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PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin
#1 · 6w, 5d ago · 9 · ·

Hello, all you fantastic Royal Canterlot Library readers!

Over the three and a half years that the RCL has been running features, one of the most common pieces of feedback that we get is, “I’m glad they featured [insert awesome ponyfic author here], but that’s not the story that I would have picked.”

For our second anniversary, we gave readers a chance to amend that with a fully reader-chosen spotlight. But we've just posted our 180th feature -- and that's an awful lot of authors represented by a single work that might not be in their typical style!  We've decided it's time to further set the record straight.

That's where you come in!


For the next two weeks, we're running a contest.  Help us answer this question:

Which RCL-featured authors do you think should be refeatured, to showcase a story better representative of their strengths?

In the comments below, nominate a story by one of our already featured authors — a single [1] story that is RCL-eligible [2], and different from the one we featured.  Be sure to include a link to the story and a few words about both why it’s worth spotlighting and why it's a better example of the author's skill! (See the previous thread for some great examples.)

Then, vote for the stories you’d like to see us refeature by upvoting their nomination comments. You can vote for as many stories as you like. We'll take the three top vote-getting authors for a second spotlight — 2nd and 3rd places as a double feature, and 1st place with a brand-new interview!

You all have until Sunday, April 23, 11:59 PM PDT to nominate and vote for stories.[3]  We’ll post a reminder next week on our site (and FIMFic interview post) as a reminder to check back in to this thread and register your votes for the full range of nominations.

Let the fanficcing begin!


The fine print:

[1] One story per post.  Multiple nominations per poster is fine, but don't spam the thread (choose the best story per author rather than listing everything they've done; and keep in mind that there can only be three winners, so add more than that and you're competing against your own picks).

[2] Eligibility rules: Stories must be complete, and must not be previously RCL/PFV/EqD-6-Star featured.  A list of those works is here — just make sure the story you choose isn't on it.

[3] Signal-boosting is encouraged!  Ballot-stacking is not.  Tell people TO vote, not HOW to vote.  (However, authors, if a story of yours is getting attention that you'd rather not see featured, it's fine to say so and talk about which story of yours you think is stronger.)

(Post originally written by horizon! I am, as always, just the messenger.)

#2 · 6w, 5d ago · · ·

Oh fuck...  I have no idea what to suggest.

~Skeeter The Lurker

Comment posted by Impossible Numbers deleted at 11:09am on the 9th of April, 2017
#4 · 6w, 5d ago · 15 · ·

Also, upvote if you like cookies. :raritywink:

#5 · 6w, 5d ago · · ·

>>5894663

Dang it. Literally just realized this is ineligible. :facehoof: Ignore me, please. I'm having one of those days. :ajbemused:

Guess I'll have to come back with something else later. :applejackunsure:

#6 · 6w, 5d ago · 2 · ·

Deep breath. Take Two...

Daring Do Bakes A Cake

by Lucky Dreams

Join Daring Do on her most thrilling, most heart-pounding adventure yet — revealing a startling secret to her mother...

This one starts off as a fun bit of character comedy, progresses onto family drama, and then ends with a pretty sweet finish, all while nodding towards the Indiana Jones mythos (most obviously The Last Crusade). Save for that last part, I think this exemplifies Lucky Dreams at their finest. It shows the author dealing with their more typical Slice-of-Life pieces focused on ponies, i.e. with no "Human" tag. And despite one or two oddities (the existence of computers in Equestria, for one), it is very much in keeping with the show's innocent and good-natured outlook. :scootangel:

Also, it's not ineligible. I checked. :twilightsheepish:

#7 · 6w, 4d ago · 23 · 5 ·

Aragon's "Evil is Easy, Governing is Harder"

His current featured story was written in the style of another author, another author who didn't actually get the RCL. So it's kind of doubley salt-in-woundsish.

This one, though, is some of the tightest comedic construction I've ever seen, in a style I don't think any other author on the site could pull off.

#8 · 6w, 4d ago · 28 · 2 ·

Lost Time

by bookplayer

Rainbow Dash can’t wait for her first date with Applejack; they always have an awesome time hanging out, and a relationship just means there are even more physical activities they can try together. So when the dumb zap apple harvest postpones their date, she decides it’s the zap apples that are going to have to change their plans. Equestria should know by now that wild, ancient magic is no match for Rainbow Dash, especially when she might get laid.

Everything is going according to plan, until she crashes. Or, rather, until she wakes up after crashing and fifteen years have gone by. Fifteen years during which she seems to have been a very busy pony.

Now Rainbow Dash has to adjust to a life she never thought she wanted, and figure out if she’ll ever get to live the life that brought her here.

Whereas bookplayer was originally featured for Of Cottages and Cloud Houses, that story does not reflect bookplayer's claim to fame: shipping romance.  If one is looking for a story showcasing bookplayer's wisdom in the art of constructing a romance story, I would point to Lost Time, which won the AppleDash Group Contest.  In particular, the premise of this story is one of its major strengths.  Because most shipping stories focus on pairings not cannon to the show, these stories almost inevitably focus on the beginning parts of a relationship.  However, sending Rainbow Dash fifteen years into the future enables the story to tackle issues specific to married life, setting it apart from other shipping stories.  Furthermore, by plopping a 21-year-old Rainbow Dash into the life of a 36-year-old mother, the story really helps to dramatize the process of growing into her role as a wife/mother, essentially forcing Dash through fifteen years worth of emotional growth over the course of the story.  More so than the shipping component, the story is about Rainbow Dash's personal growth and her discovery of what's really important to her.

The characterizations in this story are also wonderful.  I loved how Applejack’s and Rainbow Dash’s character traits are at the same time their greatest strengths and their greatest weaknesses.  Rainbow Dash’s impulsiveness both precipitates the entire crisis by driving her to mess with the Zap Apple weather but also proves to be her greatest strength later into the story.  The story also does an excellent job of showing how Rainbow Dash's and Applejack's personalities complement each other, making their marriage believable.  That solving the relationship problems between AJ and Dash depends on Rainbow Dash’s growth and maturation really helps unite a lot of the themes and ideas of the story.

All together, this is a really well planned and well executed story that touches on a lot of deeper themes absent from many other ship fics.

#9 · 6w, 4d ago · 3 · 3 ·

Celestia by Arad

I'm terrible at this type of comment, but I shall try...

This one, among its many dark themes, is a sweet story about an AU of the founding of Equestria, and how Celestia and Luna came to be.  The characterizations are all believable. They hardly ever fall out of character. And the interactions are written very well, too. Furthermore, the pacing is just shy of perfect, my only complaint about it being toward the end. Also, those there chapter titles...

See? Told you I stink at writing these. Anyway, hope you consider this one.

#10 · 6w, 4d ago · 7 · ·

[3] Signal-boosting is encouraged!

:pinkiegasp:

Do you not remember the drama signal-boosting caused last time?  One author with lots of watchers did some signal-boosting and was going to win easily on watcher count, until some other authors did their own signal-boosts, and then another author took the lead--but then this was rumored to depress the first author, so the author who now looked like he was going to win said he'd drop out, because signal-boosting wasn't fair, and then another author thought he should drop out, so I organized a cooperative signal-boosting giving equal time to the major contenders and eventually convinced everybody not to drop out.

I spent a lot of time doing damage control on signal-boosting last time, and I'm not going to do it again.

I'm talking about people boosting their own stories.  Of course, we do need to get the word out.  I suggest that a person writing a blog post telling people about the contest:

- should not suggest people vote for them, or say how much it would mean to them, or name any of their own stories

- should name at least one story by someone else.

horizon
Group Admin
#11 · 6w, 4d ago · · ·

>>5894832

Thanks for speaking up.  We're having some discussion on this right now — so for this post I'm just speaking for me, not the RCL.  This is something we definitely want to address, though.

As you note, it's a balancing act between getting the word out and having self-promotion wars — what we'd really love (and I can speak for us all here, I think) is for people with no pony in the race to signal-boost.  And the possibility of a who-has-more-watchers scuffle was part of the reason I advocated for multiple features this time: it's less of a zero-sum game when voters who get sent here are encouraged to pick multiple other contenders as well.

It does help to get out ahead of that and more explicitly define the social norms, though.  (I say that rather than "rules" because if we try to stop vote-pleading with nothing but rules, everyone will walk right up to the edge of what's allowed.)  And I agree the social norm should be "This is about what readers want, not who can request votes most effectively."

Your first suggestion seems reasonable to me.  One concern about the second:

- should name at least one story by someone else.

This sounds good in theory, but I'm worried it would just lead to escalation.  An author trying to get votes for themselves by sending their own followers here with a message of "vote for Other Author's Fic" is basically locking up two slots instead of one.  And I think it's counterproductive to force third-party signal boosts to become partisan; having vote-for-specific-authors campaigns organized from the sidelines can be just as harmful as self-promotions.

#12 · 6w, 4d ago · 2 · ·

Hello, my name is Mr. Hsop, and I come from, er... someplace far away! Yes, that'll do. I think we should nominate Posh and his story, Cosmic Cranky Fights the Nazis Whilst Orbiting Betelgeuse. He's the best writer, and also the most attractive one!

#13 · 6w, 4d ago · 3 · ·

>>5895040 I have one question:

How come you and Posh are never in the same room, Mr. Hsop?

#14 · 6w, 4d ago · 7 · ·

>>5895045

Duh. Obviously, Posh has got a restraining order against Mr. Hsop.

#15 · 6w, 4d ago · 2 · 22 ·

>>5894656

I'm glad these posts count as site blogs, so even if you're not a member of the group you can be witness to this entirely masturbatory process.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin
#16 · 6w, 4d ago · 3 · ·

>>5895504

Go to your feed, click Options, click off Social Site Posts.

#17 · 6w, 4d ago · 1 · 10 ·

>>5895522

Doesn't change the fact that they're on by default.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer
Group Admin
#18 · 6w, 4d ago · 7 · ·

>>5895523

This is not a topic relevant to the current discussion.

#19 · 6w, 4d ago · · 11 ·

>>5895531

Oh yeah?

#20 · 6w, 4d ago · 7 · ·

>>5895537 Seeing as the thread is supposed to be nominating people for the RCL, he is in fact correct.

#21 · 6w, 4d ago · 18 · ·

>>5895523

on by default

Man, why does life have to be so hard?

#22 · 6w, 4d ago · 2 · ·

>>5895552 I’m always on by default for you.( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

#23 · 6w, 4d ago · 2 · ·

>>5895568 Preparing for docking, sir.

#24 · 6w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

>>5895608 Tractor beams engaged, bby.

#25 · 6w, 4d ago · 2 · 13 ·

>>5895543

>>5895552

>>5895568

>>5895608

>>5895609

This is not a topic relevant to the current discussion.

#26 · 6w, 4d ago · 9 · 19 ·

>>5894656

Regarding the Need for Sex Education

by GaPJaxie

Romance, Comedy

7,604 words

Ponies these days are nuzzling younger than ever. Talk to your foals about the dangers of unprotected tummy rubs.

Why I recommend it: Hilarious story about Twilight being confused about the birds and the bees.

Twilight is pregnant. Or so she thinks, anyway. She had been waiting, but it was the night after she became a princess, and it just felt so right.

Yes, it is quite the scandal. Twilight Sparkle, knocked up with Princess Celestia’s lovechild out of wedlock! How is she going to tell her?

Rarity, however, has a somewhat better grasp on the birds and the bees, and there’s a slight problem here, seeing as Celestia is lacking in some of the necessary, ahem, equipment.

But Twilight won’t have any of it, and goes out to her other friends to seek comfort. How could Rarity reject her love for Princess Celestia, and her doubts about their relationship!

And so Twilight embarks on a hilarious misadventure across Ponyville, looking for advice on what to do and bemoaning her friends’ lack of understanding of her situation, while her friends try to carefully explain to Twilight why Princess Celestia could not have possibly knocked her up.

Well, most of them, anyway. It seems a couple of them had the same level of sex-ed as Twilight…

Absolutely chock-full of jokes about traditional pegasus weddings, implied S&M, pudding, Twilight finding Shining Armor’s porn stash, and many other things, this story is hilarious from the moment you find out just who the “father” was to the finish, and just when you think things couldn’t get any funnier, you discover just how wrong you are in the next scene. And yet, somehow, everyone is in character the whole time.

This is one of my favorite stories on FIMFiction. It is just a fun piece from start to finish and you all should go read it.

And then vote for it to be featured, because, seriously, it is amazing.

EDIT: Someone asked for me to clarify why I nominated these stories for this particular contest. The goal of the contest is to feature stories which better represent the person in question. So why this story?

Because it shows GAPJaxie's breadth. GAPJaxie's previous RCL story, The Arbitrage of Moments, was a very serious story about Applejack, Twilight, Fluttershy, and an OC. This, on the other hand, is a pure comedy story, and glorious for it. GAPJaxie has a lot of talent, and this shows off a very different aspect of his talent than his other RCL story.

#27 · 6w, 4d ago · 18 · 3 ·

>>5894656

Spring is Dumb

by HoofBitingActionOverload

Comedy, Romance

9,255 words

Rainbow Dash knows one thing for sure, she is definitely not a barbarous, uncivilized dolt who doesn't know polite conversation from a hippopotamus's rear end. And also that she's definitely not the one who's wrong. Rarity is wrong. Rainbow Dash is absolutely, totally, a hundred percent sure of it.

But then why did Rainbow just buy a wagon load of apology bouquets?

Why I recommend it: An absolutely hilarious story with an amazingly voiced Rainbow Dash.

Review

Rainbow Dash stomped through the Ponyville market, glowering and glaring at everything and everyone, and thoughtfully considered the importance of grounding oneself. Because Rainbow Dash put thoughtful consideration into things all the time, and she made sure to glare at everypony she saw who might dare think otherwise.

A young, fit, snazzy, totally hot, totally smart, definitely-not-a-simpleton could know little for absolute certain among the confusion and disorder of life. Grounding oneself was important. Not literally. That would be terrible. Rainbow Dash glared extra hard at the guy who sold bananas to show him how terrible it would be. Metaphorically or symbolically, or maybe both. They were probably the same thing.

With all the uncertainty in the world, it was important to ground oneself by picking out one thing in all the disorder and confusion that one could know for sure was real. It had to be something utterly, undeniably true. A rock on which one could steady oneself in times of worry and adversity. It had to be the one unchanging principle that defined one’s entire life.

Rainbow Dash’s one life-defining principle was that she was definitely not a barbarous, uncivilized dolt who didn’t know polite conversation from a hippopotamus’s rear end.

Obviously, anyone who said otherwise didn’t know what they were talking about. They would have been laughably wrong. To prove it, Rainbow Dash let out a loud, barking laugh. And then all the ponies around her started giving her weird looks so she shut her mouth and glowered again. Whatever. She had proven her point.

Anyone who genuinely believed it wasn’t laughably wrong must have been a prissy, uptight unicorn who was way too sensitive about things that no one else even cared about.

A bright red bird flew down in front of Rainbow Dash, and she glared at it, too. Songbirds flew and tittered everywhere overhead, enjoying the early spring. The early spring that Rainbow Dash had given them. Sure, some other ponies had helped, but it was Rainbow Dash who had petitioned the mayor for an early spring, and it was Rainbow Dash who had argued with the Central Weather Office to let them do it, and it was Rainbow Dash who had organized the early Winter Wrap Up while Twilight was away. And Rainbow Dash had done it all for Rari—them. The birds. Because Rainbow Dash did stuff for birds sometimes. She was, like, at least half bird, after all.

And what thanks did she get for all her hard work?

Well, a whole lot of thanks, actually. An early spring had earned her an entire evening of personal thanking. The morning after, too. And the night after that.

But not now. One little mistake and the birds instantly forgot all the nice things Rainbow had ever done for them and wrote Rainbow off as an ‘insufferable brute.’ Not that she had even made any mistake. She hadn’t done anything wrong at all. Except do all that work for nothing. Nothing but the worst season of the year. Rainbow Dash hated spring. Spring was dumb, and she glared up at the birds to show them just how dumb it was.

Rainbow Dash hoped it rained all over all of them, ruining all of their dumb spring and tree blossoms and bird songs. One of the worst storms Ponyville had ever seen. That would show them.

Thus begins one of the greatest and most hilarious RariDash stories on the site.

Rainbow Dash is in love with Rarity. But they got in a fight – their very first fight. Rainbow Dash isn’t going to apologize. She didn’t do anything wrong. Clearly she’s just buying this wagonload of flowers, and jewelery, and strange foods she can’t even pronounce, because she likes them.

That’s it. It definitely isn’t an attempt to make up.

Rainbow Dash’s internal thoughts in this story are absolutely hilarious and are a total blast to read. HoofBiting captures them excellently, but while there is a great deal of comedy in here, there’s also some real pathos as well, as we come to understand exactly what caused the fight and exactly why Rainbow Dash’s ego won’t let her come to grips with it fully, and we actually end up feeling for Rainbow Dash by the end of it, as Rainbow Dash comes to grips with her emotions and we see exactly why she loves Rarity so.

This story is great from start to finish, and everyone should read it, even if they don’t ship RariDash.

And then go vote for it for it to be featured, because seriously, it is amazing.

EDIT: Someone asked for me to clarify why I nominated these stories for this particular contest. The goal of the contest is to feature stories which better represent the person in question. So why this story?

As with GAPJaxie, this shows HoofBitingActionOverload's breadth of skill. HoofBitingActionOverload actually wrote a large number of romance stories and comedies; his previous RCL feature, Where Have The Stars Gone?, was a very serious, more philisophical piece. He wrote some of those as well, and many were quite excellent, but I've always considered Spring is Dumb to be his best work, and a number of his romance stories and comedies are excellent. As this is both a romance and a comedy, it combines several of HoofBitingActionOverload's strengths into what is one of the best stories on the site.

#28 · 6w, 4d ago · 9 · 3 ·

>>5894656

Twilight's List

by Kits

48,653 words

Romance

Twilight Sparkle prides herself on following and sticking to her plans, but she isn't as organized as everypony thinks. Her master list, the plan for her life, has an item that she has never been able to check off; and the time has come to fix that. How hard can it be? All she needs to do is go on a date and get a kiss.

Twilight is a pony who loves lists. When she was younger, she made a list, 100 things every filly should do, and has completed 99 of them. There's just one thing left on the list: go on a date, acquire first kiss.

This should be easy. After all, it doesn't really specify romance. Twilight could totally get one of her friends to go out on a practice date with her, right?

All she has to do is make a list of all the traits she'd like in a pony, and then ask that pony to go out on a practice date with them.

After some amount of deliberation, that proves to be Rainbow Dash.

There's just one problem - when Twilight goes into long explanations, Rainbow Dash's eyes glaze over. And so, when Twilight asks Rainbow Dash out on that date, Rainbow Dash doesn't realize that it is supposed to be for practice.

Thus begins a very fun (and quite funny) story about Twilight and Rainbow Dash's newfound uh, relationship, which Rainbow Dash is pretty enthusiastic about while Twilight doesn't realize just what she did. There's a lot of humor here, all the characters are well-voiced, and the story serves as an excellent vehicle not only for budding romance, but also showing us why Rainbow Dash and Twilight might fall in love.

It is a fun story that does a good job of keeping the audience engaged not only in what is happening, but also in the relationship between Twilight and Rainbow Dash itself.

You should all go read it; it is pretty much the TwiDash shipfic.

And then go vote for it to be featured, because seriously, it is amazing.

EDIT: Someone asked for me to clarify why I nominated these stories for this particular contest. The goal of the contest is to feature stories which better represent the person in question. So why this story?

Kits' previous RCL and Pony Vault stories are Storm and Who We Are, both of which were serious character pieces. And while those are both great stories, Twilight's List is his most popular piece for a reason. Kits wrote several shipfics, but Twilight's List was the most popular and, I think, widely regarded as the best. Indeed, it is a flagship story for TwiDash, and is one of the best getting together romantic comedy stories on the site. It shows Kits' breadth and ability as a writer, and while there's nothing wrong with either of the other two stories, I feel like this is his strongest piece.

#29 · 6w, 4d ago · 1 · ·

>>5895696 Spring is Dumb is so good!

And speaking of dumb, it took me five attempts to spell it correctly in the sentence above.  Go me.

#30 · 6w, 4d ago · 4 · 2 ·

>>5894656

Trust

by Bad Horse

Dark, Alternative Universe

2,353 words

Trixie had made mistakes.  Trixie had lied.  Still, nopony had expected it to send Celestia into a rage.  But nopony but Celestia understood the true importance to Equestria of trust.

Why I added it: It is an alternate take on the aftermath of Boast Busters, seen through the eyes of Princess Celestia.

Review

It is the end of a long day in the Day Court of Princess Celestia. All the petty disputes have been resolved, and only one thing remains – to deal with Trixie, who, by abusing the trust of ponies, had nearly destroyed Ponyville.

This is a story about the importance of trust, and how it can not only help create ties between ponies that make Equestria the fine land it is, but also how it generates a sort of responsibility – a responsibility that ponies like Trixie, who want unearned trust, are not ready to bear.

This story gives us a great deal of insight into Celestia’s mentality in it, as well as the kind of pony who would value trust so highly. It is also one of those stories where the End Changes Everything, as we realize just why Celestia was so upset about what Trixie did.

It is short, but very punchy, and it has one of the best ending lines of any story on FIMFiction.

You should all go read it; it is short, but amazing.

And then go vote for it to be featured, because seriously, it is amazing.

EDIT: Someone asked for me to clarify why I nominated these stories for this particular contest. The goal of the contest is to feature stories which better represent the person in question. So why this story?

Bad Horse's previously RCL-featured work was The Magician and the Detective, which is an excellent story. It is also a crossover shipfic between Sherlock Holmes and Trixie. Bad Horse writes a lot of deeply philosophical pieces, and while that shows through in The Magician and the Detective, he has written a lot of punchy short stories with powerful ideas behind them. I feel like Trust epitomizes that side of him in many ways; it is actually hard to decide between all of his powerful stories (he's an amazing writer), but Trust is short, punchy, and puts a different take on canon. It is a great short story and it does a lot in very few words.

#31 · 6w, 4d ago · 14 · 2 ·

>>5894656

Roaming

by Skywriter

Sad, Slice of Life, Human

Clementine Apple (née Orange) receives an extremely long-distance phone call.  Equestria Girls-based content.

Why I recommend it: This is a really brilliant use of the Equestria Girls verse interacting with the normal pony verse.

Review

Pony Twilight rigs up a special machine to allow pony Applejack to call her parents – her human parents, who are still alive – so that Applejack can speak to them and tell them that she loves them and hear their voices one more time. The story is told from the perspective of Clementine Apple – her (human) mother – who is bemused by the whole thing, having no idea about the existence of Equestria, or a second daughter, much less the untimely demise of her pony self.

It is a great use of the idea of having a second world where things may have turned out a bit differently, and Twilight’s attempted excuses at explaining away the inconsistencies in the phone call are quite funny. The story is short and simple, but well worth the time it takes to read. We don't get to see Applejack's reactions, only her (human world's) mother's reactions, but the emotion that Applejack is feeling is conveyed really well, and it is a sweet story that is made all the sweeter by the fact that we see things from the point of view of the character to whom it is less significant, but still important.

This is a lovely little piece; you should all go read it.

And then go vote for it to be featured, because seriously, it is amazing.

EDIT: Someone asked for me to clarify why I nominated these stories for this particular contest. The goal of the contest is to feature stories which better represent the person in question. So why this story?

Skywriter's previous RCL feature was Princess Celestia Hates Tea, which is a comedy. But Skywriter has also written some serious stuff, and Roaming is a very serious character piece about Applejack phoning her parents. It is touching and moving, and while it has a bit of humor to it, it is really focused mostly on the emotions. It is an excellent piece, and it shows off Skywriter's breadth of writing ability.

#32 · 6w, 4d ago · 11 · ·

>>5894656

A Princess by Any Other Name

by Skywriter

Comedy

6,144 words

Princess Cadence tries to legally change her name to "Princess Cadance."  Footnotes ensue.  Part of the "Cadance of Cloudsdale" cycle, and a crossover with Ghost of Heraclitus's Civil Service stories.  Familiarity with neither is required.

Why I added it: I’ve enjoyed the Cadance of Cloudsdale stories thus far, and a crossover with the Civil Service stories that I so enjoy is a welcome thing to read.

Review

Princess Cadence wants to change her name from Princess Cadence to Princess Cadance, legally, and poor Dotted Line, as a much younger bureaucrat than we see in Ghost of Heraclitus’s stories, has to deal with her and her dubiously enchanted “birth certificate” – or, the closest thing that passes for one for a princess who was a child for nine hundred years. The only thing standing between Princess Cadance and her new name is a five hundred page long piece of paperwork which was apparently due two days ago.

A footnotes comedy in the vein of Ghost of Heraclitus’s work, the influence of Pratchett’s particular narrative style – and Ghost’s particular narrative style – both show up very clearly here, and the wonderful (and very British) whimsical style of the text is very fun indeed. There is fun wordplay, the contrast of the ridiculous with the even more ridiculous (and sometimes, if it can manage, the very mundane), and a great deal of clever dialogue which manages to do the job of making the reader laugh quite admirably. The story got better the longer it went on, and by the time we got to the end of the document I was pretty thoroughly amused.

If you enjoyed Ghost of Heraclitus’s Civil Service stories – and if you haven’t yet done so, you should, I think they've all been featured by the RCL at this point though – you will definitely enjoy this. But reading those stories is not required; this works just fine as a stand-alone work, and will likely see you smiling by the end. It is humorous writing done right, and like Ghost of Heraclitus, Skywriter perfectly captures the right tone of voice for a story like this.

This is a funny story; you should all go read it.

And then go vote for it to be featured, because seriously, it is amazing.

And yes, I know I nominated two Skywriter stories but I couldn't decide which one to go for. They both hit different avenues.

EDIT: Someone asked for me to clarify why I nominated these stories for this particular contest. The goal of the contest is to feature stories which better represent the person in question. So why this story?

As noted above, Skywriter's previous RCL entry was Princess Celestia Hates Tea, which was something of a farce, where characters and actions were greatly comically exaggerated. This is a different sort of comedy - a civil service footnotes comedy, written in an entirely different style from his other work. It is a dryer sort of comedy, containing a more human core and more character exploration, but no less funny for it. It is a very fun piece, and I consider it to be an even stronger story than Princess Celestia Hates Tea.

It also is a part of Skywriter's popular Cadance of Cloudsdale cycle, which also highlights yet another aspect of him as a writer - his deep love of Princess Cadance. :moustache:

#33 · 6w, 4d ago · 17 · ·

>>5894656

Blessing

by Estee

Sad

10,696 words

Princess.

Some hear the word and think of power.  Others take it further.  To move Sun, to create the cycle of day and night...  surely that indicates something more.   Something which can be called on.  Pleaded with.

Celestia knows what ponies believe about her.  She also knows there's no way to make them stop.  Because there are times when the most powerful weapon against despair is faith...

...and the blade is always double-edged.

Why I added it: Estee is a good writer.

Review

Celestia visits a hospital. She has been begged by one of her guards to go see the guard’s brother – a pony named Fajr. An academic, whose life had always been slow to take off, but who had finally found himself a wife.

A daughter.

And a monster to take away the first, and leave the second only on the edge of life.

She came too soon, given up by her mother before her time because of the damage that the monster wrecked on her body. Her mother had died, then, and the foal would soon follow.

But Fajr believes that Celestia can come and give her blessing.

That Celestia can come and save his daughter.

But Celestia is not God. She’s a pony. And no matter how much she might want a miracle to occur, it simply is outside of her power to perform one…

A story about Celestia dealing with ponies who believe she is, in fact, deific in nature, this is something of a deconstruction of the idea of what a god-like immortal might have to deal like – because, for all her power, for all her magic, Celestia is just a pony like anyone else. She cannot hear prayers. She cannot grant blessings. She cannot perform miracles.

Not that that always stopped her from trying. Or from resenting the fact that she could not.

As with all of Estee’s stories, this is set in a somewhat darker, more mysterious, more cynical, but also more magical Equestria, but while it doesn’t totally jive with the standard setting or the show’s presentation of Celestia, it works quite well in Estee’s darker and more superstitious AU, and Celestia's issue here - people begging her to do something that is not within her power to do - is a very powerful theme.

This is a bit on the dark side, but you feel for Celestia here. Go read it.

And then go vote for it to be featured, because seriously, it is amazing.

EDIT: Someone asked for me to clarify why I nominated these stories for this particular contest. The goal of the contest is to feature stories which better represent the person in question. So why this story?

Estee's previous RCL story was Five Hundred Little Murders. It is really an amazing story which shows off a lot of Estee's strengths as a writer. So why would I put this one in?

The answer is because it reflects a different aspect of Estee's writing. Estee writes a lot of stories which are examinations of people, not just in Equestria, but in real life as well to some extent, and I feel like Blessing and its sequel,  Twilight Sparkle vs. The Equestrian Cutie Mark Constellation Registry, really epitomize that kind of story. They are both stories about faith; Blessing is a story about Celestia having to struggle with being asked the impossible as a leader of her nation, as well as why ponies might choose to believe in that leadership figure's ability to work miracles, even without evidence. And indeed, even when the leader cannot deliver, why people might continue to believe anyway. Twilight Sparkle vs. The Equestrian Cutie Mark Constellation Registry is about why people buy into things like the various star naming registries, some of the rationale behind that, as well as the nature of naming stars in the sky and drawing artificial lines between them. Twilight Sparkle is offended that people make up constellations, but has forgotten that all constellations are ultimately made up. Both stories raise the question of whether it is okay to take people's faith away when sometimes it seems their faith in things which don't exist is all that keeps them going.

I vacillated between Blessing and Twilight Sparkle vs The Equestrian Cutie Mark Constellation Registry (they're both very good stories) but I ultimately went with the prequel rather than the sequel.

#34 · 6w, 4d ago · 6 · 1 ·

>>5894656

Drinking Alone, Except with Two

by AcreuBall

Romance, Tragedy

4,794 words

Whatever the problem Rarity faced, there was always a Spike and a wine for it. She was confident he had gotten over his crush on her long ago, and he had since come to be a dear friend who she relied on for support and companionship.

And surely he feels the same way towards her.

Rarity has broken up with her latest stallion of the week and has invited Spike over to cry on his shoulder and share a glass of wine.

Spike is still infatuated with Rarity, even all these years later, but he knows that Rarity isn’t interested in him. At first, he had thought these breakups were an opportunity – a time to present Rarity with a better alternative. Now, though, he sees things for what they are – they are friends, and Rarity really is hurting.

But Rarity is scared of dying alone, and Spike isn’t really okay with their relationship, however much he might pretend otherwise. And he can’t keep up the façade forever…

This story is basically a deconstruction of “nice guy Spike eventually hooks up with Rarity”. Here, we see exactly what would happen in this sort of scenario, and see just why something like that would be terribly unhealthy.

And it is a fascinating story for it. It shows that the characters know that this is awful, and yet at the same time shows why they might be interested anyway - they're both hurting, they care about each other a lot, and even if it isn't the right kind of love, maybe it will make them hurt less.

This isn't just a "why Sparity is bad" story, it is why this sort of longing can be corrosive, but it also shows genuine human care.

You should go read it.

And then go vote for it to be featured, because seriously, it is amazing.


Anyway, I think that's enough for me for now. If you haven't read these stories, I hope this sparks people's interest to read them, at a minimum. All of them are great.

Comment posted by Posted deleted at 3:37pm on the 9th of April, 2017
#36 · 6w, 4d ago · 1 · 1 ·

>>5894656

Please Open the Door by naturalbornderpy. It's easily in the top 3 pony horror stories I've read, and I've searched diligently for what is inexorably approaching a decade.

Everything a horror story is supposed to do, it will do to you. :pinkiehappy:

EDIT: Not exactly on the fast track here, but whatever. The fact that I can't remember the story naturalbornderpy was originally featured for is more or less the gist of it. I do remember that it was of the feel-good, heartwarming variety, and there's nothing wrong with that. But reading fluff is like eating a peep. Tastes good, makes ya feel good, sure, but it's ultimately empty calories. The sugar is rapidly metabolized, you get your high, and you're on to the next peep. Knowing nbd's prowess, his featured story was both well-written and well-received, but it was by far not his most salient work.

Please Open the Door, in my opinion anyway, is. The single-chapter version is an example of nearly flawless storytelling. If you have ever distrusted anyone, or been betrayed by anyone, or struggled against the attempts of others to manipulate you (I'm guessing this describes most people), then you will immediately relate to the protagonist. And of course, we remember and cogitate on what we relate to.

The story is also something of a mystery. Who is the real antagonist? How will they be revealed? As the reader works through the clues, they are thinking about what they are reading. They are actively engaged. When you participate in something, you have a much better chance of taking meaningful ideas away from it.

So yeah. Horror rules, particularly when written by someone as adept as nbd.

#37 · 6w, 4d ago · 35 · 12 ·

Austraeoh by Imploding Colon, ie Short Skirts and Explosions.

While this is only the beginning of an epic journey, the original step of that journey stands on its own. It's a bit rough, as only minor editing was done, but the effect remains. Rainbow Dash travels across the realms far beyong Equestria, meeting fascinating characters, industrial and rural settings, engages in barroom-style brawls and high-stakes fights to the death. It's not the perfect adventure story, but it's a damn fine example of what can be done with the My Little Pony characters.

#38 · 6w, 4d ago · 4 · ·

Luna's Lottery Lunacy, by Estee.

After Celestia's School For Gifted Unicorns runs out of repair money and none can be found in Equestria's budget, Luna invents a means to raise the funds.  Now if she can just keep it from destroying the nation's economy...

One of my favorite Estee stories, for its look at herd psychology.  Damn, I'm bad at advertising these things (coming along after TD does not help), but trust me: it's good.

#39 · 6w, 4d ago · 8 · ·

Yes, Apple Bloom, there *is* a Santa Hooves

By Lucky Dreams

"Dear Santa Hooves. My name is Apple Bloom, and I don't want presents for Hearth's Warming this year. I just want my cutie mark..."

This is, in my estimation, the quintessential example of a heartwarming Hearth's Warming story. This harkens back to the golden, pre-cutie mark CMC days and employs handwritten notes to pull the reader that much further into a story that already excels in its children's voices. It's a sight to behold, and a true joy to read. I would gladly thrust this one into the hands of anybody on the outside of the fanfic reading crowd.

Why this corrects the record

Lucky Dreams writes exceptional children’s voices, and I consider this story, both in content and presentation, to be the finest example of that.

#40 · 6w, 4d ago · 5 · ·

Of Dragons and Horses, Songs and Solace, by 8686

"To him, I was a way to reconcile his duty with his conscience. To me... he was someone to talk to at a time when I had no-one." -- Princess Celestia

Lord Ragnarok, newly crowned King of the dragons, stands upon a hill overlooking the country of Equestria, an army at his command. Princess Celestia is urgently roused from sleep with a dire warning of impending attack. Thus begins a chain of events that would bring together two of the most powerful rulers of the age, and forge the unlikeliest of bonds. One that would bring salvation to one, and solace to the other.

"I won't call him an enemy, and he won't call me a friend. Make of that what you will."

Because Lord Ragnarok is just the best.  Also a good look at Celestia if you like that I guess.

#41 · 6w, 4d ago · 7 · ·

The Brightest and the Best

By Pineta

Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns is famous across Equestria as a center of academic excellence. Only the best and brightest unicorns are offered places, selected by their academic merit, magical ability and passion for study. To make the admissions process as fair and reliable as possible, all candidates are given three exams by different teams of examiners, who then meet in private to decide which students are most deserving of a place.

It's no secret that Twilight Sparkle is a very gifted pony, and has been since she was little. Here's a wonderful example of the simple (and frantic) joy of Canterlot's finest minds discovering how gifted she really is… by way of their devising how to actually challenge her with a school entrance exam. This humorous peek into the hallowed teacher's lounge is every bit as brilliant as Twilight herself.

Why this corrects the record

Pineta’s blog alone calls out his close relationship with academia, and how amazingly accessible and exciting complex scientific topics can become with the right person (and pony stand-in) explaining them. To me this story is a glimpse into that teacher’s mindset, and not on a calm run-of-the-mill day in the classroom, either.

#42 · 6w, 4d ago · 3 · ·

Scald

By Casca

Lilac is a successful pony who has everything she wants, and is exactly the pony she wishes to be. But a small spark in her life makes her think otherwise.

A drama in Sydneigh about Equestrian life, coffee, appearances and pain.

Rarely am I am so entranced by the exquisite verbiage at play here. Seemingly mundane events, like staring out a window in a coffee shop, take on new meaning in this quiet, slow-paced story of two pony's lives becoming ever so subtly entangled. This isn't a story full of wacky hijinks and explosions; this is something that at times rings arrestingly true to the everyday and extraordinary struggles of real life.

Why this corrects the record

Casca has, to put it mildly, a certain way with words. His currently featured story is genius in its presentation of a child’s perspective, as well as that of a mare revisiting a former life. Scald takes that wordcraft to another level, energizing the simple and mundane as only a master can.

#43 · 6w, 4d ago · · 4 ·

>>5894656 Psst. I know I'm not on the list, but can I post one of my own stories?

Please!!

#44 · 6w, 4d ago · 10 · 1 ·

Children of a Lesser Dragon God Boy Whelp Thingy Guy by The Descendant

When Spike asked Twilight to help him create The Noble Dragon Code, he hoped a lot of things would happen.

Getting worshipped as a god by legions of theologically-inclined dragons wasn't really one of them but, hey, whattcha gonna do? Them's the breaks, kiddo.

Why you should read it: Because its hilarious. Because The Descendant's take on Spike is always fun. Because it has some niffty bits of world building/dragon lore. Because you really want to know why the dragons fear Celestia.

EDIT - How does it better showcase their writing?: TD has two sorts of stories. The somber, like Variables, and the humorous. And this is one of the best examples of the later.

#45 · 6w, 4d ago · · ·

>>5896233

The accursed plunger...

#46 · 6w, 4d ago · 13 · ·

Contraptionology! by Skywriter

In the wake of the events of "Infernal Machines" and the Nightmare's most pathetic assault on Ponyville yet, Applejack is thrown into an existential crisis, despite her not knowing what the word "existential" means.  So when a stranger named Stranger arrives in town, teaching a new way of coupling talent to power using complex machinery, she is quickly suckered in, along with everypony else.  Now, it falls to the Most Dependable of Ponies to bring the resulting ruckus down to earth, but can even Applejack's legendary pragmatism stand up to the brain-fizzing horror that is... CONTRAPTIONOLOGY?

Why you should read it: Because it combines mad science and MLP to hilarious effect. Because it showcases Applejack at both her best and her worst. Because even though you might not know it yet, you really need to learn about the Cloppler Effect.

EDIT - How does it better showcase their writing?: If you're familiar with his non-pony work, you know that Skywriter and mad science go together like apples and cinnamon. This epic length story (one of his few) showcases Skywriter's humor to good effect—with far more heart than Princess Celestia Hates Tea has time to develop.

#47 · 6w, 4d ago · 1 · 1 ·

The Monster in the Twilight by Georg

We all know the story of how the Princess’ young student and five friends defeated Nightmare Moon and brought Princess Luna back to our lands.  But what if the tale were false?  What if the young Twilight Sparkle on the event of her entrance exam had not been rescued by Princess Celestia, but instead lost her mind among the power of her youthful surge and had to be sent away, far away before she could destroy all of Canterlot with her newfound power.  Now the feral unicorn prowling the Everfree Forest only vaguely remembers her past, slipping away from constant terrifying attempts to capture her.

And she is beginning to remember what true power felt like.

Why you should read it: Because it's a unique AU based on the events surrounding Twilight's entrance exam. Because it's an excellent adventure story. Because it's an AU and thus the final outcome—and it's cost—is in doubt until the very end.

EDIT - How does it better showcase their writing?: For starters, it has more shipping. After his first cautious toe dip into the romance genre, Georg has since embraced it wholeheartedly—to the point that most every story he writes these days has some shipping in it. But it's also an epic adventure story intermixed with some poignant slice of life scenes—two other things Georg's work has an abundance of.  

#48 · 6w, 4d ago · 5 · ·

I guess I have to join the group in order to nominate something for this, so...

School Of Hard Knocks

by Hoopy McGee

This isn't where I belong. I left all this behind years ago, moved on with my life. But a mare from my past brought me back, and now she won't let me go. So I'm stuck here, trying to make the best of it with ponies that don't understand me, don't even like me.  But when something moves in the darkness, and when things go wrong in the cold, dead night, they'll turn to me to try to set things right.

Why? Because once a police pony, always a police pony.

Primary school noir.

Poison Joke is a harsh (and random) mistress.  Wings can be inverted.  Horns might sag.  And a middle-aged policepony stallion could wind up as a very young filly, one who's the perfect age to be put back in school again.  Of course, Poison Joke is also easily curable.  Yes, anypony who heard this filly claiming that she was really a male adult might think the kid was insane, but all it takes is a single rinse-down to prove somepony wrong -- or right.  So you'd think that anypony who got cursed in that fashion, especially somepony who really wasn't interested in reliving their youth with a fresh chromosome combination, could get out of it fairly easily.

Unless that pony has a reason for staying as she is now.  A rather involuntary reason.

Some tags need a little extra work before they'll truly cooperate with each other.  Creating a workable mix of Comedy and Dark may be one of the biggest challenges on the site, and this is one of the few stories which pulls it off.  There's a lot of humor to be found in watching Cinnamon Swirl view her school through the lens of the hardboiled detective novel, to the point where I kept waiting for somepony to manifest a mark showing a hammer smashing through a mound of pulp.  The world is a crime scene, and we must discover who left the gum under this desk.

But at the same time -- why would anypony subject themselves to this?  Yes, there are those who would welcome a fresh start, even with this major a change in play.  But this pony isn't one of them.  She wants out.  Most of her efforts are focused on a long-term goal:  return to normal.  And yet she still found herself being placed in school by the only entity who could legally do it, and the reasons she allowed that to happen are...  something much less than funny.  

The story has any number of laughs.  But it's also noir, and that means there are times when the pastel hues drop to show a hint of the rot underneath.  It's grotesquerie at its finest:  the surface looks all right, up until the moment somepony scratches it -- and then you might wish to have never had that glimpse of what was lurking at the core.

Ultimately, the worst things which can happen to us are, at least in part, the acts we inflict on ourselves -- out of love.

...also, have you seen the average game of tag?  Six assault charges per minute or your money back.

#49 · 6w, 4d ago · 6 · ·

There are several incomplete stories I wish I could nominate, like PatchworkPoltergeist's The Silver Standard or either of Daedalus Aegle's Star Swirl stories. I want to suggest xjuggernautx's Resolution, but that's actually less indicative of his usual fare than his inductee. MrNumbers has already nominated Evil is Easy. So I'm going to go with something entirely different.

Dinky vs. the Moon

by Dubs Rewatcher

For thousands of years, the moon has waged endless war on innocent beaches. Every day the tides wash away countless sand castles, crushing the dreams of foals all across Equestria. Somepony needs to stop the moon's heinous crimes—and, at last, it looks like somepony will.

After her sand palace is washed away by the ocean, Dinky Hooves takes it upon herself to do something that should have been done centuries ago: destroy the moon.

Why you should read it: It's the glorious work of ludicrous escalation you'd expect when a child decides she's going to kill the local satellite. Dinky is a delightful combination of precocious, adorable, and megalomanical, and the ending must be experienced to be properly appreciated.

Also, Dinky threatens Luna's teddy bear with a plastic spork. If that doesn't convince you, I don't know what will.

How it corrects the record: Statistically speaking, you're going to find a lot more stories like this one in Dubs's repertoire than ones akin to Something Like Laughter, his current inductee. But even though it's sillier, it still cuts the adorable absurdity with an undercurrent of surprising depth that exemplifies why I started watching Dubs in the first place.

#50 · 6w, 4d ago · 8 · ·

>>5896018

I say this pretty much every time the series comes up:

Rainbow Dash continues to fly east.

I keep waiting for her to make a full circle.

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