General Fanfiction Discussion Thread

Hi everyone!

This is the thread for discussing anything pertaining to Fanfiction in general. Like your ideas, thoughts, what you're reading, etc. This differs from my Fanfic Recommendation Link-Swap Thread, as that focuses primarily on recommendations. Every week these two threads will be posted at alternate times.

Although, if you like, you can talk about fics you don't necessarily recommend but found entertaining.

IMPORTANT NOTE. Thanks to /u/BookHorseBot (many thanks to their creator, /u/BitzLeon), you can now use the aforementioned bot to easily post the name, description, views, rating, tags, and a bunch of other information about a fic hosted on Fimfiction.net. All you need to do is include "{NAME OF STORY}" in your comment (without quotes), and the bot will look up the story and respond to your comment with the info. It makes sharing stories really convenient. You can even lookup multiple stories at once.

Have fun!

Link to previous thread on August 10th, 2023.


[](/kderpycute) **Carlo M. Cipolla**, an Italian economic historian, has written "**The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity.**" Now, this deals more with society as a whole, but it does have [this graph](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ec/Cipolla-matrix.svg). **It categorizes people based on the benefits and losses individuals cause to others and to themselves.** Those who cause benefits to both themselves and others, he categorizes as "intelligent people." Those who are beneficial to others, but cause loss to themselves are "helpless people." Those who benefit only themselves, but cause loss to others, are "bandits." And then we have "stupid people," those who cause losses to both themselves and others. [](/sp) [](/kderpyexplain) I think this could be a pretty nifty tool in how one thinks about characters in a story. Now, obviously, the hero of a story is likely going to be the intelligent or helpless character and the villain is going to be the bandit and stupid person. But **how exactly would these categories manifest in a story?** What are some examples? [](/sp) [](/kderpyhey) Actually, I can think of several examples of "stupid" villains in the case of the pony show. Sprout is a pretty obvious one, who genuinely didn't really have anything to gain from his actions, while caused a lot of suffering. Chancellor Neighsay is another one, who also had generally nothing to gain from his actions. But even Cozy Glow, like what exactly did she gain from her original plan? But not every stupid villain is a bad caricature. Think of Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter. She had nothing to gain from her actions and she's a very effective villain. Although the line between categories can be a bit hazy. Is Loremaster from Helltaker a stupid villain, because taking over hell and doing horrible experiments is kinda pointless, or is she a bandit, because the knowledge she gains is in fact a benefit to herself? How would you separate a bandit villain from a stupid villain? [](/sp) [](/kderpynerd) **What about when the categories are switched? Can we get an intelligent villain, or a helpless villain? Can we get a bandit hero or a stupid hero?** (Other than comedies of course. Characters like Mr. Bean can easily fall into the stupid hero category. The TF2 mercs are also a pretty good example of bandit/stupid heroes, though they're still categorically bad guys.) [](/sp) [](/kderpybeam) What do you think? **Do you find Cippola's theory useful in storytelling? Do you think it's useful when thinking of society in general?** You can learn more from [this video](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGr8bMTSD4s), which introduced me to the concept.


This is one of those things which I feel might be helpful for newer writers, but is such a simplistic sorting that it quickly becomes relatively meaningless to a more complicated writer who can identify themes, character arcs, and so on. It's a crutch to lean on, sorting people into such enormously broad categories, which is of course useful - don't get me wrong. But it's not something to use forever. > What about when the categories are switched? Can we get an intelligent villain, or a helpless villain? Can we get a bandit hero or a stupid hero? I feel like these depend on the genres you permit into this, and how far you stretch the definition of "hero" or "villain". Obviously you've already mentioned not permitting pure comedy, however... - Stupid hero: This kind of character is frequently found in tragedies. They are the protagonist, no doubt, and their acts are not deliberately malicious so it is hard to call them a "villain". Yet they cause only suffering for themselves and those they encounter. - Bandit hero: Frequently found in heist media and other morally-grey scenarios: Where the hero is objectively causing harm to another individual who is not a full-on villain themselves, yet nonetheless the hero is not malign enough to be a villain either. - Intelligent villain: Arguable. Likewise, they may appear in very morally grey material, where the antagonist is acting to better themselves and the lives of some, but due to circumstance is also in a villainous role relative to the protagonist - e.g., a rebel or revolutionary leader may be characterized this way. - Helpless villain: Again, possibly found in the realm of tragedy - particularly in the vein of tragedy where the villain ultimately realizes their mistake and dies or suffers to undo it. This, of course, is heavily dependent on how you perceive your villains. For instance, is Chrysalis an attempted Intelligent Villain, trying to feed her hive and cover herself in glory? Or is she a stupid villain, exposing both herself and her children to failure in an attempt to seize personal power? > Do you think it's useful when thinking of society in general? In all honesty, I'm a little leery of using this for reality. Reality is *messy*; while it can be appealing to sort people into simple categories, the varying perception of "helping" or "harming" is even more difficult when thorny real-world issues come into play. And what really concerns me about it, is that sorting real people like this encourages us to always think in absolutist terms. This person is *helping*, so they're immutably intelligent; pay no attention to the messy actions this person might have. That person is *harming*, so they're stupid and can be maligned as such; do not try to understand their beliefs, actions, or the larger system they exist in.


Another archetype: an ineffectual villain. Think lawful evil or lawful neutral bureaucrat. They seemingly have no internal motivations other than following orders.


> *"This isn’t so bad, she figured. After all, falling is just the same as flying, right?"* **PEGASUS DEVICE** by AuroraDawn ~ 51k words Two foals narrowly avoid their systematic execution and struggle to escape and bring down a factory void of any exits. Rainbow Factory set up an alternate universe with many different potential jumping-off points to continue the story, and I'm quite surprised with the direction it chose to take. Not only is Pegasus Device set over 20 years forward, it has a complete 50/50 split perspective between the escapees and the workers, giving us an unambiguous view of just about everything going on. But still, Pegasus device manages manages to bring about mystery and intrigue like a twisted cross between *The Haunted Mansion* and *Charlie and the Chocolate Factory*. By far the biggest praise goes to the OC characterizations and how they are interwoven into the plot. Five factory engineers share the spotlight of the workers' side of the story, with their executive superior Rainbow Dash taking a backseat. Each engineer is uniquely identifiable with traits, mannerisms, and most importantly, they each have completely different motivations for their present and future at Cloudsdale Weather Corporation. Readers get to watch a new hire descend from innocence to madness in the course of only a few days. There's a feast of food-for-thoughts with all the morally grey perspectives that each worker uses to justify their actions for the sake of their sanity, or in some cases, insanity. Each of their motivations in turn lead to different ways the characters affect the plot. Some characters have surprisingly major roles in the foals' attempts to escape. Others are unexpectedly cut short. In an almost cinematic fashion, what once felt like chaos incarnate was actually puzzle pieces of character motivations falling into place. I label Pegasus Device as "cinematic" for a number of reasons. The pacing is pleasantly cinematic in that the story continuously flip-flops back and forth between the foals trying to escape and the workers trying to catch them. After each horizontal rule's pause, we return to seeing the previous perspective, much like the cuts of many movies. The fic is also cinematic for its cohesion, held together to itself via the little clues and tidbits presented from the start that become increasingly important later on. It gives the feeling of being well thought out and intentionally planned. The dedication to cinematic-style storytelling is not without faults, however. In an effort to create a haunted atmosphere, some descripted occurrences come across as out-of-place in the alternate universe created. Concepts like sarcastic sentient computer systems and extended ghostly howls seem to be thrown in and don't quite match the true tone of the narrative. Other times, some decisions that seem incredibly climactic additionally feel questionably out of character. > *"The trick," Atmosphere explained softly, "is that with the changes I’m bringing, none of it will matter."* But no minor issue stops Pegasus Device from delivering incredibly captivating storytelling the likes of which I don't often see from fics of this length. Each moment, especially the final ones, is unexpected and shocking in ways you wouldn't predict. There's gore, yes, but that's not what provides the shock value. Much like both Rainbow Factory and Rainbow's Factory, the dark aspects set up the story beats, rather than the story beats setting up opportunities for more gore. In fact, it's tame enough to somehow squeeze by with only a T rating. I'd critique it and say other options such as a narrative following only the escapees would have made for a better concept amidst the gold mine that is this AU, but when seeing the other side of things in such detail creates a tale as compelling as this one, who am I to complain?


[](/pinkie) Like [last week](https://old.reddit.com/r/mylittlepony/comments/15nl3z2/general_fanfiction_discussion_thread/jvmhurs/). **What fics and stories did you read this week?**. Even non-pony fics can be listed, Just please list the names and the approximate word counts.


[](/raritydaww) Although I did not read during the convention, I did make more progress on { [*The Enchanted Library*](https://www.fimfiction.net/story/240255/the-enchanted-library) } on my flights back home. Like last time I got through three chapters and now am at the start of "~ Act II ~ 24 ~ The Light of the Library ~" for a total of 221,650 words out of 337,147 words total. Looks like the secret of Rarity's feelings is now know to Twilight. It was a cute scene when she realised it.


Yay! You finally passed my favorite part of the book, Interlude V. It's been so long since I've read it that I've forgotten much of the details in the rest of the story, but I still remember the heavy tones of this chapter. It still gives me the chills.


[](/lunagasp) Nice to hear I hit that milestone. I probably will have to reread that chapter to fully appreciate it, but it is indeed a powerful one.


[](/rshiningsmug) Thread's up /u/NewWillinium, /u/Nitro_Indigo, and /u/Supermarine_Spitfire.


[](/pinkiesmug) You too /u/MetaSkipper and u/JesterOfDestiny.


Lately I've been reading a lot of Amphibia AUs that retell the show with a twist. On one hand, they're great for avoiding spoilers because I can read up to the equivalent of episodes I've seen, but on the other hand, they can get tedious because they follow the Stations of the Canon. It's like those retellings of the "Friendship is Magic" two-parter that hit all the dialogue beats, but they cover the whole show.