Apr
24th
2017

I've actually been kind of hesitant to write this, but I found something out that made this seem slightly more reasonable, so I decided I'd take the risk of spouting insane tinfoil hat conspiracy theories and looking like fool. Besides, I at least found something, even if it is only a coloring error.

It's just a little thing I noticed while reading the first issue of the new Legends of Magic series.

Here's Sunburst on the show, levitating some books.

And here he is doing the same in the comic.

You may have noticed his magic. Specifically, its color. Now, that may just have been a simple mistake. However, when it comes to a pony's magic turning that particular color, there are some...

...implications.

Originally, the main reason I didn't want to say anything about this was that it happened in a comic. A new spinoff series, as well. And the comics don't really have anything to do with the show as it's currently airing. In fact, it often takes a few months for the comics to catch up to the show.

However...

There is the fact that the current arc of the main series ties into this season. So they're clearly starting to build up a multimedia platform for the show. Then there was this little tidbit from an interview with the writer and artist of the first few issues of Legends of Magic:

The first is that Hasbro has given us access to know the future of MY LITTLE PONY in ways that I've certainly never had the chance to know before. While somebody looking at it from the outside might say that trying to write a story that ties into a season of the TV show is constraining, it actually gives us a place to launch from. While they never sat us down and said "this is the story you need to write" they did say "this is where we're going and we won't have the space to tell all the stories we're suggesting exist". I mean, that's a pretty amazing feeling, especially considering the TV series has always hinted at the rich and exciting past of Equestria.

So they know what' going to go down this season, which makes me think that the color change might be intentional.

Now, since this is half a joke anyway, let me play my own devil's advocate.

First off, the simplest explanation is that they just made a mistake. They're human, it happens. It's always important to remember Hanlon's Razor: "Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by a mistake". (The original saying is "...by stupidity", but that seemed offensive, plus it didn't adequately convey what I was going for here, and I figured it was more important to be clear than stay true to the original aphorism.) And remember the time the title was misspelled on the splash page of a comic? (Andy Price is an amazing artist, but he might need a spellchecker) With a character that's had a screen time of maybe five minutes, max, it would be pretty easy to mess up on such a tiny detail as the color of their magic.

And second, that's not even the right green. Changeling green, Queen Chrysalis's in particular, is far more vivid and saturated. (I compared against the Siege of the Crystal Empire comics—which, coincidentally, had the same colorist as this comic. So she knows what she's doing.) Although, Sunburst's magic here is its normal color at the center, with a gradient that transitions to green. So maybe that was just their way of making it not too blindingly obvious. (The other characters in the comic do have gradients on their magic as well. However, all of those gradients match the color of their magic—it gets brighter and more intense at the center. Sunburst was the only one to have the color change completely. I am looking too far into this and overthinking things? You bet!)

But really, what characters do we know that can transform and have magic that's even close to that shade of green?

Oh, right.

(I actually took both images into photoshop and did a comparison with the eyedropper tool. They're pretty darn close, with the green from the show being slightly more saturated—RGB vs. CMYK, perhaps?)

And finally, an aesthetic explanation is that Sunburst's magic is pretty much the exact same color as Celestia's. They may have just not wanted it to clash, and took some artistic license with it.

Wait...

Sunburst's magic is the same color as Celestia's?

And his name has something to do with the sun, despite him not having a talent that involves the sun at all?

New theory: SUNBURST IS CELESTIA'S ILLEGITIMATE LOVE CHILD.

BRB, working on a new post.

Apr
13th
2017

I don’t understand the new changelings. Like, at all. And I mean that literally. I don’t understand why they were introduced, I don’t understand what their purpose is, I don’t understand why they are.

What really prompted me to write all this was watching that preview of the season premiere. Afterwards, I was thinking about it, and I realized, wow, it's like they knew exactly what I wanted to happen with the changelings. It's like they had a list that detailed every single thing I'd been hoping to see when the changelings finally came back to the show, and they sat down and went through every single aspect of that list... and then very carefully did the exact opposite in every possible way.

Obviously the number of posts I've made on this subject, as well as their... enthusiasm... might make it seem like I'm really upset about this. And I kind of am, but mostly I just have to laugh at this point. To quote Ron Burgundy: "I'm not even mad. That's amazing." To get things so 'wrong'? (wrong in this case meaning 'not what I thought should happen') I'm not mad; I'm impressed. Like I said, it almost makes me laugh more than anything.  

I was struggling to articulate my feelings on exactly why I hate the finale and this whole outcome so much, and I think I finally managed to do it. It involves a comparison between The Times They Are a Changeling and To Where and Back Again.

In The Times They Are a Changeling, Thorax just wants to make friends. He's desperate to, not just to eat, but because he simply wants to make friends. The culmination of the episode is basically him and Spike saying "Look, we know he's a changeling. We know they've been our enemies in the past. But that doesn't mean they can't be friends. You just need to give him a chance, just have a little bit of trust, and you'll see what a difference it can make." The whole episode is the best of what this show can be.

In To Where and Back Again, the culmination of the episode is "I don't know, give her your love, I guess?" And then with no further explanation, all the changelings instantly become 'good', everything blows up, and the day is saved. The whole episode is the worst of what the show can be.

That is my ultimate objection here. It's everything good about MLP vs. everything bad about it. It's about genuine understanding and giving someone a chance to prove themselves vs. magical friendship lasers that turn enemies into friends. I kind of thought Starlight Glimmer's reformation had moved us past that, and instead we got the worst example of it so far.

Quick note: I am not opposed to magical friendship lasers in general. The Tirek fight is, in my opinion, one of the highlights of the show so far. I only object to them when they're used in such a heavy-handed manner.

It really does come down to these two episodes against each other.

Thorax, in The Times Etc., says, "Why would someone that looks like this [turns into a crystal pony] want to be friends with someone that looks like this [turns back into a changeling]." Spike then says something along the lines of "It doesn't matter what you look like, they just need to get to know the real you!"

In To Where and Back Again, the changelings all turn into brightly-colored bugs, and now suddenly they're good and everyone likes them.

The lesson goes from literally 'love and tolerance' to 'only magic can make enemies your friends'. It goes from a real world lesson to magical bullshit transformation. And it overwrites the previous lesson. Everything from The Times Etc.? Gone. Never happened. Ignore it. Changelings can only be friends if magic.

Not to mention, Thorax is afraid his appearance is why ponies don't want to be friends with him. That's ultimately proven to not be true... except then all the changelings transform into pony clones anyway so the entire lesson was pointless. Remember kids, change everything about how you look so you can fit in.

I just find the whole thing completely baffling. There was already a perfect 'solution' to the changelings in place—they can just be friends. There was no need to go through this whole ridiculous transformation nonsense. I mean, FFS, they walked things back from 'it doesn't matter what you look like or who you are'. They replaced a perfect, meaningful, realistic outcome with the literal definition of a deus ex machina. They went from complex and mature to the simplest, blandest, most clichéd ending possible.

That's why I don't understand anything about the new changelings. That's why I hate pretty much everything about them.

And that's why I hope they're going to be the villains this season.

It would be the ultimate lesson in 'just because someone looks pretty doesn't mean they're nice'. The ultimate lesson in 'don't judge someone by the way they look'. And it would be the ultimate lesson the show should have: that friendship isn't magic. You can't just shove friendship into somebody no matter how many lasers you have. It takes kindness, loyalty, laughter, honesty and generosity. You need tolerance and understanding to make someone your friend; there's no simple solution, no magic that can just spontaneously create friendship.

I'm not too optimistic that's going to happen, though. As I said in the previous blog, I think the writers are writing too much like it's a 'kids' show. To clarify that, I mean they don't seem interested in anything that isn't black and white. They lean too much on the way a lot of kids' shows are written, which always seems to be 'do whatever you want, they're kids, it doesn't have to make sense'. Which, frankly, is doing a disservice to children, and it's the reason why so many kids' shows are considered crap designed to sell toys—aside from the fact that, let's be honest, that's exactly what kids' shows are. That doesn't mean the shows can't be good, we've all seen that they can, but too often it seems like there's a... lack of effort, for lack of a better term, put into something that's 'only a kids' show'.

So that's why I'm not really expecting anything amazing to come out of all this. "High hopes, low expectations", as I've said. I fully expect to see the blandest, laziest outcome of all this, which is that everything is exactly as it seems: the new changelings are good because they're brightly colored, and the original changelings are bad because they're dark. And if that is how it plays out... I don't know. That would be the first time the show's ever really let me down. I'd just be disappointed. And, frankly, a bit depressed.


All that said, I am really liking the narrative that's being established in the premiere:

Season Six Finale

Queen Chrysalis: "Whatever idea of revenge you have, it is nothing compare to what I will do to you, Starlight Glimmer!"

Season Seven Premiere

Twilight Sparkle: "Soooooo Starlight... get the f:pinkiehappy:k out of my house."

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Dec
20th
2016

So, I mentioned in a comment somewhere that I was working on an seven or so part series of blogs about the season six finale. I actually got most of it done, somewhere around 11.5k words. But, I'm not going to post it. I looked at it a few weeks ago, and it just sounds too much like whining.

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Oct
13th
2016

Picture time · 12:01am

Okay, that last post was a little depressing and/or rage filled. Let's get something happier going here.

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Oct
10th
2016
Sep
26th
2016

So, you've probably guessed this by now, but the sequel to CCR is going to be delayed. Not too much, hopefully; right now I'm shooting for roughly the middle of October, which technically means it will be only two weeks late since I said September originally!

The are a couple of reasons for the delay, but they all basically come down to being busy. Those of you who know my Deviantart know that for Season Six of MLP I am once again creating a highly inappropriate comic for each episode that airs, just like I did for Season Four. This, obviously, eats up a lot of my time. On top of that, I had a week-long business trip in the middle of August to the other side of the country (Well, one of the other sides. I basically live right in the middle). And I'd be lying if I said the new WoW expansion, Legion, hadn't played a role in taking up my free time. Also, my editor, ShutterflyYay, has been busy with school lately, and that obviously takes priority over my stupid horse-based words.

Honestly, a lot of the delay is also in the fact that I haven't even started to draw the cover yet. That's really the limiting factor, since I obviously can't post the story until the cover is done. But I'm going to get started on it soon, and I'll use up whatever free time I can get to work on it.

On the plus side, the story itself is going good. Two chapters are currently done, and combined they have almost as many word as the first three chapters of the original. Those first two chapters were also the roadblocks, so things should be smooth from here on.

And now, I'll leave you with what you all came here to see - completely out of context quotes from the story!

"Pinkie, that's sick! It's like… it's like incest!"

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Jul
14th
2016

Okay, so there were some... feelings about the last chapter of The Trials and Tribulations etc.,  etc. I will admit, they were feelings I largely intended to inspire. Just not quite so strongly.

The ending is supposed to be a bit of a punch in the gut. Everything seems happy and perfect, and then suddenly Celestia finds everyone she loves turned to stone. Then in the epilogue, just as she's mourning them, Nightmare Moon appears and offers her help to save them. Which is of course the opposite of what you'd expect, and in fact isn't even something you'd expect at all, which makes it completely ridiculous and therefore (at least in theory) humorous.

One of my favorite endings to a show ever is from the anime Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt.

Spoilers ahead (obviously):

The main characters are angels, and spend the show fighting ghosts and demons. At the end of the show, they beat the big bad guy, the end. Then, after the credits, one of the main characters chops the other into pieces, reveals she's a demon and that she's working with the big bad guy. They say that if the other characters want the one who was chopped up back, they'll have to follow them and collect all the pieces to put her back together. They then take off to another city, while all of the other characters—including the two demons who were the villains for most of the show—are all standing there going "What the [HORSE NOISES] just happened?!"

(I realize the 'chopping up another character' thing sounds dark, but... it's really not. The whole show's kind of wacky. But if don't watch it if you don't like shows like South Park, the humor's very much along those lines)

That's what I was going here, either consciously or subconsciously (can't quite remember how overt the PSwGB influence was). You get to the end of the story, everything is looking like a happy ending—then boom, huge twist out of nowhere, and suddenly there's another, even bigger adventure waiting ahead.

In a lot of ways, I don't really understand why there was such a strong reaction to this, especially given how the epilogue and sequel title straight out say that everyone's going to be saved. I could understand it if, say, I'd ended it the same way as PSwGB and Celestia had just come out of the teleport to find a pile of bodies. But the Princesses are just turned to stone, it's not like that isn't fairly easy to reverse. Discord's done it twice, Celestia and Luna were both turned to stone in the comics and ended up just fine. Heck, Twilight did it herself in the first season!

(Spoilers for the sequel: Spike sees Twilight, sighs "Again?" and goes to get the wheelbarrow so they can move her inside out of the weather.)

A lot of people are asking for me to change the ending, and I can't.

Not won't, can't. This thing is already planned out for at least three more sequels, with a tentative fourth. Undoing this ending unravels all of that. At the very least, Nightmare Moon needs to be running around, and while I suppose I could completely scrap everything in the sequel and write one in a way that accomplishes that while also not having a large percentage of the cast turned to stone, that is something I won't do, not the least because I already have almost 11k words of it written.

However...

Thinking about it, and tell me if I'm wrong about this, I may have been a bit too harsh with this ending.

I like the idea of an ending that is, as I said before, a gut punch that is quickly turned into something completely ridiculous. I find that amusing, as should be obvious. Clearly, many of you do not share my sense of humor in that regard.

And I may have gotten way too into it. The tone is probably too bleak. It is, in fact, possibly classified as 'heartbreaking'. From the inside, I may not have seen that, since I know everything that's going to come after.

There's also the fact that, while many of you may not know this, I am literally incapable of writing a story with a sad ending. I can appreciate them, but I don't think I could bring myself to write one, and whenever there's the slightest possibility that a story has a good ending I prefer that interpretation (two decades or so later, and I am still 100% sure that the light at the end of 'The Giver' was the main characters finding a town and not them dying). So the 'sadness' in this ending has no effect other than to amuse me, but none of that would be obvious to other people.

And, upon reflection, Celestia's reaction was probably way overboard as well. As pointed out previously, she's seen draconequus and ponies turned to stone before, and they were always fine. She really shouldn't have completely broken down like that.

So, I propose a compromise:

The story is still going to end with all four royal ponies turned to stone, and Nightmare Moon is still going to walk up and offer her help to Celestia.

However, I will rewrite the ending (or at least the canon ending, while keeping the original as an alternate). In this version, Celestia's reaction will not be 'everyone I love is dead and I already wished them back with the dragon balls once so I can't do it again'. Instead, it will be more in keeping with the tone of the rest of the story—specifically, Celestia's reaction will be more along the lines of 'I leave you alone for five minutes and you get turned to stone?! Do you know how long this is going to take to fix!?!' (actual possible dialogue I'm considering).

Does this sound good to everyone upset with the current ending?

I hope it does; I'm trying to do the best I can here. The plot has certain demands, there are things that have to happen. If the issue is the mere fact that they were all turned to stone, then there's nothing I can do. But I can understand if I went too far with what was intended to be a joke, and I don't want that one thing to ruin the story for people.

Trust me, I know what that's like. Here's a fun fact for the entire sequel:

Originally, Nightmare Moon's personality was supposed to be a mixture of Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie; the explanation for this being that Luna was the one who had been jealous and angry, and without her Nightmare Moon was sweet and kind. But I read a story that involved Nightmare Moon and had an ending that rather upset me, and it ended up completely altering her character (by which I mean turning it back to normal) and changed the path she was going to take—which actually brought about the whole plot for the possible fifth story of this series.

(also, Nightmare Celestia was going to be her love interest—DO NOT ASK).

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Apr
26th
2016

So, now that there's a week without an episode, I don't have to draw a comic, so I have time to discuss what's coming next.

First off, I'm still surprised by how popular Changeling Courtship Rituals turned out to be. The whole thing was just happened on a whim; I came up with the idea that everything Chrysalis has done was her idea of dating Twilight, and went from there.

If you read one of the past blogs, you can even see where I mentioned I was going to post the first two chapters of CCR, then start posting the other, finished story I had while sort of lazily finishing CCR. When it blew up, of course, I had to change my focus a bit. In fact, CCR ended up being far more complex than I had originally planned it. Originally it was supposed to be like six chapters, at probably half the length it ended up being. I don't even remember if I had any kind of sequel in mind.

But everyone loved it so much, that I had to concentrate on it more to make it as good as people wanted it to be. And I ended up pulling much more depth out of it than I had seen in the first place. Just as an example, for 'The Princesses' chapter, the original rough outline I had in my mind had neither Luna nor the fight at the end. It was pretty much just talking to Celestia and that was it.

The entire story turned out far better than it would have due to all the attention on it, and I have all of you to thank for that.

Now, onto the subject of sequels. There is a sequel planned, and there's some good news and some bad news about it.

The bad news: The sequel will start being posted around September of this year.

The good news: That's because I'll be posting my other finished story in the meantime.

This is the story that I called both more and less serious than CCR. More serious because I have more planned in general for it, and the scope of it is much larger – I'm figuring on something like five parts to it, plus a variety of side stories, though the plans get more and more vague past part two currently. Less serious because... well, it's a bit crazy. As in, I have plans for every villain to be in it at some point, and I know for sure I'm going to be getting complaints about characters acting out of character a bit. I kind of want to call the scale of it epic, but really the story is too ridiculous to say that.

Right now, I'm planning on posting a chapter a week starting the first week of May, depending on how the cover and some changes to the story I want to make go. That should end the story about halfway through July. Then I'll spend a month or so working on the cover for the sequel to CCR, as well as writing more for it. With almost four months, I'm hoping to have at least 4-5 chapters ready to go.

So, that's the plan. Super nervous about this new story, since it's sort of been my baby for over a year now, but hopefully it goes fine. Thanks for reading everyone, see you in a week!

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Nov
18th
2015

Well, not quite sure what to say here. Thanks, obviously, to everyone who's enjoyed Changeling Courtship Rituals. I wasn't expecting it to explode quite like this, and it's making me a bit nervous. My other biggish story, To Dethrone a Princess, was popular too, but at least that was a finished piece of work. I couldn't mess it up.

The popularity of this story makes me nervous for the unposted story I have ready to go. I actually consider that one 'better'–for certain values of better–than this one. I made CCR on a whim. So now I'm afraid that the other story will turn into one of those 'artist's darling' situations, where I really like something I've done, but what's actually popular is something I don't enjoy as much (again, not saying I don't love CCR, I just really like what I've done and am going to do with the other story).

In any case: updates. The second chapter of CCR is done, I'll be posting it on Friday. After that, I've got nothing–for this story. I will start focusing on it more now than I was originally planning, and I should be able to finish it soon. And when I say finish, I mean finish this half. It will be continued in another story.

That doesn't mean there won't be other updates in the meantime. I've got another story that's completely done... at least, 'Book 1' is done. That story is just over 36k words. Oh, and I'm 10k words and three and a half chapters into 'Book 2'. That one will start being posted once I finish the cover for it, which hopefully will be the next Friday.

And speaking of covers, I'll have the cover for CCR up soon. I didn't notice it wasn't there until just now. I seem to be having cover issues with this site; this is the second time one of my covers has gotten messed up.

I'm going to try to respond to some of the comments on CCR during the week, too. There were some questions asked and things brought up that I want to address.

Other than that... well, I'll just say thanks again.


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Oct
18th
2015

Update · 8:43pm

First off, I want to thank everyone who liked the first real story I posted, “To Dethrone A Princess.” I see a lot of people around here who are excited about finally hitting 1000 likes on a story they wrote, and then I look at my silly little 3k word story and see that its gotten over 1100 likes in about two months. It's embarrassing, but thank you all, I'm glad you enjoyed it so much.

Now, to the future.

I currently have two things ready to post. We'll call one CCR and the other TTaToTTDTS.

Much like the names, CCR is going to be smaller, about 12 chapters split into two parts. Chapters one and two are currently done, aside from editing and proofreading. This story is both more and less serious than TTaToTTDTS; it's comedic, naturally, though not quite as... slapstick, I suppose is the word. The overall situation is more funny than the things that happen. But it's also less serious because there's going to be less effort put into it.

Because TTaToTTDTS is going to be huge, and probably the majority of what I post from now on.

Well, by huge I mean roughly the length of an average novel. Part one has actually been finished for some time, and sits at just under 37k words, with 11 chapters and an epilogue. And I'm 7k into part two. At four parts (at least, currently only that many) we're talking ~160k words, which is actually on the smaller side for a novel.

But I also have plans for multiple side stories, to run in between the main parts. Including, possibly, some clop, if I decide to. Maybe. Haven't really picked a side on that yet. It would be something small, anyway. So this will probably end at well over 200k words, which is a pretty decent size.

For those curious, both are shipfics. However, since I assume you've read the other things I've written, you should know they aren't what you might call typical shipfics. Especially TTaToTTDTS. I started writing that with the goals of 'let's see how ridiculous I can make this' and 'planning is for losers, I'll write this thing as I go'. Of course, given the months I've been working on this, I now have a rough idea of the story arc. Which is good, because there are some themes that need to be built up, particularly for part two.

Now, as to why this has been so long coming.

Fun fact about 'To Dethrone A Princess', I actually started that in March. Pretty sure it was done in April/May, too. Part of that delay was just that I kept reading it over and over again, to proof it. And also because, well, I just really like reading my own writing sometimes. I do tend to write things I'd want to read, after all.

But the big delay is that I draw my own covers. As you can see, I got tired of waiting and rushed all the covers I have up now. I am not happy with any of those, but they were all for oneshot stories, so I guess it's okay. I don't want to do that for these stories, though. There's too much going into them. I also have other drawing commitments, meaning I've been so busy with that I just plain haven't had time to make these covers.

Another delay is timing. As I said, TTaToTTDTS is rather bigger and more 'serious' than CCR. So I want to post CCR first, so TTaToTTDTS is on top of my other stories. Bit of a 'marketing' reason, yes, but still important. And given that CCR is going to be updated more sporadically, it probably makes sense to put it further down. And since I came up with the idea for CCR just after finishing part one of TtaToTTDTS, that means I had to put all that on hold to write it.

I'd like to give a time frame, but I really can't. Unfortunately, things build up, and its looking like I won't be able to start on the first cover until the end of October.

Oh, and also, to torture you all more, even though the stories are done I'll still be releasing them at a one chapter a week rate. Helps build tension and makes things more fun. CCR will have chapters posted as I complete them, in between working on TTaToTTDTS. That, though, won't have anything posted until each section is fully done.

So, in maybe three weeks or so I'll have everything ready to go. Until then, see you later.

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Okay, to tide you over, here's an excerpt from the first chapter of TTaToTTDTS:

“NO!” screamed Celestia, charging up the stairs. She ran faster than she ever had in her eons of life, but still it felt as though she were stuck in molasses, and no matter how far she went there just seemed to be more stairs. When she finally reached the top, all that was left of Twilight was a pile of dust that blew away even as she watched.

Oh, we're going to have fun...

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