Les Femmes Noires - The Winners and our Recommendations
Firstly we would like to thank all authors who entered this contest and to everyone who read, reviewed and voted.
When we originally conceived this competition we were unanimous on one point. We would only accept entries with a good level of grammar. Of course there are nearly always errors, even with the help of a beta, but we didn't want anything to detract from the story itself. We stuck to our guns and we did return entries for further beta work; we even offered to help find betas if necessary. In only two cases did this result in entries not being resubmitted.
At this point we would like to thank all those who gave up their time to do last minute beta duties for people they didn't know. Thank you.
RESULTS OF THE OPEN VOTE
Though the open voting started off wide open, after a few days it became clear that the few stories leading the field would probably remain there. The fandom has spoken and these are your favorite reads.
Joint First - Opheliac by Lambcullen. Joint first place winner in the public voting poll. A shocking tale of a dark and self-destructive Alice who becomes obsessed with the new boy in the neighborhood. Lambcullen takes the pure, unadulterated love of Alice and Jasper and spins it into something twisted.
Joint First - The Bride of Edward Cullen by SinisterSisterhood. Joint first place winner in the public voting poll. This is a collaboration from Blondie aka Robin and Goldenmeadow which features a Bella intent on revenge; horror and gore at its darkest.
Modern Medusa by Fiesty. Y. Beden. Third place winner in the public voting poll. A brilliantly crafted story of how adored yet spoiled Renesmee must learn a new lesson in school - that you don't always get what you want.
The judges have a unique perspective since they read every story entered.
We originally planned for 30 stories to go through for voting and were astounded when the contest closed with 50 stories in the C2 archive. Shortlisting was a harder job than many of us anticipated. One of the things we were most pleased about was the variety of themes and styles - from short poems to mini sagas, spoiled brat Renesmees to dark mother Esmes, and an array of both vamp and human stories. We were also thrilled to have entries not only from some of the fandoms most beloved authors, but also from new and aspiring authors, some of whom popped their fanfic-cherry writing for LFN.
We asked for fresh, original ideas that would showcase the darker side of the Twilight female characters, and that is exactly what we got. When we were making our assessments, we had one main criterion: would I recommend this? Although this was necessarily subjective, we felt we had a broad enough range of tastes among us to even things out, and we all had a common love of a story that was well-told grammatically, both structurally and aesthetically.
The calibre of entries was extremely high and absence from this list is no indication that a story is lacking in any way, rather that some stories stood out for unique reasons. We would have loved to have included more entries, but unfortunately we had to draw the line somewhere.
Here are some of the highlights that we feel we can unreservedly recommend as a good read.
First Choice - The Valediction by Humanshield
Coming out at the top of the judge's poll was this stunning story that considers what happens when eternity is too much. Humanshield writes canon better than canon, and in this superbly crafted story, she pulls us along on a gripping ride into Bella's sick and twisted descent into insanity. "I was always going to lose my mind first. Edward with his guilt, Edward with his self-loathing. With his anger and his angst and his child-bride and his strange, beautiful daughter. Frozen at seventeen with his perfect face and mind and control. Give Edward a couple more centuries of knowing he doesn't deserve happiness and he'll go mad. It wasn't supposed to be her." Told from EPOV, this genius tale of self-loathing, love, and the consequences of forever is mind-fuckery at its best.
Second Choice - Her Own Particular Shade of Ebony by theladyingrey42
Theladyingrey42 exploded onto the Twilight fanfiction scene with her superb Tattward stories, and yet again she delivers a haunting and masterful one-shot. Rich and evocative imagery draws the reader in. We feel the darkness, pain, and angst painted in glorious bruised colors on the canvas that theladyingrey42 has gifted to us. "The world is a landscape of textures, emotions like colors, and I am an artist, paint embedded in my fingernails, crimson and blue in every crevice and every touch". Her Own Particular Shade of Ebony is the breathtaking story of Alice and Jasper's epic struggle to get what they most desire, whatever the cost.
Third Choice - Untouchable by Lambently
In essence Untouchable may be the darkest of all the entries since it did not deal with extraordinary people or extraordinary circumstances but still managed to push the envelope as far as possible. It took a lot of courage to tackle this subject and yet it was done sensitively, compassionately and without sensationalism. If there was one story which left us feeling uncomfortable, it was this creepy story of an obsession that pushes beyond the limits. Untouchable is simply written with a clean and unpretentious style yet still manages to be captivating, haunting the reader long after they have finished reading.
Honorable Mentions and Recommended Reading
Story we would most like to see continued - Love Through the Mist by Summer35 - As in her multi-chapter fic Prey, Summer35 (aka Eun Hye) has taken the basic dynamics of canon and created a true alternative universe. Her dystopian vision of the future is a perfect backdrop for an Alice who begins the story taking joy in the little things of life under a harsh dictatorship, is then plunged into the depths of despair, and ends having to make decisions nobody should ever have to make. Although there is a very definite ending to this one shot, the world she has evoked and the characters she has inhabited it with are too well drawn and detailed not to take on a life of their own. There is more story to be told here.
Author to Keep an Eye out for - Andnowthemoon (formerly girltaminglions) - One of the most versatile and prolific of authors, Andnowthemoon had three entries shortlisted in LFN. The Unexpected Story of How I Came to Be - a quirky tale of a willful and manipulative young woman, Imago - a supernatural version of the gathering of the Cullen Family, and Long I Lay in the Ground (written under the name Syrrah) - a mythical story of love and loyalty. A look at her profile will show you over 30 stories published in the last 6 months including at least half a dozen ongoing stories. She updates regularly with writing that is engaging, easy to read, and full of memorable imagery. Yet she has a mere handful of reviewers at most. If you are looking to try something new, look no further.
Cherry Popper mention for First Time Author - Darkbloom by NelsonSmandela - "Every day, I change so much. I can feel my cells dividing." Darkbloom is a beautifully written story that captures the awkward coming of age of Renesmee in a touching and realistic way. With it's Lolita undercurrent, original imagery, and engaging storyline, Darkbloom was a clear choice for our cherry popper/first time author award. We look forward to seeing what NelsonSmandela will contribute to the fandom in the future.
Style Innovation - Undeserving by Kirmit. - A haunting and beautifully written poem revolving around Alice and the darkness that fills her with an aching void of worthlessness and emptiness. Canon Alice is happy and full of life; this is an Alice who has lost her way, living a sad and self destructive life on the streets.
Best Rebirth of Bella - Fire and Ash by Wuogkat. - An alternative ending to New Moon, Fire & Ash paints a very different picture of how things could have ended when Bella went to Italy to save Edward. What if she didn't return to Forks with Edward and the Cullens? What if she had a different, more passionate reaction to Edward's dismissal of her deepest desire? What if she stayed behind and was changed at the hands of the Volturi? Anger and hatred are sprinkled with revenge and fueled by pain to tell a compelling tale.
Lasting Impression - Unthinkable by DefinatelyStaying. - What would you do if you were faced with an impossible reality? What would you sacrifice in order to give hope to someone you love? What would you do to save a life?
Best Twist on Canon - Marionette by EchoesofTwilight. - An intriguingly different take on how the Cullen family came to be, Echoes takes you down memory lane. Whose memory? Why, Alice's, of course. Turns out there is so much more to her story than anyone ever thought.
Undiscovered Treasure - The Final Cleansing by Squibstitcher. - In this dark and compelling story Renee isn't the loving, doting mother we all know but a cruel, abusive woman that is raising Bella in a life of pain and suffering. If true darkness and a suffering, but strong, Bella is your cup of tea, then you should really check out this and Squibstitcher's other stories which she masterfully weaves into dark tapestries of pain and suffering.