I just realized one of my favorite pony fan fiction stories is actually terrible! I mean, it has to be. It’s got a always depressed OC that has the favor of Princess Celestia, to the point where she brings him a gift for no particular reason, spends the entire story obsessing over Twilight Sparkle, and everypony else in the story practically falls over themselves to do whatever he wants. It’s practically a cliche minefield! I even see that the majority of the author’s stories, of which there aren’t many, are focused on the same OC. Guess it’s just luck that the OC’s name and the author’s FimFiction account name aren’t the same. Ten points to whomever can name the story I’m talking about. I know you’ve all read it too. Throw off the shackles of peer pressure! Don’t just follow the crowd in calling it a great story!
Still chugging away at the piece of ponyfic I’m working on. It’s actually gotten me inspired enough that I’ve actually worked on it longer than my daily hour of writing. Once to almost two hours, and once for about 15 minutes over. So that’s good. Will the story be any good? Beats me. So far it’s mostly the characters sitting around a vaguely defined table at a cafe chatting. So… I’m a social introvert who communicates with people primarily via blog comments and chat rooms trying to write snappy comedic dialogue. I think I’ll just have to hope that the story will be good enough that people overlook the technical atrocities. You know, like my first ponyfic.
- Property of the Crystal Empire by TheMessenger
This was a story that one or two things bothered me enough that I took some notes while I was still reading it.
Repeat after me. Shining Armor can create magical shields. It’s his freaking talent! Why does nearly every author ignore that? In this one the characters are a 12 pony militaer team traveling through far northern lands tracking Changelings. They are worried about getting caught in a blizzard. Why? Just have him create a bubble shield to protect the camp. Heck, if it is a bad blizzard that’ll give them an igloo in no time. Of course they are mostly worried because they don’t have enough tents. Yep, 12 military Ponies on an official military expedition into a harsh environment, did not bring enough tents. Guh.
Plus the story itself is kind of dull.
Oh, hey, they do explain the Shining Armor thing. Apparently his shield spell doesn’t work on things as small as snow. Which I can almost believe. Except I’m a believer in a slightly more comprehensive magic system and think it is crazy that Shining Armor only has that one single shield spell when that is his special talent. I will admit that it has some canon support, though hardly definitive.
I almost didn’t make it through this story. Just soooo dull. Which is impressive when you consider it has Shining Armor nearly stomping his wife to death. The author just hasn’t figured out how to make a journal entry style story interesting. You can’t just have the main character describing what is happening. That’s just bad telly storytelling. Not to mention the main character is a bland oblivious pony in general. Also, the nicknames picked for his teammates are just kinda bleh and not very pony.
I actually gave up on this story near the end. Then figured there was only two more chapters so I might as well slog through.
Well, I’ve gotten to the end and it was disappointing. Not a satisfying ending at all. Though I suppose it counts as realistic. Which is probably why it wasn’t satisfying. Overall this story really suffers from a lack of focus. It never really seems to focus on the Changelings that they are supposed to be dealing with. Then halfway through following Changelings it kind of meanders away to surviving the harsh winter weather. With a romance side-plot that was somewhat decent, if a little generic.
What would I do, with the benefit of hindsight and not having to come up with the basic premise/ideas? Because the basic idea of the story is actually pretty good. There is the basic stuff that I can’t really explain but is critical. Make the journal entries a little more interesting. Give the main character a bit more personality. Let us get to know him a bit better. However, I can give a bit of advice to the unfocused nature of the narrative. Spend a little more time in the town (which really should have a name, keeping it classified is just silly) and have the main character actually get to know some of the people there. Have him interact with the one Changeling captive, let us see if it’s intelligent or not. Have our main character put down either his conversations with the Changeling, or if it’s just a animal-like drone, have him write down his reactions to just how un-pony-like the thing is.
When following the Changelings that attacked the town, start having the doubts about the weather and stuff pop up even as they are following. Make it clear that the decision to follow them in spite of the worsening weather is balanced right on the edge. So when they are stuck, it’s because Shining Armor isn’t there to be the tie breaker and the remaining officers are split on which way to go. Instead of just hanging out for a couple of days and then going back without any real discussion, have that be the focus of things right there. Have them talk about it. In fact, have them mention the changelings at all after the halfway point of the story. One of the biggest annoyances was that when the blizzard danger gets introduced, the Changelings they were following were just completely forgotten about. That’s what gives the story the unfocused feel. No connection between the town, changelings, and blizzard sections.
Though Crystal Empire troops heading into the tundra with little to no survival equipment? That’s just silly.