News Archive

  • Friday
    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 · 1,585 views
  • 3 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 · 3,527 views
  • 4 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 · 5,003 views
  • 6 weeks
    The Albinocorn's "Firebird Dahlia" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    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.'

    Read More

    13 comments · 4,922 views
  • 7 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 · 5,316 views
  • 8 weeks
    Rocket Lawn Chair's "Star-Crossed" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is a tale of love written in the sky.


    Star-Crossed
    [Romance] [Slice of Life] • 2,968 words

    A thousand years ago he was turning Equestria into a hotbed of mayhem.
    Five years ago he was growing moss and lichen on his shoulders.
    Today he's asking Celestia out on a date.

    Celestia didn't know such a creature as Discord would be able to change so radically without it being part of some elaborate prank. But what's more unsettling, she didn't know she'd be able to change just as drastically. As she finds new feelings for the Master of Chaos, she begins to have doubts toward the integrity of her desires, and suspicions of her sister's possible involvement.

    Read More

    0 comments · 4,924 views
  • 10 weeks
    Fiddlebottoms' "Discord's Ant Farm" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    In today's story, take a trip into the future with one of My Little Pony's ant-agonists.


    Discord's Ant Farm
    [Sad] • 2,619 words

    That wacky Spirit of Chaos is at it again...

    Except, there's no ponies in the audience.

    There's nothing, really. Just an empty, post-apocalyptic expanse.

    Nothing, and some ants.

    Read More

    21 comments · 5,578 views
  • 11 weeks
    FrontSevens' "Fun in the Summit" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is a foray into diplomatic impunity.


    Fun in the Summit
    [Comedy] [Slice of Life] • 7,774 words

    Trade negotiations. Board meetings. Formal garden parties. Not the definition of a fun weekend for Princess Celestia at all.

    However, Celestia has a plan. Rarity’s going to join her this year, and by their gossiping powers combined, they may be able to turn this upcoming convention into something a little more unconventional.

    Read More

    6 comments · 4,408 views
  • 12 weeks
    cursedchords' "The Legend of the Scorpion Queen" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story about Equestrian harvest legends will grow on you.


    The Legend of the Scorpion Queen
    [Romance] [Sad] • 16,226 words

    On the eve of the Day of Reaping, the start of the Equestrian Harvest, it is traditional that a legend be told over supper: the legend of how the traditions surrounding the Day of Reaping came to be. It is a story of love, ambition, and vengeance.

    Long before Equestria, a grand Unicorn King maintains a splendid garden. On one of his travels he brings a scorpion back to live within it. That scorpion, resentful of being removed from her home, sets out to have her revenge.

    Read More

    6 comments · 5,227 views
  • 13 weeks
    Pen Stroke's "Morsel of Truth" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Sink your teeth into today's spooky story.


    Morsel of Truth
    [Slice of Life] • 4,349 words

    There is a bit of truth to every legend, though the ravages of time can bury it deeply. Myths and lore become twisted, melded, and torn the longer they are around. One of Equestria’s oldest legends is that of Nightmare Moon. It is the core of Nightmare Night and the excuse for children to go out asking for candy with a single, common rhyme.

    Nightmare Night, what a fright. Give me something sweet to bite.

    Read More

    5 comments · 5,595 views
Nov
24th
2017

Author Interview » Petrichord's "Paper Butterflies" [Royal Canterlot Library] · 1:46pm November 24th

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.

FROM THE CURATORS: By definition, it can be difficult to tell when a story does subtle things well — which is why it's such a delight to find a deeper payoff in an already rewarding tale.  "This is a quiet, sublime, almost surreal story about Discord folding paper butterflies with Big Macintosh," Present Perfect said in his nomination. "The sense of wonder as he and Big Mac race to capture various ponies in origami form is palpable. Then the story puts the brakes on ... it all comes down to the juxtaposition with the final scene."  Paper Butterflies' speedy path to approval saw plenty of similar praise: "The big thing right is the way it sneakily layers the tragedy onto a strong and gentle slice-of-life-ey story and then brings it all tumbling down at the end," Horizon said.

Along the way, we found the story guided by a sure yet subtle hand.  "This story is a marvelous example of one of the things I mean when I say 'show, don't tell,'" AugieDog said. "From the beginning right through to the ending, we're shown everything we need to know about the situation, but we're never told what that situation is."  Horizon agreed: "I love how this wrings a ton of emotion out of implication, like Discord's comment to Big Mac about objectively wrong statements.  Also, Rarity's and Mac's characterization were on point, and the dialogue here is fantastic."  For his part, Soge appreciated the way the main character filled the piece: "It oozes Discord's characterization on every word, from how it ignores the things it really wants to talk about, to the pacing, to how it flits from theme to theme obeying a logic that is all is own," he said.  "And the pacing acts like a living thing, reacting to the mental state of the characters."

Our range of different reading experiences showed that, both with and without the piece's core subtlety, it paid off.  "I twigged to what was going on pretty early, but that didn't spoil the emotional impact for me in the slightest," AugieDog said, while Soge got hit with a one-two punch: "It took me until I went back to read the description and tags to actually get it, and the way that re-contextualized everything was just magnificent," he said.  "Even without this added detail it would be something I'd love to feature, but that turns the whole thing into something truly special."  And for Present Perfect, not even a warning blunted the impact: "I reached the end and remembered the author predicted it was going to make me cry. Damned if he wasn't right."

Read on for our author interview, in which Petrichord discusses mud sticks, distaff bits, and corgi staring.


Give us the standard biography.

At the ripe old age of 25, I devote most of my functional life to listening to Katy Perry and her ilk, staring at pictures of corgis, and occasionally vomiting words onto Google Docs and wiping up the mess until it looks presentable.

I don’t have memories that go back any earlier than when I was three years old, and I regret every single year I’ve lived since then, up to and including now. Except 2011-2012; those were a good couple of years.

Get me sugared up enough, though, and I’ll be happy to tell you all sorts of anecdotes, like the first time I went with some friends to Hot Topic and didn’t understand that I was supposed to treat the experience ironically. I don’t regret the $80 I spent on shirts and other paraphernalia, though — lord only knows I got a lot of use out of them, and I’m pretty sure my friends got more of a laugh out of my excitement than they would have otherwise.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

Fact #1: I’m a huge fan of “big words,” to phrase a newspaper editorialist and friend of the family. The more erudite, the better.

Fact #2: I enjoy portmanteaus, and particularly enjoy mashing two dissimilar words together, regardless of (or maybe especially when?) they sound completely silly together.

Fact #3: I’m absolutely enthralled by symbolism or symbolic elements, up to and including concepts commonly associated with symbolism (such as rainstorms or leitmotifs, to give a couple examples).

Needless to say, when I heard the word “petrichor” used during a NPR quiz show, I was instantly and utterly enamored with it — particularly given how much I love the smell of petrichor itself. Developing the portmanteau out of a couple of elements that lent themselves well to symbolism — rain and music — felt like a matter of course.

Who's your favorite pony?

Am I allowed to say Discord on this one?

Far and away, I consider him the most interesting character in the show. Even when he’s not playing the role of the villain, or even the antagonist, he’s still got some pretty significant flaws that permeate virtually everything he does in every single episode he’s in, and I consider it a remarkable achievement that (given how many different writers the show has) a quasi-minor character has such a consistently complex characterization.

Particularly in the later seasons, I can’t help but think of him when I think of the kind of protagonists I’d like to see more in other media: ones whose intentions aren’t always aided by their personalities, but who don’t let their flaws prevent them from trying to do the right thing. Admittedly, Discord isn’t exactly that, but he still pops into my thoughts whenever I think about the sort of characters I’d like to see more of.

What's your favorite episode?

I’m gonna regret giving this answer as soon as the interview gets posted, as there are several episodes I consider truly great, but as of right now I’m gonna say that “A Royal Problem” is the show’s masterstroke. Beyond giving two characters without much screen time a day in the limelight, it also expanded on their jobs and personalities, gave them strengths and flaws, and created a truly memorable villain. None of the three main characters felt trivialized or out of place in the episode, and all of them felt more substantial and compelling after it — either justifying or cementing their relevance in the show, depending on your point of view. Twilight’s smothering also gave me a chuckle or three — I’ve certainly met people like that in my life, and it came across here as more endearing than anything else.

What do you get from the show?

I’m not a religious person, but there’s a Bible quote I’m still rather fond of: Matthew 11:28.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

That’s the main “vibe” I get from the show: no matter how bad things have become or how awful you feel, there will always be someone there who cares for you and wants you to be happy, even (especially?) if you feel like you don’t deserve it. The show’s constant emphasis on forgiveness and redemption has struck a pretty strong chord with someone who feels fundamentally beneath contempt and beyond saving more than half the time, and I can’t help but feel like I’d be in a much more miserable place without it.

What do you want from life?

Despite my previous comment about self-worth, I’d honestly prefer to remain alive than face oblivion, so “not die” is a pretty core directive: “cross your fingers and hope for the singularity” is a mantra I’ve jokingly mentioned to a few other people, but it’s more than a little true. Other than that, I thrive on the admiration of others, and I’d like to leave the sort of legacy that makes people happy after I’m gone, and writing stories worth reading seems like a somewhat tangible way of accomplishing both of those things.

Why do you write?

Besides the aforementioned legacy, catharsis is a pretty driving factor. Good or bad, I spend most days on a pretty heady emotional cocktail, and I need an outlet for processing that. Not “ignoring it” or “mitigating it,” mind; just channeling the positive or negative impulses into something that can be felt (and hopefully appreciated) by other people.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

Jot down the exact moments in a work that spoke to you: the one or two lines in a story, the best five seconds of a movie, the chorus in a song or what have you — but in any case, the moment when your emotions got kicked in the nuts. Break down what specific way it made you feel, why it made you feel that way and what elements contributed to that feeling — then try to replicate those emotions in a different story, your own story, one that lets you hone in on that feeling or use it as a thematic core. “Speaking from the heart” isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone, but most people have read, seen or done things that have made them feel very strong emotions, and if “speaking from the heart” proves difficult, than “speaking from the impulse” might be a bit easier.

Also, find an editor. A good one, not just someone who’ll glance it over for spelling and grammar mistakes. Get someone who’ll point out the mistakes you’ve made in the story’s structure and delivery, and listen to the mistakes, and fix them. If you can get multiple people to help point out the story’s issues, that’s even better. And try to internalize that when most people say they don’t like something about your story, it’s because they are invested in the story and want it to be even better, not because they dislike you. It can be hard to do that last bit, but it really helps.

What inspired “Paper Butterflies”?

I’ve been around people who have lost others close to them or who have worried strongly about losing people close to them. I worry a lot about losing people who are close to me, and I’ve had to deal with the untimely deaths of plenty of my friends, including one person whose absence I’ve been trying to come to terms with for years. Suffice to say that the story was pretty painful to write, but it also felt “necessary” to write it — or at least, it felt necessary to mention that it’s not easy for some people to talk frankly about loss, much less come to terms with it. Despite well-intentioned attempts to catalogue it, there really isn’t a strict Kübler-Ross-esque model for dealing with grief; and while time and companionship can help, they aren’t magical “fix everything” buttons — just like everything else out there.


How did you approach the challenge of writing a story without ever directly stating what the story is about?

Oh, this one’s easy: directly stating it was never an option.

I mean, it was option in the technical sense, but it wasn’t an option that I could realistically take. The heavier the emotion written about, the more care that needs to be taken in order to keep the story from feeling ham-fisted or patronizing about it. I don’t trust myself enough to directly say things like “and then they fight, and then he kicks her into the sun, and then he realizes what he does, and then he’s real sad, and he’s on a bed, etc.” without having it come across as parodical comedy at best, and in any case it’d be a disservice to the subject matter and people who’ve dealt with it. Ultimately, the only thing I could do was try to be tactful about the subject matter and “write about it” rather than “discuss it,” per se. I’m not going to tell people how to feel, but if nothing else I can hopefully write something people can relate to.

Why did you select these four specific characters — Discord, Rarity, Big Macintosh, and Fluttershy — to address this topic?

The irreverent answer is that I’m a heavy Fluttercord shipper and I needed a couple of other warm bodies or something, idk.

The less snarky answer is that I felt like if any character wouldn’t have any idea how to deal with grief, it would be Discord. Most of the main cast are in touch with their emotions and can figure out how to process them, if not move on from them, within 20 minutes or less; the closest we got to internal turmoil was Fluttershy, who had to try over and over again to work up the self-confidence needed to stand up for herself in a confrontation, but “Fame and Misfortune” showed us that she’s got a steadier head on her shoulders and can recognize and manage her lack of nerve.

Discord doesn’t have that luxury. Discord spent over a thousand years inside a giant rock, and a fair chunk of change before that with all the power he wanted and nothing to care about. The show’s aptly demonstrated that learning to care about things is hard, but rewarding — and ergo, being a very powerful being who can’t keep the one thing he cares about more than anything else would likely be particularly devastating. And given that he doesn’t really have a safety net outside of that — given that most of his “friends” were largely just friends of Fluttershy’s friends — he wouldn’t really have anyone obvious to help him come to terms with what happened. I needed Discord to help tell a story about struggling to move on from tragedy, because I don’t think any other character would suffer as much as he would from that sort of loss, and thus would have as much of a struggle to overcome as he would.

By contrast, Fluttershy, Rarity and Big Mac are all very much in touch with their emotions during the show. Fluttershy’s anxious around others, but is aware of it and routinely works to overcome it. Rarity’s more than a little aware of her melodramatic tendencies, and also shows that she’s willing to do things like “close down the boutique I’ve worked tirelessly to obtain” if it means she gets control of her life again. The times when Big Mac hasn’t been rocksteady are the times when he’s been trying to make others happier, and he ultimately does things on his own terms.

Discord repeatedly picks on some of his friends to get others to like him, lets his pride get in the way of having a fun time, and is willing to change how he acts, looks and lives in order to impress someone he cares about. And, ultimately, it’s all an insecure pose; he mixes up laughter for affection, acts like a stick-in-the-mud about D&D to save face, and desperately tries to be the sort of guy that he thinks Fluttershy wants him to be.

I can’t help but be morbidly fascinated by the thought of someone so insecure having something priceless taken away from them. I think it’d be kind of relatable, actually.

Did you deliberately keep the story so “low key” in order to match the show’s own “kid friendly” tone?

I know my more recent work might suggest otherwise, but one of the things I’m trying to do in the stories I’m working more seriously on is getting rid of unnecessary explicit elements. As it turns out, a lot of my stories start with a fair amount of those — given that I get inspired by utterly distaff bits of pop culture and gaming communities before I start throwing down outlines and notes, it would probably surprise me more if there wasn’t a fair amount of gratuitous violent and/or sexual content in my rough drafts. Still, once I start editing out the obvious stuff, it becomes easier to spot the other extraneous bits in a story, and it usually doesn’t take me long until i discover the story I want to tell — even if it looks completely different from what the story originally was. Once I get to that core, it becomes easy for me to build it back out again — and it turns out that a lot of the stories I’m interested in telling don’t really need much (or any) sex or violence. They’d be irrelevant at best and at loggerheads at worst with the sort of things I want to write about: parental concern; unpracticed generosity towards others; critical self-examination; or, in this case, loss and grief.

In retrospect, I guess that means I’m trying to keep my stories lower-key in general. And I think trying to talk about grief with tons of f-bombs dropped and guts flying everywhere would be sort of like trying to make a nightcore remix of Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I’ve constantly readjusted my goals since I joined FIMFic, setting the bar incrementally up from “have a story get accepted by the site” to “earn over 100 views on a story” and so on, all the way up to where it’s been for the longest time: “Get a story in the RCL.” Suffice to say that I wasn’t expecting this, and you’ll have to take my word for it that after I got the letter I spent a solid minute screaming ecstatically and the following two minutes doing a literal happy dance.

Of course, now I need to readjust the bar yet again. Whoops.

You can read Paper Butterflies 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 ( 10 )
PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Unless things change abruptly, it's looking like there will be no post this week/next week. We're calling it for the American holiday. Happy (belated) Thanksgiving, everyone!

Interesting choice.

A beautiful interview for a very deserving author. Bravo Petri.

Eeeek, it’s pet! Yay for pet!

This is a good one.

why does the whole site need to be bothered with this, no offense but this is pretty boring

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4735181
We're trying to highlight excellent fanfiction. You can go into your feed and shut off Social Site Posts under Options if you don't want to see these anymore.

4735226 thanks, and i wasn't trying to offfend you

Wasn't there a rule about a story's not having both the Sad and the Slice of Life tags? Or maybe I'm thinking of Equestria Daily's rule?

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4737073
It's Sad/Comedy and Slice of Life/Adventure that can't be combined here. At least, not for years now.

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