FimFiction Link - Short ID: 534583/i-dont-want-to-be-a-tree-anymore
Published: Apr '23
'I Don't Want to Be a Tree Anymore' is a one thousand and three hundred word oneshot. Fluttershy became a tree, but now she wishes she wasn't one.
Horror is one of the hardest genres to nail in prose as you cannot rely on any cheap crutches that movies can leverage. The challenge is even greater if you not only restrict yourself to an E rating, but also to hardly more than a thousand words. So how did this story do? Mixed, in my opinion.
Let's start with the good: The author nailed the beginning of the fic. Both Discord completely misunderstanding what's acceptable for a pony and Fluttershy's explanation of how quaint existence as a tree is slowly shifting ot the first hints that the trees are slowly moving closer to her are eerie on their own way. Had this fic ended after about 4-500 words, I would have called this an extremely strong idea worthy of expansion.
Alas, the story then belly flops into a very common horror pitfall: Explaining too much. The Everfree being a mysterious and inexplicable force that exudes hate is cool. It's creepy and it leaves so many questions open. Tree Hitler (I'm not even joking!) leading his kin against the ponies though... Well, it's not even a bad idea on paper, but I feel the story traded in its creepiness for an ending that, while more directly implies danger to ponykind, ends up falling short compared to the atmosphere of the intro. Don't get me wrong, the story doesn't lose all its impact—Fluttershy helplessly watching as her and her friends' soon-to-be murderers slowly begin their genocidal plan is a strong image. Hell, the way Fluttershy describes the forest's hate evokes an image of AM from the 'I have No Mouth' PC game. It's just that because of the short length of the story and its E rating, the threats came off as more cartoon villain-y, than genuinely disturbing. I'm only this upset because had the story kept its mysterious atmosphere, I feel like the whole thing could have had a sort of "supernatural horror" feel to it, which considering FiM's already more than whimsical world, would have been quite the accomplishment.
Overall: 5/10 I think it's safe to say that the basic concept is very strong. Being forced to watch your own demise while paralyzed, the knowledge that your friends are in mortal peril, realizing the you've been living next to such danger your whole life, and the fact that your own friend got into this situation are all obvious signs that, even if the author themself confessed he isn't much into horror and are completely inexperienced in it, he is clearly not a bad writer. For what it's worth, I applaud the intentional flipping of the rules while technically adhering to them. At the end of the day, this review is more than a third the length of the story itself, so, if you've made it this far, for the sake of the initial great idea you might as well read the story at this point.