Original Pairings 403 members · 539 stories
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The Red Parade
Group Admin


Hello everyone!

May is nearly upon us, and with its return comes a celebrated tradition. That’s right: once again, it is time for May Pairings. 

What is the May Pairings Contest?

If you don’t know, the May Pairings contest is all about original, rare, or unique ships that aren’t afraid to explore unique dynamics between characters. This means that stories about Lyra and Bon Bon, Vinyl and Octavia, or Rarity and Twilight wouldn’t qualify. Rather, we want to see stories about Autumn Blaze and Lemon Hearts! Daring Do and Treehugger! Octavia and Applejack! You get the picture.


Rules


  1. Your story should feature something that can be argued to be a rare, unique, or original pairing. The pairing does not need to be inherently romantic: student/teacher dynamics for example are fine! If the judges do not believe that your pairing qualifies it will be disqualified. If you aren’t sure, feel free to look around FimFic to get a feel of how popular/not popular a story is. If you still aren’t sure, don’t hesitate to ask!
  2. No OC’s, anon stories, or self-inserts. Stories with unvoiced background ponies are fine.
  3. Human AU’s, EQG, and Comics characters are allowed.
  4. Crossovers are not allowed as we want to focus on MLP shippings. Any other genre is fair game.
  5. Stories of all ratings are allowed: be aware that Mature-rated fics may not rate very highly and may even rate lower if not executed well!
  6. Fetish fics of any kind will not be accepted. We reserve the right to disqualify any story that we feel violates this rule. 
  7. The contest period runs from MAY 1st TO MAY 31st! Stories must be newly published between these dates. If your fic gets stuck in a publication queue please contact the judges! 
  8. One submission is allowed per author. Stories must not be longer than 20k words. There is no minimum word count. 
  9. Collaborations are allowed, however these fics will count as one entry for both authors. It is up to the authors as to how they will split the money if they win. 
  10. Stories must be submitted to the contest folder found here by the deadline to qualify. 

Remember to join the group for updates!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is [insert pairing here] rare enough?

A: We’ve fielded a lot of these already, and more are coming every day. The only way you will be disqualified is if you submit a ship that without question is against the spirit of the contest: AppleDash, RariTwi, OctaScratch, LyraBon, the likes. As long as you don’t do one of these ships (romantic or otherwise), then no matter the pairing, your story won’t be disqualified. However if it is still a fairly unoriginal pairing, it just might not score that high with our judges. 

Here are some quick self-check items that could help you narrow down whether or not you have a rare pairing, or just one that you personally have never read about before:

Do these characters exchange lines? If they have ever talked to each other, it’s probably not as rare as you think.

Have these characters shared a scene? If they’ve appeared in the same frame, you can possibly guess they’ve interacted offscreen.

Do these characters have an obvious connection? Two members of the Wonderbolts know one another. The pairing isn’t rare or spontaneous, it’s more just luck if you haven’t seen them before.

If these rules are still too squishy for you, please use the site search metrics to see if there exist stories starring the pairing you want to write about. Fimfic’s search function, both on desktop and on mobile, allows you to search by character tag. Punch in both your characters and see what pops up. If you get more than one page of hits, you might be up a tree.

Still not sure? It’s probably a “if you have to ask, it ain’t it” situation. Go back to the drawing board and challenge yourself to think creatively. Maybe check out the tag directory and look for characters who have very few stories to begin with.

The judges are no longer obligated to respond to this question.

Q: Is it okay for me to ship the pony version of [insert eqg character here] with a pony? How about the human version of [insert pony character here] with a human?

A: Of course! But the pairing still has to be rare! Pony Sunset X pony Twilight doesn’t get points just because twiset is most traditionally shipped with their human counterparts. Likewise, human SoarinDash is no better than pony SoarinDash. You came up with a unique premise, not a unique pairing. You’re not going to receive a good score for this (especially since the judges don’t like being punked).

Q: Is genderbending allowed?

A: Yes! But the pairing still has to be rare! Dusk Shine x Rainbow Blitz is not fundamentally different from twidash on the basis of originality - as above, the judges don’t like being punked! You won’t be disqualified per se, but you’re sure as sure not going to win anything by thinking you can cheat the rules.

Q: Are gen 5 characters allowed?

A: Yep! You can pair purely within gen 5, or pair across the generations for some truly unique and spicy combos. 

As a quick note: this event is being hosted by a new team of organizers as the original host is no longer on FimFic! I may choose to run things differently compared to years prior.


Prizes


The prize pool for this contest is $300 total broken down as follows:

$150 for first place.

$100 for second place.

$50 for third place. 

UPDATE: Each judge will also pick an honorable mention to receive $40!

A very big thank you to the sponsors that made this possible!



Judges:

DaOtterGuy

Howdy, hi! I’m the otter gay guy. I write mostly Flash Sentry being gay with different stallions, pairings that no one would normally write. I have been a judge once before for Bike’s MxM shipping contest and am excited to be a judge for this one! I look forward to everyone’s pairings entries and wish you all the best creative energy to write!

Red Parade

Heyo, I’m Red! You might remember me from Pillars Shipping or Bike’s Crackship Contest, or even HapHazred’s Write an Episode contest from a while ago.  I like original ships so much that I invented one! Ever hear of FiddleDust? It’s great and you should ship it. I also have tons of other ships too: Cheerilee and Meadowbrook, Strawberry Sunrise and Cherry Berry, Spitfire and Daring Do… the list goes on! 

Zontan

Hello, everypony! I’m Zon, and I mostly write stories that revolve around interesting characters and why they do the things they do. I’ve written a few crackships in my day, but I’m mostly going to be looking for characters who have chemistry with each other, and how they show that. I’ve been a judge for the Pillars Shipping Contest in the past, and that had some great entries, so I’m looking forward to seeing what you all come up with for this one.

Shaslan

There's no pairing like a rare one, and I love seeing the ways in which different characters' personalities can be explored by pairing them with different personalities. In this contest I'll be looking for writers who write the characters true to themselves while still finding a way to make crazy ships work. Can't wait to see what you all throw at us!

MushroomPone

Howdy, all! My name is Mushroom, and I've been in the original pairing scene for a while now - don't believe me? Just check out my profile! I placed as an honorable mention in the past two May Pairing contests and one original pairing speedwrite, and have written plenty of rarepairs outside of contests, too. It's definitely a passion of mine :) This will be my second site-wide contest as a judge - I previously judged for Bike's MxM shipping contest, as well. Super excited to see what everyone brings to the table! Let the writing begin!


Good luck everyone! Make sure to join the group here to submit and contact us with any questions! 

7680589
Well… let’s see if I can’t make something Sontavia work this time! 😎

This is super exciting, and I can't wait to participate!

I wonder, since the rules don't seem to explicitly say one way or the other, can the entry in question be a sequel fic? Particularly if the previous fic was also an entry in a past May Pairings Contest?

Because I have been toying with doing a sequel to the entry I submitted last year... :trixieshiftright:

The Red Parade
Group Admin

7680595

Sequels are allowed, however you should make sure that the fic has enough information to stand on its own! I can't guarantee we'll look at the prequel fic during judging.

7680597
Well, we'll see then. The idea was already going to have to be adapted a little to meet the requirements of the contest right out of the gate, so it depends on whether or not I can get all the logistics for it sorted out in time to submit.

Can’t wait to participate! Hopefully I can actually get a fic done for this!

7680589
Just double checking, if a pairing is common, but usually uses different versions of the characters does it count? For example, Sunset Shimmer and pony Trixie?

The Red Parade
Group Admin

7680682

that would be fine!

7680687
Excellent! I am currently considering one such pair. (But not that exact pair, or I would have used a different example. They’ll never see it coming! :derpytongue2:)

Oh mighty judges! I ask in the humblest terms possible. If you have a fic that is listed as incomplete, but is actually an anthology so the story part is complete. Will that be accepted?

I grovel before your answer.
ST

The Red Parade
Group Admin

7680736

If you do so then the chapter you submit must be a new chapter published within the time frame, you must tell us which chapter it is, and the entry may only be one chapter in the anthology.

7680589
Sludge x Trenderhoof x Zephyr Breeze gay polycule here I come!!!

Oh nice it's back, never got an entry in last year, so maybe I can revive one of those ideas for this. Been a minute since I've written any pony, so hopefully I can get back into it...

The Red Parade
Group Admin

7680695
A clarification because I've received a lot of questions about fics of this nature

UPDATE: Because I've received a few questions about EQG and pony stories, I've decided to issue a clarification. These stories (say, Sunset Shimmer and pony Fluttershy) ARE ALLOWED with a caveat. Stories that carry out ships like this should do so in a manner where this would make sense in the story. This means that we want original pairings in this contest, if we feel that the story is just two EQG characters together under the disguise of ponies, your fic may not score as well.

Oof, if I can manage to scrape up some spare time, but I couldn't make it last year either. >.<

Can it be a sequel to an entry for a previous pairing story, as long as it is a stand alone story but yet part of an earlier work?

The Red Parade
Group Admin

7680897

Sequels are allowed, however you should make sure that the fic has enough information to stand on its own! I can't guarantee we'll look at the prequel fic during judging.

Huh, maybe if I have a idea for a pair.

7680589
Okay, I thought of a pairing today that this site has never done before (even Derpibooru holds no images to it) and I'm considering to enter this duo of opposites. My problem, outside of the personal diagnosed one, is that I don't see these two getting very far in a relationship.

I might be overanalyzing things, but you said...

The pairing does not need to be inherently romantic: student/teacher dynamics for example are fine!

I see these two strangers becoming acquaintances (or maybe friends if I'm lucky) over the course of a single conversation by the end of the story. Will this service?

The Red Parade
Group Admin

7681187

Yes! That is allowed.

7680957
Good enough. Thank you.

Ooh, another little shot of motivation to add more to that one rare pair fic I was working on, haha! Again, I might not finish it, but any words at all will be better than none.

Good luck to everyone else, and may the words flow freely!

How do I add my story? It ain't giving me the option

The Red Parade
Group Admin

7682120

The folder was locked as the contest hadn't officially started yet. It is now open!

Ah kk

7680589
Question: Are genderbends allowed?

The Red Parade
Group Admin

7685921

Per this clarification

UPDATE: Because I've received a few questions about EQG and pony stories, I've decided to issue a clarification. These stories (say, Sunset Shimmer and pony Fluttershy) ARE ALLOWED with a caveat. Stories that carry out ships like this should do so in a manner where this would make sense in the story. This means that we want original pairings in this contest, if we feel that the story is just two EQG characters together under the disguise of ponies, your fic may not score as well.

I would say genderbending is an extension of this rule. Simply submitting rule 63 AppleDash will not qualify for this contest. The characters you select must constitute and original pairing and stories with characters simply genderbent does not make them more original.

Genderbending a rare ship will also not get bonus points for originality so if you do genderbend it should make sense in the story and you should have a reason for doing so other than trying to make it more original.

I was curious if the cast for this contest is limited to Gen 4 characters or if Gen 5 characters are allowed?

The Red Parade
Group Admin

7686348
Yes, those are allowed.

The rules have been updated as we have fielded tons of these questions

The Red Parade
Group Admin

An FAQ has been added to the rules to address common questions we've received!

I know that the rules say: "The judges are no longer obligated to respond to this question," so can someone else answer my question about shipping Miss Cheerilee and Troubleshoes? She has over 1,000 stories, but he has less than 40 of them. I have never used the character directory before and I do not know what story numbers/what the rules are that apply to the contest and being able to ship one character with someone else or shipping two characters together. I do not really have any characters that have less than 100 stories that I want to ship, so this is hard. Can I ship CheerShoes since one of the characters has less than 100 stories, and they do not share the same character tags when it comes to stories? Can I ship characters, friendship characters of both? Can I have more than one crackship if there is a main one that is the focus of the story?

Thank you for the contest and the answers to my questions please! :heart:

Bandy #33 · May 30th · · ·

Entry's in! Thanks to everyone who helped put this together :twilightsmile:

7690412
Searching is surprisingly difficult despite the existence of a few guides on it; however, try this search logic in the search bar for "STORIES":

(WARNING: your results will vary based on if you have MATURE on or not)

tag:cheerilee AND tag:troubleshoes (1 hit in Mature) - Therefore, it is a pretty unique pairing.
(The capitals for "AND" are important to include).

But the search logic appears to work, as proven here:

tag:cheerilee AND tag:applejack (95 stories)
tag:cheerilee (1393 stories) -- BUT NOTE in the Tag directory, 1394 stories are returned. :rainbowhuh:

The above logic can be applied to any pairing.

(also pinging 7680589 in case the search logic information may be helpful in a future edition of this contest [please credit if useful! :twilightblush:]).

Yeah, sadly I didn't see this soon enough, otherwise I might have given it a try. Oh well. :pinkiesmile:

Thanks for keeping the fandom alive everypony. Everything is so fun to read, I just binge-read it all cuz of the wow-factor of the interesting ships / summaries. :pinkiehappy:

7695691
OH, COOL! Thank you, this searching thing is weird, lol.

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