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Cozy Glow Short Story Contest #1


Submission period closed [X]
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Story evaluation complete [X]
Monetary base prizes purchased [X]
Winners announced [X] - target 9/16/2020
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Reviews for Contest Stories

Honorable Mention

Cozy Glow plays chess with her father
BronyWriter · 5k words  ·  79  5 · 721 views

The most difficult part of hosting a contest is identifying the winners, especially when the differences in merit are almost negligible. "Pawns" so narrowly missed placing into the prize pool that I felt it was appropriate to create an additional Honorable Mention category. All are strongly encouraged to read it, and for writers to strive to achieve BronyWriter's high quality standard.

The story is told from a young Cozy's point of view, focusing on her struggle to understand the meaning of playing games. As she goes several rounds against her father in chess, she's given insights as to why she’s unable to prevail. Central to her failure is her lack of concern or understanding of pawns. As most chess players know, pawns individually are of the lowest value, but can be effectively used to attack, provoke responses, and guard territory when used collectively. They can also be promoted to a queen, the most mobile piece.

Let us cross-reference the situation in Equestria. Twilight was Celestia’s star pupil, solving the kingdom’s problems, defeating its enemies, and cultivating its values among the younger generation to build alliances with other nations, all while working together with her friends. Each success was an advancement; a slow, sometimes painful process of learning, sacrificing, and adapting. Although she has yet to meet Twilight, the Cozy of “Pawns” can’t grasp why anyone would want to put themselves through the lengthy ordeal of forging relationships – of negotiating all of the miscommunications and misunderstandings. Why not take shortcuts? Why not cheat and obtain instant gratification? One has a limited amount of time to reach one’s full potential after all, as in chess.

Her decision, which leads to the appearance of her cutie mark, is delivered with sickening neutrality. No judgment is implied, highlighting the amorality inherent in ignoring the rules. The only consequences of her actions are the proud congratulations of her unwitting parents, and a setting of the course of the rest of her life. Cozy is doomed from childhood, and she dooms herself.

Runner Up

After a century of confinement, the world is unleashed on an unsuspecting Cozy Glow.
Minty Sundae · 5.3k words  ·  172  23 · 2.7k views

On finishing “Paroled”, I was tempted to say that it was a dark comedy as much as it was a drama. I couldn’t help but laugh even as I lamented how accurately the satire of present day “real life” culture hit the mark. And as one of the few stories I know of to have spawned a spin-off while it was still on the front page, it rated near the top in terms of originality.

The significance of being paroled, in the events of the story, lies in the release of Cozy from her stone prison after roughly a century. In the meantime, Equestrian society has rearranged in response to Princess Twilight Sparkle’s highly organized efforts to maximize happiness not just for ponies, but all creatures. Infractions against the laws instituted to promote social harmony, as monitored by an automated all-seeing system appropriately named “Omni”, are tracked with demerits. Punishments for demerits increase as they are accrued, up to and including imprisonment in stone.

The problem, and the irony, is in the reasons why the demerits are earned. Any utterance or action that might threaten social relationships is deterred. Sarcasm is outlawed. Calling attention to differences is outlawed. Referring to Tartarus is outlawed. Refusing to eat your veggies is outlawed. Princess Twilight has made it impossible for any creature to experience the very difficulties that taught her the value of friendship in the first place. But not to worry, Omni can instantly work up an extra-large chocolate milkshake or anything else at no expense to you. Because that’s happiness.

Understandably, Cozy finds herself without a purpose in this brave new world. All creatures have been culturally re-dispositioned such that no wedges can be sledged in between them. Princess Twilight is all-powerful through Omni. There is no way to win the game, and no escape.

Third Place

The Darkest Path by Shaslan

I’m sure some are wondering why a story containing such detailed descriptions of carnage, and so many of them, was chosen as the third place winner. Please allow me to suggest that stories like “The Darkest Path” belong to a tradition of grotesque, transgressive works present in the fandom since its earliest days, which have acted as a counter-language to the canonical norm. The role of these works has been to antagonize the conventional discourse (for lack of a better word), spurring it to produce art that is stronger and more representative of its core values. What better way to celebrate Cozy Glow and her role in the larger narrative? Many people find violent fiction distasteful, and their view is valid. I humbly submit, however, that the genre has its own symbology and tree of inspiration, and remains a foundational root of fan interest.

“The Darkest Path” is fundamentally an inversion of the heroic epic (if I may) we’re presented with in the canon. Odysseus has Scylla and Charybdis. Twilight has the various disagreements between her friends to contend with (not to mention her own hydra), against which she fights with ever-growing empathy and patience. Cozy’s weapons, in comparison, are cunning, willpower, and vengeance. The tale begins in media res, with Ms. Glow calling a council of the dead. She recounts, as she works to assemble them, how she came to overpower and eliminate them, relishing the silence of the final battlefield, and what might be called the particular destruction of the main cast (a prime example of this is the defacement (pun intended) of Rarity; a pony known for her beauty is disfigured beyond recognition). It is the silence that drives home the implicit message: Cozy’s path ends with her alone. There is no one left to bow or acknowledge her greatness. Her monologue complete, she exits hopeful, but devoid of purpose.

“The Darkest Path” is a sobering meditation on what Cozy’s victory would look like. It’s all fun and games until the explosions start.

Second Place

ESpace to Breathe
After several eons of self-reflection, Cozy Glow concludes that it all went wrong with a mug of hot chocolate.
Casketbase77 · 6.4k words  ·  60  0 · 795 views

Two words come to mind in regard to “Space to Breathe”: Risk. Taking. Tell a story from the point of view of an all-but-deceased void-dwelling once-pony? Try to reform Cozy Glow? Include not one, but two puzzle boxes in the inset graphics? Who does that? Casketbase77 does that, and to great effect.

The first chapter is devoted to a disembodied consciousness struggling to form coherent thoughts. While at first glance that may not sound enticing, one comes to realize that the entity’s success hinges on the presence of other minds. There is something psychologically primal in its painstaking efforts to reconstruct who and what it was based on the surrounding sensations. The message that calls the reader to proceed on the journey is that by knowing others, we know ourselves.

The lesson becomes more well-defined as the entity encounters another lost soul lingering in the vacuum. Cozy Glow, trapped in stone for ages, has consigned herself to an imagined re-creation of the place where she feels she blew her chance in life. She confirms that the wandering entity is Luna, or was, depending on the interpretation. They both can provide something the other longs for, but they must first come to an understanding about wrongdoing and punishment. In the process, the villain/hero binary is exquisitely deconstructed.

This story is a must-read for any wishing to study how to interweave threads of meaning and raw emotion, and tie it all into a multi-dimensional tapestry. There may be valuable insights for any who are open to considering them as well. Aren’t we all surrounded by a void of understanding? It might take a lifetime to know ourselves, but the process can be catalyzed by others.

First Place

EHonour Among Thieves
Every friendship has its origins, even the most sinister. And revenge is a dish best shared.
Freglz · 6.8k words  ·  53  4 · 698 views

Our first place finalist, Freglz, achieved what may as well be a gap episode. “Honour Among Thieves” could easily be the first chapter of a novelization of the story of Lord Tirek following his first escape from Tartarus, presented in photorealistic fidelity to the characters and their world. All are strongly encouraged to read and be awestruck by the author’s ability to transport us to Equestria.

Again, risk was taken, and was rewarded. Lord Tirek is on the loose, planning his vengeance and return to power and glory. First, however, he must clothe himself to conceal his identity. He happens upon a lonesome farm in an unassuming corner of Equestria, and spies a clothesline full of cloaks. He steals one, but not without being spied by a young Pegasus filly. The action is sparse, covering only Tirek’s retreat, the filly’s pursuit, and their reckoning. All is told from Tirek’s point of view. After the filly is revealed to be Cozy, one at first wonders at the relevance of the story to her character. Only a moment’s reflection is necessary to realize that Tirek’s selfish arrogance draws out Cozy’s loathing of banality and yearning for something to happen better than a direct transcription from Cozy’s perspective would. In particular, the arrangement is superior because we as the audience only ever see Cozy from the outside. She takes no one into her confidence. After several episodes telling of her rise and fall, we know no more personal details about her than when we first meet her bawling outside the CMC’s treehouse.

The two characters in this flawless rendering of a pivotal juncture in Equestria’s history complement each other in selfish pride. Tirek won’t ask, and Cozy won’t give. Neither can muster the trust required to open themselves, reveal their position, and allow friendship into their lives.

Comments ( 67 )
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Sure - that would count as an AU story.

Hello I have a question and it's tearing me up. Can I make two separate stories about Cozy being born to a unicorn family with Luster dawn as her sister if every character in the stories do entirely different things?

For one story it's the main focus and the other It's more in the background with a different Protagonist.

Comment posted by Sane Marbles deleted Sep 2nd, 2020


Okay, thanks.


Feel free to make a post in the forum! :pinkiesmile:


You mean like, ask someone to write a story that you have an idea for?

Question: Is it possible to request a story?

Keeping them alive could have also provided a good moral. You all saw how they were acting towards each other; their relationship wasn't all that healthy despite being friends. If they weren't turned to stone, they could have split up and gone their own separate ways, saying "Hey, not all friendships are good" which would have been a very mature moral to end on.

Comment posted by JimmyHook19 deleted Mar 17th, 2020


Btw, mind sending me a PM? There is another thing that I wanna talk about in terms of Season 9 ^^'

Like I said, I think the writers were just trying to go for a good finale, but in doing so, they forgot everything they believed in. Never forget who you are, and don't sacrifice your morals just for profit. That's something to take from this.

Well said. Obviously blame on the current writers for not looking back at past episodes. :/

Yeah I know exactly what you mean. Discord's character was completely ruined in season 9 and everything he stood for in the earlier seasons was completely tossed aside just for the plot. And then the only reason Cozy was able to do the things she did was because Discord freed her from Tartarus. They honestly could have just put her back in Tartarus since that was doing just fine (the morality of imprisoning her in Tartarus is a discussion for another day). I can't even look at Discord and the princesses the same way again as a result of their decision making. If they were forced to kill the Legion of Doom in order to save the lives of other creatures, then I would understand it. But the Legion of Doom was completely powerless and they were not a threat whatsoever, yet the "heroes" killed them anyway. The most screwed up part was that they were smiling as if they were getting off to ending their lives, particular the life of a child (and giving a child the death sentence is also immoral). Someone theorized that Discord wanted to save their lives since the princesses were about to murder them on the spot, yet you can hear Discord say "can I help, please?" Spoken like a true child murderer. And the punishment was honestly way worse than dying since now they're trapped forever with no one to hear their constant begging and pleading for the merciful release of death. It's times like this where I actually view the villains as the misunderstood protagonists and the "heroes" as the villains of a dystopia that ended up winning.

Same here.

And about her punishment, it's just so wrong given that:

1. She is just a filly

2. It goes against of what Discord said in his debut in the series back in Season 2:

"At least I don't turn ponies into stone."

Know what I mean on that? :/

Although they did mention that her punishment would be forever, there was never any confirmation about what happened to her in The Last Problem after the time skip so perhaps there is still hope that she is okay. If not, then there's always fanfictions about her getting freed that people can look forward to. I'm going to do one of that eventually because I can't stand to see her trapped forever. I want her to get a happy ending.

  • Viewing 48 - 67 of 67
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