Today’s story offers a sweet deal: a two-for-one sale on action and comedy, with free shipping (while supplies last).
Daring Do(esn’t Need A Special Somepony)
[Romance] [Comedy] [Adventure] • 9,340 words
Hearts and Hooves Day is a sorry excuse for a holiday. Maybe it’s the fact that most of her dates tend to get eaten by manticores, but Daring Do has long since given up on risen above any longing for romance.
But that doesn’t mean she’s not 100% okay with slinking into the Sugar Cloud Confectionery to hit up their sale on rainbow truffles. Hay no. This is her most important quest of the year.
Hopefully it doesn’t end up like last Hearts and Hooves Day.
FROM THE CURATORS: “I’m not usually much for shipping stories,” Chris said with typical understatement in his nomination, “so when one catches my fancy my thoughts turn to the RCL.” As you might expect, a story good enough to win fans across genre lines sailed through to an easy feature, but we were all surprised at how many things this did right.
“This is basically the literary equivalent of a romance film that incorporates some action sub-plot to keep male audiences from dismissing it as a chick flick. And by god, does it work. I haven’t had this much fun reading a story in a while,” JohnPerry said. Present Perfect, meanwhile, lauded the comedy. “This was hilarious from the outset,” he said. “The scene with Daring pulling a wagon and Fleetfoot chucking cushions at guardsponies perfectly sums up just what a ride this is. It’s ridiculous how well this story works.” And Chris found the emotions authentic: “What ultimately sold me on this story was the ending. The way that infatuation, real life, and that ineffable combination of complacency, passivity, and fear-induced laziness combine in that exchange brought everything together for me.”
What it added up to was clear: a strong story from a multi-talented author. “That Fahrenheit is as skilled with action as with comedy is not something you see every day,” Present Perfect said, while Horizon summed it up: “This story makes a lot of promises, and fulfills them all. Great characters, some hearty laughs, an unexpected and unexpectedly touching moral … there’s something in this story for everyone.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Fahrenheit discusses meteorological heroes, defenestrated stereotypes, and midnight matchmaking.
Give us the standard biography.
I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to have lived for at least two decades before you qualify for a biography, but I’ll give it a shot.
Hey story time:
So once upon a time I was born, and my parents started reading to me. I went to elementary school, and my teachers read to me. I went to middle school, and kept my books beneath the desk, on my lap, so my teachers wouldn’t scold me for reading instead of working. Then I went to high school, and reading took a backseat for the first time in my life while I learned how to properly socialize.
Currently, I’m a nineteen-year-old college student with a perpetual case of the hiccups. I’m in the process of transferring universities, and since my new college is a few hours away, I’m about to move out of my parents’ house for the first time, which is terrifying really exciting. I’m quite thrilled.
My pastimes have included badminton, martial arts, closet optimism, drama club, evading Army recruiters, jousting with traffic cones, waging holy war against the spiders that sneak into my bedroom, and tripping over virtually everything.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
If we’re being symbolic, “Fahrenheit” represents a merging of two of my passions: weather and literature. To condense a good bit of reminiscing, I got to watch the Weather Channel instead of cartoons when I was young, and meteorologist Jim Cantore was my hero. Storm Stories was my favorite show, and while it didn’t teach me lessons about the magic of friendship, I learned that the sky is a source of great and terrible beauty.
The not-so-subtle literary connection would be to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, which was required reading in my 9th grade literature class. At the time, I was only into fantasy/adventure-type stories, and so Bradbury’s dystopia was my first taste of something a bit darker. While the story itself doesn’t make the list of life-changing reads, the title remains one of my favorites — it’s meaningful and melodic and oh-so haunting.
If we’re being 100% honest, though, my Steam username is “PrincessPowPow” (courtesy of Dad) and I wanted something more dignified to feed my delusions of grandeur. At the same time, I wanted something that was a plausible pony name. I love how Fahrenheit sounds. I love how the letters look together. I love how Spell Check always has my back whenever I log in.
Who’s your favorite pony?
What’s your favorite episode?
Oh dear. I love so many. “Sonic Rainboom,” “The Cutie Mark Chronicles,” and “The Best Night Ever” are all wonderful, but “Wonderbolts Academy” currently holds the title of favorite episode, in part because “Military Bronies React to Wonderbolts Academy” had me laughing so hard that I was very nearly reduced to tears. Plus, Spitfire.
What do you get from the show?
First, and foremost, I get surprisingly thoughtful lessons about life. “The Best Night Ever” is really what sold me on the show’s treatment of friendship, because it basically took all of the stereotypes and tropes about Prom, set them on fire, and threw them out the proverbial window.
Secondly, the show gives me something to talk about with my little sister. I’m firstborn and she’s the youngest, so while we liked each other when we were younger, our interests never really meshed. We were sisters, but we weren’t friends — until the sly little devil started watching some pony show while I was trying to work out. Now, we spend Saturday mornings together shouting at the television and each other (We have different shipping preferences). My bedroom walls are decorated with pony artwork she’s drawn for me, and whenever I take her anywhere, the car is filled with the not-quite-harmonious sounds of us belting out the lyrics to various friendship songs.
Last, but certainly not least, I get to be a part of the most creatively talented fandom I’ve ever seen. Though my sister exposed me to the show, the fanfiction is what got me into the fandom itself — a Supernatural/MLP crossover, to be exact. The fanfiction here is SO GOOD, AUGH. I’m never going back.
It’s not just the writing that astounds me, either. The music, fanimations, fanart, organized websites like EQD — everything is amazing. It’s such a satisfying community to be a part of, not in the least because of the people. It’s been said a thousand times before, but this is honestly a delightful place to be. Friendship is magic, indeed.
What do you want from life?
Juliet Marillier captured it quite nicely in Son of the Shadows: “‘Don’t you long for something … so exciting and new it carries you along with it like a great tide, something that lets your life blaze and burn so the whole world can see it?”
I’ve always wanted to live a grand adventure, but the older I get, the more convinced I become that life is an adventure by definition.
I suppose I want to always have a goal to pursue, a horizon to chase. I want a steady supply of quotable quotes and enough sticky notes to write them all down on. I want a lifetime’s worth of bad puns, and friends to tell me just how horrible they are. I hope I never miss an opportunity to make someone smile. I hope I’ll always have a good view of the sky.
I think what I really want out of life is something worth writing about. The best stories mean something, y’know? And that’s really what we’re destined for, in the end. We all become stories. I’d like mine to mean something.
Why do you write?
It depends on what I’m writing. I write essays for my teachers, poetry for myself, and pony fanfiction for fun — it’s great practice, and I share what I write because I think someone else might also enjoy it. I’ll never know who all’s on the other side of the words I write, but I can do my best to capture their attention and dance with it, if only for a little bit.
I can’t not write. The imagination that — in my pre-literate childhood — turned swing sets into pirate ships and couches into castles has evolved with the years to ensure that my head is swimming with sentences. I was never able to play without narrating my imagined adventures, and now I can’t look at a sunset without hundreds of epithets springing to mind, tripping over themselves to find those thousand words to describe the scene before me. Words are the one toy I’ve never outgrown, and I do so love to play with them.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
If you’re new to the whole writing thing, the absolute best way to learn your grammars is to find a good piece of literature and read the crap out of it. That “books intensify” gif should be your life. I know nearly everyone says this, but I’d like to recommend that you read the same material multiple times; the first time I inhaled read the Harry Potter series, I was soaking up the plot. It was only by frequently rereading it that I began to notice how J.K. Rowling described things, not just what she was writing about. Grammatically speaking, I learned more from that series than I did from seven-plus years of the Shurley Method (“Preposition, preposition, starting with an A …”).
If you’re a budding author of any sort, don’t be afraid to dream big — but make sure you have the patience and determination to match your ambition. Give even your craziest ideas room to breathe. Remember that you don’t have to be a talented writer to be a skilled one, because hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. In this case, working hard means writing — even if the words are stubborn and your ideas seem like a bunch of dusty left socks. Put on some upbeat music, pretend you’re in a montage, and write.
If you’ve been doing the author-ing thing for a while, I highly recommend that you think about the absolute best advice that you could give to a writer, type that out, and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kidding. Keep on writing, fellow word people.
Let’s turn to Daring Do(esn’t Need a Special Somepony). Firstly, why Daring Do and Fleetfoot?
It was a match made at one in the morning. The logic behind it is questionable, at best.
I’m fond of pairings where the characters are on roughly equal footing, or at least have complimentary attributes. Fleetfoot and Daring are both athletic, both at the top of their respective careers, and both have delightfully sassy sides to their personalities. (Additionally, they both have fabulous hair, but who doesn’t in this show?)
I took a look at the notes I used to write the story, and the only bullet point concerning the pairing itself is “Daring runs into Fleetfoot, some bigshot Wonderbolt, while going to the back of the store. Considers best way to take her out.” (Of the picture, not to dinner.)
What sources of inspiration did you draw from while writing this story?
I tried browsing through TV Tropes for inspiration, and even wrote down a bunch of potential tropes, but the only one I wound up using was “Improbable Use of a Weapon,” and even that didn’t get more than a passing mention. I mainly relied on my limited amount of real-life experiences for inspiration. Examples are as follow:
Someone in my neighborhood was shooting off fireworks around noon on Valentine’s Day, so I threw that into the story — just to open things up with a bang.
One of my JROTC commanders would call cadets “Pansies” whenever we required motivation, and it’s something that always made me giggle (on the inside, that is — gotta keep your bearing when in uniform). I figured that as a writer, Daring Do would be extremely aware of how she appears to others — her entire career is built upon this highly flattering, tough-as-nails self-characterization. Therefore, she’d be wary of doing anything that might compromise this image she’s sold to her readers. What would she be worth, if she couldn’t live up to the standard she’s set for herself? So she has to be tough to maintain her self-respect, and that means throwing emotions out the window — especially love.
I am but a young girl and know little in the ways of war love, but I know that it requires making yourself vulnerable. You have to open up — bare your emotions, a bit — and that’s not something that Daring would be eager to do. Calling ponies pansies is the perfect defense mechanism; it gives her an excuse to be on her guard all the time without seeming defensive. Daring Do, afraid of love? Ha! She just doesn’t want to be a lame-flank pansy!
(Rest assured, I’m only thinking of this now. When I was writing it, the thought process went something like: “Heh. Daring Do would totally hate H&HD. Romance is for … weaklings? Losers? Pansies? Pansies. Perfect.)
How does one go about balancing romance, comedy, and action, as you’ve done in this story?
It really depends on what you want your story to be. You can have a funny romance with exciting, action-packed climaxes without writing an adventure story, per se (see: Fire and Rain). In that story, the romance is given precedence, with comedy folded in throughout and a heavy dollop of action plopped in toward the end. Plus, Spitfire.
For Daring Do(esn’t), comedy was given the top priority. Since it’s very much an adventure story, the comedy and romance needed to be thoroughly blended into the action to avoid breaking the flow of the narrative. It’s natural for some scenes to focus more on one genre or another, just as it’s alright to throw comedic relief into the most dramatic of situations — so long as you don’t abruptly switch from one tone to another.
That’s really the key to balancing genres: don’t try to section them off. Instead, mix everything together in a gradient. You can have bluntly-delivered jokes scattered about, sure, but if you want to write an action-packed comedy, make the action funny. The same goes for rom-coms; the romance should be just as amusing as the rest of the story.
Were there any challenges you ran into while writing this?
Finding a starting point for the story was really the hardest part. I had a general idea of what was going to happen, but I didn’t know where to jump in. Combined with the fact that this was my very first story I intended to share on FimFiction, I had enough nervous energy behind my fingers to keep them flitting around for a good forty minutes before they settled down and got a proper introduction going. Once I got into it, the story practically wrote itself, which was a magical experience (albeit a hungry one; the plot train doesn’t stop for anything).
Oh, describing the Tetrahedron was a tad frustrating. Architecture is not my area of expertise.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to thank Bookish Delight and Meridian Prime for promoting Daring Do(esn’t Need a Special Somepony) back when it first came out. It wouldn’t have enjoyed nearly as much attention without your recommendations. Thank you!
If anyone has questions, comments, awesome pictures of the Wonderbolts they’d like to share, or a hankering for random stories about my life, I am available for friendship purposes on Fimfiction.