your father in your own thoughts as "the human"? It just doesn't work. People refer to others they know mostly by name or pronoun, but the two kinds of LUS that work in limited narration are 1) when the perspective character doesn't know who it is, so such a descriptor is the only option they have for a reference, or 2) a descriptor that defines their relationship, since people do think in terms of those. So something like "her sister" can work for these characters (except that you immediately use that one next in the sentence, so don't repeat it that close together).

>Celestia had to suppress a sort of laughter.//

I assume you meant snort.

>fine - she//

Please use a proper dash for cutoffs and asides. There's a guide to them at the top of this thread. There are also brief guides for LUS and comma usage with conjunctions, since I already touched on those topics. There's one in the synopsis as well.

>since she'd carried out her clever plan, and since//

Watch the repetitive word use.

>Celestia stamped her hoof//

You just had a guard do that a few paragraphs ago.

>she hadn't been asked to come and settle a single petty dispute all day//

I don't follow. Luna would only bother her if she felt she wasn't up to the task. That doesn't mean she actually is up to the task, so the fact that nobody's interrupted her doesn't guarantee Luna's doing a good job.

>Perfect for organizing.//

She already concluded this:
>This place really needs some organization.//

>she suddenly realized how untidy it was.//

And now she's going over this a third time?

>Her books were strewn all over the floor, her kitchen walls were splotched with stains and streaks of unidentifiable substances, and her desk was covered with heaps of disorganized papers.//

I don't see what the passive voice accomplishes here, and it's costing you "to be" verbs. Say you wrote "Her books lay scattered all over the floor" for the first part and used similarly active phrasing for the rest. It has a lot more energy that way.

>She felt appalled that she had existed in these conditions for so long without even noticing.//

You've been pretty good about this so far, but it's bland to just say she's feeling a strong emotion. The limited narration should give me direct access to her thoughts on it, not just in the word choice, but the tone. Write it as something she might say out loud. Something like: "How could she have existed in these conditions for so long?"

>So her next activity was to be organizing, then.//

And a fourth time. It's like you're desperately afraid the reader won't pick up on this.

>sitting neatly in the very back of the drawer, sat//

Repetitive choice of verbs there.

>Rainbow Dash.//

About time we got to this. You've spent nearly a quarter of the story on a plotline that's pretty irrelevant and not at all indicated by the synopsis. If you cut everything up to now and simply replaced it with "Celestia was looking to de-clutter her room," what would really be lost? We'll see if the sickness element ends up being important, but I'm guessing it won't.

>Oh, she hadn't thought about these for a long, long time...//

Based on the synopsis, she got the last one less than a year ago, which isn't exactly a long, long time.

Now that you're having Celestia go through an exhaustive description of Rainbow Dash, you're getting really heavy on the "to be " verbs again.

>but also to be able to understand the more contradictory aspects of her personality//

Why is Dash the only one she asked? Celestia found them all intriguing, and I'd argue Rarity is the character who has the most self-contradictory traits. You have kind of a thin excuse for choosing Dash, except that it's necessary for the plot. Delve into what catches Celestia's interest.

>Okay, ummmmmm...//

Keep in mind this is something she's written, not spoken. Yet you have a distinctly speech-related affectation here. Actually inscribing three dots on the page is a far more deliberate thing than trailing off while speaking. You don't really see it in formal letters, just ones where someone's trying to be cutesy.

>(but I'm not going to make a habit of it!)//

Because the exclamation mark is inside the parentheses, you never really gave the sentence end punctuation. So stick a period or something after this.

>crinkles engrained in the paper//

How did they ever get crinkled? Didn't she fold them back up before storing them? Or did she just unceremoniously jam them in the drawer?

>next letter//

>next few letters//
Kind of repetitive.

>Dear Princess//

Needs a comma or colon, and why didn't Dash have a closing on this letter?

>Oh, horsefeathers. I forgot. Sorry.//

Here's another affectation that doesn't work with letters. Keep in mind what I said about the ellipsis before. If Dash feels like she messed this up, then why not get a clean sheet of paper and start over? The fact that she sent these errors means she wanted Celstia to see them, or at least didn't mind if she saw. It certainly doesn't feel like a foot-in-the-mouth thing where she has to hastily correct herself and hope Celestia doesn't care or notice. What works for spoken dialogue doesn't necessarily work for articles of writing, and you're losing the sense of authenticity these letters have when you do something that real letter-writers wouldn't.

>She's my best friend.//

I'd kind of like to see more justification of this. She's known Fluttershy the longest, and she hangs out with Pinkie a lot, too. I don't know that there's clear canon evidence these two are best friends. Not that you can't come up with a case for it, but you haven't done so. You just want me to take your word for it. Building up a past for them is similar to building up a romance (which, incidentally, you're also trying to do). Maybe you'll do this later on, but I'll go ahead and say that one of the best ways to do this, short of taking me through flashback scenes, is to work by anecdote. Have her give me a few one- or two-sentence blurbs about good times they've had together.

>Next, she'd felt... pride.//

Just naming her emotions isn't going to be very engaging. You want the reader feeling them along with her, so it's better to demonstrate them. Give me imagery of how they make her feel, physical sensations, evocative word choice and phrasing.

>already knowing what it said but eager to read it again anyway; to share once more in the happiness of her most loyal subject.//

You should be able to replace a semicolon with a period and have both sentences stand as complete, but what comes after it here couldn't. A comma or dash would work fine.


Leave a space after the ellipsis.

>She kissed me.//

This is very cliched, that once a secret crush is revealed, it is immediately reciprocated.

>Earth Pony//

Why'd you capitalize that? You didn't with "pegasus."

>All of a sudden//

Really consider whether it's necessary to say something is sudden. If you write it well, it'll come across as sudden anyway. Assuring the reader it is sudden is like promising a joke is funny. If you have to say so, it probably isn't.

>Luna smiled to herself; Tia was such a horrible faker.//

You've skipped over to Luna's perspective for a single sentence. I wouldn't advise shifting it anyway, but if it's necessary, then it's certainly worth staying there longer. There's a section on head hopping at the top of this thread that explains why it's a bad idea to jerk the perspective around abruptly. You go back and forth every paragraph or two around here.

>She just wanted to get back to reading those letters!//

Why can't she read letters while feeling ill? I don't see why they're mutually exclusive. She can still act sick while reading them. It's not like that's going to make Luna any more or less suspicious.

>All thoughts of organizing had long been forgotten.//

Remember your limited narration. Celestia essentially is the narrator. If she's forgotten, then so has the narrator. And if the narrator's forgotten, he can't know this to say it.

>Well, I did it. I asked Applejack out on a date.//

After admitting her love and kissing (and possibly more), asking her on a date is really a source of stress? That's tough to buy. Why would Applejack possibly turn her down at this point?

>Applejack can't fly//

She's been up there before, though. There are ways.

>As soon as I got to her house, it started to rain.//

She's on the weather crew. How would she not know this was scheduled? It's not hard to come up with a reason why, but you don't even attempt one, which begs the question.


I don't know what perspective this is, since Celestia wouldn't think this, but nobody else is there.

>(what? Princesses like to see their subjects get their happy endings)//

Once again, you're implying an audience you've never defined and that the narrative doesn't support.

>I'd only be allowed to go back to Ponyville for a few days a year. I'd never see Fluttershy, or Twilight, or Pinkie Pie, or Rarity.//

I'm assuming you wrote this before "Top Bolt" came out. That, or you're just ignoring it. It's also a cliched thing to do this "leaving town means never seeing any of her friends ever again." The Wonderbolts seem to have plenty of time for other pursuits, and Cloudsdale isn't that far from Ponyville anyway.

>how she'd adopted Scootaloo as her little sister//

If she's adopted, wouldn't that make her a daughter? That'd be the legal relationship.

>Earth pony and Pegasus//

You're inconsistent at how you capitalize races, and particularly for "earth pony," if you only capitalize the "earth," it makes it refer to our planet.


As in the tanned skin of dead sentient cows?

>This was actually due to an Earth pony custom//

Keep in mind Celestia's supposed to be reminiscing here. Isn't this the kind of thing she would have already known? It sounds like you're explaining it for the reader's benefit, not Celestia's.

>Once you put them on, you were never supposed to take them off unless you absolutely had to//

Kind of obtrusively addressing the reader here.

>Pegasi had a similar custom: They presented their partner with a single one of their wing feathers, which were then pressed onto a wedding band just like the Earth ponies'.//

Only capitalize after a colon if it refers to multiple sentences.

>Sadly, Applejack didn't have wings//

That comes across as a value judgment that Applejack is somehow inferior.

>partially because there hadn't actually been a wedding between an Earth pony and a pegasus in centuries//

This really doesn't seem to be supported by canon either. It wasn't seen as shocking when Big Mac revealed his crush on Sugar Belle, a unicorn. The Cakes have both unicorns and pegasi in their family tree no more than a couple generations back. There really isn't that much romance to draw on from the show, but what's there doesn't suggest this, nor is it required for your plot to work. YMMV, and I won't make you change it, but it does seem odd, like it's adding pointless tension that doesn't lead anywhere.


Apple Bloom

Okay, I get why you're telling this whole wedding scene as an after-the-fact summary. Celestia's there reminiscing, and we get her memory of it. There's no dialogue, because Celestia wouldn't be able to remember it word for word well enough to present it as such. Too many authors don't get that. But a lot of the story's emotional context comes from this wedding scene, and it's emotionally detached when we get it all as narration, with nothing of it occurring "live," as you have it here. Plus it gets a little obtrusive how much you have to use past perfect tense. I think this would carry much more power as a flashback scene, where we'd be transported to the past and see it as it happens, complete with scenery, action, and dialogue.

>Shortly after the wrestling match the sun had set//

And Celestia's not going to remark on being the one to do it? You make it sound like it happened on its own.

>squeal of enthusiasm and a fervent embrace. The Cutie Mark Crusaders had danced together, bouncing up and down and squealing//

Watch that close repetition.

>Applejack herself had been called to play the fiddle//

Again, this is something I won't make you change, since there's no harm in adding to her repertoire, but in the show, she's seen playing a banjo and an acoustic guitar. It might mesh better if you used one of those.

>She has not heard one word from Rainbow Dash since then//

Why'd you switch to present tense?

>now she would never know//

This isn't true.

And of course right as Celestia is sad she hasn't received a letter in a year, another one comes in an act of utter plot convenience. There's an old principle of writing: it's fine to have a coincidence get you into trouble, but it's weak to have a coincidence get you out of trouble. Or to word it another way, coincidence is fine for causing problems but poor for resolving them.

>So that was why Rainbow Dash hadn't written in so long.//

Huh? I don't get it. Rainbow couldn't write anytime during the pregnancy? Why not? It's not like Celestia never makes it to Ponyville or sees the Elements. She would have noticed. There's no justification for why Celestia would just now be learning of this. Heck, this is very explicitly the question the synopsis asks, and we don't get a satisfactory answer.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2840

So, I will say that the writing wasn't bad, and the premise is cute. I don't mind indulging in a guilty pleasure and enjoying a fluffy romance. That said, it should be clear what the bigger problems were, but I'll sum them up.

The wedding scene is what really carries the emotional weight. Receiving the letter at the end is more the climax, but the wedding is what invests that one with it power, but it's hard to have a scene be emotionally engaging when we're getting a recap of it instead of the play-by-play account. I think a flashback would work better, and if you're concerned that having just the one flashback will make it feel out of place (for that matter, I don't think it would), you can put in a couple of short ones about Dash's interactions with Celestia. More on this in a moment.

You do a good job of demonstrating emotion instead of informing of it, at least when the stakes are low, but when emotions run high, you tend to tell me directly how characters feel. The purpose of the story is to make the reader feel like he's a witness to these events, and knowing that Celestia was sad is a conclusion, one that the reader can reach through proper evidence of it, and doing it that way feels more like real life. You have to interpret cues from other people's behavior to deduce how they feel most of the time, so doing it that way in writing as well can be more realistic.

I'm not going to rehash the specific events, but just note places where I felt things didn't mesh with the show very well. It'd help to make them conform better or do something to explain why they're different.

The subplot about Celestia feigning illness never goes anywhere, yet it takes up a significant portion of the beginning of the story. That's a lot of wasted verbiage, and the reader may well wonder if he's in the correct story, as it's not even hinted at in the synopsis.

In a couple of places, you seem to be addressing an audience, but none is ever established, implicitly or otherwise.

Dash does several things that real people just don't do in letters, and it harms the story's authenticity when they don't feel like real letters.

A number of cliches crop up. Not that cliches can't be written well, but it takes viewing them from an unusual angle, yet this story plays out like the majority of shipping stories on FiMFiction do. A confesses a long-held crush to B, who either admits the same or, if she hadn't considered it before, immediately decides she loves A back. Do something different with it. You can't write the same story everyone else is writing and hope it'll stand out.

Lastly, I never bought into what interest the characters have in each other. This goes for the couple, as well as Celestia's interest in Dash. I said I'd come back to that part, and a couple pf flashbacks or anecdotes might help flesh out why Celestia chooses Dash in particular to focus her attention on. But you really do need to work on what Applejack and Dash love about each other, as what's here is incredibly vague. I'll just refer to to Aragon's blog posts again to read up on how you really make a couple feel like they belong together. It takes thinking about what each one finds endearing about the other, what makes each think the other is good relationship material, and what each will contribute to and get out of a romance, among other things.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2842

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 will tell you of a history only god and I know.//

When you're referring to "god" and not something made generic like "a god," it's customary to capitalize it.


flat out

>Hey Somnia I forgot my homework//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>She twisted her head away from Momo, “I//

You've got a non-speaking action punctuated as if it's a speech tag.

>You know Momo//

Without a comma for direct address, she's saying that Momo is acquainted with herself. You're missing lots of such commas, and I'm not going to continue marking them.

>In a sudden//

In a sudden what?

>Gasping for air//

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

>On the bed laid a young pony of lavender color, just about to awake.//

You need "lay" and "awaken."

>and scanned the room. Before her eyes had traversed the entire room//

That sure makes it sound like she looked over the whole room, but then you skip back and say she didn't. You don't want hiccups like that in the writing.

>pattern: Long strands of hair, braided together and finished with a ribbon.//

Only capitalize after a colon if it refers to multiple sentences.

>While waiting, Violet nervously tapped her hoof on the floor while looking around the hallway.//

Repetitive use of "while" phrases.

>until Violet became visible through the gap//

This is from the perspective of someone inside the room, not Violet.

>steps, the squeaking of the door hinges easily drowned out the sound of her steps//

Watch that close word repetition, like the "steps" here. This problem keeps popping up.

>the underwhelming nature of Violet's grand entry calmed their enthusiasm//

And that's from some sort of collective class perspective. It also over-explains things. You usually shouldn't be spelling out character motivations or intentions. Let the characters' actions and dialogue imply all that.

>As soon as the bell fulfilled its usual job of signaling the end of this period, a circle of ponies gathered around Somnia's table. As they approached her, their eyes filled with sparkles.//

You've started consecutive sentences with "as" clauses.

>but realized it was best to make way for the transfer student//

How does Violet know this? You're using her perspective, but the narration is telling me their thought processes.

>an earring in both her ears//

This makes it sound like there's a single earring going through both ears. A more normal phrasing would be "earrings in both her ears" or "an earring in each of her ears," though the latter is still a little strange-sounding, unless you went on to say they weren't a matched pair.

In this scene, Somnia doesn't sound too bad, but Rose's dialogue doesn't sound natural. It sounds forced, like a script for something that's not too concerned with realistic character portrayal.

>towards the big gate at the front of the school to trot back towards//

More repetition. I haven't been marking all of these.

>It was hard to believe that any pony would make the effort to search for her after the school was over, instead of just walking home and meeting at school again the next day.//

This implies she'd expect them to want to see her the next day, but given how self-deprecating she tends to be, I'm not sure she would.

>This is Azure Marina, you might have seen her before in class.//

You have a fair number of comma splices like this.

>Rose continued, “you//


>Violet held back a laugh.//

This is just an example of a larger problem. She sounds like she's actually starting to enjoy herself here, yet the narration, which is in her perspective, sounds so bland. It's just not very expressive, for the most part. The but of her waiting outside the classroom on the first day wasn't bad, but everything's so sterile and lifeless. Put some energy into it. Use imagery, simile, metaphor. Give me some rich descriptions of the setting, especially what's appropriate for the situation. Like that first day in class. It's a new room for Somnia, so surely she'd look it over, and the things her eyes linger on would reveal bits of her character, or possibly become symbolic. Yet I really get no description of the room. Compare this to the details we get when she's taken to Amber's place in chapter 2. On the whole, the story feels like it's just giving me a "this happens, then this happens, then this happens" list instead of evoking any imagery or emotion from the experience.

>under way//


>But I'm gonna say it's correct!//

Since I don't even know what she was trying to answer, I can't tell if there's a joke here. If so, I don't get it.

>There were plenty of other ponies around that would be glad to help her out and support her//

Early on, she assumed nobody would care about her, and now this? When did her attitude change? That's a pretty major shift, one that's worth showing in the story.

>everypony!” The teacher yelled//


>Violet just swung her head around from left to right, bouncing it off the wall//

She's... bouncing her head off the wall? That sounds like it'd hurt. And why are the other students just letting her do it?

>edge of city//

Missing word.

>As she crossed a bridge over the Kami river on the edge of city//

Same missing word, and this is the third straight sentence to begin with an "as" clause.

>the end of the school year was drawing closer each day//

Why is she thinking this in past tense?

>everything was going to come to end//

Missing word.


You need "amid" here.

>In a sudden//

Same as before. That's not a phrasing I've ever heard.

>Sorry for bringing up here//

Missing word.

>she replied, “no//


>It sounded from the other room.//

I'm not sure what "it" refers to here.

>At multiple points it seemed like Violet was just about to say something, but she instead kept silent.//

Seemed to whom? You've moved out of Violet's perspective.

>Violet, who already had a bleak look on her face.//

How can she see her own face to describe it as such?

>Violet stopped listening halfway through Amber's speech//

Then why does the narrator in her perspective deliver the whole speech? They're the same person. If Amber didn't hear some of it, neither did the narrator.

>you might-”//

Use a proper dash.

>only its tail waggled from side to side, while his entire face remained completely stiff.//

You're wavering between using masculine and neuter pronouns for Kiubee.

>I don't think it would be wise to just drag here into this//

>I didn't think you'd actually join as after everything that happened//

>An awkward silence laid over the three//


>Violet only now noticed that all this time Amber hasn't changed the expression on her face once.//

A lot of this scene's perspective had seemed to be in... well, I couldn't tell who, but either Amber or Rose. But this is definitely shifted to Violet's. It's also gone to present tense.

>limitations of that ability is//

Plural/singular mismatch: limitations is.


Use a dash for cutoffs.

Chapter 2 is where I stopped last time, and I'm going to stop here again. The writing isn't bad, but it's just pretty lifeless. I see in your comment that you eliminated a lot of inner dialogue, but I think that's really what the story needs, as long as it makes sense for the perspective. Like don't give me inner dialogue of multiple characters, unless you're going to rewrite the whole thing with an omniscient narrator. And that inner dialogue shouldn't be presented as quoted thoughts, either. Just let the narration speak it for her, unless it needs to be stated in first person. Inner dialogue is precisely what limited narration is for, so take advantage of it.

Beyond that, you do need a fair amount of editing help, too.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2845

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.

>Earth Ponies//

Why is this the only race you're capitalizing? The standard is to leave them all lower-case.

>ponies turned Equestria into a grand kingdom and a particular occupation became commonplace.//

You have two distinct subject-verb pairs, so they're separate clauses. You'll normally put a comma between clauses. But this sentence is phrased very strangely. It makes it sound like there was only one job that became commonplace, and that you're about to name it. But then you don't say anything. Even taking it that you mean all jobs became commonplace, that's also a strange thought. I can't imagine that being the case.

>This is the story of how I became a great hero.//

It's really strange to have these two scenes be so disconnected, since they're so short. The second presumes that Twilight's either recording the story or relating it to an audience, so is she doing that in the first scene, too? If so, it's jarring to have that context added afterward, and if not, then it's weird to have this one little scene that's not like any other, when it easily could have been, and the difference doesn't add anything.

Let me back up to the synopsis for a moment. It's awfully long, and I have to think you could get away with less. You're just trying to tell me what the story is about, not give me a scene of it. What you have in your short description is just fine. Also look how many one-line paragraphs are in the synopsis. That screams over-dramatization. Single-line paragraphs add emphasis, and when everything's emphasized, nothing is.

Now that I'm in the first actual chapter, the first thing I notice is that there's a lot of repetition. This happens in two ways. The first is on the word level.

>Night Light looked//

>Velvet looked//
>Velvet looked//
>Velvet was looking//
This is all on the first screen. Aside from the most absolutely mundane words, you want to avoid repeating them in a close space. The more unusual the word, the longer you ought to go before reusing it, since it'll stick in the reader's mind more easily. Unless, of course, the repetition is intentional, but then the key is to make it obvious that it's on purpose. That's not what you're doing in this case, though, so that's a topic for another day.

Now, the other kind of repetition I see already. Imagine taking out every sentence that contains dialogue, even if dialogue is only part of the sentence. Look at what's left. I count only 5 sentences in the entire first scene that start with anything but the subject. Many of them are about the same length. Many of them have the same inflection. At least having the dialogue interspersed helps break things up, but it still gets very plodding, like reading a list of actions.

Most of your sentences will probably end up starting with the subject, but you need to avoid having a bunch of them in a row. Throw in something different every few sentences, and work on varying the length and rhythm by tossing in some different structures, like dependent clauses and participial phrases.

And a few odd notes on detailed things.

It's strange to have them refer to Celestia as something like "the mare" several times before using her name. They know who she is, but the avoidance of using her name suggests they don't. And then the narration suddenly switches to calling her by name.

>Awes went through the crowd.//

That's just awkwardly phrased.

>the sun had just peaked into the sky//

You're confusing "peak" with "peek."

>Truly, she was as radiant as the sun she commanded.//

Your first scene is mostly in an omniscient viewpoint, but here, you have the narrator expressing one of the characters' opinions on her behalf. So you've switched to a limited narration now, in Twilight's perspective. You really should keep to one consistent type of narration until you gain enough experience to play tricks like that and make them work.

>Everypony-save for Moondancer-laughed.//

Please use proper dashes for interruptions and asides. Alt+0151 on the keypad will produce one.

>blank flank//

I'm guessing Twilight was about 4 in the first scene, so she's 14 now and still a blank flank? That seems awfully late.


Consider what sound she'd actually repeat. That word doesn't have a "t" sound in it.

>I can’t in good consciousness//


The scene where the doctor won't sign Twilight's form is a symptom of a larger problem where you absolutely blast through things. This should be a pretty emotionally charged moment, but there's not much description, setting, evocative behavior... This is a huge blow to Twilight's hopes for her future, but it doesn't dwell on her reaction at all. Seven paragraphs, and it's over. Compare to the scene before it where Sunset is verbally abusing Twilight. It still skimps on setting and Twilight's reaction, but at least it draws out what Sunset does. Really, the whole point of the story is what impact the events have on the characters, so make sure you're conveying that and not rushing on to the next scene.

>Your highness//

That whole term is an honorific, so it should be capitalized.

>“Please,” She whimpered.//

You occasionally have this problem where you capitalize a speech tag.


As a title attached to a name, this word would have to be capitalized anyway. so capitalize every instance of its first letter in the stutter.


Same issue as before with which sound she'd actually repeat.


That should be two words. There is no such word as this.

>But, the other reason//

It's rare for a comma after a conjunction to be used correctly. This one isn't.

>The Element’s power//

She's referring to more than one of them, yet she's using a singular possessive.

>pegasi guards//

Noun adjuncts are singular, even when the term is plural. For instance, you say "ham sandwiches," not "hams sandwiches."

Now in the fight with Spike, you have a couple of very jerky perspective shifts between Twilight and Celestia.

>Its serpentine eyes//

That's a strange word choice, as "serpentine" means winding the vast majority of the time.

>It unclenched its claw and Sunset fell to the ground.//

You have a number of spots like this where there's a separate verb for each subject, so you have two clauses (It unclenched... and Sunset fell...), so use a comma before the conjunction.

>all you magic//



Another stutter where the capitalization should persist.

>Aura exploded off Twilight.//

Unless "aura" is jargon from the crossover material that gets used in phrasings like this (I'm not familiar with it), you're missing a word.

>with a heavy accent//

You've already made that apparent in the dialogue. You don't need to repeat it in the narration.

>what she vants//

Note that you're inconsistently applying his accent.

There's not a bad story in here, but you've got a number of stylistic issues fighting it. I've already discussed them, but I'll sum them up here:

-Some editing issues.
-Often a lack of character emotional investment in what's happening.
-Jumpy perspective.
-Lack of description leaves many scenes feeling pretty bare.
-Many of the scenes are rushed.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2850

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 was a pleasure doing business with you and I know the Princesses will feel the same once I deliver the news.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>the hotel he was staying at//

That's a bit of a clunky phrasing. Why not just "his hotel"?

>“Alright, Spike,” he said aloud to himself, “time to remind Celestia why you were chosen as the ambassador of Equestria.”//

This is the only sentence we get between him getting to his room and the text of the letter. It's rather abrupt. Doesn't he freshen up a bit? Get some paper? Find a pen? It just sounds unnatural.

>I’ve heard legends of a distant planet called “Earth.”//

This is really out of place. You're not trying to write a metafic or allude to space travel or anything. I won't make you drop the joke, but it immediately removed my enthusiasm for the story.


An odd expression for Celestia to use, since it's a very vernacular way of saying "anyhow."

>Our current treaty on the gems that border our land and theirs is coming to an end and it’s of utmost importance you work out a new deal.//

Needs a comma.

>The white mare//

You're telling the story in Spike's perspective. Is this really how he'd choose to refer to her? People don't think about friends in such external and formal ways.

>But, you have to let me pay.//

It's rarely correct to put a comma after a conjunction. This one is not.

>before laying back into his bed//

Lay/lie confusion. They're tough verbs to keep straight.

>But, that was a nice dream.//

Same deal with the comma after a conjunction. You should scan for these, as I'm not going to mark them all.

> I believe Equestrian’s celebrate it every year at this time.//

You have a possessive where you need a plural.


>Your friend, Celestia//
Why is she putting two closings on the letter?

>The sound of train horns and hot metal filled his nostrils//

Hot metal makes sounds? Or he has the sound of train horns in his nose? I'm not sure how to take this.

>days worth//

days' worth

The narration is starting to get a fairly repetitive feel. Here's an example paragraph:
>Spike nodded before running off toward the designated train. He handed his ticket to the conductor and found a seat. He slouched back and closed his eyes. He felt so stupid. But, there was no time to feel sorry for himself. He had only one thought on his mind.//
Look at how the same structure keeps repeating. All but one sentence starts with the subject. They're all fairly short. 4 of the 6 start with "he," and yet another starts with him as well, in name form. It just loses its flow when it does that.

>onto important matters//

"On to" needs to be separate words here, as it changes the meaning.

>Spike chuckled gave up a toothy grin.//

Phrasing is jumbled.

>I’ know//

Why is that apostrophe there?

>Twilight has pretty much locked herself up in the castle//

Why in the world did this happen? It smacks of convenience, and it never gets explained.

>“I’d love to, Spike,” Rarity pulled her eyes up to meet his.//

You've punctuated that like it's a speech tag, but there's no speaking verb.

>So, is it a date?//

The problem here is we just get told they're together, but it's not really justified. I'll revisit this at the end.

>A few other passengers on the train squinted their eyes in annoyance at being woken up//

From what? His yawn? They must be incredibly light sleepers.

>“Excuse me, Miss?” He said//

"Miss" only gets capitalized when it's attached to a name, and you've capitalized your speech tag.

>plastered on//

You're using the whole phrase as a single adjective, so hyphenate it.

>continue onto the next car//

Same issue with "on to" being two words. "Onto" literally means "on top of."

>He looked at the doors directly in front of him, then glanced back at the doors on the side of the car. “The south doors, right…”//

How is this confusing? There are only two possible directions.

>where the hostess was at//

Don't ever end a sentence with "at." In most cases, you can just remove it without harming the syntax at all.

>“Will four creams be enough for ya?” She asked//

Speech tag capitalization again, and so far, you're only getting it wrong when the dialogue ends in a question mark. This used to be an issue with GDocs, so I don't know if that's what's going on here.

This conversation with the waitress is a prime spot for some anecdotes, but I'll get to that later when I wrap up the shipping discussion.

>between you and I//

between you and me

>Yes or no.?//

Extraneous punctuation.

>there’s a mare out there that loves you//

When referring to sentient creatures, it's preferred to use "who" instead of "that."

>when Rarity, came down the aisle//

Why is that comma there?

>It’s true//

Why are you switching to present tense?

>We’ve now arrived at Ponyville!//

You mentioned the trip having multiple layovers, yet none of that ever happened. He boarded a train, slept, ate, slept, and got off the train.

>it was as if nothing changed from all the years he’d lived there//

Well, he'd already said exactly this:
>“Some things never change.”//

>When he finally made it into town//

Look at the number of "to be" verbs in this paragraph. It's bogging the story down. It wouldn't be hard to rephrase most of this with active verbs, and it makes a story more interesting to read, since active verbs make things happen.

>business takes him away longer than he wishes//

You're in present tense again.

Frankly, that ending was obvious right from the start, but that doesn't mean it's badly done. I do have a few issues.

Spike keeps setting up that Rarity is going to be angry with him, but there's never any reason given why. Not that they didn't get along well, not that she'd actually ever gotten angry with him before. And as it turns out, I doubt she has. That part feels manufactured.

I guess Platinum is related to Rarity? I'm not sure, but it seemed to be implied, yet it's hard to believe she wouldn't have immediately known who Spike was, then.

I'm not sure why this holiday is so important. I'd guess it's either the anniversary of their wedding or her death, but it could be their first date or something. The story never says.

The trick to this kind of ending is to have it add new meaning to the story, but aside from an "oh, okay" moment, it doesn't add new context. It doesn't change how Spike feels, since he obviously already knew, but it doesn't change anyone else either. It's less like a story with a twist to it and more like story that just exists to have that twist in it. Usually this would involve some other character experiencing growth, since all the important stuff has already happened for Spike, unless he reaches a new understanding or something. But the twist comes and goes, and the story never really concludes anything from it.

Now, about the shipping. This is a common issue for shipping stories, and for the long version, I'll refer you to the blog posts that Aragon has written on the subject and linked from his homepage. The short version is that it's not enough just to tell me they love each other. You have to demonstrate it and establish what the basis for it is.

A good way of doing that is by anecdote, and you tried to do that by showing some past events, but look at what we really get from each one. That they got married, but that's a given, and it's pretty generic. That they went out on a first date, which is getting warmer, but still not there. That they'd hung out before dating, which is also a nice character moment. But here's the thing that's missing: I don't know why either of them is in love. They agree to go on a date, they agree to get married, but the only reason I have to think they're in love is because the narrator says so.

What is it that Spike actually likes about her? Details of her personality, things she does that he finds endearing, how she's compatible with him. Those are the kinds of things you want the anecdotes to show. People each give and take from a relationship, and they believe that the other person does the same. So what does she have that he sees as good relationship material, not just that she's attractive, but that she's the kind of companion he could see enjoying for many years? He's in a unique position to tell me that, but I never get it.

That has to come from her side as well, though we obviously can't hear it directly from her now. In anecdotes, though, she can say what she likes about him, what leads her to believe he's good relationship material in general and for her specifically. Plus he can read the signs from her that she's happy. My investment in the story is going to be driven by how much he loves her, and all I have to go on is the narrator's assurance that he does, without much evidence to demonstrate it.

When I'm convinced they're truly in love, then it means so much more when she dies. Without that piece, it's still tragic, but no more so than any other of his friends, so you're singling her out without proving she warrants that.

And creating a vibrant relationship (to be sure, a relationship should be built with the same care as a character and can almost be considered one), is what really brings life to a romance story. That's how you stand out against the crowd of all the other "dead lover" stories out there. If you can add that piece, then you'd have something here.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2852

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 an opening quote there, not an apostrophe.

>“Reschedule one or two things”.//

>“The Country Tourer”.//
Period goes inside the quotes. There are times you can make the argument that it wasn't part of the quote, but these aren't exactly quotations. You're not putting a comma before them like they're speech.

>Coloratura tried to meet her half-lidded eye, and found she simply couldn’t.//

No need for a comma there. It's all one clause.


Could use an apostrophe on the front as well, since you're clipping it short there.


Usually spelled don'tcha.


His canon name is two words.


No need for those hyphens.

>he half-lidded, smiling face of Cherry Jubilee//

This is already the third time in the chapter you've described her eyes like this.

>her crushed swirl//

>ripped a chunk off//
It's subtle, but these don't quite work with how you described it as "mushy."

Well, I have to admit to being confused at the end of chapter 1. There's a story about Cherry trying to help Rara out, and then we go into a couple of flashbacks where she attempts to chew out Sven and... well, get Cherry's help yet again. At least that was the first time, so it's a significant event, but then there isn't any contrast drawn between the two. I don't get a sense that they're really all that different, that Rara has grown as a character at all in between. Yeah, we're early in the story, and I'm sure you'll fill in that character arc, but it's really static so far. You make a point of comparing the past to the present, but she hasn't changed any. You'd have a more compelling first chapter if there was some movement on that front, but it feels like nothing but setup, and it's a fairly large percentage of the story expended to have the nature of the conflict so nebulous still. I don't really even know what it's about yet. Rara's miserable while trying to make it without Sven, and... that's it. That's kind of vague, and I don't know anything more about what she wants, much less see her taking steps to get it.

I've had overnight to stew on it, and I'll elaborate a little more. There are a couple of avenues for conflict set up: she's mad at Svengallop, she's being comforted by Cherry, and there's something about Denim, yet I can't tell whether she's concerned about Denim's well-being or sees her as a rival. So after a chapter and a third of the way through the story, I still don't know what the chief conflict or struggle is going to be.

The beginning of chapter 2 is confusing as far as perspective is concerned. Chapter 1 ends in Rara's viewpoint, and while it's fair game to change perspectives at chapter breaks, you want to make it immediately evident you've done so, or the reader will assume it hasn't shifted. So when you start with "She kept up the good sleeping regime for three days, and then bad habits ambushed her again," it would appear to be Rara's thought. Then midway through the third sentence it seems like Cherry is the viewpoint character because some of the subject matter in the second sentence. It's not until the last sentence of the second paragraph that the perspective is obvious. You don't want me having to hit the speed bump of reinterpreting the first couple sentences once the shift is clear. It's a bad idea for the first reference to a character in a scene be by pronoun anyway, since they work by antecedent, and in that situation, there isn't one.

>It didn’t really seem to be hurting any pony.//

Seems like that "any pony" would be one word, like "anyone."

>get in the way when I was trying to get into//

Kind of repetitive phrasing.

>Never had he found himself surrounded by so many wide and eager eyes.//

This is Rara's reminiscence, yet she seems to be reading Shill's mind here. You don't normally flash back into any perspective but your own.

For that matter, these flashbacks go on long enough that it's probably better to segue into them and set them off as separate scenes, leaving them in regular font. It gets irritating to read this much italics. They're not for extended passages.

>she went along with it first//

Usually, I see that phrased as "at first."

>seemed as certain and solid as he did now. No one else seemed//

Repetitive word choice.

>I felt a hundred hands tall!//

That doesn't seem plausible as a unit of measure. First off, not many races have hands, and second, those who do aren't in charge of the ponies, so why would that be the standard?


That's a pretty weak rhyme.

>And turned my tongue towards the art//

You're a syllable short on that one.

>With sweet, divine, enchanting melodies.//

You just used "enchanting" two lines ago, and it's not evident as a thematic repetition.

>Flowing words now kept me tall,

>Kept me from the reaper’s fall
>Crashing down to fading darkness,
>Gave me heart when I was heartless.//
Okay, now look at this stanza. The first couplet is a syllable short per line, but you have a different stress pattern. It looks like you alternate stanzas where the lines start with stressed or unstressed syllables, but especially on the stressed ones, you're inconsistent at using 7 or 8 syllables per line. And this line especially:
>Changing my dark soul inside://
Has a really forced stress pattern. You're trying to emphasize that word to stomp it into the pattern, but it doesn't fit.

>Had me possessed; the ghost was my Countess!//

And this stress pattern is way off. Plus it's another weak rhyme.

>And now my roots grew back across the distance,

>And I was saved by my own reminiscence…//
It's not a sonnet, but I suppose that doesn't mean you can't have female rhyme. At least you do it in both lines. Except you do it again the next two times you have an isolated couplet. The idea behind female rhyme is that it's only an occasional thing.


Yikes. That rhyme's a real stretch.

>Farmer’s gal who’d run away,

>Lost it all, and had to pay//
Short on syllables there again.


Kind of weak to rhyme a word with itself.

Jeez, that song takes up four and a half screens. You know a hefty chunk of readers are just going to scroll past it, right? Readers are not very receptive to song lyrics, so you have to keep them short, preferably less than a screen, or break them up with anecdotes or something so you're only getting a little at a time. This is like having a block of exposition. It makes the action grind to a halt.

>Turns out wizards have a weakness//

Now you're breaking the pattern of alternating stanzas that stress or unstress the first syllable of each line. Counting where she left the song off before, you now have two stanzas in a row that begin stressed.

>My horizon! My heartsong!//

That rhythm is off.

It seems a little odd that we go to Silver Shill's reminiscence in flashback form, which necessitates being in his perspective, from an scene that was in Rara's perspective, but I guess that can't be helped, unless you don't show it in flashback mode.

And at the end of the second chapter, I'm still pretty mystified as to what the story's point is. Rara's clearly facing down some internal turmoil over what her role in life is to be, but I don't understand why that is or what it has to do with her breaking from Svengallop. It's not like she'd completely changed. Take how she loved doing events with the children. So I don't have a good picture of whether she's upset about who she is or if she's just upset about where her career can go from here. And since I'm now roughly 2/3 way through the story, that's not a good place for your reader to be. I mean, the writing's good, and the character voicing is vivid. I can certainly see it being engaging to the crowds on FiMFiction, but it's not holding together that well for me.

>few freckles flecked//

The alliteration creates a playful feel that doesn't really match the tone.

>“Letters,” she said quietly, “are nowhere near good enough. We need to meet up more often.”//

It's ambiguous who "she" is here. Applejack was the last character mentioned by name, though Rara is the most recent to warrant a "her." It felt more like Applejack was saying it, but then I had to backtrack when that made the dialogue exchanges off.

>“Applejack,” said Coloratura quickly, “you’re not making sense! That wasn’t your fault!”//

You're placing all your dialogue tags in that same position in the sentence. It's getting repetitive.

>She watched as Applejack sat down on the boards.//

Again, it's ambiguous who "she" is here. Applejack just had dialogue, but the last character mentioned was Cherry, and yet I get the sense this is supposed to be Rara.

>She ignored the way Applejack’s foreleg moved up to her snout, and the slight sniffs that followed.//

If she ignored them, then how did she see them?

>Cherry Jubilee gave a loud sniff and dabbed at her eyes with her neckerchief.//

I've said this several times already, and I'll wrap it up at the end, but i should be just as emotional as Cherry here, but I'm just not feeling it. It's not until this chapter that I'm really getting a picture of what's been going on the whole time, but it's still a bit vague, and it's pretty late in the story to create that investment.


Needs an apostrophe, not an open quote.

>far too cheesy//

Hyphenate that, since it's all a single adjective for the "smile" afterward.

>said “Good//

Missing comma.

>You’re too good to leave doin’ nothin’ but chores//

I don't understand this phrasing. My best guess is AJ's telling her that if she left and went back home to her chores, it'd be a waste. If that's what you mean, then the participial phrase "doin' nothin but chores" should be set off with commas.

>weighed down by some private misery//

How does Rara know what this is?

>“I’m saying –” she began. “Y… No.”//

This is the first time in the story you've actually gotten me invested in what happens to her, and we're about 85% of the way through. Why do I care? Because I know exactly what the conflict is that led up to this statement and witnessed her agonizing over it. That hasn't been present in the story until now.

>because they weren’t sure if she was joking or not//

Rara presumes this about AJ, but she doesn't know it. Maybe you should phrase it so. For that matter, it's better to have Rara express this directly than have the narrator say it like a middleman. It's kind of cold and factual as is, but if Rara asks herself the question, it's more personal.

>each other and tightened their grip on each other’s//

Kind of repetitive.

>“Moonlighting”, she’d said.//

Comma goes inside the quotes.


Needs to be an apostrophe.

>her hoof steering Coloratura//

>Coloratura let Applejack steer her//
These are just a paragraph apart.

I don't understand why you went to Cherry's perspective for the last scene. The whole thing had been in Rara's, so it's a "one of these things is not like the others" when only the final few hundred words out of 10k change from that. And we don't even learn anything vital from being there. Furthermore, Rara even comes back in, so whatever little bit of plot closure you wanted to achieve with this scene could still happen in Rara's viewpoint. It's not Cherry's character growth that the story's about, yet you make that your parting shot.

I like the story's message and how that's conveyed by Rara's decision at the end, and of course the writing is good, but my main problem with this is that it takes so long for it to go anywhere. It's not until halfway through chapter 3 that I find out exactly what Rara's issue has been all along and what she wants. So I have to wade through lots of vagaries that dance around the topic, and then all those song lyrics in chapter 2. That's an absolute death knell for a story. Many readers will tune out right there. If the actual content of the lyrics is important to understand the story or move the plot, make that abundantly clear, but for goodness' sake, keep it short or break it up into bite-size chunks.

For so much of the story, I'm in the dark about what's bothering Rara. It could be she hasn't gotten over feeling used, it could be that she's taken it on as a personal mission to help Sven's other victims, it could be she feels emptied out and doesn't know who she is anymore (though I'm glad you didn't go that way, since it'd be harder to explain why she felt she very much did know exactly who she was at the end of that episode). It could even be all three, but I could never tell what her attitude toward Denim was, and then Denim comes back up briefly a bit later before being dropped from the story entirely. So she's feeling like a Chekhov's gun: something given seeming importance that never gets used.

Then, it's not apparent why Rara seems to have taken an interest in country music. Is it necessary to scrape together enough money to make a living? It sure doesn't seem that way. Is it just because she wants to explore more kinds of music? I guess that's the case, given how it ends, but she never equates her disdain for Manehattan with a particular style of music. It's not like she's giving up on pop music, or it least it doesn't seem so. And Manehattan's not the only place to play that, so... I'm a bit stumped. Has her experience tainted her on not just the pop business but even the sound as well? Yet she doesn't seem to have latched onto anything else either. She's tried country, but she doesn't come across as enthusiastic about it, and nothing else gets mentioned. So even with all this talk at the end about her finding her own way, it seems like lip service, because she's not taking any steps to get there. Yeah, she wrote a song, but how is she going to present it? As a country song? As some other style she just never says she's interested in?

Only at the end is there anything concrete about Rara's emotional investment. She acts upset the whole way through, but it's just generic through the beginning since it's unfocused about what precisely is eating at her, and she doesn't even seem to be in turmoil about it, just a steady gloominess. Plus it's unclear what she's actually doing about it, so that she's engaged in a real struggle instead of just moping along. Not that moping can't be interesting to read, but it's tougher, and it still needs to earn buy-in from the reader about what and why and how and what stakes exist. Not to mention that the synopsis explicitly promises a struggle, while she's more numbly accepting things until chapter 3.

Like I said, this story has the good writing flow and characterization I expect from you, but it lacks much direction, and what direction it does have waits until the last minute to make an appearance. It takes a lot of trust fro a reader to push through all that (plus those song lyrics and the lengthy stretches of all italics!). I went back and skimmed chapter 1 to make sure I wasn't just missing something, as I've been known to do, but I don't see it. It's a little more evident that Rara's disappointed her country song didn't make a bigger splash and that she's relegated to the opening act at the moment, but she doesn't come across as feeling all that strongly about it, so with the benefit of hindsight, it's a little better, but not much.

I could post this on the strength of the writing and characterization alone, and I don't think anyone would call me on it. We've certainly posted lower-quality stories. But I've read enough of your stories to know what you're capable of, and you can do better than this. If it were a low-stakes SoL, that's one thing. It's not supposed to have a big payoff. But when you build the story around this wrenching emotional experience, it really does need to have that impact. So I'm going to send it back to you and see what you can do with it.

In quick bullet point fashion:
-Extended italics get irritating to read. It'd work better to segue those into flashback scenes.
-Having a single block of song lyrics go on that long is asking for lots of trouble. There were also lots of irregularities in meter, and I get it's just a rough draft she scribbled down, but it's so exacting in its irregularity that it doesn't come across as something half-formed.
-It's so late in the story before we find out what she wants and why, and a couple of false leads (namely Denim) just get dropped.
-When we do find out what she wants, it's kind of generic. Everyone wants to be loved for who they really are, so don't leave it so abstract. Give me specific examples of when she tried, how she failed, what the result was, and how that made her feel. She's speaking in generalities, and they're never going to connect with the reader as much as specifics will.
-Given how limited a narrator you're using, you don't get very expressive with Rara's emotion.
-I don't see the point at all of going to Cherry's perspective for the final scene.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2856

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.

>having audience with her//

Usually, that's phrased as "an" audience.

Right away, a lot of your verb choices tend toward the stagnant. You have 8 "to be" verbs in just the first 5 paragraphs. You're killing the story's momentum before it even has any. Most times, it's not hard to rephrase a lot of these things with active verbs, in the narration at least. You get leeway for dialogue, since people don't take fancy routes around such verbs, and the dialogue does need to sound natural. But as for the narration, the more active you keep it, the more interesting it is.

The beginning is also very generalized. Someone waiting to speak to Celestia is common enough that it doesn't stand out. So what can you do to make it pop? Well, look at what comes next. The narrator says she hasn't been here in a long time, and she enjoys looking around, but the detail level is so vague. If you'd just returned to a place you knew very well after being away for ages, how would you react? You'd notice lots of little details. You just mention generic things like rugs and marble floors that are stock pieces for a castle, and we don't even get a description of what any of it looks like. Impress me with how grand it is. Tie it to her personal experience. She's going to look at things that mean something to her. She doesn't just see the rug. She sees it still has the curled-up edge she used to trip on when she was young. The clock on the wall that none of the staff could ever seem to keep properly wound. A vase she remembers is gone now. Did it get broken, or had Celestia only kept it there to humor her? This is the kind of thing I'm looking for. Make this a very personal experience for the narrator, not some routine errand, since you haven't described it as one. (Actually making a routine errand interesting is a whole other topic.)

>Still, the same rugs and tapestries adorned the halls. The marble floors and walls were still//

Watch repeating a word that close.

>the guards and servants that walked the halls//

When referring to sentient beings, it's customary to use "who" instead of "that."

>Her Majesty//

That's actually a title for a queen. A princess would be Your Highness, though I'll grant you that the show seems to use them interchangeably.

>I had been waiting here for well over an hour now, standing the entire time.//

Ponies don't exactly need chairs to sit. She didn't have to remain standing.

>Though, what I had to speak with her about was no doubt an important matter.//

It's rarely correct to put a comma after a conjunction—only when there's some sort of comma-delimited element following it, like a participial phrase.

>I knew she was distraught over his disappearance.//

How so? Describe some of the reaction Clover has witnessed. Or some manner of evidence of how close they were.

>remaining friends she had left//


>And, Hurricane//

No reason to have that comma.

>And, I knew that I would die soon as well.//

Same thing. I can't keep noting these or I'll have a document full of them. Suffice it to say you should scan through ad likely remove any commas you have after conjunctions.

>that Luna has been gone//

Verb tense is off here.

Man, this chapter spends an inordinate amount of time on exposition. When you spend paragraphs at a time summarizing events, it doesn't give them much gravity. I have to think these summaries don't need to be as long as they are, but they're also very dry, like a history lesson. They're dwelling more on what events transpired and less on what effect that had on Clover. They're her memories, after all.

>After all, she is still maintaining Luna’s bedchambers//

That's a strange choice of tense anyway, "is maintaining" versus "maintains," but I'm not sure why it's in present. The whole narration has been in past tense, aside from one typo.

>As young and radiant as ever//

You're glossing over the kind of detail she'd use to arrive at this conclusion, the same way you glossed over the way the castle looked to her. What she notices, what she chooses to linger on, and how it makes her feel, are all very good ways to characterize her.

>The throne room had brought back too many memories, many good, some bad.//

One or two examples will always be more powerful that something vague or generalized. Give me a couple of one-sentence anecdotes about these memories. If I have no idea what they are, I'm not going to be invested in them.

>He seemed affronted.//

How so? What did he do?

>“Sir,” I spoke calmly, “If//

When you transition out of speech and back in with commas like this, the quote is implied to be one unbroken sentence, so you shouldn't capitalize "if."

>tried to suppress a laugh, but failed miserably. He instead tried//

Watch the repetition again.

>“Clover,” said she, her voice full of warmth, “It is good to see you.”//

Same capitalization problem with the dialogue. You'll have to scan the story for these.

>“Likewise,” I said, as it was.//

Yet the narration sounds so formal and stoic about it. It doesn't feel like the train of thought of someone who's happy to see an old friend.


Leave a space after an ellipsis, unless it starts the sentence or has other punctuation after it.

>all of the ponies that//

"Who," not "that."

>whatever else garbage//

>whatever else asinine rumors//
Awkwardly phrased.

>That small smile of hers returned to her face.//

You never really said it left. You did have her expression "shift" but then "snap back into place," so it sounds like she was already smiling.

>deal with the politics here. I doubt very much you would want to deal with//

Repetitive phrasing.

To make a point, I'm going to paste in a few paragraphs' worth of narration with all the sentences of dialogue removed.

>I nodded in affirmation. I shrugged. Celestia shifted the positioning of one of her hooves slightly. That small smile of hers returned to her face. She nodded in thought. I smiled. Celestia clapped her hooves together and leaned forward. I finally broke and a gruff laugh escaped from deep within me. I smiled at her. She bobbed her head gently.//

It gets better after this, but if you read that as a paragraph like I have it here, wouldn't that feel dreadfully plodding? They're mostly short sentences with downward inflection, and they all start with the subject. It gets very structurally repetitive. The dialogue that gets mixed in helps mask the repetition, but it can only do so much. Toss in a little more variety here and there so you don't get 10 sentences in a row that are the same.

>I finally broke and a gruff laugh escaped from deep within me.//

Needs a comma between the clauses, since you have distinct subject-verb pairs: I broke, and a laugh escaped

>if this was a mere social call//

She's speaking hypothetically, so use subjunctive mood: if this were.

>“…Gone?” Was what she eventually said//

"Was" shouldn't be capitalized here. It doesn't start a sentence.

>I paused//

This is a meaningless phrase. What happens during the pause is what charges it with tension. Is she stopping to think of how to break the news? Searching for a particular word? Surreptitiously farting? Those all completely change the mood. So let me know what the mood is here.

>Celestia’s eyes met mine//

Given how much she just used "met" in the previous paragraph, this isn't a good spot to use it again so soon.

>I allowed myself a small smile.//

Both of them are doing an awful lot of smiling. It's a word authors tend to overuse.

>This is hardly proper court procedures.//

"Procedure" would be singular here.

>obviously upset//

This is already clear from his behavior. Beware over-explaining things.

>Last though, was the herald.//

You need another comma before "though."

>I gazed up at the throne.//

All these short one-sentence paragraphs... They really don't say much. Doing this is supposed to add emphasis, but when you emphasize six things in a row, then none of them really stand out. Even so, the formatting had better be justified by something important happening in them, and nothing really does.

>Yet, I had only taken the first few before, Celestia//

Neither one of those commas should be there.

>helped me up the last five steps//

Why is Celestia making an old mare walk up there? Why doesn't she come down? I get the bit about Luna's throne, but Clover didn't know Celestia was going to do that.

>alicorn that goes around//

Who, not that.

>She paused.//

Again, this is meaningless as a standalone sentence.

>Me and Celestia were now the only two left//

Celestia and I.


That's not a spot where a hyphen would go.

>the permanent scorch mark from one of Starswirl’s wayward spells on one of the walls.//

See, this is the kind of detail I was looking for earlier. Do more of this.

>know…” her voice trembled, “…I//

Here's how to format an aside in a quote. Pay attention to the capitalization and punctuation:
know—” her voice trembled “—I

>She had so much of this bottled up//

Needs a comma here.

>her wails//

This is a bit much. I realize they're alone, to where she doesn't need to keep up appearances, but still. Where sad situations are concerned, less is usually more. If you go overboard, it just comes across as maudlin, and then you lose the sense of authenticity. You don't want the story to feel emotionally manipulative.

>I paused.//



That's not a word that would be capitalized, unless it precedes a name or title.

>I think we both knew what was to come next.//

This is the 5th sentence in a row to start with the same word.

There's some good character work in this chapter, but I can't help feeling like it's a very long wind-up before we actually get to the story the synopsis promised. It would help if you add the kinds of details I discussed earlier, since it'd increase Clover's engagement with the situation and thus feel like character development instead of a rather static explanatory chapter.

>been one of my favorite places to be//

Same as last chapter, you have a lot of "to be" verbs stagnating things right away.

>I was only a common scribe at the moment.//

This makes it sound like she knew she would be more, and we haven't gotten that sense of ambition from her.

>The most interesting that happened//

Missing word.

>The royal alchemists and the castle infirmary were always in need of fresh trimmings.//

Only 7 paragraphs into the chapter, and you already have 15 "to be" verbs, 10 of them "was."

>Canterbury Woods was a unique place.//

Seriously. Do a Ctrl-f for "was" and watch the screen light up. There are 224 of them in the chapter. That's about once every 3 sentences just for that form of the verb alone. That's how often something doesn't happen.

>some of ones back at the castle//

Missing word.

>On many occasion//


Now you're having the same issue I noted earlier. You have so many one-line paragraphs, and you have to be more judicious about where you use emphasis like this. It just looks poorly formatted.



Through this spot, look how calm and flat the narration is. If this were happening to you, would your internal thoughts be so organized and formal? There's a disconnect between the events and the narrative tone. For that matter, I understand that short sentences can work toward pacing and tension, but you still don't want to use nothing but that. Yet in this passage, nearly every sentence is identical in inflection and length, and it gets to be like reading a grocery list:
>Everything vanished. My vision went black. I could not feel the ground under my hooves. The forest’s aromas were gone. The silence intensified.
>My skin was aflame. A ringing in my ears. The bones within my body grinded against each other.//

>It was as if nothing had even happened.//

This ends a stretch of 19 consecutive one-line paragraphs. This is ridiculous. What that says to me as a reader is that you either don't have a sense of where to correctly place emphasis or you're not coming up with enough detail to fill the story out. On the word count alone, I'd say the latter isn't the issue.

>who I could now see//


>He seemed somewhat surprised. Confused.//

What does he do that leads Clover to conclude this?

>surely the townsponies would know who he is//

You've switched to present tense.

>the slightest traces of nervousness trickling into my voice//

If you're nervous is your tone of voice what clues you in? Surely there are more immediate ways she'd perceive the emotion than that.

>He paused and then began again.//

This is wasted verbiage. The fact that he paused is meaningless. What gives it meaning is why he paused, usually shown indirectly through what happens during the pause. But all we get to know is that it exists.

>How could he have possibly have known that?//

And I bet you're not going to say what it is. Consider the perspective, though. We're seeing Clover's internal thoughts as narration. If the narration won't say, that implies she has a reason to avoid thinking about it, but no such motivation has been mentioned. So there's no reason for the narrator to withhold the information.


That's not the spot for a hyphen in a number. They only go between tens and ones places.

>My brain took a moment to catch-up.//

This isn't a situation where you'd hyphenate that.

>I would strongly suspect that is was because of our meeting here.//


>“Life isn’t always fair, dear Clover. Nor is it predictable.”//

He's using direct address with her over and over. Think about how often you do so when having a one-on-one conversation. Pretty rarely. Direct address is used to get someone's attention, disambiguate to whom you're speaking, or to add emphasis. The last one is the only possibility that might apply here, but this falls under the same umbrella as all those one-line paragraphs: too much emphasis is the same as no emphasis, except that it's more irritating to read.

>trying to recollect my thoughts some//

I think you mean just "collect." "Recollect" would mean she's trying to remember them.

>All of a sudden//

You've told me things are sudden several times already. It's not the kind of thing you should have to point out. If you write it well, it will already come across as sudden. It's like having to assure the reader that a joke is funny. If it needs the explanation, it probably wasn't. You have 17 of them in the chapter, which is quite a few.

>I do not kno—” He broke off unexpectedly//

The punctuation already shows me he broke off. Narrating it as well is redundant.

>“I would like to hear it, if you do not mind.”

>“Your story?” He blinked. “Of how you got here?”//
It's ambiguous who says what here, particularly since his action is placed with her speech. I thought he was asking her how she got there, and I didn't realize I was wrong until two screens later.

>sit the boulder//

Missing word.

>sat beside him on the rock//

And you just used "sat" in the last sentence. Try to avoid close word repetition like that.

>“There!” said he, seemingly satisfied, “We may as well be comfortable while we chat, no?”//

The way you capitalized and punctuated that speech tag, it means that the two parts of the quote are one continuous sentence, yet they obviously aren't, since you put end punctuation on the first and capitalized the second.

>“Clover,” he interrupted me again, as he was wont to do, “If//

Same thing.

>who you will meet//


>“Now,” he said, clasping his hooves together, “Let’s begin.//

Capitalization again. I don't know why this is suddenly turning up. Maybe you just didn't use this pattern of speech tags until now, but it's wrong regularly enough that you should scan the whole story for it.

>He trailed off into silence.//

The punctuation already tells me this.

>researching time magic for some time//

That just sound strange, like you're trying to make a joke.

>Over time//

And with this so soon after, it's just getting repetitive.

>“But eventually, I overstay my welcome, and am noticed and forced out again.//

This is the 14th straight paragraph without even a single word of narration. Not even a speech tag. This is really talking heads.

>Every time//

It's probably best to avoid expressions about time when he's actually talking about it. It comes across as you making puns.

>He had been speaking nonstop for what felt like several minutes now.//

Yeah, I know how you feel, Clover.

>snapping me from my own thoughts//

Missing punctuation.


Spell out numbers that short. You'd already been doing so anyway.

>And a pony was never meant to experience what he has//

You're using present tense again.

>Night had now fallen proper.//

You really like to use "proper" in this way. It's already the 5th time in the chapter you've done so. It's sticking out as a writing tic.

>Crickets or some other bug buzzed off in the distance.//

This isn't really ambiguous. Crickets don't buzz.

>“Thank you for telling me,” I finally said, “I would not think it easy to carry such a burden for so long.”//

Same issue with the intermediary speech tag, but it's less obvious this time. If you put the two parts of the quote together, you'd have a comma splice.

>One of his ears swiveled in my direction and then spoke//

One of his ears spoke?

>A pause.//

A meaningless sentence.


Think about what sound she'd actually repeat. There isn't even a "t" sound in that word.

>I suspected it was related to his predicament.//

You don't need to state the obvious.

>“Starswirl,” My voice was low, “Are you feeli—” I broke off//

Two capitalization errors, redundant indications of breaking off.

>Here, was this stallion sitting in front of me//

No reason to have that comma.

>I tore off another chunk of bread and began eating.//

She didn't begin eating. She started that a while ago.

>his self//



No hyphen.

>I did not think he had had such a chance talk with anypony//

Missing word.

>somepony who he trusted//


>I gasped in amazement//

Whenever you have one of these "in/with/of emotion" phrasings, consider whether something already in the sentence conveys it, like the gasp here. If not, then consider whether it's an emotion important to the story, such that you should likewise show the character demonstrating that emotion instead of directly identifying it. You use these phrases a fair amount.

>You were the only pony that could ever match me//

Use "who."

>He then gripped me suddenly, his voice now low and serious,//

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

>other’s hearts//

Assuming he wants her to do this for more than one person, you need a plural possssive.

>his crystal dinged twice is rapid succession//


And now you're doing that single-sentence paragraph thing again.

>without so much of a trace//

The phrasing is usually "without so much as."

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2857

>poured over every sentence//

>I excused my behavior for that you needed to learn how to cope on your own//

That's pretty hard to parse.

For a rather long letter, it sure doesn't say much. it covers all the generic stuff you'd expect it to, but it doesn't have any sort of detail to it. That leaves it feeling very impersonal. It just keeps going back over that he loves her and time travel is dangerous. The bit about Luna is interesting, but it's odd for that to just now come up, so late in the story.

>Though it was not until very recent//


>her features somewhat nervous, as if she was embarrassed about her behavior//

I don't understand why this would embarrass her. It's a heartfelt emotion, one that's completely understandable.

>Clover!” She said//



No hyphen.

>Nor did I feel like.//

Like what?

>A slight pause.//

And another meaningless one.

>My voice crackled some.//

>Her mouth twitched some.//
Repetitive phrasing so close together.

>She did not like anypony else try//

Syntax is off.


Just do a global search and replace on it. There are times it's valid to hyphenate it, but it's uncommon, and I don't see any so far.

This story's kind of an odd bird. The whole point of it is that Clover's going to tell Celestia what became of Star Swirl. The whole first chapter does nothing but lead up to the actual plot. And by the end, nothing happens. Celestia knows now, but there's no conclusion drawn from it. Nothing gets resolved, and there isn't even a direction set to start resolving it, in the way that a good open ending would. The only character development is in relation to a tangential plot that doesn't even get brought up until the last few thousand words.

I read your author's note about how you pieced the story together, and from reading it, it does really feel like that's how it was done, since it doesn't have strong thematic ties between the parts, as if it were a single, coherent plan. It could just use a little more thought as to how the last chapter provides or implies the resolution of what happened in chapter 2.

Aside from that, it's just the detailed things I had to keep mentioning, particularly all the one-line/one-sentence paragraphs and the prevalence of boring "to be" verbs.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2894

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 blur of colors whizzed through the sky; a rainbow trail left behind for brief seconds where the owner of those colors had been.//

A semicolon's really supposed to go between independent clauses. You should be able to replace it with a period and have two complete sentences, but you can't here.

>Rocketing only feet away from the observer, pink strands of mane//

This says the pink strands of mane are rocketing, not that Dash is.

>the mare flicked wild messy mane back//

Missing word.

>her friend whom had been observing her//

That's not a spot for "whom."

>the girl whom had been watching//

That either.

>“Well?” She asked impatiently.//

Speech tags don't get capitalized.

>The other pegasus shyly brushes a lock of her mane//

Why are you switching to present tense?

Your perspective continues to bounce back and forth between them, and when it stays factual, that's fine, but the narration expresses the characters' opinions and impressions as if his own often enough that it's more of a limited narration, and head-hopping is a bad idea with that.

>She would ramble for hours and hours about various facts about the group that she was familiar with//

That's just awkwardly phrased, and it's pretty much repeating what the last sentence already said twice.

>Fluttershy didn’t mind though, she wasn’t a very skilled conversationalist//That comma's a splice. It's tacking together two complete sentences.

>her friends whom insisted she needed a backup plan//

You keep using "whom" where "who" is actually the correct choice.

You haven't marked this as an AU, but it diverges from canon quite a lot. Fluttershy couldn't attend many of Dash's events? Well, some things, like Fluttershy having to pass a flight test and both of them attending college, aren't explicitly contradicted by canon, but neither do them seem to be implied by it. You can get away with some of this, but the more and more it piles up, it gets harder to take on the whole.



>one whom I have personally trained//

That's the only "whom" I've seen so far that is correct.

>Wonderbolts,” she paused for a moment so reporters could murmur amongst each other, “That//

The way you go out and back into speech with commas suggests the quote is one continuous sentence, but it clearly isn't, and you've capitalized "That."

>Rarity had gone on a designing spree and made on inspired by each of her friends.//


>Clearing her throat, Rainbow’s loud voice//

This says her voice cleared her throat.

>“Thank you, Spitefire,” she paused//

Another typo, and your speech tag doesn't have a speaking action in it.

>Today, I’m here with some of the best flyers around whom have lead me to greatness.//

That just doesn't parse.

>her pet rabbit, Angel//

This kind of appositive needs commas on both sides or none at all.

It's kind of odd seeing Dash use semicolons in her letter. She doesn't seem like the type to know how, much less be inclined to.

>She had decided on a blue sweater than Rainbow had given her years ago as a Christmas present.//

Typo. And it's Hearth's Warming there.


Don't capitalize that.

>The bellboy had lead Fluttershy//

The past tense is "led."

>the banana colored pegasus//

You're using Fluttershy's perspective. Why would she describe herself this way?



>for when whatever opened that door did//


>paled blue//



Think about wha sound she'd actually repeat. There isn't a "t" sound in that word.



>speaking again, “any//


>gentle patter//

>gentle smile//
These are only a sentence apart. Avoid close word repetition like this.

Okay, I took fewer and fewer notes as I read, since I was just seeing more of the same things. Don't take these notes as a comprehensive list. They're just examples.

Now the romance. It's hard to develop a good romance. It's not enough to just say one character loves the other. You have to prove it. All I know about Fluttershy is that she finds Rainbow attractive and like to watch her fly? But what does she actually like about her? What makes her think Rainbow is good relationship material, that they'd be compatible? Right near the end, you start to scratch the surface of that, when Fluttershy starts telling Rainbow all the times she admired her through their lives. That kind of anecdote is really where a romance can shine, since it shows them actually in love, but it needs much more detail.

From the other side, we get nothing. I have no idea what Dash likes about Fluttershy. It's a really cliched plot, too where one pony reveals a long-standing secret crush, and upon learning about it, the other pony either reveals the same, or just suddenly decides they're in love, too. You have to do something to stand out from the crowd of stories that all do this same thing. And the best way is to make their relationship really vibrant. How to accomplish that? Well, rather than spend a long time typing out a bunch of advice, I'll refer you to Aragon, who's written a good series of blogs on how to build a believable romance. They're linked from his homepage. I'd recommend reading through them.

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