A few things:
>Then I discovered Pony fics that, I consider, to be better than most “real books.”
This… um… this kind of kills your credibility. There's a lot of good stuff in the ponyfic world, certainly, but saying that you've found ponyfics you consider to be better than most real books makes you look pretty naieve and not terribly well-read. I mean, human literature is exponentially larger than the collected works of a bunch of dudes who like a cartoon, and is written by an exponentially more diverse array of people, so your opinion really just comes off as uninformed.
>We watch this show because the female characters on it feel like real people and we would want to be friends with them if they really were real.
Well, there are lots of different reasons for watching the show, depending on the person, but relating to the characters is a pretty strong reason. Wording it like this kinda makes bronydom sound like a collection of sad virgins, though.
I don't know that recommending the actual book is really a good idea. I mean, as Hulk explains in the above link, it's an anthropological study, not how-to for fiction writing, and it won't make your story good, it'll just make it similar to everything else.
I think Extra Credits did go into some details about using THJ as a tool, not a formula, but I can't recall the specifics of that right now. And you even said>You can’t just have Twilight Sparkle take the steps of the hero’s journey and expect it to be a literary masterpiece. This is not to say that a good [adventure] fic where Twilight goes on a Hero’s Journey quest is impossible. It’s just very hard to pull it off.
So, maybe link to those two episodes of EC instead of the book itself.
>You must decide on how you want Twilight to grow during the story and then set up obstacles in her path that she can’t overcome until she’s learned her lesson.
This is good advice, expand on it.
>locations we care about
May I suggest Austraeoh http://www.fimfiction.net/story/25966/Austraeoh
as a good example of this sort of thing?
SSnE executes this fairly well with Windthrow.
This section is kinda confusing. I hate grimderp as much as the next guy who also hates Rainbow Factory
, but there are some dark, gruesome stories that nonetheless need to be MLP fanfiction to work – Fallout Equestria
being the most obvious example.
>You can get at least 25k readers with an officially published novel and that’s assuming it doesn’t sell well.
Um… publishing's kind of a big deal. Like, getting something on EQD times a million, mixed with all kinds of networking and waiting and money-spending. I know what you're going for here, but most authors in this community probably aren't at the point where they can just write a novel and get it published.
Honestly, I struggle with this myself. I want to tell authors to be true to their stories and not shoehorn ponies in where they don't belong, but then again, I know that not writing pony kinda deprives you of the ridiculously robust systems we have in place for reviewing and showcasing fics in our community. I wonder if we can branch out to writing in general when Gummii comes around…
This kinda went on a tangent about my problems with shipping in The Vinyl Scratch Tapes
… and then shipping in general…
I'm sure most folk are well aware that I'm not big into shipping. I'm not into mane six shipping, or the popular background pony pairings, or any of that other stuff, because I think putting characters in romantic relationships is often used as a shortcut that destroys subtlety.
I think The Vinyl Scratch Tapes
is a terrible example of a shipping story for exactly that reason. It starts off by giving Octavia and Vinyl this vitriolic pals dynamic, where Octy can't stand Vinyl and Vinyl is dedicated to tormenting Octy, and then decides that their relationship needs to become a romantic one just so it's clear that they actually do like each other, because apparently a friendship isn't good enough for that.
TVS's shipping is basically the dynamic from Epic Wub Time with shipping inexplicably thrown in because it's the easiest and bluntest way to show affection between two characters.
Shipping authors do the same thing with Rainbow Dash and Applejack's competitiveness, with Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy's childhood friendship, with Lyra and Bon-Bon's habit of hanging out with each other, and so on. Not all ships between all of these characters are bad, but you run the risk of making a bad one if you go into a ship from the obvious angle.http://www.fimfiction.net/story/48524/If-a-Pony-Catch-a-PonyIf a Pony Catch a Pony
is the only fic I've read with good, believable Scratchtavia, but most of that stems from completely abandoning the popular Vinyl Scratch Tapes portrayal of the characters.
Okay, so that was me decrying shipping. Here are some quotes from Nietzsche and Eustatian http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/91544.html
to build it back up again:
>Nietzs has it figured out:
>>But it's really not enough not to give the intellect or conscience any pause. A romance writer's first task is, literally, to lull the intellect and conscience to sleep. This is necessary because, as I've asserted, the romantic feeling is quite "low," so to speak, in the hierarchy of human nature, and has much more to do with evolutionarily-acquired instincts than with abstract intellectual and moral ideals.
>Where shipping stories shine or fail is in exploring what choices the characters make with those instincts - and that's where characterization really matters. If you read a story and wonder whether or not the ship makes sense, the story has already failed. The fix will lie in better hypnosis of the reader, not in shoring up the "argument."
>Good romance is the exact opposite of Ship-to-Ship Combat.
In short, it's not so much about whether it's "logical" that characters would get together as it is about hypnotising the reader into understanding the feeling that two characters have for each other. I tend to dislike shipping because it has a habit of replacing complex friendships with trite romantic longings, but if you can make that romantic stuff just as complex and intriguing as the friendship dynamics I like, I don't have any right to complain.
>Chemistry and Compatibility
I would think chemistry would be the most important one. (In)compatibility can be a great source of conflict.
In fairness, there are a good number of folks who avoid slice-of-life because they want to read fanfiction to see the characters in different situations, one that canon couldn't explore. People who read Dark, AU and Crossover fics a lot often do so for that reason.
I like a good episodefic, and my hypothetical favourite ever fic is a mane six adventure story that keeps to the show's tone, but it seems like you're saying all bronies like show-tone slice-of-lifes, and that's not really true.
>Pretty much any other animated show on The Hub, since they share many of the same writers. It can’t hurt at least.
Overall, I gotta say this whole guide was kinda disjointed and confusing. I get that you were trying to encourage us to have character arcs, which I guess is good, but there was a lot of rambling, a lot of waffling, and not very much in the way of solid advice. You've got thousands of schizophrenic tangents huddled up in enormous paragraphs, and it's hard not to skim. Stick to one idea per paragraph, and try to work out a progression.
Take a deep breath and beef it up a bit. Separate some of your longer paragraphs and put a bit more info into them. In a lot of places it feels like you're rushing through what you want to say without really putting it in the proper context – for example, you don't even tell us why we'd expect Twilight going the Hero's Journey to work before decrying it.
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