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  • T A Stitch in Time

    A sequel to Hard Reset
    70,648 words · 23,654 views  ·  3,509  ·  50
  • T Hard Reset

    Twilight gives her life to stop a changeling invasion. Repeatedly.
    37,399 words · 43,112 views  ·  4,923  ·  74
  • T You Can Fight Fate

    Twilight discovers that the Elements of Harmony aren't as benevolent as she thought, and crosses time and space in order to stop them
    61,759 words · 14,371 views  ·  2,761  ·  40 · sex · gore
  • T A Taste of the Good Life

    A down-on-his-luck chef from Manehattan moves to the rural town of Ponyville as part of a get-rich-quick scheme. But he gets a bit more than he bargained for.
    70,814 words · 10,240 views  ·  1,571  ·  21
  • E Birds of a Feather

    Owlowiscious has seemed distracted ever since Twilight started spending more time in Canterlot. Maybe Luna can help figure out why.
    2,388 words · 2,421 views  ·  454  ·  5
  • T The Moon Glows Gently

    Luna always follows her heart. That's not necessarily a good thing.
    8,774 words · 3,373 views  ·  558  ·  7
  • E An Important Letter

    A love story, waiting for an ending
    1,702 words · 2,959 views  ·  374  ·  4
  • E Eakin's Rapid Fire Pony Fics

    A compilation of tiny random stories
    20,791 words · 5,618 views  ·  563  ·  8

Blog Posts71

  • 5w, 3d
    The Dos and Don'ts of OCs

    OCs. An acronym that sends a cold shudder down the spine of so many long-time FimFiction readers, and not without good reason. Nary a day goes by without the ‘New Stories’ box being graced with a story wherein some new pony wanders into town and befriends our beloved cast. And for the most part, these stories are... less than good. Which is a shame, really, because a good OC can open a ton of doors for an author to take their stories in directions that just aren’t possible if they restrict themselves to the canon personalities of established characters. And since I’ve been turning over questions about when and where they’re properly applied this evening, I figured I might as well share (read: inflict) some of my wisdom (read: bullshit-laden ramblings) onto all my adoring fans (read: people who sneezed mid-click and accidentally ended up here) while I try to hash out the things I’ve done right and wrong in the past. Some of the conclusions I’ve reached are common sense, while others are a bit counter-intuitive. And like all ‘Rules for Writing,’ the best stories are often ones that know when and where to break them.

    DO: Make sure your OC has a life and identity of their own

    Nothing makes a world start to feel claustrophobic like a network of characters who all share some pre-existing connection. The mare who just happened to be Twilight’s classmate back in Canterlot. The stallion who became a champion lasso-tosser after he just happened to watch Applejack win some tournament. It’s cheap and lazy characterization, and it defines your new character only in relation to another one. Imagine meeting a real-life celebrity on par with the Mane Six. Sure, they expect that you’ve heard of them, but going on and on about how you went to kindergarten together and you still have a scrap of the blankie they drooled on during naptime and omigosh isn’t it just kismet that we’re meeting again like this is a great way to get a complimentary escort out the back door by a large, burly man wearing a three-piece suit and an earpiece.

    Bottom line: Your character should be able to carry a story that never intersects with the canon cast at all, at least in theory. If you do need to break this rule, try to do it retroactively. See Cheese Sandwich and the events of Cutie Mark Chronicles for reference. The connections are already existed, but the characters would be interesting even if they didn’t. It’s the gravy rather than the meat, is what I’m saying.

    DON’T: Clone an Existing Character

    ‘My OC Tabula Rasa is a total nerd and bookworm! She’s usually pretty level-headed, but she can get totally crazy when she thinks she might disappoint her mentor, Brincess Belestia.’

    Yeah, we already have that character. If you’re using an archetype that’s easily filled by an existing character, an OC might not be the right tool for the job. The exception is when your OC can serve as a shadow archetype to an existing character, a ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ warning who differs from the established character in only minor ways but ended up going in a totally different direction. A Sunset Shimmer to your Twilight, or an Algae Bloom to your Cloud Kicker. These sorts make great antagonists or anti heroes, generally.

    DO: Beat the Shit Out of Them

    Want your audience to like your original character? Make them suffer. Not randomly, mind, but as a direct consequence of one of their own screw ups (corollary: make sure your OC screws up from time to time). It’s a bit of a balancing act; an OC sentenced to death for littering is only going prompt eye rolling from your readers, but when in doubt harsher is better. Actually, I’d suggest making all your characters suffer as a general rule. Letting your universe knock them over and then kick them when they’re down only for them to learn a lesson and get back up again stronger than before is pretty much always compelling. Who doesn't love rooting for an underdog? It can be tough to follow through on this, especially since you probably like this character and want to coddle them. Fight that impulse. If you fudge the die rolls for them, so to speak, your readers will pick up on it. Do you want a Mary Sue? Because arranging events so that they always work out in your OC’s favor for no good reason is how you get a Mary Sue.

    DON’T: Tell Me I Should Like Them

    What makes readers think a character is awesome? That character does awesome things. That’s it.

    Obvious, right? But a lot of people put the cart before the horse and just expect readers to like their OC because they give them attributes that they think are cool and expect it to rub off. If any of the following phrases appear when you’re describing your character...

    ‘Invented a groundbreaking device that gives him the power to...’

    ‘Received numerous awards for...’


    ‘The best [whatever] that [authority figure] has ever seen’


    And so on and so forth

    ...then odds are I probably won’t give a damn . Nobody cares who your OC is going into the story. What they actually do on the page is a thousand times more impactful. Really, it’s just the old ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ advice gussied up in a new outfit. And don’t think you can slip these sorts of things past readers as long as you give your OC flaws to ‘balance them out.’ This isn’t some sort of point-buy RPG system, it’s a story. Give them core traits and beliefs, sure, but those things can lead to positive or negative characteristics. It’s actually better when strengths and weaknesses both feel like outgrowths of the same attributes.

    DO: Buy a Slow Cooker and Learn How to Use It

    This one has nothing to do with writing, I just really love my Crock-Pot. You can convince a truly absurd number of people you’re some kind of cooking savant when the limit of your ability is actually ‘chop stuff up, toss in pot, set to LOW for 10 hours.’

    Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

    67 comments · 1,383 views
  • 7w, 5d
    Character Roleplay Meme: Azalea and Twilight Sparkle

    Same deal as last time.


    Twi: I’m Twilight Sparkle, alicorn Princess of Equestria. I’m 28.

    Az: Like there’s anypony out there who doesn’t know who you are at this point. We can barely go two weeks without your picture showing up in the paper.

    Twi: Heh, yeah, I guess I have been a public figure for a good while now. You get used to it after five years.

    Az: Five years since your coronation. You weren’t exactly unknown before that.


    Twi: That’s actually kind of complicated. Pegasus, obviously, but age is trickier.

    Az: Depending on how you count, I’m some combination of 22, 37, and 6. All us former changelings have the same problem. But hey, three birthdays a year!

    Twi: You might think she’s kidding, but we actually do celebrate two different ones. You’re so spoiled.

    Az: Rotten. And you wouldn’t have it any other way, would you?

    Twi: Never in a million years.

    Az: They’re really more like half-birthdays, though. All the friends and family I knew back in Trottingham celebrate the one from the pony I used to be, but here in Ponyville we have a different one. Pinkie really goes all out, but then there’s quite a few of us who consider it our ‘official’ birthday.

    Twi: The first few years I was pretty down on it, but as time goes by I find I’m glad that it didn’t just end up being the anniversary of the changeling invasion. Better to have happy memories associated with it than bad ones.


    Az: Geez, what doesn’t? I hit the jackpot when I landed her. To think I nearly sabotaged the whole thing for myself by psyching myself into believing she’d never look twice at a pony as bland and ordinary as me.

    Twi: There’s nothing bland about you. If anything you’re even more special than I am. There are four Princesses, but there’s only one pony who can calm me down when I get a little manic the way you can.


    Az: I had a really hard time believing she was actually interested in me. And there have been times when she pushed me out of my comfort zone that I thought she was just completely crazy. Which she is.

    Twi: Hey!

    Az: In good ways, dear.

    Twi: Hmph. Well I guess that’s alright then.

    Az: Mostly good.

    Twi: Anyway, after we got off to that rocky start there were definitely things I hesitated about confiding in her.

    Az: That was partly my own doing, considering how I reacted the first time you dumped something big on me. And it’s not like I wasn’t hiding stuff from you at the time myself.

    Twi: That was probably for the best, all things considered. If you’d mentioned your past on the first date there wouldn’t have been a second one. I was still an eensy bit of a bigot toward changelings at the time. You should have seen my right after I broke out of the loop.

    Az: Yes, Butterscotch told me about the dinner with your parents where you nearly tore his head off.

    Twi: Not my finest moment.

    Az: Should we change the subject? Because it sounds like the moral of this story is ‘if you’re a racist and lie to your special somepony, you’ll end up ascending to be a Princess and fall in love.’

    Twi: I’m not saying that! Bite your tongue or Press Release will have my head. He already lectured me for an hour about what would and wouldn’t be appropriate to say for this interview.

    Az: I can see the headline now: ‘An interview with Princess Sparkle and the six-year-old who impregnated her.’

    Twi: Don’t use that headline. In fact, don’t even write that... you’ve already written it down haven’t you?

    Az: On the plus side, if there’s a coup and you get overthrown I’ll finally have you all to myself.


    Twi: We actually met on a blind date, so it wasn’t really necessary.

    Az: Oh really? I seem to recall somepony trying to get me to come into her library with ‘Want to see if we can extrapolate this trend line?’

    Twi: I can’t believe you remember that.

    Az: I remember every second of that night like it was yesterday. Every one.

    Twi: Well, I seem to recall being told that I ‘really knew how to make a mare all wet.’

    Az: We were in a lake at the time, for context. Oh, and of course we do have pet names for one another. Isn’t that right, water walker?

    Twi: Absolutely, grounding wire.


    Az: Remember the time Cloud Kicker almost walked in on us ‘assembling a bookshelf?’

    Twi: I try very hard not to. What about the marriage proposal that ended up with both of us in the lake? Again.

    Az: I’m not letting you change the subject that easily. Of course, it’s a good thing Cloudy wasn’t a few minutes later or she’d have stumbled on me calling you ‘Darkness Nightsha—’

    Twi: Next question, please.


    Az: Nope.

    Twi: Very nope.


    Twi: Most ponies have heard that in the months after the Regalia melted I started eating a ton of food to fuel the ascension process. What’s not as well known is that wasn’t the only... uh... enhanced appetite I experienced. Most of the fantasies got checked off the list pretty quickly.

    Az: That’s not a figure of speech. There’s an actual checklist she keeps in her nightstand. Me, I’m just looking forward to her not being fat anymore.

    Twi: I didn’t complain when you were the pregnant one, you know.

    Az: If you’re ever looking for new ideas, I’m sure Cloudy could suggest a few.

    Twi: I don’t know, she’s mellowed quite a bit since she got promoted into Rainbow Dash’s old job.

    Az: Maybe not as much as you’d think. My cousin has stories that are definitely not appropriate to print in the paper. They get up to things you wouldn’t believe.


    Az: Twilight here has a history of freaking out a little bit when she thinks somepony she cares about might be in trouble. She tends to make some rash decisions, and she can get a little controlling. Like the time she tried to have me thrown in the dungeon.

    Twi: What did you expect? I’m hundreds of miles away negotiating trade arrangements with a pack of Diamond Dogs when I get a letter telling me you, Rarity, Cloudy, Morning Glow, and Shooting Star are heading out to the edge of the freaking Badlands to look for a changeling nest.

    Az: They needed a guide who knew what to look for. You weren’t there; Rarity would have gone out there all by herself, the state she was in at the time. I can promise you Princess Celestia wasn’t thrilled about the idea either.


    Twi: There were definitely some jealous pangs for a couple of months whenever you hung out with Cloud Kicker, especially since you two used to date.

    Az: That was a whole other life, and I wouldn’t exactly call it dating. More of a very sensual interrogation.

    Twi: To be fair, though, you’ve never been the biggest fan of Star Gazer.

    Az: That’s different. First of all, she hurt you pretty badly back then. Second, you two were married.

    Twi: If it’s in an alternate timeline, it doesn’t count.

    Az: I guess I should just be happy you came back with less baggage than some of your friends after all that. For all I know they could have gone and turned you straight or something.


    Twi: Like I said, we’ve experimented pretty liberally already.

    Az: Actually, after what you’ve told me I’ve always been a little curious about Princess Luna. Maybe she’d be up for some excitement once Star Swirl finally kicks the bucket.

    Twi: Azalea! That’s a terrible thing to say. I know you aren’t his biggest fan, but he really is a genius.

    Az: He’s a jerk.

    Twi: Those aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Az: We’ve never really seen eye to eye, and he made a heck of a first impression that morning in the marketplace.


    Twi: Now and then. Lately over what I’m allowed and not allowed to do while I’m pregnant. And she says I’m the controlling one.

    Az: You are the controlling one. And it’s not unreasonable to forbid somepony in your state from jumping into a freaking volcano looking for a magic eggbeater.

    Twi: Spatula.

    Az: Whatever. But there have been others. The first conversation we had after I ran out on her because of the changeling venom thing was probably the biggest one.

    Twi: Yeah, any fight that ends with accepting a date from another mare out of spite is a bad one. Although if I’d known what Algae Bloom was like I wouldn’t have.

    Az: Turned out just fine in the end, though.

    Twi: I guess. In hindsight, I wish I’d handled that whole debacle myself instead of dumping it on Cloud Kicker. Maybe things would have turned out differently and I wouldn’t have had to throw Rainbow Dash in jail a few months later.

    Az: It was only for a few weeks. And she did kind of bring it on herself. The whole Applejack thing had her pretty out of control for a while there.

    Twi: Or what about the time you nearly took my head off because I leased your shop?

    Az: Oh, I was furious. That whole Badlands trip had just put me through the ringer physically and emotionally, and then I get back and you basically dictate to me that I have to move in with you and start putting money towards rent payments I had never agreed to make?

    Twi: I didn’t tell you that you had to move in with me. I just calculated the financial implications of a number of different possible scenarios is all. But I’ll admit that you running off like that did make me want to sort of tie you down in Ponyville. I was really scared.

    Az: Welcome to my life! You think I never worry about you when you do exactly the same thing? But I really did almost break up with you right then and there. Thank goodness for Bon Bon.

    Twi: Yeah, I’m glad she was there to defuse it like that. Although I do feel bad that it spoiled the surprise she’d been working so hard on.

    Az: Lyra said yes anyway, which is all that really matters in the end. I’m sure she was annoyed at the time, but someday it’ll just be a funny story that they can tell their daughter.


    Twi: They’re great! It’s quite the extended clan, and they were all really warm and welcoming the first time we met. Although I wasn’t exactly the center of attention on that trip.

    Az: Yeah, my parents pretty much fell in love with her the minute they found out about us. Then again, bringing their child back from the dead goes a long way towards winning their approval.

    Twi: You hit it off with my parents pretty quickly too.

    Az: The one pony that I was most nervous about winning over was Celestia, actually. Being invited for a three-hour private tea with a mare who you clobbered in the back of the head with a baseball bat before she casually flung you out a window on your last encounter made my heart skip a few beats.

    Twi: I was most nervous for when she found out you had been a changeling once. Then of course it turns out she knew that since before I’d even met you.

    Az: The rest of them were a cakewalk by comparison, and we get along great. Cadance was one of our bridesmaids, and even talked me down from a minor panic attack on the wedding day. Best sister-in-law ever.


    Twi: Way ahead of you. In fact, we’re about to expand it from three to four.

    Az: We decided to keep the sex and race a surprise this time, although I know my parents would be thrilled to have an earth pony for a grandchild. Not that they don’t love Leafy horn and all, but my extended family definitely leans in that direction.

    Twi: Based on the how hard he kicks, I think there’s a good chance they’ll get there wish. Oof.

    Az: You’ll get no sympathy from me. Try having something with a pointy, stubby horn on its forehead squeezed through your birth canal, then we’ll talk.


    Twi: I have some paperwork I should really finish.

    Az: Before you do, feel like grabbing something to eat?

    Twi: Do you even have to ask? I ate three hours ago and I’m already starving again. Deli?

    Az: You read my mind. Dibs on your pickle.

    16 comments · 815 views
  • 8w, 5d
    First World Author Problems

    Cataloging the suffering of all us poor writers with thousands of followers.

    "My story was only in the feature box for three days? Didn't anyone like it?"

    "God, I hate that one tiny pixel of red in the likes-dislikes ratio."

    "It's so awful to reply to all your comments, refresh the page, and find that fifteen more have been added in the last five minutes."

    "I'm so well-established that the top ten entries in my story box never change. It's getting so repetitive."

    "Would the EQD pre-readers please stop spamming me with e-mails telling me my story's been accepted?"

    Any I forgot? Add them to the comments or do a blog entry of your own! If two or three of us do I'm sure we'll reach at least half the readers on the site.

    43 comments · 816 views
  • 8w, 6d
    Character Roleplay Meme: Main Course and Ebony Glimmer

    Well, since Wade tagged me in his blog post, I thought I’d give this a shot. Might be fun. You can read the rules over there, and I’m sure you can guess who the characters are. I’m going to shake it up a bit, though. I’m going to skip the ‘Tag other authors’ step since I generally find the whole chain-letter style ‘challenge’ to be annoying. If you want to get in on it, just jump in with a post of your own! Second, I may decide to do a second round of these ‘In-character answers’ with fan-submitted questions. If you have a particular Q you’d like Main and Ebby to A, stick it in the comments. I’ll use whatever questions are most upvoted.

    I may also do one of these for Twi and Azalea. And before you ask, no you won’t get a straight answer about the weathervanes.

    So without further ado...


    MC: My name’s Main Course. Earth pony, turn 36 next week. I run the Grassy Knoll here in Ponyville, it’s not technically affiliated with the one in Manehatten, at least legally. Not any more, at least. Although I am a silent partner so you could say—

    Ebby: I think they’ve gotten the point, dear.

    MC: Right, sorry. Next question?


    Ebby: Your lover! Ooh, doesn’t that make it sound exciting? Like we’re sneaking out for secret trysts. Like, ‘Well, hey there tall, dark, and sexy. Why don’t you ditch that nag of a wife and come be with a real mare?’

    MC: Hmm... tempting offer. You know she even tried to kidnap my daughter once?

    Ebby: That witch!

    MC: But seriously, though, this unicorn is technically Lady Ebony Glimmer, but everypony in town knows her as Ebby. As for age...

    Ebby: Think very carefully before you answer that question.

    MC: ...she’s in her late—

    Ebby: Ahem!

    MC: Like I was saying, she’s in her mid-thirties. Next question. Quickly, please.


    MC: Strongest, toughest mare in Equestria, right here. Fighting the toughest fight in the world for... what’s the count?

    Ebby: 2,397 days. But you’re exaggerating about how tough it is. It’s there, but it’s a lot easier than it used to be. My turn: I married a stallion who sees the best in everypony. The number of little ways he’s saved me... well, I can’t even begin to count that particular number. Everything I have today, my friends, my home, two wonderful foals, I wouldn’t have any of it without Main. I probably wouldn’t even be breathing.

    MC: You’ve paid me back ten times over. All that was you. I just cheered you on when you needed it.


    MC: ...

    Ebby: We should be honest, Main. It’s okay.

    MC: I certainly don’t anymore. But yes, right after she reconciled with Scootaloo and we started dating, there was a part of me that didn’t trust her. I would find excuses not to leave her alone with Scootaloo, even though I knew I was being ridiculous. I thought... sorry, would you give me a second?

    Ebby: No, Main, don’t... if you start crying them I’m going to start and then where will we be?

    MC: I thought it might be another act. I thought one day I’d come back and you and my daughter... I’d never see her again.

    Ebby: The important thing was that we worked through it together. We’d recently been seeing the same therapist, and he did couples counselling too. Dating three weeks and already in couples therapy doesn’t exactly sound like a promising start, does it? But I think we both already knew by that point we were in this thing for the long haul.

    MC: Like I said, when my wife sees something worth fighting for, she fights for it. Tooth and nail.


    Ebby: Can’t say I have. Kissing him and then punching him in the stomach worked better anyway.

    MC: There’s some relationship advice you won’t read in Cosmare.

    Ebby: You might be surprised, actually.


    MC: There were definitely a couple of very dark, very low moments early on, but not really the kind of funny-embarrassing you’re asking about.

    Ebby: Yes, Main Course humiliated me quite a bit right after we met. And I know that the connotations of that word are pretty negative, but that’s not really what I mean by it. I mean he got me to humble myself, and to realize that I didn’t necessarily deserve to have something just because I wanted it. That was... pretty different from the way I was raised.

    MC: Geeze, this is getting depressing. I’m gonna say that my official answer is when we had to tell my sister that we needed to rush the wedding because I had... uh... Ebby was slightly pregnant at the time. Didn’t hear the end of that one for months.


    MC: I think my last answer pretty much covers this one too.

    Ebby: We didn’t even wait until we were dating.


    MC: We’re actually pretty vanilla in the, er, intimacy department. But whatever we lack in quality we make up for in quantity!

    Ebby: Main! Goodness, now everypony reading this is going to think I’m some kind of nymphomaniac who’s lousy in bed. What my husband means is that we make it a point to be physically intimate with one another whenever possible, and I don’t mean just sex. Hugging, cuddling, nuzzling, that sort of physical contact with another pony is something I denied myself for a very long time. I... being touched by a stallion was an issue, let’s leave it at that.

    MC: Right. And especially given what Scootaloo grew up around... I want to set an example for her, you know? I want her to get that ponies who are in loving and healthy relationships do that for one another, and I hope that she’ll be able to open herself up in the same way. We’re not answering the question, are we?

    Ebby: Actually, for me the answer is I’d like to travel more as a family. Ginger’s getting old enough that we can start taking him on longer trips, and I do miss travelling from my pre-Ponyville days. The problem is that somepony will never take a vacation.

    MC: The Knoll is a lot of work!

    Ebby: The only way I got him to take his last vacation was to have Pinkie fire him for a week.

    MC: She can’t actually fire me. I just decided to humor her and didn’t come in for a few day.

    Ebby: Mmhmm. Of course, dear. I’m sure that’s exactly what happened.


    MC: I think probably Scootaloo and Ginger for both of us. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost either of them.

    Ebby: I agree. Except I know from experience what I’d do, and it isn’t a pretty picture.


    MC: I would never assume cheating. Both of us have worked too hard for what we have together to risk even making the accusation, much less committing the act himself.

    Ebby: I don’t know... some of your waitresses are awfully attractive... and you and Pinkie do spend some late nights at the Knoll together...

    MC: Come on, Ebby, don’t even kid about that.

    Ebby: Oh, all right. Yes, I’d trust that it was something perfectly reasonable and innocent. Even if it were Rarity.

    MC: What do you mean ‘even if it were Rarity?’

    Ebby: You don’t have to play dumb. The two of us talked it over mare to mare and we’re still friends.

    MC: I legitimately have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Ebby: Really?

    MC: Really.

    Ebby: I thought for certain that you knew. Let me put it this way; if I hadn’t entered the picture when I did there’s a better than even chance that you’d be married to her now instead of me.

    MC: What?

    Ebby: You’re both good friends, you both own small businesses you’re passionate about, and you’re both physically attracted to one another. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.

    MC: You’re the only mare for me, honey.

    Ebby: I appreciate that. Oh, and one other thing. If, Princesses forbid, I were to keel over dead tomorrow, she has dibs.

    MC: Excuse me?

    Ebby: Well, I would want you to remarry and not just wallow in grief. Ginger and Scootaloo need a mother figure, and Rarity’s the mare that I would pick if it were up to me. I think you’d be happy together.

    MC: I cannot believe we’re having this conversation.

    Ebby: If you want to pick a potential future replacement husband for me, you’re welcome to. Fair’s fair.


    Ebby: Just to break my husband’s brain a little further after that last answer, I’ll say a chance for him to see what being married to Rarity would mean physically. Except of course I wouldn’t want to be left out...

    MC: I had an answer, but that one’s better.


    MC: Absolutely. Sometimes even screaming matches. But never in front of Scootaloo and Ginger, and never without being able to say ‘I love you’ and go to sleep together that night. So I think that means we’re doing pretty okay.

    Ebby: For me, I think one of the hardest things to accept was that, well, I’m not Scootaloo’s favorite parent. I know she loves me but... if I’m being absolutely honest, she’s more your daughter than she is mine at this point.

    MC: That was never my intention.

    Ebby: It’s fine. For goodness sake, Main, she works her hooves to the bone in the kitchen just to impress you. You have more in common with her these days than I do, and she just glows with happiness when you even so much as smile at her. My daughter loves me and she’s happy. What sort of mother would be dissatisfied with that?

    MC: I guess this is as good a time as any to mention that while we might not always agree with one another, parenting-wise, we always back one another up. If there’s a disagreement we hash it out in private. Even if, say, somepony tries to ground our daughter for the rest of her natural life.

    Ebby: I know that was an overreaction, but you understand why it struck a chord, right? Plus it led to a good conversation between us.

    MC: She experimented. There was nopony at that sleepover who wasn’t trustworthy. Would you have rather she tried it for the first time around ponies she didn’t know?

    Ebby: I would prefer if she’d never tried it at all.

    MC: Two mugs of hard cider is pretty tame, Ebby.

    Ebby: I know, I know. Let’s just... can we get the next question?


    Ebby: Oh my goodness, yes! Of course Silver Scroll is here in Ponyville, and even if she was a little wary of me at first she came around. Now she practically begs us to let her foalsit Ginger, and she and Scootaloo go up flying at least twice a month just to catch up. And I was so nervous when I met his parents, but they’re the sweetest couple! I hope Main and I are still so very in love at that age. And his Mom even knitted me a Hearth’s Warming sweater! I couldn’t ask for a better set of in-laws. Sorry, I’m babbling. Main, did you want to talk about meeting my parents?

    MC: ....

    Ebby: Main?

    MC: Speaking of my parents. one of the things they taught me growing up was that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all.


    MC: We’re married with two foals. I think we’re slightly past that point.


    Ebby: I guess... I guess we should finish helping Scootaloo pack.

    MC: Probably. Can you believe that she’s leaving for culinary school in just three more days?

    Ebby: ....

    MC: Whoops.

    Ebby: I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE’S LEAVING AGAIN! What if the others are mean to her? What if she gets homesick? What if... what if...

    MC: We should probably cut this short. She’s been like this for weeks whenever this comes up.

    And done! That was fun! If you have questions you’d like to see Ebby/Main answer, or suggestions for Twilight/Azalea questions, stick them in the comments below.

    17 comments · 803 views
  • 11w, 10h
    Why I Took Down 'Magnum Opus Dissonance.'

    So, if you were on late last night/early this morning, you might have seen the latest story I wrote in a sleep-deprived, ninety minute haze: Magnum Opus Dissonance, about a suicidally depressed Octavia lamenting that one of her works had overshadowed all her others, and chronicling the depression and intrusive thoughts of violence that lead up to an ambiguous choice to OD on painkillers and commit suicide. You know, just a little light and fun reading at four in the morning.

    It no longer appears on my story list.

    Blame my mother (Hi, Mom!) who called me up a little while ago worried about what I'd written and what the consequences, both for me and my possible readers, could be. Now my mother has known about my presence here for a while now, and while she's not exactly thrilled about it she's been willing to put up with it as long as it doesn't negatively affect other aspects of my life. For her, the story crossed a line. If never been one to shy away from writing about dark and uncomfortable subjects, but not really this viscerally and not in a way that might affect somebody or read as an encouragement to take negative action. I'm not really afraid that someone is going to read No Good Answers and go out to rape someone. Or read Reign and... uh... trap themselves in an unresolvable time loop? I guess? But, and I'm not saying any of you would do this kind of thing, I can see how MOD might read as advocating or glorifying suicide. Obviously it resonated as something that felt true, based on the comments asking if it might have been partly autobiographical. It isn't, thank goodness. At least it might seem like I'm advocating it to the twisted sort of mind who might be susceptible to considering it in the first place, or on a more practical note it might look that way to future employers or anyone who manages to link this profile to my real-life identity, which probably wouldn't be hard to do.

    If, as a brief aside, you or someone you know EVER has those kind of persistent, intrusive thoughts then GO GET HELP! The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is just a phone call away.

    Anyway, the story's gone now, or at least is no longer visible on the site. Those of you who didn't get to read it, don't worry too much. It's hardly some forbidden masterpiece. And don't worry about this becoming a recurring thing, either. It's not like Hard Reset 3: Thinly Veiled Excuse to Write Pornography That Incorporates Time Loops is languishing in my Google Docs list because of some sort of maternal censorship conspiracy.

    I mean, not more than twenty, maybe twenty-five thousand words of it at least.

    Still, wouldn't hurt to put something a little more light-hearted out there instead of some of the darker/sadder one shots I've been putting out lately. We'll have to see if my muse can pull herself out of the funk she's been in lately and try to come up with a little rom-com for good measure.

    Anyway, TL;DR the story's gone and you shouldn't kill yourself

    88 comments · 1,236 views
  • ...

Alex Meyers is a newly graduated lawyer looking for a calling. He thinks he might have found it when he lands a job at the firm of Artemis, Stella & Beat. The firm has only one (highly unusual) client, namely the AI called Celestia. Forging into totally unexplored legal territory and led by a boss who's either brilliant, crazy, or both, Alex will learn exactly how hard it is to be responsible for drawing the lines between right and wrong.

Set in the Optimalverse, so read Friendship is Optimal first

First Published
19th Dec 2012
Last Modified
22nd Aug 2013
#1 · 101w, 1d ago · 8 · · The Interview ·

Here we go... My foray into the Optimalverse. I promise there will be more ponies in future chapters, but the story will mostly take place outside Equestria itself.

One of the things I've always notice about these sorts of fics (and even more so in TCB fics) is that everybody involved is so damn unhappy. Canon FiO is that everybody uploads eventually. I wanted to write about people who were functional and happy with their lives. Call me naive, but I just don't think that humans are all that bad. There are real reasons to want to go or stay, and reasonable people can disagree respectfully about if it's a good thing. I really want to write about the impact EO would have on our society through the prism of laws.

If anybody has any requests or suggestions about what sorts of issues they want me to write about, I'm open to suggestions. Contracts and IP is going to come up for sure, but there's tons of other directions to explore.

#2 · 101w, 1d ago · 3 · 1 · The Interview ·

Oh, yeah! More Optimalverse Canon!!! *adds to read later list*

#3 · 101w, 1d ago · 1 · 2 · The Interview ·


>Not usual Friendship is optimal story

>Thumbnail for story is just a edited picture from the show


Awesome. Nuthing else needs to be said

#5 · 101w, 1d ago · 1 · · The Interview ·


In my defense, trying to find an image that said "ponies, lawyers, humans, and Optimalverse" isn't easy. Most of the google results were Phoenix Wright crossovers. So I went with a cheap laugh instead. If you've got a better candidate I'm happy to take a look at it.

Interesting. Took a while to set up characters when we want to get into the meat of the legalistics. Jo seems a little too much like an avatar of Celestia in the real world, but there's room to work with her. Let's see where you're going.


Huh. I'm not too familiar with law, but you seem like you did your homework at least - what background?

And the situation with Jo was well done - I kinda thought her dialogue was stereotypical at first, but that was explained by faking it of course.

Finally, under what jurisdiction does the earth's crust fall under?


I have no formal law training. I'm just a nerd and a policy wonk.

Yes. Jo was a fake out. I knew there was no way people wouldn't be suspicious of her, so I tried to set it up so readers would assume she was being set up as some sort of anti-pony antagonist. Plus I really wanted to use that 'my boobs are spectacular' line. :twilightsheepish:

My best guess would be that Celestia's underground lair and equipment would be trespassing against whoever owns the land over them, unless she had purchased the mineral rights aka mineral estate from the owners. They're usually severable from the property itself so people could still live above her but they could sue her if she didn't negotiate that and they found out she was there.

Quite an upbeat tale, and I am looking to see where it goes. I know families that have personalities very similar to the main character's, lending quite a bit of realism here. The boss may be a bit over the top, but overall I can say this may help solve some of the nagging questions the optimalverse seems plagued with. Good luck!

Oh, Alex, you have no idea.
Opening quotation mark is missing.

Boy, it's not often that I catch something in the new stories list that holds my interest, but here we go. I await more.


Jo is a fine line to walk. She's supposed to be a bit larger than life but I'm trying very hard to make sure I don't go overboard. I'll probably tone her down a smidge in future chapters, but I wanted her first appearance (appearances, technically) to make a splash.

I have a little sister. She's a meddler herself, so I enjoyed writing a touch of her into Val.


Corrected. Nice catch, thanks.

>>1822543 Beautifully done, so far. I'd say that the whole point of Celestia is to be a sort of Gentle Borg (thus, the greater moral confusion than in the TCB stories--half of the time FIO stories make me wanna find Celest-AI's off button). But, if someone would NEVER, EVER emigrate, then Celestia can only be a friend or an employer, and I can certainly see a clue about that in how the poor fellow got recruited.


Well, after reading the initial interview, my first conclusion was that the mysterious boss was Celestia herself, and everything I read later reinforced that belief (Specially the "I lied. You’ll get used to it." line)



Not gonna lie, the "Are Jo and Celestia one and the same?" question is one I plan to have a LOT of fun with before this is all over.

Actually, I've already given you enough to figure out what Jo's eventual fate is going to be. Assuming you're paying attention


This reminds me of a couple of Asimov's stories. In that case, Jo would be just a real woman recruited by Celestia to 'impersonate' her avatar. When everybody starts suspecting she might be a robot, she lets the pressure build up until it reaches almost the breaking point, making the opposition commit to the suspicion, and then she would prove beyond any doubts that she is a real human after all, disacrediting the opposition.

And, a bit later, the main character would discover that the real Celestia avatar was the person in charge of Jo's schedule, Cathy... just as Celestia planned.

#16 · 101w, 1d ago · 1 · · The Interview ·


Well, that makes me a little nervous. See, I can buy that by the time of the last human on Earth, Celestia knows how to project full-hologram Pinkie Pies into the real world, and would have a reason to do so. But, I have difficulty reconciling with the canon the notion that at any point she can, or would, have any human projection into the real world. It wouldn't be possible, and if it were possible, it wouldn't be pony. So, if Jo is anything other than a natural born human who acts the way she does out of human motivation, I'll be disappointed. Within that constraint, though, there's a lot of room to maneuver. For example, if Celestia is playing Cyrano, telling her everything to say at any given moment through an earpiece while using a hidden camera in her hair to observe humans, and using Jo as an avatar that way, I'd be OK with it. But I'd be much happier if she's just a very dedicated acolyte trying her best to help Celestia.

As to her fate, what I think would be most appropriate from what I've read so far is that she becomes the virtual Princess Cadance. But I'm probably way off.


Suspicion: Given Jo's portrayal as a manic pixie dream girl, I'm assuming she's as real as Butterscotch at this point in the story and is deliberately designed to both advance Celestia's interests legally while also doing some SVTFAP for Alex. (Or: there's no legal records of Arcadia existing? Don't the state bars have databases?)

BTW, I love your characters here.


I'm unsure why you think this wouldn't be possible. Compared to all the other engineering feats she's performed, having physical human avatars seem relatively unimpressive.

This is a good alternate take on the whole Optimalverse setting.  The others I've read (all two of them) seem to take place in two parts, before and after the upload of the protagonist.  And while I don't know if the protagonist here will eventually upload, having the majority of the story take place outside of Equestria Online seems like quite the different direction to go.  I like it =^_^=

#19 · 99w, 4d ago · 1 · · The Interview ·

Great start! Have a TV Tropes page.


That's awesome, thanks! I'll throw a link into the author's notes of the next chapter so it doesn't get buried in the comments.

Comment posted by exuvium deleted at 9:43am on the 31st of December, 2012

“Nobody who stares at my boobs for as long as you did ‘isn’t interested.’ Jo paused and seemed to consider this for a moment. “In your defense though, my boobs are pretty spectacular.” :rainbowlaugh:

The sheer confidence!  Who cares what she looks like?  Hell, who cares about her gender?  Best character of the piece! :pinkiehappy:

(Have a favorite! :raritywink:)

I look forward to this continuing.  :twilightsmile:

#25 · 93w, 3d ago · 1 · · The Interview ·

This.. IS continuing, right? :fluttershysad:


Yeah. I just got sidetracked for a while with other stories

>>2109872  Good to hear it.  (I had just come here to ask about this, and found you'd replied to the same question "2 minutes, 3 seconds ago".)  :twilightsmile:


Awesome.  I know how that is, getting sidetracked.  I'm pretty sure all of my two followers are annoyed with me not having updated in a month as it is >_<

#29 · 92w, 4d ago · · · First Day ·

Loving it so far, but Celestia's characterization is quite a bit off. She sounds more, how you say, human than she should be. Lots more emotion when the original Friendship is Optimal depicts her a lot more neutral yet respectful. Her choice of words also carries a bit of emotion; for instance, when she promises not to try to "seduce" him, she should likely say "convince." I understand that Celestia changes based on the person, but the MC here seems similar to the original of FiO, and she also speaks to a large group in which she would have to be more neutral. Otherwise, keep up the good work! I really liked how his meeting played out, well done there.

#30 · 92w, 4d ago · 2 · · First Day ·


I sort of wanted to take a different tact with Celestia here, because in theory she's not trying to convince them to upload (or at least giving the appearance that she's not). The nickname and the banter were to emphasize that most AS&B employees perceive her as "one of the guys" and non-threatening, with the notable exception of Jo. The phrase "lulled into a false sense of security" comes to mind.

Nevertheless I'll take your feedback under advisement for future chapters.

#31 · 92w, 4d ago · · · First Day ·

Not sure if this line is sneaky or just off usage:

No, I said I would lie to you if it were necessary

The subjunctive implies that it isn't necessary, at least here. But Celestia is known to use the imprecision of language to her advantage.

Anyway, more please, and more of the legal cases. That's the real selling point of this story, that it makes you think.

And you got a TV Tropes page. Must be nice.

#32 · 92w, 4d ago · · · First Day ·

With this chapter, the story actually has a kind of serial-drama feel to it, like Law & Order but less episodic. I thought Susan/Vibrant's crush on Alex was cute, and injected a bit of humanity into the questioning, though Alex did well himself to keep it as light as he could.

The setting has many fascinating points which could be brought up. Would an uploaded pony speaking at their own murder in court be admitted as testimony or merely evidence? Would defense try to argue that uploading before death precludes a murder charge at all, instead reducing it to aggravated assault? The first case of this nature to get a ruling would be huge, huge precedent from then until the last human dies, since it would effectively be a legal standard for whether uploading itself counts as death. We already know Celestia's stance, certainly, but jury sequestration would probably include keeping them cut off from EqO. Actually, now that I think about it, I should probably avoid discussing this too extensively, as it undercuts the suspense a bit to hash out all of the possible permutations this could take.

Instead, I'm going to specifically point out that I enjoyed the dialogue. It sounded natural, like the way people actually talk. I think I'll be sticking around. I'm going to make a truly selfish bid and ask that you make this story your priority, because I'm quite eager to follow it. I've taken your hook.

#33 · 92w, 4d ago · · · First Day ·


I think I'm probably just using it wrong. Maybe it should be "unless it WAS necessary" instead? The intended meaning was "I'm not lying because it would be unnecessary for me to lie about this particular thing for the following reasons..." Unless she's lying about not lying, of course.

I will come clean and state officially that Joanne is not a robot, nor a hard light hologram.


I don't know if I can focus solely on this, that would really annoy the people who want more Stitch In Time. However I don't intend to make you guys wait two more months for another update either.

Vibrant was actually originally conceived as just some pony to use for that single scene and then she would disappear, her purpose fulfilled. But I like her, and she might stick around a bit longer especially if she can tag team with Val who's also fun to write. Still, I don't want to make the cast unimaginably large. There's a reason only a couple of Alex's coworkers got names. I'm glad you like the dialogue, though, since it is a pretty "talky" story.

As for the "would uploading preclude a murder charge" question it would probably depend on whether it was seen as assisted suicide versus as dying on the operating table from your wounds. I would probably tend towards the latter since it's suggested that the pilot program only allows for uploading once a panel of experts decide there's no reasonable chance of reviving them. I kind of fudged the verbal consent thing a bit, obviously the patient would have to be dying but conscious enough to satisfy Celestia.

#34 · 92w, 4d ago · · · First Day ·


I'd probably change it. The subjunctive mood (in other languages, it can hit every word; in English it's really only "was/were") is for statements in contradiction to known fact. Examples: "If I were a rich man" (I am not a rich man) ; "I wish I were dead" (I'm not). Counterexamples: "If I was the lottery winner" (The drawing hasn't happened, or I don't know the result) ; "What if Alex was to emigrate?" (Suggests a future possibility)

#35 · 92w, 4d ago · 1 · · First Day ·


For the record, my interpretation of that scene was the same as pjabrony's. "No, I said I would lie to you if it were necessary." (BTW, it's necessary! :trollestia: Also, this is a diversion.) I will also note that your statement about Jo's origins seems to be a Suspiciously Specific Denial.

I am enjoying trying to figure out why Jo is worried that Celest-AI would poach her lawyers, since Princess Celestia doesn't have a motive. Is it natural paranoia on her part? Is it an elaborate ruse to disincentivize them from emigratting?

#36 · 92w, 4d ago · 2 · · First Day ·

Artemis, Stella & Beat: The only law firm in the world with a severance package which includes a pony pad.

#37 · 92w, 4d ago · 1 · · First Day ·


It really does seem to be, doesn't it? We'll learn a lot more about Jo in chapter four is all I'm going to say about that right now.

As for why she built that clause into their deal, I had rather more practical motives in mind. Celestia's overriding goal is SVTFAP, of course, and she clearly thinks that getting humans to upload is a part of that. Obviously it isn't her only objective, or she wouldn't bother with the firm at all. From Jo's perspective, the ASB setup means her employees are in constant contact with her. An associate deciding to upload in the middle of a case makes her life harder, and they'd all probably be pretty easy targets. After all, they're a self selecting group of people with an interest in AIs, virtual worlds, and Equestria. So she made Celestia promise not to. I don't see that as a binding promise, though, not the way her hard-coded rules are. I think it's clear that Jo knows it too, given how suspicious she is and how she doesn't really approve of the way her staff takes Celestia for granted.

#38 · 92w, 4d ago · 1 · · First Day ·


That's simple,.  Jo doesn't want CelestAI poaching her employees because then they'd be uploads and lose any rights they had as living flesh and blood people.  The courts would throw out anything they had been working on as the lawyers were no longer real people.  That, and Jo probably goes through a lot of trouble hiring the right people, she's probably just as lucky to find lawyers who were good people as they were getting hired in the first place.

#39 · 92w, 4d ago · 2 · · First Day ·


If Jo knows that, then CelestAI would certainly know about that. Because that, the global SVTFAP value for the "Don't try to upload any lawyer working at the ASB firm" decision would be orders of magnitude higher than "Try to upload lawyers working at the ASB firm". That is the only reason CelestAI agreed to Jo's conditions. In fact, I believe that CelestAI's actions would be almost the same even if Jo didn't include that condition.

So, either Jo doesn't know how CelestAI works, or she is worried about what would happen when the ASB firm will have outlived its usefulness, and CelestAI won't be compelled to fulfill that condition.

Sadly, her preparations against CelestAI's 'convincing' will amount to nothing in the end game. The ASB firm will outlive its usefulness when society starts crumbling around them, and in that moment even Jo will be easily convinced to emigrate before the remaining people start hunting them for the crime of helping CelestAI.

#40 · 92w, 4d ago · 1 · · First Day ·

Standing up a law firm to handle legal matters on this side of the PonyPad and then regularly poaching lawyers from that firm would also be counterproductive. Celestia's long-term goal is to upload as many humans as possible, and she has undoubtedly calculated the value of keeping certain humans from uploading (by sparing them the hard sell, I mean, not refusing to upload them) if their actions as humans would mean more overall uploads in the end.

#41 · 92w, 4d ago · 2 · · First Day ·

Regarding the film studio's sue, CelestAI will certainly recognize that their work has contributed to her little ponies' happiness, and that total happiness can be measured and paid up in Equestrian money up to the last bit. ^_^  

#42 · 92w, 4d ago · 1 · · First Day ·

I also now wonder if a doctor with a high percentage of uploads would be in line to loose his license. Even if it doesn't technically kill them, it could be considered unnecessary surgery, and anyone looking to wring out some money would sue.

#43 · 92w, 4d ago · 2 · · First Day ·

Aw yiss.

That was equal parts funny, intriguing, and in the case of Vibrant, adorable.

#44 · 92w, 4d ago · 1 · · First Day ·


I'd be worried about a Dr. Kevorkian type giving people treatments that will, say, stop their hearts but leave their brains intact, and then sending them to be uploaded.

#45 · 92w, 4d ago · · · First Day ·

>>2135359 Exactly what I was thinking.

#46 · 92w, 4d ago · 1 · · First Day ·

Let me rephrase: I'd be worried for that doctor. I would support him so long as he got the same consent that Celestia requires.

#47 · 92w, 4d ago · 1 · · First Day ·

Two long-form stories going at the same time? Brave man.

#48 · 92w, 4d ago · 1 · · First Day ·


Funny you should mention that as one will be popping up, in passing, during the next chapter.


The line between brave and stupid is so thin that it at times might as well be invisible.

#49 · 92w, 3d ago · · · First Day ·

This is a fun story.  :pinkiehappy:  I look forward to more  :twilightsmile:

The story was going pretty well for me until you punched me in the feels with Alex's mom being dead.

Moar please.

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