I was trying to do them at least weekly, I fell behind though. I'll try to stay more or less on schedule from here on out.>>209270
Yes, I'm ok. Thank you for your concern. Just busy and distracted.
Anyway, a few final thoughts on "Would It Matter if I Was?" and then we can probably move on to a different story next week.>>203545
So anyway, we've addressed the story's moral points. Now I'd just like to conclude with a birds-eye view analysis of it as a piece of literature.
All in all, I would say that this story is about 78% effective at grabbing and holding the reader's attention long enough to communicate its point. If I were teaching a creative writing course and this was handed in to me as homework, I'd give it a C+. The writing is not bad as far as fanfiction goes, but it's not good either. Like most fanfiction I've read, it reads like a rough draft that should have been revised heavily before publication. The author seems to me to be a fairly decent amateur writer, who would nonetheless benefit strongly from having his/her work objectively analyzed by someone who isn't going to pull punches or kiss his/her ass (*cough* you're welcome, GaPJaxie).
The story loses a lot of its punch imo by giving away the premise at the very beginning. The actual question posed by Fluttershy is asked prior to the beginning of the story, and we learn what she asked by Twilight's repeating the question in the third paragraph. The loss of punch is made even more tragic by the fact that it really doesn't have that much punch to begin with; most of the story is just Fluttershy lecturing Twilight and Twilight being a strawman.
One might think that writing a piece of flash fiction like this would be an easier task than composing an entire novel or even a long short story. However, something to keep in mind is that the shorter the piece you are writing, the less time you have to engage the reader and tell a complete story. You need to establish characters and a setting and a conflict, then create tension and escalate it until it eventually reaches a climax, then resolve the conflict and end the story in a satisfactory way, all in the space of a few paragraphs. Word economy becomes much more important and you don't want to waste the reader's time with stuff they don't care about. As I mentioned before, this story wastes a lot of time expounding upon things the characters are doing, like picking up dishes and moving them around and so forth, that are less important than the conversation the two characters are having. This is made worse by the conversation itself being tedious and laden with rhetoric, rather than a dynamic exchange between the two characters. Again, I would invite you all to read the parody text I selected and compare the way it handles dialog to the way the original does.
The problem with the story's tension is that there is no tension. Nothing builds, there is no climax, nothing resolves, and nopony really grows. Right off the bat, we get the central question: is Fluttershy a changeling? Even with little introduction or setup, this in itself could still be the basis for an interesting conflict, but the author chooses instead to explore the moral issues surrounding the secondary question: should
it matter whether or not she is? Alright, fine; let's roll with that and see where it goes. We get some back and forth between Flutters and Twigglypuff, most of which is Twiggaplease trying to press the question of whether or not Flutterbutter is in fact a changeling, and Flutterrump trying to steer the conversation in the direction of the moral argument. It's like the author can't even make up his mind which idea he'd rather explore. We get some pomposity from Fluttershy, which pretty much amounts to "you don't know why the changelings attacked, so you don't know that they are actually evil (a more interesting moral question, btw, is should this
even matter)." This is topped off with a nice dollop of "I'm your friend and I've done nice things and am nice, so if I were a changeling that means you should see changelings as nice, even though I'd be the only nice changeling you've ever met." The whole thing just goes in circles like this for a while, until Fluttershy finally backs Twilight into a corner and forces her to say that no, it wouldn't actually matter to her if one of her closest friends has been lying to her for a period of actual years and may possibly have a secret and potentially malicious agenda for doing so, which she refuses to expound upon. Because, you know, blah blah blah friendship.
In the end, absolutely nothing is concluded or resolved. Once Fluttershy finally corners Twilight and gets her to admit defeat, she just says "Oh btw I'm not a changeling, it was just hypothetical, bye." Although this technically answers the central question, it answers it in a very ambiguous way that deliberately leaves it open. I don't doubt this was done on purpose, in an effort to conclude the story on kind of a spooky note. Not a bad idea, but unfortunately since the story can't quite make up its mind on what it wants to be about, coupled with the fact that most of the "meat" of the story is just a meandering argument going in circles peppered with action-packed descriptions of Fluttershy cleaning Twilight's library, the ending falls flatter than Applebloom's crotchteats. It also doesn't make a whole lot of sense for reasons I've already gone into.
Final verdict: this story is basically a throwaway piece of fiction, maybe good as a writing exercise or a way for the author to get some philosophical ideas out on paper, but not the sort of thing you generally want to publish. The arguments are weak and faulty, the story fails to engage the reader, and the ending resolves nothing and makes Fluttershy come across as a changeling at best and a complete cunt at worst. Sticking with my earlier grade of C+.
Next week: Anal.