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The season’s at an end, and I want to thank everyone who participated for bringing your A-game so often to such a challenging and teensy-weensy story format. It was so small…How small was it?…it was so small that the writers had to bring their lowercase-A game! Thank you, thank you. But it’s not about me. It’s about the two writers at the end here and what I thought of them. And the two other judges. So it’s about the three of us. And you two. You two writers.

So thanks to you guys for writing, thanks to my fellow judges for fellow judging, and thanks to the behind-the-scenes gatherers and blogmods who made this shizz possible. I am getting this all out of the way up front because I think it’s most appropriate to let the stories speak for themselves, and have the final words be those that allowed the judges to deem a winner.

Great season everyone. And now: your Play with the Prose II Champion. Read the rest of this entry »

Fa-la-la-bwah-ha and all that, folks! Here we are now, at our Ultimate Pen’s penultimate challenge (yes, I’ve been waiting all season to type that). Congrats to all of you semifinalists, you’ve done spectacular work all season. As for now: Four writers enter…and somehow five leave. But two leave as winners and get to write against one another next week for all the marbles. (Not literally. Okay, maybe I’ll find some marbles to give you if you win, but don’t hold me to that.) I have nothing more to say so let’s deal out some harsh critical justice! Read the rest of this entry »

Hey googlies. As it turns out, nobody in the top-eight dared to non-sub this time. So, as much as I appreciate those bottom-halvers who sent in their stories, it turns out there were no necessary replacements. Thanks to all of you for your wonderful stories over the weeks. You guys kick writerly ass.

Onto the quarters, then, for more ass-kickin’! You guys had a juicy challenge to work with, and you all had interestingly juicy takes on the topic. Apologies in advance if the judges critiques ran a little longer here…I think it’s fitting to delve a little deeper into our judicial reasoning, given that we’re in the playoffs. Hopefully you’ll understand our decisions. Even if we don’t. Read the rest of this entry »

So much left unsaid. So much left dangling. So much still uncertain after the last post. And now? Well, now we do have some understanding…

We understand how the playoffs will go. And when they’ll start. What topic will start it all? Revenge. Make sure your story is, in some way, about one character’s revenge against someone (or ones) else.

All that’s left to know is who’s gonna be writing as a playoff contender…and who won’t.

Here we go, folks.

Read the rest of this entry »

This is basically an informational post, folks, about this final regular-season round, and how the post season’s gonna be handled. So grab onto something and hold on tight for the thrill-ride that is DISCUSSION OF RULES AND PROCEDURES!

First of all: Tonight’s results will be a bit of a cliffhanger. One of the judges is not going to be able to judge until sometime tomorrow, so you’ll have to keep your glands on ice for a few more hours.

Secondly: We deserve a little break, all of us, so the first round of the playoffs won’t be due until NEXT Wednesday, December 19th at 9pm. This will give folks some time to chill, or if you’ve got some weirdo holiday plans that will wrench you away from the computer at the start of next week, you know in advance and can plan to write accordingly.

Thirdly: It seems like the majority of folks who voiced an opinion in the comments last time are into the idea of an expanded field of competition, and possibility for the lower-ranking regular season finishers being involved for this post season. After weighing our opinions a bit, the judges have decided to go with the following scheme:

  • The playoffs will consist of an EIGHT person single-elimination bracket with NO byes, ranking #1 against #8, #2 against #7 and so forth
  • Any players NOT in the top eight are welcome to submit a story as well.
  • If ANYONE in the Top 8 is a non-sub, their place in the bracket will be replaced by the NEXT HIGHEST RANKED writer who DID submit, from the bottom 8 pool of players. This means if there are two non-subs among the top 8 in that first round, and players who ranked 11th, 13th, and 16th were the only ones who submitted from the bottom 8, #11 and #13’s stories would take the place of those players in the top 8 who did NOT submit.
  • ALL OTHER SEEDINGS WILL NOT BE ADJUSTED. In other words, if Seed #2 is a non-sub, we don’t bump everyone up by one seed and put #3 (who’d be bumped up to #2) against #8 (who’d be bumped up to #7). ALL SEEDINGS STAY THE SAME ONCE THE REGULAR SEASON ENDS, and if any bottom-8s need to be moved up into the bracket, they basically become the seed they’re replacing. Yes, that means there’s a potential that whoever finished in, say, 14th place will wind up ranked #3 in the post-season, assuming all the non-subbing were to work out that way. That’s just  the way it is, and it’s basically meant to make the life of our story gatherer a bit easier.
  • ALL THESE ANCILLARY SEED-REPLACEMENT RULES APPLY ONLY TO THE FIRST ROUND OF THE PLAYOFFS. After that, unseeded players don’t need to submit stories anymore, and non-subs from seeded players count as a FORFEIT.

And what about those seedings anyway? What’s the tiebreak regimen gonna be? Well, I’m certain that Kelly has a better nuanced understanding of what makes for more fair tiebreakers than I do, but I think the best hierarchy goes like this:

  1. Win/Loss record for anyone finishing with the same overall regular-season record (since there’s a possibility of more than two people finishing with the same record, this is not strictly the same as a head-to-head matchup thing)
  2. Most total votes from the judges.
  3. Fewest non-subs.

I think that should take care of ties, but if anyone worries about it still being an issue at this point, we can discuss further tiebreakers in the comments.

Stay sweet, y’all.


Some of you guys still live in Minnesota, right? So how come nobody decided to invent a modern folk hero who travels the land shoveling peoples’ driveways and sidewalks? C’maaaaaahhhn.

Don’t mind me, I’m just bitter and lazy (that is, an aspiring writer). Onto the results: Read the rest of this entry »

Rifling through the entries this time out triggered some intense reactions from the judges! I was pumped to begin with, and only a few stories backfired! Your aim was true, writers! You went all out, and the results were really [firearms pun]! Here are the results… Read the rest of this entry »

Not much time tonight folks, so we’re gonna get right to the results… Read the rest of this entry »

Santa, that jolly old elfin motherfucker, he’s just too delightfully sacred not to mess with. There’s probably no cultural figure more pristine and tempting-to-mess-with than Santa. Other than Mother Theresa, I guess. But considering the depths to which you brought these Santae in the stories below, I shudder to think what you all would do to Mother Theresa if SHE were the subject. I fear for the potential of striptease nuns and orphan tossing.

Crap, now I’m worried that I just provided inspiration for one of you weirdos. Let’s get to the results before I do more damage to the literary world.

Read the rest of this entry »

…aaaaaanother delay. Sorry folks, but one of the judges is tardy tonight, so we’ll have to post results tomorrow. In the meantime, the next topic will be to write a story that in some way utilizes a character that does not speak English. Have fun with that! Here are your match-ups:

Pete Bruzek vs. Beau

DPWY vs. Erik S

Colin Woolston vs. Sarah Johnson

Ian Pratt vs. Kelly Wells

AMR vs. Eric Schapp

Dean Carlson vs. Christina Pepper

Zack Sauvageau vs. Melissa D

Erik Dikken vs. David Larson

Your competition, and also you



I: Rachel “The Double-Dealer” Flynn

II: Ryan “The Snake” Fossum

III: Patrick “The Gentleman” Kozicky

IV: Brienne “The Submitter” Maner

V: Rusty “The Porn Star” Greene

VI: Brooks “The Unlikely Hero” Maki

VII: William “The Soulful” Schuth

VIII: Brooks “The Survivor” Maki

IX: Zack “The Ice Cream Man” Sauvageau

X: Pete “The Vacuum Cleaner” Bruzek

Turbo: Brooks “The 1956-1979 Montreal Canadiens” Maki

XI: Matt “The Cold-Hearted Motherf*&^er” Novak

All-Stars (XII): Andy “The Quiet Man” Rustleund

XIII: Sarah “Clarence’s Hope” Bizek

XIV: Dan “The Professional” Kautz

XV: Christina “Assault And” Pepper

XVI: Matt “The First-Time Player” Novak

XVII: Stacy “Saintly Patience” Snell

XVIII: Brian “Checkmate” David

XIX: Annette “Eammon for the Top” Barron

XX: Daniel “Neville “Smash “Hardware” Hardwood” Longbottom” Caouette

XXI: Pete “The Comeback Kid” Bruzek

XXII: Dan “The Even More Professional” Kautz

XXIII: Melissa “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” David

XXIV: Stacy “Fucking” Snell

I: Dragging Rivet’s Name Through the Mud One Last Time: Matt Novak (Ultragrandpa) and Michael Rivet (Friph Flipher-Fiph)
II: Bahambo Number 5: Pete “Triple Crown” Bruzek and Michelle “Single Tiara…So Far” Pratt

I: Brooks “Oh, for the Love of God” Maki
II: Michael “#DDB” Rivet
III: Pete “Fortune’s Fool” Bruzek
IV: Erin “All Seven and We’ll Watch Them Fall” Leslie
V: Jake “Littlefinger” Elliott

2014: Brooks “The Creator” Maki
2015: Matt “The Artist” Novak
2016: Matt “Waited Them Out” Novak
2017: Annette “I Would’ve Voted for You” Barron

2013: #21 Greg “The Gallant Glutton of Greatness” Johnson
2014: #29 Jonathon “Big Papa” Pope
2015: #8 Christina “Am I in This?” Pepper
2016: #22 Annette “No Backs Stabbed” Barron
2017: #30 Bernice “The Vulture” Nicaise
2018: #17 Carrie “Solid Gold” Bard
2019: #16 Jake “The Jabroni” Elliott

(Writing, non-elimination)
I: Sarah “Centipede Face” Johnson
II: Sarah “The Johnson Eliminator” Wreisner
III: Colin “Lonely Old Moon” Woolston
IV: Melissa “Not Sidebar Material” Diamond
V: Sama “No Family Reunions” Smith
VI: Sarah “Tumor Face” Wreisner
VII: John “Cult Following” Wreisner
VIII: Joshua “Peed the Bed” Longman
VIII: Annette “Oh, Right, That’s Who Won” Barron

WEREWOLF (most recent)

Werewolf Stats Spreadsheet

I (Pure): Matthew “The Obsessor” Gilman
I (Power): Kelly “The Novak-Destroyer” Wells

I: Matt “Exploiter of Worlds” Novak (France)

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