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  • E Scootaling

    Scootaloo's a changeling. How will her friends react?
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  • E Musicians and Dreamers

    Lunaverse. Octavia tries to recruit Lyra; Trixie doesn't trust her. Who will Lyra believe?
    20,745 words · 2,974 views  ·  227  ·  3
  • E A Present for Octavia

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  • E Symphony for Moon and Sun

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  • E Luna's Night Off

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    Duke Greengrass schemes to force a vote the way he wants it
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  • E The Music of Ponyville

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Blog Posts174

  • Monday
    Rainbow Rocks

    4 comments · 60 views
  • 1w, 6d
    Antifantasy

    I try to keep a pretty open mind when I'm reading, and I do like to read a lot--at the last sci-fi convention I went to I wound up with over 30 new books--but there's one subset of the fantasy genre that consistently fails to work for me.

    I call it antifantasy, although I'm sure it has a more technical name somewhere. It's the fantasy equivalent of cyberpunk, except it lost a lot of the heart that cyberpunk had. Antifantasy stories are stories about how fantasy sucks. How magic is just a cheap shortcut that can't compare to building with your own hands. How superpowers can't help you solve any of the real problems in the world, like famine, bigotry, or the destruction of the world's ecosystems. How the dwarves are drunkards and the elves are vain and the vampires and werewolves are just pathetic sad-sacks begging to be put out of their misery.

    I don't understand these stories. If I'm picking up a fantasy story, I think it can be assumed that I like fantasy tropes. Why would I want to read 300 pages about how much fantasy is just cheap escapism for folks who can't handle the real world? Who, exactly, is the audience?

    The thing that brought this to mind was I stumbled across another review of "The Magicians", by Lev Grossman. Now, I've seen a lot of reviews for this book, and they're almost unanimously positive. And they all have pretty much the same summary: "The Magicians is about a guy who feels that his life lacks meaning, so he goes to magic school. And at first he's happy thinking that he'll become a great wizard who performs amazing heroics and saves the world. But then he realizes that wanting to be a great wizard is a pathetic, childish fantasy, and that the right thing to do is to give up on his dreams of being a hero and get used to dragging himself to a boring job he hates for the rest of his life. In the end, he learns that a real 'hero' is a happy, content cog in the machine. Only the vainglorious and the immature dream of anything more." And so the result is that every positive, glowing review of this book that I read makes me increasingly less inclined to read it.

    I mean, why would I? I like a lot of tropes associated with magic schools. I like reading about how ordinary people adapt to obtaining new powers, how they learn to use them, what setbacks they have, how they resist temptations to misuse them (or don't). I like reading about people who were once weak gaining powers and becoming more capable of defending themselves and those they care about. I like seeing the nerdy characters geek out at learning magical spell theory, and the athletic characters screaming in exhilaration as they learn to ride broomsticks. Ultimately, I like reading about the nascent heroes who become folks like Gandalf, Harry Dresden, and Harry Potter. If I didn't like those things, I wouldn't read books set in those environments. So why would I pick up a book about how Gandalf and the Harries are just immature tossers, and so am I, for daring to be entertained by them? Why would I want a book which says that the real hero of Harry Potter was Vernon Dursley, because while everyone else was gallivanting about and waving wands at each other, he dutifully attended to his job and didn't dare let himself feel even a hint of wonder or imagination?

    (Disclaimer: in case it's not obvious from the above paragraph, I have not read The Magicians. I'm just talking about the reviews of it that I read, since those reviews convinced me to never, ever get anywhere near this book. I suppose it's possible that all the reviews could be wrong. That said, unless someone I trust actually reads the book and tells me otherwise, I'm not going to pick it up. After all, there's loads of books out there with premises I don't dislike on principle).

    There's other examples too, and by some otherwise really good authors. I'm usually a huge fan of Carrie Vaughn, for instance. Her Kitty Norville series is spectacular, as are her YA works "Steel" and "Voices of Dragons." She's even one of two authors for whom I get up early on the day her books come out so I can buy them before I go into work and read them over lunch. (The other is Jim Butcher, if anyone cares). But she wrote an antifantasy duology set in a superhero universe, and--in my opinion--it was almost unreadable. The first book is called "After the Golden Age", and the title's an apt description. The protagonist is the daughter of the world's two greatest superheroes, but the only tangible result of that is that she's taken hostage a lot. She's estranged from her family, because all the superpowers in the world can't mend real issues like familial rifts. Yes, in this story, the golden age is indeed over, superheroes have lost their luster, and our protagonist just tries to muddle through her days without dealing with any superheroes, villains, or powers of any kind. (Suffice to say I haven't picked up the sequel.)

    "Hero", by Perry Moore, is another good example. The protagonist is the son of Batman (with a slightly different name to avoid copyright). But Batman was disgraced, because a mission went wrong and people died, and now he's a lowly factory worker who can only reminisce about the glory days and maim the occasional burglar. Meanwhile, the son also develops powers, but they won't help him deal with bigotry (he's gay), or redeem his family name, or anything else he really cares about. I got about 1/5 of the way into this one before giving up. Again, if I'm reading about superpowers, I want to read about superpowers being used for something, not about how superpowers are useless for anything that really matters. (I'm aware that this story was critically acclaimed and even won a Lambda award, but I just could not get into it.)

    And, for a more recent example, Sofia Somatar's "Selkie Stories are for Losers." It's a story about selkies, which means that it's calling the reader a loser right in the title. Smooth. And the story is pretty much just about how awful selkies are, how they leave broken families and shattered lives behind them, and how anyone who would ever want to hear about selkies must be out of their mind. Just what I want to hear when I sit down to read a story about selkies.

    (For those not up on your mythology: selkies are creatures that can change shape between a human and a seal body. They change shape by taking off or putting on their sealskin. Selkie stories usually feature a human stealing the skin and trapping the selkie in human form; the selkie then marries the human and raises a family with them, until one day they recover their skin. They then flee into the ocean, leaving the family behind. So yeah, out of the box they're pretty depressing, but interesting things can be done with them. They're not just for losers.)

    If I had to describe antifantasy in one word, it would be 'tired.' Because these stories always feel that way. They are stories that seem weary and beaten down, laden with cynicism, bitterly contemptuous of the idea that magic and whimsey could possibly affect anything real. They're stories that laugh at the reader for daring to seek enjoyment from them. They laugh, and then they lean in close to the reader and murmur that, while elves and werewolves and Kryptonians are all fine fantasies for a child, the reader is now an adult and should know that real problems can't be solved with a magical wand. They chide the reader for trying to enjoy genre fiction, ignoring that they themselves are genre fiction, and sigh that all the innumerable fantasy stories are just petty escapism, useless for anything except as diversions for fools who don't care to deal with reality.

    And, just speaking for myself, but when I go to read a genre story, I'd rather read one that doesn't insult me for it.

    That's about all I've got. Has anyone read books like this? Anyone know if there's a real term for it besides antifantasy? Any ideas as to why someone might like these?

    4 comments · 73 views
  • 7w, 1d
    You Can Call Me...

    Dr. GrassAndClouds2.

    I.e., the PhD thesis defense went well. :-)

    18 comments · 80 views
  • 8w, 18h
    Rejected Video Game Titles

    Five Nights with Fluttershy

    Rainbow Dash Six

    The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Sparkle Princess

    Amnesia: A Machine for Pinkies

    Pacmare

    Luna: The Blue-ish Star

    Derpyronpa

    Dragon: The Bruce Cheerilee Story

    1 comments · 63 views
  • 17w, 5d
    Afterlife With Archie

    ...continues to be awesome.

    That is all.

    (Oh, and really looking forward to the forthcoming "Betty: RIP" arc!)

    0 comments · 114 views
  • ...
 116
 1,347
Source

RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse spin on Story of the Blanks. When Dinky Doo sees a mysterious gray foal in the Everfree, she chases after her and is split off from the other Ponyville foals. She soons winds up in a strange town called Moonville, where no pony has a cutie mark and the parties go on forever. Although the village at first appears idyllic, Dinky soon realizes that something is very wrong and that the town hides a terrible secret. Can Dinky escape? And, more importantly, can she help save the benighted citizens of Moonville?

Note: this story does not assume prior knowledge of Story of the Blanks.

First Published
6th Jun 2012
Last Modified
17th Jun 2012

And here we go!

I wanted to have a scene with Cherilee explaining why she was taking the foals into the Everfree in the first place (short version: they're always wandering in anyway {see: any CMC episode, Cutie Pox, and also Boast Busters with Snips/Snails}, so she wants to at least show them safe areas and paths in it so they don't get hurt. Plus, she likes practical lessons like this one), but I couldn't think of a good reason to explain it to Dinky. Ah well.

Dinky's in for a bit of a long adventure, but don't worry -- she's going to get to attend an awesome party beforehand. :-)

Off to a fairly good start.  Despite what I've said else were may sugest, I really am interested to see what you make of this spin on SotB.  That said I do have a few things I'd like to say about what you've written so far.


Personal opinion, but not really sure I can see Silver Spoon addressing her friend as "DT", it just sounds so tacky.  I prefer "Tiara" as the short address for the entitled daddy's little princess, sounds classier.  Like I said though, personal preference.

“I’m sure you’ll get it eventually. You know, like you’ll get your cutie mark eventually.”

Not strictly necessary, but I think the insult of these two sentences would read better if the second "eventually" was italicized, underlined, or in some other way stressed for emphasis.

Dinky getting upset at Silver and Tiara for splitting the workload doesn't seem right.  It really was a smart plan on their part.  Furthermore it seems odd that it would even be "cheating" in the first place.  In my experience, for class projects like this the children are usually divided into teams anyway, for safety reasons if nothing else, buddy system and all that.

Maybe mention Sunny Days and Peachy Pie as another pair of friends working together on the project.

Dinky musing about her lack of a best friend is final and all, but in consideration of the buddy system for class fieldtrips, it would probably make more sense to have her be teamed with someone for the project.  Maybe an uncooperative Apple Bloom.  This could further make the point you're trying to get at, by showing them not getting along all that well.  Everyone else gets to partner with someone they really like, but Dinky gets stuck with Apple Bloom.  Could also make for some nice opportunities to drop some allusions to the original SotB, since AB was the star of that.

Personally I prefer Dinky as the kind of student who, while she may not be happy to get extra work, is still generally enthusiastic enough about learning that she wouldn't be the type to join in groaning about it.  Again though, just personal opinion.

Others have said it before me, but I do tend to prefer the idea that in the Lunaverse Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle never hooked up with Apple Bloom to form the CMCs.

>>703529: Cherilee is okay with the other students giving each other hints, but she didn't want them literally handing each other samples of the plants that the other pony never even saw growing, which is what Dinky saw the two rich foals doing. The problem with that is that there is educational value in finding the plants for oneself and seeing them in their natural environment, which one doesn't really get if they split the work like that (e.g., Silver Spoon never saw the strongweed in the ground, nor did she go through the process of picking it without crushing or ripping it, so she didn't learn as much as Dinky, who went through the whole process). As for why Dinky's annoyed, she strikes me as a pony who was raised to be very against-cheating, so she's unhappy when she sees other foals get away with it. I edited the paragraph discussing everyone helping each other to make this a little more clear.

Apple Bloom I'm treating as not a CMC, but a friend of SB and Scootaloo who occasionally does stuff with them. That's why she doesn't appear in any of the conversations between the two -- they tend to decide things for themselves, and then, if it's convenient, ask her to tag along (like they asked Dinky here, and like, offscreen, they'll be asking a few other foals). I edited to make this more clear (particularly when discussing ice cream; Scootaloo only mentions SB and not AB as helping now). I didn't want to make AB openly hostile to Dinky because I'm trying to get away from her image as a total jerk, which seems to be a lot of people's perceptions of her in the L-verse. L-verse Apple Bloom's not mean. Applejack, maybe, but not AB. :-)

I added the notes about Sunny and Peachy; thanks for that idea.

>>703604

Glad I could contribute something.

One final note about foals teaming up in pairs though, I know it loses educational value if they split up and find the items separately, as well as defeating the point of the buddy system in the first place.  Dinky could be upset about them cheating in that way, or maybe show them tricking say Snips and Snails into handing over some herbs they couldn't find (as I'm not sure I can see Tiara and Silver actually splitting up to search), but I really do think that there should be an expected team effort in place.  This is after all the Everfree, and even with Cheerilee and Red Heart supervising, the kids shouldn't be wandering about without at least someone close at side.  As for Dinky, if not AB (you're right that she doesn't need more help coming across as a bad kid), maybe partner her with Truffle Shuffle, who keeps munching on their finds or something.  Alternatively, have there be an odd number of students, leaving dinky stuck playing third wheel to one of the pairs.

As for AB and the CMC, might want to consider making it more clear, maybe by having her on the field trip and paired with Twist.  Could also maybe have Scoots mention that they are inviting AB so they can use the tall trees of Sweet Apple Acres.    Alternatively have the previous zipp-lining incident have been just Sweety and Scoots, and they are asking for AB's help because they've heard she's good with tools and can so hopefully avoid a repeat of the fall.

Anyway, sorry if all this keeps coming across as me being overly critical, or trying to force my views on your story.  I fully respect your right to tell this story anyway you see fit, I'm actually avoiding criticizing the stuff that is obviously essential to the basic premise.  I just feel it would be remiss of me not to point out what are to me at least obvious ways that the more minor details could make it even better.

>>703753: I like the idea of AB being involved in the plan specifically to help with tool stuff so that they don't fall again, so I added it. I agree, it helps indicate that she's friends with them, but not, like CMC-close friends.

I appreciate the feedback. It's useful to have another set of eyes examining it.

dafuq did i just read :derpyderp1:

>>703604

I don't see L!Applejack as being especially hostile either. The way I look at it, most of her defensiveness seems to stem from the unexpressed and unexpressable fear that her family's origins aren't exactly respectable. If I'm right, that means that she not only respects Ditzy's beyond-strong work ethic, she might regard being whatever seduced Castor Cut as being higher on the food chain than nomads who squatted their way into being given a town and then a stranglehold on the apple supply.

Apple Bloom, on the other hand, probably suffers from parent envy. She's more or less the same foal in both paradigms and thus must have the same vague resentment of ponies who have mommies and daddies.

what is lunaverse?

>>705376: I was joking (at least a little, :-) ). But I don't think she's ashamed of her origins. She seems to have a very high view of her and the Apple Family's importance in town, which can be a bit offputting.

>>705521: See here. Short version, it's an open-universe AU in which Celestia went evil instead of Luna. The Elements are different (Trixie is Magic, Ditzy is Kindness, Cherilee is Laughter, etc.), and other things developed differently too.

>>705583

Perhaps overly high. From what I saw in Longest Night, Longest Day, she seems to be under the misapprehension that their monopoly is a necessity without which the world would collapse.

When I first played Story of the Blanks I thought Ruby resembled Ditzy, what with the blond mane and grey coat.  :derpyderp1:

Very nice. I like how you're adding more character interaction in, rather than the straight adventure plot like the original game was (fetchquests notwithstanding).

One correction though: The Lunaverse uses the name "Ditzy Doo" rather than "Derpy Hooves", so Dinky's last name should fit that.

Edit: Also, you're inconsistent in your spelling of gray/grey. It makes sense to spell Grey Hoof's name like you are spelling it given that that's how it's spelled in the game, but in the description you spell the mysterious foal's color as "gray". I've never quite understood if there's any difference in meaning between the two spellings, but assuming there's not (which is accurate based on my general impressions) it would make sense to keep it spelled one way throughout the whole thing.

Story progresses nicely.  Nothing much happening yet, but setup is as important if not more so than the actual action and excitement that follows.  Anyway, a few notes for you to consider.

was enough to see by. Dinky could, occasionally, glimpse the gray-coated mare up ahead.

This is the same pony she mistook for a student?  Probably should change "mare" to "filly", age matters.

The forest felt creepy, and while she knew that she shouldn’t be a scaredy-pony,

Not really anything you NEED to fix, but while putting on a brave face is good and all, Dinky is smart enough to know that she should have every good reason to be scared in the Everfree.  The place ain't natural after all, plus monsters, lots of monsters.

Not an actual critiq, but more sweets than a Pinkie Pie party? :pinkiegasp:   NEVER!  Clearly the premier party princess of ponyville will have to teach this silly filly a lesson or two.

“My name is Dinky Hooves,”

That would be Dinky Doo, in the Lunaverse her mother is Ditzy Doo, not Derpy Hooves (unless you ask Rainbow Dash).

or add a little more candy and a few cupcakes this year

Maybe I'm not reading right, but shouldn't that be "fewer"?

2) Dinky also remembered to ask Grey Hoof if he’d seen the other grey mare

3) Dinky figured that the grey mare had just gotten into town ahead of her and slipped by Grey Hoof

Twice again, probably should be "filly".

Grey Hoof had clearly been putting in that kind of effort.

Nothing that has to change, but I'd think this thought would provoke Dinky to wonder again why baking isn't his special talent.

“I’m Dinky Hooves, Miss Leaf!”

Last name again.

Who cared if they didn't have cutie marks? Moonville was a really friendly place!

If that's how you want to end the chapter fine.  Personally though I would think an entire town of adults with no marks would be incredibly freaky, almost as bad as if they had no faces.  Having Dinky acknowledge how unsettling it is might better build the story along it's intended path.

Also shouldn't Dinky at some point wonder why she's never heard of this town when it's so close to Ponyville, even if it is in the Everfree.  For that mater shouldn't she find it odd such a town would be built in the first place.  All the ponies she knows think the Everyfree is a really scary place.

>>711893, >>712050: Fixed the things with Hooves/Doo, gray/grey, and mare/foal or mare/filly. Also fixed the 'few fewer' thing. Thanks for the corrections.

An entire town of adults without cutie marks might be freaky to some ponies, but then again, it's already been noted that some ponies find Ditzy's eyes freaky. If it were almost any other foal I'd agree with you, but I would think that Dinky has been raised to be exceptionally kind and tolerant -- not just because she's nice, but also because her' mom's the Element of Kindness and instilled those values in her, and also because her mom would also be criticized for being different sometimes and Dinky would know how it hurts her. Or, in other words, Dinky might think 'that's weird,' but then would immediately also think that she shouldn't think badly of other ponies for being a little different, because that's how she was raised.

As for why she's not worried about the town in the first place, I chalk it up to her being a naturally curious foal who is also really happy about an awesome party and so is not inclined to skepticism.

>>712191

Ah good, well the important thing is that you're putting thought into it.

Personally I'd still think that a major life defining quality like a cutie mark would be a bigger deal than eyes that don't line up quite right  Lot's of ponies can have odd physical quirks and disabilities, but so far as Dinky probably knows there is no such thing as an adult without a special talent, let alone a whole town full of them.  Also, being polite enough not to mention when something is weird doesn't necessarily preclude thinking about it.

This is after all Dinky Doo were talking about, who as established in Family Matters  tends to think about stuff, a lot, and very deeply for a filly her age.  Over all you do seem to be capturing a fair amount of that.  I just feel that in the case of markless adults and a never before heard of town in a place every pony she knows is scared of would not be the kind of stuff she'd take at face value, no matter how polite or excited she is.

Poor Dinky. Well, I'm certain that she'll be able to run right out of town, go back home, and live happily ever after. Right?

I'm enjoying exploring this idea that Grey Hoof and Trixie are word-ninjas. Well, I suppose patter would be very important for a showmare like Trixie, and also for party planners like Grey Hoof (and maybe another, pinker pony that we know) who would have to keep their guests happy.

In the original game, day and night seemed to change basically as they pleased in Sunny Town. I liked that aspect a lot -- it made the town feel even more mysterious and weird -- so I decided to keep it. I find fascinating the idea of a town where time doesn't flow at the 'normal' rate, but instead changes, and changes in subtly malevolent ways as well. There may be a lot more of 'what time is it? Oh, it's the one time Dinky doesn't want it to be' in future chapters. :-)

Well, good start here. :yay: I've played the game, kinda creeped out but not too badly.

He knew some ponies that took their work very seriously.

Dinky has mysteriously turned male! Oh no! :rainbowderp:

Now that that's out of the way, very nice chapter. Dinky is figuring out that Moonville is dangerous much faster than Apple Bloom did, although I get the impression that it's not going to save her from going through with the full adventure.

>>717355: Fixed, thanks.

Yes, I figured that Dinky is probably a bit more perceptive than Apple Bloom, who literally had to stumble over a body before she realized that things aren't quite right. Dinky is more thoughtful, so I figure that she could eventually determine just from the weird changes in time-of-day and from Grey Hoof's relentless... Grey Hoofness that something was up. It also helps that she stuck around at the party instead of running up north like AB, so Dinky could actually talk to others and reinforce the sense of 'not right' ness.

Well, this is turning into a suitable creepy story!

While I've heard of, and have some idea about, how Story of the Blanks plays out, I haven't actually played the game, and I've actually been avoiding it so that I can come into this fic with a clean slate and judge it without prior experience.

You know what this kind of feels like? Did you ever watch this TV show on Nickelodeon named Are You Afraid of the Dark? If not, imagine Goosebumps, but consistantly good. The basic setup was a bunch of kids telling each other ghost stories around a campfire every week, and the episode would be the story being told.

I can *totally* see this as basically Are You Afraid of My Little Pony in the Dark?, with Dinky telling the ghost story.

This is getting very scary very fast, and I love it.

These updates are certainly coming fast and furious.  Guess that's par for the course when one writes the entire thing before publishing.  Don't know if I'll be able to keep up at this rate though.  Anyway, thoughts and stuff follow.

Oh look, it's the song, guess that makes the first two chapters together the cold open.

Dinky took a few deep breaths and decided to start with the most obvious problem. “It’s been a really long time but it only felt like a few minutes, and I don’t understand it. It feels like magic but I don’t want to be magicked right now and it’s not nice, and…”

I smell shades of Apple Bloom her, specifically from Call of the Cutie when she was trying to explain to Twilight why it was so important she get her cutie mark NOW.  It's always fun to watch characters ramble on like this, but somehow it just doesn't feel quite right with Dinky.  Can't really say why for sure though.  The situation certainly warrants it, but it still feels off somehow.

On a note about Grey Hoof, the guy is increasingly provoking me to want to punch him for all his manipulative lies and deceptions, especially since it's all taking advantage of sweet little dinky.  So, good job there.  Though on a matter of when he asks Dinky her favorite treat, shouldn't the answer be muffins not cupcakes?

Grey Hoof seemed to pick up on Dinky’s lack of enthusiasm and looked away.

While it's fine to state it after the fact by observation, it might be better if the preceding sentence wasn't just a flat "yes" from Dinky, but also directly referenced her tone/mood.

Like Rarity, who had once gone into seclusion for two days

Not a requirement, but since Dinky probably doesn't personally know Rarity, it might be better if she initially only thinks of her as the owner of Carousel Boutique, appending the pony's actual name as an afterthought.

“It’s a really wonderful party, and it’s the biggest one I’ve ever seen,”

Bigger than a Pinky Pie party? :pinkiegasp:  NEVER!  Who does this filly think she is continuously downplaying the grand duchess and master of all celebratory festivities?

Anyway, good to see that Dinky is finally catching onto the true nature of the situation she's in, even if a bit belatedly.  I'd also like to agree with you that having time flow oddly is a good touch.  Along with the cursed eternity, it gives the whole town a very fey like quality.

>>717734

I remember that show, good times.  I miss classic SNICK, then again I miss a lot of things about the old Nickelodeon.

>>718518: Yep. I figured that the song should come in at roughly 1/5-1/4 of the way through, assuming a sort of basic 4-act structure. This story will be about 8 chapters, with the first two a bit shorter than the others, so this seemed like a good spot to do it.

Dinky doesn't ramble usually, but given how stressful and just weird the situation is, I think she might be a little panicky. Especially because she's also realizing that her mother is probably worried sick.

Muffins are Ditzy's favorite dessert, I think, so I wanted Dinky to have a different one. It's no fun if they have identical tastes in all things.

I like the idea of having Rarity's name be an afterthought; I've added that in.

A Pinkie/Grey Hoof party duel would be quite the sight to see, that's for sure. They'd probably use up all the sprinkles and frosting in Equestria.

I often try to write the entire story before posting; this way, if it isn't working, I can figure it out and fix it before I post the first chapter and look silly. I can also make sure that there aren't plot holes or continuity issues (e.g., if I want a character to have something in chapter 6, it's a problem if I've already written chapters 1-5 and never showed them getting it). Plus, I like to maintain a relatively quick update schedule when I can.

>>718614

That kind of 4-act structure (or rather prelude + 3-acts) is basically the method I've been trying to use, even if at around only maybe 2/5 your length, so I'm inclined to approve greatly.

Glad I could be of help with the Rarity part.

As for Muffins, I'd agree that she and her mother can and should have different tastes.  Then again Dinky also thinks nothing but the best for her momma, and is herself nicknamed muffin.  No problem with her deciding she wants a cupcake instead, but maybe have her at least consider getting the muffin.

I'd almost want to see that Pinkie/Grey party-off showdown, where it not for the fact that Grey Hoof is a giant pile of poo that I'd just as soon see rotting at the bottem of a 6-foot ditch.

Does having super-destructive telekinesis put the Story Of The Blanks on couch potato mode?

#27 · 128w, 5d ago · · · Ruby ·

I liked writing this chapter. Dinky and Ruby talking together just seems impossibly cute. One of the nicest foals from the series, and a friendly ghost who just wants all her friends and family to be free of the curse so they can move on.

The whole scene with the trees was a late addition; it wasn't in the earlier drafts. Instead, Ruby just told Dinky that the path doesn't work. But that seemed anticlimactic, and besides, I wanted Dinky to panic a little before thinking of her mother

The stuff about cutie pox is referencing the original fanficization of the game. Given all the chaos Applebloom caused when she took the Heart's Desire, I bet if, say, a whole class of foals did it at once as part of some bet or dare, the results would be catastrophic. Especially if they're all unicorns.

So it looks like Dinky will get to see kelpies next chapter. Hopefully, they'll be as friendly as the ghost she just met. But probably not. :-)

#28 · 128w, 5d ago · · · Ruby ·

I just hope that it doesn't end with

Trixie: "Die, bad monster ponies, DIE!"

>>717734: Never saw Are You Afraid of the Dark (we didn't get the Nick channel), but I think I heard of the basic premise. I can totally see Dinky telling this story to the other foals (including the periodic 'I have an awesome Mom' bits). Why, I bet even the adventurous Scootaloo would be scared from this story.

#30 · 128w, 5d ago · · · Ruby ·

Awww, No Hermit Twilight.

#31 · 128w, 4d ago · · · Ruby ·

Oh my, this can't end well.  Anyway, more thoughts and considerations for you.  I have no Idea why I consistently feel the urge to be so helpful this story.  If I ever start to come off as too pushy or overly critical though, please tell me.

After all, Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle were always running around in the woods in search of some new adventure

Not so sure this would be true in the Lunaverse.  Scoots can be pretty reckless but Sweetie always seemed sensible enough to at least keep them out of the Everfree.  As I see it, in the mane-line it is their friendship with Apple Bloom that pushes them into the Everfree, since as a result of her experience with Zecora she's somewhat more comfortable roaming the Everfree than a typical foal.  Also not so sure about snips and snails either.  We only have a single canon example of them doing so, and it was specifically so they could see the Great & Powerful Trixie in action against an Ursa.  Still I can't say any of that with absolute certainty either.  More something to think about than anything that needs fixing.

Anyway, on a lighter note I loved Dinky reassuring herself with a fantasy scenario.  The whole thing is a bit unrealistic and even a little out of character, but it suits the mindset of a panicked child desperately trying to cling to anything that will keep their mind off the awful situation they are finding themself in.  Then it all comes crumbling down when her path is bared.  You sire are a terrible person, and that's exactly what this story needs.

and get her ready for whatever she had to do next

Maybe replace "get" with "gotten", or just replace the whole underline with "prepared her".

Trixie had done that, once, although she’d been what her mother’s friend Lyra had called ‘wasted’ instead of stressed. Dinky still wanted to know what ‘wasted’ meant.

No problems, just loved this part.

“R… Ruby.” Ruby blinked a few times.

Probably better not to use her name twice in a row like that, consider replacing with "the foal/filly" or just "she".

“No,” said Dinky, as it was obvious

Did you maybe mean "as if"?

I kept trying to make friends of the longest time

"for"

She has strab-is-mus

I think Dinky is familiar enough with this word to pronounce it correctly, unless she was specifically trying to enunciate for Ruby's benefit.  If that's the case though, you should probably mention so outside the quotes, and also the correct syllable divides would be "stra•bis•mus", or "struh-biz-muhs" if you really want to stretch it out.

“Um. I’m… I’m dead.”

Not a requirement, but I think a descriptor of her tone like, "flatly", "bluntly", "plainly", or some other such would really help here.  Also, there seems to be some extra blank spaces between this line and the next.  If that's intentional to express a pause or beat, consider adding a line with just ellipses (...) in between so that it doesn't look accidental.

“Okay,” she said.

Nothing wrong with this line, but again it has empty space after it.  If it's purely to facilitate the partial scene transition, that would seem unnecessary, as the following sentence suffices nicely on its own.

Dinky poked her head around the post signaling the rear entrance to Moonville

Again, nothing with this line itself, just more of those blank spaces before it.  This time it's a pretty solid scene transition spot so a dashed line would be a good choice to form a break.

#32 · 128w, 4d ago · · · Ruby ·

>>725161: Fixed the grammar stuff, thanks.

I kind of like the spaces the way they are now and were in the previous chapters; an extra space indicates a scene change or a longer pause. I'll probably keep them this way for consistency.

Ruby is nervous when she tells Dinky that she's dead, because she's afraid of scaring him. That's why the ellipsis is there.

Drunk Trixie is always a winner. :-) Especially drunk, hallucinatory Trixie.

#33 · 128w, 4d ago · · · Ruby ·

Ruby is nervous when she tells Dinky that she's dead, because she's afraid of scaring him. That's why the ellipsis is there.
Kinda my point.  Without any additional descriptors, it's rather easy for readers to misinterpret a character's intended tone, and I think that's something very important to avoid on that particular line.

KICK SOME ASS MITTA!!! Woo! I hope we get an epic fight scene. That would be epic

>>728235: Well, Dinky is probably not going to do too well in a hoof fight versus Grey Hoof (who is big and strong even for an adult earth pony) or his legions of evil minions. Mitta, on the other hand... :-) And that isn't to say that Dinky won't get plenty of actiony scenes shortly.

I have to say, making the town inhabitants into kelpies rather than just standard 'zombie ponies' was a stroke of genius. Kudos on that.

This is spooky and amazing. I give it five Ditzy Doos out of five so far.

:derpyderp1::derpyderp2::derpyderp1::derpyderp2::derpytongue2:

>>728455: Fizzy Orange was the one who first mentioned kelpies to me in this context (in the brainstorming thread in the Lunaverse group), and it was such an amazing idea that I went for it. I love the idea of an evil pony that can stick to a victim and drag it away... way more effective for scares, I think, than your basic zombie.

Glad you like the story!

Well for once I didn't see any specific elements that drew my attention.  So I guess now's as good a time as any to delve into a subject I've been avoiding, my overall thoughts on this story.  To be short and blunt, I've been finding myself increasingly disappointed the further I read.  The rest from here is a bit of a scathing and opinionated critique, so you can feel free to just skip to the last paragraph if you wish.

Anyway, It's not just about the points of contention and disagreement I've brought up in previous chapters.  All of those were things that I could basically dismiss as personal preference and individual interpretation.  No my problems have been running deeper than that.  As I've said before, I never played the original game or read any fics based on, but from what I understand of it this fic is a poor adaptation.

SotB is at its heart something of a tale of horror and suspense, a desperate struggle to survive against all odds in a village of monsters out for blood.  This story though?  Well, it's been kinda boring.  You stretched out the process of setting things up over 4 chapters, and while some elements along the way were a bit creepy or unsettling, I never really got any sense of looming dread.  Worse still by having Dinky talk with Ruby  as part of that build up, any shock value that could have been had by the revelation that the villagers are all monster was spoiled, because now not only is the audience expecting it, so is Dinky.

That said I had wanted to forgive all of that, but then I read this chapter, and well it all falls apart.  Sure you try to mention how on edge Dinky is as she sneaks her way through town, but I never really fear any sense of actually fear, the paralyzing kind that eats down into one's very soul.  I should have been cringing in my seat afraid to read each line; instead I just kept plodding along waiting for something, anything, to actually happen.

Your choice of monster doesn't help either.   Sure they are big and black with red eyes, slimy looking coats, and a mouth full of daggers, yet I never mange to feel frightened by any of that.  It's all handled in such a mundane and matter-of-fact approach that they just feel like odd looking but otherwise ordinary ponies.  Part of the problem could be considered a sort of fish out of water syndrome.  The basic conceit of the Kelpie is that it's a beast that will drag you to a watery grave, but take away the water, and that primal fear of drowning goes with it and you never really replace it with anything else.  At that point they just become generic monster ponies and so you might as well been better suited to just stick with the original version's use of zombies.  Sure there is the vague notion that they will try to turn Dinky, but it all feels too hypothetical, distant, and overall ill-suited to the nature of the kelpie and feels too much like zombie leftovers.

Furthermore, inverting to a monsters by day approach certainly doesn't help matters.  With their liquid black coats and glowing eyes, creatures like these are the kind that are scariest when they have the shadow of night to lurk in, but here in broad day light, they just contrast too sharply with the environ.  Yes this is the Lunaverse where ponies fear the high noon sun, and maybe if you had reinforced just how uncomfortable that was making Dinky the whole thing could still work, but again the story fails.

In the end this story seems to suffer from a case of telling without showing.  The words are constantly trying to explain to me reasons why I should be scared, but never really bringing any of that potential menace to life.  I never really feel like any of it is as dangerous as the hype, and so it never provokes a legitimate fear response, not even by way of empathy for the character.  Too much narrative exposition, not enough visceral emotion.  I just can't lose myself in this story, there just isn't any immersive value here for me.

I wanted to like this story, and I've been trying to give it a legitimate shot, but it's not been working for me so far, and I just don't see that changing  short of a complete rewrite, sorry.  I still wish you the best of luck, but I think I'm out.

>>728486

On the other hoof from Emeral, I do like this, though I agree that it might have been better to move the Ruby chapter to later in the story.

Possibly it might have been better if Dinky goes out, but the Moonvillians realize she's missing. In the time that she's trying to free herself from the tree branches, the Moonvillians have caught up to her. She tries to escape, but they give chase and manage to herd her back to town, all with her never getting a full glimpse of the kelpies until she arrives back in town and finally sees the horrible monsters that have been chasing her. Then we get her stealth bit, running into Mitta, fleeing, presumably you're going to have her escape the town, and then get our Ruby sequence.

Having said that, I do still rather like Gray Hoof as our antagonist. so if for nothing else I'll be sticking around for him. He's reminding me an awful lot of the Clown from one of the good Star Trek: Voyager episodes, "The Thaw".

You did sort of telegraph your punch with Ruby's appearance. Now we have to sort of expect Cheerilee, Ditzy and the other bearers to charge in guns blazing and yelling "Die, freaks, die."

>>729074: Glad you like Grey Hoof. He's a lot of fun to write!

The next chapter should be up tonight-ish. Hopefully, it will make it more clear why I wanted the Ruby scene to come at this point in the story.

>>729805: That's not really where I plan on going with it. I have trouble seeing Cherilee in particular as part of the 'burn them all' party. A couple of the others, though... :-)

>>732363

Right. They ain't all Raindrops. Cheerilee would be all for freeing them from their curse.

Behold, the chapter that I hated when I read it for editing and so completely rewrote. Hopefully it's better now. :-)

I love writing Grey Hoof. He's so evil, and yet, so smarmy. He's like a pony Johan Liebert.

I tried to work in a scene with someone mentioning the irony of Trixie advising anyone to be sincere and honest, but it didn't fit. Ah well. I like the idea that she can intellectually appreciate how honesty and sincerity are good, even if she's constitutionally incapable of such traits.

So, this is where the original game ended. But is this where the story ends? Of course not! Tune in next time as we continue Dinky's adventures in monsterland!

Incidentally -- this is why I had the Ruby scene come in the previous chapter. I knew that I wanted Grey Hoof and Dinky to have a speech battle here, but for Dinky to have any chance she had to know what was going on. Hence talking to Ruby and learning the whole truth. Plus, I wanted to contrast the genuinely friendly Ruby with the manipulating Grey Hoof. Ruby tells the truth even when she knows it could scare Dinky or drive her away (like about her being dead); Grey Hoof says whatever he thinks will work best with his audience.

Instead of an epic fight scene, we got a riot. Seems fair to me. And next, the counter attack. Looking forward to it

Is this the end? Or are things just getting good?

>>728753: Well, thanks for reading it this far -- I do appreciate the line edits you gave, and I think they really did help the story (and clarified a couple of things in my mind).

The story does reach its first climax in this chapter, so if you do want action-y scenes, you might want to read it (riots and a big chase and all kinds of chaos, woo! Plus Trixie being Trixie). But even if not, again, thanks for the edits and advice from earlier; it helped.

(One note: I actually really like Daylight Horror stories. At night, sure, you can't see the enemies, but they also can't necessarily see you, and that's helpful for someone like Dinky. At day? They can see you. And you can fully see them, and unlike at night you can't pretend that you maybe have half a chance, because you can see they're big and carnivorous and RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU OH NO).

>>734668: Not anywhere near the end! Dinky's made a promise, and she's got to try to fulfill it now, right?

Most SotB fics that I've read that continue the original story have one of two premises: Apple Bloom is a zombie, or Apple Bloom has PTSD and is going insane. Either way, we never find out what happens to Sunny Town, which is fine for a game but a bit unsatisfying for me in a story. I wanted to take things in a different direction, so instead of killing or traumatizing Dinky, I'm motivating her to actually return to Moonville (perhaps with friends) to try to save the ponies there. So I could hardly stop now; we're just getting to the part of the story I'm most excited about writing.

>>734627: Oh, there will be fight scenes. If Dinky can get Ditzy to come with her to Moonville, that means Ditzy will meet Grey Hoof. And then:  BOOM TIME.

And now, we come to the point of the exercise: figuring out what to do about these creeps. The more thoughtful of the Luna Six will be for freeing them while the more aggressive will be for destroying them.

Another character Gray Hoof reminds me of - Pinkie Pie. He's like an evil alternate Pinkie Pie. And that's terrifying.

>>734707

Thanks for the suggestion.  I'm in no mood for it now, but I may yet give this story another chance in the future.  Glad to see there are no hard feelings though.  After having typed it all out I was sorely temped to delete most of what I said, but felt it would be unfair for me to only say I was unsatisfied without offering some explanation as to why.  Still, expressing such hash words left me with a bit of a sick feeling in the pit of my being.

I would like to say that the one thing I always enjoyed was Grey Hoof, and I very much agree with >>729074, that he makes a delightful antagonist, at least during the story's build up.  I was being truly honest when I said I wanted to slap him a good one, and that's always a sign of a compellingly well conceived and written villain.  While a wonderful con-artist though, I just don't know if I can appreciate him as much after the monster reveal.  Maybe I'll learn better when/if I ever give this another go.

On a final note, I have no innate problem with Daylight Horror stories.  Sometime things really do work best when everything is laid bare and in plain sight.  I just don't think this was one of those times, not with this choice of monster, or at least not the way you wrote the scenes.  For me the light only served to cast everything in an awkward contrast rather than make me feel like Dinky was truly exposed and unable to hide.  Daylight Horror can be wonderful narrative device, but it takes a lot more effort to pull off than its nighttime counterpart.

So far I've liked this story. True, it's not specifically scary as you'd expect from a SotB fic, but it's genuinely interesting take to it.

Also, the Moonville's back story made Nightwish's "Ghost River" stuck in my head all day, which is always a plus. I already started writing a ponified version, hope ya don't mind:

“Little one drowns, she will drown, drown, deeper down

the river wild will purify your cursed child.

Little one drowns, she will drown, drown, deeper down

the waters take her away with her cursed mark.

Marked ones drown, they must drown, drown, deeper down

the river wild will caress their impure souls.

Marked ones drown, they must drown, drown, deeper down

in the deeps they can rot with their cursed marks.

Marked ones drown, they must drown, drown, deeper down

with their marks gone our town’s safe once more.” :pinkiecrazy:

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