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.