Friday, December 16, 2011

Twilight Snarkle's Two Ponies

Today we have a sorrowful but sweet look into the lives of some original characters. It may come as a surprise, but the Mane 6 and our favorite background characters aren't the only ponies in Ponyville...

[Shipping][Tragedy] • 11,900 words
Smudge loved well, and loved deeply. Too deeply, perhaps, for the pony left behind.

Hit the break for a fun yet insightful interview with Mr. Snarkle himself, and links to Two Ponies on your favorite pony sites - and don't forget to head over to the Downloads page to grab an eBook copy!

Where do you live?

I’m currently living just outside ‘The Bold New City of the South’: Jacksonville, FL.

What kind of work do you do? (i.e. are you a student, do you have a career/day job, etc)

I do remote systems administration for a region that spans from the East Coast to the Mississippi River, minus New England.

How did you discover My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? When did you realize you were a fan of the show?

I stumbled across an episode called Feeling Pinkie Keen, and it was the best thing I’d seen on TV in some time. I’m a huge fan of the classic Looney Tunes, and this (and later, Party of One) had some great Friz Freling / Chuck Jones moments. After that, I found the rest of the episodes online, and set my DVR to record reruns and new episodes.

Do you have a favorite episode? [Editor's note: at the time of this interview, Secret of My Excess was the most recent aired episode.]

See above!

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)?

Mm. Twilight Sparkle is my favorite Mane Six, but only by a hair. She’s bookish, adorkable, and a generally good person who gets wrapped up in the trivia far too often. The rest of the Mane Six, in order, are Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Applejack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash. Outside the Mane Six, that’s a toughie. I’m very fond of Apple Bloom but I think Luna edges her out.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Pinkie Pie would be my best friend were I to suddenly find myself in Ponyville. You just can’t say no to that level of pure unquestioning love.

As far as considering ‘the fandom in its entirety’ - there’s no possible way. It’s a fool’s errand. You’d have to have a Pinkie who is both a serial murderer and dead from diabetes, a Dash who beats on Scootaloo and is also a Wonderbolt and who is also ascended to godhood... eh. Fanon is alternate views, and best kept as exercises in ‘what-if’.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

In a forum now long-dead, I lit into a person who may or may not have deserved it. For pages. The mod stepped in and said, “Whoa there! Cool your jets, Twilight Snarkle!” I liked the name so much I kept it.

Have you written in other capacities (other fandoms, professionally, etc)? When did you first start writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a teen living on the Gulf Coast. I used to do video game reviews for the local paper. Since then, I’ve put out articles here and there, some letters to the editor, some actual items/stories, but never as a direct-hire ‘professional’, although I have edited professionally.

Fan writing never really appealed to me until MLP, and Two Ponies was my first foray into that field.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I like to read, nap, take walks, nap, talk/play with my monsters, nap, and nap.

Who is your favorite author (published or fanfiction)? Do you have a favorite story or novel?

My favorite author is Neil Gaiman, to whom I owe a debt for showing me how to present the myriad worlds in my head in a way that others can accept them. My favorite story of his is American Gods, although I think I may have a minor crush on Delirium from his Sandman series.

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 don’t begin to challenge Stephen King’s authority on the nature of authorship, but I find it absurd to write for anyone but myself. Vonnegut says to write for one person. If I don’t write for myself, then why write at all? That said, my writing seems to touch on the themes of solitude, belonging, acceptance, loss, and love. If anyone has found a sort of peace from losing a loved one after reading Two Ponies, or any of my other stories, then I’m writing for you, too. Copper Key says “Hi.”

Do you think that your work as a pre-reader for Equestria Daily has influenced your own writing or your views of writing in any way?

It’s made me a lot more critical about writing in general and about my own work—to the point where I’m in a bit of writer’s block. I keep second-guessing what used to come naturally. That will fade, I’m sure, and I’ll be back to finishing the last part of the Order from Chaos trilogy very soon.

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers, or writers who are struggling with their own stories?

Nothing was ever crafted at a forge with a single blow of the hammer. You must continuously shape your work for it to be good and true. Even if you don’t feel like picking up the hammer that day, re-read your latest work and see if the alloys or heat or temper need to be changed. Once you’ve finished your work, don’t rest. Pick it up and feel it in your hands. Congratulations: You have yourself another, better hammer.

Now get back to work.

What is your typical writing process? (Do you work through multiple drafts, do you have any prereaders/editors, etc?)

I think in scenes and encounters. I will write out the basic events of a chapter and then stare at them a while, then rearrange/add/delete until I feel the story flows as I wish. Then I’ll fill in details and dialogue and color. As for pre-readers and editors, I have had a few lovely people offer from time to time, and they have helped immensely. Two Ponies was largely complete when I first put it on Ponychan for review, and the good Anonymous (who uses icons from Samurai Jack) was a great help in finalizing the work. Order from Chaos & Justice were helped by the editorial efforts of Cloudyskies the Inimitable and Filler the Implacable.

What inspired you to write Two Ponies?

There was a young lady I knew, long ago, who passed over a winter. I loved her dearly, and we would have long conversations about nothing at all in the wood behind our homes. Her name was Charlotte. Copper Key is her, in pony form, and the initial story was my way of saying goodbye in a manner I saw fit. It was she who convinced me to ‘write more often’, when I was very young.

Smudge has a little of me in him, but not much. He’s the person who never learned to let go, and never lived as a result. I learned long ago you can’t hold on as tightly as he did, and survive.

I guess that goes a little far afield from the question, though.

Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing Two Ponies?

Oh yes. It’s awfully difficult to present a sad protagonist who doesn’t ever really clue in on the problem and keep him both believable, and avoid becoming some hyper-emo Sad Sue.

When you set out to write Two Ponies, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?

It wasn’t a goal at the initial writing, but as I shaped the story it became important to me to tell the reader that it’s okay to be sad and lonely, so long as you don’t fool yourself into believing you’re actually alone. It’s a hard-won lesson, and a valuable one: There’s always someone out here who wants to listen.

Where can readers drop you a line?

You’re free to hit me up via email or a note on dA, if you like. I also lurk the /fic/ board on ponychan.

However, if you have a question about the stories, please post them in the relevant story threads on dA, or EQD, or PFA. Others may have the same question, comment, or concern and it’s great to talk to you all in a public forum.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Yes! Go get yourself a 9x11 glass baking dish, two quarts of vanilla ice cream, a small container of frozen Minute Maid lemonade mix, a few drops of green food coloring, and a standard package of Oreos.

Open the Oreos and remove the cream filling. Crush up the cookies roughly and use half to line the bottom of the baking dish. In a ridiculously large bowl, mix the quarts of ice cream, the lemonade mix, and the green food coloring together until soft and uniform. Pour over the cookie crumbs. Top with the the other half of the cookie crumbs. Wrap in foil, put back in the freezer until solid. Serve in tiny slices to the slavering horde/grateful family.

Once the dessert has been devoured, sit back and wonder where the cream filling went. We never throw it out, and yet, it’s never there when we’re done making the dessert!


  1. Thanks for giving me a little slice of your space here for my stories, RBD. I'm much obliged. And since someone asked, we call that recipe 'Tortoni'. =)

  2. Thanks for submitting to an interview, Snarkle. And, of course, for writing excellent pony fanfic.

  3. Hey, ol' man - can you add a link/category to FIM for this story si vous plait?

    1. Been meaning to do this sort of cleanup. Done!