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PresentPerfect


Fanfiction masochist. :B https://ko-fi.com/presentperfect

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Jun
20th
2013

Present Perfect vs. Sunny Skies All Day Long · 4:44pm Jun 20th, 2013

Never has the "vs." denotation been more a propos than now. I have a serious bone to pick with this story, as it has wronged me personally on at least one occasion. But let's not jump ahead of the review here. (Reading by Scribbler, et. al.; Reading by Nightfire5150; Reading by Midnight29, et. al.; Reading by Savrin Drake; Reading by BigAshRandomVids.)

Sunny Skies All Day Long was, at one point, the most highly-rated story on this site. I'm pretty sure the only reason it isn't anymore is because the way ratings are calculated changed. It still has over 45,000 views, which is half again as many as all the views on all of my own stories. You should at this point be hearing the spiteful jealousy dripping like steaming ichor from my every word as I type.

Sunny Skies has a very simple premise: what if Celestia went incognito to Ponyville and spent a day interacting with ponies there, without all the trappings and burdens that come with her royal station? It's a premise I enjoy, as it treats Celestia like a pony, a person, something I always say I want to see when those "what kind of episode do you want in the next season?" posts pop up on EQD.

What it does with this premise is, sadly, not much. This is slice of life to the core, a series of vignettes in which "Sunny Skies" interacts with the mane six one by one -- the same old tired plot that every "OC comes to Ponyville" story has retread and been lambasted for, except this time the OC is a creation of Celestia's -- and the only drama or conflict revolves around her inability to keep her disguise up for an entire day. Despite, you know, being a thousand-plus year old princess and raiser of the sun.

Celestia's characterization is thus where I feel this story falls down. She feels out of character during the opening scene, and I never really have a reason to believe otherwise throughout the entirety of the story. As Sunny Skies, she loses her regal grace and patience, and there's nothing to fill in exactly how we should expect the Princess of the Sun to act when she's not being a princess. I could believe a full-fledged Trollestia, or even Celestia being Celestia even when in disguise because she's so used to acting that way. The latter is what this story tries to approach, I think, but it's not entirely achieved, and the end result is something so middling that she may as well have no character at all.

Beyond that, I found the writing lackluster. Just, seriously lackluster: not gripping or evocative, merely adequate. This isn't helped by the fact that, in every case, Celestia's interactions with Twilight and her friends are the most hackneyed, overdone, default one-note character plots you can ask for. Rainbow Dash shows off some tricks. Rarity goes to the spa and designs a dress. Fluttershy helps a hurt animal. Pinkie Pie throws a party. If you took any mention of "Celestia" out of this story, it wouldn't have gotten a second look from the fandom; it's that basic.

Which is not to say it's all terrible. Pinkie Pie is the star of this story, in my mind, and her "sponge bath" line and the fact that she knew Sunny Skies was Celestia all along add some much-needed levity to an otherwise dull and predictable tale. But that's literally all I liked about SSADL other than the premise. This is why I tend to come down hard on slice of life-tagged stories.

But why come down so hard on this one in particular? Let's get back to that "I was personally wronged" thing from earlier.

Once upon a time, I participated in a writeoff (shocking, I know), wherein I wrote a story entitled "The End of the Season" that explored a past relationship between Granny Smith and Princess Celestia, who visits her in disguise as, you guessed it, a pink-maned white pony, albeit one whose age was apparently equal to Granny's. (I'm not certain now if I mentioned her race, but that's neither here nor there.) And the one comment I got that stuck out to me -- and still does -- went like this: "So you had Celestia come to Ponyville in disguise; why did she have to be Sunny Skies?"

Let it be known that I had not read this story until, well, right the fuck now, so I was a little insulted. I would say I was justified in feeling so. The idea that one story has a monopoly on a single concept was somewhat infuriating, I won't lie. Worse, though I can't speak for PhantomFox here, I chose pink-on-white because that's how Celestia looks in the opening sequence of the pilot episode. So not only was it insinuated that I couldn't use an idea because it had been used elsewhere, but that idea wasn't even original. And then I come and find this as the much-lauded bastion of Celestia-in-disguise stories, and it's dull and predictable and contains comma errors and POV shifts in the penultimate scene, and you might imagine I am just a little cheesed off about that. This story is not, in my opinion, worth defending on those grounds.

So what am I going to do? I'm going to -- hopefully, someday, maybe -- keep going with an idea I had quite a while ago, that is essentially Sunny Skies All Day Long but with TwiLestia shipping. I'm not going to let this story's existence stop me from doing what I have always wanted to do. (Actually, what might stop me is that, in a world with both Princess Cadence and actual Whitelestia toys, a Pinklestia joke doesn't really have a home.) I'm going to show the fandom -- maybe, if I ever get around to it -- how to really do this idea right. At least as far as I'm concerned.

In the end, if you strip away its reputation and any misguided offense I may have taken from it, Sunny Skies All Day Long is still a lackluster story that does no justice to its excellent premise. It's a shame, and there's no way I would like it.

2.5/5

Overrated, hasn’t aged well, probably killed my partner.

This is not my finest hour, guys. ._. Sorry. You may fire when ready.

Comments ( 34 )
Comment posted by RTStephens deleted Jun 20th, 2013

Huh. Never thought about it that way.

I'm kind of curious to see you pick apart "The Ponies Discover /co/", another very old fic. It's the first one I ever read, and it got me into pony fics in the first place.

+9000 Read it ages ago, it was still uninspired then; I think I even down-voted. I share your pain with the 'why did she have to be Sunny Skies?' thing. I'd be rabid and frothing at that.

Screw people.

With a trowl.

-Scott

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

1156579
Sadly, I just checked, and I can't even say I had my idea first. SSADL was posted on April 23rd, 2011, and my idea showed up somewhere in the gap between seasons 1 and 2, as far as I can pin it down. :B But it was independent, dammit!

1156580
I feel like I might have read or tried reading that once. If that's true, I don't really remember it. It's not the kind of thing I would normally read, but for reviewing's sake, maybe I'll try it.

1156585
Aww, Inqy. And here I thought we couldn't agree on anything anymore. <3

It's also one of the earliest stories of note in the fandom - probably why it gets all the hype, and why it should be taken with a grain of salt. Seminal developing fics are not to be judged on the same standard we've judged everything else, because we were young and stupid back then :V

I have not read more than a handful of fanfics. I feel for you re: being overshadowed. I would be pissed.

I bet the one who said that was... Minjask or Azu. Do I have that right?

I like the fact that you're reviewing old, well known stuff. I should dredge your blog for things that I know. The only long ones that I'm intimately familiar with are Romance Reports and that one series by the one guy.

PP, you're raging at a story that was released a half dozen episodes into the show's run for using the 'same old tired plot' derivative of fandom tropes that you hate now due to having two and a half years of overexposure to them. I don't even get it.

Celestia's characterization feels a little off to you reading it now because she barely had any characterization at that point. She'd shown up for the pilot episodes, and that was pretty much it. Maaaaybe her cameos in Feeling Pinkie Keen and Swarm of the Century had gone in by the time this was written, but I doubt it. It went up to EqD in April, but had been making the rounds before that as just a Google Docs link.

I know you feel like the fic's wronged you personally, but it's one of those fics you have to read in the context it was written in. Fanwork based on an ongoing series generally suffers from whatever shenanagains the showwriters pull later, but that isn't the fanfic's fault.

Good, good. Let the hate flow through you. :trollestia:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

1156618
I made a note to myself that this was a season 1, a propos of something, but I forget what it was. :B I wouldn't have liked this much when it came out, honestly. Maybe three stars. :B Its novelty would have carried it further back then.

1156620
I have no idea who said, nor any inclination to dig up who did. :B I could, I just don't feel like it, la. :V

And yeah, that's why I spend so much time writing reviews about stuff. I got a year behind on fanfic a while back, and I'm in no danger of catching up anytime soon, so I figure someone out there might want opinions on stuff they might have passed over way back when.

1156632
I would disagree on Celestia's character at the time. This was written right after A Bird in the Hoof, obviously, so she had been in about a half-dozen episodes (including her non-appearance in Ticket Master that cemented Trollestia as an archetype early on), and we had some idea of what she was like. But even discounting that, a personality could have been given to her, and I don't feel it was.

1156646
I AM SO ANGRY :twilightangry2:

I am glad to see someone else unimpressed by SSADL. I read it over a year ago, so I may be misremembering it a bit, but I recall it being little more than a lazy retread of the first episode, with a blank non-character instead of Twilight and a complete absence of the conflict of the second episode.

It wasn't bad, really, but it was extremely lackluster. What irritated me most was how well it was received; even accounting for how early the fic is, there are and were better fics out there.

I think most people just like really tame, really inoffensive stories.

I'd sit here and call you wrong but if there's anything I've learned from playing Phoenix Wright these past few days, it's that I need evidence.

And right now, I'm really too lazy to go out and get evidence (e.g. read the story again).

I'LL JUST SETTLE WITH CALLING YOU WRONG.

1156579
I feel like I need to ask what your beef with FoE side-stories is, if you have one. I can think of a lot of reasons not to like them, some I agree with more than others, but I'm curious to know your own reasoning.

1156776
I think when I first read it the premise alone pleased me so much that I didn't give anything else about the fic much consideration. I know there are fans out there who disagree with me on this point, but I like it when Celestia and Luna are written as relatable and human, as opposed to aloof and alien superbeings that can't be comprehended by mere equines (e.g. Luna in Romance Reports).

You're super right so don't pay any attention to the people who are saying you're wrong because they're wrong because you're right.

I'd have given it a 3/5 when it was released, but I'd give it a 2 now. I immediately disliked how it "characterized" Celestia, and the fact that this WAS written AFTER Bird in the Hoof but the author chose not to give her an actual personality... Ugh. UUUGH. :twilightangry2:

You know another fic that didn't age well? The Party Hasn't Ended. That's what happens when you start writing a story 7 episodes into a new series.

I agree with everything 1156632 said. But I'll add a concept. If you took on a persona for the sake of your role and held it 50% of the time for several thousand years and 90% of the time for a thousand (assuming she was only "herself" around Luna) and then you let it drop... How much "character" would your true self have opposed to your engineered persona?
I actually prefer her being more bland as opposed to the author forcing some invented headcanon on her.

When it comes down to it, no this story is not one of the best out there. It's not on my top 5 after all :duck: But it is showlike, feel-good, accessible, explores a popular what-if, and even when it's cliched it uses the cliches well.
And the sequel is funny.

So I agree with your technical assessment, but have very different response to it.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

1156579
Oh yes! Not a copycat, you are totally correct! I have not written anything MLD related, nor am I currently writing a Fallout: Equestria side story. Yes! How creative I am, and how clever of you to notice!

:V

1156874
There's a sequel? Dare I ask?

1156901

My Faithful Student
It's technically a sequel but it's not about a continuation of the events in SSaDL. And there's an Okami reference.
His No Tame Forrest is not bad either. We rarely see Dash and Zecora interact. It might take place in teh same universe too but there is no relevance.

>essentially Sunny Skies All Day Long but with TwiLestia shipping
yes

Yes

YES

YES!

You already know that I agree with you on the bit about being accused of taking a very simple concept that could have been developed independently and then being accused of stealing it from another fic. Hell, people accuse me of stealing from a fic that came out after mine.

In short: people are dumb.

SSADL was one of the earliest stories of its type and that alone makes pretty much any story popular. There's even a pretty god-awful out of character OC x Fluttershy shipping featuring a pretty Stu character that was pretty popular at the time because it was again, one of the first on the site and people didn't know it was overdone or tiresome yet.

Seriously I don't recommend reading that unless you're feeling masochistic.

In my range of story quality, Sunny Skies All Day Long sits squarely between "mediocre" and "okay". As much as I hate to say it, I think My Little Dashie deserves its popularity more than Sunny Skies does, and that's saying a lot because I hate MLD.

1156788>>1156595

See? It's not that we can't agree, PP, it's just that you keep being wrong!

-Scott

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

1157063
You best watch it, mister. :B I've been discussing with your boyfriend ways to make you hate reading fics.

1156874
And having thought on your first point, I've come to the conclusion that, were that the case, it would have been in the story. I mean, Celestia going, "I forget how to be myself" and/or "Why can't I connect with these ponies" would have been infinitely more interesting. I mean, I won't even go that route myself when I travel down this path, but honestly it's a far better setup than "characters gets along with everyone", for the exact same reason that "OC goes to Ponyville" stories are boring and dumb.

1157376

Oh I agree. But as a plot point it would make for a very different story. I just take it for granted.

As an April 2011 fic, I'm willing to cut it some slack because, simply put, standards were lower back then. It's in a very similar boat as MLD. It was the first fic to do this "successfully" by the standards at the time. As standards have risen, it has aged very very poorly. Yet, despite the fact that by all rights it should have faded from the public conscious and been replaced by its successors, it remains ingrained in people's minds, half because there's some people out there who read these "best of 2011 fics" and nothing else, and half because we keep discussing how overrated those fics are :rainbowwild:

As a contrast of a 2011 fic that aged better and is still relevant, Bubbles comes to mind.

Sunny Skies All Day Long but with TwiLestia shipping

This man right here. He's doing God's work.

I agree with you on the opinion of SSADL, I read it merely because it was rated so high with so many views, but pretty much what you say is what i thought of it, not understanding what the deal was. I was doubly disappointed in it was one of the first pony fics I read and made me wonder if this really was all I could expect from this fandom (i read a bunch of crappy fics before i got to the then still early Flight of the Alicorn which began my ponyfic addiction).

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

1157382
Oh man, Bubbles.

Which was all right. :B I was not greatly affected by it, as I recall.

As for 2011 fics that I still like...

Oh shit, it's on fimfic. BRB, writing second vs. post in a day.

1156788

... Now I'm imagining Nic Cage as Edgeworth.

... good sweet FUCK, I'd sell a kidney to see that!

What about a SSADL that is Celestia doing TwiLuna matchmaking?

1158239
Please present your kidney.

i.imgur.com/Owrj729.jpg

Also I apologize.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

1158305
Oddly, despite the fact that I like TwiLuna more, I can't see Celestia doing that, whereas I can see Luna doing it to her. :B

1158535

If it was Season 1 Luna...
Anyways, not advocating it. Just throwing ideas up.

I think I'm going to stop reading the verdicts in your vs. posts before I actually read the story.

I read the story today, and all I could think was, "hasn't aged well" and "yeah, I can see that."

In any case, I agree. The story wasn't particularly engaging for me.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

1371067
I tells it like it is. :V That's also why I try to include the link really early.

Heh. This is amusing to read now that I've reviewed this story. I feel you on the jealousy thing. This story beat Diary of a Pliant Tyrant out for the Goldie Award we were both up for. Now that I've read it, that irritates me more than I'd like it to.

When it comes to Celestia's characterization, I figured this was Celestia as she is during personal time, rather than how she is when she's officially ruling. It just turns out that that hair down version of Celestia is kind of boring, I guess...

Interesting to see that we both essentially gave it the same rating.

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