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Amber Spark


"Do it with love, do it with passion and never dream small!” - Author, Designer & Creator - Patreon/Ko-Fi

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May
2nd
2018

Takka Takka Takka: April 2018 - Some Kind of Crazy · 12:04am May 2nd, 2018

I’m rather shocked to find that April had already gone by. I’m seriously having to look at the calendar and wonder what the heck just happened. Then I see my new work classes, some pretty crazy stuff going on behind the scenes in A Study On Chaos Theory, My Kind of Crazy and spending a lot more time with the kids and well…

It’s a miracle I wrote anything this month.


April Word Count: 13,946


Yeah. Believe it or not, when I first started my draft of this blog post on Sunday, I had less than 10K (I’m hoping I have the time to blast it up past 10K before we hit Tuesday and am happy to report that I did!).

And in truth, it’s getting to me. Badly. I’ve spent so much time editing in the last few weeks (Chaos Theory and My Kind of Crazy), plus a focused effort on spending more time with the family and trying to do this whole “social life” thing… more than once, I’ve bemoaned my lack of creative writing.

Sadly, I had to admit, I have one hell of a writer’s block right now. None of my stories are coming together and I have to struggle for even five hundred words. Even my attempts at cute one-offs aren’t coming to me.

Don’t worry, I’m not throwing in the towel or anything. I just need to somehow get back in the game and get my discipline back up. Maybe I’ll try a little writing tonight (it’s Sunday) and we’ll see what happens.



I am very happy to say that SLS2 is officially wrapped. Because of the reasons I mentioned above, I’m not immediately going to jump into editing this monster of a story. I need a break from editing for a while.

This project turned out to be a lot harder than the last time. A lot of things happened behind the scenes (at least I hope they were behind the scenes). I’m not going to go into them all here, of course. That would be idiotic. A lot of issues I ended up bringing on myself. A lot of logistical issues.

I’m very glad we managed to finish it despite the problems, though.

However, you folks should know that after some deliberation and conversations with the “Eternal Voyagers” (basically the council of writers I picked to help act as mods/sounding boards/sanity checks), I’ve decided that I will not be doing another SunLight Sliders next year, at least not in its current form. SLS2 ended up causing me way more stress than it should have and with everything else going on in my life, I don’t want to commit to something of this scale next year. (No, I’m sure I’ll come up with an idea even crazier and bigger, because I’m me).

I’m playing with the idea of doing a “limited” version of it, namely with a select group of pre-arranged authors and a much more lax approach to the whole coordinating-between-authors thing, but it’s in the very early conceptual stage right now.

That being said, I do plan on adding a special epilogue that will only be available in the full published version I’ll release within the next few months.

For those following it, I hope you enjoyed that crazy, crazy ride!


April’s Bookshelf:

A Study on Chaos Theory - Dimensions & Interlude: Peer Review, Phase One

I’ll tell you, I got one of the best comments of all time on Dimensions:

AAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

(Courtesy of Ri2)

Seriously, nothing is more satisfying to know that a person is that emotionally invested in a story. Now, of course, I’m not going to tell you what happens at the end of this story, but it’s incredibly rewarding to hear everyone chat about what Sunset/MD/Twi should be doing… and (probably) aren’t going to do.

I should also mention that while I usually like to respond to every comment I can in my stories, I’ve decided to break that rule with Chaos Theory (as you obviously have already figured out). I know I like to tease you and throw red herrings at you… but it doesn’t feel right for this story. Sunset’s really messed up in this story and I don’t think I can tease you without giving too much away. There’s more at stake than you might know here. Because the events of Chaos Theory will have ripples that continue for years to come...

This story has turned out hard. I had the first draft finished well over a year ago. I had hoped it would require much in the way of editing. Sadly, I was wrong. There weren’t any fundamental issues like in some other stories, but some character stuff did come up, some events and a few additions were required.

...I tell you, trying to do an episodic series of stories on FimFiction is freaking HARD.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t seen it already, I have a new version of the Wavelengths Timeline!

You’re going to want to click on that, trust me. As you guys can see from the previous one here…

Things have changed dramatically.

What was once the Infatuation and Other Lies Arc is now three arcs: Dreamers, Everfree and Dawn. 

You’ll see the reasons why as time goes by, but I will tell you that all the colors were chosen for a very specific reason. But, the expansion was required to really get the pieces in place to tell the story of Sparks.

Trust me, it’ll be worth it.

My Kind of Crazy

It’s finally finished!

You guys finally got to see my vision of Pinkie Pie (at least the EqG version). I don’t want to spoil things for the full Retrospective I’m going to do later, but this is seriously one of my favorite stories I’ve written to date. Pinkie was so fun to write. And Skystar and Pinkie make the most adorable couple. As I’ve said a thousand times, I love them, they’re perfect and they’re wonderful.

While the story itself may not have done great in the view department, Mono helped remind me that SkyPie is actually a very new ship (after all, Skystar just showed up in the movie) and it’s fairly niche. Some people have certain ideas about Skystar’s age that makes it totally wrong to ship her with anypony. (I “cheated” and made it very clear how old she was in Crazy. After all, it’s a bit more clear to tell age in humans.) And don’t get me wrong, I understand where those thoughts come from, but I just think Skystar’s behaviour is caused primarily by being so sheltered and lonely rather than being insanely young.

Nevertheless, those who read it seem to have fully enjoyed it. The last time I got this much praise for a character’s POV, it was with The Cloudsdale Report and Princess Celestia. I’m really, really happy you folks all liked her. I’ll go more into her narrative voice later, but it’s been a personal challenge of mine to be able to master narrative voices, so you could actually know exactly who’s narrating the event by the language (even if I didn’t give you the Cutie Mark breaks/headers).

Anyway, I’m so very glad you all enjoyed the story! For those who haven’t listened yet, here’s the full My Kind of Crazy playlist!

Codename: Serenade - Ongoing

Yup. Still a thing. Even a new thing.


May’s Bookshelf:

Everfree Northwest 2018!!!

I can’t believe in a few weeks I’ll be in Seattle and get to see a bunch of you all. I’m super psyched (and more than a little terrified). Last year, I hunted down all of my MLP VAs and got the autographs I really wanted. This time… most of my time will be spent with my fellow writers and I can’t wait!

It’s gonna be awesome! I’m not freaking out. Yes, I am. Maybe I am. I don’t know. I’ll get back to you.

A Study on Chaos Theory - Ongoing

With the reveal of Raven as a perspective character (trust me, it was a surprise to me, too) and Coloratura and Coco Pommel now in Canterlot, we’ve got everything in place. It’s time to kick this thing into high gear.

I’ve recently decided to make some changes in our internal editing/pre-reading processes that should hopefully make things run smoother for everyone, even if it’s going to be insanely hard at the start. I hope to be switching to a weekly release schedule for A Study on Chaos Theory in the very near future. Part of the reason is that if I kept with the current biweekly schedule, the story wouldn’t wrap until mid-August and that’s too long for me.

Nope, we’re going to do this thing. And that leads into the next story…

On the Brewing of Saddle Arabian Teas - Coming Soon!

Let me level with you guys: this story—as it stands now—is kind of a trainwreck. I’ve had some hard conversations with the Wavelengths Editing Team and have come to the conclusion that I’m going to need to retool a lot of the story. Entire chapters need to be yanked out or rewritten from scratch. That’s going to be one of my main projects in the coming weeks.

Hopefully, it’ll fix this desperate creative need I’ve had for a while now. Still, I’m going to do things a little differently: the Wavelengths Editing Team is going to completely sign off on it before it starts going to print.

The weekly struggle to edit and polish is frankly more than I can handle. And I hope you guys will get a better story because of it.

Seriously, you owe the entire team a ton. More than you will EVER KNOW.

My Little Pony: Unity - Silver Lining - Coming Soon!

I’m happy to reveal a late-draft of the cover of Silver Lining by the amazing JayMan155!

I know that a ton of you fell in love with Filly Bee. But I confess… I didn’t have any other plans for more Filly Bee! Did I tell you this already? I probably did. Oh well, I’ll say it again. I didn’t have any plans.

So, I made plans! More on that a little later.

Silver Lining is actually the first “true” story I wrote for MLP: Unity. As (I think) I said previously, it’s the story of how Bee met her best friend, Shadow Blossom. However, a new story (In Transit) has come up that occurs before the events in Silver Lining that require some changes.

But this will come out this month, I hope. The edits should be minor.

Oh wait, I should talk about the plans, right?

I’m working on a new story called Little Wonders, starring Filly Bee and her middle sister, Golden Aura! It’s them being adorable fillies in Fillydelphia (har har) as Aurie helps Blue with her latest tinkering experiment! I think it’s going to be a lovely little emotional SoL pic.

In fact, here’s the fantastic adult Golden Aura!

Golden Aura is Blue Venture’s opposite in personality. She’s cheerful, outgoing, upbeat and flirty as hell. As a Dream Psychologist in an Equestria that Luna has left behind (she left a few hundred years ago), she has a unique talent of helping ponies deal with fears with an innate understanding of the inner workings of a pony’s psyche.

The catch is she tends to psychoanalyze just about everypony around her—including her sisters—so romantic relationships tend to be somewhat short-lived. However, she’s accepted that part of herself. In our present game, she’s currently trying to find a way to reconnect with Bee.  

Gardens of Equestria: This Coming Storm - In Development

I finally cracked open the GECK last Monday and started doing some serious work. I dusted off the GoE Discord Server and now am trying to get things back together. Slow progress, but it’s happening. Definitely going to happen.

It has to.


The "Currently Reading" Bookshelf

Believe it or not, I’m actually still going through the Quill & Blade Universe, as each story tends to draw me deeper into this fantastic world of theirs… though things just took a massive turn for the worst in a recent story.

Crystal and Anzel have a unique gift for creating narratives that interweave like no other. There are moments where you see the exact same scene through three different sets of eyes… and the world changes a little—sometimes a lot—with each. It’s rather amazing.

It reminds me a lot of Wavelengths. More because of what the two are trying to do: something truly unique and special. But even better, they don’t stick to the classic definition of romance. The core stories of Crystal Wishes & Silent Knight are a very classic guy/girl falling in love story, but ther is so much more to this world.

We have Sunny Day, the flirty and ridiculously fun mare who goes from wanna-be dropout to commander of Celestia’s House Guard (and one hell of a unicorn battlemage). We have the mind-shatterly adorable Azurite, who finds herself in love with two ponies and is dealing with a cracked psyche from a horrific tragedy in her past and moving past it into something truly fantastic. We have the astounding Velvet Step, who bucks all definitions of traditional love to the point where she can’t recognize that she is quite capable of being/falling in love, but that she is trapped by the definitions of love from society, friends and family, and it’s a prison of her own making.

Then there’s Lovey Dovey. Okay, think Pinkie Pie on a triple-shot of expresso and is obsessed with matchmaking/love instead of parties. Seriously, this filly is the most random filly I’ve ever seen in a story, yet she somehow makes it work.

...she’s also slightly terrifying.

Quill & Blade is a fantastic AU that anyone who wants to get deep into character needs to read. You’ll find every definition of love in here. You’ll be laughing your tail off non-stop. You’ll find yourself cheering for the heroes, be they fighting for their lives in a sudden ambush or fighting to get a position in a ballerina company. I should warn you this is a very well-rounded world though. There’s a fair amount of darkness (a ton of it in the beginning of Trials), but I feel like even that’s done right. It feels real.

More than anything though… these stories are about life. About the little moments and the big moments and how we often mistake them for one another.

But the more I read… the more authentic it gets. You can tell just how much Crystal and Anzel have either lived or researched the issues their characters confront. Each character has their own lives, histories and motivations. Sometimes it doesn’t become clear for a long while… but it’s always there.

And that’s something truly magnificent.


Monthly Story Recommendation

So, as I’ve said above, I’ve fallen totally in love with the Quill & Blade Universe. While I still have a couple big stories waiting for me, I was thinking about how best to introduce new readers to this world. Specifically, the style and feel of the stories. Don’t get me wrong. Anzel and Crystal are different types of writers, but they also obviously work with one another very well. At this point, if something bad happens, I just blame both. It’s easier that way (don't worry, I blame them both for the good stuff, too).

But this story isn’t about bad things happening. This is probably one of the best coming-of-age stories I’ve ever seen. And the best part is… it’s very, very authentic. I know, I keep using that word for these stories, but it’s the best word.

Now, I don’t know about you, but most of my young life isn’t defined by huge victories and tragic defeats. It’s made up of a lot of little chances, right time/right place things, tiny choices, rushed impulses and a thousand other things. Yes, there are always a few big moments where life tends to change course, but for the most part, the small moments about how we got to those big moments (and what we do after) is what defines us.

Life isn’t about the big moments. Life is made of the small moments.

So that’s why Sunny’s Days gets the recommendation as a good entry point. It’s about 100K, which (for me) is just the perfect length to really enjoy a story and fall in love with a character. Sunny is a bright, cheerful and incredibly gifted unicorn with the rather terrifying special talent of having fire magic. In fact, she’s strong enough (and snarky enough) to gain the attention of none other than Princess Celestia herself for a little extra tutoring.

For the record, we’re not talking about Twilight-level lessons here (though Sunny does have this totally one-sided rivalry with Twilight Sparkle which is utterly hysterical since I’m fairly sure Twi doesn’t even know Sunny Days exists).

I think the best part about this character is how you never really see how she’s growing until somepony points it out and then you realize, “Holy Carp! They’re totally right!”

It’s even better when you eventually get to Three of Hearts and Three of Diamonds. I actually read those first and reading this was a fantastic journey to discover just how Sunny became the Sunny Days who would one day stand beside Princess Celestia as one of her closest confidantes.

I also totally love the way Anzel and Crystal write Celestia. She’s a bit goofier and warmer than the Wavelengths Celestia, but for the most part, this Celestia is in a slightly different place than Wavelengths. But she feels so right. When the true Princess comes out, we see her. But this is a much more intimate Celestia, one who cherishes her friends and loved ones (and you’ll see that more and more in the series).

Then again, I may also have a soft spot for flirty and snarky yellow unicorns with manes like the colors of a campfire.

Which is why… you may actually get to see the Wavelengths version of Sunny Day someday in a future story! Don’t worry, Crystal and Anzel are okay with it. And since Quill & Blades is actually a full Alternate Universe (complete with a totally different history, characters and even Cadance as a unicorn!) and Wavelengths is an Alternate Timeline, there won’t be any conflict. This will just be my interpretation of the character who’s lived a different life.

That being said, I’m gonna have so much fun getting people confused about the two Sunnys. ^^

Anyway, go read the story! It’s fantastic! And read the rest!

But be smart and don’t stay up until 3:30 AM. Like someone I know. :twilightsheepish:

That's it for this month folks! For those coming to EFNW, I'll see you then!

-Novel


Comments ( 22 )

I admit I have only read Silent Knight's side of the quill and blade universe. I should get around to reading Crystal's stuff! :rainbowderp:

Depending how far you are, you may have spotted me somewhere... :rainbowwild:

Definitely looking forward to that epilogue for SS2. And given the rigamarole with it, I can't blame you for not wanting to do a third round next year. MAkes me even more glad I got in for this one.

Also, that bit about Chaos Theory's ramifications... I am now deeply concerned about those nerdhorses...

media.giphy.com/media/3IQsGPmOK8s4U/giphy.gif

Gosh, it is humbling to have someone tear through our stories. It's flattering to hear that they enjoyed them. Thank you for the kind words and recommendation, this is both humbling and flattering all at the same time! I'm really glad to know Anzel and I have accomplished what we wanted to.

I'm also very much looking forward to Wavelengths Sunny Day!

...How did I not know Little Truths was part of Wavelengths until just now? Time to read that, I guess. I imagine I'm in for a treat :3

You misspelled Treatise in the top picture of the story timeline, the one now on your homepage here.

I'm not even through Crystal's Wishes yet, finished Memoirs. Seriously, thank you for the recommendation there. Wonderful stuff... even if I talking at poor Crystal about a story she finished years ago. I didn't get that chatty in Memoirs, probably because, from an emotional standpoint, it felt a bit more straightforward. Yelling at griffons doesn't really go anywhere.

To your own work... I love seeing that's there's more fics to come now in Wavelengths. Don't burn out; it looks like a helluva ride awaiting us. Still gotta read Pinkie and Skystar's story... looking forward to doing so though.

Cheers, man, and see ya at EFNW!

love the skystar art!

I'm sorry to hear about the writer's block. That really sucks to deal with. My advice would be don't push it--don't burn out trying to force yourself to write when it's just not happening. Of course, you know yourself best (and I can't claim much experience in the matter myself), but just take care of yourself.
I am so glad there are plans for more Filly Bee! While I am deeply interested in getting to know her adult self as well, she's just so darn cute as a filly. I'd place her right alongside SkyPie in the ranks of adorableness, and, well, you know how I feel about that.
At least one story from the Quill and Blade universe is on my "Read it Later" shelf, and now I feel a lot more encouraged to actually read it (especially since you gave that helpful tip on where to start)! Unfortunately, I'm limited enough on time as it is, and reading an entire series of 100k+ words per story is waaay beyond what I can do right now. You're not the only one who's had a busy April.
I'm excited to hear that Chaos Theory will be coming out more frequently, since it means I'll get to read it sooner! Good luck with the behind-the-scenes changes, as well as with the massive amount of new stories planned, and again, remember to take care of yourself.

The way I see it, these things - creative energy, interest, 'muse', and so on - come in waves. Sometimes you feel like you're on top of the world and can keep going forever, and sometimes you feel stuck in a slump. But every high must have a low that follows, and every low will eventually give way to another high. So just take a deep breath, and allow yourself to enjoy things other than what you think you ought to be primarily focused on.

'Cyclical' is also a good way to describe this if you don't like the wave metaphor.

But anyway, it sounds like you've done some great work the past month! SLSII turned out fantastically, though I completely understand you not wanting to try for a third year in a row. But know that if you ever decide to resurrect the project, I am totally onboard with participating.

I'm sure you already know how I feel about Chaos Theory and Crazy - you've done great, and you're doing great. Next installments eagerly awaited, and so on and so forth (this goes for the Unity stuff too). Particularly the part about Chaos Theory being released weekly! :pinkiehappy:

As for Teas... well, a pre-emptive thanks to the Editing Horde it seems! And I hope the changes in the editing process make things easier for you in the end.

Have a good May :twilightsmile:

4851659

Depending how far you are, you may have spotted me somewhere...:rainbowwild:

I did pause for a moment when I saw Rosetta going "Wait a sec..." but couldn't place her. It's not like you ever DO anything with her.

4851690

Definitely looking forward to that epilogue for SS2.

It's short and sweet. I think most folks will like it.

Also, that bit about Chaos Theory's ramifications... I am now deeply concerned about those nerdhorses...

:twilightsheepish:

4851694

Gosh, it is humbling to have someone tear through our stories

You deserve it and then some!

I'm also very much looking forward to Wavelengths Sunny Day!

Heh, the more I read about her in Trials, the more I wonder if I can really pull it off (move having to do with the dynamic between her and Tia). But I'll do my best!

4852435
Oddly enough, I've won... three little contests where an artist would choose a random person to include in their tumblr or comic or fic or something, this was one of them. Another was that "askprincesssparkle" tumblr, another was one that never took off after the artist just stopped updating or so. Otherwise no, i don't really use her for much else :P

4851705

...How did I not know Little Truths was part of Wavelengths until just now? Time to read that, I guess. I imagine I'm in for a treat :3

Little Truths is unique, as EbonQuill wrote it, not I. It's a very different Sunset... but it informs a lot of Sunset's past... and who she is now. It's... intense. Good, but intense.

4851722

You misspelled Treatise in the top picture of the story timeline, the one now on your homepage here.

:derpytongue2:

I'm not even through Crystal's Wishes yet, finished Memoirs. Seriously, thank you for the recommendation there.

Yeah, at this point, I just recommend the universe. It's far easier!

To your own work... I love seeing that's there's more fics to come now in Wavelengths. Don't burn out; it looks like a helluva ride awaiting us. Still gotta read Pinkie and Skystar's story... looking forward to doing so though.

There's so much more for you all in store for Wavelengths. And there are secrets that won't be revealed until the end of the entire arc... phew. What's coming is big. ^^

4851761

love the skystar art!

You can never have enough.

4851889

I'm sorry to hear about the writer's block. That really sucks to deal with. My advice would be don't push it--don't burn out trying to force yourself to write when it's just not happening. Of course, you know yourself best (and I can't claim much experience in the matter myself), but just take care of yourself.

Yeah, sadly, it doesn't work like that for me. When I get Writer's Block, I have to push past it and get up the inertia to keep writing again.

I am so glad there are plans for more Filly Bee! While I am deeply interested in getting to know her adult self as well, she's jus tso darn cute as a filly. I'd place her right alongside SkyPie in the ranks of adorableness, and, well, you know how I feel about that.

The Filly Bee ones are definitely adorable. Some of the adult Bee ones are... and some are definitely not.

At least one story from the Quill and Blade universe is on my "Read it Later" shelf, and now I feel a lot more encouraged to actually read it (especially since you gave that helpful tip on where to start)! Unfortunately, I'm limited enough on time as it is, and reading an entire series of 100k+ words per story is waaay beyond what I can do right now. You're not the only one who's had a busy April.

Try Three of Hearts then! It's another great place to start!

I'm excited to hear thatChaos Theorywill be coming out more frequently, since it means I'll get to read it sooner! Good luck with the behind-the-scenes changes, as well as with the massive amount of new stories planned, and again, remember to take care of yourself.

Can't stop words will eat me.

4851908

The way I see it, these things - creative energy, interest, 'muse', and so on - come in waves

Everyone's a little different. If I wander too far, I tend to not come back. So a lot of it is discipline and willpower and training.

As forTeas... well, a pre-emptive thanks to the Editing Horde it seems! And I hope the changes in the editing process make things easier for you in the end.

Yeah. You owe them BIG. :twilightoops:

4852465

Yeah, sadly, it doesn't work like that for me. When I get Writer's Block, I have to push past it and get up the inertia to keep writing again.

Okay. Everyone works a little differently. When I get blocked, I burn out if I try to force myself to keep going; I guess it's the opposite for you. You have my support, no matter how you work; just keep doing whatever needs to be done! As I said, you know yourself best.

4852500
Heh. I'll keep pushing. The good news is I think I cleared it. I've already done 2.5K in 48 hours.

4852440

Otherwise no, i don't really use her for much else :P

Maybe you should write something!

4852440

Otherwise no, i don't really use her for much else :P

Maybe you should write something with her. :rainbowderp:

4852974
I downvote your FACE! :flutterrage:

4852976
Come on, you can do better. :unsuresweetie:

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