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  • T Purple Prose, or A Night at the Clopera

    Twilight Sparkle wakes up to a very unwelcome idea. Now she needs to find a way to clear it out of her mind. Because if she falls asleep before it's gone, the Princess of Dreams will get to see that idea for herself.
    5,671 words · 9,313 views  ·  734  ·  10 · sex
  • T The Curious Incident of the (Robot) Dog in the Night-time

    Ponyville is home to two alien observers. When a piece of advanced technology is stolen, the observers must do everything in their power to get it back—preferably before their superiors decide to blow up the planet.
    4,396 words · 1,094 views  ·  163  ·  1
  • E Princess Luna Likes Coffee

    Princess Luna reflects on what it's like to come back from one thousand years of exile.
    1,291 words · 2,518 views  ·  366  ·  6
  • E The Amazingly Awesome Adventures of Tank the Tortoise (by R. Dash)

    What happens when Rainbow Dash runs out of books to read? The coolest thing that CAN happen, of course! She starts writing stories of her own.
    16,430 words · 3,890 views  ·  312  ·  6
  • E Three Nights

    Beneath a moonless sky, a foal shivers, hungry and alone. In a snow-covered city, a young mare dreams of the things she left behind. On the coldest night of the year, a princess finds the family she thought that she had lost.
    18,509 words · 1,658 views  ·  264  ·  7
  • T Bell, Book & Candle

    In the pre-classical era, Star Swirl the Bearded was more than just a legendary conjurer - he was the unicorn kingdom's premier teacher of magic. Now, one of his pupils finds himself exiled across time, looking for a way back to his own world.
    14,229 words · 1,268 views  ·  103  ·  1
  • T The Rose

    Roseluck’s husband receives a gift on their anniversary, but the gift is not what it seems.
    3,765 words · 373 views  ·  74  ·  3
  • T Twilight Sparkle Investigates

    Twilight makes a series of educational videos. Questionable judgment ensues.
    8,706 words · 1,246 views  ·  157  ·  11

Blog Posts88

  • 7w, 5d
    I'm Really Lucky

    So. Perhaps unsurprisingly, after the example of last summer, I seem to kind of fall off the face of Equestria between June and September. School starts very late for me this year, in October, so I'm still kind of AWOL. I'd been hoping that I might be a little less AWOL here over the next few weeks, though, but that remains to be seen.

    Here's the deal. I've got life stuff that's just popped up on me—interpersonal-type stuff. I don't want to get into it, because it's a long story and there's stuff I'm not super eager to share. I'm not putting this out there as a cry for attention, though. Y'all knew I was AWOL anyway. I'm mentioning it because I want to make a point.

    There are a few people in this fandom who know a bit of what's going on with me—not directly, but because it's come up in conversation off-site. And those people have been just wonderfully supportive, and I want to thank them. Not by name; they know who they are. But more than that, I know you guys in this fandom, and I know that I could have talked to a whole stack of other people and gotten basically the same supportive responses. Really, truly, you guys are wonderful and I'm lucky to be able to know you guys even as much as I do. All of you. I never cease to be impressed by this fandom.

    And I want to make something clear, in return. I'm not always mentally fit to be supportive like that myself—right now, it's taking most of my energy just to take care of me—and I don't always have tons of time to spare, since I'm working on my PhD and the workload can be heavy. But I care about you guys, too, and if you ever feel like you're lost or drowning, any of you, please be aware that I'm cool with it if you reach out to me, and I'll try to be supportive back for you. Nobody should ever have to feel sad alone. This world needs more love and less quiet desperation, and if I can help tip the scales, I'll account myself even luckier than I already am.

    13 comments · 128 views
  • 12w, 6d
    New Story Coming Soon

    Hey all,

    I remain not dead, though summer's proving to be as much trouble as usual. Why is it that I actually have less free time when I'm "on vacation" than I do when I'm in school? I find this concept difficult to grasp.

    In any case, I wanted to let you all know that I've got a new story I'll be publishing soon—meaning sometime in the next few days, after I've had a chance to do a bit of editing and maybe get someone else's eyes on it, though I don't quite know who's going to be interested in pre-reading this thing. It's for the July 2014 EQD Pre-Reader Secret Santa event thing, where we basically all wrote a bunch of prompts and traded them around. Submissions are due this weekend, and I just finished my first draft this afternoon. I don't have enough time to give it a huge amount of content editing, unfortunately—that's a bit of a disappointment, but c'est la vie. I'm hoping you'll all enjoy it anyway.

    So what is this new story, anyway? Well, it's a big step outside of what I've written up to now. It's about 3500 words, and I'll be tagging it for [Sad], [Tragedy], and possibly [Dark]. It's OC-focused, though Roseluck also plays a significant role. And unless I get any title brainwaves, I suspect it's going to be called "The Rose", which is a pretty appropriate title, all things considered.

    Here's hoping you all enjoy it. At least inasmuch as it's a thing to be enjoyed.

    9 comments · 94 views
  • 15w, 1d
    Exercise Your Literary Brain Muscles!

    So I've got a friend, and he's got a thing that needs doing...

    Hopefully, many of you are already aware of my Royal Canterlot Library co-conspirator co-curator Chris's wonderful ponyfic review site, "One Man's Pony Ramblings". If you aren't, you should be. He has a lot to say, not only about stories, but about writing in general. We don't always agree on everything or every story, but he's someone whose opinion I definitely care about.

    Chris tries to post new reviews or articles every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but he's going to be out of commission for a couple weeks at the end of the month, and he's looking for guest columnists who can fill in for him. He's looking for a very specific type of article—but I think that it's the sort of thing some of the folks following me are very well-equipped to handle. You can read the details on his site, but I'll give a sketch of what he's looking for below so you can see if you might be interested.

    What Chris wants, are posts that take an in-depth look at individual Ponyfic authors. He's looking for articles that can discuss an author's complete body of work, with a particular focus on (1) threads that connect the stories together (whether the author intends them to be there or not) and (2) how the author has grown (or at least changed) in her/his storytelling ability. To that end, Chris is looking for posts on authors who've written several stories over a significant length of time, and whose work totals up to at least 50,000 words or so. (Also, no picking yourself; and try to avoid picking your friends—the best thing would be a discussion of an author you like, but who you only really know through their writing on the site.)

    Chris is looking to get about 10 guest columns together, but right now he's still well short of that goal. You can get more details on his site—here's the link again—but hopefully this is enough of a taste to help you get an idea of whether you'd be interested. I suspect a number of you might think this is a cool idea but feel your analysis chops aren't up to snuff; to that I say "Fah!" We learn by doing. Chris needs columns, and we're all amateurs here anyway.

    Personally, I'm really excited to read these things. Author-level reviews aren't things we see very often in the fandom, and I suspect whatever Chris gets in will be pretty darn interesting. And I'm sure y'all can think of a number of authors for whom this sort of in-depth analysis would be really interesting. I know I can, but providing my own suggestions feels a bit like cheating.

    Aside from one. Chris is a really cool writer in his own right, and personally, I think it'd be cool if somebody surprised him with some analysis of his own stuff, after he's put so much work into reviewing other people's stories. Though don't everybody go jump on him, 'cause that'd get boring.

    Anyway, I really, genuinely hope some of you feel like you've got the free time and the interest to participate in this. I know Chris could use the help, and based on the sort of comments I've seen from a lot of you, I'd be very interested to get a deeper look at what y'all think about these here Ponyfic authors, too!

    9 comments · 161 views
  • 22w, 12h
    So There Was This Contest

    Specifically the RariDash "Four R's of Spring" contest, that Jake R asked me to judge a couple months back. My first time judging one of these fancy shipping contest things. The contest didn't get a whole lot of entrants, but I read them all through, and I have to say I was really impressed with the story that won (unanimously, no less).

    I wound up not leaving comments because I didn't want to tip my hand as one of the judges, though if any of the contestants see this and would like some more in-depth criticism, let me know.

    Anyway, the eventual winner was HoofBitingActionOverload's "Spring is Dumb", which you may have seen in the feature box over the last week. Although it starts out a little slow, this story is one of the funniest that I've read in the last year. It (quite correctly) tags Rainbow Dash as an unreliable narrator, and then it plays this fact to the hilt through a stream of scenes where Dash refuses to acknowledge what she's doing but slowly recognizes what she's already done. For a RariDash story, the first half is regrettably short on Rarity, but the second half makes up for it and the pair are just amazingly cute together. HoofBiting's choice to tap into Rainbow Dash's insecurity with this story makes for one of the most fun pieces of Dash characterization I've read in a long time. I'd heartily recommend this story to anyone.

    7 comments · 160 views
  • 23w, 1h
    Brief Status Update

    Hey y'all.

    Just wanted to give you guys a brief status update, since "Twilight Sparkle Investigates" hasn't gone anywhere for a couple weeks (and is unlikely to do so this week, either), and my other projects seem to currently be stalled out.

    As many of you are probably aware, I'm a PhD student in statistics in southern California, and right now I'm getting hit by a load of stats work at the same time as the region is getting hit by a heat wave. It's after 11:00pm here, and the only reason my apartment isn't insufferably hot is because I just ran out and bought a brand new fan, which is now whirring away in the corner of the room and granting a magical aura of life-bearableness to those around it[1]. I've spent a good chunk of today completely listless—unable to work up the motivation to even do mindless, relaxing things like read for pleasure or watch TV programs[2].

    TSI will hopefully get back on track in the near future. I need to finish an assignment by Friday, and then I'll be house/dog-sitting for my advisor, grading advanced inference homework, and working on a couple research projects, but I'd really like to get some more writing in (and I'm sure y'all would like me to do so, as well).

    To keep this blog post from being nothing but a litany of excuses, however, let me give you at least a little something—a list of what I've got on deck and the order in which I'm hoping to hit up projects in the coming weeks/months.

    So first up are TSI and "Meanwhile, Back at the Palace", which is a Luna+CMC story about Canterlot Castle being set on fire. Next (as I'm sure some of you will be especially pleased to hear) is me getting back to "Bell, Book & Candle" for at least two more chapters and possibly more, since I'm finally feeling like my writing is back up to snuff for re-engaging with it. On deck behind that, we've got three things I'm targetting, but these ideas still need a lot of work and are in some flux: "The Diary of the Explorer Waning Promise", which is Lovecraftian horror with an all-OC cast (and which some of you long-term followers may recognize by name from its mention in an earlier story); and "Of Apples and Alicorns", the follow-up to the Luna+CMC story, which focuses on Celestia and Applejack (since I realized my princess story collection has a distinct lack of Celestia, and I've been trying to build some fun headcanon to make up for that lack).

    I've got a number of other story ideas floating around, including Rarity instigating a culture war with the Canterlot elite, fanon Derpy mass-Cyrano'ing the Mane Six, and Cadance using the Power of Love in wholly inappropriate ways[3]. But none of those are particularly on my schedule yet. Here's hoping I can bring some of these to you during the show hiatus to help make everyone's break more enjoyable!


    [1] Friendship is magic my ass. Air conditioning is magic. You can quote me on that. And winter is a freaking act of benevolence from on high.

    [2] Thus going out to buy a fan. I decided that this constitutes a work-related expense.

    [3] Credit goes to Skywriter on that idea.

    18 comments · 196 views
  • ...
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Source

NEW PRINCESS ATTACKS GRIFFONSTAN IMPORTS

The Equestria Daily can exclusively report that newly crowned Princess Twilight Sparkle became embroiled in an argument with the Griffonstani trade minister about the inferior quality of griffon quills, alleging that "they just don't hold ink as well as pegasus quills". Import markets tumbled overnight, threatening the solvency of numerous Equestrian quill merchants. Princess Sparkle could not be reached for comment.

First Published
5th May 2013
Last Modified
8th Jun 2013
#1 · 76w, 3d ago · 1 · · Bad News ·

Author's Notes

Once again, my very great thanks to PoweredByTea and GhostOfHeraclitus for pre-reading this story. They were both, as usual, tremendously helpful, and while their contributions were by no means limited to the following, I want to highlight a few things in particular. Powered helped me clear up a number of spots where my aversion to dialogue tags had made the story a bit confusing, as well as assisting with a tricky spot of Twilight characterization. Ghost offered a fair bit of his worldbuilding (including the history of Zebrican irrigation) and graciously permitted me to use Dr. Spinning Top of the Equestrian Civil Service for the story's final scene. As always, though, if there are elements about the story you don't like, all blame should be placed squarely at my feet.

The impetus behind this story? Mostly watching Skywriter churn out two great Cadance bits in as many weeks, and learning that Sunchaser is planning to drop three separate stories/updates in a 28 hour span in the near future. I may not be able to compete with that sort of rate, but at least I can give you all something to enjoy.

#2 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

I approve of everything.

And have no idea what else to say.

Have a pie on me?

#3 · 76w, 3d ago · 7 · · Bad News ·

Before I actually read this, I want to say, your word count makes me twitch. [img]//dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/Twilight_Sparkle_lolface.png[/img]

zel
#4 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

PRINCESS SPARKLE IN CAMELU DUSTUP

;_;

#5 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

I'm rather fond of your stuff...  I should really make a point to hit the follow button.

Which I just did.

~Skeeter The Lurker

#6 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

I've given this story a thumbs up just on the premise and its presentation alone.  I'll give this a surely enjoyable read-through, tonight.

#7 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2532750

Pie is good. I do not object to this. Also, pie is apple cooking friendly, which is thematic!

>>2532878

Yeah, you're not alone in that. 5999 words? But the story's the story.

...oh heck, maybe not. Maybe I should go add another word somewhere. The more I think about it, the more that bugs me....

>>2532883

Okay, gotta admit, I'm really liking that.  Thanks!

>>2532886

And... yay! :pinkiehappy: Thank you very much for the follow. I hope I will continue to live up to expectations!

#8 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2532906

Just keep writing.  That's all you need do.

~Skeeter TL

#9 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

Havent read all of this funny fic, yet. But from the opening I want to say that this should sooo be the third or fourth episode of the fourth season.

Ok, finished reading and...yep, with some small additions to make this 22 minutes, this could and should be an actualy episode of the series. This would be fun and enjoyable, fantastic work

#10 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2532878

Ha! Did it! Just switched one dialogue verb from future tense to future perfect tense.

6000 exact FTW!

#11 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

I have to admit, Twilight Sparkle in a press briefing strikes me much the same as chucking a handfull of ball-bearings into Big Ben : There's going to be some really loud noises and everybody will see the end result.   Nice work!

#12 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2532940

I should feel bad for bringing that to your attention like it was important.

[img]//dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/emoticons/lolface_Celestia.png[/img]

Anyway, onwards, to story-time!

#13 · 76w, 3d ago · 1 · · Bad News ·

>>2532948

Ever since I saw that "This Platinum Crown" gets an [Intrigue] story tag on Equestria Daily, I've been wanting to write something that might be able to take the same tag. Not that I've read TPC yet, but it's just a matter of time. Anything that gets its own special tag, and it being that particular tag, immediately gets my attention. I adore intrigue stories.

I'll admit, Twilight being bad at dealing with the press may not exactly count as [Intrigue], but that was still the impetus behind the idea to write this story. Anyway, I'm very glad you enjoyed it!

#14 · 76w, 3d ago · 9 · · Bad News ·

Prereader comments: Generally a good read. What struck me in particular was how like an actual episode this story felt. A full 22 minute programme would probably have a few more scenes in, but other than that, it feels like it wouldn't be difficult to adapt. For me the show was stolen by the Cutie Mark Crusaders Political Intriguers (which apparently is a real word), but that was no bad thing. :scootangel::unsuresweetie::applecry:

A bit disappointed that Bradel didn't follow up on the changeling subplot. What changeling subplot? Why, how else do you explain the Cutie Mark Crusaders producing edible pancakes? Am I the only one seeing this?

Maybe Bradel intends it as sequel bait? Huh. What? No I'm not crazy, why do you ask? Changelings, I tells you, changelings! Hey, where are you dragging me to? I told you, I'm not crazy. They're changelings...

#15 · 76w, 3d ago · 3 · · Bad News ·

The scene where Twilight breaks down over her Gala dress was surprisingly heartwrenching. :applecry: Nothing like the press to make someone's life miserable. Just like real life!

Hmm, maybe they need to just glamour Rarity to look like Princess Twilight, and let her run around at those big social functions. :raritywink:

AJ played that a-hole miner a bit too well. [img]//dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/Applejack_lolface.png[/img]

#16 · 76w, 3d ago · 3 · · Bad News ·

This was much better than I thought it would be. I've seen some stories with a similar premise (alicorn!Twilight, press, etc.), but this story is one of the best executed fics I've ever read. The headlines near the beginning had me chuckling at first, and as the story went on, the laughter grew until Scootaloo's monologue, at which point I quite literally had to stop reading for a good five minutes. Applejack was an excellent supporting character, and I really liked the fact that it was her delivering advice instead of Fluttershy or Pinkie, which seems to happen a lot in other stories.

The best part was that because every single character was just that - in character - the story felt like an actual episode. I would love to see this being the second episode of season four.

So, let's see what you've earned:

- Upvote

- Favorite

Once I've read some of your other stories, I might follow you. Well done, Bradel. :twilightsmile:

#17 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

I echo the sentiment that this could easily be an episode.  Equestrian Intelligence should hire the CMC they are pretty good at political intrigue.

#18 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

I'm reading this later, but how. HOW DID YOU GET EXACTLY 6000 WORDS:pinkiegasp:

#19 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2533072

Not so much a response as an encouragement for other people to make sure and go read Powered's comment. Because his theory is best theory, and I can't tell you how much fun I had in the gdocs pre-read markup with him identifying all the subtle clues that they've been replaced by changelings.

I'm not saying they have, mind you. Clearly Powered is touched in the head and prone to conspiracy theories. Clearly.

:unsuresweetie:

>>2533198

Speaking of Powered, he deserves some credit for that scene too. I was pretty happy with what I originally wrote, but he pushed me to improve the characterization of Twilight there. I was a little iffy at having to add more words on a punchy bit of dialogue that was already working for me, but... okay, if you know me, you know I'm very sappy... when I was fixing the line for his edits, I actually cried a bit while writing it. Yes, I'm kind of lame like that.

>>2533235

Thank you very much for the feedback! I actually wasn't aware this was an idea other people were writing, but I can be a bit closeted in terms of what stories I read on Fimfiction, so I don't know that my novel idea sense is well honed.

But characterization tends to be the big thing I look for in stories I read, so it's very nice to hear that someone thinks I'm doing well on that front. I hope you enjoy the other stories I have on offer!

(Also, because it really needs saying, your avatar is awesome. I'm a bit more of a Zeppelin fan, but you'd better believe I love me some Pink Floyd.)

#20 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2533298

If you check out down-comment a bit, I actually got exactly 5999 words. It made >>2532878 a bit twitchy. Then it made me a bit twitchy, so I switched one future-tense conjugation to a future perfect conjugation in dialogue ("will play" to "will be playing" when Rarity is telling Scootaloo about her role).

Really, it's kind of a missed opportunity to be so close without taking the round number.

#21 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2533305 I wouldn't worry too much about the idea. This story was a refreshing change of pace from fics like Ascend (which is mainly what I was referring to). But yeah, everything I said was true. You're a really good writer, and now I have the urge to read the second chapter of Bell, Book & Candle...

And Zeppelin's alright in my book. Pink Floyd is still my favorite (and obsession... :pinkiecrazy:)

#22 · 76w, 3d ago · 1 · · Bad News ·

Honored to have partially inspired, or at least impelled, this work.  It's a nice addition to the Dottyverse, and I think you handled the frustrating effect of the media on a new member of the gentry very well.  Equal parts maddening and funny.  Nicely done.  If you conceiving of yourself as my nemesis helps you churn out stuff like this, then by all means, keep on with it.  :pinkiehappy:

#23 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

This is an excellent story, and quite fun to read.  The breakdown at the beginning tying in to the dress at the end was wonderful, and I love the bit with the CMC.  Hilarious.

#24 · 76w, 3d ago · 6 · · Bad News ·

Having just waded through Wikipedia's entries on the relative ranking of Her Serene Highness vs. Her Highness  and getting the answer, 'Well, it depends...', I would like to suggest a topic for another Princess Sparkle fic that you/others might be interested in (because I'm staying away from it like Kryptonite)

What is the proper term of address for Her Serene Highness/Her Highness/Her Royal Highness Princess Twilight Sparkle?  And does it change depending on what country she's in?  Or if it's night or day?  Or twilight?  And if she gets added as a ruling princess, does that turn the Diarchy into a Triarchy?  Is there even such a word?  Is her position superior or inferior to Luna?  After all, she defeated Luna in battle once, and certainly there is precedent for a defeated ruler to be of lower rank than the victor, right?

Thousands of perfectly good bureaucrats in Canterlot with very little to do, and a tempting question like this.  The fight to determine her proper title could devolve into a 'civil-service war' :twilightoops:

I can see the conversation now as the princesses work out who will be in charge of what, using only the most ancient of protocol and decision making. (admittedly triggered by reading the under-rated An Unepic Pony War in the Nondistant Future )

Celestia: Call it!

Luna: Heads!

Twilight: Ah, HA!  Tails!  That means I get to be the judge at the yearly Canterlot Cheescake festival.  Woot!

Celestia: B-b-but!

Luna: Twilight, would you be willing to trade that duty for my weekend reservation at the Royal Astronomy Tower.

Twilight: Hmmm.

Celestia: Or how about my duty as the Canterlot Archives Purchasing Coordinator, AND I'll let you raise the sun once a year, on your birthday?

Luna: I'd be willing to throw in my Wednesday reservation, AND let you raise the moon once a month.

#25 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

Will read this later. One question, though: Why does the shorter summary (listed on the sidebar) contain a completely different headline with a completely different story?

#26 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

This would be a great plot for a future episode.

#27 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2533561

It'll become a little more obvious once you open the story. The first three paragraphs are basically Twilight earning herself more headlines. I thought it'd be a nice Easter Egg to make the short and long descriptions be essentially separate addendums to the story itself.

The EqD submission has the longer version of the short description blurb attached. I'm hoping they'll pick it up, but I probably won't know for another week or two since I only submitted it this morning. So really, Easter Eggs all around.

#28 · 76w, 3d ago · 2 · · Bad News ·

>>2533397

Dottyverse. I like it. Someone make a group now.

We shall soon rival even the Lunaverse!

>>2533526

This would make a brilliant Equestrian Civil Service story. I can almost hear Dotted Line's brain frying even now.

#29 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2533397

Curse you, Skywriter, and your prolific excellence!

<cough>

Um. Yes. I actually felt a little bad running a Civil Service OC so soon after your Dotted (which was wonderful – another comment I need to leave – though of course I loyally prefer The Original original character), but the ending for this story wound up being a bit of a puzzle right until the last minute. Actually, it was planned to end in an entirely different way, with Rarity and Applejack sitting around a breakfast table together looking at the positive post-Gala headlines. But Ghost convinced me I had to write a scene with Twilight at the Gala as well, and then the idea of tossing in Spinny followed pretty naturally.

Then, I got to the end of the scene and realized how the story had to end (for me), and the Rarity + Applejack scene wound up never being written.

I'm kind of in awe of your ability to lead into a story. Ghost can tell you how much I've been complaining all weekend about how unfair it is for someone to go around writing, "Here's the first thing you need to know". But at the risk of being a little full of myself, I have to say, I'm pretty happy with my own ability to close them out.

#30 · 76w, 3d ago · 2 · · Bad News ·

>>2532976

Not that I've read TPC yet
GASP! :pinkiegasp:

You totally should. It's also the sequel to The Best Night Ever, which is also an amazing fic. The only thing necessary to take from TNBE into TPC is BluebloodxRarity, though, and TBNE is an homage to Groundhog Day rather than a political intrigue story.

>>2533298

Sometimes things just happen like that. I wrote a two-part one-shot with one chapter at exactly 1,000 and the other chapter at exactly 1,200 words. I wasn't trying to achieve any such thing, nor did I go and edit the story to achieve those numbers. It simply happened.

#31 · 76w, 3d ago · 1 · · Bad News ·

I can totally see Twilight being Twilight not being up to the challenge of politics. Too many stories like to Mary Sue her as knowing everything just because she grew up in Canterlot with the Princess.

Loved Rarity's lesson plan.

#32 · 76w, 3d ago · 3 · · Bad News ·

NEED SEQUEL! :flutterrage:

#33 · 76w, 3d ago · 2 · · Bad News ·

Daannnng, Applejack rocked in this fic. The premise was awesome and funny, it was well-executed, and I can never get too much of the Equestrian Civil Service, as brief as Dr. Top's appearance was. But the crown jewel has to be AJ laying it out like a bawss. :ajbemused:

#34 · 76w, 3d ago · 2 · · Bad News ·

That went from humorous (the initial headlines) to sad (Twilight & her dress) to hilarious (the CMC & Applejack) and ended up at awesome. This bit right here:

Knowledge, after all, had always been Twilight’s weapon, and clear thinking her armor.

Very nearly made me stand up and cheer, and the very last line did make me do so.

#35 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2534317 >>2534319

Aww, you guys... No, seriously, I can't tell you (well, yes, I can and I will) how happy that made me to hear. I got a lot of good feedback on the CMC here, but as much as I love my pre-readers, neither of them really weighed in a whole lot on Applejack. I wanted to give her a bit of a 'guile hero' feel here. I could hold forth at length on my feelings about AJ, but I'll save it. I promise the next thing on my schedule is more Bell, Book & Candle, but I do have an Applejack story tooling around in my head that may see the light of day at some point, and it's going to keep to this character vision. Though it'll probably have to dial it back if I want to give her a character arc.

Anyway, I'm glad you both liked it!

#36 · 76w, 3d ago · 3 · · Bad News ·

"And that's the story of how Twilight became Pony Stark," concluded Pinkie.

Suddenly, her tail began to sh-sh-shake.  "Wh-wh-what a doozy!!!"   :pinkiegasp:

#37 · 76w, 3d ago · 4 · · Bad News ·

WAR!

PRINCESS TWILIGHT ESCALATES EQUESTRIA-CHANGELONIA CONFLICT!

"I never thought you'd come to a party, Queen Chrysalis." - PC. Twilight

TROOPS MOBILIZED ACROSS SOUTHERN BORDER!

PARLIAMENT CONTEMPLATES CONSCRIPTION!

GRIFFONSTAN EXPELS AMBASSADORS! Pres. Ironclaw speaks against Equestrian 'warmongering duplicity' - PG 3

#38 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

This is just so perfect. Amazingly written!

a3V
#39 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

I liked reading this. The characters act like they would on the show, and it really does sound like it would fit into an actual episode.

But mostly, I'm just happy seeing Applejack full of her special kind of wisdom. :ajsmug:

#40 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

Loved it. :scootangel:

There was just one glaring problem with it though... the ending. Because it ended... :applecry:

#41 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2534599

I like the additional news bits, but I just have to say...

That picture, behind Diamond Tiara... I just find incredibly disturbing. I suppose it's no more disturbing than the original. Or maybe it is – there's a history behind that photo and that action. A palace guard doing the same to a random changeling on the street really gives me chills.

#42 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

Very interesting concept. The CMC were great in setting up a military plot against Equestria, and Applejack was damn funny too.

#43 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

>>2533526

I need this. I need this now.

#44 · 76w, 3d ago · 3 · 1 · Bad News ·

Well now this was an enjoyable read.  A very appropriate contender for the Feature Box, and I'm delighted that the story made it in - and at the top spot no less!  No easy feat, I'm sure!

There are just so many things that are done right in this story.  First and foremost, the reintroduction of Twilight's slips into social paranoia.  It's something that was adorkable in the fandom previously because her fears were of disappointing the Princess, proving herself to not be up to the standard of being the perfect student that she believed Celestia was holding her to.  Freaking out over things as small as not sending in a friendship report was funny because of Twilight's perception of what made the perfect student stuck in her mind since her days at Celestia's Academy for Gifted Unicorns long after she'd graduated; even during the Season 3 opener, we've seen that she's nary adapted these perceptions and Celestia has had to adjust the means through-which she would evaluate her ability to handle situations that a Princess of Equestria would be called to handle (especially since she now is the sole-bearer of the Elements of Harmony).  

But now, Twilight is no longer simply Celestia's protoge, the pony that she is training up to rule beside her until Celestia does indeed expire and Twilight becomes the sole(?) ruler of Equestria.  Now, Twilight actually is in that role, and now is being exposed to the fragile eggshells that now will be her media-dictated reputation in her new executive seat.  The stress has been doubled, now, at the very least.  Not only does she have to continually vie to prove herself worthy of her title to Celestia (as she so believes is the case; we [assumedly] know that the Princess would not have allowed her ascension had she not been proven worthy and ready), but she also has to provide the very public, her subjects, that she is worthy of her seat.  It doesn't help Twilight to have the prior knowledge of how the Foal Free Press' Gabby Gums column was received regarding the gossip of the various ponies in Ponyville (including her friends, herself - hay, even Trixie!).  To now have a supposedly critically acclaimed newspaper that is circulated throughout Canterlot using the smallest of gaffes to try and pass down judgement on whether or not she is "The Worst Princess Ever," when she's been living and studying under the wing of inarguably the most popular ruler in Equestrian history, is not comforting.  At.  All.  So now, she's afraid to misstep, she's afraid to make an embarrassment of herself, her mentor, and her country - not to mention accidently plunging Equestria into a conflict with the Griffons!  

So yeah, her paranoia is back in full-swing.  Only now, it's not silly or adorkable.  It's terrifying, it's heartbreaking, and it casts the longest shadows of doubt upon Twilight's mind of whether or not she is worthy of her ascension.

Wow, that went on longer than I'd expected.

Anyway, the next thing that I was startled by, but in a good way, was how you acknowledged something so simple, that it's easy to overlook.  Generosity does not override or eliminate selfishness.  Whether or not we are aware of it, there are times where we may be carrying out ulterior motives in the midst of our actions to help others, whether we are aware of them or not.  Furthermore, ulterior motives, even when they are indeed present and made known to the person enacting them are not always bad or mean.  In this instance, Rarity is honestly trying to help Twilight be able to navigate the choppy waves of political social interaction, this much is obvious.  Yet we need Apple Jack's southern wisdom to realize that part of what Rarity is doing is trying to teach Twilight how to tackle such situations with her fast wit and artful verbal tact.  AJ's right both about how Rarity's basically delved in such situations all her life and thusly can easily tackle such situations with the necessary finesse that could diffuse every Middle-Eastern conflict without a single shot being fired, and how it'd be impossible for Twilight to learn this in a mere day or two.  To be able to use your words and your mind, as Twilight said, as '[your] weapons' to the degree that Rarity can takes years of practice and years of exposure to such situations, opening the door for continual learning and refinements.  Rarity, of course, has this, being constantly exposed to exquisite clients and the Canterlotian elite.  Twilight has no such advantages.  So, while it obviously is not doing any harm, and her lessons still hold relevance to Twilight as she attends the Gala, the fact is that Rarity simply cannot impart upon Twilight the masterful workings of her mind in such an arena.  Again, though, Twilight can still use what she'd learned on that front to help guide her navigation, and Rarity's teachings are perfectly compatible with Apple Jack's advice.

The third thing that worked for me, which needs no exposition, is Apple Jack helping Twilight find the ultimate solution.  Showing that Rarity's lessons simply wouldn't be enough to prepare her for the situation, and doing so in such a way that as I was typing this paragraph, it only just now hit me how effective AJ's exercise was!  I needn't say any more on that front.

:ajsmug:

Finally, Cutie Mark Crusader Political Intrigue Professionals!  YAAAAAAY!  :scootangel:

Seriously, I can't say that there's much anything wrong with this piece except how unlikely it would be for our fillies to acquire such a mind for the workings of politics so damned quickly, but then again, I was easily able to look past this slightest of oddities if only because I wish our children actually were capable of such intrigue and intelligence!

(Heck, I wish I was capable of such intelligence!)

So that's it for now.  This piece was absolutely wonderful to read, and intellectual and wisdom-searching delight.

Thank you so much, good sir, for proving that you don't have to write mindless s(yay!)t to make it into the Feature Box.  You've renewed hope in me as a Brony that quality can and will be recognized in our community, yet. :)

Grace and Peace, and Happy Writing. :)

(P.S.: I hope you don't mind if I ask a favor of you.  I have a story I'm currently writing, entitled Moving On.  I've received some reviews so far on the story's progression (two chapters in so far), but I haven't received any truly effective critique yet and despite the well-known Darth Link 22 giving the story a fave upon reading Chapter 1 (I dare assume this is a hard achievement to acquire), I have yet to receive any actual input from the guy/girl/goji fruit.  I know it probably seems tasteless to ask this after providing such a glowing review - and please believe me when I say my opinions are not at all effected by this simple want of mind, your story is absolutely marvelous, and if you were to decline, I would still believe it is.  So I assume you've caught on to my request by now.  Would you mind giving the story a look-over and let me know how it looks so far?  Where its strengths and weaknesses are?  I'd really like to get a professional's(?) opinion before plugging away any further on the next - and last - two chapters.  Also, do you offer pre-reading/editing services?  I've looked at the pre-reader's group page, and the process through-which to acquire one from their group seems...cumbersome...)

Thanks again for your service to our community.  I plan to look into more of your stories. :)

#45 · 76w, 3d ago · 1 · · Bad News ·

I absolutely love this. It's rare to find Applejack being so fully confident that she's giving irrefutably intelligent and deeply insightful advice like this. Each is characterized quite well.

#46 · 76w, 3d ago · · · Bad News ·

Fantastic story.  I am still smiling from the last line.

#47 · 76w, 2d ago · 1 · · Bad News ·

>>2535346

Well, this makes me happy that I stayed up! Okay, let me try to respond suitably.

I have to admit, part of me wants to be a bit trollish and say, "Oh, you saw all that in Twilight's characterization? Huh. I just wrote whatever I felt like for Twilight, and that's about how it came out." That would be mean of me, though. On the other hand, in a way, it would be perfectly true – but it would ignore the deeper point here that while I don't put a lot of work into mentally rationalizing the motivations and choices of the characters (either in canon or in my own work), I kind of have them perpetually .tsr'ed in my mind. The practical upshot of which is that, where I suspect many writers may take a more analytical approach to characterization, I just try to expose myself to them enough that, when it's time to write, they characterize themselves.

It's a bit like how Russell Crowe describes his acting method (though let me be quick to point out I'm not trying to claim anything like that virtuosity, just a similarity in approach). I don't try to piece together what characters would do. And I don't try to identify with them, the way someone trained in method acting might. I just try to get the point where I can immerse in them long enough to write them. People seem to like the results, though frankly I'm not quite so sure about them myself. The method I use gives a lot of freedom for spontaneity and nuance, as does any method that gets you inside a character's head (see: Marlon Brando). But it also leaves you a bit without anchor. To me, my Applejack and Rarity both feel different from canon. Not necessarily a lot, but enough for me to notice.

My Applejack has a definite trickster tint to her that the show lacks, but that I think fits well with her character and (for me) makes her more compelling. My Rarity really is selfish and self-centered, in a way that I don't think canon really supports. She spends pretty much the whole story being pushy about her agenda. Applejack hits the honesty beat at the close and Rarity hits the generosity beat, but while I like their characters as I've written them, and while I wouldn't change anything I wrote here, I do feel like my characters aren't quite the same as the show's.

Which I find all the more interesting because of the number of comments from readers who think this would slot right in as a Season Four episode.

In any case, I don't mean to disparage your analysis by saying this. I simply mean to say, I'm getting to that point by a different road. Twilight is neurotic, eager to please, and a little paranoid. But I don't worry about what these traits make her do or how they interact, because for me they're just individual manifestations of her personality. I try, to the best of my ability, to find the personality that causes the traits, and then everything flows from there. When it works right, it should lead to the same place as careful analysis. (When it doesn't work right, it's likely to lead to some wildly bad characterization)

As for the CMC, though, I don't see them as having really demonstrated considerable skill at intrigue here. Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle had a job to do and no preconceptions, so it doesn't surprise me too much that they could fix all of their problems on paper in short order. I'm sure if you gave my friends and I a few six-packs of Negra Modelo and a tape recorder, we could sort out most of the world's problems in a night. I think the CMC would do very well in a Model UN, but perhaps not so much in the actual UN. But that's me.

Then again, if you believe >>2533072, maybe they're just changelings.

Finally, inre your story, I'll see if I can find some time to take a look, but I can't make a whole lot of promises right now. School is really nipping at my heels this week, and for the next month or two in general. As for pre-reading, I'm doing a little bit for my own pre-readers at the moment, but the aforementioned school issues mean I really don't have much time I can devote to it. In any case, since the chapters on your story are of a pretty reasonable length, I hope I can find some time to take a look at it later this week, after my self-inflicted school madness slows down a little bit.

Incidentally, does anyone even know what a .tsr is anymore? They were all the rage, back when I learned to code, but that was... a while ago.

#48 · 76w, 2d ago · · · Bad News ·

Very nice! Good job on everyone's characterizations; the CMC political intriguers were hilarious; Dr. Spinning Top is the best pony name for a press secretary; and the whole thing about Twilight's favorite dress was very effective.

#49 · 76w, 2d ago · 1 · · Bad News ·

>>2535528

No idea what a .tsr is.

An enjoyable story, but something about the ending... I'm not sure it's absolutely necessary but it feels like we ought to have seen Twilight's first attempt at utilizing the advice she received.  It's not a bad ending but it does feel a hair lacking because of that.

Also:  Everything Lurks no more said is true and I'd just be repeating their comment if I typed up the specifics.

Very nice! Good job on everyone's characterizations; the CMC political intriguers were hilarious; Dr. Spinning Top is the best pony name for a press secretary; and the whole thing about Twilight's favorite dress was very effective.

#50 · 76w, 2d ago · 2 · · Bad News ·

Someday, Celestia will discover how to weaponize the CMCs' cuteness (in the same way that the Elements of Harmony weaponized friendship).  On that day, nowhere in the multiverse will be safe.

I enjoyed this, but it honestly doesn't feel finished.  AJ's uncanny wisdom in press wrangling cries out for more backstory exposition that we never got to see.  The introduction of Spinning Top right at the end felt like a lead-in to another scene showing Twilight resolving the conflict between being herself and being guardedly diplomatic.  For all the good advice Twilight got, we never got to see how she actually changed.

All the more reason to write a sequel and/or a continuation.  :twilightsmile:

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