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Summer Script

"I can't just do something a little bit. It's all of me, or nothing." — Madeline, Celeste

  • EA Day for Family
    It's that time again! Friends and Family Day! A day to celebrate the bonds of family! Of brothers and sisters, and of mothers and fathers! The holiday is just around the corner, and everyone simply cannot wait! Well, almost everyone that is...
    Summer Script · 12k words  ·  103  5 · 3k views

More Blog Posts13

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The Writing of A Day for Family · 7:34am May 21st, 2020

Hello, everyone! A while back, when I confirmed The Bonds of Love would happen, I also said that I would talk a bit about what writing A Day for Family was like. It’s not like I’m going to use this Blog much for anything else, so why not? :moustache:

So, if you read the story’s description, you’ll notice that A Day for Family was technically an entry in Miller Minus’s Young Six contest from a good while ago. Confession time: I originally planned on debuting on Fimfiction with a completely different story, so when I saw that contest, I was somewhat hesitant to actually do it. Obviously, I decided to enter it anyway, and it was…worrisome.

For one thing, up until that contest, joining this site(Much less being an author) always seemed like just a silly pipe-dream. And on top of that trepidation, I hadn’t made an account here, so that was fun—Figuring out how that worked while being paranoid I was doing it wrong. In hindsight, I was really worried over nothing, and I’m glad I finally joined the site proper.

But on to A Day for Family itself…

Initially, I thought about having a story focus on all of Young Six, but quickly threw that aside because I wanted to give proper focus to all characters involved, and given that they’re are six of them, I needed to tell a cohesive story within a little over a month, and THAT WORD LIMIT! … Yeah, no.

Next best idea was to choose just one of the students and focus on them. And, well, my mind pretty much immediately defaulted to Gallus. I wasn’t alone in that either, considering how many other contest entries featured the lovable blue boy.

As to why it was Gallus? Well…? This might sound a little shallow(For lack of a better word), but I’ve always found him to have the most story potential established within the show. Mostly due to his background and how vague it is.

Who are his parents? What happened to them? Did they give him up, die, or what? How was his life in Griffonstone aside from the loneliness? What’s the true nature of Gallus and Grandpa Gruff’s relationship, and is it actually familial? Or was Gruff legally obligated to take care of Gallus whether he liked it or not? What kind of repercussions did Gallus’ orphanhood have on his mind and identity?

See what I mean? Gallus’ backstory(And the subsequent lack of information pertaining to it) is nothing short of fanfic fodder. Of course, that’s not a bad thing by any means! But it’s the unknown aspect of his background that gives so much room to play around with! It’s a lot like the Princesses, Starswirl, Discord, etc… Less allows for more, I guess.

I suppose the same can also be said for Ocellus, considering she had to have been around for Queen Cheeselegs’ reign. But since Season Eight was a little busy with things like Non-Compete Clause and Yakity-Sax, Ocellus’ backstory didn’t get as much substance as Gallus’ did in The Hearth’s Warming Club.

Getting back on topic: When I did decide on Gallus, I also decided on Silverstream because of course of I did. More on her role later.

Once I picked Gallus for the main character, it was pretty easy to determine what it was I wanted to talk about: The consequences of his abandonment. And that, of course, led to using Friends and Family Day as the catalyst for a complete and total emotional breakdown!

So! Let’s discuss A Day for Family scene-by-scene, shall we?

Opening Scene

So, here’s a fun fact: From the beginning of the story to after Gallus’ conversation with the Tree of Harmony, everything remained relatively unchanged from how it went down in the first draft. Of course, there were still a lot of tweaks here and there. For instance:

1. In the opening scene, Gallus was talking to Ocellus and her parents at first, but I changed it to Sandbar and his parents instead. Why? Because Ocellus was originally going to catch on somewhat that Gallus was upset and that would have just dragged the scene out for too long, so I changed it.

2. Gallus’ anxiety attack after escaping Sandbar was also going to be longer. Mostly to nail in how bad Gallus was doing at the time and further emphasize that the crowd he was in triggered his claustrophobia, worsening the attack. Of course, it was unnecessarily long, so it got significantly cut.

3. Gallus and Discord were going to chat a little longer, but it was ultimately nothing substantial, so I scrapped most of it too.

You likely noticed a certain trend that occurred in the things I changed. A lot of the stuff I had to cut was sacrificed because it dragged on for too long. And there was a rather pressing reason why I needed to worry about that specifically.

That. Word. Limit.

One of the rules of the contest was that the entries couldn’t exceed 12k words. That word limit was simultaneously the bane of my existence, and an absolute Godsend! On one hand, it completely screwed me over with the latter half of the story(We’ll get to that), but on the other? It forced me to reevaluate what parts of the story were most important, and how best to express said important parts. So while I am glad for that word limit, dealing with it sucked!

But yeah. Most of the opening scene was unchanged between the first and final drafts.

Cozy Glow Scene

Now this was certainly in an interesting thing that just sort of happened. So after I wrote Gallus retreating into the School of Friendship to escape the celebrating crowd outside, I kind of needed a destination to put him.

Cue the demon child’s room.

Yeah, when I first wrote him getting in there, I had no idea what I would do after that. Then I realized it was an excellent place for some dialogue, sooo…

Cue the demon child herself.

Okay, no not really. You might have noticed that I never once specifically stated that any of “Cozy’s” lines were said by Cozy herself.

There’s a very simple reason for that: To make it abundantly clear that Gallus wasn’t talking to the real Cozy, but rather a figment of his imagination. Why did I have him talking to a figment of his imagination like Rainbow in Grannies Gone Wild? … DIALOGUE!

Yeah, I’m just going to shamelessly admit that the idea of using Cozy as a sounding board to further explore Gallus’ condition came out of a desire to have a scene, well, further exploring Gallus’ condition. It made sense at the time given that he was in her old room, and of course Cozy Glow—if given the chance—would screw with him like that.

Plus, it was a fantastic way of giving Gallus’ insecurities more of a “voice” if that makes any sense. I mean, I could have just easily written paragraph-after-paragraph, describing his fears and woes, but styling it more like a conversation as opposed to an exposition dump? Yep.

And apparently, it was for the better considering that FanficReader920 said this:

Having Cozy Glow’s voice be the one that represents Gallus’ self-loathing was a brilliant choice and really shows the toll of being thrust into the role of Equestrian Heroes.

—When reviewing A Day for Family for the Seattle’s Angels(Again, thank you so much for that!). I’m honored/ecstatic to know that I took what started off as an excuse to have a conversation, and successfully turned it into one of the neater aspects of the story!

Also the short conversation with Silverstream at the end is pretty much the same as well. Beyond that, it’s mostly a way to properly introduce her into the story as opposed to leaving her introduction to this one, ambiguous line:

“A demonic voice called his name from the ungodly choir, and a scaled claw raked his shoulder.”

Tree of Harmony Conversation

So that thing about not specifically stating “Cozy’s” dialogue was said by Cozy? Similar choice here. This might seem like a stupidly insignificant detail, but I didn’t want to specify the Tree of Harmony’s gender. Like I said—stupidly insignificant.

Why did I make that choice? Well, the Tree of Harmony is an ancient, magical creation that is likely the closest thing the series had to a canonical deity(Not counting Celestia, Luna, and Discord). Specifying its gender(Even with “It”) just seemed…too mundane. This is also why whenever the Tree did something like nod, I described it happening as “A nod” instead of, “The sparkling ghost nodded.”

Yeah, I don’t know. It seemed like a neat idea at the time, but in hindsight? It was kind of a stupid decision that I really didn’t need to make.

There also wasn’t a lot changed with this scene between drafts. There were times where I did wonder if I should write the Tree to tell Gallus more info about his parents. Not quite who they were or what happened, but a subtle remark or two. Ultimately, I chose not to go for that, because I decided that I wanted the story to focus entirely on Gallus and the characters helping him feel better, not a witch hunt for two griffons elsewhere.

On that note! Remember how I said that word limit was the bane of my existence? Well, do you want to know how it REALLY effected this story?

The entire second half of the story is completely different from the first draft! And sweet Christmas was it for the better! Care to guess what I was originally going to do after the Tree of Harmony?

Switch to Silverstream’s perspective, have her gather her dad, brother, and the remaining Young Six and go to Starlight, and ask her to teleport them to Griffonstone, so the group could go on a wild goose chase, looking for Gallus’ parents.

She and the others would then split up, and she and Smolder would bump into Gilda, get directions to Gruff’s house, go and try to convince him to return to Ponyville and be a parent, and then it would end with Silver and Gallus talking to each other with a certain draconequus popping in to make a shipping joke. Afterward, the story would end on a perfect, little happy ending.

Did that sound stupid? Good! Because it was stupid! I once heard an author say that they wouldn’t show their first draft to their worst enemy, and this is why! I almost don’t want to admit that this was a route A Day for Family could have gone down! It was sloppy, half-baked, and so, so dumb! :facehoof:

I probably could have made it work if I committed to it. Maybe split the story into multiple chapters, and switch between Gallus and Silver’s perspectives with each chapter? That way, in one chapter Gallus would be talking to “Cozy” and in the other, Silver is watching him talk to himself? It would certainly mean Silverstream would have more focus, and I definitely wanted that! I’d also need to devote a chapter to Gruff and Gallus making up, and that alone would have taken quite a lot of words.

Words that I didn’t have.

I tried. Oh, believe me! I tried to make this idea work. But no matter what I did, I just wasn’t satisfied. The pacing was skewered, Gruff’s character wasn’t executed as well as I wanted, and I couldn’t even have that Gruff/Gallus make-up scene I mentioned due to that word limit.

Why didn’t I just skip out of the contest, properly write this idea out, and then post it later? Because I wanted to win Because I had already decided to enter a story, and there was no way that I would back out of it. The whole reason I wrote A Day for Family was to enter it into the contest, and while if I had missed the deadline, I likely would have completed the story and posted it anyway… I wanted to at least try.

But as I said earlier; the word limit was as much a miracle as it was a pain in the neck.

Friends and Family Day Festival

So after deleting the original second half of the story, it took me a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. Obviously, that was to get Gallus and Silver to interact with each other. Luckily, I had a built-in excuse to pair them up with the Friends and Family Day aspect. So what was I to do, but go and tweak a few things to have a big festival for the holiday be thrown!?

I fell into a groove when writing this chunk of the story, going through the motions of getting Silver and Gallus together and throwing them at different events to spend the day doing

This whole section wasn’t anything too special as it was mostly just some light fluff to cool down after the drama that came earlier in the story. Of course, I still had a story to tell, so…

Nothing is wrong with you

So, after I nixed the original second half, I finally decided to fully commit to the angle I was approaching with the Tree of Harmony. That being: Gallus didn’t need to know about his parents in order to feel better. Obviously, that commitment was for the best.

There’s actually not a whole lot to say about this scene surprisingly. The idea of Gallus and Silver arguing using their Friendship Lessons was actually an evolution of an idea in the original draft, that I decided to recycle and refine. I’m glad I did it too because it was a lot of fun writing it.

Also, I don’t know if anyone picked up on this or not, but here’s a little Easter Egg: The Friendship Lesson numbers correspond to episodes in the show that the lessons were derived from. They’re obviously not beat-for-beat the same lessons from the episodes and are instead, more of an “interpretation” of the lessons, but whatever.

Yeah Surprisingly, not a whole lot to add here.

Gallus’ letter to Twilight

So, here’s a fact: At the end of the original draft, Discord would give Gallus a Friendship Journal similar to the Mane Six’s. Why? Because symbolism or whatever! Ultimately, I threw that out along with the rest of that terrible first draft, but it did give me an idea for this section. That being: End the story with Gallus sending Twilight a Friendship Report much like how Twilight did for Celestia way-back when? Why? Because symbolism or whatever.

Plus, it was the perfect excuse to haphazardly pretend like I actually tried to adhere to that “Discovery” prompt the contest had have Gallus reflect on the events of the story, and comment on his own current emotional health, showing the development he made in the story.

Of course, since real world issues like this aren’t so easily fixed over the course of one conversation with a friend, I made sure to include this:

I still want to know who they were and why they left me…

Yeah, that part was intended to show that while Gallus was doing better, he still had to deal with the lasting repercussions of his abandonment. It wasn’t really meant to be sequel bait even if it, well, might be perceived that way thanks to the story having a sequel now.

Also? Full disclosure:

P.P.P.S. If you respond to this, can you ask Princess Cadence a question for me? Silver wanted to know if today was supposed to count as a first date, and I have no idea how to respond to that.

Was me just putting in Gallus-Stream(That's their O.T.P name, right?) implications for the sake of implying Gallus-Stream. I said that I didn’t have any plans for a sequel, so it seemed fine at the time. Even if it was kinda just useless pandering… :derpytongue2:

Oh, well! A Day for Family has a sequel now, so I get to follow-up on this! :yay:

Well, that’s it for what it was like writing the story itself. As for the characters?


You know, when you’re taking a character with a well-defined canonical personality with clearly established character traits, both positive and negative; it’s probably best to stay faithful to that characterization; only tweaking these aspects if absolutely necessary to the story.


Staying faithful to Gallus’ character was my biggest concern when writing the story. While I was confident that I talked about his abandonment issues well enough, I was worried that I might have focused too much on that trait at the expense of his other attributes.

This comment pretty much sums up exactly what I was afraid of:

...you were trying to make a statement on loneliness and the unhealthy mindset that comes with it, but in pursuing that, you washed out all of the other qualities of Gallus as a character and just made him a depressed, lonely wreck whose entire life is consumed with feelings of inadequacy and isolation. It loses a lot of its punch because he turns from this wonderful, well-rounded character with strengths and flaws that we all know and love and becomes a walking pile of personality disorders...


I was genuinely afraid that this exact thing would happen, but I was fully committed to talking about the emotional/psychological consequences of Gallus’ abandonment. Unfortunately, I think I was a little too committed because I made a massive rookie mistake concerning this issue:

Rather than moderating Gallus’ emotional problems to make him more in-character, I instead attempted to justify the extremeness of the issues in the context of the story.

Remember this line?

Friends and Family Day. Not quite the most truthful name. “Day” implied it lasted for that long, but it lasted for a full week as far as Gallus was concerned.

Yep. Having Gallus go through the anticipation of Friends and Family Day for a week was more-or-less an attempt to “validate” Gallus being such a wreck at the start of the story. :pinkiesick:

Couldn’t even show him going through the week and his journey to that point of dejection and terror, nooo! I had to sum it up in a paragraph or too rather than actually showing it happen! Couldn’t just have Gallus sneak away into the school to get away from everything of his own choice, nooo! I had to try and be “artsy” and write about him seeing “monsters” due to a stress/claustrophobia-induced panic attack! :facehoof:

In hindsight, I really should have fixed these issues before publishing the story, but there’s nothing I can do about it now, unfortunately. All I can do now is learn from my mistakes and improve.

And on the plus side! Now, that I’m more acutely aware of this particular issue, I can try to improve upon it with both The Bonds of Love and whatever other stories I write in the future. :pinkiehappy:

And finally…


If there is any part of this story that I am unquestionably disappointed in, it’s Silverstream. Not her characterization, mind you; I’m pretty sure I got that right at least. No, I’m disappointed that she had so little presence in the final draft.

As much as I loathe what I originally had planned for the story’s second half, it at least gave Silver something to do beyond just being a psuedo-plot device that makes Gallus feel better at the end.

Maybe I’m being too harsh on myself here; after all, not every character can have the same amount of plot significance and screen-time as the main character(In this case: Gallus). But… I really wanted Silverstream to have a more active presence in the story. For as much as I wanted this A Day for Family to be about Gallus, I didn’t want it to be about only him. And I definitely didn’t want to relegate Silverstream to background character until the final third of the story where she swoops in and “saves the day” so to speak.

That’s actually part of the reason why I had Silverstream just try to spend the day with him instead of going to an adult like her dad or the Mane Six and informing them of the problem. And why I had her and Gallus argue with each other instead of just sitting down and having a conversation about what was wrong with him.

Even if I always intended Silverstream to be the one who succeeds in helping Gallus, I really wish I had given her existence in the story more emphasis than what I ultimately settled with. I mean, she is the other Character Tag on A Day for Family, so how could I not want to give her a more active role, deserving of that Tag!?

Nonetheless, I had a word limit. And the contest’s deadline was fast-approaching by this point, so I decided to place aside my own personal hang-up and give Silver the role she received in the end.

In the end, I am happy with what I wrote. There were obviously a lot of things I should have changed and improved, but for what I ultimately created? I’m proud of A Day for Family for what it is, rather than ashamed of it for what it could have been. While I do have gripes with what I did/didn’t do, I understand that the story wasn’t perfect. Nothing in life is, and that’s something I really need to internalize at some point.

I’m glad I wrote A Day for Family, and I am definitely happy that people enjoyed the story! So if you’re reading this, thank you! Thank you for reading A Day for Family, and thank you for finding it worth the read! I really hope nothing I said here tainted your enjoyment of the story

Whelp… I’m off. I need to go write the next chapter of The Bonds of Love. I might do this “Making of…” thing with that story too when I’m done, but eh. I’ll worry about that later. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful day!

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Comments ( 1 )

N’aw. Thanks for the little shout-out in there.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for a Gallus story.

I’m sure you’ll be able to get his character down the more you write him (Maybe check his appearances in the show for reference?)

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