Story: At the Heart of the Rainboom (Update Part 2)

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Author: Harp’s’ong

Description: Rainbow Dash has spent the past two months performing as the opener for the Wonderbolts and stunning crowds with her wicked awesome skills. But when the Wonderbolts are finally ready to let her join their ranks can she reconcile the growing gap between her friends and the closing gap between her biggest dream?

At the Heart of the Rainboom Part 1
At the Heart of the Rainboom Part 2 (New!)

Additional tags: Conflict Humorous Wonderbolts Bluster Awesome

This entry was posted in Author: Harp's'ong, Incomplete, Normal, Rainbow Dash, Spike, Star-4, Story, Wonderbolts. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Story: At the Heart of the Rainboom (Update Part 2)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Crap that was great! like, ya its still reading a fanfic but this felt like it could have been the perfect premise for an episode in later seasons! Sure it lacks some of the lightheartedness and humor of the show but I would love to see this animated. And so well written! this is actually one of the first fanfics I have ever read but in general, fantastic job. Want more. now. go write. NOW! …pls…

  2. Matt says:

    That is the most adorable picture I have ever seen.

  3. J.Harper says:

    Before the second part gets posted, I’m going to say a few things that will probably be brought up anyway. First, I know a lot of ponies found the scene between the CMC’s thrown in there, but it was meaningful. As the note at the beginning mentions, each story I write in this series is complimented by the others, and the aforementioned scene is a direct tie in to the next story I plan to write.There are actually three references/hints to the stories I want to write, each one marginally less direct than the next. They happen in a respective sequence. If anypony can guess each hint I’ll admit what my next plan of attack is, otherwise you’ll have to see what the future holds.Also, this is a story focused around Rainbow Dash, but (and I’m just estimating here) a little more than half is written in the other ponies perspective and the first fourth of the story RD is missing throughout. There was a lot of setup that needed to be done for the ending. Speaking of the ending…I struggled, like really struggled with this ending. I didn’t want the reader coming away with the moral that, “Your friends are more important than your dreams,” or “Your dreams are more important than friends.” Like Rainbow Dash, I pained over the answer of this riddle for days, I wrote summarized endings in which Rainbow Dash horrible injured herself, I even planned for a third part at one point continuing on this narrative. Ultimately, I knew I wanted the climax to involve a rainboom so I worked for that goal.During the writing some unexpected ideas bubbled up that conveyed what I wanted most. The only thing I’ll say about the ending is that I didn’t want to waste space describing the Wonderbolts show through anypony’s eyes and risk short-cutting the climax.Since this won’t be posted on EqD with the update until about 6-12 hours after I post it up on google docs, if you check the first part at the end it will have the link to the second part of the story.

  4. Pinkie Pie says:

    Dat opening art .. 0.o

  5. Anonymous says:

    @J.Harperooooh dear god you are god at what you do. This was just… stupendous. That was a great read, and the ending. Oh man that was just so perfect (the Soarin wink thing had me bustin a gut). Bravo sir, bravo. I loved the whole conflict Rainbow had going, and you set it in the perfect scene to express it, and closed it perfectly, and I could gush for another hour but must resist. Best part however was who I think you made it feel so much like the show, characters and actions and message, and just… 6/5… I want to see this animated soooo very badly. just so badly.

  6. Ace2401 says:

    Spoiler Alert!….This is really well written and everything, but I couldn't bring myself to enjoy this story. The question of whether or Dash's dreams would get in the way of her friendship with the others is always blown so far out of proportion. Why does it have to be so hard to choose both? If nothing else, there is a such thing as an off season. I am unhappy with any story where Rainbow Dash does not become/stay a Wonderbolt, short of losing the ability to fly (even then… watch out for a fanfic I'm writing). I'll be extremely pissed if they pull that in an actual episode. As for the story itself, I think in the first chapter it was Applejack who was being unreasonable. She came off as unsympathetic to me. Still, I liked the first part of the story. Where you really lost me was when you had to steal Rainbow Dash's common sense in order to justify her being kicked out of the Wonderbolts. I refuse to believe Rainbow Dash is that stupid. That really just kills any impact of the story. It's totally OOC for Dash. More so than anything else I've seen, IMO. For that, I'm sorry, but I can't give this a good rating.I may sound cynical, but I have two very close friends (closer than any of the ponies), and I have a very ambitious dream like Dash's (which is one of the reasons why I love Dash so much). I don't feel at all like I would ever have to abandon either my dreams or my friends, so I hate it whenever people do it to Dash. It's beyond cruel, if you ask me. /rant

  7. Star Whistle says:

    The central conflict (Dash trying to be a Wonderbolt and a best friend at the same time) is excellent, as was part one. Unfortunately, for part two, every pony got the idiot ball all at once. Nopony knows how to mail letters. The Wonderbolts are [i]terrible[/i] at welcoming new members, or communicating their expectations. Twilight stops looking for Pinkie for the thinnest of justifications, and for the finale, Dash risks everyone's lives so that she can reach an in-no-danger Pinkie Pie thirty seconds quicker than if she'd just flown to her safely.I love me some Soarin', but he can't be the only pony who knows which end is up.

  8. Ace2401 says:

    @Star WhistleYes, exactly. It was totally ridiculous. My previous rant was focused on Dash, but none of the ponies are as stupid as they were portrayed here. Maybe Pinkie, but still, I doubt even she's that air headed.

  9. G. says:

    I’m of two minds about this story.On one hand, the story is decently written, decently paced, and yes, everyone is in character. At least up until the climax, when Rainbow apparently decides to risk a thousand people’s lives for no real reason. On the other, I don’t really agree with the… well, heck, I don’t even know what to call it… the jist of the story, I guess, for absence of a better term.Most of my qualms have to do with the party scene, where Dash is portrayed as abandoning her friends. This is the event that sets the rest of the story in motion. The fallout from the party is what sends Pinkie in search Dash, and Dash’s regrets over what happened at the party are the foundation for her moral dilemma throughout the rest of the story. Problem is, I felt a lot more sympathy for Dash during the party than I did for anyone else. Especially Applejack, who came off to me as being utterly callous and a terrible friend. For the record, I think everyone was completely in character here – if this were a scene in the show, I’m sure Applejack would have been just as frigid. It’s just… the direction the author chose to take it, using this as the foundation for the whole friends vs. dreams dilemma… it doesn’t really work for me.Everything else that happens is built on this one moment, but when you get right down to it, what is this moment, really? Rainbow Dash leaves the party early, and Applejack makes her out to be abandoning her friends because… because her obligations have prevented her from hanging out with them? because she’s exhausted and wants to go to sleep? because she’s too tired to play pin the tail on the pony? because she’s restricted to wearing a polyester flight suit? because she doesn’t like blueberries? because… because… Well, I don’t know. I’m grasping at straws here.The author took this scene and used it to convey the subtext, “Rainbow’s affiliation with the Wonderbolts is causing a rift between her and her friends.” But as I was reading, it seemed like Rainbow’s affiliation wasn’t the problem so much as *Applejack’s* lack of compassion and understanding for her friend, who was trying to reach out and grasp her lifelong dream. It was *Applejack* who talked Rainbow down with selfish, passive-aggressive bullshit like “Don’t forget us simple ponies when you make it big” and “Don’t go chasing stars if it means giving up the ground” It was *Applejack* who stopped Rainbow on her way out the door and had the nerve to question where her heart lay. It was *Applejack* who started the argument. It was *Applejack* who caused the rift. But somewhere along the line, the blame for the rift got shifted from Applejack (where it rightfully lay) to Rainbow being part of the Wonderbolts. And then there was a whole story predicated on it, and Applejack was never seen or heard from again.(cont'd)

  10. G. says:

    The other glaring problem with this story: the climax. From a literary standpoint, I get it. Pinkie Pie wasn’t a character here as much as she was a symbol – a symbol for the life Rainbow left behind, for the life she enjoyed with her friends before she “abandoned” them after the party. By flouting what her Wonderbolt superior ordered her to do and saving Pinkie from the security personnel, Rainbow effectively made her choice. She chose her old life over the Wonderbolts. She chose her friends over her dreams.On the surface, it’s brilliant, because it parallels the events of Sonic Rainboom. There, Rainbow broke from her routine to save a friend, and she came out on top. Here, she broke from her routine to save a friend, and she lost everything.Thematically, it makes sense.In the context of the events that unfold in this story, it all falls apart.That's because in Sonic Rainboom, Rainbow did what she did in order to save someone’s life, whereas in this story, she actually puts people’s lives in jeopardy. There's no good reason for her to be so reckless. Pinkie isn't falling to her death – she's merely being escorted off the field by security. There's no way to justify Dash's bonehead move here, especially when you figure she could have just waited until after the show and talked things out with Pinkie Pie safely on the ground. Her stunt could have gotten hundreds of people killed; if Twilight hadn't been there, she would have had a lot of people's blood on her hands.It doesn't make sense logically, and it doesn't make sense from a character standpoint either. It's the weakest aspect of this story, bar none.All that being said, the Wonderbolts cosplayers were hilarious. Four stars.

  11. Ezzekiel says:

    I found this to be an excellent story picting The Dash chasing her dream and finally reaching it. However, I didn't think the whole conflict of the story was very well structured. What I mean by that is Dash gets accepted into The Wonderbolts, she announces the news to her friends and they are happy for her. Training with The Wonderbolts starts and Dash has her flank kicked everyday from their rigorous routine. Pinkie tries to hang out with Dash but between sleeping and practicing there's no time.They have a (birthday I think?) party for her which turns out an awkward mess because nothing goes right. Dash leaves the party so she can rest for training tomorrow, but AJ confronts her and everypony gets mad at her for not accepting their friendship they're trying to force down her throat.Dash snaps a bit and is made out to be the bad pony. Pinkie overreacts and tries to hunt Dash down, meanwhile The Wonderbolts act liek buck-heads over a silly prank. Pinkie succeeds in her plan to ruin Dash's dream of being a Wonderbolt because she couldn't spend time with her.Now I'm not trying to say everything is this story is bad and you are a bad person for putting this up, I just think Dash's friends should have been more considerate to her when she was making her dream a reality instead of being rather selfish. I mean geez, Dash trained her flank off for weeks, day in, day out, not showing any weakness and giving it her all and them some. Then her friends try to hang out with her and get mad when she can move a muscle after training? I was expecting her to pass out halfway back to her house after the party.Anyways enough ranting, this was an excellent story after all. Then again it featured The Dash and that's all it takes amirite? Also, you put in the story 'beforehand' so I need to ask, what's a hand?

  12. Anonymous says:

    You have so much potential. Unfortunately I really didn't like this story, in part one I felt unsympathetic to Rainbow's friends who wouldn't even make the slightest effort to realize that Dash had moved on in many ways and just didn't have enough time for them. And then they ruined her party by not knowing enough about their own friend. If they didn't know what kind of food she hated then that's their problem really, if they didn't know what material to make the uniform from the should have found out rather than rushing into making something. And come on if they're playing metal they should have started a mosh pit ^^ most of complaints about part two have already been said, so I won't waste your time by writing them out again. Don't lose heart though, you clearly have tons of potential.

  13. J.Harper says:

    At first when I read the above comments I got all puffed up and thought, “How dare ponies find fault with my story!” And picked each comment apart and gave paragraph length justifications for each point. Then someone close to me reminded me how big of an ass I could be and helped me turn the other cheek (or is it flank?)I apologize, first of all, for portraying the dilemma in this story as too white and black, when it’s really meant to be grey. This happened, inherently, as I tried to rush this story out the door without adding another part and turning this story into a small novella. The idea of losing friends partly comes from my own personal experience. When I was a sophomore in high school, me and my four closest friends set our minds on going on the world’s most awesome road trip when we graduated. We had things planned out, a budget figured, and we started saving up. I aspired to write down all our crazy tales and publish it as memoire. But then one of my friend’s dropped out. The next year another was held back and then there were two of us and the monster of encroaching college. Things faded, new friends came along and slipped through the cracks. We tried to remain tight and close, we tried and we tried, but college rolled around and we grew more distant. In fact, I saw the one who got held back yesterday, I was at work and he was shopping, and you could feel the presence of that old bond hanging in the air, so thick you could touch it, but when we looked at each other, we were completely different people. And we both knew there was no going back, so after an awkward exchange I rang up his cat food and he left.As for the idea of sending a letter, it’s a very good point. But I see this problem can be argued back down when you consider the wagonload of fan mail the Wonderbolt’s already get. Any letter they sent would be lost in the throng of discarded “I love yous!” and “You’re my idol!”I found the idea of her friends being insensitive during the party, especially AJ, an apt argument as well. However, I strove to portray the awkwardness I mentioned above, the distance between them, and the reason AJ gets really fumed has to do with the fact RD says a quick goodbye that’s not really fitting of a pony who’s going to not see her closest friends for a few months. I know this is my fault as well, a definite lack of explicit detail there.As for the climax, well… PP at that moment becomes a symbol. Look back on the story and consider that PP is the only one RD feels will never see her as anything but RD. Soarin’s talk with her about losing your identity to fame. The basic fact that she is the old friend, confronting this new context. RD’s saving her is an act of choosing her own identity over who she would be. Aside from being brash, why did she endanger the lives of thousands of ponies? Well, to be blunt, it was done to make the climax more riveting.Once I finish the anthology (I have another 6… 7 stories to go?) I will be doing some extensive revising, and I appreciate the criticism, it does make my job easier. For now, my focus is getting these out there in the wild to get attention and criticism attracted to them, that way when I do finish the anthology, ponies will know about it and they can rest assured that it will be a finely crafted set of literature.

  14. Anonymous says:

    It was an interesting story. Das h is really loyal to her friends but being in the Wonderbolts would mean she wouldn't be able to be with them any more. I reckon if her friends themselves hadn't moved on by the time Dash became a wonderbolt, things would go the same way as they did here.

  15. Ace2401 says:

    @J.HarperYou're a great writer, and I enjoyed your previous story. I think your problem was that you forced this story onto the characters, that is to say, you bent the characters and who they were in order to fit your story. You said yourself, you had Rainbow Dash perform a Rainboom at the end to make the climax more riveting, and, if I'm not mistaken, because you wanted to end the story with a Rainboom regardless. However, that just wasn't something Dash would've done.I think when writing stories, fanfic in particular, you shouldn't make the characters adhere to what you want the story to be, instead it's about putting the characters in a situation and then writing what they would do. There's a writers' saying I like that I'll paraphrase here: "A good character is an author's worst enemy. They begin to write themselves, with little regard for what the author wants them to do." Just some friendly advice for your future stories: let the characters take the reigns of the story, not the plot.

  16. G. says:

    @J.HarperFor the record, I liked your story. I wouldn't have given it four stars if I thought it were shit. Leaving feedback is my way of giving back to an author. A well thought out critique is the least I can do as recompense for a few hours entertainment, and I like to think it helps writers improve, or at least look at their work in a way they might not have before.I don’t think the impending danger made the scene more riveting as much as it brought the quality of the whole story down a notch. All it did was make me shake my head and say, “What is she doing? This isn’t anything like Rainbow Dash. This doesn’t make any sense at all.”If there’s one thing you change in revisions, please let it be this. I know it sucks having to alter anything because you’ve got this whole symbolic choice thing going on, not to mention a very clever tie-in to the title with Dash “standing at the heart of a rainboom,” but the ending would feel way more satisfying if the main character didn’t do something completely illogical and against her character for the sake of some cheap dramatic tension.I still feel terrible hours after reading this story. It fucking sucks what happened to Rainbow Dash… having to make a choice that shouldn’t have to be made, being forced to leave the one thing she always dreamed of being a part of. The ending tastes a lot more bitter than sweet. I think that’s what you were going for though, so kudos.As for your next story in the anthology… I’m guessing it will have to do with the CMC. There are a couple scenes I can think of offhand in this story: the CMC sitting on the hill watching the Wonderbolts, Sweetie Belle complaining to Rarity because neither Scootaloo or Apple Bloom are apparently talking to her. I can’t think of a third one though.

  17. G. says:

    >Soarin spoke up, “See you around Dash. Me and >Spitfire may pay you a visit in Ponyville once we >finish this tour.” And he winked, but it wasn’t >directed at Rainbow Dash. She glanced over her >shoulder and found Twilight blushing.Gotta be a Twilight x Soarin story on the horizon too, gg foreshadowing.

  18. J.Harper says:

    @G.The CMC one, of course, is the one I'm working on right now, it's going to build a lot on Scootaloo's character, provide a bit of backstory for her, and set her and Sweetie Belle up as foils. The title is going to be Aged Applewood.As for the Twilight/Soarin shipping, that's actually going to be saved just for the anthology. But that is a very excellent guess.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I had been looking forward to the second part, and I was not disappointed. I enjoyed the direction in which you steered the characters; it was refreshing to see the ponies under a different light. Considering the gravity of the situation with the Wonderbolts, I think you struck a fine balance between each pony's usual behavior and the darker tone set by the story. In addition, everything was paced well, and the dialogue was seamless; I sailed right through. You're a great storyteller.If I have one complaint, it's that it seemed to end prematurely. You did such a fantastic job building up the story that it felt as if you had a lot more juice to squeeze out of it by the end. At that point, I was expecting the buildup to a third part that would further expand on Rainbow Dash and take the story deeper; instead, her abrupt leave from the Wonderbolts was awkward because it meant it was all suddenly over. The lack of a homecoming scene also left me without a sense of closure. It's not all bad–you did leave me wanting more.You mentioned you struggled with the ending, partly or wholly because of the moral you were trying (or not trying) to convey. Naturally, there is no one-stop solution for this, but, in general, don't be afraid to let it all hang out. I get the sense that you may have restrained yourself with the ending out of fear of spinning something too extreme.I notice your story left a lingering impact on several readers here. Your ability to generate a lasting impression that causes others to think about what they read is a powerful strength. Be proud!I'm eagerly awaiting your next story.

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