• Member Since 15th Sep, 2011
  • offline last seen 4 hours ago

Bookish


E

(First-Place Winner of Everfree Northwest 2013's Iron Author Contest, now in original and Hyper Drive versions! The latter should prove even more enjoyable if you've read Issues 5-8 of the IDW MLP comic.)

It's Nightmare Night once again, and Rarity has a plan for Princess Luna.

All she'll need to carry it out is one of Princess Celestia's most prized possessions.

Chapters (2)
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Comments ( 49 )

2852516

Haha, thanks. :pinkiehappy:

There were lots of awesome fics and authors there and as soon as I can get some sleep, I'll give them their deserved props. :twilightsheepish:

Very well done! The start was a bit rocky (no pun intended) and it was a tad hard to figure what exactly was being discussed and happening. I know that's partly intentional of course, leading to the reveal later, but as it's my only real criticism of the piece, I'd feel remiss if I didn't mention it.

That said, the rest was very beautiful. The eloquent prose and keen vocabulary choices really remind me of my own weaknesses as an author. I have a horrid habit of using the same basic words and descriptions over and over. This piece also shines (again, no pun intended, but apparently I'm on a roll) in its aesthetics. The combination of dialog and description... somehow, the language itself just "feels" quiet and elegant, and perfectly matches the described in-story moonlit scene and enchanted evening wear. A very rare trick that, to make the language mirror the things it describes. Bravo!

Awww...how sweet. This is why I do have Rarity as one of my top ponies. :raritywink:

a3V

it is yours to do with as your please

That should be "you".

I can finally witness it first hand

Shouldn't that be first hoof? I suppose this is up to the preference of the author. :derpytongue2:

This has some of the best dialogue I've read for Rarity. :duck: Congrats! :raritystarry:

Did she said full moons? *giggles*

2852624 2852667 2852780
Heh! I love my vague openings (maybe a little too much) yet can never get them completely perfect. They always seem to trip someone up, be it a normal reader like you (Xepher) or, well, an EQD prereader. :rainbowlaugh: I'll keep working on getting them right.

But yeah, huge thanks! Dialogue is one of the few tools in my repertoire that I'm quite proud to have sharpened to a razor's edge. :pinkiesmile: And last year I couldn't do descriptive prose at all, so it's really heartwarming to know that I can now. As for being more varied with vocabulary/descriptions, trips to the thesaurus (in moderation! Repeated terms actually aren't all that bad!) actually do help. I did abuse the Merriam-Webster site a couple of times during the competition when I was unsure of some words.

And whenever I write Rarity, for some reason I subconsciously slip into Stylish Mode. She is bar none my absolutely favorite pony to write. Whenever I do, I feel refreshed at the end. I actually walked out of Iron Author with a huge smile, and it's all her fault! :rainbowlaugh:

(Okay, Bookish, you're babbling and need to get to work.)

Thanks again! :pinkiehappy:

2852774
And thank you for your good eye! Both are fixed. Hopefully there's nothing else too grievous for me to change--trying to keep this story as close to its original state as possible. There will be an extra-shiny version a-comin', so don't you fret none. :ajsmug:

We need more Luna/Rarity fics. Not shipping necessarily, just hanging out is fine too.

WOW. I can see why this would win.

Loved it. Well done, mate.

~Skeeter The Lurker

This is perfect and beautiful and I love it completely. Thanks for writing!

This flows much better read than read aloud--especially the opening. I think you've got the structure of the opening where it needs to be, but you'll find some refinement to be had in word choice--expanding bits and bobs here and there.

I'm a sucker for stories that play with the relationships between the princesses (I don't even have to say 'the princesses and twilight' anymore!), so I quite like using Rarity to explore the lingering tension between the Sisters.

I enjoyed this story, nicely done.

There were a few instances where I believe a contraction would have improved the flow, but that's the only critique I have.

Again, nicely done. And congratulations on winning the contest.

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Thanks, folks. :heart: And I'll be taking all this feedback into account for the upcoming enhanced version, so if you want to make comparisons then, be my absolute guest!

2854683
I agree! :pinkiehappy:

2868856

Enhanced? What more could you possibly do with it?

~Skeeter The Lurker

2868873
For once, a whole lot! This was a rush job, as per contest rules. We only had two hours to write it in. :rainbowlaugh:

2868884

If that's the case... I look forward to the enhancements.

~Skeeter the Lurker

Marvelous story! I can't wait to see these "enhancements" :twilightsmile:

Overall, I enjoyed this, totally keeps in character with rarity's element.
Didn't like the part where we zoomed in on celestia's feet in the hyper version. Edgar Allen Poe said that everything in a short story should need to be there. And that felt... unneeded, when I read it just kind of snapped me out of my immersion.

But other than that, no problems.

2952187

I must say, of all the possible criticisms I could have anticipated (and am still anticipating!), that was one I never would have seen coming. :rainbowlaugh: I personally didn't really see it as "zooming in on feet" as I was mainly referencing forehooves but I guess it could be interpreted as such? Your quote's a great point, though. I'll keep it in mind.

I'm glad you liked it otherwise! Thanks a lot for commenting. :twilightsmile:

Welp, only on thing to say to that...

THE FEELS HAVE BEEN DOUBLED!!!

Seriously, I thought the previous chapter was good, then you went and MADE IT BETTER!!! HOW DID YOU EVEN DO THAT!?!?!?

But I digress, excellent work, and I mean that in every sense of the word. I cannot gush ENOUGH about how wonderful this story is. The feels, and she sheer emotion that passed between both characters was so sweet and so genuine I could re-read this for days and never tire. Thank you so much for writing this, and I welcome any other works coming up with eagerness and anticipation.

I liked your original.

But this is better, faster, stronger.

Especially the line about 'Welcome to my world."

2953235
That'll be six million bits please. :pinkiehappy: Seriously, thanks!

...also, I really miss your game.

I like it, originally.

But now? Well, now I have to favorite it. I do so hope you're pleased with your product (I know I am).

2952858

Well, now that I've finally managed to drain the blood from my face, thanks a lot! :rainbowlaugh: Rarely can I tap into the ultra-feels, as it were, but that comic arc inspired me like crazy and the rest wrote itself! They really can be quite nice things, those "comics."

I'm doubly glad that I've made something re-readable, as I consider that to be one of the best compliments one can give a creative work -- be it a book, game, movie, what have you. :twilightsmile:

Much appreciated! And I have zero plans to stop doing what I do, so stay tuned. :raritywink:

2953358

I do too. There have been none like it since, especially not the blend of image, light and sound.

Also, seriously, the feels with this. Reading it again, the idea that only they know each others pain. Woof.

I know this isn't a shipping story, but just a gentle push could send a followup down d'aww alley, and I'd read the hell out of it.

This is really excellent and imaginative. I can only guess at what the enhanced version has, but it's clear that you're very talented. This was a pleasure to read.

2953479
Awww, thank you! And hey, nothing ventured and all that -- go ahead and give it a shot! :pinkiesmile:

2953387
Thanks! I'd say I'm fairly pleased with how this turned out, though I did learn one thing while writing it: toss enough of it in, and it's really easy to get lost in one's own fluff. :rainbowlaugh:

2953475
Yep, pretty much what I wanted to try to communicate, re: the pain thing. :)

I've been told I'm a notorious tease, yes. :pinkiesmile: Alas, I tend to only break out the full-on shipping arsenal when I think I really have something, or like a challenge. Hence that Nerdy!Vinyl thing you see over to the right. :rainbowlaugh: Flattered by the sentiment, though, truly.

(Oh, and still have your PSX? Take two doses of Gradius Gaiden and call me in the morning. :raritywink:)

2953621 I think this is the first time I've seen a Luna/Rarity that was up to the challenge of shipping, but ah well. Maybe a non shipping sequel? Moar, please.

Also Gaiden is a better game, but Einhander is a piece of art. If I may say so.

2953685
The Einhander soundtrack is also a piece of art. I don't have a PSX anymore, but I still have a copy of the game.

I really appreciate the fact that you went back and revised and expanded the story. I also agree with Einhander that a sequel would be most sufficient. :twilightsmile:

This was an amazing expansion on what was already a solid story in my book. :twilightsmile: The addition of the elements the comic introduced didn't feel forced at all and flowed so naturally that it felt like something that had been established for ages! Keep up the fantastic work man and I can't wait for your next story! :pinkiehappy:

Excellent work here with this story. I love how you included the comic elements and made it woven into the cartoon canon so naturally. I hope to see more. :)

3092670

Thanks a lot! :twilightsmile:

No clue if I'll return to this particular situation, but I do like the comic so far, so there's a good chance you'll see more things based on it.

Definitely a nice expansion on what was already a sweet story. (Was that from the second comic arc? I haven't read it yet but I long since spoiled myself for it. :rainbowlaugh:)

I really do think Rarity is underutilized sometimes. She's got this great spirit about her that I can't quite put my finger on. But great job! :raritywink:

3164013

Thanks! And yeah, second comic arc. It's absolutely worth reading if you can -- so sweet. (I usually just go the Comixology route, myself.)

((Cross-posted from deviantART))


You've always been a winner as far as I'm concerned, so I always considered it a matter of "when", not "if", you would walk away a First Place award like the one this story received, especially after "Holding On" netted you a Silver Medal not too long ago. Even taking that into consideration, however, this is an immensely satisfying and impressively elegant piece of work. Like "Holding On" before it, it takes a premise many have worked with before-in this case, helping Princess Luna to cope with life after Nightmare Moon (indeed, coping with life after the Nightmare period, but I'll get to that later)-and finds something new and compelling to say about it.

Right off the bat, I'm struck by your dialogue. You've always been great with it in the past, but here in particular not a single line is wasted; not even a single word. Every instant a character speaks in this story, it really adds something, whether it's a keen feeling of just who they are and what they're feeling ("The night is indeed lovely -- and therefore, so am I"), a showcase of just how they are processing themselves and their situation ("...I suppose this case is the very definition of special"), or a straightforward yet compelling summation of what they truly want ("But what of the mare, Princess?", not only my favorite line of the story but possibly my favorite little bit of dialogue you've yet written). And you do it all with a commanding grasp of these characters and their particular voices. Celestia, protective and powerful but also gentle and understanding; Luna, regal in all things but nursing deeper emotions than she dares to show; and most of all, Rarity, more than a little overwhelmed in their presence but bound and determined to do right by them both. Again, that ability to get right down to the core of these character and let them interact together has always been a strong-suit of yours, but this time especially you have simply knocked it out of the park. It is such a potent combination of Who, What, and Why (and one that the edited version improves on even further, but again I'll get to that later), and you let it play out so perfectly, with a wholly natural rhythm that manages to build up so strongly without ever feeling rushed or overbearing.
That applies to your prose, too. Word choice, ebb and flow, Showing vs. Telling...in all respects, it strikes the right balance with a kind of elegant character befitting the nature of the story. It is that last part in particular I found most interesting. You've been getting better and better about it lately, but you really have found a certain ability to mold your narrative voice and techniques to the specific story you're writing, and "Special Case" showcases that very fact well, coming so soon after "The Best Smiles" as it does. Because where "The Best Smiles" moved lightly and quickly, again in keeping with its themes and emotional ideas, here the writing is no less sleek, but achieves a very different kind of pace, something decidedly calmer and more introspective. It all serves to highlight the best emotional beats of the story in just the right way, allowing them all to unfold as fully and richly as possible.

Which is what it really boils down to: the emotional arcs and dynamics of this story are, and I do not say this lightly given your considerable level of success in this respect in pretty much all your work, among the best-conceived and most powerfully executed you have ever done. Part of that is that, in a way, it's a real risk to engage the idea you do here; if one were to select the single story pretty much every author of Pony 'fic on the face of the Earth has tackled at least once to one degree or another, it is the matter of Luna's struggle with her past, both her time as Nightmare Moon and the feelings of isolation and frustration that led to her fall from grace. But as you always do, you manage to find a new way to express that idea, a new angle from which to explore it, while still respecting and honoring the fundamental truth and emotion behind it. The key element, for me at least, is that it's all expressed so...gently. That is not to be confused, necessarily, with it being dispassionate; there is no denying the powerful feelings behind both of the lovely ladies who drive this story. But you wisely express those feelings in a gentler manner than some, myself included, might be naturally inclined to do, and it works brilliantly. It's the way you use the narrative's graceful momentum, the way that the emotion comes through in small-but-striking moments in the dialogue (those little moments where we see Luna's multifaceted feelings for Celestia peek out, for example, are especially powerful) or in the actual realization and impact of Rarity's gift. It's the unmistakable and keen dynamic that emerges as we see Luna engage Rarity, at first from a slightly-defensive but overtly-respectful stance only for it to transition into something far less guarded but far more affectionate, and the naturalistic back-and-forth between them that develops as a result. Everything, in other words, moves at a pace and in a way that feels entirely believable, allowing us to relate to emotions and ideas that might otherwise seem too Mythic to fully grasp without sapping them at all of their power. That right there may be the most crucial aspect, in fact, that choice to explore this idea from a more personal, more intimate perspective than it is usually handled with. Such a choice may sound simple, even obvious, but when we truly get to see Luna, vulnerable and happy and truly freed, at the very end it all makes sense, and no matter how simple it may seem at the outset, its effect is simply too profound to ignore or dismiss.

All of which brings me, at last, to Rarity herself. Even before the edit, I sincerely adored your portrayal of her in this story. That unique mixture of grace, poise, and even a slight but unmistakable trace of cunning all captured what are, for me, the very best elements of her character. Likewise, the central conceit, of Rarity choosing to apply her artistic skills to help Luna cope with her doubts and fears, is simply perfect, the sort of thing I wish other writers (including those on the show) would use more often. And just as Luna's dialogue helped establish one half of the story's core dynamic so well, Rarity finished the job with her expected flair; like I said already, she gets one of my very favorite lines in your entire body of work thus far.
But then you edited the story to incorporate the IDW comic's second story-arc, and managed to improve on perfection.
Like the choice to look at Luna's emotional issues through a more close-up lens than is customary, the decision to add that element of Rarity's own struggle with the Nightmare is a seemingly-simple choice on the surface that nonetheless has far-reaching, deeply profound, and incredibly powerful effects on the story. Just to start with, the chilling summation Luna gives of just what the Nightmare is, the insidious ways in which it corrupts and corrodes its victims, paints one of the best pictures I've ever seen of its particular brand of Evil and thus heightens the story's emotional stakes by reminding us just what kind of trauma both these poor Ponies have had to struggle with. More importantly, it adds a new and even more powerful level to the very nature of Rarity's actions without detracting from the already-existing ones it operated so well on. Because now, in addition to being a gift forged from sincere generosity to give help to a Princess in need, it also becomes Rarity's own way of coping, of working through the very same pain Luna has had to deal with. Again, it's that wonderful dialogue of yours that puts it best: "I can't not do what I do. And now more than ever, I know that if I tried to stop doing what I do, I would be far from the only pony who suffered." That is about the best, most beautiful expression of who Rarity truly is in her heart of hearts, of what her craft truly means to her, that I have ever seen.

So again, congratulations on your win. You more than deserved it, because this is a story that not only showcases what Pony 'fic can be at its best, but what makes you such a wonderful author of it. You understand, so well and so strongly, what it is about these characters that gives them such a special place in our hearts, and you use that understanding to tell stories that feel every bit as true and important as the ones that inspired them. :raritystarry::heart:

Beautiful. This was absolutely precious, well done.:rainbowkiss:

A brutal punch to the feels, combined with master-work quality storytelling. The way you use your words is astounding.

Woo! Leave it to Rarity to incorporate ithildin embroidery into her dress for Luna. :raritystarry:

5106094

I feel honored to have thought of in 25 minutes what likely took Tolkien years. :trollestia:

Wonderful Story!
Doesn't surprise me in the slightest that it's the winner :twilightsmile:

2953235
I liked this the most. This is a true gem. A masterpiece of storytelling.
And, just like Rarity, you, dear Bookish, have been absolutely true to your Element.
The Element of Heartwarming :twilightsmile:

Thank you *bows*

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