• Member Since 2nd Jan, 2014
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Quillamore


I’m cuckoo for Coco Pommel!

More Blog Posts242

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  • 106 weeks
    New Let Somepony Love You Out Soon!

    The Imperfect Storm draft took me longer than expected, but eventually, the global pandemic made me realize I had to get it done sooner or later. And so, I'm back on FiMFiction (for a limited time, at least, more about that in a bit), and ready to update my stories!

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    1 comments · 154 views
Dec
14th
2018

Paging Doctor Sparkle Postscript · 4:41am Dec 14th, 2018

In past blogs, I've discussed some inspirations for this series, from the British television show Doc Martin to a two-volume yuri manga called Gakuen Polizzi. But before I go into my process for writing Paging Doctor Sparkle, first, I'd like to talk about the mindset I had during the last few parts. While the details of the finale differed from the original plan (I was going to have more Scarlet/Twilight time and a grand romantic ending, but chose to resolve the Sunset drama instead), I had the main themes planned for quite a few months.

Several years ago, I read another manga called Sakura Hime Kaden, written and illustrated by my favorite manga artist, Arina Tanemura. It wasn't her best work by a long stretch, since we're also talking about someone who wrote hits like Kamikaze Kaito Jeanne and Full Moon, but Tanemura did something very clever with the ending that I admired. She had previously announced that Sakura Hime would be her last series for the Ribon manga magazine, where she had worked for about a decade and a half, and that she would be a free agent from then on. To American readers and others who don't read their manga serialized, this wasn't a huge deal, but Tanemura intentionally incorporated it into the final volume of her manga by making her characters go through various themes of moving on and exploring the world outside one's comfort zone. I had always enjoyed the way she paralleled the end of her characters' journeys with the end of her own, and the minute I decided to make Paging my last major FiMFiction series, I wanted to do something similar to the last volume of Sakura Hime Kaden. This is all the more relevant because, like Tanemura, this is not the end of my story--I'm merely transferring to another area and, hopefully, another publisher.

I'll still be working on If You Have a Little Hope and some occasional oneshots--some of which will be Paging-themed. But I wanted to get those thoughts out there before I discussed the series more. For those of you who may want a sequel, this decision may disappoint you, but I hope I'm able to satisfy you just as much with my real-world content. My novel, Imperfect Storm, is about halfway through its first draft, and when (if?) it ever gets published, I hope you all read it with just as much excitement as you did with Paging. I'm glad to hear that it was able to reach so many people because, originally, this story was just meant to be a oneshot.

It later proved to be a test of my abilities. Now that it's over, I can honestly say that this is the series that scared me and challenged me the most, because I had to change the way I thought about writing. Before I worked on this series, I could honestly say that I was a plotter--the type of writer who outlines everything and has everything planned. Until Paging, I thought that was the only kind of writer you could be. However, I soon found that an episodic, comedy-based series like this almost had to be spontaneous.

And so, here's the truth--almost every Paging part was planned, at most, one week in advance. At the very least, plans came only hours before I was set to start writing my monthly part. Now, I know that plenty of writers, from Stephen King to J.K. Rowling, write this way, but at the time, it was terrifying. I kept waiting for someone to tell me that there was an inconsistency in the plot or that "this part is half-baked compared to the others." But the only time I got a comment like that was when I sent it in to EqD, and to be fair, I did that on a whim before the story had been fully edited. And this spontaneous series became my most popular work yet. Let me tell you, that does wonders for your confidence.

Now, post-Paging, I don't plan everything out in advance, and even with more serious works like Imperfect Storm, I still let my characters run away with me. I can honestly say that this series changed me as much as it changed you, and with that in mind, here are some quick facts:

* Scarlet probably embodied the spontaneous aspect of this series most, as I didn't really come up with a hard and fast "character sheet" like I did with many of my other characters. All I really knew was that I didn't want to make her a standard-issue Tsundere. To my surprise, some of the people I talked to about this series thought this made her a more faceted, rounded character. She's probably my favorite thing to come out of this series.
* This series marks the only time (so far) that I've ever been recognized in public for one of my works. After an early screening of the MLP movie, I gave one of the audience members one of my FiMFic business cards, and she asked me if I wrote Paging. It turns out she and her brother read it together! I'm really glad I was able to create something like that.
* Since it's an AU, it doesn't really go by "season"--most of S1 and 2 happen like usual, but Starlight Glimmer comes up sooner than usual. I did this because many AUs go by the canon order, and I wanted to mix it up a little. Though, as a Babs writer, I would have loved to have written a One Bad Apple part where Twilight gets to know Babs while tending to her injuries.
* Many of the medical events in the series, like Scootaloo's growth hormone deficiency, come from either personal experience or an experience a friend has had. A lot of why I cast Starlight and Featherfall as the villains stems from my frustration with the American healthcare system as a chronic migraine sufferer, so those parts were very personal. I really wanted to do a migraine part, too, but I didn't have time to fit it in.
* Since the parts were spontaneous, sometimes I based them on things that came to mind before I wrote them. Sometimes, these were small things
--for instance, I saw a shop in the mall advertising cotton candy macarons and decided to have Twilight eat them on a date. Some of these, however, were larger pieces in the plot proper--the whole con mini-arc was written because I was very excited about my local anime con coming to town. A few of these were fandom Easter eggs--Precure, Quantum Leap, and BNHA fans might have picked up on these shout-outs.
* Doctor Redheart and I share the same favorite magical girl--Healer Midnight in her 'verse and Cure Moonlight in mine! This was a blatant self-insert with no other reasoning behind it.
* BNHA jokes about Sunset aside, I actually am planning a fire and ice themed pony to dethrone her as Todoroki pone! She'll be a closed species, so depending on if the admin will let me get away with it, I may even call her Icy Hot. (Or Freeze Flame if fandom references aren't allowed in the group.)
* Probably my favorite joke in the whole series was Cheerilee's chocolate chip cookie dough bites, for some reason.
* Scent-sational Perfumer Cassia was actually a magical girl concept I wanted to write, but didn't have time to. I actually planned on ending Paging with another excerpt from that show-within-a-show, but decided that Twilight's moment with Sunset was powerful enough to end it on its own. I'll probably put the Perfumer Cassia ending in one of the oneshots, though.
* As I was waiting for my flu shot this year, I noticed that ponies could probably cram a small amount of food in medical masks and use them as feedbags. I wanted to put a gag in about this involving a sign in Ponyville Hospital warning ponies not to do this, but the plot kinda kept it from happening. (Again, something I'll likely recycle in a oneshot.)
* One time, I was reading Albinocorn's Spectacular Seven while taking a break from writing the latest part, and he referred to Sunset's demon alter ego as Scarlet Inferno. This part also involved Twilight fighting said alter ego. You can imagine how awkward this made writing the next few parts. :rainbowlaugh:
* "Naming parts after TV Tropes" is something I've wanted to do since I first started FiMFiction, and I'm happy I got to do it with this series. Like many of my series, the finale name was decided way before many of the other parts were even released.
* I didn't notice this when I first wrote them, but three of my series (If You Give a Little Love, Glitched Stitches, and this one) have series finale names that could form coherent dialogue ("I choose to stay. Remember me. It'll all come back to you.") That's not super important, but I just think that's cool.

Comments ( 4 )

Would you be okay if someone else made a sequel and gave you credit for the idea and original story?

4980959

I appreciate the offer, but I will have to turn this down. I may come back to this series later (and I may finish the novel sooner than expected), so I would like to still have full creative control over this series.

4980963
Ok, but if you ever change your mind I know someone who could do a sequel to this some justice.

This was a fun ride, thanks for writing this story! :twilightsmile:

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