TheLivingCouch wrote:So J-Dude I've finally gotten around to catching up on your fic. Chapter 10 threw me for a loop but I'm not disappointed with what follows. My only real complaints are that I couldn't really grasp the point of the first scene in chapter 11
Yay! Always love hearing feedback! The point of the first scene really was to establish the dystopian nature Equestria has adopted under Mandeville. Show, don't tell, as they say. It would be easy for me tell what the new status quo was becoming, but this scene allowed the reader to infer much of how things had gone to pot. From Ponyville's abandonment and the mass existence of refugees, to the oppressive laws and overly harsh punishments even for just saying a harmless word.
And of course, Rainy and Argyle, two victims of the whole thing, scavengers/looters, literally eaten alive in the wake of Mandeville's occupation.
I agree with my critics, who tell me this scene is a touch brutal, but I couldn't think of how to end this scene with them alive. To do so after introducing them would infer that they would return to play a greater part in the plot, and this just wasn't so. I wanted that to be clear, if nothing else.
And I do so love giving feedback. Heh heh.
Anyhoo, so that's what it is. First off I disagree with your critics that the scene was too brutal. It needed to be in order to demonstrate your point. Besides you're going to have to do some serious work if you want to be any more brutal that Chapter 10 was. Now where I disagree is that your scene achieved the full effect you were looking for. Sure Rainy's punishment was harsh she was technically breaking the law. Society hasn't completely broken down yet so it only gets you so far. Both their deaths at the claws of the timberwolves gets you a little further given the spotters didn't bother to help but once again it only gets you so far. The did bother to wander into an abandoned town near the edge of the Everfree. They would have to know the dangers of monsters. Heck, they were discussing it right at the beginning.
Trying to demonstrate the changes Equestria is going through, through the eyes of these two ponies was a good if flawed effort I think. I don't really think you get to the heart of the matter. All things being equal and the spotters were nowhere to be found in Ponyville I'm fairly sure Rainy and Argyle would still have died. All that really demonstrates that Ponyville is a dangerous place. We all know that though.
To really get the effect you're looking for we really need to see how the Equestrians are chafing under Mandeville's rule. We need to see ponies getting shipped away for silly things, ponies getting shot in the streets, families getting torn apart as they rat each other out to the spotters because of the new laws. That sort of stuff. We need a much broader picture of what is going on to really get a feel for it. You actually started off strongly with the whole scene between the trader and the CID but you lost it when you went deeper into the Argyle/Rainy Days stuff.
My last comment is minor but it bothers be slightly how divorced from the narrative the whole first scene is. It's not a big complaint but a little something to tie in to the story as a whole would have been nice. Some small talk about rumors of a resistance would have worked nicely to that effect. Otherwise it has no bearing on the rest of the story and I find that a bit irksome. Nothing makor though.
J-Dude wrote: Mandeville never really caused Trixie's death in any intentional way though. He wanted her alive, and really her tragedy was a combination of lax safety regulations in a country without OSHA (could've used some safety rail by those gears there) and plain bad luck.
[spoiler]This on is my bad, on a count of fuzzy memory from early chapters. I was speaking more about the scene with the lava pit more than her death by gears. I thought Mandeville did it on purpose. Went back and checked. Trixie did it to herself even if Mandeville pushed her to it.
Ah ok I see it now. I also suspect that there is a sort of overpowering desire to be right about certain things. He wants to change Equestria to be more like Earth so the ponies will understand and accept him. While his logic is terribly and utterly flawed, in the absence of Trixie, Twilight is patient zero for this theory. She at this point has lost more than just about anypony else in Equestria. If anypony has changed enough to be able to understand Mandeville it would be her. So in order to prove his own point to his own damn self he almost has to befriend her. If he doesn't that would me admitting to himself that he's done wrong and he just can't have that now can he.
J-Dude wrote: Thing is, Mandeville is lonely. He's used to living in self-imposed isolation, but that was when he could pick up whenever he wanted and find people, if he so chose. Now though, he's utterly alone, and he knows the only ones that would ever talk to him are scared to death of him. He's feeling cocky with his new toy, and unafraid of Twilight's power, as he knows he's got her under his thumb. In his eyes, she's his only chance of having a friend he didn't create, even if he's ultimately counting on Stockholm-syndrome.
J-Dude wrote:As to Corey, I freaking GUARANTEE you will NEVER guess who he brought. Though I'll say I'm pretty sure there hasn't been a single mention in the story before this of them (them, as in, instead of "him" or "her" or "it", not in the plural sense). And this basically becomes the impetus for this entire next chapter.
Maybe not but I can certainly try.
Given it can't be anyone mentioned yet it can't be Shining Armor or Zecora even if she hasn't made an appearance yet. It also has to be someone who is readily capable of helping Corey in a pinch. It also can't be anypony too much in the background because, where would the surprise be in that. Two best guesses at this point. Chrysalis, followed by Gilda.