Friday, January 13, 2012

The_RPGenius's Constellations

Today's Vault entry falls into the "short but sweet" category, providing a different look at Princess Luna after her return from the moon (Season 2 canon be damned) - and exploring a special ability she discovers in the night.

[Slice-of-Life] • 4,800 words
Luna attempts to distract herself from the same frustrations that she once let ruin her life.

Hit the break for a chat with The_RPGenius, links to Constellations online, and of course check out the Downloads page for copies in your preferred eBook format.

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)

Currently, I work retail full time, and also am a substitute teacher.

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

Y’know, I can’t rightly say exactly how I discovered it. I only know that while browsing Youtube one day in early Spring 2011, I watched a video involving Nightmare Moon, and thought the design was fairly neat. A few Google searches later, I’d learned that this was apparently some growing phenomenon, and, naturally skeptical, I watched the first few episodes. I realized I was a fan by the time I was halfway through Episode 3.

Do you have a favorite episode?

I couldn’t really say what my favorite is, although I have several that I really like above most others. Lesson Zero, The Cutie Mark Chronicles, Dragonshy, The Best Night Ever, and The Return of Harmony are all really great, but I don’t know if I could really pick a favorite of them.

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)?

Canon: Twilight Sparkle, without question. I love a lot of the characters, but she’s just a terrifically appealing character who has depth of character and whose role and friendship really hold all the great elements of the show together.

Fanon: Twilight Sparkle. Honestly, a lot of the fandom’s ideas are too nonsensical or silly (Tyrant Celestia, Vinyl Scratch x Octavia, Trixie being a non-terrible character, etc.) for me to get behind to begin with. The ones that aren’t totally out of nowhere or don’t outright ignore the show’s portrayal of characters aren’t strong enough to oust Twilight from top place.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

This one’s been mine for ages now, back to the late 90s. I love RPG video games; they’re basically my life’s passion. I wanted to have a name that played off of my huge interest for the game genre back when I first started writing fanfiction and exploring the internet, and came up with that.

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

Definitely. I’ve written several other fanfics, mostly about RPGs but also about the anime Kannezuki no Miko. They’re at, although the older ones really show that I’ve come a long way in writing ability since I started. Here’s my page, if anyone is interested.

Nowadays, my writing mostly takes the form of thrice-monthly rants about RPGs, general and specific, at my blog, Thinking Inside the Box. It’s pretty fun, even if I’m mostly just talking to myself. The blog’s here, if anyone’s interested in RPGs and hearing some opinionated jerk yell about them.

As for when I started, I guess my first real foray into writing would be my old Final Fantasy Tactics fanfic, Trials of the Valiant, which I started writing some time in 1999, I think.

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

RPGs! I do so love me those RPGs. I also like to watch various movies and TV shows (including MLP:FiM, of course), and I am fond of reading, as well. I also sometimes am called on to proofread and edit various creative works written by several friends (I actually think I work better as an editor than a writer).

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

An impossible question to answer. I have a lot of favorite published authors, and I couldn’t really put any of them over any of the others. I love Isaac Asimov, Agatha Christie, Douglas Adams, Anzia Yezierska, William Shakespeare (playwrights count, right?), and so many more. I suppose I can say that a long-time favorite of mine has always been Lloyd Alexander, an author of children’s books that proves, much as Friendship is Magic does, that just because something is meant for children, it doesn’t mean it isn’t amazing, enjoyable, and insightful. I find more truth and worth in Alexander’s works than I do in those of many acclaimed authors of books meant for adults.

As for a favorite fanfic author, this is also hard to answer, although not nearly as much. My old friend Myshu, another writer for RPGs, is terrifically skilled and creative. I also have found a recent respect for Varanus, who is currently writing the MLP:FiM story Composure (which I am lucky enough to be a proofreader for). His writing skill is formidable, he has a terrifically insightful understanding of the characters he writes about, and he’s creative and detailed in his creativity, if Composure anything to go on (he’s written other fanfics, but about things I am currently unfamiliar with).

I really can’t even hope to pick a favorite story or novel. Way, way too much to choose from.

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?

Well, not exactly. Mostly I hope that everyone will enjoy what I write. But I do share pretty much everything I write with my sister, who graciously acts as both my sounding board and editor, and if she ever had a negative reaction to my writing, I’d have to either scrap it or seriously revise it. I suppose that could be my “ideal reader”?

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

God no. My writing process is so scrambled and slow-moving that sharing any part of it might pollute someone who might otherwise have written with some form of efficiency. I’ll leave the advice to people who know what they’re doing. All I’ll say is what any grade school teacher will tell you: spell your words correctly, use properly functional grammar, and take the time to reread what you write to make sure it’s all correct. There isn’t a story written so amazing that atrocious grammar and spelling can’t completely destroy it.

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

I really just don’t have one. I dive in, am incredibly picky about the word choice and structure of every sentence I write, and I take way too long and am easily distracted. Sometimes I’ll keep ideas for later in the work down near the bottom, so I don’t forget them. Other times I’m just winging it. It’s a complete mess of a process. The only organized thing about it is that I always make sure I pass a hopefully finished work off to a few editors and get feedback from them, which is always helpful in ironing out the story’s many kinks.

What inspired you to write Constellations?

Honestly? Nothing in particular. New to the fandom, I knew I loved the show, and really wanted to write something about it. I looked at the characters, and felt that there was a lot of potential with Luna (as many other authors had noticed, too, apparently). I did set out with the idea of creating a Shipping story about Luna and Twilight Sparkle (this was before I realized how awesome, adorable, and sweet Twilight and Celestia would be as a couple), but that’s not how the story worked out to be, and in the end I think it was better for it - the main thing was to tell a story about Luna, and I did that to my satisfaction.

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

Not really. It all came surprisingly easily.

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

No, nothing specific. I wanted it to be a happy ending, and to leave people feeling touched in a positive way, but I didn’t really have anything to communicate or explore beyond just the character herself.

Where can readers drop you a line?

In general, If anyone actually checks out that RPG rant blog I mentioned above, they can of course just leave comments right on it.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Always remember to leave feedback! Authors, artists, and other creators want nothing more than a couple minutes of your day spent committing your reaction to words. Also, thanks bunches to everyone who has read my story or stories, and I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Last of all, play Planescape: Torment. It’s absolutely amazing.

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