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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 · 2,409 views  ·  166  ·  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 · 3,369 views  ·  517  ·  8
  • 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 · 851 views  ·  165  ·  1
  • 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 · 3,556 views  ·  406  ·  7
  • T Carry On

    Sometimes the hardest thing to do isn't completing the mission, it's coming home again. For Dusk Guard member Sky Bolt, the mission was a complete success. Everything went perfectly. So why can't she sleep?
    18,257 words · 1,134 views  ·  193  ·  2
  • 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 · 555 views  ·  95  ·  0

Blog Posts214

  • Monday
    Sick Day Post

    Well, I'm still sick. Which is kind of ... wow. Whatever this is, I've had it for just over a week now, which is ridiculously long. It kind of reminds me of Bronchitis, except not as nasty. Then again, the last time I had Bronchitis I happened to have Strep Throat at the same time, which led me to coughing so hard I blacked out.

    Yeah, that wasn't fun. Regardless, whatever I've got now is pretty stubborn, but it's not that bad. And thanks to some Nyquil I was finally able to get some good, solid sleep last night. But, I'm still sick. I'm not entirely better yet. And so today I'm putting off the weekly writing guide post. Sorry guys.


    But all is not lost! See, I actually need some new topics anyway. Right now I'm down to four:

    Pacing

    Killing Characters

    Developing Villains

    What was done right with Guardians of the Galaxy Hint, it's a lot.

    That last one will have spoiler issues, obviously. So if you somehow haven't seen Guardians yet (for shame!) then either skip that one when it arrives or be prepared to have one of the better movies out there this year spoiled.

    But that's only four current topics. Which means I need to expand my list once more. So if you've got something about writing you'd like to me to discuss at some point, post it in the comments! I'm now open for suggestions!

    And lastly, last week I mentioned to some of you that the newest chapter of Arad's "Mente Materia," a bonus chapter detailing the post-crossover story's aftereffects in-universe, probably seemed a bit familiar to most of you. And some of you immediately called it. I wrote it. It was a guest chapter. Arad and I worked out a few details it could and couldn't cover and then I put the chapter together. As for why it wasn't credited, well, Arad and I decided not to credit for a week or so, to see what kind of reaction was had—and to see what a few specific fans would say. Because there's been a few readers of Arad's stuff that wouldn't stop slamming my stuff every time it came up, complete with commentary about how terrible a writer I was compared to Arad and how he shouldn't be bothering promoting my stuff. So I suggested we pull a switcheroo and see if those few readers could put their money where their large mouths were. Plus, it'd be fun to write some fanfic not so tightly steeped in Dusk Guard lore (it was very relaxing to be able to not have to worry about my spiderweb for once).

    Anyway, end result? Those few readers couldn't tell the difference. Don't mess with authors, people. We've got tools at our disposal for striking back. :scootangel:

    Anyway, onto the week! It's time to bundle up and kick this cough OUT!

    5 comments · 52 views
  • Friday
    Sick Week

    So, what's new?

    Don't get sick, that's what. I managed to pick up a sore throat that messed up my voice and then turned into a cough that was not only keeping me up till the wee hours of the morning, it was giving me a nice headache and bit of grogginess that made work all but impossible for a day or two. So I'm about 12,000 words behind on my quota. I basically almost lost a week. Boo.

    On the plus side, a new Smash Brothers came out, and I did manage to use the sick time not only to do some worldbuilding for Shadow of an Empire, but to get the last bit of editing done for both for "Remembrance" and ... well, I'm still working on a title for Dawn's side story. Anyway, point is they're BOTH going up soon. All I need now are the covers. As soon as I get those, we'll have a release date. Which will be pretty cool, because I'll be releasing BOTH stories simultaneously, and then uploading the chapters according to a timetable. I'm trying something a little new since both of them take place at the same time. Maybe I can grab two feature box spots at once!

    Anyway, just a quick update. Trying not to cough up my lungs. Sound like I'm going through puberty again. Enjoying the new Smash brothers.

    Oh, and in case you missed it, the newest bonus chapter of Arad's "Mente Materia" is out, and it might seem a little ... familiar to you guys.

    8 comments · 46 views
  • 1w, 1d
    Being a Better Writer: Character Descriptions

    Late update today. I'm battling a sore throat, so I'm trying give myself the sleep I need to drive it back. My voice sounds weird right now.

    Anyway, today's topic inspired was by a bit of a firestorm I saw with regards to a story that someone had written. And while the firestorm in question will definitely not be the subject of today's post, nor do I wish to get into that as it is an entirely separate topic, today's topic will brush up against it for a brief moment.

    Today, I'm going to talk about character descriptions.


    Character descriptions are something that every new writer struggles with, and often many somewhat experienced writers as well. Because when we get right down to it, character descriptions fall into one of those writing areas where no one teaches you how to do it, and everyone assumes that it's fairly straightforward and to the point. "You shouldn't need to be taught about this," the public mindset seems to say. "How hard can it be? You just describe your character!"

    Well, as it turns out, and as most new writers discover when they put their pencil to paper for the first time, describing your characters is much more difficult than it appears. It's hard. Many writers, in a fit of panic (or without realizing it), will simply throw out a narrated description of basic looks—eye color, hair, figure, etc—and then just jump right into the story, without realizing how jarring and unappealing to the reader such a description is. Only upon going back do most of them realize how truly unappealing it is for a story to start off with "Bob was asian, five-foot-three-inches, with brown hair and brown eyes ... etc, etc." Only when they do realize how unappealing it is does the real panic set in, when they realize that they have no idea how to do any differently.

    Which is why I'm talking about this today. Because to many readers, how you describe a character can be a make-or-break point for the entire book. Young writers don't quite realize how important something as simple as a character description can be to the readers acceptance of a work. Plenty a time has been the moment when a reader has picked up a book, read only a few paragraphs, run across a poor character description, and put the book back on the shelf. Why? Because even if they don't consciously realize it, a poor character description is often an indicator of other problems with the book, be they weakness of story, poor attention to detail, or just in general a low quality read.

    Yikes. Suddenly the amount and care for detail you put into your character description takes on a whole new level of importance, doesn't it? It might not just be something that's a nice part of your work, it's something that the very reading of your work may hinge upon.

    Kind of makes it important to get right.

    So, where do you start? How do you go about making sure that your character description is going to be something that keeps your reader flipping through your pages? Well, to start, you're going to need to know a few things about your work.

    Perspective and Voice

    First of all, what perspective is your book going to be using? You need to decide this and acknowledge it in your introduction of the character. Because trust me, very few things will make your reader put a book away like a narrative that jumps to an entirely different style or out of character to introduce someone. If you're going to write in first-person limited, you cannot jump to third person omniscient to introduce your character and then back (especially if you stay in character, with one very specific case exemption). It's horridly jarring.

    In other words, keep your introduction in perspective. This might seem obvious, but then again, I've seen numerous novice stories where the writers have made just this mistake without even realizing it. So first person stories stay first person with their character descriptions, and third-person stories stay in third person. Omniscient stays omniscient, limited stays limited. More on this in a bit when we get to the how.

    But before that, we also need to discuss voice. Voice is make-or-break with character description, though it matters more if your perspective is first person, as it's much more apparent. What is voice? Voice is how the character talks, speaks, and acts, and combined with perspective, breaking voice can be incredibly jarring to the reader. Let me show you want I mean through an example. Here we're going with a first-person, omniscient, direct perspective (ie, the character is telling you a story) and I'm going to give him a voice. Now let's watch what happens when I break that voice.

    It was a cold morning that morning, like most mornings were back then. Cold. Dark. Wet as a piss-poor boot on a rainy day. I still don't know why I bothered to get out of bed that morning. Maybe I was tired of rolling my face into that mildewed pillow over and over again. Maybe I though it'd be worth thinking about going to work. Or maybe I just wanted a nice, stiff, hot cup of coffee. Although in all likelihood, I'd only get one of those things. The local coffee shop was a right pisser when it came down to it: always busy, always getting your order wrong, and never happy to see you unless you were some well dressed posh boot-licker with a stick shoved up his backside. And that wasn't me.

    I'm nothing ordinary. I look very normal. I'm five-foot-two inches; so short. I have dark hair, usually unkempt, and I'm not particularly fit. I have blue eyes, a larger nose, and a bit of stubble around my strong jawline. I'm a bit on the thin side, and I'm usually listening to a pair of headphones.

    Ow, that actually took some work to force myself to write. But did you catch how jarring that was? We start off with this very well-defined voice, things are going great and then POW! The voice is gone. Instead we have bland, everyman description. We could have cut those details straight out of a character file and simply changed the perspective and tense to match the prior paragraph.

    And all I really did was change the voice. With the voice gone, the character's unique attitudes and perspectives either vanished or became flat. Would the one telling the story in the first paragraph have used the phrase "pair of headphones" or "a larger nose?" Not at all! He would have said something like "My nose has always been a bit on a ugly side, sort of like a squashed Mr. Potato Head has taken up residence on my face." Or something like that.

    While this may seem obvious, you'd probably be surprised how many new writers make this mistake, or worse, published writers. I've cringed at many a book (some of which were otherwise fine) where every time a new character came onto the scene the author would break perspective, character/narrator voice, or both when describing them. Crud, I've read one book (and this is a published, bestseller, more's the tragedy) where every new character completely broke perspective and voice, going from third-person limited to what was almost a direct, to-the-reader paragraph written by the author. It was bad. really bad. Then again, so was the rest of the book.

    So, keep perspective and voice in mind when it comes time to describe a character. Reread your descriptions later—out loud, if needed—to see if they flow with the rest of the story around it. If necessary, make changes. But of course, before you get started, here's something else to think about when it comes to character descriptions.

    Reason, Scene, and View

    Originally, view was going to be a different perspective form, but I figured that'd be too confusing. So we're going to go with Scene, View, and Reason. Because as important as perspective and voice is, there are other things to consider when introducing a character.

    Reason is the first thing you should consider. It's AMAZING how many authors mess this up, but let's think about this for a moment. Say your character is in a firefight. Things are exploding, the situation looks bleak—and suddenly a new character bursts onto the scene to save the day, midst gunfire and explosions. Now, how much reason at all does the main character have to give a detailed description of the character in question, considering they're trying not to die? Very little. And in such a scene, certain details are going to be much more important to the character than others.

    Even outside of limited perspective writing, don't make the mistake of thinking you can just drop all the details on the reader. Pacing (something I should do a post on later) is incredibly valuable. Dropping a full description of a character into the middle of a climactic scene? That pulls the reader out of the scene and ruins the pacing. So every time you think to describe a new character, don't hesitate to ask what reason you have for doing so in the first place, and what reason you have for writing the details that you do. Please, do not be the author who pulls us out of a story talking about the new female characters cup size and tight, slap-worthy behind. You'd better have a darn good reason for that aside from personal appeal.

    Even with your viewpoint character, you need reason. A lot of newbie writers just make the assumption that a character who's starring in the story should be described immediately, but that's not really true. How many of you wake up and then do a mental catalog of all your features? Maybe if you're a narcissist, or if you've got a reason to care about one particular aspect or feature for some reason, then yes, you'd think about it. But how many of you do a daily rundown?

    You don't. Reason. Sure, you can hand-wave it, but that pulls the reader out. Give your character a reason (such as the "looking in a mirror" character description trope. Or better yet, just let the description come naturally with the elements of the story.

    Now scene. I touched on that above, but I'll go a bit further here. Remember your scene and the context therein, not just with regards to emotion and events, but things in the room. It's a bit jarring for characters to react in random ways ith character descriptions that aren't contextually related to the scene around them. Use the scene to let your character's looks be known. For example, when Steel dunks his head in the water barrel at the beginning of Rise, the resulting splash and description of him cooling off also describes much of his body type and coloration, easing the reader into a natural picture of what he looked like (this was also something that a certain well-known fic site's pre-reader disliked to an incredible degree—they actually demanded I dump it and just start with a generic, straight description, one more reason I view them as about as competent as a bunch of kindergartners when it comes to fic work).

    Lastly, view. This is a subtext of voice, really. Basically, what it asks is that when you describe a character, make sure that you're doing it not just from the proper perspective, but with their view. What's important to the describer? What details would they notice that are both important to them and also useful to the reader? This can really flavor your book, your characters, and most often seems to become a stumbling point when a writer writes a gender aside from their own. I think we can all see where that goes.

    Point is, your character's viewpoints matter when describing someone. They might see things through a lens that isn't fully correct, or view motivations falsely. This is entirely fair, and we shouldn't be afraid to pull punches when this happens. Even if the reader disagrees with an observation a character makes, it tells them something about both characters.

    The Details Themselves

    All right, we've talked about everything else up to this point to set the stage. Now let's talk about the nitty-gritty specifics with all that other stuff in context.

    First of all, you don't need to describe everything. Remember the lessons above, but also take in this bit of wisdom: A perfectly visualized character often is not a perfectly described one. This is because like characters, we often remember and fixate on specific details rather than the whole. A mark of clever, experienced writing often is that when describing characters, the author will give you just enough specific details to get your attention, but let you fill in the rest of the details. Let us take Harry Potter, for instance. What specific details were we given about Snape? If you're like me and most readers, you remember that he was thin, gaunt perhaps, and that he had greasy hair and a greasy nose. JK Rowling didn't dump many other details (at least, not that I recall right away). She gave you just enough to envision him, and envision him you did.

    Stephen King is a master of this. Go ahead, reread one of his works and pay attention to the details he offers. They often aren't many, no more than three or four details that interestingly enough can paint a very broad picture. And yet when reading his books, readers praise the descriptive characters and how well they can envision them. Despite the fact that he's only giving you a few direct details.

    Tricky, tricky, Mr. King. You knew exactly what you were doing too. Giving the reader the details that were important to know or to visualize, and then letting all the other blanks just sort of fill themselves in.

    Perspective matters again here, as different characters will observe different things, and here's where we get to the elephant in the room: race.

    Unfortunately, race (in America) has become a sort of screwed up version of "The game." Basically, if you mention it, everyone loses.

    Uh-oh. It's sad, but true. There is literally no good way to tackle this that will please everyone. In a country where you can be publicly blasted for "not being (insert race here) enough" and race and culture have become so hopelessly intertwined as to be indistinguishable to most people, character race is basically an open invitation for an absolute crap-storm of rage to descend on your work.

    And nobody wants that. So how do you dodge it?

    First, never—and I mean never—unless you have a very character-specific point to raise, begin a character description with "they were -insert race here-." Seriously, do not. That is the path of the crap-storm, because the moment you use any sort of racial identifier, anyone who at all has any baggage attached to whatever identifying word you used will unzip it and set up shop. And every word thereafter will be, unfortunately, picked through by that entire baggage set's personal handlers, who will interrogate everything you write to look for "problems."

    Yeah, seeing the issue here? Don't use racial terms.

    Do you even need to? Well, actually ... No. No you don't. First of all, culture and "race" are two distinct things but slammed together in the modern world climate. And you don't need to directly address either in order to describe a character.

    Think back to what I said about Stephen King's writing, or Rowling. Drop the details people need. You don't have to say "I'm Hawaiian." You can have a character mention that they grew up in Laie, Hawaii. Or you can observe that they have tanned, tough skin.

    Truth is, you can dodge a lot of the controversy just by giving the important details. Maybe hair color. Or the tint of their skin. And none of these are declarative statements of race. It's tricky, but in the modern climate, it's something you just have to deal with.

    Summary

    In conclusion, when describing characters, think about perspective and voice. Then bring that into play with the reasons, the scene, and the view of the character. Then, lastly, consider which details are important. Do this, paint the scene, and walk away with a character description so natural it'll seem like your reader really knows them.

    Good luck! See you all next week!

    12 comments · 170 views
  • 1w, 4d
    Whoa. Correia Takes the SJW Movement to Task

    I know, I've been quiet lately. I've been trying to finish up the first draft of Colony (which is in the final act now, finally), and that's kept me pretty busy. Hunter's story is getting its editing pass this weekend (so ... tomorrow, actually, dang) and will start going up not long after I work out the cover details.


    Anyway, before I get back to work, I just wanted to share a link. This link, specifically. It's from Larry Correia's blog, and it's sort of a summation, a "why I do this," of sorts. And it tackles, of all things, the SJW insanity and how it's been hurting writing.

    Thing is, I feel he makes some incredibly good point. Correia's been fighting this fight for a while, and he's never been shy to point how foolish an opponent's arguments are. With this post, he summed up just about everything distubing that's been permeating the writing culture, and in a very blunt, to the point sort of way.

    Warning: It IS blunt. But sometimes bluntness is needed, and in this case, I happen to think Correia is entirely correct.

    I'd prefer not to kick off a firestorm of controversy in the comments, and with this one, that's a possibility. So in the event you want to weigh in on this, remember the rules of my comment threads, please: No cursing. Be considerate and well-spoken. Don't resort to nastiness, bile, or any of the other typical, less-astute methods of conversation seen around the internet.

    Anyway, I need to get back to work! This book needs to get done!

    13 comments · 192 views
  • 2w, 1d
    Being a Better Writer: Character Versus Plot

    Character Versus Plot: What's Driving Your Story?

    Today we're going to talk about a lesser-considered aspect of storytelling and writing. I've bandied about with a few different introductions to the concept and summarily discarded all of them, so instead I'm just going to jump right in and tackle things.

    Effectively—and understand that I am for the purposes of today's concept, grossly simplifying—every story out there, written, told, or seen, rides a sliding scale into one of two categories: They're either a character-driven piece or a plot-driven piece. That's it. These are your options, and understanding which your story is going to be, as well as more importantly, how to achieve this, will play a part in determining the success of your work.

    Okay, some of you are nodding, some of you are confused, a few are wondering where I'm going with this. So let's look into this one a little more deeply.


    We'll start with the underlying concept behind these two options: All stories are driven by something. Now, when I say that a story is driven by something, I don't mean the antagonist, or the inciting incident, or even the growth of the character. What I'm referring to by driven is the events or actions by which the story is pulled forward.

    Bilbo leaving Frodo the ring, for example, is something that pulls the story forward. Harry receiving a letter from Hogwarts. Vin being noticed by Kelsier. A story is, in it's purest, simplified form, a collection of events. But something inside the story must happen in order for these events to occur. Cause and effect.

    What I'm discussing today is the method by which the story moves forward. Is it character-derived, or plot-derived?

    I see a few of you are still scratching your heads. The simplest, easiest way to describe this idea is to ask what causes the story to continue forward. Is it the characters? Or is it some force outside of the characters? Is the story moving forward because of my characters actions and choices, or is it moving forward because it needed to move forward so something happened?

    Both types of story exist (and, as one would expect, most stories are a blend of both, weighted in one direction or the other). Thriller novels, for example, tend to be driven more often by their plots than by their characters. Events that move the story forward are "Acts of God" or other higher powers which exist for the sole purpose of dragging the characters along from scene to scene. The writer wants a car chase to happen? So he funnels the story towards that end, placing the characters in a situation where there is only one possible answer—car chase.

    Stories that focus more on character, however, take a different route. Rather than plot-based forces pulling the story forward, these are stories in which the characters choices are what move things along. Rather than outside occurrences forcing a character to engage in a car chase, this will be a story where the character is given valid options and then chooses to engage in the car chase.

    Now, I'm certain a lot of you are simply nodding and thinking to yourselves "Well of course, that makes sense." And yes, it does. But now we need to consider this question: Which one are you writing?

    Because to tell the truth, while your works will undoubtedly have both aspects included in them, each story you write is going to gravitate towards one type or the other, and understanding and acknowledging this in advance will make your work much easier.

    For example, take my work on Colony. Colony is a much less character driven work than my last few stories, and it took me a while to realize it (downside of pantsing the story). Much of the major events that control the story are driven not by the characters choices (with a few exceptions), but rather by outside, plot-driven forces. None of the character's ever wanted to go to the colony world of Pisces, for example. Instead, they're press ganged into it by a powerful megacorportation who, while offering them a substantial monetary reward for carrying out their task, really doesn't give them much in the way of a choice. The other options are so unappealing that it's very clear to the characters and the reader that the only recourse is to accept the job and head for Pisces.

    There are other events like this in Colony. But for Colony as a story, that's all right, because the focus isn't the character driven elements, it's how the characters react to being thrown into these situation, and the situations themselves.

    Another example of a plot driving: Everyone's favorite, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Harry never chooses to be a wizard and start receiving letters from Hogwarts. The letters simply start arriving one day. And then, characters with power outside of Harry's control determine the reaction (taking the letters away, nailing the letterbox shut, and fleeing to a cabin on an island). Much of the driving force of The Sorcerer's Stone for the first "act," in fact, is not character based at all. Harry is pretty much dragged along up until the setting has been introduced, at which point he starts making conscious choices of his own (befriending Ron, for instance, or helping take down a troll).

    Come to think of it, The Sorcerer's Stone is probably a pretty good example of the two types and how to juggle them, as the first half of the story is mostly Harry being dragged from point to point, while only after he acclimates to the new setting does he really start making choices that move the story forward.

    Knowing which particular style your story is going to serve as the primary driving force of your story before you start will do wonders for how your story turns out. For instance, if you want to write a deep, character focused drama with introspective characters coming to grips with their own lives ... and then create a story that is entirely driven by the plot and not by that character, the entire theme and objective of your work will be weakened. Likewise, if you want to write a rollicking action story that never stops, but choose to have much of the story driven by the characters, you're putting a lot of weight on those characters to make the choices that will continually keep the action-ball rolling. Sure, it can be done, but it's not easy, especially if those characters start trying to make decisions that would pull away the action-adventure focus.

    What does this mean for you? Well, that you need to make a choice before you get too far into any work about exactly which driving force you want to be in control of your story, and then think ahead to how that's going to change your story. Can you count on your characters to make certain decisions to move the story in the right direction? Or will you need an exterior force, a plot moment, to take control and move things forward? How will it change your story to have such a force interacting with your characters? Will it put the reader's focus in the wrong area? Will it detract from the theme or moral of your work? A story in which the theme or moral is that we always have a choice, for example, would be rendered ironic by a story in which everything was driven entirely by the plot rather than the characters.

    Conscious acknowledgment of what drives our story can be a powerful tool in forming a strong narrative and focus for the reader. For example, look at the storyline of Bioshock. One of Bioshock's greatest storytelling powers was it's insistence that the character was the one making the decisions, that the character was driving the story. Only when you reached the twist did you learn that everything the character had gone through was in fact, not a character decision, but the plot dragging the character along and convincing him that their choices were their own when they were not. Bioshock's creators built up a powerful narrative based on what observers perceived was a character-driven story, and then brutally tore that construct away at a critical moment while showing the player how willing they had been to believe that it was all character rather than something orchestrated by others. Bioshock ended up being recommended in Time magazine partially because of how well its story juggled these two concepts.

    But that's pretty advanced use of such a tool, so don't expect to do something like that right away. In fact, don't expect to need to. What you should expect is to understand what drives the story of your own works. When you sit down at a keyboard or with a pen, ask yourself: What is going to drive this story? Are my characters subject to the whims of the plot? Do they choose their own path? How will this affect the story I have in mind? Will it make it less exciting? More exciting? Should I consider changing my focus between the two in order to strengthen an aspect or theme of my work?

    As with many things, either of these alone will not make or break your work. However, a firm understanding of how they work and what they can do for you will, with time, be part of the polish that grants your work an extra shine of quality.

    Good luck with your writing, and I'll see you all next week.

    12 comments · 198 views
  • ...
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 795
Source

This story is a sequel to Old Habits

It's Steel Song's day off, and he's got plans. Plans of the relaxed sort. He's going to eat out somewhere besides the Guard cafeteria. Enjoy Canterlot's parks. Visit his family. And then, spend the evening with the most amazing mare he's ever known.

Of course, when he bumps into a strange brown stallion in a Canterlot square, it's hard to not be a little suspicious. Especially when said stallion talks as if he's known Steel for years, and they've never met before. Surely it can't hurt to follow the stallion and make sure nothing's wrong, right? Of course not. After all, it's a day off.


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

Side Stories so far:

Carry On

The Definition of Strength

Old Habits

Emoticon

The Saga has a TV Tropes page! Please help keep it up to date!

Special Thanks to Jorlem and Sinister Voice for their help pre-reading, editing and getting a summary together.

Art by FaisLittleWhiteRaven

First Published
15th May 2014
Last Modified
15th May 2014
#1 · 27w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

Not complaining, but I thought this was supposed to go up Friday?

#2 · 27w, 6d ago · 2 · ·

>>4394361

Originally it was going to, but halfway through things I checked my schedule and realized that today was a better day considering everything I was working on. Like a numbskull, however, I totally forgot to update the post about it for at least an hour.

#3 · 27w, 6d ago · · ·

>>4394370 Alright, cool. Now I have something to read in the stupidly long break between classes today.

#4 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

The world needs more Doctor Whooves.

Also, the URL tag near the end is broken.

#5 · 27w, 5d ago · · ·

>>4394461

Ooh, thanks for the spot. Looks like I broke it during the final edit. :pinkiesad2: Fixed now though!

Yeah, I really wanted a chance to write the Doctor. Glad you enjoyed it!

#6 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

MInor typo. at  “Are you kidding?!” [url=url=Cappy]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SFgL9ZrEsJ8]Cappy asked, a wide grin erupting across her face.[/url] She shook her head,  For a quick heads up.

#7 · 27w, 5d ago · · ·

>>4394475

Got it. How embarrassing. :twilightblush:

#8 · 27w, 5d ago · · ·

>>4394507 It happens, no worries, and there are many folks who are going to catch it quick, than everyone miss the four hundred and fifty pound gorilla in the room. (Those guys are sneakier than they look) :rainbowlaugh:

#9 · 27w, 5d ago · · ·

Haven't read it yet, but kind of obvious who the Doctor is. Now is this your take on him, or based off of another writer's version?

#10 · 27w, 5d ago · · ·

In case nobody else catches it, your youtube link toward the end is borked. >_>

Edit:  Also, good show!  I always love a good doctor fic even if it's just a short one.  And nice foreshadowing with the niece and nephew being scared from one of his stories.

#11 · 27w, 5d ago · · ·

>>4394521

My own take, and one very, very close to source material.

>>4394524

Yeah, got it... :twilightblush:

Glad you liked the story and the Doctor. It's always a challenge to tackle someone else's character (as you know firsthand), and I spent a lot of time working on what he said and how he acted.

#12 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

You have done it again my good sir. :moustache:

I applaud you.

Ah geez I loved this story. I thought the crystal fae was a beautiful idea, was that an original concept or is that from some old mythology of some sort? Either way it's great, so many things to do with the idea.

I might just "borrow" it for my next ponyfinder ga-... that's actually a brilliant idea. I think I will.

Anyways, loved this story, I thought the Doctor was spot on and I was laughing pretty hard over the bit when Steel thought he might be on the Butt end of a joke. :rainbowlaugh: He's in good company.

Oh, and huzzah for fluffy shipping!  

#13 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

I was wondering what the Doctor had to do with this story when you posted the cover art. I guess I know now!

Loved Steel's interacting with the Doctor. Unlike most fics where he shows up as a straight-up time lord pony, it feels like the story is firmly centered around some pony not him. Not that I mind a good Doctor-centric fic, but this was a nice change of pace.

The foreshadowing felt very much like it belonged, too.

#14 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

Any Thistle fans out there?

YEAH :flutterrage::yay::trollestia:

#15 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

Very nice. A story about the doctor and a confused stallion chasing after a very long lived little girl/filly/foal who is scared out of her mind and changing shapes only to be stopped by having a parental figure assure her that everything is alright and that she shouldn't be afraid and is protected. I could very easily see this as being a doctor who episode minus the pony forms of course.

#16 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

Hmm, interesting!  I may have to keep an eye on this:derpytongue2:  Keep up the good work:twistnerd:  (Lets face it, the twist emote is not used enough.)

#17 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

Just finished reading, now I'm just sitting here with my sonic screwdriver and my Tardis mug thinking 'yay Tennant!'.

Excellent as always, have a favorite :twilightsmile:

#18 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

I really should stop reading so late into the night, but these stories are so good. I do think Steel is my favourite character, there seems to be so much to him that has been built up and yet he still has so much that I want to know about. Especially h's background before his retirement, his work as a body guard intrigues me to no end.

While I was a little sceptical about the whole Doctor Who thing, I think you did it beautifully. I will say however that I'm glad he won't be playing a major role in the main narrative as I'm personally not too much of a 'Doctor Whooves' fan.

#19 · 27w, 5d ago · · ·

>>4394734

Glad you liked it! :pinkiehappy:

So, the crystal fae isn't based on anything it at all. I basically came up with the idea for what I needed (a creature that put out emotion as well as eating it) and worked backwards from there, drawing lore from the show itself and playing with my headcanon for how magic works in the universe.

And you can totally go ahead and use it in your game if you'd like. Just in case you hadn't guessed (and let's face it, you probably did), the crystal fae are super rare and hail from the Crystal Empire primarily. When it got locked away, so did they. So when the Crystal Empire comes back...

Yes, we'll get to see the crystal fae again, and they'll spread out a bit more this time. :pinkiehappy:

Oh, and glad I nailed the Doctor's character. That was a challenge!

Allons-y!

>>4394744

Yeah, I set out to make sure that even though the Doctor showed up, this was still Steel's story, and no one else's. Which Dr. Who does a lot actually, though it leaves the focus on the Doctor. This was all about Steel.

And yes, the foreshadowing. I'm kind of surprised no one's mentioned one of the big ones yet. It's very, very important, been mentioned in 2 3 of the side stories so far, and no ones caught on yet. :mustachepinkiewedonothave:

>>4394826

Oh good. Because she's showing up, and will continue to show up.

>>4395647

That was the goal! :pinkiehappy:

>>4395685

First exposure to the series? Welcome, and are you in for a RIDE!

>>4395807

Thank you. Tennant will always be the Doctor for me. He was just brilliant!

>>4395926

To be able to write a character into a story that someone isn't fond of ... and still have them enjoy it is a great mark of success. Thank you!

And never fear, we'll get little bits of Steel's backstory from time to time. Oh, and there's an AMA here you could also check out for some more details (Steel did it after being voted the favorite team member a while back).

#20 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

>>4396833

Excellent, cuz Hunter needs more hugs and less being married to his work :rainbowlaugh:

#21 · 27w, 5d ago · · ·

>>4396833

Whew:pinkiegasp:  I don't know how long it will take me to read them.  You could ask any of my friends... I have a full plate when it comes to reading.:twistnerd:

#22 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

The Doctor. In Dusk Guard. As more than just a passing refrence. And confirmed returning.

SO... MUCH... AWESOME... CROSSOVERNESS... *nerdsqueal*

Ok... ok... I have to give a proper comment now. *breathes*

You wrote the Doctor perfectly. Those hours of Tennant research paid off beautifully. My only complaints are 1. "allons-y"? and 2. The story was a bit short, but, as you said in the AN, this IS about the Dusk Guard, specifically Steel in this story, and running off with the Doctor into *ADVENTURE!* kinda would hijack the story completely.

Just make sure nobody gets lost in that big ball of wibbily wobbly timey wimey stuff when he does come back!

#23 · 27w, 5d ago · 2 · ·

>>4396957 Comrade Cromegas, it has been too long since we last tried to kill one another in 2nd fortress teams.

But I assure you, this series is well worth it. IMO the best written series on fimfic. (the characters especially, holy Maccrage the characters!)

#24 · 27w, 5d ago · · ·

Honestly, I wasn't that happy with the Doctor showing up.

It really felt like his presence detracted from the story, which seemed like it was supposed to be about Steel Song. Instead, it's "The Adventures of the Doctor and his new sidekick Steel Song!"

All the other stories worked on deeper character development and worldbuilding. This was just Steel Song running around after a character that already knew the entire story.

I love your work, but this was disappointing for me.

#25 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

A very fun to read story-thingy, I enjoyed it :-). I like how you have created this faengling and made Steel the one to do stuff in the episode instead of the Doctor - he has enough spotlight in other fanfiction as it is :-P.

#26 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

Finally got a chance to sit down and read the chapter. Can see it as an actual episode, sans ponies. Doctor and Steel got to share the limelight, without either taking too much from each other. Glad to see continuing therapy for Bolt in the mentions, as well as the situation with Cappy. This is probably a Tennant inspired Doctor, yes?  Wondering if Steel is going to try to get someone else to look into this Doctor character. Need more info to decide whether or not this Doctor is similar to any of the other ones.

#27 · 27w, 5d ago · 1 · ·

>>4397715

Well then I must read more.  I'm prioritizing this series!

As for the second game, you are mine:twistnerd:

#28 · 27w, 4d ago · 2 · ·

I'd have a mild off-feeling about the sudden Dr. Who crossover, but it drowned under the writing quality.

Have an upvote, fav, etc. :pinkiehappy:

#29 · 27w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

>>4396833 Yay for protective instincts and kind loving parents/uncles/aunts/big brothers and sisters/and anyone willing to help and comfort a child in need. I remember this quite from the anime Bleach when Ichigo is fighting some evil older sibling of one of his friends he says "Big brothers... you know why they're born first? To protect the little ones that come after them!! What kind of brother says that he'll KILL his own sister?! Even a MONSTER shouldn't say that!!" I know it doesn't exactly fit the situation considering there is no monster trying to kill the little filly but I think it sort of fits into the theme of the story about protecting children

:scootangel::twistnerd::scootangel:

#30 · 27w, 4d ago · · ·

>>4396953

:raritystarry: What will his future hold? :rainbowlaugh:

>>4399370  >>4397715

Thanks! :twilightblush: Enjoy!

>>4397558

I just couldn't find a place to work "Allons-y" in, unfortunately. Ah well. he'll be back sometime. Glad I nailed his character though!

>>4397795

Ah well. At least you gave it a read. I'm sure as the series moves on there will be other things that people won't be very fond of. In this case, it sounds like the inclusion of the Doctor really wasn't something you enjoyed. There's always the next story! Thanks for reading all the same!

>>4397877

Eeyup! That, I knew, needed to be key. It still had to be Steel's story.

>>4398853

Steel looking into research on the Doctor. Funny you should mention that... :raritywink: Glad you liked it!

>>4399565

Best possible reaction, I think! Thanks!

>>4399833

Steel's awesome that way. He might be stoic and locked up in his own rough exterior, but I think Cappy's already seen past that for the real deal.

#31 · 27w, 4d ago · · ·

I'm curious as to why you didn't add a "Crossover" tag to the story, since the inclusion of a certain two-hearted alien warrants it. I guess it's not a bad thing that I spent half of the story expecting a big twist that made it not-a-crossover, but it is a little... odd, I guess? Although, It's not like you're breaking any sort of must-follow rule.

Hmm. Maybe you'd bring in a little of the DW crossover crowd if you included the crossover tag. Maybe you'd invite rage from the folks who think DW crossovers are overdone. I dunno. Maybe i'm over-thinking it.

It was worse than anything he ever recalled experiencing, including that juvenile dragon he’d faced...

Just like the day he’d gotten his cutie mark, diving into that manticore to save his classmate...

Griffon Blademaster...

Highly-respected Guard...

Highly-respected Bodyguard...

Captain of the first new Guard since the forming of the Day and Night Guards...

Steel may have done some cool things in his life. Maybe. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg, too.

must have fallen through a temporal rift … which would mean that … oh yes. That is right about now, isn’t it?

AHA! So the Crystal Empire was not locked up in some sort of void for a thousand years, but was sent a thousand years into the future by Sombra's curse? Of course the Doctor would be involved with such time-displaced shenanigans!

Any Thistle fans out there? Anyone?

I have serious potential to become one, I know... :ajsmug:

Confusion over tags aside, I had a great time reading it. Cool new creature, neat interactions, and hey, I can't say i'm not a Who fan. It didn't go as deep as the other stories, and was kinda of a shock with the change in tone from those. But we've seen Steel develop for roundabout 200,000 words now, it's okay that he gets to star in a fun adventure!

Now to eagerly await Hunter's side story... It's gonna be a real wizzpopper one way or the other. :rainbowkiss:

Why no, I don't know the first thing about Aussie slang. Why do you ask?

#32 · 27w, 4d ago · · ·

>>4400459 Your writing has always been fantastic and you put a ton of effort into your work, there's no argument there. I just couldn't enjoy this particular plot like I did the others.

But I still look forward to all the other things you still have to offer!

#33 · 27w, 2d ago · · ·

It just struck me that Steel actually got a real whopper of a bit of character development. I missed it at first due to focusing on the Doctor's appearance. I'm super excited--chomping at the bit, natch--to see where this goes. :pinkiehappy:

#34 · 26w, 6d ago · · ·

Can't honestly say I'll be diving into your Steel Song universe, but I did enjoy this as a straight-up Who adventure. Plenty of excitement and substance, and it was unique to see  one of the Doctor's associates being a toughened soldier with combat experience.

#35 · 26w, 5d ago · · ·

>>4402175

Alright, you made good points. I added a crossover tag.

AHA! So the Crystal Empire was not locked up in some sort of void for a thousand years, but was sent a thousand years into the future by Sombra's curse?

Well from their perspective it's "POW, FUTURE" but Sombra didn't send them forward in time. They were temporally locked. You had it right with the first one.

And yes, Steel's development in this is more impactful than most would think at first glance.

>>4430343

You're not the first to say that, but I assure you, there's a reason the Dusk Guard has the fandom, ratings, and weight it does. Another reader commented back at someone else who said similar ...

But I assure you, this series is well worth it. IMO the best written series on fimfic. (the characters especially, holy Maccrage the characters!)

I'm glad you liked "Emoticon," but it's the tip of the iceberg. Definitely give some of the others a try.

#36 · 26w, 4d ago · · 1 ·

a bit of the Doctor is always a good stress relief xD

quite a nice story. that crystal fey remembered me the mlp comic

Is alwas good to see Cappy xD.

hmm Thritle? not a fan yet but would be nice see her character developed a bit.

oh a thing I noticed at the beginning: why did Damn injection him somenthing before take a sample of blood?  that would conraminate the blood

#37 · 26w, 3d ago · · ·

:twilightsmile:

#38 · 24w, 5d ago · · ·

>>4400459

I am agreeing with Winter Storm, the Doctor is drawing all the attention. Not too mention his chaotic way of doing and telling stuff may be great for the show itself with the Doctor's PoV with visuals to back it up, but in this fic I find it plain aggravating.

#39 · 19w, 5d ago · · ·

Good story! :twilightsmile:

If you decide to touch it up in the future (since you wrote it so long ago) I would suggest making the info about him scaring the kids at the beginning a bit more prominent (possibly a short flashback) to connect the circle better, otherwise it's great!

P.S. I think you used The Doctor quite well, especially dividing it so he figures it while Steel actual makes the final call and saves the day.

#40 · 16w, 3d ago · 1 · ·

Normally I dislike stories that bring in the Doctor. He tends to get over played and made god-like. This story, I liked. To me, this felt almost like a Doctor lite episode.  Yes the doctor was there but he gracefully stepped out of the spot light to let Steel engage the antagonist and resolve the issue.  Of all the stories that I have read on fimfiction that have had the Doctor appear in them, this is by far my favorite.

Thank you Viking ZX for giving the Dusk Guard series

#41 · 14w, 10h ago · · ·

hmm. very nice chapter. i like the way u wrote the doctor, yet gave steel a lot of development. i really want a steel song pic like nova got at the end of "Old Habits". he was the only pony to get one. :fluttercry: and the fae is a very good idea. im glad we'll be seeing more fae (and doctor) in the future. :twilightsmile:

overall, :yay: :rainbowkiss: :rainbowkiss: :rainbowkiss: :moustache: 8.1/10

#42 · 13w, 3d ago · · ·

I'll admit, I was a bit confused by this one at first. And then Doctor Who showed up and I wondered, "Okay, Viking, where are you going with this?"

But then the situation clarified itself, and I saw exactly how Steel was going to solve things and how it tied into the beginning. It worked pretty well. Not a favorite, but still worth an upvote.

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