Welcome everyone and everypony, to our final results announcement for the 2015 Everfree Northwest Pre-convention Writing Contest. I’m your friendly, neighborhood spiderman writing track lead, Xepher! Let’s get right to it!
This year, the field was really packed. We had 75+ entries, making the job of our judges quite the difficult one. We went through three rounds of elimination behind the scenes, just to allow enough time for reading all these wonderful entries. In the end though, we selected the three top stories from our final round of eight. So without further ado, I would like to present the winners of this year’s contest!
Bastion, by Cloud Hop
This is one of those feels-ey stories that everyone and their mother has been attempting to write; the kind that the author usually hopes will shoot straight to the front page and stay there for days. Unlike all those others, this one did, and it deserved every second. At first glance, it’s yet another remake of an old classic: grizzled, gruff old soldier gets his icy heart melted by some adorable youngster. Buuuuuut Cloud Hop managed to avoid the pitfalls of this kind of piece, making it truly memorable.
Bastion is a classic grumpypants-meets-feisty-scamp story that’s told very well. Celestia is a treat to read, and filly Twilight is in rare form. While some may question why Celestia would allow a guard pony to work as hard as this one, I find it easy to see Celestia inspiring this kind of loyalty. Twilight’s adoracute fuzziness can break down any barrier, and I love to watch them crumble.
Bastion is one of those stories that masterfully frames something hard, aged, and callused with a stark balance of warmth, understanding, and that childhood innocence that caused us to love My Little Pony in the first place. This is a story about recognition for Bastion and his isolated job as Celestia’s overly perfect guard. This is a story about just what Princess Celestia saw in a young Twilight Sparkle. This is a story for soldiers, parents, and those who work too hard without enough recognition and thanks. This is the story of Bastion.
Pretty impressive! Cloud Hop will have their story description and place mentioned in the EFNW conbook, as well as receive a third place patch, several EFNW contest pens, a $10 Amazon gift card, and an assortment of EFNW merch.
Daring Do & The Rookie Editor, by Naughty_Ranko
Now this was a very nice interpretation of how the Daring Do books came to be. I like both official (canon and EU canon) authors of the books, and although I’m a bit biased on Daring Do stories, this was just a treat. Perhaps a little close to how they reveal Yearling’s identity in the show, but honestly I like it better here.–Ckat_Myla
This… was clever. Honestly I don’t really have anything more substantial to say. This is one of the most original fanfics I’ve read in a while. It took two characters that have no business being in the same story together, and not only managed to make it work, but shine.
This one stands out for the uncommon friendship it proposes, and how it serves as a foundation for one defining aspect of Twilight Sparkle’s character. Daring Do requiring an editor makes sense. Furthermore, it makes such sublime sense it could fit easily into just about any head canon. Daring Do’s need for an editor, Velvet’s need for more regular hours, and the unfortunate arrival of goons all leads to the perfect first meeting between author and adventurer.
Wow, quite the accolades! I’d like to point out that this story was also in a 4-way tie for third place in the Community Choice voting. Naughty_Ranko will also have their story description and place mentioned in the EFNW conbook, as well as receive a second place patch, several EFNW contest pens, a $15 Amazon gift card, and an assortment of EFNW merch.
Letters From the Capital, by Apple Bottoms
Really, really well done correspondence trope. Both characters stand out as unique and multi-dimensional. The story and plot are there, but not forced, and there’s a lovely emotional component as well. Together, it all fits very naturally as a story of new friendship.
For such a restrictive word limit, Apple Bottoms manages to weave a touching narrative that, somehow, doesn’t feel constrained by the word limit. Or by the format. Trixie and Twilight are both given room to be themselves, and the story just feels good to read. In a contest full of standouts, Letters From The Capital still manages to stand a cut above.
This story goes a route you don’t usually see in shorter fiction, but achieves this unexpected storyline because of the chosen format as a series of letters. In a contest where the the storyline is to make new friends, this one has the possible friendship first dip and weaken, threatening to break before it grows back into something stronger and more lasting than it was before. It is a kind of storyline I don’t recall seeing in any of the stories I read, and the same could be said for this format. A unique plot told in a unique way to give us a unique take on the contest prompt.
Wooo! Let’s hear it for our winner! Apple Bottoms will also have their full story printed in the convention conbook after a full edit. In addition, they will receive a 1st place patch, custom engraved high quality pen and pen holder declaring them an award-winning author, several Everfree Northwest contest pens (for more casual use), messenger bag, be invited to an interview to be posted online and featured by Everfree Northwest, a $20 Amazon gift card, and an assortment of EFNW merch.
We asked you, the community, to come together and vote for your favorite story, and vote you did. I personally spent several hours searching your mishmashed comments and tallying your votes. In the end, we had a very, very close final.
That said, the winner of the Community Choice award, with 22 votes, is:
Pretty Simple, by Gulheru
This story was simply marvelous. The heart and the tone and the everything and the omigoshomigosh *squeee* Discord’s narrative voice was a treat, and the whole story just flew by in a rush of quirky comedy and d’awwwws. This author earned a watch from me, for sure.
Congratulations to Gulheru, they will have a brief description of their story in the convention conbook, and receive a community choice patch, several EFNW pens, a $10 Amazon gift card, and an assortment of EFNW merch.
A Bump in the Road, by EloquenceInkwell
This is a real gem. I couldn’t find any major faults in the execution of it, and it’s a lovely idea. The dynamic between Maud and Trixie really shines, and they play off of each other extremely well. Even when Trixie was alone, her antics could bring a smile. It’s nice to see characters with real character, portrayed by an author who knows how to let them shine.
This amazing tale made it to the final judging round of 8, as well as the top 8 from the community choice voting. As an honorable mention, EloquenceInkwell will receive several Everfree Northwest contest pens, and an assortment of 2014 Everfree Northwest merch.
Fluttershy’s Sick Day, by Everyday
Definitely a great contender for ‘story that could easily be done on the show’. I originally thought this would be a FS/Discord friendship story, but then Discord and Angel make that truce and it is just so lovely. Cute sweetness all around.
This sweet story was narrowly defeated in our final judging round, but was still in the top 8. As an honorable mention, Everyday will receive several Everfree Northwest contest pens, and an assortment of 2014 Everfree Northwest merch.
Snails Aren’t Bugs, by Admiral Biscuit
Simple so-wrong-it-makes-sense logic is very difficult to get right as it must be right on the surface, deliciously wrong, and yet right enough to believably make sense to a character. This story nails it. It also took the time to imagine a context full of little details that cement the setting in Equestria. Lots of effort here. Highly entertaining.
This story also made it into both the final judging round of 8, and the top 8 of the community choice. As an honorable mention, Admiral Biscuit will receive several Everfree Northwest contest pens, and an assortment of 2014 Everfree Northwest merch.
The Pony Next Door, by HapHazred
Strange… so strange. But great! A wonderful example of magic realism, which curiously is hard to find in human/pony universe crossovers. Celestia just “is there” and everyone is somehow quickly okay with this. It works though, and reminds me a lot of the classic sci-fi short, “Bears Discover Fire.”
Congratulations to HapHazred for making it to the final round of judging. As an honorable mention, they will receive several Everfree Northwest contest pens, and an assortment of 2014 Everfree Northwest merch.
Griffon It Another Try, by Winston
This is a story that’s been done before. Many times. So what makes it stand out? The execution. The author kept things simple to the point where the title could simply be “Pinkie makes friends with Gilda”, and the story is stronger for it. He simply let the characters write the story, as it should be.
And yet another that made it to both final rounds of 8! As an honorable mention, Winston will receive several Everfree Northwest contest pens, and an assortment of 2014 Everfree Northwest merch.
A Friend In Me, by TheNewYorkBrony
This story didn’t make the final cut, it didn’t even make my final cut, but this story is going to be with me far longer than any other story in this contest, probably even this year. A Friend in Me is a great example of a not perfect story that hits that “something special” for a large number of people. Trying to grade it is like trying to compare a perfect, college textbook example of a perfect story with Harry Potter. Yes, the other stories might technically be a bit better, but the heart in this story hits home for many people far harder than any textbook can teach. It features multiple realizations of ADHD that were expressed perfectly, with real, lively characters. I can say that; I have ADHD and a degree in Psychology. If you know anyone with, or are curious about, ADHD. This story will hit home with you.
And that’s our final Honorable Mention, coming in at 20 votes and a solid second place for the Community Choice. As an honorable mention, TheNewYorkBrony will receive several Everfree Northwest contest pens, and an assortment of 2014 Everfree Northwest merch.
The stories above cover almost the entirety of both the final judging round of eight, and the top eight from the community choice voting. There are, however, two stories that have gone unmentioned. I’m sorry to say they don’t win any prizes, but as they were in the final round for Community Choice, I feel I would be derelict in my duty if I didn’t direct readers to at least check them out.
Those stories are: Tea with The Queen by Lapis Lazuli, and Lulamoon Dreams by Spirit Shift.
Thank you again to all of the contestants! There were so many good stories this year that judging was incredibly hard work. Thank you also to everyone who voted for the Community Choice awards.
We hope we’ll see many of you at Everfree Northwest this May. If you’ve been listed as a prize winner, and plan to attend the convention, you can collect your prize there. If you do not plan to attend, we can work to arrange shipping in the US. In either case, please PM me (Xepher) on FIMFic with a valid email address, and we’ll contact you to arrange shipping or pickup of your prize materials.