• Member Since 22nd Sep, 2015
  • offline last seen 1 hour ago

Hazel Mee


There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a pony in the depths of a Friendship binge.

More Blog Posts37

  • 75 weeks
    Quick Update

    Being antisocial has its advantages during days like these.

    Read More

    0 comments · 76 views
  • 81 weeks
    A word of advice.

    If you're annoyed that an author/artist/composer/etc. seems to have abandoned a story/comic/album that you enjoy, just send them a note asking if they're planning to return to it soon.

    Moaning comments and passive-aggressive tantrums are unkind and counter productive. :twilightsmile:


    Read More

    0 comments · 79 views
  • 96 weeks
    Pathetic whining

    My employers have asked me, and everyone else in the marketing department, to work from home for the next three weeks.

    On one hand: YAY! No wasting two hours of my life every day commuting.

    On the other: Boo! This will make writing ponefic even more difficult.

    Read More

    0 comments · 108 views
  • 122 weeks
    The mare who kicked my ass

    Oh, P.K...

    Why...?

    Why do you have such a bouncy trot?

    My poor ass bones! :raritydespair:

    Read More

    6 comments · 161 views
  • 128 weeks
    Bronycon report

    I went to a convention for a show which is literally about the magic of friendship, and managed to avoid making any.

    :facehoof:


    GOOD

    • Driving through the forest-y hills of Pennsylvania.

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    0 comments · 154 views
Sep
23rd
2018

Blue Line of Fate: An analysis of my process... and me · 10:38am Sep 23rd, 2018

Since it's the first thing I've written that ever won a contest (also the first I've ever entered into a contest), I though it might be nice to write a little about how it happened. Even if no one else is interested I'll come back and read this months from now and enjoy the nostalgia. :twilightsmile:

When I read Anzel and Crystal Wishes' post about the contest I really, really wanted to write something for it. I loved their stories and being invited to 'play' in their backyard was irresistible. Of the four suggested topics the one about 'somepony finding a blue line, then another one, and another' stuck with me. (There'll probably be other spoilers to their stories as I go along, so if you're skipping this one you might want to skip this whole post.) Such a story would have to include Azurite as the source of the blue lines, and she's such a fun character!

My first thought was that the blue lines were being used to prank Princess Celestia. Painted in secret around Canterlot along with a rumour that she was looking for a suitor. Then our protagonist would be wandering around, notice a line, follow it until they run into a line up of hopefuls. Of course the last few ponies in line have no idea what this is all about but our protag gets in line as well, just out of curiosity. Etc., etc.

I wasn't keen on it.

It seemed a bit out of character and too mean for the Prankster and I didn't have a cute resolution that wrapped the whole thing up in a ribbon.

This is where the logical part of my mind kicked in and looked for another way to tie 'lines' into the Quill & Blade universe. Lovey Dovey was the obvious and extremely appealing answer! Okay, so, now I had my Prankster and Protag to play off of one another; where was the story in this?

I had to let the 'earth' of the setting and characters sit and ferment for a few days, waiting for inspiration to plant a seed.

As frequently happens, it struck while I was at work. I was outside, having a vape and enjoying the heatwave -- they keep the AC up way too high in the office -- when the idea of having the Prankster setting up a hokey fortune telling tent and our Protag getting super excited about someone else sharing her abilities to talk to. Having two super-cute and 'ditzy' characters, both with unique ways of seeing the world, huddled together in a darkened tent and going a bit batty having a goofy seance stuck in my mind's eye. Perfect!

Now that I had the inspiration for a scene I needed to build out the rest of the story around it. That's usually how I write; a scene comes to mind and I use logic to come up with questions ("why is this happening", "who are they", "what do they say", "what do they mean to one another", etc.) to goad my imagination into coming up with answers. And I take notes. Lots of point form notes.

Writer's Tip: If you have a text editor open on your work computer and look extremely focused and busy, your manager and coworkers won't suspect that you're writing ponefic notes. Also, a digital voice dictation pen for when you're driving stuck in traffic is very helpful.

It took a few days of note taking but finally I had the kernel of a plot line. Great characters to play with. A fun setting. And a delightful (if I may say so myself) 'twist' ending to wrap everything up nicely. If you've read the story; when you got to the end, if you felt that slightly shocked and gleeful sensation of not having seen that coming? Yeah, that exactly how I felt when my imagination presented it to me on a silver platter. :twilightoops:

I LOVE when that happens! When an idea like that pops up from seemingly nowhere or when dialog or actions swerve from what I thought they were going to be and the character insists on doing it their way. I know that this is really just me doing it, that it's all coming from inside of my own head -- it's just that the conscious "I did this" responsibility taker part of my mind is disengaged from where the thinking is taking place. But it's exciting to be in "the zone" and learn about the story as if I'm reading it rather than writing it. It feels effortless, which is a stark contrast to everything else involved in writing a story.

I broke my notes down into three logical scenes and organised it in Scrivener. (Which I think is an awesome tool for writers! If you've never heard of it you might want to check it out.) It was time for more research. I re-read all of Anzel and Crystal Wishes' stories that featured the Prankster and Protag, taking notes about appearance and attitude so that I could really nail them and get more inspiration for action and dialog. A few folks have pointed out that I captured them well, so the extra effort to make sure I understood them was worth it. (That and I had fun re-re-re-re-reading the stories. :pinkiehappy:)

After that it was time to get writing. It took part of a weekend, a week's worth of early morning sessions before work, and then the following weekend to get it out of my head an into my eeePC. Whittling it down by about 500 words to fit into the word-length limit was difficult but also a very rewarding exercise as it forced me rework a lot of run-on sentences and zap filler words which generally tightened things up.

I'd been pestering Cross Lament about this since I first read about the contest. Poor fox! I sent them a copy and hovered like an annoying gnat while they read it. The verdict was good! So, with my anxiety peaking I cut and paste the story into the contest entry form and reluctantly hit the [SUBMIT] button. That was the hardest part. :facehoof:

I put the whole thing out of my mind until I saw a post on FimFic that voting had started. My story was one of the finalists! Woo! Time to start feeling anxious again! Yay! :facehoof: :facehoof:

Is it narcissistic that I voted for my own story? Maybe a little. I did read all of the stories and tried to be impartial, but that's pretty much like trying not to pick your own child out of school play as your favourite actor, right? I probably shouldn't have voted at all because now I feel a bit guilty about it. Ugh. I hope it didn't win by one vote!

I was freaking out a bit so I forced myself to avoid the whole thing for a couple of days after the voting had ended. Well, not so much forced myself to avoid it, but rather it took a couple of days after the vote before I worked up the nerve to find out which story had won. Cross had to scout ahead for me and reassure me that all of the feedback was good before I dared to look. (Are you seeing a theme here? Yeah, I'm a bundle of anxiety.)

Finding out that my story had won? Reading the wonderful, gushing praise in the comments on the blog posts for the voting? Wow! That had me grinning an blushing like a lunatic! Also wanting to move to a small cabin in the wilderness and never see the internet again. I don't handle attention and praise very well. :raritydespair:

Which of course makes me feel guilty.

I don't want anyone to feel bad about giving me attention and praise! Even if it kind of hurts me. That's my problem to deal with, not theirs, and I am sorry that it sometimes spills over and becomes someone else's problem.

I saw a blog post by Crystal who sounded rather frantic to find out who had written Blue Lines of Fate. Doh! I quickly squashed my half-baked thoughts about staying anonymous and never taking credit for my story and PM'd her to fess up. We had a lovely exchange of messages and she convinced me to post it here on FimFic. That brings us to today.

I had a BLAST writing this story and I'm so giddy that Crystal Wishes and Anzel both loved it! Dealing with my anxieties is also rewarding in it's own way, as each little victory makes it a touch easier the next time. :twilightsmile:

Comments ( 2 )

I have to say, I absolutely loved your story, getting to read it was a real treat, especially since Lovey is, bar none, my favorite side character of the QnB stories. You did such a good job I would have wondered if it hadn't been ghost-written by Crystal and Anzel themselves if I didn't know them better. Plus, watching Crystal try desperately to find out who had written it was fun in it's own way. (A bunch of us kept making "false confessions" in the QnB Discord. Twas great fun.) All that said, just have to say it again: great job, and congrats on winning!

4942851
Oh dear. I hope you didn't tease her too much. :raritycry:

Thank you! I'm happy you enjoyed my story. Hopefully I can scribble down a few more ponewords that you'll enjoy. :twilightsmile:

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