WRiTE CLUB 2012 – Round 2


Did you hear it? I mean, seriously, how could you miss it? The roar of the crowd as WRiTE CLUB kicked off on Monday?  The participation was off the charts and we’re just getting rolling! Thank you to everyone who stopped by to vote, and special thanks to those of you who twittered and blogged about it. The voting will remain open for Round 1 until noon on Sunday, and the winner will be announced in the Round 3 post.

Before I bring out our combatants for Round 2, I'd like to take a moment to discuss the act of voting. I'm not here to tell you what criteria to use in deciding on your choice, or whether or not you should leave feedback for the contestants. Not my job! But what I will do is tell you what I envisioned for this contest.  This is NOT a flash fiction contest, meaning the submissions do not need to tell a whole story and have a satisfying ending all in the space of 500 words.  WRiTE CLUB is a writing contest, and most of the time writing has little to do with a story. Don't you have a passage from a treasured novel that is so beautifully written that it sticks in your mind? That's what I'm interested in. But I understand that people evaluate writing differently, and in WRITE CLUB just like the real world, choices are subjective. Remember this though, it is also a learning experience for the ones in the ring, and the spectators, so any feedback you can offer is extremely valuable.       

Hurry up now, find an open seat.  Things are getting a bit tight in here and it seems like the word about WRiTE CLUB has been making the rounds and tickets are going fast.  That's alright, we're all friends here so let's get cozy.  The action is about to begin once again.

So, without further ado....


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

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 491 words, please welcome to the ring……..Jason Andrews

My patience is wearing thin with you. You've been sitting on that bed for six days now, arms hugging your knees into your chest, whispering the same things:

"We are the light of a beautiful world."

"Logical thoughts are self-defeating."

You stare into the mirror where the TV used to be. These cheap motels insist on putting the television in prime bed-viewing position. I moved them before I rescued you, to free you from distractions. This room is your universe, little girl. You've lost yourself, and you'll stare into that mirror until you find yourself again.

No TV, no phone, no wake up calls, no chance of calling the other victims to rescue you.

You're only looking at the mirror. You aren't focusing. You used to be that girl the guys dreamed about: small town cheerleader, almost made prom queen, almost made homecoming queen. You even had a major role in the senior musical. Large schools don't have room for one person to fill so many roles, believe me. Hell, my graduating class was bigger than your whole town.

Damn. This isn't about me.

The room lets in the morning fog, but never lets it go. It hangs in the room, basting us with the heat of our own bodies. Look at yourself. Your bare arms glisten with sweat. You only eat once a day, and then just a few mouthfuls. You're starving yourself. Why?

The guru that seduced you made you eat nothing but rice, tofu, and peas. The smell of real food--burgers, fries, anything--should have woken you up.

"We are the light of a beautiful world."

Bullshit.

Since you didn't eat, I assaulted your ears. You didn't resist as I wrapped you up in the bed sheet, just like a mummy, pinning you down, pressure all over your body. I slipped the  buds into your ears and plugged you into some of the worst music I could find. That part was easy, the world is full of it.

Your parents, when they hired me, didn't question me when I took your CDs and a few stuffed animals from your room. They haven't changed it, you know? You might have grown up, gone to college, but that room looks like a twelve-year-old lives there. What is it with girls and stuffed animals?

"Logical thoughts are self-defeating." 

You're right. There's no logic in it. Like horses. I never understood the fascination and I studied these things. I majored in psychology and minored in brutality. The music you hated didn't drive you out, so I played you your favorite songs. All those anemic Disney crap pop anthems played one by one, and your lips continued the mantra.

Yeah, I read lips.  It's useful in this line of work.

What does the mantra do? Does the phrase keep you locked away from the world? You're not the first, you know. I've rescued others from him before you ever heard of him.
************************************************************************

And in the near corner, also weighing in at 488 words, give it up for ……….Katie R


Nobody commented on his Facebook post of a cute kitten reading a book. No-one appreciated him any more.

He traced the edges of two books on his desk, then polished each in turn with his sleeve, paying careful attention to the titles: Jules Stern and the Train Murder, and Jules Sterne and the Ice-pick Murderer. By Chadwick.

In the hallway his grandfather clock marked the seconds passing since he last produced a book while the rhythm echoed his agent’s words, “Get writing. Get writing”.

OK. He took a deep breath and typed, The author tried to think about his next best seller. If he doesn’t write the third one, he won’t to be able to pay his mortgage.

But before he could write another word, a voice whispered in his ear, “They told you not to give up your day job.”

Chadwick span round and stared at the man leaning over him. Through his terror, he registered that the tartan flat cap and matching bow tie looked familiar.

“Don’t I ring any bells?” Only one side of the man’s mouth lifted when he smiled.

“You’re…”

“Give me three minutes with him in the interview room and he’ll think he’s been chewing wormwood”. The voice was like a rusty hinge.

Jules Sterne had said that in the Train Murder.

The man paused to light a cigar before continuing, “Jules Stern. Won’t bother shaking hands.” He blew smoke in Chadwick’s face. “Having trouble writing, are you? Good.”

Bewildered, Chadwick yelped as Jules grabbed his ear. “They told you the ending was all wrong, you stupid fuck. You could have had a best-selling series. But no. Mr. Nobel-prize for Literature wouldn’t change it. WOULD HE?” He twisted the ear. “You had to kill me off, didn’t you? And now you can’t find a replacement.”

“I thought I could bring you back like JR in Dallas. You didn’t really die, it was all a dream…”

“You shiftless, maggot-headed author. I’d rather stay dead.” Jules roared. “But what I really object to is how you treated Lotje.”

Oh God, he was talking about the love-interest.

“You made me love that beautiful naïve girl. And she loved me.” Jules sniffed wetly. “Me. With this ugly mug. And what did you do?”

The burning cigar end came close to his eye as Chadwick muttered, “Lotje became a psycho ice-pick wielding killer.” And then she had murdered Jules in a grisly final chapter of the second book.

“But it’s what you made me do that really makes me angry.”

Chadwick, in his mind, relived Jules shooting Lotje through her right eye seconds before he drew his last breath.

“That hurt more than the ice-pick. You’re over, Chadwick. Finished.”

Chadwick whimpered as he glimpsed a pistol glint in the light. His brain told him to run but his legs would not move.

“An eye for an eye,” Jules murmured, his voice now as soft as a lover’s.

************************************************************************

You folks have your work cut out for you again.  It’s up to you to decide who moves forward to the playoffs, and who will return to WRiTE another day.  In the comments below leave your vote for the winner of round 2.  Get your friends to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon next Wednesday (8/8).  

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



81 comments

  1. Wow. These are just excellent, and so different.

    The first entry is truly beautifully written, but I am gonna vote for Katie R because it drew me in just a little bit more.

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  2. Oh geez! This is hard this time... Eenie, meenie... I'm going to go with Jason Andrews. This time around I had to choose based on story line because both had supurb writing. Both were gripping and both held me on the edge of my seat. Jason's on the other hand had me asking myself questions... what, why, and her parents?!?!

    Great job to both writers!

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  3. I'm voting for Jason too, as it made me want to know more.

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  4. There's some great writing in both of these. My vote goes to Jason Andrews.

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  5. My vote is for Jason Andrews. Good writing in both, for sure. Small tense error (suddenly switches to present tense for one sentence) in Katie R's 4th paragraph.

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  6. Love this competition! Jason gets my vote on this round.

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  7. Wow. These were really good. They both have me wanting to read on, but Jason Andrew's entry drew me in a little bit more. So my vote goes to Jason.

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  8. Hmmm... I'm more curious about the situation in the first one. Vote goes to Jason.

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  9. Wow this is a hard one. But... I think Jason's one should win. Loved how he took a risk with writing in second person and loved how well it worked out.

    :-)

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  10. My vote goes to Jason. Very intriguing writing. This was a tough decision.

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  11. I like Katie's, it is very witty! But, I am voting for Jason. I am left wanting to know what will happen next!

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  12. My vote goes out to Jason Andrews. His writing was smooth and intriguing. It had me on the edge of my seat, waiting for more.

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  13. Wow... this is insane.

    I read the first contestant and a thought at the back of my mind said who cares what the second one is this is brilliant.

    And then I read the second one. And I didnt want to make a decision.

    I love the strong characterisation of Jules, it makes me want to read those books! But I am drawn to the sombre tone of Jason Andrews, the taste of all that drama lying beneath the surface, and cast him my vote.

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  14. Voting for Jason, I like writing that draws you in and makes you ask questions :)

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  15. I like the originality of the first one, Jason's.

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  16. Oh, man -- these are both excellent!

    As a writer, I really sympathize with the protag in Katie R's entry. Sometimes it does feel like my characters are alive and angry with me, lol! The prose was smooth and the dialog gripping, and this was a very strong piece. In many other rounds, I'm sure I'd have chosen it.

    But with this draw, it's unfortunately come up against another very strong submission, and in this round, Jason Andrews ends up getting my vote. Extremely clean writing, a deft revealing of the situation, a striking and compelling voice, and a very skillful use of a second-person narrative -- that is no easy feat.

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    1. My vote is definitely going to stay with Jason Andrews, but after re-reading, I've realized something -- this ISN'T second-person; it's first.

      All the narration is really taking place from the single-person POV of the protagonist: The "I" who moved the TV, the "I" who assaulted 'your' ears, the "I" who majored in psychology, the "I" who's rescued others.

      Yet another deft and subtle bit of writing in this piece...

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  17. Wow. Tough again. Both entries are well written and intriuging. My vote goes to Katie because I liked the wry subject matter! :)

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  18. Man. I feel like I've been gone forever. Anyway, these were both really interesting, and both drew me in, but I have to give the slightest edge to Jason.

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  19. Jason (#1) gets my vote for sheer writing guts. It takes courage as well as a light hand to pull off second person in a way that is so intriguing and never confusing. The descriptions were original the voice spot-on.
    Katie had some real humor and irony that I loved, but I didn't feel as if the entire piece lived up to the talent I saw in some of her sentences and descriptions. I think a little tweaking would remedy the few cliche moments--most of which occurred when Jules spoke--and the sentence or two that seemed out of tense.
    Great writing, both of you--keep up the good work.

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  20. I'm voting for Jason's on this. I had thought it was going to go one way (he had abducted her for 'other' purposes...) and then he slowly reveals that's not the case. Leaves me asking why. I want to follow the story. Find out how it plays out.

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  21. Jason Andrews gets my vote! Both were wonderfully written and it is a sheer personal preference why I voted for him. The story sounds like something I'd pick up and keep reading in the book store.

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  22. I actually laughed and shook my head, thinking "poor sucker" when I started reading the first piece and realized it was in second person. Second person is NEVER a winner with the crowd. But here is a prime example of how it can be done, and done beautifully well. I have to go with Jason Andrews on this one.

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  23. The Jason Andrews piece was riveting -- the use of first and second person was expertly done, and the subject matter -- the de-programming of a girl brainwashed by a cult -- completely sucked me in. I wanted to read more of this.

    Katie R's piece started off making me smile. Who hasn't posted dumb stuff on Facebook while stalling in front of their computer? But there was a verb tense switch that bothered me and a little too much of the characters telling each other stuff they both knew. As Faith says above, I think the dialogue could be tweaked for better effect.

    My vote this time goes to Jason for style and fascinating content.

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  24. Hard to compare these two because they're so different and so great, but each in their own ways. Over all, I'm leaning toward Jason Andrews and the twisted psychology thing. I'm kinda a sucker for madness or anything psychological. I vote for him! :D

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  25. Tough choice... But my vote is for Jason Andrews.

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  26. I'm going to vote for Katie. It was a tough vote but the switching back and forth between first person and second person was jarring and distracting. In the end the writing kept me from enjoying the story.

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  27. Tough choice. So tough. I liked each one better for different reasons. But I have to go with Katie, because I just love the idea of a killed-off character coming back after the author.

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  28. I liked them both, but since I have to choose, I'm going with Katie R. Realizing Chadwick was talking to a piss-off character was just great.

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  29. While the idea in the second piece is cool, the grammatical errors were the deciding factor for me. Jason Andrews' piece is masterfully written with no errors, and therefore, he deserves to win this round. I vote for him.

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  30. Wow. These are both really intense. Well done. I'm going with Jason, it has me just a bit more curious.

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  31. Holy Cats! How are we supposed to pick the best when both of these contestants are super?

    By the thinnest of margins, Jason Andrews.

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  32. My vote is for Jason Andrews. The writer did the best job at my personal criterium - grabbed my attention. Now a 'lil bit of feedback: I'd have liked it even better if I knew more about the mc. Gender? His/her physical position to help *show* emotional state - ie standing & staring down at the girl, or leaning back in a chair smoking with feet on bed... and finally, a few clues how the mc regarded him/herself. As a hero? Cynical as this is all about extracting money from the parents? A little action interspersed with all that internal dialogue could really spice this up.

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  33. My vote it for Katie R

    Donna L Martin
    www.donnalmartin.com
    www.donasdays.blogspot.com

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  34. Wow, such different entries. At first the first entry threw me off because it was written in second-person but it started to flow and I was enthralled. Then, I read the second about writing and it rang true. However, I'm going with the first story - Jason!

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  35. Both these pieces were quite gripping. Dark matter must be in season :-)
    One with a cultist complex.
    The other with a writing complex

    I vote for Jason this round. It was a slight edge out due to one thing only: Jules's ugly mug was strong, but that terrible and painful refrain from the cult victim is ringing longer in my memory, driving me to want to read more.

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  36. This was a tough one for me as well! Although I was more interested in Jules' story (I've seen the poor-traumatized-nice-girl narrative a few too many times), I thought Jason's writing was much sharper. My vote's to Jason.

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  37. Great job by both writers. Jason by a nose hair.

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  38. My vote is for Katie. I love the revenge of Jules!

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  39. Both were very interesting and unique, but I really liked the use of second-person in Jason's...So my vote goes to Jason Andrews.

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  40. I loved the Katie story. The author's creation come back for revenge is a great concept. Katie gets my vote this round.

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  41. These are both excellent entries in terms of writing, and concept. I had a real hard time picking who to vote for, but for me Jason just has the edge. I have utter must respect for someone who can write in second person narrative.

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  42. Jason Andrews, for me, is the clear winner.

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  43. Those are both very good, but I'm voting for Jason Andrews. I wanted to read more!

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  44. Thought I'd already voted, but don't see it here. One more try for submitting a vote for Katie R. Love the concept of the character so miffed by his fate in the book that he comes to kill the author. I guess dead in a book doesn't mean really dead, and fictitious doesn't really mean fictitious...hmmm.

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  45. I'm going to go with number 1, Jason Andrews.

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  46. I really liked both of them and want to know what happened to the girl in Jason's. But I'm going with Katie's because I like the idea of a character coming to get revenge on the writer.

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  47. I have to agree with S.P. Bowers' statement "the switching back and forth between first person and second person was jarring and distracting. In the end the writing kept me from enjoying the story."

    So my vote goes to Katie R. And I really liked her piece... an author talking with a "disgruntled" MC! :-)

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  48. Wow, I have to say, both pieces blew me away! Loved both of them! Still, I have to vote for Jason Andrew's. I really want to know more about the characters and the rest of the story!

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  49. This round's a close one. I'll have to go for Katie R because it resonated with me more.

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  50. Voting for Jason.

    This was a tough one. Both great examples of writing, but I feel that the first piece was a bit tighter.

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  51. These are both very intriguing. I'm going with Katie R because I think the concept of your MC coming to get you is fascinating!

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  52. This was a tough decision. My vote goes to Katie R.

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  53. Oh...these were fantastic!
    My vote is for Jason!
    Heather

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  54. Another tough decision. I really loved katie's piece, but jason's was so original, so unique ...I have to give him my vote.

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  55. Agh! So tough! I loved both entries but my vote goes to Katie. Her piece had me grinning.

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  56. Okay. This was tough because Jason's piece was not my favorite to start, but it was interesting. A puzzle I needed to work out in my head. So I read it again. And again. Every time, I liked it more. However, I loved the concept of Katie's piece right off.

    In the end, I have to vote Jason, because the compulsion to read it again is so strong.

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  57. Two more great reads. Congrats to both. Sooo hard to choose, but I'm going to go Jason on this one.

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  58. My vote goes to Jason Andrews on this one because of the error free and skilled use of second person narrative. It had a great flow that was easy to follow. Katie's entry has potential, but as others said, the dialogue had some errors and was a little choppy. I had to stop and re-read a few lines to make sure I understood who was speaking them. It was a tough call and a good match!

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  59. Wow..I'm very impressed with Jason Andrews' entry here...neat angle, very confident writing.
    Katie's had a good sense of humor and a entertaining situation but lacked the subtlety and confidence that Jason's had. The expletive also felt completely out of place with the rest of Jules' voice.

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    1. I guess I'm supposed to cast a vote as well as offer my life changing intellectual insights...blast.

      Jason gets it.

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  60. I very much enjoyed Katie's story and humor, but Jason's writing is top notch. Gotta vote for Jason.

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  61. This is not easy. I like them both and for different reasons. I guess I'll go with Jason because that one is sticking in my head as I write this comment.

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  62. First my vote goes to Jason Andrews.

    I hope it's not mean to say that neither piece was of a topic that really intrigued me, but I do feel that Jason's was better written.

    Some of Katie's dialog seemed a little stilted, and the use of expletives didn't feel natural

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  63. My vote is for Katie. The story pulled me in more and I like the idea of a character getting revenge--although I wouldn't want it to happen for real.

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  64. Jason. These two are close in ability, but the end of Katie's entry pulled me right out of the story.

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    1. I guess I didn't explain why. The voice of both characters changes in the last few paragraphs, almost like they switched.

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  65. My vote goes to Jason Andrews.

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  66. The hardest part of this is scrolling down without looking at the other votes!

    Anyway.... Katie R.

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  67. You've paired up two extra clever pieces here. My vote is for Jason. The second person POV felt strange to me at first, but by the end I was into it, and it makes a very intriguing intro. Katie's was entertaining and had a really nice twist, but just didn't captivate me as much as Jason's. Also, I don't think span is correct as the past tense for spin - should be spun, right?

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  68. Jason's by a margin, because of the intrigue and great you of the 'you'.

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  69. Holy cow look at all these awesome votes!!!
    I'm going with Jason. That was just awesome. Katie's was really intriguing as well!

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  70. Both are awesome, but my vote goes to Jason.

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  71. Both are compelling. Have to admit it bothered me that sometimes Katie R spells her character's name Jules Stern and sometimes Jules Sterne. And although I loved the change in tension at the end of Katie's excerpt, I really admire Jason Andrews for pulling off second person so well. Great pacing too. So I'll have to go with Jason Andrews.

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  72. These are both very interesting pieces and I enjoyed them both for different reasons. The intensity in the first and the pov had me gripped and I wanted to read on, but the idea of a 'killed' character taking revenge is a clever twist and I would read on too. However, as I can only pick one, I'm going for Jason on this occasion. Great job to both writers.

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