Monday, November 7, 2011

Northbound (Update Prologue)


Author: RinellaWasHere

Description: With the rest of the Mane Six gone on a diplomatic mission for Celestia, Fluttershy is having a restful, if lonely, summer. But one day, a mysterious member of the Apple family arrives in town, carrying three strange gemstones. He explains (and demonstrates) that the stones allow any pony who uses them to harness powerful magic, beyond that of any unicorn. He offers a few local ponies a deal- if they come with him to the dangerous and unexplored North, where the stones were allegedly discovered, they can get a cut of the profits from selling the mystical rocks. Fluttershy, along with an ensemble cast of background ponies and OC's, finds herself on a grand adventure that will take her beyond the borders of Equestria.

Chapter 1

Additional Tags: Adventure, Fluttershy, Derpy Hooves, Big Mac, OCs, Elks in Kilts, Magic, Long


  1. Hey there, I'm reading this right now. Sorry for not replying to your question in the chatbox within your Doc, but I was in another tab then.

    This is very interesting stuff, and I feel this could definitely be the next "Dangerous Business" which is one of my favorite fanfictions of all time.

    Will post a critique when I'm done reading.

  2. Alright, you're doing good except for some of the dialogue. There are a few hanging participles, so try rereading things out loud to find what sounds right and what sounds weird.

    Derpy seems really harebrained in this, which I'm not all that fond of, but I guess I can get used to it. Generally, I think she just says too much and talks too fast. Since this is a style thing, it's not all that big a deal. I'm still coming off of "My Funny Sister" so my mental image of Derpy is far different than in the story.

    Big Macintosh's dialogue needs some work too. Using "y'all" when referring just to Fluttershy doesn't really work, since "y'all" is a conjunction of "you" and "all." In other words, "y'all" is plural. Using "you" or "ya' " would work much better.

    Another thing - a bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds, which is a lot of apples (four or so apples make a pound). Six bushels is a huge number of apples. If Beat bought six apples, you might want Big Macintosh to remark on "why one pony would need all those apples..."

    One last thing - toward the end, it feels like Fluttershy just drops out of the story. Add in her reaction to the stranger pony's sudden arrival (perhaps hiding behind Big Mac?). As well, try and trim down Big Mac's giant paragraph of dialogue just before that, since he's a pony of few words and that paragraph says a lot of redundant things.

    Other than that? This is actually really good, and I'm expecting the second draft will be even better.

    And Elks in Kilts? Hell yes! :D

  3. Thank you so much.

    Dialogue- Sounds like solid advice, I'll get on that.

    Derpy- My characterization of Derpy basically runs on the idea that her train of thought is really more of an ATV, and just kind of goes off sometimes. I don't mean to make her stupid by any means, just a little absent-minded. She's going to be one of the central characters, though, so I hope that she's likeable even if she doesn't match what people have in mind. Did her scene work, or should I edit it a bit?

    Mac's dialogue- Mac's accent and manner of speaking is actually just a transliteration of my own accent. Certain versions of a Southern accent use "y'all" for singular address as well. If it's distracting or disconcerting, however, I'm more than happy to change it.

    Bushels- Ye gods, seriously? I had no idea how much that was, to be honest. I may need to lessen the amount.

    At the end- I agree about Fluttershy, and I'll add that pronto. As for Mac's little monologue, I know exactly what you're talking about, but...I'm a little stuck. I know he needs to explain not bringing the cart down, and that he needs to end on a comment about not leaving the farm. But I can't figure out how to shorten it. Any ideas?

  4. For Mac's monologue:

    "Ah been real busy lately, so Ah moved th' cart up here to th' Barn. Let the customers come t'me, so t'speak."

    As for Derpy, I honestly think her scene was off-putting. At least make her more understanding toward Fluttershy, and not have her dialogue run on so much. Kind of the same problem that Mac's dialogue had. She talked Fluttershy's ear off.

    Having her absent-minded is good, though. Keep that.

  5. I've made the change to Mac's line, since I love your suggestion. And as for Derpy...I see your point and I'll try, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I'll likely be back with more questions.

  6. Ooh, I like the prologue. Especailly the Galloway thing - the names you've come up with so far are just... perfect. I really liked Heady and Ex as characters.

    Anyway, critiques:

    At the very beginning, the phrase "nothing warm existed" might work better as "nothing warm belonged." Since warm things do exist in those places, such as Heady and Ex and possibly adorable little magic penguins. Saying "belonged" communicates in a way that the environment itself is hostile, almost in an intelligent, discriminatory way.

    When Heady is thinking about how he should be be back in Canterlot, the "warm and dry" bit doesn't seem necessary. Doesn't hurt to keep it, but it makes the sentence drag on a little too long.

    Now, I'm going to quote a part of the story and add my suggestions on it (you don't need to heed them, but I figured I'd throw it in there anyway to feel helpful):

    "Exmarks beamed under his balacava, then turned back to the cave, horn alight. All around the opening, carvings began to glow, a harsh green against the blinding white. "

    That last sentence, reword it a little. Put "carvings began to glow" at the beginning instead of the middle, like this:

    "Carvings began to glow all around the opening, a harsh green against the blinding white."

    That way your sentence doesn't break part way through, which might break the reader's suspension of disbelief for a moment as they reread it.

    "The carving was deep and straight, with NINE of the faults and cracks a chisel would have left."

    The "nine" there should be "NONE"

    Now, the part where Ex says the stones might be protected... Heady dismisses this, even though he's just noted that powerful magic was used to create the words outside of the cave. How could he underestimate the danger of protection spells if he knows that the creators of the cave put that much effort just a 'WELCOME' sign? Just have him entertain the notion that he and Ex can outsmart whatever's in the cave, and if they can't, they can leave before it gets too hairy. "We'll just play it smart" and all that bunk. :p

    And lastly:

    The "three hours later" needs to be Centered at the very least. Personally, I don't like how specific it is. Just saying "hours later" would be enough, but I guess that might be my own personal style niggling at me. Dunno. Still, definitely center it.

    Anyway, yes. This was awesome. Clear descriptions and vivid imagery combine to make this a gripping and interesting prologue. It also sets the stage well for what's to follow. I'm just interested in knowing how the mystery member of the Apple family got his hooves on those stones.

    And is it just me, or was that a Yeti in the cave?

  7. Every last one of your suggestions is being incorporated. As for the yeti, of course not. That wouldn't be nearly horrifying enough.

    Also, the words "Update Prologue" hurt my brain.

  8. Mine too. Brain ow.

    Something more terrifying than a Yeti?

    Okay, that settles it. I'm going to 5-Star the HELL out of this the moment it gets on EQD.

  9. I must say it is refreshing to see a writer that knows what s/he is doing, especially given the subject matter; it's difficult to make the light hearted pony show into something interesting for readers and you've done well in this department. I couldn't find anything untoward from a grammatical or technical writing standpoint, so congratulations for having either a good editor or being able to edit yourself.

    I've always felt that it was difficult to turn 'slice of life' into a story people want to read; in my opinion, being able to accomplish this is a sign of a great author. You managed to pull it off in Chapter 1, keeping me reading regardless of the fact that some would say 'nothing really happened except at the end'. I liked the way you wrote it.

    Derpy, however, was off putting, as Wiz commented; I prefer the name 'Ditzy Doo', as well. Derpy seems insulting somehow. At any rate, your rendition is special in its own way, and she might grow on me. But the name is really important for how you want to portray her. 'Derpy' makes her sound stupid, while 'Ditzy' makes her seem air headed. Up to you, though.

    While I mentioned that I loved the way you wrote chapter 1, I must say the description and the prologue drew me in right away. They got me reading, Fluttershy made me stay, as 'twere. Your OC ponies here feel real and I think an would have liked

  10. Apologies, the comment wouldn't let me go any further for some reason. As I was saying, I would have liked to explore Ex and Lamp; they seemed interesting characters and I found myself actually sad that they died, even if I saw it coming. I'll atribute that to you creating easily attachable characters; so good work!

    I look forward to reading more from you. :)

  11. Thank you for your feedback- I've been busy with my job and some original writing, so I didn't know anyone had given me more comments!

    As for the name Derpy- I'll admit to a little fondness for the name simply due to the fact that the fans bestowed it. In-universe, however, it has an explanation. A little comedy I'm working on will contain that, but I'm fine mentioning it here. In my headcanon, pegasus culture is based on Greece, and Derpy's full name in the old Pegreek language is Derephí, meaning "Bright Eyes". In-universe, it's not an insult or a joke, it's a sweet and loving title.