WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round Three / Bout 2



In this 3rd round our contestants face different competitors, with brand new writing samples from each.  This is the second of five bouts...a different one posted on each day of the work week...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 can, offer some critique if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote (after signing up on this Linky List) 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. 11th) to vote on these nine bouts.  Vote on as many bouts as you can get around to.  Whether that is one bout, or all nine, how much you participate is up to you. 

Remember...every vote counts. The contestant who doesn't win their bout but garners the most votes amongst the losers, will become a wildcard winner and advance to round 4. 

The five winners will be posted on the afternoon of Nov. 18th and round 4 will kick off the following Monday.

Good luck to all the WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring.....Sissy Grimm.




His elongated limbs are bent at sharp angles. It's grotesque almost, the unnatural way he's perched on the mansion's roof in the middle of the black night. Inhuman. He was human once. But no longer. He can't die. Not by natural means.

This idea once intrigued him, fascinated him to the point that he spent the last part of his human life bringing about his own immortality. Eventually, he came to view his unending life as the most exquisite form of torture. Now, however, his condition is neither a blessing nor a curse to him. It's merely a fact. It's nothing.

Nothing is anything to him anymore.

Everything meant something to him when he was mortal. He was a man of great passion—for his country, his people, his religion. It was this passion that spurred him on to accomplish what others were too frightened, too conciliatory, to do for themselves. It was what drove him to inflict punishments of the most extreme cruelty on whomever he deemed to be his enemy, lest anyone doubt him wholly committed to his cause.

Another kind of passion had burned within him. This was a smoldering affection for the pure-hearted woman who readily wrapped her warmth around him whenever he returned from the battlefield to her bed. It was her prayers that spurred his victories and carried him through his losses, even after the tragedy that took her from him. He remembers the pain of losing her. The disbelief, and then the ache of emptiness.

He remembers it, but he doesn't feel it. Not anymore.

He felt plenty after his conversion to the undead. But it was different. By the time he stepped from the grave, his human concerns had fallen away. He arose drunk with the success of his radical scheme. He didn't need his religion anymore; he'd transcended the most basic of its teachings. Likewise, he no longer had any desire to fight the battles of man; he'd proven himself above their law.

His new passions burned hot and furious in a haze of hubris and indulgence. And oh, he felt it all. The fluttering thrill as each victim came under his control, elation when he allowed them just enough awareness to become wracked with terror. Deep satisfaction when he finally reclaimed the family castle as his own. And he felt each and every ministration of the ethereal beauties he chose to keep as his brides.

The excitement of his new existence began to dull after a time, but his emotions had by no means been snuffed. They simply changed, and he became consumed with boredom, which led to desire: the desire to expand his influence into the western world. Luring the unsuspecting solicitor into his lair to set the plan in motion had been the most interesting thing to happen to him in a very long time.

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


At the top of the hill rose a door, just sitting there in open air, no frame or anything, not even a door handle. It was made of shiny black stone, like obsidian. Demonic runes covered it, jagged scars in an otherwise smooth surface. Backlit by a lake of flames on the other side of the hill, it was a rather impressive sight. A sense of absolute dread descended on me when I looked at that door.

Anna had reached the door and opened it by pressing her hand against one of the runes, which glowed white briefly. On the other side lay absolute darkness. Blacker than the space above us, blacker than the tunnels we’d passed, blacker than the door itself. Without even a half moment’s hesitation, Anna stepped through, and Alexander after her. I paused. I couldn’t see a thing, not even whether there was ground on the other side, or I would plummet to my death.

“Aren’t you coming?” came Alexander’s amused voice.

I gritted my teeth and stepped through.

The darkness vanished and I stood… on a beach. My eyelids fluttered as I took it in. Milky white sand scrunched under my shoes and ocean air soothed my skin. I had forgotten how hot it’d been where we were until I stood now in the cool light of a setting sun.

Endless turquoise ocean stretched out to my left, and to my right rolling green hills covered in clover. And straight ahead sat an enormous house which bridged the two landscapes. It wasn’t quite rustic enough to be called a castle, and it wasn’t quite modern enough to be called a mansion. Made of warm, beige stone, it descended from the green cliffs down to the wave-lapped sand. Towers and turrets and parapets and walkways extended out over the sea, and I could see someone standing on one, silhouetted against the sunset.

“Please join me,” a voice whispered in my ear.

And then we were standing on the balcony next to the person I’d just seen.

He didn’t have beet-red skin or goat’s eyes or horns. He had golden hair, radiant pale skin, amethyst eyes and full pink lips. Devastatingly beautiful, so much so it almost hurt to look at him. Lucifer. The Devil.

“Zyan Star,” Lucifer said, and his words wrapped around me like honeysuckle vines, sweet and intimate. “I’ve been wanting to meet you for a long time.”

I was speechless, for once.

He smiled, and it almost seemed kind. “You’re in shock.” He laughed, and it sparkled on the air like pixie dust. “What did you expect? I am an angel, after all, not a monster.”

“Where are we?” I asked, a little breathlessly.

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

See you back here tomorrow for Bout #3.

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


 



27 comments

  1. My vote goes to Eleven.

    The passage by Sissy Grimm switches verb tenses too much. I found it difficult to read.

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  2. Voting for Eleven today. There's a lot of passive tense going on, but it held my interest more than Sissy's piece, which read more like a character description to me than a narrative.

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    1. Passive VOICE. Haven't had my coffee yet :$

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  3. These were both telling more than showing to me. I'm voting for Eleven because there was a little more movement

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  4. I vote for Eleven.

    All the telling in the first entry turned me off, as well as the tense switches. Otherwise, the subject matter may've kept me engaged.

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  5. Interesting contrast to yesterday's bout: There we had two non-supernatural entries where the MCs were both older women with aprons and screen doors. Here, we're immersed in the full-blown paranormal with two immortal MCs, lol.

    I really liked Sissy Grimm's adult Hansel and Gretel reboot in the earlier rounds, and Eleven's noir-meets-quirky-supernatural bar scene was also one of my favorites. I've voted for both of these authors in every round so far, but today I have to admit I'm a little disappointed. First in that I have to choose between them, and second in that I think both of their earlier works were the stronger pieces.

    Not to be too negative -- both of these are still written well, and I do compliment the authors again. There are ample reasons why both of you have made it this far in the competition, and your current entries still both showcase confident writing abilities. But I personally think that both entries fall a bit short of your earlier work.

    Sissy Grimm has gone from a fun, active, scene with action, drama, and dialogue to one filled with exposition and telling. The MC is unnamed and it's all a bit vague as to why he's immortal and sitting on the roof (A vampire waiting for his next victim? A gargoyle?). There are parts where the descriptions are very good -- almost lyrical -- but then lines like, "Nothing is anything to him anymore. Everything meant something to him when he was mortal." try too hard to have impact, and unfortunately fall flat.

    Eleven's entry has some nice description and at least there's events and things happening that the author is showing rather than simply telling us about, but I think much of the quirky, snarky voice of the intro has been lost. I didn't even realize this was about the same MC (Zyan) until Lucifer said their name. But the dialogue flows well, and Zyan's interaction with Lucifer is good.

    So overall, I think Eleven's entry works better than Sissy's, so I have to go with Eleven today.

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  6. I won't echo the same things everyone else has said, but regardless of the issues both of these entries had, I enjoyed them both. Hard choice, but I think I'm going with Eleven today.

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  7. Can I just say I'm really enjoying this week of new entries? It's fun seeing other sides of writers I have already admired.
    This was one of the trickier decisions for me. Overall, the writing was excellent in both pieces, though both had moments where the flow was a little stuttering--Sissy because of the tense changes and Eleven because of extensive passive voice and some cliche moments. On the other hand, both had moments that made me think, "Wow, what a great way to say that": Sissy with the unique construction and description of a character who lived for passion and thus lost it; Eleven in a few descriptions, but especially the laughter that "sparkled on the air like pixie dust."
    In the end, I felt that Sissy showed stronger skill in writing, but I was frustrated that the unique character she created never got to live outside of the abstract description. (Although, the nerd in me was rather delighted by how much he reminded me of Darth Vader. ;) Still, I think Eleven's piece was a stronger selection. There was more going on, less confusion, and the character was able to act within the confines of 500 words.
    So my vote is for Eleven. I'm hoping to be able to see the revision in another round!

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  8. First, I loved Sissy Grimm's. It totally made me think it could be describing Dracula from Bram Stoker's story... Not emulating his annoyingly wordy writing style (thank God) but in the descriptions; the girl, the country, the religion, the desire to move west, the unsuspecting solicitor and of course the "punishments of the most extreme cruelty". In fact, I'm not entirely convinced that that is not what the author was going for. (Except for the character's current lack of passion. Dracula from Bram Stoker is still quite passionate about his homeland... or at least pretended to be)
    Eleven had some great descriptions. I especially liked the honey suckle metaphor (or simile or whatever it's called). I expect this piece to win because, frankly, more happened in it. In that case, my advice for the edit is to remove the word "Now". Remove about half of those "and"s. They're kind of rapid fire toward the end, giving the sentences a very repetitive feel. Split the sentences they belonged to.
    "Lucifer said, and his words wrapped around me..."
    "He smiled, and it almost seemed kind."
    "He laughed, and it sparkled on the air like pixie dust."
    As far as my vote, I'm having a hard time. I loved/hated Bram Stoker's Dracula. But meeting the devil is pretty epic. (not that I condone such things)
    Taking into consideration the current and previous submissions, I'm voting Sissy Grimm.

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    1. Oh, I forgot to mention this Stoker-ish detail: the "ethereal beauties he chose to keep as his brides."

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  9. Eleven this time.

    Sissy's piece just didn't grab me. I think it was too similar to things I've already read.

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  10. Okay, I've read them three times. Sissy Grimm. Even though there isn't much action, the tense switch is really done pretty well, and I liked the flow better. The other had some good stuff in it, but seemed choppier to me, with way too many 'ands'.

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  11. I'll vote for Eleven. Sissy's piece is all backstory and the changing tenses confused me.

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  12. Sissy Grimm gets my vote this round. In a full story without witching limits this could easily work into some basic action.

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  13. Sissy Grimm gets my vote this round. In a full story without witching limits this could easily work into some basic action.

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  14. Two interesting pieces. I'm torn because I think I would rather read the rest of Sissy's story, because I think I'd enjoy it more, but Eleven's piece in itself grabs me more and is just a touch better written.

    Weird vote, I'm sorry. Voting for Eleven as far as these two entries go, but if I were at a bookstore I'd probably buy Sissy's instead.

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  15. I vote for Eleven's piece. I want to read on. Eleven's piece showed more and that kept me intrigued. Great job!

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