You’ll find yourself making time for today’s story.
[Equestria Girls] [Slice of Life] • 6,635 words
The whole school saw Sunset Shimmer’s demonic form get hit by the Elements of Harmony, and half a second later she was in a smoking crater in the ground, sobbing and repentant. From Sunset’s perspective, her change of heart took a bit more time.
FROM THE CURATORS: Often, what keeps us coming back to fanfiction is finding new angles from which to explore the depths of the show. “I clicked through to this from the Featurebox on a whim, only to find it filling in a gap in canon that for eight years I’ve never realized I needed a fixfic for — how the Elements of Harmony work to redeem their targets,” Horizon said in his nomination. “I’m sold.” Its speedy approval showed that he wasn’t the only one impressed. “I love that this isn’t the author saying, ‘Equestria Girls did something wrong, but here’s how I can fix it’,” AugieDog said. “It’s more the author working with the movie — in harmony, if you will — to take an already-moving scene and lift it to another level. It takes tropes at least as old as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and shows how some deft thought and handling can keep them absolutely fresh.”
That fresh take was shored up by exemplary character work on multiple levels. “This is a fantastic examination not just of Sunset’s mindset at the end of the first EqG movie, but also of what each of the Elements means,” FanOfMostEverything said. Present Perfect agreed: “There’s so much depth, such a perfect and thorough exploration of Sunset’s character and what could convince her to change. Not just that, but this delves into the concept of each Element of Harmony, to wring out what it really means in an everyday, practical kind of way. The discussion about Generosity, for instance, was superb.” Horizon had his own favorite: “Fluttershy’s appearance in particular is breathtaking. In the span of three words she blows the whole thing open.”
So it’s no wonder that we all found ourselves sharing superlatives, despite finding different things to appreciate. “Every part of this was fantastic,” Present Perfect said. “‘Why would she abandon me if I didn’t deserve to be abandoned?’ That’s the kind of line that elevates something way beyond ‘just fanfiction’.” Horizon, too, called it “utterly fantastic. Also notable is how convincing the argument feels to me as a reader. I’m truly sold that this is a line of reasoning which is capable of the dramatic turnaround we see.” And FanOfMostEverything noted: “Fantastic stuff. The psychological vivisection is as merciless as it is insightful, and it certainly justifies Sunset’s tears. The fact that the story also justifies Vice Principal Luna falling for literal cut-and-paste photomanipulation is icing on the cake.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Fallowsthorn discusses omniscient parents, boxed seeds, and French villas.
Give us the standard biography.
Hi! I’m Fallowsthorn. I’ve been writing since my early teens and I’ve been following MLP since just after Season One, so … god, like 2012? Damn. Most of my writing is available at https://archiveofourown.org/users/Fallowsthorn, in chronological and therefore descending order of quality.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
There’s no meaning to it. I kind of retcon a meaning in sometimes if I want to sound smart, but … it’s just two words smushed together. I needed a username when I was 12, Fallowsthorn doesn’t sound dumb, it’s easy to spell, and it’s usually not taken, bada bing, bada boom.
Who’s your favorite pony?
Twilight Sparkle. Book horse is best horse! I don’t understand people who don’t like to read.
What’s your favorite episode?
“Fame and Misfortune,” the one where Twilight publishes Season 3 (and more maybe? Can’t remember) and it backfires horribly. It’s ridiculously meta, it’s gentle enough in its digs at the adult fandom that it doesn’t feel cruel, the continuity nods are cute (“Are Pinkie and Applejack related or not!?”), and it’s a well-written, well-paced episode to boot. Don’t get me wrong, I like the action sequences and the hammy villains too, but I love the multiple levels of meta commentary too much to demote “Fame and Misfortune.”
What do you get from the show?
This is going to sound shallow, but I really do just like that it’s a visually appealing, smart, fun cartoon. I love the world, this high-fantasy menagerie setting with room for almost anything you want to exist. It’s like an entire setting of “Yes, and …”
What do you want from life?
… Talk about a loaded question. I’d like to (somehow, magically) accrue enough money that I just don’t have to worry anymore. I’m on antidepressants, but there are still some days I can’t do much more than get out of bed. I want to live with the people I love, who love and respect me, in the body I’m supposed to have. While we’re at it, I’d also like chocolate-chip pancakes, universal basic income, and a villa in the south of France.
Why do you write?
I keep oscillating between “I can’t not,” and “Why do you breathe?” but neither of those are really answers, are they? When my basic needs are met, when my brain has extra resources, I create. I imagine, I plan. Also my mutant superpower is that I almost never make SPaG mistakes, so, y’know, gotta do something with that.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Write your self-indulgent trash. You know that little voice in your head that maybe sounds kind of like your mom, that says things like, “What good is this? Are you making any money? Nobody is going to want to read this”? Fuck that voice. If you love a thing, no matter how dumb or corny or niche it is: first off, this is the internet and I can guarantee you there is someone out there who will be delighted to find it; and second off, if it’s not for commission, then you get to do what makes you happy.
Hell, probably 90-95% of anything I write is self-indulgent smut. Embrace it. Your genuine enthusiasm will make a huge difference, regardless of the content. I can’t count the number of comments I’ve gotten that start with, “This isn’t normally my kink, but …”
How long after the first Equestria Girls movie did the idea for “Time” come to you?
Google Docs says I created it on February 8th, 2015, and EQG came out in June 2013, so … call it two years? Year and a half? Of course, then I promptly shelved it before writing basically the whole thing in one frenzied day last September, so it depends on how you want to count it, I guess. Sometimes stuff has to percolate.
Was it hard finding a natural progression that would let all the Elements have their say?
Nnnnot really? I knew I had to start with Honesty, both because Applejack is so blunt and because Sunset could dismiss anything the others said out of hand, and pacing-wise I wanted to structure it so it wasn’t entirely overwhelming but Sunset still didn’t have a chance to get her footing. Kindness was always going to be at or near the end. Pinkie has all the tact of a baboon on PCP, so I put her near the front. Rainbow and Rarity balance each other. And so on like that.
Do you think the show could ever delve as deeply into the villain redemption process as you do here?
Not in 22 minutes, and not while keeping their target demographic in mind. This fic, quite intentionally, is a solid hour of just talking. No set, no action, no movement, almost no plot development, just talking. If I was seven that would bore me to tears (although I guess it would save a lot on the animation budget).
Plus, a lot of these lessons just wouldn’t be relatable to most kids. They’re not at the point yet where they’ve realized their parent figure is a flawed human instead of an omniscient deity. They haven’t had time to really screw up yet. They don’t have the experience to recognize that, hey, most people are just like you, trying their best and sometimes getting it wrong. They literally don’t have the brain structure for it, and won’t for another decade.
The villains in Friendship is Magic are fairly uncomplicated by design, because they’re meant to teach basic morality, not nuanced and frankly confusing concepts like “Sometimes people hurt others because they themselves are hurting, and hurting them more won’t fix that, but that doesn’t mean you have to pretend they didn’t hurt you even if you’re trying to be nice to them.” Hell, adults have trouble with that.
Do you prefer planning your stories out ahead of time or seeing how they emerge during the typing process?
Little of Column A, little of Column B. For this story in particular I had a rough outline of the order I wanted the Elements to go in, but I didn’t write down anything concrete until basically the final draft. I do want to point out that I absolutely plan my stories out ahead of time, I just don’t do it in writing. Most scenes get two or three revisions in my head at the very least, simply because it’s much faster that way. Occasionally I’ll just start typing and see what happens, but I usually end up cutting most or all of it. It’s a good way to get a better handle on a character or figure out what you want to have happen in a scene, but you wind up with a lot of extra rambling.
Of course, not everything always goes as planned. The original concept for Time had a spot for Magic at the end to tie it all together, but once I actually got there, it felt more natural and more, mm, symbolically valuable, let’s say, to have it explain the framing device at the beginning and to leave the actual friendship, the actual connection with other people, to the real Twilight. Because … you need that spark. You need that chemistry and shared experience to be friends with someone. You can’t learn that no matter how well someone explains it to you. You can put a seed in a box of dirt, but until you let in the light and the rain, it’ll never grow.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I’m honored and delighted to be featured, and thank you very much for giving me the opportunity!