I was reminded recently of a very useful tip for writing, or for any creative endeavor. Even if you know an idea won't pan out as a top-notch story, even if it's just one thought or a single scene, there can still be a lot to gain from writing out a quick draft with it. At the very least, you'll probably end up with some interesting bits you can use elsewhere! Take this for example:
My name is Princess Twilight Sparkle. I was born three months and six days ago.
It was nighttime when I awoke. My friends were there.
I didn’t realize what had happened at first, so swept up in the magic of the moment. I had done it! I’d completed the unfinished masterpiece of Star Swirl the Bearded himself, and I’d made Princess Celestia proud.
And then, as if the evening couldn’t have gotten any better, I found out that not only had I transformed myself into an alicorn, I’d become a princess myself. Me, a princess! Every young filly dreams of becoming a princess one day. I certainly had; from the moment I’d seen Princess Celestia raise the sun, I’d wanted to become just like her.
Of course, most fillies eventually give up on that dream and move on to more mundane aspirations, for one very good reason: It’s impossible. A pony can’t change her race any more than she can change her cutie mark. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The next month was a whirlwind of activity. I was shipped off to Canterlot, fitted for a beautiful new royal regalia--courtesy of Rarity, of course--and introduced to the world as Princess Twilight Sparkle. I got my own set of guards, my own section of the palace, and they’re even starting construction on a Twilight Sparkle wing in the Canterlot archives! But even with all that going on, most of my time was spent in the best way it possibly could be: with my friends. I can honestly say that it was the happiest month of my life.
There have only been two others to compare it to, so there wasn’t exactly much competition. But I’m getting ahead of myself again.
It wasn’t until the middle of my second month as a princess that I started thinking back to before my transformation. I don’t know what set my mind going in that direction, but one quiet night after my friends had gone to bed, the thought struck me: What had happened to me, really?
Nothing in the spell mentioned growing wings. Nothing had warned me that I’d become a princess, that my whole life would be turned upside-down. All it had said was that I would fulfill my destiny. But what had my destiny been?
I opened Star Swirl’s book again. I poured through its pages and reread each word, the old and the new. I traced and retraced every detail of the spell, followed every path that it described, and every time, it ended with the answer that I had been dreading. I cast my memory back, reliving the moment again and again, searching for some detail that would let me deny what had happened.
It was an incredible moment. I’ll never forget the feeling of friendship. My friends were there with me, and they were more than with me. I don’t think I can really describe it, but try to imagine being caught in a big group hug with all your best friends, and then multiply that by a thousand. I felt like I had never been lonely in my life, and I never could be, because they had always been there with me, and always would be.
But what was truly amazing was the magic that came from it. Ponies have always said that friendship is magic, and yes, we’ve found many ways to use the bonds between ponies as powerful magical conduits, but nobody had ever found a way to actually create magic directly from friendship. Until now. Now there was an infinite wellspring of it pouring into me, as fast as I could drink it in. More than I had ever touched before. More than any one pony could possibly need. More than any one pony could possibly contain.
I never saw the scorch mark. Spike had cleaned it off the floor of the library by the time I got a chance to return there. I’ve been told, though, that it was in the shape of my cutie mark. A fitting tribute to the late Twilight Sparkle, though I might have preferred something more permanent.
I suppose that’s where I come in.
The soul that had once been Twilight Sparkle was met on the other side of the veil by the image of her beloved mentor, Princess Celestia. I don’t know if it was truly her, or an illusion conjured up in my own mind. I’ve been meaning to ask her, but there never seems to be a good time to bring up a subject like that. What a nice party, by the way, remember that time when I was dead?
Regardless, we walked together there, traversing the hallway of what my life had been. My joys and sorrows, my successes and failures, they were all there. Things that I had forgotten or tried to forget, and things that no pony but me should ever be privy to, it was all laid bare before us.
I was judged in that place. Of that, I have no doubt. Whether it was by Princess Celestia, or by some even greater power, I do not know. What I do know is that, by some great cosmic fluke, I was deemed worthy of the life I had lost, and of the power I had awakened.
But no pony may pass three times through the veil. This, I also know. Birth and death are two sides of one immutable coin, and never shall there be a third. Twilight Sparkle would never return to Equestria. Her destiny had been fulfilled, and her story was over.
I wonder now if that had always been Princess Celestia’s intent. To craft within a mortal pony a soul that could become an immortal. To raise a unicorn who could give rise to an alicorn. I can bear her no ill will for it, but the more I think about it, the stronger my suspicion becomes that she had known all along that this would be my fate.
Twilight Sparkle’s destiny had been to die. To die, so that I could be born.
Her soul was reshaped, molded to fit a new body, and a new destiny. There was no pain--I don’t think that such a thing as pain exists on that side of the veil--but it was an utterly disconcerting process to say the least. Her mind survived intact, as far as I know, and it and her memories are now with me, and of me. I am what she became. A second iteration, if you will.
My name is Princess Twilight Sparkle. I was born three months and six days ago, on the day that Twilight Sparkle died.
Not bad. I gave the idea a chance, and I not only got a neat little short to share on my blog, it lead me to a few much more interesting ideas. Like, what if her memories hadn't survived intact? What if she had come back missing memories, or even better, with memories that weren't her own? Now we're onto something way cooler than just Twilight suffering an identity crisis because of her reincarnation.