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  • T The Terrifying Prospect of Swans in Love

    Lovers have their reasons. To Twilight Sparkle, the reasons she loves Celestia are perfectly obvious. And to Princess Celestia the reasons why she can't love Twilight back are equally obvious.
    10,638 words · 10,906 views  ·  1,425  ·  24 · sex
  • E Twilight Sparkle vs The Equestrian Library Association

    To keep her job at the library, Twilight Sparkle must face her greatest challege, one which will push her very sanity to the breaking point. No, not the Cosmic Horror stirring in the dreamvoid between universes, worse: Library Patrons.
    19,680 words · 4,849 views  ·  501  ·  8
  • E In Search of Lost Friends (Who Aren't Actually Lost)

    Realizing her friends might someday move away, Twilight resolves to have AS MUCH FUN AS POSSIBLE.
    20,836 words · 1,166 views  ·  78  ·  0
  • E The Party at the End of Forever

    There is a Party that is every party. One day, it wanted a friend.
    1,553 words · 472 views  ·  52  ·  0
  • E The Old Mare's Speech

    Mayor Mare's speech, in honor of Ponyville's 100th Anniversary, is perfect--sure to win her the empty seat on the Canterlot Council, and get her out of this hick town. There's just one problem: Granny Smith is giving her introduction.
    1,989 words · 459 views  ·  47  ·  0
  • T Good Cop, Ghost Cop

    Sheriff B. T. Book is a by-the-book kind of cop. His grandfather is a loose cannon, and also technically dead. Together, nothing can stop them: not criminals, not Mayor Mare, and certainly not the possibility of massive colateral damage to Ponyville.
    3,293 words · 1,057 views  ·  77  ·  2
  • T Mobile Steed Gunshy

    Friendship Century 0079. The Equestrian Federation flagship White Stable is pinned down in enemy territory. Their only hope: the prototype Mobile Steed, Gundam, and its pilot's incredible abilities. If she'd only stop crying.
    1,665 words · 395 views  ·  23  ·  3

Blog Posts42

  • 18w, 1d
    The Travels of A Hat

    So I guess I am going to San Diego Comic Con in about 10 days?  Just for Sunday (7/27), but still.  Any thoughts/suggestions/must see events or people anyone would like to suggest?  I've been too intimidated to even look at the programming because I've been told that the only way to get into any panel is to line up several hours in advance.  I should really change that.  Oh, and for that matter, anyone else going to be there?

    Story status update:  I've decided that part of my issue getting stuff written is jumping around between projects without seeing one thing through to completion. When I decided to finish TerrorSwans it only took a few weeks to do the necessary writing and editing despite having it cluttering up my head for almost 2 years.

    Unfortunately, I have projects that need my attention more than ELA.  In fact shortly after my last post about how I was going back to work on ELA I got handed a pretty cool writing opportunity that has/will absolutely consume a lot of time and energy if I'm going to do it well enough to actually take advantage of it AS an opportunity.  I'm not scrapping my intention to update ELA by the end of the summer though, because I hope to knock out some of this stuff over the next few weeks (even though travel disrupts the heck out of me and I've just been out of town for a week and a half and then I'm leaving again and then back for like a week and then leaving AGAIN).  However, I may need to borrow the literal definition of summer as ending in late September, not the "everyone goes back to school" end of summer.

    Random poll while I'm on the topic: given the choice, would people rather wait longer for me to release chapter 3 of ELA and have chapter 4 be about ready to go (so going up within a week of 3), or have me release chapter 3 as soon as I'm satisfied with it and just not do that awful resting on my laurels crap I do with completed chapters (but probably be waiting a bit longer anyway)?

    5 comments · 142 views
  • 22w, 3d
    Summer and the Curse of Chapter 2

    No, that's not the title of my new middle-grade novel (although maybe it should be, it's kind of a great title).

    I promised an explanation for why I've been so absent from FimFic since TerrorSwans went up, and this seemed like as good a time as any to finally give one.  It's not a terribly interesting story though, so to make brief of it:  basically the past few months have been a slog through the wonderful world of job hunting with absolutely no success, and I've been kind of bummed out and stressed over my finances.

    Before anyone worries:  I'm fine and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.  But it has had an impact on my free time and mostly on my mood, which has had an impact on my writing.

    However!  A great writer cannot let his emotions or money troubles stop him from creating!  And even I have a limit of like, four or five months of inactivity before shame compels me to do something about it (to be fair, non-pony projects got some attention in that time).

    On which note—enough depressing talk!  It's summer!  And it's time to do some clearing house, I think.  (Okay fine, that would normally be Spring.  I'm still a bit lethargic from the ENDLESS COLDTIMES)

    You may have noticed that I tend to take long (read: indefinite) hiatuses after the 2nd chapter of multi-part fics.  Without going into too much detail, it's partly because my work ethic stinks, and it's partly because I write using 4-act structure, with chapters roughly corresponding to acts, and act 3 is the nightmare rock against which writers smash themselves and drown.  Okay, mild exaggeration, but it IS the point at which you have to start exercising a lot of control and pulling all of your plot threads together to build up towards a climax, and it's the point at which any and all issues with your plotting and setup become painfully obvious if you haven't been very careful.  So it can be a little disheartening compared to the fun and freedom of the first two acts/chapters. (Also a very strong argument for writing a whole story before publishing so you can actually go back and edit if necessary)

    Nevertheless, it is Summer.  And I think of Twilight Sparkle vs the Equestrian Library Association as a “Summer” story—sort of the blockbuster of my fics.  And I don't just say that because Twilight explodes at the end.

    Not ready to make any promises yet, but the cranks of progress are turning again, and I am setting myself a goal to get something out before Summer's end.  I hope you'll all put up with my vagueness but uh... well, deadlines on other projects and the job hunt continue, and I can only fix so many issues with my life at a time.

    I hope to be back soon with good news.  Stay tuned and stay cool you crazy cats.

    5 comments · 173 views
  • 24w, 5d
    A Brief Notice on the Arrival of Lady Grey's Latest Work

    Gentle Readers,

    It is with great excitement than I write to inform you that our dear friend Lady Grey has once again chosen to grace us with her pen.  The subject of her latest discourse, a work with the charming title (suggested by yours truly) of A Good Librarian Can Find the Right Answer, is the relocation of a small-town librarian to the job of her dreams, at the Canterlot Royal Archive. However, upon her arrival, she soon finds herself occupied with much more than she bargained for!  "How delightfully unexpected!" you say?  Sayest I, then take a firm grip of thy hat, friend, for in comparison to what will be, the scenes here depicted are but a trifle.

    And let not the "incomplete" status concern you--friend though she is, I intend to hound Lady Grey like the proverbial Cerberus (that is to say, like a dog of Hades, multiplied by three) to ensure the timely continuance of this tale, the conclusion of which I await with as much eagerness as I am sure you now do as well.

    In this matter, and in others, I remain,

    Your Servant &c,

    Fedora Mask

    3 comments · 124 views
  • 26w, 2d
    Finalysis, Season 4 Edition

    Hey all, sorry to be so dead around here.  There are reasons, although they are not especially interesting—but I will describe them in a blog post to be made in a day or so.

    First, let's talk the season 4 pony finale!  Since, you know, the entire site hasn't been doing that for a whole week+ already.  Spoilers ahoy!

    So I have mixed feelings about this finale, or I suppose I should say I really liked it but with reservations.  I'll see if I can go in order—making this sort of a... deadblog?  Zombieblog?  (I should note: I binged to catch up for the finale because I was falling behind pretty severely for most of the second half of the show, which is one reason why I haven't been terribly active lately)

    I'm glad that the show chose to address that Twilight's life doesn't really seem to have changed since she was made a princess, but at the same time it's sort of re-raised all of the issues I had with the initial decision to princessify her.  Having decided that “Princess” is a title that can be earned/given, I do think it's good that the show remains firmly in the camp that “actually being a princess means that you have an extra large responsibility to the world,” rather than glamorize the royal perks and privileges.  But I maintain that if you make being a Princess all about having duties it kind of makes it difficult to have Twilight participate in the slice of life stuff that makes up like, 85% of the show.

    Moving on, I seriously expected whatever the foreign dignitaries were there to discuss would actually matter, but it turned out to never be mentioned again (maybe in Season 5? I would really like to see a trip to an actual different country, not just the South American jungle/frontiersville down the block).  Now I am given to suspect that the dignitaries were actually just popping in for a quick hello, and Luna, Celestia, and Cadence kept them over while they got their story straight about why Twilight wasn't allowed in the meeting (and practiced singing it in harmony).

    Speaking of!  The song excited me and then actually bored me rather quickly.  I think it needed more musical variation.  I really liked the lyrics for the first verse when Twilight was singing but then it seemed a bit more forced after that—though I haven't given it another listen.  Luna singing was fabulous, though.  And I'm happy to have a Celestia song that isn't paradoxically really good and also an embodiment of everything that frustrated me about season 3.

    And then there's Tirek!  Best villain introduction since Discord?  I don't know, but once again McCarthy gave us a really threatening villain who pushed the story forward and the characters to the point of desperation, which is something she's good at (Sombra was a misstep in that he should have basically been faceless corruption like the thorns were in the S4 opener—I have no idea what the deal was with Sunset Shimmer though).  I confess I thought Tirek was way creepier when he was still in his cloak, and based on his initial growth spurt I had expected him to gain wings or creepy extra limbs or something, but I guess if you're reviving a Gen 1 villain you're going to be somewhat bound by 80s character designs (of which, SO MUCH MORE later).  It was definitely a cool nod to the show's history.

    The decision to send Discord after Tirek made a ton of sense and I'm glad that this episode decided to utilize him in a logical way.  I also really liked Tirek's attempt to seduce Discord to the dark side—but I really expected Discord to be playing him?  I mean Discord's flaw has basically always been pride, but this was more stupidity.  I guess my issue is actually with the scene where Tirek hands Discord his medallion and Discord takes this as a sign he can trust the scary power-hungry magic thief.  Clearly they needed the scene where Twilight still frees Discord despite his betrayal—and to be fair, if Discord was playing a long game that becomes more of a story about trusting Discord than about Twilight doing her duty.  Still I was kind of expecting him to hastily hide the window that revealed Twilight's existence to Tirek (alternatively—if Celestia's whole plan was reliant on Tirek not knowing Twilight existed, why did nobody smash that window before he showed up?).

    Speaking of which!  Great episode breaks are also something McCarthy does well in 2-parters, and “We have to get rid of our magic,” is totally on par with “I'm so sorry!” / “You will be.”  Also continuing the tradition of pony 2-parters being "a ton of setup" followed by "a ton of action," but it seems to work out pretty well here (as it usually does).

    To jump back for a second—I feel like the show sort of treated Discord reading the mane six's diary as a violation, but they were actually writing it with the understanding that other ponies would read it at some point.  It was not a bad way to bring the “Digimon Crest” episodes together and explicitly tie them to the box (which would have been a lot more mysterious if “rainbow power ponies” hadn't been advertised everywhere since about halfway through the season... oh well).  However, when you straight-up say how the other characters embody their elements, it really does draw your attention to the fact that “magic” is not actually a virtue, or even a personality trait, despite what the title of the show says (although I suppose that may be the point—Twilight actually chooses the “friendship” part of “friendship is magic” to fulfill her element).

    And then of course we get to the part where The Magic is Quadrupled as the memes would have it—which was a pretty badly needed tension breaker, considering just how dire things have gotten for our heroes.  It was also just a really funny set of scenes in general, which is good, because Twilight was not a dork nearly enough this season.  

    I feel like—as in the Crystal Empire eps—there's an issue where Celestia insists to Twilight that leaving her friends out of the loop is necessary, and Twilight goes along with it as if she hasn't learned by this point that she basically needs her friends to use anything like her full potential.  I could have used a scene where she decides to tell them what's going on—since I mean, Tirek was not going to randomly pick them to interrogate unless he already had a pretty good idea they were his biggest remaining threat, so I'm not sure why them knowing puts them at risk other than them wanting to protect Twilight, which they would anyway.  That, and Celestia's plan badly needed some sort of counterattack operation, because “we all lose our powers and Twilight goes into hiding” is not a long term solution.  Or a solution, full stop.  Maybe just an acknowledgment that Celestia was counting on Twilight to figure out a strategy?  It is sort of the logical extension of "Twilight, I need you and your friends to go do X and save Equestria," for Celestia to finally just go "Here, Twilight, have my powers and you figure it out."

    Anyway, Discord betrays the mane six and Tirek is big and his voice is more generic villain-boom and less scary, AND THEN—


    So I know much ink has been spilled on the subject but I'm really actually sad about that.  I mean I've written stuff from that tree's point of view!  This is like, even if Twilight wins in Twilight vs the ELA it is now officially a tragedy because she loses her home anyway (well, it would be if I was bothering to place that fic within the canon timeline).

    And the books! From "Trade Ya!"  She saved those books because she decided they were important reminders of how she had learned and grown!

    Anyway that brings me to another large hangup I have about the finale.  The fight scene that ensues between Twilight and Tirek is... well it's very spectacular but in some ways it felt to me like the kind of the thing the fandom would create and maybe the show shouldn't.  I don't mean that to disparage the fandom per se, but in its DBZ-ishness the fight felt a little wrong to me.  I thought about it for a while—it is more violent than ponies has ever been in the past, certainly.  I know that friendship lasers and exploding forcefields can be classified as a kind of violence, so perhaps pretending that ponies really maintained an anti-violence stance before this is disingenuous, but even if you look at something like A Canterlot Wedding, the fight there is very cartoony and silly and referencing The Powerpuff Girls.  This one was, as I said, more of a DBZ fight and trying to be very action-y and intense.  

    But what I think it really is, is it's the first time a hoof is raised in anger in the show by one of our heroes.  And I think it was earned, but I also think that violates something in the spirit of the show.  Obviously, I am not opposed to the idea in and of itself, because I'm writing like the angriest Twilight ever for Twilight vs the ELA, and she certainly has some heads to knock together before that story ends.  But I feel like it breaks the show's character to some extent to ever treat violence as something that person could enter into willingly, with the sort of borderline eagerness to inflict pain that comes with anger?  I suppose the finale maintains that using violence like that doesn't work, though I would note that in past instances the ponies have always lost violent confrontations and here Twilight fights Tirek to a standstill.  Anyway, that's what I mean by feeling like a fan production, because "what if the show had a different tone?" is one of those questions that fanworks can handily explore.

    Incidentally, I was sort of lost for an explanation as to why Tirek couldn't just steal Twilight's magic during that fight.  Sheer scale or something?  I mean any other time someone attacks him with magic it seems to basically fizzle and he just eats them, so why even a superpowered Twilight could actually inflict harm on him with magic was sort of lost on me.

    Sidenote: I think the show really missed an opportunity when Tirek ate Discord's magic and it behaved exactly like him eating any other magic source.  The episode made a big deal out of Discord's powers being different from anything ponies have—I mean it's like, the raw power of chaos that Tirek just munched on.  Even just making his powers more “chaotic” in nature (although I would have liked that to be the scheme—that Tirek couldn't control Discord's power and that made him vulnerable somehow).

    So then we get rainbow ponies and god those designs were painful and gaudy.  I think Rainbow Dash's was the most 80s you could possibly get without adding eyeliner.  I would like to reiterate that whoever is doing the concept designs for ponies lately needs some color coordination lessons.  They also stayed Rainbow-ified just slightly too long for my tastes but I am (as we all are) very grateful it was a powerup and not a permanent change.  I mean, considering that the animators used to forget AJ's freckles when she was running, I kind of assumed that nobody was chomping at the bit (to use an appropriate metaphor) to cover the mane six in tons of miniature cutie marks and other obnoxious detailing.  

    However, the element-keys were awesome and I look forward to blowing too much money on replicas of them at some future convention.

    The rainbow song was okay but mostly made me think of Skittles commercials. OH! But seriously they blew it by not having Twilight present to restore Celestia, Luna, and Cadence's powers.  That would have been so emotionally satisfying after all the time this finale spent discussing how Twilight fits in with the other alicorns.  (Also I could probably have found a way to shipping goggles Twilight restoring Celestia's power, just saying...)

    Incidentally, it would have been interesting if Tirek only stole “magic”-magic, i.e. he only preyed on unicorns or alicorns.  But that would have been a very different story.  More world-buildy and interested in societal consequences perhaps than “oh no an evil dude is conquering everything!”  Somebody write that and I'll put it in my read later list for like a year without actually reading it ('cause that's just how I roll).

    And then Twilight and her friends got a LITERAL Hall of Friendship™ with like thrones and everything (it was even made of crystal!).  Does this mean that the entirety of Season 5 is going to be the mane six addressing bureaucratic friendship problems and basically the show will become The Wisdom of the Gnomes?  (I have to admit, my response to Twi being made princess was to figure she would be Princess of Friendship and have to like, settle friendship problems for everyone everywhere in Equestria including kids bickering like “SHE STOLE MY CRAYON” and it just being the most frustrating thing ever)

    Anyway as reluctant as I am about Twilight being officially moved over into “Princess with actual princessly duties” territory, I really appreciate that the show is essentially “upgrading” her friends in the same way, and making them part of her life as a princess.  Whatever they do with Season 5 it at least appears that they are not going to inherently separate what Twilight is doing from what everyone else does (though to be fair, Twilight does get all the plot episodes and not many of the slice of life episodes since about season 2).  I mean certainly the title “Twilight's Kingdom” was cause for concern that they might put Twilight on a shiny rainbow-colored bus and have her leave Ponyville and therefore not really participate in the normal goings on of her firends' lives, so it's a relief that she's staying.

    I'm still sad about the tree, and no number of built-in-defiance-of-permit-and-zoning-laws Halls of Friendship™ can really fill that gap.  However, I have a reasonable assumption that Twilight's new home will be the main subject of episode 3 of season 5, given the pattern established in the past (eps 1 & 2 are the big exciting opening, 3 addresses the new status quo, except in season 3 which was weird in general).  And I expect the result of that will either be somehow regrowing the library or her learning to move on.  I'd really like the former, but I'll be honest, the fact that the Hall of Friendship™ is clearly tree-themed probably means we're not getting that (though it is also thematic with the Tree of Harmony, so I won't rule it out entirely).

    Or maybe they never meant for Twilight to live there at all?  It does feel more like a courtroom/place of business than a residence, and you'd need to staff a “castle” with like, servants and guards and stuff, and that doesn't really feel like Twilight (that, and the mane six's homes are often explored in episodes, but "castles" in the show we have usually focused on their public meeting spaces, so they don't really feel home-y).  I guess we'll see—in a way, it's the same question we've been asking since Magical Mystery Cure: “So now that Twilight is a Princess, what's changed?”  Season 4 was kind of a prolonged non-answer to that question which has left Season 5 to actually answer it.  And so, naturally, we have an extra long hiatus!  

    But in the end, I quite liked the finale.  I think it's somewhere below “Princess Twilight” and “The Return of Harmony” but above “A Canterlot Wedding” and the pilot, which I group together 2-parters (with “The Crystal Empire” episodes below that and “Magical Mystery Cure” at the bottom).  The top tier being the “great” class, I think this makes “Twilight's Kingdom” the “quite good but not amazing” class.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I am going to go hug a fondly-remembered book to a tree.

    6 comments · 146 views
  • 38w, 6d
    What Makes a Good Story

    But first, a quote, from the musical 1776:

    Oh, Abigail! Abigail--I have such a desire to knock heads together.

    That's John Adams expressing his eternally-resonant frustration with Congress, but I can't help feeling similarly whenever I hear someone who aims to be an arbiter of good taste on this site talk about "what makes a good story."

    Before I get any further in, let me say that I don't write this post with the intention of ruffling feathers. I don't really want to call anybody out in particular or accuse them of mucking up the conversation about story quality--it's our conversation as a community, and we're all responsible for it. However, it's a pet peeve of mine, and it comes back up any time a new group or individual appears on the site and begins to weigh in on the issue of what defines the great stories from the dreck. In fact, many of these people actually hold more nuanced views of the subject than emerge in documents like the Royal Guard's Reviewing Omnibus, which, as the founders have pointed out, is not really meant as a prescription of "what makes a great story," but as a transparent set of guidelines for what they look for, and how to edit stories up to their standards.

    The problem is this: nobody really has a formula for what makes a great story. Obviously if it were possible to draw one up, the scene in Gulliver's Travels in which a scientist uses a word-randomizer to create books as a way of "democratizing" writing (so that anyone can write brilliantly without needing any special intelligence or knowledge of their topic) wouldn't be nearly so funny as it is. I mean, that parallel isn't perfect, but in general we humans find the notion that you can codify what makes art great to be pretty laughable.

    In large part, the reason is that art is a subjective experience. To a person who has seen a hundred films noir, an "average" film noir, one that doesn't stand out from the crowd, is filed away as mediocre. To someone who had only ever seen slapstick comedies, it would be revolutionary. And that's just the most obvious way in which subjectivity plays a role in any person's appreciation of art. Because what makes any piece of art, even a pony fanfic, great is as unique as the person who created it and as specific as the person who enjoys it.

    Of course there are ways to combat that subjectivity--having a diverse group of people whose opinions are weighed against each other, for instance, or making sure that you are educated about the background a given story is coming out of, so that you can see if it's unique amongst its peers. There are also people who try to train themselves to see beyond their personal taste into whether even a story they dislike still possesses that spark of greatness--to see whether it might be great to other people.

    That's an incredibly difficult skill--and, I'd wager, one many people never even feel the urge to develop.

    Which brings us to my old boss. I was fortunate to attend Kenyon College (which I say not to brag, but because I'll be fascinated if anyone's even heard of it), home to one of the oldest and more prestigious literary journals in the US, The Kenyon Review. The Review offered students at the college a great and fairly unique opportunity: to, as undergrads, work for the journal as associates. Most of the work involved reading what are called "slush pile" submissions--stories, poems, and nonfiction pieces that authors submitted without having any previous relationship to the journal (i.e. having already been published in it) or being asked by an editor specifically to contribute something. We associates read these submissions and had a choice between eliminating them from the pile and passing them up to the actual editors of the journal for more rigorous consideration.

    Obviously, with limited printing space and a prestigious name, the Review got WAY more submissions than it would ever have room to print, so most things had to be thrown out. And this wasn't too difficult: it turns out that if you ever want to feel good about your writing, one of the best ways is to look at the stuff that would-be professional authors think is their best work. We got stories with plots and characters thinner than the paper they weren't going to be printed on (the whole thing is done online these days), stories which didn't follow submission guidelines, with spelling and grammatical errors... Really, the decision to throw out many of the things we read was not a hard one.

    But then, sometimes, out of the slush, you got a story that was totally okay. And, sitting in a pile of slush, okay looks pretty darn good. So what do you do with that?

    The head editor of the magazine had a simple rule for us--there were three things a story should demonstrate in order to be considered: Delight, Surprise, and Mastery. That was it. And yet, if you really thought about it, it covered almost everything.

    By delight, he meant that a story must provide pleasure in reading--whether the pleasure of catharsis (the Review is a "serious" literary journal, so it was not exactly big on "happy" stories), or of reading great prose. Whether it was the joy of feeling like you could step outside yourself and into the characters or the sinking realization that the ugliness in a story might reflect an ugliness in your own life. The stories we wanted to print were the kinds of stories that affected you deeply, that, when you read them, provoked those emotions that are why we read in the first place.

    By surprise, he meant that a story must somehow feel fresh. It can't be a predictable tale with predictable characters in predictable prose. Something had to shake up our sense of where things were going--something had to feel like it had never been done before, even if there are only [insert some number between 2 and 25, or 600-odd if you're the fairytale classification system] plots in the world.

    And by mastery, he meant that the story had to feel like the writer was always in control. It had to know what expectations in created in you and play them appropriately. It had to convince you that the people and places you were reading about were real--or, if they were not real, that they spoke to reality all the same. As you read, you had to feel like the author wasn't lucking into things. The author had to sell themselves to you through their words, to make you trust them (or deliberately make you mistrust them).

    Those criteria were greatly useful in weeding out stories that were merely "okay." And, in fact, in my whole time as an associate, I only passed up a few stories, and never one that was chosen for publication (which was a rare honor, actually--I don't think I knew anyone who picked a winner).

    Nevertheless, this is a criteria that the editor of the journal created, AS someone who needed to go through huge numbers of stories and find the few that were really special. It was an attempt to create some very simple principles that let college students think about the stories they were reading, to give us guidance in figuring out what made a story important or powerful. It was an attempt to counter the bias of personal taste.

    And what makes this style of judging great is how broad it is. We didn't talk about character, or setting, or dialogue, or prose style. When we talked about a what made a good story, we talked about the effect it had on us as readers. That immeasurable quality that ultimately defines whether we love or hate or are indifferent to a story.

    That's what people read for.

    More to the point, that's also what people write for. I don't add details to Equestrian society (...ever... but if I did it wouldn't be) so that people will be impressed with my imagination; I don't write jokes or metaphors so that people will think I'm clever. I write so that people will laugh, or cry, or stop and think. (Although if I come out of it looking clever I'm not complaining...)

    Setting, character, plot, strong dialogue, powerful prose that's free from cliche... these aren't actually the END of a story but the TOOLS you use. The end of a piece of art is to connect with an audience. Somehow, in some way. And it's hard to do that without those things: if your prose is clunky and your characters feel flat and your setting is boring and lifeless, yeah, most people don't get sucked in--they won't feel anything but boredom or annoyance. But when we talk about these things as if they are the checklist that make stories special, I think we run the risk of forgetting that what attaches us to stories is the mental and emotional experience of delving into them. The sensation of reading words and thoughts that we would never think--or of finding things we HAVE thought suddenly given life in a way we wouldn't expect.

    In a way, it's an incredibly high standard. And it's harder to aim for than "my dialogue should be revealing character AND advancing plot at the same time in order to be really effective." But it's the standard that matters in the end, in a way that technical proficiency just doesn't. And I don't say this as someone who thinks ponyfic or even media content in general needs to aspire to HIGH ART. I think making someone shoot milk out their nose is as valid a goal as making someone contemplate the transience of life. I love craft. I think craft is important to talk about.

    But craft for its own sake is a distraction--and the more prescriptive you are about it, the more you discourage people from breaking the rules. In the end, it's the experience you're giving your audience that a writer needs to think about, and it's the experience that you have AS an audience that a reader ought to care about. The rules, such as they are, are just guideposts along the way to thinking about that--and while many of them are useful, I think our conversation lacks that final piece, that they are only a means to an end.

    I guess what I'm really saying is I think we need two separate conversations. We need to talk about how stories are put together and how they create great characters and moments and such, yes. But we also need to talk about what makes stories powerful, what makes them stick, how they make us feel and why that makes us love them.

    And maybe to start, it would help to think a little about delight, surprise, and mastery.

    So what are your thoughts? Anyone think I'm totally wrong here? Want to step in and defend the way people on the site define good stories (again, I don't mean to pick on The Royal Guard in particular. They're doing a pretty cool thing, I just don't really like the setup of their reviewing guidelines, and it's reflective of a bigger issue I have)? There's certainly a case to be made that a lot of writers on this site are at a stage in their journey where it might be more important for them to learn just the rules as opposed to the reasons underlying the rules... but I've never been a fan of handing down rules without explaining them thoroughly, heh.

    Anyway, I look forward to comments from the couple of you who didn't get bored and quit 2 paragraphs into this post!

    21 comments · 241 views
  • ...

Love doesn't always last forever.  And sometimes it can crumble so spectacularly that you never want to see or speak to the other person again.

Celestia was perfectly content with that.  But when Twilight Sparkle suddenly appears at the palace in Canterlot, after a century of silence, she has no choice but to talk to her.

Politely, of course.  Always politely.

*Credit and many thanks go to littlerobotbird for the concept and editing of the cover art.  As near as I can tell, the original picture is Jykinturah's work, but the source post seems to be gone.*

First Published
6th Feb 2013
Last Modified
6th Feb 2013
#1 · 93w, 2d ago · 20 · ·

Hmm... this certainly is a different story.  Very few i've seen, have covered interactions from an old relationship that's ended badly.  Still, it didn't end as bad as my mind had prepared for.

Have a fave and a thumb, you've earned them.

#2 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

This... Now this is sad.

#3 · 93w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

really strong dialogue and a fantastic story for those who've read too many twilestia ships

#4 · 93w, 2d ago · 14 · ·

Agreed. Most stories focus on the start of the relationship, rather then way down the line.

A moustache to you good sir! :moustache:

#5 · 93w, 2d ago · 6 · ·

Everyone brings up the age thing. To be honest, I don't really get it. Apparently Celestia's body never ages, and maturity of the mental sort is acquired early on (just honed as time progresses). Surely an "of age" Twilight should be allowed to court/be courted by Celestia. Maybe it's just me, I have gone through life trusting everyone and accepting every ... Most things.

Story: I see the sad tag, and I respect it. I wish there was a "Bittersweet" tag, or something. Well done.

#6 · 93w, 2d ago · 6 · 2 ·

I loved it, and at the same time disliked it. (tho I faved it fo sho) Mainly because it pokes my feels to see a Twilestia ship end badly. I sorta wanted Celestia to ask Twilight to come back, or at least want to ask her to come back. A part of me hopes that if Twilight goes through with dying then Celestia goes into a deep bout of depression or something. After all, she drove Twilight away.  

#7 · 93w, 2d ago · 8 · ·

>>2082396  Thanks!  I would be okay with a "bittersweet" tag for this story, but honestly I think I would prefer a drama tag.  For stories whose main goal is dramatic intensity, intensity of emotion, etc., without those emotions necessarily being about making the reader feel sad.  For my money it could replace Tragedy, since Tragedy is about how a story progresses/ends, and not a descriptor of tone like comedy/sad or a description of what type of events a story contains, like romance or adventure.  And who wants to give away their ending in a tag (which I sorta feel like bittersweet would do too)?

As far as the age thing goes--personally it's not the age difference that concerns me.  As... some fic or other once put it, "What, is Celestia supposed to find someone her own age to be with?"  Although a great difference in experience and background can make romance across generations hard.  Celestia probably knows jokes that stopped making sense before anyone alive was conceived.

But what I actually think is problematic is the transition of the relationship from 7-year-old mentee / adult mentor to an equal romantic relationship.  Celestia and Twi probably played kiddie games and suchlike.  That sort of thing could really foul up Celestia's ability to see Twilight as an adult, even if she wanted to.  But Celestia also has a lot of experience seeing a pony's whole life pass, so... *shrugs*  It's doable for sure, but I mean, imagine dating someone you knew back when they were five and you were fifteen, and then multiply that awkwardness by a bunch.

Of course, I'm of the opinion that while ships might be cute for the reasons that they work, they're interesting for the reasons they shouldn't work, but do anyway.

#8 · 93w, 2d ago · 2 · ·


God I like you already. You argue so many good points for that ship. I'll admit, Twilestia is a special ship for me in the fact that it's using the original meaning of "ship". Normally people assume it to be a wholly romantic thing (it almost is). I use it to refer to an 'exploration of a relationship between two characters'. Celestia as Twilight's lover is, I'll admit, OTP for me. However, those teary-eyed exchanges between an old/immortal Twilight... They absolutely kill me inside. The mentor/student relationship they have is just too sacred. Nine times out of ten, that's the number one barrier between a romantic relationship between them. Getting past that is how I judge the Twilestia stories mostly.

This turned into me ranting about my opinion. I started typing with the intent to agree with you. It would appear I'm just too human to do that!

Celestia and Twi probably played kiddie games and suchlike.  That sort of thing could really foul up Celestia's ability to see Twilight as an adult, even if she wanted to.

Agreed. That's why I actually prefer 'Momlestia' where she's her mother figure. (not necessarily her mother, but you get the idea, ya? Even though that is still acceptable.)

Of course, I'm of the opinion that while ships might be cute for the reasons that they work, they're interesting for the reasons they shouldn't work, but do anyway.

See the first line in this post. I like you. I can never explain what I think, simply because my brain doesn't think in words. But THAT right there is the line of reasoning I've been looking for for a long time.

#9 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

Dramatic, a little depressin to be honest. But the endin, that's jus sweet. This is my favorite kind of ship, no matter who they are, the ones that can show adversity, understanding, a resolve to make things right. I find myself wanting to know what happened in greater detail. And maybe I missed it, but why spike would be pissed at twi. This short piece of writin is what makes me love this site and all the brony community. Keep on writin Hoss, you do it well

#10 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

This is quiet great, this story has enough to make sense of the main themes, but some stuff are still open ended and vague enough for you to continue writing in this "universe" if you decide so, and i hope you do one day. :pinkiehappy:

#11 · 93w, 2d ago · 4 · 1 ·

>>2082498 this story works as a Tragedy. It explores Twilight and Celestia's flaws bringing them apart in a linear way by implication, not by actual description in story. But a character (or characters) who are otherwise happy having the things they loved destroyed by a singular flaw in their personality (Twilight's sensitivity, Celestia's self-sacrificing) is tragedy by definition.

>>2082498 I think that the playing childhood games thing together just makes their relationship stronger, not weaker. They both know each other at a very intuitive level. As for equal footing, a lot of stories forget Twilight's contributions to Equestria include things Celestia couldn't do for her own subjects. She saved the Crystal Empire where Celestia saw it vanish for a thousand years, she redeemed Luna where Celestia trapped her on the moon and beat Discord in a day where it took Celestia years (admittedly with some help from her mentor, but still). I think Celestia sees herself as inferior to Twilight in character if not in experience, something that certain stories on this site ( Colloquium, Composure and Eternal in particular) touch on quite nicely. Not only that, but Twilight is a submissive pony by default, so I imagine most relationships with her would seem unequal between her and her partner.  

#12 · 93w, 2d ago · 8 · ·

The story's good but the final lines are absolutely fantastic!


“So that's it, huh?  A chance to talk to Spike and a few words of wisdom from my old teacher, and I'm supposed to face eternity?”

“Eternity?  No.  But how about tomorrow?”

#13 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

It was a pleasure pre-reading this for you, and even better to see it uploaded!

#14 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

Very nice you have my fav and upvote

#15 · 93w, 2d ago · 5 · ·

Brilliantly executed treatment of the other side of the Twilestia ship: how do you keep a relationship fresh and interesting for eternity? Answer is, you might not be able to. Applies to TwiLuna by extension as well. The dialogue and characterizations were perfect; bonus points for not delving into unnecessary backstory. Gold star and thumbs up for you! And a well-deserved spot in the Featured box as well, I see.

#16 · 93w, 2d ago · 6 · ·

Twilight smiled too, sad amusement written on her face.  “So that's it, huh?  A chance to talk to Spike and a few words of wisdom from my old teacher, and I'm supposed to face eternity?”

“Eternity?  No.  But how about tomorrow?”

IMHO, that exchange, right at the end of this remarkably-written tale, pretty much sums up the whole argument and the pain that Twilight Sparkle was feeling.  Sometimes, it is enough to just have a reason to face each successive day.

I also suspect that the reason Twilight was so biting at first was that she hoped that she might provoke Celestia into killing her.

#17 · 93w, 2d ago · 2 · ·

This is an excellent story. Yeah, there are grammar and wording oddities, but the idea is done well enough that they don't matter one wit. As a Twilestia fan, this hits me harder than I would have liked. You never want to see the ride end.

There aren't enough bittersweet stories on here.

#18 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

This needs to shoot to the top ASAP.

#19 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2083681  I would offer this:  Is all you want out of a relationship that it be fresh and interesting?  If so, you may just want to consider getting a new pet.

Actual love, not merely romantic infatuation, is far deeper and more powerfully enduring than such surface fascinations.

#20 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

Commence read.

This was interesting.

Nicely done dialogue and how they interacted with each other.

Fitting for the Sad tag.

#21 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

Ive read so many sad stories today :fluttercry:

#22 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

Wow, thanks Fedora, right in the heart.

What a beautiful story. Rarely do you see anything remotely Twilestia without all the unrealistic, fluffly shipping elements. This story told it like it is, and boy, was it sad.

#23 · 93w, 2d ago · 2 · ·


Killing her, forcibly removing her immortality, banishing her to the moon... anything to end it.


True. But I think one of the points of this story is that there are complications to immortal romance that even love will have trouble overcoming. What once felt comfortable and safe may start to feel routine, and what's worse, it may be too comfortable, too safe. The story shows us that Twilight withdrew from the world and turned entirely to Celestia, and that Celestia had to end it because of that. Celestia says "the world would be a brighter, better place with this mare in it", and Twilight had ceased to be in the world at all. Love may endure but in Twilight's case it became a crutch, a reason not to go on with the real business of living.

Of course, my preference would have been to have Twilight jump ship for Luna, but that's another story.

#24 · 93w, 2d ago · · 1 ·

I don't buy this. It features a love of two characters that got to the point Celestia seriously entertained a forever relationship - she made Twilight immortal - then spurns her for another lover. Yeah no. Relationships can and do fall apart... But it seems I managed to last the test of time for a while, all to fall apart a moment later (in the eyes of the immortal).

It as a piece succeeds in evoking emotion after a first read for which the author gets kudos, but the step after, taking a closer eye on it it just comes across as contrived and sad just for the point of being sad.

4/10 thumbs down.

#25 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

Nice. I wouldn't say it's sad really, more it starts angry, goes through hopeless and ends up pretty optimistic. And nice to see what happens when Ships Go Wrong. It's very definitely an ex-lover's tiff rather'n sad. The dialoge was all pretty finely done, too.


#26 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2084248  Angry!  That's the tag we're missing.  Get to it, knighty.  (Oh God, can you imagine the trollfics?)

But no, I do wish there was a better fit, tag-wise.  Although some people have made a pretty strong case for calling it "sad" by... saying how sad it made them.  So I suppose there's that.

>>2084164  Thanks, Clopple.  I'm totally going to get a poster made that says "What a beautiful story . . . this told it like it is."  After I frame the screencap of me in the top featured slot.  

Yeah I'm a little excited. :twilightblush:  It's probably a good thing I do not have picture-framing technology at hand.

>>2084177  Oh my god someone just did analysis on a story I wrote.  And supported their point with a quote.

Someone cared enough about what I was saying to argue their personal interpretation, and used my words to support that interpretation.

You guys, we would need a smiling-with-giant-tears-in-the-desuest-of-eyes emoticon to accurately capture my expression right now.  Seriously, that may have made my week.  And it's been a pretty solid week so far.

(Yeah, I'm an English major, can you tell?)

Thanks so much not just for those but for all the kind remarks.  And the critical ones too.  I'm just proud to have written something that seems to have resonated with so many different people.

#27 · 93w, 2d ago · 1 · ·


And I would offer this. If a relationship becomes boring or stale, no matter the love present, it is tenuous at best. To become stagnant is one of the worst things that can happen.

#28 · 93w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

This... is a good story.

It is good, but I feel too unsettled to say I enjoyed reading it.

I like characters to face hardships to earn their happy endings. I dislike non-endings, where nothing changes. Reading through 200 000 words just to reach the end of a story, just to see the characters suffer at the end, and to see that the whole journey was pointless feels like a huge giant "fuck you" for the reader - thankfully, stories like that are fairly rare.

And this...

I can't tell what kind of ending this is, exactly, but seeing something like love, just fall apart and sputter out... it's a little too close for comfort.

This is a good story, but I wish I hadn't read it.

#29 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

The only question for the rumours is- before or after the season three premiere?  because the rumours were starting by the end of the first episode.

#30 · 93w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

I know this is meant to be a one-shot, but I wouldn't mind seeing a followup.

#31 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

As a general rule of thumb, I don't like happy endings. They just don't have the same lasting effect, for me at least. No emotion seems to stick with you if "everything is going to be alright", and it lowers the quality of the story. I don't see this piece as an exception.

That being said, I still highly enjoyed the story. I don't make a habit out of reading stories where there is blatant animosity between Twilight and Celestia, but I'm glad I picked this up. :twilightsmile:

Thanks for the read.

#32 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2084350  Well, since you ask, the original googledoc of this story has its first editorial note dated August 31st (no, I did not write this story any faster than any other story I've written for this site*).  Season premiere was in... geez, November?  So, I guess I was right and it was considerably before people were talking about it.

*I did, however, finish the story in like a week once I picked it back up.  It was a thing where I'd forgotten about it and one night before going to sleep I suddenly saw how the whole rest of it played out in my head and had a bunch of enthusiasm to actually write it down.

#33 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·


Glad I could make your week! I feel the same way whenever someone posts more than "d'aaawww" on my stories too.  You've done a beautiful job with this little slice of (broken) Twilestia, and you deserve every kudo you've received. It's a really engaging, heartrending piece that could have been tragic or pointlessly shippy but instead manages to end on the most hopeful note possible given the circumstances. There's just so much depth and subtlety and half-unspoken backstory woven in here that I could continue that analysis for pages - but I won't, because I need to get back to my own stories.  You've got a follower, and now I've got "Lost Friends" in my Read Later list.

#34 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

Aw man, this is great!!

It's nice to read a sort of refreshingly realistic type fic... and ironically you nailed that very well in a story about two immortal pony princesses. So... that. :ajsmug:

Actually though, I found the passive-aggression to be very well done, and very believable. The bitterness of a an ex-lover after a big falling out, too. I quite enjoyed the novel take on Twilestia, and immortal Twilight, as well. Great dialogue throughout the whole thing, and very well handled all the way through, as well, with all the stuff they were dealing with. Nice little subtleties and incites for the characters.

I would say you could get away with the romance tag for this... basically the whole fic is them discussing their past relationship, and also touching on Celestia's new one (bitterness and passive-aggression and love lost are integral pillars of the romance genre, after all!). In fact, I'd say the sad tag is a bit deceptive without the romance one there (Makes it seem like another tired-out old fic about the woes of being immortal--instead of this really fresh take on a failed romance between the two when faced with eternity.)

#35 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2084177  But what we see here with Twilight is less love than borderline obsession.  People who love each other deeply do not feel a compulsive need to stand next to each other at every moment.  They can actually have LIVES that do not utterly revolve around each other perpetually.

#36 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2084368  *walks in and infects all the ponies with hoof-and-mouth disease and they die slowly and horribly*  Better now?  What?  It's a bad ending!  Nopony is happy!  It's just what you wanted... :pinkiecrazy:

#37 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

So many likes. So few comments... I think everyone is too amazed to try to write down a comment, because it won't capture accurately what they're feeling... At least, that's what I think...

#38 · 93w, 2d ago · · 2 ·

>>> For Shining and Cadence's wedding anniversary.”   “Ah, yes. 350 years, isn't it?”>>>  How interesting, a relationship that has withstood the test of time.  I cannot help but feel that the falling out between Twilight and Celestia has more to do with their personal problems than any deeper concepts.  Indeed, that seems borne out as I read.  Neither seems as rational or mature-minded as I would expect.  Twilight least of all.  Those cheap shots were what I would anticipate from a spoiled teenager, and which I would have crushed beneath my superior intellect (like I do with all teenagers' smarmy little comments.  Now THAT is something I never get tired of doing! :trollestia: )

>>>“There are those who'd say that tradition for tradition's sake is no more a virtue than meaningless change.”  >>>  Very true, Twilight.  But then, what do you offer in the form of meaningful change?  You have presented an unfinished concept, my dear.  An incomplete conjecture.  I am not impressed by half-thoughts.

>>>Do you remember what you told me?  It was the same old advice actually, now that I think of it, but I took it—I trusted you, and I made new friends, and I lost them too—and it was worse.  I... couldn't... stand going through that again.  So I didn't want to see anyone.  Didn't want to... to care about anyone else.  Can you blame me?  >>>

And there it is, the inability to deal with loss.  Seriously, I came to grips with death by the age of 8.  I see it as a supreme aggravation to be defeated like any other enemy.  It's a waste of an intelligent mind which must be replaced and taught the same things all over again.  Really, a much longer life with an undamaged mind would lead to far quicker advancement.  Twilight needs to get over both death and herself.  

>>>But, you know something Princess?  If you stick around long enough, you see all the arguments, all the ideas, all the thoughts that anyone ever thinks and puts to paper.  You read the same things you read fifty years, a hundred years ago.  I know it all.  I know it and I'm sick of it, and I'm sick of being sick of it, and I—”>>>  Really Twilight?  You honestly think you know everything?  My dear, would you like me to show you the Library of Congress?  It would take nearly a thousand years of constant reading to get through it all.  And that's assuming you retain 100% of everything you read.  Ah!  And then, there some the practical applications of all those mixed disciplines!    And then, how can you be sure that everything has been thought of?  We have been delving deeply into our universe for hundreds of years, and still thousands of papers of novel information are published EVERY YEAR!!  *shakes his head*  Twilight, Twilight, you are a sorely disappointing individual.  With such a limited scope of mind and that aggravatingly obsessive worship, it's no wonder Celestia sent you away.  You haven't grown up at all.

*And in the end*  Ah, finally, Twilight has at last opened herself to the possibility that all her problems are the result of her own mind, still trapped in the mortal way of thinking.  (thankfully, I surpassed that when I was 10.  I'm now into the multidimensional-multiple transcendent combinational entity state-of-mind.  All of me are, as a matter of fact!)  :pinkiecrazy:

#39 · 93w, 2d ago · 2 · ·

... I want to say something more constructive then very nice... and I hope Celestia is NOT sleeping with Star Swirl in that sense.

#40 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

>>2084302  And what, then, are the qualifications that determine when something is boring and stale?  Answer:  ONE'S OWN STATE OF MIND.  It's a personal choice to become bored with something.  Either that or a pathophysiologically low serotonin level (classic clinical depression symptom:  patient has become bored with things that used to bring pleasure).  Alcoholism and many drugs and even some diseases (metabolic syndrome, hyper/hypothyroidism, certain cancers) besides psychiatric etiology can bring about depressive perceptive shifts as well.

Again, the problems lie WITHIN, a flaw in reasoning, an emotional instability.  It has nothing to do with the facts and theories of reality and existence.  All thought; all emotion is, after all, all in your head.  It can be whatever you wish it be once you fully comprehend and indoctrinate this absolute truth into how your mind functions via the transitions and connections between the biological basis and the more abstract portions of the consciousness.  In simpler terms:  if one learns to seize absolute control of the mind and identify illogical internal perceptive shifts, one finds reality frequently contrasts very sharply to former interpretations painted in a mind trapped in disarray.  

#41 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

That next-to-last line is just the right blend of sad and sweet, the thump of the tail of a dog recognizing an orphan returning to a cold and quiet house.  I was surprised to find the twist from bitterness to reconciliation work so well.  Well done, and thought-provoking.

#42 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

Excellent!! This was great, in every way. This story hits off rather nicely you have Celestia, for the first time I've seen, get surprised. Very nice comical start. Then enter (Alicorn) Twilight, who tounge lashes her teacher/(ex)lover, very subtly, to both amusement and laugh of all, then you kick things down a notch with Twilight's revelations, and to top off the cake you introduce a new love Interest for Celestia (naughty naughty Alicorn). All in all a very fine read, can't tell if this was supposed to be sad, or angst, but I was laughing my plot off!!

#43 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

If this wasn't marked complete i would be asking for more. Bravo, liked and favorited. Not often do i read "sad" and enjoy it as much as i enjoyed this.

#44 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

so celestia wants twilight to live for eternity out of essentialy her own greed? i dunno this celestia seems to be more self centered and about herself.

#45 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

Dammit, now I have to add a story with the sad tag to my favorites.  I hope your happy.

Ugh, reading this makes me want to pull down the sad one I wrote, you manage to be subtle about the sadness but still have it, I have a feeling mine is much to subtle so its crap.

#46 · 93w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

And so, Star Shift stood, invisible eye twitching, hidden by her spell having heard the entire. bucking. conversation!:twilightoops::trollestia::moustache:

#47 · 93w, 2d ago · · ·

Everyone wonders how any of the Mane 6 would handle immortality, and you've definitely made the telling point that tells us all "Not very well, if at all."

Twilight found out, and of course blames Celestia:  "Why didn't you tell me it would be like this?"  Even the truth - "You wouldn't have believed me if I had." - would have made it worse. :facehoof:

BUT, the somewhat reconciliation - more a burying the hatchet - was probably the best ending.  And you get through eternity one day at a time, the same way you did with anything else. :twilightsmile:

Bravo Zulu. :yay:

#48 · 93w, 1d ago · · ·

Is it possible a sequel might come of this? Maybe about what happened between Twilight and Spike?

#49 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

My very first fic involving alicorn Twilight. And one of my first fics since my first real venture into FiMFiction besides Death Note: Equestria. I... feel like I should have in mind a lot to say, but don't seem to (I seem to have this problem often--but then I get talking anyway and it works out and blah blah blah... but I digress), but meh.

Well... I dunno, that was great. The tension, the drama, the echoes of love that once was, and the implications of, as you called it, indefinite lifespan. It all came together wonderfully, I think. Given the context, I found it all very believable... and then we have a new darling, prodigy protege of Celestia's. I liked that part. lol

I dunno, I feel I'm running back into "oh noes, wat to say", so eh. I very much enjoyed the serious nature of this and the bittersweet factor at first, which indeed turns to reconciliation--not a return to how things were, but making up nonetheless. A very mature resolution, I would say. Job well done, will read again. :twilightblush:

Also, I want to Follow Alondro just for posting brilliant things. Intelligent with an amusing sense of humor. I approve. :ajsmug:

#50 · 93w, 1d ago · 1 · ·

>>2085258 Happy you liked the story that much, certainly.

Not happy that you're disparaging your own work in comparison.  Different stories need different levels of subtlety.  It's just down to picking your tools.  Like something like Les Miserables is deliberately unsubtle--it's all about big, raw emotions.  Something like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy on the other hand is so subtle you can miss displays of emotion when they happen.  They're both very well loved though.

Don't regret the things you've written.  Each one is a learning experience.  If you're not happy with how a story turns out, then that shows you what to work on in your next one.  I mean, I almost gave up on this story for various reasons--after the initial burst that got me through Celestia and Twi being passive aggressive for about a page and a half I wasn't sure it had merit.  But now I'm very glad that I stuck it out and (eventually) figured out how to proceed in a way that made it into the story I wanted it to be.

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