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.
Things I liked about season 4 part 3:
Princess Luna being included in the opening alongside Celestia!
It’s a really minor thing, but I have Strong Feelings about Luna being treated as an equal to Celestia in the new age. A lot of the time it feels like Celestia is still treated as the one and only princess, and I would like to see more of them ruling together.
We don’t know a lot about what happened a thousand years ago, but my belief has always been that what Luna experienced was real, that she really was less respected and beloved than her sister. And so the idea of her coming back and still being treated as second feels really bad and suggests some really terrible themes. Putting Luna right at Celestia’s side in the throne room is at least a symbolic gesture that she’s just as important.
Things I liked about season 4 part 2:
Let’s just not even pretend that manipulating Discord into being a “”“friend”“” actually reformed him at all, and have him just betray the mane six so they can reform him properly.
I really liked the moment at the end when he asked if he got a throne and Fluttershy said he wasn’t there yet, because it represents a big change in how he and the ponies act towards one another. It used to be that the ponies had to just take all of his crap and at the first sign of complaint he’d turn to them and say “but aren’t we FRIENDS???” to get away with it and they’d grit their teeth and let him bug them some more. But in that moment he tried to act closer to them than he really was, and they were honest with him, and he accepted that. That’s a big step towards his character being not gross and annoying.