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  • T A Persimmon Spring

    One day, the Ever-Shifting Discord left his prison in the Canterlot Gardens and set the very sky on fire. A memoir of that dark time, by the Queen of Changelings.
    2,935 words · 1,651 views  ·  213  ·  1
  • T Concessions

    Gilda and Trixie brave a warzone to sell looting concessions.
    5,353 words · 802 views  ·  125  ·  2
  • T Pipsqueak's Day Off

    It's Friday and the teenagers of Ponyville have a day off school. Shenanigans and shippings ensue!
    47,721 words · 8,609 views  ·  511  ·  20
  • T We'll Dismember It For You, Wholesale!

    Are you living in Fillydelphia? Do you have a problem? Is that problem an unwanted dead body? Gilda and Trixie have just the solution for you! Call now!
    14,457 words · 1,404 views  ·  156  ·  6
  • T The Peripheral Tragedies of Lickety Split

    Lickety Split's friends are giving him a party, and they deserve everything they get.
    7,041 words · 316 views  ·  65  ·  9 · sex
  • T The Mare and Her List

    The Mare goes to a bar in Dodge Junction, for a tiny slice of revenge.
    1,305 words · 644 views  ·  29  ·  6

Blog Posts94

  • Sunday
    Monosodium Glutamate For The Soul (Xenophilia Review)

    NOTE: I posted this review some time ago, labelled as NSFW as it discussed a NSFW story. It got stripped away in the great NSFW purge of 2013. Here it is, reposted, with the NSFW links edited out. Enjoy it in most of its former glory!

    Co-written with my boyfriend.

    A lot of digital ink has been spilled over AnonAuthor’s Xenophilia, from those who love it, those who hate it, those who praise its sumptuous world building while lamenting its clunky expositional style, those who deride the sex scenes as awkward, to those who label it grade-A fap fodder. (Scarlet's thoughts can be found here.)

    Something intrigued me about the role of Lero and Rainbow Dash, not so much their characters or roles in the plot, but their use as emotional tools. I had thoughts running round my head, but it wasn’t until my partner-in-crime (and partner generally) showed me this video that it all clicked:


    Campster mentions that while Alyx Vance is a good female character, she’s not a great female character — contrast her level of characterisation with Dr Breen’s, for example — and the reason gamers love her so much and think she’s such an amazing character is that she’s been specifically designed to make you love her. To roughly quote him:

    So you’re bumbling around City 17 and you meet this girl. She’s instantly warm and inviting, she gets you out of your current jam and helps you find where you need to go. She’s cool and hip, yet approachable; chaste and innocent yet still flirty; independent and capable yet still fragile in a weird way. Here is this beautiful, single, age-appropriate woman who lives with her father and by all accounts is just waiting for you to arrive, to befriend her robot dog, save her world, and whisk her away.

    Pretty sweet deal for you. How could you be so lucky?

    BECAUSE SHE WAS ENGINEERED TO MAKE YOU FEEL THAT WAY, YOU DOLT!

    The basic premise of the story: Rainbow Dash has a severe crush on all around Good-Guy-Human Lero. Dash finally confesses, Lero considers the proposition, and the pair embark on a relationship. Sex and worldbuilding happen, with a tiny dash of plot added somewhere in the mix.

    Lero’s role in this is obvious and a well-worn trope in the human-on-pone genre. He’s the reader insert, and not particularly remarkable except in his highly-competent execution. He has a sense of humor but the readers aren’t forced to groan though godawful ‘witticisms’ or punch the monitor as all the other characters laugh at things that aren’t funny. He banters with Rainbow Dash and shares her interests, while still being his own distinct character. He’s intellectual to a certain extent, but not so much that he verges on Mary Sue territory. He has a masculine occupation — handyman — but he’s a masseur, is quite capable of romance, and apparently the better cook in the relationship. He’s friendly, warm and empathic to everyone he meets.

    As an aside, competently-executed reader inserts are rarer than you think. Compare and contrast Lero to the protagonist of This Magic Moment by ScatMan2001, who is a boring, snippy douchebag with a boring military desk-job in Equestria yet manages to earn and keep the romantic affections of Princess Celestia herself. Or the protagonist of Prefsab’s Sophistication and Betrayal, a boring engineer whom Rarity falls head over heels for despite the pair having nothing in common, kept together only by the machinations of the universe that seems to be exclusively on the protagonist’s side. Lero is better constructed because AnonAuthor is apparently smart enough to recognize there are people in the universe who aren't him.

    Now, I suggest that a romance protagonist has three components that make the reader love them and their story: connection, fantasy and pathos. We’ll use Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight as an example, as it’s incredibly popular with readers and you’re all probably familiar with the basics from cultural osmosis alone.

    Bella Swan is our protagonist. She connects with the reader because she’s just like what Meyer’s fourteen/forty year-old female (initial) readership imagine themselves as. Dark hair, just like you. Loves reading, and is a ‘cut above’ the rest of the dunderheads she’s surrounded by, just like you. Her family are nice, kinda, but don’t understand her and she’s as much their caretaker as they are hers. She’s intellectual but not intimidating, pretty but not beautiful, kinda clumsy, and is the ideal blank slate for the reader to project herself onto.

    The fantasy is straightforward — she gains the affections of Edward Cullen, who is explicitly constructed to be the author/reader’s romantic ideal, an amalgamation of Romeo of Romeo and Juliet, Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice, and Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. Like Romeo, he can think of nothing but Bella, but like Darcy he’s also mature and capable of actually caring for her. The fantasy here is that a man like this — alluring, exciting, dangerous but still loving — will fall for you — YOU, YOU THE READER, READING THIS, YOU — and your life will grow awesome.

    If the ‘connection’ component is presenting Bella’s ‘good’ characteristics so that the reader can feel happy projecting themselves onto her, the ‘pathos’ component is presenting the shitty bits of her life so that the reader can better empathise with her. She feels completely alienated in the rainy, gloomy town she’s stuck in. Both of her parents are well-meaning messes and she feels like she’s gone from being the caretaker of one to the caretaker of the other. She’s painfully clumsy, she’s plain, she’s not exciting or a cheerleader or a genius (well, she might be this but only compared to her dull classmates who don’t read things), she’s just an average girl who likes reading and is burdened with a bunch of childlike idiots stuck in Craptown, USA.

    Thus, of course, making it all the more special when Edward Cullen appears and uplifts her from her soul-destroying, rainy life.

    The problem with this is that pathos is required for emotional impact, but if there’s too much or it’s done wrong, the reader will hate the protagonist and everything they represent. The protagonist will be seen as a whiny, unlikeable douche, and the reader will resent the implication they should project onto them. And if there’s no projection, the romantic triad falls apart and there’s no emotional impact, no catharsis. And the right/wrong amount of pathos varies considerably between readers (ain’t that the truth)

    And that’s where Rainbow Dash comes in. All the stallions in Ponyville think she’s ugly and butch, she’s only had sex once, and the stallion dumped her the next day. All the stallions she knows are either taken or are shallow, and are only interested in hot mares who are total douchebags* or her friends, who she loves, but knows that she’ll never be as good with women stallions as, and it hurts her. She frequently gets crushes and they all work out badly, because the stallions only ever want to be friends with her, as if they have some kind of area, or ‘zone’ for romantic partners, and another one for friends, and she always ends up in the latter.

    When she finally makes a move, she thinks that Lero isn’t interested and prepares to slink off, he kisses her back. He tells her she’s actually beautiful, and the rest of the stallions are just blind not to notice it. They take the moment where you confess your crush and the person is completely taken by surprise — a nightmare moment for a lonely twenty-year-old boy, who has gone through that exact same thing again and again — and turn it into a moment of pure, liberating, ecstatic catharsis.

    Sorry, did I say ‘a lonely twenty-year-old boy’ instead of ‘Rainbow Dash’? I apologise, I have no idea how I could have gotten those two confused after all IT’S ONLY THE ENTIRE SUBTEXT OF RAINBOW DASH’S CHARACTER IN THIS FIC!

    That, dear reader, is where your pathos went. Instead of the dangerous balancing act of placing connection, fantasy and pathos all in the same character, AnonAuthor splits the narrative in two. Lero connects to the reader and gets the fantasy of being seen as an awesome dude and banging Rainbow Dash. Rainbow Dash stirs up pathos by being unfairly unloved, and gets the ugly duckling/Cinderella treatment when it turns out she IS loveable after all, and by an awesome person who loves her back and oh she totally gets me she’s just like one of the guys we can talk about anything together it’s like we’re best friends and she’s totally hot — sorry, there I go reversing the genders again when you got the point two paragraphs ago.

    This is the grand allure of Xenophilia. Just under the surface is a Nice Guy fantasy, but you aren’t innately repulsed by it because it comes from Rainbow Dash, raised in a different culture from ours (though, note how an explicit comparison is drawn when Lero remarks that ‘in our culture, courtship rituals are reversed’, implying that human males have to go through the exact same horrible shit that Rainbow Dash goes through in a culture with a 5:1 gender imbalance). It’s a story where you can eat your cake and keep it too: You get to feel like the decent, honest and worthwhile Lero, while also feeling the relief of the awesome but unfairly maligned by those bitch cheerleaders stallion culture at large Rainbow Dash when she finally finds love and lust.

    So how do we judge Xenophilia with the facade stripped away and the internal mechanics revealed? It’s certainly a novel technique within ponyfic, it paid off in spades in terms of appeal, and AnonAuthor should be applauded for being an early adaptor. Otherwise, there’s a few views you can take.

    On the one hand, in light of other HumanDash wish-fulfilment tropes? It’s a good thing that Dash and Lero are constructed this way because it presents a model of HiE wish-fulfilment romance that encourages the reader to try to project into characters who aren’t perfect models of themselves, and forces them to empathize with common experiences rather than common identities. From a strictly critical perspective, it means we can do better- it’s one thing to get people to empathize with characters  because ‘look, they’re just like you!’, it’s another to start from scratch and immerse them in a character and make them feel a connection to someone they don’t necessarily want to use as their avatar. Xenophilia might be a best-of-breed, but what that means is that we can always be on the lookout for better.

    On the other hand, it’s a blatant emotional manipulation designed to appeal to a certain subset of readers — the poor little straight young male readers, and fuck those guys because everything caters to them already — who get to put themselves in the same position as Dash. They get all the pathos and catharsis of your super amazing crush finally saying yes and validating them as an attractive and wonderful human being, and they also get to pretend to be Lero the omni-capable and omnibenevolent, but separating the two (and dumping the pathos on a character we already love, and justifying it by creating a whole universe so the cards CAN be stacked against her) stops more discerning readers from being grossed out and squickquitting.

    When you open Xenophilia, you’re not just seeing a pair of central characters whose story you can immerse yourself in — you’re seeing an escape to a new and fantastic universe where you’re having lots and lots of magical sex with a perfect partner. It’s not immediately obvious who that partner is, however, and therein lies AnonAuthor’s cunning design. You think you’re just enjoying a touching, genuinely poetic love story. You think the writing is sweeping you off your feet. Nope! That’s just your fantasy carrying you away and making you forget that everything you’re seeing is engineered to feed your basest sentiment.

    *(In fact, we technically even meet a few- the mares who freak about Rainbow Dash’s interspecies sex. Come to think of it, they’re also a way to make Dash a secondary conduit for reader projection- you jerk to MLP porn or have fantasies involving the characters, people will mock you. Ergo, hey, look, Dash has to deal with that too! in the context of the worldbuilding it works, but it’s worth noting that even details like this subtly reinforce her status as player-character two rather than ‘just’ object of desires.)

    26 comments · 217 views
  • 1w, 12h
    HIDDEN GEMS!!


    New kid, new town. Can he make big waves and steal a harem of six beautiful mares?

    C1. Prolouge

    Trixie adopts Scootaloo in hopes of proving that she has truely changed for the better.

    The nobles are at it again, this time their plan to get more power backfires as the new princess tricks them.

    How will Twilight react?

    Learning in a quite blunt way that she has to take on a consort

    Proluge

    Will her plan work out for her, or will there be more difficulties then she had originally planned.

    This story is about three of my OC's

    You and Twilight have been friends for a very long time now, every since both of you discovered your passion for learning.

    My first ever Fanfic, let alone first story I have created

    Prologe—chaper 1

    There's also the other bonus of getting to sneak peaks at the busty principal.

    Warning this fic is mostly about diapers but also there is some sounding

    When Anon makes a mistake during one of his mission's he is some how sent to Ponyville instead of facing death.

    Max stumbles through life feeling like an arrow without a target. That is, until he meets the ponies, and finds a cause worth fighting for.

    Alex is introduced to the notorious Gamer Luna, princess of the night and...game trolling!?

    Will is a brony who feels out of place on Earth.

    The Last Chapter... OR IS IT?!

    MLP/Halo crossover fic

    17 comments · 234 views
  • 1w, 3d
    Better Writing Through Triangle Chokes

    “Redraft everything,” they say, “Write it and then rewrite it in case you did anything wrong,” they say, “Write it and then rewrite it without using ‘said’ or any words that mean ‘said’,” they say, “Write it and then rewrite it without using J or Y or any labial plosives,” they say, “Re-re-re-re-re-dedicate your life to Christ, and also take the adverbs out,” they say, “First drafts are always crap,” they say, “Write it again! Write it write it again and again again again again, write it until the rocks melt and the seas burn and the Leviathan rises to take creation betwixt its maw once again,” they say, “Write it and then rewrite it without using the verb ‘to be’ under any circumstances” they say, and they say a many similar things of a very similar nature until it all runs together in a neverending stream of writing advice tumblrs and Creative Writing 101 seminars.

    What a load of wank. Yes, yes, I’m sure that Annie Proulx and Don DeLillo and Cormac McCarthy and this week’s Nobel Prize for Literature winner (whose works you take lovingly from your bookshelf far more often than those of some genre hack like a Dick or a Bradbury or a Christie) all write their novels, ruthlessly examine each and every word of each and every sentence to make sure it belongs there, purge anything they deem less than utterly necessary, sit on it for a month to make sure they’re reading it with fresh eyes, reexamine every sentence from the ground up, send it to their agent’s editor, make corrections, send it to the agent’s editor again, make further corrections, sit on it for another month, then burn their entire manuscript and collected notes before repeating the process six-to-eight times until they are sure that each letter is borne of the deepest springs of Literature themselves and not sullied by mere human hands.

    I have heard these stories of the craft, seen them in the New York Times Review of Books, listened to them on Radio Four podcasts, skimmed them over a thousand blogs. I have seen authors of well-received works declaim that not a single word of their first draft remained in the final draft of their work. I am sure that this is a creative process that works for them, and I wish them joy.

    Of course, it’s all utter rubbish. Robert Heinlein, Harlan Ellison, Dean Wesley Smith, they all explain in detail how wrongheaded the myth of ‘writing must be slow and neverending and edited in perpetuity’ is, but really, the myth holds no more water than Ladder Theory* or the idea that the Bush Administration blew up the WTC**. Even a cursory glance at the bibliographies of good writers shows it to be false: Phillip K Dick spent most of his writing career slamming out a novel a week in a shed while taking too many amphetamines and not enough antipsychotics, and his literature is beyond reproach. Charles Dickens slammed out words at a phenomenal rate to hit deadlines for the magazines that published his novels. Harlan Ellison would take a sentence-long story, sit down in a bookshop with a manual typewriter, hammer out a short story in a single sitting, and then win a billion science-fiction awards for it.

    Even in our literary microcosm of My Little Pony fanfiction, we can see similar things. Darf kicked out 6000 words of lush, perfect pornography per week at a bare minimum, and that motherfucker didn’t redraft shit. Kkat’s Fallout: Equestria—whatever you think of its place in the fandom, only a fool would deny that it is a damn fine post-apocalyptic novel, and has a cast and level of plot complexity that makes Lord of the Rings fold its arms and nod respectfully—had a 8-10k update every week, and its equally twisted spin-off Project Horizons was written at about twice that rate. Raging Semi wrote the greatest love novella I have ever read (in all fiction) in about the time it takes to get out of bed on a December sunday, and then wrote the second-greatest love novella I have ever read a short while after.

    Anyway, this post is not made for arguing such points. If any of you feel that the pinnacle of good writing can only be reached through slow, meditative, word-churning, you are welcome to write your own damn blog post on the subject and link to it in the comments here. I am not here to talk about the what, I am here to talk about the how.

    Specifically, how do we improve? If we follow the first three of Heinlein’s rules—Keep writing, finish what you write, never rewrite except to editorial order—then how do we get good stories? After all, there’s a grain of truth in the myth: when we start writing, our first stories tend to suck. If we’re not actively seeking out the flaws in these stories and fixing them, how will we ever grow?

    Fortunately for you guys, I have an analogy from the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

    Most combat sports—judo, boxing, muay thai, BJJ, sambo, greco-roman or amateur wrestling, any karate that doesn’t suck—have four basic stages of training: techniques, drilling, sparring, competition.

    Technique

    Technique is the most basic level. Techniques can range from simple things—slipping a jab, ‘bridging’ your hips to buck off an opponent sat on top of you—to complex things like dual-throw combinations in judo, head kicks in muay thai, bizarre spider-guard attacks in jiu-jitsu.

    There’s no real skill in learning a technique. There’s the speed that you can pick a technique up, and the number of techniques you can remember, but the actual skill is all in the application.

    Writing is the same way. There are techniques, you know them, you’ve heard them a thousand times, you compulsively seek out tumblrs to learn dozens more every week. Show, don’t tell. Basic grammar. Advanced grammar. Relatable characters. Avoid Mary Sues. Remove unnecessary words. Keep the plot moving. Save your notes and drabbles. Make characters work for their goals.

    You’ve heard of these techniques before, and many that I haven’t mentioned, and many that I’ve never heard myself. They’re not the whole story, though, if they were good writing would be a simple matter of ‘read all of these writing techniques and create a masterpiece.’

    It’s the same with mixed-martial arts. You cannot learn to fight just by watching and going through the motions of all these shiny techniques. Martial artists learned this in a brutally empirical fashion in the UFCs of the early nineties, when masters at arts that focused purely on learning techniques (wing-chun kung fu, aikido, penjak silat, bad karate) got thoroughly trounced by mid-level kickboxers and wrestlers who spent their time learning to apply a far simpler set of techniques.

    Drilling

    Drilling comes after you learn the technique. You practice the technique against a resisting opponent in a situation that allows you to isolate that technique. A common situation in Brazillian Jiujitsu (a pure-grappling sport) is guard passing/guard retention: To stop the attacker from climbing on top of the defender and striking/applying locks at will, the defender wraps their legs around the attacker. The attacker has to ‘pass’ the guard, and the defender has to ‘retain’ it. There are basic techniques to pass guard, and guard itself is a technique which can be improved in various ways.

    A guard passing drill looks like this:

    Both fighters are in position to practice a small set of moves. If either wins the game or draw the game, they stop and restart. Drills can differ: Sometimes the defender is using one, specific defense to help drill attacks against that defense, sometimes joint locks and chokes are permitted so that the attacker must defend themself at the same time, sometimes strikes are allowed to practice for a MMA context. The level of resistance also varies, high intensity when both partners are well-acquainted with the skillset, lower intensity when the partners are still getting a feel for the moves.

    Writers have similar exercises. Drabbles. Character-focused dialogue. Experimental chapters. ‘Change-the-ending-and-go-from-there’ stories to see where a story could have ended up. Short stories with different viewpoints.

    Exercises that stretch the skills you love, and nurture the ones you’re unfamiliar with. I (shamefully) don’t use many drills, but I have a few, usually revolving around plotting, world-building, and what-if games. Chuck Palahniuk suggested one where you remove every ‘thought’ verb from a piece of writing, to improve ‘showing’ skills.

    Drills like this are very useful, and they can create a lot of improvement in a small stretch of time. Used well, they can improve your skills by leaps and bounds. Used poorly, they will simply bore you and send you running for the next stage.

    Sparring


    In martial arts, this is the fun part. You’re up against one of your training partners under the rules of whatever sport you’re playing, and both of you are trying to win. Boxers want to punch and avoid getting punched back. Judo players want to grab their opponent, lift them bodily, and hit them with the planet. Jiujiteiros want to establish a superior position before forcing their opponent to tap out via a choke or joint lock. Wrestlers want to wear tights and teabag each other.

    Sparring is almost always done at full-resistance, and it’s where the bulk of the learning occurs. Guard drills will teach you to pass guard, and mount drills will teach you to win after you pass, but sparring teaches you to link these drills together, to work against an opponent using all their guile against you, to recover from the unpredictable, to read your opponent, and to fight even with a 200lb dude in sweaty canvas pyjamas sitting on your head.

    There is no ‘redrafting’. You do not stop during sparring to make sure you’re getting a move right, you don’t go back for do-overs, that’s what techniques and drilling are all about. There are no do-overs, only the next round. You may recognise the mistake you just made, but you do not fix it in that bout, by then you have already been teabagged. You keep them in mind for the next bout, juggling them along with the two-dozen other mistakes to avoid and techniques to try that are flying about in your adrenaline-addled mind. You can’t learn everything at once.

    Seriously, you can’t learn everything at once.

    (Plateaus are a thing here—too much sparring and not enough drilling and you’ll end up in the same ruts, clinging to a moveset that’s fraying around the edges as all of your training partners grow used to your best attacks. Same goes for writing—if you stop experimenting under ‘safe’ conditions and stop pushing yourself, you’ll end up writing the same stories over and over again)

    For writers, first draft is sparring. There’s no opponent except the elusive story inside your head that you are trying to drag onto the page, fully formed. It’s free-form, you are putting yourself under no particular constraints except those of your characters and genre, and you’re trying to write the best damn story you can.

    It’s where you learn to write, and instead of being judged by involuntary teabaggings, you are being judged by your own sense of taste.

    I believe you should approach it like sparring: each first draft should stand in its own right. If your first draft is full of mistakes, do not go back and try to eternally stir that pot of mistakes until it’s something resembling a good story. At best, you will marginally improve your story at the cost of slowing everything the fuck down. At worst, you’ll simply be stirring up a pot of crap, it’ll still be crap, and you’ll worry that your next draft will be unfixable crap too.

    Also, do not linger and agonize over words, hoping to get around the ‘oh shit I’m not allowed to fix my mistakes’ problem by never making any mistakes. In sparring, such dithering will get you punched, thrown, or sat on. Work as quickly as you can. Move past your mistakes. If you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over, focus on them in drills.

    I say this now because I’m hitting the ‘several hundred thousand words written’ stages of my writing life, and I can now step back and view stories with some detachment. My two best-rated short stories, A Persimmon Spring and Morning Glow, were both first drafts, both written in less than a day, and both only touched up for minor spelling and grammar issues. A Persimmon Spring is probably the favorite thing of mine I’ve ever written.

    Conversely, my least favorite stories are ones I spread out over a long period of time, agonized over, and touched up incessantly. They feel patchy and strange, like a restored painting that’s been given too much detail in some parts and almost none in others. My very least favorite stories are the ones that never even became stories, ones with three or four half-completed redrafts that tired and disappointed me.

    Why’d they disappoint me? I was trying to learn everything at once and apply it all at once, and you can’t learn everything at once.

    Competition

    I’m loathe to talk about this part in much detail because it’s been years since I’ve competed in a combat sport, and I’m the rankest of noobs at actually having people pay me for my words. I’m only adding this part for the sake of completing the analogy, so take everything I say from hereon out with a bigger pinch of salt than usual.

    Competition is the bit you see on telly—high-level athletes fighting for a win. Like this:  Three things to note here:

    1) You learn a lot from fighting in competition, as pretty much everyone who’s fought in the UFC will tell you.

    2) This learning happens between-fights. You do not have time to learn and apply anything particularly useful during the fight. This is knowledge you will use for your next fight.

    3) If you enter a competition as a raw noob, you will get your ass kicked. Even amateur MMA competitions require a high baseline of skill and conditioning, and almost nobody possesses that without some kind of training.

    For writers, ‘competition’ means getting your story bought, either as commission, as a novel, or sold out of your car-boot. Similarly:

    1) You learn new skills getting your story published, from getting around publishers to working with paid editors to dealing with self publishing to creating cover art and so on and so on.

    2) After some time, you may learn from fans what they want to pay for and what they want to see. Or you might start chasing statistical phantoms. I lack the experience to say.

    3) If you submit your writing to buyers as a raw noob, you will get rejected. Writing is a craft, and it’s one that you can improve over time.

    I am now getting to the stage where I read works in my genres and think ‘pshh, I’ve written better than this’. In 2011, I was not at this stage. Reading early Banishment Decree chapters makes me wince. Reading early unedited Banishment Decree tables makes me wince harder and read through my fingers. Reading the few pony works I wrote (and took off FIMfiction shortly afterwards) before that is literally painful, and the less said about the things I wrote before pony, the better.

    My writing is now far better than that. This is not because I have an amazing team of editors, or because I redraft a billion times, or because I think for two years before I dare put down a sentence lest it be the wrong one.

    My first drafts have improved because I’ve learned techniques, I’ve drilled techniques, and I’ve written first draft after first draft after first draft.

    That’s how you learn.

    *How to tell that Ladder Theory and assorted PUA rubbish is in fact rubbish: Look on Facebook. Look at the various people in relationships. See how there are very few harems of ‘HB12s’ dating Alpha Papas like it’s the goddamn Leroverse. See how there are ugly people in relationships with ugly people, pretty people in relationships with ugly people, pretty women dating ugly men, ugly women dating pretty men, and even women dating women and men dating men. Then either come back to reality, or just go full MGTOW and leave the rest of us alone already.

    **How to tell that the Bush Administration did not blow up the two towers: Well, they blew up, didn’t they?

    43 comments · 413 views
  • 2w, 1d
    I'm on fire

    Finished another Banishment Decree chapter already. Three chapters in four days. Not posting it quite yet, though. I feel like leaving the cliffhanger to soak in a little longer :pinkiehappy:

    5 comments · 98 views
  • 5w, 1d
    State Of The Chuck Address

    8 comments · 201 views
  • ...
 597
 6,431

My name is Gilda. I used to be a Griffon warrior, until I got banished.

When you're banished, you've got nothing. No clan, no funding, no gold watch and friendly job reference. You're stuck wherever the Griffon clans aren't.

You do whatever work comes your way. You rely on anyone still talking to you. A speed-freak ex-marefriend. A megalomaniac illusionist working as a middlemare for the EIS.

Family too, if you're desperate.

Bottom line is, as long as you're banished, you're not going anywhere

First Published
17th Dec 2011
Last Modified
9th Oct 2014

Okay Burn Notice crossover, nothing i've seen before so let's take a look at our first judgement.

Well there really isn't much that the proluge gives us, although that's what prolueges are for so, yeah whatevs. I like the idea and the concept and i can't wait to see how this continues. You've got me interested

>>71338

Thought the turnaround time for moderation would be longer, first chapter should be up tomorrow at latest.

Oh gosh, oh gosh, oh gosh. I read the first sentence of the description and squee'd. Oh gosh. :pinkiehappy: Been waiting for forever for this.

Will read.

now i just need to see a Sons of Anarchy crossover and i will be soooo happy

nice username as well 8)

Yikes.  What an opener. 8 D

Man , I love Burn Notice and to see the tagline plot of the show be influenced by My little Pony: Friendship is magic is truly a great treat.

I am track this storyline as it's off to a good start.  Please do keep up the good work upon such a great idea like this one. :rainbowkiss:

#7 · 148w, 6d ago · · · 1. Hard Landing ·

I have no Idea what burn notice is but,

MUST HAVE MOAR:flutterrage:

#8 · 148w, 6d ago · · · 1. Hard Landing ·

lol, I posted my comment, refreshed the page and chapter on just got posted. lol

#9 · 148w, 6d ago · · · 1. Hard Landing ·

wow im really into the story so far:ajsmug:

#10 · 148w, 6d ago · · · 1. Hard Landing ·

OMG yes:rainbowlaugh:

#11 · 148w, 6d ago · 1 · · 1. Hard Landing ·

You've definitely got good ideas here. Characterization seems solid. Dialogue is decent. I didn't catch any specific errors in spelling and grammar and such, but I tend to gloss over those unless they manage to break the flow. Writing style seems inexperienced, but almost certainly on the way to being great.

Things that bothered me a bit: (please do not be discouraged by anything said here; it's included because you asked for feedback on potential problems, and most good authors I've met prefer a list of things that could be improved over a generic 'well done' any day)

Your quotation marks are off through pretty much all of it; it's clear what you mean, and I didn't even notice it after the first page or so, but you asked for grammatical feedback. Every line of dialogue should be in full quotation marks, not apostrophes or half-quotes or whatever those are called in this context.

You use the word 'said' way too often; you got better about it toward the end, and it's not an error, strictly speaking, but it gets annoying if every line of a conversation is set off by the same word. Try 'whimpered' or 'whispered' or something instead of 'said weakly,' leave it out when it's clear who's talking without it, and if possible try to use a description of concurrent actions of the speaker in the same paragraph to tell the reader who's talking instead of using that word so much.

For example, instead of "...Dash noticed my confused expression.

‘Poison Joke is ...’ she said ‘Good thing ...’"

You could have put the spoken part in the same paragraph and left the 'she said' out. Tends to help things flow better. (Just an example, and you're free to ignore it; I'm not trying to rewrite your story for you).

The rather... explicit vulgarity threw me a bit; it can work if it's part of establishing a solid, realistic character, but if it doesn't add anything to the story it should be avoided. Especially in a 'teen' rated work.

At first I was bothered by the immaturity (loser, dweeb, etc) between Dash and Gilda, given that they're both seven years more mature than in the show and have gotten high level professional jobs, but on second through it's almost certainly a sort of in-joke based on their past together in Junior Speedsters, so it's probably an establishing shot for their relationship rather than a problem with the writing. As long as it stays between the two of them. A Michael Westen expy should be suave; the word 'dweeb' should never come out of their mouth except under special circumstances.

At first it seemed odd that an agent of her level would be so free with things like her meeting at the library, at least at first (she hasn't seen Dash in seven years after parting on bad terms, and doesn't know anypony else here). Trixie makes a good point regarding not needing to keep things from them, but it still seemed odd that she'd speak openly about her mission with so many unknowns about.

Now that the minor quibbles are out of the way, I love the concept, I think that you're pulling it off very nicely so far, and I can't wait for the next chapter.

#12 · 148w, 6d ago · · · 1. Hard Landing ·

Gilda Weston should be a meme. :trollestia:

#13 · 148w, 6d ago · · · 1. Hard Landing ·

>>71973

Agreed. Any chance of running an "ask a griffon warrior" segment on the side?

#14 · 148w, 6d ago · · · 1. Hard Landing ·

>>71983

:eeyup:, as long as it doesn't require me to art good. :rainbowderp:

#15 · 148w, 6d ago · 1 · · 1. Hard Landing ·

>>71954

Thanks so much for the feedback, hugely appreciated!

A few things:

1) Hadn't noticed the quotation mark thing at all. Don't know why I've been using half quotes. It'll definately be fixed in the next chapter, might go back and fix them in previous chapters. Then again, it's tedious so I might not :trollestia:

2) I do use said a lot. I used to use a lot of "said bookisms", but stopped because I'm not J.K. Rowling and can't pull off lots of said-switchouts without turning my writing into a melodrama-farce, with characters "shrieking" and "laughing" and "querying" their sentences. I know it's like under-salting a dish, but I need to be a better writer before I feel confident adding stuff like that. Tbh, I need to dig out my Pratchett and remind myself how he does dialogue. I buckin' love me some Pratchett...

3) You're totally right about the meeting in the library bit, I was rushing to get the first chapter out while the story was on the front page and it shows. Chalk it up to pilot episode weirdness, like Michael wasting those two bodyguards and then refraining from killing random mooks for the rest of the show :derpytongue2:

4) Gilda the Gryphon isn't quite Michael Weston. They're both well trained agents who got kicked out of their respective organisations, but where Weston mostly has a heart of gold, Gilda mostly doesn't.

But yeah, thanks hugely for the feedback. Feedback is the electrolytes in my storytelling Brawndo :D

#16 · 148w, 1d ago · · · 2. A Warmer Place ·

Very nice. Couldn't find any of the technical errors of the last chapter and didn't notice any excessive repetition or anything, so don't worry about that.

Gilda is definitely not as suave as Weston (at least not when she's being herself; we'll have to see how well she does on the desception and disguise... actually, the disguise part ought to be particulalrly difficult; she'd be limited to pretending to be other griffons, and she couldn't interact with any other griffon directly because of the magic in her banishment. sorry, rambling)

Your portrayal of Trixie is wonderful.

Now, who is Dash bringing along? Pinkie is at their destination on unrelated business. Tank is male. Been working espianage since before Dash made the Wonderbolts, skilled in countersurveillance, tracking, magic detection, langages... the obvious answer seems to be Twilight. Especially since she's there to potentially deal with Trixie. I feel like I'm missing something though. Or maybe Fluttershy; that would make things awkward. Whoever it is, it's almost inevitable that they will both screw up the mission (because you're taking four people on a two pony job), and that they will be essential after the job turns out to not be what it appears.

Anyway, time to read those other stories that the background here came from.

#17 · 148w, 1d ago · · · 2. A Warmer Place ·

>>81132

You guessed right at Twilight. And you're definately right that Gilda isn't as suave as Weston. She's more like the crazy mugger Weston played who threatened to burn those criminals in a car if they didn't leave the neighborhood.

I'm very glad you like my Trixie. I'm not saying she's best pony, but... Yeah she's pretty much best pony.

I think I've decided to try doing reading commentaries here like I've done for Project Horizons and such in the past; good authors need feedback and I'm terrible at literary analysis and such, but this should at least let you know what one of your readers is thinking as they go through the story. Let me know if you'd prefer something else, and I apologize in advance for the wall of text.

"'That's all classified information! And she's a gryphon spy!'"

Eeeeyup. I can see why Dash never went into intelligence work...

Anyway, it should be interesting to see how you blend Twilight's adorkableness and her ultracompetence.

I love how the OCs are shaping up. This is working a lot better than straight expys would have, and I apologize for trying to veiw them as such in the past.

A sack of gadgets? Either the sack will be lost within moments or we were just shown Checkhov's arsenel and I should be taking notes.

Hm. Incoming Twixie? At any rate, it looks like we won't need to worry about those two getting along.

Yay, spy tips from Gilda.

Followed immediately by an example of just how scary a gryphon in a pony town can be. Guessing that this won't have Burn Notice's 'no killing' rule.

...But not nearly as scary or as classy about it as Trixie can be when you really annoy her. Vengeance in full and getting paid thrice?

So yeah, it's probably best if Dash and Twi never hear about any of this.

Good old gang bosses. 'Cause if you gotta have crime, best for it to be organized, right? That way the prices stay reasonable and people hardly ever get murdered in the street.

That's... more money than they should be paying for a job this simple. And an uncomfortably small fraction of it in advance, given that he's worked with Trixie before and knows she won't just leave with the money. Whatever's in the package is far more dangerous than it appears, and things have absolutely no chance of going smooth. Of course nopony on either side of the (probable) trap is counting on Dash and Twi...

Okay, no points for saying this won't go smooth. If I were to guess as to the contents of the package now, I'd say that it's something that makes the job morally impossible to complete, either because it goes too far for Gilda or Trixie to be a part of, or because Dash and Twi find out what it is. Drugged foal? Month's supply of medicine stolen from hospital in need? Weapon of mass destruction? Dunno. But it's highly likely that Gilda isn't getting paid on this one, and will get a better reputation among upstanding citizens but lose criminal contacts and seriously piss off Brickbat (unless he's aso unaware of the contents and similarly unwilling to go through with it, in which case she's going to piss off somepony much more powerful but gain a solid ally here). Something that solidifies her as 'anti-hero' rather than 'villain protagonist'.

Anyway, the story seems to just be getting better, and I eagerly await the next installment.

>>83156

Feedback from guys like you is the diesel that keeps my writing engine running, I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate it. Walls of text are fantastic, keep them coming.

It's funny you mention FoE: PH, because the thing that really started this story rolling was the scene where Blackjack is inside Lacunae's mind, seeing the memory of Trixie working as a prostitute. While I did basically cry at that scene, I just couldn't imagine it happening with Trixie. I couldn't see our favorite illusionist getting treated like that and not burning the pimp alive in his home (and then collecting on fire insurance), even if she'd probably be caught and executed for it. Trixie seemed the type to snap rather than flatten under pressure.

Straight expys, ehhh. The closest I've ever seen that come to working was Pony Age: Origins, and I'm not a huge fan of that story. Everything feels shoehorned, and the end result was just me wanting to play Dragon Age and watch MLP, rather than seeing them awkwardly stuck together. Some things just didn't feel right, like trying to mix together the character of Rarity with a cold-blooded, calculating barbarian witch who spends all her time sneaking through bogs and wilds.

It's much easier and gives you much more freedom to just get a situation (like the infinite time loop in Groundhog Day), stick the characters in (like Blueblood) and write those characters as they would act in that situation (Like 'Best Night Ever', http://www.equestriadaily.com/2011/11/story-best-night-ever.html).

That bag is definately Chekhov's arsenal. My least favorite part of The Fifth Element was where Gary Oldman gets hold of the awesome gun that does everything, and then.... shoots normal bullets with it :ajbemused:

Yeah, Gilda is more like early-Burn Notice Fiona, entirely willing to kill and injure ponies to get a job done. Trixie has the same approach as Stewie Griffin when it comes to violence.

Dash has been in special forces and knows what's what, so I don't think she'd be hugely bothered depending on what pony got whacked. They shouldn't let Twilight know, but I have a line of dialogue explaining exactly what a Hoofdini entails, and I don't think I can resist sticking it in somewhere.

I don't think there would be a good sense of drama if I let this job go smoothly, so you guessed right there :yay:

Gilda will very much straddle the antihero/villian protagonist line, at least at first. One of my frustrations with the Burn Notice series is that Michael went from being sort of a dick in the early seasons and slowly mellowing out as the whole thing went on into a really nice dude who's not really an antihero. Occasionally they throw in a line of dialogue where he's been a dick to someone, but in the later series it just jars and doesn't seem right.

The next installment is all planned out, I've even included a twist :twistnerd:

Thanks for reading!

#20 · 147w, 3d ago · · · 2. A Warmer Place ·

I-Is it sad that I really want to see the preening scene and have reread that part of it at least 50 times(not even hyperbole, quite literal)?

>>90309

Eh, not too bad. 50 rereads indicates something, but the possibilities range from 'not a problem' to 'could be worse.'

And it certainly was an... interesting scene.

>>90309

There's another preening scene in the next chapter. Now you've given me performance anxiety :derpytongue2:

mmmm......needs more pinkie

#24 · 147w, 1h ago · · · 2. A Warmer Place ·

Huh...

   For just a second I figured it mita been Rarity...

Oh Well!:pinkiehappy:

WHA? I wasn't expecting Pinkie to be in on these things too!!! nice twist. i'll definitely keep reading

#26 · 146w, 6d ago · · · 2. A Warmer Place ·

Mentioned intrigue in Tarandroland and that happened in Sieurn's "Under the Northern lights" So Starlight it is.

Clues cannon's from nowhere and the Old Masked Mare costume. It had to be either Rarity or Pinky pie.

FlutterFly is writing novel's as Papilone (Means butterfly) Unless she using her Pseudonym as a cover for something else.

Completely honest here, I called Pinkie Pie the second I read that she was in town. If she hadn't done this I would've been suprised. :pinkiecrazy:

Okay, I'm hooked. I love what you've done with Gilda and especially Trixie. This is... rather cool, actually.

I've never seen Burn Notice, but this is sufficiently awesome that I'm going to have to check it out.  ...Have I already said that? :applejackconfused:  Well if I have, it's worth saying again.

#31 · 146w, 4d ago · · · 1. Hard Landing ·

I was grinning like a crazy person just reading the summary.  This is awesome so far, and I really like Gilda's Weston-esque asides about the business.  I thought her analogy about how her bones felt was a bit too explicit for something with a Teen rating, but otherwise I'm enjoying this very much!  Oh, and excellent casting decisions, too.

#32 · 146w, 2d ago · 1 · · 4. Book of Names, Part 2 ·

Back with another reading commentary. And this time I learned to use smileys!

Edit: Apologies for the lateness and/or incoherency of this commentary; I started reading a few hours after it was first posted, and doing a reading commentary as I went. Then I got a notification that Project Horizons had updated, and as wonderful as this story is, nothing is higher priority than that. Then I really needed sleep because of the stuff my family had planned around me for the next three days. Long story short, the story and this commentary have been sitting open on my desktop for almost a week now. Sorry.

Heh. Simple job. Lemme tell you, I've played D&D for over twelve years, Traveller for at least a decade, decent amounts of Call of Cthulhu, and probably too much Shadowrun. The "simple job" line never gets old.

The Great and Powerful Trixie does not require money! The Great and Powerful Trixie is more than capable of making whatever She chooses in any situation! She is here for Her own amusement and/or to assist a friend in need, not because She is required to be! :trixieshiftleft::trixieshiftright:

I'm with Twi on the suspiciousness of the deal. Gilda's explanation is reasonable, but I don't buy it; she seems to be rationalizing, and trusting Brikbat far too much.

Meeting is on the 76th floor... they'll end up going out the window, won't they? Dash and Gilda can fly unless seriously wounded on the way out; what's your position regarding self-levitation by unicorns? Twi's definitely got the power for it, if it's possible, but we've never seen it in canon and fanon varies.

"'Find out what keys they use and make sure we have bumps on hoof.'"

Bumps?

Ah, the old scotch and slops.

So Twi has been asked to murder by Luna? And nobody knew about this until now? hmm...

Pinkie... is not going to remain on the periphery for long. How does she figure into all of this?

Good advice, hotel-wise. Also, remember to tip well, but not too well. No tip and the staff has reason to not like you; too much tip and they remember you too well if forced to talk. Large but not unusually so makes them likely to be on your side but not remember you much more clearly than their other guests.

More preening.:rainbowwild:

Now what exactly is going on next door? :twilightblush:

Oh dear. Honestly I was expecting worse from the Hoofdini, but Dash is not reacting well...

Smooth. >.< Honestly Gilda, I think I'd have a better time trying to pick up lesbian mares. And I'm an asexual male human in a different universe.

One of the first rules of stealth: if you can't change color to match the walls, act like you belong there and the walls tend to change color to match you. Everypony tries very hard not to notice the smelly griffon with the toolbox amongst all the pretty ponies in sleek suits.

*Snrk*

No batman-style deus ex machina machine for you. Jury-rigging it is.

Ah tech guys. Impossible to sneak past, incredibly knowledgeable about the equipment you're trying to mess with, and cautious/overprotective enough to screw up the best sabatage job. But very easy to distract.

Hm. Solder might not be the best option here... tends to take a bit of time to place, has a distinct smell, and you're already using alligator clips; the real advantage to actually soldering your connections is stability for long term things, and subtlety for cursory inspection (which is already ruined by the clips you did use). Then again, the room was probably already full of fumes and she expected to have plenty of time...

Okay, so Dash is shifting between three observation positions outside, Gilda's covering gaps between those... Scootaloo? Fastest Chicken in equestria, hooves down.

Wait, so where is Gilda again? Earlier it sounded like she was outside covering between Dash's perches, but now she's in the closet with Twi before the target gets to the 76th floor. Does she go in through a window? That's hardly subtle. Eh, nevermind. I probably just misinterpreteted the earlier part.

Right, not making a joke about Trixie joining Gilda and Twilight in the closet.

Though I would not be at all surprised if a janitor or somepony went in to get some equipment, saw a griffon and two classy unicorn mares huddled in a closet looking like they'd been caught at something, and just walked right out without a word.

Huge increase in organized crime activity for the past two years. Damn. See, organized crime is better for the community than a whole bunch of independants all screwing each other, but two big groups going to war can tear a place apart in a big way. And now they're getting desperate for some reason, which means they're getting stupid, and instead of looking at long term goals and keeping things decent for everypony, they're going to look at short-sighted schemes and quick personal profit and tear things up further. Do I sense an overarching plot for the next few missions?

One-use telporter? That simplifies things greatly.

Gawd damn it, have none of these ponies heard of radio discipline?

Twilight remains both adorkable and frightiningly competent.

...Royal Guard issue pauldrons over a hawaiian shirt and hoofball cap? seriously?

Incidentally, any particular reason that japanese gets shifted to neighponese but hawaiian is left alone? And now it's Japony? You seem to be shifting between fanon geographies. It's a minor thing and doesn't really need fixing; I've just been spoiled by Fo:E and Project Horizons and keep trying to figure out a coherent global structure based on what are probably supposed to be irrelevent offhoof comments.

Over two million bits. I suddenly begin to feel that Gilda and co are being underpaid for this job. And the chance of this going smooth just dropped from about 1% to a solid zero.

Small disruption in the air vents, too small to be a pony... rope down the side of the building... maybe a foal? A trained animal?

Cannon. Pinkie?

Dear sweet Luna it's the Mare-do-Well.

Yep. Pinkie. Knew she couldn't keep away from a party like this. Can't wait to see what changes have come to our hyperkinetic reality warping pink pony over the years.

Ack! My commentary is mentioned by name the same chapter that it arrives a week late... derp?

>>107785

AWESOME! NEW SINDRI COMMENTARY :pinkiehappy:

To be fair, Banishment Decree and FoE: PH aren't really fighting in the same weight category so I can't blame you for those priorities. I can put sentences down on a page, but I ain't Somber.

Gilda is possibly less suspicious about the job because she's worked with Brickbat before and has done similar arrangements in the past. Or she's just being arrogant, which is equally likely.

'Bumps' refers to bump keys, a blank key with all the teeth filed down to the lowest depth. Used for very fast lockpicking (under thirty seconds instead of being stuck at a door for five minutes) that needs very little skill. I'll explain it in the work when they get around to using one.

The murder thing is in Under the Northern Lights by Sieurin. It's an incomplete fanfic and it's not yet clear if Twilight actually goes through with it. Read the fic for context, because it's an awesome fic anyway.

Jury rigging is awesome, but otoh I will have to do research on electronics and basic mechanics. I Did Not Do The Research about the solder and alligator clips, haven't touched a circuit that wasn't in a computer since Design & Technology classes in secondary school.

Your overarching plot sense is tingling with good reason :pinkiehappy:

No, these ponies do not have good radio discipline. Yes, it is going to bite them on the ass.

Glad to hear I'm hitting my mark for Twilight :twilightsmile:

As far as organised crime in Filly goes, Brickbat is rather nice. I have him down as an ex bookie/landlord who hired a bunch of enforcers to keep his neighborhood free from other gangs and criminals and basically just snowballed from there. The other crime bosses, as you are about to find out, are not so nice.

...Yeah the pauldrons may have been excessive, especially now that I've checked again what they actually look like. I will probably change it. Same with messy geography, that's pretty much carelessness on my part.

Two million bits in bonds, which means the documents they're being traded for are worth about two million bits too. So yeah, a tad underpaid...

All is forgiven, for you are the one with the awesome and highly useful commentaries. The next few chapters are going to take a bit longer than I'd like I'm afraid. I'd basically had the skeletons of the last three chapters planned out in advance, it was only when I started to flesh them out that I knew I'd have to split them up. The next chapter is pretty much planned out with 1k words written out and I've got a train journey today, so I'll see how that goes.

And again, thanks for the awesome feedback!

continues to be quite interesting :trixieshiftright:

Okay, beginning commentary only five hours late. Then catching back up on the discussion of PH 31. Then over to the new Pink Eyes chapter. Then I need to dig into my immediate backlog; haven't gotten to the new Summer Days and Evening Flames yet. If I'm fast I can finish by about dawn... Why does everything always happen at once?

Not sure Dash could pull a betrayal like that; Element of Loyalty after all. It's a possibility, but I'm going the the alternat theory for now. As soon as I figure out what the alternate theory is. Pinkie tends to screw with any logical approach to figuring things out.

Yep. Definitely alternate.

Irrational punching? Telekinesis. Another attempt? More telekinesis. Kicking? You're really not a clever griffon, are you Gilda?

Pinkie Pie vs the Manehattan underground. I'm not sure I want to know what exactly is meant by "broke half the gangs."

Twilight is so OP. Perfectly in character, but that level of telekinesis is well established to be cheating even in the show itself.

...the sheer power of Pinkie Pie's reality warping trained and focused by ponies who actually knew what they were doing? This is a problem. In fact, those numbers are seeming kinda low... this is scarier than the Ministry of Morale.

I really love your Trixie. All the characterizations so far are great, but she's just beautiful. Does Seth know about this story?

Ah, Pinkie. She's very... Pinkie. Genki? I need more words.

Neophyte is totally a word, Dash. And everybody can see that the Great and Powerful Trixe has you figured out. we're going to get to see Scoots in a later chapter, right?

Twilight, you really need to change your codes more often. Sure it wouldn't have helped here, but using the same private key on your comms for a year and a half? That's just lazy.

Title drop time. ohshit. So, kinda like a Lich's phylactry? With a dash of demonolgy and Black Book to taste?

Good to know the G&PT has her priorities straight. I mean it's not like waiting a moment for the exposition will make it go away forever.

Simple job. Good to know I'm not the only one to see the inherent humor in the phrase.

Yes, everything is starting to come together...

Wait. So this crime lord wants to go legit, and puts together a book of every other criminal in the city and everything he can dig up about them... right as the Mare-do-Well comes to town and starts taking things apart. That's too convenient. Pinkie, you're being manipluated. This is all going to go very wrong very fast.

Even if Sparks is really going legit and you manage this, you're making a huge vacuum in a major city. There will be crime, that's a fact of life. Stable criminal organizations tend to be better at controlling it than law enforcement, and for all the money they'll siphon from rich folks and big businesses they're better for the community than the muggers and such they push out. You need to end the gang war, no doubt about that, and many if not most of the gangs in town are probably horrible enough that they need to be taken donw or put under new management, but sweeping the city clean? That's just inviting a fresh coat of slime.

Good luck with your education and your face-punches. Looking forward to the next chapter, whenever that ends up being.

>>121048

You're awesome with these commentaries. Damnit Sindri, why can't all commenters be you?

I am not hugely happy with this chapter. I went into 'lazy writer mode' a little bit and it felt in parts like I was dumping exposition on the page. I also left out some mildly important bits from transitioning from this chapter to the action chapter, so on the train today I might write 'Book of Names, Part Lunch' so that my next proper chapter works better.

Gryphon punching. I figure that when you have razor sharp claws, punching is really just a different kind of yelling.

Pinkie is best Mare-Do-Well. Honestly, I could hardly waste all those mini-superpowers of her by not letting her run a war on crime :pinkiehappy:

The Trixie/Dash banter is getting slightly one sided in Trixie's favor, which I just can't be having. I want to write more Peeved Trixie :trixieshiftleft:

Scoots is actually going to get her own story, but I need to do more reading, research and 'riting before I can do it any justice. I plan to explain why three fillies scrapping could free Discord.

Yeah, the chronology of the crime lord is something that got messed up when I rushed to finish, like the library meeting in the first chapter. I also left out the lunch scene which I'd been planning all the way through the actual writing. Prepare for a short chapter to tide you guys over while I sort my life out for a week or two.

Yup, there's a flaw in Pinkie's plan. The cravenly opportunistic Gilda and Trixie will have a few ideas about it however...

Next chapter will be quite short, but next proper chapter is half planned, excessively complex, action filled and oddly written. It may take a while but I'll deliver. Thanks again for the awesome commentary!

Interesting, here. Man, a fully-trained Pinkie... scary! I wonder what's in Trixie's file... and thank you for having Pinkie simply read about Gilda's banishment rather than her Pinkie Sense!:twilightsmile:

#38 · 137w, 1d ago · 1 · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

.......I don't know how....but you made that last moment d'awwable.....You get a small internet you genius.

#39 · 137w, 1d ago · 1 · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

You know, I could get to like Gilda like this. Both have that heart of gold, with a barb-wire exterior.

#40 · 137w, 9h ago · · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

I'm enjoying this story immensely. I initially thought that this would just be one of those "Characters as other Characters" stories, but this is so much better. Despite painting Gilda and Trixie respectively as incredibly blood-thirsty and so self-absorbed she's in danger of imploding, I've come to really like them. And even with the change of setting and characters, you've still managed to keep the Burn Notice atmosphere, which I love. This is an all-around great fic, and I can't wait to see what happens next.

#41 · 136w, 6d ago · · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

-Gilda eating somepony's liver

-Trixie burning bad ponies to death so that they can feel every second of it

You have MADE MY DAY :pinkiehappy:

And I should feel somewhat bad about that.

But still, I am immensely pleased with how this story is going so far.  :raritystarry:

#42 · 136w, 6d ago · · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

>>302636

Thanks! That was the second re-write, it felt a bit firnickety getting it right.

>>303244

>>305926

That's the fun thing about antiheroes like James Bond or Tyler Durden. They're cool, and you do start to like them; but the reader has to remember that they are actually bastards and the writer has to avoid the temptation to turn them into fluffy friendly bunnies who suddenly have all morals n shit. Hopefully someone will e-slap me if Gilda or Trixie suddenly become lawful good.

>>308579

We are bad people and we should feel bad.

Okay, I'm far too much of a derp to even come close to the bounty of a feedback response that Sindri gave, but I'll say this: After reading the bit where the entire group of ponies is waylaid by the mysterious assailant and then finding out who it was, (and please don't judge me harshly for this) I have the strangest boner...

#44 · 136w, 5d ago · · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

This story? Yes please. :pinkiehappy:

#45 · 136w, 5d ago · · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

Really?! A Burn Notice crossover?! Oh sweet buttery Celestia, me gusta. Me so very, very gusta.

#46 · 136w, 5d ago · · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

Wow.

Seriously, wow. I did not think this story would be that good, but I have to say that after an hour of reading like Twilight Sparkle on 4 cups of coffee during finals week, it BLEW AWAY ALL EXPECTATIONS AND REPLACED THEM WITH PURE CONCENTRATED AWESOME SAUCE!!!

More please!

#47 · 136w, 5d ago · 1 · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

I love this story probably waaaaaaaaay more than I should, but dang it nothing makes me smile wider than two friends bonding over the mutually achieved massacre of evil beings. Pass the beer please! :pinkiehappy:

#48 · 136w, 5d ago · 1 · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

Man, I know I should be repulsed by it, but the scene where Gilda rips out that stallion's liver was so immensely satisfying that it hurt!

I'll now start looking for some brain bleach.

#49 · 136w, 5d ago · · · 6. Very Dark Places ·

(Reads tagline)

"YES! YES!"

There goes my night!

(Starts reading)

EDIT- finished what you've got so far... by Celestia that last chapter got dark in a hurry. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see a bad guy die so painfully before.

#50 · 136w, 5d ago · · · 2. A Warmer Place ·

Loving this story so far.

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