Sequels1

  • T The Definition of Strength

    Sabra has been searching for his answer for three long years, and at long last he may have found it. It just might not be the answer he expects.  · Viking ZX
    26,557 words · 2,276 views  ·  161  ·  0  · 

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More Stories6

  • T The Definition of Strength

    Sabra has been searching for his answer for three long years, and at long last he may have found it. It just might not be the answer he expects.
    26,557 words · 2,276 views  ·  161  ·  0
  • T Why Me?

    It's been four days since Tirek, and Discord is finally feeling back to being his old self. Or is he?
    7,287 words · 3,253 views  ·  507  ·  8
  • T The Dusk Guard: Rise

    Steel Song is a lot of things. Earth pony. Uncle. Professional bodyguard. Retired. So when he receives a mysterious package from Princess Luna, he's understandably apprehensive. Things are never as they seem in Equestria...
    274,966 words · 3,415 views  ·  397  ·  6
  • E Old Habits

    It's Nova's first official day off, and he's decided to spend it in one place he knows he can relax: the Canterlot Bazaar. But when he has an unexpected encounter with a face from his past, can he face the pony he once was?
    19,698 words · 822 views  ·  159  ·  1
  • E Hearth's Warming Cookies

    It's Hearth's Warming season and that means presents, caroling and—of course—making Hearth's Warming Cookies. But just what makes the cookies so important, anyway? Young Jammer Song is about to find out....
    7,054 words · 531 views  ·  92  ·  0
  • T Emoticon

    It's Steel Song's day off, and he's got plans. Plans of the relaxed sort. Plans that most definitely do not involve a strange, brown earth pony who acts like he's known Steel for years. And why is he running, anyway?
    10,199 words · 759 views  ·  139  ·  2

Blog Posts206

  • Wednesday
    Whoa! Everything's Different! (UPDATED)

    Whoa! It's like coming back to your house after a vacation and finding that someone has reorganized the reading room. Not the living room or the kitchen so much, but mostly the reading room.

    Of course, I'll probably find the same once I get back home officially. Right now I'm back from the fishing trip but not back from Alaska yet. In fact, yesterday was the last day of post-trip boat work. Also, the swelling in my my hands has yet to go down all the way yet, which is how I gauge my "this is done" meter. Don't worry if you're curious, this year I took a picture of my hands in their swollen state. They're about three-quarters of the way back to normal at the moment (making typing this a bit like flexing a, tight, sore muscle after a workout, like stretching a stiff, cold, rubber-band), but once they've reached normal size and feel normal again I'll take a second picture and put up a comparison.

    Also, there probably won't be a writers guide post this Monday. I'm not 100% sure on that, however. It sort of depends on how my trip back goes, how much immediate work I have to do upon returning before I get back to work, and what my mental state is when I do return. Getting back into the swing of things after a month of not writing and working 18 hours a day always takes a day or two.

    Like I said, we'll see. I don't want to put it off any longer than necessary, but I want it to be useful.


    So, that said, how about this FimFiction update!? I think it's great. At least, the mobile side of it. Mobile functionality is now a real thing, so I don't have to resort to OS tricks to get functions of the page to work anymore. And I've liked the idea of the bookshelf system since I first heard of it. I'm not sure how this will change up my usual habit of thanking everyone who faves my works? More to think about. Plus, now I need to organize my own system. Still, nice to see the mass flood of Dusk Guard stories onto shelves labeled "10/10" or "Must Reads of FImFiction."

    Okay, okay, okay, so writing news. I promised brainstorming while I was gone, and you guys are getting it. First up, some news some of you may not welcome. Colony probably won't release this year. I know, I'm disappointed myself, in myself. There will be a longer post on what's gone wrong with it, but the truth is that it's going to need some draft work. More than usual.

    And I know why. I tried a few new things with Colony, and unfortunately, some of them didn't work. I've learned a few lessons from it as a result (and that'll be a writing post, I guarantee it), lessons I won't forget easy.

    Don't read this wrong, Colony isn't getting scrapped, like the first draft of The Phoenix. It's simply going to take some work. I'll send it out to some Alpha Readers as soon as it's done and start collecting feedback on where it falls flat and where it works.

    While that happens, I move my next writing project into full attention. "The Dusk Guard: Beyond the Borderlands" is getting my full attention as soon as Colony's first draft is out. And, thankfully, it has not suffered the experimentation I did with Colony. My goal is to get the whole thing done in a month. 4-5K words a day, 5-6 days a week. Month and a half maybe? We'll see. But I'm excited to finally, finally get the next bit of the Dusk Guard out and ready. Then I can start sweating on "Hunter/Hunted."

    And while I'm working on "Beyond," I'll spend a day or two getting Hunter and Dawn's side stories published on FimFic at last. I promise. Look for those very soon. They're both done, they just need editing work and covers.

    Anyway, and past "Beyond?" :pinkiesmile: I've got my next project.

    My next book will be titled Shadow of an Empire, and I'm excited to start work on it. A western fantasy—by which I mean Wild West, with outlaws and guns, not Western World—set in a shattered world where The Empire reigns supreme. Those who choose to live in the next to lawless outskirts of its territory are fast with a gun and quick with their magic, but always mindful that no matter how far away it may seem, the Empire's shadow has a long reach. Magic, six shooters, good, and evil; they're all going to collide! I'm still working out a few details (wait until you see THIS magic system, it's RAD!) but I can tell you this for certain: this one is going to be a blast. Plus, like "Rise" and "Beyond," I'm not trying anything new as far as writing techniques go, so it should be a straight start to straight finish project.

    Anyway, it's good to be back on land and on the grid!

    UPDATE: Oh, and next week is Halloween! And I've got something coming for that! Keep an eye on this space!

    9 comments · 82 views
  • 3w, 1d
    Off the Grid I Go!

    All right guys, this is it! I've been able to log in with my phone whilst away in Alaska to keep somewhat up to date, but today, I board the mighty fishing vessel I'm currently beholden to and head for the fishing grounds! Which means, sadly, that I will be off the grid for at least two to three weeks.


    But that's okay! It's a good off the grid. Because while I'll be away, I'm going to be doing a lot of grunt work, which means I've got plenty of time to think. And think. And plot, and pace...

    In other words, when I get back I'll have a wealth of new story content to offer. Hunter's side story and Dawn's (at long last) to start, but Colony is almost done with its first draft, and once that's off to the alpha readers, the staggered work I've done on "Beyond the Borderlands" can go to full-time project in earnest. I'm still hoping for a near-Christmas release, but no promises. That means it could be sooner but it could be later. I'm cutting no corners with this.

    Anyway, the original point of this was that I'll be back soon, and with lots of brainstorming done for the next few things coming after "Borderlands" and Colony. Like "Hunter/Hunted." Or Shadow of an Empire and The Phoenix. And, of course, lots of blog post topics!

    All right, I need to go grab my gear and get underway to board our mighty vessel. It's time to face the fierce fall elements of Alaska, and catch those shrimp!

    5 comments · 72 views
  • 5w, 2d
    Being a Better Writer: What's a Memorable Scene?

    Welcome back for today's Being a Better Writer post. Hopefully it's a good one, because it's going to be the last one for a little while. Starting this Wednesday, I'll be off to Alaska for work, and shall effectively (and sadly) become a bit of an internet recluse, since it'll be both tricky to get online (I won't be able to at all during the season, and beforehand I'll be working quite a bit.

    Today's post is a bit more nebulous topic, and so I'm going to try and approach it in a bit more relaxed manner. Rather than moving from point to point, or even prepping more than the initial idea beforehand, I'm just going to talk about it and see where things go. Partially because I feel like being a bit more relaxed today, partially because I want to see how well this works, and lastly because the topic itself can be a little nebulous.

    So, what does make a memorable scene? And here's where we run into a few differences, right with the first answer. Because to me, what makes a scene memorable is something important happening. But that might not be the same answer that others give. In fact, others might give a completely different assessment of what makes a scene memorable. Perhaps it has to do with the main characters. Perhaps it's the final battle, the most energetic portion of the story. Even upon thinking about it, my own answer that it is something important doesn't exactly hold a sum total, because there's a secondary element to consider, in that it be interesting. For me, these are two things that I put into my mind when I'm writing: What's important about this scene? And is it interesting?


    But that probably isn't what's going through other writers or readers heads when they do their own scenes. They might be going for clever dialogue. Or maybe even a funny joke.

    So why when I'm asked what makes a memorable scene, do I think of importance and interest? I think part of it comes from what I'm looking at as a writer. The last thing that I want my reader to do is be forced to slog through things that aren't important. Look, let's be honest, anyone with half a decent talent for prose can sit down and write a lovely several thousand word piece on a character's experience of cleaning a kitchen. Sliding the washrag across the counter, doing the dishes, cleaning the windows, putting things away ... this can be done pretty easily.

    But what does it mean? What reason does the reader have to read about such an event? Let's face it, we've all had our characters do tiny little things like take a drink from a glass, and those little bits of flavor add to the story, but they're like bacon bits. Tasty, but short-lived and not that good on their own. And if you make a whole chunk of a story about someone cleaning their kitchen, unless it serves a purpose, unless it's important to the story somehow, well then it's little more than a whole bowl of bacon bits. The writing is good, yes, but there isn't anything important going on.

    Clearly context has a bit to do with this. A story about action, adventure, and high-daring escapes really drags when a character spends their day in a kitchen doing nothing relevant to the story. You see this problem in a lot of places, both on FimFiction and in published books from lesser-known authors. They've put the character in a situation, and then they write about it without stopping to consider whether or not there would be any reason to do so.

    Importance. Spending five-thousand words of prose on a scene that contains nothing of importance might still lead to a well-written scene, but the reader isn't going to find it memorable. You have to consider how important it is to the story. What will it convey? What will it do for the reader? Is it moving the plot ahead (aside from just burning time)? Is it delivering the reader interesting elements and anecdotes?

    For me, usually considering the importance of the scene, combined with the characters I then turn loose in it, tends to make the scene memorable enough. Because if I combine anything of importance with characters that are going to bounce off and around it, I can usually trust on those characters to make the scene memorable in various ways. For example, Steel Song in a kitchen is going to be pretty utilitarian—and by extension, not interesting—unless he's interacting with Cappy or his niece and nephew. But even by taking those characters out of the equation, having Steel ruminate on their absence can be a way to keep the scene interesting as well (though it should also be important in some way). Likewise, writing a chapter about Ditzy Doo cleaning up her kitchen could be really boring and not at all memorable if simply approached in a very flat manner, but if the author uses it to show the meaning about Dtizy through her thoughts and actions, such as thinking about the rapid-cooking that led to unwashed dishes she did so that she and her daughter wouldn't be late to a play while doing them, or about the fun she and Dinky had making a desert that led to the mess she's cleaning up.

    Man, this is such a tricky question. Let's see, what about a scene that doesn't really seem that exciting, but is important? After all, plenty of foreshadowing in books often happens during what most of us would consider day to day activities. How do we get our readers to remember some important detail from a scene that's less than exciting or doesn't seem important (and how do you keep them from getting bored)?

    A lot of that goes back to one of my earlier posts on misdirection. Basically, you can conceal information that is important by hiding in with other interesting things. For example, Harry Potter pulled double duty with this in one book by having what would have only been a marginally important scene (a dinner party) serve as foreshadowing for the room of requirement. But to keep it from being dull (and to make it memorable for the reader), Rowling used Dumbledore as the vehicle for the foreshadowing as they group discussed unusual stories of their experiences at Hogwarts. The audience gets a plethora of funny events (which keeps them interested), topped by Dumbledore's special mention of a "magic bathroom" that serves as the capstone story to the scene. The reader laughs, remembers that last story (which becomes relevant later) and enjoys what would otherwise have been a bunch of characters sitting around talking.

    Earlier I mentioned context, and I think I should get back to that. Context means a lot for your story. An action scene can be memorable. A character breaking character for a big reason can be memorable. A well-timed joke (like Dumbledore's funny story) can cement the scene in the reader's mind. A clever finish to a scene, something unexpected.

    Each of these are things that can in one case make a scene memorable, but in another, can break it (or worse, make it memorable for all the wrong reasons). A lot of it comes down to what story you want to write, what story you want to tell, and what elements you've put into your work. A true horror story, for example, isn't likely to try and make it's scenes memorable with constant pop-culture references and fourth-wall winks. It's going to try and make scenes that are tense. Terrifying. Nightmarish. Or perhaps shocking. In Monster Hunter Alpha, one of the most memorable scenes in the entire book is one in which the main character takes an industrial-strength snowblower—the kind that can eat small trees—up against a horde of zombie werewolves. The end result is one of the bloodiest things in the entire series, to a point of near absurdity that even the characters comment on. It's memorable precisely because it's so absurd ... but also because it is a great solution for the problem, and fits right into the series blend of ridiculous over-the-top action and dark humor.

    It's not something you'd see in Harry Potter, although that does make an amusing thought ("Harry Potter, tonight you—arrgh!"). My point is, keep your context in mind when thinking about what will make your scene important and interesting.

    Another thing to keep in mind is what sort of readers you're appealing to with your story. A reader who likes nothing but straight hollywood action, for example, isn't at all going to find a slice-of-life story interesting. Putting a single chapter of it into a story for that kind of reader is pushing it. Likewise, a reader who lives for complex, spiderweb plots and stories where there are wheels within wheels is probably not going to enjoy a very straightforward, simple mystery where everything is just as it appears. And versa-vice with a switch of the situation.

    We tend to acknowledge this (at least, usually) when considering what we or others like to read, but as writers, we can't forget that the same rules apply. Context of what kind of story you're telling and for who can change quite a bit about making a scene memorable or interesting.

    One more thought—at least at this moment—concerning having a memorable scene, and even more importantly, and ending. No matter what the scene is like, the best way to make sure that your reader remembers it is to make it relevant. A reader who understands that he can drift through the story without paying close attention isn't going to bother remembering details of scene or story. If you make scenes relevant, give them weight, where what happens and what is said has recurring effects on the story as a whole, it becomes memorable, because your reader quickly learns that they need to remember why a scene is important.

    As a side note, this is one more reason I despise flashbacks 90% of the time. Because writers use them not to present new information to their reader, but to re-explain and retread information that was already discussed, taking the decision away from the reader as to whether or not to remember information and scenes (and therefore making them less memorable). Even more grievous, I'm pretty certain that this feeds back to the writer as well and lulls them into a false state where they themselves stop considering the importance of what they present. After all, for both parties, why bother remembering or picking out anything important when it'll be handed to them in a silver platter later?

    Anyway, getting back to where that side note took off, the more events of the story mean, the more weight they have, the more a reader will remember them and the more important each scene will feel in relation to the core of the story and the end. To use an earlier example from Rowling, the Dumbledore toilet story still probably wasn't memorable to some readers. However, once Harry has found the room of requirement and he as a character makes the single-line connection between the two, the reader's attention is drawn back to it and the scene is given greater importance in the dialog as a whole.

    Hmm ... come to think of it, retroactive memorability (?) is something to consider as well. Not as a core point, because if an entire scene's worth of material only become relevant and interesting later, than it was probably boring at start, and we don't want that. But you can, through later elements of the story that come back to something in an earlier scene, make that scene more memorable (especially on a reread). For instance, the first time a reader reaches the scene in "Rise" where Steel plays with his niece and nephew only to find himself completely snared by a well-placed (and well-tied) jump-rope, the scene is cute and mostly serves to illustrate what Steel is like when he let's himself relax, as well as to counterpoint the relative loneliness and lack of family the rest of his life has. But only in the finale, when Steel uses the same snare concept on Radiant's gigantic golem, does the scene take on a new level of importance, and therefore, memorability to the reader. It was a foreshadowing, not that the reader knew it at the time. But when the result pays off at the end of the book, the reader is tied back. Even if they forgot it, on another read-through the scene will take on a whole new significance.

    All right, I think I'm starting to reach the end of my thoughts in this, at least for the moment. Which means it's probably a wise idea to summarize things. So, when making a scene memorable, remember that you need to give your reader a reason to remember it. So it'd better be important to the story somehow. It should also be interesting. Funny, unique, cool ... there should be something going on that makes your reader interested in what's happening. Keep in mind context of both the characters and scene, but also of the story overall.


    So, I think that's it for this post, which regrettably is the last one you'll see for a while. But before I go, what did you think? Not just on the subject (and I welcome all comments in that vein, but about the style? Was the "stream of consciousness" approach more helpful? Less helpful? Interesting?

    As usual, thanks for reading, and I look forward to doing this again ASAP!

    Edit: Tag's fixed, guys! My bad! Running a bit late today, so I didn't proof beforehand!

    3 comments · 162 views
  • 5w, 5d
    On True Beauty

    This is actually a repost from my facebook, but I felt that it was worth sharing here. It has little to do with writing, so if the topic does not interest you, I will not be bothered by this. But it's something that I felt I wanted to share.

    On Beauty:

    Hold on, because this is going to be a long post. Also, I'm going to save it as a note so it's not lost anytime soon (addendum: and repost on FimFic). But this is my belated, public response to a question a friend asked me some time ago. The question that prompted this, if I remember correctly, was: What is beauty to you?

    Now, what I'm going to say is probably going to shock some people. The question is a hotly debated one online, with people sharing photos of what they say beauty is, debates over where we should look for it, etc. Personally, I don't quite agree with any of them. This is why.

    Beauty is not one thing. To me, there are two components to what makes someone beautiful.


    The first (and some will dislike me for saying this) is the physical, outer component. Physical, outer beauty. Yes, it's real, and yes, we should admire it. Stop pretending it's bad. It's what we're going to see first. Be it long legs, short hair, rippling abs, green eyes  ... Whatever it is that physically attracts us to the person that's held in the physical realm. This is outer beauty, and it's a thing that's different for everyone. I like certain attributes of a physical quality and find them beautiful which another person will not. This is part of who we are.

    Now there's no "perfect" physical quality list that's the sum of perfection. There's just what each person looks like, and what each person finds physically attractive. But it's a real thing, and we need to look for it when we're looking for a relationship. We NEED to be physically attracted on some level. It's not wrong that someone single glances at someone else who is single and thinks "Great googa mooga, WOW!" before going slightly catatonic. Or even "Wow, that person is good looking!" before embarrassing themselves by trying to strike up a conversation while mentally stunned. This is the way we were made. There isn't anything wrong with the physical beauty.

    But there's a second, more powerful beauty, one that's hidden at first. The inner beauty, the one that you see in their eyes, in who they are and what they do. And you can't simply see this at first. That's why we need the physical beauty, to act as a bridge and then a foundation.

    As someone spends time with someone, as they start to see this inner beauty, the outer beauty to them, is affected. It's like an exponential polish—it can make all the most beautiful parts and and places known ... or it can draw the eye to all the flaws, either way showing you a persons true, ultimate beauty.

    The inner beauty is the more powerful, but slower, of the two. Inner beauty improves and builds upon outer beauty, making it more and more beautiful every day. A couple who love each other for the inner beauty don't see the flaws. They don't see that she's overweight now and he's incapable of benching his own weight anymore. In their own eyes, they ARE, because the inner beauty has polished that outer beauty to the point where the flaws aren't even seen by the couple, or important. Every bit of outer beauty is magnified by the inner beauty that they've taken the time to see. No matter what others say of the outer beauty, the FULL beauty is available to the one who sees both.

    Likewise, poor inner beauty has the same exponential effect. Poor inner beauty begins to draw attention to the flaws, lowers the outer beauty. An individual with poor, lackluster inner beauty, though they may have the most amazing physical qualities ever, will never have true beauty. No matter how they try, the more those around them see the lack of inner beauty, the less attractive that persons outer beauty will appear.

    In summation, you must have both, in some amount. Outer beauty is the foundation, the framework. But the inner beauty builds upon that, shapes it over time, and makes adds the polish that makes the outer beauty shine like the sun.


    Now, about us. As people today. I think part of the reason we're having so much trouble these days, finding so many problems and battling on public forums over beauty standards and what to look for is because both sides are partially right, and both sides are partially wrong. It takes both. Outer beauty AND inner beauty.

    Worse, we've forgotten what each one entails. Outer beauty is quick to see, heavily based on personal impressions and cultural upbringings. Inner beauty is individualized, subtle, and takes time to see. We've forgotten this. So many relationships go sour because people have mixed these two up, misinterpreted one for the other. People give up on someone after one date because they're forgetting that the inner beauty takes time to identify and see. They're impatient, unwilling to take the time. Or they want outer beauty, confusing it for the more powerful of the two.

    The truth is that we need to have both. We need to open our minds and remember that both exist. This does not mean that because you have great inner beauty you'll get the person you want. Inner beauty expands the outer beauty, not changes or covers it. If there is not outer attraction at all, then all the inner beauty will do is make you shine.

    Accept this. It's just the way we are. I KNOW there are women who do not find me attractive in the least. They want a whipcord/rail thin man. I am not that. I'm stocky, tank-like. All the inner beauty in the world that I can show them will not matter, because there is no foundation for it to build on.

    This is okay. I wouldn't want to force someone to find something that wasn't there. Someday, I'll find a woman who IS okay with a guy who's built like a concrete wall and has spastic view on life, who finds that attractive. And then, if she finds the inner beauty to her liking, and I likewise to both of her beauties, something amazing will happen.

    We need both. Don't rely on the outer as your sole means. You cannot strut your perfect figure and expect it to be everything. It will fade. It will age. Or you might be incredibly proud of a certain feature, only to find that the one who likes you (and you them) is attracted to something else entirely. In other words, you cannot rely on outer alone. It will never succeed.

    Likewise, you cannot simply rely on the inner beauty (And please, don't demand that people acknowledge you for inner beauty right away. That's saying more about your true inner beauty than you think, and it's not a positive message. Be patient there.). You must lay the foundation in some way. You don't need to be perfect. But you need to make your foundation there. Be proud of what you do have. And even if you don't feel beautiful now, wait for the one who starts to see the inner beauty.

    Because we need both. And whatever outer flaws you think you have, if you're inner beauty is great, it will sweep over all the outer flaws and decrease them in importance. This is why we have to give others the chance. Don't turn that person down if they're just "average" in your book. Wait. Get to know the inner beauty. If it isn't there, no harm. If it is, you'll find that what was there will grow all the more attractive and beautiful to you.

    And one last thing before I summarize. This is why friendships are so important. Not fake friendships (which are part of the controversial friend-zone), but REAL friendships. Friendships that involve trust. Camaraderie. Laughter. Sad times. Understanding. It's been said that the greatest relationships grow out of true friendship, and this is why. Because we learn to see the inner beauty, learn to see who someone truly is. False friendship, a temporary limited contact or respite, where one party or the other isn't putting forth their effort or limits the trust, cannot do this. So be friends. Men and women, amazingly enough, CAN be friends. Pop culture has driven this horrible, wrong idea that such things cannot happen without a relationship. Pop culture is wrong. We can be friends, great ones, and not ever be attracted to someone. And we should be. Even if we don't find love, let's be honest, we need true friends. We should stop being scared of them.

    And who knows, maybe we'll find our best friend in the process.

    But if we do, it'll be because we looked at both beauties. The outer, and the inner.

    So in your own day to day search for that other who will be the most important person in your life, don't forget either of these two. Don't discount them. Let them BOTH work. Figure out what attracts you about the outer beauty, what catches your eye, but then give the time for the inner beauty, the extension, the polish to truly shine. You might just surprise yourself with what you find.

    If you disagree with or where deeply, properly offended by any of this, well, I'm sorry (if only offended because you want to be offended, no apology. I don't care much in that case). If you like it, and want to share, feel free too share it with whomever you like.

    Who knows, maybe it'll help those of us out there who've forgotten what we really need to be looking for, what we really mean when we talk about beauty. Maybe it'll help add some context to what we really mean when we say "You're beautiful."

    This has been what beauty is to me. Thank you for your time.

    4 comments · 93 views
  • 5w, 5d
    All Right, So Here's the Schedule

    All right everyone, I'm throwing up my schedule so you guys know what to expect and about when. Here's the big news:

    Starting next week, I will be in Alaska getting ready for the shrimp season. I will only have guest access on what basically amounts to a library computer. So next weeks blog guide will be the last one for a while. Possibly four weeks. Shrimp season is somewhat malleable, so I can't give a solid time on when I'll be back. I'd expect before the end of October, which is usually when I'm free. Regardless, this is the schedule I'm going to try to stick to:


    Next Monday: The last "Being a Better Writer" guide until I get back.

    Shrimp Season.

    End of October: Return. start posting "Remembrance." Also, the Dusk Guard Group Banner Contest ends! Be sure to get your entry in before then!

    Finish Colony. Once Colony's first draft is done, "Beyond the Borderlands," the sequel to "The Dusk Guard: Rise, "becomes my full time project. I can't say how long it will take me to finish it, but I'd guess about 2 months. During this time, the last side story (Dawn's) will go up as well.

    Finish "Beyond the Borderlands" and start posting it to FimFic. Watch it take FimFiction by storm, start working on next novel, also on another side-story and "Hunter/Hunted."

    These are my plans through the end of the year. With luck, we'll see "Beyond the Borderlands" start releasing sometime in December, maybe even around Christmas! And Colony probably around the end of this year/beginning of next year. Kind of depends on the editor.

    Anyway, just updating all you guys so you know what's coming. Sorry I didn't get "Remembrance" done before leaving, but I wanted to give it the time it needed to be released and I STILL need to get a cover commissioned for it. After the shrimp season I can give it the attention it deserves.

    You guys are awesome, hope the slight delay isn't driving you all nuts!

    And yeah, the idea of a December release for "Beyond the Borderlands" is probably pretty good news.

    3 comments · 80 views
  • ...
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Source

It's been three days since the Equestrian Railway Service incident, and things are finally calming down in the wake of the Dusk Guard's first mission. Three days since the team's first mission came to a successful conclusion. Three days since their first trial by fire. Three days since Sky Bolt, the team's engineer, had everything she'd created put to the test. And it all worked. Nothing went wrong.

So why can't she sleep?

First of the Side Stories to The Dusk Guard: Rise. Familiarity with Rise is not required, but recommended.

Side Stories so far:

Carry On

The Definition of Strength

Old Habits

Emoticon

The Saga has a TV Tropes page!

"This is 100% Approved by Twilight's Library!"

Added to Twilight's Library 12/5/2013

Featured on Canterlot's Finest

Special Thanks to Sonorus, Jorlem, Sinister Voice, Templar22 and Bronze Aegis for their help pre-reading and editing.

First Published
6th Nov 2013
Last Modified
20th Nov 2013
#1 · 49w, 5d ago · 1 · · Drift ·

The story has come out great ^^ can't wait to see the rest.

Also, holy cow! The cover art is amazing! What type of golem is that? It looks huge, like a crystal, but it doesn't look like it's made of that.  So can I assume it's one made out of metal?

#2 · 49w, 5d ago · 1 · · Drift ·

>>3462499

That is some pretty cool cover art.

#3 · 49w, 4d ago · · · Drift ·

Looking good!

#4 · 49w, 3d ago · · · Drift ·

>>3462499 >>3463219

It was the closest I could find to a metal golem with what limited resources I had. It's not actually exactly what a metal golem looks like (for instance, they don't really have heads in my mind and only the one "eye" in the chest), but it does look pretty neat, I agree!

>>3464877

Glad all of you are enjoying "Carry On" so far. This is the first time I've given a female character her own viewpoint story (as opposed to a viewpoint segment in a chapter), so it's been a real experiment.

#5 · 49w, 1d ago · 1 · · Dream ·

Congrats, Sky Bolt.  Now you just need to invent an array (or set of arrays) that can be used to enchant other arrays or crystals, and you'll have a fully fledged magitech revolution on your hooves.

(I'm sure Mint won't come for revenge on you, when she sees you getting rich off of innovations she would see as her own.  Nope, nothing to worry about...)

#6 · 48w, 8h ago · · · Awake ·

A difficult subject to talk about, especially by those who suffer it.

#7 · 47w, 6d ago · · · Awake ·

>>3518808

Do you feel I did it justice?

>>3482973

She'll never get that far, fortunately. No matter what, it will still take a unicorn to actually do the enchanting, so she's not going to go full out revolution over the course of the story. She will, however, have to deal with the ethics of her creation as the series progresses.

As far as Mint swearing revenge, well, technically Sky Bolt still came up with this, as Mint was doing it via an entire different route. Then again, Mint's unstable. I won't say anything here, you'll just have to keep reading.

#8 · 47w, 6d ago · · · Awake ·

>>3520259

I think you're off to a good start.

#9 · 47w, 4d ago · · · Dream ·

>>3482973 LOL. nope, no problem what so ever...

#10 · 47w, 4d ago · · · Awake ·

>>3520259

But theoretically, could a unicorn enchant a crystal with the spell to enchant a specific, other spell into crystals?  

#11 · 47w, 3d ago · 1 · · Awake ·

>>3531613

Well, in theory they could with a matrix of some kind, but it'd take a computer so powerful and advanced to govern the process that even we wouldn't be able to do it without perhaps some of the most advanced computers ever built working in tandem. Each crystal is unique, and part of the reason it takes so long to enchant one is that the enchantment must be done in sequence, with nearly every part of it repeated hundreds of times as it realigns the crystals structure to channel the spell. As the enchanter moves through the crystal, they have to alter their spell for each successive slice of crystal, while keeping in mind both the layers before that they've altered and what's coming. One can throw caution to wind and "brute force" it to speed, but then they expose themselves to magical feedback that can break ones sanity, damage ones body, or even cause destruction if not properly checked. An artificial system also wouldn't have the emotional ability either, as emotions are something nothing can imitate.

It's far more likely that in a few hundred years or so, someone will realize that rather than enchanting the crystals, it's easier to artificially make a crystal to be enchanted, But we won't see that happen in TDG unless the show itself shows it.

#12 · 47w, 3d ago · · · Awake ·

>>3532157

Ab, ok.  I didn't realize how complex you were making the enchanting process.  Still, more worldbuilding is always good.  :twilightsmile:

#13 · 47w, 2d ago · 1 · · Awake ·

>>3532339

There's a lot of background stuff I have in my back pocket that will probably never come up unless someone asks about it, just like most series. :pinkiesmile: But yeah, crystal enchanting is something that is best done organically, at least at this point in the series.

#14 · 46w, 4d ago · · · Awake ·

This will definitely be read by me when I'm not busy writing! :pinkiecrazy:

#16 · 45w, 2d ago · 1 · · Drift ·

Erm, that was pretty cool

I mean....well done, seriously!

You well deserve that favorite!

:pinkiecrazy:

#17 · 39w, 3d ago · 1 · · Dream ·

Post Traumatic Stress? Oh dang....

#18 · 38w, 5d ago · · · Awake ·

>>3603203

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Hope you enjoy the rest of the series as well.

>>3812033

The PTSD was a tough one to tackle, but I think I did well at it. I had to do some research and whatnot, but I think it was worth it. Sky Bolt's struggle with her new job aren't over yet, as you'll see in "The Definition of Strength."

#19 · 31w, 1d ago · · · Drift ·

Nightmare after their first mission. PTSD much? Team shrink required. Lots of things on her mind.

Like how you're planning on giving characters spotlight stories.

#20 · 31w, 1d ago · · · Dream ·

Dying is a common theme in this. Wonder what Luna's up to or dealing with, if not handling probably the worst nightmare seen so far.  Really really needs to talk to someone about this. Is why shrink definitely needed. Doc is good, but this is more mental health that requires specialist.

Hunter please at least voice your concerns over to Triage.

Wait. Blade escaped? Why?

Huh, keep at this and you will invent the magic circuit.

Imminent mental breakdown warning.

#21 · 31w, 1d ago · · · Awake ·

Now Luna helps. Well, better late than never. Memory lapses? This is not good. Does the mental degradation causing Radiant to go mad have anything to do with this? Ok, maybe not Luna, if she's busy playing poker. Or maybe she just took a quick break and fixed it.

Glad to see Bolt finally talking about her problems. Small steps. Won't be seeing her completely fixed by next story, unless there's some big time skip involved.

Huh, how much medical knowledge does Triage even have? Still think that Dawn will recommend a specialist.

Enchanting worldbuilding is interesting. Wonder how this would mesh if the unicorns / Bolt makes a circuit, while at the same time electronic circuits started somewhere else.

#22 · 30w, 1d ago · 1 · · Awake ·

>>4104104

The memory lapse wasn't actually something she was suffering from in the real world, but rather the dreamstate, kind of like how you can do something one day, and then have a dream where it hasn't happened yet. Same situation. In the real world, she wouldn't be facing that scenario, but in a dream?

As far as Dawn's knowledge of psychology, she holds a capable range of education in it. In the Rangers, mental trauma isn't a surprise (after all, they deal with a lot of dangerous wildlife) and accidents happen. Hunter isn't the only one to lose friend or family in the Rangers, and Dawn has dealt with all manner of survivors guilt, PTSD, and other mental trauma as a result.

#23 · 29w, 2d ago · · · Dream ·

Um, not sure what to make there, I half expected her to wake up midway through and find that her success was a dream, but this chapter seems... rushed.  I moves forward very quickly with little cohesion, and Blade and Mint escaping?

Blade wouldn't betray her honour like that, she was beaten fair and square, contract terminated, and while she'd be exiled, it wouldn't dishonour her, whereas running from a fair cop would.

As well as Mint?  the meekest of the two sisters, granted still as smart but seriously.

Besides that, the escape, how?  I highly doubt that the princesses and guards would let such a dangerous enemy go, unless she had another teleport crystals, but since they knew she had made those wouldn't they have searched her for them.  Not to mention the delivery "Hey troops, the criminals that we spent all of our time since our first assembly trying to apprehend have just escaped and I'm only telling you about it now, also we're not pursuing them under any circumstances even in the periods not compiling gear and skills for our next op."

Okay that was a bit harsh but my point's there, a bit rushed.  However this is the first of your side stories, so maybe I'm being short-sighted.

Good so far though

Honora Imperator

Edit: Incidentally just realised that I barely said anything good, but wow, so Sky Bolt finished designs that would not only preserve the Dusk Guard Budget, but turn the entire field as a whole around?  Sweet.  Great work Sky Bolt :pinkiehappy:

#24 · 29w, 2d ago · · · Awake ·

>>4162201

So I double-checked ... and it looks like you missed the Epilogue of "Rise," since your last post was on chapter 42 of 43.

Don't you know? You always check after the credits for a stinger! :pinkiehappy:

As far as the questions raised ... all I can say is "MANIACAL LAUGHTER!"

Which isn't really saying anything, but I can't very-well give stuff away now can I? :raritywink:

#25 · 29w, 1d ago · · · Awake ·

Honestly, I think my favourite characters are Nova and Sky Bolt. Nova because he is just so "chill with a side of badass", and Sky Bolt because she is quite a bit like me. We both like to tinker with things in our own little workshop space, and then proceed to completely confuse someone with a long winded explanation of how our latest creation works, whether we were asked or not.

Also, does she have ADHD? If so that would be another commonality.

#26 · 23w, 5d ago · 3 · · Awake ·

As a veteran with PTSD I am impressed with how well you seem to grasp the impact it has on someone. Not sleeping, flashbacks, the effect it has on one's life. You really did it justice.

#27 · 23w, 5d ago · 1 · · Awake ·

>>4367355

Thank you. I'm glad to hear that I did well with it. When I set out to write "Carry On," I knew that handling Sky Bolt's PTSD would be a delicate issued that deserved careful treatment, and I ended up doing a lot of research into PTSD and reading accounts of those who suffered from it in my search for accuracy. I'm very glad to hear that I seem to have succeeded in giving it the weight it needed.

And on another note, thank you for serving in the armed forces.

#28 · 23w, 2d ago · 1 · · Awake ·

Ah ha! It looks like Sky Bolt will be dealing with the stress going forward in the Saga. I feel that it's a very nice development of her character, and could open the door to a lot of meaningful interactions with her friends.

I mean in addition to what's in this story, of course.

You gave me a little double-fake-out. At the end of Rise I was happy to see the long awaited ride with her parents taking place, and was simultaneously sad that you didn't want the ending to overstay its welcome with another scene. So at the beginning of the story I thought, "Oh yay! We get to see the flight!" Then Sabra showed up and I thought, "Oh, dangit! It's just a dream."

And then the nightmare turned out to be utterly terrifying, so I'm not complaining so much as saying, "D'oh! You got me!" :pinkiehappy:

#29 · 22w, 2d ago · 1 · · Awake ·

oh wow. nice story. I m impressed with how deep you have gone with her psicology, maybe this the first or one of the most of the fic I have read that make a character so rich

#30 · 18w, 2d ago · · · Awake ·

>>4382276

Yeah, I knew from the very beginning that despite her words when she first met Steel, she really didn't know what she was getting into. She'd never actually faced death before, not in that way, and I knew right away that her dealing with the mental effects of what she'd signed up for would play an important part of her character. It'll continue to be a part of her and who she is, along with how she and the rest of the characters grow. :pinkiehappy:

>>4419920

Thanks! It took a bunch of research, but it paid off.

#31 · 11w, 6d ago · 1 · · Awake ·

It's been said but I have to say it again.  You did a wonderful job here with Sky Bolt, and a great starting look at a very difficult and extremely real scenario and situation for her.  Really looking forward to seeing how this progresses.

Also a great job of working the whole 'was that really Luna in the dream' angle.  I think it works really well keeping that vague from Sky Bolt's perspective.

#32 · 10w, 13h ago · · · Awake ·

very nice. the PTSD is very deep, which enriches sky bolt's character. the whole dusk guard has nicely 3d personalities. i love it. overall very good job. the second chapter felt a bit rushed, but thats probably just me. :applejackunsure:

so overall :yay: :rainbowkiss: :rainbowkiss: :twilightsmile: :moustache: :moustache: :moustache: 7.8/10

#33 · 9w, 3d ago · · · Dream ·

Where's Luna, dangit?

#34 · 6w, 4h ago · · · Drift ·

Once again I'm sucked in, you can definitely see the PTSD poor Sky Bolt has.

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