• Member Since 22nd Mar, 2012
  • offline last seen Oct 17th, 2018

DuncanR


E

Fancypants has always relied on his legendary wit and charm to endure tedious high-society events, but there's one pony he can't fool: his lovely wife. Fleur de Lis has chosen Ponyville as the venue for a major talent show, and as her supportive and obedient husband it's his duty to attend. But there's a mischievous streak behind that dazzling smile, and a poignant heart-to-heart with an unlikely kindred spirit brings it out in full force. A story about how important it is to love, cherish, and... there was something else, I'm sure of it. Oh, never-mind: the show must go on!

This is the story that won first place in a collaborative contest involving ponychan's Art and Fic boards. It was daydreamed, written, and edited in only three days, using the cover illustration as a creative prompt. It's been cleaned up slightly for errors and clarity, but the story itself is unchanged. You can find the picture that served as the prompt for this story here, and you can check out all the other finalist stories here. Do, please, read and enjoy!

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 29 )

pure gold, i tip my hat to you :moustache:

I'm very glad you liked it!

The story came together surprisingly quickly and easily for me, mostly because Fancypants was such a pure and simple joy to write for. I remember reading somewhere that his voice actor was told to draw inspiration from John Cleese... after I learned that, I couldn't resist! :moustache:

As a note: The contest this was written for was a very unique and interesting experience. It was actually two contests linked together: The artists were told to make a drawing inspired by the words "Sweet Music," and all the entries were put in an anonymous gallery together. Then the writers had to pick a piece of artwork and write a story about it. Instead of judging the art based on it's quality, the winner was the one that inspired the largest number of stories. It made for a great creative prompt, and the results were very surprising.

I find it especially interesting that the picture that ranked lowest in the art contest was the one that inspired my story, which won first place in the writing contest. Curious, no?

You do a great Fancy Pants.

It's a travesty that this isn't in the featured box, because it bloody well deserves it. You've managed to craft a fully rounded Fancypants and even built a reasonably well put together Fluer de-Lis. While she does have elements of shrew about her, you can tell that the mare Fancy fell in love with is still there. Bravo.

For once, the moustache Spike is given without irony :moustache:

Also, for some reason I imagined Spike's song sounding like the song from The Hobbit trailer

An edited version for those want to know what I'm talking about.

1406130

>It's a travesty that this isn't in the featured box, because it bloody well deserves it.
At the moment, the box is being dominated by a clop (in first place), an original character who can apparently beat Princess Luna in a sneak-thief scenario, and no fewer than three Rainbow Dash romance stories. I'm not sure that's the sort of crowd I want my stories to hang out with. :trixieshiftright: For me, getting thoughtful comments is way more encouraging than getting in the box. So thank you!

>While she does have elements of shrew about her, you can tell that the mare Fancy fell in love with is still there.
Yay! I actually went to a lot of trouble to make sure that neither Fancypants nor Fleur de Lis would be perceived as being "completely correct without a doubt," since that would undermine the whole point of the story. I can live with her being shrewy, though. And, apparently, so can Fancypants.

>Also, for some reason I imagined Spike's song sounding like the song from The Hobbit trailer
Ooh... very nice! I think that's actually better than the song I had in my head.

yes.....yes!!!! dear god i loved this, thank you for writing such an awsome fancy pants story. :pinkiehappy:

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Glad you like it. Fancypants doesn't get nearly enough love. :)

1526265 no he does not. And that is a shame. But this story is great!

This story literally brought a tear to my eye. Beautiful can hardly describe it. I've always thought of Fancypants as just that sort of character. Someone honorable and well versed in many things, who loves his wife and is willing to forgo his own modesty. You managed to capture my own vision of him so utterly perfectly that it was stunning. The interaction between husband and wife was insightful and completely realistic in its portrayal. I found the solution to Fancypants' issue to be refreshing in its effectiveness. I absolutely loved it.

And Spike. I dare say, his was even better character development than what I found in Biased and Incomplete. I really got that feeling of his moment, and the determination which went behind it. He really was doing it for himself. Having thought about it, Spikes act and the subsequent response to it resembles what you've described in your own bio. I wonder, who was your Fancypants? An interesting question, but one I believe I don't need the answer to.

The story was amazing. Now though, I'd like to make a more personal announcement. I've finally finished reading all 7 of your stories! I say, wow. Each one was special and insightful, and I'd like to thank you today for this fact. You put an astounding amount of effort into your work and it shows. The fact that this artistic talent is so much a part of yourself (according to your bio) is inspiring to me, and I have a feeling that it could be inspiring to many others. I feel a small kinship to you, and your drive to write. Never stop writing. Use your figurative dragons vocal chords, not just on Fimfiction, but out there in the world. Meanwhile, I'll wait here, a fan of both you and ponies.

2618209

Aww! Iz oo has a feels? :fluttercry:

The two kinds of characters I love to write more than any other are older people and children, and to me Fancy Pants seems like both at the same time. I sometimes worry I've made him a little too "silly" compared to his behavior in the show... unfortunately, I read somewhere that the voice actor for Fancy Pants was told to draw inspiration from John Cleese, and once I learned that there was nothing I could do to stem the tide of dry, deceptively polite wit.

As for the identity of *my* fancypants? I wouldn't read too much into it. I've commented on my blog that the pursuit and perfection of a craft is always its own reward, and art should be done for one's own self. I've also read that when choosing what to write, you should write the truest thing you know. In the end, that's what made it so easy for me to write this story.

That, and John Cleese. :moustache:

This was great. Poor Fleur, being slapped by Rarity. It's not often that a story makes me giddy to read. Very sweet, great build up. Greenthumbed!

Chills and awe. Bravo.

Well, now I'm certain of it: you're writing Fancy Pants in Ronald Coleman's voice!:moustache:

Come to think of it--there does seem to be a strong flavor of this scene in your story:

(Neither of which, I hasten to add, is a bad thing. Quite the opposite in fact.)

This is what I want to see when Twilight's snarky, sardonic sidekick shows up in an episode! Not the cute child the writers seem to have decided on in Season 3 (so far). You were really pushing the envelope, though: Spike works great as a smartass, but here you have him displaying borderline rudeness, and not just the lack of manners born from childish ignorance. Even so, it's hugely refreshing to read him this way...

...Just as much as it was to see him enjoying such close and highly-developed interaction with a character he's scarcely (or never) been placed with. Fancy Pants imparts good advice, which was an extra pleasure for me because I've imagined that same advice coming from Rarity herself: that Spike needs to like himself before anyone else can have full, honest feelings for him.

The other half of this fic's win is everything you did with Fancy Pants. His machinations remind me of Roberto Benigni's in Life is Beautiful, but those were more circumstantial than social. Mister Pants has a keen eye for manipulating social situations to his (or someone else's) advantage, and tricking Fleur into getting herself slapped required a subtle, cheeky, sneaky skill. Granted, it was cruel and uncalled for, and he should definitely be described by a much coarser word than "scalawag"...but it was still hilarious. I'm inclined to think you stole it from a British sitcom.

Oh, wait, he was inspired by John Cleese? Nevermind then, it's all good. :trollestia:

"A mare is like... an onion. They look simple on the outside, but they've got layers and layers that you just can't see at first.

So mares are like ogres!

"All of Twilight's friends

This is a pet-peeve of mine. He should be saying "all of my friends". The FiM universe would be pretty fcked up if the only friends the writers have given Spike weren't actually his friends.

Also: stamping ovation. You deserve one for 12K+ words of brilliance.

This is the best Fancy Pants I've ever seen. Might be slightly Stuish, but he is awesome and I love seeing a ridiculously rich character being both awesome and happy for once. And that talent show was awesome too. Great, great fic. Wish I could give it more than one like.

Wow, that was just amazing. Your Fancy Pants is so much fun (the scene with him and Scoots and Sweetie was wonderful), but that ending. I have goosebumps.

I'd like to say it's perfect, but it's not. There were a few issues with it. Or, perhaps "problems" would be more appropriate?

Mainly they were editing-related. I couldn't help but notice that there were a number of places where it seemed like we were missing a line break, and paragraphs would be stuck together awkwardly, or else we'd have new lines of dialogue not given their own lines like they should. The scene breaks were also all over the place, sometimes having a horizontal rule separating them, but other times just having a double line break, and sometimes being missing even that. It's inconsistent, and it's messy. I also spotted at least one homophone mix-up.

However, the story's faults are far outweighed by their positive points. As many previous commenters have already sung your praises as far as the actual characterisation and story went, I won't waste time repeating them, but for the record, I agree with them completely.

Spike was shown the due respect and development as a character that the show only sometimes gives him, Fancypants was very well-realised and interesting (I too like to write older characters, and I think you captured that well), Fleur was great when we saw her, and all the side-characters were mostly good as well. The sole exception is probably Big Mac, but other than him, everyone was pretty much spot-on.

I especially liked how when the main six showed up, we saw what appeared to be the tail-end of one of their standard adventures, complete with the summation of what of they learned from it and a prompting to write a letter. As a comedy I thought this story wasn't actually all that funny, its strengths instead being in the masterful characterisation, story and prose, but that particular moment definitely got a chuckle out of me.

All in all, a very good piece. Definitely worth a favourite.

I'll start by saying that your Fancy Pants was magnificent. This is also one of the few fics that I've come across which give Spike an important role, instead of the usual comic relief.

And the music at the end--oh man. That brought back some great memories. For some college event, we played Holst's Chaconne. We weren't on stage, but rather crammed into the entrance of the theatre, 'cause there was so much stuff going on, so I don't think the audience got the full effect, but it was without a doubt the most perfect rendition of that song that we had ever done, and at the end of it . . . I can't fully describe it, but the euphoria I felt at how glorious it had been, and the look on the director's face--that's what I remembered during the ending, and I knew how the audience felt.

"I never knew," Fancypants said with a smile. "And did you know that whales can dissolve enormous amounts of oxygen in their bloodstream? They find it frightfully useful, I'm sure, given their habit of staying underwater for long periods at a time."

Best inderect insult ever!

Also. Wow, just wow. This was freaking amazing and I love it.

Good stuff! Your dialogue is amazing, and Fancypants playing with the CMC especially was a riot to read. You always add little touches to the characters to make them come to life, like Fancypants dropping and polishing his monocle. I also really like the way you established, explored, and then concluded the theme of the story. Very competently done, and well thought out.
Er, there were quite a few errors though...

" 'Charmingly rustic,' yes I know."

no space at the beginning

"This is my daughter, Diamond Tiara. She's going to perform a piano recital."

A recital is a musical event all on its own, just like a concert. Just one piece does not constitute an entire piano recital.

Life-changing really, what with her being the princess and all."

Capitalize Princess, especially because you capitalized it every other time you used the word.

"Nonsense!" Fancypants said, "I do so enjoy these little cultural exchanges. But enough about me:

1. I couldn't find a source to back this up, but I believe it should be a period after said, since "Nonsense!" constitutes a whole sentence by itself.
2. One can make an argument for the legitimacy of the colon here, but its correctness is a secondary issue. The main problem is that it's tacky. Most authors don't use them at all, especially in dialogue. Even semi-colons are often shied away from for that very same reason. In this case, I'd just use a comma. It's simple, unobtrusive, and even correct because grammar rules are so gray where dialogue is concerned.

In fact I was thinking she and I might have a moment to discuss that very thing!

My instincts demand a comma after "fact," though I suppose you can make a case here for its exclusion, considering the general grayness of grammar where dialogue is concerned.

[qote]It had been three hours since he and his wife had disembarked the carriage and he'd spent every moment of it surrounded by energetic patrons and enthusiastic competitors.1. Three hours? THREE? Fleur left him alone shortly after arriving, then Filthy greeted him, then he called Rarity, and then got stuck with Hoity. Even 30 minutes would be stretching it, let alone three hours! You need a comment somewhere to establish that a lot of time passes. And AJ says a little later that "the party hasn't started yet." Dangsauce, all the guests were REALLY early.
2. comma after carriage.

Several long tables had been arranged by the far wall, but there weren't any refreshments on display.

On display? Wouldn't "available" fit better? On display suggests to me that it's only for looking.

breath in through her nose

Breathe, not breath.

They came to the tables--each laden with a feast of apple-related deserts and pastries--and Fancypants eyed each of the individual platters in turn.

—, not --.

"Ooh... apple-cinnamon tarts!" he reached for one but somepony to his left lightly slapped his hoof..

1. comma after one.
2. extra period..

"My lovely wife is hosting the event and I just thought I'd show my support for the local arts. That, and to prevent all those noise-some, blathering patrons from distracting my wife while she takes care all the important things."

1. comma after event.
2. "to prevent" continues from "I just thought I'd," so remove "to."
3. Noise-some? I've never heard that word before, and neither has dictionary.com. Why not noisy? If you were going for some sort of extra flavor with this word choice, it was lost on me.
4. takes care OF all the important things

Fancypants let out a good natured laugh,

good-natured

"So then, Applejack. What might you be doing here, if I may be so bold as to ask?"

It's pretty obvious what she's doing. Would be better to ask, "How did you get involved?" AJ responds to that perfectly with no further changes.

Fancypants uttered a sigh of relief. "You're a patron? Oh thank goodness, that means I can talk to you."

"Appreciated," she said, "but it also means I'm workin' here. We can talk after I get the tables set up, maybe."

She seemed to take that comment in stride. Shouldn't she have been confused by what Fancypants said? I'd put "Uh, appreciated?" And then change the comma after said to a period, since using a question mark makes it the end of the sentence.

He looked down at the dazed filly just as she looked up at him: she was dressed in a frilly, homemade princess costume.

This is the third colon you used. I didn't mention the second time because I had nothing new to say, but this one is particularly unwelcome to me because the connection between the two clauses is too weak to merit its use. The first clause does not clearly suggest what the following clause would be about, so it should be a semi-colon instead.

"I'm not," he said with smile. "Are you Sweetie Belle, by any chance?"

a

"Are you Sweetie Belle, by any chance?"

Nothing wrong with it, but wouldn't "would you happen to be" fit Fancypants better?

This is a formal event, though, so you may refer to me as 'Mister Pants'."
period inside the ', not outside. I'm not even gonna look up proper rules for this one - it looks all kinds of wrong.

"Quite," he said and adjusted his monocle.

Comma after said. I couldn't find the exact rule saying so, but the examples given here support my claim. I think my instincts flared up at this because if you don't use a comma, you imply that
"Quite," he adjusted his monocle.
is correct. But it isn't - you would need a period after Quite in that case, not a comma.

"By all means then, do please go on!"

Was I the only one who found this odd? "please, do go on!" sounds much, much better to me. Besides, I think the action to be done should immediately follow this usage of "do."

Scootaloo stared at him in shock. "What are you doing? You're not—"

Scootaloo is only referred to as "a young pegasus" before this point. It's bad form for the narrator to use Scootaloo's name like this before her name is established some other way. I think you'll agree, once you take a closer look at the scene - you established everypony elses' names very smoothly, after all.

Fancypants gasped in shock and his monocle popped away from his face.

comma after shock

The fillies watched quietly as he walked through the crowd and out the exit.

Two spaces after this line for no reason

Maybe she has she forgotten.

remove she

... I'm gonna stop here for now, this is taking too long. Someone else commented on the occasional extra spaces. but you never fixed it... are you going to fix all these things I've mentioned? If you are, I'll keep going.

5433467
Ai yai yai... I knew this story was unpolished, but this is ridiculous. As you may have noticed, I was suffering from an extreme phobia of commas. It was a pretty dark time for me. I'll fix things as many technical errors as I can. I'm hesitant to reword sentences or paragraphs for storytelling issues (like changing plot points or dialogue) as long as they are technically and grammatically correct. If I allow that, I'll NEVER be finished with my old stories.

Thank you for your time and effort. I think it's about time I started holding myself accountable.

Three hours? THREE? Fleur left him alone shortly after arriving, then Filthy greeted him, then he called Rarity, and then got stuck with Hoity. Even 30 minutes would be stretching it, let alone three hours! You need a comment somewhere to establish that a lot of time passes. And AJ says a little later that "the party hasn't started yet." Dangsauce, all the guests were REALLY early.

The guests are coming and going, trickling in and out throughout the day. Also, the theater is still being set up and a lot of the early guests are patrons who were involved in financing and organizing the production. Fancy Pants is one of the "lucky" few who has to sit there for the entire time, mingling.

I didn't really set this up or explain it properly, but that strays into full-blown editing rather than purely technical proofreading.

—, not --.

I am under the impression that either is acceptable, as long as you use them consistently throughout the work.

...Which I did not do. A quick search reveals three "--" and about fifty "—". Fixing now.

Noise-some? I've never heard that word before, and neither has dictionary.com. Why not noisy? If you were going for some sort of extra flavor with this word choice, it was lost on me.

I was under the impression that "noise-some" was an old-timey word for "noisy". A quick search reveals that A) there's no hyphen, and B) it's etymologically related to "noisome", which has nothing to do with noise, but in fact means "having an extremely offensive smell."

I'm removing the hyphen, but I stubbornly refuse to change the word. It's just too hilarious.

This is the third colon you used.

Yeah... I dunno what to say. Do I overuse colons in my current work, or have I grown out of it? I'll have to check.

"Are you Sweetie Belle, by any chance?"

For a second there, I thought you were suggesting this should be "Are you a Sweetie Belle, by any chance?"

period inside the ', not outside. I'm not even gonna look up proper rules for this one - it looks all kinds of wrong.

A year ago, I would have argued this point. Apparently, North American and British punctuation guidelines disagree on this point, among others. Either is correct, as long as you apply it consistently. However, since it seems just as wrong to use North American rules in some places and British rules in another, I shall henceforth make an effort to stick to one of these sets.

" 'Charmingly rustic,' yes I know."

This, on the other hand, I will fight you to the ends of the earth over. A space (or prefferably a "thin space") is a perfectly valid way to differentiate between double and single quotation marks that appear directly adjacent to each other.

Two spaces after this line for no reason

This is supposed to be a weak scene break. Fixed this by adding a horizontal rule, thus making it a strong break.

AAARGH

Weak scene breaks are officially driving me crazy. I hate the way Fimfiction formats consecutive carriage returns. How does it do that, you may ask? WRONGLY, that's how! It uses HTML formatting, which looks especially awful with block indentation.

I don't want to use an horizontal rule, but it's all I've got. What is a boy to do?

Thank you for your time and effort. I think it's about time I started holding myself accountable.

My pleasure! I'll keep going then.

For a second there, I thought you were suggesting this should be "Are you a Sweetie Belle, by any chance?"

Sighh... if only. There is little in this world that cannot be improved by the addition of moar Sweetie Belles. Need a friend when you're feeling down? Sweetie Belle! Need a hug? Sweetie Belle! Party not happ'nin' enough? Toss a couple more Sweetie Belles in there! Getting mugged? Pelt them with Sweetie Belles until they back off! It's good to keep at least three or four in your backpack for emergencies.

I don't want to use an horizontal rule, but it's all I've got. What is a boy to do?

He fell to the floor with a cry of agony and Sweetie Belle took the opportunity to break free of his grasp and kick at his hindquarters.

comma after agony

All three of them froze in place and the crowd parted to make way for Fleur de Lis.

comma after place

We're keeping them out of the competition because the registration sign-ups were two weeks ago, and rules are rules no matter who you are

Comma after rules? I think? Not totally sure on this one, but my instincts want a comma.

saute

sauté

And even though they taste terrible all by themselves they make everything else especially delicious!

comma after themselves

All of Twilight's friends are in a rush to do something special and it's turned into this great big thing,

comma after special

"What," Spike said and pointed at the clay brick, "is that?"

comma after said.

The bar was a deep orange-yellow and there were gemstones stuck inside it like bits of fruit in a cake.

comma after yellow

He took a tiny bite out of the corner and his eyes widened.

comma after corner

Fortunately I'd worked as both a chef and a blacksmith in my past and the sight of the dragon's hoard started giving me ideas. I eventually cooked something tasty enough to impress her and she gave me my freedom in exchange for the recipe.

commas after fortunately, past, and her.

The performances are tomorrow afternoon and I haven't even practiced any songs.

comma after afternoon

Spike wrung his hands together and his eyes darted to each side.

comma after together

but when tomorrow comes you will not sing to entertain.

comma after comes. i think.

Spike continued walking and the others fell in beside him.

comma after walking

"Well then it's a good thing I'm not trying to," he said and pointed a thumb at his chest.

comma after said

Spike resumed his walk and the six friends watched him go.

comma after walk

As his 'parent or guardian,' She's fully within her rights to take it back.”

uncapitalize She's

props, costumes and gaffer's tape.

I think you used the Oxford comma somewhere else. Consistency

There were only a few sheets and there was no point in memorizing them since they'd be sitting on a stand in front of him the whole time.

comma after sheets

"As I'll ever be," he said and hopped off the chair.

comma after said

"Right this way. Pinkemina should be finishing up soon enough."

MLP Wiki says it's spelled "Pinkamina."
Also, er, why Pinkamina? Is he reading her full name off a list of contestants or something? But it shows a little later that this stagehand is a Ponyville resident. He should know that she goes by Pinkie! But eh, whatevs, doesn't really matter xD

Every single instrument was poorly tuned and every step she took produced up a low-pitched 'blaaat' or a squealing whistle.

comma after tuned

“I didn't say during the show. Last year, she just marched down mainstreet without even—Oop!

Main Street

Spike asked the stage worker.

Before, it was stageworker.

She was covered in bits and pieces of shredded cabbage and there was an apple stuck in one of her tubas. The crowd was roaring it's vehement disapproval, and a constant stream of vegetables cascaded onto the stage.

comma after cabbage
The sentence structure is repetitive too. Clause, and clause. Clause, and clause. But eh

"That you did, ma'am," the stage worker said. "Congratulations."

again, stageworker. Or make everything stage worker. consistency

"I'm not scared," he said. "I'm petrified."

two spaces between he and said for no reason

She lowered the microphone as far as it would go but it was still several inches above his head.

comma after go

He looked up at the box seat nearest to his right and caught sight of Fancypants' familiar blue mane. As long as I focus on just one pony at a time, I'll be...

A lump caught in his throat as he caught sight of Applejack in the front row, looking particularly displeased.

Caught caught caught. 3 caughts in 3 sentences! Change the first "caught sight of" to "spied" and the last to "noticed." Or something like that.

Applejack crossed her arms and grunted. "Well I wouldn't have agreed to sell apples in the first place if I'd know they were just going to throw them."

1. Forehooves, not arms.
2. known, not know

"And what about you, huh? I brought a whole bag for us to much on and there's nuthin' left because you wanted to test yer aim."

1. munch, not much
2. comma after on

Applejack grabbed the bow-tie on his and yanked him close.

On his what?

Applejack looked to the stage and saw Spike walking to the center with Sweetie Belle following after with a microphone stand.

WITH Sweetie Belle following after WITH a microphone stand. I would suggest changing "with Sweetie Belle" to ", Sweetie Belle" to avoid repetitive grammar.

His eyes settled on something briefly but she couldn't tell exactly what.

comma after briefly.

Even without the microphone his voice carried to every corner of the hall and resonated over the crowd.

comma after microphone

It brought to mind valor and struggle and, at the heart of it all, victory and celebration.

two spaces between mind and valor

Spike sang without pause, seeming not even to breath. After thirty seconds of eternity the theater hall fell deathly silent.

1. breathe.
2. comma after eternity.

"but if they did I think you'd have earned one just now."

comma after did

"It's obvious you don't know the slightest thing about music and I dare say you don't even deserve to have heard such a moving performance!"

comma after music

This was the greatest performance of your miserable life and if you even think of giving him anything less that a five star review when you slink back to your salon in Canterlot,

comma after life

I'm late to the party (the oldest comment was 119 weeks ago!) but I still wanted to say I loved this. Although it reminded me of that Looney Tunes skit where something small and unassuming comes out and sings opera-- Go Spike! And Fancy Pants was just.. Perfect. Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth perfect. J'adore!

Spike rolled his eyes. "Buddy, I'm a dragon. We don't eat lawn clippings."

Ahem. Season 1, Episode 3.
Spike: I like grass just fine,

Fantastic story. Loved it.

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