News Archive

  • Friday
    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

    19 comments · 1,784 views
  • 1 week
    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.

    Read More

    6 comments · 1,811 views
  • 2 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 · 2,610 views
  • 4 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 · 2,575 views
  • 5 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 · 2,302 views
  • 6 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 · 3,345 views
  • 8 weeks
    Petrichord's "Paper Butterflies" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Watch some delicate emotions fold together in today's story.


    Paper Butterflies
    [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 3,756 words

    Discord hasn't been feeling himself lately. Rarity thinks that it might be a good idea to get his mind off of things by having him assist her with upcoming work for the Summer Sun Celebration. Being the good sport that he is, Big Mac helps Discord out.

    As it turns out, the project is surprisingly fun.  It's also more than a little painful.

    Read More

    10 comments · 4,724 views
  • 9 weeks
    MaxKodan's "Dappled Shores" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story warns about the hidden dangers of "shows, don't tell".


    Dappled Shores
    [Romance] [Comedy] [Drama] [Equestria Girls] [Slice of Life] • 4,640 words

    Rarity and Sunset are having their third weekly Dappled Shores marathon.

    And then Sunset ruins everything.

    Read More

    6 comments · 5,107 views
  • 10 weeks
    WishyWish's "Sugarcube in the Corner" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    An unlikely crossover source mashes up with pony in today's story.


    Sugarcube in the Corner
    [Drama] [Sad] [Slice of Life] [Tragedy] • 8,069 words

    Enter Painless — a young resident physician at Manehattan East Side Memorial Hospital who drew the short lot, and ended up working through Hearth's Warming. With the city caught in the grips of a blizzard that weatherponies are still trying to get under control, the night is boring, the decorations contrived, and the coffee is as bitter as his sensibilities.

    Tonight, Painless has a single, pointless task assigned to him — to keep the company of a lonesome, unconscious stallion who is essentially already dead. In so doing, a young doctor will learn that medicine is about more than scalpels and technique.

    It's also about mending broken hearts.

    Read More

    5 comments · 6,205 views
  • 13 weeks
    forbloodysummer's "Why Are You Here, Your Majesty?" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is here for a very good reason.


    Why Are You Here, Your Majesty?
    [Drama] • 8,405 words

    Immortals are few and far between in Equestria, and they are all known to each other. Two of them are about to get to know each other a little better. Because one has just turned up uninvited in another’s private chambers. Maybe it’s time they had a chat?

    Read More

    8 comments · 5,881 views
Oct
27th
2017

Author Interview » The Albinocorn's "Firebird Dahlia" [Royal Canterlot Library] · 12:04pm Oct 27th, 2017

An explosive sibling rivalry is at the center of today's story.


Firebird Dahlia
[Drama] [Slice of Life] • 48,819 words

Life is looking up for Sunset Shimmer.

With her grandstanding at the Battle of the Bands, Canterlot High has taken a new approach to her. Amends have been made, friendships have been restored, and Sunset is on the fast track to becoming a better person.

But even now, there are still apologies that have to be said.

For her Spring Break, Sunset returns to Equestria to make up with her estranged family: the parents that raised and provided for her, and the sister she left behind. But a lot has changed since then, and some wounds won't heal by just saying 'I'm sorry.'

Fixing friendships is one thing. Sunset will be put through her hardest test yet when she tries to bring her family back together.

FROM THE CURATORS: Our immediate reaction to this story was exemplified by AugieDog's joy of discovery.  "After seven years of reading ponyfic, I love it that I can still come across ideas that clang so happily against the bell in my brain," he said.  "I mean, of course Sunset and Spitfire are sisters!  It's perfect."  But it takes more than a great premise to make a story exemplary, and Firebird Dahlia was happy to deliver more.  "I adore stories that delve into the whys and hows of Sunset's downfall, and this is absolutely one of the best," Present Perfect said in his nomination.  "Her rivalry with Spitfire, her inferiority complex in the shadow of her all-pegasus family, her goals as Celestia's student: it all coalesces to turn a pony who was shy, nerdy and picked on into a megalomaniac trying to conquer Equestria."

Our discussion repeatedly turned to the fine touch with which this fic handled its cast.  "It's a triumph of characterization," Soge said.  "Sunset's characterization is marvelous, and the way it justifies her actions and personality was extremely well realized. All other characters are also stand-outs, from Spitfire to their parents, to all the mane cast that get involved in the proceedings."  AugieDog agreed: "I've got an older sister and two younger brothers, and the family dynamic displayed here feels absolutely true and honest to me."  And Horizon was impressed with their depth: "It's exemplary work to have a redemption story handle such complex characters so sensitively, and the result is heartwarming."

As we discussed various aspects of the story, it was hard to find an element that didn't get singled out for accolades.  "We get a really well-paced story full of eye-popping moments, interesting revelations, and drama that always feels earned," Soge said.  "The redemption arc works really well, and it left me wanting to see more in this continuity."  Present Perfect praised the prose: "The writing was quite good, maybe a little flowery in places, but structured for deep crafting, whether of setting, backstory, or character."  And even the things it didn't say were well-chosen, Horizon said: "I am also a huge fan of how this acknowledges critical questions about what happens past the ending of the piece, and yet leaves them in the future.  That serves the theme of redemption as an ongoing struggle well."

Read on for our author interview, in which The Albinocorn discusses worm cans, slow burns, and cross-country dreadlocks.


Give us the standard biography.

Standard, hm? Well, I’m The Albinocorn, many just call me Albi. I’ve been in the fandom since the summer of 2012. I’m currently in grad school to get a Masters of Library and Information Science, but my true career path is to one day write original fiction for young adults.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

Well for starters, I really am albino in real life. (Look it up if you don’t know what it is, learn something.) Short version is, I’m extremely pale. Anyways, in high school I ran cross-country and had begun to grow out my dreadlocks. One of them just stuck up at the front like a horn, so, my teammates nicknamed me ‘the albinocorn.’ A few years later when I was coming up with my Fimfic handle, I couldn’t think of anything more appropriate.

Who's your favorite pony?

I’ll give you three good guesses, and the first two don’t count.

It’s Sunset. It’s always Sunset. For a myriad of reasons. The main one being, she’s such a versatile character. I can think of any role, and she can fit into it and usually add a fun twist. I love exploring every possible angle of her backstory and character development. There’s always something new I feel I can bring to the table with her. Also, she’s just very pretty to look at.

What's your favorite episode?

Luna Eclipsed. It was so much fun seeing Luna after her disappearing for all of season one. Everything she said was hilarious. Her interactions with Twilight and the rest of Ponyville were fun and heartwarming. Overall, it’s one of those episodes I can just go back and watch again and again. Amending Fences has become a close second, more for the feels than the comedy.

What do you get from the show?

Hope in humanity? The show has always resonated with virtues I truly believe in. I love that its core message is ‘friendship is magic.’ Sometimes it’s thrown at you like a brick, but it always means well.

Since I started writing, I guess now I look for new story ideas, new location, new lore, new creature, anything to keep the world fresh. But I also love seeing characters play off each other. Any episode that focuses on character dynamics like Twilight and Spike’s or Applejack and Rarity’s is a win in my book.

What do you want from life?

That’s a loaded question. Beyond the basic, I guess I want a group of friends as strong as the Mane 6 and Spike. I want to have an adventure with all of them by my side that we can look back and say ‘that was worth it.’ I want to create a world full of characters and places and events that will be remembered as fondly as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. Most of all, I want to see people stop and put themselves in someone else's place and maybe have a better understanding of where they’re coming from. A little empathy would make the world a better place.

Why do you write?

Really hitting hard with these questions, aren’t you? Because I have stories to tell, I guess. Because my own life is so decisively average that I need to write something exciting to feel like anything worthwhile is happening. And because, as I have discovered, writing is one of the few talents I actually possess. Don’t wanna squander this.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

God, I hate this question. I never have advice when you ask me, but in the middle of the night, I’ll have some profound revelation.

Have an editor. Editors are good. Don’t follow trends just because you think it’ll make you popular. Write something creative, original, inspiring to you. And read. Read a lot. I wish I had time to read more!

What inspired you to make Sunset Shimmer and Spitfire sisters?

When I first saw Sunset, I had a tiny voice in the back of my head tell me ‘she looks a little like Spitfire.’ I would later bring this up to a group chat but wouldn’t get a response. A year or so later, my friends and I were discussing pony pairings of the shipping and platonic kind. I then brought up the color scheme of Sunset and Spitfire being similar and them possibly being sisters. I was then promptly told to get to work.

I had written two other major Sunset stories at the time, in which Sunset was an orphan or single child. So the fun challenge was coming up with how Sunset would interact with Spitfire in a way that would still give justification to how she acted in the first Equestria Girls movie. It became sibling rivalry gone wrong.

Would you say there's a difference between reformation and redemption?

I think the line can get a little blurry, but yes, there’s a difference. Reform implies change in some way, while redemption is just atoning for something you did. You can always atone and not change. We’ve started to take redemption and assume it means reformed as well. Throughout season 4, Discord had reformed himself (slightly) into being not as big a jerk, but he didn’t redeem himself until he gave Twilight the last key and really understood what friendship meant to him. On the flip side of the coin, in Star Wars, Darth Vader managed to redeem himself at the end of the sixth movie but didn’t have time to reform.

Reformation usually follows redemption. Sunset’s a character who had both go hand in hand with her performance in Rainbow Rocks. Yes, she said she was sorry in the first movie, but we didn’t see her do anything about it until the second. She tries to fix her image by being helpful, then atones for her mistake by rainbowing the Sirens.

Would you say it's a good idea for children, even grown children, to meddle in their parents' relationship?

Ooh, boy. Real life hardly ever works out the way movies and books do. Wanting to keep your parents together or get them back together is a sweet and noble thing. Sometimes, it can work. Other times, it’s best just to leave it to therapy.

As someone who watched their parents split up, you know that there’s nothing you can do. Not all love lasts. I think grown children might be able to help mediate a conversation since they can talk to their parents with that level of maturity. But actual ‘meddling’? No, it’s probably a bad idea. Cute, but bad.

Why not have Dawn and Zephyr get back together by the end?

Heh, this question. I don’t believe romance is a light switch. You can’t just flip it on and off and say ponies or people for that matter are in love. Love takes time; it’s a flame that has to be nurtured. Dawn and Zephyr were separated for a good five or so years before the story. That’s a big gap to fill. Realistically (and I know this is a show about magic ponies — my writing still has to have real elements in it) I felt like they wouldn’t just magically end up in each other’s arms again. They’d talk things out, start things over, see if they really were in love with each other again. I believe love is a slow burn.

What does the time dilation effect between the worlds mean for future correspondence with Sunset?

The time difference between worlds is a real can of worms. It would probably be a little jarring to Sunset when she gets Hearth’s Warming greetings in July and birthday wishes three months in advance. The journal correspondence was meant to only be a temporary solution to buy Sunset time before she had to make a decision. Because, in this universe that I’ve set up, she is going to have to choose one side or the other. And even I don’t know which she’ll choose.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

That depends, am I allowed to self-promote? New story titled Class Zero is on its way, and it’s going to be big! Tons of characters in a new AU Equestria with a new twist in its history. Friendship, war, political intrigue, magic, and secrets abound!

Other than that, thank you for allowing Firebird Dahlia a spot in the library. A big thanks to everyone who helped me write it and everyone who read and enjoyed it!

You can read Firebird Dahlia 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 ( 13 )

It's surprising this story wasn't featured here sooner. I found it brilliant. The storyline and interactions between the characters were so well crafted, the actual characters were written with their actual characteristics in mind, it really is just a great story :twilightsmile:
~E.B~

Wanderer D
Moderator

I do count Firebird Dahlia as one of my favorite Sunset fics. Nice to see it here! :raritystarry:

Out of all of Albi's stories, Firebird Dahlia is an interesting choice for the RCL, but I like it. It's probably the most compact display of his writing skills, with a tightly-written plot and excellent characterizations and character interactions (seriously, the banter between Sunset and Spitfire is top-notch). I'm really glad to see this story here, and congrats to Albi for his induction into the RCL.

Looking forward to Class Zero (and the rest of Spectacular Seven, and the rest of Shimmering Sea, and whatever else you're writing right now)!

Congratulations Albi! Sunset in one of her finest roles indeed!

I can't even tell you how long I've wanted to read this, but have never got around to it. And I'm afraid it will have to wait even longer.

Firebird Dahlia is REALLY freaking good.

Ah, this story. :) It was a good read, though I wasn't entirely satisfied with the ending...a sentiment I was VERY vocal about in the comments XD. I mean, Albinocorn did a good job explaining why he left things with Dawn and Zephyr the way they did, and honestly, I probably wouldn't have been as nettled if Albinocorn didn't admit in a blog post that he considered getting them back together, but thought it would be too "Disney"...as if that was such a horrible thing to be. :P I'm kind of a sucker for a happy ending, y'see, and I have a tendency to get bent out of shape when stories don't go the way I want them to. :D

Edit: Two downvotes...huh. Guess my opinion isn't a popular one. XD

4710162
There, I balanced out your vote for you.

In seriousness though I both loved and hated that they didn't get back together... But I had a relationship of 9 years that literally ended with her looking up from her laptop and saying, "I think we should split up."
To which I replied with "ok."

People change, they grow and become different people. Sometimes those people change so much that the people that they once loved with all their heart are no longer someone they want to love.

With how real the ponies in this felt to me I would have quite possibly felt cheated by the happy ending... I didn't even comment on the last chapter because I wasn't sure how to feel.

4715577
I suppose that makes sense, but Sunset's goal throughout the story was not just to reconcile with Spitfire (Who I wanted to smack in the head with a newspaper. Repeatedly), but to mend the rest of her family. Because the story ended the way it did, though, she was ultimately unsuccessful in the latter.

I think what really gets me is that Albinocorn admitted, in his blog post when the story wrapped up, that he ended it the way he did because having Dawn and Zephyr get back together would have been "too Disney". I have to ask: would the ending really have been so awful if it was Disney-esque?

This story is my favorite on the site. Happy to see it getting more attention.

HOORAY I AM SO HAPPY I LOVE THIS STORY
This story deserves all of the accolades

A year or so later, my friends and I were discussing pony pairings of the shipping and platonic kind. I then brought up the color scheme of Sunset and Spitfire being similar and them possibly being sisters. I was then promptly told to get to work.

You're welcome :raritywink:

4709232
Bluest-Ayemel on deviantart. Ayemel on fimfiction. She's not very active anymore, unfortunately.

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