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OC Slamjam


Official Account for Running the OC Slamjam!

Sequels1

  • TOC Slamjam - Round Three
    A compilation of all entries received from Round Three of the OC Slamjam, where authors invented OCs and were paired up into brackets to write a story about their opponent's OC and their own!
    OC Slamjam · 50k words  ·  30  1 · 756 views
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This story is a sequel to OC Slamjam - Round One


The Official Compilation of all entries from Round Two of the OC Slamjam run by Obselescence, where authors invented OCs and were paired up into brackets to write a story about their opponent's OC and their own!

THE OFFICIAL CONTEST COMPENDIUM - Use this to find the relevant entries on everyone's OC. Control+F helps a lot in quickly finding names.

You have until 11:59 PM CST on Friday, June 19 to cast votes on your favorite entry from each bracket. Each chapter contains both competitors' entries, each attributed to the author who created that OC. Cast your vote in a comment on the relevant chapter by writing "[OC Name]'s Author" in bold at the top of your comment. You may cast one vote per OC pairing. Votes should ideally be cast based on characterization, overall writing quality, and how well the author utilized the character sheets contained in the official contest compendium.

To retain anonymity, authors are allowed to cast votes on their own entries. You don't need to vote on entries marked as won by default. To spread the votes around, please try not to start from the beginning.

Chapters (17)
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Comments ( 450 )

Damn, was really hoping we wouldn't have any drop outs this round.

6086142
This makes two straight rounds in which Falcata's advanced by default.

If her Round of 16 opponent doesn't write her as a secret assassin, I'm going to be thoroughly disappointed in each and every one of you.

6086151
Fool, now you know her secret! Your life is in danger!

*Giant explosion in the distance*

Come with me if you want to live!

Heather Rose Author

I liked that it built on aspects of the character provided in the previous round. That was very good. It also held my interest in the face of Steam Summer Sale, which is no mean feat.

Abstain.

I have difficulty reading poems and the like, so I can't really vote on this one. But, Mango's author: I love how you referenced Candy Cane - it's almost like a continuation of the last round! I also liked how it started and ended in pretty much the same way. I got a laugh out of that.

MIZUKO AUTHOR

Was this fic written by the same person? Why is this one so much better?

Am I being trolled?

Sorry I couldn't show up, Falcata! Was just tired all week. :/ Lovely entry though. ^^

Minie Ball Author

While I think Haystacks' is much better without the narrator floating around, I'm very surprised Minie Ball's managed to stay away from the racism and make a little love story.

Wanderer D
Moderator

Minié Ball's Author

Okay! Since there's less stories this time around I'm going to attempt my best at randomly reading them and leaving a more significant comment than a little vote and some observation.

And of course I would choose first a story that was complicated. Dammit. Again, I dislike Minié Ball as a character, which is funny, given that I have therefore a stronger reaction to her than a more likeable character like Haystacks. To begin with, they're both good stories, and I find it interesting that both had the characters know each other from childhood (although to different extents.)

On Minié Ball's Story

What I liked: I think I enjoyed more the exploration of her character than anything else. Although the romance was an interesting subplot... it's a bit interesting how her character is handled around the slaves servants when that is not put as the focus of the character. It's... natural in an uncomfortable way, a bit of an Elizabeth Swann vibe there. She's distinctly aware of their roles and places, but it's subdued by the same thing. Even her romantic situation has less to do with that and that is a big plus.

What I didn't like: That I voted for Minié? No seriously, I have a hard time really finding a reason to dislike it. If I were to have any problem, it might have been that the romantic resolution between the two of them felt a bit forced, even tho it evolved to that point naturally.

On Haystack's story

This is the opposite, I mean, it's well written, but it felt again as if it were yet another single-focus on two aspects that had been explored before. Business and slavery servitude. And I hate that, because it affects an otherwise excellent story.

What I liked: Haystack's non-verbal communication. Spot on. So many people (me included) always make less of the non-verbal cues in stories, and they are ever so important. The reflection of Minié's business acumen and her ability to read body language was a very nice detail and I can honestly say I would have never done it as effectively unless an editor jumped in and demanded it of me.

What I didn't like: The uncomfortable discussion about slaves servants to begin with. I mean, I get it, because of the :twistnerd: at the end, but it's that same twist that I also have an issue with. When re-reading Haystack's character sheet, there's NO mention of his mom being a hinny. It's... sort of an important character trait, but okay, let's set that aside... the fact that his mom is a hinny, makes this whole thing about slavery servitude all over again. I know it's a writer's trap, there's no way to avoid bringing it up somehow, but at the same time, making it so that it affected the character as a direct result of it, just... didn't really work for me.

Summer Heat's author

I'd been looking forward to this one.

Summer Heat's story plays Iron Curtain as the clown that he was in his first couple stories. The fact that Iron Curtain is actually a serious character in his own author's story is kind of out of left field. There's also the fact that it's more exposition whereas the first story is action.

Both fics made okay use of the character sheets but in radically different ways. I prefer the one that played it straight and made it work over the one that used a post apocalyptic AU as a way to do something new.

Two solid entries. Now time for me to go read the rest in order.

To continue my proud tradition of shamelessly self-promoting, and at the risk of it getting completely lost in the sea of vote comments, let me again point out my author roundup post. :ajsmug:

Summer Heat's Author

Made me smile quite a bit. Only issue is this unnamed observer. I'd prefer it was kept between the two.

Wanderer D
Moderator

Mango Leaf's Author

Ye gods, these two stories couldn't be more different! Overall, they concentrate on completely different things, but I do strongly feel that Mango's author wrote an actual story that involves both characters rather than being an exposition of their traits and some personality.

On Rachis's Story

What I liked: Dude. I could never write something like what you did. Talk about thinking outside the box! And you also went for an AU, which makes it even more outside. It was a bold choice, and the rhymes are excellent.

What I didn't like: Like I said above, this is a nice poem, but it's not really a story and it doesn't have the characters truly interact. It draws a bit from the previous story (vs Obvious Question) in that it's basically exposition of the character traits, rather than an exploration of them. They don't even talk to each other. The AU, although I liked it in some ways, also detracts a bit in that it separates it from a more relatable world.

On Mango Leaf's Story

What I liked: I've never been to Hawaii, so I had to look up some stuff online to find out that Honolulu really is not part of the island of Hawaii. Anyway, I liked the immersion into this distant land and the play on Rachis' tendency to get lost. The cultural additions via language and common expressions were also nice, and the fact that you made a shout-out to Candy Cane was nice and gives the story some sense of continuity.

What I didn't like: I feel the balance is tipped more to a Rachis' story, and Gillette is less of a character and more of a prop. I guess there's not much to do about it if you want to focus on Rachis and Mango, but there were a few hundred words left for you to add some character to her.

Mizuko's Author

A nice pair of ghost stories, but I liked the description in the first better. I was a tad disappointed that Mizuko didn't get much development, but Wispy sure did.

Okay. Gonna do what I did last time and go through all the entries in order. At least this time it's a little shorter. And I'll have less reviews to write.

So, first of this round's default winners, and I have to say that it's very... insubstantial. The two characters meet, there's a misunderstanding, and then it's over. Neither character really makes much of an impression, develops, affects the other in a significant way... I just don't get the feeling that anything really happened here. I've already forgotten how the story resolved, and I read it five minutes ago. I'm not sure what advice to give to the author other than to be more ambitious. Or more creative. Preferably both. There needs to be an impact, both on me as a reader and on these characters. As it is, this was pretty dull and forgettable.

Editing was also sloppy. Be sure to proofread your submissions in future. Missing spaces and line breaks are both really obvious and distracting errors, and they're amongst the easiest to catch, so there's really no excuse for this.

Best of luck to you in round 3, author.

Booster Bone's Author

I was drained at this point so an edit for what I thought.

These stories are essentially the same in terms of plot so I based it entirely off of what they were aiming for, IE, which made me laugh more. Booster's pulled through but not by as much as it could have. Both of these are pretty solid.

Heather Rose's Author

Oh man, I got hit by a wave of depression when I read this entry and realized it was only the first one. Round Two is going to be tough! I kept looking for things to nitpick in Heather's story, thinking this one would come down to the wire. Both authors did well in the first round, after all. But by the end of the second story, my mind was made up. Sorry, Luster.

Don't get me wrong, both authors did a great job. I actually had the authors mixed up until halfway through the second story because they each did such a good job with the other's OC. Both of them did research for their opponent's character, which is fantastic. Luster Lock's author had a great Heather Rose, and Heather Rose's author had a great Luster Lock. Funny how that works sometimes.

What won this for me was the writing and plotting. Heather Rose's story felt professional, moving the characters and the story forward organically and overall made more sense. Luster's was good, but there were a couple things that happened that felt more implied than shown, like whatever Luster was planning with whatever was causing the disaster, or just what happened at the end there. (Did Heather not like her beer being called bitter? Did she start a bar fight? I'm really not sure.)

Heather's story had more little things that impressed me, like this line:

“You could weed your garden by salting the ground, too.”

The setup for it was admittedly a little "eh" (words like "pretentious" and "Mary-Sue-esque" come to mind, but I would never actually write those down), but the way Luster uses her little insight is just downright clever. You would never see a joke like this in amateur work, it's too subtle.

Of course, Luster's story had its moments, too:

Luster’s eyes widened, and suddenly Heather’s flank was the unwilling subject of a rather focused (and creepy) bout of peering. “You’re just what I need!” the mare shouted.

That made me laugh. The story didn't keep me laughing, though. It was an interesting premise (though I'm not sure if it fit Luster very well. Is this really the same author that wrote that amazingly flirty piece from Round 1?), but the execution didn't really commit to humor, and didn't have enough of anything else to balance that.

But everyone wants feedback, so here's some criticism for Heather's Author. I felt like Heather herself could've gotten more attention in her own fic. The only real character-defining moment was the open gate thing at the end, but it didn't tell us much about her on its own. I think this was kind of a problem in the first round (honestly, I just don't remember which entry was which author), but I think that's just because Heather Rose is just that sort of character. It takes very careful writing to really bring her out and make the most of her.

I'd say it was a so-so entry. I didn't dislike it, but I was kinda underwhelmed. I think that you'd benefit from using a little more of the words allowed. Like DannyJ said, don't be afraid to be ambitious.

Other than that, all I really have to say is that it's a shame there were more drop outs, even with that extension.

6086513

This is going to be a running joke, isn't it?

Dunkstein and Slamough is best Space Jam remix

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Liked: The very odd setup, of a unicorn applying for a job in weather.

Disliked: The dialogue really lost me. It's too explainy, and not much gets accomplished for it.

Wanderer D
Moderator

Mizuko's Author

Alright, I was trying to do random, but 6086249 's comment made me go straight for this one. I remember my comment about how Mizuko's author would have to do a complete turn in quality to even come close to getting my vote... sir, I stand humbled and I have eaten my hat accordingly. I still feel that you need to balance her character but... yeah.

On Mizuko Author's Story

I was expecting Mizuko to be some sort of Sadako (or for that matter and even more creepy-related, Mitsuko from Dark Water), with the whole swimming/water thing and ghost stories, and I was disappointed it wasn't at least lampshaded :twilightblush:

What I liked:

Static Shower… Proper Prim… Candy Ca—

:rainbowlaugh: Oh man, I shouldn't laugh. Much better written, and the ghost was very interesting and unique!

What I didn't like: Basically, unlike the less-well-written Mizuko Prequel, her character here could have been anypony. She tags along for the adventure, but her character is not even explored.

On Wispy Willow Author's story

There was a lot of effort to sort of explore the characters, but at the same time it fell short of really doing so in a credible manner. I just didn't feel like you grasped either character's full potential.

Liked: You spent some time working on each character before they met, setting up our ideas of them early on and letting us see into their heads a little bit.

Disliked: Neihponese and surprised by crowds when she's basically the daughter of a salarypony? Fishing for pearls in Manehattan? Uh... sorry, it just threw off my ability to suspend disbelief. This story oddly enough reminds me of Mizuko's first.

Pretty interesting.

I liked the interactions between the two, the dialogue seemed pretty solid to me, and I think that the reference to your last opponent was a nice touch.

If I was to pick at something, I think that they got over finding a dead body fairly quickly, but when you've got a word cap to worry about, some things get left out.

Good luck in the next round.

Foxglove's Author

I dislike stories with a clear cut resolution that don't follow them. Call the cops, you dumb idiot. That's what they're for.

6086151
If we both make it that far, you have my word.

I wonder how many points I'd lose by killing my OC in the final round?

Heather Rose Author Vote

A shame (no offense, Heather Rose's author), I was hoping that Luster Lock's story would be just as great as the first one, because I prefer her. Unfortunately, it was just pretty good, so my vote goes to Heather Rose.

Nitpicking the first story, I'd say the scenario is a little odd, but the author takes it and runs with it. Awesome.

For the second, Luster seemed a little different in characterization from the first story. Still enjoyable, but I think I enjoyed her more in the first round.

Strong efforts on both sides, which is awesome to see in round two.

Luster Lock's Author

I'm going to shoot for being a bit more detailed this round, I think. I've got the time for it now and there's only half the entries, after all.

Both were kind of contrived in how they got the two ponies interacting, but not egregiously so (and it tickled me how both authors described their own character physically through their opponent's character's eyes in a very similar sort of way, right after, i.e. "Detail X, detail Y, detail Z. This was a [type of pony]."). Both had a similar sort of feel to me, though Luster's author's seemed to lean a little more towards comedy. Both also felt kind of similar in terms of writing style, too, though they differed in their style of narration. And I enjoyed both decently well.

Some key differences have me giving Luster the leg up, though:

1.) In terms of those differences in narration, I'll first say that both felt a tad non-standard to me, with Heather's author cutting between characters' perspectives from scene to scene and then paragraph to paragraph, and Luster's author so firmly entrenching the narration in one character's perspective that it might as well have been in first person, but wasn't. Of the two, I found the latter to be more successful, if only because the former had an instance or two where the perspectives seemed to get a little muddled mid-paragraph or mid-sentence, and it tripped me up.

2.) The editing. Luster's author's entry had some spots that bothered me, but Heather's author's entry had that plus more hard errors.

3.) The two stories had very different attitudes towards what was presented of their opponent's character (and maybe, to a lesser extent, their own) in the previous round. The Heather in Luster's author's entry felt markedly different from the Heather that Heather's author showed us last round—the most readily namable thing probably being all the German and her habit of mixing it into English speech, which had enough context and impact on the story that I liked it—while the Luster in Heather's author's entry seemed to be shooting for as much accuracy with Luster's Luster of last round as possible. I feel like I could like either approach, but the Luster in Heather's entry was so close in some ways that it felt like retreading ground that didn't need to be retread—the extreme example being that the line of dialogue about the bolt cutters and lawyers pretty much felt lifted.

4.) In terms of how they used their own characters as opposed to the previous round, I might say that both kind of seemed to be relying on what they'd already covered in the first round entries, sort of. By which I mean that the author's own character was the less explored of the two, in both entries. The difference here, though, is that it felt more purposeful to me in the Luster entry—like it was a function of the narration being entirely from Heather's point of view, or like Luster was supposed to come off mysterious and/or strange to Heather and the audience. In the Heather entry, though, it just felt to me like the things that Heather was about didn't get a focus because they didn't matter to the bulk of that story—it was kind of restricted to short segments before and after she and Luster were actually interacting, for the most part. And on that note…

5.) The plots themselves. The one in Heather's author's entry interested me well enough towards the start, but I got a bit bored as it went along and just became that back and forth and shooting-down of ideas for a while (especially when one idea got shot down early because Heather's trunk was on the train, and then a later idea proposed that the trunk go be gotten for a different purpose but was shot down for a different reason). The plot of Luster's author's entry felt strange in that it was like the Luster bits were just missing, kind of, but overall, I was more invested in it as it went along.

Back to speaking in general, I'll say that I thought both entries were good about not contradicting the sheets (mostly, but I'll refrain from giving my specific complaints because they're pretty minor), and the characterization overall was fine, but not mind-blowing. I'd be down with either author moving forward—I wasn't disappointed by either entry, and I hope desperately that I can say the same about most every pair in this round.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

HEATHER ROSE’S AUTHOR

Steam, Snow, Salt, Stamps
Liked: Cattywampus, the bit about the necklace, and the six-bit coin. This was a genuinely pleasant read, and keen details like those really helped.

Disliked: POV shifting when they’re both together.

The Facts of Ponyville
Liked: Germaaaan! :D And I’m so glad you didn't translate any of it.

Disliked: The asides were lengthy and a little overbearing, even if they add to the setting.

Wispy Willow's Author

Through the fence’s iron bars, he could make out some names on the front-most tombstones.
Static Shower… Proper Prim… Candy Ca—

Oh, snap. There's definitely something to say about this, but for the life of me I don't know what it is.

I love Wispy Willow. His stories are so much fun, just because of the whole ghost-hunting thing. Also, gotta love another pair of parallel stories. Well, they both involved Wispy investigating a haunted house (or sawmill) and Mizuko being along for the ride. Close enough.

Mizuko's story was just as good as the last one (which most people didn't like, but I did! Thank you very much.), but Wispy's gotta take this one. Mizuko's stretched my suspension of disbelief just a little too much some times. (What was Mizuko doing outside a graveyard in the middle of the night? Why does she know so much about EMF detectors but nothing else Wispy uses?) Plus, Mizuko could've been anyone else. Nothing about Neighpon, nothing about diving, just a girl worried for a ghost hunter.

I will say Mizuko's author did a very good job with the setting. I felt that atmosphere, and I was satisfactorily creeped out by the ghosts. But the story suffered for the characters, especially their dialogue. The whole time the two of them were talking, I just thought, "This is not what normal people would be saying here." Plus, the author's writing really straddled the show-don't-tell line. Sometimes it felt very tell-y, and other times it looked like the author noticed that and fixed it by the book. Anyway, I lost interest in the characters, but I did keep interest in the haunted house. Great job on that.

Wispy's story did a much better job of establishing both characters and bringing them together in a way that made sense. In a lot of ways, the pros and cons of the second entry are complementary to those of the first. The characters were done so well I skimmed past all the imagery and setting stuff. Though I do really like the idea of timberwolves in a haunted sawmill. That's creativity, right there. And making both of Wispy's entries into a sort of canon is not something I really expected anyone to do.

That dream sequence of Wispy's was just plain fascinating. As soon as Mizuko stumbled onto an old abandoned sawmill I knew basically how things were going to play out, but nope, Wispy's in a castle! Having adventures and succeeding in being awesome! Points to you, author, for mixing things up.

Mizuko's Author Vote

It looks like this author took some of the feedback from the last round to heart. Overall a fairly enjoyable story. Even though I think that Wispy's Author did a better job of setting up why Mizuko was there, I think that the rest of Wispy's story wasn't quite enough to outshine the good parts of Mizuko's.

Much better than the first job, great job.

Heather Rose's author

I liked the integration of the German and the lighter tone in Luster Lock's entry, but I have to subtract points for the vagueness of Lock's plan, which I didn't quite understand, as well as her... shall we say, inconsistent portrayal compared to the last round. Heather Rose's story I thought brought together the characters in an interesting way and presented an equally interesting scenario to get them to spend time together. I don't have any major complaints with Rose's entry, so while the problems with Luster Lock's entry were really minor, and I like both stories, I do think that Heather Rose's was technically superior.

I thought I remembered the story of how Falcata was turned to stone better than I actually did. After consulting the sheet it was technically a cockatrice that turned her to stone, but that isn't really the impression I got while reading the first entry for Falcata. I'm being pretty nitpicky about this, but I believe that a small mention of an evil witch might have helped with clarity, because the witch probably left a stronger impression on the readers than the cockatrice.

That being said, I enjoyed this more than the Falcata entry last round. It just felt all around better to me, so I'm not going to name anything specific.

Heather Rose's Author

Though I'll freely admit Luster Lock's author's German was impeccable. :twilightsmile:

Lilligold's Author Vote

I have a sneaking suspicion that I have a lot of good entries to look forward to as I keep reading, if what I've read so far is any indication.
Enjoyed both, and they both seemed like they did the characters justice to me, but I liked Lilligold's more.

I don't really have much more to say, good job, both of you.

Mizuko's Author

The biggest problem with Wispy Willow's author's entry is it's heavy use of exposition, particularly in setting up how Mizuko fits into it all, whereas her own author avoids this by setting it in a place where both characters could feasibly meet each other with just a small measure of contrivance. Wispy's entry also takes quite a long time to get the story proper rolling, and leaves little room for characterization as a result.

Mizuko's entry is far from perfect, but it tells a more compelling story with more concrete characterization from beginning to end. Also, that tombstone joke was hilarious. :rainbowlaugh:

6086537 Not necessarily. Some Mortal Kombat music would be a good alternative.

And you lie! Nothing beats Gerudo Jam!

Loud Mouth's Author

I think that they both did well with the characterization, but Loud Mouth's felt more powerful.

6086789

Maybe that might make a good final round theme.

1v1 me

Lilligold's Author
Holy crap, I surrender. Lilligold wins the contest. We've been hustled, guys! I don't know what happened between rounds, but whatever it was gave LIlligold's author superpowers of writing. And I was so disappointed with her Round 1 entry! Seriously, what happened?

This is the first time in the whole contest that I've read something and thought, "Wow, I wish this was a longer story!" That opening, with Written Word telling Price Back about Elmshire, got me really excited to see what came next. Just that description of the city, the sights to see... dang.

I wasn't at all impressed with Lilligold as a character before, but I never realized just how much room for creativity there is with her plants. And her author used them to show us Lilligold's character instead of just being a sideshow. And the same goes for Price Back. I loved his Round 1 stories, but I didn't realize how much they left out about character. I don't think I would have if I hadn't read this thing. I had to go back and re-read the character bios because of all this stuff I missed from Round 1, like Price's impatience and Lilligold's desire to stay out of the spotlight. This author took those bios and made art with them. I mean, look at this!

He lashed out his hoof on impulse. It struck the nearby cactus, sending a thousand tiny pains up his leg. He roared and grasped his hoof.
There was a tiny gasp. Lilligold shoved her way past Price Back and scrambled towards her cactus—which had fallen from its table. Its pot was smashed, and the light within it strobed frantically before fizzling out entirely. Lilligold lifted it in her silver aura and slowly rotated it through the air. She placed it on the table and bowed her head.

Price Back goes off on his rant and Lilligold just kind of whimpers, until he smacks a cactus. He roars and the pot smashes, and she goes for the cactus. I had chills.

Price Back's author did a really good job, too, but this is as tough as the competition gets. Sorry, buddy. You write great comedy, but not so great slice-of-life, apparently.

On another note, it seems that you can't write a story about Price Back without some serious meta overtones. Go back and look at the conversation between Price Back and Written Word about Lilligold's plants from Lilligold's story and Lilligold's whole speech to Price Back from the second one, and tell me these aren't self-aware OC's commenting on each other and this contest. Here, have some quotes:

Price Back rubbed the bridge of his muzzle. “You want me to write about plants,” he said.


Next to that, who’s gonna care about some roses made of glass? It’s a neat gimmick, sure, but a whole piece?” He shook his head. “I can’t spin that.”


“They’re not made of glass,” Writ said as she straightened her papers. “They’re made of water.”
Despite himself, Price raised an eyebrow. “How does that even work?”


"Speaking of which… we’ve been talking a lot about me; what about you, Lilligold?”


“I’m focused on writing; that doesn’t mean I base my entire personality off it!”

Seriously. They know what's up.

And this:

“You looked like you were kind of lonely and just sort of hanging around, so… viola.”

orig14.deviantart.net/28ef/f/2010/144/c/4/viola_motivational_poster_by_agw7897.jpg

Rachis Barbule's Author

This is a very ambitious piece that explores a rather dark, alternate universe in verse. The story itself is creative, the writing is evocative and the rhyming couplets fit the fairy tale-like nature of the story very well. Despite poetry often being more difficult to read than prose, I felt the writing was more coherent in this story whereas I found the writing in the first piece to be quite clunky (e.g. the first sentence). My main criticisms of Rachis' piece is that the two characters don't interact much. While the first piece had some good, funny moments, the second piece had a higher degree of difficulty and was executed better.

Wanderer D
Moderator

Evergreen's Author

I'm afraid I don't have that much to say about this one. Maybe it's the time? Anyway.

On Evergreen's Author's Story

What I liked: Evergreen. I really like her character, I'm not sure why. Is it because she reminds me of Fluttershy? Anyway, this whole deal with her bringing the rough and tumble of the wilds into the city. That was funny. I also liked that there was an actual villain but...

What I didn't like: his plan was pretty flawed if he ever was seen by anyone.

On Fillygree's Author's Story

What I liked: It's a daring move to put Fillygree completely out of her element, and I liked that you did bring up how she plans for specific things, but not for the whole picture.

What I didn't like: We didn't really learn much about Fillygree's main thing, which is the jewelry.

Iron Curtain's Author

Mostly because they made Summer Heat feel less Mary Sue-esque while still keeping true to her character. Otherwise, both stories were about equal across all other criteria.

Also, both made a glaring mistake each:

Summer Heat's story

An uproar of laughter mixes with a surge of cheering and whistling as Summer takes off at a full gallop,

This is the only time where Summer's name is dropped, but never once did she give it herself, so it's erroneous that the narrator would know it.

Iron Curtain's story

“Summer Heart.”

How does one mispronounce their own name? :rainbowhuh:

Fillygree's Author
This was a close one, but the latter story wins out for me.

Fillygree's Author

This is a tough decision as both stories are really good. The first story has a well thought out plot, is well paced, and enough misdirection to keep the reader guessing. Overall, I might say that it's a slightly better story than the second entry. However, Fillygree's story explores the characters in a much deeper way. Evergreen's story has Evergreen doing ranger things and Fillygree doing jeweler things; while Fillygree's story also has Evergreen doing ranger things, it also digs into her personality and her motivations for living out in the wilderness as a Ranger. Lines like

“Like, I kinda got used to it, ya know? After a while, it started to seem normal. And now—” she looked up and shrugged “—it's the only way I like my coffee.”

not only add humor to the piece, but also highlight her reluctance to open up to a stranger. Although I hate to mess up a potential Redwood vs Evergreen matchup, I have to go with Fillygree in this contest.

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