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Pre-reader 63.546"s Equestria Daily Feedback Thread Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 23[Last 50 Posts]

#Reviewer

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:
>>128414

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.

Saidisms:
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:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dqgYO7OqGDcE3CZ8V6WDOBKTITjzvbrHdyXOFtm_dfI/edit

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 24

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.

>Cadet Leader Lemon Sweet exclaimed, clapping her hooves together excitedly//

We'll see if I have to end up giving you the full show-vs-tell speech, but here, the word "excitedly" is undoing the nice image you had going. The choice of speaking verb and the action of clapping her hooves already gives me a mental picture of excitement (the clapping could also be an attention-getting thing, I suppose—you could add in a facial expression to be clearer if you wanted), so bluntly telling me that's what it is just obviates it all, and turns it into a cold fact. You don't always have to show, but right here at the beginning is the place to grab the reader's interest, and getting him into the characters' mindsets and creating a vivid picture are essential here.

>lets give them a real send off//

let's, send-off

>The little crowd of local fillies burst into applause//

They just did that three sentences ago, and with much the same phrasing.

>one of them - a little periwinkle unicorn named Dinky Doo piped up//

First, use a proper dash instead of a hyphen. Either an em dash with no spaces around it (Alt+0151 = —) or an en dash with spaces around it (primarily British usage, Alt+0150 = –). Second, you don't complete the aside, as the rest of the sentence isn't detached like the description of Dinky. You should place another dash after her name. However, you could make do with commas instead, as the phrase is a legitimate appositive for "one of them."

>to which the three older fillies in question blushed and rubbed at the back of their heads//

Bad choice of preposition here. I think you meant "at." Let me rearrange the phrase to illustrate:
Yours: "The three older fillies in question blushed to this."
Mine: "The three older fillies in question blushed at this."

>Tag-a-long//

You call her "Tag Along" in the synopsis, and the official name of the cookie is "Tagalong." I can understand that you might take some liberties with that official name, but be consistent.

>It doesn’t seem like its been that long, does it?

Its/it's confusion.

>She’d been mimicking a certain posh pony’s accent for years in secret, and as she grew older and into her grown up voice//

Grown-up. Two things here. It's obviously tough to convey such an accent, and it would go a long way toward doing so if you made more careful word choice for her. That would also eliminate the need to have the narrator fill me in on this. It would stand on its own more with less explanation, and would also help establish different voices for your three characters.

>That brought on a wince at the memory.//

You've done this a couple of times now. Using demonstratives (this, that, these, those) on their own is weak, as they have vague antecedents that are often large chunks of narration. Try to find an appropriate noun to place after it, like: "That memory brought on a wince."

>Maple Syrup//

Why is "Syrup" capitalized? Unless it's someone's name, in which case the sentence takes on a whole new disturbing meaning.

>Do-si-do//

This matches the official cookie name, but you spelled it "Do-si-Do" in the synopsis. Again, be consistent.

>She stuck her tongue out and the three friends giggled in unison.//

Watch when and when not to use a comma with a conjunction. You usually don't when you simply have a compound structure of two subjects, verbs, or objects, but you do when you have two clauses, each with its own separate subject and verb, which is the case here.

>Although they had come close before - they had never quite gotten enough to outsell one of the teams from the bigger cities.//

Inappropriate dash use. This is just a dependent clause leading into a main clause. Use a comma.

>Manehatten//

They have now updated the canon map to the more realistic spelling of "Manehattan."

>and even freakin’ Appleloosa!//

You haven't established a narrative voice that should be doing this. It's been pretty objective and jumping around to each character, but here it takes on a very personal aspect. It's inconsistent, and it's unclear whose emotions this is supposed to express.

>Thin Mint flung a hoof across her eyes and made a dramatic sob.//

You just used "dramatically" a couple sentences ago (which was a telly use, by the way), so watch the word repetition.

>would-have-been record breaking//

As you've used it, this whole phrase should be hyphenated.

>Do-si-do had suspected foul play as rumor had it//

Minor point, but note that using no comma with an "as" clause tends to create the feel of "at the same time that," while including one tends to create a feel of "because."

>Diamond Tiara had been on that team, and had used her father’s chain of stores to sell the cookies//

See prior note about comma use with conjunctions. You don't need this one.

>rubbing at her horn a little in frustration//

Yeah, you'll get the show-versus-tell speech.

>Look I want that badge as much as you do//

Missing comma for the invective.

>Tag-a-long growled something unintelligible//

Odd narrative choice again. Since your narrator seems to know everyone's thoughts, why not this? It's only unintelligible to one or two of the characters, after all. Tagalong knows what she said.

>Dosi//

Same issue. Having the narrator use a nickname for her while not in a clear perspective and still taking on aspects of being omniscient is jarring.

>sales-drive//

This isn't a hyphenated term.

>Hold the bucking phone!//

Use of "bucking" in this way is incredibly cliched.

>That’s right girls!//

Missing comma for direct address.

>most importantly of those changes//

Used an adverb where you need an adjective.

>Which is an oddly apt thing to say I think//

Missing comma.

>but…You really think we can pull this off?//

There's no need to capitalize after an ellipsis if what follows makes syntactic sense as a continuous sentence.

>Tag-a-long let a slow grin flow across her face, her eyes sparkling intensely.//

See, here's a spot where you do a good job of showing. Give me the mental picture, and let her actions and appearance speak for themselves.

>Tag Along//

And another inconsistent spelling.

>yanno//

I've never seen this spelling. I think "y'know" would be clearer.

>Her voice trailed off//

It's redundant for the narration to tell me what the punctuation already does.

>Do-Si-Do//

Inconsistent again.

>‘nother//

Several things can confuse smart quotes. One is putting an apostrophe on the beginning of a word. This one is backward. If you add one after it, then delete the first, it will look right.

>larger than life//

Hyphenate.

>forever!

Italicize ! or ? when it's on a word in italics. You got this right earlier.

>Or Imprisoned, Exiled, Executed, Banished//

I don't get why all this is capitalized.

>em’//

Apostrophe on the wrong end.

>‘em//

Another backward apostrophe.

>the way Cookie Cadet’s do//

Misused apostrophe. This is a plural, not a possessive.

>Tag reminded her, carting in the next stack of boxes//

Participial phrases commonly make for misplace modifiers. If they start a clause, they're presumed to modify the subject; elsewhere, they're presumed to modify the nearest prior noun or pronoun object. Sometimes, they can modify other things, if the reader applies a little logic, but unless you keep this issue in mid, you will eventually run into misdirection or ambiguity. Here, I can't tell which one is carting in the next stack of boxes. By virtue of closeness in the sentence, it refers to "her" (Thin Mint), but I bet you meant it to be Tagalong.

>” That got a nod from Pinkie//

Extraneous space.

>Tag-a-long enthused//

That is in no way, shape, or form a speaking verb.

>she winked cheekily at Tag//

Exact action she just did two paragraphs ago.

>Tag Along burbled//

Seriously?

>Thin Mint said with understandable awe//

Understandable to whom? The narrator's not speaking in a particular character's voice.

>delicious smelling//

Hyphenate.

>“Okay.” Tag Along said with her nose buried in a thick scroll.//

Dialogue punctuation.

>“Laser Pointers?

Missing your closing quotation marks.

I'll say here that it's a bit annoying to read through 28 paragraphs of dialogue with only three actions interspersed. Talking heads is somewhat justified in this type of scene, but you carry it to an extreme.

>Of course, that didn’t mean they could stop trying to sell cookies - every box might count. Of course//

Repetitive, starting consecutive sentences with the same thing, where you're not playing it for some kind of effect.

>thin Mint//

Capitalization.

>Spike the Dragon//

Just "Spike" will do.

>And so it went//

Very awkward change of tone here. You'd been taking us through the scene with a combination of narration and dialogue, but here, you switch to summarizing everything through the narration. Not sure why you chose to do that, but it's odd and not particularly effective.

>Ditzy Do//

Spelling. And since Ditzy and Derpy are apparently different canon ponies, are you sure you don't want to go with Derpy?

>I swear half the town is trying to figure out if you’re trying//

Missing comma and repetitive wording.

>Tag felt some of the tension drain out of her. This was going to give her a massive tension headache//

More word repetition.

>“Ah, well… You know us. We’re not really party girls.” Do-si-do commented a little lamely//

Dialogue punctuation.

>They especially loved parties that involved dancing and doing things their parent’s would not necessarily approve of.//

Misused apostrophe.

>The slightly sexy sounding voice//

I have no idea where you're going with this…

>Sup//

’Sup

>in comical relief//

Please refrain from telling the reader how he is supposed to feel about something. If you have to say something is funny, chances are that it isn't.

>one of the biggest party night//

Number disagreement.

>The sleek black bodystocking’s she’d been expecting//

Misused apostrophe.

>44th //

Spell out numbers this short.

>“The Son of Dr. Negative”//

Book titles are underlined or (preferably) in italics.

>So instead of drowning in her own sorrows//

Actually, I wish you had given me a little about that. It'd add more realism, since that's certainly something that'd be on her mind, it'd make me more emotionally invested in the characters, and it would provide more impetus for why they're involved in this activity.

>masculine//

You're rather overusing this word here.

>penetrated the crate walls//

More word repetition.

>gimmie//

gimme

>Sun Raising ceremony//

You didn't capitalize this in the previous paragraph.

>Sugarcube corner//

Capitalization

>familiar looking unicorn browsing over several large and ancient looking//

More repetitive phrasing.

>Grabbing both of her friends by the collars of their ninja-bunny suits, she hauled them quickly down a side path//

Note that participles imply concurrent action, so you have her grabbing them at the same time she hauls them down the hallway. Surely these actions are in sequence, not at the same time.

>“Hah! Got it,” Tag grinned at her fellow fillies.//

How do you grin a sentence?

>Thin Mint - being the pegasi of the group//

Unless she's more than one pony, you need "pegasus."

>heavy looking water balloons//

They prepared this equipment together. More than thinking they looked heavy, she'd know whether they were heavy.

>with quite the comical effect//

Please let your comedy speak for itself.

>“Minty! Get the windows open! Dosi! We need the chow!”//

Given that she valued the anonymity their outfits were providing, why is she shouting out their names?

>and similar giggles were summoned up from her friends//

Odd phrasing and unnecessary passive voice.

>if they had been any of the guests foals//

Missing apostrophe.

>book cases//

bookcases

>giving it the impression of having a cheerful fire in it//

Set off the participle with a comma.

>Thin Mint ,and//

Spacing error.

>pegasi fashion//

Noun adjuncts are singular.

>At least they were still technically not adults, which meant the worst they’d get was some kind of punishment-fits-the-crime.//

Wouldn't that be the goal, regardless of age?

>“Hey girls,” a quiet and slightly amused voice startled her out of her thoughts, and sure enough, there was Twilight Sparkle sitting with a slightly amused smile on her face. //

Missing a speaking action, and repetitive phrasing.

>S’okay//

’S okay

>Tag muttered a little, and Pinkie perked up a little bit at the reassurance - not much, but a little.//

Repetitive.

>The Look//

I have no idea what this is. You've never defined it.

>Tag felt her hooves root to the floor for a brief moment, until she felt//

More repetition.

See the notes on comma use with conjunctions, dash and hyphen use, show versus tell, talking heads, and saidisms at the top of this thread. It may help to read the head hopping note, too, though that's not exactly the problem you have.

You have a very inconsistent narrative voice that can't decide whether it's omniscient or following one of the characters. Really, any arrangement can be made to work, but it has to achieve some purpose. I just felt jostled back and forth between being in an omniscient viewpoint, spending a little time with two of the characters, then settling in with the third the longer the story went on.

It's also a little curious how young and somewhat immature these girls sound, and how close an association they seem to have with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, given that you've made them just a year short of college age. There's a bit of a disconnect in how old they act and how old they actually are. Perhaps it would work better if you made them younger and either abandoned the "we're going to be splitting up soon" angle or came up with another reason for it. Conversely, you could mature them to make them act more age-appropriate.

In addition to the spots I marked, here are some other troubling word counts:

little - 34
look - 32
start/began - 20 I advise authors to avoid these, except where the beginning is noteworthy because it's abrupt or the action doesn't finish. Otherwise, it's obvious that any given action begins.
just - 39
"to be" verbs - I only looked for "is" and "was," and still got 133. You need to choose more active verbs.
as - 99 This suggests you're overusing "as" clauses.

As is another common problem, even for words that aren't used too much in the story as a whole, when you do use them, you tend to do so in clusters, which makes them stand out more.

This is a cute idea for a story, and I love the names you chose for these characters. But it's a little on the superficial side, especially considering the amount of time it spends in a subjective point of view. Though it seems odd to have the official name be Cookie Cadets when they do so much more than just the cookies.
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 <i>have</i> to fix, but take each under advisement.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Cadet Leader Lemon Sweet exclaimed, clapping her hooves together excitedly//</span><br />We&#039;ll see if I have to end up giving you the full show-vs-tell speech, but here, the word &quot;excitedly&quot; is undoing the nice image you had going. The choice of speaking verb and the action of clapping her hooves already gives me a mental picture of excitement (the clapping could also be an attention-getting thing, I suppose—you could add in a facial expression to be clearer if you wanted), so bluntly telling me that&#039;s what it is just obviates it all, and turns it into a cold fact. You don&#039;t always have to show, but right here at the beginning is the place to grab the reader&#039;s interest, and getting him into the characters&#039; mindsets and creating a vivid picture are essential here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;lets give them a real send off//</span><br />let&#039;s, send-off<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The little crowd of local fillies burst into applause//</span><br />They just did that three sentences ago, and with much the same phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;one of them - a little periwinkle unicorn named Dinky Doo piped up//</span><br />First, use a proper dash instead of a hyphen. Either an em dash with no spaces around it (Alt+0151 = —) or an en dash with spaces around it (primarily British usage, Alt+0150 = –). Second, you don&#039;t complete the aside, as the rest of the sentence isn&#039;t detached like the description of Dinky. You should place another dash after her name. However, you could make do with commas instead, as the phrase is a legitimate appositive for &quot;one of them.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to which the three older fillies in question blushed and rubbed at the back of their heads//</span><br />Bad choice of preposition here. I think you meant &quot;at.&quot; Let me rearrange the phrase to illustrate:<br />Yours: &quot;The three older fillies in question blushed to this.&quot;<br />Mine: &quot;The three older fillies in question blushed at this.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Tag-a-long//</span><br />You call her &quot;Tag Along&quot; in the synopsis, and the official name of the cookie is &quot;Tagalong.&quot; I can understand that you might take some liberties with that official name, but be consistent.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It doesn’t seem like its been that long, does it?</span><br />Its/it&#039;s confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She’d been mimicking a certain posh pony’s accent for years in secret, and as she grew older and into her grown up voice//</span><br />Grown-up. Two things here. It&#039;s obviously tough to convey such an accent, and it would go a long way toward doing so if you made more careful word choice for her. That would also eliminate the need to have the narrator fill me in on this. It would stand on its own more with less explanation, and would also help establish different voices for your three characters.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That brought on a wince at the memory.//</span><br />You&#039;ve done this a couple of times now. Using demonstratives (this, that, these, those) on their own is weak, as they have vague antecedents that are often large chunks of narration. Try to find an appropriate noun to place after it, like: &quot;That memory brought on a wince.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Maple Syrup//</span><br />Why is &quot;Syrup&quot; capitalized? Unless it&#039;s someone&#039;s name, in which case the sentence takes on a whole new disturbing meaning.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Do-si-do//</span><br />This matches the official cookie name, but you spelled it &quot;Do-si-Do&quot; in the synopsis. Again, be consistent.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She stuck her tongue out and the three friends giggled in unison.//</span><br />Watch when and when not to use a comma with a conjunction. You usually don&#039;t when you simply have a compound structure of two subjects, verbs, or objects, but you do when you have two clauses, each with its own separate subject and verb, which is the case here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Although they had come close before - they had never quite gotten enough to outsell one of the teams from the bigger cities.//</span><br />Inappropriate dash use. This is just a dependent clause leading into a main clause. Use a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Manehatten//</span><br />They have now updated the canon map to the more realistic spelling of &quot;Manehattan.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and even freakin’ Appleloosa!//</span><br />You haven&#039;t established a narrative voice that should be doing this. It&#039;s been pretty objective and jumping around to each character, but here it takes on a very personal aspect. It&#039;s inconsistent, and it&#039;s unclear whose emotions this is supposed to express.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Thin Mint flung a hoof across her eyes and made a dramatic sob.//</span><br />You just used &quot;dramatically&quot; a couple sentences ago (which was a telly use, by the way), so watch the word repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;would-have-been record breaking//</span><br />As you&#039;ve used it, this whole phrase should be hyphenated.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Do-si-do had suspected foul play as rumor had it//</span><br />Minor point, but note that using no comma with an &quot;as&quot; clause tends to create the feel of &quot;at the same time that,&quot; while including one tends to create a feel of &quot;because.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Diamond Tiara had been on that team, and had used her father’s chain of stores to sell the cookies//</span><br />See prior note about comma use with conjunctions. You don&#039;t need this one.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;rubbing at her horn a little in frustration//</span><br />Yeah, you&#039;ll get the show-versus-tell speech.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Look I want that badge as much as you do//</span><br />Missing comma for the invective.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Tag-a-long growled something unintelligible//</span><br />Odd narrative choice again. Since your narrator seems to know everyone&#039;s thoughts, why not this? It&#039;s only unintelligible to one or two of the characters, after all. Tagalong knows what she said.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Dosi//</span><br />Same issue. Having the narrator use a nickname for her while not in a clear perspective and still taking on aspects of being omniscient is jarring.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;sales-drive//</span><br />This isn&#039;t a hyphenated term.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Hold the bucking phone!//</span><br />Use of &quot;bucking&quot; in this way is incredibly cliched.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That’s right girls!//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;most importantly of those changes//</span><br />Used an adverb where you need an adjective.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Which is an oddly apt thing to say I think//</span><br />Missing comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but…You really think we can pull this off?//</span><br />There&#039;s no need to capitalize after an ellipsis if what follows makes syntactic sense as a continuous sentence.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Tag-a-long let a slow grin flow across her face, her eyes sparkling intensely.//</span><br />See, here&#039;s a spot where you do a good job of showing. Give me the mental picture, and let her actions and appearance speak for themselves.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Tag Along//</span><br />And another inconsistent spelling.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;yanno//</span><br />I&#039;ve never seen this spelling. I think &quot;y&#039;know&quot; would be clearer.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her voice trailed off//</span><br />It&#039;s redundant for the narration to tell me what the punctuation already does.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Do-Si-Do//</span><br />Inconsistent again.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘nother//</span><br />Several things can confuse smart quotes. One is putting an apostrophe on the beginning of a word. This one is backward. If you add one after it, then delete the first, it will look right.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;larger than life//</span><br />Hyphenate.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>forever</i>!</span><br />Italicize ! or ? when it&#039;s on a word in italics. You got this right earlier.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Or Imprisoned, Exiled, Executed, Banished//</span><br />I don&#039;t get why all this is capitalized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;em’//</span><br />Apostrophe on the wrong end.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘em//</span><br />Another backward apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the way Cookie Cadet’s do//</span><br />Misused apostrophe. This is a plural, not a possessive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Tag reminded her, carting in the next stack of boxes//</span><br />Participial phrases commonly make for misplace modifiers. If they start a clause, they&#039;re presumed to modify the subject; elsewhere, they&#039;re presumed to modify the nearest prior noun or pronoun object. Sometimes, they can modify other things, if the reader applies a little logic, but unless you keep this issue in mid, you will eventually run into misdirection or ambiguity. Here, I can&#039;t tell which one is carting in the next stack of boxes. By virtue of closeness in the sentence, it refers to &quot;her&quot; (Thin Mint), but I bet you meant it to be Tagalong.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;” That got a nod from Pinkie//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Tag-a-long enthused//</span><br />That is in no way, shape, or form a speaking verb.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she winked cheekily at Tag//</span><br />Exact action she just did two paragraphs ago.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Tag Along burbled//</span><br />Seriously?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Thin Mint said with understandable awe//</span><br />Understandable to whom? The narrator&#039;s not speaking in a particular character&#039;s voice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;delicious smelling//</span><br />Hyphenate.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Okay.” Tag Along said with her nose buried in a thick scroll.//</span><br />Dialogue punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Laser Pointers?</span><br />Missing your closing quotation marks.<br /><br />I&#039;ll say here that it&#039;s a bit annoying to read through 28 paragraphs of dialogue with only three actions interspersed. Talking heads is somewhat justified in this type of scene, but you carry it to an extreme.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Of course, that didn’t mean they could stop trying to sell cookies - every box might count. Of course//</span><br />Repetitive, starting consecutive sentences with the same thing, where you&#039;re not playing it for some kind of effect.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;thin Mint//</span><br />Capitalization.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Spike the Dragon//</span><br />Just &quot;Spike&quot; will do.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And so it went//</span><br />Very awkward change of tone here. You&#039;d been taking us through the scene with a combination of narration and dialogue, but here, you switch to summarizing everything through the narration. Not sure why you chose to do that, but it&#039;s odd and not particularly effective.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Ditzy Do//</span><br />Spelling. And since Ditzy and Derpy are apparently different canon ponies, are you sure you don&#039;t want to go with Derpy?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I swear half the town is trying to figure out if you’re trying//</span><br />Missing comma and repetitive wording.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Tag felt some of the tension drain out of her. This was going to give her a massive tension headache//</span><br />More word repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Ah, well… You know us. We’re not really party girls.” Do-si-do commented a little lamely//</span><br />Dialogue punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;They especially loved parties that involved dancing and doing things their parent’s would not necessarily approve of.//</span><br />Misused apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The slightly sexy sounding voice//</span><br />I have no idea where you&#039;re going with this…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sup//</span><br />’Sup<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;in comical relief//</span><br />Please refrain from telling the reader how he is supposed to feel about something. If you have to say something is funny, chances are that it isn&#039;t.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;one of the biggest party night//</span><br />Number disagreement.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The sleek black bodystocking’s she’d been expecting//</span><br />Misused apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;44th //</span><br />Spell out numbers this short.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“The Son of Dr. Negative”//</span><br />Book titles are underlined or (preferably) in italics.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;So instead of drowning in her own sorrows//</span><br />Actually, I wish you <i>had</i> given me a little about that. It&#039;d add more realism, since that&#039;s certainly something that&#039;d be on her mind, it&#039;d make me more emotionally invested in the characters, and it would provide more impetus for why they&#039;re involved in this activity.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;masculine//</span><br />You&#039;re rather overusing this word here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;penetrated the crate walls//</span><br />More word repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;gimmie//</span><br />gimme<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sun Raising ceremony//</span><br />You didn&#039;t capitalize this in the previous paragraph.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sugarcube corner//</span><br />Capitalization<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;familiar looking unicorn browsing over several large and ancient looking//</span><br />More repetitive phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Grabbing both of her friends by the collars of their ninja-bunny suits, she hauled them quickly down a side path//</span><br />Note that participles imply concurrent action, so you have her grabbing them at the same time she hauls them down the hallway. Surely these actions are in sequence, not at the same time.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Hah! Got it,” Tag grinned at her fellow fillies.//</span><br />How do you grin a sentence?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Thin Mint - being the pegasi of the group//</span><br />Unless she&#039;s more than one pony, you need &quot;pegasus.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;heavy looking water balloons//</span><br />They prepared this equipment together. More than thinking they <i>looked</i> heavy, she&#039;d <i>know</i> whether they were heavy.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;with quite the comical effect//</span><br />Please let your comedy speak for itself.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Minty! Get the windows open! Dosi! We need the chow!”//</span><br />Given that she valued the anonymity their outfits were providing, why is she shouting out their names?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and similar giggles were summoned up from her friends//</span><br />Odd phrasing and unnecessary passive voice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;if they had been any of the guests foals//</span><br />Missing apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;book cases//</span><br />bookcases<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;giving it the impression of having a cheerful fire in it//</span><br />Set off the participle with a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Thin Mint ,and//</span><br />Spacing error.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;pegasi fashion//</span><br />Noun adjuncts are singular.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;At least they were still technically not adults, which meant the worst they’d get was some kind of punishment-fits-the-crime.//</span><br />Wouldn&#039;t that be the goal, regardless of age?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Hey girls,” a quiet and slightly amused voice startled her out of her thoughts, and sure enough, there was Twilight Sparkle sitting with a slightly amused smile on her face. //</span><br />Missing a speaking action, and repetitive phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;S’okay//</span><br />’S okay<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Tag muttered a little, and Pinkie perked up a little bit at the reassurance - not much, but a little.//</span><br />Repetitive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The Look//</span><br />I have no idea what this is. You&#039;ve never defined it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Tag felt her hooves root to the floor for a brief moment, until she felt//</span><br />More repetition.<br /><br />See the notes on comma use with conjunctions, dash and hyphen use, show versus tell, talking heads, and saidisms at the top of this thread. It may help to read the head hopping note, too, though that&#039;s not exactly the problem you have.<br /><br />You have a very inconsistent narrative voice that can&#039;t decide whether it&#039;s omniscient or following one of the characters. Really, any arrangement can be made to work, but it has to achieve some purpose. I just felt jostled back and forth between being in an omniscient viewpoint, spending a little time with two of the characters, then settling in with the third the longer the story went on.<br /><br />It&#039;s also a little curious how young and somewhat immature these girls sound, and how close an association they seem to have with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, given that you&#039;ve made them just a year short of college age. There&#039;s a bit of a disconnect in how old they act and how old they actually are. Perhaps it would work better if you made them younger and either abandoned the &quot;we&#039;re going to be splitting up soon&quot; angle or came up with another reason for it. Conversely, you could mature them to make them act more age-appropriate.<br /><br />In addition to the spots I marked, here are some other troubling word counts:<br /><br />little - 34<br />look - 32<br />start/began - 20 I advise authors to avoid these, except where the beginning is noteworthy because it&#039;s abrupt or the action doesn&#039;t finish. Otherwise, it&#039;s obvious that any given action begins.<br />just - 39<br />&quot;to be&quot; verbs - I only looked for &quot;is&quot; and &quot;was,&quot; and still got 133. You need to choose more active verbs.<br />as - 99 This suggests you&#039;re overusing &quot;as&quot; clauses.<br /><br />As is another common problem, even for words that aren&#039;t used too much in the story as a whole, when you do use them, you tend to do so in clusters, which makes them stand out more.<br /><br />This is a cute idea for a story, and I love the names you chose for these characters. But it&#039;s a little on the superficial side, especially considering the amount of time it spends in a subjective point of view. Though it seems odd to have the official name be Cookie Cadets when they do so much more than just the cookies.<br /><div class="last-edit-time"><br/>Last edited at <span class="posttime">Mon, Oct 14th, 2013 12:28</span></div><br/>

vimbert!23hC9EoLsg 25

Well, 63, gotta say I'm a tad surprised; I figured you'd go for reviews outside of the system. Might it not be a good idea to provide the title of the fic in question you're giving the list for, if only to help the author find it?Well, 63, gotta say I&#039;m a tad surprised; I figured you&#039;d go for reviews outside of the system. Might it not be a good idea to provide the title of the fic in question you&#039;re giving the list for, if only to help the author find it?<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 26

>>128889
No, I provide a link to the review in the email from EqD, so the author knows where to find it, and he's the only one who matters.<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#128889" onclick="return highlight('128889', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|128889">&gt;&gt;128889</a><br />No, I provide a link to the review in the email from EqD, so the author knows where to find it, and he&#039;s the only one who matters.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 27

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

>The poor little filly gets so down every time I have to tell her no…//

Keep in mind your medium here. This is a speech affectation. There are times when an ellipsis makes sense in a letter, but only when the writer does so deliberately because it attaches some meaning. She wouldn't just trail off because she lost her train of thought. Letters don't work that way. Things like this are why letter stories are so much harder to write than everyone thinks they are, though you're doing better than most.

>Her school year just ended//

>between working my mail route and my new gig as a waitress at the Cumulus Club//
Again, this just screams exposition dump. Who would actually write like this? Sandy presumably knows her well enough to be aware of the mail route, so why would she spell it out like this? It takes great care to make these things be believable. She'd likely just refer to the mail route as work, and then you could work in an anecdote to show what her job is.

>dead end//

Hyphenate your compound modifiers.

>I suppose that life is just one big aerial acrobatic, with each of us going through the motions. There are the ups and the downs, the twists and the turns, but never for a moment do I doubt that we're part of the same routine, and that you'll be there to catch me as I fall, as I will be for you.//

I'll be the first to say this is a subjective viewpoint, but the fact that she uses such flowery language here doesn't mesh at all with the harried mother just trying to find a moment of respite from her hyperactive daughter. It takes time to craft language like this, so when does she find a spare moment to do so? And if it's because she's leaving Scootaloo unsupervised while she does so, even the noise would grate on her. In short, she sounds way too composed for the image you're trying to create of her.

>I've had broken limbs and muscle cramps, but this is something out of a nightmare, Sandy.//

You're using an awful lot of direct address in these letters. It's obvious to whom she's writing. You don't need to keep saying so. Direct address should be held for occasional emphasis. This is yet another speech affectation that shouldn't carry over to letters.

>Sandy, I have cancer.//

Given that her complaints have been largely about her lifestyle and very little about physical discomfort, this just comes out of left field. It'd take time for that blood test to come back, and in the meantime, she never wrote Sandy about her concerns?

>The doctor even told me that if I make it to remission, there is a good chance that the cancer will come back//

Sounds like awful bedside manner to me. Being truthful is one thing, but bleak?

>I know that survival rates for my cancer are pretty high//

So what happened to the "even if you go into remission, the cancer will probably return"?

>I haven't been able to get a proper diagnosis from an oncologist//

She's starting a treatment program without a proper diagnosis?

I can't tell you not to put links in your story, but it's generally a bad idea to encourage people to click away from your story.

>my first of many surgeries//

You really are rushing through this. It's unusual to go to surgery until after a course of chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. You made an oblique reference to such, but not in a way that she was going through it herself, or how it made her feel. Surely that would have been noteworthy enough to write about.

>mine and my daughter's future//

my

>I can't even think straight. My hooves are shaking, despite the medicine they gave me to calm me before anesthesia.//

Again, this is awfully technical for a letter, and so formal as to undercut any sense of fear that the text is trying to assure me is there. She can't think straight, and yet she can wax poetic and say things like "as if I were floating in some surreal dream world where the universe and karma take turns playing cruel jokes on me." I don't buy it.

>It's so cold in this hospital//

It's also unhealthy for her to be so. The staff don't want her to be cold. They'd adjust the thermostat, bring in extra blankets, something.

>placing some port beneath my skin//

Now this makes sense. But why hasn't she mentioned it until now? This is the third time she's brought up surgery, and it wouldn't have been a surprise.

>self esteem//

Hyphenate.

>it doesn't take more than an hour or so for them to walk or fly right out the door they came in//

So why did Dash have to stay in the hospital?

>We are, all of us, bound to magic. As much as I'm sure you're pained to admit it, we ponies are as magical as the dragons themselves. Furthermore, each pony has a unique magic to themselves. These mana conduits, as the doctor calls them, run through our bodies like invisible blood vessels, holding our spirits to our bodies. And when another pony's mana conduits cross our own, via something like using magic to stitch a broken bone… Well, the consequences are as terrifying as you'll likely believe.//

Headcanon infodump is a bad thing when trying to keep up an emotional moment. This is all pretty irrelevant.

>which in this unfortunate case, means the leukemia would grow out of control and kill me within minutes//

That depends, doesn't it? Presumably the doctors can control what grows and what doesn't. Forcing skin cells to reproduce so that they cover a wound without making the blood cells within the skin's capillaries also reproduce, for instance. So why couldn't a doctor enhance the body's immune response, which is generally overpowered by serious cancer, while simultaneously not enhancing the growth of the cancer itself?

>And I'm almost certain my mane is falling out.//

Seems like the kind of thing she'd know pretty definitively.

>The nurses took Scootaloo, Sandy. My baby girl isn't here. She was crying too much, so they took her away, and now I'm crying too.//

Where did they take her, and why would they prevent her from visiting at all? This falls under the heading of "piling on." You don't need to add tragedy for the sake of tragedy. The least amount of tragedy needed to make the story work is generally the best.

>shorn//

Well, no, they fell out.

>run by a delightful young mare who runs//

Watch the word repetition.

>custom made//

Hyphenate.

>I must apologize for the… urgency, I suppose… in my last letter.//

Again, this is something you'd do with speech, not with writing.

>one to many ciders//

to/too confusion

>long term//

>short term//
Hyphenate.

>It's been two weeks to the day that I was first diagnosed with leukemia//

She's gone bald in less than two weeks? That would be very unusual.

>I don't know why, it's something I ought to be used to by now.//

Comma splice. You've tacked together two complete sentences.

>being their for your loved ones//

there/their confusion

Your mechanics were quite good, so I don't have too many complaints there. As such, I was able to go into more depth with my in-line comments and don't really need to say much more here. My main issues are that the letters are often inconsistent in tone with Firefly's state of mind, and that there are a number of things that are incompatible with a letter-format story (a common error in this type of story).

Watch your "to be" verbs, though. I only searched for the two simplest ones—is and was—and still found 120. It makes your story much more interesting to choose more active verbs. Using "to be" verbs is pretty inevitable, but I bet you could cut that down significantly.

Now, to the tumblr you link. Is that your tumblr? If not, have you gotten permission from the owner to use his story? It's also odd that you rely on the tumblr itself to tell a bit of the story, namely that Sandy was there when Firefly died. And as far in debt as Firefly was, it really rang hollow that Sandy couldn't somehow raise train fare for what is a really short trip (remember, in "The Best Night Ever," a coach trip at a walking pace from Canterlot to Ponyville took just a few hours). I was certain you'd somehow play it that Sandy was intentionally avoiding Firefly.

Next, emotions work best in contrast. You start off with a miserable mother, and everything just goes down from there. You have but a few one-sentence light moments anywhere in the story. Sad is sad when it's compared to happy. It'd serve your story much better if you worked in some upbeat moments.

Lastly, it's a bit weak on the conflict. Like I said, I thought you were building toward some confrontation between Sandy and Firefly. As it is, we just have this omnipresent tragedy, but we don't really see anything change as a result of it. There's no resolution of interpersonal conflict, no moment of character growth. A story can survive without such, but rare is the story that can do it well. You're relying on the sadness only, and that's a very tricky balancing act to achieve.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The poor little filly gets so down every time I have to tell her no…//</span><br />Keep in mind your medium here. This is a speech affectation. There are times when an ellipsis makes sense in a letter, but only when the writer does so deliberately because it attaches some meaning. She wouldn&#039;t just trail off because she lost her train of thought. Letters don&#039;t work that way. Things like this are why letter stories are so much harder to write than everyone thinks they are, though you&#039;re doing better than most.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her school year just ended//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;between working my mail route and my new gig as a waitress at the Cumulus Club//</span><br />Again, this just screams exposition dump. Who would actually write like this? Sandy presumably knows her well enough to be aware of the mail route, so why would she spell it out like this? It takes great care to make these things be believable. She&#039;d likely just refer to the mail route as work, and then you could work in an anecdote to show what her job is.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;dead end//</span><br />Hyphenate your compound modifiers.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I suppose that life is just one big aerial acrobatic, with each of us going through the motions. There are the ups and the downs, the twists and the turns, but never for a moment do I doubt that we&#039;re part of the same routine, and that you&#039;ll be there to catch me as I fall, as I will be for you.//</span><br />I&#039;ll be the first to say this is a subjective viewpoint, but the fact that she uses such flowery language here doesn&#039;t mesh at all with the harried mother just trying to find a moment of respite from her hyperactive daughter. It takes time to craft language like this, so when does she find a spare moment to do so? And if it&#039;s because she&#039;s leaving Scootaloo unsupervised while she does so, even the noise would grate on her. In short, she sounds way too composed for the image you&#039;re trying to create of her.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I&#039;ve had broken limbs and muscle cramps, but this is something out of a nightmare, Sandy.//</span><br />You&#039;re using an awful lot of direct address in these letters. It&#039;s obvious to whom she&#039;s writing. You don&#039;t need to keep saying so. Direct address should be held for occasional emphasis. This is yet another speech affectation that shouldn&#039;t carry over to letters.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sandy, I have cancer.//</span><br />Given that her complaints have been largely about her lifestyle and very little about physical discomfort, this just comes out of left field. It&#039;d take time for that blood test to come back, and in the meantime, she never wrote Sandy about her concerns?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The doctor even told me that if I make it to remission, there is a good chance that the cancer will come back//</span><br />Sounds like awful bedside manner to me. Being truthful is one thing, but bleak?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I know that survival rates for my cancer are pretty high//</span><br />So what happened to the &quot;even if you go into remission, the cancer will probably return&quot;?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I haven&#039;t been able to get a proper diagnosis from an oncologist//</span><br />She&#039;s starting a treatment program without a proper diagnosis?<br /><br />I can&#039;t tell you not to put links in your story, but it&#039;s generally a bad idea to encourage people to click away from your story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;my first of many surgeries//</span><br />You really are rushing through this. It&#039;s unusual to go to surgery until after a course of chemotherapy and/or radiation treatment. You made an oblique reference to such, but not in a way that she was going through it herself, or how it made her feel. Surely that would have been noteworthy enough to write about.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;mine and my daughter&#039;s future//</span><br />my<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I can&#039;t even think straight. My hooves are shaking, despite the medicine they gave me to calm me before anesthesia.//</span><br />Again, this is awfully technical for a letter, and so formal as to undercut any sense of fear that the text is trying to assure me is there. She can&#039;t think straight, and yet she can wax poetic and say things like &quot;as if I were floating in some surreal dream world where the universe and karma take turns playing cruel jokes on me.&quot; I don&#039;t buy it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It&#039;s so cold in this hospital//</span><br />It&#039;s also unhealthy for her to be so. The staff don&#039;t want her to be cold. They&#039;d adjust the thermostat, bring in extra blankets, something.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;placing some port beneath my skin//</span><br />Now this makes sense. But why hasn&#039;t she mentioned it until now? This is the third time she&#039;s brought up surgery, and it wouldn&#039;t have been a surprise.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;self esteem//</span><br />Hyphenate.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;it doesn&#039;t take more than an hour or so for them to walk or fly right out the door they came in//</span><br />So why did Dash have to stay in the hospital?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;We are, all of us, bound to magic. As much as I&#039;m sure you&#039;re pained to admit it, we ponies are as magical as the dragons themselves. Furthermore, each pony has a unique magic to themselves. These mana conduits, as the doctor calls them, run through our bodies like invisible blood vessels, holding our spirits to our bodies. And when another pony&#039;s mana conduits cross our own, via something like using magic to stitch a broken bone… Well, the consequences are as terrifying as you&#039;ll likely believe.//</span><br />Headcanon infodump is a bad thing when trying to keep up an emotional moment. This is all pretty irrelevant.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;which in this unfortunate case, means the leukemia would grow out of control and kill me within minutes//</span><br />That depends, doesn&#039;t it? Presumably the doctors can control what grows and what doesn&#039;t. Forcing skin cells to reproduce so that they cover a wound without making the blood cells within the skin&#039;s capillaries also reproduce, for instance. So why couldn&#039;t a doctor enhance the body&#039;s immune response, which is generally overpowered by serious cancer, while simultaneously not enhancing the growth of the cancer itself?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And I&#039;m almost certain my mane is falling out.//</span><br />Seems like the kind of thing she&#039;d know pretty definitively.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The nurses took Scootaloo, Sandy. My baby girl isn&#039;t here. She was crying too much, so they took her away, and now I&#039;m crying too.//</span><br />Where did they take her, and why would they prevent her from visiting at all? This falls under the heading of &quot;piling on.&quot; You don&#039;t need to add tragedy for the sake of tragedy. The least amount of tragedy needed to make the story work is generally the best.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;shorn//</span><br />Well, no, they fell out.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;run by a delightful young mare who runs//</span><br />Watch the word repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;custom made//</span><br />Hyphenate.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I must apologize for the… urgency, I suppose… in my last letter.//</span><br />Again, this is something you&#039;d do with speech, not with writing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;one to many ciders//</span><br />to/too confusion<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;long term//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;short term//</span><br />Hyphenate.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It&#039;s been two weeks to the day that I was first diagnosed with leukemia//</span><br />She&#039;s gone bald in less than two weeks? That would be very unusual.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I don&#039;t know why, it&#039;s something I ought to be used to by now.//</span><br />Comma splice. You&#039;ve tacked together two complete sentences.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;being their for your loved ones//</span><br />there/their confusion<br /><br />Your mechanics were quite good, so I don&#039;t have too many complaints there. As such, I was able to go into more depth with my in-line comments and don&#039;t really need to say much more here. My main issues are that the letters are often inconsistent in tone with Firefly&#039;s state of mind, and that there are a number of things that are incompatible with a letter-format story (a common error in this type of story).<br /><br />Watch your &quot;to be&quot; verbs, though. I only searched for the two simplest ones—is and was—and still found 120. It makes your story much more interesting to choose more active verbs. Using &quot;to be&quot; verbs is pretty inevitable, but I bet you could cut that down significantly.<br /><br />Now, to the tumblr you link. Is that your tumblr? If not, have you gotten permission from the owner to use his story? It&#039;s also odd that you rely on the tumblr itself to tell a bit of the story, namely that Sandy was there when Firefly died. And as far in debt as Firefly was, it really rang hollow that Sandy couldn&#039;t somehow raise train fare for what is a really short trip (remember, in &quot;The Best Night Ever,&quot; a coach trip at a walking pace from Canterlot to Ponyville took just a few hours). I was certain you&#039;d somehow play it that Sandy was intentionally avoiding Firefly.<br /><br />Next, emotions work best in contrast. You start off with a miserable mother, and everything just goes down from there. You have but a few one-sentence light moments anywhere in the story. Sad is sad when it&#039;s compared to happy. It&#039;d serve your story much better if you worked in some upbeat moments.<br /><br />Lastly, it&#039;s a bit weak on the conflict. Like I said, I thought you were building toward some confrontation between Sandy and Firefly. As it is, we just have this omnipresent tragedy, but we don&#039;t really see anything change as a result of it. There&#039;s no resolution of interpersonal conflict, no moment of character growth. A story can survive without such, but rare is the story that can do it well. You&#039;re relying on the sadness only, and that&#039;s a very tricky balancing act to achieve.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 28

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.

Synopsis:
>Hearths Warming Eve//
Hearth's

>Can Rarity turn an old Dress Me Daisy doll into the perfect present before morning?//

As these things go, this isn't too bad, but it's considered bad practice to use rhetorical questions in your synopsis.

Story:
>Rarity sighed with relief//
I've seen that you submitted several stories within a short time, so while it's reasonable that you wouldn't have been able to incorporate the feedback from the earliest ones into the later ones, I believe you would have been given the "show, don't tell" speech by now. In case you haven't, or it didn't sink in, please refer to the relevant section at the top of this thread. (If you got a review from Amacita on one of your stories, this is the same discussion that he uses.)

>her magically levitating sewing needle//

"Magically" is redundant here. There's no other means by which it would levitate, so it's unnecessary to say so.

>it was obviously intended//

Be careful when you say something is obvious. Obvious to whom? The narrator hasn't adopted any particular character's perspective yet, and in being thusly objective, he shouldn't be expressing his own opinions. It's essentially telling the reader it should be obvious to him, and readers generally don't like being told what they should think. The other issue: Your first paragraph has four sentences and four "to be" verbs. These are inherently boring verbs. While it's not necessary or even advisable to avoid them altogether, staying away from them whenever possible is a good idea. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what merely is. And active verbs will serve you well at the beginning, where you're trying to grab the reader. Take your "In front of her was a small dress form" versus "In front of her sat a small dress form." It's easy to fix in many cases, ad it makes a big but subtle difference.

>Opal purred and clawed at the carpet, curling herself up for a nap.//

Two issues here. First, the "curling…" phrase is a misplaced modifier, and participles are especially common for those. Descriptors like to latch onto the nearest object, so it sounds like the carpet is curling her up for a nap. Next, the use of the participial phrase at all. Well over half your sentences so far either have a participial phrase or an absolute phrase (which use participle verb forms). Such structural repetition can get your story in a rut. I'm very aware that I'm reading so many of them, and you don't want the writing itself to distract the reader from the story.

>Rarity heard a knock on her door and slowly trotted over//

This made me look, since you just used the word "slowly" not long ago. It turns out you only use it 7 times in the story, which isn't bad at all, but when you do use it, you tend to do so in clusters, so it still creates a repetitive feel.

>size and intensity of the knocking//

What exactly would the size of knocking be?

>into my nice clean floor//

"Onto" sounds better, imo.

>Orphan Foals Shelter//

Wouldn't that be Orphaned? And maybe Foals'?

>Pinkie left some holiday cookies on the table, feel free to help yourself.//

Comma splice. You've got two complete sentences tacked together with one.

>said Sweetie Belle, skulking over to the kitchen table and putting on her most theatrical frown//

Here's another issue with your narrative voice. You'd eventually settled into Rarity as your perspective character, but here, you pop into Sweetie Belle's for a single sentence. Only she would know it was her most theatrical smile, and not just a theatrical smile. You have to be careful who your perspective character is and which information she would actually have access to.

>Pinkie could make anyone smile//

"Anypony," perhaps?

>leaving only one thing unfinished - the packing and wrapping of the dress she’d made for Sweetie Belle.//

Please use a proper dash, but in this instance, a colon would be more appropriate, since you're clarifying or defining the "one thing." Though, I'd also argue that the passive voice is unnecessary here. Just "packing and wrapping the dress she’d made for Sweetie Belle" would do. For other dashes throughout the story, see the hyphen/dash use section at the top of this thread.

>ready to be placed under the tree//

Again, unnecessary passive voice. In addition to diverting the action, passive voice also leads to overuse of "to be" verbs. You could just say "ready to go under the tree," and it'd be much more active without losing any meaning.

>Apparently the little filly had decided to try to open some of the cabinets that were out of her reach by piling the pots and pans on top of one another.//

How could she tell this after they'd fallen? It's a bit of a leap. Lead me through her conclusion.

>ARE//

Italics are preferred over all caps for emphasis.

>And she knew how much her father loved them.//

By now, I've noticed how often you tell us what Rarity "knew." It's also starting to get repetitive, but it's also the type of information to avoid. Even if you just say "And her father certainly loved them," you've taken that bit out without changing anything.

>already forgetting the mess she made//

It's a completed action, so use a past participle. "she'd made"

>“That was baking, not cooking!”//

Well, she also tried to make juice, garnish some eggs, etc. without success.

>Rarity just pushed Sweetie Belle into the snow//

Suggest rephrasing, as this first comes across like a bully action, as if Rarity is shoving her to the ground.

>some day//

As phrased, you can use this as a single word.

>Thanks Mom//

Missing comma for direct address.

>doing her best to feign enthusiasm//

This is a tougher type of telling to detect, as you don't directly name any emotions, but you're still relying on me to create the scene for you. I don't know what this looks like—you don't create a visual.

>Rarity’s mild disappointment slowly shifted to mild panic//

And now you are directly naming emotions.

>Lil’//

Li'l

>but it was clear that she was near to tears//

How so? Paint the picture for me. It gets me much more connected to the characters to figure it out from the evidence than to have you tell me.

>With that//

Phrases like this and "at this point" that refer directly to the narration are a bad idea.

>as she thought aloud to herself//

A lot of this is unnecessary. Of course it's aloud, since you haven't punctuated it as a thought, and of course it's to herself, since nobody else is present.

A lot of these things Rarity says to herself are a bit formal, and she's talking to herself rather a lot. They may work better as indirect thoughts in the narration.

>These must be my old clothes//

Wait, so they give away Sweetie Belle's clothes, but not Rarity's?

>as she extracted the toy from underneath the crushed remains of a toy make-up kit//

Repetition of "toy."

>1/6th//

Spell out these numbers.

>and though the designs were a bit tight in a few places//

Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>one last look. There was one last thing//

Phrase repetition.

>How…How did you get in here Sweetie?//

Another missing comma for direct address, and please leave a space after the ellipsis.

>and when you didn’t come down for breakfast//

Another missing comma for the dependent clause.

>Sweetie was wearing the Hearth’s Warming Eve dress Rarity had made//

So, not only did she pick the lock without Rarity hearing, she put on the dress, found the doll and clothes, and kept her enthusiasm quiet enough not to wake Rarity, and then wakes her up? It doesn't seem to add up.

>Sweetie was positively brimming with happiness//

Show it. It's especially important, here at an emotional climax of the story.

>Rarity smiled, and put a hoof around her excited sister.//

See the section at the top of this thread about comma use with conjunctions.

>It’s very simple, you just take an existing pattern and divide all the measurements by six.//

Comma splice.

>following her sister with a mixture of awe and joy in her eyes//

More telling you'll want to fix.

>Hearths Warming//

Misspelled again.

I rather like this story. It's sweet and does a nice job of getting at that sisterly relationship. That said, there are obviously a few problems here. Most are with the writing style; I didn't find any glaring character or plot issues. The only other plot-related thing I'd point out is that close-knit families like this typically coordinate their gift-giving. On the one hand, Rarity should have known that her mom had gotten Sweetie Belle only clothes, and on the other, her mother should have known not to do that. She's already raised one filly, and apparently gave her a number of toys, so this isn't alien to her, even for someone like Rarity who probably preferred clothes. She's not suddenly going to be clueless on what to get her younger daughter. That might take a bit of thought to explain.

Now to the style issues. I marked a couple of odd point-of-view shifts and commented once about how you need to think about what your focus character would know. Shifts in perspective can be done, but only when necessary, and they need to be handled smoothly. For this story, I don't think you ever need to leave Rarity's head. You might want to refer to the head-hopping section at the top of this thread.

Next, you rely heavily on participles. Read back through and see how many sentences go "She performed this action, performing this other action." It gets your writing into a very clunky feel when the sentences have the same structure and rhythm over and over again. You need to vary this more.

I also commented that you seemed to be telling me what characters "knew" a lot. There are actually only 12 of these in the story, but they're all clustered up front, and it's weak to do this too often. Better to make a direct comment to the direct knowledge than use a "to know" or related verb.

Last one's the biggie: "to be" verbs.

was: 69
were: 21
be: 17
been: 11
is: 6
wasn't: 4
isn't: 2

And this is without checking more indeterminate ones like "there's" or "she's," though I don't recall seeing too many of those. The point is that these are weak verbs, and you're using a ton of them. They indicate overuse of telling (somewhat of an issue here), passive voice (a minor issue, but still present), or a need to choose more active verbs (we have a winner).

Now, look at another family of words: start/begin and their other forms. I counted 10, which doesn't sound like much, but most of them are within a few paragraphs of each other. It's also a fairly redundant verb—any given action would obviously begin. It's only worth noting when that beginning is abrupt, or the action never finishes.
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.<br /><br />Synopsis:<br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Hearths Warming Eve//</span><br />Hearth&#039;s<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Can Rarity turn an old Dress Me Daisy doll into the perfect present before morning?//</span><br />As these things go, this isn&#039;t too bad, but it&#039;s considered bad practice to use rhetorical questions in your synopsis.<br /><br />Story:<br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rarity sighed with relief//</span><br />I&#039;ve seen that you submitted several stories within a short time, so while it&#039;s reasonable that you wouldn&#039;t have been able to incorporate the feedback from the earliest ones into the later ones, I believe you would have been given the &quot;show, don&#039;t tell&quot; speech by now. In case you haven&#039;t, or it didn&#039;t sink in, please refer to the relevant section at the top of this thread. (If you got a review from Amacita on one of your stories, this is the same discussion that he uses.)<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her magically levitating sewing needle//</span><br />&quot;Magically&quot; is redundant here. There&#039;s no other means by which it would levitate, so it&#039;s unnecessary to say so.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;it was obviously intended//</span><br />Be careful when you say something is obvious. Obvious to whom? The narrator hasn&#039;t adopted any particular character&#039;s perspective yet, and in being thusly objective, he shouldn&#039;t be expressing his own opinions. It&#039;s essentially telling the reader it should be obvious to him, and readers generally don&#039;t like being told what they should think. The other issue: Your first paragraph has four sentences and four &quot;to be&quot; verbs. These are inherently boring verbs. While it&#039;s not necessary or even advisable to avoid them altogether, staying away from them whenever possible is a good idea. It&#039;s much more interesting to read about what happens, not what merely is. And active verbs will serve you well at the beginning, where you&#039;re trying to grab the reader. Take your &quot;In front of her was a small dress form&quot; versus &quot;In front of her sat a small dress form.&quot; It&#039;s easy to fix in many cases, ad it makes a big but subtle difference.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Opal purred and clawed at the carpet, curling herself up for a nap.//</span><br />Two issues here. First, the &quot;curling…&quot; phrase is a misplaced modifier, and participles are especially common for those. Descriptors like to latch onto the nearest object, so it sounds like the carpet is curling her up for a nap. Next, the use of the participial phrase at all. Well over half your sentences so far either have a participial phrase or an absolute phrase (which use participle verb forms). Such structural repetition can get your story in a rut. I&#039;m very aware that I&#039;m reading so many of them, and you don&#039;t want the writing itself to distract the reader from the story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rarity heard a knock on her door and slowly trotted over//</span><br />This made me look, since you just used the word &quot;slowly&quot; not long ago. It turns out you only use it 7 times in the story, which isn&#039;t bad at all, but when you do use it, you tend to do so in clusters, so it still creates a repetitive feel.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;size and intensity of the knocking//</span><br />What exactly would the size of knocking be?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;into my nice clean floor//</span><br />&quot;Onto&quot; sounds better, imo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Orphan Foals Shelter//</span><br />Wouldn&#039;t that be Orphaned? And maybe Foals&#039;?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pinkie left some holiday cookies on the table, feel free to help yourself.//</span><br />Comma splice. You&#039;ve got two complete sentences tacked together with one.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;said Sweetie Belle, skulking over to the kitchen table and putting on her most theatrical frown//</span><br />Here&#039;s another issue with your narrative voice. You&#039;d eventually settled into Rarity as your perspective character, but here, you pop into Sweetie Belle&#039;s for a single sentence. Only she would know it was her most theatrical smile, and not just <i>a</i> theatrical smile. You have to be careful who your perspective character is and which information she would actually have access to.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pinkie could make anyone smile//</span><br />&quot;Anypony,&quot; perhaps?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;leaving only one thing unfinished - the packing and wrapping of the dress she’d made for Sweetie Belle.//</span><br />Please use a proper dash, but in this instance, a colon would be more appropriate, since you&#039;re clarifying or defining the &quot;one thing.&quot; Though, I&#039;d also argue that the passive voice is unnecessary here. Just &quot;packing and wrapping the dress she’d made for Sweetie Belle&quot; would do. For other dashes throughout the story, see the hyphen/dash use section at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;ready to be placed under the tree//</span><br />Again, unnecessary passive voice. In addition to diverting the action, passive voice also leads to overuse of &quot;to be&quot; verbs. You could just say &quot;ready to go under the tree,&quot; and it&#039;d be much more active without losing any meaning.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Apparently the little filly had decided to try to open some of the cabinets that were out of her reach by piling the pots and pans on top of one another.//</span><br />How could she tell this after they&#039;d fallen? It&#039;s a bit of a leap. Lead me through her conclusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;ARE//</span><br />Italics are preferred over all caps for emphasis.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And she knew how much her father loved them.//</span><br />By now, I&#039;ve noticed how often you tell us what Rarity &quot;knew.&quot; It&#039;s also starting to get repetitive, but it&#039;s also the type of information to avoid. Even if you just say &quot;And her father certainly loved them,&quot; you&#039;ve taken that bit out without changing anything.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;already forgetting the mess she made//</span><br />It&#039;s a completed action, so use a past participle. &quot;she&#039;d made&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“That was baking, not cooking!”//</span><br />Well, she also tried to make juice, garnish some eggs, etc. without success.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rarity just pushed Sweetie Belle into the snow//</span><br />Suggest rephrasing, as this first comes across like a bully action, as if Rarity is shoving her to the ground.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;some day//</span><br />As phrased, you can use this as a single word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Thanks Mom//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;doing her best to feign enthusiasm//</span><br />This is a tougher type of telling to detect, as you don&#039;t directly name any emotions, but you&#039;re still relying on me to create the scene for you. I don&#039;t know what this looks like—you don&#039;t create a visual.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rarity’s mild disappointment slowly shifted to mild panic//</span><br />And now you <i>are</i> directly naming emotions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Lil’//</span><br />Li&#039;l<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but it was clear that she was near to tears//</span><br />How so? Paint the picture for me. It gets me much more connected to the characters to figure it out from the evidence than to have you tell me.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With that//</span><br />Phrases like this and &quot;at this point&quot; that refer directly to the narration are a bad idea.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;as she thought aloud to herself//</span><br />A lot of this is unnecessary. Of course it&#039;s aloud, since you haven&#039;t punctuated it as a thought, and of course it&#039;s to herself, since nobody else is present.<br /><br />A lot of these things Rarity says to herself are a bit formal, and she&#039;s talking to herself rather a lot. They may work better as indirect thoughts in the narration.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;These must be my old clothes//</span><br />Wait, so they give away Sweetie Belle&#039;s clothes, but not Rarity&#039;s?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;as she extracted the toy from underneath the crushed remains of a toy make-up kit//</span><br />Repetition of &quot;toy.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;1/6th//</span><br />Spell out these numbers.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and though the designs were a bit tight in a few places//</span><br />Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;one last look. There was one last thing//</span><br />Phrase repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;How…How did you get in here Sweetie?//</span><br />Another missing comma for direct address, and please leave a space after the ellipsis.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and when you didn’t come down for breakfast//</span><br />Another missing comma for the dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sweetie was wearing the Hearth’s Warming Eve dress Rarity had made//</span><br />So, not only did she pick the lock without Rarity hearing, she put on the dress, found the doll and clothes, and kept her enthusiasm quiet enough not to wake Rarity, and <i>then</i> wakes her up? It doesn&#039;t seem to add up.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sweetie was positively brimming with happiness//</span><br />Show it. It&#039;s especially important, here at an emotional climax of the story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rarity smiled, and put a hoof around her excited sister.//</span><br />See the section at the top of this thread about comma use with conjunctions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It’s very simple, you just take an existing pattern and divide all the measurements by six.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;following her sister with a mixture of awe and joy in her eyes//</span><br />More telling you&#039;ll want to fix.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Hearths Warming//</span><br />Misspelled again.<br /><br />I rather like this story. It&#039;s sweet and does a nice job of getting at that sisterly relationship. That said, there are obviously a few problems here. Most are with the writing style; I didn&#039;t find any glaring character or plot issues. The only other plot-related thing I&#039;d point out is that close-knit families like this typically coordinate their gift-giving. On the one hand, Rarity should have known that her mom had gotten Sweetie Belle only clothes, and on the other, her mother should have known not to do that. She&#039;s already raised one filly, and apparently gave her a number of toys, so this isn&#039;t alien to her, even for someone like Rarity who probably preferred clothes. She&#039;s not suddenly going to be clueless on what to get her younger daughter. That might take a bit of thought to explain.<br /><br />Now to the style issues. I marked a couple of odd point-of-view shifts and commented once about how you need to think about what your focus character would know. Shifts in perspective can be done, but only when necessary, and they need to be handled smoothly. For this story, I don&#039;t think you ever need to leave Rarity&#039;s head. You might want to refer to the head-hopping section at the top of this thread.<br /><br />Next, you rely <i>heavily</i> on participles. Read back through and see how many sentences go &quot;She performed this action, performing this other action.&quot; It gets your writing into a very clunky feel when the sentences have the same structure and rhythm over and over again. You need to vary this more.<br /><br />I also commented that you seemed to be telling me what characters &quot;knew&quot; a lot. There are actually only 12 of these in the story, but they&#039;re all clustered up front, and it&#039;s weak to do this too often. Better to make a direct comment to the direct knowledge than use a &quot;to know&quot; or related verb.<br /><br />Last one&#039;s the biggie: &quot;to be&quot; verbs.<br /><br />was: 69<br />were: 21<br />be: 17<br />been: 11<br />is: 6<br />wasn&#039;t: 4<br />isn&#039;t: 2<br /><br />And this is without checking more indeterminate ones like &quot;there&#039;s&quot; or &quot;she&#039;s,&quot; though I don&#039;t recall seeing too many of those. The point is that these are weak verbs, and you&#039;re using a ton of them. They indicate overuse of telling (somewhat of an issue here), passive voice (a minor issue, but still present), or a need to choose more active verbs (we have a winner).<br /><br />Now, look at another family of words: start/begin and their other forms. I counted 10, which doesn&#039;t sound like much, but most of them are within a few paragraphs of each other. It&#039;s also a fairly redundant verb—any given action would obviously begin. It&#039;s only worth noting when that beginning is abrupt, or the action never finishes.<br /><div class="last-edit-time"><br/>Last edited at <span class="posttime">Sat, Nov 2nd, 2013 16:58</span></div><br/>

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 29

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 bunch of scarves which were hurriedly tossed on top//

This is a nonrestrictive clause; use "that," not "which."

>“We must hurry.”//

This line feels very detached. I get no sense of how she means it. She's forcing a grin, but she's not being insincere, so I can't realy tell what her state of mind is here.

>the basket was scooped up//

There's not really a reason to use passive voice here. If you wanted to draw attention to the basket, sure, but it doesn't hold any importance.

>The basket was magically hefted//

More unnecessary passive voice, and nearly the same phrasing as last time.

>where the sun was shining and uncomfortably hot on Opal’s fluffy pelt//

Precisely because of the fluffy pelt, it'd take a substantial delay before she felt the increased warmth.

>The basket was magically hefted into the air and towards the door they went//

Missing a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>easy going//

One word.

>but she’d learn to tolerate Rarity and her neurotic ways. But this//

I think you meant that to be "learned." And having the two "but" clauses in a row creates the feel of a double negative. You're excepting an exception.

>Often, Opal would awake in the dead of night to mutters and the shambling of hooves, and there would be Rarity, flustered, mane a mess as she trotted frantically about the boutique, her sewing glasses perched crooked on her muzzle as she dug through shelves of fabric.//

Here's a sentence that rambles on so long (to no purpose) that it loses focus. If each of these topics is important, then let them each get their own focus by chopping this up a bit. As it is, you're also repeating structures, which gives it a choppy feel. We have main clause, dependent clause, participial phrase, absolute phrase, dependent "as" clause, absolute phrase, dependent "as" clause.

>persisted on//

in

>It was only with great resilience did Opal finally stop pawing the bow from her hair.//

Syntax is off. Typical phrasing would be: "It was only with great resilience that Opal finally stopped…" I also question the word choice "resilience." It means to bounce back from a hardship. You seem to be aiming for something more like self-control.

>I’m here to examine your um… wears//

Unless you're going for a pun (and then having nobody react to it to complete the joke, for some reason), it's "wares."

>They were at a street vender//

"Vendor" is the preferred spelling. And that's a person. It makes more sense to say they're at a vendor's.

>draped with rolls of fabric and other decorations//

Why so vague? "Other decorations"? You're entirely relying on me to paint that picture. That's your job. And certainly Opal would be able to elaborate more on the fabric, given where she lives. She'd surely take notice of the colors, patterns, etc.

>Opal had to mewl silently to herself//

How does one do something silently that is, by definition, a noise?

>“Ah, Rarity!” the mousy mare exclaimed, “how nice to see you again!”//

You've punctuated/capitalized this as if the quote were a single, continuous sentence, yet you provided end punctuation to the first part. You can't have it both ways.

>eyes scanning the wears//

Yeah, you're spelling that wrong.

>She turned her head to the vendor//

Now you are spelling it this way. Make up your mind.

>on it’s cage and cocked it’s feathery head//

Its/it's confusion.

>The vendor deadpanned. “Zang?”//

Comma, not a period.

>Yes, Zang//

Inconsistent capitalization. And "zing" is a real word. Why are you inventing this one?

>Pizzaz, poof, fizzle//

Pizzazz. And I think you may have been going for "sizzle." "Fizzle" means something entirely different.

>The vendor maintained her bored and slightly irritated expression.//

You're also robbing me of the visual when you directly inform me of a character's emotions. What does this look like? This is a classic show-versus-tell problem. You might want to read that section at the top of this thread.

>Whenever Rarity was unhappy//

Missing comma after the dependent clause. You should read the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>but in the dead of night? In the dark?//

Somehow, I doubt this is the first time she's done this. She even refers to doing such in canon.

>nighttime Boutique//

I don't get the word choice "nighttime" here. Sure, it's night, but as a modifier? It makes it sound like an after-hours business.

>of still mare dressed in wedding attire//

Missing a word.

>stitching a short line in the flesh//

>stitched into her hoof//
Repetitive phrasing. In fact, it feels like there's a lot of repetitive description of this incident.

>Opal mewled quietly//

More repetition. She just "said quietly" a few lines back.

>Rarity fell asleep with the sewing machine on. Opal hissed quietly as she buried her head in her basket, trying to block out the sound.//

I don't see how this warrants being a scene.

>Opal lay in in the windowsill//

Repeated word.

>Apple Bloom said in compromise//

The "in compromise" is useless filler, and as the narrator is in Opal's perspective, and you've already said she doesn't understand what they say, how could she interpret it as compromise, especially that quickly?

>Sweetie Belle made a face//

What kind? Don't be so vague.

>The two other fillies both snickered and shamelessly tried to hide their laughter.//

How can they laugh and try to hide their laughing? It's redundant at least and contradictory at worst. And what's shameless about it?

>Sweetie Belle seemed rather eager to get away from the topic.//

How so? And how does Opal even know what the topic is? It also looks like you have a different indentation here.

>prefered //

Preferred.

>due to the occasion, though, mainly due to//

More repetition.

>Opal prowled for hours, doing cat-like things around town//

This really begs for more explanation, given that she's essentially the narrator and would find these activities enjoyable. There's no reason for her to gloss over them.

>the door that lead out//

led

>crumpled up and half-finished sketches. The wastebasket beside it had completely overflown and was spilling its contents of crumpled//

Repetition. And a missing hyphen.

>From the closet door, came//

Unneeded comma, since it leads into the verb.

>the two-inch opening the led off into darkness//

Typo.

>flailing her hind legs in the as she squirmed//

Another typo. Really, any word processor will catch many of these things. Mind the squiggly lines, please.

>a squinted look//

Just a squint will do.

>who’s eyebrows//

whose

>dress-up//

You din't hyphenate this earlier. Be consistent.

>Scootaloo’s left eyebrow was completely out of sight, the right one scrunched down right over her eye.”//

Extraneous quotation mark.

>Thank the can opener//

That right there is damn funny.

>A pillow that also didn’t appear to be working.//

She's the one using it. "Appear" shouldn't come into it. She'd know explicitly whether it was working.

>her eyes bore down upon to wear she was sewing//

That doesn't parse. I can't figure out exactly what you're trying to say. I think you mixed up "wear" with "where," but even that doesn't entirely fix it.

>catfood//

cat food

>Ponies never did smell good, but fear always smelled the worse.//

That "the" is extraneous.

>One stuck, the others bounced off and showered to the floor in a deafening clatter.//

Comma splice.

>Blue magic//

You described it as purple way back in the first scene.

>the fowl dress//

Foul. Unless you're making an awful "Scootaloo is a chicken" joke, in which case you're completely undercutting the story's tone.

>The real confusion set in she she//

I think you can see the problem.

There is a lot of repetition in this story. A few of the descriptions felt like they rehashed a small number of points multiple times, and there were many words and phrases that appeared two or three times within a couple of paragraphs. A few of the biggest offenders:

Various forms of "to be": is, 10; was, 124; be, 20; been, 18; wasn't, 13; isn't, 2. And those are just the easier ones to spot. This is a very boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. Take "his hair was red" versus "a shock of red hair sat atop his head." Even a touch of action makes it come alive. Overuse of these verbs can indicate too much passive voice, telly language, and a need to choose more active verbs, all of which I saw here.

You employ an awful lot of "as" clauses to the point that I became keenly aware of each additional one I saw. Not only does this create a repetitive, plodding feel, but it draws attention away from the story and onto the writing itself. It can also throw off the chronology, since these "as" clauses imply concurrent action which you may not have intended. You use "as" 48 times in the story; while not all were used in that sense, the majority were, and when you did use them, you tended to do so in clusters; there are quite a lot early on, which makes them stand out even more.

There was also a lot of telly language and some Lavender Unicorn Syndrome. There are explanations of those at the top of this thread as well.

Lastly, there was a severe disconnect in your narrative voice. The story is ostensibly told from Opal's perspective, but it repeatedly makes judgment calls that she is incapable of. Part of this is related to show-versus-tell. When the narrator tells me someone is making a compromise, it's implying that Opal is telling me it's a compromise. For that to work, Opal would have to understand what a compromise is, and yet you stressed on more than one occasion that she finds ponies pretty strange and inscrutable, and she doesn't understand what they say. So how does she interpret their actions that way? Showing is about giving me the evidence and letting me draw the conclusions; this is especially necessary for a narrator like this one, who is in Opal's perspective and can't make these conclusions on her own. So showing would not only make the narrative voice more believable, but is good for engaging storytelling anyway. It's important to realize what your narrative point of view is and what it's capable of, then work within those limitations. Your descriptions of what she smells and senses from Rarity were good. Her blunt conclusions about other characters' emotions and intentions weren't.

I'm also curious about how Scootaloo went missing that long without anyone coming to inquire about her, and how she wouldn't have known where Sweetie Belle went. It doesn't seem like Sweetie Belle would go off without telling her.

As a concept, this story wasn't bad, and the unusual choice of an animal's perspective could make for a unique tale. And I have to admit to being a sucker for certain types of open-ended conclusions.

Edit: I asked another pre-reader for a second opinion as to whether the gore was too much. I thought it was probably fine, and he agreed, but he objected to using dialogue at all in a story told from a non-sentient animal's perspective. While I wouldn't go that far, I've already commented on how it's odd that Opal reacts to and often understands what the ponies do and say, particularly since you've explicitly said she doesn't understand their speech or actions.
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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a bunch of scarves which were hurriedly tossed on top//</span><br />This is a nonrestrictive clause; use &quot;that,&quot; not &quot;which.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“We must hurry.”//</span><br />This line feels very detached. I get no sense of how she means it. She&#039;s forcing a grin, but she&#039;s not being insincere, so I can&#039;t realy tell what her state of mind is here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the basket was scooped up//</span><br />There&#039;s not really a reason to use passive voice here. If you wanted to draw attention to the basket, sure, but it doesn&#039;t hold any importance.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The basket was magically hefted//</span><br />More unnecessary passive voice, and nearly the same phrasing as last time.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;where the sun was shining and uncomfortably hot on Opal’s fluffy pelt//</span><br />Precisely because of the fluffy pelt, it&#039;d take a substantial delay before she felt the increased warmth.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The basket was magically hefted into the air and towards the door they went//</span><br />Missing a comma to set off the dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;easy going//</span><br />One word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but she’d learn to tolerate Rarity and her neurotic ways. But this//</span><br />I think you meant that to be &quot;learned.&quot; And having the two &quot;but&quot; clauses in a row creates the feel of a double negative. You&#039;re excepting an exception.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Often, Opal would awake in the dead of night to mutters and the shambling of hooves, and there would be Rarity, flustered, mane a mess as she trotted frantically about the boutique, her sewing glasses perched crooked on her muzzle as she dug through shelves of fabric.//</span><br />Here&#039;s a sentence that rambles on so long (to no purpose) that it loses focus. If each of these topics is important, then let them each get their own focus by chopping this up a bit. As it is, you&#039;re also repeating structures, which gives it a choppy feel. We have main clause, dependent clause, participial phrase, absolute phrase, dependent &quot;as&quot; clause, absolute phrase, dependent &quot;as&quot; clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;persisted on//</span><br />in<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was only with great resilience did Opal finally stop pawing the bow from her hair.//</span><br />Syntax is off. Typical phrasing would be: &quot;It was only with great resilience that Opal finally stopped…&quot; I also question the word choice &quot;resilience.&quot; It means to bounce back from a hardship. You seem to be aiming for something more like self-control.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I’m here to examine your um… wears//</span><br />Unless you&#039;re going for a pun (and then having nobody react to it to complete the joke, for some reason), it&#039;s &quot;wares.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;They were at a street vender//</span><br />&quot;Vendor&quot; is the preferred spelling. And that&#039;s a person. It makes more sense to say they&#039;re at a vendor&#039;s.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;draped with rolls of fabric and other decorations//</span><br />Why so vague? &quot;Other decorations&quot;? You&#039;re entirely relying on me to paint that picture. That&#039;s your job. And certainly Opal would be able to elaborate more on the fabric, given where she lives. She&#039;d surely take notice of the colors, patterns, etc.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Opal had to mewl silently to herself//</span><br />How does one do something silently that is, by definition, a noise?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Ah, Rarity!” the mousy mare exclaimed, “how nice to see you again!”//</span><br />You&#039;ve punctuated/capitalized this as if the quote were a single, continuous sentence, yet you provided end punctuation to the first part. You can&#039;t have it both ways.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;eyes scanning the wears//</span><br />Yeah, you&#039;re spelling that wrong.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She turned her head to the vendor//</span><br />Now you <i>are</i> spelling it this way. Make up your mind.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;on it’s cage and cocked it’s feathery head//</span><br />Its/it&#039;s confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The vendor deadpanned. “Zang?”//</span><br />Comma, not a period.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Yes, Zang//</span><br />Inconsistent capitalization. And &quot;zing&quot; is a real word. Why are you inventing this one?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pizzaz, poof, fizzle//</span><br />Pizzazz. And I think you may have been going for &quot;sizzle.&quot; &quot;Fizzle&quot; means something entirely different.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The vendor maintained her bored and slightly irritated expression.//</span><br />You&#039;re also robbing me of the visual when you directly inform me of a character&#039;s emotions. What does this look like? This is a classic show-versus-tell problem. You might want to read that section at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Whenever Rarity was unhappy//</span><br />Missing comma after the dependent clause. You should read the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but in the dead of night? In the dark?//</span><br />Somehow, I doubt this is the first time she&#039;s done this. She even refers to doing such in canon.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;nighttime Boutique//</span><br />I don&#039;t get the word choice &quot;nighttime&quot; here. Sure, it&#039;s night, but as a modifier? It makes it sound like an after-hours business.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;of still mare dressed in wedding attire//</span><br />Missing a word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;stitching a short line in the flesh//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;stitched into her hoof//</span><br />Repetitive phrasing. In fact, it feels like there&#039;s a lot of repetitive description of this incident.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Opal mewled quietly//</span><br />More repetition. She just &quot;said quietly&quot; a few lines back.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rarity fell asleep with the sewing machine on. Opal hissed quietly as she buried her head in her basket, trying to block out the sound.//</span><br />I don&#039;t see how this warrants being a scene.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Opal lay in in the windowsill//</span><br />Repeated word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Apple Bloom said in compromise//</span><br />The &quot;in compromise&quot; is useless filler, and as the narrator is in Opal&#039;s perspective, and you&#039;ve already said she doesn&#039;t understand what they say, how could she interpret it as compromise, especially that quickly?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sweetie Belle made a face//</span><br />What kind? Don&#039;t be so vague.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The two other fillies both snickered and shamelessly tried to hide their laughter.//</span><br />How can they laugh and try to hide their laughing? It&#039;s redundant at least and contradictory at worst. And what&#039;s shameless about it?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sweetie Belle seemed rather eager to get away from the topic.//</span><br />How so? And how does Opal even know what the topic is? It also looks like you have a different indentation here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;prefered //</span><br />Preferred.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;due to the occasion, though, mainly due to//</span><br />More repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Opal prowled for hours, doing cat-like things around town//</span><br />This really begs for more explanation, given that she&#039;s essentially the narrator and would find these activities enjoyable. There&#039;s no reason for her to gloss over them.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the door that lead out//</span><br />led<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;crumpled up and half-finished sketches. The wastebasket beside it had completely overflown and was spilling its contents of crumpled//</span><br />Repetition. And a missing hyphen.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;From the closet door, came//</span><br />Unneeded comma, since it leads into the verb.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the two-inch opening the led off into darkness//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;flailing her hind legs in the as she squirmed//</span><br />Another typo. Really, any word processor will catch many of these things. Mind the squiggly lines, please.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a squinted look//</span><br />Just a squint will do.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;who’s eyebrows//</span><br />whose<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;dress-up//</span><br />You din&#039;t hyphenate this earlier. Be consistent.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Scootaloo’s left eyebrow was completely out of sight, the right one scrunched down right over her eye.”//</span><br />Extraneous quotation mark.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Thank the can opener//</span><br />That right there is damn funny.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;A pillow that also didn’t appear to be working.//</span><br />She&#039;s the one using it. &quot;Appear&quot; shouldn&#039;t come into it. She&#039;d know explicitly whether it was working.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her eyes bore down upon to wear she was sewing//</span><br />That doesn&#039;t parse. I can&#039;t figure out exactly what you&#039;re trying to say. I think you mixed up &quot;wear&quot; with &quot;where,&quot; but even that doesn&#039;t entirely fix it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;catfood//</span><br />cat food<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Ponies never did smell good, but fear always smelled the worse.//</span><br />That &quot;the&quot; is extraneous.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;One stuck, the others bounced off and showered to the floor in a deafening clatter.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Blue magic//</span><br />You described it as purple way back in the first scene.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the fowl dress//</span><br />Foul. Unless you&#039;re making an awful &quot;Scootaloo is a chicken&quot; joke, in which case you&#039;re completely undercutting the story&#039;s tone.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The real confusion set in she she//</span><br />I think you can see the problem.<br /><br />There is a lot of repetition in this story. A few of the descriptions felt like they rehashed a small number of points multiple times, and there were many words and phrases that appeared two or three times within a couple of paragraphs. A few of the biggest offenders:<br /><br />Various forms of &quot;to be&quot;: is, 10; was, 124; be, 20; been, 18; wasn&#039;t, 13; isn&#039;t, 2. And those are just the easier ones to spot. This is a very boring verb. It&#039;s much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. Take &quot;his hair was red&quot; versus &quot;a shock of red hair sat atop his head.&quot; Even a touch of action makes it come alive. Overuse of these verbs can indicate too much passive voice, telly language, and a need to choose more active verbs, all of which I saw here.<br /><br />You employ an awful lot of &quot;as&quot; clauses to the point that I became keenly aware of each additional one I saw. Not only does this create a repetitive, plodding feel, but it draws attention away from the story and onto the writing itself. It can also throw off the chronology, since these &quot;as&quot; clauses imply concurrent action which you may not have intended. You use &quot;as&quot; 48 times in the story; while not all were used in that sense, the majority were, and when you did use them, you tended to do so in clusters; there are quite a lot early on, which makes them stand out even more.<br /><br />There was also a lot of telly language and some Lavender Unicorn Syndrome. There are explanations of those at the top of this thread as well.<br /><br />Lastly, there was a severe disconnect in your narrative voice. The story is ostensibly told from Opal&#039;s perspective, but it repeatedly makes judgment calls that she is incapable of. Part of this is related to show-versus-tell. When the narrator tells me someone is making a compromise, it&#039;s implying that Opal is telling me it&#039;s a compromise. For that to work, Opal would have to understand what a compromise is, and yet you stressed on more than one occasion that she finds ponies pretty strange and inscrutable, and she doesn&#039;t understand what they say. So how does she interpret their actions that way? Showing is about giving me the evidence and letting me draw the conclusions; this is especially necessary for a narrator like this one, who is in Opal&#039;s perspective and can&#039;t make these conclusions on her own. So showing would not only make the narrative voice more believable, but is good for engaging storytelling anyway. It&#039;s important to realize what your narrative point of view is and what it&#039;s capable of, then work within those limitations. Your descriptions of what she smells and senses from Rarity were good. Her blunt conclusions about other characters&#039; emotions and intentions weren&#039;t.<br /><br />I&#039;m also curious about how Scootaloo went missing that long without anyone coming to inquire about her, and how she wouldn&#039;t have known where Sweetie Belle went. It doesn&#039;t seem like Sweetie Belle would go off without telling her.<br /><br />As a concept, this story wasn&#039;t bad, and the unusual choice of an animal&#039;s perspective could make for a unique tale. And I have to admit to being a sucker for certain types of open-ended conclusions.<br /><br />Edit: I asked another pre-reader for a second opinion as to whether the gore was too much. I thought it was probably fine, and he agreed, but he objected to using dialogue at all in a story told from a non-sentient animal&#039;s perspective. While I wouldn&#039;t go that far, I&#039;ve already commented on how it&#039;s odd that Opal reacts to and often understands what the ponies do and say, particularly since you&#039;ve explicitly said she doesn&#039;t understand their speech or actions.<br /><div class="last-edit-time"><br/>Last edited at <span class="posttime">Sat, Nov 2nd, 2013 21:19</span></div><br/>

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 30

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 warm in the apple grove, but Applejack was cold inside.//

Alright, first sentence, and you're already beating me over the head. Slight weather-report opening here, but not too bad. However, throw me some imagery. I like the contrasting hot/cold thing, but you can achieve it with a much less blunt instrument. Especially on the cold side—you don't want to disarm any process of discovery about the characters' emotions, particularly right off the bat, where you need to grab the reader's attention. You might want to read over the show-versus-tell section at the top of this thread.

>She stood on the bank of the pond, looking out over the murky water.//

This isn't a bad one, as examples go, but you need to watch out for misplaced modifiers. Participial phrases are a common problem in this respect. Due to their proximity in the sentence, it sounds like the pond is looking out over the water. A bit of logic helps the reader sort it out on his own, but if you let too many of these slip, you will eventually run into ones that are vague or outright misleading.

>The sun was shining, and the day was a little warmer than Applejack would have liked//

I can see I'm going to have an issue with your "to be" verbs. More on this later, but note that I'm only five sentences in, and I've already counted five instances of "was."

>It felt better in the shade of the apple trees, away from the gaze of the sun.//

Watch these indirect possessions. They're often clunky and unnecessary. When they do work is where they shift focus onto the object because what owns that object is immaterial. I'd say you're justified in that respect for the first one—the shade is much more pertinent that the trees. But in the second, the sun is more important than the gaze, so rephrasing as "the sun's gaze" is more direct and concise while losing no meaning and placing the focus more judiciously.

>The only way into the grove was to follow the stream through a small gap in the trees, and it was very out of the way of the road//

That seems odd. Growing the trees so close together would restrict their ability to produce fruit and make them more difficult to harvest. Plus, a pond is a very useful asset for a farm, so making it inaccessible doesn't ring true. That last bit is awkwardly worded, too.

>one way or the either//

one way or the other

>With deft, earth-pony manipulations of her hooves//

I don't see what's more deft about earth ponies' hooves. It's fine if you want that to be a conceit for your story, but referencing a piece of headcanon obliquely like that is pretty jarring, not to mention that it's immaterial to the story.

>Even thinking the name sent a pang of regret//

Yeah, read the show-versus-tell part. It directly talks about this kind of phrasing. Some of it's okay in a story, but use it sparingly.

>Sugar Cube Corner//

As per canon, Sugarcube Corner.

>setting her mind to overdrive//

Minor point here, and feel free to ignore me, but this word choice is odd. "Overdrive" references a technology that doesn't exist in Equestria, at least as far as we've seen in canon.

>“Rarity, I think I love you!”//

Um… why doesn't this have the Romance/Shipping tag?

>like an incomprehensible river of repressed feelings//

They are repressed feelings, so it kind of robs your simile of its imagery.

>There was only confusion, and amusement.//

>Then that look changed, replaced by utter confusion in an instant.//
These would seem to be contradictory.

>and the water was slightly discolored from the runoff of the newsprint//

If it has as much current as you say it does, this wouldn't happen. No ink from any previous trip would be left by the time the next boat came along.

>Sweet Apple Acres had always passed to a daughter or granddaughter//

So what about Apple Bloom?

>Her family would be there for her, but Granny Smith would be disappointed, even if she didn’t mean to be, even if she still loved and cherished Applejack with all her heart, she would never get to see any great-grandfoals.//

Depending on how you wanted this to be structured, one of the last two commas is a splice.

>Applejack turned around.//

Repetitive phrasing with a couple sentences ago.

>Then, “Can we talk?”//

A bit too vague as to who says this.

>unphased//

unfazed

>I’ve been shot down more times than a lady would care to admit//

This might need some justification, too. Look how easily she manipulated stallions through flirting in "Putting Your Hoof Down" and "The Best Night Ever." Aside from the singular example of Blueblood, she seems to be able to get what she wants.

>How am I supposed to help you model dresses like I do sometimes//

Okay, this sounds very unlike Applejack. Not that you can't make her into that, but it's a pretty drastic change from canon that begs explanation. More on this later.

>How am I supposed to let you smile at me and flutter your eyelashes all playful like and call me ‘darling’ and not read too much into it//

You've been using commas with these extended lists of "and" or "or." Be consistent.

>marry some stallion anyway because it would be the right thing to do//

This "right thing" phrasing really cuts against a lot of the things you'd been saying, that her attraction to Rarity wouldn't be stigmatized, even by Granny Smith. Either she persnoally thinks something's wrong with it, which would be an interesting conflict to follow if you care to develop it, or this just comes across as contradictory.

>Her eyes swam in a sea of salt.//

Awkward phrasing.

>nearly-finished//

-ly adverbs are generally exempt from such hyphenation.

>after all they had been thorough//

Typo.

>Rarity nodded, patted Applejack on the shoulder, and headed for the small opening where the grove opened up to the rest of the fields.//

If this is such a secret place, how did Rarity know where it was in the first place? Not that this can't be explained—I'll touch on this in a moment.

Closing time. I liked this story. It's a nice take on this type of infatuation, one that I rarely see. Applejack's not hampered by anyone's opinion of the appropriateness of her attraction, but Rarity simply doesn't return it. It's unusual to see a take on it where everything doesn't magically work out.

That said, it has a common issue with romance stories: it drops us into the middle of things and expects us to drum up the enthusiasm for this pairing on our own without providing it in the story. How that's done really depends on the story. In some cases, it really means going back to square one and taking us through the entire relationship. In some, that's overkill, and that's probably the case here. But you have to give us something. You can't just jump into "oh, AJ's madly fallen for Rarity" and expect us to swallow it whole. Make it real. Why does AJ feel that way? What times in the past has Rarity done something to endear herself to AJ, unintentionally, of course. Let me see these. A few flashbacks that take us through the phases of this relationship would go a long way—when AJ first thought something but tried to deny it, once she had to accept it, when it became a significant source of stress. And that brings up two side points. The scene at Sugarcube Corner might do better as a flashback as well. I'm glad that you did include dialogue there and didn't gloss over it entirely as narration, but if you do decide to include other flashbacks, it might create a more consistent feel to do this bit like that as well. Also, AJ is pretty clueless about whether Rarity might return her feelings. As such good friends as they are and as much time as they supposedly spent together, AJ must have some idea. When did she try to tease that info out of Rarity, drop hints, read her reaction? It's a bit of a stretch to think she's completely in the dark here. Of course, better informed doesn't necessarily mean correct.

The only other big issue I see is your overuse of "to be" verbs. I only searched for the two most common forms, is and was, and came up with over seventy. That's far too many for this word count. It's an inherently boring verb. Readers are much more interested in what happens, not what simply is. Overuse of "to be" verbs tends to indicate three problems: too much passive voice (I didn't notice any), too much telly language (you did fine on this front, too—I only had to point out a couple of places), and a need to choose more active verbs (that's the biggie). Go back through and see what you can do about those. It's impractical to remove all of them, but I bet you can get rid of over half without much trouble. It doesn't even take much fancy language. Just "he sat there" versus "he was there" gives a more active feel to the writing.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was warm in the apple grove, but Applejack was cold inside.//</span><br />Alright, first sentence, and you&#039;re already beating me over the head. Slight weather-report opening here, but not too bad. However, throw me some imagery. I like the contrasting hot/cold thing, but you can achieve it with a much less blunt instrument. Especially on the cold side—you don&#039;t want to disarm any process of discovery about the characters&#039; emotions, particularly right off the bat, where you need to grab the reader&#039;s attention. You might want to read over the show-versus-tell section at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She stood on the bank of the pond, looking out over the murky water.//</span><br />This isn&#039;t a bad one, as examples go, but you need to watch out for misplaced modifiers. Participial phrases are a common problem in this respect. Due to their proximity in the sentence, it sounds like the pond is looking out over the water. A bit of logic helps the reader sort it out on his own, but if you let too many of these slip, you will eventually run into ones that are vague or outright misleading.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The sun was shining, and the day was a little warmer than Applejack would have liked//</span><br />I can see I&#039;m going to have an issue with your &quot;to be&quot; verbs. More on this later, but note that I&#039;m only five sentences in, and I&#039;ve already counted five instances of &quot;was.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It felt better in the shade of the apple trees, away from the gaze of the sun.//</span><br />Watch these indirect possessions. They&#039;re often clunky and unnecessary. When they do work is where they shift focus onto the object because what owns that object is immaterial. I&#039;d say you&#039;re justified in that respect for the first one—the shade is much more pertinent that the trees. But in the second, the sun is more important than the gaze, so rephrasing as &quot;the sun&#039;s gaze&quot; is more direct and concise while losing no meaning and placing the focus more judiciously.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The only way into the grove was to follow the stream through a small gap in the trees, and it was very out of the way of the road//</span><br />That seems odd. Growing the trees so close together would restrict their ability to produce fruit and make them more difficult to harvest. Plus, a pond is a very useful asset for a farm, so making it inaccessible doesn&#039;t ring true. That last bit is awkwardly worded, too.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;one way or the either//</span><br />one way or the other<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With deft, earth-pony manipulations of her hooves//</span><br />I don&#039;t see what&#039;s more deft about earth ponies&#039; hooves. It&#039;s fine if you want that to be a conceit for your story, but referencing a piece of headcanon obliquely like that is pretty jarring, not to mention that it&#039;s immaterial to the story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Even thinking the name sent a pang of regret//</span><br />Yeah, read the show-versus-tell part. It directly talks about this kind of phrasing. Some of it&#039;s okay in a story, but use it sparingly.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sugar Cube Corner//</span><br />As per canon, Sugarcube Corner.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;setting her mind to overdrive//</span><br />Minor point here, and feel free to ignore me, but this word choice is odd. &quot;Overdrive&quot; references a technology that doesn&#039;t exist in Equestria, at least as far as we&#039;ve seen in canon.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Rarity, I think I love you!”//</span><br />Um… why doesn&#039;t this have the Romance/Shipping tag?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;like an incomprehensible river of repressed feelings//</span><br />They <i>are</i> repressed feelings, so it kind of robs your simile of its imagery.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;There was only confusion, and amusement.//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Then that look changed, replaced by utter confusion in an instant.//</span><br />These would seem to be contradictory.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and the water was slightly discolored from the runoff of the newsprint//</span><br />If it has as much current as you say it does, this wouldn&#039;t happen. No ink from any previous trip would be left by the time the next boat came along.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sweet Apple Acres had always passed to a daughter or granddaughter//</span><br />So what about Apple Bloom?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her family would be there for her, but Granny Smith would be disappointed, even if she didn’t mean to be, even if she still loved and cherished Applejack with all her heart, she would never get to see any great-grandfoals.//</span><br />Depending on how you wanted this to be structured, one of the last two commas is a splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Applejack turned around.//</span><br />Repetitive phrasing with a couple sentences ago.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Then, “Can we talk?”//</span><br />A bit too vague as to who says this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;unphased//</span><br />unfazed<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I’ve been shot down more times than a lady would care to admit//</span><br />This might need some justification, too. Look how easily she manipulated stallions through flirting in &quot;Putting Your Hoof Down&quot; and &quot;The Best Night Ever.&quot; Aside from the singular example of Blueblood, she seems to be able to get what she wants.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;How am I supposed to help you model dresses like I do sometimes//</span><br />Okay, this sounds very unlike Applejack. Not that you can&#039;t make her into that, but it&#039;s a pretty drastic change from canon that begs explanation. More on this later.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;How am I supposed to let you smile at me and flutter your eyelashes all playful like and call me ‘darling’ and not read too much into it//</span><br />You&#039;ve been using commas with these extended lists of &quot;and&quot; or &quot;or.&quot; Be consistent.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;marry some stallion anyway because it would be the right thing to do//</span><br />This &quot;right thing&quot; phrasing really cuts against a lot of the things you&#039;d been saying, that her attraction to Rarity wouldn&#039;t be stigmatized, even by Granny Smith. Either she persnoally thinks something&#039;s wrong with it, which would be an interesting conflict to follow if you care to develop it, or this just comes across as contradictory.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her eyes swam in a sea of salt.//</span><br />Awkward phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;nearly-finished//</span><br />-ly adverbs are generally exempt from such hyphenation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;after all they had been thorough//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rarity nodded, patted Applejack on the shoulder, and headed for the small opening where the grove opened up to the rest of the fields.//</span><br />If this is such a secret place, how did Rarity know where it was in the first place? Not that this can&#039;t be explained—I&#039;ll touch on this in a moment.<br /><br />Closing time. I liked this story. It&#039;s a nice take on this type of infatuation, one that I rarely see. Applejack&#039;s not hampered by anyone&#039;s opinion of the appropriateness of her attraction, but Rarity simply doesn&#039;t return it. It&#039;s unusual to see a take on it where everything doesn&#039;t magically work out.<br /><br />That said, it has a common issue with romance stories: it drops us into the middle of things and expects us to drum up the enthusiasm for this pairing on our own without providing it in the story. How that&#039;s done really depends on the story. In some cases, it really means going back to square one and taking us through the entire relationship. In some, that&#039;s overkill, and that&#039;s probably the case here. But you have to give us <i>something</i>. You can&#039;t just jump into &quot;oh, AJ&#039;s madly fallen for Rarity&quot; and expect us to swallow it whole. Make it real. Why does AJ feel that way? What times in the past has Rarity done something to endear herself to AJ, unintentionally, of course. Let me see these. A few flashbacks that take us through the phases of this relationship would go a long way—when AJ first thought something but tried to deny it, once she had to accept it, when it became a significant source of stress. And that brings up two side points. The scene at Sugarcube Corner might do better as a flashback as well. I&#039;m glad that you did include dialogue there and didn&#039;t gloss over it entirely as narration, but if you do decide to include other flashbacks, it might create a more consistent feel to do this bit like that as well. Also, AJ is pretty clueless about whether Rarity might return her feelings. As such good friends as they are and as much time as they supposedly spent together, AJ must have some idea. When did she try to tease that info out of Rarity, drop hints, read her reaction? It&#039;s a bit of a stretch to think she&#039;s completely in the dark here. Of course, better informed doesn&#039;t necessarily mean correct.<br /><br />The only other big issue I see is your overuse of &quot;to be&quot; verbs. I only searched for the two most common forms, is and was, and came up with over seventy. That&#039;s far too many for this word count. It&#039;s an inherently boring verb. Readers are much more interested in what happens, not what simply <i>is</i>. Overuse of &quot;to be&quot; verbs tends to indicate three problems: too much passive voice (I didn&#039;t notice any), too much telly language (you did fine on this front, too—I only had to point out a couple of places), and a need to choose more active verbs (that&#039;s the biggie). Go back through and see what you can do about those. It&#039;s impractical to remove all of them, but I bet you can get rid of over half without much trouble. It doesn&#039;t even take much fancy language. Just &quot;he sat there&quot; versus &quot;he was there&quot; gives a more active feel to the writing.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 31

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.

>Quickly shaking the chill from her hooves//

Canon from "Winter Wrap Up" doesn't imply that handling snow clouds would do this.

>“Last one!” she said//

Somewhat repetitive with your first sentence.

>poofed//

It's not the best idea to use sound effects as your verb.

>and let her fall into the snowstorm beneath//

If it's gone, it's not there to let her do anything.

>Hundreds of snowflakes blew horizontally through the air//

The number is rather determinate. If she has a good feel for being able to gauge the amount, do something to indicate that; otherwise, it feels disconnected from her situation, since she'd be too distracted to count them. "Through the air" here is redundant/obvious.

>All of the ice, snow, and wind had rapidly changed the atmosphere from a mild cold to an arctic tundra.//

Two things: The description is incongruous, as you're likening the atmosphere to terrain. It's not a very apt comparison. Second, not that for snow to form, the air has to be cold already; the actual changing of water vapor to snowflakes warms the air up a little.

>Ponyville sat just a small ways//

You do see this in common usage, but technically, using "ways" as a singular is incorrect.

>Horse apples//

Typically written as one word.

>at the edge of her periphery//

Redundant. Periphery is the edge.

>What are you doing out here, Fluttershy?! Didn’t you notice the storm?!//

Okay, you're overdoing the interrobangs. They're fine for sparing use, but the more you have, the less effective they become. They make things stand out, and when everything stands out, nothing does.

>Class-4//

Write out numbers that short.

>Everyone//

everpony, perhaps?

>W-what about you?//

Consider what sounds actually gets repeated when writing a stutter. "Wh-what"

>eep

She actually said it, so lose the italics and put it in quotes.

>“This isn’t safe!”//

Refer back a few points ago to how nothing stands out if everything does. This is your 27th dialogue sentence. 23 of them end in an exclamation mark or interrobang. You've pretty much stripped the exclamation mark of commanding any attention for the rest of your story.

>Rainbow Dash wasted no time in strapping the bags around her own back, tucking the straps under her wings.//

Beware of misplaced modifiers, particularly participles. Any sort of modifier tends to latch onto the nearest possible object, so your "tucking the straps…" phrase wants to describe "back." We even have to go back through another possibility, "bags," before we get to the intended "Rainbow Dash."

>As she stepped out of her boots and pushed them to the side, a streak of water following them across the floor, she looked to the side and asked//

While grammatically sound, that absolute phrase is awkwardly placed. It took a couple of readings to sort out the syntax.

>She shook her own body much more thoroughly than Fluttershy had, but her shivering body wouldn’t forgive her so easily.//

Odd to have "body" named as a subject in one clause and an object in the other like this. Might want to rephrase.

>“Th-thanks,” Rainbow said, standing stock still and staring at nothing in particular through squinted eyes. Many little creatures looked at her from around the room, most with worried expressions.//

Your narrator's perspective is pretty nebulous here. It was pretty firmly with Dash in the first scene, but here, it's pretty distant from anyone. You've said Dash isn't staring at anything, and yet the narrator has her seeing these creatures looking back at her. So which is it?

>Her motions were almost mechanical.//

That really places the burden on me to visualize. It's the writer's job to set the scene. Give me more about how this looks.

>Fluttershy suddenly appeared in front of her//

"Suddenly" does have its place, but it's often better to convey the suddenness through the language or the lack of segue to the "sudden" action rather than actually using this word.

>T-tank//

Proper noun. You have to capitalize both.

>Her eyes were big and profound//

"Profound" isn't really a physical quality…

>“Make yourself comfortable,” said Fluttershy, moving towards the kitchen again.//

Note how often you use this sentence structure. "She performed this action, performing this other action." You don't want to create a repetitive feel. Now, the simpler a sentence form is, the more you can get away with it before it gets repetitive. The basic "She performed this action" blends in for longer before it starts calling attention to itself, and tha's really the key: you don't want the writing calling attention to itself.

>Two little rabbits hopped up to it and began eating hurriedly.//

Also watch how often you use -ly adverbs like this. They're pretty weak descriptors, but thank goodness I haven't caught you using them to convey emotions. Yet. Also beware using start/begin as your verb. I've noticed several already. They're obvious, in that any given action will begin. It's only worth using this verb to emphasize the beginning because it's abrupt or the action never finishes.

>I was out of animal feed.//

If being out in the storm was such a big deal, why was the store where she bought this still open?

>a half a dozen//

Lose one of those a's. Doesn't matter which.

>birdfeeder//

bird feeder

>The birds all fluttered to it immediately.//

Well, not all bids eat seeds, and even ones that do eat them prefer different kinds. This might need some clarification.

>Not a big deal?//

When a ! or ? is attached to an italicized word, italicize it as well.

>eyeing her strangely//

Too vague. I have no idea what this looks like, either literally or through some imagery. Describe it.

>with an audible squish//

Again with the sound effects. This is a valid word. Just leave it as such.

>I’ve got some spare winter clothes upstairs.//

And a professional weather pony who knew she might possibly get caught in this didn't take the precaution of having her own with her?

>The world was black and very ferocious-looking.//

How can it be both? I get what you're going for, but you need to say it.

>It was a terrifying scene.//

To whom? Neither pony appears frightened, and I don't want the narrator's opinion.

>knowing I could crash and burn at any second//

That speaks more to a style of flying, not the more generic topic. If any kind of flying were this dangerous, pegasi would be rare.

>to not fly//

not to fly

>She quickly returned to staring blankly at Fluttershy.//

This is the fifth "stare" in the last dozen or so paragraphs. Mix up your word choice some more. You might need to go for more description, as your other main synonyms ("look" and "gaze") are also getting some mileage on them.

>Other ponies feel those things too.//

You had me until now. It makes sense that Dash might have overlooked how Fluttershy feels, but everyone? And when a cutie mark is such a pervasive part of their life? She should understand inherently how they all feel.

>The few animals that remained in the room//

You don't need "in the room," and it's repetitive with the last sentence anyway.

>W-what//

Again, "Wh-what."

>It’s Harriot the bear!//

Wait, how would a badger know that? All the animals are holed up in their individual homes, right? Might need a bit of explanation.

>She resumed her mad rush//

She was described as "cantering to the kitchen." That's not a mad rush.

>with that//

Phrases like this and "at that point" are horribly self-referential things to have in narration, expect for first-person.

>just staring at the door//

Oh, good, we're back to the staring.

>staring up at the nothing on the ceiling//



>her face nonplussed//

"Nonplussed" is more of an attitude than an expression. It's not really something a face can be. A face can express surprise, for instance, but it can't be surprised.

>ever!//

Again, italicize that punctuation.

You use "stare" 10 times. That doesn't sound so bad. It's only about once per page on average. But as is a common problem, you tend to repeat certain words in clusters, and most of these are on just a couple of pages. Same thing with start/begin (14 instances), look (24), just (28). And on to your "to be" verbs. I'm only looking at the most common forms, but we have be (15), been (4), was (21), is (15), were (17), isn't (2), wasn't (1), weren't (1). That's 76, or about one every 3.5 sentences, 1 per paragraph, 10 per page. While it's not necessary or even a good thing to eliminate them altogether (doing so in dialogue can be especially difficult while maintaining a natural tone), it's a good idea to reduce them wherever you can. It's not that hard, if you put a little thought into it. Overuse of "to be" verbs can indicate excessive passive voice (I didn't see any), telly language (I'll get to that in a second), or a need to choose more active verbs (there we go). It's much more interesting to read about what happens than what is. An active verb spices up even mundane things a bit, like the difference between "There he was" and "There he sat."

I like your characterization of Fluttershy. She knows what her talent is and has confidence in it. And Dash's dialogue is well done. Now, you don't really have any conflict here. I can excuse that in the case of showing character development, but you've chosen to have Dash's character grow by finding out something she should already know. You might need to tweak that to give this story some bite. Or you could add in some conflict by having Dash agonize over Fluttershy while she's gone, wonder what's taking her so long, thinking she should have insisted on going along, etc. Just spitballing here, but you get the idea.

I was pleased I didn't catch you using telly language, but part of that seems to be because you didn't delve into their emotions that consistently. There were spots where you had nice body language, dialogue, and word choice to create a vivid picture of how they must look and feel, but there were other places that it felt a bit superficial. Take the last scene, for instance. Fluttershy comes in, and we get a physical description, but nothing she says or does backs up that she must be exhausted. You're leaning on events a bit much, and secondarily, on dialogue, to carry the story, but it takes a bit more nuanced approach to create that emotional attachment.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Quickly shaking the chill from her hooves//</span><br />Canon from &quot;Winter Wrap Up&quot; doesn&#039;t imply that handling snow clouds would do this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Last one!” she said//</span><br />Somewhat repetitive with your first sentence.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>poofed</i>//</span><br />It&#039;s not the best idea to use sound effects as your verb.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and let her fall into the snowstorm beneath//</span><br />If it&#039;s gone, it&#039;s not there to let her do anything.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Hundreds of snowflakes blew horizontally through the air//</span><br />The number is rather determinate. If she has a good feel for being able to gauge the amount, do something to indicate that; otherwise, it feels disconnected from her situation, since she&#039;d be too distracted to count them. &quot;Through the air&quot; here is redundant/obvious.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;All of the ice, snow, and wind had rapidly changed the atmosphere from a mild cold to an arctic tundra.//</span><br />Two things: The description is incongruous, as you&#039;re likening the atmosphere to terrain. It&#039;s not a very apt comparison. Second, not that for snow to form, the air has to be cold already; the actual changing of water vapor to snowflakes warms the air up a little.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Ponyville sat just a small ways//</span><br />You do see this in common usage, but technically, using &quot;ways&quot; as a singular is incorrect.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Horse apples//</span><br />Typically written as one word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;at the edge of her periphery//</span><br />Redundant. Periphery <i>is</i> the edge.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;What are you doing out here, Fluttershy?! Didn’t you notice the storm?!//</span><br />Okay, you&#039;re overdoing the interrobangs. They&#039;re fine for sparing use, but the more you have, the less effective they become. They make things stand out, and when everything stands out, nothing does.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Class-4//</span><br />Write out numbers that short.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Everyone//</span><br />everpony, perhaps?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;W-what about you?//</span><br />Consider what sounds actually gets repeated when writing a stutter. &quot;Wh-what&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>eep</i></span><br />She actually said it, so lose the italics and put it in quotes.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“This isn’t safe!”//</span><br />Refer back a few points ago to how nothing stands out if everything does. This is your 27th dialogue sentence. 23 of them end in an exclamation mark or interrobang. You&#039;ve pretty much stripped the exclamation mark of commanding any attention for the rest of your story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash wasted no time in strapping the bags around her own back, tucking the straps under her wings.//</span><br />Beware of misplaced modifiers, particularly participles. Any sort of modifier tends to latch onto the nearest possible object, so your &quot;tucking the straps…&quot; phrase wants to describe &quot;back.&quot; We even have to go back through another possibility, &quot;bags,&quot; before we get to the intended &quot;Rainbow Dash.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;As she stepped out of her boots and pushed them to the side, a streak of water following them across the floor, she looked to the side and asked//</span><br />While grammatically sound, that absolute phrase is awkwardly placed. It took a couple of readings to sort out the syntax.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She shook her own body much more thoroughly than Fluttershy had, but her shivering body wouldn’t forgive her so easily.//</span><br />Odd to have &quot;body&quot; named as a subject in one clause and an object in the other like this. Might want to rephrase.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Th-thanks,” Rainbow said, standing stock still and staring at nothing in particular through squinted eyes. Many little creatures looked at her from around the room, most with worried expressions.//</span><br />Your narrator&#039;s perspective is pretty nebulous here. It was pretty firmly with Dash in the first scene, but here, it&#039;s pretty distant from anyone. You&#039;ve said Dash isn&#039;t staring at anything, and yet the narrator has her seeing these creatures looking back at her. So which is it?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her motions were almost mechanical.//</span><br />That really places the burden on me to visualize. It&#039;s the writer&#039;s job to set the scene. Give me more about how this looks.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Fluttershy suddenly appeared in front of her//</span><br />&quot;Suddenly&quot; does have its place, but it&#039;s often better to convey the suddenness through the language or the lack of segue to the &quot;sudden&quot; action rather than actually using this word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;T-tank//</span><br />Proper noun. You have to capitalize both.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her eyes were big and profound//</span><br />&quot;Profound&quot; isn&#039;t really a physical quality…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Make yourself comfortable,” said Fluttershy, moving towards the kitchen again.//</span><br />Note how often you use this sentence structure. &quot;She performed this action, performing this other action.&quot; You don&#039;t want to create a repetitive feel. Now, the simpler a sentence form is, the more you can get away with it before it gets repetitive. The basic &quot;She performed this action&quot; blends in for longer before it starts calling attention to itself, and tha&#039;s really the key: you don&#039;t want the writing calling attention to itself.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Two little rabbits hopped up to it and began eating hurriedly.//</span><br />Also watch how often you use -ly adverbs like this. They&#039;re pretty weak descriptors, but thank goodness I haven&#039;t caught you using them to convey emotions. Yet. Also beware using start/begin as your verb. I&#039;ve noticed several already. They&#039;re obvious, in that any given action will begin. It&#039;s only worth using this verb to emphasize the beginning because it&#039;s abrupt or the action never finishes.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I was out of animal feed.//</span><br />If being out in the storm was such a big deal, why was the store where she bought this still open?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a half a dozen//</span><br />Lose one of those a&#039;s. Doesn&#039;t matter which.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;birdfeeder//</span><br />bird feeder<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The birds all fluttered to it immediately.//</span><br />Well, not all bids eat seeds, and even ones that do eat them prefer different kinds. This might need some clarification.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>Not a big deal</i>?//</span><br />When a ! or ? is attached to an italicized word, italicize it as well.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;eyeing her strangely//</span><br />Too vague. I have no idea what this looks like, either literally or through some imagery. Describe it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;with an audible <i>squish</i>//</span><br />Again with the sound effects. This is a valid word. Just leave it as such.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I’ve got some spare winter clothes upstairs.//</span><br />And a professional weather pony who knew she might possibly get caught in this didn&#039;t take the precaution of having her own with her?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The world was black and very ferocious-looking.//</span><br />How can it be both? I get what you&#039;re going for, but you need to say it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was a terrifying scene.//</span><br />To whom? Neither pony appears frightened, and I don&#039;t want the narrator&#039;s opinion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;knowing I could crash and burn at any second//</span><br />That speaks more to a style of flying, not the more generic topic. If any kind of flying were this dangerous, pegasi would be rare.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to not fly//</span><br />not to fly<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She quickly returned to staring blankly at Fluttershy.//</span><br />This is the fifth &quot;stare&quot; in the last dozen or so paragraphs. Mix up your word choice some more. You might need to go for more description, as your other main synonyms (&quot;look&quot; and &quot;gaze&quot;) are also getting some mileage on them.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Other ponies feel those things too.//</span><br />You had me until now. It makes sense that Dash might have overlooked how Fluttershy feels, but everyone? And when a cutie mark is such a pervasive part of their life? She should understand inherently how they all feel.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The few animals that remained in the room//</span><br />You don&#039;t need &quot;in the room,&quot; and it&#039;s repetitive with the last sentence anyway.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;W-what//</span><br />Again, &quot;Wh-what.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It’s Harriot the bear!//</span><br />Wait, how would a badger know that? All the animals are holed up in their individual homes, right? Might need a bit of explanation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She resumed her mad rush//</span><br />She was described as &quot;cantering to the kitchen.&quot; That&#039;s not a mad rush.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;with that//</span><br />Phrases like this and &quot;at that point&quot; are horribly self-referential things to have in narration, expect for first-person.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;just staring at the door//</span><br />Oh, good, we&#039;re back to the staring.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;staring up at the nothing on the ceiling//</span><br />…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her face nonplussed//</span><br />&quot;Nonplussed&quot; is more of an attitude than an expression. It&#039;s not really something a face can be. A face can express surprise, for instance, but it can&#039;t <i>be</i> surprised.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>ever</i>!//</span><br />Again, italicize that punctuation.<br /><br />You use &quot;stare&quot; 10 times. That doesn&#039;t sound so bad. It&#039;s only about once per page on average. But as is a common problem, you tend to repeat certain words in clusters, and most of these are on just a couple of pages. Same thing with start/begin (14 instances), look (24), just (28). And on to your &quot;to be&quot; verbs. I&#039;m only looking at the most common forms, but we have be (15), been (4), was (21), is (15), were (17), isn&#039;t (2), wasn&#039;t (1), weren&#039;t (1). That&#039;s 76, or about one every 3.5 sentences, 1 per paragraph, 10 per page. While it&#039;s not necessary or even a good thing to eliminate them altogether (doing so in dialogue can be especially difficult while maintaining a natural tone), it&#039;s a good idea to reduce them wherever you can. It&#039;s not that hard, if you put a little thought into it. Overuse of &quot;to be&quot; verbs can indicate excessive passive voice (I didn&#039;t see any), telly language (I&#039;ll get to that in a second), or a need to choose more active verbs (there we go). It&#039;s much more interesting to read about what happens than what is. An active verb spices up even mundane things a bit, like the difference between &quot;There he was&quot; and &quot;There he sat.&quot;<br /><br />I like your characterization of Fluttershy. She knows what her talent is and has confidence in it. And Dash&#039;s dialogue is well done. Now, you don&#039;t really have any conflict here. I can excuse that in the case of showing character development, but you&#039;ve chosen to have Dash&#039;s character grow by finding out something she should already know. You might need to tweak that to give this story some bite. Or you could add in some conflict by having Dash agonize over Fluttershy while she&#039;s gone, wonder what&#039;s taking her so long, thinking she should have insisted on going along, etc. Just spitballing here, but you get the idea.<br /><br />I was pleased I didn&#039;t catch you using telly language, but part of that seems to be because you didn&#039;t delve into their emotions that consistently. There were spots where you had nice body language, dialogue, and word choice to create a vivid picture of how they must look and feel, but there were other places that it felt a bit superficial. Take the last scene, for instance. Fluttershy comes in, and we get a physical description, but nothing she says or does backs up that she must be exhausted. You&#039;re leaning on events a bit much, and secondarily, on dialogue, to carry the story, but it takes a bit more nuanced approach to create that emotional attachment.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 32

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.

>Roma bucked a beige hind leg at one of the poles holding up the awning of her market stall but her hoof just scraped at the wood.//

Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. And a minor thing: it's kind of forced to work in her color this way. For one, we start in a moment of high emotion, and her color doesn't seem to be the kind of thing that would stand out to someone watching, so it interrupts the action. Insofar as the narrator seems to be in Roma's perspective anyway, this doesn't seem like the kind of information she'd find important. And for another thing, you're naturally throwing a lot of information at the reader this early in the story, so it's best to keep this to what's pertinent for now. Does it matter what color she is? probably not. IMO, if it's never important, it's not worth mentioning at all, but I'll grant that many readers in this fandom like such descriptions, so at least find a less obtrusive place to work it in.

>With a snort//

This is your ninth sentence, and we finally get one that doesn't start with the subject. Try to mix up your openers a bit more. Not too much, but a little helps keep it from feeling repetitive. I've looked ahead, and this is somewhat of an issue throughout the story. Also be careful how you mix it up, as many authors quickly run into overuse of "as" clauses and "he did this, doing that" structures.

>tomato dotted//

Hyphenate the compound descriptor.

>—ack!” The cap dropped to the ground again as a loud knocking came from the counter behind her.//

This is all out of sorts. She reacts to the knocking before it happens. It's important for the sequencing of events to make sense, or it subconsciously doesn't add up.

>What has gotten in to you?//

Usually, that's "into" as one word.

>Rainy gulped as her wide eyes drifted between the counter, the broken pole, and Roma.//

You've actually got a good bit of action interspersed with the dialogue here. This is a good way to add realism and remind us that the conversants aren't just disembodied floating heads. The only thing I'll say is that this is the first one of these actions that gives us information about the characters' emotions. Try to work a bit more of that in. And kudos for getting at the emotion indirectly instead of outright naming how they feel. This is the correct way to handle "show-versus-tell."

>or something. Does Aura have a card or something//

Watch for word or phrase repetition where it's not being done for some deliberate effect.

>Berry Pinch//

Did you mean Berry Punch? Or is this an OC?

>I’m just tryin’ ta be civil, Roma. Somethin’ ya seem to be losin’ yer grip on today.//

A little accent goes a long way. You don't want imitative spellings to slow the reader down at all. By clipping the g's off those verbs, you've already created an informal voice, and I guarantee you readers will already hear the "to" and "your" in their heads as you've already spelled them. I'd recommend toning this back a bit.

>Crafty Crate trotted past Roma, stepping carefully around the strewn papers and tomatoes.//

Watch for misplaced modifiers. Participles are especially notorious for this. Modifiers like to latch onto the nearest possible object in most cases. Here, proximity suggests it's Roma who's "stepping carefully." In many cases, the reader can just apply a bit of logic to figure out what you meant, but in this case, it truly is ambiguous. I suspect it's Crate doing the stepping, but I can't tell.

>I was tellin’ Raindrops, here,” he nodded towards the pegasus mare, “about how Pinkie//

That's not how to work an aside into a quote. Here are your options:
I was tellin’ Raindrops, here—” he nodded towards the pegasus mare “—about how Pinkie
if he actually stops speaking to nod, or:
I was tellin’ Raindrops, here”—he nodded towards the pegasus mare—“about how Pinkie
if the speech is continuous.

>Nearby a couple of ponies//

While it's not unusual to go without commas for introductory elements like this in British usage, it feels like you're going for a preposition sense here, which substantially changes the meaning.

>Sorry sirs//

Missing comma for direct address.

>Behind the three Raindrops looked up from the gathered papers.//

Here's another introductory element that's kind of misleading without a comma. It makes it sound like there are three Raindrops there.

>—gack!” Rainy looked up to see Roma pouncing at her//

Again, you've got the reaction before the cause.

>Beige legs and a panicked expression//

See, here's the place to work in her color. You could probably delete the first one. But why just her legs? Isn't she a solid color?

>A few moved to start gathering them back up again while others began to whisper back and forth.//

I've noticed a number of these "start" and "begin" verbs. They're often overused by inexperienced authors. It's obvious that any given action would begin. It's best to reserve these words for times when a beginning is noteworthy because it's abrupt or because the action gets interrupted, fails, etc.

>Roma pushed herself off of Raindrops and looked around in horror.//

Have a look at the show versus tell section at the top of this thread. You seem to be doing fine on that front, but I want you to see how this "in horror" is completely redundant with the description in the following sentence, which does a far better job of connecting me with the character, since I have to interpret her actions to infer what her emotions are.

>One of the ponies helping gasped and pulled one of the pages//

Repetitive phrasing.

>looked around at the others with a look of disgust.//

Repetitive use of "look," and telly "of disgust." Show me how he looks, what he does, and let me figure out he's disgusted.

>Some turned faces filled with concern and shame at one another while others simply shrugged.//

As I say in the aforementioned description, it's not always necessary to show. For these ponies in the crowd that we will probably never see again, it's not crucial to show with them, but you're pushing it by piling up the "concern and shame."

>When she didn’t turn//

Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>Rainy’s expression hardened with rage.//

Yeah, ease off those prepositional emotions.

>she had left it in the counter//

Usually "on" a counter. If it's inside, it's not really the counter anymore—more like a cabinet or shelf.

>to not push//

not to push

>but her and Rarity had tried to lighten her mood some//

That first "her" should be a "she."

>a soft thud//

Sound effects are discouraged in narration, but as this is a valid word anyway, just remove the italics.

>Gummy crawled out from underneath an end table holding a pink balloon in his jaws//

Another misplaced modifier. It sounds like the end table is holding a balloon.

>By Celestia they won’t take her.//

Missing comma for the invective.

>I’ve got some stamps in my saddlebag, let me get those and how about you mail the card to her?//

Comma splice.

>The sun had yet to raise fully//

Rise. "Raise" requires a direct object.

>I sure am glad you think so, sweetie, we may be eating them for a while.//

Another comma splice.

All told, a rather nice story. You only make a few consistent errors, and those are easy ones to fix. I do have two comments on how the story unfolds, however.

Roma's reaction to the "sorry" balloon was so muted and went by so fast that it's not at all clear that she reasoned out what it was. She's pretty matter-of-fact about something that sould be a pretty big emotional moment for her.

Second, it's odd that advertising would be such an alien concept to them. As much as their world is like ours, I'd err on the side of something that timeless existing there, unless canon has specifically said it isn't. Even in your case, the ponies aren't reacting to the cards as if they're some wonderful, newfangled thing. Perhaps it's akin more to a celebrity endorsement, except that there was no indication the cards were identifiable as coming from Pinkie. Maybe something to think about.

In addition, take a look through your use of "to be" verbs. You actually didn't have all that many. Over the few most common forms, I only counted about 40, or maybe one per page. But there were a few spots that you used them in clusters, so just watch that. I'll spare you the full speech, since you seemed to avoid them pretty well, an so must know something about keeping them in check.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Roma bucked a beige hind leg at one of the poles holding up the awning of her market stall but her hoof just scraped at the wood.//</span><br />Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. And a minor thing: it&#039;s kind of forced to work in her color this way. For one, we start in a moment of high emotion, and her color doesn&#039;t seem to be the kind of thing that would stand out to someone watching, so it interrupts the action. Insofar as the narrator seems to be in Roma&#039;s perspective anyway, this doesn&#039;t seem like the kind of information she&#039;d find important. And for another thing, you&#039;re naturally throwing a lot of information at the reader this early in the story, so it&#039;s best to keep this to what&#039;s pertinent for now. Does it matter what color she is? probably not. IMO, if it&#039;s never important, it&#039;s not worth mentioning at all, but I&#039;ll grant that many readers in this fandom like such descriptions, so at least find a less obtrusive place to work it in.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With a snort//</span><br />This is your ninth sentence, and we finally get one that doesn&#039;t start with the subject. Try to mix up your openers a bit more. Not too much, but a little helps keep it from feeling repetitive. I&#039;ve looked ahead, and this is somewhat of an issue throughout the story. Also be careful <i>how</i> you mix it up, as many authors quickly run into overuse of &quot;as&quot; clauses and &quot;he did this, doing that&quot; structures.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;tomato dotted//</span><br />Hyphenate the compound descriptor.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;—ack!” The cap dropped to the ground again as a loud knocking came from the counter behind her.//</span><br />This is all out of sorts. She reacts to the knocking before it happens. It&#039;s important for the sequencing of events to make sense, or it subconsciously doesn&#039;t add up.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;What has gotten <i>in</i> to you?//</span><br />Usually, that&#039;s &quot;into&quot; as one word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainy gulped as her wide eyes drifted between the counter, the broken pole, and Roma.//</span><br />You&#039;ve actually got a good bit of action interspersed with the dialogue here. This is a good way to add realism and remind us that the conversants aren&#039;t just disembodied floating heads. The only thing I&#039;ll say is that this is the first one of these actions that gives us information about the characters&#039; emotions. Try to work a bit more of that in. And kudos for getting at the emotion indirectly instead of outright naming how they feel. This is the correct way to handle &quot;show-versus-tell.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;or something. Does Aura have a card or something//</span><br />Watch for word or phrase repetition where it&#039;s not being done for some deliberate effect.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Berry Pinch//</span><br />Did you mean Berry Punch? Or is this an OC?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I’m just tryin’ ta be civil, Roma. Somethin’ ya seem to be losin’ yer grip on today.//</span><br />A little accent goes a long way. You don&#039;t want imitative spellings to slow the reader down at all. By clipping the g&#039;s off those verbs, you&#039;ve already created an informal voice, and I guarantee you readers will already hear the &quot;to&quot; and &quot;your&quot; in their heads as you&#039;ve already spelled them. I&#039;d recommend toning this back a bit.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Crafty Crate trotted past Roma, stepping carefully around the strewn papers and tomatoes.//</span><br />Watch for misplaced modifiers. Participles are especially notorious for this. Modifiers like to latch onto the nearest possible object in most cases. Here, proximity suggests it&#039;s Roma who&#039;s &quot;stepping carefully.&quot; In many cases, the reader can just apply a bit of logic to figure out what you meant, but in this case, it truly is ambiguous. I suspect it&#039;s Crate doing the stepping, but I can&#039;t tell.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I was tellin’ Raindrops, here,” he nodded towards the pegasus mare, “about how Pinkie//</span><br />That&#039;s not how to work an aside into a quote. Here are your options:<br />I was tellin’ Raindrops, here—” he nodded towards the pegasus mare “—about how Pinkie<br />if he actually stops speaking to nod, or:<br />I was tellin’ Raindrops, here”—he nodded towards the pegasus mare—“about how Pinkie<br />if the speech is continuous.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Nearby a couple of ponies//</span><br />While it&#039;s not unusual to go without commas for introductory elements like this in British usage, it feels like you&#039;re going for a preposition sense here, which substantially changes the meaning.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sorry sirs//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Behind the three Raindrops looked up from the gathered papers.//</span><br />Here&#039;s another introductory element that&#039;s kind of misleading without a comma. It makes it sound like there are three Raindrops there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;—gack!” Rainy looked up to see Roma pouncing at her//</span><br />Again, you&#039;ve got the reaction before the cause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Beige legs and a panicked expression//</span><br />See, here&#039;s the place to work in her color. You could probably delete the first one. But why just her legs? Isn&#039;t she a solid color?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;A few moved to start gathering them back up again while others began to whisper back and forth.//</span><br />I&#039;ve noticed a number of these &quot;start&quot; and &quot;begin&quot; verbs. They&#039;re often overused by inexperienced authors. It&#039;s obvious that any given action would begin. It&#039;s best to reserve these words for times when a beginning is noteworthy because it&#039;s abrupt or because the action gets interrupted, fails, etc.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Roma pushed herself off of Raindrops and looked around in horror.//</span><br />Have a look at the show versus tell section at the top of this thread. You seem to be doing fine on that front, but I want you to see how this &quot;in horror&quot; is completely redundant with the description in the following sentence, which does a far better job of connecting me with the character, since I have to interpret her actions to infer what her emotions are.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;One of the ponies helping gasped and pulled one of the pages//</span><br />Repetitive phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;looked around at the others with a look of disgust.//</span><br />Repetitive use of &quot;look,&quot; and telly &quot;of disgust.&quot; Show me how he looks, what he does, and let me figure out he&#039;s disgusted.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Some turned faces filled with concern and shame at one another while others simply shrugged.//</span><br />As I say in the aforementioned description, it&#039;s not always necessary to show. For these ponies in the crowd that we will probably never see again, it&#039;s not crucial to show with them, but you&#039;re pushing it by piling up the &quot;concern and shame.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;When she didn’t turn//</span><br />Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainy’s expression hardened with rage.//</span><br />Yeah, ease off those prepositional emotions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she had left it in the counter//</span><br />Usually &quot;on&quot; a counter. If it&#039;s inside, it&#039;s not really the counter anymore—more like a cabinet or shelf.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to not push//</span><br />not to push<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but her and Rarity had tried to lighten her mood some//</span><br />That first &quot;her&quot; should be a &quot;she.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a soft <i>thud</i>//</span><br />Sound effects are discouraged in narration, but as this is a valid word anyway, just remove the italics.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Gummy crawled out from underneath an end table holding a pink balloon in his jaws//</span><br />Another misplaced modifier. It sounds like the end table is holding a balloon.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>By Celestia they won’t take her.</i>//</span><br />Missing comma for the invective.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I’ve got some stamps in my saddlebag, let me get those and how about you mail the card to her?//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The sun had yet to raise fully//</span><br />Rise. &quot;Raise&quot; requires a direct object.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I sure am glad you think so, sweetie, we may be eating them for a while.//</span><br />Another comma splice.<br /><br />All told, a rather nice story. You only make a few consistent errors, and those are easy ones to fix. I do have two comments on how the story unfolds, however.<br /><br />Roma&#039;s reaction to the &quot;sorry&quot; balloon was so muted and went by so fast that it&#039;s not at all clear that she reasoned out what it was. She&#039;s pretty matter-of-fact about something that sould be a pretty big emotional moment for her.<br /><br />Second, it&#039;s odd that advertising would be such an alien concept to them. As much as their world is like ours, I&#039;d err on the side of something that timeless existing there, unless canon has specifically said it isn&#039;t. Even in your case, the ponies aren&#039;t reacting to the cards as if they&#039;re some wonderful, newfangled thing. Perhaps it&#039;s akin more to a celebrity endorsement, except that there was no indication the cards were identifiable as coming from Pinkie. Maybe something to think about.<br /><br />In addition, take a look through your use of &quot;to be&quot; verbs. You actually didn&#039;t have all that many. Over the few most common forms, I only counted about 40, or maybe one per page. But there were a few spots that you used them in clusters, so just watch that. I&#039;ll spare you the full speech, since you seemed to avoid them pretty well, an so must know something about keeping them in check.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 33

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.

>One thousand years.

>
>A long time for nearly anyone, except a select few, and one of those few was currently sitting in her favorite chair awaiting a visitor.//
The first sentence takes an almost personal voice, and then the second immediately pushes back out to an external viewpoint. You should decide whether you want a more objective or subjective narrator, then keep a fairly consistent voice, unless you want to do the occasional shift between characters.

>as kind as they could be given everything that had happened//

Missing a comma for the participle.

>she would have been ecstatic to find that she would//

Watch repetitive phrasings. There's probably a better way to word this.

>through a millennia//

The singular is "millennium."

>, she believed his name was Locked Tight,//

This can't quite be inserted in this way since it's an independent clause, and it's structured as an aside anyway, so it'd work better with dashes.

>…quite the echo though.//

A leading ellipsis is for times when a speaker is picking up an earlier dropped thought or is just becoming audible. It doesn't really work here. And capitalize.

>draconiquus//

I think canon spelling is "draconequus."

>Thank you for bringing him, that will be all.//

Comma splice.

>the strange creature he’d escorted//

This smacks of skipping into Lock's perspective for a moment. He's the only one there who would consider Discord strange. See previous comment about keeping a steady perspective.

>(on the ceiling, of course)//

Parentheticals rarely work in narration, and even more than the first time, this is striking an abnormally conversational tone as compared to the bulk of the narration.

>what looked suspiciously like a diary//

And now you're in Discord's head. You ought to pay attention to what information your perspective character would have access to. If you're with Celestia, you can have her interpret this based on how Discord acts and what he says, but you have to give me that evidence. She wouldn't know this explicitly.

>Celestia had looked at him in the most unbelievably tired and care worn way she had ever done in the entirety of his knowledge of her//

Careworn. And I can't believe that she would ever have looked at him that way until quite recently. The sentence ends with some awkward phrasing as well.

>I am old, Discord; frightfully old.//

A properly used semicolon would have independent clauses somewhere on both sides.

>Celestia melancholy//

Seems like you're missing a comma, but I'd also discourage you from bluntly informing me of her emotion like this.

>It opened easily and she pointed to a bright cluster of stars.//

When you start a new clause (separate subject with its own verb), you usually need to use a comma.

>“Your parents are a couple of gas giants that send light through the deep reaches of space to make tiny dots in the sky?”//

I'm kind of getting mood whiplash from him. He's oddly bland and formal at times, which isn't like him. And then we get these playful lines, but they aren't backed up with any context. He wouldn't just deadpan everything, for instance. You're relying on the dialogue alone to carry his attitude.

>Chaos and order must remain in balance, if either dominates then life is doomed.//

Comma splice and a missing comma between clauses.

>Discord raised a skeptical eyebrow.//

You're directly telling me emotions again, and this one is superfluous, as the raised eyebrow already conveys skepticism. Read the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread.

>I’m just surprised you knew.//

Perhaps an emphasis on "you"?

>feigned death in the air//

I have no idea how this would look. Describe it to me. Otherwise, it's empty words.

>as you well know//

And this is really the point, isn't it? Discord already knows all of this, so it's being said purely for the reader's benefit. There are other ways of working it in gradually without resorting to an infodump.

>And, Sombra was last, and even then//

You don't need the first comma, and using the multiple "and"s creates a repetitive feel.

>reform//

I'd question this word choice, as the most common definition is quite opposite of what you want.

>It was a little irksome hearing that the pony who’d locked you up in stone a little while ago had spent your entire sentence looking for the folks who could put you right back in.//

It's best not to address the reader like this, and we have some narrative dissonance again.

>Discord sat with his elbow resting on his head, his chin resting on his knee.//

That's rather… contorted. Did you mean for this to be comical?

>And, a small mountain of presents filled a corner of the hall near the thrones.//

It's fairly rare for a comma after a conjunction to be correct. This one isn't.

>For Luna, it would be the greatest of delights to have so many give her so much deserved affection and attention.//

This is a really overlooked part of the story. Celestia obviously cares a lot for her sister, but this strong emotion and the lengths to which she'd go to create a special event for her barely get a sentence's mention.

>I don’t think I could have done a better job myself.”

>
>Celestia allowed Twilight a few moments to bask in the glow of her job well done//
"Done a better job" and "job well done" is fairly repetitive phrasing.

>very awed and timid looking//

Describe that look. Don't just tell me what it is.

>With a small giggle and a deep breath for courage//

Twilight accepts this huge responsibility very quickly and without much wrestling it over in her mind. It's not enough to ask whether an action would be reasonable for a character. An author must also show that the means and motivation also make sense, and by glossing over all that, two things happen: there isn't much emotional investment in what happens and it begins to feel like plot convenience rather than a natural flow of events.

>spell-//

Use a proper dash for cutoffs.

>the trails left by the tears still shined out//

"Shined" takes a direct object. It's what you do to shoes or brass. You want "shone."

>With that//

You have a lot of these introductory elements that don't have a comma to set them off. While it's not mandatory, particularly in British usage, it sometimes is a good idea for disambiguation. While that's not the case here, the choice of your introductory phrase is. Ones like this and "at that point" refer directly to the narration ad are immersion-breaking. They starkly remind the reader that he's reading text and not experiencing it.

Comma usage is the only predominant mechanical thing I'd point out. Really, it's more that while the premise is fine (frankly, just about any premise can be done well), it's treated rather superficially. Part of this is show-versus-tell. Many emotions are presented to me at face value instead of making me interpret them, but there are also many places where you don't delve into the characters' feelings at all. I pointed out a few; Luna's decision to follow her sister and Twilight's reactions to… well, everything also come to mind.

Another common problem is overuse of "to be" verbs. They're inherently boring—it's much more interesting to read about what happens that what merely is. Of the simpler forms, I counted 33 in chapter 2 and 63 in chapter 1. While it's not necessary to eliminate them altogether, this is a pretty high count for this length of story. They can indicate too much passive voice (I didn't see any), telly language (some), and a need to choose more active verbs (definitely).

Lastly, the narrative voice flits around into multiple perspectives. It would do well to adopt a more consistent mood and stay with one character, where feasible (clearly, staying with Celestia isn't an option once she's gone). Discord also comes across as odd. His playful voice is largely absent, and when it does appear, it's sudden. Not that you can't get there from canon, but you have to connect the dots a little better. It's not enough just to say that things have changed over time. This gets back to making character motivations feel realistic.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;One thousand years.</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;A long time for nearly anyone, except a select few, and one of those few was currently sitting in her favorite chair awaiting a visitor.//</span><br />The first sentence takes an almost personal voice, and then the second immediately pushes back out to an external viewpoint. You should decide whether you want a more objective or subjective narrator, then keep a fairly consistent voice, unless you want to do the occasional shift between characters.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;as kind as they could be given everything that had happened//</span><br />Missing a comma for the participle.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she would have been ecstatic to find that she would//</span><br />Watch repetitive phrasings. There&#039;s probably a better way to word this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;through a millennia//</span><br />The singular is &quot;millennium.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;, she believed his name was Locked Tight,//</span><br />This can&#039;t quite be inserted in this way since it&#039;s an independent clause, and it&#039;s structured as an aside anyway, so it&#039;d work better with dashes.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;…quite the echo though.//</span><br />A leading ellipsis is for times when a speaker is picking up an earlier dropped thought or is just becoming audible. It doesn&#039;t really work here. And capitalize.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;draconiquus//</span><br />I think canon spelling is &quot;draconequus.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Thank you for bringing him, that will be all.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the strange creature he’d escorted//</span><br />This smacks of skipping into Lock&#039;s perspective for a moment. He&#039;s the only one there who would consider Discord strange. See previous comment about keeping a steady perspective.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;(on the ceiling, of course)//</span><br />Parentheticals rarely work in narration, and even more than the first time, this is striking an abnormally conversational tone as compared to the bulk of the narration.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;what looked suspiciously like a diary//</span><br />And now you&#039;re in Discord&#039;s head. You ought to pay attention to what information your perspective character would have access to. If you&#039;re with Celestia, you can have her interpret this based on how Discord acts and what he says, but you have to give me that evidence. She wouldn&#039;t know this explicitly.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia had looked at him in the most unbelievably tired and care worn way she had ever done in the entirety of his knowledge of her//</span><br />Careworn. And I can&#039;t believe that she would ever have looked at him that way until quite recently. The sentence ends with some awkward phrasing as well.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I am old, Discord; frightfully old.//</span><br />A properly used semicolon would have independent clauses somewhere on both sides.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia melancholy//</span><br />Seems like you&#039;re missing a comma, but I&#039;d also discourage you from bluntly informing me of her emotion like this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It opened easily and she pointed to a bright cluster of stars.//</span><br />When you start a new clause (separate subject with its own verb), you usually need to use a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Your parents are a couple of gas giants that send light through the deep reaches of space to make tiny dots in the sky?”//</span><br />I&#039;m kind of getting mood whiplash from him. He&#039;s oddly bland and formal at times, which isn&#039;t like him. And then we get these playful lines, but they aren&#039;t backed up with any context. He wouldn&#039;t just deadpan everything, for instance. You&#039;re relying on the dialogue alone to carry his attitude.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Chaos and order must remain in balance, if either dominates then life is doomed.//</span><br />Comma splice and a missing comma between clauses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Discord raised a skeptical eyebrow.//</span><br />You&#039;re directly telling me emotions again, and this one is superfluous, as the raised eyebrow already conveys skepticism. Read the &quot;show versus tell&quot; section at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I’m just surprised you knew.//</span><br />Perhaps an emphasis on &quot;you&quot;?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;feigned death in the air//</span><br />I have no idea how this would look. Describe it to me. Otherwise, it&#039;s empty words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;as you well know//</span><br />And this is really the point, isn&#039;t it? Discord already knows all of this, so it&#039;s being said purely for the reader&#039;s benefit. There are other ways of working it in gradually without resorting to an infodump.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And, Sombra was last, and even then//</span><br />You don&#039;t need the first comma, and using the multiple &quot;and&quot;s creates a repetitive feel.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;reform//</span><br />I&#039;d question this word choice, as the most common definition is quite opposite of what you want.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was a little irksome hearing that the pony who’d locked you up in stone a little while ago had spent your entire sentence looking for the folks who could put you right back in.//</span><br />It&#039;s best not to address the reader like this, and we have some narrative dissonance again.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Discord sat with his elbow resting on his head, his chin resting on his knee.//</span><br />That&#039;s rather… contorted. Did you mean for this to be comical?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And, a small mountain of presents filled a corner of the hall near the thrones.//</span><br />It&#039;s fairly rare for a comma after a conjunction to be correct. This one isn&#039;t.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;For Luna, it would be the greatest of delights to have so many give her so much deserved affection and attention.//</span><br />This is a really overlooked part of the story. Celestia obviously cares a lot for her sister, but this strong emotion and the lengths to which she&#039;d go to create a special event for her barely get a sentence&#039;s mention.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I don’t think I could have done a better job myself.”</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia allowed Twilight a few moments to bask in the glow of her job well done//</span><br />&quot;Done a better job&quot; and &quot;job well done&quot; is fairly repetitive phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;very awed and timid looking//</span><br />Describe that look. Don&#039;t just tell me what it is.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With a small giggle and a deep breath for courage//</span><br />Twilight accepts this huge responsibility very quickly and without much wrestling it over in her mind. It&#039;s not enough to ask whether an action would be reasonable for a character. An author must also show that the means and motivation also make sense, and by glossing over all that, two things happen: there isn&#039;t much emotional investment in what happens and it begins to feel like plot convenience rather than a natural flow of events.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;spell-//</span><br />Use a proper dash for cutoffs.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the trails left by the tears still shined out//</span><br />&quot;Shined&quot; takes a direct object. It&#039;s what you do to shoes or brass. You want &quot;shone.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With that//</span><br />You have a lot of these introductory elements that don&#039;t have a comma to set them off. While it&#039;s not mandatory, particularly in British usage, it sometimes is a good idea for disambiguation. While that&#039;s not the case here, the choice of your introductory phrase is. Ones like this and &quot;at that point&quot; refer directly to the narration ad are immersion-breaking. They starkly remind the reader that he&#039;s reading text and not experiencing it.<br /><br />Comma usage is the only predominant mechanical thing I&#039;d point out. Really, it&#039;s more that while the premise is fine (frankly, just about any premise can be done well), it&#039;s treated rather superficially. Part of this is show-versus-tell. Many emotions are presented to me at face value instead of making me interpret them, but there are also many places where you don&#039;t delve into the characters&#039; feelings at all. I pointed out a few; Luna&#039;s decision to follow her sister and Twilight&#039;s reactions to… well, everything also come to mind.<br /><br />Another common problem is overuse of &quot;to be&quot; verbs. They&#039;re inherently boring—it&#039;s much more interesting to read about what happens that what merely is. Of the simpler forms, I counted 33 in chapter 2 and 63 in chapter 1. While it&#039;s not necessary to eliminate them altogether, this is a pretty high count for this length of story. They can indicate too much passive voice (I didn&#039;t see any), telly language (some), and a need to choose more active verbs (definitely).<br /><br />Lastly, the narrative voice flits around into multiple perspectives. It would do well to adopt a more consistent mood and stay with one character, where feasible (clearly, staying with Celestia isn&#039;t an option once she&#039;s gone). Discord also comes across as odd. His playful voice is largely absent, and when it does appear, it&#039;s sudden. Not that you can&#039;t get there from canon, but you have to connect the dots a little better. It&#039;s not enough just to say that things have changed over time. This gets back to making character motivations feel realistic.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 34

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.

>Foals happily ran about as the constant ringing of the bell announced the end of school.//

Three problems already. First, the bell doesn't ring that long. I'd hardly characterize it as "constant." And gviven that, "as" clauses imply concurrent action. They wouldn't run around until after it rang, not somehow be synchronized with it. And third, we have telly language, which is a bad thing to do right off the bat when you're trying to hook the reader. Read the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread.

>Of all the days for Silver Spoon to get sick, why must it be today? And I don’t even have those blank flanks around to make fun of!

This is a common issue: characters speaking to themselves in an overly formal manner and solely for the purpose of giving exposition. You have to make this type of thing feel natural, but it's forced here.

>Diamond walked away from the schoolhouse, taking the dusty road in front of it//

Note that participles are prime candidates for misplaced modifiers. This one's not bad, as we can apply a bit of logic to sort it out, but if you don't pay attention, you'll eventually say something ambiguous or outright misleading. Participles ike to latch onto the nearest available object, so it sounds like the schoolhouse is taking the road.

>The warm rays of the sun and the soft chirps of the birds//

This type of indirect possession is often clunky and unwarranted. If there's some thematic or stylistic reason you want to put special focus on the rays or the chirps, fine, but I don't see any here. "The sun's warm rays and the birds' soft chirping" is more concise and direct.

>Diamond’s line of thought was abruptly lost//

Passive voice is a more prevalent but similar issue. If there's a reason you need to draw attention to the "line of thought" far more so than Diamond, fine, but there's no need here. Passive voice is an inherently boring structure; it really only works when you need it's ability to divert attention.

>Diamond changed her course, and walked over the grassy field towards the mysterious silhouette.//

See the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>(that probably appeared because of the tempest that plagued Ponyville last night),//

Parentheticals strike a much more conversational tone than your narrator is using. They don't really fit with an objective viewpoint. And the way you've structured that sentence, you shouldn't use the comma.

>his yellow coat with a brown color for a brief moment, before most of the brown liquid flowed back into the pool//

I'm getting color overload here, given that you already mentioned Snails's two colors, and your use of "coat" is immediately misleading in this context. Plus, the double use of "brown" is repetitive.

>She knew that Snails was a bit strange - but to play//

Please use a proper dash.

>as if he was a pig//

When speaking hypothetically like this, please use subjunctive mood = "as if he were"

>It’s really fun, it’s like playing in a pool and in the sand at the same time.//

Comma splice.

>Snails’//

While it's common to see this, the proper possessive is still to put the full apostrophe-s on for singular words, even when they already end in "s."

>Only a slow and dumb pony like yourself could think that such thing would be fu-//

Missing a word. And once again, please use a proper dash.

>At that moment a big blob of mud hit her right in the face, spreading the mud through most of her fur and making her tiara fall on the grass.//

Repetition of "mud," which exposes a bigger problem. You have another bad participle here, and this time, it's a dangling one: whatever it modifies never appears in the sentence. The only options for what is "spreading the mud" are "face" (somehow, I doubt her face is spreading mud) and "blob of mud" (it spreads itself?)

>the source of the laughter: a certain unicorn that was rolling around in laughter//

So, the source of laughter is laughter? I see…

>“It. Is. On…” Diamond said with a intense stare.//

Typo. And why is DT doing Rarity's schtick?

>How dare you dirty me and my tiara!?//

That's not normally posed as any sort of question. You can just go with the exclamation mark.

>The response was Snails popping his head out from the mud and sputtering mud on her face with his mouth.//

Yet more repetition of "mud." You're in the middle of a stretch where you use the word 15 times in 13 paragraphs!

>With incredible agility, Snails, still inside the mud, moved from the spot where he was to a few feet behind Diamond Tiara, who was looking around for him.

So, she's on top of him, and then somehow loses track of where he is? I'm not buying it.

>Using his horn//

You'll normally set off participles with a comma.

>With incredible reflexes//

You do this in several places. It's unclear which perspective your narrator has adopted. So when he goes on to make a judgment like "incredible," whose opinion is that? I don't mind hearing a character's opinion, but if the narrator isn't speaking for one of them, I don't care what he thinks.

>And the feelings of disdain and anger that Diamond Tiara had became feelings of joy that caused her to smile like she never smiled before.//

Yeah, this is majorly telly language. Get me to figure out what she feels. Don't just tell me.

>The Sun//

Why is that capitalized?

>The memory sparked an idea within her mind. She got up from the grass and walked towards Snails. Noticing this, he rolled on his stomach and looked at her.//

See, now you do adopt a perspective. Somewhat. But it's jerking back and forth between them. Within the same paragraph. Only she could know that an idea had sparked in her mind, and only he could know that he noticed it, unless you narrate how one of them perceived those things about the other by reading thei body language, for example.

>eyes that shined like two jewels//

"Shined" takes a direct object. It's what you do to shoes and brass. You want "shone."

>“Wha- what is it?” he managed to stutter//

When you've already spelled out the stutter, you don't need to mention it again.

>“You’re in,”//

Given what happens after this, I think you meant to say "it."

>following behind//

Redundant

>a unexpected turn//

Typo. Really, most word processors will catch this type of mistake.

>In a flash, an idea appeared on Snails’ mind, an idea that turned his happy grin into a wicked smile.//

"in Snails's mind." And he just got the idea that "Hey, I can actually catch her! Good thing I remembered!" That's awfully contrived.

>And…” Diamond shuffled closer to Snails’ side, causing her pink fur to mix with his yellow fur, “you can call me Dia if you want.”//

Tossing an aside into a quote is done like this:
And—” Diamond shuffled closer to Snails’ side, causing her pink fur to mix with his yellow fur “—you can call me Dia if you want.”

There's not much meat here. This story concentrates on the actions alone, leaving emotions mostly to telly language and Tiara's forced conversations with herself. And her transforming attitude about Snails is a rather sudden one. It doesn't feel like something that would actually happen—more like it's molded that way for plot convenience. And since that's the entire source of the conflict and character growth here, none of it comes across as authentic. To be blunt, this needs a lot of work, and I'd recommend gaining more experience as a writer before attempting to give it a serious revision.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Foals happily ran about as the constant ringing of the bell announced the end of school.//</span><br />Three problems already. First, the bell doesn&#039;t ring that long. I&#039;d hardly characterize it as &quot;constant.&quot; And gviven that, &quot;as&quot; clauses imply concurrent action. They wouldn&#039;t run around until after it rang, not somehow be synchronized with it. And third, we have telly language, which is a bad thing to do right off the bat when you&#039;re trying to hook the reader. Read the section on &quot;show versus tell&quot; at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>Of all the days for Silver Spoon to get sick, why must it be today? And I don’t even have those blank flanks around to make fun of!</i></span><br />This is a common issue: characters speaking to themselves in an overly formal manner and solely for the purpose of giving exposition. You have to make this type of thing feel natural, but it&#039;s forced here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Diamond walked away from the schoolhouse, taking the dusty road in front of it//</span><br />Note that participles are prime candidates for misplaced modifiers. This one&#039;s not bad, as we can apply a bit of logic to sort it out, but if you don&#039;t pay attention, you&#039;ll eventually say something ambiguous or outright misleading. Participles ike to latch onto the nearest available object, so it sounds like the schoolhouse is taking the road.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The warm rays of the sun and the soft chirps of the birds//</span><br />This type of indirect possession is often clunky and unwarranted. If there&#039;s some thematic or stylistic reason you want to put special focus on the rays or the chirps, fine, but I don&#039;t see any here. &quot;The sun&#039;s warm rays and the birds&#039; soft chirping&quot; is more concise and direct.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Diamond’s line of thought was abruptly lost//</span><br />Passive voice is a more prevalent but similar issue. If there&#039;s a reason you need to draw attention to the &quot;line of thought&quot; far more so than Diamond, fine, but there&#039;s no need here. Passive voice is an inherently boring structure; it really only works when you need it&#039;s ability to divert attention.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Diamond changed her course, and walked over the grassy field towards the mysterious silhouette.//</span><br />See the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;(that probably appeared because of the tempest that plagued Ponyville last night),//</span><br />Parentheticals strike a much more conversational tone than your narrator is using. They don&#039;t really fit with an objective viewpoint. And the way you&#039;ve structured that sentence, you shouldn&#039;t use the comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;his yellow coat with a brown color for a brief moment, before most of the brown liquid flowed back into the pool//</span><br />I&#039;m getting color overload here, given that you already mentioned Snails&#039;s two colors, and your use of &quot;coat&quot; is immediately misleading in this context. Plus, the double use of &quot;brown&quot; is repetitive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She knew that Snails was a bit strange - but to play//</span><br />Please use a proper dash.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;as if he was a pig//</span><br />When speaking hypothetically like this, please use subjunctive mood = &quot;as if he were&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It’s really fun, it’s like playing in a pool and in the sand at the same time.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Snails’//</span><br />While it&#039;s common to see this, the proper possessive is still to put the full apostrophe-s on for singular words, even when they already end in &quot;s.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Only a slow and dumb pony like yourself could think that such thing would be fu-//</span><br />Missing a word. And once again, please use a proper dash.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;At that moment a big blob of mud hit her right in the face, spreading the mud through most of her fur and making her tiara fall on the grass.//</span><br />Repetition of &quot;mud,&quot; which exposes a bigger problem. You have another bad participle here, and this time, it&#039;s a dangling one: whatever it modifies never appears in the sentence. The only options for what is &quot;spreading the mud&quot; are &quot;face&quot; (somehow, I doubt her face is spreading mud) and &quot;blob of mud&quot; (it spreads itself?)<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the source of the laughter: a certain unicorn that was rolling around in laughter//</span><br />So, the source of laughter is laughter? I see…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“It. Is. On…” Diamond said with a intense stare.//</span><br />Typo. And why is DT doing Rarity&#039;s schtick?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;How <i>dare</i> you dirty me and my tiara!?//</span><br />That&#039;s not normally posed as any sort of question. You can just go with the exclamation mark.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The response was Snails popping his head out from the mud and sputtering mud on her face with his mouth.//</span><br />Yet more repetition of &quot;mud.&quot; You&#039;re in the middle of a stretch where you use the word 15 times in 13 paragraphs!<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With incredible agility, Snails, still inside the mud, moved from the spot where he was to a few feet behind Diamond Tiara, who was looking around for him.</span><br />So, she&#039;s on top of him, and then somehow loses track of where he is? I&#039;m not buying it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Using his horn//</span><br />You&#039;ll normally set off participles with a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With incredible reflexes//</span><br />You do this in several places. It&#039;s unclear which perspective your narrator has adopted. So when he goes on to make a judgment like &quot;incredible,&quot; whose opinion is that? I don&#039;t mind hearing a character&#039;s opinion, but if the narrator isn&#039;t speaking for one of them, I don&#039;t care what he thinks.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And the feelings of disdain and anger that Diamond Tiara had became feelings of joy that caused her to smile like she never smiled before.//</span><br />Yeah, this is majorly telly language. Get me to figure out what she feels. Don&#039;t just tell me.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The Sun//</span><br />Why is that capitalized?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The memory sparked an idea within her mind. She got up from the grass and walked towards Snails. Noticing this, he rolled on his stomach and looked at her.//</span><br />See, now you do adopt a perspective. Somewhat. But it&#039;s jerking back and forth between them. Within the same paragraph. Only she could know that an idea had sparked in her mind, and only he could know that he noticed it, unless you narrate how one of them perceived those things about the other by reading thei body language, for example.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;eyes that shined like two jewels//</span><br />&quot;Shined&quot; takes a direct object. It&#039;s what you do to shoes and brass. You want &quot;shone.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Wha- what is it?” he managed to stutter//</span><br />When you&#039;ve already spelled out the stutter, you don&#039;t need to mention it again.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“You’re in,”//</span><br />Given what happens after this, I think you meant to say &quot;it.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;following behind//</span><br />Redundant<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a unexpected turn//</span><br />Typo. Really, most word processors will catch this type of mistake.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;In a flash, an idea appeared on Snails’ mind, an idea that turned his happy grin into a wicked smile.//</span><br />&quot;in Snails&#039;s mind.&quot; And he just got the idea that &quot;Hey, I can actually catch her! Good thing I remembered!&quot; That&#039;s awfully contrived.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And…” Diamond shuffled closer to Snails’ side, causing her pink fur to mix with his yellow fur, “you can call me Dia if you want.”//</span><br />Tossing an aside into a quote is done like this:<br />And—” Diamond shuffled closer to Snails’ side, causing her pink fur to mix with his yellow fur “—you can call me Dia if you want.”<br /><br />There&#039;s not much meat here. This story concentrates on the actions alone, leaving emotions mostly to telly language and Tiara&#039;s forced conversations with herself. And her transforming attitude about Snails is a rather sudden one. It doesn&#039;t feel like something that would actually happen—more like it&#039;s molded that way for plot convenience. And since that&#039;s the entire source of the conflict and character growth here, none of it comes across as authentic. To be blunt, this needs a lot of work, and I&#039;d recommend gaining more experience as a writer before attempting to give it a serious revision.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 35

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.

Synopsis:

>Rainbow Dash finds herself hospitalized with injuries after going into a flat spin while trying to teach Twilight Sparkle some new moves. While there, finds herself rooming with Ivy Cluster, a young colt suffering from leukemia.//

Missing word and close repetition of "while." Also, I doubt readers will care, but the idea of a horse going into a sustained flat spin is laughable. (Yes, aerodynamics is my day job.)

>she finds herself needing//

So, for the second time in three sentences, she "finds herself" doing something. Besides being repetitive, this is a commonly overused expression by inexperienced writers.

>Rainbow must confront the loss, and the fundamental fact that life is not fair.//

Unnecessary comma.

Story:

>You were trying to show me how to do something you called a ‘yaw turn’ when suddenly you began to…I think ‘stall’ is the word?//

Stall would be very gentle for something like a pegasus wing that's not really pushing the boundaries of design. Natural wings are pretty all-purpose as opposed to something that would have a hard stall due to being designed for a very specific use. What'd strike me as more realistic is an asymmetric stall during a hard pull-up, which would roll her pretty badly and might even get her into a pilot-induced oscillation. See, the problem with getting technical is that most readers won't know to question it, but you can be hung out to dry when a reader does know the subject. It pays to get it right.

>It was only now that Rainbow Dash realized she was in a hospital bed.//

Okay, now I can tell that you're writing from Dash's perspective. I'd encourage you to make that clear from sentence one. It came across as very sterile and clinical, where you should have had her coming out of a daze, wondering what the pounding in her head was, etc.

>Broken bones were part of the job when you wanted to be an ace flyer//

It can be tricky, but it's worth avoiding even the appearance of addressing the author.

>the inevitable result of failing to execute a trick properly//

But in canon, she's messed up tricks several times without breaking any bones.

>while we were worried you were unconscious due to a concussion, it appears to have just been the result of nausea and shock//

I must confess to being out of my element here, but do shock (possibly) and nausea (I doubt this one) really cause unconsciousness?

>Daring Do and the Crystal Chalice//

Book titles should be underlined or (preferably) italicized.

>for awhile//

"Awhile" and "a while" are often interchangeable, but you need a noun to serve as the preposition's object, so it should technically be two words here.

>The pain in her leg was intense.//

This is very bland. I'm just to take the narrator's word for it? Step me through her reaction. Give me some imagery as to what this feels like, show me her physical reaction, etc.

>Twilight smiled and began to head for the door. “I’ll make sure it’s in my saddlebag tomorrow. Now just try to relax, and get better soon. You wanna get better in time to see the Wonderbolts perform over Canterlot, don’t you?”//

Fine point here. "Begin" and "start" actions are overused by inexperienced writers, and I usually advise to refrain from using them except in cases where the beginning is worth accentuating because it's abrupt or the action never finishes. Taking it in that sense, this can work—she stops heading for the door to speak. Otherwise, she's just chattering as she keeps walking out into the hall. But you didn't show her stopping, so I can't assume that. And that's an awful lot of dialogue to get out if she doesn't stop. Might be worth clarifying.

>There were more important things to pay attention to than Twilight's motor mouth.//

I get that you mean the book is more important at the moment, but you don't transition to it at all. She just starts reading. It's a bit abrupt, given that this is a very cogent thought that doesn't feel at all distracted by said book.

>Rainbow Dash squealed with delight//

Placing a mood or emotion after in, for, or with is telly and almost always redundant. We already get the picture from the squeal. Just leave it at that.

>Almost.//

Indentation is off here.

>came a small male voice//

She's got plenty of time to identify him as male. At that age, it can be hard to tell the difference, so it's a little disconcerting to get a snap judgment.

>She was a little embarrassed to be caught reading aloud.//

A tiny bit repetitive with the line a few sentences back, but it's also a bit incongruous. She was adamant that a book like this demanded to be read, and while she didn't know Ivy was there, she couldn't have had any expectations that a nurse or doctor wouldn't enter unnanounced.

>This seemed to mollify her roommate//

Use of this, that, these, or those as pronouns is weak in narration, since they have broad antecedents and refer to the text itself. Try to find an appropriate noun to put after it.

>shuffling down into his sheets. He must have been trying to sit up//

Which is it? Down or up?

>Daring Do and the Coconut of Quendor//

Same deal with punctuating book titles.

>was very perceptive. “Are you saying I’m not smart?”//

These don't seem to go together, unless she's admitting she's not smart and she's afraid he noticed. You're also tossing me quite a lot of "to be" verbs here. It's not a killer, but see if you can keep things a bit more active.

>At least she and Ivy could agree on something.//

This makes it sound like they'd been in an argument, but there hasn't really been a point of contention, other than the single one Dash contrived.

>He was hooked up to numerous machines//

And given that the room had been quiet, did she hear any of them either now or earlier? Might add a bit of atmosphere.

>Rainbow Dash laid back in her bed and looked//

Lay/lie confusion. And the fourth use of "look" in the last five paragraphs.

>House//

Why is this capitalized?

>There was a deep sorrow in his voice, a sadness//

Given that this is a pretty critical emotional moment, I'd like to see it get more power than this. Some imagery would work here. Be sure to concentrate exactly what about his voice conveys sadness instead of just telling me that's what it is, but keep th language under control so it still sounds compatible with Dash.

>How… How//

Inconsistent with your prior spacing of ellipses.

>He looked cold, despite the fact that he had more blankets than Rainbow Dash. Rainbow turned back to her book, glad for an excuse not to look at the colt.//

"Look" instances 8 and 9 of 22 in the story. That's getting up there, especially since you tend to use them in clumps like this.

>Pinkie was a total spaz, but at least she was good to have around when you needed cheering up.//

Addressing the reader again, and hitting me with the "to be" verbs again. For instance, consider "it came in handy to have her around" in place of "she was good to have around." It's a more active construct.

>On the inside it was yellow cake with chocolate marbling//

How does she know this? You haven't mentioned cutting into it yet.

>combination of sugar and chocolate//

Not sure what you mean by this, since chocolate generally includes sugar.

>Rainbow Dash messily dug in to a piece//

Not sure this is in character for her. I haven't seen any adult eat messily except Pinkie.

>as soon as they left he had started crying//

Comma between the clauses.

>petulant//

For someone who thinks "tenacious" is a sneeze, I doubt she knows that word, and it's generally a good idea to keep your narrator within the ballpark of the perspective character's intelligence level.

>Pinkie Pie grabbed a slice of cake and put it on a paper plate, bouncing over to the other side of the curtain.//

Watch for misplaced modifiers. By their proximity, it sounds like the plate is bouncing.

>she stopped suddenly//

Missed capitalization. This isn't a speech tag.

>Rainbow pulled aside the curtain to see the action the action.//



>She was somewhat relieved.//

Give be a brief reaction here instead. Her jaw unclenches, her shoulders relax, she sighs… something like one of those.

>“It’s not just chocolate”//

Missing punctuation.

>MARBLED//

Italics are preferred over all caps for emphasis.

>until he started crying//

It's starting to get a bit melodramatic that he cries as much as he does. Children are amazingly resilient about such things, and just come to accept them as the way things are.

>Pinkie hefted a bite-sized piece of the cake with a plastic fork.//

Wait, you said the nurse was helping him.

>‘Keep Smiling, signed Ponyacci ‘//

Extraneous space.

>while Rainbow was thoroughly sick of the joke//

But she was taking measures to make sure she didn't hear it…

>It was hard to look at him, sometimes.//

Unnecessary comma.

>but incredibly sad//

You're beating this drum awfully loudly.

>I dunno kid

Missing comma for direct address.

>Besides, Ivy//

Extraneous space.

>Rainbow Dash bit her lip and looked at the floor. “Then what’s got you scared?” said Rainbow, biting her lip and looking at the floor.//

So, she's biting her lip and looking at the floor, you say?

>sonic rainboom//

Inconsistent capitalization.

>She was, halfway through the book.//

Unnecessary comma.

>She wasn’t supposed to cry, she was supposed to be the tough, cool pony that everypony looked up to.//

Comma splice.

>It’s not just good publicity, it keeps one humble.//

Another comma splice.

>The nurse frowned, looking down at the floor.//

Her reaction is pretty bland. Put yourself in her position. What would you say to Dash? How would you act? The nurse is pretty familiar with her, so it's not like she's talking to a stranger.

>“Buck you!” This wasn’t supposed to happen! “You bucking idiots!//

Oh, goody. Using "buck" as an expletive, especially since it'd be very inappropriate the first time she said it several scenes ago.

>Rainbows shoulder//

Missing apostrophe.

>Dashie, please!//

When has Twilight ever called her that?

>Rainbow Dash moved to kick at the desk//

She already kicked it…

>Twilight began to cry.//

I'm unclear as to her motivation for doing so, other than the token sadness here. Does she feel bad for Dash? Or had she become attached to Ivy as well from her visits with Dash?

>Please Rainbow//

Missing comma for direct address again.

>princess!

When used as a term of address, capitalize this. And when ! or ? is attached to an italicized word, italicize it, too.

>If Celestia, or I, could have made//

Unnecessary commas.

>Rainbow Dash felt a tear run down her cheek.//

Oh, please don't do the single tear cliche.

>“But you didn’t!”//

This doesn't follow from what Twilight said. Is Dash just misunderstanding her?

>Twilight panted for breath.//

She's that out of shape? She hasn't gone very far.

>“Tell it to Ivy!” mumbled Dash//

I'm not sure how you mumble something emphatically.

>She leaned into Twilight, trying her best to hide her sobs.//

The exact action Twilight just did in the last paragraph… And your participle is truly ambiguous here. By proximity, Twilight is trying to hide her sobs, but I think you actually meant Dash, and there's no way to say definitively.

>“I miss him.”//

That's a pretty rapid transition for someone who didn't want to be seen crying just a couple of paragraphs ago.

>wiped a tear from her cheek//

Not again…

>Rainbow Dash sniffed//

She just did so. She can again, but call attention to the repetition, so it doesn't appear as an oversight.

In this penultimate scene, scroll down the page and note what the first word of each paragraph is. I think you'll notice a pattern. Unless they reinforce something thematic, patterns are a bad thing.

>It felt weird talking to a stone that represented somepony instead of the pony itself.//

Yeah, you've said three times already that it was weird or awkward. And yet her dialogue isn't coming across as forced. Consider how comfortable she was in her hospital room reading aloud when she thought she was alone. Now she is, so why is it such a big deal? I could see her finding a nice peace precisely because of that.

>It just wasn't the same//

I'd axe this, given that she says exactly this just after.

>With that//

That's another type of phrase I usually advise avoiding, since it directly references the narration.

I almost feel like something's missing between the last two scenes. For one, it might help smooth the about-face of attitude she has. For another, did she attend the funeral? What happened there? But, you know, that could easily come down to personal preference. A lot of the things I've marked are pretty subjective and are meant more as suggestions.

I found this at least an authentic depiction of how this would happen, but I felt a bit distant from it. There's plenty of info like body language that tends to draw the reader closer to the character, but I still didn't quite connect, and that may just be me. Take this line: "Rainbow didn’t want to admit it, but she needed this hug very badly." That's a more insidious kind of telling to root out, but consider that while it doesn't directly tell me of her emotions, it's exceptionally close to doing so, and more to the point, it's not something that creates a visual on its own. Convince me she needs the hug. What kinds of thinga might do that? Well, She could accept it and try to fight it in fits and starts. Maybe she can read from Twilight's reaction that she's surprised at how long Dash stays in the hug. Maybe Twi assumes it's over and pulls back, but Dash doesn't let go, so Twi squeezes her again. And Dash just enjoys the feeling of a warm coat against her cheek. These are the kinds of subtleties that can really draw a reader in.

Really, the only things I'd say you need to fix are the mechanical issues and a few bits that are essentially plot holes. But give the rest a think as well and decide what you agree would help the story.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.<br /><br />Synopsis:<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash finds herself hospitalized with injuries after going into a flat spin while trying to teach Twilight Sparkle some new moves. While there, finds herself rooming with Ivy Cluster, a young colt suffering from leukemia.//</span><br />Missing word and close repetition of &quot;while.&quot; Also, I doubt readers will care, but the idea of a horse going into a sustained flat spin is laughable. (Yes, aerodynamics is my day job.)<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she finds herself needing//</span><br />So, for the second time in three sentences, she &quot;finds herself&quot; doing something. Besides being repetitive, this is a commonly overused expression by inexperienced writers.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow must confront the loss, and the fundamental fact that life is not fair.//</span><br />Unnecessary comma.<br /><br />Story:<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You were trying to show me how to do something you called a ‘yaw turn’ when suddenly you began to…I think ‘stall’ is the word?//</span><br />Stall would be very gentle for something like a pegasus wing that&#039;s not really pushing the boundaries of design. Natural wings are pretty all-purpose as opposed to something that would have a hard stall due to being designed for a very specific use. What&#039;d strike me as more realistic is an asymmetric stall during a hard pull-up, which would roll her pretty badly and might even get her into a pilot-induced oscillation. See, the problem with getting technical is that most readers won&#039;t know to question it, but you can be hung out to dry when a reader does know the subject. It pays to get it right.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was only now that Rainbow Dash realized she was in a hospital bed.//</span><br />Okay, now I can tell that you&#039;re writing from Dash&#039;s perspective. I&#039;d encourage you to make that clear from sentence one. It came across as very sterile and clinical, where you should have had her coming out of a daze, wondering what the pounding in her head was, etc.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Broken bones were part of the job when you wanted to be an ace flyer//</span><br />It can be tricky, but it&#039;s worth avoiding even the appearance of addressing the author.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the inevitable result of failing to execute a trick properly//</span><br />But in canon, she&#039;s messed up tricks several times without breaking any bones.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;while we were worried you were unconscious due to a concussion, it appears to have just been the result of nausea and shock//</span><br />I must confess to being out of my element here, but do shock (possibly) and nausea (I doubt this one) really cause unconsciousness?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Daring Do and the Crystal Chalice//</span><br />Book titles should be underlined or (preferably) italicized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;for awhile//</span><br />&quot;Awhile&quot; and &quot;a while&quot; are often interchangeable, but you need a noun to serve as the preposition&#039;s object, so it should technically be two words here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The pain in her leg was intense.//</span><br />This is very bland. I&#039;m just to take the narrator&#039;s word for it? Step me through her reaction. Give me some imagery as to what this feels like, show me her physical reaction, etc.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight smiled and began to head for the door. “I’ll make sure it’s in my saddlebag tomorrow. Now just try to relax, and get better soon. You wanna get better in time to see the Wonderbolts perform over Canterlot, don’t you?”//</span><br />Fine point here. &quot;Begin&quot; and &quot;start&quot; actions are overused by inexperienced writers, and I usually advise to refrain from using them except in cases where the beginning is worth accentuating because it&#039;s abrupt or the action never finishes. Taking it in that sense, this can work—she stops heading for the door to speak. Otherwise, she&#039;s just chattering as she keeps walking out into the hall. But you didn&#039;t show her stopping, so I can&#039;t assume that. And that&#039;s an awful lot of dialogue to get out if she doesn&#039;t stop. Might be worth clarifying.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;There were more important things to pay attention to than Twilight&#039;s motor mouth.//</span><br />I get that you mean the book is more important at the moment, but you don&#039;t transition to it at all. She just starts reading. It&#039;s a bit abrupt, given that this is a very cogent thought that doesn&#039;t feel at all distracted by said book.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash squealed with delight//</span><br />Placing a mood or emotion after in, for, or with is telly and almost always redundant. We already get the picture from the squeal. Just leave it at that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Almost.//</span><br />Indentation is off here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;came a small male voice//</span><br />She&#039;s got plenty of time to identify him as male. At that age, it can be hard to tell the difference, so it&#039;s a little disconcerting to get a snap judgment.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She was a little embarrassed to be caught reading aloud.//</span><br />A tiny bit repetitive with the line a few sentences back, but it&#039;s also a bit incongruous. She was adamant that a book like this demanded to be read, and while she didn&#039;t know Ivy was there, she couldn&#039;t have had any expectations that a nurse or doctor wouldn&#039;t enter unnanounced.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;This seemed to mollify her roommate//</span><br />Use of this, that, these, or those as pronouns is weak in narration, since they have broad antecedents and refer to the text itself. Try to find an appropriate noun to put after it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;shuffling down into his sheets. He must have been trying to sit up//</span><br />Which is it? Down or up?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Daring Do and the Coconut of Quendor//</span><br />Same deal with punctuating book titles.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;was very perceptive. “Are you saying I’m not smart?”//</span><br />These don&#039;t seem to go together, unless she&#039;s admitting she&#039;s not smart and she&#039;s afraid he noticed. You&#039;re also tossing me quite a lot of &quot;to be&quot; verbs here. It&#039;s not a killer, but see if you can keep things a bit more active.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;At least she and Ivy could agree on something.//</span><br />This makes it sound like they&#039;d been in an argument, but there hasn&#039;t really been a point of contention, other than the single one Dash contrived.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He was hooked up to numerous machines//</span><br />And given that the room had been quiet, did she hear any of them either now or earlier? Might add a bit of atmosphere.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash laid back in her bed and looked//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion. And the fourth use of &quot;look&quot; in the last five paragraphs.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;House//</span><br />Why is this capitalized?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;There was a deep sorrow in his voice, a sadness//</span><br />Given that this is a pretty critical emotional moment, I&#039;d like to see it get more power than this. Some imagery would work here. Be sure to concentrate exactly what about his voice conveys sadness instead of just telling me that&#039;s what it is, but keep th language under control so it still sounds compatible with Dash.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;How… How//</span><br />Inconsistent with your prior spacing of ellipses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He looked cold, despite the fact that he had more blankets than Rainbow Dash. Rainbow turned back to her book, glad for an excuse not to look at the colt.//</span><br />&quot;Look&quot; instances 8 and 9 of 22 in the story. That&#039;s getting up there, especially since you tend to use them in clumps like this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pinkie was a total spaz, but at least she was good to have around when you needed cheering up.//</span><br />Addressing the reader again, and hitting me with the &quot;to be&quot; verbs again. For instance, consider &quot;it came in handy to have her around&quot; in place of &quot;she was good to have around.&quot; It&#039;s a more active construct.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;On the inside it was yellow cake with chocolate marbling//</span><br />How does she know this? You haven&#039;t mentioned cutting into it yet.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;combination of sugar and chocolate//</span><br />Not sure what you mean by this, since chocolate generally includes sugar.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash messily dug in to a piece//</span><br />Not sure this is in character for her. I haven&#039;t seen any adult eat messily except Pinkie.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;as soon as they left he had started crying//</span><br />Comma between the clauses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;petulant//</span><br />For someone who thinks &quot;tenacious&quot; is a sneeze, I doubt she knows that word, and it&#039;s generally a good idea to keep your narrator within the ballpark of the perspective character&#039;s intelligence level.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pinkie Pie grabbed a slice of cake and put it on a paper plate, bouncing over to the other side of the curtain.//</span><br />Watch for misplaced modifiers. By their proximity, it sounds like the plate is bouncing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she stopped suddenly//</span><br />Missed capitalization. This isn&#039;t a speech tag.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow pulled aside the curtain to see the action the action.//</span><br />…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She was somewhat relieved.//</span><br />Give be a brief reaction here instead. Her jaw unclenches, her shoulders relax, she sighs… something like one of those.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“It’s not just chocolate”//</span><br />Missing punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;MARBLED//</span><br />Italics are preferred over all caps for emphasis.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;until he started crying//</span><br />It&#039;s starting to get a bit melodramatic that he cries as much as he does. Children are amazingly resilient about such things, and just come to accept them as the way things are.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pinkie hefted a bite-sized piece of the cake with a plastic fork.//</span><br />Wait, you said the nurse was helping him.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘Keep Smiling, signed Ponyacci ‘//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;while Rainbow was thoroughly sick of the joke//</span><br />But she was taking measures to make sure she didn&#039;t hear it…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was hard to look at him, sometimes.//</span><br />Unnecessary comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but incredibly sad//</span><br />You&#039;re beating this drum awfully loudly.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I dunno kid</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Besides, Ivy//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash bit her lip and looked at the floor. “Then what’s got you scared?” said Rainbow, biting her lip and looking at the floor.//</span><br />So, she&#039;s biting her lip and looking at the floor, you say?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;sonic rainboom//</span><br />Inconsistent capitalization.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She was, halfway through the book.//</span><br />Unnecessary comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She wasn’t supposed to cry, she was supposed to be the tough, cool pony that everypony looked up to.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It’s not just good publicity, it keeps one humble.//</span><br />Another comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The nurse frowned, looking down at the floor.//</span><br />Her reaction is pretty bland. Put yourself in her position. What would you say to Dash? How would you act? The nurse is pretty familiar with her, so it&#039;s not like she&#039;s talking to a stranger.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Buck you!” This wasn’t supposed to happen! “You bucking idiots!//</span><br />Oh, goody. Using &quot;buck&quot; as an expletive, especially since it&#039;d be very inappropriate the first time she said it several scenes ago.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbows shoulder//</span><br />Missing apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Dashie, please!//</span><br />When has Twilight ever called her that?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash moved to kick at the desk//</span><br />She already kicked it…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight began to cry.//</span><br />I&#039;m unclear as to her motivation for doing so, other than the token sadness here. Does she feel bad for Dash? Or had she become attached to Ivy as well from her visits with Dash?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Please Rainbow//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address again.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>princess</i>!</span><br />When used as a term of address, capitalize this. And when ! or ? is attached to an italicized word, italicize it, too.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;If Celestia, or I, could have made//</span><br />Unnecessary commas.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash felt a tear run down her cheek.//</span><br />Oh, please don&#039;t do the single tear cliche.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“But you didn’t!”//</span><br />This doesn&#039;t follow from what Twilight said. Is Dash just misunderstanding her?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight panted for breath.//</span><br />She&#039;s that out of shape? She hasn&#039;t gone very far.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Tell it to Ivy!” mumbled Dash//</span><br />I&#039;m not sure how you mumble something emphatically.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She leaned into Twilight, trying her best to hide her sobs.//</span><br />The exact action Twilight just did in the last paragraph… And your participle is truly ambiguous here. By proximity, Twilight is trying to hide her sobs, but I think you actually meant Dash, and there&#039;s no way to say definitively.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“I miss him.”//</span><br />That&#039;s a pretty rapid transition for someone who didn&#039;t want to be seen crying just a couple of paragraphs ago.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;wiped a tear from her cheek//</span><br />Not again…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash sniffed//</span><br />She just did so. She can again, but call attention to the repetition, so it doesn&#039;t appear as an oversight.<br /><br />In this penultimate scene, scroll down the page and note what the first word of each paragraph is. I think you&#039;ll notice a pattern. Unless they reinforce something thematic, patterns are a bad thing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It felt weird talking to a stone that represented somepony instead of the pony itself.//</span><br />Yeah, you&#039;ve said three times already that it was weird or awkward. And yet her dialogue isn&#039;t coming across as forced. Consider how comfortable she was in her hospital room reading aloud when she thought she was alone. Now she is, so why is it such a big deal? I could see her finding a nice peace precisely because of that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It just wasn&#039;t the same//</span><br />I&#039;d axe this, given that she says exactly this just after.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With that//</span><br />That&#039;s another type of phrase I usually advise avoiding, since it directly references the narration.<br /><br />I almost feel like something&#039;s missing between the last two scenes. For one, it might help smooth the about-face of attitude she has. For another, did she attend the funeral? What happened there? But, you know, that could easily come down to personal preference. A lot of the things I&#039;ve marked are pretty subjective and are meant more as suggestions.<br /><br />I found this at least an authentic depiction of how this would happen, but I felt a bit distant from it. There&#039;s plenty of info like body language that tends to draw the reader closer to the character, but I still didn&#039;t quite connect, and that may just be me. Take this line: &quot;Rainbow didn’t want to admit it, but she needed this hug very badly.&quot; That&#039;s a more insidious kind of telling to root out, but consider that while it doesn&#039;t directly tell me of her emotions, it&#039;s exceptionally close to doing so, and more to the point, it&#039;s not something that creates a visual on its own. Convince me she needs the hug. What kinds of thinga might do that? Well, She could accept it and try to fight it in fits and starts. Maybe she can read from Twilight&#039;s reaction that she&#039;s surprised at how long Dash stays in the hug. Maybe Twi assumes it&#039;s over and pulls back, but Dash doesn&#039;t let go, so Twi squeezes her again. And Dash just enjoys the feeling of a warm coat against her cheek. These are the kinds of subtleties that can really draw a reader in.<br /><br />Really, the only things I&#039;d say you <i>need</i> to fix are the mechanical issues and a few bits that are essentially plot holes. But give the rest a think as well and decide what you agree would help the story.<br />

Anonymous 36

>>129124
>I must confess to being out of my element here, but do shock (possibly) and nausea (I doubt this one) really cause unconsciousness?
Yes.

(Don't bother about me, I just wanted to answer this question.)<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129124" onclick="return highlight('129124', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129124">&gt;&gt;129124</a><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I must confess to being out of my element here, but do shock (possibly) and nausea (I doubt this one) really cause unconsciousness?</span><br />Yes.<br /><br />(Don&#039;t bother about me, I just wanted to answer this question.)<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 37

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.

First, let me say that I read a few paragraphs in before I started compiling notes. So I will note here that I already like the tone you're striking and I like your idea for the story, but some things about the way you're telling it aren't sitting right with me. I'll try to point out as many of those as I can.

>I tapped my chin with my hoofsie.//

I loved the first few sentences until I got to this one. Not that they were perfect—they all had the same structure and length, so got to feel repetitive (1: main clause, participial phrase; 2: main clause, absolute phrase, which uses a participial verb form; 3: main clause, participial phrase). But I didn't know until this sentence that the narrator was Pinkie. That nice imagery and calming language you'd used all of a sudden felt out of place. It's often a good idea anyway to have your narrator roughly mirror the focus character's attitude, sensibilities, and intelligence, but it's crucial when that character is the narrator. And this just doesn't sound like language Pinkie would use.

Edit: I didn't see too much more of this, really, but while your Pinkie voice was convincing, the second chapter in Celestia's voice came across as more bland. I didn't get the sense that there was a lot going on beneath the surface, except where you went out of your way to say so explicitly, which isn't the best way of doing it.

>I added ‘mind reading’ to my mental list of ‘Things Princess Celestia can do because she’s Princess Celestia’. I also added it to my paper list, which I stuffed in my mane once I was done with it.//

You don't need to capitalize "Things" the way you're using it. But my main issue in this exceprt is a lack of reactions. Pinkie doesn't react to Celestia's apparent mind reading, other than a matter-of-fact thought about it? And then you have this nice sight gag, but it loses its absurdity when you omit part of the action (her pulling out the list and writing on it), which would have added a ridiculousness factor for Celestia taking no notice of it, or, well, having Celestia take notice of it and offer a reaction.

>Not the business, or the ponies Applejack likes, but the cube.//

This comes across as forced, since she already identified them as being in packets.

>‘Cause//

Smart quotes always give you a backwards leading apostrophe. You'll have to fix it manually. In fact, you have quite a few of these.

>cheerfully//

Your choice of speaking verb already conveys this. No need to be telly.

>Both of us were sat on her bed//

Syntax implies that someone else was responsible for sitting them there.

>your Highness//

Capitalize both words.

>one on one//

In this instance, hyphenate.

>I am glad to hear that, I never would have thought otherwise.//

Comma splice.

>every day, bringing light onto a new day//

A bit repetitive use of "day."

>I looked up at her with pleading eyes.//

Here's why first-person narrators get somewhat of a pass for being telly, at least about their own emotions. It's awfully self-aware of her to describe her own eyes as pleading.

>Maybe she could all those royal things//

Missing word.

>you gain more experience each time you level up//

Why the gamer reference? That really supposes a lot about Equestrian culture, that it's a pervasive enough expression that Pinkie would know what it meant, or that despite all canon evidence, she's a gamer herself. This line killed the mood for me.

>lil’//

li’l

>while I got wrapped up in magic and got lowered to the ground//

Repetitive phrasing.

>The calendar had pictures of my friends for every month.//

This sentence is completely out of place. It has nothing to do with what's going on, and it doesn't seem like the kind of detail she'd notice right then, anyway.

>you’re birthday//

Your/you're confusion.

>What about her sister?//

This really does beg the question: would Luna know when Celestia's birthday is? And do they know when Luna's is?

>Celestia sipped her tea, thinking.//

Three things about this: Watch for misplaced modifiers. Participles try to modify the nearest prior object, so it sounds like the tea is thinking. Second, you've been using "think," or other variations on it, a lot lately. Third, it might be better anyway to describe her appearance and get me to realize she's thinking instead of just telling me that.

>Or maybe that was Celestia’s perfume.//

This kind of defeated what was building into a nice sweet moment.

>Even after I passed away, I’d make sure that her birthday date would be in my will, and remembered for all time.//

Oddly morbid thought, and if she starts celebrating her birthday on the summer solstice and Celestia endorses the practice, Pinkie shouldn't be worried that it wouldn't continue, anyway.

>Yeah, Celestia has rock wings.//

That's just weird…

>She had lost//

I think you're missing a direct object here.

>It was cold all of a sudden and my tongue didn't like that one bit.//

Missing comma between the clauses.

>I may have not known her//

There's a fine shade of meaning between this and "I may not have known her," and I don't think you chose the right one.

>deciding to change tact//

The phrase is "change tack." It's an expression taken from sailing.

>earnesty//

earnestness

>was a delight to watch//

I'm not going to point out every place—in fact, I'm only pointing out a couple—but places like this really keep the reader at a disconnect. Like I said, you get somewhat of a reprieve from showing for a first-person narrator, but you still need to try in moments like this, where there's a nice subtle undercurrent, and you could really get the reader to identify with the character. Give me more about how this makes her feel, not just that it was a delight. What physical sensations might it bring? What imagery might she use to describe it? This is a symptom of a larger issue: you're passing up opportunities to delve beyond what happens and let us see how the characters feel about it. Or you do, but in such a way that it gives us the emotions directly instead of getting us to interpret them from cues. You might benefit from reading the show versus tell section at the top of this thread.

>Of all the Elements, Laughter is the brightest. Yes, Magic is very powerful, but it requires the other elements in order to be such. Laughter does not have such an issue. Laughter stands tall, a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope.//

Point taken about Magic's role, but you've made a bold statement here that Laughter is superior to the remaining four elements, too, without backing it up. If you'd made a less extreme point, maybe, but you set it apart, then abandoned the line of reasoning.

>Neigh//

Pony puns really don't help carry a serious mood. And now you've used this one twice.

>I opened my wing, gesturing at the space around it with a nod.//

This is just a little creepy…

>pristine looking//

Hyphenate compound modifiers.

>and offered it to.//

Missing word.

>I didn’t decline; it looked luscious. It tasted just as good as it looked.//

This goes by awfully fast. I think dwelling a bit on her enjoyment of the treat would make for a nice moment.

>eyes-wide//

Opposite problem here: you don't need that hyphen.

>Said hoof then touched my nose, leaving it covered in a sugary mess.//

That's awfully presumptuous of her.

Watch your use of "to be" verbs. Here are my counts of the most common forms:
was: 67
is: 26
were: 9
be: 18
been: 4
That's an awful lot for this length of story. It can indicate telly language (somewhat of a problem), overuse of passive voice (I didn't really see any that I felt was unwarranted), or a need to choose more active verbs (that's the big one here). Even something as simple as "his shirt was red" versus "he wore a red shirt." Many instances are easy to change, and they give your prose a much more active and interesting feel. Readers are more engaged by what happens, not what is. It's not necessary to get rid of them all, but I bet you could effect a significant reduction and make your story much more readable in the process.

I usually try to make some wrap-up comments here, but it'd just be harping on all the things I've already said. There's not some overarching wisdom to impart. So, succinctly, you need a little closer emotional attachment between the reader and your characters. Give me more about how they feel about what they're saying, but in abstract terms: what imagery it inspires, how it makes them act, what they think about it. You do it right in some places, so I know you're capable.

The last thing I'll say is that a story needs either a conflict or some character growth. You're obviously going for the latter here, but it's still pretty weak. Yes, Pinkie's undecided, but that doesn't mean she didn't learn anything. It could be that the lesson hasn't sunk it yet, or that it has and she doesn't know what she wants to do about it yet. Again, I think you're going for the latter, but just because she hasn't pledged to live her life differently, she can still have an epiphany. She hasn't considered this possibility before, and suddenly there it is. Does she ask some new questions? Does she hold it inside, but clearly has an "aha" moment? What would that look like? Character growth means contrasting the before and after, and shows or implies what consequences occur. Celestia also sees Pinkie off on the first step of her journey, but since Pinkie isn't embracing it fully, what might Celestia do to convince her? Maybe invite her to tea again, with an obvious topic of conversation? Make it a regular appointment? I'm also curious as to what made Celestia think of doing this in the first place. What evidence did she have that everything wasn't right with Pinkie?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.<br /><br />First, let me say that I read a few paragraphs in before I started compiling notes. So I will note here that I already like the tone you&#039;re striking and I like your idea for the story, but some things about the way you&#039;re telling it aren&#039;t sitting right with me. I&#039;ll try to point out as many of those as I can.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I tapped my chin with my hoofsie.//</span><br />I loved the first few sentences until I got to this one. Not that they were perfect—they all had the same structure and length, so got to feel repetitive (1: main clause, participial phrase; 2: main clause, absolute phrase, which uses a participial verb form; 3: main clause, participial phrase). But I didn&#039;t know until this sentence that the narrator was Pinkie. That nice imagery and calming language you&#039;d used all of a sudden felt out of place. It&#039;s often a good idea anyway to have your narrator roughly mirror the focus character&#039;s attitude, sensibilities, and intelligence, but it&#039;s crucial when that character is the narrator. And this just doesn&#039;t sound like language Pinkie would use.<br /><br />Edit: I didn&#039;t see too much more of this, really, but while your Pinkie voice was convincing, the second chapter in Celestia&#039;s voice came across as more bland. I didn&#039;t get the sense that there was a lot going on beneath the surface, except where you went out of your way to say so explicitly, which isn&#039;t the best way of doing it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I added ‘mind reading’ to my mental list of ‘Things Princess Celestia can do because she’s Princess Celestia’. I also added it to my paper list, which I stuffed in my mane once I was done with it.//</span><br />You don&#039;t need to capitalize &quot;Things&quot; the way you&#039;re using it. But my main issue in this exceprt is a lack of reactions. Pinkie doesn&#039;t react to Celestia&#039;s apparent mind reading, other than a matter-of-fact thought about it? And then you have this nice sight gag, but it loses its absurdity when you omit part of the action (her pulling out the list and writing on it), which would have added a ridiculousness factor for Celestia taking no notice of it, or, well, having Celestia take notice of it and offer a reaction.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Not the business, or the ponies Applejack likes, but the cube.//</span><br />This comes across as forced, since she already identified them as being in packets.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘Cause//</span><br />Smart quotes always give you a backwards leading apostrophe. You&#039;ll have to fix it manually. In fact, you have quite a few of these.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;cheerfully//</span><br />Your choice of speaking verb already conveys this. No need to be telly.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Both of us were sat on her bed//</span><br />Syntax implies that someone else was responsible for sitting them there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;your Highness//</span><br />Capitalize both words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;one on one//</span><br />In this instance, hyphenate.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I am glad to hear that, I never would have thought otherwise.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;every day, bringing light onto a new day//</span><br />A bit repetitive use of &quot;day.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I looked up at her with pleading eyes.//</span><br />Here&#039;s why first-person narrators get somewhat of a pass for being telly, at least about their own emotions. It&#039;s awfully self-aware of her to describe her own eyes as pleading.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Maybe she could all those royal things//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;you gain more experience each time you level up//</span><br />Why the gamer reference? That really supposes a lot about Equestrian culture, that it&#039;s a pervasive enough expression that Pinkie would know what it meant, or that despite all canon evidence, she&#039;s a gamer herself. This line killed the mood for me.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;lil’//</span><br />li’l<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;while I got wrapped up in magic and got lowered to the ground//</span><br />Repetitive phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The calendar had pictures of my friends for every month.//</span><br />This sentence is completely out of place. It has nothing to do with what&#039;s going on, and it doesn&#039;t seem like the kind of detail she&#039;d notice right then, anyway.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;you’re birthday//</span><br />Your/you&#039;re confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;What about her sister?//</span><br />This really does beg the question: would Luna know when Celestia&#039;s birthday is? And do they know when Luna&#039;s is?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia sipped her tea, thinking.//</span><br />Three things about this: Watch for misplaced modifiers. Participles try to modify the nearest prior object, so it sounds like the tea is thinking. Second, you&#039;ve been using &quot;think,&quot; or other variations on it, a lot lately. Third, it might be better anyway to describe her appearance and get me to realize she&#039;s thinking instead of just telling me that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Or maybe that was Celestia’s perfume.//</span><br />This kind of defeated what was building into a nice sweet moment.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Even after I passed away, I’d make sure that her birthday date would be in my will, and remembered for all time.//</span><br />Oddly morbid thought, and if she starts celebrating her birthday on the summer solstice and Celestia endorses the practice, Pinkie shouldn&#039;t be worried that it wouldn&#039;t continue, anyway.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Yeah, Celestia has rock wings.//</span><br />That&#039;s just weird…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She had lost//</span><br />I think you&#039;re missing a direct object here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was cold all of a sudden and my tongue didn&#039;t like that one bit.//</span><br />Missing comma between the clauses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I may have not known her//</span><br />There&#039;s a fine shade of meaning between this and &quot;I may not have known her,&quot; and I don&#039;t think you chose the right one.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;deciding to change tact//</span><br />The phrase is &quot;change tack.&quot; It&#039;s an expression taken from sailing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;earnesty//</span><br />earnestness<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;was a delight to watch//</span><br />I&#039;m not going to point out every place—in fact, I&#039;m only pointing out a couple—but places like this really keep the reader at a disconnect. Like I said, you get somewhat of a reprieve from showing for a first-person narrator, but you still need to try in moments like this, where there&#039;s a nice subtle undercurrent, and you could really get the reader to identify with the character. Give me more about how this makes her feel, not just that it was a delight. What physical sensations might it bring? What imagery might she use to describe it? This is a symptom of a larger issue: you&#039;re passing up opportunities to delve beyond what happens and let us see how the characters feel about it. Or you do, but in such a way that it gives us the emotions directly instead of getting us to interpret them from cues. You might benefit from reading the show versus tell section at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Of all the Elements, Laughter is the brightest. Yes, Magic is very powerful, but it requires the other elements in order to be such. Laughter does not have such an issue. Laughter stands tall, a light in the darkness, a beacon of hope.//</span><br />Point taken about Magic&#039;s role, but you&#039;ve made a bold statement here that Laughter is superior to the remaining four elements, too, without backing it up. If you&#039;d made a less extreme point, maybe, but you set it apart, then abandoned the line of reasoning.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Neigh//</span><br />Pony puns really don&#039;t help carry a serious mood. And now you&#039;ve used this one twice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I opened my wing, gesturing at the space around it with a nod.//</span><br />This is just a little creepy…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;pristine looking//</span><br />Hyphenate compound modifiers.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and offered it to.//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I didn’t decline; it looked luscious. It tasted just as good as it looked.//</span><br />This goes by awfully fast. I think dwelling a bit on her enjoyment of the treat would make for a nice moment.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;eyes-wide//</span><br />Opposite problem here: you don&#039;t need that hyphen.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Said hoof then touched my nose, leaving it covered in a sugary mess.//</span><br />That&#039;s awfully presumptuous of her.<br /><br />Watch your use of &quot;to be&quot; verbs. Here are my counts of the most common forms:<br />was: 67<br />is: 26<br />were: 9<br />be: 18<br />been: 4<br />That&#039;s an awful lot for this length of story. It can indicate telly language (somewhat of a problem), overuse of passive voice (I didn&#039;t really see any that I felt was unwarranted), or a need to choose more active verbs (that&#039;s the big one here). Even something as simple as &quot;his shirt was red&quot; versus &quot;he wore a red shirt.&quot; Many instances are easy to change, and they give your prose a much more active and interesting feel. Readers are more engaged by what happens, not what is. It&#039;s not necessary to get rid of them all, but I bet you could effect a significant reduction and make your story much more readable in the process.<br /><br />I usually try to make some wrap-up comments here, but it&#039;d just be harping on all the things I&#039;ve already said. There&#039;s not some overarching wisdom to impart. So, succinctly, you need a little closer emotional attachment between the reader and your characters. Give me more about how they feel about what they&#039;re saying, but in abstract terms: what imagery it inspires, how it makes them act, what they think about it. You do it right in some places, so I know you&#039;re capable.<br /><br />The last thing I&#039;ll say is that a story needs either a conflict or some character growth. You&#039;re obviously going for the latter here, but it&#039;s still pretty weak. Yes, Pinkie&#039;s undecided, but that doesn&#039;t mean she didn&#039;t learn anything. It could be that the lesson hasn&#039;t sunk it yet, or that it has and she doesn&#039;t know what she wants to do about it yet. Again, I think you&#039;re going for the latter, but just because she hasn&#039;t pledged to live her life differently, she can still have an epiphany. She hasn&#039;t considered this possibility before, and suddenly there it is. Does she ask some new questions? Does she hold it inside, but clearly has an &quot;aha&quot; moment? What would that look like? Character growth means contrasting the before and after, and shows or implies what consequences occur. Celestia also sees Pinkie off on the first step of her journey, but since Pinkie isn&#039;t embracing it fully, what might Celestia do to convince her? Maybe invite her to tea again, with an obvious topic of conversation? Make it a regular appointment? I&#039;m also curious as to what made Celestia think of doing this in the first place. What evidence did she have that everything wasn&#039;t right with Pinkie?<br />

JaketheGinger 38

>>129127
Hi there! Author of the fic here.

First of all, thanks for taking the time to review my story! It's nice to get some detailed feedback about my story, although I do understand the need for efficiency within the EQD pre-reading staff.

Also, I rarely use any 'chan' sites, so their layout horribly confuses me. Apologies if anything seems unclear in my posting.

I'll address bigger points and all that good stuff, 'cause there's quite a lot. (Which is good!)

First, Pinkie's narrative voice. Writing her is… tricky, at best. It's a fine line between keeping coherency and just the right amount of 'Pinkieness'. I tried to cut down on her going off on tangents, but without any it doesn't feel as Pinkie as it could be, at least to me.

As for the first few sentences… I kind of intended it to be a bit jarring. I fully believe Pinkie can take a look at things and see their beauty and think about it. Sure, we see her in the show as a random party pony, but I've always thought there's more to her than that. She's not just an extreme up or down. She has a whole lot of in between too. Now I'm going off on a tangent! If you'd like to discuss her further, feel free to poke me. Point is, writing her is a balance between subtlety and randomness, which probably can be jarring at times.

With Celestia, it was my first time writing her narrative voice, so I agree that it's probably a it bland.

With show vs. tell, I find it quite difficult to show. At least, with character emotions. I'm not sure why, but I find it pretty hard to describe a character's facial expression, other than just going "She frowned" or, "She smiled" or something more complex like "She furrowed her brows". Describing the face is tough, because even a minor movement can drastically change the way a character looks. And I do dislike repetition, but sometimes it's unavoidable, unfortunately. Still annoys me though!

Same kinda thing for sentence variation and 'to be' verbs. I do think I need more of them, but it's very tricky to thing of more varied ways when you're not sure of many ways to do it. I'm not trying to make sorry excuses; I think I have to read more fics.

Finally, the point of the story and character growth. I'll admit… there's not much a point to it. It was just a test that got a little out of hand: could I write Pinkie and Celestia in the story, with them just talking, and make it engaging? Hopefully I succeeded, but these matters are very subjective.

Thanks again for reviewing! Hope to hear from you soon!

-JaketheGinger
<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129127" onclick="return highlight('129127', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129127">&gt;&gt;129127</a><br />Hi there! Author of the fic here. <br /><br />First of all, thanks for taking the time to review my story! It&#039;s nice to get some detailed feedback about my story, although I do understand the need for efficiency within the EQD pre-reading staff. <br /><br />Also, I rarely use any &#039;chan&#039; sites, so their layout horribly confuses me. Apologies if anything seems unclear in my posting. <br /><br />I&#039;ll address bigger points and all that good stuff, &#039;cause there&#039;s quite a lot. (Which is good!)<br /><br />First, Pinkie&#039;s narrative voice. Writing her is… tricky, at best. It&#039;s a fine line between keeping coherency and just the right amount of &#039;Pinkieness&#039;. I tried to cut down on her going off on tangents, but without any it doesn&#039;t feel as Pinkie as it could be, at least to me. <br /><br />As for the first few sentences… I kind of intended it to be a bit jarring. I fully believe Pinkie can take a look at things and see their beauty and think about it. Sure, we see her in the show as a random party pony, but I&#039;ve always thought there&#039;s more to her than that. She&#039;s not just an extreme up or down. She has a whole lot of in between too. Now I&#039;m going off on a tangent! If you&#039;d like to discuss her further, feel free to poke me. Point is, writing her is a balance between subtlety and randomness, which probably can be jarring at times.<br /><br />With Celestia, it was my first time writing her narrative voice, so I agree that it&#039;s probably a it bland.<br /><br />With show vs. tell, I find it quite difficult to show. At least, with character emotions. I&#039;m not sure why, but I find it pretty hard to describe a character&#039;s facial expression, other than just going &quot;She frowned&quot; or, &quot;She smiled&quot; or something more complex like &quot;She furrowed her brows&quot;. Describing the face is tough, because even a minor movement can drastically change the way a character looks. And I do dislike repetition, but sometimes it&#039;s unavoidable, unfortunately. Still annoys me though!<br /><br />Same kinda thing for sentence variation and &#039;to be&#039; verbs. I do think I need more of them, but it&#039;s very tricky to thing of more varied ways when you&#039;re not sure of many ways to do it. I&#039;m not trying to make sorry excuses; I think I have to read more fics. <br /><br />Finally, the point of the story and character growth. I&#039;ll admit… there&#039;s not much a point to it. It was just a test that got a little out of hand: could I write Pinkie and Celestia in the story, with them just talking, and make it engaging? Hopefully I succeeded, but these matters are very subjective. <br /><br />Thanks again for reviewing! Hope to hear from you soon!<br /><br />-JaketheGinger<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 39

>>129129
>writing her is a balance between subtlety and randomness, which probably can be jarring at times
Oh, I completely agree that Pinkie is capable of serious thought. But in canon, even when she is serious, she still has a rather playful way of talking about it. Take "Party of One," for example, or when she was worried about Dash going off to the Wonderbolts Academy.

Over those first few sentences, my concern wasn't so much what Pinkie was saying as how she was saying it. Those seemed to be much more formal and use word choices that I couldn't imagine for Pinkie.

>With show vs. tell, I find it quite difficult to show.

In that section at the top of this thread, I go into some more of the devices that writers can use. It does take some experience before a writer develops a good sense of what is or isn't telly and when telling is okay. It's not all facial expression. There are other things you can do than a frown or a furrowed brow. Take other synonyms that have sightly different connotations than a frown, like a scowl or a grimace. But then there's a lot of other body language: fidgeting to imply restlessness or distraction, trudging or plodding to indicate many flavors of sadness… There's what they say and what speaking verbs you use. Just imagine observing a real person in a conversation or really doing anything. What are all the little things they do? That's what adds all the realism and subtext, and that's what removes the need to have the narrator outright say how the character feels. Imagine your character is in a play, and the stage director is about to send him out for his scene. What would the director tell him to do to communicate his character's mood to the audience?

>Same kinda thing for sentence variation and 'to be' verbs.

These aren't that difficult to do, either, but it does take some concentration to remain aware of it. For "to be" verbs, it really is just this simple: when you find yourself using one, see if you can rephrase the sentence without one in such a way that it doesn't lose any meaning and still has a good flow, like you could imagine an everyday person saying it. For sentence structure, it can hinge a lot on personal preference. Granted, this is my preference, though I'm not going to force it on anyone, and I wouldn't require you to use my system to get onto EqD. My go-to sentences are the simple and compound. ("he dd this," "he did this, and she did that.") They're so common that they blend in, and they go by without notice until you've hit four or five in a row. The main thing is to keep them with varying lengths and to throw in a different structure every third or fourth sentences or so. And those others can be many things: dialogue, a stylistically used fragment, or placing an element other than the subject first, like having a dependent clause, participle, adverb, prepositional phrase, absolute phrase, or participial phrase up front. As a more unusual structure, these ones stand out more, so they get repetitive faster. Word choice works the same way. Which word would you notice more if it were used three times in a sentence, "the" or "antediluvian"?

>Finally, the point of the story and character growth.

I see that you did have some character growth, but it's so subdued as to be almost unnoticeable. You can have the nature of the growth be the same, but I'd advise making it a little more overt. As it is, it's unclear whether Pinkie learned anything or will do anything about it.

Any more questions? Feel free to reply.
<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129129" onclick="return highlight('129129', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129129">&gt;&gt;129129</a><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;writing her is a balance between subtlety and randomness, which probably can be jarring at times</span><br />Oh, I completely agree that Pinkie is capable of serious thought. But in canon, even when she <i>is</i> serious, she still has a rather playful way of talking about it. Take &quot;Party of One,&quot; for example, or when she was worried about Dash going off to the Wonderbolts Academy.<br /><br />Over those first few sentences, my concern wasn&#039;t so much what Pinkie was saying as how she was saying it. Those seemed to be much more formal and use word choices that I couldn&#039;t imagine for Pinkie.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With show vs. tell, I find it quite difficult to show.</span><br />In that section at the top of this thread, I go into some more of the devices that writers can use. It does take some experience before a writer develops a good sense of what is or isn&#039;t telly and when telling is okay. It&#039;s not all facial expression. There are other things you can do than a frown or a furrowed brow. Take other synonyms that have sightly different connotations than a frown, like a scowl or a grimace. But then there&#039;s a lot of other body language: fidgeting to imply restlessness or distraction, trudging or plodding to indicate many flavors of sadness… There&#039;s what they say and what speaking verbs you use. Just imagine observing a real person in a conversation or really doing anything. What are all the little things they do? That&#039;s what adds all the realism and subtext, and that&#039;s what removes the need to have the narrator outright say how the character feels. Imagine your character is in a play, and the stage director is about to send him out for his scene. What would the director tell him to do to communicate his character&#039;s mood to the audience?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Same kinda thing for sentence variation and &#039;to be&#039; verbs.</span><br />These aren&#039;t that difficult to do, either, but it does take some concentration to remain aware of it. For &quot;to be&quot; verbs, it really is just this simple: when you find yourself using one, see if you can rephrase the sentence without one in such a way that it doesn&#039;t lose any meaning and still has a good flow, like you could imagine an everyday person saying it. For sentence structure, it can hinge a lot on personal preference. Granted, this is my preference, though I&#039;m not going to force it on anyone, and I wouldn&#039;t require you to use my system to get onto EqD. My go-to sentences are the simple and compound. (&quot;he dd this,&quot; &quot;he did this, and she did that.&quot;) They&#039;re so common that they blend in, and they go by without notice until you&#039;ve hit four or five in a row. The main thing is to keep them with varying lengths and to throw in a different structure every third or fourth sentences or so. And those others can be many things: dialogue, a stylistically used fragment, or placing an element other than the subject first, like having a dependent clause, participle, adverb, prepositional phrase, absolute phrase, or participial phrase up front. As a more unusual structure, these ones stand out more, so they get repetitive faster. Word choice works the same way. Which word would you notice more if it were used three times in a sentence, &quot;the&quot; or &quot;antediluvian&quot;?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Finally, the point of the story and character growth.</span><br />I see that you did have some character growth, but it&#039;s so subdued as to be almost unnoticeable. You can have the nature of the growth be the same, but I&#039;d advise making it a little more overt. As it is, it&#039;s unclear whether Pinkie learned anything or will do anything about it.<br /><br />Any more questions? Feel free to reply.<br /><div class="last-edit-time"><br/>Last edited at <span class="posttime">Sat, Nov 16th, 2013 13:46</span></div><br/>

One Last Thing 40

>>129132
>>129132

Thanks for the quick and detailed response! It's kinda odd how it's inspired me to look for more reviews on my fics, but I suppose that's a good thing, eh?

I just have one last question, but if it's too much trouble, don't worry about it. But I would like to see what I did right. Seeing the stuff I did well will help me transition more smoothly into making all my stuff as good, if you catch my drift.

Thanks again!

-JaketheGinger<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129132" onclick="return highlight('129132', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129132">&gt;&gt;129132</a><br /><a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129132" onclick="return highlight('129132', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129132">&gt;&gt;129132</a><br /><br />Thanks for the quick and detailed response! It&#039;s kinda odd how it&#039;s inspired me to look for more reviews on my fics, but I suppose that&#039;s a good thing, eh?<br /><br />I just have one last question, but if it&#039;s too much trouble, don&#039;t worry about it. But I would like to see what I did <i>right</i>. Seeing the stuff I did well will help me transition more smoothly into making all my stuff as good, if you catch my drift.<br /><br />Thanks again!<br /><br />-JaketheGinger<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 41

>>129133
There's a lot that was done right. As I said, this story is pretty close to being postable, so it takes a lot less space to mark mistakes.

For one, you have a good sense of Pinkie's character. Her dialogue and narration were convincing. For another, you showed a good restraint in the story's emotions. Too many authors go over the top, and would have Pinkie bursting into tears when confronted with her weakness, but here, while it was still clear how the characters felt, it was a strong undercurrent instead of being pushed into the reader's face. And what most inexperienced writers don't realize is that this is the more powerful and realistic way to do it. I also didn't find much in the way of mechanical problems, which is always nice. While I think you need to do more with it, I liked the last part where Celestia was gently hinting to Pinkie and watching her pick it up. It was nicely constructed and subtle. It's kind of hard to work in anything other than generalities when pointing out what went right; if I saw a specific line I thought was wonderful, for example, I would have said so in the review, since it's essentially the notes I'm taking as I read.<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129133" onclick="return highlight('129133', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129133">&gt;&gt;129133</a><br />There&#039;s a lot that was done right. As I said, this story is pretty close to being postable, so it takes a lot less space to mark mistakes.<br /><br />For one, you have a good sense of Pinkie&#039;s character. Her dialogue and narration were convincing. For another, you showed a good restraint in the story&#039;s emotions. Too many authors go over the top, and would have Pinkie bursting into tears when confronted with her weakness, but here, while it was still clear how the characters felt, it was a strong undercurrent instead of being pushed into the reader&#039;s face. And what most inexperienced writers don&#039;t realize is that this is the more powerful and realistic way to do it. I also didn&#039;t find much in the way of mechanical problems, which is always nice. While I think you need to do more with it, I liked the last part where Celestia was gently hinting to Pinkie and watching her pick it up. It was nicely constructed and subtle. It&#039;s kind of hard to work in anything other than generalities when pointing out what went right; if I saw a specific line I thought was wonderful, for example, I would have said so in the review, since it&#039;s essentially the notes I&#039;m taking as I read.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 42

I really found very few mechanical problems, so I'm not going to pick at those.

The writing was good here, and there were some good horror elements going on, but it needs a tune-up.

First, I'm not sure the journal format is doing anything for you. At least the entries are plausible for a journal, which is more than I can say for most such stories, but they're structured more for plot convenience than anything else. He doesn't write every day, and when he does, it's only to mention the specific things that tie directly to the plot and nothing else. Presuming that the character doesn't know what's needed for the plot, and that there are a lot of unnamed, everyday things going on in between, it loses some authenticity. This first-person narration is reminiscent of Lovecraft, but he was happy to have the narrator simply take us through the events, and didn't often rely on a gimmick like a journal. And he still had his characters relate things that were tangential to the main conflict, because that makes things realistic. They were important on that day, so he spoke of them. The fact that other things turned out to be more important in hindsight wouldn't have been known to him at the time. Where this really falls apart is the last entry. He wrote it while being pursued? I don't really see how he even had an opportunity to make that entry.

Next, horror is most effective when it's behind the scenes, affects the full spectrum of perception, and has a purpose. So, one at a time. Behind the scenes: Things are scarier when you don't see them. You actually did well with this—there's nothing blatant happening, so a lot is left to my imagination. However, in your climax, the faculty and students are all chasing the protagonist. You had this nice vague danger going on, and then things became a bit too concrete. The true force behind it all is still hidden, which is good, but that raises another issue. But first, the perception. It's too common to have horror focus on the visual, and to some degree, the auditory. Don't forget the wonderful mood-setting and eerieness you can achieve using touch, taste, and smell. Good horror makes a full assault on all the senses with subtle things that don't belong. And onto the third point, which pulls back the other issue I said I'd discuss in a moment. There needs to be a purpose. Having things hidden in the background is great, but that doesn't mean we should remain in the dark as to why things happen. We never get the slightest hint as to what is happening at this school. For all I know, they're covering for a meth lab. I have no sense of the nature of what's controlling everything, and I have no idea why this particular character was targeted. They sought him out as a math teacher. Why? Is that something they need? Or is he someone they wanted for another reason? When everything's aimless, it's like a random murder. While a horrible event, it lacks a sense of urgency.

Then, I'd urge you to provide me with more of an emotional response from our protagonist. He goes through these unsettling experiences, then rarely has little to say about how they made him feel, other than a token phrase. He's more concerned with listing facts and events. Now atmosphere can carry a story to some degree, and the aforementioned Lovecraft does have a tendency to create these rather stoic, detached narrators, and if that's really what you want to do , I can't say it's impossible. But you'd find it much easier to connect with a reader by doing so on an emotional level, rather than relying on the situation to carry the story by itself.

Finally, why is this a pony story? I could replace all of your characters with humans, make some extremely minor tweaks to the language, and we'd have a story that wasn't lacking in any context. A pony story should make use of the MLP universe in such a way that it's irrevocably (or at least by a substantial preponderance) rooted in that world. I have to say that this isn't tied into MLP strongly enough that I'd call it a no-doubt pony story.I really found very few mechanical problems, so I&#039;m not going to pick at those.<br /><br />The writing was good here, and there were some good horror elements going on, but it needs a tune-up.<br /><br />First, I&#039;m not sure the journal format is doing anything for you. At least the entries are plausible for a journal, which is more than I can say for most such stories, but they&#039;re structured more for plot convenience than anything else. He doesn&#039;t write every day, and when he does, it&#039;s only to mention the specific things that tie directly to the plot and nothing else. Presuming that the character doesn&#039;t know what&#039;s needed for the plot, and that there are a lot of unnamed, everyday things going on in between, it loses some authenticity. This first-person narration is reminiscent of Lovecraft, but he was happy to have the narrator simply take us through the events, and didn&#039;t often rely on a gimmick like a journal. And he still had his characters relate things that were tangential to the main conflict, because that makes things realistic. They were important on that day, so he spoke of them. The fact that other things turned out to be more important in hindsight wouldn&#039;t have been known to him at the time. Where this really falls apart is the last entry. He wrote it while being pursued? I don&#039;t really see how he even had an opportunity to make that entry.<br /><br />Next, horror is most effective when it&#039;s behind the scenes, affects the full spectrum of perception, and has a purpose. So, one at a time. Behind the scenes: Things are scarier when you <i>don&#039;t</i> see them. You actually did well with this—there&#039;s nothing blatant happening, so a lot is left to my imagination. However, in your climax, the faculty and students are all chasing the protagonist. You had this nice vague danger going on, and then things became a bit too concrete. The true force behind it all is still hidden, which is good, but that raises another issue. But first, the perception. It&#039;s too common to have horror focus on the visual, and to some degree, the auditory. Don&#039;t forget the wonderful mood-setting and eerieness you can achieve using touch, taste, and smell. Good horror makes a full assault on all the senses with subtle things that don&#039;t belong. And onto the third point, which pulls back the other issue I said I&#039;d discuss in a moment. There needs to be a purpose. Having things hidden in the background is great, but that doesn&#039;t mean we should remain in the dark as to <i>why</i> things happen. We never get the slightest hint as to what is happening at this school. For all I know, they&#039;re covering for a meth lab. I have no sense of the nature of what&#039;s controlling everything, and I have no idea why this particular character was targeted. They sought him out as a math teacher. Why? Is that something they need? Or is he someone they wanted for another reason? When everything&#039;s aimless, it&#039;s like a random murder. While a horrible event, it lacks a sense of urgency.<br /><br />Then, I&#039;d urge you to provide me with more of an emotional response from our protagonist. He goes through these unsettling experiences, then rarely has little to say about how they made him feel, other than a token phrase. He&#039;s more concerned with listing facts and events. Now atmosphere can carry a story to some degree, and the aforementioned Lovecraft does have a tendency to create these rather stoic, detached narrators, and if that&#039;s really what you want to do , I can&#039;t say it&#039;s impossible. But you&#039;d find it much easier to connect with a reader by doing so on an emotional level, rather than relying on the situation to carry the story by itself.<br /><br />Finally, why is this a pony story? I could replace all of your characters with humans, make some extremely minor tweaks to the language, and we&#039;d have a story that wasn&#039;t lacking in any context. A pony story should make use of the MLP universe in such a way that it&#039;s irrevocably (or at least by a substantial preponderance) rooted in that world. I have to say that this isn&#039;t tied into MLP strongly enough that I&#039;d call it a no-doubt pony story.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 43

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.

>he stammered//

It's generally best to avoid speech tags that are already evident from the speech itself. The one exception is "asked," since it's so common.

>Twilight's unwavering glare testing his resolve//

The story had seemed in Twilight's viewpoint until now, but the way this is phrased, it's not something she could know. You can make it something she knows by giving me the context she uses to draw that conclusion. By switching into the guard's perspective, you make the narrative choppy. They can be done, but have to be managed carefully. You should read the head-hopping section at the top of this thread.

>The guard looked around nervously.//

This is the first time I've caught you being telly, so maybe it's something you've got a good handle on, and if you don't do it much, it's okay. But you might need to read the show-versus-tell section at the top of this thread. Bottom line: I'd rather you paint a picture for me and get me to conclude he's nervous than just tell me that.

>your Highness//

The whole term is an honorific. Capitalize both words.

>the guard shook his head//

This is not a speaking action. It should be a separate sentence or paired with a speaking verb.

>Thank you for your time, guard//

The fact that she doesn't know his name makes her seem less than personable.

>The guard saluted and watched Twilight trot down the corridor.//

Now you're back in the guard's head again. It's only for one paragraph, and I don't get anything pertinent from it, so what's the point? It would help the story if you established a clear perspective.

>As she disappeared around a corner//

Missing a comma to set off this dependent clause.

>stepped aside to allow her access to the room//

This would work better if you had established their positions to start with. Now, I have to backtrack and place Luna in the doorway.

>elegantly//

There are a lot of ways this could look. Let me see what was in your head.

>Luna sat down on her haunches and watched as Twilight nervously chewed her lower lip, while counting the beads of sweat rolling down her brow.//

The last part is vaguely placed within the sentence. I can't tell who's sweating and who is counting.

>Twilight eventually broke the silence//

Again, this is not a speaking action.

>When I questioned him about it//

Another dependent clause that needs a comma.

>once straight//

This is used as a multi-word modifier, so hyphenate it.

>The battle was unfortunately lost and she chucked heartily//

See the section on comma usage with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>"Princess Celestia's own guards are using what could very well be a private nickname for her! Something needs to be done to stop them!"//

She sure is jumping to conclusions, especially given that Luna doesn't seem concerned.

>Choking back giggles she spoke as calmly as she could.//

This is a sentence fragment, and you haven't adopted a conversational tone for your narrator for which this would be appropriate.

>"That's exactly what I was thinking," Luna grinned.//

Those tags again. How do you grin a sentence?

>We will not let you down, you have our word.//

Comma splice. You have two sentences tacked together with a comma.

>Luna smiled at that//

Beware using demonstratives (this, that, these, those) as pronouns, since they have vague, broad antecedents and refer to the narration itself. Better to put an appropriate noun after it. The preceding couple lines of dialogue are also rather forced and unnatural. And finally, this is a very weak scene ending. It just kind of peters out without coming to any sort of conclusion or cliffhanger.

>Raising a forehoof//

Set off participial phrases with a comma.

>she knocked gently on the door a couple of times, and then pounded on it relentlessly//

Another "comma usage with conjunctions" problem, and we lack any context for why she changes her urgency here.

>The door was quickly opened, and a disgruntled Celestia//

There's no reason for the passive voice, and since this emotion is the crux of your story, I'd advise against bluntly telling it to me.

>mother or father gets you up, but since she's not here//

Mismatch (mother or father -> she) and missing comma.

>Twilight could only giggle in response as Luna continued her story.//

These very short scenes make the story choppy. If they're important, then make more happen in them, or they amount to little more than interruptions. If they're not important, then get rid of them.

>"My mind is racing with the many ways in which this could go wrong."//

Very unnatural dialogue.

>began its descent, paving the way for a new day to begin//

Watch word repetition within a close space.

>taking in a deep intake//

Redundant.

>she said sheepishly//

She just said something sheepishly a few paragraphs ago. And the deeper I get into the story, the more of these telly adverbs I see.

>"You will do… as… I… command!" She bellowed.//

Capitalization.

>Luna could only watch in silent awe as the sun slowly, and with some reluctance, began to make its ascent into the sky. Celestia continued to struggle as sweat gathered on her forehead, but she showed no signs of giving up the fight.//

You use quite a few of these "as" clauses. Particularly in places like this, where you have them in consecutive sentences, it can get repetitive.

>Luna rushed to her sisters side//

Missing apostrophe.

>Celestia looked at her flank, a crestfallen look//

More close repetition.

>her sisters face//

Another missing apostrophe.

>Perhaps your destiny was to get zapped by the sun and not raise it?//

I don't see how this explanation makes any more sense than assuming she got the nickname for raising the sun. Nothing about getting hit on the butt clicks as a more obvious explanation than simply being the location of her cutie mark. And you're not going to say why the sun did that? Luna does attempt a reason, but it's more whimsical and implies sentience on the sun's part, which is odd.

>I can only pray that she never finds out about the existence of 'Moonbutt'.//

Given that Luna knows why ponies assume Celestia is called Sunbutt, how can she not assume the same of herself?

>That is one particular tale that Celestia would be all too eager to tell.//

This doesn't quite fit with her "grumbling," since I can't see why it would make her angry.

Overall, there are a scattering of comma problems, invalid speaking verbs, and telly language that gets more prevalent the further I got into the story. The two absolute worst places to be telly are at the story's climax and at the beginning. At least you didn't so much at the beginning, which will help you snare more readers.

Second, you have a very inconsistent narrator. Having a truly objective one is fine, though it's often better in that case still to keep the viewpoint with a consistent character as much as possible, even if he doesn't adopt that character's voice and become more subjective. But your narrator keeps hovering over several characters and dipping lightly into their perspectives, which just ends up jerking the reader around.

Finally, this plays as a nice scene, but it's weak as a story. You don't play this information as any kind of conflict, and we don't see any character growth or get some insight into one of them as a result of reading it. Yes, Celestia has a minor struggle to get her cutie mark, but it's a foregone conclusion. So what is at stake exactly, and what bad thing would happen if the characters fail to achieve it. Or on the character side, how has one of them changed as a result of the experience?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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;he stammered//</span><br />It&#039;s generally best to avoid speech tags that are already evident from the speech itself. The one exception is &quot;asked,&quot; since it&#039;s so common.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight&#039;s unwavering glare testing his resolve//</span><br />The story had seemed in Twilight&#039;s viewpoint until now, but the way this is phrased, it&#039;s not something she could know. You can make it something she knows by giving me the context she uses to draw that conclusion. By switching into the guard&#039;s perspective, you make the narrative choppy. They can be done, but have to be managed carefully. You should read the head-hopping section at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The guard looked around nervously.//</span><br />This is the first time I&#039;ve caught you being telly, so maybe it&#039;s something you&#039;ve got a good handle on, and if you don&#039;t do it much, it&#039;s okay. But you might need to read the show-versus-tell section at the top of this thread. Bottom line: I&#039;d rather you paint a picture for me and get me to conclude he&#039;s nervous than just tell me that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;your Highness//</span><br />The whole term is an honorific. Capitalize both words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the guard shook his head//</span><br />This is not a speaking action. It should be a separate sentence or paired with a speaking verb.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Thank you for your time, guard//</span><br />The fact that she doesn&#039;t know his name makes her seem less than personable.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The guard saluted and watched Twilight trot down the corridor.//</span><br />Now you&#039;re back in the guard&#039;s head again. It&#039;s only for one paragraph, and I don&#039;t get anything pertinent from it, so what&#039;s the point? It would help the story if you established a clear perspective.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;As she disappeared around a corner//</span><br />Missing a comma to set off this dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;stepped aside to allow her access to the room//</span><br />This would work better if you had established their positions to start with. Now, I have to backtrack and place Luna in the doorway.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;elegantly//</span><br />There are a lot of ways this could look. Let me see what was in your head.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna sat down on her haunches and watched as Twilight nervously chewed her lower lip, while counting the beads of sweat rolling down her brow.//</span><br />The last part is vaguely placed within the sentence. I can&#039;t tell who&#039;s sweating and who is counting.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight eventually broke the silence//</span><br />Again, this is not a speaking action.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;When I questioned him about it//</span><br />Another dependent clause that needs a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;once straight//</span><br />This is used as a multi-word modifier, so hyphenate it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The battle was unfortunately lost and she chucked heartily//</span><br />See the section on comma usage with conjunctions at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Princess Celestia&#039;s own guards are using what could very well be a private nickname for her! Something needs to be done to stop them!&quot;//</span><br />She sure is jumping to conclusions, especially given that Luna doesn&#039;t seem concerned.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Choking back giggles she spoke as calmly as she could.//</span><br />This is a sentence fragment, and you haven&#039;t adopted a conversational tone for your narrator for which this would be appropriate.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;That&#039;s exactly what I was thinking,&quot; Luna grinned.//</span><br />Those tags again. How do you grin a sentence?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;We will not let you down, you have our word.//</span><br />Comma splice. You have two sentences tacked together with a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna smiled at that//</span><br />Beware using demonstratives (this, that, these, those) as pronouns, since they have vague, broad antecedents and refer to the narration itself. Better to put an appropriate noun after it. The preceding couple lines of dialogue are also rather forced and unnatural. And finally, this is a very weak scene ending. It just kind of peters out without coming to any sort of conclusion or cliffhanger.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Raising a forehoof//</span><br />Set off participial phrases with a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she knocked gently on the door a couple of times, and then pounded on it relentlessly//</span><br />Another &quot;comma usage with conjunctions&quot; problem, and we lack any context for why she changes her urgency here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The door was quickly opened, and a disgruntled Celestia//</span><br />There&#039;s no reason for the passive voice, and since this emotion is the crux of your story, I&#039;d advise against bluntly telling it to me.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;mother or father gets you up, but since she&#039;s not here//</span><br />Mismatch (mother or father -&gt; she) and missing comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight could only giggle in response as Luna continued her story.//</span><br />These very short scenes make the story choppy. If they&#039;re important, then make more happen in them, or they amount to little more than interruptions. If they&#039;re not important, then get rid of them.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;My mind is racing with the many ways in which this could go wrong.&quot;//</span><br />Very unnatural dialogue.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;began its descent, paving the way for a new day to begin//</span><br />Watch word repetition within a close space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;taking in a deep intake//</span><br />Redundant.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she said sheepishly//</span><br />She just said something sheepishly a few paragraphs ago. And the deeper I get into the story, the more of these telly adverbs I see.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;You will do… as… I… command!&quot; She bellowed.//</span><br />Capitalization.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna could only watch in silent awe as the sun slowly, and with some reluctance, began to make its ascent into the sky. Celestia continued to struggle as sweat gathered on her forehead, but she showed no signs of giving up the fight.//</span><br />You use quite a few of these &quot;as&quot; clauses. Particularly in places like this, where you have them in consecutive sentences, it can get repetitive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna rushed to her sisters side//</span><br />Missing apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia looked at her flank, a crestfallen look//</span><br />More close repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her sisters face//</span><br />Another missing apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Perhaps your destiny was to get zapped by the sun and not raise it?//</span><br />I don&#039;t see how this explanation makes any more sense than assuming she got the nickname for raising the sun. Nothing about getting hit on the butt clicks as a more obvious explanation than simply being the location of her cutie mark. And you&#039;re not going to say why the sun did that? Luna does attempt a reason, but it&#039;s more whimsical and implies sentience on the sun&#039;s part, which is odd.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I can only pray that she never finds out about the existence of &#039;Moonbutt&#039;.//</span><br />Given that Luna knows why ponies assume Celestia is called Sunbutt, how can she not assume the same of herself?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That is one particular tale that Celestia would be all too eager to tell.//</span><br />This doesn&#039;t quite fit with her &quot;grumbling,&quot; since I can&#039;t see why it would make her angry.<br /><br />Overall, there are a scattering of comma problems, invalid speaking verbs, and telly language that gets more prevalent the further I got into the story. The two absolute worst places to be telly are at the story&#039;s climax and at the beginning. At least you didn&#039;t so much at the beginning, which will help you snare more readers.<br /><br />Second, you have a very inconsistent narrator. Having a truly objective one is fine, though it&#039;s often better in that case still to keep the viewpoint with a consistent character as much as possible, even if he doesn&#039;t adopt that character&#039;s voice and become more subjective. But your narrator keeps hovering over several characters and dipping lightly into their perspectives, which just ends up jerking the reader around.<br /><br />Finally, this plays as a nice scene, but it&#039;s weak as a story. You don&#039;t play this information as any kind of conflict, and we don&#039;t see any character growth or get some insight into one of them as a result of reading it. Yes, Celestia has a minor struggle to get her cutie mark, but it&#039;s a foregone conclusion. So what is at stake exactly, and what bad thing would happen if the characters fail to achieve it. Or on the character side, how has one of them changed as a result of the experience?<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 44

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.

Synopsis:

Why is this all in italics? I don't see the purpose. Italics make things stand out and if everything stands out, nothing does.

Story:

>When Fluttershy moved to stand up//

Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>labcoat//

lab coat

>harsh chemical light//

That would be very unusual to have a chemical light, as they don't last very long. While I'd bet you meant that in a more figurative sense, it still struck me as odd.

>she pawed at the floor with one of her hooves, looking everywhere but at the strange stallion//

She hasn't gotten up yet, so how are her hooves on the ground? If she's seated, maybe a back hoof is, but "pawed" often connotes a forehoof. Also watch your misplaced modifiers, participles in particular. By their proximity, it sounds like the hooves are looking everywhere.

>tiled surfaces//

You already mentioned the "tiled walls." Watch the repetition.

>Don’t worry Fluttershy.//

Missing comma for direct address.

>her cheeks flushing red in embarrassment//

There's a section on show-versus-tell at the top of this thread, and it talks about this kind of telling. We already get embarrassment from the flushed cheeks. Telling us it's embarrassment is redundant and lacks any subtlety.

>“S-Sorry!” she apologized//

You only capitalize the first one, unless it's a proper noun. And it's best to avoid speaking verbs that are aready obvious from the speech itself, including such gems as "trailed off," "interrupted," "stammered," and "apologized" here. Notable exceptions are more common ones like "asked," "shouted," "yelled," and so on.

>He nodded in understand//

Verb form, but again, this is telly and unnecessary.

>off the floor//

Oh, okay. She was on the floor the whole time. The "pawing" thing makes more sense now (though I still think it's odd the have a hoof "paw"), but you should make her position clear much earlier in the story.

>She blinked at him a few times before smiling.//

A couple of things here. First, she goes through a lot of dialogue about her animals here, but aside from this little bit, you don't touch on how she feels about any of it. Is she saying it in a monotone, like it's all rote to her? Is she beaming and clutching her hooves to her chest like she's lost in a reverie? Is she frowning, like it's all become a chore? Get at her emotions. Second, your narrator had been down in Fluttersy's head before. He said things that only she knows internally, so he was in her mindset. Yet here, where she should be getting emotional, that narrator keeps a curious distance from her. It kind of left me scratching my head as to what you want this narrator to be. He's closely attached to her when the more mundane things happen, but backs away when emotions set in? You'd typically see the opposite, or else have him in her perspective constantly.

>hum of the air conditioning//

How does this feel? Fanfics too often focus only on what can be seen or heard. This would be a nice touch for one of the neglected senses.

>The cold, empty room//

If it's already cold, why is the air conditioning running?

>T-There//

Consider what sound would actually be repeated. Surely "Th-there." And again, only capitalize the first, unless there's some other reason the word would need to be capitalized. You do this a lot.

>She flinched. “Yes,” whispered Fluttershy, eyes clenched tight against the harsh memory.//

There you go. Now you're getting more at her emotions. Depending on what kind of narrator you want, you could even forge a closer connection by using some indirect thought.

>T-Then//

Th-then

>the steady click like a metronome underscoring Fluttershy’s muffled cries//

Here's another way to consider your narrative viewpoint. If the narrator is with Fluttershy, would she even notice this while she's "wracked with her violent sobs"? Possibly, but just mentioning it casually like this doesn't quite work. Consider how she'd perceive it.

>to scream at his uncaring tone, to berate him for showing no concern for those animals that had been murdered right in front of her//

See, you're decidedly in Fluttershy's head here. Yet she showed no such reaction when he said these things. We're getting it after the fact, which decouples it an distances the reader from your character's emotions.

>s-shut//

Last one I'm going to mark. A lot of your hyphenations need correction for capitalized letters and what the repeated sound would actually be.

>cold patch of numbness//

If it's numb, how does it feel cold?

>elements of harmony//

We usually see this capitalized, but it's your call.

>He froze still//

Redundant.

>She let herself lay back down on the tiles//

Confusion of "lay" and "lie."

> if I could just take nap//

Missing word.

>A pegasus by the name of…” He checked his notes. “Rainbow Dash?”//

What you've written here isn't wrong, but a more common way of having a narrative interruption in speech is like this:
A pegasus by the name of—” he checked his notes “—Rainbow Dash?”
Or have the dashes outside the quotes if the speech doesn't actually stop for the action.

>as her friend’s smiling visage filling her thoughts//

Verb form error.

>She spat out a something//

Syntax.

>He pressed himself up against wall she drew closer//

More syntax problems.

>a pneumatic sigh that was lost beneath the cacophony made by her hoof banging away on the polished steel//

Again, what's her perception? The narrator is in her head, so when you say she couldn't hear it, then the narrator can't, either.

Overall, the few consistent mechanical problems are actually easy fixes. Just mind what I said about your narrative voice. It really was distracting when you switched between objective and subjective viewpoints in a flash and in counterintuitive ways.

Now, I saw your big reveal coming a mile off, at least in a way. I wouldn't have been surprised to see her as a werewolf or zombie, either. It may be that you need to keep it hidden better, but that's a very subjective thing. No matter how well you obscure it, though, someone will just have a moment of insight or make a lucky guess, and maybe it's just my turn for that.

Lastly, something about Fluttershy's situation didn't ring true. By the plant matter that's part of her, I take it that the strange timberwolf didn't just start a new creature by attacking her, but actually incorporated itself into her. But what about it made her dominant? Before, it was more than just the wolf, but the whole acted like the wolf. Why did Fluttershy become the part in control? In some ways, both the wolf and Fluttershy acted not quite like themselves, like they were at least experiencing some influence from their other parts. Again, if the wolf was able to maintain control still, why not when Fluttershy was added? But more to the point, Fluttershy's lapses out of her normal mindset are quite vague. It might do better if she exhibited specific traits of her other parts at times, like she followed the thought processes of a wolf at one point, or briefly took on Applejack's voice. This would have to be managed carefully to keep it effective, of course, and would probably prevent you from hiding your reveal until late, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Keeping Dash and AJ out of it until near the end would be a good idea, but the rest could be played either way. This is not a requirement, of course—I'm just trying to brainstorm a bit to see what else might make this a more effective story.

Another tip for horror, and one I touched on already, is not to neglect any of the senses. Good horror also includes odd physical sensations, smells, tastes, things that are just a little out of place and getting consistently more unsettling.

This wasn't badly written; really, the narrative quirks and resulting emotional distance from Fluttershy were the big issues. Fix those up, and you could have a nice story here.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.<br /><br />Synopsis:<br /><br />Why is this all in italics? I don&#039;t see the purpose. Italics make things stand out and if everything stands out, nothing does.<br /><br />Story:<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;When Fluttershy moved to stand up//</span><br />Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;labcoat//</span><br />lab coat<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;harsh chemical light//</span><br />That would be very unusual to have a chemical light, as they don&#039;t last very long. While I&#039;d bet you meant that in a more figurative sense, it still struck me as odd.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she pawed at the floor with one of her hooves, looking everywhere but at the strange stallion//</span><br />She hasn&#039;t gotten up yet, so how are her hooves on the ground? If she&#039;s seated, maybe a back hoof is, but &quot;pawed&quot; often connotes a forehoof. Also watch your misplaced modifiers, participles in particular. By their proximity, it sounds like the hooves are looking everywhere.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;tiled surfaces//</span><br />You already mentioned the &quot;tiled walls.&quot; Watch the repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Don’t worry Fluttershy.//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her cheeks flushing red in embarrassment//</span><br />There&#039;s a section on show-versus-tell at the top of this thread, and it talks about this kind of telling. We already get embarrassment from the flushed cheeks. Telling us it&#039;s embarrassment is redundant and lacks any subtlety.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“S-Sorry!” she apologized//</span><br />You only capitalize the first one, unless it&#039;s a proper noun. And it&#039;s best to avoid speaking verbs that are aready obvious from the speech itself, including such gems as &quot;trailed off,&quot; &quot;interrupted,&quot; &quot;stammered,&quot; and &quot;apologized&quot; here. Notable exceptions are more common ones like &quot;asked,&quot; &quot;shouted,&quot; &quot;yelled,&quot; and so on.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He nodded in understand//</span><br />Verb form, but again, this is telly and unnecessary.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;off the floor//</span><br />Oh, okay. She was on the floor the whole time. The &quot;pawing&quot; thing makes more sense now (though I still think it&#039;s odd the have a hoof &quot;paw&quot;), but you should make her position clear much earlier in the story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She blinked at him a few times before smiling.//</span><br />A couple of things here. First, she goes through a lot of dialogue about her animals here, but aside from this little bit, you don&#039;t touch on how she feels about any of it. Is she saying it in a monotone, like it&#039;s all rote to her? Is she beaming and clutching her hooves to her chest like she&#039;s lost in a reverie? Is she frowning, like it&#039;s all become a chore? Get at her emotions. Second, your narrator had been down in Fluttersy&#039;s head before. He said things that only she knows internally, so he was in her mindset. Yet here, where she should be getting emotional, that narrator keeps a curious distance from her. It kind of left me scratching my head as to what you want this narrator to be. He&#039;s closely attached to her when the more mundane things happen, but backs away when emotions set in? You&#039;d typically see the opposite, or else have him in her perspective constantly.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;hum of the air conditioning//</span><br />How does this feel? Fanfics too often focus only on what can be seen or heard. This would be a nice touch for one of the neglected senses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The cold, empty room//</span><br />If it&#039;s already cold, why is the air conditioning running?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;T-There//</span><br />Consider what sound would actually be repeated. Surely &quot;Th-there.&quot; And again, only capitalize the first, unless there&#039;s some other reason the word would need to be capitalized. You do this a lot.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She flinched. “Yes,” whispered Fluttershy, eyes clenched tight against the harsh memory.//</span><br />There you go. Now you&#039;re getting more at her emotions. Depending on what kind of narrator you want, you could even forge a closer connection by using some indirect thought.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;T-Then//</span><br />Th-then<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the steady click like a metronome underscoring Fluttershy’s muffled cries//</span><br />Here&#039;s another way to consider your narrative viewpoint. If the narrator is with Fluttershy, would she even notice this while she&#039;s &quot;wracked with her violent sobs&quot;? Possibly, but just mentioning it casually like this doesn&#039;t quite work. Consider how she&#039;d perceive it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to scream at his uncaring tone, to berate him for showing no concern for those animals that had been murdered right in front of her//</span><br />See, you&#039;re decidedly in Fluttershy&#039;s head here. Yet she showed no such reaction when he said these things. We&#039;re getting it after the fact, which decouples it an distances the reader from your character&#039;s emotions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;s-shut//</span><br />Last one I&#039;m going to mark. A lot of your hyphenations need correction for capitalized letters and what the repeated sound would actually be.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;cold patch of numbness//</span><br />If it&#039;s numb, how does it feel cold?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;elements of harmony//</span><br />We usually see this capitalized, but it&#039;s your call.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He froze still//</span><br />Redundant.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She let herself lay back down on the tiles//</span><br />Confusion of &quot;lay&quot; and &quot;lie.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt; if I could just take nap//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;A pegasus by the name of…” He checked his notes. “Rainbow Dash?”//</span><br />What you&#039;ve written here isn&#039;t wrong, but a more common way of having a narrative interruption in speech is like this:<br />A pegasus by the name of—” he checked his notes “—Rainbow Dash?”<br />Or have the dashes outside the quotes if the speech doesn&#039;t actually stop for the action.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;as her friend’s smiling visage filling her thoughts//</span><br />Verb form error.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She spat out a something//</span><br />Syntax.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He pressed himself up against wall she drew closer//</span><br />More syntax problems.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a pneumatic sigh that was lost beneath the cacophony made by her hoof banging away on the polished steel//</span><br />Again, what&#039;s her perception? The narrator is in her head, so when you say she couldn&#039;t hear it, then the narrator can&#039;t, either.<br /><br />Overall, the few consistent mechanical problems are actually easy fixes. Just mind what I said about your narrative voice. It really was distracting when you switched between objective and subjective viewpoints in a flash and in counterintuitive ways.<br /><br />Now, I saw your big reveal coming a mile off, at least in a way. I wouldn&#039;t have been surprised to see her as a werewolf or zombie, either. It may be that you need to keep it hidden better, but that&#039;s a very subjective thing. No matter how well you obscure it, though, someone will just have a moment of insight or make a lucky guess, and maybe it&#039;s just my turn for that.<br /><br />Lastly, something about Fluttershy&#039;s situation didn&#039;t ring true. By the plant matter that&#039;s part of her, I take it that the strange timberwolf didn&#039;t just start a new creature by attacking her, but actually incorporated itself into her. But what about it made her dominant? Before, it was more than just the wolf, but the whole acted like the wolf. Why did Fluttershy become the part in control? In some ways, both the wolf and Fluttershy acted not quite like themselves, like they were at least experiencing some influence from their other parts. Again, if the wolf was able to maintain control still, why not when Fluttershy was added? But more to the point, Fluttershy&#039;s lapses out of her normal mindset are quite vague. It might do better if she exhibited specific traits of her other parts at times, like she followed the thought processes of a wolf at one point, or briefly took on Applejack&#039;s voice. This would have to be managed carefully to keep it effective, of course, and would probably prevent you from hiding your reveal until late, but that&#039;s not necessarily a bad thing. Keeping Dash and AJ out of it until near the end would be a good idea, but the rest could be played either way. This is not a requirement, of course—I&#039;m just trying to brainstorm a bit to see what else might make this a more effective story.<br /><br />Another tip for horror, and one I touched on already, is not to neglect any of the senses. Good horror also includes odd physical sensations, smells, tastes, things that are just a little out of place and getting consistently more unsettling.<br /><br />This wasn&#039;t badly written; really, the narrative quirks and resulting emotional distance from Fluttershy were the big issues. Fix those up, and you could have a nice story here.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 45

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 might wanna call it a benefit//

It's generally not a good idea to address the reader, unless you're writing second-person.

>I jerk upright to great protest of my back.//

Missing word.

>Disoriented and confused//

Participles and participial phrases are usually set off with commas.

>all too familiar//

Hyphenate most multi-word phrases used as a single descriptor.

>After being done with my morning toilet//

British writer, I presume? This isn't a usage you hear much in American English, particularly not from a southerner like Applejack.

>living on Sweet Apple Acres

I've only ever seen this phrased with "in."

>It's the news: //

A fine point, but it's best to have a subjective narrator stick pretty close to the focus character's diction and intelligence level, and this is required for a first-person narrator. Bottom line: Applejack doesn't seem the type to use colons. A few wouldn't stick out much, but you use quite a few, relatively speaking, and it just creates a distance from the character, because it doesn't feel right for her.

>Flim Flam Brother's//

Brothers', yes?

>Anyway, the buffet is up and I get myself some cereal and a cup of coffee.//

See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>I just don't like them rolls they have here, I liked the ones we had back home better…//

Comma splice.

>cause//

Missing the leading apostrophe (and beware smart quotes, which will try to draw it in the wrong direction). I could see spelling it without the apostrophe if it was something she'd written, but you shouldn't assume the error in speech.

>Darn AJ,//

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

>the big shed in the back of the building had blow over last night//

Verb form.

>Everytime//

In this usage, it should be two words.

>pouring over bills//

poring

>It's been laying here

Lay/lie confusion.

>handwriting//

Perhaps just call it writing or script instead of the more pony hoofwriting or mouthwriting.

>cutiemark crusader's//

Cutie Mark Crusaders'

>Me, wringing out my hair like a wet rag//

No reason to capitalize that.

>Big Mac leaning on a fence bathed in the light of an orange sundown, a straw casually hangin’ from his mouth, gazing into space.//

Participles are common violators of misplaced modifiers. They like to describe the nearest prior object, but take your "gazing into space" phrase. You have to wade back through "mouth" (which it would seem to modify), "straw," "sundown," "light," and "fence" before getting to the correct one. It's jus awkwardly placed.

>When I had a grip on myself again//

Another comma needed for a dependent clause.

>O.K.//

Spell out "okay."

>Zap apple//

If you're going to capitalize "Zap," you should probably do so with "apple" as well.

>taking the mickey out of//

Is this a British expression? I've never heard it before, but more to the point, it's not a southern one that Applejack could be expected to know.

>‘em//

I warned you about this once. The smart quotes have assumed something else and bent the apostrophe the wrong way. You have a number of these.

>on that picture//

in

>a sharp sting in my neck tells me he didn't like the angle I fell asleep in//

She refers to her neck as a "he"?

>lung full//

In this sense, "lungful."

>Back on Sweet Apple Acres//

More normal would be "at."

>slowlz//

Typo

>old chap//

Yeah, a southerner isn't going to say that.

>I didn’t notice I’ve been holding//

Just so you know, the "X I didn't even know I'd been Y-ing" is a very cliched phrasing.

I'm really on the fence about this. It's well-written, and a stark portrayal of someone feeling like she's outlived her usefulness. My only reservations are that it doesn't develop in any way. There's no conflict in the story and no character growth to speak of, the two standard ways of keeping up interest for the reader. We do gain some insight into Applejack, but it's a static thing. First off, that means it doesn't build to much of a climax. Particularly through the memories that Applejack goes through when looking at her photo album, we get more of an accounting of her life in list fashion. It's very factual. If she had more of an emotional response to each of these memories, it would connect the character and the reader better. As it is, it comes across fairly sterile. Second, what building it does just keeps ramping up the tragedy. This is what I refer to as "piling on." We begin with an elderly Applejack feeling sorry for herself. Then we get that she feels like a burden and a source of guilt for Twilight. Then we get a hint that Apple Bloom has some hidden regret about the situation, then we learn that Big Mac had a rather undignified fate, and end up with Applejack feeling suicidal. Things just keep getting worse. Sure some real-life situations are just like this. But not all, and not even most.

My advice on this front is twofold. Only include the amount of tragedy that you have to include. How much is necessary to get your point across and set up the plot? Use that and no more. Any needless tear-jerking you add on top of that is a pointless grab for the reader's heartstrings. Yes, it works on a fair number of readers, but it's not good practice, and those that can recognize it for what it is will often be resentful of the emotional manipulation. Is it necessary for Apple Bloom to harbor some hidden regrets? Is it necessary for Big Mac's life to follow that course? I don't think eliminating either one would alter the story appreciably. The other point, which is related, is that sadness works best by contrast. If you intersperse happy moments in the sad, then the sad stands out much more. You do go through some happy times in the photo album, but go back to my point about most of the story just being a slow escalation of tragedies. A reader gets numb to it. So instead of giving Big Mac yet another ugly turn, have Applejack rejoice in his pleasant waning years, for instance. It would also lend credence to her current state of despair that even those happy memories couldn't buoy her mood. Just a suggestion, but it illustrates my point.
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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You might wanna call it a benefit//</span><br />It&#039;s generally not a good idea to address the reader, unless you&#039;re writing second-person.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I jerk upright to great protest of my back.//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Disoriented and confused//</span><br />Participles and participial phrases are usually set off with commas.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;all too familiar//</span><br />Hyphenate most multi-word phrases used as a single descriptor.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;After being done with my morning toilet//</span><br />British writer, I presume? This isn&#039;t a usage you hear much in American English, particularly not from a southerner like Applejack.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;living on Sweet Apple Acres</span><br />I&#039;ve only ever seen this phrased with &quot;in.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It&#039;s the news: //</span><br />A fine point, but it&#039;s best to have a subjective narrator stick pretty close to the focus character&#039;s diction and intelligence level, and this is required for a first-person narrator. Bottom line: Applejack doesn&#039;t seem the type to use colons. A few wouldn&#039;t stick out much, but you use quite a few, relatively speaking, and it just creates a distance from the character, because it doesn&#039;t feel right for her.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Flim Flam Brother&#039;s//</span><br />Brothers&#039;, yes?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Anyway, the buffet is up and I get myself some cereal and a cup of coffee.//</span><br />See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I just don&#039;t like them rolls they have here, I liked the ones we had back home better…//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;cause//</span><br />Missing the leading apostrophe (and beware smart quotes, which will try to draw it in the wrong direction). I could see spelling it without the apostrophe if it was something she&#039;d written, but you shouldn&#039;t assume the error in speech.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Darn AJ,//</span><br />In the middle of a sentence, direct address requires commas on both sides.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the big shed in the back of the building had blow over last night//</span><br />Verb form.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Everytime//</span><br />In this usage, it should be two words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;pouring over bills//</span><br />poring<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It&#039;s been laying here</span><br />Lay/lie confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;handwriting//</span><br />Perhaps just call it writing or script instead of the more pony hoofwriting or mouthwriting.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;cutiemark crusader&#039;s//</span><br />Cutie Mark Crusaders&#039;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Me, wringing out my hair like a wet rag//</span><br />No reason to capitalize that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Big Mac leaning on a fence bathed in the light of an orange sundown, a straw casually hangin’ from his mouth, gazing into space.//</span><br />Participles are common violators of misplaced modifiers. They like to describe the nearest prior object, but take your &quot;gazing into space&quot; phrase. You have to wade back through &quot;mouth&quot; (which it would seem to modify), &quot;straw,&quot; &quot;sundown,&quot; &quot;light,&quot; and &quot;fence&quot; before getting to the correct one. It&#039;s jus awkwardly placed.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;When I had a grip on myself again//</span><br />Another comma needed for a dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;O.K.//</span><br />Spell out &quot;okay.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Zap apple//</span><br />If you&#039;re going to capitalize &quot;Zap,&quot; you should probably do so with &quot;apple&quot; as well.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;taking the mickey out of//</span><br />Is this a British expression? I&#039;ve never heard it before, but more to the point, it&#039;s not a southern one that Applejack could be expected to know.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘em//</span><br />I warned you about this once. The smart quotes have assumed something else and bent the apostrophe the wrong way. You have a number of these.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;on that picture//</span><br />in<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a sharp sting in my neck tells me he didn&#039;t like the angle I fell asleep in//</span><br />She refers to her neck as a &quot;he&quot;?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;lung full//</span><br />In this sense, &quot;lungful.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Back on Sweet Apple Acres//</span><br />More normal would be &quot;at.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;slowlz//</span><br />Typo<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;old chap//</span><br />Yeah, a southerner isn&#039;t going to say that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I didn’t notice I’ve been holding//</span><br />Just so you know, the &quot;X I didn&#039;t even know I&#039;d been Y-ing&quot; is a very cliched phrasing.<br /><br />I&#039;m really on the fence about this. It&#039;s well-written, and a stark portrayal of someone feeling like she&#039;s outlived her usefulness. My only reservations are that it doesn&#039;t develop in any way. There&#039;s no conflict in the story and no character growth to speak of, the two standard ways of keeping up interest for the reader. We do gain some insight into Applejack, but it&#039;s a static thing. First off, that means it doesn&#039;t build to much of a climax. Particularly through the memories that Applejack goes through when looking at her photo album, we get more of an accounting of her life in list fashion. It&#039;s very factual. If she had more of an emotional response to each of these memories, it would connect the character and the reader better. As it is, it comes across fairly sterile. Second, what building it does just keeps ramping up the tragedy. This is what I refer to as &quot;piling on.&quot; We begin with an elderly Applejack feeling sorry for herself. Then we get that she feels like a burden and a source of guilt for Twilight. Then we get a hint that Apple Bloom has some hidden regret about the situation, then we learn that Big Mac had a rather undignified fate, and end up with Applejack feeling suicidal. Things just keep getting worse. Sure some real-life situations are just like this. But not all, and not even most.<br /><br />My advice on this front is twofold. Only include the amount of tragedy that you have to include. How much is necessary to get your point across and set up the plot? Use that and no more. Any needless tear-jerking you add on top of that is a pointless grab for the reader&#039;s heartstrings. Yes, it works on a fair number of readers, but it&#039;s not good practice, and those that can recognize it for what it is will often be resentful of the emotional manipulation. Is it necessary for Apple Bloom to harbor some hidden regrets? Is it necessary for Big Mac&#039;s life to follow that course? I don&#039;t think eliminating either one would alter the story appreciably. The other point, which is related, is that sadness works best by contrast. If you intersperse happy moments in the sad, then the sad stands out much more. You do go through some happy times in the photo album, but go back to my point about most of the story just being a slow escalation of tragedies. A reader gets numb to it. So instead of giving Big Mac yet another ugly turn, have Applejack rejoice in his pleasant waning years, for instance. It would also lend credence to her current state of despair that even those happy memories couldn&#039;t buoy her mood. Just a suggestion, but it illustrates my point.<br /><div class="last-edit-time"><br/>Last edited at <span class="posttime">Tue, Dec 3rd, 2013 17:45</span></div><br/>

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 46

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

The synopsis is rather dull. It makes zero indication as to what the story is about.

The introduction is already striking me as odd. It plays at a frame story and addresses the reader directly.

>After all, I lived in a library for my whole life.//

Well, no, before he moved to Ponyville, he presumably lived in Twilight's room in the castle (though Faust's headcanon had him raised by Celestia for part of that time while Twilight was younger).

>That’s the name of my mother, by the way.//

This feels out of place in a written medium. It;s more the kind of thing he'd say in person, not write down once he's had time to collect his thoughts, so it comes across as inauthentic.

>Dragon eggs weren’t exact an easy resource to come by//

Typo.

>Most of my early years in Canterlot with her were spent helping her organize things, and keeping her company since her family couldn’t visit her often.//

See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions. I saw a number of these throughout the story.

>Heh…//

Again, this comes across as weirdly informal for something that we know is recorded as a story.

>she was grateful to have somepony //

Fine point here, and I know he's used this term in canon, but since he's including himself, would he use the "pony" version, particularly considering that he's (presumably) quite a bit older now?

>half finished//

Hyphenate your multi-word terms that act as a single modifier. You do this several times.

>Twilight had giggled. I just refused to say anything//

Mixing tenses.

>sweating//

A reptile?

>Nothing’s wrong Twilight!//

Needs a comma for direct address.

>lept//

leapt

>lying in the corner//

You could just cut this "lying" out, particularly since you just used it very soon before, even though it was in a different sense.

>knowing that I had done wrong//

Most participles will be set off with a comma.

>or hours for teleportation//

How would that take hours?

>I was her closest and only friend after all.//

By now, I'm noticing that you use "after all" quite often.

>ordinary routine//

Somewhat redundant.

>For years I tried to get her to talk to ponies, trying to coax her to come to parties or hang out with some of my friends, but she always declined.//

Misplaced modifier. It sounds like "ponies" are trying to coax her. And repetition of "try."

>That was the day that I first discovered that//

Might want to rephrase. 3 instances of "that" in 9 words.

>That was why I was so excited when Princess Celestia gave her a new assignment as her star pupil: to go to Ponyville and make a few friends.//

Look how far the material after the colon is from what it's clarifying.

>R-rarity//

It's a proper noun, so both instances should be capitalized.

>“You didn’t want to crush me. I understand.” I stood up and simply shook my head, turning to leave. “Don’t worry, Rarity. I don’t hate you. I’m not even angry. I’m just thankful that you let me know.”

This situation is sure resolved quickly. You build it up as if it's some big thing, then it's over very quickly and with no fanfare. If he wants to brush it off because it's not the main point of what he has to say, fine, but he needs to indicate that, if it's the case.

>the Carousel Boutique//

You don't need "the" when using specific names. You go to the store, but you go to Wal-Mart.

>I just went straight to my bed and laid down//

Lay/lie confusion.

>Twilight would be right there//

How did Twilight not know that Rarity was already in a relationship? That's certainly the type of thing that girls share, and Rarity had no apparent motivation to keep it secret.

>her eyes shining with sadness, but also pride

I can give you a pass when Spike talks about himself this way. But it's a bad idea to have him be telly when he's speaking about other characters.

>hard working//

One word.

>gentlecoltly//

Again, this isn't a word I would typically think of as applied to a dragon. Yes, Twilight would be used to using this word, but I also think she'd be sensitive enough to have an awareness of it.

>animals, and Pinkie//

Extraneous space.

>Fluttershy had opened a clinic in Canterlot to help sick and injured animals//

Given that animals would be more prevalent in a rural area, why would she do this?

>if you’re a species that lives longer like I am//

It'd sound smoother if the "like referred to the thing closest to it ("lives longer," not "species"): if you’re a species that lives longer like I do.

>That’s probably the one that stands by the most.//

Did you mean "stands out"?

>Being forced to stop moving…//

I'm also going to say that all the ellipses also are out of place, since this is supposed to be something that Spike has written. They indicate half-formed thoughts that peter out, and while this occurs in conversation, a writer has as long as he likes to sort out what he wants to write. They can serve occasionally to imply further information, but they're really a spoken thing more than a written thing.

>Spikey wikey//

The whole thing's a nickname. Capitalize both words.

>She laid back//

Lay/lie confusion again. "Lie/lay/had lain" takes no direct object, "lay/laid/had laid" does take one. You lie down, and you lay your head down.

>trying to reach up and get something by her bedside, in the nightstand that lay next to her//

There's no reason for that comma.

>together, smiling and having fun together//

Repetitive.

>I figure it’s what she would have wanted.//

Really? Maybe it's just me, but I figure she'd want to go out in a spectacular crash while trying a very dangerous trick.

>And then Daring Do put her whip and hat on her coat rack, sitting on her office chair.//

Sounds like the coat rack is sitting on the chair.

>she laid there in her chair//

Lay/lie again.

>a clear night’s sky//

Just use "night."

Now for a session of point/counterpoint.

Against your story is that it's a pretty common setup, particularly since it goes through the deaths of all 6 friends, even though it only lingers on two of them. It's become somewhat of a cliche to include all six and give special weight to the last of the group. It's also a bit weak on the conflict/growth front. There's no make-or-break moment where Spike must make a decision that will affect his future. There's nothing at stake. We don't see anything fundamental change about him as a character.

For your story is that you barely mentioned four of the deaths, so it's not an ad nauseam collation of their final moments. The writing is pretty good, and you actually have a good setup for a decisive moment on Spike's part. Ask yourself: What about Twilight's death changes Spike? Show the after in stark contrast to the before, when he comes to some realization. He does have a subtle one, choosing to be happy about the time he shared with them. And then you mention subsequent Elements. Did he befriend them all? And what does he do with this newfound happiness? Volunteer as a docent at their memorials so he can teach generations about their accomplishments? Read Daring Do stories to children at the library? This probably isn't the kind of story that will show clear conflict, but I'd like to see something along the lines of concrete character growth.

Lastly, I'll reiterate the issue of the narrator's voice, insofar as this is supposed to be something Spike has written. It relies on a lot of conversational conceits, and thus loses the feel of something he's taken the time to write. It may actually be wiser to remove that and just have him narrate as if he's speaking, but then it'd be more important not to have him address the reader.

There were certain words I saw turn up a lot. "Sad" made 18 entries, which doesn't sound like a lot, but if you look at where they occur, you use them in clumps, which only makes them sound more repetitive. "That" appears 130 times. It really stuck out, and suggests you're relying on its use as the start of noun clauses too much and using repetitive sentence formulations as a result. It's actually quite common to remove it as a conjunction leading off a noun clause, so you could take care of a fair number that way. "Was" shows up 114 times, and I suspect other forms of that verb also make themselves known frequently. That's a verb writers can stand to do without, to a large degree. There are 38 instances of "just," and like "sad," they tend to occur in clumps.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.<br /><br />The synopsis is rather dull. It makes zero indication as to what the story is about.<br /><br />The introduction is already striking me as odd. It plays at a frame story and addresses the reader directly.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;After all, I lived in a library for my whole life.//</span><br />Well, no, before he moved to Ponyville, he presumably lived in Twilight&#039;s room in the castle (though Faust&#039;s headcanon had him raised by Celestia for part of that time while Twilight was younger).<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That’s the name of my mother, by the way.//</span><br />This feels out of place in a written medium. It;s more the kind of thing he&#039;d say in person, not write down once he&#039;s had time to collect his thoughts, so it comes across as inauthentic.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Dragon eggs weren’t exact an easy resource to come by//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Most of my early years in Canterlot with her were spent helping her organize things, and keeping her company since her family couldn’t visit her often.//</span><br />See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions. I saw a number of these throughout the story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Heh…//</span><br />Again, this comes across as weirdly informal for something that we know is recorded as a story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she was grateful to have somepony //</span><br />Fine point here, and I know he&#039;s used this term in canon, but since he&#039;s including himself, would he use the &quot;pony&quot; version, particularly considering that he&#039;s (presumably) quite a bit older now?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;half finished//</span><br />Hyphenate your multi-word terms that act as a single modifier. You do this several times.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight had giggled. I just refused to say anything//</span><br />Mixing tenses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;sweating//</span><br />A reptile?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Nothing’s wrong Twilight!//</span><br />Needs a comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;lept//</span><br />leapt<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;lying in the corner//</span><br />You could just cut this &quot;lying&quot; out, particularly since you just used it very soon before, even though it was in a different sense.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;knowing that I had done wrong//</span><br />Most participles will be set off with a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;or hours for teleportation//</span><br />How would that take hours?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I was her closest and only friend after all.//</span><br />By now, I&#039;m noticing that you use &quot;after all&quot; quite often.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;ordinary routine//</span><br />Somewhat redundant.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;For years I tried to get her to talk to ponies, trying to coax her to come to parties or hang out with some of my friends, but she always declined.//</span><br />Misplaced modifier. It sounds like &quot;ponies&quot; are trying to coax her. And repetition of &quot;try.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That was the day that I first discovered that//</span><br />Might want to rephrase. 3 instances of &quot;that&quot; in 9 words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That was why I was so excited when Princess Celestia gave her a new assignment as her star pupil: to go to Ponyville and make a few friends.//</span><br />Look how far the material after the colon is from what it&#039;s clarifying.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;R-rarity//</span><br />It&#039;s a proper noun, so both instances should be capitalized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“You didn’t want to crush me. I understand.” I stood up and simply shook my head, turning to leave. “Don’t worry, Rarity. I don’t hate you. I’m not even angry. I’m just thankful that you let me know.”</span><br />This situation is sure resolved quickly. You build it up as if it&#039;s some big thing, then it&#039;s over very quickly and with no fanfare. If he wants to brush it off because it&#039;s not the main point of what he has to say, fine, but he needs to indicate that, if it&#039;s the case.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the Carousel Boutique//</span><br />You don&#039;t need &quot;the&quot; when using specific names. You go to the store, but you go to Wal-Mart.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I just went straight to my bed and laid down//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight would be right there//</span><br />How did Twilight not know that Rarity was already in a relationship? That&#039;s certainly the type of thing that girls share, and Rarity had no apparent motivation to keep it secret.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her eyes shining with sadness, but also pride</span><br />I can give you a pass when Spike talks about himself this way. But it&#039;s a bad idea to have him be telly when he&#039;s speaking about other characters.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;hard working//</span><br />One word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;gentlecoltly//</span><br />Again, this isn&#039;t a word I would typically think of as applied to a dragon. Yes, Twilight would be used to using this word, but I also think she&#039;d be sensitive enough to have an awareness of it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;animals, and Pinkie//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Fluttershy had opened a clinic in Canterlot to help sick and injured animals//</span><br />Given that animals would be more prevalent in a rural area, why would she do this?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;if you’re a species that lives longer like I am//</span><br />It&#039;d sound smoother if the &quot;like referred to the thing closest to it (&quot;lives longer,&quot; not &quot;species&quot;): if you’re a species that lives longer like I do.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That’s probably the one that stands by the most.//</span><br />Did you mean &quot;stands out&quot;?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Being forced to stop moving…//</span><br />I&#039;m also going to say that all the ellipses also are out of place, since this is supposed to be something that Spike has written. They indicate half-formed thoughts that peter out, and while this occurs in conversation, a writer has as long as he likes to sort out what he wants to write. They can serve occasionally to imply further information, but they&#039;re really a spoken thing more than a written thing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Spikey wikey//</span><br />The whole thing&#039;s a nickname. Capitalize both words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She laid back//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion again. &quot;Lie/lay/had lain&quot; takes no direct object, &quot;lay/laid/had laid&quot; does take one. You lie down, and you lay your head down.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;trying to reach up and get something by her bedside, in the nightstand that lay next to her//</span><br />There&#039;s no reason for that comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;together, smiling and having fun together//</span><br />Repetitive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I figure it’s what she would have wanted.//</span><br />Really? Maybe it&#039;s just me, but I figure she&#039;d want to go out in a spectacular crash while trying a very dangerous trick.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And then Daring Do put her whip and hat on her coat rack, sitting on her office chair.//</span><br />Sounds like the coat rack is sitting on the chair.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she laid there in her chair//</span><br />Lay/lie again.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a clear night’s sky//</span><br />Just use &quot;night.&quot;<br /><br />Now for a session of point/counterpoint.<br /><br />Against your story is that it&#039;s a pretty common setup, particularly since it goes through the deaths of all 6 friends, even though it only lingers on two of them. It&#039;s become somewhat of a cliche to include all six and give special weight to the last of the group. It&#039;s also a bit weak on the conflict/growth front. There&#039;s no make-or-break moment where Spike must make a decision that will affect his future. There&#039;s nothing at stake. We don&#039;t see anything fundamental change about him as a character.<br /><br />For your story is that you barely mentioned four of the deaths, so it&#039;s not an ad nauseam collation of their final moments. The writing is pretty good, and you actually have a good setup for a decisive moment on Spike&#039;s part. Ask yourself: What about Twilight&#039;s death changes Spike? Show the after in stark contrast to the before, when he comes to some realization. He does have a subtle one, choosing to be happy about the time he shared with them. And then you mention subsequent Elements. Did he befriend them all? And what does he do with this newfound happiness? Volunteer as a docent at their memorials so he can teach generations about their accomplishments? Read Daring Do stories to children at the library? This probably isn&#039;t the kind of story that will show clear conflict, but I&#039;d like to see something along the lines of concrete character growth.<br /><br />Lastly, I&#039;ll reiterate the issue of the narrator&#039;s voice, insofar as this is supposed to be something Spike has written. It relies on a lot of conversational conceits, and thus loses the feel of something he&#039;s taken the time to write. It may actually be wiser to remove that and just have him narrate as if he&#039;s speaking, but then it&#039;d be more important not to have him address the reader.<br /><br />There were certain words I saw turn up a lot. &quot;Sad&quot; made 18 entries, which doesn&#039;t sound like a lot, but if you look at where they occur, you use them in clumps, which only makes them sound more repetitive. &quot;That&quot; appears 130 times. It really stuck out, and suggests you&#039;re relying on its use as the start of noun clauses too much and using repetitive sentence formulations as a result. It&#039;s actually quite common to remove it as a conjunction leading off a noun clause, so you could take care of a fair number that way. &quot;Was&quot; shows up 114 times, and I suspect other forms of that verb also make themselves known frequently. That&#039;s a verb writers can stand to do without, to a large degree. There are 38 instances of &quot;just,&quot; and like &quot;sad,&quot; they tend to occur in clumps.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 47

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.

Synopsis:

>ever now and then//

Typo.

Story:

Your opening scene needs help. Having the narrator barge in and summarize the situation very quickly externalizes the reader from forming a connection with Twilight. You need to do a better job of grabbing the reader's interest than this. Go right into the dream. Make it immediately obvious that it is one, since you're not trying to play it as ambiguous, but the "hey, this is happening" followed by it actually happening is just throwing a needless speed bump in there.

>terrified sweat//

I see what you're going for, but it ends up personifying the sweat, and it just sounds weird.

>This is impossible! Nopony could possibly do this!

Redundant.

>scrutinizing look//

Describe it. Now is not the time to be telly. Twilight's perception at this moment is a severe source of stress for her, and she'd take great notice of how they regard her. Shortening all that to "scrutinizing" cheapens it.

>the chance to attempt such an opportunity//

Redundant language.

>with sadness//

See the section on telly language at the top of this thread. This is a particular kind of phrasing that is rarely necessary.

>She felt her horn light up and felt//

Repetitive phrasing.

>blood vessels in her face starting to light up//

Given that the story is from her viewpoint, how would she know this? Not to mention that it's kind of weird anyway.

>bottom thirtieth//

That's an awfully precise judgment to make, considering that it's far from the foremost thing on her mind.

>yet, you cannot even perform//

Commas after conjunctions are rarely correct. This one is not.

>Celestia’s School For Gifted and Talented Unicorns//

I don't believe the canon name has "and Talented" in it.

>signalling for her to leave//

This is unnecessary information that the reader can already figure out.

>Celestia barely even payed attention to Twilight//

Using "payed" instead of "paid" is typical of a specific definition of the word which you aren't using.

>seemingly annoyed//

How does Twilight conclude this?

>then-//

Use a proper em dash for cutoffs.

>Twilight was cut off//

No need for passive voice, and the "cut off" is redundant with what we can already see in the quote.

>to signify an order to be silent//

More language that is redundant. These meaningless phrases smack of strecthing for word count, which, considering how long the story is, could well be precisely what you were doing.

>nodded in agreement//

More redundant phrasing.

>The door burst open as her father charged in, scanning the room for any immediate signs of danger.//

Note that participles and "as" clauses synchronize actions, so all three of these things happen simultaneously. The first two, I could see, or the last two, but not all three. He's not scanning the room until after the door bursts open.

>beddings//

bedding

>Twilight shook her head to relieve herself of the shock of her father bursting into her room.//

Repetitive language, and more questionable content that the reader could have been left to intuit.

>E-everything’s fine dad//

Missing comma for direct address, and when using it as a term of address or reference, capitalize "Dad." Watch for other similar instances of "Mom" and "Dad."

>he could see her face clearly. He could see//

Repetitive language.

>Her father took a seat on the bed next to her, smiling softly.//

I bet you want the father to b smiling softly, but this tends to say she was.

>Twilight shifted and her features twisted into a grimace//

Missing comma. See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

Her father's inner monologue here is obviously a change in perspective. I don't see that it accomplishes anything. What does he reveal that's new or critical to the story? Shifting point of view is always a disorienting thing, so a writer must always judge whether the gains are greater than the losses. I don't think there's anything gained here.

>surprising him a bit//

This is still in his perspective. Especially in a story this short, you really shouldn't be jumping around to different characters without a very good reason.

>over take//

One word.

>You’ve done excellently in everything you’ve put your hoof too.//

To/too confusion.

>And you’ve made us so proud.”//

When one paragraph ends while still in a quote, and the next one starts with speech from the same character, you can leave off the closing quotation marks from the first paragraph.

>Twilight giggled and climbed back down onto the bed.//

Fourth straight paragraph that's started with "Twilight."

There is a notable lack of character growth or conflict here. Twilight experiences a very common and mundane bout of self-doubt. It's just a very pat piece, and one that plays more as a scene than a story. While pleasant enough, it's not really a well-developed thing. What changes about Twilight? How is she different for the experience? There's nothing here. Rather than go on about stylistic things, I'll just say that this needs to be something with a lot more meat to it before we could post it.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.<br /><br />Synopsis:<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;ever now and then//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br />Story:<br /><br />Your opening scene needs help. Having the narrator barge in and summarize the situation very quickly externalizes the reader from forming a connection with Twilight. You need to do a better job of grabbing the reader&#039;s interest than this. Go right into the dream. Make it immediately obvious that it is one, since you&#039;re not trying to play it as ambiguous, but the &quot;hey, this is happening&quot; followed by it actually happening is just throwing a needless speed bump in there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;terrified sweat//</span><br />I see what you&#039;re going for, but it ends up personifying the sweat, and it just sounds weird.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>This is impossible! Nopony could possibly do this!</i></span><br />Redundant.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;scrutinizing look//</span><br />Describe it. Now is not the time to be telly. Twilight&#039;s perception at this moment is a severe source of stress for her, and she&#039;d take great notice of how they regard her. Shortening all that to &quot;scrutinizing&quot; cheapens it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the chance to attempt such an opportunity//</span><br />Redundant language.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;with sadness//</span><br />See the section on telly language at the top of this thread. This is a particular kind of phrasing that is rarely necessary.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She felt her horn light up and felt//</span><br />Repetitive phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;blood vessels in her face starting to light up//</span><br />Given that the story is from her viewpoint, how would she know this? Not to mention that it&#039;s kind of weird anyway.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;bottom thirtieth//</span><br />That&#039;s an awfully precise judgment to make, considering that it&#039;s far from the foremost thing on her mind.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;yet, you cannot even perform//</span><br />Commas after conjunctions are rarely correct. This one is not.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia’s School For Gifted and Talented Unicorns//</span><br />I don&#039;t believe the canon name has &quot;and Talented&quot; in it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;signalling for her to leave//</span><br />This is unnecessary information that the reader can already figure out.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia barely even payed attention to Twilight//</span><br />Using &quot;payed&quot; instead of &quot;paid&quot; is typical of a specific definition of the word which you aren&#039;t using.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;seemingly annoyed//</span><br />How does Twilight conclude this?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;then-//</span><br />Use a proper em dash for cutoffs.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight was cut off//</span><br />No need for passive voice, and the &quot;cut off&quot; is redundant with what we can already see in the quote.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to signify an order to be silent//</span><br />More language that is redundant. These meaningless phrases smack of strecthing for word count, which, considering how long the story is, could well be precisely what you were doing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;nodded in agreement//</span><br />More redundant phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The door burst open as her father charged in, scanning the room for any immediate signs of danger.//</span><br />Note that participles and &quot;as&quot; clauses synchronize actions, so all three of these things happen simultaneously. The first two, I could see, or the last two, but not all three. He&#039;s not scanning the room until after the door bursts open.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;beddings//</span><br />bedding<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight shook her head to relieve herself of the shock of her father bursting into her room.//</span><br />Repetitive language, and more questionable content that the reader could have been left to intuit.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;E-everything’s fine dad//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address, and when using it as a term of address or reference, capitalize &quot;Dad.&quot; Watch for other similar instances of &quot;Mom&quot; and &quot;Dad.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;he could see her face clearly. He could see//</span><br />Repetitive language.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her father took a seat on the bed next to her, smiling softly.//</span><br />I bet you want the father to b smiling softly, but this tends to say she was.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight shifted and her features twisted into a grimace//</span><br />Missing comma. See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.<br /><br />Her father&#039;s inner monologue here is obviously a change in perspective. I don&#039;t see that it accomplishes anything. What does he reveal that&#039;s new or critical to the story? Shifting point of view is always a disorienting thing, so a writer must always judge whether the gains are greater than the losses. I don&#039;t think there&#039;s anything gained here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;surprising him a bit//</span><br />This is still in his perspective. Especially in a story this short, you really shouldn&#039;t be jumping around to different characters without a very good reason.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;over take//</span><br />One word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You’ve done excellently in everything you’ve put your hoof too.//</span><br />To/too confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And you’ve made us so proud.”//</span><br />When one paragraph ends while still in a quote, and the next one starts with speech from the same character, you can leave off the closing quotation marks from the first paragraph.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight giggled and climbed back down onto the bed.//</span><br />Fourth straight paragraph that&#039;s started with &quot;Twilight.&quot;<br /><br />There is a notable lack of character growth or conflict here. Twilight experiences a very common and mundane bout of self-doubt. It&#039;s just a very pat piece, and one that plays more as a scene than a story. While pleasant enough, it&#039;s not really a well-developed thing. What changes about Twilight? How is she different for the experience? There&#039;s nothing here. Rather than go on about stylistic things, I&#039;ll just say that this needs to be something with a lot more meat to it before we could post it.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 48

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

>The storm clouds over Ponyville parted with a flash of lightning and a peal of thunder.//

Do you realize how close this is to "It was a dark and stormy night"?

>It was pulled by a duo of armored, bat-winged pegasi//

I don't see the need for passive voice here. It transfers the focus onto the chariot or the action, neither of which is interesting. Let the batponies carry the focus.

>Carnival games and food stands were set up all throughout the streets, and a silver and blue flag adorned with a crescent moon waved proudly atop the Town Hall.//

I'm seeing an awful lot of "to be" verbs so far. They're inherently boring. It's much more interesting to read about what happens not what is. Compare your two clauses here. The secon uses an active verb (waved) that makes it a more vivid read. I'm still getting a lot of passive voice, though.

>thump//

No need to italicize this as a sound effect. It's a valid word. Just leave it alone.

>Luna released the concealing shadows, flying out of the chariot//

Watch for misplaced modifiers, particularly participles. It sounds like the shadows are flying out of the chariot.

>returned, and the moonlight gently faded away. Luna’s eyes returned//

Watch repetition of words in a close space.

>And finally we get some kind of emotional reaction from Luna. She'd been awfully stoic up until now. You might want to bring in this aspect earlier, maybe her apprehension at how she would be received. The sooner you can make that emotional connection with a reader, the sooner you can grab his interest.


>thousand year-old//

Hyphenate the whole thing.

>Luna landed gracefully on the ground.//

The "on the ground" part is useless filler. Since the narrator is in Luna's perspective, it's odd for her to judge the landing as graceful herself. Perhaps just give me a few of her actions and their intent rather than have her draw the conclusion for me.

>heard several sighs of audible relief.//

First, these "with/of/in emotion" phrases are almost always telly and redundant with something already in the sentence Second, if she heard it, then you don't need to tell me it's audible.

>to not be//

I'm more of a stickler for split infinitives than most. While I'll still let many slide, these "not" ones are just so grating. "not to be"

>Luna mingled with the crowd for a few minutes, exchanging pleasantries and providing advice and blessings as royals are wont to do. However, her eyes kept scanning the crowd//

Repetition of "crowd."

>‘Twould//

Your smart quotes have given you an open quotation mark instead of an apostrophe. I suspect there are more of these; you'll have to find them and force them the other way.

>Luna shook her head in amusement.//

Another one of these redundant "in emotion" phrases.

>decorations of the transformed Ponyville.

>
>It was clear that the town had pulled out all the stops. Every building was adorned with various decorations
More repetition.

>haybales//

hay bales

>Low hanging//

Hyphenate your compound descriptors. I've seen a few of these.

>S-So//

Unless it's a proper noun, only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

>Twilight said with a stutter//

And there's no need to point out the stutter when we already saw it in the speech.

>damper//

You sure you didn't mean "dampen"? Damper is only a noun.

>Luna's tone gained a bitter tinge//

Given that she holds the perspective, it's odd for her to get at the bitterness indirectly through her tone or even notice it there.

>“I can… ”//

Extraneous space.

>T-Thank//

Consider what sound would actually be repeated. "Th-thank"

>It was probably just that Twilight was a tad absentminded, and tended to turn inward for her reflections.//

See the section on at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>Passersby stopped to gawk as they went, their faces were filled with awe and excitement.//

You've either got a comma splice there, or you've inserted an extraneous word into the second part that was supposed to be an absolute phrase.

>dings!//

Yeah, axe the sound effects.

>One-hundred eighty//

No hyphen.

>figid//

Typo.

>but however//

Redundant.

>laser-like//

So… ponies know what lasers are?

>Princess Celestia laid comfortably on her favorite silk pillow//

Lay/lie confusion.

>pulled a toffee out a small candy bag//

Missing word.

>and who know?//

Verb form.

>The symptoms are all there: Lapses in awareness, physical fatigue, a primal, almost magnetic attraction to darkness, and spiritual deterioration.//

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

>The two of them had relocated to the balcony connected to the study.//

This is a really odd transition. Just tell me when they walk out there. Don't have it happen but hold back on telling me until after the fact.

>Her face quickly fell back into a morose melancholy//

Watch the telling. Better to describe how she looks in more basic terms and let the reader decode how she feels from it. There's a section on this at the top of the thread, too. Some telliness is fine, but we're at a pretty critical part of the story here.

>She stood there with her jaw hanging open for a few seconds while Luna stood there//

More repetition.

>She turned away to glower at nothing in particular//

Watch the head-hopping. This scene had been in Luna's perspective, but only Celestia would characterize it as "nothing in particular."

>ONLY//

Except in cases of Royal Canterlot Voice, italics are preferred for emphasis.

>I’m okay with that, but then that’s the only time you can do it. Fair?//

This is incredibly petty and narrow-minded of her, given that they're discussing the health of their subjects and that ceding to Luna on this matter is probably to everyone's benefit.

>Celestia rubbed the bridge of her nose.//

Do ponies even have this? You might better just characterize it as rubbing between her eyes.

>Celestia ignited another fire beside herself to keep warm.//

They're still out on the balcony. There's a facility out there for this?

>Celestia blinked. “As in, right here, right now?”//

This is now the eighth paragraph in a row that goes: <Short simple sentence with a token action. Speech.> It's really getting a plodding feel, like I'm reading a list.

>you’re going to be leaving your body behind, aren’t you? //

This necessarily begins a new sentence—it couldn't follow syntactically from the first. Capitalize.

>I can only hope that one day I’ll find a way to make it up to you.//

This is awfullt rushed, and an odd time to bring it up. It might be worth getting at her motivation for saying this or drawing it out a bit so it's not so sudden. It smacks of going for a needless emotional reaction from the reader that's tangential at best to the story.

>rebooted//

Another word choice that's questionable as part of the pony lexicon.

>experimentation//

Used that twice within a few sentences.

>into the city of Canterlot beyond. She called upon the power of the Garden and stretched herself out even farther, extending past the city, out into the valley beyond//

Even more repetition.

>The damage of being exposed to a thousand years of light//

Are you saying the effects are cumulative over generations? Because you just mentioned that she's gathering those less than three years old, so they don't have a thousand years of exposure… only three. Even the adults would only have some small finite length as well.

A word about song lyrics. Some readers simply skip them as a rule. I give them a chance, but I stop if I see that they're not bearing any of the plot. Unless there's something critical in them, like a song that gives Twilight a clue to the location of an artifact, for instance, they don't serve much purpose. Aside from a bit of needless mood-setting, I can't say these add anything.

>enormous, teal//

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

>face-to-face//

When used in a manner like this, where it doesn't precede its object (you're using it as a predicate adjective), you don't need the hyphens.

>“I am your Princess.”//

It looks like your open quotes are in normal font, while the close quotes are in italics. You do this multiple times.

>The children weren't as bright as they once were anymore. Their outlines were faint, and their eyes were half-lidded with dreamy looks on their faces. Luna wished she could keep them here longer, to share with them the true wonders and beauty of the night, but they foals were too impressionable. She welcomed those who had an affinity for darkness, yes, but too much of it would be just as much of a problem as an overabundance of light.//

I've gone through dozens of sentences in this area and only counted two that didn't start with the subject. This part of the story really needs some variety in sentence structure, but don't go overboard with it. A little here and there works wonders.

>but they foals were too impressionable//

Typo.

>split throughout the sky like a meteor shower//

Actually, a meteor shower is pretty organized. The meteors all emanate from a common spot and all move in the same direction.

>but if nothing else, then they’ll just need the same treatment as the adults.//

Get rid of that "then."

>Celestia defended//

Questionable choice of speaking verb. It takes a direct object, but that object is the thing being defended, not the words that do so.

>They may want to go back If they were to have any memories of it//

Extraneous capitalization.

>Twenty Five Years Later-//

Surely there's a less blunt instrument you can use than this. Work it into the narration, have it revealed in some dialogue, etc.

>long tonight due to things starting with an unnaturally long//

Repetition.

>Minute’s widened.//

Missing word.

>Things had gone well over the last two and a half decades//

See? You did it nicely there. Now you don't need that obtrusive opening line for this scene.

>She had her own Realm now//

That's a rather teasing thing to insinuate without explaining anything.

>Luna was grateful//

Start here and scroll back up a bit. Note how repetitive the first words of each paragraph are.

>She was just glad that there hadn't been any lasting effects, a shift in either direction could cause ponykind to descend into madness.//

Comma splice.

>“W—Where….”//

Again, consider what sound would actually be repeated (wh-where). You also need a hyphen for the stutter, not a dash, and you have one too many dots in the ellipsis.

Nice story, but you might want to allow Luna a bit more of an emotional response, if only internally. She's bordering on stoic about it, and if she were more touched by the remembrance of the song, it might carry more power. Now I do see that the song comes in important, but note that only a small part of it is, and only the fact that it was remembered, not the words themselves. At least the remembered part is short enough that readers will probably stick with it, so I'd encourage you to limit it to that and gloss over the rest of it as Luna continuing to sing.

The only other thing I'd point out is the sheer amount of repetition: Sentence after sentence with the same structure, several paragraphs in a row starting with the same thing, repeated use of words and phrases in a close space without a thematic reason for doing so. I've also pointed out the specific example of "to be." Just looking for the most common forms, I counted over 200. That is incredibly high. I pointed out one sentence where you used that verb unnecessarily in one clause, then picked an action verb in the other clause where you could have been lazy and used another "to be" verb. It causes several problems: overuse of passive voice (somewhat of a problem here), telly language (again, some), and a need for more active verb choice (this is the main one). Keep an eye out for these verbs as you read back through and eliminate a bunch of these. It's impractical to go without them entirely, but you should have no trouble getting rid of the majority of them.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The storm clouds over Ponyville parted with a flash of lightning and a peal of thunder.//</span><br />Do you realize how close this is to &quot;It was a dark and stormy night&quot;?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was pulled by a duo of armored, bat-winged pegasi//</span><br />I don&#039;t see the need for passive voice here. It transfers the focus onto the chariot or the action, neither of which is interesting. Let the batponies carry the focus.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Carnival games and food stands were set up all throughout the streets, and a silver and blue flag adorned with a crescent moon waved proudly atop the Town Hall.//</span><br />I&#039;m seeing an awful lot of &quot;to be&quot; verbs so far. They&#039;re inherently boring. It&#039;s much more interesting to read about what happens not what is. Compare your two clauses here. The secon uses an active verb (waved) that makes it a more vivid read. I&#039;m still getting a lot of passive voice, though.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>thump</i>//</span><br />No need to italicize this as a sound effect. It&#039;s a valid word. Just leave it alone.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna released the concealing shadows, flying out of the chariot//</span><br />Watch for misplaced modifiers, particularly participles. It sounds like the shadows are flying out of the chariot.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;returned, and the moonlight gently faded away. Luna’s eyes returned//</span><br />Watch repetition of words in a close space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And finally we get some kind of emotional reaction from Luna. She&#039;d been awfully stoic up until now. You might want to bring in this aspect earlier, maybe her apprehension at how she would be received. The sooner you can make that emotional connection with a reader, the sooner you can grab his interest.</span><br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;thousand year-old//</span><br />Hyphenate the whole thing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna landed gracefully on the ground.//</span><br />The &quot;on the ground&quot; part is useless filler. Since the narrator is in Luna&#039;s perspective, it&#039;s odd for her to judge the landing as graceful herself. Perhaps just give me a few of her actions and their intent rather than have her draw the conclusion for me.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;heard several sighs of audible relief.//</span><br />First, these &quot;with/of/in emotion&quot; phrases are almost always telly and redundant with something already in the sentence Second, if she heard it, then you don&#039;t need to tell me it&#039;s audible.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to not be//</span><br />I&#039;m more of a stickler for split infinitives than most. While I&#039;ll still let many slide, these &quot;not&quot; ones are just so grating. &quot;not to be&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna mingled with the crowd for a few minutes, exchanging pleasantries and providing advice and blessings as royals are wont to do. However, her eyes kept scanning the crowd//</span><br />Repetition of &quot;crowd.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘Twould//</span><br />Your smart quotes have given you an open quotation mark instead of an apostrophe. I suspect there are more of these; you&#039;ll have to find them and force them the other way.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna shook her head in amusement.//</span><br />Another one of these redundant &quot;in emotion&quot; phrases.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;decorations of the transformed Ponyville.</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was clear that the town had pulled out all the stops. Every building was adorned with various decorations</span><br />More repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;haybales//</span><br />hay bales<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Low hanging//</span><br />Hyphenate your compound descriptors. I&#039;ve seen a few of these.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;S-So//</span><br />Unless it&#039;s a proper noun, only capitalize the first part of a stutter.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight said with a stutter//</span><br />And there&#039;s no need to point out the stutter when we already saw it in the speech.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;damper//</span><br />You sure you didn&#039;t mean &quot;dampen&quot;? Damper is only a noun.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna&#039;s tone gained a bitter tinge//</span><br />Given that she holds the perspective, it&#039;s odd for her to get at the bitterness indirectly through her tone or even notice it there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“I can… ”//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;T-Thank//</span><br />Consider what sound would actually be repeated. &quot;Th-thank&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was probably just that Twilight was a tad absentminded, and tended to turn inward for her reflections.//</span><br />See the section on at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Passersby stopped to gawk as they went, their faces were filled with awe and excitement.//</span><br />You&#039;ve either got a comma splice there, or you&#039;ve inserted an extraneous word into the second part that was supposed to be an absolute phrase.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>dings!</i>//</span><br />Yeah, axe the sound effects.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;One-hundred eighty//</span><br />No hyphen.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;figid//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but however//</span><br />Redundant.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;laser-like//</span><br />So… ponies know what lasers are?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Princess Celestia laid comfortably on her favorite silk pillow//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;pulled a toffee out a small candy bag//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and who know?//</span><br />Verb form.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The symptoms are all there: Lapses in awareness, physical fatigue, a primal, almost magnetic attraction to darkness, and spiritual deterioration.//</span><br />Only capitalize after a colon if it refers to multiple sentences.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The two of them had relocated to the balcony connected to the study.//</span><br />This is a really odd transition. Just tell me when they walk out there. Don&#039;t have it happen but hold back on telling me until after the fact.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her face quickly fell back into a morose melancholy//</span><br />Watch the telling. Better to describe how she looks in more basic terms and let the reader decode how she feels from it. There&#039;s a section on this at the top of the thread, too. Some telliness is fine, but we&#039;re at a pretty critical part of the story here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She stood there with her jaw hanging open for a few seconds while Luna stood there//</span><br />More repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She turned away to glower at nothing in particular//</span><br />Watch the head-hopping. This scene had been in Luna&#039;s perspective, but only Celestia would characterize it as &quot;nothing in particular.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;ONLY//</span><br />Except in cases of Royal Canterlot Voice, italics are preferred for emphasis.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I’m okay with that, but then that’s the only time you can do it. Fair?//</span><br />This is incredibly petty and narrow-minded of her, given that they&#039;re discussing the health of their subjects and that ceding to Luna on this matter is probably to everyone&#039;s benefit.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia rubbed the bridge of her nose.//</span><br />Do ponies even have this? You might better just characterize it as rubbing between her eyes.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia ignited another fire beside herself to keep warm.//</span><br />They&#039;re still out on the balcony. There&#039;s a facility out there for this?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia blinked. “As in, right here, right now?”//</span><br />This is now the eighth paragraph in a row that goes: &lt;Short simple sentence with a token action. Speech.&gt; It&#039;s really getting a plodding feel, like I&#039;m reading a list.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;you’re going to be leaving your body behind, aren’t you? //</span><br />This necessarily begins a new sentence—it couldn&#039;t follow syntactically from the first. Capitalize.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I can only hope that one day I’ll find a way to make it up to you.//</span><br />This is awfullt rushed, and an odd time to bring it up. It might be worth getting at her motivation for saying this or drawing it out a bit so it&#039;s not so sudden. It smacks of going for a needless emotional reaction from the reader that&#039;s tangential at best to the story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;rebooted//</span><br />Another word choice that&#039;s questionable as part of the pony lexicon.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;experimentation//</span><br />Used that twice within a few sentences.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;into the city of Canterlot beyond. She called upon the power of the Garden and stretched herself out even farther, extending past the city, out into the valley beyond//</span><br />Even more repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The damage of being exposed to a thousand years of light//</span><br />Are you saying the effects are cumulative over generations? Because you just mentioned that she&#039;s gathering those less than three years old, so they don&#039;t have a thousand years of exposure… only three. Even the adults would only have some small finite length as well.<br /><br />A word about song lyrics. Some readers simply skip them as a rule. I give them a chance, but I stop if I see that they&#039;re not bearing any of the plot. Unless there&#039;s something critical in them, like a song that gives Twilight a clue to the location of an artifact, for instance, they don&#039;t serve much purpose. Aside from a bit of needless mood-setting, I can&#039;t say these add anything.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;enormous, teal//</span><br />These are hierarchical adjectives and don&#039;t need a comma between them.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;face-to-face//</span><br />When used in a manner like this, where it doesn&#039;t precede its object (you&#039;re using it as a predicate adjective), you don&#039;t need the hyphens.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“<i>I am your Princess.”</i>//</span><br />It looks like your open quotes are in normal font, while the close quotes are in italics. You do this multiple times.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The children weren&#039;t as bright as they once were anymore. Their outlines were faint, and their eyes were half-lidded with dreamy looks on their faces. Luna wished she could keep them here longer, to share with them the true wonders and beauty of the night, but they foals were too impressionable. She welcomed those who had an affinity for darkness, yes, but too much of it would be just as much of a problem as an overabundance of light.//</span><br />I&#039;ve gone through dozens of sentences in this area and only counted two that didn&#039;t start with the subject. This part of the story really needs some variety in sentence structure, but don&#039;t go overboard with it. A little here and there works wonders.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but they foals were too impressionable//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;split throughout the sky like a meteor shower//</span><br />Actually, a meteor shower is pretty organized. The meteors all emanate from a common spot and all move in the same direction.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but if nothing else, then they’ll just need the same treatment as the adults.//</span><br />Get rid of that &quot;then.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia defended//</span><br />Questionable choice of speaking verb. It takes a direct object, but that object is the thing being defended, not the words that do so.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;They may want to go back If they were to have any memories of it//</span><br />Extraneous capitalization.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twenty Five Years Later-//</span><br />Surely there&#039;s a less blunt instrument you can use than this. Work it into the narration, have it revealed in some dialogue, etc.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;long tonight due to things starting with an unnaturally long//</span><br />Repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Minute’s widened.//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Things had gone well over the last two and a half decades//</span><br />See? You did it nicely there. Now you don&#039;t need that obtrusive opening line for this scene.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She had her own Realm now//</span><br />That&#039;s a rather teasing thing to insinuate without explaining anything.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna was grateful//</span><br />Start here and scroll back up a bit. Note how repetitive the first words of each paragraph are.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She was just glad that there hadn&#039;t been any lasting effects, a shift in either direction could cause ponykind to descend into madness.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“W—Where….”//</span><br />Again, consider what sound would actually be repeated (wh-where). You also need a hyphen for the stutter, not a dash, and you have one too many dots in the ellipsis.<br /><br />Nice story, but you might want to allow Luna a bit more of an emotional response, if only internally. She&#039;s bordering on stoic about it, and if she were more touched by the remembrance of the song, it might carry more power. Now I do see that the song comes in important, but note that only a small part of it is, and only the fact that it was remembered, not the words themselves. At least the remembered part is short enough that readers will probably stick with it, so I&#039;d encourage you to limit it to that and gloss over the rest of it as Luna continuing to sing.<br /><br />The only other thing I&#039;d point out is the sheer amount of repetition: Sentence after sentence with the same structure, several paragraphs in a row starting with the same thing, repeated use of words and phrases in a close space without a thematic reason for doing so. I&#039;ve also pointed out the specific example of &quot;to be.&quot; Just looking for the most common forms, I counted over 200. That is incredibly high. I pointed out one sentence where you used that verb unnecessarily in one clause, then picked an action verb in the other clause where you could have been lazy and used another &quot;to be&quot; verb. It causes several problems: overuse of passive voice (somewhat of a problem here), telly language (again, some), and a need for more active verb choice (this is the main one). Keep an eye out for these verbs as you read back through and eliminate a bunch of these. It&#039;s impractical to go without them entirely, but you should have no trouble getting rid of the majority of them.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 49

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 was found in the woods as a foal//

What was that scene break for? You didn't change perspective, time, or location. Cadance is still right there talking to Shining Armor, and weirdly waffling back and forth between narrating and speaking.

>before-//

Please use a proper dash for interruptions.

>She cast a spell that drained the warm feelings of the villagers in an empty attempt to fill the void in her heart.//

So… she's a changeling?

>You can't do this!//

As this is the first piece of dialogue, you should identify the speaker with a speech tag. You can settle into going without tags later, once we've gotten accustomed to the various characters' voices.

>"No time to waste, then. I shall begin immediately."//

That's awfully florid language for one who warrants being addressed as "child."

>not the imposing structure of stone and wood suspended from an overgrown grove of trees entwined together I found before me//

This is a very winding sentence that changes focus so many times that it just comes across as a jumble. If these are all ideas worth mentioning, you could stand to do so over a few sentences.

>"So I'm going to be your friend."//

This whole exchange is very forced. She's already decided sight-unseen to befriend this mare? It's going to take a little more of her internal reasoning to get me there. Otherwise it just ends up as this incongruous mix of naivete and very mature vocabulary.

>I could tell I struck a nerve, though she tried not to let it show.//

For the previous dozen or so paragraphs, I've gotten barely three character actions. Have a look at the section on Talking Heads at the top of this thread.

>my fear that what happened next//

This is an odd juxtaposition, given that she just told Prismia that was her fear, and I doubt you did this intentionally, since you're not making a point from it.

>After the mob is through with me, you should go back to them. Don't throw your life away over three days with an unlovable monster.//

That's a very abrupt change of heart. And given that it's a main point of the story, it's not helping you to gloss over it all. Let me see a more gradual transformation.

>The flames spread like-//

Use a proper dash for asides, too.

>– not that it was literally a room, but close enough,//

Again use a proper dash, and pair it with one at the end of the aside.

>your majesty//

Capitalize the honorific.

>Aunt Tia grinned slyly.//

You're really wavering between flashback mode and having present-day Cadance narrate. It's disorienting. Here, she's at least working more in flashback mode, when she wouldn't refer to Celestia as such.

So you framed the story as Cadance talking to Shining Armor, then went into the flashback with a scene break, waffled on whether it was actually being presented as a flashback, then went back to Shining Armor without a scene break. It's just very… inconsistent.

Cadance also concentrates so much on what happens at the expense of how any of it made her feel. This is an amazing experience, and yet it all comes across very factually, as if she's reading a lab report.

That's really the big overall advice I have, since it's the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed before ironing out the details: find a consistent narrative voice and forge a much more emotional connection between Cadance and the reader so that he cares what happens to her. The story is really all about the emotions of this experience; Shining Armor doesn't seem particularly interested, and the outcome is already known, so conveying her personal experience is the only thing left, and it does that in a fairly cold manner.
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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I was found in the woods as a foal//</span><br />What was that scene break for? You didn&#039;t change perspective, time, or location. Cadance is still right there talking to Shining Armor, and weirdly waffling back and forth between narrating and speaking.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;before-//</span><br />Please use a proper dash for interruptions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She cast a spell that drained the warm feelings of the villagers in an empty attempt to fill the void in her heart.//</span><br />So… she&#039;s a changeling?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You can&#039;t do this!//</span><br />As this is the first piece of dialogue, you should identify the speaker with a speech tag. You can settle into going without tags later, once we&#039;ve gotten accustomed to the various characters&#039; voices.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;No time to waste, then. I shall begin immediately.&quot;//</span><br />That&#039;s awfully florid language for one who warrants being addressed as &quot;child.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;not the imposing structure of stone and wood suspended from an overgrown grove of trees entwined together I found before me//</span><br />This is a very winding sentence that changes focus so many times that it just comes across as a jumble. If these are all ideas worth mentioning, you could stand to do so over a few sentences.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;So I&#039;m going to be your friend.&quot;//</span><br />This whole exchange is very forced. She&#039;s already decided sight-unseen to befriend this mare? It&#039;s going to take a little more of her internal reasoning to get me there. Otherwise it just ends up as this incongruous mix of naivete and very mature vocabulary.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I could tell I struck a nerve, though she tried not to let it show.//</span><br />For the previous dozen or so paragraphs, I&#039;ve gotten barely three character actions. Have a look at the section on Talking Heads at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;my fear that what happened next//</span><br />This is an odd juxtaposition, given that she just told Prismia that was her fear, and I doubt you did this intentionally, since you&#039;re not making a point from it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;After the mob is through with me, you should go back to them. Don&#039;t throw your life away over three days with an unlovable monster.//</span><br />That&#039;s a very abrupt change of heart. And given that it&#039;s a main point of the story, it&#039;s not helping you to gloss over it all. Let me see a more gradual transformation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The flames spread like-//</span><br />Use a proper dash for asides, too.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;– not that it was literally a room, but close enough,//</span><br />Again use a proper dash, and pair it with one at the end of the aside.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;your majesty//</span><br />Capitalize the honorific.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Aunt Tia grinned slyly.//</span><br />You&#039;re really wavering between flashback mode and having present-day Cadance narrate. It&#039;s disorienting. Here, she&#039;s at least working more in flashback mode, when she wouldn&#039;t refer to Celestia as such.<br /><br />So you framed the story as Cadance talking to Shining Armor, then went into the flashback with a scene break, waffled on whether it was actually being presented as a flashback, then went back to Shining Armor <i>without</i> a scene break. It&#039;s just very… inconsistent.<br /><br />Cadance also concentrates so much on what happens at the expense of how any of it made her feel. This is an amazing experience, and yet it all comes across very factually, as if she&#039;s reading a lab report.<br /><br />That&#039;s really the big overall advice I have, since it&#039;s the elephant in the room that needs to be addressed before ironing out the details: find a consistent narrative voice and forge a much more emotional connection between Cadance and the reader so that he cares what happens to her. The story is really all about the emotions of this experience; Shining Armor doesn&#039;t seem particularly interested, and the outcome is already known, so conveying her personal experience is the only thing left, and it does that in a fairly cold manner.<br /><div class="last-edit-time"><br/>Last edited at <span class="posttime">Mon, Dec 2nd, 2013 21:48</span></div><br/>

story Anonymous 50

>>129233

First off, thank you for the detailed review. It's incredibly valuable to me.

I won't comment on the mechanical things and simply fix them. Since you wondered, though: I'm not British, but German.

You're right that the story lacks conflict and character growth. It's more an emotional picture than a story, really. This is wanted, though; AJ's life is static, and it is the lack of conflict/progression that breaks her. Some sort of character growth in the timespan of a single day would be unrealistic, and a longer timespan would break the concept. I'm pretty lost on how to fix this.

Thanks for making me aware of the "piling on" issue. I've had someone comment before that the story felt too manipulative, which made him shield himself from the emotions. I didn't heed his words then, but having it spelled out here certainly made me see the point. I guess I wanted to cram in too much. Dementia and only living through your progeny are old-people-problems, too… I tried to include some happy memories as counterbalance, but all that is heavily outweighed by bad-ends. I'll work it over.<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129233" onclick="return highlight('129233', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129233">&gt;&gt;129233</a><br /><br />First off, thank you for the detailed review. It&#039;s incredibly valuable to me.<br /><br />I won&#039;t comment on the mechanical things and simply fix them. Since you wondered, though: I&#039;m not British, but German.<br /><br />You&#039;re right that the story lacks conflict and character growth. It&#039;s more an emotional picture than a story, really. This is wanted, though; AJ&#039;s life is static, and it is the lack of conflict/progression that breaks her. Some sort of character growth in the timespan of a single day would be unrealistic, and a longer timespan would break the concept. I&#039;m pretty lost on how to fix this.<br /><br />Thanks for making me aware of the &quot;piling on&quot; issue. I&#039;ve had someone comment before that the story felt too manipulative, which made him shield himself from the emotions. I didn&#039;t heed his words then, but having it spelled out here certainly made me see the point. I guess I wanted to cram in too much. Dementia and only living through your progeny are old-people-problems, too… I tried to include some happy memories as counterbalance, but all that is heavily outweighed by bad-ends. I&#039;ll work it over.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 51

>>129253
Even though we're only with AJ for one day, that doesn't mean you can't grow her or give us some insight into her character. The AJ we get at the end of the story is the exact same one we have at the beginning. Aside from finding out why she's sad, there's not much point in reading. Let us learn something surprising about her. Let her come to an important realization about herself. Let her come to a turning point and make a decision. Something.

Not that you can't have a story like this that has a thin plot, but they're difficult to do well.<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129253" onclick="return highlight('129253', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129253">&gt;&gt;129253</a><br />Even though we&#039;re only with AJ for one day, that doesn&#039;t mean you can&#039;t grow her or give us some insight into her character. The AJ we get at the end of the story is the exact same one we have at the beginning. Aside from finding out <i>why</i> she&#039;s sad, there&#039;s not much point in reading. Let us learn something surprising about her. Let her come to an important realization about herself. Let her come to a turning point and make a decision. Something.<br /><br />Not that you can&#039;t have a story like this that has a thin plot, but they&#039;re difficult to do well.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 52

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.

Synopsis:

This needs a ton of help. Your first bit tells us this story's relation to another. Move that to the end, and put it in a separate paragraph. Next, we get a sentence the twist and winds so much that it loses focus. We have <Adverbial prepositional phrase>, <another adverbial prepositional phrase>, <subject>, <appositive>, <second item in list>, <third item in list>, <predicate>, <appositive with its own internal comma>. Seven commas in one sentence. You're making it do too much. Please write out the number, and it's not necessary to capitalize after the colon, since it doesn't refer to multiple sentences. Then finally, we get teo sentences that address the reader (you). They can be tricky to avoid, but it is possible.

Story:

That first paragraph really doesn't accomplish anything. It speaks in bland generalities and doesn't get to the point.

I'm only a couple of paragraphs in and I'm already noting the number of colons. It's not that they're misused; it's that there are so many that it feels unnatural. You don't want the writing calling attention to itself, and this is one thing that will do it: overusing unusual punctuation or language. Now that I look, there are only three colons in the text, but guess what? They're all within the first four paragraphs. That's setting an initial impression that you don't want.

>The shining streets were bustling with commotion and activity. Street venders and activities at every corner visited by the crystal ponies who, on this day, seemed to shine a little brighter than usual.//

Passive voice is often a bad choice, but pasrticularly so early in the story, where you need action to grab the reader's interest. That second sentence is incomplete as well, and oddly so. You're not taking a conversational tone, and I don't see a thematic reason for it.

>the largest crowds were not visiting flugelhorn or hatstands, or even watching the jousts. Rather, it was the newscolts who attracted the largest crowds.//

Watch for close repetition of words and phrases. You've reused "the largest crowds" here for no apparent stylistic reason.

>One-hundred//

Hyphens only go between the tens and ones words. Twenty-three, eighty-six thousand, four hundred sixty-one.

>a dark, a robed figure//

Extraneous word.

>The figure moved to the thinnest part of the crowd//

This is the seventh instance of "crowd" in the last five paragraphs.

>adorned in brown vestiges contrary towards it’s onyx-colored counterpart//

This is horribly contorted. First, I don't think "vestige" is the word you want here. Perhaps "vestments"? You've confused "it's" with "its," and your language of "contrary… counterpart" is fairly redundant. Furthermore how does brown contrast with onyx? Much onyx is brown, and onyx is preferably in high contrast to itself anyway, mixing a light hue with a dark one, so in contrast to contrast is… bland?

>The slender cloaked pony raised a hoof, carefully pulling back the hood of the cloak revealing a white face, a horn, and a few locks of her long, scarlet mane protruding from the shadows of her attire, her purple eyes glistening just as brightly as her crystal coat.//

Another sentence that rambles on so long that it loses focus. It goes from the pony to the cloak to a number of her features to her cloak again to her features again. If these are all truly important, they deserve to be digested in smaller chunks. You also use three participles in the sentence. Repetition of structure is as bad as repetition of words.

>casted//

cast

>horrendous//

Now you need to be careful with your narrative voice. Who is making this judgment? The narrator isn't in any character's perspective, so he's essentially telling me this is how I should feel about them, but I don't have any evidence to agree with him.

>After the attack I was so worried, I know you live near the outskirts so I would’ve come//

That comma is a splice, and you're missing one later in the sentence. See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>placed a hoof towards//

"Place" connotes setting something still, but "towards" indicates motion. This doesn't fit.

>Jokes. She wasn’t exactly a fan of this stallion’s humor, and right now certainly was not a time for joking. This was the greatest disaster which the empire had seen since the second age!//

Way too abrupt. You have to ease through transitions of perspective. Your narrator has been objective so far, and without any warning, we're pushed very deep into her thoughts. It's jarring. You have to do these things smoothly. As the only established perspective, this also suggests she's the one making the judgment of "horrendous" earlier, but we know that's not the case.

>She was at a loss for words.//

You don't need to narrate what's already apparent from the speech.

>Woah//

Why can nobody ever spell this right? Whoa.

And now we're tossed into his perspective. See the section at the top of this thread on head-hopping.

>city state//

city-state

>then," he turned to the mare, "Gloriana//

That's not how to punctuate a narrative aside in a quote.
then—" he turned to the mare "—Gloriana

>Gloriana put a hoof to Somber’s horn, pushing him back, nearly causing him to lose his balance as he clumsily regained his hoofing.//

Note that participles and "as" or "while" clauses synchronize actions, so the "put," "pushing," "causing," and "regained" all happen at the same time. That doesn't work.

>and bitterly added//

I'm seeing a lot of these -ly adverbs. Some are okay, but it doesn't take many to make the story telly. See the section at the top of this thread on show versus tell. To paraphrase, I have no indication of her mood here except for that one word. It's better to get me to interpret her mood through details of how she looks and acts, and what inflections she makes in her speech. Show me what and observer would note about her, not what conclusions he would draw from what he sees.

>Somber couldn’t help but laugh at her plight//

Missing end punctuation.

>Nobles were notorious for never being able to swallow their pride, and even Gloriana was no exception.//

This is a rather subjective statement, but I have no idea who holds the perspective here, so I don't know whose opinion it is. It's a fine point, but if you instead phrase it as "The populace commonly considered nobles to be notorious…" then you've changed it from the narrator's opinion to a statement of fact.

>“It’s okay” he assured her.//

Dialogue punctuation.

>Stallion//

Why is this capitalized?

>I'll get to you throughPalace garden.//

Something's clearly messed up.

>She lied down//

Lay/lie confusion. Actually, it's confusion of two different meanings of "lie."

>her armed held//

Typo, and… she has an arm?

>I must be insane for leaving behind any more nights like this….

A four-dot ellipsis is typical for formal writing, but it's unusual to see in fiction.

>He looked down at Gloriana, sliding out from underneath her grasp.//

Another thing to watch with participles: they're common candidates for misplaced modifiers. Due to their proximity, it sounds like Gloriana is the one "sliding."

>With that//

Phrases like this and "at that point" are horribly self-referential to the narration.

>he carefully trotted to the window, undoing the latch.//

Here's another example of a synchronization issue. He can't undo the latch at the same time he's trotting to the window, unless you want to add some language to say he's doing it with his magic.

>Camp Spyrius//

Another one of these oddly off-putting introductions.

>cyan coated//

You've done pretty well with hyphenating your compound descriptors, so this may just be an oversight.

>the shine of his coat dimmed from exhaustion and perspiration//

Wouldn't perspiration increase the shine?

>The unicorn smugly replied “Well isn’t that a first?”//

Another dialogue punctuation error. There's a section on this at the top of the thread.

>trying as he tried//

Looks like you changed your mind and forgot to delete the loser.

>but–//

Looks like you missed one of these.

>turning to lay down//

Lay/lie confusion.

>?’.//

Doubled end punctuation.

>being a unicorn and all//

You'd capitalized "unicorn" in chapter 1. Be consistent.

>‘em//

Your smart quotes have made the apostrophe backward.

>The cyan stallion//

You're using this phrase quite a lot. See the section at the top of this thread on Lavender Unicorn Syndrome.

>half-heartedly//

halfheartedly

>the atmosphere of the camp was filled with fear; the fear of certain death.//

Misused semicolon. There's no independent clause anywhere after it.

>little more than police officers, and with the low crime rate they did little more than//

Repetition.

>three-dozen//

No reason to hyphenate that.

The writing here was mostly good. The dialogue was well done, and while the narration had a few nice turns of phrase, it felt stiff and unnatural in places. The story itself is fine—it's more that there are so many of these niggling errors. I'd say the two major ones are the flighty narrator and the overabundance of participial phrases, sometimes several in one sentence, which can also cause timing problems and be misplaced modifiers.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.<br /><br />Synopsis:<br /><br />This needs a ton of help. Your first bit tells us this story&#039;s relation to another. Move that to the end, and put it in a separate paragraph. Next, we get a sentence the twist and winds so much that it loses focus. We have &lt;Adverbial prepositional phrase&gt;, &lt;another adverbial prepositional phrase&gt;, &lt;subject&gt;, &lt;appositive&gt;, &lt;second item in list&gt;, &lt;third item in list&gt;, &lt;predicate&gt;, &lt;appositive with its own internal comma&gt;. Seven commas in one sentence. You&#039;re making it do too much. Please write out the number, and it&#039;s not necessary to capitalize after the colon, since it doesn&#039;t refer to multiple sentences. Then finally, we get teo sentences that address the reader (you). They can be tricky to avoid, but it is possible.<br /><br />Story:<br /><br />That first paragraph really doesn&#039;t accomplish anything. It speaks in bland generalities and doesn&#039;t get to the point.<br /><br />I&#039;m only a couple of paragraphs in and I&#039;m already noting the number of colons. It&#039;s not that they&#039;re misused; it&#039;s that there are so many that it feels unnatural. You don&#039;t want the writing calling attention to itself, and this is one thing that will do it: overusing unusual punctuation or language. Now that I look, there are only three colons in the text, but guess what? They&#039;re all within the first four paragraphs. That&#039;s setting an initial impression that you don&#039;t want.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The shining streets were bustling with commotion and activity. Street venders and activities at every corner visited by the crystal ponies who, on this day, seemed to shine a little brighter than usual.//</span><br />Passive voice is often a bad choice, but pasrticularly so early in the story, where you need action to grab the reader&#039;s interest. That second sentence is incomplete as well, and oddly so. You&#039;re not taking a conversational tone, and I don&#039;t see a thematic reason for it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the largest crowds were not visiting flugelhorn or hatstands, or even watching the jousts. Rather, it was the newscolts who attracted the largest crowds.//</span><br />Watch for close repetition of words and phrases. You&#039;ve reused &quot;the largest crowds&quot; here for no apparent stylistic reason.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;One-hundred//</span><br />Hyphens only go between the tens and ones words. Twenty-three, eighty-six thousand, four hundred sixty-one.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a dark, a robed figure//</span><br />Extraneous word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The figure moved to the thinnest part of the crowd//</span><br />This is the seventh instance of &quot;crowd&quot; in the last five paragraphs.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;adorned in brown vestiges contrary towards it’s onyx-colored counterpart//</span><br />This is horribly contorted. First, I don&#039;t think &quot;vestige&quot; is the word you want here. Perhaps &quot;vestments&quot;? You&#039;ve confused &quot;it&#039;s&quot; with &quot;its,&quot; and your language of &quot;contrary… counterpart&quot; is fairly redundant. Furthermore how does brown contrast with onyx? Much onyx is brown, and onyx is preferably in high contrast to itself anyway, mixing a light hue with a dark one, so in contrast to contrast is… bland?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The slender cloaked pony raised a hoof, carefully pulling back the hood of the cloak revealing a white face, a horn, and a few locks of her long, scarlet mane protruding from the shadows of her attire, her purple eyes glistening just as brightly as her crystal coat.//</span><br />Another sentence that rambles on so long that it loses focus. It goes from the pony to the cloak to a number of her features to her cloak again to her features again. If these are all truly important, they deserve to be digested in smaller chunks. You also use three participles in the sentence. Repetition of structure is as bad as repetition of words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;casted//</span><br />cast<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;horrendous//</span><br />Now you need to be careful with your narrative voice. Who is making this judgment? The narrator isn&#039;t in any character&#039;s perspective, so he&#039;s essentially telling me this is how I should feel about them, but I don&#039;t have any evidence to agree with him.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;After the attack I was so worried, I know you live near the outskirts so I would’ve come//</span><br />That comma is a splice, and you&#039;re missing one later in the sentence. See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;placed a hoof towards//</span><br />&quot;Place&quot; connotes setting something still, but &quot;towards&quot; indicates motion. This doesn&#039;t fit.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Jokes. She wasn’t exactly a fan of this stallion’s humor, and right now certainly was not a time for joking. This was the greatest disaster which the empire had seen since the second age!//</span><br />Way too abrupt. You have to ease through transitions of perspective. Your narrator has been objective so far, and without any warning, we&#039;re pushed very deep into her thoughts. It&#039;s jarring. You have to do these things smoothly. As the only established perspective, this also suggests she&#039;s the one making the judgment of &quot;horrendous&quot; earlier, but we know that&#039;s not the case.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She was at a loss for words.//</span><br />You don&#039;t need to narrate what&#039;s already apparent from the speech.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Woah//</span><br />Why can nobody ever spell this right? Whoa.<br /><br />And now we&#039;re tossed into his perspective. See the section at the top of this thread on head-hopping.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;city state//</span><br />city-state<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;then,&quot; he turned to the mare, &quot;Gloriana//</span><br />That&#039;s not how to punctuate a narrative aside in a quote.<br />then—&quot; he turned to the mare &quot;—Gloriana<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Gloriana put a hoof to Somber’s horn, pushing him back, nearly causing him to lose his balance as he clumsily regained his hoofing.//</span><br />Note that participles and &quot;as&quot; or &quot;while&quot; clauses synchronize actions, so the &quot;put,&quot; &quot;pushing,&quot; &quot;causing,&quot; and &quot;regained&quot; all happen at the same time. That doesn&#039;t work.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and bitterly added//</span><br />I&#039;m seeing a lot of these -ly adverbs. Some are okay, but it doesn&#039;t take many to make the story telly. See the section at the top of this thread on show versus tell. To paraphrase, I have no indication of her mood here except for that one word. It&#039;s better to get me to interpret her mood through details of how she looks and acts, and what inflections she makes in her speech. Show me what and observer would note about her, not what conclusions he would draw from what he sees.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Somber couldn’t help but laugh at her plight//</span><br />Missing end punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Nobles were notorious for never being able to swallow their pride, and even Gloriana was no exception.//</span><br />This is a rather subjective statement, but I have no idea who holds the perspective here, so I don&#039;t know whose opinion it is. It&#039;s a fine point, but if you instead phrase it as &quot;The populace commonly considered nobles to be notorious…&quot; then you&#039;ve changed it from the narrator&#039;s opinion to a statement of fact.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“It’s okay” he assured her.//</span><br />Dialogue punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Stallion//</span><br />Why is this capitalized?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I&#039;ll get to you throughPalace garden.//</span><br />Something&#039;s clearly messed up.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She lied down//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion. Actually, it&#039;s confusion of two different meanings of &quot;lie.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her armed held//</span><br />Typo, and… she has an arm?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>I must be insane for leaving behind any more nights like this….</i></span><br />A four-dot ellipsis is typical for formal writing, but it&#039;s unusual to see in fiction.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He looked down at Gloriana, sliding out from underneath her grasp.//</span><br />Another thing to watch with participles: they&#039;re common candidates for misplaced modifiers. Due to their proximity, it sounds like Gloriana is the one &quot;sliding.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With that//</span><br />Phrases like this and &quot;at that point&quot; are horribly self-referential to the narration.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;he carefully trotted to the window, undoing the latch.//</span><br />Here&#039;s another example of a synchronization issue. He can&#039;t undo the latch at the same time he&#039;s trotting to the window, unless you want to add some language to say he&#039;s doing it with his magic.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Camp Spyrius//</span><br />Another one of these oddly off-putting introductions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;cyan coated//</span><br />You&#039;ve done pretty well with hyphenating your compound descriptors, so this may just be an oversight.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the shine of his coat dimmed from exhaustion and perspiration//</span><br />Wouldn&#039;t perspiration increase the shine?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The unicorn smugly replied “Well isn’t that a first?”//</span><br />Another dialogue punctuation error. There&#039;s a section on this at the top of the thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;trying as he tried//</span><br />Looks like you changed your mind and forgot to delete the loser.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but–//</span><br />Looks like you missed one of these.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;turning to lay down//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;?’.//</span><br />Doubled end punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;being a unicorn and all//</span><br />You&#039;d capitalized &quot;unicorn&quot; in chapter 1. Be consistent.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘em//</span><br />Your smart quotes have made the apostrophe backward.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The cyan stallion//</span><br />You&#039;re using this phrase quite a lot. See the section at the top of this thread on Lavender Unicorn Syndrome.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;half-heartedly//</span><br />halfheartedly<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the atmosphere of the camp was filled with fear; the fear of certain death.//</span><br />Misused semicolon. There&#039;s no independent clause anywhere after it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;little more than police officers, and with the low crime rate they did little more than//</span><br />Repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;three-dozen//</span><br />No reason to hyphenate that.<br /><br />The writing here was mostly good. The dialogue was well done, and while the narration had a few nice turns of phrase, it felt stiff and unnatural in places. The story itself is fine—it&#039;s more that there are so many of these niggling errors. I&#039;d say the two major ones are the flighty narrator and the overabundance of participial phrases, sometimes several in one sentence, which can also cause timing problems and be misplaced modifiers.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 53

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.

>Applejack stares up into the azure sea searching for just one single nimbus; a beacon of hope to light the fetid dark disaster of her wilting crop.//

Participial phrases ("searching for just one single nimbus") are normally set off with commas. Furthermore, they're prime candidates for misplaced modifiers. Due to its placement in the sentence, it sounds like the "azure sea" is searching, not Applejack. Finally, the semicolon is misused; there is no independent clause anywhere after it.

>if just a few trees could survive this terrible drought//

Given that the weather over Sweet Apple Acres is controlled by pegasi, why would they have let it get this bad? It bears some explanation.

>The leaves have long ago lost their luscious hues and all about reeks with the silent air of decay.//

See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>An’ plenty of it.//

Here's your problem with Applejack's section in a nutshell. If you'd kept the narrator completely objective, I could have at least understood the desire to write in this purple a fashion. But you had the narrator himself delve into her thoughts and present them as his own, and especially here, where you even have him take on her voice. It's a good idea anyway to have a narrator adopt the focus character's general word choice and intelligence level when being subjectively in that character's viewpoint, but especially when you effectively make that character the narrator. In short, this section is supposed to be Applejack communicating her thoughts to me, but it sounds nothing like her. Pinkie was marginally better, and Dash's daytime section was actually convincing. Rarity's and Twilight's parts fit them well enough.

>She has to water the trees, the crop, she cannot spare long from their side, only long enough to sleep a couple of hours//

Comma splices abound. I can appreciate taking some artistic license in ignoring grammatical rules, but they have to be for a purpose. I don't see one here. Rambling on like this tends to communicate that a character is becoming unfocused or upset, and while I can believe she would be, given the situation, there's nothing in the narration to indicate she feels that way. Convince me that she's feeling desperate, and this kind of speech might flow more naturally.

>But…there were normally orders, orders for her scrim-scrumptious sweetastic treats…nopony seemed hungerful in this silly-solly heatwave…still, it can’t hurt to keep plenty of fantastic delights on the go, just in case…just in case somepony comes in; it doesn’t do to have a happy shop short of munchables.//

This is just too much. You have at least four sentences shoved together with ellipses in what seems to be attempting a deep stream-of-consciousness style (which you also tried at the end of Applejack's part in an odd switch of tactics) that's difficult to pull off and keep interesting. Word to the wise: many readers find this irritating.

>door - the stench//

Please use proper dashes.

>why can’t you help them Fluttershy?//

Missing comma for direct address.

>The fire crackles mirthlessly as the shadows pressed//

Verb tense inconsistency.

>to say: “you are nothing.//

Missed capitalization.

>‘cause//

Smart quotes always draw leading apostrophes in the wrong direction. You'll have to force it. There's more than one of these.

>She can’t stop looking, so she looks at the fire…try not to close your eyes, just keep looking, got to keep looking.//

See, this is another dissonance you have going with your narrator. You switch between indirect and direct though in a single sentence, yet you don't punctuate or italicize the latter as such.

>so inspiring!!//

A single exclamation mark will do nicely.

>Sigh.//

The way you have it, she actually thinks this word instead of doing it.

>being the only other unicorn, Rarity is the node of correspondence//

Why would this be the case? Twilight has never shown a preference for unicorns.

I'll be the first to admit that I can be dense about reading between the lines, but here's what I got from your story:

Everyone misses Twilight, and it's sending a ripple effect through Ponyville. Dash can't force herself to do her weather job, either through missing Twilight or wondering what happened to Rarity. The resulting heat wave is keeping anyone from being interested in buying from Pinkie, ruining the crops at Sweet Apple Acres, and driving Fluttershy's animals to seek other dangerous food sources once their normal ones died off.

This requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. First, Rarity's fate is entirely tangential to all this. Who kidnapped her, why has there been no ransom demand, why hasn't Twilight tried corresponding with anyone but her…? When Dash's irresponsibility is severely affecting the livelihood of an entire town, why has nobody stepped in to figure out why and do something about it? Canterlot would really be so blind to as to what's going on in Ponyville? That's horribly irresponsible governing.

I've touched on the narrative voice. It's unnecessarily purple, particularly for characters that I could never envision thinking in those terms. It creates a huge distance between the character and the reader, particularly since much of this narration is in a highly personal viewpoint for each of them. That connection with the characters is what keeps the reader interested. Here, I see the events unfold, but it doesn't make me care what happens for their sake. When canon Dash thinks "tenacity" is a sneeze, yet you have her using words like "mirthlessly," all I can think is that this isn't Dash.

The stream-of-consciousness style was also off-putting, as only Fluttershy's section placed her in a situation where she would be speaing more off-the-cuff, without time to organize her thoughts. It became irritating to read, and the overabundance of ellipses stringing together multiple sentences into one detracted from the readability in an unjustified way, in my opinion.

Lastly, besides the bit I think I discerned from reading between the lines, anything of the plot from this story has already occurred. In the story itself, nothing happens. It's just a parade of each of the main characters lamenting their current situation. There's also the concept of "piling on." Sadness works best in contrast. If you just have sad after sad after sad, it diminishes the impact of the whole thing. In your favor, Twilight wasn't down, and Pinkie kept a positive attitude, but those weren't actually happy events; Pinkie was just exercising mood control, and Twilight was merely ignorant of the situation. What's at stake in the story that leads to a resolution? What characters deal with a challenge and change or give us insight into them as a result? This plays as a fair enough series of scenes, but not so much as a story.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Applejack stares up into the azure sea searching for just one single nimbus; a beacon of hope to light the fetid dark disaster of her wilting crop.//</span><br />Participial phrases (&quot;searching for just one single nimbus&quot;) are normally set off with commas. Furthermore, they&#039;re prime candidates for misplaced modifiers. Due to its placement in the sentence, it sounds like the &quot;azure sea&quot; is searching, not Applejack. Finally, the semicolon is misused; there is no independent clause anywhere after it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;if just a few trees could survive this terrible drought//</span><br />Given that the weather over Sweet Apple Acres is controlled by pegasi, why would they have let it get this bad? It bears some explanation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The leaves have long ago lost their luscious hues and all about reeks with the silent air of decay.//</span><br />See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;An’ plenty of it.//</span><br />Here&#039;s your problem with Applejack&#039;s section in a nutshell. If you&#039;d kept the narrator completely objective, I could have at least understood the desire to write in this purple a fashion. But you had the narrator himself delve into her thoughts and present them as his own, and especially here, where you even have him take on her voice. It&#039;s a good idea anyway to have a narrator adopt the focus character&#039;s general word choice and intelligence level when being subjectively in that character&#039;s viewpoint, but especially when you effectively make that character the narrator. In short, this section is supposed to be Applejack communicating her thoughts to me, but it sounds nothing like her. Pinkie was marginally better, and Dash&#039;s daytime section was actually convincing. Rarity&#039;s and Twilight&#039;s parts fit them well enough.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She has to water the trees, the crop, she cannot spare long from their side, only long enough to sleep a couple of hours//</span><br />Comma splices abound. I can appreciate taking some artistic license in ignoring grammatical rules, but they have to be for a purpose. I don&#039;t see one here. Rambling on like this tends to communicate that a character is becoming unfocused or upset, and while I can believe she would be, given the situation, there&#039;s nothing in the narration to indicate she feels that way. Convince me that she&#039;s feeling desperate, and this kind of speech might flow more naturally.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;But…there were normally orders, orders for her scrim-scrumptious sweetastic treats…nopony seemed hungerful in this silly-solly heatwave…still, it can’t hurt to keep plenty of fantastic delights on the go, just in case…just in case somepony comes in; it doesn’t do to have a happy shop short of munchables.//</span><br />This is just too much. You have at least four sentences shoved together with ellipses in what seems to be attempting a deep stream-of-consciousness style (which you also tried at the end of Applejack&#039;s part in an odd switch of tactics) that&#039;s difficult to pull off and keep interesting. Word to the wise: many readers find this irritating.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;door - the stench//</span><br />Please use proper dashes.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;why can’t you help them Fluttershy?//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The fire crackles mirthlessly as the shadows pressed//</span><br />Verb tense inconsistency.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to say: “<i>you are nothing</i>.//</span><br />Missed capitalization.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘cause//</span><br />Smart quotes always draw leading apostrophes in the wrong direction. You&#039;ll have to force it. There&#039;s more than one of these.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She can’t stop looking, so she looks at the fire…try not to close your eyes, just keep looking, got to keep looking.//</span><br />See, this is another dissonance you have going with your narrator. You switch between indirect and direct though in a single sentence, yet you don&#039;t punctuate or italicize the latter as such.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;so inspiring!!//</span><br />A single exclamation mark will do nicely.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>Sigh</i>.//</span><br />The way you have it, she actually thinks this word instead of doing it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;being the only other unicorn, Rarity is the node of correspondence//</span><br />Why would this be the case? Twilight has never shown a preference for unicorns.<br /><br />I&#039;ll be the first to admit that I can be dense about reading between the lines, but here&#039;s what I got from your story:<br /><br />Everyone misses Twilight, and it&#039;s sending a ripple effect through Ponyville. Dash can&#039;t force herself to do her weather job, either through missing Twilight or wondering what happened to Rarity. The resulting heat wave is keeping anyone from being interested in buying from Pinkie, ruining the crops at Sweet Apple Acres, and driving Fluttershy&#039;s animals to seek other dangerous food sources once their normal ones died off.<br /><br />This requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. First, Rarity&#039;s fate is entirely tangential to all this. Who kidnapped her, why has there been no ransom demand, why hasn&#039;t Twilight tried corresponding with anyone but her…? When Dash&#039;s irresponsibility is severely affecting the livelihood of an entire town, why has nobody stepped in to figure out why and do something about it? Canterlot would really be so blind to as to what&#039;s going on in Ponyville? That&#039;s horribly irresponsible governing.<br /><br />I&#039;ve touched on the narrative voice. It&#039;s unnecessarily purple, particularly for characters that I could never envision thinking in those terms. It creates a huge distance between the character and the reader, particularly since much of this narration is in a highly personal viewpoint for each of them. That connection with the characters is what keeps the reader interested. Here, I see the events unfold, but it doesn&#039;t make me care what happens for their sake. When canon Dash thinks &quot;tenacity&quot; is a sneeze, yet you have her using words like &quot;mirthlessly,&quot; all I can think is that this isn&#039;t Dash.<br /><br />The stream-of-consciousness style was also off-putting, as only Fluttershy&#039;s section placed her in a situation where she would be speaing more off-the-cuff, without time to organize her thoughts. It became irritating to read, and the overabundance of ellipses stringing together multiple sentences into one detracted from the readability in an unjustified way, in my opinion.<br /><br />Lastly, besides the bit I think I discerned from reading between the lines, anything of the plot from this story has already occurred. In the story itself, nothing happens. It&#039;s just a parade of each of the main characters lamenting their current situation. There&#039;s also the concept of &quot;piling on.&quot; Sadness works best in contrast. If you just have sad after sad after sad, it diminishes the impact of the whole thing. In your favor, Twilight wasn&#039;t down, and Pinkie kept a positive attitude, but those weren&#039;t actually happy events; Pinkie was just exercising mood control, and Twilight was merely ignorant of the situation. What&#039;s at stake in the story that leads to a resolution? What characters deal with a challenge and change or give us insight into them as a result? This plays as a fair enough series of scenes, but not so much as a story.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 54

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.

Synopsis:

>Hearths Warming Tree//

Hearth's Warming. And why is "Tree" capitalized?

Story:

>Rainbow Dash wheeled through the air above the Everfree Forest, sending up light flurries of fresh snow in her wake.//

This one isn't too bad, but this is something you need to keep in mind as a writer. Participles like to modify the nearest prior object (unless they start a clause—then, the subject). So it sounds like the forest is sending up flurries. We can apply a bit of logic to sort things out, but if you don't watch yourself, you will eventually end up saying something that is misleading or ambiguous.

>so the melted snow wouldn’t ruin it//

Wait, what's melting the snow? When Dash flew by, the snow didn't drip down—it drifted. Besides, melting snow wouldn't ruin her hat. Its function is to shield her from the weather, so it's perfectly capable of getting wet. If it was that much of a problem, why did she wear it out in the snow in the first place, or walk under snowy trees?

>and just before she hit the ground//

Set off the dependent clause with a comma.

>blowing piles of snow into the air, coming to gentle landing just in front of Applejack//

Missing a word in there, and it's awkward to stack up two participles like this. You could just put an "and" in there to make it a compound one, but… also note that participles imply that things happen at the same time, so she's snapping out her wings, blowing piles of snow, and coming to a landing all simultaneously. That doesn't work.

>“I’m sorry, it’s just . . . your face!”//

And am I allowed to see this face, or do I have to take the narrator's word that it was funny?

>Hearths Warming//

Hearth's Warming

>and she wants a big one this year of us to decorate//

I think you meant "for."

>There was a pause.//

This has got to be one of the dullest sentences that somehow get used all the time. What happens during this pause?

>“Then yeah, it’s better.”//

The conversation that ends her is just a little bit "talking heads" (there's a section explaining that at the top of this thread). More importantly, we're not getting much in the way of characterization here. Everything's sterile action; show me a few indications of their moods, how they're feeling.

>Rainbow Dash loped ahead of Applejack, sometimes fluttering her wings a little, but she didn’t take off once the wind really started up.//

Here's a participle that would be truly ambiguous, except that only one of them has wings, so it has to be Dash who is "fluttering," though grammatically, Applejack's indicated. If they were both pegasi, I wouldn't know which one you meant.

>It’s not like I asked, you just showed up this morning.//

Comma splice.

>Applejack waved nodded.//

Huh?

>Her ears, though, stung and her nose felt numb.//

See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>I’ll drag it by myself, if you want to.//

If she wants to what? I can't tell what you're trying to say, but I'm guessing you just need to go without that "to."

>The pine needles tickled when they brushed over Applejack’s fur.//

Again, a very factual statement where you could have used it to create a fun moment. How does it feel? How does she react?

>drifting down to the Everfree Forest below//

You were with the ponies, so this is a jarring shift of perspective, essentially into the snowflakes' point of view, but it'd fix it if you just removed "below."

>a few made it down to them//

Watch your word repetition. This is the third "down" in this paragraph alone.

>A thick bed of pine needles surrounded the base//

If it's dropped its needles already, how would it make a good Hearth's Warming tree? And they're not old needles—it's snowed recently, but they're not covered.

>Rainbow smiled.//

That's really been your go-to body language.Give me some more variety, in word choice at least, and preferably in what they do.

>She’s gonna side.//

Maybe that's just an expression unfamiliar to me, but I don't know what this means.

>Applejack felt a sweat beginning to build up, which was a strange sort of sensation to her.//

Certainly an industrious pony like her is used to working during the winter. This shouldn't be anything new to her.

>Applejack indicated to the tree.//

Fine point, but "indicating the tree" means she's pointing to it. "Indicating for the tree" means she's calling something to the tree's attention.

>It was hard to see anymore than a few feet in any direction//

In this usage "any more" needs to be two words.

>the tree was laying sideways//

Lay/lie confusion.

>W-We’re//

Unless there's some other reason to capitalize the word (it's a proper noun, for instance), you only capitalize the first part of a stutter.

>“Th-The cold, I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.”//

Wait, what? She's a weather pony. And during Winter Wrap Up, ponies of all kinds are seen out in the snow without much clothing. This is also a rather sudden change in her. I'm left more confused than anything.

>When I was a filly, I flew up too high and . . . it was so cold, Applejack.//

I don't get it. This wouldn't be a sudden thing. Temperature changes with altitude very gradually, and all she'd have to do to get out of it would be to dive back down. This might bear some more solid justification.

>We’re stuck here, that’s what.//

Or… they could leave the tree behind for now. This is invented drama. There's no reason they have to stay there.

>He told me, that if I ever felt too cold//

Why in the world is that comma there?

>tied Rainbow down//

And if the tree rolls while it's sliding?

>brought it down in massive blow//

Missing word.

>The tree picked up speed going down the hill, and soon the wind and snow were nothing more than annoyances that were blowing past the speeding trunk.//

I'm not bothering to point out much of the word repetition here—you'll need to hunt those by yourself—but two uses of "speed" in the same sentence.

I mentioned the "talking heads" once, and it did pop up in the story a few more times. You want to keep the reader involved in the story, so make a constant effort to put their emotions on display. Dialogue is one way of doing that, but you have to deliver in a variety of ways—dialogue alone gets stale.

I mentioned the repetition, too, and I wanted to point out a few words that you used an awful lot, because they're common ones for that problem. 32 instances of "just." That's not a ton, but there are places where you use several with a couple of paragraphs, which makes it stand out more. 26 instances of "began" or "started." That really is too many. Inexperienced authors use these all the time. It's obvious that any given action would start. It's only worth calling attention to the beginning when it's sudden or the action gets interrupted. Otherwise, it's an empty verb. Finally, I only looked for the most common forms, but you had 92. That's a lot for this word count. First, it can mean you're using too much passive voice, some of which I did see. Second, it can indicate telly language, though I didn't really see much—more on that later. And third, it can mean that you need to choose more active verbs. And that's really the thing here. "To be" is really a boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. Action is dynamic; being is static. It's impractical to remove them all, but I bet you could reduce that significantly, and your story would be better for it.

Lastly, the major conflict here felt quite contrived. It would seem to be inherent in a pegasus to have resistance to cold, or how else would they do their jobs effectively? You might need to come up with a more believable conflict. Perhaps it's getting late and Dash is afraid of the dark, or she's terrified of some animal noises she hears or something. I'm just spitballing here, but it's going to be difficult to sell "Dash can't take the cold" without a lot of explanation as to why.

So what went right? Well, I didn't catch you being telly, which is always a good thing. You have a good sense of their voices; I found that the dialogue fit them well. Those are some of the tougher things to get right, so the writing's not bad.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.<br /><br />Synopsis:<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Hearths Warming Tree//</span><br />Hearth&#039;s Warming. And why is &quot;Tree&quot; capitalized?<br /><br />Story:<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash wheeled through the air above the Everfree Forest, sending up light flurries of fresh snow in her wake.//</span><br />This one isn&#039;t too bad, but this is something you need to keep in mind as a writer. Participles like to modify the nearest prior object (unless they start a clause—then, the subject). So it sounds like the forest is sending up flurries. We can apply a bit of logic to sort things out, but if you don&#039;t watch yourself, you will eventually end up saying something that is misleading or ambiguous.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;so the melted snow wouldn’t ruin it//</span><br />Wait, what&#039;s melting the snow? When Dash flew by, the snow didn&#039;t drip down—it drifted. Besides, melting snow wouldn&#039;t ruin her hat. Its function is to shield her from the weather, so it&#039;s perfectly capable of getting wet. If it was that much of a problem, why did she wear it out in the snow in the first place, or walk under snowy trees?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and just before she hit the ground//</span><br />Set off the dependent clause with a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;blowing piles of snow into the air, coming to gentle landing just in front of Applejack//</span><br />Missing a word in there, and it&#039;s awkward to stack up two participles like this. You could just put an &quot;and&quot; in there to make it a compound one, but… also note that participles imply that things happen at the same time, so she&#039;s snapping out her wings, blowing piles of snow, and coming to a landing all simultaneously. That doesn&#039;t work.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“I’m sorry, it’s just . . . your face!”//</span><br />And am I allowed to see this face, or do I have to take the narrator&#039;s word that it was funny?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Hearths Warming//</span><br />Hearth&#039;s Warming<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and she wants a big one this year of us to decorate//</span><br />I think you meant &quot;for.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;There was a pause.//</span><br />This has got to be one of the dullest sentences that somehow get used all the time. What happens during this pause?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Then yeah, it’s better.”//</span><br />The conversation that ends her is just a little bit &quot;talking heads&quot; (there&#039;s a section explaining that at the top of this thread). More importantly, we&#039;re not getting much in the way of characterization here. Everything&#039;s sterile action; show me a few indications of their moods, how they&#039;re feeling.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash loped ahead of Applejack, sometimes fluttering her wings a little, but she didn’t take off once the wind really started up.//</span><br />Here&#039;s a participle that would be truly ambiguous, except that only one of them has wings, so it has to be Dash who is &quot;fluttering,&quot; though grammatically, Applejack&#039;s indicated. If they were both pegasi, I wouldn&#039;t know which one you meant.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It’s not like I asked, you just showed up this morning.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Applejack waved nodded.//</span><br />Huh?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her ears, though, stung and her nose felt numb.//</span><br />See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I’ll drag it by myself, if you want to.//</span><br />If she wants to what? I can&#039;t tell what you&#039;re trying to say, but I&#039;m guessing you just need to go without that &quot;to.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The pine needles tickled when they brushed over Applejack’s fur.//</span><br />Again, a very factual statement where you could have used it to create a fun moment. How does it feel? How does she react?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;drifting down to the Everfree Forest below//</span><br />You were with the ponies, so this is a jarring shift of perspective, essentially into the snowflakes&#039; point of view, but it&#039;d fix it if you just removed &quot;below.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a few made it down to them//</span><br />Watch your word repetition. This is the third &quot;down&quot; in this paragraph alone.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;A thick bed of pine needles surrounded the base//</span><br />If it&#039;s dropped its needles already, how would it make a good Hearth&#039;s Warming tree? And they&#039;re not old needles—it&#039;s snowed recently, but they&#039;re not covered.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow smiled.//</span><br />That&#039;s really been your go-to body language.Give me some more variety, in word choice at least, and preferably in what they do.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She’s gonna side.//</span><br />Maybe that&#039;s just an expression unfamiliar to me, but I don&#039;t know what this means.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Applejack felt a sweat beginning to build up, which was a strange sort of sensation to her.//</span><br />Certainly an industrious pony like her is used to working during the winter. This shouldn&#039;t be anything new to her.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Applejack indicated to the tree.//</span><br />Fine point, but &quot;indicating the tree&quot; means she&#039;s pointing to it. &quot;Indicating for the tree&quot; means she&#039;s calling something to the tree&#039;s attention.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was hard to see anymore than a few feet in any direction//</span><br />In this usage &quot;any more&quot; needs to be two words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the tree was laying sideways//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;W-We’re//</span><br />Unless there&#039;s some other reason to capitalize the word (it&#039;s a proper noun, for instance), you only capitalize the first part of a stutter.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Th-The cold, I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.”//</span><br />Wait, what? She&#039;s a weather pony. And during Winter Wrap Up, ponies of all kinds are seen out in the snow without much clothing. This is also a rather sudden change in her. I&#039;m left more confused than anything.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;When I was a filly, I flew up too high and . . . it was so cold, Applejack.//</span><br />I don&#039;t get it. This wouldn&#039;t be a sudden thing. Temperature changes with altitude very gradually, and all she&#039;d have to do to get out of it would be to dive back down. This might bear some more solid justification.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;We’re stuck here, that’s what.//</span><br />Or… they could leave the tree behind for now. This is invented drama. There&#039;s no reason they have to stay there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He told me, that if I ever felt too cold//</span><br />Why in the world is that comma there?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;tied Rainbow down//</span><br />And if the tree rolls while it&#039;s sliding?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;brought it down in massive blow//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The tree picked up speed going down the hill, and soon the wind and snow were nothing more than annoyances that were blowing past the speeding trunk.//</span><br />I&#039;m not bothering to point out much of the word repetition here—you&#039;ll need to hunt those by yourself—but two uses of &quot;speed&quot; in the same sentence.<br /><br />I mentioned the &quot;talking heads&quot; once, and it did pop up in the story a few more times. You want to keep the reader involved in the story, so make a constant effort to put their emotions on display. Dialogue is one way of doing that, but you have to deliver in a variety of ways—dialogue alone gets stale.<br /><br />I mentioned the repetition, too, and I wanted to point out a few words that you used an awful lot, because they&#039;re common ones for that problem. 32 instances of &quot;just.&quot; That&#039;s not a ton, but there are places where you use several with a couple of paragraphs, which makes it stand out more. 26 instances of &quot;began&quot; or &quot;started.&quot; That really is too many. Inexperienced authors use these all the time. It&#039;s obvious that any given action would start. It&#039;s only worth calling attention to the beginning when it&#039;s sudden or the action gets interrupted. Otherwise, it&#039;s an empty verb. Finally, I only looked for the most common forms, but you had 92. That&#039;s a lot for this word count. First, it can mean you&#039;re using too much passive voice, some of which I did see. Second, it can indicate telly language, though I didn&#039;t really see much—more on that later. And third, it can mean that you need to choose more active verbs. And that&#039;s really the thing here. &quot;To be&quot; is really a boring verb. It&#039;s much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. Action is dynamic; being is static. It&#039;s impractical to remove them all, but I bet you could reduce that significantly, and your story would be better for it.<br /><br />Lastly, the major conflict here felt quite contrived. It would seem to be inherent in a pegasus to have resistance to cold, or how else would they do their jobs effectively? You might need to come up with a more believable conflict. Perhaps it&#039;s getting late and Dash is afraid of the dark, or she&#039;s terrified of some animal noises she hears or something. I&#039;m just spitballing here, but it&#039;s going to be difficult to sell &quot;Dash can&#039;t take the cold&quot; without a lot of explanation as to why.<br /><br />So what went right? Well, I didn&#039;t catch you being telly, which is always a good thing. You have a good sense of their voices; I found that the dialogue fit them well. Those are some of the tougher things to get right, so the writing&#039;s not bad.<br />

Thank you for your review, I greatly appreciate it. Fluttershy Oakley 55

>>129270
Edit: This is with regards to the penultimate review on this page

Thank you very much for your carefully considered review, I do appreciate it. Not to be prissy, but some of the grammatical "errors" are but trans-Atlantic miscommunication (certainly, semi-colons are used differently…and "comma use with conjunction" is a comma splice over here. This goes for missing capitalisation and improper dashes too)…but I suppose that's fine : ) Um…I'll take some of what you said quite seriously; the Applejack section *is* rather poor and there's no denying it. If my intended effect wasn't pulled off then it wasn't pulled off (using a crescendo of personality {hence the unfittingness of AJ's section} in the narrative tone, with the ensuing peak and crash at Dash's transition {only to begin once more}, might have been…well, um, a bit much? :D). For instance, the weather situation, the reason for Rarity's kidnap & the lack of intervention *are* all explained…but, I must admit, the reasons are very much, as you put it, "between the lines". I don't…urgh :D I don't make it easy for readers, I'll be the first to admit, but even so…I didn't think the point was invisible. I take it you're not a fan of Beckett? :D Um…seriously though, I really do appreciate your efforts and will think long, and hard, upon your criticisms; this fiction (there *is* a plot but…again, I'm not going to spell it out because I'm difficult :D Even so…it's not a "story" and was never intended to be) is obviously beyond repair but, perhaps, the next needn't be : )
Xxxx

<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129270" onclick="return highlight('129270', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129270">&gt;&gt;129270</a><br />Edit: This is with regards to the penultimate review on this page<br /> <br />Thank you very much for your carefully considered review, I do appreciate it. Not to be prissy, but some of the grammatical &quot;errors&quot; are but trans-Atlantic miscommunication (certainly, semi-colons are used differently…and &quot;comma use with conjunction&quot; is a comma splice over here. This goes for missing capitalisation and improper dashes too)…but I suppose that&#039;s fine : ) Um…I&#039;ll take some of what you said quite seriously; the Applejack section *is* rather poor and there&#039;s no denying it. If my intended effect wasn&#039;t pulled off then it wasn&#039;t pulled off (using a crescendo of personality {hence the unfittingness of AJ&#039;s section} in the narrative tone, with the ensuing peak and crash at Dash&#039;s transition {only to begin once more}, might have been…well, um, a bit much? :D). For instance, the weather situation, the reason for Rarity&#039;s kidnap &amp; the lack of intervention *are* all explained…but, I must admit, the reasons are very much, as you put it, &quot;between the lines&quot;. I don&#039;t…urgh :D I don&#039;t make it easy for readers, I&#039;ll be the first to admit, but even so…I didn&#039;t think the point was invisible. I take it you&#039;re not a fan of Beckett? :D Um…seriously though, I really do appreciate your efforts and will think long, and hard, upon your criticisms; this fiction (there *is* a plot but…again, I&#039;m not going to spell it out because I&#039;m difficult :D Even so…it&#039;s not a &quot;story&quot; and was never intended to be) is obviously beyond repair but, perhaps, the next needn&#039;t be : )<br />Xxxx<br /><div class="last-edit-time"><br/>Last edited at <span class="posttime">Thu, Dec 12th, 2013 03:46</span></div><br/>

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 56

>>129301
Comma splices are a different thing entirely; at least as far as I understand it from my British colleagues, the American concept is the same. The examples in my section are all compound structures or instances of a dependent clause. Splices occur when a comma separates two parts of a sentence that have independent clauses and any material attached to them. As in:
This is a comma splice, where a dash, period, or semicolon would have worked, it has two independent clauses with only a comma in between.<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129301" onclick="return highlight('129301', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129301">&gt;&gt;129301</a><br />Comma splices are a different thing entirely; at least as far as I understand it from my British colleagues, the American concept is the same. The examples in my section are all compound structures or instances of a dependent clause. Splices occur when a comma separates two parts of a sentence that have independent clauses and any material attached to them. As in:<br />This is a comma splice, where a dash, period, or semicolon would have worked, it has two independent clauses with only a comma in between.<br />

Fluttershy Oakley 57

>>129305
Thank you for the grammatical instruction. Whilst I still feel that no comma should precede an "and" (sparing the Oxford Comma, of course) as this would negate its purpose, perhaps I've been ill informed throughout my education with regards to the specificity of the error…um…ta :D
Xxx<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129305" onclick="return highlight('129305', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129305">&gt;&gt;129305</a><br />Thank you for the grammatical instruction. Whilst I still feel that no comma should precede an &quot;and&quot; (sparing the Oxford Comma, of course) as this would negate its purpose, perhaps I&#039;ve been ill informed throughout my education with regards to the specificity of the error…um…ta :D<br />Xxx<br />

58

>>129308
I suggest opening the nearest book on your bookshelf and counting the number of commas preceding "and". I can assure you that it's quite common. The word bears no particular exception to the general rules of comma usage in any English variant that I'm aware of.<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129308" onclick="return highlight('129308', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129308">&gt;&gt;129308</a><br />I suggest opening the nearest book on your bookshelf and counting the number of commas preceding &quot;and&quot;. I can assure you that it&#039;s quite common. The word bears no particular exception to the general rules of comma usage in any English variant that I&#039;m aware of.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 59

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.

>Outside, the winter wind drove snow across the yard, building drifts against fences, berms, and buildings, but inside, the farmhouse seemed to sigh in contentment, bundled up against the cold evening.//

It feels a bit repetitive to have participial phrases in both clauses, but also note that the first is misplaced, though not a bad one. Participles like to modify the nearest object in the sentence, so it seems like the yard is building drifts. Like I said, this one isn't bad, since it's not that far from its object, and it's easy to sort out with some logic. But if you're not mindful of it, you will eventually misplace one in such a way that it's ambiguous or genuinely misleading.

>she was in the kitchen, collecting ingredients while the oven preheated.//

Notice that every sentence in this paragraph has nearly identical construction. "X was Y-ing, <participial phrase>." The only exceptions are one instance of an absolute phrase instead of a participle (but which still uses a participial verb form), and a dependent clause leading the final sentence. There are times that such repetition can be used for effect, and I think you're on the edge of that, it's not obviously anything more than an oversight.

>She only had her favorite pie once a year, when her friends were otherwise occupied with their own lives, their own families, and so no one save the Apples had ever seen her enjoy her favorite pie.//

Starting and ending the sentence with "her favorite pie" again doesn't have any stylistic purpose I can find, so it just comes across as careless repetition.

>and ushered Applejack from the room, shutting the door behind them//

Here's another issue with participles: they imply concurrent action. Here, she wouldn't shut the door until after she'd ushered AJ out.

>She watched with interest an hour later//

I can't help but feel like skipping the wait is glossing over what could have been a cute moment.

>pony-back rides were enjoyed//

I don't see the purpose in the passive voice here. In addition to being static, they shift focus, and there's no clear reason here as to why you'd want the reader to notice the pony-back rides more so than AJ or the verb. I'll also ask: why pony-back? It's not like "piggyback" is anything related to human anatomy. Not a big deal, but I just found it strange.

>The pecans had risen to the top and been toasted by the oven’s heat, shining with a patina of sugary coating.//

Again, why the passive voice? Try "…to the top and toasted in the oven's heat…" That's an active construct, and it loses no meaning. Another misplaced modifier, too: it sounds like the heat is shining.

>She looked around and saw everyone else already taking bites of their own slices of pie, their eyes falling shut in expressions of bliss.//

First, I'd like to see these "expressions of bliss." Getting me to conclude that from the cues you provide will leave much more of an impression than just having you tell me that's how they feel. Second, another note about repetition. This is the third straight sentence that begins with "she," again without a stylistic reason for doing so. And every sentence in the paragraph starts with the subject. This simple structure will likely prevail, but work in a variation here and there.

>They would go through the pecan halves her father brought home from the market, taking care to select only the best specimens for inclusion//

And here we go. This one is genuinely ambiguous. Your participial phrase "taking care…" could refer either to what the mares are doing in the kitchen or what the father did at the market. I believe you mean the mares, but the father is more clearly indicated. Then you stack up another participle after it. Better to use and "and" to make it a compound one than have two separate ones in series.

>for it was out of season yet welcome all the same,//

Dependent clauses like this are usually set off with commas at both ends.

>with young Apple Bloom//

Another case of feeling like you've glossed over something important. Why wait until now to bring her up? Wouldn't AJ have a memory of her mother baking a pie while having to take care of an infant Apple Bloom, or perhaps while pregnant with her?

>She found the pie plate, the mixing bowl, the whisk in their usual places. She carefully selected the best pecan halves from the small supply in the pantry; she peered into the glass measuring cup as she poured sugar.//

Besides the repetitiveness of beginning all of these clauses with "she," consider the following: All three of these sentences convey the same type of information. Non stands out more than the others in importance. So why are two connected with a semicolon, as if closely linked thoughts, one flowing into the other, while the remaining one is left out? It makes the narration a bit choppy.

>When she slid the pie into the oven, she went and sat at the door to the kitchen//

I'd argue that's an "after," not a "when."

>‘til//

Your smart quotes drew the apostrophe backward. They will always do this for a leading apostrophe. Paste one in, or add one after it and delete the first.

>Apple Bloom looked down at hers. She’d been too young to have any last year.//

Ah, so she was around the previous year! Would have been nice to see her woven into the memory of it, then.

First, you are correct that we can allow stories below the word count limit, as long as we're convinced they're good enough to warrant the exception. The further below the threshold they are, the more they need to stand out, and you're pretty far below. I think I've made a few suggestions that would help you add to the story without resorting to meaningless filler, which is obviously the wrong thing to do—we see too many stories barely above the limit that have clearly done this.

So, I liked this story. It was a nice take on this family tradition, but not without its problems. There was quite a bit of repetition, and one further example I hadn't pointed out: you used various forms of "to be" over 40 times. That's about one every third sentence. This is an inherently boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is. A few of these are tied up in the handful of times I pointed out telly language or passive voice, but for the most part, you need to choose more active verbs.

For the most part, you had a light touch with the emotions, which is nice, but with a story this short and with such strong overtones, it doesn't take much telling to ruin the effect. Just remember to place yourself as an observer and show me only what you perceive, not what you conclude from those observations. You can show me her tears; don't tell me she's sad. You can show me that she's hopping around; don't tell me she's happy. That's not a complete ban, of course, but you get the picture. You get much more from watching a character act sad in a movie than you would if he just turned to the camera and announced that he was sad. You spend a good amount of time describing the surroundings, but I would like a bit more about how these character feel about things—ultimately, that's what connects them with the reader.

The last bit I have to say is the one I'm least sure about, because you're closer to the edge here even than with the other issues. I'll be blunt: this plays more as a scene than a story. There's no conflict built up with something put at stake. We don't see a character striving to get something and then resolving that struggle. Absent conflict, a story can also provide character growth. We see someone changed by an experience, with the "before" contrasted against the "after." I don't really see that here, either. There's no "aha!" moment where we discover something new about AJ's character, or where she makes a decision that will alter her life appreciably. Things happen to her, and she goes with the flow. And so it goes. Poo tee weet.

Now, if you delved into why she wants to keep this a secret (especially after she did bake for them the one year, which is odd), and maybe she wrestles with her reasons, or maybe if she wants to pass on the tradition to Apple Bloom, you might have something. That's not to say that it's impossible to write an engaging story without conflict or character growth, but it is difficult. Since you were inspired to write this story, maybe no such angle would mesh with your vision of what you want your story to be, and if so, that's fine. I'd have to put some serious thought into whether it could stand well enough as is, or maybe get another opinion on it. In any case, I do want you to address the other points I brought up, and give this some thought. You've obviously got my interest, or I wouldn't have written so much about such a short story.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Outside, the winter wind drove snow across the yard, building drifts against fences, berms, and buildings, but inside, the farmhouse seemed to sigh in contentment, bundled up against the cold evening.//</span><br />It feels a bit repetitive to have participial phrases in both clauses, but also note that the first is misplaced, though not a bad one. Participles like to modify the nearest object in the sentence, so it seems like the yard is building drifts. Like I said, this one isn&#039;t bad, since it&#039;s not that far from its object, and it&#039;s easy to sort out with some logic. But if you&#039;re not mindful of it, you will eventually misplace one in such a way that it&#039;s ambiguous or genuinely misleading.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she was in the kitchen, collecting ingredients while the oven preheated.//</span><br />Notice that every sentence in this paragraph has nearly identical construction. &quot;X was Y-ing, &lt;participial phrase&gt;.&quot; The only exceptions are one instance of an absolute phrase instead of a participle (but which still uses a participial verb form), and a dependent clause leading the final sentence. There are times that such repetition can be used for effect, and I think you&#039;re on the edge of that, it&#039;s not obviously anything more than an oversight.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She only had her favorite pie once a year, when her friends were otherwise occupied with their own lives, their own families, and so no one save the Apples had ever seen her enjoy her favorite pie.//</span><br />Starting and ending the sentence with &quot;her favorite pie&quot; again doesn&#039;t have any stylistic purpose I can find, so it just comes across as careless repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and ushered Applejack from the room, shutting the door behind them//</span><br />Here&#039;s another issue with participles: they imply concurrent action. Here, she wouldn&#039;t shut the door until after she&#039;d ushered AJ out.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She watched with interest an hour later//</span><br />I can&#039;t help but feel like skipping the wait is glossing over what could have been a cute moment.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;pony-back rides were enjoyed//</span><br />I don&#039;t see the purpose in the passive voice here. In addition to being static, they shift focus, and there&#039;s no clear reason here as to why you&#039;d want the reader to notice the pony-back rides more so than AJ or the verb. I&#039;ll also ask: why pony-back? It&#039;s not like &quot;piggyback&quot; is anything related to human anatomy. Not a big deal, but I just found it strange.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The pecans had risen to the top and been toasted by the oven’s heat, shining with a patina of sugary coating.//</span><br />Again, why the passive voice? Try &quot;…to the top and toasted in the oven&#039;s heat…&quot; That&#039;s an active construct, and it loses no meaning. Another misplaced modifier, too: it sounds like the heat is shining.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She looked around and saw everyone else already taking bites of their own slices of pie, their eyes falling shut in expressions of bliss.//</span><br />First, I&#039;d like to see these &quot;expressions of bliss.&quot; Getting me to conclude that from the cues you provide will leave much more of an impression than just having you tell me that&#039;s how they feel. Second, another note about repetition. This is the third straight sentence that begins with &quot;she,&quot; again without a stylistic reason for doing so. And every sentence in the paragraph starts with the subject. This simple structure will likely prevail, but work in a variation here and there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;They would go through the pecan halves her father brought home from the market, taking care to select only the best specimens for inclusion//</span><br />And here we go. This one is genuinely ambiguous. Your participial phrase &quot;taking care…&quot; could refer either to what the mares are doing in the kitchen or what the father did at the market. I believe you mean the mares, but the father is more clearly indicated. Then you stack up another participle after it. Better to use and &quot;and&quot; to make it a compound one than have two separate ones in series.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;for it was out of season yet welcome all the same,//</span><br />Dependent clauses like this are usually set off with commas at both ends.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;with young Apple Bloom//</span><br />Another case of feeling like you&#039;ve glossed over something important. Why wait until now to bring her up? Wouldn&#039;t AJ have a memory of her mother baking a pie while having to take care of an infant Apple Bloom, or perhaps while pregnant with her?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She found the pie plate, the mixing bowl, the whisk in their usual places. She carefully selected the best pecan halves from the small supply in the pantry; she peered into the glass measuring cup as she poured sugar.//</span><br />Besides the repetitiveness of beginning all of these clauses with &quot;she,&quot; consider the following: All three of these sentences convey the same type of information. Non stands out more than the others in importance. So why are two connected with a semicolon, as if closely linked thoughts, one flowing into the other, while the remaining one is left out? It makes the narration a bit choppy.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;When she slid the pie into the oven, she went and sat at the door to the kitchen//</span><br />I&#039;d argue that&#039;s an &quot;after,&quot; not a &quot;when.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘til//</span><br />Your smart quotes drew the apostrophe backward. They will always do this for a leading apostrophe. Paste one in, or add one after it and delete the first.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Apple Bloom looked down at hers. She’d been too young to have any last year.//</span><br />Ah, so she <i>was</i> around the previous year! Would have been nice to see her woven into the memory of it, then.<br /><br />First, you are correct that we can allow stories below the word count limit, as long as we&#039;re convinced they&#039;re good enough to warrant the exception. The further below the threshold they are, the more they need to stand out, and you&#039;re pretty far below. I think I&#039;ve made a few suggestions that would help you add to the story without resorting to meaningless filler, which is obviously the wrong thing to do—we see too many stories barely above the limit that have clearly done this.<br /><br />So, I liked this story. It was a nice take on this family tradition, but not without its problems. There was quite a bit of repetition, and one further example I hadn&#039;t pointed out: you used various forms of &quot;to be&quot; over 40 times. That&#039;s about one every third sentence. This is an inherently boring verb. It&#039;s much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply <i>is</i>. A few of these are tied up in the handful of times I pointed out telly language or passive voice, but for the most part, you need to choose more active verbs.<br /><br />For the most part, you had a light touch with the emotions, which is nice, but with a story this short and with such strong overtones, it doesn&#039;t take much telling to ruin the effect. Just remember to place yourself as an observer and show me only what you perceive, not what you conclude from those observations. You can show me her tears; don&#039;t tell me she&#039;s sad. You can show me that she&#039;s hopping around; don&#039;t tell me she&#039;s happy. That&#039;s not a complete ban, of course, but you get the picture. You get much more from watching a character act sad in a movie than you would if he just turned to the camera and announced that he was sad. You spend a good amount of time describing the surroundings, but I would like a bit more about how these character feel about things—ultimately, that&#039;s what connects them with the reader.<br /><br />The last bit I have to say is the one I&#039;m least sure about, because you&#039;re closer to the edge here even than with the other issues. I&#039;ll be blunt: this plays more as a scene than a story. There&#039;s no conflict built up with something put at stake. We don&#039;t see a character striving to get something and then resolving that struggle. Absent conflict, a story can also provide character growth. We see someone changed by an experience, with the &quot;before&quot; contrasted against the &quot;after.&quot; I don&#039;t really see that here, either. There&#039;s no &quot;aha!&quot; moment where we discover something new about AJ&#039;s character, or where she makes a decision that will alter her life appreciably. Things happen to her, and she goes with the flow. And so it goes. Poo tee weet.<br /><br />Now, if you delved into why she wants to keep this a secret (especially after she did bake for them the one year, which is odd), and maybe she wrestles with her reasons, or maybe if she wants to pass on the tradition to Apple Bloom, you might have something. That&#039;s not to say that it&#039;s impossible to write an engaging story without conflict or character growth, but it is difficult. Since you were inspired to write this story, maybe no such angle would mesh with your vision of what you want your story to be, and if so, that&#039;s fine. I&#039;d have to put some serious thought into whether it could stand well enough as is, or maybe get another opinion on it. In any case, I do want you to address the other points I brought up, and give this some thought. You&#039;ve obviously got my interest, or I wouldn&#039;t have written so much about such a short story.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 60

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.

First, I'll say that I have high expectations of this story going in, based on the various reputations involved. As a result, I'm going to dig deeper for things to comment on, since it's less "this is what it will take to be accepted for posting" and more "these are my impressions and suggestions for how you could make it even better."

>She merrily returns one full of charisma//

The choice of "charisma" here struck me as odd. First, it's a bit telly, since you don't show me how this looks. I can forgive a bit of telliness here and there, when a moment isn't particularly evocative. I would caution you against doing it much at the beginning of a story, where you're trying to hook the reader. My other reaction was that I don't see any reason for providing this info. Your protagonist doesn't react to it in any way, and "charisma" is the type of thing to produce an emotion or reaction in the observer. It felt incomplete to use that word, but not have the narrator link it to a feeling or action it provokes in her.

>silhouetted building//

I fell like the scene setting is lacking here. "Silhouetted" implies something specific about the lighting, but we're never given any cues about it. It's not until the next sentence that we get a clue as to why—it's storming—but what's backlighting the building? Lightning, dying daylight, streetlamps, …?

>They are talking about something—I wonder if it’s about me—but their voices are lost to howling wind and thunderous rain.//

Another thing that's a good idea to watch, especially early in the story, is overuse of "to be" verbs. Three in this sentence alone, and in my opinion, ones that would be easy to place with active verbs and rephrase. "To be" is an inherently boring verb.

>even though I’m on my haunches//

Dependent clause should be set off with commas on both ends.

>leaving me alone with only this sparse patch of upholstery//

Look how far this participle is from what it modifies, and it's stacked up behind another participle. It leaves the sentence feeling choppy.

>My entire life is written in this book and it’s something only my eyes can see.//

Another spot where you need a comma to separate the clauses. I see a few more of these. Exceptions can be made for the sake of flow, but you're consistently doing this. I have a brief section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>Wind surges into the cabin, rustling myself and blowing dirty water into my face.//

That's not the way reflexive pronouns work; they need to have the referenced person or thing as the subject as well. Just use "me" here.

>unabated howl//

You described the wind as "howling" just a few paragraphs back. This is borderline, but beware repeating words or phrases in a close space. The more unusual they are, the more breathing room you need to give them.

>I’m at a loss for capacity//

I have no idea what this means…

>It reminds me a little of the sun flower//

Do you mean sunflower? In either case, "the" implies you're referring to something specific, and I have no idea what that is. Even if you mean a generic sunflower, I don't get the comparison you're trying to make.

Okay, these places where you use colored text… I can't see the word "color." Keep in mind that different users and applications have different background colors, and when you play with them, you run the risk that they won't show up. I'm guessing you made these white (I have a white background). I'm also assuming you did this on purpose so the reader can't see other colors, but beware of making the reader do too much word, i.e., highlighting these words to see what they are. In fact, those colors aren't invisible to her; they're gray. So why didn't you make them gray? Ironically, especially considering an aspect of your story, I'm colorblind and can't see much of the colored text right anyway, so the effect is lost on me.

This brings up a point… Are you colorblind? The way Pinkie describes that she can actually see pink and that other shades appear as shades of gray to her—it doesn't ring true, at least in my experience. You see, I have no frame of reference to know what green really looks like, and while I know intellectually that I see it as a shade of gray, I wouldn't describe it as such. It's simply what green is to me, since I don't know anything else. Yes, I have trouble telling it from the colors I know as red and tan and gray, but it's still green to me.

I'm also at a loss as to why Dash needs to take shelter in the carriage. They're in a street in front of a building. She could have gone inside or under the eaves or something.

>like there’s an expected word on a page that’s mysteriously absent//

And given that this is exactly what you did, it smacks of shouting in the reader's ear: "Hey, you! Notice this! I did this thing!"

>I can tell she doesn’t want to be here as much as I do//

I don't think this says what you meant. You want something closer to: "I can tell she finds her current predicament as distasteful as I do." What you said is that Pinkie likes being here, but Dash is less enthusiastic.

I'm noticing more and more comma splices in the narration. While you have some license insofar as it's essentially dialogue, it's starting to grate on me.

>her gaze fixated out the window//

You're confusing "fixated" with "fixed." She could conceivably be fixated, but it implies a mental process, which her gaze couldn't have.

>To emphasize this she sighs//

To emphasize what? Pinkie's perception of her? This really suggests that Dash does it intentionally because of smoething she'd have no way of knowing.

>Her name feels empty, however rapturous it might be, and I can’t help but feel sympathy for her.//

Watch the repetition of "feel" here. This is a very dangerous word anyway. In a tight perspective like this, you can get away with more telling, but Pinkie seems to be operating on a more stimulus-response level. Rather than jumping to her conclusion, it might work better to show what physical sensations or evoked memories or imagery it brings out in her.

>I release a breath I didn’t know I’ve been holding.//

Yipe. Cliche ahoy.

>rattles the carriage//

This shaking and rattling of the carriage is starting to get repetitive.

>Her happiness does not diminish the slightest//

I think you're missing an "in" here, and I'd really rather you show this part, as it's a pretty critical moment in their becoming friends.

>I follow the motion as best I could//

Inconsistent verb tense.

>clapping her hooves together to emphasize the point//

So she's emphasizing again? Repetitive.

>Arsenopyrite//

Okay, I don't get at all why this is the first thing that'd pop into her mind. It wouldn't be any more unpleasant than any generic rock or dirt, really. It's not a mineral that forms particularly sharp corners or needle-like shapes, or that would be caustic. Maybe something like Whewellite, obsidian, carborundum. For that matter, plain old Halite would hurt like hell. A freshly broken piece of "stinkspat" Fluorite?

>wonderbolt’s//

Given that she's pretty much intuited what this means some time ago, why are you still putting it in lower case?

>I tap my hooves together and look at her shyly.

I'm seeing more of this telly language now. It's not really obtrusive, but you might want to read over the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread and decide if you ought to be forging a deeper connection in places.

>The sky above bellows thunder angrily and is obscured by rainfall.//

And yet you said there was "perpetual darkness." There's some inconsistency as to what they can actually see and not see, including each other.

>ever since I saw the sun flower//

Okay, I guess I'm catching on that this is the Rainboom…

>and myself now curious//

That phrasing just grates on me.

>She trails off//

In most cases, it's bad form to tell me what I can already deduce from the punctuation. Exceptions are common things like "ask" and "shout," but when you use an ellipsis to trail off or a dash for an interruption, you don't need to reiterate that as the speaking action.

>She smiles a brings up a hoof between us.//

Typo.

>“See, you asked me a question…” She brings up her other hoof. “…and then I asked one!”//

The way to wedge a narrative aside into a quote is thus:
“See, you asked me a question—” she brings up her other hoof “—and then I asked one!”

>but my eyes are fixated//

Another odd use of that word…

>I trace my hoof through its tangles, attentive with every motion.//

Watch out for misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the tangles are attentive.

>I see obsidian//

What shade of her tail is so dark as to appear this black?

>sucumb

succumb

>It’s entire population is all pegasi like myself,”—she flexes her wing and it rubs into me—“and when I was a filly

Its/it's confusion. That comma needs to go. And note the difference with the example I gave you earlier. Here, the dashes are with the narration, while in my example, they were with the speech. Both are acceptable. The difference is that in my example, the speaker stops while the aside occurs. It seemed appropriate for that case, and I wonder if it isn't here as well. The form you have here tends to indicate that the speech never stopped.

>her cheerful mood dampers//

Dampens, yes?

>fast enough to break the sound barrier//

Well, in canon occurrences, she's formed a shockwave well before she achieves the rainboom. By estimating it from conical shock tables, she's going about Mach 7 before the rainboom forms. Though I certainly don't expect the animators actually intended that level of detail…

>Even with the hazard billowing just outside the carriage//

Hazard? Okay, you've gone to the thesaurus one too many times.

>She brings her debased eyes back up to mine.//

I don't at all get that word choice. The connotation is way off.

>She looks perplexed//

Show me how this looks. As out-of-touch as Pinkie is with reading emotions in general, having her make the conclusions for me seems even more off-kilter, like her accuracy is tied to narrative convenience.

>for awhile//

"Awhile" and "a while" are pretty interchangeable, but not in this case. The preposition "for" needs an object, so you have to make it two words so there's a noun there to serve that function. I see a few other instances. You might want to Ctrl-f for this.

>I forget what going on in this scene//

Typo.

>Just…!//

I'm not one to complain about question marks or exclamation marks after a dash or question marks after an ellipsis, but this combination has never made sense to me. She's trailing off… emphatically? They have pretty opposite functions.

>all of the sudden//

all of a sudden. You do this again later. Suddenness can be awkward to point out in narration, though. We had no reason to expect she'd be cold, so just leaving this bit off would still generate that effect. In fact, with this lead-in, it feels like she senses it coming on, such that it actually takes away from the suddenness.

>who’s else//

who else's

>my mom wasn’t really…” Her voice trails off//

You're doing that thing again…

>She sighs again//

There's an awful lot of sighing going on in this part of the story.

>Without thinking Rocky rolls out of my hooves and I reach for it as far as I can.//

I get that British convention often doesn't use commas for introductory elements, but I'd suggest one here, or it sounds like "Rocky" is a direct object for "thinking." However, "without thinking" is clearly supposed to modify Pinkie, but she never appears in that clause, only her hooves. So you're saying that Rocky isn't thinking. While I believe you, it isn't particularly illustrative.

>There’re a few more droplets//

There was an earlier spot I let slide where you used "there's" with a plural. But if you're going to use this form here, be consistent.

>a curtain being risen//

Raised. "Rise" doesn't take a direct object.

>weight I hadn’t known I’ve been carrying

Cliche reprised.

>laying in bed//

Lay/lie confusion

>Oh that’s not a problem dear.//

Missing comma for direct address.

First off, this was well written. It didn't feel as long as it actually is. But there are a few things I want to go over.

There were only a few consistent mechanical things: commas between clauses, some mistaken phrasings, etc. Nothing much there, and certainly things you're capable of fixing. Just note that I only marked a couple of examples for each—you'll need to root them out.

I talked some about Pinkie's colorblindness, but I'll touch on it a bit more here, since I've seen how it all plays out now. So, she's never know color, then gets a bunch of it in a burst. It's not like she'd understand it, though. She can see red for that moment, but she doesn't know it's red intrinsically. She'd just know she saw some confusing things she'd never seen before, and now they're gone. Put a little more thought into making this feel authentic.

So, Pinkie is telling this story. And yet you use very dense, florid speech for her. I can't help but feel like this is a story told from the point of view of someone who's interesting, but not Pinkie. She only shares a name and a few details about her life with Pinkie. It's a good idea even in a third-person narration to keep your narrator close to word choice and intelligence level commensurate with your focus character, and that's even more imperative in first-person. This just doesn't sound like Pinkie. Not that Pinkie could never be this introspective and intelligent-sounding, but canon Pinkie is always your starting point. If you want her to be something different, you need to get me there first, or you might as well use an OC. Now there are times when such a disconnect can work, and I'd be inclined to overlook it, were this in third person, but I can help coming back to this: The narrator is supposed to be Pinkie, but sounds nothing like her.

I caught you being telly a few times where I felt it was inopportune, but there weren't too many instances. It's worth a scan over points where the emotion runs high to make sure you're engaging the reader enough.

I didn't at all care for the words colored so they'd be missing. Enhancing the story is one thing, but making it difficult to read is another. You don't want to slow the reader down at all. This is akin to giving very phonetic spellings for a thick accent. Yes, it creates an effect, but it's just irritating to read.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.<br /><br />First, I&#039;ll say that I have high expectations of this story going in, based on the various reputations involved. As a result, I&#039;m going to dig deeper for things to comment on, since it&#039;s less &quot;this is what it will take to be accepted for posting&quot; and more &quot;these are my impressions and suggestions for how you could make it even better.&quot; <br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She merrily returns one full of charisma//</span><br />The choice of &quot;charisma&quot; here struck me as odd. First, it&#039;s a bit telly, since you don&#039;t show me how this looks. I can forgive a bit of telliness here and there, when a moment isn&#039;t particularly evocative. I would caution you against doing it much at the beginning of a story, where you&#039;re trying to hook the reader. My other reaction was that I don&#039;t see any reason for providing this info. Your protagonist doesn&#039;t react to it in any way, and &quot;charisma&quot; is the type of thing to produce an emotion or reaction in the observer. It felt incomplete to use that word, but not have the narrator link it to a feeling or action it provokes in her.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;silhouetted building//</span><br />I fell like the scene setting is lacking here. &quot;Silhouetted&quot; implies something specific about the lighting, but we&#039;re never given any cues about it. It&#039;s not until the next sentence that we get a clue as to why—it&#039;s storming—but what&#039;s backlighting the building? Lightning, dying daylight, streetlamps, …?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;They are talking about something—I wonder if it’s about me—but their voices are lost to howling wind and thunderous rain.//</span><br />Another thing that&#039;s a good idea to watch, especially early in the story, is overuse of &quot;to be&quot; verbs. Three in this sentence alone, and in my opinion, ones that would be easy to place with active verbs and rephrase. &quot;To be&quot; is an inherently boring verb.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;even though I’m on my haunches//</span><br />Dependent clause should be set off with commas on both ends.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;leaving me alone with only this sparse patch of upholstery//</span><br />Look how far this participle is from what it modifies, and it&#039;s stacked up behind another participle. It leaves the sentence feeling choppy.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;My entire life is written in this book and it’s something only my eyes can see.//</span><br />Another spot where you need a comma to separate the clauses. I see a few more of these. Exceptions can be made for the sake of flow, but you&#039;re consistently doing this. I have a brief section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Wind surges into the cabin, rustling myself and blowing dirty water into my face.//</span><br />That&#039;s not the way reflexive pronouns work; they need to have the referenced person or thing as the subject as well. Just use &quot;me&quot; here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;unabated howl//</span><br />You described the wind as &quot;howling&quot; just a few paragraphs back. This is borderline, but beware repeating words or phrases in a close space. The more unusual they are, the more breathing room you need to give them.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I’m at a loss for capacity//</span><br />I have no idea what this means…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It reminds me a little of the sun flower//</span><br />Do you mean sunflower? In either case, &quot;the&quot; implies you&#039;re referring to something specific, and I have no idea what that is. Even if you mean a generic sunflower, I don&#039;t get the comparison you&#039;re trying to make.<br /><br />Okay, these places where you use colored text… I can&#039;t see the word &quot;color.&quot; Keep in mind that different users and applications have different background colors, and when you play with them, you run the risk that they won&#039;t show up. I&#039;m guessing you made these white (I have a white background). I&#039;m also assuming you did this on purpose so the reader can&#039;t see other colors, but beware of making the reader do too much word, i.e., highlighting these words to see what they are. In fact, those colors aren&#039;t invisible to her; they&#039;re gray. So why didn&#039;t you make them gray? Ironically, especially considering an aspect of your story, I&#039;m colorblind and can&#039;t see much of the colored text right anyway, so the effect is lost on me.<br /><br />This brings up a point… Are you colorblind? The way Pinkie describes that she can actually see pink and that other shades appear as shades of gray to her—it doesn&#039;t ring true, at least in my experience. You see, I have no frame of reference to know what green really looks like, and while I know intellectually that I see it as a shade of gray, I wouldn&#039;t describe it as such. It&#039;s simply what green <i>is</i> to me, since I don&#039;t know anything else. Yes, I have trouble telling it from the colors I know as red and tan and gray, but it&#039;s still green to me.<br /><br />I&#039;m also at a loss as to why Dash needs to take shelter in the carriage. They&#039;re in a street in front of a building. She could have gone inside or under the eaves or something.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;like there’s an expected word on a page that’s mysteriously absent//</span><br />And given that this is exactly what you did, it smacks of shouting in the reader&#039;s ear: &quot;Hey, you! Notice this! I did this thing!&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I can tell she doesn’t want to be here as much as I do//</span><br />I don&#039;t think this says what you meant. You want something closer to: &quot;I can tell she finds her current predicament as distasteful as I do.&quot; What you said is that Pinkie likes being here, but Dash is less enthusiastic.<br /><br />I&#039;m noticing more and more comma splices in the narration. While you have some license insofar as it&#039;s essentially dialogue, it&#039;s starting to grate on me.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her gaze fixated out the window//</span><br />You&#039;re confusing &quot;fixated&quot; with &quot;fixed.&quot; She could conceivably be fixated, but it implies a mental process, which her gaze couldn&#039;t have.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;To emphasize this she sighs//</span><br />To emphasize what? Pinkie&#039;s perception of her? This really suggests that Dash does it intentionally because of smoething she&#039;d have no way of knowing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her name feels empty, however rapturous it might be, and I can’t help but feel sympathy for her.//</span><br />Watch the repetition of &quot;feel&quot; here. This is a very dangerous word anyway. In a tight perspective like this, you can get away with more telling, but Pinkie seems to be operating on a more stimulus-response level. Rather than jumping to her conclusion, it might work better to show what physical sensations or evoked memories or imagery it brings out in her.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I release a breath I didn’t know I’ve been holding.//</span><br />Yipe. Cliche ahoy.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;rattles the carriage//</span><br />This shaking and rattling of the carriage is starting to get repetitive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her happiness does not diminish the slightest//</span><br />I think you&#039;re missing an &quot;in&quot; here, and I&#039;d really rather you show this part, as it&#039;s a pretty critical moment in their becoming friends.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I follow the motion as best I could//</span><br />Inconsistent verb tense.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;clapping her hooves together to emphasize the point//</span><br />So she&#039;s emphasizing again? Repetitive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Arsenopyrite//</span><br />Okay, I don&#039;t get at all why this is the first thing that&#039;d pop into her mind. It wouldn&#039;t be any more unpleasant than any generic rock or dirt, really. It&#039;s not a mineral that forms particularly sharp corners or needle-like shapes, or that would be caustic. Maybe something like Whewellite, obsidian, carborundum. For that matter, plain old Halite would hurt like hell. A freshly broken piece of &quot;stinkspat&quot; Fluorite?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;wonderbolt’s//</span><br />Given that she&#039;s pretty much intuited what this means some time ago, why are you still putting it in lower case?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I tap my hooves together and look at her shyly.</span><br />I&#039;m seeing more of this telly language now. It&#039;s not really obtrusive, but you might want to read over the &quot;show versus tell&quot; section at the top of this thread and decide if you ought to be forging a deeper connection in places.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The sky above bellows thunder angrily and is obscured by rainfall.//</span><br />And yet you said there was &quot;perpetual darkness.&quot; There&#039;s some inconsistency as to what they can actually see and not see, including each other.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;ever since I saw the sun flower//</span><br />Okay, I guess I&#039;m catching on that this is the Rainboom…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and myself now curious//</span><br />That phrasing just grates on me.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She trails off//</span><br />In most cases, it&#039;s bad form to tell me what I can already deduce from the punctuation. Exceptions are common things like &quot;ask&quot; and &quot;shout,&quot; but when you use an ellipsis to trail off or a dash for an interruption, you don&#039;t need to reiterate that as the speaking action.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She smiles a brings up a hoof between us.//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“See, you asked me a question…” She brings up her other hoof. “…and then I asked one!”//</span><br />The way to wedge a narrative aside into a quote is thus:<br />“See, you asked me a question—” she brings up her other hoof “—and then I asked one!”<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but my eyes are fixated//</span><br />Another odd use of that word…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I trace my hoof through its tangles, attentive with every motion.//</span><br />Watch out for misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the tangles are attentive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I see obsidian//</span><br />What shade of her tail is so dark as to appear this black?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;sucumb</span><br />succumb<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It’s entire population is all pegasi like myself,”—she flexes her wing and it rubs into me—“and when I was a filly</span><br />Its/it&#039;s confusion. That comma needs to go. And note the difference with the example I gave you earlier. Here, the dashes are with the narration, while in my example, they were with the speech. Both are acceptable. The difference is that in my example, the speaker stops while the aside occurs. It seemed appropriate for that case, and I wonder if it isn&#039;t here as well. The form you have here tends to indicate that the speech never stopped.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her cheerful mood dampers//</span><br />Dampens, yes?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;fast enough to break the sound barrier//</span><br />Well, in canon occurrences, she&#039;s formed a shockwave well before she achieves the rainboom. By estimating it from conical shock tables, she&#039;s going about Mach 7 before the rainboom forms. Though I certainly don&#039;t expect the animators actually intended that level of detail…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Even with the hazard billowing just outside the carriage//</span><br />Hazard? Okay, you&#039;ve gone to the thesaurus one too many times.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She brings her debased eyes back up to mine.//</span><br />I don&#039;t at all get that word choice. The connotation is way off.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She looks perplexed//</span><br />Show me how this looks. As out-of-touch as Pinkie is with reading emotions in general, having her make the conclusions for me seems even more off-kilter, like her accuracy is tied to narrative convenience.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;for awhile//</span><br />&quot;Awhile&quot; and &quot;a while&quot; are pretty interchangeable, but not in this case. The preposition &quot;for&quot; needs an object, so you have to make it two words so there&#039;s a noun there to serve that function. I see a few other instances. You might want to Ctrl-f for this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I forget what going on in this scene//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Just…!//</span><br />I&#039;m not one to complain about question marks or exclamation marks after a dash or question marks after an ellipsis, but this combination has never made sense to me. She&#039;s trailing off… emphatically? They have pretty opposite functions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;all of the sudden//</span><br />all of a sudden. You do this again later. Suddenness can be awkward to point out in narration, though. We had no reason to expect she&#039;d be cold, so just leaving this bit off would still generate that effect. In fact, with this lead-in, it feels like she senses it coming on, such that it actually takes away from the suddenness.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;who’s else//</span><br />who else&#039;s<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;my mom wasn’t really…” Her voice trails off//</span><br />You&#039;re doing that thing again…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She sighs again//</span><br />There&#039;s an awful lot of sighing going on in this part of the story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Without thinking Rocky rolls out of my hooves and I reach for it as far as I can.//</span><br />I get that British convention often doesn&#039;t use commas for introductory elements, but I&#039;d suggest one here, or it sounds like &quot;Rocky&quot; is a direct object for &quot;thinking.&quot; However, &quot;without thinking&quot; is clearly supposed to modify Pinkie, but she never appears in that clause, only her hooves. So you&#039;re saying that Rocky isn&#039;t thinking. While I believe you, it isn&#039;t particularly illustrative.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;There’re a few more droplets//</span><br />There was an earlier spot I let slide where you used &quot;there&#039;s&quot; with a plural. But if you&#039;re going to use this form here, be consistent.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a curtain being risen//</span><br />Raised. &quot;Rise&quot; doesn&#039;t take a direct object.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;weight I hadn’t known I’ve been carrying</span><br />Cliche reprised.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;laying in bed//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Oh that’s not a problem dear.//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br />First off, this was well written. It didn&#039;t feel as long as it actually is. But there are a few things I want to go over.<br /><br />There were only a few consistent mechanical things: commas between clauses, some mistaken phrasings, etc. Nothing much there, and certainly things you&#039;re capable of fixing. Just note that I only marked a couple of examples for each—you&#039;ll need to root them out.<br /><br />I talked some about Pinkie&#039;s colorblindness, but I&#039;ll touch on it a bit more here, since I&#039;ve seen how it all plays out now. So, she&#039;s never know color, then gets a bunch of it in a burst. It&#039;s not like she&#039;d understand it, though. She can see red for that moment, but she doesn&#039;t <i>know</i> it&#039;s red intrinsically. She&#039;d just know she saw some confusing things she&#039;d never seen before, and now they&#039;re gone. Put a little more thought into making this feel authentic.<br /><br />So, Pinkie is telling this story. And yet you use very dense, florid speech for her. I can&#039;t help but feel like this is a story told from the point of view of someone who&#039;s interesting, but not Pinkie. She only shares a name and a few details about her life with Pinkie. It&#039;s a good idea even in a third-person narration to keep your narrator close to word choice and intelligence level commensurate with your focus character, and that&#039;s even more imperative in first-person. This just doesn&#039;t sound like Pinkie. Not that Pinkie could never be this introspective and intelligent-sounding, but canon Pinkie is always your starting point. If you want her to be something different, you need to get me there first, or you might as well use an OC. Now there are times when such a disconnect can work, and I&#039;d be inclined to overlook it, were this in third person, but I can help coming back to this: The narrator is supposed to <i>be</i> Pinkie, but sounds nothing like her.<br /><br />I caught you being telly a few times where I felt it was inopportune, but there weren&#039;t too many instances. It&#039;s worth a scan over points where the emotion runs high to make sure you&#039;re engaging the reader enough.<br /><br />I didn&#039;t at all care for the words colored so they&#039;d be missing. Enhancing the story is one thing, but making it difficult to read is another. You don&#039;t want to slow the reader down at all. This is akin to giving very phonetic spellings for a thick accent. Yes, it creates an effect, but it&#039;s just irritating to read.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 61

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.

On the chapter title:
At least it's not the story's title, but these inscrutable foreign language titles inspire little more than an eye roll with most readers. They won't bother looking it up, and so it ends up meaning nothing, and even comes across as pretentious.

>waited somewhat impatiently//

This is your first sentence. You want to set a vivid scene and immediately draw the reader in. Being telly isn't the way to accomplish that. Show me what they do and get me to deduce that they're impatient.

>Spike and Twilight both tapped their feet on the empty platform.//

And now you do show us a bit, but it's detached, sandwiched between two bits of action, and pretty short and uninformative for the mood you're trying to create. Just the tapping feet can mean several different things.

>gruff looking //

Hyphenate compound descriptors.

>She dug into one of the two saddlebags she was wearing with her snout.//

You might want to relocate that "with her snout" after "dug" or to the beginning of the sentences. As it is, it sounds like she was wearing her snout, which while true, isn't a useful piece of information.

>The train driver gave the pair a hard look.//

Wait, when did he join in? You had the conductor talking to them, but that's not the driver.

>princess’//

Though it's common to see this, as a singular term, the proper possessive is "princess's."

>Spike stuck out his chest a little at the pony being rude to his adoptive big sister and best friend. //

>Her heart swelled with appreciation when Spike took her offences as his own.//
Note the jumpy perspective. These are both internal attitudes, and so require the narrator to have switched perspectives over the course of two sentences. Perspective shifts can occur, but they need to be smooth and carefully considered. Is this information vital? Is it impossible to communicate both parts from the same perspective? Unless there's a compelling reason to change, it's better to stay with one character's point of view for extended stretches.

>The stallion huffed in annoyance.//

>Twilight was practically bubbling with eagerness//
More telling. You're lapsing into it quite a bit. Some can fly, but this is too much. Your story should be a little movie playing in my head. You provide the visuals, and I'll figure out the emotions. Have a look at the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread.

>Assuming my research and hypothesis is correct//

Number mismatch.

>resistant to it's effects//

Its/it's confusion.

>did the princess have any advise//

advice

> Maybe others theorized this before, but never found any significant evidence.//

A common problem. Look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. You don't need one here, since you don't have a new clause, but you can get some leeway for the sake of flow.

>Time seemed to fly by. Before they knew it, the train came to a grinding halt.//

This is a very, very abrupt transition. You didn't ease into it at all. They're in the middle of talking, and then, hey, time skip.

>All right you two,//

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

>Alright//

Be consistent about which way you spell this.

>feeling more than a little bit irked by the driver's attitude//

More telling, and you're mixing up their jobs again. A conductor isn't who drives the train.

>Spike looked at the bulging saddle bags, a slight twinge of guilt made his claws twitch.//

Comma splice.

>Spike was suffering much more from his own boredom than the heat.//

and just three short sentences later…
>The patient pony made sure not to take that frustration out on her number one assistant and friend.//
More of these back-and-forth swings of perspective.

>The dragon’s ear fin twitched as he overheard that last part.//

You don't exactly overhear what's said directly to you…

>With that said//

Phrases like this that reference the writing itself are immersion-breaking.

>the unicorn levitated a red and white checkered blanket//

Getting a bit much LUS here. And this conversation has been a little talking heads, too. There are short discussions of both at the top os this thread.

>'Geographical Locations and their Histories'//

Book titles don't go in quotes. Thery're underlined or, preferably, italicized.

>She clutched her tummy harder. “I-I think I’m gonna-“

>The poor mare was unable to finish
You either have an unintentional line break or forgot to leave a blank one. And please use a proper dash for interruptions.

>Owe//

You sure you didn't mean "ow"?

>Don’t worry Spike.//

Another missing comma for direct address.

>She nudged his shoulder with her snout, starting to worry.//

Participles are common as misplaced modifiers. By proximity here, it sounds like her snout is starting to worry.

>wide eyed//

Again, hyphenate your compound descriptors.

At this point, I have to ask why there's a rail line maintained to a place nobody goes…

>She couldn’t tell her assistant the truth –//

You're inconsistent about using an actual dash or a double hyphen.

>Beyond the unnerving fear she felt, she still felt//

Close repetition of "felt." And telly. "Feel" is a dangerous verb, since it encourages telliness. It's best reserved for physical sensations.

>she certain that some extinct species must be responsible instead//

Missing word.

>Twilight took out her camera and took a few more pictures.//

Repetition of "took."

>“Look over there,” Spike said while pointing, “See the top of that building?”//

The way you've punctuated it, the two parts of the quote form a single, continuous sentence, which they can't. You must have realized that; you didn't capitalize it that way.

>Over a set of shorter structures that might once have been grocery stores//

Why would multiple grocery stores have been that close together? And what about them leads her to conclude that's what they might be?

>Strange, Twilight thought.//

Put thoughts in italics or quotes. I believe you used italics in an earlier instance.

>figures moving//

Extraneous space.

>Death before surrender!!!//

Watch the multiple punctuation. One exclamation mark is plenty.

>“Yes ma’am,” Spike saluted.//

That's not a speaking action.

>metal behemoths//

You used "behemoth" not that long ago. The more unusual a word, the more it sticks in the mind, then feels repetitive when you use it again too soon.

>Spike nodded; and before either knew it, they had drifted off to sleep.//

With all the thoughts that must be rushing through their heads, that was easy.

>The dragon looked to his sister//

I guess I can't fault you for this, but canon plays their relationship as closer to mother/son. Consider the complete lack of a reaction of Spike to Shining Armor, especially as compared to Twilight. He certainly doesn't seem invested in that family beyond her.

>light turning//

Another extraneous space. You might want to do a Ctrl-f for two spaces.

>Spike felt the strangest feeling of enchantment with her.//

I warned you about using "feel," plus this is repetitive.

>a much bigger lady standing next to her looking out a window. The little girl was playing with a doll as the older female looked out the window.//

So, she was looking out a window?

>burntout//

burnt-out

>His eye's overflowed//

Why the possessive?

>mucus leaking his nose//

Missing a "from."

>His tears moistening her fur, waking her slightly from her restless sleep.//

You haven't been using a narrator that speaks in fragments, so it feels out of place to do it suddenly here.

>“I don’t want to talk about it."//

This really implies that he fully understands the nature of what he saw. If he felt like the chance might not come again to interact with these scenes, wouldn't he want to take her to see? Or if he thought there was any chance of danger to Twilight, he'd warn her. I don't buy this reaction.

>researchers turned adventurers//

Though not a modifier, this is also a hyphenated term.

>Those of which were not inked out//

Lose the "of."

>that would likely appeal to a certain unicorn DJ//

This is hopelessly gratuitous. Canon has never suggested Twilight has any relationship with her whatsoever, and you're not offering any evidence to support such here, either.

>a smoking barrel//

From your earlier description of what were apparently tanks:
>they also had long tubes sticking out; all pointed away from the building//
So does she know what a barrel is or not? These are contradictory.

>but still substantially larger then a pony//

Then/than confusion.

>They recognized the body shape as that possessed by the beings in their separate visions.//

Yes, you already mentioned that it was "another one of the bipeds." I've seen you do a fair amount of this type of rehashing.

>Spikes voice//

Missing apostrophe.

> It had short cut hair, barely more then fuzz on it's head and around it's mouth, both were dark brown.//

It's/its AND than/then confusion. The fun has been doubled! And the second comma is a splice.

>It also possessed hair just above it's expressive grey eyes

It's/its. Really. Mistakes with this were pretty spotty early on, but four of them in two sentences?

>Gasses//

gases

>nebulas//

I think Twilight would use the more formal plural "nebulae."

>carrying members of the race from place to place//

The unintentional rhyme here is undercutting the serious mood.

>They could not hear her anymore than a weapon could hear the pleas of its victims to stop.//

The way you're using it here, "any more" needs to be two words.

>I don’t want to see anymore.//

Same thing again, unless you actually mean Twilight wants to lose her sight.

>“Wait! Don’t go!” The pony called.//

Capitalization error.

>hind quarters//

hindquarters

So, the mechanical things first. There were a lot of little ones. Things I had to point out multiple times? Watch those. Given how many editing passes I assume this has been through, I'm surprised how many typos are still in there, and things like inconsistent dash use and thought formatting.

Stylistically, there was some talking heads, which tends to make conversations feel bland, and until the end, there was a lack of emotional attachment to the characters. The narrative focused more on the progression of events at the expense of how the characters felt about it, and when you did touch on the emotions, more often than not it was to bluntly inform me of them.

The plot was actually interesting. It kept me reading to find out what this is, but there was a huge disconnect overshadowing it all for me. I touched on it tangentially once already. There's a train line running out here that nobody ever actually uses, and yet it makes the trip regularly. Celestia certainly seemed to know what Twilight might find. I got more of a feel of "Go there—you might learn something interesting" than "I have no idea what's there, so I need you to explore the area" from her. And if she had the slightest inkling at all, she's knowingly sending Twilight into horrible danger. It'd be hard to believe that Celestia truly didn't have any idea what was there, given the nearby train station.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.<br /><br />On the chapter title:<br />At least it&#039;s not the story&#039;s title, but these inscrutable foreign language titles inspire little more than an eye roll with most readers. They won&#039;t bother looking it up, and so it ends up meaning nothing, and even comes across as pretentious.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;waited somewhat impatiently//</span><br />This is your first sentence. You want to set a vivid scene and immediately draw the reader in. Being telly isn&#039;t the way to accomplish that. Show me what they do and get me to deduce that they&#039;re impatient.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Spike and Twilight both tapped their feet on the empty platform.//</span><br />And now you do show us a bit, but it&#039;s detached, sandwiched between two bits of action, and pretty short and uninformative for the mood you&#039;re trying to create. Just the tapping feet can mean several different things.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;gruff looking //</span><br />Hyphenate compound descriptors.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She dug into one of the two saddlebags she was wearing with her snout.//</span><br />You might want to relocate that &quot;with her snout&quot; after &quot;dug&quot; or to the beginning of the sentences. As it is, it sounds like she was wearing her snout, which while true, isn&#039;t a useful piece of information.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The train driver gave the pair a hard look.//</span><br />Wait, when did he join in? You had the conductor talking to them, but that&#039;s not the driver.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;princess’//</span><br />Though it&#039;s common to see this, as a singular term, the proper possessive is &quot;princess&#039;s.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Spike stuck out his chest a little at the pony being rude to his adoptive big sister and best friend. //</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her heart swelled with appreciation when Spike took her offences as his own.//</span><br />Note the jumpy perspective. These are both internal attitudes, and so require the narrator to have switched perspectives over the course of two sentences. Perspective shifts can occur, but they need to be smooth and carefully considered. Is this information vital? Is it impossible to communicate both parts from the same perspective? Unless there&#039;s a compelling reason to change, it&#039;s better to stay with one character&#039;s point of view for extended stretches.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The stallion huffed in annoyance.//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight was practically bubbling with eagerness//</span><br />More telling. You&#039;re lapsing into it quite a bit. Some can fly, but this is too much. Your story should be a little movie playing in my head. You provide the visuals, and I&#039;ll figure out the emotions. Have a look at the &quot;show versus tell&quot; section at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Assuming my research and hypothesis is correct//</span><br />Number mismatch.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;resistant to it&#039;s effects//</span><br />Its/it&#039;s confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;did the princess have any advise//</span><br />advice<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt; Maybe others theorized this before, but never found any significant evidence.//</span><br />A common problem. Look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. You don&#039;t need one here, since you don&#039;t have a new clause, but you can get some leeway for the sake of flow.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Time seemed to fly by. Before they knew it, the train came to a grinding halt.//</span><br />This is a very, very abrupt transition. You didn&#039;t ease into it at all. They&#039;re in the middle of talking, and then, hey, time skip.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;All right you two,//</span><br />In the middle of a sentence, direct address takes commas on both sides.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Alright//</span><br />Be consistent about which way you spell this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;feeling more than a little bit irked by the driver&#039;s attitude//</span><br />More telling, and you&#039;re mixing up their jobs again. A conductor isn&#039;t who drives the train.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Spike looked at the bulging saddle bags, a slight twinge of guilt made his claws twitch.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Spike was suffering much more from his own boredom than the heat.//</span><br />and just three short sentences later…<br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The patient pony made sure not to take that frustration out on her number one assistant and friend.//</span><br />More of these back-and-forth swings of perspective.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The dragon’s ear fin twitched as he overheard that last part.//</span><br />You don&#039;t exactly overhear what&#039;s said directly to you…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;With that said//</span><br />Phrases like this that reference the writing itself are immersion-breaking.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the unicorn levitated a red and white checkered blanket//</span><br />Getting a bit much LUS here. And this conversation has been a little talking heads, too. There are short discussions of both at the top os this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&#039;Geographical Locations and their Histories&#039;//</span><br />Book titles don&#039;t go in quotes. Thery&#039;re underlined or, preferably, italicized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She clutched her tummy harder. “I-I think I’m gonna-“</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The poor mare was unable to finish</span><br />You either have an unintentional line break or forgot to leave a blank one. And please use a proper dash for interruptions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Owe//</span><br />You sure you didn&#039;t mean &quot;ow&quot;?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Don’t worry Spike.//</span><br />Another missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She nudged his shoulder with her snout, starting to worry.//</span><br />Participles are common as misplaced modifiers. By proximity here, it sounds like her snout is starting to worry.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;wide eyed//</span><br />Again, hyphenate your compound descriptors.<br /><br />At this point, I have to ask why there&#039;s a rail line maintained to a place nobody goes…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She couldn’t tell her assistant the truth –//</span><br />You&#039;re inconsistent about using an actual dash or a double hyphen.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Beyond the unnerving fear she felt, she still felt//</span><br />Close repetition of &quot;felt.&quot; And telly. &quot;Feel&quot; is a dangerous verb, since it encourages telliness. It&#039;s best reserved for physical sensations.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she certain that some extinct species must be responsible instead//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight took out her camera and took a few more pictures.//</span><br />Repetition of &quot;took.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Look over there,” Spike said while pointing, “See the top of that building?”//</span><br />The way you&#039;ve punctuated it, the two parts of the quote form a single, continuous sentence, which they can&#039;t. You must have realized that; you didn&#039;t capitalize it that way.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Over a set of shorter structures that might once have been grocery stores//</span><br />Why would multiple grocery stores have been that close together? And what about them leads her to conclude that&#039;s what they might be?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Strange, Twilight thought.//</span><br />Put thoughts in italics or quotes. I believe you used italics in an earlier instance.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;figures moving//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>Death before surrender!!!</i>//</span><br />Watch the multiple punctuation. One exclamation mark is plenty.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Yes ma’am,” Spike saluted.//</span><br />That&#039;s not a speaking action.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;metal behemoths//</span><br />You used &quot;behemoth&quot; not that long ago. The more unusual a word, the more it sticks in the mind, then feels repetitive when you use it again too soon.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Spike nodded; and before either knew it, they had drifted off to sleep.//</span><br />With all the thoughts that must be rushing through their heads, that was easy.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The dragon looked to his sister//</span><br />I guess I can&#039;t fault you for this, but canon plays their relationship as closer to mother/son. Consider the complete lack of a reaction of Spike to Shining Armor, especially as compared to Twilight. He certainly doesn&#039;t seem invested in that family beyond her.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;light turning//</span><br />Another extraneous space. You might want to do a Ctrl-f for two spaces.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Spike felt the strangest feeling of enchantment with her.//</span><br />I warned you about using &quot;feel,&quot; plus this is repetitive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a much bigger lady standing next to her looking out a window. The little girl was playing with a doll as the older female looked out the window.//</span><br />So, she was looking out a window?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;burntout//</span><br />burnt-out<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;His eye&#039;s overflowed//</span><br />Why the possessive?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;mucus leaking his nose//</span><br />Missing a &quot;from.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;His tears moistening her fur, waking her slightly from her restless sleep.//</span><br />You haven&#039;t been using a narrator that speaks in fragments, so it feels out of place to do it suddenly here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“I don’t want to talk about it.&quot;//</span><br />This really implies that he fully understands the nature of what he saw. If he felt like the chance might not come again to interact with these scenes, wouldn&#039;t he want to take her to see? Or if he thought there was any chance of danger to Twilight, he&#039;d warn her. I don&#039;t buy this reaction.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;researchers turned adventurers//</span><br />Though not a modifier, this is also a hyphenated term.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Those of which were not inked out//</span><br />Lose the &quot;of.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;that would likely appeal to a certain unicorn DJ//</span><br />This is hopelessly gratuitous. Canon has never suggested Twilight has any relationship with her whatsoever, and you&#039;re not offering any evidence to support such here, either.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a smoking barrel//</span><br />From your earlier description of what were apparently tanks:<br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;they also had long tubes sticking out; all pointed away from the building//</span><br />So does she know what a barrel is or not? These are contradictory.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but still substantially larger then a pony//</span><br />Then/than confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;They recognized the body shape as that possessed by the beings in their separate visions.//</span><br />Yes, you already mentioned that it was &quot;another one of the bipeds.&quot; I&#039;ve seen you do a fair amount of this type of rehashing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Spikes voice//</span><br />Missing apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt; It had short cut hair, barely more then fuzz on it&#039;s head and around it&#039;s mouth, both were dark brown.//</span><br />It&#039;s/its AND than/then confusion. The fun has been doubled! And the second comma is a splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It also possessed hair just above it&#039;s expressive grey eyes</span><br />It&#039;s/its. Really. Mistakes with this were pretty spotty early on, but four of them in two sentences?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Gasses//</span><br />gases<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;nebulas//</span><br />I think Twilight would use the more formal plural &quot;nebulae.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;carrying members of the race from place to place//</span><br />The unintentional rhyme here is undercutting the serious mood.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;They could not hear her anymore than a weapon could hear the pleas of its victims to stop.//</span><br />The way you&#039;re using it here, &quot;any more&quot; needs to be two words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I don’t want to see anymore.//</span><br />Same thing again, unless you actually mean Twilight wants to lose her sight.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Wait! Don’t go!” The pony called.//</span><br />Capitalization error.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;hind quarters//</span><br />hindquarters<br /><br />So, the mechanical things first. There were a lot of little ones. Things I had to point out multiple times? Watch those. Given how many editing passes I assume this has been through, I&#039;m surprised how many typos are still in there, and things like inconsistent dash use and thought formatting.<br /><br />Stylistically, there was some talking heads, which tends to make conversations feel bland, and until the end, there was a lack of emotional attachment to the characters. The narrative focused more on the progression of events at the expense of how the characters felt about it, and when you did touch on the emotions, more often than not it was to bluntly inform me of them.<br /><br />The plot was actually interesting. It kept me reading to find out what this is, but there was a huge disconnect overshadowing it all for me. I touched on it tangentially once already. There&#039;s a train line running out here that nobody ever actually uses, and yet it makes the trip regularly. Celestia certainly seemed to know what Twilight might find. I got more of a feel of &quot;Go there—you might learn something interesting&quot; than &quot;I have no idea what&#039;s there, so I need you to explore the area&quot; from her. And if she had the slightest inkling at all, she&#039;s knowingly sending Twilight into horrible danger. It&#039;d be hard to believe that Celestia truly didn&#039;t have any idea what was there, given the nearby train station.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 62

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

>“But muuuuuum!” whined Chrysalis, “all the ponies get to take part in Nightmare Night!”//

The way you've punctuated this, both parts of the quote should form a single, continuous sentence. So let's remove the narration and see how it looks:
“But muuuuuum! all the ponies get to take part in Nightmare Night!”
Doesn't work, does it?

>Screeching to a halt as she came to the door, she burst into the study startling her father.//

Note that participles and "as" clauses imply simultaneous action, so all of this happens at the same time. She screeches to a halt, gets to the door, and bursts through it simultaneously, when in fact there would be a sequence to it.

>trick or treating//

That's a hyphenated term.

>She nodded her head and grinned, “Uhuh, in New Hoofshire!”//

You have no speaking verb in your attribution. You can't nod or grin a sentence.

>Chrysalis’//

Though it's common to see this, for a singular word, the proper possessive would be "Chrysalis's."

>But dad//

When used as a term of address, capitalize "Dad."

>hi sweetie//

Missing comma for direct address.

>muuuuum!//

When a question mark or exclamation mark is attached to an italicized word, you will commonly italicize it as well.

>Don’t talk about Commander Obsidian like that youngling, he’s a respectable changeling who will take care of you.//

Another missing comma for direct address, and the one you have is a splice.

This conversation was pretty talking heads. There's a discussion of that at the top of this thread.

>-Meanwhile, in a different part of the hive-//

This is a very blunt instrument. Surely, the reader can figure this out on his own.

>This was short-lived//

Demonstratives (this, that, these, those) make poor pronouns, since they often have vague and overly broad antecedents that refer to the writing itself.

>captain//

Same as "Dad." As a term of address, it would be capitalized.

>The door opened revealing a changeling//

You should set off most participles with commas.

>Obsidian scowled at the captain who quickly cut himself off//

Without a comma before "who," it implies there is more than one captain present, and you're specifying which one.

>Obsidian however,//

"However" needs commas on both sides.

>Satisfied with her work, she cackled to herself//

This is the fourth sentence in a row with a participle. Your sentence structure is getting repetitive.

>“I see. That should be fun for the two of you,” the captain smiled.//

Another poor choice of speaking verb. How do you smile a sentence?

>Obsidian also noticed she’d managed to cut a pair of holes for her wings which was quite impressive.//

What exactly would be so much more impressive about the wing holes over the eye and horn ones?

>Your, majesty//

Why in the world is that comma there? And the entire honorific would be capitalized.

>he’s like a…” Metamorphosis twirled his hoof in the air, “…grumpy grandfather to her.//

Here's how you do a narrative aside breaking a quote:
he’s like a—” Metamorphosis twirled his hoof in the air “—grumpy grandfather to her.

>W-who//

Consider what sound would actually be repeated. Wh-who

>the colt who was dress as the vampire//

Verb form error.

>You can call me, Lucky Feather//

Why is that comma there?

>Chrysalis breath//

Missing possessive.

>lets go get some sweets!//

Let's

>He couldn’t risk calling out for her lest he blow both of their covers, he tried to keep his calm and remember his training as a guard but none of that seemed relevant to him at the time.//

The one comma you have is a splice, and you're missing two others that should be there.

>I was like that at my age to//

To/too confusion.

>They thanked the mare and quickly scampered over to his mother, giggling in glee.//

Participles are commonly misplaced modifiers. By proximity, you're saying that the mother giggled, but I'm betting you meant the group of children.

>‘cos//

Smart quotes break when you try to make a leading apostrophe. It's backward.

Hm. Not much happens here. We don't learn anything interesting about any of the characters, the plot is formulaic and predictable, and none of the jokes were laugh-out-loud funny. It's lightly heartwarming, I guess, but we're looking for things that stand out in some way, and this really doesn't.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“But <i>muuuuuum!</i>” whined Chrysalis, “all the ponies get to take part in Nightmare Night!”//</span><br />The way you&#039;ve punctuated this, both parts of the quote should form a single, continuous sentence. So let&#039;s remove the narration and see how it looks:<br />“But <i>muuuuuum!</i> all the ponies get to take part in Nightmare Night!”<br />Doesn&#039;t work, does it?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Screeching to a halt as she came to the door, she burst into the study startling her father.//</span><br />Note that participles and &quot;as&quot; clauses imply simultaneous action, so all of this happens at the same time. She screeches to a halt, gets to the door, and bursts through it simultaneously, when in fact there would be a sequence to it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;trick or treating//</span><br />That&#039;s a hyphenated term.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She nodded her head and grinned, “Uhuh, in New Hoofshire!”//</span><br />You have no speaking verb in your attribution. You can&#039;t nod or grin a sentence.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Chrysalis’//</span><br />Though it&#039;s common to see this, for a singular word, the proper possessive would be &quot;Chrysalis&#039;s.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;But dad//</span><br />When used as a term of address, capitalize &quot;Dad.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;hi sweetie//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>muuuuum</i>!//</span><br />When a question mark or exclamation mark is attached to an italicized word, you will commonly italicize it as well.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Don’t talk about Commander Obsidian like that youngling, he’s a respectable changeling who will take care of you.//</span><br />Another missing comma for direct address, and the one you have is a splice.<br /><br />This conversation was pretty talking heads. There&#039;s a discussion of that at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<b>-Meanwhile, in a different part of the hive-</b>//</span><br />This is a very blunt instrument. Surely, the reader can figure this out on his own.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;This was short-lived//</span><br />Demonstratives (this, that, these, those) make poor pronouns, since they often have vague and overly broad antecedents that refer to the writing itself.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;captain//</span><br />Same as &quot;Dad.&quot; As a term of address, it would be capitalized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The door opened revealing a changeling//</span><br />You should set off most participles with commas.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Obsidian scowled at the captain who quickly cut himself off//</span><br />Without a comma before &quot;who,&quot; it implies there is more than one captain present, and you&#039;re specifying which one.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Obsidian however,//</span><br />&quot;However&quot; needs commas on both sides.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Satisfied with her work, she cackled to herself//</span><br />This is the fourth sentence in a row with a participle. Your sentence structure is getting repetitive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“I see. That should be fun for the two of you,” the captain smiled.//</span><br />Another poor choice of speaking verb. How do you smile a sentence?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Obsidian also noticed she’d managed to cut a pair of holes for her wings which was quite impressive.//</span><br />What exactly would be so much more impressive about the wing holes over the eye and horn ones?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Your, majesty//</span><br />Why in the world is that comma there? And the entire honorific would be capitalized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;he’s like a…” Metamorphosis twirled his hoof in the air, “…grumpy grandfather to her.//</span><br />Here&#039;s how you do a narrative aside breaking a quote:<br />he’s like a—” Metamorphosis twirled his hoof in the air “—grumpy grandfather to her.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;W-who//</span><br />Consider what sound would actually be repeated. Wh-who<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the colt who was dress as the vampire//</span><br />Verb form error.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You can call me, Lucky Feather//</span><br />Why is that comma there?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Chrysalis breath//</span><br />Missing possessive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;lets go get some sweets!//</span><br />Let&#039;s<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He couldn’t risk calling out for her lest he blow both of their covers, he tried to keep his calm and remember his training as a guard but none of that seemed relevant to him at the time.//</span><br />The one comma you have is a splice, and you&#039;re missing two others that should be there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I was like that at my age to//</span><br />To/too confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;They thanked the mare and quickly scampered over to his mother, giggling in glee.//</span><br />Participles are commonly misplaced modifiers. By proximity, you&#039;re saying that the mother giggled, but I&#039;m betting you meant the group of children.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘cos//</span><br />Smart quotes break when you try to make a leading apostrophe. It&#039;s backward.<br /><br />Hm. Not much happens here. We don&#039;t learn anything interesting about any of the characters, the plot is formulaic and predictable, and none of the jokes were laugh-out-loud funny. It&#039;s lightly heartwarming, I guess, but we&#039;re looking for things that stand out in some way, and this really doesn&#039;t.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 63

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.

>going to//

Extraneous space.

>that she was sure that now that I was a princess//

This is a pretty ungainly phrasing. You have three nested "that" noun clauses.

>When you're a princess, it's so easy to forget your roots.//

Fine point, but it's easy to slip into addressing the reader like this. It can take some thought to rephrase and avoid doing so, but it's a bad idea to address the reader, unless you've established a framing device in which the narrator will regularly interact with the reader, or you have a second-person point of view, where the reader is actually a character in the story.

>I want to remember my little ponies.//

Besides sounding trite, this doesn't quite mesh with her previous statement. Calling them "her" ponies isn't exactly grounded, and is a notable difference from how she thinks of them in canon.

>(politely of course)//

Actual parentheses work better in articles of writing, as in a letter or journal entry. As narration, you could just use dashes or commas here, but if you're married to the parentheses, it's not out of the question.

>Inasmuch unless she was too busy//

The "inasmuch" doesn't parse here.

>I also told her not to call me Shirley.//

This is a very old and very tired joke.

>Where was I?//

Okay, so you do establish the reader as someone listening to Twilight tell this story. That introduces another issue. It's implied in any first-person story that the narrator is telling it to someone, though you can generally get away without establishing who and why. But that can't really be swept under the rug when you involve the reader like this. Why does she want to tell me the story? And why am I listening to her?

>Febreze//

Using real-life brand names is problematic at best. You could just generically say "air freshener" without losing any meaning.

>every time she visits, her allergies act up and she has sneezing fits for a week//

Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>sing song//

Hyphenate. The way you've phrased this, it makes it sound like Fluttershy always talks in a sing-song voice, which isn't the case. Maybe "a" instead of "her" would work better.

>I really miss my friends sometimes.//

This is a pretty throwaway line. You don't really do anything to justify it or make it mean anything. Just the brief reminiscence about Shy and Dash brought this on? Then say so. And how does it make her feel? Don't tell me bluntly, but give me a couple of symptoms. Maybe she stares off for a moment, maybe she gets a warm feeling.

>Oh, hi Twilight!//

Missing comma for direct address.

>where I was sitting sipping tea on her couch//

You at least had Shy bringing her tea, but the last time you told me where Twi was, she'd just come through the door. When did she get to the couch?

>and droppings of animals poop//

First, you're missing an apostrophe, but this is also redundant. "Droppings of poop" is like saying "pee of urine."

>Sparkle do best: Organize!//

You don't need to capitalize after a colon when it doesn't refer to multiple sentences.

>a broom, if that's

>ok with you."//
Why is this line break here?

>Huh, what is that smell?, I thought.

Any end punctuation takes the place of a comma in transitioning out of speech.

>*POMPH!* went my wings.//

Made-up words for sounds effects are a bad idea, and so is putting asterisks around them. Just describe the sound.

>I'm sorry overreacted like that.//

Missing word.

>ok//

Write this out as "okay."

>She cut me off.//

This was already evident from the way you punctuated the dialogue. You don't need to indicate it again.

>Celestia's hot sun.//

This is one of the most cliched things you could have possibly said. It's bad enough in narration, but as dialogue? When have they ever said this in canon?

>when they do eat, the can up to a third of their weight in food//

Typo and another missing word.

>a newborn bunny I had to put down because of severe birth defects//

This has really disturbing implications. She wouldn't bury it? How do the bunny's parents feel about it?

>And you're third question?//

Your/you're confusion.

>Ow!–…eye.//

Don't combine a dash and an ellipsis like this. They mean very different things.

>The next thirty seconds went way to fast.//

To/too confusion again.

>I actually literally heard a “squee” sound, like she was a cartoon character or something.//

Meta for the sake of meta is… a thing, I guess. Not a good thing.

>You licked her?!//

Given that reptiles are transmitters of salmonella, I'm with Twilight here.

>"She… she has… hepatic cancer."//

Letting the text itself do the work for you is cheating. Kind of.

>Hepatic is Gricean for… liver right?//

I have a hard time believing that Twilight would have to work this hard to figure that out.

>She doesn't speak Equestrian very well.//

Very well? You stated explicitly earlier that she couldn't understand anything Twilight said.

>"I mean just that: I don't know why I can talk to animals, or why I understand what they say. I just do. I guess I'm blessed with a gift."//

You've just gone through eleven paragraphs with only two actions breaking up all the dialogue, one of them a blatant tell. Check out the section on talking heads at the top of this thread.

>I shuttered watching the thing//

Shuddered.

>She also was several years older than the rest of us, come to think of it.//

Well, she's only one year older than Pinkie, as per canon.

>two hundred and sixty six//

Surely, someone as scientific as Twilight would know how to say a number properly. There's never an "and," and it's "sixty-six."

>example,//

Because you're ending this part of the quote with a dash to work in the aside, you don't need the comma.

>A few days latter//

later

>watch her bury her animals//

Okay, let's bring up that baby rabbit again. Why not feed Gabriella to another one of her patients?

>writing about this//

So she's writing this story as opposed to telling it to someone? Because the odd vocal quirks she used earlier in the story absolutely do not belong in something written. They're conversational.

I get that Twilight learns a lesson, but we don't get to see her, y'know, learn it. She breaks down, Fluttershy explains things to her, and then we see her afterward, once she's internalized it. We never get to see the moment when she gets it, and that's where the real power is.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;going to//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;that she was sure that now that I was a princess//</span><br />This is a pretty ungainly phrasing. You have three nested &quot;that&quot; noun clauses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;When you&#039;re a princess, it&#039;s so easy to forget your roots.//</span><br />Fine point, but it&#039;s easy to slip into addressing the reader like this. It can take some thought to rephrase and avoid doing so, but it&#039;s a bad idea to address the reader, unless you&#039;ve established a framing device in which the narrator will regularly interact with the reader, or you have a second-person point of view, where the reader is actually a character in the story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I want to remember my little ponies.//</span><br />Besides sounding trite, this doesn&#039;t quite mesh with her previous statement. Calling them &quot;her&quot; ponies isn&#039;t exactly grounded, and is a notable difference from how she thinks of them in canon.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;(politely of course)//</span><br />Actual parentheses work better in articles of writing, as in a letter or journal entry. As narration, you could just use dashes or commas here, but if you&#039;re married to the parentheses, it&#039;s not out of the question.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Inasmuch unless she was too busy//</span><br />The &quot;inasmuch&quot; doesn&#039;t parse here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I also told her not to call me Shirley.//</span><br />This is a very old and very tired joke.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Where was I?//</span><br />Okay, so you <i>do</i> establish the reader as someone listening to Twilight tell this story. That introduces another issue. It&#039;s implied in any first-person story that the narrator is telling it to someone, though you can generally get away without establishing who and why. But that can&#039;t really be swept under the rug when you involve the reader like this. Why does she want to tell me the story? And why am I listening to her?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Febreze//</span><br />Using real-life brand names is problematic at best. You could just generically say &quot;air freshener&quot; without losing any meaning.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;every time she visits, her allergies act up and she has sneezing fits for a week//</span><br />Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;sing song//</span><br />Hyphenate. The way you&#039;ve phrased this, it makes it sound like Fluttershy always talks in a sing-song voice, which isn&#039;t the case. Maybe &quot;a&quot; instead of &quot;her&quot; would work better.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I really miss my friends sometimes.//</span><br />This is a pretty throwaway line. You don&#039;t really do anything to justify it or make it mean anything. Just the brief reminiscence about Shy and Dash brought this on? Then say so. And how does it make her feel? Don&#039;t tell me bluntly, but give me a couple of symptoms. Maybe she stares off for a moment, maybe she gets a warm feeling.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Oh, hi Twilight!//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;where I was sitting sipping tea on her couch//</span><br />You at least had Shy bringing her tea, but the last time you told me where Twi was, she&#039;d just come through the door. When did she get to the couch?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and droppings of animals poop//</span><br />First, you&#039;re missing an apostrophe, but this is also redundant. &quot;Droppings of poop&quot; is like saying &quot;pee of urine.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sparkle do best: Organize!//</span><br />You don&#039;t need to capitalize after a colon when it doesn&#039;t refer to multiple sentences.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a broom, if that&#039;s</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;ok with you.&quot;//</span><br />Why is this line break here?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>Huh, what is that smell?</i>, I thought.</span><br />Any end punctuation takes the place of a comma in transitioning out of speech.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;*POMPH!* went my wings.//</span><br />Made-up words for sounds effects are a bad idea, and so is putting asterisks around them. Just describe the sound.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I&#039;m sorry overreacted like that.//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;ok//</span><br />Write this out as &quot;okay.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She cut me off.//</span><br />This was already evident from the way you punctuated the dialogue. You don&#039;t need to indicate it again.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia&#039;s hot sun.//</span><br />This is one of the most cliched things you could have possibly said. It&#039;s bad enough in narration, but as dialogue? When have they ever said this in canon?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;when they do eat, the can up to a third of their weight in food//</span><br />Typo and another missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a newborn bunny I had to put down because of severe birth defects//</span><br />This has really disturbing implications. She wouldn&#039;t bury it? How do the bunny&#039;s parents feel about it?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And you&#039;re third question?//</span><br />Your/you&#039;re confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Ow!–…eye.//</span><br />Don&#039;t combine a dash and an ellipsis like this. They mean very different things.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The next thirty seconds went way to fast.//</span><br />To/too confusion again.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I actually literally heard a “squee” sound, like she was a cartoon character or something.//</span><br />Meta for the sake of meta is… a thing, I guess. Not a good thing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You licked her?!//</span><br />Given that reptiles are transmitters of salmonella, I&#039;m with Twilight here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;She… she has… hepatic cancer.&quot;//</span><br />Letting the text itself do the work for you is cheating. Kind of.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Hepatic is Gricean for… liver right?//</span><br />I have a hard time believing that Twilight would have to work this hard to figure that out.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She doesn&#039;t speak Equestrian very well.//</span><br />Very well? You stated explicitly earlier that she couldn&#039;t understand anything Twilight said.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;I mean just that: I don&#039;t know why I can talk to animals, or why I understand what they say. I just do. I guess I&#039;m blessed with a gift.&quot;//</span><br />You&#039;ve just gone through eleven paragraphs with only two actions breaking up all the dialogue, one of them a blatant tell. Check out the section on talking heads at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I shuttered watching the thing//</span><br />Shuddered.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She also was several years older than the rest of us, come to think of it.//</span><br />Well, she&#039;s only one year older than Pinkie, as per canon.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;two hundred and sixty six//</span><br />Surely, someone as scientific as Twilight would know how to say a number properly. There&#039;s never an &quot;and,&quot; and it&#039;s &quot;sixty-six.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;example,//</span><br />Because you&#039;re ending this part of the quote with a dash to work in the aside, you don&#039;t need the comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;A few days latter//</span><br />later<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;watch her bury her animals//</span><br />Okay, let&#039;s bring up that baby rabbit again. Why not feed Gabriella to another one of her patients?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;writing about this//</span><br />So she&#039;s writing this story as opposed to telling it to someone? Because the odd vocal quirks she used earlier in the story absolutely do not belong in something written. They&#039;re conversational.<br /><br />I get that Twilight learns a lesson, but we don&#039;t get to see her, y&#039;know, learn it. She breaks down, Fluttershy explains things to her, and then we see her afterward, once she&#039;s internalized it. We never get to see the moment when she gets it, and that&#039;s where the real power is.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 64

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

>the various cities municipal guards//

cities'

>Someday, she will return.//

I don't see a good reason for coloring this text. In fact, it appears so pale, that I almost didn't see it/ I thought you just had an extra line break to mark a weak scene break.

>deep blue manes. Deeply//

Watch the repetition, even if the words are used in different senses.

>Moon doth//

>star goes out and the sun gutters//
Why the inconsistency in using archaic language?

>She would rejoice at their loyalty, and reward them for their service.//

See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions. Bottom line: you don't need one here, since it's all a single clause.

>the Sun Princess’ tasks//

While it's common to see this, singular terms do technically take the full apostrophe-s. The proper possessive would be "Princess's."

>respect for their monarch, whom they had served with unbreakable respect//

Watch the repetition again.

>Forty two//

Forty-two

First, the good news. This is well-written and almost free of mechanical problems, which is pretty rare. The backstory behind the batponies' creation is an interesting take on things.

Now the bad news. There isn't much story here. There is a ton of history, but it's all presented in a detached way. We don't get to see any of it unfold. The power of a story is in connecting to the characters who live it, but we don't see anyone live anything. The first third of the story is a narrative info-dump. The second third is Luna's info-dump monologue. The last third is Celestia's info-dump monologue. We're being told about all of this after the fact and see nothing but lip service as to how any of them felt about any of it. Even the little bit of conflict presented (whether the Nocturne will accept Luna's explanation and forgive her) is glossed over. They react in a way that shows they still revere her, but it's all action, no emotion. The same from Luna, who walks among them, but never reacts or lets on how any of it makes her feel. It's a lovely piece of world-building and a nice basis to use for a story, but what's here reads like a biography or a history textbook, not a story with a message.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the various cities municipal guards//</span><br />cities&#039;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Someday, she will return.//</span><br />I don&#039;t see a good reason for coloring this text. In fact, it appears so pale, that I almost didn&#039;t see it/ I thought you just had an extra line break to mark a weak scene break.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;deep blue manes. Deeply//</span><br />Watch the repetition, even if the words are used in different senses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>Moon doth</i>//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>star goes out and the sun gutters</i>//</span><br />Why the inconsistency in using archaic language?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She would rejoice at their loyalty, and reward them for their service.//</span><br />See the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions. Bottom line: you don&#039;t need one here, since it&#039;s all a single clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the Sun Princess’ tasks//</span><br />While it&#039;s common to see this, singular terms do technically take the full apostrophe-s. The proper possessive would be &quot;Princess&#039;s.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;respect for their monarch, whom they had served with unbreakable respect//</span><br />Watch the repetition again.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Forty two//</span><br />Forty-two<br /><br />First, the good news. This is well-written and almost free of mechanical problems, which is pretty rare. The backstory behind the batponies&#039; creation is an interesting take on things.<br /><br />Now the bad news. There isn&#039;t much story here. There is a ton of history, but it&#039;s all presented in a detached way. We don&#039;t get to see any of it unfold. The power of a story is in connecting to the characters who live it, but we don&#039;t see anyone live anything. The first third of the story is a narrative info-dump. The second third is Luna&#039;s info-dump monologue. The last third is Celestia&#039;s info-dump monologue. We&#039;re being told about all of this after the fact and see nothing but lip service as to how any of them felt about any of it. Even the little bit of conflict presented (whether the Nocturne will accept Luna&#039;s explanation and forgive her) is glossed over. They react in a way that shows they still revere her, but it&#039;s all action, no emotion. The same from Luna, who walks among them, but never reacts or lets on how any of it makes her feel. It&#039;s a lovely piece of world-building and a nice basis to use for a story, but what&#039;s here reads like a biography or a history textbook, not a story with a message.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 65

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.

>another torrent of tears //

When was the first?

>Wordlessly the two adults left the room.

>
>"That should keep her asleep for a while," the doctor reported.//
This is an odd juxtaposition. They leave wordlessly, then there are immediately words. Give me a transition. Where did they go? How much time passed?

>Her voice trailed off desperately.//

The ellipsis already shows her trailing off. You don't need to repeat it in the narration.

>Doctor Clearwater had trained for years to be a doctor//

I bet you can rephrase that to avoid repeating "doctor."

>The sight of her alone brought another torrent of tears streaming down her eyes//

This is clearly from the mother's perspective, and it's only the story's second paragraph. In the third, it's unclear that there is a perspective. Then in the fifth, we get this:
>he felt bitter that this mare would even make him say it//
Don't jerk the reader around with frequent changes of perspective like this. The longer you stay in one perspective, the more the reader identifies with that character and cares about him/her. Have a look at the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.

>There are worse odds than a coin toss.//

I hardly think his prognosis would be this dire for something he could only approximate as less than 50/50. Those are actually not bad odds for many serious conditions.

>Even without looking//

Participles are normally set off with commas.

>Don't make me say it, you bitch, he thought//

Wow. This is coming out of nowhere. What motivation would he have to be this mad at her? If he's studied to be a doctor as much as you imply, this is also something they're trained to handle. He'd tell the truth, cushion it as much as he felt was warranted, and stand by the facts. If there's some history here that's influencing him, you need to go into it to get me there. And the "he thought" part isn't actually his thought. It wouldn't be italicized.

>SOME//

Italics are preferred over bold or all caps for emphasis, except in the case of the Royal Canterlot Voice.

>Her mane, nearly as ragged as her daughter's, fell messily around her face in a way that was oddly alluring. Even her misery was tragically beautiful.//

And after silently cussing her out, he's now attracted to her in her moment of pain? I am now officially creeped out by this character.

>she began to sob//

Why "began"? You already had her sobbing in the first paragraph.

>If only she had recognized the early signs, if only the doctor had diagnosed Windflower quicker//

And now you've switched perspectives within a single paragraph.

>Outside the night had fallen unnoticed and a cold October breeze whistled through the trees.//

See the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>Maybe she will have a bit of peace//

If this is a thought, as indicated, italicize it.

>there came a point in which//

Usually phrased "at which."

>tear swollen//

Hyphenate compound descriptors.

>You are right, Princess. I do not know where I am going, but I have to keep going. It's time for me to stop being afraid.//

That was a rather quick change of heart. Really, it signifies that the central conflict of this chapter was no big deal. There was no struggle to achieve the goal, much like going grocery shopping.

>equestrian//

Capitalization, unless you literally mean "one who rides on horseback."

>As she fell into the dream//

Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>Casting the Princess one more brisk glance//

You're inconsistent in capitalizing "princess."

>movable press//

You should probably go with "printing press" or "movable type."

>such joy!//

When ! or ? is attached to an italicized word, it's normally italicized as well.

>made, this//

Extraneous space.

>your royal highness//

The honorific would be capitalized.

>We would love to see thy progress.//

You're being inconsistent with her archaic speech. Here, from chapter 1:
>"Child, why do you weep so?"//
This would be: "Child, why dost thou weep so?"

>corner stone//

cornerstone

>(Somewhat un-princess like)//

First, this wouldn't be capitalized. Second, actual parentheses work best in articles of writing, like a journal entry, or possibly in a first-person or very subjective third-person narration. But in an objective narration, it feels out of place, and in any narration, you could just as easily use dashes or possibly commas.

>No longer did desks and ink and parchment fill the room, instead it was dominated by a series of heavy presses//

Comma splice.

>a moments confusion//

Missing apostrophe.

>"Good morning, your highness," bowed a thickly built red stalltion//

Your attribution has no speaking verb.

>!!!!Grandpappy Flam's Miracle Elixer!!!

Is there a reason for the asymmetric number of exclamation marks and their boldness? And is the misspelling intentional?

>A common street remedy for every pain you can think of//

I know it can be tricky to avoid some phrasings that address the reader, but you really should. It feels out of place to suddenly do this when you haven't established a narrator that will speak to the reader.

>Slowly she made her way through the mess, searching carefully for Inkstar, expecting the worst but praying for the best.//

Why is there a line break here? It also feels abit clunky to have two participial phrases stacked up in series like this, particularly since it exacerbates the problem of misplaced modifiers. As phrased, it sounds like the mess is searching, which we can at least sort out with a bit of logic, but it really does sound like Inkstar is the one expecting the worst.

>be you winged or horned or hooved//

Um… aren't they all hooved?

>How like a mother kissing her foal goodnight!//

Since the narrator hasn't settled into a perspective here, I can't tell who's expressing this opinion. The only candidate I can fathom is Luna, but this is a rather detached and flippant sentiment, given how morose she just was over Inkstar's death.

>not reach//

Another extraneous space.

>It filled her stomach and turned it's empty caverns//

Its/it's confusion. It's also confusing to have the first "it" and the one in "its" refer to different things.

>And the unicorn Inkstar, so wronged by the world, so lost, seeking the peace of dreams through opiates to banish her from the real world, only to die by that which gave her escape.//

I have to say that we met her so briefly that I formed no attachment to her. There's some default sympathy for her situation, but I just don't care that much about what happened to her. We saw one nice dream of hers, but for all we know, she was an asshole.

>Why was her night abused//

What about when ponies sleep during the day? Particularly for the sick child, she probably slept during much of the day.

>earth bound//

earthbound

>Why did ponies use it to hide instead of explore?//

This begs the question about daydreams, which are very much in this character. Can Luna see them? Can Celestia?

>She will help fix the pain of nightmares//

Why the tense shift?

>reclined recumbent//

Redundant.

>The concerns of a mortal politician were mere dust motes in the mind of an immortal Sun God. It should be enough for him to merely bask in her glory.//

Okay, you're also blindsiding me with this characterization of Celestia. You can get some leeway to present her like this before giving the explanation, but there needs to be one. Canon is your starting point, and if you're going to play her differently, you have to connect the dots to get me there.

>We must speak with the at once.

thee

>"Princess Luna." she said insistently//

Dialogue punctuation.

>Things that effect the peace of my night as well as your day.//

While you could argue a valid meaning here, it would be unusual. As worded, you are saying these things cause the peace. I believe you meant "affect," as in these things influence the peace, but do not directly cause it.

> treatable. " she paused//

Extraneous space, capitalization.

>We just helped pass another Filly tonight.//

You have a lot of these odd, inconsistent capitalizations. I can't see why you'd capitalize this, and you didn't in the previous sentence.

>Luna paused.//

So, two consecutive actions for her are pauses?

>"And what would you have me do about this."//

It's a question…

>we could reach more ponies in their dreams to try and sooth them.//

soothe

>equestria//

And then you don't capitalize this… I just don't get it.

>"We-"//

Please use a proper dash.

>Celestia, stepping down from her throne, cut her off//

Missing end punctuation, and once again, an action that is redundant with how the quote was punctuated. And another thing: When speech is cut off, the very next thing I read needs to be that interruption. If not, it undercuts the suddenness when the narrator has time to wedge something else in. As such, it feels like Celestia stepping off the throne is what made Luna stop speaking, and I can't imagine why that would be the case, unless you give me an explanation. More likely, Celestia's words stopped Luna, so they should immediately follow the cutoff.

>HOW Princess Luna//

See, when you use multiple ways of emphasizing things, I have no idea what they mean relative to each other. Which part of this is louder? It's better to use the narration and choice of speaking verbs to get this across.

>livlihoods//

livelihoods. Mind the squiggly lines, please. Most of the time. Well, maybe half the time. At least they can spot things like this.

>Step by step, Inch by inch//

All I can think of when I read this was Niagara Falls.

>The frigid wind felt like feathered ice on her coat as the wind rushed over her, exalting her, worshiping her as she willed herself higher and higher.//

Multiple "as" clauses in the sentence make it feel repetitive.

>"And she deserved more. "//

Another extraneous space.

>cottony//

You just used "cotton" earlier in the same paragraph, and the repetition isn't for any evident stylistic reason.

>when those eyes closed ceased too the strain of muscles and the beating of feathered wings//

Awkward phrasing.

>long overdo child//

Overdue

>Cold, panicked anger flushed though Luna's blood. Jealousy and rage and anger assaulted the immortal princess of night before crashing into a wave of despair that nearly choked her.//

There have been little bits and pieces throughout, but this is hugely telly and serves only to distance me from her. I connect to a character by figuring out how she feels from the evidence, not by having it fed to me. Look through the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>"I'M WARNING YOU. I GOT'S A RAKE!"//

This is a serious shift of tone. It's almost funny, and I don't think it was supposed to be.

There are obviously some mechanical issues. Things I had to mark several times? Those'd be the ones. And I didn't mark every one, or even the majority—just enough to give you the gist of what to look for.

On a stylistic note, the two biggest problems were the jerky narration and repetition. I've onge on about the head hopping already and pointed out numerous example of the repetition. But here's one I haven't mentioned yet: to be. In your first chapter, just the "was" form appears 27 times. That's a huge amount for this word count. Consider also that it's an inherently boring verb. I'd much rather read about what happens, not what is. Overuse of this verb points to telling problems (there were a few), too much passive voice (only a little here), and a need to choose more active verbs (that'd be the biggie).

On a characterization front, I'd just say it's an interesting reversal of the presumed attitudes of Luna and Celestia, but so far I've seen no bridge between canon Celestia and your portrayal of her. You can't string a reader along but so far without drawing that line between them and expect him to stay interested. Luna's feelings are also a bit empty, since I don't feel them with her. We don't get to know the two who died enough to care about them, so we don't have a default position to sympathize with Luna, and we don't even really see her emotions on display about it, either.

You do have a knack for description, though it tends toward purple at times. When in Luna's perspective, that may suit her to a degree, but it won't serve all your characters, particularly if you keep switching points of view.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;another torrent of tears //</span><br />When was the first?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Wordlessly the two adults left the room.</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;That should keep her asleep for a while,&quot; the doctor reported.//</span><br />This is an odd juxtaposition. They leave wordlessly, then there are immediately words. Give me a transition. Where did they go? How much time passed?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her voice trailed off desperately.//</span><br />The ellipsis already shows her trailing off. You don&#039;t need to repeat it in the narration.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Doctor Clearwater had trained for years to be a doctor//</span><br />I bet you can rephrase that to avoid repeating &quot;doctor.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The sight of her alone brought another torrent of tears streaming down her eyes//</span><br />This is clearly from the mother&#039;s perspective, and it&#039;s only the story&#039;s second paragraph. In the third, it&#039;s unclear that there is a perspective. Then in the fifth, we get this:<br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;he felt bitter that this mare would even make him say it//</span><br />Don&#039;t jerk the reader around with frequent changes of perspective like this. The longer you stay in one perspective, the more the reader identifies with that character and cares about him/her. Have a look at the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;There are worse odds than a coin toss.//</span><br />I hardly think his prognosis would be this dire for something he could only approximate as less than 50/50. Those are actually not bad odds for many serious conditions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Even without looking//</span><br />Participles are normally set off with commas.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>Don&#039;t make me say it, you bitch, he thought</i>//</span><br />Wow. This is coming out of nowhere. What motivation would he have to be this mad at her? If he&#039;s studied to be a doctor as much as you imply, this is also something they&#039;re trained to handle. He&#039;d tell the truth, cushion it as much as he felt was warranted, and stand by the facts. If there&#039;s some history here that&#039;s influencing him, you need to go into it to get me there. And the &quot;he thought&quot; part isn&#039;t actually his thought. It wouldn&#039;t be italicized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;SOME//</span><br />Italics are preferred over bold or all caps for emphasis, except in the case of the Royal Canterlot Voice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her mane, nearly as ragged as her daughter&#039;s, fell messily around her face in a way that was oddly alluring. Even her misery was tragically beautiful.//</span><br />And after silently cussing her out, he&#039;s now attracted to her in her moment of pain? I am now officially creeped out by this character.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she began to sob//</span><br />Why &quot;began&quot;? You already had her sobbing in the first paragraph.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;If only she had recognized the early signs, if only the doctor had diagnosed Windflower quicker//</span><br />And now you&#039;ve switched perspectives within a single paragraph.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Outside the night had fallen unnoticed and a cold October breeze whistled through the trees.//</span><br />See the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Maybe she will have a bit of peace//</span><br />If this is a thought, as indicated, italicize it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;there came a point in which//</span><br />Usually phrased &quot;at which.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;tear swollen//</span><br />Hyphenate compound descriptors.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You are right, Princess. I do not know where I am going, but I have to keep going. It&#039;s time for me to stop being afraid.//</span><br />That was a rather quick change of heart. Really, it signifies that the central conflict of this chapter was no big deal. There was no struggle to achieve the goal, much like going grocery shopping.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;equestrian//</span><br />Capitalization, unless you literally mean &quot;one who rides on horseback.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;As she fell into the dream//</span><br />Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Casting the Princess one more brisk glance//</span><br />You&#039;re inconsistent in capitalizing &quot;princess.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;movable press//</span><br />You should probably go with &quot;printing press&quot; or &quot;movable type.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>such joy</i>!//</span><br />When ! or ? is attached to an italicized word, it&#039;s normally italicized as well.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;made, this//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;your royal highness//</span><br />The honorific would be capitalized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;We would love to see thy progress.//</span><br />You&#039;re being inconsistent with her archaic speech. Here, from chapter 1:<br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Child, why do you weep so?&quot;//</span><br />This would be: &quot;Child, why dost thou weep so?&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>corner stone</i>//</span><br />cornerstone<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;(Somewhat un-princess like)//</span><br />First, this wouldn&#039;t be capitalized. Second, actual parentheses work best in articles of writing, like a journal entry, or possibly in a first-person or very subjective third-person narration. But in an objective narration, it feels out of place, and in any narration, you could just as easily use dashes or possibly commas.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;No longer did desks and ink and parchment fill the room, instead it was dominated by a series of heavy presses//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a moments confusion//</span><br />Missing apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Good morning, your highness,&quot; bowed a thickly built red stalltion//</span><br />Your attribution has no speaking verb.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<b>!!!!Grandpappy Flam&#039;s Miracle Elixer</b>!!!</span><br />Is there a reason for the asymmetric number of exclamation marks and their boldness? And is the misspelling intentional?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;A common street remedy for every pain you can think of//</span><br />I know it can be tricky to avoid some phrasings that address the reader, but you really should. It feels out of place to suddenly do this when you haven&#039;t established a narrator that will speak to the reader.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Slowly she made her way through the mess, searching carefully for Inkstar, expecting the worst but praying for the best.//</span><br />Why is there a line break here? It also feels abit clunky to have two participial phrases stacked up in series like this, particularly since it exacerbates the problem of misplaced modifiers. As phrased, it sounds like the mess is searching, which we can at least sort out with a bit of logic, but it really does sound like Inkstar is the one expecting the worst.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>be you winged or horned or hooved</i>//</span><br />Um… aren&#039;t they all hooved?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;How like a mother kissing her foal goodnight!//</span><br />Since the narrator hasn&#039;t settled into a perspective here, I can&#039;t tell who&#039;s expressing this opinion. The only candidate I can fathom is Luna, but this is a rather detached and flippant sentiment, given how morose she just was over Inkstar&#039;s death.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;not reach//</span><br />Another extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It filled her stomach and turned it&#039;s empty caverns//</span><br />Its/it&#039;s confusion. It&#039;s also confusing to have the first &quot;it&quot; and the one in &quot;its&quot; refer to different things.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And the unicorn Inkstar, so wronged by the world, so lost, seeking the peace of dreams through opiates to banish her from the real world, only to die by that which gave her escape.//</span><br />I have to say that we met her so briefly that I formed no attachment to her. There&#039;s some default sympathy for her situation, but I just don&#039;t care that much about what happened to her. We saw one nice dream of hers, but for all we know, she was an asshole.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Why was her night abused//</span><br />What about when ponies sleep during the day? Particularly for the sick child, she probably slept during much of the day.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;earth bound//</span><br />earthbound<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Why did ponies use it to hide instead of explore?//</span><br />This begs the question about daydreams, which are very much in this character. Can Luna see them? Can Celestia?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She will help fix the pain of nightmares//</span><br />Why the tense shift?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;reclined recumbent//</span><br />Redundant.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The concerns of a mortal politician were mere dust motes in the mind of an immortal Sun God. It should be enough for him to merely bask in her glory.//</span><br />Okay, you&#039;re also blindsiding me with this characterization of Celestia. You can get some leeway to present her like this before giving the explanation, but there needs to be one. Canon is your starting point, and if you&#039;re going to play her differently, you have to connect the dots to get me there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<b>We must speak with the at once.</b></span><br />thee<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Princess Luna.&quot; she said insistently//</span><br />Dialogue punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Things that effect the peace of my night as well as your day.//</span><br />While you could argue a valid meaning here, it would be unusual. As worded, you are saying these things cause the peace. I believe you meant &quot;affect,&quot; as in these things influence the peace, but do not directly cause it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt; treatable. &quot; she paused//</span><br />Extraneous space, capitalization.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;We just helped pass another Filly tonight.//</span><br />You have a lot of these odd, inconsistent capitalizations. I can&#039;t see why you&#039;d capitalize this, and you didn&#039;t in the previous sentence.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna paused.//</span><br />So, two consecutive actions for her are pauses?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;And what would you have me do about this.&quot;//</span><br />It&#039;s a question…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;we could reach more ponies in their dreams to try and sooth them.//</span><br />soothe<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;equestria//</span><br />And then you don&#039;t capitalize this… I just don&#039;t get it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;We-&quot;//</span><br />Please use a proper dash.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia, stepping down from her throne, cut her off//</span><br />Missing end punctuation, and once again, an action that is redundant with how the quote was punctuated. And another thing: When speech is cut off, the very next thing I read needs to be that interruption. If not, it undercuts the suddenness when the narrator has time to wedge something else in. As such, it feels like Celestia stepping off the throne is what made Luna stop speaking, and I can&#039;t imagine why that would be the case, unless you give me an explanation. More likely, Celestia&#039;s words stopped Luna, so they should immediately follow the cutoff.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;HOW <i>Princess Luna</i>//</span><br />See, when you use multiple ways of emphasizing things, I have no idea what they mean relative to each other. Which part of this is louder? It&#039;s better to use the narration and choice of speaking verbs to get this across.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;livlihoods//</span><br />livelihoods. Mind the squiggly lines, please. Most of the time. Well, maybe half the time. At least they can spot things like this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Step by step, Inch by inch//</span><br />All I can think of when I read this was Niagara Falls.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The frigid wind felt like feathered ice on her coat as the wind rushed over her, exalting her, worshiping her as she willed herself higher and higher.//</span><br />Multiple &quot;as&quot; clauses in the sentence make it feel repetitive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;<i>And she deserved more.</i> &quot;//</span><br />Another extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;cottony//</span><br />You just used &quot;cotton&quot; earlier in the same paragraph, and the repetition isn&#039;t for any evident stylistic reason.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;when those eyes closed ceased too the strain of muscles and the beating of feathered wings//</span><br />Awkward phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;long overdo child//</span><br />Overdue<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Cold, panicked anger flushed though Luna&#039;s blood. Jealousy and rage and anger assaulted the immortal princess of night before crashing into a wave of despair that nearly choked her.//</span><br />There have been little bits and pieces throughout, but this is hugely telly and serves only to distance me from her. I connect to a character by figuring out how she feels from the evidence, not by having it fed to me. Look through the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<b>&quot;I&#039;M WARNING YOU. I GOT&#039;S A RAKE!&quot;</b>//</span><br />This is a serious shift of tone. It&#039;s almost funny, and I don&#039;t think it was supposed to be.<br /><br />There are obviously some mechanical issues. Things I had to mark several times? Those&#039;d be the ones. And I didn&#039;t mark every one, or even the majority—just enough to give you the gist of what to look for.<br /><br />On a stylistic note, the two biggest problems were the jerky narration and repetition. I&#039;ve onge on about the head hopping already and pointed out numerous example of the repetition. But here&#039;s one I haven&#039;t mentioned yet: to be. In your first chapter, just the &quot;was&quot; form appears 27 times. That&#039;s a huge amount for this word count. Consider also that it&#039;s an inherently boring verb. I&#039;d much rather read about what happens, not what is. Overuse of this verb points to telling problems (there were a few), too much passive voice (only a little here), and a need to choose more active verbs (that&#039;d be the biggie).<br /><br />On a characterization front, I&#039;d just say it&#039;s an interesting reversal of the presumed attitudes of Luna and Celestia, but so far I&#039;ve seen no bridge between canon Celestia and your portrayal of her. You can&#039;t string a reader along but so far without drawing that line between them and expect him to stay interested. Luna&#039;s feelings are also a bit empty, since I don&#039;t feel them with her. We don&#039;t get to know the two who died enough to care about them, so we don&#039;t have a default position to sympathize with Luna, and we don&#039;t even really see her emotions on display about it, either.<br /><br />You do have a knack for description, though it tends toward purple at times. When in Luna&#039;s perspective, that may suit her to a degree, but it won&#039;t serve all your characters, particularly if you keep switching points of view.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 66

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.

>were crammed//

Up front in the story is not the best place for passive voice, especially when you could avoid it altogether by simply substituting "had" for "were."

>the royal palace//

I waffle myself on what to call the place, but they have referred to it in canon as Canterlot Castle.

>to have witnessed such an event//

You just used "witness" earlier in the paragraph. Watch the repetition.

>”,m wewwy bword,”//

I have to say, I've never been a fan of indicating volume through font size. It's kind of a lazy way of getting around having to describe it in narration. I'm also not sure what that first comma is doing there, and it appears to have flipped the smart quotes the wrong way at the beginning.

>Boredom - the complete absence of fun.//

Well… lack of engaging activity, not necessarily fun. But that's a minor point. Please use a proper dash, not a hyphen, but I think a colon would be more appropriate here anyway, since you're defining the term.

>as she continued to brush her mane.//

Okay, I'll speak up about this. You first had a "began to brush her mane" statement. I didn't say anything then, since it was the first instance of this in the story, but it's a common verb to overuse. Every action begins. It's only worth pointing out the beginning when it's notable for some reason, like it's an abrupt change, or the action gets interrupted. I let it slide, since it looks so far like it won't be a frequent issue for you, but then you go on with a "continued brushing" action, which is again something very obvious. Switch it up. Add a twist to the action, give it a bit more character.

>She finished brushing her mane//

Okay, you completed the trifecta of obvious statements.

>“Oh, you needn't actually do anything,” Celestia clarified, “Just keep an eye on her.//

Dialogue capitalization/punctuation. You probably meant to have "just" in lower case, but I'd argue that sits too close to a comma splice, so I'd recommend putting a period after "clarified."

>She turned to face Luna, bemused.//

Probably the first time I've caught you being telly, so good on that front. Of course, you don't always have to show, but I would like to see this expression from her instead of having it summed up for me.

>It was very difficult for her, even as a ruler of an entire country, to deny her sister when she used that tactic.//

I almost commented on this earlier, but I have to say something now. Your first paragraph made a statement that wouldn't be outwardly obvious ("This was a momentous occasion, after all, for there were few in attendance who could claim to have witnessed such an event within their lifetimes as was occurring here today.") Thus it's from a specific perspective, to a degree—kind of the crowd's mindset. But then you switch into Luna's perspective. I didn't mind that so much, since the crows mind helped establish the setting and wasn't a specific character anyway. But after spending the whole story in Luna's head, you suddenly bump us over in to Celestia's for the grand total of one paragraph. Perspective shifts can be done, but they need to be smooth and necessary. Is this information vital? Can it only be told through Celestia's perspective and not read from her by another's perception? And if it is necessary, surely it's worth staying with her for a while.

>deep in thought.//

Removable. Your description of her already gets this across.

>No matter how she looked at it, her inability to get the hang of flying just didn't make any sense to her.//

And here you go again. You were in Pinkie's point of view, so why switch to Twilight's? You could convey this same information through Twilight's body language as seen by Pinkie. Edit: I thought you were going to stay with Pinkie, since she's listed as a main character, but it would probably work better to have this scene entirely in Twilight's perspective and rework the little bit that was in Pinkie's head. You can get somewhat of a pass on this in comedy, as internal reactions can carry much of the humor, but it's just too much here.

>with concern.//

A common type of telly language. These prepositional phrases are almost always redundant with the description or action they follow.

>in annoyance//

And again. Get rid of these. If you think what's left isn't clear, you can add a bit more description.

>royalty?//

Commonly, a ? or ! will be italicized when it's on an italicized word.

>Princess Luna, however, was quick to grab hold of a chance to avoid having to watch Twilight all day.//

>Not even Twilight could resist staring open-mouthed at the princess. Surely she hadn't just heard what she thought she had heard.//
Yeah, fix that perspective. It's jumping all over the place.

>(much to her annoyance)//

Actual parentheses work best in a very deep perspective or, preferably, in articles of writing, like a diary or letter. In shallower or objective points of view, these often render better with commas or dashes.

>video games, with Luna absolutely crushing Pinkie's high score//

Oh, good. Gamer Luna meme. (Don't mind me. I just hate these, but I won't make you change it.)

>all-too familiar//

You don't need the hyphen.

>"I know, we can go to Sugarcube Corner!" she beamed.//

That speaking verb… How does one beam a sentence?

>"…and//

Even though it doesn't actually start the sentence, capitalize. Lower case is for when we had the beginning of the sentence earlier, and it's picking back up.

>Let us go inside and you can show me more//

Missing comma between the clauses.

>welcome, princess//

As a term of address, "Princess" would be capitalized.

>Sweetie darling,//

These are separate terms of direct address, so put a comma between them.

>H-hello, princess!//

Same.

>Pinkie suddenly gasped, interrupting her.//

Two things: The previous dialogue trailed off, which isn't an interruption, and once that's fixed, the speech will already indicate an interruption; you don't need to reiterate it here.

>Mrs. Cake looked scandalized//

And how does this look?

>She and Pinkie were sitting at a table outside, admiring the absurdly oversized bag of cotton candy Pinkie had bought for them.//

Note that participles can frequently be misplaced modifiers. By proximity in the sentence, it sounds like the table is admiring the candy. We can discount that with a bit of logic, but then it's ambiguous whether you mean Pinkie, Luna, or both are admiring it.

>amazing!//

Italicize the !. You're inconsistent at this.

>an entire ball of it…" she eyed the bag of candy, "this large//

You've almost got it. Here's how to work in the aside:
an entire ball of it –" she eyed the bag of candy "– this large

>So it had come to this.//

I think you want a colon here.

>hyped up//

Hyphenate.

>careful consideration//

Extraneous space in there.

>on hot days. On this day//

Feels repetitive.

>rocky lake bed//

They're generally just muddy.

>Rainbow, my wings are sore and it's getting late.//

Needs a coma between the clauses.

>Pinkie greeted with a big smile//

Transitive verb requires a direct object.

>Unbeknownst to Princess Luna, ingesting high concentrations of sugar comes with horrible side effects, including terrible belly pains and dehydration, and a low, almost depressing feeling upon coming down from the initial high.//

This is more science lesson than something interesting. Just have her experience those symptoms instead of externalizing them like this.

>doing so caused her head to hurt so she just closed her eyes again and lay still//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

Mechanically, there were a mixed bag of things but just as many appeared to be oversights than consistent problems. So just watch the ones I had to point out multiple times. Note that I didn't point out every instance, just enough to show what the issue is. You have to root out the rest.

In style, I pointed out a few instances of telling. I kind of already explained it, but you might want to read over the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread. The only other things I'd point out are these:

Saidisms. You have about 160 quotes in your story, but you only used "said" seven times. It's a verb designed to blend in and avoid notice. While your choice of speaking verb can lend flavor to your writing, picking unusual ones too often begins to draw attention to them and away from the actual speech, which is a bad thing. YMMV, but I usually aim for a balnce of about 1/3 said, 1/3 other verbs, and 1/3 no tag.

"To be." You use this verb a lot. was/wasn't: 61 times, is/isn't: 36, were/weren't: 15, be/been/being: 56. There will be other hidden ones, too, like in "she's." That's a ton for this word count. It's an inherently boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. This high a count can indicate telly language, too much passive voice, and a need to choose more active verbs.

I rather liked this story. The biggest things that need to be fixed are the deluge of "to be" verbs, the jerky perspective shifts, and some telling. Get those in order, and I'd be happy to post this on the blog.

Resubmit when you're ready, and I'll grab it again so it doesn't have as long a wait again.
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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;were crammed//</span><br />Up front in the story is not the best place for passive voice, especially when you could avoid it altogether by simply substituting &quot;had&quot; for &quot;were.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the royal palace//</span><br />I waffle myself on what to call the place, but they have referred to it in canon as Canterlot Castle.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to have witnessed such an event//</span><br />You just used &quot;witness&quot; earlier in the paragraph. Watch the repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;”,m wewwy bword,”//</span><br />I have to say, I&#039;ve never been a fan of indicating volume through font size. It&#039;s kind of a lazy way of getting around having to describe it in narration. I&#039;m also not sure what that first comma is doing there, and it appears to have flipped the smart quotes the wrong way at the beginning.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Boredom - the complete absence of fun.//</span><br />Well… lack of engaging activity, not necessarily fun. But that&#039;s a minor point. Please use a proper dash, not a hyphen, but I think a colon would be more appropriate here anyway, since you&#039;re defining the term.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;as she continued to brush her mane.//</span><br />Okay, I&#039;ll speak up about this. You first had a &quot;began to brush her mane&quot; statement. I didn&#039;t say anything then, since it was the first instance of this in the story, but it&#039;s a common verb to overuse. Every action begins. It&#039;s only worth pointing out the beginning when it&#039;s notable for some reason, like it&#039;s an abrupt change, or the action gets interrupted. I let it slide, since it looks so far like it won&#039;t be a frequent issue for you, but then you go on with a &quot;continued brushing&quot; action, which is again something very obvious. Switch it up. Add a twist to the action, give it a bit more character.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She finished brushing her mane//</span><br />Okay, you completed the trifecta of obvious statements.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Oh, you needn&#039;t actually do anything,” Celestia clarified, “Just keep an eye on her.//</span><br />Dialogue capitalization/punctuation. You probably meant to have &quot;just&quot; in lower case, but I&#039;d argue that sits too close to a comma splice, so I&#039;d recommend putting a period after &quot;clarified.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She turned to face Luna, bemused.//</span><br />Probably the first time I&#039;ve caught you being telly, so good on that front. Of course, you don&#039;t always have to show, but I would like to see this expression from her instead of having it summed up for me.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was very difficult for her, even as a ruler of an entire country, to deny her sister when she used that tactic.//</span><br />I almost commented on this earlier, but I have to say something now. Your first paragraph made a statement that wouldn&#039;t be outwardly obvious (&quot;This was a momentous occasion, after all, for there were few in attendance who could claim to have witnessed such an event within their lifetimes as was occurring here today.&quot;) Thus it&#039;s from a specific perspective, to a degree—kind of the crowd&#039;s mindset. But then you switch into Luna&#039;s perspective. I didn&#039;t mind that so much, since the crows mind helped establish the setting and wasn&#039;t a specific character anyway. But after spending the whole story in Luna&#039;s head, you suddenly bump us over in to Celestia&#039;s for the grand total of one paragraph. Perspective shifts can be done, but they need to be smooth and necessary. Is this information vital? Can it only be told through Celestia&#039;s perspective and not read from her by another&#039;s perception? And if it is necessary, surely it&#039;s worth staying with her for a while.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;deep in thought.//</span><br />Removable. Your description of her already gets this across.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;No matter how she looked at it, her inability to get the hang of flying just didn&#039;t make any sense to her.//</span><br />And here you go again. You were in Pinkie&#039;s point of view, so why switch to Twilight&#039;s? You could convey this same information through Twilight&#039;s body language as seen by Pinkie. Edit: I thought you were going to stay with Pinkie, since she&#039;s listed as a main character, but it would probably work better to have this scene entirely in Twilight&#039;s perspective and rework the little bit that was in Pinkie&#039;s head. You can get somewhat of a pass on this in comedy, as internal reactions can carry much of the humor, but it&#039;s just too much here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;with concern.//</span><br />A common type of telly language. These prepositional phrases are almost always redundant with the description or action they follow.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;in annoyance//</span><br />And again. Get rid of these. If you think what&#039;s left isn&#039;t clear, you can add a bit more description.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>royalty</i>?//</span><br />Commonly, a ? or ! will be italicized when it&#039;s on an italicized word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Princess Luna, however, was quick to grab hold of a chance to avoid having to watch Twilight all day.//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Not even Twilight could resist staring open-mouthed at the princess. Surely she hadn&#039;t just heard what she thought she had heard.//</span><br />Yeah, fix that perspective. It&#039;s jumping all over the place.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;(much to her annoyance)//</span><br />Actual parentheses work best in a very deep perspective or, preferably, in articles of writing, like a diary or letter. In shallower or objective points of view, these often render better with commas or dashes.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;video games, with Luna absolutely crushing Pinkie&#039;s high score//</span><br />Oh, good. Gamer Luna meme. (Don&#039;t mind me. I just hate these, but I won&#039;t make you change it.)<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;all-too familiar//</span><br />You don&#039;t need the hyphen.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;I know, we can go to Sugarcube Corner!&quot; she beamed.//</span><br />That speaking verb… How does one beam a sentence?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;…and//</span><br />Even though it doesn&#039;t actually start the sentence, capitalize. Lower case is for when we had the beginning of the sentence earlier, and it&#039;s picking back up.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Let us go inside and you can show me more//</span><br />Missing comma between the clauses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;welcome, princess//</span><br />As a term of address, &quot;Princess&quot; would be capitalized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sweetie darling,//</span><br />These are separate terms of direct address, so put a comma between them.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;H-hello, princess!//</span><br />Same.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pinkie suddenly gasped, interrupting her.//</span><br />Two things: The previous dialogue trailed off, which isn&#039;t an interruption, and once that&#039;s fixed, the speech will already indicate an interruption; you don&#039;t need to reiterate it here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Mrs. Cake looked scandalized//</span><br />And how does this look?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She and Pinkie were sitting at a table outside, admiring the absurdly oversized bag of cotton candy Pinkie had bought for them.//</span><br />Note that participles can frequently be misplaced modifiers. By proximity in the sentence, it sounds like the table is admiring the candy. We can discount that with a bit of logic, but then it&#039;s ambiguous whether you mean Pinkie, Luna, or both are admiring it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;amazing!//</span><br />Italicize the !. You&#039;re inconsistent at this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;an entire ball of it…&quot; she eyed the bag of candy, &quot;<i>this</i> large//</span><br />You&#039;ve almost got it. Here&#039;s how to work in the aside:<br />an entire ball of it –&quot; she eyed the bag of candy &quot;– <i>this</i> large<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;So it had come to this.//</span><br />I think you want a colon here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;hyped up//</span><br />Hyphenate.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;careful consideration//</span><br />Extraneous space in there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;on hot days. On this day//</span><br />Feels repetitive.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;rocky lake bed//</span><br />They&#039;re generally just muddy.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow, my wings are sore and it&#039;s getting late.//</span><br />Needs a coma between the clauses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pinkie greeted with a big smile//</span><br />Transitive verb requires a direct object.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Unbeknownst to Princess Luna, ingesting high concentrations of sugar comes with horrible side effects, including terrible belly pains and dehydration, and a low, almost depressing feeling upon coming down from the initial high.//</span><br />This is more science lesson than something interesting. Just have her experience those symptoms instead of externalizing them like this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;doing so caused her head to hurt so she just closed her eyes again and lay still//</span><br />Needs a comma between the clauses.<br /><br />Mechanically, there were a mixed bag of things but just as many appeared to be oversights than consistent problems. So just watch the ones I had to point out multiple times. Note that I didn&#039;t point out every instance, just enough to show what the issue is. You have to root out the rest.<br /><br />In style, I pointed out a few instances of telling. I kind of already explained it, but you might want to read over the &quot;show versus tell&quot; section at the top of this thread. The only other things I&#039;d point out are these:<br /><br />Saidisms. You have about 160 quotes in your story, but you only used &quot;said&quot; seven times. It&#039;s a verb designed to blend in and avoid notice. While your choice of speaking verb can lend flavor to your writing, picking unusual ones too often begins to draw attention to them and away from the actual speech, which is a bad thing. YMMV, but I usually aim for a balnce of about 1/3 said, 1/3 other verbs, and 1/3 no tag.<br /><br />&quot;To be.&quot; You use this verb a lot. was/wasn&#039;t: 61 times, is/isn&#039;t: 36, were/weren&#039;t: 15, be/been/being: 56. There will be other hidden ones, too, like in &quot;she&#039;s.&quot; That&#039;s a ton for this word count. It&#039;s an inherently boring verb. It&#039;s much more interesting to read about what happens, not what is. This high a count can indicate telly language, too much passive voice, and a need to choose more active verbs.<br /><br />I rather liked this story. The biggest things that need to be fixed are the deluge of &quot;to be&quot; verbs, the jerky perspective shifts, and some telling. Get those in order, and I&#039;d be happy to post this on the blog.<br /><br />Resubmit when you&#039;re ready, and I&#039;ll grab it again so it doesn&#039;t have as long a wait again.<br /><div class="last-edit-time"><br/>Last edited at <span class="posttime">Tue, Dec 24th, 2013 12:55</span></div><br/>

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 67

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 has been ten years since we've held a Summer Sun Celebration here, after all.//

Almost feels like that "has" should be emphasized.

>Twilight muttered as she unrolled the scroll.//

Okay, two things. First, when you use an unusual speaking verb, it stands out as repetitive when you use it again, unless you space them out quite a bit. You just used "muttered" a few paragraphs ago. Also note this "as" clause. You've been using an awful lot of "as" clauses and participial phrases already. It's giving the narration a repetitive feel to the structure. Another thing to watch is that both of these things imply that actions are simultaneous. I haven't caught you in an impossibility yet, but if you keep using these so much, you're likely to run into that trap at some point.

>annoyance replacing her prior shock//

It's far more effective to demonstrate these moods and get me to infer them than to state them outright. It's the old "show versus tell" problem. What would an outside observer see about her appearance and actions that would lead him to conclude this about her?

>Donut Joe’s//

Did you mean Pony Joe's? Or is this something you're making up for this story?

>she muttered//

You're doing that thing again…

>Discord waited until he was sure Twilight was far enough away, then flicked his talon at the stage.//

I want to caution you here. The scene to this point had been in Twilight's perspective, but you spend this last paragraph in Discord's. Now, such a thing can be done, most often for comedic effect, and at least you spend the whole paragraph there. It will stand out as out of place if this is the only time in the story you do it. I'll keep an eye out for it as I read, but you have to be very careful with perspective shifts and make sure everything you do with them is intentional. Many writers slip between perspective without realizing they're doing it. You might want to read over the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.

>Come on Cloudchaser//

Missing comma for direct address.

>Applebloom//

Apple Bloom

>“—and so then//

Even though it's not really the beginning of the sentence, go ahead and capitalize this. You leave it lower case if this was picking up again from an earlier incomplete sentence, but we don't have that here.

>No sense letting her last foray into romance color the future.//

I've never been a fan of little throwaway lines like this that hint at a lot but never explore any of it.

>Dishes flew everywhere as the thick wood , and for a long second everypony was deathly silent//

Extraneous space, and apparently a missing word there.

>your Highness//

The "Your" is also capitalized in the honorific.

>one simple fact.//

You go on to define or clarify the fact, so a colon would be appropriate here.

>Her frown deepened and she levitated a few napkins over to help bandage the injury.//

You've had the occasional issue with this. Look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>Once they were secure she turned her attention to his head, using a trickle of power to bring him back to wakefulness.//

I'll just point this out as another danger of using participles. They can easily be misplaced modifiers. By proximity, his head is using a trickle of power. We can sort it out with a bit of logic, but they can sound awkward, and if you aren't careful, you will eventually run into one that is ambiguous or outright misleading.

>He shouted incoherently, wings spasming; and//

You do see a few authors do this for effect, but there's really no reason to use both a semicolon and a conjunction. They're redundant.

>The floor chimed as he climbed off the stair, ringing off the columns spaced around the perimeter.//

First off, I have no idea what "the floor chimed" means, given that he's obviously not on an elevator. But now we have a more blatant misplaced modifier. It sounds like the stair is ringing. In fact, I'd go so far as to call it a dangling participle, since the sound effect never appears as a noun, so only the floor or the stairs could be ringing. I'm also not a fan of using a pronoun as the first introduction to a character. Even something generic would work better.

>she was cut off as Pound buzzed his wings, the colt dashing past her into the hallway for the door.//

Capitalization, as this aside isn't inserted inside the quote. But more to the point, when the punctuation already indicates being cut off, you don't need to reiterate that in the narration.

>You know Twilight, a princes//

Another missing comma for direct address, typo.

>Okay then, if it’s not magic, than what is it?//

Than/then confusion.

>keep em to yourself//

Missing apostrophe on "em," and watch the direction your software will want to draw it. Smart quotes always get leading apostrophes backward.

>Pokemon//

You're inconsistent at capitalizing this.

>Sure, it was a little tough at first,” a ripple of laughter ran through the crowd as she smiled, “but together we found our place.//

You're trying to punctuate an aside like an attribution. This way only works if you have a speaking verb. Here's what you want:
Sure, it was a little tough at first—” a ripple of laughter ran through the crowd as she smiled “—but together we found our place.

There are a few consistent problems here. First of all, "to be" verbs. They're inherently boring. I'd much rather read about what happens, not what simply is. You don't actually use that many, but when you do, they occur in clusters, 3 or 4 in a paragraph. Even that's unavoidable at times, but I bet you could break that up some. I also talked earlier about your overuse of participles and "as" clauses. They tend to make the sentence structures repetitive. You use "as" 24 times in chapter 1 and 32 more times in chapter 2. They're not all used in this sense, but most are.

Also have a look at the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread. I noticed a few too many of the "happily" and "in excitement" types of telly language for my taste. Just be careful to note what's happening in the story when you do that and decide whether you need to the reader to share that emotion with the character or whether it's an unimportant detail.

The story's actually not bad so far. Tighten these things up a bit, and I could see it on the blog, but I would like to get a better sens of where it's going first. Along those lines, I'd like to see another chapter or a brief summary of what you have planned to make sure you have an engaging idea going forward and that you'll tie in the Pokemon part in a meaningful way instead of just having it tacked on as a "hey, this is cool" thing.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It has been ten years since we&#039;ve held a Summer Sun Celebration here, after all.//</span><br />Almost feels like that &quot;has&quot; should be emphasized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight muttered as she unrolled the scroll.//</span><br />Okay, two things. First, when you use an unusual speaking verb, it stands out as repetitive when you use it again, unless you space them out quite a bit. You just used &quot;muttered&quot; a few paragraphs ago. Also note this &quot;as&quot; clause. You&#039;ve been using an awful lot of &quot;as&quot; clauses and participial phrases already. It&#039;s giving the narration a repetitive feel to the structure. Another thing to watch is that both of these things imply that actions are simultaneous. I haven&#039;t caught you in an impossibility yet, but if you keep using these so much, you&#039;re likely to run into that trap at some point.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;annoyance replacing her prior shock//</span><br />It&#039;s far more effective to demonstrate these moods and get me to infer them than to state them outright. It&#039;s the old &quot;show versus tell&quot; problem. What would an outside observer see about her appearance and actions that would lead him to conclude this about her?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Donut Joe’s//</span><br />Did you mean Pony Joe&#039;s? Or is this something you&#039;re making up for this story?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she muttered//</span><br />You&#039;re doing that thing again…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Discord waited until he was sure Twilight was far enough away, then flicked his talon at the stage.//</span><br />I want to caution you here. The scene to this point had been in Twilight&#039;s perspective, but you spend this last paragraph in Discord&#039;s. Now, such a thing can be done, most often for comedic effect, and at least you spend the whole paragraph there. It will stand out as out of place if this is the only time in the story you do it. I&#039;ll keep an eye out for it as I read, but you have to be very careful with perspective shifts and make sure everything you do with them is intentional. Many writers slip between perspective without realizing they&#039;re doing it. You might want to read over the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Come on Cloudchaser//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Applebloom//</span><br />Apple Bloom<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“—and so then//</span><br />Even though it&#039;s not really the beginning of the sentence, go ahead and capitalize this. You leave it lower case if this was picking up again from an earlier incomplete sentence, but we don&#039;t have that here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;No sense letting her last foray into romance color the future.//</span><br />I&#039;ve never been a fan of little throwaway lines like this that hint at a lot but never explore any of it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Dishes flew everywhere as the thick wood , and for a long second everypony was deathly silent//</span><br />Extraneous space, and apparently a missing word there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;your Highness//</span><br />The &quot;Your&quot; is also capitalized in the honorific.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;one simple fact.//</span><br />You go on to define or clarify the fact, so a colon would be appropriate here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her frown deepened and she levitated a few napkins over to help bandage the injury.//</span><br />You&#039;ve had the occasional issue with this. Look at the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Once they were secure she turned her attention to his head, using a trickle of power to bring him back to wakefulness.//</span><br />I&#039;ll just point this out as another danger of using participles. They can easily be misplaced modifiers. By proximity, his head is using a trickle of power. We can sort it out with a bit of logic, but they can sound awkward, and if you aren&#039;t careful, you will eventually run into one that is ambiguous or outright misleading.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He shouted incoherently, wings spasming; and//</span><br />You do see a few authors do this for effect, but there&#039;s really no reason to use both a semicolon and a conjunction. They&#039;re redundant.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The floor chimed as he climbed off the stair, ringing off the columns spaced around the perimeter.//</span><br />First off, I have no idea what &quot;the floor chimed&quot; means, given that he&#039;s obviously not on an elevator. But now we have a more blatant misplaced modifier. It sounds like the stair is ringing. In fact, I&#039;d go so far as to call it a dangling participle, since the sound effect never appears as a noun, so only the floor or the stairs could be ringing. I&#039;m also not a fan of using a pronoun as the first introduction to a character. Even something generic would work better.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she was cut off as Pound buzzed his wings, the colt dashing past her into the hallway for the door.//</span><br />Capitalization, as this aside isn&#039;t inserted inside the quote. But more to the point, when the punctuation already indicates being cut off, you don&#039;t need to reiterate that in the narration.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You know Twilight, a princes//</span><br />Another missing comma for direct address, typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Okay then, if it’s not magic, than what is it?//</span><br />Than/then confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;keep em to yourself//</span><br />Missing apostrophe on &quot;em,&quot; and watch the direction your software will want to draw it. Smart quotes always get leading apostrophes backward.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pokemon//</span><br />You&#039;re inconsistent at capitalizing this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Sure, it was a little tough at first,” a ripple of laughter ran through the crowd as she smiled, “but together we found our place.//</span><br />You&#039;re trying to punctuate an aside like an attribution. This way only works if you have a speaking verb. Here&#039;s what you want:<br />Sure, it was a little tough at first—” a ripple of laughter ran through the crowd as she smiled “—but together we found our place.<br /><br />There are a few consistent problems here. First of all, &quot;to be&quot; verbs. They&#039;re inherently boring. I&#039;d much rather read about what happens, not what simply is. You don&#039;t actually use that many, but when you do, they occur in clusters, 3 or 4 in a paragraph. Even that&#039;s unavoidable at times, but I bet you could break that up some. I also talked earlier about your overuse of participles and &quot;as&quot; clauses. They tend to make the sentence structures repetitive. You use &quot;as&quot; 24 times in chapter 1 and 32 more times in chapter 2. They&#039;re not all used in this sense, but most are.<br /><br />Also have a look at the section on &quot;show versus tell&quot; at the top of this thread. I noticed a few too many of the &quot;happily&quot; and &quot;in excitement&quot; types of telly language for my taste. Just be careful to note what&#039;s happening in the story when you do that and decide whether you need to the reader to share that emotion with the character or whether it&#039;s an unimportant detail.<br /><br />The story&#039;s actually not bad so far. Tighten these things up a bit, and I could see it on the blog, but I would like to get a better sens of where it&#039;s going first. Along those lines, I&#039;d like to see another chapter or a brief summary of what you have planned to make sure you have an engaging idea going forward and that you&#039;ll tie in the Pokemon part in a meaningful way instead of just having it tacked on as a &quot;hey, this is cool&quot; thing.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 68

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.

>On paper, it seemed like a swell idea.//

If you just tell your story with a first-person narrator, that's one thing. It invites the question of why the narrator wants to tell the story and why I want to listen to him, but there's kind of an unspoken agreement to gloss that over, unless the reader is very picky. However, if you address the reader or create a framing device like this that clearly sets it up as the narrator sitting there and telling me the story, then it's much harder to overlook.

>But most ideas seem that way on paper I suppose.//

Missing comma.

>tough looking//

Hyphenate your compound descriptors.

>Better still, they worst they can send after us//

Typo.

>In light of that Hank found the idea to be agreeable//

Introductory elements don't always have to have commas, particularly in British usage, but without one, it sounds like "that" is trying to start a noun clause.

>hide out//

hideout

>Most of them were drab in color but one stood out from the rest.//

Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. I've already seen a few instances.

>As evening moved onto night//

You need "on to" as separate words here. It means something different.

>but before she could//

Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>What's what is called?//

That "is" feels extraneous.

>The game silly!//

Missing a comma for direct address.

>Not wanting to provide my real name, my eyes jumped around the cave for something to inspire a different identity.//

You have a genuine dangling participle here. "Not wanting to provide my real name" describes "I," but the speaker never names himself in the sentence. This says that his eyes don't want to reveal his name.

>set down our sleeping bags down//

Watch the repetition.

>When I woke up the next morning//

Another dependent clause needing a comma.

>Diana//

Canon is Diane, iirc.

>Snake Eye, would you mind terribly if I tied up and gagged our resident princess?//

So he's not keeping up the fake names anymore?

>I didn't really have any emotion tied to the act//

And such is the state of this story on the whole. I'm getting a lot of actions described, but little in the way of how any of the characters feel about what's happening. That emotional connection is what makes a story engaging. Be careful how you show emotion, though. In order to head off problems, you might want to look over the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread.

>Ooh, Let's play Princesses now!//

You haven't capitalized "princesses" until now, and there's no reason for "let's" to be capitalized.

>should someone stick around the watch the door//

Typo.

>tough burly//

Coordinate adjectives need a comma between them.

>shouldn't of//

shouldn't have

>Within seconds the cave was filled playful chatter and noise.//

Missing word.

>However, he did return my gaze directly and only sat there like a dumb sack of beans.//

I have to think you meant "didn't."

>Good morning, gentlecolts,"//

Missing your opening quotation marks.

>Not once did he take his eyes of Hank and I.//

People often use "I" when they shouldn't because they're afraid of being wrong. "Me" is actually appropriate here, since it's the object of a preposition. Try taking out "Hank."
"Not once did he take his eyes of I."
Doesn't work.

>clearly enjoying the introductions//

I'll just point this out as a place where you need to show instead of tell. This is his conclusion. What evidence does he base it on? Let me see the same evidence and draw my own conclusion. If you write it well, I'll get where you want me to go.

>leaving Hank and I alone with her father.//

Again, "me." It's a direct object of "leaving."

>it might have allowed Hank and I//

Same deal.

>Pinkie Pie genuinely cares for you both about//

Some wording got jumbled there.

And then you never close up the story with the framing device you introduced at the beginning.

I like this story. It's got a good idea and is a fun little read. But it does need some work. First, there's a fair amount of telly language, but more than that, it often skips getting at the emotional content at all. If already referred you to the info on "show versus tell." Just make sure your story doesn't amount to a simple list of actions. How your characters feel about those actions is just as important, and it's what draws the reader into the story. Next, you need to put some thought into your framing device. It feels slapped on and doesn't do anything to enhance the story. Thus, it's dead weight. Either go without it or put some more work into making it effective. On a stylistic side, I'll warn you about your speaking verbs. I'm not sure there was a single one you used more than two or three times. The verb "said" is designed to blend in. It doesn't call attention to itself and lets the speech carry the focus. While it's nice to mix in some other ones for flavor, if you do it too often, the writing itself steals focus from what the story is saying, which is bad. I found myself noticing which speaking verbs you were using, so my attention was split from the story. I usually aim for an even split between "said," a mix of other verbs, and going without an attribution. YMMV, but you don't want to end up at one extreme end of that spectrum.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;On paper, it seemed like a swell idea.//</span><br />If you just tell your story with a first-person narrator, that&#039;s one thing. It invites the question of why the narrator wants to tell the story and why I want to listen to him, but there&#039;s kind of an unspoken agreement to gloss that over, unless the reader is very picky. However, if you address the reader or create a framing device like this that clearly sets it up as the narrator sitting there and telling me the story, then it&#039;s much harder to overlook.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;But most ideas seem that way on paper I suppose.//</span><br />Missing comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;tough looking//</span><br />Hyphenate your compound descriptors.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Better still, they worst they can send after us//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;In light of that Hank found the idea to be agreeable//</span><br />Introductory elements don&#039;t always have to have commas, particularly in British usage, but without one, it sounds like &quot;that&quot; is trying to start a noun clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;hide out//</span><br />hideout<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Most of them were drab in color but one stood out from the rest.//</span><br />Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. I&#039;ve already seen a few instances.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;As evening moved onto night//</span><br />You need &quot;on to&quot; as separate words here. It means something different.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but before she could//</span><br />Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;What&#039;s what is called?//</span><br />That &quot;is&quot; feels extraneous.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The game silly!//</span><br />Missing a comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Not wanting to provide my real name, my eyes jumped around the cave for something to inspire a different identity.//</span><br />You have a genuine dangling participle here. &quot;Not wanting to provide my real name&quot; describes &quot;I,&quot; but the speaker never names himself in the sentence. This says that his eyes don&#039;t want to reveal his name.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;set down our sleeping bags down//</span><br />Watch the repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;When I woke up the next morning//</span><br />Another dependent clause needing a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Diana//</span><br />Canon is Diane, iirc.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Snake Eye, would you mind terribly if I tied up and gagged our resident princess?//</span><br />So he&#039;s not keeping up the fake names anymore?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I didn&#039;t really have any emotion tied to the act//</span><br />And such is the state of this story on the whole. I&#039;m getting a lot of actions described, but little in the way of how any of the characters feel about what&#039;s happening. That emotional connection is what makes a story engaging. Be careful how you show emotion, though. In order to head off problems, you might want to look over the &quot;show versus tell&quot; section at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Ooh, Let&#039;s play Princesses now!//</span><br />You haven&#039;t capitalized &quot;princesses&quot; until now, and there&#039;s no reason for &quot;let&#039;s&quot; to be capitalized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;should someone stick around the watch the door//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;tough burly//</span><br />Coordinate adjectives need a comma between them.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;shouldn&#039;t of//</span><br />shouldn&#039;t have<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Within seconds the cave was filled playful chatter and noise.//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;However, he did return my gaze directly and only sat there like a dumb sack of beans.//</span><br />I have to think you meant &quot;didn&#039;t.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Good morning, gentlecolts,&quot;//</span><br />Missing your opening quotation marks.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Not once did he take his eyes of Hank and I.//</span><br />People often use &quot;I&quot; when they shouldn&#039;t because they&#039;re afraid of being wrong. &quot;Me&quot; is actually appropriate here, since it&#039;s the object of a preposition. Try taking out &quot;Hank.&quot;<br />&quot;Not once did he take his eyes of I.&quot;<br />Doesn&#039;t work.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;clearly enjoying the introductions//</span><br />I&#039;ll just point this out as a place where you need to show instead of tell. This is his conclusion. What evidence does he base it on? Let me see the same evidence and draw my own conclusion. If you write it well, I&#039;ll get where you want me to go.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;leaving Hank and I alone with her father.//</span><br />Again, &quot;me.&quot; It&#039;s a direct object of &quot;leaving.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;it might have allowed Hank and I//</span><br />Same deal.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pinkie Pie genuinely cares for you both about//</span><br />Some wording got jumbled there.<br /><br />And then you never close up the story with the framing device you introduced at the beginning.<br /><br />I like this story. It&#039;s got a good idea and is a fun little read. But it does need some work. First, there&#039;s a fair amount of telly language, but more than that, it often skips getting at the emotional content at all. If already referred you to the info on &quot;show versus tell.&quot; Just make sure your story doesn&#039;t amount to a simple list of actions. How your characters feel about those actions is just as important, and it&#039;s what draws the reader into the story. Next, you need to put some thought into your framing device. It feels slapped on and doesn&#039;t do anything to enhance the story. Thus, it&#039;s dead weight. Either go without it or put some more work into making it effective. On a stylistic side, I&#039;ll warn you about your speaking verbs. I&#039;m not sure there was a single one you used more than two or three times. The verb &quot;said&quot; is designed to blend in. It doesn&#039;t call attention to itself and lets the speech carry the focus. While it&#039;s nice to mix in some other ones for flavor, if you do it too often, the writing itself steals focus from what the story is saying, which is bad. I found myself noticing which speaking verbs you were using, so my attention was split from the story. I usually aim for an even split between &quot;said,&quot; a mix of other verbs, and going without an attribution. YMMV, but you don&#039;t want to end up at one extreme end of that spectrum.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 69

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

>The night was silent and peaceful; as though nothing could ever go amiss.//

Misused semicolon. And this is disturbingly akin to "It was a dark and stormy night" as an opening line.

>Night birds trilled shrilly but their voices would not carry.//

Check out the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.

>She was the darkness; she was the moon itself. She was Princess Luna.//

You sure you don't mean Batman?

>to feel the strong and passionate grief//

Extraneous space in there, and this is rather telly language. That can be acceptable in places, but at the beginning of the story is a bad time to put that distance between the reader and your character. Have a look at the "show versus tell" section at the top of this thread.

>Luna choked back the tears that threatened at her wide navy eyes//

That "at" is extraneous.

>"Shining Armor," She put on her most dignified voice, "What brings you here?"//

Your attribution has no speaking verb, and it's capitalized wrong, anyway.

>Armor lost his unbalanced discomfort and sat with a sudden ease.//

>He leaned over, peering through the night into Luna's distressed face.//
A couple more examples of where you bluntly tell me a character's mood or emotion. I sense this will be a consistent problem.

>but he//

Another extraneous space. You might want to do a Ctrl-f for two spaces.

>excitedly//

Besides being telly, you just used this adverb for Shining Armor not a few sentences ago.

>Luna though fiercely//

Typo.

>but her legacy will live on//

Inconsistent verb tense.

A note on word repetition: you use "smile" 7 times in this chapter, which isn't that much, but they all occur within 8 paragraphs of each other.

>whom was her own father's grandmother//

who

>never witnessed its glory, it's beauty//

Its/it's confusion.

>Snow Sparkle's cottage laid//

Lay/lie confusion.

>Now she could almost see the fuzzy white tip of the mountain.//

This ends only the second paragraph of this chapter, and you've already used "mountain" 7 times.

>the quick expel//

The noun form is "expulsion."

>Hardened sleet hailed//

This is just a big mishmash. Sleet is hardened by nature, and it doesn't hail. It sleets.

>From her perch she could see the faint candle light glow of her home and the distant hills of Equestria; if she looked hard enough.//

Another misused semicolon.

Really, the rest is just the same problems over and over again.

To sum up, the major issues were telly language, dialogue capitalization and punctuation, coma use, semicolon use, and repetition.

Another word about that last one: In your first chapter, I had to get pretty far in before I saw much variation in sentence structure. Almost every one began with the subject, and they all had about the same length. It gets your writing in a rut. And beware of the verb "to be." It's a boring verb, but one many writers tend to overuse. You had 22 instances of "was" alone in the first chapter. That's even a little more frequent than once every other sentence. You need to choose more active verbs.

The conflict is also a bit on the weak side. When Snow Sparkle finds her talent, she doesn't have much of a reaction to it. She resents it beforehand, but once she's found it, she's rather stoic. Her emotional development on this issue is what will engage the reader, and it's just not there. Instead, it seems to be played more for Luna's benefit, but she doesn't have much reaction either. And their decision to sequester Snow Sparkle up in the mountains to basically force her into finding a talent they suspect she has is rather cruel. Why do they do this? That's not that standard. Take the CMCs, for example. They're allowed their freedom to find their talents at their own pace. Why be so rigorous with Snow Sparkle?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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The night was silent and peaceful; as though nothing could ever go amiss.//</span><br />Misused semicolon. And this is disturbingly akin to &quot;It was a dark and stormy night&quot; as an opening line.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Night birds trilled shrilly but their voices would not carry.//</span><br />Check out the section at the top of this thread on comma use with conjunctions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She was the darkness; she was the moon itself. She was Princess Luna.//</span><br />You sure you don&#039;t mean Batman?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to feel the strong and passionate grief//</span><br />Extraneous space in there, and this is rather telly language. That can be acceptable in places, but at the beginning of the story is a bad time to put that distance between the reader and your character. Have a look at the &quot;show versus tell&quot; section at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna choked back the tears that threatened at her wide navy eyes//</span><br />That &quot;at&quot; is extraneous.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Shining Armor,&quot; She put on her most dignified voice, &quot;What brings you here?&quot;//</span><br />Your attribution has no speaking verb, and it&#039;s capitalized wrong, anyway.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Armor lost his unbalanced discomfort and sat with a sudden ease.//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He leaned over, peering through the night into Luna&#039;s distressed face.//</span><br />A couple more examples of where you bluntly tell me a character&#039;s mood or emotion. I sense this will be a consistent problem.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but he//</span><br />Another extraneous space. You might want to do a Ctrl-f for two spaces.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;excitedly//</span><br />Besides being telly, you just used this adverb for Shining Armor not a few sentences ago.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Luna though fiercely//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but her legacy will live on//</span><br />Inconsistent verb tense.<br /><br />A note on word repetition: you use &quot;smile&quot; 7 times in this chapter, which isn&#039;t that much, but they all occur within 8 paragraphs of each other.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;whom was her own father&#039;s grandmother//</span><br />who<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;never witnessed its glory, it&#039;s beauty//</span><br />Its/it&#039;s confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Snow Sparkle&#039;s cottage laid//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Now she could almost see the fuzzy white tip of the mountain.//</span><br />This ends only the second paragraph of this chapter, and you&#039;ve already used &quot;mountain&quot; 7 times.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the quick expel//</span><br />The noun form is &quot;expulsion.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Hardened sleet hailed//</span><br />This is just a big mishmash. Sleet is hardened by nature, and it doesn&#039;t hail. It sleets.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;From her perch she could see the faint candle light glow of her home and the distant hills of Equestria; if she looked hard enough.//</span><br />Another misused semicolon.<br /><br />Really, the rest is just the same problems over and over again.<br /><br />To sum up, the major issues were telly language, dialogue capitalization and punctuation, coma use, semicolon use, and repetition.<br /><br />Another word about that last one: In your first chapter, I had to get pretty far in before I saw much variation in sentence structure. Almost every one began with the subject, and they all had about the same length. It gets your writing in a rut. And beware of the verb &quot;to be.&quot; It&#039;s a boring verb, but one many writers tend to overuse. You had 22 instances of &quot;was&quot; alone in the first chapter. That&#039;s even a little more frequent than once every other sentence. You need to choose more active verbs.<br /><br />The conflict is also a bit on the weak side. When Snow Sparkle finds her talent, she doesn&#039;t have much of a reaction to it. She resents it beforehand, but once she&#039;s found it, she&#039;s rather stoic. Her emotional development on this issue is what will engage the reader, and it&#039;s just not there. Instead, it seems to be played more for Luna&#039;s benefit, but she doesn&#039;t have much reaction either. And their decision to sequester Snow Sparkle up in the mountains to basically force her into finding a talent they suspect she has is rather cruel. Why do they do this? That&#039;s not that standard. Take the CMCs, for example. They&#039;re allowed their freedom to find their talents at their own pace. Why be so rigorous with Snow Sparkle?<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 70

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.

>Do you have any questions about what I just told you?” he asks something along those lines.//

That's not a dialogue attribution. Really, it's a separate sentence. Also, you go on using only "he" for quite some time. I've scanned ahead a few paragraphs and see nothing but that. It's best to establish that character early, most times before you ever use a pronoun for reference. You don't have to name him; something generic like "the pony" can even work, just so your pronouns have an antecedent.

>they look pale, he should have them redone//

Comma splice.

>I know it not now, but from memory; I can’t see anything right now, but I remember that before now it couldn’t have be seen as too much different.//

That's an awfully jumbled thought that reiterates a couple of things. Plus, there's a verb form error and three instances of "now" in the same sentence.

>I presume that, even if I did//

That comma is unnecessary.

>The white light above us doesn’t help, it’s getting in the way of things.//

Another comma splice.

>I feel at ease.//

It's a more engaging read when you give me the symptoms instead of the diagnosis. Describe what effect being at ease has on her and let me conclude how she feels. You might want to have a look at the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread.

>I usually use my magic, I’m very good at it; although it feels nice, opening a door on my own.//

The first comma is a splice, and the semicolon is misused—there isn't an independent clause after it.

>I can see the cracks on the sidewalk and the ants that live there//

Ants out on a sidewalk wet enough that it's splashing on her?

>Why would someone pick a favorite color? I had asked him. Is there any point to it? A color is a color, what makes one a favorite?//

Why are you punctuating dialogue like thoughts?

>Even when they’re young//

Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.

>dancing the ever waltz//

Missing a word there? Something like "ever-present"?

>How instinctual could it have become, now, that we are born to exemplify the very rules we as children set out to protest, just in our own right?//

That second comma can go. However, the main thing here is that the narrative voice is wavering between simple, dazed-sounding speech and philosophical posturing. From what I know of her situation so far, it's not impossible that her mind is actually oscillating like this, but aside from the narration itself, there's nothing to indicate why. There's no emotional attachment to what she's saying that seems to drive her mood in these directions. It's like riding in a car blindfolded. You feel the turns, but you don't know why you're turning and can't anticipate them. You can get some leeway for this, but at some point, you have to provide some motivation, or it just feels directionless. We'll see how far you take it.

>had ran//

had run

>It is as if to say that only when frozen, only when tested past the capacity of its endurance does something become one with that which is around it, and even then that bond can be shattered thoughtlessly by the smallest, most insignificant force.//

Repetition of "test" from the previous sentence. I'm also not following your metaphor here. It took a pretty big force to crack the frozen dirt. Frozen soil is stronger, after all, but then you go on the call that strength insignificant. And how is that cracked soil "becoming one with that which is around it"?

>something as minuscule as a rabbit’s paw can still shatter it into a million pieces.//

A rabbit's paw isn't going to do much to soil unless it's extremely loose or wet. It won't do anything to frozen soil. None of this is ringing true. You don't want your story's primary emotional thread sounding like psychobabble.

>There would be time, endless time, such an amount of time that the greatest mathematicians of our world would find it incalculable, only frustrating.//

Mathematicians are specially equipped to deal with concepts of infinity. You keep sacrificing meaning for poetic gradiloquence.

>The streets around me appear empty//

"Appear" wouldn't enter into it. She has an unobstructed view of them. She'd know explicitly whether they were empty.

>Her body is covered by a light brown jacket, a compliment to the stetson hat and red scarf she wears.//

"Stetson" is a proper noun (and, incidentally, not really what she wears, but so many authors use it that I can let it slide). And you've confused "compliment" with "complement."

>Her blonde mane runs freely down her neck, lacking in the usual red bands that would hold her ponytail together.//

I've noticed several of these misplaced modifiers. Participles are common for them. By proximity, it sounds like her neck is lacking in the usual red bands.

>“You must be”—she bites her lip and pulls her scarf tighter—“freezing, Twi’.//

"Twi" is just a nickname. You don't need the apostrophe. Also, presuming that biting her lip necessitates a momentary stop in her speech, put the dashes inside the quotes to indicate that pause.

>Her concern is more than obvious, she isn’t attempting to hide it.//

So what does this look like?

>Am I so important as to inflict pain upon someone else just temporarily relieve my own?//

Missing word.

>for awhile//

"A while" and "awhile" are interchangeable in some respects, but not when you need a noun. Here, "for" requires an object, so it should be two words.

>happily sipping their hot chocolate as they sit and talk about nothing but their favorite colors.//

This also feels incredibly inconsistent. Maybe it's only Twilight's perception of what's going on inside, but she just spent a while going on about Applejack's depth and sincerity, then in her next breath she's condemning her as just another shallow reveler? If you tried to build up AJ as a character, you just tore her back down.

The only consistent mechanical thing I saw was comma splices, so pretty good on that front.

Stylistically, this is full of narrative whiplash. Twilight's in a daze one moment and then waxing poetic in the next without any reason for the change. Applejack's a deep thinker and treasured friend one moment and a superficial partygoer the next. And too many of the metaphors are built up with fancy verbiage to obscure their nonsensical meanings. I'll also point out the sheer number of colons and semicolons. There are 24 in only 2600 words. You don't want a writing tic like this drawing attention to itself, to where the reader notices things about the writing itself. It breaks immersion.

Plot-wise, nothing happens. The only thing that can be called a conflict is Twilight's decision whether to tell Applejack what's troubling her, but that comes and goes in less than a page. We never get the first inkling of what Twilight's problem is, and nobody does anything about it. Twilight doesn't undergo any character growth as a result. You have a scene here, but not a story. What changed? What was at stake? What goal did anyone have? What bad thing would have happened if that goal weren't achieved? I've seen you make that exact criticism of a story before.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Do you have any questions about what I just told you?” he asks something along those lines.//</span><br />That&#039;s not a dialogue attribution. Really, it&#039;s a separate sentence. Also, you go on using only &quot;he&quot; for quite some time. I&#039;ve scanned ahead a few paragraphs and see nothing but that. It&#039;s best to establish that character early, most times before you ever use a pronoun for reference. You don&#039;t have to name him; something generic like &quot;the pony&quot; can even work, just so your pronouns have an antecedent.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;they look pale, he should have them redone//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I know it not now, but from memory; I can’t see anything right now, but I remember that before now it couldn’t have be seen as too much different.//</span><br />That&#039;s an awfully jumbled thought that reiterates a couple of things. Plus, there&#039;s a verb form error and three instances of &quot;now&quot; in the same sentence.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I presume that, even if I did//</span><br />That comma is unnecessary.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The white light above us doesn’t help, it’s getting in the way of things.//</span><br />Another comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I feel at ease.//</span><br />It&#039;s a more engaging read when you give me the symptoms instead of the diagnosis. Describe what effect being at ease has on her and let me conclude how she feels. You might want to have a look at the section on &quot;show versus tell&quot; at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I usually use my magic, I’m very good at it; although it feels nice, opening a door on my own.//</span><br />The first comma is a splice, and the semicolon is misused—there isn&#039;t an independent clause after it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I can see the cracks on the sidewalk and the ants that live there//</span><br />Ants out on a sidewalk wet enough that it&#039;s splashing on her?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>Why would someone pick a favorite color?</i> I had asked him. <i>Is there any point to it? A color is a color, what makes one a favorite?</i>//</span><br />Why are you punctuating dialogue like thoughts?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Even when they’re young//</span><br />Needs a comma to set off the dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;dancing the ever waltz//</span><br />Missing a word there? Something like &quot;ever-present&quot;?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;How instinctual could it have become, now, that we are born to exemplify the very rules we as children set out to protest, just in our own right?//</span><br />That second comma can go. However, the main thing here is that the narrative voice is wavering between simple, dazed-sounding speech and philosophical posturing. From what I know of her situation so far, it&#039;s not impossible that her mind is actually oscillating like this, but aside from the narration itself, there&#039;s nothing to indicate why. There&#039;s no emotional attachment to what she&#039;s saying that seems to drive her mood in these directions. It&#039;s like riding in a car blindfolded. You feel the turns, but you don&#039;t know why you&#039;re turning and can&#039;t anticipate them. You can get some leeway for this, but at some point, you have to provide some motivation, or it just feels directionless. We&#039;ll see how far you take it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;had ran//</span><br />had run<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It is as if to say that only when frozen, only when tested past the capacity of its endurance does something become one with that which is around it, and even then that bond can be shattered thoughtlessly by the smallest, most insignificant force.//</span><br />Repetition of &quot;test&quot; from the previous sentence. I&#039;m also not following your metaphor here. It took a pretty big force to crack the frozen dirt. Frozen soil is stronger, after all, but then you go on the call that strength insignificant. And how is that cracked soil &quot;becoming one with that which is around it&quot;?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;something as minuscule as a rabbit’s paw can still shatter it into a million pieces.//</span><br />A rabbit&#039;s paw isn&#039;t going to do much to soil unless it&#039;s extremely loose or wet. It won&#039;t do <i>anything</i> to frozen soil. None of this is ringing true. You don&#039;t want your story&#039;s primary emotional thread sounding like psychobabble.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;There would be time, endless time, such an amount of time that the greatest mathematicians of our world would find it incalculable, only frustrating.//</span><br />Mathematicians are specially equipped to deal with concepts of infinity. You keep sacrificing meaning for poetic gradiloquence.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The streets around me appear empty//</span><br />&quot;Appear&quot; wouldn&#039;t enter into it. She has an unobstructed view of them. She&#039;d know explicitly whether they were empty.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her body is covered by a light brown jacket, a compliment to the stetson hat and red scarf she wears.//</span><br />&quot;Stetson&quot; is a proper noun (and, incidentally, not really what she wears, but so many authors use it that I can let it slide). And you&#039;ve confused &quot;compliment&quot; with &quot;complement.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her blonde mane runs freely down her neck, lacking in the usual red bands that would hold her ponytail together.//</span><br />I&#039;ve noticed several of these misplaced modifiers. Participles are common for them. By proximity, it sounds like her neck is lacking in the usual red bands.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“You must be”—she bites her lip and pulls her scarf tighter—“freezing, Twi’.//</span><br />&quot;Twi&quot; is just a nickname. You don&#039;t need the apostrophe. Also, presuming that biting her lip necessitates a momentary stop in her speech, put the dashes inside the quotes to indicate that pause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her concern is more than obvious, she isn’t attempting to hide it.//</span><br />So what does this look like?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Am I so important as to inflict pain upon someone else just temporarily relieve my own?//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;for awhile//</span><br />&quot;A while&quot; and &quot;awhile&quot; are interchangeable in some respects, but not when you need a noun. Here, &quot;for&quot; requires an object, so it should be two words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;happily sipping their hot chocolate as they sit and talk about nothing but their favorite colors.//</span><br />This also feels incredibly inconsistent. Maybe it&#039;s only Twilight&#039;s perception of what&#039;s going on inside, but she just spent a while going on about Applejack&#039;s depth and sincerity, then in her next breath she&#039;s condemning her as just another shallow reveler? If you tried to build up AJ as a character, you just tore her back down.<br /><br />The only consistent mechanical thing I saw was comma splices, so pretty good on that front.<br /><br />Stylistically, this is full of narrative whiplash. Twilight&#039;s in a daze one moment and then waxing poetic in the next without any reason for the change. Applejack&#039;s a deep thinker and treasured friend one moment and a superficial partygoer the next. And too many of the metaphors are built up with fancy verbiage to obscure their nonsensical meanings. I&#039;ll also point out the sheer number of colons and semicolons. There are 24 in only 2600 words. You don&#039;t want a writing tic like this drawing attention to itself, to where the reader notices things about the writing itself. It breaks immersion.<br /><br />Plot-wise, nothing happens. The only thing that can be called a conflict is Twilight&#039;s decision whether to tell Applejack what&#039;s troubling her, but that comes and goes in less than a page. We never get the first inkling of what Twilight&#039;s problem is, and nobody does anything about it. Twilight doesn&#039;t undergo any character growth as a result. You have a scene here, but not a story. What changed? What was at stake? What goal did anyone have? What bad thing would have happened if that goal weren&#039;t achieved? I&#039;ve seen you make that exact criticism of a story before.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 71

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

>So I’m Vinyl Scratch, and I have to write this stupid book so Octy can chill a bit, but actually-//

This format is going to be troublesome to critique. It's got plenty of mechanical errors so far, but as it's meant to be something that Vinyl wrote, would it represent the same kinds of mistakes she'd make? Quite possibly. Except that I doubt they were intentional, at least the majority of them. I'm actually impressed that you've avoided one of the biggest traps with diary stories so far, at least until now. Being cut off like this is a speech affectation. When you write, it's a slow enough process that you have time to plane out what you want to say. You wouldn't have an abrupt change of direction like this. It needs to sound like something she'd actually write in a diary, not something she'd say out loud.

>I’m a DJ, and I love my job.//

Needs a line break here.

>I love handing some autographs to my fans//

And what is this "hand" you speak of?

>against all whining of my parents and the raised forefinger//

Missing a word, and "forefinger"? You haven't marked this as a human story, so I'm not sure what to think here.

>going down to snack something//

Missing word.

>Wub-’n-Classic//

Needs another apostrophe after the n.

>Scratch!’,//

Doubled-up punctuation.

>‘round//

Smart quotes routinely fail on leading apostrophes. This one's backward.

>records to spin ‘n cake to eat//

Same deal with this contraction as before, but this comes across as more of a speech affectation again. Would she really choose to write that instead of spelling out "and"? I doubt it.

>3am//

You've been putting a space in there.

>Christmas//

"Hearth's Warming" in canon, yes?

>you’- look//

You don't need the hyphen. The quotes already group the compound modifier.

>(of course nothing like that ever happened to me, as I’m pretty awesome and stuff)//

Implying that being awesome prevents rape? I… I don't even know where to start with this.

>So ehm//

>Mh//
Again, these are speech affectations.

>See- ehm//

Please use a proper dash.

>Duuude//

Same deal. You talk like that, but you don't write like that.

>Being in the club all night isn’t new to me, but usually I stay sober during my performance, don’t want to fuck up all this awesome music, y’know?//

Okay, watch the language. There's only so much we're willing to take. But here's another trap writers fall into when doing diary formats: You're including quoted speech. In a letter or diary entry, you'd summarize what was said, not quote it. It's the little things like this that make it sound unconvincing as an actual diary.

>DJ P0N-3//

You're not always consistent in how you capitalize this.

>Wanna hear about that last time? Alright then.//

This is just immersion-breaking. Who's she talking to? And what's her motivation to write this now? She clearly remembers it well—it's not like she'll forget if she doesn't get it down. There are certain difficulties that come with choosing a diary format, and you can't just gloss them over or slap "this is a diary" on a standard narrative and think it will work.

>’What?//

This quotation mark is backward.

>somepony knocked our door//

Another missing word.

>Yet.//

This doesn't make sense, given the phrasing that came before.

>Wouldn’t had been//

have

>Octy came up to ask me if I could lower the volume//

Yeah… you just said so.

>came back to live//

life

>putted//

put

>But there are also some good news today.//

Subject/verb number agreement.

>tick//

The term you want is "tic." Again, Vinyl may not know that, but at some point, you're making the story hard to understand in the name of character. And that's giving you a big benefit of the doubt that this was intentional.

>The Great and Powerful Trixie//

What makes her a VIP?

>Cya//

You're inconsistent about putting line breaks with this at the ends of your chapters.

>she finally got herself into those ponies minds//

Missing apostrophe.

>Ruben was send//

sent

>I hurts//

Subject/verb agreement.

>If I just break contact to Ruben//

Phrasing. There are a lot of these little problems the further I go. It's like you didn't edit the later chapters as well.

>I woke up slowly.//

And you're not writing a diary anymore? It's a really rough transition when a story adopts a storytelling method for many chapters, then abruptly changes it later. I mean, I get why you did it, but that doesn't help smooth things out. If you'd had it as a regular narrative all along where she writes her entries at the end of each chapter, it would be more consistent.

>I started to squirm. Is this the end?//

This is the first break we've had in paragraph after paragraph of nothing but speech. Look at the section on talking heads at the top of this thread. After the first sentence here, the change in tense marks a change from narration to thought. You need to consider more carefully how you're doing this, whether you need to italicize the thought or reword things to keep the tense consistent.

>You wasn’t//

C'mon…

>they seemed to be involved into this//

Phrasing, but… where is she getting this? I've read the entries, and I'm not getting that impression.

>Smack//

Sound effects in narration aren't the best idea.

Aside from the mechanical issues, which I can't even tell how many are on purpose, We have the whiplash of storytelling method, talking heads, and a plot that's so out of left field that I didn't know whether to take it seriously. The editing got worse as I went on, and I'm more convinced that Vinyl's mistakes are more oversight than intention now.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;So I’m Vinyl Scratch, and I have to write this stupid book so Octy can chill a bit, but actually-//</span><br />This format is going to be troublesome to critique. It&#039;s got plenty of mechanical errors so far, but as it&#039;s meant to be something that Vinyl wrote, would it represent the same kinds of mistakes she&#039;d make? Quite possibly. Except that I doubt they were intentional, at least the majority of them. I&#039;m actually impressed that you&#039;ve avoided one of the biggest traps with diary stories so far, at least until now. Being cut off like this is a speech affectation. When you write, it&#039;s a slow enough process that you have time to plane out what you want to say. You wouldn&#039;t have an abrupt change of direction like this. It needs to sound like something she&#039;d actually write in a diary, not something she&#039;d say out loud.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I’m a DJ, and I love my job.//</span><br />Needs a line break here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I love handing some autographs to my fans//</span><br />And what is this &quot;hand&quot; you speak of?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;against all whining of my parents and the raised forefinger//</span><br />Missing a word, and &quot;forefinger&quot;? You haven&#039;t marked this as a human story, so I&#039;m not sure what to think here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;going down to snack something//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Wub-’n-Classic//</span><br />Needs another apostrophe after the n.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Scratch!’,//</span><br />Doubled-up punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;‘round//</span><br />Smart quotes routinely fail on leading apostrophes. This one&#039;s backward.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;records to spin ‘n cake to eat//</span><br />Same deal with this contraction as before, but this comes across as more of a speech affectation again. Would she really choose to write that instead of spelling out &quot;and&quot;? I doubt it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;3am//</span><br />You&#039;ve been putting a space in there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Christmas//</span><br />&quot;Hearth&#039;s Warming&quot; in canon, yes?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;you’- look//</span><br />You don&#039;t need the hyphen. The quotes already group the compound modifier.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;(of course nothing like that ever happened to me, as I’m pretty awesome and stuff)//</span><br />Implying that being awesome prevents rape? I… I don&#039;t even know where to start with this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;So ehm//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Mh//</span><br />Again, these are speech affectations.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;See- ehm//</span><br />Please use a proper dash.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Duuude//</span><br />Same deal. You talk like that, but you don&#039;t write like that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Being in the club all night isn’t new to me, but usually I stay sober during my performance, don’t want to fuck up all this awesome music, y’know?//</span><br />Okay, watch the language. There&#039;s only so much we&#039;re willing to take. But here&#039;s another trap writers fall into when doing diary formats: You&#039;re including quoted speech. In a letter or diary entry, you&#039;d summarize what was said, not quote it. It&#039;s the little things like this that make it sound unconvincing as an actual diary.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;DJ P0N-3//</span><br />You&#039;re not always consistent in how you capitalize this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Wanna hear about that last time? Alright then.//</span><br />This is just immersion-breaking. Who&#039;s she talking to? And what&#039;s her motivation to write this now? She clearly remembers it well—it&#039;s not like she&#039;ll forget if she doesn&#039;t get it down. There are certain difficulties that come with choosing a diary format, and you can&#039;t just gloss them over or slap &quot;this is a diary&quot; on a standard narrative and think it will work.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;’What?//</span><br />This quotation mark is backward.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;somepony knocked our door//</span><br />Another missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Yet.//</span><br />This doesn&#039;t make sense, given the phrasing that came before.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Wouldn’t had been//</span><br />have<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Octy came up to ask me if I could lower the volume//</span><br />Yeah… you just said so.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;came back to live//</span><br />life<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;putted//</span><br />put<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;But there are also some good news today.//</span><br />Subject/verb number agreement.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;tick//</span><br />The term you want is &quot;tic.&quot; Again, Vinyl may not know that, but at some point, you&#039;re making the story hard to understand in the name of character. And that&#039;s giving you a big benefit of the doubt that this was intentional.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The Great and Powerful Trixie//</span><br />What makes her a VIP?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Cya//</span><br />You&#039;re inconsistent about putting line breaks with this at the ends of your chapters.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she finally got herself into those ponies minds//</span><br />Missing apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Ruben was send//</span><br />sent<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I hurts//</span><br />Subject/verb agreement.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;If I just break contact to Ruben//</span><br />Phrasing. There are a lot of these little problems the further I go. It&#039;s like you didn&#039;t edit the later chapters as well.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I woke up slowly.//</span><br />And you&#039;re not writing a diary anymore? It&#039;s a really rough transition when a story adopts a storytelling method for many chapters, then abruptly changes it later. I mean, I get why you did it, but that doesn&#039;t help smooth things out. If you&#039;d had it as a regular narrative all along where she writes her entries at the end of each chapter, it would be more consistent.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I started to squirm. Is this the end?//</span><br />This is the first break we&#039;ve had in paragraph after paragraph of nothing but speech. Look at the section on talking heads at the top of this thread. After the first sentence here, the change in tense marks a change from narration to thought. You need to consider more carefully how you&#039;re doing this, whether you need to italicize the thought or reword things to keep the tense consistent.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You wasn’t//</span><br />C&#039;mon…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;they seemed to be involved into this//</span><br />Phrasing, but… where is she getting this? I&#039;ve read the entries, and I&#039;m not getting that impression.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Smack//</span><br />Sound effects in narration aren&#039;t the best idea.<br /><br />Aside from the mechanical issues, which I can&#039;t even tell how many are on purpose, We have the whiplash of storytelling method, talking heads, and a plot that&#039;s so out of left field that I didn&#039;t know whether to take it seriously. The editing got worse as I went on, and I&#039;m more convinced that Vinyl&#039;s mistakes are more oversight than intention now.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 72

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.

>and took position//

Missing word.

>After she landed, Celestia//

First, it's ambiguous whether you mean Celestia landed or Twilight did. Plus you already mentioned that Twilight landed.

>…and//

Going without capitalization is for sentences that pick up where previous ones leave off. Since there is no previous sentence, capitalize this.

>He merely dismissed the notion that the list was incomplete, or otherwise had errors.//

See the section on head-hopping at the top of this thread. You've been in Twilight's head, and I don't see a reason to transfer into Spike's perspective like this.

>She was annoyed//

And check out the section on "show versus tell," too. It's better to lead me to this conclusion through evidence you present instead of telling me her mood directly.

>She now felt silly that she has neglected such a simple thing, and was glad Spike was sleeping and couldn't see her mistake.//

Verb form. Also check out the section on comma use with conjunctions.

>who awoke with a groan//

Set off the dependent clause with a comma.

>Twilight was surprised at this.//

Beware using demonstratives (this, that, these, those) as pronouns. They have vague, broad antecedents that refer to the narration itself. Fortunately, the fix is easy: find an appropriate noun to put after it.

>exotic looking//

Hyphenate your compound descriptors.

>Princess Twilight;//

Misused semicolon. There is no independent clause before it.

>massively racist policies//

Agreed. Where is this coming from? There's no indication of such in canon, so it's rather abrupt to jump straight to it. You need to connect the dots.

>A single tear rolled down her cheek.//

This is incredibly cliched. If she cries, just have her cry.

>Celestia looked at Twilight with a look of worry.//

Besides being telly, she just did this a few paragraphs ago.

>" Well//

Extraneous space.

>turn me back into a unicorn.//

Missing closing quotation marks.

The few emotions you do get across are done in a telly manner, but there's really not that much emotional content to begin with. The narration focuses too much on what happens at the expense of how anyone feels about those events. It reads more like a historical record, not a narrative. And this is a huge decision Twilight is making, yet he makes a snap judgment. She's going to give up being a princess after one day, and Celestia is so willing to indulge her? She's not even portrayed as that emotional about it, more bored and frustrated than anything, even where paperwork would seem to be up her alley, getting everything documented and squared away. It's just all to detached from the character to draw the reader into it and make him feel bad for Twilight, and her decision is made and supported much too lightly.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and took position//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;After she landed, Celestia//</span><br />First, it&#039;s ambiguous whether you mean Celestia landed or Twilight did. Plus you already mentioned that Twilight landed.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;…and//</span><br />Going without capitalization is for sentences that pick up where previous ones leave off. Since there is no previous sentence, capitalize this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He merely dismissed the notion that the list was incomplete, or otherwise had errors.//</span><br />See the section on head-hopping at the top of this thread. You&#039;ve been in Twilight&#039;s head, and I don&#039;t see a reason to transfer into Spike&#039;s perspective like this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She was annoyed//</span><br />And check out the section on &quot;show versus tell,&quot; too. It&#039;s better to lead me to this conclusion through evidence you present instead of telling me her mood directly.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She now felt silly that she has neglected such a simple thing, and was glad Spike was sleeping and couldn&#039;t see her mistake.//</span><br />Verb form. Also check out the section on comma use with conjunctions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;who awoke with a groan//</span><br />Set off the dependent clause with a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight was surprised at this.//</span><br />Beware using demonstratives (this, that, these, those) as pronouns. They have vague, broad antecedents that refer to the narration itself. Fortunately, the fix is easy: find an appropriate noun to put after it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;exotic looking//</span><br />Hyphenate your compound descriptors.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Princess Twilight;//</span><br />Misused semicolon. There is no independent clause before it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;massively racist policies//</span><br />Agreed. Where is this coming from? There&#039;s no indication of such in canon, so it&#039;s rather abrupt to jump straight to it. You need to connect the dots.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;A single tear rolled down her cheek.//</span><br />This is incredibly cliched. If she cries, just have her cry.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Celestia looked at Twilight with a look of worry.//</span><br />Besides being telly, she just did this a few paragraphs ago.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot; Well//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;turn me back into a unicorn.//</span><br />Missing closing quotation marks.<br /><br />The few emotions you do get across are done in a telly manner, but there&#039;s really not that much emotional content to begin with. The narration focuses too much on what happens at the expense of how anyone feels about those events. It reads more like a historical record, not a narrative. And this is a huge decision Twilight is making, yet he makes a snap judgment. She&#039;s going to give up being a princess after one day, and Celestia is so willing to indulge her? She&#039;s not even portrayed as that emotional about it, more bored and frustrated than anything, even where paperwork would seem to be up her alley, getting everything documented and squared away. It&#039;s just all to detached from the character to draw the reader into it and make him feel bad for Twilight, and her decision is made and supported much too lightly.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 73

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.

Synopsis:
>The only one who came to her birthday was herself.//
That's not how reflexive pronouns work. She'd need to be the subject as well. Grammatically speaking, the "herself" should be "she." You could actually put "she herself" or "Pinkie herself" there.

Story:
Your opening paragraph presents the entire emotional context to set up your story. But you present it all so factually and quickly that it doesn't sink in or leave much of an impression on the reader. And unfortunately, you're not going to be able to do that quickly. People grow apart. It happens. I'm not going to feel sorry for Pinkie unless I know how losing these particular friends makes her feel, so that I feel it along with her. At least you don't have to start from ground zero. Canon already establishes that they're good friends, so that's a given. But you do need to present these in such a way that it fills in more of the backstory and shows me the pain instead of summing it all up for me. You do a little of that with Rarity in particular, so that's a step in the right direction.

>between she and the twins- but even that felt more like a business partnership//

Please use a proper dash. And as the object of a preposition, you need "her," not "she."

>Ponyville didn't feel like home anymore. Nowhere that she could, and did eventually visit, did anymore. Every morning when she woke, she told herself; "Today will be better. Today ponies will love me again. Today my friends will remember me."//

If we're to believe "Magical Mystery Cure," the town doesn't function without her. And she considers everyone a friend. This might take some more justification to connect the dots from canon.

>Dasha//

Huh?

>The years had treated her well, it seemed she hadn't aged a day since that last spat//

Comma splice.

>“Well yeah. But you’re close. Just come with us, Pinkie, I thought you were our friend?”//

Looks like you're missing a line break there, the last comma is a splice, and that's not really a question.

>She plastered on a fake smile as she sat at her little desk, beginning to slowly and painfully brush out her straightened mane.//

Watch placement of participles. They often make for misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the desk is beginning to brush her mane.

>Heh, that was a funny word, accrued.//

You're making the character aware of a third-person narration. Bad, bad idea.

> She grabbed down a towel and finished drying herself, pulling a brush onto her hoof and running the stiff bristles through her mane to finish straightening and neatening it.//

Watch the word repetition in a close space, as in the "finish" here.

>maw//

Inasmuch as you're trying to adopt a subjective viewpoint, it would behoove you to use language you could imagine the character using, even if you don't actually adopt her voice. This just doesn't ring true as a word Pinkie would ever use.

>Immediately she moved for the kitchen and started a pot of coffee, cooking herself a fried egg inside a piece of toast for breakfast while she waited on the pot.//

Another thing to note about participles: they imply concurrent action. So she's starting a pot of coffee, cooking the egg, and waiting on the coffee all at the same time.

Your left margin is uneven. I suspect you're using a set number of spaces for indentation. FiMFiction will stretch that and distort it. You'll need to replace those indentations with tabs.

>Pinkie sighed deeply, and returned to her meal.//

Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.

>You never really got used to Pinkie's melancholy, you just.. made room for it.//

Ellipsis is missing a dot. It's really odd to address the reader when the narrator hasn't been making a point of it, and in this case, seems to have leapt into Pumpkin and Pound's perspective, even though they're not there.

>Dutifully, the twins marched along behind her to school//

If Pinkie's 40, that makes the twins what, 15 or 20 at least? They still need to be walked to school?

>She smiles, yes, that would be nice.//

Verb tense, and why are you going from an objective to a subjective viewpoint in the same sentence?

>an empty amber bottle marked with a label in uncomprehensible Equestrian lays on its side on the floor.//

Lay/lie confusion. incomprehensible

>She rolled onto her side//

You've begun the last four paragraphs with the same word. Mix it up.

>"Drop!".//

You don't need to double up on the end punctuation.

>Pinkie knew where she was being lead now.//

led

>The curly-maned mare snorted and pawed//

You already had her do that half a page ago, almost word for word.

>Earth pony//

"Earth" would not be capitalized in this sense.

And now that I'm finished reading, I see that the bulk of the points I've made or planned to make in summary down here have already been noted in the WRITE review posted in the story's comments. I have to say, I agree with most of what's there, but there are two in particular that I want to emphasize.

This story hinges on the reader feeling Pinkie's utter hopelessness and pain. The source of that hopelessness and pain is her distance from her friends, which we are only ever told about in narrative summary. All of that backstory needs much more detail to seem real and to bring the reader's emotions to bear.

And suicide is a very serious theme to undertake, particularly in this fandom. As such, Equestria Daily tends to stay away from such stories unless they are exceptionally good and give the subject the appropriate gravity without glorifying suicide in any way. While I can' accuse you of the last one of those, since I can't even tell whether Pinkie actually killed herself and came to some sort of peace with some of her alter egos in a sort of afterlife or found the strength to go on living with those same alter egos as support. In any case, it still needs to stand head and shoulders above the piles of other suicide stories, and it just doesn't.

And a further word about repetition—I encountered a lot of "to be" verbs, over 60 across both chapters. That's a lot for a story this short. They're boring verbs. It's much more interesting to read action verbs. I bet you could weed out a bunch of these.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.<br /><br />Synopsis:<br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The only one who came to her birthday was herself.//</span><br />That&#039;s not how reflexive pronouns work. She&#039;d need to be the subject as well. Grammatically speaking, the &quot;herself&quot; should be &quot;she.&quot; You could actually put &quot;she herself&quot; or &quot;Pinkie herself&quot; there.<br /><br />Story:<br />Your opening paragraph presents the entire emotional context to set up your story. But you present it all so factually and quickly that it doesn&#039;t sink in or leave much of an impression on the reader. And unfortunately, you&#039;re not going to be able to do that quickly. People grow apart. It happens. I&#039;m not going to feel sorry for Pinkie unless I know how losing these particular friends makes her feel, so that I feel it along with her. At least you don&#039;t have to start from ground zero. Canon already establishes that they&#039;re good friends, so that&#039;s a given. But you do need to present these in such a way that it fills in more of the backstory and shows me the pain instead of summing it all up for me. You do a little of that with Rarity in particular, so that&#039;s a step in the right direction.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;between she and the twins- but even that felt more like a business partnership//</span><br />Please use a proper dash. And as the object of a preposition, you need &quot;her,&quot; not &quot;she.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Ponyville didn&#039;t feel like home anymore. Nowhere that she could, and did eventually visit, did anymore. Every morning when she woke, she told herself; &quot;Today will be better. Today ponies will love me again. Today my friends will remember me.&quot;//</span><br />If we&#039;re to believe &quot;Magical Mystery Cure,&quot; the town doesn&#039;t function without her. And she considers everyone a friend. This might take some more justification to connect the dots from canon.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Dasha//</span><br />Huh?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The years had treated her well, it seemed she hadn&#039;t aged a day since that last spat//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“Well yeah. But you’re close. Just come with us, Pinkie, I thought you were our friend?”//</span><br />Looks like you&#039;re missing a line break there, the last comma is a splice, and that&#039;s not really a question.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She plastered on a fake smile as she sat at her little desk, beginning to slowly and painfully brush out her straightened mane.//</span><br />Watch placement of participles. They often make for misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the desk is beginning to brush her mane.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Heh, that was a funny word, accrued.//</span><br />You&#039;re making the character aware of a third-person narration. Bad, bad idea.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt; She grabbed down a towel and finished drying herself, pulling a brush onto her hoof and running the stiff bristles through her mane to finish straightening and neatening it.//</span><br />Watch the word repetition in a close space, as in the &quot;finish&quot; here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;maw//</span><br />Inasmuch as you&#039;re trying to adopt a subjective viewpoint, it would behoove you to use language you could imagine the character using, even if you don&#039;t actually adopt her voice. This just doesn&#039;t ring true as a word Pinkie would ever use.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Immediately she moved for the kitchen and started a pot of coffee, cooking herself a fried egg inside a piece of toast for breakfast while she waited on the pot.//</span><br />Another thing to note about participles: they imply concurrent action. So she&#039;s starting a pot of coffee, cooking the egg, and waiting on the coffee all at the same time.<br /><br />Your left margin is uneven. I suspect you&#039;re using a set number of spaces for indentation. FiMFiction will stretch that and distort it. You&#039;ll need to replace those indentations with tabs.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pinkie sighed deeply, and returned to her meal.//</span><br />Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You never really got used to Pinkie&#039;s melancholy, you just.. made room for it.//</span><br />Ellipsis is missing a dot. It&#039;s really odd to address the reader when the narrator hasn&#039;t been making a point of it, and in this case, seems to have leapt into Pumpkin and Pound&#039;s perspective, even though they&#039;re not there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Dutifully, the twins marched along behind her to school//</span><br />If Pinkie&#039;s 40, that makes the twins what, 15 or 20 at least? They still need to be walked to school?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She smiles, yes, that would be nice.//</span><br />Verb tense, and why are you going from an objective to a subjective viewpoint in the same sentence?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;an empty amber bottle marked with a label in uncomprehensible Equestrian lays on its side on the floor.//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion. incomprehensible<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She rolled onto her side//</span><br />You&#039;ve begun the last four paragraphs with the same word. Mix it up.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Drop!&quot;.//</span><br />You don&#039;t need to double up on the end punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Pinkie knew where she was being lead now.//</span><br />led<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The curly-maned mare snorted and pawed//</span><br />You already had her do that half a page ago, almost word for word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Earth pony//</span><br />&quot;Earth&quot; would not be capitalized in this sense.<br /><br />And now that I&#039;m finished reading, I see that the bulk of the points I&#039;ve made or planned to make in summary down here have already been noted in the WRITE review posted in the story&#039;s comments. I have to say, I agree with most of what&#039;s there, but there are two in particular that I want to emphasize.<br /><br />This story hinges on the reader feeling Pinkie&#039;s utter hopelessness and pain. The source of that hopelessness and pain is her distance from her friends, which we are only ever told about in narrative summary. All of that backstory needs much more detail to seem real and to bring the reader&#039;s emotions to bear.<br /><br />And suicide is a very serious theme to undertake, particularly in this fandom. As such, Equestria Daily tends to stay away from such stories unless they are exceptionally good and give the subject the appropriate gravity without glorifying suicide in any way. While I can&#039; accuse you of the last one of those, since I can&#039;t even tell whether Pinkie actually killed herself and came to some sort of peace with some of her alter egos in a sort of afterlife or found the strength to go on living with those same alter egos as support. In any case, it still needs to stand head and shoulders above the piles of other suicide stories, and it just doesn&#039;t.<br /><br />And a further word about repetition—I encountered a lot of &quot;to be&quot; verbs, over 60 across both chapters. That&#039;s a lot for a story this short. They&#039;re boring verbs. It&#039;s much more interesting to read action verbs. I bet you could weed out a bunch of these.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 74

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'd recommend cutting the second paragraph of your synopsis. It's not the kind of thing that's enticing, and it really tells us nothing about the story.

>This time Rarity’s face was tear-streaked, her eyes filled with a primal rage, her knees shaking and about the give out from despair, even her mane and tail were starting to show signs of neglect.//

This sentence is much better than the "pool of emotions" stated in the first one, in that it gives me the symptoms of how she feels and lets me draw the conclusions, except for that "despair" part. This is especially important right at the beginning of the story, where you're trying to forge an immediate connection between the character and the reader. You might want to look at the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread. The second comma here is a splice, and you have a typo in there.

>a string of desperate false confessions, the misunderstanding and subsequent battle between three local waiters and her old compatriot Tempeh//

Since I have zero idea what any of this is, it's not going to carry any weight in trying to make her situation sympathetic to me.

>She was basically eternally single now.//

I get that she's prone to exaggeration, but this is coming out of nowhere. Her thoughts hadn't been running toward failure at romance, and yet that's what this all led to.

>THAT//

Italics are preferred for emphasis.

Okay, the bit in italics… The colored text isn't helping you. It's not immediately evident what the significance is, and when the reader has to go back over it to figure it out, that's a bad thing. It's also a fairly lazy way of getting at her mindset without actually describing it.

>so she wouldn’t be stopping in unexpectedly//

Set this dependent clause off with a comma. You'd normally do that anyway, but without one here, it sounds like you're giving Sweetie Belle's motivation for being away.

>tantrum//

You're telling me she's having a tantrum, but I don't really get to see it.

>(s)//

All these parentheticals are getting to be a bit much. I'll give you some leeway, since it's a very subjective narrator, but you don't want tics drawing attention to the writing itself and away from the story.

>“ –‘and//

Capitalize, since this isn't continuing a sentence begun earlier. You also have an extraneous space in there. An ellipsis would be more appropriate than a dash, since the speech isn't breaking in; we're just gradually becoming aware of it.

>Ya’ll//

Why can't anyone spell this right?

Your Applejack accent is a bit much. Readers will mostly fill it in for you. You don' have to resort to so many imitative spellings like "tha" and "ta."

>It was really…” she paused, searching for the best word, yet ending flatly with, "…weird."//

Here's how to work an aside into a quote:
It was really—” she paused, searching for the best word, yet ending flatly with "—weird."
Note you also have a mix of simple and fancier quotation marks.

>She felt the need to emphasize Rarity's genuine wishes that the note contained. Ensure her friends understood and would permit her to try this.//

The first sentence is pretty meaningless, and the second just plain doesn't parse.

>If- no//

Please use a proper dash.

>iffn//

if'm

>Each exchanged looks, and turned to leave with short parting words.//

Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions.

>*ahem*//

No. Sound effects in narration are bad enough, but you've crossed the line into a first person narration by doing this.

>And failures//

Why in the world is this in a bigger font?

>she laid on her back on her sheets, staring and wondering//

Lay/lie confusion. Also note that participles can easily be misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the sheets are staring and wondering.

>calling her nutty//

This is also coming out of nowhere. We haven't seen any of this happen. Maybe it's only in her mind, but we haven't seen her impression of it happening, either. That's one of the biggest problems with this story: it expects us to take things that are scarcely mentioned, and then make an emotional investment in them so that Rarity's situation makes perfect sense and we care about her.

>knowing internally//

As opposed to?

>They can't grasp my pain//

And herein lies the problem. I can't either. I'm seeing little evidence of it. All I have is her vague statements and some telly language that shortcuts the emotional discovery process and feeds me the conclusions.

>That sullen sorrow turned to annoyance and indignation.//

…And here's a prime example of it.

>A cover to save himself from my love expressed!//

And this is a common problem with shipping stories. You've just stated that she was attracted to him, and I'm supposed to just accept that and care about it. I have no evidence of how much she cares for him or what sort of chemistry they have together. I can't tell whether this is some years-long thing that's devastating her or a momentary infatuation that she's exaggerating. All I know is that the narrator says she likes him, and I supposed to develop some attachment to the idea. It doesn't work that way. Don't assume I'll care. You have to make me care.

>heart!!//

One exclamation mark is plenty.

>She paused, her glaze trailing along the floor.//

Either that's a typo, or there are some very disturbing implications that make this story unsuitable for Equestria Daily…

>The mixes had slowly returned more reasoned and calm than before//

Mixes? I can't figure out what you mean.

>look could look//

Watch the repetition.

>"Though…,"//

You don't use the comma when there's some other kind of end punctuation there..

>Elsewhere, a pink pony suddenly sneezed colorful confetti out her ears.//

I have no reference as to what this is supposed to mean. Pinkie Sense? Just a random comment?

>Her surveyal//

survey

>this love and relations headaches//

Hyphenate your compound modifier, and you have a number agreement problem (this… headaches).

Okay, I'm at day nine now, and I have to wonder what happened to Opal. She's surely back from the groomer, and in canon, Rarity uses her as a sounding board. Why wouldn't she be there?

>She cut herself short//

You don't need to say what the punctuation already does.

>get~!//

~ is not punctuation. If you mean she's trilling or singing the word, then say so.

>If I knew here was the best entertainer in town//

Phrasing.

>Here in front of her was one who would never judge her//

Except that she has been judging her all week…

I've said it already, but I'll say it again: The biggest issue in this story is a decided lack of emotional investment. We're given a very vague idea as to what put her in this funk in the first place, so that leaves it all feeling very external to me. What emotional context we get from Rarity herself is biased heavily toward telly language, which again just leaves everything external. You're asking me to come up with the buy-in, but that's your job. It might have been more effective to throw out the whole bit with Fancy Pants and leave it as some generic thing that's shaken her self-esteem. Then there's not so much of an impetus to want that back story explained.

The resolution is fairly weak. Essentially, she's trading one mental calamity for another and hasn't addressed the core problem, but I'm not prepared to say that's a deal-breaking choice. While it means I personally found the ending unsatisfying, I can't call it that in an objective sense.

So where were Rarity's friends? They express all this concern for her, and while I can appreciate that they'd give her space if she needed it, they'd at least check in without being intrusive. And while it's possible that happened off camera, it would be completely on me to invent it. It just seems odd to give them a role in the story at all and then do nothing with them.

On a note about repetition, you have well over 150 "to be" verbs in your story. That's a ton for one of this length. While I can understand that you'd have more in dialogue and a narration that tends toward a dialogue feel, but I bet you could reduce that quite a bit. It's an inherently boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is.

I will say that you have a nice touch with Rarity's voice. Her conversations with the mirror seemed nicely in character, and while the slower, introspective nature of the story may well be pretty hit-or-miss with readers or even what particular mood they're in at the time, I enjoyed watching her progression.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.<br /><br />I&#039;d recommend cutting the second paragraph of your synopsis. It&#039;s not the kind of thing that&#039;s enticing, and it really tells us nothing about the story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;This time Rarity’s face was tear-streaked, her eyes filled with a primal rage, her knees shaking and about the give out from despair, even her mane and tail were starting to show signs of neglect.//</span><br />This sentence is much better than the &quot;pool of emotions&quot; stated in the first one, in that it gives me the symptoms of how she feels and lets me draw the conclusions, except for that &quot;despair&quot; part. This is especially important right at the beginning of the story, where you&#039;re trying to forge an immediate connection between the character and the reader. You might want to look at the section on &quot;show versus tell&quot; at the top of this thread. The second comma here is a splice, and you have a typo in there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;a string of desperate false confessions, the misunderstanding and subsequent battle between three local waiters and her old compatriot Tempeh//</span><br />Since I have zero idea what any of this is, it&#039;s not going to carry any weight in trying to make her situation sympathetic to me.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She was basically eternally single now.//</span><br />I get that she&#039;s prone to exaggeration, but this is coming out of nowhere. Her thoughts hadn&#039;t been running toward failure at romance, and yet that&#039;s what this all led to.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;THAT//</span><br />Italics are preferred for emphasis.<br /><br />Okay, the bit in italics… The colored text isn&#039;t helping you. It&#039;s not immediately evident what the significance is, and when the reader has to go back over it to figure it out, that&#039;s a bad thing. It&#039;s also a fairly lazy way of getting at her mindset without actually describing it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;so she wouldn’t be stopping in unexpectedly//</span><br />Set this dependent clause off with a comma. You&#039;d normally do that anyway, but without one here, it sounds like you&#039;re giving Sweetie Belle&#039;s motivation for being away.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;tantrum//</span><br />You&#039;re telling me she&#039;s having a tantrum, but I don&#039;t really get to see it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;(s)//</span><br />All these parentheticals are getting to be a bit much. I&#039;ll give you some leeway, since it&#039;s a very subjective narrator, but you don&#039;t want tics drawing attention to the writing itself and away from the story.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“ –‘and//</span><br />Capitalize, since this isn&#039;t continuing a sentence begun earlier. You also have an extraneous space in there. An ellipsis would be more appropriate than a dash, since the speech isn&#039;t breaking in; we&#039;re just gradually becoming aware of it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Ya’ll//</span><br />Why can&#039;t anyone spell this right?<br /><br />Your Applejack accent is a bit much. Readers will mostly fill it in for you. You don&#039; have to resort to so many imitative spellings like &quot;tha&quot; and &quot;ta.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was really…” she paused, searching for the best word, yet ending flatly with, &quot;…weird.&quot;//</span><br />Here&#039;s how to work an aside into a quote:<br />It was really—” she paused, searching for the best word, yet ending flatly with &quot;—weird.&quot;<br />Note you also have a mix of simple and fancier quotation marks.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She felt the need to emphasize Rarity&#039;s genuine wishes that the note contained. Ensure her friends understood and would permit her to try this.//</span><br />The first sentence is pretty meaningless, and the second just plain doesn&#039;t parse.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;If- no//</span><br />Please use a proper dash.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;iffn//</span><br />if&#039;m<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Each exchanged looks, and turned to leave with short parting words.//</span><br />Have a look at the section on comma use with conjunctions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;*ahem*//</span><br />No. Sound effects in narration are bad enough, but you&#039;ve crossed the line into a first person narration by doing this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And failures//</span><br />Why in the world is this in a bigger font?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she laid on her back on her sheets, staring and wondering//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion. Also note that participles can easily be misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the sheets are staring and wondering.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;calling her nutty//</span><br />This is also coming out of nowhere. We haven&#039;t seen any of this happen. Maybe it&#039;s only in her mind, but we haven&#039;t seen her impression of it happening, either. That&#039;s one of the biggest problems with this story: it expects us to take things that are scarcely mentioned, and then make an emotional investment in them so that Rarity&#039;s situation makes perfect sense and we care about her.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;knowing internally//</span><br />As opposed to?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;They can&#039;t grasp my pain//</span><br />And herein lies the problem. I can&#039;t either. I&#039;m seeing little evidence of it. All I have is her vague statements and some telly language that shortcuts the emotional discovery process and feeds me the conclusions.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That sullen sorrow turned to annoyance and indignation.//</span><br />…And here&#039;s a prime example of it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;A cover to save himself from my love expressed!//</span><br />And this is a common problem with shipping stories. You&#039;ve just stated that she was attracted to him, and I&#039;m supposed to just accept that and care about it. I have no evidence of how much she cares for him or what sort of chemistry they have together. I can&#039;t tell whether this is some years-long thing that&#039;s devastating her or a momentary infatuation that she&#039;s exaggerating. All I know is that the narrator says she likes him, and I supposed to develop some attachment to the idea. It doesn&#039;t work that way. Don&#039;t assume I&#039;ll care. You have to make me care.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;heart!!//</span><br />One exclamation mark is plenty.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She paused, her glaze trailing along the floor.//</span><br />Either that&#039;s a typo, or there are some very disturbing implications that make this story unsuitable for Equestria Daily…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The mixes had slowly returned more reasoned and calm than before//</span><br />Mixes? I can&#039;t figure out what you mean.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;look could look//</span><br />Watch the repetition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Though…,&quot;//</span><br />You don&#039;t use the comma when there&#039;s some other kind of end punctuation there..<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Elsewhere, a pink pony suddenly sneezed colorful confetti out her ears.//</span><br />I have no reference as to what this is supposed to mean. Pinkie Sense? Just a random comment?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her surveyal//</span><br />survey<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;this love and relations headaches//</span><br />Hyphenate your compound modifier, and you have a number agreement problem (this… headaches).<br /><br />Okay, I&#039;m at day nine now, and I have to wonder what happened to Opal. She&#039;s surely back from the groomer, and in canon, Rarity uses her as a sounding board. Why wouldn&#039;t she be there?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She cut herself short//</span><br />You don&#039;t need to say what the punctuation already does.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;get~!//</span><br />~ is not punctuation. If you mean she&#039;s trilling or singing the word, then say so.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;If I knew here was the best entertainer in town//</span><br />Phrasing.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Here in front of her was one who would never judge her//</span><br />Except that she has been judging her all week…<br /><br />I&#039;ve said it already, but I&#039;ll say it again: The biggest issue in this story is a decided lack of emotional investment. We&#039;re given a very vague idea as to what put her in this funk in the first place, so that leaves it all feeling very external to me. What emotional context we get from Rarity herself is biased heavily toward telly language, which again just leaves everything external. You&#039;re asking me to come up with the buy-in, but that&#039;s your job. It might have been more effective to throw out the whole bit with Fancy Pants and leave it as some generic thing that&#039;s shaken her self-esteem. Then there&#039;s not so much of an impetus to want that back story explained.<br /><br />The resolution is fairly weak. Essentially, she&#039;s trading one mental calamity for another and hasn&#039;t addressed the core problem, but I&#039;m not prepared to say that&#039;s a deal-breaking choice. While it means I personally found the ending unsatisfying, I can&#039;t call it that in an objective sense.<br /><br />So where were Rarity&#039;s friends? They express all this concern for her, and while I can appreciate that they&#039;d give her space if she needed it, they&#039;d at least check in without being intrusive. And while it&#039;s possible that happened off camera, it would be completely on me to invent it. It just seems odd to give them a role in the story at all and then do nothing with them.<br /><br />On a note about repetition, you have well over 150 &quot;to be&quot; verbs in your story. That&#039;s a ton for one of this length. While I can understand that you&#039;d have more in dialogue and a narration that tends toward a dialogue feel, but I bet you could reduce that quite a bit. It&#039;s an inherently boring verb. It&#039;s much more interesting to read about what happens, not what simply is.<br /><br />I will say that you have a nice touch with Rarity&#039;s voice. Her conversations with the mirror seemed nicely in character, and while the slower, introspective nature of the story may well be pretty hit-or-miss with readers or even what particular mood they&#039;re in at the time, I enjoyed watching her progression.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 75

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.

>with my first salary//

That's just an odd phrasing. A salary is an ongoing thing, so technically she'd still be on her first salary. She's likely not salaried, though—I imagine her type of job would be an hourly wage. Bottom line: I think this would work better as "Paycheck," and I think that's closer to the meaning you were going for anyway.

>That and a few pieces of cakes//

While this could have a valid meaning as written, it's still just phrased oddly. Try just singular "cake."

>can you imagine two Pinkie’s running around the place?//

This shouldn't be a possessive. Lose the apostrophe.

>Like, twenty Pinkies!//

This begs the question of when you envision this story occurring. Given what happened in "Too Many Pinkie Pies," you may need to make it clear that this story predates that, or the reader is just going to wonder why that's conveniently slipped her mind. Edit: Now you've definitely got a problem. Gummy's definitely seen alive in canon after "TMPP," so she'd have already seen this exact scenario happen before.

>Like, twenty Pinkies!//

I'm only through two paragraphs, and already 8 of 14 sentences end in an exclamation mark. For one thing, readers already know Pinkie is excitable and will fill in a lot of that tone for you. For another, exclamation marks are meant to make things stand out, and when a lot of things stand out, it weakens them all. Consider the extreme: When everything stands out, nothing does.

>caught my eyes//

I've only ever seen this phrase in the singular: caught my eye.

>you already know his name by now//

This opens a can of worms. If your narrator isn't one that's going to address the reader regularly, it's best to avoid doing so altogether. The other issue is that by dragging me in as an effective character, you're courting the edge of needing to justify my presence there, as you would with any character. Why would I be there with her? Why does she want to tell me the story? Why do I want to listen? When you make me part of the story, you have to consider my motivations, too.

>It didn’t even hurt really. It was just gummy.//

It wouldn't have hurt, even if he had teeth. It's not like she can feel her tail.

>GUMMY!//

Italics are preferred over bold, underline, or all caps for emphasis (except in the specific instance of something in writing).

>Mister-Chomp-A-Lot//

That first hyphen can go. You don't say "Mister-Smith," do you?

>WHY WON’T YOU TALK TO ME GUMMY?//

Missing comma for direct address.

>What if Gummy was to die?//

This is an extremely odd disconnect that she'd independently conceive of this possibility. I could see her in denial that Gummy could ever die in the first place, but she's conceding that.

>ol//

Missing apostrophe.

So now that I'm at the end, I have to wonder why Gummy isn't starting to smell. There's a pretty big issue of being sanitary here that it's hard to believe everyone can just gloss over for her benefit.

There were the few odd editing issues that had me worried because they all cropped up near the beginning, but I was pleased to see the mechanics improve when I got further in. Still you don't want those being the first impression the reader gets, so fix those up.

There's a fine line here with Pinkie's friends trying to help her. Since it's from her perspective, I could believe that they'd tried a few times, but that it didn't even register with her. But she'd at least know what they said to her. And the bit about Twilight making Gummy move didn't really ring true. She's very down-to-earth and practical. She'd realize that wasn't really helping and again with being unsanitary. Particularly since there's strength in numbers, wouldn't her friends have made sure she understood, particularly with the emphasis they always place on friendship? It really makes the whole thing feel detached to me, like they don't care enough about her to use some tough love. Whether or not she actually gets the picture is another thing, but I think the story would be a lot stronger for making it clear that they were all doing their due diligence.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;with my first salary//</span><br />That&#039;s just an odd phrasing. A salary is an ongoing thing, so technically she&#039;d still be on her first salary. She&#039;s likely not salaried, though—I imagine her type of job would be an hourly wage. Bottom line: I think this would work better as &quot;Paycheck,&quot; and I think that&#039;s closer to the meaning you were going for anyway.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That and a few pieces of cakes//</span><br />While this could have a valid meaning as written, it&#039;s still just phrased oddly. Try just singular &quot;cake.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;can you imagine two Pinkie’s running around the place?//</span><br />This shouldn&#039;t be a possessive. Lose the apostrophe.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Like, twenty Pinkies!//</span><br />This begs the question of when you envision this story occurring. Given what happened in &quot;Too Many Pinkie Pies,&quot; you may need to make it clear that this story predates that, or the reader is just going to wonder why that&#039;s conveniently slipped her mind. Edit: Now you&#039;ve definitely got a problem. Gummy&#039;s definitely seen alive in canon after &quot;<abbr title="Too Many Pinkie Pies">TMPP</abbr>,&quot; so she&#039;d have already seen this exact scenario happen before.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Like, twenty Pinkies!//</span><br />I&#039;m only through two paragraphs, and already 8 of 14 sentences end in an exclamation mark. For one thing, readers already know Pinkie is excitable and will fill in a lot of that tone for you. For another, exclamation marks are meant to make things stand out, and when a lot of things stand out, it weakens them all. Consider the extreme: When everything stands out, nothing does.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;caught my eyes//</span><br />I&#039;ve only ever seen this phrase in the singular: caught my eye.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;you already know his name by now//</span><br />This opens a can of worms. If your narrator isn&#039;t one that&#039;s going to address the reader regularly, it&#039;s best to avoid doing so altogether. The other issue is that by dragging me in as an effective character, you&#039;re courting the edge of needing to justify my presence there, as you would with any character. Why would I be there with her? Why does she want to tell me the story? Why do I want to listen? When you make me part of the story, you have to consider my motivations, too.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It didn’t even hurt really. It was just gummy.//</span><br />It wouldn&#039;t have hurt, even if he had teeth. It&#039;s not like she can feel her tail.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;GUMMY!//</span><br />Italics are preferred over bold, underline, or all caps for emphasis (except in the specific instance of something in writing).<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Mister-Chomp-A-Lot//</span><br />That first hyphen can go. You don&#039;t say &quot;Mister-Smith,&quot; do you?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;WHY WON’T YOU TALK TO ME GUMMY?//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;What if Gummy was to die?//</span><br />This is an extremely odd disconnect that she&#039;d independently conceive of this possibility. I could see her in denial that Gummy could ever die in the first place, but she&#039;s conceding that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;ol//</span><br />Missing apostrophe.<br /><br />So now that I&#039;m at the end, I have to wonder why Gummy isn&#039;t starting to smell. There&#039;s a pretty big issue of being sanitary here that it&#039;s hard to believe everyone can just gloss over for her benefit.<br /><br />There were the few odd editing issues that had me worried because they all cropped up near the beginning, but I was pleased to see the mechanics improve when I got further in. Still you don&#039;t want those being the first impression the reader gets, so fix those up.<br /><br />There&#039;s a fine line here with Pinkie&#039;s friends trying to help her. Since it&#039;s from her perspective, I could believe that they&#039;d tried a few times, but that it didn&#039;t even register with her. But she&#039;d at least know what they said to her. And the bit about Twilight making Gummy move didn&#039;t really ring true. She&#039;s very down-to-earth and practical. She&#039;d realize that wasn&#039;t really helping and again with being unsanitary. Particularly since there&#039;s strength in numbers, wouldn&#039;t her friends have made sure she understood, particularly with the emphasis they always place on friendship? It really makes the whole thing feel detached to me, like they don&#039;t care enough about her to use some tough love. Whether or not she actually gets the picture is another thing, but I think the story would be a lot stronger for making it clear that they were all doing their due diligence.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 76

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.

>Berryshine is a pony with a history and a reputation, neither of which she is very proud of. However, a series of events forces her to re-examine her life.//

First, that's not a very enticing synopsis. You'd do better to play up the emotions surrounding this re-examining. Frankly, the same can be said of the title. Second, you're doubling up on the "of." The "of which" already contains the "of" you try to end the sentence with.

Depending on the browser and font, your scene break dividers are running longer than one line. Either use a shorter one and center it or take advantage of the [hr] character that FiMFiction provides.

>How do you explain to your adopted daughter that you weren’t always the humble grape farmer that she knew you as?//

Right off the bat, you're striking an odd note with your narrator. I did a search of "you" through the first chapter. Most occur in dialogue. Of the ones that appear in narration, some are of the type that are meant as a generic person; they're not necessarily addressed at me. For those, it might be better to rephrase them so they don't tend to address the reader, but that's not a huge problem. What bothers me is your opening scene. In there, the narrator definitely addresses the reader. You don't keep that up through the story, so it's almost like you're creating a frame for the story in which Berry is sitting down with me and telling me the story. That begs the questions: Who am I to her? Why am I there? Why does she want me in particular to hear it? Why am I listening? When you create a character for me to be, that character needs the same justifications for being there and motivations as any other character would. You can't just skip that part because you think it'd be interesting to use this framing device.

>Clint Clydesdale//

I have no idea what pun this is supposed to be. It sounds nothing like "Eastwood," so I have to think you're just making something up out of the blue, and in that case, I have no reference as to how menacing this is supposed to be.

>She has this wild poof of orange hair and her cutie mark is a bunch of carrots, which labeled her as a farmer.//

Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. I see a number of these throughout the story. And that "labeled" shouldn't be in past tense, assuming there isn't some reason it wouldn't label her as a farmer anymore.

>some horse college//

Assuming you're making a pun on "cow college" (really, I can't figure out what else this might mean), an A&M university would be a cow college, right?

>if was to come for the ceremony//

Missing a word. Really, this would use subjunctive mood as well ("were"), but it's up to you as to whether Berry knows that.

>NOT//

Italics are preferred for emphasis.

>two twins//

Redundant.

>head-to-hoof//

In this usage, there's no need to hyphenate this. It's not being used as a modifier.

>shampooed and conditioned my main and tail//

Are you serious? There are a few words that I expect anyone who writes horse words to get right.

>plum colored//

That one does need a hyphen.

>As a further act of contrition//

I'm still not buying why Rarity would be feeling contrite. She enforced her standards and got Berry to abide by them. She should be satisfied, not apologetic.

>Phillydelphia//

You're missing the pun by spelling it that way…

>Making wine is fun, it’s also how I make my living.//

Comma splice.

>He winced l and crinkled his nose at me.//

Jumbled wording.

>in disapproval//

You've been doing well so far, but I'll point you to the discussion on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread for an explanation of why phrases like this are usually empty filler.

>rocked off my flank and barely able to stand on all fours//

This is an oddly candid assessment from her, given that she's been insistent that she can handle her liquor and doesn't actually drink all that much. We have all the evidence we need from her actions, and that disconnect is rather telling of her problem, so it's a little disappointing to see her acknowledge it so readily.

>hoping up and down//

Typo.

>some other pony’s fur under my hooves//

How does that work? They're not like fingernails, where there's actually a space for things to get caught. I don't know where fur would collect or how it would get there.

>you’ve give anything to take back//

Typo and a missing word.

>She didn’t look very happy to see me//

You've got a few spots like this, too, where you draw the conclusion for me instead of describing how she looks and acts and let me deduce how she feels. That said, you get some leeway in a first-person narration.

>Merry was delighted and was practically bouncing on her hooves. She still had her cap and gown on and was carrying her diploma in a new saddlebag. My sister, Sherry, was holding back.//

What's with all the past participles? Besides creating a repetitive feel, it's not really fitting what's around it.

>full grown//

Hyphen needed again.

>Look Auntie Berry!//

Missing comma for direct address.

>I should’ve just left her hold onto it.//

Typo.

>It was a thing of beauty and I had destroyed it.//

This is an emotional climax of your story. At least it should be, except that there is absolutely no emotion here. This is all factual. She's telling me what events occurred, but I'm getting zero evidence as to how she felt about it. Maybe you do so later, but by then, it's to far disconnected from the actual occurrence. Here's where you really need to draw me into her viewpoint and get me to feel what she does. This is the essence of an engaging read. Really, I didn't have too many complaints about the story until now, but this definitely needs some attention.

>I don’t know which was worse—the sound of the frame breaking or the sound of my niece crying.//

>What was the big deal? I was sure they’d replace it.//
I can't see how these two things are compatible.

>I…I…//

I'll finally say something about this. We do see writers use this format sometimes, but I'm never sure whether it's something they were taught, as it's an unusual system. Most common is to put a space between the ellipsis and the word that follows it.

>I sat on my flank on the floor//

What floor is this? The last place you mentioned where she was, it was in the dirt outside the auditorium.

>Forget it! Just stay away. Stay away forever!//

Her daughter's old enough to make this decision for herself, and she was actually happy to see Berry. I could see Sherry saying this for herself, but not for her daughter as well.

>so I hoisted myself up and trudged back to the station//

Comma to set off the dependent clause.

>vomit//

When did this happen, and why did she never mention it until now?

>trip–no//

You've got proper dashes elsewhere in the story, so why not here?

>and wasn’t none too happy //

She hasn't adopted any speech patterns so far that lead me to believe she'd use s double negative like this.

>That won’t do miss.//

Another missing comma for direct address.

>shards of glass got//

Where's the glass coming from? And you have an extraneous space in there.

>When I finally stopped I didn’t even open my eyes, I just lay there//

Needs a comma for the dependent clause, and the comma you do have here is a splice.

>spread eagled//

Another hyphen, please.

I'll also mention this here: You have 52 instances just of "was" in this chapter. I'm sure I'd find more if I checked other forms of "to be." I noticed a lot of them in chapter 1 as well. This is an inherently boring verb. It's much more interesting to read about what happens than what is. You really need to be choosing more active verbs. This is a lot for this word count—more than one every third sentence for "was" alone. That increases to one every other sentence if I include a few more of the common forms of this verb. Some of that verb is fine, but this is too much. I bet you can rephrase things in a more active way for a half of those or more.

>I never placed much stock in things like that.//

This is the fifth straight sentence to begin with "I."

>I kept my thoughts occupied //

The relationship is skewed here. Nothing occupies her thoughts, but her thoughts can occupy her.

>If I couldn’t remember the constellations, I thought I’d made up a few of my own.//

Verb tense.

>but I would get lost and somehow the thing would find me//

She states this as a certainty, while it feels more like a probability, unless she wants to state that she's sure it would happen this way.

>my hopes of reaching Ponyville by afternoon was diminishing//

Subject/verb number disagreement.

>I was relieved but still very uneasy.//

Yes, but give me the symptoms, not the diagnosis. I need to be able to picture this in my head. You're making me do all the work.

>They stood and moved about on their back legs.//

Yes, you already said so.

>Their faces were flat//

Fifth straight sentence that starts with "they" or "their."

>Berryshine…//

Missing a line break.

>the one whom I thought was the leader//

Who

>Their next act really frightened me.//

Yes, but aside from the narrator outright telling me this, I wouldn't know. She's certainly not acting or speaking like she's afraid.

>What do you want from me.//

It's a question, yes?

>No. You are not.//

Why is this not italicized like the rest of their speech?

>That wasn’t much there that looked interesting//

Phrasing

>Little pieces of junk was scattered//

Subject/verb number agreement.

I'l also say here that I'm noticing a lot more word repetition in this chapter.

>Do you think you could find your own home on it?//

More missed italics.

>Then how would pointing out our home on it be any help?//

Another missed line break.

>some bit of the junk that was just laying around//

Lay/lie confusion, but your call on whether Berry would know that.

>My sister and niece? Well, it took a while, but they forgave me, too.//

So, the entire conflict you slowly built up is miraculously solved, and off-screen at that?

Okay, what the hell did I just read?

You spent the first two chapters presenting a nice life challenge for her. As I've said, my main complaints with it are that we got little to no emotional investment in it, and Berry's attitude keeps wavering. It's all presented in a very clinical and dry manner, and Berry herself doesn't seem to react much to it, but at least the premise was there. This was workable.

And then you threw in chapter 3. It had absolutely nothing to do with anything that came before. It's not related to her history or her problem. It does nothing to resolve that problem. It does nothing to shed a new light on her character. It just… does nothing. You could cut that entire chapter from the story, and you'd be better for it. And then the real conflict you'd cultivated all along conveniently goes away. No emotional struggle, no self-discovery, no confrontation with her family. It just goes away.

You had a promising beginning, but then the whole thing ran off the rails. I'd encourage you to punch up the first two chapters with a lot more emotional context and a steady attitude toward her problem, give some thought to how you want to handle the device of having me as a character that she's telling her story, then scrap the last two chapters and reimagine the ending. Resolve that conflict that you spent so long creating. Let me see it unfold in front of me, not just get a half-sentence summary that assures me everything worked out.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Berryshine is a pony with a history and a reputation, neither of which she is very proud of. However, a series of events forces her to re-examine her life.//</span><br />First, that&#039;s not a very enticing synopsis. You&#039;d do better to play up the emotions surrounding this re-examining. Frankly, the same can be said of the title. Second, you&#039;re doubling up on the &quot;of.&quot; The &quot;of which&quot; already contains the &quot;of&quot; you try to end the sentence with.<br /><br />Depending on the browser and font, your scene break dividers are running longer than one line. Either use a shorter one and center it or take advantage of the [hr] character that FiMFiction provides.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;How do you explain to your adopted daughter that you weren’t always the humble grape farmer that she knew you as?//</span><br />Right off the bat, you&#039;re striking an odd note with your narrator. I did a search of &quot;you&quot; through the first chapter. Most occur in dialogue. Of the ones that appear in narration, some are of the type that are meant as a generic person; they&#039;re not necessarily addressed at me. For those, it might be better to rephrase them so they don&#039;t tend to address the reader, but that&#039;s not a huge problem. What bothers me is your opening scene. In there, the narrator definitely addresses the reader. You don&#039;t keep that up through the story, so it&#039;s almost like you&#039;re creating a frame for the story in which Berry is sitting down with me and telling me the story. That begs the questions: Who am I to her? Why am I there? Why does she want me in particular to hear it? Why am I listening? When you create a character for me to be, that character needs the same justifications for being there and motivations as any other character would. You can&#039;t just skip that part because you think it&#039;d be interesting to use this framing device.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Clint Clydesdale//</span><br />I have no idea what pun this is supposed to be. It sounds nothing like &quot;Eastwood,&quot; so I have to think you&#039;re just making something up out of the blue, and in that case, I have no reference as to how menacing this is supposed to be.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She has this wild poof of orange hair and her cutie mark is a bunch of carrots, which labeled her as a farmer.//</span><br />Check out the section on comma use with conjunctions at the top of this thread. I see a number of these throughout the story. And that &quot;labeled&quot; shouldn&#039;t be in past tense, assuming there isn&#039;t some reason it wouldn&#039;t label her as a farmer anymore.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;some horse college//</span><br />Assuming you&#039;re making a pun on &quot;cow college&quot; (really, I can&#039;t figure out what else this might mean), an A&amp;M university would be a cow college, right?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;if was to come for the ceremony//</span><br />Missing a word. Really, this would use subjunctive mood as well (&quot;were&quot;), but it&#039;s up to you as to whether Berry knows that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;NOT//</span><br />Italics are preferred for emphasis.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;two twins//</span><br />Redundant.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;head-to-hoof//</span><br />In this usage, there&#039;s no need to hyphenate this. It&#039;s not being used as a modifier.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;shampooed and conditioned my main and tail//</span><br />Are you serious? There are a few words that I expect anyone who writes horse words to get right.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;plum colored//</span><br />That one does need a hyphen.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;As a further act of contrition//</span><br />I&#039;m still not buying why Rarity would be feeling contrite. She enforced her standards and got Berry to abide by them. She should be satisfied, not apologetic.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Phillydelphia//</span><br />You&#039;re missing the pun by spelling it that way…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Making wine is fun, it’s also how I make my living.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He winced l and crinkled his nose at me.//</span><br />Jumbled wording.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;in disapproval//</span><br />You&#039;ve been doing well so far, but I&#039;ll point you to the discussion on &quot;show versus tell&quot; at the top of this thread for an explanation of why phrases like this are usually empty filler.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;rocked off my flank and barely able to stand on all fours//</span><br />This is an oddly candid assessment from her, given that she&#039;s been insistent that she can handle her liquor and doesn&#039;t actually drink all that much. We have all the evidence we need from her actions, and that disconnect is rather telling of her problem, so it&#039;s a little disappointing to see her acknowledge it so readily.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;hoping up and down//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;some other pony’s fur under my hooves//</span><br />How does that work? They&#039;re not like fingernails, where there&#039;s actually a space for things to get caught. I don&#039;t know where fur would collect or how it would get there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;you’ve give anything to take back//</span><br />Typo and a missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She didn’t look very happy to see me//</span><br />You&#039;ve got a few spots like this, too, where you draw the conclusion for me instead of describing how she looks and acts and let me deduce how she feels. That said, you get some leeway in a first-person narration.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Merry was delighted and was practically bouncing on her hooves. She still had her cap and gown on and was carrying her diploma in a new saddlebag. My sister, Sherry, was holding back.//</span><br />What&#039;s with all the past participles? Besides creating a repetitive feel, it&#039;s not really fitting what&#039;s around it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;full grown//</span><br />Hyphen needed again.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Look Auntie Berry!//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I should’ve just left her hold onto it.//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;It was a thing of beauty and I had destroyed it.//</span><br />This is an emotional climax of your story. At least it should be, except that there is absolutely no emotion here. This is all factual. She&#039;s telling me what events occurred, but I&#039;m getting zero evidence as to how she felt about it. Maybe you do so later, but by then, it&#039;s to far disconnected from the actual occurrence. Here&#039;s where you really need to draw me into her viewpoint and get me to feel what she does. This is the essence of an engaging read. Really, I didn&#039;t have too many complaints about the story until now, but this definitely needs some attention.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I don’t know which was worse—the sound of the frame breaking or the sound of my niece crying.//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;What was the big deal? I was sure they’d replace it.//</span><br />I can&#039;t see how these two things are compatible.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I…I…//</span><br />I&#039;ll finally say something about this. We do see writers use this format sometimes, but I&#039;m never sure whether it&#039;s something they were taught, as it&#039;s an unusual system. Most common is to put a space between the ellipsis and the word that follows it.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I sat on my flank on the floor//</span><br />What floor is this? The last place you mentioned where she was, it was in the dirt outside the auditorium.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Forget it! Just stay away. Stay away forever!//</span><br />Her daughter&#039;s old enough to make this decision for herself, and she was actually happy to see Berry. I could see Sherry saying this for herself, but not for her daughter as well.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;so I hoisted myself up and trudged back to the station//</span><br />Comma to set off the dependent clause.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;vomit//</span><br />When did this happen, and why did she never mention it until now?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;trip–no//</span><br />You&#039;ve got proper dashes elsewhere in the story, so why not here?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;and wasn’t none too happy //</span><br />She hasn&#039;t adopted any speech patterns so far that lead me to believe she&#039;d use s double negative like this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That won’t do miss.//</span><br />Another missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;shards of glass got//</span><br />Where&#039;s the glass coming from? And you have an extraneous space in there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;When I finally stopped I didn’t even open my eyes, I just lay there//</span><br />Needs a comma for the dependent clause, and the comma you do have here is a splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;spread eagled//</span><br />Another hyphen, please.<br /><br />I&#039;ll also mention this here: You have 52 instances just of &quot;was&quot; in this chapter. I&#039;m sure I&#039;d find more if I checked other forms of &quot;to be.&quot; I noticed a lot of them in chapter 1 as well. This is an inherently boring verb. It&#039;s much more interesting to read about what happens than what is. You really need to be choosing more active verbs. This is a lot for this word count—more than one every third sentence for &quot;was&quot; alone. That increases to one every other sentence if I include a few more of the common forms of this verb. Some of that verb is fine, but this is too much. I bet you can rephrase things in a more active way for a half of those or more.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I never placed much stock in things like that.//</span><br />This is the fifth straight sentence to begin with &quot;I.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I kept my thoughts occupied //</span><br />The relationship is skewed here. Nothing occupies her thoughts, but her thoughts can occupy her.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;If I couldn’t remember the constellations, I thought I’d made up a few of my own.//</span><br />Verb tense.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;but I would get lost and somehow the thing would find me//</span><br />She states this as a certainty, while it feels more like a probability, unless she wants to state that she&#039;s sure it would happen this way.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;my hopes of reaching Ponyville by afternoon was diminishing//</span><br />Subject/verb number disagreement.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I was relieved but still very uneasy.//</span><br />Yes, but give me the symptoms, not the diagnosis. I need to be able to picture this in my head. You&#039;re making me do all the work.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;They stood and moved about on their back legs.//</span><br />Yes, you already said so.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Their faces were flat//</span><br />Fifth straight sentence that starts with &quot;they&quot; or &quot;their.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Berryshine…//</span><br />Missing a line break.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the one whom I thought was the leader//</span><br />Who<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Their next act really frightened me.//</span><br />Yes, but aside from the narrator outright telling me this, I wouldn&#039;t know. She&#039;s certainly not acting or speaking like she&#039;s afraid.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;What do you want from me.//</span><br />It&#039;s a question, yes?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;No. You are not.//</span><br />Why is this not italicized like the rest of their speech?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;That wasn’t much there that looked interesting//</span><br />Phrasing<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Little pieces of junk was scattered//</span><br />Subject/verb number agreement.<br /><br />I&#039;l also say here that I&#039;m noticing a lot more word repetition in this chapter.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Do you think you could find your own home on it?//</span><br />More missed italics.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Then how would pointing out our home on it be any help?//</span><br />Another missed line break.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;some bit of the junk that was just laying around//</span><br />Lay/lie confusion, but your call on whether Berry would know that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;My sister and niece? Well, it took a while, but they forgave me, too.//</span><br />So, the entire conflict you slowly built up is miraculously solved, and off-screen at that?<br /><br />Okay, what the hay did I just read?<br /><br />You spent the first two chapters presenting a nice life challenge for her. As I&#039;ve said, my main complaints with it are that we got little to no emotional investment in it, and Berry&#039;s attitude keeps wavering. It&#039;s all presented in a very clinical and dry manner, and Berry herself doesn&#039;t seem to react much to it, but at least the premise was there. This was workable.<br /><br />And then you threw in chapter 3. It had absolutely nothing to do with anything that came before. It&#039;s not related to her history or her problem. It does nothing to resolve that problem. It does nothing to shed a new light on her character. It just… does nothing. You could cut that entire chapter from the story, and you&#039;d be better for it. And then the real conflict you&#039;d cultivated all along conveniently goes away. No emotional struggle, no self-discovery, no confrontation with her family. It just goes away.<br /><br />You had a promising beginning, but then the whole thing ran off the rails. I&#039;d encourage you to punch up the first two chapters with a lot more emotional context and a steady attitude toward her problem, give some thought to how you want to handle the device of having me as a character that she&#039;s telling her story, then scrap the last two chapters and reimagine the ending. Resolve that conflict that you spent so long creating. Let me see it unfold in front of me, not just get a half-sentence summary that assures me everything worked out.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 77

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 are her colours muted and melancholy when theirs are bright and cheerful?//

There are plenty of examples of unexciting colorings. Time Turner… Octavia… Caramel… Are you saying that such color schemes didn't exist when this story takes place?

>"Where am I?," she thought.//

Dialogue punctuation.

>She used her somewhat logical brain, to try and piece together her past.//

Unnecessary comma.

>"Hello?" Grey Scale called out once more, becoming nervous.//

I get that you're trying to make this pony very logical and analytical. But that doesn't mean she has no emotion, just that she supporesses it. Yet you've really given me nothing to indicate how she feels about her situation. If she doesn't care, why should I? And then here, where you finally give me some emotional context, it's all tell and no show. Look at the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.

>Friendly consciousness, do you know the same information as your dark counterpart?//

The very fact that they answer to these titles (and indicated them to her themselves, no less!) really undercuts the dilemma she's having in choosing between them.

>Not really, but you can call me Loyalty if you want.//

Fine point, but I get what you're doing here in trying to suggest this is somehow Rainbow Dash's personality, but it doesn't seem like her as much as the dark one seems like Nightmare Moon. Some of the speech sounds like Dash well enough, but she's pretty lazy, too, and it's not really like her to be so forward in volunteering to help a friend; she more sits back and waits to be asked. And she's only warning Gray Scale about NMM instead of being disdainful toward her. I don't think Dash would be that respectful.

>perfectly preened slate grey//

Hyphenate the compound modifier (slate-grey) and put a comma after "preened." These are essentially coordinate adjectives.

>Yeah, but I think Nightmare just sort of tunes you and I out.//

People often use "you and I" in this manner for fear of getting it wrong. Sometimes "you and me" is correct, as in this case.

>the first sign she saw of civilisation//

Watch the repetition. You used almost the same phrasing a few paragraphs back.

>fenced in//

Another compound modifier that needs a hyphen.

>"My name is Fluttershy…"//

Using a visual effect like font size is a fairly lazy way of getting around actually having to describe the voice in narration. And with regards to this conversation, read the section on "talking heads" at the top of this thread.

>she trailed off//

You don't need to tell me she trailed off when I can already tell that from the punctuation.

>"Well, um, the only alicorns I've ever seen are the princesses and Twilight," -Fluttershy shivered- "And Nightmare Moon…"//

Please use proper dashes. Here's how to capitalize/punctuate an aside like this:
"Well, um, the only alicorns I've ever seen are the princesses and Twilight"—Fluttershy shivered—"and Nightmare Moon…"

>You sorta look like somepony else I know too, but I can't really put my hoof on it…Anyway, her cutie mark was a turquoise crescent moon on a dark purple background.//

So she can't quite remember who this is, yet perfectly remembers her cutie mark?

>Most fled with cries of 'Nightmare Moon!' when they saw her cutie mark.//

So with this much evidence as to what her name might be, what's her motivation to keep thinking of herself as Grey Scale? Might be worth seeing a bit of her thought process on this.

>So you're the one who's been scaring everypony in town, eh?//

How in the world has Rainbow even heard about this yet?

>Rainbow Dash wondered why 'Nightmare Moon' wasn't using any magic.//

Why are you changing perspective here? Check out the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.

>am not, Nightmare Moon//

Why is that comma there?

So, why was Rainbow Dash just sitting around her house if she's been warned about Nightmare Moon? She also has surprisingly little reaction to the injuries she's sustained.

New alicorns are long-standing objects of skepticism in this fandom, and with good reason. They're often too good to be true. Now, I don't see any warning signs screaming at me so far, but we're also not far enough into the story to see exactly what she's going to do. I'd encourage you to wait until you have a couple more chapters or to include a brief outline of your expected plot if you decide to resubmit, so we can see what direction the story will take.

The main issue I'd stress the most is the lack of emotional context to most of what happens. The story focuses on the events that happen at the expense of how the characters feel about it. And then when we do get some emotional content, it's handed to us bluntly instead of through the subtle cues that make for an engaging read.

I'd also caution you on overuse of "to be" verbs. There are 35 instances of "was" alone in chapter 2, and they often get used in clusters. Consider whether you could be choosing more active verbs. "To be" is just boring.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Why are her colours muted and melancholy when theirs are bright and cheerful?//</span><br />There are plenty of examples of unexciting colorings. Time Turner… Octavia… Caramel… Are you saying that such color schemes didn&#039;t exist when this story takes place?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;<i>Where am I?</i>,&quot; she thought.//</span><br />Dialogue punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She used her somewhat logical brain, to try and piece together her past.//</span><br />Unnecessary comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Hello?&quot; Grey Scale called out once more, becoming nervous.//</span><br />I get that you&#039;re trying to make this pony very logical and analytical. But that doesn&#039;t mean she has no emotion, just that she supporesses it. Yet you&#039;ve really given me nothing to indicate how she feels about her situation. If she doesn&#039;t care, why should I? And then here, where you finally give me some emotional context, it&#039;s all tell and no show. Look at the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Friendly consciousness, do you know the same information as your dark counterpart?//</span><br />The very fact that they answer to these titles (and indicated them to her themselves, no less!) really undercuts the dilemma she&#039;s having in choosing between them.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Not really, but you can call me Loyalty if you want.//</span><br />Fine point, but I get what you&#039;re doing here in trying to suggest this is somehow Rainbow Dash&#039;s personality, but it doesn&#039;t seem like her as much as the dark one seems like Nightmare Moon. Some of the speech sounds like Dash well enough, but she&#039;s pretty lazy, too, and it&#039;s not really like her to be so forward in volunteering to help a friend; she more sits back and waits to be asked. And she&#039;s only warning Gray Scale about NMM instead of being disdainful toward her. I don&#039;t think Dash would be that respectful.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;perfectly preened slate grey//</span><br />Hyphenate the compound modifier (slate-grey) and put a comma after &quot;preened.&quot; These are essentially coordinate adjectives.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Yeah, but I think Nightmare just sort of tunes you and I out.//</span><br />People often use &quot;you and I&quot; in this manner for fear of getting it wrong. Sometimes &quot;you and me&quot; is correct, as in this case.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the first sign she saw of civilisation//</span><br />Watch the repetition. You used almost the same phrasing a few paragraphs back.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;fenced in//</span><br />Another compound modifier that needs a hyphen.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;My name is Fluttershy…&quot;//</span><br />Using a visual effect like font size is a fairly lazy way of getting around actually having to describe the voice in narration. And with regards to this conversation, read the section on &quot;talking heads&quot; at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she trailed off//</span><br />You don&#039;t need to tell me she trailed off when I can already tell that from the punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Well, um, the only alicorns I&#039;ve ever seen are the princesses and Twilight,&quot; -Fluttershy shivered- &quot;And Nightmare Moon…&quot;//</span><br />Please use proper dashes. Here&#039;s how to capitalize/punctuate an aside like this:<br />&quot;Well, um, the only alicorns I&#039;ve ever seen are the princesses and Twilight&quot;—Fluttershy shivered—&quot;and Nightmare Moon…&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;You sorta look like somepony else I know too, but I can&#039;t really put my hoof on it…Anyway, her cutie mark was a turquoise crescent moon on a dark purple background.//</span><br />So she can&#039;t quite remember who this is, yet perfectly remembers her cutie mark?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Most fled with cries of &#039;Nightmare Moon!&#039; when they saw her cutie mark.//</span><br />So with this much evidence as to what her name might be, what&#039;s her motivation to keep thinking of herself as Grey Scale? Might be worth seeing a bit of her thought process on this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;So you&#039;re the one who&#039;s been scaring everypony in town, eh?//</span><br />How in the world has Rainbow even heard about this yet?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Rainbow Dash wondered why &#039;Nightmare Moon&#039; wasn&#039;t using any magic.//</span><br />Why are you changing perspective here? Check out the section on head hopping at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;am not, Nightmare Moon//</span><br />Why is that comma there?<br /><br />So, why was Rainbow Dash just sitting around her house if she&#039;s been warned about Nightmare Moon? She also has surprisingly little reaction to the injuries she&#039;s sustained.<br /><br />New alicorns are long-standing objects of skepticism in this fandom, and with good reason. They&#039;re often too good to be true. Now, I don&#039;t see any warning signs screaming at me so far, but we&#039;re also not far enough into the story to see exactly what she&#039;s going to do. I&#039;d encourage you to wait until you have a couple more chapters or to include a brief outline of your expected plot if you decide to resubmit, so we can see what direction the story will take.<br /><br />The main issue I&#039;d stress the most is the lack of emotional context to most of what happens. The story focuses on the events that happen at the expense of how the characters feel about it. And then when we do get some emotional content, it&#039;s handed to us bluntly instead of through the subtle cues that make for an engaging read.<br /><br />I&#039;d also caution you on overuse of &quot;to be&quot; verbs. There are 35 instances of &quot;was&quot; alone in chapter 2, and they often get used in clusters. Consider whether you could be choosing more active verbs. &quot;To be&quot; is just boring.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 78

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.

>Oh Maker, don't let me be wrong…//

My first impression is that you have an awful lot of "to be" verbs in your opening scene. They're boring verbs. They don't make things happen. This is where you should be grabbing the reader's attention, and active verbs are much better at that. I'll also say that it would help solidify things a little bit if you gave an antecedent for all those pronouns. You use "she" and "her" a lot in this scene. I'd recommend replacing the first instance with something a little more definite, even if it's generic, like "that pony" or some such. Missing a comma for direct address here, too.

Second scene:
There's no reason for this to be in italics. It's already identifiable as a flashback, and it's not a small part of another scene; it's a scene all its own. The point of italics is to make something stand out, but when you make the entire scene stand out, nothing does, and it just gets irritating to read that much italic type.

>the streets had been overflowing with crowds that day, for reasons I'd never kept track of//

This is nonsensical. Why would anyone keep track of reasons why the streets would be crowded? And when not doing so is the default, pointing out that she didn't has no meaning.

>I struggled on the borders of the crowd, trying to resist the forcefulness of the music she controlled//

Watch your misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the crowd is trying to resist.

>Atop the stage of a fountain//

What is the stage of a fountain?

>And she kissed me//

She's into kissing random strangers? I hope this ends up meaning something to the story…

>I'd learnt to play their music before I could speak their tongue//

I get that equine anatomy means playing it in a different way, but their music is exactly like ours. Your word choices of "starting from scratch" and "their music" seems to imply she already had knowledge, but had to adapt, yet, like I said, aside from the physical movements, there wouldn't be any need to re-learn what she already knew.

>her speakers set perilously on my bare coffee table, surmounted by a pair of sunglasses//

This really sounds like the sunglasses are on the speakers. There is a real danger of misinterpretations like this when you string together so many descriptive elements in a sentence. And I find that you keep having these lists of participles, absolutes, etc. Take the sentence this comes from: <clause fragment>, <absolute phrase>, <absolute phrase>, <absolute phrase>, <participial phrase>. The more unusual sentence structures stick out more and more quickly create a repetitive feel when you use them too much. And this structure in particular really makes it feel like I'm readin a list. It gets in a rut.

>she looked at me curiously//

You get somewhat of a pass on telly language for a first-person narrator, but not so much when she's describing other people. What does this look like? Describe it and get me to conclude she's curious. You might want to read over the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread.

>I muttered, flicking on the coffee maker on the counter, ignoring her//

And another example of stacking elements. It's ambiguous whether they're stacked. It more readily says that the counter is ignoring her.

>like bees to a beautiful flower//

The "beautiful" is irrelevant here, since it has nothing to do with why the bees are there.

>She could have swept the classical scene under the carpet with ease.//

This is a pretty sweeping statement. Are you saying that the Equestrian music scene is so different from ours? If so, it bears mentioning. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I'm going to assume Equestrian tastes in music are similar to ours. Or are you saying this type of music is new to them? If so, again I need some justification.

>less and less patrons//

"Less" is for collective quantities. You want "fewer."

>her eyes featureless behind tinted glass//

So how can she see them?

>As if she could ever understand my past, that section of myself that none of them could ever understand.//

I don't see the point of the repetition. With some well-placed emphasis, you could call attention to it and thus use it for effect, but as is, it just feels like an oversight.

>like a newborn flinching from a mother's touch//

When does this ever happen? This would be a sign of a medical problem or abuse.

>reaching for the-//

Please use a proper dash.

>"Yes," I cleared my throat, "yes, I think we do."//

Your attribution has no speaking verb.

>"Better than Doe," She smirked, "and Please, call me Vee. Everyone does."//

Same thing, and it's incorrectly capitalized.

>She looked uncomfortable now//

Yeah, you're doing it again. By bluntly informing me of her emotions, you don't make me figure her out, and figuring her out is what immerses me in the story and makes me care about your characters.

>I am still learning myself//

I hope you meant that to work on multiple levels, because it does.

>So what do you play; Violin, double bass…cello?//

Misused semicolon, unnecessary capitalization.

>"Piano," She said mechanically, "Just//

The way you've punctuated this, it's one sentence, so the quote goes:
Piano, just started today…
That sounds odd to me, but maybe you wanted it that way. In any case, you'e got a bad capitalization here, and possibly a second one of those and a punctuation error.

>I heard in the media of her errors//

I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

>She was the reason they were there, I was just a sideshow//

Comma splice.

>And as the show came to a close amid roaring applause that first night, and we bowed together, side by side as equals, even in our overwhelming victory, I still managed to hate her.//

And even more oppressively dens description. Look at how front-loaded that sentence is. The main though is "I still managed to hate her," but it gets dwarfed by all the intro.

>If we walked to close together//

To/too confusion

>what I//

Extraneous space.

>dancing under candelabras of spinning gold//

Another phrase that I have no idea as to what it means.

>The theft of my cello case, and my precious necklace within.//

Why is this not indented?

>it's star flashing as I gave chase//

Its/it's confusion.

>"Sunset Shimmer!"//

Okay, you lost me. What possible motive would Sunset have for taking this? The crown had a purpose. She stole it because she needed it to accomplish something specific. She wasn't a petty thief out for monetary gain. If you want me to believe she'd want the cello (or maybe the necklace, and in that case why she knew it was there and why she wanted the cello with it), you'll need to justify it. Lugging that thing around will seriously hamper her ability to get away, and to what end? What possible use does she have for it?

>naked//

Um… Twilight showed up fully clothed. Don't go all Ponyfall on me.

>to keep//

Another extraneous space.

>Her eyes, her heart, her soul ware all the same//

I'm assuming that's a typo.

>The ups and downs show you're alive//

Missing end punctuation.

>Y-Yeah//

Unless it's a word that has to be capitalized anyway, you only do the first one.

>maker//

You capitalized that earlier.

>months….//

One too many dots there.

I hit on most of the points I wanted to make in the detailed items, so just a few more.

This writing is very dense and purple. Besides the stacking up of elements I already noted, it makes sentences ramble on long enough to where they lose focus. Both of those are definite issues at times. The purpleness is subjective. I will say it didn't bother me so much, but I'm unusually tolerant of that. It will turn off a decent number of potential readers, though.

I also touched on the plot problem I had with why Sunset Shimmer stole the cello. And you never hint at whether Octavia ever finds her necklace. There are also some odd deviations, like how the counterparts all have the same names. Why would Octavia adopt a different name, unless she'd encountered that world's version of her, in which case why did nobody find it odd that they looked the same? And why would she adopt a name that doesn't really fit in that world?

We're also left with a weak resolution and odd pacing. There's no big conflict that gets solved at the end—just a reunion that was obvious from the beginning. Some stories can survive with that, and I didn't think this was bad on that front, but just that it doesn't address the aftermath. Did Vinyl come through before or after Twilight, such that they know how to return? Is that the next battle, or are they just going to stay where they are? What kind of doesn't help you here is that you actually did have a stronger conflict earlier: their learning to appreciate each other. And I wouldn't at all recommend taking that out to make the ending stronger in contrast, since it serves another function of justifying their feelings for each other, something that too many romance stories skip over and expect us to take for granted.

And a bit more aout the "to be" verbs. You had 95 instances of "was" alone. That is a huge amount for this word count. You really need to be choosing more active verbs.

So… you made me like a TaviScratch, which is no mean feat. The only things I'd say really have to be fixed are the odd mechanical things, the nonsensical phrasings, get the emotional context less telly, and the dialogue punctuation/capitalization/attribution problems. I'd also recommend you look at the plot points and element stacking/dense prose, but if they're not things you're willing to address, say so if/when you resubmit so I can let a different pre-reader evaluate it for those.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Oh Maker, don&#039;t let me be wrong…//</span><br />My first impression is that you have an awful lot of &quot;to be&quot; verbs in your opening scene. They&#039;re boring verbs. They don&#039;t make things happen. This is where you should be grabbing the reader&#039;s attention, and active verbs are much better at that. I&#039;ll also say that it would help solidify things a little bit if you gave an antecedent for all those pronouns. You use &quot;she&quot; and &quot;her&quot; a lot in this scene. I&#039;d recommend replacing the first instance with something a little more definite, even if it&#039;s generic, like &quot;that pony&quot; or some such. Missing a comma for direct address here, too.<br /><br />Second scene:<br />There&#039;s no reason for this to be in italics. It&#039;s already identifiable as a flashback, and it&#039;s not a small part of another scene; it&#039;s a scene all its own. The point of italics is to make something stand out, but when you make the entire scene stand out, nothing does, and it just gets irritating to read that much italic type.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;the streets had been overflowing with crowds that day, for reasons I&#039;d never kept track of//</span><br />This is nonsensical. Why would anyone keep track of reasons why the streets would be crowded? And when not doing so is the default, pointing out that she didn&#039;t has no meaning.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I struggled on the borders of the crowd, trying to resist the forcefulness of the music she controlled//</span><br />Watch your misplaced modifiers. By proximity, it sounds like the crowd is trying to resist.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Atop the stage of a fountain//</span><br />What is the stage of a fountain?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And she kissed me//</span><br />She&#039;s into kissing random strangers? I hope this ends up meaning something to the story…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I&#039;d learnt to play their music before I could speak their tongue//</span><br />I get that equine anatomy means playing it in a different way, but their music is exactly like ours. Your word choices of &quot;starting from scratch&quot; and &quot;their music&quot; seems to imply she already had knowledge, but had to adapt, yet, like I said, aside from the physical movements, there wouldn&#039;t be any need to re-learn what she already knew.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her speakers set perilously on my bare coffee table, surmounted by a pair of sunglasses//</span><br />This really sounds like the sunglasses are on the speakers. There is a real danger of misinterpretations like this when you string together so many descriptive elements in a sentence. And I find that you keep having these lists of participles, absolutes, etc. Take the sentence this comes from: &lt;clause fragment&gt;, &lt;absolute phrase&gt;, &lt;absolute phrase&gt;, &lt;absolute phrase&gt;, &lt;participial phrase&gt;. The more unusual sentence structures stick out more and more quickly create a repetitive feel when you use them too much. And this structure in particular really makes it feel like I&#039;m readin a list. It gets in a rut.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she looked at me curiously//</span><br />You get somewhat of a pass on telly language for a first-person narrator, but not so much when she&#039;s describing other people. What does this look like? Describe it and get me to conclude she&#039;s curious. You might want to read over the section on &quot;show versus tell&quot; at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I muttered, flicking on the coffee maker on the counter, ignoring her//</span><br />And another example of stacking elements. It&#039;s ambiguous whether they&#039;re stacked. It more readily says that the counter is ignoring her.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;like bees to a beautiful flower//</span><br />The &quot;beautiful&quot; is irrelevant here, since it has nothing to do with why the bees are there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She could have swept the classical scene under the carpet with ease.//</span><br />This is a pretty sweeping statement. Are you saying that the Equestrian music scene is so different from ours? If so, it bears mentioning. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, I&#039;m going to assume Equestrian tastes in music are similar to ours. Or are you saying this type of music is new to them? If so, again I need some justification.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;less and less patrons//</span><br />&quot;Less&quot; is for collective quantities. You want &quot;fewer.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her eyes featureless behind tinted glass//</span><br />So how can she see them?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;As if she could ever understand my past, that section of myself that none of them could ever understand.//</span><br />I don&#039;t see the point of the repetition. With some well-placed emphasis, you could call attention to it and thus use it for effect, but as is, it just feels like an oversight.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;like a newborn flinching from a mother&#039;s touch//</span><br />When does this ever happen? This would be a sign of a medical problem or abuse.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;reaching for the-//</span><br />Please use a proper dash.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Yes,&quot; I cleared my throat, &quot;yes, I think we do.&quot;//</span><br />Your attribution has no speaking verb.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Better than Doe,&quot; She smirked, &quot;and Please, call me Vee. Everyone does.&quot;//</span><br />Same thing, and it&#039;s incorrectly capitalized.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She looked uncomfortable now//</span><br />Yeah, you&#039;re doing it again. By bluntly informing me of her emotions, you don&#039;t make me figure her out, and figuring her out is what immerses me in the story and makes me care about your characters.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I am still learning myself//</span><br />I hope you meant that to work on multiple levels, because it does.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;So what do you play; Violin, double bass…cello?//</span><br />Misused semicolon, unnecessary capitalization.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Piano,&quot; She said mechanically, &quot;Just//</span><br />The way you&#039;ve punctuated this, it&#039;s one sentence, so the quote goes:<br />Piano, just started today…<br />That sounds odd to me, but maybe you wanted it that way. In any case, you&#039;e got a bad capitalization here, and possibly a second one of those and a punctuation error.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I heard in the media of her errors//</span><br />I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She was the reason they were there, I was just a sideshow//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;And as the show came to a close amid roaring applause that first night, and we bowed together, side by side as equals, even in our overwhelming victory, I still managed to hate her.//</span><br />And even more oppressively dens description. Look at how front-loaded that sentence is. The main though is &quot;I still managed to hate her,&quot; but it gets dwarfed by all the intro.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;If we walked to close together//</span><br />To/too confusion<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;what I//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;dancing under candelabras of spinning gold//</span><br />Another phrase that I have no idea as to what it means.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The theft of my cello case, and my precious necklace within.//</span><br />Why is this not indented?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;it&#039;s star flashing as I gave chase//</span><br />Its/it&#039;s confusion.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Sunset Shimmer!&quot;//</span><br />Okay, you lost me. What possible motive would Sunset have for taking this? The crown had a purpose. She stole it because she needed it to accomplish something specific. She wasn&#039;t a petty thief out for monetary gain. If you want me to believe she&#039;d want the cello (or maybe the necklace, and in that case why she knew it was there and why she wanted the cello with it), you&#039;ll need to justify it. Lugging that thing around will seriously hamper her ability to get away, and to what end? What possible use does she have for it?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;naked//</span><br />Um… Twilight showed up fully clothed. Don&#039;t go all Ponyfall on me.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to keep//</span><br />Another extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her eyes, her heart, her soul ware all the same//</span><br />I&#039;m assuming that&#039;s a typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The ups and downs show you&#039;re alive//</span><br />Missing end punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Y-Yeah//</span><br />Unless it&#039;s a word that has to be capitalized anyway, you only do the first one.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;maker//</span><br />You capitalized that earlier.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;months….//</span><br />One too many dots there.<br /><br />I hit on most of the points I wanted to make in the detailed items, so just a few more.<br /><br />This writing is very dense and purple. Besides the stacking up of elements I already noted, it makes sentences ramble on long enough to where they lose focus. Both of those are definite issues at times. The purpleness is subjective. I will say it didn&#039;t bother me so much, but I&#039;m unusually tolerant of that. It will turn off a decent number of potential readers, though.<br /><br />I also touched on the plot problem I had with why Sunset Shimmer stole the cello. And you never hint at whether Octavia ever finds her necklace. There are also some odd deviations, like how the counterparts all have the same names. Why would Octavia adopt a different name, unless she&#039;d encountered that world&#039;s version of her, in which case why did nobody find it odd that they looked the same? And why would she adopt a name that doesn&#039;t really fit in that world?<br /><br />We&#039;re also left with a weak resolution and odd pacing. There&#039;s no big conflict that gets solved at the end—just a reunion that was obvious from the beginning. Some stories can survive with that, and I didn&#039;t think this was bad on that front, but just that it doesn&#039;t address the aftermath. Did Vinyl come through before or after Twilight, such that they know how to return? Is that the next battle, or are they just going to stay where they are? What kind of doesn&#039;t help you here is that you actually did have a stronger conflict earlier: their learning to appreciate each other. And I wouldn&#039;t at all recommend taking that out to make the ending stronger in contrast, since it serves another function of justifying their feelings for each other, something that too many romance stories skip over and expect us to take for granted.<br /><br />And a bit more aout the &quot;to be&quot; verbs. You had 95 instances of &quot;was&quot; alone. That is a huge amount for this word count. You really need to be choosing more active verbs.<br /><br />So… you made me like a TaviScratch, which is no mean feat. The only things I&#039;d say really <i>have</i> to be fixed are the odd mechanical things, the nonsensical phrasings, get the emotional context less telly, and the dialogue punctuation/capitalization/attribution problems. I&#039;d also recommend you look at the plot points and element stacking/dense prose, but if they&#039;re not things you&#039;re willing to address, say so if/when you resubmit so I can let a different pre-reader evaluate it for those.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 79

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 your daughter! I need you to love me Mother!”//

Missing comma for direct address. And why is this entire scene in bold? For that matter, why are your flashback scenes in italics? That'd be fine if they were quite short and worked into other scenes, but when you italicize an entire scene, there's really no point. Italics make something stand out, and when an entire scene stands out, nothing in it does. I gather that you may be playing with fonts to indicate time periods, but the narration is really the best place to do that.

>her eyelids opened to reveal jade green eyes and my suspicions were confirmed//

Missing comma between clauses. And hyphenate the compound modifier.

>filly hood//

Fillyhood, as in "childhood."

>we connected in very special way//

Missing word.

>Her bright jade filly eyes alight with excitement. Before I knew it, she teleported a daisy into the center of the room.//

Inconsistent verb tense.

>took on the form of a newly blossomed bud: which she floated over and dropped in front of me//

That's not how to use a colon.

>me. Age//

Extraneous space.

>“That’s not all Mother!” my daughter said triumphantly, “I can go the other way to!”//

I suspected before, but this is the first time I could tell for sure—you're not punctuating/capitalizing dialogue and attributions correctly. And to/too confusion here.

>Everypony in the Empire experienced the magical effect of the array at the same time, yet he had been turned to solid crystal, not unlike a statue!//

She's rather unemotional about this. In fact, she's pretty unemotional, period.

>I do not know my daughter//

Missing comma for direct address again. Unless you're literally saying she doesn't know her daughter…

>He has been drained of his life and love, he is no more.//

Comma splice.

>Anger welled up in her eyes.//

And when you do give us some of her emotion, it's blunt. Have a look at the section on "show versus tell" at the top of this thread.

>He lived a very long life, much longer than mine//

Wait, what? He lived longer than her, yet he died first? That only makes sense if she's significantly younger, but you never explain it, so it just sounds weird.

>he had a flair for her//

Odd word choice.

>I caught her talking to him often; until one day she came forward with the truth and asked for my approval.//

Misused semicolon.

>I was not opposed in anyway//

In this sense, "any way" needs to be two words.

>to nullify the array' effect//

Typo.

>She looked as if she could not believe what she was hearing, “daughter, you must disable the array until we can investigate this further.”//

Capitalization, and your attribution has no speaking action.

>NO!//

Italics are preferred for emphasis.

>The door burst open and a large contingent of guards took position on both sides of the room.//

And just because she declare herself queen, all the guards instantly decide to obey her? This begs so much more explanation.

>clawing at the carpet//

How does she do that without any manner of digits?

I'll be very short here. The elephant in the room is that there's really no emotional investment here. The mother is more interested in listing events for me than telling me how she felt about any of it, and the odd time you do give us any emotional information, it's done in a blunt, telly manner. We get a little more from her daughter, but she's pretty bipolar, swinging erratically back and forth between ingratiating, saccharine, and enraged.

And how does Sombra figure into all this? Just curious.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.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<b>“I’m your daughter! I need you to love me Mother!”</b>//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address. And why is this entire scene in bold? For that matter, why are your flashback scenes in italics? That&#039;d be fine if they were quite short and worked into other scenes, but when you italicize an entire scene, there&#039;s really no point. Italics make something stand out, and when an entire scene stands out, nothing in it does. I gather that you may be playing with fonts to indicate time periods, but the narration is really the best place to do that.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;her eyelids opened to reveal jade green eyes and my suspicions were confirmed//</span><br />Missing comma between clauses. And hyphenate the compound modifier.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;filly hood//</span><br />Fillyhood, as in &quot;childhood.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;we connected in very special way//</span><br />Missing word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Her bright jade filly eyes alight with excitement. Before I knew it, she teleported a daisy into the center of the room.//</span><br />Inconsistent verb tense.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;took on the form of a newly blossomed bud: which she floated over and dropped in front of me//</span><br />That&#039;s not how to use a colon.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;me. Age//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;“That’s not all Mother!” my daughter said triumphantly, “I can go the other way to!”//</span><br />I suspected before, but this is the first time I could tell for sure—you&#039;re not punctuating/capitalizing dialogue and attributions correctly. And to/too confusion here.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Everypony in the Empire experienced the magical effect of the array at the same time, yet he had been turned to solid crystal, not unlike a statue!//</span><br />She&#039;s rather unemotional about this. In fact, she&#039;s pretty unemotional, period.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I do not know my daughter//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address again. Unless you&#039;re literally saying she doesn&#039;t know her daughter…<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He has been drained of his life and love, he is no more.//</span><br />Comma splice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Anger welled up in her eyes.//</span><br />And when you do give us some of her emotion, it&#039;s blunt. Have a look at the section on &quot;show versus tell&quot; at the top of this thread.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He lived a very long life, much longer than mine//</span><br />Wait, what? He lived longer than her, yet he died first? That only makes sense if she&#039;s significantly younger, but you never explain it, so it just sounds weird.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;he had a flair for her//</span><br />Odd word choice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I caught her talking to him often; until one day she came forward with the truth and asked for my approval.//</span><br />Misused semicolon.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I was not opposed in anyway//</span><br />In this sense, &quot;any way&quot; needs to be two words.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;to nullify the array&#039; effect//</span><br />Typo.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She looked as if she could not believe what she was hearing, “daughter, you must disable the array until we can investigate this further.”//</span><br />Capitalization, and your attribution has no speaking action.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;NO!//</span><br />Italics are preferred for emphasis.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;The door burst open and a large contingent of guards took position on both sides of the room.//</span><br />And just because she declare herself queen, all the guards instantly decide to obey her? This begs so much more explanation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;clawing at the carpet//</span><br />How does she do that without any manner of digits?<br /><br />I&#039;ll be very short here. The elephant in the room is that there&#039;s really no emotional investment here. The mother is more interested in listing events for me than telling me how she felt about any of it, and the odd time you do give us any emotional information, it&#039;s done in a blunt, telly manner. We get a little more from her daughter, but she&#039;s pretty bipolar, swinging erratically back and forth between ingratiating, saccharine, and enraged.<br /><br />And how does Sombra figure into all this? Just curious.<br />

author"s reply 80

>>129451
I appreciate the feedback. It shows at least one person has read my story! As far as your review is concerned, this is my reply.

I've made some grammatical changes in the story, as well as a few minor changes in content. I should add that this story was the adaption of another story that I wrote a few months ago that I couldn't get to "work" right.

Overall, I stand by the content. Writing is art after all. Would you dismiss Van Gogh's "The Night Cafe" because the pool table is out of perspective?

MM<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129451" onclick="return highlight('129451', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129451">&gt;&gt;129451</a><br />I appreciate the feedback. It shows at least one person has read my story! As far as your review is concerned, this is my reply.<br /><br />I&#039;ve made some grammatical changes in the story, as well as a few minor changes in content. I should add that this story was the adaption of another story that I wrote a few months ago that I couldn&#039;t get to &quot;work&quot; right.<br /><br />Overall, I stand by the content. Writing is art after all. Would you dismiss Van Gogh&#039;s &quot;The Night Cafe&quot; because the pool table is out of perspective?<br /><br />MM<br />

Psycholoo 81

>>129427
Forgive me that something I wrote in the space of two days and never looked at again to keep myself from slitting my wrists offended you so greatly, O wise pre-reader.<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129427" onclick="return highlight('129427', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129427">&gt;&gt;129427</a><br />Forgive me that something I wrote in the space of two days and never looked at again to keep myself from slitting my wrists offended you so greatly, O wise pre-reader.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 82

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.

Synopsis:

I'd encourage you to separate the first two sentences as their own paragraph, as they're the only ones that actually have anything to say about the plot. And then decide if that's enough.

Story:

>except for the yellow eyes with red irises and the two mismatched horns//

This description is a bit obtrusive. With the perspective and the way this statement is rendered, it suggests that Twilight had to gather all this information before concluding who she sees, but she should recognize him instantly. Besides, her surprise is a bit dissonant with listing details like this.

>DISCORD!//

Italics are preferred over all caps or bold for emphasis, except in the case of Royal Canterlot Voice.

>Twilight was angry enough to swipe at him with her hoof, planning to grab him and drag him down from where he was hanging upside down from the rafters, but he swung backward out of her way with ease, pulled his head back up to the level of his body, and poofed, to reappear perched on the back of the chair at the desk on the other side of the room like some absurdly huge, misshapen crow.//

Mega-sentence ahoy! These can work in a stream-of-consciousness way, but in a more standard narration, they just tend to ramble on so long that they lose focus without having a stylistic reason for doing so. By the time I get to the end, I've forgotten what the beginning is about. It changes track so many times—if these are all important ideas to cover, let them each get some better focus by splitting this iver a few sentences. If they aren't all important, then cut them.

>she said angrily.//

Check out the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. You seem to do okay in this department, but right at the beginning of a story is a bad place for telling, since you need to forge a connection with the characters pretty quickly.

>"Are there any dead ones?"//

And this conversation is starting to get a little talking-heads. I have a section on that up top, too. Inject a little more emotion into what they're saying. I imagine a nice expression on her face while she says this, and DIscord's reaction could be funny, but you're making me come up with all that. This is your job.

>….Maybe?//

Three dots in an ellipsis.

>While you're at it why don't you strike a dramatic pose?//

Missing a comma between the clauses.

>one speaking//

Extraneous space.

>Had she heard that right.//

It's a question, right?

>suddenly//

You're using "suddenly" and "abruptly" quite a bit recently. Besides getting repetitive, it suggests that you're relying a bit too much on the narration to create this effect. Unless you telegraph an occurrence, it's surprising by default, just because it appears at all. You can heighten that surprise by using a cutoff or a paragraph break, for instance.

>at the level of right next to her ear//

Awkwardly phrased.

>Are you going to bet your library on the belief that I wouldn't dare to do something randomly destructive for a stupid reason?//

And is he really willing to risk Fluttershy's friendship and Celestia's trust by antagonizing her?

>She wished Spike was here and not over Rarity's//

Missing a word, and when using hypothetical/wishful language, you need subjunctive mood. Fortunately, it's easy to use. "She wished Spike were here…" It's always "were."

>Swing batta!//

Missing comma for direct address.

>(or maybe a rock farm – Twilight had never been to one, so she wasn't sure how they differed from a quarry)//

Parentheses really work best when relaying articles of writing, or maybe in a first-person narration. This could better be conveyed with commas or dashes.

>of rock//

You can cut this, since you've already used "rock quarry" earlier in the sentence. That or remove the earlier instance of "rock."

>I don't even sleep and it put me to sleep.//

Needs a comma between the clauses.

>all the others, which was//

Subject/verb agreement.

>limbo'd//

I think "limboed" would be fine.

>chest, but he was suddenly so small he barely came up to her chest//

Watch the repetitive wording.

>long skinny//

Coordinate adjectives need a comma between them.

>bowlegs which bowed//

youdontsay.png

>His tongue licking her side.//

I have to think you meant for that to be a comma.

>me!//

You've been good about this so far, so it must just be an oversight, but when you have ! or ? on an italicized word, italicize it too.

>angle , so//

Extraneous space.

>instead of using pointing her horn//

Extraneous word.

>Twilight dropped onto four knees, kneeling//

Yes, that would be the definition.

>Discord's look of smug triumph changed to alarm.//

Yeah, you need to show me this stuff.

>Twilight lowered her head, letting her bangs fall over her eyes and narrowing them so much it would look through her mane like her eyes were closed.//

The last bit is just an irrelevant detail, and since Twilight is the perspective character, it speaks to an intent on her part to want it to look that way, but for no apparent reason.

>cheated!//

>priceless!//
>eternity!//
Same deal with the italicized punctuation.

>laughing uproariously//

It sticks in my head that you've used this phrasing eariler in the story. The more unusual word choice you make, the more likely it'll sound repetitive if you use it again.

>I'll give credit where credit is due, Discord. You make good ice cream.//

She's being awfully accommodating here, given how furious she was about the whole thing from the beginning. It's giving me mood whiplash. I can get that she's pretty self-satisfied here, which can smooth over her mood, but you need to give me that context. I'm not getting much of anything to indicate her mood.

>given my level of superiority//

You'll normally set off participial phrases with commas.

>elements//

You've been capitalizing this.

>He took the rest of his ice cream sundae, all scoops, and dumped the entire bowl over his mouth, eating all the ice cream in a more or less single large gulp.//

That basically says the same thing three times.

>prank!',//

Don't use the comma when there's other punctuation there.

>life or death//

Hyphenate the compound modifier.

To me the two biggest problems with this story are the amount of telly language and the pacing. The number of times you pass up the opportunity to give me emotional context at all (talking heads falls under this as well) and how often you just spoon-feed me the emotions limit the degree to which I'm drawn into the story. And as to the pacing… the whole fight scene was extremely drawn out, the detailed actions pretty superfluous, and most of it ended up being unimportant. I can't help feeling like you could have summarized chunks of it without losing anything. That's really where the story dragged, but that could also be a result of the lack of an emotional reaction from Twilight toward what was happening.

I'll also say that the conflict was on the weak side, but not irredeemably so. Twilight makes an arrangement that I can't see her enjoying—she hasn't expressed a desire for a frenemy, after all. And while we do get an insight into Discord's character, it's not like either one of them actually changed as a result of their interaction. But that's more a comment than a criticism—there's enough here to be serviceable, and it's also an artifact of the story you've decided to tell. But I will encourage you to punch it up a bit. After the reveal, the story wraps up pretty quickly without anyone being affected by the outcome. Discord seems more matter-of-fact than happy, and Twilight is more bland than… I don't know what she should be. Terrified?

This story's not too far away. Just give me the emotional context that will connect me better with the characters and provide more meaning to the ending, and I could see this going up on the blog.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.<br /><br />Synopsis:<br /><br />I&#039;d encourage you to separate the first two sentences as their own paragraph, as they&#039;re the only ones that actually have anything to say about the plot. And then decide if that&#039;s enough.<br /><br />Story:<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;except for the yellow eyes with red irises and the two mismatched horns//</span><br />This description is a bit obtrusive. With the perspective and the way this statement is rendered, it suggests that Twilight had to gather all this information before concluding who she sees, but she should recognize him instantly. Besides, her surprise is a bit dissonant with listing details like this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;DISCORD!//</span><br />Italics are preferred over all caps or bold for emphasis, except in the case of Royal Canterlot Voice.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight was angry enough to swipe at him with her hoof, planning to grab him and drag him down from where he was hanging upside down from the rafters, but he swung backward out of her way with ease, pulled his head back up to the level of his body, and poofed, to reappear perched on the back of the chair at the desk on the other side of the room like some absurdly huge, misshapen crow.//</span><br />Mega-sentence ahoy! These can work in a stream-of-consciousness way, but in a more standard narration, they just tend to ramble on so long that they lose focus without having a stylistic reason for doing so. By the time I get to the end, I&#039;ve forgotten what the beginning is about. It changes track so many times—if these are all important ideas to cover, let them each get some better focus by splitting this iver a few sentences. If they aren&#039;t all important, then cut them.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;she said angrily.//</span><br />Check out the section on show versus tell at the top of this thread. You seem to do okay in this department, but right at the beginning of a story is a bad place for telling, since you need to forge a connection with the characters pretty quickly.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;&quot;Are there any dead ones?&quot;//</span><br />And this conversation is starting to get a little talking-heads. I have a section on that up top, too. Inject a little more emotion into what they&#039;re saying. I imagine a nice expression on her face while she says this, and DIscord&#039;s reaction could be funny, but you&#039;re making me come up with all that. This is your job.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;….Maybe?//</span><br />Three dots in an ellipsis.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;While you&#039;re at it why don&#039;t you strike a dramatic pose?//</span><br />Missing a comma between the clauses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;one speaking//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Had she heard that right.//</span><br />It&#039;s a question, right?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;suddenly//</span><br />You&#039;re using &quot;suddenly&quot; and &quot;abruptly&quot; quite a bit recently. Besides getting repetitive, it suggests that you&#039;re relying a bit too much on the narration to create this effect. Unless you telegraph an occurrence, it&#039;s surprising by default, just because it appears at all. You can heighten that surprise by using a cutoff or a paragraph break, for instance.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;at the level of right next to her ear//</span><br />Awkwardly phrased.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Are you going to bet your library on the belief that I wouldn&#039;t dare to do something randomly destructive for a stupid reason?//</span><br />And is he really willing to risk Fluttershy&#039;s friendship and Celestia&#039;s trust by antagonizing her?<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;She wished Spike was here and not over Rarity&#039;s//</span><br />Missing a word, and when using hypothetical/wishful language, you need subjunctive mood. Fortunately, it&#039;s easy to use. &quot;She wished Spike were here…&quot; It&#039;s always &quot;were.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Swing batta!//</span><br />Missing comma for direct address.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;(or maybe a rock farm – Twilight had never been to one, so she wasn&#039;t sure how they differed from a quarry)//</span><br />Parentheses really work best when relaying articles of writing, or maybe in a first-person narration. This could better be conveyed with commas or dashes.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;of rock//</span><br />You can cut this, since you&#039;ve already used &quot;rock quarry&quot; earlier in the sentence. That or remove the earlier instance of &quot;rock.&quot;<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I don&#039;t even sleep and it put me to sleep.//</span><br />Needs a comma between the clauses.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;all the others, which was//</span><br />Subject/verb agreement.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;limbo&#039;d//</span><br />I think &quot;limboed&quot; would be fine.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;chest, but he was suddenly so small he barely came up to her chest//</span><br />Watch the repetitive wording.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;long skinny//</span><br />Coordinate adjectives need a comma between them.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;bowlegs which bowed//</span><br />youdontsay.png<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;His tongue licking her side.//</span><br />I have to think you meant for that to be a comma.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>me</i>!//</span><br />You&#039;ve been good about this so far, so it must just be an oversight, but when you have ! or ? on an italicized word, italicize it too.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;angle , so//</span><br />Extraneous space.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;instead of using pointing her horn//</span><br />Extraneous word.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight dropped onto four knees, kneeling//</span><br />Yes, that would be the definition.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Discord&#039;s look of smug triumph changed to alarm.//</span><br />Yeah, you need to show me this stuff.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;Twilight lowered her head, letting her bangs fall over her eyes and narrowing them so much it would look through her mane like her eyes were closed.//</span><br />The last bit is just an irrelevant detail, and since Twilight is the perspective character, it speaks to an intent on her part to want it to look that way, but for no apparent reason.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>cheated</i>!//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>priceless</i>!//</span><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;<i>eternity</i>!//</span><br />Same deal with the italicized punctuation.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;laughing uproariously//</span><br />It sticks in my head that you&#039;ve used this phrasing eariler in the story. The more unusual word choice you make, the more likely it&#039;ll sound repetitive if you use it again.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;I&#039;ll give credit where credit is due, Discord. You make good ice cream.//</span><br />She&#039;s being awfully accommodating here, given how furious she was about the whole thing from the beginning. It&#039;s giving me mood whiplash. I can get that she&#039;s pretty self-satisfied here, which can smooth over her mood, but you need to give me that context. I&#039;m not getting much of anything to indicate her mood.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;given my level of superiority//</span><br />You&#039;ll normally set off participial phrases with commas.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;elements//</span><br />You&#039;ve been capitalizing this.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;He took the rest of his ice cream sundae, all scoops, and dumped the entire bowl over his mouth, eating all the ice cream in a more or less single large gulp.//</span><br />That basically says the same thing three times.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;prank!&#039;,//</span><br />Don&#039;t use the comma when there&#039;s other punctuation there.<br /><br /><span class="unkfunc">&gt;life or death//</span><br />Hyphenate the compound modifier.<br /><br />To me the two biggest problems with this story are the amount of telly language and the pacing. The number of times you pass up the opportunity to give me emotional context at all (talking heads falls under this as well) and how often you just spoon-feed me the emotions limit the degree to which I&#039;m drawn into the story. And as to the pacing… the whole fight scene was extremely drawn out, the detailed actions pretty superfluous, and most of it ended up being unimportant. I can&#039;t help feeling like you could have summarized chunks of it without losing anything. That&#039;s really where the story dragged, but that could also be a result of the lack of an emotional reaction from Twilight toward what was happening.<br /><br />I&#039;ll also say that the conflict was on the weak side, but not irredeemably so. Twilight makes an arrangement that I can&#039;t see her enjoying—she hasn&#039;t expressed a desire for a frenemy, after all. And while we do get an insight into Discord&#039;s character, it&#039;s not like either one of them actually changed as a result of their interaction. But that&#039;s more a comment than a criticism—there&#039;s enough here to be serviceable, and it&#039;s also an artifact of the story you&#039;ve decided to tell. But I will encourage you to punch it up a bit. After the reveal, the story wraps up pretty quickly without anyone being affected by the outcome. Discord seems more matter-of-fact than happy, and Twilight is more bland than… I don&#039;t know what she should be. Terrified?<br /><br />This story&#039;s not too far away. Just give me the emotional context that will connect me better with the characters and provide more meaning to the ending, and I could see this going up on the blog.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U 83

>>129471
I would not, in fact, dismiss it for the pool table being out of perspective, because the pool table belongs there and fits with its surroundings.

>>129472

I was not offended by the story at all. I'm just saying I agree with an earlier criticism you received and decided to ignore. I guess I just don't understand why you explicitly asked WRITE for criticism and then again for that implicit in submitting to Equestria Daily, then bristled at actually getting it.
<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129471" onclick="return highlight('129471', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129471">&gt;&gt;129471</a><br />I would not, in fact, dismiss it for the pool table being out of perspective, because the pool table belongs there and fits with its surroundings.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129472" onclick="return highlight('129472', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129472">&gt;&gt;129472</a><br />I was not offended by the story at all. I&#039;m just saying I agree with an earlier criticism you received and decided to ignore. I guess I just don&#039;t understand why you explicitly asked WRITE for criticism and then again for that implicit in submitting to Equestria Daily, then bristled at actually getting it.<br />

Psycholoo 84

>>129476
There's a difference between honest criticism and being a nitpicky dick for its own sake.
Running through and correcting everything when what I asked was "is this sufficient for you circlejerky dickwits", that's the latter.
Have no fear, between this and others like yourself I don't plan on pony-wording anytime soon. It's obvious I don't have any talent, why should I do what makes me happiest and makes me feel fulfilled.<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129476" onclick="return highlight('129476', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129476">&gt;&gt;129476</a><br />There&#039;s a difference between honest criticism and being a nitpicky dick for its own sake. <br />Running through and correcting everything when what I asked was &quot;is this sufficient for you round-table discussiony dickwits&quot;, that&#039;s the latter.<br />Have no fear, between this and others like yourself I don&#039;t plan on pony-wording anytime soon. It&#039;s obvious I don&#039;t have any talent, why should I do what makes me happiest and makes me feel fulfilled.<br />

TheOneWhoLovesLyra 85

>>129478

Lolz. Another butthurt writer. Not sure why you bother asking for help if you're just gonna spit in its face.<a href="http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/128883.html#129478" onclick="return highlight('129478', true);" class="ref|fic|128883|129478">&gt;&gt;129478</a><br /><br />Lolz. Another butthurt writer. Not sure why you bother asking for help if you&#039;re just gonna spit in its face.<br />

Pre-reader 63.546!vZ.Mh9z92U