Watch some delicate emotions fold together in today’s story.
[Sad] [Slice of Life] • 3,756 words
Discord hasn’t been feeling himself lately. Rarity thinks that it might be a good idea to get his mind off of things by having him assist her with upcoming work for the Summer Sun Celebration. Being the good sport that he is, Big Mac helps Discord out.
As it turns out, the project is surprisingly fun. It’s also more than a little painful.
FROM THE CURATORS: By definition, it can be difficult to tell when a story does subtle things well — which is why it’s such a delight to find a deeper payoff in an already rewarding tale. “This is a quiet, sublime, almost surreal story about Discord folding paper butterflies with Big Macintosh,” Present Perfect said in his nomination. “The sense of wonder as he and Big Mac race to capture various ponies in origami form is palpable. Then the story puts the brakes on … it all comes down to the juxtaposition with the final scene.” Paper Butterflies’ speedy path to approval saw plenty of similar praise: “The big thing right is the way it sneakily layers the tragedy onto a strong and gentle slice-of-life-ey story and then brings it all tumbling down at the end,” Horizon said.
Along the way, we found the story guided by a sure yet subtle hand. “This story is a marvelous example of one of the things I mean when I say ‘show, don’t tell,'” AugieDog said. “From the beginning right through to the ending, we’re shown everything we need to know about the situation, but we’re never told what that situation is.” Horizon agreed: “I love how this wrings a ton of emotion out of implication, like Discord’s comment to Big Mac about objectively wrong statements. Also, Rarity’s and Mac’s characterization were on point, and the dialogue here is fantastic.” For his part, Soge appreciated the way the main character filled the piece: “It oozes Discord’s characterization on every word, from how it ignores the things it really wants to talk about, to the pacing, to how it flits from theme to theme obeying a logic that is all is own,” he said. “And the pacing acts like a living thing, reacting to the mental state of the characters.”
Our range of different reading experiences showed that, both with and without the piece’s core subtlety, it paid off. “I twigged to what was going on pretty early, but that didn’t spoil the emotional impact for me in the slightest,” AugieDog said, while Soge got hit with a one-two punch: “It took me until I went back to read the description and tags to actually get it, and the way that re-contextualized everything was just magnificent,” he said. “Even without this added detail it would be something I’d love to feature, but that turns the whole thing into something truly special.” And for Present Perfect, not even a warning blunted the impact: “I reached the end and remembered the author predicted it was going to make me cry. Damned if he wasn’t right.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Petrichord discusses mud sticks, distaff bits, and corgi staring.