It’s always a good season to read today’s story.
[Drama] [Sad] • 21,493 words
With a heavy heart and an empty journal, Rarity heads north.
FROM THE CURATORS: “Cherax is more well known as a musician,” Soge said in his nomination, “but in Sundowner Season she shows quite the writing chops. In it we follow Rarity, taking a long trip to the farthest reaches of Equestria, with a purpose in mind which only becomes clearer to the reader — and to her — as we reach the end of the trip.” Along the way, there was plenty to like. “I loved the atmosphere and the sundowners themselves,” RBDash47 said, with AugieDog adding: “Rarity’s voice in the journal sections and in the third-person POV parts is simply phenomenal. She changes during the course of the story, but she’s always recognizably herself.” And while the story also accumulated some critiques during our voting process, we collectively found it winning us over. “It starts at such a slow burn that I had to begin the story four different times before I made it past Canterlot,” Horizon said. “And yet I was won over by how artfully everything was done … I came away impressed.”
The digressions during that lengthy unfolding were polarizing, but there was one thing on which we were unanimous: the exemplary touch provided by the story’s many well-chosen details. “I liked how Rarity kept traveling to progressively smaller and more remote settlements as her ability to deny the reason behind her journey dwindled,” FanOfMostEverything noted, while RBDash47 said: “I also got a kick out of the formatting choice of setting flashbacks off by right-aligning them; I feel like it was a nice way of accentuating the ‘back and forth’ of Rarity’s inner turmoil.” Although a few details were unintentionally personally disorienting: “Why am I in this story?” Present Perfect asked.
And what tipped the vote was the story’s lush, deliberate pacing. “The big thing right for me was the slow drip-drip-drip of revealing exactly why Rarity was feeling what she was feeling and why she was going on this journey to begin with,” RBDash47 said. Horizon summed it up similarly: “It was that slow rolling reveal most driving my vote; it worked well in concert with the story’s pacing and the gentle leavening of the distractions,” he said. “This is a tightly controlled story which asks the reader to follow along exactly in its footsteps, but I found it repaid that investment of trust.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Cherax discusses interstate buses, snow biomes, and pastel distances.