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Contest! A Most Delightful Ponidox · 12:38pm Sep 4th, 2020

Ever since Equestria Girls established that parallel universes are very much a thing in this setting, I’ve loved having different versions of the same person interact. (Heck, I loved it before Friendship is Magic was a thing. Years before the Infinite Carousel, I had a consortium of Nabiki Tendos buying out Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.)

So, how many stories on the site explore this kind of thing, what Derpibooru calls a “human ponidox”? Let’s consider it by tags:

Main 6/7: 158
Twilight: 122
Celestia: 201, 2
Rainbow Dash: 18
Spike: 132, 3
Luna: 94
Fluttershy: 7.55
Rarity: 7
Pinkie Pie: 7
Applejack: 46
1 Also a major plot point in the fan script “A Matter of Principals,” the closest thing we have to a proper EqG finale.
2 Includes two Main 6/7 stories.
3 Includes two double-Twilight stories.
4 Includes three double-Celestia stories.
5 Includes N/SFW variants of the same story.
6 Includes two double-Rainbow stories all across the sky.

And that’s not counting characters with tags on only one side of the mirror. Both Cloud Kickers meet in Oncoming Storm: Through a Mirror Darkly, both Wallflower Blushes in Royal Flowers, and so forth. And, of course, there are those stories that were written before the disambiguation tags were created and never got updated. Still, that’s only a few hundred stories out of six digits worth. This is rich material ripe for exploration.

So let’s do that.

The prompt for this one is simple: Two or more distinct instances of the same person have to interact. Whether it’s human Twilight giving the princess dance lessons, the sirens encountering an awfully familiar trio during the Golden Age of Piracy, or just Diamond Tiara being disappointed by the dirt horse, go have some fun with parallel universes.

Word limit: 15,000 or fewer.
Rating limit: Everyone or Teen
Submissions open: 12 PM EST, September 6th. Be sure to add it to the contest group!
Submission deadline: 11:59 PM your time zone, October 18th, 2020 (Note: Moving west solely to give yourself a few more hours is not recommended.)
Results announced: TBD; I definitely can’t say before we know how many submissions come in.

Standard “Don’t submit stories published before the contest started” rules apply. And now some quick PAQs (Probably Asked Questions):

Do we have to use the Equestria Girls world?

No, actually. I'm open to any self-ponidox, not just ones between horse and ape. You can use a different sort of AU, but the different instances of the same pony have to be clearly distinct from one another in some way. Species, gender, major life experience, whatever you pick, there should be some major divergence at work. Otherwise, there's not much point in the whole exercise. (Granted, if you think you can prove me wrong there, go for it. Just know that you're taking a risk.)

Can we use a preexisting fanmade AU?

I’m going to allow this. Heck, you can even have two different fan settings collide to fulfill the prompt. However, you will need to make sure the story introduces any and all alternate universes on its own without any background reading. (No, you won’t get any bonus points for using the Oversaturated World. I’ll be flattered, but I’ll still consider your submission on its own merits.) In other words, you can use established AUs, but don't make a direct sequel that can't stand on its own.

Can we duplicate more than one person?

Sure! Just don’t let the character interactions get drowned out by sheer quantity.

Do we need to reserve characters?

Not for this one. If everyone ends up writing about pairs of Windy Whistles comparing notes on their respective Rainbow Dashes, then that’s what we get.

Can we submit multiple entries?

Sure. You can submit as many as you can crank out during the submission period. But I recommend focusing more on quality than quantity.

Can I be a judge?

I'm afraid we're all full up for volunteer judges, but I appreciate the interest. Judges are ineligible for entry anyway, so if you have an idea, it works out quite nicely.

What are you looking for?

Aside from general story quality, a focus on seeing the interplay between the two (or more) instances of a character bouncing off of one another. Do they encourage each other’s better nature? Can they not stand to see their own flaws on display in front of them? Can they even believe what they’re seeing?

In short, fulfill the prompt and put that fulfillment front and center. Do that well and you should do well in turn.

What do we get?

Ah, of course.

1st: $100
2nd: $75
3rd: $50

Make sure you have a way for me to get the money to you. PayPal’s my preferred method, but I can be flexible. And if you’d rather your prize go to a charity of your choice, that’s perfectly fine as well.

Have fun crossing the timestreams, everyone!

Comments ( 100 )

Addendum: I have since realized that the song from Pirates of Penzance is actually "A Most Ingenious Paradox," but given that I got my user name by misremembering Gilbert & Sullivan, I'd say this is less a mistake and more staying on brand. :derpytongue2:

This is just what I was hoping the contest would be when you put up that teaser.

Lets do this! YEAH!

Hey! I would love to be a judge! To help, yee know?

human Twilight giving the princess dance lessons

I would like to read this. Is this a thing? If not, somepony please make it a thing.

My dancing is better modelled by Brownian motion

-human Twilight ("Heart Curves" by Undome Tinwe)


As I mentioned in the teaser, there is absolutely nothing stopping your entry from being an intra-ponidox shipping story. Well, there's the "no M-stories" rule, but that just means you have to cut away before the interesting bits.

With that one deleted scene in play, the two Pinkies most likely knew each other long before EQG proper happened. Depict their first meeting, along with any others you feel are necessary to establish the deleted scene in question as something that could happen with the nonchalance it did.

"Human" Chrysalis (scare quotes due to still being a changeling) discovers the mirror, and her counterpart's fate. Insulting of the statue ensues, with shades of "Humanity, F*** Yeah" as explanation for the divergence. I have a version of this plotted, but unlike the Rainbow Dash Ascension story its ties to the Aporia-style crossover are too strong to use for this contest.

Superintendent Neighsay is secretly the head of an alien monitoring organization. Contest prompt, and mutual racism, ensues.

The human world's Sunset Shimmer conveniently vacated her life at exactly the right time for the pony to slip in seamlessly; the living conditions shown in later canon are the result of having explained the situation post-reformation and made a point of not taking further advantage. The reason? A shadow war against the Chrysalis from prompt #3. This was also a vaguely-plotted part of the crossover mentioned in that prompt, and the opening of the MLP portion due to having used "Sunset Shimmer" as the target for the modified chronoportation spell.

This was the first thing I saw in the morning and I thought the footnotes were exponents. :facehoof:

Is a sequel (specifically to Tempest Shadow: Mooby Road) an option?

Regardless, I'm in, you magnificent bastard. :rainbowdetermined2:

I sure hope so, I’d LOVE a sequel to Moody Road


Not that I'm trying to piggyback off success (I just remembered that one won) I just love Fizzle and have a really good idea for it. :raritystarry:

Also thank you!!! :pinkiehappy:

I’m not into Equestria Girls, but I might write an entry based on a comment on Runic Notation.

Dammit, stop trying to give me ideas, I've got enough on my plate as it is.

I'm allowing sequels in the "spiritual successor" sense, but not the "you'll be lost if you haven't read the original" sense. The line's admittedly kind of fuzzy there; case-by-case judgements may prove necessary.


Happy to have you! I'll give you more details as we approach the deadline.

The thing is, human Twilight can canonically dance. The disparity amuses me on several levels, not least the idea of her trying to teach her counterpart.
:facehoof: "With all due respect, Princess, you have two left feet."
:twilightoops: "Isn't that the right amount?"

Quality prompts all. And I can confirm that SFW narcissistic romances are definitely on the table.

...but can she dance with hooves? 🙃


Also what gets mentioned 5348272 makes me notice that the original post detailing the various characters crossing over does not mention Sunset Shimmer. Which is odd, since you'd think she would have the most ponidox stories.

Ooh, this is motivation to write a story that's been on my backburner for a while...

Don't do this to me. Not now. Don't tempt me to write a DnD-style adventure with two versions of the Pillars of Equestria squaring off in a bad nineties show-style with a pair of twins, each of which has lost the other sibling and is trying to get their synching power back.

You keep those ideas out of my head, you hear? I shall have none of this Somnanbula the mummy, or Mistmane the ninja, never a Meadowbrook druid, and definitely, absolutely no Star Swirl the Bearded as a high level Four Elements monk. I shall be having none of that, none at all.

Seriously, though, Hasbro needs to make pony D&D a thing. Old pre-Equestrian era surely has enough adventures to go around, and it's not like they don't have good artists capable of making the sourcebooks. It would print money, even moreso if it's open to combining with Ravnica or Theros.

Human Sunset Shimmer is conspicuously absent from canon, and therefore does not have a tag to use for the comparison. Anecdotally, yes it is very common, for exactly the same reason.

Oh boy, here I go again!


That actually works fine for me!

I may try this. I've got the whole weekend.

I definitely won't be a participant this time around. I have other things in line for when I have time to write anyways.

That said, I've thought about am offering to help judge, though it somewhat depends on how many words I've got to go through. 15k per story maximum is quite a reasonable number, but FoME contests have historically pulled in a lot of interest. :derpytongue2:

If you'd have me, I'd probably manage a rate of 100k words/week (as a safe estimate).

To be more specific, it gave me a vague idea for Octavia, Gabby, and Aria going to the Runeverse’s version of Rainbow Rocks, but then I realised it would be too convoluted.

Maaaaan, if only I’d waited another entire year to write and publish “Monsters of Our Own”...

Whelp, I've had a beer and now seven character alts along with a central conflict, theme, and a mythology-based villain.

I hope you're happy, you knave. Now I have to re-watch some episodes. I nearly forgot Flash Magnus existed and everything.

Okay, maybe I'll try and write something quick (but long) to get practice in writing DnD-ish (don't ask why that's needed), but no promises.


I've had a human ponidox story in my head for a very long time. Since November of 2015, to be exact. Unfortunately, it would have required being... long, and likely very complex. This may give me an opportunity to take the original idea and cut it down to a more reasonable size. Don't know if I will, but the opportunity is certainly present.

Let's see if I can't get my brain rejiggered here.

I have a story idea that fits this prompt, but it would be in the CSP/Maretian universe, and it can't post until CSP is finished, which may or may not be before the time limit.

So, instead, I'll volunteer to judge, if you still need some.

Does the story have to be written specifically for the competition or can previously published stories by submitted?

A valid question. :trixieshiftright:

5348312 5348376

There's always Ponyfinder. Despite the name, they do a 5E ruleset as well. and Tales of Equestria seems to have a lot of interesting ideas that can be adapted into a more complex system.
Also, looking forward to seeing what you do with the Pillars. Especially Starswirl as a monk. Which ki power lets you cast plane shift with a punch again?

You have several weekends on top of that, at least in theory. Don't know what else you may have in your schedule.

Happy to have you on board! Given someone who signed on via PM and Kris, we're full up!

I mean, I doubt anyone would be upset if you wrote a story of pony/human-piloted Jaegers tracking down grimderp authors. :raritywink:
But yeah, Monsters is a perfect example of what I'm looking for. And no one said you couldn't get another idea along those lines in the next several weeks...

5348499 5348500
Here's hoping it works out!

Glad to have you, especially since you signing on makes a full committee of five judges.

No previous publications. It isn't fair to give people a month and change to go up against stories that had years to refine themselves.

You tempting... I'm not promising anything, but I'll say this: ask not how he's a monk, but why. That's gonna be my main difference in timelines.

Edit: also, everyone else has already shifted classes since the original idea. And I may drop the main antagonists, but I'll see about doing it with first, to get the classic feel down. Comments will be disabled on the fic, though, that's my new policy. It'll keep the judging unbiased, at least... insofar as I haven't hyped the concept up already :twilightsheepish:

You are the very model of a fan of almost everything.

Sure, I'll throw my hat into the ring. Let's see where I can take these shenanigans.

So I'm sorting through my ideas and organizing plans and I've got a question :

Two or more distinct instances of the same person have to interact.

Do they have to be alternate dimension selves? Would Mirror Pool clones count? The Mean Six? Time-displaced selves?

Clones, whether temporal or magical, are viable options. Time displacement falls under the "different major life experience" umbrella, the Mean Six are clearly distinct from their templates, and Mirror Pool clones are only as deep as reflections.

Question: Can I submit multiple stories, and if so is there a limit on that? I need to know how many ideas I have to disregard (I might write the good ones after though).

That's actually an excellent question that I hadn't thought about. I'm going to say you can submit as many stories as you can fit in, but you can't win more than a single prize.

Have the Loops automatically qualified?

I'm going to assume not and admit I'm mostly asking this for the amusement.

Got it, thanks! I'll try and make sure I give each of my ideas the attention they deserve, but this contest has sparked many of them, so let's hope I don't flood the place with half-baked stories.

Just so I understand 100%... (you kinda covered it both in blog and in comments)

When you say "different versions of the same person interact" are we simply meaning that they are each say... Two Twilights? (like in the show) or Celestia and Daybreaker?

Or both? (probably anything in between too)

Another question:
Can we have our possible winnings go to another patron? I don't have a paypal but there is a story by another author I would like to see funded.

Yay! A FoME contest! I should really most definitely enter this, given how much fun I had with Imposing Sovereigns II.

Just for complete clarity: so if the episode It's About Time had never been shown and someone wrote it for this contest, that's within scope? I can't 100% tell if you're saying stories about the Mirror Pool clones and Mean Six would be eligible or not. Are they too different to count?

Not this time around. Check again next time you're in September 2020. (And please tell me this is some bizarre Variant Loop. :fluttercry:)

All examples of Twilights meeting in the show could be used, whether it's encountering her future/past self or her human analogue. And if she'd ever actually come face-to-face with her evil log clone, that would've worked too. Celestia and Daybreaker crossing paths also works quite well. The only variation that isn't valid is when two virtually identical copies of the same being with nothing distinguishing them aside from their positions in space. What fun is that?

Also, we can certainly hash out the details of where to direct your winnings should you win.

See above. Clones are a great way to fulfill the prompt without multiversal shenanigans.

I don't plan to use those characters specifically. I feel like I'm plagiarizing each time i use any character that already has character. Just wanted to hear how you define the terms.

There are some things in this vein that I've wanted to do for a while. Maybe this is a good opportunity. It's certainly a good contest concept, so props for that! :moustache:

(There's also a certain, shall we say, rather long sequel trying to worm its way out of my head that would lean on something similar, but there's no physical way I could get it done in the time or word count allotted...)

Out of interest... I have a feeling this may be pushing the rules, but what about suggesting other fictional characters are parallel universe copies, especially when there's a clear inspirational link?

So, Discord meeting Q, for example?

If you can convincingly make a case that the two are analogues, then you're golden. But you can't just lean on the metareferential link. Cheese Sandwich crossing paths with Weird Al, for example, wouldn't be enough to fulfill the prompt without further justification. (Also, ew, real-person fics.)

Mind you, Discord and Q would be a fairly easy sell, especially if time travel is involved. alarajrogers has done plenty of work on that front.

Note: Moving west solely to give yourself a few more hours is not recommended.

*Laughs/cries in OTR Truck driver.*
Though I guess that's not solely for the time zone changes... .

Probably not entering as I have too much on my plate but I just saw this and felt it deserved to be posted here: https://www.tiktok.com/@.mutedangel/video/6868557010351164678

I don't have the time (or a proper plot idea) to enter, but I did let my imagination roam a little bit:

Bon Bon was beside herself.

More accurately, she was beside the version of herself from the human world who had crossed through the portal so she could experience an earth pony's innate understanding of freshly grown ingredients.

Making a pie had seemed like an easy enough task. She hadn't accounted for how awkward the human Bon Bon would be using her unfamiliar pony body. Still, she was going to see the creation of this pie through to the end.

"Now you're going to gently toss the berries until they're lightly coated. Take the spoon in your mouth."

"In my mouth? Why can't I use my front leg again?"

"Because you need that to keep the bowl steady."

She saw her own face give her a dubious look.

"It's easy," she assured her. "I do it all the time."

Human Bon Bon made a face. "Won't it taste bad?"

"Well, don't put your tongue on it. Just keep your lips back and pick it up with your teeth."

Hesitantly, human Bon Bon did so.

"Now coat the berries."

With her head at an awkward nearly 90-degree sideways angle, she tried to maneuver the spoon around the bowl. The result was a series of jerky straight lines in random directions.

"Okay, stop. I guess this is a movement that doesn't come naturally to your species."

Through the handle, she said, "I am going to give you such a hard time when you try to walk on two legs."

"Give me the spoon. I'll show you how it's done."

As one Bon Bon let go of the spoon in the bowl and the other reached over to take it, their muzzles nearly touched.

From the other side of the kitchen, Lyra made a single observation.


"Hey..." warned the Lyra that was usually a human.

"I'm just stating the truth," pony Lyra said. "When we come visit you in the human world, and you see both Bon Bons standing next to one another, tell me you won't react the same way."

She sighed. "Yeah, you're right."

"Mm-hmm. I know how I think."

Would inter-generation crossovers be allowed?

Hadn't considered it until now, but it will definitely work.

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