World-Building Alliance 1,873 members · 628 stories
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Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

Welcome to the April World-Building Alliance prompt!

Now, I bet some of you were wondering why we decided to delay this month’s idea until the second of the month. The simple answer being what happened yesterday, with gold memberships, retirements, promotions, and all manner of general silliness. We decided it would be best to wait for a day than get caught up in the middle of all that :twilightsmile:

Now, onto the fun part. For this month, the idea is a simple one: Take a trait of your main character, and crank it up to eleven. An extremely friendly minotaur, maybe? Or a dragon with insatiable curiosity, perhaps. Go nuts, we want to see some wacky combinations out there.

If you’re after some pony examples, we could give Twilight as a super-smarty pants. Or maybe Fluttershy, with her maxed out shyness stat.

Now, seeing as this is a more character-driven prompt, we'll be fiddling with the weighting of the categories to represent that. For this month, World Building will be less important than your ability to create and convincingly flesh out this OC.

And, as per usual, ponies may be present but shouldn't be the focus.

Once you've finished your story and submitted it to FimFic, post here in this thread the following information:
Name:
Title:
Genre Tags:
Race:
Please provide links where necessary.


Same rules as before:
- 5k word target. We'll stretch to 5.5k, but any longer than that and the fic will be shunted over to the "longfic" category, with separate judging, etc.
- No rating restrictions, but bear in mind that excessive gore/sex/whatever might not be to everyone's tastes, least of all the judges.
- Deadline is the last day of the month. That will be the final day for submissions. For those of you in different timezones, if it’s the final day, make sure to also post what time it is in your time zone.
- Only stories submitted to the site during this month will be accepted. That means your story from August of 2012 won’t be accepted.
- Judging will be finished by the end of the first week of the next month. So on the 7th, the judging thread will be up, complete with the final scores for each story. It will also have a description of how the judging works and how the winner is selected. Important stuff for you to know beforehand is that we look at five categories: Plot, Characterization, Mechanics, World-Building and how well it fits with the FiM universe.
- And finally, all site rules are in effect. If you’re not quite sure what they are, see link.
(See? We remembered the rules this time!)

Cheers, and happy writing!
~ The World-Building Alliance Admin Team


This also marks the dawn of a new pony! Internet cookies if you manage to guess who it is.

Reading this line invalidates any promise of internet cookies

Well, I might actually have time for this one. Do we need to start from the ground up, or use a pre-existing OC, or what?

841426

I really hope you're ready for a Pinkie-type character with her energetic trait jacked up to twelve.

Csquared08
Group Admin

841448
Just remember that we won't be looking at other works. So if you're using a pre-existing OC and are therefore depending on the buildup from other stories, that might not bode well for your score.

Hmm, maybe I should look at my Reindeer OC, Rudolph, again. I liked how he turned out in my March entry.

841460 I'm well-aware, I won't make the mistake I did with Age of Night. Let's see what I can cook up...

Hmm...max out a trait...well, that sounds like it might be a challenge for me to put Dune Sea in a really rough situation and show her true dark side. I haven't written anything too dark and evil. Maybe this'll be fun =) I'll probably await judgement on my March entry so I know what to focus on~

OC? Extreme characteristic? :pinkiecrazy:

Oh, Booooooone Daaaaaaancer...time to come out of your box...

Interesting. Though I think this month I'll take off, good luck to everyone else!

Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

841940
Hmm... a quick glance at that name suggests that I should probably highlight the following section:

- No rating restrictions, but bear in mind that excessive gore/sex/whatever might not be to everyone's tastes, least of all the judges.

841940 BBOOONNNEEE SSSTTTOOORRRMMM! Oops sorry, wrong character :derpytongue2:

842045

Evil does not alway require excessive explosions of gore to prove itself evil. Also, if you were taking that name in an innuendo-y fashion, that's not what I meant at all :twilightsheepish:

I've never been one for gorefics, anyways, so it won't stray into that.

(See? We remembered the rules this time!)

Lol, that's always useful.

I'm gonna see what I can do for this one.

Hmm this sounds like a perfect competition for me. Time to pull out my insane zebra witch doctor character. :pinkiecrazy:

Warning! Bad rhyming is expected.

An OC, eh? This, I can do. I've been wanting to get back to this other fic I've been trying to write about an OC, but maybe if I did a one-shot that fleshed him out a bit better, then I could better focus my mind where I want to take his 'actual' fic, I've only written a single chapter, and I've not even reached a good point to end the chapter on, though I could cut some off, I guess...

Eh, whatever. I've gotten a bit of a boost of morale, so Imma go write a one shot with this character of mine! Time to write!!! :pinkiehappy:

Sweet Jesus. An OC with a trait to rival all other traits? I wonder if I have the time to work it this month... So, if I used a character from the story I already wrote, is that cool?

Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

842327
Sure, but it'd be judged as a standalone fic. Any previous encounters with the OC would be ignored

Also, another question (since I just thought of it), does the character trait have to be monstrously over the top, or, at least one's most prevalent one? I'm getting the impression that, if I were to roll a character like this, I dump all of my stats into intelligence or charisma.

About time. I was rearing to go the last two days.

841426

Now, I bet some of you were wondering why we decided to delay this month’s idea until the second of the month. The simple answer being what happened yesterday, with gold memberships, retirements, promotions, and all manner of general silliness. We decided it would be best to wait for a day than get caught up in the middle of all that

Since the April prompt was delayed a couple of days, does this mean the judging for the March prompt will be delayed too? Not that it's been punctual before, I might add :trixieshiftright:, but given that you'd probably wait until the hectic 1st April was over, I wondered if that extended to reading and judging too.

Now, onto the fun part. For this month, the idea is a simple one: Take a trait of your main character, and crank it up to eleven. An extremely friendly minotaur, maybe? Or a dragon with insatiable curiosity, perhaps. Go nuts, we want to see some wacky combinations out there.

See below about the "wacky" part. Also, you say main character, but is it possible, for instance, to tell the story from another character's perspective (a co-main character), kind of like a Watson talking about a Sherlock? Also, does the story have to be about the new OC, or about something else to which the OC is a part? I'm wondering how character-centric this is expected to be.

If you’re after some pony examples, we could give Twilight as a super-smarty pants. Or maybe Fluttershy, with her maxed out shyness stat.

OK, so I guess this means not a caricature? This still feels ambiguous, as Twilight alone varies from "a normal and polite magical student with a tendency towards intellectual pursuits" in season one to "an OCD joke character and walking supercomputer who experiments recklessly with magic" in season three. Again, see below.

Now, seeing as this is a more character-driven prompt, we'll be fiddling with the weighting of the categories to represent that. For this month, World Building will be less important than your ability to create and convincingly flesh out this OC.

So Characterization has more weight than Worldbuilding. Any of the other three categories effected? Also, can we expect other such weightings in future prompts?

Apart from that, I'm satisfied with the rest, and will get to writing ASAP.

842487

I'd like to know this too. I don't think we're expected to make caricatures because that's generally regarded as bad characterization, but then the wording makes it ambiguous.

I'm calling dibs on cruel, malevolent, evil politiko caricature =p

Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

842596842487

We have no plans to delay the March judging as of yet, but seeing as it's in the future, we can't make any guarantees.

On the topic of category weighting, Csquared is working out the logistics of it at the moment. We'll let you know if anything changes drastically.
And we do plan to re-weigh the categories in future prompts when the occasion calls for it, but situations where this applies will always be clearly marked as such.

In regards to the ambiguity, this was partially intentional, partially unavoidable. First, we found it rather difficult to pin down a clear-cut definition for this whole trait shebang, then realised we didn't want to. Since the rules have more room for leeway here, we're hoping for a wider variety of stories being produced. We'd rather not have a dozen stories where the only difference is the main character's eye colour.

And as for the other points, the simple answer is that while this character stat is a defining trait, it shouldn't be their only one. Two-dimensional characters would hardly class as well-made.
To use Fluttershy as an example again, yes, she is very shy, but she's also very kind-hearted and can stand up for herself when the situation calls for it. Shy is what she is, but it isn't all she is.

And the Sherlock/Watson thing is perfectly acceptable too.

843127

:ajsmug: Ah, I get it. That seems fair enough in the interests of diversity, and as for the "character trait" issue, I probably should have guessed as much. :moustache:

That said, I am kind of interested in how the categories are and will be weighted both in this contest and in future ones. Do you judges discuss it between yourselves before awarding your own scores, or come up with your assessments independently? Do you go through the text with a fine comb or try and consider it holistically? Do some categories receive more attention than others, e.g. are you more forgiving with "canon-fitness" than with "plot" and "characterization"? Lastly, does this depend on the individual judge's discretion? Forgive me if this is too nosy, but I am wondering out of idle curiosity. :twilightsheepish:

Well, the info you posted is is sufficient for me, so I'll plough right ahead and start writing. Thanks for answering my questions. :scootangel:

Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

843162
While the inner workings of Csquared's mind are an enigma, and the weighting system is one which only he knows completely, I can answer that there is usually a focus on the World-Building and Characterisation categories, with less of a focus on things like how well it fits with the FiMverse.
If you're after a more detailed explanation than that, you'd have to ask him, I'm afraid.

And we do come up with our scores semi-independently. While each judge produces their own score, the scores which have already been given to the story are visible, to give an idea of what the others think.

We don't usually discuss a particular category, unless we feel someone was particularly harsh/generous, or the story was exceptionally well/poorly done in some manner.

Csquared08
Group Admin

843162
The categories for a typical, unaltered contest are weighted as follows:
World-Building > Characterization = Plot > Mechanics > Fits with FiMverse

However, with this contest, it changes to:
Characterization > Plot > World-Building = Mechanics > Fits with FiMverse

So that should answer that.

On a semi-random sidenote, Plum lied to you.

the weighting system is one which only he knows completely

Denim has a firm grasp of it. I don't need to do his math for him unlike a certain fruit :scootangel:

Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

843386
Pfft, not my fault you actually enjoy doing maths :twilightblush:

Is it alright if I use pony characters to interact with my main over the top character? So that way you can see how they react to the personality trait. Of course I will make sure to focus on him and the wilder parts of zebra magic that he uses. :twilightsmile:

F.Y.I I'm using them as lab rats victims his customers.

855262

I'm not one of the judges and can't give the last word on the rules. However, I asked a similar question during the February contest, and the answer I got was that ponies are fine so long as they're not the main focus. Ponies aren't ruled out of stories completely, but the group's focus is on zebras, minotaurs, griffons, and all the other species that co-exist with ponies.

Of course, it might be different this time around, but I doubt it. Hope this helps. :unsuresweetie:

855445 Yeh the ponies are simply there to emphasize my characters traits. So hopefully it should be right... I mean it IS all about him.

Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

855445855455
's all good.

And, as per usual, ponies may be present but shouldn't be the focus.

856105 Alright coolies :twilightsmile:

Also dat gif... All kinds of weird

Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin
Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

856156
Oh lord, I remember that. But it was a moonwalking bear for me

[youtube=Ahg6qcgoay4]

856146 Gah, make it stop! The open void is pulling me in, perfect nightmare fuel for sleep... lol

Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

843303843386

OK, thanks for the information. It has been very useful. :trollestia:

I'm submitting my entry today. Here is numero uno for this competition:

Name: Impossible Numbers
Title: Monster Catchers
Synopsis: Some monsters rampage through the streets, but others hide in the darker places within pony homes. For those ones, a pony needs the monster catchers, and Jitters the donkey and Steel the minotaur are the best in the business. Unfortunately, they've never met each other before, and they’ve both been summoned by an important pony to deal with a very tricky customer…
Genre Tags: Dark, Slice of Life
Race/Species: Donkey (with Minotaur companion)
Character Trait: Nervousness
Word Count: 5,317 words
Status: Incomplete

Viola. I will admit to jumping the gun here; it's currently under review for submission onto the site proper, but I submitted it over three hours ago, and since I'm going to bed soon and was rearing to submit an early entry, I... confess I got a mite tired of waiting. I doubt it would get rejected, but on the off-chance that it is, I'll withdraw the entry and refrain from pulling similar stunts in future. Probably not the wisest of things to do, but I'll take the gamble.

If it does get through moderation, then I hope you enjoy reading this one. :twilightsmile:

857366
Even if it doesn't pass moderation, it can still be seen through the link, and it will still be considered for the contest. Just ask flutterdash1. Or me, for that matter.

857366 That was quick! Hoping I can finish mine before last week, seeing as I'm making a habit of that... lol

857472
Aye, I can attest to this =) Both of my Sphinx entries failed moderation, yet both are readable ^.^

Hmm, just want to know... Does Hamminess (as in Large Ham) count as a character trait?

Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

858255
If I say yes, will you turn BRIAN BLESSED into a minotaur?

(Oh god please do my mind can't comprehend the HAM)

859156
What about my Reindeer OC Rudolph as a BRIAN BLESSED expy? :twilightblush:

Professor Plum
Story Approver
Group Admin

859393
Anything with BRIAN BLESSED is enough for me

857472858150

Stories don't have to pass moderation before being submitted to the contest? But I could have sworn that Plum said they had to be submitted onto the site first during January's contest (though granted, the wording was ambiguous in that OP).

If true, then okey doke. I'll keep that in mind next time.

857801

I changed strategy and decided just to dive into planning instead of waiting for inspiration to hit. I wanted to get it done ASAP this time. After missing out in Feb, and cutting it fine in March, I thought I'd push myself to deliver something before the first week of this month was out. Of course, after I resolved to do this, the prompt didn't appear in my timezone until April 3rd... :twilightoops:

859444859735

:rainbowlaugh: Just imagining that screaming ham in full-capslock mode had me in stitches. Watching Brian Blessed on Have I Got News For You was the closest I ever got to dying of laughter. If you haven't seen it, you must catch it on YouTube sometime.

863039
I think what was meant by that was that the story had to exist on FIMfiction...so, like, no submitting a Google Doc or a story you posted on another site. Could be wrong though. *shrug*

863039 That seems like a smart idea, >waiting for inspiration is why most of my stories are incomplete lol. Luckily for me I already had a character to go that was gonna be my original March one before I changed my idea. So my idea just required a bit of tweaking to up his personality over 9000! sorry couldn't resist... :twilightsmile:

Would "Cliche Noir Detective with a healthy dose of action hero" count as a sufficiently strong character trait?

863046

:applejackunsure: Well, if you say so. Can't see any harm in trying it again next time.

863068

Inspiration has its fine points, but the policy of sitting around and waiting for it to hit you has some pretty obvious drawbacks. I think it's mostly a matter of just getting some practice and keeping a steady stream of output, feedback, and improvement going, even if only in fits and starts. Inspiration can drop in while you're working, which is why I also keep a notebook handy at all times (or at least most of the time).

Now that you bring it up, I have some leftover characters I never got around to using, too. I wonder...

865454 Yeh that's why I tend to search for music on Youtube that fits the stories and listen to it while I work. When it fits well I can use that as inspiration to write some great stories. Take last months entry for example, I found a beautiful piece of music that set the tone for it really well and was able to complete the whole thing in one day. Though a notebook would be handy for when I get new story ideas instead of trying to remember which story is about what. But yeh if you can keep a nice pace instead of stop/start most of the time you will form a gem. :raritystarry:

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