My Photo

Continually trying to answer the question...can a man of few words write a successful novel?

I'm a Mystery/Thriller/Suspense writer from small town USA who struggles everyday to balance my passion for prose against the need to be a full-time bread winner. Finding ways to devote more time to my writing is the challenge, but for now all I can do is follow this tug at my heart to wherever it leads. I'm here primarily to soak up all the knowledge I can from the writing-centric blogosphere, but I'll do my best to contribute by thinking of new and innovative ways to churn the writing pot.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Rebel Pledge and WRiTE CLUB – Round 12


I need to take care of a little business before we get to WRiTE CLUB.  A while ago I signed up to be a part of Sheri Larsen's Rebel Writers Pledge, which means today I need to list one of my writer goals for 2012.  It may sound simplistic, but my goal for this year is to determine which path I need to take to see my novel published.  Will my query letter prove successful and land me agent so I can follow the traditional route?  Will I pursue a publisher and see where that leads me.  Or will I simply e-publish?  I WILL know the answer to that question by December 31st...that's my pledge.  


And now let's move on to the last chance for advancement to the WRiTE-Off rounds.  Today we christen our eleventh winner and ready the ring for one final preliminary battle.  It’s unfortunate that because of the number of submissions we received, there are WRiTER’s that will never get to take a turn in the ring.  I could save them to use for the next iteration of WRiTE CLUB, but frankly its future is tenuous.  I consider WRiTE CLUB only a modest success and doubt that it will continue beyond crowning a champion.  To be fair, I’m going to wait and see what the response is like during these next couple weeks before I make a final determination.  So it’s in your hands.  If you would really like to see WRiTE CLUB continue, then spread the word and get your friends to come out and vote.   

Here’s a little reminder of what we have in store for the next several weeks. Our twelve semi-finalists will be given the choice of letting their original submission stand as is, or augment it by expanding it to 500 words, or submit a new 500 word writing sample altogether.  Then the twelve of them will be paired up (by random drawing) and a different bout will be held every day the week during February 6-11.  On Sunday February 12th the six winners will be announced and again paired off (using the same 500 word writing sample) for bouts to be held every other day on starting on February 14th.  Three winners will be chosen from those matches, along with one wildcard selection who’ll be the WRiTER who scored the most points but didn’t win his/her bout.  The winner with the most points will be face-off against the wildcard selection, and the other two contestants will duel it out.  Those two matches will take place on February 20th and 23rd.  The final clash between the last two standing will be on February 27th for all the marbles.

Before we get to any of that let’s first announce the winner of round 11 and get the next round kicked off. The official score ended up:

ALNAIR - 8 votes     LADY GRIMM - 17 votes

LADY GRIMM is now our eleventh semi-finalist!  As always, you can check my WRiTE CLUB page for a breakdown of all the winners along with links to all of the writing samples.

We did receive a new submission last week, but I’m using my authority as WRiTE CLUB manager to suspend Rule #8 (If this is your first week at WRiTE CLUB, you HAVE to WRiTE), because of what I mentioned earlier.  There are WRiTER’s that have been waiting a long time for their chance in the spotlight and it’s a little unfair that a newby would steal that opportunity at the last minute.  So, both of this week’s contestants will come from the open pool.  Without further ado....



Here are this week's randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 251 words (we’ll let that extra word slip), please welcome to the ring……..

EMMILOU HAYRISS

Late May, and it was already a million degrees outside. And wet. A veil of humidity pasted the few escaped strands of my stringy blonde hair to my sweaty neck, and I tried not to stir up dust as I walked.

It was my last day working with Dr. Green, the only large-animal vet in Dabb Creek, but it wasn’t much different from my first. Only that day it’d been storming, and Doc said to meet him in Mrs. Blalock’s barn.

Jackson and D’Lo had to tag along, of course. They didn’t think I’d go through with it. I think even Dr. Green was skeptical, which is why he said I’d have to palpate the widow’s best milking cow before he’d agree to make me his assistant.

Palpate. I knew what that meant. Fancy word for sticking your hand up a cow’s backside to see if she’s pregnant. They didn’t think I could do it because I was so little. Years of stretching and drinking milk had only got me up to five-foot tall, but I climbed up on that stool, set my jaw, and plunged right in.

“Make your hand like a wedge, Prentiss…” Dr. Green stood close by holding up Elsie’s tail. His man-sized plastic glove went all the way over my shoulder to my neck, and it was slathered in lubricant. It kept me clean, but I was getting the full experience of hot, smelly cow butt.

“Now slowly reach all the way to your elbow,” he said


And in the other corner, weighing in at 249 words, let me introduce to you ……..

I.M. XTNQSHR

Some days it’s enough that he breathes. The exchange of air grates on my psyche like the high-pitched squeal of a six-year-old at the sight of a spider. And his endless television shows, the intolerable stupidity followed by commercials selling drugs with side effects more damning than the symptoms they claim to cure. It all culminates into a farce.

Hands on hips I look at the obstinate water softener spewing its juices over my walls. Yesterday, I replaced the damn thing, the day before, the water heater. Disgusted, I walk into the garage where the car lays in shambles begging me to crawl beneath its underbelly hoping for an altered result. 

None of it comforts. Inside I stare into the family room. The black leather chair faces a dark computer desk. I miss him. His stupid haircut. I could use his help as the house crumbles around my feet. He’s off serving his country, proudly wearing shades of green I associate with baby puke. Risking his life, our happiness, as if I didn’t matter.

If here, nothing would change, but his dulcet voice complaining about the ineptitude of the cashier, a speeding car, the fashion styling’s of kids. Solace in the fact that I can take care of myself I return to the pipes and with the twitch of a finger, bring to life the flames from a torch wishing in the back of my overtired mind I were Sigourney Weaver about to barbeque a bunch of freaking aliens.

As always, anyone can vote so leave yours for the WRiTER that swayed you the most in the comments below, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer.  Please remind your friends to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon Sunday. Remember, the amount of participation we see over the next couple weeks will help decide if WRiTE CLUB continues on.

Here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!

 
Where words are the true knockout!


64 comments:

  1. Another tough one. I'm going with the first one. Anyone brave enough to write about cow butts gets my vote.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm going with Emmilou Hayriss~ I agree that I was taken to a new and unfamiliar place with this one :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Somehow I'd missed all this. I'll have to look into it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Loved the goal you've chosen. Adding it to our list! No voting for me this week.

    ReplyDelete
  5. That is so gross!!!! But compelling. E. Hayriss gets my vote.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm voting for Emmilou Hayriss on this one. Her excerpt gave me a clear (and memorable) picture.

    As for the second excerpt, I have a little feedback. I think it might have been better starting from the second paragraph. The first paragraph left me confused about who the narrator is talking about. "It's enough that he breathes." It sounds as if she's talking about someone who's present and very sick, but as the passage goes on, I believe she's referring to a husband serving overseas. Going back to the first paragraph, I couldn't make the connection between this one and the rest of the selection.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great pledge. I'm here for the Rebel Writer's Blog Hop. Good luck deciding the best path for your manuscript.

    ReplyDelete
  8. *snort* hot, smelly cow butt gets me every time. ;p #1 for me.

    And that's a great goal, DL. Geaux, Rebel Writers! You might like the book I reviewed on my blog today (not tooting my own blog or anything), but it answered many questions I had... just fyi~ <3

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hmmmm. Wow, this is tough, but I think I'll go with the first one. I love the cadence of her writing.

    ReplyDelete
  10. December 31st ... that give you time. Writing about cow butts, now that's a challenge. You gotta pull this one off!

    ReplyDelete
  11. The second one shows promise, but tries to do too much. I get the impression the MC's caring for an ailing parent, missing her active duty son, lonely, disgusted, feeling sorry for herself, resigned. And because she's not telling us who's who, we're left trying to piece it together.

    For me, I liked the clear-cut description of Emmilou Hayriss. The little dude intent on a career in big animal vet medicine. What a picture!

    ReplyDelete
  12. EMMILOU HAYRISS gets my vote for this round.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love the voice and direction of the first but the second really hit me. I felt the character's frustration.

    I'm voting #2.

    ReplyDelete
  14. My vote is for Emmilou Hayriss, even though it was kinda gross. The second one kinda confused me since I didn't know at first that the man was overseas.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Figuring out which path you want to take is the first and most important step. Best of luck to you!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Both excerpts were lacking dialogue (which I kind of like), but Emmilou Hayriss gets my vote.

    I like that cow butt line, too!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I liked the second story by I.M Xtnqshr best. Probably because I can relate to this woman. I like her style of writing.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hmmmm - both caught my interest in different ways. The first reminds me of the James Herriot vet series which I adore and I like the voice in the 2nd.

    I wish the first one started a little farther along (maybe 3rd paragraph???) and I was a little too confused in #2 - took me too long to figure it out.

    So, I think my vote will go to #1 :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. Cows are cute!! I vote for #1 :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Emmilou is certainly vivid, but some of the descriptions clash (can't raise dust if the 'veil of humidity' is that strong), and there are some time/tense issues.

    I'm going with I.M. XTNQSHR on this, for the heavy sense despair which is presented so well.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I rather enjoyed I.M. Xtnqshr. I can relate to this woman on many levels. How difficult it would be to be in her shoes, much less write about it in such a manner. My vote is going to this one

    ReplyDelete
  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'm voting for #2. Having a loved-one over seas is something I can relate to.

    ReplyDelete
  24. i think that the frustration of the Service-wife/ daughter in the I.M. Xtnqshr piece was captured quite well #2 for me thanks

    ReplyDelete
  25. Im going with number 2. Perhaps, just adding ", but I miss him." to the end of the first paragraph would clear up the confusion. I dont think the first one flowed well. If you take out the cow butt line, would the voting be different?

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'll be watching to see what happens on December 31st, Don...

    This was a tough one too, but I have to go with the first one. I'm totally curious about why this is her last day at work and what is going to happen considering what happened on her first day. :)

    ReplyDelete
  27. I vote for #1.

    #2 was good, but there was a lay/lie mistake and I just couldn't relate to the color green reminding anyone of baby puke. What has that baby been eating, anyway? And maybe you should stop feeding it to him. :)

    Something had to sway me, right? Even the nit-picky details. Nice job to both contestants, though!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Another great battle.

    Perhaps it's because I've got girlfriend's who are wives of servicemen who've been away, wives who've had to figure out how to keep what two barely kept running when only one is there to keep shop afloat...well, that voice rang so true, so authentic to me that I have to pick #2.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm voting for I.M. XTNQSHR, #2. The voice coupled with the imagery pleads for help, yet shows strength. I can feel the emotions with her.

    ReplyDelete
  30. #2 gets my vote. It resonates with me as a military spouse. Can agree with The Great Gonzo and maybe a mention of the husband in the first paragraph would have been good. Still voting for #2

    The only thing #1 has going for it is cow butt and that's not enough for me. I need more than shock value.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh wow. I didn't have time to read both of these yesterday, but now I'm going with Emmmilou. That piece is gross, but gross makes great writing!

    ReplyDelete
  32. They both have distinctive voices, but the voice in the first one really drew me right in. #1 has my vote.

    ReplyDelete
  33. #2 I.M.XTWQSHR has my vote. The words spoke exactly how we feel at times.

    ReplyDelete
  34. #2 I.M.XTWQSHR gets my vote! The writer was able to speak from many hearts with those words.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I love the idea of WRiTE CLUB! And count me in for smelly cow butts...wait, that came out wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Good luck with your writing goal! I think it's a good and very important one.

    I'm going to vote for...number 1! Enjoyed them both, though.

    ReplyDelete
  37. I liked them both, but my vote goes for the second one.

    ReplyDelete
  38. No. 1 dragged on at the start with too much backstory, but picked right up at the mention of smelly cow behinds! As for no. 2, I can sense the loneliness and desperation the writer tried to convey, but it was too much description and I found myself skimming.

    so my vote this week goes to Emmilou Hayriss.

    ReplyDelete
  39. I'm pretty torn on this. The first one had a nice voice, and the cow butt experience is quite (*cough*) compelling. The second one has phrasing that I adored. It has a more literary feel to it.

    Bah. I'm flipping a coin. And it goes to...heads. #1

    ReplyDelete
  40. That's a big goal. I wish you the best. I have a similar goal this year for myself.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I'm a fellower Rebel Writer Pledger. Good luck on your goals, especially your manuscript!

    ReplyDelete
  42. I'm a huge fan of straightforward/simple/streamlined goals. FOCUS!

    ReplyDelete
  43. This is another tough round, but I love the voice and imagery of the first one. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hmmm...I am going to go with #1. I look forward to hearing about your publishing journey. Great goal!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Wow, this is an intense contest... love the Fight Club spin-off. I think both have great voice, so this is hard. I'm going to have to go with the first because I wasn't exactly sure what was going on with the second one. She's angry with her husband... just because she doesn't like him, or because he left her to serve in the military? Not quite sure I was following.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Came back just to snoop and see who was running ahead. HOLY MOLY 58 comments. Good job.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Not feeling eloquent tonight; but I liked the first one best because it not only stated how inadequate the MC felt others saw him, it also showed how he determined to follow his own course and accomplish whatever he had to so he could feel proud of himself.

    I felt a part of the setting, and could totally relate to the MC scene goals.

    Umm, I hope the MC was a he. Sorry if not.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I vote for the first one.

    The writing of both was quite good, but the first one was much more effective at pulling me in. It was a legitimate scene, with events and dialogue that accented the drama and developed conflict and story questions.

    The second one -- while engaging -- was mostly internal rumination. There was no solid scene, character, or immediate tension and drama I could really grab onto other than that someone's missing and the house is going to hell.

    True, 250 words is a very short amount to judge -- it's HARD to get character, tension, drama, and intriguing story questions established in that few words.

    I just think #1 did a better job of it.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Who cares about cow butts! I can relate to number 2. It has my vote.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I'll have to go with cow butt this week. The overall scene and tone was engaging.

    I liked the second, but it was a lot of emotion to pack into a small snippet without knowing the character at all, so maybe that's why it didn't click with me as well.

    ReplyDelete