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cleverpun


ACAB | ♠️ | A teacher, student, writer, and opinionated reader. Responsible for cleverpun's Critique Corner. | Donate via Ko-fi

More Blog Posts225

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    7 comments · 86 views
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    The Good:

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    6 comments · 384 views
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  • 59 weeks
    Happy International Asexuality Day!

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    3 comments · 374 views
  • 59 weeks
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    gestures broadly

    5 comments · 306 views
Nov
27th
2016

cleverpun’s Idea Graveyard/”How NOT to Write” #3: The Astronomy ‘Verse · 6:23am Nov 27th, 2016

Many moons ago, I saw all those Multi-story-spanning alternate universes rampant at the time. I thought to myself, “I could do that.” As the title of this blog series may hint, it never truly congealed into a good story, let alone multiple stories. For today’s idea graveyard, I’d like to share the meandering process with you all. After all, as John Dewey said, “Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.”


The Astronomy ‘Verse or Astronomy Remix ‘Verse was originally inspired by the show’s production sketches (mostly Twilight’s, but also Pinkie Pie’s and Fluttershy’s).

Twilight Sparkle, Princess Luna and Princess Celestia's faithful student, has finally worked up the nerve to ask her teachers for a research grant to work on her latest astronomy project. She moves to the hick town of Ponyville (less light pollution), and begins studying a particular constellation whose stars seem to be disappearing. It turns out that Luna sealed a particular thing (Nightmare Moon) there a long time ago, after it tried and failed to turn her to The Dark Side. She didn't tell anypony for fear of what they might they think of her, but now it's prison is breaking. She asks Twilight to help her reseal it, so Twilight and Pinkie Pie (whom Twilight met first day and gave her a nerve-wracking aerial tour?) go and collect some ponies to use the Elements of Harmony with. Since Pinkie knows everypony in town it doesn't take that long to get some likely candidates; Rainbow Dash (Honesty), Applejack (Loyalty), Rarity (Kindness), Fluttershy (Generosity), and ofc Pinkie (Laughter) and Twilight (Magic).

Major deviations from canon included;
-Twilight's cutie mark is for astronomy not magic
-Pinkie is a pegasus, Fluttershy is an earth pony
-Spike was raised by Fluttershy
-Luna was never Nightmare Moon
-Everypony's personality is slightly different from their canon one (Dash is more of a fangirl, Fluttershy is less shy, etc.)
-Nightmare Star is the first big bad. The main 6 don't beat him, the princesses do.
-As a result of the above, the main 6 aren't friends at the end of the first story arc. Episode 2 mostly consists of Twilight awkwardly trying to befriend them.
-The Season 1 finale is the Summer Sun Festival, not the gala

This was all well and good. Ultimately though, despite multiple outlines and a few attempts at a first chapter, the story was just too boring. It fell into that trap that so many AUs do: all the differences still resulted in a similar plot. Going through the same story is going to be boring because the readers know the major details already.

But there was one aspect of the AU that I had gotten attached to: Remix!Rarity. In this AU, Rarity is a Chowder-style chef-wizard. She uses gems to imbue food with magical properties and has to tailor them to each customer for them to work correctly. By filling gems with magic and them letting them sit next to the food, the dish marinades in magic, and using this Rarity can create very potent-but-specific spells.

The first story using her new role was called (Holy) Clockamole: after being told Not Now, Kid one too many times, Sweetie gets into Rarity's magic cooking supplies and makes a batch of Clockamole to make herself older. Recalling Rarity's warnings that foodspells need to be made carefully, Sweetie decides to test the clockamole on Diamond Tiara first. It doesn't work (I was thinking it either freezes DT in time or makes her older but removes her cutie mark/something), and so Rarity drags Sweetie Belle along to gather the ingredients for a cure. Possibly with a B-plot back in town with DT where Hilarity Ensues?

Alternately, Sweetie Belle would’ve used it on herself, making her older and resulting in a Careful What You Wish For plotline.

This was ultimately scrapped because of a similar reason: it paralleled “The Cutie Pox” without adding much of interest. The details were different, but the broad strokes were the same, meaning the alternate version was pointless.

Undeterred, I continued.

The next story was Charisma Cupcakes. Like any good businessmare, Rarity often offers free samples to customers. During their first meeting, Rarity offered Twilight some Charisma Cupcakes: a food spell that makes the wearer, well, more charismatic. Despite her own concerns, Twilight eventually decides to take her up on the offer. After a day of feeling pleasantly and atypically socially un-conscious, Twilight eats more of the cupcakes, despite Rarity's note not to take more than one every two days. Hilarity Ensues. Dash and Rarity must then trick Twilight into taking the antidote before the magic goes straight to her thighs becomes irreversible.

This particular idea also had a few chapters written, but the problem here was different. The story’s conflict, its plotting, and its direction never really gelled together. How did charismatic Twilight end up being tricked into taking the antidote? How far did her charisma reach, and what was the best way to portray it? Wouldn’t Rarity know better than to give her all the cupcakes? How the story progressed and resolved never became properly organic, and so it was discarded.

This failure, this mess, offers a lot of warnings about big-picture story planning and the danger of following trends. For the curious, however, I have placed all the different chunks that I had written in to my scraps collection. While I liked some of the writing, the project as a whole was ultimately not worth pursuing.

Thanks for reading. Whether this helped spark your own ideas, or whether it showed you some things to avoid in your own writing, I hope it was interesting.

As always, comments and criticism welcome.

Comments ( 3 )

i"m always for a verse that makes more of twilight's awkward sarcastic phase when she has trouble making friends.

Some interesting ideas, but I can definitely see how this didn't get off the ground. That said, you haven't mentioned Applejack at all. How did you adjust her?

4318921 Awkward Twilight is best Twilight. That's the main reason I bothered to watch Equestria Girls.

4319089 The idea never really developed that far. Maybe Fluttershy would've fit better as the Element of Loyalty and AJ could've been Generosity--make her more of a philanthropist than just a businessmare, or something.

This brings up another issue with the AU, though. The ways characters were changed wasn't very egalitarian. Some (mostly Rarity and Twilight) changed a lot, while the rest changed in much less extreme ways.

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