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Cozy Glow Short Story Contest #4

Progress

Guidelines in development [X]
Submission period closed [X]
Story evaluation in progress [X]
Story evaluation complete [X]
Monetary base prizes purchased [X]
Winners announced [X]
Monetary base prizes awarded [X]
Non-monetary prizes awarded [X]


Contest #4 Results

Runner Up:

Subsumed by 3rd place tie

3rd Place:

TLife On Equus
A BBC nature documentary narrated by David Attenborough. They might have a few things wrong...
AlwaysDressesInStyle · 3.4k words · 436 views

To introduce our first (tied for third place) story, I will say with no exaggeration that it’s one of the funniest fanfics I’ve read on fimfiction. I can’t immediately think of any others that had me laughing from start to finish. Beyond appealing to my personal sense of humor however, Life on Equus probes into deeper conceptual waters: how a sentient species such as ours views other species, in varying degrees of ignorance about the level of sentience of the creatures being studied. Or to take it further, in ignorance and disagreement about the nature of sentience itself. Beneath the playful satire is a subtle mockery of cocksure homo sapiens, a clown routine of humans intruding. Humans spectacularly missing the point. Humans thinking they know better.

None of this should reflect poorly on Sir Attenborough, the lead character of the story, of course. Environmental conservation is a serious matter. Not to worry, though, the butt of the joke is not the beloved commentator, but rather humanity: by the end of the documentary we are put in our rightful place relative to our pony overlords in the hierarchy of the animal kingdom.

TThe Angel with One Wing
It was Cozy Glow's first Nightmare Night in Ponyville. She had picked the ideal costume to represent her and she would spend the night with her new, best friends: The Cutie Mark Crusaders. And maybe, she could even find her second wing.
Fluttercheer · 11k words  ·  14  1 · 326 views

Our second third-place entry reminds us that at the heart of every good story is … a story. After all of the critical analyses of form and content are done, effectiveness comes down to the act of the writer communicating with their audience, compelling them to trust and to remain engaged. Necessary to establishing trust, of course, is sincerity, and that’s the quality that shines through most brightly in The Angel With One Wing.

The first hint of the author’s skill at reaching out to the reader is in the title. The Angel here is a reference to a well-known Final Fantasy antagonist. Before scoffing at the inclusion of a video game motif, recall that Ermac of Mortal Kombat fame was present and accounted for in one of the foundational episodes, “Luna Eclipsed”. More important than the precedent, however, is how this closes the authorial distance. Whereas many writers (the reviewer included) prefer to hide behind narrative layers and misdirection (happily embracing our own deaths), Fluttercheer invokes a popular character to find the audience where they live, while simultaneously setting up the dynamism of the story’s protagonist, Cozy Glow.

Cozy begins by identifying with the arch-villain. Her plans for the conquest of Equestria are her personal secret, which she gleefully keeps from her CMC friends. The single wing of her Nightmare Night costume, notably, is too big to be practical, and unwieldy as she proceeds through a number of horror-themed adventures that are refreshingly faithful to canon. The wing, she eventually discovers, is an encumbrance, much like the harboring of negative intentions and revenge is said to be. Ultimately she finds herself in a position to make a choice as to whether to continue bearing the burden of duplicitous self-absorption, or cast it off and embrace her true identity, which is not all that different from that of her companions. In this way, Fluttercheer intelligently combines the moral of the story with the tone with which it was written: sincerity is the key to connection.

2nd Place:

TThe Roles We (Are Fated to) Play
Princess Flurry Heart becomes infatuated with the filly imprisoned in the statue.
AltruistArtist · 14k words  ·  234  12 · 2.8k views

To begin, I’d say that The Roles We (Are Fated to) Play is one of those rare stories for which extreme attention was given to ensuring that all of the threads are woven into a cohesive whole, such that all are visible in any given passage. It’s PACKED with self-referential allusions and foreshadowing, with uncommon, though perfectly apt words sprinkled throughout like gems in a tapestry. The technical quality alone makes it a delightful treat for readers who appreciate complex and nuanced prose.

But there’s far more here than formal sophistication. It’s tagged as a romance, but could be considered to be just as much a ghost story and a mystery, with elements of psychological horror. Coming to terms with the implications of her immortality—particularly how it separates her from the majority of pony kind—Flurry Heart finds herself drawn to another filly who has fallen out of the cycle of aging, but for seemingly less natural (and wholesome) reasons. Cozy Glow becomes, in some ways, a surrogate self for the princess as she takes the first steps into maturity; a kindred spirit and object of infatuation that brings society’s treatment of “others” into focus for her. Most romances involve some level of danger for the author: the audience may not see the plausibility of whatever the central pairing is, and as the goal is typically to provide vicarious substitution of the reader, there is always the threat of apathy, a hard pass, or if some aspect of a favorite ship doesn’t meet expectations, a ragequit. AltruistArtist defangs this risk by highlighting more fundamental questions about the featured relationship, with Flurry’s pursuit of Cozy more a descent into or an exploration of an identity than the blossoming of an amorous friendship.

And so, the story bypasses the typical angst over immortality (outliving one’s sweetheart, etc.)– it tolls out the protagonist’s spiraling rumination on an eternity of being idolized, above any law and a victimized, miserable exponent of love rather than a participant. It’s a meditation on fairness, or the lack thereof, of one’s circumstances. Flurry isn’t just different from other ponies; she feels guilty about her social and biological privilege, and how Cozy is punished eternally, whereas she is eternally adored.

Then there is the wonderful ambiguity of one interpretation of Flurry’s visions of Cozy. Are they all hallucinations? Has the prospect of never dying destabilized her to the point of wanting to escape into another psyche – of one that has died? It’s notable that Cozy never gives Flurry any information that Flurry wouldn’t have known otherwise. Rather than being a specter summoned by Flurry’s connection with her (no spoilers!), she could be the product of a mind that’s lonely to the point of desperation – a yearning for a life that’s meaningful by being flawed and finite, where forgiveness is possible because the flaws are acknowledged.

1st Place:

TDoubt Itself
They're supposed to be inspiring, Sunset's stories of ponies with familiar names and faces. But to Cozy Glow, her other self is a warning she's grimly taken to heart. Too bad about the whispers still in her head. And the urges.
Casketbase77 · 15k words  ·  138  1 · 1.1k views

Our first place entry is not the most complex or symbolically rich submission. Nor is it the most far-reaching in its ambitions. What it achieves instead is to believably represent and dramatize the struggles of mental illness in the language of the Equestria Girls (and FiM) universe. It also brushes against the root of what this reviewer believes was one of the secrets of FiM’s success in general: attempting to communicate something of value to the audience in good faith, while avoiding PSA territory.

There are two major conflicts here that are on a collision trajectory. The first is between Cozy and herself. The megalomania and dark triad behaviors of the Equestrian Cozy are translated into severe schizophrenia combined with antisocial personality disorder in the EqG counterpart, in this case characterized by hallucinations and sadistic urges. Already struggling to control herself, she loses her medication on the way to school, dooming her to a building crescendo of voices and violent fantasies as her classes proceed. The reader’s trepidation likewise builds with each ring of the bell (aided by the chapter names). Who will her victims be? What will she do to them? What will be the aftermath? At the same time, one can’t help but feel compassion for her given how hard she’s trying to remain calm and protect her classmates. This results in a masterful, seemingly effortless blend of emotional coloring that captures the real life eclecticism of interacting with someone affected by a psychological disorder.

The second conflict is between Sunset Shimmer and time. Teamed up with Equestria’s Pinkie Pie (to her surprise), she starts off behind the eight ball: having been the one to notice Cozy’s peculiarities and convince her to get help in the first installment of this series, she has taken responsibility for her, and has now missed their daily check-in. The dramatic irony is amped to the max in that she has no idea that Cozy’s illness is spiraling unchecked, and only begins to suspect after an awkward pre-class encounter. This, of course, strengthens the impact of every missed opportunity for the truth to come out, whether we’re following Sunset’s quest to reach Cozy before disaster strikes, or Cozy’s inner battles conducted in ignorance of the efforts of her friend.

The intersection of these conflicts (and their resolution) is a brilliant use of the Canterlot High/Equestria dual universe world structure of canon as a mechanism of using the solutions of one to address the problems of the other. To cite the Wikipedia page on schizophrenia: “People with schizophrenia are commonly exploited and victimized by violent crime as part of a broader dynamic of social exclusion. People diagnosed with schizophrenia are also subject to forced drug injections, seclusion, and restraint at high rates.” It could be argued that the sad fate of Equestria’s Cozy Glow is a reinforcement of an exclusion/retaliation cycle, which would have been best cured by defusing self-doubt in the manner exemplified by Casketbase77’s Sunset Shimmer.

Comments ( 74 )
  • Viewing 55 - 74 of 74

Oh cozy
I think of her as Really evil but anyone can be reformed with enough time

446238

Apologies for the delay - had to bust out some fiction of my own (I only have a modest amount of brainpower left and can have but one thing going at a time, nowadays). I'm rereading yours at the moment, and plan to have both done by the holidays.

Poke poke.

No reviews for the 2nd and 1st place entries yet, eh? I understand. December is a busy time of year.

Still, I do hope they get written and posted relatively soon. Like Cozy herself, I'm a grubby little glutton for attention.

OOF I didn't win or get runner-up. Oh well, everyone else did a great job and the competition was too strong with this one. XD

445745

It's a wonderful day to be Cozy.

One hour left to go for Annual Contest #3! Lots of submissions this year.

It must warm a little filly's heart to have so many dedicated storytelling friends.

439687

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

438471
Gollygollygolly

436984
Okay, thanks.

436983

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

436966

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.

  • Viewing 55 - 74 of 74