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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:
625 posts and 3 image replies omitted. Click View to see all.

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.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2932

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

Right away, the story is a bit stagnant, since it's pretty heavily front-loaded with "to be" verbs. They're inherently boring, as nothing happens, and the beginning of a story is an espeecially important place to create an active feel and grab the reader's interest. You'd do well to rephrase these with active verbs where possible.

>“I noticed you were very tense around Cup Cake,” Fluttershy said.//

She didn't seem very tense. Paint a picture of it for me.

>First your filly goes missing//

She'd mentioned ponies disappearing in her dreams, but not that it happened in real life, too. Seems like that would have come up right away. It's also strange they assume Carrot left even though Pumpkin "disappeared." Why doesn't anyone think Carrot might be a disappearance as well?

>Losing your whole family//

Wait, what happened to Pound Cake?

>things - encouraging, loyal, competitive - but//

Please use proper dashes for cutoffs and asides. There's a brief guide to them at the top of this thread. In numerous places, you use hyphens were dashes are appropriate.

>Fluttershy decided she’d try to help Rainbow, starting with her worries about Cup Cake.//

This is redundant, since she goes on to do exactly that. You don't want to over-explain things.

>Sugar Cube Corner//

In canon, they spell "Sugarcube" as one word. This comes up again in later chapters.

>As she listened to Thunderlane rant//

This is the 5th sentence of this scene. It's the 4th in a row with an "as" clause. It's the 3rd in a row where that "as" clause starts the sentence. Beware getting structurally repetitive like this.

>highly-rated fliers//

Two-word modifiers that start with an -ly adverb don't need hyphens.

>They never invited Fluttershy, but it was their loss.//

I find this very confusing. I can't believe this is Fluttershy's thought process, so it must be Dash's. Indeed, this whole paragraph seems to relate things through Dash's eyes. Yet the previous paragraph was very much through Fluttershy's viewpoint. I didn't even know Dash was there until the second paragraph, after all. You don't want to bounce the perspective around like this. There's a section on head-hopping at the top of the thread that gives some rationale for that.

>the yellow pony//

And no matter which of them holds the perspective, neither one would have a reason to describe Fluttershy in such an external, formal way. You don't think of your best friend in such abstract terms, do you? Or yourself.

>The other pegasus//

Another very external reference for this limited a narrator.

>Rainbow said, exasperated//

Don't tell me she's exasperated. Demonstrte it. What does she do? How does she look?

>an empty honeycomb lying on the ground//

Wait, that's an odd thing to have just randomly lying around a shed.

>Fluttershy rushed to her, grabbing the baker around her barrel.//

>Fluttershy bolted forward, leaping over the platform’s edge with her forelegs stretched out.//
>A whoosh of wind knocked her mane into her eyes, stopping her in mid flight.//
See how you keep tacking those participial phrases onto the ends of sentences? Just the fact you keep using them plus you keep putting them in the same place makes this very repetitive. Authors of intermediate experience tend to overuse participles, and they stand out easily when repeated, since you don't encounter them that much in everyday conversations. They have a few attendant problems I'll likely see as well, if you keep using so many. In fact, I see one already. Note that participles make things happen at the same time. Yet in that first one, Fluttershy wouldn't grab Cup Cake until after rushing to her, yet you have them happening simultaneously.

I don't get why Dash is having so much trouble carrying Mrs. Cake. She's carried multiple ponies before.

>A curving cavern//

This whole paragraph, where you have paired alliteration, is severly undercutting the story's mood. Alliteration usually creates a playful feel, and that's precisely the opposite of what you want.

And then you try to get poetic with lots of rhymes, and to be honest, most of these rhymes are very forced to the point the language seems nonsensical. I get that being nonsensical is somewhat the point, but there's a fine line. This just sounds goofy, where it should be menacing or disorienting.

>Fluttershy ran her hoof along her sides to if she had been burned//

Missing word.

>significantly singed, or scarcely scorched//

Yeah, you're severely overdoing the alliteration.

>a few second before//


>The unicorn stood besides her//


The alliteration is more tolerable as a speech affectation of Rarity's, but in the narration, it's just annoying.

>attached to which was a slender thread that she and Rarity dangled from//

That's... kind of strange how you take pains to avoid one dangling preposition but not the other. I really don't mind either way, but this is inconsistent.

>one of the thread//


>small, white//

These are hierarchical adjectives, so they don't need a comma. The (non-foolproof) test is to see whether they describe different aspects, or to see if they sound very awkward in reverse order. If the answer to those is yes, you probably don't need the comma.

It strikes me that aside from flowery language and having a sewing-themed weapon, Rarity doesn't seem like Rarity at all. If you're going to call her that, then have her be Rarity. Otherwise, just make an OC. Maybe Rarity's supposed to emulate a specific character from the manga? If so, it'd work better as an MLP crossover in the Magica Madoka fandom than the other way around.

>He hopped onto Rainbow and begin//

>for a few second//

>Fluttershy had plenty of practice dragging the reckless pegasus home from Sweet Apple Acres, and hoisted her with ease.//

Wait, what? Then why did Rainbow Dash have so much trouble carrying Mrs. Cake? She's much stronger than Fluttershy.

What happened to Cup Cake? Maybe I just missed it, but I didn't see where she got returned home. And wouldn't Fluttershy and Dash want to check on her later? Rarity just glosses over it to say she's fine.

>What you saw with your very own eyes was this unicorn dispatch//


>pegasi companions//

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

>bring out fresh binds//

Usually bonds or bindings.


Most readers will assume "herd," but a group of ponies is actually a "string." Though I don't expect you to use that.

Now that I'm significantly into chapter 4, i have to wonder what the point is. Mrs. Cake hasn't been that big a deal in the story, and neither has Apple Bloom, yet you're dwelling at length on both. It's a rather different thing than Rarity's description of there being lots of witches around, and that they could always use more fighters to combat them. By focusing so heavily on one (who is already dead, no less), it's taking focus away from the bigger picture.

And now we're getting a ton of exposition about Fluttershy. Delivering it in one big batch like this is asking for lots of trouble. It's only marginally interesting, mostly because I don't see any relevance for it yet. Exposition works best when you dole it out a little at a time, as it becomes pertinent to the plot.

>blood shot//


>Where did you learn to do heal ponies//

Extraneous word.

>can enters//


>But, Rarity talked Rainbow into it//

It's rare that a comma after a conjunction is used correctly. This one isn't.

>… And//

Don't leave a space after a leading ellipsis. You have several through here.


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

>mail box//



That's two words.

>Or, it was supposed to be.//

Lose the comma.

>A part of her wanted tell //

Missing word.

>No, there couldn’t, a witch wouldn’t, trap ponies here, that much is clear//

I get that you're putting the commas to show where the rhymed lines are, but it's coming across as really forced.

>I didn’t….//

You only need three dots. Four is really for citations in formal writing.

>some of her friend//



You don't need hyphens on two-word phrases that being with an -ly adverb.

>All wrong.//

This is an occasional problem with the story, and I'll revisit it in more detail when I write up my closing discussion, but this scene goes into the third paragraph before I know what perspective it's in. The previous scene was in Fluttershy's, so the presumption will be that she continues to hold the viewpoint until there's evidence otherwise. It doesn't feel like her voicing here, so it probably has changed, but I don't get to find out who for a while. What that means is that I have to store up the whole scene to that point in my head, then reapply that context to it once I know. That's a pretty big thing to ask of a reader, and many will just gloss over it and lose the effect you're creating by having a limited narrator in the first place.

>I don’t think I’m done a great job of it//



Applejack's female, so protégée.

>There’s been no reports//

You're mixing singular (has been) with plural (reports).

>So, she ignored it.//

No comma.

>pretending to the the stranger//


>Fluttershy lost track of time//

Looks like you have an inadvertent line break here. Or maybe you need another.

>a lost expression was on her face//

Given the syntax you're trying to use, you shouldn't have that "was" there.

>The stranger grimaced against their binds.//

Again, either bonds or bindings would be much more typical.

>The swirling clouds of ink she figured were minions laid crumpled on the floor.//

"Laid" is transitive; it requires a direct object. You want "lay."

This chapter finally developed Rarity into more of the character we know than one who only bears a superficial resemblance to her, so good on that front. However, I'm not sure all these gimmicky chapters are that good an idea. I'd talked about how the one that kept resorting to alliteration undercut its own tone. Similarly, this one is presumably supposed to be a gimmick related to the witch's effect. It looks more like a screenplay, but I could also buy it as a libretto, which ties in to music. But it's focused on Rarity's viewpoint during the fight, meaning she experiences it like this. It's far more likely this would be from the witch's viewpoint, since it would choose to see things through this lens, yet what does it accomplish to use the witch's perspective? We don't even know who it is, much less have a desire to identify with it. I'll get back to this later when I discuss perspective at the end.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2933

>Now that I think of it, I presume that tragedy was fresh on her mind.//
It's surprising that a lawyer worth his credentials would think this to be well-considered and not insist she get to a more stable frame of mind before redoing her will.

This also smacks of you putting Flim in the story by name only, just to have a recognizable one. He acts nothing like Flim. He's completely on the up-and-up, and he's not trying to scheme them out of anything.

>vaguely remembered extravagances and furbelows//

Rainbow's the only one present for this, so if you're indeed using a limited narrator, she's the only candidate. Yet this sounds nothing like word choices she'd make. And it does feel like limited narration through here, as it's full of subjective judgments.

>or for church//

Conceptually, I don't have a problem with there being churches in Equestria. But just be aware that it suggests a lot of world-building that the story never delivers. Plus it's very late in the story to introduce a pretty fundamental piece of world-building. Not that it'll be critical to the plot (in which case it's also extraneous), but the way Dash so casually mentions it also makes it something that's fairly pervasive in the culture, or something she has a personal familiarity with, neither of which is suggested.

>gas lights//


>out of the way hallway//

You're using "out of the way" as a phrasal adjective, so hyphenate it.

>why on earth//

But they're not on Earth... Is it just an earth pony expression that's more generic? Seems odd for a pegasus to use it then.

>Fluttershy retreated from the map room, and decided she needed a smaller project to start off with.//

>she climbed the stairs and found her way to the master bedroom//
Note the inconsistent comma usage here. This is an intermittent issue throughout the story. In both cases, there's merely a compound verb, yet you use a comma in one and not the other. For a compound verb or subject, you usually don't need one. When you do use one is when you have a whole new subject-verb pair. Like in the first one, if you'd said "and she decided," then a comma would be appropriate.

>There was even a nice breeze coming from an open window//

Interesting. Dash had considered opening the window and explicitly did not. I trust this is intentional. But then nothing ever comes of it.

>Then, the doorbell rang.//

Another unnecessary comma after a conjunction.


After the first couple of these, we get the picture. You can just call them by name.

>There was a half-empty bottle of cider//

You have a lot of these "there was" constructions in describing Dash's house. Despite getting repetitive, it also kills the momentum with inactive verbs.

>all-empty ones besides it//

Kind of a curious use of "besides." Are you sure you didn't mean "beside"?

>Then, she dumped the rest of the cider//

No comma.

>once in awhile//

You have to be careful choosing between "awhile" and "a while." The first is an adverb, and the second is a noun. They won't parse in the same places in sentences. This needs to be two words so you have a noun to be the object of the preposition "in."

>There used to be a brash, energetic, and most of all, happy pony, and she lived right here.//

All of this is pretty nebulous. If you want the reader to become invested in Dash's character, be more specific. What exactly happened to her? Why did that affect her the way it did? One or two examples will speak far louder than a sweeping generalization.

>Kyubey was besides her on the bed.//

Yeah, you're definitely confusing "beside" with "besides." Only "beside" describs a physical position. "Besides" means "in addition to" or "not taking into account."

>Searching for a change of topic, her attention fell on Applejack’s necklace.//

Beware dangling participles. This says that her attention was searching for a change of topic.

>Then, he said it was time for her to summon her weapon.//

No comma. Just do a Ctrl-f for "Then,".

>once familiar//

Another spot where you need to hyphenate a phrasal adjective.

>The Adventure Book//

Book titles get underlined or (preferably) italicized. You have a couple instances of it.

>The blue pegasus//

This scene's been in Dash's perspective. Why would she refer to herself in such an external, formal way?


It kind of loses the horse pun if you don't spell it "Fillydelphia." Plus that's the canon spelling, and you use it later on.

>Winesap’s daughter//

I'm assuming you wrote this before we knew her father's name to be Bright Mac. Would it be a big deal to change it? You get a pass anyway for it being an AU, but unless some part of the plot hinges on it being that name, there's no reason not to.

>I might want to see Apple Bloom, first.//

No need for that comma.

>Fluttershy caught up to her and besides her in silence.//

Even correcting that to "beside," it still wouldn't parse. You're missing a verb.

>who she thought had a blue coat//

Whom, though as this is Fluttershy's limited narration, it's up to you whether you want her to know that.



>Rainbow winced.//

Missing a line break here.

>the pegasus’s neck//

Another odd reference. Dash is Fluttershy's good friend, so why would she refer to her so impersonally?

>Rainbow tussled Fluttershy mane//

"Tussle" means to get into a fight. You want "tousle." And you're missing an apostrophe.

>where Applejack laid upside down//


>graceful navigation of treacherous discussions//

You're starting to lose Dash's voice again. This doesn't sound like something she'd say, and limited narration is essentially internal dialogue.

>Only, they never did.//

No comma.

>Applejack’s head jerked up, and she glared at Rainbow. Rainbow met her gaze. Applejack broke the stare first and pulled herself off the chair. She continued walking to the middle of the room, where she stopped mid-stride. Her head drooped.//

This paragraph badly needs some variety. All of the sentences are short. All start with the subject. Only two have a dependent clause. None have any other sort of parenthetical element, like an aside, absolute phrase, or participial phrase. It doesn't take much seasoning to add a lot of flavor, and this is just bland.

>The smile faded away, and her head rolled back towards the floor.//

This is near the beginning of a long paragraph. There isn't any more narration in it. There isn't any narration in the next paragraph. There isn't any narration in the next three paragraphs after that. Monologuing has its place, but it's tougher to buy here. Applejack doesn't have any reason I've seen to sit perfectly still, and real people do things while they talk. And from the other side of it, you haven't given Dash a reason to be so riveted on it that she doesn't pay attention to anything else, which is a viable way to work it through the limited narration.


"Every day" and "everyday" aren't the same thing. The one you've chosen means "ordinary."

>Applejack grew quiet. Rainbow approached with hesitant steps and sat beside her. Rainbow reached out a foreleg and laid it on Applejack’s back. Applejack tensed and gave Rainbow a sidelong stare.//

And once we do finally get some narration, it's back to that plodding, repetitive structure.

>Or, you can also take//

No comma.


This isn't modifying something that comes after it, so you don't need the hyphens.

>Cup Dazzle//

And we've learned in canon her name was Chiffon Swirl. Really, if you went and edited this and changed Winesap to Bright Mac, what would it really hurt? And then you wouldn't have readers asking why you aren't in agreement with the show.

>So, you had a chance to revive somepony who did everything she could to deserve her life, and instead you wished away your own pain.//

Why doesn't Dash cut in her and explain her original plan. It'd help a bit, and I'd think she'd want to defend herself. It was her first instinct to save them, after all.

>getting a drink the cider bar//

Missing word.

>The air was cold as stone//

And since the encounter began, this is already the third time you've mentioned stone, and it's not done in a way that's obviously thematic, so it just comes across as an oversight.

This chapter reminds me of the earlier ones that have witch encounters formatted as poetry. Yet I can't make rhyme nor reason out of this one. I can't see the logic of how it's organized into lines. It's not by rhythm. there are a couple of rhymes, but nothing regularly spaced. I don't know what sort of atmosphere you're trying to create, so whatever your intent was it's lost on me. In fact, I was a little put off by the more readily identifiable poetry earlier, since while it rhymed, it had very irregular rhythm. And yet it had a kind of show tune feel to me, which can get away with that. Still, you want to be sure this formatting is accomplishing something. Different for the sake of different is pointless, and I'm not getting anything more than that out of it.

About this fire... Dash is on the weather team. Can't she go get a raincloud?

>Applejack huddled besides the entryway//


Okay, I like this story. I know very little of Madoka Magica, so I can't tell if some of the story's quirks are meant to emulate it, but I didn't feel lost at all, which is a sign of an effective crossover. Especially the weirdness that comes in when they're in a labyrinth, which I'd guess is more likely to come from the manga, since what you're doing is very different from a visual effect. I do think the alliterative one, as I said, is harming the mood. As to the rest of them, I think there's also a perspective problem.

In fact, perspective was an issue in other places as well. I noted spots already, so I won't detail them again, only to say that you seem to write limited narration, so be careful that you're staying in a consistent viewpoint and not jumping around unnecessarily to different characters. And then those labyrinth scenes. I alluded to this before, but the one that seems like a screenplay fights the perspective as well, since the only one who would choose to experience it that way is the witch, yet none of the witches are explicitly in the story. So the scenes are structured to make it feel like Rarity or Fluttershy or whoever holds the perspective at the time is the one viewing it like that, and it just has a plausibility problem.

A related matter is when the limited narrator loses the voicing of the character he's supposed to represent, which most often happened with Dash.

Yet you've done a very good job of characterization. The only standout to me was Rarity, who, as I said, doesn't really come across as her until we've already been with her for a while. So for quite a bit of the time she's around, I'm wondering where her insistence on the finer things in life is, her need to adjust everyone else's wardrobe, and especially why she's so willing to leap right into a fight. Like Jumping down the throat, fighting a tongue, getting spit and blood all over her, and not complaining one bit? That's not the Rarity I know. Not that there couldn't be a reason why she's changed in this manner, but you have to present it. Don't just make her different and rely on me to come up with the reason why. That's your job.

There's not all that much that needs fixing, really. The most extensive bit is making the weird labyrinth narration (seriously, does the manga do that, because the anime doesn't) suit the perspective, and clean up the rhyme and rhythm of it, for that matter. But I could even let that drop as a stylistic thing if everything else got fixed up.

Ah, but there's the rub. You have that sex tag on the story, and not a hint of it has turned up so far. Because sex and gore are the two main ways stories violate our content guidelines, we need to see how bad it'll get. We can't post such things sight unseen. So I'd need to know how explicit that's going to get, either by getting a synopsis of that specific plot thread or by seeing a rough draft of the chapter(s) where it happens. Nothing in the extended synopsis of future chapters you sent us deals with this, either, so I'm flying totally blind on it, and I can't do that.

Finally, a word about the story description. You have another one of those erroneous commas after a conjunction ("So,"), and it's quite cliched to ask rhetorical questions, particularly to end on one.

You're well on your way to having this posted. It just needs some tweaks here and there (and please apply them to your future chapters as well, since a lot of those things are likely to be pervasive), and I'd need to know what all the sex tag will entail. If all that's satisfactory, I could definitely see posting this.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2936

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 really don't see the point of putting whole chapters or even whole scenes in italics. I don't know what the italics are supposed to signify (flashbacks? personal thoughts?), plus italics are meant to show emphasis, and when everything is emphasized, nothing is.

>districts sat in the shadow of the proud, but kind edifice and the full moon would hang in the air in just the right place//

I have zero idea what this means. "Edifice" isn't the kind of thing that goes without an article; it's used here more like it's an abstract idea. And I'm just baffled at what "districts" is supposed to evoke.

>the moon above the midnight sky//

I'm not sure how the moon would be above the sky from his perspective. If he were in orbit, sure.

>The Crystal Ball had passed a few months ago and she had not danced.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>moon - the simple movement of the sky seemed to make him vanish - and//

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

>Sombra's gaze changed and she saw mischief in his eyes.//

Needs a comma.

>How on earth//

I'm not sure how that expression works in Equestria. If he were an earth pony, maybe, but he's a unicorn.

>you're dreadfully boring and standing here is certainly worthwhile isn't it?//

Missing a couple of commas.

>did a double take as she looked at King Sombra//

That's weirdly redundant and contradictory at the same time.

>her wariness broken and replaced with confusion//

You're using a limited narrator, so it's a bit off-putting to have her readily identify her emotion. That's not really how people experience it. To wit, if she's confused, it's more natural for her to try thinking her way through it or ask a question internally, not just to say she's confused.

>with slight disgust still visible//

And that's working against the perspective again. Her eyes are your camera. How can she see her own expression to evaluate it as disgust? You've even explicitly called it a visual thing.

>She too, felt stiff//

If you're going to use commas with "too," put them on both sides of it.

>He gave her a curious sideways glance and Cadance tried to remember what it was like having somepony who was taller than her.//

Needs a comma.

>Sombra noted that she sounded slightly sheepish//

Why are you switching to Sombra's perspective? The chapter didn't start there, and just as quickly, you go back to Cadence's. What was the value of being there? And if it has some, then surely it's worth staying there longer than a few paragraphs.

>When was the last time it was spoken?//

The tense is off here. It should be "had been spoken."

>with disinterest//

This isn't the same thing as saying he had no interest. It means he was once interested but no longer is, so make sure that's what you want.

>Cadance looked at her hooves and muttered something Sombra didn't hear and he promptly gave her another one of his curious looks that was best described as cat-like.//

And now the perspective is wavering badly. The narration identifies it as something he didn't hear before there's any evidence of such presented, which puts it in his viewpoint, but in the same sentence, there's a more external evaluation of his expression that'd seem to be more from Cadence. This also needs a comma between the clauses.

>Sighing, Cadance spoke up.//

The participle means these happen at the same time. It'd be strange for her to raise her voice while sighing.

>her not-quite-right smile//

Now you're back in Sombra's viewpoint.

>It'd take a lot explaining.//

Missing word.

>thirty two//

Needs a hyphen.

>Isn't a little weird to you that a gloomy ghost is telling me to lighten up...?//

That's a complete thought, so I don't know why she's trailing off with it.

>Cadance's smile was as it should be.//

Back into Sombra's viewpoint after having returned to Cadence's. I haven't been marking all the shifts. The perspective is really jumping around a lot.


That's generally used as a collective term: on her withers.

>to signal the start of his interruption//

But he didn't interrupt her. She finished speaking.

>last question first//

Odd juxtaposition. I think dropping the "last" wouldn't harm anything.

>looking completely relaxed//

Back to Cadence's head.

>The moon's light could be obscured, after all and a cloud outside did the trick.//

Needs a comma.


Two things: Only capitalize the first part of a stutter unless it's a word that has to be capitalized anyway. And since I don't know which word she was going to say, I don't know how to hear this. A "w" sound for "what" or "why"? An "h" sound for "who"?

>The next deep breath Cadance took was heard by both//

I have no idea which perspective this is, since neither one could definitively know that about the other without seeing evidence of it.

>her form glittering like a diamond//

Seems to be more from Sombra's viewpoint.

>Sombra's ghostly limb slipped into hers and she pulled him into the light.//

Needs a comma.

>I'm barely physically//

Physically what?

>He speaks the word with particular disgust, as though there's something about it he wants to dodge.//

Why is this in present tense? And narrative asides in quotes like this don't get capitalized or end punctuation (except possibly for an exclamation mark or question mark, if appropriate).

>She nodded into his wither.//


>one who have//

Verb conjugation is off.

>Sombra felt Cadance nod.//

Now you're in his head again.

>Cadance was relieved//

Don't be so direct. If she's relieved, then in her own head, she's going to have a "thank goodness" or some such, not a blunt "I'm relieved."

At this point, I have to wonder if you're writing an AU where she isn't married to Shining Armor. He's conspicuously absent from her thoughts.

>Cadance's hooves hurt from the night's dancing and laying out on the floor wasn't as cold as Sombra's deathly cold touch//

Needs a comma, and lie/lay confusion.

>Unable to touch anything other than flesh and his own regalia, Sombra found himself unable//

Watch that close word repetition.

>the first that Cadance had seen the handsome stallion make//

He hadn't smiled in any of the prior chapters? I could swear I'd read it, and since you were using her as your limited narrator, if the narrator mentions it, it follows that she knows about it.

>He crossed his ghostly forehooves and his expression soured.//

Needs a comma.

>the solitary Empress//

This really smacks of having moved to his perspective, since it'd be really strange for her to refer to herself in such a manner.

>Sombra looked down at the solitary Empress sprawled across the floor, and listened to her laugh for a moment longer//

That's actually a spot that doesn't need the comma, since the verb "listened" doesn't get its own subject.

>as it its//


>you had interrupted me//

Why is he injecting past perfect tense when responding to a past tense question?

>the use in the south//


>The green piece of glass close to Sombra wouldn't budge in any pointless attempt to pick it up that he made.//

That's really awkwardly phrased.

>Quirky things like this were Auntie Luna's niche but she hadn't realized how lonely she'd been//

Needs a comma.

>She didn't let that thought finish and Sombra's gaze only left her when she looked at him again, holding an azure fragment of glass in her magic.//

Needs a comma. Also note that grammatically speaking, it first appears he's the one holding the glass, since the phrase is located closer to his mention. It's a tad ambiguous.


Ah, so Shining Armor is in the picture. Curious that he's never come up until now.


Only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

>She grew up and moved out and has her own kingdom.//

And the picture comes together. I don't see what's gained by hiding when the story takes place until now, but if you're attached to the idea, it's not a big deal.

>Instead of looking down sorrowfully, as Cadance was prone to do whenever social subjects involving other ponies came up, she perked up.//

That's phrased pretty externally to her, and it's oddly expository during a scene that hasn't been.

>Cadance's purple tipped wings//

You'd wandered into her perspective around here. It's really odd for her to comment on the color of her wings. Why would she even notice?

>I had guard when I ruled//

Seems like that should be "guards" or "a guard."

>The tall Goddess-Empress of the Crystal Empire, Mi Amore Cadenza//

Again, a strange way for her to refer to herself.


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


Only capitalize the first one.

>trying to meet his calmed gaze//

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

>and Cadance nuzzled him back, once before wilting again//

Having a comma alone there is really strange. Either put another after "once" or drop this one.

>Sombry she was so young when it happened//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>Sombra leaned down to nuzzle her again and Cadance reached up a forehoof to stroke his fluffy face, no matter how cold he was, she felt comforted for the first time since the slow freeze of everything centuries ago.//

That first part needs a comma, and one of the two commas you have is a splice. It just depends on which part you want "no matter how cold he was" to go with.

>Cadance nodded, and thawed a little bit more.//

Unnecessary comma.

>he still had an actor's heart and his voice brought every word to life//

Needs a comma.

>It was a very silly thought, in fact, it was as silly as her eyes watering at the thought of her ghostly lover vanishing like all was a dream.//

Same deal: one of those commas is a splice, but it's up to you which one.

>a dusty vinyl//

A dusty vinyl what? Or is it common nowadays to use that word as a synonym for "record"?

>Was their distinguishing feature, their unreasonably short tails?//

Unnecessary comma.

>nine inch tail//


>cold. formal//

That period should be a comma.

>"Do lutes count as a genre?"//

Given what we know about the Crystal Empire's history, I'm surprised he doesn't have anything to say about flugelhorns.

>you had been reading to be//


>your own husband//

So... they're married now? That's a rather abrupt change to the relationship. I guess I'll have to talk about this in a minute.

Well, I'm at the end, so I'll talk about it now!

I do see the progression of why Cadence ends up with him, though I'm still not exactly in touch with why. He offers her a connection to her past and is the only one who will dance with her. She does gradually act comfortable around him. But I never really get a sense of what she likes about him. Just that he's the only option does not good romance make. How is it that their personalities are compatible? What does she see as good relationship material in him? I don't know if you;ve seen it, but Aragon did a series of blog posts on how to do realistic romance, and he keeps them linked on his homepage. It might be worth going through that to make sure you have a solid romance.

It works both ways as well. From Sombra's side, all I can tell is that she's the only one who will talk to him, maybe the only one who can see him. But I have no idea what he likes about her, how he feels the mesh well together, other than they both like dancing. Now, there's something to be said for atmosphere conveying some of that. The times they play games or read together do show that they at least have a deep friendship, and that can work for portraying a relationship well after the formative stages, but the formative stages are precisely what the story is meant to document, so it feels like a big omission to leave that out.

For that matter, Sombra is evasive about his past, and he never answers her. I don't know how she lets him get away with sweeping it under the rug that he had a reign of terror over an enslaved and mind-controlled population, and probably would have killed Cadence, given the opportunity. But all that just gets shoved aside so Cadence can love him without any obstacles. That's a pretty glaring thing to overlook when deciding you can utterly trust someone.

It ended up not being so bad that Shining Armor didn't come into it until late, but make sure that works with the perspective. And a quick aside: the perspective does need to be ironed out quite a bit, as it skips back and forth between them almost constantly. But assuming you want Cadence to be the viewpoint character (she is at the point of the reveal, anyway), does she have a motivation to avoid even thinking about it so it won't show up in the narration? Sure she does. But that doesn't mean she can exercise complete control of her thoughts and keep it from ever coming up. As I noted, there are several places where it would have been natural for it to, so these are where some aborted intrusive thoughts might start up before she can tamp them down. That would make it feel more realistic, like she's struggling to keep her mind off it instead of being implausibly free of such thoughts.

I don't know how much you're willing to add to this, or if you want to keep it within what would have been allowed for the contest. Touching up the editing and perspective aren't really going to change the word count, but building up a more solid romance might, depending on whether you can cut other things to balance. But that and the jumpy perspective are really the big things here. I just didn't come away from the story with an understanding of why either of them would choose the other, and you're not trying to play it up as a dysfunctional thing. The atmosphere and characterization were good, so I'd just like to see a stronger foundation for the relationship.

Jay Bear!cSWoEWwnvI 2938


Author here! Thank you very much for the thorough critique. One of my goals with this story is to experiment with tone, style, and perspective, so it's especially helpful to see where those experiments don't work and distract from the story. That said, you also flagged a lot of things that weren't experiments and just need to be better written (chapter 1 in general, Rarity OOC in chapter 2, that infodump in chapter 4, etc.). I'll get to work on re-writing before asking any in-depth questions, since I'm sure I can resolve some questions on my own.

Regarding the Sex tag, I added that for the double entendre titles of Rarity's romance novels, and don't have plans to add anything else that would merit the tag. It sounds like I was being overly cautious with FimFic's tagging rules and can safely remove it, though.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2939

I did find those different formats interesting, so I wouldn't call them failed experiments. It's just that they didn't quite fit the chosen perspective. The one with all the alliteration did create a confused feel, which would be right on target, except it did it in more of a comical way than a menacing one. It may well be that the witch sees the situation as comical, but then you'd need to be in her perspective to show that, and the witches aren't even shown as characters, so that's not possible. That said, they can be tweaked to show the experience of the perspective characters you chose.

Again let's take the alliterative one. Iirc, Fluttershy is the perspective character for that one. And she gets affected by the labyrinth enough that she starts speaking in alliteration as well, so it's not out of the question that it flows into her perception of what's happening. A similar effect happens later on as well, when the hunters speak in rhyme, or Fluttershy gets fooled by the fork in the road. So some of those would only take a minor tweak. Show it as the perspective character sees it, not as the witch does, and make the mood match. Rarity fighting the tongue monster is an example of one that did work well. The script-format one less so, since I don't know how writing it out as stage directions and labeled dialogue is supposed to inform my interpretation of how the perspective character at the time (I forget who it was) would perceive what was going on. I mean, what about the labyrinth would make it seem to that hunter that she was acting out a script? Writing it out as one doesn't quite do it, but there are other narrative tricks that might, like having the hunter feel like she was taking her fight cues from a director or something. I'm just spitballing here, but that's the kind of thought process you need here: how does the perspective character experience it?
This post was edited by its author on .

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2940

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.

>Thanks for walking me to the train station, daddy.//

When used as terms of address or effectively as names, family relations get capitalized.

>deep in her mane. He took a deep//

Try to avoid repeating all but the most mundane of words in a close space like this.

>to—” Pear Butter was cut off//

It's pretty redundant to narrate getting cut off when the punctuation already shows it.

>She spat her bag out and quickly crossed over to Grand Pear, planting a quick kiss on his cheek and running back to the train.//

Note that participles mean things happen at the same time, so she goes to Grand Pear, kisses him, and runs back simultaneously, where it's more reasonable for her to do that in a sequence.

>I love you, daddy!//

Capitalization of the family relation again.

>Even though his hooves felt like they were glued in place//

This is 8th paragraph, but it's the first that doesn't start with dialogue. Try and mix up the structure a bit for variety.

>tall, black//

These are hierarchical adjective, so they don't need a comma. The non-foolproof test is that if they describe different aspects of something, or if they sound really awkward in reverse order, you don't need the comma.

>the end of the last car raced past him, the bright red lights on the end//

Watch that repetition again.

>all he could do was lay still//

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

>In the exact same ritual he performed every morning//

You could use some more variety in your narration like this sentence. So many of your narrative sentences start with the subject. Most of your sentences probably will, but break them up hre and there. It doesn't take much to have a big impact.

This paragraph has its own couple of instances of repetition. There are two phrasings that get used twice:
>towards the house’s living areas
>towards the stove
>the house’s selection

>Breakfast was accounted for//

It's often hard to put my finger on exactly why something isn't working when it's purely related to the story's feel, but I'll try. The opening scene had more visual imagery than this, and there was tension. A good-bye, and we didn't know why, plus the action with the train kept interest up. Now, it's just Grand Pear going through his morning routine, and it's really dull. This paragraph is one of the worst offenders. It gives us quite a bit of detail, but it's detail that doesn't mean anything. None of these events or descriptions are going to be important to the plot. I can get that maybe you're deliberately trying to create a mood of boring routine, but that's very difficult to do while keeping the story entertaining. If you want to establish a sense of boredom, it's best to make it short.

>yesterday’s paper. If he remembered right, he still hadn’t looked at the financial section from yesterday’s edition.//

You don't need to say twice that it's from yesterday.

>Her expression was somewhere between concern and caution.//

It's fairly abstract to mention the mood, because there are lots of ways that could look. Describe it. Show me your vision of it and let me deduce the emotion on my own. If you do it well, I'll get where you want me to go.

>keeping his eyes fixated on the newspaper//

That's not really a place for "fixated." "Fixed" is more what you want.

>Grand paused for a moment//

>He paused for a moment//
These are in consecutive sentences.

>The percolator began to whistle quietly, signifying that the coffee was almost ready.//

Don't over-explain things. Let the facts speak for themselves. Even if I didn't know a percolator whistled, his reaction to it will tell me.

>he could tell that she wasn’t too pleased with his appraisal of the significance of the dreams//

How so? Let me see what she's doing. Don't just sum it up and draw the conclusion for me. It's less real that way.

>that family?//

When you italicize something for emphasis, it's preferred to include any question marks or exclamation marks on it in the italics.

>with eyes full some emotion he couldn’t quite place. Shock? Pity? Guilt?//

Missing word. Also, this places you well within the realm of a limited narrator. The narration is vocalizing Grand's thoughts for him. This really is the key to those moments of boring routine. Show his inner turmoil through the tone the narration takes, and contrast that with the boring exterior. Use the limited narrator to its full advantage.


What's that to a pony?

>he was the one that broke//

When referring to a sentient being, it's preferred to use "who" instead of "that."

>No, he couldn’t do that.//

This scene is doing a much better job of keeping tension and interest up through the narrative tone. If you can make the previous scene more like this one, it'd do a lot better.

>They’d understand, he thought.//

Okay, if you're going to have the narrator state his thoughts for him, then it's odd to also have quoted thoughts. They create different levels of distance from the reader.

>rummaging through his bag//

>rummaged through them//
These occur close enough together for a word that unusual that it feels repetitive.

>Dear Grand Pear,//

The bbcode you're using to do this formatting puts a bar down the left side, which just looks strange. Check out the bbcode guide on the site. It supports a couple different indent ones which would probably create the effect you want.

>I’ll be taking custody of the foals//

Not sure she'd actually use that term. Big Mac wasn't very young anymore when Apple Bloom was born. I don't know that he could be called a foal at that point. Applejack, maybe.

>He’d been so dumbfounded that he forgot to breathe//

You mentioned a full minute going by. You might want to shorten that. A minute's past "forgetting to breathe" territory.

>His throat began to tighten up, and he knew that it would only be a few seconds before his eyes flooded with tears.//

The limited narration (and his quoted thoughts, for that matter) sound rather sedate for what should be a big emotional moment. Compare to that bit I excerpted earlier, where Grad was asking questions in the narration. Let the narration carry his mood and show his passion.

>eased, and the tightness that he felt throughout his body began to ease//

Close word repetition.

>around the store//

>everything around him//
>all around him//
All that is in the same paragraph.

>with it out of his sight//

"It" is singular, but he knocked more than one thing to the floor.

>the payment method; in this case, a money order//

The semicolon isn't used right, since what comes after it couldn't stand as a complete sentence.

>placed a single twenty-bit coin on the counter while Grand placed//

Close word repetition.

>He could easily see that she wasn’t so convinced.//

How so? What does she do?

I'm still seeing that if a paragraph contains dialogue, it always begins with the dialogue. A little variety always helps.

>one of the taps on the bar//

It's self-evident that's where they'd be, plus it's already the third time in the chapter you've used "bar."


No reason to hyphenate that.

>still didn’t feel any different otherwise//

The "still" and "otherwise" are fairly redundant, and then you have another "still" in the next sentence.

>it sucked//

Kind of odd seeing someone of his generation using that term but it's up to you.

>Grand paused to pound another shot down.//

But Gerry cut him off, and you haven't said anything since then to change that.

>Not that it phased Grand.//


>the fu- from//

Use a proper dash for cutoffs and asides, not a hyphen.

>funeral…” Grand trailed off//

It's pretty redundant to narrate trailing off when the punctuation already indicates it.

>Gerry looked away from Grand.//

When did he look at Grand? Last time you said what he was doing, he was keeping himself occupied so he didn't have to pay attention.

>fuzziness in his sight//

You just mentioned "fuzz" two paragraphs ago.

>I screwed up, Gerry.”//

When his dialogue bridges across paragraphs, you need to renew the opening quotes on each paragraph.

>Even through the fuzz in his mind//

More fuzz already?

>as he sat on his cold metal bench, watching as dozens of ponies rushed back and forth//

It's really clunky to have multiple "as" clauses in the same sentence. They fight each other for setting the timeline.

>So long as he avoided letting anypony smell the liquor on his breath and walked a straight line, he’d be home free.//

I don't get this. They won't let drunk ponies ride the train? Why not? It isn't dangerous.

>quickly. He’d still have time to grab a quick//

>a bit too far inward, and he stumbled a bit//

>The mare in the window looked on with disinterest as Grand turned away from her slowly and began walking away slowly at first, and then began to increase his pace, his steps becoming more and more wobbly and disconcerted as he picked up speed.//

The way this is phrased, she keeps watching him the whole time, but I don't know how he could tell that.

>back over onto his back//

Repetition. You also use "still" twice in this paragraph. You have 22 uses of "still" in the chapter, which is tending toward overuse.


Include the question mark in the italics.

>laying back flat on her head//

You need "lying" here.

>wrapped him in a tight hug//

>wrapped tightly in each other’s embrace//
These are only two paragraphs apart.

>Her embrace was just about the only place he felt safe enough to let it out.//

The line break is off here.

I'll just check another couple of words that it feels like I'm seeing a lot in this chapter. Look: 25, just: 32.

>Péra wrapped a hoof around his shoulders//

And now more wrapping.

>detailed a lot of the little details//

That seems self-explanatory.

>In a couple of hours time//

This should be phrased as a possessive: In a couple of hours' time.

>The gate swung open, its lightly rusted hinges groaning quietly as they were brought to life. Grand Pear stepped through the entrance, his hooves crunching in the gravel as he made his way slowly forward. His legs were killing him after the walk to get here, each step hindered by stiffness in his joints, but it wasn’t quite time to rest.//

Look how repetitive your sentence structure is here.
1. main clause, absolute phrase, dependent "as" clause
2. main clause, absolute phrase, dependent "as" clause
3. main clause, absolute phrase, dependent clause

>patches of snow left over, but those would be gone in just a few days. Patches//

Repetition. I'm not even pointing out all the instances of repetition, just examples.

>there was one single wilting red flower already needed trimming//

Missing word.


You don't need to hyphenate two-word phrases starting with an -ly adverb.

>were only starting to bloom//

>was just starting to sprout//
These are in consecutive paragraphs.

>just wasn’t much work to do to the grave. In just a few minutes, it already looked just//

See what I mean about overusing "just"? It isn't only the raw numbers, but how they can tend to turn up in clusters.

>But it’s too late. You’re gone, and there’s nothing I can do.”//

You need opening quotes on this, since it starts a new paragraph.

>the growing chorus of sobs//

Don't oversell this. Power often comes through being understated.

This isn't a bad redemption-type story, but it should be obvious from what I had to mention multiple times what the problems are. There's lots of repetition, and the first few scenes of chapter 1 are boring. What I think it's still missing, though, is more about Pera. She encouraged Grand to visit the Apples, he seemed receptive to it, and then we skip ahead in time to where she's dead, and he still has never gone for vague reasons.

It's like that sobbing at the end. There's more than is required to make the story work. Yeah, maybe you're trying to fit canon, but even that's easy to get around. Maybe Pera goes with him, but he didn't expect to be approached by the Apples, so he got caught by surprise without her. That'd work fine. Throwing in needless tragedy makes a story harder to take as realistic, and thus it can easily have the opposite effect than the author intended: it makes the story less sad because it's harder to relate to.

At the very least, we need some more concrete reason why Grand delayed so much longer (I don't even get a sense of how much later it is), and then consider how much it actually serves the plot to have Pera dead. It doesn't change his attitude toward his daughter, after all.
This post was edited by its author on .

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2948

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.

>pairs - including//

Please use a proper dash for asides and interruptions.

>The woman//

You've now identified her as Twilight, so why persist in using vague descriptors for her?

>it’s feeble magic depleted//

Its/it's confusion.

>here,” Discord eyed Twilight with his piercing gaze//

Your speech tag has no speaking verb. You can't tack just any action onto dialogue with a comma.


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

>Finally, she turned to Discord and nodded.//

This is the last sentence of the first scene and about a quarter of the way through the story. It's also the first narrative sentence that doesn't start with the subject. It's a very aesthetic thing, but the sentence structures in this story are very plodding and repetitive. SO many of them start with the subject, and so many of them are about the same length. You have to throw a little variety in there just to give the story a pleasant flow. That's my biggest issue with the story so far: it doesn't have any sort of lyrical quality to the narration. It reads more like a list of actions.

>Discord and Twilight sat across from one another at the dining room table. Two cups of steaming hot tea sat in front of them. Twilight cupped the beverage in her hands and watched Discord.//

Try to avoid close repetition of words, too. This happened in a few places. In this example, you have two uses of "sat" in consecutive sentences, and two uses of some form of "cup."

>His signature goatee survived the transition nicely//

You have a bit of dissonance in the narrative voice. Basically, you need to decide whether you want a limited narrator who's telling the story through Twilight's eyes or a limited narrator who's external to everyone. This sounds very much like one of Twilight's thoughts, so would be limited, yet the story started out sounding very omniscient, giving descriptions Twilight herself wouldn't make, like referring to her as "the woman" and listing details about her jewelry.

>“So…” she traced the lines on the table with her eyes.//

You keep using non-speaking actions as dialogue tags.

>“About six months or so.” Discord said matter-of-factly.//

That first period needs to be a comma.

>... Ten//

Don't put a space after a leading ellipsis.

>They gave me money and sometimes food. Never more than enough to last the day, though.//

Missing your closing quotation marks.

You're using a ton of ellipses in Twilight's dialogue. They're like seasonings. A little adds flavor, but too much is overwhelming. You want the reader remembering what happened, not that he saw a bunch of ellipses.

>Twilight choked back a sob as a tear slide down her cheek.//

Three things: 1) that's a very abrupt change of mood, from being not even upset to full-on sobbing, 2) there's a typo, and 3) that single tear is about the most cliched thing possible.

>Her eyes were red, puffy, and wet.//

Going back to perspective, if you're using a limited narrator in her viewpoint, she might know her eyes were wet, but she can't see them. How would she know they were red and puffy?

>Humans and Ponies//

Not sure why you're capitalizing those.

>She ran her fingers over several textbooks of various subjects.//

This is a symptom of a larger issue. When you leave things so vague like this, it has very limited impact. Give a couple of examples, attach some emotion to them. Maybe one was from the calculus class where someone asked her on a date for the first time, maybe another was from the English class where she couldn't bring herself to read a poem she'd written, so the teacher did it for her, and everyone loved it. Little windows into her life like that with the kinds of details to bring it alive are how you really engage a reader. A couple of brief examples will always be more powerful than a generalization. This goes for whoever her romantic interest is. We've just gotten generic statements that he looked out for her, but that doesn't paint a picture at all. Let me see a couple of times he did so I get to witness them, not simply have to accept the narrator's assurances that they were appropriately touching.

>concealed the slumbering form of a young girl//

This is very external again. She's not going to refer to her own daughter as "a young girl" in her own thoughts.

>You're also a grandmother now!//

That's a strange sentiment. Celestia isn't her mother, and nowhere in the story has she expressed that she considers Celestia like one, so this is just coming out of nowhere.

>but let's try this…//

It's far less reasonable to put an ellipsis in something she's written that something she says. In speech, people trail off for various reasons, none of which apply to writing, and it's not a very deliberate thing. But in a letter, she'd have to make a conscious decision to put the three dots on the page, and she must think she's accomplishing something by doing so, but I can't imagine what that is. It's a very iffy prospect to put speech affectations into something a character has written.

>Celestia paced relentlessly across the stone floor of her courtroom.//

Wait, we were just on Earth. Why are you skipping over to Equestria? That's a very jarring transition. There are ways to make this kind of thing work, but to suddenly drop it in just makes things a little confusing.

>the wailing alicorn//

If you go over the top, you risk making the emotion feel unrealistic. Where tragedy is concerned, less is often more. Giving the character an extreme reaction doesn't make it more sad. It just makes it less authentic.

>Give my regards to all of my friends, my parents, Shining, Cadance, and Spike.//

And this is the bit that the story never explains. She's known Spike for somewhere around 20 years. She's been on Earth for 10. I would think she'd have a greater attachment to Spike than this, but she glosses over it like she can just send a hello to him, and he'll understand.

>each of you are//

"Each" is considered singular, so use "is."

This is an interesting idea for a story, but the narration never really decides what it wants to be, it's very repetitive structurally (to get a feel for that, try reading it out loud, especially if you skip the dialogue), and Twilight seems very dismissive at the end about what she's giving up in Equestria. Part of engaging with a character is getting involved with her struggle, but we don't see it here. Twilight learns that Discord can take her back, he says he needs a decision, and we cut to her calmly informing Celestia of what she decided. All that turmoil occurred off camera, yet that's what gives the story its strength. You're asking the reader to come up with that investment for you, but it's the author's job to show his vision of it. It's another example of how you diminish the story's power by sticking to vagaries instead of letting me witness the key moments that form the story's emotional basis. If it's important to the story's emotional arc, don't skip past it and make me imagine how it must have gone.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2955

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

There are a couple of impressions I have immediately. The writing's good, but there are some quirks and stylistic things that detract from it.

You use Radagast's name so frequently that it gets off-putting. In the first scene, he's the only character there, so it's not ambiguous to use "he." It can sound forced to use names more often than is necessary.

The next thing is the preponderance of "to be" verbs. Right away, your paragraphs have so many instances of "was." Between that and "wasn't," you have 95 of them in the first chapter alone, and that just continues. That's a very boring verb, as nothing happens. It's not practical to remove them all, but you really should be using active verbs where you can. It makes the story more interesting. You use other forms of it as well, but for "was/wasn't" alone there's one about every 3 sentences. That's not terrible, but they tend to turn up in clumps, which makes the story's momentum stagnate.

I also don't get a good impression of Radagast's size. He's small enough that the rabbits can pull him on a sled, but I don't know that a couple dozen could pull a full-grown human. So is he not much bigger than the rabbits? Just having some sort of reference where he's near something of a known size would give a better picture of him. Or just saying he's a human, I guess.

>the wizard//

You're taking a fairly shallow limited narration in Radagast's perspective, so the narration is essentially his train of thought. Why would he refer to himself with such an external phrasing like this? People don't do that.

>became more dense, and shrubs started to become//

Try to avoid repeating a word close together like that, unless it's a themtic repetition.

>he could see//

>The wizard knew//
This is a subtle thing, but a limited narrator is so connected to the character that they have the same perceptions and knowledge. So it's not necessary to say he could see something. Just the fact that the narrator describes it means that he saw it. And just because the narrator says something means that he knew it. When you force in these perception and knowledge verbs, you push the narrator farther from the character, which works against the point of having a limited narrator.

>then he lay still.

>Radagast lay on his back on the ground//
Close word repetition again. I won't keep marking these, so keep an eye out for them.

>Wasn’t that the way the storm was coming from?//

You've spent the whole scene in Radagast's perspective so far. Why are you switching over the the rabbits' perspective? And you don't even stay there.

>brusque pace//

I have to think you meant brisk.

>Gandalf had been paying him a visit//

Another thing about "to be" verbs is that they're often used unnecessarily as auxiliary verbs. If you changed this to "Gandalf had paid him a visit," what do you lose?

>someone— dangerous?//

Extraneous space after the dash.

You have lots of questionable semicolons. Ideally, you should be able to replace one with a period and have both resulting sentences stand as complete.

>the pony had no idea what the birds’ names where.//

Typo. And it's getting really obtrusive here that you're apparently taking her perspective, yet you have her refer to herself as "the pony." The scene started out in a strange conversational-sounding narrator with no identifiable perspective, and he's still trying to be omniscient while taking on Fluttershy's stream of thought at times.

>she realized that her eyes were unseeing

>“I-I can’t see!” she said//
That's pretty redundant. It's also really odd that this wasn't the very first things she noticed. It's not like she'd been holding her eyes shut.

>The pony felt worry and anxiety leap upon her every nerve.//

You really need to avoid always directly identifying emotion like this. I don't doubt this is consistent with Tolkein, but it does stand out as not being very engaging. Show me how she acts and looks, or what she thinks. It doesn't connect me to the character to know abstractly that she's worried and anxious.

>But the sounds of her friends’ names where the only things accompanying her.//

Same typo as before. You seem to have a consistent issue with where and were.

>The pony, scared as she was, forced her to concentrate//

That "her" should be a "herself."

>the pony realized that she wasn’t where she thought she was.

>“I am not in Ponyville anymore, am I?”//
Redundant again.

>A single tear rolled from the corner of her hazy eye.//

This is one of the most cliched things possible.

>in the merciless nature//

That's just a strange phrasing.

>At the rim of the black circle of burnt leaves, two squirrels gathered and looked curiously at the pony.//

This is strange with the perspective. You'd apparently been using Fluttershy as a limited narrator, but now you're having the narrator describe things she can't see.

>The wind started blowing fierce.//


>She couldn’t fight or flight//

In that syntax, you'd use flee, not flight.

>unconsciousness pony//

You have a noun where you need an adjective.

>where the scared little rabbits were going to; back to his home.//

You should get rid of that first "to," and a colon would be more appropriate than a semicolon, since you're defining or clarifying their destination.

>thick, purple carpet//

Just because you have multiple adjectives doesn't mean you need a comma. When they describe completely different aspects of something, like these do, they're hierarchical adjectives and don't use a comma.

>Luna’s full moon//

It's very cliched to refer to the sun and moon as belonging to the princesses.

>but Rarity’s reaction had to do with her mane//

I don't understand what you mean Rarity's doing here.

Let me back up to an earlier sentence:
>A collective moan indicated that nopony was yet able to talk//
Rainbow Dash is, because she'd already spoken. However, the narration seems to be taking her perspective in this scene, and then this sentence works. She's worried about everyone else, and none of them can talk yet, and it's natural she might not include herself in this statement. So far, so good. But if you're in Rainbow Dash's perspective, it needs to sound like her as well. To make an extreme example, say you have Apple Bloom as your perspective character. It would feel out of place to have her limited narration (essentially her stream of thought) go on with very purple and florid language. Same thing here. A lot of this scene just doesn't sound like word and phrase choices that Dash would make.

>the alicorn//

And you're doing this same thing you did last chapter. This is a very impersonal reference. Dash knows Twilight well, so why would she choose to describe her this way? Do you think of your best friend as "the person" in your own thoughts? That's how unnatural this is.


You keep referring to this, but it has a meaning related to lightning and electricity as well, and since those things are also used in this part of the story, it gets confusing. I thought you actually meant there was an electrical arc in the room. You might want to use "arch" to describe the piece of the machine.

>nothing to severe//

Too/to confusion.

>done a few paces//

That's a strange phrasing.

>Rainbow Dash let out a sigh of annoyance.//

Really, really, really try to avoid using these "in/of/with emotion" phrases. For one thing, it's better to have the character demonstrate that emotion than to simply have the narrator state it, but these particular phrases are usually redundant with something already in the sentence. The sigh in context can already paint her as annoyed. If you don't think it's enough, you could add a bit more body language, but it's apparent she's annoyed anyway, without you having to point it out.

>A search it is, then.//

This seems awfully stoic and calm for Twilight.


Kind of an odd word choice for Pinkie.

>Although Starlight Glimmer had a dozen more questions to ask Twilight, she saw that her master wouldn’t say anything more. Twilight hated drawing conclusions on suspicions.//

Okay, I can at least see the value in changing from Dash's perspective to Twilight's. At the beginning of the scene, Dash was the only one who was aware enough to witness what was happening. Then you want the camera to stay behind after Dash leaves, so you go to Twilight. But why do you need to go to Starlight here?

Why are these two going on and on about the machine being destroyed when Twilight's already acknowledged that Fluttershy is gone? Isn't that the more immediate concern?

>When the rubble was cleared and sorted, Twilight—with pain in her heart—decided to break a few dangling cables and sharp pieces of metal off the machine//

More unusual sentence elements stand out when repeated, so you don't want them to become writing quirks. This is already the third narrative aside of the paragraph.

>Only when that was done did the two unicorns proceed to cleaning up the study.//

This paragraph is just loaded with passive voice. That's not a very interesting structure to read.

>called: The Chronicles of Starswirl the Bearded Volume One//

You don't need that colon.

>disappointment was etched on everypony’s faces//

I haven't been marking every instance of this I see. In fact, I'm not marking many of them at all. But aside from not demonstrating the emotion, it's repetitive with Starlight being described as having a "hint of disappointment" just 3 paragraphs ago.

>I’m terribly sorry, twilight//


>taking the word//

I have no idea what this means. Is it a foreign idiom?

>but neither of us has been able to find the poor darling//

The use of "neither" implies 2, but 4 of them have been looking.

>although the alicorn did her best to hide her lack of it//

And now you've gone back to Twilight's perspective. Plus used a reference that doesn't work well with it.

>as she saw that there were now two ponies missing. “Hasn’t Pinkie Pie returned yet?”//

But you haven't mentioned Dash coming back yet. Is she there?

>Fluttershy’s cabin//

It's not really a cabin. I've most often seen it described as a cottage.

>now completed circle//

When you use a multi-word phrase like "now completed" as a single modifier for a word that follows it, hyphenate the phrase.

>noticing the alicorn’s strange reaction//

Now I have no idea what perspective you're using. Twilight wouldn't describe her own reaction as strange, but you haven't taken on anyone else's viewpoint.

>opposite of the thrones//

When you're using "opposite" to describe a physical location, you typically don't use "of" with it.

>I will first tell you what the machine is and what it does//

This is just the portal machine, right? Don't they already know what it does?

>receiving many odd stared//


>Rarity wanted to take the word.//

There's that strange idiom.

>one of Moondancer’s book//



This is actually the exception. You don't ned hyphens in two-word phrases when the first word is an -ly adverb.

>Pinkie’s eyes tripled in size, and she munched away another cupcake without taking her eyes off Twilight Sparkle, captivated by the tale.//

By proximity, it sounds like Twilight is the one captivated by the tale.

>I had teleported Frodo Baggins, a character from the book, The Lord of the Rings, written by J.R.R. Tolkien, into Equestria using the machine.//

Wait, what? Why not just have Middle Earth be a real alternate universe? What does it add to have it be a fictional world? It's kind of an odd choice, since MLP is itself fictional, or are you playing it as real? And is Tolkein a pony author? Or is he from the EqG world?

>Suddenly, she wished that nopony would be looking at her.//

Now you're in Dash's head. Plus it's pointless to have her and Twilight both bring up that they had some great adventures, then say absolutely nothing about them. It's a useless tease.

>phase two. The face//



Extra period.

>But whether her pony friends were really indignant, she couldn’t tell.//

This would seem to be in Starlight's perspective. Really, jumping around to different characters like this is fine in an omniscient narration, and if that's what you want to use, then just be careful to keep opinions out of the narration and don't express character thought through narration. And in that case, those references like "the alicorn" would also work, provided you don't us them too often. So it's probably easiest to make sure your narration stays omniscient.

>“It would have been nice to get rid of you for a while.”//

Why in the world does Rarity say this? It's just mean, and it's for no reason.

>a poor little filly//

And this is the kind of thing I'm talking about when I say the narration sounds limited. This is Dash's impression and thought process made into narration. When the narrator states Dash's opinion as if his own, he essentially becomes her. If you want it to stay omniscient, you have to avoid that. Keep the narration factual and attribute opinions explicitly to the characters.

>ever-slinking pile//

That means the pile is sneaking around. I have to think you meant "shrinking."

>Even Starlight had no words for such a theory.//

Why is this so hard for her to comprehend? Isn't it the most obvious explanation?

>Resting two hooves on the table, Twilight’s head was flopped down upon them//

This says Twilight's head was resting two hooves on the table.

>Sometimes her shoulder shocked//

I'm guessing you meant "shook."

>she was not going to leave her friend down//

let her friend down

>She had taken a few days off the weather squad//

She had taken a few days off from the weather squad

>start from scrap//

You might have meant "start from scratch," though it could have a valid meaning as is.

>Feeling the burden of guilt weighing on her shoulders, Twilight’s head dropped again//

Similar to before, this says her head felt the burden of guilt, not that Twilight did.

>No silence this time, but a flurry of questions, aimed directly at Starlight Glimmer.//

It's also sentence fragments like this that create a conversational tone and suggest a limited rather than an omniscient narration.

>Not ponies or zebra’s or griffons//

Why is one of those a possessive?


Why do you keep capitalizing this direction?

Well, with all this discussion about where Dash wanted to go in the books, it's more justified that it's a fictional world, but it does beg the question: we've seen in canon that they have magic comics that can draw you in to experience the adventure. It's a shorter path to having such books as well than to say Twilight built a machine that can take them into fictional worlds. She's pretty much reinventing something that already exists.

>I don’t want to tell too much about it.//

I don't understand why she wouldn't want to. She's not trying to keep a secret.


That wouldn't be capitalized, as it's a generic term of endearment.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2956

>tiny, wooden//
Hierarchical adjectives again. You don't need the comma.

>one of them had fallen down and spilled honey and broken combs on the grass//

You mention this after saying they're all shaking and shuddering, so is the broken one doing that too?

I'm not familiar enough with Tolein to know whether he uses an omniscient narrator with personality, so it may be you're just doing the same as he did. But there's a bit if a disconnect. Take this line from the beginning of chapter 3:
>From a small clearing arose a tiny, wooden cabin, barely standing out against the surrounding pine trees.//
This sounds like the point of view of someone not familiar with the place. A lot of the first paragraph seems so. It's definitely opinionated, but it's a stretch to say it's Radagast's opinion. Then later we get these:
>Yes, she was still breathing. He put a hand on her breast. Yes, she her heart was still beating.//
That's directly from Radagast's thoughts, not some external narrator, so it's inconsistent in how it uses the narrative voice.

>Folding back the wing, Radagast turned around and began pacing to and fro/

Note that participial phrases, like "folding back the wing," mean that the action they describe is simultaneous to the part of the sentence they're attached to. So you have him folding back the wing at the same time he's pacing, where it's more likely he'd do them one after the other.

>A few birds came flying down their branches//

Missing a "from."

>put in on the table//


>and stared at the wizard with tilted heads//

They just did that 2 paragraphs ago.

>He searched for the word, ‘wing,’ but found nothing useful. Then he searched for, ‘bird,’//

You don't need the comma before either quote.

>Radagast had all gained them//

A more typical phrasing would be "Radagast had gained them all."

>probably to the vegetable garden to save what could be saved from the destructive storm//

I thought they didn't like getting wet.

>she felt panic flash its tendrils around her chest//

You've been staying with Radagast's thoughts and impression, but this is definitely hers. There's no way he would know this, at least as you've stated it. It's no adeduction he's making from evidence; it's just stated as a fact, which would require him to read her mind.

>the yellow pony//

And if you are going to her perspective for some vital reason, it'd be odd fer her to describe herself this way. People don't think of themselves in so external terms.

>Grabbing some lettuce, some carrots, and filling a bowl with water from a barrel, he returned and put both food and drink down next to the bed.//

Here's another spot where participial phrases are synchronizing things that shouldn't be.

>she could see again//

You're definitely back in her viewpoint, as Radagast never knew that she couldn't see.

>the rain lost its their cloudy allies//

Extraneous word.

>that, ”//

Extraneous space.

>already having displaying//

The verb form is off. It'd be "having displayed."

>It reminded her of home and all of the other animals she called her friends.//

I can't keep marking these. Suffice it to say you need to get a handle on keeping a consistent perspective or on keeping the narration omniscient.

>smell atop the smell//

Watch that close repetition.

>“Gandalf, on the other hand”—Radagast closed his eyes and let out a chuckle—“is//

Note that the difference between the placement of dashes you use here and putting them with the speech is whether he stops speaking for the action. The one you've chosen means the speech doesn't stop, so he keeps speaking through the chuckling. Make sure that's what you intended.

>Saruman the White//

Note how you capitalize the colors with the names, yet when he first gave his name as "Radagast the brown," he didn't.

>the centaur which//

When talking about sentient creatures, it's preferred to use "who" intead of "that" or "which."

>It has simply… vanished and forgotten.//

The verb forms don't quite make sense there. The ring has vanished, that's true, but it hasn't forgotten. It's been forgotten.

>d-d-dark lord//

Why isn't it capitalized here?

>to whom we are speaking and listening to//

Since you have that first "to," you don't need the second one.

Here's the thing that confuses me a bit. Horses exist in our world, so we came up with MLP as a fantasy version of that. But how does someone in Equestria invent all these humanoid races when such things don't really exist in Equestria? Minotaurs aren't that far off, but still, whereas elves and dwarves and orcs and such are variations on humans, they aren't variations on something they'd be familiar with. Not that this is something the reader can't just accept and move past, but it does strike me as a little odd. It's just another thing poking me in the brain and making me wonder why you didn't just make Middle Earth an alternate universe they can travel to instead of a fictional one.

>Forgotten, or reluctant?//

You're definitely in Fluttershy's perspective here, which makes the following problematic:
>Having read only a small portion of the trilogy, Fluttershy hadn’t reached the part of the book were Radagast was mentioned—which wasn’t long at all. Barely a few sentences were written about Radagast the Brown in Tolkien’s trilogy, but that didn’t stop Radagast from existing right before Fluttershy’s nose.//
If the limited narrator is in Fluttershy's perspective, he can't know things she doesn't. Yet he's clearly giving information on part of the books that she hasn't gotten to.

>dug through the dusty cloths, digging//


>a droning cadence; “I want to go home, I want to go home, I want to go home.”//

That should be a colon.

>Sitting down on the bed//

This makes it sound like she had already gotten up and is now sitting down.

>she saw the massive trees looming over Rhosgobel. Pine trees, Fluttershy saw, but they were much bigger than any pine tree she’d ever seen//

That's three forms of "see" in just 23 words. And there are three others in the same paragraph.

>Alexander flew up and landed on Fluttershy’s head, looking outside as well and greeting the morning with the same feeling of peace as Fluttershy. His concentration wasn’t as long as the pony’s, however, and he soon flew off again and towards the kitchen, attracted by the scent of tasty treats.//

I don't know why you bother going to the bird's perspective. You only stay there for two sentences, and nothing important gets revealed while you're there.

>not— I//

Don't leave space around an em dash.

>It was strange how she felt both outlandish and familiar at the same time. But she felt good. The familiarity and resemblances gave her some comfort, and she could feel that from the inside.//

Here, you directly use a form of "feel" three times. It's a verb to avoid anyway, as it's better to demonstrate how she feels instead of telling me, and to do so repeatedly over the course of only two sentences is even more something to avoid.

>He grabbed his tea and took another sip.//

This is a very, very common trap writers fall into. When two characters are sharing a drink, they lose all imagination and can't think of anything to have the characters do with their beverages beyond some variation on "take another sip." People do lots of things with their drinks besides this. Surely you can think of some more.

>vertically from East to West//

Wouldn't that be horizontally? Unless she's looking at the map sidways, but you don't say that.


Consider what sound she'd actually repeat. "That" doesn't begin with a "t" sound.

>Indeed you aren’t.//

That's not really an appropriate response to what she said.

>and took a sip of tea//

And there you go with the sipping again. That's all they've done since they poured it. And even that didn't really get a mention.

>they’re called, pegasi//

No reason to have a comma there.

>earth-ponies and unicorns. Earth ponies//

Inconsistent dash use. Canon doesn't put one there.

>princess Celestia//

The title would be capitalized when attached to a name.

>similar, Don’t they//

Extraneous capitalization.



>I rather stay on the ground//


>She’s even wrote//

Either "she even wrote" or "she's even written."

It's a little curious that Fluttershy only discusses the other Elements and Spike. It's not like they're her only friends. She knows Bulk Biceps, Tree Hugger, and Discord. She's a frequent customer of Aloe and Lotus. She has Angel Bunny. She has parents and a brother.

>it has been awhile//

I won't go into the long explanation of why, but "a while" and "awhile" aren't interchangeable. The former is a noun, and the latter is an adverb. You need the noun form here.




Again, consider what sound she'd actually repeat.

>He could read her big blue eyes like a map. He found them the easiest eyes he had ever read, and he had read countless animals’ eyes and deciphered countless emotions.//

That's very repetitive phrasing.

>That was the way he liked to think; while on the move.//

That semicolon should be a colon. Not only are you defining or clarifying something, but you don't have an independent clause after it.

>strange, pink, column//

Hierarchical adjectives again, and you never put a comma between the last adjective and what they describe.

>although their faces looked much the same as everypony else’s//

Then how is it that this narrator, whomever it's supposed to represent, can distinguish between excitement and amazement?

>climbing frame//

Very minor thing, but your reading audience will be primarily American, and most Americans won't know this term. Here, it's called a jungle gym or monkey bars. That's up to you, though.

>pouring down the heavens//

Missing a "from."

>a rainbow-and-cloud; Dash’s cutie mark//

Another semicolon that should be a colon.

>hues of color//


>Rainbow Dash didn’t saw her//


>Fluttershy was running straight at the machine//

I don't understand why she would do this, unless she wasn't paying attention to where she was going. And if that's the case, the limited narrator using her perspective also shouldn't know where she's going.

>if she’d abort//

The tense is off here. Use "if she aborted."

>pacing>[ 2//

You have this at the end of the chapter for some reason. I assume it's unintentional.

>as predicted by the story//

Well, it's less predicted than mandated, right? THat begs the question of whether the story can turn out any way other than how it's written. Yes, Fluttershy could get hurt or killed, but in a global sense, th good guys are still going to win, I presume.

>making sure that The Lord of the Rings, was always within reach//

No reason to have that comma.

>the only sound coming from the library were//

Mixing singular/plural there, plus shortly after, there's a close repetition of "sound," and there are a lot of uses of "had been" lately.


What's the apostrophe for? There aren't any missing letters.

>princess Celestia and princess Luna//

Capitalize titles when they're on names like that.

>He flopped the stationary down//

"Stationary" means something doesn't move. You want "stationery."

>let his green, slit eyes run over the words//

Why are you bothering to describe his eyes here? The reader already knows what they look like, and it's not even pertinent to what's happening.

>Princess Celestia would recognize the letter the moment she’d receive it.//

Typical verb form would be "she received it" here.

>princess Celestia’s//


>looked at the ponies one by one, looking//


>princess Celestia//

Capitalization. I'm not going to mark any more of these.

>The other ponies followed her flight with an unsure expression.//

All of them had just one expression?

>going limp of exhaustion//

From, not of.


These are all in the same paragraph.


That should be two words.

>Shining armor//


>cramped train coupon//

I have no idea what that's supposed to mean. I guess it's an expression that doesn't translate well?

>Don’t worry Spike.//

>So what are we going to do Twilight?//
Missing a comma for direct address.

>Rarity was looking forward to go to the brilliant Crystal Empire//

The verb form there should be "going."

>men will start to call it, ‘Mirkwood.’//

You don't need that comma.

>Not only the nerves//

I don't understand what this is trying to say.

>i-lanOw[1 2//

And you've got another one of these strange things at the end of a chapter.

At this point, I've read enough of the story to get a flavor for the characterization and writing quality. I'll be at this for months if I continue giving detailed feedback, so I'm just going to skim the rest to get an idea for the plot and make sure I don't see any problems with that. I'll still pull out any detailed things I see, but I won't be reading carefully enough to find that many.

Jay Bear!cSWoEWwnvI 2957

Howdy! I’ve got most of the rewriting done (nothing posted yet), but I have a few follow-up questions. I’ve put the meatier questions about the “gimmick chapters” at the end.

>Losing your whole family// Wait, what happened to Pound Cake?

>an empty honeycomb lying on the ground// Wait, that's an odd thing to have just randomly lying around a shed.
Wasn’t sure if I needed to change anything about these lines (although “Losing your whole family” got rewritten as part of other tweaks). My objective was to leave clues to readers about some of the important differences in this alt universe, but in a way that’s natural to the characters of that alt universe. Are these too distracting where they are? If so, I’ll throw them into exposition.

>Now that I'm significantly into chapter 4, i have to wonder what the point is. [Cup Cake, Apple Bloom, and Fluttershy backstories.]

I know it’s been two weeks, but do you remember where this felt like it became too much? If it’s in Apple Bloom’s backstory, I think I can fix that easily. If it was during Cup Cake’s service, I’ll need to rethink this chapter. My main objective with the service was to give the reader a break from the heavier stuff before and after. The information is important, too, but I can present it more efficiently if the current fluffiness is getting in the way.

>There used to be a brash, energetic, and most of all, happy pony, and she lived right here.// All of this is pretty nebulous…

I may have boxed myself in here. The situation would be pretty nebulous to Dash, and while the real cause is revealed in a later chapter, it’s implausible she’d figure it out by this point. I tried rewriting this section so Dash develops an incomplete theory of what’s wrong based on other parts of her life to at least flesh things out. However, there hasn’t been any reason to distrust her POV so far, so I’m worried the reader is going to take her theory at face value rather than as another clue to the real cause. I’m not sure how to fix this.

Here’s the meat:
>Gimmick chapters
One of my objectives with changing the writing style for the labyrinths is to show how much control the witches can exert on reality. It’s not just that ponies in a labyrinth see crazy stuff; the rules of the world are so different that this crazy stuff naturally exists (it doesn’t really work in the alliteration labyrinth, but I liked it in the circus labyrinth). I’m surely gambling with the reader’s patience by writing all this weirdness, but showing this control, and how the protagonists deal with it, is important. However, I couldn’t find a natural way to maintain that sense of the witch’s control when changing these parts to be from a pony’s POV. It felt like the POV character was under mind control, but could ignore it when it was convenient.
As an experiment, I rewrote the alliteration part to read like a fairy tale told from the witch’s perspective, and I think it works. It’s much more comprehensible and does a better job of showing the witch control reality by replacing the alliteration with fairy tale styles and tropes. Looking ahead, establishing a rule that witch labyrinths are told from the witch’s perspective helps distinguish them from familiar labyrinths (which is important for the plot), and I can use it creatively in future chapters. So, beyond simply working, I think it would be an improvement to have all of these parts from the witches’ perspective.
Then again, until recently I thought “beside” and “besides” were the same word, so there’s a good chance I’m missing something obvious. Any advice based on what I wrote above, or would you need to see the final draft after I post it?

Specific labyrinth questions:
>It looks more like a screenplay, but I could also buy it as a libretto, which ties in to music.
This one is supposed to be a libretto, although heavily bastardized to remove the unnecessary parts of a typical libretto. I’m not sure why it’s coming across as a screenplay, though. Do I need to flag the songs?

>>The air was cold as stone// And since the encounter began, this is already the third time you've mentioned stone, and it's not done in a way that's obviously thematic, so it just comes across as an oversight.

I don’t actually have a question here, just wanted to point out this was a sestina. They can be beautiful when written by Ezra Pound, or awkward when written with the template I used. I was still proud of mine, though, and it [I]sucked[/i] when I realized it served no purpose here. I’m going to replace it with something that makes sense for the story (to me, at least).

Thank you again. This critique really helped me, both in terms of catching amateur mistakes and rethinking parts of the story.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2958

>Radagast had laid awake//
The proper verb here is "had lain."

>disappearing from someplace and reappear//

Inconsistent verb forms.

>the magical energy the creature bears//

Kind of a confusing use of "bear," since you'd been referring to the animal a lot around here.

>ansi-languagv[* 2//

Yeah, just check the end of every chapter. You consistently have these.

>‘Daring Do and the Dragons’ Domain.’//

Book titles don't go in quotes. They get underlined or (preferably) italicized.

>“But… but what about princess—“//

>“But… but what about princess Ember,”//
"Princess" should be capitalized, as it's being used as a title attached to her name, even in the first one, since it's implied the name would follow.

>We’re going back home boys!//

Needs a comma for direct address.


Missing space.

>for a moment, her crossed eyes looked much like Derpy’s//

How would Fluttershy know this? She could suppose it, but she can't see it to know for sure.

Okay, the song in chapter 8. It goes on for almost three full screens. I hope you know many readers will scroll past without reading it. If you want to have song lyrics, the best way to handle them is to: 1. Keep it short, 2. If it's long, break it up into small pieces with narration in between, 3. Keep it short, 4. If reading the lyrics is actually important to understanding the plot, make that very clear up front, 5. Keep it short. The reader's far more likely to read them if they fit on a single screen (or by #2, each chunk fits on a single screen) so he can see the end coming.

>Should… should I ask her?//

I really, really hope this has nothing to do with romance, because if it does, there's zero basis built up for it in the story.

>many confuses squawks//


I'll reiterate at the end, but you have very unsteady perspective throughout the story. That's the biggest issue overall. But in this chapter, you have an example of how to do it right. Look at where you alternate scenes of Fluttershy teaching the birds to sing outside and Radagast writing his spell inside. In each of those scenes, you keep to a single perspective. But in the scenes where you have both together, the narration keeps hopping back and forth between seeing through Fluttershy's eyes and Radagast's. It'll express one's opinion and say something only one could perceive in the manner, and just a couple paragraphs later, shift over to the other. When you have a limited narrator (the narration will communicate opinions and impressions on behalf og the characters instead of being completely factual), you don't want to let the perspective waver so much. For the most part, you ought to keep to one perspective per scene.

>“Catering service!” A stallion shouted//



Why would you hyphenate that? You don't for ham sandwich or turkey sandwich or anything else.

>Certainly, Miss//

"Miss" is a generic term when not attached to a name, so it wouldn't be capitalized.


The human equivalent wedges an "s" in there, so I'd suggest "guardsponies ."

>Perhaps an image of Opal and I?//

That's actually a spot for "me" because it's the object of a preposition. Consider that "Opal and I" is the same thing as "we." Also consider that "Opal and me" is the same thing as "us." Which sounds correct, "Perhaps an image of we" or "Perhaps an image of us"?

>your royal highnesses//

Honorifics like this should be capitalized.

Oh, good. More song lyrics. And these go on for four screens. They're utterly pointless.


This is another thing you need to be careful of throughout the story. Certain things, including dashes, can turn smart quotes backward, as has happened here.

>—He stabbed a claw at Spike—//

Don't capitalize asides.

>one of which I might not return//

From, not of.


Missing space.

>The other wraiths did one step back//

Kind of awkwardly phrased.

>Everywhere you looked//

Kind of odd to address the reader like this. Then there'a another "everywhere" later in the same paragraph.

>“Wait! Don’t go!”//

You have a couple of extra blank lines before this.

>My name is Pinkie Pie,//

Not more song lyrics. Jeez, these go on for 5 screens. People aren't going to read this.

>it only made the whole façade funnier//

If you have to tell the reader something is funny, it probably isn't.

>Bien sure//

I don't know what this is.

>with all logics//

"Logic" is a collective term. You don't need it to be plural.

>poor grey pegasus which just wanted to say sorry for real//

When referring to sentient beings, use "who" instead of "that" or "which."

>Come on you two//

Needs a comma for direct address.

This chapter is far longer than it needs to be. Most of Discord's comedy routine is pointless and (intentionally) unfunny, so there's not much to keep a reader's interest.

>They continued their way//

Usually phrased as "they continued on their way."

>“Well… eh… I… I can’t remember.//

Missing your closing quotes.

>But I am trailing off here.//

This usually means the speaker is gradually becoming quieter. What you want is closer to "but I digress" or "but I'm going on a tangent."

>Even though my eyes are but small and my sight is very ill//

Bats see about as well as people do.

>Hallo Giselda//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>terrible. Since the ride to that terrible//

Close word repetition.

>We should have turned around and go back//


>“Is there a flying horse by the name of Fluttershy here?” The crow said//


>he needn’t to//

That "to" is superfluous.

>—not the crow—,//

Don't use a comma in conjunction with a dash.

>“But we can’t do that!” The crow said//

Capitalization. There was an issue some time back where GDocs would automatically capitalize after dialogue if it ended in an exclamation mark or question mark. Maybe that's what's happening here.

I do wonder, when the crow said that it wouldn't be stealthy to have a whole swarm of birds accompanying them, that a bright yellow and pink flying horse isn't exactly going to blend in.

>If—“ he pointed his sword straight ahead at Fluttershy—“we//

Note the inconsistent dash placement. If they're both with the speech, it means the speaker stops while the inserted action occurs. If they're both with the narration, the speech doesn't stop. You have one of each. Also, that first set of quotation marks is backward.

>The feeling of losing someone you cared for, someone you loved. It was a feeling of a black torrent, snatching away your loved one and giving back nothing. Like a black arrow through your heart//

You're talking to the reader again.

>Ember grinded the mushrooms//

Ground. Just do a search for "grinded," as you use it more than once.

>and threw the powder//

Wait, how would he do that with fresh mushrooms? They'd have too much moisture in them to grind into a powder, unless someone had picked them and dried them first.

>count, As//

Extraneous capitalization.

>The chamber’s I’ve explored//

You have a possessive where you need a plural.



>Tablet—”she filled it with new oil, relit it, and tossed it to Rainbow Dash, who caught the thing with her mouth; then she looked back—“so//

Inconsistent dash placement again.

>tell Ember all about her, leaving no detail untold//

Kind of repetitive word choice.

>several second of agony//


>an applause//

"Applause" is a collective term. Don't use "an" with it. You do this multiple times.

>princess Celestia and princess Luna//

Capitalize the titles. And how did she get that magic from them? The discussion makes it sound like the princesses didn't know she took it.

>I’m sorry everypony.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>but Ember couldn’t care less//

You use that same phrase in consecutive sentences.

>Dash and Spike did more steps back//

Awkward phrasing.

>Indeed they weren’t. Starlight Glimmer and Twilight Sparkle were standing in a small crater//

This doesn't quite fit the perspective again. The narration in this scene so far is from Radagast's viewpoint, and the first sentence here very much sounds like his thoughts. But then it refers to two ponies by name, even though he hasn't learned their names yet.

>Twilight and Starlight knew the hidden figures were talking about them//

>They were talking about Fluttershy.//
Both of these are pretty self-explanatory. I don't think you need to say them. The reader will get the picture.

>They did another step closer.//

That must be a phrasing that doesn't translate well. It just sounds awkward in English.

>piano clavier//

I've heard of those separately as instruments, but never a single instrument referred to by both words at once.

>dash ,//

Extraneous space.

>But could Radagast’s reclaim her?//

Radagast's what?

>add to the stream she casted//

In this sense of the word, "cast" is the preferred past tense.

>And flying they did.//

The verb form for this phrasing would just be "fly."

>Twilight and Starlight exchanged a glance, as they knew very well what Radagast would do; they had read it in the book, after all. Still, they weren’t sure whether to tell that to Radagast. They were from another world, so interfering with Middle Earth might have big consequences on the fictional world Radagast lived in.//

Hm. This brings up something I'd like to discuss, but I'll save it for the end.

>friendship?” He asked.//


>Discord did sentry-go//

I have no idea what this is.

>Everypony’s ears ringed.//


Maybe I just missed it because I was skimming, but I don't recall ever seeing an explanation of why they excluded Discord from going through the portal. It sounded like they were going to explain it to him, but then Fluttershy calmed him down, and they never spoke up.

Well, I said I was going to wrap up some things at the end, so here goes. I really liked this story. I haven't read any Tolkein, so I don't know if this is supposed to mimic his style or just borrow from his world, but it's an effective tale either way. A lot of what I've noted here is detailed clean-up that's maybe a bit tedious to go through a story of this length (remember I only gave numerous comments on the first few chapters, so you should assume those things persist throughout), but not difficult to handle.

By the end, I came around to having Middle Earth be a fictional place even for Equestrians. It became a plot point that the ponies knew how things would go in the future, so having Middle Earth be an alternate dimension wouldn't have worked with that. So far, so good. But you kind of play both sides of whether they can use that knowledge. I don't understand why they can't alter what happens. Would it somehow change the actual book for them to do that? They refuse to warn Radagast about Sarumen, but they've already changed a fair amount of things just by their presence. So if they did intervene and help win this war before it starts, what implications would that have? It's not clear to me, and it seems like the rules governing that are a pretty important part of the world-building that's missing. The canon example of this is the Power Ponies comic, where they go in and just have a vague goal: defeat the enemy. If doesn't matter how, and then you get back out of the book. So why does this version of it need to work differently?

Next, the perspective is really jumpy. I'll grab this excerpt from chapter 19, which is a good example:


“I know, Twilight. I feel terrible too,” Starlight said, while keeping an eye on the Wraiths, who seemed to be standing still now. “But we could at least—“

An explosion of sound interrupted Starlight’s words. In a chorus of unholy shrieks, the Ringwraiths unleashed their black breaths once more. They had heard them speak about flying, and realized that they might just flee. That couldn’t happen. They had to ground the ponies long enough to finish them off.

Behind the column, Radagast winced at the sound and the fear that bore it. Gritting his teeth, he tried his best to resist it, but found his mind too weak. Once again the agony tried to rip him apart. But then the black breath suddenly ended, and a grave silence lay upon Dol Guldur like a heavy blanket. Only the winds roared on.


In the first paragraph, the "seemed" puts this in one of the good guys' perspectives. Really, it could be any of them who are paying attention, since any of them could have this opinion of the wraiths. If I go back a few paragraphs for context, it's most likely Twilight's perspective. But the point I want to make is that when you have the narrator expressing an opinion or personal impression, particularly if he does so in a conversational manner (emphasizing words, asking a question, using an exclamation mark, etc.), the narrator takes on that character's voice and essentially becomes that character. That's what a limited narration is. For omniscient, the opinion would need to be attributed to a character, like saying "seemed to Twilight" instead.

So we go to the second paragraph, and it's now delivering the wraiths' impressions. "That couldn't happen" is directly what the wraiths are thinking. No other character there would have this thought, and no other character there would be able to read their minds and know they were literally thinking this. They might deduce it, but it's stated as a fact.

And in the very next paragraph, we have Radagast taking the perspective. For example, the "he tried his best" and "found his mind too weak" are things only he would know. So in three consecutive paragraphs, you've inhabited three different perspectives. This is not a good thing to do.

There's a brief rationale in the section on "head hopping" at the top of this thread, but I'll sum it up a bit to say that you should try to hold to one perspective in a scene, if you can. When you shift to the wraiths and Radagast, like you have here, consider if it's really necessary. What do we learn from the wraiths' viewpoint? Nothing useful. We could already presume they would want the ponies fleeing, so learning they thought so doesn't change anything. And if it's not adding anything to be in their perspective, you shouldn't go there. Or if there is some critical piece of information, then it's worth staying in their perspective for a while. It's not even hard, most of the time, to show one character's emotions from another's perspective. You can tell when someone's happy from how the act, how they look, and what they say, after all. You don't have to read their mind to know. And that's why you don't usually have to shift perspective to get at information like that. When you keep jerking readers around to different viewpoints, it gets confusing, it's easy to mix up who thinks what, and it doesn't get the reader engaged on a deeper level with any of the characters.

The very unsteady perspective is the most pervasive problem I see, and it's really the only major one. If you could improve that substantially, I'd be happy to post the story, but I realize that it may be a daunting task to go back through 150k words with an eye to keeping the perspective more stable in each scene.

The last bit is that you disarm one of the story's major conflicts. When Radagast has to win Fluttershy's mind back to his side, he makes vague allusions to the torture and brainwashing she underwent, but that's one of the story's more powerful moments. It informs how hard it must be to get her back, that she was so thoroughly broken. Yet while the story does stay with her in places, it leaves her behind for this. It's not exactly that surprising what happens to her, since the Witch King had already alluded to such, so I don't see a reason to keep it secret.

In any case, the big emotional crux is knowing what happened to her so we know what it's going to take to undo it. But we never get to see that. There's just one paragraph of Radagast surmising what they did to her and sharing her memories of it, but it's told in very generic terms, and it's over with after a few sentences. It ends up not even being that difficult to win her back. It does take several paragraphs, but it's pretty steady progress with no setbacks, so it lacks some dramatic tension. I think it'd really add to the story's power if you added a couple scenes showing what happened to Fluttershy to get her to this state and struggle more to shake it off.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2959

First off, not sure if you saw my earlier reply here:>>2939

>Re: Pound Cake and the honeycomb

They're a little distracting because there's no explanation for either. The reader's naturally going to assume thins are just like regular Equestria until it's explicitly said they aren't, so it's a natural question to ask where Pound Cake is when only Pumpkin was mentioned. Sure, the characters would have no clue who Pound Cake was either, so it wouldn't work to have them mention it. But just an offhand comment like calling Pumpkin their only child makes it explicitly clear. Same with the honeycomb. It's not that it's impossible for these characters, but a honeycomb isn't something you'd normally keep in a shed anyway, so it just confuses me as to why it's there.

>Re: Cup Cake's funeral

It's more that the chapter spends so much time with Apple Bloom, only to have her be pretty irrelevant to the story. You sure set her up like she's going to be a significant character, but nothing comes of it.

>Re: Dash

She knows that she used to be happy, but that she isn't anymore. She doesn't know why? Is it just a pervasive feeling that came over her gradually? If so, it might help to say that. The bigger issue is that she doesn't say how she knew she used to be happy. Give me a couple of quick one- or two-sentence anecdotes of happy memories. Be specific. The first time she medaled in a race and danced around so much she nearly fell off the podium. Little bits like that. They add so much life. And maybe she compares it to an anecdote more recently

>Re: Gimmick chapters

It would probably help if you do follow a pattern like you plan to, where you use witch perspectives but not familiar ones. Yet that may be a little too subtle for readers to pick up on. To wit, the characters don't identify which ones are run by familiars right off the bat, so the connecting thread doesn't become apparent until later. However, I talked about these scenes in my previous reply, so I won't repeat that here. The only thing I'd caution you about using the witches' perspectives is that you do need to let the witches come across as characters. Like don't just drop me into these perceptions without letting me get a hint of the witch's personality, same as you'd need to do with any character.

>Re: libretto

The biggest thing here is that most readers will be familiar with what a screenplay is, but have no idea what a libretto is. So just the fact that the dialogue is labeled by speaker feels like a script, and the reader will attach that to whatever's in their experience. Plus with MLP and Madoka being TV shows, it fits. That said, I don't think it matters, unless you're dead set on it coming across like an opera or musical. If that's the case, don't rely on the format alone. Add in imagery that would suggest one or the other, like a pit orchestra, audience using opera glasses, etc.

>Re: sestina

I'm not too familiar with many poetic forms, and most readers won't be either. I don't actually remember whether this was formatted in a way that made it look different from normal prose, so that's one potential fix. But repetition is a tricky thing to deal with. There are ways to make it obvious that it's intentional, and that's how you make it thematic. To do so would take acknowledging the repetition (like italicizing the second time for emphasis or using words such as "again" to call attention to it) or to use it more than twice in the same way, since that seems far more deliberate than two. And you did actually have it more than twice here, but it still didn't feel deliberate. That's an aesthetic thing, though, and the next reader could easily have a different reaction than I did. This one's a minor instance, and I don't think it'd hurt the story to have it. It's not like I won't approve your story if you don't fix every last thing. There's a tolerance level for artistic license.

Did you mean that the mention of stone served no purpose, or that having it as a sestina served no purpose? Because if it's the latter, then it may still lend to the labyrinth's atmosphere, and It's more so that what you say needs to have a purpose, not necessarily how you choose to say it. There are plenty of stories out there written as poems where there's no thematic reason for the story to be poetic. It can just be a genre choice, and I wouldn't say that's wrong.

I did say that some of the formatting choices were lost on me. That's more a data point for you. If many readers are getting lost, that's bad, but it might not bother others. You do have a reason for it. It's like if you told a joke that I didn't get. That doesn't automatically make it a bad joke, and most people might get it just fine. So if you say it's a sestina, I can accept that. It's just not the kind of thing most readers will notice or understand. You could explain it in an author's note for the chapter, if you wanted to make sure.

Jay Bear!cSWoEWwnvI 2963


Thanks, I did see >>2939. I wasn't sure what you meant that it wasn't possible to have scenes from the witch's perspective, which is why I tried it to see if I could find the problem myself. I see what you mean about building up their characterization, though, so I'll pay attention on that when editing those scenes.


I meant having a sestina here doesn't serve a good purpose, and I do plan to replace it. Repeating "stone" (as well as light/dark, reflection, and book) were all products of the structure, so that will be less evident on the rewrite. It'll still be basically the same scene, but the style should make more sense. This was a case where I wasn't really thinking about the style's effect on how this part of the story is told, and I think the story does suffer here. If I got really lucky, someone who knows about sestinas might recognize it and comments "Cool, it's a sestina," and other people would know that was intentional rather than me getting sloppy with repetition and line breaks. It's not worth it.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2964

Yeah, it'd just be weird to show the labyrinth scenes through the witches' eyes in a very mechanical sense without having any of their characterization come through. Perspective is supposed to get the reader to identify with or understand a character, and if you never do anything with them except literally describe what they see, then it's kind of pointless. That said, I could buy it as building atmosphere, but without letting the reader see a little about who these witches are, it'd feel exceedingly superficial, which is against the point of using a limited narrator.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2965

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'm going to do something to illustrate a point. Here are the first words of all your narrative sentences for the first scene:
a, the, the, I, I, pneumatic, the, the, an, a, a, the, she, I, I, below, a, a, I, a, I, Zephyr, I, she, I
Except for that one "below," you have very repetitive sentence beginnings. Now, some words like "a" and "the" are so mundane that they pass by without notice, so it's not so much that the words themselves are repetitive; it's more that the sentence structures are. They all start with the subject. It gets to feel like a list of actions and doesn't flow very well.

>I swallowed and met her eyes. “Which means… we have to land.” Zephyr nodded. “Crap.”//

It's a little ambiguous who says this dialogue.

>left, a broad river valley at the north end, and an immense forest along the left//

It's a little odd that you're mixing types of directions.

You're probably giving more of a description of the map than you need. How many of these details are actually going to be important to the story? If a lot of them, then how many will be important soon? It's better to introduce information as it's needed instead of pushing a bunch of it at once and hoping the reader will remember it later.

>aluminum eggshell//

For one, you called it aluminum and polycarbonate before, and for another, you don't need to remind the reader so soon afterward what the aircraft is made of.


Needs a space.

>again.” Zephyr grabbed my seat and lifted her helmet as the transport rocked again//

Watch close repetition of words like that.

>The pegasus//

He knows her well. Why would he refer to her in such an impersonal manner? You don't think of your coworker as "the person," do you?

>the heavily armored mare//

Another very impersonal reference for a friend. I assume this kind of thing will pervade the story, so I won't mark anymore, but this i why this kind ofdescriptor doesn't work with a limited or first-person narrator. People think about other they know in three ways: name, pronoun, and relationship. Only the third falls into the realm of this kind of descriptor, so he might call her "my teammate" or something.

>thick, nylon//

>small, quartz//
These are hierarchical adjectives, so you don't need a comma between them. It can be tricky in some cases to tell the difference, but the general way is that if they describe different aspects or would sound really awkward in reverse order, you don't need a comma. There are a whole lot more of these I saw, but I'm not going to keep marking them.

>“Yeah,” I hollered toward the airlock, “Just//

The way you use those commas, it means both parts of the quote form one continuous sentence, but if that's the case, you've capitalized "just" in the middle of a sentence.

>quartz porthole//

I wonder why they're using quartz anyway. If they have the technology to make polycarbonate, then they must have something better than glass for the windows. It's heavy and not very resistant to damage.

>popped open and swung open//

Kind of repetitive language.

>A high, keening hiss made the aircraft’s hull ring. Lightning crackled along the hull breach, and a glowing, serpentine form shot into the cabin.//

This is another thing the chapter suffers from. I feel like I've seen these same actions and description three or four times already. There's lightning, noise from the hull, damage to it, loud sounds, lots of quartz, cannons firing, over and over again.

>razer teeth//


>farther than it had right//

I've only ever seen that phrased as "than it had any right to."

Here's another thing: if you'd used a third-person limited narrator, there's a range of distances you can use. But when you choose first-person, you're irrevocably at a very close distance to the character. That means that the narration should sound like the character might speak, reflecting his intelligence level, vocabulary, personality and mannerisms. And it should also reflect what's happening at the moment. While the aircraft is breaking up, look at how calmly and stoically he describes it all. If that were you, wouldn't you be freaking out? I'd expect this section to be fast-paced, lacking in detail aside from what he'd focus on for his survival (to make an example, in the middle of a swordfight, it wouldn't make sense for him to give a lengthy description of the mountains in the background), and expressive of his emotions.

>As the serpent shook its entire body and retreated half a meter, maw gaping wide in a hiss, a thin, metal object fell from a holster taped to the pod’s roof and clattered on my ice-encased legs. Frost encroached on my eyelids, numbing my face and locking my mouth open. I began to jerk and buck inside the ice as the ice grew over my nostrils and cracked lips. The serpent shrieked a final time as I wrapped a shaky field around the shotgun on my lap and raised it to eye level.//

Around here, your sentence structure is getting repetitive again, but in a different way. Look how many "as" clauses you're using in this paragraph and the ones around it. Authors of intermediate experience often lean way too heavily on participial phrases and "as" clauses, but they get repetitive easily, since they don't appear much in everyday conversation, so they stand out. Do a Ctrl-f on " as " (include the spaces before and after) and watch the screen light up. There are 128 in the chapter. Granted, you use the word in similes, too, and those will happen in pairs, but that's still a lot. And that won't pick up ones at the beginnings of sentences either.

>As I watched, a tattered, scorched book and several burning pages blew out into the grey skies on the whistling, uncaring wind.//

The thing is, as a reader, I have no idea what this book is yet. I haven't even seen him act like it was particularly important, So it means nothing to me when it's lost. Now he's acting like he's upset, but I'm very detached from it since I don't understand why. He just gets the default sympathy he would for any generic character who's lost something.

>despite the hot air//

It's still going to feel cold at that speed.

>The first of many raindrops speckled the concrete and steel around us.//

Wait, I thought you said this was in a desert. For that matter, what's a bed factory doing in the desert? It'd be expensive to supply it with resources.

>Cold water splashed across my face.//

He was just about to set up camp, and this scene seems totally disconnected from that. I have no idea what's going on here. Maybe he's disoriented, too, but there's no indication of it, so my only assumption can be that he knows exactly what's going on. So why don't I?

>Ma’am; you require medical attention.//

Why the semicolon? It's not used right. A comma would be fine there.

>one hundred and fifty-seven//

I'd think a robot would be programmed to know it's improper to use "and" in a number like that.

>glided inside the immense, domed room. Other robots like the one that carried me glided//

More close word repetition.

>Another robot glided to the bed//

And shortly after, more gliding.

You're losing the sense of a limited narration again. While Crystal is in this operating room, you just go to all the voices and dialogue around her. It's first-person, though. I'm supposed to be getting her experience of all this. There are confusing and strange things going on, and they're talking about amputation. Why doesn't she have any reaction to it? It's like she's completely indifferent to all this.

>I reared up as it leapt, rammed my forehooves into its chest//

This makes it sound like the ghoul rammed his forehooves into its chest.

>Rasping, bestial growls that sent shivers down my spine//

I'm barely a page into the chapter, and this is already the third shiver to go down his spine.

By this point, I just see more of the same. I'll skim the rest of what's published to see if there are any big plot problems, but really the only thing I haven't mentioned yet is this is pushing the limits on gore. There's some pretty explicit descriptions. I'll still note detailed things I see, but I'll be reading too fast to catch much.

>It’s the nearest river for thousands of square kilometers//

Why is he stating distance using an area measurement?

>sky; approaching from a few kilometers away was a trio of dark specks that stood out against the blue sky//

More close word repetition.



>To the right of my saddlebags were the husk of my armor//

Number disagreement. the subject of "were" is "husk."

>Faint buzzes almost outside my range of hearing came from the limb.

>A faint//
Close word repetition.


The apostrophe would go before the period. It doesn't work like quotation marks.

>times—” I jerked my head to the right. “—but//

Don't use a period on an aside like this. The only end punctuation they take is a question mark or exclamation mark, as appropriate.

>I levitated small plate//

Missing word.

>diner: One//

Only capitalize after a colon if it refers to multiple sentences.

>yeah…” I trailed off//

The ellipsis already means she trailed off. Saying so in the narration as well is redundant.

Okay, I'm at the end of chapter 2. A lot of words in, and a lot of words still to go, but I'm not seeing any new problems I hadn't already seen in chapter 1. I could go on, but there's not a lot of point to it, as all I'd really get out of it is making sure there weren't any big plot holes (and since the story is incomplete, I couldn't guarantee there never would be anyway) and seeing if you cross the line on any of our content restrictions. So I'm going to stop here.

Really, anything I've had to mention multiple times are the things that need attention, but I'll sum them up here.

-You constantly put commas between adjectives that shouldn't have them.
-You have very repetitive sentence structures, where the vast majority start with the subject. Try reading your story out loud, especially if you skip the dialogue, and I think you'll hear how plodding it feels. You also have spots where you use a ton of "as" clauses.
-This is probably pushing it as to what gore we can allow.
-The narration is very bland and emotionless for a first-person narrator. The whole point of first-person is to give me a front-row seat to the character's thoughts and impressions. It'll typically read like an internal monologue or stream of consciousness. Compare your narration to your main character's dialogue. Her speech is very animated and indicative of how she feels. So are the few thoughts that are presented as quotes. The narration shouldn't sound much different than that, but it very much does.

The repetition and the emotionless narration are the two biggest issues, and unfortunately, they're also some of the more involved things for an author to deal with. It's not going to be a quick process to go through 100k+ words and revamp that. If you can, then I'd be happy to look at it again. I have almost no familiarity with Fallout, either the game or the MLP crossover, so I don't know how much of this story is original and how much is borrowed. I at least recognize a couple character names, but for instance, I don't know whether Eagle, Zephyr, and these alicorns are your invention or not. Either way, they're interesting characters, and on the whole, the writing is good. I think you're capable, but it's also a lot of work to fix those things.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 2980

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.

>his teeth shined//

"Shined" is a transitive past tense, so this would need a direct object, and it would say that his teeth were polishing something. You need "shone."

>Nodding at his reflection, he trotted across his room in Princess Twilight’s castle and out the door, stopping once to pick up a single purple rose with no thorns from his desk.//

Note that participial phrases mean things happen at the same time, so he nods at the mirror, trots across the room, and stops simultaneously. It's more reasonable that those things would happen in sequence.

>especially after what happened a month ago with Duke Bull Horn//

It's a bit off-putting to make such a big deal of this without explaining any of it. I'll come back to this in a moment.

>She wore an elegant purple dress that to flow with every move.//

Wording is off.

>What had come to a shock to Flash//

I've always heard that phrased as "come as a shock."

>it actually didn't turn out to be to difficult//

To/too confusion.

>more than one…awkward conversations, to say the least.//

Leave a space after an ellipsis, and you have a singular/plural mismatch.

The flashback scene is presumably the background about the duke we're supposed to get, but it starts out with a huge block of exposition, which isn't a good way to get the reader's interest. It runs for 11 paragraphs. It's better to work that kind of thing in gradually as it becomes important.

>slid it her head and the map//

Missing word.

>thinks your crazy//

Your/you're confusion.

>Smarty pants//

That's a name, so both words would be capitalized.

>incidents,” Spike said, wincing, “But//

The way you punctuated that, the quote is on continuous sentence, so when you capitalize "but," you're doing it in the middle of a sentence.

>Twilight and Flash’s//

By not putting a possessive on Twilight, this means their heads are community property that they own jointly.

>It’s be enough//


>The duke//

You're inconsistent at capitalizing that.

>more then just a guard//

Than/then confusion.

>and the idea of stressing her out by having her worry about a relationship with him was the last thing he wanted//

How is that more stressful than a relationship with anyone else? Or does he think she shouldn't be in one at all?



>worse comes to worse//

"Worst" on both of those, too.


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

>I need to pick up a book I lent her anyway.//

Wouldn't she be interested to go anyway? You don't have to make up a contrived reason for her to go.

>giggling at the drake’s enthusiasm//

You're using a limited narrator in Flash's perspective, so the narration is essentially his thoughts. Why would he internally refer to Spike with something as impersonal as "the drake" when he knows Spike well?

>The present…//

If you do flashbacks well, you won't have to indicate when they happen. The info will be in the context. But why did you use a line to separate scenes here when you didn't at the previous scene break?

>so twinkly that could blend in with Twilight’s castle//

Missing word.

>‘nobles’” she said//

Missing a comma.



>he was being to forward//

Too/to confusion.

>a pony well dressed pony//

Extraneous word, well-dressed.

>I though with a title//


>in a horrible, horrible impression of…it was so bad, Twilight couldn’t even figure out what accent he was trying to imitate//

Why are you jumping over to Twilight's perspective here?

>Doth mother know…you wearth her drapes?//

"Mother" would be capitalized in this instance, and he's got the archaic verb conjugation wrong. I can't tell if he's doing it on purpose or if it's your mistake.

>And with that//

You start two paragraphs fairly close together with that identical phrase.

>flower pots//


>The center of the ballroom had been cleared for dancing and a stage set up right next to it, but there were a number of small tables off to one side and a stage for the band off to the other.//

So... there are two stages? I'm confused.

>ruining you date//


>Faust have mercy on me//

That's very cliched.

>And with that//

You really like that phrase.

>Their not here yet.//

Their/they're confusion.

>working it’s way//

Its/it's confusion.


Typo, but why do you have it as plural anyway? You have the other two types as singular.

>Pretty sure we’re all foals compared Celestia.//

Missing word.

>Twilight asked in shock.//

You identify shock fairly often, too. Even so, it's better to make her look shocked than to tell me she is. How does she act? What does she look like?

>Money Bag’s//

This implies his name is Money Bag.

>wont //


>All three ponies turned as Princess Celestia herself made her way towards the group, everypony else bowing as she passed. Flash himself also bowed as she approached, partly out of duty, and partly out of reverence.//

That's three "as" clauses in only two sentences. It's a bad idea to be structurally repetitive like this.

>Money bags//


I'm a bit past the halfway point, and I'm getting bogged down in all these detailed mechanical things, a lot of them the same issues over and over again. Just assume you need to sweep the whole story for them. I'm going to read the rest just to look for plot or character problems.

Wait, the duke is actually going to try assassinating Twilight? That's pretty extreme.

This isn't a bad story, but it's pretty cliched for the point to be getting them up to a first date, a kiss, a wedding, or whatever. Twilight does learn that others can appreciate her for who she is, but even that's a fairly cliched lesson on its own. Plus the conflict that leads up to it, the dispute with Bull Horn, is very superficial. He just comes across as a generic villain, not someone with a real personality. If he just feels like a stock baddie, then it'll disarm the story's tension. It'd help if you gave him a more legitimate beef with her or at least gave him an emotional arc.

Aside from that, there were plenty of editing issues, and for a story with a limited narrator, the narration itself doesn't feel very lively. Unless you have the perspective character's impressions flowing in pretty regularly, it can revert to feeling omniscient. In places, you do that well. It's not just what the narration says, but how it says it. If Flash is angry, for instance, let the narration sound like an angry person.

The flashback sequence ended up being awkwardly wedged in. I think you'd do much better to keep things in chronological order and put that first. The structure implied you'd be skipping back and forth in time, but you only ever did it once.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 3001

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.


Leave a space after an ellipsis, unless there;s more punctuation after it or it starts the sentence.


Only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

I have to agree with the comment that there's an awful lot of italics here. When you emphasize nearly everything, you effectively emphasize nothing.

>It had only been...a week?//

Space needed after the ellipsis again. I won't keep marking this, but I pulled it out for another reason. This paragraph brings the story's momentum to a halt. It has 8 "to be" verbs. That's a very boring verb, as nothing happens. You should use active verbs wherever you can, since the engage the reader more. Just as an example, say you rephrased this sentence as "How much time had gone by... a week?" That's all active phrasing, and it doesn't lose any of its meaning. It's impractical to remove all "to be" verbs, but it makes for a more active story when you only use them sparingly.

>The pony straightened up and brushed her long green mane out of her face, revealing bright orange eyes. “Oh, hey! Didn’t see you there. I’m Spring Forward!”//

But Spring Forward has a pale pinkish coat, blonde hair, and green eyes: http://mlp.wikia.com/wiki/Spring_Forward

>except for the wing//

And Spring Forward is an earth pony

Why is Spring Forward so chipper? Most prisoners aren't.

>It was full of surprising bitterness from the still somehow cheerful in the face of being captured, beat up, and shoved into a dingy prison, with meat, the Other, and...herself.//

I can't quite decipher that sentence. It feels like there's supposed to be some mention of Spring later on. Like, what does "cheerful" describe?

>Tempest raised her head in a sudden movement, surprised, then took a second look at Spring’s wing.//

You just mentioned surprise a sentence ago. But also beware of directly identifying emotions like this. It's too calmly self-aware for her to realize that, and with the type of narrator you're using, Tempest is effectively the narrator. If you're surprised, do you calmly think to yourself, "I'm surprised," or do you think, "oh crap!"

I don't get what the griffons want to achieve by leaving a dead body in the cell, especially since they go down there. Someone had to put Spring in there, after all. It'd stink, even to them. Maybe they just want to traumatize the prisoners? There's been no explanation as to why, though. Tempest hasn't described anything as outright abusive.

>Pegasi relied on their wings to do their magic.//

Wait, pegasi can start fires with their wings?

>backed away, eyes darting back//

Watch the repetitive word choice.


When you have a word italicized for emphasis, it's preferred to include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics. You have other instances of this.

>It was a miserable five days//

And we don't know how long Tempest has been there. So is she actually eating the meat? Because I don't see how she's alive otherwise. I also can't believe the griffons are stupid enough not to know they can't feed ponies that, unless it's another form of torture. Then that goes back to my earlier point about there being no clear evidence of torture, which would be counterproductive to selling them as slaves anyway.

>some labeled with simple words like Corn//

Now I'm confused. Meat would be more expensive than corn. Why feed prisoners meat when they can feed them cheaper corn, which they'll actually eat? And a healthy slave is a better slave.

>down. A griffon led the way, carefully lowering herself down//

Repeated use of "down," plus the second one's redundant with "lowering" anyway.

So does Spring Forward's body in the cell imply that The Other was someone else whose death Tempest had been responsible for?

>“Interesting…” he snapped his fingers.//

You have that lower-case as if it's a speech tag, but there's no speaking verb.

Either the ending is really weak or it's just going way over my head. I guess the Storm King figured out Tempest had been responsible for bringing down the ship, so he respects her power. But what is it that she thinks she can benefit from by talking to him? She'd still be in a situation where she felt she was better off alone. That's what made her run away from home in the first place. Also, this isn't exactly how they met. Now, we're not typically in the habit of enforcing comic canon, since they don't take care to mesh with the show, even sometimes contradicting it. But there were 4 comics made specifically as prequels to the movie, and the 4th deals with how Tempest came to work for the Storm King. I don't think it'd take much of a tweak to get in compliance with that, but I'm also not going to require you to.

I also agree with one of the comments that Spring's death has an understated enough effect on Tempest that it's a little hard to get as much of an emotional impact from it. Part of it is that the reader will have a default reaction, just because the death is a sad situation, but the other part is seeing how Tempest responds to it. Again, this is something a minor tweak would handle. Some kind of rage when she burns down the ship would help, and I see that she does express anger toward herself, but she never comes across as the Stockholm Syndrome type where she wouldn't also blame the griffons. Maybe she deserves the pain, but they do, too.

There are a few things here that don't quite jive, plus the mechanical fixes. If you can tend to that, I'd be happy to post the story. When you're ready to resubmit, I wouldn't need a full reread, so you can mark it as "back from Mars."

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 3002

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.

>enjoying the warmth of the sun and the fresh air//

It's ambiguous whether this refers to Twilight or Spike.

>She stopped in place and looked at the sky over the Everfree Forest.

>“Hey, Twilight! What are you looking at?” Spike looked//
That's 3 uses of "look" in a close space. It's a word many authors tend to overuse.

>A pleasant and relaxing picnic with her friend was exactly what she needed to forget about the recent fiasco with the publishing of the Friendship Journal.//

Let me back up to this sentence. This is clearly Twilight's internal thought expressed as narration. That makes this a limited narrator in her perspective. It's a bad idea to let this kind of perspective wander around. Yet only three paragraphs into the story, it's already switched:
>It took very little effort for Spike to identify what held Twilight Sparkle's attention, because there was a large, shimmering patch of air above the Everfree Forest, as colorful and shifting as Celestia's mane in a stiff breeze. He had to admit, he had never before witnessed something as unique and flickering as the light in the sky, which swiftly started shrinking in on itself. Well… maybe that one time at the Crystal Empire when the Crystal Heart was activated against King Sombra...//
This is very much in Spike's perspective, and it takes a conversational tone. If you want the story told through his eyes, why start with Twilight at all? I suspect you're going to have lots of problems with jumpy perspective.

>Trying to make some sense of her situation//

Don't over-explain things like this. Let her actions speak for themselves.

>Her neck was a little stiff, but flexible enough to look over her shoulder and down, noticing the two bronze stripes of fur running along her spine.//

This explicitly says her neck noticed the stripes.

>the bruised that were starting to color her skin//


>dangerous predators who would love to feast on her bruises body//

Opposite typo.

>Yet, something felt odd.//

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

>She couldn’t help herself from occasionally glance at the scary looking trees//


>a mistake resulting in her little nose being pricked by a thorn.//

This is a subtle thing, but you often have very subdued reactions. Take when Raichu first woke up. She has no idea where she is, and nothing looks even remotely familiar. Yet the narration sounds very calm. Same here. We're calmly told she pricked herself on a thorn. What would actually go through your mind if this happened to you? This stoic mention of it doesn't sound like she's surprised at all, and then she goes on to rub it without remarking on how it feels. Wouldn't that be on her mind at the moment?

>a sight of a blueberry caught her attention//

This says the sight of the blueberry caught her attention, not that to blueberry did. Seems odd.


Consider what sound is actually repeated. "That" doesn't start with a "t" sound.

>wooden jaws//

You already said they were made out of wood.

>rolling on the ground//

As it's placed in the sentence, this tends to describe the roar, not Raichu.

>After looking up, the pupils in her eyes//

This says her pupils looked up, which while true, is a strange way to phrase things.

>back first//

The way you're using it, hyphenate that phrase.

>“I hope no animal got hurt," she murmured, torn between the safety of her home and the possibility that some poor, helpless creature in the dark forest was injured and needed her help.//

See, this is what I was talking about when I said you tend to over-explain things. The narration expresses the exact same thing she just got finished saying. The reader already knows she feels this way.

>noticing a small dust cloud moving across the numerous hills//

You began the scene in Fluttershy's perspective. Twilight wasn't even there yet. But how would Fluttershy know what Twilight noticed? There might be context clues she reads, but you're stating it as fact, so it amounts to a perspective shift.

>hoping that no Equestria-ending threat awaited them//

And just as quickly, you're back to Fluttershy's perspective.

>sliding down hills//

>slid down her forehead//
Repetitive word choice in consecutive sentences.

>escaping death was the only thing on her mind//

If this is so, how can the narration even talk about anything else? Such is the difficulty of using a limited narrator: the narrator can't know anything the character doesn't. So if you're explicitly saying Raichu can't think about anything but escaping, then that's all the narrator can talk about.

>She looked up, a lifetime supply of apples hung there//

Comma splice.

>a distinct impression of her body, all the way up to the ears//

This is almost exactly the way you described the crater in the prologue.

>of relief//

>expression of anticipatory terror//
Try to avoid directly identifying emotion like this, particularly using a with/in/of phrasing. It doesn't paint much of a visual. What does she do? What does she look like? That's more engaging to describe.

>Not even feeling all that tired despite her non-stop running.//

That sentence fragment feels out of place.

I don't understand the purpose of the short scene with Applejack in it. Presumably she's going to catch up to Raichu at some point, and we can find out what's been going on with her then. Nothing of consequence happens in this scene. Same with Apple Bloom's scene.


What's this?

>Even in Equestria, a flying wingless critter wasn’t something she would ignore or consider normal. It wasn’t flying for long though.//

Why would the "even in Equestria" occur to her? When has she ever been anywhere else?


And what's this?

>showing four tiny fangs in her shining teeth//

She can't see this? How does she know what it looks like?


What's the apostrophe for? What letters are missing?

>“Ah said, drop that apple before Ah make ya!” Applejack said with firm steps and narrowed eyes.//

That's Raichu narrating this. How does she know Applejack's name?

You're really overwriting the Apples' accent. Readers know what they sound like.

>still apologizing//

In the way you're using this, it needs a hyphen.

><N-no thanks,>//

I don't see a reason to use implied speech here. Applejack can infer well enough what Raichu means without having to spell it out as dialogue. If Fluttershy were here, it might be a different matter.

>kept shaking its head//

>Applejack kept watching//
Repetitive use of "kept" in consecutive sentences.

At least the events in this scene are important, but it shouldn't be necessary to switch to Applejack's perspective for it. We don't really learn anything that we couldn't from Raichu's viewpoint. She's who the story's really about, after all. She can read all this info about how Applejack feels by observing what she does.

>Raichu kept staring at the apple, occasionally glancing between the mare and filly who kept encouraging her//

More repetitive use of "kept."


I've never seen this before. What exactly is it a contraction of?

>the pokemon’s head//

You're in Raichu's viewpoint. Why would she refer to herself like this? In your own thoughts, do you call yourself "the person"?

>Raichu’s eyes opened in an instant. “I do what?”//

I sure got the sense from the prologue that she already knew she talked like that. She's repeatedly said it out loud, while the narration is in her perspective, so she must be aware of it.

>taking a moment to fix her purple mane//

Why wold Starlight bother mentioning her own hair color? It's not relevant, and it'd be something she takes for granted.

><Hello,> she said as the word “Rai” reached ponies’ ears.//

You've been using Starlight's perspective in the scene, so this would be her knowledge. How did she understand that as a hello?

>taking a moment to fix her purple mane//

>walking by numerous pillars and doors//
>waiting for Applejack to approach//
>stopping herself in the middle of the stairs//
>riding the farm mare’s back//
>noticing a few bandages on the critter’s head//
That's all in just the first screen of chapter 2. You're using so many participial phrases that it gets structurally repetitive. And go back to that "riding the farm mare's back." Normally, you'd see an "on" in there. Plus Starlight knows Applejack. Why would she refer to her with something as impersonal as "the farm mare"?

><No, I would never!>//

Again, how would Starlight know this? The narrator essentially is Starlight at this point, so if she doesn't know something, the narrator can't either.

>words made of is their own name//

Phrasing is off. And has it been established yet that her name is Raichu? It wouldn't be hard for her to confirm that, but just make sure it actually happens somewhere.

>Why are you calling her pest?//

Missing word.

>still slightly sad//

I can't tell what perspective you're in anymore. Starlight's? Raichu's? It keeps jumping around. Pick one and stick with her for the scene.

>few months worth//

That's phrased as a possessive: few months' worth.

>“I must say, never in my life have I encountered or read about such an animal,” Dr. Fauna said, clapping her forehooves in excitement.//

I'm not sure it buys you anything to do this scene as a flashback. Why not just move it to the beginning of the chapter so it's all in chronological order?

>The rat could do little but stare at those impressive features of Raichu.//

Why are you jumping to the rat's viewpoint now? And "impressive features of Raichu" is such a roundabout way of saying that. Why not just "Raichu's impressive features"?

>cool looking//



Write out the words.



>This taste delicious//



You don't need a hyphen there.

>‘Arts of mind healing and hypnosis’//

You only need the italics, not the quotes, but do capitalize the title properly.


Not sure what that was supposed to be.

>down with a bit more rubble falling onto the floor. She approached her, looked down//

Close repetition of "down."


Note that smart quotes get leading apostrophes backward because they assume you want an opening single quote. You can paste one in the right way.

>Starlight grit her teeth//

Past tense is "gritted."

>Raichu fell to her knees and grit her teeth//

Same thing, but it's repetitive to have Raichu do the same thing as Starlight just a paragraph later.

>luckily none was reaching any precious books//

The comma before this is a splice, and the syntax is off here. So is the perspective. Who's the one saying the books are precious? I can't tell.

>her hoof leaving a hoof-mark//

That would seem to be self-evident.

>She levitated Raichu upward and placed on her own back//

Missing word.

>Not only it gave her time//

Phrasing is off.

>Applejack held hat//

>bringing back smile//
Missing word.

>This place have//


>Small snowdrops were falling from the sky while one landed on her nose and dissolved into water.//

Melting isn't the same thing as dissolving.

>First one being the fact//

>Most of them being//
>the fact that she was one of them//
That's a lot of repetitive language for one paragraph.


You only need three dots, and is Raichu Jamaican now?

>words; ‘Pikachu’ and ‘their child’.//

You're clarifying there, so use a colon, not a semicolon.

>wrapped in bandage//

"wrapped in bandages" or "wrapped in a bandage"

>She grit her teeth//


>Why’s she so different now//

Why are you switching to present tense?

>She was lying on a spacious wooden bed with violet eiderdown and a large blue pillow, her size was certainly no match for the owner of this bed.//

Comma splice.

>One quick glance at the window at the brown sky//

Surely you meant that first "at" to be "out."


This needs to be two words.

Why is the letter in the same format as Raichu's translated speech?

>Awkward silence overtook the room as Starlight and Raichu stared at each other, none dared to move.//

>Raichu climbed down and peeked from behind the bed, only the upper part of her head was visible thanks to her cover.//
Comma splices.

>calming her nerves//

How does Raichu know that's what she's doing?

>hiding animal and added, “You can come out from hiding//

Close repetition.

>She pointed at her mentor.//

How does Raichu know what relationship they have?

>suddenly feeling uneasy//

And this isn't in Raichu's perspective either. Your viewpoint is jumping around.

>The comfort of the bed beating dirt in a scary forest any day.//

That's awkwardly phrased.

>the reason behind bandages//

Missing word.

There's nothing I need to go into detail about in summary here. The three biggest issues were general editing, unsteady perspective, and repetition.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 3007

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.

Short description:
>own, little//
No reason to have a comma there.

Long description:
>The day goes on and Spike and Sweetie Belle babysit Flurry Heart together, almost like their own little family.//
That's actually the same sentence you have in the short description, but you have different comma usage in each. The one you have after "on" in the short description should be in this one, too.

>They should be arriving here at any moment, now//
This isn't really a situation to use a comma there. You would if you wanted to emphasize "now," like she's just gotten new information that changes things. The "any moment now" idiom doesn't use one.

>Now Spike//

And it's kind of repetitive to use "now" so soon after. Especially right at the beginning, you don't want to create the impression that the story is likely to be repetitive.

>"Ugh," Spike rolled his eyes.//

You've punctuated that as if it's a speech attribution, but it has no speaking verb. You can't just tack any action on to dialogue with a comma.

>For the thousandth time Twilight//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>I've got this," He chuckled.//

Same deal with a non-speaking action. Even if this were acceptable to do, you wouldn't capitalize the speech tag.

>I promise," Spike came to a stop.//

Let's just say non-speaking speech tags are going to be a pervasive issue, as will likely capitalization of speech tags. You'll need to sweep the story for these. There's a brief guide to it at the top of this thread.

>She padded his head.//

You've confused "padded" for "patted." And at this point, I wouldn't assume the reader has retained anything from the description or cover art. It's worth establishing right away that Spike is older and bigger than he is in the show.

>The others should be waiting for us at the train station, already.//

No reason to have a comma there.

>the way the there//

Extraneous word.

>As Twilight was chasing niece//

Missing word.

Actually, is Spike any older? If not, the cover art is misleading. Flurry Heart doesn't seem to be any older.

>he knew being Shining Armor's brother would naturally make Twilight Flurry Heart's aunt//

Twilight is his sister.


When you have a word italicized for emphasis, it's preferred to include a question mark or exclamation mark on it in the italics. There are other instances of this later on.

>just absolutely filled with toys and games that were just//

Watch the close word repetition. In particular, this is a word inexperienced authors tend to overuse.

>fluttered her way out of Spike's arms before jetting her way//

More repetitive phrasing.

>She nuzzled her head.//

The direct object of "nuzzle" should be what she's doing it to, not with.

>down the hallways at high seed//


>just adorable playing with the all the toys. There was just//

Close usage of that word again.


Watch that you don't let personal opinions creep into the narration. So far, you've been using an omniscient narrator, so in this paragraph, it's fine when you say Flurry felt sympathy, because that's factual. But when you take a conversational tone like this, it pushes it into a limited narrator, and then stating something only Flurry Heart could know means you're shifting perspective, which isn't a good idea in the middle of a scene.


Three dots is plenty.

>Flurry soared him//

"Soar" doesn't take a direct object.

>lest he would risk//

"Lest" uses a different kind of verb form called subjunctive mood. The bottom line is that you don't need "would" here.

>That made very Flurry happy.//

Jumbled wording.


You don't need to put asterisks around sound effects like this.

>He lied there on the bear for a moment//

They're tricky verbs to keep straight, but you should use "lay" here instead of "lied."


Please use a proper dash for cutoffs and asides.


Needs one more dot in the ellipsis.


That's two words.

>Spike walked stepped//

Extraneous word.

>beside castle’s the doors//

Jumbled wording.

>Many Ponyville's ponies//

Missing word.

>Not ones to deny such a day, Spike//

You're referring to Spike with the plural "ones."

>a plane double hayburger//

You've confused "plane" with "plain."

>Eh, don't worry about//

Don't worry about what?


That should be a plural, not a possessive.

>He's the fella you're dancing with in that cute, little wedding picture you keep in your room.//

I'm nearly halfway through the story, and this is the first bit of tension that's come up. Until now, it's just been fluff. There's no source of conflict, no character growth. Any sort of problem that arises is immediately dealt with. You need to have something pushing the story forward.

>broke a tear//

That's not a phrasing I've ever heard before, but if it's familiar to you, it's fine.

>Around a lot of carrot dogs and hayburgers, I'm willing to bet.//

I assume it's Cookie thinking this? If you're going to use an omniscient narrator, you'll normally want to put dialogue-type tags on thoughts.


That's a generic title, same as the "sir" Spike used earlier. You wouldn't capitalize this.

>I appreciate it, Sir//

Well, now you've decided to capitalize it. It shouldn't be.

>is she more of trouble//

Phrasing is off.

>still napping//

Hyphenate, given the way you've used it.

>Why did Hondo have to say what he said?//

Why is Sweetie Belle referring to her dad by his name?

>Spike awkwardly rubbed the back of his.//

The back of his what?

>A small blushed//



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

>'come with me, dear,'.//

Capitalization, extraneous comma.


Three dots is plenty.

>she is...embracing it? What is going on?//

Why'd you switch to present tense in the narration?

>"She's gone!"//

I'm about 75% of the way through the story, and this is the first whiff of real conflict. That's a lot to ask of a reader to stick it out this long.

>Despite Spike having scales, Flurry very comfortable in his arms.//

Some missing words in there.

>You've been real good to her, today.//

You really like to stick commas on those adverbs at the ends of sentences. They're rarely needed.

>Sweetie Belle green eyes//

Missing a possessive.


As one word, that's a noun. You need it to be a verb.

>look before looking//

Repetitive word use.

>You won't find stain//

Missing word.


That may cut it as video game dialogue, but not in good writing.


Three dots is plenty.

These are just examples of the editing issues I found. There are more, but I should have all the types covered. Other than the editing, the perspective is very unsteady. It never settles into either omniscient or limited narration, and while limited, it skips around to different characters frequently. And there's never tha much of a conflict or character growth. There are minor ones like what to feed Flurry Heart and when she goes missing, but they're all solved quickly and with little effort. The only thing we learn about the characters is that Spike and Sweetie Belle may have a mutual crush, but that doesn't get developed through the course of the story. It's way into inconsequential slice of life material before it's even brought up, and then nothing is done with it by the end of the story. They still just may have a mutual crush.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 3011

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's still a lot a fighting//

That second "a" should be "of." Maybe you were going for a more phonetic interpretation of how she said it? Either way, the computer still has to hear her and decide what words to use, and even our modern ones are decent at catching grammar like that. I'd think hers would know the proper word.

And a word about italics. They get annoying to read in large quantities. They're also meant to separate things as different. But when the whole thing is different, nothing is. The reader will already pick up how this is being presented as recordings. You don't need the italics to convey that. If they were short recordings interspersed in lots of "live" narration, then there would be a justification in setting them apart, but there's no need to do that for the way you have it.

It might help to put an [hr] between log entries.

>There's a lot of other Talons up her too//


>Even if its just me//

Its/it's confusion. Since it's either a computer putting the audio into text or the reader kind of listening to the recording, there are some things it wouldn't make sense to assume she got wrong.

>I' have//

Extraneous apostrophe.

>but... I've//

Inconsistent ellipsis format. It's preferred to put a space after, unless it starts a sentence, because it plays better with FiMFiction's typesetting, but either format is okay as long as you use the same one throughout.

>Ponies they're//

And it seems like that was supposed to be "there."

>It was, sickening.//

Why is there a comma here?

I mentioned two possibilities before, and I think it's going to make more sense to take this as the reader listening to the recording instead of seeing a text transcript of it. That means it's more reasonable to use ellipses, since it'd be tough to explain to a speech-to-text algorithm which pauses should be ellipses, commas, semicolons, periods, dashes, or just about anything. But taking it as an audio log has its own issues, namely that it wouldn't make sense to have certain kinds of errors, like the aforementioned its/it's confusion. They sound the same, so who's to say which is recorded? There's no reason to choose the wrong one, because then you're presuming Gilda meant the wrong one or the listener hears the wrong one, neither of which is justifiable. This does mean it'd help if you were more judicious about putting commas between clauses. Here's an example I pulled from a little later on:
>I've cut zebras in half on the battlefield, so I'm no stranger to entrails and the like, but that was nothing compared to that building.//
You got this one right. Whenever there's a passage where each subject gets its own verb (I've cut..., so [I am]..., but that was...), you set it off with commas.
>There was a mare in the office too but she had nothing to say after she succumbed to a sudden case of decapitation.//
Here's an example of a spot that needs one. You do have separate subject-verb pairs, but there's no comma to separate the clauses (There was... but she had).

I guess I don't have a picture of who Gilda is yet. She's tough enough to take out the whole Steelworks, but she doesn't have much sway with the military or pegasi.

>Twenty Seventh//

In all these dates, when the ordinal number has two words, put a hyphen between them. Same deal with the cardinal numbers of the years, if that comes up later.

>Found some a lot of ingots//

Jumbled wording.

>High grade//


More than in the previous version, you're starting to wander into things that a reader would have to be familiar with Fallout: Equestria to understand. I haven't read it. I don't know what the Curtain or the Luna are. I can guess the latter is a ship, but I don't know what significance it has or why Gilda wants to destroy it. In crossover stories, don't assume the reader knows anything other than canon MLP.


Ship names get italicized. Of course it already is, since everything is (though it shouldn't be).

>its only a pyre//

>maybe its magic or something//
>Knowing who its made to look like//
Its/it's confusion.

>stuck up//

>Fifty Two//


You sometimes capitalize that and sometimes don't.

>I found a Ministry of Peace hospital just outside the lethal zone. It was inhabited, but it isn't now.//

I don't know whether that means it was once inhabited but anyone there died in the attack on the city, or if Gilda found someone there and killed them.

>fro this place//


>their front's//

You have a possessive where you need a plural.

>screaming 'that's what everypony says!'.//

Punctuate and capitalize that like dialogue. And the period at the end is extraneous.

>manticore or something//

Missing period.

>played open//

I assume you mean "splayed."

>I'm sorry Dash.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>its still deadly//

Its/it's confusion.

>I looks like the shield went down.//


>I think its radiation//

Its/it's confusion.

>no where//

That's one word.

>I'm sorry Dash.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>December Twenty Third, Year one.//

You'd been capitalizing the year numbers. But it looks like you stop doing so here. It goes on like this, at least for the few more dates I scanned ahead to see.


There was one time a while back where you didn't capitalize both words.

>I heading out//


>Lot's of game.//

You have a possessive where you need a plural.

>eating them like crazy so they can't be bad. The things are growing like crazy//

Reptitive phrasing. And there are ways to check if something's poisonous. Wouldn't she know that?

>cave, They're//

Comma should be a period.

>Damn, it's been a long ass time since I've used this thing.//

Seems odd to have a 12-year time skip and not comment on why.

>About a third of them foals//

Missing period.

>hoof made//

That'd probably be one word like "handmade." Except why is a griffon using a "hoof" word?

>Its a little big//

Its/it's confusion.


One exclamation mark is plenty.

>I was going to start yelling for somepony to come help, I didn't want to go get her myself.//

Comma splice.

>left eh kids//


>I had to make a silencer for my rifle//

Where's she getting the material and tools for this? For that matter, where's she getting the toys for the kids?

>If they knew even half the things I've done they run away in terror.//


>Next time I get out of the valley//

Well, there it is. She should mention this earlier.

>I just, don't like leaving them alone.//

No reason to have a comma there.

>fifty nine//


>I'm sorry Dash.//

Comma for direct address.

>I spent a hundred round//


>My pistols don't have silencers to it was only an hour before the parents rushed into the clearing at the Ice Caverns' entrance.//


>I cleared out all the bodies//

How'd she get rid of the blood? Or don't they have any? If not, here's a spot where someone unfamiliar with the crossover isn't going to understand.

>its all my fault//

Its/it's confusion.

>and tall the younger ponies//


>its some kind of blasphemy//

Its/it's confusion. You get this right sometimes. I'm not sure what the deal is.

>Its not much//

I'm just going to list these when I see them. It's taking too much time to type "Its/it's confusion" over and over again.

>he bastards..//

Needs one more dot.

>All the younger mare's are alive//

You keep mixing up possessives with plurals.

>Fuck I should have been watching the entrance!!!//

Unless this was something she wrote out herself, I don't know how a recording device would differentiate three exclamation marks over one.

>sand bangs//


>their isn't in green foliage//

Several typos.

>They have all the mare's and foals//

Possessive/plural. I mean, you get "foals" right. Why is "mares" any different?

>run .//

Extraneous space.

>I am going to hurt them SO much!!//

One exclamation mark is plenty.

>Its all fresh off the assembly line.//

>bleeding out on the ground//

>bled out on the ground//
Pretty repetitive so close together.

>make shift//

That's one word.

>If these bucks are scared than the rest of their comrades should be scared too.//

Than/then confusion.

>questions, to ask them after all//

No reason to have a comma there.

>'Stable 34 territory acquisition expedition//

Where's that quotation supposed to close?

>'We're so sorry spirit', 'please don't hurt us spirit', 'we didn't want to hurt anypony Storm Mother'.//

Needs commas for direct address.

>their trying to shoot//


>December First.//

That period needs to be a comma.

>Ambush at the yeti Geyser.//

Not sure why "geyser" is capitalized. Or if it's a place name, why "yeti" isn't.

>I let through leave//


>ponies Young//

Missing period.

>It's been a real long time since I used this thing, this will be my last recording.//

Comma splice, and there are several more in this entry.


One too many dots.

>took about twenty tries before I could do it with coughing up blood or crying //

Sounds like you meant that to be "without."

>Its nice//

>Its comfortable.//

>Take care of your home my Children.//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>You must all be kind to each.//

Missing an "other."

The expansion definitely makes it clearer what's going on and adds more emotional depth. Since I'm not familiar with Fo:E, though, I don't know when this is supposed to take place. Would Gilda have made up with Dash as in "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone"? Would "Griffon the Brush-Off" have happened? I don't know where we are in Gilda's relationship with Dash. And that informs what it meant for that to end. I gather Gilda killed her because she was paid to, though I don't know whether it was a straight-up hit job or just a bounty on ponies in general. Without that kind of background, I don't know how big a deal it is that Gilda killed her. She regrets it so badly later, but then I don't understand why she could have done it in the first place. It's not like Gilda had some wholesale personality change that made her a different person in that regard. Either there's supposed to be a change that wasn't conveyed, or Gilda's just being inconsistent.

That's really the only story issue for me. Other than that, there's just a lot of mechanical clean-up that needs to happen. It's not unusual for extensively rewritten material to have new issues pop up, but it felt like this was cleaner before. A lot of these things are pretty obvious.

Hold on, let me revisit her age. She says she's 60 in year 14. then in year 40, she says she's 85. Wouldn't she be 86? And she's still marauding around. How long do griffons live? If that's a piece of Fo:E lore, I don't know it. Then she dies in year 55, short of her birthday, so she's 100. Ponies, at least, seem to have pretty human lifespans, and you even allude to such (14 being very young to get pregnant, for instance). Unless griffons are much longer-lived than ponies, it's kind of hard to buy her doing all this at such an advanced age.

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 3012

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.

Why'd you put the title in quotes?

>Larger than life//

>hundred carat//
When you use multi-word phrases as single descriptors like this, hyphenate them.

Your perspective is pretty unsteady so far. You obviously start the story with an external viewpoint, but as you ease into it, it seems to take on Rarity's perspective, or possibly remain omniscient. There's nothing decidedly limited about the narration, until we get to this:
>Yet Rarity still appeared completely unfazed//
The opening narrator wasn't a character, because he's clearly self-aware that it's a story. But this statement is from a character viewpoint. "Seemed" is a judgment call. Seemed to whom? I don't know. And that's the kind of context that informs perspective. It's not the same narrator we stated with, because he'd know if she was unfazed; "seem" wouldn't enter into it.


One exclamation mark is plenty.

>sequins that drew the eye back to that one perfect diamond that shone like a beacon!//

The two "that" clauses get a bit repetitive when tacked so close together, but technically, both of them should be "which." You're not creating a subcategory; you're just saying this particular diamond and these particular sequins have these characteristics.

>Then a particularly extravagant spin left her facing the edge of the ship and she blindly stepped forward into empty air…//

You've got a number of spots like this, where you need a comma between the clauses.

Right after that first picture, we get assaulted with "as" clauses. You have all these within the space of just 3 paragraphs:
>as she sashayed along the railing//
>as they saw that a sparkling bridge of blue light had materialized beneath the mode//
>as he followed her onto the bridge//
>as he walked past//
>as the music reached its swelling finale//
This and the participial phrase can be wonderfully descriptive, but they're also uncommon enough in everyday usage that they easily stand out as repetitive, and a lot of authors overuse them.

>reached its swelling finale, they reached//

Close word repetition.

>through which she now played a blood-pumping solo on her guitar//

There have been three female characters (well, the reader's left to intuit that the "rainbow-maned pegasus" is female) mentioned in the sentence already, so it's ambiguous who "she" is.

>a figure wearing a cloak that hid all their features//

This is also inconsistent with the omniscient narrator hat you seem to favor. As omniscient, he'd know who this was. There are ways to make the language work and keep the secret, but the narrator or perspective character needs a reason to.

>When Rarity makes art it doesn’t matter what era//

Needs a comma in there.



>Let me just cut you off right there, Darling.//

"Darling" is a generic term of endearment. It wouldn't be capitalized.

>a particularly fancy skybridge//

There's an opinion creeping into the narration again, but I don't know whose. And whatever personality the seemingly omniscient narrator took on at the beginning of the story has been missing ever since, so it's not him.

>this way, darling//

That's already her third time saying "darling" in this scene. If you look through episode transcripts, she doesn't actually eay it that often, usually no more than two or three times in an entire episode.

>Why don’t we ask him?//

When you italicize w rod for emphasis, it's preferred to include an exclamation mark or question mark on it in the italics.

>definitely not grape juice//

This goes to perspective again. Why's the narrator making a big deal about this? What would matter if it was wine?

>yelling “Thank//

Needs a comma.

Now that you have a scene with Applejack, it's very consistently a limited narration in her perspective. That just leaves me confused about what the narrative voice was supposed to be before now.

>she flew over the earth pony//

Well, now it's slipped. Why would AJ call herself "the earth pony"? In your own head, do you call yourself "the person"?

>Applejack looked hurt.//

How can she see herself to tell? The perspective's somewhere else, but not necessarily with her cousin. Though that's the only other option, I guess.

>I just don’t want to see you hurt again.//

And this use of "hurt" in the same paragraph is repetitive.

>Before Twilight could reply someone tapped her shoulder.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>Turning around//

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

>she saw Applejack wearing a very odd dress//

So this is in Twilight's perspective...
>Rainbow Dash was the first to find her voice, and naturally the first thing she did with it was laugh.//
This might still be in Twilight's perspetive, but it sounds more like it'd be Rarity's or AJ's...
>She looked around and saw a good vantage point in a nearby tower.//
Now you're in Rarity's head...
>They had never seen fashion like this before!//
And now you're in some kind of collective viewpoint. This is all in the first page.
>But Ginger was hardly listening, already planning on how she would try again.//
Into Ginger's perspective now. It's bouncing all over the place.

>into— ”//

Extraneous space.

>back at Ponyville//

I'd normally see this phrased with "in."


Please use a proper dash for cutoffs.

>Rarity’s reply sounded rehearsed//

This has to be from AJ's perspective...
>Rarity stood up and rounded on the other mare with such suddenness that Applejack had to take a step back.//
But this is unidentifiable. The "had to take a step back" feels like AJ's, but it's strange for either one of them to call AJ "the other mare."



>Applejack’s voice remained strong and self-assured as ever, but her stance told a different story as she continued to back away, her broad shoulders tensing. Rarity’s body language was also different. Gone was the grace of the dainty lady, and in its place was something almost predatory.//

And you're switching perspective in the middle of the paragraph here.

>A fifty carat diamond with a good cut and clarity, it would make a fine addition to any collection.//

Fifty-carat. And while that's not technically a comma splice, it sure feels like one.

>“Blue Topaz”, Rarity thought//

Comma placement.

>Rarity looked away//

>looking affronted//
>Everyone looked at Rarity.//
>“Look, you have a lot of talent.//
That's all in just 3 paragraphs. "Look" is a word many authors tend to overuse.

>I can’t decide who I fall in love with//

I don't gather how this follows from "I'm just a regular mare." Do exceptional mares decide who they fall in love with?

>She did not hear Applejack knocking//

How does she know AJ knocked, then? You've mostly been using a limited narration, so the narrator is essentially the focus character. If Rarity doesn't know AJ knocked, neither does the narrator.



>darling.” Rarity said//


>Somepony made themselves your problem and you treated them much better than you had to.//

Why is AJ making pretty much the opposite argument that she had the day before?

I realize you were very hampered by word count limits, but all of the romantic attractions here are things I just have to accept the story's word for. None of the characters actually justify their infatuations. I don't know what Ginger actually likes about Rarity that she would consider her good relationship material. Same goes for whatever Rarity likes about AJ. It's on the absurd side, but you're not tagging this as comedy, so that's not the angle you're taking. In that case, I really am looking for this to be an authentic portrayal of an earnest love interest, but it's just surface-level, and it's hard to stand out from the crowd of all the other stories that do the same thing. For that matter, the emotional climax of Ginger having to face rejection occurs off camera, so I'm just left to imagine what impact that's had on her, or at the least, to take AJ's vague description of it.

Really, the two biggest things are that the love interest lacks depth and the perspective skips around between limited perspectives and an omniscient voice.

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