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On average how long do each of you spend on revisions?

 

Do you agree with Hemingway's assessment on the guaranteed quality (or lack thereof) off initial drafts?

 

Considering the dearth of commercial short form fiction available to readers, do you feel that fan fiction and digital publishing in general can serve to fill this need for a wider audience?

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Any advice on how to first hook your reader into the story?

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What was the most cringeworthy mistake you ever made in writing your MLP stuff (grammar/spelling, plot point, mischaracterization, etc.)?

 

When I made the cover art for The Incredibly Embarrassing Parents of Rainbow Dash, I misspelled 'embarrassing' and didn't notice it until a few days after it went live.

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For any/all of you: which members of the Mane Six (or the other characters who tend to get the most focus in the show) do you have the easiest and hardest time writing for?

 

The easiest I have with writing is Twilight Sparkle, do to having a somewhat similar thought process with. The hardest I would say is Pinkie Pie, because of her inherent randomness. With her every line needs to be Pinkie-ish otherwise it falls flat and unnatural.

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All very acceptable responses though I supposed the obvious followup would be whether or not Cloud would bang a Losing Pony, especially Chengar's idea of it?  :derp:   Anyways, a serious followup question for you all, and one I've always been curious about; you've got some wonderful original characters, and have fleshed out some background characters in fantastic ways as well.  When it comes to main characters, though, particularly the Mane 6, you obviously walk a bit of a balancing act between having them stay true to their characters but also fitting into the Winningverse in their own unique ways (Rainbow Dash in particular is the first that comes to mind, her Winningverse self has always struck me as very distinct from her show self).  How do you three go about deciding how to write all of them, that is, what's a bigger priority, staying true to canon or being distinctly Winningverse characters?  :proud:

 

For me, it's definitely staying consistent with what's established in the Winningverse. I would hate to have a story where my characters couldn't grow and chance because their characterization is shackled to canon. It's probably part of why I stuck to mostly OCs with Lunar Rebellion and Freeport Venture, or the AU versions we see in the Phoenix Empire.

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Any advice on how to first hook your reader into the story?

 

Have a strong, short opening that grabs readers' attention--usually no more than three sentences. The best example I can think of comes from our universal inspiration Jim Butcher in the book Blood Rites: "The building was on fire and it wasn't my fault."

Edited by Comma-Kazie
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Oh, this should be fun!  :love:

 

Question for Chengar: When you first wrote "Life and Times of a Winning Pony", was it originally supposed to be more self contained and just ended up snowballing? Or did you always have plans to create the Winningverse?

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Mind if I ask another question?

 

 

Yes, I do. AWAY WITH THEE, MORTAL!!!!

 

(j/k, of course)

 

If you were going to ship ponies in a story, which two would you pick to pair up & write about?

 

Well, I'm a little biased towards Winningverse ponies, so if I really wanted to write a shipping story, I'd go more in-depth with Star Kicker and Sparkler.

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What was the most cringeworthy mistake you ever made in writing your MLP stuff (grammar/spelling, plot point, mischaracterization, etc.)?

 

I would say my biggest issue starting out writing that makes me cringe still is making characters likeable while still driving a conflict. That is probably the single biggest issue I had early on with Study of a Winning Pony, and if I went back to edit it, it would be the central focus of that overhaul.

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Any advice on how to first hook your reader into the story?

 

Open up with something to really grab the reader's attention and let them know what to expect. Venture starts off with an action scene that Sunset wins by taking a suicidal risk to escape a nonlethal threat. New Life starts with Cloud having morning sickness. Both tell the reader something about the main character and what they're in for.

Oh, this should be fun!  :love:

 

Question for Chengar: When you first wrote "Life and Times of a Winning Pony", was it originally supposed to be more self contained and just ended up snowballing? Or did you always have plans to create the Winningverse?

 

It massively snowballed, but once it started going I started planning and filling things in.

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On average how long do each of you spend on revisions?

 

Do you agree with Hemingway's assessment on the guaranteed quality (or lack thereof) off initial drafts?

 

Considering the dearth of commercial short form fiction available to readers, do you feel that fan fiction and digital publishing in general can serve to fill this need for a wider audience?

 

We generally let a chapter go for a week or so while I and the other proofreaders pick it over, then send out a 48-72 hour notices for the Last Call. 

 

In answer to Hemingway, I go with Patton's words of wisdom that no plan survives implementation. How much it deviates will vary from author to author.

 

Absolutely I do. Honestly, I think that's why fan fiction has taken off like it has in the digital age.

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All very acceptable responses though I supposed the obvious followup would be whether or not Cloud would bang a Losing Pony, especially Chengar's idea of it?  :derp:   Anyways, a serious followup question for you all, and one I've always been curious about; you've got some wonderful original characters, and have fleshed out some background characters in fantastic ways as well.  When it comes to main characters, though, particularly the Mane 6, you obviously walk a bit of a balancing act between having them stay true to their characters but also fitting into the Winningverse in their own unique ways (Rainbow Dash in particular is the first that comes to mind, her Winningverse self has always struck me as very distinct from her show self).  How do you three go about deciding how to write all of them, that is, what's a bigger priority, staying true to canon or being distinctly Winningverse characters?  :proud:

 

It's not easy, I admit. Especially when the characters aren't always consistent in the show itself. Generally what I do is set up a situation, and then logic out how each character would deal with that situation I've set up based on their actions and thoughts in the show. It's all about character. Character should trump everything. Even when they're making mistakes or doing something you disagree with. So I would say staying true to character is the highest priority when writing. For it's the characters readers are ultimately invested in, and their portrayal central to everything. I would say sticking to canon is key, for that gives the basis that we work off of for writing. If you deviate from that, then you get to very murky ground.

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Do you have trouble writing for a shared continuity?

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On average how long do each of you spend on revisions?

 

Do you agree with Hemingway's assessment on the guaranteed quality (or lack thereof) off initial drafts?

 

Considering the dearth of commercial short form fiction available to readers, do you feel that fan fiction and digital publishing in general can serve to fill this need for a wider audience?

 

Well, you can generally tell how long I spend on revisions by looking at the gap between when I announce a story's going off to the pre-readers and when I publish. Generally a couple weeks.

 

First drafts are always going to be a bit messy. I've certainly gotten better at them over the course of all my writing, but there's a reason I have pre-readers and editors. They still catch things that make me wonder what the heck I was thinking while I was typing. Not to mention when I do something silly like add a note to go back and punch up the description of a character/scene, and forget to do that, leaving editing notes in the finished story...

 

And yes, I think digital publishing and fanfiction fill a real need as far as reading material goes. After all, if people didn't want it, they wouldn't be reading it.

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Anyways, a serious followup question for you all, and one I've always been curious about; you've got some wonderful original characters, and have fleshed out some background characters in fantastic ways as well.  When it comes to main characters, though, particularly the Mane 6, you obviously walk a bit of a balancing act between having them stay true to their characters but also fitting into the Winningverse in their own unique ways (Rainbow Dash in particular is the first that comes to mind, her Winningverse self has always struck me as very distinct from her show self).  How do you three go about deciding how to write all of them, that is, what's a bigger priority, staying true to canon or being distinctly Winningverse characters?  

 

Poni hit the nail on the head. Deviating from canon is very dangerous, especially since the Winningverse is meant to compliment the canon of the show so precisely.

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Hello :D

 

So awesome to have writers on the Q&A, great writers are really hard to come by. And here is question:

  • What do you think makes a successful story.
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Writer- Seeking-Advice: What's the difference between showing and telling? Are there times when telling is helpful instead of hurtful. If so, when?

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Do you have trouble writing for a shared continuity?

 

It can be tricky, but it helps that we tend to bounce ideas off each other pretty often anyway. That means we usually iron out any continuity issues during the idea phase.

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Uhm, hiya... again...

 

Mind if I ask another question?

 

If you were going to ship ponies in a story, which two would you pick to pair up & write about?

 

I don't see why not.

 

But I have so many choices for shipping, it's hard to pick. Especially when so many options that could work for a story. For now, I'll say it might be fun to do something like an Alternate Universe where I ship Twilight and Cadance to explore that. Twilight and Rarity could also be fun for something more conventional as the two of them grow used to moving up in the world.

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If one of your fics could be a published book that was sold in bookstores, and no one thought it was weird that a fanfiction was published, which fic would it be?

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Do you have trouble writing for a shared continuity?

 

Not really; it helps that we collaborate really heavily and can bounce ideas off each other from brainstorming onwards. We'll have our differences of opinion on how things should go sometimes, but we always work it out in the end.

What do you think makes a successful story.

 

 

Strong characters, something for them to work for/towards, and an interesting setting for it all to happen in.

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On average how long do each of you spend on revisions?

 

Do you agree with Hemingway's assessment on the guaranteed quality (or lack thereof) off initial drafts?

 

Considering the dearth of commercial short form fiction available to readers, do you feel that fan fiction and digital publishing in general can serve to fill this need for a wider audience?

 

I spend at least a week editing a story. Sometimes as long as a month.

 

Generally speaking, everything should be edited. Both to make sure grammar and whatnot is good, and to catch any mistakes with your story. It's ill advised to make a story available to the wider public before giving it at least one good edit through.

 

Considering fanfiction and digital publishing are filling that need right now, certainly. I mean fanfiction.com and fimfiction.com are both very popular sites, and that should show how viability of those mediums.

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Hello :D

 

So awesome to have writers on the Q&A, great writers are really hard to come by. And here is question:

  • What do you think makes a successful story.

 

 

There's no quick and simple answer to this. The best answer I can think of is to come up with a good premise, then execute the story itself well. And honestly, it's more about the execution than the premise.

 

I'm reminded of a fun story about one of my favorite writers, Jim Butcher. He was in a debate with another writer about whether the idea or the execution mattered more. Butcher believed it was all about execution, the other guy believed some ideas just couldn't work no matter how well the story was told. Eventually, Butcher claimed that good enough execution could make any idea work, no matter how bad it sounded.

 

The other guy responded by saying that nobody could make a good story out of "Romans with Pokemon versus Zerg."

 

Butcher accepted the challenge. It's a six book series called Codex Alera, and it is awesome.

 

Anyway, my point is, making a good story is all tying everything together. Plot. Characters. Actions. Get the reader to care about your characters, whether it's enjoying Cloud's antics (or sharing in her misery and fears), wanting to see if Shadow can stay true to her principles in a civil war, or trying to figure out if you hate or love Sunbeam Sparkle.

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En versus em, space versus unspaced; what is your preferred implementation of the dash?

Edited by Wubtavia
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If one of your fics could be a published book that was sold in bookstores, and no one thought it was weird that a fanfiction was published, which fic would it be?

 

Lunar Rebellion or Freeport Venture, probably.

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