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

More Blog Posts113

  • Thursday
    A Reluctant Request For Help - The Home Stretch

    I said this before. I’ll say it again. Thank you. Thank you all so much. Painted and I could have never gotten through this nightmare without your generosity and kindness.

    And because of that, you deserve to know where things stand.

    First and foremost, I’d like you to meet Rarity.

    Read More

    15 comments · 273 views
  • 2 weeks
    Takka Takka Takka: February 2018 - Overwhelmed

    First and foremost, thank you.

    A couple days ago, I did something extremely difficult. I came forward and asked for help. Not only help, but financial help in repairing my car and getting Painted’s car replaced.

    And then you folks decided to completely overwhelm me.

    Read More

    19 comments · 370 views
  • 2 weeks
    A Reluctant Request for Help

    Hey folks,

    I’ll dispense with the small talk this time and get to the point.

    Read More

    27 comments · 1,203 views
  • 2 weeks
    Chaos Theory Chapter 2 is Live!

    Another big blog post is coming up soon, too, but this needs to come out first!

    Sorry about the short delay. Real life has been thrashing me lately. More about that later. Until then, enjoy the next chapter of Chaos Theory!

    EA Study on Chaos Theory
    Harmonic bonds aren't the most predictable of spells. Sunset learned this the hard way with Twilight. Involving Moon Dancer will make things either extremely complicated, or extremely simple. And that has nothing to do with harmonic bonds.
    Novel-Idea · 8.6k words  ·  124  5 · 1k views
    0 comments · 57 views
  • 5 weeks
    Wavelengths Dreamers Arc Book 1: A Study in Chaos Theory live NOW!

    Months in development, A Study in Chaos Theory is the first major book in the Wavelength Timeline's third act, the Dreamers Arc. I've been waiting for this moment for a long time. Things are finally in motion!

    EA Study on Chaos Theory
    Harmonic bonds aren't the most predictable of spells. Sunset learned this the hard way with Twilight. Involving Moon Dancer will make things either extremely complicated, or extremely simple. And that has nothing to do with harmonic bonds.
    Novel-Idea · 8.6k words  ·  124  5 · 1k views

    Sequence Initiation, the first chapter, is now available!

    Read More

    1 comments · 133 views

Takka Takka Takka: 2017 Year In Review - “No Surrender, No Retreat” - Part 2 · 7:48am 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 2 of my 2017 Year in Review.

I wonder if any of y’all even remember Dreaming in Dawn’s Light. I’ll admit I don’t think of it often, but I learned some important things in this story that can’t be ignored.

Mainly because I still feel like I betrayed something when I published this story and there’s really no reason to do so.

As you know, Hasbro was plagued with leaks during Season 7 (and for the record, I’m avoiding all the leaks regarding ANYTHING in the future, so please don’t discuss them here). Well, because I didn’t want to bury my head in the sand, I decided to watch the episodes (I think these were still the early Canada episodes).

A Royal Problem is definitely a fantastic character development piece for both Luna and Tia. And the instant I saw Daybreaker, my mind went wild with ideas. Then I hatched a little scheme: what if I published a story (a well-polished one) that came out with the United States premiere of A Royal Problem? That was sure to get some major hits and end up in the feature box.

...yes, this was my motivation for the story.

Now, I had the idea before that concept occured to me. I wanted to do a Sunset dealing with Daybreaker story the moment I saw her (and I’m not done with the concept at all). However, the reason I fast-tracked this story is primarily because I wanted to play the numbers game in FimFiction.

This was me falling for the popularity contest gig. I feel like I lost something when I did this and as such, the story feels a little tainted for me.

It did fairly well, but it wasn’t a smash hit or anything. It was in the feature box for four days. It wasn’t anything big like Cloudsdale (that tends to be my “popularity bar” meter). And looking back, I’m totally okay with that.

I still think it was a good story. I also admit to almost letting comments change my story, and not in a “fixing an error” way (as in, not like a spelling error or a grammar error). Because of three comments, I almost changed the way Luna was handled in the story.

Basically, here’s the truth: while the story does happen in a shared dream between Sunset and Celestia (because it’s the setting required for the story to make any sense), Luna’s not a major player. The story isn’t about Luna. It’s about Sunset and Celestia facing down their demons.

She’s supposed to get knocked out quickly. It’s like how Discord isn’t around for the events of the movie or other major threats after his reform. Because he’s too powerful and he’d break the story. That’s the same thing for Luna.

Now, could I have handled it differently? Probably. There were some good suggestions given. However, in the end, only three people had a big enough objection to comment on it opposed to the 207 likes (and those three aren’t necessary excluded from those likes).

I had a “solution” to fix the problem. I was going to do it that day. In fact, on my drive home from work, I had come up with it and I was determined to do it.

Want to see just how obsessed with validation I am?

Novel Idea, Archmage of SunLight - 06/12/2017
No, I'm adding the concept that Luna has always had trouble with in Celestia's dreamscape.
And that her hypothesis is that Luna can't assist her for the same reasons.
I'm just saying that's what she thinks it is.
(That's ACTUALLY what it is, but it'll give people a thing to point to and saw "well, it could be something else.")

Ebon Quill - 06/12/2017
If you wanna.
Silent majority doesn't care.

Novel Idea, Archmage of SunLight - 06/12/2017
Does it cheapen the story?(edited)
Answer that. Please.
@Storywalker Please?

Then Bel and Ebon came and slapped me upside the head with this.

Beltorn - 06/12/2017
while adding that segment doesn't cheapen the story
i am iffy on you adding anything now, due to like 3 people so far

Ebon Quill - 06/12/2017
It does nothing to the story, and everything to your artistic integrity.

I have good editors and good friends.

In the end, I decided to leave it. Now, I may decide to go back and re-read the story and make some changes. But here’s the problem (and a problem I would continue to face for the rest of the year):

Am I making changes because it’ll make the story better? Or am I making changes to get more validation/likes/approval/features?

Am I doing it because I think the story will be better? Or because others think the story will be better?

In the end, it needs to be me. Not others. Otherwise, I’m just bowing to peer pressure.

This is my world. I need to start acting like it. People’s opinions are important. Hell, if I don’t listen to anyone, no one’s going to read my stories and I do want them to be read. But that balance needs to be tiled in favor of me not others. It’s a delicate balance…

A very delicate balance...

The Numbers Game & Feature Box War

Did you know that every story I’ve ever written has been in the Feature Box save for Grading on a Bell Curve? Some only lasted an hour or two (Unexpected Hazards of Interdimensional Transit was one of these), but they’ve all shown up. Part of that is me knowing when to publish (I’ve done my research).

Now, I’ll freely admit that the math used for the feature box is… questionable. (And yes, I’ve asked Knighty what that math actually is. I don’t have exact numbers, but it's basically [ (Likes - Dislikes) * Word Count ] with a multiplier for stories with higher word counts.) Downvotes have way too much of an impact on rankings. Also, when you put up a serious emotionally-charged romantic drama against a second-person mature fic… they’re going to be popular with two totally different demographics.

It’s a numbers game. It’s one that I’m decent at playing, but that’s it. The only time I’ve really ever aimed for the Feature Box was with Dreaming in Dawn’s Light. This was dumb. If I had told the story thinking “Hey, people might like a Daybreaker story right after launch,” instead of the “let’s play the numbers game by releasing it right here” that would have been different.

I’ve had a few stories that have hit #1. I also have screenshots of every one of my stories that’s hit the Feature Box in the Feature Box. I keep them in a little folder on my desktop. I don’t even know why. I think it’s just a badge of honor.

On January 1, 2017, I had 345 followers. As of today, I have 803. That means 458 people decided to click that “Follow” button.

Now, sometimes I look at people like Mono who cracked 2,000 followers this year. Then I force myself to look away for a couple reasons. First of all, I don’t want numbers. I want people.

Out of all 800 followers, I maybe have 20-30 people who comment even semi-regularly on my stories or blogs. These people help drive me forward and encourage me to go on. Don’t get me wrong, the upvotes and the bookshelf adds (at least to those people who don’t use the “Bad Story” Bookshelf Backhand Slap) are crazy important and super needed, but I love talking about these ideas. Granted, a lot of that happens in my Discord server these days, but I still love the comments on my stories which is why I do my best to reply to as many comments as I can (within reason).

I don’t write stories to get followers. I write stories to tell good stories. If people decide to follow me because of it, it’s a byproduct of my writing, nothing more. I need to remember that. Mono had a really good comment in her Retrospective, a comment that gives a fresh take on a known problem.

It’s easy to see numbers. It’s easy to think get discouraged because this story I worked so hard on only got 300 views and 20 likes and 5 dislikes.

But that’s 300 people who read. That is one whole entire person. That is not a number. That is an individual. That’s an entire movie theatre, 300 people.

20 likes is an entire classroom.

And the fact of the matter is, I’m not entitled to anyone’s likes or views or thoughts or comments as much as they are entitled to my stories, and my directions, and my words.

Because the past year has been a lesson in sharing my stories versus selling them.

Because there is a contract here that you guys did not sign. Because I shouldn’t be working hard on my stories expecting you to comment or praise me or anything. Because the fundamental problem here, the disconnect that I and many other writers forget is that publishing a story online is sharing it, not selling it.

I am no less entitled to people reading my fanfics as people are entitled to the content I put out.

Because to think that way is an insult to the people who _do_ chose to read, it is an insult to the readers who genuinely adore my writing, and it is most of all an insult to myself.

What I love in this is that I’m not entitled to likes, comments, bookshelf adds or follows.

You’re also not entitled to my stories, nor are you entitled to me doing exactly what you think I should do in my stories.

It’s a position of power for both reader and writer. It’s a reminder that both the story and the feedback are gifts, freely given.

You’re not buying a book here. This isn’t Amazon. These are free stories. Now some people run their things a little differently with PayPal or Patreon. I have both of those, but it’s always been said up front that I’m going to be writing no matter what those end up being.

My most popular story to date The Cloudsdale Report, was written long before I had much of a following. I believe part of the reason it was a smash hit is because I wasn’t thinking about making it popular or hitting the market or anything like that. I wanted to capture Celestia and Raven talking about a very real threat to their world. I wanted to show Celestia in her element, but also being out of her element. I wanted to show her scared for the future of her beloved student. I wanted to show just a hint of Sol Invictus.

I wanted to tell a good story.

I think I forgot that somewhere along the line. Now, when I head back to original fiction (a few original stories have been calling to me lately), that is something I’m going to have to worry about. But I don’t need to do it now.

I can play the game of always publishing at a certain time. I can take my little screenshots of my stories in the feature box and only comment on followers for a major milestone.

As long as that doesn’t become my focus, it’s okay to play that little game. But I must remain vigilant that the true heart of my stories is always about the story itself. What’s the story I want to tell? What’s the best way for me to tell it?

Motive is everything. So my goal for this year is to make every story, every single story, not something I write for popularity, but something I write because I want to.

My first fluff-fic! For the record, I have a different definition of “fluff” than most. “Fluff,” to me, means super-cute, charming and adorable stories without hard-hitting dramatic pieces. Where most of it is people having fun. I guess you could define it as Dangerously Adorable.

God, I loved this story. Even if it didn’t get a lot of attention, I had so much fun with it. It was me going back to what I wanted. Even better, this was a Writeoff Entry (in which I learned that fluffy shipfics are not highly regarded in the Writeoff community, at least in general). Personally, I think the Writeoff stories tend to slant toward intense stories, very serious psychological/philosophical pieces or absurdist comedy. But that’s just what I’ve seen. I’ve also seen some spectacular stories come out of there (especially under those categories).

I also have some strong feelings toward Writeoff stories, but it’s for a wholly different reason, which I’ll get to in a minute.

Is it strange that my two Writeoff entries have both ended up #9, at the very bottom of the “final round” category?

Ah well. The big difference between the Writeoff version and the version you guys got to enjoy was the fight between Amy and Sunny. A lot of stuff was filled out of course (three days isn’t enough time to give you a good amount of detail and fine-tuning), but that was the big change. To add just a hint of drama.

This was me having fun. And it was a great amount of fun. It was an entry in Jake's Horse Word Extravaganza "Obscure Shipping" Contest.

It was also a Finalist in June 2017's "Under the Sun" WriteOff and the winner of Best New Entrant!

It’s ironic that the same Writeoff that would spark my fluffiest shipfic to date would also spawn something that mentally destroyed me.

The Last Daughter of Harmony

Welcome to a story you’ll probably never see.

I think I’ll just take my description from June’s Takka Takka Takka:

Okay. This story… is a little different.

The second-to-last week of June, I came across a story on the WriteOff Competition that ended up doing some massive damage to me emotionally. It triggered one of my greatest fears. This isn’t the kind of fear that goes away… but this is the kind that you wake up in the middle of the night to. I couldn’t go 5-10 minutes without thinking about this story for 36 hours after reading it. The only time I didn’t think about it was sleeping or writing.

It was emotionally tearing me apart. Combined with some other major stress points in my life… it was consuming me. I had to do something.

So, a day after reading this story, I ended up sitting down and writing a 3,400 word story “fixing” the ending, transforming it into something far less horrific. Something with hope. It’s currently listed in Scrivener under the header of “Bastion” with the title of “Hope.” The final title for the story is The Last Daughter of Harmony.

It’s a story about the salvation of ponykind. In more ways than one. A story of paying for your sins, even at the cost of your very soul. About the ties that bind creatures together, not through just friendship or love… but through mere existence. What is lost when those bonds are cut… and what’s required to get them back.

Let me be honest and tell you I doubt it’ll ever see the light of day in its current form. That being said, I’m very happy with the way the story turned out. Ebon, Cursori and Beltorn all praised the story, using the existing baseline of the pre-existing tale. And I never had them read it. I gave them a summary. But I also think there’s some really good stuff in this story… and I think it might transform into something magnificent, given enough time.

I want to stop and publically thank EbonQuill , Beltorn and Cursori for helping me that afternoon. Let me tell you, I was a wreck. They forced me (Ebon most of all) to tell them the first story… and then tell them the story I wrote afterward. Now, they have their own objections to that story (which did help and I do happen to agree with), but through their kind words, encouragement and persistence, I was able to crawl myself out of that pit.

As Celestia said in Dreaming, we all have our demons. It’s what we do with them that counts. Well… this story unleashed one hell of a demon. And my friends helped me beat it back. While I had to write that story along (fighting words with words), I was equipped with the support of those who have been with me for years and those who have been with me for months.

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

And that leads me to my next real confession.

The Reality of the Mind

In the last few weeks, I’ve seen a few places where people simply don’t get what it’s like to look at people from their point of view. I know I have a lot of room for growth on this front. It’s something I’m literally fighting every single day.

To my surprise, my reaction to the story I mentioned above was used as a rallying cry for the implementation of tagging “horror” stories in the Writeoff (and this was done without my knowledge, though I eventually did put in my two cents on the subject).

I didn’t realize it until months later, but after reading that story, I essentially quit doing Writeoffs. Now, I didn’t make any grand declaration or table flip. All that happened was when the next one came up, I went “Eh, I’ve got so many things going on already, I don’t want to throw something else into the mix.” I quit by not making it a priority.

As I said, it took me months to figure out I had quit because of that story. It wasn’t because I didn’t like the writing (indeed, there are some legendary stories that come out of Writeoffs), but because I mentally could not handle running into another landmine.

Now, there are some of you that might say I need to grow up (remember this?) or just toughen up. When it comes to getting feedback on my stories, you’re right. When it comes to what I decide to read, that’s my business, not yours.

I’ve been struggling with mental health issues (I don’t like the term mental illness) for most of my life. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was five and have been on medication since (mostly). In the last few years, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety—enough to cause seizures sort of like what you see in Prerogative—and general depression.

When I was young, my father told me to not tell employers or other people about my ADHD, because it could be used against me, but for the most part, it was just a part of who I am. I never really thought about what it’s like not to have it. I just deal with it and move on.

There’s this frankly stupid concept out there that mental health issues are something to be ashamed of.

They’re not.

But they’re also not something to be proud of either.

In Mono’s Retrospective, she added some great points about how us established/experienced/older authors influence others. We’ve given impression that you need to be miserable or have some sort of problem to be a successful writer.

There are some who don’t take it seriously. The fact of the matter is that depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are very real. I’ve spoken to numerous people on the subject here on FimFiction. Some of you suffer from real issues that need to be addressed.

You should not be ashamed of having a mental health issues, but you should not try to “keep it” to hold onto your creativity. Don’t stop yourself from seeking treatment for depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation or similar things.

You cannot handle these kinds of things on your own. You will only destroy yourself. Trust me. I’ve spent too much time locked in my own head.

And that’s where the worst things happen. You see, the reason I can’t handle horror stories is because I self-actualize them. I read about something horrible happening to a child and I see one of my own daughters there. There’s a scene in a Sanderson novel that made me immediately stop the story and never return. Because I can all but literally see it in my mind. I can see the color of the blanket. The position of the woman. I can almost feel the thing that happened. I can feel the terror in the room. The quiet sobs.

I see it all in my head. Austraeoh Spoilers: When the Mane 6 meet their original fate when the Elements of Harmony backfire, I can see them. I can see them sobbing. I can hear them begging for mercy. I can see them turning to ash and dust. It’s as real to me as a memory.

They’re real to me. I have a very powerful imagination. It’s something that is an incredibly useful tool. It allows me to do amazing thing, but the price is that I have to suffer these images. And they don’t go away. They stay with me for years… or even decades.

Moral of the story? There’s a few.

1. If you have a mental health issue (or think you might have one), get diagnosed by a professional. Don’t do internet tests. Don’t ask your buddy who took a psychology course. Get help from an actual doctor.

2. If that doctor recommends prescription medication, try it. Don’t just dismiss it. I know it can be expensive, but there are ways to make it work.

3. If your first attempt at getting medication doesn’t work, keep trying with the help of your doctor. Everyone has different body chemistry. There are hundreds of medication variants out there. For ADHD, you have Adderall, Dexedrine, Focalin. Methylin, Ritalin, Concerta, Strattera, Catapres and a dozen more. Most of these have multiple forms of generic. Personally, I only respond well to a specific generic (Sandoz/EON Labs) of Adderall, but when I was a child, I used a generic form of Ritalin.

4. Before you claim someone is weak for admitting they have issues, think about your issues. If you had an imagination like mine, would you want to experience horror stuff that would attack you at 3AM in the morning when the wind is howling? If you had issues with suicide, would you want to read a story about that subject? If you had kids, how would that story about something terrible happening to Apple Bloom affect you?

Think about it. Don’t dismiss people’s feelings. They’re as valid as yours. Every one of us has hangups and they should be respected. And people should seek help for them too.

The Tarnished Crown is still a story I’m dealing with issues on. I’m still fighting a battle on listening to the feedback given to me by others to make it a better story… or if I leave it to move on. But, more importantly, it’s a shift in my storytelling.

It’s a shift to showing myself in my stories more.

I wrote this story in less than a week… and I learned a few things from it. A few very important things. First of all, that my most powerful stuff comes from my own life. This is a story about the ongoing war with the demons in your head. About fighting against the things people say and not letting one person’s salt and vitriol poison your well of creativity. About the drastic and potentially tragic things we can do when it happens. Because it’s going to happen. For these situations, we must depend on those we love and those who love us. It’s critical.

I wrote this story for a specific individual. I knew it wouldn’t fix the problems they’re dealing with. Nothing will. That’s why the story ends the way it does. This sort of battle never ends. But sometimes, it’ll be easier. Of course, the perfect irony is that I ended up needing the story myself in the coming week for different reasons.

Crown surprised me on how well it was received. In fact, it quickly took first place in the Feature Box and kept it for three whole days. I guess it spoke to a lot of people. For that, I’m glad. I hope it helped, if only for a moment. One of my beta readers told me that it was difficult to read… because there was too much of me in it. Heh. Well, that means I did a good job, I think.

I think the best stories come from when we pour a little piece of our soul into a character’s mold, allowing that character’s personality, history, beliefs and relationships to color and help shape the piece. Then, we release the piece to do what it needs to do.

When my part in SunLight Sliders II is done, I’m going to re-read this story, hopefully with a clear head, and then take a good long look at some of the feedback I’ve been given. If I need to change things, I will.

Just July Things

Oh yeah, finished judging that fantastic RariTwi contest and Cynewulf murdered me with her entry “We Will Become Silhouettes”. Contest judging is freaking hard. So, of course, I do it again in the Sunset Shipping Contest with Oroboro.

Also finished The Enchanted Library. I did it in a few days, too. And I did over three hundred pages of comments just for Monochromatic. THREE HUNDRED PAGES!!!

Yeah. I need help.

Oh yeah, after months of delays, I also started publishing this little story called How Not to Use Your Royal Prerogative...

Even started publishing it when it wasn’t completely done! It still needed a lot of polish before I finished it. But as usual, I did a Retrospective on that too. Go read that for more details on that.


Seriously, I did a huge after-action report on BC. Go read it.

I’ll make this one easy. Gray taught me that there are some stories I can’t take criticism on very well. It also made me question everything about my editing process. Even about how much of stories were mine and how much of them were other people’s.

Why? Well, partly because this is one of the most emotionally brutal stories I’ve ever written. The only thing that comes close is Tower. I funneled way too much personal experience into this story. It was immensely difficult to seperate myself from the story. Frankly, doing this story for a contest was a dumb idea. I shouldn’t have done it. It put way too much pressure on my editors and myself. I had numerous breakdowns over it.

That being said, I did take grand prize with it. However, unlike Dreaming, I wrote the story that needed to be told instead of something that was sure to win. I did try to use the prompts given, “Second Chances” and that AJ and Dash end up together. In the end, I knew it may have been a stretch. Mono even told me that she didn’t think it would win (mainly because shipfic contests usually want fluffy things). I decided not to care if it won or not.

What was unique about this story is that I asked for way more pre-readers than normal. I had a lot of reasons for that. Some of them were voice disagreements with some of my editors. Some of it was because I needed people who didn’t know my stuff all that well.

To be honest, a lot of it was simply validation.

Aside from Beltorn, Cursori, EbonQuill and Little Tinker, I had Monochromatic - Patron Saint of RariTwi, Oroboro - Expert in Emotional Devastation, Crystal Wishes - One Who Understood, Swan Song - Specialist of Sass and Snark & Corejo - Synopsis Nitpicker Brainstormer

To date, Spectrum of Gray remains one of my least upvoted stories. (Note that I said least upvoted not “worst ranked” or something like that. There’s a difference here). In fact, the only story with less views is The Path (which I always knew was going to be a bit of a black sheep). I don’t mind. I’m actually fine with this. The story is brutal and it’s not an easy read. While I strongly recommend it (because there are some critical life lessons in there), it’s not going to be one of those cute and happy stories.

Faerana Fan Art!

I adore Overlord Neon’s artwork. In fact, she’s become my primary cover artist since I had her tackle A Study on Chaos Theory. Since I used her legendary Princess Sunset and Princess Twilight artwork for And a Sky Full of Stars

She decided to check out the story! She doesn’t get a lot of time to read, but she loved it enough to actually do a picture of Twilight’s beloved Moon Phoenix, Faerana!

Isn’t she gorgeous?

Sunset Shimmer Day

I did a ton of work for Sunset Shimmer Day. There was the Sunset Shipping Contest Judging, (I actually wrote the EqD Post for the day too, along with most of the coding for Oro’s post). There was also the “Community-Rated” Top Sunset Shimmer Stories of 2017. As I’ve said, that didn’t go quite the way I intended, but it was a ton of work. I was also the one who came up with the idea of having Adge (of SciSetDiary/SciSetDaily) do the EqD Banner…

Yeah, September was hard. I also finished my readthrough of the Austraeoh series in September (In fact, I read most of them between BronyCon and September).

The Kind Regard for Quiet Things was my first story with Corejo as one of my main editors. A very informative experience, that. It’s cool to get a fresh perspective on things and to see how I do with a variety of editing personalities and styles.

Kind Regard was another story where I put too much of myself into it. It was actually inspired by my reaction to that Writeoff story that ran me off. But I like the way it turned out. I love this story. It’s tender, sweet and quiet.

I found out there were a few areas to shore up in my writing here. I also discovered I know next to nothing about the English language! I know how to use it (sorta), but I can’t explain it!

Remember that story from the worst weekend of my life? Well, this is what happened to it. The Path got almost a full rewrite… and I also learned just how hard Zecora is to write effectively. I needed two different people to help me get her lines to have the right rhyming cadence.

The story evolved so much from the original. Thankfully, I already knew the story had problems and I had decided to let it rest for a while before tackling it, though when I realized I wanted a Halloween/Nightmare Night story, it seemed perfect. So, I took it up and rewrote it.

Lessons learned? Too much editing and not enough creative writing will drive me insane. You see, from July onward, I also continued to edit How Not to Use Your Royal Prerogative. You have no idea how happy I was to put that behind me.

Still, even though The Path didn’t do great, I’m very happy with the story I told. It was a challenge, I got to do some wonderful worldbuilding and expand on the lore of the zebras, as well as talks about legends and myths.

And how far some will go to fulfill a dream. I also realized—after the fact—that one pony’s madmare is another one’s savior. It’s a dangerous road.

Just October Things

Oh yeah. Movie came out.

I talked about it a lot in my Takka Takka Takka for October.

But now comes the BIG one…


NaNoWriMo 2017

I mentioned I won, right? Ninth year running? Good. 80,000 words. While I missed my fastest NaNo to date, I did get my highest NaNo to date.

I did some other stuff too.

Here’s a list of everything I pulled off for NaPoWriMo:
NaPoWriMo Week 1 Talk: Perseverance
NaPoWriMo Week 2 Talk: What To Do When You're Off Course
NaPoWriMo Week 3 Talk: Reigniting the Spark

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)

Author Interviews

I also finished drafts for On the Brewing of Saddle Arabian Teas, Diamonds Amidst the Snow (my holiday story) and got about halfway through My Kind of Crazy.

Seriously, SkyPie is now my ultimate Pinkie ship.

In the midst of all of this, I had both Blizzcon and EQLA.

EQLA 2017

Yeah, I already talked a lot about this in my Takka Takka Takka for November. Still, I got to bring my family to a pony convention, hung out with way too many circles of friends and even got the famous White Diamonds(the reason behind RariJack for being so crazy popular, I think) to do a RariTwi commission for Mono.

Seriously, how can you not love a win like that?

In my Retrospective, I became a lot more cognizant of what I needed to learn… and how I was treating my editing team. Frankly, I was terrible to them… and most of that is my own hangups.

I said above that my greatest demon is guilt. My second greatest is self-doubt. I have a history of being… well, proven wrong. Or at least bowing to external pressure. For some stuff, it’s not a problem. Some areas of my life, I’ll fight to the bitter end. But while I don’t have a voice inside my head telling me I’m a horrible writer (anymore, that was killed in 2011), I do have one that says I can be better.

I also hate conflict.

When I mentioned the “doozy” thing way back in the talk about Bards, this is what led into that. I said this a while ago, but Ebon wrote a different take on the story with Minuette as a perspective character. This turned into massive problem at one point, because I didn’t feel confident enough to give a direct and honest answer to the idea when I should have. So instead, I hedged and danced around the issue, all the while getting messed up inside until it sorta turned into a supernova/black hole. First, I lashed out at everyone, then I withdrew.

Yeah. Not the most mature of attitudes. This is a constant battle for me and one I haven’t been taking as seriously as I should have. There are times when empathy should be shown for our hangups—like when it comes to traumatic events—but there are also times when you need to stand up and say “enough is enough” to yourself.

So, that’s my goal in the coming year. To develop a thicker skin. To handle these problems instead of being afraid. Of being honest about what I think about ideas, while honestly listening to the ideas of others.

I’ve always had trouble figuring out when to stick to my guns and when I should bow to pressure. Well, the logic is actually rather simple: remove myself from the equation.

Because it’s not about me specifically. It’s about what’s best for the story. I have an end goal in mind. Now if someone wants to shift that end goal, that is a problem that requires a personal investment. But if someone gives a better path to that end goal, I need to take a serious look at it and see if it’s worth it, even if it’ll require a ton of rewriting to get there.

It’s going to be hard as hell.

But it’s time to move forward. It’s time to actually start learning how to be a better writer, instead of just allowing myself to be edited into a better writer.

This story is adorable. I love it. (I’m also too close to actually give any sort of real introspection). Not only that, but I think it handles an important part of romance: expectations. In this case, the expectations given if Twi labels what she has with Rarity.

But you know what? That’s something for another time.

My Kind of Crazy

I already know it’ll be a while until we see this. Maybe I should shoot for a Valentine's Day release. Pinkie’s voice isn’t quite right. And Skystar needs a bit of work.

Still, it’s going to be adorable. Pinkie Pie is so fun to write.

The Conclusion

A couple things for December. That picture up there at the VERY top? Family portrait. I love it. Love it so much.

Tchernobog also surprised me with a gift of fan art by DocWario of a scene from Princess Celestia: A Brief History… namely one of the funniest scenes in the whole book…

“Twilight, look out!”

Twilight backpedaled right into a pedestal against the wall with the speed of a taxipony at full gallop. There was a large bowl on the pedestal. Sunset knew it well, as she’d filled it many times before. She also knew it could easily fall if it hadn’t been placed in its holder just so.

The bowl tipped over and Sunset could do nothing but watch as about a gallon of freezing water dumped on Twilight’s head.

As the bowl rolled to a stop a few feet away, Sunset stared at Twilight.

Her glasses had fallen off, revealing enormous violet eyes beneath them. Her mane was plastered to her head. Her saddlebags were soaked. Her tail was a sopping mess. Her coat was several shades darker than usual. Water dripped off her muzzle, and from the tips of her ears, which twitched sporadically left and right. Her mouth opened and closed a few times, before settling on open while her eyes were locked on somewhere behind Sunset, probably in that wonderful land called Mortification.

Maybe it was the fact that she’d been rolling on the ground laughing her tail off at Twilight only a few minutes ago, but Sunset actually managed to keep herself from anything more than a little smile—though she was fighting the monstrous giggling fit that threatened to overtake her.

“Please…” she said through chattering teeth. “Please tell me that wasn’t holy water from the birthplace of Celestia brought back by pilgrims in the earliest days of Equestria…”

Sunset stared at her.

“It’s for Philomena. She likes her water ice cold. Has bowls all over the Castle. She’s a strange bird.”

“Oh. Good.”

She slumped over.

Now, I could talk about what’s to come this year, but I’ve honestly talked at you all long enough. I’ll be shocked how many people even get THIS far. So instead, I think I’ll leave you with a ton of adorable artwork and say good night and I’ll see you all tomorrow for the launch of SunLight Sliders II.

Happy New Year, everyone. As Ebon would say, "May the best of the past be the worst of the future."

Comments ( 11 )

The fact you used Babylon five to tell about this year made me Smile heh

Eagerly looking forward to the year. Last year was a doozy.

Downvotes have way too much of an impact on rankings.

Like hell they do.

We kept a story in the feature box for days longer than it should have been there, despite a ruinous upvote/downvote ratio, due to a comment war.

If Knighty told you all that matters is likes - dislikes multiplied by word count, that's a load, unless he changed the math recently.

Unsurprisingly, I made it all the way to the end. And I actually have things to say, too! Well... mostly just that as always I need to keep in mind the importance of writing for the sake of writing and writing for the sake of popularity. Although I do think I'm mostly in the same mental space with regard to that as you are, just more irked cause most of my stuff isn't actually popular to begin with. Also I don't know when the best time to post stories is. But whatever.

Uh, let's see... Well, I'll also agree with what you said about the mental health stuff. I'd follow the advice myself if I actually had any money...

Anyway, congratulations on making it through a twisty, turny, but all-around productive year! And may we all have a good 2018.

Well, it IS me. Heh. Babylon 5 pretty much defined a lot of my childhood. :twilightsmile:

That's a good a word as any... :twilightoops:


Same with me Babylon five is the reason i even started writing. I am even doing a story on fim called Project harmony based on it.


Well... mostly just that as always I need to keep in mind the importance of writing for the sake of writing and writing for the sake of popularity.

Yeah, and you saw what happened when I lost this truth. Always strive to be better, but make sure you're still happy with it at the end of the day. It's a lesson I have to keep reminding myself EVERY FLIPPIN' DAY.

Babylon 5 taught me how to tell stories. The style of Wavelengths itself is loosely based on the idea! And I have seen that story in passing, though I haven't had a chance to read it yet!

*when you need two blogs to talk about your year...

On a much, much more serious note, holy shit man. I would be very hard pressed to write anything remotely as introspective as this and let people read it. I am way too afraid of how people’s perceptions of me might change if I did. Props, mate.
Next, I am going to comment on the term “mental illness.” I abhor it. Illness implies a disease, something that can be cured. And that’s just not right. Illness also implies something that can be spread, like people with mental health issues should be avoided. And I hate this. The people I like the most often have some mental health issue, something I never know when I befriend them. To my knowledge, I have no mental issues... that is, unless you count being apathetic due to childhood stuff, but I don’t.
And lastly, please note this is not brought on by these year reviews you just did, there’s something I wanna say. I have always looked up to you ever since I first read something by you almost exactly a year ago. You are a fairly large part of who I aspire to be, and I am incredibly glad to know you.


On a much, much more serious note, holy shit man. I would be very hard pressed to write anything remotely as introspective as thisandlet people read it. I am way too afraid of how people’s perceptions of me might change if I did. Props, mate.

Part of this is the battle for me. While I know there's definitely a thing as too much information (especially for an online personality), I've always found people being transparent with their flaws, areas of growth and problems to be encouraging. Helps me feel less alone. My biggest challenge is saying "this is where I'm at" and eventually getting to the point of "this is where I'm at NOW." As long as there's a progression, then it's all for the best.

Next, I am going to comment on the term “mental illness.”I abhor it.

I don't blame you. Illness gives a very different perspective. My favorite analogy is that mental health issues are the same as having diabetes or being anemic. It's just a medical condition. It requires treatment and control. If you're diabetic, you need to eat differently. If you have ADHD, you need to approach things differently. It's simply the same thing, but sadly, there are many out there who still think it is a stigma. Well, screw 'em. I know the truth. If they want to cut themselves off from the reality of the people around them, that's their problem.

The people I like the most often have some mental health issue, something I never know when I befriend them.

Yeah, I've always found myself far more attracted to authentically flawed people, who admit to having problems and hangups than those who pretend to have it all together. In fact, I tend to have trouble connecting with people who don't have some sort of mental health issue, because they don't quite resonate the same way with me. Maybe it's an inborn sense or something.

And lastly, please note this isnotbrought on by these year reviews you just did, there’s something I wanna say. I have always looked up to you ever since I first read something by you almost exactly a year ago. You are a fairly large part of who I aspire to be, and I am incredibly glad to know you.

That's incredibly humbling. There's a large part of me that says you can do far better than to aspire to be like me, but that's somewhat self-deprecating, and I'm trying to fight that. As I said in here, part of the reason I post stuff like this is so that hopefully, people will learn from my mistakes and maybe... just maybe... avoid them.

Either way, thank you. That actually means a great deal to me. Even if it wasn't inspired by this post, I do humbly appreciate it. Please know that I have the utmost respect for you and the things you do as well. :twilightsmile:

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