News Archive

  • Friday
    J Carp's "It Turns Out They're Windmills" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Turn to today's story for some cross-dimensional drama with heart.


    It Turns Out They're Windmills
    [Equestria Girls] [Romance] [Comedy] [Drama] • 64,228 words

    As Fluttershy's birthday approaches, she learns two jarring things: not all of her friends are as fine with her new relationship as she had previously thought, and her human counterpart is extremely closeted.

    This is a story about queerness, friendship, bunnies, humans who think they're bunnies, magic explosions, and extremely terrible flirting.

    Read More

    12 comments · 930 views
  • 1 week
    Krickis' "Each Small Step" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story looks at some big problems.


    Each Small Step
    [Equestria Girls] [Romance] [Drama] [Slice of Life] • 13,137 words

    [Note: This story contains themes of sexuality and self-harm.]

    It’s been a long time since the Battle of the Bands, and a lot has changed for Aria. One of the bigger changes has been Sunset Shimmer. The two of them were never supposed to happen, but they somehow still did.

    Not that it matters. Nothing good ever lasts, not for Aria Blaze.

    Read More

    9 comments · 1,092 views
  • 2 weeks
    CoffeeMinion's "Petunia and the Coelacanth" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Dig into today's story.


    Petunia and the Coelacanth
    [Slice of Life] • 2,705 words

    Sometimes young Petunia Paleo's dreams seem impossible.

    Good thing dreams are Princess Luna's specialty.

    Read More

    6 comments · 1,246 views
  • 3 weeks
    MrPeaches' "Wonka Vs. Applejack" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story goes down better than a Scrumpdiddlyumptious Bar.


    Wonka Vs. Applejack
    [Adventure] [Comedy] [Crossover] • 14,202 words

    Zap Apple season's in full swing on Sweet Apple Acres when a most peculiar visitor arrives -- Willy Wonka, world-famous candymaker! Thinking that the apple will be the perfect ingredient for a new line of candy, Wonka tries to convince a hesitant Applejack to part with some! But with Wonka things are never quite straightforward; when interdimensional magical mechanics and a legendary tree enter into the picture, our heroes might have been safer battling Hornswogglers, Snozzwangers and rotten Vermicious Knids!

    Read More

    7 comments · 1,935 views
  • 5 weeks
    Piccolo Sky's "The Sweet Spot" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story will hit the spot for fans of the MLP movie.


    The Sweet Spot
    [Drama] • 15,679 words

    The Cutie Mark Crusaders have dealt with all kinds of ponies having trouble finding their true calling in life, but none can compare to the special request they receive from Princess Twilight Sparkle herself, or the shock they receive on discovering who it is: Fizzlepop Berrytwist, possibly the most hated and feared pony in generations. Can a pony who's spent most of her life rejecting her true calling possibly find it now? Can the Cutie Mark Crusaders help a pony who almost everypony else in Equestria has rejected?

    Read More

    4 comments · 2,590 views
  • 6 weeks
    PapierSam's "We Are Forever" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    We are impressed with today's story.


    We Are Forever
    [Equestria Girls] [Comedy] [Slice of Life] • 9,973 words

    The pilot episode of the Rainbooms' reality television show, in which the band breaks up.

    As expected, mild drama, washout humour, awkward pop culture references, and character bending to breaking point ensues.

    Read More

    4 comments · 2,078 views
  • 7 weeks
    Poptard's "A Familiar Feeling" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    I've got a feeling that you'll appreciate today's story.


    A Familiar Feeling
    [Romance] [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 11,142 words

    After months of pleasant dating, it's time for the inevitable meeting of the family. For Sugar Belle, it should be easy as cake. She's already met three of the Apple Family members, after all. She only has one more to win over.

    It's more complicated than that, she finds.

    Read More

    5 comments · 1,954 views
  • 8 weeks
    Undome Tinwe's "And the Serpent Said Unto the Princess" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story was too tempting for us to pass up.


    And the Serpent Said Unto the Princess
    [Dark] [Romance] • 2,785 words

    In the beginning, there was Harmony. Then Discord stole Fire from the Alicorns.

    FROM THE CURATORS: "Who doesn't like a good creation myth?" RBDash47 said in his nomination — and judging by our unaminous approval, this fic blew past "good" with room to spare.  Along the way, it picked up both top scores and praise like Soge's: "Oh boy, is this fic special in a way few fics are.  The multi-layered narrative, the allusions to all kinds of human myths, and most importantly, the twist at the end that brings everything into sharp focus. Everything works in synchrony to deliver the author's grand vision."

    Read More

    9 comments · 1,698 views
  • 9 weeks
    Celefin's "Track Switch - Steel Dreams" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is engineered to be quite a moving tale.


    Track Switch - Steel Dreams
    [Slice of Life] [Human] • 12,434 words

    Modern just in time supply chains require arcane logistics. The people I work for specialise in that special kind of magic. Me? I just make sure stuff gets from A to B. And I'm good at it. All over western Europe. Always at night. Always alone — just the way I like it.

    Read More

    6 comments · 1,755 views
  • 10 weeks
    Revenant Wings' "Reconstruction" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story assembles a unique look at Starlight's aftereffects.


    Reconstruction
    [Drama] [Sad] [Slice of Life] • 6,378 words

    The former equalized ponies struggle to reconstruct their town after Starlight Glimmer's defeat, and Double Diamond struggles to reconstruct his own identity after being freed from Starlight's equalization brainwashing.

    Read More

    2 comments · 2,570 views
Jan
18th
2019

Author Interview » RandomNPC's "Winning, and the pitfalls therein." [Royal Canterlot Library] · 2:10pm January 18th

Give today's story a chance to conquer your heart.

Winning, and the pitfalls therein.
[Comedy] [Random] [Alternate Universe] • 42,517 words

What if the villains were allowed to win without a fight? Would all of their plans bear them the fruits they so desired?

Probably not, especially when their royal adviser is Twilight Sparkle.

A collection of (continuous) one-shots in which our heroes don't have any epic fights with villains, and simply allow the power of logic to crush all of the hopes and wishes of the would-be rulers of Equestria.

FROM THE CURATORS: "It's a question every would-be tyrant has to face eventually," FanOfMostEverything quipped in our discussion.  "You've conquered the kingdom/world/galaxy/universe. Congratulations. Now what?"

As this week's feature shows, that's a question with a surprising amount of depth — a depth matched by the story itself.  "It's hard to categorize this genre-wise, except that it's relentlessly clever and methodical about finding ways to end-run around the show's plot holes," Horizon said in his nomination, and our debate was marked by repeated comments about that cleverness.  "The writing itself is somewhat flat, but the world presented therein is anything but," RBDash47 said, while FanOfMostEverything half-disagreed: "I honestly didn't notice the flat writing; the brilliant ideas shine through it."

Those ideas sparked comparisons of the best kind.  "This feels an awful lot like the gleeful deconstruction of Eliezer Yudkowsky's Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, mashed up with the themes of redemption and friendship which make MLP stories feel 'pony', and I'm in love with the result," Horizon said.  RBDash47 was equally a fan — but for very different reasons.  "I just finished a re-watch of The West Wing," he said, "and I'm reminded of that series here, in that it's both optimistic and features competent characters coming up with clever solutions to seemingly-intractable problems that make everyone happy. I very much enjoyed following along with Twilight as she mercilessly attacked her antagonists with nothing but pure reason, and gradually found herself as the power behind the throne in the balance."

But what sealed the deal for us was strong character work.  "Where it really shines is how Twilight isn't always right," FanOfMostEverything said.  "Logical and internally consistent, yes, but not always right. The avenues she goes down add to both the humor and the depth of the story at every turn, and the increasingly absurd team of advisors she builds as time goes on only adds to that."  AugieDog praised that as well: "When Twilight almost immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion at the beginning of the Chrysalis section, it did a lot to make this version of the character work."  ("The entire Chrysalis arc is just gorgeous on toast," Horizon added.)  Ultimately, we found that made this story stand out amid a sea of others tinkering with the show's results: "'Fixfic' can be a dirty word," RBDash47 said, "but I have to admire this one."

Read on for our author interview, in which RandomNPC discusses SCIENCE, sibling relations, and a few different kinds of character redemption.


Give us the standard biography.

So, for a bit about myself:  I’m 29, I enjoy SCIENCE, though particularly biological engineering, which I studied for my Bachelor’s.  I made the questionable decision to try to get a job and enough money to pay off my student loans before going back for my Masters or working on a Ph.D., and I’ve been stuck in the soul-crushing business of tech support for the last four years.  

I started really getting into creative writing back around 10 years ago, though I didn’t wind up publishing anything until getting on this site, mostly due to an inability to finish one story before wanting to start a new one, and not wanting to subject the world to my writing before I thought it was actually halfway decent.  I also haven’t published much else — just one uncompleted thing on fanfiction.net that I haven’t updated in entirely too long (I wound up losing momentum after back-to-back issues of an eye injury, being horribly sick, and then family issues, and then couldn’t get back into the story). I’d kind of like to, but I don’t want to publish anything else unless I think I’ll be able to finish it, since I know the pain of a story I really like suddenly dying.  

Life has been very, very busy and stressful the last few years, so … I’ve mostly kept up with my writing through various roleplaying games such as D&D — both written online and played in person — and with small groups or pairs of writing partners to work out short stories. Also, my hard drive probably has more started stories that are only on the first chapter or two than I care to admit, that are all waiting for me to get around to continuing and picking one to actually post and finish somewhere.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

“RandomNPC” is, of course, a blatant reference to video games in general and to how so very many people in the worlds exist, but you can’t really interact with them in a meaningful enough way to know anything about them beyond that.  They’re faces in a crowd, people you pass and forget — maybe someone who tells you a joke, or who gives you some helpful advice before you forget who they were.

I’m a fan of stories that develop some of the throwaway characters, the NPCs, and make them more than just the cardboard cutout in the original game or show; but it’s also a bit of a commentary on how I think the Internet often causes the same sort of experience in real life for a lot of people.  There are so many people who you might read something from, you might hear them say something, but there’s no way for anyone to keep everyone they ever see online straight — with the lack of faces to put to names, it’s often even worse than meeting a similar number of people in real life to try to interact with. At most, people can get to know a small group here and there, recognize the names of some of their favorite authors or friends, and then everyone else winds up as some random NPCs who had a line here and there that you might remember but not recall who said it.  Or they’ll blend into the background noise.

Who's your favorite pony?

If I’m being perfectly honest, Rainbow Dash.  She brings a lot of energy to the show, she sees some excellent growth as a character at times, and she’s just fun to see interacting with others.  She’s not as immersion-breaking as Pinkie’s antics can be, either, and she shows nicely how people can be very different while still having common interests and strong bonds with others if they’re willing to try new things.  Not to mention both her anxiety issues mirroring Twilight’s own, along with the drive they both have in their own fields to show that it’s not just interests that very different-seeming people can share, but fears and strengths as well.

What's your favorite episode?

There are a lot of good episodes to choose from, and it’s hard to pick just one.  They’re often good in different ways, so one might have my favorite character interactions, while another might pluck at the heartstrings with sympathy, or hit on a topic that’s relevant to my life.  

If I had to pick, though, I think I’d go with the 'Art of the Dress' episode; Rarity started as my least favorite character, and didn’t really do much to change that prior to it. She was over-dramatic, shamelessly manipulative at times, and seemed concerned more with material things, skin-deep beauty, popularity and wealth — both in herself and in who she wants to romance.  She had redeeming traits still, and she wasn’t completely awful, but she had only barely managed to avoid being completely unlikable to me. Taking that initial impression and turning it around almost completely to having me sympathize with her and actually start seeing a lot more depth to her character was impressive, and a bit inspiring.

What do you get from the show?

Life is stressful.  It’s full of unfair endings, things that go bad for good people, and senseless arguments and fights that could have been avoided.  The show doesn’t ignore that there are problems with life, but it casts them as things to be solved and overcome, that can always be solved and overcome.  It’s always optimistic, it always gives more ups than downs, and ultimately, it just makes me smile.  When I’m not complaining about writers ignoring a character’s previous development or characterization, and not cringing at something particularly dumb and shoehorned in to get to the requisite moral of the week, at least.  

Jokes about quality drops over time aside, I still come back to the ponies when I need a dose of color and cheerfulness to cheer me up.

What do you want from life?

Magic.  Just give me that and have physics stop being such a stick in the mud, and I’ll be happy.  

Failing that, of course … I enjoy solving problems.  Fixing things.  Figuring out a puzzle.  And I always feel at my best when I’ve been able to make someone happy, or inspire someone. So I want to find a way in life to do something that will make things better, or at least more enjoyable, for a lot of people.  Maybe by eventually publishing some books or something that wind up inspiring as much joy as the 'Harry Potter' series or MLP:FIM have.  Maybe by doing something in biological engineering, since I find that fascinating and it’s what I studied for my degree (if I can get out of my current job and back into my own field, or maybe get a higher-level degree to help with that, anyway).

Why do you write?

This is a surprisingly hard question to answer.  Part of it is stress relief, from being able to get lost in the fantasy of a world similar to reading.  Part of it is the enjoyment of creating things — puzzling out how they should work, and having things fit together or progress.  Part of it is the enjoyment of other people when I share the work, and making someone smile. Part of it is in the challenge, in improving myself noticeably in something.  And part of it is just being able to order my thoughts and get ideas out of my head to paper.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

Ultimately, unless it’s writing for a friend as a present or something, try not to worry too much about what other people will think.  Focus on if you enjoy writing something first, and then worry about if you want to show it to others, who you want to show it to, and how much you want to edit or clean it for them. When something stops being about what you’re inspired to write, or what you’re enjoying writing, it’s incredibly easy to lose interest and momentum, and for it to become a chore you feel almost required to do.  

It’s fine to enjoy people’s reactions and talk to a bunch of people about your story and what you’re doing with it, collaborating some or having people help with edits and discussing how to make it better. But try not to ever let them push you into writing something in a direction that you don’t enjoy, and likewise, don’t tie yourself and your story’s value completely to other people’s opinions about it.

Which was your favorite villain to write, and why?

Discord, definitely.  All of them were enjoyable in their own ways, but Discord came with his own unique way of inspiring creativity in looking for wordplay, having me experiment with how the written word and the media could be used in less standard ways at times.  Not all of that wound up in the story, but even the parts I cut or changed were a fun sort of challenge and learning experience.

What drove your decisions for Twilight Sparkle's characterization as she grew into a very different role from the show?

At the start of the first chapter, I was mostly trying to keep to the initial character as much as I could — what we were shown of her in the first season (especially the earlier episodes) but with a simple premise, that she jumped to a different, equally viable conclusion from her research when Celestia told her not to worry about it.  I based it partly on Twilight’s positive relation with her own older sibling, along with the legend that the show opened on, which she was reading before Twilight found the second book about Nightmare Moon’s return.  Then I ran from there while trying to hold a tone that I thought was still in keeping with the show overall.

Moving on, some of it flowed fairly naturally with developments I could see happening, or that just kind of inserted themselves in when I was writing and didn’t seem to want to let me delete them out … but some of the other bits were influenced in part with trying to react to the comments section on the story.  I hadn’t ever published anything before online, and I was at the time much less familiar with trusting my own ideas or realizing that I couldn’t please everyone at once.

The third episode I did with the changelings, I was trying to balance a mix of the new Twilight I had worked her toward, along with Lesson Zero from the show, while trying to keep both the comedy I wanted and other things that commenters had been complaining they wanted to see.  It didn’t come out horrible, I don’t think, but looking back on it, I’m nowhere near as satisfied with it as I think I would have been if I had ignored the comments section for the most part.

Or maybe that’s the fact that my writing style has changed over the years since, and me cringing a bit at some of my old writing.

Do you think MLP is more or less friendly to this sort of rational deconstruction than other fictional worlds of its type?

I’d say that MLP is surprisingly friendly towards deconstructions like this one, as well as other, possibly (probably) better ones out there.  

A lot of the villains are people in their own right, or were at least originally cast in a way that shows them as such, and most of them even get in-show redemptions eventually … even if that hadn’t been as big a thing when I started writing this story.  There’s also a lot of references to mythology, small details that can spawn very interesting ideas on how Equestria works, and multiple magic systems with hints as to how they might function that can be developed by authors with the mind and inclination. Yet, despite all the depth put into the show by the writers, it ultimately still tries to remain simple in the morals and resolutions that it gives, due to the original target audience.  As such, there are a lot of situations that might be able to be looked at differently and deconstructed in writing, which in the show are either glossed over and played for laughs, or are given a simple resolution that kids can understand and enjoy without being bored by, but adults might not always be satisfied by.

This is your only MLP fanfic — have you written original fiction, or in other fandoms, that readers here might also appreciate?

Most of my writing doesn’t wind up posted anywhere, partly due to simply not being sure that I’ll wind up finishing the idea in question.  A lot of my other writing winds up being related to D&D and similar games, either online or for a group I run in real life. Currently, I don’t have any other completed or ongoing works that I’m actively updating for public viewing, although I’ve been considering starting one again for a while.  Working full-time and having various issues in real life has so far had me unwilling to commit to trying to maintain any sort of update schedule for a story, though.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Nope.

You can read Winning, and the pitfalls therein. 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 ( 7 )

Just recently PresentPerfect reviewed this story and he disliked it so much he didn't even finish it. A few weeks later, it's in the RCL.

I love Winning (makes sense, since I tend to disagree with PP on everything), so this is super satisfying to see.

What happened? Did PP keep on reading and decide that he liked it after all?

4998976
I don't think the voting for inclusion into the RCL needs to be unanimous. The "why is this fic good" section tries to get at least one statement from each curator, but if you're paying attention, sometimes a curator doesn't have a statement (such as PP here). I suspect he still didn't like it but was outvoted.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4998976
The Royal Canterlot Library is staffed by six gentlemen, of whom three need to be in agreement that a fic is worth posting. This is not the first time I haven't been among their number, and likely won't be the last. No hard feelings!

4999098
Got it. For whatever reason I thought it had to be unanimous.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

4999100
Not at all, though quite a few nominations over the years have been! :D

I'm glad you featured this. I enjoyed reading it and thought it was a very interesting premise. Spock: After a time, you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but is often true. This actually held true for the first two, while Chrysalis being Chrysalis through a wrench into it just like she did in the series long after this was published. She got what she actually wanted, (a sufficient supply of love/food for her Changelings) just not in the way she thought she had too. The bonus with Sombra while interesting and funny might have messed up Twilight's ascension. I'd like another chapter or two to solve that and see how she dealt with Sunset Shimmer and Starlight Glimmer. Of course since this is an older fic I suppose the chances are slim to none. Which is really a shame.

4999111
Can you link me to your review Present?

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