News Archive

  • Today
    Mitch H's "A Requiem For Lost Libraries" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's tale has its roots in an unusual ghost story.


    A Requiem For Lost Libraries
    [Mystery] • 2,655 words

    There is a ghost haunting the corridors of Ponyville's newest dwelling, the princess's Castle of Friendship. It is a ghost without voice, or hoof, or spectral limb to cast strange shadows upon crystalline walls.

    But it's not the ghost of a pony. It's not a person at all.

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    0 comments · 123 views
  • 1 week
    Redric Carrun's "Sleeping Habits" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    If you're procrastinating on reading today's story: You snooze, you lose.


    Sleeping Habits
    [Slice of Life] • 8,504 words

    Rainbow Dash has rather a poor reputation when it comes to her workload. Everypony always thinks of her as the pony who takes three naps during daylight hours, and four on weekends, and always seems to be looking for something to do to pass the time. All of this is true, of course. But ponies seem to think this means that she must not ever get very much work done.

    Can the weather captain for all of Ponyville really be as lazy as she seems? Is that the only explanation for Rainbow Dash's free time and constant napping?

    The weather is a full-time job. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. And the worst weather happens at night.

    So weather ponies have strange sleeping habits.

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    4 comments · 1,275 views
  • 3 weeks
    Kkat's "Origin Story" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Explore today's story to find a hidden treasure.


    Origin Story
    [Adventure] • 24,563 words

    In the last months of the great war, Daring Do is called to once again brave the jungles of the Tenochtitlan Basin on a vital mission. While deep in enemy territory, she begins work on a final book: a prequel. A story that will never be completed.

    Here are the recovered fragments of that lost, unfinished Daring Do novel.

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    24 comments · 3,312 views
  • 4 weeks
    DwarvishPony's "Tracks in the Sand" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story examines a young woman hoping that someday her prints will come.


    Tracks in the Sand
    [Equestria Girls] [Drama] [Alternate Universe] • 9,590 words

    Scavenging isn't just a hobby, it's a means of survival in the ruins of the old world. When you go scavenging, though, you'll never know what you'll find.

    Pinkie Pie is about to find more than she bargained for.

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    4 comments · 2,146 views
  • 5 weeks
    Monochromatic's "The Choices We Make" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    You won't regret choosing today's story.


    The Choices We Make
    [Equestria Girls] • 5,146 words

    Every Friday, from five in the afternoon to eleven at night, Pinkie Pie does volunteer work. She doesn't have to do it, the world won't stop if she doesn't, but she chooses to do it anyway. Even if it's doing seemingly insignificant little things.

    After all, the best ways to help aren't always with grand gestures, but with the little things in life.

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    21 comments · 3,806 views
  • 6 weeks
    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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    6 comments · 3,302 views
  • 7 weeks
    Thornquill's "Carousel" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    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.

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    8 comments · 3,790 views
  • 8 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

    Read More

    5 comments · 3,673 views
  • 10 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."

    Read More

    11 comments · 3,201 views
  • 11 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?

    Read More

    4 comments · 4,107 views
Feb
9th
2018

Author Interview » JoeShogun's "Nine Days Down" [Royal Canterlot Library] · 2:00pm February 9th

Today's story is a hell of a tale.


Nine Days Down
[Dark] [Adventure] • 136,069 words

Sometimes it's fun to play the damsel in distress. Princess Celestia knows this better than most. Usually it works out fine. Really, she could have escaped at any time, but Twilight and her friends have been so effective in the past that this time, Celestia may have let things get out of hoof. It was all fun and games until she got unceremoniously tossed into Tartarus. Even then, it wouldn't have been so bad; she's a goddess, after all. But alas, Tartarus is not Equestria, and Celestia is not all she could be when trapped there. Even worse, it appears that she didn't get thrown into The Pit alone. 

Now, a mostly-mortal Celestia and her faithful student must traverse the wilds of Tartarus, the fabled prison of all the things that were deemed too monstrous, too disturbing, too outright dangerous for world they know. Surely an exit will present itself ...

FROM THE CURATORS: Stories about the underworld have a lengthy pedigree — and if this one is any indication, it's easy to see why.  "This is an emotional rollercoaster full of fascinating scenes and characters, and I'm glad Cold in Gardez put up a blogpost praising it," Chris said in his nomination.  "I made it through the first chapter almost entirely on the strength of CiG's recommendation. But man, once we get into Twilight's head, the story really comes into its own. The author does wonderful things with a variety of folklores, and makes Tartarus a complicated, terrifying entity in its own right."  AugieDog was equally impressed with the mythology: "Taking a bunch of the Greek and Roman ideas about Tartarus — heck, there's even more than a little of Dante's Inferno happening here — the author goes all out to fit the Equestria we know from the show into a larger and scarier cosmos that Celestia and Luna have done everything they can to keep at bay."

It was more than the mythology which turned our heads, though.  "All the characters shine — I'll even go out on a limb and say that this story contains the Warrior Luna to end all Warrior Lunas," AugieDog said.  "And I'll also make special mention of how well the author understands the essence of Twilight Sparkle. I mean, she not only has a perfect moment of epiphany at the story's climax, but in the chapters following, because she is Twilight Sparkle, she starts rethinking and second-guessing everything about that epiphany."  Soge, for his part, appreciated the way the story truly dug into those characters: "Even the most gratuitous of the fight scenes feel full of purpose, showing Twilight what being a Princess would entail in this reality, and the ethical imperatives of the decisions that seem to be forced on her. Of course, everything culminates in her epiphany, which is portrayed amazingly well."

Overall, there was enough here to impress us that it even overcame some of our curators' natural dislikes.  "If I'm recommending a fic with Twilestia stuff, that should tell you just how much the rest of the fic wowed me," Chris said.  Soge summed it up: "Setting the Twilestia aside, this fic is a real treat, a tour-de-force of worldbuilding and characterization with an amazing, singular focus — a picture of a legacy which Twilight, as a Goddess, would inherit, and how she managed to embrace it in her own terms."

Read on for our author interview, in which JoeShogun discusses planetary deities, piled princesses, and an hour of doubt.


Give us the standard biography.

I began as what I believe is known in the fandom as a ‘moderate.’ I started watching MLP for Science! That is, to figure out what the fuss was about. Then I badgered a friend into watching it too, and, in return, he tricked me into reading fanfics. Then he started writing, and the plague spread to me. I have no particular writing experience in fiction, and no idea why I started within this particular setting, but here we are.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

Like so many things about this, I have no idea. Probably some kind of brain misfire.

Who's your favorite pony?

If I must choose, Twilight Sparkle. Specifically, crazy Twilight Sparkle, as she has been responsible for some of my favorite episodes. But I don’t have to choose, so I’m going to answer with imagery.

Luna and Celly are great on the occasion that they deign to show up, and Cadance shall ever have my affection for the episode where she wanted more adventure out of life.

Also Trixie. And Starlight. Etc, etc.

What's your favorite episode?

There’s just so many! Why must you demand I choose!?

"Lesson Zero" is still a strong contender, even after all these years. "Luna Eclipsed" is another. "Hearts and Hooves Day" is a classic, and not just for its delightfully self-aware warning against the dangers of shipping.  

But seriously, there’s so many good ones it seems like an exercise in futility to choose a favorite. I disdain this question!

What do you get from the show?

The idea that there is always a better way to solve problems. Grimdark is so prevalent in fiction (and life) that it’s nice to have something out there telling people that being nice might actually be the better option. There are lots of shows that try, but this one actually manages to make a convincing argument for it.

What do you want from life?

Dude, you could have warned me things were gonna get heavy.

Happiness sounds trite, but it’s so much harder to achieve than people tend to think that it seems like a reasonable goal. I want to have good friends and a beer and a dog and not be plagued by doubts 24/7. An hour of doubts a day, tops. I suppose I’d also like to be better at art and writing and whatnot, and maybe make a living at it.

Why do you write?

Mostly because ridiculous stories inflict themselves on me and the only way to clear my head of them  is to type ‘em out. Also, it’s pretty satisfying to look at a full page, even if it’s not very good. Editing can fix that.

As for why I write fan-fic, I guess it just seemed like a good training ground. You have a set world with set characters, and all you have to do is figure out what they would do in whatever situation you come up with. And then change everything to fit your mad vision of how the canon totally should have been.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

One of the best bits of advice I ever got was something to the effect of “Don’t write what you know. Write what you want to read.” Once you really get going on that, you’ll start researching things without having to be forced, just to get better at expressing whatever it is you want to say. Indulge that impulse, by the way. You might have to push yourself at first, and it’ll be rough for a while, but that’s fine. It’ll become a habit soon, and then all you have to do is make time for it.

Also, when you get stuck and can’t think of how to say this line or that phrase, don’t. Just write yourself a note with a summary of what you’re trying to say and skip ahead. Let the scene roll around in your mind for a while. This story took goddamn forever to write, but those big gaps between chapters improved it because I was thinking about it the whole time.

On that note, WRITE AN OUTLINE BEFORE YOU START. Nine Days wanders and wends because I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just sort of wrote things as they came and fleshed them out later. Don’t do that. It’s maddening, and it’s why parts of this story seem a bit disjointed. Compile all your big scenes together, figure out how they work with the themes you want to hammer in, write up a chapter list, and then write your story.

And for Celestia’s sake, find an editor. Letting someone pick apart your darling sucks and hurts and is nerve-wracking, but it makes you better at what you’re trying to do. People often talk about ‘growing a thick skin,’ but I’ve yet to hear anyone explain how to do that. I try to keep in mind that even the best editor ain’t perfect. They can be flat wrong about things, same as me and you.

What inspired “Nine Days Down”?

A lot of stuff. I originally referred to it as ‘Project Grimdark,’ and it was really meant more as an experiment than anything else. Just a way to try some new things. Then it grew into a novel. Oops.

Anyway, most of the setting came from Greco-Roman mythology and the totally kick-ass interpretation of those seen in the Exalted tabletop game. There’s some celtic stuff in there (Nuckalavee, Dullahan), and other odds and ends from Norse and Egyptian mythology. I wanted to work some Voodoo in, too (it’s my favorite mythology, actually), but it never quite fit.

The story itself came from trying to reconcile how crazy dangerous so many of the creatures stomping around the MLP world are against how generally pleasant everything in Equestria itself is. I got the idea that maybe a certain pair of Princesses had decided that life should be more than mere survival, and had worked very hard to kick the world into a better shape, perhaps by tossing its worst elements into Taratarus. And then I wondered what might happen if someone who exemplified those new ideals got thrown in with the old, bad things. This ties back to what I get from the show: Even in a world full of violence and horror, a world that literally drives people to embrace their base instincts, there is still a better way.

Since ancient mythology seldom mentions Tartarus as anything other than a place, how did you come up with the character of Tartarus the deity?

Mostly from Exalted, but once I started looking into it, I found they didn’t come up with that. A lot of the old gods, the really old ones, were places or ideas before they were people. Gaia and Uranus weren’t just a mother and father, they were the Earth and Sky. They were things so great and incomprehensible that they were best expressed in terms usually reserved for landmasses. Or planets. I like that. I think God-things should work in integrally different ways than us mortals, and I tried to bring that out in Tartarus, among others.

Why was it important to the story that Twilight and Celestia develop a romantic relationship?

Uh, heh. Yeah. About that. I was really, really leery of doing that. I eventually fell in favor of it because I wanted to try my hand at this whole shipping thing. I have this worry that it was a bad idea and I only went with it because I kind of like that ship, but anyway …

I think the show provides us with plenty of evidence that Twi has something of a fixation on Celestia, even if it’s entirely innocent. Celestia is so many things to Twilight (friend, mentor, authority figure, object of near-worship, peer, potential rival) that there’s a lot of room for it to go a lot of different ways. And who knows how Celly feels about Twilight?

I thought it worked in this case, more or less, for a few reasons. But mostly because everypony is just about out of their minds at the point when it happens, and sometimes you just need to make out with somebody for a while. It’s refreshing.

Given the way you present them here, do you think Twilight and Tartarus could ever become friends?

Twilight essentially defines herself as the opposite of everything Tartarus is. As for the big T, It has no interest in such things. So probably not. But if anybody can figure out a way to make that magic happen, it’ll be the Princess of Friendship.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Funny story, I’m actually re-editing the whole thing right now. I submitted it to Equestria Daily and got a, uh, verbose reply. Little grammatical stuff, mostly, but my editor raised some good points, and I am currently endeavoring to address them. It’s been cautiously approved though, so that’s cool.

What does this mean for you? It means a bonus chapter, that’s what! It’s still in the works, but it shouldn’t be too long now. Hope y’all are ready for some exposition.

You can read Nine Days Down 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 ( 11 )

Good! This is an excellent story, and deserves to be more widely read. :rainbowkiss:

Georg #2 · 2 weeks ago · · 1 ·

"On that note, WRITE AN OUTLINE BEFORE YOU START."

Ah, welcome fellow Discovery Writer, a Pantser instead of a Plotter. (Brandon Sanderson's online lecture series has been a godsend for me) Remember that even the most sincere Plotter is Pantsing his way through the outline at first, and even the most die-hard Pantser gets to the end of his first run of text and has (in effect) a very detailed outline to edit down to where it becomes a good story. The Epic Journey story just cries out for a good Pantser, because each encounter along the road is as much of a surprise to the characters as it is to the writer. :heart:

Ya know, I'd like to question Chris's loyalties here......

Nine Days is one of my very favorites. I've blogged and talked about it before, and I still love it. I can't recommend it highly enough for both adventure fans and Twilestia lovers. For anyone wavering, there's a reason it isn't Romance tagged; the Twilestia only becomes prominent late in the story and even then isn't the main focus.

Fantastic work, Joe!

Ah, one of the increasingly rare stories spotlighted by you guys where I actually agree with you. I remember reading this while it was being updated and after every chapter I was just waiting eagerly for more.

Ooh, what a coinkydink! I read this one yesterday :) And thoroughly enjoyed it :)

This sounds like a bullseye on my interests target! Will definitely give it a read.

But an RCL feature that was rejected by EQD? Madness! :twilightoops:

Damnit, JoeShogun! I was going to work on my own story tonight! :flutterrage:

Nine Days Down is probably my Number ONE favourite story on this site. Amazing work!

I love nine days down, and highly encourage folks to read it. Awesome story, and Joe managed to actually finish an adventure story! It's also got some of the best monsters I've read about in a long time. My opinion means nothing, but I simply cannot recommend this thing enough. It gets dark, but it gets better, and then it gets dark, and... Just read it!

4793339
Feeling that Way/Anytime (submitted as one story per EQD story length rules) was rejected due to eating poppies being too much of a drug reference.

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