Following a theme from last week's Vault entry, today we take a unique look at what it must be like for a nigh-immortal being to live through innumerable sunsets.
[Tragedy] • 3,900 words
After a very stressful day visiting her prized student in Ponyville, Princess Celestia is left alone to contemplate and watch the sunset. From an outsider's perspective, she has everything she could ever want. But has she ever really had anything at all?
Hit the break for a chat with TheBandBrony, and links to Moments Worth Sharing out on the ponynet - and don't forget to grab your very own ebook over at the Downloads page!
Where do you live?
Just north of Chicago, right next door to several rather large equine training facilities.
What kind of work do you do? (i.e. are you a student, do you have a career/day job, etc)
I started my junior year of high school yesterday, as of writing this. I do a few odd jobs here and there, but school dominates most of my life – well, that and ponies.
How did you discover My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? When did you realize you were a fan of the show?
My story is not that unusual. A friend of mine told me about the show around the time season two premiered. I had a great laugh when he first described the show and its fandom to me – after all, what self-respecting guy would watch a show made to market dolls to five year-old girls? But after far too much prodding on his part, I finally sat down and watched the first episode I happened to come across, Sweet and Elite... and then all of season one shortly after. I've always had an affinity for cartoons (Classic ones, like Popeye and Tom and Jerry) but ponies were just so awesome that I had to get in on the fun.
Do you have a favorite episode?
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)?
Pinkie Pie, without a doubt. I have a little bit of her signature randomness inside me, in that I will sometimes spontaneously break into song for no real reason. But what always gets me is her cheery optimism that constantly inspires me to try to look on the bright side of things and be a better person, even when I know I shouldn't.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
I'm a brony that's in a band... duh.
Have you written in other capacities (other fandoms, professionally, etc)? When did you first start writing?
I've been writing sporadically for a few years – I even got published in a couple odd poetry collections here and there – but I didn't start writing seriously until I got bit by the pony bug. As far as other fandoms go, I've written exactly one fanfic that doesn't pertain to MLP, but I'm far too ashamed of it to tell you all what it's about. I'd like to write professionally one day, though, even if it's just as a hobby.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
When I'm not writing I'm either at school, playing drums, or distracting myself with Happy Wheels and copious amounts of classic swing (on that note, Buddy Rich is best pony).
Who is your favorite author (published or fanfiction)? Do you have a favorite story or novel?
I read way too much to have a single favorite, published and fanfiction alike. SleeplessBrony and The_Incredible_Blunderbolt both wrote stories that inspired me to write in the first place, though, so if anyone should be on this list it should be them.
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?
Not really. If I try to write for one specific person, I end up putting off two more in the process. My style (or lack thereof) varies so much from story to story that I can somehow go from writing smut about a young Twilight Sparkle raping a royal guard in the name of science (Yes, I actually wrote that. Yes, I know I'm a terrible person) to writing a piece like Moments Worth Sharing with relatively little turnaround. Any sort of “ideal reader” would need to be able to put up with some pretty violent stylistic swings.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, or writers who are struggling with their own stories?
Never force yourself to write anything. The only thing you'll accomplish by forcing words out of your head is piecing together a lot of sub-par stories. Write because you want to, not because you have to. Also, remember that one must strive to improve before one can strive to impress, so don't get down on yourself when the first thing you ever write goes down in flames – just be sure to learn from all your mistakes so you don't end up repeating them and looking like a fool for all the internet to see. Believe it or not, the first story I ever wrote for this fandom was about an OC alicorn with no memory and a dark secret that conveniently crash-landed in Ponyville. If I can go from writing such generic garbage as that to writing something as good as Moments, anyone can.
What is your typical writing process? (Do you work through multiple drafts, do you have any prereaders/editors, etc?)
When I get an idea, I try pump out a single, complete copy as fast as my hands can type. I hate getting bogged down in a story, and if I do I tend to procrastinate writing it more and more until I end up forcing myself to finish it, which I've found hurts the quality of the story more than anything. If something doesn't flow naturally and I have to force it out, it'll sound like just that – forced and choppy. I also don't try and plan ahead unless I know the story's gonna be really long or intricate. I've found that story will often reach a much more satisfying conclusion if it's allowed to do whatever it wants in order to get there.
After that's all said and done I just sit down and edit the living hell out of it. I tend to get really paranoid about letting anybody see work that might be sub-par, so I don't let anyone else even see it, much less edit it until I know it's at the very least somewhat tolerable. Lots of editing can't make a bad story good, but it sure helps make a good story better.
What inspired you to write Moments Worth Sharing?
The basic idea itself came from a prompt off a monthly writing contest held by The Writer's Group (in fact, a horrendously watered-down version of said story is still up in the May group challenge), but pretty much everything else stemmed from a desire to portray how such a small act of kindness can have such a huge positive impact, even on somepony as god-like as Celestia.
Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing Moments Worth Sharing?
The whole thing was pretty rough the first couple of passes, but the only giant issue that stuck out to me was Fluttershy. I had a rather hard time writing her in as an actual character rather than an interchangeable cardboard cutout with all the personality of a cactus. At first, she did nothing more than give Celestia cake and be timid, which hurt the story considerably.
When you set out to write Moments Worth Sharing, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?
The only theme that I focused on using from the start was the whole "her sunset vs. their sunset" thing. All the others just kinda popped up as the story progressed.
Or maybe people are just finding meaning where there is none...
Where can readers drop you a line?
They can hit me up on my DeviantArt, PM me on FIMFiction, or just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
There is a fine line between tenacity and blind stubbornness. Tenacity is what got me this interview. Blind stubbornness is what made me write the damn story in the first place.