• Published 27th Aug 2018
  • 4,367 Views, 100 Comments

The Winning Formula - Bookish Delight

Twilight Sparkle and Sunset Shimmer have a leisurely talk on the couch. It is the most important–and dangerous–event in the history of both their worlds.

  • ...

[101] Forever the Best Match

Two lovers, wearing matching lab coats and safety goggles, pored over a display showing facts and figures, and physics equations.

"So, let's take stock of things," Sunset said, as Sparkleworks self-drove itself towards Canterlot's city limits. "Killer magitech monster on the loose, already demolished one city."

"Pure Equestrian magic, totally ineffective," Twilight said. "Which makes sense, as this all started by pumping a whole bunch of the stuff into a single technological conduit, and watching it backfire in our faces."

Sunset nodded. "Finally, I hate to bring this up, but we've got about two thousand words before we hit the contest limit, so we've really got to get this done ASAP."

Twilight rolled her eyes and groaned. "Ugh. Seriously, whose idea was this action B-plot? I liked it when we were kissing. Can we just go back to kissing?"

Sunset hugged Twilight from behind, causing Twilight to moan and snuggle back. "Let's consider that a reward for when we win," Sunset said. "Though still leaves us back to figuring out how. We have any dei ex machina lying around?"

"Love the nomenclature," Twilight said, "but as a woman of science, I'd never be able to live with myself." She walked to her lab table. "Fortunately, since I've been able to think straight for the last few hours, I have the next best thing."

"Yeah?" Sunset said, following her.

"Telling me about tapping into your memories gave me an idea. We combined science and magic to get us in this mess... and we're gonna do that to get us out."

Twilight held up what looked a small purple compact, which Sunset recognized almost immediately. She pointed at it with a gasp. "Isn't that—?"

"Sunset Shimmer, I give you a newly-minted replica of the Magic Container, Mark 10—the last of my iterations before I invented the Friendship Converter Mark 1. It can store unlimited amounts of electromagnetic and related energies for later use. Kind of like a... big, portable magic battery."

"Something tells me we should have tried this first," Sunset said.

Twilight sighed. "You're not wrong. Anyway," she said, handing Sunset the compact, "you've pushed yourself enough this week. I don't want you actually fighting. You're here as our supportive ace in the hole. I'll distract and weaken the spectral, you weaken it further by sapping and containing its Equestrian magic, which makes up the bulk of its form. The Phoenix Armor will provide protection and allow you concentrate on the operation."

"What about you?" Sunset asked. "How are you going to 'distract and weaken' it?"

Twilight picked up another item from the lab table. Sunset tilted her head when she looked at it, confused. It just looked a replica of the central star of Twilight's cutie mark. It took her a short while to realize what it could be, and she gasped again. "You didn't. Oh my gosh, you did."

Twilight nodded confidently. "My greatest offensive invention managed to put some holes in that thing thanks to you, and I think it's because it also employed a drop of magic, making it, effectively, my first successfully field-tested piece of hybrid tech." Twilight's eyes sparkled. "But remember, I iterate on everything. You're the ace, but I've got a queen in my hand, too." She placed the star back on the table. "Let's do this, and let's go home."

"After rebuilding it?" Sunset chuckled.

Twilight rolled her eyes. "Okay, we'll find a different home and rebuild the old one. Sheesh." Sparkleworks slowed to a stop, beeping once it did so. "Looks like we're here."

Both ladies exited the vehicle, to see the spectral in the distance, no less than five hundred feet away. Sunset raised her gauntlet. "Guess it's time. You ready, hon?"

Twilight picked up her cutie mark, and slapped it on her waist. Belt straps sprouted out from its sides, fastening around her, and the tips of the star lit up and flashed. She looked at Sunset with a smile. "With you beside me? Always."

Her heart warming, Sunset slipped on the gauntlet. Twilight took hold of her star, and spun it, as the two cried out, in unison:


A cyclone of flame surrounded Sunset as before. Meanwhile, Twilight was surrounded by numbers and mathematical formulas floating in space, which, after several moments, converged onto her and coalesced, morphing into striking, shining lavender armor.

Crashing guitars from Sunset's suit melded with orchestral strains from Twilight's, in perfect melodic harmony.


As usual, all the noise got the spectral's attention. Sunset wondered if stealth versions of these suits were possible.

"Remember," Twilight said via com-link, as the two ran towards the monster. "That compact has a one-hundred-foot range, so hang back! I want someone to marry when this is all over!"

"Same goes for you!" Sunset said, activating the compact and flying up to perch on a nearby rooftop. "Be careful, or I'll kick your ass myself."

"Knew I made the right choice of girlfriends," Twilight giggled—before her armor became a literal blur, and she took off at triple speed, afterimages trailing behind her.

Sunset blinked. "Whoa."

Twilight stopped in front of the spectral, who lumbered towards her. Twilight stood still, allowing it to get close—then raised her hand just as Sunset was about to caution Twilight to get out of the way. A white light shot out from Twilight's palm, and directly into the monster's eyes, causing it to howl and stagger back, bringing its arms up.

More beams followed, driving the spectral further back, after which Twilight spread her arms and snapped both her fingers. Ten flying drones materialized in various places around her, each letting loose their own energy volleys. Even when the spectral regained its vision, it found itself having to swat wildly as the drones—accompanied by multiple moving holographic replicas of Twilight that Sunset could only discern using the Phoenix Armor's sensors—pressed their attack.

"All right, pretty sure this is enough distraction," Twilight said as she ran around the area, targeting every blind spot she could find. "Sunset, do the thing!"

"Right," Sunset said, opening the compact, pointing it towards the spectral, and pressing a button. A familiar sound she thought she would never hear again emanated from the device, and waves moved from the spectral to the compact. In under a minute, its effects showed. The spectral roared, clearly in pain, as the colors flashing across its body slowly faded in saturation.

Discerning what was going on, it then turned its sights on Sunset. It cleared the building in a single leap, and before she could react, Sunset once more stared into the infinite universe, this time as it got ready to crush her—

"Get away from my fiancée!"

Twilight appeared above both Sunset and the spectral, via drones she had used as stepping stones, and fired energy blasts from both palms. "This armor knows your next move before you do, buddy... and it also knows when you're done!"

Sunset's heads-up display blipped, just in time for her to see Twilight's armor shining with a lavender aura.


Twilight propelled towards the monster at a forty-five degree angle, her right foot outstretched. Sunset blinked, and the sight before her changed again, to a bright lavender cone literally drilling against the spectral, slowly driving it back in midair. Still, the spectral fought back. It was like watching a tug-of-war in midair, without any anchors...

...and Twilight was losing.

Even with the spectral being drained, it wasn't enough. On instinct, Sunset's wings flared, and she rocketed upwards, compact in hand. She flew into the top of Twilight's cone, and to her surprise, their energies didn't clash. More to her surprise, in the cone... all was refreshing silence. The eye of another storm.

Until Twilight cried out.

"No! I've got this! You need to stay in one piece!"

Still holding the compact, Sunset wrapped her other arm around Twilight's shoulders. "Like hell! I've done the martyr thing already. Remember how you felt?"

"But... but, Sunset," Twilight choked, barely able to come up with a coherent reply, "I... I've done so much already. To our home, to you, I—"

Holding Twilight closer, Sunset closed her eyes, willing her suit's energy to transfer to Twilight's systems. She didn't even know if such a thing was possible, but if anyone could have built in such a failsafe, she trusted in Twilight to have.

"The first thing you did to me, Twilight Sparkle, was steal my heart. As far as I'm concerned, that overrides everything else. We walk away from this together, or not at all."

"I... yeah." Twilight took a deep breath. "Together. Always."

"Energy Transfer Accepted," Sunset's HUD read, as both she and Twilight yelled aloud, and poured on the pressure.

Fire swirled around the violet cone, and when that fire hit the spectral, combining with Twilight's energy, it was no contest. Twilight's kick, with Sunset trailing behind, drove the monster loudly crashing down, making a deafening crater on impact.

The smoke cleared. Twilight and Sunset staggered to their feet, bereft of armor. All that was left of the spectral was a pile of metal scraps and shards. The compact lay on the ground, beeping, showing a massive level of drained and stored magical power. All was quiet.

The two fell against each other, sitting on their heels and embracing, whooping for joy with what little energy they had left.

"Yes!" Twilight squealed. "We just beat an otherworldly magical being beyond which the universe has ever seen! Science!" She pumped a fist into the air.

"And it only cost one city," Sunset said. "And probably our reputations across two worlds."

Twilight rolled her eyes. "Yeah, all of that's going to take a while to mend."

Sunset nodded. "I can probably smooth things over with Equestria's ruling class, but what about you?"

"Oh, SSRC and I are probably totally done. And I wouldn't be able to blame them, either." Twilight sighed, and stayed silent for a long while, before finally saying, "I guess it's finally time."

Sunset blinked. "Time for what?"

"Oh," Twilight shrugged, "I've had some top-secret patents I've been sitting on for the last couple of years. Guess it's time to finally leverage them and go full entrepreneur."

Sunset raised her eyebrows. "What kind of patents?"

"Oh, you know. Quality of life stuff. You remember how you kept talking about weather experiments in Equestria?"


"Decided to give them a try on this side of things. Just as a side hobby. And then I figured out how to... y'know. Make weather. On command. That kind of thing."

Sunset gaped... then relaxed. "Okay, officially proposing a Rule #2: no more secrets. Between either of us. No matter how cool the surprise factor."

Twilight giggled. "Yeah. Those are starting to become overrated. I'll show you the other inventions as soon as we're back home. Wherever that ends up being."

"Good." Sunset's eyes shimmered, and the corner of her lip curled into a smile. "So, how long until we try your experiment again?"

"What?" Twilight did a double-take. "Are you crazy?"

Sunset laughed. "Well, maybe. But, speaking as someone who's been hopping between worlds for years now, you weren't wrong about the potential. If we can combine your world's tech and our magic, and make it not be, well, the thing we just fought..." She placed her hands on her fiancée's shoulders. "What I'm trying to say is that I believe in you, Twilight. And even more, I believe in us."

Slowly, Twilight's lips matched Sunset's. "Then we'll just have to keep trying, with lessons learned, until we get it right. Maybe we'll learn a new lesson about ourselves each time, too. For now, well..." Twilight's expression turned pensive. "I've been batting around names for my company for a while now. Off the cuff: what do you think of 'Northstar Technologies?'"

"Sounds great to me," Sunset said. "Symbolic, and stuff."

"I thought so, too," Twilight replied softly, bringing her face close. "We'll guide our worlds to better days yet... as well as each other."

The two shared a kiss among the rubble.

And now, more than ever, Sunset was sure she'd done the right thing.

Author's Note:
Comments ( 62 )

The Winning Formula
Opening Pandora's Box
Commencing the Experiment
Buildup and Release
Forever the Best Match ·

...Well, I hadn't expected more Build after the show just ended... Especially not in this way... Well, I guess I have to read this now...

I understand why you might make such a claim, but on the contrary.

To be frank, I don't believe he and I have ever held a direct conversation.

There can't be TWO nerds out there with an unhealthy obsession with Kamen Rider! :raritydespair:

Sunset nodded. "Finally, I hate to bring this up, but we've got about two thousand words before we hit the contest limit, so we've really got to get this done ASAP."

Twilight rolled her eyes and groaned. "Ugh. Seriously, whose idea was this action B-plot? I liked it when we were kissing. Can we just to back to kissing?"

Meta. HISS!

All in all I think you'll at least place for your sheer balls. I don't think anyone else's is this ambitious. Well, mine was, and then I stopped writing it when I noticed you'd entered as well.
I just have too fine a taste. This was just... kinda there. Not great, passable but not amazing.
You did miss an opportunity to reference an actually good anime by saying that Sparkle Power was an alternate name and going with "GET-AWAY-FROM-MY-FIANCÉE-KIIICK!"

The world is doomed. Doomed doomed doomed.

At least the people dooming it will be adorably in love? And no one died?

What ARE the criminal implications of accidentally summoning a technomantic Ursa Major anyway?

Of course not. All of my obsessions are perfectly healthy.

And yah, I saw you say a lot of similar things in FOME's entry. All I can say is that it's a shame that you quit, and thus we'll never know just what your perfectly-crafted impeccable-taste magnum opus was. :twilightsmile:

OH DAMN. Really cut me to the quick there. That one actually stung a touch.
Need some burn cream for that one.
I will be the first to admit that I'm a literary snob, don't worry about that one.
And also there's a bit of schizobabble in the last comment there that I didn't break up well enough. Having an overly honed taste doesn't speak to my ability as a writer or the theoretical quality of my entry-en-potentia, merely that a lot of beats that strike others just kinda fall flat on me because I recognize the literary mechanisms holding them up.

Which is why you're amazing, because you manage to regularly hook my Anton Ego level critic ass, and most of the time with story lengths and beats that I express distaste over others utilizing.

Yeah, that was me about ten years ago. :raritywink:

Real talk: eventually you get to the point where you still know where the tropes and well-worn story structures et al come from, but you give less of a crap about them being tropes/well-word beats cause you like 'em, and just thus lean as hard as possible into them instead.

Therein lies enlightenment.

Hey, good shows inspire.

I'm not complaining :twilightsmile:

I guess it just feels different when you do it. Or in some instances it feels different.
Like, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is word for word The Hero's Journey and borrows heavily from Nikopol / The Epic of Gilgamesh.
Ah. I guess I just recognize certain things for what they are. I don't see a certain block of prose, I see "and now the author is telling me to feel sad because this is sad", etc.

I'm so happy I finally have a good Kamen Rider book to read.

Yeah, that's pretty much why I wrote this. KR and MLP/EQG can totally overlap, but everyone who I've seen try to make it work hyper-concentrated on the fights, the guest stars, and on trying to replicate TV-N in prose. :rainbowlaugh:

Oh hey I remember these people! They do pretty good covers, and whoa that's some godlike piano

As a Rider fan, I really liked the driver announcements.

(posted this before I read the thing)
ok..... this has to be related to Kamen rider build.........


(the challenge was getting them just Engrishy enough)

Fantastic stuff from start to finish. As long as Twilight remembers to take emergent properties into account, these two will create twin utopias.

If not, eh, twin smoldering crates works too. :derpytongue2:

Magnificent work throughout, though the nod at the word limit was a pretty harsh bump to my immersion. Still, thank you for this.

This story:



This is probably the most you story you've ever written, and I mean that in the fondest possible way, even as it neatly sidesteps all the bits I expected to see at the outset. Heartwarming, heartrending, and dripping with personality in all sorts of ways in a concise package.

Thanks. :heart:

and good luck, inasmuch as you actually care about the contest


Omg this was good. KR, a bid to Zest’s future, Sparkleworks, SF reference, shdnfjsuebfushwvrj!

So something I should have asked, is this THE future of your other Sci-Twi/Sunset ship stories or just A future? Because it's a bit of a difference...

It'll take another fic and a couple of retcons (mainly because I just blew up SCC) but until further notice I do enjoy the idea of this being a bridge between present day and Super Best Friends Forever, yes. ^^

It's sure a new perspective on why they've been away from Canterlot City for so long, and precisely HOW they laid the groundwork for all that reconstruction...

Slowly, Twilight's lips matched Sunset's. "Then we'll just have to keep trying, with lessons learned, it until we get it right. Maybe we'll learn a new lesson about ourselves each time, too. For now, well..." Twilight's expression turned pensive. I've been batting around names for my company for a while now. Off the cuff: what do you think of 'Northstar Technologies?'"

Hmm, that sounds... familiar. :trixieshiftright:

Easily one of the best Kamen Rider-inspired stories on this site. Loved every moment, even if the time-hopping got me a little confused at points.

Makes me want to revive my old Kamen Rider idea I had for a fic. Though I think now it won't be as... TV-N, as you put it!

I am! Working on the first Episode now.

And then they both went to the kind of jail that’s basically indistinguishable from a dark hole.

The real Tirek's Revenge!


Clearly, part of the future timeline is their escaping custody, going on the run together, and setting up an independent nation that no-one quite wants to mess with because of the Rider armor. Then eventually earning the world's trust back, from a position of 'Yeah, just don't try okay?' Spark Queens of Pedestria! Because all those Princess Lessons Sunset got have to be put to good use.

Also superheroics, when people who are NOT them cause catastrophes.

Magnificent as always. Astounding work Bookish, but I think Excite? Wrong theme. This however, is.

Two riders, the ultimate bond? I'll ride with you and no other, along with a mystery? It works.

I'll be honest, it was the title and chapter names that initially caught my eye, and then I saw Sci-Twi doing Sento's pose. After reading this, I gotta say it was pretty amazing, and before the Rider Armor kicked in, I thought Sunset had gotten something similar to the Ember Celica from RWBY. Still, a wonderful KR-themed story, and it's definitely getting added to my favorites! :twilightsmile:


Hot damn, I do love Kamen Rider. I'm gonna miss Build.

Also, Twilight kept the Rider Kick to herself? Rude!

So, can we expect more adventures of the two Riders in the future?



So how does this exactly fall into Kamen Rider Build? Which is the only reason I'm here at all. I'd normally ignore this story like the plague because of the massively overrated ship it uses.

Ryouma is still one of my favorite characters from that season.

Be glad I channeled him and not Maki. :trollestia:


And :rainbowderp: wow, you... actually caught some deep cuts, down to my specifying Twi to have Sento's pose (took me a while to choose which one, he's got a few) for the cover commission, and my having Ember Celica half in mind when I gave Sunset the gauntlet.

Have a gummy cookie, you've earned it. :rainbowlaugh:

So. The title is named after Build's catchphrase. And each of the chapters are named after a portions of the transformation sequences and episode titles. AWESOME! I'm making my own KR story on this site too! PM me if you want to hear it. It's based on Dragon Knight.


And here I'm like, "Hey, henshin, I know what that means."

Well, this was a thing. I never watched Kamen Rider, so I probably missed a lot of references. Still, pretty decent.

Freezing happens due to heat moving from the warmer object to the colder (as the two try to find equilibrium), but the expansion of nitrogen gas would need to be accounted for, unless, like I said, there was a re-condenser to take the gaseous nitrogen and convert it back into liquid nitrogen. I am pretty certain that is the only way a closed system like that could function.

I mean, I could be wrong, I was not a physics major, so my understanding of it might be flawed, but I do not believe just using a chemical that is liquid at a certain temperature would act as a good coolant in and of itself, at least not in a closed system. And any closed system that was able to condense and cool nitrogen into liquid nitrogen would likely have a larger power requirement than just using said system for condensing and cooling directly.

You just wanted to write an animé-style adventure, didn't you? :raritywink:

All that was left of the spectral was a pile of metal scraps and shards.


I would say the story probably needs the crossover tag. As far as I can see it doesn't include any characters from elsewhere, but a large part of its appeal is borrowed from there? Especially as there's no hint in the description or the artwork that it takes inspiration and channels the appeal of anything other than FIM/EG?


Well, at least she didn't get possessed by the spirit of an unfathomably ancient and unspeakably evil alien horror and erect nation-dividing walls and a dark tower to pave the way for a planet-destroying black hole.


But if you used Maki, there'd be adorably creepy dolls perched on people's arms!

No more pasts—only present and future

That was a fun line to read--if partially in a slightly eerie way and partially in an envious, “I wish I’d thought of that line first” kinda way. And then it was nice to see it evolving into a probably healthier philosophy by the end.

Aaanyway. I’m starting to think I need to make an exception for you when it comes to SunLight, because I enjoyed that aspect of the story much more than I thought I would. Part of that, I’m sure, was that there was, y’know, a magical accident tearing up the city to shift the focus away from the heartfelt Feelings Talk and such--not to say that Feelings Talk doesn’t have a place in any happy lesbian romance, because of course it does, but there’s only so much of it I can sit through in a stretch, so weaving the emotional romancey scenes in between the more stylish action scenes worked really nicely. There was I think one point where I was a bit confused about when a scene was taking place to others, but it got cleared up pretty quickly.

That being said... I’m not sure I’d second what Summer said about it needing a crossover tag, because it didn’t feel like I needed to be familiar with a particular anime to understand this. However, I don’t know what anime was drawing inspiration from, but there were definitely moments where it felt like I was supposed to just accept that a thing is happening because that’s how it was in some anime, and I probably would’ve appreciated knowing that would be a thing going into the story.

I also was really not a fan of the part where Sunset and Twilight talk about the contest’s word count limit. If the rest of the story had been doing stuff like that, maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad, but as an isolated incident, it was really jarring.

But I can see why you brought it up, because I think this could’ve benefitted from being longer. It wasn’t easy, I’m sure, mixing the romantic drama with the imminent mortal danger drama, so I think it turning out as well as it did was fantastic and really impressive, but also that the relationship drama felt a bit rushed and too easily prompted and resolved. Which makes sense--these girls are figuring out how to fight a giant rampaging magitech thing, of course they’re super stressed and distraught. But it would’ve been nice to see this play out over a longer wordcount, I think.

For what you had to work with, though, I think this came out really well. Definitely one of the more enjoyable contest entries I’ve read so far. I hope the judges like it :twilightsmile:

Bookish is one of the top EqG writers on this site, especially for romance, so I came into this fic expecting delightful sweet Sunlight silliness.

My reaction was... mixed.

A fair amount of the problem might be that I've never watched any Kamen Rider. I'm familiar with a lot of anime, and I'm sure I've seen stills and GIFs of Kamen Rider, and I recognise the general sentai tropes. But specific references go rather over my head... and these aren't the kind of references that can satisfy fans of the other show whilst silently bypassing people who don't know it. These are the kind of references that leave those of us who don't know the other show feeling strongly like there's a lot we're missing out on, for the most part. I can't turn up what "Northstar Technologies" is referencing even with Google.

It felt to me like this should have had a crossover tag because I felt I couldn't follow it without knowing KR :ajbemused:

But nonetheless, lots of it was enjoyable. :pinkiesmile:


  • Twilight having put things in place for both the "External Emergency Protocol" and the "Internal Emergency Protocol". Lovely moment, both completely unexpected and yet entirely in-character, and with great emotional depth.
  • The "PHOENIX SHIMMER" and "GENIUS SPARKLE" taglines were fun and funny and awesome and evoked the sentai feeling even if I don't know what they're specifically referencing.
  • Rule #1. Both the way it seems like a very good idea at first, and the way it turns out to be a big problem. That was great characterisation.
  • The justification for using the term "Rider" was nicely done :twilightsmile:


  • Mentioning the word count? :trixieshiftleft: I can tell you were running tight on space, but...
  • When Twilight produces the magic container. I'm sorry, "Something tells me we should have tried this first" / "You're not wrong" doesn't really excuse leaving that till the final act. :facehoof: It'd be better if there was something preventing Twilight from making that until ch5.
  • Destroying Canterlot City and Sweet Apple Acres :applecry:
  • The proposal felt... oddly shoehorned in, almost like a tangent. Perhaps in fact it was that these two had been together for so long already it didn't feel like getting engaged was changing anything. They're clearly in the "long-term committed relationship" category, and clearly perfect for each other, so not being engaged felt like just a minor failure to keep the relationship's status field up-to-date. :twilightsheepish:


  • Sci-Twi doing magitek. Should be awesome, and to the extent I was able to visualise stuff, it was. I got an Iron Man vibe from some of it. But the results, especially the action sequences inside the suits... What's going on with those suits and their visual splashiness is, well, very visual. Perfect for a movie or a TV show. Probably workable in a comic. But in prose? I'm afraid I felt like the images weren't transferred very effectively from your imagination to mine. Sorry :unsuresweetie:


I can't turn up what "Northstar Technologies" is referencing even with Google.

Don't search through toku stuff for that one.

Search other Bookish stories. :raritywink:


It'd be better if there was something preventing Twilight from making that until ch5.

There was. It's stated plain as day in Chapters 4 and 5.

Okay! Finally in a spot where I can talk freely.

Thanks for the detailed review. I love this sort of thing, and I can totally understand your points. To touch on a couple:

- Don't worry about the references, because there were almost none! The only references to KR in this story were the terms "Rider System" and "Henshin." The "feel" of the story otherwise was all made up by me, cribbed from various anime and games, and as one reader already mentioned, Northstar is a shout-out to my old stuff. There's nothing you need to know about any outside fiction, hence no crossover tag--but hey, if you ever start watching tokusatsu, come back and read this again! :pinkiehappy:

- I actually really like writing over the top stylish action, but I'm super-rusty in that respect having written for this fandom for almost a decade. What few skills I have left will work for some and not others. I greatly look forward to being able to start stretching those muscles again when I start writing original fiction next year, and thus being ale to communicate this stuff even better in prose. At least your were able to realize the visual spectacle in the back of you mind, so I consider that a win. :rainbowlaugh:

- I would have loved nothing more than to write my usual brand of Sunlight silliness, but I was explicitly advised that it would not have gone over well for this contest. As such, I decided to have fun in a different manner. :twilightsmile:

You, milady, are gracious and generous: bless you. I've been feeling bad about posting an at-least-half-critical comment on a fic by an author whom I greatly respect. I know how hard work it is to create something like this, and I wasn't sure whether to voice my mixed feelings. I found myself coming back to this fic in my mind a few times, though, and I thought I wanted to express how it came across to me as someone who didn't know KR. (It seemed most of the other commenters did know it. Possibly, in fact, that was why I felt so overwhelmed with references I didn't get: not because of the actual content in the fic but because of all the references in the comments! Which of course aren't even within your control...)

But then after posting it I've been feeling sad because I know the effect a critical comment can have. It can be easy for one negative response to drown out ten positive, and that's not the result I wanted to cause at all. I'm glad to see you respond graciously and take it in the constructive spirit in which it was meant!

Interesting to hear you got explicitly told your usual style wasn't what the judges were after for this contest! That does explain why you took a different tack,
:twilightsmile: The terms and constraints for this challenge were certainly interesting, very restrictive in some ways even while leaving other things wide open.

All the best for the contest results!

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