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This is a symbolic/experimental story, meant to try a new medium of writing. There is a storyline, but it is meant to be background; the focus is the thoughts, the imagery, and the connection to colors.-
Link to story on FimFiction:
It reminds me of Kesey's "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", where the Chief describes some of the things he sees in the asylum as machinery rather than human beings. I wanted to experiment with that style of writing, but with my own twist; have vivid and far-fetched imagery to describe something, but instead of keeping within the corporeal world for the majority of the story, I wanted to dabble in the symbolic. That gave me more opportunity to create more imagery and, if you've seen the scenes that I'm referencing, you'll know how the scenario plays out, and how both of them are oddly connected.
Octavia's scene is during the gala, and Vinyl's scene is during the wedding; both occur in the same area, and both are connected by one other character. One that is also not mentioned by name, but is described by a certain color...
Man, that makes me want to read that book now. I've become engrossed in the topic of psychology in general, and a story in which a character visits an asylum would be most interesting. I might just consider trying to acquire a copy of that book if I'm able to at the Cape.
But, personal desires aside, I would normally find that style of writing boring and overly descriptive. However, you managed to make it interesting (to quote myself, you didn't "do a Tolkien"), especially with the allure of the mares' fires, and their vastly different ways of controlling it and using it (or working alongside it) in order to gain power over an audience. If anything, you did the same sort of thing with this story. It created a fire of its own that drew the reader in, willing or not.
And yes, the connection is now clear to me. I don't think I've actually seen the gala episode in its completion (feel free to murder me now, haha). However, the fact that the two oddly similar events happened at the same place and under similar circumstances is quite interesting, and helps to assist the comparison you pose in the story.
So far, I've found that I like to write "Slice of Life" stories that fill gaps in the canonical universe; OCs and the like just don't seem to be my thing since not a lot of people liked "Beauty Mask". I also like following unfamiliar characters to a conflict, to show that an event doesn' just affect the characters on camera, per se. At the same time, I like to satirize and embellish major elements and themes that can either be part of the linear storyline on the surface, or be considered innuendoes for culture. Basically: Fill gaps with the purpose of creating a deeper storyline, and strengthening the purpose with very minor fourth-wall references.
Who knows; "Seconds Ticking Away" may have only been good because I wrote it in the style of the brony community's outbursts. The story was plausible in the canon universe, used an outlandish character that nobody expected, utilized the symbolism through pre-established elements and backstory, created a stream of consciousness that depicted real-time reactions and mindsets, and ultimately came to the conclusion through said symbolism. All of this could have been seen as a typical story, but I made it clear in the description of the story to put oneself in the characters' shoes; without needing to say it in the story, I was able to show the story-wide pop culture reference.
Now, those types of stories are interesting and unique because they focus on characters that do not appear to have great importance in the immediate story, but do in fact influence their universes as a whole. Writing a story about Octavia and Vinyl in this fashion would have the same function as writing a story about a random Toad living in the Mushroom Kingdom, or one of the many NPCs in New Pork City. The kinds of stories you write are interesting because they fill in the gaps that the original content leaves and gives a completely random background character depth and opinion (especially in the case of "Seconds Ticking Away").
I think that "Seconds Ticking Away" was well received for multiple reasons. Some people liked it purely because it was Dr. Whooves, and no other reason. Other's liked it for the reason you stated. And still others and others more probably liked it for a whole slew of different reasons. But, the theme of putting oneself in the character's shoes is definitely one of the story's defining factors.
The other thing that I think sets the story apart is that it was the first to do it. I've searched through the FiMFiction recent stories when it was released; my story was the first to utilize the "Twilicorn" section of literature. Granted, stories were already written about Alicorn Twilight, but an entirely new section of the website was created for it, and my story was the first to go there. (If you're not familiar with FiMFiction, stories are submitted in categories by character. There used to just be a "Twilight Sparkle" section, but after the finale, considering I wrote that story in a few hours, a new section was created called "Twilicorn". I went into that category after submitting my story, and saw that I was the first to have a story in the "Twilicorn" section; all other Twilicorn stories were still in "Twilight Sparkle" at the time.)
I know I'm tooting my horn more than Garlic Burrito Night at a frat house, but looking back, I'm surprised by how much I didn't know was in my favor. Honestly, I only intended to write a Dr. Whooves and Alicorn Twilight fanfic originally.
The fact that your story pioneered an idea also sets it apart from other stories. That's probably why your story was the very first to be accepted into the "Twilicorn" tag.
I know how that feels, but trust me, I know what you mean. Most of the time, I just write random bits of poetry or stories whenever I feel inspired. I don't mean for it to come out as good or bad as it may be. That's the magic of creative writing (or, hell, writing in general). It's when the ideas just flow out and create something totally new and exciting and awe inspiring, and you only intended for it to go so far.
Speaking of which, have you heard about that MLP movie "Equestria Girls"? Apparently, from the reviews I've seen of bronies who actually went to see it in theaters, it's WAY better than anyone expected. o.o