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Loganberry
Group Admin

I'm putting up this thread a few days early because I'll be away over Easter. You can consider the contest open for submissions as of now.

Here are the full rules.

Remember, there is no prize, as such, for this contest -- but if you win, you will be able to choose the prompt for the next contest. You'll also get a mention on the group's front page, always assuming that I don't capriciously change the rules without warning and laugh maniacally about it. I suppose I could still laugh maniacally without changing the rules, and since that's less effort I think it's a better path for me to tread. Anyway, if you're willing to take the risk, here's the usual small print. (Yes, I know it's no smaller than the rest of the print. Just roll with it, all right?)

Title: "No Time Like the Present" (selected by last month's winner, Pascoite)
Rating: E or T
Word limit: 150
Closing date: Saturday 21st April 2018, 11:59 pm UK time (world clock)

Please reply to this post with your entry. This makes it easier for me to keep track. Please do not leave feedback until after the closing date.

Entries are now open! Have fun!

Man, if you're at the stage when you're laughing maniacally, you need special pills.

Until then, gonna go away and think about that prompt. Something that familiarly idiomatic definitely warrants a little lateral thinking.

Also, have a good Easter!

Anyway, if you're willing to take the risk, here's the usual small print. (Yes, I know it's no smaller than the rest of the print. Just roll with it, all right?)

And all I can think is...

Now Mag's contract's got some mighty fine print.
Some mighty fine print?
(Mighty fine)
And that mighty fine print puts Mag in a mighty fine predicament.

I think you know the rest?

6375057

No Present Like the Time
by Trick Question


Twilight Sparkle opened the door to find Pinkie Pie holding a small pink present wrapped in a purple bow.

"Happy fifty-three-days-from-your-birthday-day!" said Pinkie, pushing past Twilight into the castle foyer.

"That's a pretty strange occasion," said Twilight, with a smile. "But I appreciate the thought, and it's always great to see you."

Pinkie hoofed Twilight the present. Opening it, she found a gold watch. "This looks expensive, Pinkie! But why a watch?"

"Well, I was telling Rarity what a special friend you are and I wanted to know how I could show you just what you mean to me, and she said 'there's no present like the time' so I got you this!" said Pinkie, repeatedly tapping one hoof against the crystal flooring.

"I think she meant, 'there's no time like the present'," said Twilight.

Pinkie gasped. "Oh! In that case," she said, and kissed Twilight right on the lips.

6375057
With a prompt like this, I have only one idea. However, I know little about this character other than what I can learn from my sister. But I think I have enough to incorporate it into the story.

So without further adieu.....


Alonze

"It's so great to be back in Ponyville," the gray mare said as she stepped out of the vehicle.

"We never left Ponyville, my friend." the stallion corrected.

"But... but the city, a-and the snowy field, and the BIG lizards!"

"We just simply use string theory and compressed it to pin a key point and connect the field that generated from it and shift over to the plane when we begin to decompress."

The mare's eyes were spinning at trying to wrap around what she just heard, "We what again?"

"To put it simple; we traveled through time."

"We did?" she said in astonishment, "Wow, that was some magic spell."

"It was science, my friend. A thrilling discovery in science that will revolution history of the 'then' and the 'will be'."

"I'm just happy to my back in this time."

"Quite right, there truly is no time like the present."

6375057

Got it! Quite by chance, I recently heard a certain time-based idiom over lunch and it clicked into place. Minuette and Twinkleshine, step forwards please!

Also, Microsoft Word counts 151 words, but WordCounter.net counts 150. Although the rules specify only the latter, I'm a bit concerned, as I've never seen this discrepancy before. If this is a problem, please notify me ASAP and I'll see what I can trim.


Time is a Trial

“Minuette, darling?”

“YesyesyesyesyesyesYES, Twinkleshine, bestest-best friend?”

…Idiomatic Chrono-Ontology?

“I’m investigating the nature of time! ‘No time like the present,’ everyone says. Everyone’s right! Both past and future squeeze the present to an infinitely small point, because if now has dimensions, then it can shrink further, giving those dimensions to either side. Therefore, there is no time like the present! From idioms, I’m extrapolating its real nature!”

“But… sewing?”

“‘A stitch in time’ suggests fabric-like qualities!”

“The crossbow?”

“‘Time flies like an arrow’.”

“The… whale tank!?

“‘Whale of a time’.”

This is Advanced Chronology!?”

“Yep-yep! Professor Regius gave me free rein!”

“Eep. I dread to think what you’d be doing if you had followed me into Astrophysics.”

“I’d be gazing deeply into your eyes right now.”

“…um… r-really…?”

“‘Stars in their eyes’.”

“Oh. G-Good. I-I mean, interesting!”

“Why, what’re you thinking–?”

N-N-Nothing!

“Huh? Oheeheehee, Twinkleshine! Sometimes, you think the strangest things!”

6375057
Sooooo...... Here is a thing............

-------------------------***-------------------------

All in a Good Book

“I thought this was a date?!”

Flash shakes his head with an embarrassed smirk and hands her a hefty booklet.

“You really want me to do this now?”

“I just can’t figure it out.” Flash replies.

“Oh really! You would be better off asking Twilight to sort this out.”

“I did. She spent an hour with her lap top plugged in and now the stereo doesn’t work and the alarm keeps going off.”

“Not even the first choice.” Sunset slumps back in to the passenger seat and sighs, she consults the correct page of the owners handbook and reaches forward to stab at a series of buttons on the car’s dash.

An electronic voice floods the interior. “Beep. You have reset the time and date settings. Please press enter to confirm.”

“Not a hope.” Sunset Shimmer mutters as she steps out of the car and slams the door behind her.

6378491
I thought about phrasing the prompt that way. But I figured I could phrase it the usual way and have people use it this way more so than vice versa.

6375057
Sorry, I forgot to reply to the original post yet again.

I added the reply note to mine, dunno if that notifies you the way you need though.

Loganberry
Group Admin

6380855
It's fine as it is. The rules specify WordCounter, so that's what I go by. From what I can tell, the discrepancy arises because Word treats anything after a dash, even punctuation, as a separate word.

6384810
Not a problem. I go through the page manually to check in any case. The replying-to-my-post thing just makes it quicker.

6385374

OK then, I won't change it. Well, beyond the usual picky tweaking that traditionally follows my posting anything, of course. I make no guarantees on that front.

6375057
I'm not eligible, of course, but this is precisely the idea I had in mind when I thought of the prompt:

Trick Question Totally Stole the Title I was Going to Use

“Well, go ahead. Open it!” Discord said.

“I hate to tear the wrapping,” Fluttershy replied. “It’s so beautiful.”

Discord rolled his eyes and snapped an identical box into existence. “Now you have a mint collectable too.”

“O-okay.” She undid the ribbon and paper very carefully, but… Empty? “What?”

“It’s time, my dear.”

The usual arguments burned in her mind. “We’ve talked about this.”

“Yes, yes, I know. This isn’t some cheesy ploy to give you eternal life. I’ve read all the fanfics.”

“Huh?”

A quick sigh. “Never mind. Point is, it’s not future time. It’s past. Give it a try.”

She poked her nose in, and—the day she’d first met Twilight, and Discord, and tea together, and… In a flash, all so clear, like she’d lived them yesterday!

Everything that made her Fluttershy, whenever she needed to see it. She wiped away her tears and hugged Discord hard. “Thank you.”

6386389

Forget the rules. Stop everything. This is the winner, everybody. This right here.

I'm not being (entirely) fatuous. I really like this concept and execution. Anyway, since it's ineligible, I can totally say that.

Loganberry
Group Admin

Everyone, you have two days left. Good luck!

6375057
Oohboi, I'm late, I'm late, I'm late, for a very important date!

Present to the Future

"Twilight, what are you doing?" Starlight yelled over the wind, arcane symbols burning like green stars around her.

"I'm sending this Daring Do fanfic into the future," Twilight yelled back. A circle of flame drew itself in the air, lightning discharging from the now-developing hole in the universe.

Starlight shielded herself from the growing light. "Why are you doing this?"

Lightning shot toward the scroll, floating it closer to the newly-opened rip in spacetime. "So it gets published faster! Don't worry, it'll work!"

The room exploded blackness. Not the ordinary black, or even the so-called pitch black. This was the blackness of nothing. The blackness present with the absence of matter. "T-Twilight?" Starlight called in a pitiful voice. To intrude upon this blackness, to force a something into this nothing, was violating the highest of orders.

"It's ok," Twilight replied, "I'm here. Come on, let's go find the door."

On a side note, I much, much preferred this in its original 180 words. My descriptions were just on point. Sadly, though, I did have to cut it down, and am still pleased with the result.

Ninja-edits cause Logan hasn't told us it's officially ended yet

Loganberry
Group Admin

Just over two hours to go, everyone!

Guess I'm not entering this month.

I had an idea about Gabby moving to Ponyville and moving in with Maud. It's was gonna almost entirely be Gabby talking, with Maud just getting a line at the end. But I put things off, and the Maud episode happened, and, well, here we are. Next month!

--Sweetie Belle

Loganberry
Group Admin

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Oh yeah, apologies for the lateness: entries are now closed. Just the five entries (plus Pascoite's) this month, but not to worry. I'll announce the winner in two or three days' time as usual. Thank you to everyone who entered. :twilightsmile:

Feedback go!

Here's your usual reminder to change the title page to say the event is closed.

6378491
Whoa, shipping out of nowhere. Now I'm confused as to whether Pinkie actually misunderstood or set it up deliberately so Twilight would prompt her like that. However, I'm always a little bothered by having the first move be a kiss, because IRL, that's likely to result in your getting the shit slapped out of you.

In any case, this was cute, and you've got the character voices down well.

6379053
There's kind of an interesting setup here? In the end, I have no idea what happened or who these characters are, though. They traveled in time, but why? All I know is that they did, and then the story is over. I can't help thinking that if I understood some reference from the title, then I'd have more context and be able to decode the rest. But as it is, I'm stumped.

6380855
I guess Minuette was just taking idioms too literally? It's not a bad joke, and in this format, the joke's not going to overstay its welcome. Kind of stealth shipping here, too, but Minuette has plausible deniability of whether she was actually hinting at it, then left open-ended as to whether she really was. This was a cute, low-stakes SoL.

6383840
Ah, I like the twist. Though it seems odd for Sunset to be the one disappointed it wasn't a date. She seems over him more than he seems over her in the movies. Though it's amusing that someone from a different, more low-tech world has a better grasp of electronics than he does.

6406023
This is a fascinating setup, but then it changes gears on me in the last paragraph. At first, it's serious, then it's a comedy about Twilight trying to appease her OCD-ness with something that won't even work (if she has a copy, then it's already published, and sending it to the future won't change the publication date—maybe you meant sending it to the past?). And then things go awry, and it goes back to a more serious tone, with some tension that Twilight might be in trouble, and... I don't understand what happened after that. Starlight's worried for her, Twilight says it's okay, so there wasn't actually any danger, but the story no longer has that comedic overtone, and we don't even know if her plan worked, so it doesn't feel finished.

6407393

Good grief. Are you feeling OK, Pascoite? I didn't see a single major criticism of my piece this time*. Not even a "this is odd" moment. The pacing, the set-up, the substance of it: there must be something I didn't quite pull off... :applejackconfused:

* Granted, a couple of "not bad?" moments, but con-sarn-it, it's just not the same.

Thanks for the comment, and really actually cheered to have passed the Pascoite Test unscathed, of course!

6407393

Whoa, shipping out of nowhere.

You've made this argument before with both micro and minifics, and I'm not sure what setup can be fit in place to make it seem more natural within a tight word limit.

When I write shipping I often start with the underlying assumption that the character actions themselves hint that they are already emotionally close to one another, and the story depicts the final steps to this realization. bookplayer does this too, and she's a good shipping writer. I think it's easier to pull off something like this in fanfiction where headcanon has already defined characteristics of popular ships.

So while I agree with what you're saying in a general sense (more support to define the relationship going in is generally good), I don't entirely agree that the shipping always needs iron support—especially when the audience is fans of the show.

6407393
And it's for those reasons I much preferred it in the original draft, before having to cut it. As for the publication, I truly did just need to shed words, and that's one that kinda fit and maybe sorta made sense. Anyway, I meant for that to be her first draft of it, so no, it would not be published already.

I... also didn't mean for any comedic elements to sneak in there. Huh, that's actually quite annoying. As for the part where you get lost, I completely, totally, and without reservation blame Pearple Prose and his recently posted story, The City That Breathes. It's gotten me on a bit of a description-fest. Originally, the whole thing was marvelous description. Damn word limit.

Anyway, enough with my thingythingthing, feedback of my own!
6378491
Gotta agree with Pasc, shipping outta nowhere. And yet, looking back on it after knowing the end, it's perfectly set up. I actually really like the way you did this. Though TwiPie is not usually my go-to ship, so... yeah.

6379053
Ah yes, time travel with Doctor Whooves and Derpy. At least, I think so? Not actually sure. I'm also not sure what there was here beyond some technobabble and a prompt-drop. It was still pretty alright, I guess.

6380855
Hands down, my favorite of this set. It's just... good. I'm... I'm not actually sure how to do anything with this, I just loved it.

6383840
I, too, wonder why SunnyShim thought it would be a date. But either way, probs my second favorite here. I love the twist, and I think you did a great job showing how evil cars are when it comes to fixing them. Along with, well, everything else.

6386389
Oy, you, stop shipping, I can't handle this much in one round! Explodes
Anyway, you did a great job with this one. Wonderful execution of the strangeness of Discord tying into the caring side of him.

6406023
Get outta here with your trashy time travel, you obsessed weirdo. It's like every time a prompt could maybe be time travel, you find a way!

6407470

Hands down, my favorite of this set. It's just... good. I'm... I'm not actually sure how to do anything with this, I just loved it.

What a delightful response! :twilightsmile: It's a true pleasure to receive such a comment, even for such a short story as this one. Thank you very much.

6407470
6407393
It's Doctor Whooves and Derpy. The title was meant as a hint to the Doc's catchphrase, but the entire story was meant as a twist on the month's theme, 'There's no time like the present.'.

Most people would think of it as, 'Let's get this over with'; but instead I tried to make it out to be, 'There's no place like home.'

6407403
For me, it's just that shipping itself makes for an odd twist. If it had clearly been a shipfic from the start, then there's a twist as to who's involved, for instance, that's a kind of shipping out of nowhere that has more of an effect on me. But to read something that's a pretty banal interaction, then have it suddenly change to romance at the end, kind of feels like a bait and switch. Part of that is a result of the format. If you expanded this to the point you could solo post it, then I'd see a romance tag and go in forewarned.

6407470
Just the fact that there's a very serious tone given for this very involved and dangerous spell, yet it's being used to combat her impatience at Yearling's publishing rate, creates a comic juxtaposition for me. Something relatively inconsequential given that much weight feels like it's tongue-in-cheek silliness.

Loganberry
Group Admin

6378491 6379053 6380855 6383840 6386389 6406023
Right then, results time. In spite of the fairly small entry, I had a good time reading these. Every one of them did something for me, so a big yay for all of you. (:yay:) But in the end, Impossible Numbers' entry takes the non-prize for turning what seemed a very silly idea into a cute scene with some endearing characterisation. Since you've won these things before you know the form: please think up a prompt for May's contest and post it right here in this thread when you've done so. Congratulations to you! :twilightsmile:

And now, with half an eye on Pascoite, I'm off to edit the group page. :moustache:

6408586

Yay! Everyone's a winner! Especially me! :pinkiehappy:

Also YES! I am the first TRIPLE WINNER wait a minute... :rainbowhuh:

(Checks previous contests)

:rainbowderp:

:flutterrage: CURSE YOU, PASCOOOOOOIIIIIIIITE!


:scootangel: Right, let's see... Next month is the middle of spring, and I've seen a lot of crocuses and daffodils about these days... Plus I've already used Rarity-based and Pinkie-based themes, so... how about, for the darling month of May, this Fluttershy-inspired one below?

Kindness and a Garden

I've deliberately kept it open-ended, so it can be "kindness in a garden" or "kindness for a garden" or even "kindness in spite of someone else's garden". Knock yourself out, metaphorically speaking. :twilightsmile:

6408586

Also, congratulations! The Flashfic 150 Group is now approaching its first birthday. :twilightsmile:

Loganberry
Group Admin

6408612
Sounds fine to me! Quite an intriguing prompt, too -- one I certainly don't remember seeing anywhere else. Could be very interesting.

6408619
Thank you, though in fact it's passed that milestone already. The group was founded in early March 2017, and the first actual contest was the following month (prompt: "Getting Warmer").

6408664

For prompts, I generally combine a Main Six trait with whatever's on my mind. Time of year has an influence too, hence why "The Generous and the Dead" coincided with October, the Hallowe'en month.

The group was founded in early March 2017

Ah, my mistake. I was going by the official prompt challenges, and so should have either specified those or corrected my times to fit the actual founding day. But you get the idea, right?

6408612
Pfft, triple winner? I'm so much of a winner you can't divide by me! :derpytongue2:

6408685

:trollestia: Oh yeah? Is that why your attempts at multiplying don't get you anywhere, either? :derpyderp1: :derpyderp2:

Loganberry
Group Admin

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Don't mind me, just taking notes for Epic Pony Flashfic Battles of Equestria... :trollestia:

6408612

Yup, everyone is a winner. (But I wanted to be the victor!!)

To bad Pascoite beaten you on being the first triple winner. (TRIPLE!!! I haven't won once!)

That choice for next month theme sounds lovely. (You said 'kindness in spite of someone else's garden.' .....the irony on the similarities.)

Can't wait to enter next month! (Do these people even know where I get my inspirations from?)

6408612
You just have to go win this next one if you wanna be first at something :raritywink:

6409317

I can't. Remember the rules: the prompt-setter for the next contest can't actually win that particular contest. They can take part, but that's it.

6409329
tfw your joke goes miles over IN's head before falling flat

6408701
My failure at multiplying is probably because I'm a girl with a penis. :trollestia:

6409335

So many things go over my head, I have dedicated air traffic control.

6409339

I say, darling! One can't help but think one would've been more genteel to make a mathematics-based play-on-words there, m'lady.

I am a square Number, after all. :duck:

6409113

That picture is... creepy. :rainbowderp:

Hey, don't worry about not having won yet. According to the Law of Probability, you've gone so long without a win that you're bound to win the next one. That's what they teach you at the casino, anyway. :trollestia:

(Do these people even know where I get my inspirations from?)

Dare I ask? :unsuresweetie:

6410061

Dare I ask?:unsuresweetie:

Majority of the time, it's from frustration. December's is from the lack of being acknowledged, January's is from the idea of not leaving an impression, March's is from........ favoritism... Matthewl419 knows what I'm talking about.

A gift or a curse, an uncomfortable spark hits me to go a bit more unorthodox than what I'm used to. Just look at what resulted from the frustration I felt at trying to gain followers; it felt like I was fighting them or even playing a game for their affection.

6410619

Frustration. Now I've been there a few times. It's a mixed blessing when you can take that kind of emotion and create something out of it, like a story; you get at least an interesting result, but you don't get it painlessly.

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