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Warning: huge story dump/outline incoming.
Also warning: potential cliches incoming.
One thing I like to do as a fic writer is explore more realistic themes. I wrote a story that made it to EqD about Twilight reflecting on her friends moving away from Ponyville, and what it means to be happy. Friendship is nice, but it isn't some all powerful force that never fades. Being with friends can make you happy, but pursuing your own goals can also make you happy.
My EqD fic was more of a reflection/summary piece. With this new fic I'm working on, I want to get more in depth.
The idea is simple: about ten years in the future, Rainbow Dash gets a job offer to be part of the Equestria Weather Squad, the highest level of weather ponies headquartered in Cloudsdale. To accept the job, she would have to move back to Cloudsdale permanently. The main conflict, of course, is whether or not to take the job.
Now, I realize this idea has been done before, perhaps to DEATH, but I'm hoping having it be about a high ranking weather job instead of the Wonderbolts will make it somewhat refreshing. Instead of being offered a job in the Wonderbolts, she's being offered a job that could MAYBE lead to a position in the Wonderbolts down the road.
Like I said, I'm trying to make this more realistic, and there's a lot I want to convey with this story. Basically, we all have our own dreams, but what happens when we have to take that next step and make sacrifices? Rainbow is happy with her friends, but they've all drifted apart over the years as they started doing their own thing, so she doesn't see them as often. In fact, she blames herself for this. She was the first to start doing her own thing, picking up extra weather shifts and eventually becoming Ponyville Weather Head. A little while after, every other pony became busier. She views herself as the catalyst for her friends drifting apart.
In this story, I want to focus on loyalty as a purely mental and emotional thing, rather than as an element. RD feels loyalty to her friends not because of her element, but because of all the time she has spent with them over the years and how much she means to them. As such, the story will avoid talking about the physical Element itself.
This is where things might get a little wonky, so stick with me.
Rainbow ends up talking to Spitfire about the job, and asks for advice. Spitfire asks her one simple question: "Why do you fly?"
Cue a brief flashback (the first of many I have planned). Rainbow used to have a sister named Silver Staff who was a near prodigy on the violin. As such, she received most of the attention, with RD being largely ignored by their parents (not on purpose, I want to think, though). RD never goes to Silver's performances, because all she can think about is how much more special her sister is, and talented she is. Now, I'm thinking this jealousy could drive RD to find something she is really good at, which ends up being flying. However, she still ends up being ignored, which eventually leads to an outburst by young RD, right in front of her parents and Silver.
Following this would be a conversation between Silver and RD. SIlver would say that she's hurt, but no matter how much RD may hate her, she will always keep pushing on with her violin. This sense of determination would stick with RD throughout her life. She also encourages RD to stick with her flying, and expresses her own jealousy. The two sisters make up and become close.
Now, this may be obvious, but Silver is deceased. I haven't worked out all the details yet, but I'm thinking she suffers a wing cramp and plummets to the ground. Rainbow tries to catch her, but can't reach her in time. So we have several reasons why Rainbow Dash flies:
-Started out from jealousy of her sister
-Her passion grew from her sister's determination and encouragement
-When she was unable to save her sister, that only drove her harder. She figures the faster she can fly, the more in control she can be of a given situation, and never let any other pony fall under her watch.
But there's also something else. Like I said, Silver was close to a musical prodigy, and had an extremely bright future, obviously. And Rainbow saw that all snuffed out right in front of her. So RD has this sense of "Seize the moment, because you don't know how much time you have left in life."
So this sense of determination is going against Rainbow's dedication to her friends. As she mulls over the decision, she begins to wonder just what it means to be happy, how much she means to her friends, and how things would turn out if she left. Yet even as she rediscovers how much she loves her friends, there's always that niggling feeling that she's stuck in the same rut, and that she should take the job.
Now, Twilight works in City Hall, and finds out about RD's job offer. RD doesn't think any other pony knows; she can't bear to tell her friends about it and make them worry that she might leave them. Twilight uses her position to organize a city wide ceremony thanking RD for her contributions as Ponyville Weather Head. RD and her squad were so good at weather duties, crop yields were the best in Equestria. Basically, Twilight is trying to guilt trip RD into staying. She knows RD can either stay in Ponyville, and have secure happiness, or take a chance and move, where happiness isn't guaranteed, but the potential happiness is much higher. Twilight, being who she is, would of course take the guaranteed option. She doesn't want to take the chance that RD would take the second option.
One potential twist is that RD writes a letter to Celestia asking for advice. RD would view this as potentially taboo, but she has no other pony to turn to, since she can't tell her friends about the job offer. I like letters because they allow me to dump in awesome quotes about my personal viewpoints, but whatever.
In the end, she will take the job, because that's what she did in my EqD fic, but I'll make it clear that she doesn't know if she'll be happy or not.
Whew. I think that covers most of the important points. Part of the challenge will be writing a believable introspective RD.
Also, please tell me if this is a completely flat, unoriginal idea, and I should be ashamed of myself for putting so much time and effort into it.
Any thoughts or ideas on this concept, perhaps for scenes to flesh out the story (I have a handful right now) are greatly appreciated.