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Blog Posts70

  • 9w, 2d
    I Am Technically Not Dead

    So, new story. My first since 2013, actually. It might be my last.

    I've been trying to find the right balance of how much effort to put into fulfilling my personal goals, and how much to put into improving the world. And the thing about writing is that you get out of it what you put into it—so yes, it's been unspeakably rewarding, but it also takes much more energy than, say, going out to a party. That's energy that hasn't gone into my larger goals. I've known this intellectually for approximately forever. A while ago, this started making sense on an emotional level, too. (My guess is that it's because I gained the ability to express my emotions without first writing an entire story.)

    I'd been in the middle of revising this story with my prereaders. And then I sort of... stopped. I didn't feel great about leaving them hanging, but there was stuff to do, you know?

    Well, I've had time to take stock lately, and I want to tie up some loose ends. The story may not be 100% perfect forever, but the important stuff is all there, and it's more than postable. And people have been asking if I got hit by a bus or something, so it seems wise to let everyone know what's up.

    Maybe I'll be back, if I gain the ability to balance writing and working in a more stable way. But for now, at least, it's not my highest priority.

    8 comments · 137 views
  • 33w, 4d
    Unlikely Crossovers: Royal Canterlot Library Edition

    “An Imaginative Performance” Or “Expectations”: Apple Bloom has the lead role in her school play, and her performance will be perfect. No matter what.

    The Tyrant And The Detective: Fetlock Holmes attempts to prove that Discord was responsible for sabotaging the Tree of Harmony. With the exemplar of deductive logic pitted against the draconequification of chaos in an epic battle of wits, only one thing is certain: There is absolutely no sexual tension. None whatsoever. Move along.

    Tired From Chaos: I'm Worker. I can make anypony smile.

    The Colour Quixote Bleeds In Their Highnesses' Clandestine Corps: The RCL decides to publish only Blueblood stories from now on.

    Five Hundred Little Murders And What Came After: Now that the invading deer have been driven back, somepony needs to make sure they never threaten ponykind again. But when it comes time to do what must be done, no one has the courage to go through with it. No one except the strongest pony in the world.

    Lost Cities Are Where The Harp Is: North of Canterlot, in the far marches of the Equestrian lands near the border with the Griffon tribes, there is a mountain that flies. It is covered in Smooze.

    West of Canterlot, beyond the Galloping Mountains and a desert painted in the pastel hues of a faded rainbow, a tower sits at the edge of the world. It is covered in Smooze.

    South of Canterlot, past the Everfree forest and the desolate badlands, a city of gardens waits to be born. It is covered in Smooze.

    That's Allabaster: An aging Pinkie Pie forgets where she put Applejack's hat.

    It Is My Fate To Fight For Cranberry Hill: It's winter, when snow covers the earth like frosting and the days are short and bright—the perfect time for a snowball fight! The Cutie Mark Crusaders tussle with Diamond Tiara and her accomplice, Typhon the Father of Monsters.

    The Arbitrage of Monsters: Twilight Sparkle has a really bad day.

    (Previously in this series: stuff, things, and miscellany.)

    12 comments · 254 views
  • 42w, 6d
    New Holiday Story: Where The Heart Is

    I've posted a new story about going home for the holidays. You won't see it in your feed, because the mods in their infinite wisdom have decreed that sufficiently short stories aren't actually stories, so this blog is to let you know that it's available in my miscellaneous projects file.

    0 comments · 83 views
  • 45w, 8h
    Help Me, And Win A Free Commission

    Thanks to Chris, I've been thinking about writing style recently. What is a style? Do I have one? Do I have more than one? How can I tell? “Thinking really hard about these questions” doesn't seem like a good way to get answers, since my most common problem as a writer is that I don't communicate the ideas I mean to communicate.

    The thing I care about is what you, the reader, experience. My best idea to find out is to ask. So I'm doing that! Right now!

    If you're familiar with at least a couple of my stories, then please let me know what you think my style is, or any other broad feedback you have on my writing. I've put hundreds of hours into writing these stories for you, and if you can take a couple minutes to give back, it would mean a lot to me.

    You can leave feedback in the comments to this post, put them in a PM, tell me anonymously at this shiny page, track down my physical address and send a singing telegram, or whatever you like. I declare Crocker's Rules on everything I get this way. Please write feedback before reading this page's comments, to avoid accidental priming and conformity effects.

    Since I'm asking you to do me a favor, it makes sense that I should do something for you, too. I will write a 500-1000 word story for one randomly-selected person who provides feedback. (Example, example.) Anonymous messages are eligible only if they include the prompt in the message itself, since obviously I can't get back to you. I'll pick the winner on Thursday, Dec 19, and try to have the story finished by Jan 1.

    Thanks for helping me become a better writer!

    15 comments · 289 views
  • 48w, 2d
    The Kinship Reports, Part 1 (Or, I Hope You Like Worldbuilding)

    I’m trying something a bit different with my latest story. This one is meant to stand on its own, but it’s also the first installment in a longer series I have planned. If I stick with it, I expect the whole project to be roughly novel-length. Just in case I don’t stick with it, each installment will be a self-contained story of its own, so you won’t be stranded at an awkward non-ending. (I don't read incomplete stories, so I tried to write something I'd want to read.)

    I’m currently about a third of the way through The Weather Merchants, in which Bonfire learns a lesson about trust and I get to introduce you to Starling. Those of you who are following me will, of course, be notified when it gets posted.

    2 comments · 302 views
  • ...
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 6,122
Source

Shining Armor will do anything to save his marriage. Anything.

(Featured in the Pony Fiction Vault)

First Published
24th Oct 2012
Last Modified
24th Oct 2012
#1 · 104w, 1d ago · 3 · · Shining Armor ·

Ben have you been reading my secret wish diary again because I wanted something like this so bad

Benman
Site Blogger
#2 · 104w, 1d ago · 3 · · Shining Armor ·

>>1493238

I have previously described this as "the story where I go full Vimbert," so basically yes.

#3 · 104w, 1d ago · 1 · · Shining Armor ·

It's hard to quantify if this piece wants for expansion, or if its brutally short length serves its purpose here. On the one hand, it might be nice to have a little more development on what's causing Shining Armor's waning love for Cadance. On the other hand, this is a feeling many folks will come to recognize right away -- when something they think defines them and gives their lives direction fails to give them that same assurance, day after day, and that it's their fault that they're allowing this to happen.

There's no neat answer to the question Ben proposes here, and I think that ambiguity makes this story worth reading -- if only to have readers interrogate what they consider their passions and the shadows they cast over their lives. [/overly pretentious bullshit]

#4 · 104w, 1d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

... :raritydespair:

so... depressing... have an upvote, cuz it's good. But I think I'm just gonna go... go to bed. I don't feel like being awake anymore.

#5 · 104w, 1d ago · 7 · · Shining Armor ·

You know, I've read a lot of fics. A lot. Most of them are long because the author is convinced that in order to get their point across, or to explain in detail, or to make sure someone gets the joke, they need a few hundred words per point, explanation or joke. I myself am occasionally like that. This fic, on the other hand, is the perfect example, and I mean the perfect example of how you don't need to write a million words to write a well written, excellent piece and still have it reach out and touch someone.

You're an excellent writer, and I'm glad I took the time to read this jewel of a story.

#6 · 104w, 23h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Hmm, quite the tragedy Indeed I have to say, and ironic too if one thinks about it. At first Shining Armor is faced with a dilemma where he questions his absolute love for his wife as he feel hollow inside, where as Cadence's love is absolute. Now, it seems that Cadence is faced with the same dilemma that his lover was placed in, even with the enchanted Shining Armor's absolute love (much to Cadence dismay) is not enough to comfort her. Makes me wonder how terrible Shining Armor ordeal was before he made his wife enchanted him. Maybe this goes this goes with a saying (there is quote for this I think, but I forgot so bear with me here) that time apart strengthens the love, as love do get stale to a prolonged exposure as do friendship.

Anyhow, really good short story. You got me interested into seeing more of your worked. Best of luck my friend, best regards :eeyup:

#7 · 104w, 21h ago · 2 · · Shining Armor ·

I tried reading this as 'alternate universe where Chrysalis never revealed herself', and it worked.:twilightoops:

#8 · 104w, 13h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

EqD Additional Tags: Cadence's Special Talent Is Terrifying

QFT, and tracking. Will read later.

#9 · 104w, 13h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Turned the cliche on its head. SA is the one asking to be mind zapped.

#10 · 104w, 13h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

At least it's not mindless shallow love like the love poison.

#11 · 104w, 13h ago · 2 · · Shining Armor ·

This is kinda dark. I like. I wonder if Cadence could cast the spell on herself.

#12 · 104w, 13h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Oh, oh shit.

At least it's not as bad as it could be.

#13 · 104w, 12h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

here we go

#14 · 104w, 12h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

wow...nice job.  For being so short it portrays alot...nice job

#15 · 104w, 12h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Shining couldn't take the roller coaster of love (and life) so he decided to have his wife enchant him so that the coaster would always be high and never low. A common dilemma for couples of all origins, and a very nice narrative to illustrate this point. Very well done sir.

#16 · 104w, 11h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Dude...feelings...

#17 · 104w, 11h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Nicely written. I can't really give it an upvote just for that, though. The portrayal of weak-willed, wishy-washy Shining and brainwasher Cadance is so far outside my headcanon for these characters that I could only buy this as an AU fic. Still, it's a superb example of what can be done in a few thousand words - "brevity is the soul of wit" and all that - and for that alone it probably deserves its EQD feature.

#18 · 104w, 10h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Oh, a Star Wars reference!

I_S
#19 · 104w, 8h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

>>1498467

This, would make this one of the darkest works of the fandom, especially if we had an outside prospective after the final enchantment.

#20 · 104w, 7h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Very nice piece. Brief, but well characterised, and entertaining for what it is.

#21 · 104w, 6h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Reminds me of The Monkey's Paw, if Mr. White didn't make that third wish. Easy upvote.

#22 · 104w, 6h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

An interesting little gem of thought. Cadance's special talent is fucking terrifying. :twilightoops:

#23 · 104w, 5h ago · 1 · · Shining Armor ·

Yeah... It is pretty scary. FORCED Love is the worst kind, especially when it's the hardest thing to get out of.

#24 · 104w, 4h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

This fic is a bit suspeneseful, in a good way that is.MORE.CHAPTERS!! :flutterrage:

#25 · 104w, 4h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Does her special talent technically count as Brain Rape??? :unsuresweetie:

#26 · 104w, 4h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

And this is why I would rather bite a bullet than be mind controlled. Free will is the only thing that we can truly have.

#27 · 104w, 3h ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Jesh, uplifting and really depressing at the same time.

Good show.

#28 · 103w, 6d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Huh, this makes me think more about the two arguing ponies in the show.

If her magic really works that way... oh man, that's messed up. :fluttershbad:

Incredible. Well written and straight to the point. And more importantly, lived up to that tragedy tag.

Good job! :pinkiehappy:

#29 · 103w, 6d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

ouch, right in the feels:applecry:

#30 · 103w, 6d ago · 9 · · Shining Armor ·

As much as mind control creeps me right the hell out... I also happen to believe damn near anything is justified with proper consent. He asked her for it, and he's happy. I feel sorry for Cadance, but only in that she has trouble accepting what Shining has become. He may have changed, but the last chapter tells me he's not just a mindless zombie. He's a real pony who feels genuine love for his wife.

I'm as surprised as anyone, but... I'm okay with this.

What Cadance should be doing is getting to know Shining as a whole person, rather than trying to suss out which parts of him are "fake". Communicate and understand; don't soak yourself in silent doubt and suspicion.

Benman
Site Blogger
#31 · 103w, 6d ago · 3 · · Shining Armor ·

>>1507251

Sweet Celestia yes thank you someone gets it.

Cadence's mistake isn't using mind control, it's using mind control in a stupid way.

The tragedy isn't that Shining Armor is different than he was before. The tragedy is that his happiness is built on a precarious foundation of lies and willful ignorance.

#32 · 103w, 6d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

>>1499211 huh?  Where?

#34 · 103w, 6d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Loved every second of this story. When I saw the season 2 finale, that's what terrified me the most about Cadence, is how dangerously subtle her powers can be. Messing around with another's mind is something never done lightly :pinkiecrazy:

Have a favorite and thumb up :twilightsmile:

#35 · 103w, 5d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

You have struck me right in the soul. YOU WILL BUY ME A NEW ONE.

#36 · 103w, 5d ago · 3 · · Shining Armor ·

You know...Shining might be right.

Maybe he really is okay.  It really is him.

But Cadence can't accept that now.  She's trapped always doubting, and it is tearing her apart.

Oh Shinie...why couldn't you understand that if you really loved her, she needed you to do it the natural way?

#37 · 103w, 4d ago · 3 · · Shining Armor ·

Concise.

#38 · 102w, 1d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Kind of a depressing story. I would wonder what she would do after shining dies. How that would torment her for the rest of her rather long life. But still a great story.

#39 · 101w, 6d ago · 2 · · Shining Armor ·

You know, perhaps I'm thinking this a little to "technically" but at the beginning when Shining Armor mentioned that his love was decreased I figured it was due primarily to Queen Chrysalis feeding off of his love for Cadance. Basically, his former boundless supply of love (enough to defeat the Princess Celestia!) had been getting sucked dry by the queen of the changelings... but amazingly he's still got enough left in him to want to stick with his beloved.

I was kind of expecting an epic journey where they track down Chrysalis to somehow get his love back or at least ensure nopony else suffers this fate.

But all in all this was a nice take on Cadances power, albeit a sort of 'glass half empty' sort of take on it. Instead of treating Cadances magic as a temporary thing, like a little 'push' to get two lovers to admit they love eachother and build on it naturally it treats it as if Cadances magic is a permanent effect. I guess it's like the differences between bandages and an artificial heart. Bandages are temporary, to stop the bleeding so that the body can heal itself naturally, at which point the bandage is removed and life goes on. An artificial heart however is a permanent thing, it can save a life but you'll always know that the heart isn't your "real" one. Unless of course one can somehow remove the artificial heart and regrow or restore the original... which would be an extremely risky feat involving alot of resources.

Though... since I found this in the LessWrong group, I kind of expected this to be about Shining seeking immortality or something, at the very least so he can stay with Cadance.

Anyway, great story. I admit I feel kind of guilty posting these ideas because it feels like criticism, but the fact that you posted a story and I didn't means you have every right to feel proud. I'd just love to see your next stories and how they improve.

Benman
Site Blogger
#40 · 101w, 6d ago · 1 · · Shining Armor ·

>>1584826

I was kind of expecting an epic journey where they track down Chrysalis to somehow get his love back

You are the third or fourth person to suggest taking this concept in a changeling-oriented direction. I stayed away from that intentionally for this fic, but I find myself hoping someone else takes the time to explore that route.

since I found this in the LessWrong group, I kind of expected this to be about Shining seeking immortality or something

Not every story with rationalist themes is about a quest for a deathless utopia. Then again, I'm also writing something along those lines, so you may be on to something. (If you want me to add you to my stable of beta readers, send me a PM. I could use a LessWrongian perspective on the next draft.)

I admit I feel kind of guilty posting these ideas because it feels like criticism

Receiving thoughtful critique is a positive, not a negative. Heck, it's about half the reason I post this stuff publicly instead of letting it sit on my hard drive.

#41 · 101w, 5d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

im sorry, i jusr did not liked it,it was too fast and not dramatic, besides, it contradicts cadance canon who loved shining way too much.

im aware not many people share my thoughts as few people disliked it, i think that a longer story would be perferc, who knows, maybe crysalis could enter as she could eat love

#42 · 101w, 4d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

I have never before felt such drama and tragedy in a package as concise as this one. In my opinion, every sentence and scene was executed with absolute efficiency in delivering the story. I never felt like the story was becoming too simple or not dramatic enough due to such brevity. It's a brief burst of such strong emotion- a literary bullet to the heart- that earns a thumbs-up and a fave from me. I'll definitely be left lingering, thinking about this fic for the next few days.

Also, the fact that the solution to Shining Armor's misery causes Cadence to herself become miserable is a beautiful piece of irony.

Please, continue.

#43 · 100w, 2d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

If new love is like a bonfire, then mature love is a hearth that keeps a pony warm for a lifetime.
That sounds so familiar.

#44 · 100w, 2d ago · 7 · · Cadence ·

Mind magic is a dirty, terrible thing.

#45 · 100w, 2d ago · 2 · · Shining Armor ·

This really makes you think. Is a fake fix a fix? Is it even fake if he would willingly allow his mind to be messed with? Congrats on a story that provokes a lot of thought. I'll probably be pondering this one for a while.

#46 · 99w, 1d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

Sad, kind of depressing, with an increasingly pronounced vein of horror as the implications of the mind magic sink in. I like it.

#47 · 98w, 4d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

I wonder if Shining Armor tried chocolate.:derpyderp1:

#48 · 98w, 4d ago · · · Cadence ·

poor shining armor:fluttershysad:

#49 · 98w, 4d ago · · · Shining Armor ·

:applecry: and he has no idea.

#50 · 97w, 2d ago · 3 · · Shining Armor ·

Well, that was dark. And not even in a gruesome or even emotionally wrecking way, but delivered in perhaps it's most striking form; with subtlety. And it deal well with other questionable themes like 'do the ends justify the means?' I'm reminded of that one saying that Kkat kept using in Fallout: Equestria, about the road to Hell being paved with the best intentions.

: "I'm not here for what you had intended to do... I'm here for what you did."

Even though it's short, it hits what it needs to quickly and with intense prejudice. Shining and Cadence's concerns are perfectly established and their anxiety well characterized. And that ending leaves me with a queasy feeling in my gut, and composes a sinister dance between an explanation and ambiguity. Has Shining really had the unmitigated passion of new love restored, or is he just an unknowing slave to his own alien compulsions? And if it's the latter like I'm deducing that it is, it just makes it even more disturbing and dark. Sometimes, the most terrible things aren't entirely dark, but have just noticeable enough of sparse remaining shreds of light and goodness in them to remind observers of what a mocking counterfeit it is.

And how you managed to so snuggle fit all of that into less than three thousand words? Truly remarkable! And not just because I'm fully capable of writing reviews that are longer than any of the given chapters you've written here.

This brings up another thought that others in the fandom have brought up before me, but still begs to be asked here; how is it that the 'Want It, Need It' spell is looked upon with such scorn but what Cadence is not only capable of doing but is the one thing that she's better than anypony at; forcing ponies to fall in love, is looked upon without batting an eye? Hell, while I'm at it, how could this extraordinary juxtaposition exist when both 'A Canterlot Wedding' and 'Lesson Zero' were written by the exact same writer? I'm not even making that one up; Wikipedia that sh:yay:t. And as long as I'm going off tangent, how could the same writer behind 'Lesson Zero,' not only my favorite episode by one of the most liked episodes in the series (and fortuitously ironic enough, the first episode I ever saw) also be the one to have written something so terrible, so nauseating, and so awful that just thinking about it makes me shudder like Angry Joe waking past a copy of Sonic Free Riders? So atrocious that just saying it's name makes me feel drenched in fear; the... *gulp*... The Crystal Empire?

And I'll send you a cookie if you can spot  the subtle In Flames reference in the last paragraph... I've gone way off tangent....

This actually reminds me of my last (and to date, first and only) relationship; I was so desperate to hold everything together that I was willing to give up everything about myself to be remade in a blasphemy more comparable with her. That never happened, but it still didn't keep it from failing miserably and sending itself off on a dead man's march to the shore where dead ships dwell.

And this isn't an exact match by context, but I found it's theme to be oddly, eerily fitting.

Not to spoil anything, but we The Brothers were actually planning on touching onto similar themes in our own ongoing premiere story. Even though it isn't the main focus, I hope we'll be able to write something as evoking as what you've written here, because it sure as sh:yay:t won't be as concise.

- Christian '#12' Harisay

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