Tuesday, 3 January 2017

State of the Unicorn, January 2017

I can't actually remember whether I've ever done one of these things before, but as everyone else seems to be doing it I thought I might as well join in the fun... also, given my choice of pony type, the pun in the subject line was entirely irresistible! If you're interested in me rambling semi-randomly on about stuff (and if you're not, why are you here in the first place?) then please follow me past the break.

Fanfic in 2016

I crawled my way to publishing a mighty four standalone ponyfics last year. First up, in March, was Like a Flower to the World, an unassuming thing based on a Writeoff entry. That didn't do terribly well, but LaFttW itself has been reasonably well, if quietly, received; I'm happy enough. Then there was a six-month gap before Sunset's Sales Snag. Thanks in part, probably, to my being overly cautious about adding a [Sex] tag, this is by miles the worst received story I've published: +17/-6 as I type. As a piece of frothy silliness, I think it's a little better than that.

As I didn't want a (relatively) unpopular story to be my latest for long, it was only a few weeks before I pushed out Starlight Repeatedly Teleports into Custard, the first entry in the Custardverse and the cause of my becoming a minor con celebrity, of all things. It's done really well. Finally, just before Christmas there was More than Alive. This is a pretty niche-appeal fic, though it seems that it can appeal a little more widely (thanks, iisaw!) and I've wanted to do a racing-themed story for ages so I'm glad I've got it ticked off.

There were also four flashfics, several written as entries to UK of Equestria contests. (None won, but the first two got hon menshes.) These can be found in my Little Bits anthology and are: "Seussless", a Twilight-centric comic verse; "Talk Talk", an all-dialogue Applejack/Rainbow conversation fic; "The Founder of the Feast", a rather insubstantial Apple Family vignette; and "The Villain Contest", a multi-gen poem. This last was accepted for the UK PonyCon conbook, and so marks the first time I've had something appear in print! :P

Fanfic in 2017

Ah, now you're talking. Well, you might be – I can't tell from here. But let's face it, I'm never going to be the sort of writer who can churn out half a million words a year. (Total output since spring 2012: 74,195 words!) Still, I do have a few things in the works. Those that have gone beyond vague ideas in the back of my mind include:

The Book of Ended Lives: I've wanted to do this one for years and years, and it's about time I actually wrote it. Touching on, but not directly about, Applejack's parents' death. Largely a conversation between AJ and a Town Hall employee (an OC) who has one of Ponyville's more unusual jobs. First person, from the OC's perspective.

[untitled adventure]: it'll get a title eventually! Something I've also wanted to write for years but always shied away from: an old-fashioned episodic Mane Six adventure. These days, that needs a little [Alternate Universe] magic to avoid some obvious problems, so that's what it'll get!

Ponies Play Cricket: this will also get a better title if it ever happens. Rarity, having been impressed by a cricket match in Canterlot, tries to get Ponyville to put together a team for a challenge match. Silly, but not absolutely random.

Custardverse 2: oh yes, there'll be a sequel. I have an idea for it already, though whether that survives to publication is anyone's guess, including mine.

Knowing me, what I'll actually publish next will probably be something I haven't even considered yet. That's what happened with Custard, after all...

Louder Yay in 2016

2016 was by some distance this blog's busiest ever year. I made 253 posts (previous high: 184 in 2013) and added a new regular-ish feature in the Pony Music Library, something I wish I'd done long ago. I continued with Ponyfic Roundup, making it a bit more regular and, eventually, bringing back a few more themed editions. On the downside, away from episodes I didn't have time to do many long-form reviews.

Louder Yay in 2017

More of the same, I should think. I feel I'm probably close to the limit of a workload I can maintain, what with Real Life getting in the way a little more than I'd like it to. I do want to make a serious effort to read more ponyfic that's not just short-shorts, but otherwise PR will remain much as it is. I also plan to bring back book reviews, even if I have to make them short-form ones. The Dragons on Dazzle Island is a high reviewing priority.

Fandom stuff in 2016

The highlight of my pony year, by a mile, was UK PonyCon in Leeds. This was my fifth MLP convention, and it was the one I enjoyed the most. The organisers balanced increased interest and their desire to maintain the con's relatively intimate feel very well. I also continued attending the excellent, friendly Worcester meets, and managed to get to the odd one in Leicester and Wolverhampton too. I continued as a moderator on UK of Equestria; now the fandom's a bit quieter, that job is easier than it used to be, but there are still things that need sorting out every now and again.

Fandom stuff in 2017

If UK PonyCon is at all possible, I'm going. The venue won't be announced for a few months yet, so I can't be sure at this point, but I really want to. I'd also like to try to get to a few more meets outside Worcester, though date clashes tend to make this hard. I might do a little more with my YouTube channel, though it'll be limited to audio (fic readings and the odd review/preview) as I'm not going to inflict my visual arts on the world! I don't see any reason not to continue with my UK of E role, so I'll still be posting there regularly.

Oh yeah, and...

...there's quite a lot of actual official My Little Pony stuff coming this year. In 2016, I was pleased to find how excited I was that Season Six was on the way. I really hope the same happens again when S7's date is finally announced, when we get a trailer for the movie, when we hear some more about the Equestria Girls specials, etc etc. I think it will, though. Even if the worst happens and this turns out to be the last year of official G4, it should be one hay of a ride.

Are you excited? 'Cause I'm excited.


  1. I'll look forward to seeing your new story ideas appearing. The cricket one sounds entertaining.

    It's great having your blog so active, hope you can keep it up! Your text-review roundup was new last year as well, wasn't it?

    The more meets, the merrier! I really need to make an effort to get back to Wolvs in the near future. And it's most likely I'll be at UK Ponycon, although Bronyscot is somewhat tempting.

    As for fic reviews, I wonder if you'll get round to 'Vinyl & Octavia University Days'? It's now about 3 years since I read it.

    Finally, I'm trying to be cautious about the new pony content coming up. It's too easy to over-hype things.

    1. Thanks! Don't hold your breath, though. The Book of Ended Lives is the most likely to appear first out of those, but even that may be a few weeks or even months yet.

      Text Review Roundup was indeed new for S6; I completely forgot to mention that! Oops. :P

      Too many meets is not a problem I thought would still be a thing in 2017, but I'm not complaining! Worcester of course, Leicester, Wolverhampton -- and there's even a very outside chance I might be able to get to MachinePony's Lichfield meet now he's changed the date. :)

      As for cons, BronyScot does indeed appeal... but realistically I don't think I can do both that and UK PonyCon, and given a straight choice UKPC will win unless it's somewhere really inaccessible.

      University Days is on my RiL list, and I'll probably read it sometime this year. I can't be any more specific than that right now. It may get a Spotlight, though that's undecided as of now.

      I wonder when the most hyped hype in the history of pony hype was? Possibly before S2, which was of course before my time. I do remember everyone wondering whether alicorn Twilight could work, and more recently the seemingly endless S4-S5 hiatus. But still, I have a good feeling about this year. I hope I'm right!

    2. Hmm.. Lichfield is surprisingly easy to get to for me (approx 45 mins by train). Frustratingly, even though there's technically a direct line from Derby, the services dictate I actually have to make 2 changes. If I'm free and you're going, I'll aim to join you!

    3. If it's the 21st, it's about 50/50 whether I go: personal stuff rather than cost, as it's not expensive (train fare £10.70) though it'll take nearly two hours to get to Lichfield City because of badly-timed connections. If it's the 28th, there's no chance. So for now I wait on MachinePony's decision!