WRiTE CLUB 2012 – Round 28



Blue Cookie came out of round 25 with a victory and an invitation to the play-off rounds.  Have you taken the time to refresh yourself with the all of the winners by checking out my WRiTE CLUB 2012 results page.

One of the comments from the last round was from a devoted WRiTE CLUB follower (and apparently a previous contestant) who was mildly burnt out. She stated that she read the entries on Monday dispassionately, apologized to both fighters and observed that…. It's tough having your number come up this late in the game. 

I deeply appreciate the honesty the follower expressed and it brings up an important point.  If I have a single regret about the way WRiTE CLUB has gone this year, it’s that I’ve been unable to maintain the same level of engagement throughout, and that is not fair to the later contestants.  It’s not because the quality of submissions has suddenly dropped…because they certainly haven’t… but I think we are seeing an unexpected consequence of expanding the contest to accommodate the number of submissions. Too much of a good thing is eroding away the luster of WRiTE CLUB and negatively impacting its overall standing.

It’s something for me to consider going forward, but for right now I need your help again.  We need to rejuvenate participation by drawing in new voters and reminding those who may have stopped visiting to give it another shot. If you can spare a blog post, a few tweets, a Facebook mention, it would be greatly appreciated.  And not only by me, but for those sixteen contestants still waiting their turn in the ring.

Speaking of the ring…..



Here are this rounds randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 490 words, please welcome to the ring……..Eleven.
 
I had just slammed down a cocktail and was happily contemplating my eternal damnation when the angel walked into my bar. Solid muscle, like all the warriors, and with that same self-satisfied, holier-than-thou attitude. It was the set of the jaw. Gave them away every time. He paused just inside the door, scanning the patrons to the right and left of him. After a moment, satisfied his glamour concealed him, he headed in my direction.

A low whistle floated over my shoulder. “Who in the hell is that fine piece of flesh?” Riley asked.

“Who in heaven, actually.” I poured a bubbling green concoction into a martini glass and slid it down the counter. “HR security. Working a pretty tight glamour on his wings.”

“No way.” He shot me a look of disbelief.

“He’s straight anyways,” Quinn said, reaching past us for the ice scoop. “So I may have to take him off your hands.” She threw him a honeyed smile and sauntered down to the other end of the bar to deliver a couple drinks.

“Never stopped me before,” Riley grumbled under his breath as the subject of our conversation leaned up against the black marble.

The angel hooked me in an intense gaze and parted perfect coral-colored lips to speak.

“What’ll it be, Wings? Can I interest you in a synthetic blood-tini?” I smiled real big, flashing some fang.

His smug expression fell and a scowl replaced it. “You’re Zyan Star?” Half statement, half question, his voice dark velvet.

“What makes you think that?” I asked.

“Well, you’re a vamp, and you can apparently see through my glamour, which only a witch could do. A pretty rare combination of talents.” He leaned forward even more, arms crossed over his chest, bulging against his gray t-shirt. Out of the corner of my eye,

I could see Riley and Quinn staring from a few feet away.

I smiled slightly, pushing a strand of burgundy hair behind my ear. “So, what brings a pretty boy like you to Noir? Somehow I don’t think it’s just because you decided to take a walk on the naughty side and mingle with the commoners.”

He tensed, standing up very straight. “I’m here on official business for the Holy Representative.” His milky white skin seemed to glow as he said it.

“Uh-huh. And?”

“He wants to hire you for a job.” He enunciated each word as it came out, as if I wouldn’t understand him. Which, actually, I didn’t.

“Come again, Wings?”

“My name is Eli,” he said, with a very angelic glower.

 “Of course it is,” I crooned. “So, Eli, I kind of thought I just heard you say that the Holy Representative, that is, the direct ambassador between Heaven and Earth, God’s right hand man, all that’s pure and holy, etc., wants me, a damned witch vampire who is technically within the Devil’s jurisdiction, to work for him. Did I hear that right?"

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


And in the other corner, weighing in at 497 words, let me introduce to you ……..Alecia Hart.
 


The floorboard was steadily pushing me towards the edge of insanity. I don’t know how something so trivial, so ridiculous could become such an important part of my life but it had. It started the second I noticed that it didn’t line up perfectly with the other floorboards, that it seemed slightly warped, I found myself unable to think about anything else. Even when I wasn’t home, when I was doing things like getting groceries, or washing my hair, that I found my thoughts consumed by the floorboards.

When I mentioned the issue to my boyfriend, the person who supposed to give all of my thoughts grave consideration and find my quirks adorable, he simply rolled his eyes, kissed my forehead, and called me OCD.

Irritated, I considered kicking him to the curb before I glanced out the window and realized that doing so would mean that responsibility of mowing the enormous lawn would fall on my shoulders. I decided to keep him around.

Either the floorboard had to go, or I did.

Running my fingers around the edge, I found a tiny spot where there was just enough room for me to slide the tip of my screwdriver under the floorboard. Grimacing, I bear down on it, using the screwdriver as a small fulcrum.

The floorboard groans and squeaks, refusing to budge, so I apply more pressure. One way or another, it’s coming up.

My boyfriend, Jeremy, steps into the room. “What are you doing?”

I peer up at him through my heavy fringe of bangs, and refuse to answer. A long time ago I made it a policy to never dignify stupid questions with an answer, and that had to be one of the stupidest questions I have ever been asked.

The floorboard shifts the tiniest bit, causing a wide grin to spread across my face as I readjust the screwdriver, sliding it further under the board. I’m winning.

It takes both of us, Jeffery and I, to finally free the floorboard, but in the end it comes up. As Jeffery sets aside the offending board and screwdriver, I balance on all fours and peer into the newly created hole. There’s something tucked away inside.

Trying hard to keep thoughts of rats and spiders, I pull the box free of the hidey-hole. Blowing away the dust, I open it, revealing an old mason jar with a lump of something inside.

“What is it?”
 
“I don’t know.”

I move closer to the window, holding the jar up to the light so I can get a better look at the lump. As a ray of sunshine pierces the object I scream and drop the jar. It shatters beside my feet, the foul smelling liquid soaking into my socks.

Jeremy places a hand on my shoulder and leans in close to me as he looks at the human heart nestled on a bed of glass shards.” “Hmm,” he grunts, “do you think it still looks like it’s beating?”

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

Anyone can vote so let’s get this thing re-energized.  Please remind everyone that before they can vote they first must sign up on the Linky List found by clicking on the badge below.  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!
 

43 comments

  1. Eleven earned my vote today. The piece was well-written, fresh and engaging. I loved the bartender's sarcasm and was intrigued about the world the writer created.

    Alecia Hart's piece needs a little polishing. The story shifted between present and past tense and I noticed a few missed words "the person who supposed to give", for example. Also, I didn't think the boyfriend's reaction to the heart was credible. The story has potential though, so keep at it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Okay, this really isn't fair -- but contests often aren't, especially when contestants are matched randomly. There have been days when I visited but left without voting because neither entry interested me at all. (I have been here almost every time. I swear.)

    And then I am faced with two really good entries to choose from.

    First of all let me say that I don't usually read paranormal romance or books with angels and demons in them. Rarely, anyway. But my vote goes for Eleven all the same because I really enjoyed the voice of the narrator. It cuts right through my genre bias.

    I really, really, really liked Alecia Hart's piece. But there is an occasional word missing and a few other bumpy technical spots that still need polishing. So although I would definitely want to read on ... I would want to read her next draft.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Eleven's got my vote. Loved the voice.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, I'm back. I did feel some burnout on Monday but overall, I have loved participating in WRiTE CLUB and maybe I have more coffee in me this morning but I've read both pieces, smiled, mulled things over and am ready to comment and vote.

    The first sentence of Eleven's piece had me thinking, here we go, more paranormal. I'm solidly a reality-based fiction kinda gal. Not into zombies, demi-gods, mutants, fairies, vampires or claims adjustors (wait, what?) So when I started to read this, my fairly entrenched prejudice immediately went up against something else. A smile! The rest of the paragraph was funny! I found my shoulders floating down and felt myself getting more comfortable in my chair to read the rest. Let's face it, voice carries a piece -- it literally transcends genre.

    First line of dialogue was not the strongest, so I felt a dip in confidence, and the sample continued in this vein: glimmers of wit threaded through bits of roughness. The momentum was very smooth, though. No speed bumps, read straight through with the faith that another string of sentences as strong as the opening paragraph was eminent. Overall, a fair contender.

    Second piece had its moments. Like Cindy above, I agree it needed a bit of polish. It's a teeny bit of a speed bump to change tenses mid-stride. It's also annoying when writers giving feedback fixate on those kinds of things, so I won't. When I got to the end, the pay-off was there in the final line but I cringed when the guy's name shifted from Jeffrey to Jeremy. Very Homer Simpson. Doh!

    So. This morning, I'm taking it to Eleven.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm voting for Eleven this morning. It was really tough, as both of the stories had interesting endings.

    Someone pointed out the change in the boyfriends name in the second piece, which was a little annoying. I had to reread and make sure she wasn't talking about a third person. Loved the heart in the jar ending though.

    The first was intriguing. The first sentence was awesome and the ending had me wondering the same thing as the main character.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Eleven gets my vote today. I enjoyed the piece.
    The second one was good, too, but when the boyfriend's name changed from Jeremy to Jeffrey and then back to Jeremy, it took me out of the story. Proofreading is essential!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Don, I have to agree with what you say -- I really like that this year's WRiTE Club gives more opportunities for inclusion, and yet I also think the preliminary rounds are just too dang long. My suggestion for next year is to go back to the 12-round, 24-entry format you used in 2011, BUT pre-select those 24 entries. Have a period you open for for submissions and then close it. Then, with a panel of slush readers whose judgment you trust and who aren't in the contest themselves, you could divide up the entries among the readers and have them select the best ones -- like maybe six slush readers could each pick their four favorites from among their group of submissions and you'd get the 24 contestants. Post the list at the beginning, randomize the initial bouts among those 24, and then proceed. This way, every entry still gets read and evaluated by at least someone rather than falling entirely to the whims of random chance, the WRiTE Club bouts will feature some very strong competition, and the prelims won't take forever.

    My two cents...

    So, for today's bout:

    Eleven gives us a captivating entry filled with voice. I love that the bar is named "Noir" because this reminds me of the opening of a snarky noir detective story. Except the owner's a vampire/witch and we're dealing with urban fantasy. But still -- I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Eli ends up hiring Zyan to find a statue of a black Maltese falcon. The dialogue is very good, the characters are well-developed with a few deft brush-strokes, and the overall story is compelling with just the right amount of humor. This entry doesn't take itself too seriously, but yet it doesn't collapse into camp and farce -- it's a challenge treading that line, especially over the course of a longer story, but this opening has just the right tone. Technically, everything's solid and the writing serves the story without any "Hey, Lookit Me -- I'm WRITING!" author intrusiveness.

    Alecia Hart's piece is a nice riff on Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," with an obsession over a floorboard and the discovery underneath it. But while the basic premise is engaging, there are some stumbles that some extra editing and polish might have caught -- the boyfriend is both "Jeremy" and "Jeffrey," and the tense shift between past and present is a little too clunky. In general, I think present tense is just hard to pull off well, and I'd suggest just keeping the story in past tense. But overall, I think this is a good opening -- I ended up interested and involved with the characters and I'd have kept reading.

    But today my vote has to go to Eleven.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a ways off and hard to say what we'll all be doing next year at this time, but I wouldn't mind being a slush reader if you choose to go the route Chris has suggested. I loved participating as a contestant and learned a heck of a lot from the feedback but I also have enjoyed reviewing pieces. Just as long as the slush readers make a little party out of it or something. An email forum where we can all talk back and forth about the pre-selecting process so it's not a grind but more interactive. And yeah, I think if you have people submit and choose 24 out of the first 100 submissions during a designated window of time, say, that's totally manageable.

      Anyway, however you decide to go, DL, managing this thing is a beast! You and your wife have been cool to host it. Me tips me hat.

      Finally, I signed up for this in the summer with a former blog but am now at subliminalcoffee.blogspot.com if you want to reach me about the offer to slush it when this year's WC is all said and done. Good times.

      Delete
  8. Eleven gets my vote for the strong voice

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm going to vote for Eleven. Great voice and writing.

    There is a bit of 'been here done that' feel the further we get into this but I still love that you expanded it to give as many people as possible an opportunity to participate. I bet you're feeling the burn out on running the whole thing. Chris has a good idea but I don't know if that falls into your plans and goals for Write Club.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Eleven. I liked both of these pieces, but the second one threw me off with the tense change, but I like the ending. Tough choice.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I really liked the humor of the first story but the second had me hooked. So, I vote #2.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My vote is for Eleven - it totally hooked me. I loved the voice and the premise.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sorry - that Bradley Cameron vote was actually me. For some reason I was signed into my hubby's account :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have to go with Eleven this time.

    The second story kept switching tenses and I found several typos.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Eleven gets my vote. Paranormal type books are not really my thing, but I was totally drawn in and engaged. I would love to keep reading that piece.

    ReplyDelete
  16. First let me say I liked both entries and would've read on if either had been a book in my hands (was the heart still beating?!). I also thought both pieces could've done with a bit more polishing and editing, the second piece more so than the first. That said, my vote goes to Eleven, cuz I do like it when Heaven and Hell are forced to work together :)

    Oh, and I think Chris' idea is a great one. And I would happily volunteer as a slush pile reader!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm going with Eleven. Strong voice, story telling draws me right in. A few parts a little overwritten (ie: 'very' when not needed or too much detail). Very strong sample.

    The second piece opens well, is intriguing, but has problems with consistent tense.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Yep, vote for Eleven here, too. Outstanding voice (and I'm no fantasy fan). #2's issues have been rehashed above, so I won't go into them, but I do agree with the person that said they'd love to read the second draft :) It's a good story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Forgot to say I dig the idea for next year's WC :)

      Delete
  19. Darn it, they're both good. But I've gotta vote for Eleven!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Eleven. I've not a fantasy/angels/vampires fan in general but that piece complete drew me in.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm voting for Eleven, I'd love to know what happens next, and why they want her for the job. The writing in the second piece could use a bit of polishing, but I like the concept. :)

    ReplyDelete
  22. These were both terrific entries, but I have to vote for Eleven. The voice and undertone of humor in it are fantabulous, and even though this isn't my usual genre of choice, the writing drew me in. I liked the second one, too. In fact, I liked it a lot, but it's rougher around the edges, and needs more work.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Elven has my vote.
    And I'll plug Write Club for you on Friday!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Just blogged about ya, DL. Thanks for keepin on keepin on.

    My vote is for Eleven.
    But a modern Poe!! I wanted to vote for it SO bad!
    But the piece needed smoothing. BF's name change wasn't as obvious to me as the fact that you named him the second time he's mentioned, not the first.
    The protag mentions her quirk to BF, who should find it adorable. He rolls eyes, kisses forehead and calls her OCD (typical of a person finding something adorable) and yet she wants to "kick him to the curb"? (which, along with "edge of insanity" is far too cliche to utter in a work of fiction)
    You get great props from me for re-introducing such an old classic (unless this Poe-homage is unintended in which case, we are no longer friends).
    I think to remove the actual words "human heart" from the final paragraph would have added a lot of strength to the end. Then (for those of us paying attention) WE would be the ones to say "A human heart..."
    I did smile at the ending. Which is something I haven't done in a while reading these pieces. Your errors could have been avoided if you'd put forth more effort. Talent is there.

    Eleven. (Which also happens to be one of my favorite pen names so far.)
    It too could have been polished a bit. I noticed some extraneous details that serve no real purpose (plot, character or setting). They appear in the form of extra words:
    "...to the right and left of him."
    "After a moment..."
    "...of disbelief." ("No way" implies disbelief. You've now told us AND shown us.)
    "under his breath" (which is the typical way to grumble)

    Besides this, your voice is well established (as has been noted) and the dialog is tight. I like that the world building is done in dialog rather than a clunky prologue or some other means that would halt the story. Ex. "Well, your a vamp, ..." and "...Holy Representative, that is, ..."

    ReplyDelete
  25. It's going to be Eleven this time. Quirky, interesting and sarcastic. I love the voice, the stereotypes woven in and used.

    Alicia lost me with the switch from past tense to present. Compared to many others in the contest it would have stood out, but against Eleven...Sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  26. The second one needed something. A little more tension and personality. Great idea though.

    I'm voting for the first one, Eleven's piece.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Eleven gets my vote, great voice and enjoyed the humor.

    ReplyDelete
  28. The shift in POV for Hart's piece jarred me from the read, though it ended rather suspensefully.

    However, Eleven delivered a nice character voice, even interesting secondary characters, that I enjoyed so Eleven gets my vote this round.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Alecia's piece could use some proofreading and polishing. If you fix the tense problem it'll be much better. Oh, and the boyfriend's name change made me shudder. On the other hand, the last few lines made me gasp. So some great writing there.

    Have to vote for Eleven, even though I'm not fond of vampire stories. This one was different enough to grab my attention and I loved the voice.

    DL, I mentioned Write Club again on facebook. Sorry that people are falling away. It really is a commitment.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I'm voting for Eleven. I loved the voice. and the second piece shifting tense and bf names drove me a bit crazy. Proof! Always Proof!

    I'm all for a shorter cut off point for submissions next year! I think that makes total sense.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I really wanted to go with the second piece as it interested me much more and I would have read on, but as has already been said there were one or two errors. The writing in the first piece was tighter and more polished with some great dialogue so as this is a writing contest I will vote Eleven. Good luck guys.

    ReplyDelete
  32. My vote is for Eleven. I think the piece can be strengthened by putting more focus on the mc in the first few paragraphs. I didn't get much of an idea what she was like till nearly the end and that's a shame since her personality is what carries the story. There would be more room for that if you shift the introduction of the two friends down a ways. Four characters is a bit much for a first page - I just get confused since I don't know any of them yet.

    Alecia - your piece has promise, but I don't know that you're starting in the right place. I couldn't engage with an mc when all I know about her is she obsesses over a loose floorboard. For me, her OCD came off as sounding too convenient as a way for her to find the heart. Maybe if you show her tripping over the board multiple times, or some such it would make more sense. Never hurts to be specific - if the liquid is either alcohol or formaldehyde, go ahead and say so since they're both distinctive odors.

    ReplyDelete
  33. My vote today goes to Eleven. Though both pieces were strong, Eleven flowed just a bit better.

    ReplyDelete
  34. I wanted to vote for Alecia Hart, but I was disappointed when it wasn't just a story about an OCD afflicted person. It could have been so much better just to have continued in the same tense, kept the boyfriend's name constant, fill in the missing words and stay with the obsession in the head dialogue. The heart in the jar wasn't necessary.
    I wanted to vote for Eleven's, but I am not into paranormal. It wears on me.
    However, of the two, the first was better written. So Eleven, you get the vote!

    ReplyDelete
  35. This one goes to Eleven. Smooth, intriguing, funny. I like the premise of the other one and the pacing was nice, but the tense change part way through threw me.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Eleven's sense of fun yanked me right in.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Oh please don't make me choose! Both are great and I want to read more.

    I have to choose?

    Thems the rules?

    All right.


    Alecia gets my vote.

    But I still want to continue to read both of them.

    ReplyDelete

 

Archives

Blog Blitz

Design by: The Blog Decorator