• Member Since 18th Sep, 2011
  • offline last seen Last Friday

Ezn


Author of that writing guide and some stories too.

E
Source

I just arrived in Ponyville. It smells good. I'm hungry.

Originally written for the /fic/ mini write-off event What Lies Beneath. Coverart by JustDayside, used with permission. Thanks to Flashgen, Grif, Ion-Sturm, Present Perfect and whoever else I'm forgetting for all the feedback.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 36 )

Very nice, the last line is like that of something from Stephen King, specifically, 11/22/63.

Unfortunately, this is just one of those elements of the show that I just can't suspend my disbelief for. Characters just don't make sense when you removed 'love' from them in this way, and the motivations just crumble.

Nice idea though!

-Scott

Oh my GAWD.

Bravo, sir. Bravo.

Frick.
That was amazing.

Hmm. Looks good. Will read.

I feel like I'm missing parts of it but it's good so I'll give it thumbs up

This is... why... so messed up... that's just...

No...

omg, I don't even...

He could've just...

Why? :raritydespair:

Ezn

1446659
I haven't really read any Stephen King, but perhaps I should change that. Thanks!

1446774
I can understand that reaction. The changelings have always been a source of what? for me as well. I mean, the idea of "feeding on love" just raises all kinds of questions that were never answered. Thanks anyway.

1447826
That's the reaction I was going for. Thanks for reading.

After reading:

Not bad. Not really amazing but well written and expressed.

I only have 2 complaints:

1: use of the old English "smelt".
2: Tragedy tag. What happened was not really a tragedy. If, for instance, feeding on his own love is what stopped him from being able to feel love any longer, that would be a tragedy.
Unless you are implying that he does not generate love but he CAN feel it? After all, leaving someone because you feel you are not good enough for them is sort of an act of love. If he couldn't feel he wouldn't care. That would be kind of tragic.

Ezn

1449067
Thanks for reading!

use of the old English "smelt".

I'm not American, so I spell words like this.

Unless you are implying that he does not generate love but he CAN feel it?

That is what I was meaning to imply. He could still sense Lily's love for him, but realised he was unable to love her back. This story's kind of about the oddness that comes with the abstract concept of love having a semi-physical manifestation.

1449085

Hmm. that's not what I meant, but then if that's the case, I would not consider that a tragedy.

What I meant is if he could feel love, the emotion, towards Lily, but because he does not "emit" it as a form of magic and cannot feed on it, he does not believe it is there. Because if he didn't love her, why would he leave her? If you can't feel positive emotions toward somepony, you can't really feel negative ones like guilt either.

1448653 You really should, he's a great author. King and Koontz are the masters of suspense and horror. I've started to develop a kind of poetic pose in my writing after reading The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers. You should check them out, they are insanly talented.

Wonderful, rarely a good one shot like this that really stabs you in the heart.

1449720

Koontz used to be interesting, now he's too much about empowerment and preachy to boot.
King's writing has always been exceptional but has a very interesting curve of how messed up the stuff in his stories is throughout his career depending on his personal life as well as drug use. The Talisman, which he wrote wit Peter Straub is one of my favorite books by far.

1450364 Yeah, I'm reading a Koontz right now, 77 Shadow Street, and while its creep factor is high, its characters a dull. My favorite novel is at a three way tie between The Things They Carried, The Road, and The Yellow Birds.

1451551

Xenogenesis, The Talisman, and Quest for the Fallen Star.

1451562 Sci-fi guy huh? Yeah, I used to be into that stuff when I was younger, but now I prep for zombies.:rainbowdetermined2:
cdn.inprnt.com/media/prints/1433/full.jpg

Great story, Ezn! I think this is a pretty admirable exploration of how changelings differ from ponies on an emotional level.

A couple minor suggestions with regard to a couple minor things in the text itself: "She lets me continue." Maybe something like "Lily shifts her weight from her left to her right forehoof, watching my face intently. I lift my nose and test the air, ignoring the sickly-sweet scent of the confections all around the shop, the soapy, yeasty scents wafting out of the kitchen where Mr. Cake is mopping up some spilled batter, and the sweet, earthy scent of my milkshake. Eliminate all those purely chemical, physical scents and what remains is..." There are a couple other spots where more descriptive language would add to the story, but I think you do a good job of showing and not telling throughout most of it.

Can you tell that I like the idea of different kinds of love having different qualities of scent? :twilightsheepish:

Anway, why the present tense? It didn't seem to add anything to the story and is, IMO, a little distracting.

Otherwise, I really liked this one. Again, a pretty interesting exploration into the character of a changeling; As I don't know if I can get my head into the motivations of a character devoid of the capacity for love, some of what he does strikes me as a little odd and unclear. (eg. "Still, I think she deserves to know why I did what I did." Why? If you truly have no feelings for her, why even bother? What are his actual motivations for thinking that?)

Ouch. That one hurt. Good fic.

Ezn

1452704>>1449105
I just wanted to say thank you for these two comments. I've been thinking about what you guys said over the past day or so, and I've come to some realisations about the way I wrote this story and the way I write in general that will hopefully help me to improve.

A couple minor suggestions with regard to a couple minor things in the text itself: "She lets me continue." Maybe something like "Lily shifts her weight from her left to her right forehoof, watching my face intently. I lift my nose and test the air, ignoring the sickly-sweet scent of the confections all around the shop, the soapy, yeasty scents wafting out of the kitchen where Mr. Cake is mopping up some spilled batter, and the sweet, earthy scent of my milkshake. Eliminate all those purely chemical, physical scents and what remains is..." There are a couple other spots where more descriptive language would add to the story, but I think you do a good job of showing and not telling throughout most of it.

This is amazing. One of my biggest weak points writing-wise has always been description. I had a nagging feeling that there should have been more description in this story, that I was really missing out on opportunities to describe smells, but my brain derped and refused to come up with anything even nearly like this. Thank you again.

Anway, why the present tense? It didn't seem to add anything to the story and is, IMO, a little distracting.

I don't really have a solid reason for that other than a personal like for first-person present-tense storytelling. It kinda felt right at the time, and I suppose I could argue that it helps to differentiate the present from the protagonist's memories (a bit of a weak excuse, though).

As I don't know if I can get my head into the motivations of a character devoid of the capacity for love, some of what he does strikes me as a little odd and unclear. (eg. "Still, I think she deserves to know why I did what I did." Why? If you truly have no feelings for her, why even bother? What are his actual motivations for thinking that?)

Well...

What I meant is if he could feel love, the emotion, towards Lily, but because he does not "emit" it as a form of magic and cannot feed on it, he does not believe it is there. Because if he didn't love her, why would he leave her? If you can't feel positive emotions toward somepony, you can't really feel negative ones like guilt either.

I wanted the above quote to be a possible interpretation of the story, but not necessarily the definitive one, because I'm basically in love with ambiguity. Whether ambiguity is a good thing here, I'm no longer certain – one man's ambiguity is another's "you were too weak and indecisive to commit to a proper ending", and I think I may have used ambiguity purely for its own sake here, rather than to really benefit the story.

Once again, thank you both for your thought-provoking comments.

Yowch... poor Lily... but what a way to end a story!

Definitely a more "realistic" take on the changelings, as realistic as anything based on a cartoon show about pastel colored ponies can be, than most authors seem to take. When I read those final few sentences and then it just ended... they kind of resonated in my head. Perhaps being that the show and so many of the fanfics on this site try to end on a happy, everything is sunshine and rainbows note, this ending just stuck out to me so much more... it completely broke my expectations.

My only critique would be that I was never quite sure when the dialogue was in the present or a flashback, I assumed that the italics would be flashbacks but there were times I was sure it was a flashbacks but it was plain text and times when they were clearly talking in the present and then a line of dialogue was in italics but then they responded to it as if it was present tense. Make this a little clearer and is a ten outa ten in my book.

Aww, how sad.:fluttershysad: Well written; bravo, good sir! A good example of gothic short stories (with considerably less dying alone in the rain). Many others have commented about some king fellow, so your work must be amazing to earn comparisons to royalty!
I believe the ending's ambiguity is best for this situation. Saps like me can have their hope, and nihilists can have their existential crises.

Nice. That was well worth reading.

Ezn

1459771

Perhaps being that the show and so many of the fanfics on this site try to end on a happy, everything is sunshine and rainbows note, this ending just stuck out to me so much more... it completely broke my expectations.

Some stories want happy endings. Others really, really don't. I try to make everything fit.

Thanks for the kind words! I'll give it another read-through and see about that italics confusion. I was fairly certain I'd made everything italic that needed to be, but it's entirely possible I managed to derp hard somewhere.

1463774

Saps like me can have their hope, and nihilists can have their existential crises.

Hmm... point.

Thank you!

I like this take on Changelings. Not full on, foal-killing evil, but still incapable of love. Usually the only points on the scale are "evil incarnate" and "misunderstood good guys," this actually strikes a very interesting balance.

1449105

You took the words right out of my mouth. If he was clearly an indifferent monster that only wanted to feed for his own self gain, then why not continue to fool her rather than leave her? To me, it shows that he really did care for Lily as he didn't want to be dishonest with her anymore. He may not be sure if he loved her yet, but he at least cared for her with putting himself at risk. That alone can leave for him to learn to return the feelings. It just might take him more time to figure this out, since it's new for changelings to reason with themselves then just following the hive.

How can a changeling try feeding on love they themselves they think they are supposed to have? He thought he didn't have any, but maybe its just not physically possible for him to feed on his own emotion so it has no smell or taste. That is like us trying to use energy in our body to make more energy... you just can't feed yourself, you'll starve. Maybe the poor changeling is so starved he's not thinking as he should.:fluttercry: Still a good written little fic though.

Dang. Wish I'd read this when the contest was active. I didn't have the time then, but I suppose better late than never. Wonderful, woeful tale. Another for the favorites list.

5080242
Actually, I did read this, but I didn't remember it because I rated it poorly. The entire concept was lost on me back then.

Story: 23/60
Very confusing. I couldn’t get a feel for who you were trying to portray, or what was going on.

Originality: 16/40
There’s not enough story to get any flavor for, let alone determine originality.

Characterization: 1/20
No. Just, no.

Grammar: 27/30
There were a few odd sentences that should be cleaned up.

Tie to the prompt: 2/50
Maybe I’m missing something, but I couldn’t find the prompt in here, unless it was meant to be ‘what lies beneath the eyepatch, but even then it hangs by a thread.

Total Score: 69/200
This was really bad, but props for trying.

Granted, you've added a significant number of words since then, I still kind of feel bad, now that I've had time for the full impact of the story to settle on me. I should have scored this much higher, and certainly placed less weight on the prompt. Sorry about that.

5238057 how trhe hell you read every buckibg story i read

WHAT THE HELL

5325532
Great minds thinks alike? idk. I didn't realize this was happening :derpytongue2:

5325661 welll that does make sense and if so want to help me to read my story to help figureout whats wrong with it cause Meester is so cryptic in the way he tells me what i need to have done

5325765
... I'm afraid to ask. I mean, I could look at it, but I warn you, I have a sharper tongue than I realize sometimes.

ex. The grammar and punctuation alone in that post makes me cringe.

1451620 Team up with me and my clan and we will be invincible!

1473593 Don't know if your still monitoring this, but based on your story and how changelings operate in it, I have to challenge the ending. The way its written, the changeling does in fact love Lilly. What his body was trying to do was live off a by-product of his body. A example would be us trying to live while breathing the Carbon DI-oxide we breath out. His body has already absorbed the magic in the love he received, which is what he inherently feeds on, and was trying to send out what was left. It seems that any other magic would not be nourishing/(maybe)poison to changelings, hence the trouble he had. also note that he did, in his own words, send out his love to Lilly, he just couldn't feed on it.

Thought on this?

Ezn

7601362

Thought on this?

In brief: yeah, you're right. This is something I realised a while after I finished the story.

7611407 thanks for replying! Sorry to completely ruin the ending you planned, I tend to pick out the smallest details and call them out. Great read anyway!

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