Man, it's a hot one like seven inches from the mid-day sun
That's the sort of feeling everyone's having in Gensokyo right now. Is it the seasons acting up again? Are things on fire? Has Hell come to establish itself on the surface? Whatever's causing it, pretty much everywhere is hot and humid. That's why the theme for 2022's annual contest shall be a Red-Hot Day in Gensokyo.
Some of you may already be wondering what I'm on about, considering the customary yearly contests generally don't have themes. That's absolutely true in most cases, but in a (sort of) democratic process of discussion and exchange of ideas, it was decided that a narrowing of topics would help bring a bit of focus to potential entrants. Sure, there's the risk that some won't like the theme and not participate, but the flip-side is potentially having nobody participate because the range of potential subjects is too wide. After all, can you easily think up something contest-worthy off the top of your head? (Rhetorical question, do not answer.) Better to buck tradition and have slightly higher hopes of participation than be stubborn and probably get nothing, I think, anyway.
With that in mind, I think newbies and old-bies alike are on the same footing here. Thus, I'll go ahead and explicate everything:
* The theme of the contest is 'a hot day in Gensokyo'. As such, that should be the main topical focus of any entry. What that means is ultimately down to the entrant; it could be as much about a nuclear meltdown as 2hus cooling off by the river. Just keep it in mind when writing your piece.
* There is also a secondary (read: optional) theme of the colour red. Again, there is no set meaning as far as the sort of content that encompasses. There's also no pressure as far as its inclusion, so feel free to ignore the secondary theme if it doesn't fit your plans. That said, I will give extra kudos to those who manage to include both; that will not affect the final judging result.
* Unlike previous contests, where newbies and veterans were split into their own brackets, this contest will only feature singular groupings for the categories. That is, the sole distinction made will be between non-pornographic and pornographic. Thus, the two categories shall be General and NSFW.
* All entries must be made anonymously. You may reveal the authorship of a piece after the winner is announced and no sooner.
* The window for submitting entries begins 26 August, 2022 and ends 16 September, 2022. Submissions will only be valid after the start date and before the end date. No exceptions. I will make an announcement post in this thread when that window is open. Do not begin writing before that time; that defeats the purpose of the contest.
* Voting on the entries will begin immediately following the end of submissions, on 16 September, 2022. You will have precisely one (1) week to vote starting from that date, and the votes will close on 23 September, 2022. I will make an announcement post in this thread for both the opening and closing of the voting period. The opening post will include a list of the qualified entries up for vote. Counting of votes and announcement of winners will happen at my leisure and will be followed by an announcing post as well.
* To disincentivise low-quality entries (a.k.a. 'shitposts'), I will disqualify entries that appear to be low-effort and flippant from the vote. Gimme your writing, make it real, or else forget about it.
All that in mind, consider this your advance notice. The appropriate threads for entries will be posted later, probably closer to the submission window. Until then, please consider joining in this year's contest. I look forward to any and all entries.
The date has changed where I live, so I'm going to declare the contest started. You may now begin writing your entries. Please be sure to post them in the relevant threads; see the last post if unsure where those are.
You've got basically a month, so use it wisely. Good luck and godspeed to all who undertake this contest.
Anyway, if you're not keeping track, as of yesterday, there are two weeks remaining to submit entries. Make sure to get them in before 16 September to ensure your entry gets voted on.
As discussed in the Site Events Discussion Thread, this also marks the opening of the window when extensions can be petitioned for. If you feel that you don't have enough time, please make your case in this thread. Be prepared to justify your request with an account of how far you have to go and your progress to date, along with any extenuating circumstances that may cause difficulty.
Use what time you have wisely.
One Week Remains!ZKBdFKP.PM2022/09/09 (Fri) 20:19No. 16569▼
As you can guess, there is only one week left until the closing of the submission window. Submissions will be officially closed sometime on 16 September my time, so there is always the chance you can get yours in a little bit late your time. However, for better chances of being included in the vote, please try to get entries in before.
Also note that there are only two days left to ask for an extension. If you need it, ask now.
Emergency Extension; New Deadline!!ZKBdFKP.PM2022/09/14 (Wed) 18:34No. 16570▼
Due to anticipated personal circumstances that will make the current schedule difficult, I have decided to extend the submission window another week. That means that the new deadline to post entries is 23 September, 2022. Accordingly, voting will run from 23 September until 30 September.
With this post, I hereby call the entry submission window closed.
The following is the official list of eligible entries to vote on, by category:
General * Youkai Summer Party! * Letter * When Autumn Arrives * Red Sun Over Paradise * Shizuha's Summer * Bait
NSFW * Fish in Hot (?) Water * Candle of Love
Please submit a vote for both categories, regardless of whether or not you read anything in one or the other. You are allowed to submit a vote of no confidence for a category in which you either don't like any entry or don't care to vote. In that case, please clearly put a vote of "[x] vote of no confidence". Doing so will help with later vote tallying.
Voting will last for one week, ending at my decree on 30 September, 2022.
It was between this one and Youkai Summer Party for me. The other entries, I felt, suffered from either distractingly clunky prose or plotlines that did not seem to go anywhere. Ultimately, I decided based on the thought that part for YSP part of the appeal comes from the well-crafted images, while for this one it is more purely the writing. This one has a generally good writing style, nice banter between the characters and a kiss moment that I actually found somewhat more appealing than the actual NSFW entries. Which brings us to...
[X] Fish in Hot (?) Water
Both of the entries were decently written but not really appealing to me in the way NSFW is intended to be. So, I have chosen this one for the nice playful dialogue compared to the… somewhat less pleasant chemistry in the other.
Youkai Summer Party! Innovative premise but it's not really landing for me. Then again, classic platformers have never been my thing, so maybe I just don't get it.
Letter Not a huge fan of this characterisation of either Alice or Shinki—always struck me as kind of rote and not really in fitting with either the PC-98 games or the canon series. For what it is, though, it's not a bad assay.
When Autumn Arrives This is a nice scene. The dialogue is a bit on the nose, but somehow I like the sudden ending to it. Sort of carries the crispness of that first autumn wind.
Red Sun Over Paradise It's like a hundred degrees centigrade on the Lunar surface during daytime; it's not cool there at all. What the Heck.
Shizuha's Summer This is another nice scene. I enjoyed the details on pre-industrial paint preparation and more generally the invoking of artistic elements. But the smell...
Bait If I say "nice scene" a third time it'll round out the Nice-scene Creed. But it is—it's like something wafting out from a buried memory, with an unspecific yet still vivid sense of place and time. Very captivating. I like this one the most.
Fish in Hot (?) Water Purpuriferous as always, but the subject matter does nil for me and I'm bothered by the epanaleptic on-and-on vis-a-vis the dis-, tris-, tetrakis-and-onwards-legomenon 'prick'. Post-emptive apologies for the short shrift, but de gustibus and all that.
Candle of Love This I like, despite the myriad Offences, Abuſes, Outrages, & Extenuacions of oure faire Langage, of whoſe Number I could thee well endyte. I will say I found the ending thrust a little more precipitous than I was hoping for, and some more verbal partee (if not, owing to the circumstances, repartee) in the absolute heat of things would have been, how do you put it, primo; but the classic trappings are all there, and I'm sure fulfilled.
General I'm one of the authors in this category. Don't think it's appropriate to vote or comment on anything until after the contest.
If only due to that technicality: [x] vote of no confidence
Fish in Hot (?) Water Very well-executed on a technical level with polished prose that stays away from many of the usual excesses of whom I suspect wrote it. It certainly is titillating in more than one way. I don't share the fascination with sumptuously-equipped mermaids but it's a reasonable focus for an encounter with her. If I had to complain about something it's that the scenario is too basic—I would have appreciated more setup or at least something more of the non-fucking. A little bit of investment beyond lewds for its own sake. A little bit of a nitpick given the category, admittedly.
Candle of Love Not exactly to my tastes in terms of content but it's an interesting interaction and certainly portrays sweltering that leads to abandonment of reason. Ending was maybe a little too limp and Ichirin's character disappeared a little too much. Still, I think that the arrogance shown by both characters makes sense and binds things together.
General: [x] Bait Of all the entries, I feel this one captured the theme of "red hot summer day" best while being best-written, even if it was more of a descriptive piece than an actual story. Shoutout to Shizuha's Summer for being a close second, only losing because it felt more like an autumn piece than a summer piece. I'll save slightly more in-depth analysis of every entry after the results are in.
NSFW: [x] Fish in Hot (?) Water Contrary to what the other guys above me said, I don't think this was written by you-know-who, not nearly purple or punny enough, but it is pretty competently written. Candle of Love was also good in that regard, but sadly yuri BDSM is just not my cup of tea. I do have an idea of who wrote that, though, and I appreciate him sticking to his guns, so don't let my preferences dissuade you from future works.
The lead-in had me second-guess the identities of the characters no less than twice, which by itself would’ve been intriguing enough to warrant a vote; plus, as another gentleman above has enunciated it, the story does capture the impression of a distant memory in text rather very well. The apparent cut-off at the end, I especially enjoyed. I imagine it is both much how our memories tend to end: suddenly, on a sharp, emotional imprint – and, that it is perhaps a metaphor for the protagonist “falling in” and being “pulled” into the odd little youkai fold for the first time. Hook, line and sinker. Well played indeed.
I’m going to single out Letter as well. There are too few pieces out there diving into the mechanics of the less, er, magical, mystical kinds of magic exhibited by Gensokyo’s inhabitants, and such deep-dives have always been fascinating to me. Ultimately, however, the matter of the PoV character’s chosen fan-background and sentiment theretoward ended up being enough of a (mind, entirely personal) turn-off that it didn’t edge the above entry off the podium. Just not a fan. Sorry!
For the NSFW category, as I am one of the two authors having their fetishes harshly scrutinised, I’ll withhold my vote. We really could have used at least one more entry to balance things out. Phooey.
Fish in Hot (?) Water — I don't share the obsession with mammaries or intercourse therewith, so that's already a strike on the content. Skimming everything to see if there's anything of less prurient interest, I see some of the dialogue is at least breezy, though some of it leans prurient anyway. Unfortunately, there's little non-lewd matter to latch onto, so my interest wears very thin. I have a feeling I know who you are, and this is a perennial problem for me with your lewds.
Candle of Love — I have little interest in fem-fem; I have negative interest in BDSM; and I blanch at even the slightest hint of non-con. So, yeah, sorry, this strikes out for me by sheer dint of hitting so many sour notes by default. I also have a feeling I know who you are.
[x] vote of no confidence
I, like another anon, wish there had been at least one more entry in the category. Though I have strong doubts any such figurative entry would have appealed. Either way, neither extant entry does anything for me. You do you... preferably somewhere away from me.
And now for the slightly less easy but overall simpler part...
Youkai Summer Party! — Look, I can see you put a lot of effort into this. I just think it's kind of misguided. I don't want to read a transcript of a Youtube video essay or whatever you're going for. That's not what I read fanfiction for. I know who you are.
Letter — When PC-98 comes into the picture, I leave. It's just something I tend to have a strong distaste for. And I hate to say this, but there's a fairly detectable ESL flavour from your prose that I can't ignore. There's nothing inherently wrong with that, but it's like dried coconut for me: the texture is just too distracting and off-putting even when the taste is fine. I have no idea who you are.
When Autumn Arrives — Same problem as the last. It's cute and all, but I do get rather distracted by all the little expressive flaws. I know who you are.
Red Sun Over Paradise — This is a mess. I suspect your friend who edited doesn't know much about prose. Sorry, can't get past how badly formatted everything is. The content is really on-the-nose, anyway. I have a couple of guesses as to who you are, but I wouldn't put money on any of them.
[x] Shizuha's Summer — Starting with the bad, I don't think the theme was very well integrated. The story itself is short enough to feel a bit incomplete. The good part is that I'm heavily biased towards Akis, for one. The other good thing is that the repartee between Shizuha and the shaman is charming. I like the hint of chemistry, and I also like the rather callous joking from Shizuha. Might have liked a little more detail about the paints, but that's probably just me. I know who you are.
Bait — It was between you and the above. Your prose is competent, and I do feel you might have edged out the other story in terms of using the theme. That said, it's still not that well integrated, which leaves everything down to personal charm; unfortunately, that's where I have to side with your competitor. Your descriptions are nice. The point where I depart from more Aki'd lands is that I just didn't feel as much distinct character from this story. You've got some interactions that take place, but they're not strong enough for me personally. Call it a mismatch of priorities. I have no idea who you are.
Sorry if I come across kind of harsh to anyone. This is ultimately all my gut reaction to things, and I'm nothing if not blunt in expressing that.
I am a writer for general but still wanted to vote. This piece and bait are the largest competitors for this theme by miles. And while I was entranced by the writing quality of Bait, I think I'll remember the detailed characterization from Shizuha's Summer better. Both writers should be proud of their work, regardless.
I didn't look into NSFW, though. Not my cup of tea, so sorry guys.
"Youkai Summer Party!" probably caught my interest more than any of the other stories here, due to its unusual premise and style. It reminds me a little of the old, vitriolic game reviewers, but with a more patient flavor to it.
"Letter" felt very tight. It devoted everything to a single, central theme and, to me, it executed that theme well. I'm a little biased, however, as I'm a bit of a sucker for elements of regret and trying to make things right.
"When Autumn Arrives" honestly felt pretty similar to Letter in its laser focus on a central, overriding theme and building to nothing but that. I found it, too, a fun read.
I found "Red Sun Over Paradise" to be a cute read. It was simple and silly, but enough to get a smile outta me.
"Shizuha's Summer" is probably a good story. Sadly, I could not enjoy it for reasons of personal prejudices.
"Bait" felt the least focused of the bunch, in that there was no obvious, intended goal like the others. None obvious to me, at least. That said, it established a very cozy, lazy mood that really sucked me in.
For the NSFW stuff, I wrote an entry. If there were more of them in here, I would just vote for someone else's. But that doesn't feel right when there's only one other. So, I'll abstain.
For the General stuff, it was tough to choose between Letter, When Autumn Arrives, and Bait. But, ultimately, Bait's mood and something about the way it developed won me over.
I enjoyed Bait and felt like the story did a very good job at establishing the atmosphere and ambience of summer in gensokyo, though I agree with criticism that it felt aimless. I particularly felt that its ending was unsatisfying, but that's because I liked the story and wanted to see more. Overall, I feel like this was a very good entry.
I liked Letter as well. I feel like the story did a good job at detailing Alice's thoughts and explored her relationship with her mother and nostalgia in an interesting way. I feel like it relied on Alice's internal monologue to explain it, however, which I think was a somewhat clumsy way of handling it considering the amount of exposition. Ultimately, I feel like it was a decent read that accomplished what it set up.
When Autumn Arrives was an interesting character study on Shizuha. I feel like it felt somewhat stiff at parts, but never so much that it outweighed the interesting conversation between Shizuha and the villager boy. I feel like there's a significant overlap with what I have in mind about Shizuha's character, too.
[x] Shizuha's Summer I'm voting for this story since I wrote it and I'm not too ashamed of it. If I didn't have my own story in the running, I would have voted for Bait.
[x] Vote of No Confidence for the NSFW category.
Voting Concluded, Tallies to Follow!ZKBdFKP.PM2022/09/30 (Fri) 17:27No. 16583▼
And that's a wrap for the voting period. Sorry to anyone who may have missed it, but you had a week.
I shall tally the votes ASAP and be back with another announcement. Just as a reminder, please wait until the winners are announced to start doing author reveals. Please wait warmly.
>Youkai Summer Party! It's funny but not sure what I was supposed to take away from it. >Letter Cute but a bit stilted. >When Autumn Arrives didn't feel much for this one, sorry >Red Sun Over Paradise I don't think Reimu is that dumb. >Shizuha's Summer Also really cute but feels like it's part of something bigger. >Bait Weird but left me wanting more.
>Fish in Hot (?) Water Pretty hot but not sure what motivates wakasagihime except needed to be horny for plot >Candle of Love not really into the fetish but interesting setup. Futo being twisted is good
[x] Fish in Hot (?) Water
Announcement of Results!ZKBdFKP.PM2022/09/30 (Fri) 17:50No. 16585▼
After a quick tally, here are the official winners out of the nine votes cast.
With four votes each, we have a tie between Shizuha's Summer and Bait. Well done to both entrants.
Well, this is a little awkward. The simple five vote majority in this category was a vote of no confidence, meaning... well, neither entry really wins. That is, of course, what that option is for, so that's what the result is. Maybe next time there'll be more entries to catch people's interest, eh?
With all that said, I'd like to thank everyone who participated, writers and voters both. This community is, as often said, a DIY effort, and that requires people willing to show up for things to happen. You guys are the real spirit of this place, and I hope everybody had fun doing this.
There is at least one idea for another contest along the lines of this format, though the time will have to be decided at some later point. I'm thinking the voting format probably ought to be changed from first-past-the-post to a ranked system; let me know if you have any opinions on that issue.
Finally, the writers of the entries can now unmask themselves if they so choose.
Well, I guess I may as well confess. Folks probably saw this coming, but I wrote Candle of Love. It took me basically the entire submission window to hit on a plot that I could get into and holy hell, was it badly rushed as a result. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the premise--for this contest, that is--but since I had nothing else I felt like writing, this is what we got.
Given its rushed nature and the unpleasant nature of its themes, I honestly consider it a huge victory that I got even a few favorable comments on it.
Hopping out of the shade to say I wrote Letter. It ended up much more melodramatic than I initially envisioned, but I don't personally mind that flair. I had a fun time writing it, and am super glad about all of the feedback. Both good and bad.
Except for that guy that said it was ESL. I'll try harder next time, jerk.
>>16593 There's never been any rule prohibiting it, and it's been allowed in the past, so I have nothing to say against it.
Duck Duck Go !HgCXJCkx622022/10/02 (Sun) 17:23No. 16595▼
Late to the coming out party.
I wrote Youkai Summer Party.
Mostly as a 'cropped' project (as in if it wasn't in the contest, I'd have added a bunch more screen shots since I wouldn't be limited to only 2 updates) but overall I think what was intended did come out in a way.
The other part was mostly a dare too, as in "I dare you to write better than this!" as I figured that writing a semi-shit post (as in not an award winner) would embolden other people to post as well, cause they wouldn't be the first to post and also they would be able to use this as a comparison. Super conceited, I know. But my saintly buttcheeks aside...
The last reason I wrote it is cause I watched Jontron's Monster Party video recently (as in the week the contest started) and like an eight-year-old who watched a movie about funny cars. It just made me want to do the same.
Heck it filled my head with the idea of a Tenshi CYOA, but seeing how I've yet to finish the 2 ongoing ones I have. I just made a simple short instead as I'm not going to submit to the 'abandon a story' curse that's kicked me in the nuts with other fanfictions.
Anyway, not to make this too long. I thank all those who took the time to read it and have read your opinions about it.
Congrats to the writers of who got a tie, actuallly congrats to all who posted here at all. The fact you had an idea/story and had the guts and will to actually finish it takes balls. At least I think so, I'm a bit of a procastinator myself. It's been days since I updated anything.
Anyway that was my input here. Until the next contest, whatever the subject may be about that time!
I asked the organizer about whether or not I could vote for myself and was told yes. I wasn't sure if it was the right choice for the reasons pointed out, but I wasn't sure if voting for my competitor was a good idea either, since I liked the idea of winning. I won't do it for the next contest, at least. Sorry about that. I would have voted for Bait without hesitation if it weren't for this.
I hope everyone had fun. It was interesting to read all the different things. I’d say more about them but I’m a little wary of offering non-anonymous input. Not to mention that most things worth saying have already been said.
I wrote Bait. It was my first contest entry in at least a decade and am both pleased and surprised that it got the most votes. I spent at least a month thinking it over and trying to decide how exactly I was going to approach things and what it was that I wanted to say with it. I deliberately chose to execute it in a way that would not give away that the fact that it I wrote it. While I do like to experiment with styles and approaches, the main reason for that is obvious and found in the votes: attempts are made to figure out who wrote what and bias (both positive and negative) tends to influence things.
I wanted to keep the contest’s primary theme front and center and tried to incorporate both it and the secondary one in both overtly and subtle fashion. I think I was successful at that and I was also successful at developing at least one of my central themes upon re-read; Gensokyo is indeed a land of illusion and even things considered mundane by its inhabitants have other sides that are often full of history; appearances are often deceptive and the unexpected may happen at any time. I tried not to be too heavy-handed with themes and motifs generally and erred on the side of ambiguity—even refusing to use proper names such as Wisteria, let alone that of characters.
The choice of an almost stream-of-consciousness narrator was a late decision and I purposefully tried to write it in a single sitting. I achieved it in two, having only written the first paragraph in the first sitting. I only did a sanity check for grammar/typos but did not otherwise edit the story as I think that would have weakened the feeling of flow for the narrator; the word choice, repetition, apathy, disdain, and whatever else was meant to be as raw as possible. It was a sort of impressionist experiment, I suppose, and being compared to memory and feeling was definitely part of my intent.
I appreciated all the comments and feedback, even if I’m a little bemused by comments about lack of character and direction. Certainly had both in spades in my estimation! It’s a fairly distinct (and subjective) look into Gensokyo and its reality and it culminates in a moment of excitement for the narrator and ties up a bunch of previously introduced and then elaborated thoughts and feelings. It was really gratifying to see someone comment on the metaphorical aspect of it. The story’s title was very deliberate, after all, and is supposed to refer to many different things.
In a sense I expected the story to be like marmite—either you love it or you hate it. So, again, it’s nice to see that it was well received.
But yeah, I think that’s probably enough masturbatory output from me. I enjoyed writing Bait, enjoyed seeing reactions to it, and, even though it’s unusual for me, I enjoyed reading it a lot also. I hope that more people participate next time we do a contest, both as writers and readers!
>>16602 >I deliberately chose to execute it in a way that would not give away that the fact that it I wrote it. You got me there. I mainly suspected it was yours but there was room enough to second-guess myself.
>>16602 Dammit. I like to consider myself a big fan, but I was totally fooled.
>lack of character Just to quibble, what I meant was in terms of distinctness. I'll be honest in that I didn't give any entry a particularly deep look-over, so I wasn't primed to appreciate any subtleties of your work. Basically, I took the most shallow route for judging things for lots of things I could — but will refrain from — whinge about. That's rather unfair to you and others, but it is what it is.
>>16602 >It was really gratifying to see someone comment on the metaphorical aspect of it. You’re welcome. Well done.
Hello. To no one’s surprise, I authored the fishtits piece. The aim, aside from you being happy to see me, was to effect a more “generic” pornographic scene such as may be found in other fanfiction repositories, complete with, yes, repetition, crudeness, etc. – but, between a somewhat confounding theme (how would a Slav know what summer is…?), work and and being busy with the bun over in /shrine/, I couldn’t commit 100%. Well, at least it filled out the category. Was better than leaving it (at the time) empty. Too bad about the middling, stopgap quality.
On which note, combined with Mibya’s comment up above, damn, we really screwed the pooch this year on that, didn’t we? Guess those votes of no confidence were deserved after all. I’m going to have to think about breaking some promises (er, again) and maybe making up for it in some way…