Friday, February 8, 2013

Vimbert the Unimpressive's Twilight, Revised

Not every story has a happy ending.

[Dark] • 33,200 words
In a world where she sees from a distorted perspective, all Twilight Sparkle can do is cling to the one pony she knows will never let her down: her teacher, the princess... no matter which princess her addled brain tells her that is. Twilight's used to rewriting letters, but when she's the one being rewritten, she finds the sensation to be altogether different.

Hit the break for a chat with Vimbert, and links to Twilight, Revised out on the ponynet. Don't forget to grab your own ebook copy over at the Downloads page!

Where do you live?

I live in the United States: specifically, in the frozen wastes of North Dakota.

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

I'm currently in my final semester of college, which keeps me very busy by itself. Because I apparently hate myself, I also work as an intern for a Catholic school (I keep joking that I'm a diversity hire since I'm a filthy heathen) as well as the job that lets me contribute to the fandom: hotel front desk clerk. The hotel job is 95% "ensure the building doesn't burn down and stay awake," so what else would I do but ponytime?

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

One fateful night in April 2011, I was making one of my infrequent trips to 4chan's "random" board, /b/, to laugh at people who had worse lives than I. Very mature, I know.

While there, I spotted a brightly colored pony thread and was immediately confused and a little angered. How dare this cutesy nonsense invade my /b/? I read the thread and cackled at the pictures of Rainbow Dash being hung by ragecomics characters and other pony-hating images, but what really caught my attention were the pony posters. Even in the face of all that hate, gore, and shock, they would say things like "It's okay, we still love you!" and "Let go of your hate!"

My reaction? "Mother of Sati, this is some master-class trolling. I gotta get in on this."

I found a Youtube video of the first episode, firmly expecting it to be terrible, and settled in to collect screenshot material. Twenty-odd minutes later, to my horror, I found myself having Pinkie's songs stuck in my head and Twilight's excellent quips sending me into chuckling fits. I told myself, "Okay, it's... not bad. But surely the suck will stop soon. Surely."

Around four in the morning when I'd marathoned eight episodes of the show and went to bed eager to watch more, I knew I was doomed.

Do you have a favorite episode?

Not really.

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)?

Twilight Sparkle is the cutest, smartest, all-around best pony.

Fandom stuff doesn't really affect my opinions much, although some stories have made me hate Rarity a little less.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

Years ago, my roommate (an avid gamer like myself) encouraged me to try an old favorite of his: a Sega Genesis game called Shining Force 2. I had absolutely adored the original, so I figured why not? At the character naming screen, I was stumped. Names are difficult for me, but the main character looked kind of silly and like a fop, so I knew I needed a fitting name. "Vimbert" came to me like a bolt from the blue, and I found myself liking the name (which I had originally given in jest) more and more as I played on. It became a standard sort of name for many things.

I adopted the title "the Unimpressive" after one of my favorite video games, Skies of Arcadia: Legends. The game has a neat little title system where the main character works his way up from being unknown in the world and called "the Unimpressive" to lofty titles like "King of Pirates" as he explores the world and makes more of an impact upon it. As I felt I was coming into the fandom a little late, I adopted the same moniker in a subtle nod to that; I was an untested, unknown newcomer who wanted to see what was out there and what he could contribute to it. I also give myself that title as a reminder to be humble: no matter how big I get, no matter how popular my stories are, I'm just a guy who writes My Little Pony fanfiction for shits and giggles. It's a "memento mori," if you will.

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

I do some newspaper editing for my campus paper, formerly did proofreading for a lobbying group, and a few of my short pieces of original fiction have been published in magazines. I've been writing off and on since I was seven years old.

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

Video games. Like, a lot of video games. My current obsession is this World of Pandacraft thing I've been drawn back into after years of being clean. I can quit whenever I waaaant.

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

My favorite author is probably Robert Jordan. Normally, I dislike anything that's heavy on world-building and description, but he balances developing setting and characters with extreme grace. My favorite novel is probably either Catch-22 or A Confederacy of Dunces.

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 absolutely do. Shortskirtsandexplosions started commenting on my work not long after I started editing for him, and frequently, he "gets" whatever I'm driving at in my work; I know if he doesn't understand the point or feels something is off, I've probably done something very wrong. He's a great help whenever he looks over my stuff.

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

Take breaks. If you have to force yourself to write, it's not worth it. Fanfiction should be fun. Also, and this may be paradoxical for a pre-reader to say, but if you aren't interested in growing your craft and just want to write horse words for laughs, don't kill yourself trying to get recognition by Equestria Daily, the Vault, or so on. If the writing isn't its own reward and you need fan attention or outside validation to "make it worth it," I would suggest you re-examine why you're writing fanfiction.

Also, try to consider any criticism you receive with an open mind. Writing is very subjective, so not everything will be relevant to your vision for your story, but try to at least consider everything said about your horse words.

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

I wrote a lengthy blog post about this here, but the short version is:

1. Get an idea I can't stop thinking about.

2. Make a rough outline, but don't be afraid to ignore it.

3. Drink copious amounts of alcohol or become sleep-deprived before writing. (Listening to music can help.)

4. Let the piece sit for at least a week before self-editing.

5. Get an editor or three and have them beat the tar out of what I wrote.

6. Revise according to their feedback and my own wishes and post!

What inspired you to write Twilight, Revised?

I wrote a story called Distorted Perspective that was a humorous look at shipping Twilight and Princess Celestia, except Twilight never appeared and Celestia had her head messed with a bit. This story was conceived as its antithesis: a dark, gloomy look at the relationship from Twilight's point of view where Celestia was absent for much of the story and Twilight wasn't quite right in the head. The ending was also a reaction against a specific kind of "dark" story I see in fanfiction. Those who have read it know what I'm talking about, whether they love or hate what I did.

Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing Twilight, Revised?

Try the entire story. Pretty much every other fanfic I've ever written is comedy, and while I often go darker in original works, I don't like writing ponies going through horrible events and not winning. I'm a fan of a show called "Friendship is Magic," for Athena's sake; I'm not interested in out-of-place things like fountains of gore and sex everywhere amongst ponies. While I greatly enjoyed using mind games and tricks of perspective to write this tale, I often would have to take breaks from writing just because the material I was letting out of my head was so raw.

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

Not really. I don't give a lot of thought to theme in my work, but I always seem to stumble across quite a bit as I write. The discovery of these aspects is a big part of the joy I find in writing.

Where can readers drop you a line?

I hold email addresses at,, or they can simply send me a PM on Fimfic.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

There was one thing that a few people commented on about the story: namely, why I didn't show more of the surrounding conflict Twilight was involved in. To me, world-building is frequently uninteresting to write or read, particularly in fanfiction, and so I chose to make the story very personal and focused on Twilight. There are hints of the larger events at play, but really, they're more a side story than the main tale. Then again, Twilight, Revised could be called a side story to a story that I never wrote.

...Boy, that's going to be incomprehensible to those who haven't read the story.

Keep writing, everyone.

1 comment :

  1. some stories have made me hate Rarity a little less.

    You heard it here first, folks! Living proof that Vimbert does not, in fact, completely hate Rarity!