Right... Now what? · 6:00pm
Some among those of you who, for reasons unfathomable to me, have chosen to pay attention to my profile and my stories will have noticed that Binky Pie has, after five years, finally been set to 'Complete'.
Yes. Five years. For what has totalled 53,100 words, or approximately 29 words per day. I am a slow writer. To be honest, I'm not certain when I first began the story other than 'sometime in 2011'. The initial story was just a one-shot (which now forms the 'Prologue' or first chapter) in which I tried to explain Pinkie Pie's offscreen teleportation abilities as an influence of her grandfather, who I postulated to be the horse 'Binky', from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. The first chapter ends with Pinkie choosing not to go back to the Disc with Death, which obviously precluded a longer story!
However, the idea seemed to be popular as Binky Pie racked up more readers and page views than anything else I'd ever written before (or since). So, like the sell-out I am, I decided to expand the story into a full novella. At the time, the longest thing I'd completed was approximately 20,000 words and I thought a similar length would suffice to tell the blossoming tale in my head of what was, essentially, a pony-themed retelling of Pratchett's Reaper Man (my favourite book of the series and one I reference incessantly throughout the story).
The story had other ideas. Ideas left to fester grow like weeds, it seems, and soon what I had originally planned to be a fairly simple story with no real sub-plots had sprung up a few as I had to find things for Death- I mean, Bill Door, to actually do with his time in Equestria. Similarly, Pinkie found that being 'Death' was harder than she imagined.
Sometimes when we write, the ending we originally had in mind doesn't survive the changes in narrative along the way. In this instance, I had the ending of Binky Pie planned from about half way through the story, and it survived mostly unaltered into the final chapter(s) that I've just published. Getting there proved harder than I thought, and my 20,000 word story grew to 30,000, then 40,000, and has finally reached the NaNoWriMo standard for a 'novel' at over 50,000.
A lot has changed in my life over the course of those five years. I started this story while attending university, and since graduating I've found employment, found love, and learned the crippling costs of renting a house in Oxfordshire, UK. (In fact, it's largely my wife you should thank for the story being finished - she guilt-tripped me into writing the last couple of chapters). In that time I've become a better writer, and I must admit I do cringe a little at the earlier chapters of this story. I may yet go back and bring them up to date.
I also learned a lot about writing from this story. It was the first time I had to create a full plot, rather than a short story or a series of largely unrelated events. It taught me a lot about pacing (although I'm not saying I'm any good at it, I'm definitely better than I was), descriptive writing, characterization, dialogue, and perhaps most importantly: formatting. Have you any idea how irritating it is finding the right place to put a footnote on a digital medium? There's no 'bottom of the page'!
I've also mentioned in other blog posts that the response I had from this story surprised me. I don't know if the Russian translator who was working on the story is still operating (the link to the story itself appears to have gone dead), but I greatly admire and thank him for his perseverance in translating a very 'British' style of humour and writing into another language. I'd also like to extend thanks to those dedicated folk who built this story's TV Tropes page, which won me a bet! Then there was Parchment Scroll, who wrote the entertaining (and technically canon - to Binky Pie) story The Wizzard and the Pony. Not a direct response, but we did spend some time chatting ensuring neither of our stories would entangle with the other too much.
Of course, I wouldn't have got here without the aid of three particular individuals who have helped me over the hurdles. Firstly Zanzibar, my longsuffering proof-reader ever since I met him on EqD's IRC. He combed his way through every chapter before general release and has been a stalwart friend and editor throughout. Secondly, Georg, who wrote a small piece referencing the story and worked as proofreader for the final chapters. Thirdly, a good friend of mine who has been with me from the outset but doesn't have an account on here to link to (you know who you are).
Finally, I must extend my thanks to all the readers who have stuck with me for all this time! Your patience has finally been rewarded, and I hope you enjoyed the finale.