• Member Since 10th Oct, 2011
  • offline last seen 3 hours ago

Pascoite


I'm older than your average brony, but then I've always enjoyed cartoons. I'm an experienced reviewer, EqD pre-reader, and occasional author.

E

While Apple Bloom works on her potions with Zecora, Twilight Sparkle drops by. The perfect afternoon! The potion dream team, and Zecora even starts telling stories. But with her, a story is never just a story.

Thanks to Present Perfect for pre-reading.

Featured on Equestria Daily!

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 22 )

Excellent story. Very well written. I always love Zecora and Applebloom working together.

Hm.

Hmmmmmmmmm.

First Pascoite Zecora story. Featuring Twilight, Baltimare, and some subversion of her past.

To quote Fry: Not sure if suspicious, or just coincidence.

Still, I can't fault it on technical execution. Admittedly, I find yet another "black sheep" story for Zecora a bit trite, especially when I would say The Striped Pony did it better, but that's personal enough that I'm not going to dock it points for my preferences.

However, I am going to dock points for Applebloom's running commentary. I think the impact of Zecora's story on Twilight would have been much stronger if we didn't have Applebloom more or less winking at the audience the whole time. I mean, if the point of her story is for the punchline to sneak up on us, we don't need Applebloom sitting there screaming SYMBOLISM the whole time. It doesn't help that Twilight's excuse for coming by had nothing to do with Applebloom in the first place, making her wholly unnecessary baggage. Yes, the story she tells at the end relates to Applebloom, but Twilight was there as well. We don't need Applebloom present for the point to be made.

Yeah, I'm gonna have to say Applebloom ruined this for me. Third wheel on what would have otherwise been a solid bicycle. She doesn't do anything but break up the narrative flow, and intrude on what could be a much stronger character piece between Twilight and Zecora.

Edit: Looking back, Twilight's dialogue also felt a little flat. I felt like she wasn't bringing the usual energy/curiosity she would for a chance to learn. Take when Zecora breaks couplets: she sounds more like she's correcting an error than being surprised by a sudden break in form.

I really like seeing other fanfics with Twilight and Apple Bloom, certainly makes me want to see more of them together.

exemplary story of word and thought this poinet story you have wrought.
I know my spelling is not first class.
so please don't kick me in the......butt

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Yay, I helped! :D

6078712
I'm sorry you feel that way, but I do wish you'd at least give me the benefit of the doubt that those things are present deliberately. I did have concrete reasons for making each of those aspects the way they are, beyond citing some nebulous "stylistic choice." All except for the part about Twilight's visit having nothing to do with Apple Bloom's presence, and I really don't see what difference that makes at all. It'd suddenly change the game if she'd come there specifically looking for Apple Bloom? I don't buy it.

6080224

All except for the part about Twilight's visit having nothing to do with Apple Bloom's presence, and I really don't see what difference that makes at all. It'd suddenly change the game if she'd come there specifically looking for Apple Bloom? I don't buy it.

I'm saying that Applebloom wasn't necessary to the narrative, and in fact detracted from it in my opinion. It's like mustard on your sandwich. Technically it's not taking away from the other elements of the sandwich, but it is disrupting what would otherwise be a pleasant arrangement of ingredients.

Now, sometimes an unpleasant element can be excused if it holds the narrative together, like a toothpick in a BLT. No fun to eat, but everything falls apart without it. However, Applebloom wasn't part of the conflict, the resolution, or the moral at all. Her entire role could have been cut, and the story would have retained its meeting.

In short, she's mustard, not a toothpick, and mustard the story could have done without.

I'm sorry you feel that way, but I do wish you'd at least give me the benefit of the doubt that those things are present deliberately.

I'm not docking you points on intent. I ascribe to the philosophy of "death of the author." Brilliance by design and brilliance by accident make no difference, all that matters is what's on the page. Orson Scott Card might be a screaming homophobe, but should that affect our judgement of Ender's Game? I think not, but that's me.

But, ignoring that briefly, why should I give you credit for doing this deliberately? Deliberately including Applebloom does not magically make her relevant to the story. Deliberately producing what I feel to be a poor characterization of Twilight does not justify that same characterization. I could understand if you were asking me to give the benefit of the doubt in a multi-chapter work, where a seemingly poor literary decision would be referenced and played with later, but here I have access to the entire story, and I see no justifiable contribution to the tale. Twilight could have been snappier, and Applebloom cut, and the message would have carried just as well.

In summary, I don't like the decisions you made. Perhaps you had a grand vision I was too dim to see, but that's the risk we take when we produce sincere art. An A for effort teaches us nothing about our writing. In fact, one of my most rewarding stories was a train wreck, but it was rewarding because that wreck taught me about my limitations as a writer.

So please don't ask me to excuse decisions just because you feel they were good. I've said how I've felt about your story, and you can take that with a grain of salt in regards to who I am. Maybe I'm an idiot and am way off base, and maybe I have a point to consider. Either way, I saw what I saw, and shared it.

From here, what you do with my input is your affair, but my points stand and my vote remains.

Apple Bloom is needed because Twilight sort of needed an audience for the whole "Yeah, we fucked THAT up" thing.

6080866

But that's just it. We are the audience. We should be the ones going "Ooooohhh, she went there!" Having Applebloom do it is exactly the same reason laugh tracks are so loathed. We don't get to realize Zecora's laying the slam down, because Applebloom does it for us. She's telling us how we should feel, and it causes the same effect as explaining a joke.

Wow, I only had to read the first few words and I knew this was going to be a great story. So, I gave this a thumbs up without even finishing one sentence. That has never, EVER happened before. Congrats to you for writing such an amazing story!

So, the moral of the story is: If you do everything in your power to mislead people, it's their fault for believing you..?

6080420
Maybe Apple Bloom wasn't necessary to the narrative for you, but she was for me. She learns a lesson, too—a different one from Twilight—and without her there, Zecora doesn't tell the second story. I don't doubt that this is why you don't like the story, and frankly, that's immaterial to me. I just wonder why you haven't expressed anything but personal preference over that, yet keep harping on it is if it's something wrong. Your metaphor illustrates that perfectly. Just because you don't like mustard doesn't make it wrong to use it. It just means you don't like it. Period. It has no bearing on whether anyone else should like it or not. Now, if you'd presented some technical argument that the mustard doesn't mesh well with the other flavors, or it will mask some other essential ones in there, then you're at least trying to make a reasoned argument. But so far, you haven't.

And I'm not saying you should give me credit for doing something deliberately in terms of not assuming something's bad just because you don't like it. Well, actually you should, but that's another matter. What I mean is that it's a complete cop-out not to consider if and why something is the way it is, and then seeing where those branches lead instead of assuming an intent (or none) and running with it. That's fine for a reader-centric thing, but you'll reach more people in a blog post. On the author side, it;s not nearly as useful. To wit, the interstitial comments Apple Bloom makes. Heavy-handed, I could buy (a bit more on that later), but I put them there mostly because a lot of readers don't like walls of poetry, so it breaks those up. Doesn't float your boat, fine. I won't lose any sleep over it, I promise. But I'm willing to wager most readers prefer it this way to having a large block of unbroken poetry. A calculated risk, but one you didn't even consider. I guess it comes down to whether you want me to take you seriously or whether you just want to put up a "do not read this" sign in the comments. Either one's fine—I'm going to get downvotes anyway.

I'm willing to bet you've never upvoted a story you didn't like. Might want to ask yourself why not and under what circumstances you would.

6080879
...it's a close limited narrator. That's how they work. The narrator is essentially Apple Bloom's own internal thought processes, and not once does she tell the reader what to think. If I write a story from the perspective of a violent skinhead, I'm not forcing his attitudes on you. I'm presenting them in his voice. Had this been an omniscient narrator who declared Zecora's story to be "powerful," then yes, the narrator is telling the reader what he should think. Here, Apple Bloom is telling the reader what she thinks. She's no more forcing that on the reader than any character in any story with an emotional response. The reader is under no obligation to agree. If he doesn't, she essentially becomes an unreliable narrator. You don't have to mirror her attitude, just be able to follow it. Twilight had a strong reaction, too—she's even the one who "explains the joke," to borrow your phrase, but that didn't bother you? It's still one character's reaction, whether it's presented externally or not. So, yes, I'll cop to being heavy-handed with it, as I was afraid the villanelle was too subtle to get on its own, but that's unrelated to the choice of narrator.

6084068

I'm willing to bet you've never upvoted a story you didn't like. Might want to ask yourself why not and under what circumstances you would.

You know, I hate responding to this statement first because it almost feels like responding to a personal attack, but honestly this question cuts right to the issue of my downvote.

First, allow me to make a distinction. Are you asking if I never upvoted a story I didn't like? Or are you asking if I've ever upvoted a story I didn't enjoy? Because there's a definite distinction there.

Have I ever upvoted a story I didn't like? No, because I like something as the sum of its entire being. If I don't like something, then it has failed in my estimation as a sum total of all its parts. In essence, whether I like something and whether I upvote/downvote it are one and the same. Upvoting a story I didn't like would be upvoting a story I didn't think was worthy of an upvote.

Now, have I ever upvoted a story I did not enjoy? On this site? No, none jump to mind, and that's largely because I read on here to enjoy myself. However, I get what you're driving at, and there have been things I would have *upvoted* so to speak, even though I didn't enjoy them. A recent example of this was Madoka Magica. They made choices I did not enjoy, and at the end of the series I would not watch it again because I would get no real joy from it. But would I recommend it? Upvote it? Heck yes!

Why?

Because, in my mind, any media exists for two purposes: to educate, and to entertain. Kitten videos entertain, encyclopedia entries educate, and all worthwhile media exists somewhere on the spectrum between the two. Madoka Magica failed to entertain me, yes, but it did educate me. It showed me a fantastic subversion of not only the typical narrative of a magical girl anime, but even the artistic and thematic norms. It pushed the envelope of the genre in a manner I would not care to watch again.

And this philosophy is ultimately why your story got a downvote:

It neither educated nor entertained.

As I said in my very first comment, this story was trite. It's a theme we, and more importantly I, have seen done before. It adds nothing to my understanding of the character, her relationships, or to my appreciation of the universe as a whole. It did not educate me.

This leaves it with being entertaining. Which it was not, as you've already granted.

So, I ask you a question: Why should I recommend and upvote a story that does not serve either of the purposes a story should?

P.S. The sandwich metaphor made me realize one reason I would recommend a story that I nether enjoyed nor learned from: because someone else might. But that leads to an amusing problem: the best way to tell which stories people might like is upvotes. So I should be upvoting stories with upvotes, regardless of my own opinions.

6084411

I gotta say, this is a lot of words and debate wasted on a thoroughly unimportant and meaningless piece of fanfiction.

6084487 Well that's just rude. :ajbemused:

Very well written, and I loved Zecora's tales!

Huh. Well that was a much better handling of racism right there than anything we've seen in the show. Admittedly, it doesn't take much to do that, but have an upvote anyway. It was a cute story.

And yeah, maybe Applebloom being there was heavy-handed for some, but really... I'd worry more about some people not getting it if Applebloom weren't there. Plus some character development for Applebloom. This could make a good episode.

Excellent story! Really enjoyed reading it :pinkiehappy:

Zecora is most under-appreciated pony.

Very well done. It seems to fit the character of Zecora very well, and actually flesh her out, while most other stories merely make her a two-dimensional character. (Probably because she is hard to write for, what with all the rhymes.)

I only wish we could see more of Zecora. Seriously, she was originally concepted to be Twilight's mentor instead of Celestia, so she really deserves more love. And screen-time.

I reviewed this story as part of Read It Later #42.

My review can be found here.

6080866 That's also the reason why Twilight Sparkle has Spike. Otherwise, she'd be talking to herself a lot.

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