• Member Since 12th Dec, 2012
  • offline last seen Nov 11th, 2017

Xtralife


I'd call myself a fanfic writer, if I wasn't too busy horsing around!

More Blog Posts15

  • 315 weeks
    Season 5 Retrospective

    Right, so it's been a month since I last checked in, and at that time I said I'd write a couple blog posts. Well, the holiday season came at me like a ton of bricks, what with its real-life obligations and so forth. I wish I had been able to put some time aside for writing, but I'm honestly pretty bad about that. But that's all over and I have more free time than usual. So, like I said last time,

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    0 comments · 404 views
  • 320 weeks
    Update: All the Things

    Hello. It's been a while. Too long, in fact. I've had some long pauses between my stories, or any other kind of artistic endeavors I've gone on. It's a problem. I want to get back into writing, and I want to finish up this monster of a story that's just become huge and crazy and equal parts fun and frustrating, for myself and for anybody that's been waiting. I like to pretend I'm

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    0 comments · 218 views
  • 348 weeks
    WTG Week 3 / "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone"

    Okay, I'm more than aware I'm a small fry on FimFiction with basically zero notoriety or fame (E-fame? Internet illustriousness?), but I said I'd write something for the Writer's Training Grounds for Week 3, and I didn't. And it's worth mentioning why, at least. I could blame a bunch of stuff for preventing me -- I had a final, a job interview, my workplace is undergoing structural changes, one

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    0 comments · 195 views
  • 349 weeks
    Double Feature: "Just an Accident" Fic / "Make New Friends" Episode Follow-up!

    So to continue my tradition and bad habit of writing more blog posts than stories, but also to somehow cut down on the number of posts I make, I'd like to talk about both my new story for EQD's Writer's Training Grounds, Just an Accident, as well as Saturday's episode, Make New Friends but Keep Discord!


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    0 comments · 196 views
  • 350 weeks
    Whatcha gonna do, brony, when the WTG gallops wild on you?

    Hello there, pony peoples! It's not very late here in Southern California, but I'm incredibly wiped like you wouldn't believe. Finals are coming up, I'm dealing with crazy changes at work that are much too long to get into, and three days ago I saw the newest edition of the Writer's Training Grounds on

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    0 comments · 218 views
Jan
8th
2016

Season 5 Retrospective · 12:53am Jan 8th, 2016

Right, so it's been a month since I last checked in, and at that time I said I'd write a couple blog posts. Well, the holiday season came at me like a ton of bricks, what with its real-life obligations and so forth. I wish I had been able to put some time aside for writing, but I'm honestly pretty bad about that. But that's all over and I have more free time than usual. So, like I said last time, I had some thoughts about Season 5, specifically everything after "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone". It's been a while since I wrote about an episode and it's all old news by this point, so I'll try and lump it all together instead of writing about each individual episode. Honestly, my opinion of Season 5 is mixed. Some things I feel were done very well and the rest wasn't, and you might be surprised to hear what I liked and didn't like. But we can definitely start off with what I enjoyed! Just be prepared for a few paragraphs.

Yeah, I get this is nowhere near as cool as if I had posted a new chapter or story, but I have to work a little writing practice in. Just, y'know let me indulge right now, m'kay?


More often than not, character development was on point. New characters and established ones alike were fleshed out like I couldn't believe. We didn't necessarily need to learn about Pinkie Pie's family, but it had certainly been mostly unexplored territory. Learning about Princess Luna's self-inflicted punishment and the lengths she took to hold onto her regret was mind-blowing. Furthermore, the entire team behind MLP has proven to have an in-depth understanding of these characters. Everything Fluttershy thought would scare her friends at her tea party probably would have been actually horrifying, but only if they had been actually experiencing those scenarios. And Pinkie Pie didn't have just one great episode centered around her, she basically had one and a half! Her quest to Yakyakistan was hilarious and steeped in classic cartoon gags, and "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows" let her loose like we haven't seen since "Party of One". And a good example of both points is Moon Dancer, who truly felt like she was conquering a painful past and opening herself up, and she also showed us how Twilight could have turned out. On the other hoof, "Princess Spike" had that baby dragon dealing with the exact same internal issue he always has, and that's getting greedy. And then there's the season finale where Starlight Glimmer changes her outlook on friendship in the course of a 2-minute montage and song, a moment which felt rushed and tacked on.

Although it's become very clear that the writers are trying to stretch the idea of what a lesson in friendship is, for the most part they were good lessons all the same. Many dealt with learning to let go of hate and pain. Again, that's Luna and Moon Dancer, and you can include the redemption of Starlight Glimmer. All three characters faced their struggles with friends involved. However, the point of "Made in Manehattan" was focused on making a difference in your community. It's not very related to friendship, but I'd argue that volunteering to clean up your neighborhood or enrich the quality of life on your city block can help you make friends. Then there's Big Mac, which, yes, we saw another side of his character, but "Brotherhooves Social" was more about tolerance and acceptance of gender determined by self-identification as opposed to sex. The argument could be made that Big Mac ditching his dress invalidates the lesson though, and it also doesn't help that his dream form as an alicorn Princess was more of a one-off joke than anything else. And then there's a couple that just have no connection. Rarity learns about artistic integrity in "Canterlot Boutique", an important lesson that I think many creative people young and old identify with but at the end of the day can't be equated to a challenge with friendship. And "Rarity Investigates!" excels as a style parody but ends without a point other than "don't cheat" (throw in a ghost and put a rubber mask on Wind Rider and you'd have a Scooby-Doo episode).

The plots and stories of many episodes were top notch, and usually I couldn't wait to see what came next. It was fairly obvious that Discord had something up his sleeve from the beginning of "What About Discord?" but watching his hard work unfold and then unravel was fantastic. Every new alternate reality of villains taking over was exciting even though the experience of each was brief. And for a while, I was actually wondering if Fluttershy would conquer her fear of Nightmare Night. But some of this was unfortunately tempered by predictability. It was clear that Spike would abuse his powers in "Princess Spike" and he'd ruin something. Every development of the conflict in "The Hooffields and McColts" was bogged down by the obvious solution to their issue. And "The Mane Attraction" was just so forgettable that I don't even know what to say. That said, a few mediocre or phoned-in episodes have always been okay in my book, because they tend to come before/after really good ones.

But most noticeably there was a lot of pandering, for better or for worse. "Slice of Life" is the stand-out example here, being an entire episode dedicated to the fandom. Doctor Whooves got screen time with Derpy, and their interaction and story arc lined right up with fan interpretations without being a rip-off. Steven Magnet returned and I didn't even know I wanted him back. Gummy's internal monologue had me in stitches (especially because one of my unfinished Writer's Training Ground stories for "The Lost Treasure of Griffonstone" had been centered around the idea, though it was less philosophical). And the random changeling at the end invites so many questions! The only thing I really had to question about that episode was the quick break from the plot to indulge in an Octavia/Vinyl Scratch music video, but I can't deny that it was a good nod to brony musicians everywhere who explored the concept, and it was also cool watching the live performance at Equestria L.A. last year. As for "The Cutie Re-Mark", I've already kind of covered it, but I appreciated that the two-parter was a love letter to dark fanfic authors. I would have loved to see full episodes surrounding each alternate reality but I know they can't do that. Actually, I should search out some fics based on those timelines. If you've read up to this point, could you throw some recommendations my way? I don't care if you shamelessly plug your own story, I'm 100% cool with that.

But lastly, I need to talk about "Crusaders of the Lost Mark", because I actually did not like it.

Before you get your pitchforks, please know that I didn't think it was all bad. The episode started out in a typical way but it definitely took some crazy, wild turns. I didn't know I wanted a song from Diamond Tiara, for instance. It was a real curveball. Silver Spoon's harsh burn on Diamond Tiara when she loses the election was priceless. And although it happened way too fast and merely through the power of song, it was about time that the Cutie Mark Crusaders overcame their long-standing antagonist. But the fact that Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Applebloom got their cutie marks in getting cutie marks was something I just couldn't stand, because that means the Cutie Mark Crusaders haven't really learned anything or actually developed as characters. It means their arc, which had been plotted out since their first appearance, was rendered null and void. And it means that potentially all future CMC episodes will end up being just like current Mane 6 episodes: they'll find a pony that is in need of guidance and fix their problem in 20 minutes. At that point... well, what's the point? What's the difference?

The thing is, after a few days of pondering and reading about the making of the episode, I reached a level of acceptance about it. Of course they had to get their marks, because if the show ended for good without them getting cutie marks, we'd have all felt cheated. I understand that Amy Keating Rogers wanted to make her mark (ha!) and leave the show with a bang. And to an extent, technically the three fillies had been trying to learn new things and becoming well-rounded instead of focusing on one specific talent. Basically the CMC had done more searching for their cutie marks than actually doing anything that involved their real special talent. So it says a lot about how fate or destiny or what have you works in Equestria - it's possible for the young to change their lives and dedicate their time to something bigger than themselves. At this point all I really can't stand is the fact that the design of their marks are tiny and lack negative space, and as for where their episodes will take them... hey, Princess Twilight ended up alright, you know? Maybe it'll work out.


Alright, that was a ton of text. If you read through that, then I bestow upon thee mad props or whatever the kids say. At the risk of giving a deadline because I'm likely to miss it, I'll have one more blog post next week. And then it's back to actually writing fiction and stuff! See you next time.

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