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Casketbase77

Paraphrasing a video essay I watched last week: *Expectations. I'm going to say something I expect you will not like: **the best stories are usually predictable.* *Throughout your story, readers develop (either consciously or subconsciously) a list of outcomes they want to see. Certain obstacles they want to see removed. Which team they want to win the sports tournament. Which romantic leads they want to end up together.* *It is critical to set up certain elements the story that the reader can have have expectations about, then fulfill these expectations. Plot twists are a special consideration, but I argue that successful twists must be well foreshadowed. The phrase "surprising but inevitable" applies here.* [](/sp) [](/raritywut) **Do you agree or disagree with the above?** Do you tend to read and write 'predictable' plots? Do you consider audience expectations at all while drafting your outlines? I myself am in the middle of my own long-form fic that is approaching a plot twist. I really hope I've properly foreshadowed it.


Logarithmicon

I'd loosely agree - or to put it another way, the best twists are the ones that are completely foreseeable, but only in retrospect. Where you can look back and see the pieces sliding into place to reveal a completed path up to the twist. More generally: There's a "sweet spot" of predictability for most stories, in which the early parameters - the tone, the themes, the characters - start to hint at what is going to come. If you can guess *exactly* how the story is going to end within the first few chapters, your story is too predictable; if you couldn't possibly predict how it's going to end because your lighthearted, classically-heroic adventure romp had the heroes be brutally betrayed and butchered by their goofy sidekick, then that's too little predictability. Right in the middle lies a sweet spot. Skillful writers can weave a story a little closer to the dangerous edges - dropping a truly unforeseen twist because we trust that the results will be worth it, or stretching a story whose outcome we can predict but is still so much fun to read that the journey is worth it. But even they don't risk the extremes, because those simply aren't fun.


Nitro_Indigo

When I was a teenager, I hated PokΓ©mon Super Mystery Dungeon. Its plot twists are impactful in the moment, but they made no sense when I stopped to think about them. I'm over it now, but I'm still waiting for a new PMD game.


Nitro_Indigo

To tag or not to tag, that is the question... Choices: A Species Swap Contest has come to a close, and I have a minor thing to say about a couple of entries. {"Lost Dog"} has a T rating with sex and death tags for a reference to tongue-kissing I completely missed, and someone getting stepped on as black comedy. Meanwhile, {Second Chances of Magic} has a chapter where characters get swallowed whole in every scene; when I asked why it didn't have a fetish tag, the author said because it was rated E.


Logarithmicon

Tagging is relevant when something forms of significant part of a story's content, with the threshold for "significant" lowering but also narrowing for certain particular tags. For instance "sex" is a tag I would only ever actually use with explicit content; mere kissing isn't enough; likewise, "death" doesn't literally mean "someone dies" but "death and/or the after affects of such is a key theme or element of this story". On the other hand... your later example sounds like it could've actually used that tag, since it's happening *in every chapter*, and this is a fairly important thing to warn about!


BookHorseBot

[](/twibeam) #["Lost Dog"](https://www.fimfiction.net/story/527038/lost-dog) *by [Mockingbirb](https://www.fimfiction.net/user/382692/Mockingbirb) | 24 Nov 2022 | 618 Views| 1.78K Words | Status: `Complete` | Rating: `πŸ‘ 21 | πŸ‘Ž 2`* Spike's dog went missing for three years. The night after she came home, she helped him with his homework instead of eating it. There's a story behind that. **Tags**: `My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic`, `Twilight Sparkle`, `Princess Celestia`, `Trixie`, `Other`, `My Little Pony: Equestria Girls`, `Sex`, `Spike (EqG)`, `Comedy`, `Slice of Life`, `Alternate Universe`, `Death`[](//sp) ----- [](/twibeam) #[Second Chances are Magic](https://www.fimfiction.net/story/526476/second-chances-are-magic) *by [Nebbie](https://www.fimfiction.net/user/35109/Nebbie) | 21 Nov 2022 | 1.1K Views| 10.3K Words | Status: `Complete` | Rating: `πŸ‘ 25 | πŸ‘Ž 4`* Twilight the alicorn ex-princess comes to Ponyville to oversee the Summer Sun Celebration, but a certain griffon named Gloomy Dash has her on edge. Facing Nightmare Moon will certainly be interesting. **Tags**: `My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic`, `Spike`, `Princess Celestia`, `Nightmare Moon`, `Main 6`, `Moondancer`, `Adventure`, `Comedy`, `Drama`, `Alternate Universe`[](//sp) ----- This is a bot | [Report problems](/message/compose/?to=BitzLeon&subject=Bookhorsebot running BHB 0.0.1.0) | [Source](https://github.com/Bitz/BookHorseBot) | [Info](https://bitz.rocks/bookhorsebot/)


JesterOfDestiny

[](/pinkiesmoosh)At some point we got a lot of characters who break the fourth wall a lot. There was Pinkie Pie, then there was Deadpool, Bill Cipher, but even before them we had The Mask, Bugs Bunny... Deadpool again. To tell you the truth, I've gotten pretty tired of it myself. It's kind of become a lazy formula to making silly characters. Sure, at first it was interesting when villains started breaking the fourth wall, but even that got stale. The problem is, that breaking the fourth wall by itself isn't actually funny. When Bugs Bunny did it, it was funny because he was able to pick the exact right time to do it. He was effectively subverting our expectations. The subversion element kinda breaks apart when it's done a million times and it eventually stops being funny. [](/sp) [](/ppseesyou) Maybe that's the issue. Every character who breaks the fourth wall on a consistent basis is some kind of silly zany goofball. What if the character breaking the fourth wall wasn't goofy? And I'm not talking about using the fourth wall for horror, like in Doki Doki Literature Club. Or even just a villain whose fourth wall breaking power makes them nigh-unbeatable. Both of those approaches involve generally goofy characters. But I mean, characters who break the fourth wall often, whom we're meant to take seriously. Or the fourth wall break to be a dramatic moment, instead of a comedic one. [](/sp) [](/ohhi) Actually, that kind of has been done already... There's a video made in collaboration with Corridor Digital and Anthony Padilla called [YOU MONSTER](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=to78v7GULfM&ab_channel=Corridor), which is a very dramatic destruction of the fourth wall. It is extremely good, very mindfucky... What if there was an entire movie or novel of this? How would that work? **Is it possible to break the fourth wall without comedy? What if the "reality warping" character, wasn't funny?** [](/sp) _____________________________ [](/rdeyy) We have talked about asshole characters before. What makes a character truly despicable and what makes a character an asshole, but still likeable? Where is the line when it comes such characters? It's a complex question, but I just thought about a show that complicates it even more. Dan VS... You remember that show, right? The protagonist of that show is a massive unrepentant unreasonable asshole. But we love him for it. What's up with that? [](/sp) [](/rdhuh) First, it could be argued that due to the over-the-top cartoonish nature of his antics, it's hard to stay mad at him. Plus, the situations he gets himself into are equally absurd. He swears revenge on the dentist, even though the dentist was just doing his job. The dentist turns out to be a supervillain and they have a big wacky fight. Hard to stay mad at the characters involved in such a ridiculous situation, isn't it? The other thing is, that Dan does get punished for his actions. Sometimes continually. Like, he's a very unlucky man and gets bashed around by the universe a lot. And there are episodes where he does get punished for his actions. He almost gets Chris killed at one point, but right in the next room, a sham doctor violates him. Beyond that, he is continually shown to be constantly miserable. He just generally has a sucky life. It's kind of implied that his life is a lot worse than the people he swears revenge on. so the plots of the episodes don't feel too unfair. Also, a lot of the people he swears revenge on, actually turn out to be more heinous than he is, so we don't feel bad for them. In fact, some episodes really do feel like some kind of vigilante justice. So sometimes, he uses his assholery to do good. [](/sp) [](/rdwut) ... I was going to ask something like: **How is it that some asshole characters do cross all the lines, yet we still like them? What is it about Dan from Dan VS, that makes him sympathetic?** But I think I kind of answered my own question. Anyway, I think there's still a discussion to be had.


Khazil28

Bravely Default 2 uses 4th wall breaking in a dramatic manner


Logarithmicon

> 4th wall breakers I'm not sure that Pinkie, in the actual show itself, broke the 4th wall that much. Maybe more towards the end; I've possibly redacted some of the dumber stuff from my mind. Anyway, I think this is certainly 50% the writing quality - certainly, Bugs Bunny was frequently written by underrecognized geniuses of writers - and knowing how to make the joke land in the right way. But I think it's also 50% subjective humor; some people find fourth wall jokes funny, some people just don't. As for non-jokey fourth wall breakers - they can work. The SCP Foundation has a few; sometimes they're fictional entities in the universe who emerge to attack Foundation researchers, sometimes they interact with you the reader of the article (e.g., detecting your username if you're logged into the article, or causing the article to play a sound associated with the entity through your computer's audio). But this also reveals, I think, the limits of this: It's fundamentally a gimmick. The SCP Foundation is essentially a collection of microfiction; it can build an article around "the monster attacks the person reading this". For longer stories, like with all gimmicks, you need to start putting together something larger to hold the narrative together. Some series succeed at this, some don't. > Asshole characters I think you've pretty well hit on it. Asshole characters are usually used to highlight the absurdity of the situations they find themselves in; I've heard it said in the past that American humor tends to pit "the wacky one" against a straight guy, while British humor tends to use just straight characters surviving amidst the insanity of life. To some American audiences, this can come off as people being jerks. Yet I'd say Dan vs. embrances a variant of this, where Dan is no less outragious than the world he lives in. The other thing is, as you point out, Dan isn't untouched. Sometimes asshole characters are essentially used to as author avatars to call out, harangue, or parody what the author finds distasteful; this doesn't particularly lend itself to deep or interesting characters, though.


HeartoftheHive

I can't even go into all the stories I've read in the past week. I've been binging like crazy. Mostly the dreaded genre of HiE fics. Specifically around romance. Unfortunately it's like a landmine. Trying to find decent fics that don't turn the human into a pony is really difficult. I've found quite a few great ones. Most do tend towards mature ratings or even straight clop, so I don't think linking any would be wise. The worst is when I'm enjoying the premise of the story and something ruins it. Sometimes it's the pony transformation, sometimes it's crazy pacing, maybe just terrible grammar or punctuation. 2 most recent disappointments were one with a guy adopting a thestral filly. The entire point of adopting her was to show her she could be accepted and loved even if she was different from most other ponies. So what happens? She wants him to turn into a thestral. The other was a guy becoming the pack leader of 6 female diamond dogs. I thought the idea was pretty interesting. But my god I couldn't make it through the first chapter. Fast paced, random dream sequence showing the future, multiple flashbacks, a lot of showing when there should be dialogue. And almost no commas. I felt like I was diving through run-on sentence one after another. I got ideas for stories of my own, but I'm still trying to submerge myself into fanfics as much as possible first. That and I only recently got back into MLP recently. I'd say in the past month I went from only having watched most of the first season to watching all the important episodes through all 9 seasons and the G5 netflix episodes. I've been into the fan created content part of the community for several years, but I never got too into the show until recently. Guess I can put a link to my favorites. Hopefully if people have the right settings they won't see content they aren't interested in. https://www.fimfiction.net/bookshelf/923070/favourites


Logarithmicon

Was the first one with the filly a Starscribe fic? It sounds like a Starscribe fic. They have a recognizable trend. (Incidentally, linking M-rated fics is permitted so long as it's not *solely* a pure clop/gore/etc fic. If the fic just happens to have that in it, then it's fine!) Sadly, like all fic conceits, you have to sort through a lot of trash to find the gems. Trust me - the number of "pant-by-the-numbers" warfics or romances out there is incredible. So many people who don't understand how to actually convey a relationship...But welcome back in general, I wish you good luck, and enjoy your fic reading! What are some of the fic concepts that you're tinkering with? Where do you want to go with them?


HeartoftheHive

Nope, it's {My Filly, Nightshine}. It honestly started out really sweet. I really wanted to enjoy it. But man that bit about turning him into a pony really ruined it for me quick. As for what I want to write, I'm thinking about a series of one shots. About a human, maybe just doing a lame Anonymous, and testing out physically touching about one female of each sapient creature in equestria. One species per chapter. Mildly connected one shots essentially. You know the idea that some species of ponies have differing intimate areas. Unicorn horns and pegasus wings for instance. Not sure if I would actually make any of the chapters full on clop, but it would at the very least be teen rated. I got some other ideas but I think I would like to tackle a few chapters with that first.


BookHorseBot

[](/twibeam) #[My Filly, Nightshine](https://www.fimfiction.net/story/308995/my-filly-nightshine) *by [The Abyss](https://www.fimfiction.net/user/76233/The Abyss) | 11 Jan 2016 | 332K Views| 73.9K Words | Status: `Incomplete` | Rating: `πŸ‘ 2646 | πŸ‘Ž 187`* Jason's life has grown dull. After months of living in Ponyville, he can't shake the feeling that there is a void in his life. Then, one day, as he watches a family play in the park, an idea sparks within his mind: why not adopt a pony of his own? **Tags**: `My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic`, `Twilight Sparkle`, `Original Character`, `Romance`, `Bat Pony`, `Human`, `Slice of Life`[](//sp) ----- This is a bot | [Report problems](/message/compose/?to=BitzLeon&subject=Bookhorsebot running BHB 0.0.1.0) | [Source](https://github.com/Bitz/BookHorseBot) | [Info](https://bitz.rocks/bookhorsebot/)


Logarithmicon

Huh! I stand mistaken. "Human goes to Equestria, gets turn into a pony" is practically a hallmark of Starscribe's fics, and... yeah, I just can't get into it. Have you looked into any of Admiral Biscuit's fics? Most of them are more on the comfy/cute side, but there a few that are more romantic as well. [The Haunting](https://www.fimfiction.net/story/423769/the-haunting) is a nice mix of romance, mystery, and cute.


HeartoftheHive

I've seen it a few times and never given it a shot. It just seems like it will be sad since it's dealing with, ya know, a ghost.


Khazil28

Couldn't the same be said about non pony fiction tbf? There's a billion el generico romance and war novels out there


Logarithmicon

Oh, absolutely. I think internet-published fiction is a *little* worse off than actually-published stuff, since all you have to do is sign up for a site while anything that gets to paper has *at least* had a basic proofread and edit pass... but yeah, even among published fiction there's a lot of mediocrity out there.


moonlightavenger

You've planned and written a story. You've commissioned art. You've edited and reviewed it. All you're waiting is for another story in the same series to reach a certain point. Some one else posts a story with a similar idea and it is basically a better version of your story. ~~What suicide method do you chose?~~ How do you react?


Logarithmicon

Wallow in unspeakable depression until I am finally become one with my bed. Nah, real answer: You figure out what you like "more" about their story, do some minor rewrites of yours to integrate the same concepts (concepts, not exact plot points!) and then post it. For bonus points, wait to post it shortly after their is done - long enough that you're not competing for the exact same audience, but also soon enough that you can plausibly say that you were working on it already when they started point theirs. And now remember that [there are two cakes](https://i.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/original/002/269/652/771.png). Writing on a concept is not a zero-sum game.


weezingnut1987

I would totally write a fanfic about this idea but like I'm also kinda lazy/unmotivated to do it πŸ˜… but gen 1 mlp had a discontinued line of toys that are celestial ponies. At the end of season 9 there was a stained glass window showing the young six going into space and defeating a monster. My fanfic idea was to make a fake episode where the young six go on that mission to space because the celestial pony beings needed their help. Pony space kingdom


Torvusil

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


Torvusil

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


Torvusil

[](/pinkie) Like [last week](https://old.reddit.com/r/mylittlepony/comments/z3s34i/general_fanfiction_discussion_thread/ixn98ma/). **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.


Supermarine_Spitfire

[](/twistare) This story is on the queue: [](/sp) * { [The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon](https://www.fimfiction.net/story/247031/) }: I remain at the start of the tenth chapter (β€œThe Guardian who Loves”), which amounts to 54,113 words out of 143,130 words total. Hopefully my full attention can be diverted to this one now.


BookHorseBot

[](/twibeam) #[The Mare Who Once Lived on the Moon](https://www.fimfiction.net/story/247031/the-mare-who-once-lived-on-the-moon) *by [MrNumbers](https://www.fimfiction.net/user/8831/MrNumbers) | 03 Mar 2015 | 241K Views| 143K Words | Status: `Complete` | Rating: `πŸ‘ 2876 | πŸ‘Ž 60`* In a steampunk reimagining of the universe, Twilight Sparkle finds perhaps the one pony as lonely as she is. It's rather unfortunate that they're on the moon. **Tags**: `My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic`, `Princess Luna`, `Main 6`, `Romance`, `Science Fiction`, `Slice of Life`, `Alternate Universe`[](//sp) ----- This is a bot | [Report problems](/message/compose/?to=BitzLeon&subject=Bookhorsebot running BHB 0.0.1.0) | [Source](https://github.com/Bitz/BookHorseBot) | [Info](https://bitz.rocks/bookhorsebot/)


MCU_Shitposter

I feel like the best fan content comes from YouTube. Something about how much production goes into a lot of the work is truly admirable.


Terrible_Weather_42

I have a few ideas for fanfics, like one where Ember and Mane 7 meet Frost (or Ice) dragons (who are logic-focused like Vulcans, contrasting Ponies and Fire dragons, who are both more emotional), one where Ember meets Fairy Dragons and one where we find out Queen Chrysalis is actually half-pony (and she has a sister who's also half-pony, but also a lot nicer than her). I also have an idea for a griffin OC, Gene. He's a geneticist and I want to include him as a lot of my stories involve hybrids between the G4 Species in some way.