WRiTE CLUB 2012 – Round 36




Twelve weeks of hard fought preliminary rounds conclude right here.  I want to apologize to all of the entries who never made it into the ring this year, but there were just too many submissions for me to accommodate all of them.  But as I said before, WRiTE CLUB SKIRMISHES will continue on after the official contest is over, so you’ll still get your opportunity for some awesome input.

Stargirl09 captured the 32nd play-off spot and the other four winners, along with the entire list of 36, will be announced on Sunday. All of this week’s bouts (there are four of them) will be open for voting only until noon on Sunday and the first set of play-off bouts begin on Monday. 

So…for the last time…. 



Here are the randomly selected WRiTER's for the final round.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 500 words, please welcome to the ring……..Snivvy Crank.
 
They called her the pig-woman. No one said it to her face of course—that would be suicide—but they all thought it just the same. She had a great meaty head, a face like a grapefruit gone bad, and a vast, swollen body that left the meat traders desperately trying to get the words “price per pound” out of their heads. 

And she had a terrible temper.

She thundered down the dirt path, a trail of squashed daisies and buttercups in her wake.  The air was ripe for a mid-summer downpour; low thunderheads belched their hot breath across the length of the plateau home of the Blacksmithing clan. Wind billowed the pig-woman’s dress about her, teasing a ridiculous doily off her head until she was forced to hold the thing down with her enormous hand. She paused in her march to huff and heave and blow spittle into the wind. 

“Curse them!” she panted, leaning upon her knees and feeling the sweat soak through her pantaloons. Her legs felt as though they were on fire—slow roasting with perspiration. She wiped her brow with the wretched doily before returning it to the top of her head.

“Wootz! Stop dawdling, you louse, and get over here!” she yelled. The hand not busy with the doily pulled at a short length of braided rope—a leash of sorts. She gave it another jerk. “I said, come here, you stuttering jackass!” She gave the rope one more vicious tug and a small wheezy voice stuttered from somewhere behind the pig-woman.

“Y-y-y-es, W-w-wini-f-fred, d-d-dear….”

The voice belonged to a sad little man who happened to be the pig-woman’s husband, Master Wootz. Everything about the man’s face was saggy, cheerless, and wrinkled—like a pair of oversized trousers—and his neck was permanently stooped from the pig-woman’s incessant tugging upon the leash. Even his eyes appeared to have been drawn at a downward tilt, leaving a permanent expression of “Why me?” sketched onto his face. 

The man gazed around the pig-woman’s bulk at the open cart path—the sort of longing gaze a hound might give an open field—before another jerk on the rope brought him back, cowering in the shadow of her massive behind.
             
“Curse them!” the pig-woman spat, her mind churning with foul thoughts. The day had been going wonderfully, just wonderfully, and then that…that thing had to happen in the garden. Winifred hated unpleasant surprises—unless she was the one doing the surprising—and the thing in the garden had been a most unpleasant surprise indeed; one moment she was merrily wringing the necks of two rabbits she’d cornered in the radishes, and the next moment her blood pressure was careening skyward as she eavesdropped on two women conversing just on the other side of the garden wall. The pig-woman’s brain rehashed the conversation as it had all morning, in a kind of anger-induced replay:

“Yes! It is true…the Smyth baby was born just a week ago—they’re having the naming party tonight.”

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

And in the near corner, weighing in at 486 words, let me introduce to you ……..Whoopity Scoot.

It's an age-old place, this automobile repair shop. I open the door and walk in.

A waiting room is to my left. The main desk and garage is to my right. In between is a space that can only be described as an impromptu museum: a jumbled collection of all kinds of things, all on display. Most have little descriptive cards. But very few have anything to do with automobiles. As I walk through to meet the smiling woman at the desk, my eyes brush over the items I pass: a WWII-era brown leather bomber jacket - complete with patches, a classic push-button cash register (the kind with a real little bell that goes "ka-ching" when the clerk rings up a sale), two cabinet-style wooden Philco radios, and a red Coca Cola ice box that has "ice cold in bottles" and "5 cents" painted on it in white. There's a vintage school desk, its wood desk top and chair aged a to deep brown, and held together by a black wrought iron framework. There are a couple of old suitcases, a barber pole, several American flags, and an authentic tin soldier collection in a glass case. There's even one of those five-foot-tall wooden cigar store Indian statues. It stands guard at the desk, its solemn carved face watching me as I hand over the keys to my truck.

I turn and head back to the waiting room, taking my time, because there is still more to see. A wedding dress, its once-white fabric mellowed now to an antique yellow, hangs on a dressmaker's dummy, complete with a string of pearls. Behind that is a long glass case holding all shapes, sizes and colors of glass bottles that seem to light up as they catch the sunbeams shining in through the wide window just behind the case. Some of the walls are edged where they meet the ceiling with double rows of the most extensive baseball/trucker cap collection I have ever seen, each cap enclosed in its own clear plastic bag. Other walls boast decades-old license plates, some of them rusty, from a wide variety of states.

From my mismatched chair in the waiting room, I turn and look back at this little museum. There is a thin layer of dust draped over these mementoes of times long past. But it's not the dust of neglect. It's the dust of preservation; of not wanting to disturb the memories lovingly connected to these things that were used, lived with, cared for, loved.

Before long, the woman from the desk comes to tell me I'm all set. As I leave the shop, keys in hand and ready to drive back home, I think about all I have seen here. To the people who owned these things, each item is wrapped in memories, waiting to be relived. But to me, each item is wrapped in stories, waiting to be told.

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


Anyone can participate in the voting, all you have to do is make sure you sign up on the Linky List found by clicking on the badge below before making a choice.  Remember, the voting for all of this week’s bouts will only remain open until noon on Sunday, October 21st.

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


33 comments

  1. Snivvy Crank had me from "a vast, swollen body that left the meat traders desperately trying to get the words “price per pound” out of their heads." ROFLOL! And the rest of it didn't disappoint, either. Brilliant, vivid description, humor -- husband on a leash! -- plus I want to keep reading.

    Whoopity's description of the vintage museum was lovely and well-written and might have won my vote against a different opponent.

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  2. Snivvy Crank. Great voice and imagery.

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  3. Snivvy Crank gets my vote. The voice is so clear and I love it. Also, great descriptions.
    Both are great pieces so great job to both writers.

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  4. Snivvy Crank has my vote. The descriptions were great, although they were a bit overbearing at times. I loved the ending.

    The second piece I couldn't connect with. I really got the picture of the old museum at the beginning, but it dragged on with all of the descriptions.

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  5. I loved Snivvy Crank's piece! Great job with the omniscient narrator--that's a tricky thing to pull off well, but it completely held my interest and was hilarious. You've taken the more difficult road and still came out ahead.
    #2 had some excellent, very well-written descriptions. In a book where we have layers of everything going on, I would have had no difficulty reading on. But we have to choose between two entries here... You have us some great description and a modicum of character development for us to judge, while the first piece had description, humor, plot, character, and a lot of tension.
    My vote is for Snivvy.

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  6. My vote goes to Snivvy Crank.

    I pretty much snoozed through the second piece. It was all description and no action.

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  7. I enjoyed reading Whoopity's piece. It was like a leisurely walk down memory lane. At the same time, it may have been a bit too leisurely since I got a little lost in the memory and had a hard time connecting with the moment. The last line was certainly brilliant.

    My vote goes to Snivvy. The writer hooked me from the first line and continued with descriptive scene writing that made me feel the very angry sky roiling and toiling, the sheer girth of the MC and the utter dismal life of her leashed spouse. This piece had me whispering, "So how do I go about writing like this?" to myself :-)

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    1. Angela, what comments of yours I have happened to read I have really enjoyed. You're a sweetheart.

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  8. Snivvy,
    As Faith pointed out, you execute 3rd omniscient well; plenty of voice yet not limited to one character. Descriptions are vivid, setting is vivid... The best thing is that I can picture it all in my head.
    I don't know why the Smyth baby's naming party is such a bad thing but I would totally read more to find out.
    Whoopity,
    It is a vivid (that's just the word of the day, isn't it?) setting that you've established. And familiar. As someone stated, against other pieces I would have voted for yours but you had an uphill battle against Snivvy. I personally think that you could have established an effective setting in 15% of the amount of detail you used and left room for some amount of tension or at least drive. I like the idea of stories hid within each relic.
    Today my vote goes to Snivvy.

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    1. Thoughtful, well-articulated comment, David. And I agree with what you've written.

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  9. Definitely Snivvy Crank for me today. Great imagery (face like a grapefruit gone bad!) and I love the humor. I had a really hard time connecting to the second piece.

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  10. Neither really grabbed me. I can picture the woman in the first one living here in NC. Her type is called 'a collards-eating woman.' Will vote for Snivvy for the most personality.

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  11. Whoopity Scoot's was tender and lovely. On another day, I might have cast my vote in their direction.

    Today, though, Snivvy Crank takes this bout and shows nearly every one of us how it's done. If I were standing in a bookstore, had opened past the flyleaf and begun to read, for the sheer brilliant command of craft I see exhibited here I would be making my way to the till. The last full paragraph is the sort of gimmick writers are forced to draw to keep addled minds from changing the channel but for me, the mastery is so evident in the openers, that's where I see the real potential for a story very well-rendered. I love giving honest praise where it's due and I'd love to see this author go far.

    A super bout to finish off this installment of Write Club. Well done to all of those who will be going into the playoffs! And well done to DL and his girl Kim for this incredible amount of work and dedication.

    (Go, Snivvs!)

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  12. Snivvy for me today. Excellent piece.

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  13. Snivvy gets my vote today. I love the descriptions. Also, I won't be voting on the next rounds (like we mentioned). Just wanted to remind you so that you don't think I've stopped reading :)

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  14. Woot! The Final Bout of the Preliminaries! Myself, I want to give a big thanks to DL and his wife for all their hard work in getting us to this point, and -- more importantly -- offer a thank you to all the contestants who threw your hats into the ring. It is NOT easy to have the work you've put your heart and soul into dissected and criticized and I want to encourage all the writers who've entered. I've read some wonderful things here, and while I've also been negative with entries on some aspects, I done so in an attempt to be honest and helping. So even if you won your bout, lost your bout, or never got selected, please keep cherishing, cultivating, honing, and nurturing your desire to write!

    So on to this preliminary final bout...

    Snivvy Crank has a clear and very entertaining voice. In general, I prefer third-person close over third-person omniscient POVs -- there's less head-hopping and less temptation for author intrusion. Here, Snivvy lets us know what "they" say about the pig-woman, even though she doesn't know herself, but we stay entirely outside the POV of the husband, so I'm not quite sure whether this is third-person close with author intrusion at the beginning, or third-person omniscient that mostly stays close to pig-woman for the bulk of this scene. The characterization is great, although the character herself is loathsome. The scene does well at pulling me in, and I'm curious to see what will become of this obnoxious pig-woman and her pathetic husband. I would definitely keep reading because, if nothing else, I really hope she gets her due comeuppance.

    I do like Whoopity Scott's piece. The mood is charming, the setting is captivating, and the descriptions are very nice. But there's really not much meat here -- basically, the narrator gets their truck fixed and looks at a collection of old stuff. There's no character development, no dialogue, no tension, no drama, and like the narrator at the end, I'm left waiting for a story to be told. This is a nice ride that goes nowhere and has no real point.

    So why Whoopity has some things to like about it, Snivvy gives us so much more to latch onto -- strong character and nicely revealed hints of a real story underneath. That will win my vote every time.

    So Snivvy for me today.

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  15. Snivvy. The decription of the museum was well done but coming after the force of the pig-woman, it was just overwhelmed.

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  16. Both pieces today were excellent examples of description, but nothing really happened in either one. Whoopity Scoot's piece was more enjoyable to me though, so he gets my vote.

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  17. For my vote this round, I will Whoop it up for Scooter.

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  18. DL and Kim, thanks for all your hard work! And good luck to all who are heading into the next phase.

    Lovely descriptions in both of these, and some darn good writing. Whoopity's piece isn't a story, but would work well in a magazine like Reminisce. But Snivvy pulled me in from the first paragraph. I'm voting for Snivvy Crank.

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  19. Snivvy for me please! And congrats to all the contestants and winners in the first round!!!! Awesome awesome! :) And I'm impressed with the comments and involvement of all the people that came by day after day. Every one is so invested. It's amazing to see!

    Excited to see how the next bout goes!

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  20. Snivvy for sure. Horrible as the pig-woman was I wanted to know more.

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  21. Snivvy for my vote for a fun Friday read - an excellent addition into this round.

    Whoppity, I enjoyed your piece as well. Be sure to send another fighter into the ring next time.

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  22. Snivvy gets my vote. Whoppity was interesting, but the effect of describing a cluttered room could be done faster, with less clutter, in my opinion.

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  23. Hmm, I like the set up of the first one a lot. But because I didn't know what the final sentence meant to the characters, the ending fell flat.
    So, even though there was no action or conflict, I'm voting for Whoopity because of the atmosphere.

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  24. Two strong pieces to finish with. My vote however, will go to Snivvy, I particularly liked some of the humorous description here although on many other bouts my vote would have gone to second entry. Great work guys good luck to you both.

    Thanks DL and Kim for all your work, it has been a mammoth undertaking I'm sure.

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  25. My vote goes to Snivvy. I pretty much liked everything about it. The visual, the humor - and that ending line! Unexpected and awesome.

    The last two paragraphs of Whoopity's piece were lovely, but everything before that was too listy to hold my attention.

    Bravo to you, D.L. You made it through Phase I and have done a marvelous job! Thank you, thank you.

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  26. I'm voting for Snivvy, although the portrayal of the woman was so powerful it almost felt a little nasty to me - but that is the point of great writing, to pull emotion from the reader. There were some awesome lines and description, and I'm dying to know why the baby has her in such a tizzy and how her poor husband came to be in his position.

    Whoopity's descriptions were vivid and well-written, and perhaps as part of a larger piece it would have engaged me more. Maybe it felt "off" to me because I just had MY car serviced today and the place was NOTHING like this! Sorry, if that coincidence counted against you.

    Amazing contributions for all of these bouts. DL, my hat is off to you for all of your hard work pulling this together. Thank you so much.

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  27. Snivvy gets my vote today. Good luck to both writers.

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