(Dear reader: this is written in almost a... false non-fiction way. At the very least it isn't going to be first person. But, can't tell everyone's tales from Maddie's point of view, can we? I haven't a real clue of how enjoyable this will be for anyone else, but I don't quite wish to leave the town of Farmingdale just yet.)
Maddie won the regional contest. It was such an exciting moment she had forgotten about the newspaper reporter that was there. Frankly, she had talked to so many people that day she couldn't remember who she had spoken to. The article had turned out to be rather interesting. While not many of the people who read the newspaper on pulp cared, The Boston Herald's online article gathered a lot of attention. It wasn't long before the article gain notoriety on sites like Digg, FAILBlog's "Win!" page, Kotaku, and Penny Arcade. The follow up article written by a member of Kotaku's staff was just as interesting: what she did with her prize.
She'd planned for so long to spend it on tuition at her old school... but now she didn't need to. Maggie started thinking of new ways she was going to use the money. After three days she had decided on everything.
First thing first: making good with Grandma. She gave one thousand of her ten thousand dollar prize for her to restore her unicorn collection. Both Maddie and Grandma knew that the 'Babies' she lost probably cost more than that, but that didn't matter to Grandma. She was incredibly touched by the action. She used it to buy more unicorns as expected, though this time she avoided glass and ceramics in favor of metal, wood and plastic. More importantly was how Grandma changed. She looked at Maddie as an adult for her decision to give so much of her prize. This meant that she was much more inclined to respect Maggie's decisions; less likely to lecture, willing to view things from her perspective and even got a bit encouraging. She even tried to read Maggie's manga... she didn't understand it (other than knowing the main girl looked a lot like Maggie), but she couldn't help liking Sir Leo (who seemed like a romance novel hero she'd read about). Life at home was, of course, much better. Maggie even managed to convince Grandma to let her put up some little plastic stars on her ceiling.
After that was a car. Nine thousand would go a long way... but she had other plans. All in all, she spent just under five thousand dollars. She found a used but well taken care of Honda Civic from the nineties. It was heavily customized in ways that couldn't easily be returned to normal; lots of little lights, big speakers, flame detailing. The owner had moved on to a newer Civic, but was having a hard time finding a buyer because he'd made it a bit too... unique. Maggie adored it and all of its quirks. And she still had about four thousand left!
Now it was time to give back to her new friends. Right off the bat she gave every person who contributed she gave one hundred dollars, including **insert teacher**. With the money left she decided to have some lapel pins made: they were of Gamer Girl, both 'real world' and 'virtual world' as well as Sir Leo. She designed them to be chibi, and the results were very cute. Her new friends from the manga club were ecstatic with the results. There was a tiny problem: while everyone loved the pins, not everyone was comfortable with getting prize money. **insert teacher** invested her prize money into the manga club, getting some new titles for the club library and getting art supplies so that, when Maggie gave her lessons, new members had something to use. But for those like Chad and other members who were a little more 'well off', they didn't feel right taking it. So, with all the returned money, as well as the little bit left over, she donated it to Child's Play, buying books, comics and games for children at Boston's children's hospital.
It was a month later that she took a train to Washington, D.C. to take part in the national contest. She got third place among the twenty-one contestants. That meant no further prize money, but it did mean the more important prize was hers: being published! An odd thing happened though. It seemed 4chan got a look at the digital copy released on Shojo Beat!'s website and she had a meme born from one of her panels. Gamer Girl, in her hoodie in the real world, with flames dancing on her hand, became an advice meme called 'Revenge Girl'. The most famous version had "I think I like you better" on top, and on the bottom "on fire", all in impact.
She decided to get stuff up on DeviantArt, start a twitter as well as a tumblr. Things were going pretty well in her dreams of becoming a professional Manga artist. But, there is more than life than career aspirations.