• Member Since 26th Sep, 2011
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FanOfMostEverything


FoMEy the Windigo wishes you a merry and friendship-filled holiday. Or else.

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Sep
25th
2016

Lignishy · 3:10pm Sep 25th, 2016

For those of you who like to wait until stories are finished before reading them, What Shy Did on Her Summer Vacation is now complete. What follow are my thoughts on it. Spoilers are most definitely present.

This was a fascinating experiment on multiple levels: Tone, perspective, single-plot serialization, prepreparation, and more. And all in all, I’d say it went quite well. Trying to write out the whole story ahead of time didn’t quite work, but the other bits turned out quite well.

Serializing this story was certainly an adventure. About half of the chapters could’ve been charitably described as half-finished when I first hit Publish. It wasn’t quite the desperate scramble of Story Shuffle, and certainly not for the same length of time. Still, it was an interesting challenge to meet those daily deadlines, especially when I had to publish chapters from my phone three times. I’m pretty sure my time management skills saw significant improvement while putting this one out.

The numerous different time frames made for some interesting moments of inspiration. The basic outline of the story only ever shifted once, switching Pinkie and Zephyr’s chapters when I decided it made more sense for Shy to go full nature goddess after being left to her devices for a few weeks. Some scenes were just about written in stone; Tree Hugger’s one-handed throat hug was the first scene I fleshed out in full, altered only when a last-minute check with Masterweaver gave me access to much better material on chakra theory. Others had the detail filled in bit by bit before publishing, like the Pokémon Go jokes, and some were brought in just under the wire. Dash spilling her guts, most of Applejack’s chapter, and pony Fluttershy’s appearance were all ideas I implemented the night before. The Superconsciousness of Harmony? A few hours before I hit Publish on Tree Hugger's chapter.

The reactions were very fun to see, especially when a few people caught on early that something wasn’t quite right. (Of course, asking “What could possibly go wrong?” more often than Bubsy the Bobcat probably helped there. :derpytongue2:) Given how I’ve mostly written single-chapter stories for a while now, I’d forgotten how much fun it can be to watch people react and try to anticipate as the story unfolds, especially on a day-by-day basis.

There is one area that still has some clear issues: the story tags. I kept it limited to AU/EqG/Drama partially to avoid spoilers and partially because I’m really not sure how to properly categorize this. If I had published the first chapter with the Horror tag, people would’ve come to one of three conclusions:

1. I have an incredibly low tolerance for horror.
2. Fridge-logically, everyone was lying about Fluttershy’s reaction to turning into a tree for the first time, and it was actually a case of her having no mouth and needing to scream.
3. Something was going to go horribly awry later on in the story.

Number 2 had heavy evidence stacked against it, while Number 1 is easily disproven given what I did to Sonata Dusk in Oversaturation. (I do seem to enjoy bizarre bodily transformation, don’t I?) As such, if I wanted to pull off the “slowly growing horror” angle, I needed it to be unlabeled. Of course, I could’ve added the tag later, and maybe I should have. But I’m still not sure.

The problem is that What Shy Did transforms as much as Fluttershy does, and it’s hard to capture that in a single, static set of genre tags. Comedy/Drama/Horror/Slice of Life is just going to make people think I have no idea what I’m doing. Still, this doesn’t seem like the sort of thing that should go unlabeled. Any insight you all have to offer in that regard would be greatly appreciated.

Lastly and most definitely not least, thank you to everyone who enjoyed the story enough to make it a frequent visitor to the featured box over the past week. I am thrilled with the reception this got, and the degree to which it and Masterweaver’s Rise of the Wholesome got people to look at the rest of the Overstaurated World. Membership in the group has nearly doubled since What Shy Did came out, and Oversaturation itself nearly broke its record for most views in a single day. I am awed and humbled by how much people enjoy these stories when they actually notice them. I have several more ideas on the docket, to say nothing of what others may come up with. Thank you for enjoying this story. You guys are what make this fun. :yay:

Comments ( 15 )

Skimmed.
I shall read the completed story later today or more likely late tonight.

I really should publish chapter two.

Also: Which girl is which chakra in the Harmony Subconsciousness?

EDIT: I'm assuming AJ's Earth, Pinkie's Water, Rainbow's Fire, Fluttershy's Air, Rarity's Sound, Scitwi's Light, and Sunset is Thought?

I wouldn't call that story horror by any stretch, but I just found it saddening instead of scary. Regardless, the story tasted wonderful and I cannot wait for the next, either as an entree or another appetizer like this one.

4226346 Going by the link you gave FOME. My interpretation is skewed more from an occult viewpoint.

AJ would be Earth for sure.
Pinkie is definitely Water. For me its a mix of Fire and Water.
Rainbow fits Fire very well.
Fluttershy being Air fits within the link you provide. Earth and Water from my perspective.
Rarity being sound is fitting. I would see her as a blend of Fire and AIr.
SciTwi as Light. The intellect is an Air thing to me and fits SciTwi.
Sunset as Thought. To me should would be Spirit.

I'm just going to note that it took me until right now to figure out the "Shyad" pun. :facehoof:

As for the story, this kind of a trek through various moods is hard to tag, especially if you don't want to spoil things or give people a wrong impression at first. It would be very helpful if we could slap additional tags on individual chapters, so that you could have a story that's [Equestria Girls][Adventure] as a whole, and individual chapters getting noted as containing for example [Comedy], [Romance] and [Sad].

The chapter titles were a. Well. They worked well, whatever they were.

I would include a spoilered content warning to avoid the swiftly tilting tone problem.

4228243
That sounds like a good idea, but how should I phrase it?

4228322 Hell, even quoting the Bubs again in the actual description would help.

I'd suggest "Later chapters have elements of Psychological horror" in a spoilered content warning as being both accurate and not nearly as spoilerrific as a Body Horror tag. The emphasis is more on the first, anyway.

4228380
Done. Thanks for the advice.

Also, the chapter titles followed a fairly simple theme: Each is the corresponding chapter's primary perspective character according to Fluttershy at the time of the chapter.

4228425 As the wolfman said, I am a were. It's just very unsettling and effective.

I would suggest leaving the tags as-is, going for fewer tags when a tag's connotations would be misleading or confusing or of questionable applicability. If a tag wouldn't attract the people who would enjoy the actual story, or would push those people away, then don't use it. The tags exist to serve the readers, after all.

Meta Four recently pointed out that Tastes Like Heresy could technically be accurately tagged as a tragedy. It checks the boxes, including the protagonist's being undone by a fatal flaw that is integral to their personality. They also advise against actually tagging it as such, as the tone of the story is drastically different from what a tragedy tag would imply. Who knew a guy could write a happy tragedy, and by accident at that? :rainbowlaugh:

But yeah. I'd avoid the horror tag, and maybe try to imply (or explicitly state) that the story has a theme of growing horror in the description.

I see little that's horrifying about slowly dissolving into serene bliss. It's a good way to go. No more horrifying than death in general, and Drama stories often put their characters in danger of death. The tags are good as they are now.

4230978
It's not the serene bliss that's horrifying.
It's the disconnect from reality.

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