• Member Since 14th Jan, 2013
  • offline last seen Mar 6th, 2016


"I've kissed mermaids, rode the el Nino, walked the sand with the crustaceans...."


This story is a sequel to the sequels to Would It Matter If I Was? It will make just as much sense* if you haven't read any of them.
* none

For the past few months, the newspapers and literary magazines of Equestria have been dominated by a hot new fiction fad: tales of friendship temporarily -- or permanently -- torn asunder by a thorny hypothetical question about Changelings.

Enter Rainbow Dash, the fearless high-flier whose past crimes against the written word were so awful Princess Twilight considered making them actual crimes simply to get out of proofreading them. On one unassuming night, Dash gathers her friends together to be the audience for her latest literary masterpiece, a short story about friendship and Changelings, written with all of her usual panache. She's absolutely convinced they'll fall to their knees in awe of her superb writing skills.

Her terrified friends get ready to fall to their knees and beg her to stop reading.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 68 )



I regret nothing.



Ah, don't worry, I've got one in the submission cycle as well.


How long has it been in there? This one took, like, three days. I spent the whole time thinking it would be rejected like the story in the Matter of Matter* that shall not be named.

* Obscure joke about the Matter of Britain, the Matter of France, and the Matter of Rome, the three popular medieval story cycles

I'm going to say since Friday.

Just started reading this. Oh my wow, this is quite meta.

“'It was a dark and stormy three o'clock in the afternoon.'”


“'The day had bored a witness to the epic whooping of the flanks of the evil Changeling army posed to take over the city of Canterlot. That witness is Fluffershorn, a meek pegasus mare. How bored she was caused her to poise a question to her friend, Mylar Speckle.'”


“'But was this a simple hyper-threatical question? That was the thought the mind of Mylar Speckle thought when she was first poised the question in the studying room of her old Canterlot house.'”

I'm done. I'm out. Can't stop me now. I'm going to find a good time; I'm NOT having a ball.
Leaving you with an upvote, tho. Just because I'm sure this will spell the end for this trend.


How fortunate you are, to be able to leave when our luckless heroines cannot.

6515284 couldn't Twilight have teleported out? Maybe leave a phase-clone of herself behind?
Now, I must leave this page forever before I attempt to reconstruct her pile of radioactive waste into something resembling an actual story.


I'm sure she could have, but she's the princess of friendship. She has a certain sense of decorum to maintain.

I don't really get the downvotes. This is actually quite a decent story.
I have one major criticism and that is that the parts of Rainbow Dash are definitely too long. The joke of her writing bad self-insert fiction has been done more than often enough and quickly gets kind of stale. The grammar puns were funny though and the other Mane 6 reactions were hilarious to read. I also really liked the more meta parts in the beginning and end.
It's not a masterpiece, but you earned my upvote fair and square.

break up that wall of words :twilightoops:

Philosophically a good capstone to this silly bit of groupthink. (I do hope it's a capstone...) The lampshade about Dash's scattershot learning comes a little too late to stop Dash from looking distractingly stupid with this one, leaving the audience to wonder why she's suddenly Constable Dogberry putting on airs rather than concentrating on her strengths. (I get that this Dash is so abstracted from reality she doesn't even know what her strengths are.) As a result, the strongest bit was the banter at the beginning, and I'm left wondering if we needed so much of the manuscript. On the other hand, it did give you a legitimate excuse to use double-imbedded quotation marks. Thumbs up generally.


Well, her writing bad self-insert fiction is also a canonical character trait, per "Spike At Your Service". I'm not convinced sticking to canon traits can actually get stale. To me, that's like saying jokes about Twilight scheduling things are getting stale. But, to each their own, I guess.

That's for the upvote! :pinkiesmile:

Also, a lot of the logical errors in her story were just a blatant attempt to cut corners and not have to write so much, to be honest. Like how Spectral Rush -- Ph.D.! -- swaps from defending Fluffershorn to figuring out if she's a Changeling without actually giving a reason (Aside from the plot demanding it, of course).


When the characters complain about the trend in the beginning, that was actually me writing them as people who are sick of the trend. Personally, I'm fine with new entries. As the ending says, everybody brings a new perspective.

As for Dash, she's not stupid. Merely....enthusiastic. Again, I took the idea from "Spike At Your Service", which canonically says she's completely oblivious about her own writing. So I don't think it's out of character for her at all -- exaggerated for comedic effect, perhaps. But she does know her own strengths; after all, she wrote a story about how awesome and loyal she is, didn't she? I justify its length with the fact that it's not just a story -- it's character work.

As for the double-embedded quotes, I was thinking of using the block quote tool, but I decided to make it visually painful to read as well as just generally awful prose.


What wall? Very rarely are the paragraphs longer than four lines.


"When we talk, it's handled by the brain on a nearly-unconscious level. But deliberately choosing which word to write, that's an art in-and-of-itself."
Hm, interesting; I don't think I'd heard that before, but it makes sense.

...And "Dumbell Rump". :D
Neat idea about the Petitioner-General position, though, I think.

6516036 you might have a pause every for lines but it has no breaks on the entire page (format different?) from my lap top
all I see is a sea of words with out a double space anywhere to rest the eyes,,,,,

It's like a musical number with out the rests ,,,,,,,,,boom boom boom

6516030 Well, the problem was not that Rainbow's self inserts were in there. That was fine. The problem was rather that Rainbow's story itself was so long it overstated it's welcome. After reading the 200'th line of how awesome her protagonist is, I was just like "Yeah, I get the idea, RD is bad at this, get on with it"
I know that this is kind of the point of it. I can't even tell you how you could have really shortened things up, since the Mane 6's interruptions in-between are freaking hilarious, It's just something I noticed when reading it.


The Petitioner-General thing, that's actually a callback to an earlier story....that I haven't finished yet. :twilightsheepish:


I don't double-spaced paragraphs. It's strictly book-style formatting for me, and that's the way I like it, aesthetically.


Yeah, I was kind of getting tired of it too. That's basically why I had Rarity interrupt her and tell her to get on with it. :rainbowlaugh:

Nice callout to the Pony Island contest sirens. :ajsmug: (And to Fugue State, if that was intentional.)

This was never not fun (especially the endlessly inventive ways in which Dash's prose was hideous), and worth an upvote, but if I can put on my concrit hat and make a suggestion:

Come back to this with fresh eyes after a week or two and reread it yourself; I think you'll learn some interesting things about your writing habits if you do, by seeing what leaps out at you. The first thing that leaps out at me, reading this cold, is how often this dips from the same well, especially with the friends' reactions to her prose and the Twilight correction joke. The second is that same repetition writ smaller, telling a detail that you've already established in a better way:

terrified Fluttershy had wormed her way under a couch cushion, as if she could escape by becoming part of the furniture;

There are times when it works for a story to simply slap a label like "terrified" on someone's emotions, but not when you're already illustrating those emotions through her actions. That whole final clause, too, is completely unnecessary, because all you're doing is explaining the reason she's crawling under the sofa, which is already blindingly obvious from not only that paragraph but the entire story. "Fluttershy had wormed her way under a couch cushion." Done. Half the length, identical impact, less down time between the best parts.

What you're doing, basically, is the descriptive equivalent of explaining the joke. Avoid it for the same reason as "Fluttershy wormed her way under a couch cushion, because Rainbow Dash's story was bad."

That paragraph, actually, is a good one to quote in full, because it's a perfect case study in trimming your text of redundancies to make it more effective:

The faces of everypony else in the room were a study in the myriad ways a pony could express revulsion: Pinkie's jaw hung slack and open at the audacity of what she was hearing; Rarity lay over the legrest, on the verge of passing out from shock; stoic Applejack had grit in her eye while sitting and abiding by the torment; terrified Fluttershy had wormed her way under a couch cushion, as if she could escape by becoming part of the furniture; and finally, Twilight Sparkle just shook her head and sighed every five seconds at the literary sins being committed.

Here it is in 46 words instead of 101:

Her friends were a study in revulsion: Pinkie's jaw hung slack and open; Rarity lay nigh-comatose over the legrest; Applejack's eyes were smoldering as she sat silently; Fluttershy had wormed her way under a couch cushion; and finally, Twilight Sparkle just shook her head and sighed.

(I'm not sure what you were going for with "grit in her eyes", but I kept the rest as close to your wording as I could.)

Honestly, I think the second version is a lot stronger, not least because it pulls what's funniest about their emotions (the contrast in physical reaction) front and center, while allowing the surrounding context of Dash's prose to illustrate its own badness rather than spoon-feeding how we should feel about it to us. Speaking of which, the very next sentence:

Grinning broadly to herself, oblivious to the torment of her captive audience, Dash plunged onward into the thick forest of tangled prose.

I'd chuck that almost entirely (the first two sections are repetitive, the third is explaining the bad-prose joke again).

Anyway. You've got some excellent idea fusions and deconstructions here, and this was a good story. It could have been fantastic at half the length. I literally mean half. The sweet spot is probably 3000-4000 words; cutting down the prose faults illustrated above might shave off some fraction of that, and losing the entire first section would help greatly (it would be great slice of life if that's what you were going for, but this is fundamentally a comedy, and you don't reach your premise until 500+ words in and your first joke until about 1000) ... but the rest is just quitting while the joke is still at its funniest.

One of the hardest things to do as a writer is to kill good lines which are keeping great ones from shining brighter, and you would be dropping some brilliant jokes about her bad prose to drop this to under 4k, but at the same time, you make so many that you literally could cut them in half and we wouldn't miss the rest. Leave 'em wanting more.

Hope that gives you something to chew on. :twilightsheepish:



And to Fugue State, if that was intentional.

The fugue state was just a reference to, well, fugue states, but yes, that was a Pony Island shout out.

(I'm not sure what you were going for with "grit in her eyes", but I kept the rest as close to your wording as I could.

One of the meanings of "grit" is determination and resolve, as in the title of the film, True Grit. I suppose "steel" would've been a better alternative, since grit can also mean actual dust.

As to the rest, your concrit hat is much appreciated. I know exactly what you mean, too. I'm reminded of the old saying, "I wrote you a long letter because I didn't have the time to write you a short one." It was a bandwagon story about bandwagon stories, and I wanted to get it out there rather than spend a week agonizing over whether a condensed sentence explains what I want it to. I could make your -- eminently worthwhile --corrections, but to be honest I kind of feel like I shouldn't axe half of the text now that it's published (and apparently in the "Popular Stories" column).

However, the "oblivious to the torment" bit was actually important, because in a shorter sentence, there would be ambiguity as to whether she knows the reactions her friends are having, and I wanted to remove that ambiguity and present her as totally focused on the text.

it would be great slice of life if that's what you were going for, but this is fundamentally a comedy, and you don't reach your premise until 500+ words in and your first joke until about 1000

It's not Slice of Life per se, but neither is it just a 'funny joke ha-ha' comedy. My comedies do the same thematic and character work my dramas do, except with (hopefully) funnier jokes. The opening, in addition to setting the cozy fireside scene, establishes Rainbow Dash's behavior and the themes of intertextuality and authorial intent that run throughout the work. Those are the backbone of both the humor and the plot. This is a full-fledged story about the relationship between the author and the text, not just an excuse to write bad puns (although I of course gleefully indulged in that, too).

Honestly, the only reason I didn't tag it 'Slice of Life' was because Titanium Dragon remarked how much people misuse the tag in his review of "What Did You Call Me?" He did have a point; 'Slice of Life' more accurately refers to angsty French or British dramas about angry young people frustrated with society.


I think this specific instance was quite justified, though, because the imagery is hilarious.

I think the problem is that I normally prefer to write in third-person limited, because you can blend the narration and the character's internal monologue together. If I had been, I probably would've made the bit about becoming part of the couch a character's thought:

Becoming part of the couch, she thought. That's Fluttershy for you. When the going gets tough, she goes to ground like one of her animal friends. Or, in this case, she goes to couch.

But I wrote this in third-person omniscient, where you can't really do that sort of thing, so I had to make it into an objective statement.

EDIT: Also, I think it might have been a reference to "Would It Matter if Matter Mattered?" but I honestly don't remember.

I thought it was that look veterans supposedly have in their eyes. I think another term is "thousand mile stare"?

"Thousand-yard stare" is shell-shock, or PTSD.

As an aside, I goddamn love that Continental psychology like Freud or Jung has lots of fancy terms like "libido" or "shadow archetype". But American psychology?

"Eh, if somebody's highly motivated, just call it 'grit'."


You'll forgive me for not remembering it then, I hope. :)

Now this is what a parody should be! :pinkiehappy:

6515180 I don't think that's too unusual; the mods are probably giving special care to fics riding the changeling trend. Mine sat in the queue for four days.

Rainbow Dash needs to be shot for writing something so awful.

Twilight should have just passed her law. Misuse of a semicolon: one year dungeon!


Yeah, I figured it was because it was a part of the Matter of Matter. Still, I was on tenterhooks the longer it took.

“No.” Twilight pointed fiercely at Applejack. “Not after the Golden Oaks incident. There is no way.”

What is the Golden Oaks incident?


I think that's best left up to the reader's imagination.

It's the "Clone Wars" principle. You just give an evocative phrase, like "General Kenobi, you served with my father in the clone wars," and it spins off in the reader's mind a whole new axis of imagination.

And then twenty-five years later you make a sequel explaining it, and everybody hates you for, quote, "raping their childhood", unquote.

6518273 To be honest, I thought it was something you wrote about in another story.
I asked because I couldn't seem to find it.


Nah, it's just a thing that happened off-screen.


I aim to please. :twilightsmile:

I thought yours was pretty swank too (even if it didn't have nearly as much messing with Twilight's head).

Eh, that can still happen. Once I get off my lazy butt that is.

It was then that Twilight Sparkle conceived in her drunken haze that there was the smallest, most remote possibility that a bookworm would come upon Rainbow Dash's fanfics. There were no survivors.


That needs to be a story, but I have so many on my plate already....

Curses! I need to become an institution. That's what I need.

I don't have the slightest idea whether or not to take offense at the utter braindead stupidity attributed to my favorite pony, or to laugh by flank off. The latter sounds much more fun. :rainbowlaugh:


Plenty of people write bad books to soapbox about their issues. That doesn't make them stupid, per se. It just means they lack self-awareness.


True enough, but there are differences between a bad story and misspelled and misused words every four words. :applejackunsure:


Canonically, she didn't even start to read until she got into pulpy two-fisted Daring-Do action books, and as per "Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3" she has some kind of learning disorder. Not only that, she's intentionally trying to give her prose literary airs and graces, using lots of big words and complex sentence structures she's absorbed without really understanding. That's one reason I deliberately reused the "Tenacity!" "Gesundheit." joke from "May the Best Pet Win!"

Despite that, many of her ideas, like trying to get the Changeling to reveal itself through unconscious emotional responses, are actually quite clever, revealing a mind well-suited for quick-thinking and problem-solving. It's her pride, more than anything, that prevents her from bettering her prose.


Yeah, that's the primary reason I'm not too upset about it. :twilightsmile:

Hello, I've been sorting the group Would it Matter if I Made this Group?, and decided to remove this story form Expansions and Reinterpretations, and added it to Only the Question Matters. It remains in Parodies. If you disagree with these changes, feel free to leave a reply.


I do disagree, because on one level it's self-reflexively a metafictional piece about how a writer uses the premise of a bandwagon story to espouse their own ideas and worldview. Fitting in with that, it's also a reinterpretation of "Yes, It Matters", exposing and rebutting the crypto-fascist subtext of that story.

That said, I'm not going to push for its reinclusion. It's not a moral imperative for me or anything.

6553988 Well, the Expansions and Reinterpretations Folder was meant for sequels, or stories that were reinterpretations of the main plot of the original story by GaPJaxie, involving Fluttershy asking Twilight about being a changeling, with perhaps a few differences in what happens or how the scenario comes to be. I personally think that the plot of this story is more so "Rainbow Dash writes GaPJaxie's story terribly". But, that plot point is also why I kept it in Parody.

The Only the Question Matters folder was meant for stories that had somewhat radically different scenarios where the question pops up, such as this. Anyway, thanks for the reply!

Oh my goodness... :rainbowlaugh:There are tears in my eyes from laughter... This was so nice after The Mare in the High Castle...

Author Interviewer

The air was thick was tension


Man, Last Dreams of Pony Island wasn't even part of this whole mess, and you still put it in there. XD This is a thing of true beauty.

I was laughing while cringing the entire time I read this.

Then I shared it with my wife, who's a professional editor. That might have counted as spousal abuse.

Thinking hard on it, I know Spike is probably referencing Archie, but my first thought - and the thought I shall stick with - is that he is referencing Fate/Stay Night. (Shirou, Rin, Saber)

Also, Dash's literary skills make me want to blow my brains out. Great story!

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