Friday, January 18, 2013

bookplayer's Best Young Flyer

Today's addition is here because it manages to realistically and believably ship an adult Scootaloo with her childhood idol, no small feat.

[Shipping][Comedy] • 32,800 words
Scootaloo has a job as a flight instructor in Cloudsdale and a cloud house of her own. She doesn't have a special somepony, but she's cool with that. Just a normal life for a normal young pegasus, until a streak of rainbow turns her life upside-down.

After all, could she really resist the chance to train for the Best Young Flyers competition with a Wonderbolt? Could she turn down an offer of no-strings-attached passion with the most awesome pegasus in Equestria? Is there any way she could not fall in love with the shining idol of her foalhood?

Could Scootaloo ever say no to Rainbow Dash?

Hit the break for a chat with bookplayer, and links to Best Young Flyer out on the ponynet. Don't forget to grab your own copy at the Downloads page!

Where do you live?

The eastern shore of Maryland, in a tiny town at the mouth of the Nanticoke river, about a half an hour away from the nearest anything.

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

I'm a caretaker for my elderly grandmother, and do a few odd jobs on the side (beekeeping, soap making, and of course trying to get my original writing published.)

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

I first heard about it in the fall of 2011. I like to keep up with funny things that happen in different fandoms, and the Wank Report blog had a post about the stuff that happened on 4chan. I read enough about the show in the comments to know that I would love it, but I also noticed that one of the mane six seemed close to a character in the novel I was writing. I didn't want to be too influenced, so I avoided the show at first.

Last spring I finished my novel, and my husband lost a bet with a friend and had to watch six episodes of the show. He loved it, and insisted I watch it. I already knew I would love it, and I knew the fandom would suck me in. I was right about both, but I don't regret it for a moment. My husband is also a brony, but he’s not that involved in fandom.

Do you have a favorite episode?

I have different favorite episodes for different things I love about the show, but the one that captures a little of everything I love about the show is Best Night Ever.

I think it has awesome, funny moments for all of the mane six (Twilight's awkward Cinderella trick, AJ's "We don't generally wear clothes," Dash's fangirl moment, Rarity and Blueblood, Pinkie's varying degrees of party, and Fluttershy's descent into madness.) It has two great songs, and in addition to the stated moral, there's the real moral of not placing too much importance on one night of your life. (I'd like to show the episode to anyone who's ever planned a wedding.)

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)?

Based on canon, I'm a Rainbow Dash fangirl on par with Scootaloo. I love her bluntness, and her tough girl attitude. And I love that canon shows us that she's more complicated than that, without making her sappy.

In terms of fandom, this question is really interesting. I think that Applejack is my favorite in that case, not based on things I've seen or read, but based on her potential. Applejack is a more grown up character than the rest of the mane six, she has a business and a family to take care of, and she obviously has a sense of honor, and strong feelings of civic duty towards Ponyville. That's a lot of room for stories that the show can't tell, because they're not going to make sense to the target audience.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

The first fandom I was in was for a series of books. I honestly never saw myself writing fanfic for anything but books, because I almost never watch TV or movies. So as a fanfic writer for books, I saw myself as playing with books.

I also like the idea of a bookplayer as a kind of steampunk device. Perhaps it's some kind of aether based e-reader, or text-to-speech machine.

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

Well, I first started writing a novel when I was 18. Then I stopped. Then a few years later I tried it again. Then I stopped. Then, when I tried it again, I got it written. Now that novel I started 12 years ago is in the process of being published by a small press, Oloris Publishing, and is expected to be available towards the end of next summer or the beginning of fall.

As far as fanfic, I started writing that about a year and a half ago, in the Baby-Sitters Club fandom. (Baby-Sitters Club is a kids book series about eight teenaged girls of different archetypes who become "the greatest friends they'll ever have"... so I came into ponies with some experience.)

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

I tend to my bees, I work on the old house I live in, and I surf the internet for websites with essays that analyse TV shows and books and movies, or that talk about the fandoms for those things.

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

My favorite published authors are Terry Pratchett and Charles De Lint.

In terms of fandom, I honestly know so many great writers that it's hard to say. In different ways I envy the writing talents of Church, Twifight Sparkill, KrazyTheFox, Bad Horse, LadyHart21, and xjuggernaughtx.

However, none of them wrote my favorite story, which is So Long, and Thanks for all the Ponies by Sir Ginger.

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 know if I think that's true, but I do believe that every story has an ideal reader. To that end, I tend to keep in mind different friends when I write different stories, and really note their reactions in prereading or comments.

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

The most important piece of advice I can give is that there are no rules of writing, only advice. Some advice is good and some is bad, and that varies from story to story. The really important thing is to try to understand the reasons behind the advice, what this tip or trick is intended to do in the minds of the readers, and decide if it fits with what you're going for.

That being said, my advice to those struggling is to write something else. The only way to finish something is to keep working on it, but if you're not actually working on it you're not going to finish. So work on something else, and maybe you'll finish that. As long as you're writing, something is bound to get finished eventually.

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

Well, I usually have a vague outline for the whole project. I like to look at stuff like where the climax is, where major turning points happen, things like that. Sometimes I share these with folks to get comments, sometimes I don’t.

When it's time to actually write, first I write the dialogue, with no tags or description. Then I putz around for a while, then finally I make myself write everything else.

When I have something that can be called a story, it goes to whichever prereaders I have at hand. First and always is DbzOrDie, but depending on the story, and how long it might take the reader in question, I might also run it by Jackie, First_Down, Church, Bad Horse, Tchernobog, Lycan01, KrazyTheFox, KitsuneRisu, and occasionally other people for particular projects.

What inspired you to write Best Young Flyer?

I like the idea that, on the show, Scootaloo's feelings for Rainbow Dash aren't that different from Spike's feelings Rarity, Scoot just doesn't realize it yet. So I went looking for some stories where Scootaloo grows up to realize that she's always had a crush on Rainbow Dash, and maybe gets a chance to win her. I couldn't really find any, at least none written like traditional shipping stories.

I'm a big believer that if there's a story you want to read, and you can't find it, it's time for you to write it. So I started planning out Best Young Flyer.

Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing Best Young Flyer?

Overall, fewer than I thought. I expected a lot of hate from people who didn't bother to notice that Scoot was aged up, or thought it was creepy anyway. And I figured I wasn't helping matters by leaning on some adult humor and situations, especially in the first chapter. Turns out, those people thankfully ignored me. I appreciate that! Not every story is for everyone, and it's nice to know that other people realize that.

But the biggest issue I did come across was that, around the third chapter, I totally changed my outline. Originally, I planned to make the story about Scoot not thinking she's good enough for Dash, but that somehow felt cliché, despite there being no other fics out there like this. If what you're doing feels cliché when it's the first story, you're clearly doing it wrong.

I kept some of that, I think it's a good idea to address that in any romance between Scoot and Dash, but I changed the main problem to focus more on Scoot recognizing and dealing with Dash's emotional immaturity. That worked to address the original issue, but it also gave Dash an issue to overcome.

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

Not that I was trying to tell the readers about in the text. I really just wanted to write a fun shipping story. But when it comes to having them in mind, I did keep in mind something I've learned about age differences in romantic relationships- The age difference doesn't really matter as much as the place one is at in life. In the story, Rainbow Dash is stuck in a wild lifestyle while the rest of her friends have matured. Dash's maturity level is even below Scoot's, in a lot of ways. To me, that does a lot to close the age gap between her and Scootaloo, and hopefully makes it easier for readers to root for them.

Where can readers drop you a line?

PMing me on FiMfiction is the best bet. But if you really want, you can email me at

If you're a little shy, I blog a lot on my userpage at FiMfiction, on all sorts of topics. Feel free to join in the comments there, I love hearing new voices.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

First, it would be wrong of me to talk about Best Young Flyer without a special mention of DbzOrDie. Every step of the way, DbzOrDie encouraged me, helped me make decisions, poked me when I was supposed to be writing a chapter, preread everything, and even did other favors for me so I could get the story written. And he's not even a fan of the ship! He is, however, my internet best friend, and one of my best friends in the world, and I know I'm a lucky writer to have a guy like DbzOrDie around.

While we're at it, my standard spiel: Make some friends. We're in a fandom for a show about the magic of friendship. Reach out to people; say hello, tell them when you like something they've done, include people in ideas and discussions you have. If anyone thinks this is weird or not cool, they're obviously not watching the same show that I am. I've made some truly great friends in this fandom, and I hope to make more. Everyone needs more friends.


  1. WOO! Well done Bookplayer! You earn and deserve every bit of success; not content with being as accomplished wordsmith, you've also elected to share your insightful approach to the craft, becoming a very necessary element in the process. As a heartfelt patience and knowledgeable teacher, whose kindly guidance has led so many to their own manners of accomplishment, we owe you a debt of a sincerest gratitude - reader and writer alike.

    1. Okay, why did my rough message save and not my CORRECTED ONE!? I HATE YOU GOOGLE!