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  • 226 weeks
    The Philosophy of Pie... Or "Things I Learned From Watching Pinkie Pie"

    1. Let your imagination get away from you; it will come back with cake.

    2. Sometimes, you cannot answer the riddle. And sometimes, that’s the right answer.

    3. When it comes to scrapbooking family memories, you don’t find the time—you make the time.

    4. Always ask the important questions, like “Is it ‘glowed’ or ‘glew’?”

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    0 comments · 364 views
  • 232 weeks
    FiMFic Reviews: Turnabout Storm Adaptation... Or "The Victim's Autopsy Report"

    From October 2011 to October 2013, a series of videos was released under the unifying banner of Turnabout Storm, a fan-crossover series between My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the Ace Attorney video game series, produced by NeoArtimus. The project as a whole was a success as far as fanworks go, inspiring plenty of fanart, pseudo-sequels, and reaction/commentary

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    0 comments · 406 views
  • 238 weeks
    The Cutie Map is Back... (Sequel Announcement)

    The Watchers of the Map are back in my latest story, "The Mission Begins Anew." Check it out here.

    0 comments · 362 views
  • 247 weeks
    FiMFic Reviews: Nightmare Night Special... Or "The Creature Double Feature"

    Before the introduction of Thorax in “The Times, They are A-Changeling,” speculation on changelings was everywhere: How did they live; were there many hives or just the one; was love the only emotion they could feed on; did individual changelings have personalities of their own; the list goes on. Luckily, the fandom never stops at simply asking these questions, and with a variety of mediums to

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    0 comments · 444 views
  • 251 weeks
    FiMFic Reviews: The Music of Ponyville... Or "The Alternate AU"

    If you’ve followed me for a long time, you’ll know I have a soft spot in my heart for the Alternate Mane 6 subgenre. Stories where the characters we know and love from the show are changed somewhat, if not outright replaced, have a lot of creative potential, giving both writers and readers a chance to explore a new perspective on the same basic outline. And while I could go down the obvious path

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    1 comments · 406 views

FiMFic Reviews: Nightmare Night Special... Or "The Creature Double Feature" · 11:33am Oct 31st, 2016

Before the introduction of Thorax in “The Times, They are A-Changeling,” speculation on changelings was everywhere: How did they live; were there many hives or just the one; was love the only emotion they could feed on; did individual changelings have personalities of their own; the list goes on. Luckily, the fandom never stops at simply asking these questions, and with a variety of mediums to work with, there’s no shortage of outlets to answer them.

In terms of fanfiction, one such story I’ve read is A Novel Tale by blissey1.

The story takes place shortly after the attempted Changeling Invasion of Canterlot from the Season 2 finale. One changeling, Nurex/Novel Tale, who has been living in the city as a mystery author, finds himself caught in the aftermath when, after arriving to Ponyville on the way to his hive, the Mane 6 discover his true identity, mostly because his last book (which Twilight Sparkle has read) contained a changeling character that was far too on-the-nose for their liking. Once Nurex explains himself, Twilight decides to use this event as an opportunity to learn more about his kind, hopefully using the knowledge to better relations between ponies and changelings.

As far as stories go, this fic strikes a balance between simple and complex. The story premise is an overall simple one, especially once Novel’s cover is blown. But the presentation offers much more substance. The point of view is largely split between Novel and Twilight. Novel’s narration mostly takes up the first act, from the prologue before the invasion to his reveal. Twilight, meanwhile, has the most focus during the second act, which is devoted to most of the story’s world-building aspects as well as the startup for pony-changeling relations. The third act mostly splits things up in regards to what side is being narrated, but each side does remain consistent. Novel’s narration is where most of the story happens, focusing on the events that play out and how he reacts to whatever situation he finds himself in, whereas the Twilight-centric portions are much more studious, preferring to focus on the things she learns rather than the events of the story. Not to say there isn’t any story in these parts, but they do take a backseat.

In fact, I’m much more tempted to call this fic a “world builder” than an actual story. Once Novel is revealed to be a changeling, the story all but comes to a stop, only picking up towards the third act, where the fallout from the invasion starts to gain even more momentum. Luckily, where the fic lacks in story, it makes up for with characters. Novel’s portions have the most development, what with him being the most affected by the events, but Twilight also gets some character exploration, what with her being able to explore a whole new world for both her and Equestria as a whole. When she learns a new piece of information, she doesn’t just jot it down for future reference, she reacts to it. One moment in particular is when she actually tastes the gel-like substance that contains the emotional energy the changelings use for food, remarking that it tastes like walnuts. And it’s only made all the more amusing when she realizes that a key component in the preparation process is changeling saliva.

Even the side characters are given moments to be more than plot devices. Both familiar characters and newly-introduced changelings are portrayed as individuals with emotions and stakes in the outcome. Special mention goes to Queen Polistae, the queen of Novel’s hive, who, despite her initial impressions, is someone I could actually see myself geting to know. Lt. Steel Wing, who, for the sake of spoilers, I will not reveal too much about, also has a believable character and a stake of his own that makes him sympathetic. And at the risk of even more spoilers, the last changeling to be interviewed reveals some new depth to just how far the invasion left its impact.

All in all, good stuff. But as I was reading for this review, I couldn’t help but notice a couple glaring issues. For one, like I said before, the fic starts to become more focused on its world-building once the second act hits. Heck, there are even two “bonus chapters” that are nothing but world-building, as told from the notes Twilight has taken outside the narration. This becomes especially apparent at the end when the story simply… ends. Once the last interview is over, the fic immediately closes with an epilogue that takes place a few months later, presented in a sort of “where are they now” montage. Even Novel Tale, the character for whom this fic is named, is only mentioned from Twilight’s point of view. From the reader’s perspective, Novel simply disappeared after the final interview.

There’s also the fact that some of Novel’s narration seems to have a personality of its own at times. This mostly takes the form of ironic questions, a.k.a. “What could possibly go wrong?” Even if the narration were in first-person, I would have called it forced. In third-person, however, it comes off as trying too hard. And it’s not like Novel himself is tempting fate; this is purely the narration talking directly to the reader. At points like these, I was facepalming not just because the question was being asked, but also because it felt like the author was trying to be clever.

But while faults like these temporarily tempted me to give A Novel Tale a lower rating, I couldn’t help but enjoy this fic all the same. Even when the world-building is in full swing, it doesn’t completely abandon everything that helps it shine. It’s one of those “take the good with the bad” scenarios. So while I can’t call this an expertly crafted work of literature, I can say that, if you can look past its flaws, it’s still a pretty good read.

Recommendation Rating: :heart::heart::heart: Some reservations, but still pretty decent. :yay:

One year ago, I started my FiMFic Reccomendations with a batpony fanfic series. It’s almost kind of fitting that I review one this year as well. This time around, we have the one-shot fic A Twilight Dinner Date by Fimbulvinter.

After a few years of integrating into pony society, a batpony—or “thestral,” as they prefer to be called—by the name of Night Song has come to Ponyville to serve as a Night Guardian against the Everfree Forest. Twilight Sparkle, being Twilight Sparkle, sees this as an opportunity to find out more about his kind.

Now some of you who were here last year might be thinking to yourself, “This is sounding awfully familiar.” True, this starting premise is about the same as that of Interview with a Batpony, but that’s where the similarities end. Whereas Midnight Wind in Interview seemed to acquiesce to Twilight’s request fairly easily, Night Song has one condition: that he be allowed to take Twilight to dinner first.

Much like the story above, this one is pretty simple, plotwise, probably even more so since it’s a one-shot. It’s a story about a dinner date, so most of it revolves around a dinner date. That’s not to say the entirety is just the date itself; the reader actually sees the entire process, from Night Song asking Twilight out and getting the reservations all the way to the aftermath.

In fact, despite the fic setting itself up like a typical world-building fanfiction, the actual story is the real focus. Not to say there isn’t some world-building here, but I can probably count all the major points on one hand. Luckily, what the fic lacks in quantity, it makes up for with quality. Whatever information is revealed receives the time and attention it deserves, and all without breaking the pace of the story.

A lot of this is due to the presentation, particularly in atmosphere and emotion. The story doesn’t just describe what’s happening in terms of the plot; it also spends plenty of time detailing the characters’ reactions and opinions to certain elements. Going back to the world-building aspect for a moment, part of the attention to detail as mentioned before involves what both characters have to say on the matter, not just the one learning.

But it’s not just the world-building. The fic takes its time to let the reader be drawn into its story. I mentioned before that the pacing remains largely unbroken. That’s because it keeps a nice, easy pace throughout: not too slow, but certainly not breakneck either. This allows the reader to take in the atmosphere without any real tension. It’s the equivalent of a relaxing stroll, where you can just enjoy what’s going on around you without worrying too much. In fact, the story only starts to pick up in tension when Twilight learns, by complete accident, a startling truth about thestrals, and even then, the previously relaxing atmosphere only gets a little more nerve-wracking. And this moment does lead to probably the highlight of the fic; I won’t spoil it here, but this moment had my complete fascination throughout, largely because that slightly tenser atmosphere never felt off from the rest of the story.

But what does feel off, however, is the narration. Remember how I just talked about the multiple viewpoints in the above review? Well, this fic has it too, and unfortunately, it works to the story’s detriment; it starts off with some generic, non-character-focused narration to set up some background for the story; then adopts a sort of all-inclusive style between Night Song and Twilight, making no attempt to really differentiate the two; and only then does it finally start to focus on one character at a time, with Night Song taking up the portions with the setup and date itself while Twilight handles the aftermath. I know I said in my Royal Review review that the constantly shifting viewpoints were a good thing when the fic is a one-shot, but keep in mind that the third-person omniscient style in that fic gave the characters some much needed depth that a one-shot couldn’t otherwise afford. In A Twilight Dinner Date, however, this style comes off as clunky at best because there’s no real focus, even if much of the problem only happens in the first third of the story.

But you know what? That’s the absolute worst I can say about this fic. Everything else works great. I love the characters and how they’re portrayed, and the presentation, while awkwardly written at times, does make the story stronger as a result. You’re in for a treat with this one.

Recommendation Rating: :heart::heart::heart::heart: An enjoyable fic; an easy recommendation. :twilightsmile:

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