News Archive

Aug
31st
2014

YOU THOUGHT I WOULDN'T, SKEETER

knighty · 1,263 views · Edited 17h, 27m ago · Report
Aug
29th
2014

While a number of fanfics focus on Prince Blueblood doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, today's story takes the unique step of following that process through a battle with depression.

Glory

[Sad] • 8,782 words

No one's important. No one's special. Except for the princesses.

Blueblood's always known this. He's always accepted this. He'll never be special. He'll never do anything important.

But now he has to. There's too much at stake.

He knows he'll fail, but he has to try. Because...

FROM THE CURATORS: Blueblood as indifferent nihilist: certainly a unique take on his character, and one that won us over despite our initial doubts.  "It doesn't quite match what's in the show," JohnPerry said, "but it's intriguing enough for me to give it a pass on that angle.  The tone of this piece and the themes of depression are deeply compelling and maturely handled."  In our discussions, Chris summed up why: "Glory offered a very interesting take on the kinds of circles depression can lead one into; the idea that 'if I invent something, it doesn't matter because someone else would have done it later anyway' seems a classic example of something that might be obviously fallacious, but can sound true in your more vulnerable moments."

The story offered rewards beyond the depth of that theme — such depths that we all found different things to appreciate.  "It's got a really original villain, something that's hard to come by," PresentPerfect said.  "Add to that a light but succulent dose of worldbuilding and a strong meshing of internal drama and setting, and there's a whole lot to like here," Chris said.  And JohnPerry added: "I appreciate the fact that the author gives a choice between two superbly written endings."

Read on for our author interview, in which Rune Soldier Dan discusses pragmatic ponies, robots vs. monkeys, and in vino veritas.

Read More
PresentPerfect · 718 views · Report
Aug
27th
2014

BUCK is over for another year (and maybe forever? Who knows…) so of course I have to do a little write up on the weekend. It’s not going to be too long because I don’t have a ton to say this time compared to last time really but that’s fine by me!

I quite literally begged Blueshift to go, and it ended up that he was a panel member along with me which was excellent. I’ve been desperately wanting to meet him forever so BUCK was a great excuse to do so. Along with my friend Grandiose, Arcainum, his girlfriend Eevee, Zeeraw and Ruby (horse news person) we spent most of the time together drinking quite a lot on the Friday and just generally hanging out during the course of the convention. It was nice to spend time with them all because they’re all good fellas and ladies.

Our writing panel was actually the first of the weekend and I’m quite glad it was because it let me enjoy the rest of the weekend a bit more stress free! Thanks everyone who came along because I think it went really well. The format worked well for getting a lot of information out in the allotted hour. BUCK this year wasn’t doing Q and As which meant I had to come up with a bunch of topics beforehand, but I did let people ask relevant questions during the topics themselves which seemed to work for pushing the conversation along.

Following that we had the charity auction. After noticing a Derpy plushie for sale as I walked to the front I decided that was my target this year, and weirdly it was actually the 2nd item that went up for sale. £820 and arm pain later, she was mine! In total the auction raised over £11k to help against diabetes which is fantastic! I consider it a life investment incase I ever get it :P The cosplay contest was next and uh…..well…..it was interestingly run. There were some good cosplays as usual and lots of...kissing on stage….disgusting straight ships too. I almost vomited. The last event of the Saturday was the Lunar Eclipse. We stayed for Rc88’s set but not too much more because sadly the audio had a lot of issues :( so we just went off to Wetherspoons for a bit before calling it a night.

My charity auction plushie collection :p

The Sunday morning was the speedfic contest. This was at the totally unsociable time of 9am and in the same room as the LoE panel. Naturally we expected nobody to turn up but we actually got a good 30 or so people. Sadly we didn’t exactly have 30 pens provided so I had to run to the shop and buy some just before we started. Our prompt was “Ponyville’s small town charm is disrupted by something British”, which was relevant to the con but open enough to spark some creativity we hoped. The next 2 hours involved reading through that mass of stories to pick a winner which was a girl by the name of Jade, a Fluffle Puff cosplayer.

A lot of fanfic....

I had to go straight to the guest buffet after that where I spent most of the time chatting to either RC88/Pixc or various other people who came up to ask for signatures which was really flattering, especially the kid who asked me to sign his iPad cover! If I’m completely honest, I think the guest buffet is an off event and I half expected it to not happen again this year. You get all the guests sitting around 1 place while other people try and pluck up the courage to say hello. I understand what the organisers want to happen but it doesn’t really seem to. I think it needs more rigid organisation to achieve that.

After hanging outside the con for like another hour we went to Polsky’s panel which was really good! His episodes aren’t my favourites and I almost felt bad for that after his panel because he seemed like such an interesting guy with a lot of intelligence behind his writing. Of course the panel also had a bunch of super awkward idiots slagging his episodes off to his face, but he handled it like a pro and the crowd were clearly really on his side which was great to see. Blueshift did a write up that you can see here: http://www.equestriadaily.com/2014/08/dave-polsky-panel-at-buckcon-2014.html. We went to get dinner at this point at the Steak and Lobster restaurant next door which was DELISH. and took us up to the VIP panel. I’m really annoyed more people didn’t ask Heather things because she seemed like such an amazingly cool dork and I wanted to hear her talk the most of all. I had to disappear half way through to figure out what was supposed to be happening with the closing ceremony which I was supposed to be announcing the fanfic competition winner at but in the end that didn’t happen. I was a little disappointed because I did want to say what the prompt was at least but oh well.

On the Monday I ended up finding Jade, the contest winner, to give her back her fanfic. She was lovely and here from the Netherlands on her own. She had a bunch of stuff she couldn't take back on the plane that was supposed to be going to someone else who didn't turn up so....I ended up with it! She gave me an MLP towel and some alcohol from the Netherlands which I believe is a spiced rum but I'm not entirely sure yet!

In all, I had a lot of fun meeting people new and old. That’s why I go to conventions.

knighty · 979 views · Edited 5d, 1h ago · Report
Aug
23rd
2014

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


“Grandpav’s back! Yay!” With giggles and excited clamor, the young children rush to secure the best seats for themselves. “Tell us a story!”

“A story?” Grandpav stares into the distance, taking a light draw on his tobaccy pipe. “Well, certainly. Once upon a time, there was a pony named Rainbow Dash. She was the fastest pegasus in—”

“No! Grandpav!” The children giggle and shake their heads. It’s a common prank of Grandpav’s. Familiar. Part of the ritual. “Not that kind of story!”

“Yeah!” says another. “We wanna hear a story about reviewing fanfics!”

“Yeah!” raises the chorus of shouts.

“Oh, reviewing horsewords,” says Grandpav, a twinkle in his eye. “Well why didn’t you say so? Hmm…” Sighing wistfully, Grandpav stares out the window, thinking back to days of yore. “Well, for one thing, our Featured Box wasn’t cluttered with this ‘pile of mops’ snowclone nonsense that you kids think is all the rage. Back in my day, we had proper bad snowclones! Like ‘peaches’! Or ‘Luna discovers a thing’!”

“What’s that last one?” asks a little girl, raising her hand.

“What… what is this?” Grandpav asks, blinking and motioning with his hands. “You ask me a question and then you raise your hand to be called on afterward? Is this all just a formality to you? Vah.” He swats away with a hand. “We had a group of reviewers who did that once. Gave reviews first, asked for permission second. You know what happened to them?”

“They got disbanded fer creatin’ an ‘ostile environ, did ‘ey?” asks a young boy with a cockney accent.

“No one likes a smarty pants,” Grandpav scolds him. “And no! Far worse than that. They were forced to transmit all of Fimfiction—all of it—down the coast, down the ways toward ‘Bama! Course, back then we didn’t have no fancy, high-fallootin’ dee-ess-ell lines. No sir, they had to use the telegraph machines. Send down those fanfics, one letter at a time, beeep bep-beeep-beeep bep-bep bep-beeep-bep-bep bep bep-bep-bep beeep bep-bep bep-beeep.” He pantomimes the motion with a shaky old finger.

“That sounds like Skrillex!” chimes one of the girls, before her face sours. “I hate old people music.”

“So, how did you find fanfics to review?” asks another child. “Did you hafta listen to that Skrillex machine?”

He laughs, ruffling the young child’s hair. “Heck nah, that’d be stupid. Nah, the boys and I would walk three miles to town, to visit the local soda jerk. We’d order ourselves a round of Four Lokos and do the Harlem Shake, until the fur traders would pass through town. We’d sell them the pelts we’d gathered, and in exchange they’d give us some terrific fanfics. The kinds you just can’t find nowadays in that newfangled Featured Box you kids keep yammerin’ on about.”

One of the girls tilts her head. “Wouldn’t they be selling fur if they were fur traders?”

“Nah.” Grandpav shakes his head. “They were collecting, y’see, to make into fursuits.” The children nod with new understanding.

“Still, though! Fanfics which we’ve never heard about?” The children look on, starry-eyed. “What were those like?”

Grandpav takes another draw from the tobaccy pipe and rubs his beard in thought. “Well…”

ROUND 50


STORY 1

Three Left Turns, by SirTruffles

Equestria's last night is nigh.  Next evening it will be ash.  Twilight slips off with but the past to bargain with.  Can she buy a future?


Pav Feira:

The journey to find new and interesting stories, whether as audience or author, invariably forces us into new and interesting territory. While many stories could take place in a familiar context, like a party thrown by Pinkie Pie, there are limits to what can be told. Shattering those limits requires braving into unfamiliar territory.

Seen here: pictorial representation of the analogy I’m trying to draw here.

Three Left Turns takes a lot of risks, mostly with how much it forces the reader to infer. The main character is inferred, though obvious hints are dropped. The dialogue is inferred, and while the narration captures it nearly verbatim, this shift in prose can be a bit grating at times. The setting is inferred, perhaps the best usage being here, under the mantra of show don’t tell. Even the conflict is inferred, and while a few rereads have been enough for me to capture the broad strokes here, there’s a number of questions I’ve yet to find answers for yet. (Disclaimer: I am not a clever pony.)

But I feel that these risks pay off. At the risk of alienating the reader, these many questions serve to hook the reader, to draw them in, to find an answer in the next paragraph as well as two more questions. It requires a more active reading style than the average fic on this site, for the reader to digest each line, grasp the symbolism, recontextualize their understanding, and yes perhaps even reread. And yet it’s an experience that an author would be hard-pressed to emulate under the confines of “Today is a beautiful day in Ponyville,” said Rainbow Dash.

All said, it’s a curious sort of tale, set in a marketplace somewhere between Faustian and fantastical. It speaks of worth and need, sacrifice and loss, and it’s all-around an interesting read.

Csquared08:

I first read this story at 1 AM. Don’t make that mistake. Read this when your mind is fully alert. It’ll make your head happier. I know mine was.

To me, this story is first and foremost an environmental story. It’s a story created by its setting, not a story set in a setting. Without the setting, there would be no story, and with a different setting, the story would be entirely different. That might sound pretty obvious, and you might say, “Well, doesn’t that apply to any story? Wouldn’t every story be different if the setting changes” Sure it does. But not to the degree that it would change Three Left Turns.

Think of it like a tour. Tours are all about impressions, especially first impressions. Colleges want you to attend and take your money, realtors want you to buy the house, and so on. And to do so, they put their best foot forward, and make sure you only see that foot. Any other foot, and the experience leave a drastically different impression.

SirTruffles is also keen on making the right first impression. Except, it’s not exactly a positive impression he’s going for. It’s a dark and gloomy place, this Old City. The opening scene with the blacksmith leaves a distinct first impression. This Old City and its inhabitants ooze misery and hopelessness, decay and despair. And as the story goes on, we see this environment take its toll on the main character. Through his vivid descriptions of the setting, SirTruffles has put us in a specific state of mind. He wants us to feel despair and hopelessness so that those feelings are amplified as we follow the main character through the market.

The setting is so tightly interwoven into the characters and the plot that any changes to it would drastically alter the mood of the story. It’s a pretty unique story, with its heavy reliance on the opening description of the setting. It’s one I enjoyed quite a bit, even at 1 AM.


STORY 2

True Colors, by Alligator Fists

Pixelbright is a young unicorn driven by a question about the nature of the world. Her friend, Peppermint Tea, is integral to her quest. But the journey of discovery is not always an easy one, and the first steps are often the most difficult.


Pav Feira:

Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules get bandied around here frequently, for good reason. Rule #3 is an important one that deals with character motivations: “Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.” Which is great advice to be sure. If your character has no motivations, no drive, then they’re just sort of… there. For no reason. And the audience picks up on this. (See also: needless inclusions of all the Mane Six in Season Four episodes.) But that said, a singular motivation is often not enough, either. A motivation is a good starting point, but don’t mistake that for being a complete, well-rounded, nuanced character. A single motivation just gives you, well, Pinkie Pie wanting to throw parties all the time.

”No, Twilight, I know for a fact you don’t party, okay? You do not party.”

And this gets to the heart of what I liked so much in True Colors. Sure, we get introduced to Pixelbright. We learn about her cutie mark and her interests, and we get this call-to-action in the form of a letter. “Okay!” thinks the reader. “I’ve got this fic figured out. We’ll probably see preparations for travel, or perhaps the journey itself, and this fic will be about—” But then, wait, Pixelbright needs to tell her best friend. And on the way, we meet up with a few townsponies… and ask about their days, and… Hmm. On my initial reading, I was actually a little skeptical of this fic. Had the author really just set up a plot hook, only to immediately forget about it, letting the fic drift aimlessly?

But as I read through to the end, I really started to appreciate what was going on here, namely the detail of the characters. As much as I may make a caricature of myself in these reviews, I could not honestly summarize myself in one sentence. Nor could you do so for the Mane Six, for they have their levels and their breadth. Therefore, when creating original characters, why should an author do any less? The arrival of a letter, no matter how exciting, is not a free pass for Pixelbright to act like a single-minded jerk to her friends and family. She genuinely cares about Peppermint’s plight. She and her friends laugh at Soul Patch’s antics. The arrival of the letter doesn’t cause Pixelbright to drop her nightly routine.

I’m not necessarily stating that these characters are overly intricate with complex and detailed layering. Quite the opposite in fact, I’m struck by how natural the characters feel, rather than artificially grown in a laboratory. Rather than appearing in a collection of scenes that are strictly dictated by the plot, it felt moreso that one scene organically grew out of the previous scene, and that the narrative was a natural result of that. Your milage may vary—Vonnegut also instructs us not to waste the audience’s time—but I sure didn’t feel robbed. I enjoyed watching the days with these ponies unfold, driven by the character interactions themselves rather than roughly dragged along by the narrative. And as a result of the time spent, I feel that I know the characters well after just a one-shot. Especially if you’ve lamented your own work feeling “forced” or “rushed”, this is something to check out for comparison.

Csquared08:

It’s rare that I find a one-shot with such seamless scene changes and such vibrant characters. True Colors manages to do this with an entirely original cast of characters.

The first thing I noticed when I saw this story was its age. It’s about two and a half years old. It certainly shows its age, too. While it’s well-written, it’s quite unpolished. There’s a smattering of grammar mistakes throughout that I’ve noticed to be characteristic of early stories. There’s probably a good reason for this, the most likely of which is the difficulty in finding editors way back then.

The reason I bring this up is that despite its lack of grammatical polish, True Colors feels polished in every other aspect. The characters are vibrant and organic. The scenes flow into each other beautifully. It all seems so vibrant, so organic, so familiar. It feels like a typical Slice of Life fic starring the characters we know so well from the show.

Except it isn’t. It’s set in a town we don’t know and stars characters we’ve never met before. In a little over 10k words, Alligator Fists has created a town that feels just as real as Ponyville. And while I was satisfied with the way the story went, I wanted so much more of this town and these characters that seemed so familiar.


STORY 3

The Lotus Eaters, by horizon

On an unassuming carnival midway in central Equestria sits the key to your dreams: A machine that lets you, for a short time, live a life in which your greatest regret never occurred.

These are the stories of what happens after those fantasies are over.


Pav Feira:

“What if?” is a natural human sentiment, popular among scientific and inquisitive minds. It’s also, arguably, one of the primary driving forces behind fanfiction. “What if Dash broke her wings? She wouldn’t be able to join the Wonderbolts, but probably she’d make out with Fluttershy at some point, because reasons.” Fanfiction, whether as the storyteller or simply as the reader, is one such vehicle to explore these alternate scenarios. It’s not strictly limited to the embodiment of stories; “what if?” can itself be a plot device, allowing the characters themselves to view these alternate possibilities that could have been.

So that’s what it would’ve been like, if my coup had succeeded...

In this one area? Well, perhaps The Lotus Eaters isn’t necessarily breaking new grounds. Where it gets me is in its conciseness. This is not a particularly long fic, especially not when it is broken up into a short series of vignettes. One such vignette is less than 250 words, in fact. And yet, the fic makes effective usage of those scenes. Each chapter says all it needs to say. This is less to do with precise word choice (some might fault the repetition in Chapter 3) and more to do with outlining and structure. A friend of mine recently lamented to me that he feels physically incapable of writing a one-shot shorter than 10k, as it feels too anemic and underdeveloped. I myself worked on a short story with a 1,000 word max cap, and felt the claustrophobia of trying to compress everything I wanted to say into such a small space. Brevity—impactful brevity—is as much a talent as any other tool in the writer’s toolbox.

But I’m not just saying “this was great because it was short.” The other, related area where this fic impressed me is in the different moods of each chapter. Between its comedic, tragic, and sentimental chapters, each one brought something new to the table rather than just “and now it’s somepony else’s turn.” Each had a different message to tell, and the sum impact of all the chapters speaks to the reader because of their differences, rather than hammering home on one preaching point from a few different angles. A pony’s past is their entire life, prior to the present moment, and you can’t say anything universal about the past any moreso than you can say anything universal about all ponies. Well, aside from saying that they are all little, and all mine.

Let’s be honest though: the subversion in the last chapter is what makes this fic for me. It’s so comedic specifically because of how the author managed to subvert their own formula, after so quickly having established the formula to begin with. If the introspection or feels aren’t quite up your alley, the comedic punchline just might be, thus this fic has a little something for everyone.

Csquared08:

In Greek mythology, the lotus eaters were a group of people living on an island off the coast of North Africa. They show up in the Odyssey as one of Odysseus’s many obstacles to getting home. Well, they aren’t exactly the obstacle; rather, their namesake is, the lotus plant growing on the island. This plant was supposed to have magical properties: Any who ate the plant would fall into a peaceful, apathetic sleep.

Certainly an ominous reference for a story lacking a Dark tag.

Yet it’s a fitting reference. In his companion story (side-story, perhaps?) to No Regrets, horizon runs four characters through this machine created by Flim and Flam. This machine is quite similar to the mythological plant Odysseus’s unfortunate sailors ate. But instead of putting those who use it to sleep, it shows them their greatest regret, followed by what would have happened in their life without that regret, whatever it was. It’s really a simple idea. What if your life hadn’t been marred by x regret? What then?

How each of the four characters deals with that question, though, is what makes this story interesting. While they all follow the same general formula, the outcomes of each chapter are entirely different, and so are their tones. The first chapter is rather sobering, but the second is rather humorous. Normally, the sudden shift in tone would be  jarring, but here, it worked well.

All in all, horizon took an interesting mythological reference, asked a simple question, and produced four short stories, each taking a different look at how that question can be approached. It’s short, sweet, and very interesting. And occasionally, it’s morbidly amusing.

An important note: I mentioned earlier that this is a companion story/side story/whatever to No Regrets. I have not read that story, and at the end of the first chapter of The Lotus Eaters, I felt I lacked necessary context. By the end of the third chapter, however, I felt the context I lacked was no longer necessary to my understanding of The Lotus Eaters. So don’t feel like you need to read No Regrets before reading this story. Or you can be like me and become incredibly annoyed that you read them out of order. Pah. I blame Pav.


STORY 4

The Incandescent Brilliance, by KitsuneRisu

An accident occurs, leaving two ponies trapped in a room with nothing to do but wait in an eternal field of stars.


Pav Feira:

This website is certainly no stranger to sad tales of loss. (Heck, this isn’t the only sad fic in this review alone!) Even when you toss out all the bad and fixate on the good, there’s plenty of fics about Celestia outliving other ponies, or Rainbow Dash coming to terms with not becoming a Wonderbolt, or one friend reminiscing over the deathbed of another. Now sure, in the hands of a less experienced author, the sad scene can simply be used as an oversized mallet to bludgeon the reader with “all deez feelz”, but that’s not really the most effective use of such a scene. With The End looming on the horizon, the character is able to put their affairs in order. To contextualize. To reflect.

Seen here: R63 Trixie, basically. Well, metaphorically. Okay, not really at all. Dumbledore was just the first reference that popped into my head, okay? And rather than back down, I stuck with my gut instinct. Sheesh, way to be overly critical of my .jpg choices.

Without spoiling the outcome, the setup of this fic certainly paints of bleak picture. In the name of science and/or magic, Trixie and original character Russet have effectively unraveled spacetime. It’s one of the scenarios where your “percent chance of survival” suddenly becomes a relevant thing to fixate upon. And while they wait for the cavalry to arrive, they have naught much else to do but talk. And talk they do.

But of course, the point is what they talk about. Sure, as we might expect, the older Trixie alludes to her past redemption, and the younger Russet thinks about his parents. But as the conversation proceeds, they each reach the core of the issue I do not apologize for that pun. The things that truly matter come to light. This gives us a more focused introspection, because now we’re no longer burdened with issues like bravado or obligation or empty promises. This new context on (remaining) life gives us a more honest view of what the character truly cares about, and what they really value. Certainly, moments like the award scene are the most on-the-nose examples, but this sentiment permeates the entire fic. A character study under normal circumstances is great, but a character study with nothing to lose gives us the truest results.

While the use of potential doom does force some feels here or there, The Incandescent Brilliance still stands strong, giving us an effective dose of pathos and exploring character facets while the opportunity still exists. Definitely worth a read.

Csquared08:

It is often said that at the end of your life, your life will “flash” before your eyes. Or something like that. It’s a common enough phrase, but not one many seem to explore when writing.

Incandescent Brilliance takes that idea, and explores it in a rather unusual way. Instead of the expected staggered series of flashbacks, we’re introduced to two characters: a much older Trixie, and a fellow by the name of Russet. As far as they know, they’re about to die, and there’s nothing they can do about it. They react to this terrible situation quite differently, and that’s where the story picks up.

One panics, and the other is calm. I’ll let you find out who is who, but eventually, the two get to talking. And through this talk, they’re creating not only a sense of empathy within each other, but within the readers. We get to see what makes them tick in a meaningful, genuine situation. There is nothing artificial in their conversation. There are no emotions forced upon the reader. There is simply a heartfelt conversation followed by calm acceptance.

It was such a simple thing, yet it was so impactful. It really exemplifies what a Sad story (Or is it a Tragedy? This story seems confused :rainbowwild: ) should strive to do: Have the reader experience feelings naturally.


The drive home takes place in icy silence. Csquared glares out through the windshield, a small series of creases upon her brow. Pav occasionally shoots glances her way, offering a well-rehearsed pout each time, but each display only caused the smouldering rage in her eyes to burn brighter.

They pull into the driveway of Seattle’s Angels’ Secret Clubhouse, and Csquared kills the engine. The two sit in silence for a moment before she speaks. “Stop talking to random children on the playground about fanfiction.”

“But I’m training the future generation of—”

Stop talking,” Csquared says, raising her voice. “To random children. About fanfiction. Seriously. It’s like a twenty-five minute drive to the police station, and the rest of the guys always make me come to post your bail, even when I’m right in the middle of playing XCOM. It’s super inconvenient for me.”

Sighing wistfully, Pav stares out the window, thinking back to days of yore. “Can I at least keep the tobaccy pipe?”

“Fine, whatever.” Csquared flicks the question away, dismissively.

“Yesssss.” Pumping his fist, Pav hops out of the car, flailing his arms like an idiot as he runs inside.

Csquared looks at the camera like she’s on The Office.


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 · 1,305 views · Report
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 · 677 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 · 1,424 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 · 1,269 views · Edited 1w, 4d 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 · 996 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 · 1,031 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 · 1,161 views · Report