But what about the scrolls? Couldn't they have sent me a scroll by now? I couldn't send them a message myself without a specially-made scroll, but Twilight had Spike, who can send any letter to Princess Celestia, and somehow send letters to me at least. Could he control where letters went or was the letter sent to me specially enchanted by Twilight? My mind wasn't giving me any rest on it, made worse by how I never once thought of asking Spike how it all worked. There had to be a reason, something that made it impossible for them to reach me, that had to be it, and they were probably waiting for me in Canterlot, knowing I would head there as quickly as I could. Whatever explanation I gave myself, it couldn't stop me from worrying.
I had long left the dry and hot desert, following the railroad deeper into Equestria, back to where forests and grassy hills replaced barren lands and sand dunes. I had chosen to walk along the tracks when it started raining, and low rumbles of thunder began rolling through the trees. Stern warnings from Flight Camp teachers echoed in my mind about flying in storms, some of the lectures aimed only at me, and the rest of the group of fillies and colts looking at me, snickering and whispering...
I shuddered at the memory, and carried on walking in the rain. I was hungry, tired, and now getting cold. It was getting dark, and I needed to find shelter to sleep and keep out of the rain. I veered off the path the train track was taking and crossed the tree line into the forest, looking for a warren or a den that I could ask to be allowed to spend the night in. Being back amongst the forests felt more like home than the desert. There were few places that critters really settled into out there, and definitely nothing that I could squeeze into. Here, there were all kinds of creatures living in all these different kinds of homes. I was sure I could find somewhere to stay.
While I slowly made my way through the forest, I started thinking about the last several days. I had saved a lot of time by flying for the majority of the journey, but I had also lost time on searching every town I came across. After countless stops and one empty town after another, I was starting to lose hope that there was anypony between here and Canterlot. And as I assured myself again that my friends were in Canterlot and that the missing ponies would soon turn up safe and sound, I found myself growing less and less able to shake the feeling in my chest that I was lying to myself. What if there weren't any ponies? What if I was alone? What would I do? How could something like that happen? How did this even happen? Dozens of questions were buzzing around in my head, and I didn't have an answer for any of them.
My hoof took a step forward and didn't touch the ground, instead, it kept on going down. And before I could react, I was rolling and sliding down a slippery hill, coming to a crashing stop at the bottom of the hill, rolling into and a large puddle of mud. I screamed in pain as my left foreleg began burning. I sat up quickly and pulled the wounded limb in towards me, biting my lip and closing my eyes tight. I could feel the telltale warmth trickle down to my hoof, and it sticking itself to my unhurt leg. The thought was making me light headed. Walking on three limbs, I limped over to a tree and dropped my saddlebags onto the ground. I pulled out a first aid kit from one of them and set it on the grass beside me. Tentatively, I raised my left foreleg up to see it, seeing a dark stain of drying blood on my coat and more seeping from a really bad cut. I must've done it on a rock hidden in the mud, and though it made me woozy to look at it, I knew what I needed to do.
With a little dexterity, I opened a pack of sanitizing wipes and placed one onto my hoof. I paused, and took a deep breath before I quickly pressed the wipe into the cut. I held it there and grit my teeth, a high-pitched squeak finding its way out as I fought the urge to scream. Tears had formed in my eyes as the pain became much worse, like a bunch of needles were being jabbed into my foreleg at once. I held it there, though, waiting for the pain to ease before I carried on. Slowly, the stinging wore off and I cleaned the dirt away from the wound. Next, I unpacked a bandage roll, wrapping it around my leg a few times before tying it off and tearing the bandage off the roll. The treatment complete, I dropped my first aid kit back into my saddlebags and sat there silently, staring through my tear-glazed eyes at the grass and trees around me, giving myself a moment to relax.
The rain was falling around me in torrents, and the sky was rumbling with thunder and flickering with distant forks of lightning. I closed my eyes and curled up underneath the tree, deciding to give up looking for better shelter and just rest where I was. I wasn't going to get any sleep tonight, not with the weather and being soaked and cold, but at least I could rest my leg and be ready for more walking and flying tomorrow. I couldn't be too far from Canterlot, now.
Survivor Shy Gallery: [link]
Survivor Shy on FimFiction (Relaunched! Chapter Two coming soon!): [link]
My Tumblr: [link]
This right here is the first part of Chapter Two, it is also the first of two images that shall replace the scene "Look For A Purpose".
I feel that the first four images I drew for Survivor Shy are not up to my personal standards now. And so have decided to either update, redraw, or replace. "Look For A Purpose" is being replaced, "Staying Hidden" is going to be redraw, "The Old Castle" is being redrawn, and "Blizzard" shall be updated.
As for this scene and it's excerpt, I'm really damn pleased with the picture. It took me less time than I expected to complete, the only hang up I ad was writing the excerpt. I'm not 100% content with it, so it'll probably go through another draft or something before I compile all the Chapter Two scenes together for publishing on FimFiction.
Anyway, be sure to let me know what you think! I am giving you sneak previews after all!
name! But when she discovers that destiny, will she side with darkness or good?. I need you help creating the cover, pictures in the books and that kind of stuff. It would really help if you could. Anyway, think about it please
1. A couple of the last chapters (3 if I'm correct) seem to be presented in chronological order (the period shortly after the disaster). By now I have no doubts that everything you do is done intentionally, so I'm beginning to wonder what is the ulterior motive behind dropping the chronological randomness for the last few chapters.
2. I sometimes (not often, though) wonder what the story would look like if you had picked another pony for the main character. It goes without saying that it would have to be entirely different. Take Rainbow Dash for example. First of all, she would never walk, even in the hardest storm. Therefore, she would probably never hurt her leg like that. If she ever did, however, I wonder what she would do then. Because I'm pretty sure Rainbow would:
a) not have a medicine bag with her;
b) didn't know how to bandage her hoof properly;
c) ignored and laugh it off because of her trademark toughness and confidence which would most probably leave to an awful blood poisoning.
Having mentioned Rainbow Dash, I cannot shake the feeling that Fluttershy has some advantages over her in such a journey. Because she takes things seriously and can be extremely tough and resilient _when it actually matters_.
I was going to write (again) that such a story would have to be entirely different if you had picked Rainbow Dash. But now I wonder if your story would even be possible with RD (or any other pony for that matter). I probably have trouble imagining it because it is Fluttershy's story and it has been specifically that from the very beginning. Oh, and I'm not overly imaginative.
3. It goes without saying that the majority of the story is told in each chapter's description. When you get published on EqD, however, your work somehow lands in the Drawfriend section. Needless to say, if someone doesn't click the image source link (this deviantart page), he will remain oblivious to Fluttershy's story. If you were to post the story under fanfic section, though, you would have to go through the whole pre-readers thing (which, I'm told, is quite an adventure in itself ). I have no doubts you would pass, but I can't help but wonder - what was the intention behind your choice to publish your story that way? Actually, was it intentional at all, or did it just happen? I have to admit I'm curious, but if you'd like it to remain a secret of the trade, as it were, I won't press the issue.
4. Writers are an awful bunch of people. They take a pony (or a person) and send them on a journey through hell under the pretense of wanting them to grow stronger. Fanfiction writers are even more evil. Because they do that to the characters the audience have already learned to love and care for.
Come on, admit it, it's the truth.
1. I recently took down and began restructuring the story on FimFiction. Over there, the chapters will contain multiple scenes in chronological order, so that a chapter will have a higher word count, and the narrative won't be so fragmented.
This does mean, naturally, that when I start compiling a chapter, and must draw new scenes, the new material I create shall appear in some form of chronology. I do intend to counter this by making each chapter self-contained from other chapters later down the line. This means that entire chapters could be out of chronological order with other chapters leaving only a group of scenes within said chapter together in their correct order.
At this moment in time, I am easing FimFiction readers into the story by having the Prologue and Chapters 1 through 3 be in perfect order. This is to help new readers and impatient readers get a foothold in the world that Survivor Shy takes place in, before I start pulling the rug under their carpet and flinging them backwards and forwards through the timeline. Chapter 4 is where this shall start happening, which shall mean only 1 to around 3 images will ever be uploaded in a sort of order, because I would be working on a chapter that contains them.
As a result, as I'm sure you can see, everything I upload on dA for Survivor Shy shall follow a clearer narrative, and until I reach Chapter 4, every new scene shall be closely connected to the last one I made.
2. If Twilight had picked herself when choosing who to protect, then the story would've taken probably no more than an in-universe month, if that, to end. Twilight had the boons of starting location, natural talent in magic, and enough time to do what Fluttershy will have to do before Dragons and Dogs and other nasties roll in. Rarity, AJ, Pinkie, and Dash would be closer to Fluttershy's position, since each of them would have to travel to Canterlot before picking up the "Mane Quest". But each member has their own traits at their disposal.
Dash wouldn't waste time in anything, but her overconfidence would likely ground her a couple of times, and she would eventually have to take a greater responsibility than she would feel comfortable with.
Rarity would make a great diplomat (to get her out of trouble quietly) and pugilist (when butt-kicking is more in order). Her talents in crafts would also translate well into survival, and her gem-finding ability would make her fly through the Diamond Dog segment. However, she would build a damn to hold back her stress, grief, and sadness while maintaining a practical, quick-witted front. The moment her strengths fail her would cripple her as it would open the flood gates to everything she had pent up. Fluttershy may also bottle things up in her story, but she still allows steam to escape, which Rarity won't do. Then there's Spike's role in a hypothetical Rarity lead, which would be shipping fuel to say the least, but at least he wouldn't stay a massive Dragon for long.
Applejack is a sturdy, level-headed pony. Her strengths would lie in overall toughness, and her stubborness. One cannot defeat a foe that won't give up, and AJ won't give up. My headcanon would also play a role in AJ's version of the story, where she would be reminded of her deceased parents and now missing family members. This alone would play on her mind constantly, and act as a double edged sword - both giving her the resolve to keep on going, but also dig up grief and despair at the thought of losing her remaining family so suddenly. Her inability to outright lie would later lead to some very sad moments with Spike as a companion, because AJ wouldn't be able to hide away her true feelings from an inquisitive Dragon. Fluttershy doesn't tell lies either, but she will keep secrets from anyone if she thinks she has to, and she will dodge any line of questioning that could reveal what she wants kept private - something AJ would have trouble doing. Aj's version would actually be very interesting, but also a very different story. While Fluttershy's tale is a strain against her physical and mental limits, Applejack would be facing past demons and moral issues more often instead.
And finally, Pinkie Pie. It's hard to apply a sort of logic to her when she is hyperactive, but the graveness of the situation would probably sober her up very quickly. Pinkie would be at a great disadvantage compared to the rest of the Mane Six, because her survival skills are non-existent, and her talents revolve around other ponies and baking, neither of which are much help in a post-disaster setting with no other ponies around. Sure, she would have her 'hammer-space' and cartoon abilities available, but there is only so much she can do in this kind of scenario. If it doesn't turn her into Pinkamina, it would definitely put a damper on her outlook on life. However, with her being very socialable, any interactions she does have with other characters would be met with her being excited and thankful to have someone to finally talk to. But deep down, she would still be lonely, and her in-your-face personality would probably would likely land her in more trouble. With Spike as her companion, Pinkie would find a way to keep herself and Spike happy while they travel together. But Pinkie would likely walk herself into danger multiple times through carelessness. In a nutshell, Pinkie's learning curve would be as steep as a skyscraper.
3. The story began as just pictures, and I found myself being inspired to write random things in the description for fun. Now, the story is a full-blown fanfic with focus on illustrations.
I used to just send the pictures into EqD myself, and sometimes they would make it onto the Drawfriends. I never considered sending the fic in at the time, because back then there wasn't a fic to submit - it was all fragments.
Nowadays, I have a FimFiction link and story on the go that a fanfic reader can immediately pick up and follow. But I still haven't sent the fic in to EqD (I have used the pony image boards for reviews, though, which prompted the rewrite on FimFiction), and I've also stopped sending the artwork in myself. Somebody else sends the artwork in now, and it seems that the EqD staff just like what I come out with and throw it into the Drawfriend. I love that there are people out there who make an effort for me, and give me these little spots in featured posts, and I prefer to let them to it. If I draw something and it gets into EqD, I know that I did something right somewhere. If I draw something and it doesn't get into EqD, then I know I need to work harder to improve next time.
I'm not too bothered by people not seeing the story that goes with the image. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and Drawfriends are for art, not stories.
I will, one day, go through the motions to get the actual fanfic onto EqD, but I'd rather tackle the first few chapters and run it through the review boards first.
4. But of course, if everybody wrote stories about their favourite characters and never allowed anything bad to happen, then nobody would read the story. I feel pretty cruel when I put Fluttershy through so much suffering in Survivor Shy, but that just tells me that she's a character I really care about, and it's for the best that I can still make bad things happen to her and not want to second guess myself and change my mind later. I view as a variation of the saying "If you love them, let them go". If you genuinely care for a character and want the best to happen to them, then you simply must make them face real and very difficult obstacles on their own - without you parting the sea for them or changing that terrifying mutant into an angry chipmunk.
That said, I still have my limits when writing for Fluttershy, both as rules to keep the story a Dark story rated T for Teen, and because I can't bring myself to do something that extreme without feeling horrible, myself. I won't go out of my way to have Fluttershy undergo horrible and sickening injuries, I won't even touch Mature content with a twenty yard pole, and I won't go into uncessarily great detail when things go downhill for Fluttershy. For example, if she breaks a bone, it's a realistic fracture, not an exaggerated shattered limb with blood everywhere.
#2 and #4 have been particularly interesting and enlightening.
Also, #4 shows how skilled story-teller you truly are (but was there ever any doubt? ).
Then there's fanon to bounce ideas from, concepts that are free to be used and applied to a fanfic. There's fanon that Diamond Dogs are an entire race and not just a gang, and that's where the Diamond Dogs in Survivor Shy are inspired from. There's Hellhounds from Fallout Equestria, which were characterised by their massively long and lethally sharp claws. Spoon is a 'softer' take on that type of creature, and the Hounds in Survivor Shy are a subgroup of Diamond Dogs. If I spent more time thinking about it, I could probably trace a lot of the things in Survivor shy back to something that inspired it, some would seem very far-fetched, while others would be like hopping on stepping stones.
I've read many stories at Fimfiction and seen quite a few that failed because of bad characterization. It's surprisingly easy to stray out of character with characters defined as clearly as in the show (especially mane 6). And then, if the character acts out of their frames (without proper justification!), the story just feels bad. This is probably the reason behind the characterization being a very important aspect for EqD prereaders (from what I've heard at least) when they decide whether to fail or pass a story.
But why am I even mentioning it? I said it quite a few times before and I have no doubts you will make me say it again. Your Fluttershy characterization is flawless, it's 100% (well, 120% really ) canon. Your previous answer actually hinted me on why it works so well in your story: because you let Flutters go. You put up a scene and let Fluttershy act through it. Of course, for it to work so well, you definitely need to have a clear vision of the character in your head. Survivor Shy is the obvious evidence that the time you invested in over-analyzing the show and building your head-canon was well-spent.
My interpretation of Fluttershy is what I believe to be her canon personality, and I wouldn't use any other characterisation when writing her. Some people overdo the shyness, some overdo her assertive side, and some completely overshoot and make her rage more often than is believable. I think she's shy and reserved, first and foremost. She doesn't seek to be the center of attention, and she is quite happy playing the supporting role when her friends are in need of help. Her assertiveness kicks in when she starts to be pushed too much or too often, otherwise, she has a great amount of patience for anything. But if one breaks that patience, or puts any of her friends in danger, she will step out of her shell and give it her all to stand her ground and defend those she cares about.
Full blown rage is a rare thing with Fluttershy, and seems to happen in extremely stressful situations or when she fails to retain her self-control. Since losing grip of herself and managing to snap out of it in "Putting Your Hoof Down", Fluttershy now has to find a way to strike a balance between her quiet, much more tolerant albeit submissive side, and her deeper, far more aggressive and potentially destructive side.
When the show first began, Fluttershy was her shy and calm self all the time with the exception of scenarios where she felt compelled to step up, or was faced with a very distressing problem. Nowadays, after everything she's been through with her friends, she's undergone a change in demeanour, she can be rather volatile and unpredictable if stress starts to get to her, and it is up to her to learn to control her reaction to what is thrown at her.
However, the change isn't a bad thing. She's given herself a channel for that strong-will she has hidden inside, allowing it to come out and help her. Without being able to tap into her inner strength, she'd still be afraid of being laughed at by other ponies for her weaker flying and wouldn't have got over her bad time in flight camp. She wouldn't have been able to confront Iron Will - his training would've been lost on her anyway without her own willpower to back it up. She wouldn't even be able to keep her head on the level while going through with whatever Dash drags her into, be it jousting or saving falling ponies (and baby dragons). There's a lot in the later episodes of the show that Fluttershy does that she simply wouldn't have done way back in Season One.
While some people criticise her for frequently switching to different ends of the spectrum with her behaviour, I offer understanding. She's been up against massive crises involving Nightmare Moon, Discord (a very personal and potentially scarring experience itself), Chrysalis, and King Sombra. I find it admirable that she hasn't broke down into a nervous wreck after all of that she has faced, and to have come out of it as a pony who is more sure of herself and capable of working under pressure (contrary to her claims otherwise) is a strength, not a weakness.
I believe the interpretation I have of Fluttershy's character falls as far in line with canon as possible, and is a take that others can agree with and say "Yes, this is Fluttershy and not somebody dressed up like her." It is this interpretation that I base Fluttershy's entire personality on in Survivor Shy.
Survivor Shy itself is a story that takes Fluttershy and thrusts her into the spotlight - into that leadership role that has never taken - and drops her into a very dangerous world. She has nopony to follow, nopony to merely stand next to and offer moral support, Fluttershy is the only pony left, and it is up to her to do something about it. What she does could very well change the future of ponykind for better or worse, which is something that would put a lot of strain on even somepony much more 'tougher' such as Twilight or the Princesses.
This story, among other things, will force Fluttershy to draw from her inner strengths, so that she might find a way to live in a post-disaster Equestria, and emerge with her personality, sanity, and herself, more or less intact.
Sorry for the long and in-depth comment.
Anyway, I agree with you pretty much across the board. Fluttershy is my favorite for her original personality, but I have learned to love the personality she has grown into. When I first saw her, her mannerisms reminded me a lot of myself; not too confrontational, nice almost to a fault, and above all dreading the spotlight. Her fear of being in front of others and getting laughed at and made fun of really struck a chord with me, and I tried to write her that way in my first fic (which still isn't finished, but is nearly there). After seeing the way you described her, though, I realized that there is a lot of nuance to her character, and my attempts to replicate that may as well be a Neanderthal swinging a club compared to you.
The main way I try to write Fluttershy myself is similar to you, but I like to play up her assertive side a bit more. Not to the point where she's always going nuts, but enough so that it feels like she can take care of herself without somepony else there to mother her. She has been through quite a bit, and I like to think that all those experiences have hardened her up a bit. If there is one thing I can't stand it's people who ignore all the growth she has gone through and make her into a stereotypical shrinking violet. That makes her seem much more 2-dimensional than she really is, and that's a complaint I've heard levied at her one too many times.
Anyway, sorry for my text dump here, and I am still eagerly awaiting Ch. 2.
(I actually drew it in, but I hid it in case it crossed a line.)
I Love your Survivor Shy Series but this is so sad.
I want to give her a hug a blanket and a bowl with warm soup
Koan: If a Fluttershy screams in the forest and nopony is around (anywhere), does she make a noise?
A: (mouseover for answer)