The Round Robin Reviews are written by different groups and reviewers taking turns each week. If you are a story reviewer or part of a group that reviews stories and would be interested in joining the Round Robin Reviews, feel free to PM Wanderer D, Professor Plum, or ElDorado to tell us about it.Read More
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Today's story walks the lonely road to revenge.
[Adventure] [Dark] [Drama] [Sad] [Tragedy] • 29,611 words
It's been a long, long time since Spike was stolen from her, but Twilight hasn't forgotten nor forgiven. After a long and arduous journey, she has finally found him and his kidnapper.
She will save him.
No matter the cost.
FROM THE CURATORS: While Schemering Sintel doesn't flinch from its Dark tag, it's "a very clever grim fic," as Soge put it: "It is a great example of how to twist a character beyond recognition without alienating the audience." Indeed, it was the way that the story handled its vision of a morally altered Twilight which drew the most curator praise. "Where this piece excels is showing," Present Perfect said. "It's not just a story about Twilight finding Spike, but about her changing over an extreme period of time filled with hardship. And that change is shown perfectly in the final chapters, when it seems like the plot has finished, but the story is still going." Chris agreed: "This is character development done right. Twilight's dual growth and collapse as a character doesn't stop at any one point ... the dramatic moments are simply waypoints that show what she's become."
We also found the construction of the world around Twilight worthy of note. "It's a great fantasy adventure," Present Perfect said, "from the unfriendly civilizations Twilight encounters to the beautifully-described landscapes and the cool stuff like her mythril tattoos." Horizon also praised that worldbuilding: "There are some really unique ideas here that feel uniquely Equestrian while supporting a tone we'd never see in the show." But in the end, Soge said, it came back to the strong writing of that world's inhabitants: "It is an adventure that focuses on character rather than action, and is all the stronger for that."
It was that strength which has kept Schemering Sintel relevant despite its vision of Equestria becoming increasingly obsolete with newer seasons' canon. "I think it's interesting to note to what extent this story is a product of its time," Chris said. "The broader world of Equestria wasn't nearly as well fleshed out before Season 3; I don't think you could write a story with a similar tone today without doing significantly more to set the stage for all the violence, cynical choices, etc. But viewed in the light of the first two seasons, this holds up extremely well as a glimpse of how the world can silence our better angels."
Read on for our author interview, in which N00813 discusses friendship entropy, thematic architecture, and glued-together pieces.Read More
Make the choice to read today's story, and you'll be rewarded with an intriguing romp through Norse mythology.
[Crossover] [Slice of Life] • 3,937 words
It's been five thousand years since the Summit of the Gods was last hosted in Equestria, and after dropping off Discord in Ponyville, Celestia returns to Canterlot Castle to meet with the entire Norse Pantheon. Before she can arrive, though, she's stopped by a guard with a strange message, sent on the behalf of a mysterious figure from her past.
FROM THE CURATORS: This story's cover art and description suggest the central family tie of the story — but it takes a deeper reading to realize just how cleverly the idea is constructed. "The story's labeled 'Crossover' because it posits that Celestia and Luna are the daughters of Sleipnir, Odin's eight-legged horse in Norse mythology — which means, of course, that their grandmother is Loki," AugieDog said in his nomination. "It's an idea that I just plain find appealing." The rest of us were equally taken with those ideas. "The big draw here is the mythology, and what sells that is the solid characterization," Horizon said.
Singled out for the greatest praise was the Norse deity who pays Celestia a visit. "There was clearly a lot of thought that went into Loki's character, from 'his' flexible definition of gender to his unconventional sense of loyalty and understanding of betrayal," Chris said. Present Perfect agreed: "The way Loki is written has a certain je ne sais quoi. There's an equal measure of 'otherworldly god' and 'concerned grandmother' there, very difficult to pull off well." But, as AugieDog noted, the Equestrian characters are given equally thoughtful depth. "The story is a very nice character study of Celestia," he said, "focusing on the choices she's made concerning Equestria, in light of the constant sideways glances she and Luna get from the other Aesir due to their heritage."
And while there was plenty to impress us in the character work alone, this story was also full of little surprises to enrich our reading experience. "There’s a good deal in here that I’ve never seen before — most notably Discord’s relationship to Celestia," Present Perfect said. Horizon agreed: "From how Discord fits into the picture to the identity of Celestia and Luna's mothers, this is full of surprising ideas that click into place like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle." All told, as Present Perfect said, this is a story carried by the solid execution of its ideas: "Anyone interested in mythology weaving will no doubt enjoy the way in which the Norse mythos has been applied to Equestria."
Read on for our author interview, in which CyborgSamurai discusses dangerous shoulds, replacement hips, and sociopathic shattered shapeshifters.Read More
The Round Robin Reviews are written by different groups and reviewers taking turns each week. If you are a story reviewer or part of a group that reviews stories and would be interested in joining the Round Robin Reviews, feel free to PM me (Wanderer D), Professor Plum, or ElDorado to tell us about it.Read More
It's not hard to see why today's story is a quality tale.
[Adventure] [Comedy] • 127,920 words
When Fluttershy received her certification as a fog specialist, she only wanted a plausible excuse to write off the expenses associated with her ground-based house on her taxes. However, when an accident in Cloudsdale sends a blanket of industrial-grade clouds rolling towards Ponyville, Fluttershy suddenly finds herself in charge of coordinating the response, mostly because she's the only fog specialist in the area. Can our heroine step up to the challenge at hoof, or will she risk facing the wrath of the Equestrian Revenue Service?
FROM THE CURATORS: Though we found ourselves debating the merits of particular aspects of this story, there was one thing on which we all agreed: it effortlessly kept us turning the pages. "Flash Fog spins a loose, sprawling, unfocused yarn which is nevertheless consistently entertaining on its own merits, and it has plenty of humor without sacrificing story at the altar of comedy," Chris said. Horizon agreed: "This is a highly readable story, with laconic, page-flipping prose and concise chapters that make it feel like a breeze." AugieDog, meanwhile, pulled out cinematic comparisons: "The main storyline — actually dealing with the fog — kept making me think of those 'all-star cast' disaster films of the 1970s and 80s, but I mean that in a good way. The tension, the conflicted characters, the setbacks and triumphs: it was all very fun to read."
Disaster films weren't the only comparison being made. "This story's like one of these modern open-world RPGs, where you have a main plot, but it doesn't stand out that much from the multiple side quests on the way," Soge said. "But that also works in the story's favor since, even if you don't enjoy one particular distraction (like, say, the Lyra and Bon Bon human stuff), you can be fairly sure that it won't affect much." Chris, too, praised the wide-ranging nature of the story's explorations. "Some of these interpositions are almost entirely unconnected from the titular fog," he said, "but what they collectively accomplish is to showcase a wide range of Equestrian low-key goofiness, from the Cutie Mark Crusaders building convoluted Rube-Goldbergian traps to the insipid idiocies of a superior's pointlessly idiosyncratic speaking style."
What really made this story sing, however, was the sharp way that the broad ensemble cast was portrayed. "The characters are spot on target," AugieDog said, and Chris agreed: "I was consistently impressed with how the characters responded to events in-universe." Chris went on to praise the depiction of Fluttershy in particular: "An on-point mix of soft-spoken, nervous, and uncertain, she nevertheless doesn't fall into the 'weak-willed waif' trap that many writers — and sometimes, the show itself — cast her as."
Read on for our author interview, in which Kwakerjak discusses exploding vignettes, unplanned deuteragonists, and the collision of cameos and H.P. Lovecraft.Read More
Scribblefest 2016 Winners
Art by Dark Flame
Scribblefest is Everfree Northwest's annual online writing contest. This year, we had some fantastic stories, and our panel of judges had a hard time narrowing the field to our finalists. That said, we're proud to present the final awards below. All of our winners will receive a $20 Amazon gift card.
The Jaw-Dropper Award
a.k.a "The Dash"
We all know the type, the stories that make us go "Holy cow, that just happened!" This would go to the story with the best twist, surprise, or simple moment of hoof-pumping awesomeness!
"Her name is Windy Weathertop, and she is the only Earth pony in the weatherpony corps."
This story was almost unanimously liked by our entire judging panel. It has action. It has adventure. It has attitude, but it has heart as well. A truly excellent and fun story to read!
The D'aww Award
a.k.a "The Fluttershy"
A staple of ponyfic... the story with the sweetest, most touching moment that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
by Apple Bottoms
Chrysalis attempts to kidnap Twilight Velvet. It does not go as planned.
This story was actually nominated in several categories, as it's funny, and it's sweet. It ended up winning The Fluttershy because the heartfelt moments are what really stood out the most.
The Nasally Ejected Beverage Award
a.k.a. "The Pinkie"
You know, the one that makes you laugh so hard you snort milk out your nose.
by Lise Eclaire
If you're a clever changeling, social media is great!
This one pretty much does what it says on the tin. A changeling uses social media "likes" to feed itself. The premise is clever, and uses the Equestria Girls setting for something that genuinely wouldn't work in the standard Equestria.
The True Fable Award
a.k.a. "The AJ"
The story that is most true to the spirit of the show. By definition, a fable is "a short story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral." This goes to the story that best teaches a life lesson, especially using old fashioned, honest-as-apple-pie wisdom.
Scootaloo learns that even her idols have idols... and problems.
This one was one of my personal favorites, as it does an amazing job of showing how idols can be imperfect, and have their own problems. More importantly, it does it without falling into to the standard cliche of simply showing the idolized one screwing up, and instead gives us a really touching lesson about what's important in life.
The Elegance Award
a.k.a. "The Rarity"
For services to poetic language, beautiful diction, haunting prose, and overall elegance in writing.
by The 24th Pegasus
An epic poem about an alternate universe and Rainbow Dash's time in the military.
Writing a poem of this length while telling a coherent story is no small feat, and this wins the Rarity for pulling it off with grace and style.
The Checklist-And-Caliper Award
a.k.a. "The Twilight"
The story with the most attention to detail. This could be a puzzle or mystery type plot, stories that rely on actual math/science, or ones that show well thought-out rules underlying the use of magic. Basically, any story that makes you wonder just how much time the author spent on research, calculations, plot diagrams, or anything else that wasn't actually writing.
A touching and detailed story about Celestia's oldest assistant and friend.
This story does a fantastic job creating a truly original character. Raven is fleshed out as a character both in the present, and in the details we slowly learn of her past. I applaud the author for not just dropping everything on us at once, but weaving a story through the past and present, letting the reader build up the full picture slowly as more of her past is revealed. By the time you reach the end, Raven feels as solid as any of the canon characters we've known for years.
That wraps up Scribblefest 2016! Congratulations once again to all of our winners, and a big thanks to everyone who entered. There were many amazing stories submitted, and I encourage everyone to check out the full list here.
Don't forget to join us for Everfree Northwest in Seattle this May! We'll have an on-site writing contest called Iron Author and many more writing-focused events, workshops, panels, and games. Check out the EFNW website for more details and to buy passes.
Lastly, I'd like to thank the panel of judges as well as my staff for donating their time to read through all these stories. This wouldn't have happened without their help.
EFNW Writing Track Lead