Wednesday, July 31, 2013

He Didn't Give Me a Good Title For Part 2

...But nonetheless, here's the remainder of Monday's post, in which SS&E tackled, in his trademark roundabout way, the infamous Cupcakes, and looked at what gives it its legs, and what impact its had on the fandom (dang, he's even got me writing run-ons).  Click down below the break to see what he thought of a completely different tonally, but equally famous, fanfic's take on Rainbow Dash.

Monday, July 29, 2013

What’s Eating Rainbow Dash (aka How I Learned to Quit Writing and Read Two Stories That Will Forever Be More Popular Than My Own Pretentious Drivel)

Who doesn't love a long title?  I love a long title, and I've got a long post to go with it.  Today's post comes from the prolific (and pouch-obsessed) shortskirtsandexplosions, who takes an oddball tour through some of the fandom's more notorious works; a tour full of whimsy, self-depreciation, and the occasional bit of cleverly disguised .  Specifically, he tries to figure out why these works are so pervasively popular in the first place, and comes up with some answers both obvious and surprising.  Click down below the break to see what he has to say about... well, I'm sure you can guess the first fic in question from the post title.

Friday, July 26, 2013

My Rules for MLP Fan Fiction

To finish off the first week without me (has it been so long already? Hopefully all hasn't descended into anarchy and chaos without my steady hand ever-present at the helm), we have a bit of writing insight from Cloud Wander, who's written far too many wonderful stories to name (seriously, go read of the stories on his FimFic page--you can't go wrong). Specifically, he talks about what his personal ground rules and points of emphasis are when he sits down to start writing--important things for any author to consider. Whether these rules match yours or not, I think you'll find something behind the break worth considering.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Guest Review: Divergence

On and on the guest reviews go!  Today's entry comes from NickNack, an author and proofreader/editor/fanfic troubleshooter who's turned his critical eye towards an old but well-regarded incomplete fic, Seattle_Lite's Divergence.  He's got an interesting style to it, too; very academic in structure, but still personal.

Review of Divergence, a My Little Pony fanfiction written by Seattle_Lite
(Review written by Nicknack)

Click down below the break for all the review-y goodness!

Monday, July 22, 2013

On Endings

By the time you read this, I'll be kicking back in sunny Arizona, drinking pina coladas out of monkey-shaped coconut mugs while beautiful women in leis serenade me with haunting melodies on their shamisens.  Or something like that.  In any case, I'll be mostly or entirely AWOL from the internet, so play nice in the comments until I get back in a few weeks.

In the meantime, don't fret that you'll have nothing to do for a few minutes, three times a week.  I've got an all-star lineup of everyone who was willing to perform some unpaid internet labor some authors and commenters which you definitely won't want to miss.  There's writing advice, reviewing, general commentary, and more!  But to begin with, I'm turning to the versatile author/reviewer/character analizer/etc. InsertAuthorHere, who's offering up some thoughts on how to conclude one's fanfic--a much-underrated skill, among many budding authors.  I thought it would be nicely ironic to begin the guest series with a post about endings.  Geddit?  Eh?

When you're finished being disappointed in me, click down below the break for his thoughts.

Friday, July 19, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 147: Transcendence

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

I'm now only one story shy of reviewing every complete 6-star story!  Granted, I'm still something like half a million words shy if you want to count it that way, but the point is that I've very nearly accomplished the completely arbitrary goal I set for myself almost two years ago.

...Hey, you've gotta take your victories where you can get 'em.  Click down below the break for my thoughts on Corejo's Transcendence.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

An Old Story

I'd like to try something a bit different today.  No ponies in this post; they'll be back for Friday's review.  Instead, I'd like to look back at some of the time I spent writing LotR fanfiction.

My reaction to my old work is usually embarrassment--an acute awareness of flaws which seem glaring in hindsight, and a sense of disappointment for not seeing those flaws earlier.  At the same time, whenever I come across a bit of dialogue which I still like the mouthfeel of, or an emotional scene which I still think moving, I feel a distinct surge of pride.

So I thought: what would one of my old fanfics look like, if I fixed some of the more boneheaded errors and smoothed it out a bit?  Would it be something I could be less embarrassed about?  With this in my head, I went back to what I'd probably call my best complete pre-pony fanfic: The Entwives' Garden.  My goal?  To make it something I could be proud not ashamed of if I had first written it today, rather than a bit less than a decade ago.

In truth, most of what I did was fix boneheaded errors and smooth a few things out; the majority of the story I'm still remarkably satisfied with, and this project turned out to be more "editing" than "rebuilding."  Probably 90% of the original dialogue and narrative remains.  And, having exorcised that particular demon, I thought I would share the end result with all of you:

Merry and Pippen promised Treebeard that they would look for the lost Entwives when they were once again home.  Now, after peace has been returned to the Shire, Pippen seeks answers in the Old Forest.

A bit of fair warning: this is a LotR fanfic, and I doubt it will have much traction with anyone who's never read the books.  Even among LotR fans, it's a story about Merry, Pippen, and everyone's favorite Old Forest denizens... not exactly the world's most popular characters (people have no taste).  That said, within the context of being a LotR fanfic, I feel pretty good about it.  I don't want to spoil the ending, but I'm very happy with how I set it up and delivered it, and that wasn't something I changed at all in the revisions.  Not enough fanfiction uses preparatory quotes from the creator or source material--though perhaps I'd find it more affectatious with ponies than I do with literature.  

Enjoy, and if you have any comments or criticisms, I'd love to hear them.  Fixing up an old work was a new experience for me, but in this case at least, it's one I feel pretty good about.

Monday, July 15, 2013

For a Change, Let's Talk About Actual Books (Part 9)

My dad has a 1-pound coffee can full of wheat pennies, and after spending too much of the weekend meticulously going through them to see if we might get lucky, I can confirm that he and I are still not independently wealthy.  Oh well.

I've also been reading, and not all those words are ponyfics!  Click down below the break to see what I'm in the middle of just now.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mini-Reviews Round 14

I'm currently putting together the initial list of Fandom Classics to be reviewed once the 6-star fics are gone; if you don't already see a new link at the top of the page by the time this post goes up, look for it to appear sometime over the weekend.  I had nearly a hundred fics suggested!  Anyway, I'm taking twenty for my "starter list."  If something you suggested didn't onto that list, don't worry.  It doesn't mean that I didn't see your e-mail or post (I hope!), nor that I thought it was a stupid suggestion and that now I think you're a stupid person, nor anything like that.  I'll be continuing to draw on the suggestions I've received so far and future ones that may come in to add to that list sporadically; the ones I chose to start with I picked--well, will pick; I'm still compiling the list as I break to type this--because they'll give me a reasonable variety of fic ages, genres, and lengths, instead of, say, bunching up a dozen novel-length beasts all together.

Anyway, click down below the break to see what I've just recently been reading!  A little commentary on some new-to-me (and mostly pretty new, period) stuff, down below.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Language as an Immersion-Breaker

Usually, when I read a comment that I want to respond to, I just respond to it.  But a couple of days ago, a question was posed which I wanted to pontificate about a bit.  After all, who doesn't love a good round of pontification?  Click down below the break for the question, and my commentary, concerning linguistic conventions in fantasy writing.

Monday, July 8, 2013

6-Star Reviews Part 146: Summer Days and Evening Flames

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

The last of the sequels to previously reviewed fics that still needed reviewing is finally reviewed!  Click down below the break for my take on NickNack's Summer Days and Evening Flames.

Oh, before you go, one thing: what with the Tour de France underway, I'm once more getting blog hits from people searching Google for "Thomas Voeckler fanfiction."  Just remember, my offer still stands.  And on a Tour-related note... sorry, Mystic.  I'd say "better luck next year," but, well, Cadel Evans isn't getting any younger.

Okay, now on to pony-related stuff!

Friday, July 5, 2013


No review today.  Well, I guess that technically doesn't make me a liar; I did say "90%," after all, which is hardly a guarantee.

Anyway, being too old for fireworks, I'd planned to have time to finish up Evening Flames and write a review on the fourth.  Instead, I was surprised by a few friends, who showed up at my home and dragged me out the door (only semi-metaphorically).  I spent the afternoon and evening getting a little too much sun, drinking a little too much beer, eating a lot too much red meat, and being reminded that there's no such thing as "being too old for fireworks."

I'd apologize for the delay, but in truth, I'm not sorry at all.  It's amazing to me how sometimes, your friends know what you need better than you do.  I hope that, American or no, you all had half as wonderful a Fourth of July as I did.

...Okay, okay.  This time, I'll actually guarantee that the next post is the review.  Until Monday!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Some Updates for the Rest of the Month

First thing's first: I'm about 90% sure I'll have my review of Summer Days and Evening Flames done by Friday.  Sorry about the unusually long wordcount/wait ratio, but it's nearly there!

For now though, I've got some news about where the site is going, both for the next month or so, and in the long term.  Click down below the break to see what's on the horizon.

Monday, July 1, 2013

A (Very Small) Bit of Writing from Me

The Tour de France is underway!  For three weeks, it's 6:30 am mornings (earlier on mountain stages!) full of rolling countrysides, grueling endurance competition, and some of the greatest long-form suspense and drama in sports.  I'll be chugging coffee on the couch while alternating between wishing I lived in a more convenient time zone and staring in rapt attention at the TV.  Who knows, maybe I'll even get a little extra fic reading done during commercials.

For now though, I've got a few bits of doggerel that I've been sitting on for a bit.  At one point I'd thought to do a bestiary entirely consisting of blunt warnings that horrible, horrible things happen to foals who go into the Everfree Forest, but I didn't get very far; I only put together three complete poems before I lost interest, and I haven't come back to them since.  Still, if you like simple poems (I envisioned the completed product as something Twilight might have checked out as a foal from the whatever-the-pony-equivalent-of-the-Victorian-Era-is wing of the library and read to herself, before locking herself in her room for a week so the Timber Wolves couldn't eat her), feel free to click below the break.  I put all three there, for you to peruse (or not) as you please.  As always, comments and criticism are great, but in any case, I hope you enjoy!