This third addition to the Vault gives us a brief look into the darker side of Ponyville, a life as a foal of the street.
[Tragedy] • 1,800 words
Scootaloo reflects on her life on the streets of Ponyville, without a home and without a family.
Hit the break for an interview with the good Doctor himself and links to La Poulain de Rue on your favorite pony sites, and check out the Downloads page to grab it in your preferred eBook format!
Where do you live?
I usually tell people I live in South Mareolina. The town is Myrtle Beach, which is probably my least favorite of South Carolina’s bigger cities.
What kind of work do you do? (i.e. are you a student, do you have a career/day job, etc)
Right now, I work in a psychiatric hospital as a tech. I want to go into nursing school once I’m able to clear my plate a little bit.
How did you discover My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? When did you realize you were a fan of the show?
A /b/tard friend of mine told me about it, and I decided to watch it for shits and giggles. Neither of us were really into it (I only watched a couple of episodes), but we joked about it and changed our facebook pictures to ponies just to weird out our friends. I didn’t bother with the rest of the series until near the end of its run, when a really bad day at work made me seek out something to cheer me up. I watched a few more episodes and was hooked.
Do you have a favorite episode? [Editor’s note: at the time of this interview, the most recent aired episode was Luna Eclipsed.]
Right now, its probably Lesson Zero. I relate most closely to Twilight, and I’ve been very guilty of OCD many a time, to a fault. I even have to make lists of the stuff I do for fun, so that I appropriate the right amount of time to each fun activity.
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 is the one whom entertains me the most, and is the one I’d most like to be like. The fandom has done everything in its power to ruin her for me, but as long as the show’s creators continue to market the show towards its original audience, I’ll never have to worry about Cupcakes being canon.
As for the fandom, I feel they’ve helped flesh out Big Macintosh and make him much more than just a background character.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
I always told myself that when I got accepted into medical school, I’d have a blog about my experiences under the handle “Doctor Dafs” (dafs is a shortened version of my handle on XBLA, Twitter, etc). Unfortunately, three years of applications and interviews found me no closer to being accepted, but I still liked the name. When I was looking for a pony-friendly handle on ED, I went to a glossary of horse terms trying to find anything that was reminiscent of “dafs” and found “dapples”. Later on, someone pointed out to me that “Doctor Dapples” is a homonym for “Doctored Apples”, which I quite like.
As for the ponysona, he was originally written as spotted and brown, but when I requested my first piece of artwork from qwert5 on Ponychan, I forgot to mention this, and the unicorn was gray. I loved the design so much that I haven’t looked back.
Have you written in other capacities (other fandoms, professionally, etc)? When did you first start writing?
First time I ever wrote was back in high school, where I wrote a (seriously) 37K word fanfiction for The Lion King. It is too awful to reprint. Once my fervor for TLK started to wane, I began writing short stories. I only wrote a small number of stories, most in college, between high school and today. My output in four months of writing for MLP greatly exceeds my combined output since then.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I don’t read as much as I should. I’m trying to get away from watching so many movies and focus on reading instead. Not a big fan of most television. Give me a cup of nice coffee, preferably with some espresso in it, and a good book, and I’m all set.
Who is your favorite author (published or fanfiction)? Do you have a favorite story or novel?
Published, I can’t recommend anyone higher than Mark Leyner, who pretty much still qualifies as a cult author, and whose Tetherballs of Bougaineville I would rate among my favorites ever. Hunter S. Thompson is a big one too, and I was absolutely devastated when he took his life (something my idols seem to do). Other great books: Richard Adams’ Watership Down, John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, Bret Easton Ellis’ unfairly maligned American Psycho and my personal favorite book of all time, Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves, which is the single most unnerving book I have ever read.
Fanfiction, I can’t begin to list all my favorites, but I have to give a shoutout to Vanner’s Carousel, EbonMane’s The Cough, SaddlesoapOpera’s Pony Psychology Series, and pretty much anything by HiddenBrony, SyrinKitty, Harp-s-ong and NK. I especially want to give props to the two authors whom I consider the best in the fandom: The Descendant and Twilight Snarkle.
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?
Most of the authors whom I closely follow are also followers of mine, but they’re hardly sycophants. They give me the feedback I want when I want it, and they let me know if something isn’t working. That said, if I had to pick one whose positive reactions really get me happy (at least with regards to pony work) its NetherLips aka Futret, who is an amazing artist in his own right, and hearing him praise my work makes me feel like I’m really doing something.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, or writers who are struggling with their own stories?
It’s such a cliche to say to push through the writers’ block, but it’s still good advice. However, I do think if you’re stuck, give yourself some time to clear your head before you tackle the page. Just go outside with a cup of coffee (or whatever) and just breathe. Don’t think about the plot or characters. Don’t think about anything. Just clear your mind. If you can, try meditation. I’ve tried it, but my mind moves around too much to do it unguided.
And when you do write, and you accomplish something worth celebrating, allow yourself to celebrate. There’s nothing like those little victories.
What is your typical writing process? (Do you work through multiple drafts, do you have any prereaders/editors, etc?)
I hate drafts. Always have. Its only recently that I’ve considered going back to old stories and improving them, and most of them were written in one sit down. I imagine this drives my editors (usually Snarkle) crazy. This fandom is the first time I’ve ever used an editor, or at least the first time I’ve used one and actually listened for advice.
What inspired you to write La Poulain De Rue?
It started with Gavalanche. He has a real talent for showing us the sordid underbelly of the Ponyville reality. He’s kind of the David Lynch of Friendship is Magic, except he often plays it for laughs. I wanted a ride on the Scootabuse train, but I wanted to touch on something real. The combination of having seen absolutely nothing of Scootaloo’s family, and some recent stories in the news made me come to child homelessness (which I want to remind our readers is a real, and all too terrible issue).
Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing La Poulain De Rue?
The tone was very different than my previous works. At the time, I was probably best known (and probably still am) for a handful of M/M shipping stories, and an interview I did with Butterscotch Sundae. Aside from a couple of stories that most people still haven’t read, it was all related to shipping. I had to sort of shift that narrative voice a bit. I’ve been told I have a very detached narrative style, and I think that works for that story.
I was also wary about allowing it to turn into misery porn, like so many grimdark stories I’ve come across. If I had to pick a favorite theme of all time, it would be “hope in the midst of hopelessness”, and my headcanon of Scootaloo fits that perfectly.
Also, my title has incorrect French grammar. My bad on that one.
When you set out to write La Poulain De Rue, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?
I’m not sure my goal was necessarily to raise awareness of child homelessness, but if I did, that’s fantastic. Mostly I wanted to explore the question of “Who is Scootaloo’s family?” in a meaningful way.
I was also very inspired by The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, whose experiences are very much echoed in the story. Just because a child wasn’t beaten with a stick or cursed at, doesn’t mean their parents weren’t abusing them.
Where can readers drop you a line?
Deviantart is where all the pony stuff goes. If you’re interested in getting a little closer to the me outside of the Ponyverse, my tumblr sort of covers everything banging around my head. It’s not an ask blog, but it is open to questions.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
A big thank you to RBDash47 for setting this all up. The PFA was the first place I really grew attached to the brony community, and where I first started getting people who really paid attention to my work. [Editor's note: Stop it, I'm blushing.]