• Member Since 2nd Nov, 2012
  • offline last seen 30 minutes ago

Admiral Biscuit


he/him

More Blog Posts758

  • Saturday
    Mechanic: Learning from Failure

    Alrighty, kids, time for another mechanic blog post, yay! Y’all know the drill.


    Source
    Eh, close enough

    Today we’re gonna look at a Dodge Avenger!

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    7 comments · 236 views
  • 1 week
    The Admiral's Epic Trip Up North, part 4

    We’re gonna pick up where we left off, in Petoskey.


    Some of these are Petoskey Stones!

    The detour was still in place in the morning, but this time I knew where to go and headed further south.

    Read More

    29 comments · 227 views
  • 1 week
    Signal Boost: Ace is the Place

    Have you ever wondered what it might be like if a store were staffed by ponies but managed by a human? Good news, you don’t have to wonder any further; Buck Swisher has a story about helpful hardware store ponies.

    EAce Is The Place
    Ace is the place with the helpful hardware...ponies?
    Buck Swisher · 1.8k words  ·  99  12 · 912 views

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    21 comments · 205 views
  • 1 week
    Mechanic: Terminology Explainer

    My last blog post, we talked about some railroad slang. Like, you don’t go to dinner, you go for beans. Pull out a drawbar, you pulled a lung; if you get the draft timbers, too, you got the secret works. Heaven help you if you go in the ditch.

    Read More

    38 comments · 364 views
  • 2 weeks
    Story Notes: Buttons

    For someone who’s had a lifelong interest in trains, I sure haven’t posted all that many stories about ponies and trains, have I?


    Source

    Really no excuse for it, but better late than never.

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    33 comments · 303 views
Aug
10th
2018

Story Notes: Turnpike · 12:26am Aug 10th, 2018

Special thanks to ROBCakeran53 for pre-reading and telling me what I already knew but still needed to hear. He wrote An Even Worse Self-Insert, you know.


Source


I’m gonna do this one a little bit differently than most, the reason which will become apparent if you’ve already read the story (and if you haven’t, why not?).

I was driving back from Bronycon, tired from con, and I’d gotten delayed in Maryland: a wrong turn, followed by one lane being closed due to an asphalt truck that laid down for a nap, followed by a monsoon. . . .

I was also a little bit bored, and I’d listened to a lot of Harry Chapin.* I was going to change things up and listen to Meatloaf, but while I had the jewel case, there was nothing inside.

So there I was bored on the Ohio Turnpike and listening to Harry Chapin, and a story idea began to form. A story about a hitchhiker.
______________________
*This will become important later.

SirNotAppearingInThisFic once said that “It seems the last function that AB's brain lets go of in any given situation is writing.” and he’s not wrong.

Once upon a time, I was giving advice on how to write slice of life. I said that one way to do it--especially for PoE--is to just look around you at literally anything and ask yourself what a a pony would think about it. What would it tell her? What would she think it was for? Would she like it or not? Would it be useful to a pony? Dangerous? Utterly useless? What solution do the ponies have for the problem that thing addresses? And so forth. You can follow this line of thinking for a million words or so if you’re inclined. Trust me.


Source

I was also thinking about hitchhikers and love lost and love gained and missed connections, in part because of Harry Chapin. There are very few songs that I know all the words to, but one of them is A Better Place to Be. I probably knew the lyrics before I even really knew what the story was about, in fact.

He’s got a song where he basically says ‘don’t ask me,’ and I might have also had that in my mind.*

Another song that’s mentioned in passing is C. W. McCall’s There Won’t Be No Country Music.
________________________________
*This will be relevant later.

So as soon as I had the germ of an idea in my head, it was like I could look over and see her, and from that point on the story mostly wrote itself.

Virtually all the images in the story are taken from real life, at the moment they occurred. The line of Caterpillar dump trucks, the lane-shifted traffic leaning towards the median, the Ford Flex, the two towers. I’ll admit that I fudged the description of the Hampton Inn’s rooms a bit. There are rooms with a highway view, since I saw it from the highway, and they do offer a continental breakfast, but I’ve never stayed there. Still, all hotel rooms are kinda the same.

The description of both the van and what was in the van are also perfectly accurate. Well, all except the pony.


And speaking of the pony.

Her name isn’t Western Star. As the protagonist suspected, that was a name she saw and used. And while I thought it was an obscure enough reference that a lot of people would think that they should know it, but couldn’t place it, I asked a co-worker, and he also said that it sounded familiar but he didn’t know what it was.

It’s a brand of over-the-road truck.


Source

Her actual name is Bow Tie, which is appropriate enough.


Rob said to me early in the editing process, before the story was complete, was “I guess the question is, what's the story about?” To which I replied, “I don’t know.”

One of my favorite King books is The Colorado Kid, and I think if you like my SoL, you’ll like it. It’s a mystery, and it’s one that he never gives an actual answer to. Oh, the characters have ideas, but they don’t know. At one point in his story notes, King says “I wanted to see how my characters coped with the fact of him.”

I think that’s what this is about, at the very end of it.

A thing happens, and it’s a thing that may or may not have satisfactory answers. Not satisfactory for the readers, and honestly perhaps not satisfactory for me. It is, after all, a self-insert, and I legit don’t have the answers. GaP Jaxie said something about that in his panel, that we authors ought to have five layers of answers, followed by “Go to bed, Sweetie Belle.”

I’ve got what you see in the story and what you see in the blog post and that is all. Full stop.


I guess in some ways, it’s not exactly a story.

Then again, as King said, “We’re in a kind of compulsory dodgeball game as we free-fall from Whatever to Ain’t Got A Clue. ... I write to find out what I think.”

So do I, Mr. King. So do I.


Source

Comments ( 36 )

I tend to the "Go to bed, Sweetie Belle" answer about second.

jxj

I’m gonna do this one a little bit differently than most, the reason which will become apparent if you’ve already read the story (and if you haven’t, why not?).

Because this went up first. I was really confused for a minute.

This was a pretty interesting idea for a fic, especially because hitchhiking isn't really a thing anymore.

4917423
For me, it depends. There’s been plenty of stuff where it’s “I don’t know” right away, and then other stuff where I could talk your ear off about minutiae.

4917424

Because this went up first. I was really confused for a minute.

That always happens on new stories; it’s ‘cause the story approving bot takes its time and doesn’t let us poor mortals know.

This was a pretty interesting idea for a fic, especially because hitchhiking isn't really a thing anymore.

Thanks!

Yeah, it’s really not. Picked up lots of hitchhikers back in the day, including one crazy old guy I’ll never forget called Emil.

Speaking of songs, one that I feel fits well with this when I was reading it at work the other day.

https://m.

Anything can be a story . Its just depends on how good its told that shows how good it is. The more popular the better its told. Details can change a lot in a story. Those that say a story is bad only say the telling is bad or they don like the content.

That was a really interesting story and I enjoyed it quite a lot.

I used to travel quite a bit. I would meet people at gas stations, restaurants and sometimes when I would just stop to sleep. A bit of conversation perhaps or just a smile in passing. I think about those times and people. What ever happened to them or those places? I'll likely never know. It could be a good story, though.

Thanks for the memories, Biscuit.

That pony seems *really* familiar for some reason, especially the name, but my memory isn't always so hot so it escapes me *why* they seem so familiar...

(Clearly I'm no Pinkie Pie, who always knows exactly who everypony is and everything about them...)

4917472
She’s a G1 pony. I don’t know very much about her, to be honest. Just a few gifs I’ve seen.

Firstly, u wood.
Second, me and ColdSpik went to do touristy things in DC on Monday, and we wound up leaving super late, so we missed all that shit lol.
I've stayed at a couple Hampton Inns, and they've all been nice, and reasonably priced.

“I guess the question is, what's the story about?” To which I replied, “I don’t know.”

Fuck it, a lot of good slice of life's are exactly that. Not about anything in particular, just about the characters.

4917503

Firstly, u wood.

You’re really going to love saying that on my next story.

Second, me and ColdSpik went to do touristy things in DC on Monday, and we wound up leaving super late, so we missed all that shit lol.
I've stayed at a couple Hampton Inns, and they've all been nice, and reasonably priced.

I didn’t mention in the blog post, but part of the reason that the napping asphalt truck was such a problem was that it made a mogul in the slow lane and that’s not a feature you want to have on the highway.

I’m sure I’ve stayed at a Hampton, but I can’t remember when.

“I guess the question is, what's the story about?” To which I replied, “I don’t know.”

Fuck it, a lot of good slice of life's are exactly that. Not about anything in particular, just about the characters.

Agreed. And I fully embrace that. The story’s about the characters and while there’s no proper resolution, there doesn’t have to be IMHO.

One of my favorite King books is The Colorado Kid, and I think if you like my SoL, you’ll like it.

Hey, I read that one. It also got claimed as inspiration for a TV show called Haven.

4917538

Hey, I read that one. It also got claimed as inspiration for a TV show called Haven.

Huh, I didn’t know that. Might have to watch that, then.

It's hard to write a story well in which nothing really happens (at least by conventional writing standards), but this one had me engaged all the same.

By God, that is a saucy pony.

Another brilliant SoL! :pinkiehappy: I love how you snuck in information about how long Bowtie's wanderings have been by her comment on how she can't usually be seen when riding in a truck cab. Weirdly enough she was the character I really identified with in this story.

In the notes above, you mention that the easy way to do SoL is to put yourself in the pony's place and look at the commonplace through fresh eyes. This (IMHO) is the way to approach any fiction. Each and every scene needs to be examined through the eyes of every character involved. It not only avoids inadvertently handing the idiot ball to anyone or turning them into a cardboard cut-out, but it often also discovers amazing stuff seemingly out of nowhere.

4917644
That's because "conventional writing standards" (i.e. what English Lit teachers tell you) are mostly off-target.

People aren't engaged by the action in a story, they're interested in what is going to happen. Throughout this story, the possibility of something significant happening was always there to create tension, until the fact that "nothing really happens" becomes the significant thing. Does that sound crazy? That's because storytelling is much more subtle and complex than most people are taught.

jxj

4917446

That always happens on new stories; it’s ‘cause the story approving bot takes its time and doesn’t let us poor mortals know.

that makes sense. I've just never seen them go live before

I recognized Bow Tie right away given that I grew up with this show. It was interesting to say the least to see how you at least gave her take on things. I'm also a little sad because she was never seen again after Rescue at Midnight Castle.

The loss of that potential just sucks.

4917649
Bowtie? She’s adorable, she is.

4917871

Another brilliant SoL! :pinkiehappy: I love how you snuck in information about how long Bowtie's wanderings have been by her comment on how she can't usually be seen when riding in a truck cab. Weirdly enough she was the character I really identified with in this story.

Thanks!

The little details are the most important ones, I think. Like you noted, that does imply that she’s been at it for a while, and often gets rides in over-the-road trucks.

And I don’t think that there’s anything strange with identifying with her.

In the notes above, you mention that the easy way to do SoL is to put yourself in the pony's place and look at the commonplace through fresh eyes. This (IMHO) is the way to approach any fiction. Each and every scene needs to be examined through the eyes of every character involved. It not only avoids inadvertently handing the idiot ball to anyone or turning them into a cardboard cut-out, but it often also discovers amazing stuff seemingly out of nowhere.

Yeah, that’s a very good point. I didn’t specify further because the notes are really just about this story, but there’s certainly a difference in how a unicorn might see something, or a pegasus, or a person, and further variants from person to person or pony to pony. The discovery part of that process is the best. I remember the first time it happened to me, I was writing a typical fantasy story that had a werefox as one of the characters (like a werewolf, but a fox), and I suddenly realized that she’d have agoraphobia since she’s used to the forest and burrows and things like that. Being in a ship on the ocean was not a good place for her. And it was just so amazing, because that had been nothing in my notes, but when I got to that scene I just knew.

People aren't engaged by the action in a story, they're interested in what is going to happen. Throughout this story, the possibility of something significant happening was always there to create tension, until the fact that "nothing really happens" becomes the significant thing. Does that sound crazy? That's because storytelling is much more subtle and complex than most people are taught.

I’d never thought of it like that, but you’re right. We turn the page because we want to know what’s going to happen next, not what’s happening now, and if you’ve got that, you’ve got a great story.

When I was a teenager, I of course loved action movies with fight scenes and big explosions and archetypes for all the characters, witty one-liners . . . watched lots of Schwarzenegger and Van Damme and Seagal, and then was utterly amazed to find that I also loved Twelve Angry Men, a black and white movie in which none of that stuff happens. Heck, most of the movie takes place in one room. But damned if I didn’t want to know how that was going to turn out in the end. And you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that I’ve never re-watched a Van Damme or Seagal movie, but I’ve seen Twelve Angry Men a bunch of times.

4918254

I recognized Bow Tie right away given that I grew up with this show. It was interesting to say the least to see how you at least gave her take on things. I'm also a little sad because she was never seen again after Rescue at Midnight Castle.

I’ll confess that I was (and still am) totally unfamiliar with her, having never seen any of the earlier stuff except for A Very Minty Christmas. And that’s something I should do, if I can find those episodes.

The loss of that potential just sucks.

The little blurb on the wiki makes it sound like she would have been a good pony to have kept around.

4919168

And it was just so amazing, because that had been nothing in my notes, but when I got to that scene I just knew.

It's awesome when that happens! And... werefox? I think I'd like to read that story!

I love action films and stories... if they're done well. Fights and chase scenes can be very engaging beyond the virtuosity of the stunt work as long as they have consequences; what's going to happen next? Someone's going to get hurt or escape, or caught or escape... and my interest is held because I want to find out which. That's why the pacing of fight/chase scenes is so critical. They're usually good for just one plot point and if they go on too long they become boring no matter how skillfully they're staged and edited. If you ever want to torture yourself, watch Michael Bay's The Island for the most appallingly boring chase scene in history. Each moment of it is technically well-done, but it goes on for 45 freakin' minutes and 15 minutes into it the audience was checking their phones and going out for more popcorn.

Twelve Angry Men is a masterpiece in damn near every aspect.

Cute hors. I didn't realize it was an earlier generation pony until reading comments and such

4919176
Wellll you can find those episodes; just nowhere that I know of legally for online/digital distribution :trixieshiftright:

4919176
From what I saw and heard during Rescue at Midnight Castle I can only say yes. She just has something about her that was attractive in many levels. Of course I was seven years old when the episode aired so I wanted to hug Bow Tie, I still do actually. :heart:

Now that I know it was apparently supposed to be obscure, I feel odd already knowing what Western Star is.

4919594
Like, it’s not suppose to be so obscure that practically nobody would know it, but just the kind of thing that isn’t general knowledge to most people. Like if she’d said her name was Allis Chalmers, that wouldn’t mean much for most people, but it’s not some really obscure name.

https://78.media.tumblr.com/090ad641c0d2cba2c46d2c2b57ce2a0c/tumblr_og01tilDhD1r8c0e4o1_640.png

This has happened to me more times than I can count.

Her name isn’t Western Star. As the protagonist suspected, that was a name she saw and used.

I still wonder what her deal was. On vacation and bored of the tourist-y places? Or some kind of quest of self-discovery? Or on the run? (She'd probably have been a lot more nervous in that case.)

https://derpibooru.org/407959

she blep

4920432

This has happened to me more times than I can count.

Me, too. The struggle is real, even with hands.

I still wonder what her deal was. On vacation and bored of the tourist-y places? Or some kind of quest of self-discovery? Or on the run? (She'd probably have been a lot more nervous in that case.)

I don’t know. I don’t have that answer.

she blep

:heart:
She’s such a cutie.

And here I was thinking she'd gotten the name from a brand of butter.

4942920
I don’t think we have that in America. Maybe, I dunno. Be an odd thing to have named herself after.

I KNEW IT!
I've been reading your stories in reverse order and, the whole time, I kept getting the feeling you were a fan of (or at least familiar with) Stephen King's writing style. You have his general 'directional aimlessness' method down very well and it is as annoyingly engrossing as in his own works.

Thank you for writing all these - both the stories and the AN - it is a delight to read them.

5146559

I KNEW IT!
I've been reading your stories in reverse order and, the whole time, I kept getting the feeling you were a fan of (or at least familiar with) Stephen King's writing style.

:heart:
I’ll be honest, I haven’t read any of his stuff in a while, but I read all of it back in the day. Probably there’s some Gunslinger influence in some of my stuff, along with the idea from The Colorado Kid that it’s okay to not explain shit. :rainbowlaugh:

You have his general 'directional aimlessness' method down very well and it is as annoyingly engrossing as in his own works.

A lot of that is probably little planning and just writing to see what happens . . . which, I have learned, is called ‘discovery writing.’ Also, I do hope that I get the strong characters--I think that’s what’s best about King’s writing.

Thank you for writing all these - both the stories and the AN - it is a delight to read them.

You’re quite welcome! You’ll find author’s notes for practically everything, except a few one-shots, and Silver Glow’s Journal because there’s no way I could have done that and author’s notes (you’ll find out why when you get to it).

4919176

I’ll confess that I was (and still am) totally unfamiliar with her, having never seen any of the earlier stuff except for A Very Minty Christmas. And that’s something I should do, if I can find those episodes.

You can watch/download all My Little Pony things at http://www.kimcartoon.to/ . Just be ready for all the popups. It's so full of ads over there.

I wonder why she left Dream Valley?

Maybe she just wanted explore the world of the Great Savior of ponykind Megan.

Maybe she wants adventure? If she does... Maybe she'll run into Sam and Dean, and get her wish. ... And then, promptly wish that she hadn't gotten her wish afterall.

5215572

You can watch/download all My Little Pony things at http://www.kimcartoon.to/ . Just be ready for all the popups. It's so full of ads over there.

I might check that out, thanks!

I wonder why she left Dream Valley?
Maybe she just wanted explore the world of the Great Savior of ponykind Megan.
Maybe she wants adventure? If she does... Maybe she'll run into Sam and Dean, and get her wish. ... And then, promptly wish that she hadn't gotten her wish afterall.

You hit it on the nose; she wants to explore. I dunno about adventure, I suppose that depends on how one considers the word (seeing the Grand Canyon could be an adventure, and so could getting in an accident with a city bus and riding to the hospital on a backboard). Maybe exploring with minimal risk?

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