Friday, January 29, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 118

I heard this joke yesterday, courtesy of a seventh-grader: "What's a tauntaun's body temperature?"

...Give up?  It's "Luke-warm."  Eh?  Eh?

Hey, I liked it.  And now that I've established my (lack of ) taste, let's showcase a bunch of my opinions!  Mini-reviews, below the break.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 147: In Memory Of

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

For the past week, I've been helping seventh-graders do research for an essay they have to write about a famous historical figure, and to streamline that research, each of the kids has a sheet they're supposed to use for each source, breaking down the notes into categories like "Education," "Career," and so on.  With that as context, here's a conversation I had yesterday:
Student: "This book doesn't have anything I can put in 'Historical Setting!'" 
Me:  "Really?  There's nothing in there about what was going on in the world while Henry Ford was alive?" 
Student:  "No." 
Me:  "..." 
Student;  "...Well, except for World War Two."
Yeah, except for that.  But enough about historical footnotes like WWII; let's talk about something important, like fanfiction!  My review of Obselescence's In Memory Of, below the break.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Early Warnings: How (Not) to Scare Off Readers

Descriptions, cover art, tags, all the things a potential reader sees before they ever get to look at the actual text of your story... let's call these, collectively, "the cover."  Whether you're trying to get horsefamous or not, it's one of the most important parts of your story; not only is it one of the primary drivers of readership, but for those people who chose to read at all, it's crucial for setting expectations of tone, content, etc.

And yet, it's one of the most neglected parts of many story, probably because most authors don't see it as part of the story at all.  Instead, it's an additional bit of construction to be done after one has finished one's story, before one's allowed to submit it--and when that approach is taken, the results aren't usually great.

There are all sorts of ways to use your cover to attract readers, and to make sure that the readers you're attracting are your target audience (e.g. using risque cover art for a totally platonic SoL fic can lead to a readership/story disconnect), but what I want to talk about is a little more basic than that: how not to shoot yourself in the foot.  So, I've grabbed the list views for the most recent stories (as of early Sunday afternoon, when the idea for this post popped into my head), and I'll be posting them, along with what--if anything--might scare me away from said story, were I a potential reader.  Or at least, what might stop me from even clicking to the story's main page.  Check out my thoughts, below the break:

Friday, January 22, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 117

I realized something just recently: I don't read enough stories from authors whose stuff I know I enjoy.  A lot of my fanfic reading time I devote to stuff by new-to-me authors; partly this is a byproduct of looking for new writers for the RCL to feature, and partly it's just me putting a premium on the unknown.  A bird in the hand is nice, but did you see that bush over there?  There're two birds in it...

Anyway, having come to this realization, I've decided that for the next week or two, I'm going to focus my reading time more (though not exclusively) on stories I know I want to read, because I know from experience that the authors of those stories write (or at least, can write) stuff that appeals to me.  And conveniently enough, there's one particular author who had three short stories on my radar.  So, let's have us a Pascoite-centric round of mini-reviewing!  Check out my thoughts on three of his more recent stories, below the break.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 146: Voyage's End

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

Here's your Reason I'm Glad I'm Not a Science Teacher of the Day, courtesy of a student (who, to be fair, was probably being facetious) at my school, and brought to you via breakroom gossip: "If the Theory of Evolution is real, why hasn't it evolved into a fact?" For all the difficulties that inevitably crop up in my job, at least I don't have to worry about students telling me that adjectives aren't real.

And on the subject of science, here's a story with a sci-fi aesthetic!  Click below the break for my review of The DM's Voyage's End.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 116

I spent the weekend at Leadership Academy--a barbershop officer's convention--and had a great time.  There was one small source of awkwardness, though: the event was in Wisconsin, and I'm an Arizona Cardinals fan.  Let me tell you, my red jersey stuck out just a liiiiitle bit in the sea of green that was the other attendees.  But as some of you may have seen, I got the last laugh.  Go Cards!

But enough about music and/or football; on to fanfic reviews!  Head below the break for my thoughts on some stuff I recently read.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 145: Why Am I Crying?

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

It's the middle of January, and my district still hasn't had any snow days.  We haven't even gotten a late start yet!  I realize there's still a good two months left during which one can reasonably hope for a blizzard to roll through, but this winter is off pace so far.  It's not that I don't like going to work, but... well, come on, you all remember how awesome snow days were when you were a kid, right?  Well, they're still awesome when you're an adult.

Oh well; these things tend to average out in the end, right?  In any case, head down below the break to see my review of Rated Ponystar's Why Am I Crying?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 144: The Cough

No cover art, so here's a nice, depressing picture to go with the fic.  Also: to read the story, click the image or follow this link.

I had to go to the dentist today, and my gums are still sore.  Eugh.  Luckily, my pain/grumpiness hasn't stopped me from typing up this intro.  Go me!  You, meanwhile, should go down below the break, to read my review of Ebon Mane's The Cough.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 115

It turns out that EqD has worked some strange internet wizardry, and restored all the comments they lost a few years ago on the site's oldest posts!  So now, if you want to, you can go back and look at what Chris was doing, horsewordcomments-wise before he started this blog.

...Turns out it's nothing too exciting to anyone but me, most like, but it was a blast to, say, see that my quest to say something about every single one of the 147 entries in the Speedfic Challenge in a single night is once more fully documented.  Anyway, if trolling through EqD circa 2011 doesn't provide enough Chris commentary for you, head down below the break to get a few more recent thoughts from me.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 143: Boast Busted

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

And so, the hastily thrown-together and almost entirely one-sided race against PresentPerfect ends in a resounding victory for team Chris, as I become the first reviewer (not counting any reviewer besides the two of us) to review this story!  Ah, the sweet taste of success-at-reading-slightly-faster-than-someone-else!

...Okay, that was a little underwhelming.  But the more important question is this: is RainbowDoubleDash's Boast Busted underwhelming, or does it live up to the hype?  Find out what I think, below the break.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Mini-Reviews Round 114

On Monday, one of my kids asked me if we celebrated "America's half-birthday."  Guys, this is a great idea, and we should get on it: every fourth of January, we should drink a bunch of leftover eggnog and blow things up, to celebrate the USA continuing to exist for another six months.  Other countries should feel free to celebrate, too; there's no shame in recognizing America's greatness.  USA!  USA!  USA!

In less jingoistic news, I also have some fic reviews!  Click down below the break to see what I thought of my recent reading.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Fandom Classics Part 142: Fluttershy and Celestia Play Chess

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

For those of you who don't follow me on FiMFiction, I'll open up the same challenge I made in my bi-weekly roundup post: if you can correctly identify which story from the Secret Santa compilation was written by me, I'll give you... something.  A review for a story you want me to talk about, probably?  If you don't want that, ask for something else; I'll make sure you get something at least vaguely rewarding, above and beyond the vindication of being able to identify Chris-fiction on sight.  PM or e-mail me if you've got a guess, and be sure to tell me how you figured it out!

But enough about stories that might have been written by Chris; let's talk about one that definitely wasn't!  My review of BronyWriter's Fluttershy and Celestia Play Chess, below.

Friday, January 1, 2016