Jun
24th
2016

There's plenty to enjoy about today's story — but if you suddenly and mysteriously fall in love with its tale, it's time to run away screaming.

True Bowmance

[Comedy] [Drama] [Slice of Life] • 10,049 words

Coming from a proud family celebrated for their ability at helping ponies fall in love, Archer wants nothing more than to be able to carry on the Cupid tradition.  What helps is that her mother is one of the most successful Cupids to ever walk Equestria.

What helps less is that Archer is possibly the worst.

But that's not going to stop her from trying.

FROM THE CURATORS: For a story whose main character so consistently fails to touch hearts, this certainly grabbed ours.  Soge, for example, praised the story's emotional impact and construction: "This is a straight-up adorable, really heartwarming fic, and one I really enjoyed reading.  All the ponies are characterized very well, and are very believable in their actions, without that affecting negatively either the plot or the comedic timing."  That humor, too, drew its own share of praise.  "The comedy in this story is consistent and engaging, a nice blend of puns, callbacks, and narrative observational humor," Chris said, and AugieDog agreed: "This is just so appealingly goofy."

On top of that, True Bowmance was stuffed with sharp ideas that fired up our imaginations.  "It never ceases to amaze me, the stories we can come up for for incidental characters," Present Perfect said.  "Who comes up with 'matchmaking earth pony magic' for someone like Archer?  This is an excellent work of original, on-tone world-building."  Chris was equally impressed with that for similar reasons: "On that note, isn't 'hereditary matchmakers' just a perfectly Equestrian job?  I mean, it edges creepily up on suggesting that free will is an illusion, but stays firmly on the heartwarming side of that line."

The cherry on top of this tale's sundae of matchmaking failures, however, was the exemplary character work.  "Pinkie works wonderfully as both comic relief and moral support," Present Perfect noted, while Soge enjoyed the main character's portrayal: "It does the whole 'oblivious youngster' thing, a la early-seasons Cutie Mark Crusaders, very well."  That led to a comment from AugieDog that sent shivers down all of our spines: "The only thing that would've made this better would've been the Cutie Mark Crusaders trying to help Archer out, but I find myself thinking the town might not have survived that particular meeting."

Read on for our author interview, in which Ceffyl Dwr discusses kelpie brothers, Bonfleur, and genealogical invasions.

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Jun
19th
2016

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

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Jun
17th
2016

Today's story shows us what stars do: they shine.

Stardust

[Crossover] [Dark] [Human] • 216,600 words

Isolated from her friends and taken prisoner in the middle of a war, Twilight must deal with the very real dangers of being perceived as an enemy as well as the nightmares of her arrival on 'Earth'.  Can she overcome her own fears and the fears of her captors?  Will the wayward unicorn's assistance be a boon or a curse to the 'humans?'  Most importantly, will she ever find her way home?

FROM THE CURATORS: Lengthy stories like this sometimes languish in our queue for a while, as we all try to make time to read them around our jobs and other hobbies, but Stardust sailed through, from nomination to approval, in less than a week.  "I was looking for something of doorstop length to sink into this weekend," commented Augiedog, "and this one did the trick quite nicely."  Chris also noted how easy it was to devour, saying, "This is a story that does an excellent job of holding the reader's interest, despite its length and wide-ranging plot."

Although this is a video game crossover, we all agreed that it did an excellent job of being accessible.  "I think that familiarity with the source material isn't really necessary," said Soge in his nomination, and the rest of us were quick to confirm as much.  "As someone with only the vaguest of ideas what XCOM is," said Chris, "I can attest from personal experience that this holds up well even for the non-gamers among us."  Augie, meanwhile, noted that he couldn't tell which of "the humans here comes from the game or from the author's imagination."

But of course, this is a story about ponies, and especially about Twilight Sparkle.  "Twilight's characterization remains solid throughout, slowly adapting to her new environment and her experience," said Soge.  Chris agreed, noting that "her curiosity, naivete, and general desire to be helpful are all key story elements, and all fit her character well."  And we found elements of the show to appreciate even beyond the main character, with Augie noting that "the story also contains one of the best renditions of Discord I've ever read," and Chris praising its tone, calling it "a long-form story that uses interspecies war as a backdrop, but friendship and basic human decency as its raison d'etre."

Read on for our author interview, in which Arad discusses plotbugs, whim purchases, and weaponized unicorns.

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Jun
11th
2016

The Round Robin Reviews are written by different groups and reviewers taking turns each week. If you are a story reviewer or part of a group that reviews stories and would be interested in joining the Round Robin Reviews, feel free to PM me (Wanderer D), Professor Plum, or ElDorado to tell us about it.

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Report Wanderer D · 934 views ·
Jun
11th
2016
Jun
10th
2016

Prepare for today's story to drag you through the doubts of impending parenthood.

The Inadequacy

[Drama] [Slice of Life] • 6,038 words

Princess Cadance is nearly ready to deliver Princess Flurry Heart into the world, and Shining should be the happiest stallion in the world. After all, he's about to become a father — what stallion wouldn't rejoice at this fact?

And yet ... something's eating away at him. Keeping him up nights. Driving him to speak with anypony that'll listen. An anxiety. A fear. A doubt.

An inadequacy.

FROM THE CURATORS: When the Season 6 opener introduced us to Cadance and Shining Armor's foal, it was inevitable that we would see a rush of stories examining their parenthood — but this one stood out for how squarely it hit the nail on the head.  "This is a fantastic, believable look into Shining Armor's character and things he should rightfully feel doubtful about," Present Perfect said.  Horizon also praised the way the story handled its characters: "It takes a lot for a story about the joys of parenting to burst through my shell, but the honesty and maturity on display here from everyone won me over."  And AugieDog was similarly won over by that core maturity: "I'm a big fan of stories where characters come to realize that they're in over their heads, then go out and find help to deal with the problem," he said.  "And the situation here is both nicely specific to Shining Armor and nicely general to the experience of fatherhood."

Augie wasn't the only one who appreciated the way the story was structured around that search for perspective.  "Shining's continued denial gives the supporting cast a chance to really shine — the scene with Night Light was particularly impressive — and winds up to a powerful ending that reinforces the story's major themes," Horizon said.  That ending, too, impressed multiple curators.  "I'm very pleased that he doesn't magically get over his troubles by the end," Present Perfect said.  "I love that he doesn't even know who to talk to — starting off with that random private, then slowly going for better and better choices. Of course, the scene with Cadance ended up being the best, as it should be."  And Chris agreed on both counts:  "There was a structure to what Shining Armor learned that made it feel like it needed to happen. ... And the lack of a total, instantaneous, and-then-everything-was-perfect-style resolution is a big point in this fic's favor."

But ultimately, it was the core authenticity here that made this such an exemplary read — and such a powerful one.  "Shiny feels pleasantly human," Chris said, and Horizon added: "The way that it explores his emotions just feels important."

Read on for our author interview, in which Regidar discusses cave goblins, osmosis snippets, and the misreading of Dungeons & Dragons.

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Jun
4th
2016

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

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Report Wanderer D · 1,265 views ·
Jun
4th
2016
Jun
3rd
2016

Though there's little to laugh about in it, today's story is quite something.

Something Like Laughter[Dark] [Drama] [Slice of Life] • 4,027 words

It's been six months since Tirek was defeated, but Trixie still has nightmares. Nightmares of being pinned down, of the magic being ripped from her bones, of being thrown around like a worthless doll. It's been six months since Trixie has had a full night's sleep, and all she wants is peace.

But Trixie is fine. Trixie doesn't need Twilight. She doesn't need her family. She doesn't need anyone. Trixie loves being alone.

So why can't she stop crying?

FROM THE CURATORS: This is "not just a story about Trixie dealing with having had her magic stripped from her by Tirek," as Present Perfect put it, but one that takes a broader look at her troubled character.  And "it works very well," as Soge put it, "in showing how Trixie is trapped in her cycle of depression and trauma."  Present Perfect added: "I've never seen a more topical, in-universe way to approach the tired old 'sad Trixie story' trope. I definitely felt this one, and what makes it work is the layering of emotional states."

It certainly hit us hard on that level.  "This just plain pulls out all the stops, taking the character up to the breaking point and right on through," AugieDog said.  "The language, the pacing, the structure: it all comes together in a portrait of a pony literally and figuratively thrown against a wall and trying desperately to bounce back."  Chris said that the strong prose was a major contributing factor to that: "Dubs has a knack for vivid descriptions, and uses the immediacy of present tense to good effect.  I always appreciate it when an author's choice of perspective dovetails so nicely with the story's design, rather than feeling arbitrary."  Present Perfect also praised the writing: "I liked the way it's never quite clear how far inside her head we are. Things like the cut-off sentences are very effective in keeping the reader off balance, which only helps drive home how chaotic her mindset is."  And while the story's prose choices were its most notable feature, it was well constructed on a much broader level.  "There's plenty to like," Soge said.  "The stream of consciousness writing, that clever shift at the end, how it seamlessly transits between reality and the dream in chapter 1, and Trixie's characterization as a whole."

Given all that, it might be surprising to learn that this was written and published long before Trixie's recent reappearance — and even more so to read it with that context in mind.  "We often talk about stories that have been invalidated by canon, but here's a rare case where post-publication episodes actually enhance the story," Chris said.  "With Starlight Glimmer now clearly established as Twilight's live-in student, Trixie's feelings of inadequacy and resentment here take on new depth."

Read on for our author interview, in which Dubs Rewatcher discusses sunlight allegiances, musical superpowers, and the life-changing effects of fandom.

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Jun
2nd
2016

Groups Posts are a monthly group advertisement blog open to anyone who wants a signal boost. If you're interested in having your group advertised in one of these, send me a PM with the name of the group, a link to its front page, and a brief description of what the group is for. I'll copy this directly into the post, so write it like you're trying to tell other people about why they should join or pay attention to your group - anything up to around 150-ish words is fine.


What's Taking So Long?!

This group is dedicated to archiving all those stories that update at the pace of a tortoise. Their not dead, but you can't be blamed for thinking so. Rather it's because the authors busy, focusing more on other stories, or just lazy, if it takes a year to add a new chapter to a story then it belongs here. It doesn't matter if it's on a schedule or not, if it takes forever IT TAKES FOREVER, simple and plane.


Commence Comments

Finally there exists a group where stories are guaranteed a comment! Our weekly promotion of a randomly chosen story means you have a chance of having your story commented upon by several users! There are no restrictions to stories, just add them to the appropriate folder and voila! You can add as many stories as you wish.


Unrequited Love, Love Triangles, and crushes

This group focuses on the love which is one sided or two characters fight over a character. Stories can range from Mature, Teen, and everyone. Anyone who isn't a troll to people is welcomed to this group.


Talk it Out

If you have come under fire for voicing an opinion, if you feel like you bother people with your venting, or if you want to feel safe to let a few things off your chest without being yelled at, harassed, persecuted or belittled, then this group will help.  A safe, relaxed, friendly environment with admins who want to help keep the peace and give you peace of mind.

Come to TALK IT OUT, and talk it out all you need to.  You'll be safe here.


Conventions is a group for people who want to go to conventions.  Arrange meet-ups, ride shares, room shares, or just talk about what they were like.  One thread per convention.  MLP, SF/Fantasy, Fandom/Filk/RPG/LARP, & furry conventions are okay to list here, but not small meetings, Meet-Ups, or get-togethers that are not conventions.


My Little Pony Convention Experience

This group is for people to post their MLP convention experiences and read about other people’s experiences!

Think of this group as a blog for MLP conventions you have attended, past or present. You will also be able to see what MLP conventions other people in the group are attending!


Hopeful exists because fimfiction doesn't have a "Hopeful" tag to mark stories that are about sad events, but aren't sad.  Stories about any of these qualify:

- a pony with a problem who doesn't completely solve that problem, but finds a way to deal with not solving the problem

- a pony with a problem who doesn't completely solve that problem, but finds a reason to keeps trying

- a pony who solves a problem, and looks ahead to a future where even better things happen as a result


That's it for this month. See you in July.

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