WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round Three / Bout 3



As the first two bouts of this round have shown, time to put on your big-boy or big-girl pants…because the battles are getting fierce…and the blogosphere is watching! Each play-off bout so far has received 300+ hits, so even though people may not be voting…they are reading!

Today is the third of five bouts that comprise round three, where our contestants face off against different competitors using brand new writing samples.  The bouts are posted on a different 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.    

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 four will kick off the following Monday.

Good luck to all the WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner, welcome back to the ring.....Snivvy Crank.


For the white-haired school janitor, Mr. Jaspers, there were only three things in life that could truly be described as “irksome”: men who wore toupees; people who spoke of themselves in the plural; and condescending new school principals with egg-shaped heads and fake smiles, who used words like “peruse” and “inquiry” and “my dear man” while implying in the most befriending tones that you were as daft as a peach pit. There was a close fourth--street mimes--but that particular irk was forgotten as Mr. Jaspers, shuffling uncomfortably from one arthritic foot to the other, watched the new principal chat idly on the office phone and imagined throttling him.

Now Mr. Jaspers wasn‘t the type of man who normally daydreamed about throttling people. He was old--very old, kept a pet cat named Elmo in his janitorial office, and up to now his daydreams had been rather docile and well-mannered. Winning a lifetime supply of top-shelf scotch or someone inventing work boots that didn’t squeak on tile floors had been two of his favorites. But then came Mr. Heinik. Yes…even on the phone the short principal seemed to stick under Mr. Jaspers’ fingernails like sidewalk chalk, irritating the old Scotsman in a way he hadn‘t been irritated in a long, long time.

“Saturday?…Of course--I’ll bring my new clubs--and make sure they don’t make us tee off after the VFW team or we’ll be stuck waiting for them to limp from one hole to the other…great…thanks, Frank…eh-heh…bye.”

Had Mr. Heinik read Mr. Jaspers’ file, he would have known the Scotsman had been an Army sentry in both Korea and Vietnam. What the file didn’t say was that Mr. Jaspers also served as sentry in both World Wars, the Spanish-American War, the American Revolution and numerous highland conflicts and continued to march with the local VFW each Memorial Day in a kilt despite a limp from a saber wound in his left leg. Like I said, Mr. Jaspers was a very, very old man.

He was staring blank-faced at the principal, feeling the war-blood begin to circulate again through his veins and wondering whether someone could be beaten senseless from a telephone receiver, when he realized the offensive Mr. Heinik was addressing him.

“Jaspers?”

“Er…sorry, sir, I was, eh, distracted.”

“Forget about it, my dear man,” said Mr. Heinik. “As we were saying, we did get a chance to peruse your file and, while it appears you have put in a few years of good service to Wickfield Prep--”

“Forty-one years, sir.”

“Yes,“ said Mr. Heinik, ignoring Mr. Jaspers completely, “the school board and I think you may find better employment opportunities elsewhere.“
 
Mr. Jaspers stopped shuffling. His face, a spiderweb of lines and wrinkles from which even the smallest of emotions couldn’t stir without causing a great disruption, didn’t move. Somewhere in his head he heard a voice growl, “Aye, methinks you can dent his head in with a telephone.”

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


There was a monster sleeping in my bed. He looked human enough, with dark hair that tumbled over his forehead, blending into the shadows around his pillow, and lips that were slighted parted as he breathed. When open, his eyes were pools of black; they were the kind of eyes that made you tremble because there was nothing to see in their depths but your own uncertain reflection. Moonlight splayed across his bare chest as though someone had slashed him open and moonlight was what had spilled out. He had the body of a predator; all muscles and unforgiving strength; but those muscles were the prisoners of scars that crisscrossed them. They were scars I loved though, because each brutal wound was received in a fight he'd been able to walk away from, and I could read them as though they told a story in a language only I knew.

To everyone else he was a monster, something to be hunted and caged, and made to stand in the face of every horrible thing he had done. There were people who would spit in his face if they could, because his only purpose was to destroy, and he did it in a way that hardly left behind anything that could be gathered and buried. But after he unleashed nightmares on those who deserved it he was here, with me, and when I looked into his eyes I saw myself the way he saw me, and it was always beautiful.

Why didn’t I fear him when I had washed blood off his hands more times than I could count? Why didn’t my heart go out to those he had taken someone away from? Why did I surrender to his touch time and time again, yearning for his body to wrap around mine, for his hands to ravage my body? They were the hands and body of someone the world feared, but they were mine. He was mine.

They thought he killed arbitrarily, that he didn’t murder children because he wanted them to watch and be irreversibly scarred. They thought there was no method to his madness, that murder was something that made him sleep better at night. They didn’t know about the nightmares that screamed him awake and left him a trembling, crying thing in my arms. They didn’t know his crushing strength wasn’t always used to harm, it was also used to cling to me while I tried to help him fight the darkness that consumed him. They didn’t know that this wasn’t a life he chose, but it was one he could never get away from. No, to them once blood was spilled and children were found standing in the massacre, you became a monster and had to be hunted. But I didn’t fear him because I had known him before he became a monster. I knew what had made him one.

They always say the things you love the most are the things you created yourself.

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

See you back here tomorrow for Bout #4.

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. Snivvy Crank. And I hope Mr. Jaspers dents Heinik's head with that telephone!

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  2. I too enjoyed the 'voice' of Snivvy Crank more so than the other Jade Kestrel. However, all were really scrumptious.

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  3. Jade Kestrel for me on this round.

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  4. Another bout of good writing!
    Snivvy, I loved the humor and the voice--also, it was fun to see the dialogue in this entry, moving the pace along excellently, whereas your first piece was more descriptive. Nothing about your piece annoyed me except the loathsome Mr. Heinik himself--and boy did I hate him. I'm waiting for his head to be dented in, too. :)
    Jade, you did a good job with description, and your characters are certainly interesting. If you make it to the round with revisions, I'd be interested to see if you could incorporate some action into that description, though. As it is now, we're left waiting for anything to happen. Additionally, several of your sentences were touched with melodrama and I felt if you could save that for the really big moments the whole piece would have a better feel.
    Snivvy Crank for me today!

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  5. Snivvy Crank this time. Jade's had a few lines that needed polishing, such as "hardly left behind anything..." Both had me wondering about the rest of the story though.

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  6. Wow, another bout between two strong competitors whose work I've enjoyed in this competition. Snivvy Crank's earlier Pig-woman piece was a very strong entry and Jade Kestral's fun "trying-to-get-a-ghost-laid" submission was also a favorite of mine.

    This time, Snivvy's entry takes a very different voice, with a romantic, almost Victorian tone. The author/narrator is much more involved, even addressing the reader directly ("Like I said, Mr. Jaspers was a very, very old man"). I normally prefer a much more distant third-person voice and tend to dislike such author intrusion, but it seems to work with the voice here. The pace is a little slow in that much of the piece is telling back-story, but the scene does come to a compelling event that pulls the reader in at the end. I like the undercurrent of humor in the piece. Also, Mr. Jaspers is an interesting and sympathetic character, and while there are a few rough edges here and there, this piece works well and I would keep reading.

    Jade Kestral's entry is also very different than their first one, even more radical of a change than Snivvy's. Where the first submission was light and humorous, this one is dark and moody, also with a much more romantic voice. The situation evolves rather slowly, but we do come to understand the narrator and interest is built as to who and what this man/monster really is. I do think that the biggest problem is that pace, though. There is no real scene or event here other than the narrator describing someone sleeping, and in a word-limited contest like this, I think that hurts. It's all telling and back-story, really, and there's very little drama, dialogue, or action to directly involve the reader. By the end of the piece, there is curiosity aroused about the sleeping man/monster, but not as much as there could be, I think.

    Both authors write well -- getting this far in the competition proves it. And they have both shown a wide range of styles between their initial pieces and their new submissions. I wish both of them tremendous success moving forward, but since I can only vote for one, I have to go with Snivvy Crank today.

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  7. I really liked both of these and I changed my mind like three times already. I guess I'm going to go with the stronger writing of the two and that would be Snivvy Crank's piece.

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  8. Snivvy Crank! Love the humor in their pieces so far, and this one is no exception.

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  9. Jade Kestrel sent shivers up my spine and I really want to read more.

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  10. 'His face, a spiderweb of lines and wrinkles from which even the smallest of emotions couldn’t stir without causing a great disruption,'

    Pardone moi French, but Snivvy Crank kicks some WRiTE Clubbin' ass. :)

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  11. Love the last line of Jade's but I'm voting for Snivvy. I like this deathless Scotsman!

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  12. I love the humor and voice in the first selection. I've gotta vote for Snivvy Crank.

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  13. Wow, this is difficult. Both are well written, but I'm voting for Snivvy. You had me at "daft as a peach pit."

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  14. I'm voting for Jade. She sets up a lovely conflict and that last line was quite the cliffy.

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  15. I enjoyed both, but Snivvy gets my vote :)

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  16. Oh my goodness. This is so hard. I almost always will go with a paranormal piece over the more normal variety, because that's my fave genre. And I voted for Jade in all the other bouts. But I have to go with Snivvy here. Snivvy's is bursting over with voice. Jade's piece was awesome, too. But I adored Snivvy's. Also, there's a typo in Jade's - 'slighted parted' instead of 'slightly parted'. I did love the last line of Jade's. Okay, I'm rambling. Good luck to both of you.

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  17. I thought Snivvy was the clear winner right up until the last line of Jade's piece. That one line did it for me. Going with Jade, but wish I could vote for both. Well done!

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  18. Okay, this is really hard. I really enjoyed both pieces. I'm going to have to vote--darn it. I really liked the voice in Snivvy Crank. My vote is for Snivvy. Both pieces are great so good luck to both writers. Great job!!

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