WRiTE CLUB 2012 – Round 5


It’s always a pleasure to start off a new round by congratulating the winner of a previous one. Today I’d like to welcome Jason Andrews into the play-off circle for his victory in Round 2.  His opponent, Katie R, will have her piece returned to the pool for a chance at re-selection for a future bout, and as always writers who have battled once are welcome to submit a different piece if they so wish.

I wanted to take the opportunity to apologize to everyone for not answering emails in a timely fashion or my lack of presence in the blogosphere recently. Getting WRiTE CLUB off the ground, then responding to the over whelming participation by expanding to three posts a week, combined with a couple of days away from home have really put me off my game.  Oh yeah…I’m also hot and heavy into writing my latest novel, but I do feel bad that I haven’t stopped by as much as I’d like. You know I’m good for it…right? I’ll get into a rhythm and be back on your doorstep very soon. Promise! J   

The competition has been fierce (but in a respectful way) and today is no exception. What do you say we get to it?


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

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 500 words, please welcome to the ring……..Tipa

 
It’s nearing the deeper part of the night as the sun breaks past the horizon to find comfort in securing its rays beneath the darkness. The sign above the coffee shop iss no longer reflecting and the liquor store lights only share a lit ‘Open’. Jimi walks out of the liquor store after grabbing matches from the counter. He walks to the car, unlocks the door and drops the matches in his bottom right cargo short pocket. He picks up his phone, scrolls down his contacts, and taps the name Trevor. The phone rings a few times before the answering machine responds to which Jimi ends the call. He looks down in his glove compartment and double checks his pockets making sure that he hasn’t left any items behind. He secures himself than tries calling his friend again. The cell phone rings twice before a clicking on the line and, “Yo, what’s up?” Jimi throws an umpire’s out fist with joy.

“Alright, I’ve got the goods, where will you be? I’m heading to the festival now.”

“Sure, I have a vendor set up inside the tent area so I’ll meet you behind the stage of the live band.”

“Alright, see you in a bit.” Jimi hangs up and inputs the directions to the festival. It will take him about fifteen minutes to reach the festival from his location. He starts the engine, pulls the stick to drive, clicks his signal as he turns left out of the parking space and makes an immediate right towards the festival. Jimi is driving ten miles per hour over the speed limit in residential area Long Beach California. He comes to a four way STOP. He looks to his left to see a cop car pulling up to the stop sign, there is no incoming traffic from the right, and he continues straight ahead with no traffic. Jimi slows down his pace recognizing the darkness is getting to him as his eye sight is barely piercing to view the roads. He continues driving down another road before reaching a full stop but another vehicle is nearing behind him as he drives past the STOP sign. The vehicle closes on Jimi’s car from behind to reach him by the next STOP light. Jimi is annoyed by the glare in his rear view and angles it away from him as he grumbles about the truck being lifted – the causation of the lights directly hitting his eyes. He continued following the GPS telling him to go a few more blocks before turning right onto the main street that would lead him to the festival. Jimi could see better in front of him as he believed his eyes were adjusting to the darkness. The main street was a block ahead of him and Jimi decided to return the rear view to its original position. He blinked his eyes a couple of times before realizing the truck was still behind him then next to him to say, “Your lights are off.”

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And in the other corner, weighing in with a brand new 458 word sample, let me re-introduce to you ……..Sissy Grimm


Twigs snapped underfoot, and the pale light of the moon dimmed as the branches overhead grew thicker. 

“I can’t believe they ran out of food,” Gretchen complained.     

“They were hardly out of food,” Hans replied. “They just didn’t have any more of what you liked.”
 
“Pepper knows I swore off carbs years ago, and did you taste that pâté?  It was completely inedible. I’m glad she’s so smitten with her new huntsman boyfriend and all, but venison-wurst? Gag me with a harpsichord.”
 
“Be nice,” Hans admonished as he reluctantly followed his fiancé deeper into the woods.
 
She turned and smirked, giving him a sidelong glance and lifting her long skirt to expose a teasing ankle. “Oh, I plan to be.” She turned and skipped ahead, disappearing behind two fat tree trunks.   
 
Hans paused and barely stifled his groan.  Six months ago, such flirtation would’ve elicited a completely different kind of groan. But six months ago he’d barely known her. Back then she’d simply been the pretty daughter of a wealthy financier—the ticket to saving his father’s business. He’d truly believed it would be easy enough to fall in love with her, but as the months ticked by he realized that no amount of wavy blond hair nor evenings spent with her plump lips applying just the right amount of pressure to his various pleasure points could make up for the rotting carcass of a soul that resided underneath all that beauty.
 
He wasn’t going to be able to go through with it, not all the way to the wedding.  But he could play along with the engagement. Before the church bells started ringing, however, the financial documents would be signed, his father’s business would be saved, and he could break off the relationship quietly, tastefully, finally.  Until then…
 
“Gretchen, stop!  We’re going to lose our way if you go any further.  We really should get back.”
 
She peeked out from behind a tree several yards ahead. “Didn’t you drop any breadcrumbs?”  Her long, lean arm emerged from behind her back, and she flourished a pair of white, lacy panties before dropping them to the forest floor. “Guess we’ll just have to think of something else to leave behind.”
 
She dashed off again, further into the forest, and Hans clenched his fists, tempted to turn around and leave her to be the victim of her own folly.  But then he thought of his father—his kind, gentle father who’d already lost so much—and took long strides into the forest.
 
He found her leaning against a tree, waiting for him. A silvery beam of light broke miraculously through the leafy branches to illuminate her comely form and cast an enticing glow upon the curve of her ample bosom. Even Hans, jaded against her as he was, couldn’t help but sigh at the vision.  He reflected that his lot wasn’t the worst that could befall a man and didn’t resist when she reached out and pulled him to her.

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Please leave your vote for the winner of round 5, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer, in the comments below (but remember you must be registered on the Linky List here first).  Please tell everyone you know to drop by and be part of the fun.  The voting for Round 5 will remain open until noon next Thursday (8/23).  

Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!  Want to take part in the word battles, throw your pen name into the hat anytime during the first twelve rounds by submitting your own 500 word sample.  Check out the rules by clicking on the badge below…then come out swinging!


PS. L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk On A Stick is holding a Supportive Blogger Extraordinaire Contest! in which I nominated the phenomenal Alex J. Cavanaugh. After you're finished here why don't you drop by and cast a vote for your favorite. :)

72 comments

  1. Hmm, slightly easier round for me. Tipa lost my attention a little way through but Sissy Grimm had me from the start, so my vote is for Sissy. :)

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  2. My vote is also for Sissy Grimm, I found it quite difficult to follow the first story. :)

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  3. Thanks for all the work you're putting into this!

    My vote is for Sissy Grimm.

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  4. I vote for Sissy Grimm. It kept my attention. Thanks DL!

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  5. Tipa's piece was hilarious but I have to vote for Sissy Grimm. Quite an interesting twist.
    Thank you DL for all of your work! I think we can all relate to how much time you are putting in.
    Enjoy your weekend :)

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  6. My vote is for Sissy Grimm. I'm, uh, kinda horrified to see a favorite story turned to something that makes me blush, but the writing is good, I love the humor of certain lines (Gag me with a harpsichord!) and the emotion resonates.
    Tipa, I have to agree with the comments that your piece was difficult to follow. My best advice would be to consider different sentence lengths to create a rhythm for your prose; simple is often best, as the long dependent clauses got confusing. Secondly, think of white space as punctuation. A paragraph break is as important a tool as a comma or a period and can do wonders for bringing out the key sentences and moments of your piece.

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  7. I vote for Sissy Grimm.

    Tipa might be setting up a good story, but unfortunately we never get a hint of it because we're bogged down in overwriting. There are too many unneeded details that add nothing to the scene -- which pocket the matches go into, two calls just to get a few lines of dialogue in, minutia about starting the car, every detail of each stop sign along the way, and time spent describing a truck coming up behind Jimi, all to set up the big reveal that he forgot to turn on his lights. Technically, the writing isn't bad, but in those precious few lines of an opening, there has to be elements of tension, conflict, drama, and significant story questions to pull the reader in, and unfortunately we get almost none of that in Tipa's piece.

    On the other hand, Sissy Grimm does a much better job of giving the reader some elements of the story through effective characterization, provides hints of conflict in the relationship, and reveals only details that help set the scene and illustrate character or story. I'm not someone who would normally be too interested in a retelling of Hansel and Gretel, but Sissy Grimm does a good job of adding some fun elements; has a light, airy, and confident voice; and ends up pulling me in and makes me want to read more.

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  8. I vote for Tipa. While I can agree with the point that having two calls just to squeeze in a couple of dialogue lines wasn't palatable, the descriptive and detailed style of the prose kept me wanting more just to revel in the composition of the words themselves.

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  9. Sissy Grimm this time around.

    Tipa's piece was a little too much action and not enough internal thought for me. I couldn't get into the character.

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  10. Sissy Grimm gets my vote - drew me in immediately. The first one was hard to follow.

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  11. I liked Sissy Grimm this time around.

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  12. My vote is for Sissy Grimm. Put side by side with the other story (which was a bit wordy and had run-on sentences), Sissy's entry was written much more gracefully and deftly. The descriptions were well-written, as was the dialogue. ("Gag me with a harpischord" - love this)

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  13. Sissy Grimm made me laugh - she gets my vote :)

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  14. Sissy Grimm :) I love fairytale retellings.

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  15. My vote is for Sissy, very clever piece.
    I think Tipa needs to get to the point a little quicker, add more story, and cut some description.

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  16. Sissy Grimm, excellent scene setting. Tipa's piece had too much step-by-step telling detail and no showing action.

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  17. I like, very much, when a writer's skill entices me to read the sort of story for which I wouldn't otherwise hold an interest. Sissy Grimm's entry is not only tightly-written, but I have to say that pen name is pretty darn clever, too. Well done.

    Best of luck to all contestants.

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  18. Tipa's piece was too much of a play-by-play and without any internal dialogue to connect me to the mc I didn't care where it was going.

    Sissy's piece was light and fun and kept my interest so it get's my vote.

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  19. The first piece was boring and changed tense halfway through. Sissy Grimm wins this one hands down.

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  20. My vote is for Sissy Grimm.
    Tipa, I won't beat a dead horse. Cut the details that aren't fundamental. You could have used those extra words to make the ending more suspenseful (if that is indeed what you were going for). Instead the ending came off as rushed. Also, regarding the very first sentence: not to be picky, but wouldn't the 'deeper part of the night' be well past when the 'sun breaks past the horizon'? If it were the 'deeper part of night', wouldn't it be obvious his headlights weren't on?
    Sissy Grimm, I'm looking for something constructive to say and coming up short. That is because this is possibly the best entry I've read thus far. I'm a sucker for Grimm's tales and you sort of had me from the title. The prose was elegant, it wasn't heavy or trying too hard; you established at least two well made characters in < 5oo words; the dialogue, though too modern-ish for my usual liking('swore off carbs') was effective. Well done. If I had any complaint whatsoever, it would be your use of 'complained', 'replied', and 'admonished'. Just a personal quirk maybe but I feel like the dialogue itself established that it was a complaint, then a reply, then a ... idk what that word means.
    In the spirit of true Grimm's tales, I'm creating an ending in my mind where the boy and girl both come to some gruesome, fitting end. :) :)

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  21. My vote goes to Sissy. In certain parts, I found the first entry overly descriptive.

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  22. I'll go with Sissy's. The first one was more interesting to me, but that last paragraph needed to be broken down.

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  23. Very brave of everyone to submit their pieces to criticism. Would it be funny if the two fighting against each other were by the same author? I'm leaning toward Sissy but I didn't like the gag me with the harpsichord line. Like, as if. :)

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  24. I'm going to go with Sissy on this one. While there was some good description in the first one, I found it hard to get into it. Sissy's grabbed me from the go and kept a hold of me the entire time.

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  25. Sissy Grimm! I also the play on words "Grimm". Clever

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  26. Make mine Sissy Grimm. I finished reading this and thought, 'no way, that couldn't be 500 words already. Give me more, please.' A definite sign of good writing.

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  27. Unfortunately, Tipa has too much detail which slows the pace too much. My vote goes to Sissy Grimm!

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  28. I LOVED Sissy Grimm's piece. Very clever and well-written. Another vote for Sissy.

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  29. My vote goes to Sissy. I liked the present tense of Tipa's piece, but the extreme details really bogged down the piece. There is tension there, and some intrigue, but it's buried.

    Sissy's piece seems like a good twist on a familiar story.

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  30. If there was a third choice I'd jump at it. Has to be Sissy.

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  31. I, too, have to vote for Sissy. The 1st sentence in Tipa's was confusing.

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  32. Though I'm slightly horrified at the idea of Hansel and Gretel being retold as lovers instead of brother and sister, my vote goes to Sissy this round. The writing is stronger, plus it made me laugh.

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  33. I vote for Sissy. I found it more engaging.

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  34. I was tempted to vote for Tipa by the end of the first post because it tied up so nicely, although it was a little confusing at the beginning. We experienced the same thing when we figured out why a car flashed us the other evening after we reached home and realized our headlights were off, oops.

    But...I have to go with Sissy because from beginning to end, it was an engaging story with a nice twist that left me wanting more.

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  35. Sissy Grimm grabbed my attention right away... my vote goes to Sissy.

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  36. My vote is for Sissy Grimm on this one. The writing was clever and succinct. Tipa's entry was, as stated before, mired in overwriting and unnecessary details.

    However, Bravo to both for submitting! Well done!

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  37. I liked Tipa's context and character, but the stilted narrative and technical errors made it hard to focus on the writing.

    I loved the twists in Sissy Grimms fairy tale, and the writing was well done. I vote for Sissy.

    ..........dhole

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  38. Sissy Grimm is as enticing as the ample imagery, gets my vote.

    Tipa was too steeped in present tense that it left my struggling to find a flow

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  39. Yep, Sissy Grimm did the proper pre-match training and connected fist to jaw.

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  40. I'm so behind on voting but am finally catching up! =) Great job both writers on submitting, however Sissy is clearly the stronger writer here. The first piece had a little bit too much going.... too much description, sentences that were too long, too many details. I was around for the last write club and it's important to hook people right off, esp if someone wants to be published b/c agents and editors are busy people and need to be interested right away. Long-winded way to say my vote's for Sissy =D

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  41. Sissy Grimm definitely gets my vote, great voice, thought the dialogue really sparkled and nice twist to it.

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  42. There is a tense change at the end of Tipa's, and a bit too much description of what is going on with turns and stops, etc. And I was left wondering why the policeman didn't pull him over for not having his lights on when I got to the end. It was a good attempt, but needed more clarity and less wordiness. This is a good piece to go back and strike out parts to see if it can be brought down to 300 words and still have the story. I bet it would be stunning then.
    The second was a good rewrite of Hansel and Gretel and I'm assuming maybe a Snow White (Pepper) and huntsman reference perhaps...
    So Sissy Grimm gets my vote.

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  43. I really liked Sissy Grimm's piece, so she gets my vote. :-)

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  44. Sissy Grimm gets my vote. I absolutely loved this spicy version of Hansel and Gretel!

    Tipa's story gets bogged down in details, which works against the suspense of the piece. I'd also like to see some variation in sentence structure. Most sentences start with "He" or "Jimi."

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  45. The first had graet dialogue, but my vote goes to Sissy Grimm...great writing and an engaging story.

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  46. Difficult to choose but I'll go with Sissy Grimm.

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  47. Sissy Grimm. I thought the writing was flawless... the best entry in WRiTE CLUB thus far. Well done!

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  48. I vote for Sissy Grimm. The core plot may be overdone, but it has potential with further character developments. Tipa's story spends too many words a precise play-by-play, making it sound choppy and preventing it from leading anywhere intriguing.

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  49. I vote for Sissy Grimm. Held my attention very well! Great job :)

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  50. My vote's for Sissy. I thought it was clever, sassy, and original, as well as elegantly written. I didn't get past Tipa's first paragraph, although I did scroll back up to finish it after reading the comments appreciating the ending. Nice wrap-up, as has been said, but the fact that at least half the sentences were unnecessary, the errors ("casuation" for "cause," "than" for "then," etc), and the sudden tense changes all added up to a piece that I wouldn't have finished reading if others hadn't mentioned the ending.

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  51. Ooh, I vote for Sissy Grimm. Can't wait to see what happens!

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  52. Sissy gets my vote. It's a funny twist on an old story. Suggestions: Establish who the POV character is right away. Halfway down the page is way too far. Others have mentioned the Tom Swiftys. There were a bunch of cliches in the last paragraph - comely form, ample bosom, sigh at the vision...give the sequence your own words.

    Tipa - others have already weighed in. Prune the deadwood from the good lines and you've got a great beginning.

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  53. Sissy Grimm and her voice snagged my vote.

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  54. Sissy for me. Loved the new twist on something I always loved. :)

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  55. I vote for Sissy Grimm. A clever twist on the fairy tale. Some good character development and the story conflict quickly established.

    I see where Tipa was going, but it took too long to get there. Too much description in the beginning and not enough conflict to pull me into the story.

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  56. My vote is for Sissy Grimm. She had me at "Gag me with a harpsichord." The first piece, though more serious, spent too many sentences telling us unnecessary details and switched tenses at the end.

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  57. For me it's Sissy Grimm this time round.

    Thanks for all your work hosting this DL.

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  58. Sissy Grimm gets my vote this round. I giggled at the venison-wurst and gagging her with a harpsichord.

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  59. My vote goes to Sissy Grimm. I thought Tipa had too much detail of what the character was doing, but not enough about who the character was to make me care.

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  60. Sissy Grimm. I'm a sucker for Fairy tale retellings. :D

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  61. I think this one is still available for voting. I can't believe I missed this round!

    My vote ... .Sissy Grimm!

    Good luck!
    HMG

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    Replies
    1. DL - I meant to say that I think you are doing are great job, and your wife, and things seem to be going very smoothly. In my shallow opinion I don't think you should feel obligated to respond to everybody's vote posts. It's not the same as your regular blog posts. I think most of us would understand how incredibly time consuming that must be and wouldn't mind if you skipped that step.
      Just my humble opinion.
      Thanks so much!
      Heather

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  62. My vote is for Sissy Grimm. The writing style is much more clear! :D Kudos to both, though!

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