In fact, Jax is a grad student who has barely had any time whatsoever for the past six months to write her own fanfiction, and this is her ballot, which she is now posting to get people to stop complaining about how little time they have to read fics. :| For serious, guys, all you need to do is read the first couple of lines. If they don't catch your attention, move on to the next fic until you find something that does. There are quite a few nominations on this list I didn't even know about until this past week; I just happened across them via skimming their first paragraphs, putting their URLs down on a document, and coming back to them later for a closer look. At most, the whole process might've taken me a few hours. Sure, that means you'd have to spend a few hours, but keep in mind that you don't need to have your nominations in right now. :/
(And, well, you had weeks to go look through fics as well. Just sayin'.)
Sorry for the rant. It's just, seriously, guys, every time you complain that the limit's unfair, you propose shutting out a ton of fics that are absolutely fantastic, just because they're not written by your friends or because they were written by newbies. Come on, guys. Don't be like that.
On a more positive note, my nominations sheet, which is full of, "Yes, I was stalking half of you while I was on hiatus." Also, let me know if I miscounted; I can totally do math apparently. (Scaldiver's fic nearly had seven nominations here.)
Overall Fiction Awards
Best Pokémon Chaptered Fic
The Legend's End by Scaldiver. Easily one of my favorite review requests I've gotten. The suspense is palpable, and it's hard not to like the characters. Every one of them is very real, especially the Pokémon (something not a lot of people have been able to pull off in fanfic). The twist in one of the latest chapters (the one involving who the chosen one is) just emphasizes how new and different this is. It's a trainer fic that reads like something new and more intense.
Requiem by Sidewinder.
However, this is my favorite fic of this year that I haven't commented on (but really should). Everything about this fic is amazing. Its premise is new and different, its characters are well-built, and it presents just the right amount of suspense to keep me reading. Not to mention if you're looking for well-written description, this is a good example of how to be awesome.
Best Pokémon One-Shot
Butterfree by Dragonfree. While make-the-player-feel-bad fics aren't entirely new, Dragonfree finds a way to make our decision to box that Butterfree we caught in Viridian Forest sound realistically terrible. The amount of emotion that the narrator maintains throughout this story makes this fic utterly heartbreaking.
The Motionless Journey of Youngster Ian by Psychic. SPEAKING OF THINGS THAT MAKE YOU THINK ABOUT BEING A TERRIBLE PERSON. Psychic takes that trainer who constantly abuses your Pokégear number and gives you a reason not to want to punch them in the face pre-battle. She's successfully captured that feeling of hero-worship in this trainer while also developing him towards having an ounce of stability in his life. It really ends beautifully for that too.
Best Non-Pokémon Chaptered Fic
Deus X Machina by Deadly.Braviary. It's a robot uprising described in short, very powerful bursts. For that reason, from the very start, it catches your attention and holds it like a vice.
Digimon: Antivaccine by RoseQuartz. Because hell yes, Digimon world-building.
Best Non-Pokémon One-Shot
Dragonborn by pepperedfox. Now, I will freely admit I know nothing about Skyrim. I still found this awesome. What makes it really is Arian herself. This is definitely her story, her struggle to be brave and live up to the greatness people apparently think she has, and all of that self-doubt careens into the final, incredibly powerful line. One can't help but root for Arian, and that's pretty amazing for a fic that gets its story across in so few words.
Other Fic Awards
Requiem by Sidewinder. Slacker and adoptive sister go off on a journey to bring a killer to justice? Chosen one trainer who's batshit insane and apparently working for a bunch of questionable gods? Yes please.
Most Original Overall
Stranger Than Fiction by Cutlerine. Do you like shenanigans with your meta humor? Cutlerine delivers with a rarity in the Pokémon fandom: a character breaking out of one fanfic to wreak havoc on others. Oh, sure, parodies, fourth-wall leaning, and dimension hopping is nothing new, but how many fics involve a character messing around with other fics that weren't even written by the same author? That's how brilliant this idea is. Also, it's illustrated. Because **** the rules.
Clash by Silent--Protagonist. Silent, meanwhile, comes right the eff out of nowhere with a battle fic told in free verse poetry. Well-written free verse poetry at that.
Best Writing Style
Clash by Silent--Protagonist. No, seriously, it's really good free verse poetry.
The Fall to Redemption by Cypher DS. It starts off with a rather powerful description of total darkness, and it just gets better from there. It's hard not to like Virgil's voice, and because of the narrator's… uniqueness, it's just a fascinating retelling of Emerald. It's rather silly that the author's forcing folks to read the fic elsewhere, but hey, what can you do?
The Legendarian Chronicles by Chibi Pika. While I have to admit I haven't read everything in this fic, one thing I have noticed by reading the first couple of chapters and skimming the rest (orz) is that Chibi Pika knows how to do description without delving into the purple side of things. Everything in this fic is very vivid and, might I add, actually pretty beautiful.
Colony 9.0 by Treecko's Awesomeness. Because SPAAAAAAAACE. Sure, you get a bit of Earth too, but c'mon. Effing space guys. This fic is dealing with aliens.
Best Expansion of Canon
The Retelling of Pokémon Colosseum by bobandbill. If you liked Pokémon Colosseum… bobandbill apologizes for nothing.
Weak by Ememew. Em gives us a rather beautiful look at Bianca's character, Iris's character, and the latter's reason for wanting so badly to take the former on as an apprentice. It culminates into adding a reason why Iris backed off in the end as well as a rather nice snapshot of her relationship with Drayden. Tl;dr? Em knows how to do characters right.
Best Character Development
Dorian Dvakna, Requiem by Sidewinder. I'm going to reach the max limit of nominations for this fic, aren't I? :. But for serious, Dorian's most of the reason why you should read this fic. He starts off as an aimless slacker (even a bit of a jerk), but oh my God does he become fantastically motivated and loyal to the people he cares most about after more than one encounter with death. It's amazing how much he develops after only a short period of time.
Best Characterization in a Short Story
Butterfree by Dragonfree. The characterization is practically the reason why it made my nomination list for best one-shot. It's really the narrator's personality that makes this whole story so powerful and emotional. If the narrator didn't have that perfect balance of passion or that very human way of speaking, this fic would've come off as overdramatic or trite.
Best Romantic Relationship
Cynthia/Dawn, Negative Edge by Diddy. Okay, so maybe I'm a sucker for Cynthia/Dawn to begin with (because it's pretty much one of the few Sinnoh-based romantic relationships I actually sort of like thanks to the whole mentor-mentee thing), but Diddy forces Dawn to go through Hell for it. And it shows, and it makes the ending all the more adorable.
Best Non-Romantic Relationship/Interaction
Dorian Dvakna and Shelton Street, Requiem by Sidewinder. Yes, again, but the characters are really the strongest point of this fic. Dorian and Sheridan see each other as brother and sister, and it shows. From their bickering to how much they support each other through disasters (or at least get ripped apart inside over how their counterparts react to them), it's easy to tell that their relationship goes well beyond the cliché "we're the male and female main character so why not." It's even well beyond the "we're in love" kind of relationship. It's powerful, and it's clear that these characters need each other because they're family.
Best Original Species
Most Suspenseful Fic
The Fall to Redemption by Cypher DS. When your fic starts off with a description of total darkness and includes dead characters, horrifying monsters, and all kinds of other fun eldritch abominations, you know you've got a rollercoaster of oh god what. Cypher pulls you in and plops you beside Virgil, who wakes up with only his name in a pretty terrifying version of Hoenn, in order to send you both on a journey into a deep, dark world in search of the answer to whatever the hell is going on. It's just that beautiful.
Most Heartbreaking Fic
Butterfree by Dragonfree. If you don't tear up as a result of this fic, you have no soul.
Pokémon Genre Awards
Best Trainer Fic
Survival Project by diamondpearl876. If you ever thought that a trainer fic would be more powerful if told from the perspective of the creatures trainers catch and order to battle… the answer is yes. Yes, it is. Also? This is an example of alternating POVs done well. Each new switch maintains the freshness of the story, but diamond understands that alternating POVs are meant to offer readers different perspectives on a story, rather than a redundant view of events or -- even worse -- just a means of reaching scenes that one character wasn't present for. In short, each point of view adds something significant to the plot, gives readers a wonderful view of each character, and presents a new means of telling a trainer fic.
Mama's Boy by An-chan. Normally, I wouldn't nominate an abandoned fic like this, but I love the premise here. A trainer tries to have a perfectly ordinary start, only to have his mother decide to go along with him. Shenanigans ensue. It's beautiful.
Best Horror Fic
Pokémon Nightmare by Ocean Soul. Zombies. That is all.
Invisible by diamondpearl876. Welp. I'm never owning a Ghost-type ever again, and this fic is why. Just oh my God, the narrator's creep factor is unbelievable. It also shies away from telling you straight-out what's going on, so your imagination has plenty of room to fill in some terrifying blanks.
Best Comedy Fic
The Retelling of Pokémon Colosseum by bobandbill. No, really, he is not sorry for what he did to Orre. (And if you want to see the world's best Quagsire, this is the fic to read.)
Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Fic
TRINITY by Shrike Flamestar. Hard to argue against Pokémon IN SPACE WITH CYBERPUNK. The amount of thought Shrike puts into the details that create his world is utterly remarkable. Of course, he also gets points for creating an interesting story as well, but what really does it for me is the background, seriously.
Best Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Fic
Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Silverveil by Koridojo_Blaziken. It's a beautifully written PMD fic that goes off the beaten path. As such, it reads so much more like a fantasy RPG than a PMD story, but that's okay because that means it focuses a lot on doing some amazing things with world-building.
Til Death by Glover. If anything, read this for the character interactions and the absolutely fabulous theory concerning the relationship between Dream World and PMD. Which is to say, read it for everything.
The Itty Bitty Story of Ichabod by Silent--Protagonist. It's an adorable story about an Unown trying to be useful. Read that sentence again and let it sink in for a second.
A Quick One While She's Away by jstinftw! Or, as I like to call it, "why you should never leave starters unattended ever." It's brief, but it's hilarious thanks to how the starters interact with each other. And by that, I mean destroy Professor Juniper's lab.
Best Canon Character-Centric
Weak by Ememew. Like I said earlier, it does an amazing job delving into the characters of Bianca and Iris and examines their in-game motivations thoroughly… while, might I add, bringing up more than one excellent point along the way.
The Motionless Journey of Youngster Ian by Psychic. It's pretty difficult not to respect a fic that revolves around a game NPC who's mostly rematch fodder. Yet Psychic does an excellent job not only bringing that exact character to life but also making a reader feel for him.
Best Human Main Character
Mark, Bridging Dimensions by Cyn. One of the things that make this piece particularly entertaining is how casual and natural Mark is. You can tell he's a perfectly ordinary guy -- maybe even a bit of a slacker. That's why it gets a little hilarious (and by that I mean interesting) when Eevee pops up and throws him for a loop.
Edward, The Legend's End by Scaldiver. He's weak (compared to his best friend), he's extremely creative and intelligent, and… he is caught up in legendary shenanigans purely due to their politics. It's just amazing to watch him and wait to see what he's going to do next, just because it's definitely clear he's nowhere near his element.
Best Non-Human Main Character
Rosco, Just A Dog by SerenadeSP. If you magically gave a dog the ability to speak, everything out of Rosco's mouth would be exactly the kind of thing it would say. …Which is why the story is a massive tearjerker, by the by.
Best Human Supporting Character
Nuria, The Legend's End by Scaldiver. At first, she seems like a self-centered ***** and the designated traveling companion… but then it turns out that's most of what makes her interesting. It's clear that she's got a lot to learn about Pokémon and about… pretty much everything else, and let's just say the twist that the plot throws at her? Makes her even better.
Best Non-Human Supporting Character
Bayleef, The Legend's End by Scaldiver. While the other Pokémon (besides Ralts) are perfectly happy serving Edward and Nuria, Bayleef most certainly isn't, and she alone provides a lot of the delicious, delicious conflict (as well as some interesting points) in the story.
Best Human Villain
Ethan, Requiem by Sidewinder. Only villain that managed to give me chills this year.
Best Non-Human Villain
The Machines, Deus X Machina by Deadly.Braviary. Oh God, all of them are chill-inducing. From the calm and calculating 4242 to S.H.A.W.'s chilling message to humanity, all of the Machines are positively terrifying as well as completely and beautifully alien.
The ghost, Invisible by diamondpearl876. What makes this villain so incredible is that you have no idea what it's doing to the trainer. All you know is that it's something terrible, and all the while, it's gleefully describing every last detail.
Best Minor Character
Sherles, The Retelling of Pokémon Colosseum by bobandbill. Sherles is, hands-down, a breath of fresh air in the insanity and stupidity that seems to infest bobandbill's version of Orre. That may be why he seems to shine the brightest, but honestly, in my opinion, it's like a reverse comic relief. His timing is so brilliant and his parts so carefully written that it's just really hard not to like him because he seems like exactly what you want to see at any given time.
Tom, The Retelling of Pokémon Colosseum by bobandbill. I applaud bobandbill's ability to write a drunk person narrating multiple chapters and have it still make some sort of sense. Also, Tom pops up in the worst ways possible, and it's always funny. Always.
Fic Moments Awards
Spoiler:- Umbreon uses Mean Look. It's super-effective!:
- The Retelling of Pokémon Colosseum by bobandbill
Most Frightening Scene
Spoiler:- Really most of the fic but especially the part where the Ghost-type goes into detail about how creepy it actually is.:
- Invisible by diamondpearl876
Most Heartbreaking Scene
Spoiler:- Butterfree's reaction to seeing its trainer for the first time in six years. Tears ensue.:
- Butterfree by Dragonfree
Most Heartwarming Scene
Spoiler:- Last line of the fic.:
- Butterfree by Dragonfree
Best Action Scene
Spoiler:- A battle between a legendary and the killer, plus some battle transformation magic. And death.:
- The Legend's End by Scaldiver
Most Memorable Quote
I am not your chosen one.
- Chosen One by Little Miss Sunshine
Best Established Writer
Dragonfree. Without a doubt, her one-shots are consistently extremely powerful and excellent, and her longer fics, albeit not updated that frequently, are definitely enjoyable to get into. Dragonfree knows how to write a good character for certain, and she's amazing at world-building and cooking up gripping prose.
Cutlerine. Yes, I know my nominations sheet is rather sparse in terms of words about Cutlerine this year, but I give him props for creating some of the most fascinating premises and amusing characters on the forum. His fics always have an interesting balance of action and humor (even when he's not trying to be funny), and with the way he describes things, it's very easy to get into his worlds.
Best New Writer
Sidewinder. He posted his first shot at a fic, and it blew my mind. That is literally something that does not happen that frequently.
Silent--Protagonist. One of the underdogs of the fanfic forum, Silent was here briefly for the summer, and every fic she did was amazing. She really knows how to get emotion across, even in a short amount of space, and her prose was so carefully worded with amazingly beautiful detail. She's definitely worth a look.
Most Dedicated Writer
Cutlerine. One of the bits of credit I have to give him is that Cutlerine posts high quality work on an incredibly reliable schedule. Even when the rest of us were being murdered by real life, Cutlerine was there to put up something new for us to read. Respect, man. Nothing but respect.
Most Improved Writer
Deadly.Braviary. Okay, yes, another author I didn't talk about that much here, but I have to say this anyway. Last year, I didn't really give Deadly much of a second glance. This year? Suddenly deep, interesting plots and well-written prose. Probably helps that Deus X Machina is a really well-written fic.
Most Helpful Reviewer
Ememew. I give her props for so many reasons. She's very patient, even when a lot of us on the forum aren't, and she has a knack for not only knowing what to point out but also how to phrase things in a way that's easy to understand and tactful to the writer.
Psychic. Similar reasons, actually! Psychic's always been patient and sweet to everyone she reviews, and she's not one to get frustrated that easily. When you see her drop by a story to say a few words, you know it's going to be a good conversation.
Most Dedicated Reviewer
Shadow Lucario. While I have to say I wish his reviews were more substantial (i.e., did more than point out grammatical errors, especially without explaining them), I give him props for reviewing practically every story with something that's a bit more than one-liner reviews.
Soooo... yeah. For those of you who are about to complain that you don't have time to read any other fics, just remember. A grad student with a day job managed to do this. *thumbs towards the above list*
That said, all I've got to say is I've got no problem with the rule. It gives more writers a chance in the competition. Otherwise, it'd be just people voting for their friends, and we'd only have a handful of people getting on the ballot. This way definitely makes things more interesting.