Although today’s story is a tragedy, you can fall in love with it without any regrets.
The Mare Who Fell In Love With The Wind
[Romance] [Tragedy] • 3,806 words
Once upon a time, a Princess was alone in her crystal palace, and she sang to the wind in her sorrow. But when the wind is a Windigo, the wind sings back.
FROM THE CURATORS: The first thing you’ll notice about this multi-part fic is its small size — six chapters in less than 4,000 words — and that was one of the factors that turned our heads. “This story shows how to do more with less,” Chris said. “It’s a bare, almost spartan storytelling style, and I thought it did a great job of showing the strengths of that type of writing.” Horizon agreed: “IceOfWaterflock shows a deft touch in keeping us flipping the page. This is exceptionally economical storytelling.”
What that storytelling skill presented was, in JohnPerry’s words, “a genuinely engaging story with a classic star-crossed lovers premise and a great fairy tale feel in places.” While — as Present Perfect noted — “the fairy tale structure really helps it along,” it went beyond those roots. Chris’ nomination offered an idea of the breadth it was able to pack in: “Even as it builds a fairytale romance, spins a history of the Crystal Empire, and speculates on the nature of windigoes, this slim fic doesn’t resort to clunky exposition or asides.”
The core fairy tale, meanwhile, inspired several comparisons to the classics. “This is the Brothers Grimm version of the Fall of the Crystal Empire,” Horizon said. “It’s almost ‘Biblical Monsters‘ dark — and it’s made a hell of a lot darker with a little fridge thought about what canon shows us in modern times — but it carries its own weight.” AugieDog went even further back: “With so much of the show being inspired by Greek myth, I’m surprised to think that this might be the first fanfic I’ve seen that really visits that same well. And that it’s sort of a pony version of ‘Iphigenia in Aulis‘ just makes me grin.”
Read on for our author interview, in which IceOfWaterflock discusses therapeutic stories, immortal robots, and Bermuda Triangle dragons.
Give us the standard biography.
Well, I’ll cover all the bases; I’m 17, go by Ice, agender and demipansexual. I was a pretty active member in this fandom for a good three or four years, but due to harassment on a different site I’ve all but quit it. I might come back with a few big fics just to maintain my reputation and save you all from human-in-Equestria self-inserts, but don’t expect too much for a while. Continuing on, I live in Canada and have been working towards starting my own organization known as Aphelion Vigil, which includes programs such as a social network named Briar Nexus and my game studio Gray Lion Studios.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
It’s actually quite old — from when I just started writing. I was around eleven when I wrote six novel-length stories about dragons living in the Bermuda Triangle and getting mixed up with humanity, and the main character was — in classic eleven-year-old fashion — an angsty self-insert silver dragoness by the name of Ice. She lived in the group of dragons known as Waterflock, so I started to go by Ice of Waterflock. It was modified to IceOfWaterflock when I was joining DeviantART, as it didn’t allow spaces in usernames and I wanted to make sure the words were properly defined. It’s stuck ever since.
Who’s your favorite pony?
I don’t think I really have a favourite canon pony. I like drawing and writing about Twilight Sparkle, because I like her characterization and her color scheme. Also, she’s the most likely to screw something up through magic, which is pretty good for writing stories around.
What’s your favorite episode?
Again, I don’t really have a favourite. Quite honestly, I don’t think the show does much story-wise for that to have a sensible answer. Hand me a season where things aren’t solved in a two-part musical episode, and I’d be happier. I mostly work from up to the season two pilot and Twilight becoming an alicorn; other than that, I don’t really follow the show.
What do you get from the show?
It’s cute, I guess. I liked it more before bronies became so … overpowering, for lack of a better word. Every kid’s show airing around now that doesn’t have a giant male following has had actual story and character progression — I’m more invested in shows I’ve never actually seen than a show I watched every episode of for two seasons! Again, like I mentioned above, if a major character arc happened instead of just in special two-parters, I’d be more interested.
What do you want from life?
To simplify it: to be happy. To complicate it: to have an immortal robot body, be free to travel space for eternity while still able to maintain contact with all of my friends and family, to have my projects complete, and to have an actually satisfying ending to Mass Effect 3.
Why do you write?
Depends on the story. I’ve written some for personal reasons, like “All We Have” and “That’s What Ponies Are Made Of”; some for OC development, like “In The Land of the Desert Sun” and “Elite”; some that I came up with on a whim or a doodle and continued when they got popular, like “I Wasn’t Prepared for This” and “Starfall”; some for therapeutic reasons like the unreleased “Per Adua Ad Astra”. “The Mare Who Fell In Love With The Wind” falls between the first and third reasons. For those of you reading this because you already know of my stories, I do have plans for finishing “A True, True Friend” and a final story to close the storyline completely … as well as 36 unpublished stories with varying levels of seriousness and length. Trust me, I want to finish them all too.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Oh, jeez, I’m probably not the best to answer this, judging by my low content output. Well, actually, that might be my advice — don’t force yourself to finish writing things you don’t want to. If you write by opening up a notepad document and scribbling out snippets of important scenes but never tie them all together, if you write the first chapter and nothing else, if you write the last chapter and nothing else, if you develop the characters and nothing else, if you rewrite other canons to be MLP-related — that’s all okay. Write what makes you happy. I happened to strike gold with “I Wasn’t Prepared for This”, and it’s probably my top story so far. But it’s also one of the stories I put the least love into. If I could have chosen a different story to transfer that fame to, I would have probably picked “In The Land of the Desert Sun” or “The Mare in the Lighthouse” — I’ve put much more thought into them, even though they have less chapters right now. But I still only wrote IWPfT because I loved writing it, even if I didn’t love the story itself as much. Don’t let yourself get famous on things you never wanted to write, or you’ll just be sick and tired of it and it’ll show in your writing. Make sure you get praised for something you’re proud of. And uh, stay in school, don’t do drugs, all that good stuff.
Despite it lacking a [Dark] tag, the reviewers all agreed that this was a very dark story, especially as regards the creation of the Crystal Heart. Do you see it that way?
I think, had I focused more on the creation of the Heart, it definitely would have been. But it wasn’t meant to be; there was to be love and there was to be loss, and which parts of the story were considered which may be up for debate. I just tend to lean away from using the Dark tags unless it’s going to focus on that darkness — this story wasn’t about how the Heart was created, it was about the characters who had roles to play in that creation.
The romance in this story is firmly in the “love at first sight” mold. Why did you chose to go this direction, rather than writing it in a more “realistic” way?
It was mostly because it was meant to be a quick story. I wanted a low word count, just to get the idea out there. (I’ll admit I’m surprised this is the story that got me chosen for an interview, compared to my others.) I don’t think I would change that aspect — it was intended to be fairytale-like, and that includes a lack of romantic tension. Drawbacks of that style, I suppose.
We also noticed the strong mythical influence to this story; while discussing it, we compared it to The Brothers Grimm, Iphigenia in Aulis, and others. What specific myths and mythologies did you draw on for this story, and to what extent did they influence you?
I didn’t actually draw from anything specific, to be quite honest, and I’m honored at the comparisons. It definitely had roots in traditional myths, of course, but I’ve read multiple versions of the same myths and creatures (as well as coming up with my own!) so I don’t think I would be able to pin it directly to one telling. Consider it a headcanon of real-world myths.
Were the politics of this story inevitable in your mind? Or could the crystal ponies and Windigoes have come to coexist, had plans and events been different?
In the context of this story, it was inevitable. This was a story where there was a very clear ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ when it came to the races, and the divide was — well, it was literally a giant magic bubble. There couldn’t be coexistence on a societal scale in this specific story because there was never meant to be that level of coexistence in this story. I could probably write hundreds of variations on the interactions between these two species, but not in this story. This story was just a personal coexistence — and it led to a personal loss.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Nothing specific, really. Think of me whenever you see a cool lizard. That’s all, I think.