News Archive

  • Friday
    ChibiRenamon's "Conquering is Easy, Being Conquered is Hard" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Royal Canterlot Library

    It wasn't hard to let today's story conquer our hearts.


    Conquering is Easy, Being Conquered is Hard

    TConquering is Easy, Being Conquered is Hard
    Rarity has conquered Equestria, but she is unsure how to deal with a cult led by Fluttershy and the cult's second-in-command, Twilight Sparkle, who seems to have plans of her own...
    ChibiRenamon · 27k words  ·  216  15 · 1.6k views

    [Romance] [Comedy] [Drama] [Alternate Universe] • 26,653 words

    Rarity's quest for love led her from Tartarus to Canterlot. Now, wielding powers beyond comprehension, she rules over Equestria.

    Read More

    8 comments · 1,372 views
  • 1 week
    Coyote de La Mancha's "Twilight Sparkle Was Shot" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story starts with a bang.

    Twilight Sparkle Was Shot
    [Adventure] [Equestria Girls] [Alternate Universe] • 9,173 words

    After the reformation of Sunset Shimmer, the Mane Six united their powers against all manner of threats. Then, Twilight Sparkle joined their number, and over time the bonds between the Mane Seven have become stronger than ever.

    They have called upon their power to aid their friends, to protect the innocent, and even to defend their world.

    Never have they called upon their power out of anger, or to seek revenge.

    Until now.

    FROM THE CURATORS: Vengeance isn't a goal typically associated with a hero, especially a hero in the My Little Pony franchise. And yet in this week's feature, the drive for vengeance that binds together our protagonist and antagonist in a yin and yang of pain feels almost breathtakingly real.

    Read More

    12 comments · 1,553 views
  • 2 weeks
    Jack of a Few Trades' "Without Another Word" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    We'd like to give you a good word about today's story.


    Without Another Word
    [Drama] [Sad] • 11,912 words

    Seven years have passed since Grand Pear moved to Vanhoover, and time has dulled the pain of leaving Pear Butter behind. Though the scars remain, life for the Pear family has done its best to return to normal.

    But one day, a letter from Ponyville comes in the mail.

    Read More

    3 comments · 684 views
  • 3 weeks
    Flutterpriest's "Feathers" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Fall into today's story for some gripping drama.


    Feathers
    [Dark] [Drama] • 2,466 words

    Read More

    7 comments · 2,104 views
  • 4 weeks
    fourths' "You and Her" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story aches.


    You and Her
    [Romance] [Sad] • 7,335 words

    [Note: This story contains sexual themes.]

    You told me that a young designer from out of town would be coming to stay with us for a few days while she discussed business plans with you. I told you that would be fine, that I wouldn't mind.

    I lied.

    FROM THE CURATORS: Relationships are rarely easy. Feelings wax and wane, ebb and flow, and even at their easiest and most effortless, relationships take effort. But maybe you don't want to put that effort in any more. Maybe it takes less effort to start something new than to maintain something you've had for years. Maybe your partner won't catch on. Maybe they will.

    Read More

    13 comments · 2,300 views
  • 5 weeks
    anonpencil's "Broken Bindings" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is a real page-turner.


    Broken Bindings
    [Dark] [Horror] [Mystery] • 23,036 words

    Twilight has given you a new book to read. Well, she didn't exactly give it to you, you actually just found it in the back of the library. Behind a shelf. On the ground. It looks very old, downright ancient, and it smells like moss and rot. The binding is a little cracked, and there's no title on it. You can't help but wonder what might be inside, and the only way to find out is to keep reading.

    Just turn the page.

    You can do that much, can't you?

    Please?

    Read More

    22 comments · 2,577 views
  • 6 weeks
    wYvern's "Of Flies and Spiders" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story will ensnare you.


    Of Flies and Spiders
    [Romance] [Dark] [Tragedy] • 8,065 words

    Glitter was banished from her hive because she's different: instead of feeding on love, she feeds on anger, fear, and sadness. Ponies are easily fooled and more easily manipulated. Staying undetected and sustaining her dietary needs, she goes through life bringing misery to those around her. All changes, though, when he turns up, tearing down walls built throughout a lifetime.

    Read More

    7 comments · 1,598 views
  • 7 weeks
    Epic Yarn's "A Slice of (Cake) Life" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story bakes up some — PUMPKIN, PUT THAT DOWN.


    A Slice of (Cake) Life
    [Comedy] [Slice of Life] • 1,178 words

    Mrs. Cake’s life isn’t always a piece of cake. The bakery needs running, Pound and Pumpkin are always up to something, and babysitters aren’t always easy to come by.

    Read More

    5 comments · 1,767 views
  • 9 weeks
    Cerulean Voice's "Essenza di Amore" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    [Ed. Note: The Royal Canterlot Library will be taking next week off for Bronycon!]

    You'll grow to love today's story.


    Essenza di Amore
    [Adventure] [Drama] [Alternate Universe] • 53,665 words

    Orphaned as a filly, a young pegasus named Kaviyayu is raised by an adoptive Earth pony family in a secluded, peaceful village. When a strange unicorn drops by the village, Kaviyayu and the other foals are captivated by her tales of the world, as well as her various spells and illusions for their amusement. But there's something about the way she doesn't speak of her own family ... how she never removes her traveller's cloak ... how she seems to take a very strong interest in Kaviyayu ...

    Who is this mysterious mare, what does she seek, and just what is so special about that pendant she wears?

    Read More

    8 comments · 1,979 views
  • 10 weeks
    NaiadSagaIotaOar's "Who We Are in the Dark" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story, unlike its protagonist, doesn't have to cheat to win your heart.


    Who We Are in the Dark
    [Equestria Girls] [Romance] [Tragedy] • 11,505 words

    [Note: This story contains sexual themes.]

    Adagio, who everyone knows is an immortal sex goddess, is determined to give her girlfriend a perfect eighteenth birthday. If only she weren't secretly a virgin, it would be easy.

    Read More

    16 comments · 2,326 views
Feb
23rd
2018

Author Interview » Mitch H's "A Requiem For Lost Libraries" [Royal Canterlot Library] · 2:25pm February 23rd

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.

FROM THE CURATORS: Seven seasons in, it's a delight to find the fandom still delivering fresh takes on classic ideas — as this story does succinctly and elegantly.  "This examines an angle of #SaveTree that I've never before seen covered, and does something quietly lovely with it," Horizon said in his nomination, and that spurred accolades like Present Perfect's: "This was fantastic. It elevates the #savetree meme — the catch-all for the fandom's ability to love even the background of this show, justifying that love and nostalgia for a tree whose story we never really knew."

The unique angle of the core concept was only one element of our appreciation, though — several of us commented on the delicate touch with which the story balanced its ideas with canon.  "The big thing right felt like the way that this maintained a horror-like sense of tension while also resolving in a satisfying and entirely non-horrific way that felt squarely show-tone," Horizon said, and Present Perfect had similar comments: "The larger-than-life ghost story aesthetic of the narrative fits the content and only serves the overall tone. I agree with Horizon, there's something horrific, Twilight Zone-ish, to the final reveal, but it's a good kind of horror. It fits the show well, save for covering a topic the show never will. I was duly impressed."  The story's gentle approach to not only death but the Equestrian approach to it also earned AugieDog's appreciation: "I quite like how this story makes the pony afterlife an underground thing, too — if I might devolve in punnery — something that isn't officially acknowledged but not really discouraged."

We didn't just appreciate the uniqueness of the story's ideas, but also its narrative approach.  "I like the way that it slowly shifts tone from the abstract into the personal, and the way that the narrator gradually becomes part of the story," Horizon said.  "I love the way that this manages to keep a sense of supernatural wonder and inexplicability, despite being set in a world that takes magic for granted."  And that all added up to a package well worth our attention.  "The dreamlike aspect of the 'ghost' is both unsettling and fascinating, and I loved the suggestion of a pony afterlife rooted in nostalgia," Soge said.  "This is memorable and very well written."

Read on for our author interview, in which Mitch H discusses haunting hopes, boxcar loads, and peytral burdens.


Give us the standard biography.

I’m a Pennsylvanian, male, in my forties.  I work in the precision agriculture/agricultural meteorology industry, mostly doing customer and tech support.  I went to PSU, got a rather useless BA in history, and never really left Happy Valley after that. I was active in anime fandom long before I wandered into ponyfiction. I showed up pretty late to pony.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

Honestly, it’s just the name I go by — I didn’t expend any special effort on it; back in the days of Usenet I did the whole silly-online-name thing, and people who remember me from those days have been known to make mock. After a while, I got too lazy to pretend to be anything more than what and who I am. Mitch isn’t exactly what it says on my drivers license, but it’s what my mother calls me, so I figure that’s good enough.

Who's your favorite pony?

I’m tempted to just say Applejack, but it feels kinda plain? But it’s her charm, isn’t it? Plain and simple, intensely hard-working, hard-headed and as stubborn as the hills. I only wish I was as hard-working as Applejack, or as good to my family as she is to hers. There’s something about a character who can plant her hooves as deep as bedrock, look the world in the eye, and dare them to move her from where she’s chosen to stand.

What's your favorite episode?

As much grief as “Magical Mystery Cure” gets in the fandom, I think it is the most concise and efficient distillation of the show and the series as a whole. Theme, tone, and musicality come together in a tight little package that displays Twilight at her best and worst, and dismantles everything about her friends to show how they work, and how they don’t work, and then reassembles them in a beautiful series of musical vignettes. It really could have been a series conclusion, and I would have been satisfied with it, I think, despite coming to the fandom a number of years after “Magical Mystery Cure” aired.

What do you get from the show?

They’re stories about people — flawed, cantankerous, a little quarrelsome, but still decent at their core.  People as we would like to be — more generous, kinder, happier.

Like all good fantasy, the show’s stories at their best use magic and miracle to say something life-affirming about people, just slightly distanced from the real world with all of its rough edges and sharpness.

Also, it’s cute as the dickens.

What do you want from life?

Oh, what a question. I’m still figuring out what life wants from me — it seems presumptuous to want anything back. I’m healthy, employed and safe; anything else that I might lack is my own fault, and none of life’s.

Why do you write?

There are things I have in my head, that I’d like to read? To be honest, I didn’t set out to be a writer, but I’ve read so much over the years that some of it had to start spilling out after a while. I certainly didn’t set up an account on Fimfiction with the intent to write stories. I was just reading totallynotabrony’s We Rent The Night, and having read this one particular set-piece in that story, said to myself, “That’s totally something that Glen Cook’s Black Company would have done. I wonder if someone’s done a crossover of that with pony?” And when I found that nobody had, I just … felt like I wanted to read that story. So I started writing it.  And it just kept going. For way, way too many chapters. After I eventually wrapped up In The Company Of Night, I kept writing stories, because it gave me an outlet, and I still had things to say.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

Read. Read by the boxcar load. The best writers — and I certainly don’t count myself as anything other than a rank beginner, to be sure — read extensively, catholically, omnivorously. Some rare individuals have a genius, an originality which has no influences, but those are rarer than hen’s teeth — or, since we’re talking in the context of Equestria and its sharp-toothed cockatrices, perhaps I should say, more rare than an honest snake-oil salesman? For the rest of us, we learn in ‘the school of mankind’, by example.

Then write. Write a lot. You won’t be good right out of the gate. I spent the better part of a decade writing a daily blog, poetry, and assorted argumentation, and before that, I spent another decade doing tech writing for fan conventions and so forth. The more you write, and the more you care about the writing as you write, the better you will get. Take advice, pay attention to how others phrase things, how they structure their stories, how they write dialog, how they write exposition, action, scene-setting, description …

Not everyone comes out of the gate a well-rounded writer. I’m still kind of shaky on dialog and characterization, and it’s no piece of cheap irony that you folk chose “A Requiem For Lost Libraries”, a story without any dialog whatsoever, and hardly any characters to speak of, to feature.

But I’m working on the ‘character’ and ‘dialog’ thing, I promise. ^_^

What inspired “A Requiem for Lost Libraries”?

During a conversation on FimFiction’s discord server in the writing-help channel, they were tossing around writing prompts, and someone going by ‘Broken Rose’ said that they’d read a story ‘which had literally nobody as a character’. I tried to make that happen, but in the end, ponyfiction is about ponies, and ponies, as I said, are people, people with a bit of a fantasy-magic overlay. And hauntings mean nothing without people to experience them.  

Why bring the narrator in as a character at the end?

Without the narrator as a person, the story was just a thing, just a bit of fannish headcanon.  A conceit. A lost place haunting its successor, filling an empty vessel with memories. The process by which a domicile becomes a home, by which we make our living-spaces living space. And that was fine, but …

There’s another side to hauntings, which is that they are expressions of our mortality. To make a place live, we must also give it an end to living. Hauntings encode within them things which are lost. They are by their very nature the remembrance of lives which have come to a conclusion.

I’m at an age where those in later generations are starting to pass, and some of them are going easier than others. The light conceit of a library haunting a palace caught up the anxiety and worry that I carry for some of my elders, and grew heavy.  That drew out this conclusion — this sense that hauntings are our hopes, fears and wishes made palpable. That they are our hopes for something after life, and our fears that it may not be as well as we would wish — but in the end, they are that wish for a promise that all will be well, that ‘there is a balm in Gilead, to make the wounded whole’.

How do you imagine the princesses respond to the phenomenon described in the story?

Deeply unsettled, I think. My sense of the princesses is that they are all at the same time miracles of power, paragons of virtue, and deeply tied to the things of this world, or at least, that world. They’re everything our most primitive selves want to worship — authority, heroism, status, purity, position — and everything we should never, ever give that worship. They are, like their little ponies, people, and rulers in their own right.

Worship is poison to rulers, and my sense is that the princesses, being good rulers, loathe being made objects of veneration. This is why I showed Twilight, in the last third of the story in her future-persona as the Dusk Princess, keeping the pilgrims who pass through her palace at forelegs-length. She neither aids, nor bars, these ponies from passing through her domain. She also exerts no authority over that back-door to her castle through which no-pony ever returns. It must be exceedingly uncomfortable for poor Twilight Sparkle, but thus are the burdens of the peytral.

Why give the story a “Mystery” tag?

I did not want to leave the impression that this was Horror, anything horrible, or a Thriller, because there was nothing of the jump-scare or the rush in what I had written. And so, I filed it under Mystery, because death is a mystery to all but the dead.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Thanks for reading, and thank you for tolerating my indifferent and erratic prose. And, to mis-quote Lois McMaster Bujold, ‘write when you find good works’.

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

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Comments ( 5 )

Well deserved. As I recently blogged, Mitch has a bunch of other stories you should check out.

Of course, the best-- or at least cleverest-- #savetree story is still Skywriter's Heart is Where the Home is.

4803885

Ha! That's great, somehow I missed that one. Thanks for the link.

Read this the other day and was impressed. Good to see it here.

R5h

Congrats! It's an odd story, but a good one.

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