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Pony Fanfiction: An Ongoing Saga

Watch the show. Ponies are f***ing metal

I’m going to set a record for weird blog post titles.

You may remember last month I admitted to writing fanfiction based on the enormously popular reboot of My Little Pony and questioned whether it was worth doing or if I was less of a writer for doing so. Well, it’s been a month since I started and I do have to say that, despite what I may have originally thought, I think this experience has helped me grow as a writer. And yes, I’m being serious. It’s actually a pretty good story that I wanted to take the time to share. Allow me to explain.

My first crack at My Little Pony fanfiction was a crack crossover between the show and the Cthulhu Mythos. I wrote three chapters and eventually sent it to popular fansite Equestria Daily. For those of you who don’t know, Equestria Daily is pretty much the main gathering place for teenagers and adults that surprisingly enjoy the show. They also showcase fanfiction, but have pre-readers who approve everything first to make sure everything is high quality. As a result of this, most of the fanfics on the site are actually worth reading, like Progress (a very well-done comedic work). I wrote three chapters over the course of like a week (much faster than I usually write) and submitted it, certain it would get accepted instantly.

It wasn’t.

I was surprised, but it was a well-needed boot to my ego. I know I’m a fairly decent writer, but I hadn’t even considered the possibility of having to edit what I had written before I submitted. I am actually a relatively through editor for other stuff I’ve written, but I didn’t edit this fanfic at all at first. The reason for this? Well … to be honest, it was a fanfic and I was lazy.  The response I got was really helpful, telling me what I needed to work on and fix before it could be posted. Oddly enough, it was actually the most helpful critique I’ve ever gotten for anything I’ve written period. I wasn’t discouraged at all. I was thankful that it actually helped my craft, not to mention teaching me that any writer should always take what they do seriously. Thinking I could just write anything and people would like it anyway was rather arrogant and untrue.

I spent the next several days thoroughly editing it and submitted again, and this time it was accepted. I was very excited, having learned a lot about writing in such a short span of time (from writing fanfiction no less). Since Equestria Daily was a popular site and I thought my story was fairly good, I was certain it would become crazy popular.

It didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, it was rated very well and the people who read it did like it, but it wasn’t exactly an earth-shattering response. But still, it was fun to write … up until about chapter four when I got writers block on it. The story was relatively serious, and the only ideas for it I could think of involved throwing a DJ pony (based on a non-speaking background character from the show) in there to give exposition over the radio, but that had nothing to do with the rest of the story.

Still, I liked that idea and I ended up writing a different story that was just about that DJ pony hosting a radio show. Since I’m relatively good with dialogue, but not so great with prose, I thought it might be fun to write a story that was only dialogue, so each chapter of this story was done in the style of a transcript of the “actual” broadcast of the radio show. Also, since I had never written a straight comedy before, I thought it might be fun to give that a shot too (part of the reason I liked the idea so much). At the last minute, I got the idea to pair her with another pony who would act as the straight man.

What ended up coming from this was a story I called The Vinyl Scratch Tapes. Like I said, I had never done a straight comedy before, but I was surprised to find I had a lot of fun with it and I managed to turn out a pretty good product. After last time, I wasn’t expecting a huge response, but I had a hunch this might turn out a little more popular than before, especially since I enjoyed writing this even more than anything I had written in the past year (including the first draft of an original novel and several short stories). So I sent it to Equestria Daily and, unlike last time, it was accepted right away.

Turns out my expectations were a little low, since this story got ridiculously popular. I mean, it wasn’t the most popular fanfic on the site or anything, but it did get a huge response. People loved the comedy in it, so I kept writing more (throwing in a bit of dramedy in there as well). Each chapter I wrote of it seemed more well received than the previous one. Not too shabby for someone who didn’t think they could do comedy well. While my first story sort of drifted into obscurity, this one gets responses all the time. Heck, it even has some good fan art to boot.

This is the first piece of fanart I remember recieving for anything ever, so it's pretty special to me.

I’m in the middle of writing the last chapter of this story arc (though I think I’ll end up doing more in the future when I have time). I ended up learning a lot from this, namely that sometimes its important to do what feels fun rather than worry about what other people will think of it. I learned I’m way better at writing funny things than I thought and I enjoy it much more. Before writing these stories, I was trying to write horror short stories which died on the page. I was actually pretty depressed about it, but working on these stories picked my spirits up a bit. It did show me I am a good writer at a time when I wasn’t certain of that. I have a few ideas for original works that I want to work on, stories that will take advantage of the skills I learned from these fanfics.

Overall, I think it turned out pretty good and was very worth my time. And all this came about from watching a kid’s show. Sometimes it’s the little things that end up snowballing into moments that define us.

I’m sure some of the people reading this might find it funny I enjoy this show and even sillier that I wrote fanfiction of it, but I found it a very heartwarming experience. I found a lot of people who enjoyed what I wrote and showed me my strengths and weaknesses. I felt more rewarding writing this than I have anything else in recent memory. I just thought it was a neat enough story to share with you all.