If you’re a fan of unusual perspectives, you’ll find today’s story really shines.
The Endless Song
[Alternate Universe] • 2,365 words
Once, I was alone.
I felt neither sorrow nor joy at this. The presence or absence of others meant nothing to me. The universe moved in silence, and I drifted in its flow.
Then came the song.
FROM THE CURATORS: When a story reaches unanimous approval with our team, you know it’s doing something big right — and our accolades started with the premise. “What I love about The Endless Song is that it takes a very simple, almost cliché plot, then tells it from a novel perspective, and wrapped in the language of myth despite not taking the form of one,” Chris said. Horizon quickly agreed: “There’s nothing like excellent execution of an unexpected approach to renew a classic idea.” That approach — telling Celestia’s tale from the point of view of the sun she moves — offered more than just a novel narrator. “What a great take on immortality in the MLP universe,” JohnPerry said. “Most immortality stories in this fandom dwell on the loneliness of the immortal; this one seems to take it in the opposite direction.”
More than that, though, we fell in love with the prose. “It’s not a word I get to use very often, but I’m gonna call this ‘elegant’,” AugieDog said, and Chris agreed in similar terms: “‘Beautiful’ is exactly the word I’d use to describe this. It paints an image of the universe that fires the imagination, and does so in a disarmingly straightforward, achingly guileless way.” Along with that elegance came some emotional moments, as Present Perfect noted: “What really helped make this not be yet another ‘ancient history from a novel perspective’ story was the sun’s character development, when it could look back and say ‘I was naive.’ That and adding more heartbreak to Luna’s story. I’m always up for making that more tragic.”
Small wonder that we found it a compelling fanfic. “It presents a very pony way of looking at life despite its fundamentally alien perspective,” Horizon said, and Chris offered even bigger accolades: “I couldn’t even wager a guess as to how many stories I’ve read in this fandom, but my favorites folder currently sits at 45. This is one of those 45 stories.”
Read on for our author interview, in which psychicscubadiver discusses musical sensations, body metaphors, and a life free of wasp fears.
Give us the standard biography.
Long ago in a nearby land I, Psychic, the Scubadiving master of writing, unleashed an unspeakable story! A foolish brony reader wielding a magic upvote stepped forth to support me. *Dresden Fillies* *BIG* *The Endless Song* Before the final comment was sent I tore open a portal in fiction and flung him into the website, where my stories are law. Now the fool seeks to return to the real world and undo the author that is Psychic…
*cue theme music*
Chuckle, more seriously I am an American male in my late twenties, and the oldest of four children. My entire family loves to read, and I was introduced to the world of fiction at a very young age. Currently my library is somewhere in the upper three digits, and I desperately need more bookshelves to contain it. I spent four years working in a bookstore and three years cleaning factories; the former was more fun, but the second paid considerably better. I am an Eagle Scout and have camped at both Owasippe and Philmont. My hobbies include reading (sci-fi, fantasy, alternate history, manga, comics, and fanfics mainly, with small asides into other genres), writing, video games, hiking, building campfires, and tabletop RPGs.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
It dates all the way back to freshman year of high school when a friend of mine gave me his email: Voodooclown. He explained that not only was it easy to remember but it was hardly ever taken when joining a new website. Inspired, I decided to come up with something equally random and went with the first thing that popped into my head: psychicscubadiver. Humorously enough I have never been scuba diving in my life, and I live hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean. I am not psychic either, just in case you wondered about that.
Who’s your favorite pony?
Oh jeez. Given a mutual love of books I have to say Twilight. Applejack and Rarity are close seconds, though.
What’s your favorite episode?
“Party of One.” There have been many that I love but that one somehow always makes me laugh.
What do you get from the show?
I dunno. On one hand there are many shows, series, movies, etc., that I love equally as much. Yet there is something about FIM that struck a chord with me, that made me love it right away. I think it’s the characters. They are each distinct and fully realized people capable of growth and change and yet never really stray from the traits that make them so engaging to begin with.
What do you want from life?
A quiet, comfortable home and the excitement of exploring the world outside my door. I enjoy seeing and doing new things, yet need comfort and familiarity to recharge my batteries. I’d also like to win the lottery, but I’m not holding my breath.
Why do you write?
Mostly because I have a very vivid imagination. Ideas, settings and plot threads occur to me constantly and have done so nearly all my life. My folders are stuffed full with more ideas than I could ever have the time to write.
If you mean fanfiction, well, that started back in my early years of college when I was trying to write a novel. Honestly, the attempts weren’t that good, though I may revisit those ideas someday. A friend suggested that I try writing fanfiction to get some practice in and work with already established characters. I disregarded the advice, but later on I was introduced to ponies and gave her suggestion another try. I started with a crossover between The Dresden Files and MLP, a combination which after everything I have learned afterwards should never have worked, yet at the time it seemed so natural to put them together I just did it without thinking.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Three things … well, four, I suppose.
One: Find a good editor
- I got lucky here and a good editor found me. I still remember our first interaction and will summarize it here:
Silentcarto: I read the first two chapters of your fic and it’s decent but could use work.
Me: Oh yeah? If you’re so clever then point out where I went wrong.
He did so, I learned a share of humility, and we’ve worked together more or less happily ever since. A good editor is a friend (preferably one with a good grasp of grammar) but they aren’t afraid to tell you when you’ve screwed up. I do quite often and will continue to do so at regular intervals.
Two: Internalize your character
- It’s a bit hard to describe but basically understand your character and listen to them. A character should speak to you about what they will and won’t do in a situation. Princess Celestia is a calm and collected ruler who has weathered the storm of centuries. It’s pretty unlikely for her to flip out and start dropping profanities merely at the sight of your villain/human/OC/all-of-the-above. If there is a conflict where the plot requires the character to act one way and their nature dictates another way, then re-write the plot. Find a new way to achieve the same outcome rather than force that character to behave in a manner opposite to them. This also goes for OCs and such. If your character is supposed to be intelligent, mature, patient or kind don’t have them act stupid, childish, hasty or cruel without loads of justification. If you’re writing over-the-top parody, feel free to ignore this entire section. If you’re writing an AU version of a character, be sure to make their differences from their original clear early on.
Three: Learn to accept criticism
- Big egos can ruin a would-be author like nothing else. You will screw up, people will criticize you for it (some unfairly, others fairly), and if you have humility it will help you grow as a writer. Accept your mistakes, learn from them, and improve yourself.
Four: Sanderson’s Three Laws
- Some of them only apply in certain situations, but the second applies to almost every piece of fiction. Read them, understand them, and when applicable follow them. A master of the craft can get away with breaking the rules, but few people are masters, so don’t assume you are (I’m certainly not).
What inspired “The Endless Song”?
Another short story, that I read a long time ago. It was about the events of Easter Sunday from the perspective of the boulder that covered the entrance of the tomb. A surprising amount of old sci-fi/fantasy short stories focused on religious subjects. Anyway, I wondered what some of the inanimate objects in Equestria would think about what was happening. Somehow that morphed into being focused on the sun and everything followed from there.
Was it difficult writing a story from the point of view of a character who isn’t actually a character in the show?
Not really. It is somewhat more difficult to create a fully realized character than to rely on the ones we already have, but not terribly so. The really difficult part was writing a character without a conventional body. I never even realized how many metaphors and references we use that involve our bodies and their functions until I intentionally stopped using them.
The old saying holds that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” Did you find it challenging to convey the feeling of the song here?
I think you pointed out the secret to it right there. I never wrote about the music in any technical kind of way. I conveyed the feelings the music inspired, and the way it affected the characters, specifically Sol. Music itself is impossible to capture in writing, but way it makes us feel, the sensations both cognitive and visceral that it invokes can be very nicely detailed in writing.
You’ve also written stories where the ponies get involved with Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden and stories where they live in a universe based on the Firefly TV series. What draws you to crossovers like these?
I’m not really sure. There’s something that just feels fundamentally right when I find a way to meld two things I love together.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Three odd facts about me that are entirely true:
One – I have seen inside my own abdominal cavity. Not via video but with my own eyes.
Two – I was accused of sexual harassment when I was five years old.
Three – I have no fear of wasps, bees or spiders and will let them crawl on me freely.
You can read The Endless Song at FIMFiction.net. Read more interviews right here at the Royal Canterlot Library, or suggest stories for us to feature at our Fimfiction group.