• Member Since 24th Jul, 2013
  • offline last seen Apr 16th, 2019

GreyGuardPony


Just a simple pegasister who likes world building.

More Blog Posts113

  • 49 weeks
    Grey Guard Pony passed away on 12/7/2018.

    Sorry, I'm Zalabar; a friend who was asked to spread the word. Somehow I didn't think of posting here. Instead it was... well, direct message to the few we both knew. Phyco put up a blog on it back in December; https://www.fimfiction.net/blog/838448/dust-in-the-wind

    It was the cancer, and GGP passed in their sleep.

    Read More

    10 comments · 569 views
  • 83 weeks
    Not Dead....Yet

    My apologies for the prolonged radio silence coming from this account. It's been a rough past couple of months.

    Fuck cancer so hard.

    Read More

    9 comments · 560 views
  • 110 weeks
    New Rainsverse Fic!

    Just giving my followers who enjoy the Rainsverse a heads up. The next fic in that AU has passed the que and is now available to start reading.

    In this one, we begin to delve into the fallout of Chroma's attack on The Heartlands and the fate of the Everfree Rangers in particular. If you're interested in seeing what happens next, go give it a look!

    Read More

    0 comments · 233 views
  • 112 weeks
    Writing Lessons: Blood and Ponies

    ...This fic exhausted me.

    If there is one over-arching lesson I learned from this little crossover is that having a plan for your story, even if you end up deviating from it, is important. It gives you at least a loose guide that you can follow and for someone with ADD having something that can help keep you on focused and on track ends up being really important.

    Read More

    1 comments · 270 views
  • 122 weeks
    Weird Stores

    I had a medical appointment today and saw two of the weirdest stores I ever have on the way to and from the appointment.

    On the way out I passed Valhalla: Indoor Axe Throwing.

    On the way back I passed Break Room: Therapeutic Demolition.

    It is now a goal in my life to visit both of these stores out of sheer, morbid curiosity.

    4 comments · 231 views
Aug
25th
2015

You Had Me, Then You Lost Me: Mente Materia · 1:56am Aug 25th, 2015

It's never a pleasent thing when a fanfic you like turns sour.

Not just because that head space where something you liked gets replaced with negative thoughts, but also because there's a little bit of disappointment that said fic isn't living up to how awesome it can be. Naturally, this is a subjective thing. Someone's awesome is someone else's wasted potential and vice versa.

So, with that in mind, Mente Materia.

Mente Materia is a crossover with the X-Com franchise and a follow up from the original Stardust, where in Discord sent Twilight Sparkle to earth during the middle of the alien invasion the X-Com games as so well known for. Stardust....was good. Really good in fact. The heart of the fic was really seeing how Twilight connected with and befriend some of the very cynical members of the X-Com project. That and working through some of the mechanics of how magic works with technology and what the difference is was quite entertaining to see play out.

Mente Materia picks up after that, with Twilight back on Equestria and now the two planets allied in the fight against the alien invaders. And much like Stardust, it started off quite promising. Arad is skilled at writing prose and the scenes in both fics just...flow, in a very nice way. Character motivations make sense, the action scenes are easy to follow and have a good pacing to them. I was firmly in Arad's camp.

So, how did he loose me?

I feel that the series has fallen into what I call, "Misery Poker". Every chapter feels like another chip of human and pony suffering is tossed into the pile. Cadance is dead, Dash might never be able to fly as fast as she could again, Pinkie Pie has been kidnapped, the griffins have almost been wiped out, many communities in Equestria have been destroyed, one of Twilight's human friends just died and I have completely run out of ice cream while writing this blog post!

This, of course, is where the subjective aspect kicks in. Just how dark do you take a fic when your other source of influence is a video game series where in the death of your entire squad can be both a thing that can happen, and also a source of great humor. The morbid absurdity of an alien remote controlled missile shooting right into your landing craft and killing everyone turn one is one of the (many) reasons the phrase, "That's X-Com Baby!" exists.

The difference here is, that we're about 180,000 words into Mente Materia and I don't feel like we've actually gotten anywhere in it. I don't see an end game coming down the pipe or seeing anyway how the pony/human team can pull the situation out of the fire, because they are literally being defeated or blocked on every front. I can't point to a single real victory since the Equestrian campaign has began. A stark contrast to what we saw, in Stardust. There was an actual feeling things might have been getting better in that fic. And with the most recent chapter, basically hinting that the next three chapters will be a crossover with The Sweetie Chronicles , has left me not looking forward to the next update.

I know that the story still has a lot of fans, and I hope that they still enjoy the fic. But on my end...it had me, then it lost me.

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Comments ( 15 )

Jeez, I don't really have any stake in this fic, but just hearing that it's devoting three whole chapters to a crossover when it's already that long puts a bad taste in my mouth. Also, I imagine what you're feeling is called Darkness Induced Audience Apathy. (I also imagine you already knew that trope :derpytongue2:)

Oh man, I'm right there with you (aside from looking forward to the potential Sweetie Chronicles crossover).

I feel bad for saying this as I spent a bit of time talking with Arad a bit at the Bronycon that just passed, but the death of Lana has me wondering why the hell to even bother. Especially how she died. That was just terrible.

Of course, I'm enough of a glutton for punishment that I more than likely will keep reading out of a very faint hope that certain things will be reversed somehow. After all, we still have never seen a body for Cadance, and killing someone while they're mentally hooked up to a MEC is just asking for shenanigans in spite of Arad's claims to the contrary.

I'll probably be pretty bitchy in my comments at the end of the story if all of this was just to draw out the "haha, yeah they really are dead" even longer.

Well then. I greatly enjoyed the first story in that series, but I had put off getting started on the second one long enough that I figured I could save it for "when it's done." But if that's the way it's going, sigh.

As for my own "You Had Me, Then You Lost Me" story: Mirror's Image. The story's premise is that Twilight Sparkle is actually Chrysalis' royal daughter, planted with an unknowing pony family when she was born and raised among ponies until the events of "A Canterlot Wedding" reveals everything. I was really, really enjoying the story. It did a great job of making Chrysalis and the Changelings well-balanced "villains by necessity", and Twilight and all her friends and family were doing a wonderful job of learning about that balance. I was particularly interested by the developing contrast and commonality between Twilight's two mothers - Chrysalis and Twilight Velvet. Twilight Velvet was turning into a really great and well-developed character. I was so looking forward to the two of them actually getting a chance to meet and talk at some point. There were some other neat character and plot things going on in the background too.

Then Prince Blueblood steals the Alicorn Amulet, goes insane, murders Twilight Velvet after a fight scene that nobody was taking seriously until the mortal blow was struck, and the next two chapters (so far) have just been about Twilight Sparkle being sad and withdrawn.

Argh. I suppose it's possible that the story can drag itself back out of that, but until that point the big thing that kept me eagerly jumping on each update was that this was a story where things were working out well for everyone despite what one might have expected. It was a happy place. Heck, even Blueblood had a fun little love story being set up until that scene nuked it from orbit.

The pace of the story's updates has dropped off significantly too, so I wonder if perhaps the author got turned off by that development as well. I guess I can hope that he backs it out and tries a different path, perhaps? Oh well.

3345291

Admittedly, I'm not opposed to a crossover like that in theory. Considering the nature of about half the stories I've written, I'm not in a position to pull rank on anyone in terms of that stuff. It's the combination of that, the growing misery, and the feeling of treading water all coming together into one bad whole.

3345378

Lana's death was sudden and out of left field enough that I actually went back and re-read that part, because I thought she was just going to be wounded at first. And Cadance's death likewise seemed far too....easy. I would have sworn he was setting up some kind of fake out. But then we had the scene with the Crystal Heart and Cadance's final message and it was all "Well, never fucking mind then."

I am kind of in the same camp as you though. I've read 28 chapters of this thing so far. It kind of feels like I've invested enough that I can't just up and walk away from it. But it's now more of a train-wreck kind of thing, rather than me being excited for each new chapter.

3345424
Yeah, I get that. I just can't wrap my head around including the crossover as a part of the ongoing fic, which you've said was already seriously long. Why not put that as like a side-story or optional thing? Seems odd to me.

3345408

Huh. :rainbowhuh:

I stopped reading that one around Chapter 8, just because it wasn't clicking with me. I would have never expected that kind of plot development from what I read so far. That does feel kind of like a right out of left field decision. Also, the second instance of Twilight Velvet getting thrown under the bus in "Twilight is a Changeling" fics I've seen so far.

3345435

That does strike me as the better way to handle it. Especially since he said that the crossover chapters wouldn't be needed to understand the main story. So, why put it in the main story?

3345448
I've heard/have vague memories of Sweetie Chronicles being fairly popular and bringing in viewers to the fics it crosses over with, so it might be that. Then again, this story's got seven off the current year for upvotes, so it doesn't even really need it. That's so weird.

3345424 If it helps, from what Arad told me at the con we're about 3 arcs through the story out of 5 total, so very roughly speaking it's over half done. Possibly a bit more than that if the 4th arc is the TSC crossover and it ends up being only three or so chapters long.

3345438 The other being the series with the magic steampunk hive that Twilight ends up connected to, I assume? I generally enjoy that series, but what it did with Twilight Velvet never ceases to annoy me. Though to be fair, she's potentially finally being pulled back in as a useful and maybe even redeemed character in the very most recent story.

3345458 Of the Hive? Heh. That's another "You had me, then you lost me", but not because of Twilight Velvet's character arc - it was unpleasant, but at least it wasn't out of nowhere. The thing that made me put that series down was when Rainbow Dash got Changelingified too. That came out of nowhere, and really felt like it was gearing up for a gratuitous romance or something. I don't mind that pairing in moderation but I don't like it when it's shoehorned everywhere.

Granted, since I didn't read past that point I don't know if that's the real outcome. But the series was already starting to wear on me with the violence and such so I was ready to clear a slot in my reading schedule. I still recommend the first book of the series, though, just like I still recommend Stardust.

3345475 Yep, that's the one. Believe it or not it actually didn't end up TwiDash, they're just a pair of Queens overseeing a single hive. More sisters than anything else.

3345491 Huh. I might take another run at it at some point, then. I'm a big fan of "Twilight becomes a Changeling" stories, even though so far they mostly seem to end poorly. One day one of them's gotta turn out well, right? :twilightsmile:

I'm not really into the X-Com series — although it's not correct to say that I dislike it, either — which means I can say this from a completely objective standpoint:

A three-chapter crossover with another fic that stars a character with enough power to, from the description since I don't read that either, casually travel through the multiverse when it's as far in as it is and as grim and dire as it is, really says to me just three words: Sweetie ex Machina.

Things in the story are so shitty that the only way to turn them around is by a capital-H Hero from another universe providing the solution. That is a textbook example of Deus ex Machina; you couldn't think of a more textbook example if you tried.

3345458
3345475

Yup. Of the Hive.

While I did enjoy it, I couldn't shake this feeling that the Law Abiding Pony almost should have been writing a unique steampunk/sci-fi setting, over a MLP fic. Suddenly racist mom was kind of a part of that. But also because the more and more it went on, the less and and less it seemed to have anything to do with the Equestria that we know of.

It was....weird.

3345515

The thing is?

I'm not expecting her to provide a solution. I'm expecting her to show up, do nothing really effective, and then we'll go back to more bad stuff happening and Twilight's emotions being shattered even more.

3345556
Even if she does do something, is it going to matter?

Say that the fight does get turned around and the forces of good win. Great; another victory like that, and everything will be lost. From what you've described, Sweetie ex Machina is the only way to get the story to end in a way that readers will accept. Maybe.

There is no way here that our heroes are going to come out on top in this war. They can no longer fight to win; they can only struggle to not lose.

And that's boring. We don't read stories of swords & sorcery to watch the Hero have everything ripped away from them, barely eke out a victory, and then return to a home that's been blasted into a wasteland to live out the rest of their days alone. We don't read sic-fi stories of alien wars so that we can watch the tough-as-nails space marine, in glory and triumph, destroy the last of the invaders only to then drift aimlessly through the cosmos, the last of their race with no planet to return to.

We read those stories so that we can see the protagonist, after they've been kicked into the mud, stand again and rise up to even greater heights than their adversary achieved. We read them because we can place ourselves in their shoes, and our own obstacles in place of them and through, overcome what seeks to bring us down.

Warhammer 40,000 was enjoyable for me, as grim dark as it was, because it was possible to hold onto the notion that humanity could still win. As soon as that became impossible, it became uninteresting.

Goblins was an interesting web comic to read because I could believe that, despite it all, our heroes would still triumph. As soon as I was disabused of that silly notion, I lost interest.

Do Changelings Dream of Twinkling Stars? is an inherently noir story, because there's not really a force of good to root for and the resolution is, at best, a draw, but it remains a favorite of mine because I can imagine that despite everything, Straight Slate still came out of it a winner after the resolution.


There's a very easy way to turn Mente Materia around, possibly with Sweetie's help; rather than her final message before death, it was Cadence's final message before she slipped out of the dimension. If she comes back, gives Twilight something to grasp and hold onto, then I think it could turn around. But unless that happens, I have zero confidence in a Good End.

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