• Member Since 6th Nov, 2011
  • offline last seen Last Thursday

Pen Stroke

A fan-fiction author and game programmer that lives in Glendale, CA.


My entry into the "Hearth's Warming Care Package for Kiki" Fan-fiction contest. Didn't make the finals, but I was close.
After a long day in the fields, Applejack only wants to be able to eat her dinner and go to bed. The only problem, it's already occupied by a very ill Zecora. The Apples are famous for their hospitality, but when does Applejack have to draw the line?

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 79 )

Wow, a downvote in the first two seconds, impressive!

More Pen Stroke is always a good thing.

Where can I hear more about this contest?

rphb #4 · Dec 3rd, 2012 · · 11 ·

I would be pissed too if I came home after a long day of bucking only to find a sick zegro in my bed

Thoughts before reading: Pen Stroke put up a new story? Meh, I can read it. :rainbowderp:

Thoughts after reading: Yeah, this was pretty good, even if I don't normally enjoy just slice-of-life stories

I am wondering though, where can I find the rest of the entries to that competition? I am curious about the others, especially since this didn't make the finals and I really like this one :twilightsmile:

Seconded. If this story was 'close', I'm wondering about the other entries.

Another Pen Stroke story?
This makes me happy.

You got Peacocks right on. We lived next to a zoo once. That first night I thought somebody was getting murdered from the screaming. Pleasant's first name must be Un.

Hm, I wonder how much work it would be to turn this into a Foals Tale, in iambic pentameter.....
(later) Not too hard, but the rhymes hurt.

Great story. I feel bad for Zecora shes my second favorite pony.
P.s. Maybe you can read my story called my day in ponyville

A nice little slice-of-life that could easily be an episode of the show, especially with the loud-mouth peacock!

I have to say that I'd like to see more of the Applebloom/Zecora friendship; as much as it is an 'odd couple' thing, I think it's significant that Applebloom was never afraid of Zecora and was the first to reach out to her without precondition or suspicion. It would be interesting to see where that is going a year or more later.

Author Interviewer

Wait, you wrote this one? <.< I need to pay more attention to the results of these things.

This was a good entry, at least, as I recall. And if I'm not mistaken, you rated my entry pretty high in the finals (The Shelter in the Forest), so thank you for that. :)

For those who were asking, you can find the other stories in the competition at the link below

Hearth's Warming Care Package for Kiki

I remember reading this during the contest and I thought it was great, only wish mine made it a little farther but oh well, Kiki is going to be getting some fantastic stories.


Suggestive title is suggestive. :trollestia: I am ashamed to say I had the same thought for a split second.

Well, in the mindset of "honest Abe-pplejack" and Blueshift's fairly recent blog entry I'll try to leave some constructive criticism, despite feeling like an ass anyway, since I'm trying to critcize Pen Stroke.

I feel that the main conflict of Applejack's hospitality vs. her privacy and or personal freedom to do what she likes (or has to do anway) fell a little flat. If I had to divide the story into parts, the setup about covers the first half, the conclusion with the letter to the Pricness the last sixth, which would only leave one third of the story to deal with the actual conflict. I wish there had been a couple of more scenes, delving deeper into the mind of Applejack and what she really felt while having to tend to Zecora. To me, the way it went ultimately felt like AJ's turnabout came relatively quickly and suddenly, undermining the conflict to a point where it didn't really seem to matter that much.

Also (and this is the completely unjust part of my criticism), it felt like, since the story was written with a seven-year-old reader in mind, the story got a little more tell-y than show-y than I'm used to at times, although this is something I just had a general feeling of, nothing I can actually put my finger on.

All that said, I hope I struck the right cord and didn't say anything overly unjust (If so have an appologetic twilight :twilightsheepish:).


Yes, I can agree that the story could probably be served better if it was longer. The contest asked that we keep in mind the story needed to work well as an illustrated book for a seven year old, since the first prize was to have the story illustrated and printed into a children's book. Because of this, I wanted to keep it below 5,000 words at max. Thus, in the end, perhaps what this story suffers from the most is that the concept doesn't fit will into the target length.

Would you agree?

(And your tone was just fine. :twilightsmile:)

Ended a little abruptly for my taste. I thought we'd read all the way through Zecora's illness.
However, it was a very enjoyable read. I liked it, a good letter for Celestia and it read like an episode. Very true to the source material.


Yeah, it's good. No quarrels here, aside from MAYBE the occasional comma misplacement or lack thereof.

Love it! There should be more Zecora stories but the rhyming is so hard to write.

Ah draw the line for hospitality when y'all stuff a stripey lil' ZIGGER in mah bed! The klan don't even meet this week, so what am Ah supposed to do with her?

Wooo, nice work. :ajsmug:

I mosly agree with you. If the story were any longer, it would have gone beyond the desired 5000 word limit, that's just simple math. But if I would look at the story as a whole, beyond what actually made it in the final draft, the question poses which part would hurt the story least if it was cut, and personally I still think there needed to remain more of the interaction between Zecora and Applejack an the latter's discomfort (possibly instead of the set up which seems to make up the largest portion of the story). Of course that is a purely subjective opinion.

Abridgement feels like an especially terrible thing to happen to any story, because it's kind of pointless and unsolvable. I think the same thing happened to this week's episode, with Trixie's sudden redemption out of nowhere, that certainly needed more of a buildup, but the episode simply ran out of time.


Oh hey you posted it--cool. Yeah, the restrictions--aka the audience--definitely affected writing for the contest. I did things I never would have otherwise. Not to mention that none of us were really good judges for this contest, in my opinion--myself totally included. That's why I was so happy that ALL of the fics are going to little Kiki.

Anyway, awesome job Pen Stroke--I was glad I could be a fellow contender.

I haven't read the story yet, but I have to say that the description reminds me a little of that one Spongebob episode where Squidward started abusingthe fact that Spongebob was taking care of him. :scootangel:

You see Big Mac in that cover picture? That's me half the time. I have two younger sisters - one that's relatively mature, one that's very IMmature - and half the time they're together, I have to play peacekeeper. I'm used to it, but half the time, it doesn't work. It gets a little draining.

Note to self: find a good synonym for 'half'

Thanks again for your involvement and this beautiful entry. I am sad it didn't make the finals, although I am quite pleased with the story you and the other judges selected as the winner.
And since several commenters are asking, once we are done editing entries for our publication we plan on submitting the anthology to FimFic as well for easy reading.

Adorable as always! I liked the dicsussion in the comments too as I had similar feelings but when taking into account the restrictions it felt really well done.

lol :twilightsmile: That abusive Zebra.

You give a little love...:ajsmug:

...and it all comes back to you!:twilightsmile:


Pretty good. It could definitely have been a bit longer and more fleshed out, but works well enough considering the constraints you were dealing with. It feels a lot like an episode of the show. And Pleasant is now quite possibly Best Pet. My neighbors used to have a few peacocks, and yes, they have a very obnoxious call.


I agree to some point, but honestly I think that makes it feel more like an actual episode. Which this really should be, honestly.

Thanks for sharing this one, Pen Stroke!

1733619 Comma-Kazie

You're probably right. Skipping ahead does have more of a real episode feel to it.


The rest of us are NOT ashamed that we thought it was clop, but were pleasantly surprised and pleased with a nice story anyway. :trollestia:

Well, that was nice. I liked how it seemed to be an episode, so I congradulate you on that.

Sounds like the pilot of a sitcom appleflank and stripes will continue after these messages.

I kid but unless the concept interest me Ill save it for later. EXPECT ANOTHER COMMENT LATER!

Hello, I have been posting this question many times before, and have not gotten an answer.
I am trying to click watch on the author bar and it doesn't work...


Have you PM'd Knighty about it?

1735815 Oh wow, I can't believe I hadn't considered that.... THANKS!


I can't believe no one's mentioned it yet... but every instance of "Apples" in relation to the family is written as "Apple's", as if possessive. Unless I am forgetting some nuance of how the written language works, which is likely and if so I apologize, that seems to be improper.

how ironic how this happend to me just yesterday! XD
and the story was sweet hell i can picture this being an ep where someone gets sick X3
i was actually expecting Zecora to be a pain in the ass but she wasent so that was nice X3


I realize that an error, but I tried to do a find and replace for the error and found that it only existed once, in the story description. Tried just searching for the apostrophe "s" too, but it only occurs once in the text as part of the word "bed's".

So, yes, I suppose that every instance is misspelled, but at the same time I can only find one instance. Guess that makes it easy to fix. :derpytongue2:


I might just be off my head, then. Thought I'd seen three or so, but memory is always a muddy thing.

A nice little one-shot with a good, solid message. Very down-to-earth and understandable. We desire moar.

I like the story, but you kept on with one mistake that just grinds my gears: the term "y'all" is plural. Not singular. I understand that AJ uses it as a singular adressor in the show, but that doesn't mean it's right.

Otherwise the story was good. Thumbs up for you!

What a nice story. :twilightsmile: My only complaint is that it felt a tad rushed, though that's understandable given the context.

Good story, good letter, funny ending

I know it's already been said but it would have been better if it was longer.
Also is "Beating a dead rug" a pony equivelant for saying "beating a dead horse"?
Also found an everybody witch should probably be an everypony:
Apple’s help their friends when they need it, and you’re my friend as much as anybody.

>Pen Stroke
>Didn't win contest

Wat :rainbowderp:


It happens. From previous comment discussions, the agreement seems to be that the story could have used a bit of expansion in certain areas. Basically, it needed to be longer. At the same time, for the contest and the nature of it, I felt 5,000 words would be the upper limit of what felt right. Thus, the story suffered a little.

1736394 Thank heavens you said that. I was about to say the same thing. It's a cute story, but that felt like missing a step on the way downstairs. Also, it's "any more tired," not "anymore tired." This kind of thing must drive writers crazy. I'm sure it feels as though no one has anything substantive to say.

That said, I enjoyed the nice, simple structure of this, and particularly the ending letter. It made me smile.

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