Today’s story explores a side of Trixie we know all too well, and today’s story explores a side of Trixie we’ve never seen before.
Great and Powerful
[Alternate Universe] [Drama] [Sad] • 3,470 words
With nowhere left to go, the Great and Powerful Trixie finds herself returning to Canterlot, the city she tried to get away from so long ago …
FROM THE CURATORS: Like Trixie herself, there’s a lot more to Great and Powerful than first impressions would indicate. “This story looks like a typical ‘sad Trixie’ fic at first, as we see her morosely reflecting on her ill fortune and general misery in her old(er) age,” Chris said. “But a bit less than halfway through, it throws a wrench into the works which caught me totally off guard.” Present Perfect agreed: “I really want to call this just another Sad Trixie, but I can’t.” It wasn’t only the twist which impressed us, but also its execution. “This flows seamlessly between canon and what could easily be an AU, and ends up feeling larger than its word count,” Soge said.
Given our curators’ different approaches to fiction, however, what was most remarkable about this story was how much overlap there was in what we found praiseworthy. “It makes good use of intentional repetition, and manages to be almost completely opaque about what actually happened without alienating the reader,” Chris said, and Soge echoed his appreciation of that: “There is something kinda vague, almost mystical in its presentation.” Another point of agreement was the thoughtful use of MLP’s wider world. “There are also a few really clever inclusions of minor bits of canon,” Chris said, which Present Perfect appreciated too: “I can’t be down on a story that turns ‘Trixie doesn’t trust wheels’ into an immediate, serious issue,” he said. “And that salt and pepper metaphor! That’s not the kind of thing you ever see in fanfic.”
Neither was the overall tone of the piece, AugieDog thought. “The word I want to use is ‘elegiac,’ but not in the modern English sense,” he said. “In Classical Greek and Roman times, an elegy was more than just a funeral poem … it often dealt with endings, but they could be happy endings, sad endings, satyrical endings, et cetera. Here, we get two endings, both of them happening at the same time and in the same place but both of them at least a universe apart from each other. And they’re both wonderfully elegiac, the first in a poetic and sad way and the second in a ‘recalling a life well-lived’ way.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Between Lines discusses Arctic trips, Crackerjack boxes, and Slinky Jengas.
Give us the standard biography.
Not a lot to say, honestly. Got my start in the fandom a few years ago back in college, around season two. Classic story of a curmudgeon complaining about all this pony stuff, and a friend encouraging me to give it a try. Found Fimfiction shortly thereafter, and was hooked almost immediately. I wish I could remember the story that got convinced me to start writing, but all I can remember is a general frustration with the HiE formula of either clashing empires or displaced self-inserts, so I wrote “Hand of Man” to bring what I felt was a new take on the genre. The rest, to use a cliche, is history.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
Was mostly just free-association with the pony style of naming. Just mashed words together until I got two that managed to be clever and thematically appropriate. I liked Between Lines, because I’ve always been a fan of the concept of reading between the lines. That said, I’ll be the first to admit that my writing hardly espouses the subtlety I’m so fond of, but people seem to like it well enough.
Who’s your favorite pony?
That is tough, but I think Lyra’s always held spot #1 in my heart. There’s something about the energy the fandom’s imbued her with, as well as her goofy conspiracy theories, that I find endlessly charming. She’s a dreamer, the kind of pony who’d blow her life savings on a trip to the Arctic in search of the Sasquatch.
What’s your favorite episode?
Ah geeze, that’s an unfair question. I’d say the 100th episode. It was so nice to feel like the fandom had contributed something to the show, even if the result was … a bit of a mess. But it was a good mess, a fun mess. Maybe it’s just narcissism as a fan talking, but it really felt like a watershed moment, and just the best nod to us all.
What do you get from the show?
Raw ideas and a smile. I like to think of it like a Crackerjack box: every week you get something new, and even if it’s not the best, it’s something you didn’t have before.
What do you want from life?
POWER. Nah, peace of mind, really. If you’ve got that, then you can take anything else in stride.
Why do you write?
That’s a question with a fluctuating answer. On my good days I write because I love to create, and I love making the world of ponies a richer and more interesting place for it. And on my bad days I write because I’m human and I want attention. I don’t accomplish a lot on my bad days. *laughs*
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Understand the difference between quality and marketing. Views are all about marketing, not quality. I see so many authors that lament their low view count, and think it makes them a bad author. Not at all. It just wasn’t marketed well. The key to success is writing what you love, then figuring out how to sell that to the audience. Think about stories you’ve stopped to read, why did the description draw you in? What did you see that made you open up that first chapter? If you’re getting good ratios but no views, don’t change how you write, change how you pitch.
Is Trixie indeed great and powerful by the end of the story?
What sort of adventure did Humble Pie have?
One that’s been put on hiatus as I re-engineer the rest of the universe. *laughs* I’ve honestly got a whole crazy continuity planned, but I’m still working out how to pitch and structure it. I’ve got a universe built around 4-5 great story arcs, and ideally Humble’s adventure would be third in that sequence. Unfortunately, building a continuity like that is like playing Jenga with Slinkys. The going has been slow, but I hope to start actually publishing them soon.
What went into writing the repeating portion of the story?
A lot of feedback, for starters. There’s a line you have to walk between repeating the structure closely enough to highlight the differences, and yet not turning it into a droning verbatim. I owe a lot of that to my friend Infalle, who … it occurs to me I forgot to credit in the story. Sorry buddy, you’re getting credit now.
What inspired the salt and pepper shakers?
I love taking grand metaphors and boiling them down to something absurdly mundane, like using tableware to explain grand cosmic forces of life and purpose.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Maybe a moment to both thank and apologize to my fans. My writing habits are absurdly whimsical, with me throwing out all-caps comedies one moment, then bleak nihilistic tragedies the next. Thank you all for sticking with me through what has no doubt been an occasionally disappointing ride. *laughs* I hope to finally begin on two proper, full length, multi-chapter stories soon, but my record with those is so terrible that I can’t promise anything. Still, here’s hoping.