WRiTE CLUB 2012 – Round 4



With WRiTE CLUB now hosting three contests a week, it can become a bit confusing as to which rounds are still open for voting. To help everybody out I’ve created a tab at the top of my page entitled WRiTECLUB 2012 – Results. What you’ll find there is a link to every round posted, and the respective winner.  If there is no winner listed, voting is still open. Pretty simple. That should help any of you who can’t visit for a while and need help catching up.

In previous rounds a good litmus test for deciding victory is whether or not a writing sample leaves the reader wanting more.  If nothing else, this should illustrate how we must each strive to adhere to this guiding principle in every phase of our work.  We've seen some awesome 500 word snippets, but what about the next 500 words...and the 500 after that?  We as writers cannot afford to coast, or compose filler to simply serve as a bridge to the next major plot point, character interaction, or dramatic encounter.  Our standards must be set higher than that and the luxury of complacency a foreign concept.  A tough task indeed, but one we all embrace willingly.

Are you ready for an awesome mid-week battle?


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

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 432 words, please welcome to the ring……..RingGirl

 
There’s a “one who got away” in every girl’s life.

 You know who I’m talking about.

You doodled his name on your geometry notes. You sat behind him in study hall, where the only thing you studied was the way his hair curled at the nape of his neck.

Fora lot of girls, this story is over on graduation day. The boy slides into a vintage Mercedes to spend the summer sailing in New England,never to be seen again. That’s where it usually ends.

But when you’re me, life pretends to continue on its merry way, then turns around and bitch slaps you, just for fun. And the “one who got away” becomes “the one who reappears just when you’re looking particularly gross and haven’t had time to shower.”

Because when my plane landed on Anchor Island, the first person I saw was the one I had obsessed over for four years. Garrett Patrick, he of the artfully tousled hair and crisp linen shorts embroidered with tiny seahorses. His eyes widened when he saw me stumbling down the stairs with my enormous carry-ons.

“Alex!What are you doing here?”

God, he was perfect. But why, oh why did I have to run into him with unwashed hair and my rattiest t-shirt? I pinned my arms to my sides  to hide the yellowed armpits.

“Mom... new fiancé lives here,” I babbled. Where the hell was my vocabulary when I needed it? I killed AP English but still couldn’t talk to him? I tried again. “They invited me to stay for the summer.”

“My family’s here for the summer, too,” he said politely. “I’m waiting for Sally.”

My stomach lurched. Of course Sally McKenna would go wherever Garrett went. No doubt her family owned a sprawling hundred-room “cottage” right next to his.

Before I could respond, a flashy white limo pulled up and a window rolled down to reveal my mother, pretty, blond, and windblown. “Alex!”she shouted. “Over here, honey!”

I gawked at her. What was my mother doing in a limo? Where was her beat-up Chevy? When my eyes flickered to Garrett, I detected a look of dawning amusement on his face. He looked as though he knew something I didn’t…

“Come over and meet your new step dad-to-be!”

The limo belonged to her new fiancé? She hadn’t ever mentioned that he was loaded.

As I reached for my bags, I saw a man appear in the window beside her.Only five words in the world could describe him: Richard Simmons in a suit.For one heart-stopping moment, I really thought it was Richard Simmons until I realized that he was much too young, though he had a similar halo of ginger hair. He gave me a fluttering wave bedecked with gaudy rings.

Garrett was watching me with a grin. “Well, I’m sure I’ll see you around, Alex.”

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


And in the other corner, weighing in at 403 words, let me introduce to you ……..Cyan



Midnight has come

a drop of vodka drips to the tile floor

the buffet has been emptied

human lips open no more

the mountain of strange shoes by the hall

has retreated like waves from the shore

there is no noise at all

except for a drunkard's snore




The light flickers in some distant room

a pop-up picture book lays at the foot of a bed

ruffled dresses are tossed into fire

and memories of laughter are now dead

aliens and Barbie dolls look to retire

in contorted mounds of half decayed plastic

she aims to murder the silence




Only a blond haired child,

she is no more or no less

the chiffon of her nightgown torn at the edge

she spits out a ball of gum, adheres it to a chair's leg

the spirits pity her tack of patience

as the peony blossom in her juice glass shrivels dead




She runs out her bedroom door

thumping through the hall

her speed ravages the kitchen floor

she tries not to fall

there is silence no more




The drunkard brings his head up, eyes big, round

his breath panics softly

his head throbs from all her sound

the child approaches him in her torn nightgown

he scolds her with vulgarities tightly bound




She yells, she screams

"father, father, why did you imprison me?"

her lashes are beaded with tears like nerves with dreams

"father, your silence hurts me!"

and the drunkard grasps her arms

shakes her in one violent caress

pulls her toward his chest




A hickup, a cough

her heart palpitates against fragile bones

of fear she had enough

he digs a deep red scar into her neck

she squeals

listening to the vodka drops ticking upon the floor keeping time

she can't name what she feels


 


Lightning flashes

speculator shadows appear in the distance

they watch as she struggles

in awe of her persistence

only a blond haired child and yet so brave

she swallows fear in resistance

only a blond haired child

the tear in the corner of her eye evaporates

 


Silence returns again

the clicking of pen tops and fingernails

welcome the scratching of ink on paper

a chorus of thoughts radiates through motionless tongues

and the one second rattle of a stapler

metal clanging from heavy chains

binds two wrists together

 


The drunkard blinks bloodshot eyes

loud screams and the appearance of sunlight

in the corner the child cries


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


Another tough choice for you.  Before you leave your vote for the winner of round 4, make sure you’ve pre-registered to vote here. Any sort of critique you would like to offer are most appreciated as well.  Please tell everyone you know about WRiTE CLUB and get your friends to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon next Tuesday.  

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


88 comments

  1. There is too much talent in this contest LOL! However, my vote goes to RingGirl. The story made me laugh, and I could definitely relate to it!

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  2. My vote goes to RingGirl. I agree with Kyra--there is too much talent. Both are wonderful pieces.

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  3. These two are so different it's hard to decide. I think I am going to go with Cyan because it was so terrifying, but I really liked RingGirl too. HELP!
    Thanks DL for taking on such a huge feat in posting 3 days a week!

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  4. I'm really supposed to pick just one?

    Really?

    Wow, both pieces invoked something in me. The first piece was one I could relate to all too well. Not the part about all the rich stuff lol!! The crushing and the seeing the crush at the worst possible time...yeah. Been there done that. The second piece appealed to the darker side of me. The poetic and lyrical manner of the writing style tugged at my heart.

    RingGirl made me giggle but Cyan made me want to read more. So my vote, by a very narrow margin, is for Cyan.

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  5. I have read every entry in each round but it has been too difficult for me to decide so I have refrained from voting for the last few rounds. My last vote was for Ratz who I believe did a good job despite veering from the guidelines posted after the first round. I will continue reading and pondering.

    Best of luck to all the entries. It takes guts and heart to throw your words up there to the public vote. And, again, I have really enjoyed the supportive voting comments of other writers.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Suze,
      (not that you will read this but just in case)
      I'm wondering what guidelines you are referring to that were posted after the first round... As a potential contestant this is important to me and I can't find new guidelines posted.

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    2. David...there is only one guideline, 500 words or less. In the first couple rounds there were people talking about whether the submissions needed to be complete stories or Flash Fiction, and they do not! People may vote for a writer because their story was tied up in a bow, but that is simply their subjective opinion and NOT a WRiTE CLUB guideline. :)

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    3. Hi, David. Sorry to have caused confusion. It seems a contestant in the first round scored points with a lot of readers for having included a twist at the end and for having accomplished a 'full circle' sort of impact within 500 words. I read in a later post that entries shouldn't be judged based on that.

      For me, that particular contestant exhibited some writerly prowess and, in just one reader's opinion, is the best entry I've read, so far. I imagine it's fairly challenging to organize a contest of this scale and keep everything running smoothly. Don't mean to rock the boat. I can see where my articulation in the comment was misleading.

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    4. Thanks DL and Suze for clarifying!
      I strive to vote according to what I consider writing talent above whether it is a full story or an excerpt.
      ...
      That said, a fully developed, beginning and end, sho nuff story, all efficiently smashed into <500 words, does kind of give me a happy feeling... And it tells me the writer can write on their feet so to speak.

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    5. 'I strive to vote according to what I consider writing talent above whether it is a full story or an excerpt.'

      Noice! Hear, hear.

      And thanks, again, DL, for organizing this.

      Delete
  6. Two radically different pieces to choose from, and this one is a hard one for me...

    There were some snippets of excellent writing in the piece by RingGirl. For instance, "he of the artfully tousled hair," referring back to the, "where the only thing you studied was the way his hair curled at the nape of his neck." The voice is confident and the tone light and breezy, but this piece overall felt a little too familiar and it somehow lacked emotional impact for me.

    Cyan gets tremendous credit for attempting something different. The poetic imagery and heavy subject matter adds weight and emotional depth, but at the same time, this piece just felt like it was trying a little too hard. For example, the dialogue in particular seemed forced and very unnatural.

    Of course, all of this is merely my personal taste about style and subject matter -- from a technical standpoint, both pieces are written well, and I compliment the authors for that.

    I'm guess I'm going to go with RingGirl since it overall was a more effortless read.

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  7. RingGirl gets my vote. Good job to both entries.
    (biased opinion to follow)
    By the end I was unsure of what RingGirl was trying to establish (Richard Simmons?) and the subject matter is not the most riveting to me (a crush) but it flowed well and was consistent.
    The second piece had dark content. Right up my alley. And I appreciate the relevance of poetry in well written prose... But poetry in itself just takes me back to college... studying every word and line for hidden definitions and symbols and finding meanings that I bet the author did not even intend. Exhausting. Not fond memories. Plus the metric was kind of all over the place.

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  8. I'm going to vote for Cyan, since the piece was really intriguing! It certainly left me wanting to know more.

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  9. I vote for RingGirl. That piece drew me in and I wanted to read more (the humor didn't hurt, either).

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  10. Ooh, definitely RingGirl. I want to read more!

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  11. #1 gets my vote this week. I loved the light tone and the voice.

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  12. I have to vote for RingGirl! Her piece made me laugh out loud and that's pretty rare. Good job!

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  14. This was a very tough choice and this is my favorite round so far. I'm going to cast my vote for RingGirl.

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  15. RingGirl hooked me big time and gets my vote even though Cyan's piece was quite riveting.

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  16. As a girl, I totally related to Ringirl. She gets my vote today.

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  17. Hmmm....dark matter v.s. chick-lit? Cyan easily gets my vote!

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  18. These two are so drastically different, and they both display talent, for sure. I'll go with the first one~ I'm in a summery mood and this made me smile :)

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  19. I liked the way Cyan's piece started but it didn't hold so I have to go with RingGirl whose piece I wanted more of. Still, not really a fair comparison, poetry to prose. But I had to choose.

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  20. Not fair! I love them both. So totally different. But if you're making me pick just one, then Ringirl gets my vote.

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  21. So well written, both these entries!

    My vote is for RingGirl! Please tell me there is more to read of this one! PLEASE!!!

    Heather

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  22. I appreciate a good, cryptic run of poetry. There is a shade of darkness in Cyan's piece, but I feel the rhyming sucks the wind out of what could be a much more elegant delivery. The heart is there. Some great lines. I'd [personally] love to see this pushed further. [Sorry, Cyan]

    I'm gonna have to go with RingGirl.
    The setup for the ensuing story with elements of unrequited love, "he of the artfully tousled hair", the nouveau riche, and Richard Simmons in a suit... I suspect much drama [and perhaps humor?] is about to unfold.

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  23. I liked both, but I'm picking RingGirl. The end intrigued me and I wanted to read on.

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  24. RingGirl for me, but please lose the little seahorses embroidered on HIS shorts.

    My hat is off to Cyan for trying poetry, but as I'm expecting prose here it was a little too tedious for me. And yet, I applaud someone daring to be different.

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  25. I have to vote for RingGirl. Wonderful writing.

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  26. RingGirl. Best writing in the competition so far.

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  27. I vote for RingGirl. You did a lovely job bringing the mc to life with all those telling details. One suggestion since the first line is so important: Use "boy" or "guy" instead of "one." I was initially confused since there are many possible things that can get away. I'd rather spend time immersing myself in the story than drawing back with question marks over my head. One thing I also wonder is whether today's teens know who Richard Simmons is.

    Cyan - your words have a wonderful cadence but the subject of your poem is one that probably most of us who write poetry visit - the childhood trauma. This is my opinion only, but I've found these poems so intensely personal that they are more about releasing pain than communication and I feel like a voyeur when reading them. I'm not saying these things to discourage you - quite the opposite. If you do go back in the ring I hope you are chosen again - I'd love to see more of your work.

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  28. Hmmm.... ummmm... this is the toughest by far. I loved the voice of the first story, but Cyan has the edge for me.

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  29. Have to go with Ring Girl on this one. Besides, she used just the right name...

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  30. RingGirl had a good tone, flowed well and I was interested enough to want to read more. By a narrow margin though because I think the cadence of the Cyan piece was lovely.

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  31. This was a VERY tricky one, I had to read the pieces several times. The first piece was light humoured and I could definitely relate to it and would read more. The second piece though I found haunting and I do like to read some poetry. By the smallest margin I'm going with Cyan for this round. Well done to both writers.

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  32. ooo... These are hard to pit against each other! Man. OK, so I have to confess, I totally LOL'd at the Richard Simmons halo of ginger hair! *snort* Great imagery and use of dialogue in #1. The second was really haunting and disturbing. Nice writing there.

    But while I love verse, I have to say, RingGirl hooked me more. My vote's for RINGGIRL~

    Best to both writers! <3

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  33. What a tough choice. Kinda like having to choose between Pavarotti and the Rolling Stones, darn it. Today, I choose Cyan. On a different day, it could've gone the other way.

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  34. After reading RingGirl's excerpt I thought my vote was going to be easy. But then I read Cyan entry which is the type of piece I'd like to go back and reread over and over again, rediscovering it each time which is one of the great powers of well written poetic verse- My vote Cyan, great job.

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  36. I vote... RingGirl. I completely related to her POV character. :-)

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  37. Gotta go with RingGirl.

    And I sent you an email on Monday about your prize from my contest, but never heard back.

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  38. Ring Girl. I was pulled in pretty quickly, and I like the bit of humor with the Richard Simmons look-a-like.

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  39. I gotta go with Ring Girl. Loved the way it flowed. :)

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  40. I really liked both of them. Very different in styles, but both enjoyable. I'm going to have to give my vote to Ring Girl. She just brought me into the story line faster.

    Cyan, your entry is beautiful. For me the lack of punctuation was a bit discerning and I'm not sure where the story is going. Still it is written beautifully.

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  41. Another vote for Ring Girl. Great humor, and I loved the voice.
    Cyan, bravo/brava for entering poetry--that takes a lot of guts, and against a different competitor you might have got my vote just for that. I would take a look at the flow of the lines (maybe have someone who's never seen it before read it aloud)--since you're attempting rhyme within the free verse, a little more structure would help, in my opinion. But I do love how the story is told in verse, and the drama of the piece lends itself well to that form. Great work.

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  42. This is tough since we're comparing bananas and cream pies. I'm reading Ellen Hopkin's YA novel in verse, Impulse, so I have a high expectations when read books of the same style. While I felt Ring Girl's piece could be tightened a bit more, it was the winner for me.

    I do want to congratulate Cyan for tackling such a tough from of fiction. You are braver than me.

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  43. I'm going with Ring Girl. I agree it needed to be tightened a bit and I thought the ending could have had more punch like the guy mom was marrying is Garrett's father or someone connected to him, but overall I liked the voice.

    I liked Cyan's piece, but the rhythm was off for me.

    Great job both of you.

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  44. My vote's for RingGirl. Funny, with a strong voice. I'd definitely read more.

    I hate having to compare verse with prose. I've never been good at understanding poetry so I don't feel like I gave Cyan's piece a fair reading. I thought a lot of the imagery was evocative, but I had a lot of trouble understanding what was going on. Makes me work too hard.

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  45. My vote is for Ring Girl. I loved the humor and the light voice.

    Cyan, I have a Really hard time with poetry. I always look for the 'hidden' meaning. So it gets really exhausting for me to read...and the rhythm felt a bit off somehow.

    Another great battle for Write Club! Well done!

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  46. RingGirl! I loved it and would sooo read that story.

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  47. Ring Girl. I followed the other easily enough, but it didn't really have enough there to draw me in, and the end was rather ambiguous. I wasn't even sure if it was supposed to be the end.

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  48. Although I felt there were places were Cyan's piece was a little flat ("only a blonde-haired child and yet so brave") I appreciated the willingness to try poetry over prose, and some of the imagery was really amazing. It was also trying for an emotional depth that rang true for me ("his breath panics softly"? whoa) even if there were a few places that struck me as a bit heavyhanded or clumsy. RingGirl's piece, while written more tightly, seemed, well, substantially less original in both concept and language; I can't help but feel like I've read this book already. Cyan gets my vote for the originality of the writing & gutsiness of the submission.

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  49. While I enjoyed both pieces, I founds Cyan's to be more challenging, original, and intriguing. RingGirl's piece was easy to grasp, but I have to agree with Jericha in that it didn't feel original enough to compel me to read on.

    So my vote goes to Cyan this round.

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  50. The Write Club page is definitely useful! Now I can go back and vote on Round 3!

    I'm afraid poetry isn't something I appreciate, but I tried to judge both pieces anyway on literary merit. My vote goes to Ring Girl, as I'm loving the voice of her protagonist.

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  51. Duuuuude... how am I supposed to choose?!?!?!?

    Cyan, amazing. Really. But because RingGirl is more my thing, I have to vote for her. But really, Cyan. Nice work. :D

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  52. Both awesome but I vote for Ring Girl!

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  53. This is tough. RingGirl's piece was fine. It's not the sort of thing I would pick off the shelf.

    Cyan's piece threw me. I like the imagery but was thrown off by the sort-of rhyme scheme and stanza set up.

    I'm going to give my vote to Cyan. Despite this, the imagery had a stronger emotional reaction

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  54. OH, come Onnnnnn!!!

    How, by all that is holy, am I supposed to choose? Both of these are FanFreakinTastic!

    *hangs head. dithers. moans. curses*

    okay, okay. hang on. *hisssssss*

    Ring Girl

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  55. Both were great. I loved Cyan's piece. I want to read it again and pretend it's being read by Vincent Price. :)

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  56. Ring Girl wins for me. The humor and content was right up my alley. Cyan - amazing piece. This was a difficult choice.

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  57. Another tough call for me this round as well, but Ring Girl had a fantastic voice for the piece and I wanted to read more.

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  58. My vote goes to RingGirl for doing a smashing job of unique voice.

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  59. Both pieces were great... so hard to pick. In the end I'm going with RingGirl because I loved the voice.

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  60. Both great entries, but I loved the voice and personality in the first one, so my vote goes to RingGirl.

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  61. Ring Girl without a doubt... b/c her entry reeks w/ talent and b/c her name is so appropos =)

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  62. My vote goes to Cyan for originality and vivid imagery.

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  63. These were both very well executed, so my vote is based purely on personal preference. RingGirl gets it for excellent use of Richard Simmons. :D

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  64. I vote for Cyan. The words were striking and absorbing in their implications, rather than precisely explaining every detail. Much like a good psychological horror. :)

    RingGirl's teenage soap opera was too typical in its subject matter and plain in its expression to hold my personal interest.

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  65. RingGirl- I enjoyed the dialogue, though I thought Cyan's piece was lovely.

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  66. They're both excellent, but isn't this like comparing apples to oranges?? Grrr... Guess I'll go with Ring Girl.

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  67. Both pieces were so well written it was hard to make a choice. By the narrowest margin I am going with Cyan, mainly because that poetic form is such a challenge for telling a story. At least it is for most writers. To have told such a powerful story with such magical lyrics wins my vote. Which does not mean there was anything wrong with Ring Girl. It was a terrific story and very well done.

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  68. RingGirl is entertaining. But I'm going for brave: Cyan it is.

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  69. RingGirl gets my vote. I love the voice.

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