[Interview] AestheticB's Sparkle's Law · 12:35pm
Originally posted to the Vault on 02/17/12.
In which Twilight Sparkle has a really, really bad day. Which means a good day for you, readers!
[Comedy][Slice-of-Life] • 17,700 words
It is the day of the Summer Sun Celebration, and Princess Celestia is coming to Ponyville. Twilight Sparkle is overseeing preparations yet again, and has meticulously planned every last detail to ensure that everything is perfect for her mentor's arrival. Nothing is going to wrong.
Except when the big day comes, Twilight has gotten four hours of sleep and Fluttershy is nowhere to be found. Pinkie Pie sets off after her with nothing but a dark coat and the voice of a chain-smoking stallion, and the Apples and the Carrots are at each other's throats while Rainbow Dash is attempting to fill in for Fluttershy.
As her plans collapse around her and Ponyville descends into chaos, Twilight Sparkle must focus on obtaining the one thing that can make everything better: the all-powerful, awe-inspiring magic of caffeine.
Hit the break for a few words from AestheticB, and links to Sparkle's Law out in the wide world of ponyfic. Check out the Vault's Downloads page for copies in your favorite eBook format too!
Where do you live?
Toronto, Ontario, Skyrim.
What kind of work do you do? (i.e. are you a student, do you have a career/day job, etc)
I'm a university student going through for a degree in computer science. When I'm on holidays, I happily flip burgers at my hometown's Burger King.
How did you discover My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? When did you realize you were a fan of the show?
Way back in December of 2010 a friend of mine linked me the third episode. I think I got about five minutes into the show before shutting it off because I had better things to do with my time. Then I went and played World of Warcraft for six hours.
Still, I liked the shock value of a nineteen year old boy watching My Little Pony, so I changed my steam profile picture to Princess Celestia. Some time later the same friend saw my profile picture and said something along the lines of, "Wait, you actually watch ponies?" I figured, "What the hell?" and answered that yes, yes I did. I then proceeded to watch every episode that had been released up to that point.
I realized I was a fan of the show about a week later when every single thing on my computer was pony-related and I didn't bleed out my ears when the main theme came on.
Do you have a favorite episode?
Lesson Zero. After reading Sparkle's Law, my answer should not be surprising.
Who is your favorite character based purely on the canon of the show itself? Would your answer change if you considered the fandom in its entirety (i.e. art, fanfiction, memes, etc)?
Twilight Sparkle. She is an exceptionally well done character, and the folks behind the show do a great job of playing her off of whichever of her friends are around. Also, she likes books. I have a thing for books.
The fandom might change my answer to Princess Celestia. In the show you never really get to know her, but there are so many fan works that explore her character in different ways. I dislike Trollestia and Molestia, but Celestia as a chessmaster is one of my major weaknesses when it comes to fanfiction.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
I needed a name to go by and it had to start with the letter A, because that's my favorite letter. "Aesthetic", in my opinion, is one of the coolest sounding words out there. I ran into a small problem, in that my first fanfic already had an OC by the name of Aesthetic, so I essentially stole the name from one of my ponies and renamed him Esteem.
I'll add that despite what my email address might make you believe, the B doesn't stand for anything. It simply indicates that I am the Bth iteration of Aesthetic, rather than, say, AestheticA or AestheticC.
Have you written in other capacities (other fandoms, professionally, etc)? When did you first start writing?
I wrote two fairly terrible short stories in high school, but I'd hardly count them because they were for school projects, and were each around five pages long. I consider the first time I started writing as a hobby to be back in September of 2011, when I started work on my first fanfic.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I read fanfiction and published fiction alike. Occasionally I'll get together with some friends and play League of Legends, but I try to cut down on video game time nowadays.
Who is your favorite author (published or fanfiction)? Do you have a favorite story or novel?
For published fiction: Patrick Rothfuss. He writes my favorite book/series, The Kingkiller Chronicle. It's fantasy written in a way that hasn't been done before, and it's written well. A close second is probably Jim Butcher, and The Dresden Files.
For the fandom: Cold in Gardez. Hands down my favorite story from the fandom is The Glass Blower, but all of his stuff is just fantastic. No other author can write a fanfic and have me automatically read it.
Stephen King believes that every author has an "ideal reader" - the one person who they write for, the one person whose reactions they care about. Do you have one, and if so, who is it?
If I have one, it's me. I write what I'd like to read. Doesn't everyone?
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, or writers who are struggling with their own stories?
I could answer this question with any number of stock pieces of advice, so I'll try to stick to the one that I feel is most important:
The universe hates you and doesn't want you to finish your story. It doesn't even want you to start. Unplug your Ethernet cable and your speakers, then lock yourself in your room and write. I'm not joking here: if you're having trouble starting a story you'd like to write, my advice is to stop reading this interview right now and write. You will always be able to find something on the Internet to draw your attention away from your work.
What is your typical writing process? (Do you work through multiple drafts, do you have any prereaders/editors, etc?)
I do lots of planning. I own forty-three separate google documents dedicated to fanfiction, only eighteen of which are actually fanfics themselves. The other twenty-five are planning documents of some kind. Seven of them are for a story I haven't started writing yet. Lots of planning.
My system has gotten more meticulous as time goes on. Now I outline everything before I start writing, then go through a color-coded bullet-point list of the things a specific scene has to accomplish. After a story or a chapter is done, it gets shared with my collaborators. They brutally vivisect the story or chapter, and in its agonized screams I hear the blueprint for a better whole.
What inspired you to write Sparkle's Law?
I would very much like to answer this question with something sensible and sweet, such as, "I just wanted to make people smile!", but the real answer is quite a bit different.
The first piece of fanfiction I ever wrote got onto Equestria Daily and met a terrible reception. It barely dodged a three-star rating. Even though I had assured myself that I didn't care what other people thought of my work (a blatant lie, or I wouldn't have submitted in the first place), I was crushed.
I wrote Sparkle's Law because I was having self-esteem problems. I wanted to prove to myself that if I wanted to, I could write something people would really enjoy. My favorite author once said that anything that motivates you to write is a good thing. Considering the result of my slump was Sparkle's Law, I'd have to agree with him.
Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing Sparkle's Law?
A couple, but one stands out: I had no idea whether or not any of it was funny. Seriously, not a clue. I like to think that I'm a pretty funny guy in person, but writing comedy is completely different. Were my jokes coming off as forced? Were my characters acting too crazy? I lived in perpetual fear of a reader putting the story down just because it just wasn't funny.
When you set out to write Sparkle's Law, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?
No messages, no themes. Despite all the planning I do, I didn't even know how the story was going to end until I got there. Everything in Sparkle's Law is intended to serve the comedy. To that end, the story is very simple and I deliberately avoid ending with a lesson or a letter to Celestia. In my mind, it was much more effective to end on the high note that I did.
Where can readers drop you a line?
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
First off, that it is an honor to be placed in the Vault alongside the great authors of the fandom that I admire so much. Secondly, the timing could not be better: I'm six thousand words into writing Rarity's Theorem, the sequel to Sparkle's Law. I'm in the process of one-upping all the jokes I made three months ago, and it's quite the unique experience. Hopefully it will surpass the original.