Engage in a little back talk with today’s featured story.
[Slice of Life] • 4,675 words
Lotus is a professional masseuse. She sees the pony below the skin, and tends to coax just as much out of their mouths as their muscles. Late one day, she gives three very different massages to three close friends, all of whom mention a name she isn’t familiar with: Applejack.
FROM THE CURATORS: While the main attraction of this story is its unique storytelling method, what first earned it its nomination was the way it hearkened back to core pony principles. “One of the things that drew me to MLP when I saw the first two episodes back in 2011 was the way our various heroines all had jobs that they both enjoyed and were actually good at,” AugieDog said. “This story gives us another pony in town who fits that description, and adds in a wonderful narrative conceit: Lotus chooses to speak only with her hooves while she’s giving massages at the spa, but that doesn’t stop the commentary that runs through her head.” Horizon fell in love with that conceit: “This is a gem of a story, and the narrative gimmick is wielded as expertly as Lotus wields her massages.”
Several of us commented favorably on the tactility at the core of the story. “The use of literal body language gives the conversations a remarkable depth, and the asymmetric conversations are a joy to read,” Horizon said. Meanwhile, Present Perfect found it to work on multiple levels. “What I think makes this work is the symbolism of the confessing during the massages,” Present Perfect said. “I also particularly love how Fluttershy’s muscles have character; I mean, each of the four tribal representatives is shown to have different muscle issues, but her muscles hide like she does. It’s a great little touch.” And the way that those different interactions revealed character came in for praise, too. “The scenes that the author used felt very natural and were well explored — in particular the idea that Fluttershy only mentions she has a date, but not with whom,” Soge said.
Finally, Apple Knots shows off the author’s finesse with a skill that’s normally invisible. “I remember this one from the February 2015 Writeoff Association competition,” Horizon said. “I liked the original version with reservations, all of which were addressed by the editing process. The way that this has grown is nearly as commendable as the finished product.” AugieDog agreed: “Reading the final version on FimFiction, I can see that the author took everyone’s comments to heart … I’m a huge fan of the revision process in writing, and this shows the revision process done well.”
Read on for our author interview, in which BlazzingInferno discusses telephone fires, fun silences, and liberating compressors from backhoes.