• Member Since 26th Mar, 2015
  • offline last seen Last Wednesday

Amber Spark

"Do it with love, do it with passion and never dream small!” - Author, Designer & Creator - Patreon/Ko-Fi

More Blog Posts176

  • 4 weeks
    Hearth's Warming Thoughts 2021

    I know a lot of you have friends and family to be with this holiday. I also know a lot of you are struggling this holiday with (sometimes former) friends and family who refuse to accept you for who you are. I know I am. Some of you are alone in a room, some of you are alone in a crowd. And some of you have people who accept you.

    Read More

    10 comments · 267 views
  • 23 weeks
    EFNW and Quick Update!

    I'm going to EFNW!

    So, yeah... it's been forever, huh? I haven't even finished Clear Skies yet! Well, a quick summary of what's going on.

    Read More

    11 comments · 454 views
  • 54 weeks
    Birthday & Clear Skies!

    So it's my birthday today! It's been a while, but we could do another SkyPie/SunLight art post here in the comments! Show me your best material from the last year! We all need some cute after the insanity of this week!

    Read More

    28 comments · 595 views
  • 56 weeks
    Clear Skies Chapter 1 is Live!

    Read More

    2 comments · 476 views

Takka Takka Takka: November 2017 - The NaNo to End All NaNos · 7:18pm Nov 30th, 2017

Words cannot describe how exhausted I am. This has easily been the most brutal NaNoWriMo I’ve ever done. Ironically, it hasn’t been because of my word count goals.

It’s been everything else.

But, it is the end of National Novel Writing Month, right? So we should probably talk word counts.

NaNoWriMo November Word Count: 80,918

Daily Word Average: 2,697

Completed Projects:
On the Brewing of Saddle Arabian Teas, Stars Amidst the Snow

Projects in Process:
Codename: Serenade & My Kind of Crazy

Daily Word Count Breakdown
November 22 - 4,401
November 23 - 3,007
November 24 - 6,245
November 25 - 2,029
November 26 - 2,668
November 27 - 4,218 (Monthly Word Count Victory)
November 28 - 1,806 (Scrivener Victory)
November 29 - 1,056
November 30 - 2,030

If you haven’t seen it, here’s my official 50K NaNoWriMo Victory Infographic:

So what were my winning words?

NaNoWriMo 50K Word: beautiful
Daily Word Count 75K Word: Pinkie
Scrivener 75K Word: looking

Finally, here’s my Scrivener Word Counter:

Okay, let’s get into this month’s Takka Takka Takka, by starting with a quote from my new current story, My Kind of Crazy, a delightfully fun little shipfic with the Equestria Girls Pinkie Pie and Skystar!

Skystar turned at stared at Pinkie with huge eyes. She blinked a few times.

“What?” Pinkie shrugged. “If you don’t want to talk about being a mermaid, that’s okay. I have friends who are actually magical talking ponies from another dimension!”

Skystar kept staring.

Pinkie winced. “Oops! I forgot. They don’t usually like talking about that. So, I’d appreciate it if you kept that to yourself, okay?”

Skystar’s mouth opened and shut a few times, like she was imitating a giant fish or something.

Pinkie smiled back at her, this time using one of her happy casual smiles.

Patreon Stuff!

Hey, it’s Christmas, so need to point ya at Patreon. Yeah, I don’t really like doing it either, but stuff is… hard right now. So anything you could throw my way would be appreciated.

Now, let’s get a move on!

National Pony Writing Month

Okay, let me first say that writing NaPoWriMo and running NaPoWriMo are two psychotically different things.

The catch is… about 98% of that is my fault. As you folks have seen, I’m not one to dream small. “Do it right and do it with style” is my catchphrase. And NaPoWriMo was no exception to this rule.

Did you know that it’s really hard to write Inspirational Posts when you’re struggling to be inspired yourself?

NaPoWriMo Week 1 Talk: Perseverance
NaPoWriMo Week 2 Talk: What To Do When You're Off Course
NaPoWriMo Week 3 Talk: Reigniting the Spark

The first topic was mine, and I had one rather verbose individual who disagreed, I hope it helped. Honestly, it had to be the first topic, because just doing the writing is really how I get my insane word counts done. It’s how I get anything done. It remains how I’ll get anything done.

There were plenty of times where I was just sick to death of writing. I got to a point where I literally couldn’t think of anything to do but write or maybe play a game. Almost every night this month, I’d come home write for a few hours and then play something just to relax a little.

The only time when I didn’t need to do that was the day I started My Kind of Crazy. But I’ll talk more about that in the November Bookshelf below.

Here’s a list of everything I pulled off for NaPoWriMo:


Ran the following Discord Channels:
- EquestriaDaily NaPoWriMo
- Novel’s Nook “Quills and Sofas” NaPoWriMo
Supported the NaNoWriMo Bronies Discord Server
Did a little bit of inspiration work for the Enchanted Library’s NanoMono channel (but that was really minor)

For the Discord Servers, I posted daily writing quotes from famous authors designed to encourage and inspire people to keep pushing forward, as well as the required cute writing pony pictures.

Equestria Daily Weekly Posts

Sethisto was kind enough to made me into a temporary columnist/editor/blogger for the month. This was done for a few reasons. Mainly so I didn’t have to bug anyone else to do the posts. Other part was a bit selfish. I kinda wanted the credit for doing all this work!

Using this ability, I posted the three articles you see above. Now, believe it or not, that’s a huge pain. First of all, finding new high-quality pictures of writing ponies is actually harder than you think. Also, just coming up with the material, as I said, was huge.

Plus all those little shipping captions was hard work (But a lot of fun).

NaPoWriMo Interviews

Ironically, this idea didn’t occur to me until after November had started. And then Mono had to be her amazing self and pull out this incredible talk about characterization. So that inspired more! Now, I happen to be one of those crazy people who will actually walk up (or in this case message) people I really freaking admire and say, “Hey, got any words of wisdom?”

Thankfully, those awesome people answered in spades! All of the interviews were done through Discord chats. Some of them went back and forth, some of them were a bit more like “here’s a few questions, answer when you can.”

So, a special thank you to all the folks willing to chat about their talents. I really aimed to make the topics and advice actionable for people, and I hope that came across well.

Here’s a list of all of the NaPoWriMo interviews:

Monochromatic on Characterization
MrNumbers & Corejo on Setting & Description
Aragon on Comedy
Justice3442 on Comedy
Crystal Wishes on Romance
Oroboro on Drama
Timaeus on Romance

My Own Writing

In addition to all that above, I had my lofty 75,000 word goal. Thankfully, I still made it, though it was far closer than usual. I ended up almost panicking at the end, but I made it! Ironically, I never actually got around to writing in Wavelength Theorems. Heh.

Blizzcon 2017

At the beginning of the month was my yearly trip to Blizzcon! Fantastic stuff, as I’ve already talked about in my first NaNoWriMo post: For the Alliance. The reveal of Battle for Azeroth was pretty damn epic. The whole thing was exhausting and fantastic. One of the best parts about it is I got to actually go with a fellow FimFic author!

I even did over 1,000 words on both days of the con! 

EquestriaLA 2017

EquestriaLA had a great final year. It was the very first time I brought my whole family with me to the con, since we’re local. Though they only stayed on Friday and I went back on Saturday and Sunday, it was a great experience.

I got to see my two little girls chat with Andrea Libman (who said hello to them both in Pinkie’s Voice and then said “You rock, woohoo” in Fluttershy’s).

I got to see them have an impromptu dance party with Mike Vogel after he read them “Good Night, Flurry Heart” (and I’m so buying that book. It’s actually fantastic).

They got to see the Vendor Hall (and were mostly under control).

They did a singalong with a fantastic Pinkie Pie cosplayer and… to my total surprise, a Countess Coloratura cosplayer (and yes, I was singing the whole time too).

It was even better when they had a Sunset Shimmer and Twilight Sparkle (Princess, not SciTwi! HA!). Caitlyn, my eldest, thought it was “so cool” to get to meet the real Sunset Shimmer. And if you think I’m going to take that away from her, you’re sorely mistaken.

In fact, they had a little “Friendship Lesson” share time and of course my girl was the one who wanted to answer everything. Apparently, she’s paid way more attention to MLP than I thought. She’s almost as good as me. (Terrifying thought, I know).

As you can see, I took a few pictures there.

I even scored two Starstruck EQLA OC plushies for Christmas. One for each of them. And an extra for me.

Not only that, but Ebon Quill finally got to meet my family. We even had dinner at my place, though we had to leave quickly because the girls refused to go to sleep with him there. They were way too excited. Dangit. Still, I was thrilled.

Ebon even bought me one of those GIANT SUNSET SHIMMER PLUSHIES that’s designed to be carried around on your arm. I may have to take her to EFNW 2018. Basically, he ordered me to pick something from the vendor hall… and I couldn’t decide. He threatened to embarrass me… and even though I suspected (okay, fine, I knew) what he would do… I still couldn’t pick!

Also, one of the greatest highlights was actually “talking” White Diamonds herself into doing a RariTwi commision for Monochromatic. She was actually fantastic. And they were both going on and on about how adorable they were. While Mono couldn’t be there on Sunday to pick up the commission, I did enjoy just SHOWING White Diamonds Mono’s reply in text, which was mostly OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG-style geekouts (so, par for the course on Mono).

Now, hopefully I don’t get in trouble for showing you all this, but....

It was a great time. We even had this epic moment where someone had purchased the ENORMOUS (seriously, this thing had to be 4-5 feet tall) Starstruck EQLA OC Plushie for $1000 and then waltzed into closing ceremonies, put it up on stage and told the con chair, Casey (who was already crying) that it was hers. The guy dropped $1000 for a huge plushie JUST TO GIVE IT BACK TO THE CON CHAIR! Okay, no joke, I’m actually crying remembering it. Stop making me cry, blog!

The children’s program was amazing and while a few of the panels were hit and miss (I really should have done a writer’s panel thing there), I do hope it comes back in some way, shape or form.

November’s Writing Bookshelf:

On the Brewing of Saddle Arabian Teas - First Draft Complete!

Originally, this was supposed to be a fun romp through some silly used bookstores. Instead, it turned into a world-spanning adventure epic. Sunny and Twi have to deal with a freaking dragon (and no, it’s not an illusion this time), the brother of some Doctor in Ponyville, the depths of some weird dimension called B-Space, creepy prophecy-spouting lunatics… even the worst thing ever: A RETAIL CHAIN STORE!

It’s heartbreaking, heartwarming, interesting, confusing and totally nuts. And it’s going to need SO MUCH EDITING. X.X

It’s also my longest Wavelengths story to date at 87K total. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Stars Amidst the Snow - First Draft Complete

Deathscar mentioned doing his annual Christmas FimFic and I decided it might be fun to make that a tradition. I did something similar with Tactics of Snowbound Unicorns last year, but I’m not ready to do that with Wavelengths just yet. So instead, I ran off to a whole other dimension!

That’s right folks, Deerity and the Astra Princess Twilight Sparkle are back! 

Now, the irony is that this story completely got away from me. I wrote 8,500 words that won’t end up in the final piece. Before I knew it, the story had turned into dealing with the fallout of the Battle of Harmony Gate during the events of the original Diamonds Amidst the Stars. And while I have a great piece about Rarity and Twilight completely owning that ponce Count Blueblood, I eventually realized that the story my mind was trying to tell wasn’t the story I wanted to tell.

It was becoming some massive semi-political drama about how the deerkin are viewed after being such an isolationist people for centuries, as well as setting the stage for the next big sequel.

But I wanted cute fluffy things. So I abandoned my third chapter and wrote an entire new ending. Now, there’s going to be only two chapters (I hope), but it’ll need a lot of work until it’s ready for you.

How Not to Use Your Royal Prerogative - Polish & Publishing In Progress

Big reveals happened this month! Believe it or not, the chase chapter and the unveiling of the saboteur were originally a single chapter. Plus the ringleader’s name was originally revealed at the end of that chapter. Instead, I played it out a little and I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.

It’s going to be awesome finishing this. Just a few more weeks!

My Kind of Crazy - In Progress

See more on this one below!

Codename: Serenade - In Progress

I decided “Secret Project” was a stupid name.

...what, did you want more? Ha! Too bad!


December Writing Bookshelf:

My Kind of Crazy - In Progress

This story came out of nowhere. I loved Skystar and Pinkie together in the movie, but the idea of doing them in EqG just suddenly spawned in Cynewulf’s server when I was chatting with Corejo and DwarvishPony.

Novel Idea
Sky[Pie] for best movie ship because SO ADORABLE
Infinite worlds. Infinite ships.
Oohhh EqG SkyPie.
It's your pretty standard 'interesting new person meets lonely person' sort of trope, but it would still be interesting to see
What would SkyStar be in eqg tho?
Or where and all that?
Transfer student
Novel Idea
Daughter of a foreign ambassador
So crazy isolated.
I like the idea that Skystar is just a little unhinged
Because she is
Because she's super lonely
Novel Idea
She’s just a tad.
Because she's cooped up
Novel Idea
She’s no crazier than me.
Shelly and Shelldon aren't exactly A-type personalities
Novel Idea
'My Kind of Crazy' sounds like a fun title for SkyPie shipping
Novel Idea
I kinda want to do this now
Pinkie would teach her Swing Dancing
That sounds fun
EqG or pony?
Novel Idea
EqG maybe... just for kicks.
SkyStar is like a hazard when dancing. She flails all the time because she’s never danced with anyone.
So Pinks may take a few hits in the process.
And My Kind of Crazy could be the name of a Swing song.
(Sounds like one from that era)
I really hope you're doing this
you guys got me watching One Small Thing right now
hope you're happy
Novel Idea
I might.
I am
Novel Idea
I am
cause i am too
love this song

General Projects - Ongoing!

I’m not sure what I’ll be writing after the SkyPie story. Right now, I’m going to focus on editing the new Diamonds story, the SkyPie story and finishing Prerogative, as well as prep for the big thing getting announced tomorrow. I’m dropping my word count goal to something like 1,500, but I’m not even going to be upset if I just get past 1,000.

I deserve a flippin’ break.

The "Currently Reading" Bookshelf

Considering how exhausted I am, I wanted something I’d read before that was cool, fun and simple. So, I busted this gem out for a second full-readthrough. I do recommend you read it, if for some reason you haven’t. Hell, I did a 30,000 words followup on it several months ago!

Monthly Story Recommendation

Sometimes, even the Element of Magic shouldn’t screw with spells. Twilight learns this the hard way when, while using the same spell that sucked them into the Power Pony comic, she takes a few too many liberties with that a romance story of Rarity’s!

It’s Mono! How could I not recommend it? It’s a fantastic take on the classic romance tropes (and cliches), plus more RariTwi. You can’t go wrong with more RariTwi.

I’d love to talk more, but I’m seriously fried. Way too much to do. Work, work, work!

Until next time, have fun out there!

Comments ( 18 )

>has One Small Thing embedded in his blog.

Damnit, Novel. I just got over my addiction to that song. I can’t fall back down that slippery slope. :fluttershbad:

It's been one heck of a month. Thanks for making it a magical if harrowing experience. We wouldn't have it any other way.

Definitely looking forward to seeing what treasures will pop up in the coming months as everyone polishes up their stories and publishes.

Just one more time can't hurt!

Heh. Magical harrowing experience. That's one way to put it. :pinkiecrazy:

Glad if I was of any help. :twilightsmile:

Always good to see the primary demographic enjoying ponies, too. Seems like your kids had an awesome time! :yay:

Holy.... Now I feel like such an underachiever. I was feeling pretty good about getting 100,000 characters (not words) for NaNoWriMo, but now...

I'd take my twin girls to one of the pony conventions, but they're 21 now. :pinkiehappy:

Heh. Yup! I get a nice perspective on multiple parts of the fandom!

Characters aren't the most traditional method of keeping track of your writing progress, so I don't actually know what that translates to, but no matter what, if you wrote something you normally wouldn't have, or if you stretched yourself this month, you did NaNo!

4738723 I'll take what I can get. I got 25k words total done this month, which is not bad. I could have done much better, but about a week into November, I had a muscle/nerve spasm in my shoulder that nailed me flat. Barely managed to shake it off Monday, so half the month, I was zonked on pain killers and not typing.

Hey, I had something happened about three years ago that knocked me out of writing for almost a year and a half! That's actually how I got here from original fiction! So I definitely understand that kind of thing!

Well, dang, that's quite a lot you did! Now get some sleep.
(Also, that is an amazingly good Sunset cosplay.)

Okay, so I figured out how to make myself write. Now I just need to figure out how to write something interesting. I love complex plot lines--Harry Potter, for example, where the tiniest detail like a Slytherin getting trapped in a Vanishing Cabinet comes back as a crucial plot point--but I don't know how to make them happen. Sometimes I get complicated ideas, but setting them up totally eludes me, and when I ignore the setup and leap right in, I don't know how to reach an ending. It seems the only decent story ideas that I ever have come to me in dreams... the problem there is that I'm usually (though not always) the main character, and trying to translate those events into a story means that the main character is a self-insert. And as I'm not very good at knowing what I'd do in a given situation, only how I'd act if I had time to think about it, things get Mary Sue-ish very, very quickly. The first story I published on FimFiction had that problem. I tried to put myself in, and I took over the story as a "wise-beyond-her-years" filly who shows up and fixes Celestia on Hearth's Warming Eve. Reading it later, it was so stupid and self-righteous that I cut probably the last third of the story in an attempt to fix it. I'm not sure I succeeded.
What this comes down to is, how on Earth did you accidentally write a story riddled with political intrigue?!
I probably shouldn't be ranting at you about my own writing failures. It sounds like you've been very busy, and you certainly deserve a break. Nevertheless, I greatly respect your writing, and if you had any advice, it would be greatly appreciated!

So, first off: Good freaking job on everything this month, Novel! Seriously, you did some amazing work and should be proud of everything you were able to accomplish.

Second... so that's you and your family, eh? I'm glad you and your girls had such a great time. :twilightsmile:

Third, I'm super super hyped as always for your new stories! Especially Teas now. Though I will admit that since I have yet to see the movie, I don't really know anything about SkyStar. But perhaps by the time that fic comes out I'll have caught it, who knows?

And fourthly... well... I guess there isn't a fourthly. Beyond my usual well-wishes, of course - make sure you take a nice rest, Novel! You've seriously earned it.

Reading this post made me happy you're living life to its fullest, but I do hope you get some/any down time.

I just can't imagine what was going through your head when you decided to do all that admin NaNoWriMo and patriciate...

Folks like you make me happy to be part of this fandom.

NaNo was a good month, yep. Here's to victories full and partial, things learned, words written and all the horse December and 2018 have in store for us. It's been a fun ride.

4739118 You call that ranting about your own writing failures, but really, being able to critically and accurately identify your writing's shortcomings without being excessively negative about them is probably the single most useful skill for improving as a writer (beyond simply wanting to get better and being willing to put in work). Understand your flaws well enough, and at the very least you'll be able to work around them, if not fix them entirely.

Isn't it?! I was really impressed. Even better, they kept in character the whole time... even down to when Caitlyn asked about that little curl of red hair above her forehead. ^^


What this comes down to is, how on Earth did you accidentally write a story riddled with political intrigue?!

Honestly? Because I read non-stop. Not just fanfiction either. I read tons of urban fantasy, high fantasy, science fiction and all sorts of other things. I see how the greats do it, like Brandon Sanderson, Terry Pratchett, Larry Correia and Jim Butcher. By constant exposure, I pick up on stuff. I was also raised on epic shows like Babylon 5, which is so multifaceted I can't even begin to do it justice.

I've found that this is so critical, but a lot of people don't take time to do this. This is my biggest piece of advice to combat issues of subtlety... see how other folks do it!

I also have had a general idea of where I want the general story of Diamonds to go for several months now, so that just ended up getting set up no matter if I liked it or not.

The other aspect? Practice! Just keep writing! You will improve over time! :pinkiehappy:


So, first off: Good freaking job on everything this month, Novel! Seriously, you did some amazing work and should be proud of everything you were able to accomplish.

Heh. Then I walk right into SLS2. :pinkiecrazy:

Second... so that's you and your family, eh? I'm glad you and your girls had such a great time. :twilightsmile:

Yup! I have adorable kids. The problem is... they know they're adorable. WEAPONIZED CUTENESS.

You've seriously earned it.

No rest for the wicked, weary or weird.


I just can't imagine what was going through your head when you decided to do all that admin NaNoWriMo and patriciate...

Most of the time, it's "Hey, I have an idea on how I can make things better. Anyone want to try it out?" Then the crickets say hi. Then I go "Okay, I'll do it!"

Folks like you make me happy to be part of this fandom.

And folks like you are the real reason I do it. :twilightsmile:

Novel tries to do a toast, but falls over muttering something about a platypus before he can quite clink the glass.

Login or register to comment