We are impressed with today’s story.
We Are Forever
[Equestria Girls] [Comedy] [Slice of Life] • 9,973 words
The pilot episode of the Rainbooms’ reality television show, in which the band breaks up.
As expected, mild drama, washout humour, awkward pop culture references, and character bending to breaking point ensues.
FROM THE CURATORS: While it’s a truism that stories should work with the strengths of prose rather than try to mimic another medium, it can be a joy to find tales which effectively break that rule. “Here’s a story that genuinely made me feel like I was watching TV,” Horizon said in his nomination. “The way it imitates that tightly cut, fast-paced style not only works brilliantly, it also centers golden dialogue and witty repartee that carries the story.” On its way to a feature, the story accumulated significant praise on that point. “The way it plays with the medium shouldn’t work nearly as well as it does, and yet here we are,” FanOfMostEverything said. “All told, this is a brilliant collision of the modern music industry, reality TV, and a certain septet of multicolored humanoids.”
And while that was a combination which invited comparison, the fic found itself in lofty company. “I was getting serious ‘This is Spinal Tap’ flashbacks all through this fic, and that’s a very good thing indeed,” AugieDog said. “The story even manages the amazing feat of parodying the characters we know from the Rainbooms while still remaining absolutely true to them, something else that ‘Spinal Tap’ did so very well.” That wasn’t the only story element whose execution pleasantly surprised us. “It even manages some visual gags that by all rights shouldn’t have worked — I’m specifically thinking of the running gag with their cell phones — and works in some great running musical references that might be seen as fourth-wall breaking but to me just came off as endearing,” Horizon said. And Present Perfect loved several different aspects: “The droll narrator helps keep the fast pacing natural, while also providing us with a huge helping of the comedy,” he said. “The ability to juggle so many characters, and make all their contributions to both halves of the story meaningful, was impressive. But mostly, I just love how well the constant cuts to the Interview Area were handled.”
It all added up to an oddly endearing package. “This got weird at times, and I mean that in a good way,” FanOfMostEverything said. “Overall, it was a great read, somehow combining sincere seven-way friendshipping with the sort of characterization and casual mockery I usually see in goofy crackfics.” Present Perfect agreed: “Oh god, the references. This was a marvelous, original piece, something completely unlike anything I think I have ever read, fanfiction or otherwise.”
Read on for our author interview, in which PapierSam discusses cheese brags, common pianos, and multitalented block parties.
Give us the standard biography.
[“Oh man, I hope I don’t mess this up,” PapierSam says, right about to Mess Things Up.]
Hi, I’m PapierSam — or just Sam, as I usually go by — and, among other things, I write words and throw them up on the unforgiving Internet
but always forget my Kevlar vest and get hurt in the end but what does it matter if I always shoot myself in the foot anyway smh. If you look over to your side and see that there, the wall, yeah. That’s pretty much me.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
I’ve been making pen names up for myself for years upon years. I change my mind too often, I guess.
In this case, I had GarlicSam — because I’m a bitter, bitter person — but something happened and I decided against it. Cue me staring at the wall until PianoSam comes to mind, but then that sounds like something too many people have already come up with.
I decided that I like paper, and am like paper — interpretation of that withheld — but PaperSam is just a little unlikable, visually. And, given I was trying to relearn French at the time, PapierSam came naturally.
Who’s your favorite pony?
It’s gonna have to be Rarity, because She’s Always A Woman, and so she’s a hundred things conflicting: she can be just as happy as she is sad, and everything between that. She could be a princess or a pauper. She’s inspirational and full of life, but maybe that’s the face she keeps in various bottles on her vanity. Who knows? Obviously not me!
I also can’t help but love a pretty face. (YEAH I’M A BIT SHALLOW it happens to be a byproduct of living. It also helps with writing, really.)
What’s your favorite episode?
Given I haven’t watched the show in — what, two years? — I feel like my answer will be outdated, because the show has changed and so have I.
I’m gonna have to go with the first episode I watched, though: Feeling Pinkie Keen (Only The Shadow Knows, as that’s what the Canadian TV guide added). There’s a charm in that episode. It hooked me somehow, anyway.
What do you get from the show?
I’m not sure if I’m in any position to answer that, having not watched the show in so long and all.
Extrapolating from that, part of my writing is nostalgia — I really liked the show way back when, and I wrote fiction for it in parallel to watching it — and the other part is me trying to keep the charm alive for other people, so they don’t end up like me.
You really don’t want to end up like me.
I mean, the show was funny enough, good characters and music. I have too much pride, so I didn’t want to let myself like it for a long time, and I kept it to myself (still do, mostly).
But community is a good thing, I learned eventually. I saw that loads of other people liked it — maybe it was more of a groupthink/social-cognitive dissonance thing, in retrospect — and all the cool things they were inspired to make from it.
So, what I get from the show, is an invitation to a block party where everyone can collectively do different things talentedly well. Something in that keeps me coming back, more or less.
(Also I need a few bright colours in my life now and then.)
What do you want from life?
I’m a dull person, honestly. I’m not gonna bother you with that.
Why do you write?
Because Words and I are weird with each other. Because I think I’m at least mediocre enough at it to pursue it online. Because what else am I gonna do at 2 in the morning.
All things considered, I spend a lot of time in my mind. Sometimes, I make the effort to Do Something With All That Thinking (and Hope it Goes Well Enough). Sometimes, it comes out as words.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
If you ask me questions like that, I’ll start to think I’m in any position to give anyone advice. What a peculiar assumption on my part, eh?
Well: in writing, find a balance between Real Life and Fiction, or make that balance. Refine your style, always. And, to a strong enough degree, do what you like to do, because often enough in life we don’t get to. Take writing as a chance to decide where to draw the compromising line.
You’re the author, aren’t you?
What inspired “We Are Forever”?
I’m not really one to be inspired. I just try to be.
In any case, this was a revival of an old, old piece. It was originally a script — document literally named “the script.docx” — from a few years back that I had started to animate. That flopped because I lack motivation, and I saw it while sifting through files.
And, I dunno, sometimes I think maybe I should do something with myself, so I did a story. It apparently went better than I thought.
(Noteworthy to add: I admire how television can mix writing, visuals, music, anything into one delivery — and in trying to make life a little less mediocre, I like to write entire shows and movies in my head complete with musical scores and advertisement trailers, knowing I’ll never actually create any of it. This, at least, was a delve into that tangent.)
Did you find the “reality TV show” format difficult to maintain in a purely written form?
Y’know, it wasn’t too bad after I found the middle ground between the Post-Edit Production bits (Interview Area, Narrating Voice) and Things Actually Happening. My biggest worry was flow, which I happen to be particularly nitpicky about.
Believe me, a story is nothing without appropriate flow — one thing I hate about this story is the title, because it has no flow in itself or into the story. It’s just my bad attempt at irony, what with the ending of the fic.
Also, this was one of the few stories I could be humourous in — I gravitate more towards mellow-mooded writing — as it was also an introspect on television.
(Also, people have a tendency to add lots of pop culture references in television because they want to sustain some sort of vintage, ‘we’re not like other shows’ quality, and because they think it expands their personality. Like, people bragging about all the different types of cheeses they’ve had. It’s an experience that has done them very little and hearing it does me very little.)
In including the aforementioned, it all came together easily enough. I enjoyed it. I also don’t hate Fluttershy that much.
Did you intend for the somewhat snarky narrative voice to become almost as much of a character in the story as the Rainbooms are?
I knew this story would be a little heavier on explaining mechanics of Post-Edit Production, so I needed to deliver all that smoothly. Moreover, given the context, it couldn’t simply be a narrative of “this happened, that happened, and I’m telling you in an illustrative way”; I needed to maintain the nature of television and its “never have a boring moment” motif.
Enter the snarky narrative voice, which is a watered-down reflection of how I view most things. As a writer, I need to be able to deliver tone seamlessly and realistically into the environment of the fiction, and I think the world of entertainment-is-a-business needs to be viewed through sardonically rose-coloured glasses.
What is it that seems to attract you so specifically to the Equestria Girls version of the characters?
Is this asking in pertinence to We Are Forever, or because I often write EqG?
If the former alone, this idea just worked with the Equestria Girls cast better: they’re teenagers, which allows for a wider suspension of doubt, because teenagers are unpredictable; they’re in a band, which opens the floor to the possibility of a reality show feature; they’re in modern times, which puts a lot more at my disposal to work with (like, does equestrian Equestria have cameras? Do I have to mechanically/magically explain that?).
If the latter, then it leans more to my ability to write people better than ponies. Which is alarmingly awful of me, I know, but I deal with people more and I can better convey the complexity of them. It’s decidedly a different case completely to write ponies without imposing human qualities that overwrite their pony qualities.
You get me?
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Like, I super appreciate the feature, even if I think this story (which I need to polish before this goes up, ah!) and this author pale in comparison to greater things.
Uh. Fun facts? Applejack never got a label/name, because she’s a background pony and all. Also, the pop references were a little annoying to make, but I had to because it’s often that annoying in real media.
Lastly, find me elsewhere as PapierSam or le Sam if I intrigue you enough, by some indescribable toss of a coin.
[“Well,” PapierSam sighs, (for) now finished being a boring slab of text on a website, “I think that went better than poorly.”]