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Amber Spark


"Do it with love, do it with passion and never dream small!” - Author, Designer & Creator - Patreon/Ko-Fi

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Sep
27th
2016

Retrospective: History · 9:35pm Sep 27th, 2016

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Well, here we are again! It’s been a few days since Sunset Shimmer Day (Fall Equinox on September 22) and I do hope you’ve enjoyed the ride. This story was something a little different for me to write and it had its own unique challenges because of that.

But first, why did we get this story? Well, because I really enjoyed the dynamic between Sunset and Twilight set up in Applications. I wanted to explore that a bit more. There were a couple other reasons, but mainly, I did it because it's fun. :pinkiehappy:


First of all, let’s talk about comedy. I like to think I’m fairly good at writing comedic scenes, usually with conversational banter and the occasional slapstick bit to get me through. But to aim for comedy all the way through? That’s harder than it sounds. A lot harder.

You see, I’m what some folks call a “Discovery” writer. Unlike the many talents out there who have that mystical ability to outline (looking at you Albinocorn… or just about anyone out there who intentionally do long stories that aren’t finished before they publish), I don’t have that particular gift. I tend to have a few rough ideas in my head and then just spin them out as I go. In fact, I’ve found that if I do too much outlining, I’ll lose the passion for that particular story.

Thankfully, in short stories, novellas and novellettes (my stories so far fall into the latter two categories), you can get away with that a lot more than with a full novel. Novels require a lot more planning and world building. I should know. This entire series of short stories started as worldbuilding for Wavelength Theorems!

But back to comedy. In the end, how I view comedy and how others view it will probably end up different. So, hopefully there’s enough comedy to warrant the comedy tag in this tale. I did try. Personally, I think any story with Adorkable Twilight being Adorkable is hysterical. Hell, I’ll take a Twilight rant (which may be why she had so many of them…), but I’m easy to please. :twilightsmile:

Now, let’s talk about some story elements.

What’s probably foremost on your mind is Twilight’s cutie mark story. This required a fair amount of thought and brain-wracking. You see, in my draft of Wavelength Theorems, I already had her cutie mark set up: a book in a magical field. But then I needed to rewind and think about how she got it. When Twilight mentions she was out for the last week of the term and we listen to Moon Dancer standing up for Sunset, originally, I wasn’t going to talk about that. Until I realized that’s the perfect setup!

And if Jade Singer sounds familiar… as I said in the author’s notes, it should! Twilight’s Cutie Mark story is a re-telling of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Micro-Comic #1 starring Twilight Sparkle! I don’t know how well you remember the events of that story, but it goes along very similar lines, which is why I breeze past a fair bit of it, except for the beginning and the end. First of all, Professor Inkwell is the same Professor Inkwell from Celestia’s Micro-Comic (I really want to tell her story eventually. It sounds awesome, especially the dark force that invaded Canterlot during the flashback!). Since Inkwell’s a bit of an eccentric, she was the perfect professor to put a purple prepubescent pony in the path of a puttering prodigy of prose.

…For the record, alliteration can be really blasted hard!

Anyway, I also put her there because I could. :raritywink:

However, there’s one little catch. At the end of the story, Twilight reaches out to Jade. She’s able to connect by being the Princess’s personal student. This Twilight doesn’t have that background. So how could she connect? Simple. It goes the other way. Jade’s shell finally breaks when she sees this little filly who was up all night in her library and managed to sort every book before dawn… and got her cutie mark for it! Even a hardened author like Jade Singer couldn’t resist Twilight’s adorableness factor.

And thus, Wavelength Twilight’s mark is born!

Another couple things I should mention. In Grading on a Bell Curve, I mentioned that one of my favorite bits from Sunset of Time was the dialog of Sunset becoming the Princess’s personal study with the “I-I-I-I-I…yes./Oh dear, she fainted.” I know I already used that as an inspiration for Cheerilee’s reaction to Celestia’s message, but since Celestia’s offer was so darn close to what happened in Sunset of Time, I couldn’t resist using it again! In fact, that line was the inspiration for this entire story! Really! For each of my short stories, I write a short synopsis for the idea (enough so I can build on it later) and personal notes so I know what I’m actually getting at. The notes for Princess Celestia: A Brief History were literally “Oh dear…she fainted…” line. Book is what Twilight is reading when Sunset picks her up…

Blame Albinocorn.

However, Sunset’s response? That’s from another set of stories entirely! Toward the end of Terry Pratchett’s classic “Guards! Guards!” where we meet the Ankh-Morpork City Watch for the very first time, one of the scenes ends with the ever-so-epic then-Captain Vimes just losing it and laughs his tail off because after saving the entire city, his men ask for a tiny raise… and then really push their luck when they ask for… a new dartboard. It’s hysterical. I’ve always loved that scene and when I realized how well it would fit in here, I just jumped at the chance!

Originally, I was going to start the story with Moon Dancer again, but I realized she’s got a lot of time in the spotlight and it was time to bring in another pony. Minuette! Minuette is almost as fun as Moon Dancer. Minuette’s perkiness is so powerful that Sunset’s sass just slides right off of her like water off a duck, unlike Moon Dancer who will match Sunset blow for blow. I may have put a little too much Pinkie Pie in her, but considering her special talent is time… I think I can get away with a lot (And by the way, her special talent single-hoofedly saves Canterlot at one point).

Also? I never expected to have so much fun with Philomena. Seriously. I stumbled across her as literally a stand-in for Celestia in Grading on a Bell Curve, but somehow, this flashy showoff of a bird with a mischievous streak a mile long just grew on me. I will confess there is probably a lot of Pyrelight from Fallout: Equestria by Kkat in my rendition of Philomena, but considering the first episode we see with her is Philomena trolling Fluttershy and Twilight for the entire episode… I think her being a snarky and sassy thing is all too believable. Plus, Sunny’s got the whole phoenix thing going for her.

Ayep. They were made for each other.

Now, you probably noticed Celestia being a bit… off in this little tale. There’s a very good reason for that. And no, I’m not telling you what it is. But there’s a ton going on behind the scenes… and some of that will be revealed in The Cloudsdale Report. However, as that reveals a great deal of what’s actually going on… you won’t be seeing that just yet. I know. Evil.

So, what’s next you ask? Well, I finally decided to conquer Sparks, the tale of Sunset Shimmer and her friends facing down Nightmare Moon. Unfortunately for Sunset, Nightmare Moon is well prepared to deal with her and Sunset is going to deal something far worse than eternal night… she’s going to have to face off against herself.

This story’s a big one. Every single one of the other tales I’ve written leads to this moment and beyond. You’ll find out about how Sunset dealt with Nightmare Moon, who’s who in the Wavelengths Mane 6 (or is that Mane 7…? :raritywink:) and see the champions of Equestria truly come together. And worst of all… you’ll finally meet Sunset’s parents.

That being said, I want to set up a few more things before you guys get to see that big showdown. I want to introduce you to Rara and Coco (and hopefully come back to How Not to Use Your Royal Prerogative) plus spend a bit more time with Moon Dancer and Minuette.

For Minuette’s tale with Sunset, I’m hoping to actually pull off a short story, which is defined by Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (the guys who do the Nebula Awards, which is second only to the Hugo, I believe) as less than 7,500 words. I have no idea if I’ll pull it off. However, I will say I intend to publish Minuette’s story all in one go. You won’t have to get it on the installment plan.

Sparks, on the other hoof, will definitely be an ongoing story. I’m expecting it to hit something like 40,000 words or so. Probably more. I always end up higher than I expected. Probably because I don’t know when to shut up.

Now, I know what you’re really dying to know. You definitely want to see where Twilight and Sunset’s friendship goes. The real question is… will they listen to Celestia’s advice at the end of History? What happens if they do? What happens if they don’t?

…What? Did you expect me to answer that in a Retrospective? What kind of storyteller do you take me for?

Either way, you can expect more adorkable Twilight (I make no apologies for the amounts of Twi-Rants she went on for this story. Ranting Twi is Best Twi), more sassy Moon Dancer, more annoying angry little ponies, more cryptic Celestia (seriously, is there any other kind?) and of course, more Sunny. Because you can never have enough Sunny.

Cool Announcements!

I’m happy to report that Grading on a Bell Curve nailed an Equestria Daily Feature! Squee! My second story and my second feature. It’s almost like I know what I’m doing! (I don’t if you’re wondering). It sets up Sunset's relationship with Cheerilee several years before the events of this story, so you should check it out if you haven't read it yet.

Second, for Sunset Shimmer Day, I polled multiple places across the internet, including every major Sunset Shimmer group on FimFiction and the Sunset Shimmer subreddit to create an epic Sunset Shimmer Story Showcase! Even the Lord and Master of Sunset Shimmer Stories, Albinocorn, dropped by! (Yes, I’m a fan. You know this! Now sush!). And then, with the help of the amazing Calpain, we got this wonderful selection of stories up on Equestria Daily! That’s right! FREE FEATURES FOR EVERYPONY! There are now Nine Recommended Reads for Sunset Shimmer Day!

Pretty cool, eh?

And just in time for the new movie coming out this Saturday!

You can never have too much Sunny, after all. (Spoiler alert: Sunset gets an awesome song in the new movie. And that’s all I’m saying!)

Well, that about wraps it up for today. If you’ve been with me all this time, thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed the ride!

Have an awesome day!

-Novel

Postscript Update!

Through some minor miracle, Princess Celestia: A Brief History actually landed in the FimFiction Featured Box for about an hour after the finale was posted! Squee! Featured on FimFiction with my third story. Now that's shiny!

Comments ( 6 )

Hello, there. Again, thanks very much for going to the trouble of making this retrospect/appetizers for future stories. :-D

You tease, You Freakin' TEASE!! Dangling SunLight in front of me like that with no hints to how this is going to turn out. *growls, if it didn't sorta kinda make some minuscule sense that Sunset and Twilight should take it easy because they've only met for a bit over 24 hours, I'd print this story just so I could burn it to ash. You have to know I'm watching you for the next one right? Freakin' pony...

Congratulations on your success, NovelIdea.
And of course, i'll be waiting for your stories. They are awesome.

4230136 Oh these are just fun places for me to ramble on and on and on and--

What was I saying? Oh yeah! They're also to help keep my eye on the prize and do a "Hey, you told these people you'd do the thing, so go do the thing!"

4230553 :moustache: i.imgbox.com/X3DHK3Nz.gif

I consider it the height of success to receive grumbling complaints like this. They make me squee. A great deal. :pinkiehappy:
One of my pre-readers gives me replies like this much of the time. :scootangel:

4230683 Thank you! I hope you feelings continue on that trend!

Ooh, so the Nightmare Moon confrontation is coming up, yay! I knew it would happen eventually, but that's when things really begin. Especially with all the things pointing towards maybe a Mane 7 (which will be awkward, as not like there's going to be an extra Element... or is there?). If things have been awkward for Sunset before, with adjusting to having friends and trying to ignore that voice in the back of her head, finding out friendship really can be weaponized into a rainbow laser is really going to throw her for a loop.

I like the idea of Sunset and Philomena getting along, considering how much of a troll Philomena is (much like her a certain other someone :trollestia: ). One of the things I like best about stories with Sunset and Princess Celestia is that I think Sunset can handle Trollestia a lot better than Twilight (who is basically permanently in awe of Celestia forever). Although that also means Sunset has more problems with Celestia, which leads to her running off in canon, but here she's gotten over most of those problems, so hopefully she won't run off (probably).

Another great story in this timeline, I'm looking forward to more.

4230719 I could tease you with tidbits that don't actually give you any new information regarding your first comments... but instead, I'll just leave this sentence here. I think it'll do about the same thing.

Oh yeah, I've got some big fights planned for Sunny and Tia. She definitely does not have the deference Twi has (in either Wavelengths or Canon). One of the great challenges of this story is that I can't point out what happened differently, unless I do it outside the story. That I've decided to allow the readers to figure out. You won't get any direct comparisons between the timelines, because as far as the ponies in this timeline are concerned, there is no other timeline! :scootangel:

Thank you kindly! I love comments like this. It helps to know what readers are thinking after a story. It allows me to make minor course corrections as needed. :pinkiehappy:

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