Today’s story is a real page-turner.
[Dark] [Horror] [Mystery] • 23,036 words
Twilight has given you a new book to read. Well, she didn’t exactly give it to you, you actually just found it in the back of the library. Behind a shelf. On the ground. It looks very old, downright ancient, and it smells like moss and rot. The binding is a little cracked, and there’s no title on it. You can’t help but wonder what might be inside, and the only way to find out is to keep reading.
Just turn the page.
You can do that much, can’t you?
FROM THE CURATORS: Notable fanfiction can bring to life ideas that are too big for the show — but even among exemplary stories, it’s not every day you see ideas that are also too big for traditional prose. “anonpencil’s most recent work — I hesitate to call it just a ‘fic’ — is impressive,” RBDash47 said in his nomination. “Beyond the pure fic/storytelling aspect, pencil spent months building a multimedia experience that takes full advantage of the publishing format: this is not a story that could ever exist in book form, or even really as an ebook.” And while that novelty caught our collective eye, what earned this a feature was its solid quality. “There are plenty of other fics which toy with formatting,” Soge said. “What sets Broken Bindings apart is that it does these things well.”
He wasn’t the only one impressed. “There’s substance in all of this stylish packaging, and it is some beautifully haunting work,” FanOfMostEverything said. “anonpencil used literary devices as thoroughly and as well as she did hyperlinks and multimedia integration.” RBDash47 praised the craft in the character work: “From a pure fic standpoint, it tells a compelling story about a mare imprisoned within a book, and is creepy while simultaneously earning the reader’s sympathies for a villain (maybe even a ‘monster’). The turn/reveal/prestige at the end also makes it an interesting commentary on ‘death of the author’ for me.” And Present Perfect was most impressed by the consistent eye for detail: “I had so much fun finding the little inconsistencies, the seeming mistakes, and the really, really hidden stuff. It was every bit as much fun watching the story unravel, too. Muse’s unstable emotional state comes through in chilling ways.”
Even curators turned off by the story’s structure found themselves admiring it. “I’m here to read a story, not play a game … the concept behind Broken Bindings, though, struck me as a really nice answer to a lot of my objections,” AugieDog said. “If I’d just stumbled across this story on my own, I would’ve stopped about page 6, but since I was reading it for the RCL, I kept going — and found myself immensely impressed with the character’s voice, the little animations and nutty typography stuff, and the rising tension.” And in the end, our biggest regrets were not getting to the tale sooner. “I meant to nominate this one myself. This is what I get for procrastinating,” FanOfMostEverything said. “In any case, this is a glorious exercise in using the medium to its absolute fullest.”
Read on for our author interview, in which anonpencil discusses brie bathing, editor cheating, and dream infiltration.