WRiTE CLUB 2012 – Round 15



I hope everyone in the states is enjoying their Labor Day!  I know Mrs. Mojo Rising is because she won round 12 and will be moving into our play-off rounds.  Her opponent, Aidlinn, will have his/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. You can check my WRiTE CLUB 2012 results page for a breakdown of all the winners along with links to all of the writing samples.  

I'm changing this week's schedule just a tad because I'm taking part in Justine Dell's book tour on Friday, so the third contest this week will go up on Thursday instead of Friday. And you'll not want to miss that third bout because I'll be discussing how the play-offs will be organized and what both the contestants...and you...can expect.

Everybody settled in and ready for some word to word combat?



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

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 489 words, please welcome to the ring……..Joy Frost.




“What if she doesn’t come, Dekhan?” Lara asked, pacing the floor.

“She will be here.” Dekhan said.

“Damn her, she’s afraid. I knew it!” Lara grumbled. She impatiently drew back the musty curtain and peered into the darkness. A single shadowy figure slinked through the moonlight toward them.

Elyse had come. A breath of relief escaped Lara’s lips. She whisked the door open and yanked the figure inside. "You weren't followed?"

"No." For a moment they stared at one another and an awkward silence filled the small cottage. It had been ten years.

The rush of emotions was uncomfortable, but Lara smiled. "Come in and warm yourself, Elyse.” She gestured to the crackling fire casting an orange glow in the room. “Dekhan, stand guard outside and leave us.” Dekhan nodded and left them alone.

"Are you sure about this, Lara?" Elyse asked gazing into the dancing flames.

"I don't see any alternative."
 
"It could cost us our lives," said Elyse.

“Our lives won’t mean anything if we don’t.” Lara watched her. She wondered if Elyse was scared, but she didn’t detect fear in her twin sister’s electric green eyes. Fear always registered in Elyse’s eyes, sometimes with rivers of tears which diluted the green to almost brown. Lara had seen it before- like the day of their grand double wedding to the princes. Somehow Elyse had known the misery the future would bring... and Lara hadn’t listened. Now father was gone and their kingdom cleaved in two. She would listen if Elyse had fears this time.

But she didn’t. Elyse stood up and brushed off her sleek riding clothes. “I am ready, sister.”

Lara nodded. She raised her left hand into the air. Elyse lifted her right and pressed her palm to Lara’s. Together they chanted, “Panyapravda vidho sacremosa.” An aura of blue energy formed around them. Lara allowed its soothing warmth to seep into her mind. She focused her thoughts and mentally reached out to Elyse. Their minds merged into one powerful force and the aura swirled in a vortex around them. They raised their free hands high and two gleaming swords materialized into their grasp.

Their palms unclasped and the aura disappeared. Lara inspected the swords in the firelight. “Now all we have to do is raise a rebellion before the Vortigen find us.”

Elyse broke into a smile. “I’ve missed your optimism.” Elyse sheathed her sword and made her way to the door. “I’ll send word when my people are ready.”

A sudden twinge crawled up Lara’s neck. She wasn’t ready for Elyse to leave, what if she never saw her again? Lara reached out and embraced her. “Good luck Elyse, trust no one,” the words caught in her throat. I love you, sister.

Elyse squeezed her hand. “I’ll see you again soon.”
 
Lara watched her sister, her best friend, disappear in the night. She turned away. “Come on Dekhan, we have a rebellion to start.”

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And in the other corner, weighing in at 500 words, let me introduce to you ……..Satellite Heart.



It was a dark and stormy afternoon. It had no yet begun to precipitate, but the sky was a moldy blue and the evening before had already provided enough warning of what was to come. I sat beside a window and waited for something to happen. There were a lot of thoughts going through my mind, and none of them had to do with the weather. More than a month ago I had been fired from my job. With no prospects and less hope, I worried about my future and the possibility that I could be ruined, and it was all because of a conspiracy I couldn’t prove.

My employer never came out and said so, but for months I had been manipulated, fed a series of phone calls that originated from our own offices, baiting me into a trap I couldn’t get out of, waiting for me to fail. During the exit interview, conducted over the phone and with someone I’d never met, they played cool until I started to reveal the full brunt of my frustrations. This had been a place where you were expected to remain calm, even in the midst of interminable abuse, from strangers who didn’t mind insulting you in the process of rebelling against a system they suddenly found to be unjust. The real joke was that I became the victim, a hapless martyr to a cause and recipients who would never know and would always be ungrateful. I sat there dejected, utterly crushed.

My phone sat in my pocket and every time it rang I was disappointed, never what I wanted, never someone who would understand, or offer me a job. I guess I felt deserving, and not a little annoyed, and stewed over a mystery that would never be solved. How do you find answers when you’ve been told to never return? Without a reason, it was not like I was going to show up at the office and just hope someone slipped up. I had already given up the chance to go back. They mailed me anything that I still needed from them, after the accordion file I walked away with and not much else. I even left my candy in the drawer.

Wind was hustling the trees, and for a moment I shook myself out of a mindless revelry to watch, and listened to a bird sing its confession to the world. The only thing I had left was a desire to forget. I could never move on as long as the past weighed me down instead of doing its job, help point a way forward. I shunned the window and imagined that I was in a cave, surrounded by images of the great and tragic heroes, those who challenged fate, and for whom living to tell about it was now and forever a moot point. I realized that the only way to survive was to die. The end of my ego would be the beginning.

It started to rain.

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For you newcomers out there...if you wish to vote you first must sign up on the Linky List you’ll find at the end of the link provided on the badge below.  Please remind your friends to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon Thursday.

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

42 comments

  1. Voting for Joy Frost - fabulous work!

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  2. I'm voting for Joy Frost too, she made me really want to read more! :)

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  3. I like the detail of the candy left in the drawer of Satellite Heart's piece.

    I'm afraid I honestly feel that the writing in both pieces is on equal footing so I can't in good faith vote for one over the other.

    Best of luck to these two entrants! It'll be interesting to see what the play-offs are going to look like after this Thursday's bout.

    Happy Labor Day to all in the US -- and happy Monday to everyone else.

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  4. I thought the Joy Frost piece jammed a little too much into the 500 word entry. I would have enjoyed more conversation and interaction between the sisters before they made up their minds and committed themselves to such a dangerous path. However, I'm voting for the Joy Frost piece anyway.

    The Satellite Heart piece just had too much summarizing of back story. I wanted to be interested in the "conspiracy" that got this person fired, but not enough detail was given to whet my interest -- or even tell me for sure that it was a real conspiracy. There were some intriguing lines in here, but they got lost in the long paragraphs. I'll bet some judicious word slashing would make a big difference!

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  5. I'm going with Joy Frost today. Her piece brought intrigue at every step. Who is the "she" they are waiting for? Then we find out it's a twin and they're faced with making a dangerous choice and have magical powers. The layers of details did an amazing job in under 500 words to paint the setting and plant enough of a background to hook the reader into wanting more.

    The second piece was stark reality. In this economy we all know people without jobs, or who are underemployed or worry about what might happen over the next year or two. Sorry, it's just too depressing for me. When I read I want to escape reality by diving into a great story.

    But that doesn't help the author, since it's my opinion only and as writers I hope we all realize our work will never appeal to everyone. For the story itself, it's hard to feel for this character because I had no concept of age or even sex. For all I know, (s)he deserved to get fired!

    I DO love the plot concept of this person being baited into something. I hope in the full story the author provides a realistic reason why someone at the company would want this person out badly enough to make this attack credible. Also, more details about the work would have been helpful, since the author hinted at the atmosphere but didn't say the line of work, it stuck out as a missing piece of the puzzle in a confusing way, not an intriguing one.

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  6. Joy Frost gets my vote. Too much telling and retelling of the some thing in number 2.

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  7. Joy Frost gets my vote. Too much telling and retelling of the some thing in number 2.

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  8. Wow, the first piece was for me better than the second because there was less telling but I do like the voice of the second.

    Today I vote #1.

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  9. Neither really grabbed me, but the flow of dialogue was easier to get into with the first one. Vote goes to Joy.

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  10. Joy Frost has my vote. Joy Sallerni above already expressed most of my thoughts about both pieces.

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  11. I'll vote for Joy too. I would have liked to have some sense of setting besides musty curtains. I pictured them being in a cabin or something at the start, which didn't fit with the rest of it.

    For the second piece, there was a lot of summarizing of background, but mostly the first two sentences bothered me because they started with "it". Maybe a stronger start would be to drop the first two sentences and begin with "The sky was a moldy blue...."

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  12. Joy Frost. I want to know more, about the bad prince husbands, what went wrong, how the twins came by these powers, etc. I think Ms. Frost needs to work a bit on her Latin hybrid incantation language ... anything that has pravda in it makes me think of Igor the journalist.

    In the case of Satellite Heart, I was expecting satire after "It was a dark and stormy" and then the word "afternoon." To my consternation, it wasn't satire. It wasn't even ironic.

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  13. I loved Satellite Heart, especially the "moldy blue sky"

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  14. My vote goes to Joy Frost, the story line grabbed my attention better than the second. The first line in the second entry bothered me too. I agree with Tonja, it would have been better to start with "The sky was a moldy blue and the evening before..."

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  15. I vote for Joy Frost.

    Satellite Heart has too much backstory and no action. Joy Frost I couldn't follow the lightning switches of emotion and the storyline didn't catch me.

    Between the two, Joy Frost had the stronger writing but Satellite Heart had the more compelling storyline possibilities.

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  16. Neither one grabbed me, but my vote goes to Joy Frost.

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  17. I'm going with Joy Frost. The story plot is strong, and the characters are intriguing, and will also fit the overall story plot.

    .....dhole

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  18. I did appreciate the phrase "moldy blue sky" in the second entry, but my vote goes to Joy Frost.

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  19. I want to jump right into Joy Frost's world. Royalty and magic will get me every time.

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  20. Think I'm going Joy Frost this time. Good luck to both writers.

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  21. These comments have been said before so I'll try not harp.
    Joy Frost,
    Pacing needs to be slowed down...a lot--the rapid-fire delivery doesn't work so well here and it doesn't allow the emotions of the scene to ring true.

    Satellite Heart,
    I agree, the premise does have a lot of possibilities, but you've got to give us a scene. This feels more like the narrator is telling us that big things have been going on and we don't have a chance to find out anything about the narrator to decide whether we like him/her or not.
    A real scene would show us the mc in his/her world so we can picture the mc as a living, breathing, three dimensional person. It would also make us feel the tension without having the narrator having to tell us it is there.


    I'm voting for Joy Frost.

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  22. My vote goes to Joy Frost - sounds like an intriguing story!

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  23. Hope everyone here in the States had a wonderful holiday!

    Joy Frost's piece has a lot to like about it. There's a little too much backstory inserted a little too fast, and the switch from ten-years disconnected to united twins happens so quickly I almost get emotional whiplash, but the basic plot questions are established, and the reader becomes interested and involved with the struggle of the sisters. There are a few wording things I might tweak, but all-in-all, the writing works well, and I'm invested enough by the end that I want to read on to see what becomes of the brewing rebellion.

    As for Satellite Heart's... Well, with that first line, I almost expect this to be an entry for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (Google either the contest title or "It was a dark and stormy night"). In this piece, it's dark and stormy and yet there's no rain. The wind is howling and yet birds are singing. There's weather, weather everywhere, and yet "none of (the MC's thoughts) had to do with the weather." Much like the MC who sits there "wait(ing) for something to happen", the reader gets to wade through all the purple-prose exposition, and in the end, nothing happens. There is definitely a certain kind of creativity at work here, but I can't help but suspect that this is intended purely as a tongue-in-cheek "entry."

    So of course my vote goes to Joy Frost.

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  24. I'm not really a fan of either entry, since neither of them pulled me in. #2 had too much backstory and the beginning was a little cliche, so I will vote for #1 Joy Frost, although I wasn't crazy about the very short, rapidfire sentence style.

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  25. Joy Frost's piece was interesting but too cliche, and "electric green" eyes made me roll my eyes.

    Satellite Heart's piece was something I could relate to, having worked in poisonous environments myself.

    My vote goes to Satellite Heart.

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  26. Vote for Joy Frost
    I'm showing my age here but WONDER TWIN POWERS ACTIVATE!!
    I like the tension you've established. You could take your time and elaborate on a lot of the ideas and feelings and this piece would be even stronger. (but for all we know, your actual piece IS a lot longer and you trimmed it down to size for the sake of this contest alone)
    Regardless, I like it and I like that (it seems) twins have been turned against one another...
    One question would be, if she sheathed the magic sword she didn't have a minute earlier, does this mean she was just carrying an empty sheath?
    I don't have much useful critique to offer the second entry. By the second or third paragraph I found myself skimming... for some sign of action... or even an action verb.
    Like Chris, "It was a dark and stormy afternoon.." made me think of that phrase "It was a dark and stormy night." At first I thought you were writing a twist on whatever story that line precedes...

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  27. I vote for Joy Frost. The other one just had to much telling and the first line is a bit cliche.

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  28. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  29. I deleted my previous entry to correct a typo. The following is what I posted first, minus the typo:

    I vote for Joy Frost, for the story line. That's what drew me in, even though there are several areas which I felt could be polished a bit more, so that the scene flows better. Some slight revision would also help make it more clear who the POV character is in this scene: I had to reread a couple of times in places where it wasn't quite clear if the POV was still Lara's. But overall, the story is the thing for me, and I was very much pulled in.

    I felt for Satellite Heart's character's situation, but couldn't connect to it, or figure out what it was the character was waiting for: answers surrounding his/her lost job, or a phone call with a job offer, or something else entirely. And when it got to that next-to-last paragraph, with the cave and the great and tragic heroes, and the bit about needing to die to survive, I was very confused. The first line does set up an expectation for satire, as many here have said, and I smiled when I read it. So when it became apparent the character's situation was actually quite tragic, I felt guilty for smiling, and it was hard to keep reading.

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  30. My vote is for Joy Frost. Great job on the interesting details!
    Satellite Heart, maybe try varying your paragraph lengths? But I loved some of your unique phrases.

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  31. I'm going to have to go with Joy Frost, despite a few cliches.

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  32. I'm not much for fantasy rebellions, but the writing was better, so my vote goeth to Joy Frost.

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  33. Hmm, this one's difficult... Joy Frost.

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  34. Another vote for Joy Frost. It's not that the second one was bad - the author does a beautiful job of setting a bleak mood - but I felt more pulled into the MC's plight in the first piece.

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