• Member Since 28th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen Mar 3rd, 2018

Cloudy Skies


Cloudy writes stories. Cloudy likes it when ponies like each other maybe a little too much and sometimes end up in love. Cloudy writes stories about these things, often.

More Blog Posts57

  • 119 weeks
    Longpost: What's Next? Also, To Perytonia Resources, Art, Thoughts

    To Perytonia ate a year and change of my life. Dramatic? Yes, dears, I am dramatic, and thank you for finally realising. I’d even add “and I wouldn’t have it any other way” because that's certainly true. However, instead of revelling in its completion and trying to drive hype, I've partially disappeared, so clearly it's complicated.

    Read More

    11 comments · 1,669 views
  • 121 weeks
    To Perytonia Completed

    The longest story I've written to date, To Perytonia, is complete.

    If you've been waiting for it to finish, and if you're in the mood for a grand, dramatic adventure to foreign shores, I invite you to give it a read. Bring plenty of food and drink, pack a blanket, and ask a friend or two to come with you. It's a doozy.

    Read More

    17 comments · 512 views
  • 128 weeks
    Today and the Future

    This post features no spoilers of any kind.

    Everyone’s talking about S8 and movies and who knows what else. Goodness, I’ve not even watched S7 yet!

    And you know what, dear reader? I don’t think I ever will.

    This is not a protest against anything, I’m just observing a fact. At this moment I do not know that I will ever engage with the newer content.

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    28 comments · 948 views
  • 133 weeks
    Pony Fan Fiction and Positivity

    Alternate titles: “The post wherein Cloudy justifies their tastes”, “let’s talk about positivity”, or “I’m not just gonna bash on sadfic, I promise!”

    (There are some words about To Perytonia at the end, hence the tag.)

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    26 comments · 687 views
  • 137 weeks
    RariJack? RariJack.

    Shortfic is an art. An art I've never mastered.

    I understand that my latest story, To Perytonia, may be daunting to some/many/most because of its sheer length. Some are waiting for it to finish, some are simply put off by the prospect of a fic that, if printed, could be used as a coffee table.

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    9 comments · 619 views
Nov
15th
2017

Pony Fan Fiction and Positivity · 2:17pm Nov 15th, 2017

Alternate titles: “The post wherein Cloudy justifies their tastes”, “let’s talk about positivity”, or “I’m not just gonna bash on sadfic, I promise!”

(There are some words about To Perytonia at the end, hence the tag.)

I don’t write or read sad, dark, or anything like it. That’s my prerogative as a writer and a reader. Story X with a sad tag is amazing and I’m missing out by not reading it? I’ll take your word for it, and I’ll pass. No judgment, but no desire to even try to read it, either.

That’s a very hard line to take. Most operate with some wiggle room in their preferences. Why is pony fic such a seemingly-blind field of only positivity for me? Why am I prejudiced against bad feels? It’s more than the need for an arena for escapism.

I am not a pessimist. Nor am I the particularly jaded kind of pessimist who calls upon the authority of the ridiculous term “realist”, either. No, I’m an optimist at heart, and the stories I write are sourced in that optimism.

I am also aware that—this’ll come as a shock to long-time readers—not everything is perfect. A promise made to stand by someone forever, for instance, is not ironclad. A promise to love someone forever, is a promise to love them for as long as you can, or until things change to make you no longer love them.

Sure, this transient nature of promises, of friendships and love, and the frailty of all the ties that bind us, that’s just one example of a sad angle of a particular fact. It’s one way to look at it, and it makes for a great story. Write something about how there’s a sort of tragic beauty to swearing eternal friendship knowing that it’s never truly forever. It’s a scene, if not a story.

I won’t write that story. I will never write that story, at least not within the context of this fandom, and I will never read it, either, because a promise of forever is still a promise of forever, even if it is only for a while. People still swear undying love instead of “fairly resilient love, but realistically? Up to a point.” To some, this stress between the ideal and the reality makes for tragedy. To me, the more important fact is that the transient contains the absolute and vice versa.

Okay, we got very vague. Don’t go, I can reel it in again!

The whole idea of loving something forever is just an example. What I’m trying to say is this: All these “realistic” and potentially melancholy views on positive things, like, but not limited to the frailty of friendships and the pressure to enjoy life while you still can, they still contain the essence of something perfect. This isn’t about writing something mindlessly positive whilst plugging your ears with your hooves singing la la la no one ever dies. It is about emphasis.

I said I wouldn’t write this sad story within this fandom specifically, and there’s a reason for that. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, as a children’s cartoon, already does what I wish to do. It never dwells on the terrifying implications of immortality. They never say “what if we lose touch with each other when we get older”. FIM is an idealistic and positive show not in removing all challenge and hardship, but in shifting the emphasis to the ideal parts of any subject discussed.

In much of the same way, I write stories assuming the reader is awake and alert enough to understand that I’m sidelining many of the negatives for a reason, because the purity of a promise given—the promised forever—is still there, even if the promise of undying love lasts only a week. There are stories to be written about the first half without either involving or explicitly removing the second half.

Hm.

Or, you know, I write happy stuff because I want the world to be a happier place.

That’s not just also true, it’s the full truth. I write happy because I want to be happy, and because I want others to be happy, but because I am garrulous to a fault, I wrote all that junk up there. I just had to go and tangle it with the show and include dumb examples and jazz. All I really had to write was that one sentence. Title: "Positivity". Body: "Why does Cloudy write happy stuff? To make self and others happy!" Don’t know why I felt like I had to justify my decision to focus on writing happy stories with happy endings.

Maybe it’s tied into another rant I’ve been suppressing, wherein I actively discuss the show’s tone vs. fanfic. That one’s going to be contentious. I’ll hold off on that, or maybe just scream into a bag instead.

-

A short update on To Perytonia: I apologise for not responding to comments or PM’s lately. I may say more about this later. Probably. Maybe. I hope you are still enjoying the story, and I do read everything sent my way, even if I am not easy to get a hold of these days. This will likely continue for anywhere between 1 and forever days. Story will be posted regularly no matter what, though.

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Comments ( 26 )

I'm here for the happy too. My line isn't quite that hard, but i tend to stay away from dark fics. And tragedy. I read one of those way back. It was very well written. I upvoted it and then promised myself to not do that to me again.

This is one of the things at a broad level I'm always loved about your stories, that it always feels as if they could have been an episode or a season or two.

Sounds like the reasoning I use when I always choose the "good" path in games. Even if the limits of a single player RPG mean there are no consequences for my character becoming a tyrant or sadist, I as the player still can't make myself do that. Fiction (including gaming) is my chance to participate in a universe where one person or one pony really can change the world for the better.

I almost agree with this; however, I am more likely to give stories a chance because authors here are terrible at tagging. "Sad" and even "tragedy" are commonly used to mean "there is a conflict set up at the beginning of the story." It's not great, but there it is.

I think that kind of positivity is an amazing thing, and I'm glad there are people out there like that! :pinkiehappy:

However...

I have an acquaintance who will go off on a rant about what absolute terrible shit grimdark fics are and how the people who write them are stupid, immature edgelords just trying to be edgy and they're without a scrap of value and they're terrible and he hates them at the drop of a hat. And I honestly find it really hurtful and painful, because although I love and value positivity, I also use dark, scary, and even gory stories as a way to vent negative feelings I have. I've written a lot of them, and it makes me feel hated and judged when people attack them.

It's not really positivity when it's nasty towards people who have different outlooks, you know? I think it's amazing that there are upbeat, happy folks who are passionate about making the world a better place and embrace that aspect of the show. But it undoes everything good about that world outlook if those people turn around and sneer at others for not sharing that philosophy.

(I'm not at all trying to accuse you of doing this, btw. Just... it really bothers me, and it's do damn frustrating that it makes me want to take people and shake them.)

When people ask why I don't read dark/sad/etc I plan of forwarding them this blog because you pretty much sum it all up beautifully.

Nor am I the particularly jaded kind of pessimist who calls upon the authority of the ridiculous term “realist”, either.

Hey man... we're just being realistic about it.

I read anything, crying is cathartic sometimes, but I respect your opinion. And I must say that you are one of my go to writers when it comes to finding a happy escape.

I love your idealism, and I think what you've been writing recently is way more than just fluff. It feels complex enough that I don't just perceive it as a lofty promise, but instead as an organic illustration of what actually could be. I think a focused effort to write idealistic stories is both a healthy and incredibly important contribution, and it inspires me to consciously try to enable that kind of positivity in my own life.

Rock that vibe :twilightsmile:

While I read all sorts of stuff now, I started out that way, and I agree with what you said. I personally tend to dwell on negative stuff more than I should, so the overwhelming positive message of mlp is what drew me to it to start with. Although I am looking forward to that next blog post :)

I wish I had your outlook most of the time I fall squarely in the pessimist who would love to be an optimist category. I sometimes feel silly when I try to twist an event to make it have less shadow. I dunno when I carry that too far Sometimes.

I also hate that it's so hard sometimes to meaure what [dark] means. Games Ponies Play has a dark tag, but it doesn't hit the things I loathe about dark for me. (But I can see why it has the tag.) However, there's a few fics floating around that lack that tag that make me want to throw things at people. Hell, I'm still occasionally surprised when people talk about how List didn't get sad. I'm mean, spoiler tags.

Of course, failing to fit the perception of a tag is a thing I've struggled with a lot. Who We Are and [romance] being the easiest published fic I have that it hard to tag. Semper Amare (yes decided in it) will have the same issue only even more so. That's probably it's own blogpost though.

That was a nice rant blogpost :twilightsmile: I remember telling you about 'sad' fic, I get it now. Kind of.
I maybe have too much 'room in my preferences', basically everything without humans :twilightblush: even some quite heavy stuff. Makes you think why :trollestia:

4726254 To be fair, I speak mostly of writing since I don't read much fic any more, but yeah, I've read quite a few sad fics that I enjoyed but will not revisit, so I hear you.

4726328 And this is generally the highest praise I could ever imagine getting, since you're basically saying that in your opinion, I've succeeded in doing what I wanted to do. Mood-wise, anyway. Obviously there is a difference in format and subject matter but eh. So, thank you.

4726331 Yeah, so, I don't judge those who "play" evil, be it in stories, games or other forms of pretend, but I don't usually have that desire myself, either. That doesn't make me a better person than someone who wants to mess around, though. Advocates of darker stuff will say that it's "valuable to explore one's darker side", too.

Sure, I guess? But I genuinely don't think everywhere is the right arena for it. For me, ponies is not a good place. Emphasis: for me.

4726355 You're completely right there. I worry that I come across wrong here. This is a comment on content and on stories, and I muddy the waters when I say that I don't read sad/dark stories and also imply (correctly) that I don't touch the Sad/Tragedy/Dark etc tags. Those two different things, and people don't tag in the same way.

To be absolutely clear: I personally have issues with stories I myself subjectively think sad or dark within this fandom, for purposes of reading them. I have values, ideals and opinions that conflict with stories that I myself would tag sad/dark according to my own metrics. That's literally all I mean, and I'm sorry if I sound like I take issue with stories with those tags by default.

4726386 Hey, so, I'm not the right person to come to for a defence of why dark/sad/whatever are valid/good/useful stories in the context of this fandom, but I'd never think to go on the bloody offence about this. If that's your jam, that's your jam, and if you have acquaintances who actively give you grief about it, then I'm sorry to hear it, and I really hope this person is expendable and that you can boot them the heck out of your life.

Like, I don't want to write a huge long rant here, but my 5 pesos on this is that no matter how much I dislike a story for conflicting with my own ideals, I think it's flat-out wrong to get up in people's grill about it. That's just like ragging on a ship fic because it's the "wrong" ship.

There are stories that should not be shared, though. There is such a thing as a story that should not be posted for public consumption. I'm not going to share examples or ideas about what sort of story that is because I have zero time or desire for a debate, but I doubt whatever stories you enjoy fall into this category anyway.

4726387 I personally feel like all my attempts to transfer head-stuff to internet paper end up meandering and chaotic if it's not in novel form, but I will take the compliment regardless!

4726429 I'll take it, thanks! And while I'm mostly alright with my current tastes, there are stories that I wish I could read, so for that, you have my envy for your ability to read anything.

4726434 I feel like ideals have to be idealistic, if that makes sense beyond the obvious. In actuality, I fall short of my ideals all the time, but that's life. Life isn't the failure to adhere to ideals, life is constantly fighting on, and that's good stuff.

And hey, thank you, too! I, too, like to think that despite reducing the sum of my own words here to "I want to happy so I happy", To Perytonia and most of my other works are a little more complicated than that.

4726492 Sounds like we've travelled in opposite directions! I started out reading a lot more diverse stuff than I do now. The first fic I read was like... a dark AU/crossover, I think. My tastes have narrowed, rather than broadened.

As for the second blog post, er, ugh.

I don't know. I may seriously just opt for the "scream into a bag". People have responded positively to a post about the positivity about positivity, but I don't know how much good can come from writing "Why Sad/Dark/Tragic Fics are Bad and Wrong"—which is of course totally not the actual argument I'd make, but you have to polarise to be able to say anything. I'd get fans of sadfics breaking down my door, and get locked in a perpetual debate that comes down to back-and-forthing about the opinion parts of what I want to say rather than discussing the observations about show tone and such.

4726495 I probably made a mistake using words that coincide with tags anyway. People's usage of tags varies so much that it's impossible to say anything useful. W&W/O etc. You know my arguments and my tastes anyway, and you know that I don't feel List is a sad fic. It's about the purpose, which often means it's about the end state of a story.

As for outlook and stuff, I don't know. You know me better than most. You know what I'm trying to do when I declare myself an optimist. You know what I'm like in the day to day. Fwiw I feel like you're doing yourself a disservice thinking you're a pessimist. Your actions are not those of a gnarled pessimist, at least. Such as, you know, writing that fic.

4727318 And that's all anyone can ever be called upon to do. As long as you're fighting, as long as you're trying, you're growing, and as long as you're growing you're winning. The only way to lose is to stand still, to lie down and give up, to declare that it's impossible and try no more. Doesn't matter how small your movement. As long as you move you're alive.

4727380 No matter how comfortable I am with my own preferences, broader tastes is universally a good thing. Liking more stuff is good. Liking less stuff means I have less things to like. Despite how much I believe in all my other words, how convicted I am by my own rants, these simple facts remain, that I wish I could enjoy things that I do not enjoy (as long as they are not outright harmful).

4728877 That's fine! I'm not gonna tell you that you're wrong even if I disagree with all the subjective factors in your statement there—and I don't think I have any desire to pick up that debate.

I also don't have the power to make someone a relentless optimist just by presenting an argument in the form of words on the internet. If you at the very least view this inherent evil you believe in is something that is meant to be fought, though, and if you think it can be fought, then I don't know if you're quite as hardcore a cynical pessimist as you say you are, but that's just my opinion after reading your words here. I'm glad to have heard your piece anyway, so thanks for sharing!

4729169 Not to worry, I wasn't afraid of disagreeing or being disagreed with, either, I just don't think a long discussion on the particulars is very useful, especially not here, that's all!

The whole "love forever" thing really was just an example for the purposes of discussing writing and positivity and such. It was not even necessarily talking about romantic love, since my position on monogamy and love is kind of irrelevant to the topic (but since I feel the need to set the record straight, you can probably guess that I have a more complicated view than to think love is exclusively something that happens between two people, hah).

Thank you for posting this, Cloudy... I've had the same opinion for a while. The Sad tag often does put me off. I don't need reminding of the fragility of life have enough worries about that in real-life. and the positivity and escapism is what drew me to this fandom.

It got me to thinking. Is it better not to show death like that? I mean that's the beautiful thing about fiction. They get to live in a snapshot for the rest of their lives until the show gets brought back by someone else with a different vision but in what is esentially the same screenshot. unlike us they don't have to get old or die.

you've earned a new follower this day.

4730169 S'legit! There're a million reasons for wanting more positivity in your life, and you don't even need a reason. As for the permanence of media, well, let's just say that I've had similar thoughts. I'm not talking "let's put this book/show/picture on a pedestal frozen for all eternity and worship it" so much as appreciating that a work of art can be a constant, changing only in how you reflect on it.

I guess my post began as an attempt to try to suggest that there are higher authorities than escapism and such if you want them, though. Like, positivity shouldn't be blind (that's dangerous). Positivity doesn't have to be uninformed. There are plenty of ways to defend positive works when and if someone suggests that a positive work is naïve or incomplete for sectioning off the bad stuff. No one's ever accused me of that, but let's just say I have my answers ready.

I first read this post long ago, when the story was still being posted, and now that I've finished it, I read it again. Looking back on "To Perytonia", I'm surprised that you wrote this blog post that echoes so much of my own views on positivity, optimism and idealization in fiction (and MLP fiction in particular), and yet the story that I think is supposed to embody that philosophy and those tastes was such an agonizing emotional ordeal to get through.

From the end of Ephydoera to the climax in Cotronna, it was a constant slog of frustration over Rainbow's willful lack of perception, despair over everypony's lack of effective communication (a lof of which is caused by the former), and dread that this state of affairs would continue to hang over much of the story like a dark angry cloud dampening any potential for enjoyment, a dread that ended up being vindicated. I've been verbose enough about the things that bothered me in my comments, so I'm being brief here - you can go read through my review trail if you would like elaboration.

The thing is, it's hard to care about other things going on in the story while I'm fretting over how our group of intrepid pony diplomats is becoming more and more internally divided. You succeeded well in making me care about these characters and I wanted to see them succeed. All I could think about was wanting to get to the part where they finally talk about their issues and start resolving them. I didn't want everything to be instantly fine again, but I wanted to see progress being made, and that was constantly denied to me.

It's hard to feel good about the story and enjoy the adventure when Rainbow is too self-absorbed to pick up on Fluttershy's attempts to signal her desires and constantly blames herself and draws the wrong conclusions about what's going on. It's the exact opposite of optimism and positivity, and it was unbearable while it was happening.

The Cauldron of Storms was a welcome reprieve and the ponies rose to the challenge, but right afterwards Rainbow decided to go straight back to how things were instead of even wasting a single thought on considering that "Hey, we did pretty well there with me leading and motivating us, maybe I was onto something there?" As much as I liked the confrontation scene that finally make everything turn out okay, I would have much preferred to see some incremental improvements over the course of the story, rather than a great big sudden resolution. I knew there would be a happy ending at the end, but that's not enough for me - the journey needs to be enjoyable as well.

So... could you do me a favor and help me understand how this story embodies that ideal of positivity you talked about in your blog post? The things you express sound so close to my own viewpoint, and yet they produced a story that I had such extreme difficulty with, and that I didn't really enjoy large portions of. I was hooked by the suspense and the promise of a happy resolution, but I wasn't having a great deal of fun between Ephydoera and the private joust outside Cotronna. If you can see the disconnect here, I would appreciate it if you helped me understand.

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