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Nothing special here, move along, nothing to see, just ignore the lump under the sheet and the red stuff...

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Drafts vs Final on The Last Nightguard and can openers · 7:10pm March 24th

Sneak peek of Last Nightguard progress below the break. Thought some of you masochists would enjoy seeing my creative (??) process in action, so here's what I sketched out first, then what it turned into as second draft. It fits with the 'Pantser vs Plotter' school of writing, where the seat-of-the-pants writers scoff at the people who plot out everything and vice versa. In actuality, they each carry a 'seed' of the opposite school while writing, because the pantsers have a vague plot sketched out in the back of their head while writing, and even the most sincere plotter has to pants their way through the first outline. More below.

Ok, quick summary to this point. No, that would spoil it too much. Let's just admit to Luna having gotten her first look at a modern batpony and being scared witless that Nightmare Moon's legacy has followed her to the modern age, where Ebon Tide (a guard from her era) is recovering in the hospital.

First, we have Georg's rather rough outline, slapped together when I didn't have time to do much more.

Luna terrified, holding perfectly still. Eb takes over the conversation with Peanut. Excuses that Luna never was good with foals. Peanut: But she’s the candy princess! (pause, slower) Maybe she doesnt like that part. We still get candy, right? Eb (winces) Sugar? Peanut: Yes! Last year I ate so much I was sick. Eb (blinks slowly) So… what did you bring as a gift for Princess Luna. Peanut: Pop! Eb. Not candy? Peanut: No, you wash candy down with pop. (roots in bag) And I got a moon pie, and a can of mangos. (pause, looks at Princess Luna who was still holding exceedingly still) Does she like moon pies? Eb: Are they candy? Peanut: No, they’re like cake. Eb: Let’s put this pie to the side for now. (looks at the can) It has a picture of a mango. Peanut: That’s because it has mangos in it. Eb: (shakes the can, peers at it) Fruit, inside a sealed metal container. Does it prevent decay? Peanut (Puzzled) Mangos can go bad? Ed (still turning can) How do you get them out? Peanut (scrounges in bag) Mama uses a can opener, and then you have to share them with your brother and be careful not to get cut on the can. (turns to Eb and sticks out her tongue, putting it on her nose and pointing to the underside next to her fangs.) Eee, ight ere? At’ ere eye got ah cut. Eb (sideways glance at Luna, who had relaxed a little, but not sufficiently to trust her own voice, and to be honest, the guard was doing far better with the terrifying child that Luna could have even if she had been a normal mortal. Musing about how long the creatures lived, if any of them survived for the thousand years since she had slain so many of their kind.
intermix luna musing with events
Eb and child with can opener, luna is bemused. She had tasted a mango once on a journey with Celestia, can’t even remember where it was. They were delicious fruits, but no so that she would take the *entire* can of them when they got it open. Maybe half.

As you can tell, it's rather rough and tough, but most of the dialogue is present, and Peanut holds her absolutely adorable habit of not really caring about the rank of older ponies and things like rules. Rough outline to first draft is the dramatic change. First to second to third to fourth draft are all generally fairly minor with bits and pieces changed en route.

Here's what it looks like when more fleshed out, and awaiting a line by line examination. I'll include a bit of the previous chapter for context.

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, it’s Princess Luna! Am I supposed to curtsey or bow or shake hooves or what? Am I going to get into trouble? Mama says I’m not supposed to see her! Did she get my letter? Is she sick too? I only brought one bottle of pop! Should I go get another one? Do princesses drink pop? Is there something important outside your window that she’s looking at?”

“Peanut!” chastised Ebon Tide, much as if he were speaking to one of his own long-dead children. “Calm down. Sit!”

There was another quiet thud behind her as if a small rump were hitting the tile floor.

“Your Royal Highness, Princess Luna,” began Ebon Tide in the full rolling cadence of a Nightguard although skipping several of her titles, “I would like to introduce Peanut of House Glory, Clan Silversmith. Peanut and several other small relatives snuck in to see me a few nights ago, and I was rather rude to them. I’m glad to see that she has returned, and from the package I see on the floor in front of her, she brought a gift.”

“We are pleased to meet you, young—”

Luna turned around with a polite smile appropriate for the current occasion, with the smallest of lifting at the corner of her lips and her eyes hooded slightly. That is until she saw the small batwinged monster, and her heart nearly stopped in abject terror.

I thought they were dead. I thought they were all DEAD!

— End chapter 8

— Chapter 9 edited to here

The Last Nightguard
Black Sheep

Fear was stronger than steel, more powerful than rage, and inescapable when the monster you feared was your own self.

Unable to move even the smallest muscle, Luna stared at the monstrous consequences of her actions so long ago. If the bat-winged creature had been an adult, she might have been able to fight, but to see one so small and innocent engulfed by Nightmare Moon’s cursed spell struck directly at her weakness. Luna had never done well with children, even when she had been small herself. She loved the night and all that it hid enshrouded away from prying eyes, while others shied away from the darkness and insisted on light to see what did not want seen. When she had become a princess, it had only gotten worse. She was larger than even the largest normal pony, and totally terrifying to the smallest.

The tables were certainly turned this evening. Peanut Brittle looked back at her with yellow-slit eyes wide while Luna’s heart pounded in her ears. They held their respective positions for a short time until Peanut leaned over to her faithful Guard and asked in a loud whisper, “What do I say?”

“You thank Her Highness, then you leave,” said Ebon Tide in a similar whisper. “Princess Luna has never been good with foals.”

“But she’s the candy princess!” hissed the young pony before slowing down and blinking several times. “Maybe she doesn’t like that part. But we still get candy, right?”

Eb winced. “Sugar?”

“Yes!” declared Peanut. “Last year, I ate so much I was sick!”

Ebon Tide seemed to have something in his eyes because he was blinking rather slowly until he braced himself and asked, “So, did you bring a gift for Her Highness?”

“Pop!” declared Peanut.

“Not candy?” asked Eb hesitantly.

“No, you wash candy down with pop,” said Peanut, who had turned nearly bottom-up to root around in the paper bag she had brought into the room. “And I got a moon pie, and a can of mangos…” She abruptly looked up from the bag and locked eyes with Luna, who still had not moved, then glanced sideways at Eb. “Does she like moon pies?”

“Are they candy?” countered Eb.

“No, they’re like cake,” said Peanut.

“Let’s put them to one side for now.” Eb looked down from the bed at the growing collection of items on the floor. “What is that?”

“Mangos!” declared Peanut, holding the metal container up. “The can has a picture of a mango on it so you can tell.”

Eb took the ‘can’ from the young pony and gave it a shake, then peered at the colorful label. “Fruit, inside a sealed metal container. Does it prevent decay?”

“Mangos can go bad?” Peanut looked puzzled, but only for a moment until she brought out a strange metal device with levers and gears.

“So how do you get them out?” asked Eb, still turning the can around in search for some sort of opening.

“Mama uses a can opener, and then you have to share them with your brother and be careful not to get cut on the can.” Peanut opened her sharp-toothed mouth wide and stuck out her long tongue, pointing at the underside next to her fangs. “Eee, ight ere? At’ ere eye got ah cut.”

To his credit, Eb gave a sideways glance at Luna before bending over the edge of the hospital bed to examine the proffered object with all the sincerity of a court presentation. Luna had relaxed ever so slightly since her first dramatic impression of the monstrous little child, and to be honest, the guard was doing far better than she ever could have. Then again, the two batponies were very much alike, which made her wonder how long the creatures lived, or if any of them had survived the thousand years since she had slain so many of her kind. After all, Peanut was a child, and to have children, there needed to be at least some adults, so therefore Nightmare Moon’s cruel act of reclaiming her power from the transformed ponies had not resulted….

No, she did not wish to think of it. Not until she had more time to recover. And perhaps one of the mangos in that can. She had tasted a mango once on a journey with Celestia, although she could not remember just exactly where they had been, and that had been in the Discordian era, so their location was most likely different now. The mango was a delicious fruit, but not so much that she would take the entire contents of the can when it was opened.

Perhaps half.

Comments ( 4 )

Georg, Georg, Georg; I'm already hooked on your stories and now you're bringing forth another? I eagerly await its publication.

5482624 Oh, I'm also working on a Biscuit-style one day in the life of story titled "Knight and Dei - Pony Rides" about a couple of pegasi who are taking a self-funded tour of the American midwest by selling pegasus rides to finance their wandering. See our lovable pegasus Dei take the day shift with the human POV character foalsitting their newborn (hey, somebody has to drive the Winneybago) while the batpony Knight Lite takes the night shift, giving pony rides to children at fairs and carnivals and festivals all over the midwest.

... Sweet Mercy I've been living in the South too long. It's been YEARS since I've heard "Pop" refer to a drink/soda! And MOON PIES! I haven't had a moon pie in... Oh GOD has it actually been 10 years?! Either way, like many, MANY of your other projects, I eagerly await the next... Whatever Diabetes inducing trip you're gonna drag us all down. Willingly or not! Bring extra rope, just in case.

Ponies in a Whinnybago?:trollestia: Count me in! Well, count me in again since we've already got Goose & Widget riding around in one. I love the Admiral's slice of life stuff.

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