Pony Stories 210

28 Aug

Today the intro paragraph will be about writing. A post on another blog mentioned the the show, don’t tell rule. Or sorta rule. It got my brain in a certain well-traveled train of thought. It is an excellent example of a pattern I’ve seen in a lot of how-to-write books and advice. It all comes down to the fact that most writing advice is aimed at new writers. There are several common mistakes most beginning writers make, and the advice is aimed at those. Show instead of tell is one of the big ones, because it’s one of the biggest flaws in most beginning writer’s prose. The problems comes from an annoying habit of human behavior. If you give a rule that has exceptions, everyone will assume they are the exception and ignore the rule. So advice to new writers is often delivered in fairly draconian terms. Do this. Don’t do that. Which gets misrepresented after a while, has people arguing against it, and so on and so on.

The long and short of it is that if you are trying to weasel around a writing rule because you don’t like it, you probably still need to follow it. If you understand why the rule is in place, have followed it well for several stories, and you want to try some new style that pushes the rule to the side… Then you might be ready to push it to the bottom of your writer toolbox. Might want to write a few more stories with it first, just to make sure.

Order from Chaos by TwilightSnarkle

I liked this. It’s a story told in journal format, which I enjoy. One of the better human in Equestria stories I’ve read, even if that’s not really how I would describe it. Simple and to the point and is a story that accomplishes what it wants to accomplish without any real fancy bells or whistles. Not complex, but I enjoyed it.

Justice by TwilightSnarkle

A good follow-up to the previous one. A nice look at law and justice and having one’s past revealed. Plus a interesting way everything got resolved. I liked the connection drawn between Worker’s transformation and Nightmare Moon’s transformation. Metaphorically, that is. Looking forward to the final story of the trilogy.

Hope by TwilightSnarkle

A great end to this series. A fine story about redemption and the change of past into present. I’d highly recommend this, though read the first two first obviously. A story that pretty much sums up the saying ‘die a hero or live long enough to be the villain’. This story also had a few good moments showing the royal sisters as powerful divine beings. Nothing big, except one moment near the end, but some little touches here and there through both this story and the previous that highlights that they aren’t like other ponies. I’ll also say that this entire trilogy was pretty easy to understand if you don’t know the non-pony side of things. I only have the barest passing knowledge of Sonic (as in I’ve read one of the comics a decade ago, seen some episodes of the cartoon way back when, and have played the second sonic game a while when it was new) and I never felt lost or confused about anything.

Fine Steps by TwilightSnarkle

Starts out with a few short stories, but the majority of it is chapters from one longer story. A story with a interesting origin story for Celestia and Luna. Good writing, but I have to say I was hoping for more slice of life stuff. Also it is incomplete. Which I didn’t mind because I thought it was one of those collections where each chapter is it’s own story. However, if you liked the previous trilogy, you should check this out. It is more of the same good writing.


Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Books 2014, Ponies, Reviews


5 responses to “Pony Stories 210

  1. Present Perfect

    August 28, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Yeah, Fine Steps is weird because some chapters are self-contained, and some aren’t. :B

  2. iisawiisaw

    August 28, 2014 at 10:42 am

    Your thoughts on the show-don’t-tell rule remind me a lot of how most martial arts are taught.

    You give absolute rules to the white belts; there is only one correct way!

    At the intermediate level, you allow some variants on the techniques.

    After the student has reached black belt level, they’re competent and have built a good foundation to begin developing their own style without degenerating into a ridiculous mess. Only at that point they can break the rules they were given as a beginner.

    Sadly, there is another parallel. All too often I have seen a new student argue with an instructor about the “rules,” thinking that, for whatever reason, they know better. Almost without exception, those students drop out after only a short while, frustrated by their lack of progress.

    • inquisitormence

      August 28, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      “Before I studied the art, a punch to me was just like a punch, a kick just like a kick. After I learned the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick. Now that I’ve understood the art, a punch is just like a punch, a kick just like a kick.” –Bruce Lee

      • Griffin

        August 28, 2014 at 6:23 pm

        Pretty much.

      • iisawiisaw

        August 28, 2014 at 9:22 pm

        I want to advance to the point where a semicolon is just like a semicolon.


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