WRiTE CLUB 2012 – Round 31


Congratulations go out to Eleven for winning round 28! He/she has been added to the list of all of the winners on the WRiTE CLUB 2012 results page.  As I mentioned previously, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the winners before we move into the play-off rounds, where the pace really picks up.

If you missed Monday’s post you might want to drop back and check it out because I detailed how we will transition from the regular bouts into the play-offs and the format we will use.  Whether you’re a contestant moving on or just a voter, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with it so you don’t miss out.

I also want to give some recognition to a long-time blogging buddy who turned their own WRiTE CLUB participation into something more.  Nicki Elson, author of THREE DAVES, took the 500 word sample she submitted in the last year’s competition (Art Gallery was her pen name), polished it up and it’s been accepted for publication in the debut issue of Insatiable, a new literary magazine by White Cat Publications. It'll be out later this month. She’ll be posting about her experience and the part WRiTE CLUB played on her blog tomorrow, so please drop by and say hello. 

How about another chance for someone to step into one of those coveted remaining slots!


Here are this rounds randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 499 words, please welcome to the ring……..Jenky Slumgullion.



“Whatcha got for me, Ross?” Lukasik looked up from taping his scarred, meaty knuckles as his manager entered the ragged tent. “You got me down here for an open fight; you better have something good.”

“I’ve got something, Luke, just not sure you’re gonna like it.”

The fighter grinned, a lopsided smile made more skewed by the heavy scars that crisscrossed his bald head and broken face. “Sounds promising.”

The manager shrugged. “Maybe. You’re fightin’ a little femme.”

Lukasik paused. “You’re kidding.”

“Nope.”

The tape creaked as the fighter made a fist. “Forget it. I ain’t helpin’ no suicidal. Disqualify her.”

“Can’t. You know the rules. Open fight. And she ain’t a suicide from the looks of her.”

Lukasik frowned, and the scars stretched his face into a nightmare mask. “Yeah?”

“She’s an endorph.”

“Aw, shit. Real?”

“Far as I can tell.”

The fighter popped his jaw, then muttered, “Mother fucker.”

* * *

A young, brunette woman, who called herself Sky, prowled the makeshift fight ring. Just don’t kill him, she thought. Bare-knuckles were illegal. So, naturally, they occurred in vacant buildings and paid stupid amounts of cash to the survivors. The longer the challengers lasted in the ring, the more money they took from the champion’s purse, if they survived to claim it. Sky didn’t need the money, but she wouldn’t pass it up.

Outside the ring, huge sums were being wagered. A wisp of a woman facing a killer like Lukasik was unleashing the animal in everyone. Normally, there’d be little money thrown down on such an obvious loser, but the six matte black beads paired at the bridge of her nose, above her upper lip, and below her lower lip were drawing tremendous speculation.

Those beads marked Sky as an endorph—a woman surgically altered by aliens. The beads were attached to nano-filaments that ran directly into her pituitary gland. With a little twist she got a shot of endorphins that shielded her from pain, turned her on, and made her feel invincible. Not that Sky planned to use them. Just the opposite; she was there to burn off the last juicing she’d given herself before she’d ordered her ship and crew into a brutal eleven-hour battle to free the planet-port, Sevim.

She coulda  cooled off by screwing some stranger’s brains out, but this high was born from violence and was best used up that way too. However, Sky wasn’t her real name, and the hopped-up captain of a Tarad-class super-heavy destroyer would lose her rank if she pummeled her subordinates—even if it was medically necessary. So she stood within the concrete, graffitied carcass of a defunct cannery, surrounded by rabid fight patrons who were howling for blood.

The crowd’s roar rose as her opponent stepped into the ring. Lucasik was a beast of a fighter, all scarred flesh and jagged, broken teeth. Sky judged his reach and speed with a practiced eye, and then gave the bead beside her left eye one quick twist.
 
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And in the other corner, weighing in at 500 words, let me introduce to you ……..Patrice Croninville.


I have traveled over three hundred dusty, dangerous miles with Lubomir, but today may be the day I leave the fool behind.

“Please, Lubo. Get up.”

He smiles an idiot’s smile at me, all gums and milky blue eyes. He’s found a nest of giant carpenter ants and is plucking them out one by one, shoving them between his thick, wet lips.

“There’s another storm coming. We have to find shelter.” My voice is even. I don’t know if Lubo can hear the tension that pulls at my vocal chords, cracking the last syllable. If we’re out in the open when the storm hits, the rain will slough the skin right off our faces. But I can’t afford to send Lubo into a panic.

He plucks another fat black ant and offers it up to me like it’s a roast duck with crackling skin. Heavy clouds hang low and green in the sky behind him.

“No, I don’t want any. We have to leave now, or the rain will hurt us.”

A frown creases his fair brow. Does he still have memories of pain, before I came along and took him away from everything he knew? Does he remember what caused the scars that crisscross his back?

Losing patience, I seize his wrist and attempt to pull him to his feet. As if the iron will of a 90-pound girl could lift this mammoth. He yanks his arm back in surprise and sends me flying to my knees. The sharp burn tells me I’ve torn my trousers and my flesh.

“Lubo!” I scream in frustration, raising a fist. It takes every ounce of self-control to stop myself. I want to strike him, badly, but that wouldn’t be right. Not after all he’s been through. Not after all I’ve been through. I won’t be like them.

A crack of thunder rebounds through the valley. I can’t believe I’m doing this, but I’d rather leave him behind than lose my temper, so I rise to my feet. “Goodbye then. You can stay out here and feast on ants if you wish, but I’m not ready to die. Farewell, Lubo. Those must be awfully tasty ants. ”

On a lighter day, I would have laughed at the wild confusion written across his face. The expression is particularly charming. Instead I wheel around and march back up the road. We passed a rocky overhang a ways back that will serve my needs well enough. If I sprint, I may still make it in time.

He saved my life first. Then I saved his. We’re even. This is a clean break.

“Malin!” Tears well up in his eyes as he stumbles after me, breaking my heart. I am an evil, wicked girl.

I reach out with both arms. “Come on. We have to hurry.”

He may be a fool, but he’s the closest thing I have to a friend, and the only person in the world I can trust. He takes my hand, and we run.
 
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New voters 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!



35 comments

  1. Congratulations to Nicki Elson! I remember her Art Gallery selection -- which says a lot, considering how many selections I've read in WRiTE CLUB. It was very clever, and I'm glad she found a home for it!

    Today's bout was a good one, between two almost equals. But Patrice's selection engaged me a little more. Less was explained about the two characters -- Patrice *showed* it instead. Nice work!

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  2. This was a tough decision as both entries were well written. My vote goes to Jenky.

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  3. I'm voting for Patrice. I'm very interested in reading more of that piece. Both were written well. It was a tough decision.

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  4. Congratulations again to Nicky for using WRiTE Club as a springboard to publishing success!

    Both of the entries today struck me as interesting, with familiar-but-alien situations, and entertaining characters.

    Jenky's has a very compelling world, filled with a tension-filled impending fight. I do like the immediacy of the opening, but when the PoV shifts to Sky in the ring, it loses much of that momentum by bogging down in exposition and world-building backstory. I also have a hard time connecting with Sky -- I'm not sure how she's still on a high after the eleven-hour battle over Sevim. How did she get back to Earth with the effects of the 'juicing' still in her? The idea of the supplementation is good, but the 'altered by aliens' seems a little too generic for describing it. Why would aliens do this? Overall, the story has a lot of thought behind it, is interesting, and has some nice descriptive passages, but I just think it throws a little too much of the backstory too quickly at the reader in the form of author-intrusive exposition.

    Patrice also gives a compelling world with interesting characters. But I think this piece does a better job of keeping the story moving as the backstory is trickled in. I'm not sure why the rain is so severe it needs to be feared, but I felt the tension, and I expect the story will eventually answer that question. I also like the dynamics between the characters -- the attachment and the frustration are established well, and I felt empathy with the closing lines. Plus, while it is not a criteria I use to judge these pieces, I will add that the world Patrice paints seems as bleak as the one Jenky gives us, but my personal reading taste just connects better with that hint of humanity at the end. I like venturing into the dark, but I also cheer for the light.

    All-in-all, these are both entertaining pieces, but I will have to vote for Patrice, mainly because the forward motion of the story was maintained better without giving as much exposition and backstory.

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  5. My vote goes to Patrice - also, how cool about the publication of that Art Gallery piece? I remember it! :)

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  6. I have to say I love the names in both pieces. Lukasik and Lubomir. Could they be related? ;)

    Jenky's piece starts strong, but then loses momentum when it switches to Sky's perspective. Her section is all telling and backstory. While the first bit caught my attention and made me want to read on, the second part lost me.

    Patrice's piece caught my attention and held it all the way through. The relationship between Malin and Lubo is so real, so well defined. I really want to read more.

    So I have to vote for Patrice Croninville.

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  7. Both were awesome, but I have to vote for Patrice!

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  8. I really liked the first one until we switched point of views, then it got a little confusing with too much information stuffed into too few words - imo. My vote goes to Patrice. There was less info and more action and just enough hinting to make me want to read more.

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  9. My vote is for Patrice as I connected to the characters more. Good luck.

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  10. I like both of these entries, but my vote goes for Patrice.

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  11. Good stuff, Nicki!
    My vote goes to Patrice.

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  12. Oddly, I'm voting against the piece I would have read more of.

    Patrice; I love the fantasy element of deadly rain. I love the relationship that is established. I literally cared about the characters by the end. Good job.

    In Jenky, (Which by the way I would have voted for against most any other piece) you had great dialogue and a well thought out background. I wouldn't mind the info dump if this were a larger piece but it's not. I'd rather have heard how she kicked off in his arse.
    For example,
    "Just the opposite; she was there to burn off the last
    juicing she’d given herself (you could have put a period here and cut the rest for the sake of this contest.) before she’d ordered her ship and crew into a
    brutal eleven-hour battle to free the planet-port, Sevim."

    I vote Patrice

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  13. Jenky, but really, Jenky, "coulda"from the narrator?

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  14. I going with Patrice but this was a tough one. I just felt a bit more of a connection with the character in the second piece.

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  15. I liked the setting/set up/characters in #1, but the backstory turned me off. I'd rather have it sprinkled throughout - maybe twist up one of the beads then show the effects instead of telling. Lots of promise in this one though.

    I liked the characters in #2 as well - makes me want to know more - like the hints of the backstory - intriguing! #2 gets my vote.

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  16. Both pieces are very well done, but Patrice's has my vote today. Though the premise is interesting in Jenky's piece, there's a little too much telling, mostly in the second half.

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  17. Congratulations Nicki!!!
    I'm voting for Jenky today

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  18. I am sad these two pieces were paired. Both could have won my vote, but since I have to make a decision, I vote for Jenky. I do think this piece didn't really need the initial POV, despite being interesting. The major world-building points were also transmitted by the mc character. The last few bits could have been done in her presence and with the bonus of decreasing the backstory factor and bringing immediacy..

    Patrice would have gotten my vote had her piece a wee bit more scene setting so I understood better what was going on.

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  19. Patrice all the way. Clean, flowing writing always gets my vote! (And congrats Nicki on having the piece published!)

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  20. Congrats to Nicki!! This is a tough one DL!! First, great job to both writers. I'm intrigued by both and want to read both stories, but I have to make a decision. I vote for Jenky. I did want a little less backstory, but I really was drawn into the whole world. Patrice's needed a little more backstory for me to be connected.

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  21. Another difficult choice. Both pieces were well written, though I have to vote for Jenky on this one. The second one, well, it's also really good, only the first one really did a good job of setting the stage and playing it out in it's brief sample.

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  22. I vote for Patrice Croninville. It flowed easily from beginning to end and held my attention. The first entry was also good but it lost me in the last paragraph with too much background, not enough action.

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  23. This is so difficult, but my vote goes to Jenky.

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  24. This round was more difficult for me to decide...but my vote goes to Jenky. Both great pieces!

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  25. Wow, this was a tough one. Such different worlds, both alluring. I'm giving my vote to Patrice and Lubo.

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  26. Two impressive pieces of writing, with much to like in both. But the first had a little too much background info for my tastes. The second flowed more smoothly. My vote goes to Patrice.

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  27. I really did like the first piece, but Patrice Croninville stole my heart away. Excellent establishment of the characters' relationship in less than 500 words. Even if we don't know all the details of what brought them together and what they've been through, we "get" the relationship and feel for the characters. When he shouted "Malin!" I shouted "Don't go!!!"

    The first piece started out very strong with the dialog, but the exposition after, though interesting, was too long & stalled the forward movement.

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  28. P.S. Thanks for the shout out! And thanks once again for this super fun, educational & inspiring competition. :)

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  29. Patrice Croninville. I agree with many of the previous comments, Jenky's starts out so strong and then we get the "talkin'-to." Patrice trusts the reader from word one to word five-hundred.

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  30. Jenky gets my vote. I liked the sparseness of the first part, and the completely different tone for the second character. It may be too wordy, but's it's wonderfully different.

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  31. My vote is for Patrice--I really enjoyed the piece.

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