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Cozy Glow Short Story Contest #3


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Contest #3 Results

Runner Up:

TEvening Glow
Cozy Glow finally feel content, her life back on track again. A visit from Princess Twilight brings back uncomfortable memories though, and sometimes you have to face the past head-on. matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel.
Lunaria · 11k words  ·  38  2 · 631 views

Review: Any experienced reader knows that many, if not most works of fiction offer some form of escapism, whether through the triumph of a hero, the resolution of a hard-won relationship, or even the torturous survival of would-be zombie victims. Evening Glow is not one of those stories. Rather than providing the relief of a climactic inception of a happy ending, it explores the grinding reality of a family broken by mental illness, and how its youngest member has had to adapt to it. In so doing, the story develops an origin story for Cozy free of magic.

One of the basic survival mechanisms of life is to create a narrative contrary to the bare facts – a faculty that can be characterized as being of deferred sincerity, or rather, with a sincerity only detectable with the consideration that all are compelled to participate. We are first introduced to the craft by our parents, whose job it is to inculcate in us the notions of home, neighborhood, and country. What narrative is written by a parent who has lost their mind? The answer that Evening Glow gives is there isn’t one; the bare facts are revealed to any child unfortunate enough to be set adrift in such a way.

This rendering of Cozy Glow sees her solve the problem by settling with her partners in crime in a family setting (not without the mischief we see her instigate in canon, however). She therefore takes the reminder of her biological family that Twilight conveys as an intrusion; it’s a symbol of abandonment and the beginning of her unwanted journey of self-reliance. What follows is an accurate depiction of the emotional ordeal of coming to terms with an unwell mother who was unable to raise her. For readers not familiar with such a situation, it’s an excellent call to awareness; for readers who are, it’s a message that they aren’t alone.

3rd Place:

There's a new streamer in town, and she's shaking things up.
bahatumay · 15k words  ·  23  4 · 340 views

Review: A recurring theme in Gen 5 episodes is the use of social media. As with any technology, it’s seen to have the potential to be beneficial (as with the rescue of Pipp and Zipp by the Pippsqueaks) and dangerous, in the frequent anxiety it causes Pipp. This is a natural parallel of our all too real world, of course, with its various platforms enabling the spread of both accurate and false information.

Livestream effortlessly spins off a variation on this theme, integrating the canon G5 cast and technologically advanced universe with the designs for world domination of a visitor from the past. The modus operandi of the antagonist is to take questions from their audience and present two answers: one working toward mutual benefit, and another promoting manipulative, antisocial behavior to achieve one’s goals. By gaining followers, the mysterious streamer promulgates an atmosphere of social isolation and self-absorption; an excellent means to divide, and to conquer when the time is right. The reader sees this play out in particular through the erosion of the Pegasus royal family.

So effective is the immersion, after reading Livestream I found myself half believing it was an actual G5 episode. At the same time, the transformation that one of the main characters undergoes is disturbing in its satire of real-life addiction to social media. I would venture that more than one of us knows a family member or close friend whose opinions, when revealed through this or that website, were a complete and unpleasant surprise. This seamless encoding of social commentary in the language of MLP is worthy of Cozy herself, and earns this delightful story a high recommendation.

2nd Place:

EDouble Solitary
Cozy Glow is unimpressed with her new cellmate.
Casketbase77 · 9k words  ·  142  7 · 1.5k views

Review: Many stories do one or two things well: deep characterization, captivating worldbuilding, an addictive plot, innovative format, or a handful of other features of fiction that engage readers. Double Solitary does all of the above, to the extent that it was difficult to elaborate on its strengths without taking up several pages. It becomes necessary to focus on an aspect that, on analysis, points toward all of these factors.

The touchstone I’d highlight is the cover art (which of course was a conscious choice of the author as much as any of the prose). We are immediately intrigued by an image of an older Cozy Glow, who bears what appear to be permanent remnants of her imprisonment in the form of stone patches on her coat. Her feathers are tattered, and she is burdened by a pair of shackles that don’t look like they’re ever meant to be removed. She is in agitated conversation with Luster Dawn, who is glaring angrily back at her. This version of Cozy is a fantastic representation of the character we see in the story: a hardened, unrepentant villain, fallen from a former grace and power, physically changed by years of misbehavior and punishment. The image also encapsulates the story’s main accomplishment: it is a finely crafted extrapolation of canon that is exemplary of what all fanfiction attempts to do.

The action takes place many years in the future, in the Equestria that bridges G4 and G5, which as we know is plagued by a magical crisis that affects the entire principality. Luster Dawn, Twilight’s faithful student, is tasked with solving a related threat to the princesses. To achieve her goal, she must deceive an incarcerated Cozy Glow into giving up a secret that only she would know. What follows is a brilliant dynamic between Cozy, who trusts no pony, and Luster, who must put on an act to gain her trust. Beneath the drama of the conflict, there is also the wonderful irony of Luster’s need to use deceit and feigned innocence to save her mentor. A complete moral critique is sidestepped, however, in that Luster’s motive is to help others, whereas Cozy’s had always been self-serving.

From the beginning of the story, disbelief is suspended by a firm, consistent rooting in canon. This is critical given the highly original direction in which the plot and the characters are taken: a new character (Luster) solving a new problem (magical disease) in a new environment (future, magic-free Equestria). Cozy is her arrogant, egotistic self, but she is aged by subtle details (for example, being sedentary as opposed to energetically flapping about as when she was a filly). With such an effective setup, the reader is kept guessing as to what comes next, with plenty of incentives to find out.

1st Place:

TAfter Glow
Even after everything, Twilight doesn't know much about where Cozy Glow came from. The truth is far more dangerous than anything she could have imagined.
TheDriderPony · 5.8k words  ·  323  4 · 2.6k views

Review: The prompt that TheDriderPony chose for After Glow—that of the one object that gives Twilight pause as she clears away Cozy’s belongings at the School of Friendship— is a difficult one, in that it implies the absence of the character in question. The challenge is then to focus on said character without the use of direct interactions and dialogue in the present tense. The solution? In this case, it’s epistolary revelations in the form of a journal that Cozy had been keeping.

The opening lines are the first steps up a steady upward ramp of psychological horror. The reader’s attention is immediately captured by the somber tone that colors the limited knowledge and perspective that Twilight starts with. Ignorance is not bliss, but wistful disappointment in the way Cozy’s education turned out. Then she finds the record Cozy had been keeping that bears a strange resemblance to her own Friendship Journal, and on reading it, comes to doubt her entire world.

A detailed review of the plot is impossible without spoiling the punchline of the story. In general terms, however, it can be said that it raises such questions as, “what is real?”, “is moral action possible?”, and “is the concept of ‘good’ meaningful?”. One is unable to have complete knowledge of the consequences of one’s actions; the butterfly effect can go any number of ways. Particularly when time travel is involved.

While the prompt was challenging, TheDriderPony did more than execute on it to near perfection. They wrote the story that begged to be written.

Comments ( 73 )
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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


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.


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
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