Loyal RCL readers will find a treat waiting for them in today’s story.
[Drama] [Slice of Life] • 4,721 words
Fluttershy has been called away on an adventure. An adventure without Rainbow Dash.
FROM THE CURATORS: This story came to our attention via the Flutterdash group’s third writing contest, where it felt somewhat misplaced — “there isn’t even a [Romance] tag,” as Present Perfect pointed out. But Left Behind turned our heads with the power of its writing. “When writing gurus talk about ‘show, don’t tell,’ this is the sort of thing they mean,” AugieDog said. “We’re presented with a series of scenes, some in the present and some in the past, that add up to create a picture of Dash’s feelings toward Fluttershy.”
Multiple curators remarked on the story’s slow yet compelling build. “There’s a lot here that’s enjoyable in its very low-key-ness,” Chris said, and AugieDog agreed: “It’s almost aggressively low-key. … The author paints with an admirably light touch, implying things more often than stating them, and we’re pretty much left to decide for ourselves how deep Dash’s feelings run. And that to me is a real plus in this sort of story.” Even slice-of-life hater Horizon was won over: “This felt like the literary equivalent of a well-painted landscape,” he said. “Its biggest strength is in the way it chooses tones and contrasts to create depth. But all of the characters are also individually great, especially Spike, and their concerns are so real and wide-ranging that this piece is bursting with life.”
While the protagonist was the biggest of those highlights — “this is one of the most solid pieces of Rainbow Dash-centric character writing I’ve ever read; it exemplifies all her best qualities while explaining away the worst,” Present Perfect said — some of the side characters were scene-stealers. “This story introduced me to Zephda shipping, and now I am on that ship really hard,” Present Perfect added. And ultimately, all of those characters contributed to the emotional power of the piece. “I especially appreciate the unspoken sense of sacrifice that permeates the mane cast, watching their younger sisters develop into normal lives while their own emotional bonds seem stuck in Harmony’s amber,” Horizon said. “That lends this whole thing an air of powerful melancholy.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Shrink Laureate discusses cuddly villains, conversational props, and adorably horrible cosmic-ray ships.