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.
>Rainbow Dash and Rarity head east//
I thought when Rainbow Dash headed east, it took millions of words. Sorry, couldn't resist.
>, love, it’s//
If this formatting means something, it's lost on me.
That opening paragraph just comes across as inconsistent. First off, Dash is not a poetic character. To that end, I could buy the uneven rhythms and stretched rhymes. Yet it's so almost regular that it doesn't feel haphazard. It feels more like something planned, a speech that Dash had worked on for some time but not perfected yet, and the word choice is rather advanced for her in places. In fact, the near-structure of it seems to be fighting the whole theme of the piece.
In short, it doesn't say "Rainbow Dash" to me, nor does it create the tone that follows through the rest of the story.
>If is that one?//
Wording got jumbled here.
I don't understand why you're putting a dash here. There isn't a change in the train of thought, and nothing interrupts her.
>Dash felt Rarity take her hoof. She tucked a loose part of her curly mane behind her ear//
The first part sure makes it sound like Dash isn't looking at her, so how would she see the second part?
>She pondered how to open up without opening up all at once, which from her years of experience with her neurotic friends tended to look pretty bad.//
Again, this just doesn't evoke Dash for me. Compare it to her dialogue. The two should sound very similar. A limited narration is essentially the character's internal stream of thought, and if it sounds much different than what they say out loud, there would need to be a rationale for why (like an informal thought pattern against formal speech because she's in a ritzy venue, for instance).
>cried out as her tongue burned//
Go back to the notion that the narration is Dash's stream of thought. She says this so matter-of-factly. If you did this, you'd probably have some choice words running through your head, but she just glosses over it. If it were to create the sense she barely noticed, I could buy that, but then she wouldn't be crying out. When she doesn't pay attention to the right things, it loses some authenticity.
>locked inside Carousel Boutique preparing//
Why do they need it to be locked?
>Dash laid on her friend’s plush bed//
>Pegasi could feel and manipulate the energy in it like a unicorn could a leyline.//
This seems to contradict her earlier statement that the pegasi who'd modified it had done so in ways few of them understood.
>ripping across the sky//
You repeat this phrase in consecutive sentences.
>Dash would fly.//
I get why she'd like to fly, but it feels like you're skipping over something, namely the pluses and minuses of traveling together. I'm not even sure if Dash would count the companionship as a plus or minus at this point, and that's a rather telling thing.
>it’s a moment of piece//
I don't know if you're doing deliberate wordplay here or this is a typo. If the former, I'm not sure what it means.
>below her//>beneath her//
Kind of repetitive to end consecutive sentences this way.
>If Dash had paid enough enough attention to that lesson, she might have come to the conclusion that since the jetstream was essentially one giant column of air being vibrated by unbound magical forces, it was only logical for it to produce sound as the overtones interacted in the space around her.//
Well... you're using a limited narrator. So this is Dash's stream of thought. It explicitly does occur to her if the narrator says it. There are ways to say things to this effect, but they're usually phrased more like she would have been satisfied with that conclusion were she more scientific, or some such. This sounds more like she's saying she lacks the knowledge to reason out the explanation she just reasoned out, which is contradictory.
>carrying over the wind in fifths and fourths and major thirds//
Look, I know you in particular can't help letting this kind of thing creep into the writing, but once again, this is Dash's limited narration. This means that she not only knows what these things are but so instinctively that she can recognize them when they're not where her attention would be focused. Don't lose an authentic train of thought for the character, or else you might as well be writing omniscient.
>a trail of condensation clinging to her like the tail of a comet//
I guess it depends on what the source is? Only condensation from a combusting propulsion source would trail behind, and she doesn't have one. If you're talking about the vapor clouds that form when objects approach the speed of sound (presumably, exiting the jetstream means she's suddenly going much faster relative to the air around her), then those would be more around her head and wings.
Wait, let me revisit that. She shut her wings, and there's suddenly a downward force on her. It's just gravity, so nothing more than she's used to. There's not going to be an aerodynamic force pushing her down just from that.
>again, light blue suited her. Another thought overtook her, and she rolled again//
Watch the close word repetition.
>Dash, pumped her wings hard//
Why is that comma there?
>emblazoned with the San Diamingo flag//
Kinda makes me wonder what it looks like...
>over the mountain,” the pony explained over//
Watch the close repetition.
>There are essentially two towns on either side of the island.//
This makes it sound like there are four towns total, two on each side.
>What kind of food to they have?//
>lulled them into silence//
It's kind of presumptive for Dash to assume this is what's happening with the staff member. She can only speak for herself, unless she's drawing a conclusion from her observation of his behavior.
>above, she spotted a pair of pegasi riding a thermal updraft into the clouds above//
>Thanks for the lift dude.//
Needs a comma for direct address.
>in the background, dramatic music playing in the background//
Close phrase repetition.
>all bursting out all//
Here's a danger of using a double hyphen over a real dash: you can't control the typesetting on FiMFic. On my browser, it's put a line break between the hyphens.
>led her down the single dirt road leading//
Repetitive word choice.
>then back to cabin//
>You could have gotten sunburned//
Do ponies get sunburned? I know only certain animals can.
>Much to her friend’s chagrin//
Why would Dash refer to herself in such a roundabout way?
>down into deep//
Seems like you're missing a word.
>Dash laid in a soft bed //
>how do you propose I make it down in time for the spa appointment.//
Isn't that a question?
So I guess you've tranferred over to Rarity's viewpoint. It doesn't go back for the rest of the chapter, so it's not bad, though I'm not sure it's adding anything either. But once again, this is a very impersonal kind of reference to make about someone she knows well.
>if you want to look presentable when we got to the resort club//
That "got" doesn't parse.
You've done a better job since the early chapters of keeping Dash's narration from sounding too advanced, but there are occasional spots like this. You have her not knowing what spelunking is and thinking they'd have a log flume ride coming down the mountain (Is it really a mountain, though? There's a minimum elevation requirement to call it that.) despite no evidence of such, and yet she both knows what cognitive dissonance is and is inclined to use the phrase.
>That vague notion seemed familiar, but it was equally easy to dismiss.//
And you're getting a bit advanced with her again.
>The jetstream roared above her, no more than a few hundred years away.//
>to find Dash zonked out on a folding chair. It felt strange to find her//
Watch the repetitive phrasing. And it's curious for you to switch to Rarity's perspective here. The whole story's been with Rainbow Dash so far. Is it really buying you anything to go to Rarity? We don't learn anything important while there, and it only lasts a few paragraphs. You could easily cut it without losing anything, or have this be something Dash observes while pretending to be asleep.
>Having already made the important decision to stay in bed until the tides washed the island away, her resolve was strong.//
This makes it sound like it was her resolve that had made the decision.
>ice cold bottle//
>The poor pegasus//
Why would Dash refer to herself so externally? Nobody does this.
>Without taking her eyes off of Rarity, Dash eyed the paper bags sitting on the floor//
This is self-contradictory.
>Dash nervously peered into the bag and pulled out its contents. “Is that... Prench?”//
I don't understand this on two levels. First, Rarity had put the cold bottle against Dash's neck, so when did it go back into the bag, which may not even be that close to Rarity? And second, Dash already said it was a champagne bottle, so why did she need to look into the bag to see that's what it was? She's the narrator. If the narration says it's champagne, then Dash knows it's champagne.
>“What’s that, some kind of protein shake?” Dash grimaced at the thought.//
I guess I'm a little surprised that someone athletic like Dash would hate protein shakes, but it's not impossible.
>And it’s why I love you so much that, uhm, I want to know if you’re happy.//
Okay, nothing in the story so far has made me think they were already in a relationship. Rarity doesn't react with any degree of surprise, so either they are, Rarity's long since figured this out, or Rarity's just taking this as a platonic statement. And this is good! Rarity's hard to figure out here, and it keeps things interesting.
>leaning on a stood//
>The chords sounded funny//
This goes back to narrative voice again. Remember, this is the same limited narration you had identifying fifths and fourths and major thirds, and now she can only say something vague (which fits her character better anyway).
>More chords floated past them.//
Why do you keep just calling the music chords? Whether or not Dash has any musical knowledge, she's going to describe it in more ways than that.
>whatever,” Rarity said, “It’s//
Capitalization. When you re-enter the quote like this, it doesn't get capitalized.
>by the time she touching down again//
Syntax is off.
>with the incredible roar of the wind passed around her//
Weird phrasing. Maybe you meant that "with" to be a "while"?
>All that was left with the night.//
This might be okay, but it kind of sounds like another "with" you meant to be something else.
>ocean stretched on endlessly beneath her. The island was a tiny speck in the endless ocean//
Pretty repetitive phrasing.
>Using the jetstream to retrace her flight path//
How's that work? Presumably she's not in it, so she's just below it or something? How can she sense it there in the dark? Seems like this would be a great place for some sensory imagery instead of glossing it over.
>The island appeared on the horizon//
But she mentioned it being a speck before. That sure made it sound like she still had it in sight.
Man, this is a really hard kind of story to judge. It's got lovely atmosphere and characterization, and on the balance that can outweigh some missteps. The biggest is that the narration is inconsistent at feeling like it's Dash's voice. It's too sophisticated at times, and then there are the big poetic paragraphs. Because of the narrator you're using, it's Dash coming up with that stuff on the spur of the moment. On the one hand, that makes it more reasonable that the rhymes aren't very clean most of the time, but on the other, it means Dash is both able and inclined to think in poetry off the cuff, and that's tougher to believe.
So I'll say this: Fix up the typos and mechanical errors and such. I'm prepared to take the poetry as a conceit for the story. But you should really consider how out of place the two short diversions into Rarity's perspective are, and you should think about making the prose-style narration more in tune with Dash's character. It should reflect her intelligence level, vocabulary, mannerisms, and personality, and there were several places, mostly in the early chapters, where it fel like you were losing her voice. Again, if you want that fancy language, you could go for an omniscient narrator, since matching her voice wouldn't be an issue then, but that would be a far more extensive change to make than "dumbing down" some of the existing narration, as it were.
If all you fix is the mechanical/stylistic things, I'll post this, but as much as you want this to be an intensely personal experience for the readers, seeing through Dash's eyes, I hope you'll consider that it would be even more powerful if it more consistently emulated her. Mark it as "back from Mars," and I'll approve it when you resubmit.
Oh, and a word about cover art. You have a lot of followers, and this is a popular enough ship. I'm surprised it's gotten so few readers. I wonder if it isn't the art. If you really want to keep this, you can, but Seth always complains at us when we send him stories with stock images as cover art like this, since they look pretty boring on the blog. Even a nice episode screencap of Dash alone or with Rarity and looking mood-appropriate would make a noticeable difference.
This post was edited by its author on .