Lyra is almost as big in the fandom as Derpy, with a unique fan-created persona that is obsessed with humans. In what is (almost - it recently got beaten out by some little upstart) the most favorited story on FIMFiction, we learn why. (Have you guys heard the song? There's a great song.)
[Adventure][Human Crossover] • 130,400 words
Truth or myth? Ancient lost civilization or just an old pony's tale?
No pony has ever seen one, and most haven't even heard of them. But Lyra knows that these wonderful creatures are more than just old legends, and she's going to find out... and possibly drive her roommate insane in the process.
Hit the break for a chat with JasonTheHuman, and links to Anthropology out on the ponynet. There are some pretty nice ebooks waiting for you over at the Downloads page, too!
Where do you live?
What kind of work do you do? (i.e. are you a student, do you have a career/day job, etc)
I'm a journalism major in college.
How did you discover My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? When did you realize you were a fan of the show?
My first experience with the fanbase was on one of the TF2 servers, back in May 2011. I thought it was awesome that people were actually having fun while playing a video game, so I definitely respected them. I didn't actually watch the show until a few months later, and then I really got involved in the show around August. I've always been a fan of quality animation, so there wasn't really any period of denial and I'm pretty open about liking the show.
Do you have a favorite episode?
"Lesson Zero" was great, since I like the more comedic episodes. I also liked "Cutie Mark Chronicles" for the character backstories, so it's a pretty close tie between those two.
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)?
Twilight Sparkle is cutest, smartest, all-around best pony. I think I was drawn to her character design before I ever actually watched the show, but then I started to like her nerdy and socially-awkward personality. As far as fanon goes, though, it's obviously Lyra. It's interesting that for a long time I really didn't care about background characters. When the first Lyra blindbag came out and there was the huge argument about her name being "Heartstrings," I didn't care at all and didn't see why it was such a big deal. I think I've come to realize how much potential there is for her human obsession, though. I like it best when she's pointing out inconsistencies in the show, like Pinkie's foam finger, or parodying the brony fandom and our obsession with/desire to become ponies.
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
My real name is Jason and I'm a human. Since I created my FiMFiction account in order to post Anthropology, I thought I'd make humans a part of my username. Some people wondered if it has anything to do with Adventure Time, but I actually don't watch that show.
Have you written in other capacities (other fandoms, professionally, etc)? When did you first start writing?
Before Anthropology, my claim to Internet fame was Gurren Jesus, a crossover of my favorite giant-mecha anime, the Bible, and World War II. That ended up resurfacing in the April Fool's chapter of Anthropology, by the way. I didn't do any serious fiction writing until Anthropology. I actually think that discovering how much I enjoyed writing is what made me switch my major to Journalism.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Video games and reading. It's not a creative answer. I've tried a little bit of customization work on blind bag ponies and brushables, but I'm not good enough at it to sell them.
Who is your favorite author (published or fanfiction)? Do you have a favorite story or novel?
Stephen King is my favorite author, and The Stand is his best work in my opinion. It's hard to make a story stay that good for over 1000 pages.
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?
I try to write things that are close to the show canon, so I like readers who are just looking for a fun character-driven story. I've had a few people say that they liked my story even though they typically never read fanfiction, and that means a lot to me since I don't typically read fanfiction either.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, or writers who are struggling with their own stories?
Read a lot. I read tons of novels in all sorts of different genres. You'll learn how to tell a story from reading them, whether they're good or bad. It's also worth studying the actual writing process. Stephen King has an excellent book called On Writing that covers everything from basic grammar to character development. I've also found a lot of good writing tips from professional authors or editors on StumbleUpon by choosing the "writing" category and browsing for a bit, even though the Internet is the worst thing to happen to productivity ever.
What is your typical writing process? (Do you work through multiple drafts, do you have any prereaders/editors, etc?)
It's very unorganized. I'll write scenes out of order as they come to me. I'll get through maybe 400-800 words in one sitting when I'm inspired. I might need a break to get past one line of dialogue or piece of description to move a scene forward, so I might skip chunks of story and just plan to fill it in later. Once I've got a chapter mostly completed, I'll read through it a few times and make small edits and fill in the blank spaces. I've gotten good at self-editing, but I should really find editors more often.
What inspired you to write Anthropology?
I'd started to see some Lyra comics and memes all over the place, and I thought that her interest in humans had good story potential. I checked a few fanfiction websites for Lyra stories, but I couldn't find many and I didn't like the ones that I got. Originally I was just going to do a one-shot trollfic, which would be written "as" Lyra, with all of the terrible Mary Sue and Human in Equestria cliches (except with Lyra going to Earth and making friends with all the humans). Then it turned into a more serious story, and I planned everything out and started writing.
Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing Anthropology?
I made the mistake of saying I would release a chapter every week. Somehow I did it, and I'm not sure how. There's definitely a reason why I didn't want to write anything else for several months afterwards. I had the intention of staying at least five chapters ahead of what I was releasing, which I managed to do for a while. By the end I usually had maybe the next two chapters started when a new one went up.
When you set out to write Anthropology, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?
I pretty much just wanted to develop Lyra as a character, and have a human-centric story that avoided a lot of the cliches of humans being portrayed as either super-special or complete monsters in My Little Pony fics. Aside from that, it's still just a My Little Pony fanfiction, so I didn't have any grand messages in mind. It's just to have some fun and play with the characters.
Where can readers drop you a line?
I'm on FiMFiction often and read all my messages. I'm also on the Ohio Bronies forums occasionally.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
To answer everyone's question, I don't have any plans for an Anthropology sequel at the moment, but I do want to continue writing stories about Lyra and Bon-Bon. I like the personalities I gave them and want to explore the possibilities there. I might attempt another long story at some point, but I don't know. Whatever happens, keep an eye out for me on FiMFiction.