Today's Vault entry is special in a number of ways. To begin with, it is currently incomplete, and most likely will never be finished (in general, only completed works will be added to the Vault). But more importantly, it can be thought of as the Helen of Troy of Friendship is Magic fanfiction - the fic that launched a thousand spinoffs, many of which are better-known, better-read, and arguably better-written than the original. However, this is the story that started it all, and it is therefore the first Classic included in the Vault.
[Adventure][Human Crossover] • 20,300 words
The ponies and the humans have lived together in harmony for centuries. Equestria is an island inhabited entirely by ponies, and some have branched off to live with humans. However, the humans, seeing their bleak world and accepting that they have made too many mistakes in their world to fix, have decided to open facilities to convert humans into ponies and live in peaceful Equestria.
Hit the break for an interview with Blaze - whose opinion of his own work may surprise you - and links to read it on your favorite pony sites. As always, there are eBook copies in various formats available on the Downloads page.
If you need more Conversion Bureau goodness, Midnight Shadow (a Vault alum and prereader for EqD) maintains a guide to the Conversion Bureau's various continuities, and a directory of all Conversion Bureau stories.
Where do you live?
I live in New Jersey, in the United States of America. Or, as many in my homeland call it, “MURKA”.
What kind of work do you do? (i.e. are you a student, do you have a career/day job, etc)
I’m a senior in high school, and I haven’t really gotten a steady-paying job yet. I’m pretty lazy.
How did you discover My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? When did you realize you were a fan of the show?
I discovered it in early February, after having gone on 4chan’s /b/ for the first time in a long time. I, like many bronies-to-be, wondered why there were so many damn pony threads sprouting up in /b/ and /co/, so I checked it out for myself. My first episode was the pilot, but I didn’t get that far in before getting bored with it, so I watch another episode. Call of the Cutie was the first episode I watched in its entirety, and I was hooked. At the time, Suited for Success was the newest episode.
Do you have a favorite episode? [Editor's note: at the time of this interview, The Mysterious Mare-Do-Well was the most recent aired episode.]
It’s so hard to choose, especially since there’s so many now. Sonic Rainboom has always been a good one for me, and the season two episodes have all been fantastic. The CMC is growing on me, too.
Who is your favorite character based purely on the canon of the show itself? Would your answer change if you considered the fandom in its entirety (i.e. art, fanfiction, memes, etc)?
Fluttershy, hands down. Derpy is a close second, since she’s practically canon. I don’t keep track of much of the fandom these days, so I don’t really have any favorite fandom characters. I try not to get too attached to them.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
It’s been my username for pretty much everything since the dawn of time (or, at least, since I started frequenting message boards). It was the name of the very first OC I ever made, in fifth grade. I was a big Dragon Ball fan back then, as many young boys are around that age. I miss Toonami. [Editor’s note: me too!]
Have you written in other capacities (other fandoms, professionally, etc)? When did you first start writing?
I had dabbled a little into Pokémon fan fiction, but I didn’t put that much effort into it; it was mainly because I was bored. MLP was the first major project I started really committing into, fanfic-wise.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Draw, play/write music, and watch ponies. I want to get a career started in music, that’s my main goal.
Who is your favorite author (published or fanfiction)? Do you have a favorite story or novel?
Well, I’m afraid to have to go the route everyone else my age goes, by saying “Harry Potter”, but I feel like that’s the only book series/author I’ve really been drawn to. I’m tempted to begin reading Lord of the Rings, though; see what all the hype is about.
Stephen King believes that every author has an "ideal reader" - the one person who they write for, the one person whose reactions they care about. Do you have one, and if so, who is it?
Just the lonely brony who wants to go to Equestria. Not permanently, but just to see what happens. Meet the ponyfolk. Fly like a pegasus, or do magic like a unicorn. Or live the simple life of an earth pony. Dreamers.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, or writers who are struggling with their own stories?
Proofread. A lot. I’m not one for advice on writing. Conversion Bureau was my second fan fiction, like, ever.
What is your typical writing process? (Do you work through multiple drafts, do you have any prereaders/editors, etc?)
I’d come up with a couple of ideas, write them down for later (since my best ideas come during school hours), and see how I can integrate them into the story. Then I type a bunch (into the one Wordpad file I have everything stored in), and I would sometimes send it to my friend to preread for me. Then, off it goes to Sethisto.
What inspired you to write The Conversion Bureau?
During my “extremely obsessed with MLP” phase in the spring of 2011, I felt this desire to want to go to Equestria. I had attempted lucid dreaming, and read a few other fan fictions on the subject of humans-in-Equestria (Stuck in Equestria being the main influence here), and tried to write my own. It was really just an experiment; I didn’t want it to get as popular as it did, but I took what I got.
Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing The Conversion Bureau?
The critique was definitely the hurtful part. The comment section of EqD can be a cruel mistress. I was called misanthropic, and my fic was bashed for my OC use just to fulfill the writer’s desires (i.e. what they would do, not what the character would do). I’m most certainly not misanthropic, and whoever accused me of that is not very nice.
When you set out to write The Conversion Bureau, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?
I just wanted to write a little story about people going to Equestria and back; and their connection with humans. It was to show how our world was compared to the heavenly paradise of Equestria; you can see why bronies would want to go there.
The Conversion Bureau is currently incomplete - do you ever anticipate revisiting it?
I don’t know, honestly. I had written it on a whim, and most of the time the demand was draining my ideas away. Plus, the spin-offs were clearly better than the original, so I think this premise is better left to the professionals (see below).
What do you think of all the spinoff fanfictions that arose from The Conversion Bureau? Have you read any of them, and if so, do you have any favorites?
When I wrote The Conversion Bureau, I ran into my one problem when it comes to writing: I have a great concept, but I can never execute it the way I want to. The spin-offs seem to have executed it for me, and I’m personally jealous that these people can write so well, lol. They are all fantastic, and I thank each spin-off author for making this humble brony’s idea such an amazing “fan fiction franchise”. As I said in the previous question, the spin-offs are the main reason I don’t think I’m going to continue the original. The original, in my opinion, was a mediocre, first-try fan fiction, and my premise should be left for the much more professional writers to create amazing stories with. Go get’em, tiger.
Where can readers drop you a line?
They can go to my deviantArt at Blaze12 (I don’t do much on there, but there’s some pony stuff on it), or, if they REALLY want to stalk me, by going to my Tumblr at brianfancypants (again, not much pony, but I do track the “fluttershy” and “pinkie pie” tags). Yes, my name is Brian. Nice to meet you.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Cupcakes is overrated. Canon Pinkie is best Pinkie.