• Outside Insight Summer Fanfic Contest: Results Post!

    I still can't believe this happened. This contest, I mean -- though I can only surmise Mr. Price would do almost anything to see these three duking it out in an official story.

    Well, we have the next best thing to official stories here. In fact, we have 109 of them, totaling 675,755 words, or 1.09 copies of Fallout: Equestria (hat tip to Present Perfect for the calculation and holy crap I am not fudging these estimates). My judges are still having conniptions.

    The important part, though, is that we got it done. And, furthermore -- we have our winners.

    Let me begin by thanking you. Readers, authors, prize-givers, judges, cheerleaders, everyone who first laid eyes on the post announcing this contest in July. When I asked you to give me an event to shake the boots of what we had going on for earlier season hiatuses, you all stood up and delivered.

    I think it's only fair, then, that we start with showing off everyone who got an entry into this contest. I'm trying something new here -- time and time again, we've seen static lists of stories on here provide a deluge of views to those lucky enough to be listed first, leaving everyone else out in the figurative cold. Not this time.

    The Entries

    The Randomized tab below is set to refresh stories once every minute, bringing new stories to the top while cycling others away. My hope is that however you happen to come across this post, you'll see a different order of stories than everyone else -- perhaps we can make the voting spread a little more fair.

    You'll also notice there's a First-timers tab down there as well! I define a first-timer as an author who wrote their first ever MLP fanfic for this contest. All in all, 23 entrants stepped out of the shadows for a shot at the prize. You can't say it didn't work -- one of our finalists created their account only last month.

    For those of you who only want the stories to stay in place, we also have tabs for searching based on author, genre, and species. So, without further ado, I present you the competition.

    A lot of folks put in a lot of time and effort to make these stories happen. Do what you can to show them their struggles go recognized.

    Honorable Mentions

    With the limited number of prizes we could actually give out, several commendable stories wound up just missing the cut. The judges and I planned from the beginning to give those stories special recognition, and we hope that they gain some additional well-deserved attention for their inclusion here.

    "A very intriguing concept that makes creative use of the prompt and ties in nicely to the canon. It starts off a little slow, but I found that the ending paid off in spades." -- nominated by John Perry and Burraku_Pansa


    Author: rockyrobben

    Description: A spirit composed of wisps, the most fundamental entity of magic, awakes in a land familiar yet unknown to her. She remembers little other than her destiny is tied with the pony folk.

    However, she finds herself isolated and unable to interact with the ponies around her. What is her purpose in this world if she, by all means, does not exist? How can she find happiness in a culture that treats her very life force as a commodity? 

    How can she survive when even the slightest pony can destroy her with one errant burst of magic? 

    Alone and afraid, she quests on.


    Additional Tags: An Imperceptible spirit quests for destiny

    "Without spoiling anything, I think it's safe to say that the protagonist isn't all she seems to be. The story lapses in pace here and there, but it's a strong contribution to the protean mechanisms of the fandom's most enigmatic species (in other words, these changelings are pretty cool)." -- nominated by CouchCrusader


    Author: thesecret1

    Description: Crypsis is a changeling infiltrator on her first mission – to replace a pony in Ponyville. The hive is counting on her to finish the mission to the best of her abilities, but is she capable of it? And, more importantly, does she want to?

    Veni, Vidi, Mutatio

    Additional Tags: Changelings tries to infiltrate Ponyville.

    "This is perhaps the best interpretation of Iron Will I have ever seen and might ever see. Apart from that, this fic was able to tell a very interesting little story around canon instead of just rehashing it -- something that a lot of entries into this competition should've tried for." -- nominated by Burraku_Pansa, Professor Plum, maskedferret, and CouchCrusader


    Author: Vivid Syntax

    Description: "Ponies? Yeah, you hear a lot about them growing up in the minotaur homelands, and it isn't all positive. Actually, almost none of it is positive. They're different. They've got those weird pictures on their flanks and those little prayers they mumble to their princesses. Ponies are gentle, passive. They're not like us. 

    "See, a minotaur is supposed to act a certain way. You bulk up. You get aggressive. You don't let anyone else push you around, and you don't associate with ponies. I've heard the same thing my whole life, ever since I was young."

    Not In Bluff Nor Bravado Nor Loneliness

    Additional Tags: What is a "real bull," anyway?

    "I'm a sucker for a good Slice of Life fic, and this was one of the few entered into the competition that really hit me. The romance was sweet and believable, the characters were interesting (even if the pony OC was essentially a more boastful, less hyper Pinkie), and I left it satisfied." -- nominated by Burraku_Pansa, maskedferret, and CouchCrusader


    Author: NotARealPonydotcom

    Description: On a warm, rainy afternoon, two young ponies take shelter in a gazebo. One is hoping to find a job at a bakery nearby, and just wants the rain to go away so she can make it to her interview. The other isn't really a pony, and just wants the rain to go away so he isn't caught. 

    Life tends to work that way, I suppose.


    Additional Tags: Quiet Changeling meets Cute Mare

    "1,674 words. This is an almost perfect example of a story that sticks around as long as it needs to, and some of the more unsettling implications of livestock keeping livestock in Equestria are put to rest quite deftly." -- nominated by CouchCrusader, Professor Plum, and maskedferret


    Author: Cloudhammer

    Description: Ponies hold nearly total sway over the world, from the sky to the earth and even beyond. Many of the races resent this, and scheme to claim a portion of that control for themselves.

    This is not the story of one of those races.

    Let Them Eat Grass

    Additional Tags: Sheep can sometimes get philosophical

    The judges and I nominated plenty of other stories for honorable mentions, but in the end, we only had room for these five. I do urge all of you, with even more sincerity this time, to give all five a look.

    Now, however, it is time that we move on. Ladies and gentlemen,

    The Winners

    But first, a little aside on how this rodeo went down.

    Each of these stories received a score out of 110 points, with stories allowed a maximum of 10 points from each judge.

    For this device, I must give thanks and praise to Obselescence, whose Most Dangerous Game contest held earlier this summer laid much of the groundwork that made this contest so successful. It is beyond a good idea to head over there and read some of the stories it drew forth, for many of those stories are great primers for how to pull off forbidden tropes* (2nd person, HiE, OCxcanon shipping, etc.) well.

    *Tropes not actually forbidden -- Celestia's beard can you folks not take a joke

    For those of you who panic-scrolled down to this section first, shame on you. Go back up and savor some anticipation, darn it.

    For the rest of us, just note that some points may appear to be missing from the final total. Most every story in the finalist round scored some quantity of points, but because those stories did not place in the top 10 we chose to disregard them. We did end up with a few ties that were resolved with a runoff round.

    This is the moment we've all been waiting for. Let us begin.

    10th Place - 25 points

    Changeling: the Movie by Obselescence


    Description: Chrysalis, queen of all the changeling hives and infinitely cunning architect of their plans to conquer Equestria, has a problem: She knows diddly-squat about ponies. But Chrysalis is cleverer than most—or all—changelings, and she's already devised a brilliant solution to this trifling issue: Make a movie about them.

    Additional Tags: What is a pony, really?

    9th Place - 26 points

    Little Apple by Oroboro


    Description: Apple is a funny word, one that Winona doesn't quite understand. Her family uses it to refer to food, to trees, to themselves and to each other. It's all very inconsistent. But whether she understands it or not, she'll always be there for the pony she knows as Little Apple.

    Additional Tags: Life as Winona sees it

    8th Place - 26 points

    Sylphidine by RazgrizS57


    Description: A strange, lonely creature that's always on the move drifts into a village one day. It wants nothing more than to find somewhere warm to settle, but such places are hard to come by. However, it is hopeful, despite all the dangers inherent to this village.

    Additional Tags: It's in the air we breathe

    7th Place - 28 points

    [Comedy] [Shipping] [Dark]

    Description: Cranky had a plan to make Matilda's Hearts and Hooves Day the best day of her life. Instead, he's in jail for running over Pinkie Pie with his cart. This is his story.

    Additional Tags: Cranky Doodle goes to jail.

    6th Place - 33 points

    [Comedy] [Normal]

    Description: A freakish abomination from beyond the fringes of the rational universe emerges from the trackless depths and finds himself in Ponyville.

    Additional Tags: Eldritch abomination makes new friends.

    5th Place - 40 points

    Rise by Blueshift


    Description: Life's hard when you're small, especially if you're a breezie. The ponies keep trying to knock down your tree-home, steal all your fruit, and now they're about to bring back winter and doom your hive to a frozen fate.

    Misty has had enough. She's going to leave her tree, stop the Summer Shutdown, and save the world.

    After all, someone's got to do it.

    Additional Tags: It's a small world

    4th Place - 56 points

    Queen of Queens by JawJoe


    Description: Our kind has it that the life of a queen is the happiest, for they are blessed with the shortest time in this world. A mighty queen will be remembered for eternity, forever residing in the hearts of her people. The greatest tragedy a queen can suffer is to be forgotten – to be stricken from history.

    I refuse to bend before oblivion.

    Additional Tags: Chrysalis strives to be remembered.

    3rd Place - 56 points

    Moonlight Palaver by Carabas

    [Normal] [Comedy]

    Description: Upon Nightmare Moon's return, the leaders of other nations gather to discuss the situation.

    They're not especially happy about it.

    Additional Tags: World leaders, Bickering, Foregone conclusion

    2nd Place - 73 points

    The Last Trumpet's Call by Cold in Gardez


    Description: The Long Patrol is an extension of the crown. It brings the rule of law and the princess's banner to the far reaches of the kingdom, the places where harmony fades and the wild chaos of nature still reigns.

    In times past, all the tribes took part in the patrol. Today, it is mostly pegasi and a few gryphons. The distances they travel are simply too vast for anyone without wings.

    Like most gryphons who join, I wanted to get away from my kind. I dreamed of the adventures I would have and the friends I would make. I certainly got those.

    I just wish the price weren't so high.

    Additional Tags: Friendship, brotherhood, conflict, obligation, loss

    1st Place - 76 points

    I Am Demon by Aquaman

    [Dark] [Adventure]

    Description: I am Cold, swirling snow that turns ponies against each other, searing ice that freezes them solid. I am Survivor, the one the Friendfyre spell didn't catch, an exception that proves an impossible rule. I am Fear, Frustration, Anger, Hatred, every emotion my Creator has ever felt. I am her Future. I am her Past.

    I am Demon, and Clover the Clever is my Master.

    Additional Tags: Hate Is Slower Than Cold

    And that's about it! We'll have a post or two up in the next few days to gather feedback about this contest, as well as to share what went well with it and what could use improvement for next time. You all have proven to me that this fandom can come together for some truly epic creative endeavors, and I look forward to doing this again with all of you next year.

    Congratulations to the winners of the Equestria Daily Inside Outsight Summer Fanfiction Contest. You have conquered my heart. Take it all.

    Now, follow me on FimFiction, all of you.

    CouchCrusader, out.