Wednesday, February 29, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 41: Changing Octaves

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

When I was studying voice, we used to have a saying: "Sing like no-one is listening.  Practice like they'll show up in ten minutes."  I imagine there's a way to tweak that so that it relates to fanfic authors, but it's not coming to me.  Oh well, sage advice regardless.

Pen Stroke's Changing Octaves, after the break.

Monday, February 27, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 40: Creeping Darkness

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

And now, back to your regularly scheduled reviews.  Pen Stroke's Creeping Darkness, after the break.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Here, Have Some Stuff to Read Over the Weekend

Turns out I don't have a review ready for today.  Sorry.  There are three reasons for that, but I'll start with the most obvious one: Creeping Darkness is really freaking long.  However, if you need your pony fanfic fix and don't know where else to turn, I've got a few suggestions.  And wouldn't you know it, they just so happen to be related to my reasons for not having a review post today!  Look below the break for more.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 39: Spark

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Am I the only one who thought Cranky Doodle Donkey's story was incredibly tragic?*  I mean, it's not clear how long he spent looking for his sweetheart, but given what clues we had (the old-timey appearance of the flashback, the hair loss, etc.) the length must have been measured in decades.  This poor guy wasted most of his life searching in vain, and only found his true love in his twilight years.  Are they still young enough to have children, assuming they want any?  And what happens if it turns out that the girl he spent one night dancing with all those years ago isn't quite as perfect as his memory made her out to be?

And even if things do work out between them, they might not have long together.  There's obviously a tuberculosis epidemic in Ponyville (first Bon-Bon, now Rose.  Who's next?), and the elderly have weakened immune systems.  One or both of them will probably be dead within a few weeks.

...Or maybe it's a children's cartoon show and I'm overthinking things.  In any case, my review of Avery Strange's Spark, after the break.

*I still can't believe that I wrote that sentence with complete sincerity.  Confound these ponies, they drive me to take seriously the trials and tribulations of a cartoon character named Cranky Doodle Donkey.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Writing Fanfiction: One Man's Techniques and Practices

Over the weekend, I received an email asking me what my process is for writing fanfiction, and asking if I had any advice for a budding fanfic author.  I sent back a response of course, but this is about the dozenth time I've gotten such a request.  Since it seems to be a common question, I've decided to make a slightly more in-depth answer to those two questions and post it here.

I must confess to feeling like something of a charlatan for writing this: while I like to think of myself as a competent author, I'm quite certain that there's not a single person who would point to me as "the best author in the fandom," least of all myself.  As such, offering advice on how to write seems to assign me undue importance.  Nevertheless, I've done my best to provide some relevant and hopefully not too conceited insights.  For anyone interested in writing, and especially for budding authors, I hope there's some useful information here.  Below, my thoughts:

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Few Observations About EqD's New "Three Strike" Policy

BREAKING (TWO DAY OLD) NEWS: Equestria Daily officially instituted a new policy recently whereby stories which are sent back to the author for revision twice and still fail to meet posting standards will be permanently rejected.  Although it wasn't exactly a secret that this was coming, the announcement has generated a lot of talk--and with it, plenty of drama.  My two cents on the whole affair, after the break.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 38: Friendship Is...

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

>Decide to try and write a story for the February Write-Off
>Spend 12 hours since the prompt was announced working on said story
>Still less than 2000 words into first draft

I've got to be the slowest writer ever.  Oh, well; the fact is that without deadlines, I don't get anything done anyway.  Maybe I'll manage to get something finished in time, though to be honest I'm almost certain that my story will do poorly regardless.

Speaking of unfinished stories, my review of Cascore's Friendship Is... is after the break.

Monday, February 13, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 37: Trouble Comes in Threes

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Poor Cheeriliee.  It's bad enough when students try to get involved in your romantic life, however ineffectually (few things are more awkward and, quite frankly, disturbing than finding out that half the 14-year-old girls in a class think you're "totally hot").  Thank goodness there's no such thing as love potions poisons in real life.

Speaking of the crusaders, today's review brings us to Slowpoke's Trouble Comes in Threes.  Check it out after the break.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Guilty Pleasures: Pony Fanfics You Shouldn't Love (But Do)

I hope you'll forgive me if my internet presence is pretty limited until Saturday--like so many, I'm trying to avoid episode spoilers, now that the most recent one's been leaked through iTunes.  In the meantime however, I've compiled some of my musings into something I hope is fit for public consumption.

Below, I've collected a few thoughts about stories which bring me a lot of enjoyment, despite a whole laundry list of reasons why they shouldn't.  Take a look:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 36: Tales

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

When I was at the market recently, I came upon a chicken-based processed lunch meat being marketed as "halal Spam."  Well, with a pitch line like that, I had to try a can.

Sadly, it was pretty marginal.  I guess there's just no substitute for mechanically separated pork shoulder.  Oh well, live and learn.

George Pollock Jr.'s Tales, after the break.

Monday, February 6, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 35: Vengeance and Fashion

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

"And with this win, I think it's safe to say that Eli has silenced all the doubters.  A clutch performance by one of the NFL's elite tonight."  -Some idiot on TV who probably got paid more for that "insight" than I make in a month

"Are the Giants favorites going into the 2013 season?" -Different reporter, same network, a couple minutes later


Okay, I promise I won't talk about football on this blog any more, even if the stupid things people say make me angry and very sad.  Tumbleweed's Vengeance and Fashion, after the break.

Friday, February 3, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 34: The Misted Stage

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

Since I've found in the past that there's not a huge crossover demographic between fanfic readers and (american rules) football fans, and since a significant fraction of the people coming to this blog are from overseas in any case, I'm going to guess that most of my readership are not too big into the Super Bowl.  If that's true of you, here's all you need to know: there's a New York-based team playing in it this year.

So, if you don't want the media, celebrities, and posers of every stripe (not to mention actual New Yorkers, but at least they have an excuse) babbling on about how wonderful "their" football team is for the next twelve months, please do your part and ask the deity of your choice to make sure the Giants lose on Sunday.  For pity's sake, they haven't even played the game yet and some of the NY sports media are already talking about how Eli Manning might be the greatest quarterback of all time.  What?  He's not even the best quarterback in this game!  He's not even in the top five of current QBs!  Arrgh!

Anyway, if New York wins on Sunday, we're going to be hearing a lot more talk like that over the coming months.  Trust me, it's better for everyone if we don't have to listen to that.

Below, my review of Raz_Fox's The Misted Stage.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

6-Star Reviews Part 33: Tangled Up in Blues

To read the story, click the image or follow this link

In second grade, I read a book about famous British explorers.  One of the many names it mentioned was Sir James Clark Ross, who explored both the Arctic and the Antarctic in the early- to mid-1800's.  The book casually mentioned that he spent three years searching for the exact location of magnetic north, only to discover that the magnetic north pole shifts a few degrees every year.  Despite the fact that Ross was a famous, wealthy, and successful man by any standard, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming pity for him.  To work for so long, to make such sacrifices, and in the end to still be unable to accomplish such a simple, straightforward goal...something about that resonated deeply with me.  To this day, thinking about it touches a deep well of sorrow within me that I can't fully explain.

I offer this glimpse of my childhood in the hope that it will offer some insight as to why, in my opinion, watching Rainbow Dash repeatedly being denied the chance to buy a mug of cider was perhaps the most heart-wrenchingly sad thing I've ever seen from an episode of My Little Pony.  And no, the fact that I knew full well she'd get some by the end didn't make me feel any better.

Anyway, my review of The Descendant's Tangled Up in Blues, after the break.