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[Canterlot] Toast Writing [Closed]


Dunder
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The clock had struck noon and the princess had just finished her final task for the morning. The dishes from breakfast were washed and the preparation for lunch was completed well beyond schedule, for she had an important meeting. At least, that's what she told herself. Dunnie had seen a flyer while shopping that advertised selling an idea to an author, she responded on a whim that evening of an idea. And, either because he was really hurting for ideas or he genuinely liked it, she had received a response and arranged a meeting time with the author. What would be a better for filling the new Princess's increasing surplus of free time as her energy dwindled.

 

She trotted off to the foyer, her loose fitting dress drifting lazily behind her as she went. There, she would take a seat and just as quickly became restless. As she waited she would look to the clock, switching her position on the couch occasionally. "Maybe I shoulda brought some snacks and drinks." She said to herself as she stared up at the deep blue, arching ceiling.

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Being a writer can be pretty tough sometimes. After all, there's always the chance of suffering that accursed struggle for ideas known as "writer's block." Pennmin knew it all too well. He wasn't short on material, as he still had a not insignificant multitude of short stories written that have yet to see the light of day. But there's a difference between having stories available, and having stories that you want to see published available. Of course, he had a fair number of those too, though he felt there weren't quite enough for another book just yet.

 

Of course, whenever the Earth pony was well and truly lost for ideas, he would put out a call to the general public via flyers to see if they had any for him. Each time he did so he got story premises equal in number to the advertisements he posted. Some of them had even been great enough in his mind to warrant a personal meeting with the ones who'd sent them in, and of the latest batch, one such idea arrived. He'd really enjoyed it, even though it was merely a basis for a larger story, and before long, he had a meeting scheduled with the pony who'd submitted it.

 

Come the day of said meeting, and here he was. In Canterlot. Approaching a rather fancy mansion. All while looking and feeling highly out of place. He stared at the front door from a few feet away, breathing deeply to help calm his nerves. He'd never been here before, and was nervous about making a bad impression. After one final deep breath, he trotted up to the door and gave it a few knocks, then took a step back and waited to see what happened.

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The mare wriggled on the couch in anticipation. She stared up at the ceiling, but then wriggled harder to get off the couch. She landed on her hooves and sighed hard, "Guess I should get those snacks." She muttered, but before she could get one hoof in front of the other, a knock came at the door. Instantly her eyes went to the door. With a flap of her wings, she zoomed on over to the door and landed, opening it. "Welcome, welcome, sir author!" She said with eyes closed, then chuckled lightly. "Please come inside! Take a load off, get comfy." She said as she opened her eyes, realizing she probably should have made sure it was the author and not just a mailpony. The pegasus stepped out of the way and motioned to follow with a wing.

 

The interior matched the outside, almost offensively fancy. Reflective marble floors, immaculate wall paint, ornate banisters, paintings with matching fancy frames. The hallmark signs of equestrian nobility. "Thank you for coming, I have been looking forward to this meeting." She said as she trotted down the hall to the nearby sitting room. Floral couches surrounded a shining wood table and all was illuminated by the natural sunlight from nearby windows. "Take a seat, would you like a drink? Maybe something to eat?" Nearer the sitting room the aroma of home cooking could be picked up. Traditional breakfast foods like eggs and toast and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.

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Pennmin found it hard not to smile at the greeting he received from what looked to be a princess. And considering where he was, he figured it was safe to assume she was indeed as she appeared. She certainly seemed quite nice, and he happily stepped inside and followed the mare to wherever she was leading him. He examined his surroundings as the pair went, but with how utterly fancy everything was, he couldn't decide if he felt more out of place out in public or here in the mansion.

 

He almost didn't realize the pegasus had spoken to him until the two of them were nearing their destination. In fact, he seemed to literally snap back to reality, his head jerking to look in his host's direction as he awkwardly replied, "Of course, ma'am. I always enjoy getting to meet ponies who've sent in incredible story ideas." When they arrived at the sitting room, which gave off the same sort of "royalty live here" feeling the rest of the abode had so far, the stallion saw just how nice a simple room could be. Thankfully, he was paying more attention this time, and there was no uncomfortable pauses in his response. "If it's no trouble, may I have a cup of coffee with a little bit of cream in it, please?" he asked politely, albeit somewhat nervously.

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Dunnie smiled wide as she was given a request and nodded, "Of course, I'll be back in a flash!" She said, and like that she was off, leaving the stallion alone in the sitting room. Though the room was empty for a moment, she kept her words of coming back quickly. The sound of clinking porcelain and silver filled the room before she entered. On her back and on her wings were silver trays covered in plates, two kettles, and a carton. Quickly the smell of cooking became stronger as it filled the room. And when she began setting down the trays, the reason why became apparent.

 

One tray had two kettles, cups, and the cream he requested as well as some sugar cubes. The other two trays were covered with plates of eggs, toast, butter, waffles, hashbrowns. It looked more like a family of four's order at a diner than the usual cookies and coffee.

 

"I was feeling a bit peckish, so I got some of the breakfast leftovers." She expalined as she took a seat, "Just in case!" She reached down and pulled a hashbrown into her mouth, chewing it with a smile. After some chews, she swallowed and looked to him, "So, how does this work? I've never written anything." She paused a moment, "Well, I mean bookwise. And I know artists have their creative process and all of that." She said and leaned down to take a bite of eggs.

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During the brief period of time Pennmin was by himself, he made for one of the couches. Of course, he hadn't gone very far by the time the mare returned. In fact, she'd caught him midstride when she came back, leaving him in an awkward position. He noticed there was quite a bit of food in addition to the drinks, and he'd be lying if he said it didn't look delicious. He waited until the princess had set everything down before continuing the trip he'd been on to take a seat.

 

He started by pouring himself his coffee and putting in the requisite small amount of cream. Then, as his host inquired about the writing process, he picked up a piece of toast, spread some butter on it, and began munching on it. The Earth pony may not have been raised in high society, but he still knew it was rude to speak with food in his mouth, so he made sure to swallow his bite before explaining, "Well, personally, I start with a basic plot idea. That way there's a core in place for the rest of the story to be built from." He set his toast down and pulled out a notepad and a pen, one clearly designed for use on the go. Flipping the notepad open to a blank page, he continued, "Now, I know we both already know what the idea you came up with is, but for the sake of the notes - since I'll be using them to create the full version of the story - could you give me a summarized version of it in, saaaay...twenty words or less?"

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If she caught him in the less than flattering position, she didn't show it.

 

The core of the story? A summary? Dunnie pondered the thought as she was chewing some more food. After taking it down she tapped her chin, looking up thoughtfully. "Well." She pondered some more, "I would say It's the story of..." She trailed off, "A wayward soul. Trapped in a hostile land overrun with horrors. His only chance of escape is a vague prophecy, because he cannot escape through death." She rattled off with her eyes closed, looking rather satisfied with the effort. "Sorry that it's 26 words long, actually. But if you need to shave it down, you can do what you need."

 

She reached down to grab another slice of toast with a healthy glob of butter on it. "You can do whatever you want, story wise. As long as I get the final approval of it." She said then got to eating her toast. "Is the coffee and food to your liking, by the way?"

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Pennmin kept his eyes focused on the mare until it was clear she'd finished the summary, counting the words in his head. Sure, it was over the amount he'd set, but he didn't mind. He waved off the apology with a smile, stating, "Don't worry too much about it. The word limit's more of just a guideline I like to use. If it ends up being longer, then hey, no big deal." The stallion then got to work writing down a slightly edited version of the given summary, though the only modifications were to the exact phrasing of the final part, which had the added benefit of trimming the word count by four.

 

When the question of the food and drink came up, the writer nodded happily. "Yeah, it's really good!" And yet, almost as soon as the words had left his mouth, the Earth pony realized he'd not actually taken even so much as a sip of his coffee. Hoping his host didn't notice this fact, he reached down and picked up the cup to remedy his predicament. The beverage was, of course, just how he liked it, which showed in his expression. It was so good he took another drink of the stuff, letting out a small sigh of contentment. Setting the cup back down, he turned his attention back to the story. "Now, before we continue, I wanna run a quick change by you to see what you think. It's just a bit of phrasing toward the end, but I think it could help sell the sort of desperation there seems to be to the situation." He paused to clear his throat, then read what he'd written: "A wayward soul. Trapped in a hostile land overrun with horrors. Only a vague prophecy can save him, for death is no escape."

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"Oh, good." She said, "With both things. I am okay with plans changing on the fly myself. At least usually." She went and poured herself some tea. "And, I'm glad you like the coffee. My husband has a very particular tongue when it comes to his brews, so only the best." She gripped the cup between her wingtips and pulled it up to her face to sip silently. She sipped while he offered the changes. "It does sound a bit better. Less wordy might be better." She said then took another sip, then set the teacup down with a light clink. "Maybe some of the words can be changed too. Perhaps 'vague' and 'wayward' might lack the exact feeling."

 

"So, now with characters." She clapped her foreleg hooves together and grinned wide, "I feel there should be other characters. Monsters and ponies and similar creatures, but they should not really help. You know? Perhaps everypony is too busy looking after themselves to work together." She leaned back on the couch, stretching out, wing feathers flaring out. "You know? It might hit home with ponies these days, since everypony knows about the magic of friendship. And maybe with the Griffons of Griffonstone too, since I hear they can be a selfish bunch."

 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Pennmin found himself chuckling proudly at the positive reaction to the change he made, glad to hear it was received well. Then came the subject of characters, one of the most important aspects to any story. Flipping to a new page in his notepad, he heard the pegasus out, and grew more and more intrigued by what she was saying. Her comment about the griffons of Griffonstone got a bit of a laugh out of him.

 

"Well, I can't really say anything about them, since as far as I know, I've never really met any of 'em, but I'm liking the idea of everypony being out for themselves," he stated, jotting down some notes. "Might make the situation more dire, since the main character's gonna have to rely on himself to fulfill the prophecy." A brief look of realization crossed his face and he flipped back to the page with the plot summary on it, asking, "Oh, real quick, any thoughts on what the prophecy would be? Or do you wanna work on fleshing out the main character first?"

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Dunnie chuckled softly, wings fluffing out a bit. "I've been there a couple times. You should go! Well, maybe not right now. My husband tells me that there might be trouble stirring out there. But." She shrugged, "Who knows, these things can be hard to predict." She stopped herself, shaking her head to free herself of the tangent.

 

"Either way, yeah! Could be a fun thing to make ponies think about." She thought his question over. "Well, I guess the prophecy will drive the main character. And since its older than the main character it would make sense to build that first." She thought aloud, "I want the prophecy to be mostly vague. Just enough information for our main character." Her eyes lit up and her forelegs lifted to point at the author. "But as time goes on and things get discovered, the reader can piece together how it all stays relevant. Do you get what I mean?" She closer to him, giving him a look with her head turned so only one eye was visible.

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