WRiTE CLUB 2013 - Bout 7






Our winner of Bout #5...Imalie Teller!  Congrats Imalie, now comes the agonizing wait for the play-offs.

I've spent the majority of my adult career in the Customer Service field and one of the most frustrating things about that line of work is that despite what the motto says...THE CUSTOMER IS NOT ALWAYS RIGHT! After manning a 24-hour support line for a couple of years, as well as factoring in my own experiences with people in my life, I can tell you that the majority of issues originate because customers do not read the instructions.  I guess the same is true for WRiTE CLUB, because in every round so far somebody has voted without registering on the Linky List first.  Maybe its intentional?  Maybe they want to voice an opinion without having it impact the decision of who wins or loses? 

Why have a Linky List in the first place?  Because in the very first iteration of WRiTE CLUB there were some suspicious votes that appeared and it became clear that it was too easy for one person to vote multiple times.  I started using the linky list to provide more accountability.  Anyway, once again here is my attempt to prevent empty votes from happening.  Been here since day one or arrived just today, anybody can vote on their favorite writing sample...just sign up on the Linky List first!

Are you ready for a bone-crushing battle of words? 


Here are this bout's randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in the far corner, weighing in with 500 words or Urban Fantasy, please welcome to the ring FMWriter.



I remembered the large bull on Dion's balcony. The snorting animal seemed to understand more of what was going on than I did. The evening had started at Dionysus's high end strip club, Goddess, in the VIP section to celebrate his new brand of wine. Ares and I were celebrating six months of not breaking up. The wine started pouring and half naked women bounced everywhere as dollar bills slithered their way into sweaty crevasses. Ares didn't have enough money to split the check from our dinner earlier but he somehow had enough cash to "make it rain" here. The never ending wine helped me not to notice. Never underestimate a gorgon's ability for denial. A trait my mother taught me well.

Dion had snorted a line, and his pupils burst wide open. He started rambling about eternity or immortality or some shit like that. He always gets really immortal when he gets high. But it had infected Ares and he started rambling about how we were "so perfect right now," and how he wanted to "preserve our love." It sounded so romantic and what I'd been dying to hear for years. So I agreed and wound up here on Dion's balcony naked and contemplated petting the big dark bull to the right of me. Dion always brings out the worst and weirdest in me.

I held my hand out to the beast and he bellowed again. His nose ring wiggled as he scrunched his nose. I took small steps towards the balcony ledge and the tarp beneath my feet made crinkly noises. I looked back at Dion and my snakes slithered in waves around me.

He looked up from the book he was studying. “This flooring cost me a fortune. Blood is a bitch to remove, from anything. Remember that.” Immortals give the oddest advice. The hood of his velvet robe covered his face as wisps of his long black hair peeked out the corners.

I should've walked away at the mention of blood. I foolishly thought we were going to do a commitment ceremony since our kind couldn't legally marry yet. And no one said otherwise until the bull arrived. To this day I've never figured out how they got a bull up to a penthouse at three am.

“When was the last time you performed a blood oath ceremony?” I mouthed the words "blood oath" several times in order for it to feel right in my mouth. I would be exchanging blood with Ares, binding us together for eternity. He would never leave me again and hopefully stop cheating too. I said it once more to calm the storm in my stomach. Dion slammed his book shut and gripped my shoulder to help steady me; it was a nice bit of warmth on this windy autumn night. “Sometime in the late sixties; I hope to be reunited with my blood brother one day. We promised to spend our days in the Elysian Fields, writing verse and drinking wine.”
***********************************************************************

And in the other corner, weighing in at 499 words in the YA Post Apocalypse genre, let me introduce to you Joy Stique.





Douglas laid down the axe and stepped back. He wiped his brow with the sleeve of his flannel shirt and sat down on the crude bench made from two short logs and a longer log. His stump was aching where it met the foam of his home-made prosthetic. He needed to find a car soon, so he could scavenge some newer foam from one of the seats.

He sensed someone, and he glanced to his right and saw Petal. The pre-teen was staring at him and holding something between her hands.

“You want something?”

Petal approached him cautiously as if he was a big dog she had never met. When she was three paces away, she lifted her hands.

“Whatcha got?”

“Cigarettes. They’re for saving me from those two men.”

She handed the small box to Douglas. Curious, he turned the box this way and that as he examined the package. He had seen cigarettes before, usually half smoked, and he had seen the packages, but he had never seen or held one that was not opened.

“You’re giving me this package of cigarette? You know a lot of people would give you some good stuff for this package.”

“Susanna says only bad people smoke cigarettes.”

Douglas paused his inspection. “Susanna says only bad people smoke cigarettes?”

Petal nodded.

“So you’re giving them to me.”

Petal nodded again. Douglas shook his head with amused disgust.

“How about you? Are you good or bad?”

Petal frowned. She sat down next to Douglas, leaned forward, put her elbow on her knee and grasped her chin. She thought about the question, her little brow furrowed.

“I’m not sure.”

“Well, I suppose there is one way to find out.”

“What’s that?”

“We could each smoke one of these cigarettes.”

Petal lifted her head and looked at him. “Really?” Her voice was full of eagerness.

“Sure. If we like it, we’ll know we’re bad.”

Petal was tempted, very tempted. She looked around in a surreptitious manner. She knew Susanna would lecture her if she was caught smoking a cigarette. Susanna was the only mother-like person she knew. She didn’t want to disappoint Susanna, but still…

“We can’t tell anybody.”

“It’s our secret,” Douglas assured the girl.

“Okay.”

Petal gave up any pretense of reluctance and watched fascinated as Douglas tore off the plastic wrapper. Using his fingers he tried to pull out one of the cigarettes, but it stubbornly resisted. Emitting an incoherent sound of frustration, he found a sliver of oak and managed to force one of the cigarettes far enough out of the package to where he could pull it the rest of the way. He handed that cigarette to Petal and took another for himself. Then he took a small device from his pocket.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a cigarette lighter. They used to have a lot of them back in the old world.”

A few minutes later, the man and girl were coughing violently from the smoke in their lungs.
************************************************************************

Please tell everyone you know about what's going on here at WRiTE CLUB and encourage them to make a selection as well.  The voting will remain open until noon next Sunday (Aug. 4th). 

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

42 comments

  1. I like both of these! But my vote goes to FMWriter.

    This has been hard. I'm not really looking forward to the playoffs, lol!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  2. FMWriter for me. And I had a major guilt trip going on. Couldn't remember if I signed on. Phew! I had.

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  3. I had a little trouble with verb tense in FMWriter's piece, but overall the voice and detail engaged me more than Joy Stique's excerpt. Joy hops heads, switching from Douglas's POV to Petal's POV, which ultimately keeps me distanced from both characters.

    So the vote goes to FMWriter.

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  4. I vote for FMWriter. The voice was tight, the setting was interesting, and I'm definitely curious what's about to happen with that bull. The other offering was mores subtle, but the head-hopping got to me, and I couldn't help but wonder what kind of prosthetic could be made out of car seat foam...

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  5. I've read #1 twice and still don't get what's going on.

    My vote goes to Joy Stique. It has issues, especially toward the end, when I'm completely out of Douglas's POV when he's listed as "the man." Why would he think of himself that way? Or was there another person standing around? But at least I was able to follow the story, and for that it gets my vote.

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  6. I liked both of these, so it's a hard choice. I think I'll go with FMWriter, simply because it's more along the lines of something I'd normally read.

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  7. I hate to sound negative, but while I find the writing in FMWriter's piece decent, the story seems erratic and jumbled. Evidently we have some sort of modern fantasy retelling of Greek mythology in a high-rise apartment where there's a drunken, drug-filled stripper party and a bull and some sort of potential blood ceremony on a balcony. Maybe it's just me, but I'm afraid that I find the attempted modern Neil Gaimanish treatment of the mythological aspect is lost because there's little sense of character, vague descriptions, and a confusing voice. It has some originality, and there might be a good story here, but I just feel too ungrounded. Maybe that was intended to mirror the wild and drunken events occurring, but I find it disorienting.

    Joy Stique gives us a post-apocalyptic setting, which could easily descend into cliche, but I like the subtle humanity shown in the interaction of Douglas and Petal. There's some tenderness shown between the two, and I like the characterization shown. Here, we also have as fantastical a setting as in FMWriter's piece, but the focus is on clarity and character-building through effective dialogue and simple-but-smooth action. This will win me over every time, so my vote is for Joy Stique.

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  8. Just to confirm that I'm registered as Times Squared (no. 25 in the Linky List).

    I agree with Chris, the writing in FMWriter's piece is decent, but I had a lot of trouble following the story. Also, the whole strippers/bull/snakes thing didn't work for me.

    Joy Stique's piece was more grounded, and I liked the dialogue; the shift in POV from Douglas and Petal didn't really bother me. And I also want to know more about these two people, especially Douglas. Is he a good guy or a not-so-good guy?

    My vote goes to Joy Stique.

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  9. The first one confused me. The second one has a weird head-hop, but it was more engaging. My vote goes to Joy Stique.

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  10. Both seemed incomplete. No real ending. The first was all over the place and hard to keep grounded. The second was easier to read but again, felt incomplete. My vote is for Joy!

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  11. Neither of them truly grabbed me and each had style and craft issues such as POV and tense shifts. But, my vote goes to Joy.

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  12. I'd like to abstain on this one, but I guess that's not good to do.

    #1 Medusa's pov just didn't work. I couldn't "get" what was happening and I didn't care enough about the characters to work at it.

    #2 Lots of repeated and unnecessary dialogue. Also the shift in pov was poorly handled.

    The one that might be re-written into a story is #2, so I'm going with that one.

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  13. Joy Stique gets my vote, but I did enjoy the modern mythology!

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  14. I wasn't wildly enthusiastic about either this week. The first one I found confusing, and it's something I've seen before. The second one interested me more, but the POV switch was wonky. But overall, I think I was more interested in the characters in the second, so Joy Stique gets my vote.

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  15. My vote is definitely for Joy Stique.

    If I'm honest, I couldn't read through all of the first story, there were far too many things going on and I just couldn't make sense of it. It didn't hold my interest at all I'm afraid.

    The second story was different, having purpose and flow.

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  16. My vote goes to FM WRITER.

    First, I would like to say that neither piece really 'grabbed' me. Each had their faults, but they both left me feeling kind of flat, not really engaged at all.

    I voted for FM Writer, because in this 500 words I felt some movement and character definition.

    Joy Stique shows some real potential, and again I realize that this is only 500 words in the story, but I felt nothing for or about the characters, setting, or action taking place.

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  17. Tough vote this week. I think both peices started off rough, but then gained some strength by the end.

    It took me quite a bit to figure out what was going on in the first one. I wasn't grounded, and while the details were interesting they didn't seem the right kind of details to include when trying to engage the reader (this is me assuming, too, that this is the first 500 words of the novel (or short story) If it isn't, then i'm less worried about this)

    The second one seemed a bit scattered. I know it's not the opening of the novel (or at least, that's how i read it) and sometimes that can be hard to really pull off in Write Club. Even if it's an awesome 500 words, you'll lose votes just because it's not an opening 500 words. It's a gamble.
    I don't think the writing was where it needed to be. The headhopping didn't work for me, even if it was intentionally omniscient, and i couldn't get a feel for the age of Joshua (Man? Teen? I have no idea)

    So my vote this week is for FMWriter

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  18. I vote FMWriter.
    But it seems like there's been a lot of myth vs. modern times media lately, Percy Jackson not least of it.
    I was pretty sure I'd vote FM when I read "Immortals give the oddest advice." Good line. Then I became sure when Joy's story (though promising) jumped from Douglas' to Petal's point of view midstory.

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  19. I don't have anything to add that hasn't already been said in other comments, so I'll just cast my vote... for Joy Stique.

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  20. OK, I admit I may have not paid attention to the directions in the past...I'm bad like that...but I'm signed up now so I get to vote! And I'll vote for Joy! :-)

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  21. I don't like the shift in POV in Joy St. but the first one didn't seem to offer me anything. I also thought since Joy was YA it might develop with a little work. Congrats to both for making it this far.
    My vote is for Joy Stique

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  22. Joy Stique; a lot of showing going on there.

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  23. I couldn't find any way to connect to the characters, and through them to the action, in FMWriter's piece. The POV shift in Joy Stique was a little off-putting but the story drew me in a bit more. I'm going with Joy.

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  24. I love a good post apoc, and I liked the subtext in Joy's piece. However, the head-hopping really threw me and made it difficult to be fully engaged.

    The details in FMWriter's had some really nice descriptions. Even though I don't really understand the world or what's going on fully, I understood the crux of the scene. For the details, I'm giving my vote to FMWriter.

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  25. (just confirming that i'm #127 on the linky)

    My vote is for FMWriter.
    took me a bit to understand what was going on, but when i did i was like 'cool- Gorgons and gods'. There were also some really great lines in there that i appreciated. I want to see where this goes.

    I do love a good post-apoc story, but Joy's piece didn't quite draw me in. I had a problem with the head hopping. Also- i didn't get a sense of the overall plot of the piece- i have an idea where FMWriter's is going, but this piece ended and it's like 'and Scene' and since it was basically self-contained i'm not compelled to read on.

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  26. It's a very tough call for me, but I'm going to vote for Joy.

    The question about getting a bull into a penthouse at 3am was hilarious though, FMWriter.

    #42 on Linky List.

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  27. Placing a vote for FMWriter.

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  28. There was some good writing in both these pieces, though I felt they could both use a little clarification to keep them from being confusing. I never really understood where I was or what was going on in either, although I was happy enough to follow along because of the writing.
    I'm voting for Joy Stique.
    (With apologies for not leaving more feedback...crazy week here!)

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  29. FMWriter for me - there's something about this piece that reminds me a lot of the opening chapters of City of Bones. I like the hints of mythology, too, and am curious to see how the author will continue pulling in references about gods and goddesses!

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  30. I'm voting Joy Stique because I found it an easier read to follow. Good luck writers.

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  31. My vote is Joy Stique. It was easier to follow and the dialogue was engaging. I wanted to read more.

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  32. Joy Stique gets my vote as well. It was a bit hard to tell whose POV it was from at first, but I think that was mostly the curse of the random excerpt. In the first one, it was harder to follow, but also the characters were much less likable. It was just not as intriguing as the second.

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  33. My vote is for Joy Stique. I wanted to read more. The other? Not so much.

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  34. I'm a sucker for Neil Gaimanish mythology in the modern world stories so I enjoyed FM Writer's piece. I had a little trouble getting into it at first, and the narrative lost me in places, but witty lines and humor made it all worth it. I was intrigued by Medusa's (I assume it's Medusa) wild night.

    The interaction between the characters in Joy's sample was touching but there wasn't much context. I didn't know who these people were or what the consequences of cigarette smoking might be.

    My vote goes to FM Writer.

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  35. I agree that the writing in FM's piece was tight, but I'm going with Joy Stique. For me, it flowed really well (head hopping doesn't throw me. It's one thing I follow well) and I felt like I had stumbled into a movie scene. I'd read them both, but I'd read Joy's first :)

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  36. My first comment is to DL: Why do you have the linky list? This has been my one and only complaint for WRiTEClub. I signed up on the linky even before I submitted an excerpt (last time I had no intention of submitting but I signed up just to vote and comment), but I never understood the purpose. If some random blogger happens upon a bout post and offers a vote and critique, does it really matter? I gotta tell you, I don't agree with the US need to sign a specific piece of paper at a certain time of year to be able to vote in the elections either. If you have an opinion - even just once - you should be able to express it without committing to the life of an issue or a specific contestant. If you are worried about one author "stuffing" the votes with their friends; well, that would mean they have violated the basic rules of "not talking about WrIteClub" by revealing their pseudonym. There really is no other way to cheat for this competition.

    I get it; you want authors to commit to the Club to submit an excerpt. And I agree that if you submit, you should follow, read all the excerpts, and offer feedback to fellow contestants. But just to read and vote? Nah, I don't agree to signing up on a linky. Ask the contestants to sign up as commitment to read/vote on their fellow authors excerpts to guarantee some comments/feedback, but don't ask the general public to register to vote. Blogging should not be that level of commitment.

    - - - end linky rant - - -

    FMW; love the New Adult take on the Gods. I'm intrigued by the characters, and the relationship issues. I love immortals, and how their real lives add or interfere with their cosmic duties. A drug addicted God fits in today's YA world. I'm anticipating a lot of growth from the Gorgon character in making both moral and professional choices. FMW did well in setting up the main characters, hinting at character plot issues, and setting the world firmly in fantasy/mythology. An excellent scene.

    Joy Stique: I liked the introduction of Douglas. It was active, and gave tidbits of his character that left me questioning and wanting to read more. Then the POV shifts to Petal - or actually is more omniscient - and I'm not sure who is the MC of interest in this excerpt. Then the subject turns to whether the characters are "evil" for smoking cigarettes. Given the socio-political atmosphere of today's society, I can see a deeper meaning to this concept so I'm intrigued where its leading. The POV shifts keep me from connecting with the characters though.

    I'm not a YA reader however, and neither of these excerpts appeal to me. My vote goes to FMW for ultimate characterization and remaining consistent within a POV character.

    I'd like to caution both authors not to invest much emotional or professional energy into my feedback. For the contest purposes, I had to cast a vote, and I dislike casting a vote without justification. But in reading the excerpts, I'm not your target audience; so if you find something useful in the feedback, great, but if not, let it go.

    .......dhole

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  37. My vote is for Joy.

    I really loved the interaction between the two, although the POV switch bothered me, or is this meant as omniscient POV? I haven't read a ton of omniscient POV and it always takes me a couple pages to get into the groove with them. Anyway. I would keep reading.

    I liked the voice in FM Writer's pieces. That bit about how he gets immortal when he gets high was hilarious. I laughed out loud. However, I was confused at the end. The piece felt out of order or disjointed. I had to read it a couple of times. It might have something to do with the MC telling the story in hindsight, but at times it feels like the action is happening as she tells it. The voice here might keep me reading, but I would want things to smooth out quickly.

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  38. I agree with much of what others have already said. I vote for Joy.

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