Sugarcube Corner was humming when Twilight approached the door, but the moment she entered everything was silent except for the light beat of her hooves on the floor. She stopped, and after a pause the crowd resumed its chatter, louder than before, and Twilight pretended not to hear her name in that chorus as she pulled her wings against her sides. They’d get used to it, she thought. She’d get used to it.
The bakery was full, and Twilight could feel the tips of her feathers brushing against other ponies as she walked to the counter. The rhythm of her hooves on the floor was uneven, still unaccustomed to the extra weight on her sides. But she didn’t need to think about her wings, or the other ponies in the bakery, or anything but the pink pony smiling behind the counter, rushing out the latest batch of tarts for her numerous customers. Just seeing Pinkie was enough to lift her chin and soothe her nerves, and she already knew braving the crowd to come see her was worth it. She could hear Pinkie humming a little tune, and Twilight almost started doing the same without even trying.
When Pinkie noticed Twilight, she turned and smiled even wider, and she wiggled from head to tail as though her whole body joined in on that smile.
"Hey, Twilight!" Pinkie said. "What can I get you?"
"Actually, I just came to see you," Twilight said. She glanced to her sides at the crowded bakery and blushed, wondering how she never questioned the idea of trying to relax with Pinkie on a Sunday morning until then. "But… I guess you’re probably pretty busy."
Things I liked about season 4 part 5:
The main arc of the season is basically the series pilot stretched out.
It’s all about the mane six learning about the elements they represent and having to make a choice to follow their given virtues. Each of them has to choose to do the right thing when it’s hard for them, when the alternative is also something they really want. And that’s basically what the second episode of the show was about: each of them showing off their element so they could use them to beat Nightmare Moon. But since we get an episode for each character we get more depth about what exactly that element means, how it can be hard to uphold that virtue, and why they do it anyway.
Plus in the pilot only Rainbow Dash’s thing was really presented as having to make a choice, everypony else just sort of did a thing and Twilight realized later that they represented the elements. Seeing all of them struggling to do the right thing, and doing it, was a good way of reinforcing that characterization.
Since we’ve been watching FMA:B lately (we’re almost done!) I was idly thinking about how it’d cross over with ponies, since that’s a thing I do. And I was thinking about Twi as Ed and Spike as Al (he was her little brother and she bonded his soul to a toy dragon after the thing happened), until I realized that Twilight literally has a brother named Shining Armor and that’s too perfect.
(But I’d still use Spike anyway cause I’m more interested in their relationship)
And I started thinking about other characters and now I’m just imagining Big Macintosh. “This technique has been passed down the Apple family for generations!”
(Then Applejack beats him up)
We’ve started watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and it’s pretty cool so far but every time they refer to Roy as “Colonel Mustang” I expect to hear “Colonel Mustard.”
I previously wrote a couple stories in which Fluttershy had two moms, but those ones are kind of sad and they’re no longer together in Fluttershy’s adulthood. Merry Spring and Turna Phrase are still quite happily married and they have a good relationship with their grown-up daughter.
Something I’ve seen several times, on tumblr and elsewhere: someone goes to a well-known artist or writer they admire seeking advice. They have ideas and skills and they really want to make something, but they have trouble getting themselves to do it. It’s hard to start projects, or hard to keep working on the ones they’ve started, and they wonder how their hero gets started and keeps going.
The response, unfailingly, is “Just do it.” “Just draw.” “Just write.”
This isn’t very helpful for a lot of reasons. But what I wanted to talk about most is that it completely ignores the fact that there are specific material things you can do to help yourself be more productive. So I wanted to talk a little about some things that’ve been helpful for me.
- Setting a schedule for myself. This works especially well if other people know about the schedule because it makes it feel more real. If I decide “I’m drawing at this time on these days” and make that public I’ve had a lot of success with that.
- Creating things with specific people I love in mind. Sometimes imagining someone’s reaction to seeing it finished can get me excited and give me the energy to work.
- Setting specific limitations. Thinking about writing a thirty-minute story is a lot less intimidating than thinking about writing a novel, and it’s much easier to plan it all out.
- Fan works! Drawing fan art or writing fanfic won’t help you work on original projects, but it can still be great practice, and it’s easier to get excited about working with characters I already love than anything else.
- Getting idea prompts from others. Sometimes it can give me ideas that really excite me and that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, and that can help get me to actually do something.
I, uh, don’t have as many items on this list as I would like. So I’d really love seeing others share their ideas in reblogs or replies. I don’t expect every idea will be useful for everyone, but I’m sure they’ll all be useful to someone, and I think it’d be really cool if we could all help each other out with our ideas.
Kaitlyn and I recently watched Taisho Baseball Girls (Taishou Yakyuu Musume), which is an anime about girls in 1925 Japan who put together a school baseball team. It was tons of fun and it’s up on hulu, and only 12 episodes, so it’s totally recommended.
It did something Heartcatch Precure also did, and that I really like: some members of the team are noticeably less skilled and strong than others, but the less strong ones aren’t treated as being less important and valuable, and we get their perspective and focus on them more often than not.
In Heartcatch each magical girl who joins is stronger than the last and our main character is the weakest, and in Taisho we spend the most time with the characters who need the most work, and there’s a whole episode about the weakest player trying to get better to get the attention and respect of the girl she loves.
We’ve already got a lot of stories about one person being THE BEST while everyone else watches in awe, and so I really appreciate stories about the people who’re trying hard but struggling to keep up, and seeing them valued and appreciated as a part of the team like everyone else.
Things I liked about season 4 part 4:
Apples! Applejack episodes, Apple family episodes, Apples everywhere! And all the family members got in on it.
All together they got what might be my favorite song of the season in Pinkie Apple Pie, and that was a great episode for Pinkie and AJ in general.
In Somepony to Watch Over Me we got more great Apple Bloom and Applejack sisterhood, with both of them having to learn to respect the other more and listen to them more, and I feel like it worked really well with a larger pattern in the season of the Crusaders starting to come into their own. Apple Bloom and the others are very clearly growing up and I’m eager to see more of that next season.
In Leap of Faith we got of all things a Granny Smith episode, which is not something I expected, but I enjoyed it quite a bit and it was cool to learn more about her. And for Applejack I felt like pitting family against honesty in the way this episode did was a really good dramatic choice.
We didn’t get a Big Mac episode, but in Filli Vanilli we did get “Everypony’s sayin’ you should learn to express your voice. But if talk doesn’t seem like it’s the answer, luckily you have a choice,” which I think is a really great line for Big Mac and characterizing his shyness as different from Fluttershy’s. Technically he doesn’t say it, but it’s his line in the song, and it seems like a Ponytones original so I imagine he had a hoof in writing it.