PhantomFox's Sunny Skies All Day Long is often pointed to as a perfect "episode" fic - it's the sort of thing that could believably happen in the show itself without any real changes. I think the same way about today's Vault entry... if the show was targeting a slightly older demographic, that is.
[Shipping][Comedy] • 50,200 words
Big Macintosh had a perfectly good reason for taking Twilight's doll; he wanted to use it to finally start a conversation with her. But Applejack's having none of it, Rarity's getting the wrong idea about everything, and the Cutie Mark Crusader Matchmakers are about to really throw a spanner in the works! A comedy of errors launching a full fleet of ships.
Hit the break for a few words from the good Mr. Pinkerton himself, along with links to Fixing Up Miss Smartypants out on the ponynet. Don't forget to grab a copy in your favorite ebook format over at the Downloads page, hot off the digital press!
Where do you live?
I live in Sheffield in the UK.
What kind of work do you do? (i.e. are you a student, do you have a career/day job, etc)
I'm aspiring to write professionally, but for now I'm working as an e-learning developer for the NHS.
How did you discover My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? When did you realize you were a fan of the show?
I discovered it after a friend posted a picture or two on Facebook with various other friends tagged as members of the mane 6. I trust their opinion on matters of entertainment and thought well, I've heard a thing or two about it, so let's give it a try. I was hooked very, very quickly.
Do you have a favorite episode?
Probably Lesson Zero - I was wondering if the second season was going to be as good as the first and it was such a relief! I have a soft spot for crazy Twilight.
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)?
For the canon of the show, I think it's fair to say that Rarity is best pony. She's extremely well-rounded - we see her selfish as well as generous. I think her generosity is a real work of effort for her and I find that quite admirable. She's a hard worker, reliable in a tight spot, and I'm a sucker for a drama queen. When I consider fanon in its entirety, Rarity is still pretty darn good but I start liking Applejack and Trixie much more.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
I needed a new name online a while ago - my actual initials are "AP" so I wanted something that matched that. Arkensaw was because I love how differently Arkansas is pronounced compared to how it's spelled, and Pinkerton because I like pink!
Have you written in other capacities (other fandoms, professionally, etc)? When did you first start writing?
I've had a short horror story published - if people are curious about it I'll throw out a link to it on Google Docs. Other than that, I've only written a very short FFVII fic and a completely ridiculous and slashtacular Doctor Who/Star Wars crossover, written entirely in appallingly punctuated sentences each with their own paragraph which was a bit of a joke for a friend. It's called Star Doctor Wars Who, you can find it on FanFiction.net and I am very sorry.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I absolutely adore roleplaying games - I've even designed a couple for my time-off hobby, running a small indie game design company called Jackal Pack Games. It's only small, but we're getting going!
Who is your favorite author (published or fanfiction)? Do you have a favorite story or novel?
Hands down, Neil Gaiman. I am in awe of his imagination. I particularly love Stardust, which I recommend to each and every pony reading this.
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?
I'm honestly not sure. I don't think I write for anyone in particular other than myself - when I read something I've written and I find myself genuinely enjoying it, I do feel very proud of myself.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, or writers who are struggling with their own stories?
I would say - and I should listen to myself here, because followers of my most recent story will know I'm extremely sporadic - that the best thing you can do is sit down and make yourself write something every day. Every single day. Just get 500 words down on paper. Writing is something you get better at by doing it, not by thinking about it.
What is your typical writing process? (Do you work through multiple drafts, do you have any prereaders/editors, etc?)
I usually sit down and plan out what I want to cover in a chapter and then just sit down and get rocking over lunch breaks or on a rare free evening. I read over stuff a few times to try and catch as many errors as I can, but I don't have a consistent editing process. More fool me!
What inspired you to write Fixing Up Miss Smartypants?
Honestly I always liked the idea that Big Mac was secretly pretty clever, and when I watched Lesson Zero and he ran off with Miss Smartypants it all started to fall together. I thought "What if he's just too shy to start a conversation with the cute librarian and he thinks that's his in?" and it snowballed from there.
Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing Fixing Up Miss Smartypants?
Other than the dreaded writer's block, the toughest moment was actually adding in the Pinkie-related romances late in the game - I didn't know if people would go for them, but they did in a big way.
When you set out to write Fixing Up Miss Smartypants, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?
I did want to write a story in which homophobia wasn't a problem. I figure that Equestria is a pretty decent place in general and I wanted to make it clear from the get-go that same-sex relationships weren't just tolerated but genuinely accepted.
Where can readers drop you a line?
If people want to say hi, they can contact me at father [dot] jackal [at] gmail [dot] com.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I've actually started a writing blog recently! You can find it at spindlestories.blogspot.co.ukand it includes some short fiction and poems, mostly horror-related.