"Padding" · 8:56pm
I'm very sorry that some of my readers are disappointed in what they refer to as "padding" that needlessly lengthens Flash Fog. However, I stand by my conviction that it is not "padding" at all. The twists and turns and such are there to make the story more interesting. If I hadn't written them, the story would be just as long, but it would also be intensely boring as I described how everything goes according to plan until I pay off the Crusaders' subplot. Plus, I guarantee that the same folks complaining now would be just as vocal in their complaints if I'd gone with my original plan to maintain narrative tension by not revealing Fluttershy's secret until the epilogue.
Really, what irks me is the fact that people are claiming it's gratuitous. If Flash Fog was a half-hour long episode of the show, it probably would be. But I set out to write a story, set over a relatively brief period of time, that goes into great detail about how dozens of characters are affected by a disaster and the effort to mitigate it, and I'm sticking to that aesthetic until the very end.
And ironically, all these complaints came in right as the subplot in question neared its end.