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Sovereigns' Realm · 11:17pm Apr 1st, 2017

Come on, you knew there’d be a Magic card in here somewhere.

I can honestly say that this has succeeded beyond my wildest expectations. Forty entries, eight of which made the featured box. A group that accrued triple digit members in less than a fortnight. One meddling ferret whose vengeance was swift and terrible when I told her I was afraid that this might not turn out all that well.

Before I get to the results, I just want to thank everyone who made this happen once again. This is easily the best random whim I’ve ever indulged since I decided to start writing fan fiction in the first place.

Okay, enough mush. Read on for the real reason you’re all here: Who won!

Well, one more thing. I wasn’t the only one deciding who reigns among all of these badly behaving princesses. Let’s say hello to your other judges.

Hey! I'm Scarlet Weather, using violet text because it's probably less annoying than red. Thanks to FoME here for having me on as a judge, and to The Masked Ferret for getting the two of us in touch. I've had a blast reading the stories for this contest, and I just want to congratulate all of you in advance. Picking my highest-scoring stories for this competition was a real struggle, and frankly I'm probably going to end up blogging about several entries that I wanted to give more recognition to and couldn't. You should all be proud of yourselves! Especially you, author with serious self-esteem issues. You know who you are.

Hello hello, the one and only Skeeter The Lurker here. Roped into this by, of course, Themaskedferret. Yeah, she can be very persuasive.

Ok. So this wasn’t easy. Y’all had some impressive entries to show us. Still, reading them and offering judgement on them was pretty fun and I’m certainly glad I had the chance to help with it.

So round of applause and whatnot and let’s get to it, yeah?

Next, because any good awards ceremony should drag things out as much as it can, let’s commemorate some honorable mentions.

Personally, I could give a nod to a lot of stories. Seriously, there was about a hair’s thickness of quality between first and sixteenth place, at least to my undiscerning literary palate. I’m going to give a nod here to one story I really wanted to include in my top five, but couldn’t justify in comparison to the competition. That’s not to say it’s bad, it’s just that I had to admit that other entries were even better. But Ember, Hoardsmelter by Bugsydor took the “Madwoman” prompt and applied a wonderful twist to it: Madness is deviation from how the majority sees the world. A wildly different social norm means that what that society views as madness is very different from our standards. That logic leads to a fascinating piece on the transformation of dragon culture, including an idea I don’t think I’ve seen anywhere else: Ember using Twilight as a source of knowledge in addition to the other way around.

Plus, it eventually involves Garble as Gordon Gecko. What’s not to like?

Similarly, I want to recognize a story that I think played better than most of its category with the prompt premise. "An Apple a Day Keeps Autocracy Away" by Mr. Numbers was one of exactly two stories I read in the Usurpers premise that looked not just at the word "usurper", but also tried to play a little bit with the fact that the Usurper category was defined as - and I quote - "women who seized power in a man's world." Numbers was the only author to play with a reversal or twist on that, and play he did. I ended up laughing quite a bit throughout its run and it's a fine comedy. Even if I'm pretty sure the alternate ending is by far the better version.

”The Honing of Perfection” by Dafaddah gets my mention. This solid entry into the “Survivors” category paints a rather interesting childhood picture for the cheese leg queen: a rather sheltered childhood right up to the point where that gets ripped violently away. I also quite enjoyed how the author imagined a changeling queen childhood to be, as well as the hints to the workings of a hive. And at the end… Well, I kinda wanted to give her a hug.

And now, without further ado, the winners. In third place, winning $10 of Amazon credit, we have Little Truths, by EbonQuill, the Sunset Schemer story.

I honestly wasn’t sure how well this one would do, given how it’s set in an alternate continuity with a number of other stories to it, but we all seemed to enjoy it. Even you aren’t familiar with the Wavelengths setting—one where Sunset never fled into the human universe—it’s fairly clear to see what will befall a young Lemon Hearts. That only adds to the tragedy, the dangling Sword of Damocles there for all but her to see. Sunset, appropriately for a scheming would-be princess, stays out of the spotlight until it’s time for her to shine, and when she does, she’s as terrible as the dawn.

This story is everything the first Equestria Girls movie wanted to be. It's Sunset Shimmer as the villain we always knew she was capable of being, but didn't really live up to in her on-screen debut. And a lot of that is the framing. This is a high school/college-ish drama with all the pettiness, naivete, and dickery you'd expect from that. It made my slate entirely because I was completely invested through the entire run of the story, and I hate high school dickery. This is by far probably the most 'real' of the placing entries, in that all the emotional suckerpunches are aiming for a feeling of "this could happen to someone/has happened". And it certainly lived up to the prompt!

I have never read the other entries in this apparent ‘verse. Something I’ll need to correct eventually. I’ll just drop what my exact thoughts were going through this. At the start: “Ok this is kinda heartwarming…” Middle: “Heh, how helpful of Sunset.” Ending: “You mother-”

But seriously, an excellent fic for the “yeah” factor alone.

In second place, winning $10 of Amazon credit and a feeling of smug superiority over Ebon, we have Stay Determined, by Czar_Yoshi, the Survivor Starlight story.

This has a lot to recommend it. Time loops, creative use of magic, clashing ideas…

Unfortunately, beyond that, I can’t really say much. The story feeds into itself beautifully, the themes are cohesive, and the atmosphere is thick enough to chew, but I’m not sure how to say more without spoiling something key. A little help?

I ended up being the deciding vote that got this placed one higher than Little Truths and I am going to go to my grave wondering if I made the right decision. These two were so close I could taste it. Stay Determined, however, is so much more my jam that I think it won out by somehow knowing the judges. And yes, I will be shamelessly admitting that.

The basic concept of Stay Determined is playing with the concept of nihilism, oddly enough. Our main character is caught in a negative feedback loop that, by its very nature, seems impossible to escape. What should she do? Should she stay determined and aim for a happy ending? Or is that very determination to make everyone happy what keeps ruining literally everything in the first place?

The one thing I will say is that I probably would have, in a perfect world, wanted to see this submitted to the "Warrior" category rather than Survivor. I feel like it fits the overall themes better. That said, definitely worth your time to read tonight.

It can be hard to do a time loop fic right, must less at all and this one most certainly does it right! You can also see quite clearly how inspired the author was from Undertale, and yet, made it so one never needed to touch to game to get the gist of. Top it off with being very concise, lean, and well written, is it any wonder why we gave it second?

Finally, in first place by a very nearly unanimous vote (fourteen out of a possible fifteen points) and winning $20 worth of Amazon credit is Evil is Easy, Governing is Harder by Aragón, the Madmare Celestia story.

This one is basically the Platonic ideal of an Aragón story. It rambles. It addresses the audience. Everyone in it is horrible in the most hilarious way imaginable. And it connects. Everything matters. Every little detail factors into something greater. It’s a glorious narrative Rube Goldberg device that takes in chamomile and generates exquisite absurdity.

I want to say that it was an honor judging this competition, and I feel like everyone involved kicked serious ass. There are so many stories that I couldn't put on my slate that I wanted to, and many more that I felt were excellent. The fact that these stories made the top isn't evidence that they were the only ones in the competition worth reading or miles ahead of everything around them, but that they just happened to be a little bit better.

Except for this story. Aragon walked into this competition and broke the goddamn curve. I don't think anyone else put out a story this tightly composed, and by the laughs-per-minute gauge of comedy nobody else even came close. This is a goddamn symphony of excess and I love it. Every joke is on point, every recurring element serves a purpose, and the ending caused me to physically fall backwards in my chair laughing. If this were a battle rap competition instead of a write-off, this story would have left all of the competition on the ground crying as it found ways to insult them that humans have not yet fathomed. If you have not read this somehow, you should go read it. If you don't go read it, I will find out. If I find out, I will eat you. I am only fifty percent joking about that.

Alright. I think we can all agree that Aragon’s fic would hit hard. I do not, however, believe anyone expected it to hit this hard. Alright alright alright… You ever seen Ocean’s 11? The Prestige? Go read this fic and keep them in mind. Now go reread it. Those movies are some of my faves simply because of the revelation at the end where everything is in full view from the start, and this fic pulls it off in such a flawless manner. Plus I am a sucker for a damn good Daring Do fic, so bonus points. I could go on about this, but I’ll keep myself in check here. It was a true joy and honor to judge, let’s do this again sometime.

Congratulations to the winners, and thank you again to all participants. For those who weren’t able to complete their ideas on time, remember that the group is still accepting stories inspired by the prompts in the “Second-Born” folder. As for whether I’ll ever do something like this again…

Well, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see, won’t we?

Comments ( 53 )


This was fun. Thanks for the honor of judging!

~Skeeter The Lurker

*looks smug* I knew it'd work out.

And of course I haven't read any of the winning stories yet.

Time to get cracking I guess!

This contest really was something :pinkiehappy:

RB_ #5 · Apr 1st, 2017 · · ·

Congratulations to the winners, thanks to the judges, and especially thanks to FoME for hosting such an enjoyable contest!

Well, that all was quite something. Congratulations to everyone, but especially the winners :moustache:

Well, eager to see how I feel about the winners when I get to their categories... luckily the winning one is one I already read, and one of the fics that brought this whole thing to my attention, and yeah, it was glorious. About halfway through I started noticing things, seeing how easily certain aspects fit together, little tiny details that didn't quite add up as presented, and thought I saw where the story was going, but even then the full extent still managed to surprise me with the totality of it's genius.

Whelp back to work, still 31 stories to read and three reviews to write up of read ones.

Grats to the winners, look forward to getting to them myself.

Thanks to y'all!

And especially, props to the judges, who initially stated that 10k was the maximum length and then watched in horror as 80% of the entries surpassed that limit with extreme prejudice.

Y'all are the real MVPs here, yo. FoME, this was a great experience, and I'm really thankful for it.

Also, I won. Woo! This is so great.

So if you excuse me, I've got, like... seven? Seven different people to whom I endlessly whined, complained, and cried that I stood no chances and that I was gonna flop. For two weeks straight. From the very moment I posted the story. And they gotta, uh. They gotta beat the shit out of me now. It's like, our agreement.

So I'll just exit left here if you don't mind? Mom says she's using the crowbar on my knees this time, and I'm curious to see if she was serious.


I'll keep the iodine handy.

~Skeeter The Lurker

I already posted my feelings on the matter at the time of submission, yes.

Thanks for the special shoutout to my cup of dirt, Scarlet.

Congrats to the winners, especially Aragon. His entry was the most wonderful trip there could be, and it deserves every bit of its high position.

Congrats also to the judges, for tolerating all the horsewords we spewed at you. Have a rest; you've more than earned it. :twilightsmile:

Thanks for everything! I really appreciate the nod, and all of your time!

Non-surprisingly, most of the winners were already in my read-it-later shelf.

Also, I feel like this blog post should have more links. Links to the honorable mentions, to the group and maybe to the content announcement post?

That was such a great prompt! Congrats to all the winners and submitters alike! And thanks to the judges for pulling off the impossible and picking winners from all these great submissions!

4480400 Congratulations to Ebon for nailing third place. Story still scares the hell out of me. :twilightoops:

Congrats to Aragon, Czar_Yoshi, EbonQuill, and the runners up. And thank you to the judges and my fellow competitors. I had a lot of fun, and this got a lot of good stories written. :twilightsmile:

Thank you for the permission to play in your world, bossman.

I haven't gotten around to reading any of them yet, but thank you for organizing such an awesome contest!

Wow. I started to suspect I stood a chance after FoME and Skeeter's glowing comments, but... second!? :rainbowkiss:

I'm ridiculously honored. Once again, thank you so much for this contest. Without it, so many of these stories- mine included- never would have been a reality. We should do something like this again some day.

The one thing I will say is that I probably would have, in a perfect world, wanted to see this submitted to the "Warrior" category rather than Survivor. I feel like it fits the overall themes better.

In hindsight, it probably fits in quite a lot of them. The story did change quite a bit over revision and I requested my prompt before I even knew what the first draft would look like, but since nobody else did Warrior Starlight (or... I think any other Starlight, for that matter), maybe just retroactively consider it that? :twilightblush: My original rationale for calling Survivor was less the "survive" aspect and more the "Princesses Who Made Controversial and Questionable Choices" bit from the contest announcement. Because, if nothing else, Starlight's choices are questionable.

Those three:

Were in my top five, and there were so many good stories, I barely ranked my own in the top ten! :twilightsheepish:

We'll be mining these entries for future Royal Canterlot Library features, and with the announcement here, we can start releasing the ones that've been submitted to Equestria Daily, too!


Obviously we're all winners for having the opportunity to participate at all. Thanks again, FOME, judging staff, and cheerleaders of all sorts.

This was a dumb amount of fun. Thanks to everyone who made it happen, and congrats to our winners!

FoME, you have a LOT of influence on Fimfiction.

Congrats to the winners, and thanks to FOME and all the judges for the hard work! And a warm thank you to 4480317 for the shout-out. I'm truly honored to have my story mentioned in such excellent company!


Not a problem, mate.

You did, after all, make me wanna hug a bug.

~Skeeter The Lurker

Thanks for the honorable mention, FoME! I'm still baffled that anybody noticed me. :rainbowhuh:

And grats to the winners! (Now I just need to actually read them, and the other honorable mentions...)

Excellent choices! Congratulations to the winners!

Well, it looks like I missed some of the better ones. Time to get reading! 'Grats to the winners, you earned it.

I'm still going to give myself an imaginary prize for being the first submission, though.

Can we get a full list of placements? Or is that just too much work.

That Aragon story really was something.

Congrats to Ebon Quill.

:yay: Congrats to the winning authors! :yay:

Although I think it's us, the readers, who really won in this contest. I've read only a few of the stories so far, and they're blipping amazing. :twilightsmile:

This gives me more stories to add to my ever-growing Read It Later shelf. Thanks for hosting this contest, FOME, and congrats to the winners!


Ah. Would've loved to get RCL'd with this story, actually. A Million Little Lights was great, but it wasn't written in my usual style -- and being a comedy author featured with a drama felt weird.

You don't do second features unless you're amazing like Ghost, right? 'Cause that'd be sweet. I could be a prick in the interview and go Kayne West on y'all. And then get beaten up and liveblog the subsequent beating.

It'd have many layers of comedy, that.

:twilightsmile: Congratulations to the winners! Here's to a future filled with more fantastic fanfic delights.

Also, three cheers for everybody who joined in and made this event so dramatically huge. It's been a good'un. I'm very happy to have gotten involved in FoME's mad challenge! :scootangel:


And especially, props to the judges, who initially stated that 10k was the maximum length and then watched in horror as 80% of the entries surpassed that limit with extreme prejudice.

Technically, it was only ever a guideline, not an actual limit. Early on, 20k was considered "pushing it", but later FoME revised it down to 15-16k. I'm afraid you're quite alone in the guilt over the word limit violation.

Admittedly, I take second place on that ranking, but the point is I'm still within the "pushing it" limit, and therefore have taunting rights. :derpytongue2:


Now I'm wondering what would happen if FoME ran another contest. Would it escalate as dramatically again? Could we get a hundred entries? Spare a thought for the poor devil who'd have to read all that... :rainbowderp:


Probably too much work. Besides, it'd be a bit embarrassing for those near the bottom. Not that I would mind; I've got no illusions regarding the sort of competition I was up against. Well, none that I know of, anyway...


and being a comedy author featured with a drama felt weird.

You think that's weird; I basically wrote cutesy or semi-serious slice-of-life stories for years, and then I did one horror piece, and bam. Suddenly, I'm "the horror writer". :applejackconfused:

Weirdness aside, that RCL feature was a great moment for me.


Well, we're an inscrutable lot...

I can't speak for the other curators, of course, but I find the stories that authors write when they step out of their comfort zones to often be noteworthy in good ways. After all, my own feature at RCL two years before I got asked to join the staff was my first real attempt to write a romance. Of course, I picked Blueblood and Rainbow Dash and made it a James Bond style adventure, but, well, that was just the obvious way to go about it... :pinkiehappy:



Well, we're an inscrutable lot...

AugieDog moves in mysterious ways.

:twilightsheepish: Ahaha, sorry.

I find the stories that authors write when they step out of their comfort zones to often be noteworthy in good ways.

Sounds like some sort of crazy random newcomer effect. In swordfighting and fencing, the scariest opponent is a beginner because, without established technique or tactics, and I quote, "you don't know what the bugger's gonna do". They can land a hit through sheer creative arbitrariness. :trollestia:

Then again, maybe it's just coincidence. Coincidences happen surprisingly often in a complex world. I honestly don't rule it out.

After all, my own feature at RCL two years before I got asked to join the staff was my first real attempt to write a romance. Of course, I picked Blueblood and Rainbow Dash and made it a James Bond style adventure, but, well, that was just the obvious way to go about it...

Well, of course. That's pretty much "toast and cheese" or "foot and shoe" when it comes to putting obvious things together. :moustache:

Thank you for taking the time to do so. This would've turned out a lot differently if I'd been the only one determining who should win, and I think it would've been poorer for it.

If by "knew," you mean "manipulated the community like a fuzzy little puppetmaster," then yes, I'm sure you did. :raritywink:

4480336 4480366 4480687 4480765 4480971
Soon you will have an inkling of the struggle that came with judging this contest. When you do, imagine doing it as quickly as possible, then being asked to pick the best of the lot.

Your story was devastatingly effective. To be honest, the only reason it wasn't in my top five was that it did too good a job of showcasing Sunset's pure evil at that time of her life. Well, that and I've never been a big fan of villainous gloating. Still, a well-earned bronze.

It was an exquisitely crafted time loop full of the kinds of moral ambiguities that Starlight abhors, yet cannot help but generate. You definitely earned your place.

You deserved it without question. I was the only one who put anyone ahead of you, and that anyone was Ghost of Heraclitus. Seriously, you knocked it out of the park so hard, your story may actually be in a stable orbit around the Earth.

Funnily enough, I put up most of those links between the time you started reading the blog and the time you made that comment.

4480441 4480886
Knowing that I'm indirectly responsible for so much high-quality, RCL-grade pony fiction really show how much of a success this was. I'm not sure how much pride I should take in the accomplishments of others at my direction, but this definitely went well.

Apparently. That came as news to me.

We all agreed that you shouldn't have dropped out.

Given how the scoring worked, only about a dozen fics got any points at all. I don't think it would particularly constructive.

I can say for certain that I'm not going to be doing one of these again any time soon. This was fun, but very time-consuming. Plus, it's probably best to give everyone time to recover and do not-me-related things for a while.

4481589 Yeah, do not envy you.. I had assumed it would be one entry per section, that would be a lot easier, but trying to gauge the best out of so many, with so many different underpinnings and takes on things...... damn.

I would either end up going full Twilight and making massive spreadsheets trying to reduce it down to numbers and prove the best one..... or go full RD, not care, and use a RNG to pick or something.

Tbh, I was mostly wondering about iisaw's Waxing Gibbous... but, you know, I can deal not knowing. Have a good one, FoME!


Apparently. That came as news to me.

You are the humblest Planeswalker i've ever met, then! :trollestia:

Goddangit I totally missed the contest... it looked fun :D


There is a "Second-Born" version with no deadline and fewer restrictions, if you're still interested. No prizes either. On the plus side, it's a lot more flexible too. It was intended for those contestants who couldn't make the deadline, but it's also open for people still intrigued by the challenge.

4481906 :D. where's the criteria?


Well, it's mentioned in the OP above, but he also mentioned it in Send to Sleep:

Tomorrow morning, I will create another folder in the Imposing Sovereigns group: Second-Born. As the name implies, this will be the home for any and all stories inspired by the contest that weren't finished by the end of today. I hope all of the entrants and anyone else inspired by the prompt will make use of it.

The actual prompts can be found on the original announcement. Basically, the list of prompts is here:

• Warriors: Princesses Who Fought Their Own Battles
• Usurpers: Princesses Who Grabbed Power in a Man's World
• Schemers: Princesses Who Plotted and Planned
• Survivors: Princesses Who Made Controversial and Questionable Choices
• Partiers: Princesses Who Loved to Live it Up
• Floozies: Princesses Notorious for Their Sexy Exploits
• Madwomen: Princesses Who Were Likely Mad, or Close to It.

Though, of course, creative reinterpretation is encouraged. It doesn't have to be a canonical princess, for one thing. A story about Princess Winona, for instance, would pass muster. :eeyup: Once published, the entry can be added to the group's folder here: Second-Born.

I think that should just about cover all the criteria needed.

Yeah, Aragon strolled onto the Death Star, kicked the Emperor down the reactor shaft and made Darth Vader serve drinks for this. He *owned* it. Megagrats for kicking tail and taking names, dude.

I have to confess I didn't read 'Little Truths' until just now, and it was a positive marvel of minimalist writing. I'm jealous. And Honing of Perfection... Poor little bug. *sniff* A whole bunch of wonderful stories. Great job, everybody.

I have to confess I didn't read 'Little Truths' until just now, and it was a positive marvel of minimalist writing. I'm jealous.

Thanks! I really appreciate it!

Belated congratulations to the winners! I wish I'd been able to get my story pulled together, but I'll take living through my nonfiction tale of Aradara as a consolation prize.

4481144 4481240
(Re: 4481510)
Stay tuned, actually! After some internal discussion, we're going to be doing a thing in the next few days that you may find interesting ...


Uh oh. That doesn't sound ominous at all... :twilightoops:

Looking forward to it.

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