Friday, January 11, 2013

Mindblower's Gold Star

Presumably, war must come to Equestria at some point, as it's come to our own world time and time again. No race or species is perfect, and it's practically guaranteed that any time two different ones interact, there will be friction – sometimes deadly.

[Tragedy] • 3,500 words
Mom says that families who work really hard get to put a gold star on the inside of their windows.

Hit the break for a few words from Mindblower, and links to Gold Star out on the ponynet. The Downloads page awaits, as always, if you're interested in your own ebook copies!

Where do you live?

East Coast, USA.

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

Sophomore in highschool, myself.

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

I discovered it through Memebase, of all things. Once I decided the phenomenon was worth the time of day, I looked up the fandom through KnowYourMeme, saw the first episode, and joined the burgeoning fanfiction community.

As I say below, though, I'm not really a fan of the show itself. More the fandom that surrounds it. It's kind of the same thing with Christianity – I appreciate the teachings, the virtues, and the community it offers, but if you actually sit down and try to read the Bible, you'll see some pretty funky shenanigans.

Do you have a favorite episode?

Nope! Don't watch the show. Shocker, innit? Thing is, I don't... like cartoons. Not specifically Friendship is Magic, I just don't like cartoons. It's kinda the same thing with sitcoms. I think the main issue I have with the My Little Pony is just that it's so goshdarn pretty – part of what attracted me to the series is also what repels me. It's just hard to watch with a straight face. The animation style, when in full flow, is difficult to take seriously. ...Honestly? It's kind of difficult to explain.

Not to discredit to those who do watch and enjoy the show, of course. This is probably just a symptom of some deep, overarching psychological problem I've yet to discover.

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)?

Derpy. I changed my favorite from Twilight Sparkle a little while ago as a step toward trying to abolish some kind of deep-seated prejudice against the mentally handicapped I seem to have.

I don't kick people in wheelchairs, mind you, and I know in my head that these are all good, if a tad unfortunate, people, but somehow I still manage to give them a wide berth when they walk past, as if their disorder is contagious. I hate that part of myself, and I'm working toward eliminating it, with writing stories such as The Story of My Life (one of my other works) being one of the initiatives I've taken.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

A stroke of brilliance when I was about twelve years old. It's always irked me when people insult themselves in their pennames (i.e. theworstwriter, Vimbert the Unimpressive). Even though they may have perfectly acceptable or humorous reasons for doing so, including the fact that a penname doesn't necessarily reflect on them as a person, it just irritates me anyone would put themselves down in such a way.

That in mind, I, arrogant as I was and still am, chose a penname that I would have to live up to. A goal to reach. Because, in art, there's really nowhere you can go but up. In terms of skill, that is.

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

I'm going to answer no right off the bat. Though I have had practice with screenplays and fanfiction in the past, it was only that: Practice. Ponyfiction is when I first started writing seriously, partly thanks to the fandom's efficient and structured way of doing so.

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

I play Team Fortress 2 competitively, which requires a lot of practice to keep one's skills sharp, and there are also various other things I have to do in real life that require my attention.

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

Favorite author? Note above that I consider myself highly egocentric, which also means my muse is one of the most jealous ones around. I read fanfiction about as much as I watch the show (though I do read a lot outside the fandom – the most memorable story I've completed in a long while is called The Scorpio Races, a complete and utter masterpiece).

That being said, if I had to pick a favorite, I'd have to say Nonagon. His one story, Somepony Who Loves You, is one of the most brilliant pieces of art you will ever lay eyes on. I look forward to the day when he shares the Vault with me – at this point, it's an inevitability.

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 care about all those who voice their reactions, good or bad. I met nearly all of my editors through their complaints with my story. My ideal reader is one who informs me of their thoughts on my story through a comment – good or bad, short or long, it doesn't matter. I read all the comments posted to my stories, and I reply to nearly all of them, typically in a PM.

Conversely, dropping a thumbs down on my story doesn't mean anything to me unless you tell me why. If you explain to me why my story was a waste of your time, it gives me a chance to improve upon my mistakes, which I will always try to do, because why the heck not?

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

Get an editor.

Please, for the love of all that is good in the world, get someone to tell you your work is awful. Get someone to tell you what you're doing wrong so that you can improve upon it. Self-editing is impossible, I know that from experience. There are resources available to you if you need to build a team. Use them. And, if all else fails, contact me – if your case isn't hopeless, I'll take on the task. If it is, I'll give it to Everhopeful. At any rate, if you lack an editor and refuse to seek one out, I can give you a personal guarantee that your story will be crushed to dust as soon as it reaches the eyes of the public.

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

I have an editing team of six strong, and that's typically the number I keep it at. They're a very diverse group, each of them possessing a unique skillset, and their job is to tell me what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong (mostly the latter). I'm also good friends with each of them, and they're easily accessible over Steam, which makes the editing phase of publishing a work exceptionally quick.

As for the actual writing portion, well, I devote a large portion of my time to thinking about how my story works, what makes it tick. See, as far as I'm concerned, you're merely chronicling an adventure that's already occurred. If you know your world and your characters inside and out, if you know them as if they are real, the words will practically fill the page on their own.

And, well, a little initiative never hurt anybody. Forcing yourself to write is a stupid waste of your valuable time – if you don't want to write, you don't want to write. No such thing as ‘writer's block,' and there never will be. I'd go on, but I'm going to stop myself, because I'm prone to rants where that topic is concerned.

What inspired you to write Gold Star?

Ironically, having The Story of My Life turned down from the Vault for lack of feels. How do you like me now, RBDash47? [Editor's note: Well enough, apparently!]

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

Nope! It all just flowed onto the paper. One editor had a particular quarrel with the voice of the main character, but by that point, it was on Equestria Daily, so I figured to heck with it.

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

None that you won't find elsewhere, I'm afraid. War is bad! Not much else to it than that. It tears families apart. It drives people mad. Of course, the same could be said of alcoholism, drug abuse, child abuse, divorce, disease, mental disorders, physical ailments, and the like. The world is full of tragedy if you know where to look.

That, and the fact that I can't write comedy to save my life. So sadfic it is!

Where can readers drop you a line?

I check my FimFiction account daily, feel free to drop me a PM. If you don't have a FimFiction account, that's a problem easily fixed.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I would highly suggest picking up Stepping on the Cracks at your local bookstore – it's an excellent read if you haven't already, and it's also what informed me of the service flag tradition which features prominently in Gold Star.

Speaking of, for those of you who enjoyed the story, well, I have plenty more planned. I also take story requests, provided the end result would be of a similar length to Gold Star. So, feel free to contact me if you have a good idea, or drop a watch if you want to see more of my work!

Thanks for reading, and cheers!

1 comment :

  1. Had the pleasure of being one of the first to read this one and it was time well spent. I highly recommend readers prepare their feels for a beating, though. Heh.