We’d just like to say a few words about today’s story.
A Little Chat
[Slice of Life] • 2,008 words
Sunset was enjoying her day, going through school as she was expected to do, when she’s suddenly called to the Principal’s office.
Confused, but with little choice in the matter, she answers, heading to Celestia’s office. There, she finds the Principal sitting, wanting to have a chat.
Sunset was not prepared for anything like this.
FROM THE CURATORS: “Stories about how various characters work things out after their respective redemptions are a staple of the fandom,” AugieDog said in our discussion, and one nice thing about Equestria Girls is that it lets authors explore redemption from a different angle than the pony side of the show. “With Sunset and Starlight,” AugieDog continued, “I’ve always felt that Sunset is the more traditionally ‘heroic’ of the two … she’s more self-reflective, more critical of herself, more likely to stop and weigh her present actions against what she did in the past, and that quality gives her overall struggle toward the light a very different feeling from Starlight’s.” That was one of the factors drawing Present Perfect to the story, as he said in his nomination: “I’ll never get tired of fics centered around her redemption, or the concept of self-forgiveness, and this hits all the right notes.”
One of those was deft handling of a reveal that worked with or without the benefit of surprise. “The twist is likely the kind of thing an experienced reader will see coming, but it isn’t the point,” Present Perfect said. “The effect that reveal has on Sunset is what makes this story.” Soge agreed: “Predictable as it was, the execution of the reveal was great. It never leaned too heavily into it being this huge mystery, while not giving so many clues to give Sunset an idiot ball.” As FanOfMostEverything noted, that made the story all the more satisfying: “That reaction at the end is more than earned.”
The story was rounded out by exemplary character work. “I appreciate how it fleshes out Sunset’s background in a believable way that the show can’t really touch,” FanOfMostEverything said. “It also presents the sheer quantity of baggage she has regarding the princess in heart-rending detail.” And that offered plenty of food for thought, AugieDog said: “I also like how the story shifts the ground under Sunset’s rationale for remaining in the human world. Before this, she’s only stayed out of fear of returning to Equestria. After this, she needs to make a choice. That’s always a nice place to leave a character.”
Read on for our author interview, in which DungeonMiner discusses publisher hoops, spy keys, and winning overlords.
Give us the standard biography.
I grew up overseas, and was constantly inspired by the old castles that I grew up around. I found pony in my early twenties, and I soon start writing fanfiction so that I could better explore character development.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
It’s actually my Minecraft username, funnily enough. I never really had a decent gamertag until I finally decided to consolidate under DungeonMiner, which has done me well, since I have a very substantial interest in RPGs, specifically D&D, so being DM works on so many levels.
Who’s your favorite pony?
They all have a special place in my heart, but if I had to choose, it would be Twilight. I relate to the slightly socially awkward book nerd, to the surprise of no one who knows me personally. Still, I do see and enjoy the inherent differences in the mane 6, that’s what makes them so enjoyable.
What’s your favorite episode?
“The Return to Harmony,” parts 1 and 2. Mostly because Discord does the job right. He recognizes the one thing that can take him out, and does his best to neutralize it. It’s almost like he read the 101 rules for evil overlords. He loses anyways, but for a good ten minutes there, he has won.
It also helps that it was the first episode that I sat all the way through and watched after I heard about these weird adult men that watched My Little Pony.
What do you get from the show?
Mainly it was a nice breath of fresh air. When I found it, I was shocked that there were well-rounded characters (Rarity in particular impressed me greatly, as I thought she was just another popular girl trope) in a small girl’s show that then taught actual morals, something I felt that shows have been missing out on for years.
What do you want from life?
Now that’s a question that I wasn’t quite prepared for. Life? Mostly to have a successful, fulfilling life. The fulfilling part has been mostly achieved by my teaching career, where I help at-risk girls who shouldn’t be in a normal school. The successful part has been a little difficult, though, as my original work was published by a less-than-trustworthy publisher, so I have to jump through some more hoops to try and get myself re-published, but I’m working on it.
Why do you write?
Because I love to tell stories. I always have. Back when I was six or seven years old I was drawing comics in the back of the car on long road trips, telling the story of a spy that needed to steal back the Key to the City. I then made a strange little story about some archeologists hunting down the relics of Lewis and Clark. This is simply the logical conclusion.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
The best advice I have for authors out there is to sit down and keep writing. Write even if it’s hard, write even if it doesn’t flow, write even when you don’t want to. Do that, and you will improve and you will tell your stories.
What inspired A Little Chat?
A Little Chat was simply what I imagined Celestia would do. That’s the fun thing about the story — it’s more Celestia’s story than Sunset’s even though it comes from Sunset’s point of view. This is Celestia’s chance to make peace with the situation. I couldn’t imagine her just letting it go.
What is it that attracts you more to big adventure stories than to short, slice-of-life pieces like this?
The short answer to this is that I simply like to tell big stories. I love tales of thieves, heroes, wars, sieges, castles, gods, and cataclysms. I watched The Lord of the Rings as an eight-year-old, and I was blown away by that story, and as a result, Tolkien’s own writings have inspired me. He didn’t write small things, because even the small things connect to the larger picture.
How do you find writing your own original fiction to differ from writing fanfiction?
The main difference I find is that there is more work to do, typically. I need to work on every page to try and solidify a character; I need to carve them carefully into the marble of the story. Meanwhile, everyone knows what Rarity will and will not do. This is the challenge I have been facing since I started writing this fanfiction, and is what I hope to improve before too long.
Do you prefer outlining a story ahead of time or letting it grow during the typing process?
Yes. I give a basic outline of thirty-or-so chapters, but then let each chapter come into its own. If you have the planner and the gardener, then I have a planned-out garden. This allows me to have a good sense of direction of where the story needs to go, without locking me out of new thoughts or ideas that I might have later on.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?