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  • 138w, 4d
    Oh hey there is this thing that happened

    For Those We Left Behind was featured on the Pony Fiction Vault, which includes an interview with me where I pretend to be knowledgeable about stuff. If you're curious as to a little of the story's background, hit up the link.

    Direct all unrelated hate mail to Cold in Gardez.

    -Drak

    2 comments · 1,173 views
  • 142w, 2d
    Happy Pun Day!

    Really, I just wanted to get that obnoxiously long blog post off of my homepage, and this seemed like a good day for it.

    So yeah, Happy Pun Day. Just remember: everyone loves puns. If they groan, it's only because they didn't think of it first.

    3 comments · 1,164 views
  • 143w, 5d
    Lacuna - Post-mortem

    As I write this, the final chapter of Lacuna sits ready to be published, the email to EQD waits only to be sent, and then that will be it.  I hope you'll forgive me for wanting to collect my thoughts a bit after I've written so many words already.  Just a forewarning, but if spoilers bother you, you might want to hold off on reading this.  Ready then?  Let's go.

    What a long, strange trip it's been, eh?  

    From the very beginning, I managed to surprise myself with how Lacuna kept going.  In my original concept, when I fired up Open Office and tried my hand at this "writing" thing, Lacuna was slated for a Prologue, an Epilogue, and three chapters in between, none of which would over 3.5k words.  3k ideally.

    Silly, silly me.

    Sand was originally a minor character, one whose purpose would be fulfilled by the end of the Prologue, never to be seen again.  

    That worked out well.

    I've never written fiction before, not really.  There have been stilted attempts at storytelling, fragments that never went anywhere, but they were essentially crib notes for an idea or an emotion at the time of their conception, nothing more.  

    I wanted to see if I could do it.  Actually complete a story, start to finish, no hiatus.  Bonus points if it managed to remain lucid and coherent.  The jury's still out on that point.

    Every chapter became an experiment to see what worked for me, and what didn't.  I came up with a lot of negative things, such as my pacing, my open-ended narrative, my thousands upon thousands of loose story fragments that needed eventual resolution, my endless conversations over food and/or tea...

    Well, we do learn from our mistakes.  Or so I hope.

    I do love my dialogue, though.  Why tell the reader something when I can have my characters do so instead while expressing their own personalities in the process?  I ran the risk of overdoing it, of blurring their individual selves with my narrator self, and I felt that more often than not, I lost control of their quirks and charms.  They became a convenient vehicle for exposition.  

    The biggest mistake by far was introducing a faceless Big Bad.  This distant menace--nameless, faceless, shapeless--never loomed large enough in my mind or the story to properly justify its presence in either location.  I did have plans for one, don't get me wrong.  I had plans up until they wouldn't make a lick of sense, which was approximately midway through chapter 14.  It's just the way these things go.  Hey, don't blame me, I'm just the storyteller.

    Ember and the flower sisters, possibly my two favorite characters to write.

    Ember for his over-dramatic genre-savviness, for his two-faced villainy, and, well, to be honest?  His ability to wrap up about a thousand of those threads I mentioned earlier.  Not all of them, not by far, but a lot.  His dialogue in his home was some of the most fun I've had writing during the entire story.  

    The flower sisters, really three faces of one soul.  Their origin story left a bit to be desired, and the inclusion of their coloration was ham-fisted at best, but I enjoy the way they speak, the way they act, the way they react.  

    And Sand.  Poor Sand.  The highest risk of Suedom and self-insertion, she suffered as much as I could make her to draw her away from those lines.  Maybe it was enough.  Maybe not.  I don't know what happened to her after the end of the story, but I hope she made it through okay and learned to forgive herself, in time.

    I thought about quitting this project a dozen times over.  I'd like to say that sheer tenacity and strength of will saw me through, but I don't want to lie to you.  My wife Heather had to suffer the worst of my doubts, but she was always there to listen to my crazy ideas, to my horrible plans, and never, ever told me that I should quit, or that maybe I should just take a break.  She's no taskmaster, but I'd have never made it as far as I did without her.

    And Gardez.  The first friend I've made through this fandom.  Without his thoughts, his humor, his reviews, and dear god his obsession with hot, hot unicorn x unicorn shipfests, I'd have burned out on the story long ago, and what would have emerged now would have been soulless, joyless dreck.  

    And last, but certainly not least, is Chris.  A reviewer I contacted out of the blue after liking his blog.  He had the tenacity to review my entire story, start to finish, despite its monstrous flaws when it was first published, helping me refine and learn as I go.  I cannot imagine what enormous plotholes, what rampant emotional whiplash, what haphazard pacing would still remain if not for his diligent work, and for that, I salute him.

    I thank them as I thank you all, dear readers.  

    Until next time,

    -Drak

    2 comments · 1,171 views
  • 151w, 6d
    Recommended Reading

    Derp.  Guess I still can't delete blog posts, or at the very least, I can't figure out how to.  So I'm just gonna revise this one to alter my list of things I've read that I enjoyed and feel are worth sharing.  Definitely not up to MLA standards, but hey.

    The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (being finished by Brandon Sanderson)

    For better or worse, this one's a huge influence on my writing.  I'd be lying if I said I loved it, but I like it enough to recommend it to anyone interested in reading through a truly epic adventure.  Clocking in at 14 novels (the last still TBP, though it should be out Q1 of 2012), this one is worth your time at least once through.

    Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin

    An excellent fantasy series that downplays the importance of magic while still weaving it in as an integral part of the world.  The risk of picking up the first book is getting to the end of the fifth and realizing that the author is going to finish book six (of seven planned) sometime after the heat death of the universe.  An excellent read, however.  HBO did a miniseries of the first book, and while it didn't cover everything I would have liked (what could?), it did a very, very good job of doing the work justice.  I suppose having the author on staff to advise really helped matters.

    The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

    I picked this one up at the recommendation of the guys who run Penny Arcade, and I've loved it.  Naturally, because it's good, it's also incomplete.  The current series is 2 for 3 with no due date on the third, but the first two are quite entertaining, even more so if you're a bit of a science geek to appreciate the way the magic system works in his universe.

    Dragonlance: Chronicles by Margaret Weiss & Tracy Hickman

    I'll admit, this one's probably in more vaunted company than it deserves, but my base writing style and vocabulary are based on the books written by these two authors.  Chronicles is composed of only 3 books out of several that they wrote, but it forms the backbone of the rest of the D&D setting, I feel.  Then again, I've only sampled the parts that they've written, so perhaps I have the wrong idea.  Still, I loved these books as a kid and I love them now.  They're some of the very few that travel with me when I move from place to place and audit my stuff.

    Dune by Frank Herbert

    Just the first one.  I mean, I liked the other books (written by this author, though to be fair, I haven't read his son's stuff, just heard the terrible word of mouth), but this one is just fantastic.  It builds an entire world and dynasty within the span of a few hundred pages.  Among all of these, this one is probably the one I'd recommend the most.  It's stood the test of time for a good reason.

    The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman

    Though it's in a graphic novel format, the stories contained within are captivating.  Each is drawn by a different artist, lending an odd, patchwork feel to the overall storyline that.  While at times I don't fully like this effect, it still makes for an enjoyable read.  The series has a somewhat unique take on several mythological figures, and I often find myself sitting down to reread them when I need something more visually stimulating.

    1 comments · 1,193 views
  • ...
 88
 7,150

When her mother passes away unexpectedly, Twilight Sparkle reflects on a parent she neglected in pursuit of her own dreams. With only a little time left before the funeral, she returns home to piece together what she can of a life she barely remembers, hoping to make peace with the memories of a pony she took for granted.

First Published
11th Mar 2012
Last Modified
11th Mar 2012
#2 · 141w, 2d ago · · ·

:fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttershbad::fluttercry::fluttercry:

Dude....

Thumbs up to you man thumbs up to you.

The father of time is happy:scootangel:

#3 · 141w, 2d ago · · ·

Truly fantastic work.  You have a knack for words, how they piece together, and it shows in this story.  A beautiful, sorrowful read, which I'm glad I went through with.  I'm going to show this to a friend of mine who lost his dad; I bet he'll like it.

#4 · 141w, 2d ago · · ·

Sad and beautiful does not begin to describe this story. My only complaint was lack of interaction between Twilight and the other members of the Mane 6, despite that great job on the story.

#5 · 141w, 2d ago · · ·

Way to make me bawl my eyes out :fluttercry:

But lovely story, it was a joy to experience the emotions. Although I haven't lost a parent or other relative yet, I could feel Twilight's sadness and regret.

#6 · 141w, 2d ago · · ·

i completely lost it at twilight's speech at the funeral :fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttercry::fluttercry:

very well written

#7 · 141w, 2d ago · · ·

:fluttercry: I have the biggest lump in my throat right now. This is so beautifull and well written and emotinal and I can really releate to Twillight here, I lost my dad three years ago and not a day goes by where I dont remeber him and regret I never got to know him quite as much as I should have. The phrase "you dont know what you got till its gone" also fits well with this story.

#8 · 141w, 1d ago · · ·

I'm not usually a fan of sad stories. After all, they make me feel sad, which is not something I normally look for in my pleasure reading.

This story is one of the few sad stories that I love anyway. Its message is so powerful and profound that I feel like a better person for having read it.

You've heard me say before that stories about ponies are really stories about people. They may be odd, cartoonish, four-legged people, but people all the same. This is one of those stories where the people come through as characters, not cartoons. Excellent work.

#9 · 141w, 1d ago · · ·

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words.

#10 · 140w, 6d ago · · ·

I'm finally starting to catch up on all the wonderful stories that this community produces. I'm starting slow, checking out authors' smaller works to see if their writing clicks with me.

It's safe to say I'll be looking forward to the rest of your collection.

A really heartfelt, and heartbreaking, tale. I can't say that I can relate to what Twilight's going through, but it's got a good message, none the less.

Really liked how the dialogue flowed, how real the situations between characters played out. That's not an easy thing to do with the written word. Each scene had enough room to breathe without filling it up with unnecessary exposition. Letting the reader fill in the unspoken parts was really effective.

I prefer more upbeat stories, but I do dig into the sadder stuff from time to time to round out my reading experience. I think I hit my quota for some time to come.

Thanks for sharing! It was a delight.

#11 · 140w, 6d ago · · ·

You did the dialogue amazingly.

#12 · 140w, 6d ago · · ·

I struggle to find the words to express the beauty of this fic,

Thank you for writing it.

#15 · 140w, 6d ago · · ·

Very impressive. Very, very impressive. The pacing of the dialogue was spot on, something you should be commended for. This story was quite powerful, but it never felt self-indulgent or cloying, a trap that so many 'sad' fics fall into. However, there was something about Twi that... stuck out to me. I am not sure if that was in a good way or a bad way, but it did nonetheless. I can't quite put my finger on it either. Very annoying.

Regardless, I enjoyed this. It was short, it was powerful, and it was subtle. An impressive piece of story craft. Keep up the great work.

#16 · 140w, 6d ago · · ·

My progression through this story: :fluttershysad::fluttercry::fluttershyouch::fluttershbad::raritycry::pinkiesad2:

#17 · 140w, 6d ago · · ·

I'm going to go hug my mother now.

#18 · 140w, 6d ago · · ·

MAN TEARS

#19 · 140w, 6d ago · · ·

truly fantastic

THAT is how you pace a story

#20 · 140w, 6d ago · · ·

SAD YOU SAY?

I'll be back in an hour. :eeyup:

#21 · 140w, 5d ago · · ·

You're all right, Drakmire. This is a very good thing you've done here. You felt some powerful things when you wrote it, I can tell. Everyone who reads this will experience feelings that they will have to think about, because this is a universal story. It's not necessarily a story about ponies, but it's a story about life, and living, and feelings we all share, and events most of us have to live through. I'm very, very glad that I saw your name on this story and decided to read it.

Now that that's out of the way: Why do you have to be so good, and make me look so bad? :raritydespair:

#22 · 140w, 5d ago · · ·

Kinda got lost in the story.

o__O:flutterrage:

#23 · 140w, 5d ago · · ·

I do wonder about her family

#24 · 140w, 5d ago · · ·

Oh, man. This was some heavy stuff. No tears on my end, but my heart's sitting pretty heavy in my chest right now. :ajsleepy:

I can relate to Twilight in this story quite a bit. I'm not very close with my parents; I don't quite know why, aside from not having much in common. We have some fun times together, but admittedly, I don't know that much personally about either of them, and if I had to give a eulogy, I don't think I'd have very much to say. That's not an easy thing to admit to myself, so coming across this story that expresses this very situation so starkly, I came away feeling plenty somber.

That said, I really must tell you that the pacing in this story is fantastic. You know how to use your line breaks and paragraphs very well, and I admire your sparse writing style. It's not very descriptive, but it's actually better for it, instead using descriptors only when necessary. I always thought it better to say something in fewer words than too many, lest things get too muddled. This was written in a way that every word seemed to count, and have impact. Of course, that's also because a large portion of this is told in dialogue. Very, very good, natural dialogue.

Take notes, everypony. This is how you write a story.

Good job, Drakmire

*sigh* I think I need a hug.

#25 · 140w, 5d ago · · ·

This might take a while, but I'm gonna have to give the most powerful hug I've ever given to every member of my family. I lost my grandmother many years ago. I was so young. I never really knew her, nor what death meant at that time. But I do find myself thinking a lot about what I would do if I ever lost a friend, a brother, a sister or a parent, and it's not pretty.

I guess the only thing there is to do is to love and appreciate every moment you spend with them and never take anything for granted.

Thank you for this story. I cried practically during the entire thing, even now as I am writing this comment. I was feeling a bit "bleh" prior to reading this. I feel a lot better now. Thank you. :pinkiesad2:

#26 · 140w, 5d ago · · ·

The whole time I read this story I was also thinking back on my grandfather's funeral and all the things I wish I had told him before he passed. :fluttercry: This was a very touching and lovely story. Exceptional work.

#27 · 140w, 5d ago · · ·

Thank you all for your comments, great and small. I'm honored to hear that some of you have been touched by my little story here, and it's been my pleasure bringing it to you.

#29 · 140w, 5d ago · · ·

I'mma go hug my mum now :raritydespair:

This fic reminds me of me when I lost my twin brother - there are some things that never should have been left behind, just as there are some pains that will never go away.

Thanks for writing this - it was beautiful.

- Midnight Specter

#30 · 140w, 5d ago · · ·

As one who lost there mother in her early 40s this piece struck home rather hard. I went through everything twilight did. For nearly a decade I didn't talk with her or have any contact at all. I got a visit from a police officer in Baltimore that she had a massive stroke and was in critical condition at the Cleveland clinic. I hopped the next greyhound to Cleveland and met up with the rest of the family and visited her in a coma over the next few days. She was almost completely fine when we visited her on the 4th day, she was wide awake laughing talking about how  she missed us and asked why we didn't stay in contact.

I didn't have the heart to tell her that the reason I lost contact was becuase of her blatant drug abuse and complete neglect of her poor choice in father figures. For most of my life she had been struggling with those issues when i had finally had enough at 16 and bailed out on the abusive household to pursue something for myself completely shutting myself off from everyone, not so much as leaving a  contact number. My mom passed away the next day when a long clot shot into her heart, killing her in her sleep. I still have regrets about what I could have done if I had been less selfish and had my mothers drug problem fixed first hand instead of  running away from my problems.

Sorry for venting in comments  but i thought that I at least explain how hard this hit home. I hope you continue your amazing work Drakmire.

ps:thumbs up

pps:takes away a  good lesson from this the people you love could be gone tomorrow, cherish what you have with them now.

#32 · 140w, 5d ago · · ·

I made it through most of the story okay, but towards the end, when Twilight gave her eulogy, the tears started to fall. This story hit me and made me think on my relationship with my mother. We're actually pretty close, and when she passes away, I know that it's going hit me really, really hard. I hope it won't be for a long while, though. I'm no stranger to pain and loss, but some losses cut deeper than others.

Beautiful and sad. Very well done.

#33 · 140w, 4d ago · · ·

>>313161 I totally lost it at the story summary. :fluttercry::raritycry::applecry::pinkiesad2::ajsleepy::facehoof:

#34 · 140w, 3d ago · · ·

I really liked this story, but I can't really say if it is because of it being really good, or simply hitting a sore point of mine. Anyway, the characterization of Twilight's grief was very good, you could really fell from the text a sense of restriction, as she tries to repress her feelings as she goes through the story. The dialogue was also very subtle. A great piece all in all!

#35 · 140w, 1d ago · · ·

I've just had the honor of giving you the 100th thumb.

Congratulations on a beautifully-written story. It really was like Twilight to act like this.

There are stories here that touched me more than this one, but it's probably due to the fact that I cannot even begin to imagine myself in such a situation like Twilight. My mom still means a world to me and let Celestia banish me to the moon the day I forget about my duties as a son.

#36 · 139w, 2d ago · · ·

Oh, man, this was hard to read.  Very good, but the subject matter was hard to read.  I lost my mom last year.  I didn't have the disconnect Twilight did with her mom. Actually, we were very close.  I lost my only confidant when she died, and it was and still is a very difficult time for me.  I have to admit, I started crying at the part where she smelled her mom's perfume, and the description, "unbearably familiar."  Two little words, and it sums up exactly what it's like to smell the scent of a loved one who just passed.  Oh, reading this fic, I had to stop many times because of all the parallels I had in my life.  It wasn't over-dramatized like most death fics can be - you let the mourning speak for itself.

My personal sentiments aside, I thought you captured Twilight's mourning very well.  It was also told in almost a minimalistic way, which works out perfectly for this story.  You cut out the excess and kept exactly what was needed.  The only problem I had was sometimes the dialogue was a little too minimalistic for my taste. While at times, it perfectly captured how real life conversations could be, other times it just seemed odd.  That might have just been me, though.  OH, and this is just a personal thing, and is not a jab at the story or you, the author, but personally, I kept thinking, "Twilight, you don't have to say ANYTHING, actually."  I just wish someone would have said that to her rather than expect her to say something.  Aside from taking away that expectancy that she had to speak, it would show that she WANTED to say something, she just didn't know how to say it.  But that's a minor nitpick.  I might have been taking it too personall >_<

Great job.

#37 · 139w, 1d ago · · ·

I remember when my mother passed away, I was somewhere around seven.

Good story, good job.

#38 · 134w, 1d ago · · ·

Very well written! I really enjoyed reading this.

I guess I have to reread it, normally I am a sobbing heap when I read storys like yours...

but now not even one tear came from my eyes, I guess my moot is not sad enough.

No offence though, its really wondeful!

#39 · 130w, 1d ago · · ·

Wow man, just, words can not accurately describe how I feel right now

Pretty much every bit of this, felt very in character to me

and now I feel guilty for not really talking to my Mom while she is still alive especially since we had a bit of a scare a while back, sure I don't have the level of disconnection Twilight had, or that some of you guys have described, I'll send her a card and call on Mother's day, Christmas, her Birthday, but that is just about it

>>524012 I wouldn't worry about it too much, I didn't cry that much either, but once you read the, shall we say, stronger sadfics (i.e. My little Dashie) you tend to cry at others less.  Though I did bawl a bit while reading 'I Couldn't wake you, Because you can Never Wake up Again', that might have had more to do with the fact that a child died

#41 · 128w, 5d ago · · ·

This was very nice. I thought the way you presented Twilight and how she dealt with not knowing her mom was well done. Nicely played

#42 · 128w, 20h ago · · ·

This.

Bravo.

D'A

#43 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

I don't normally comment on any story that I read, but this story has deeply moved me to write one.  And, if you'll allow me a moment to share my story, which methinks is reflected in this fic:

You see, my grandparents passed away no less than a year ago.  Now most people would be able to stand up and say, "Yeah, so did mine, but you don't hear me sobbing about it on some story with ponies in it."  That's because most of those people were able to get to know their grandparents.  Me, I barely even remember them, even to this day, after all of my time trying to learn what they did.

In the fic, Twilight's speech struck at one of my heart strings, making me reflect on what I myself have failed to do as a grandchild.  Celestia's final little speech also got me, only because it is true:  I may have the faintest of memories with me about my grandparents, I still carry them with me all the way.

Even as I type this, I still lapse back to those memories.  I still feel the warmth that my grandmother gave off every time I was around her.  I feel the strength that resonated off my grandfather.  I feel their love, even after about a year of them not being here anymore.  But I also feel this sadness of my own creation, for taking them for granted.  I feel my own regret.

I thank you, for writing such an amazing and deeply moving fanfic, as it has helped at least one brony out there with their inner struggles.

#44 · 126w, 3d ago · · ·

Greetings Drakmire,

I read and commented on this story via the PFV some time ago (and you replied), but having just left a rather negative assessment on Device Heretic's Dictated, Not Read, and it made me want to come back and re-read this as a comparison.

Honestly, it makes me feel like I've grown as an author, since I got a LOT more out of it on the second pass. For starters, I can really appreciate the simplicity, elegance and pacing of the dialogue now. I didn't like how broken up it was the first time round, and maybe I've just loosened up when it comes to stylisation, but this time it totally worked. I very much liked the strained feel of the various different conversations, but the only thing that still felt just a tiny bit off was that they felt a little bit samey (no doubt very hard to make them different when they're all displaying the same emotions). Willow Whisper was the only one that stood out as being characterful within the context of being upset, and I think it detracted from Twilight insofar as she reacted to each of them in much the same way because of this. On the other hand, it made her scene really stand out, along with Twilight's first return to her parents' house. That's really the only issue I can fine that I'm not completely 100 percent behind now, so I figure that's pretty damned good!

Lastly, I think I figured out why Celestia's words didn't work for me. I think if someone said that to me, it would piss me off rather a lot. Now I can appreciate that, it irks me less. Not much less, but less.

Genuinely fantastic work, Drakmire. Keep it up.

Scott 'Inquisitor' Mence

#45 · 125w, 2d ago · · ·

That dialogue. Magnificently done!

#46 · 124w, 18h ago · · ·

I see, interesting.

#47 · 122w, 4h ago · 2 · ·

Well, I told you I'd leave a comment on this story last night, and now I'm just getting around to it.

This is the kind of fanfiction that takes me back to my early days in the fandom, honestly--Shining Armor makes no appearance here, Twilight's mother dies, and Twilight is exceptionally distant from her family and knows it--these kinds of plot points were everywhere while we only had Season 1 to go off of. And I really miss those days. It seems fanfics are quite constrained by all the new canon Season 2 introduced. So, knowing this came out around  "It's About Time" gives me hope that authors will be a bit more daring when it comes to what's canon and what's not in their stories--god knows I abuse all hell out of the privilege by saying "oh, most of Season 2 hasn't happened yet."

The Hemingway-esque narration is obvious right from the get go, and there was that lovely passage with Willow where you let yourself expand a little bit on the details to break up the consistency. In a way, it's harder to write about death using less words than more, and though I would normally ask that an author describe a character's appearance even if we're already familiar with it from the show, you don't surrender to that urge and I think the characters emerge by speaking for themselves. Man, that sounded much less trite in my head. I do wonder what would've happened, though, if you'd intercut Twilight's eulogy at the end with some observations, however--that was pretty much three paragraphs of dialogue and done and I feel like you could've profited from a little expansion outside of just what she said, if that makes sense.

Anyway, I'll end this comment by remarking how I really need to get back into reading fanfiction for fun, or if only to see how people who aren't me go about writing things.

#48 · 121w, 10h ago · · ·

Dammit, i shed a tear. :fluttercry: I didnt cry, but i shed some tears. Good writing man. Good writing,

#49 · 117w, 3d ago · · ·

You packed a great deal of narrative into a very tight space while still showing all the emotion. Brevity like that is hard to come by.

#50 · 117w, 3d ago · · ·

Good, very good. I enjoyed the minimalist approach to descriptions and actions. It really helped the dialogue to stand out. Nice.

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