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  • E Somepony's Daughter

    Applejack and Rainbow Dash have a heart to heart while waiting for a train.
    2,450 words · 4,164 views  ·  376  ·  4
  • T A Fact for Twilight

    When Applejack asks Twilight on a date, Twilight realizes something about AJ that she never noticed.
    5,173 words · 9,399 views  ·  1,076  ·  19
  • E Three Little Apples

    Twilight finds that some important information is missing in a book about the Apple family history.
    3,405 words · 2,853 views  ·  319  ·  3
  • E The Importance of Being Earth Ponies

    Applejack and Pinkie Pie teach Apple Bloom what's so special about being an earth pony.
    2,345 words · 4,863 views  ·  414  ·  5
  • E Of Cottages and Cloud Houses

    Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash both move into their first homes, and they aren't what they had in mind
    4,641 words · 1,769 views  ·  185  ·  1
  • T Best Young Flyer

    Scoot trains with Dash to be Best Young Flyer, but could something more develop?
    32,833 words · 4,890 views  ·  451  ·  7
  • T Wet Feathers

    Applejack knew that long distance relationships are hard, but Rainbow Dash's dream-come-true is turning into a nightmare for her. With the newest Wonderbolt on the cover of magazines and tabloids, AJ decides if love is enough to hold them togeth
    12,375 words · 6,690 views  ·  911  ·  27
  • E Wisdom is Just Being Old

    Applejack is the last element left. But that's just life.
    2,173 words · 1,583 views  ·  166  ·  2

Blog Posts330

  • Friday
    How TwiDash is the Most Romantic Ship

    Hey! How about one of those blog thingies I do sometimes?

    Yeah, my Monday post is way late this week, but that won't hold up next Monday. It's just been a busy week and this one didn't exactly write itself. It turns out that there's not much to say about TwiDash, for reasons that will become obvious below.

    First, because there have been some questions recently, I want to talk for a second about what these essays are. They are not arguments that any of these ships are actually the best. Rather, they’re examinations of how you can best show off the dynamic of the ship. I’m looking at the ship’s basis in canon, and common tropes or styles of romance, and making an argument for the specific way in which this ship shines more brightly than any of the other Mane Six x Mane Six ships. This is not to say (as will become obvious) that these ships are the only ones that can fit into these types of plots. Nor is it to say that these are the only types of plots the ship is good for. But it’s my opinion that the ship I outline is the best possible choice in terms of Mane Six ships for the types of fics I go on to talk about them with, and that the type of fic will play to all of the ships strengths; no other ship will do that plot as well as that ship, and no other plot will suit that ship as perfectly.

    So today we come to TwiDash. King Princess of mane six ships. Flagship of the feature box, home to some of the best fics in fandom, the pairing that blew past ships with more logic and canon alike in terms of popularity, without so much as an episode to back it up before S4. Obviously TwiDash must have some major way that it’s the most romantic ship.

    It… doesn’t… really. WAIT! Put down the pitchforks, TwiDashers. TwiDash doesn’t have any one way that it’s the most romantic. But the beauty of TwiDash is that it’s remarkably romantic across the board. There’s nothing that TwiDash does better than any other ship, but there’s nothing it can’t do. TwiDash is a unique combination of similarities and differences that can be mixed and matched, emphasized and downplayed as needed.

    To start with the differences, you have the obvious laid back, rough and tumble, anti-intellectual “jock” type vs. the up-tight, everything in it’s place, school-loving “nerd” type. This is a staple of romantic comedies, and even before Testing, Testing 1, 2, 3 the show frequently used situations of Twilight’s frustration with Dash’s laissez faire attitude or Dash’s blatant amusement at Twilight’s “uncool” intellectualism for gags in episodes like Fall Weather Friends, Luna Eclipsed, May the Best Pet Win, and Three’s a Crowd. Since both are clear extremes, it’s funny to see either or both taken down a peg. That being said, if you do want to give TwiDash stakes in this, the fact that they both seem aware that they’re playing these roles and occasionally express interest in moving outside of them (Fall Weather Friends, Testing, Testing) could open up vulnerability that would allow the teasing to actually strike a nerve.

    Another difference that can be milked for plots is the attitude they each have towards their own abilities. Twilight constantly doubts herself, even when she’s perfectly capable, while Dash’s bravado extends to anything and everything somepony cares to challenge her at. Whether it’s Dash getting herself into trouble that Twilight has to get her out of, or addressing the core of one or both of their problems, this combination is a good way to create conflict for a fic.

    A lot of ways they’re alike are good for that as well. While they both freak out over different things, they are both neurotic ponies who are prone to overreact. If they both went off the rails at the same time, it could bring some major drama. On a lighter note, we’ve seen them bicker over Daring Do canon, so a disagreement there could add some fluffy, funny tension.

    So, there’s plenty of conflict on any scale in TwiDash, but there’s almost equal room for connection. The same willingness and actual interest in moving outside of the jock/nerd stereotypes that can make them vulnerable can also give them a good reason to enjoy each other as a couple: unlike many opposites attract ships, Dash and Twilight clearly want to change for themselves, for various reasons, and they can help each other do that. The shared neuroticism that’s explosive if it goes off in unison comes from the same pressure to be the best at what they do, giving them the opportunity to understand and help each other deal with it. Fights about Daring Do canon are as likely to be fun as they are to turn into bickering.

    Basically, TwiDash is all flexibility. Big problems or little problems, deep emotional connections or stuff to do hanging out, TwiDash has all the angles covered. It slices, dices, juliannes, does windows, makes your whites whiter, and teaches you Japanese in five easy lessons.

    Fluttershy gives FlutterDash an edge when it comes to sappy, star-crossed lovers plots, but replacing her with a naive, adorkable Twilight isn’t a bad choice. RariJack pumps the dramatic tension to the top, but TwiDash’s jock/nerd dynamic, combined with two neurotic ponies, can keep pace there. Twilight’s not quite as perfect a comedic straightmare as AJ, who can speak volumes with a raised eyebrow, but her frustration and snark makes it a good alternative to AppleDash for comedy. TwiJack provides the most stability for exploring other things in a fic, but as long as Dash is willing to let Twilight steer TwiDash can do that perfectly well. RariDash is superior for dealing with the effects and sympathy for Dash’s ambition and career choice; TwiPie gives Twilight more of a puzzle to solve and brings the fun to her life; but TwiDash contains elements of both of those things.  

    There are a number of theories about its popularity, but I think this is a valid one to add to the pile. When a reader can read a sappy romance one day, a wacky comedy the next, and an adventure the day after that, and the ship holds up just as well in every one, there’s a better chance people will ship it.

    I don’t have much advice to TwiDash writers. Just pick a romance story and write it to the hilt. The ship shines anywhere, maybe not a perfectly as another ship might, but well enough to make for a great story. And you’ll probably make the feature box.

    I do want to go on a little tangent about something I pointed out before, though: that Twilight has expressed an interest in at least participating in athletic contests for fun, and Dash has learned to enjoy a book series Twilight also likes, and has come to understand the importance of being able to study because you need to sometimes. This is unique among opposite attract situations between the mane six. While other pairings have learned to tolerate each others traits, or even appreciate them in others, AJ has never expressed an interest in fashion or society-- in fact the whole point of Applejewel was that it would be silly if she pretended to, and it was silly for Rarity to pretend she had any interest in farming, and they both know that.

    To me, personally, this is the HUGE difference between changing for love and a relationship that will legitimately broaden each partner’s horizons: There’s actually a non-romantic reason for character to want them broader. Dash had a reason to pick up Daring Do other than “Twilight likes this thing, and I’m totally in love with Twilight.” Twilight had a reason for showing up at the running of the leaves other than “Well, I should take an interest in Rainbow's hobbies if we're going to get married someday.” That is how you do it: growth because the character decides to try something new is worth a try, and if they then learn to appreciate another type of pony more, all the better. Growth because the character fell in love with someone is creepy, even if it’s “good for them.”

    Thanks to my November subscribers: Ultiville, Jake R, Kiro Talon, Singularity Dream, bats, Merc the Jerk, nemopemba, diremane, First_Down, sopchoppy, jlm123hi, Bradel, Formerly Committed,

    stormgnome, and JetstreamGW. If you want to see your name in links, or get other fabulous prizes, check out this post for information on how to subscribe: Subscription Info.

    22 comments · 238 views
  • Tuesday
    Who is Rarity?

    My usual Monday blog post will be posted tomorrow, on the subject of "How TwiDash is the best ship." In the mean time, I have something else nice and meaty for you guys.

    In case you missed Who is Twilight Sparkle?, I've asked six questions to four different fanfic authors, this time about Rarity. The similarities and differences in point of view can illustrate different facets of the character, and remind writers of aspects we might forget.

    So tonight, let's hear from Steel Resolve, Jake R, Merc the Jerk, and AcreuBall on the subject of everypony's favorite fashionista!

    No, Cryosite, not Coco Pommel. Your other favorite fashionista.


    Steel Resolve (Green, Riding Herd, First Steps):

    Briefly describe Rarity as you see her.

    Rarity is a fabulous fashionista. A huge personality in a small town. One day everypony will know her, and she will tell the tale of her humble beginnings and her first big break. But she’s also a romantic, and will seek love as fervently as fame. She works hard, sometimes far too hard. She needs her friends and loved ones to remind her to take a break now and again or she could very easily work herself to exhaustion.

    What is essential to remember about her that people might forget?

    It’s easy to peg Rarity as a girlie girl and leave it at that, but despite seeking a prince she’s not content to wait in the ivory tower. She’ll find her mate one day, and on that day she will wrap them firmly around her hoof. But don’t think she needs a hero to save her. Rarity is a hero. Whoever her mate turns out to be will have a partner in every sense of the word, and should anypony threaten the one she loves, Celestia help them.

    I’m not sure how to process how the show has her react to situations at times, but I think when writing her it’s important to remember: an aversion to dirt is not a phobia. She dislikes it, it does not scare her. Likewise this nonsense about not knowing how to Applebuck during the Trenderhoof debacle... If that tree were a manticore, she would know how to kick it properly.

    Speaking of Rarity’s love life: you should always remember Rarity always has a great love of her life she is searching for. She tends to crush from afar, and apparently is prone to love-shrines, if the show is to be believed. Getting into more headcanony territory: Her crush will tend to influence how she designs, and sometimes whether she can design at all. A more local crush will affect her more than say a crush on Fancy Pants, as she will see him/her all the time. Other ponies who find her attractive will be treated civilly, but she will unrepentantly use her looks to get what she wants. She’s selling a fantasy to you, and the price is your brief aid in whatever she needs. Quite the bargain.

    One final thing: Her relationships with the other six prior to Twilight. I’m fairly certain she was at least a casual friend of Applejack since foalhood. Their bickering strikes me as a long relationship of just not getting the other pony, but you can be friends even if you find the other person confusing. Pinkie Pie would have invited all of Ponyville to any party she hosted, so she would be a friend to Rarity as well, and I believe the Spa visits predated Twilight as well. My reasoning for this is not entirely headcanon based (You know what I write.) I can see Rarity having met Fluttershy by virtue of either taking Opal to Fluttershy, or possibly having adopted Opal from her. They strike me as the type that would become friends very easily, and indeed their interaction in the show speaks of long familiarity.

    What to you like to add to her character that’s a stretch from canon, or totally your own invention?

    I think Rarity has much more versatility in her magic than the show displays. She’s never really focused on magic, using it for design for the most part, but I suspect she could give a ‘normal’ unicorn a run for his/her money. I also think she is a black belt in at least one form of martial arts, possibly more. I base this solely on a few stances she takes during key combat scenes, and the fact that Ponyville has a dojo. Dance classes are some I can see her having taken as a foal, but martial arts also focuses on poise and body control. Rarity... has anger issues, and I think she had her own version of Diamond Tiara in her day. She would have needed some way to both defend herself... and a means to teach her self control.

    How much are Rarity’s dramatics conscious, and how much are they her natural reaction?

    I suspect they are second nature by now. She’s always had a flare for the dramatic, but she’s been keeping up a persona for so long that the mask has become her. I often wonder what she would sound like if she dropped the facade. Much like Sweetie, I suppose. But then, Sweetie seems set on emulating her sister as well. In my stories I tend to make the obfuscation go all the way back to before she got her cutiemark. I picture her as a talkative and polite sounding foal with a dirt aversion... just the right target for bullies to toss dirt clods at.

    Where does Rarity fall on the spectrum of romantic vs. cynical?

    Despite some setbacks, she remains a romantic. She knows in her heart of hearts that if she keeps looking there is somepony out there for her. But even if she never finds them, she won’t pine away quietly as a spinster. I can see her possibly becoming cynical with enough time, and just taking up a trophy mate so she could have somepony’s arm to hold during events. But it would take many many times of being disappointed. She bounced back from BlueBlood and Trenderhoof, I can’t see her giving up very easily.

    If Rarity was in our world, where would she shop?

    Where would she— She would open her own boutique, naturally! What kind of question is that? Really, now.

    But in all seriousness... I can see her shopping at the most chic stores to be had, possibly just ordering items from France. Actually, I think upon finding out europe existed she would go there first and hit every major center of fashion, and then immediately want to go to the United Kingdom to meet with the Queen.

    Jake R (The RariDash Project, Relatively Safe Liaisons):

    Briefly describe Rarity as you see her.

    Rarity is an artist struggling to find her place. She’s, at heart, a Canterlot pony stuck in its antithesis. While her roots are certainly in Ponyville, and they given her more humility than many of the Canterlot ponies we’ve seen, her attitudes, mannerisms, and general outlook cry for something beyond the pure practicality and rusticity of Ponyville life. Basically, she is every single talented young person who’s wanted to get out of their small town and make it big in the ‘real world’. In that sense, as a young person trying to find his way in the arts, yes, I very much relate to her.

    I also relate to the fact that, as I see it, she knows it’s not an easy path. Rarity is a very insecure pony, because she knows very well that she’s not the only gifted fashionista in Equestria. When you’re an artist, it is really stressful to not only be in an environment that doesn’t really foster much growth for your skills, but at the same time, know that out there, there are a ton of other talented artists in your field who are just as, if not, more talented than you are.

    Her success is not guaranteed. Rarity doesn’t produce something that everypony needs. She’s trying to appeal to a niche, and she knows she’s got to give it her all if the niche will have her. So yeah, she’s gonna be passionate, she’s gonna be dramatic, she’s gonna be her.

    What is essential to remember about her that people might forget?

    Rarity is, yes, self-absorbed, and is prone to charming stallions with her looks, but she is not some vapid valley girl. What you need to need to understand is that Rarity is not dumb and malicious like the alpha-bitch in some Mean Girls-esque bullshit, nor is she a ditzy bimbo who gets by solely on her looks. She’s an intelligent, cunning, and capable pony who time and time again has shown that she’s able to use her wits and charisma to get herself and her friends out of numerous jams. Does she sometimes use her sex-appeal to her advantage? Yes, but it’s not a crutch for her. And she certainly doesn’t do it to solely satisfy her own needs. As I recall, she’s done it 1.) to get her and her friends a ride to the Gala, and 2.) to show Fluttershy how to be more assertive. So she’s using her sexuality to both help her friends and show how it can be empowering if used properly. I fail to see how this makes her some temptress broad, or whatever.

    Now, as for the part about being self-absorbed... again, she’s an artist. In addition to being just, in general, crazy, we’re also pretty egotistical. When all of your skills, interest, and passions revolve around things that you yourself create, chances are pretty good that your thoughts are kind of going to revolve around yourself, because you and your works are what you are trying to sell to people. It’s really no different than Rainbow Dash’s self-absorbedness, because both are centered around maintaining a good image and reputation to others. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the mentality of pretty much any artist.

    So yeah, when you write Rarity, don’t think the cheer captain in some Taylor Swift song.

    What to you like to add to her character that’s a stretch from canon, or totally your own invention?

    Rarity enjoys fine wine and black coffee... yeah, I don’t really have anything interesting. I’m sure Steel and Merc will have a fancy list of fetishes they’ve given her, so it evens out.

    ...Oh, and I guess bisexuality (for Rainbow Dash, anyway), but c’mon, that’s hardly ‘of my own invention’, amirite?

    How much are Rarity’s dramatics conscious, and how much are they her natural reaction?

    People of artistic inclination are fucking. insane.

    Seriously, we are the most goddamn neurotic, volatile, unpredictable psychopaths the state allows to walk the streets. Are we fucking dramatic because of that? Dear. Fucking. God, yes. Every movement, conflict, or interaction can be amplified as part of the 24/7 performance we put on in our heads.

    If you think Rarity’s dramatics are a pose, you have never met an artist, and consider yourself lucky.

    Where does Rarity fall on the spectrum of romantic vs. cynical?

    Her fantasy stallions have almost certainly been on the romantic side of things, but I think what’s important to note is that it doesn’t seem like Rarity has been in a relationship at all, and thus, is still at the part of her life where, yes, she’ll see things in a young, romantic sense. I think she will, in time and after some relationships, will slip into a more realistic, cynical realm, but she’ll still ultimately retain the sentimentality at heart.

    If Rarity was in our world, where would she shop?

    If she were to find out about places like New York and Paris, she would die of a heart attack before going anywhere, because the mere idea got her too excited. That is totally my legit explanation, and NOT just a lazy handwave to cover the fact that I know jack-all about clothing stores.

    Merc the Jerk (The Laughing Shadow, Meanderings, Canzone):

    Briefly describe Rarity as you see her.

    Rarity is the MLP version of Ms. Piggy from the Muppet show, only Rarity isn't stuffed with delicious bacon and pork-products. She tries to be a lady, but isn't meek and reserved, making her a bit boorish at times. And, to continue the pig puns, a bit of a... ham. Dohoho.

    However, despite, or maybe because of her rougher, less ladylike nature, she's a prime example of a businesswoman, able to wheel and deal with the best of 'em. Her attempts to be prim and proper let people keep their guard down, and she's smart enough to know that. She's a good example on how to make a more feminine character strong and shrewd without making her overbearing like most modern representations of feminine women in media.

      Another thing to note about her is how different her family dynamic is compared to someone like AJ, who is obviously part of a team on the farm. Rarity loves her sister, however, she also needs space and downtime in order to function as a person(pony) far more often than AJ, and is shown to butt heads often with Sweetie because of her need for quiet and alone time as she's working.

    What is essential to remember about her that people might forget?

    That she isn't a damsel. While there's no shame in being one, despite people complaining about damsels in media, she's been shown time and time again to be tougher than that. You need to have a damn good reason why she's being kidnapped and they're getting away with it if you write it in a story, for example. That, and, this ties to the above, but, you need to remember she isn't high-society all the time. It's something she strives for, but as shown in canon, it isn't something she always is able to reach. Out of every one of the girls, she'd be the first to be pragmatic and logical if the need came to it, and while not selfish by any means, she will take a moment to consider options before throwing herself into the fray, metaphorically or physically.

    What to you like to add to her character that’s a stretch from canon, or totally your own invention?

    That her and AJ are childhood friends. And that, partially thanks to that history, she actually really likes traditional southern home-cooking a lot more than she lets on. The other part of me that's a passionate RariJack shipper also tends to have her hold a dislike of the farmlife, but not utter disdain for it like it seems to show on occasion in canon, meaning that while she'd never work it herself unless AJ asked her to, she wouldn't go out of the way to insult it or AJ's family dynamic either, unless AJ pushed the issue.

    How much are Rarity’s dramatics conscious, and how much are they her natural reaction?

    I think most of them are conscious. Things that hurt her on a deep and personal level where she's bawling by her lonesome might be a natural reaction, but considering most of her theatrics involve her around friends and she's able to kill them off in a heartbeat when needed should be enough of an indicator as to where her heart lies.

    Where does Rarity fall on the spectrum of romantic vs. cynical?

    She's a romantic cynic, which falls perfectly on who she is as a person. She has all these hopes and dreams for her  white knight to swoop in and take her away, but also deep down accepts that it probably isn't going to happen in the way she thinks it will due to the flawed nature of everyone she has an interest in. Despite this, she throws herself into romance as often as she can in the hopes of finding the one. Even cynics can dream, after all.

    If Rarity was in our world, where would she shop?

    I bet she'd buy a ton from Gucci, but also on the sly would get stuff for the business at something like Hobby Lobby for cheap practical equipment and supplies. And I bet anything she'd take her sister out to Dairy Queen on occasion, because class act or not, a peanut butter milkshake is like the sweat of Jesus.

    AcreuBall (See White, Drinking Alone, Except With Two):

    Briefly describe Rarity as you see her.

    Rarity is a girl who thrives on contradictions and the tensions that come up because of them. While the other characters generally would see inconsistencies in themselves as a bad thing to be resolved, Rarity sees this as a perfectly fine way to live. I mean, she makes clothes for a society that generally goes around without them. She's a unicorn ar-tist, but she lives in the predominantly earth pony farming town of Ponyville. She knew going in that being a fashionista would mean being met with constant resistance, and that the majority of ponies there would dismiss her occupation as harmlessly silly at best; frivolous and a drain on the community at worst. But... she loves that tension. In fact, I'd say it's what fuels her in a lot of ways. It gives her direction and conviction. It's her against the world (though a very small world...) and that's a lot of fun.

    There's also the conflict between what she feels and how she acts, and how she see sees herself as a complete diva but has artistic integrity as well. It's not just a simple matter of the 'real' her vs the 'fake' her—it's the space of contradiction between the two that is Rarity.

    Some would call her hypocritical—I say she's a shining beacon of agonistic post-structuralism.

    What is essential to remember about her that people might forget?

    Rarity loves living in Ponyville. I feel like a lot of people think she's just there temporarily while she gets set up, and is going to move to Canterlot as soon as the opportunity presents itself, but I don't think this is something that would happen. While she loves the idea of high class and sophistication, I really think it's the idea of it that she's in love with, and she realizes that to some degree. In all the times we see her actually dealing with Canterlot high class, she runs into bigots and losers, and she has all kinds of problems with them.

    It's that tension inherent in being an artist in a somewhat conservative, practical-minded community that she thrives on, in a lot of ways. I think she would go into a sort of artistic slump if she spent an extended period of time in Canterlot.

    What to you like to add to her character that’s a stretch from canon, or totally your own invention?

    I'm trying to remember how much this shows up in canon vs is just such a part of my headcanon that I just think I see it there—but I'm going to go with it for this anyway. And that is that, despite her (often intentionally self-imposed) image of a reactionary, overly dramatic diva, she is actually quite perceptive and canny when it comes to ponies and interacting with them—and that gives her a rather quick wit.

    I like to think she could talk circles around any of her friends in a lot of cases. I mean, like, when she really gets going. (Well, I feel like AJ could derail her by turning around what she was saying, and with Fluttershy, Rarity might just start talking for her... that could actually be really funny... hmm, now I'm thinking about this...) Anyway, Rarity loves that high class verbal-fencing, and has clearly spent a lot of time perfecting her idiom, so I think it makes sense for her to have developed a razor-sharp wit as a result. I like the idea of playing her off against the high class, egotistical, but slightly dull types and watching her talk circles around them, or turning her loose on another pony with quick wit and lots of charisma.

    How much are Rarity’s dramatics conscious, and how much are they her natural reaction?

    I personally feel like the entirety of her dramatics are 100% conscious. She's doing what she feels is expected of her in that situation, or what she has come to expect the way she should act is. Of course, that doesn't mean that she doesn't still feel whatever it is she's hamming up.

    It's something like a defence mechanism, in a lot of ways, I'd say—she's trying to convince herself whatever has happened isn't really affecting her on a deep level, and that she's only acting as if it is, which keeps the her safe from actually feeling it. But the thing is, it really is affecting her, often quite deeply. I think sometimes she realizes it affects her almost as much as her dramatics would suggest—but I'd say she'd try to play it up a bit more still. It, ironically (paradoxically!), makes her feel like she's still in control.

    Where does Rarity fall on the spectrum of romantic vs. cynical?

    Romantic or cynical? Yes please!

    I think she'd say she's completely a romantic, and generally acts like she's a complete romantic, but the fact that she knows she's putting on the act of being a romantic makes her feel safe. She can be a romantic, and when she gets burned for it, she can tell herself privately that it really was all just an act, and she knew things would probably turn out this way. (Despite how actually invested in whatever it was she was, and how much it actually hurt her.)

    To the best of her ability, I think she would try and play both sides. I'm not sure she would be able to tell how much of an honest romantic she really is.

    If Rarity was in our world, where would she shop?

    Ha, nice question! I'm going to have to answer in two parts.

    On the lighter side, I like to think she would love going to really fancy, designer stores and looking at everything, but would have a really hard time buying things. She'd greatly admire them, and she could tell all the ways they're really amazing.... but at the same time she could make something similar herself, and beyond that, I think it would feel like admitting those clothes are better than the ones she makes if she wore them instead of her own designs.  She lives for that chance to say 'Why yes, I did make this myself!'

    A bit heavier take on that question: I think she'd really have a problem with box stores like Walmart selling clothes made overseas in sweatshops for dirt cheap. Beyond the obvious ethical reasons, she would feel it completely takes the artistry out of creating garments, vastly undervalues the production of textiles, and I think on the whole the current model of the commercial fashion industry would be something she'd fight tooth and nail against. It would go right along with her love of putting herself in the middle of a contradiction, being a fashionista opposing fashion. I think she'd lift couture on a pedestal, pointing to it as the last bastion of true care and artistry in the creation of garments, though many would call her elitist for saying as much.

    28 comments · 363 views
  • 1w, 5d
    The Return of Let's Read

    Bradel is a pretty awesome guy, in case you hadn’t noticed. He gets to request a blog post every month, and for his post he wanted to do something that would “increase friendship in the community.” So he requested that I pick back up something I tried a long time ago, Let’s Read Reviews.

    Since most of you probably weren’t around then, a Let’s Read review is a review done as I read the fic, with summary and quotes so you can see where I am in it. It’s part serious critique, I will point out when something works well and when it doesn’t and talk about what I like and what I don’t; it also involves a lot of riffing, either affectionate (if I’m enjoying myself) or snarking (if I’m not.) At the same time, I won’t go back and edit my opinions. If I missed the obvious, or made a big deal about something then look like an idiot, you guys will see it.  

    I’m taking suggestions for future installments, but I have a few rules:

    I will only consider stories people submit in the comments.

    You can only submit your own fics. This way I don’t feel bad about snarking if I don’t like it: you signed up for it.

    The fic must be under 10,000 words

    The fic may be any genre, any tag, but rated teen or lower.

    You may want to consider things I like and don’t like if you’re concerned if I will like it:

    I like dialogue, and tend to start skimming description alarmingly quickly. I also have little use for scenes that seem to be filler and don't contribute to the plot.

    I like comedy and/or romance. The ships I like and dislike are fairly well known. You can recommend something with a ship I don't like, but things are likely to get snarky fast.

    I almost certainly won't get whatever crossover you might be trying for. But you can suggest it!

    I have a love/hate relationship with OCs. If they're done well and used well in the story, I love them, maybe more than canon characters. But they're usually not done well. Suggest an OC story at your own risk.

    It's very easy for me to get annoyed with Fluttershy. It's very hard for me to get annoyed with Applejack.

    I like happy or bittersweet endings. I can deal with sad or tragedy. I'm not a big fan of dark

    So, feel free to submit your own fics in the comments here, and I’ll pick one for next month.

    Now, for this one, I felt it was only fair to go after Bradel himself, because if I didn’t like it then obviously he should have known better. So I chose:

    A Filly’s Guide to Not Making Headlines

    It turns out this is a wonderful fic, and I’m glad I picked it. I can not recommend enough that you read it BEFORE reading this review. I will spoil everything, and you’ll be reading my fast, loose, and silly summary rather than a super fun fic. So if you’re going to read it, and you should read it,  read it first.

    Now that that’s out of the way, ready for the real Twilight Sparkle, me being a huge dork, and Applejack being Applejack? Let’s Read!


    NEW PRINCESS MAKES UNWELCOME ADVANCES TO SADDLE ARABIAN AMBASSADOR

    [...]

    PRINCESS SPARKLE EXPRESSES INTEREST IN COLD SNAP REGION

    1488th Regiment of Griffonstan Imperial Army Moved to Counteract Equestrian Territorial Pretensions

    [...]

    “DOWN WITH THE PRESS,” DECLARES EQUESTRIA’S NEWEST ROYAL

    So, we start out with some examples of Twilight’s perfectly reasonable promiscuous, imperial, and totalitarian opinions.

    SOFA SALES SLIDE AS PRINCESS SPARKLE QUESTIONS LEGITIMACY OF QUILL-SOFA CONNECTION

    Oh, and she’s also anti-business. I’m not sure I like this Twilight chick.  

    Okay, really, Rarity is reading the paper and tsking at another of Twilight’s publicity faux pas and dealing with the morning after a CMC sleepover (they’re making flapjacks) when a frazzled Twilight drops by.

    “Oh. Um. Yes.” Twilight cast another look back at the entrance of the boutique and scooted a little further into the room. “Well, yesterday I was talking to Princess Celes— I mean… Celestia. And she said I needed to get a new dress made for this year’s Grand Galloping Gala. After all, the old one doesn’t really accommodate my…” She glanced over her shoulder and fluffed out her wings, a self-conscious expression stealing across her face.

    Scootaloo gave a little sigh, dropping her gaze to the floor. Sweetie Belle took a break from her pancakes to pat the pegasus filly’s mane reassuringly.

    Taunting disabled children? Where’s my “I Voted for Applejack” bumper sticker?

    So Twilight needs a dress, and she doesn’t want her old Gala dress altered because she wants to waste taxpayer money she doesn’t want the press to make fun of it. She feels like the press keeps misrepresenting her, and she’s a bad princess.

    Rarity comforts her, then…

    “Shh, shh. None of that, now, darling. You’re a wonderful pony and a wonderful princess.” Rarity felt her expression harden. “And if the Canterlot Times-Picayune can’t see that, well, then we’re just going to have to show them ourselves. Girls, why don’t you get Twili...” Rarity’s voice trailed off as an idea flashed into her head. “Girls...” Yes. Yes, of course.

    Eyes narrowing, Rarity studied the three fillies at the breakfast table. The trio shrank back, huddling together. Rarity’s mouth twitched into a small smile, and Sweetie Belle gave a little squeal of fright.

    Knowing fanfic as I do, this probably means that Rarity plans on dismembering the fillies to feed the to Opal and hopefully make this fic a meme-ish classic. Knowing Bradel as I do, this is probably not the case.

    Then the first chapter ends waaay before I expected it to, which is awesome, because often I find myself checking the bar at the top of fics and wondering how much longer is this thing? I haven’t had much of substance to say so far because everything so far has been in character and fun and moving along quickly with plenty of cute stage business.

    Next chapter!

    The last light of the setting sun slanted through the windows of the Apple family barn – but instead of glittering off straw-dust like it would on any other night, this evening the sunlight illuminated the tall columns and sparkling tiles of a Canterlot palace facsimile. How Pinkie could find such convincing decorations on such short notice, Rarity would probably never understand. But find them she did, and even better, Pinkie had been perfectly content to help set up this party without sticking around to see it through. Pinkie didn’t seem to find the idea of party practice one tenth so interesting as the party itself.

    Okay, a few months ago I made a post about backstage writing-- the idea that some things happen in fics because the writer likes writing them, or doesn’t like writing them.

    That last line feels slightly out of character for Pinkie, so it seems to me to be saying “I need a party set-up, but I do not want to deal with Pinkie in this scene.”

    Not that I can blame him.

    Also: Duh!

    Okay, so back in the last chapter there was a paragraph of Rarity thinking about how she would have handled the press that I didn’t think was important enough to mention… but now I’m thinking I should have. I’m guessing Rarity plans to teach Twilight how to handle the press (which, uh, is only the title of the fic. Nice detective work, bookplayer.)

    In good news, chances of the CMC dismemberment have dropped to .001%. (Well you never know, do you?)

    Anyway, the barn at Sweet Apple Acres, decorated to look like Canterlot. Pinkie is not there, Rarity and Applejack are there, and the CMC are LARPing (look it up, non-nerds.)

    Scootaloo is playing a griffin (because they get flight) who’s a military official, and is supposed to make sure Princess Twilight’s imperial intentions are under control.

    Apple Bloom is playing the zebra ambassador (because her accent means she has no problem with zebra-face) who wants Equestria to pay for a new irrigation. She’s Ambassador Mkali, and if you don’t know who that is you need to go to GhostOfHeraclitus’ story page, start reading, and stop when you run out of words (then join the rest of us in demanding more.))

    Rarity is playing a ventrue shipping magnate and Sweetie Belle is playing her ghoul assistant.

    And Applejack wants in on the LARP! And she’s going to make her own character (probably a garou… (Applejack would be a homid (equid?) Fianna philodox. I spent way too much time thinking about that.)) But Rarity is a control freak Storyteller and doesn’t think Applejack will fit in her plot.

    Never underestimate Applejack.

    They call Twilight in, and Rarity tells Apple Bloom to talk to her first. Apple Bloom tries to talk like a zebra, and Sweetie Belle goes all Social Justice Warrior on her.

    Then Sweetie wants to role play with Rarity, and Rarity demonstrates why the Storyteller should only play NPCs, even though they never do, by being too busy with the exchange between Twilight and Apple Bloom to play the character she insisted on taking.

    This is actually a really good example of just about every LARP I’ve ever been in.

    So then Twilight insults the zebra ambassador, and they rock-paper-scissor for initiative.

    But since they don’t have fingers (and rock-rock-rock never caught on in Equestria), Rarity jumps in and explains how Twilight was just horribly racist, and Twilight says she’s entitled to her opinion. And Rarity points out she can have all the opinions she wants as long as they’re not racist.

    Rarity figures that part is over, and calls for Scootaloo to play a scene with Twilight, but Scootaloo and Sweetie have worked something out on the side because Sweetie’s been wheeling and dealing like a boss, which is what you do when you’re a ghoul and the Storyteller forgets you’re there.

    Rarity is pissed they messed up her plot, and Scootaloo and Sweetie don’t get any XP political intrigue cutie marks.

    So Applejack steps in with her character to try to rescue things. She’s playing the head of a small mining corporation (oooo… Black Spiral Dancer… didn’t know AJ had it in her.) Applejack manages to totally trip up Twilight, which is a much better plot and Rarity is mad she didn’t think of it.

    ...Okay, I’m having too much fun and getting off track here. What’s really going on is that AJ’s character is tossing out a situation a little too rough for Twilight to deal with as a fast talking business pony. Twilight is overwhelmed, and Rarity steps in, insisting that this isn’t the kind of pony Twilight will have to deal with.

    Applejack points out that Twilight isn’t going to be able to handle ponies Rarity’s way because that isn’t Twilight. Then she bring the common sense:

    “Whoa there, girl.” Applejack held up a hoof. “The press don’t hate you. They just don’t know you yet. They ain’t had a new princess since Cadance, and that was what, near enough twenty years ago? Most of these reporters were probably still in school back then. You don’t know how to deal with them, but they don’t know how to deal with you either. And so they’re just looking for every story they can write, no matter how bad it may make you look.”

    So, have I ever mentioned that I love Applejack?

    Anyway, she and Rarity start bickering, because that’s what Applejack and Rarity do. Applejack thinks that political maneuvering is too advanced for Twilight and she just needs to think before she talks, and give the press some kind of good story. Rarity thinks that political maneuvering is necessary for a princess and she’ll never win the respect of the nobility without it. Sweetie and Apple Bloom are trying to break them up, and AJ and Rarity to ignore them.

    Then Twilight jumps in and insists that she’s going to have to figure out how to do this her way.

    “I’m sure. I think I know what I have to do, now. But thank you, both of—” Twilight paused and regarded the three costumed fillies standing a little way off. “Thank you, all five of you. And anyway, even if it wasn’t quite right for me…” Twilight’s cheeks reddened in turn. “It was kinda fun.”

    … so now there’s a weekly LARP in the barn at Sweet Apple Acres, which you have to admit would be an awesome LARP space.

    Once again we’re at a chapter break and I’ve said nothing of value because I was having too much fun. I will accept suffering through this indignity as the price of reading this fic: it’s just too much fun.

    Next chapter!

    Okay, so Twilight is trying to decide between wearing the new dress Rarity made or her original Gala dress which Rarity altered for her. And I have to say:

    The first was a brilliant gown in sunset colors. Crimson beadwork covered an elaborate interweaving of vermilion and yellow silks, all fading toward darker hues in the ruching that extended from the haunch through the train. Rarity had done amazing work, once again. The dress was dazzling, in every way fit for a princess. But it wasn’t her dress.

    That’s how you do a description. Please note, other authors, how it takes two sentences. And thank you, Bradel, for providing me with this demonstration and not making me read 500 words describing a dress.

    So Twilight is deciding, and Spinning Top shows up (See: GhostOfHeraclitus, Go read) with a hoof selected reporter so Twilight can give the press a good story just like Applejack said to, because Applejack is a genius who everypony should listen to.

    Where were we?`

    But despite three weeks of careful study – long nights spent at her desk, poring through page after page by candlelight – it was Applejack’s words that first popped into Twilight’s mind. Stop an’ think a couple seconds before you speak.

    Oh, right, Applejack being a genius (not my fault, it’s in the text.)

    Anyway, Twilight has been studying the entire Canterlot establishment, from the government to the press. So now she can interview like a boss. She’s even memorized the articles where she was misinterpreted. She gives a flawless interview, then goes to the Gala with Spinning Top and I could ship the hell out of it.

    And she wears her original Gala dress.

    The end.

    I really have only good things to say about this. Bradel tends to me my kind of writer: fun, conversational (both in narrative voice and in the sense of being dialogue heavy,) and he writes stories that are at the same time very pony, but with enough real-world conflict to make for a good read. I’m not the kind of person to dig for things not to like.

    This was a great fic, and you should check it out if you haven’t yet (which would be silly of you, because I told you to read it at the beginning.)

    And I think we can all agree on the headline in the Equestrian press that would come out of this fic:

    BRADEL SPEAKS ON THE STATE OF AFFAIRS IN EQUESTRIA: APPLEJACK WAS RIGHT


    Thanks to my November subscribers: Ultiville, Jake R, Kiro Talon, Singularity Dream, bats, Merc the Jerk, nemopemba, diremane, First_Down, sopchoppy, jlm123hi, Bradel, Formerly Committed,

    stormgnome, and JetstreamGW. If you want to see your name in links, or get other fabulous prizes, check out this post for information on how to subscribe: Subscription Info.

    26 comments · 284 views
  • 1w, 6d
    Who Is Twilight Sparkle?

    Anyone’s who has been reading fanfic for a while has probably noticed that different authors have different takes on characters. This makes sense, the canon characters are pretty broadly drawn, and we see them on the show through the eyes of different writers, then we let thousands of different authors mash up everything we saw and strain it through a genre and/or situation the character was never meant to be written in.

    It’s a wonder we know who Twilight Sparkle is at all.

    So, who is she? I asked four writers that, along with five more specific questions about the character and writing of Twilight Sparkle. I thought it would be interesting to see where people agree, and how their points of view differ, and to talk in the comments about how we agree or disagree.

    Of course I have the rest of the mane six coming up, and if this is something people are interested in I’ll keep going with the CMC, Princesses, and side characters. And Spike. See, I remembered Spike!

    So without further ado, here are Tchernobog, Bradel, bats, and GhostOfHeraclitus to tell use about Twilight Sparkle:

    Tchernobog (Mood Wings, Felt Heart, Just a Couple of Ponies):

    Briefly describe Twilight as you see her:

    The type of person, of the six, I'd most likely hang out with. Interesting to talk to, friendly, though maybe also somewhat intimidating with how smart they are. A nerdy, geeky girl who never knew what friendship was, and is doing all she can to make up for the time she missed.

    What is essential to remember about her that people might forget?

    She is not constantly neurotic or high strung. She just has her little quirks and oddities that make her who she is. That, and she doesn't always have the answer - or, if she doesn't immediately know, she might not have it in her library - she does sometimes need to do research elsewhere. But she'll love it. Also, she doesn't constantly fail spells, dangit!

    Is there anything you like to add to her character that’s a stretch from canon, or totally your own invention?

    Well, if one were to take her in my Mood Wings settings, she's one of two ponies (other being Cadance) having gone from no wings to wings, and having to learn all the pegasus body language that she had no idea about beforehand, which would be fascinating to her once she learns about it. Not sure if that's anything about her character, though... I can't think of any special trait or anything that I've come up with.

    How does Twilight’s academic interest affect how you write her in different situations?

    Tunnel vision, at times. She may be emphatic, and is the 'princess of friendship', but she has her failings too. She can miss things, even obvious things, focusing instead on a technical or scientific aspect of things.

    Do you think becoming a princess has changed Twilight’s perspective? How?

    Somewhat, yes. She's managed to stay the same pony, but she does have added responsibilities, and is seen differently by others at times. It changes how she deals with some ponies.

    If Twilight was in our world, what would she study in college?

    EVERYTHING. 'Social Science' of some sort would equate the friendship research, but that doesn't exactly carry over. She’d probably go full blown scientist of some sort and go on a path to change the world somehow, making things better for everyone. Research into renewable energy!

    Bradel (A Filly's Guide to Not Making Headlines, Twilight Sparkle Investigates):

    Briefly describe Twilight as you see her:

    Friend-finder; Tree-tender; Herald of Harmony.

    Dragon-doting; Sister-seeming; Child of Charity.

    Magic-maker; Rapid-reader; Endless-Exploring.

    Keen-kenning. Wonder-working. Apple-Adoring.

    Panic-plagued, patient protector; punctilious, plan-perfecter;

    Purple Pony Princess

    What is essential to remember about her that people might forget?

    I think most writers probably have an easy time remembering most of Twilight's basic motivations. She doesn't want to disappoint people she cares about. She wants to learn new things and have new experiences. I don't think people are likely to forget that. Twilight's a pretty easy character, really.

    If I have to think of an essential point that people might forget, though, it'd be this: Twilight Sparkle solves problems. That's the through-line for her personality. When she doesn't have a problem to solve, she'll find one or invent one (occasionally to disastrous effect). I think her curiosity is fundamentally about ensuring she's got something to do. She has a nearly pathological need to keep busy—think of her checklists and her studying. And she shines best when she's got a monumentally intimidating task in front of her. Her abilities scale with the difficulty level.

    Is there anything you like to add to her character that’s a stretch from canon, or totally your own invention?

    The show's not big on romance—no big surprise there, given the target demographic—but I really like extending Twilight's curiosity in that direction. I think it's a natural move for her character. She's learned the magic of friendship, and now she has other forms of interpersonal magic to discover. It makes for a nice shipping justification, sure, but it works as more than that, too. Even outside shipping stories, it's a nice bit of background characterization for her. I don't think I've ever used it except to cause drama and/or crack pairings[1], but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be an easy thing to do. In fact, just talking about it makes me want to go write it.

    How does Twilight’s academic interest affect how you write her in different situations?

    This is probably the most boring answer ever, but it doesn't. Not really. I'm an academic myself—a PhD student in statistics, hoping to become a tenure-track research professor after I graduate. Twilight's brand of academic interest is my default setting for dealing with the world. I mostly just write her reacting to situations the way I think I'd react myself. Of all the characters in My Little Pony, she's probably the easiest for me to inhabit when I'm trying to write something.

    What's hard for me is figuring out how to write ponies/people who aren't academically interested. And honestly, I don't know if I can do that. I think my usual solution is to just try to figure out what a character is interested in, and then treat them like a specialist focused on that area, with whatever slate of personality traits seems appropriate. Pinkie's a party expert, AJ's an agriculture expert, Fluttershy's an animal expert, Rarity's a fashion/culture expert, and Rainbow Dash is... well, Rainbow Dash is probably a topic for another day.

    Do you think becoming a princess has changed Twilight’s perspective? How?

    Not really. It's given her a new slate of things to get neurotic about, but she became a princess because of who she already was.

    The one area where I think she really would have changed—and we haven't seen too much of it in the series, but I think it's an obvious byproduct of her princessension—is in her relationship with Celestia and the other alicorns. Twilight was very comfortable being Celestia's student, and probably to a lesser extent being subordinate to Luna and Cadance. Twilight was the Equestrian consigliera, but now she's part of the family[2]. And that's going to take some adjustment.

    If Twilight was in our world, what would she study in college?

    Obviously Twilight likes science, but I think the better way to approach this is to ask who her heroes / heroines are. In Equestria, she's able to (a) study magic, which isn't included in most college curricula and (b) have a variety of interests instead of specializing in one topic. If she needed to pick, I think our best window on her choice would be through who she looks up to. And the three easy answers for who she idolizes are: Celestia, Star Swirl, and Daring Do. The common theme with all three of those ponies is history—Celestia is responsible for most of Equestrian history, Star Swirl had a hand in a lot of early pony history, and Daring Do spends her life running away from giant boulders yelling, "It belongs in a museum!" performing adventure archaeology.

    As an undergraduate, Twilight would study history. As a graduate student, she'd change fields slightly to something like anthropology or archaeology—something that would let her get out into the field.[3]


    [1] I consider any non-canon pairing, however easily justified, to be a crack pairing when the author intentionally makes no real effort at that justification. AppleDash is pretty easy to justify, but there's always some easy comedy to mine by not bothering to give them any justification beyond authorial fiat. Authorial fiat is a wonderful thing.

    [2] Yes, I know consiglieri are usually part of the family to begin with; and Tom Hagen was part of the family anyway, just adopted. But you get my point. Also, Twilight is obviously a wartime consigliera.

    [3] Then she'd buy a hat and a whip. And probably only use them at home for role play, because they're not actually all that practical for an adventure archaeologist.

    bats (Spellbound Fireflies, Little Wonders, Rolling With the Punches):

    Briefly describe Twilight as you see her:

    Twilight is a perpetual student and mentor.  In her eyes, the world is a constant learning opportunity and teaching opportunity.  Knowledge and information fascinate her, and she draws energy and joy from the act of learning, and learning is something she extends beyond a purely academic or theoretical setting; learning through conversation, experience, observation, or action are all perfectly valid to her, and she’s grounded in a desire for practical understanding and results.  This is the key aspect of who she is and serves as a framework for her approach to the world.

    She approaches life, her work, her friends, and everything she does from a place of optimism, because everything is a chance to learn something or to pass learning on to someone else.  Her biggest fears are not knowing what to do, or doing the wrong thing and causing harm.  She derives a portion of her self-worth by what she can do for others, and failing someone else is failing herself.

    What is essential to remember about her that people might forget?

    While Twilight adapted rather quickly to Ponyville, it’s important to remember that she was born, raised, and spent the majority of her life in Canterlot.  This doesn’t make her snobby like some of the the Canterlot ponies that have been in the show, but it is a good source of characterization conflicts, misunderstandings, and a different directions to approach from when writing her.  It’s easy to let that bit of character knowledge fall to the background, where it isn’t necessarily forgotten, but some of the implications are.

    Canterlot is often treated by writers as the ‘Princess Celestia and Luna storage locker, and there’s a doughnut shop or something,’ when it can be a comforting spot of familiarity that’s still sort of foreign to the others.  Plus there is a heavily implied Canterlot Culture which, even if Twilight didn’t buy into it, is at least expected as a normal thing in others for her.  In the loosest sense of this, the show used it in Winter Wrap Up since Twilight wasn’t accustomed to changing the seasons without using magic, but the idea can be used much more often and much more subtly.

    Is there anything you like to add to her character that’s a stretch from canon, or totally your own invention?

    Aside from sexual orientation, I tend to stretch her neuroticism a bit past what we have canon evidence for.  My Twilight often gets fixated on small things and loops back through analyzing, re-analyzing, and over-analyzing everything as a self-soothing act, and she gets anxious over things she hasn’t puzzled enough, or that represent a lack of control over her surroundings.

    How does Twilight’s academic interest affect how you write her in different situations?

    It’s often a go-to source for comedy, because Twilight accidentally falling into lecturing or listing everything she can think of about something when the situation does not call for her to do so is funny, especially when she gets cut off and embarrassed about it.  It’s also a major shaping force in how she approaches problem-solving in general; a natural inclination for her when confronted with an obstacle would be to run to the library and dive into a pile of topical books.  It’s also a good interpersonal conflict-driver where she’s forced to react to the real world failing to match up to her academically created expectations.

    Do you think becoming a princess has changed Twilight’s perspective? How?

    Aside from Twilight’s canon concerns about her purpose as a princess which wrapped up last season, I don’t think she’s changed much at all.  From a certain perspective, she feels more is expected of her, and that the Mentor part of how she views herself is a little more front and center, but overall she is fundamentally the same pony she was in the premiere.

    If Twilight was in our world, what would she study in college?

    Twilight would be a perpetual student in our world, too.  She’d be the sort to have more than one degree.  First one was something practical about how the world works, like Physics or Mathematics, but while taking those courses she had a prereq Chicano Studies course that she found fascinating and ended up getting a Political Science degree, too.  Then while studying for her doctorate, a cicada landed on her head and next thing you know she had a degree in entomology.  Whatever job she ended up taking would mostly be to pay for her college habit.

    GhostOfHeraclitus (Twilight Sparkle Makes a Cup of Tea, generally being GhostOfHeraclitus):

    Briefly describe Twilight as you see her:

    As someone—somepony, rather—who is trying to figure life out. Somepony who is trying to figure out how to convert raw cleverness into wisdom and is, currently, winning, if only just.

    What is essential to remember about her that people might forget?

    Twilight has significant damage. The heart of her story is someone broken rising up, and writing her neuroses as a joke risks diminishing that. Consider her lonely years in Canterlot: She had no friends. And it isn't like she didn't care for equine company, either. The moment she made some she was clearly shown enjoying their company. But before that? Nothing. Ponies give every indication of being a social species, so this rather raises the question what caused her to be that way. Another point to consider is how terrified Twilight can be: she was scared her new friends would hate and reject her for being good at magic. She is shown to be terrified of Celestia abandoning her—indeed, it's her greatest fear. And during the wedding episode, it is interesting how everyone almost expected her to accuse Cadaence? And how her brother—with whom she's supposed to be quite close—never told her he was engaged[1]? As if he feared a negative reaction. Thus, I think it is important to both write Twilight's damage and her healing as her character develops.

    [1] Yes. I know. Bad writing. I'm approaching this from a Watsonist tack, though.

    Is there anything you like to add to her character that’s a stretch from canon, or totally your own invention?

    A profound affection for caffeine and a sort of scattershot approach to academic interest. Left to her own devices Twilight—as I imagine it—would lose herself entirely in an attempt to study everything that exists (and a few things which don't) all at once. An important part Celestia played in her education was to keep her occupied and focused on one thing. Still, even with that, there's still days when the library (and now the palace) is filled with notes on a dozen subjects in various and varying states of completion and chalkboards upon which vector calculus and irrigation statistics from a hundred years ago nestle cheek-by-jowl.

    How does Twilight’s academic interest affect how you write her in different situations?

    I never had the chance to use her in this capacity, but I think her academic interest coupled with an intense need to explain, inform, and educate makes her a great character for worldbuilding. It's not just that you can make her deliver a big chunk of exposition and have it be in character[1], it's that you can help flesh out little interesting corners of the world and its intellectual history quite naturally by having he make an off-hoof reference or remember a quotation. Twilight makes for a great bridge to Equestria's intellectual side.

    [1]Though it is miraculous that we have a character who might actually utter the words 'As you know' at the beginning of a sentence in dead earnest.

    Do you think becoming a princess has changed Twilight’s perspective? How?

    Yes and no. There's some aspects of her shiny new princesshood I would like to keep underneath my hat (as it were) for the time being because I hoped to use it in a fic.

    But broadly speaking, she still absolutely thinks of herself as exactly the same—princesshood is something she does rather than being something she is. And being Twilight she's trying to figure out princessing using the same method she uses for just about everything else.

    If Twilight was in our world, what would she study in college?

    Early Twilight? Maths. It lends itself better to solitary achievement, and she'd appreciate that. Also, she'd dig the austerity of it all.

    Today's Twilight? Physics. It's quite all-compassing, and can be seen in both the extraordinary and the mundane, in the tiny and the vast. A more... relaxed, let's say, Twilight would find that fascinating. In fact, she'd probably go with astrophysics and end up co-presenting the second season of Cosmos. :twilightsmile: Just about the only thing that could conceivably upstage Tyson: a talking, flying, unicorn.

    Not that she wouldn't end up with enough extra credits to leave Uni with, like, six extra degrees., of course. Like somebody on this site I know. I won't name any names. You know who you are, Bradel.

    51 comments · 665 views
  • 2w, 7h
    Only fair...

    I will be making another blog post later this evening with content.

    But. With how many pixels I've spent on not liking RariJack, it's only fair that when someone writes an absolutely beautiful RariJack fic, I owe it to tip my hat and encourage other people to read it.

    Mistakes Were Made by Sharp Spark has jumped onto not only my Top Romance bookshelf, but my Top FIcs. I like it better than I like a lot of AppleDash or TwiJack (though not as much as I like my favorite AppleDash or TwiJack. But still, this is pretty big.) So if you're not going to check out another RariJack fic in your life, check out this one.

    12 comments · 173 views
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Seasons one and two are now complete! Season three is being continued in The AppleDash Project: Wherever Life Takes Us.

The AppleDash project is a series of short fics attached to various episodes, detailing a relationship between Rainbow Dash and Applejack behind the scenes. The stories take place sometime during or shortly after the indicated episode.

This is not meant to start shipping wars, argue that AppleDash is canon, or offend other shippers. In fact, if you like the idea I encourage you to try it with other ships!

Teen rating means that there may be talking about sex, and there is one line of dialogue that takes place during intimate relations, but it's warned for and skippable. Nothing sexual is described.

First Published
3rd May 2012
Last Modified
9th Aug 2012

I'm not an AppleDash fan. Straight up going to admit to that. However the idea of this really interests me, it's actually quite brilliant. Will be sure to keep up with this.

I really like this, I think you've got something good going on here. I agree with repivemag, this idea is really different from all the other AppleDash fics. I say continue! :twilightsmile:

Dash's reaction seemed OOC... yet funny... :rainbowlaugh:

>>539083

Thanks! I do love AppleDash, but there are other ships I like too, and I like friend-shipping just as much. I'd love to see other people run with the idea, even with non-romantic pairings.

>>539246

Thank you. I've been trying to do some things a little differently from what I've read, so I hope it pays off!

>>539547

I'm sorry, next time hopefully I'll be both IC AND funny. Glad I got at least one of the two, though!

Ahhh, sweet. The old classic Appledash, with added cuteness and a good "staring down Big Mac" scene. Tracking! :ajsmug:

I HATE APPLEDASH!!!!!

Yet this fic still is one of those fics so far that doesn't make me hate it like *snap* that, so congradulations to you or whatever. The concept on this is pretty interesting I'll give you that.

I hate the shipping, the fic though......I like it.:twilightsmile:

I'd like to see more of this. I started out liking shipping with this pairing. So, this story, I like :twilightsmile:

This is just..... SWAG!


(crush.kill.destroy)

>>539865

Thanks so much!

>>539874

Thanks. . . I think? Do you not like shipping in general, or is AppleDash just not your ship? Either way, I'm glad you don't hate it. :ajsmug:

>>539937

Thank you! There will be more, I promise.

>>540263

Thanks! Glad you like it!

Finally something that moves at normal people(pony) speed! Not ending up in bed after the first chapter or something. Looks like its going to be a good read! fav time. :pinkiehappy:

>>542085:

Not AppleDash in general, just anything with Dash as a lesbian.:raritywink:

I approve.  ^^

I just wish Dash would turn down the 'I'm so awesome stuff'.  She's full of pride and known to pet herself on the back in front of others, but she doesn't boast till the cows come home.  Many authors seem to write Rainbow Dash in this way, and I think they are exaggerating.  Other than that, you've written Rainbow Dash pretty good in this first chapter.

Applejack is sounding good.  

So far so good, for a post Iron Pony story.  ^^

>>542275

Thank you! More is coming.

>>542433

I know! Other then Twilight's List, fanfic sometimes makes it seem like ponies don't even bother to date, they just hesitantly admit that they love each other and jump into bed. That's one of the things I like about this, it gives me a chance to let a relationship develop over time.

I'll have more soon!

>>542871

I understand. I ask because I'm pretty open to ships, but I have a strange aversion to FlutterDash. I see it, I just can't like it for some reason. . . but there are enough fanfics to go around!

>>543783

I hope the second story was a little better in the Dash=awesome department. I'll be keeping what you said in mind, the "I'm so awesome" is a cheap way to characterize Dash, and should probably be used sparingly.

However, I'll warn you that I'm writing the third one now, and it takes place after "Sonic Rainboom." So Dash is going to be (understandably) high off her win, heroics, and day with the Wonderbolts. Don't give up on me for that one, Dash will calm down in the future.

with such an approach from dash, I would be mad too

epitome of cockiness there, RD:rainbowwild:

Daaaaw, that's so cute. :twilightsmile:

>>552737

Yeah, I don't think that Dash is usually that bad, but after the events of the episode I could see her starting to slip into "Mysterious Mare-Do-Well" levels of ego.

>>552772

Thanks, glad you like it!

I love this!  MOAR!!

How excellent is was that AJ and Rainbow came to an understanding about privacy.  :rainbowkiss: :ajsmug:

>>553151

:heart: Dash!

>>554428

Thank you! Next update will be in the next few days, and will be a double update.

Y'know, I don't really think RD's reaction is really out of character. We gotta remember that she does have hella insecure moments at times and something like this would probably a large load off her shoulders. Hell, I'd say that the phrase "I'm awesome" for her, while undeniably true, is almost as much a defense mechanism, somewhat.

Forgot to add that I enjoyed this chapter and hope to see more.:twilightsheepish:

Wooo double update, well next time! Really liking that it is based off of eps. Now after reading this I now realise that I have to get up in 6 hrs.

:pinkiecrazy: Confound ponies....

>>554690

That's more or less what I was thinking. Dash is often a big ball of insecurity with a cocky grin pasted on. She has a lot of respect for AJ, so for AJ to agree to go out with her is proof in Dash's mind that Dash is awesome. And she's always happy to latch onto that proof.

Interestingly, I think there's a pretty good argument that Applejack has a much bigger ego then Dash (Applebuck Season, The Last Round Up, and Super Speedy etc. . .) She doesn't crow as loud, but she expects way more of herself.

Here, have some of my thoughts! :ajsmug: Really, thanks for reading, there will be more very soon.

  >>556328

Thanks! I think this is a neat idea, it's kind of like a prompt challenge with episodes being the prompts. When I finish this (which might be a while, even though I'm not using every episode I have a ways to go,) I might try it with a non-shipping theme. . . Maybe Dash and Scoot would be fun, or the Apple family.

And ponies or sleep? There's a question? :scootangel:

>>558003

Mhm, exactly what I was thinking when I read this.

Also, while I didn't really give it much thought until now, I completely agree about Applejack. As you said, prideful, but not boastful.

No problem, I'm really looking forward to more of this. To be honest, you actually inspired me to try my hand at this concept, I really like it, but I'm waaaay too busy at the moment. :facehoof:

That was adaaaawable :rainbowkiss:

Aw, cute. I really like how this is different than other Appledash fics. Keep up the great writing :pinkiehappy:

Another great chapter! I like how you have Dash and AJ acting normally and actually discussing relationship issues, as opposed to them being all "My burning love for you is eternal and unexplainable! Angst!" like some fics. Also, I love your update speed. honestly, its commendable. And Pinkie's private party is awesome :pinkiehappy:

>>560585

Thanks so much!

>>560829

Thank you! Part of that is the format, it's hard to have too much angst when next episode they're supposed to be back to normal, but part is that I refuse to make AJ and Dash woobies* in general. Fluttershy is designated woobie on this show, tyvm. :fluttershysad: Everyone else can discuss their problems like semi-normal ponies.

Update speed is prone to change, but this style of story (one scene, lots of dialogue) is the easiest for me to write, so I shouldn't lag too much. If I start to slow down a lot, feel free to poke me! I don't mind!

The private party came out of the question "How do you get PInkie to NOT throw a party?"

*Warning for TV Tropes link. :twilightsmile:

HA!!! FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep up the good story!:pinkiehappy:

dat ending; god i love Dash

Dash wins. Though, the Little Strongheart bit was a bit much. Still, good humor all around.

>>562799 and >>562822

Thanks! Every relationship needs a little trolling.

>>562807

Thank you! Working on the next one now.

>>563194

Yeah, I was iffy over the Little Strongheart thing as well. It's mostly to start establishing background since this is supposed to lead into my already written fic "A Very Long Day", but I feel like I handled it a little clumsily here. I'll do better next time.

Thanks for the feedback!

:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh: DAT ENDING!!!

I think there was actually a clopfic of that very idea featured not 3 weeks ago!

Haha! Oh man, Dash just pwned AJ! Classic!!!

>>564489

Thanks!

I am not surprised there's a clopfic. I can no longer be surprised by clopfic. Of course, the clopfic authors seem to take that as a challenge. . .

>>564568

Glad you liked it!

great ending! Most natural relationship on Fimfiction plus 5 internet points sir or madam. Hey random question would you be willing to do pre-reads?

XD!!!! The end of this chapter was so perfect. *gigglefits*

>>566887

Thank you! I was hoping it wouldn't come off as too mean, but it felt natural to me.

And the short answer to your question is yes, I've go no problem doing pre-reads. For the longer answer, I'll send you a message.

>>566924

Thanks! You know, I knew I put that comedy tag up there for a reason. :twilightsmile:

o v O anypony else find that Twi gif a creepy besides the gryphon?  srsly, go take a cold shower Twi!

Anywho, ah do enjoy were this AppleDash is heading,  looks like this is a strong way to make a lastin' couple with this project of yers.

>>573853

I'm glad! Hopefully I'll continue on that path.

>>574387

I like the gif because I'm the author, and ALL comments are love. But I do kind of feel like Twilight is looking over my shoulder as I work on the next chapter now. :twilightsmile:

I'm glad you're enjoying it! I guess every shipping fic is written to show what the author likes about the pairing, but this is my entry into the discourse.

I laughed so hard at Dash talking to AJ about the tree! Again, awesome work, good balance of serious conversation and humor. Pffft, Splinters :rainbowlaugh:

*squeals*

make it count, dashie

>>582914

Thank you so much! I do my best to keep things balanced out.

At least somepony has planed for any situation.  And they say she packs too much~

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