News Archive

  • 6 days
    Redric Carrun's "Sleeping Habits" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    If you're procrastinating on reading today's story: You snooze, you lose.


    Sleeping Habits
    [Slice of Life] • 8,504 words

    Rainbow Dash has rather a poor reputation when it comes to her workload. Everypony always thinks of her as the pony who takes three naps during daylight hours, and four on weekends, and always seems to be looking for something to do to pass the time. All of this is true, of course. But ponies seem to think this means that she must not ever get very much work done.

    Can the weather captain for all of Ponyville really be as lazy as she seems? Is that the only explanation for Rainbow Dash's free time and constant napping?

    The weather is a full-time job. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And the worst weather happens at night.

    So weather ponies have strange sleeping habits.

    Read More

    3 comments · 1,167 views
  • 1 week
    JoeShogun's "Nine Days Down" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is a hell of a tale.


    Nine Days Down
    [Dark] [Adventure] • 136,069 words

    Sometimes it's fun to play the damsel in distress. Princess Celestia knows this better than most. Usually it works out fine. Really, she could have escaped at any time, but Twilight and her friends have been so effective in the past that this time, Celestia may have let things get out of hoof. It was all fun and games until she got unceremoniously tossed into Tartarus. Even then, it wouldn't have been so bad; she's a goddess, after all. But alas, Tartarus is not Equestria, and Celestia is not all she could be when trapped there. Even worse, it appears that she didn't get thrown into The Pit alone. 

    Read More

    11 comments · 1,713 views
  • 2 weeks
    Kkat's "Origin Story" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Explore today's story to find a hidden treasure.


    Origin Story
    [Adventure] • 24,563 words

    In the last months of the great war, Daring Do is called to once again brave the jungles of the Tenochtitlan Basin on a vital mission. While deep in enemy territory, she begins work on a final book: a prequel. A story that will never be completed.

    Here are the recovered fragments of that lost, unfinished Daring Do novel.

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    24 comments · 3,224 views
  • 3 weeks
    DwarvishPony's "Tracks in the Sand" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story examines a young woman hoping that someday her prints will come.


    Tracks in the Sand
    [Equestria Girls] [Drama] [Alternate Universe] • 9,590 words

    Scavenging isn't just a hobby, it's a means of survival in the ruins of the old world. When you go scavenging, though, you'll never know what you'll find.

    Pinkie Pie is about to find more than she bargained for.

    Read More

    4 comments · 2,085 views
  • 4 weeks
    Monochromatic's "The Choices We Make" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    You won't regret choosing today's story.


    The Choices We Make
    [Equestria Girls] • 5,146 words

    Every Friday, from five in the afternoon to eleven at night, Pinkie Pie does volunteer work. She doesn't have to do it, the world won't stop if she doesn't, but she chooses to do it anyway. Even if it's doing seemingly insignificant little things.

    After all, the best ways to help aren't always with grand gestures, but with the little things in life.

    Read More

    21 comments · 3,744 views
  • 5 weeks
    Ringcaat's "The Pony Who Lived Upstairs" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story brings a little magic home.


    The Pony Who Lived Upstairs
    [Drama] [Slice of Life] [Human] • 184,740 words

    [Note: This story contains sexual themes.]

    What would you do if a pony moved into the apartment upstairs? Would you make an effort to meet her? What would you talk about? And what kind of pony leaves Equestria for Earth in the first place?

    This is a series of slice-of-life episodes about a young man who meets a pony in New Jersey. Equestria has made contact with Earth; creations and creators have been sorting things out for a couple of years, and a smattering of ponies are gradually starting to move to Earth. Told though human eyes, here's the story of one of them.

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    6 comments · 3,241 views
  • 6 weeks
    Thornquill's "Carousel" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story will haunt you.


    Carousel
    [Dark] [Drama] [Horror] • 69,824 words

    The Millennial Summer Sun Celebration is only a few years away, but Rarity’s fashion career seems to be ending before she can begin it. Now, she has one last chance to find a place for her talent.

    But as she works to create the boutique of her dreams, a forgotten piece of Ponyville’s past is waking up. Secret memories lie forgotten in dusty basements, unrighted wrongs scratch at locked doors, and Rarity finds herself caught up in a history that may be doomed to repeat itself.

    For although she is the first to set hoof in the Old Town Hall in thirty years, she can’t help but feel that something inside was waiting for her.

    Read More

    8 comments · 3,731 views
  • 8 weeks
    Lost + Found Features: "Let's Pretend"/"Let Me Tell You About the Hole in My Face" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    'Tis the season for holiday stress — and for the RCL to be pushing through almost 700,000 words of longfics in our reading queue. That dual crunch has slowed us down, and we're currently working with our pending featured authors on their interviews.  But don't worry — we've got you covered!

    We keep track of stories which have passed through our approval process, but whose authors were unresponsive to us despite repeated effort.  We'd like to see these great stories get their time in the spotlight too, so we're presenting a pair of RCL-approved tales for your reading pleasure.

    (Note: We will not be posting next week -- this week on our website -- due to the holiday. Happy holidays from the Royal Canterlot Library!)



    Let's Pretend
    By Pen Mightier
    [Adventure] [Comedy] • 7,484 words

    Read More

    5 comments · 3,618 views
  • 9 weeks
    RB_'s "The World Fades to White" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is quite a cool tale.


    The World Fades to White
    [Adventure] [Sad] • 3,388 words

    Princess Flurry Heart and the descendant of Prince Rutherford brave the harsh conditions of the Frozen North, in search of an artifact they hope will save their home from a similar fate.

    FROM THE CURATORS: One of the subtler skills in writing is how to wring meaning from the things you don't say — a skill on prominent display in this short and focused fic.  "I love how sparse the writing feels, hinting at larger things without ever having to define them, managing to make its diffuse world feel rich and solid," Soge said, and Present Perfect agreed: "This feels like such a tiny slice of a greater epic work. So much is packed into it, and yet so much is left unsaid."

    Read More

    11 comments · 3,199 views
  • 10 weeks
    SirTruffles' "Three Left Turns" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story turns out right.


    Three Left Turns
    [Dark] • 2,478 words

    Equestria's last night is nigh. Next evening it will be ash. Twilight slips off with but the past to bargain with. Can she buy a future?

    Read More

    4 comments · 4,104 views
Aug
4th
2017

Author Interview » The Cyan Recluse's "The Lighthouse and the Sea" [Royal Canterlot Library] · 1:19pm Aug 4th, 2017

VERY LATE NOTE: We'll be taking off the weekend of the 11th for Bronycon! We'll be back next week with more features!

As a fairy-tale romance, today's story shines.


The Lighthouse and the Sea
[Romance] [Slice of Life] • 1,042 words

A short tail of love and lighthouses, seas and sea ponies.

FROM THE CURATORS: Here at the RCL, we've featured everything from short-short stories to door-stopping novels — and it's always a pleasure to find a story that can tell a big tale in a small space.  "This is evocative in its succinctness, and uses the reader's familiarity with fairy-tale conventions to its advantage," Chris said in his nomination of this Writeoff Association medalist, and that sentiment quickly gathered broad consensus.  "It is almost a doodle of a story, utilizing the least amount of detail possible to deliver its premise," Soge said, and Present Perfect agreed: "We get the bare minimum of words to convey the story, and it never feels like we're missing out or being shortchanged."

It was that economy of words — and the emotional depth that went along with it — which drew the most praise from us.  "This is a story that shows how to create emotion out of setting and arc," Chris said. "Rather than trying to smash a bunch of character development into too little space, the author keeps the narrative carefully reserved, leaving the reader to infer the hows and whys from a brief highlighting of thoughts and events."  That was helped by a fine attention to detail, AugieDog said: "The details that the author chooses to include are more guideposts than plot points ... I'd almost call it a prose poem that way.  Or a lighthouse beam, sweeping over the narrative, picking out certain moments to call to our attention."

And we found emotional resonance within those moments, from start to finish.  "The author's note laments the ambiguity of the ending, but I thought that was one of its strengths," Horizon said.  "That it's so gracefully balanced between such different interpretations gives it, if you'll pardon the pun, a lot of depth."  That effective use of its wordcount added up to an exemplary story, Present Perfect said: "In that tight space, we get that sense of loneliness, so that the romance can be a catharsis.  Easy to see why it's a medal winner!"

Read on for our author interview, in which The Cyan Recluse discusses scientist weaknesses, sturgeon addenda, and silent pigeon-holing.


Give us the standard biography.

Well, let’s see.  What can I say while still maintaining my anonymity and air of mystery?  I was born and raised on the east coast of the the good old US of A.  I suspect that I am far to the left of the age bell curve for the fandom.  I grew up an avid reader, loved taking things apart to figure out how they worked, and tended rather heavily towards mad science.  So unsurprisingly I attended college and earned bachelor's degrees in both science and engineering.  Despite my advanced age, I am still an avid reader — I still love taking things apart and putting them back together. (I’ve grown better at the latter part over the years!)  And as I am currently working at a facility that let’s me play with nuclear material, I guess the Mad Scientist part still holds true as well.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

Well, in the days of my youth I used to frequent a chat room dedicated to fans of another animated series.  Over the years I made a great many good (and crazy) friends there.  The chat room allowed each user to pick a color for their text, and all the regulars had their personal colors.  I happened to choose cyan.  Now, over the years I’m afraid I’ve become a bit less chatty and sociable online.  So when I started getting involved in the MLP fandom, The Cyan Recluse seemed like a simple, expedient, and accurate handle.

Who's your favorite pony?

It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I suppose I’d have to go with Twilight Sparkle.  I suppose adorkable mad scientists are one of my (many) weaknesses.

What's your favorite episode?

I guess I’d have to say “Putting Your Hoof Down.”  Sure, it’s not particularly deep or meaningful or plot significant.  But watching Fluttershy act so... non-Fluttershy-like... just cracks me up!

What do you get from the show?

I’ll be honest.  While I certainly enjoy the show, it’s the fandom and fanfiction that I love the most.

I can (and do) spend hours surfing through FimFiction, reading all sorts of stories.  The variety and quality are truly amazing!  I can’t think of another fandom where you can find so many, or so many different types of fics.  From the same setting and characters you can find most any genre and concept.  Grimdark Lovecraftian horror, fluffy tales of love and romance, sci-fi first contact scenarios, slapstick comedies… So many fans and authors taking the same starting material and molding it into so many different shapes!  I love it!

So really, it’s the creativity of the community that captured my attention.  And it’s what keeps me here.

What do you want from life?

Wow.  Now there’s a question that I wish I had the answer to.  When I was younger, I would probably have said success.  Doing something to change the world.  Using my skill and knowledge to invent or discover something new and unique.  As I grew older, I would probably have said wealth and advancement, perhaps a bit of romance.  (Fame has never really been on my list… The ‘recluse’ part of my name is well earned.)  Now, being a bit older and wiser, I think I’d have to say I want happiness.  Too bad I’m not quite old and wise enough to figure out what combination of those earlier goals maximize the last one!

Why do you write?

Because it’s fun!  And a good creative outlet.  I can’t sing.  I can’t dance.  And I can barely draw stick figures.  But writing is one of the few creative, artistic activities I have even the slightest affinity for.

It’s also a way to share things.  Daydreaming, fantasizing, planning and plotting stories in my mind… It’s my favorite way to kill time when things are slow and boring.  My head is filled with various characters, situations, and scenarios.  Occasionally an idea seems so good and interesting that I really wish I could share it with other people.  Writing is the process through which I turn those nebulous ideas in my head into something I can share.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

Write for yourself.  That’s not to say that you should disregard constructive criticism.  Constructive criticism is invaluable when it comes to improving your skill at writing.  No, what I mean is to write the type of story you enjoy, and don’t try to chase fame or popularity.  Every story I’ve posted, I have hoped will be well received.  But none of them were written to pander to a particular audience or trope.

I’ve had some of my stories be wildly popular, and some be more or less ignored.  I’m still not sure what separates the ‘successful’ ones from the rest.  On the one hand, I suppose that means I don’t really understand my audience.  On the other hand, it’s really not that important to me.  I enjoyed writing the stories, and I got them out of my head and out into the world.  And that in and of itself is a success.

What inspired “The Lighthouse and the Sea”?

Well, the Writeoff competition itself was the obvious inspiration.  The prompt was “In Over Your Head,” so the idea of water and drowning came to me pretty quickly.  I also decided earlier that for this competition I would try what was, for me, an unusual genre: romance!  On top of that, I had just finished (re)reading Georg’s excellent The One Who Got Away, so of course sea ponies were at the forefront of my mind.  So I quickly decided that the story would be a romance between an earth pony and a sea pony!

The idea for a lighthouse came from the need for an isolated locale.  For such a short story, I wanted to keep the number of characters to a minimum.  Somehow I struck upon the idea of a lighthouse keeper in the middle of nowhere.  The story just grew from there!

Talk a little about writing stories without dialogue.

Well, I hope I don’t get pigeon-holed as “that author who writes stories with no dialogue,” but for some odd reason my most popular stories seem to have very little or none of it.  I think that lacking dialogue gives a story a more fairytale-like feel.  It evokes the feeling of a storyteller passing on ancient tales and lore.  Events, actions, and situations are described, but the lack of dialogue makes for a simpler story, and more details for the reader to fill in.

In the case of The Lighthouse and the Sea, however, it was more a matter of necessity.  Minific rules limit the story to 750 words.  A single conversation between two characters can easily eat up half of that.  If you want to fit a complete, comprehensible story with multiple scenes into 750 words, you have to cut down to the very bare bones of storytelling.  Which leaves very little room for wordy dialogue.

Distilling a complete story down to so few words can be a real challenge.  But a fun one!

Would you consider this a story that takes place in the My Little Pony universe or more of a fairy tale ponies tell each other?

I like to think that it’s a real event that occurred in-universe… and possibly became the seed of a fairy tale.  Or perhaps even the archetype example of a thing that happens with some degree of regularity?  “Mom, Dad, I don’t care what you say about taking over the family business selling silica desiccant!  I’m running away to the ocean to marry my seapony love!”

When writing this story, I was actually a little worried that it might not be ‘pony’ enough.  After all, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to make it a story about humans.  But I think it fits far better into the My Little Pony universe.  After all, friendship (and love) are magic there.  And certainly that’s magic enough to turn an earth pony into a sea pony, so that he can join his love beneath the waves.

You’re very involved with the writing contests at writeoff.me.  How important is that sort of firm deadline and that sort of critique group to your writing process?

For me?  Incredibly important.

I am not always the most motivated or ambitious of individuals.  I find it very difficult to just sit down and write.  I get distracted, and end up reading someone else’s stories instead of working on my own.  When I was a student, my greatest motivation for writing was avoiding doing homework.  It wasn’t so much an eagerness to write as an excuse to procrastinate.

Once I joined the workforce, I found myself without homework to avoid.  And with a lot more time spent at soul-crushing, imagination-sapping tasks. For years I wrote very little.  Only a few stories here and there, when an idea or fandom managed to really draw my attention.

So for me, the Writeoffs are a godsend.  They've gotten me off my butt and writing, and the deadline forces me to spend time on it, as opposed to eternally procrastinating.  It also forces me to be more creative, having to come up with ideas that fit this contest’s prompt.  (Or creatively figure out a way to twist an existing idea to fit the prompt.)

Don’t get me wrong; the critiques from other authors are invaluable.  And having to pinpoint the things you liked/disliked about someone else’s story can help you recognize flaws and issues in your own writing.  (Though I admit I have been lax in my own reviewing lately…)  But it’s really the hard and fast deadline and motivation of the competition that’s so important to me.

Heck, out of all the stories I’ve written for the Writeoff, only a handful have actually migrated to FimFiction or anywhere else.  I’d like to claim that this is because I only post the best of my efforts elsewhere.  But the truth is, without a deadline of other impetus, I just never quite get around to polishing, reviewing, and posting most of my work anywhere else.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Sure!  I’d like to add an addendum to Sturgeon’s Law.  Sturgeon’s Law says that ‘90% of everything is crud.’  While undeniably true (and I’d suggest it may be closer to 95% or even 97% for things on the internet), it is an average.  So my addendum is that “95% of everything is crud on average.  There are pockets of material with different percentages here and there.”

And based on my addendum, I’d argue that the My Little Pony fandom has an awesome content far higher than 10%.  Perhaps even (dare I say it?)  20%?  So go out and read stories, view artwork, and enjoy the community!  And when you find something you think is awesome, be sure to share some of that 10% with your friends!

You can read The Lighthouse and the Sea 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 ( 6 )

Writing goal, get reviewed by PresentPerfect.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4623614
My reviews are completely separate from the RCL posts, for the record.

4623624
A goal nonetheless.

Hey, I got a mention!

(Bathes in the light of reflected glory) :pinkiehappy:
(You know there's a sequel, right?)

This one certainly needs more attention

This was a very positive interview

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