• Published 23rd Apr 2013
  • 1,295 Views, 24 Comments

All The Prizewinning Prisons - Twifight Sparkill

• Twilight Sparkle judges the annual Ponyville writing contest, and quietly wishes she was illiterate.

  • ...

Death of a Kafka Salespony's Pet Cemetary Shining Memento

All the Prizewinning Prisons: Death of a Kafka Salespony's Pet Cemetary Shining Memento – by Twifight Sparkill

The Ponyville library had held a writing contest for as long as most denizens could recall; once a year, ponies would be prompted to submit their creative offerings to the reigning curator for judgement, and the winner would be presented both a decorative plaque and limited print of their work by the mayor to much local fanfare.

Having arrived from Canterlot and placed surreptitiously as caretaker of the local Golden Oaks Athenaeum, the student librarian wholeheartedly endorsed the literary competition upon hearing of it: the premise promoted both literacy and creativity, two things the scholastic mare held in high regards, so naturally she was thrilled about its potential prospects. For the first few rounds, the tournament bolstered her titilation – all manner of provocative and enticing ideas offering profound local exposition delighted the majority of entries, so the contest became a grand affair which she looked forward to every year.

Regrettably, things change.

Admittedly, had she'd known then of the bitter disappointments to come, she would have likely called an immediate stop to the madness when it was still a nearly palatable task. She should have known better – things that seemed too good to be true almost always were, and now she alone stood to pay the exorbitant price for her kindly naivety by subjecting herself to this endless sea of drek.

Hooray for books.


Nestled within the suffocating confines of her unkempt study, Twilight rubbed aggressively at her tired burning eyes whilst straining to manage the last headache-inducing pages of what had been another lettered disaster. The strangling fatigue currently eating at her soul was fighting back the overwhelming urge to set everything on fire – herself included. Plus Spike.

Strewn about Twilight Sparkle's unkempt workplace were mountainous piles of submitted material, within which the lavender unicorn remained stoically entrenched; fibrous sinew of belief in the common good of others that threatened her very existence, all laid simply in a mass of massacres that overwhelmed for their sheer insisting mediocrity. Unlike the works of scholars and genius artisans Twilight was prone to selecting in the wee hours, instead she begrudgingly tackled an enormity of asinine assail that consistently perverted her workaday manner of reading.

All for a pointless contest, heavy sigh.

Every entry was required to be judged, juried and executed appropriately by the head librarian's applied decision alone, for rules dictated many years prior her appointment, lest it all fall into an amateur's ill-equipped hooves – admittedly Twilight could never be so unreasonably cruel to anypony else by forcing this pathetic diatribe down the throat of an ill-prepared volunteer, so the burden remained her own out of... sympathy, she figured. Honestly, nobody should have to suffer so harshly as long as she continued to be a willing monthly martyr mare.

Collected, all submissions managed to equate amateurish attempts at voicing ideas through cursive convey, and none particularly satisfied or flowed well, making the matter of their reading a confusing catastrophe of indecipherable textual wreckage. All had become a senseless and nerve-wracking wash of horrific hardship writ in the confounding manner of ne'er-do-wells that dared to bludgeon even the most stoic of genuine piousness into submission – Twilight endured the competitive torture despite, though every damned month it became more and more daunting. The librarian quietly wished she could die right there, right then in amongst the cesspool of stories, even considering the more painful manners in which to depart her insufferable mortal coil rather than endure even one more moment of this horrific scripted conflagration laid in lewdest display.

“What I wouldn’t give for a bout of hysterical blindness right now,” she whimpered.

Had she known that nearly every pony in the Celestia-forsaken town participated in the blasted endeavor – perverts, convicts, the CMC – not to mention that she was singularly expected to read and subsequently decide upon a beneficiary amongst this garbage, she might have considered plucking out her eyes and electing the whole matter irreconcilable, braille or no braille. The very matter alone remained a staggering workload of bleak hope, rending any optimism dead within seconds these days. Why? Why her? What did she ever do to deserve this? Gone were the talented scribes she’d met and familiarized herself with in those beautiful first months, and now were left the very drudges of recorded society to rot the meat between her ears.

If only she'd known.

Despite the persistent allure of self-mutilation, this month’s torturous task was nearly done – having miraculously staved off her brain’s incessant desire to vomit blood from her earholes for having endured literally hundreds of impossibly awful stories, the last wretched sentence dripped from the last page of the last entry, as if writing could weep for itself:

"... and then they bucked."

Twilight blinked a few times. She wasn't entirely convinced there was a horsey Hell when she’d begun reading the most recent entries, but in the end she was inevitably convinced that Ponyville was indeed this enviable equine eternity she’d heard so much about.

“Next year, I’m definitely going to pull my eyes out,” she avowed.

Indeed, at one point there were a plethora of wonderful works to choose from, as inspired and enlightened as anything she’d ever attempted herself – in comparison to some of these amateur authors, she was a plebeian. However, as time progressed, these authors would surreptitiously vanish, and the remaining tomes would be… wanting, if no other manner was left to describe their horror. Insufferable homages to what was once greatness, perhaps, better summed the current status.

Be that as it may, the newly selected winner sat amongst a mess of dissected literary crap; a prized and primped success amongst an otherwise veritable ocean of garbage. In her hooves now sat the only offered prose warranting even the barest of note, and though she loathed to even consider the rest of the publications more than once, it was certainly the decided best of a pile of dreck. Now there was nothing left save to offer the author her ribbon and victory, to be announced before all of Ponyville, upon which would be an audience and reading of the champion’s particular brand of jilted expression.

Still, it was almost nearly worth the effort, right?

"... sigh."


As the next day dawned, the lavender unicorn was stirred by the smell of freshly-brewed coffee. She dared to open one eye and survey her immediate surroundings, being surreptitiously startled once coherent.

“Oh no!” she yelled, leaping from her prone posture to full-blown panic. “I overslept! What time is it!?”

“It’s time you stopped dozing,” a familiar voice chimed, drowning a couple of sugar cubes into the hot brew he’d placed before his crazed benefactor. “Unless you want to keep sleeping, of course. I mean, you’ve been going nuts with those manuscripts for a while now, so maybe you’d prefer staying unconscious? I’d collect your mail, I promise.”

Spike mopped the lip of the carafe he held with a quick swath, then turned towards the kitchen upon dutifully placating poor Twilight. Goodness knew he didn’t want any part in discussing or – Celestia forbid – reading what was there before the exhausted librarian. He vaguely recalled being delighted for being allowed to assist the unicorn once a couple of years before, when the contest had first started – the literary scars remained to this day: what exactly was a clopfic, and why did it make him feel funny between the legs? The answer wasn’t something he wished to discuss with anypony, especially Twilight herself, so best it was never brought up or considered again. Even he had his secrets, especially where the invasive purple unicorn was concerned.

“Oh Spike, you’re amazing,” Twilight whispered, taking a generous sip of the black, sweetened ichor poured purposefully into her favorite mug. “Did you sleep at all last night?”

The dragon poked his head from the kitchen, giving pause to his dishwashing duties. “Better than you,” he quipped. “I slept on a pillow and blanket – you slept on cheap parchment and bad ideas.”

Spike paused then, recalling their previous conversation from the last month's contest.

“Oh yeah, before you ask, I still don’t know where the suicide pills are,” he droned before disappearing into the scullery.

“Pity,” the librarian chimed, letting the caffeine reinvigorate her senses. “I could seriously do with a bit of instant death right now.”


Having gathered all the necessary work in front of her, Twilight made some last-moment notes – she had all the important parts of the presentation ready; a succinct and poignant summary of the winning work detailed in point form, and all the stereotypical accolades prepped for the proceedings. All that was left now was to inform the winning writer of their accomplishment, thank goodness. Now she would seek out the proponent and provide all the proper bestow due such an achievement and forget any of this had ever happened – until next month, at least.

After an hour of lugging a heavy set of saddlebags into the remote sprawl of Ponyville’s outskirts, Twilight was happy to finally spy the dwelling of her favorite local fiction author. Lyra Heartstrings lived with her friend and otherwise remarkable author Bon Bon, out at the very borders of the town’s rural lines. Though the roads were rough and the dusty dirt paths a hindrance, the lavender unicorn felt a boost of energy now – finally, she could complete the next portion of her test and become one hoof closer to ecstatic climax! All she had to do was get through the following pleasantries and she could go home and take a long, hot bath to soothe both nerves and knotted muscles.

One last step, so close now.

Before the purple unicorn could raise a hoof to knock, the door suddenly slipped open, Lyra peering at her with disdain.

“Hello friend,” Twilight announced in greeting, absently picking through her saddlebags once being greeted silently by her unexpecting beneficiary. “I have, as almost always it seems these last few months, a manuscript that's won the monthly Ponyville Writing Contest. Shall we go over its specifics before we present it in the town’s square? If only so there’s no concerns, hm?”

Lyra shook her head.

“That doesn't belong to me,” she stated matter-of-factly, indicating whatever it was that Twilight possessed.

“I beg to differ,” Twilight returned, pulling the aforementioned tome into sight. “This is your work. I’d know this style anywhere, in fact. It’s all compiled as it should be, made grammatically proper and purposefully personal; a style of writing I couldn't mistake from anyone save yourself around here.” The lavender unicorn returned the manuscript to its original placement, then made to enter Lyra’s domacile. “Now, if we could just get on with the...”

The green unicorn held out a desisting hoof, stopping any further encroachment.

“You've made some mistake,” she stated plainly. “That isn't my story. I don't know who you're referring to, but I don't write stupid fictional stories for pointless contests. Whatever it is you possess there, it has nothing to do with me and you should go away.”

Twilight blinked a few times. She had checked and triple-checked the submitted authors throughout her arduous ordeal, knowing exactly who had written what story for their eloquent styling and obvious tendencies. This was a Lyra Heartstrings work, damn the hills.

“Um,” she began, “I don't think I've made any fault. This has been undeniably written by Lyra Heartstrings, and... that's you.”

The green unicorn remained stubbornly adamant.

“That's not my writing. You must have mistaken me for someone else.”

Twilight stared at Lyra for a while, wondering idly if she’d perhaps forgotten she’d even entered the contest.

“Look,” the purple unicorn whinged, “I realise that you're an artist and prone to dramatic changes of attitude, but I have read your entries and passing submissions for two years now – I could spot a Lyra story from a mile away, okay? Despite your signing it, thus verifying it to be your work, you must... you know you wrote this, right?”

Again, the pair exchanged confused glances.

“I have no idea what you're talking about,” Lyra announced.

Though the purple mage was well schooled, this sort of absurd affrontery remained a confusing blockade. She looked about wildly as her mind sought for some semblance of understanding or excuse, eventually returning to looking Lyra in the eyes.

“This is your story without a doubt, and it won the Ponyville Creative Writing Contest," she repeated. "I don't know how you could be confused by this, and I just want to discuss the details of your award ceremony. Could we please get through this without any further nonsense?”

Lyra looked on cooly, offering no manner of welcome.

“You're confused,” she repeated. “Please leave me alone, Twilight.”

As Lyra moved to close the door, the laveneder librarian intervened with a bit of panic. “Hey! Look, if there's some miscalculation I am more than welcome to discuss it, but... you're being very rude and really weird. What's going on exactly, Lyra?”

There was a pause, and eventually a relent as Lyra stepped aside to invite Twilight inside.

“If we must do this,” she lamented, “you’d best come in."

The interior was plain, sparing a short couch and a simple table. The only variance would be the rows and rows of books, which caught Twilight's attention immediately. With just a glance, she recognized tomes and recorded prose from some of the most prestigious minds in ponydom, reaching as far as dangerous philosophies and failed religions. These were the sorts of penned atrocities she'd only ever seen in Canterlot, and even then limited to the very elite for scrutiny; how Lyra had ever found them – nevermind possessed them – was beyond her.

“So you know, I... am no longer Lyra Heartstrings,” Lyra announced dramatically.

Twilight turned her attentions from the bookshelves, puzzled by the declaration.

“You're... no longer Lyra Heartstrings?” she repeated in query.

“No,” the green author recounted. “From now on, I am Diamond Mint. Any written work by Lyra Heartstrings is to be regarded as faulty and subsequently ignored. Do you understand?”

The librarian stood stock still, processing the seeming insanity.

“So let me get this straight,” Twilight surmised. “Lyra no longer exists, the pride of Ponyville writing for years in a row, and from now on the new author of note is Diamond Mint. Right?”

Lyra nodded, beginning to smile.

“You understand! Most acceptable!” she clapped.

“No, I don't,” Twilight interjected, raising a hoof. “If anything, that just sounds preposterous and creepy. Why in Equestria would you decide you don't exist?”

"I don't know how to make you understand," the author hummed, tapping a hoof at her chin, "save to say that every beginning must have an end. There comes a time in every talented author's life when they must begin their metamorphosis from backwoods hack to Canterlot brilliance, albeit at the cost of their former small town glory. Does that make sense?"

The librarian sighed, sitting heavily in exasperation.

"Nothing so far has made anything close to sense," Twilight muttered. "So you're saying that... if I make a few jumps of logic, you're starting over with a clean slate? Basically denying your previous self as an accomplished amateur author and instead starting anew in hopes to dupe readers into thinking you're some new and exciting writing personality seemingly bereft of a beginner's faults and awkwardness? Is that it?"

Lyra clapped her hooves again, this time more slowly and deliberately, wearing a knowing smirk.

"Bravo," she said. "That's precisely what I want; I must shed this snakeskin and tread into a more markedly serious limelight, unblemished by the errors of the past. I must evolve with no hint of my former self, hm? I must be perceived as a prodigy if I'm ever to be content with my future works, lest the weight of my faults keep me from traversing the prospects of actual fame. Surely as a reader and scholar, you know what I mean."

That gave the purple unicorn pause. Indeed, in a flooded market of trivialities afforded fiction writers, one had to become an outstanding name amongst peers and fans alike. There were no compromises or mercies whenever scandal presented itself; no, the only manner in which to win over the bias of readership would be through calculated maneuverings throughout the fandom leaving no trace of flaw or regret. Maybe Lyra had a point, come to think.

"... except that being a fiction writer doesn't actually afford you any sort of comfortable lifestyle, in an occupational sense," Twilight mused. "You're hardly a world-builder, Lyra. You're a spinner of yarns and folklore, twisting old ideas into something a bit less musty, and introducing characters with topical and attractive traits. Otherwise? You're... fairly common."

The green unicorn shrugged a bit, seeming none the worse for what was a very biting observation.

"What do readers know? Fame has nothing to do with the ponies who read your stories. It's about convicing the ponies who tell ponies to read your work that I have to impress."

Again, an awkward quiet prevailed between the two.

"Why doesn't Bon Bon write anymore?" the librarian wondered aloud, finally breaking the silence.

"Don't ask me," Lyra muttered, pursing her lips. "Some are driven to expression through sharing textual ideas, and others... find the ways that suit them best. She's working at the candy store downtown, why not go now and ask her yourself?"

Twilight nodded a little, supposing that she could do with a jaunt into town, if mostly to soothe her flustered mind.

"Before I go," she continued, "are you sure you won't change your mind about the contest submission? Please? I mean, there isn't anypony else whose submission even comes close to your effort, and ... I would really hate to have to choose anything else. Won't you reconsider... um, "Diamond Mint"?"

Lyra smiled wide for the librarian's placating effort, then gestured towards the exit with a dismissive wave.

"I'll consider it, of course. In the meanwhile, I suppose I should bid you 'Bon Bon voyage', hm? Ha! Be well, friend!"

Twilight manufactured an insincere smile before she departed, then somehow managed not to wrench the front door from its hinges, making for the road in a defeated huff.

"... writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard," she muttered to herself. "No argument there."

To be Continued.

Comments ( 24 )

I get that you're laying on the Purple Prose as a joke since Twilight has to read a bunch of bad stories. But, honestly I think you took it too far and this is actually kind of hard to read.

By the name of the chapter i was expecting a sad chase by zombies told counterwise.
Poor Twilight, I could feel what she was feeling, and Lyra, I mean Diamond, or does she rather just Mint now? Was she abducted by Chutulu from one of those rare books or what? Something fishy is going on here. :applejackunsure:


Yep, totally. Much like what Twilight had to endure - clumsy, wordy awfulness - so was the description of her task.

HM. I've read this too much to find it difficult. It stutters a little, and a sentence here and there MIGHT be a tad redundant... as in yes, there's a crap load of redundancy.

Why post it then, one might ask?

This is a training ground; I cannot improve if I don't at least submit something to be criticized. This story does have a purpose, and it shall be amusing... though its been sitting in my "unpublished" list since forever and frankly it needed some fresh air. Seriously, the place smelled like cat food and dryer lint.

Thank you for the time and comments, as always and ever.



ZOMBIES! Mint is a bitch, eh. Every other author portrays Lyra as suave and obsessed with an imaginary humanity - I wanted to offer something different.

YAY TROLLIE! Thanks for dropping by!


Interesting. I'll definitely track this... silently, of course. And I can't help but wonder if Lyra's Diamond's (no, not that Diamond) name change has any meta(ish) significance. Like a joke or homage to something.

2471551 No, that's just how she normally writes. Look at Misinterpreted or Once Upon a Best Pony, or even one of her many blog posts and you'll see the same thing.

Diamond mint be crazy yo.

2471627 What's more, PET zombies for the matter, which made me whish for more Fluttershy, which let me expecting more Chutulu for the end :flutterrage:
you know what? I juts need to write that now :facehoof: see you later.

Being hardly a world-builder myself, I can relate to Lyra's -- um, Diamond's -- plight.

This is going to be cruel, wicked fun, I just know it.

My dear you have the ability to spin words like few others, a like and fave, and heart for you.:heart:

2471741, 2471741, 2471782, 2472836 & 2473218 -

Hey you lot! Thanks for coming by!

This is a new story, yet I've been slaving at it for months, and... honestly, the name reflects the agonizing torment I've felt for not being able to make it make any sense. It still doesn't really, but I have an arc in place. The blessed LonelyBrony went over it and I made the changes he suggested, though it's full of awful grammatical holes - I just couldn't leave it any longer. I'd rather it get torn to pieces than never see the light of day, so... enjoy the carcass!


2475099 :rainbowhuh: Huh.. I'm feeling like no Chutulu in the future. :rainbowwild:


I'm just glad you got the references.

:raritywink: - You win a backrub! With hooves it's a torturous agony to endure, but... well, a victory is a victory. Hold still, darling!

2479840 :facehoof: Next time I'll keep my references for myself.

I sense there is some social commentary going on here... :raritywink:

Entertaining! Made me feel a bit dumb, but not in an overly bad way, per say... :twistnerd:


Yes, this may possibly possess some middling hints of sourness. In fact, it will likely become a venting ground.

You know, so there's no eruptions. Again.


Ah, what a beautiful metaphor for fanfiction.

Yet, unlike Lyra, I rather like my mistakes. I like that people can see how I've improved and grown. I also like my followers (lol) and I'd surely lose them If I ever started anew.

Ironically, RedBrony is not my usual internet alias. In fact I made that name specifically as a pen name... in case I totally soiled that name, I could start anew with my usual name. Hehe.

I am now going to attempt to follow the writings of one Twifight Sparkill. I admit I have some reservations concerning this endeavor. Said specimen in question is known for a fact to be a highly literate creature capable of spinning even the simplest of phrases into a poetically terrifying conglomeration of only the finest words belonging to the English language.

*Takes a deep breath.* The plunge awaits.

EDIT: Twifight, what on Earth have you done. I'm proud to say that I understood what was going on (I think), although it certainly taxed my poor brain to its limits. I wasn't aware I'd upgraded from FimFiction to Google Scholar.

I can't help but shake the feeling that such advanced methods of speech are rather unbefitting of the ponyfolk, especially for one as young as Spike. Regardless, it was most entertaining. I also totally read the conversation between Twilight and Lyra in a British accent, for reasons I can't fully explain. Too funny. Although, with the number of suicidal quips, I almost feel that a 'dark' tag is necessitated lol.

Amusing error:

rubbed absently at her tired eyes whilst strainin

She busy readin'. She strainin'.

I get the feeling that you might be making fun of us Twifight...


Fun is an ideal that only exists in the moment.

I'm a fuddy-duddy.


To be fair, I do sort of imagine Twilight to be the kind of pony who would be prone to having a very verbose style of inner monologue and speech, especially after having to deal with stress, even more especially if that stress was due to large amounts of "literary crap". Under such duress, I could see it "devolving" into "lavender Unicorn" levels.

If you are going to go with this "justification" (and you don't have to of course, this is only my take), it may be a good idea to make sure other characters who most certainly wouldn't (like Rainbow Dash or Applejack) "indulge" in this for this sort of thing when talking, well, don't. Plus, it is sort of funny to see Twilight thinking and talking in "big fancy words and sentences" while everypony else is still talking "normally".

BTW, even though, to me, Spike doesn't seem like the type to go into "excess verbosity", he does seem capable of understanding it, probably because of how much time he's spent with Twilight.

Wow the language isn't exactly... light. (Flicks through concise English dictionary, nope, checks in complete English dictionary). Realise my vocabulary is a bit lacking.

Blunt suicidal thoughts surrounded by purple prose. Clever. Or at least I think it is idfk.

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