Saturday, 10 December 2016

Why I don't write original fiction

Note: this article was written a few days ago, so is not intended as a response to anything in horizon's recent Fimfiction blog. The timing is entirely coincidental.

There's an "original short story" Writeoff round this weekend, and if you're interested in that sort of thing then please do check it out. There really isn't anything else like it... but, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, I won't be participating. Admittedly I've only ever done one Writeoff even in the ponyfic rounds, partly since weekends are not full of spare time for me, but at least that one entry eventually led to Like a Flower to the World.

Here's the thing, though: I have no ambition to write original fiction on any sort of serious basis. It just doesn't interest me enough right now. And while I like writing for its own sake, I certainly read far more non-fiction than fiction: I'd estimate that only about 20% of my reading falls into the latter category, something that hasn't changed in years. (While I'm on the subject, though: go and read Lindsey Davis's Falco series about a Roman private eye. It's great.)

I'm old enough to have been around since before the web, but I have never written anything like as much fiction as I have in this fandom. I did put out one significant story and a few other little things for the Watership Down fandom years ago, but beyond that? Well, here's my FictionPress account, untouched for eight years now. Some of what's there is pretty cringy stuff, but I'm still quite pleased by elements of a few of those pieces.

I'm hardly alone in picking out Fimfiction as a reason for enjoying writing ponyfic. Although its actual editor is still a pain in the rump to use, most of the site is approximately a zillion times nicer than the equivalents for other fandoms. I'd still write ponyfic if I were sent back to the days of GDocs, but I can't pretend it would feel quite as fun. The Fimf community helps a lot there – I've never had a story, no matter how short or pointless, that hasn't got feedback.

Everyone points out that the Friendship is Magic fandom will end one day – though actually I'm not sure about that. At UK PonyCon the other month, I met people who still write G1 fanfic, more than 20 years after G1 itself ended. I confidently expect an active, though much smaller, G4 fandom to exist in 20 years' time. And, of course, G5 may capture my imagination too; there's a difference between being a strictly FiM fan and being a more general MLP fan.

But you know what? The thought of that smaller, quieter future doesn't make me more motivated to break out of ponyfic into original fiction; it makes me more motivated to write more ponyfic while the going remains good. I haven't gone into all the personal details why this fandom means so much to me, but it is really, truly no exaggeration to say that it played a vital role at a very hard time in my life. FiM is not, and never will be, "just another show" to me.

I think I'll continue to write all sorts of things if and when my desire to write ponyfic dies down – and the "if" part of that is a big one. But I don't think I'm ever likely to be a significant author (even at a strictly amateur level) of original fiction. I simply don't owe it the debt that I do the FiW fandom, and it doesn't capture my imagination in the same way. I don't see this as limiting, or "thinking small" – I see it as writing for enjoyment first, last and always.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Well, that was unexpected

I don't set much store by the Feature Box over on Fimfiction – I very rarely use it to select stories to review, for a start. That being so, I haven't really thought about it with respect to my own fics, and had always assumed that I'd never made it in there. Considering the sort of stories that frequently do make it to the FB, this is not something I'd found remotely alarming.

But thanks to Trick Question reminding me that every story featured since the advent of the Bookshelves facility is listed in Bookshelf #1, and also doing the necessary search, I now know that I was wrong. As this link demonstrates, one of my stories has made it in there at some point: Where They Understand You. I doubt the fact that it's my only multi-chapter story is unrelated.

I'm still not fussed about the FB, you understand. As I always say, comments, reviews and other feedback are much more valuable to me than features. But as I've got nothing else to post about today, you can have this pointless little post instead. :D

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 135: Your Plastic Pal Who's Fun To Be With

Read it Later story count: 495 (-1)

Although I'm still committed to doing plenty of themed editions of PR over the coming weeks and months, I don't want entirely to neglect the "lucky dip" posts. Apart from anything else, there are lots of stories on my RiL list that might not get reviewed at all otherwise. This time around, I've managed to read eight fics – and they're not even all one-shots! They are:

Cards Against Equinity by Door Matt
Herald by shortskirtsandexplosions
Things Rainbow Dash Doesn't Like by PresentPerfect
The 18th Brewmare of Bluey Napoleon by horizon
Book Club by Twelve Song
Second Sun by Carabas
Loosening Up by N.K.
Language Barrier by Aquaman

★: 0 | ★★: 4 | ★★★: 2 | ★★★★: 2 | ★★★★★: 0

Monday, 5 December 2016

Comic mini-review: Friends Forever #34: Pinkie Pie and Cheese Sandwich

MLP Friends Forever #34 cover showing Cheese and Pinkie
Tony Fleecs' cover brings us Weird Al in 2-D!
Friends Forever time again, and this issue brings together two characters who, again, it's not exactly a surprise to see paired up. I can't say I'm a huge fan of the plot Thom Zahler has written for this one. A giant, walking, apparently somewhat malevolent house doesn't really feel right for Equestria – the only time we've seen such a thing in the show was in a dream. Agnes Garbowska's art is generally serviceable and rises above that at times, but it's not strong enough to overcome the limitations of the storyline. A little bit of a missed opportunity, I feel. ★★

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Pony Music Library 32: "On Our Way"

Gosh, that Nico Rosberg retirement came a bit out of the blue! I really have no idea who's likely to replace him at Mercedes; for entertainment value, the obvious choice would be Alonso, but I can't see him and Hamilton ever working together again. Anyway, I think it's PML time.

What? "On Our Way"

Who? Forest Rain

Which? Original song

When? August 2013

Why? In spite of what many fans seem to believe, Hasbro doesn't dish out C&Ds very often. How many have there even been? Surely only a handful. One of them, however, was issued in 2013 against the planned feature-length animation Journey of the Spark. After the C&D hit, there was talk of making it an audio drama, but that never appeared. What did emerge from the project was this fine song. Admittedly Forest Rain has an excellent track record anyway, but the voice acting for the Mane Six in this is generally very good indeed, and that's what makes it. I particularly like the comment that Pinkie has gone "off the hay". It's a shame the film had to be cancelled, but this song alone means the project produced something worthwhile.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

"You're Gonna Go Far Kid" PMV unblocked on YouTube (edit: or not. Edit again: maybe)

A few days ago, I mentioned here that TheSlutfox's hugely popular PMV, "You're Gonna Go Far Kid", had been blocked by UMG. Well, that is no longer the case. I was alerted by Griffin in a comment that the video was now available once more – and, as you can see above, it remains so. As far as I can tell from a quick skim through YouTube, the other uploads of the same video that had been blocked are also once more viewable. Even if you don't like the PMV itself, the return of the video is surely welcome from a fandom history perspective.

Edit: and it's gone again. I'm not sure how the process works, but given that pretty much every copy of the video, including some at different speeds/pitches and even a few covers have been blocked... well. I have no idea what's going to happen now, but I'm rather pessimistic. I hope I'm proved wrong. Thanks a bunch, UMG. You are officially the new Sony. And no, that is not a compliment. I suppose the one thing we can take heart from is that it reminds us how lucky we are in this fandom that most things are controlled by Hasbro. A company that, by mediacorp standards, is really pretty damn good to us.

Edit again: as of 10.30am GMT on 3/12/16, it's up again! Who knows what's going on?

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 134: Amethyst Star Edition

Read it Later story count: 496 (+6)

Sometimes she's called Sparkler, sometimes Amethyst, but she's rarely had a turn in the spotlight ("Slice of Life" excepted). This week, I'm looking at five stories that place Amy (or Sparks. Whatever) front and centre, and between them they cover quite a bit of ground. Also, I'm trying desperately to keep my RiL list under 500, and unless I start reading a bit more quickly it's not going to happen. :S

Your horns are Touching by Azure Blackstone
Second Best by Discorded SheepcityUSA
The Perfect Setup by Timaeus
The Pineapple by Mane O War
Pick a feather by Windigo

★: 2 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 1 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0