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TBD · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
A Little Space
A ringing sound broke through Grannysmith Apple’s mental funk: the bell above the entrance to the cafe where she sat alone, nursing a cup of cooling coffee. She raised her eyes from her cup, and felt her stomach knot; Mayor Mare stood in the doorway, giving her a tense frown.

The soft buzz of conversation rippled through the few other occupied tables as Mayor Mare approached her. “Good morning, Grannysmith. I didn’t expect you’d be in town this morning, what with harvest preparations and, ah, changes in your home.”

“Harvest or no, it didn’t seem right tryin’ to roust Bright Mac and Pear Butter outta bed at dawn on their first morning as husband and wife. Reckon I probably wouldn’t get much response if I tried, y’know?”

“That’s kind of you,” Mayor Mare said, clearing her throat. “I suppose the situation does call for a bit of… getting used to.”

Grannysmith wrinkled her muzzle. “We’ve been friends for a long time, Marey. If you’re here to talk about you marrying away my little boy without so much as a how-do-you-do, you best get talkin’.”

Mayor Mare pulled out a chair and sat herself down. “I am so sorry for how you found out. I was going to come around sometime to tell you that Bright Mac had talked to me about marrying them, but I… I just could never quite find the words. Then yesterday he told me it had to be then.”

“Well, you should’ve told me something! He’s my boy, and you know them two ain’t much past legal to get married. Shoot, the paper’s been full of talk about Princess Celestia looking to raise limits!”

“I wouldn’t do this for just anypony.” Mayor Mare looked down at the table. “If I didn’t know how sensible Bright Mac is… if the whole town hadn’t known how much they cared about each other, or how unfair… ah, her father was…”

“You were gonna say, ‘Their parents.’”

Mayor Mare blushed. “I wanted you to see it; everypony did. And it seemed like there was still time to bring you around, until her father forced things.”

“Well, that’s a Pear for you.” Grannysmith shook her head. “Poor girl. She’s a sweetheart; I can’t fault my boy for seeing good in her.” She locked eyes with Mayor Mare. “Can’t say I’m happy with you right now, Marey; but when I look at that girl… I ain’t quite mad, either. Not sure what to call this feeling, to be honest.”

A smile worked its way across Mayor Mare’s face. “I’m grateful you’d at least say that much, Granny.”

“Well, and that’s another thing that doesn’t sit quite right with me.”

“Sorry… ‘Granny?’ I just meant it like you call me ‘Marey.’”

“It’s different, though. I’ve always known ‘Grannysmith’ was a stone’s throw away from ‘Granny Smith,’ but I never felt ready to think about Bright Mac… getting older. Going on dates, then going steady… and with a Pear!” She took a sip of coffee. “Now all of a sudden he’s married. And mark my words, with those two in the master suite, it won’t be long before I will be ‘Granny.’”

Mayor Mare reached across the table and placed her hooves atop Grannysmith’s. “Tell me what I can do to help make this right for you. Please. I know that I’m responsible for this, at least in part.”

“I don’t know. Right now I just need some time alone to take things in. Maybe having today off will be enough. Can’t sit around mopin’ about my feelings with the harvest on its way.”

“I guess, if that’s what you really need…” Mayor Mare hesitated. “I hate leaving a friend alone at a time like this, though. Maybe I could still do something that would let you keep your space until you’re ready for more? Oh! How about if I bring some dinner out to Sweet Apple Acres tonight?”

“Hmm. Sounds mighty generous, but maybe you could take my son and daughter-in-law out to eat instead? Might be that they’d appreciate a chance to get to know the mare who married them a little better.” Grannysmith put on a wry smile. “Besides, I might need a little more time to wrap my head around Bright Mac being married before I sit through dinner with them two makin’ goo-goo eyes at each other the whole time.”

Mayor Mare smiled. “I suppose that does sound nice. So… still friends?”

“You betcha,” Grannysmith said, raising her cup.
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#1 ·
· · >>CoffeeMinion
Yeah, you say that now, but just wait until the foals come and you'll be happy as a dead pig in the sunshine.

This was really nice, and I only wished it could have gone a bit deeper into Granny's feelings rather than just a superficial glance that gets solved by the end of the story. But still, this was a quite entertaining.
#2 · 1
· · >>Not_A_Hat >>CoffeeMinion
(lots of horrible things about myself from insanity making me type redacted)

This is a nice slice-of-life story, and it's very well written.

I have one critique: "Grannysmith"-'s feelings toward the Mayor do a one-eighty in seven hundred fifty, and it feels pretty unrealistic to me. Having her come around just a little bit at the very end (maybe after the conversation even), while still holding resentment for Mare, would have made for a more convincing story that I could relate to emotionally. Here it seems like you're just playing for warm fuzzies and it undercuts the mood and message of the tale.
#3 · 2
· · >>Trick_Question >>Ranmilia >>CoffeeMinion
I kinda agree with what >>Trick_Question said, but I'd actually suggest taking an alternate route; have her be not quite so angry-seeming in the beginning, so the end feels like less of a whiplash.

I'd prefer that, personally, because what I saw as her desire/need to keep Bright Mac from marrying without her consent made it a bit hard for me to sympathize with her... possibly because my parents married against my grandparents wishes, and I do think adults are allowed to run their own life. Also, to some extent, I felt it dragged the conflict away from what I'd have liked it to focus on - the fact that her friend had done something that she really felt she should be included in without her knowledge. If she'd made peace with the fact of the marriage beforehand, so this was more about her feeling betrayed by her friend, I think it would feel ab bit more focused.

Oh, and Bright Mac is not, as far as I know, a type of apple.

Also, pony last names are odd to me. Grannysmith Apple? Eh. I mean, I don't think we've actually heard any last names in the show... correct me if I'm wrong, I guess. I realize this is a headcannon thing, but it felt off to me.

Other than that... this is nicely readable, has some good character work, and contains a full (if slightly squashed feeling) emotional arc. Great job! Thanks for writing.
#4 ·
· · >>Not_A_Hat
>>Not_A_Hat
I think canonically she's Smith Apple. As best I can tell, anyway.
#5 ·
· · >>sharpspark >>Trick_Question
>>Trick_Question
Well, that makes more sense, except I don't think 'Smith' is a type of apple... but then, Granny as a first name makes somewhat less sense, so I dunno. /shrug.
#6 · 3
· · >>Not_A_Hat
>>Not_A_Hat
Smith Apple the Applesmith
#7 · 1
· · >>Not_A_Hat
>>Not_A_Hat
"Bloom" isn't an apple, either. Neither is Apple Fritter. There are too many family members for that.

Note that nopony called her "Granny" during The Perfect Pear flashbacks. She's Smith Apple.
#8 · 1
· · >>Monokeras
>>sharpspark
She pounds them with hammers and smiths them into cider. :P

>>Trick_Question
That's a good point, actually. Headcannon adopted.
#9 ·
·
>>Not_A_Hat
Headcannon is for people living in Boulder? :P
#10 ·
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>Not_A_Hat
Mainly with this. This is a good piece that feels just a little bit off. I'm not quite sure whether this piece was about Mac & Pear or Granny & Mare, and a tighter or more explicit focus might have helped it land better. Granny also seems to talk herself out of being upset on her own, yet I'm not too saddened by that because her reasons for being upset in the first place are hard to empathize with.

I think the main thing that feels missing is the Mayor's genuine perspective on why she married them. Does she see it as her duty as the mayor? Does she really believe in Mac so much that she'll side with his self-determination over what Granny wants for him? If so, why, and why doesn't Granny have more faith in her own son? We get a lot of handwavey talk about the Pears forbidding them and Granny "needing time," but it doesn't feel like any of that really cuts to the heart of the issues they're having.

But aside from that, the execution here is sound and the piece packs everything into a mini without feeling like too much was cut. Good stuff. Thanks for writing!
#11 ·
· · >>CoffeeMinion
The execution shines, but the idea is well, lackadaisical, at least to me. Found myself skimming through it, not because it is badly written, but because I was not interested in the plot. Sorry for that author, but my current involvement with the show is not deep enough to care about such chit-chatting. (Besides, I don't think it ever was. Apple family stories have always bored me anyway.)
#12 ·
· · >>CoffeeMinion
I'm with Trick and Not A Hat in that Granny's emotional whatever is all over the place. Also Granny Smith (the apple variety) is two words, so I don't know why they'd randomly remove the space there. Nothing wrong with her changing her name/being known by a nickname (we know at this point that Applejack's mom was exclusively known by one) but just running Grannysmith together looks very awkward.
#13 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
This is a solid idea that unfortunately kinda avoids its core conflict. We don't really dig into the actual conflict between Granny Smith and Mare Mayor, instead focusing on the involvement of Bright Mac and Pear Butter... which she is also surprisingly mild about. Basically, you have the conflicts in place, but you don't really lean into them. Focus on the conflict! Get us deep in the emotion!
#14 · 1
· · >>Trick_Question
A Little Retrospective


I needed to write this. I've had some stuff come up lately that reminded me about the tension I feel between sometimes needing alone time to process big events, versus sometimes needing to be close with others and seek support. And that's it, really; that's all that this was about. Granny was shoehorned a bit into the role I needed her to play so that I could write a self-reflection. I was glad to see it resonate at least a bit, and it was a pleasant surprise to see this make finals, as I think it's my first time doing so this year.

It was far from perfect, though. Case in point, Granny's level of anger wasn't really material to the point of the story, and that led to some inconsistencies (the whole "emotional whatever" definitely needed a tune-up). For what it’s worth, the very most initial draft was closer to conflict-less, but by that virtue it was kinda boring. Amping-up her displeasure with Mayor Mare was an easy way to make it more interesting, but then the ending suffered by not sustaining that, because it wasn't quite the point. Having room to expand this beyond 750 words will probably help me flesh out both the central conflict and what I wanted to do with it. I might even be able to resurrect some bits from the original 1300-word draft that had to get cut.

Then there was the thing about Granny's name. It was a gimmick and I knew it was a gimmick, but I liked how it made the title work on two levels, so I figured what the heck. Clearly the audience wasn't as enamored with this as I was, though.

Thanks to all who commented!

>>Zaid Val'Roa
>>Trick_Question
>>Not_A_Hat
>>Ranmilia
>>Monokeras
>>TitaniumDragon
>>AndrewRogue
#15 · 1
· · >>CoffeeMinion
>>CoffeeMinion
I suspect it isn't that we aren't enamored with the idea, it's that we didn't get the idea.

I didn't understand the clever thing you did with the story title, and I doubt I'm the only one who missed it. The single "keep your space" comment later on wasn't clear enough to make it obvious for me. Maybe if Grannysmith had mentioned the space explicitly when she first mentioned the name difference, it would have helped.

Either way, I think you might want to be much more direct, because learning this just now has reframed the story significantly for me (in a positive way). Before reading your retro here I thought you were just using weird headcanon that disagreed with the official show canon for no particular reason.
#16 · 1
·
>>Trick_Question
You're probably right, it's probably more of a clarity/directness issue. Going back and re-reading the story now, I'm finding that I had forgotten how some of the hints about the space thing ended up being cut or flattened to fit the word count. This will almost certainly work better up near the original 1300 words.

Thanks for making that point!