MLP/Ponyfinder Crossover

Drawings, Music, and other related pony things
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TheJar
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Re: MLP/Ponyfinder Crossover

Postby TheJar » Sun Apr 05, 2015 4:07 pm

So... they want you to create more visualizations through a lack of visualization?

Alzrius
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Re: MLP/Ponyfinder Crossover

Postby Alzrius » Sun Apr 05, 2015 7:44 pm

That pre-reader's comments with regards to the grammatical construction ("missed line breaks for paragraphing, word repetition, typos") is a fair critique, but also one of the easiest things to rectify. That's largely an issue of mechanics; even the part about word repetition is largely a matter of phrasing, rather than presentation. Simple editing can take care of almost all of this.

Likewise, I don't disagree with the issue that - particularly in the early chapters - there are more than a few instances of the characters holding forth without presenting how they're reacting to the circumstances and other characters around them. That does tend to create a feeling of detachment, in that they don't feel connected to the setting or to each other. However, I also think that this problem largely corrects itself as the story goes on. The later chapters feel much more dynamic in how the characters interact with each other and their environment.

However, I disagree - somewhat - with the charge of narrating the results of things too directly ("lots of instances of the narrator stepping in to feed me conclusions that would be much more powerful if left for the reader to reason out"). I say "somewhat" here because there's nothing wrong with that particular style when done every once in a while (though I do agree that narrating something that none of the characters present know about at the time can be rather heavy-handed). Saying that Spike "blushed with pride" strikes me as completely legitimate, presuming that we don't see the narration being that blunt too often.

That said, I think the better way to go about this is, as the pre-reader alluded to, tell us the train of thought/action the characters use without presenting the emotional conclusion. Saying "Twilight winced with shame at Celestia's scolding" comes across as less poetic than "Twilight winced, knowing that Celestia's scolding was well-earned." I do think that this also gets better over the course of the story, but less so, and after a far longer time.

As it stands, it can't really be helped that the earlier chapters are weaker in these regards. Being your first fic, it's completely natural for the beginning to be the roughest material, with later chapters having more practice and so being smoother.

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David
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Re: MLP/Ponyfinder Crossover

Postby David » Sun Apr 05, 2015 8:45 pm

If some brave editor wants to take a peck at it, I'm up for it.

Alzrius
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Re: MLP/Ponyfinder Crossover

Postby Alzrius » Sun Apr 05, 2015 9:23 pm

David wrote:If some brave editor wants to take a peck at it, I'm up for it.


The problem in that regard, at least for me, is that that's far too large a job to be undertaken lightly.

When taken together, the three critiques presented above collectively call for enough changes and tweaking to be made that it's not so much a case of editing as it would be a case of rewriting them, virtually in their entirety. In other words, it's not so much editing what's already written as it is rewriting what's already there. That level of manual editing, restating the character's mindsets, and adding and tweaking their reactions to each other and their surroundings isn't a small job - it's another draft entirely.

Given that you, if I recall correctly, asked for that to be done for the first ten chapters, that's a not-inconsiderable amount of work. Rewriting ten chapters with just over two thousand words each is over twenty thousand words in total. At that point, it's nearly half of a NaNoWriMo project, and quite a bit of effort.

That's the reason I didn't step up to the plate when you originally put out the call for this. :(

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David
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Re: MLP/Ponyfinder Crossover

Postby David » Sun Apr 05, 2015 10:33 pm

Someone did do it. The same reviewer said they saw no difference.

Meh?

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David
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Re: MLP/Ponyfinder Crossover

Postby David » Thu Apr 09, 2015 2:18 pm

We got a second opinion:

Response
-----------------

David Silver,

This is pre-reader Amacita here with your second opinion. I pretty much found the same problems as the other pre-reader. In addition to that, some things struck me as weird, like the casual use of blood magic and the way she pets Spike while he blushes. But most of all, I found the first real chapter boring. It's a setup to a plot device that we've seen a hundred times before: "oh no, this experimental teleportation spell can't possibly go wro--oops!" And then they end up in an alternate world. It just felt too obligatory. I think if everyone can tell right away how your first chapter is going to end, and you're not going to skip it, it helps to at least make it as entertaining or insightful as possible so you can still hook the reader.

Here are some of my notes:

The disclaimer is quite obtrusive as the first chapter of the story, and not really necessary. It's not really something people do a lot on Fimfiction. If you really feel you need it, it works just as well as an author's note at the end of the first real chapter.

Twilight screws up a spell and is transported to another world. We've seen this a million times.

It strikes me as very odd to see Twilight casually using blood magic in the second paragraph of the novel. Nobody notices or cares. It just doesn't work for me, and sets me not believing in the story from the very beginning.

> With a quick flick of a dagger she kept around for such emergencies //
You're saying the need to use blood magic is an emergency, but the scene doesn't make it seem as if this is an emergency. It seems more like she's just casually experimenting, so the word choice comes off as odd.

> "I hate blood magic," she groused to herself as she set the dagger aside. //
She says she hates it, but it's just a tiny gripe. Still seems really weird.

> "Caught up in another experiment?" he asked, "I'll let you get back to //
Dialogue punctuation is wrong

Dialogue punctuation is repeatedly wrong.

> She started on the sandwich, holding it aloft in her purple magic as she voraciously destroyed it. //
That adverb feels unnecessary. It doesn't contribute anything, and it draws too much attention to itself.

Twilight is petting Spike. Spike is blushing. This strikes me as weird. Spike is not a pet.

Paragraph spacing problems

We generally prefer proper em dashes over double hyphens.

> The portal began to buckle and wobble. Spike glanced left and right, then looked back at the portal. As the portal started shrinking, he rushed forward and leaped through the hole moments before it closed completely. The fabric of both planes quickly mended itself, leaving little trace of the exchange that had occurred. //
Spike sees the portal going unstable. The portal he just warned Twilight about. Instead of running away like a smart lab assistant, he rushes forward and leaps into it. This makes no sense.

> Though she couldn't see, she could feel the forces that bound universes pulling and tugging at her in a disorienting but slightly familiar way. She wondered for a moment if she had accidentally bored back into the human world and if she'd emerge with hands again. //
This is fairly bland writing for something that is literally tearing apart the fabric of space and time.

> The studious alicorn levitated the book again //
See the Fimfiction Writing FAQ on Lavender Unicorn Syndrome

> Twilight squeaked with fright. //
Telly language like this doesn't help me get into the story.

We've had a second pre-reader look over it, and he noted pretty much the same collection of issues with the story. I'm sorry, but the verdict stands.

Pre-readers 63.546 and amacita

Alzrius
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Re: MLP/Ponyfinder Crossover

Postby Alzrius » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:17 am

This pre-reader sounds like a kid that has just finished her first creative writing course and now thinks she's the universe's gift to writers. She has some good points, but they're outnumbered by the instances of her mistaking her opinion for actual criticism, and worse, she's using that to justify her acting as a gatekeeper insofar as what constitutes entertaining fiction.

Let's break this down:

David Silver,

This is pre-reader Amacita here with your second opinion. I pretty much found the same problems as the other pre-reader. In addition to that, some things struck me as weird, like the casual use of blood magic and the way she pets Spike while he blushes.


She's starting off strong, here. I do agree with her that these are legitimate points of critique in terms of the casual deviation they represent from what we've come to expect from MLP, and the lack of explanation for it.

But most of all, I found the first real chapter boring.


And immediately, she goes off the rails. There's a difference between a review and an editorial, Amacita, and what you're saying here is that you don't seem to know the difference. To be fair, it's not clear which one a "pre-reader" is supposed to be doing - they might very well be charged with doing both - but they should still have a clear understanding that the two aren't the same.

A review is where you figure out the goals that the work in question has set for itself, and then figure out if it's achieved them or not, while elaborating on the manner in which it succeeded or failed. An editorial, by contrast, is whether or not you found it personally appealing.

If what you find relevant "most of all" is that it struck you as boring, then it sounds like you're mistaking the latter for the former, because whether or not you liked it is not a critique of the story itself.

It's a setup to a plot device that we've seen a hundred times before: "oh no, this experimental teleportation spell can't possibly go wro--oops!" And then they end up in an alternate world. It just felt too obligatory.


This is even more egregious than her previous offense. Yes, having Twilight miscast a spell and end up in another setting is cliche - so what? Seriously, why is that a bad thing? Cliches become cliches for a reason, which is that they work.

Even worse is her charge that this is something "they" have "seen a hundred times before." So this needs to have an element of surprise to it in order to be worthwhile? Here's something to keep in mind, Amacita: innovation is overrated. It's all about the entertainment that the story offers, not the novelty of its ideas. You know how we know this? Because you say so in the very next sentence:

I think if everyone can tell right away how your first chapter is going to end, and you're not going to skip it, it helps to at least make it as entertaining or insightful as possible so you can still hook the reader.


Fair enough, but the first issue ("entertaining") is one that's going to be a judgment call that each reader has to make, and the second ("insightful") isn't a point that you're addressing.

Here are some of my notes:

The disclaimer is quite obtrusive as the first chapter of the story, and not really necessary. It's not really something people do a lot on Fimfiction. If you really feel you need it, it works just as well as an author's note at the end of the first real chapter.


This is something I can't bring myself to disagree with too much. I think that people wildly overestimate the necessity of these disclaimers - they've become window dressing more than any kind of legal fig-leaf.

Twilight screws up a spell and is transported to another world. We've seen this a million times.


Again, why is that a bad thing? If something is used frequently, doesn't that mean that it's doing its job? What you're saying here is that you personally find it boring, which strikes me more as being a comment about you than about the story.

It strikes me as very odd to see Twilight casually using blood magic in the second paragraph of the novel. Nobody notices or cares. It just doesn't work for me, and sets me not believing in the story from the very beginning.


This is a good point. We've never seen Twilight using magic that requires any sacrifice of blood, no matter how small. There's nothing to suggest that this sort of magic even exists in Equestria, so that Twilight would know about it, possess it, and be willing to use it does indeed come out of left field. Given that there's nothing that's intrinsic or even narratively-suggestive to tie "blood magic" to cross-dimensional travel, one is led to wonder why this is here at all.

> With a quick flick of a dagger she kept around for such emergencies //
You're saying the need to use blood magic is an emergency, but the scene doesn't make it seem as if this is an emergency. It seems more like she's just casually experimenting, so the word choice comes off as odd.


Again, this is a fair point. The use of "such" in that sentence makes it seem like this situation is the sort of emergency that Twilight has the dagger for...but this isn't an emergency situation.

> "I hate blood magic," she groused to herself as she set the dagger aside. //
She says she hates it, but it's just a tiny gripe. Still seems really weird.


This complaint also seems like a minor gripe on Amacita's part. Everyone complains about things that are inconvenient, laborious, or otherwise unpleasant, even if not very much.

Now, it's true that this serves to highlight the narrative disconnect of Twilight using "blood magic" so casually when it's something entirely new and undefined within the context of MLP, but that just harkens back to Amacita's earlier complaint.

> "Caught up in another experiment?" he asked, "I'll let you get back to //
Dialogue punctuation is wrong

Dialogue punctuation is repeatedly wrong.


Yes, it is. This one is fairly egregious for how repeatedly it happens.

> She started on the sandwich, holding it aloft in her purple magic as she voraciously destroyed it. //
That adverb feels unnecessary. It doesn't contribute anything, and it draws too much attention to itself.

Twilight is petting Spike. Spike is blushing. This strikes me as weird. Spike is not a pet.


Another legitimate criticism. The casual touching and nonchalant physical affection between the characters does come across oddly, since it's not something that we see in the source material. It's the pony (and dragon) equivalent of human characters casually caressing one another on the cheek. When's the last time you saw a human character express casual friendship by running their fingers gently across the side of another human character's face, and the other character simply blushed and leaned into it? It's quasi-romantic (and even quasi-erotic), rather than friendly. It seems to come from the idea that it's okay to express even mild affection physically on "animals" the way you wouldn't on people, even though we hold that the ponies are people themselves.

Paragraph spacing problems

We generally prefer proper em dashes over double hyphens.


The paragraph spacing thing is a valid concern, albeit a minor one. But your issue with the dashes is rapidly falling into stylistic gatekeeping.

> The portal began to buckle and wobble. Spike glanced left and right, then looked back at the portal. As the portal started shrinking, he rushed forward and leaped through the hole moments before it closed completely. The fabric of both planes quickly mended itself, leaving little trace of the exchange that had occurred. //
Spike sees the portal going unstable. The portal he just warned Twilight about. Instead of running away like a smart lab assistant, he rushes forward and leaps into it. This makes no sense.


This is the most boneheaded comment Amacita makes. Of course it makes sense! We saw Spike do this exact thing in Equestria Girls! It's entirely in-character that he'd follow her into it here too! This, more than anything, makes me question Amacita's qualifications for passing judgment on this piece of fiction.

> Though she couldn't see, she could feel the forces that bound universes pulling and tugging at her in a disorienting but slightly familiar way. She wondered for a moment if she had accidentally bored back into the human world and if she'd emerge with hands again. //
This is fairly bland writing for something that is literally tearing apart the fabric of space and time.


More complaining that something doesn't live up to her personal standards. Apparently, to Amacita any instance of dimensional travel demands that the writing border on purple prose.

> The studious alicorn levitated the book again //
See the Fimfiction Writing FAQ on Lavender Unicorn Syndrome


The "Writing FAQ"? These guys actually have a style guide for how they want other writers to write their own stories? What utter pretentiousness! The so-called "Lavender Unicorn Syndrome" is them sneering at any instance of a descriptor that isn't a proper name or a pronoun, and it's the biggest red flag in this entire response that these people have utterly gotten lost in their narcissistic self-aggrandizement. There's nothing wrong with using physical descriptions to identify a character in the narrative! No, it shouldn't be done constantly, but any stylistic quirk, repeated over and over, will rapidly become tiresome - that's not an indictment on this particular flourish. This asinine response of hers is what happens when you try to develop a body of absolutes with regards to the fluid nature of writing to fun.

> Twilight squeaked with fright. //
Telly language like this doesn't help me get into the story.


I don't know what "Telly language" is - it seems to be some sort of pejorative reference to one of the monsters from Sesame Street - but nobody cares what helps you get into the story, Amacita. He's not writing this for you personally; leave your opinions about what you do and don't like out of it.

We've had a second pre-reader look over it, and he noted pretty much the same collection of issues with the story. I'm sorry, but the verdict stands.

Pre-readers 63.546 and amacita


Which just goes to show that it's not only her that's doing a half-assed job.

Amacita switches back and forth between actual pre-reading and personal quibbles so casually that it's clear that she doesn't see any difference between the two. Even that isn't as bad as her nonsense "verdict" about what is and is not good fiction. Fair enough, if someone doesn't want something on their site, they get to decide, but this smacks of a mindset that they're somehow doing the community a service by deciding what's good and what isn't.

A pre-reader's job is to critique, not to judge.

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David
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Re: MLP/Ponyfinder Crossover

Postby David » Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:11 pm

Another review: https://www.fimfiction.net/group/201936 ... -enjoyable

End result, yep, the intro of my story sucks, and it's long. It sucks and it's long.


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