News Archive

  • Friday
    Ringcaat's "The Pony Who Lived Upstairs" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story brings a little magic home.


    The Pony Who Lived Upstairs
    [Drama] [Slice of Life] [Human] • 184,740 words

    [Note: This story contains sexual themes.]

    What would you do if a pony moved into the apartment upstairs? Would you make an effort to meet her? What would you talk about? And what kind of pony leaves Equestria for Earth in the first place?

    This is a series of slice-of-life episodes about a young man who meets a pony in New Jersey. Equestria has made contact with Earth; creations and creators have been sorting things out for a couple of years, and a smattering of ponies are gradually starting to move to Earth. Told though human eyes, here's the story of one of them.

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    5 comments · 1,131 views
  • 3 weeks
    Lost + Found Features: "Let's Pretend"/"Let Me Tell You About the Hole in My Face" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    'Tis the season for holiday stress — and for the RCL to be pushing through almost 700,000 words of longfics in our reading queue. That dual crunch has slowed us down, and we're currently working with our pending featured authors on their interviews.  But don't worry — we've got you covered!

    We keep track of stories which have passed through our approval process, but whose authors were unresponsive to us despite repeated effort.  We'd like to see these great stories get their time in the spotlight too, so we're presenting a pair of RCL-approved tales for your reading pleasure.

    (Note: We will not be posting next week -- this week on our website -- due to the holiday. Happy holidays from the Royal Canterlot Library!)



    Let's Pretend
    By Pen Mightier
    [Adventure] [Comedy] • 7,484 words

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    5 comments · 2,207 views
  • 4 weeks
    RB_'s "The World Fades to White" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is quite a cool tale.


    The World Fades to White
    [Adventure] [Sad] • 3,388 words

    Princess Flurry Heart and the descendant of Prince Rutherford brave the harsh conditions of the Frozen North, in search of an artifact they hope will save their home from a similar fate.

    FROM THE CURATORS: One of the subtler skills in writing is how to wring meaning from the things you don't say — a skill on prominent display in this short and focused fic.  "I love how sparse the writing feels, hinting at larger things without ever having to define them, managing to make its diffuse world feel rich and solid," Soge said, and Present Perfect agreed: "This feels like such a tiny slice of a greater epic work. So much is packed into it, and yet so much is left unsaid."

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    11 comments · 1,946 views
  • 5 weeks
    SirTruffles' "Three Left Turns" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story turns out right.


    Three Left Turns
    [Dark] • 2,478 words

    Equestria's last night is nigh. Next evening it will be ash. Twilight slips off with but the past to bargain with. Can she buy a future?

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    4 comments · 2,978 views
  • 7 weeks
    Petrichord's "Paper Butterflies" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Watch some delicate emotions fold together in today's story.


    Paper Butterflies
    [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 3,756 words

    Discord hasn't been feeling himself lately. Rarity thinks that it might be a good idea to get his mind off of things by having him assist her with upcoming work for the Summer Sun Celebration. Being the good sport that he is, Big Mac helps Discord out.

    As it turns out, the project is surprisingly fun.  It's also more than a little painful.

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    10 comments · 4,368 views
  • 8 weeks
    MaxKodan's "Dappled Shores" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story warns about the hidden dangers of "shows, don't tell".


    Dappled Shores
    [Romance] [Comedy] [Drama] [Equestria Girls] [Slice of Life] • 4,640 words

    Rarity and Sunset are having their third weekly Dappled Shores marathon.

    And then Sunset ruins everything.

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    6 comments · 4,739 views
  • 9 weeks
    WishyWish's "Sugarcube in the Corner" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    An unlikely crossover source mashes up with pony in today's story.


    Sugarcube in the Corner
    [Drama] [Sad] [Slice of Life] [Tragedy] • 8,069 words

    Enter Painless — a young resident physician at Manehattan East Side Memorial Hospital who drew the short lot, and ended up working through Hearth's Warming. With the city caught in the grips of a blizzard that weatherponies are still trying to get under control, the night is boring, the decorations contrived, and the coffee is as bitter as his sensibilities.

    Tonight, Painless has a single, pointless task assigned to him — to keep the company of a lonesome, unconscious stallion who is essentially already dead. In so doing, a young doctor will learn that medicine is about more than scalpels and technique.

    It's also about mending broken hearts.

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    5 comments · 6,177 views
  • 11 weeks
    The Albinocorn's "Firebird Dahlia" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    An explosive sibling rivalry is at the center of today's story.


    Firebird Dahlia
    [Drama] [Slice of Life] • 48,819 words

    Life is looking up for Sunset Shimmer.

    With her grandstanding at the Battle of the Bands, Canterlot High has taken a new approach to her. Amends have been made, friendships have been restored, and Sunset is on the fast track to becoming a better person.

    But even now, there are still apologies that have to be said.

    For her Spring Break, Sunset returns to Equestria to make up with her estranged family: the parents that raised and provided for her, and the sister she left behind. But a lot has changed since then, and some wounds won't heal by just saying 'I'm sorry.'

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    13 comments · 6,025 views
  • 12 weeks
    forbloodysummer's "Why Are You Here, Your Majesty?" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is here for a very good reason.


    Why Are You Here, Your Majesty?
    [Drama] • 8,405 words

    Immortals are few and far between in Equestria, and they are all known to each other. Two of them are about to get to know each other a little better. Because one has just turned up uninvited in another’s private chambers. Maybe it’s time they had a chat?

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    8 comments · 5,864 views
  • 13 weeks
    Rocket Lawn Chair's "Star-Crossed" [Royal Canterlot Library]

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


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

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

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

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    0 comments · 5,328 views
Jan
5th
2018

Author Interview » Thornquill's "Carousel" [Royal Canterlot Library] · 1:24pm January 5th

Today's story will haunt you.


Carousel
[Dark] [Drama] [Horror] • 69,824 words

The Millennial Summer Sun Celebration is only a few years away, but Rarity’s fashion career seems to be ending before she can begin it. Now, she has one last chance to find a place for her talent.

But as she works to create the boutique of her dreams, a forgotten piece of Ponyville’s past is waking up. Secret memories lie forgotten in dusty basements, unrighted wrongs scratch at locked doors, and Rarity finds herself caught up in a history that may be doomed to repeat itself.

For although she is the first to set hoof in the Old Town Hall in thirty years, she can’t help but feel that something inside was waiting for her.

FROM THE CURATORS: The sort of story that can inspire top scores from our curators is almost certainly going to accumulate superlatives along the way, but even so, there were some head-turning compliments in our discussion.  "This is a fic that works on so many levels that it has to be read, and is certainly one of the best stories produced by the fandom," Soge said, while Present Perfect had superlatives of his own: "The horror bits are always effective; chapter 8 in particular is one of the most frightening things I've ever read."

Much of our commentary centered on the story's original approach to its horror elements.  "This is a pre-show mix of slice of life and drama woven through with a consistently unsettling gothic horror," Present Perfect said in his nomination.  "It feeds on fear of not just the unknown, but the known, daring to cross that old standby of 'don't show the monster' and still make it work."  You wouldn't think a horror tale could work so well as a prequel for canon, either, but it got repeated praise for squaring that circle.  "This is a very Pony horror story, because if friendship is magic, well, it stands to reason that there ought to be an opposite sort of magic when friendship curdles and goes sour," AugieDog said, while Soge praised it more broadly: "The horror elements are genuinely unsettling, benefiting from a sufficiently original monster, great atmosphere, and most importantly, the ability to merge its most gruesome elements seamlessly with pony world. Were that all this fic did, it would still be worthy of a recommendation."

But it went beyond that with exemplary character work, illustrated by Present Perfect's praise: "Rarity's characterization is fantastic, as she matures ever so haltingly from a stuck-up would-be fashionista into more of the generous, caring pony we know.  The original characters are also memorable and fit into the setting effortlessly."  AugieDog added: "The picture the story paints of several of Our Heroines in the years before the show starts is just about perfect as well."  That was, as Soge said, just part of the magic at work here: "The way Thornquill weaves characterization, world building, and pre-show history together works flawlessly, so that even its most out-there elements — like Pinkie being a real estate agent — work in the story's favor without ever feeling forced."

Read on for our author interview, in which Thornquill discusses biting bugs, dead approximations, and reflective escape engines.


Give us the standard biography.

I was content enough to enjoy the show and fandom at a distance as far back as 2012, but sometime in late 2014, I got bitten by whatever pernicious bug is out there driving us all slightly over the edge of madness and into content creation. Since I didn’t have any ideas I wanted to explore on my own through fanfic, I started off doing audio versions of other fanfics instead. As time’s gone on, I’ve shifted more and more to the writing side of things, which is kind of where I wanted to be all along. As to which I’ll do more of in the future, no one knows less than me. My interests tend to be annoyingly unpredictable.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

I’m not exactly sure when the idea and the name hit the current form, but it keeps present for me the nasty double nature language has — so much potential for beauty and growth, but so easily turned toxic and harmful too.

Who's your favorite pony?

Even though her character has developed pretty far beyond what first drew me to her, it will always be Twilight Sparkle. I liked that she was something of an acknowledgement that we can get things wrong in relationships. She was a very smart character, a resourceful, determined character, who still had a lot to learn. And she wasn’t above changing her mind when it became necessary.

What's your favorite episode?

There are so many I love, but I usually point to “Suited for Success.” It was the episode where I thought I knew exactly what they were going to do with a predictable character, and it could have so easily been vapid and shallow. Instead, they showed the technical, driven side of Rarity. That kind of unexpected nuance is something I've always seemed to look (and strive) for ever since.

What do you get from the show?

I have gotten so much from the show, it’s difficult to pick something and discuss it in a short enough time. I think the biggest thing it did for me on the whole was its many explorations of talent and passion for work. It actually helped guide me away from a bad career choice and back to what I really love to do.

What do you want from life?

To do good work, share it with whoever will enjoy it, and leave some small part of the world a little better than I found it, if it’s within my power.

Why do you write?

Here on Fimfiction, to give back. It’s the same reason I started doing fanfic narrations — I wanted to give something back to the fandom that had given me so much. Once I got the idea for Carousel, it was a natural continuation.

Ultimately, I hope I can develop my skills enough that I can publish original work. That’s been a goal of mine for about as long as I can remember, though I abandoned it for many years. When I experience stories, the ones I love the most are the ones that create worlds so other and so real, you feel a sense of awe just to take it in. I want to help create those experiences too.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

This one’s pretty simple for me right now: Don’t forget to have fun. For some time now, I’ve been struggling to find a balance between studying this craft, focusing on the technicalities, getting better at it, and actually enjoying it while I do it. It’s important to focus on the nuts and bolts and try to improve. It’s vital. But here’s the thing: I can forget the nuts and bolts for an hour and just have fun writing a crazy scene. I will almost certainly need to fix it later, but at least it exists. But if writing feels like something I have to do — if by choice I’d be in the other room gaming — the scene will not get written or fixed. Period. So have fun.

First, an easy question: What do you consider to be the purpose of art?

I think part of the unending fascination and frustration with that question is that everyone is going to answer a little differently. Art is so many things to so many people. Art is a reflection of the world; art is an engine of betterment; art is an escape; art is exploration; art is the only way we can explore the worst parts of ourselves; art is a pastime that makes the daily grind endurable. It is so many things, and so many gradients in a spectrum from casual to serious, that we all find something in it.

To me, then, the purpose of art is to explore purpose.

When we meet Rarity in the show for the first time, Carousel Boutique is operating, her sister is unharmed and she hasn't lost her mind. How did you tackle writing scenes that needed to be tense while their ultimate outcomes were a foregone conclusion?

In a way, I think knowing from the start where things would need to end made it easier, not harder. I knew there were limits, things I couldn’t do. So the question became, “what other awful things can I put these characters through?” I might not be able to kill certain characters, but then it becomes a game of, what boundaries can I push them over? How far can I go with it? Even though I intended to bring them back from the brink, I didn’t initially know just how badly certain characters might get hurt, or how badly they might hurt others. And since I didn’t know it, my hope is the readers don’t either. They’re discovering with me just how far we can lean over that edge and wondering how we can possibly get back.

"Don't show the monster" is a common adage in horror writing, yet you showed us Toola Roola, and she was terrifying. What was your approach not just to this scene, but to the horror in this piece as a whole?

I think the thing about showing the monster isn’t so much whether or not to do it, but knowing what happens with your audience when you show the monster. Toola Roola is seen several times throughout the story, but never clearly. She’s often mistaken for other characters, always at a distance, or otherwise unreachable and other. Even the portrait Rarity finds early on isn’t really “the monster”; it’s a dead and distant approximation.

As the story goes on, readers get a little bit more of a glimpse of Toola each time, whether it’s about her background or getting a slightly clearer view of what Toola has become. They learn just a little bit more each time they go on, almost like slowly opening a door, and with every glimpse, things get worse. But they never get the whole picture until the absolute end.

This means readers are always able to fill in the gaps with their own imaginations, and that’s the real heart behind “Don’t show the monster.” They’re guessing, they’re curious, even if they dread the answer. Once the monster is seen, though, that is when you’ve hit the height of your pacing. There is nothing more you can hit the audience with. You have told them, “This is what you’re up against.” And once you do that, your story has to change direction. It’s no longer a mystery — it’s an adventure where the characters figure out how to beat the monster or a tragedy where they fall to it.

I think that is where some horror stories can stumble. They show the monster too early, or they show too much too quickly, and then they try to keep the story going the same as it has up to that point. They don’t let their characters change gears. It’s also a very serious problem for sequels. For me, Carousel had to end immediately after Toola was clearly seen. And in the final scene between Rarity and Toola, there is still a little bit more to learn about her, a little bit more to see, but the tension doesn’t come from Toola. Instead, the readers are guessing about Rarity this time. What is she planning? What new idea is she bringing to the table that Toola now has to contend with? And will it work?

You can show the monster, but only if you’re ready for something else to help drive the story.

Please tell us about any other influences that inspired this piece.

Classical horror writers such as Bram Stoker, M.R. James, and especially J. S. Le Fanu; MLP horror pieces such as A Hoof-ful of Dust’s Synchronicity, MrNelg’s A Night at Shadow Station, and Aquaman’s NIGEB; and films such as The Woman in Black, Oculus, In the Mouth of Madness, and The Babadook.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

My thanks. To everyone who has helped grow this fandom; to the friends it has brought me; to everyone who left the scores of insightful and constructive comments on my work; and in this feature, most special thanks to AShadowOfCygnus for the phenomenal reading he did for Carousel; and to Present Perfect and the Royal Canterlot Library for the spotlights they have shone on it. I am more grateful than I can express.

You can read Carousel at FIMFiction.net. Read more interviews right here at the Royal Canterlot Library, or suggest stories for us to feature at our Fimfiction group.

Comments ( 8 )

Yyyyyes, this story was excellent. One of the few that had me utterly beside myself waiting for updates.

One of the better stories I've read. Definitely one of the best 'dark drama' stories out there.

Finally, thank God this one is getting the support it deserves! I was worried it'd sink away in to obscurity

Huge thanks for pointing this story out. It's an excellent piece of horror -- and yes, chapter 8 has been truly frightening!

Carousel? Now all i tink about is Melanie Marinez Thank you ver much

MrNelg #6 · 1 week ago · · ·

I'm glad this story is here. It definitely deserves it's place in the RCA. It combines heavy atmospheric horror with great character development and a struggling journey that makes reading all the way through to the end immensely satisfying. What more could you ask for?

remember that you can't spell "carousel" without "arouse." not that i'm saying people got off to this, or anything. :trollestia:

a short one shot that I ever seen in a horror fiction.

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