Oct
17th
2014

Settle down, children, and we'll tell you tonight's story, of a mystical adventure to a faraway land.  Did you brush your teeth before we tucked you in?

In The Place The Wild Horses Sleep

[Adventure] [Human] • 2,814 words

Young Mia is determined to run with wild horses and nothing is going to stop her. Not her mother. Not even a pony with stars in her mane, come to take her away on an adventure …

FROM THE CURATORS: You might have heard of this story a few months ago when it scored third place in Obselescence's "Most Dangerous Game" contest, turning in strong showings with both the judges and the voters.  It easily won over our hearts, too. "Any story that can overcome my initial distrust of the 'once there was a little girl who wanted to be a pony, and then suddenly Equestria!' premise deserves to be featured," Chris said, and Present Perfect was even more effusive: "It’s gorgeous and uplifting.  I cannot praise this highly enough."

One of the factors making it exemplary was its unique bedtime-story narrative voice. "Its language play really works," Horizon said.  "At its best I couldn't see it on the screen without hearing it read aloud in my head."  For similar reasons, JohnPerry described it as "an utterly fantastic children's story that has a great Maurice Sendak (may he rest in peace) vibe to it. … The pacing is perfect, the tone and language is very fitting to a children's tale, and there's a depth to it that is intriguing."  Chris agreed: "This is a great example of what a children's story should be — enjoyable to a young listener, but with something to offer the adult reader, and pleasant to read aloud to boot."

Ultimately, it was the story's success at that adult-child balancing act that made it so magical — and inspired some curator introspection. "I was recently contemplating what makes children’s stories work, how magic and mysticism simply exist, and how the things that are important to us as children are not the same things that are important to us as adults," Present Perfect said.  "This story embodies all of those things. It’s about appreciating what you have and learning that dreams are only that. In other words, it’s about growing up."

Read on for our (illustrated!) author interview, in which Lucky Dreams discusses the Ghost of Fanfic Past, having faith in your audience, and a literal embarrassment singularity.

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PresentPerfect · 805 views · Report
Oct
16th
2014

Site Update » User Stats · 10:31pm

Today I've been working on a stats page for each user. You can access it in your user toolbar dropdown or from any user dropdown (the button on the top right of a user card). You'll get a variety of stats for your account:

This chart shows you your story views (purple) and stories posted (blue)

This chart shows you your followers over time

And finally, blog posts over time.

Enjoy.

knighty · 2,556 views · Edited 3d, 18h ago · Report
Oct
16th
2014

We've added some new formatting options to the chapter formatting dialog. People have asked for better dark schemes, and we now have a few that are tinted towards a color, as well as "Ultra Dark", which has a true black background. Alongside these new options, we've improved all dark schemes to fade out the overall site background when you're reading the chapter, which gets rid of those annoying light-colored bars on the sides of the page, which made those options significantly less useful.

In addition to color options, we've added font options too, including a few common serif/sans-serif fonts that we missed, as well as a bunch of "Cursive" fonts, which attempt to emulate handwriting in some way. Some people have a hard time reading "computer font" text, we hope that the handwriting-like options will at least help.

We've also added some accessibility features to both the color and font lists, there are two new high-contrast color schemes, and we've added support for common dyslexia fonts, if you have them installed on your computer.

Edit: Quote box formatting has been improved inside stories, especially for dark schemes.

Xaquseg · 1,552 views · Edited 5d, 12h ago · Report
Oct
14th
2014

Seattle's Angels is a group that promotes good stories with low views. You can find us here.


“Yo, C^2, we’re up this round,” said Red.

“K.”

“I’m gonna look for stories.” Red paused. “You coming?”

“Yea.”

“…But he she didn’t! I was out there, all alone! How could he she let a tiny little thing like me wander out there all alone? Doesn’t he she know how dangerous it is out there?”

“Is it really that dangerous?”

“Come on, alex! I’m a squirrel! Everything is dangerous!”

“Whatever. Did he she at least find a story?” asked alex.

Red threw his paws in the air. “That’s the thing! I come back, after hours of slogging through self-inserts and Mary Sues, and there, waiting in my inbox, are three stories from him her. I don’t get it!” Red attempted to calm himself. It didn’t work. “I bet he she didn’t even leave. I bet he she found those stories when he she worked with Pav last time he she was up. I bet he she sat in the tech room all day, doing whatever it is helicoprions do, while I went out and actually worked.”

“Geez, dude, calm down.” alex thought for a moment. “Have you gone in to check on him her?”

“…No. Do you think something happened to him her?”

“Let’s go find out.” Red hopped onto alex’s shoulder, and the two walked in to the tech room. The door creaked as they opened it. The only light in the room came from the computer.

“C^2? Is that you?” Red asked the figure in front of the computer.

“Yea.”

“What is that? Is that…” Red squinted to get a better look. “Is that Sunset Shimmer?”

“Yea.”

“O…kay. You get the reviews done?”

“Yea.”

“Good.” Red hopped on to the desk. “So, uh, how long have you been in here?”

“I dunno.”

“That’s concerning. You alright?”

“Yea.”

“You sure?”

“Yea.”

Red looked at the screen again. “That’s quite the gif.”

“Yea.”

“Have you had it open this whole time?”

“Yea.”

Red looked to alex for help. alex just shrugged and walked out of the room. Sighing, Red said, “Are you sure you’re alright? This can’t be healthy.”

“I’m fine.”

“Yeah, sure, whatever. You need help.”

Red turned to leave, but C^2 grabbed him. “Look, Red. It’s so mesmerizing.

ROUND 54


STORY 1

Daily, by LimeAttack

Wake up. Eat breakfast. Trot to work. Eat a sunflower sandwich for lunch. Trot home. Take a shower. Sleep. Routine.


RedSquirrel456:

I can’t help but think that it kind of sucks when a pony is literally named for their talent. We here in the good States of ‘Murica don’t like the idea of being pigeonholed anymore than the next shotgun-wielding maniac, so I can only imagine that it’s a cultural thing for ponies to pay no mind to being called what they do. Then again, that’s exactly what people did back in the days of swords and sorcery, so who am I to judge? This story deals with a pony who not only fits his name and cutie mark to a tee, he’s been so happy with it he doesn’t even care he never goes outside its boundaries.

Tedious Care is his name, and doing everything the same every day for his entire life is his game. We don’t get much about this pony or the world he inhabits, since it’s first person and we are restricted entirely to what he thinks about things. Unfortunately, this pony doesn’t do a lot of thinking. He has a post-it note that tells him what breakfast and lunch is going to be. He doesn’t like going out for lunch at work. He turns down offers to do anything different or think anything about what he’s doing. It may make sense because he’s, well, a tedious pony, but as a reader I often found myself floating in the same haze Tedious (called “Teddy”) was.

This’ll make the first part of the story rather hard to get through if you don’t like protagonists who can’t be bothered to show you a good time. But this story is also a journey about how a chance happening starts to inspire him, to write a new ending to the rote story of his life. If you can get past that first half, you might be touched by what Tedious ends up deciding.

My jimmies were considerably rustled by use of ‘lavender unicorn’, however.

Csquared08:

I’ve long since accepted the fact that I’m a sucker for these sorts of stories. From The Diary of John (RIP, you wonderful story) to Saturday, I’ve found myself really enjoying stories about boring old ponies doing boring old things. It’s the simple things in life, ya know?

So what it is about Daily in particular? Is it just another one of those “boring” stories? Well, for the first half of the story, yes. Yes it is. Tedious Care lives for his simple routine and does everything he can to maintain the status quo. Anything different from the norm, like bumping into the town librarian, sends him off his game. And that’s where this story sets itself apart from other “boring” (there has to be a better term for this sort of story, yes?) stories. Tedious Care is so thrown off his game that he considers doing something different.

We learn that once upon a time, boring old Tedious Care wasn’t so boring. He didn’t live by routine. He didn’t plan out every minute of his day. He didn’t get upset when something didn’t go exactly according to his detailed plan. So, when Tedious Care realizes he has the chance to return to that life, he actually considers it.

It turns out that Daily isn’t actually a “boring” story. It masquerades as one, sure, but it’s mostly focused on Tedious Care’s choices along the way.


STORY 2

Slammed, by Enter Madness

Rainbow Dash tries her hoof at something she's never done before: poetry


RedSquirrel456:

Let’s get this out of the way: I don’t write poetry. I don’t know poetry. I don’t even really like poetry! Prose all the way for me, because dammit Jim I’m an author not a philosopher! So when anyone else, and I mean anyone, even tries to write poetry, I have to laud them just for putting in the effort. It’s almost like learning a whole new language with all those stanzas and codas and what have you. But in this story, not only do we get Rainbow Dash doing a not-very-Rainbow-Dash-thing, which is writing poetry, but we get to watch her read it aloud to an audience including her friends.

The poem itself I can’t really judge. It’s a simple one-two rhyming scheme that ends up being fun reading, because who doesn’t like rhyming? What’s really the draw here is that it ends up turning into a character study: it explores why Rainbow Dash flies in general, ignoring the fact that she loves to win. It also turns into an experience to tell herself that even though she loves flying, it doesn’t have to be the only thing that defines her.

Some people may take issue with this characterization—I’m not sure who—since they might see Rainbow Dash as all brash all the time, but I think the majority of bronies out there will appreciate seeing a side of Rainbow Dash that’s not quite sensitive, but definitely more introspective and thoughtful than we’re used to seeing. In all, a sweet tale that’s more of a glance at who Rainbow Dash than a full story, but it’s sure to leave you with a smile on your face.

Csquared08:

I feel like we need a general disclaimer now that Nietzsche is gone: We at SA do not know poetry. BP, you don’t count.

So, given that, why are we up here, telling you to read what appears to be a story about poetry? Well, for the same reason Rainbow Dash decided to write and present the poem, I’d imagine.

The poem is pretty simple, as Red said. Easy peasy rhyming scheme and not much else. Pretty much what I would expect from Dash. And then I looked at the rest of the story and the poem in more depth. And boy, did I like what I saw. This story touched on a side of Dash I’ve wished authors would write more about. She’s not just a brash braggart, as many like to write her. In Slammed, we see a more introspective Dash. She’s telling the audience why she likes to fly. While that may sound simple enough, the poem goes far beyond the simple “Flying is awesome, flying is cool.” It delves much further into the “Why?” and into her insecurities. Her thoughts as she presents the poem are also particularly revealing. So while I went in expecting a silly poem written by Dash, I came out with a particularly excellent little character study.


STORY 3

The Death of Sorrow, by Kaldanor

I thought that I was past sadness. I thought that I had defeated it, but now I realize that I had just hidden it away to let it grow stronger. Now it's trapped somewhere deep inside of me where I cannot get it out. The longer the sadness festers inside of me, the stronger it gets, but the key to letting it out was lost a long time ago.


RedSquirrel456:

Oh boy, the sad tag. Like many, many other genres, the sad tag is abused in ways it should not be. In general, I use a tag only if that reflects on the story as a whole—none of that ‘tags may be added later’ nonsense or putting in ‘random’ just because the story has some characters that act a little off-kilter. For this story, there is only the one lonely sad tag, and I went in expecting to come out with eyes as moist as a body vigorously rubbed down with Aveeno body lotion.

It wasn’t quite as bad as that, because this story left me more in a position of ‘what do I do now?’ than ‘how sad that was!’ I don’t mean that as a negative; the story is supposed to be a pony reflecting on how they got where they are. Let’s get one thing out of the way: the entire story is in first person, and it’s being told to you with hardly a break for characters to develop organically. It’s a story about a story. I can hear the alarm bells ringing, so just calm down! No, calm down, put the red ink away, STOP—

Okay, we’re good? We’re good. Moving on, the author fully admits that it’s a story that isn’t so far from reality, also something I usually frown upon. But the lesson contained within was good enough that I at least didn’t feel immediately tempted to slap a downvote on the whole shebang and move on. And considering the horrors that usually lurk in this site’s dark corners, that’s saying quite a lot. We’re introduced very quickly to “Carter,” who carts things around for a living. Why he’s so blasé about himself and how he got that way is what I’ll leave to you to find out, as it forms the basic conflict.

There’s not a whole lot of resolution to speak of, but in a sad story about life, when is there ever any? I can at least say that the story stuck to its guns—it is sad and not much else. Speaking as a squirrel, I had to go and eat an entire gallon of almond gelato to feel better after reading it. And I even ate the gelato too.

Csquared08:

This story is rather unorthodox. It’s a story about a story, so lots of things are told to us. It also relies heavily on the character of the narrator to make the story compelling.

If you’re the sort to skip straight to the Author’s Note before you read the story (what kind of monster are you?), you’ll note that the author informs you that the happenings of the story are based on actual events from his life. If you’re a normal person, however, you’ll notice that the narrator’s voice feels genuine. The narrator is earnest, if you will, in making sure we readers understand what he’s telling us. The events of the story he’s telling are pretty depressing, and he’s able to convey that depression pretty well throughout the story.

The narrator’s voice really is the key to this story. I mean, it is about all we’ve got, after all. I think, though, that the fact that this is based on actual events serves to give the narrator more credibility. The fact that the author experienced these events allowed him to write a story that felt that much more genuine. This naturally flowed into the narrator’s voice and made the story more compelling as a result.

So this story about a story thing. Well, it worked. The lesson the narrator learned is a pretty valuable one, and he was able to turn it into a compelling, genuine narrative. If nothing else, show up for the lesson and stay for the unorthodox, compelling narrative.


STORY 4

Eclipse, by 8686

A recurring nightmare convinces Luna that, since her return, she has never regained her sister's complete trust. And at the forthcoming Festival of the Eclipse, she decides to make amends with a bold gesture.

But Luna's solution causes consequences she never anticipated. Consequences the whole world will feel. Now, Celestia and Luna must set forth on an adventure that will take them even into Tartarus itself, and set everything right before it's too late.

And if they're lucky, they'll rediscover the trust they once had a thousand years ago.


RedSquirrel456:

Adventure and wonder await beyond the boundaries of the earth in this epic little yarn starring the first pony princesses to help bronies everywhere sexualize the word "plot." Both Celestia and Luna are the central characters here, and while the mane six do crop up on occasion, the monarchs do the heavy lifting. This right here is something that caught my eye: an adventure? Starring just the Princesses? But they're super-powerful demigods! What situation could possibly arise to challenge their incredible might, to overshadow their prodigious behinds?

Well, for starters they could go to Hell! Or in this case Tartarus. Because that's where the moon is. Because Luna sent it there. To Hell.

Princess Luna had good reason though, straddling the line between "sweet act of love and submission" and "utterly boneheaded act of temporary insanity." Luna starts the story fretting that her jealousy about the moon being overtaken by the sun will resurface. In a desperate attempt to stave off a Nightmare remission and please her sister, Luna decides the only way to not be jealous is to remove what drives that jealousy: the moon! Naturally Celestia calls her out on being a total dork and the two dive into Tartarus to get it back.

This is a rollicking good story with plenty of strange and interesting characters the Princesses encounter. It's sure to give you your fill of both worldbuilding and sweet sisterly moments without those pesky mane six getting in the way. I know I had fun reading it. If you can get over the idea that Luna literally loves Celestia and values their relationship so much that she will actually give up her very reason for being to make Celestia happy, the rest of the story will be smooth sailing to the very depths of Tartarus and back. I love adventure stories that take risks, and quite frankly deciding to turn the rulers of Equestria, typically the distant mentor figures, into adventurers worthy of the title is a challenge in and of itself. I applaud the author for taking it on.

Csquared08:

Oh boy, we saved the best for last. Seriously. Stop reading my drivel and go read Eclipse.

…You’re still here? Dagnabbit.

So, obviously, I loved this story. A lot. As a whole, it’s a story about Luna and Celestia going on an adventure and experiencing all sorts of wonderful sibling bonding along the way. The author is able to capture potential trust issues leftover from the Nightmare Moon debacle and turn them into incredibly compelling conflicts within the story.

That’s not even the best part.

What is the best is King Ragnarok, the dragon king. He may only be in the story for a couple chapters, but he was a brilliantly written supporting character that absolutely stole the show from Celestia and Luna. And Ragnarok is merely one example of an excellently written side character. Though 8686 does a fantastic job with writing the alicorn sisters, and he does an even better job with developing their conflicts and trust issues, 8686 is able to make his side characters just as compelling no matter how little spotlight they’re actually given. From Cerberus to King Ragnarok to Valkyrie and more, no character is left unattended. This attention to detail shines throughout the story, and it’s significantly better as a result. Sure, the main narrative was amazing, but just about everything else was equally amazing.

Anywho, since you’re still here, you guys think you can do me a favor? I need a riot.

ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ノ KING RAGNAROK or RIOT ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ノ


“alex, you seen Red?”

“No, Pav, why?”

“Weren’t you with him last?”

“Yeah, we went in to the tech room to see what was up with C^2.” alex looked at Pav in horror. “You don’t think…?”

“No, alex, don’t be an idiot. But I haven’t seen either of them all week.” alex and Pav rushed to the tech room. They went to kick the door open…but it was already open.

“Oh. That was awkward,” said alex, bringing his leg back down to the ground.

“Yeah, you tell me,” grumbled Pav, getting up off the ground. “I threw my shoulder into the air.”

“Oh, thank goodness! You guys can get me out of here!”

“Red? What’s going on?” asked Pav.

He She won’t let me leave!”

“C^2, explain yourself,” demanded alex.

C^2 just pointed to the screen. “It’s so mesmerizing.”

“Yeah, sure, whatever. We’re getting you out of here.” Pav attempted to drag C^2 out of the chair. The helicoprion didn’t budge.

“It’s so mesmerizing.” With a desperate look in his her eyes, C^2 continued. “Help me…”


Feel free to visit our group for more information and events, and to offer some recommendations for future rounds. See you all next time!

Alexstrazsa · 1,135 views · Report
Oct
10th
2014

(A quick note before we get into the good stuff: You can now find all the Pony Fiction Vault and Royal Canterlot Library-approved stories -- all the ones hosted on Fimfiction, anyway -- in the "Interviews" shelf of the communal libraries. Just access any of your shelves to find it!)

Today's feature is a little different — in celebration of a full year of author spotlights, we're turning the lens onto the RCL itself!  When we announced the Ask Us Anything last week, dozens of questions flooded in from community members, ranging from the serious (how do we choose our features?) to the silly (fight a duck-sized horse or a horse-sized duck?) to the literary (how many prereaders should look at a story?).  After subjecting over 50 authors to our interviews, fair's fair — we rolled up our sleeves and answered them all.

Read on for our responses, in which we discuss guilty pleasures, salivating zebras, and Sturgeon's Law. (As well as milking a question or two for puns.)

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PresentPerfect · 1,378 views · Report
Oct
9th
2014

Hi guys. These are certainly interesting times we're living in, what with the onset of Bookshelves (as prophesied by our forefathers) and the return of notifications for posting Group Threads to our feeds. It's been noted that there are a few common questions people seem to be asking about how to navigate this brave new world the update's brought us, so we're going to try to address those in a space where everyone can see it.

It will be a dangerous road, and undoubtedly there'll be many questions that aren't fully covered here, but I believe we can do it! Together we are stronger than we ever were separately, and we shall surely brave this beautiful storm.

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Obselescence · 5,794 views · Edited 1w, 2d ago · Report
Oct
8th
2014

The Library Update

Howdy, folks! It's been a while, hasn't? The last major update to Fimfiction was... gosh, I'm not even sure! We've been making incremental updates here and there, like adding support for Sequels, improving the way we send you email updates, and probably some third thing. However, today we're finally unveiling a pretty huge update to Fimfiction, one that's been in the works for a while, and one we've been teasing for quite some time. Welcome to the Library!

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Poultron · 11,678 views · Edited 1w, 5d ago · Report
Oct
6th
2014

Site Post » Soon.vmf · 10:29pm

knighty · 5,922 views · Edited 2w, 19h ago · Report
Oct
4th
2014

It's October, and you all know what that means...

We've actually got a pretty spooky-low turnout this month in terms of group ads, actually. Way lower than I expected. If you've got a group you want to draw some attention to, please let me know! All I need is a link to the group and a short, 100-200ish word summary of what the group does and why people should check it out. Even if you've already advertised in one of these, if you take the time to request a spot every month I'll give you a spot every month.

Here's what we've got for October, though. See if any of these sound appealing to you, and give them a look.

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Eldorado · 1,597 views · Edited 2w, 1d ago · Report
Oct
4th
2014

(Whoops, I posted the spotlight too early this morning to include this very important piece of news!)

Next week will be the first anniversary of the Royal Canterlot Library’s first interview.  That’s right — 52 weeks’ worth of interviews with some of the fandom's best writers.

We thought we’d do something fun to mark the occasion.  So, to celebrate one year of asking brony authors questions about horsewords, we’re giving you the opportunity to turn the tables on us!

For the next week, we invite all of you to ask us anything (individually or as a group). We’ll compile your questions and answer them in a special post on our website on Friday, Oct. 10, which will take the place of our usual feature next week. And yes, you may ask us anything.* Who’s best pony? Which was our favorite interview? Which one of us is the cute one? Anything you like!

(* Do note that, in order to keep a positive tone and keep our focus on the fandom's top stories, our answers won't discuss details of failed nominations — but we'll do our best to balance our mission with the full honesty of an AMA.)

Just post your question in this thread on our FIMFiction group within the next week, or post a comment down below. (Reblogger's note: please, do post questions in the thread, and not the comments of this journal. I'll make sure any that are get included, it'll just be way easier to keep everything together that way!) We look forward to answering your questions!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled interview...

PresentPerfect · 816 views · Report