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  • E Sisters

    Stories about two sisters who are best friends, and rulers of Equestria
    6,514 words · 13,436 views  ·  1,299  ·  18
  • E Mortality Report

    Celestia writes a report to her queen about what she's learned from living among mortals.
    4,313 words · 18,262 views  ·  1,488  ·  27
  • E Experience

    Celestia is thousands of years old, and has experienced almost everything the world has to offer. But there's one ordinary thing she's never experienced.
    1,289 words · 4,128 views  ·  646  ·  15
  • E Big Mac Reads Something Purple

    Twilight asks Big MacIntosh to read to the Cutie Mark Crusaders while she runs an errand.
    3,720 words · 4,874 views  ·  408  ·  11
  • E The Saga of Dark Demon King Ravenblood Nightblade, Interior Design Alicorn

    Should the incredibly powerful new alicorn pursue his destiny as savior of Equestria, or his love of interior design?
    4,940 words · 10,251 views  ·  810  ·  34
  • T Bad Horse's Bedtime Stories for Impressionable Young Colts and Fillies

    Bad Horse retells bedtime stories to teach foals the real facts of life.
    2,641 words · 1,221 views  ·  240  ·  7
  • T Fluttershy's Night Out

    Fluttershy would like to be a tree. But she doesn't want to be an animal.
    7,936 words · 11,497 views  ·  477  ·  20 · sex
  • T Old friends

    Philomena is reborn after she dies. Ponies are reborn before they die. Kind of. A little. It's hard for a phoenix to understand.
    1,582 words · 1,532 views  ·  260  ·  9

Blog Posts336

  • Friday
    @#& *&#$%#$% #$%$#%!!!

    After the recent site update, the list of users who favorited a story is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.

    That's a catastrophe for my recommendation system. With favorites by story, I could just pull the favorites on the top 1000 stories, and that provided enough data to bootstrap the system. More importantly, I could get the favorites off new stories as they come out.

    About a year ago, the site stopped giving you the full list and truncated it at the most-recent 200. That was pretty bad. It meant the lists were biased in unpredictable ways.

    But now, I have to get favorites from user's pages. That means that to have daily updates, instead of querying 100 new stories a day for a list of who favorited them, I'd have to query 100,000 user pages a day. I can't do that.

    I don't think my recommendation system can work anymore. Or, if it did, it wouldn't be able to recommend a story until a month or two after it came out.

    I can get crude estimates by taking the current user's list of favorites, finding a list of "similar" users, and querying the favorites off of them. But I don't think that will scale well.

    9 comments · 140 views
  • Wednesday
    Something Not Safe for Ghost

    53 comments · 481 views
  • Wednesday
    Everything I Needed To Know About Life, I Learned From Supervillains

    I wanted to refer to my reblog of "Everything I Needed To Know About Life, I Learned From Supervillains" in a PM to Causal Quill. But it looks like I never wrote it. Did I never post this before?

    Everything I Needed To Know About Life, I Learned From Supervillains

    is an awesome blog post by PJ Eby, author, self-improvement guru, & LessWrongian, on his blog, DirtSimple.org . I can't improve on it; I'll just quote part of it:

    In the movies, the villains typically:

    - Have a vision and goals, for how they'd like things to be in the future

    - Believe that they deserve -- and are capable of obtaining -- everything they want in life

    - Proactively seek the fulfillment of their goals, and persistently work towards achieving them

    - Are willing to plan and prepare for years, then execute that plan in a well-disciplined manner, having anticipated as many issues as possible, with well-thought out contingency plans

    - Are very willing to delegate most tasks to their staff of loyal, highly-motivated employees...  who they somehow managed to recruit, train, and persuade to follow along with their shared vision.

    Meanwhile, the heroes tend to:

    - Be reactive, rather then proactive -- they wait until something bad happens, then try to solve the problem afterwards

    - Be reactionary, rather than progressive -- they try to put things back the way they were, instead of changing them for the better

    - Rarely promote a shared vision, preferring to work alone or with only a partner or two...  who they don't trust with anything really important!

    - Rarely anticipate the possible failure modes of their plans, to the extent that they plan anything at all!

    - Use their talents and abilities rarely, for emergencies only, instead of keeping them in top condition or proactively using them to improve things

    - Not believe they personally deserve anything good out of life, or that things will ever get better for them

    ... I didn't really think all that much about it, until this past week.  It just seemed like an amusing, cynical observation about Hollywood: that movies are designed to make people feel better about their crappy lives, by allowing them to subconsciously identify with the "good" guys.

    ...

    But that was only because I didn't realize just how much this applied to me.

    Or that on the inside, I was still trying to be the hero.

    And that it was perhaps the single biggest source of pain in my entire life!

    ...

    What's good about being special?  "I'm better than everyone."  What's good about that?

    ...

    - If I'm a hero, I won't get hurt

    - If I'm a hero, it's okay that I'm alone or have few friends

    - If I'm a hero, it's okay that people look down on me, because that's just my secret identity

    - If I'm a hero, I'm strong on the inside, even if I seem weak on the outside

    - If I'm a hero, it's okay for me to strike at those who hurt others, the way they hurt me

    All in all, the superhero fantasy was more attractive to my 7-year-old self (the approximate age where these thoughts originated) than I'd ever realized.  And consciously, it had never even occurred to me that they were anything but idle daydreams and escape fantasies.

    I had no way of knowing that, when I adopted this superhero ideal, the following personality traits would come along with it:

    - If you're a hero, you're just strong and successful and equipped... automatically -- you don't have to practice or work out or really do anything at all to become successful (Impatience with details and implementation)

    - If you're a hero, you should never use your powers (talents and abilities) for any personal gain...  unless it's an emergency.  (Procrastination, not to mention failure to pursue non-work goals)

    - If you're a hero, it's your job to right wrongs...  not to make good things.  (Perfectionism!)

    - If you're a hero, it's your job to do the impossible, or at least the extraordinary...  so leave the ordinary things to ordinary people  (More perfectionism, not to mention elitism!)

    - If you're a hero, you have to rely on yourself...  so don't share your secrets with anyone, or expect anyone to be able to help you with your problems...  frankly, it's laughable that they'd be able to understand your issues, let alone help.  (Arrogance, closed-mindedness, and other a**holery)

    - If you're a hero, everything is serious business.  Deadly serious.  All the frickin' time.  You can enjoy other people being happy, but don't expect to have any free time that can't be interrupted for something more important.  (Recipe for struggle, suffering, and general life imbalance.)

    The post goes into more depth on how this subverted his attempts at self-improvement. I don't know if his course or books or whatever it is he's flogging are good, but I think this post is brilliant.

    28 comments · 289 views
  • 6d, 2h
    I don't want to know...

    26 comments · 321 views
  • 6d, 3h
    Fifty shades of marketing

    My question about "story views" reminded me...

    "Fifty Shades of Grey" was a spectacularly popular Twilight fan-fiction; it had over two million downloads online. The publishing giant Vintage Press saw that number and realized they had a hit on their hands. They filed off the Twilight serial numbers, put it in print, marketed it like hell, and now it's sold 60 million copies, satisfying a huge but previously unrealized market for bad BDSM chick-lit-porn.

    Part of that is true.

    Though the Twilight fandom was very large, it was still too small, I thought, for one story to have two million reads. A little searching and I found the original quote was "over two million hits". It was reported by Anne Jamison, author of "fic: Why Fan-Fiction is Taking Over the World". I emailed her and asked where that number came from. She replied,

    The "millions" numbers I had were not public; I had them from screenshots from various writers. The counts were from fanfiction.net which, for the Twilight fandom, remained the biggest hub--most if not all stories that were also posted at Twilighted.net and TWCS were also posted on ff.net. Ff.net tallies reads but doesn't--unlike Wattpad or AO3--make them public.

    But for all the sites, read or hit counts are for every time someone clicks on the story--so if they click through the front page to get to chapter 37, that's 2 reads.

    Fan-fiction is published one chapter at a time. "Fifty Shades of Grey" has 26 chapters, but when it was originally published on fanfiction.net as "Master of the Universe", it had over 100 chapters.  More digging by gwern showed that the story had over 40,000 reviews when it was on chapter 70. It had 37,000 reviews when it reached 2 million hits. So let's say it had 65 chapters when it reached 2 million hits on fanfiction.net.

    fanfiction.net adds 1 hit every time any page of the story is reloaded. If you go to chapter 1 and read all the way through to chapter 120 in one sitting, that's 120 hits. If you log in, see it updated, go to chapter 1, and then go from there to the new chapter, that's at least 239 hits to read the book. If you refresh the page, that's another hit. (I verified this myself by refreshing one chapter of one story of mine 3 times on fanfiction.net, checking the stats before and after.) If you read half of one chapter one day, and log in again and finish it the next, that's at least 2 hits. If you leave it in an open tab on your computer, that's 1 hit every time you open your browser. If you reread the story, the hits double. If you click on the story each day to see if it's updated, hits go way up.

    Two million hits on a 65-chapter story means a theoretical maximum of 2,000,000 / 65 = 30,769 readers had read it on fanfiction.net when that "two million" figure was reported. More likely, given re-readings, users who always go in through chapter 1, users who quit halfway through, browser refreshes, etc., perhaps 10,000 readers finished it on fanfiction.net, and let's say another 10,000 on other sites. That's about as many readers as finished My Roommate is a Vampire.

    What actually happened was that a fanfiction that had been read by at most a few tens of thousands of people was reported on in a way that misled publishers into thinking that it had millions of readers, when really, it just had a lot of chapters. So they put a major marketing campaign behind it, and sold tens of millions of copies.

    But was Fifty Shades of Grey really what people wanted? Or would the same thing have happened with almost any book they'd marketed as heavily?

    27 comments · 258 views
  • ...
 174
 5,203
Source

To Holmes, she is always the mare.  In his eyes she eclipses the whole of her sex, and fills him with admiration and loathing.  Whether she in fact stole the Starry Night was ultimately beside the point.  What mattered to Holmes was that he had been matched at his own game, by a mare; that it had not been altogether unpleasant; and that she had caused him, however briefly, to turn his keen and unflinching gaze upon himself.

First Published
22nd Jul 2012
Last Modified
29th Jul 2012
#1 · 119w, 5d ago · · · 11. A real crime ·

100 deviantart points per story to the first reader who identifies the two stories that large parts of the first two paragraphs are stolen from, and 200 points to the first reader who identifies the one-sentence theft in chapter 3 (not from Doyle).

And 200 points to the first reader who finds all 4 secret messages!

Updates will be every day starting Monday at 9 or 10pm.

If anybody can think of a catchier name and/or description for the story, please suggest it in the comments.  A name change is likely, because this is a boring title.  A cover picture change is also likely later on, because I haven't got anyplace in the story to put the original cover art.  I'll avoid changing both at the same time.

Thanks to Ickhart, GhostOfHeraclitus, and Vimbert the Unimpressive for pre-reading and pointing out many problems!

Luna's Starry Night is by RK-d.  atryl designed French Rarity and the gallery setting; BB-Kenobi put them together and re-illustrated them.   Brianna Wainwright (DracosDerpyHooves on deviantart.com) did the EqD cover image, and two other drawings that you'll find within the story.  Other credits are given with the pictures.

#2 · 118w, 6d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

The fact that this has gone unnoticed is a travesty.

#3 · 118w, 6d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

>>912800

Thanks!  But I haven't submitted it yet.  Still revising.  How did you find it?

#4 · 118w, 6d ago · 1 · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

>>912961

Oh, derp. Wow. I'm an idiot.

Yeah, I liked it a lot. Guess I've tipped my hand now by doing such a stupid thing, but oh well.

#5 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

The first paragraph is from a Scandal in Bohemia. I recognize the second paragraph, but I don't have the time to go through the stories and find it.

#6 · 117w, 5d ago · 1 · · 2. Three tickets to a crime ·

I don't remember where I saw van Gogh's Starry Night, but the description in the story was how I felt about it.

#7 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

>>953207

Correct!  PM me with your deviantart account, if you have one, & I'll send you

... Well, no.  But you will get

100 DEVIANTART POINTS!

(This is evil on a budget.)

#8 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

>>953321 Holy crap, really? I feel validated now. I actually read your first comment as 100 internet points.

I always feel considerably less intelligent after reading stories as well thought out and executed as this one is for some reason. I don't know if it's the fact that so many words that I've never used are used in them or what, but yes.

Good show old bean, jolly good show.

There was only one minuscule error. A Mr. F. When. (that gets me too).

#12 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 3. An unlikely suspect ·

:moustache: I would read more but I hear coffee calling.

#13 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

This is relevant to my interest, keep up the good work.

#14 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

[strike]Comments from a week ago. Front page today.

Not sure what's going on, but I'll refrain from pointing fingers due to the possibility of me being wrong.[/strike]

Nevermind; I just read the comments. I'm a retard. :facehoof:

#15 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

I am so following. :heart:

Wonderful.

#17 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

I'll consider reading it when it's finished.

#18 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

I'm rapidly running out of reasons to not read the source material.

BRB, googling "Arthur Conan Doyle"

#19 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

I've had the exceptional pleasure of helping pre-read this lovely thing. I can't recommend it enough. Also, since I know how the rest of the story goes allow me to share a not-really-spoiler: It gets even better. Seriously. The story goes to a very interesting place that took me by surprise. Read it. You won't be sorry.

#20 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

>>953892

The name is "Mr. F."  This is a Victorian way of writing - the premise was that the viewpoint narrator is telling a true story, and making real-life characters semi-anonymous by using only their initials.  Unfortunately the F came at the end of a sentence.  I think that's the correct way to write it.  It is jarring, though, so correctness is a poor excuse, and I changed it.

A work of art this is, I only hope that the latter pieces are as good as this one :moustache:

#22 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

Wow This story is SOOOOOOO good! Cant wait to read more!

#23 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

OK, I'm baffled.  Why isn't this story called "A Scandal In Equestria"?

#24 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

>>955452

Hmm.  On one hand, it doesn't involve anything I'd describe as a scandal.  On the other hand, that title would give readers familiar with A Scandal in Bohemia an idea where the story is going.

Plus, I could lure in readers hoping for some Twilestia...  How would this do for the cover art?

#25 · 117w, 5d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

UH Oh! A clash of egos the size of Holmes and Trixi might cause a sigularity to form. I suprised they do not knock heads together when the both enter a room :)

the beginning sounds like the intro of a scandal in Bohemia from the adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

:rainbowhuh:

#27 · 117w, 4d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

Loving this so far.

Mystery that not only doesn't shy away from magic but brings it to the forefront, and well-written Trixie, and earth pony/unicorn tension?  Instant follow.

"It is the dregs, the leavings, the last resort. It is, in a word, ours, Watson."

Just wonderful.  Cannot wait to see where this goes.

#28 · 117w, 4d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

I liked this the first time I read it and I still enjoyed reading it a second time! :pinkiehappy: Congratulations on the excellent story and the feature on EqD!

#29 · 117w, 4d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

>>954719

Makes sense, but I couldn't help thinking of the Arrested Development connection.

Anyway, Fetlock seems to have an issue distinguishing bluster from actual ability, kinda odd when it seems that he deals with lies and half truths on a day to day basis, but maybe he sees something I don't.

#30 · 117w, 4d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

>>958122

I'm committing the oft-committed sin of making Trixie more competent than she is in canon.  Let's say she's had time to improve.  She's more generally useful as a character this way.  But you're right - I assumed by default that Holmes had done his homework, but Doyle would have stated that explicitly.

#31 · 117w, 4d ago · · · 4. Holmes unmasked ·

>>956919

No, no.  That's,

Is this the real life?

Is this just fantasy?

Caught in a landslide,

no escape from reality...

>>956919  Had the same feeling.  I was reading it 2 weeks ago and I thought Bad Horse was rewriting the whole thing.

#33 · 117w, 3d ago · · · 5. Thrice-frightened ·

A marvelous distraction if I do say so myself.

the second paragraph is also familiar but i can't put my finger on it...:twilightangry2:

#35 · 117w, 3d ago · · · 5. Thrice-frightened ·

Nice plan.

#36 · 117w, 3d ago · · · 5. Thrice-frightened ·

Awaiting MOAR :flutterrage: .  Only time I've used that!

#37 · 117w, 3d ago · 1 · · 5. Thrice-frightened ·

I'll give Trixie that she has massive pony stones, for walking in there, breaking the painting out, and putting it right back in it's hole. Almost would be worth the hours of interrogation.

#38 · 117w, 3d ago · · · 6. Chivalry is not dead ·

:yay: for the update!  And no, I am not claiming... (someone else can get in trouble for that :trixieshiftright: )

#39 · 117w, 3d ago · · · 6. Chivalry is not dead ·

I checked the view count when I posted the chapter update: 475 readers.  I checked again one hour later, after the story had scrolled off the "Latest Updates" page: 477.  Ouch.  I had 700 referrals from EqD in the story's first day.  About 500 of them followed the link here to fimfiction, then left without clicking on the first chapter.

Here's a question for all of you.  Why did you decide to read the story?  Did anything almost make you not read it?

#40 · 117w, 3d ago · · · 6. Chivalry is not dead ·

I just thought this looked interesting, i am not sure why so many people didnt read this.

#41 · 117w, 2d ago · · · 6. Chivalry is not dead ·

gotta give you credit, you've got me interested. Bring in the worlds greatest detective, Trixie, and an original adventure, and suddenly you have me hooked on this story, Hope to see more soon, keep goin and stay golden^^

#42 · 117w, 2d ago · · · 6. Chivalry is not dead ·

This is one of the best fics I've read across all the fandom.  You capture the Victorian writing style, as well as the personalities of Holmes and Watson, with excellent accuracy and precision, and combine it with an intriguing plot that has a high dose of realism.  It is truly a delight to read.

#43 · 117w, 2d ago · · · 6. Chivalry is not dead ·

>>967721 Honestly the length of your individual chapters may be what's turning people away. I usually don't read a story unless it averages at least a thousand words a chapter. The only reason I decided to actually read your story (no offence intended) was because I followed the Equestria Daily link.

#44 · 117w, 2d ago · · · 6. Chivalry is not dead ·

>>971089

Do you prefer longer stories and avoid short stories?  I break stories up into 1000-word chapters because I look at the view counts on each chapter to find out where people stopped reading.  This is usually somewhere within the first 2000 words, so the first 2 chapters can be at most 1000 words each to learn where people stopped reading.

#45 · 117w, 2d ago · · · 6. Chivalry is not dead ·

>>971515 I avoid shorter stories for many reasons that probably only make sense in my head. The foremost reason is because I find longer chapters give the author a chance to do a better job of both world building and characterization. I also prefer longer stories because I enjoy stories that take more than three minutes for me to read. I think my total words read on fimfiction at this time is over 22 million [22,904,897(I had to check...)] I read quite quickly and I prefer a fully thought out single chapter that is several thousand words long to several snippets of story that leave me unsatisfied.

I could never publish the first chapter to a story before having written the ending - I always have to go back and change things to make the pieces fit together right.  The reason I release chapters one per day, instead of all at once, is so that the story will appear on the "Latest updates" page and attract new readers.

However, this isn't happening.  From the rate at which first-chapter views increase, it appears I've gotten approximately zero new readers from the "Latest Updates" page.  But I've lost about 160 readers who read the first 4 chapters, which were all posted at once, and haven't returned.

Is it better to release chapters on a regular basis, or put an entire story out there all at once?  Would you appreciate a story more, or less, if you didn't have to wait for the updates?

ADDED:

I have another story that's been troubling me for a long time, a tricky story with touchy subject matter.  It's a Fallout: Equestria one-shot, darker than this one.  I don't know if I should release it, re-write it, or obliterate it like a device heretic blog post.  The secret unpublished link is here.  It's not violent, but it is sad, sweet, and terrible.  I'd appreciate your opinions.

#47 · 117w, 2d ago · · · 6. Chivalry is not dead ·

I haven't read a detective story in quite a while.

Honestly, I've been reading this for a while- just never bothered to log in. xD

I'm rather a fan of this story so far, and I am keeping a steady eye out for it. I'd love it if you posted the rest of the story so I could just scarf it all down, but if that's not your style, then okay. I'd think a lot of other folks would feel similar. (That they'd like to be able to read the whole thing from word go, so to speak.)

Actually I prefer a somewhat longer wait. Sort of like French cuisine. Anticipation makes it all the more enjoyable.

>>972456

I would suppose that it depends on the length of the chapters.

With shorter chapters it would be better to post them all at once. This allows the readers to read at their leisure.

With longer chapters spreading them out might work towards your advantage, seeing that the story has a large word count might stop them from beginning it in the first place.

EDIT: I know that when I post new chapters I pick up about ten new readers. How far they make it is a different issue...

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