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So There Was This Contest · 7:12pm May 21st, 2014

Specifically the RariDash "Four R's of Spring" contest, that Jake R asked me to judge a couple months back. My first time judging one of these fancy shipping contest things. The contest didn't get a whole lot of entrants, but I read them all through, and I have to say I was really impressed with the story that won (unanimously, no less).

I wound up not leaving comments because I didn't want to tip my hand as one of the judges, though if any of the contestants see this and would like some more in-depth criticism, let me know.

Anyway, the eventual winner was HoofBitingActionOverload's "Spring is Dumb", which you may have seen in the feature box over the last week. Although it starts out a little slow, this story is one of the funniest that I've read in the last year. It (quite correctly) tags Rainbow Dash as an unreliable narrator, and then it plays this fact to the hilt through a stream of scenes where Dash refuses to acknowledge what she's doing but slowly recognizes what she's already done. For a RariDash story, the first half is regrettably short on Rarity, but the second half makes up for it and the pair are just amazingly cute together. HoofBiting's choice to tap into Rainbow Dash's insecurity with this story makes for one of the most fun pieces of Dash characterization I've read in a long time. I'd heartily recommend this story to anyone.

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Comments ( 7 )

Don't want to tip your hand, unlike one of the judges, who loved that story so much they had to comment on it. Without realizing it was a contest entry. :trixieshiftright:

It's okay though~ I'm sure everyone understands. When I read that contest entry when HoofBiting sent it to me for editorial review, my response was pretty much "This is going to win the contest and it isn't even going to be close."

Fortunately, I wasn't a judge and thus I could leave comments on all the stories. :moustache: And also promote the hell out of Spring is Dumb.

Jondor may forgive me, one day. :fluttercry:

Well, apparently HBAO wasn't super clear about labeling it as an entrant. :raritywink:

I saved it for last, because I knew it was getting the big buzz, and I wasn't actually convinced it'd be where I'd throw my support at the start, because I felt like the first few paragraphs wound up a bit jumbled and weak, but things turned around very quickly after that, and I'm really in love with the whole Dash-as-unreliable-narrator thing now. That story was really all I could ask for in a RariDash fic.


I felt like the first few paragraphs wound up a bit jumbled and weak

See, I really liked them because A) it established what the story was going to be like, B) it established Dash's mentality, and C) it was obviously a response to Rarity, some sort of echo of an argument.

Indeed, it was because of Dash's principles and other thoughts that we got to hear the entire argument without actually spending a scene on it.

The intro really grabbed me because I figured out what was going on right off the bat. It wouldn't have worked with an OC, but because I already knew how Rainbow Dash was, I knew that the seemingly incongruous thoughts were Rainbow Dash trying to prove to herself that she was not any of those mean things that Rarity called her, that she was totally deep and philisophical and stuff. The fourth paragraph in particular explained the first three:

Rainbow Dash’s one life-defining principle was that she was definitely not a barbarous, uncivilized dolt who didn’t know polite conversation from a hippopotamus’s rear end.

RariDash? :rainbowhuh:

Aw yeah, RariDash. :rainbowdetermined2:

Heh, I saw that exchange. Oops. Not like much of a difference was made though, given that the results were such a landslide.

I've determined that HBAO is a master of (Or at least really likes to use) unreliable narration and clouded judgement. Having read three of his stories now all three of which have featured such. He also seems to be generally a pretty cool guy based on my first comment thread interaction with him a while back, and I'm seriously considering a follow, even though his stuff seems to tend overwhelmingly towards romance.

Spring is Dumb definitely the funniest story I've read in a while, and I have to agree with 2132695 when it comes to the introduction, which I understood immediately and which drew me in quickly.

HoofBitingActionOverload is one of my favorite people on the site. It is true that he writes a lot of shipfics, but a lot of them are really, really good shipfics. Twisting Between the Sheets is one of my favorite shipping stories on the site, and contains an OC who is a very interesting character; if you haven't read it yet, you should.

But yeah, he does have a certain style of narration. It works well though.

I have, in fact. It was the first of his works that I read, and was the topic of the comment exchange to which I was referring, in which he and I had a fairly protracted back and forth about AJ's characterization. I got a definite impression of someone striving to improve their art from that conversation, and from the fact that the story itself was intended to be a more realistic reinterpretation of a precious story of his. It's not among my favorite fimfics, but I certainly respect it for what it is.

I suppose I should note that don't have anything against romance in particular, I just find I'm a little (perhaps irrationally) put off by a story list that overwhelmingly favors a single tag. There's potential for greatness in what I've seen though, and it wouldn't be he first time I've followed a serial shipper.

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