Friday, December 7, 2012

Another Story from Me

This is the story of a very ordinary pony's extraordinary day. Carrot Top and Derpy are good friends indeed, and sometimes friendship can lead to wonderful surprises. It can also lead to arguments, frustration, and general grumpiness, of course, and this story has all of those things as well. But mostly, this is a story about the day Carrot Top learned how to fly.

You may recall me mentioning the Hearth's Warming Care Package a while back; if not, it was a fanfic-writing event for which the goal was to write a story for Kiki, a seven year old girl who's fighting cancer and who likes MLP.  This was my entry.

I'll spare you the suspense: I came in sixth place, out of 25 stories submitted.  Not what I'd call a terrible result, considering the quality of the other top entrants.  You can check those out here, by the way.  And now that the contest is over, I've posted it for all the world to see.

So here it is: my go at writing an irreverently whimsical yet sincere bit of friendshipping suitable for all ages.  If that sounds like something up your alley, why not check it out?  And if you do decide to read, I'd love to hear your comments, either here or on FIMFic.  Feedback, whether positive, negative, or otherwise, is always appreciated.

Update:  Now on Equestria Daily!


  1. As I said on Fimfic, so I'll say again here: I loved it, especially the well-done narrator's voice. This is something that needs to be read aloud by someone with a rich voice, and with the sounds of a fire crackling in the background. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Well, this sucks. I've never been able to read two stories at the same time, so I'll have to finish Fallout: Equestria first. I don't know if you noticed, but that story's long. Like, really long. I'm pretty sure one of the chapters is almost 200 pages, which is ridiculous. They should never be longer than 30 pages, if that

    I'm reading this first thing once I'm done, though

    1. You're probably talking chapter 42 (or is it 45?), the return to Canterlot. It's half a novel on it's own.

    2. 37. At 50k words, it is a novel on its own by some standards (albeit a short one).

      Also, that is very disciplined of you. I'm partway through at least 20 fanfics and 10 books at the moment and sometimes forget details and have to reread.

    3. I would go insane if I tried to restrict myself to a single book at a time. Good for you, though! That takes discipline.

    4. This is seriously the first time in my life I've been described as being disciplined. That's... kinda sad, actually

  3. My thoughts on the story are rife with spoilers, so go read Chris' story first!

    The introduction reminded me of the openings of both The Hobbit and One Hundred Yeats of Solitude, so you've got that going for you. Which is nice. Then, the general narration reminded me of a cross between William Golding'a The Princess Bride and A.A. Milne. I would also echo the general sentiment that this would only be enhanced if read aloud by Richard Attenborough, so if you can please arrange that, I would be in your debt.

    Additional pluses: I always like the use of the phrase "companionable silence" and the noun "wont," and I smiled at the joke about the "Isle of White." "Aren't earth ponies supposed to like being on the ground?" strikes me as an extremely genuine bit of dialogue. I love stories that play on the differences between the pony tribes and what cultural stereotypes they might perceive in each other. I continue to be amused by the tribalist prejudices recounted in "Hearth's Warming Eve," and the fact that they are played (straight, or for laughs, it's not at all clear) in a traditional national pageant thousands of years later.

    The story itself was really a delightful little morsel, filled with sweetness and light. If perhaps the narrator's asides got in the way once or twice, a dozen times more they added to the conversational approachability of the whole affair. I distinctly remember encountering the "If you're wondering how X is possible, well, maybe you shouldn't be asking so many questions about about Y," narrator gag before, but it was no less well presented here for that. I enjoyed very much the way you built characterization through both dialogue and recounting factual details about CT and DH, and I didn't feel like anything in the text was superfluous. In short, this was as sweet as a Sugarcube Corner corncake but with half the fat.

    Negatives: This story's strongest appeal is that it is charming, dare I say, absolutely darling. I think the generic term "pine tree" should be replaced with a more specific species of conifer, say a fir or a blue spruce, for additional charm factor. That's all I have.

    You're a very clean and thoughtful writer, and all of your stories are tight, fun reads. I didn't know about this contest, and I haven't read any of the other entries, but I suspect you deserved a higher placing. Thanks for sharing with your readers here.

    1. "Derpy's eyes lit up like a Pinus Probus, more commonly known as the Eastern White Pine, notable for their soft, feathery needles and lack of aroma, which make young (six to eight years old) specimens excellent Hearths Warming trees, on Hearth's Warming Eve."

      Joking aside, thanks for sharing so much! It's always helpful to know which parts of a story worked and which didn't.

      I would like to think that this would indeed be a good read-aloud story--it's meant to be one, after all! I'm afraid Mr. Attenborough probably has better things to do, but a man can dream.

    2. You know I do fan fiction readings on rare occasion. Perhaps I'll do this one next. Seems like a prime target. Although I don't think I sound like this Richard Attenborough guy I've never heard about.

    3. Oh yes. If you don't read this fic, I totally will. But my voice is not so smooth as yours.

    4. Don't let that deter you. You gotta put your own brand of charm into it.

    5. Excellent! If they ever hold a pony Bulwer-Lytton contest, my money's on you! :)

  4. Lengthy comment incoming! Oooh, it's been long since I was able to write one. How exciting! It's also stuffed with spoilers so read the story first!

    I'm going to start by saying that I really enjoyed your story.
    You know, narration that talks about the story itself generally doesn't sit well with me, but it certainly worked well here. You also went off on quite a number of tangents. A couple I would prefer omitted, but they were mostly entertaining.

    Now, it seems everybody has that one word or phrase that, when read, has the same effect as being massaged by a cactus. For me, it's this right here:

    "An X that would make Y proud/envious."

    With X most often being "speed" and Y most often being some completely unrelated character who is most often Rainbow Dash. Why do I feel this way? I can't explain it. It's probably irrational. But still, I'm fortunate that I don't have any tables in my apartment right now because they would be flipped. You know another phrase that irritates me? "I am/she is the Element of X, you know." I'm getting distracted.

    You know one thing I really, and I mean really love reading about? Magic! And by that I mean characters affecting the environment and/or other characters is unusual, mystical, and awesome ways. That was definitely the most awesome relation to Derpy's cutie mark I've ever read! The undisputed authority on bubbles. Oooh, I love it! It's like seeing a sonic rainboom for the first time, or when Fluttershy stared down that cockatrice, or... seeing a sonic rainboom the second time! Sonic rainbooms are awesome! Did I ever mention that?
    Incidentally, I don't like reading about magicians. Characters that can bend the universe to their will or, more realistically, suddenly and easily conjure up whatever's convenient for the plot. Takes the fun out of it.

    Oh, and I could feel the emotion through the story. That's always a plus and a rarity. It's one thing to be told it, but I could feel it! The frustration, the excitement, all that.

    Ooh and you left me with a wonderful nugget of wonder to chew on. What's really on this Isle of White? Such an unusual name. I must know! This demands exploration!

    It's a shame I don't have a table in this apartment, for I would've flipped it back over and danced on top of it with joy!
    Yes, I dance on tables when I read a good story. Shut up! We all have our vices.

    1. I've never heard of anyone being sent into table-flipping mode by what I thought was a relatively common and unobjectionable turn of phrase. This is something that merits investigation on my part, it seems. Every now and then, I find out that something I've just completely taken for granted is actually incredibly idiosyncratic. I guess that's what makes life fun, eh?

      Anyway, thank you for the lengthy comment! I'm very glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much. FYI, the Isle of White was just my play off of Britain's Isle of Wight (which, as a child, I always assumed was "The Isle of White"), but I too would be interested to know who or what lives there...

    2. Well, don't take the table flipping seriously. I am just an excitable guy. Also, I've not seen anyone else complain about it either, so yeah.

  5. Also, I spent way too much time reading some other stories in that there contest. Curse you, Chris, and your leading me towards intriguing stories! I have other things I have to get done.

    Anyway, that story that got first place, Pinkie Pie's Balloons, well I can see why it won first place. I mean, I probably would've rated Going Up a bit higher because I'm biased like that, but Pinkie Pie's Balloons is definitely some tough competition, especially considering who it's being read to. It reads just like a children's book, like... Curious George maybe? huh... I'm finding it hard to remember the children's books that were in my life. Anyway, I found that to be surprisingly enjoyable. Especially the part with Twilight.

    I also read an Apple Bloom story in which she got her cutie mark,
    a Scootaloo story, in which she got her cutie mark,
    and a Sweetie Belle story in which she did not get her cutie mark. What a twist!

    I point those out because two of those were written by frequent commenters here and they just might be mildly interesting in knowing that I thought all three stories were...

    Well, pretty meh. Can't please 'em all.

    I also read that story that got second place, Playing Along. It has a nice ending, but the rest was eeeeeeeeh.


      Not really. I was pleased to be but one slot behind Going Up in the ranks, though, considering I thought it the best work of the contest. :D Glad you took the time to read more entries (I wish advertising contests always worked so well!)

    2. Indeed. Alas, not everyone's such a sucker for these things as I. Jolly good show getting 7th place regardless.

      Perhaps I can offer some more in-depth critique on your tale.
      ...Except I can't. Nothing specific comes to mind. (It's why I leave such things to people like Chris). It just didn't stick with me much, ya know. Not sure why. I did have to look up the meaning of "lean-to" though, so you taught me that. Learn something new everyday. :D

    3. My first thoughts upon getting third place were "Yes yes yes yes yes!" My second thoughts were "How in the world did this beat Going Up?"

      I totally get why you felt that way about my story. I really wasn't expecting to do as well as I did, especially since the whole thing was rushed into being about three days before the deadline. My writing is straightforward at the best of times, but I think with this fic I dumbed it down to dryness in some places. And it probably could have been longer. And the ending with the letter was just plain shoehorned. And...

      At the moment I'm debating whether or not to edit and improve it before putting it up on FIMFiction, or to just leave it for the sake not giving Kiki the inferior copy.

      Not giving Sweetie Belle her cutie mark I'm proud of. I kind of like that the CMCs don't ever seem to get their cutie marks, because despite their intentions to rush into adulthood, they spend most of their time doing silly kid things and ignoring the obvious path. They've probably only got a little time left to really be kids, and they're making the most of it and learning stuff about everything.

    4. Part of their charm is that they're so dead-set on getting their cutie marks that they ignore the ways they can actually get them. I guess.

      And no worries about lack of critique, I got a lot from the contest itself. :) Thank you though! (At least it was worth your while if I done taught you a new word. ;D)

    5. I'm not sure if you'll get this reply (or even care to notice it since I'm so after-the-fact that a sloth would be impressed), but there's no harm in trying.

      Anyways, I'm the author of Playing Along. Currently, it sits in the ethereal void of semi-existence known as "Editing".

      Yes, I'm slow at that as well.

      But I digress, I'm hoping I might press you for all of those little unsaid problems hiding in the depths of that "eeeeeeeeh" (I'm currently operating on the assumption that each additional "e" represents one such issue you had with it). A full-on deconstruction or just general impressions, anything is of help. If you need a refresher, there's a semi-edited copy of the story here:

      If you're interested in doing a complete review, I can send you a copy with editing power and all of the comments from my previous reviewer (so as to avoid unnecessary overlap).

      Thanks in advance for any advice you have.

  6. My biggest complaint with this story is that it was written out of "kindness" when all you should be doing is CRUSHING YOUR ENEMIES WITH YOUR FLAMING FISTS OF FURY.

    Why don't I have any friends? :(

    Aaaanyway, Going Up started off a little slowly, but once I got to the part where Derpy starts to get her plan together, it really gets into its groove. The narrator pretty much made those scenes, throwing in his asides all silly-like and making me grin like an even bigger idiot than I already am. Sheesh! What on earth do you think you're doing making this dour trollsock smile in a completely not-sarcastic, non-mean-spirited way like that, Mister Narrator! Shame on you!

    Oh, um... I totally forgot to mention this earlier, but I think you might've gone a little heavy on the said bookisms, especially towards the end, but idk. Other people don't seem to be too bothered by it, so maybe it was just me.

    1. That link was very enlightening. I always feel like I use "said" too much, but it so often seems to be the most appropriate word for the job

  7. Finally, I read it and posted my thoughts here.

    Now, back to studying.

    1. Thanks for the comments, Bugs. The narrator's voice (like Adams' writings, as you mentioned) is definitely one of those things that you either like or you don't, so I hear you there.

      I was a little disappointed in myself that you felt talked down to with the bubble explanation--I hated feeling like I was being talked down to as a child, and I tried very hard to keep the story, cute, light, and unambiguous while avoiding that pitfall. Oh well, something to keep working at for next time.