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At the End Commentary: Chapter 31 · 9:05pm Aug 23rd, 2013

This entry contains spoilers for its corresponding chapter of At the End. Be warned...



After reading this chapter, you know why I had to write this one before the previous chapter. Well, not quite; you are still missing one key fact: I didn’t know what happened to Jetstream until I actually wrote it. It would be in Brimstone’s nature to give Jetstream one final chance to not got his ass murdered, but I did not have any finite reason to kill him or save him. Even if I did, it would all boil down to how well Jetstream can plead his case. Given that I didn’t know if he would succeed, I couldn’t write the final scene of chapter 30 one way or the other.

That’s way I have this lingering dislike for this story in the back of my head. I dove right into fanfiction with only half a brain. I completely screwed myself over with a story full of more holes than a cheese grater. Once I got a few chapters under my belt, I started figuring out how to do things like plot and pacing and whatever. I’ve said a couple of times before that I continuously have to smooth out these snags as much as possible, and no one causes more snags than Brimstone. I liked him SO much during his chapter 9 reveal, now I’m dreading writing his scenes.

You know what? I actually thought about not publishing this chapter. I don’t mean just a passing fancy, I mean serious contemplation. I had justifiable cause to not publish this and was only a hair’s breath away. For one, my distaste for writing Brimstone is growing. Two, I thought it was thematically more sound to have chapter 30 jump right into 32. I believe something was lost after publishing this, the mood I had been trying so hard to build. I’m still not sure. I’ll talk about it a little more in the next commentary and the mood I am speaking about.

One fear I did have once everything was said and done with was that I felt like I rehashed too much of Into the Darkness I’ll Sing Them a Song. My issues with said chapter have been stated, but I feel like this is just the same chapter, only someone dies. I don’t like making too much of the same. That’s boring.

If you cannot tell, the first few scenes were concerning Brimstone’s machinations as he possess and controls the ponies for the coming confrontation. He has successfully discovered a portion of soldiers resistant to fear and great stress, he’s helped the the Council of Magic learn about the End Portal (Farlander Portal), and he planted the message for Luna. It’s basic stuff, stuff that I will need for later, so I plant the seeds now.

I think Czarina has been underutilized, thus her eventual return. I liked the concept of her, but I feel there was so much more I could have done with the character. Sadly, i could only do so much in her allotted time slice. We’ll be seeing her again.

I had to get the desperation right, in terms of the gravity of Brimstone’s threat. He had to take care of business with Luna, Czarina, and Skylar before returning to Jetstream, but once he got there, I wasn’t too sure about how well I conveyed it. “Do this, or you are going to die.” We see similar lines or scenarios like this in movies, but I was drawing a complete blank. How do I pin someone in a desperate situation and give them only two options for escape?

I’m going to talk about something else for a moment, mostly because people in the library keep staring at me and I’m drawing a blank on what to say next. While the central conflict of the chapter was the dialog between Jetstream and Brimstone, this also gave me the chance to talk about the coming fight and Brimstone’s theory for a Canterlot battle, the setup for Brimstone’s own reveal if you haven’t guessed who he is, how Brimstone’s mental and compulsion abilities work, his limitations, and just how far revenge can push someone when they have nothing left to lose.

Don’t get me wrong. Although Brimstone is fighting the good fight, he is motivated by revenge and bottomless anger. He doesn’t care about lives or even winning. All he cares about is getting even. The equal of love is revenge, and Brimstone has enough to go around. What I am intending to write is the tragic tale of a fall from grace, and once Brimstone fell, he became no better than the one he clipped his wings.

Despite the talking scene in chapter 30 being written later than this chapter, 30’s was harder to write for some odd reason. This entire chapter is almost nothing but dialog, and it’s exposed a weakness in my skills. I should rethink how I write these scenes. Despite the scenes between Jetstream and Brimstone coming so much easier, I am far less satisfied with how it turned out. I really don’t know what my deal is with this chapter. It’s becoming my least favorite the more I think about it.

Two more things of note. The first was my own little nod to A Pony Walks Into A Bar with a mention of a character there, Frosty Mug. The second was the two dream sequences. As hinted above, I felt like something was lost with Brimstone after this scene and the talk with Barricade. He no longer carried as much of the malevolent charm that endeared him to me. I wrote in the two nightmares scenes to hopefully return a little of Cthonian vibe he gained during the start. The first dream was taken from the same vein as the ones form the cavern. Jetstream is hunted and trapped by a creature about to consume and devour him. The second has a little more history behind it, as it harkens back to my first main character ever, Reon Adler. Although not talked about in that particular train wreck, something really, really bad happens to that guy in an unwritten scene far, far down the line. Like, even worse than what I am going to do to these ponies. I wrote a rough draft for him a long time ago, and even used it for a deleted scene in chapter 9 that I might post at some future time. The king of heaven looks down at everything scurrying about and feels... pity for the little ants. It is the penultimate scene declaring “You’re fucked.”

I feel like I should talk more. I normally have at least another page or two of notes and comments, but I really can’t think of anything. I’ll see how the comments for this one turn out and see if any fans share my ambivalence.

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Comments ( 2 )



Yup. In fact, another is almost done. We might be getting a trifecta.

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