WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round Four / Bout 1


This week during round four of the play-offs you will have the opportunity to vote on three separate bouts...posted on Mon-Wed-Fri...and like the previous rounds you'll have until noon Sunday (Nov. 18) to vote on all of them.  Read the submission from each WRiTER below carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  If you haven't already, offer some critique for the writers benefit.

Anyone reading this can vote (after signing up on the Linky List here) so blog/tweet/facebook/text/smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.  You will have until noon on Sunday (Nov. 18th) to vote on these three bouts. 

Once again, every vote counts. The contestant who doesn't win their bout but garners the most votes amongst the non-winners, will become a wildcard winner and advance to round 5. 

The four writers who will be advancing will be posted on the afternoon of Nov. 18th and round 5 (with edited submissions) will kick off the following Monday.

Good luck to all the WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring for a fourth time.....Ravenclaw.





Millie winced as a swirling gust of wind blew loose dirt into her eyes. She stopped weeding her flowers and wiped her face with her apron. Then, blinking, she noticed how the clouds had thickened, billowing into dark anvils that hung low over the corn fields to the west.

The laundry drying on the line fluttered in the stiffening breeze, giving a burst of staccato applause that drew Millie's attention. Watching the clothes dance, she felt a familiar hollowness in her stomach. The line seemed so empty with only her and Jed's wash on it.

The screen door creaked opened next to her and Jed stepped out.

"Storm's coming," he said. "They just cut into the ballgame with a warning."

"I figured we were in for some weather," she said. "Just look at them clouds."

He looked up, stretching. The White Sox jersey bought when Jed last took Justin to a game was now faded and straining against a widening belly. Millie sighed. Sometimes it seemed hard for her to believe this paunchy, gray-haired man had once been the eager youngster who'd carried her over the threshold.

She rose from her knees with a groan and a crack in her back. She had to admit that she was no spring chicken, either.

"Help me with the laundry, will ya?" she asked.

Jed followed her to the line. As they put the clothes in the basket, Millie saw his gaze kept drifting over to the pole barn.

"You thinking about the car again?"

He shrugged. "I guess. Maybe we should just sell it. No real sense in hanging on to it."

His voice was soft, but Millie saw the tightness along the edge of his jaw. She reached over to squeeze his hand.

"There's no rush, either," she said.

He gave a faint smile.

She knew he'd once been so proud of how he and Justin had restored that old Thunderbird, back before the problems with Justin had really started. But last Christmas, Justin had come home wanting to sell it. Millie and Jed figured where the money would go and refused. It had escalated into a loud argument with too many harsh, hurtful words and Justin storming out in a rage.

It was the last time they saw him.

Now he was dead, the angry words could never be taken back, and the car didn't really matter anymore.

Jed squinted and pointed down the lane. Millie turned to see an approaching plume of dust, kicked higher by the growing wind.

A deep roll of thunder sounded in the distance as an old rusty Cavalier pulled into the yard. The driver stepped out. Millie figured her to be in her early twenties. She was short, pretty, and very pregnant.

"I'm looking for the Culvers," she called out.

"We're the Culvers," Jed said.

She waddled over, breathing hard. "I'm Ashley Peterson. I was a friend of Justin's."

Millie held her breath. Another loud burst of thunder rumbled, much closer this time.

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



And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce....
Peanut Buttercup.



Tommy’s glassy eyes stared out at us through a tangle of tubes and wires.

“Please,” he begged, his voice weak and muffled behind the plastic oxygen mask. “I’m not asking for much.” His speech was slow, groggy, his face contorting as he spoke, as if every word required supreme physical and mental effort to utter.

I shook my head, partly in objection, partly to try and joggle the tears back into their overflowing ducts. I had to stay strong. The ventilator beside me hissed, pumping life-sustaining air into lungs too weak to inflate on their own accord.

“It’s just a stupid signature,” he said. His shoulders twitched faintly in an attempt at shrugging. “Come on, Mom, consider it my final request.”

“Don’t...say that,” I scolded, my voice quivering. Blinking back the film of tears misting up my vision, I stroked his smooth bald head, missing the softness of his wavy hair, hair that was as sunny as his personality.


“Hey, it’s not like I’ll need them where I’m going.”

“Stop it!” I snapped a little too loudly. “I don’t like you talking that way.”

Tommy sighed, but it sounded more like a death rattle: a rasping sound that emanated from deep in his chest. He rolled his eyes, grey eyes that used to gleam like polished pewter. Now they are dull and lifeless, the colour of gravestones on an overcast day.

“Mom, you’ve spoken with the doctors. You know what to expect. I know what to expect.”

The dams finally broke, unleashing a flood of hot tears. Turning away with a stifled sob, I clung to Rob for support. The feel of his strong arms wrapped around my shoulders did nothing to console me; it only made the tears come faster, harder. I buried my face in his chest, ashamed at myself for breaking down in front of Tommy. He needed me now more than ever, and here I was, bawling my eyes out like I was the one dying.

Tommy was right, of course. I had been expecting this. The doctors had delivered their bleak prognosis.

Two months to live.

That was nine weeks ago. Nine weeks of sleepless nights and tear-soaked pillows, of unanswered prayers and lonely vigils. Yes, I had been expecting it, but expectation was one thing. Acceptance was something else entirely.



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


Bout #2 will be posted on Wednesday.  Tell all you friends to come on out at vote.

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


33 comments

  1. This was a hard choice. I suppose they are all going to be hard from this point on.
    Ravenclaw's piece resonates with me a little more. I'd want to read further.

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  4. Biscuits in the oven grabbed me more than swirling gusts of wind. It's Seaweed for me. Plus the devilish cut at the end.

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  6. Did the page just update? In that case, if the bout is now Ravenclaw and Peanut Butter Cup, I vote Ravenclaw.

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  7. I'm missing something. Ravenclaw and Peanutbutter are facing off... And everyone's saying Seaweed.

    My vote is for Ravenclaw.

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    1. I think the bout just got updated since Ravenclaw and Seaweed faced off last time.

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    2. Yes -- DL just e-mailed me and asked me to re-vote since he accidentally pitted the same two contestants against each other again from round 3, and he'd redone the posting.

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  8. I'm sorry everybody, I mistakenly used what the random number generator gave me without checking and ended up pairing contestants from the last round, which isn't fair. Raven claw is up against Peanut Buttercup now.

    Sorry for the confusion.

    DL

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  9. Ravenclaw with a switched vote now.

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  10. OK, with the updated posting, I've deleted my earlier vote regarding Ravenclaw vs Seaweed...

    Now, for the updated Ravenclaw vs Peanut Buttercup:

    I like both of these and voted for both of them in round 3, but I'm going with Ravenclaw for this bout.

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  11. Although Peanut really gets the emotions across, I'm voting for Ravenclaw because of all the different strands of story weaving together. It makes me want to keep reading!

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  12. They are both powerful, but Ravenclaw has the edge.

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  13. Both very powerful, well written pieces. My vote is for Ravenclaw today.

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  14. Argh, that's one heck of a hard choice. Going with Ravenclaw because of the promise of more story to come.

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  15. This was probably the hardest one for me yet. They are both amazing pieces and I voted for both in previous rounds. I looked for typos/mistakes hoping that would help me, but I found one in each:
    Ravenclaw: "The screen door creaked opened" should be "The screen door creaked open."
    Buttercup: "He rolled his eyes...now they are dull and lifeless" switches tense.

    If I really have to choose, Ravenclaw is the one I'd be most interested to read more. But I would continue reading both of them.

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  16. Both of course are good but I'm going with...
    Ravenclaw.
    While Buttercup's entry was an emotion charged topic I felt as though the author was trying a little too hard. Sometimes a little subtlety and understatement in an obviously emotional scene can be more powerful than overt analogies or detailed descriptions of actions and feelings.
    I've already mentioned a few issues with Ravenclaw's entry (more original descriptions)so I hope we'll get a chance to see the revised entry next week!

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  17. Ravenclaw gets my vote. There were some problems with tense int eh second piece that bothered me.

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  18. Man, this is difficult, since I voted for both of these last week. Arrgh! Guess I'll go with Ravenclaw.

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  19. This is soo difficult! Both these pieces are brilliant and charged with emotion but as I have to pick just one, Ravenclaw has it by a slight edge. It left me wanting to know more.

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  20. These are both excellent but I am voting for Ravenclaw

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  21. I have no critiques for either, both are well done. I'm voting for Peanut Butter Cup.

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