• Member Since 16th May, 2013
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Technical Writer from the U.S.A.'s Deep South. Writes horsewords, and reviews both independently and for Seattle's Angels. New reviews posted every Thursday! Writing Motto: "Go Big or Go Home!"

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  • Thursday
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXII

    Wow, last weekend was a busy one. Family gathering was relatively small this year, for obvious reasons. Although I must emphasize the “relative” part; usually when there’s a big holiday like the 4th, we end up with 20 people or more present. This weekend was “only” nine, including me, my parents, and my brother’s family of six. That’s right, six. That boy is a glutton for punishment, I swear to

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    7 comments · 200 views
  • 1 week
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCXI

    My preliminary editing of the original fiction version of Guppy Love is all but finished! Soon I will have the entire story stored in GDocs and ready for prereading, which means it’s about time I started really looking for prereaders. I intend to ask the prereaders of the MLP version to come back to evaluate the changes, but I’d like to get a few others to offer a fresh perspective. I’m

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    16 comments · 302 views
  • 2 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCX

    Howdy, folks. I’m afraid I don’t have much to report this week. Well, other than the very real possibility of maintaining 2,000 words/day of writing this month. Feels like I haven’t pulled something like that off in ages. Pays that I’m finally cutting down on the video games again. It comes in phases.

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    4 comments · 320 views
  • 3 weeks
    Paul's Thursday Reviews CCIX

    The past week has been one of highs and lows. The brief crash has led to me being two days behind on my reading schedule. The good news is that I’ve got a Vacation Week coming up in a couple weeks that I can use to easily make up the lost time. The bad news is that my current major reading project was scheduled to be finished the day before its review gets published, so I’ve no choice but to

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    7 comments · 357 views
  • 3 weeks
    Charity Stream!

    I usually save these kinds of things for my main review blog, but this one's time sensitive, so: my old friend Cerulean Voice is hosting a charity stream! Head here to get the details.

    0 comments · 81 views

Paul's Thursday Reviews CCV · 8:37pm May 14th

Not much news this week, folks. Except perhaps that restaurants are reopening in my area, and thank Luna for that.

But really, it’s been a slow week in all ways it can be a slow week. Except perhaps my reading for these blogs. That’s about the same. I’ve been in the midst of a series of long stories. The good news about this is that I’m not actively writing reviews most of the time because the stories are taking forever to finish. You’d be surprised how long it can take to write even one review for these things. The bad news is that reading nothing but long stories makes me feel as if I’m not making any progress. It’s not true, it’s just a feeling, but it still annoys me when I check on my schedules and see the RiL gradually growing instead of the opposite.

But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. In two weeks I’ll be done with this bout of long stories and will go back to playing ‘catch up’. I’m sure seeing a set of ten larger stories in a blog will give me a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling of accomplishment.

But until then, these will certainly do. Reviews.

EDIT: Whoa. Lots of new authors this week. Welcome, friends!

Stories for This Week:

Changeling Courtship Rituals by Codex Ex Equus
Don't Want Perfection by Shortmane
Happy Ending by not plu
Revenge by TimbukTurnip
The Compromise by Annuska
No Rain? Can't Get No Rainbow! by TheMareWhoSaysNi
Water on the Bridge by Nugget
The Secretary by Snowybee
Nothing Left to Lose by Freglz
The Trixie Clause by TCC56

Total Word Count: 87,628

Rating System

Why Haven't You Read These Yet?: 0
Pretty Good: 7
Worth It: 2
Needs Work: 1
None: 0

Changelings are all about conquests. This includes their romances. So when Twilight Sparkle called Queen Chrysalis out at Shining Armor and Cadance’s wedding, Chrysalis interpreted it as Twilight announcing her desire to court her. And she accepted. Imagine Twilight’s surprise when, after years of what she thought of as vicious combat between mortal enemies, it was all Chrysalis’s idea of a long, drawn out romance. Too bad she didn’t find out about this until after they were, by Changeling customs, married.

I was looking forward to this one, and the results don’t disappoint. The story begins with Twilight engaging in what she believes to be the final one-on-one duel with Chrysalis and, upon losing, discovering that this officially means the two of them are married. Twilight soon learns the ins and outs of changeling courtship and has to decide whether to tell Chrysalis the truth (and risk her real wrath) or keeping the illusion of romance going. Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper romantic comedy if we didn’t involve the other princesses, the rest of the Mane 6, and Twilight’s family.

To be clear, this story is a silly one, sometimes extremely so. As such, we can expect certain parts of the story to make no sense. For example, Twilight once explains to Chrysalis that ponies are incapable of restraining their love for others. But Chrysalis, as the leader of a race that feeds on love, should already know this. You’d also think that a race that depends entirely on the infiltration of other races for survival would know their cultural idiosyncrasies inside and out as a matter of course, yet Chrysalis regularly shows complete ignorance for such things. Such issues may throw you off if you’re the type who gets hung up on the details.

But if you can learn to just roll with it, you’re likely to have a ton of fun at Twilight’s expense. The best part is the ending, which concludes matters in a good way while also promising to give us even more fun in the sequel (which I will be reading).

I enjoyed myself, and I imagine most readers will as well. Just don’t think too hard about everything.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
To Dethrone A PrincessWorth It

All I can think of after reading this story:

Rarity just had a date that was everything she ever dreamed. This stallion checks off all her boxes. So why is she so… unhappy about it? After venting to her favorite therapist (i.e., Fluttershy), she goes home and begins looking through her old diary to reminisce on simpler times. At first, it’s a silly blast from the past. Then she notices that there are an awful lot of references to a certain Apple filly in that diary…

Or, to be succinct, Rarity’s been crushing on Applejack for ages and didn’t even know it.

Two things come to mind with this story (other than the above art, that is). The first is how it starts poorly. The opening scene is practically talking heads, with little to no narration to help us grasp the setting, to say nothing for the mood. This might have been an intentional act on the author’s part, a sort of “make it look like Rarity’s thrilled by her date when she’s not” sort of gimmick. If so, I suppose I can get behind the intent. But it still felt off to me. Perhaps there’s a better way to approach such a thing than pure dialogue for the first few hundred words of the story, though I’m not sure how at the moment.

Moving on, the second thing that comes to mind is how very little Applejack there is here. She makes a brief cameo appearance for maybe a few hundred words at the beginning, and then we never see her again for the rest of the story. One would think that writing a romance with only half the intended couple present would be an issue.

It isn’t. Not at all. Where Shortmane struggles with the opening, the part with Rarity reading the diary does an excellent job of demonstrating the feelings of both ponies without one of them being present. Through revelations in the past and Rarity’s reactions we get a delightfully clear picture of what’s really going on, and I love that this story pulled that off. It’s easily the highlight of the whole thing. Which is great, as it’s the story’s primary premise. The diary entries are themselves a bit hit or miss in presentation, and I can see a more nitpicky person grumbling about the story’s overarching formatting in relation to them. That shouldn’t be a problem for most of us though.

If you’re interested in seeing the OTP framed at a slightly different angle, this will do it for you. And if not… well, clearly you have misconceptions regarding the OTP. I mean, you might not even know the OTP when you see it! You poor, deluded soul. The rest of you sane, normal folks should dive in. And drag an unfortunate nonbeliever in with you. It’s important to enlighten our neighbors.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

Happy Ending

4,552 Words
By not plu

Golden Harvest and her husband, Written Script, are raising a child. Not theirs, no. A friend’s. To the outside person, this may seem fine. It’s not fine. For Golden Harvest, it’s not fine at all.

This is a story inspired by a song, an inspirational source I am all too familiar with. I went through the trouble of finding and listening to Mika’s Happy Ending before reading it, just so I’d know what that inspiration was. I quickly realized that I already knew the song, I’d just forgotten. Even as I listened I couldn’t help but imagine how I’d turn it into a story. Some songs are just like that.

not plu’s result is a tale of depression, friends torn apart, and a family on the edge of collapse. Golden Harvest doesn’t want Dinky. She doesn’t care about her. Nor does she want to try. It’s a disturbing scenario for all involved, especially when you see that Dinky is quite a lovable child. And, as the song makes explicitly clear, there is no happy ending on the way. It makes you wonder what that says about where these ponies are going in life.

The story itself is strong in terms of translating Golden’s mental state to the reader. In this area, not plu excels. I love the neverending metaphor of bubbles, which applies so well to the circumstances and those involved. The one catch I can think of is that sometimes, on rare occasions, it can be tricky to know who is speaking. I was particularly hung up during one scene where Derpy and Golden are trying to have a civil conversation. I’m not sure if this has anything to do with the writing style so much as the character voices not being distinct. And even that may be more to do with us not getting much time to know Derpy in this story, rather than any overarching flaw in the writing itself.

Still, this is a very well-written sadfic. Perhaps the only condition I’d place on it is that you have to be into sadfics to really want to read it. But even then, I’d recommend it for its quality. Take in its themes of broken friendships and harsh realities and you get quite the good, if a bit depressing, read.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!


2,655 Words
By TimbukTurnip

While Pinkie and Rarity make their way back to Ponyville from Appleloosa, the latter ponders the best means of vengeance against Rainbow Dash. But as she reflects on her relationship with the mare, a curious thought arises: does Rainbow Dash really deserve punishment?

This is little more than an excuse to ship RariDash. Not that I’ll ever complain about shipping for shipping’s sake, mind you, but it bears stating. The majority of the story is Rarity thinking on all the ways Rainbow has been there for her in the past and all the ways Rarity hadn’t appreciated it.

There’s only one catch to the story. Well, two if you’re not into shipping, but one for us sane people. That catch is how the first half of the story is nothing but a complete recounting of the events of Sonic Rainboom, as if everyone reading the story doesn’t already know about it. It was annoying at best and completely pointless at worst. TimbukTurnip could have easily achieved the same ends with far greater impact within two or three paragraphs, but instead we’re forced to endure 1,125 words reminding us of something we all are aware of.

1,125 words. That’s 2/5ths of the story right there.

We get it, author, that was an important moment. But you don’t have to repeat to us everything we already know in order to make that clear.

Ignoring that one significant hiccup, this is a decent enough ship launch. It’s very one-sided, but it works for what it intended to do. The only other thing I can think of that might turn people away is the very unRarity thoughts she has at the beginning of the story. But she was angry, so I suppose I can let it slide… even if it suggests a distinctly evil side to the character.

Read this if you don’t mind being told things you already know and enjoy a bit of shipping, especially RariDash.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

The Compromise

2,815 Words
By Annuska

How I expected this to go:

Rainbow Dash and Rarity are dating. Sometimes, that can be a bit of a problem. For example, deciding where to go on a date. Rainbow thought she had a great idea that would meet both their preferences. Rarity finds this idea… ridiculous.

This is a cute story about two people trying to find ways to appeal to one another without sacrificing their own interests. Honestly, I’m not sure Annuska could have picked a better pair for the demonstration. Rarity’s and Rainbow’s concepts for what a date should be clashes spectacularly, but they each have the patience and good sense to work through the problem rather than let it drive a wedge between them. That’s a delightful message to send the audience.

I have no complaints. This story does exactly what it needs to do and doesn’t linger to let the idea get stale or do things that don’t advance the point. It’s also light in the romance department, for even though it’s about a romantic couple it’s manner suggests something more akin to slice-of-life. This isn’t a story about two people trying to suck face, but instead trying to set down the building blocks to their relationship. It won’t repel the anti-romance crowd and provides just enough casual attraction to keep the shippers happy.

An all-around good read, well-directed and strongly delivered. Well done, author.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

Soarin’s wife Rainbow is having their second foal today, and the birth doesn’t seem to be going well. Hoping to distract his six-year-old daughter and himself, he decides to tell little Fire Swift about how her parents got together.

I have no idea why this story is named as it is. The title doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the story. This extends to a deeper problem, as the story is rife with grammatical oddities and missing words that are consistent in their nature. It all makes me suspect that TheMareWhoSaysNi is not a native English speaker, although I’m not positive about that. This is supported by a style that feels overly formal, stiff, and tends to involve sentences that say more than they need to.

I have to give the author kudos to their character awareness. I think they do a solid job interpreting Rainbow Dash as an individual and how she might approach issues like romance, marriage, and childbirth. This comes with the caveat of the story being predictable, but I think the good here outweighs that.

Then there’s the overarching issue of the story being told. I mean, Fire Swift is six. The topics being described here – how marriage and childbirth could potentially change one’s life and the fear such changes brings to otherwise carefree lifestyles – is pretty deep for someone that age. I’m not sure this setting is the one TheMareWhoSaysNi should have utilized.

I came away with mixed feelings, as I often do. The writing style doesn’t support things like atmosphere, mood, and especially individuality in characters, and the setting feels forced. Then again, the author’s strong awareness of the characters at play works in their favor. Unfortunately, I feel TheMareWhoSaysNi will have to develop their writing game before I can rate them highly.

Bookshelf: Needs Work

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

Pen Name waits in the rain for the mare he’s agreed to meet. He waits for a very long time.

My opinions here are mixed. The story spends the vast majority of its time focusing on Pen Name’s thoughts, which include a long-winded description of his hopes and the letters he’s been exchanging with a certain mare, his gradual realization that she’s not going to show, and how this crushes his sense of self-worth. In other words, all the typical whining you might expect of a young author bitter about never having a date.

Then, in the later fourth of the story, something happens that turns the plot upside down, ending the story on a hopeful and reassuring note.

I like what Nugget is trying to do with this story. It’s a worthwhile message about not waiting for love to find you. The problem I have is that the story spends such an agonizingly long time getting to that message. I mean, we spend almost 3/4ths of the story watching this random colt be miserable. At 5,339 words, that’s a lot of time to linger without getting to the pont.

If I had to guess, I’d say Nugget was trying to create a ‘full scope’ of awareness in the reader regarding Pen Name’s situation and sense of defeat. But really, the author could have started the story 2,200 words later – when Pen Name abandons his lonely vigil on the bridge – and easily achieved everything the story aims for. Everything before feels like needless filler. I don’t know, maybe the rest of you readers want to spend all that time reading about the specific hows and whys of the situation. If that’s more your thing, then by all means have at it.

Again, I like the message this story delivers. I also like the method in which the message is delivered, although one must wonder about Luna’s overarching behavior. I also find the idea that she can wear a hood that conceals her face without concealing her horn dubious at best, but that’s nitpicking. What Nugget is trying to do here is certainly a great thing. I just feel like the story started off all wrong.

Bookshelf: Worth It

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

The Secretary

10,856 Words
By Snowybee

Who is Raven? She’s Celestia’s personal secretary and friend. And she might not fully grasp the role yet, despite being otherwise immensely good at it. When the leaders of a foreign land – foxes of a Japanese-style language and culture – arrive out of nowhere, she and Celestia struggle to avoid offending their sensibilities. That would be a lot easier if some of their number didn’t think Celestia a pretender god.

With the first bit of dialogue, you know you’re reading something special. Observe:

“Is it ready?”

“Yeah. I just have to write it down.”

“So… it’s not ready.”

“It’s all in here, baby.”

“I don’t know Raven as a pony who gives good head, considering how many relationships she’s carved a warpath through.”

“Har. At least I don’t have cobwebs down here.”

“Like fine wine.”

You see that? Tell me that doesn’t immediately get you interested. Bear in mind this is a conversation between Celestia and Raven. Snowybee’s not afraid to make Celestia appear normal to the point of vulgarity, and there’s no small amount of shittalk between the two of them. If that doesn’t make you want to find out more, I recommend you see a shrink immediately.

Anyway, the story starts off being about Raven and Celestia working (ostensibly) together to keep the Fox leader happy, but eventually morphs into a national emergency. It’s fun, it’s full of unforgettable dialogue, and you will not see Raven’s final solution coming.

The story is also very different from many that I’ve read by this author. Snowybee’s works are often vividly visual and elaborate to the point of confusion and/or frustration. Relatively speaking, this one is starkly direct. There are some minor problems from the stylistic shift – in particular when the pacing sometimes moves a little too quickly, although some readers might like that given the problem arises at some of the more critical moments, so perhaps that’s subjective. Even so, I think it’s overall a positive showing, indicating that Snowybee is learning that some stories don’t need endless prose complexity to be interesting.

I’m happy to rate this highly. It certainly deserves more attention.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
From the Flames in the FirelightWHYRTY?
Violet BluesWHYRTY?
The Hanging HatPretty Good

Nothing Left to Lose

6,367 Words
By Freglz
Requested by Freglz

Set some unknown time after the Season 6 finale, this story has Starlight Glimmer heading out on her own to a beautiful land. A land where a certain changeling queen lives all alone, plotting her revenge.

This is the story of a conversation. Starlight wants to help Queen Chrysalis rejoin her family and reform, but the changeling’s shell isn’t an easy one to crack. While she dances with words trying to come out of the debate alive, much less successful, we get to learn a little about the history of the changelings and Chrysalis’s perspective of events. This background is somewhat predictable, but there are some real “wait, what?” moments in there too.

Despite being little more than two characters talking under a tree, this is a strong one. It is at times tense, especially at the beginning when Starlight walks the razor’s edge of being the target of a changeling queen’s beatdown. But I feel Freglz major goal with this one was to humanizeequinize everyone’s favorite bug horse and make her into a sympathetic character. Freglz goes out of their way to sabotage their own work by highlighting Chrysalis’s past (non-canon) crimes which, in at least one instance, may be considered genocide, but at the same time turns it around by clarifying the exact reasons behind it.

So, in a way, this is also a story about how desperate situations and a flawed perspective can lead to terrible measures.

That the story leaves things open-ended is a great decision on the author’s part.

If I had to complain about any one thing, it was a certain disconnect I had between the dialogue and the narrative. On some occasions I’d see the dialogue, usually from Starlight, and it would sound one way in my head… only for the narrative to tell me I had it completely off. It’s only a nitpick, but it goes to show how narrative-dialogue interaction can be a delicate balancing act.

Otherwise, this is a strong story about two villains, one already reformed, discussing both the dark past and the possibilities of the future. I can see no reason not to recommend it.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

And now I’ve got Friendship Through The Ages stuck in my head. Thanks for that, TCC56.

Trixie attempts to pull off an escape trick. It… doesn’t go like it’s supposed to. Only then does it get revealed that Trixie was cursed with a spell that makes her speak in third person and refer to herself as “Great and Powerful” at all times. And since Twilight’s technically the one who killed her, even if by accident, now Twilight has that same curse. Needless to say, she is not amused.

I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, what this story makes fun of is not something anyone should make fun of. It’s cruel and mean and not cool at all. It’s downright shameful.

It’s also hilarious. I guiltily acknowledge I couldn’t stop grinning.

Watching Twilight suffer through the curse was beyond entertaining, to say nothing for that finale. You have to be willing to put up with the borderline cruel humor underscoring the entire story, but if you can then this will be a treat. I feel obligated to point out that this is one of the extremely few instances where Twilight goes all Fire Mode and I just didn’t care.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Previous stories reviewed for this author:
New Author!

Stories for Next Week:

The Extra Mile by CommissarAJ
Lost by NorsePony
Curiosity by Brony2893
The Statement of S. Belle by Neoarcad
Just Some Flowers by FerociousCreation
Celestia Has A Lot of Sex by Pony with a Pen
Why zombies, though? by Draconaes
Visiting by Chaotic Note
Beyond Achlys by Snuffy
Great and Powerful, Darling! by Krickis

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Comments ( 16 )

Another good batch. I have some stuff for my RiL now.

Bookshelf: Pretty Good!

Thank you very much! It's an honor to make the review list at all, and to have gotten such a glowing response. I'm honored.

Only one of these I read was "Happy Ending," and given all the accolades it's gotten, I must be in the minority. It's not that I think it's a poorly written story. There's definite skill in the wordcrafting, and it's a very plausible yet emotionally wrenching situation Dinky's been forced into (thank goodness she doesn't realize it). The problem for me is that it's also obviously very emotionally wrenching for other characters as well, particularly Golden Harvest, but I just don't have the context to understand their agency in it, and therefore which ones I want to root for. Maybe Derpy is an innocent victim here. Maybe she's (I'm just speculating here) become so drug-addled that she's incapable of being a mother. One makes her sympathetic, while the other makes her distasteful. Did Golden Harvest or her special somepony volunteer to take Dinky in, and it's just turned out to be much more of a chore than they expected? Or was it literally a choice between grudgingly taking her or relegating her to a roach-infested orphanage? Leaving things open can be a good story strategy, and it's hard to pin down why that works for some things and not others, but I'm left not knowing who I should hate and with whom I should sympathize. Obviously there's nothing to blame Dinky for, but the story focuses on Golden Harvest, and at no point did I know whether to perceive her as a protagonist or antagonist. There' something to be said for real-life situations where nobody's really at fault, and a story certainly can tackle such a situation, but I don't have the context here to know that, so I'm left guessing. Golden Harvest would know all that, so I don't know why her limited narration never offers any of it up. It would be at the core of how she feels.

Implying your RiL is low on stories, compared to my significant collection. :fluttershysad:

I – and I'm guess most other readers, too – feel that the characters' "agency" in the scenario is obvious. Golden Harvest lays out enough through her actions and words to tell me that she never wanted Dinky in the first place. But how do you say "no" in a scenario like this if you're at all a good individual? The fact that she said "yes" and yet feels the way she does is enough by itself to tell us what's going on.

I don't think this story wanted us to root for anyone. It wasn't about that. Neither is it about figuring out who you should hate or sympathize with, although I frankly sympathized with everyone present. Their situations – Dinky's, Golden's, Derpy's, Script's – were made apparent by their actions and words without having the exact facts ever laid down. You say you lack the context, but the context was, to me, heavily implied and clarified as the story went on.

But... it isn't obvious. I do definitely get the impression that Golden Harvest has felt put out by Dinky in the long term, but not how the situation started. She may have enthusiastically taken Dinky in at first, thinking that it can't be that hard to take care of a child. Or maybe her significant other was the enthusiastic one. She does seem to have some resentment toward him as well, but not enough to break them up. Derpy, too. If her child is out a mother because of mental health issues that can't be helped, that's one thing. If it's because Derpy's been acting incredibly irresponsibly, that's quite another. I couldn't even tell whether she was in some sort of medical/mental health facility or a prison. Basically, are the major players victims of circumstance, or do they have only themselves to blame? I don't know, and without that, I don't have a basis to judge their actions, leaving me not caring about Derpy or Golden Harvest one way or the other. Dinky is the only one I felt any sympathy for.

I suppose this all amounts to different interpretations of events. To me, it was all blatantly obvious: Golden never wanted Dinky, Script did, she wasn't willing to say no for the sake of image, and Derpy was in a hospital. I don't know how you could have not interpreted it that way.


I don't know how you could have not interpreted it that way.

Um... because it doesn't say, and it's not the only plausible explanation? I don't even think Derpy was in a hospital. They had to go through what seemed like a rather elaborate check-in process to see her for that. Seemed more like a prison to me, or at least a medical facility where they keep people, often against their will, who are considered dangerous. A lot of that goes toward whether Derpy's in a mess of her own making, and I don't see any context either way. As to whether it was Golden or Script who took on the responsibility, that would be a rather key issue for Golden, wouldn't it? We spend the entire story in her head, so it's curious by omission that it never comes up.

Again, it comes down to interpretation. One can argue that a writer allowing things to be understood by interpretation alone is strictly a flaw, and that's clearly your view on the matter, but it's just another of a thousand potential styles. I think not plu had a clear awareness of how most people would interpret the events. Obviously, there would be a minority of people such as yourself who would interpret it incorrectly or, perhaps, not at all, but that's a risk the author chose to take.

I don't think we don't need the absolute, "this is truth" facts to be set before us. I felt that everything laid out to us – the emotions, the behavior, the apparent circumstances – provides more than enough clues to make the situation apparent.

Of course, I could be completely wrong. Derpy could be in prison, though there's no real reason to believe that given her interactions with Dinky and Golden. Golden Harvest could have been thrilled to take Dinky in, although her overarching behavior and thoughts strongly indicate that's not the case at all. Sometimes it's less about the facts being handed to us than the intention of the author being revealed through the style and atmosphere of the story itself.

...of course, we could be dealing with an unreliable narrator in the form of Golden Harvest.

Gah, I'm arguing with myself, now! This is why I avoid debating: there's always a counterargument, and that makes the whole process seem annoyingly moot.

Actually, the history of the changelings I chose to go with was covered in a comic issue (I forget which), so it isn't without its canonical roots if you see the comics as secondary canon. But I recognised almost as soon as I started the dialogue that the same-sex dynamic would throw off the reader's ability to follow things effectively, yet I continued anyway. That was a genuine fault on my part, but I'm glad you enjoyed it nonetheless.

I agree there has to be a line you draw between spelling something out for the reader and letting them infer it. It's hard in an abstract and generalized sense to decide where to draw that line. For me, I usually try to pin it down to things like:

What readily plausible explanations could there be? Does it matter which one the reader goes with, in terms of whether the story retains its power?

I get into the same debate cycle as you. Does a story always have to make it clear what a character's motives are? Of course not. Then why did I feel like I needed that for this story? Because I felt detached from several of the characters, not knowing whether I was to take them as a victim or a villain. Could it be that's not what's important about the story? I guess. Then it often comes down to personal taste anyway.

The clear loser here is Dinky, but it wouldn't make sense to tell this story from her perspective, since it requires airing of attitudes and thought process that she not only doesn't share, but isn't even aware of. Though I'll second-guess myself again on that and say it is possible for a perspective character to miss cues that the reader doesn't. Still, I think Golden was the right choice of narrator. The story is really about Dinky, but by bringing in Golden as the viewpoint, then it makes me want the baggage she's bringing into it to matter, and Derpy's part of her baggage.

In the end, I agree with you that Golden either never wanted Dinky or at least thought it would only be a short-term arrangement that wouldn't be a big deal. She was kind of in a no-win situation, so she's more or less a victim, though she could be partially to blame. Maybe a little curious that Script's more obvious enthusiasm causes her some resentment only toward the circumstances but not toward him, and that we don't know what other options there might have been. (Is the local children's home really that bad? Does Derpy have no relatives, or if she does, dd they not want anything to do with this?) Script's pretty neutral, which is fine, because he's mostly in the background anyway. Derpy was the linchpin for me, though. She's either woefully irresponsible or also a victim, and I don't know which. I don't even see any hints as to which, unless we run with the "klutzy implies developmentally disabled or chronically mentally ill" theme people often take with her, which has always made me uncomfortable. It's kind of frustrating when a single sentence would have fixed all that for me personally, but of course it's the author's prerogative whether they want that sentence in their story.

Been awhile. came back to say i like Scribbler's fic reading she did on one of your stories. that's about it.

I was wondering why One Night at Fluttershy's was getting so much attention all of a sudden! Thanks for letting me know, I quite enjoyed it myself.

how do people keep finding a six-year-old story by an inactive author lmao

In this case? I think it was recommended to me by someone. Not sure who, though.



I mean like, golden's not supposed to be likeable, or a hero. It was not approached from the viewpoint of 'ok, here's the story i want to tell, how do i best convey it,' but rather the opposite. i started with the character of golden, as almost like a character study. I wanted to create a story that didn't tell you that golden is bad or that she's good, because that's how people view their own morality. golden is self aware about how apathetic she is, but she also justifies her own actions to herself. so golden isnt so much an unreliable narrator as she is a subjective one. i agree that the story would be very different if told from someone else's perspective, but it isn't about the story, it's about the perspective.

but also like, wtf did i know about morality (or even writing), i was a suicidal fifteen-year-old at the time. i know i wanted to create something that felt grey in a lot of different ways-- both literally and metaphorically, because that's how i felt then. it makes me happy that people are still reading it and enjoying it (other than pasc lmao) but also its incredibly hard for me to remember my intentions because that was six years ago and i have a bad memory. so in a cool death-of-the-author sort of a way, its had a lot more impact than what i put into it, which i think is cool.

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