• Member Since 9th Mar, 2014
  • offline last seen March 14th

Quill Scratch

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


This fanfic was written in 24 hours as part of a Charity Challenge to raise money for BBC Children in Need and is posted here exactly as it was at the completion of the time limit.
I went into this without any plan. I'm so, so sorry.

Moondancer's house has been destroyed, which isn't the best start to the week. Of course, she's more concerned with the closure of Canterlot Public Library, after plunder vines wreck the city .

With nowhere else to turn, Moondancer decides to seek out her once-friend, Lyra Heartstrings, in the hopes of finding a place to stay the night. But when she makes her first trip to the famed Golden Oaks Library, Moondancer runs into a familiar face—one that she hoped she would never see again.

Unable to go home, and with nowhere else to study, Moondancer soon finds herself spending more time with Twilight Sparkle, and is surprised to find that their friendship is not so difficult to heal. But is it really friendship that she wants?

This fic is dedicated to:
Dubs Rewatcher, Horizon, Callypony, Pineta, Lalzu, Oroboro, GMP, Dubs Rewatcher (again), FDA, and everyone else who has donated to the ongoing fundraiser!

(Also thanks to KingRui for the awesomerific, appropriately speed-drawn cover art!)

Chapters (8)
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Comments ( 46 )

This is a crazy amount of words to have written in 24 hours. You sir are a champion of some sort.


...well, I've gone and set 'em up for ya'. Knock 'em over. :rainbowlaugh:

So, gone through three chapters so far.

And barring some kind of crazy twist that no one in their right mind would ever pull, I'm rather confused as to when in canon this is meant to take place, or if it's missing an AU tag.

That's more words than I write in 3 months. :cries:

Five chapters, aaaaaaand now I'm just not sure what story I'm reading anymore. I'll finish this off, though. Hopefully you have a plan.

(sigh) Your mistake wasn't writing this in 24 hours. That's a great, if insane, exercise, and what came of it, on its own merits, is solidly above average. Good on you and your charity stuff.

No, no. Your mistake was posting this straight out, instead of stepping back from it and asking what you could to do to make this story the best it could be. Because, while, yes, a series of events and circumstances and asides and even some character introspection all do happen and in the end coalesce into a conclusion... even though there is a "story" here... just my gosh this is the clunkiest and least fulfilling progression I've seen in some time on this site.

Amongst stories that try, anyway. If nothing else, I can't say this fic doesn't try.

But it wouldn't have even taken all that much to knock this out of "B+ for Effort" territory. In summary ranking of things that worked best for me:

The backdrop with Lyra providing perspective to Moondancer through the fic was the one part of this story that was utterly fantastic, so it's a good thing it makes up the bulk of this. Your Lyra sings--she's laid back and has a nice head on her shoulders that appreciates beauty in simplicity, almost by necessity, yet has clarity beyond her station. She makes an excellent foil for Moondancer. Unfortunately, even with this backdrop's volume it gets dragged down by pretty much everything else.

The Moonlight plot at the core of this was... passable. The reasoning for Moondancer's love worked out all right for me. Her "realization" does seem a little forced, especially in the part where she's blurting it all out to Lyra, but it's not egregious or anything.
Twi's part in the romance doesn't work quite as well though, since we haven't been following her all story. Their interactions work out well enough, but her confession at the end really feels just as much something something put in there expressly to tie up some plot ends as it feels natural.

Pinkie is Pinkie. She's a little Flanderized here, but it's not like this is the S5 Pinkie episode or anything. She's still charming. Moving on.

Moondancer herself is... okay, I'll say it. I can't stand this Moondancer. However, this one I chalk up to personal taste so I can't put it too far down the critique scale. What irks me about this Moonie though is that she takes, at minimum, three to five long paragraphs to have any singular thought about anything. Twilight, Lyra, a building, a pie on the table, everything she comes across is a dissertation. Following this Moondancer in a story is like sitting in a Queensbound New York train during evening rush hour. Start for a bit, stoooooooooop for way too long. While it's defendable as a character quirk of someone this nerdy, I personally can't stand it. Especially since her dialogue is so sharp and quick in comparison AND I LOVE THAT WHY COULDN'T YOU MAKE THE REST OF HER LIKE THAT AAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

And finally we get to the plot with Rainbow Dash. I'll let the militant TwiDashers and RD fans rip you to shreds on that one--I am neither. :rainbowlaugh: However, I hate unexplained romantic emotions involving canon characters cropping up in fic. Sudden Rainbow crushing on Twilight without any explanation outside for "she just does". Wheee. Great. Still, I was willing to handwave it and originally did. Unfortunately this subplot gets... kneecapped, for the lack of a better term, multiple times. Every time something emotionally significant was about to happen regarding that subplot you cut away to somepony else, or you just abort the sequence of events entirely. The result is that Rainbow looks like a clingy, selfish dick. But not in the lovable way like she is on the show.

Finally, this needs an Alternate Universe tag like whoa.

This could have been fantastic. Instead it's a cautionary tale of the power of editing and polish. It has all the pieces, but lacks the direction, clarity of purpose or mastery of context to make it really work. And thus my search for a well-done happy Moonlight continues. :fluttershysad:

6316073 First off, thank you so much for the time and effort you've taken to provide this feedback.

Secondly: yeah. Trust me, I've described this fic as "a trainwreck" on multiple occasions this far. You're spot-on with all of those points! But at the end of the day, the challenge I set myself was to write a fic in 24 hours, as long as I could make it, and post it to fimfiction unedited. This isn't even a first draft! But at the same time, it wasn't the purpose of this exercise. And I couldn't bring myself to edit it, when I'd promised everyone that I wouldn't, even if I thought the resulting story was terrible.

I'll keep all those points in mind in future, though. Since this is about as close as you can get to my raw, natural approach to writing, every hint at what areas I need to focus on will help me a lot when it comes to stories that I... uhm... actually try for quality with :twilightsheepish:

Thanks again :heart:

I kind of agree. Especially since, canonically, Twilight essentially moved out of the library when she got the castle, Mind you, it got destroyed in the scuffle, so she couldn't really have stayed. I think an AU tag seems appropriate in that light, but if the story doesn't wrap up in another couple chapters, some exploration/exposition of that AU would help the story. Otherwise it's got a continuity problem where it doesn't really fit into the canon storyline at all.

For what it's worth, you could have a storyline in which the library wasn't destroyed OR Twilight didn't end up with a castle (although that'd take some serious rework to even try to fit to the story prior to that) AND/OR have Twilight spend a few days of the week and the occasional longer stretch working at/living in the library,

Shouldn't this be labelled Alternate Universe?

Pinkie... you are such an idiot sometimes. Maybe this will work out, but it'd be a pretty blah story if everything just hashed itself right out.

I agree that the story is pretty good and has some flaws. Personally, I kind of liked the characterization of Moondancer (and Lyra -- she's much more believable when she's not depicted as human obsessed or crazy) even if it was perhaps spread on a bit too thick. I also think she could use some differentiation from Twilight. They seem a bit too similar as characters (at least their earlier selves) and it's hard to ditch the feeling of Moondancer as Twilight 1.0 and Princess Twilight Sparkle as Twilight 2.0.

I totally agree on the Rainbow Dash bit. Unfortunately it's just as bad with Moondancer. This could be a much better story if their respective selves and feelings could be developed/shown to the reader within the story itself. Moondancer's attraction and 'love' (i'm being just a tad harsh on that) seem believable (if a bit overdone) and Rainbow Dash's interest plausible, however poorly developed, but I'd pin the obvious issue on Twilight's behavior. It's the kind of thing that I'd expect to develop over a week or two at least. Twilight's had very little exposure to Moondancer for several years at least (I don't recall if it was mentioned how many) and so could plausibly have forgotten her altogether at least in the sense of not thinking about her except on a rare occasion. It comes on too heavily as Twilight blowing Dash off despite the implied ongoing relationship. That doesn't really make sense in context. Why would she "drop" a pony she's been seeing for a while to suddenly hook up with an old "friend" (they didn't exactly depart on best terms -- Twilight totally ditched her birthday party without even asking Celestia). Personally I think that Moondancer leaving early for Canterlot would have made sense (i.e. too much tension, probably inescapable, in Ponyville) and provided one possible direction to take things. I just don't think Moondancer, as is, could have been that nonchalant at a party under those circumstances. Dash's reaction at the end suggests that she's really worked up over it, so it can't have been just a close friendship thing with Twilight.

I think it has the foundation to be a good story, but the hasty ending is really poor writing. It's just a wholly inadequate conclusion to the set up. You can always write an alternate ending and treat the end her as the start to a new story (i.e. leave this as is and write more). All that needs to be done is to clip before the party or even not have Twilight and Moondancer meet that night.

so love this is there going to be a sequel :heart::pinkiesmile::twilightsmile:

Hey just a quick note you forgot to put an end parenthesis in the first paragraph:twilightsmile:

You have a pretty powerful grasp of Moondancer's stream-of-consciousness, using her narrative to show how she thinks. Moondancer often responds to actions and conversation by going off on lines of thought that go off track from the original topic matter. I do this often myself, and on the rare occasion when in a multi-sided conversation, can catch myself thinking about something and trace it back to what was going on in the conversation, with five or six different ideas in between. Moondancer is no different, though how much of a tangent she can get on is abridged by it being a two-mare conversation with Lyra.

One senses that she's rather bitter over Twilight Sparkle, not just for the reasons stated as in Amending Fences, but also because of her special emphasis on Twilight being a Princess of Friendship, italicised and all.

I was slightly annoyed, however, when she started to talk about the Everfree Forest and the species of fauna that grow there. I was expecting it to segue into something about the plunder seed, which sprouted from the Everfree (although Discord planted them there), and that never actually happened even though you left a perfect lead-in for that.

Moondancer is a bit of a fascinating contradiction in this chapter. In the early part of the chapter she fancies herself as somebody who likes to make every second count, between getting up early to go to the library for when it opens, and the little things like opening all the cupboards at once. However, the mention of having to walk forty minutes to the library each day (and then forty minutes back) is rather jarring, considering that's over 5% of her day wasted, nearly 10% of her waking time (if Equestria operates on a 24-hour time cycle, anyways), and then she abandons Lyra's directions to the library in overconfidence, only to waste time.

I occasionally find myself anticipating what Moondancer might go on a tangent about, like thinking about surface albedos when she observes the bright white surface of the snow, and she doesn't actually think about such a subject matter herself.

Given that Amending Fences aired after Slice of Life, I'm a little surprised at your depiction of Bon Bon, who I would expect to be rather alert in the morning, though any 'secret agent' things she might do such as be automatically suspicious of Moondancer, I can see an introvert like Moondancer completely missing in her observations.

Moondancer's got it hard all of a sudden for Twilight again. I like, though I'm honestly surprised Twilight even recognised Moondancer after several years apart when she didn't even remember her name in Amending Fences! It was rather fun anticipating when Moondancer would realise just who the librarian was, as she leaped from thinking the librarian was a pegasus, to thinking there was a unicorn somewhere lending her magic, to the final comprehension that she had just reunited with Twilight Sparkle.

I still expect conflict later, though. We need a real moment of heartwarming like in the episode itself!

One of the things I eventually would like to do with my self-study is to read the Principia Mathematica, all three books, having read Euclid's Elements. Of course, their expectations that a Peano system could be complete and consistent was dashed by Kurt Godel, but still should be nifty to read and understand.


It states in the first chapter this is after the plundervine seeds grow out of the Everfree, so basically after Princess Twilight Sparkle Part 2, and of course the story will deviate from there.

When Moondancer comes up to Lyra and Bon Bon's door, you mention she knocks on the door, but you never actually mention anything about her checking to see if it was locked first. I was expecting that she would realise it was open in the first place and feel foolish for overthinking it, but that didn't happen. The click of metal at the end does mean that it was locked, though, so that was a plot thread snipped.

It's rather a bit refreshing to see what common ponies think of the two newer Princesses and the more abstract fields that they represent, as opposed to Celestia and Luna who have fairly concrete duties in raising the sun and moon. Of course, friendship and love overlap, so perhaps Cadance is even seeing how long it takes for Twilight to notice.

On that note, you should probably go through and do an edit. I notice several capitalisation errors, some spelling errors, and a few missing words here and there. Not so much to change the meaning of any lines, but being an observant reader it does derail me for a split-second every time I see a mistake.

Man, I'm thinking this is less a 'Moondancer slowly comes out of her shell' fic and more a 'Kick the Dog' fic with every chapter. Last chapter she has her doubts about being superior to Twilight in just about anything, and as soon as she considers Twilight a possible partner, Rainbow makes her confession, and now there's no way Moondancer could even consider moving in in the wake of the situation between Rainbow and Twilight.

It's a good thing Moondancer never really hit the self-analysis books right now, because I'm seeing in her a bit of an inferiority complex. It's a good thing she doesn't have quite a dependency on Twilight, although her introvertedness definitely got worse as Twilight faded out of her life. She has to deal with the fallout now that she basically confessed, and it's going to be glorious.

>Lyra and dishwashers

Oh Lyra. If you weren't sitting off to the side as a cute filly, I would have blamed you for the incident with Lemon Hearts and the flask

Moonbutt's having a moment of existentialist failure here. Nice. Too bad time constraints will put a hash on an ending I'd call satisfying, or at least I expect it to anyways.

Well, having reached the end of the fic, there are three things you could improve on.

1) Do some copy editing beforehand. Yes, this was a 24-hour effort, but nothing says you couldn't have edited it thereafter presumably before posting it, instead of as-is with warts and all.

2) Most of the ponies in this fic are very believable. Lyra Heartstrings is believable. She knows what Moondancer was like, so she doesn't begrudge her for only showing up out of the blue after her house gets wrecked, looking for a place to stay, and she does a decent job helping Moondancer out of her shell. Moondancer as a character is a flawed protagonist, which makes her a fascinating work in progress to watch. She's a trainwreck at times, but genuinely getting better at others. Rainbow Dash, in her few scenes, is very believable, finally working up the courage to confess, only to get in a depressive funk and lash out when she's shot down. Twilight Sparkle, however? Yeah, she needs at least a few more scenes to reconcile her sudden (re)ignition of feelings for Moondancer.

3) Damnit, we need Spike in here, pronto! Poor guy, he was actually going to go to Moondancer's party before Twilight blocked him from doing so.

Otherwise, it was a fairly enjoyable read, as noted in the comments in the previous chapter and most of point 2.

Firstly, congratulations on writing a 29,000+ word story in a single day. That is impressive! Secondly, regardless of how it came about, the story itself is rather enjoyable. Some folks here mention the ending, that Twilight's realization seems rushed, but I can honestly say from personal experience that there are a few people in my life for whom, if they revealed to me that they loved me/missed me/cared for me, those long dormant feelings I thought had died would re-emerge; I would feel just as I did all those years ago, when things were fresh, and life was new.

Well done, Quill Scratch! :ajsmug::rainbowwild:

P.S. If it's not too much to ask, I hope to see a longer, more thoughtful sequel.

This is an amazing story with some terrible flaws. You are well aware of the flaws reading what you have said about this story so I wont say more than yes you are right in that it could so very much benefit from not having its last chapter or two be rushed by a time limit. That said however the first six chapters are down right wonderful showing an insight into the intellectual type of introversion second to none and I do my best to keep up on such things. You, through Moondancer, seem to know that particular aspect of personality so well I have to ask: Are you yourself a intellectual type introvert? I know I have never identified so strongly with the thought processes of a character in any story I have read and that alone means the characterization in this story is simply masterful. Thank you for writing it and hopefully some day you might choose to revisit this idea or very story when you are free to work on it at your own pace. Oh! and congratulations I 'm amazed that you manged to write nearly 30k words in 24 hrs and for a such a good cause too. Kudos.

And, of course, that was precisely the moment that Pinkie Pie chose to drag Princess Twilight Sparkle into Sugarcube Corner for a pick-me-up sundae.

Oh for FUCKS SAKE!!!! Pinkie pie it's a repeat of filly vannilly all over again and poor Twilight has got to be devastated! Poor mare has got to be a roller coaster of emotion right now! I'm not even gonna use the face hoof emote because it's Twilight doing it!

I have read this just after you posted this and im going back to see if there is anything Id like to reread and I read this title as
"There's More to Life than Books and Cleavers" so yeah... I thought that I misread it the first time...

You wrote this in 24 hours? :pinkiegasp:

Excuse me while I rethink my life.

- she bjust stared


A shame there wasn't time to give Dash a better resolution, but this was still some fantastic nerdshipping, especially given the tight timeframe. I'm glad I finally read it.

Aww this chapter was pretty sweet even though out could have easily become angsty what with Twilight and Moondancer's backstory. I can't wait to see how a romance between these two will work out especially since they're both rather socially awkward to a good extent

Wish there was a way that rainbow could of been apart of that

Oh, I LOVE Moondancer's inner thoughts! They create such a unique narration. I don't know if it's funny or sad, just how much she tries to be a rock and remain impassive, but can't stop the fondness from leaking through...

I wonder if it's just Moondancer and the fact she's in a house that's not her own, or it's just the house that's so weird. I loved the fragment about her liking listening to others instead of conversing with them. It's suuuuuper relatable, just, damn.

Twilight’s eyes dropped to the floor again, and she seemed to almost be trying to curl up in a ball on her chair. “You don’t have to say that, Moondancer. You were the only one at school who could even begin to keep me on my toes—I’m sure you’ve learned some pretty incredible tricks over the years.”

“You were the only one at school who could even begin to keep me on my toes"

my toes


Twilight’s mane was a mess—she had clearly woken up not that long ago, and tiredness still lined her features. Haris splayed all over her brow, the usually meticulous stipe of pink now twisted in amongst the darker purple. And something about the way her mane fell about her face… today it wasn’t quite straight, but seemed more rounded, and Moondancer couldn’t quite put her finger on why any of this made her old friend beautiful but to be perfectly honest she couldn’t really care less.

Moondancer couldn’t quite put her finger on why


:ajbemused: Again with this?

It just means that she hit the latch and the bolt pulled from the striker.

That still wouldn't be FINGERS! Why do they have the sentiment of not being able to put your finger on something!? I could go back to that Gift Horse comment from Pre-Ascension Twily for more arguable material.....

Author Interviewer

Oh boy, I love a well-written Moondancer, and this is tops! :D

Author Interviewer

If you just wrote a whole long fic about small town gossip, I would happily read it. :) All that stuff about Dash was surprisingly enjoyable to read!

Author Interviewer

She should go see a specialist about that enlarged heart. c.c

Man, why you gotta make me choose between TwiDash and MoonLight? D: Why you gotta do me like this?

Author Interviewer

Fantastic timing at the end. :D

That's some heavy-duty fourth-wall breaking, though. :B

Author Interviewer

The fourth wall just no longer exist. D: You've flogged it to death. I am literally in this story as we speak.

Also, what's a Greek? :B

Author Interviewer

At least you realize the issue with Dash, because that was my biggest complaint. The love triangle casts her as villain, because we're supposed to be rooting for Moondancer to get what she wants, and it's not that she takes a swing at Moony that bothered me so much as Pinkie leading everyone in cheering Dash's "defeat".

That aside, this was good MoonLight shipping. :)

Definitely get a fun literalism vibe from Moondancer. My first thought (and often statement) when I hear someone say they can’t complain is that they can it’s the validity of the complaint that is questionable.

Sucks to be Rainbow. Also I’d think more ponies would be concerned that she took a swing at someone.

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