• Member Since 21st Mar, 2012
  • offline last seen Oct 13th, 2017

DuncanR


T

Things happen. Nothing happens in between these things. If they did, they'd simply be things with more nothing between 'em. So how do you measure the nothing? Two ponies, equally flawed, intend to find out together... no matter how far it takes them.

This is the story that won first place in /fic/'s eighteenth write-off competition. The original story--here, split into three chapters--was written and edited over a period of just seventy two hours. I intend to add additional chapters whenever the fit comes upon me. Do yourself a big favor and check out all the other awesome entries as well!

Chapters (3)
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Comments ( 63 )
PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Adding more chapters? That's unexpected! I'll definitely keep an eye out for them, because I didn't want to dislike this in the writeoff.

2718372
Unexpected? Really? I'm perfectly content to end my stories abruptly, in ways that frustrate the reader... but in this case, I really do have a ton more ideas. I swear I'm not just wussing out. :twilightsheepish:

Also. I think you were pretty much right about the "lots of dialogue" comment you made during the judging phase: those scenes serve multiple purposes, but heavy dialogue is heavy dialogue regardless. If I'd had more than 72 hours, I would have gone down a different path.

Ah, well. I'm still very happy with the final results.

DuncanR won the /fic/ write-off. Surprise, surprise.
Not that you didn't deserve it, though.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

2718445
If I'd had more than 72 hours, I'd have done better too. :) But that's half the fun of a writeoff.

ALSO SHUT UP YOU BIG WINNER D:

Hollleeeeyyyy shit. This...

Is DAMN good. I shall follow and read with great GUSTO!

~Skeeter The Lurker

Well, then. There's a unique premise, and thus far the execution has more than lived up to it! You have my attention; please continue. :twilightsmile:

25 update notices in one day... yow.

2718931
You know, sometimes I think the time constraint is what makes it good: a deadline is a marvelous motivator. If I had more time, I'd probably just flounder about randomly, refusing to take risks.

2719577
Things will certainly continue... but this is one of those rare cases where I have ideas on where to take it, but don't have a clear ending in mind. Personally, I can't wait to find out how it ends. :twilightsmile:

2721706 Ooh, that's always fun! Then it's as much an adventure writing the story as it is reading it! :pinkiehappy:

2721715
I've heard that some writers plan everything out completely, while others discover along the way. I tend to use a mixture of both. I'll have to make a blog post about it sometime.

Either way, though, you're right... it is a ton of fun. :rainbowdetermined2:

2721730 Same here; one of my stories is completely planned out, while on another, I've worked out the broad strokes but have yet to work out the details. A third is little more than a premise and some characters, waiting to see where I take them.
And I'd be interested in seeing that blog post when you write it! :twilightsmile:

Indeed!

I'm... I... OMG I'm speechless! This is so amazing! I think I might have to get up and stomp around a little to get out the shear tension which this has placed on me. You know how curiosity killed the cat? We'll you've just weaponized it! Duncan, you're so damn good! I want my writing to be like yours SO BADLY! But I'm uniquely individual and you're you and awesome. :raritydespair:

Is this condition a real thing? You made it seem so fricken REAL. I wanna go ask Erase questions and know more and... and... argg :twilightangry2: I'm gonna have to go do some Googling after this mini tantrum. You can't possibly have made up anything that out there! (no offense)

Rewind and Erase go so perfectly together! and the mystery of the deaths... Best plot device ever! I can see where the story is going, and I want it to get there so badly! (remember to feed me bite sized pieces.)

They'll eventually come to love each other, Rewind getting over her fear of THE COINCIDENCES and Erase finding someone to share his moment with. I can even envision a sequel! One where, Erase falls in love and Rewind has to help him get over jitters or something.

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go cry in a corner. because Awesomeness Overload, why do you ask?

She frowned. "This is so wierd... I feel like a rich old lady blabbing on about all her ex-husbands."
weird

"I wouldn't work."
I believe you mean it

I was referred to this story by NTSTS.
This, is a truly excellent story. I wouldn't mind seeing more chapters and finding out what happens to Rewind and Erase, but I would also be fine with it ending here. There's something about endings that lack the closure that so many people want to see. It used to bother me to no end but I've come to really appreciate it. If used properly I think it makes the story just that much better.
Excellent job, I will definitely be checking out more of your stuff.

This is eerily like my own life. I don't check the shower curtain for water to figure out whether I already showered or not. I check the towel. Water on the shower curtain might mean I had just been warming up the water.

Read Funes the Memorius?

I can understand how living a constant life of trauma would get annoying after a while.
I do like her apathy, though. It worked perfectly with her non-reaction to the crash.

2721881
>Is this condition a real thing? You made it seem so fricken REAL.
That's a writer's job in a nutshell: to make it seem real. :rainbowdetermined2:

It's a made-up condition, as far as I know, but it's based on a combination of real-world conditions. One thing I regret is that I didn't specify in the story that Erase's condition is not fully understood by Equestrian psychiatry. That's why he doesn't have any treatments for it right now.

>You can't possibly have made up anything that out there! (no offense)
You know what the difference is between fiction and reality?
Fiction has to make sense. :rainbowlaugh:

>They'll eventually come to love each other, Rewind getting over her fear of THE COINCIDENCES and Erase finding someone to share his moment with. I can even envision a sequel! One where, Erase falls in love and Rewind has to help him get over jitters or something.
I'm glad you enjoyed it, but... you did see the Tragedy tag, didn't you? :rainbowhuh:

2724792
Good catch. Some days, three proofreadings just isn't enough.

2725430
I'm glad you enjoyed it!
>I was referred to this story by NTSTS.
This is wierd and new and kind of exciting: a lot of people seem to be reccomending my stories these days, and readers who like one storyseem to be checking out the rest of my library. Maybe I've just been around long enough to settle in... I'll have to do some research and make a blog post about it.

>There's something about endings that lack the closure that so many people want to see. It used to bother me to no end but I've come to really appreciate it. If used properly I think it makes the story just that much better.
You know, this sort of thing is easier to get away with when you're writing shorter fiction. readers kind of know that a short story can't build up quite as much setting and backstory. Sometimes, you want to frustrate your readers: a cheerful, sappy ending tells the reader that things are complete, and robs them of any desire to ponder what really happened.

You gotta remember to give the reader what they want. Not what they think they want.

2728375
>Read Funes the Memorius?
I have now. Thank you for the reccomendation: it was a very good read.

>This is eerily like my own life. I don't check the shower curtain for water to figure out whether I already showered or not. I check the towel. Water on the shower curtain might mean I had just been warming up the water.
My biggest concern for this story was the characters (it always is, actually): I wanted them to seem alien and unusual, but at the same time feasable and sympathetic. A lot of Erase's introductory scene was designed to show us his coping mechanisms, without fully explaining what he's coping with.

It's a little unsettling how easy it was.

2730636
Heh. The funny thing is, the premise of the story has nothing to do with senseless loss or mental illness: it's really about two flawed and broken ponies that might just be perfectly suited for each other.

DuncanR, you do realize that it's still marked as incomplete right?

Good lord 'n butter... twenty-one "likes" in a single day? I guess it's the weekend, but even so. Wow.

2761138
It might have something to do with the fact that I want to write more chapters someday. :ajsmug:

2761909
Well, I still think the story is incredible the way it ends there, leave the reader to think about the possibilities of endings

I love it!
But that tragedy tag..... that tells me that something bad happened after/as they were crossing the street...
That actually makes me sad, and I LOVE Tragedy fics.
You've successfully made me not want a tragedy tag on a story.
Sad face.
:trixieshiftright:

"It has fireworks on it. It comes with a complementary clown."

And that's when I hit the Favorite button, officer. It was fully justified favoricide....

Yes, write more. Time is immaterial, these two are just meant for each other.

2761909
Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that this story was FEATURED ON EQD! Woo!

A big welcome to any and all visitors, wherever you come from! Please let me know what you think in the comments, good and bad. And if you like it, please check out my other stories too: You won't be disappointed!

This is lovely:

It would be pretty easy to "de-Ponify," too, and send it out to the science-fiction magazines. Very well done. Oh, and--

"I might get hungry or tired," he said. "But even if we could stay here or the rest of our lives,...

Stay here for the rest of our lives, I find myself thinking.

Mike

Just b/c it has the tag, dosnt nessisarily mean that they'll be hit in the middle of the road. It could mean they'll be stuck in a hellish existence of paperwork and suburban life. This is my head cannon until proven otherwise....

I assume this is what you were going for, but I'm having trouble understanding the fic. Maybe I'm not alone in just not being able to wrap my head around it. But hey, that means you accomplished something. ;)

I'm obviously not allowed to ask "what happened at the end?", but may I instead ask "Were your intentions always to let the readers interpret the ending? Or is there ONE definite ending in your mind that you simply won't share?"

No worries if you refuse to even answer that.

Well, f***.
I've seen a lot of ambiguous endings, but they rarely achieve the impact they were aiming for. This one did.

How do I even...

Everything aside from the its/it's confusion and the occasional derp was downright excellent. Everything. Characterization, events, plot, whatever. The style was crisp and strong, but what really shone were Erase and Rewind, as it should be. I dunno... I feel like I should attempt to be more intelligent with this, so as to differentiate between my appreciation for what is "good" and "very good" - perhaps it would suffice to say that I found this to be very good. Thank you for sharing - major kudos to what you've come up with here.

2761966
2763960
I'm pretty sure the end results of Rewind's introductory section would count as a tragedy.

2766324
Yeah, just it could be interpreted as he does when crossing the street, and I would reeeeeally want it to end differently.

"… Besides, it would be unethical to expect children to accept treats or favors from a complete stranger. If the treats or favors are offered by a nameless, faceless commercial organization instead of a nameless, faceless individual, the burden of social accountability is preserved."
"So it's okay for kids to accept candy from nameless, faceless commercial organizations?"
"Not intrinsically. But they are subjected to more rigorous laws and regulations than nameless faceless individuals."

Oh sweet stars I think I just had a critoral wordgasm.

In all seriousness, this is magnificent. Like, recommend-on-user-page magnificent, and for the same reason that My Little Pony itself is: you have taken a world which is a strange reflection of our own — at once familiar and foreign, full of sudden adventure and unexpected friendship, with characters we want to root for — and brought it to life. Rewind's plight is pretty cool — it would be enough to carry a story on its own — but the world in which Erase lives is downright fascinating. That sense of taking a tour of a genuinely alien world is a precious thing.

Looking forward to more from you!

Best,

H

I'mma repeat some of my comments here and wait until more chapters are released for new thoughts. Hope to see them soon!

The ending is very appropriate, because one thing that defines this story is that a lot of things seem to go somewhere and yet you never really see where they end. Threads arcing off into infinity, really. Will she ever see her friend Copper? Do they get home safely? What’s causing Rewind’s tragic life? Does Rewind help Erase cope? Do they build on this spark of affection that grew up between them? Does Erase try to find a mare? What ever DID happen to those TPS reports?
Erase is all right. He strikes me as not too far from a sociopath - I’m almost wondering if you meant to use that instead of schizophrenia. Of course, schizophrenia does not have to be accompanied by hallucinations, and at least some of his symptoms are coherent with the stated diagnoses. I have some familiarity with hyperthymesia cases, and if I were to say any part of this needs to be changed, I would edit this to clarify it as autobiographical memory - usually starting somewhere later in life, at fourteen was the one case I can recall well enough to remember. Honestly, my greatest problem with him is that I don’t really know what he wants out of life. We spend time in his head, but it’s not clear why he wants a daughter or why he does anything for her. All I can imply is that he’s lonely and wants someone to care for. And, you know? That’s pretty admirable. Probably makes it a good thing you didn’t choose sociopathy then, actually.
Rewind is a treasure. Burned one too many times and all calloused over. She’s afraid of one thing: trusting others, because getting attached means seeing them get hurt. Clever and funny, she provides most of the humor and entertainment in the fic. Also strangely immortal. I’d say more about her, but, really, she stands on her own - for all that she sits on somepony’s back for a goodly part of it.

So two things I think really kind of put me off this one:
1) Setting. This feels like Equestria, but I have to wonder if you’ve set this at some point in the future. I’m not sure why you used the setting elements you did, either, since they ultimately had nothing to do with the fic itself.
2) Emotion. Aside from Rewind’s resignation, this fic is about as dry and passionless as Granny Smith’s love life. Now, there is something to be said for being subtle, and, certainly, at the end we got some genuine affection and uncertainty, but your peculiar choice of duotagonist has left me feeling like I just bit into an ice cream sundae, only to find dry concrete underneath. At the least, that means that my family isn’t about to be blown up by a meteor.

So, I finally got around to finishing this.

The character interactions in this are beautiful. There isn't much of a plot, and parts of his condition just seemed ridiculous. I suppose his time difficulties are akin to that moment where you can't remember if you locked your door this morning if you're remembering locking the door yesterday morning, but then wouldn't having a kid he's never known before shake him out of it? He can't be confusing this time walking down the street with other times walking down the street, because every other time he's been walking down the street he didn't have his new daughter beside him.

All of that pales, though, because the dialogue between them is just so sweet, but somehow comes off as natural. A cute, cheeky kid with a troubled past, I should have wanted to smack her, but somehow I wanted to hug them both.

Dam. I feel nothing right now absolutely nothing. As I was reading it I felt confusion, shock, joy, sadness and I even laughed once or twice, but now that I've reached the end I feel empty.

Good work.

I can see why it won first place in the write-off. You have crafted a phenomenal story and you are on a really good path as a writer. You keep improving like this and you will surely fulfill your dream. :twilightsmile:

Now as for the errors I found...

Chapter 2

desert bowls

dessert

What did the weather mare saying?

was

up form his clipboard

from

Chapter 3

Erase looked up as the matron of Canterlot's "Little Treasures" orphanage waved at her

him

"Who's fault is it, then?

Whose

This is so werd...

weird

I used to talk to my thearapist about it

therapist

we could stay here or the rest of our lives

for

Try think of it as distance.

Try to think




So this was all. It's a reasonable number of errors given the amount of time you had at your disposal.
I am eagerly awaiting for more! :ajsmug:

"The most important thing of all," she said, "is for the two of you to meet each other for the first time and find out of you're a good match!

Should "of you're a good match" be "if you're a good match"? It would make more sense that way.

She leaned closer and whispered. "They always die, and it's never my fault.

You're missing a closing quote mark on this paragraph.

He frowned at her. "Who's fault is it, then?"

"Who's" should be "whose", since replacing it with "who is" or "who has" doesn't make sense in context.

"I used to talk to my thearapist about it all the time, but we eventually decided there wasn't much more to be done about it.

"Thearapist" is traditionally spelled "therapist".

The sign across the front of the building, build directly over the three sets of double-sided doors, read simply "Lieu Vague" in large, block letters.

"Build" should be "built" to match tense with the rest of the sentence.

She looked up at the sun, already two-thirds through it's usual path.

"It's" should be "its", since replacing it with "it is" doesn't make sense in context.

Aaaand finished. Kudos, sir -- this latest chapter really grabbed me. The concepts you're dealing with here are fascinating, and I'm a sucker for analytical discussion of everyday situations. Your characters, while merely adequate on their own, really pop when you put them together. I'll definitely look forward to seeing more of this, if such a thing should occur. Keep up the good work!

paul #37 · Nov 3rd, 2013 · · · and ·

Thank you for the story! :twilightsmile:
It is very warm despite tragic circumstances.
I hope it will have happy ending if you decide to continue it.

But... it's not over, riiiiight?

I honestly wish there was more of this. The characters are amazingly well made and the situation is heartwarming. Erase is one of the most interesting lunatics I've ever heard of and Rewind sounds like the perfect companion for him. You have a great way of telling a story and a fantastic sense for characterization.

They watched her approach with a mix of eager patience.

I think you meant "eagerness and patience".

SPOILERS

Starting off with such a sad atmosphere during what would normally be a happy change made it clear that it would be shattered at some point, but damn, that was heartbreaking. Though for Rewind, it was probably only heartbreaking once. Surely she realizes that her attempts at happiness are only getting decent ponies killed...

"Are you... okay?"

She nodded. "Yeah. I'm cool."

Cool Hoof Rewind.

Now that I've seen both characters' situations, the symbolism in their names is very easy to appreciate.

In the second sentence of this chapter, Erase seems to experience a split-second gender change. Just FYI.

"Well at least I won't get too attached to you."

What a little smartass! :rainbowlaugh:

"There is no now. By the time we know something, it's already happened. All we have are memories."

"If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present."

It's clear by the time one starts reading the second chapter that the issues plaguing these two will cancel each other out when they meet (or that their problems will help the individuals meet each other halfway, making them a functioning pair). At least I hope that's what's going to happen; everyone in the comments seems to think Erase died after the end, but with things established that granted them both closure.

Hey there mate, just thought you should know that this story is incredible.

But is will it ever continue? Or are we to be left in the dark forbidden waists of false hope?

I don't mean to be rude, but I just feel that it's an awful waste to such a great, no, fantastic story.

"Sorry. Ice cream's... probably not a good idea."

And ... so ... they promptly give her ice cream.

Right. Tuesday.

Oh crap. :pinkiegasp:

"I wouldn't know, sir, would I?"

Whatever the hell is going on with him is very, very vague. Almost infuriatingly so.

"You're kind of an asshole."

"That doesn't make me wrong.

Don't be ridiculous! To misquote the Gamers, he seems like a dick, not an asshole. :ajsmug:

I have some experience with due process."

That sounds very ... MiB. (PiB? Whatever.)

"You have three references from work, but only two from friends."

After last chapter, I'm surprised he has two friends. Was the mare in the elevator the other one?

"You have absolutely no sense of humor, do you?"

"I keep it in a jar at work, generally. It's a huge hassle having to check it at the front door every time, so."

:rainbowlaugh: Oh, well played, sirrah! Well played indeed.

"I'm a higher functioning lunatic,"

I need to find the opportunity to use that line.

"So it's okay for kids to accept candy from nameless, faceless commercial organizations?"

"Not intrinsically. But they are subjected to more rigorous laws and regulations than nameless faceless individuals."

:rainbowlaugh: I'm dying here. My subordinates are staring at me.

"Lieu Vague"

*snerk* :ajsmug:

This is just such good stuff...

Really good stuff here. I love the characters, even if Rewind seems a little too intellectually mature for her age, I think it works in a story like this. The way you portray Erase's condition is very well done too. It "itches" my brain in just the right ways when trying to properly comprehend it.

The engine of this story is dialogue, so there's no fault in it being comprised primarily of said driving force. Pulp Fiction was 95% talking.

:trixieshiftleft:

The eponymous characters aren't so much three-dimensional beings as stand-ins for the concepts they represent. They're index cards. This is fine. I believe the character-driven narrative structure has its place, but isn't the encompassing blueprint for every story. Was WW2 compelling because people were in it, or because it was on such a grand scale against such a nefarious foe? Exactly.

In this scenario, the analysis of the now and how the rather static characters fit into it as they are, et al, is the centerpiece. That's great. It's very "Hills Like White Elephants", which is refreshing.

The prose was adequately athletic. Their over-analytical banter got a little grating, but the closing was smooth, and the demure lead-up was artful.

A good read.

I absolutely love this. The concept and the execution are both wonderful!

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