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Well, it pulled me back in: this weekend, I decided to go ahead and write something for the Writeoff's minific (under 750 words) event. As is usually the case, I felt pretty uncertain about my story when I submitted it... but I always feel that way right after I submit something. Anyway, if you want to read some short fiction, here's the list: 69 entries is much more manageable than the 100+ entries they were getting last time I submitted something, and it's not like you have to read all of them to vote or participate. In any event, go check it out, try to find some good ones, and maybe see if you can guess which of those 69 is mine! If anyone guesses it right, I'll give them... I dunno, probably nothing. If you want some particular fabulous prize, though, I suppose you could ask. Couldn't hurt, right?
Anyway, from new stories by me to old stories that aren't! My thoughts on DavidReinold's Pretty In Pink, below the break.
Impressions before reading: On the surface, this looks like a generic "one of the main six dies" fic. Writing about death is an easy way to give a story a bit of gravitas, but a solemn story isn't the same as a deep or meaningful one. It'd be nice to be completely wrong about this story, though; this fandom (and every other one, basically) may be littered with stories with no greater purpose than telling you that people are sad when their friends die, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of interesting avenues for a story with that premise to explore!
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Twilight tries to cope with Pinkie's death.
Thoughts after reading: I can't really talk about this story without a minor spoiler: a bit more than halfway through, we find out that it's all just a dream. I say that's a minor spoiler because... well, almost half the story comes after that, right? In any case, that knowledge informs the approach to the first part, which is patently ridiculous and overwrought, but which at least has a sensible reason to be in context.
Of course, just giving something a sensible reason to exist in the state it does doesn't make it aesthetically pleasing, or even entertaining. This story is maudlin and, frankly, rather silly, even granted its context. Meanwhile, the explanation for Twilight's dream is one that doesn't seem to have any mooring in anything other than... well, a one-sentence throwaway line, which seems more than a little perfunctory for something so seemingly important. But this fic doesn't concern itself with its setting or design, particularly: it's a piece of unambiguous emotional appeal.
Beyond that, there's not really much to say. This is a piece of over-the-top melancholia ("My heart clouded over from the snowstorm of emotion." "Not even Rainbow Dash could clear the cloud that hung over Ponyville."), and although it at least has the courtesy to acknowledge its own excesses, I can't think of anything else particularly out of the ordinary for it, compared to any other story of its general type.
★☆☆☆☆ (what does this mean?)
This is neither as bland as I expected nor as offensive as I feared, but the former only barely and the latter is a low bar to clear. This is, in fact, something I would hold up as a "stellar" example of typical fanfiction. And while I'm not in the habit of denigrating "typical fanfiction," it is--by definition--awfully hard to recommend over any other given piece.
Recommendation: While I can see lots of readers, especially those who haven't read much fiction of the "main character dies and other main character copes" variety, finding this a perfectly adequate story, I can't think of anyone I would encourage specifically to seek this out.
Next time: A Great and Powerful Heart, by Deep Pond