Take note of how today’s story tips the scales of storytelling quality.
[Slice of Life] • 15,097 words
“I’m going to be famous!”, “I’m going to be the next big thing!”, “I’m going to be a superstar!” Octavia couldn’t even count how many times she’d heard her roommate claim that she was headed for fame and fortune.
But the worst part is, Vinyl might not be wrong. At least, not entirely.
FROM THE CURATORS: Octavia and Vinyl Scratch are MLP fandom’s most classic odd couple, and their relationship is well-trodden ground — which makes it all the more impressive when a story about them makes us sit up and take notice. “This is Scratchtavia that barely even feels like friendshipping and yet paints a robust picture of their uniquely dysfunctional friendship,” Horizon said in his nomination, and this quickly accumulated accolades such as Present Perfect’s: “It’s the best of JapaneseTeeth’s work, a solid piece of character work with a harsh and poignant look at the world of professional music-making.” Even Scratchtavia curmudgeon Chris found himself offering a recommendation: “If you asked me to rank all the fics of this one’s ilk, it would come out at the top. It has a conceptually strong character base … some solid writing and good jokes. I got a kick out of the endless P.S.es.”
But the story’s most arresting feature was its construction. “The piece makes some interesting structural choices driven by the album it’s paying homage to,” Horizon explained. “The bridge chapters are brief, atmospheric and poignant, and despite feeling almost dischordant to the progression of the plot they add depth and tone.” Present Perfect agreed: “It’s a successful example of albumfic, and the ‘sharp’ chapters are nice, calming experimental bits in the midst of all the friendship and drama.” That gave it a laid-back style which sat well with us: “I like how the story’s so aggressively ‘slice of life,'” AugieDog said.
The icing on the musical cake here was the superlative character work. “The author also pulls a lot of character out of small details, which is a nice complement to the overall small-stakes feel of Octavia’s involvement,” Horizon said, and Chris had similar praise: “Vinyl’s cockiness comes across as actual self-confidence coupled with lack of self-awareness, rather than the generic jerkishness which is so common to her portrayals.” That the story could create such sympathetic portrayals out of such emotional distance was one of its major strengths, AugieDog said: “Vinyl’s usually half-asleep when she’s giving Octavia the run-down on her latest travails. Octavia’s air of essential indifference is so well-presented, the one moment where she pushes it aside to give Vinyl a pep talk almost feels out of character. But both characters are shown to be deeper than they act, and that’s a really nice touch.”
Read on for our author interview, in which JapaneseTeeth discusses white whales, dream theaters, and winged anxiety magnets.