Today's Vault entry struck a chord with many bronies, helped perhaps by its more serious take on the human crossover genre.
[Human Crossover][Tragedy] • 12,400 words
When your life is as dull a gray as the world that surrounds you, the mundanities can make it all seem meaningless. Sometimes all we need is a little color - or six - to reintroduce us to what truly makes life worth living.
Hit the break for an interview with Rob, a.k.a. Cakeran, a.k.a. LoCarb, and links to My Little Dashie on your favorite pony sites... as if you haven't cried manly tears over it already. Don't forget that eBook copies are available on the Downloads page!
Where do you live?
Just on the outskirts of Durand, Michigan, USA, North America, Earth, Milkyway Galaxy.
What kind of work do you do? (i.e. are you a student, do you have a career/day job, etc)
I am currently going to school for Automotive technology (basically a mechanic), though I also have a newspaper route that I deliver and I work with my father who is an independent aviation mechanic.
How did you discover My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? When did you realize you were a fan of the show?
A good friend of mine by the name of Noogai one day spammed the living *yay* out of several fan arts and comics, then episode twenty-five Party of One. It interested me, so I watched another random episode, number five, and decided “What the hell...” and started from the beginning, and by the time I got to the end twenty-six had been shortly released. I believe it was the end of May, and once I had all the episodes watched... I was hooked.
Do you have a favorite episode?
I have two technically; one for each season. Season one has been since I saw it episode ten, Swarm of the Century. My reasoning behind it is simply it shows each of the characters’ personalities in excellent ways, it’s chaotic, a good moral, and finally the right amount of Pinkie Pie randomness that most of the episodes hold. For Season two, since it is unfinished and we are up to only eleven, I say it is episode five, Sisterhooves Social. It was the first real MLP episode of season two in my opinion. The ones previous were full of wacky and zany situations, but didn’t have that true feel like most of season one had. Plus, this episode changed my view of Rarity as a character AND had some great sisterly bonding between Applejack and Apple Bloom, which was something I had wanted since she went all “I’m your big sister, NA NA NA!” in the Poison Joke 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)?
My favorite character based on canon so far has to be Applejack, though I’m stating this right now, SHE NEEDS AN EPISODE GWARGARBLEFLARGLE! *Ahem* Anyway, though over all I must say that Macintosh (Or Big Mac to some of you mares/fillies ;D) is my favorite character due to both the small canon roles and the huge fanon characterization of him. My like of Applejack has had no impact from the fandom, I soley base it on the show itself.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
Ah... my name. Well, it’s actually broken up into three separate parts. First the ROB, which stands for me and my friend’s clan back from our serious gaming days. “the Republic Of Bacon”. Cakeran, the second part, is my usual RPG/table top name that I use as a character. Simply put, I like cake, so I made it up on a whim. Finally the 53. It is the number of my favorite movie character: Herbie from The Love Bug.
Have you written in other capacities (other fandoms, professionally, etc)? When did you first start writing?
I actually started writing fan fiction back in February of 2011, beginning with the VG Cats community. It wasn’t that large, but I felt compelled to add my own fic into the mix. I had actually been writing since I was little, though I never officially finished anything nor has anyone but myself ever seen them. Fan fiction was an interesting change of pace for my writing, and I found it to be quite fun. Once I became a Brony, well, I knew how I had to contribute to the community.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I try to play video games on my Xbox 360, though lately I’m finding myself simply browsing “teh interwebz” or hanging out with my friends to play some Magic: The Gathering or Warhammer 40K table top.
Who is your favorite author (published or fanfiction)? Do you have a favorite story or novel?
I can’t say I have a favorite author, published nor fan fiction, but I do have a favorite story for those categories. For actual, published story it has to be Cell by Stephen King. That was one of the few books I own that I have actually bought, besides the Halo series. In fan fiction, my favorite is a interesting one: Pen Stroke’s Creeping Darkness. I love how he blended Alan Wake and MLP, and how he executed aspects of the fic. Hell, because of this fic I bought the game, and it is now my favorite Xbox 360 game. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of Past Sins, simply because this fic is where Nyx originated from before she became an actual character for the separate story.
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?
Me? Hell no. Well, maybe. Does myself count? Ha ha... all my stories that I write come from my own imagination, so when I write them and develop them, it’s all stuff that entertains me. I do aim to also please others, but well, it’s impossible to please everyone, so I figure that there are others who share my same thoughts and interests in my stories. I don’t go looking for them, but eventually they find me.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, or writers who are struggling with their own stories?
Yes... Oh yes, I could go on days in this topic, but I won’t because it’s very early and I’m very tired. The best, and simplest thing I can prescribe is to just write! Write anything. It helps you build up more ideas for other projects, which is why I write multiple fics at once! You may hit a roadblock with one story, so start writing on another one. You will brainstorm other ideas, and if they don’t work for that fic, maybe the one you previously were working on. And don’t worry about if what you write makes no sense, or relevant to a story. Just the simple act of using your brain like that helps draw out the ideas.
What is your typical writing process? (Do you work through multiple drafts, do you have any prereaders/editors, etc?)
My typical writing process is to get myself horribly sleep deprived (ranging from 12 to 48 hours), two six-packs of Sunkist, a comfy chair, throw on some of my record albums (mostly my Benny Goodman collection) then go to town. I don’t have multiple drafts, but I always copy/paste segments of my fic that I remove into another doc so if I choose to use them later then I can. Once I have the story done, I have a few pre-readers that I send it to that look it over and such. Then I go through and change more, do my own “editing”, then send it to someone to edit. Once they give me the OK, I post it.
What inspired you to write My Little Dashie?
The main inspiration for the fic was a comic a friend linked to me, to which I saw a comment saying “Someone needs to make this into a fic, now!” I took that challenge, built up a quick idea of what I wanted to have happen, then began writing.
Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing My Little Dashie?
The biggest problem I had with this story, turned out to be the thing that would have, in my opinion, made it MUCH better. I worried that if I made it too long, then people would turn away from it and it would not be well received. So to keep it short, I left out a lot of ideas and parts I had planned for it. But, some awesome people out there had taken up the challenge of filling in those gaps, and I must say they have done a superb job. I thought about going back and adding the scenes I had imagined, but I think it is way more fun to see what others think up.
When you set out to write My Little Dashie, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?
Where can readers drop you a line?
The best way to get me is on Skype under the username/profile/whatever ROBCakeran53. It is of the screaming Macintosh face... hard to miss. Otherwise, you can get me on dA or my email which is email@example.com.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
This answer sheet took me over two hours to fill out because gdocs kept crashing.
[Editor's Note: I appreciate your dedication in sticking with the interview through your Google Docs problems, Rob!]