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"Do it right and do it with style." - Author, Designer & Project Lead of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm - (Patreon)

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  • Wednesday
    Birthday Shenanigans "Contest"

    So, it's my birthday, supposedly. So, here's what you can do!

    +500 Novel Points for any SunLight art I haven't seen yet.
    +450 Novel Points for any RariTwi art I haven't seen yet.
    +400 Novel Points for any MLP Deer art I haven't seen yet.
    +400 Novel Points for any SkyPie art I haven't seen yet.

    Read More

    18 comments · 206 views
  • 2 weeks
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    "the year of destruction..."
    "the year we took back what was ours."
    "It was the year of rebirth..."
    "the year of great sadness..."
    "the year of pain..."
    "and the year of joy."
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    "It was the end of history."
    "It was the year everything changed."
    “The year is 2017.”

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  • 2 weeks
    Takka Takka Takka: 2017 Year In Review - “No Surrender, No Retreat” - Part 1

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    "the year of destruction..."
    "the year we took back what was ours."
    "It was the year of rebirth..."
    "the year of great sadness..."
    "the year of pain..."
    "and the year of joy."
    "It was a new age."
    "It was the end of history."
    "It was the year everything changed."
    “The year is 2017.”

    Read More

    4 comments · 159 views
  • 2 weeks
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  • 3 weeks
    Love Actually, Then and Now - Merry Christmas

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    6 comments · 160 views
Jan
1st
2018

Takka Takka Takka: 2017 Year In Review - “No Surrender, No Retreat” - Part 1 · 7:47am January 1st

"It was the year of fire..."
"the year of destruction..."
"the year we took back what was ours."
"It was the year of rebirth..."
"the year of great sadness..."
"the year of pain..."
"and the year of joy."
"It was a new age."
"It was the end of history."
"It was the year everything changed."
“The year is 2017.”
“The place… right here.”

Welcome to part 1 of my 2017 Year in Review.


2017 Highlight Reel

2017 Word Count: 515,421 words

2017 Story Bookshelf

Wrote the Following Stories

Published

Unpublished

  • Complexities of Arcane Shielding
  • The Fallen Tower
  • The Last Daughter of Harmony
  • MLP Unity: Silver Lining
  • On the Brewing of Saddle Arabian Teas
  • My Kind of Crazy

Unpublished & Incomplete

  • Codename: Serenade
  • And a Star to Steer Her By

2017 Event Calendar
Attended the Following Cons

  • Pacific PonyCon - Panelist
  • BABSCon
  • Everfree Northwest - Community Guest
  • E3 - Industry Attendee
  • BronyCon - Panelist
  • BlizzCon - Industry Attendee
  • EquestriaLA

2017 Project List
Participated in the Following Projects

It’s been a busy year.


I’ve been told it’s important to celebrate accomplishments. And while I often do retrospectives, I found I’m rarely introspective.

That’s a problem. Because it means I’m not learning as much as I should.

By now, most of you have probably read Monochromatic’s 2017 Restrospective - An Open Letter About The Choice To Be Better. I had originally intended this to a post about my achievements, stories, struggles and conflicts. It’s still going to have all that jazz.

But I’m going to make things more personal. However, this is Takka Takka Takka. That means we need to get that word count out of the way.


December Word Count: 19,538


As I said at the end of November, I pulled myself way back from my goal. I had this random goal I put on my home page saying something like 40K, but I honestly didn’t care if I got it or not. As long as I wrote most days and finished My Kind of Crazy, I would be happy.

In fact, I finished My Kind of Crazy on December 22, 2017 and decided to actually take a break from writing until the new year. We’ll see if I actually keep to that.

It was sad not to be able to participate in Jinglemas, but I promised myself a break. It was a huge relief to have NaNoWriMo behind me (especially with all the extra responsibilities I took on myself for running NaPoWriMo for Equestria Daily). Honestly, I made a huge mistake taking on all the responsibilities I did during November.

Now though? Now’s a time to look back at both victories and defeats… and just how much of them were in my head.

It’s also a look at the demons. How we fight. How we lose. How we win. And how we survive.

(For the record, I'm going to do a special version of this blog with just the "life lessons" part, but if you want to see even more behind the scenes of story development this year (including the truth behind some stories you haven't seen yet, read on!)

Opening With a Bang

January started out with an enormous bang. First of all, I kicked off the original SunLight Sliders on January 1. I’ve covered a lot of things in my SunLight Sliders Retrospective, but that turned out pretty wild. I only had to intervene a couple times there, thankfully. For the most part, it ran itself. I just had to enjoy the ride. There were a few bumps in the road, but I had the support of both friends and allies to endure those.

Editing it? Well, that’s another story entirely. We’ll talk about that later.

Just a few days later, Gardens of Equestria had our very first panel at Pacific PonyCon in San Diego, California. This turned out to be quite the experience. I got to meet EbonQuill in person for the first time (and really found out that this guy is freakin’ generous to a fault). GoE got a really energetic reception (much more energetic than I expected). EbonQuill, myself and some of my coworkers also went bar hopping with Tony Fleecs and a few artists with IDW. That was… rather interesting.

Especially since I stayed sober the entire time. You know, it’s hysterical watching everyone around you get drunk. Found out that Ebon gets crazy philosophical to the point of trying to figure out what everyone wants most in life when he’s a bit tipsy.

Also found out that a few of my other friends…

Well, no need to talk about that. Heh. :twilightoops:

Then came the first of my stories for the new year: Bards of the Badlands.

Bards of the Badlands was my first real test of the year. While I’m happy with the way the story turned out, the story had a hard development. A lot of it came from me learning how to deal with different ideas.

When I look back at this (and indeed most of my large Wavelengths stories), I can’t help at focus on how poorly I take criticism. I tend to take it personally. I put so much of myself into my stories that it’s hard to detach.

I forgot a lot of times that the people who help edit my stuff are there to help me make the story into the best story it can be. Worse, I continue to forget this. Over and over again.

Well, guess what? Those are terrible excuses and I’m sick to death of them. I don’t want to do this kind of thing anymore.

Now, there are always going to be exceptions. One story in particular may never get published as I’m unsure if I’ll be able to handle editing it.

However, my end goal is to get back into original, professional publishing. One of my personal dreams is to walk into a brick-and-mortar bookstore and see my book on the shelf (and not because I put it there.) To do that, I’m going to have to survive far harsher people than editors, critics, reviewers or commenters on FimFiction.

Also? I’m sick of my brain rewriting what is helpful advice and transforming it into something like a sawblade bouncing through my skull.

When I think about Bards, there’s another term that comes up. It’s the word ‘doozy.’ Now, while I’m not going to reveal the full details of that word, I’ve found that even that word is a trigger for me. Hell, at one point, that word was used during the editing of Prerogative and I shut down for a few days at minimum. I’ll get to this later with my talk on Prerogative.

Some of you may think this is childish and immature. In a way, you may be right. In another way, you may be dead wrong.

As Mono said, we all have our demons. I just didn’t realize how big this damn demon was until later.

This story started to teach me that I needed to work on dealing with others. I’ll tackle more of this throughout the Year-in-Review, as it’s something I’ve been working on all year.

Triumphs and Disasters

In February, The Manehattan Project (the “game studio” I lead for GoE) finally launched the Prologue of Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm called The Watcher. With a full-blown cinematic opening, fully-voiced characters, a small combat level with a very unique scripting system (that includes something called a teleboom, an teleport that looks like an explosion, which by definition is awesome) and a radical transformation of the Mojave Wasteland, The Watcher was the first step toward showing GoE as a reality. It was an enormous step beyond our preview mod, Smuggler’s Run.

We even enlisted the aid of Equestria Daily and created a special banner for them that remained up for over two weeks. We did an amazing job there. The entire team came together for this moment. The Directors were in constant contact. Multiple PR things occured (and hell, I even posted the project on non-pony Fallout reddits. To no one’s surprise, we got a lot of flak for that particular stunt).

We launched to critical acclaim, widespread praise and a huge surge of upvotes, to the point of taking top file of the month for NexusMods as well as being on their feature box for a full week (including several days at number one).

Socially (I would say “commercially” if we made any money), it was a huge success.

Personally, it was a complete and total disaster.

I made a critical mistake. Because of several variable and pressure I had put on myself, I ended up releasing it the same week as Valentine’s Day… and my wife’s birthday. At first, I had convinced myself that by doing a bunch of extra stuff before and after, I would make up for that.

I was a flippin’ idiot. It sent a very clear message: GoE was more important than her.

It wasn’t the message I wanted to send. It wasn’t something I wanted to do. But that’s what ended up happening.

So, what did I end up learning? That me giving myself the label of having ‘an obsessive personality’ isn’t an excuse. Especially when it hurts those around me. Just because I convince myself that something is important doesn’t mean it’s important.

“The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones.”
― Brandon Sanderson

I wish I had thought about it more back then. I wish I had listened to a few of the people giving me warnings back then. It could have prevented future problems. But, as I said, in the past, I’ve been better at Retrospection than Introspection.

After this, I took a leave of absence from The Manehattan Project and left it in the capable hands of the rest of the Directors. They created some truly remarkable stuff for EFNW. Not only that, they were okay soldering on, even if I had previously been a the major driving force of a lot of things.

Still… it would take more to really get my attention.

I also released Habits of the Equestrian Phoenix in February. It was a nice counterpoint, since I started writing it at the end of January. I needed something short and fun.

But what some people don’t seem to realize is that it is in Habits of the Equestrian Phoenix that I reveal the meaning behind the Wavelengths Timeline Sunset Shimmer’s cutie mark.

That’s when Sunset realized she’d been doing this all wrong. She shouldn’t be chasing the little thief.

She should be outsmarting her.

After all, she was still Sunset Shimmer. Granted, that might not mean what it had once meant—namely before a particular unicorn filly had saved her flank back at GU—it still meant something.

She waited until they were scampering down the long hallway that overlooked the west ramparts. It was a lovely hallway, filled with enormous clear windows offering a breathtaking view of the city.

And the afternoon sun.

Sunset drew upon her magic as the sun blazed through the glass. Every second, she could feel the power building within her. It filled her, making her hooves tingle and her coat shimmer. No matter how many times she did this, she never tired of the sense of life that burned within her whenever she drew upon the sun.

She did some rapid-fire trigonometry with minor variances for speed and height.

Her horn flared with power and quickly expanded into a layer of overglow. She glanced at the window and saw the teal magic tinged with white. The magic bucked and strained to escape her control, but she kept it. Like always.

She grinned, focused and unleashed the spell.

Aside from her general gift of magic and brilliant mind, Sunset Shimmer can draw directly upon the magic of the sun to amplify any spell. It’s how she drew the attention of Celestia in the first place. Celestia can sense anypony who uses the power of her sun. And it’s an extremely rare gift.

I’ll be exploring this more in later Wavelengths stories, but I thought you should know.

Also, it explains how Sunset and Philomena got to be friends. Nothing quite like getting busted by the Princess of the Sun to bring two creatures together.

In March, I thoroughly enjoyed the process behind The Cycle of Flame. Little did I know that it would turn out to actually take the coveted “Rainbow Dash Award” in the Everfree Northwest 2017 Scribblefest. Cycle is where I got to flex my action-writing muscles and return to first-person-perspective storytelling, both of which happen to be personal favorites of mine.

Plus? It was a pure Discovery Writing story (those things are like crack to me). Tons of worldbuilding, especially about a race in MLP we’ve barely explored? Add that to concepts of lore, speech and even how phoenixes tell time, not to mention the concept of seeing Celestia in a totally different light.

It was a great time.

This story taught me that I could indeed write action scenes and I had a flair for worldbuilding.

It got even better with the arrival of EbonQuill’s first published story in a very long time. In a wild, science fiction version of Equestria inspired by Blade Runner, a detective hunts for a dangerous fugitive with a secret both bright and terrible.

By the way, this story finally got me to see Blade Runner.

Brief personal opinion: Blade Runner isn’t a movie. It’s an art piece. As in, it doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to super compelling story (I even question the effectiveness of the characters), but does have a great atmosphere, visuals and brings up a lot of philosophical ideas.

It was really nice to finally return the favor for Ebon in Slouching Toward Canterlot. He’s been editing for me for so long, not to mention trying to help me keep my head on straight for Gardens of Equestria. He definitely deserved the help—not to imply he needed it.

It was even better when Slouching Toward Canterlot won the “Twilight Sparkle Award” for the Everfree Northwest 2017 Scribblefest. Damn, he earned that and then some.

Welcome to one of the biggest controversies in Wavelengths and the only Wavelengths story to date that wasn’t written by me.

EbonQuill has been a major part of Wavelengths since its inception. He’s seen the development of these characters. While he hasn’t seen the full picture by reading the first draft of Sparks or Wavelength Theorems (due to time and an interest in seeing how the entire story unfolds chronologically), he does know the world very well.

He also writes a radically different Sunset than the Sunset you meet in The Alchemy of Chemistry. The Sunset in Little Truths is one at the height of her power at Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns. A master manipulator and a chessmaster who could easily rival Celestia herself.

This Sunset Shimmer terrifies me.

People have asked if they should start with Alchemy or start with Little Truths.

I continue to say Alchemy, but for a very specific reason: I want people to get to know the Wavelengths Sunset Shimmer at a major turning point in her life. I want people to see her as an arrogant jerk, but one who’s actually close to having a friend.

I want people to start Wavelengths seeing Sunset lose everything, only to be saved by the pony who would become her best friend.

However, that being said, the events of Alchemy and Bards make a lot more sense if you have the events of Little Truths under your belt. You understand Raspberry Tart’s motivations. You understand just why Lemon Hearts hates Sunset so much.

So, I think I’ll summarize it with the comment I wrote on Little Truths.

I'll admit, while I did indeed give the green light for this story... it still scares the hell out of me.

If you wanted to know why things went down the way they did in The Alchemy of Chemistry and Bards of the Badlands, this is it. Ever feel that Lemon Hearts seemed to be overreacting? Why Slate simply hated Sunset? What was the deal with Raspberry Tart? This is it.

I could have never written this story. The sheer amount of guile and manipulation Sunset shows in this... well, when I first read it, I think I used the term "psychological terror." I still don't think that's too far off the mark. Ebon is a master at spinning complex tales like this. In fact, he's the reason the plot of Alchemy ended up working as well as it did. He helped me put it all together. He actually had this idea several months ago, but I shot it down. But when FoME's Imposing Sovereign contest came up... it called to him. And, I finally relented (though in truth, he could have written it anyway). I had two conditions: I get first crack at it and I get to declare if it's canon or not to Wavelengths.

You know what's interesting? When you can recognize just how freaking good a story is even while being horrified of the events that occur within. That's what happened with this. This is simply masterful... and I was completely swept in despite the fact that I knew everything that was going to occur. Hell, I even know what happens sixteen years from this story. After all, Sunset does have a flashback to the end of this story in Bards. But I still couldn't stop reading until I finished.

Now you've gotten to see the rest of it. Kinda gives everything that Sunset's gone through a whole different texture, doesn't it? Even now, this story gives me the chills. This is what Sunset Shimmer is capable of. And what the Sunset Shimmer in Wavelengths is trying so very desperately to get away from. If she succeeds in that or not... well, you'll have to wait and see.

I hope you enjoyed it. Because it's a damn good story... even if I had to read Alchemy directly afterward to remind myself of who my Sunset was. In the end, we all have our demons we have to face. You just got a glimpse on just how powerful Sunset's demons really are.

Even better, Little Truths ended up winning third place in FanofMostEverything’s Imposing Sovereigns contest! Damn, Ebon deserved it. Deserved it and then some… even if that story still scares the hell out of me.

And a Sky Full of Stars remains one of my favorite stories, though I’m even more in love with the world than the characters. Written for FanofMostEverything’s Imposing Sovereigns Contest (and competition against EbonQuill’s Little Truths) it turned into something truly amazing. But I yammered about this story a lot in my Retrospective.

What did I learn from this story? First of all, that while I can do full-blown action-movie-style pieces, the story turns out far better when I balance that with a heavy dose of character.

This story throws a lot of info at you and gives you zero time to process it; it's too busy being fucking epic. Bottom line, if you want to read 15,000 words of Princess Sunset wreaking solar vengeance of everything in her path, this will get your blood pumping.

-PresentPerfect, Fic Recs, May 3rd: Imposing Sovereigns edition!

There’s more to the quote, but to summarize, I got the feedback “Not Enough.” I would learn the difference between that and MOAR PLZ in Diamonds Amidst the Sky.

Sadly, as Sunset had to face a living nightmare at the end of Sky, I had to face mine at the end of March. But there was one last thing.

In the midst of all of this madness, the ending of the original SunLight Sliders hit us on March 20th with RadiantBeam’s fantastic ending (and the perfect sequel hook). However, the real twist was the “Bonus Round” at the end of SLS1. Honestly, I hadn’t been expecting to do that. Sadly, the story simply had too much momentum for us to wrap it up in the time/word count allotted, so we added Oroboro and Albinocorn into the mix.

For the record, the only reason I did the “final chapter” before the Epilogue was due to popular demand. I wasn’t going to do it. I didn’t want SLS1 to be my story. I wanted it to be the SunLight community’s story. Still, I’m glad I got to take them home and give a few parting thoughts.

I give both Albi and Oroboro a general guide to make things turn out well, though they did all the writing. I more just created a list of plot points.

In the end, Sunset and Twilight landed well.

They got their happy ending. They earned it. They definitely earned it.

They fought their demon and won.

But some demons are harder to kill than others.

[Halt]

The evening of March 24th, 2017 was one of the worst nights of my life. I’ve mentioned that date several times now (I just did it in my blog post on Christmas Day). While I’m not going to tell you what happened that day, it changed my life and sent me down a much darker road than I ever imagined walking.

Now, let me just get this out of the way: no one died, I didn’t lose my job and my family was fine.

But for personal reasons, it’s not something I can go into.

That weekend, I spent most of it reading, writing and staring into space. I had never been more alone than in that moment. Thankfully, EbonQuill and Little Tinker both ended up finding out the truth. Thankfully, they both approached it in very different manners. EbonQuill went into “fixing mode” (a mode I go into all too often, so I totally understand), while Little Tinker just listened and commiserated. Both were needed.

I wrote the first draft of what would eventually become The Path on this weekend. I really didn’t want to, but I did it anyway. My first WriteOff, actually. Protip: Don’t try to write a Zecora story in three days.

Then, I started on what may be my best story to date… though only half a dozen people have ever read it.

The Fallen Tower

About 9,000 words into The Fallen Tower (it would end up being about 37K), I did my first Takka Takka Takka. Here’s what I said about the story:

First of all, it’s an Equestria Girls story, set about ten years after Legend of Everfree. Right now, the concept is that Sci-Twi—having drifted from her friends in the last few years—ends up in an accident that throws her entire world into chaos. She reaches out to an old friend who gives her an option she never considered. So yeah, a lot of what I’m going through right now is being funneled into this story. It helps me think.

My greatest demon is guilt.

And I find myself completely stuck here. I’m not sure where to go or what to write about. I’ve got a little voice in my head saying that no one will actually care about this (or bother reading through it), so why bother?

For the record, I’m not fishing for anything with that statement. Please don’t do the cheerleader thing here.

I should be honest. While there’s a part of me that wants that validation, it’s a part I’m fighting. What I really want is for people to not make the same mistakes I’ve made. I want people to learn about what I’ve done wrong. Perhaps it’s a silly hope, but I don’t care. That’s my hope.

Because I don’t want people to have to suffer through the same stuff I did. But the fact of the matter is, I’ve found that the moments we tend to regret the most are usually that single moment where we’re out of control, not thinking straight, not thinking things through, or something to that effect.

The Fallen Tower is about two such moments.

One moment is Twilight’s, a mistake caused by too little sleep, too much eagerness and too much caffeine (that sounds like a joke, but it’s not. It goes into impulsivity and being aware. I’ve wrecked relationships because I had a sugar crash and didn’t realize it). A single mistake destroys her entire life. Her career—and more—go up in smoke forever. This isn’t something you can bounce back from. This mistake is permanent. No matter what, that regret will always be there.

You see, you can heal the wound, you can come to terms with it, but overcoming the regret entirely? That’s a hard thing to do.

The other moment is Sunset’s. In a split-second of anger, she loses control of herself. In that moment, she obliterates the life she knew. She’s so consumed with guilt over that one second that she ends up doing some really stupid things.

I’ve been in both of these situations.

What am I trying to say here? Well, that’s something I’m still trying to figure out.

I think, if I had to sum things up… I’d say that you can be forgiven. You can work through even the worst of problems. The only way you fail is if you give up.

I almost failed because I gave up, being so overwhelmed by the future of “climbing mountains in the fog.”

Push forward. Push ahead. It’s the only way through. Literally. Sometimes you need to just fall into the routine of the day-to-day and go on automatic until you get some distance. It’s not perfect… but…

Funny thing, I’m balancing between talking about this and not wanting to spoil the story. Seriously, I rewrote the Sunset part like half a dozen times.

Now that I’ve gone through the worst part of this last year, it’s time to go through what would turn out to be the best part of the year. Not specifically because what would happen now, but what would happen as a result of what happened after the end of SunLight Sliders.

At the beginning of April, the final version of SunLight Sliders went live. To my surprise, it got a whole lot of positive feedback, including the fact that it was far more coherent (and some said better) than most projects like it. I also got a whole lot of followers out of it, something I had mixed feelings about. If they were following me because they liked my chapters, cool. If they were following me because of other people’s chapters, not so cool. It’s was really important to me that people understood what parts were mine and what parts weren’t mine.

There were some strong opinions about some things. Some of the opinions I agree with. Some I don’t. But, since I’m launching (or have already launched) SLS2, no need to get into that too deeply. The key is, I’ve made some changes.

Not everything is as I said it would be in my “Lessons Learned” section of the SunLight Sliders Retrospective, but I think it’ll turn out for the best!

Babscon and Meeting Mono

Going to Babscon scared the hell out of me.

First of all, it was the only con I wasn’t going to as a panelist (besides EQLA in November). I didn’t have a close relationship with anyone there. In fact, the only reason I ended up going was because of the generosity of Ramm and AJNRules from the Equestria Daily Patreon Chat.

Still, it was kinda scary to me. For PPC, it was small, I was simply driving down to San Diego for the day and I had gotten to know Ebon.

My original room was to be with some of the EqD folks, which would end with a total of SIX PEOPLE sleeping in the same room. Even thinking about it now terrifies me. You see, I’m used to privacy. When I don’t get time away from people… it tends to freak me out.

It comes with being an introvert. I think I’ve said it before, but the difference between an introvert and an extrovert isn’t how you act in public, but by how you recharge. I took a day off after every con I attended this year (there were 7 if you include Blizzcon and E3) to recharge my batteries.

Thankfully, Cobellanez is an extremely kind person who opened up his room to me, so I only had a single person to share a room with. Far more comfortable. I’m also extremely grateful for EbonQuill’s generosity, as he made sure I had my own room for all other cons (including PPC). I can’t tell you how important that is.

Despite me being terrified of all the new people, Babscon transformed my life in ways I couldn’t even imagine.

I think I’ll just give you an excerpt from April’s Takka Takka Takka.

More than anything, the point that stands out before any other was meeting Monochromatic for the first time. You see, Beltorn is one of the main editors for both Mono’s The Enchanted Library and The Wavelengths Timeline. So while I’ve never read The Enchanted Library, I was very familiar with it, namely the gorgeous cover art.

So, while in the Autograph line for Tara Strong for my first phase of getting way too much SunLight artwork signed by both Tara and Rebecca, I happened to spy a girl with a familiar-looking hardcover book. I don’t think I even saw the full title. I just recognized the artwork. She was standing Tabitha St. Germain’s autograph line, freaking out just a little bit. I hesitated for a little bit and then decided to throw caution to the wind and go up and ask if she was actually Monochromatic.

This was about the time she was going into fangirl overload about meeting Tabitha for the very first time. So, as usual, my timing was perfect. She still shook my hand after mentioning Beltorn’s name (I had no idea he had talked so much about me to her) and then confessed that she wasn’t being rude, just kinda freaking out about meeting Tabitha (read: completely freaking out to the point of trying to let people cut in front of her) and she’d be happy to talk to me later. I told her that Tabitha was completely chill (or something along those lines) and headed back to my own line.

It was still as funny as hell. I mentioned it in my private little writer’s channel on GoE’s Discord and didn’t think much of it.

I hoped to run into her again at the FanFic Writer’s Meetup so we could have some sort of actual conversation. (Which, by the way, was totally awesome to meet a lot of authors in person) What I was expecting even less was for us to spend five to six hours talking about everything from famous stories to storytelling techniques, outline vs. discovery writing, the taste of some elements of the general fanfiction circuit and just writing in general! I’m happy to say that I’ve never connected so quickly with another writer before. I think I used the term “kindred spirits.”

...her friends wandered off, except for Jyki. Poor guy fell asleep at the table where we were talking after hour two. We sent him to bed. Apparently, all of her friends kept peeking through the window overlooking the spot where we were talking going “Are they still talking?!” a few dozen times.

And somehow, I just ended up getting adopted by the Monochromatic group. (I have been reminded that the official title for Mono fans is Ducklings). I spent most of the weekend hanging out with them. Best part, though? We were laughed at a great deal for us geeking out about things. But every single one of these folks was good people. Jykinturah, Swan Song, fourths, AppleTank, Autumn Rush, Arcshod and several others I can’t remember because I got no sleep last night (don’t kill me!).

Hell, on the last night of Babs, after attending the awesome (and slightly surreal) Equestria Daily wrap dinner at Red Robin, I ended up staying up until 4:30 with fourths, Mono, Autumn,  Jykinturah and Swan. It started with just Mono, fourths and I doing some writing on our laptops.  I ended up in Nick Confalone spot, while Mono (of course) got Tabitha and fourths stole Tara’s spot. Which then shifted into me doing a completely new cover design for Injuring Eternity and then just went into random stuff! I showed off GoE a little bit… Mono went through my entire library of EPUBs for reasons I can’t quite remember… honestly, most of the night is a blur.

It was there where Mono and I concocted the Interwoven Colours contest and actually released it into the wild. Ayep. We just threw ideas back and forth until she was happy with it!

I ended up having a fantastic BABSCon and it was thanks to this group of friends and their willingness to chat some random guy who writes way too much and is way too passionate about stories. And this was thanks to Beltorn first and then Monochromatic second. It was good times!

So, why does this matter?

Well, first of all, I couldn’t begin to tell you how flippin’ excited I was to find out that Jyki, Swan and Mono all lived in Southern California! They were only an hour away (depending on traffic, of course).

Mono’s the first friend I’ve had, who’s actually dropped her plans for the day, drive over an hour and spent an entire day with me just because I needed a friend and was in a really bad place. I still have incredibly fond memories of that day… which would have been completely miserable if not thanks to her.

Because of these people, I got to have something I’ve wanted in my life for longer than I could remember: people who not only understood my passions, but shared them as well. Not just people online (as much as I cherish that), but people I could actually physically hang out with.

I know how rare this sort of thing is. I know there are many of you out there who don’t have anyone local to hang out with. In fact, I likely could have met some of these people before, but I’ve always been too scared to go to the Meetup groups for the SoCal Bronies. Not because of anything they do… but because that’s not how I usually meet people. I like to meet a few small groups of people, maybe 2-3… so everything that happened here was perfect.

Anyway, please believe me when I say I don’t take this for granted. I am so very happy to have these three amazing people in my life. I’m at the point where I can’t imagine life without them.

Through them, I discovered a completely different level of friendship, something I had always wanted, but could never get. And it happened completely organically and naturally.

Hell, friendship really is magic. And it’s a magic we all desperately need.

Just April Things

Other notable events in April: I found out I had taken the Rainbow Dash Award in EFNW’s Scribblefest 2017. I also published my massive 30,000-word follow-up to the epic The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon. Believe it or not, I’ve actually done ones that are bigger, but I just haven’t gotten around to publishing them yet. Namely the ones for The Enchanted Library and Spectacular Seven, though I’ve made sure to give both Mono and Albi their copies.

Then came probably my favorite con to date:

Everfree Northwest 2017

I should mention that this happening during Mother’s Day completely sucked for me. I’m immensely grateful that the staff decided to put this coming year’s EFNW between Mother’s Day and Memorial Day. Seriously. Needed to happen.

I did a massive writeup on everything that happened at Everfree Northwest 2017. While I may have highlighted my awesome experience with Mono above, I’m not going to just copy/paste the whole EFNW thing. Instead, I’ll slam the highlights!


Tara signed by SunLight Art at Babs, I got Rebecca’s autograph at EFNW!


Writer’s Block Panel!


I love Moon Dancer. I even gave a copy of this print to Kazumi Evans!


SciTwi and Moonie: Sciencing for Fun and Science


GoE Panel!

It was a fantastic time. Totally fantastic.

Diamonds Amidst the Stars was my “unofficial” entry into Mono’s Interwoven Colours contest. I never expected it to be such a hit, but I had so much fun writing in this world. Another pure Discovery Writing thing!

Now, to prevent myself from re-hashing tons of stuff I talked about in the Retrospective, I’m going to hit two particular lessons:

What I learned from this story:

1. I still have a long way to go when getting feedback from my editors. One of my editors did not like the initial concept for The Fallen Gate, the chapter where the shadowkin attack the Diamond City of Canterlot. They were of the opinion that it either needed to be removed entirely or the rest of the story needed to change to match the tone.

There were issues with the original version (issues that I’m glad, with this editor’s help, I fixed). While I didn’t go with all of the editor’s suggestions, I’m happy with the final result. In the end, it’s important to remember that as the author, I do get final say, but how I use that final say matters.

Seriously. It’s crazy important. I didn’t do it all that well.

At all.

2. The difference between MOAR PLZ and NOT ENOUGH. I got people who clamored for more of what would become the Diamondverse, but I don’t recall anyone saying that they felt anything was lacking from the story, unlike what happened in Sky. There were a few critical differences. First, I didn’t have a word limit for Diamonds (it also seems like 30K is my “natural” writing length. I keep having stories end around there), so I could keep going as long as I wanted. The other was that Diamonds was focused on Twilight and Rarity, with a major co-star being Aurorae Princess Sunset Shimmer (who I adored writing). I had a lot of banter, a lot of back and forth and a lot of revelations, allowing me to build the world into something far greater than I could with the single-person, combat-based perspective of Sky.

Both were totally different stories, but I could have done more in Sky. And when I eventually come back to the Skyworld in And a Star To Steer Her By, you’ll get to see just how rich that world is.

Be even more excited for the next big Diamondverse story. You’re gonna get to see some awesome deerkin fun!

Also, Diamonds was the first story where I had Cursori on as a full editor (he’d joined up for Prerogative).

My First Fanart!

Excerpt from May’s Takka Takka Takka:

I’m just going to stop everything right now and freak out just a little. And by a little, I mean a heck of a lot. You see, I just got a comment on The Alchemy of Chemistry. Odd, I know, especially with all this focus in Diamonds Amidst the Stars. But someone apparently fell in love with poor sleep-deprived Sunset Shimmer in Alchemy.

So much so that they actually drew fanart of Sunset Shimmer from The Alchemy of Chemistry!

Seriously. I’m blown away. I’ve never had anyone do fanart of anything of mine before. I kinda feel like this is a rite of passage, too. To create something that someone loved so much that it inspired them to spend their own time and effort and create something cool themselves?

Just… wow. I’m humbled. I’m shocked. I’m still reeling. But squee!!!!!!!!!

Side note, I’m like 7,000 words in and I’m at June. It’s been a crazy year. Also? I'm doing this in two parts, since this is actually TOO LONG for a FimFiction blog, apparently. Jeez. I do talk too much. You can find Part 2 right here!

--END PART ONE--

Comments ( 4 )

You write too much about writing. :ajbemused:

But seriously, like always it's great to hear some of the behind-the-scenes thoughts and processes and events you've been through. If nothing else it's a good read, and it's helped me to be a bit introspective myself - even if I don't think I'm at the point where I'll blog about it. My thoughts aren't really, like, coherent enough for that.

Anyways, on to part 2!

Heh, I'm totally on my phone in your picture of the Writer's Block panel.

4764506

You write too much about writing.:ajbemused:

Yes. Yes I do.

4764545
I'll assume you were taking notes then. :heart:

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