Today’s story is (a) well worth your attention.
[Dark] [Tragedy] [Human] [Alternate Universe] • 1,792 words
When she was young, Megan rode into Ponyland on the back of a flying pony.
Or not. She doesn’t know anymore.
All she knows is that for the second time, a pegasus has crashed into her well.
FROM THE CURATORS: Sometimes we get two nominations at once for works from the same author — only to find them both passing our feature threshold, creating a dilemma of which one to spotlight. “As a fan of both G1 and Fluttershy, I get two completely different gut punches for the price of one!” AugieDog quipped in our debate. He was one of the curators praising the character study of Where All My Layers Can Become Reeds: “The impossible dream of being a part while also being apart rings through every word of the story.” But in a split decision, the multi-generational tragedy of Again won out.
“Again conveys a single moment of paralyzing horror fantastically,” FanOfMostEverything said, and the story’s short, brutal effectiveness drew broad praise. “I love the character work, and the subtle way that it reveals the darkness of the situation,” Soge said, while RBDash47 added: “I did like how no one believing Megan played out; that felt very realistic.” Horizon’s nomination tried to break down what made it work: “It uses its short length well, swinging in hard with a memorable gut punch of an image, and makes effective use of the generational gap,” he said. “I think the fridge logic is the most terrifying part of it — there’s no road to the story’s events that doesn’t involve a great deal of implied abuse somewhere.”
If there was a common theme to our dissent on the fic, it was the story’s focus on the heroine of an earlier era. “I feel it almost qualifies as G1 fanfic,” Present Perfect said, and RBDash47 added: “I wonder if I would enjoy it more if I was more familiar with Gen 1.” But others saw that as one of the story’s strengths. “I definitely think the G4 connection is strong enough, but even beyond that, it’s a fantastic allegory for the cost of the fear of seeming immature,” FanOfMostEverything said. “It’s all too easy to let amazing opportunities wilt away because ‘you’re too old,’ ‘that’s not how it’s done,’ so on and so forth.” It even inspired fond comparisons to former RCL inductees. “Again poses the question of ‘What if Meghan was the star of Through the Well of Pirene?’,” Present Perfect said, “only to answer it with a resounding, ‘Yeah, no.'”
Read on for our author interview, in which OfTheIronwilled discusses shower blame, piecemaking, and embarrassing edges.
Give us the standard biography.
Hello! My name is Ash, but you can call me Iron. Really there’s not much to say about me. I joined the fandom back in 2012 when I was really young, and used Fimfic to learn more about writing and to eventually get kind of not terrible at writing horse words. I love the color pink, my darling cat Gizmo, and watching all sorts of cartoons!
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
It’s been so many years now that I can’t quite remember the whole thought process. I do know that I had just watched the episode “Putting Your Hoof Down”. That episode of course brought us Iron Will — and my handle just kind of came from his name.
Who’s your favorite pony?
Fluttershy! She’s been a huge comfort character for me from the beginning. Plus she’s just adorable.
What’s your favorite episode?
I’d have to say “Amending Fences”! Moondancer’s fear of rejection and Twilight’s realization that she’d really hurt somepony in the past made for a solid, emotional episode.
What do you get from the show?
Maybe it’s a bit cheesy to say, but the show has brought me nothing but joy and peace since it started. I recognize it’s not the best show in the world, but it’s cute and sincere and the characters are wonderful. On hard days I can always come home, turn my brain off, and watch the ponies going on their little adventures. And more than anything, MLP continues to inspire me to write and draw almost ten years later.
What do you want from life?
I want nothing more in life than peace. A stable job, a cute wife who I can bake little cakes for, and maybe a couple apple trees. Other than that? Getting my own book published would be a dream come true.
Why do you write?
Writing is fun :) Ever since I knew how to read and write, I’ve been making up stories. There’s something so nice about putting yourself in a fictional world and thinking about how many cool things could happen. Finding out how you should describe those cool things is like putting together a puzzle, except you’re also the one making the pieces. Also, reading is an emotional experience. The fact that I could write something that could get a real, genuine reaction out of someone is so wonderful to me.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Never ever ever give up because you think you’re not good enough. It doesn’t matter if you think your prose is terrible. It doesn’t matter if that other author is better than you. The only thing that matters is that you have fun.
Sure, when you’re writing there will be frustrations along the way. You’ll write some really awful crap. It’s just part of the deal. But never forget that you’re creating something from nothing, and that action of creation has taken place because, at least at some point, writing brought you utter joy. You could write the worst fic on the planet, but as long as you had fun writing it? Who cares? Just keep going.
What inspired “Again”?
I’d been wanting to write a darker take on G1 since I first started watching it. Then when I saw that Firefly the pegasus fell into Megan’s well… honestly, my mind just kind of went from there. I couldn’t tell you how my brain came to the conclusions it did. I blame it on the fact that I was in the shower — shower thoughts are strange things.
Were you familiar with the original Pony series before, or did the current show introduce you to it?
I’d heard of G1 and in my childhood I owned some G3 toys, but I never thought to look into past generations until I watched FiM.
As a self-professed lover of Fluttershy, Pokemon, and the color pink, what attracts you to darker, sadder themes in the majority of your fiction?
Well, the show itself is already fun and colorful and sweet. I get my fill of happy from canon already, and so therefore I find a lot of my creativity turning to what’s not there. I look at the characters and Equestria as a whole and see a whole world of subjects that the show hasn’t and won’t ever explore because of FiM’s nature as a children’s cartoon. That doesn’t mean I don’t like comedic random stories, because I do. I just find the darker themes more interesting to explore in my own writing. And I had an embarrassing edgy phase as a teenager, so that probably has something to do with it.
Do you plan stories out ahead of time, or do you prefer to let them grow during the typing process?
I plan larger projects out as best as I can ahead of time, but for short stories I just like to find an idea or a feeling and let my brain vomit out words. Even when I do outline, oftentimes the story will get away from me and evolve anyway. It just feels more natural to me that way.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you to everyone who has read and reviewed “Again”! I really appreciate you all taking the time, it means a lot!