News Archive

  • Friday
    wille179's "Unicorns Are Magical" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story will offer you exactly what you want to read in a horror fic.


    Unicorns Are Magical
    [Dark] [Alternate Universe] [Sad] [Tragedy] • 3,899 words

    "Unicorns are wonderful!"
    "Unicorns are fantastic!"
    "Unicorns are marvelous!"
    "Unicorns are glamorous!"
    "Unicorns are enchanting!"
    "Unicorns are terrific!"

    They also like to twist words. What would happen if you asked what they really are, without the wordplay?

    Unicorns provoke wonder. They create fantasies. They cause marvels. They project glamour. They weave enchantment. But most importantly, they spawn terror.

    For you see, nopony said that unicorns were good.

    Read More

    6 comments · 2,150 views
  • 1 week
    OleGrayMane's "Ten Seconds" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Don't have second thoughts about reading today's story.


    Ten Seconds
    [Tragedy] • 4,033 words

    There's been an accident, in the desert...

    Based on Robert Calvert's 1972 poem Ten Seconds of Forever.

    Read More

    15 comments · 1,343 views
  • 2 weeks
    Chinchillax's "Magical Intelligence" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is a smart take on punishment and forgiveness.


    Magical Intelligence
    [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 3,010 words

    Princess Luna created me in order to make sure she never would forget the pain she caused Equestria.

    But this? This is not the way to accomplish my directive.

    If only I could let her know...

    Read More

    6 comments · 1,679 views
  • 4 weeks
    DrakeyC's "Long Live The Queen" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story explores the consequences of a royal error.


    Long Live The Queen
    [Dark] [Drama] [Sad] • 6,853 words

    During her time-twisting battle with Starlight Glimmer, Twilight finds herself in an Equestria ruled by a tyrant alicorn that calls herself the Queen of Equestria. In this world, Twilight's friends are gone and beyond her aid, and Equestria's citizens live in fear of their ruler's wrath should they anger her.

    The Queen herself suffers worst of all.

    Read More

    6 comments · 2,538 views
  • 5 weeks
    HapHazred's "Part-time Goddess (and the Church of Post)" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    We pray that you enjoy today's story as much as we did.


    Part-time Goddess (and the Church of Post)
    [Comedy] [Slice of Life] • 6,257 words

    In this day and age, who has time to be a God? Prayers come in 24/7 and fancy dress is compulsory. Rainbow Dash certainly doesn't have time. She's got bills to pay and things to do. Besides, she isn't qualified for Godhood, surely.

    The ponies who say her control of the weather is divine disagree, unfortunately. They've given her a funny spear and a robe that doesn't quite fit. They've got their own temple and they take church seriously.

    And it turns out she's not the only pony recently undergone apotheosis...

    Read More

    10 comments · 2,079 views
  • 6 weeks
    Bradel's "Three Nights" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story will bring a touch of warmth to any metaphorical winter.


    Three Nights
    [Drama] • 18,539 words

    Hearth's Warming Eve is supposed to be a happy event — Cadance knows this, but all she ever feels is lonely. Now, with Shining Armor gone and a freak snowstorm battering her kingdom, it's up to Cadance to salvage the holiday and teach her crystal ponies to care for one another.

    A story about finding your family, on the coldest night of the year.

    FROM THE CURATORS: When Chris first reviewed this story several years ago, he wrote, "I was planning to suggest to the other Royal Canterlot Library guys that we feature it ... but when I went to write up the proposal, I realized the story was written by Bradel, who's part of the RCL, and ineligible for featuring."

    Read More

    16 comments · 1,551 views
  • 7 weeks
    Trick Question's "Motherly" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is rated PG-13 due to parental guidance.


    Motherly
    [Dark] [Drama] [Sad] • 3,617 words

    All mothers love their children, and all mothers feed their children. Princess Chrysalis and her mother are no different, except that to a changeling, "love" and "food" are the same thing.
    Well... mostly.

    Read More

    6 comments · 1,515 views
  • 8 weeks
    Correct the Record winner: bookplayer's "Lost Time" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    (Editor's note: Imploding Colon [aka previous featuree shortskirtsandexplosions] declined a refeature for Austraeoh, our top vote-getter.)

    Our recent “Correct the Record” contest asked readers to help us choose authors whose previously spotlighted stories weren’t the best showcase of their writing strengths.  Fitting, then, that today's feature is about a romance being forgotten.


    Lost Time
    [Drama] [Romance] • 59,897 words

    Read More

    6 comments · 922 views
  • 10 weeks
    Ether Echoes' "Through the Well of Pirene" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Flow through a mythological epic with today's story.


    Through the Well of Pirene
    [Adventure] [Human] • 369,088 words

    As a child, Daphne knew of a world where magic lived, where an immortal princess reigned over a beautiful kingdom, and longed to journey there beside Leit Motif, the filly she'd grown to love in the woods behind her home. But one day, when she needed her most, Leit Motif was gone, and she never came back to show her the way. As she grew, she put aside her childish dreams, and taught herself to believe the lie.

    Read More

    30 comments · 1,383 views
  • 12 weeks
    Czar_Yoshi's "Stay Determined" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    The quality of today's story is exemplary because today's story is of exemplary quality because the quality of today's story ...


    Stay Determined
    [Alternate Universe] [Dark] [Sad] • 15,000 words

    My name is Starlight Glimmer, and I hate bad endings. It isn't fair when some ponies win and others lose, purely by chance. If I had my way, every pony would be equal. Every pony would win. After all, the only other fair thing would be for us all to have a bad ending, and who would want that? This colorless world is bad enough already as it is.

    So far, my record is flawless. Never once have I prematurely ended someone's story, never once have I hurt someone more than they can bear. And every time I spare a life, make a new friend? I get stronger for it. Eventually, I'll be so strong I can fix the entire world.

    Read More

    2 comments · 957 views
May
5th
2017

Author Interview » AlicornPriest's "Alicorn Time" [Royal Canterlot Library] · 1:11pm May 5th

The memories of today's story will stick with you.

Alicorn Time
[Sad] • 2,138 words

Twilight, believing something has happened to her memory, seeks out Princess Celestia to see if she recognizes it and can offer a cure. But the answer lies far deeper in the root of her nature and her life as the Princess of Friendship than she would have ever expected.

FROM THE CURATORS: It's not often that a short fic laser-focused on a single idea — especially an idea without direct roots in the show — makes us sit up and take notice.  "At the outset, this looks like a pretty typical 'bit of headcanon disguised as a story'," Chris said.  "That does, though, sell this fic short in one crucial respect: the author is able to deliver some truly heartwrenching moments in the back half of this.  Celestia gets a couple of absolute back-breaker lines, and the final sentence of the fic is heavy in just the right way."  Horizon agreed: "It's a headcanon fraught with emotional issues, and the author hits the right notes to effectively draw those out."

That was due not only to the story's choice of topics, but also the choice of perspectives with which it approached the idea.  "I've had trouble with my memory my entire life ... so the idea of experiencing most of life only 'in the moment' doesn't seem that awful to me," AugieDog said.  "But AlicornPriest does a good job of conveying how devastating this is to Twilight and of following her through the stages of grief as she comes to realize how this is going to affect her and her friendships."  That was brought out further by strong secondary character work.  "The story also made an effective decision in Celestia's characterization," Horizon said.  "Her casual acceptance of the phenomenon just underscores how disturbing the situation is if you actually stop and think about it."

Those made this work not just as an idea fic but also as a story.  "I've zoned out while working in the yard and 'lost' a half-hour or more before," Chris said.  "Alicorn Time is that feeling, writ large, and it achieved a poignancy as a result which few 'headcanon fics' can match."  And the fic's solid extrapolation of that phenomenon to immortality was what made it exemplary, Horizon said: "I think asking important questions about our own experiences through the lens of fantasy is one of the highest goals that a fanfic can reach."

Read on for our author interview, in which AlicornPriest discusses tweening, Account Patterns, and zoned-out YouTube flickers.


Give us the standard biography.

Hi! I’m Alicorn Priest. I’m 24, I graduated from college about a year ago — English, as you might expect, though I also earned a BA in Chemistry. (Yes, there are Bachelors of Arts in Chemistry. Whodathunk?) I’ve been a brony since season 2 — I was there speculating when we were wondering what Discord was gonna look like, and I started reading “Background Pony” back when there were only two chapters out. My first fic (if you don’t count the terrible one I sent to the EqD reviewers) was posted up on ponyfictionarchive.net in March 2012. (It’s called “The Table at the End.” Go check it out.)

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

It’s kind of a funny story. When I made my first GMail account, I fancied myself a philosopher — really, I just liked to think about complex topics — so I named my first e-mail after my first name (which starts with an A), followed by “philos.” When I started making accounts on Reddit and such the like, I decided to make it easier for myself by making every account with the same pattern: a word starting with A, then a word starting with P. “Alicorn” seemed like the obvious A word, and “Priest” for P was the first word that seemed appropriate. I like the imagery it provides: one who worships and serves the princesses. One of my clients calls me Ali P, which I find adorable.

Who's your favorite pony?

Twilight Sparkle, almost certainly. I have the same personality as her: studious, awkward, friendly, and a little naive. Somehow, all of my fics seem to include her one way or another. Close behind are Rarity and Pinkie Pie — Pinkie’s my problematic fave, because while I really like her personality and background, I think her depiction in the show is done right only about half of the time. “When she was good, she was very good indeed, but when she was bad, she was horrid,” if you know the poem.

What's your favorite episode?

As much as I’m a season 1-season 2 fanboy, I’ve gotta give it to “Pinkie Pride.” Every song is spot-on, Weird Al’s guest appearance is perfect, and the thematics and character exploration are stellar. It’s the quintessential episode of the show.

What do you get from the show?

I remember when I first got into the show, I was stunned at the attitude and charm it had. The main character is an awkward student who throws snark at everyone she meets? Is that even allowed in kids’ shows? And it had such tension and drama in those opening episodes, I was immediately hooked. I suppose if I had to distill it down to one word, it’d be “relatable.” The characters have real problems, they struggle with their friends, and they overcome through conversation and apologies. The bright colors and poppy songs draw you in, but the relatability is what keeps you watching.

What do you want from life?

... Wow, what a tough question. I suppose I could just point to Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs and say “that,” but I’d better explain a bit more. First of all, I want to be happy, but “happy” is such a poor word. It includes everything from the satisfaction of a job well done to the zoned-out flickers when a YouTube video is slightly more interesting than the previous one. Unfortunately, the latter is much easier to get than the former, so ... there’s that. Second, I want to feel as though I’m useful to the world somehow. I want to feel like I’m creating things people enjoy, or helping make people’s lives better — something that has value. I suppose in a venial way, I like getting praised for doing good work, so that’s part of it, too.

Why do you write?

I write because an idea gets lodged into my head, and I want to expand it out into a story. I get a vision of a scene, or a line of dialogue, or a source of conflict, and I want to see how it plays out. The hard part is all the little interactions to get from one major scene to the next — in animation, they’d be called “tweening,” right? Other than that, I write because I have some idea I want to share with the world, and either my blog posts or my fiction is the best way to do that. I come up with a story about how weatherponies came to be, or I want to share a connection between transactional analysis and character interaction, so I write a story about it or create a blog post discussing it. Recently, I’ve had people regularly commenting on my posts, which helps a ton. If I felt I was just spitting into the wind, I wouldn’t keep doing it. (Hence why I went dark a couple years ago.)

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

Network. Network, network, network. If you want to rise in the ranks, you need to take writing seriously. Part of that process is talking with the community here on FiMFiction and establishing yourself. Make friends, so that your friends will read your stories, and then they’ll recommend those stories to their friends, and so on. If you’re an introvert like me, this is really hard, I know, but you’ve gotta do it. As to writing advice, it’d be “write what’s important” and “character relationships give you more to work with than each character separately.” And the editor part of me wants to add, “Wherever you meet with a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out.” That’s Samuel Johnson, by the by.

What inspired “Alicorn Time”?

A couple of things. To a lesser extent, ruminating on what it would be like to be immortal, and how the passage of time would feel after long stretches. As Celestia explains in the fic, I felt the sort-of dissociative episodes would be a blessing, to save their minds from having to experience every single moment. (The science behind it is pretty circumspect, I’m aware.) Primarily, however, it’s based upon my own experiences of college and previous. I wasted so much time on books, video games, and the Internet that at this point, it all feels like a blur. I would have done no worse if I had simply blacked out at the start of it and coasted through unconsciously. So Twilight’s resolution to “make every picosecond count!” is my own desire, and Celestia’s response is my resignation at the impossibility of that.

What elements would you consider essential in writing a successful “explainfic”?

Hah! You used my terminology. You really did your research. The biggest danger to writing an explainfic is that the explanation, the caulking to fill the holes in the plot, is all you have going for the story. A good explainfic should also have strong character interactions, an arc as the characters grow and change, a central conflict that the explanation factors into ... you know, all the workings of any good story. So in “Alicorn Time,” as Twilight tries to cope with having this new condition, her attitude changes, and she struggles to decide what she’s going to do going forward. A bad explainfic will simply set up a condition for a character to ask, “Why does this thing happen,” a character explaining it, and then the first character saying, “Ah, that makes sense.” I’ll be the first to admit “Alicorn Time” is not a perfect fic, and one of its weaknesses is that the characters simply sit down and talk at each other. This is another weakness of explainfics, and the solution is to write a plot which can involve moving around and interacting with objects.

Do you prefer planning your stories out ahead of time or letting them grow during the typing process?

I love when little details appear mid-writing session, but I can’t rely on that to be the driver of my story. Sometimes personality quirks will change certain scenes, or the way I decide to execute a scene will create connections I hadn’t considered. For example, in a chapter of “Mother and Child” I’ve been working on, I discovered a place to put Cadance in the Beta timeline of Equestria which I hadn’t really planned when coming up with the chapter. I also noticed how the events Pinkie accidentally puts into motion will reflect a later scene where she does the same thing more intentionally. So that’s really neat. However, I’m not a seat-of-your-pants type writer, as much as I pretend to be. I find I get the best results when I can sit down (with a spiralbound notebook, not a Word document) and sketch out the chapter progressions, the character arcs, and the event timeline. Otherwise, I procrastinate because I don’t know what to write. Of course, even when I do plan, I procrastinate anyway, but eh. That’s how it goes with me, I suppose.

Do you think Twilight will ever be comfortable enough in her alicornhood to unconsciously call Celestia by name?

Heh. Twilight and I suffer from a pretty similar problem. When someone superior to us earns our respect, we tend to ... idolize them, just a little bit. I do it with all the amazing writers that frequent my blog, and Twilight does it with Princess Celestia. Talking with one of your idols isn’t quite the same as talking to one of your equals, even when your idol is your equal. (We’re all horsewords enthusiasts here, in the end. Even when one of my commenters has 17 times as many followers as I do.) So for me, that means putting them on a pedestal, and for Twilight, that means she can’t quite get over adding “Princess” to the front of Celestia’s name. I’m not sure it’s something she’ll ever get over, perhaps until she finds herself doing as much as Celestia does.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Hmm ... the shill in me wants to plug my new monetization strategy, but I’ll leave that for the readers to find on their own. What I will plug of mine, though, is my series of blog posts entitled “Writer’s Workshop.” Every so often, I share a particular trick that can help make your writing more interesting. I’ve used examples from South Park, the RPG Fate: Accelerated Edition, The Arrival of the Mail Train, and the psychological methodology of transactional analysis. I’ve also got a couple other stories people might like if they’re curious — my other smash hit would have to be “It’s Impossible!” (with the unofficial slogan, “The Ride Never Ends!”).

Other than that, I want to thank all the readers out there. Thanks for reading this interview, thanks for making “Alicorn Time” as big as it has been, and thanks for checking out my other writings. Hope you enjoy. :)

You can read Alicorn Time at FIMFiction.net. Read more interviews right here at the Royal Canterlot Library, or suggest stories for us to feature at our Fimfiction group.

Comments ( 4 )

"Laser-focused" is exactly the right term for this story! :pinkiegasp:

Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

RQK
RQK #2 · May 5th · · ·

Ah, well deserved. I had the privilege to have AP edit a chapter in a story of mine (would have liked more than one but I suspect that tastes are tastes and whatnot) and, from what I saw, there was a clear understanding of this language of ours. AP knows what they are talking about. The writer's workshops (which I see they plugged into this interview) are good as well; they always give me something to think about or, if I'm already aware of something, a good reminder.

I've been shying away from explainfics recently but, hmmm, I suppose I'll have to give this one a try!

I am glad that someone finally wrote this as a plot point, rather than just a glossed over passage in a story. This has bothered me for quite some time. People in stories, movies and television shows always seem to recall almost photographically anything at will. And they are quite certain about the events. This is nonsense. Memories do not arise from whole cloth, events stamped into the mind. They are constructed constantly from bits, pieces and imagination. This is patently obvious from day to day, let alone months or years. Elrond recalls details from battles 3000 years ago.... riiiight. I am always irritated when the detectives in police dramas ask things like "Where were you last Tuesday evening at 7:30?"

This interestingly will become easier as life recording hardware becomes integrated into our lives. We already astoundingly carry high definition video recorders everywhere we go now. In 50 years it may very well be impossible to escape the days of our lives. But I imagine it will be some time yet before we are able to actually remember them. Which makes things more dangerous. For we will still be assembling memories from bits and pieces. But we will be more certain of their veracity, to our detriment. "Certainty is the resource of fools." - Lon Cho

well this made homepage news

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