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Aragon


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Mar
10th
2018

The Comedy (is Serious Business) Contest Results! · 3:43am March 10th

Aaaand we’re finally here.

What can I say, folks – it’s been a journey. I almost feel emotional writing this announcement.

This contest literally started as me idly muttering “would be cool to make one of those m’self one day” in a public chat. And now look at this! Forty-seven entries, more than four thousand views in the original announcement, we took over the featured box, and overall? I’m sure we all had a lot of fun.

I want to take a moment to thank the judges, MrNumbers and Majin Syeekoh, for agreeing to help me with this monumental task in exchange of literally nothing. They made judging not only easy, but also pleasant and fun, and I wouldn’t have been able to do this without them. If I might, I do thi-okay you fuckers are, like, obviously not reading this.

Like y’all just skipped this shit to see who’s the winner, and then maybe you made a point of reading why this or that story won. Peachy. Literally nothing I write here matters. Motherfucker. Who’s even reading this. The winner? I’m guessing the winner just, scrolled down, saw who had won, and went HON HON HON I’LL READ THE WHOLE THING NOW, AND THEN I’LL READ WHY I WON YET AGAIN.

And, I mean, shit. You won. You can do that if you wanna. That’s what winners do.

Anyway. The contest is over. Fuck it. Space for the judges to talk if they wanna share their thoughts with us.

MrNumbers: I mostly contributed by making a fancy excel spreadsheet of the entrants where we could write shorthand notes about stories and stuff. It was a pleasure; by the end of it, I think that notes document might have qualified as a top-five entry, these gentlemen were an honour and a privilege to work with.

Majin Syeekoh: Judging this contest was certainly an enlightening experience as I witnessed many strains of humor from various authors that were definitely interesting. Alas, only a few could win. But as I like to remind myself, participation is rewarding in and of itself.

Aragón (again): Neat! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us, guys. Working with you is always a pleasure.
Now let’s stop wasting time, and jump right to the important bits. Here’s the final ranking!

THE CONSOLATION PRIZES

Wait no not yet. No winners yet. We’re doing this now.

It’s really not a big thing, but it’s a thing nonetheless: everybody who’s participated in the contest can PM me to get a review of their story. This will be less ‘review you see in a blog’ and more ‘opinions by Aragón’, by the way. What I thought worked about your story, what I thought didn’t work, general advice – if there’s any I can give, that is…

Like, have you ever seen me go around writing_help? The Fimfic Discord chat? No? Well, shit, go there then, it’s a cool place. Anyway: it’ll be my honest opinion, and anything I believe might be useful, or interesting, to your ears.

Or maybe it’ll be just a sexy picture of me. I mean, what the hell do I know. You’ll find out.

Now, that said…

Please, please keep in mind that:

  • A) I am currently sloshing through a fulltime job, and
  • B) hahah cool sunglasses emoji
  • C) there were forty-fucking-seven entries.

This means that, if you send me a PM because you honestly care about my opinion (also, like, don’t send me a PM if you don’t honestly care about my opinion; that’ll lighten the load) it might take me a liiittle while to reply. This doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about you, it just means that…

I mean. It means that there were forty-fucking-seven entries. Like. Dunno if you missed that. That’s a lot of feedback to give. I know what I’m gonna be doing on my next few thousand lunchbreaks if people take interest in this thing, honestly.

Anyway, so that’s that. At least, you’ll get a comment, and some in-moderate-depth review, if you didn’t get anything else. This is mostly because, while reading all the entries, I kept thinking of shit I wanted to say to the authors – but as I was judging, and as I wanted to keep my opinions a total secret, I couldn’t.

Please, remember that this offer only extends to me, Aragón. Majin Syeekoh and MrNumbers, the other two judges, are not included in this. If they want to give you any personal advice or headsup, they will contact you themselves. I am not making any promises in their name.

So, yeah. Y’all get something. I’m such a cool contest host.

Now, on to the real prizes.

HONORABLE MENTION

Wait hahah no not yet. No real prizes yet. Again. We’re also doing this now. Isn’t life full of surprises?

Originally, this contest was not going to get one of these. Come on, we already give away five prizes, and the fifth one is kind of an honorable mention anyway, don’t be greedy.

But then, y’know, JackRipper’s story happened.

[Adult story embed hidden]

Please Kill Me was an early entry for this contest. It’s barely over one thousand words long, and it uses the [Self-insert] tag. It has a [Mature] rating purely because of the cover art.

And it single-handedly made us create this category, because we couldn’t stop talking about it.

Majin Syeekoh: Part of my argument for this story has to do with an issue I see in a lot of stories, which is filler. A lot of times people will just add words to their stories because stories need a lot of words or else they’re not stories, and they end up suffering for it. Jack here knew exactly how long the story needed to be and didn’t overstay the joke. That in itself takes an incredible amount of skill.

I don’t just think that because the majority of my stories barely breach one thousand words. Not at all.

( ͡° ʖ̯ ͡°)

MrNumbers: They do say “write what you know”. A story about Twilight Sparkle being driven to suicide by having to deal with Ponyville’s petty problems rings with a lot of truth and sincerity when it’s written by one of the site’s story approvers.

I hope this win soothes the pain a little, buddy.

Aragón (again): So yeah. Congrats, JackRipper, because you forced me to reschedule the entire blogpost just so you could squeeze right in. And, what the hell, man. You sure deserved it. We got, like, in a fight because of you.

FIFTH PLACE

Looking through the comments, I can see that the author honestly believed that they hadn’t written a comedy, because they only cared about having fun while writing. And it shows. It really, really shows, and that is a wonderful thing.

Let me tell you, though, Snowybee -- you don’t have to worry. You wrote a comedy.

TThe Secretary
Raven does normal secretary work. Her boss is not normal, however. Can she keep up with Princess Celestia, the erratic immortal trying to keep the country and herself in one piece?
Snowybee · 11k words  ·  49  4 · 596 views

Man, where to start?

It’s not often that you get a story with both ninjas and good character development, but The Secretary pulls it off. Every element, no matter how minor, has a purpose – and an arc, and a clear direction. The humor is crisp, the dialogue is on point, the plot is enjoyable, and overall, I had to read it twice because the first time I was so into it I forgot to take notes.

But the best bit was, by far, the characters. They bicker, they tease, they banter, and they are the most fun cast of misfits I’ve read in a long time. I had a blast with this story, I loved these, characters, and I hope we get to see them again some day.

Back when I was starting this contest, I mentioned that you didn’t have to worry about us not ‘getting’ your humor; as long as you had fun with the story, it would shine through. The Secretary is the perfect example of this philosophy. Without even trying, Snowybee wrote something that was tight enough, and brimming with enough style, to make me actively nervous.

I’m a comedy writer myself, damn it. I didn’t know there were people like this waiting for a chance to go and steal everybody’s spotlight. We better be careful, ‘cause jesus, this was good.

So congratulations, Snowybee, because I had so much fun reading your entry. You deserve this fifth place, and you win a Steam copy of both DmC: Devil May Cry, and Serious Sam 2.

FOURTH PLACE

The best way to judge a comedy’s worth is, usually, to check if it dares to stop being funny. It’s a dangerous move, one that can make or break the narrative. And R5h’s story takes this risk, runs with it, and ends up creating something we could all learn from.

TPartyquest
Pinkie has one month to throw a party that's out of this world. Which is exactly where she'll receive the training she needs.
R5h · 12k words  ·  123  4 · 725 views

Partyquest is, unapologetically, a comedy. The high concept behind the tale is interesting by itself, but R5h never lets that outshine what really matters in here: the characters, and their adventure.

This is, ultimately, a story about learning. It’s also about parties, and about a quest, and about talking and not talking and everything that comes in between. The structure marks a series of beats  -- Human Pinkie Pie and Twilight travel through Equestria seeking party ponies, and learning the secrets of their trade -- and each one is different from the last, each one adds something new to the picture, each one feels absolutely essential and thoroughly entertaining.

This is a fine comedy, absolutely. The jokes are well-executed, imaginative, and in-character. But mostly, this is a story with a lot of heart, and one that is not afraid to show it. When writing about something like Pinkie and parties, it seems natural that the end result would be almost clinically silly…

But, sometimes? Letting yourself be serious is what really makes it work.

So congratulations, R5h. You win fourth place, and a 25 USD steam gift card.

THIRD PLACE

The clean, efficient execution of the ingenious storyline had already won me over. But then, two thirds down this story, Celestia has a monologue.

And that scene alone convinced me that I had to throw money at Aquaman, come hell or high water. I am actually struggling to say things in here, I’m going to let Majin take the mic instead, because I don’t want to spoil it.

This is a story with heart. It’s a story with wit. It’s a story with character. It’s a really, really good fanfic, and I believe Fimfiction is richer because of it.

EA Failure To Plan
Nightmare Moon's about to return and Equestria needs a savior, but don't worry: Celestia's got everything under control. Just as long as Twilight goes to Ponyville on time, and not to Moondancer's party instead--but why would she ever do that?
Aquaman · 12k words  ·  544  15 · 4.4k views

Majin Syeekoh here to talk a bit more about Aquaman’s Story, A Failure to Plan, where stuff happens.

Stuff like Twilight deciding to go to Moondancer’s party in the beginning of the show instead of to Ponyville and throws all of Celestia’s plans down the shitter.

Now this could have been a dramatic piece where Celestia has to face the music that she’s not all-knowing, or a pure comedy where Celestia bumbles around trying to convince Twilight to go to Ponyville instead. One of them wouldn’t have qualified for the contest, but they’d both be viable courses of action.

Aquaman did both and made the story work where many others would have fallen. I think that alone speaks for itself.

Also you’re gonna wanna check out that epilogue. ( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°)

Aragón (again): Congratulations, then, Aquaman. You win third place, and 50 USD.

SECOND PLACE

And for this one I pass the torch to MrNumbers. But before he gets to talk, I’mma steal his thunder to simply say:

God dammit, MagnetBolt. You knocked it out of the park.

EActs of Random Kindness
There are three things that ponies love more than anything else and which will inevitably end up killing them if not enjoyed in moderation: baked goods, sunny days, and the magic of Harmony. This story is about all of these but mostly the last.
MagnetBolt · 7.8k words  ·  204  4 · 1.8k views

MrNumbers talking: Acts of Random Kindness by MagnetBolt snuck under the radar a little, being one of the contest entries that didn’t make feature box. Actually, did any of our winners make the featured box? Huh. I guess this is just further proof that democracy is a failing system and our society deserves its imminent demise.

Which is a good segue, because Acts of Random Kindness is a great story about how we perceive chaos and order, and how chaos isn’t actually an evil thing and order not necessarily good. It’s one of those ideas that’s kind of obvious when I say it like this, but the idea it’s criticizing is so taken for granted that you don’t see it explored very often.

MagnetBolt explored it with humour and aplomb, and his story is the best example in this competition on effective meta-comedy, on how to lean against the fourth wall without breaking it. How to make jokes about the medium from within it. These are really hard jokes to pull off, when done badly all they do is destroy immersion, and Magnet stuck the landing magnificently.

Aragón (again): So Congratulations, MagnetBolt. You get second place, and you win 100 USD.

FIRST PLACE

Come on, we all saw it coming. And we did that for a reason. You already know you won. And how.

TWatch! Watch!
A crime wave is gripping the sleepy town of Apple-Morepone. Then "Rainbow" Dash of the City Watch meets a batpony (adopted) named Carrot. The town will never be the same. (An homage to the City Watch of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels!)
horizon · 13k words  ·  199  6 · 1.1k views

MrNumbers: I was quoting this offline for days, forgetting where I was remembering the lines from. I’ve downloaded a hard copy of this onto my hard drive. This story made me legitimately jealous, both of its cleverness and of its funniness.

There is no praise I can give this story that is not surpassed by the story’s ability to convey its own praiseworthiness by reading it. The fewest amount of words I could summarize the story in is its wordcount.

Aragón (again): There’s really nothing better to say about this story than just how well-constructed everything is. The jokes are amazing. I legitimately don’t know if it’s better or worse if you have read the book that inspired this fanfiction, because every single joke -- and I mean it, it’s uncanny, it’s every single joke -- is built up and executed in such a way that, if you have read the book? It works.

But if you haven’t?

Fuck me. It almost works harder.

This is an incredible comedy, and an incredible story. I am glad it won, and for once, I’m sure everybody else probably is.

Majin Syeekoh: What can I say that hasn’t been said already? It’s a very tightly constructed, densely written story that doesn’t feel dense or constructed. It’s a testament to Horizon’s skill that it felt like reading Horizon doing Pratchett via My Little Pony and none of it felt out of place. It is very much derivative fiction and that is in fact its greatest strength.


Aragón (again): And so, Horizon, you get the crown, you get first prize, and you get a grand total of 200 USD. Go and buy yourself something pretty, you earned it.

THE END OF THE CONTEST

So. That’s a wrap. I’ll be contacting the winners soon enough to talk the whole prizes thing.

Not much to add. It’s been an experience, and -- weirdly enough, scheduling a time when all the judges could sit down and write this at once was almost harder than the judging itself. Let me tell you: fuck timezones. Right away.

I hope you all had as much fun. as we did. My objective with this contest was, first and foremost, to get more good comedies on the site. Also, to get a bit of perverse glee from seeing people struggling at writing comedy -- it ain’t easy, is it?

And all in all? I think it was a success. Thank you all for participating, and once again, thanks to R5h, Oroboro, Undome Tinwe, Pearple Prose, and ThePoneDrome, for making this contest possible with their donations.

Wouldn’t have been possible without you, guys. It was a blast.

Comments ( 37 )
Majin Syeekoh
Story Approver

Penis

I read the whole thing
For the record
And I didn't even enter in the contest

Congrats to the winners! And thanks, Aragón, for making a contest that pushed me out of my comfort zone in terms of writing.

R5h
R5h #4 · March 10th · · ·

Yeah, I can't say that the top three didn't earn their titles. I mean, fuck. As soon as I got to the "Partician" in Watch! Watch!and as soon as it wasn't Pinkie—I just had to stop and say: "Fuck. I am not winning this contest."

And yeah, Acts of Random Kindness was freaking hilarious.

A Failure to Plan, meanwhile... yeah, it's just a really cool non-canonical exploration, and also it packs as many gags as it could have into its wordcount without losing that seriousness. It was a great read!

Also, gosh, thanks for the fourth prize! Now if only I used Steam more often....

And of course, a big thank you to everyone involved in this contest. You all did some pretty cool work and made some pretty funny stories!

4813531
same here, but it was worth it though, two of these fics are going into my shelf

JackRipper
Story Approver

And it single-handedly made us create this category, because we couldn’t stop talking about it.

I’ll take it! :twilightsheepish:

Comment posted by AnonponyDASHIE deleted March 10th

4813526
Behold, a master of comedy.

Thanks for running this Contest and getting me to finish one of my stories that ended up being my first story ever top the feature box!

I read the whole thing
For the record
And I didn't even enter in the contest
Agreed. Though I had wanted to enter, just found out about it too late to do an idea justice. :(

Freakin' Horizon, just winnin' all the contests.

Now that's one hell of a return on investment. Great job everyone, and thank you for helping make this contest the wonderful thing it was. I'm gonna be busy for the next little while binging through these stories.

Congratulations to all the winners, you totally deserved it!
It was still great fun just to enter, and it managed to get me motivated to finally pen down a plot bunny that'd been bugging me for ages.

Congratulations to the winners and everyone who completed an entry, and Aragon, thank you so much for giving me a sufficient reason to actually write and publish a new oneshot. I had fun, it looks like most of us had fun, and I'm not really allowed to say it was worth it since I didn't put in any work to make the contest happen but wow I want to anyway.

Here's to the future of horsefics, comedy and contests, whatever it holds.

*Toasts*

Watch, Watch had to win. It was glorious. Simply... I don't even have words for how glorious that was. Well done, horizon! (And lots more for the RiL!)

My actual reaction to learning I won the competition, in real time:

[10:22 PM] ChappedPenguinLips: You enter everything don't you?
[10:22 PM] ChappedPenguinLips: You even won the comedy contest.
[10:22 PM] horizon: wait i what
[10:23 PM] horizon: stops everything and goes to FIMFic
[10:25 PM] ChappedPenguinLips: HA
[10:26 PM] ChappedPenguinLips: You didn't know lmao
[10:26 PM] horizon: I'VE BEEN AT QUIZ NIGHT FOR SIX HOURS

Having already read not just some of the other winners but some of the stories that didn't reach the top, I can say it's even more of an honor to have won against such strong competition. :twilightsmile: Congratulations to MagnetBolt. Aquaman, R5h, SnowyBee, and JackRipper for their prizes!

Though ... I think for once I'll allow myself to indulge my ego and say that you're correct: I'm not entirely surprised this particular story placed. I'm my own harshest critic and nitpickiest editor, and you can find the Writeoff forums littered with strings of my predictions that my medal-winning stories would wash out in preliminaries. So when I was ready to post this one, and I had fun writing it, and I liked the final product, I figured I had something good on my hands. I'm thrilled you agreed!

I will further note that the first thought running through my mind when I sat down to write was: "Alright, if I'm going to write a story that's worthy of winning $200, I need to figure out how I'm going to top using a baby as a melee weapon." I was always writing to compete against the recognized master of the form, in other words, never mind that he was the one handing out the prizes. So please give yourself some credit for forcing me to compete at the top of my game. :moustache:

Anyway! I promised that when the competition ended I would post Watch! Watch!'s epilogue. I've got a Search & Rescue callout at 5 AM, so I'm going to beg for 24 hours' leeway and make it live Saturday night when I get home (or, more likely, Sunday morning when I'm conscious and coherent again), but it's written and just needs to be formatted/transferred so you'll definitely be seeing it shortly. :pinkiehappy:

If I might, I do thi-okay you fuckers are, like, obviously not reading this.

Hey, hey! Yeah, what about all the guys who didn't enter, huh? Did you expect us to skip it all too?

*insert 18 page rant*

...and that is why you can take that...

*18 more pages*

*uncontrollable crying*

*another 18 pages*

...

*36 pages later*

Congrats to all of the winner, and thanks for the contest, Ara! Even if I didn't participate, it was cool to see all the contest entries popping up, and judging by the what came out of it I can tell I'd have no chancein running againts. I'll definitely be giving some all of these a read. :twilightsmile:

Haha! No, I'm not at all surprised that horizon won, because that was GOOD.


I thought I'd read a fair few of the entries, but three out of the five winners I haven't. (YET.) And considering both the ones I had ended up on my favourite list, that bodes well.


Thanks to Aragon and everyone else for running, judging and participating. horizon may have won the contest (I feel like I ought to capitialise his name at the start of a sentence...), but I think we, the readers, were the real winners. (Or something!)


4813623

Search and rescue callout? Dude, on top of winning the contest, you're doing legtimately respect-worthy stuff in the real world as well? Stop it dude, you've making everyone else look bad!

(Well, except me, I'm, already Evil...)

I mean. It means that there were forty-fucking-seven entries.

And to think, that's just those that made the deadline. Imagine if you'd gotten the full eighty-plus that submitted a prompt. :twilightoops:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Forty-seven entries

Ow, my free time D:

I read the whole thing in order, and I did enter the contest!

What? Seems like everyone else who had didn't.

In any case, yeah, when literally everyone who read my story thought I'd put an OC in at the end, I figured I wasn't winning anything. (Note to self: Cheeky references to your own stories are all well and good, but don't make the climax of your current one hinge on them.) In any case, well-deserved victory by the winners. Thanks for putting this contest together, Aragon. We got some amazing stories out of it.

Well damn. I had TP references planned in my story, but got stuck on exactly those bits because I couldn’t find the book that had the paragraph I needed. Ah well. Maybe next time.

4813718

It would have hurt your story more than anything, really.

Horizon didn't win because he wrote Pratchetty -- rather, he won almost in spite of it. Referencing other works is the easiest way to make sure your story reads as obnoxious; it's like sharing an injoke in front of a person who has absolutely no way to understand the punchline.

Horizon's story is really damn good on its own. It does have references -- it is tagged as a crossover -- but they're thematic, not lifted. No joke or line or description or idea is lifted straight from the source; it's more like a filter through which he passed the entire story.

In other words: good stuff, but let's all stop it with the fetishization of PTerry. I love the man, I really do, he's one of my favorite writers of all time -- but he's not the end-all be-all of humor, and he shouldn't be seen as one. Just because a comedy in his style or in the same ballpark doesn't mean that it'll be a good one. PTerry made it work because he was a genius, but there re a million other writers who also deserve recognition. Wodehouse, Vonnegut, Moore... there's more to life than Pratchett, yo.

Cool! Thank you! I can safely say that I was legitimately concerned that my story would be disqualified for not being a comedy! Shows what I know, I guess.

I don't write often, and I had this fan race in mind for awhile, as well as a desire to write something about Celestia’s extraordinary day-to-day. Of things I really, really wanted to write, set up and context be dammed, it was those things. So I guessed that having fun with the story was the important thing. The fic itself never really stops to smell the roses, since it's literally just a 24-hour slice of Raven's day on the job, so I'll definitely come back to it!

I think the one thing that made me worry was my habit of injecting serious personal exploration into every story I write, thinking that comedy was, like, not about that. But in the end, I enter these things just to get myself to write things! So I won the grand prize in the end!

The story still remains an unedited draft (I think it's like, draft 3.5?) and mostly last minute, as all Snu-fics are. Literally zero expectations for it. So I was genuinely caught off guard to hear the news. Thank you again, my friends!

4813721
Oh no. It was going to be a single fleeting reference just for those who do like TP, I’d planned it even before I found out you liked Discworld. It didn’t hold up the story. Probably have lasted two paragraphs or so. I’d never be good enough to take an entire novel and make it my own but a couple lines referencing something else I can pull off.

Besides, I never entered to win. I entered to try and get a story out with a time limit as getting stories out without them is hard enough. Unfortunately I didn’t fare any better other than progressing past the first section. If anything I wanted the Steam gift card. Feeding my gaming habit is more important than fame and recognition.

50 money. God damn. That’s like... a WHOLE lot of candy bars.

Thanks for putting on the contest, brah. I had fun.

4813623

One of the reasons we thought yours was the best was that it was obvious you weren't trying to imitate Aragon, but that you acted as though you were competing against him. This meant you fell back on understanding your own strengths and applying them beautifully, rather than trying to think 'What Would Aragon Do'. I only wish this mindset had been far more prevalent in the other entries.

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But I think we found that the honest respect you showed for the judges was far more sincere, and made for a much more refined end result.

Congrats to the winners:

And thanks to the judges for giving me the chance to try writing a form I don't usually attempt! :twilightsmile:

Mike

4813682 He also does drunken tarot readings, dude is inhumanly awesome.

Awesome contest and thanks for making it Ara.

Yeah, no, the moment Horizon published his story we all knew we were competing for second place. :twilightsheepish:

Congratulations to the Honorable Mention, the four winners and the guy who broke the whole damn rating system.

Is there a list of all the entries?

4813557
Honestly, I'd organize yet another contest just to see him win more. Err, write more. But those two are basically interchangeable.

I even have the money for it, now if I could just get someone to do the organization and judging...

4813776
Are there recordings of those or any other way to partake? Because "drunken Tarot readings on the TSSSF by horizon" sounds so messed up that I just have to see it.

Congrats to the winners! I knew it was a long shot that my story would win anything, especially since I shoehorned in a fanfic that I had already started writing before I knew about the contest, and said story was based on a preexisting AU. Still, at least this contest gave me the motivation to finish it. Thanks for hosting, y'all.

4815261 He normally uses his Tarot deck but has been known to do TSSSF before and I don't know of any but i'd suggest try asking him.:twilightsmile:

4815261 4815948
Your best bet for drunken pony Tarot (and/or TSSSF cartomancy) is either: A) attend a convention I'm at, or B) follow me and keep an eye on my blog for announcements of my periodic drunkwriting escapades. I've been known to do brief online Tarot stints as part of the drunkwriting.

If there's enough demand I might just make a night out of it.

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