News Archive

  • Friday
    NaiadSagaIotaOar's "Who We Are in the Dark" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story, unlike its protagonist, doesn't have to cheat to win your heart.

    Who We Are in the Dark
    [Equestria Girls] [Romance] [Tragedy] • 11,505 words

    [Note: This story contains sexual themes.]

    Adagio, who everyone knows is an immortal sex goddess, is determined to give her girlfriend a perfect eighteenth birthday. If only she weren't secretly a virgin, it would be easy.

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    15 comments · 923 views
  • 1 week
    Mr V's "Sweet Little Lovely: A Gothic Romance" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story ticks along to a sweetly chilling conclusion.

    Sweet Little Lovely: A Gothic Romance
    [Romance] [Dark] • 14,993 words

    [Note: This story contains scenes of blood and gore.]

    Everyone in their sleepy little town knows that Marvelous, the clockmaker, has eyes for only one mare - the beautiful Little Lovely. Despite her mysterious illness and his amusingly obsessive nature, there's no question that they make a perfect couple.

    But when the truth of Little Lovely's affliction comes to light, Marvelous begins to realize that her true beauty is ... on the inside.

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    3 comments · 1,156 views
  • 2 weeks
    Chris' "Wyrmlysan" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    As the Royal Canterlot Library says farewell to Chris, we welcome RBDash47, creator of the original Pony Fiction Vault, to our fold!

    You're destined to like tonight's story.

    [Tragedy] • 3,322 words

    Prophecy is a dangerous game; meanings which are obvious can become obscure in an instant, and fates are laid bare only in hindsight.

    After the fall of Discord but before the rise of Nightmare Moon, a dragon breaks the peace between its race and ponykind, and Princess Luna flies to mete out justice.

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    8 comments · 1,554 views
  • 3 weeks
    Einhander's "Royals" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is a rarity: a rich romance between an unexpected pair.

    [Romance] [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 14,210 words

    Rarity always wanted to be Lady Rarity. Over time, it became more clear it was not meant to be. But she's fine, she's got a successful business in Ponyville, her fashion line showing in Manehattan and she has her friends, even if most of them are moving on with their lives. A prince sweeping her off her hooves was just not meant to be.

    So how in Equestria did she end up on a date with the richest pony in town?

    Confusion, feelings and wine mix for a potentially explosive, heartwarming (or rending?) evening, along with a pinch of generosity.

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    4 comments · 1,764 views
  • 4 weeks
    brokenimage321's "Celestia XVII" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    The crowning achievement of today's story is a look at some royal growing pains.

    Celestia XVII
    [Drama] [Slice of Life] [Alternate Universe] • 56,413 words

    Being seventeen is hard — especially if you happen to be a Princess.

    I'm Princess Celestia, but everyone calls me Cece. My life has been crazier than normal lately — my big brother Blueblood is a selfish jerk, my best friend Twilight just moved away to Ponyville, and, oh yeah — Nightmare Moon turned out to be my long-lost somethingth-Great Aunt, Princess Luna. No biggie.

    But, no matter how my life is going, I'm still Princess. I've gotta keep it together. Somehow. I can make it at least until the Grand Galloping Gala in a month-and-a-half ... right?

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    8 comments · 2,906 views
  • 5 weeks
    Metool Bard's "The Truth Hurts" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    With today's story, idol hooves are the devil's workshop.

    The Truth Hurts
    [Dark] [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 4,914 words

    Lightning Dust has been in a bit of a rut ever since getting kicked out of the Wonderbolt Academy. Day after day, she's been sticking to a strict exercise regimen under the guidance of Cloudsdale's premier personal trainer, Haymaker. Her hope is that she'll unlock her true potential and show Haymaker how awesome she is, thus prompting him to use his connections to get her back into the Wonderbolts. No matter how many times Haymaker tells her it's impossible, Lightning simply refuses to listen.

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    11 comments · 1,983 views
  • 6 weeks
    Phaoray's "Complex Apartments" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story drives home the difficulties of odd roommate choices.

    Complex Apartments
    [Equestria Girls] [Drama] [Romance] [Sad] • 9,829 words

    Choosing an apartment to live in is important and requires good planning. Location, needs, cost, a lot must be taken into account when looking.

    One girl looks to her animals and peace, hoping to have a quiet, fun time with her friends as she goes through high school. For her, the apartment is cheap, comfortable, allows pets, and is close to school. Perfect!

    The other is looking to take over a high school, enslave everyone inside, and bring war to another dimension all in the name of proving her mentor wrong. A small, cheap apartment near the school to plan in is all she needs.

    Fluttershy really should have met the neighbors before signing her lease...

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    4 comments · 2,099 views
  • 7 weeks
    Minds Eye's "Extra Sprinkles" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Donut skip today's story.

    Extra Sprinkles
    [Slice of Life] • 2,801 words

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    4 comments · 1,792 views
  • 8 weeks
    AdmiralTigerclaw's "Arrow 18 Mission Logs: Lone Ranger" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story arrives from the past to look at the future.

    Arrow 18 Mission Logs: Lone Ranger
    [Adventure] [Sci-Fi] [Human] • 66,605 words

    The star system Omega Centauri was just another oddity on a map to scientists in the not too distant future. However when they found the star was orbiting an earth-sized, earth-like planet instead of a black hole as its motion had suggested, a mission was scrambled to investigate this most unusual of celestial behaviors.

    Hamstrung by politics, and nearly crippled before it began, the 'Lone Ranger' mission was reduced to just one crew member and left to his own devices.

    These are the logs of Arrow 18 and its lone commander. This information is classified TOP SECRET by the Global Space Agency.

    Do NOT tell the princess.

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    35 comments · 2,671 views
  • 9 weeks
    Cyrano's "Suns and Roses" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Put your hands in the air for today's story.

    Suns and Roses
    [Equestria Girls] [Romance] [Dark] [Tragedy] [Alternate Universe] • 10,907 words

    The Crystal Mirror brought Sunset Shimmer not to the steps of Canterlot High, but to another world all together. She meets Roseluck, a prisoner in her own home trapped beneath the authoritarian rule of her father, and the two embark on a journey of love and bank robbing as they search for somewhere they can truly be free.

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    8 comments · 1,297 views

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  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 Read more interviews right here at the Royal Canterlot Library, or suggest stories for us to feature at our Fimfiction group.

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Comments ( 6 )

Writing goal, get reviewed by PresentPerfect.

Author Interviewer

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

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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