Uncommon Dazzling Ships 232 members · 410 stories
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forbloodysummer
Group Admin

Hi!

First off, a bit of a housekeeping announcement: Cojo5536, who founded this group just over a year ago, has recently got into writing his first story and so would prefer to step back from running the group to focus on that. So I'll be helming the group on my own going forwards - all the terrible prompts, pairings and interview questions will be solely my fault, and I'll be the one you should throw eggs or bricks at for them. I'm sure we all wish Cojo 5536 the best with his writing, and I know he'd love it if you read his story.

So, going forward without further ado, as you may have seen on the main page, this month's area of focus is a prompt of 'Siren History Month.'

The oldest question in the book, for siren fans, is how to explain the discrepancy between the banishment from Equestria being during Star Swirl's time and their appearance in Equestria Girls being in the modern era. You can see my own attempt to work out the timeline of the show's ancient history here, though that was before Shadow Play, so may not fit with canon anymore. Still, though, it looks like the sirens were banished before the reign of the Royal Sisters, and we know that after they took the throne Princess Luna was banished for a thousand years. So we're talking far outside of mortal lifespans either way.

I rather admire Rainbow Rocks for acknowledging the problem but not the solution, and I'm told that the question was put to the three siren voice actresses on a panel at Everfree Northwest, who responded with a collective shrug.

You all know this, of course, just as you know that there are two common fan answers:

1. The sirens are immortal, and have been in the Equestria Girls world for a long time.
2. Star Swirl's spell threw the sirens forwards in time, so they're potentially still the same age as the humane cast.

There's a third option that involves time flowing differently in different worlds, but it's basically impossible to square away.

I think everyone has their own preferences here, as the answer rather changes how you see the characters, and that's the sort of thing we often get set in our viewpoints over. But, having read pretty much all the siren stories out there, I've noticed a couple of trends that hopefully most can agree on:

Teenage sirens are better for shipping with the rest of the humane cast. We have that rule about acceptable age gaps being half your age plus seven (or double your age minus seven), and teenage Rainboom shipped with immortal siren is so far outside that it goes past creepy and into plain puzzling. What could someone with less than twenty years' of life experience offer to someone with so much more? What possible thought could Sunset come up with that thousand-year-old Adagio hasn't thought of herself a dozen times over?

Immortal sirens make for more complex inter-siren drama. We, as people, are a sum of our experiences. More experiences make us more complex people. Put those complex people together, and it multiplies. And, from the other approach, this is happening not just to the three of them as individuals, but to their group as a whole. Over time, the hope fades of trying to change the characters in ways the others might prefer, whether it's making Sonata smarter or Aria more patient or Adagio more considerate. And you're left with three characters who know each other better than the oldest of married couples, still irritated by each others' flaws but ultimately having to accept them, because as people they have become part of the same shared whole.

“There comes a time when a bond between women becomes so saturated with loathing and yet unbroken that it can only be called sororal. This is one of those times, and this—” Adagio theatrically held up her glass “—is the inevitable result.”

Taken from here

So for this month's prompt, we're embracing Siren Timeline Option 1 wholeheartedly, and treating the sirens as immortals who've been in the Equestria Girls world since Star Swirl's time.

And what did they do during those centuries? That's what we'd like to hear about!

MrAskAPirate wrote three blog vignettes of siren interactions with famous moments and figures through human history. Violet CLM kept it less specific, focusing more on the unbroken cycle of rising and falling of siren empires. Daniel-Gleebits, Lonarion and Ambient-Nightfall have written period pieces of the sirens living day to day in past societies. CGPH suggested Adagio was Elizabeth Bathory. Naiad had Aria invent a branch of mathematics (Calculust?).

You might notice that many of these use real-world Earth history; this is one of the few times I think that can benefit the story more than it breaks the immersion. And if building that into a story from the start, it can be a definite strength rather than a hindrance. Where did the sirens emerge when they first arrived on Earth? What prompted them to head to the USA by the time of Rainbow Rocks? What famous historical figures did they meet along the way, and how did they influence world events?

So that's our prompt for this month, to write a tale of siren history! It could be set in the past, or a retrospective. Could span hundreds of years or just a crucial few minutes. And, uh, since this group isn't meant to be just random siren prompts, if you could work an uncommon Dazzling ship in there then that would be great! :twilightsheepish:

Here are some rules! Or guidelines, at least - who am I to tell you what to do?

There will be:

No maximum word limit! :yay:

No minimum word limit, aside from fimfiction's thousand-word standard! :pinkiehappy:

No rating restrictions! :moustache:

No prizes! :trollestia:

No SunDagio! :raritystarry:

No AriNata! :rainbowderp:

No SonPie! :pinkiesad2:

No time limit! :trixieshiftleft: ...I mean, it'd be nice to get it done this month, but, given the above thing about no prizes, if it takes you longer then it takes you longer... However, if you get it submitted this month then we'll read it and talk about it and shower you with praise, whereas by next month we'll have moved onto a different area of focus.

And finally, we haven't done this before in prompts, but I thought it would be good to end with some advice to consider for whatever stories may come as a result of this:

  • MrAskAPirate's blogs and story take the form of a present-day conversation in a coffee shop. That setup feels very natural, but it's rapidly going to get old if everyone does it, so I'd suggest avoiding it.
  • Tying into that, be particularly aware of telling rather than showing. Only set the story in the present, telling contemporary characters about the past, if the reaction of the present characters is more important than the past tale.
  • Namedropping historical references doesn't do much to add to a story unless it's tied to the characters. Why did Sonata get on so much better with Wallace than with Darwin? Which particular 70s rock band needed Aria to fill in on bass in their early years, and how can we see her influence in their sound? (It was totally Deep Purple, between the band name, Aria's immortal stature as a Child in Time, and the post-siren-attack image of Smoke on the Water). What made Adagio feel more at home in Imperial Japan than elsewhere?
  • PresentPerfect once quoted a wonderful rephrasing of 'Write what you know,' rearranging it as 'Know what you write.' You don't have to have sprawled in an Indian palace during the Raj to write that convincingly, but you should probably read at least the wikipedia summary on it first! Hopefully no one will be too upset if you get the details wrong, but still, try to know your stuff. You may well find that some light research inspires the story to take turns or include details that you hadn't previously considered. And then, having read up on it, show it to the audience without making it an infodump :twilightsheepish:
  • Don't forget that language has changed with time. Having Aria swear left, right and centre will instantly break the immersion of them living in Victorian nobility. Even if the story is set in the present day, be wary of making them sound like teenagers. Ok, with Sonata "For Realzies" Dusk there's a bit more leeway on that one... But still, giving a more formal, archaic tone to the prose of a character's narration is a good way to show rather than tell them as being ancient.
  • Following on from this, values have changed a lot, too. Sonata did not wear her Rainbow Rocks short skirt or off-the-shoulder top when they were living in Salem during the Witch Trials. Or maybe she did, and that's what set off all the hysteria - either way, the story recognises how different things were back then.
  • Brief tangent: I think the biggest missed opportunity in FIM is in Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep? where Twilight is saying how in a dream, anything can be done, and so they need to go all-out fighting the Tantabus. The whole episode is basically ponies-doing-Inception, and around the time Twilight says that, it cuts to Rarity, and it would have been a perfect, perfect opportunity to have Rarity quote that film's most memorable line, "You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling." But she didn't. On this occasion, though, perhaps consider dreaming a bit smaller? In Rainbow Rocks, the sirens described the world as pathetic and little, and they were happy to brainwash the entire population to get what they wanted. That doesn't sit entirely true with a world they've nurtured for centuries. And nor does the world itself reflect something sirens have been shaping for that long. So for all the talk of them influencing history, perhaps don't have them pulling the strings of every president or posing as every queen or empress. Ordinarily I wouldn't feel the need to mention that, but this is fimfiction, where people write hyperpowered Displaced stories without batting an eyelid at prioritising wish-fulfilment over realism/nuance/drama/meaningful conflict. <Sigh>.

And that's it! Happy writing, and may this prompt inspire you to come up with tales of sirens on stages through the ages.

The picture above is one of my absolute favourites, drawn by midnameowfries.

Interesting! Could be a tough prompt to do, seeing as all the characters we know and love wouldn't, you know, exist yet. But it definitely would be refreshing from all the typical stories you see!

forbloodysummer
Group Admin

6780629 If it were set in the past, then yeah, that's definitely one drawback. There'd still be the three sirens, of course, so they could very much be the centrepiece. If that's a big factor in whether the story's worth writing, though, there is the retrospective option. As I said above, it's worth keeping in mind that that makes the historical bits tell rather than show, so it's only worth doing if the reactions of the familiar characters are more important than the history bits themselves, but that could definitely be one way to go about it.

Perhaps the most common way, come to think of it - as well as the examples in the main post, there's a scene of Adagio talking to Sunset about her past life in Adagio, there's Aria talking to Fluttershy about her past career as a model in Here Comes The Sun, that kind of thing.

True! I'd argue that a scene like that works great as a scene in a larger story, but is a bit weak to stand on its own. Still, there are a handfull of people- and ponies- you could use. And if you really wanted to be bizarre send someone back in time...

forbloodysummer
Group Admin

6781556 I agree, I think you'd need a pretty good reason to tell a story in that format rather than showing it as it happened. Time travel is an option too, I hadn't thought of that! That, to me, suggested Starlight, who would quite possibly have a unique perspective on the sirens, having been on both sides now, so that could be especially interesting to see.

6781625
Actually, speaking of Starlight, Snowfall Frost could be an option if you wanted a Victorian setting...

Otherwise... idk, yeah Starlight or one of the Twilights is most likely to pull it off haha. Intentionally at least.

forbloodysummer
Group Admin

6781678 Past story with Snowfall Frost is something I would love to see! :raritystarry:

forbloodysummer
Group Admin

Hopeful_Ink_Hoof and Tethered Angel have now written stories for this prompt, which can be found here :twilightsmile:

Update:
SamRose, creator of the now concluded webcomic Motherly Scootaloo, created a EQG world based webcomic called Aria's Archives, set some years later in continuity, and focuses on the sirens (not just Aria, even if it is named after her). In the comic, the sirens arrived over a thousand years ago, and have been living on earth ever since.

Now, SamRose has created a collection of shorts tying to it here (Aria's Archives - Shorts). It is better to read along with the comic, but stand up fine on its own. I'm sharing it here since it fits the main concept of this prompt. The posted chapters are set in the 11th century, starting with Aria's first child, and ending with their first time moving.

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