Monday, January 16, 2012

Daetrin's Off the Edge of the Map

Starting off the week with a fun adventure featuring everyone's favorite pegasi discovering that here, there be monsters. Some really interesting story elements here, fancy words you may or may not have to look up, and well-written to boot!

[Adventure] • 34,900 words
When Rainbow Dash's newest trick backfires spectacularly, she and Fluttershy find themselves stranded in the middle of nowhere. Together, they'll have to survive and find their way back to Equestria and Ponyville... no matter how far the journey.

Hit the break for some more words from Daetrin and links to Off the Edge of the Map wherever pony fanfic may be found; don't forget the Downloads page has eBook copies for you.

[And check out the pseudo-sequel, starring Twilight and Luna, Apotheosis (PFA(FimFic(EqD)!]

Where do you live?

Shenandoah Valley, VA.

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

Currently I work as a patent classifier for the United States Patent and Trade Office, but I’m working on moving into other venues (including writing!).

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

I kept hearing it was good, so one day I sat down and watched the first one on YouTube. And then the second one. And the next thing I knew I’d watched for five hours straight. I was pretty much a fan from the moment I saw it. That was shortly after episode 22 had aired, so I consumed the entirety of season one in three days.

Do you have a favorite episode?

It’s really hard to choose between episodes, especially when you have such masterpieces as Dragonshy, Sonic Rainboom, and Party of One to choose between...but outside of those standbys, I have a special place in my heart for The Cutie Mark Chronicles. Possibly (probably) due to Filly Twilight.

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)?

It started out Fluttershy, shifted to Twilight Sparkle, but now it’s Princess Celestia. She’s just such an incredibly tragic figure. An immortal among mortals with the burden of ruling a kingdom, raising the sun and moon, having to fight with and imprison her own sister, and deal with the fact that everypony is afraid of her. The fanon really makes it even worse, with Molestia/Trollestia/Tyrant Celestia, and then there’s all the implications of Discord/Celestia shipping.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

I ran across Michael Whelan’s illustration for The Madness Season by C.S. Friedman many, many years ago I was struck by the duality of the human and inhuman elements. I stole the name from that illustration.

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

I’ve mostly only written for fun, with nothing really published or anything. I have been writing for years but without a community to get feedback from (and I mean, real feedback, not “this is good” or “this is meh”) I was kind of spinning my wheels. I’d never written fanfic before and had never been interested in it, but pony got me writing again and since I had the pony thread on MMO-Champ, I could wrangle up pre-readers for my stuff. Some of them give me really good feedback and discussion, and that combined with the general feedback from EqD really got me settled into a writing style/mindset in a way I hadn’t been previously.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I suppose I would consider myself a gamer, but I sadly don’t have much time to do anything outside writing and working at the moment. I’m an extraordinarily slow author so it sucks up a lot of my time.

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

Probably Roger Zelazny. Amazing prose, fantastic integration of themes and elements, and really the author that got me reading. So far as favorite books... well, that’s a much more difficult question. I could probably name dozens of really good books. I read a lot.

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?

Really I try to write for myself. I have a group of people that hang out on my docs on occasion when I’m writing, and shout encouragement from the shore (and sometimes we actually discuss themes and plot and characterization, gasp!), but ultimately my question when I write something is whether I’m happy with it.

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

Read a lot. Read more. Then keep reading. The more you put into your head, the more you can get out of it.

Also, if you can handle it, browse TVTropes. I’m an engineer by training so I might have a more analytical bent to my approach than many, but being able to dissect my own writing in a coherent way is extraordinarily helpful.

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

Usually I have a rough idea of what I want to do, and it gets revised as I go along. Often I’ll write a scene, notice something in it that implies something new, and head off in that direction. As I said before, I have people now who hang out in GDocs and that helps a lot, since steering a story can be a pretty subtle thing at times. Since I tend to write from beginning to end, rather than write the outline and flesh out around it, I don’t too too much editing, but when I do it’s enormous chunks of text.

What inspired you to write Off the Edge of the Map?

One of the things was I wanted to write some FlutterDash. I’m mostly discontent with shipping, as most of it starts out with “X loves Y” as a given. My goal was to establish the basis of emotions, which meant it ended up as pre-shipping. I didn’t want to force the characters in any way, so it was actually lighter in that way than initially intended.

Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing Off the Edge of the Map?

Yes and no. The entire section in Draconia felt clumsy no matter what I did, and I really phoned in the ending, but I never really had trouble making progress. I have a tendency to sit there and plug away at a story for ages and ages no matter what.

When you set out to write Off the Edge of the Map, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?

Partly, I wanted to wave a “relationships can be subtle” flag. Partly, I wanted to make the world of Equestria more fantastical and larger than the confines of Ponyville that we see in the show. I also wanted to make a terrible Latin pun. With OTEOTM I had to tread the line between telling a ‘serious’ story, and staying within the bounds of the fundamental MLP world, where optimism and friendship rule the day.

Where can readers drop you a line?

As I noted at the end of Apotheosis, people can email me at I’m usually willing to chat and such, especially about writing.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Ponies are amazing. Seriously. I’ve always enjoyed writing and wanted to write, but it wasn’t until I started writing ponyfic and got in touch with all the pony people that it really clicked and I started working in earnest.

1 comment :

  1. Wonderful story! So many authors try to add other lands to the cannon of the show and suffer (usually very much) by comparison.

    These carefully-crafted new lands are delightful!

    And I love the subtlety of their relationship. Very well done!