• Member Since 22nd May, 2014
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Soufriere


Pray that there's intelligent life somewhere out in space, because there's bugger-all down here on Earth.

More Blog Posts420

  • 6 weeks
    Random Ramblings CLXX

    IN WHICH HAPPY CANADA DAY
    On Monday, 330,000,000 Americans will technically celebrate Independence Day, the Fourth of July. I'm not exactly feeling proud of my country right now so, as per custom, I'm honouring our neighbour to the north instead. Enjoy this video of an Australian girl singing.

    More whatever after the jump.

    Read More

    1 comments · 53 views
  • 29 weeks
    Random Rambling CLXIX

    IN WHICH I ACTUALLY POSTED SOMETHING
    It's that time of year again: January 20th, which means a new Mayor Mare story from yours truly. Words follow, but first, enjoy Twice.

    I'm Alcohol-Free as I write this, but I probably won't be by the time I'm through…

    Read More

    0 comments · 89 views
  • 47 weeks
    Random Ramblings CDXVIII

    IN WHICH I SPITBALL IDEAS
    On Nine-Eleven, I tried to write a Sunset story, but it got bogged down in crap partway through. Enjoy music.

    Hey, at least it's not an Otter video. Otters are awesome. More past the jump.

    Read More

    0 comments · 131 views
  • 48 weeks
    Random Ramblings CDXVII

    IN WHICH I AGE AGAIN
    It's my birthday (later in the day) and I'm… getting drunker. Sorry I don't have a story ready to go yet. I really wanted to but I had business to take care of this week. So instead, enjoy TheFatRat. Happy Un-Birthday, y'all!!

    1 comments · 107 views
  • 53 weeks
    Random Ramblings CDXVI

    IN WHICH I BOUNCE AROUND BAD IDEAS
    I'm not much one for physical exertion, so I hire people to do work for me. I also fail at my instrument, so here's Aimyon.

    Below the jump you will find info on what I'm working on right now. Please join me if you have a minute.

    Read More

    1 comments · 121 views
May
2nd
2019

Author's Notes For Antonovka · 10:45pm May 2nd, 2019

IN WHICH A LONG STRANGE TRIP
For the two of you who were nice enough to read my story Antonovka, thank you so much. Here’s music.

There’s a lot I want to say about it. If you haven’t finished it (or don’t care), don’t click "Read More". Otherwise…


Before I begin, I want readers to note that not once did I ever explicitly state that Antonovka de Malus is Granny Smith. If I did my job right, the story should have showed it without my needing to. Anyway…

Four years, almost. That’s how long it took to get Annie from germ of idea to finally completed. If you look at the publication date on the story itself, it still reads December 2015. That’s because I decided NOT to delete the whole thing despite the fact that site rules would have allowed me to. I might have gotten more readers had I done so, but that wouldn’t have been fair to it.

The reason this story even exists is because of my desire to square a circle -- Twilight mentions in “Winter Wrap-Up” that the tradition goes back a very long time. Granny Smith mentions the very next season that the Apple Family were present in Ponyville prior to the town’s existence. How could both of these be true?

Answer: Granny Smith is actually hundreds of years old.

That led to additional questions: How would this be possible?

Answer: Granny Smith is an Alicorn Princess who transforms herself to look like an ancient Earth-pony.

But how does that jive with my already established fan-canon that Twilight and Cadence are NOT immortal?

Answer: When she was Ascended, she got bound to the Earth the same way Luna is to the Moon and Celestia is to the Sun.

How could Celestia fuck that up?

Answer: It’s Celestia. In the actual show canon she’s done worse. It was only later that I decided to justify it with Poison Joke so it looked like less of an ass-pull.

That leads me to the next part of explaining this story…


Every member of Granny Smith’s original family is named after an apple cultivar, and I intentionally chose the oldest varieties Wiki has catalogued.

“Antonovka” is an old Russian cultivar that happens to be green. It looks a lot like a Granny Smith. I don’t know if it’s as sour though.

“Margil”, “Nickajack”, and “Manx Conlin” are other old apple types.

When I wrote the original outline for this story waaay back in 2015, I did a lot of research into apples just to see what names would fit for ponies and weren’t already used by the show. There were many names I ended up rejecting for one reason or another.

I actually think in hindsight it was good that I sat on this story for as long as I did, because it allowed me to add in the bit with the Pear Family which of course goes to the Apple Kids’ own direct parentage. D’Anjou is a common type of pear here.

Now, I’d actually written about their parentage in an unpublished story prior to the show doing so, but I’ll get to that in a little bit. Right now I want to talk about how the story ended up over 35,000 words.


When I first conceived Antonovka, it was going to be a three-chapter story:

  1. Annie loses the ladle and has to go into the Forest to get it
  2. She encounters & fights a boss and gets Ascended by Celestia but rejects it
  3. She realizes she’s immortal and forces Celestia to promise to protect P-Ville

I wrote the first bit, then sat on it for over two years. Partly because it received no readers thus discouraging me from continuing, partly because I’d just published a very popular Sunset story that ended up spawning her Recovery Arc -- which itself took three years and over a dozen stories to complete.

I don’t remember what prompted me a year ago to actually sit down and finish this story. Maybe it was because I needed something to do as Sunset’s Recovery Arc neared its completion.

Yes, more often than not I’ll sit on stories for awhile after I’ve written them before publishing them -- my previous record was eight months with “Highs & Lows”, and then only because I was worried it would offend people (to my shock it did the opposite). Part of this is because time allows me to look with a more critical eye and I’ll notice mistakes that I missed the first few go-throughs. Sometimes more ideas will come when I’m doing those last edits.

In the case of this story, I ended up creating a mini-epic because I really wanted to explore and explain the Everfree Forest, the lead-up to the War (which the show didn’t go into a lot of detail about, allowing me to fill in the gaps), and the Moon Cultists -- an idea that had kicking around my head for years.

POST-POSTING ADDENDUM DIGRESSION: Why did it go from three chapters to ten? Well, there are a few reasons for that, some of which I've touched upon in other blogs.

  1. I don't like long chapters (7,500 words is about my limit). Never have.
  2. Narrative Coherence

When I actually wrote the first draft for the completed Annie, it sat at seven chapters. Chapter One was unchanged from 2015, which is why I didn't full-on delete the original upload of the story. As I posted the seven chapters on this site to edit them, I realized I didn't have enough justification for Annie's hatred of Unicorns and Nobility, so I created a flashback within what is basically a flashback. That flashback turned out to be longer than the original chapter and severely upset the pacing.

I'm trained as a percussionist -- pacing and flow are what I do -- so I like to think I'm more sensitive to the "beats" of a story. In order to fix the pacing problem, I split Chapter One into two, put most of what had been Chapter One in 2015 as Chapter Two, and renumbered everything.

That had me at Eight chapters. Where did the last two come from. Again, pacing. The part where Annie realizes she's unaging was originally part of the final chapter but, as I reread it, I didn't like the abrupt shift from that to the MUCH longer Canterlot bit, so I split it off and fleshed it out as best I could. I might have mentioned this before, but that chapter where time passes is based in very small part on the First Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew (no I haven't read a Bible in years, but I know that bit has all the 'begat' stuff).

Now we're at Nine chapters. So, finally, I decided during the publication period that Annie should meet the Moon Cultists one more time before the big timeskip, so I threw in what would become Chapter Eight literally last-minute. It allowed me to explore Detrot beyond the marketplace, and it gave more justification to why Annie would be welcomed by a followup generation of Moon Cultists who wouldn't know her -- she's their High-Priestess and has the emblem to prove it.

PLUS, like I've said before, it allowed me to explain a curiosity in one of my Sunset stories. That emblem is forged from Platinum. Pure precious metals -- especially Gold & Platinum -- cannot be transmuted. That is, IIRC, one of the cardinal rules of alchemy. That's why, when Sunset stole 200+ Bits from Celestia and fucked off through the mirror, they didn't change into humanoid currency but rather stayed as gold.

Oh, and by the way, I think I mentioned Starswirl's Chamber had two magic mirrors -- one is of course the EQG Mirror and the other is from the IDW comics. Okay, I think that's enough for this digression.
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By the way, the Moon Cultists are all named after Saturnian Moons. I still believe Rhea and Callisto could carry a short story by themselves.

You might be wondering, as well you should, why I decided to include Sunny Town in this story. Well, basically, I wanted to show more proof of the corruption of the Forest and explain my headcanon on the place. That Ruby (the ghost character from the original “Story of the Blanks” game) took a shine to Annie and started following her was just dumb luck on my part. I didn’t really expect it, but having her there was much easier from a narrative perspective than having Annie going through the Forest alone thinking or talking to herself.

My two readers said they liked the banter between Annie and Ruby. That makes it all worth it.


Now a little primer about language. As many of my readers know, I’m a stickler for words and dialogue. Certain characters speak in certain ways in my stories, and it is to the best of my ability consistent across the board.

Celestia never uses contractions. (I know she does in the show & comics, but this is my world and I want a way to separate her linguistically from modern ponies in a different manner than Luna, who speaks in Early-Modern English)

I decided that Ruby and the Moon Cultists would also not use contractions to symbolize their connection to that bygone era. It’s natural for Ruby, but more of an acquired affectation on the Cultists’ parts.

Also note how in dialogue, Annie refers to Princess Celestia by her title except at the very end, but in narration uses her given name only. That was also intentional. She’s not showing Celestia respect today because she neither has to or wants to.

I also made a conscious decision that Annie (Granny Smith) would be much more erudite and intelligent in her writing than her speaking, mostly because she’s narrating her story nearly two hundred years later with all the extra learning and experience that comes from such a long life. Also to show she put on an act for the modern Apple Family for decades and no one was the wiser.

I didn’t know at first what Annie would fight to get herself Ascended. But a remnant of Luna’s magic seemed ideal. Do I need to say that the fountain statue is Fausticorn? I thought I made it pretty clear in the narration.


At least a couple of background events in this story trace their roots back to my ever-unpublished Pinkamena story I began in 2013. Most notable is the concept of the Tarpanites, to which Ponk’s family also belongs. This partly answers the question of how Ponk might be related to the Apple Family. The rest of it I answer in that story.

The other is Granny Smith’s anti-Unicorn bias, which came up in the Pinkamena fic when Rarity told Ponk her backstory involving originally being friends with AJ.

FYI: “Tarpan” was one of the two species of wild horse extant in the modern era. Though some were domesticated and selectively bred to create the horse breeds we know today, the original went extinct in the 1800s (kind of like how the Aurochs, genetic ancestor of today’s Cow, went extinct a few hundred years ago due to loss of its old-growth forest habitat).


Another thing I really shouldn’t have to say, but will repeat, is this:

This story is 100% in continuity with my Mayor Mare universe.

I don’t remember how much I actually included all the way back in January 2015 vs added later, but there’s a part near the end of my very first story on this site where Mayor Granny Smith has a moment alone with Celestia shortly before resigning. In the updated version of the story, Raven Inkwell sees a glow through a gap beneath the door. What that was always intended to be was “Granny Smith” transforming herself back into Princess Antonovka behind closed doors and reaming Celestia out for, in her mind, breaking her promise to protect Ponyville.


Well, that’s all I can think of to write about this big ol’ story for now. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask and I’ll try to answer what I can.

Peace out.

Report Soufriere · 177 views · Story: Antonovka · #author notes
Comments ( 5 )

Np on reading Annie. It was a great ride. :)

I like that it took so long too, it was nice having the Pears in it too solely because it helps add more to the legitimacy of it all.

I definitely enjoyed Annie's and Ruby's dialogue, it aided the story to have her in it. Even more reason I'm glad it took so long.

Honestly, I didn't notice the narrator wasn't using titles on Celestia, that was a good little detail!

Tbh, I figured the Mayor Mare story and this was interrelated. It actually reminded me of another story where Granny Smith, Celestia, Mayor Mare, and others go out drinking sometimes. Something like that.

This inspires me to want to make an Author's Notes about my own story when I finally complete it. I have a bunch I could probably say about each chapter, and how it was never actually supposed to be as long as it got. It was originally supposed to be only 5-6 chapters. But then I was inspired.

5052692
I encourage you to reread a chapter of my story Mayor's Break Time -- "Alicornication": the one where everyone except the Mayor is randomly an Alicorn. During that story I explicitly reveal the Truth about Granny Smith and have her break the fourth wall to yell at me for this story not being completed yet. No one realized what I was doing because the rest of that chapter was batshit insanity …and no one read Annie. I did it because I didn't think I'd ever finish Annie on its own terms.

That's right. I gave away the plot twist for Annie over a year ago and no one noticed. :trollestia:

I also publicly have all the pieces in place for finally ending The Burritoverse AND setting up the "Dark Arc" (if I ever get to it).

PS - I'm writing an addendum to the blog post about the chapter count b/c I forgot it.

5052749
Lol that's pretty great. :)

5052757
Blog is now updated with Addendum in the middle of it.

As to the other stuff, well… Like I've said many times, I try not to waste words. Also I like world-building. Everything in a world will tie together in the end somehow.

Now I just need to figure out how to write about Trump-pony and his border wall. I know I'm making it harder than it should be.

5052763
I totally understand what it's like to hate long chapters, and tbh I'm kind of the same way sometimes. Working on the same single chapter for too long is also detrimental to the quality sometimes. For me at least. But I realize that sometimes I gotta just push through it because it doesn't always make sense to chop a chapter up because all the content belongs together. I'd edit it down to have only what's integral, but tbh I think pretty much all of its integral. :P

The only thing I regret in my fanfic so far is not cutting up the visit to Stable 47 into three chapters. But I don't think I had enough content to justify having a third/second chapter. I just couldn't think of things for Fear to do within the Stable! If I ever went back and rewrote it, I'd spend more time thinking.

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