News Archive

Aug
22nd
2014

The sands of today's story hold a magical and timeless mystery.

Desert Rose

[Romance] • 17,452 words

As the prince of Saddle Arabia, Altair wants for nothing, but a chance encounter shows him the one thing that he lacks: love. Desert Rose intrigues and excites him with the mystery of her past and the beauty of her form. Only she can teach him the secrets of the desert: open his eyes to a world with riches beyond gold, and power beyond a scepter.

The sands cannot be caged, but the desert winds will set Altair free.

FROM THE CURATORS: Although this is tagged Romance, the first thing that impressed us about it was how much narrative depth there was beyond the love story.  "(The protagonist) Altair is going on a classic hero's journey," Chris said, "but the particular angle is interesting, and the setting is well realized."  Present Perfect agreed: "It's got a lovely fairy-tale feel and a very memorable character arc.  I can remember it right now despite having read this months ago."

Like the previously featured A Faded Touch Of Blue, this "is a great look at Saddle Arabia," as PresentPerfect put it, with loving attention to worldbuilding that brings the desert nation to life. "The prose is delightful, and the setting is brilliantly realized," JohnPerry added, "exotic yet conveyed with a certain familiarity at the same time."

But Desert Rose is exemplary in an entirely different way. "It's much less nuanced than Faded Touch," Chris said, "but it's got evocative writing, fun characters, and a timeless moral."  That's because Desert Rose, at heart, is about the mystery of its titular character, and her mystery is a compelling one.  "She's as intriguing to the reader as she is supposed to be to the protagonist," JohnPerry said.  "A hearty recommendation from me."

Read on for our author interview, in which Golden Vision discusses lyrical inspiration, Whooves polarization, and punching evolution in the junk.

Read More
PresentPerfect · 391 views · Report
Aug
22nd
2014

Hi guys. It's that time of eternity again. Y'know, when Xondar returns to reap your flesh and strap you to his painwheel of everlasting fire.

"How can I save myself from this horror?" you might shriek, as Xondar's fire draws ever closer to your tender heart.

Well, the answer to that's easy! Read more pony fanfiction. And to help deliver you from the wrath of a dark god, the Royal Guard has collected some promising-looking pony fanfiction for you to read. Check it out!

Final note--read fast. If you're interested in more regarding The Royal Guard and their story recommendations, here're some links for you:

-The Royal Guard Group

-Submit Your Story!

-The Royal Guard's Reviewing Omnibus

-Join The Guard!

AND NOW, WITHOUT FURTHER ADO... STORIES!

This Week:

Action/Adventure

The Majestic Tale (of a Mad-Pony in a Box), by R5h

Slice of Life

Teacher's Pet, by Pascoite

Shoots and Roots, by Bachiavellian

Comedy

The Curious Incident of the (Robot) Dog in the Night-time, by Bradel

Putting The 'Harm' In Harmony, by Mr Maximus

The Brony International Guard, by psychicscubadiver

Sad

If Memory Serves, by Pascoite

Dark

A Glimmer of Hope in the Black, by Flashgen

Wild Fire, by Horse Voice

Johnny Never Knew What Hit Him, by Horse Voice

The Wreck, by JohnPerry



ACTION/ADVENTURE



The Majestic Tale (of a Mad-Pony in a Box), by R5h

Traveling between parallel universes is impossible, especially during the process of regeneration, but the Tenth Doctor doesn't have time to question the facts. He's just been thrust through a tear in the fabric of reality, gotten a new body, and landed on a planet called Equestria. Specifically, he's landed in the worst possible place in all Equestria – somewhere that's ready to unleash a “big ol' storm of chaos.”

That's just the beginning of the Doctor's strange new lease on life: there's a whole host of mysteries to explore. Who is Derpy Hooves, the gray pegasus who understands more about him than even she knows how to explain? How does Princess Celestia already know him? And what's the truth behind the Order?

Above all, the Doctor needs to discover if this new universe can heal the wounds he suffered in the last. Only one thing is certain: there's an awful lot of running left to do.

Will I like this? Explosions, world-ending calamities, ancient foes of unknowable rage and power—the Doctor has faced them all, but now, a new challenge arises, the most fearsome of them all: walking.

Or Discord.

With subtle jokes, a wide cast, and enough action for two universes, don’t walk but run to read this story. —q97randomguy



SLICE OF LIFE



Teacher's Pet, by Pascoite

Fair or not, most classes have that one perfect student, that one little flower that the teacher can't help but adore. Cheerilee's class is no different.

Will I like this? This expertly crafted tale may be short, but the emotions are genuine, and it will tug at your heartstrings like few stories of its length can, especially once you start peeling back its layers. —Prak


Shoots and Roots, by Bachiavellian

Time alone can't heal all wounds for Carrot Top. Sometimes life simply goes on in the worst and best possible ways.

Will I like this? The past and present blur together into one cohesive whole called life. Carrot Top’s life is like many others’, filled with loves, kindnesses small and large, losses, and changes. She and those she affects paint a panorama of life together, one that only the readers can appreciate. —q97randomguy



COMEDY



The Curious Incident of the (Robot) Dog in the Night-time, by Bradel

For four years, a pair of alien observers have been living in Ponyville under assumed identities, performing cultural studies and avoiding unwelcome attention. But when a piece of advanced technology is stolen from them, the observers must do everything in their power to get it back—preferably before their superiors decide to blow up the planet.

Will I like this? What can I say? It's funny, it's a different take than you're likely to have seen on a few characters, and... well, to say more would spoil it, so let's just say that I certainly didn't regret reading this, and neither will you. —R5h


Putting The 'Harm' In Harmony, by Mr Maximus

I can't believe this! How dare they forget who they're dealing with! I'm the very Element of Generosity! But to ask me to share my suite with the likes of... her? It's inconceivable, preposterous, ludicrous! They seriously think I, Rarity, fashion designer extraordinaire would be willing to share even a suite with such an... uncouth beast! Unfortunately, the Canterlot Ritz—and every other hotel—is booked solid, so it is either this or nothing. I suppose as long as I keep to myself, I will survive the week. Right?  

Will I like this? The "odd couple" is one of the most sure-fire ways to create a good comedy. Rarity and Gilda, as it turns out, are an excellent odd couple in this story, which is not only full of hilarious personality clashes, but some great action, too. —GaryOak


The Brony International Guard, by psychicscubadiver

Twilight is an intelligent mare, and always has something to say. But when a group of bizarre creatures shows up at her library offering life long service and devotion, for once she's at a loss for words. Which is too bad, because she'd really love to ask: what's a human and why are they so weird?

Will I like this? It's a fun little story, one that takes an interesting look at the whole "brony fanaticism," how we perceive our ponies, and just what some of us might do for them. It's a nice story with a few good laughs. If nothing else, it will leave you with a smirk on your face. —BronyWriter



SAD



If Memory Serves, by Pascoite

Odd how some things stick in one's memory—certain places, personalities, sounds, even smells. Touching on one of these elements can cause a lifetime of experiences to come flooding back.

And just as quickly, they're gone.

Will I like this? Alzheimer's is a serious illness that has tragically affected the lives of many, and this story handles it in an exceptionally engaging and fulfilling manner. It's sad, the feels are rich, and those looking for their daily dose of sadfic will not waste their time with this piece. —GaryOak



DARK



A Glimmer of Hope in the Black, by Flashgen

Case Report: Summary of Events

Submitted by: Verdant Vines

Location: Ponyville

Dates: April 16th to April 23rd

Case: Ponyville Mass Disappearance

Classification: Top Secret

To whom it may concern,

What follows is an update on the status of the investigation into the disappearance of the entire citizenship of Ponyville.

Will I like this? The follow-up to what might be one of the best Lovecraftian-style tales written in the last year. Excellent pacing, excellent atmosphere, and subtle horrors that disturb without spoiling the story, mood, and characters. A must for horror fans. —Garnot


Wild Fire, by Horse Voice

Five years ago, a storm brought a strange winged pony to The Village. Now, she lives at the edge of this small society, cast out, but unable to leave. As a year of terrible misfortune befalls the Villagers, they look for somepony to blame, and long-standing tensions begin to come to a head.

Soon, one side must break, for in The Village, there is neither friendship nor magic.

Will I like this? It's not every fic that takes an animator's OC and gives her a dark, compelling backstory, so if that all sounds interesting to you then you should probably take a look at Wild Fire. —R5h


Johnny Never Knew What Hit Him, by Horse Voice

Am I dead?

No. I can feel my limbs. They're numb. I can't move.

Have I been captured?

There's a sound. Voices. Women. Talking about me.

Oh God—there's something attached to my spine!

Will I like this? "Herald" by ShortSkirtsandExplosions might be the best grimdark story on the site, but if you think that anyone writes dark stories as masterfully as Horse Voice, you are sorely mistaken. A little rushed because of a contest word limit, but it takes a bunch of tropes and makes them work really well. This story is definitely worth checking out. —BronyWriter


The Wreck, by JohnPerry

A.K. Yearling leads a quiet, peaceful life as a novelist living in Canterlot with her fiancé.

But recently, she has been haunted by dreams of a strange shipwreck, and she doesn't know why.

Will I like this? Dreams are the portals to your innermost desires. But that's where it stops. It would be unnerving if the boundaries between reality and dreams blurred, but they can't. Dreams are dreams, and they will always stay that way . . . right? —NightWolf289

Obselescence · 874 views · Report
Aug
20th
2014

Some of you Fimfic fans (or as I call them, FIMfans) may already know this, but Saturday 23rd August is the UK pony convention BUCK, and I will be present to host the fanfiction panel. This is something I have taken very seriously and done lots of preparation for......

I'm not saying this panel will literally be the event of the year, but let's be fair, unless man walks on Mars by December 31st, it probably will be. If you're going to BUCK, make sure you are there at the fanfiction panel. You can meet me and the following amazing writers (and Blueshift):

Arcanium

Blueshift

Greatodyer

Metaphor

Obabscribbler

We will be talking about many exciting fanfiction-related things, such as:

> How to be an amazing writer

> What you need to do to make your story as popular as possible

> How not to sell out to The Man

> How to access the secret Fimfiction Gold section of the site

All this and more, 11am on the Saturday! I'm not saying that if you are present at the con and don't attend, I will find out and siteban you, but that may be something you want to consider.

More details on the panel are here: http://buckcon.org/events/word-crimes

I know you are excited, so here is an adorable picture of Fluttershy to calm yourself down with.

If you're not sure what to expect, this is roughly how the panel will go:

Warning: May include less Pat Sharp

knighty · 1,002 views · Edited 2d, 14h ago · Report
Aug
15th
2014

Today's story looks to the future, with a tale of first contact gone horribly awry.

Outside The Reaching Sky

[Adventure] [Alternate Universe] • 106,310 words

(Curator Note: Although this story is a sequel, it requires no knowledge of the original work.)

Eighty years after the events of The Dread Chitin, Equestria is a radically different place.  The arcane science of the late Duran Thirk and the information found on the Star League library core have combined to catapult the nation's science ahead by hundreds of years.

Now, facing the possible aggression of a completely unknown alien power, Twilight Sparkle and her friends have to gather together once more, leading a crew of the best ponies they could assemble in a voyage outside their own star system.  They seek to learn about their potential foe, to explore the galaxy around them, and possibly find allies and friends to stand alongside them.  Who knows what they will actually find?

FROM THE CURATORS: Outside The Reaching Sky is science fiction in the best classic tradition — "straight-up space opera," as Horizon put it. "It's got the same sort of verve as Star Trek: gratuitous space battles mixed with character drama."  Equestria stumbles into a galactic war and conspiracy as they bootstrap themselves off their planet, and the ponies' new frontier is richly realized. "The worldbuilding and technical additions feel 'real' in a way too few stories do," Chris said, and Present Perfect agreed: "Karazor's done a good job crafting alien mindsets, not just in the actual aliens the ponies encounter, but for the ponies too."

Like much classic sci-fi, it lingers richly over the details of its civilizations and  technologies.  That attention to worldbuilding was too much for some curators, but a majority of us dove in and found ourselves quickly swept up.  For instance, Present Perfect did a double-take after getting sucked into a multi-hour reading marathon: "Wow, I'm halfway through already?" Chris was similarly sucked in: "I read a couple of chapters right before bed, and found myself too worked up over what an idiot Fluttershy was being to get to sleep.  Any fic that gets me that invested in its characters deserves a feature."  Horizon summed it up: "If it doesn't grab you within the first chapter or three, it won't; but if you enjoy it, it'll reward you right through to the end."

Read on for our author interview, in which Karazor discusses birthday panic attacks, eighty-year changes, and the language of infinite monkeys.

Read More
PresentPerfect · 846 views · Report
Aug
11th
2014

The next time you want to write comedy mixed with a thoughtful moral lesson, today's story is a great one to take a page from.

The Princess Of Books

[Comedy] [Slice of Life] • 17,954 words

Celestia had a problem. Somepony wrote a novel about Nightmare Moon's rebellion. This made Luna quite unhappy, and unfortunately for her sister, Luna has not yet gotten the hang of modern traditions like freedom of speech, the abolition of the death penalty, and not bothering Princess Celestia when she's trying to sleep.

Fortunately, Celestia also had a faithful student, one who is now a Princess with an ill-defined portfolio and perfectly capable of dispensing justice by the laws of both today and one thousand years ago.

Now Twilight Sparkle has a problem.

FROM THE CURATORS: We found The Princess Of Books not only entertaining, but exemplary on two levels.  The first was how its tale of remedial Lunar education felt remarkably faithful to the show itself.  "Though the comedy tag certainly fits, it isn’t laugh-out-loud, but it is a rather masterful mixture of light humor and show-tone slice of life, with just a hint of going beyond the show’s boundaries in ways that make sense," Present Perfect said. "It’s also an excellent look at Twilight adjusting to her role as a princess in ways that mirror what we’ve seen in season 4, despite having been published prior to it."  Part of that excellence was its well-roundedness: "It includes all of the mane six without feeling bogged down," JohnPerry said.

Its other exemplary feature was, as Horizon put it, "the story's core maturity" in its examination of the issue of censorship (which remains all too relevant in our own world). "It's refreshing to find a story with a strong moral that doesn't overplay its hand," JohnPerry said, and Chris agreed: "The lesson at the end was a great mix of blunt, important, and thoughtful." Amid all its silliness, it treats its characters and their decisions with respect: "Twilight's presented with several easy outs, any one of which could have plausibly worked given the conceits of canon, but refuses them and stands on principle, to everyone's immediate discomfort and ultimate benefit," Horizon said. "Aside from Luna's early anachronistic wrath, everyone acts reasonable, and the different sides of the conflict are all presented as having legitimate reasons driving their actions."

Those conflicts end up escalating into a climax and epilogue that "made me want to stand up and cheer," Horizon said, and Present Perfect agreed: "The ending is rather unexpectedly epic."

Read on for our author interview, in which anowack discusses meta-goals, mythological gifts, and mixing morality and grins.

Read More
PresentPerfect · 927 views · Report
Aug
10th
2014

August already? Where has the time gone?

Here are all of the submissions I've received since last month's post. Check some of these groups out next time you're looking for something new to do.

If you've got a group you want advertised next month, send me a private message with a link to your group and a brief description of what it does and why people should take a look at it.


Fimfiction's Madhouse

"What fun is there in making sense?"

Regardless of how much there is, there's so much more fun to be had in making anything but sense. To anyone and everyone who agrees with that sentiment, fell frea 2 joyn da grupe wif le abuve tit-le.

A most splendid group it is, as well, complete with padded walls, straightjackets, and complimentary white make-up and green hair dye for all who join the gathering of insanity.

But what's a group without the story collection it boasts? Fimfiction's Madhouse hosts a wide variety of fics that will make your brain attempt seppuku are fun for the whole family! Anyone can add stories, but only ones which disregard sanity, sense, and/or canonical portrayals of characters are allowed to be added.

What's that? Will there be contests? It all depends on whether the penguin-snake hybrid can balance a stick of butter on its nose while wearing a cheerleader outfit and holding seventeen cups of sangria as it eats a baseball.

Come on down and have fun! And don't worry, Nurse Ratched is hog-tied and being watched over by Pinkamena. Now if you'll excuse me, the cupcakes are ready.


If you have a story with potential, but only a few likes or views, The Hot Muffins can give you another opportunity to share your work.

Everyone is free to submit their stories anytime, and as soon as they pass by a simple review process, they will be added to the group folders, and maybe, featured in our periodic Featured Muffins blog post. This way, every week you can find new authors and fics.

Our group already have over 400 members, and we're always looking for more contributors. Come and share your stories with us!


Zero Punctuation Reviews

Have you ever looked at a comment on your magnum opus and thought, "Boy, this comment would sure be better if it accentuated the negative, contained gratuitous analogies and left me emotionally crippled..." Well, you're in luck, you masochist! Submit your story to Zero Punctuation Reviews and prepare for a gut-wrenching critique that tears your beloved story's guts out and berates them right before your very eyes!

Keeping in the spirit of ripping of other people’s work, we've formed a group dedicated to separating the art from the shite, all after the style of a certain foul mouthed Australian reviewer.

So if you’d like your story to be brutally dissected by our team of world class critics, or if you yourself would like to join in on the messy butchering sessions, then come on over to our page at Zero Punctuation Reviews.

It’s a regular family, only you get more snide sarcasm and all the brony tears that you can drink.


The AppleDash group is organizing its third contest - all around the theme of Competiton!

Many detractors of AppleDash say that they can't work because 'they compete too much'. This contest is based around the idea of subverting that - show how competition can bring them together, or bring out the best in both of them!

Details are found in the thread: http://www.fimfiction.net/group/956/appledash/thread/122895/appledash-contest-3-competition


The Flutterdash group is exactly what it says on the tin, we're a community built around and dedicated to stories exploring a relationship between Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash.

At present, we're having our second ever writing contest. So if you're a creative type looking for a little extra inspiration and you're partial to exploring romance, then we'd love to see what you can do.

More detailed information on the contest can be found here.

We hope to see you around.


The Baker's Group is a group for sharing baking recipes and chatting about whatever. It was inspired by a suggestion of a certain admin of the Writer's Group. Baker's of levels are welcome and the sharing of tasty creations and their recipes are strongly encouraged. But please try to point out any allergies in said recipies for allergy sufferers, because the last thing anyone wants is to be the reason someone had to go to the hospital.

The Baker's Group is not just for baking tips. It is also a place to chat about anything, from reminiscing about early school days to fangirling over anime to debating about pony headcanons. Whether you like baking or not, come on down and check out the Baker's Group!


Badass Twilight = Total Domination is a group dedicated to anything and everything  badass about Twilight. ( Who would have guessed >.>)

This group is active year round and hosts multiple contests year round. Some of our contests we will actually make a joint effort and work with other groups unassociated with us, but typically the contests are limited to groups owned by one of the admins.

Speaking of admins the group has recently purged itself of all useless admins opening up a wide assortment of jobs. The positions offered for admins are anything from sorting stories to finding artwork for group. If you are interested in working with us then go to this Thread and follow the directions.


That's it for August. Don't forget to send in your submissions for September!

Eldorado · 1,038 views · Report
Aug
7th
2014

Today's story is a tiney glimpse into Equestrian high society.

The Wrong Fork

[Slice-of-Life] • 1,138 words

During a lull in the conversation at an upper class charity dinner, Rarity takes a moment to contemplate some commonly held assumptions made of Princess Celestia. Specifically, her table manners.

FROM THE CURATORS: As previously mentioned here, stories this short — "The Wrong Fork" barely clears 1,000 words — are easy to write, but difficult to write well.  The effect of each word is magnified when a story is so brief, and PoweredByTea uses that here to great advantage.  "This story manages to invest a trivial moment, an idle bit of speculation, and a no-stakes 'climax' with such draw that it sucked me right in," Chris said.  "The Wrong Fork is a great example of how small moments can be used to build character and introspection."

This fic also drew praise for its strong closing.  "The last line really tied the whole thing together; a nice way to put everything into context," JohnPerry said.  And Present Perfect marveled at the themes introduced by Rarity's closing actions: "This is the Equestrian high-society version of a soldier throwing himself on a grenade, or a movement leader going to political prison," he said.

Ultimately, though several of PoweredByTea's stories were worthy of a feature, we selected this one for the exemplary mileage it gets out of its brevity.  "My god, this is deep for a thousand words," Present Perfect said.

Read on for our author interview, in which PoweredByTea discusses social climbing, anthropological studies of the English, and sheep-bone headwear.

Read More
PresentPerfect · 893 views · Report
Aug
4th
2014

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


Razgriz kicked down the door and charged onto the Paris rooftop, spinning in a circle to make sure he wasn’t watched or followed. The red squirrel on his shoulder pulled out a USB flash drive from the tiny backpack it was wearing.

“All right. We got ‘em. Now we just gotta find a way to get these back to HQ and we’re golden.”

“Stop right there!” shouted a voice from the stairwell behind them.

“Move it!” the squirrel barked, pointing at the next roof over.

Razgriz took the two foot long gap at a running jump, hit the ground hard, rolled and was up and running on his feet in about five seconds.

“You gotta climb more trees, man,” snarked the squirrel.

“Shut up Red!” snapped Raz. “It’s not like reviewing gets you out and about, you know.” He looked over his shoulder at the suited men chasing them. “Well, except maybe for days like this.”

He carefully climbed down onto a fire escape and took the stairs at a gradual yet hurried pace, almost tripping in places and unsuccessfully trying to kick open a window three floors down. Fortunately, the men chasing them were also so remarkably uncoordinated they could barely make the first step before stumbling over each other.

Raz and Red charged through the dilapidated hallways of the isolated apartment building, finally crashing into their cramped safehouse full of model tanks and Rarity plushie. They locked the door behind them and Raz hurried to the computer, slamming the USB drive home after flipping it back and forth a few times.

Red hopped onto the radio and used his adorable little paws to turn dials and push buttons.

“HQ, HQ!” he squeaked. “The reviews are coming in, but we got Self-Rec Society punks right outside our door! I hope you’re ready!”

“Roger that Field Team 1,” answered a bass voice from the speakers. “We copy. Commence upload… now.”

ROUND 49


STORY 1

A Psalm of Life, by Cynewulf

Poets Corner, the proprietor of the popular hangout Corner Books and unofficial poet laureate of Ponyville, has died of natural causes. His wife disappears, unwilling to bear the burden of his death and what it means. With the town in disarray over the recent flooding, very few ponies even bother to attend. Twilight and Rarity, however, are there, and Rarity soon finds that she cannot shake her friend's last admonition.


RazgrizS57:

I think this fandom needs more stories that are quiet and introspective. Don’t get me wrong, I love action and adventure and comedy as much as the next guy, but it’s worth slowing down every once in a while and relax. A Psalm of Life is an incredibly soothing read, like a gentle lullaby or a kind caress.

What’s more, this story is able to tackle an utterly depressing atmosphere and make it warm and welcoming, but doesn’t actually invite anyone inside. From the beginning, it’s obvious enough this isn’t a happy story, but it’s able to stop itself from taking the sadness around it and running with it. Instead, it uses its emotions as the central plot, analyzing them and its characters rather than letting them play around the atmosphere. I found this to be a nice step away from the convention, at least as far as introspective stories are concerned.

Rarity is the story’s protagonist and it’s her emotions it focuses on. And by focus, I mean through a foggy x2 plastic magnifying glass. Rarity rambles, openly tossing her thoughts out for discussion seeking answers to questions she hardly understands herself. In the end, she doesn’t really succeed in anything, and yet she does. The concluding messages A Psalm of Life gets across when everything wraps up come together in a very, very satisfying way.

However, I do have one complaint with the story, and that’s that it’s a bit too much on verbose side of things. It isn’t exactly purple, but it’s complex. Rarity’s voice in particular comes off as being a bit much, but at least she isn’t tossing “darling” left and right. There’s also some awkward transitions in dialogue, but those hardly get in the way.

In total, this is a relaxing thing to read. It tries to do a lot and doesn’t really accomplish much of it, but that’s kind of the point, and anyone who’s fond of stories that seek to answer the tougher questions in life will definitely want to check this one out.

RedSquirrel456:

To start with, this story is written by Cynewulf, which in my opinion is reason enough to immediately think ‘oh, this should be good then.’ If you take the advice of rodents whose stomachs can’t digest even the smallest of acorns, then take my word on that.

This isn’t a rambling story, but it is about a pony who rambles. Rarity is struggling with finding meaning in her work following the death of a poet whom she was familiar. Coming to grips with mortality she takes a walk home with Twilight Sparkle and discusses her feelings. That is the long and short of the story. No real happy ending to find, since the end already came for Poets Corner, and yet the story isn’t entirely sad. This is Rarity trying to be thoughtful, and Cynewulf succeeds in making us feel about how she does, and about how anyone usually feels when faced with death: confused and uncertain. And yet, when Rarity realizes she must act in the face of this uncertainty, to take life by the horn and find the meaning in what she does herself, she gets a little scared. And don’t we all? Don’t we all need to go through these trials at some point, to find out what kind of person we really are?

Maybe I’m just rambling like Rarity rambled. I think one of the problems with this story is that it never really answers its own questions and put a real period at the end of its very long sentence. I’m not going to be trite and say the point is there is no point, because there is one: live your life and find the meaning in things that you can, and never get yourself into a meaningless rut. Now is the time to live.

Introspective, conversational, somewhat melodramatic, yet still finds a way to be meaningful.


STORY 2

Beyond Boundaries, by Compendium of Steve

Winona has always been faithful to her masters. A hard-worker when she's needed, and playful when it's time to relax. The epitome of the family farm dog. But how far will she go if one of the family were in danger? What boundaries is she willing to cross for the sake of another?

The answer awaits in the impending storm...


RazgrizS57:

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always found stories from the perspectives of less-sentient animals to be weird. There’s just something about how they’re generally written in order to encapsulate the minds of these animals that comes off as being strange to me. But that isn’t to say such stories can’t be written well, or that it isn’t possible to write a good story from an animal’s perspective without hindering it. Beyond Boundaries is one such tale, and I loved it.

This story follows Winona as she stalks after the Crusaders as they venture off into the Everfree Forest when, as the description alludes to, danger strikes and Winona leaps into action to save the day. The story also jumps between the present and the past, giving us enough information to tell us what’s going on, while still leaving us in the dark about what exactly is happening during Winona’s trip in the forest. It all comes together at the very end for an awesome, entirely unexpected twist that just clicks so well.

This is a story about love and sacrifice, and the bonds between dogs and their masters. Unsurprisingly, this story is very, very sweet. Like any sweet thing, it doesn’t do too much to get across what it wants either and is simple with its intentions, its themes, and its characters. Winona has the most depth of them all, and for such for such an unusual protagonist, the author handles her masterfully. Beyond Boundaries is one of the finer stories out there about her.

There are also a few grammatical quirks and awkward phrasings to be had here. But there aren’t many, nor are they even glaring, and they don’t get in the way at all of this lovely story.

Anyone who wants to see a story following a dog for a change instead of a pony should check this out. It’s not even that long, and it’s got a heartfelt message about the bonds between pet and master that I’d bet just about everyone can relate to in some manner.

RedSquirrel456:

Everybody likes dogs, right? They love you unconditionally, they can be trained to do all kinds of adorable tricks, they cross the very boundaries of life and death itself to bring you back from oblivion…

Wait, what?

This story is a tale of undying love—literally—that while rather simplistic in terms of story and presentation, still manages to maintain a nice balance between action and drama. The basic gist is that Winona follows the Cutie Mark Crusaders while they’re off on their latest cutie mark crusadering binge, and the whole lot of them end up stuck in a terrifying storm whilst wandering the Everfree Forest. Bad things ensue, and it’s up to Winona to save the day.

The draw of this story isn’t so much the plot as it is the idea behind it: that a family pet of all things can sometimes be the most dependable critter in the house. Winona has a simple-minded way of looking at the world that very much fits a dog. Apple Bloom is her charge and must be protected no matter what. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, she’s gonna go out there and do her dog duty. No, not that kind of duty.

Winona is about as well written as a dog can possibly be without going into ham-fisted Lassie territory, though what the Cutie Mark Crusaders do to get themselves in trouble can only be described as “Darwin Award stupid.” But hey, we all screw up so badly even the village idiot laughs at us sometimes, and it’s times like those that let heroes shine. Where the story suddenly veers into paranormal territory threw me a little, but it ended up being a pleasant surprise instead of an eye-rolling mistake.

In all, a good story to pass the time with, and a reminder that you really can make a rollicking, world-spanning adventure out of one evening’s worth of writing and a character that only speaks in barks and growls.


STORY 3

Lightning Bugs, by Alpha Scorpii

There's something wrong about Pumpkin Cake. She has been behaving strangely for the past weeks, smiling much less than she used to. A worried Mr. Cake tries to figure out what the problem is, and if he can help.


RazgrizS57:

Honestly, I don’t think I ever expected to see a story like this, or at least with the characters it chooses. It’s a story about relationships, between father and angsty stubborn teenage daughter, this case being Carrot Cake and an older Pumpkin Cake. Oddly enough, it has little to do with actual fireflies. I’m sorry if that disappoints anyone, but stick around. This is something special.

As I previously said, this story is about relationships and for what this story does, it’s very real. Carrot wants to encourage Pumpkin to go off and explore, find what she loves to do and build her life around that. But Pumpkin wants to stay home and take care of the family business, even if she isn’t cut out to do so, evident by the story starting off with them cleaning her latest mess off the ceiling. At least she isn’t Sweetie Belle, but I digress.

What follows is some really sweet father-daughter conversation that I’m sure just about anyone can relate to, and it’s handled between some lovely flashbacks with Pumpkin and fireflies. The fireflies do tie into the story and in a pleasantly unexpected way, as the story builds itself up to the inevitable conversation. Carrot’s and Pumpkin’s characters and portrayed expertly for what the story needs to do, despite neither of them really having any character to build off of. But Lightning Bugs accomplishes this, and I find that commendable.

The only real hinderance to this story I can think of is that at times, it tells a bit too much. But that’s more of a minor quibble given what happens here.

This is a gentle heartwarming story, being cute and relatable without absolutely drowning the reader with its sweetness. I’d recommend this to anyone who’s got a fondness towards the Cake family, and to anyone wanting a nice slice of life to read in general.

RedSquirrel456:

This is another story based around a relationship, since that seems to have been an unintentional running theme here in our reviews. But instead of pony to profession, dog to master, or mare to self, we have father to daughter. Carrot Cake is dealing with something every father must: an angsty, almost teenaged daughter who is frustrated with where she’s going in life.

The interesting thing about this story is that it takes us several years into the future when Pumpkin Cake is a blank flank and Pound has already proven himself to be an able baker. Pumpkin manages to be as angsty as the CMC when it comes to getting her cutie mark, and she’s driving herself up the wall trying to find a way to secure a cutie mark her parents can be proud of. You can probably guess where Carrot’s inevitable conversation with her is going, but that doesn’t stop it from being sweet when it happens due to some well-handled flashbacks and well-realized characters. We can empathize with Pumpkin and Carrot both, and neither of them feel out of character… in spite of having relatively little character in the show itself. This is because we’re given a concise, quick view of who these characters are and how they react to each other fairly quick in the story, a must in a one shot.

Pumpkin Cake also has apparently developed a fascination with lightning bugs, which plays perhaps a bit more tangential of a role in the story than I was hoping, but still manages to play out in a sensible way. The story makes everything just feel natural, which isn’t easy with OCs, much less characters about whom many have their own headcanons established. Heartwarming without being saccharine, this is more of what I want to see out of FIM Fiction’s slice of life scene, and out of the writers here in general.


STORY 4

The Wreck, by JohnPerry

A.K. Yearling leads a quiet, peaceful life as a novelist living in Canterlot with her fiancé. But recently, she has been haunted by dreams of a strange shipwreck, and she doesn't know why.


RazgrizS57:

I’ve come to the realization that unsettling stories are relatively few and far between, at least as far as the Dark tag is concerned. Sure, violence and blood and horror and tragedy can definitely make one uneasy, but stories that stories that exist for its ominous tones are much less common than the ones that use ominousness to help drive their story. Stories that want to keep a reader guessing, that give just enough of a tease to make them cautious of its twists and turns, because that’s what the story is about, I find are some of the most beautiful stories to read. It makes me happy to say that The Wreck this one such story, and an excellent one at that.

The story begins with A.K. Yearling, the author of the Daring Do series, in therapy. There’s this recurring dream that’s haunting her, preventing her from writing, and she slowly starts to lose her grip on reality as this dream becomes all she can think about. It warps her perfect world, and just how the author is able to juggle all these mind games while still keeping them together is admirable. What’s more, this story ties in nicely with the canon, a little thing it really didn’t need to do but just made it all the better. There’s also a really lovely element of world building to this thing that only gets sweeter as the story progresses.

However, for all that this story does, it’d never have accomplished any of it if it weren’t for the excellent characterizations, especially of its protagonist. The limited perspective truly shines in that regard, making the characters—and in turn, the reader—see only what they need to see, or at least until The Wreck twists everything like sweat-soaked rag. This story has a lot going on in it, but at the same time it doesn’t, and at just over thirteen thousand words, I find it hard to believe it isn’t longer. It’s just written that well.

Well, it’s not perfect though, from a technical standpoint anyways. I might’ve noticed a spelling error or two, but I bet it’s only because I’ve developed an eye for the stuff. Even then, this story had me completely immersed and just did not want to let me go. Honestly, I didn’t want to leave it either.

This is an outstanding example of a rather underrepresented sort of Dark story. It plays with the mind, and anyone who likes those kind of stories will be in love here. So will anyone who’s in the need for a great piece of fanfiction starring everyone’s only favorite archaeologist.

RedSquirrel456:

Some of us know exactly what we want out of life. We want the awesome job that takes us exciting places. We want the wife or the husband who will never fail us. We want the house next to the sea. What say you achieve all those things and life is just peaches and cream from here on in. But suddenly, things seem different. You’re looking at things from a slightly different perspective and then there’s a change. You don’t know where you are anymore, or why you’re doing what you’re doing. And you may tell yourself: “This is not my beautiful house!” And you may tell yourself: “This is not my beautiful wife!” And you may ask yourself: “How did I get here?”

The Wreck is a story about A.K. Yearling, bestselling Daring Do author, dealing with these very issues, except for the part about a wife because she has a husband now. Imagine if all those second season assumptions about Daring Do were true and Yearling is just a regular author with a regular life and her biggest problem is writer’s block. Most importantly, Daring Do is just a character in her mind to entertain children and Rainbow Dashes. Except now Yearling is having a recurring dream about a shipwreck and something inside it she just can’t quite remember, and nothing feels quite right with this perfect world, and then there’s the fact that she keeps seeing Daring Do in real life…

This is a suspenseful psychological descent into not quite madness, but somewhere very melancholy and thoughtful. John Perry is a very good writer, and he handles the heavy subject matter in this story with aplomb, given how relatively few words he’s given to work with it. I’m surprised that ‘sad’ isn’t also a tag in this story, since by the end that’s all I was left feeling. Yearling is drawn ever closer to the wreck she sees in her dreams while going further and further from the life she has already achieved, playing with our perceptions of what makes her life worth living.

There is no monster at the end of the book, but that doesn’t stop the dark tag from being earned in spades given the subject matter. Every conversation and every interaction is meaningful, or at least feels that way. Perry’s great accomplishment with this story is making the reader feel conflicted: we dread the terrible secret waiting for Yearling in the shipwreck, but at the same time we hope for it if only so Yearling’s existential torment will end. Join her on this odyssey into the mind so she needn’t suffer alone, won’t you?


“One hundred percent,” announced Raz, clapping his hands. “We’re done.”

“Golden, like I said,” squeaked Red, jumping at a loud crash on their grammar-proofed door. “Now, uh, we gotta exfil.”

“There’s a boat waiting for us on a dock at the Seine river,” said Raz. “All we gotta do is blow this joint.”

Red poked his head out the window. “Dang. Six foot drop onto a fruit stand. You ready for this?”

“I didn’t spend hours earlier today pretending I was a parkour artist for nothing,” replied Raz as Red hopped up on his shoulder. The squirrel muttered something about peanuts.

Raz took a modest flying leap as the door smashed open behind them.


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 · 1,451 views · Report
Aug
3rd
2014

You'll learn something important from today's featured story … something that you won't want to forget.

More Than You Know

[Dark] • 8,869 words

Princess Celestia has been keeping a dark secret from her subjects for a very long time.

It's not an easy truth to tell, but if anyone can accept her after learning it, it will surely be her most faithful student.

FROM THE CURATORS: Our memories of this fic, despite the horror of its core premise, are unanimously pleasant. "This is the sort of fic that gives the Dark tag a good name," Horizon said. Present Perfect concurred: "It never turns to gore or jump scares or even a visage of evil to send shivers up the spine.  It's about trust and authority and power, and the best part is —"

(Wait, where was I?  Was someone speaking?  Oh, right —)

"— it makes perfect (if twisted) sense within the context of Equestria," Chris said.

And that faithful reflection of the canon world and cast was part of what made it such exemplary My Little Pony fanfiction.  "It's a thought-provoking and terrifying horror story that still somehow feels true to the spirit of the show," JohnPerry said.  Horizon added: "It plays beautifully off of young Twilight's eager naïveté.  Her character voice really reinforces the sense of wrongness."

That wrongness was controversial — "I feel like Celestia does have a point," Bradel said, and he would have preferred to see more discussion of the morality behind the story's premise — but even so, he found the story exemplary for its effectiveness.  "Obselescence picks his pieces very effectively to make the story more horrifying," Bradel said.  "The sheer weight of menace in the ending is absolutely amazing."

Read on for our author interview, in which Obselescence discusses sticky misspellings, overstated victories, and how to give writers better advice.

Read More
PresentPerfect · 1,227 views · Report
Jul
30th
2014

Today's story is about rocks.  It's about lots of different kinds of rocks.  Because not all rocks are the same.

The Collected Poems of Maud Pie

[Comedy] [Random] • 1,018 words

Maud Pie has written thousands of poems.

Here are some of her poems.

They're about rocks.

FROM THE CURATORS: When you think about Maud's poetry, if you do at all you probably don't think of it as anything more than a gag about Maud's emotionless obsession with rocks.  This story nails that joke; Horizon said it "works on the level of a character study; it's a reflection of its dull, singleminded author."

But there's more here than just a thousand words worth of dull.  As Chris explained, "it starts off with just enough of what you'd expect to set the rest up as variations on that theme, and Farming Rocks was such a perfect and unexpectedly serious poem that... well, that I remember the name without even clicking the link to the story."  Horizon concurred: "A piece like "Farming Rocks" sneaks up on you, just when you had your expectations set, and blows you away," and highlighted several other poems that catch the reader off-guard in a refreshingly thoughtful way.

But whether it's being stolid or surprisingly deep, the one thing this story always was was entertaining and well-written.  JohnPerry said "the poems themselves are actually really well-written, and do an excellent job capturing the voice of Maud Pie." Horizon added, "the occasional author's note, and the author's contributions to the comments section, both reinforce the voice of the poems"; Chris concluded "These are clever, memorable, funny, and as many other superlatives as you want to throw out there."  

Besides, as JohnPerry put it when he nominated this story: "it's Maud Pie. Do I really need to say more?"

Read on for our author interview, in which Titanium Dragon talks about how overrated gold is in the D&D draconiverse, the importance of being an editor, and what he has in common with James McAuley and Harold Stewart.

Read More
PresentPerfect · 1,001 views · Report