Fallowsthorn’s “Time”

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You’ll find yourself making time for today’s story.

Time
[Equestria Girls] [Slice of Life] • 6,635 words

The whole school saw Sunset Shimmer’s demonic form get hit by the Elements of Harmony, and half a second later she was in a smoking crater in the ground, sobbing and repentant. From Sunset’s perspective, her change of heart took a bit more time.

FROM THE CURATORS: Often, what keeps us coming back to fanfiction is finding new angles from which to explore the depths of the show.  “I clicked through to this from the Featurebox on a whim, only to find it filling in a gap in canon that for eight years I’ve never realized I needed a fixfic for — how the Elements of Harmony work to redeem their targets,” Horizon said in his nomination.  “I’m sold.”  Its speedy approval showed that he wasn’t the only one impressed.  “I love that this isn’t the author saying, ‘Equestria Girls did something wrong, but here’s how I can fix it’,” AugieDog said.  “It’s more the author working with the movie — in harmony, if you will — to take an already-moving scene and lift it to another level. It takes tropes at least as old as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and shows how some deft thought and handling can keep them absolutely fresh.”

That fresh take was shored up by exemplary character work on multiple levels.  “This is a fantastic examination not just of Sunset’s mindset at the end of the first EqG movie, but also of what each of the Elements means,” FanOfMostEverything said.  Present Perfect agreed: “There’s so much depth, such a perfect and thorough exploration of Sunset’s character and what could convince her to change. Not just that, but this delves into the concept of each Element of Harmony, to wring out what it really means in an everyday, practical kind of way. The discussion about Generosity, for instance, was superb.”  Horizon had his own favorite: “Fluttershy’s appearance in particular is breathtaking. In the span of three words she blows the whole thing open.”

So it’s no wonder that we all found ourselves sharing superlatives, despite finding different things to appreciate. “Every part of this was fantastic,” Present Perfect said.  “‘Why would she abandon me if I didn’t deserve to be abandoned?’  That’s the kind of line that elevates something way beyond ‘just fanfiction’.”  Horizon, too, called it “utterly fantastic.  Also notable is how convincing the argument feels to me as a reader. I’m truly sold that this is a line of reasoning which is capable of the dramatic turnaround we see.”  And FanOfMostEverything noted: “Fantastic stuff. The psychological vivisection is as merciless as it is insightful, and it certainly justifies Sunset’s tears. The fact that the story also justifies Vice Principal Luna falling for literal cut-and-paste photomanipulation is icing on the cake.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Fallowsthorn discusses omniscient parents, boxed seeds, and French villas.
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AstralMouse’s “Twenty-eight Boulders”

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There are any number of reasons to read today’s story.

Twenty-eight Boulders
[Dark] [Drama] [Sad] • 2,038 words

Queen Chrysalis has spent years in hiding. She has been very careful to avoid being caught, but her time spent alone and in constant fear has worn away her sanity.

FROM THE CURATORS: One of the strengths of pony fanfic is the opportunity to read about characters far removed from ordinary life — so stories focusing on unusual viewpoints can be a treat to find.  And this tight, focused look at the far side of sanity hit all the right notes.  “I’m a sucker for a nicely done unreliable narrator, and this one pulled me right in with its harrowing, intense voice,” AugieDog said in his nomination.  “We’re locked with Chrysalis inside her head, and it’s a place even she doesn’t much want to be.”

And indeed, that was our most common compliment about the story.  “The voicing is very, very good — I am completely sold on Chrysalis slowly going crazy in her self-imposed isolation,” RBDash47 said.  “The author mentions that they went through a lot of editing and rewriting to get the tone, and I think they nailed it.”  Horizon, too, found that compelling: “I think the big thing right here is the portrayal of her descent into insanity. Schizophrenic people work by an internal logic which, while disconnected from reality, makes a strangely elegant almost-sense on its own terms.” And FanOfMostEverything added, “I have to agree on how well the story conveys that. It all makes sense to her; otherwise she wouldn’t do any of it.”

We also found meat on the bones of the exemplary presentation.  “The real joy of an unreliable narrator is piecing together the reality they’re denying,” Present Perfect noted, while Horizon spent some time puzzling it over: “The question of whether she’s going back to the same lair over and over again or moving around is a fascinating one, with plenty of evidence to sift through.”  Meanwhile, AugieDog praised the economical storytelling: “It’s just the right length for this sort of character study, too.”  All those factors came together to heighten the core tragedy of the piece.  “The paranoid, vengeful, negative-sum strategy that barely kept her hive fed culminates in her being unable to so much as comprehend mercy on the part of her former subjects,” FanOfMostEverything said.  “It’s an excellent capstone for the tragedy of Chrysalis, and an excellent study of karmic justice in action.”

Read on for our author interview, in which AstralMouse discusses weapon padding, imagined chitin, and black as the new black.
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ChudoJogurt’s “Sunset Shimmer and the Last Trial of Daring Do”

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Today’s story makes some daring choices.

Sunset Shimmer and the Last Trial of Daring Do
[Dark] [Adventure] [Alternate Universe] • 49,536 words

[Note: This story contains sexual themes.]

Trapped in the memories of her past adventures, bringing nightmares and dreams she does not want, she can’t stay home.

There is only one creature in all of Equestria who can help her. Make her good and nice again, but how far will Sunset have to go to find her?

FROM THE CURATORS: There’s something about great villains which keeps us coming back to their stories especially when you set them on a collision course with one of Equestria’s greatest heroes.  “This is Sunset’s fall from good intentions, and it hurts to read her picking up a number of formative experiences and wrongly learned lessons that will shape her into the terror of Canterlot High,” FanOfMostEverything said in his nomination.  “The age-old conflict she stumbles into is fascinating to watch, especially as we learn the finer details. And this is easily the best Ahuizotl I’ve ever read.” On that point, we were unanimous: “I’ve never seen anything like the Ahuizotl-as-deity that frames this story,” Horizon said.  “That by itself would have been featureworthy, but then the author also threw in one of the most dynamic, compelling OC villains I’ve encountered, and made Sunset a breathtaking character in her own right.”

Indeed, it was the character work which kept our eyes glued to the page.  “if this story has a big thing right and I’d say it has a few it’s the depiction of Sunset’s PTSD,” Present Perfect said.  “It’s her motivation for falling down this path in the first place, for placing herself into grave, mortal danger of the kind that leaves her vulnerable to a predator like Green Glow. Watching that relationship spiral into abuse, then something that molds Sunset into the pony who stole Twilight’s crown, was exquisitely painful.”  And it certainly didn’t hurt that that exemplary writing was set amid a thrilling, well-realized adventure.  “As a Daring Do story from the perspective of her opponents, it fires on all cylinders,” Horizon said.  “Then they reach the penultimate fight, and it cranks the story up to 11, and then they reach the final fight and the dial breaks as it impossibly goes even further. It’s never anything less than epic and mythical.”

That was another compliment that came up repeatedly in our discussion.  “If there’s another thing this story does well, it’s gravitas,” Present Perfect said.  “Hardly a chapter goes by without some big, flashy or otherwise memorable scene: Ahuizotl defeating the hydra, Green Glow torturing the informant, Sunset fighting Daring Do, you name it, they’re all exciting. But more than that, everything that happens in this story has weight to it. The importance of details like hospitality are the stuff of epic fantasy quests. I love how just invoking the words of an ancient oath can literally shake a city to its foundations.”  And that, we decided, made the story worthwhile whether you’ve read its prequel or not.  “Aside from a few flashbacks, the previous story in which Sunset Shimmer goes to Narnia, befriends Prince Caspian, and almost ruins everything doesn’t really factor into this one,” FanOfMostEverything noted.  “This is by no means a happy story, but it’s a very compelling one.”

Read on for our author interview, in which ChudoJogurt discusses teenage miracles, book attributes, and immortal princes.
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Lost + Found Features: “Good Thing I’m So Organized” / “The Season of Grace”

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From time to time, despite our best efforts, we don’t have an interview ready to post come Friday — but that doesn’t mean we can’t recommend some reading material! We keep track of the stories which passed our approval process but whose authors haven’t responded to our contact attempts. We’d like to give these stories their time in the spotlight too, so here are two RCL-approved tales for your reading pleasure.

Good Thing I’m So Organized
By TacticalRainboom
[Slice of Life] • 5,215 words

Everypony knows Twilight Sparkle as the sweet, studious unicorn whose magic powers are matched only by her incredible focus and organizational skills. When Twilight’s friends make fun of the way her checklists and schedules control her life, Twilight just laughs.

One day, for reasons known only to her, Twilight goes on an unstoppable organizing rampage. Soon, Rarity decides that she’s had enough, and tries to stop Twilight before she organizes Carousel Boutique into oblivion.

Twilight Sparkle is very, very organized. Twilight Sparkle has never told anypony why she’s so organized. Until now.

FROM THE CURATORS: “This story is a heck of a roller-coaster ride for its simple Slice of Life tag,” Horizon said in his nomination.  “It starts out with some light (and gorgeously described) character drama over Twilight’s OCD habits, and then peels back the mask for a surprisingly disquieting look at where those habits came from. Then it pulls off a clean double reversal and ends on the same light note with which it started, which is very much to the story’s credit.”  That ending drew most of our praise — for multiple reasons. “This is another great example of one of the things ‘show, don’t tell’ means to me,” AugieDog said.  “At the end, we’re not just told that Twilight has learned the lesson, we see it happen, see her figure it out, see her apply it, and see her come to a changed understanding of herself and her world.”

The strength of that example made it stand out amid other mental-health-focused stories.  “Other equally good stories about similar topics will end with simple affirmation of support for the afflicted, or some pithy aphorisms to try and quell the guilt and shame,” Present Perfect said.  “But letting Twilight come to a realization about what’s true about herself gives her agency and lets her take control of her OCD in a way that, while likely still idealized, is going to serve her much better in the future.”  That lesson also came amid solid writing, as AugieDog noted: “The character voices are terrific across the board, too. A really nice little story.”

 

 

The Season of Grace
By Willow Wren
[Romance][Slice of Life] • 2,582 words

Fluttershy wakes in the middle of the night on Hearth’s Warming Eve to find Big Macintosh waiting for her outside. He has a surprise for her, and their subsequent adventure rekindles old feelings and memories of Hearth’s Warmings past.

FROM THE CURATORS: This may be a Hearth’s Warming story, but it’s “a worthy feature at any time of the year,” Soge said.  A rare unanimous approval drove that point home. “This is magic, pure and simple,” AugieDog said, and what we found was a magic both easily accessible and with profound depth.  “There are some layers to the story that are so subtle I would’ve missed them entirely without reading the comments,” FanOfMostEverything noted, “but even what I did pick up on is a beautiful tale of fulfilling dreams before it’s truly too late to do so.”

There were two factors we all agreed were behind the story’s excellence.  “This smartly frames the story around the character dynamic, and sells it with quiet grace and vivid language,” Horizon said in his nomination. “It’s also quietly heartwarming and uplifting in a way that mirrors the show at its best.”  Soge agreed: “The writing in this fic is just delightful, absolutely gorgeous from beginning to end, while never actually falling into the trap of going into over-saccharine territory.”  Present Perfect summed it up: “It’s rare to read a story so suffused with joy. Rarer still, one so elegantly written. Lush imagery, a happy pony, and a damned good ship: what more do you need?”

Read more features right here at the Royal Canterlot Library, or suggest stories for us to feature at our Fimfiction group.

Novel-Idea’s “Spectrum of Gray”

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We hope our appreciation for today’s story colors your expectations.

Spectrum of Gray
[Romance] [Drama] • 17,470 words

Rainbow Dash and Applejack have cherished the years gone by at one another’s side, but beneath the wear of time, the fuel that is love can turn to ash and smother the flames they hold dear.

Beyond the smoke rising from the cinders, they face an uncertain future. Now, they must come to terms with the harsh truth that, sometimes, love alone isn’t enough to keep a marriage burning bright.

FROM THE CURATORS: There’s a classic proverb that you always find missing things in the last place you look.  “I can’t believe we haven’t featured Novel-Idea before,” Present Perfect noted after a comment in our recommendation thread brought Spectrum of Gray to our attention.  (It was also hard to believe we’d missed this story’s first-place finish in the “Second Chances” AppleDash contest — but as the proverb says, hindsight is 20/20.)

What earned it those accolades?  As RBDash47 said in his nomination: “Spectrum won me over for two big reasons — its deft handling of four different character POVs all focused on the same problem, giving us a progression of different insights and perspectives; and the maturity of the problem the characters are dealing with, which is reinforced for me by the realism of not actually presenting the answer to the problem at hoof.”  Horizon concurred — “It sets up a heck of a situation” — and Present Perfect noted the story’s breadth: “This handles so many issues with such a deft hand.”

It was not just Spectrum’s maturity but also its use of tension which drew our praise.  “The thing that I like best about the story is that it takes place over such a brief period of time, like the whole story is an indrawn breath, suspended and not quite ready to exhale,” AugieDog said.  “The problem’s been building and building and building, but this is the crisis point, the moment where everything pivots because the characters are finally ready for it to pivot.”  That led to solid emotional engagement, RBDash47 said: “You’re left wondering how Dash and AJ will move forward, just as the characters in the story are wondering.”

Exemplary character work rounded out the story’s virtues.  “The character voices are all strong, and Granny Smith is especially written well,” Present Perfect said.  “This might also be the best future fic I’ve ever read, in terms of making the characters feel like themselves while still giving us the weight of time passed.  It was fantastic on so many levels.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Novel-Idea discusses musical suckers, squee notes, and fandom concussions.
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Phoenix_Dragon’s “Without a Hive”

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Today’s story will sneak into your favorites.

Without a Hive
[Romance] [Dark] [Adventure] [Sad] • 180,748 words

Young Nictis had one dream: to serve his hive by becoming an Infiltrator, the most vital and vaunted role a changeling could aspire to. To hide in plain sight among the other species, blending in, while gathering the vital emotional energies that fueled his people. Few were deemed worthy of the dangerous job. He was one of the few nymphs selected for training, in the hopes that one of them would develop the skills needed to be entrusted with such a treacherous task.

But when a training expedition ends in tragedy, Nictis finds himself thrust into the role not to serve his hive and people, but to preserve his own life. Separated from the hive, alone, he must put what little training he has to the test. He must blend in with the hive’s greatest source of food, and its most dangerous enemy: the ponies of Equestria.

FROM THE CURATORS: Let’s face it — our fandom loves changelings, and authors have done so much with them that changeling stories have to clear a high bar to stand out from the pack.  So when Present Perfect said in his nomination that “Without a Hive is one of the best season-two fics I have ever read, and might just be the best changeling story on top of that,” we had to see for ourselves what the fuss was about.  “I wish I’d read this years ago,” FanOfMostEverything quickly said.  “This may be the gold standard for old-school ‘changeling in Equestria’ fics, made all the more notable by forgoing the usual ‘crashed somewhere after the invasion’ plot device.”  And Horizon was equally effusive.  “Perhaps I am — for Glitterbug-like reasons of academic interest, and CLEARLY none other — predisposed to a good changeling story, but this was consistently gripping,” he said.  “It covers all of the tropes we expect a changeling redemption fic to have, but with exemplary nuance. The tension of being trained as a sociopathic predator who feeds on positive emotions, while also feeling those positive emotions, drips from every word here.”

That was only one of several compliments on which we all quickly agreed.  “Central to this piece is its fantastic characters,” Present Perfect said, with Horizon adding: “This works as well as it does because every individual we ever meet is vibrant and sympathetic.”  FanOfMostEverything praised the development of the protagonist: “Watching Nictis grow in spite of himself is wonderful — the changes coming subtly enough that he doesn’t notice until it hits him all at once in the worst possible way — to say nothing of all the other emotional arcs he goes through.” And all of us had a hard time picking favorites from the colorful supporting cast.  “The ponies Nictis befriends have lives of their own,” Present Perfect said.  “Nowhere is that more apparent than in a late chapter, when our hero meets two ponies named Violet and Grace. They exist on the page for a few scenes only, yet after a short introduction, one gets a deep and abiding sense of who they are.”

It was in the collision between those ponies and the central changeling that the story shined brightest.  “What made me smile above all else were the several times during the first half or so of the story — usually in scenes where Nictis was interacting with Big Shot — when the author took a step back to remind the reader that the cute and clever character we’d been rooting for was in fact quite literally a monster,” AugieDog said.  “It made for a great contrast with Nictis’ wanderings in the last few chapters when the character’s monsterhood is unmistakably slipping away.”  And that left a lasting impression, several of us such said — such as Horizon: “I was legitimately upset when the story ended.  I had an almost physical need to see how things shook out with Spark. Fortunately, there’s a sequel!”

Read on for our author interview, in which Phoenix_Dragon discusses esquire numbers, book commitments, and corporate weddings.
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J Carp’s “It Turns Out They’re Windmills”

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Turn to today’s story for some cross-dimensional drama with heart.

It Turns Out They’re Windmills
[Equestria Girls] [Romance] [Comedy] [Drama] • 64,228 words

As Fluttershy’s birthday approaches, she learns two jarring things: not all of her friends are as fine with her new relationship as she had previously thought, and her human counterpart is extremely closeted.

This is a story about queerness, friendship, bunnies, humans who think they’re bunnies, magic explosions, and extremely terrible flirting.

FROM THE CURATORS: When we discuss a story which is posted as a sequel, usually our conversation drifts to whether to feature the series’ first work instead.  But in this case, discussion shifted from the original to the sequel once we realized everyone was even more excited about it.  “Everything that makes the prequel, I Am Awkward (Yellow), great is amplified fivefold in Windmills,” Present Perfect said in his nomination.  “The jokes are further between, but they are adamantly memorable. The pure relationship drama has been replaced by a coming-out story that uses the dual-dimensional setup of Equestria Girls to perhaps its fullest extent. I mean, just the ethics of whether knowing a pony is gay means that you’ll out their human counterpart, alone, makes this worth exploring.”

The number of superlatives in our discussion quickly made the breadth of our appreciation clear.  “This knocked it out of the park,” FanOfMostEverything said.  “It has everything: Romance, drama, action, comedy, parallel universe shenanigans. … The story passed by in an amazing rush — mine, not the pacing’s — making the plotlines sync together in brilliant, seamless passes from one narrative arc to another.”  AugieDog, meanwhile, gushed about the story while assigning it a top score: “The author’s character work is gorgeous,” he said.  “There’s a scene in the first chapter where Fluttershy quietly seduces Moondancer that is funny, adorable, and sexy all at the same time, and the jaggedness under the surface of Twilight and Moondancer’s relationship gets completely exposed and explored during an arc that I can only call harrowing.  That the author brings in the Equestria Girls characters as well allows the story to explore their similarities and differences in a way I don’t recall seeing before in a fic.”

That was made even more impressive by the number of moving pieces this juggled.  “What stands out most, perhaps, is how good J Carp is at writing nuanced characters,” Present Perfect said.  “One has to imagine it was already hard enough to write two versions of the same character — and there are a lot of characters in this story — but every canon character has had their motives and personality thoroughly considered in order to drive the narrative. And that’s to say nothing of the one important OC.”  All those factors added up to a compelling argument for time-starved readers to dive into the middle.  “The only things you need to know,” AugieDog noted, “are that Twilight has hired Moondancer to move to Ponyville so they can study the Everfree forest, and that Moondancer and Fluttershy have fallen quite deeply in love.”

Read on for our author interview, in which J Carp discusses planetary rankings, mumblecore maturity, and superior Carolinas.
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Krickis’ “Each Small Step”

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Today’s story looks at some big problems.

Each Small Step
[Equestria Girls] [Romance] [Drama] [Slice of Life] • 13,137 words

[Note: This story contains themes of sexuality and self-harm.]

It’s been a long time since the Battle of the Bands, and a lot has changed for Aria. One of the bigger changes has been Sunset Shimmer. The two of them were never supposed to happen, but they somehow still did.

Not that it matters. Nothing good ever lasts, not for Aria Blaze.

FROM THE CURATORS: While stories like last week’s feature draw emotions from MLP by playing the show’s themes straight, there’s also a great deal of power in going the other direction — colliding the show with real life to show characters with all-too-familiar struggles.  And this Honorable Mention in the recent Sunset shipping contest left us all feeling a little punched, in the best way.  “This hit close to home, and it was really a tense marvel to sit through,” Present Perfect said in his nomination, while Soge was likewise drawn in: “Even when going through slice of life scenes, there is this undercurrent of tension to the prose, as if everything could break apart at any moment.  It is this well-constructed web of people doing the precise wrong thing at the wrong time, because that is just how they operate.”

Most of our discussion became praise for the way this illustrated its protagonist’s problems.  “The moment we see Aria’s state of affairs in this story, it’s obvious she’s suffering from depression,” Present Perfect said.  “It also quickly becomes obvious she has no idea what that really means; ergo, the word is never once used. Instead, we’re shown a long, painful snapshot of a woman self-destructing.”  AugieDog agreed that was exemplary: “As someone who’s never experienced anything close to this level of depression, I find myself so glad that fiction just plain exists,” he said.  “This story does such a fine job of showing rather than telling, too, not trying to explain Aria’s situation to me but just plain putting me inside her head to let me see the world as she sees it.”  And while the story goes to some dark places, it never abandoned pony’s sense of hope and friendship.  “It was a great choice to never come right out and say ‘Aria is depressed,’ and I did like the message — you don’t have to go it alone,” RBDash47 said.

Moreover, digging into the meat of the fic revealed depth beyond that solid portrayal.  “There’s some clever prose which brings the full weight of the emotions to bear,” Horizon said.  “Although Chapter 1 is arguably the biggest train wreck, the callback at the end of Chapter 2 is exquisitely painful.”  That plus exemplary character work rounded out the experience.  “I think this might’ve been the best Sonata I’ve ever read in a fic,” AugieDog said. “In just one conversation on the telephone, the author brings her completely to life — I mean, I totally want to read about her and Trixie’s adventures now.”

Read on for our author interview, in which Krickis discusses open worlds, messy ships, and misspelled rabbits.
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CoffeeMinion’s “Petunia and the Coelacanth”

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Dig into today’s story.

Petunia and the Coelacanth
[Slice of Life] • 2,705 words

Sometimes young Petunia Paleo’s dreams seem impossible.

Good thing dreams are Princess Luna’s specialty.

FROM THE CURATORS: Oddly enough, our first exposure to this sweet, feel-good story was a kerfluffle in our discussion thread.  “Ding dang it, PP!  I was just finishing up my own recommendation e-mail for this one,” AugieDog said immediately after Present Perfect’s nomination landed.  Present shot back, “Obviously, this was a good idea, then,” before Soge quickly greenlighted it: “A good idea it was indeed.  This is simply a slam dunk of a story, charming and unpretentious, yet chock full of narrative depths.”  Still, the choice of story got some good-natured pushback: “Honestly,” FanOfMostEverything said, “my only regret is that Coffee’s going to get featured for this and not To Serve In Hell.”

There were reasons we found this so eye-catching, though.  “Written very much in the style of a children’s story — it practically begins with the words ‘Once upon a time’ — this is just plain charming from top to bottom,” AugieDog said. “And while Petunia’s pint-sized pluck and determination are of course the center of the story, it’s the characterization of her parents that really got to me.”  Both those factors were cited repeatedly as exemplary.  “Despite being written in that ‘bedtime story’ style, it never seems to forget the presence of older readers, managing to make its style work in favor of establishing both atmosphere and character,” Soge said.  “And speaking of character, the characterization work here is amazing. All of the involved pop from the page. And it does all that in its sub-3k word count without ever feeling dense.”

Along the way, we found plenty to surprise and delight us.  “The story is filled with clever bits like the logical consequences of publishing a journal that contains Rainbow Dash’s thoughts on meeting the real live Daring Do,” FanOfMostEverything noted.  And several of us loved, as RBDash47 put it, “the concept that Luna is concerned with aspirational dreams as well as nighttime ones. This was a very logical continuation from several elements in the show, and a very satisfying one at that.”  But in the end, it was Present Perfect’s nomination e-mail which summed our enjoyment up best: “This is a fast-paced story that stuffs a whole ton of childish hopes and dreams into itself, before letting them burst forth in a display of pure positivity.”

Read on for our author interview, in which CoffeeMinion discusses guarded faith, self-compression, and yesterday’s sacrifices.
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MrPeaches’ “Wonka Vs. Applejack”

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Today’s story goes down better than a Scrumpdiddlyumptious Bar.

Wonka Vs. Applejack
[Adventure] [Comedy] [Crossover] • 14,202 words

Zap Apple season’s in full swing on Sweet Apple Acres when a most peculiar visitor arrives — Willy Wonka, world-famous candymaker! Thinking that the apple will be the perfect ingredient for a new line of candy, Wonka tries to convince a hesitant Applejack to part with some! But with Wonka things are never quite straightforward; when interdimensional magical mechanics and a legendary tree enter into the picture, our heroes might have been safer battling Hornswogglers, Snozzwangers and rotten Vermicious Knids!

FROM THE CURATORS: There’s no getting around it: this story came completely out of left field (or perhaps fell from the sky in a Great Glass Elevator). “I was extraordinarily skeptical of this story when it was recommended to me,” RBDash47 said in his nomination, “and delighted to find I had a great time with it.” “Wow,” Horizon said. “At the beginning of this story I was wondering if I’d make it through to the end. By the end of Chapter 5 I had favorited it.” FanOfMostEverything couldn’t resist either: “It took a while for me to warm up to this fic, but once I had, it was melt-in-your-mouth good.”

Everyone agreed that the author presented their audience with a pitch-perfect Willy Wonka. Present Perfect was “absolutely in love with this piece the moment Wonka showed up. It’s truly a triumph of character voicing.” RBDash47 was just as impressed at how “the author succeeded in capturing some essence of Wonka, some spirit of the mad chocolatier, and did a passable job of blending both the movie’s and the books’ interpretations of the character and the Elevator.”

Even better, this larger-than-life candymaker turned out to be a perfect fit for the magical land of Equestria. Horizon felt the author truly nailed the crossover: “It’s got such a gorgeous understanding of the themes and tones of both of its sources. (It’s an E-rated adventure! How often do you see those?) And the way it meshes pony canon, Dahl canon, and original whimsy is stellar.” FanOfMostEverything enjoyed how “the pastel deathworld of Equestria and Wonka’s OSHA-violating whimsy combined in a magnificent blend of wonder, mortal peril, and candy (which, since it’s Wonka, is itself a blend of those first two).” RBDash47 isn’t usually a fan of HiE, but thought “this might be the first ‘human in Equestria’ fic I’ve ever read where not only is the human’s presence not jarring, it feels right.” Present Perfect agreed that “it felt like Willy Wonka was honestly meant to be here and have this adventure.”

In the end, AugieDog summarized the curators’ feelings as effortlessly as the author captured their imaginations: “Unlike your average chocolate Easter bunny, this is solid fun from top to bottom.”

Read on for our author interview, in which MrPeaches discusses big brothers, everyday adventures, and riding bulls. Continue reading