Today’s story is quite a cool tale.
The World Fades to White
[Adventure] [Sad] • 3,388 words
Princess Flurry Heart and the descendant of Prince Rutherford brave the harsh conditions of the Frozen North, in search of an artifact they hope will save their home from a similar fate.
FROM THE CURATORS: One of the subtler skills in writing is how to wring meaning from the things you don’t say — a skill on prominent display in this short and focused fic. “I love how sparse the writing feels, hinting at larger things without ever having to define them, managing to make its diffuse world feel rich and solid,” Soge said, and Present Perfect agreed: “This feels like such a tiny slice of a greater epic work. So much is packed into it, and yet so much is left unsaid.”
However, that was just one of a wider range of strengths we appreciated here. “Here’s a short piece that really shows how to use setting to reinforce tone,” Chris said in his nomination. “The endless ice fields are a bleak and austere place to be. And likewise, though there’s a tragedy at the heart of this story, it’s not a big goobery ‘be sad’ one; it’s a cold tragedy of inevitability tempered by the distance of time.” Despite that detachment, the story itself never felt distant. “This story starts in medias res, and drives on as relentlessly as the blizzard surrounding the characters,” AugieDog said, “and yet, by the time we get to the end, there’s no question what happened and how things got to the state we find them in at the beginning. It’s a very nice piece of storytelling for that alone.”
AugieDog also praised the character work, and — when we weren’t derailing our discussion to talk like yaks at each other — the rest of us quickly agreed. “The characters also deserve praise, feeling like unique creations, and yet rooted in a greater tradition that goes back to canon proper,” Soge said, and that was part of Present Perfect’s broader appreciation: “It succeeds in imagery — the sense of a vast, cold expanse of nothing, relentlessly driving our protagonists back from their goal. It succeeds in focus — zooming the ‘camera’ in and out and teasing us with what lies beyond the viewframe. And it succeeds in characterization — a simple glimpse at a future that doesn’t matter so much, because at its heart this is a story about family, friendship and loyalty, and it comes through perfectly.”
Read on for our author interview, in which RB_ discusses little monsters, melting pots, and winter shorts.