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Fic recs, October 7th: Sunflower edition! · 11:14pm Oct 7th, 2021

Yes, friends and neigh-bors, it's Spooky Month, which means it's the perfect time to talk about *checks notes* a bunch of shipfics about the same two characters, one of whom is most definitely summer-themed.


I must say, going into this contest, I was a tad worried about reading 69 40 stories about the same ship over and over again. Granted, there are a ton that don't stand apart from each other much, and many plot threads that are repeated ad nauseam. Also, I believe the stories generally got better as I went because I laid this out in the order they were submitted to the above group, and so the later ones came from writers who took more time with their entries. Just a theory!

So once I got over that initial trepidation (you can see below where my resolve nearly broke!), things picked up, and I have to say I quite enjoyed this experience overall, even if I didn't like all the entries equally. :) So get ready for some Sunflower shipping! I hit two milestones! EQG and Romance tags are assumed for all stories.

H: 11 R: 15 C: 5 V: 4 N: 4

I Haven't Been Able to Cry Since the Day We Made That Promise, and It's Making Me Hate You by Milk and Honey
Mature: Suicide/Self Harm
Genre: Dark
She made me promise. It doesn't mean I have to like it.
As much as I have a bone to pick with the title of this story, I have to applaud the chapter title, because it implies a whole lot of stuff. That said, this is what I expect a lot of these stories are going to be like. If they aren't happy fun gaytimes with Sunset and Wally, then they'll be "Sunset's trying to keep Wallflower from hurting herself again". I've already read a bunch of stories like that, and I suspect I'll see many more before this contest is out. That being said, for all that the large blocks of text and strings of stream-of-consciousness word salad made my eyes slide right down the page, it seems like everything here is done intentionally. It's all about portraying what being in this kid's head must be like, and I'd say it does a really excellent job of conveying her torment. Probably didn't have to be M-rated.

Deja Vu by luckyboys121
Genre: Drama
Sunset's supposed to be getting to know her new friend Wallflower, but she strangely seems to already know things about her.
So the writing in this is below the level of what I would expect for a finished contest entry, notably with dialogue tags that are huge blocks of memey body language. But the central premise is hella convoluted, and almost pleasantly so? I guess I'm recognizing that a good bit of thought went into the setup even if the execution is somewhat lacking. So yeah, kinda neat.
Recommended for Wallflower Shippers Only

Sunflower Blooming and Wilting by C-L-Strife
Genre: Trollfic
Wallflower and her sister try to stop the evil cult that is full of pedophiles and I don't mean Scientology for some reason.
Just the premise of this story by itself is comedy gold. You get some sense of it from the description, but just go read the author's note (it's right at the top, where author's notes clearly belong), it spells everything out and had me laughing well before the story actually started. The rest is every bit as much gold. :) I don't think anything else in this contest is going to be able to top this, shut it all down. Highly Troll Recommended, make sure you read the author's comment replies, too.

Neon and Fluttering Hearts by Quicksilvershimmer
Genre: Drama
Wallflower wrestles with her feelings for her newest friend.
I've kind of softened on stories over the years, but I still tend to be a lot more exacting on contest entries. I expect, if you're given a certain amount of time to write something and you're basically submitting it for public performance, you're going to put out your best work. Which is a long intro to saying this needed another major editing pass. The tense changes were immensely distracting, for one. For another, it's chock full of teen angst, which… I guess that's less of an issue? It does make for dense paragraphs, but I suppose these are supposed to be teenagers, and they should sound like them, even if I can't imagine Roseluck calling Derpy a "wholesome bean". That said, if there's one thing it does right, it's take a different approach to depicting Wallflower's insecurities and inner turmoil. I notice a real pattern with how she's written anymore, and this breaks that pattern in a believable way. The rest, unfortunately, is pretty much just average shipfic, so I can't say I really enjoyed it.
Vaguely Recommended

Let Me Bear Your Burden by Boltstrike58
Genre: Drama
After they've dated a while, Sunset accidentally finds out how Wallflower really feels.
In a lot of ways, this is just a cute, short shipfic, albeit well-written. But it's got a message not just about mental health but also about communicating in relationships, so it's actually got quite a bit going for it.

Love in Bloom by SunTwi06
Genre: AU Drama
Why would a popular girl like Sunset Shimmer want anything to do with someone like Wallflower Blush?
So the AU here is, I think, that this isn't EQG. At least, Sunset's background is never gone into, there's no magic on-screen (as it were), and it's never said just who her friends are. Also, and I suppose this is more alternate interpretation than alternate universe, Wallflower isn't the bundle of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation I'm used to seeing. She's shy, sure, totally introverted and generally prefers to be with her own thoughts than other people, but it turns out, when you remove most of her internal drama? She's kind of a boring character. :B And given that she's our POV, that didn't bode well for the story. The writing is okay, though there are some painful and frequent tense changes, plus a good third of it is written entirely in italics because it's a flashback. Not great. Other than that, well, it's a pretty standard teen romance of "what are these feelings/do I really feel this way/oh god, I feel this way, what now?" It really doesn't break any new ground, is what I'm saying. And it honestly is kind of making me reconsider whether I want to continue with this contest, I'm just not enjoying things that much. Oof.
Vaguely Recommended

No Time for a Sunset by Thought Prism
Genre: Lancer Crossover
Wallflower's life changes for the better — and the stranger — when the station's NPH takes an interest in her wellbeing.
This won one of the judges' awards, and it's easy to see why. It's a highly accessible crossover, such that it may as well just be an original sci-fi setting. Seeing sci-fi by itself was a breath of fresh air here, so I highly appreciated it. Wallflower is a weirdo loner who grows plants in a vertical farm, and Sunset is… basically the AI that runs the space station she lives on. It's a little more complicated than that, and I applaud the creators of this RPG for not just going with the usual explanations for things. Sunset takes an interest in Wallflower and things quickly build from there, emphasis on 'quickly'. The pacing in this story is really fast, and maybe it's due to the opacity of the crossover, but the ending comes rather abruptly, which is about the only complaint I really have. At least it paints a portrait of someone regaining control of their life, gaining the confidence to be able to move forward when they have to, even if it does hew close to fixed-by-relationship territory. I can't not like this story, though, it's given me the strength to carry on!

Shattered by BoredAuthor817
Mature: Gore, Suicide/Self-Harm
Genre: Drama/Mental Health
Sunset's always had concerns about her girlfriend, but now she's having the same urges…
As much as self-harm tends to be a theme of Wallflower stories, I can't say I've ever read a fic that approached the topic the way this one does. We get both the struggles of fighting against it and graphic scenes of what happens when one gives in. This also succeeds wildly on the shipping front, where questions like "how did they get together?" don't even register because we just get to see Sunset and Wallflower living together, being in a relationship, and more or less being good for each other. I say 'more or less' because at the end of the day, I'm not actually sure what was going on in this story. I'm not sure what the takeaway is supposed to be. "Self-harm is just something you have to deal with" may be realistically bleak, but it's hardly satisfying narratively, and yet it's all I get out of the ending. I felt like there was one big chapter missing that would have tied everything together and solved the very compelling mystery at the heart of the first half. I will say, I liked the two-character method of telling this story, first through Sunset's POV and then through Wallflower's. It helps contextualize just about everything. So yeah, not exactly a satisfying end but still a good story, perhaps even an important one.

Between Worlds by Shaslan
Genre: Drama
Wallflower kissed me, then vanished through the portal. And I let her go.
Well, this is a delightful little piece of lesbian angst, wrapped around a story about growing up. It's romanticism done right, and I can also credit strong character work in our first-person Sunset with carrying a lot of the weight. Fact of the matter is, it's very easy to write this kind of story wrong, to have it drag through the narrator's inner turmoil and then end on an unearned, uplifting note with someone who's not in any shape to have a relationship. But it can also be done right, and this shows you exactly how.

training wheels by Mica
Genre: Drama/Mental Health
When we go out on dates, Sunset takes her geode off for me.
I was blown away by the narrative voice in this. Wallflower is childish, insecure and almost cripplingly paranoid. The fact that this is about how the mind-reading geode affects Sunset's closest relationship is fantastic. (Far too many people are just writing "two normal high school girls" and not taking into account the actual setting they're in.) The theme and central image are super strong, I don't know what else to say. This was a marvelous fic, and it's easy to see why it placed as highly as it did.
Highly Recommended

Is This Even a Date? by RDT
Review #7400!
Genre: Comedy
Wallflower is looking forward to having dinner with Sunset tonight. But how should she feel about it?
Well, this was a pleasant change. It's cute and funny and doesn't overstay its welcome. Really good punchline, too. For the most part, it's just something other than what I would call a "standard shipfic", and not just in the context of this contest.

In Sickness and in Health by amf studios
Genre: Cute
Wallflower's not feeling well, and Sunset is going to take care of her.
There's not much to this, if I'm being honest, and it's got a few minor capitalization errors. But it's also pretty darn cute, just the right tone and feeling for a story of its length.
Recommended If You Like Heartwarming Romances

The Little Things by TamiyaGuy
Genre: Emotional
Wallflower and Sunset cuddle on the couch, and nothing really happens.
I hear shippers in general fandom talk about fluff pieces, stories where nothing happens, and usually, I figure the draw is just a way to escape from a hectic life. But did you know you can write a "nothing happens" story and still have it be impactful? The "emotional" tag up there is for emotional intimacy. This is a story about two people who know each other so well, and who demonstrate this thoroughly for the audience despite us only being in one of their heads. This is extremely well written, not to mention intensely romantic. The recommendation is somewhat self-indulgent, but I was really impressed by this in ways I did not expect to be.
Highly Recommended

Rogue Sunset by HapHazred
Genre: Drama
Wallflower runs into Sunset Shimmer, but she seems… different.
So by the end of chapter one, you'll find an excellent twist that turns this into the kind of EQG story I am very here for. I won't give it away, but given the reaction I am having to it, you can probably guess. :V And while I might say that this doesn't have the greatest foundation for a relationship to start from, that relationship changes and evolves in ways that leave me with a positive feeling by the end. Also, this has like, the best kissing scene I have ever read. I didn't know you could do that! Point is, this is the kind of story I like reading, it's very well done, and it's gonna be one of my top faves of this contest. :D
Highly Recommended

Sunset and wallflower save the Botanical Garden by raviolican
Genre: Random
I get the sense that this is the alt of someone involved in the contest having fun with it. It just puts off that vibe. But if I'm being honest? This is amusing, but kind of low effort. I mean, if you're gonna troll, troll hard. I did get a laugh out of the name of the movement, and maybe the best joke is just how over-the-top and out of proportion Sunset's solution to the problem is. But this was just okay at best, I'm sorry.
Vaguely Recommended

Obelus by applejackofalltrades
Genre: Drama
It's the middle of the night, there's no reason Wallflower should be answering texts. But Sunset can't help worrying....
So this is a nice change of pace. Going past just introducing the concept that Wallflower has suicidal tendencies, this is a tense, high-anxiety piece about Sunset trying to save her girlfriend from herself. (Be sure to heed that content warning! It's a good one.) It's got that zoomed-in finality that you feel when something this serious is going down. And it ends on a happy note, but until that point, it's really hard to know how things are going to go, which I really appreciated. Oh yeah, and if you're not familiar with the title, be sure to look the word up, it's revealing.

Worlds Apart by Smooch
Genre: Sad?
I have a major bone to pick with this story's writing. It's poetic, yes, but it's also purple, and so convoluted I have zero idea what the thing's actually about. And this could be okay, except that it has a number of early typos and some consistent punctuation issues throughout, so that prose isn't earned. It also makes a cardinal sin of having two main female characters and not naming one of them. "She" can get confusing all by itself, but the fact is, if I hadn't read the character tags or known this was written for a specific ship, the first two sentences of this story would not make sense. Plus, it's all very angsty teen romance. This was written for someone, but that someone isn't me.
Not Recommended

First Blush, Not Forgotten by Smjames
Genre: AU Drama
What's a girl no one remembers to do when a person from another world shows up in her life?
This is easily the most original Sunflower story I've ever read. Not just in this contest, I'm talking on this site. Wallflower meeting Sunset the moment she steps out of the portal and becoming entangled in her early attempts to take over the school? Fucking brilliant. That said, this starts to diverge from canon toward the end (in other ways, not just what I've pointed out), and part of me really wished it hadn't. Like, the bits about the Memory Stone are completely different and I'm not sure they really add much. Moreover, what I wanted was for Sunset to continue on as she had, just with this other girl by her side. Regardless, I can't fault the writing, nor the story the author set out to tell. This is excellent work, really good romance, and for something like this, 'original' goes a long, long way.
Highly Recommended

The Hardest Trial by iAmSiNnEr
Genre: Historical AU
Sunset Shimmer, student of Star Swirl the Bearded, must complete seven trials before she becomes a full mage. But he won't even tell her what they are!
I have to say, I like the setting. Changing out Clover the Clever for Sunset was really interesting. I like the way Trixie is used, I like how the Memory Stone was all about teaching her a lesson… and then I realized I was just reading a rework of Forgotten Friendship. That ends in shipping. And it's not even good shipping. I could have forgiven the unoriginal plot if the writing was better, but sadly, it is not. The author themself admits they don't really know how to write romance, and also that the story was rushed out through finals. Both of these show through. It's a shame the author never went back to try and fix it up.
Not Recommended

Lunch in the Garden of Clover the Clever by TheDeflator
Genre: Slice of Life
Sunset has an important question for Wallflower Blush.
At its heart, this is mostly about A) getting the two imperatives together, and B) headcanon dumping who's what on the LGBTQ+ scale. But it's also wrapped up in some severely awkward flirtation that made this a hoot to read. :D

Burning Passion by FanOfMostEverything
Genre: Adventure
A demon flies through a fiery hellscape, searching for… something…
So this takes a huge turn compared to its fellows. We've got demon Sunset wandering this weird place, and she doesn't even remember words, let alone who she is or what she's doing here. Intercutting this are flashback scenes showing Sunset struggling to get Wallflower to understand her own worth. And then you get to the ending, which… I mean, FOME didn't go for the neatly tied-up happy end, and I'm all for that. But this is just bizarre in ways I cannot fully articulate. You'll just have to read this and see what I mean for yourself.

Night of the Sunflower by Captain_Hairball
Genre: Dramedy
Why would someone like Sunset Shimmer want to go on a date with someone like Wallflower?
I swear I've used that exact summary once in this blog already. Not gonna check, but I can safely say this is the pinnacle of that concept. Despite not being one myself, I dare say this is the perfect distillation of the ethos of the modern teen. The angst. The drama. The self-deprecation. The horny. Good lord, this is a riot! And it's the kind of comedy that easily transitions into deep, introspective and even dark places. This is as good a look into mental health as any I've read previously, and it comes with the bonus of Sunset not being this all-powerful panacea for what ails Wallflower. In fact, by the end, it's clear that not only will they be good for each other, they're gonna raise a lot of hell together. This was a marvelous story, all but unparalleled in this contest, and it's easy to see why it got a judge medal. :D
Highly Recommended

Wallflower, Fireworks, and Other Things After Sunset by Mind Jack
Genre: Comedy
If she's going to ask Sunset out, Wallflower needs some help from her friends.
The last story was a hard one to follow up, but this did so with flying colors. :D A totally different kind of comedy, but no less funny or endearing, this was a hoot from start to finish. Lots of classic rom-com tropes executed with panache, leading to a well-earned heartwarming ending, with tons of hilarious notes along the way. Also it just has the best title, oh my god. I just really can't praise this enough, I loved it.
Highly Recommended

Wallflower of Canterlot by Sledge115
Genre: Sad
Wallflower's days at her parents' flower shop pass as they always do, save for one bright point of sunlight.
Here's another story I have to say is one of the most original in this contest, and in a completely original way, no less! For starters, it's all in Equestria, featuring pony Wallflower Blush. For another, it's set before Sunset originally leaves through the mirror, so you know I'm here for her princess mommy issues, her unbridled ambitions, and her complete distaste for Princess Cadence. :) And, at least in the context of this contest, it's unique in that it's really not shipping. The crush is totally one-sided, and Wallflower's as unreliable as a teenage narrator can be, so who's to say it was anything but that? Heck, it doesn't even bother to idealize Sunset as misunderstood or anything; this is the rotten, spoiled brat we all know she started out as, she just happens to develop this weird friendship with a quiet flower seller. The writing could use a bit of a touch-up, but it flows very effortlessly, painting the world in the poetry of youth. This was just really great, I loved it, make sure you read it.
Highly Recommended

Against the Shift by The Red Parade
Genre: Drama
The signs were there, but Sunset never saw them.
Wow, this has one heck of an intro. So we've got this first-person narrator who's talking about Wallflower. Must be Sunset, right? Only then Sunset enters the same scene! "I" is someone else. And the answer of who it is will shock you! :V I really love the way this story was told, though I was kind of hoping to get a reveal at the end that would confirm or deny my theories on just what it was we were seeing, but that never came. I felt a bit disappointed by the end, truth be told, the story just sort of stops without warning. I don't know what was learned or achieved beyond "Sunset's arrogance makes her bad at girlfriend." Worse, I don't know if that's on me or the author. The only other thing I can say is that this story is extremely about baseball, and the featured game in the middle tends to veer too far over into describing the game rather than the reactions of the characters. Also, the footnotes are… okay, actually useful if you know nothing about baseball, just weird to see in the text. It's still a good piece, I'm just not sure what to make of it.

Sunflower's always bloom in summer by Reactception
Genre: Slice of Life
I thought the rogue apostrophe and lack of capitals in the title was preparing me for what lay within. I was wrong. It's considerably worse than that. I applaud the author for participating in the contest, since it was for a number of good causes, but I do rather expect contest entries to be an author working at their best. Next time, please find someone to help you edit. Maybe to help with the concept and outline, too.
Not Recommended

Freckles by TheLegendaryBillCipher
Genre: Cute
Sunset has a type, and that type has freckles.
The first scene of this story conveys in very easy terms the joy of being attracted to someone for a single physical trait because said trait makes them absolutely adorable. And the rest is a short, cute romance about being yourself. This isn't going to blow your mind or anything, but it does present an aspect of how Sunset looks at the human world that I've never seen before. Mostly, it just impresses with solid writing, especially character work, and a simple mystery that's barely even a mystery, but exactly enough to give the characters something to do. This is just a good story.
Highly Recommended

Invisible: Twelve Views or Non-Views of Sunset Shimmer and Wallflower Blush by Mockingbirb
Genre: Random Comedy
Wallflower Blush has an invisibility problem.
So, this is a weird one! I literally exclaimed aloud, "What the hell am I reading?" in the middle of it. The comedy tag didn't really hit me as a thing that existed until the first scene with Twilight, and the rest… I guess I'm going to come down on the side of "the jokes picked for running gags really weren't funny enough to keep coming back to." I just don't know what to make of a story about measuring adorableness in scientific terms.
Recommended If You Like Weird Stuff, I Guess

Tending to the Heart's Forgotten Garden by Botched Lobotomy
Genre: Sad Journalfic
Twenty years is a long time to have something you're going to lose.
Ladies, gentlemen and nonbinary friends, our winner! I really do not know what to think about the fact that the winning fic of a shipping contest is the one about them breaking up. c.c Like, it's easy to see why it won on technical merit, the writing is flawless and the character work is superb. But what does it say about the contest runners? Regardless, this is excellent. It's told in turns between Wallflower's journal in what we would consider the future, and text messages between her and Sunset in the in-show present. Those text messages are honestly the highlight, too, I couldn't believe how much storytelling was packed into them. I can't praise this enough, it's fantastic.
Highly Recommended

When Truth Blossoms by Marezinger Z
Genre: Drama
A new bout with Equestrian magic gives Wallflower plenty of opportunities to explore her feelings for Sunset.
I'm kind of starting to run out of things to say about these. This was a good shipfic. The ending is kind of cheesy, but in that self-affirming, feel-good kind of way that isn't bad at all. I do wish the scene with Twilight hadn't been in there; the Equestrian magic is present, but not a focus, and literally nothing comes from that scene that couldn't have been said in a sentence. But otherwise, yeah, this was good.

Silk Flowers Surround Us by RanOutOfIdeas
Genre: Drama
Sunset and Wallflower have been married for four years. But things aren't all right.
Y'know, for a minute there, I was afraid this really was going to be a picture of conflictless wedded bliss. For all that the first few scenes were super cute, not gonna lie. But no, something does start happening, and it really caught my attention, carrying me along straight to the end of the story, where… I have no idea what I'm supposed to take away from this. :/ It seems to build to something, hints at a whole lot of stuff, and then just sort of forgets that any of that was happening. Also, there's a lot of word usage issues and editing mistakes that get more frequent toward the end of the story. So, promising, but I'm just not sure what to make of it.
Recommended for Shippers

Exuvia by Equimorto
Genre: Slice of Life
Wallflower gardens.
I know what I said about the last one, but hear me out. This is one of those intensely slice of life pieces where nothing happens, and that's kind of the point. The writing is excellent, punctuated by solid characterization and dialogue. Mostly, it's just the two of them talking about stuff without talking about it. I thought it was good. :)

All's Fair in Love and World Domination by TheDriderPony
500th Review of 2021!
Genre: Dark AU
Conquering the world is more enjoyable with someone at your side.
Y'know, I was all set to be upset that this didn't have a Comedy tag. I mean, look at the cover art: Demon Sunset is hugging Wallflower, who's holding a rifle. The comedic potential is through the roof. Thankfully, I had nothing to be disappointed about. This could easily be a far-flung sequel to First Blush, Long Forgotten, and I loved every second of it. It's just a snapshot of a moment in time, but what a time it is! There's so much going on along the periphery, and those details fill themselves in perfectly. But the best part is how Wallflower is used, and I will not spoil that. This is a real treat, be sure you check it out!
Highly Recommended

If You Say That You Are Mine… by IgnitedSage
Genre: Slice of Life
Wallflower just has no luck with other people. And now, she's in need of a roommate.
As a shipfic, this really doesn't deliver, but it does present an interesting snapshot of EQG life after high school. Plus, Starlight shows up and has a fun role. But unfortunately, the editing is completely absent. There are pervasive tense changes, missing and misused words, and even an entire sentence that just stops after two words. And it's a shame, because the pacing is deliberate and the prose is high-minded. This author knows how to write a story, they just seem to struggle making the words work correctly. I had a really hard time dealing with this, though, and I don't think the story that's here really suffices if you ignore the writing problems.
Not Recommended

And If You Don't Know, Now You Know by J Carp
Genre: Drama
There is no way someone like Sunset Shimmer could be interested in someone like Wallflower Blush.
I didn't use that exact summary for another story, did I? I'm getting deja vu. c.c; Anyway, this is an excellent piece that uses Equestrian magic in a really unique way. It's not world-ending, just girl-ending, and so the author is able to explore concepts like how self-loathing can ruin all of your relationships, not just romantic ones, not to mention how hard it is to talk louder than the negative voices in your head. On top of that, I want to take a second and talk about the dialogue. I've praised stories for realistic dialogue in the past, but in this case, it's like… Extra realistic? All the pauses and filler words and lengthened sounds and use of punctuation conveys how people talk in real life to an extreme I've just never seen before, and I loved that. Also lots of fun interpersonal dramas, solid character work, and a good job making it very important to the reader that these two get together. J Carp knocks it out of the park again!
Highly Recommended

You, Me, and Cozy by bahatumay
Genre: Comedy
Wallflower is pretty sure something's up with Sunset's new mentee. It's definitely not that she's jealous of Cozy Glow taking all her crush's free time…
This isn't Comedy-tagged, but it is pretty funny. It also is similar enough to the previous story that I had to feel bad for reading them in this order. Thankfully what this has to help it stand out from the pack is Cozy Glow. And she is used excellently. I was also a big fan of the crossed-out intrusive thoughts, given that Wallflower is our (very unreliable) narrator. I will say, it was kind of… pervy. There's a lot of jokes about panties, is what I'm getting at. <.< But quite a lot of this was laugh-out-loud, and the climax and denouement were both a lot of fun.

Gaymer Girls by Hellblazer
Genre: Drama
Right before stream starts is a terrible time to get cold feet.
Not sure what to say about this one. It's very straightforward, and makes good use of the canon fact — I have to keep reminding myself it's canon — that Sunset is a video game streamer. Like, this is the kind of thing a streamer might actually do, and Wallflower's fears are very well founded, even if nothing ultimately comes of them. Seriously, this is very timely vis-a-vis recent events on Twitch. I also especially like the use of bold in the flashback, it really makes the emotional pain hit the reader. Short, but solid, and will doubtless be succor to those who need a little courage.

A Bright Night by Unity Bringer
Genre: Slice of Life
Sunset gets an invitation to attend this year's Grand Galloping Gala… along with her girlfriend.
This touches on a whole ton of things I like: Sunset going back to Equestria, taking one of her human friends with her, meeting with Celestia and even talking about her parents. The only thing holding it back is a smattering of editing mistakes and some notably poor writing in chapter one that makes for a poor first impression. But that said, this also ends really abruptly. I hadn't noticed the chapter count ran out, got to the end of part five and went… That's it? And I realize, in hindsight, that's because this is really a mental health piece about Wallflower; that's what the climax deals with, after all. So I don't know if I can blame the author for not setting up expectations, or myself for being distracted by all the Equestria stuff, but that is my experience with reading this My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction, yup. :B
Recommended for Shippers

Sunflower Blooms by Xrevias
Genre: Sad
Sunset wants to be everything for Wallflower, but there are some things she can't protect her from…
I like that this starts right at the end of Friendship Forgotten, and I also like that it's first-person from Sunset's POV. There haven't been a lot of those in this contest. But this has issues. For starters, it commits the cardinal shipping sin: Beginning the relationship at "I love you". That actually sets up expectations for the rest of it, though, as the plot is very rushed, scene-to-scene. Especially given that the ending just comes out of nowhere. Like, maybe if I'd paid more attention to the tags, I'd have been wondering the whole time just why this was marked Sad, but still. It's "we're in a relationship", "something's wrong with Wallflower", "oh, she cuts herself," "she almost died". Just, there's almost no buildup to any of these points, and I even have to wonder why it starts out so early on in the timeline. This could have started with them getting into a relationship, or even being in a relationship, if it wanted to explore mental health issues, and it would have been fine. Last and, for some reason, not least, the third scene is terribly vague and confusing in regards to where, exactly they are, and this could have been avoided with literally three words. I don't know why it bugs me so much, but it does, and in total, my overall take on it is pretty negative.
Vaguely Recommended

Aaaaand the last one got unpublished for fixing up, so that's unexpectedly it! :B Next stop, G5!

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Comments ( 21 )

Ah, glad you liked my work!

Ladies, gentlemen and nonbinary friends, our winner! I really do not know what to think about the fact that the winning fic of a shipping contest is the one about them breaking up. c.c Like, it's easy to see why it won on technical merit, the writing is flawless and the character work is superb. But what does it say about the contest runners?

That we are sexy folk of refined, discerning taste.

Oh wow, that's a really nice review :twilightblush: I'm glad you've enjoyed Wallflower of Canterlot, it was really fun to write :twilightsmile:

I like to think it shows that we didn't let our love of SunFlower prevent us from awarding 1st place to what was clearly the best story, even if it didn't end how we wanted.

Thanks so much for doing all these reviews! Running this contest was a delight and this post has been a nice trip down memory lane for me 🙏

5592920 and that we are sexy and have good taste.

correct and true 👏

Ouch! But thanks

I still personally think training wheels is better than Heart's Forgotten Garden, but it's not like that story has a super unambiguously happy ending either. God, the entrant with a definite happy ending I think was best is also the story where it's implied they're going to incorporate Sunset's magical mind control into their sex life.

Wallflower and Sunset are kind of screwed-up people, is what I'm realizing. Gotta own it. It's a good thing they're at least cute together.

On top of that, I want to take a second and talk about the dialogue. I've praised stories for realistic dialogue in the past, but in this case, it's like… Extra realistic? All the pauses and filler words and lengthened sounds and use of punctuation conveys how people talk in real life to an extreme I've just never seen before, and I loved that.

The honest truth is, I get the gist of the line in my head, and then I imagine how Tabita St. Germain would deliver it.

But this is just bizarre in ways I cannot fully articulate.

I'll take it! :pinkiehappy: Because really, why shouldn't Wallflower get a demon form?

There's so much going on along the periphery, and those details fill themselves in perfectly.

I'm glad you enjoyed it! I tried to take the prompt in an unexpected direction.

Yeah, I considered If You Say That You Are Mine... probably my worst fanfic. It was for a contest and I was under a deadline and just didn't have time to flesh out and edit it. Believe it or not, there was going to be more but alas time wasn't on my side. Oh, well...better luck next time and hopefully I would improve a lot.

Author Interviewer


The honest truth is, I get the gist of the line in my head, and then I imagine how Tabita St. Germain would deliver it.

I can think of no better way to write.

Honestly, training wheels is the story I've reread the most since the contest ended. It's just so unique and special and real and Mica is insanely talented when it comes to Wallflower's inner voice (and also just in general).

Wallflower and Sunset are kind of screwed-up people, is what I'm realizing.

That's what makes them so interesting imo. They have so many flaws and doubts and they perfectly complement each other. Two damaged people in love and making it work, despite both their deeply-rooted issues with self-worth, because that love is worth it 🙏

I'm so glad you enjoyed mine! I was inspired by the dapple horse stories mentioned in the long description - thought I'd make a human version. It was the first thing I'd written in months, so I'm glad it was so well-received. Thank you for your review. :twilightsmile:

Thank you PresentPerfect, for reviewing my story. I appreciate the compliments from everyone.

Thanks for doing these reviews. Absolutely loved judging for the contest and reading so many great stories. :heart:

I really do not know what to think about the fact that the winning fic of a shipping contest is the one about them breaking up. c.c

You and me both :trollestia:

(Thanks for the kind words tho, I'm glad you appreciated the text messages - they were a lot of pain fun to write.)

Well, this was an epic undertaking. Thank you for the huge slate of reviews!

Also, this has like, the best kissing scene I have ever read. I didn't know you could do that!

Yes, the best kissing scene people had ever read was the vibe I was aiming for. Supremely glad it landed.

There were a lot of HR's in this contest, which I think speaks well for the competition. It was fun to participate in, and it's always nice seeing the opinions and thoughts on the other entries. This sort of thing is why FimFic contests work, I think.

Bloody hell. Aside from this being both fun to read and informative (which all of your fic recommendations are, to be honest!), I've gotta give you credit for finding something unique and insightful to say about each of these forty damn stories. You said it yourself in the reviews, I think - there's only so much unique feedback you can give in a contest where a large portion of the fics can be summed up as "girl with Big Sad gets comforted by sentient bacon".

But you managed it! Each recommendation stood out on its own, and I wound up with another few stories slapped on the RiL list as a result, so thanks for that. If absolutely nothing else, mad kudos to you for reading through them all and not winding up fatigued and cynical about the whole thing.

Plus, thanks for the recommendation on The Little Things and I'm glad you liked it - always lovely to hear :twilightsmile:

Author Interviewer


You said it yourself in the reviews, I think - there's only so much unique feedback you can give in a contest where a large portion of the fics can be summed up as "girl with Big Sad gets comforted by sentient bacon".

But you managed it!

Aw, thank you. :D

And your story was so good, I am definitely checking the others out sometime.

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