Pony Stories 206

24 Aug

So, I just watched the original Die Hard movie with my mom. She had never seen it, and I thought that was a horrible thing. So we watched it and I was once again reminded of how good that movie is. It is basically a how-to example of how to make a great movie. Great use of a small number of sets, all dozen the bad guys have names and personalities (Shallow but present), the audio design was incredible, and all the side characters were presented so well you could get a feel for even the characters that were only on the screen briefly. Except for the mass of hostages, those were basically extras, but pretty much everyone with even one line got a sketch of a personality. Plus all the stuff that is charmingly outdated. Ah, the eighties. If you haven’t seen this movie you should go watch it. If you haven’t seen it in a long while, you should also give it a watch sometime soon.

Wild, Sweet & Cool by Kwakerjak

This is one of those fanfics that has a bizarre premise, but if you accept it, the story itself is actually pretty good. The characters are all well-realized, even most of the little bit characters you only see once. It does have a lot of flight terms used as description, like simply naming each specific kind of turn and technique Rainbow Dash does while flying as a way of describing what she’s doing. I am not very good at spatical visulization, so I more or less just skimmed those parts after a while. If you like that sort of expert commentator type of prose, this is the story for you. Even when I was skimming it I didn’t feel like it pushed me out of immersion. Really, it was telling instead of showing, but in a way that hightlighted how a professional would tell you what was going on and that helped keep me in the story.

The story had a good ending and a very nice friendship report to Princess Celestia to finish up with. Now, about that basic premise that is weird. The premise is that ponies have horse-like instincts that basically follow the knee-commands and reins tugging that human riders use on horses. Responding to a rider’s guidance on a instinctual level. Like it takes a effort of will to ignore it. Somehow this lets a Pegasus with a rider fly a bit better than they could alone. Or maybe not. That part was vague. Rainbow Dash mostly does it to train with the extra weight and to focus more on the physical aspects while Twilight Sparkle takes care of the navigation and stuff. Again, it’s weird, but the author sells it well if you let it just roll over you.

Huh, just checked the story page to get the link above and saw that this is tagged comedy. Other than the silly premise I wouldn’t have tagged this a comedy.


Now is where I put my effort where my mouth is. Got someone who actually requested help because of the InquisitorM post about offering and asking for help. An author whose stories all together have less than 200 views between all of them. After reading a couple, I can say the author is pretty good. Not great or anything, no Cold In Gardez or Shakespeare, but I’d say it’s worth your time to read one or two of his stories. Now onto the specific story he asked for some help with.

Wandering Through Darkness by Albert Manhattan

A old story that has been rewritten since it was posted, with the new version elsewhere at the moment, but I wanted to read the old one so I could do a contrast and compare. So the verdict for the old version is fairly good. A bit too much telling instead of showing, but not nearly as bad as I’ve run across elsewhere. I think the biggest trouble is that it has a version of Twilight Sparkle that is fairly removed from what we see in the show and the story doesn’t have enough built-up time to sell us on the story’s version. Other than that, it was a really good length. Just long enough for a moment of emotion without dragging on. One last thing before I move on to the new revised edition and a slight spoiler. It had the unfortunate timing of having Princess Celestia in Twilight’s dreams and mere two months before Princess Luna was showed dreamwalking in the show. It doesn’t lose anything and the story still remains as touching. It was just a interesting case of timing. I suspect that the new version might switch out Princess Celestia for Princess Luna for that moment near the end.

Wandering Through Darkness by Albert Manhattan (revised version)

This will be a little more detailed. Mostly to try and highlight the improvements between the two versions. I will refer to them as Version1 and Version2 to keep things simple. Written up more or less as I read the story.

Biggest change is right at the start of things. In Version1, the story was written in third person perspective (Twilight Sparkle wakes up). In Version2 it is in first person perspective (I woke up). The morning scene was a lot better as well. So I’m only two paragraphs in and already plenty of improvement. Things are looking optimistic. Version1 had a fairly functional Twilight gets up and out of bed scene. However, I was thinking that it was a little dull when I was reading it. Wouldn’t Twilight Sparkle, student of Princess Celestia alicorn of the sun, have slightly more personal grumbles at the morning light? Well, in Version2 she does! I like the idea of ponies sort of complaining at Princess Celestia when the morning sunlight is bothering them while they are trying to sleep in. Makes them seem a bit more real to me. Does have a few non-optimal word choices, but that’s a fairly easy thing to fix. Much less telling, even if it’s not entirely gone.

And then a paragraph that is all unneeded exposition. Which gets us right back to more telling, hopefully the author will pull up out of the slippery slope. It doesn’t get real bad, but it’s a weak point. Then there is a bit of a scene that could use some cutting. The lunch with friends in Version1 was very concise and brief, the Version2 one is a bit long. The writing in Version2 is decent to good, but it is wandering a bit more than Version1 did. I’m guessing it might be the author noticing that Version1 needed a bit more detail and build-up, then over-thought it and added too much.

Alright, finished it up. This is aiming at the same basic emotional arc for Twilight Sparkle, but is really a different story. I’d say the writing was a bit better with a few more improvements needed in the same direction. Author needs practice on showing instead of telling. I’m also slightly disappointed that the new version was so different. As enjoyable as this was, I was looking forward to a slightly tweaked version of the original one. It is a great sign that the author is willing to try new things. I know I would have a hard time doing a rewrite from the ground up like this was.


Now for more of the same author’s work. I liked his writing enough that I checked out two of his other stories as well. Which is pretty much a general recommendation in itself. I also have to say that his writing is better than the last two non-pony stories I’ve read ebook samples of.

Something This Way Comes by Albert Manhattan

An interesting story. Basically the three fates/witches show up in Canterlot to proclaim prophecy/blessing/curse over the newborn Twilight Sparkle. Another pretty good but not great story from this author. The prose could be polished up a bit, but the actual story is neat.

Just Like Dash by Albert Manhattan

I thought this was really good. Best story by this author so far. Or at least the one I liked the most. Long time readers of the blog may have the opinion that quality of a story has little to no relation to how much I liked it. Still, I would say this is pretty good writing. Is the first one that the abbreviated start actually works. I didn’t feel like this needed more buildup and it turned out to be a pretty neat cutie mark story from Scootaloo. A nice simple slice of life in future Equestria. One or two of the scene transitions could have been better, but that’s about the only real compliant I’ve got. I would probably recommend this as the story to start with when recommending this author.


Posted by on August 24, 2014 in Books 2014, Ponies, Reviews


3 responses to “Pony Stories 206

  1. inquisitormence

    August 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    Conversely, I watched Divergent today. Oh god. Oh god, oh god, oh god. It might be the worst film I’ve seen in a decade. It might even be worse than Twilight.


    • Griffin

      August 24, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      Okay, first off… Why the heck did you go to see Divergent? I never honestly thought you were crazy before, but now…

      Do you mean worse than Twilight the book or Twilight the movie? Because I’m not actually sure if it’s possible to be worse than Twilight the movie. At least the first one.

      • inquisitormence

        August 25, 2014 at 1:54 am

        I’m not crazy enough to read the book, nor am I crazy to see any movie after the first. I only watched it because I already knew it was going to be philosophically challenged, and sometimes you have to watch this bad stuff so you can rant about it.

        Nothing could have prepared me for how singularly terrible it is. I swear, there are no two aspects of that film that actually gel together. Chicago is a run-down, overgrown husk, yet the storyline revolves around several super-technologies, which they wield with traditional sci-fi nonchalance. The caste system is utterly nonsensical (frankly, it makes the elements of harmony look like a solid idea) to start with. The romance is worse than the worst case of A.S.S., and the characters self-contradictory from one scene to almost every other scene.

        Seriously, you have to have never actually spent more than about either seconds wondering how the human psyche works to realise how pants-on-head retarded the whole thing is. And frankly, Twilight at least made sense as a teenage girl’s swoon-fest. Divergent doesn’t even manage that.


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