A villain might just have a bright future in today’s story.
Glow In The Dark, Shine In The Sun
[Equestria Girls] [Drama] [Slice of Life] • 27,035 words
Despite all attempts, Cozy Glow still hasn’t been shown a path to friendship. No pony has been able to get through to her, and she’s only gotten worse with each attempt.
Reluctant to return the filly to stone again, Princess Twilight has one last option. One pony she hasn’t tried. Or in this case? One person.
Can Sunset do what no pony has been able to?
FROM THE CURATORS: Stories about late-season characters are relatively scarce. Happily, though, there are still gems to be found — such as this examination of redemption. “Reforming Cozy Glow is not a simple task, not least because the show refused to even give her much in the way of redeeming elements,” FanOfMostEverything noted in his nomination. “Chrysalis had her children, Tirek had his brother, but Cozy just appears to be a young sociopath with no purpose beyond being a manipulative little hellion.” So who better to redeem her than another former manipulator? “The core idea here gave me one of those ‘of course!’ moments that only fanfiction can deliver,” AugieDog said, “but the story goes beyond that and executes the idea in a way that makes the Equestria Girls characters shine.”
The solidity of that execution led our praise. “Sunset acting as a blend of friendship guru and parole officer works magnificently given her tactical similarities to Cozy in her own bad old days,” FanOfMostEverything said. “Plus, Cozy’s journey in the human world feels natural and earned, with stumbling blocks and false starts that keep it all from feeling too ‘neat’.” Present Perfect added: “Cozy herself is excellently written. I was also pleased with Sunset’s portrayal, the bits of foreshadowing preceding the magical storm, and the shape which that storm takes.” And there was plenty else to appreciate along the way, AugieDog said: “It’s maybe the third or fourth story I’ve come across on Fimfiction that makes good use of different-colored text.” Its strengths made it a good starting point despite being tagged as a sequel, Present Perfect noted: “This isn’t a true sequel to Three Second Chances — it definitely stands on its own.”
That was bolstered by powerful character work. “Each of Sunset’s friends is written with a mind toward different life experiences undercutting similarity to the pony characters,” Present Perfect said. “We see this as Cozy Glow is continually tripped up by the actions of the ‘professors’ she otherwise knows to their cores.” But far from being just a character piece, this also had some surprises in store. “I quite liked the eventual revelation of the story’s antagonist, and the realizations that Cozy comes to during their confrontation really made the story for me,” AugieDog said. “I also like how the story ends with us seeing just the beginning of a path forward for Cozy Glow. As a plain ol’ piece of storytelling, this takes top marks.”
Read on for our author interview, in which TCC56 discusses antagonist chemistry, Beta Ray Bill, and 3 AM backstory.
Give us the standard biography.
Hi there, I’m your friendly neighborhood TCC56. I’m an older fan (who declines to state a specific age beyond ‘too old’) from New York. The state, not the city.
I’m a longtime writer — I’ve roamed the internet since the days of Usenet, passing through a large number of fandoms along the way. I got my start with tabletop roleplaying, getting my first D&D books (the classic red box) at six and running my first campaign at eight. Since then, fiction writing and slipping into characters has been second nature to me and my primary outlet for creativity.
I came into the FiM fandom early in S1 when all the hype was starting, but I largely bailed soon after. The fandom as a whole was getting a bit… extra for me. Too much drama, and a lot of folks were going over the top. I glanced back every once in a rare while, but kept my distance until the S9 announcement came up. Since the show was ending, I thought I’d catch up. As part of that I stumbled onto FiMFiction and started looking around.
Then Oroboro launched the Sunset Shipping Contest: Endings at about the same moment my other creative pursuits dried up and, well, the muse demanded an outlet.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
Laughably, it was actually just a filler. I set up my account because I got tired of tagging individual stories and wanted bookshelves — but I couldn’t use my usual handle. Going by ‘Tempest’ in the wake of the Movie felt wrong (even if Tempest is a good pony), so I contracted my normal tag and tossed in some filler. Then I was a fool and started writing and it just sort of stuck.
Who’s your favorite pony?
Sunset Shimmer is Best Human, Best Pony and Best Princess, fite me.
What’s your favorite episode?
That’s actually kind of tough. I love a lot of specific moments in episodes, so picking one as a whole is difficult. If I absolutely had to? I’d probably say To Where And Back Again because of how it utilized secondary characters so well, gave them wonderful development, and wove several running plotlines into a single coherent story that acted as both a capstone for those plotlines and a bridge into the next arc for those characters.
Though my alternate answer would be Forgotten Friendship because Wally is adorbs.
What do you get from the show?
Well, foremost is a wide setting with good characters and a world that’s just built enough to establish a coherent theme while still having enough gaps to give creative space. But that’s the writer in me talking.
As a reader/watcher? It’s that it’s bright. Too much out there — both in media and in the world at large — is dark and depressing. FiM provides a reminder that there’s good in the world, too. Positive things. That sometimes problems can be solved through Kindness or Generosity. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that those are much more satisfying than when I was young and the answer seemed to always be some form of violence until the bad guy fell down.
The world needs to be a brighter place, and the show encourages that. It won’t always be the solution, but in the words of Beta Ray Bill? “If there is nothing but what we make in this world, brothers, let us make good.”
What do you want from life?
Honestly? Not a lot. I’m lucky enough to have a fairly comfortable life with a loving spouse, a nice home, good friends and a steady job that provides me sufficient free time. There’s always the small things that could be tweaked or improved (like needing to get into better shape), but my life’s pretty good these days and I’m thankful for it.
Also for the Buffalo Bills to win a Super Bowl, but that’s not going to happen any time soon.
Why do you write?
Because my muse demands it.
Really, that’s the answer — I’ve always been a creative person that way. Sometimes my mind just demands that I vent ideas onto paper (or paper-equivalent) and the words just flow. I can direct it, but for the most part? When the words want to happen they take control. This is why my work tends to be short and flash fiction — my writing is very momentum-based. It tends to either be out on the page immediately or it just doesn’t come at all.
And yeah. I’m that person who shows up to a beer-and-pretzels D&D game with twelve pages of backstory because at 3 AM my brain said “Write. NOW.”
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Keep your writing focused. Don’t say in fifty words what you can say in five. One of the biggest sins a writer can make is to lose track of your own story. Know what story you’re trying to tell and tell it — don’t get distracted by telling three other stories in the middle of it.
Read your story aloud as part of your self-editing process. Your brain has a lot of language built into it that isn’t conscious. Saying the words instead of reading them is a huge help for picking up on when something’s phrased poorly or some dialogue is awkward. You might not see it in text but the spoken word will trip your brain to go “That’s wrong.”
And challenge yourself. Don’t just write what you’re comfortable with — take on characters and topics and ideas that push your own envelope. To paraphrase a gaming friend of mine: “If you don’t die occasionally, you’ve got the difficulty turned too low.”
What — other than the final chapter of your earlier story “Three Second Chances” — inspired “Glow in the Dark, Shine in the Sun”?
It was that chapter fairly directly, to be honest. I’m a huge Sunset Shimmer fan, and while writing Three Second Chances I realized that Cozy Glow and pre-reform Sunset were extremely similar characters. The two had a ton in common and at the time their possible interactions hadn’t really been touched on by the fandom (aside from Casketbase77’s Innocent Until Proven Cozy). I love exploring niches like that of unusual character interactions and ‘just off screen’ moments, so the idea leapt out at me. To me, they just seemed like a pair that could have some excellent chemistry that hadn’t been tried before.
Why did you choose to hide the main antagonist’s first “appearance” from readers not using Fimfiction’s night mode?
Initially, none of the playing with text color was supposed to happen. It wasn’t in my outlines at all. But when the time came to write, I was searching for a way to foreshadow the antagonist’s growing influence without making it screamingly obvious. When I realized that as a mental construct it was a very meta-capable character, the idea of the text color jumped up as a way to give subtle hints to the reader without tipping my hand too hard. It was meant to trip that little nagging voice in the reader’s head to look at a sentence and realize that something was off about it without being able to entirely pin down what it was.
Would you have liked the show to have done more to rehabilitate Chrysalis, Tirek, and Cozy Glow?
Yes and no. I think as characters they had more mileage on them and could have had more story, but you can’t exactly continue a story after a show ends. I partially actually respect that they weren’t redeemed in the end — not every solution is going to be Friendship and sometimes life doesn’t work out. If I was going to make a change to the ending for the Trio, it wouldn’t be to redeem them but to make locking them away to be more of a tough choice and reluctant rather than the punchline of a joke.
Do you think Cozy Glow will make a better human than she did a pony?
Almost certainly. Even without the Sunset aspect to influence her, the human world is much more suited to Cozy’s mindset and thought process. Besides, she wanted a world without magic — so there she goes.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Only to say thank you for this amazing honor — I haven’t even hit a year writing here yet, and I’ve been blown away by the reception on all fronts. There’s a lot of awesome authors out there who I think deserve this recognition more than me, but I’ll try to take it with humility and use this little bit of horsefame to boost those who I think have earned it and celebrate their recognition next.
Beyond that? Thank you all. I hope you’ve been entertained, and that I continue to do so in future works.