• Member Since 9th Mar, 2014
  • offline last seen Sep 23rd, 2021

Quill Scratch


Dubs Rewatcher once described me as "an intense literary analyst". I describe me as "a room of monkeys with typewriters."

T

“A toast,” Spitfire said, once the noise had quietened and everypony was still, “to Rainbow Dash, for holding the most records anypony in Academy history has held. It’s no mean feat, and I’m sure we’ll be seeing her continue to push herself well beyond our expectations in the future.” There was a murmur of agreement that passed around the table, and Rainbow felt her wings twitch again. Before anypony could begin to raise their glass to their lips, Spitfire continued, “And to Soarin, who seems at last to have gained at least some level of emotional maturity in the past week.”

Rainbow Dash's life is perfect: the Wonderbolts are so pleased with her performance at the academy that they've invited her out to dinner, and she's finally getting to spend time with her idols; she's finally managed to hold down a relationship for more than a few weeks at a time, and her marefriend, Twilight, has been more supportive of her than she could have ever asked for; and she's even gotten over her cider addiction, which turned out to be a much more pleasant change than she expected.

So why does it still hurt?

Written and edited over the course of 30 days for the National Novel Writing Month challenge, Fifteen Dinners tells the story of Rainbow Dash's struggle to maintain the illusion of happiness when the one pony that matters most has grown to hate her.


For David and JD
(who hate ponies, but keep supporting me anyway)
For Vocal Score
(whose music kept me going through this crazy month)
And, as always, for Robbie
(who somehow puts up with my writing, even for fandoms he knows nothing about)


Chapters (15)
Comments ( 51 )

Wowwwwwwwwwwww

How the hell did u manage these many chapters in a day? Were they pre written before hoof?

I'll be honest the way you wrote the story in reverse chronological order threw me for a loop the first 4 chapters. But I don't have much to say other than: wow. This is one of the best written and developed stories I have seen in quite a while. It made me sad to see that you decided to release all on one day, if this had been dragged out for a month publishing each chapter individually more people would see this great story.Good Job.

5332670
5332759 Thanks for the feedback! I'm glad you guys enjoyed it.

This fic was written as part of National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write 50,000+ words in November and edit them some other time. I took on the additional challenge of editing them in November, too, and getting the entire fic out at the end of the month—it was my little challenge to myself, and while I know I could probably have gotten more readers spreading out the upload (and I could have taken a little more time editing and writing the final chapters!) I decided to stick to my original plan and accept my own little crazy challenge.

Going to admit, even after getting some sleep I'm still exhausted—November was one heck of a crazy month! :ajsleepy:

*applause* Now go and lie down before you fall down from exhaustion. :yay:

5333177 Maybe after the Quantum Mechanics lecture I'm supposed to be paying attention to right now... :twilightblush:

So the clear tragedy part of this story is whatever Rainbow did to Scootaloo. You're not quick to reveal it unless I'm missing something. Intriguing to say the least. Anyway, I've been meaning to do this the last couple of chapters but I found a mistake.

(nopony would no any wiser, and Applejack and Rarity would never contradict her while she was in this state)

No should be know. That's it for this chapter, and I'll keep reading.

5337163 Oh wow, that's a pretty bad one to have slipped through. How did I miss that?

I feel like I should allow myself to correct typos even now November has ended, but a part of me is determined to remind myself that the challenge was "write and edit in a month" and editing includes corrections like that! Give me a while to mull over the pros and cons of staying true to the challenge vs correcting glaringly dumb errors like that on my part, and we'll see what happens. Thanks for spotting that one, though! :twilightsheepish: I'm glad you seem to be enjoying the story, anyway. Don't worry—it's a slow reveal, so you (probably) haven't missed anything yet!

P.S. You're going to have a field day with the last few chapters if you're looking for typos. I'm pretty sure there's, like, five or six in each, because I know I didn't give them anywhere near the same level of attention as the earlier chapters :fluttercry:

Pretty nice story, but frankly, it feels that it lacks a proper ending. The first(last?) chapter already establishes that Twilight and Dash are dating and it's going kinda well and that there is some kind of problem with Scootaloo and Dash. The rest of the story then tells what led to that. The problem with this is that the driving conflict in this story is really the problem between Dash and Scootaloo, and there is no conclusion to that. Also, there is that conflict between Dash and Scootaloo's parents, that's described in two chapters in the middle of the story, also without proper conclusion. This particular instance wouldn't be as annoying without Twilight's (non-foreshadowing!) foreshadowing when she warns Dash to not antagonize them.

So, on the whole, the story leaves me kinda unsatisfied. The TwiDash arc is nice, and I particularly liked how it wasn't just sunshine and rainbows, and some of Dash's antics got a chuckle out of me. But rest of the story arcs feel inconclusive.

This isn't to say that I didn't like the story, it's definitely worth an upvote from me, it's just that I could easily see it being even better. I thought the chapters being centered around meals was an interesting touch (heh, most of human socializing is at least somewhat related to eating!) and that the episodic format was nice way to handle a relationship. I get kinda tired of all the stories that go from asking the other out, a date and a kiss and then happiness everafter.

“Am only cool enough to hang out with because I save the world, huh?”

I think there should be an 'I' after 'Am'.

5338346
There should. Or, at least, I intended there to be and failed to put one there. Nice spot—I'm pretty sure I checked that passage, like, twice. :applejackunsure:

5337788
You have no idea how much I want to hug you right now. You've put into words a doubt I've had about this story that I haven't been sure how to phrase. Also you've just given really good constructive feedback and frankly that's one of my favourite things in the world. :pinkiehappy:

I'm glad you didn't not like the story, too. That's probably more than something this rushed deserves. Thank you! And now I know how to think about it (rather than "something feels wrong about this... but not sure what...") I'll make sure to keep the resolutions/conclusions thing in my mind in future. In fairness, though, I'm probably not writing reverse chronologically for a while, and I suspect the problem mostly stems from my lack of familiarity with how to conclude things when they begin (an odd concept if ever I saw one), but lesson learned in case I try again.

Umm... Not that it wasn't well written or anything but... When will the sequel be out? There's a lot of unfinished business here between RD and Scoots. Or do you intend to leave it as it is?

Also, you kinda jumped straight into the apathetic/ alcoholic dash without much indication in the story's timeline

5339956 Currently I have no plans for a sequel, but I am tempted by the prospect of one. After all, The Sixteenth Dinner has a nice ring to it! I don't think I'll be able to resolve much between Scootaloo and Dash in a sequel, though, as the tragedy of the story is, in a way, that they don't resolve their relationship, and that things end on such bad terms.

I am, however, considering a complete re-working of the story since it has proved to be much better received than I expected (mostly thanks to 5337788 and 5337163 convincing me that this actually deserves the time and effort), and I shall certainly take into account your second point. I agree, a lot could be improved on how that arc is dealt with after (before?) it is over.

5340432 In which case, I shall await the sixteenth dinner hungrily. You sir, have gained a stalker.

Still only 27 likes? Damn, this thing is heavily undervalued. I'll take 8!

I think you got screwed somewhat by posting this a day or two after the "don't look closely at Twidash group notifications" warning due to their reorganization. I do have to agree that it's somewhat unsatisfying (generally the backwards progression needs to lead to some revelation for the readers), but there's still a lot of good crammed in there; the journey was satisfying, even if the end wasn't.

First off. I've been reading for the last few hours. It's past 6 AM; so anything dumb and overly-rambly in this comment stems from that.
Also. Spoilers appear in this comment!

Anyway.
Yeah, this was good.

Starting at simply asking; Were Twi' and Dash in character? Yes. Yes, I think so. Starting at the end, we saw both affectionate - but also emotional - Dash. That, without reason and to such extent, could maybe been seen as OOC. But, that was the end. During the fic, we could follow how Dash had slowly changed her ideas and character, and opened up towards certain ponies. So, the change was in reality gradual and realistic.
The best kind of change.
:twilightsmile:

And then the story, and how it was told. It was a bit unusual to start from the end. Because knowing the outcome, I couldn't stop looking forward for clues to what really happened. What lead up to this situation. Dash being broken because of something that had occurred, and not knowing why, was intriguing. Even more so as the climax was getting closer. The last lines, Dash's letter to Twi', in chapter 7, were powerful. At that moment, we still didn't know why Dash was suffering, just speculations. And yet, there's this emotional chapter where we can feel with Dash, not really knowing why, and that's amazing.

And the TwiDash was cute. Simply said.
Dash beating herself up over being insecure and nothing going according to plan, and yet somehow pulling off a fluent setup with the picnic, was nice reading.

Hopefully this wasn't all too rambly.
You now have my thumb, fave' and watch!
:pinkiesmile:
M

5347033

It was a bit unusual to start from the end.

For some reason, I found that sentence really funny. I may have only just woken up, which could explain a lot.

I'm glad you enjoyed Fifteen Dinners, but mostly I'm really glad you felt that the way I approached Dash's character "development" (for want of a better word, though un-development works, I guess) worked. If I'm honest, whether or not that would work was probably one of my biggest worries about this fic even before I'd gotten halfway through!

Thanks for commenting/liking/fave'ing/watching/reading! I was going to thank you for each individually, but I figured this would be easier. I appreciate all the things, I assure you :twilightsmile:

Did something happen to Scootaloo? Should I feel sympathetic?

Yeesh, this is heavy stuff. God I'm hoping for a happy ending here.

5359948
Yeah. Totally. Happy endings all around. More happy endings than you can shake a stick at. No tragedy tag needed here. Nope. All good.

:trollestia:

This story was enjoyable. I loved your portrayal of Twi and Dash as a couple, and wow there were some powerful moments in it. The intrigue was nice with the Scootaloo mystery as well. I'm afraid I must parrot the others in saying the lack of closure really hurts this story. Its got the elements of a great story, it just lacks that certain something that wraps it up.

5362174 I made this comment a few hours ago not knowing if the last few chapters were actually ones in the future. After I figured out it was going in reverse, I thought it'd only go as far back as Twi and Dash's first date or something along those lines, with a set of chapters in the future that ends it in a somewhat optimistic way. I was wrong, obviously lol.

Have an upvote and a favorite, because even if the story itself seemed a little lacking, the TwiDash itself makes it more than worthy.

Oh, this was a beautiful story. The chronological reversal (which I didn't figure out until the third chapter in), the vignettes being centered around breaking bread, the connections with family and friends, it was very well done, and you did this in a month? Talented, you are. Talking for some reason like Yoda, I am. Seriously, this is a great story, and I do hope you consider a sequel. If not, then I believe it still ended, er, began, er, you know what I mean, on the right note. Well done!

Liked. Favorited. Followed.

It's taken me a while to get back to you guys, for which I apologise. Better late than never, right?
5362307
I'm glad you enjoyed it in the end, and thanks for the upvote and fave! I admit I like the idea of jumping back (forward?) in the chronology at the end, and I was a little tempted by the prospect to begin with, but by Chapter 12 I felt I'd be doing the entire story a disservice if I broke the pattern.
5367908
Glad you liked it, I am. And don't worry—chapter 3/4 is where I was always hoping people would pick up on the chronology. It's meant to be a little uncertain until about then (the hints in chapter 2 are a little less obvious, especially if you're not expecting them). Thanks for all the things, and I hope I can earn that follow with some slightly less-rushed material in the coming months!
5369490
:trollestia:
5388954
I love it too—it was a really fun challenge to take on. It took a lot of getting used to while I was writing, though! I think it was worth it in the end, and I'm reasonably pleased with how that aspect of the story turned out. Hope you enjoy the rest!

Man, this story is so sad. And you made it even worse with this sweet ending (beginning?)
I mean, think about it: everything is so right and so good at here, just to think that it will end so tragically, with a miserable Rainbow Dash, an an angry/depressed/unable to fly Scootaloo, their relationship over (I guess? We discuss it later...), and two disgusting ponies still alive (really, how can Ceasar and Dainty not support TwiDash? Everypony loves TwiDash! :fluttershysad: )

But Still, excellent story! Upvote, of course! ^^
I really was caught by the writing style, saying so little about the plot that you NEED to finish reading soon to discover what have happened and why it's so traumatizing ( and the happiness to find out that it worth it and wasn't something silly like "you said I was dumb!". I really got to stop reading a history when an author make some very good pacing that doesn't make the point it in the end. You did!) And some things like making Scootaloo and RD run in the first dinner to not let anyone pay attention to everything because you've already described the house very well some chapters before and we already had a good picture of it in head really made the narration go very smoothly, it really shows that it's a job of a good writer
Even thought, we have the loosing points, like: an random un-AppleDash appearing in the middle of nothing; drinking problem that actually only appears one time in the hole thing; the second dinner leading to say that the first was a disaster, while in the first not much of what is mentioned really happens; what looked like to be the most important part of the history left behind for a Scootaloo leaving Rainbow crashed in Rarity's door at night; Spike's question (if he will ever find a special somepony. Ok, it worth because of the relationship development, since is where we really heard of the meaning that Twilight have for RD, but it would still have been good to know...); and everything else that just leads for a sequel. Please, do it, you have an incredible story here, it would just be good to know how everything follows after this, even if it's not as long as this one (actually, I think this is the longest fiction I've read so far, since that I'm not much into those and "struggling" it's a fancy word for me yet [english is not my mother language, what I think that explains the childish written commentary :twilightblush: ])
Wow, didn't meant to deepen it so much. But anyway, good writing, good fic, and awesome food, also, rs.
So is that, I think you conquered a fan! (wich actually only access during vacation, but the feeling is the same :heart: ). Want to see what your other works look like if this is not "one of your best" ...

5400281 There's a lot I want to respond to here, so I'm just going to go ahead and do it. Thanks for the upvote and comment!

everything is so right and so good at here

This is exactly the reason I kept going backwards chronologically, despite the actual meat of the story really being over. I felt it was important to show Rainbow's life before it all went wrong. That said, part of me really wishes I'd thrown a little more Scootaloo into chapter 15, because if that chapter is meant to be all about showing how good things were before then it really should show that side of Rainbow's life. Still, it's mostly covered by chapter 13, so I guess it's not too bad.

wasn't something silly like "you said I was dumb!"

I'm going to be honest, when I started writing this fic I had no idea exactly what had gone wrong, so I'm very pleased to hear that my choice didn't come across as something silly and unimportant. I was a little worried it would!

random un-AppleDash

AJ's story in this fic was a little thrown together last-minute, and I'm not entirely sure it belongs. I think if I'd given myself a bit more time than a month to write and edit this thing, I might have been able to pull it off a little better, but for now it's relegated to half-plot status that doesn't really seem to add much. It's a shame, because I quite liked the way it was heading.

drinking problem that actually only appears one time in the hole thing

Oo, this was a tough one. I tried really hard to balance Rainbow's attitude to alcohol over the course of the fic, and I think this is one of the points on which I've failed. Again, a bit of a shame, because it's one of those storylines I was really hoping would work out. Perhaps a little more needed to be made of it in chapter seven. Also it might help if I actually knew anything about being drunk, but as a teetotaller it was hard enough to write one chapter of alcoholic Rainbow Dash :twilightsheepish:

Want to see what your other works look like if this is not "one of your best"

Keep an eye out! I've got a few things in the pipeline for the coming weeks, and I hope they're going to be some of my best work. That said, I have a tendency to find flaws in pretty much everything I write, so don't count on me ever admitting so once they're done!

... wow. That was a long 'un. Thanks again for the comment and upvote! :pinkiehappy:

The situation with Scootaloo potentially reminds me of the short story "The Scarlet Ibis"

I enjoyed this fic, however I do have to agree with CDRT in that it feels like it lacks a proper ending.

Other than that, I do have a couple of points of feedback:

- I found the idea that the doctor would tell Rainbow Dash Scootaloo's private medical information and not tell Scootaloo's adoptive parents extremely flimsy to say the least. And without that plot point, a large part of the fic collapses in upon itself.

- Hey Twilight, I have a great fucking idea! Let's provide alcohol to the recovering alcoholic. That sounds like an unbelievably intelligent idea! Surely only someone with your genius intellect would come up with such a inconceivably well-thought-out plan!

I really liked this story.

An interesting idea basing it around dinners, and it worked well. The reverse chronology threw me off a bit but works, the only think I think is missing is a real ending so to speak. However it's still clearly one of the better stories I've read when it comes to writing.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

“Rainbow,” she said, her voice restrained and filled with warning. “I’m trying to concentrate.”
“And I’m trying to nuzzle you,”

Well, if nothing else, this series promises to be enjoyable. :)

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Seeing Dash hang out with the Wonderbolts like this fills a void I didn't realize I had.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

I hope we at least get some clues about what transpired between Rainbow and Scootaloo. <.< Because that whole stairs scene was some intense Scootalove.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Gahh, what was the special occasion? D:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Wow, damn. I'm really in love with this story's structure. I thought the comment on the last chapter was just being weird, but it's literally taken me six chapters to realize this is being told in reverse chronological order. And this chapter, dang, with that easy-in, hard-out dream sequence. Not to mention more questions that I'm sure we'll get the answers to once we see the events happen. Kinda surprised the cider thing didn't come up in a previous chapter, though.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

How could someone grow up in a realm ruled by a bisexual Princess and still be homophobic? <.< Well, at least I know what Rainbow did now, and the first half of this story is clearly justified.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

I realize now that Rainbow's dialogue has been bothering me, and it's because her speech patterns aren't correct. It's subtle, because it's very British, but "I'm not fussed" clinched it.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Ahh, so there is some lampshading for Scoot's parents. Hmm.

“Just because I’m pleased for you doesn’t mean I don’t think you two should get a room,”

This though. This is the best line. :D

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Dammit. The Scootaloo plot has been good, and the way this story structured compelling and unique, but damned if the shipping just hasn't been a total letdown. :(

“And don’t try to apologise for hitting me. It was an honest mistake; I know you’d never do that on purpose.”

This was chilling. I'm sad we never got to see the reason why that trust was broken.

Also, what the heck could be left before this?

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Eh, and now I'm disappointed by this, too. Why weren't the prospective parents told? Wasn't that the whole point of the checkup?

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

And this is Alien Shipping Syndrome. :(

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Huh, I've never read a NaNo entry before. You get an upvote for the ambition in the structure, because it's the kind of thing I want to see more of, but I find myself overall disappointed at the story, for the reasons I've already laid out.

I kinda got bored towards the end due to the backwards chronology, I just don't think it works if your characters talk about a scene that the reader already knows about. What is the point of following the story if you know everything that happens after it? It works if you just have the climax, then you start from the beginning to reach the climax and see the ending, but when it is structured as this one is, it becomes dull after the first (or last, chronologically) third. A good story nonetheless.

is this story written backwards or something should i start from the last chapter and read towards the first

7345135 The story was written in reverse-chronological order. It is intended to be read in the order presented, despite this.

6781811
I've never understood the inclusion of homophobia in ponyfic

6782451
It was spelled out earlier, Dash was blackout drunk

Rainbow almost fell like a stone, suddenly filled with fright and pain and hurt. She didn’t know why—she didn’t care why, because she was too scared to think. Every thought, no matter how hard she tried to stop it, was of Scootaloo. Everything that she saw or heard was something Scootaloo had done, or said, or liked, or hated, or wanted.

Should I be worried, scared, anxious or all three of them?

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