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cleverpun


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Jan
27th
2017

If You Came to Conquer Featured by Royal Canterlot Library · 10:35am Jan 27th, 2017

The Royal Canterlot Library is a website that endeavors to provide curation to our fandom. It is run by a handful of fanfiction authors and reviewers. They try to highlight MLP fanfic that exemplifies all the best the fandom has to offer.

In the past, I have often derided the RCL for various things. The main reason being their blatant bias towards stories which are focused on literary merit and philosophizing, often at the cost of storytelling and plot.

Today, If You Came to Conquer (and its sequels) have been/will be inducted into the RCL. Clearly, this confirms their bias towards stories that emphasize ideas over narrative.

In all seriousness, each feature includes things like a complimentary introduction by the curators and a written, structured interview with the author (me in this case). I'm posting this blog before the feature actually gets posted (since I'll be busy with work around the time it goes up), but I'll edit in a link to my interview when I have the chance. Probably right around here.

My followers are likely used to me rambling at length about things, but perhaps this interview will present some interesting information. And if you're sick of me, but haven't heard of the RCL yet, now is a good chance to check them out. They've featured a wide range of stories. Personal taste means you may not like them all, but all of them have something worth recommending in them. And whether you agree with their selections or not, one has to respect the amount of effort it takes to curate a fandom as large as ours.

And if you cannot fathom visiting a website other than fimfic, the interview will also be available on fimfic next Friday.

Comments ( 8 )

literary merit and philosophizing, rather than storytelling and plot.

Stupid question: How is literary merit separate from story telling and plot?

4398480 The former is focused on presenting ideas and theme, whereas the latter is more about narrative construction and delivery. I was mostly referencing stories that present ideas while lacking an actual story to back them up.

I often refer to these types of stories as Blog Post Stories: "stories" which read more like a blog post exploring an idea, rather than an actual story. I've reviewed a few of them, here and there. Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C

Also, there was an element of sarcasm and self-deprecation there. Clearly I did not make my sarcasm strong enough :derpytongue2:

You have me at least intrigued considering I've been to the RCL before... but besides that detail... there's another eye catching detail I faintly notice...

Looks upon the avatar of a familiar face Is that who I think it is? :pinkiegasp:

4398484 I was thinking about the discussion of forgiveness and penance in the second chapter of the above story, which also made me recall a certain incident concerning the former theme.

[Story inbound]

A few weeks back, a gay man went crawling back to an LGBT discussion forum on another site, asking for forgiveness for what he had said to all of them. As it turns out, the gay man declared that he was an ex-gay during a tense political climate before telling all of them to screw themselves (Or something, the finer details are lost to me). Give or take a few weeks, and it turned out that the only person he was fooling was himself.

When he begged for forgiveness, most did, but one reply stood out to me.

Basically, what the person said was that they couldn't forgive him until he proved that his remorse and desire to make amendments was sincere by reaching out to other LGBT people and offering support in their times of need, showing that he could back up what he said.

[Story ends]

So it pretty much opened my eyes to the differences in people forgiving a wrongdoer and a wrongdoer forgiving oneself.

There was something else that I felt like sharing which I forgot, but suffice to say that claiming morality is subjective in an argument about morality is like bringing a sledgehammer to a discussion about scalpels.

Just wanted to drop a line and a link to your feature now that it is (belatedly) live. Thanks for an engaging read! As you noted, it'll go live next week right here on FIMFic as well.

In the past, I have often derided the RCL for various things. The main reason being their blatant bias towards stories which are focused on literary merit and philosophizing, rather than storytelling and plot.

Well, yes, guilty as charged; "our focus is on literary merit" is right in the mission statement. :twilightsheepish: It's not so much a philosophizing thing, though, I don't think; none of us to my knowledge have a philosophy background and we take a variety of approaches to our reading. It's more that we're populated with heavy readers/reviewers, and given that we're vetting ponyfic in such large quantities, it's much easier to catch our attention with ideas that stand out from the pack than with solid execution of a generic idea.

That said, we do try to look for stories that are great in a variety of different ways. Even if your criteria for great stories and the Library's don't always match, I'm glad we're getting a chance to feature your writing! If you have suggestions for other authors' stories we ought to be featuring, our ears are always open — about 20% of our features start via the few recommendations we get.

4398530 :raritywink: Sadly I never actually finished Radiant Historia: it was a very dense game.

4398581 You're right that it is definitely a very subjective set of ideas. That's why I intentionally tried to give Celestia and Nightmare Moon differing perspectives, and to make each of their arguments have both strong and flawed points.

I think this subjectivity worked to my advantage when writing the story, since it created more opportunities for readers to draw their own conclusions from it. And the sequels explore additional aspects of the idea. In particular, what it means when you want to forgive someone, but can't bring yourself to.

4399962 I like an intriguing idea or novel concept as much as anyone. I think, however, that the RCL features a disproportionate amount of stories which sacrifice plot and narrative in order to focus on presenting ideas and themes. As I mentioned in my response over here 4398484, I refer to these sorts of things as Blog Post Stories. They are more akin to a blog post presenting an idea, rather than a proper story. I'm the sort of person who is perfectly willing to read a blog post if it is interesting, so I have little tolerance for stories which lack the story. :derpytongue2:

Regardless, I stand by what I said in this post and my RCL interview. Curating a fandom as large as ours is no easy task. The subjective nature of fiction means that no reader's tastes are going to align with the RCL's all the time, and this is actually a good thing. It means that a larger variety of stories are being presented.

Also, in the past I complained about the Pony Fiction Vault and the Royal Canterlot Library using extremely structured interviews. I always thought of an interview as involving more back-and-forth and direct communication. Having now done one of these questionnaire-style interviews, however, I think I will have to retract those criticisms. Not only would an actual interview be more logistically difficult, but interviewing is a skill that not all people have. Having a series of static questions means that the answers can be more detailed and the author isn't under any pressure.

Whatever my opinions, I hope the RCL continues to do a great job of curating and recommending stories, bias or not :raritywink:

4400010 I knew that face was familiar! Oh the joys of me playing that game and being shocked, heart-broken, crying and smiling with Radiant Historia's epic and touching moments... Finish the game man! You will not not regret it one bit :pinkiehappy:

Congrats on the interview. :) Yeah, I'm not the biggest fan of the library's selection method, either. ;) Still, you deserve it.

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