A post with just a single pony fanfic? Madness! Or, you know, reading novel-length non-pony fiction has slowed down the number of titles I have been finishing off. Doesn’t help that the non-fiction I’m working on is a slog through molasses. In other news, actually getting some work done on my Pony RPG setting book. Word count is around 17k words and I expect by the time I finish it up it’ll be at least 20k. It has been pretty good writing practice as well. Is really helping me practice polishing my raw thoughts into more presentable writing, and cutting down on the giant paragraphs I end up using more often than not.
This was another story that got a mixed reaction from me. Which has been fairly typical for the stories set in this particular author, and this version of the pony universe to a lesser extent. It has a amusing premise and lots of good writing, but it never seems to pull together to form a unified whole.
The best analogy I’ve come up with is this: Picture looking at gorgeous scenery through a pair of binoculars and fiddling randomly with the focus. Sometimes the image will be sharp and sometimes the image will be so blurry you can barely tell what you are looking at. That’s how I felt about the story/narrative while reading this. It was all the same, but it felt like things kept wavering in and out of focus.
The story had a lot of self-referential humor in it, where the narrative spoke to the reader directly or merely used writing terms as descriptions for things. Such as “Ink’s mind imagined that the pause probably lasted about as long as it would take for an arbitrary hypothetical reader to glance not merely to the bottom of their page, but all the way to the appendix of their book, and then look up the item in question.” I often enjoy this kind of humor, as demonstrated by finding this incredibly funny. It just felt overdone here. The first time was really funny, the second time was pretty funny, the twenty-third time not so much.
After a while it just felt like the author was using it as a crutch. This kind of self-referential humor works best as either a barely-used spice in a otherwise straight story, or as the main comedic force in the story from the beginning. Felt like the author wanted to use it as a spice at first, then used it more and more whenever he hit writer’s block or simply didn’t know exactly how to move the plot.
Still, a fun premise with good bits, and the less good bits were rarely outright bad. Certainly not enough to ruin the story for me, though a few times got close. I find myself once again hoping that Wind And Stone gets finished so I can see how I like this universe as done by a author I really like. Would be nice to have a third author to compare to the first two to see if my mixed reactions are connected to the pony world here, or just the author’s writing styles.