Monday, August 31, 2015

Mini-Reviews Round 94

Just a couple today, and not even a clever lead-in up above.  Click below for mini-reviews!

Friday, August 28, 2015

The Five Commandments of Message Fiction

Today's bit of ranting-about-writing deals with what seem to be a few of the common pitfalls among writers who are trying write a story with an explicit message or moral.  Click down below the break for my thoughts on how not to bore or insult your readers!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fandom Classics Part 122: The Life and Times of a Winning Pony

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Okay, my internet works again!  In fact, it works significantly faster than it used to, supposedly; the new router claims to have more than doubled my download speed, but everything seems to be moving at about the same clip to me.  Of course, that clip was already perfectly fast for my needs, so it's not like I'm complaining.

But now, the review you've all been waiting for!  Click down below the break for my entirely-too lengthy thoughts on Chengar Qordath's The Life and Times of a Winning Pony.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Good news, everybody: as of about six hours prior to this post going up, I'm home!

Bad news: while I was gone, my router died, and I'm typing this on my phone.  Another day or two of mobile internet only for me, so don't expect to see any more comments from me until then; setting up this post and typing this much has already taken me more than ten minutes, which is a pretty poor payout.

Still, trip was good, cat's still angry at me for leaving, and my friend just dropped off several pounds of garden produce for me, so all in all things are golden.  Hopefully, Life and Times review come Wednesday!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Quality vs. Caliber

Today brings our run of guest posts to an end, and to take us (and me!) home, I'm calling an old standby in to bat cleanup.  That's right, today's column comes courtesy of Pascoite, man whose work as a writer, pre-reader, and editor more than speaks for itself, and who's done this a few times before.  Head down below the break to see his thoughts, which I think make a nice follow-up to DannyJ's column on Wednesday: having discussed what can or can't be said objectively about a fic, now let's look at the difference between "I don't like this story" and "this is a bad story."  Get it below the break!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Objective Quality

"People often say that comedy is subjective... and it is.  But then, so's almost everything else about writing, and we can still speak intelligently about "good" and "bad" stories, can't we?"

I said that at the bottom of Monday's post (you did read all the way to my blurb at the bottom, right?  Right?)... but if writing is so darn subjective, then how can we have a conversation that doesn't just devolve into unsupported opinion-slinging?  How can we talk about any sort of writing at all without prefacing our statements with "but that's just what I think?"

Today, that question is answered, courtesy of DannyJ.  You might know him from either his comments on this blog, or his various stories.  Click down below the break for his ideas of what we can--and can't--say about stories in the category of "factual statements."

Monday, August 17, 2015

Random Humor and You: A Very Serious Primer

Monday is a day when everyone needs a little pick-me-up... unless you're on vacation, in which case hahahaha I'm on vacation and you're not!

...But since you aren't, I figure the least I can do is brighten your day a bit by sharing a post from an author perhaps best-known for his comedy and his knack for walking the line between ridiculous fun and just plain ridiculous.  I'm talking about Aragon--and if you think he's got some absurd stories, take a gander at his blog.  Today he's got something to share that he has plenty of experience with: what makes a comedy, and especially a random/comedy, sink or swim.  Head down below the break for thoughts on avoiding the dreaded "dumb and pointless" tar pits which ensnare so many would-be comic authors.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Strength of Character(s)

Fridays aren't all that different from any other days when you're on vacation... but I'm going to go ahead and assume (as I sit here typing this, two weeks ahead) that it's a fine Friday nonetheless.  

Here to complement that Friday fine-ness is Bachiavellian, an author whom you might know for a story popping around near the top of the Top-All Time list on FiMFic as I type this (knowing the volatility of that list, it'll probably have a couple new downvotes by the time this post goes up, but what're ya gonna do?), but whom you really should know for his RCL-induction-earning, quintessential sad-tagged Carrot Top story.

...What?  Yes, I have a soft spot for Carrot Top, but that's a story that more than stands on its own merits.  Now, head down below the break for Bachiavellian's thoughts on how to conceive and create compelling characters.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Guest Review: In a Tavern, Down by the River

Welcome to the first guest post of the vacation!  Don't worry, I'll still be around up above the breaks, and with a sentence or three at the end of the post (because lord knows I have to have the last word on everything).  But the content?  That's all outside material... and speaking of, let's get to some content!  Today's installment is brought to us by Icy Shake, someone who's been around this blog as a commenter, and has earned his chops editing for ponyfic authors.  No, nobody you've ever heard of, just no-names like Somber and The Descendant.  Today, he takes a shot at reviewing with an analysis of Lysis's In a Tavern, Down by the River.  Click down below the break to see what Icy has to say, and to find out whether this is the fic for you!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Here's What's Going to Happen for the Next Couple of Weeks

By today, I should already be in Arizona, for my annual trip to visit family at exactly the wrong time of year to visit Arizona.  Man, we need to plan these things better.

Luckily for you all, that doesn't mean a two-week hiatus for the blog!  I've got five great posts lined up, and it's a nice mix of material; we've got a fanfic review, we've got some writing advice, and we've got some thoughts on how to analyze and talk about fiction.  Having already read through everything, I can tell you all firsthand that there's some really exciting stuff coming up, starting on Wednesday.

And of course, vacation isn't just a time for playing cards and sipping scotch; it's also a great time to get some reading done.  In the past, I've used a couple of "free" weeks to tackle some fanfic behemoth or other, and this year's no exception: while I'm gone, I'll be ploughing through Chengar Qordath's The Life and Times of a Winning Pony, which is one of the most-requested stories for me to review.  Making time to read over 350,000 words is usually a challenge, but hey; that's just a bit over half of Fallout: Equestria, which I read on my first blog-vacation.  Expect to see the review when I return!

But for now, everyone play nice while I'm gone.  I've got a smartphone, so I should be able to check in on things while I'm gone, but I've also got dumb thumbs, so don't expect to hear from me unless something goes spectacularly wrong.  Besides, what's the point of a vacation where you aren't getting away from it all?  So with that said...

See you all on the 24th!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Another Story In Which Chris Played an Ancillary Role

Almost a year and a half ago, Jetfire returned to the fandom after a long semi-hiatus, and brought with him the first few chapters of what would turn out to be a 230,000 word, sprawling sequel to his best-known work It's a Dangerous Business, Going Out Your Door (which I reviewed back here)... and asked if anyone would be interested in looking over his stuff.  I messaged him some notes on what he'd published so far, and since then, have been pre-reading for him.  Yesterday, the last two chapters of that story were published, and Besides the Will of Evil was finally completed.

It's been an interesting journey, to say the least.  Where Dangerous Business was primarily done in the style of Tolkien, Will draws on multiple sources for its literary inspiration.  The result is a darker, earthier story--but one which nevertheless centers itself around the same morals and worldview as Dangerous Business did.  It's epic fantasy in the traditional sense of the phrase, and if you've been reading my reviews for a while, you know that plays to my tastes.

If that sounds like your sort of thing, go ahead and give this now-officially-finished story a try!  I know a lot of people like to wait for their fics to be completed before diving in, so consider this your notice that now's the time.  And if you do decide to check it out, then when you get to some particularly powerful passage... well, odds are I didn't have anything to do with it, specifically.  But hopefully you enjoy, anyway!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mini-Reviews Round 93

Remember that one episode with the yaks, Party Pooped?  Gotta say, the joke never got old for me; smashing stuff is a punchline that can't be repeated too much.

Anyway, now that it's over a month since said episode aired, and I realized I had multiple yak-followup fics on my read list, I figured it'd be a good time to take a look at a few and see how they hold up outside of the realm of hot takes.  Click down below the break to see some short reviews of short yak fics!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Fandom Classics Part 121: I'd Do Her

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

My cat likes to sprawl up against my legs, but he's faced a conundrum as of late: it's warm in the summer, he's got a fur coat, and pressing up against my leg means he gets too hot.  His solution?  He sits near my feet, and stretches out his paws until they're just barely touching my leg.  It's close enough for him, I guess.

He's sprawled down there as I type this, if you were wondering.  Anyway, go down below the break to get my review of Fire Gazer the Alchemist's I'd Do Her.