View Full Version : The February 2008 Fanfiction Writing Contest

2nd February 2008, 06:25 AM
Hello everyone, and welcome to the first Fanfiction Writing Contest for 2008. Thanks to everyone who participated in the last one (you can check out all past Fanfiction Writing Contests in the Completed Fanfiction Archive) and congratulations to mario72486 once again (by the way, I still owe you a winner's banner).

This time round, your judges are:

Lady Vulpix
Master of Paradox

and your topic is:

A departure of a friend from a group of friends

To enter, simply post in this thread a work with said topic and at most 2500 words by 11:59:59 Central Standard Time, February 29, 2008. The judges will then rate the entries according to the FFRO system and determine a winner. good luck to all!

26th February 2008, 11:48 AM
Wow, I'm really the first person to enter? Huh. Alright, then. This is a little something I put together over the last couple of days (mostly this morning). The whole thing's 2,057 words (plus three if you count the title).

That's pretty much it.

Get Well Soon

245 days. 17 hours. 33 minutes.

Zach checked his watch.

And 49 seconds.

He sighed, returning his gaze to the sterile bed before him. It had been eight long, painful months. Eight months since an entire county lost all power in a heartbeat. Eight months since three men climbed from the wreckage of his crimson Hyundai. Eight months since one man didn't.

The only reason Zach knew when it happened was because of the police report. It wasn't as if he had the wherewithal to check his watch. How could the hours, the days that followed possibly be anything more than a blur? He shuddered, not daring to risk remembering any details of that night. It was better for it to remain a foggy, incomplete mess in his mind.

Zach's right sneaker squeaked softly against the gray tiles as he shifted uncomfortably, fiddling with the zipper on his leather jacket.

"So, Brett."

No response. It wasn't as though he expected one.

"How have you been?"

Visits were always like this. A few minutes of silence followed by small talk. That never lasted long, but the uneasy tension that remained in the room always dragged on for an eternity. Or maybe just a half-hour.

Of course, the whole ordeal was much worse this time.

"I see. You look a little pale, man. They feeding you enough here?"

He tried not to notice the feeding tube haphazardly jammed under the sheets.

"Hospital food must suck. I'd order a pizza for us, but... yeah."

Zach closed his eyes. If he squinted hard enough, sometimes his mind could drown out the rhythmic whirring of his friend's breathing apparatus. But it wasn't so easy to forget it completely.

So he squinted harder. And then he opened his eyes violently, nearly falling from his chair at the obtrusive sound of metal slamming against metal.

Brett hadn't moved. The two young men were still in the hospital room. And there were no cars in the building.

He couldn't get away from it. The whole thing was like a sickness. Every dropped plate was a shattered, flesh-piercing windshield. Every sunny day became an ocean of flaming gasoline. Every police car turned into a series of ambulances all coming for–

Zach stood up suddenly. Not knowing what else to do, he wrenched off his leather jacket, tossed it recklessly into one of the uncomfortable plastic chairs, and started pacing back and forth at the foot of Brett's bed. Momentarily he stopped, annoyed at his own inability to speak, and groped around inside his brain for a conversation starter.

"So. Um, they giving you enough balloons and stuff?" Stupid choice of topics, Zach told himself. Especially considering that the standard "Get Well Soon" balloon for all new patients had long since withered and fallen to the ground, where it still sat at his bedside.

Of course, it wasn't as if Brett knew this, Zach reminded himself. "Yeah, this is a nice batch right here. Lots of colors. And you've got some new flowers here, too. The staff must really care about you."

He cringed as a chill ran down his spine. Brett hadn't received so much as a dandelion. He probably wouldn't have wanted any if he was conscious – they would've been too girly or something – but the lack of those useless gifts was still depressing.

"Yeah, there's a whole bundle of them here. Looks like some roses, and a couple of violets, and... um... even a few hydrangeas!" Zach really didn't have a clue what a hydrangea was, but it sounded good. Besides, he couldn't think of anything else to say. Not with this knot forming in the pit of his stomach.

How come lying to people was harder when you weren't even sure they could hear you?

With nothing further for him to say on the topic of balloons and flowers, he checked his watch. 245 days, 17 hours, 38 minutes and 18 seconds. This was going nowhere.

Zach resisted the urge to kick the bed. The last time he did that he'd struck a strip of metal. The head nurse had promptly yelled at him for ten solid minutes about the reverberating noise that disturbed the other patients "who actually have a chance of recovering, unlike your little dead weight buddy here."

Caring staff indeed.

With no further desire to stand pointlessly and an irrational fear of the nurses peeking through the window and seeing him acting like a moron, Zach sat down in the chair next to his jacket.

What could he talk about? What was left? What more could he use to delay the inevitable?

A thought struck him. "Oh, about Robert and Jake...."

He instantly regretted those words. Robert and Jake, the other two members of the "Fantastic Four." What a joke that was now. It took them all of three weeks to totally forget about the guy sitting alone in the hospital and return to partying like nothing had ever happened.

The worst part was that the whole thing was their idea. Booze up straight through the night, playing increasingly poor darts while ogling any female who happened to walk through the door. Get kicked out and go home in the morning – preferably with some chicks who wouldn't realize they were wasted – skip work the next few days, and have a great story about "our wild lives" to tell someday. Brilliant.

How could they just forget about what happened? Zach scowled. It wasn't just a lack of regrets, he had bitterly told himself countless times. It was a lack of caring.

"Yeah, Robert and Jake. Well, I'm sure they'll be back to visit you soon. They've been kind of busy, with work and stuff. It's been a little crazy lately. But they'll be here. Don't you worry, those guys are coming back."

Had Zach said a word of truth since he'd arrived? He didn't think so.

Why was it so hard for him to do it? Why did he have to keep up the lies? Why was he scared to be honest with the one person in the world who wouldn't retort in the slightest?

His shoes squeaked against the tiles again. He was out of ways to stall. There was nothing else to do.

"So, Brett."

He adjusted the keys in his pants pocket for no reason besides procrastination.

"You remember Patricia, right?"

Of course he remembered Patricia. Zach was sure of this if nothing else. If Brett was brain-dead and six feet under he'd still remember the bleach blond hair, the sensuous voice, the carefree smile, and the slender (yet, Zach considered, curvaceous) form of his fiancée.

"Yeah, she's something else, isn't she?"

Zach cleared his throat, reminding himself not to take that dreamy, awe-struck tone of voice around Brett. If there was ever a bad time and place for that, now and here was it.

"Anyway. She's... one heck of a girl. Really something. But, you see, Zach, there's... there's something I've got to tell you."

He choked on his words. Was it sadness for Brett or shame for himself? It didn't matter.

"Y'see, some things kind of happened after... you know. And, well, Patricia... she needed someone there, someone to comfort her. And stuff."

Zach wanted nothing more than for Brett to stand up, dash across the room and slam a bone-shattering hook into his jaw. But there he lay, connected to a half-dozen devices that held him at the very brink of death.

Still, Zach looked downward, fixing his eyes firmly on his shoes. "Brett, what I'm trying to say is... well, I guess we're getting married. See, she kind of got pregnant. Things happened! It... it just happened! But... you know, but the kid... our baby... h-he's gonna need a daddy, so...."

Why was he crying? He was the bad guy! Everything, everything was his fault! Was it for Brett? Was he crying simply because Brett couldn't? Did he feel some perverse need to be the villain and the hero in the same breath? Why did he have to tear himself apart just because no one else would?

Come on. An outburst. Even just a growl. Something! "You slept with my fiancée?" That would be perfect. Maybe a couple of swear words for good measure. Anything would be better than this frigid silence.

The breathing machine clicked a few times. Zach wiped his eyes.

"But Patricia... she'll be graduating next week. You know that? And she's got a job offer at this firm up in Detroit, too. She's... she's doing really well, man." Deep breaths. "So when she's done here, we're... we've got this place up north. And we're gonna be up there. And then, and then...."

His jaw was shaking. Every muscle in his body was tensed and ready to follow suit in convulsions. Zach swallowed hard, straining to take a breath.

"And then I'm gonna get married. To Patricia. To your fiancée."

It was nothing more than a whisper, but it was all he could say.

Zach sat back in his chair, staring at the ceiling and idly shifting his keys once again.

"Yeah. We're moving to Detroit. Your... and I...."


He jerked, startled at the screeching voice emanating from the loudspeakers. That was something to which you just couldn't become accustomed.

"I'd better just say it," he groaned to no one in particular. It was the first thing he'd said that wasn't meant for Brett's ears.

"Look," he grunted, hefting himself to his feet. For some reason, he noted, his body seemed a lot heavier than it had five minutes earlier. "I know that I said – that we all said we'd visit you every week. And I know that the other guys and... and Patricia haven't been here for awhile." He couldn't blame Patricia as much as the others. How could you insist that a woman visit her ex-fiancée, the guy she only dumped because he plunged into a coma and she got knocked up?

Zach plunged his hands into his pockets and absentmindedly flexed his knees. "But you know I've kept coming, right? I've been here this whole time, totally dedicated. So you can't really blame me, right? It's just because of the circumstances! It's not my fault, so you can't... you can't blame...."

It had been awhile since he'd looked at Brett. He glanced toward his face. Then he squirmed and averted his gaze, once again sickened by the breathing tube.

"I'm sorry. I know I made a promise, but I just can't... I can't keep it now, Zach. I mean, I'm moving across the country in a week! And there's just nothing I can do. I made a commitment to her, man. I made a commitment," he fought back the tears again, "to your fiancée. And I know it doesn't mean much to you now, but I'm gonna keep it. I'm gonna take care of her, man, the way I know you would."

His shoulders started shaking. "But I can't come back. There's no time left, bro. I'm gonna be leaving. And I'm gonna... I miss you, man! I miss you... I miss my friend."

He didn't care about the window anymore. It didn't matter who looked through the smudged glass and saw him as he dropped to his knees and clung to the bed frame, finally letting loose his tears.


Zach coughed and wiped his nose. Without a word, he stood up and turned away from Brett.

Six painfully short footsteps and he was at the door. He reached for the handle. Then he pulled his hand back.


He didn't turn around.

"I don't know if you can hear me or not. But I want to say thanks. You were a great friend, and I can never pay you back. I can never make anything up to you, and I'm sorry for that. You're awesome, man. You're the best."

He pulled open the door.

"And Brett?"

Zach turned his head one final time, forcing himself to look straight at Brett's closed eyes.

"Get well soon."

The door clicked shut behind him. His jacket still lay in the chair. Brett didn't move.

27th February 2008, 05:34 PM
Ahahahaha! Don't worry, Sir Pika- you won't win by default now ^_^u. I finally got this story trasfer on to my computer after writting it in school...think of it as, um, the next chapter from my last entry! 1220 words, yo! Enjoy! ^_^

Without the Count

Mimi was incredibly bored, so bored that she had decided to actually clean something for a change. But, as always, she quickly grew tired of that silly task, so instead of dusting the various ledges she rested her head up on top of the nearest one, her little stick arms propping her head up as she looked out the window.

A little sigh passed through her tiny body. It was never this very boring with the Count around, nope, never- never ever! Her stable of cutie pies wasn’t getting off the ground very fast, which made her feel restless. She needed someone to tell her how cute and destructive she was, she wanted to hear how nice her green skin looked against her clothes, and how positively adorable she was. I mean, she already knew she was all that and more; she just needed to hear it- on at least an hourly bases.

Mimi gave a louder sigh, hoping that someone, anyone, would hear her. But what a silly willy thought that was. Urg! So booooored. Her bored black eyes caught her semi-reflection in the window which made her realize right then that it was like a mirror- a stupid one, though. And then she decided she really liked her maid outfit, but she really really hated cleaning. Mimi lifted her head up, fluffing the ends of her little block hair, and patting her little pink cheeks.

She let out a whirling giggle (Mimimimimi!), spinning away from the window. Where ever the Count was…she was sure he wasn’t bored, not if she was the Count and had finally found his lady, so she shouldn’t be bored either! The Count wouldn’t like that at all! She’d have a party, yes, and invite every hunk in a million mile radius.

“I’m almost clever as I am cute!” Mimi said to her self, skipping down the hall, “And Merlee won’t even have to know, golly, I’m so smart!”

If only Nastasia was so easy to cheer up…She had taken a job as a courtroom clerk in Mushroom Kingdom, unable to stand the sight of Flipside (or Flopside for that matter) any longer. At first, she felt ill about her decision due to O’Chunks sorrow to she her leave, he seemed rather keen on keeping her close, but she was running low on funds, and…she needed to get her mind off Count Bleck- Lord Blumiere. She had finished typing the last two letters of her sentence of the typewriter she was given when her mind once again wondered off to the Count.

If only she could have been that girl…she’d be the Countess now, or a Lady, but that didn’t really matter one bit. It just wasn’t fair. Her red lips twisted into a deep frown, deeper then normal, one so deep that it hurt- but the hurt was nothing compaired to the pain she felt in her heart…her poor broken heart. Wasn’t she pretty enough for him?

She asked herself, and the answer was always a resounding no. It didn’t matter how many times she would brush out her bubble gum pink hair, or how fancy her clothes were- things Mimi advised her in at one time, he would never look her way…and now he never would.

Nastasia pushed her cherry framed glasses as far back as they would go on her dark face, as though she was trying to push back the tears that danced in her eyes. She found herself crying more and more lately, followed by the mental punishments she administered to herself. The Count would not approve of that! He would not approve of this! She quickly got out the information on tomorrow’s case to take her mind of it all, but, um…

Nothing was ‘k about that. She couldn’t believe her eyes… Nastasia dropped the manila folder down, the documentations for tomorrow’s trial floating out, lading on the edge of the table. King Bowser and Princess Peach…the type of case; a domestic one, the dispute: a false marriage. The fair Princess was trying to get unmarried to the horrid beast, by claiming that it wasn’t binding because…because Count Bleck wasn’t…

Nastasia broke down and cried, her body heaving over her typewriter. She couldn’t get away from him! She was a slave to her broken heart; nothing would push him out of her mind! The Count…The Count…Every cloud and every shadow was him! How she missed him, how she loved him…!

She would cry and cry until she fell asleep, her work unfinished and completely unprepared for the trial the next day…

O’Chunks really had nothing better to do then lounge around Flipside. He had no obligations, nothing to worry about but bask in peace as a fallen warrior. His chucky self would do him no good if there was no one worthy to fight, and if all those worthy he would lose to…Why, that was Okay but him. He was lying on the side of a grassy hill by the out skirts of the ancient city, perhaps the only perfectly perfect glassy hilly spot there was in the whole bloomin’ city. The place needed more clouds, he decided, as he rubbed his whiskers, great fluffy clouds. The longer he pondered this, the more he thought about himself. He needed a trim; his beard was getting kinda burly. Maybe he’d make money and get a trim, then ask Natasia out to dinner…erm, again. She’d have to say yes this time, how many times could someone say no after all? It had been a whole year since the whole end of the world thing, and that was a pretty long time- she had to be over the Count thing, she just hadda. O’Chunks blushed at the idea of taking the fair lass out- even if only as chums. She’d been so down in the dumps, and he hadn’t seen her for a long time, it was kinda like she was avoiding him…

“Nah,” He decided out loud, rolling over in the grass to take a nap.

Somewhere, deep down…down deeper then the human mind, so deep it existed else where, a soul was burning behind a smile, behind a smiling mask. The walls of his prison were grey; dark…empty feeling- the Chaos Heart surrounded him as he felt himself being submerged in something, somewhere. This jester of jesters folded his knees against his body, and thought…and thought. He didn’t know how long he’d be there, but he knew it could be long, for after all- He was Dimentio! He tilted his head back and lauged as the Chaos Heart was dropped into the spiritual ooze by the flying demons over head. His laughter caused the pool to bubble like a boiling pot as he and the Chaos Heart sunk deeper and deeper.

The demons gave each other a startled look, followed by a shared shuttered. The two flew out of there as quick as sin, never looking back over their shoulders, hoping to forget about what just happened.

…Maybe the world would forget about the Count and the evils he attempted to commit…forget about the Dark Prognosticus, and the great Void…the world may forget, but his faithful minion- never, nor would Dimentio, for as long as he had a thinking brain, would plot he get his revenge…

1st March 2008, 04:06 AM
Another leap day has passed, and with it heralds the end of this stage of the February contest. Thanks to all the participants, and stay tuned for the results.

20th March 2008, 11:20 PM
Judging is in. Yay.

Without the Count
By Houndoom_Lover

Lady Vulpix's Judging

Plot: 10/20 - The story revolved around events that were never told. It was interesting to read and try to organize the bits of information you dropped here and there, trying to make out the shape of the main event from the prints it left behind; but in the end it didn't become clear, nor did it look like the suspense was intentional. It looks like something is missing. Also, the plot is static: it doesn't advance in any direction.

Originality: 8/10 - While the setting itself is not original, the perspective was. See Writing Style and Characters.

Writing Style: 20/20 - Nice descriptions and changes of pace, and I liked how the narration was written in the way the character who was on focus would speak, even if it was in third person. It helped me understand their personalities and ways of thinking better.

Spelling and Grammar: 6/10 - Clearly readable, but there were several errors. Examples ahead.
-"she was sure he wasn't bored, not if she was the Count and had finally found his lady" -> did you mean "he", or something else? That sentence isn't clear.
-"her self" should be "herself".
-"O'Chunks sorrow to she her leave" shold be "O'Chunks's sorrow to see her leave".
-"Her sentence of the tipewriter" -> I think you meant "on".
-You used "then" instead of "than" several times.
-"out skirts" should be "outskirts".
-"else where" should be "elsewhere".
-You used a couple of commas where hyphens would have been more appropriate to make the sentence clear: "the place needed more clouds - he decided, as he rubbed his whiskers - great fluffy clouds."
-Shouldn't "down deeper" be "deeper down"?
-The simple past of "sink" is "sank", not "sunk".
-"what just happened" should be "what had just happened".

Characters: 10/15 - Mimi's an interesting character! And there were clear differences between the characters. Maybe if there had been some actions and events in addition to the inner dialogues, they would have shown some development.

Setting: 8/15 - This part was hard to rate, as the setting was vaguely utlined, but the parts of it that were described or insinuated were nicely done.

Overall: 6/10 - The whole story was a description of everyone's reactions to something that happened, and you've managed to convey the fact that what happened was important to them in different ways, but the event itself remains unclear. I felt like I was reading an epilogue to a story I hadn't read. And there were also several other references to things that were never explained. It's ok to write fanfiction, but you should try to make it accessible to readers who don't know much about the world it was based on, if you want more people to read it (or if you want to enter it in a contest).

Final advice: you're doing good on writing style anc character description. It would be nice to see some development, and for that it would be necessary for the plot to move. Change makes a story interesting. For example, if something unusual happens, we can see how the characters react to it. This story showed some reactions, but not the event that caused them, nor what things were like before. I think you've scratched the surface of something with potential. You could try writing the full story sometime.

Total: 68/100

Master Of Paradox's Judging

Plot: 5/20. I'm not sure how this fits the theme of the contest, which is a prime problem. There didn't seem to be a plot, really, just four loosely connected scenes.

Plot Originality: 4/10. Again, it's hard to give a complete judging of a plot when you have trouble locating it to begin with.

Writing Style: 3/20. This story suffered a great deal from the sudden flip in viewpoint. As I was reading it, I thought the viewpoint was still with Mimi and that you'd misidentified her as Nastasia... and then I realized we had switched POV entirely. And then it happened twice more. Following the story was a chore. I can't say how well you portrayed each character, as I am completely unfamiliar with Super Paper Mario, but that is a minor affair compared to the crashing scene changes.

Spelling and Grammar: 6/10. There were a few minor spelling errors, but the more important offender are the run-on paragraphs. O'Chunk's section in particular was crammed too closely together, and should have had more paragraph breaks to represent his thought changes.

Characters: 10/15. I can't delve into specifics, as I have not played the source game, but the characters as shown were handled all right. Mimi annoyed me, but I felt a good deal of sympathy for Nastasia. O'Chunks and the Chaos Heart, though, were rather generic.

Settings: 6/15. It is hard to critique a setting that you haven't seen before, although I am told by someone who is familiar with it that you are accurate to canon. Still, there weren't enough details for me to pick up on it enough to sculpt it in my head.

Overall Appreciation: 4/10. I can't say I liked this story too much. I'm not big on reading fanfiction for a universe I'm unfamiliar with, the lack of scene changes really hurt it, and to be honest... it was just lackluster.

Final Result: 38/100; 38%.

Closing advice: First, scene changes are your friend. If you're going to switch viewpoints, make it abundantly clear. Second, dig deeper; who are these people and why do their problems matter? I didn't get an answer to that from this story.

Get well soon
By mr_pikachu

Lady Vulpix's Judging

Plot: 20/20 - It has everything a story's supposed to have, and you've managed to fit it all into the evil word limit! That's a feat in itself. Interesting and catchy beginning, which is not easy to achieve either. And the twist about Patricia was unexpected, yet still feasible.

Originality: 8/10 - The situations were not particularly original, but they were laid out in an original way.

Writing Style: 20/20 - Beautifully written, from the wording of the sentences to the little details that marked the flow of the story.

Spelling and Grammar: 10/10 - Flawless.

Characters: 13/15 - You have a great way of showing the characters and their backgrounds, and make your points without stating them. Great character development on Zach's side. I liked the change in his attitude when he brought up the subject of Patricia. It was also interesting how the one true thing he said was the one that incriminated him. I believe it tells a lot about him. The hospital staff was clearly depicted too. And it was amazing how Brett and his silence played an important role in the development of the story while he didn't do anything at all.

Robert and Jake, on the other hand, were more like shadows. Reading about them made me wonder what their motives were, why they acted the way they did and why they were friends with Zach and Brett in the first place. Did they really not care, or was their guilt too heavy for them to face the truth? Was Zach's view of them accurate? I can't tell for sure. As for Brett, I would have liked to read something about what he was like before the accident. While the story revolves around him, Brett himself feels like an empty space. It's clear that Zach misses him, but who does he miss?

Setting: 15/15 - Very good descriptions of the situations. Clear and realistic. I especially liked the contrast between Zach's words and his thoughts.

Overall: 9/10 - While a part of me was left itching for something new and different, you've done an impressive job.

Final advice: Keep writing!

Total: 95/100

Master Of Paradox's Judging

Plot: 14/20. This was a very nice take on the "leaving a circle of friends" idea, one that I wouldn't have thought of. Granted, it was fairly straightforward, but that didn't hurt it too badly. As the point of the story was the monologue, the plot merely needed to be serviceable.

Plot Originality: 5/10. The whole "at a comatose friend's bedside" has come up before, and it's not very easy to make anything new out of it. Even the "I'm sorry but I'm with your girl now" element is old hat. You do get three points, however, for this creative interpretation of the contest's theme, noted above.

Writing Style: 13/20. The opening dragged a little, but the pacing soon got itself back together. You hit on a few somewhat tired notes with Zach's memory of the accident, and overdid it a bit when he was lying to Brett about the flowers (although that was the point, I believe). Some of your descriptive choices were a little awkward (such as "the slender (yet, Zach considered, curvaceous) form"; the paratheses and word choice were ungainly). This soon picked up, however, and although there were traces of the awkwardness and a few emotional flat points near the end of Zach's speech, things kept themselves together pretty well.

Spelling and Grammar: 10/10. It's the Grammar Nazi himself. I couldn't spot anything glaring and don't have the tools needed to dig up anything obscure.

Characters: 5/15. There is little to say here, as there were only two characters and one was in a coma. Zach was pretty standard, sad to say - most of what he said were things I've heard before, and it was hard to garner any sympathy for him.

Settings: 12/15. A sparse but well-arranged setting, with a few carefully chosen details (the nearly-dead balloon), well-designed to set the stage and then get out of the way.

Overall Appreciation: 6/10. I had trouble getting into it, as the plot was somewhat overdone and it was hard for me to get into Zach's head. Still, I wasn't offended or bored by it, which are appreciated qualities for this sort of story. For the space allowed, it held up fairly well.

Final Result: 65/100, 65%

Closing advice: If you were to expand it, a sequence with Robert and Jake would have helped cement the "everyone but Zach abandoned Brett" element at the center of the story. Also, it would have helped to dig into Zach a little more - the man is abandoning someone who has nobody else and yet will never know; how would that sting in comparison to leaving someone behind and having them know it?

So, the combined results:

Without the Count: 68+38=106 points
Get Well Soon: 95+65=160 points

Congratulations to mr_pikachu, the winner of the February Fanfiction Writing Contest! Here's your winner's banner (I actually made this in advance, go me):


Thanks to Lady Vulpix and Master of Paradox for judging, and of course to mr_pikachu and Houndoom_Lover for participating! All this wouldn't exist without you guys. Until next time, then!