Friday, September 20, 2013

peppermint owl's To Lead Them Home

Some jobs are necessary, no matter how unwanted they may be.

[Dark][Adventure] • 11,000 words
A young stallion is recruited into the Reapers, an organization dedicated to the safe crossing-over of spirits. Now he must help oversee death in Equestria while coming to terms with what his new role means.

Hit the break for a chat with peppermint owl and a link to To Lead Them Home out on the ponynet. Don't forget to grab your own ebook copy over at the Downloads page!

Where do you live?

I've been moving around a lot, but lately it's been in the Southern and Midwestern US.

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

Student, though I work part time in a bookstore and occasionally as a tutor.

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

I was really into the Adam West-era Batman reruns when the Hub still had them. One summer morning I turned the TV on and boom, ponies. Instant guilty pleasure.

Do you have a favorite episode?

Not really, though epic episodes are best episodes.

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)?

I don't have any favorites based on canon – I like most characters. I do enjoy some Woona, eldritch Discord, and booze ponies every now and then, though.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

Mostly out of stress when I realized I had a story and no screen name to post it under.

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

I've mostly only written academically. I actually hated writing when I was younger, but some very encouraging teachers and professors helped me grow to like it. I loved reading fan fiction in other fandoms though, so it wasn't a new concept when ponies came around.

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

The real question is what I do when I'm not reading. After basic life necessities, reading, working, and socializing, I like to take in a little art, catch a movie, or maybe just reminisce on my childhood. It's an exciting life.

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

I don't really have favorites as much as I have a series of obsessions. Lately it's been Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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 have a single person or type of person in mind. I do have to entertain myself first, but beyond that, if they liked it enough to read all of it or leave a thoughtful comment, that's impressive enough for me.

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

1. Read. If you have problems with spelling, grammar, or syntax, reading professional pieces regularly is like a cheat code.
2. Get feedback. Be gracious. Even if you don't plan on re-working something, thank readers for their time. If you disagree with a suggestion or critique, thoroughly think about why the reader might have that opinion and if others will find the same point detracting to the rest of your work.
3. Have some people. Someone who knows your capabilities and isn't afraid to throw your bad work back at you is invaluable. So is someone who can spitball with you in a judgement-free environment. Critics and muses can do wonders.
4. Be open minded. Every piece of constructive criticism can be useful to a writer. Even if a reader is flat-out rude, if their comment gets you to really think deeply about your work and your shortcomings, no matter how briefly, then it is useful.
5. Try reading some shit every once in a while. Famous trollfic (or plain old badfic) can help point out what not to do, as well as what's currently considered hackneyed in any given fandom or fic writing in general. I will say that writing your own (good) trollfic can be twice as hard as writing regular fiction, though, since it requires mastering basic rules of writing before you can effectively break them.

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

Have an idea, have a few nights of really good scenes and ideas, write the ending, bridge some gaps, get frustrated, weep, write the beginning, and bridge some more gaps. I'm still figuring out a writing process, but usually the first draft goes like that. I don't have regular beta readers, but there are a couple places I go to make sure there aren't any severe issues. I'll post to FIMFic, realize I'm unhappy with certain scenes, do a rewrite, then post a final draft.

What inspired you to write To Lead Them Home?

That time when Cerberus showed up. Really, I just set out to write about the underworld with no set plan on characters or themes. Everything else just fell into place. Or was forcibly shoved into place. One of the two.

Did you run into any tough spots or challenges when writing To Lead Them Home?

Finding relevance for all my scenes and ideas. Cohesive points are hard to make when you don't have any in mind.

When you set out to write To Lead Them Home, did you have any specific messages or themes in mind?

Not as I originally wrote it. The isolation, fear, and other themes were unplanned, but were worked out as they started to peek through on their own.

Where can readers drop you a line?

FIMFic's good.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

Nope I'm good.

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