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Good afternoon everyone, I hope you are all having a lovely Saturday!  It's my pleasure to present, as the next installment in our Fandom Q&A events, our second Fimfiction Q&A, with none other than the wonderful writer Mister Friendly!

 

For those of you who may have missed the initial announcement thread, Mister Friendly has been featured many times on the coveted Fimfiction feature page, and is most well known for his Irony of Applejackverse, an alternate universe fan-fiction setting in which Applejack is a Changeling and struggles with her identity and whether or not to share her secret with her friends in the wake of the Changeling Invasion.  His most popular stories include The Irony of Applejack and The Advent of Applejack, both set within this alternate universe, and in his writing he's proven himself to be a sterling example of what a truly creative and gifted writer can do with a few simple but very unique changes to an already great setting such as MLP:FiM's.

 

Today, you have a chance for the next three hours to ask this fine fellow anything at all, whether it be about his head canon, the characters he writes about, tips for writing fanfiction of your very own, or just how in the world one manages to make Changelings simultaneously adorable, mysterious, foreboding, and menacing all at once!  :mustache:

 

I'll start things off with a couple of pretty basic questions, but ones which I've wanted to ask for some time...

 

What inspired you to select Applejack to be the star of this particular universe?  When did you decide to make your story considerably larger in scope than the typical "X member of the Mane 6 is a Changeling" story?  Did you know from the start that you would produce an epic, or was Irony of Applejack ever envisioned as a smaller story originally?

 

Hurl your questions at him, my friends, like snowballs, cold, half-frozen, icy snowballs at the smallest kid in class!  :D

 

Also, if you would like to support Mister Friendly's writing, check out his Patreon by clicking on the following link: Support Mister Friendly.  Writers like Mister Friendly are all too rare in this fandom, and the more support he receives, the more wonderful works of pony fiction he can produce!  :muffins: 

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I guess we don't need to worry about the obligatory best pony question, but I'll be the one who asks it.  ;)

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I'll start things off with a couple of pretty basic questions, but ones which I've wanted to ask for some time...

 

What inspired you to select Applejack to be the star of this particular universe?  When did you decide to make your story considerably larger in scope than the typical "X member of the Mane 6 is a Changeling" story?  Did you know from the start that you would produce an epic, or was Irony of Applejack ever envisioned as a smaller story originally?

 

 

 

Honestly? The reason why I chose Applejack was kind of arbitrary. When I was sitting down, thinking of a story, the first one to pop into my head was one based on Fluttershy, not Applejack. What ultimately changed my mind was, for whatever reason, I got the phrase "irony of Applejack" stuck in my head. I liked the way it rolled off the tongue, so to speak. So, i decided to roll with it, jot some things down, and... here we are.

 

And I had NO idea the Irony of Applejack would be as big as it turned out to be. Back then I wasn't really confident with my writing; I was self-taught, and was incredibly self-conscious about whatever I wrote, to the point that I'd minimize Word everytime someone was in the same room as me, regardless if they could see what i was doing or not. So, I was really just taking a gamble. I knew the fandom was great and had a reputation for being supportive, so I went out on a limb to see how things would go. That first day, when the results came back - top of the featured box, hundreds of favorites and ridiculously positive comments - that is still the single best day I've ever had in my life, and that's when I decided "okay, I have to do something really special with this".

I guess we don't need to worry about the obligatory best pony question, but I'll be the one who asks it.   ;)

 

Well you might be surprised to find out it's actually Sunset Shimmer. I've just had a LOT more practice with writing Applejack and Rainbow Dash lines. 

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Hi Mister Friendly! Seems like you are as friendly as your user says you are!

 

Ever gone through a writer's block? If so, what do you do when it happens? 

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Who are some of your favorite authors?

 

Are there any other shows, books or games you've written fiction for before?

 

What's your favorite episode of MLP?

 

Are there any other cartoons you love?

 

What's your opinion on Alvin and the Chipmunks?

 

Finally, can you tell me, what do you do with witches?

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Honestly? The reason why I chose Applejack was kind of arbitrary. When I was sitting down, thinking of a story, the first one to pop into my head was one based on Fluttershy, not Applejack. What ultimately changed my mind was, for whatever reason, I got the phrase "irony of Applejack" stuck in my head. I liked the way it rolled off the tongue, so to speak. So, i decided to roll with it, jot some things down, and... here we are.

 

And I had NO idea the Irony of Applejack would be as big as it turned out to be. Back then I wasn't really confident with my writing; I was self-taught, and was incredibly self-conscious about whatever I wrote, to the point that I'd minimize Word everytime someone was in the same room as me, regardless if they could see what i was doing or not. So, I was really just taking a gamble. I knew the fandom was great and had a reputation for being supportive, so I went out on a limb to see how things would go. That first day, when the results came back - top of the featured box, hundreds of favorites and ridiculously positive comments - that is still the single best day I've ever had in my life, and that's when I decided "okay, I have to do something really special with this".

 

That's very cool indeed.  I can remember how happy I was when I discovered that writing was my particular niche in the MLP fandom art community; it's nice being able to give back in some small way to a show and fandom that's been such a pleasure to watch and be a part of.

 

Where would you say some of your ideas for Changelings and their biology/society come from?  Most of it original ideas, or some come from other creative sources?

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@@Mister Friendly

 

That's a surprise.  With all these Applejack stories, one would think you'd be a fan of Applejack.  So then tell me, why Sunset Shimmer?

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Hi Mister Friendly! Seems like you are as friendly as your user says you are!

 

Ever gone through a writer's block? If so, what do you do when it happens? 

Oh yeah. Hardcore. And it's the most frustrating thing in the world to go through.

For me, the best thing I can do is actually change gears. Go write something else. Preferably not something serious. It can be silly, raunchy, something I don't have to try really hard to do. And sometimes that works.

The WORST thing I can do is sit down and think about the story. Obsessing over it and its finer details inevitably leads to brain clogs. Ask anyone with an overly analytical mind; the worst thing you can do is stew on something.

 

Edit: Forgot my number one way to get over writer's block: Movies! Go see a good movie, something that'll engage you! Geez, how could i have forgotten that?

 

 

 

Who are some of your favorite authors?

 

Are there any other shows, books or games you've written fiction for before?

 

What's your favorite episode of MLP?

 

Are there any other cartoons you love?

 

What's your opinion on Alvin and the Chipmunks?

 

Finally, can you tell me, what do you do with witches?

 

 

For authors, Stephen King has grown on me. I used to be a big Jack London fan (have a complete collection of all his stories stashed away in my room). I try not to read too much, however, simply because the more I read, the more I imitate other author's styles, and that's kind of a pet peeve of mine.

 

For the second question, actually no. Well, there was this stupid little throw away thing I did for World of Warcraft that made it two chapters, choked and died on the drawing board, and never made it to the light of day. Most everything else i've done have been originals, not counting MLP fanfics.

 

For favorite episodes... The Royal Wedding. Hands down. Episode 100 is a close second, but the Royal Wedding really left a lasting impression on me, because it was the first time the series really demonstrated how freaking dark it could be, and epic, too.

 

For cartoons... Ed, Edd & Eddy. It got so bad that my father actually forbid me and my brother from watching it. Basically any cartoon on Cartoon Network during the early 2000s, so Ed, Edd & Eddy, Courage the Cowardly Dog, and a guilty pleasure, Totally Spies. Don't judge me, the show was awesome!

 

My opinion on the Chipmunks is that they have not aged gracefully and Hollywood REALLY needs to stop torturing my childhood.

 

As for witches, leave them for the Spanish Inquisition. No one expects them.

Edited by Mister Friendly
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Alright. I'll admit to having your stories on my to read list, but I haven't just yet read them.  :) Though after seeing you on here, I'm seriously considering bumping it up to my next in line.

 

Anyways, I have a question or two for ya, if you don't mind.  :lol:

 

First, are there any other stories that heavily influenced your writing? Like, has any other story been inspirational to what you have written/currently are working on?

 

Second, are you planning on working with changeling in future stories? After Advent of Applejack, and such.  :P ( Or, perhaps other races that are used less, such as batponies or griffons? )

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So is there any special story you have to how you got your name Mister Friendly?

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That's very cool indeed.  I can remember how happy I was when I discovered that writing was my particular niche in the MLP fandom art community; it's nice being able to give back in some small way to a show and fandom that's been such a pleasure to watch and be a part of.

 

Where would you say some of your ideas for Changelings and their biology/society come from?  Most of it original ideas, or some come from other creative sources?

 

The idea for my interpretations of changelings was centered on two main concepts: make them as pony-like as possible so that they aren't freaky, and make them more magical in nature than ponies. So, like fairies instead of bugs. The reasoning for the first was that I wanted them to be agreeable. Other authors have done the whole 'dark slimy caves and freaky habits' shtick, so I wanted something more benign. At the same time, I wanted them to be very magical, sort of mystical, to give them a sort of supernatural mystique. 

Really, though, I spent WAY too long conceptualizing my idea for what a changeling should and should not be in this case...

 

 

 

@@Mister Friendly

 

That's a surprise.  With all these Applejack stories, one would think you'd be a fan of Applejack.  So then tell me, why Sunset Shimmer?

 

I like Applejack a lot. I can identify with her more than any other. But I like Sunset Shimmer's background and personality (Rainbow Rocks on), and her motivation as a character is interesting. Redemption (even if a little cliched) is always a compelling angle.

Alright. I'll admit to having your stories on my to read list, but I haven't just yet read them.  :) Though after seeing you on here, I'm seriously considering bumping it up to my next in line.

 

Anyways, I have a question or two for ya, if you don't mind.  :lol:

 

First, are there any other stories that heavily influenced your writing? Like, has any other story been inspirational to what you have written/currently are working on?

 

Second, are you planning on working with changeling in future stories? After Advent of Applejack, and such.  :P ( Or, perhaps other races that are used less, such as batponies or griffons? )

 

Most definitely. I like delving into poorly explored aspects of the show, and being a product of monster movies in my youth, I love creatures and groups outside the norm. So yes. I actually started writing a story for Griffons, and even Draconiq... Draconiqui... Discord's people, and even had ideas for Minotaurs. Ponies are great and all, but its the minority groups in the show that really intrigue me.

 

 

So is there any special story you have to how you got your name Mister Friendly?

 

I wish there was, I really do! In truth, though, I wanted a different name from what I typically use for gaming, which was something I created... uh... fifteen years ago? Now I feel old -- anyway! I was just casting around, trying to think of something. I tried thinking of a pony name, got too uncomfortable with it (being fresh in the fandom), and went a different route. I actually got inspired by the G-man from Halflife to try a more mysterious/sophisticated name, and when I found my chosen avatar on FIMfiction, it just sort of fell into place.

Of course, when I told my real life friends what I'd picked, one of their first comments was that it sounded like a rapists name, and for months I couldn't un-know that!  :=:

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The idea for my interpretations of changelings was centered on two main concepts: make them as pony-like as possible so that they aren't freaky, and make them more magical in nature than ponies. So, like fairies instead of bugs. The reasoning for the first was that I wanted them to be agreeable. Other authors have done the whole 'dark slimy caves and freaky habits' shtick, so I wanted something more benign. At the same time, I wanted them to be very magical, sort of mystical, to give them a sort of supernatural mystique. 

Really, though, I spent WAY too long conceptualizing my idea for what a changeling should and should not be in this case...

 

Fairies, yeah, I can definitely see that.  Also, I do love that there are many aspects of magic in the entire world as a whole that the princesses aren't familiar with in your setting.  I think that's one of your most effective elements in making them come across as regal and wise, but not too godlike.  And it's actually a very logical extension of how they reacted to Changelings in the Canterlot Wedding episode; they may have overcome them with Cadance and Shining Armor's magic, but they weren't entirely sure how, it was most a spur-of-the-moment, spontaneous emission of magic.  For the most part, the ponies in general didn't do too hot against the Changelings, so it makes sense that their magic would be mysterious to them.

 

Changing gears a bit, since I know for a fact that you've seen Kill la Kill, what would you say is your favorite anime and why?  ;)

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Fairies, yeah, I can definitely see that.  Also, I do love that there are many aspects of magic in the entire world as a whole that the princesses aren't familiar with in your setting.  I think that's one of your most effective elements in making them come across as regal and wise, but not too godlike.  And it's actually a very logical extension of how they reacted to Changelings in the Canterlot Wedding episode; they may have overcome them with Cadance and Shining Armor's magic, but they weren't entirely sure how, it was most a spur-of-the-moment, spontaneous emission of magic.  For the most part, the ponies in general didn't do too hot against the Changelings, so it makes sense that their magic would be mysterious to them.

 

Changing gears a bit, since I know for a fact that you've seen Kill la Kill, what would you say is your favorite anime and why?  ;)

 

Those stupid romantic-comedies will always hold a special place in my heart, and I hate myself for it. And then of course I pull a complete 180 and adore Hellsing (the OVA, not the original series, what was... alright.). But if I had to pick my all-time, special favorite, it will be Azumanga Daioh, and just because my brother and I would binge watch episodes over a summer, and it was cute and whimsical and funny.

Kill la Kill is up there, though. Easily second place in all-time favorites. How can you not like a show that seems to be powered by obscene levels of Rock Star and testosterone? 

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Those stupid romantic-comedies will always hold a special place in my heart, and I hate myself for it. And then of course I pull a complete 180 and adore Hellsing (the OVA, not the original series, what was... alright.). But if I had to pick my all-time, special favorite, it will be Azumanga Daioh, and just because my brother and I would binge watch episodes over a summer, and it was cute and whimsical and funny.

Kill la Kill is up there, though. Easily second place in all-time favorites. How can you not like a show that seems to be powered by obscene levels of Rock Star and testosterone? 

 

Kill la Kill certainly achieves a magnificence few anime can; unabashedly in love with how over-the-top it is but in a way that I can't imagine would turn audiences off to it.  Not to mention fascism mixed with clothing is one of those things the world always needed that we never knew it needed until it became a reality.

 

As for me, it may seem a by-the-books answer, but Cowboy Bebop is my all-time fave.  That show to me is a perfect example of an anime that is trying at once to be both an anime and yet also more than an anime, and achieving both to perfection.  Only 26 episodes long (and one feature length film as well), but that's all it needed, really.

 

 

As for rom-coms, I don't watch too many anime types myself, but my top would definitely be the utterly charming Spice and Wolf.

 

Let's see, what next?  Hmmm... I know!  From one long-fic author to another (and for any other ones out there, or aspiring ones) what do you think is the key to success for a long-fic and hooking new readers, even if it's 200,000 words long already?

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Might be an incredibly random question, but my favorite style of story is Gothic romance, what do you thing of that style or genre?

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Kill la Kill certainly achieves a magnificence few anime can; unabashedly in love with how over-the-top it is but in a way that I can't imagine would turn audiences off to it.  Not to mention fascism mixed with clothing is one of those things the world always needed that we never knew it needed until it became a reality.

 

As for me, it may seem a by-the-books answer, but Cowboy Bebop is my all-time fave.  That show to me is a perfect example of an anime that is trying at once to be both an anime and yet also more than an anime, and achieving both to perfection.  Only 26 episodes long (and one feature length film as well), but that's all it needed, really.

 

 

As for rom-coms, I don't watch too many anime types myself, but my top would definitely be the utterly charming Spice and Wolf.

 

Let's see, what next?  Hmmm... I know!  From one long-fic author to another (and for any other ones out there, or aspiring ones) what do you think is the key to success for a long-fic and hooking new readers, even if it's 200,000 words long already?

 

A key when dealing with very long fics is a sense of showmanship. Chapter names, for instance, can pique a reader's interest. and a tactical use of cliffhangers. Used properly, it can tempt readers to go on because they want to know what happens next. Used improperly, however, and it can be obnoxious. As one anime fan to another, an example of obnoxious cliffhangers would be cutting away moments away from a critical moment, like a fight. Dragonball Z was notorious for doing that. It's the same concept; a cliffhanger should be both resolution and lead-in.

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I guess it's time for another question:

 

I've been working on some Sonic + MLP crossover fanfics on Fanfiction.net.  Two of them were for G1 MLP while another one (which I failed to finish becuase of time constraints, I was planning on submitting it to the Hearth's Warming Eve contest) is based off FiM.  First of all, did you have any experience with crossovers before?  And if so or not, what tips can you give me to improve upon them?

 

Here's the link to the In-com-plete Hearth's Warming crossover.  (Brohoof to the one who got the reference I threw in. ;) )

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Might be an incredibly random question, but my favorite style of story is Gothic romance, what do you thing of that style or genre?

 

I actually haven't had too much experience with it. Mostly movies. But I enjoy it well enough. Not a favorite, but not my least-favorite, either.

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Thanks for answering my question about writer's block!

 

Here's another question, this one, I like to ask to relevant people on the fandom: What do you think about the fandom right now? Do you think it's dying?

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I guess it's time for another question:

 

I've been working on some Sonic + MLP crossover fanfics on Fanfiction.net.  Two of them were for G1 MLP while another one (which I failed to finish becuase of time constraints, I was planning on submitting it to the Hearth's Warming Eve contest) is based off FiM.  First of all, did you have any experience with crossovers before?  And if so or not, what tips can you give me to improve upon them?

 

Here's the link to the In-com-plete Hearth's Warming crossover.  (Brohoof to the one who got the reference I threw in. ;) )

 

I do have some experience with crossovers, actually. (I can't seem to get into FIMfiction at this junction, so I can't link it) Nevermind! 

http://www.fimfiction.net/story/201239/a-king-unmatched

I'm writing a Godzilla crossover, still very near and dear to my heart even if it is a side-project.

The best advice I can give is to make the crossover plausible. Avoid Deus Ex Machinas like magical dimensional portals sucking characters from one world to the other out of the blue that serve no other purpose than to get the characters into Equestria so that they can have some adventures afterwards. It's been done to death, and most readers consider it something of a turn-off in my experience. Granted in Sonic's case that wouldn't be beyond the realm of possibility, but always be mindful of how you would bring the two worlds together, and make it a central part of the plot. Eggman finding something similar to the mirror in Equestria Girls and tries to exploit it, for instance, would be a plausible lead in.

Thanks for answering my question about writer's block!

 

Here's another question, this one, I like to ask to relevant people on the fandom: What do you think about the fandom right now? Do you think it's dying?

 

I'm not really informed on the state of the fandom, but in my personal opinion, it's alive and well. Content is still being produced, cons are still being planned... so no, I don't think it's dying. It might hibernate a little during seasonal hiatuses, but I don't see it going away anytime soon. I for one will be a brony for life, and simply because of my experiences in this fandom. Even if it's just hanging on to a keepsake when I'm old and crotchety.

Edited by Mister Friendly
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A key when dealing with very long fics is a sense of showmanship. Chapter names, for instance, can pique a reader's interest. and a tactical use of cliffhangers. Used properly, it can tempt readers to go on because they want to know what happens next. Used improperly, however, and it can be obnoxious. As one anime fan to another, an example of obnoxious cliffhangers would be cutting away moments away from a critical moment, like a fight. Dragonball Z was notorious for doing that. It's the same concept; a cliffhanger should be both resolution and lead-in.

 

I agree, the ending to chapters in long fics is a very critical key to their success.  Based on your experience with both Irony of Applejack and Advent of Applejack, would you say that the most difficult part so far in writing both was the first act of Irony of Applejack?  I ask because I only recently finished the first act of my very own first long fic (and first part of a planned trilogy), and as I recall from writing that and reading your own first act in Irony of AJ, that is where one encounters the longest periods of slow-burns in a long fic, which can especially be frustrating for both a writer and his/her audience in a long adventure fic.  Definitely tricky keeping audiences engaged in those passages in particular.

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Which are your 3 favorite books? Has one of them changed your life (or your perspective on life)?

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I agree, the ending to chapters in long fics is a very critical key to their success.  Based on your experience with both Irony of Applejack and Advent of Applejack, would you say that the most difficult part so far in writing both was the first act of Irony of Applejack?  I ask because I only recently finished the first act of my very own first long fic (and first part of a planned trilogy), and as I recall from writing that and reading your own first act in Irony of AJ, that is where one encounters the longest periods of slow-burns in a long fic, which can especially be frustrating for both a writer and his/her audience in a long adventure fic.  Definitely tricky keeping audiences engaged in those passages in particular.

 

I agree that the first part of a long story is typically the slowest, because the first act seems to be when the story's elements have to be fleshed out. I see it like going to the park; first you have to drive there, and driving is monotonous, but you have to do it, otherwise how the heck did you get there? And once you're at the park, woo boy, it's time to have some fun! That's the way I look at it; everything takes setup and preparation. Longer fics just need more of it.

 

Which are your 3 favorite books? Has one of them changed your life (or your perspective on life)?

 

I can't think of their names off the top of my head, but I liked the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series of books. The first one stands out as being very creative, and I loved how some of the greek mythological creatures were portrayed. But I think the biggest influence was the Harry Potter books. Book six in particular (The Halfblood Prince I think?). The thing that grabbed me was the introduction of an actual romance, and I thought it was handled remarkably well.

And then there's a lesser known series called Deltora Quest. Quite a long series, but it was one of my favorites growing up.

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@@Mister Friendly

 

Thanks for the advice.  Because of this, I got an idea for my next crossover, though thew premise may sound stupid.  I'll make a FiMfiction account so that both that and the Fanfiction site can read it. :)

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@@Mister Friendly

 

Thanks for the advice.  Because of this, I got an idea for my next crossover, though thew premise may sound stupid.  I'll make a FiMfiction account so that both that and the Fanfiction site can read it. :)

 

Sounds great! Let me know how it goes or if you need any more advice.

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