WRiTE CLUB 2012 – Round 3


Be careful what you ask for!

We’re entering our second week of WRiTE CLUB and things are going like gangbusters! Participation has been through the roof, in both the voting and submissions. So much so that I'm expanding WRiTE CLUB to three bouts a week! That's right, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I will be posting new match ups. I'm doing this to try and limit the disappointment (there will still be some) of a writer not being chosen to battle, even though this has tripled my own workload. As before, the voting for each round will remain open for one week.

I also need to remind everyone that in order to vote for your favorite piece, you must be registered on the Linky List here.  I've already had a couple disqualifications for non-registration which impacted the outcome of the first round, so please take the time to read the rules before you take part.

Now we have the added pleasure of announcing our first WRiTER who has earned a ticket to advance to the playoffs by the slimmest of margins.  Please join me in congratulating Word Whittler as the winner of Round One. Ratz's piece will go back into the pool for possible selection in the later rounds, or he/she is free to submit a new sample for consideration. The second round winner will be announced on Friday.

In the first two rounds we’ve witnessed a clashing of styles, which always prompts some discussion about the fairness of having samples of different genre's in the same ring together.  Broader still, maybe WRiTE CLUB is inherently biased towards YA WRiTER's since it seemed like the majority of the blogosphere (at least this hemisphere of it) is populated by those working in the YA genre.  I do not accept either of those postulations, for many reasons, but the primary one being that I believe visitors to WRiTE CLUB...regardless of the genre they practice in...can recognize excellent writing!  And it doesn't matter if that writing is YA, MG, Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery, Fantasy, etc...etc.  I'm confident that the WRiTER's that have chosen to submit their work (which I have the utmost admiration for) did so knowing that those 500 word snippets would stand on their own, without the benefit of plot or theme, and though there may be an element that suggests a specific genre (vampires are a dead giveaway), it is the way the scene is weaved that would be judged.

Cue the reminder! Submissions continue to remain open during the entire 12 weeks of preliminary rounds, just read the rules and sign up on the linky list here (even if all you’re going to do is vote), and come out swinging.

Let’s get to it.


 
Here are Round 3’s randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 447 words, please welcome to the ring……..Aurelia

Cory heard her foot steps on the warped boards that creaked and moved beneath her feet. He sat at the end of the dock with his bare feet dangling in the the water.

“I can't believe you have your feet in that water.” He smelled her shampoo, lavender and chamomile,but didn't look up at her face.

“Why? What do you think will happen?”

“You know damn well what I think.” Matty didn't move to sit next to him. She just stood there, her shadow shading him from the setting sun. “Why did you want to comeback here?”

He swung his legs, the water swirled and pulled at his feet, the sound of splashing melodic in the summer air. “It's been ten years. Do you think it's still down there?”

“It's still down there. It always was and it always will be. Which is why I don't think it's a good idea to go flapping your feet around in it's domain.”

He laughed. They had spent their childhood summers on this here, swimming, wading, fishing, paddling a canoe from one end of the lake to the other. Never in their wildest dreams had they ever imagined that there was something in there that could cause them any harm.

“There's no danger. Remember, the last time the water had that weird color, with the silvery lights? Look, it's just water now.”

“For how much longer?”

He continued to swing his legs listening to the sound they made. How much longer? That was a good question. After what had happened with Jeff, he had tried to pretend it was just a regular drowning, that their little brother who he was supposed to be watching-and who was an excellent swimmer in any case-had just drowned. Except for his frantic splashing, his cries for help. His cries of fear and pain. He remembered swimming towards the 10 year old, grabbing his arm, seeing the tentacle wrapped around the boys waist. He pulled. Pulled so hard, tried to pry the tentacle off of his brother's waist, but it was no use.

He tried to explain to his parents and to the police what had happened. His sister, watching from the dock described a shadow in the water surrounding Jeff, but it was all written off as some sort of shared hysterical hallucination.

Matty became obsessed with the whole thing, spent years trying to convince everyone of what had happened,but Cory kept quiet. It was better that people didn't think he was crazy. That was until she told him of what she had discovered: every ten years, someone drowned in this lake under mysterious circumstances, often with outlandish stories from witnesses. Suddenly he wanted to know. To see what had taken his brother. His sister, after all the research and years of being looked at with concern, was suddenly reluctant when he called, but she came.

*************************************************************************************************
 
And in the other corner, weighing in at a mere 461 words, let me introduce to you ……..D.Rose

For the longest time, I feel like I’m suspended or floating in darkness. I’m awake,but I see nothing. No Asher, no Jackson, no Kat, no instructors, not even a simple plain wall. Just black. Chills travel up and down my spine. Then, I drift downward and into a spiraling turn. I’m dizzy, but I don’t know how because I can’t see anything to know which end is up.

Warmth spreads from my toes to my head and a steady thump beats in my chest. I cough.It’s deep and crackles like I’ve had bronchitis. Wait. It’s not from me. It’sfrom someone else--my new body.

Light enters. I guess my new body is opening her eyes. Everything is blurry. I try to focus, but I can’t. Something is spinning on the ceiling. A ceiling fan? She reaches over and grabs something. Glasses. Once they’re on, everything is clear.

The walls are a dull yellow with a green haze, almost like puke. The comforter is some cheap material. God, is it polyester? The pattern is dots and flowers.Ugh. Little pinches pull in my gut. Is it my gut or this person’s gut? Can they feel it too? What do they look like?

My new body turns and stretches, then rises. As she passes her dresser, I notice small wooden letters that spell--Evelyn. She trudges into a hallway. Pictures line the walls, but I can’t focus on one. They seem generic like they came with the frame. She knocks on a white door.

“Heydufus, I’m not done yet.” A guy’s voice yells from inside.

“C’mon.I have to pee.” Evelyn’s tone is soft and wimpy. Where did Asher put me? He said it was girl that I would like, and so far, I don’t.

The doorknob jingles and flies open. A tall, lanky sandy blonde guy steps out. His face is full of acne. Basically, huge craters populate his cheeks like the surface of the moon. Yuck. There’s a cream for that.

“Gottapee chubs. Huh?” He stands in the doorway and pokes Evelyn’s sides.

“I’mnot chubby,” she whimpers.

“Yesyou are.” His hand grabs the bottom of her upper arm. “Flimpsy and flabby. I’mnot even going to start about your hips.”

“Shutup. Let me in.” She tries to push him out of the way, but it’s like her arms are made of jelly. He barely flinches when she slaps him. She’s weak. Unlike me.

“Ralph,let her in and stop teasing.” A raspy woman’s voice hollers from down the hall.

“You’relucky mom’s home.” He pushes me, her, against the wall and goes down the hall.

What an idiot.

I’m not in the right body. Asher messed up or something’s screwed up. This is all wrong. I can’t live like this for three months. It’s like I’m in a cage,waiting for my owner to take care of me. I have to remember how to control her to get out of here.

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

Now it’s up to you.  Which of these two sample resonated the most?  In the comments below leave your vote for the winner of round 3, 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, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!


80 comments

  1. In spite of the fact that many of the words are joined together, I found D.Rose's story the most compelling. :D

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    1. Kyra (and others), the words joined together are an unfortunate consequence of transferring the material several times. They are fixed on my screen, but somehow a few of them are still showing up. Please do not hold this against the writer. :)

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  2. Like Kyra... I'm going with D.Rose. Yes some words were combined (whether is was the writer or happened in transit) and the premise remindsme of S. Meyers' The Host, the writing was a little more clear than Aurelia's. I had to reread the first entry over and over because I thought it was a tad jumbled but still a great piece.

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  3. The quality of the writing in these two pieces is fairly equal, imo. So I'm voting purely on content today. Aurelia's piece interested me a lot more, right from the start. If I was choosing which one of these to continue reading, that would be the one.

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  4. I vote D. Rose, the writing drew me in more than the first one, which I found a little hard to get into :)

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  5. Although both seem to handle topics which aren't original, there's fabulous sarcasm in the second piece. I'm voting for D.Rose

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  6. That's really awesome of you DL for expanding Write Club to 3/week. Thanks!

    Regarding the entries, there were segments in each I really enjoyed, but also places I had to reread. I'm going to vote for Aurelia because I feel this writer developed a greater story arc in less than 500 words.

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  7. I vote for Aurelia. I want to know what's in the water.

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  8. My vote goes to Aurelia although I did like the sense of humor in the second piece

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  9. D. Rose's writing appealed to me more in this round.

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  10. I like the mystery of the first one - going with Aurelia.
    And thanks for nominating me for Diane's contest, DL!

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  11. There are things to like in both pieces, but both pieces had a few stumbles along the way, too. Both offer introductions with compelling story questions for what will likely be entertaining and interesting stories -- the premises are both engaging. I like the mystery and personal history in the first piece, and the intriguing science-fiction body-takeover of the second.

    But, by the slimmest of margins, I'll vote for D. Rose. I think the snarky voice was a little stronger for carrying the story.

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    1. Oh, and Don -- thank you for expanding this! I know all the writers who've submitted pieces really appreciate you making every effort to give them a chance to compete.

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  12. Both are excellent, and both seem to be part of a longer work - which I'd love to read. I think I'm going for D. Rose's though, but it's by a whisker!

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  13. First off, thanks for expanding to three times a week. (You da man ... the "tired" man!)

    Another tough choice, but my vote goes for D. Rose.

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  14. I liked the second piece best (the first felt too familiar) both because of the idea of inhabiting a different body than your own but also waking up in one that isn't quite to your liking.

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  15. Yay! 3 times a week!
    My vote goes to D. Rose this time. If there was more to read, I'd have kept reading.

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  16. Very tough. I will say that an odd thing happened when I read these two pieces. For the first one, I was very intrigued at the beginning but found myself skimming toward the end. The second one, I got annoyed with the beginning, but it had a strong finish that pulled me in.

    My vote goes to D. Rose. Nice work to both! Tough competition!

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  17. I want to know about the monster, too. I'm voting for Aurelia.

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  18. This round was the most difficult for me to choose!
    I found myself more emotionally involved in Aurelia's piece, and if it was a completed novel, I would probably read that one first. However, there were several moments not clear enough, as well as a few bits of redundancy (for example, the shadow shaded the water...or the warped boards creaked and moved--while that's not exactly redundant, I didn't feel the "moved" was necessary since I already had that image).
    D. Rose wrote a compelling piece--some of the dialogue struck me as slightly over-the-top, but overall I thought the writing was clearer, more concise, and stronger.
    So my vote goes for #2.

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  19. My vote is for Aurelia, #1. I found it easier to get into the story and I wanted to keep reading more, which just didn't happen for me with #2.

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  20. I'm voting for D. Rose! Good job to both of you, though. :)

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  21. My vote is to Aurelia. I just couldn't get into the second one.

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  22. Aurelia--both did a good job, but I wasn't a fan of The Host and the second piece sounded too much like it for my personal taste. The writing was on point though except for a few repeated phrases and words.

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  23. I liked them both - the characters were interesting. My vote will go to #1 as I love the premise and I found myself pulling for the character :)

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  24. First of all, DL, thanks for reading my book. It means a lot to me.

    Now, both entries were great! I liked the quiet and subtle mystery/suspense of the first one. I wanted to see what would happen. What lay beneath the water? The only problem with the first was the last paragraph that started into backstory that I wish could have been told another way--like dialogue.

    The second was also interesting. I wanted to know why he was in her body. However, I think the story would have been more powerful if we knew how long he was in the blackness instead of just using the line "For the longest time".

    My vote goes to: #1

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  25. I'm voting for Aurelia. I liked the style and mystery there.

    Thanks DL for adding Wednesday too. You're awesome and we all appreciate your hard work.

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  26. This was a close one...
    Though both were compelling I felt Aurelia's I felt could use just a little more adjustment in some of the descriptions to keep the narrative line moving in Cory's words and not just an intrusive narrator. This wasn't as evident in the large descriptive passages as in a few of the tags in between or after dialogue.

    Also, I felt the unknown situation of some unknown being inhabiting a girl's body to be a little more sophisticated and tweaked my curiosity more than a monster with tentacles hiding beneath the surface of a lake. I know this is terribly picky but it was just that close between the two submissions.
    My vote goes to D. Rose.

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  27. My vote is for D. Rose. Some input for improvement: When you first refer to "she" it wasn't clear to me this is the mc's host so I spent a good deal of time confused whether someone else was in the room or if you were switching POV. Otherwise, I suggest you put something truly individual to your story right in these first 500 to make it crystal clear this isn't a rehash of Meyer's THE HOST.

    Suggestion for Aurelia - I really liked that you opened with the interaction between siblings, however, you lost me when you immediately dumped a huge amount of backstory that took me out of the present story. How much does the reader need to know right on the first page? Save the rest for when the reader is invested in the story and characters. Dribble it out so it comes as a reveal rather than info dump.

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  28. Going strong, DL!
    Great work sir!

    My vote is for Aurelia!

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  29. My vote is for Aurelia. I think it could benefit from some tightening up, but the story drew me in, despite the early backstory.

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  30. My vote's for D. Rose. I agree with an earlier comment mentioning that neither of these were dealing with an enormously original concept, but I felt the second piece had much more immediacy than the first, and I'd be more interested to see how D. Rose deals with this retelling of the body-takeover trope than how Aurelia deals with the monster-in-the-water trope. I also felt that D. Rose's descriptive elements had more personality and were less generic, and the backstory in the first piece felt a little heavy to me; I appreciated that the second one managed to tell us all we needed to know through the narrator's thoughts alone. Still, both were fascinating, nice work!

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  31. Vote one for D.Rose. It wasn't a tough choice.
    (stop reading now unless you want to hear my opinion)
    I prefer the creepy sci-fi subject matter of the first story but the grammatical errors irk me greatly (fragments, punctuation, voice inconsistency) and there didn't seem to be any emotional attachment to the drowned brother. ("...pretend it was just a regular drowning." ... Are 'regular drownings' not horrible??) Also the delivery of the brother's death left me wanting.
    I prefer the writing style of the second but the subject is a little exhausted. However, D.Rose was able to make it his/her own and by the end I was intrigued.

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  32. Vote for Aurelia. D.Rose had my vote until I reached the dialogue, and then everything else fell apart, which is unfortunate. These are not long stories.

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  33. I'm assuming the formatting issues aren't in her actual document, so I'm going with D. Rose. I love the tone.

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  34. Aurelia, by a slight margin. Lot's of errors in these two pieces, not counting the joined words.

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  35. I vote for D. Rose. While both pieces were familiar tropes, the reveal of the trope worked better in the second piece for me.

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  36. D. Rose's writing appeals to me more, but I have to vote for Aurelia. D. Rose's dialogue turned me off unfortunately, and the all around tone of Aurelia's had a more comfortable feel for me. Though D. Rose, if the dialogue were different, I would have given you my vote ;)

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  37. I vote Aurelia. They're both amazing! But Aurelia's drew me in a bit more.

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  38. I'll vote for Aurelia's piece! Both were done very well, but Autelia's kept me on the edge of my seat!!

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  39. I vote for D. Rose. I like the play of words and detail a little better in that one.

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  40. IMO, both entries are at the same stage of writing skill and need tightened somewhat. Both start with action and leave me wanting more though :)

    I'll go with D. Rose for subject matter. I love me some sci-fi thrillers.

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  41. With a little work both of these have potential. I'm going with D. Rose simply because I want to know more.

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  42. I vote for D. Rose's piece. I connected it to it quicker and felt the writing was a little smoother.

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  43. I think they were close too, but I vote for Aurelia.

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  44. D. Rose for me. Nice pacing, voice, intrigue. I want to read more to figure out who the person/being really is that inhabits the girl's body.

    Aurelia's piece is intriguing and well-written, but I was a bit confused. Since Corey can be either a boy or girl's name, I kept getting hung up on that first sentence, wondering whether Corey was listening to her own footsteps, or as it ended up, someone else's. This continued with the first line of dialogue, because it's the girl speaking, but Corey's thoughts immediately following on her shampoo. While I like to minimize dialogue tags, one could be used there to clarify.

    Great job both of you!

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  45. What a choice! I'm going to have to go with D.Rose on this one.

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  46. Aurelia's word choice caught me a couple of times, but she gave us the stronger character to relate to. D. Rose gave us a strong character, but there's nothing there to like yet. In fact I distinctly dislike the character at this point.

    Both are interesting--both are overdone ideas, so the authors will need to work to make them real.

    I'm voting for Aurelia.

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  47. Both are very evocative, but when choosing which to keep reading, I'd definitely go with the first. I vote Aurelia! :D

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  48. The first piece had some grammatical errors and didn't flow as well as the second. However, the second was written in present tense, which I generally have a hard time reading. This was a tough one, but D.Rose gets my vote by a hair.

    It's not so much about the story as it is the flow for me... the second was an easier read and the humor lent well to the story. The first one has potential, but it felt like there were missing pieces. For example, the paragraph about the brother's drowning... there was definitely some emotion excluded. A sibling unable to save their younger brother from some form of monster should have sucked me in with fear and sadness, but it felt nonchalant, almost passed over like a side-note. With a little more details worked in, it could be something great.

    And thank you, DL... I don't know how you're going to keep up with this challenge, but I am grateful for your dedication. This is such an awesome project!

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  49. This was tough, but I'm choosing D. Rose.

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  50. I'm also choosing D.Rose, although it was hands-down the toughest vote so far. So close that I wish I could vote twice. :-P

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  51. As much as I liked D. Rose's, I'm going to have to go with the creepy JAWS vibe in the choice from Aurelia.

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  52. Yiks, those are both really stellar! Hm . . . I will go with Aurelia.

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  53. I am so sorry I have been MIA. My son had surgery in Denver, and things have been a bit--hectic. My name is on the linky. I promise to be more active now that things are settled.

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  54. Oh, wow, this is a toughie. Hemming and hawing... Okay, I'll go with Aurelia!

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  55. I am going with Aurelia this week. :-)

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  56. Make my vote D. Rose. No need for further comment as it's all been said.

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  57. Yes, all has been said. Both need a bit of tweaking, but I found D. Rose's piece to be interestingly worded. The first "she" had me confused thinking it was a mistake, but then I realized what was going on and liked the back and forth of "I" and then "she".

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  58. Uh...can't vote!!! But good luck to both! This is fun. :)

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  59. Wow, DL, you know this just isn't right. Both of these pieces have great, unique voices. The stories of each are both well drawn out in a wonderful-to-follow pace. The first one made me a little shivery, but the second one drew me in in a way the first one did not. I really liked both, but my vote goes to D. Rose.

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  60. Difficult choice, as they're both interesting stories, but for the writing alone, I'd have to go with D. Rose.

    And thanks, DL, for expanding to three a week! Yay!

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  61. On this occasion I'm going to go with piece 1, Aurelia. Well done to both authors though.

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  62. D. Rose gets my green flag.
    I sure hope the inhabited-body-girl gets some gutsiness from the intruder.

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  63. Both entries are good, but my vote goes to Aurelia. I love a good mystery.

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  64. Wish I could read more of D. Rose's piece right now. I love a story with the potential for huge personal growth.

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  65. I enjoyed both entries, and despite the errors in D. Rose's entry, with many words joined together, I find her story more compelling.

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  66. My vote goes to Aurelia. What's in the water??

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  67. This was a pretty close round for me, but I think Aurelia gets the vote.

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  68. While both stories were intriguing, D.Rose's resonated with me more, so that's who I'm voting for.

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  69. I like D. Rose a lot! I'm assuming some of those errors might have come up in posting or something, but I want to read more of the story and find out why the character is in a different body.

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  70. Skill-wise and intrigue-wise these are soooo close. They both have great premises and both could use a bit of polish, but I followed each just fine and would like to read more in both cases. In the spirit of forcing myself to pick on...Aurelia.

    And you are so kind to expand to three rounds each week to accommodate all these writers knocking at your door - a classic case of "Be careful what you wish for." ;)

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  71. I vote for D. Rose. The storytelling is minimal, relying on the expression of one character's personality over excessive narration, letting the reader interpret the details themselves. Its an excellent style for the restrictive brevity of a short story.

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  72. While Aurelia had an interesting story, the writing of D. Rose was much stronger, so my vote goes to D.Rose.

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  73. My pick is Aurelia. But very close between them!

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  74. Both are great stories, it makes the choice very difficult, but I felt a bit closer to Aurelia's characters so that's the one that will get my vote, but kudos to both authors.

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  75. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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