Today we announce our first winner! Congratulations to Lord Codpiece for winning Bout #1 and thus securing a spot in the play-offs. Voting for Bout #2 remains open until 11:59 PM on Wednesday, June 25th.
For anyone who's dropping by for the first time, here's a summary of what's taking place. On May 3rd we began taking submissions from WRiTER’s far and wide, spanning the globe, representing all ages and multiple styles of WRiTING. We received 167 entries in all! Those 500 word samples went under careful consideration by 11 judges and that panel narrowed the list down to 32…which are the ones that are pairing off in the ring over the course of eight weeks.
Note: The submissions can be an excerpt from a larger work...or a standalone piece of flash fiction. The only rules are that they be 500 words or less, and never previously published or posted on a blog. Although I'll never instruct someone how they should choose a winner, I would recommend considering this when doing so. It shouldn't be about how much information is contained in those 500 words, but the way a contestant goes about communicating the information that is.
These illustrious WRiTER’s are not only from all walks of life, but they also occupy various levels of the publication world. But none of that matters here, because inside this ring everybody stands as equals. You know why? Because no one uses their real name…the only identification you’ll ever see is their pen name. This is not a popularity contest. The focus here is on the writing, where it should be.
Today is the third of sixteen bouts, two bouts per week, with a new one posted every Monday and Thursday. The winners are decided by votes left in the comment section and anyone can vote. The voting for each fight will last for one full week, so you can vote for a Monday battle all the way until midnight on Sunday, and you can vote for a Thursday brawl up until midnight the following Wednesday. And when you do vote, please let the contestants know what you liked and disliked.
Understand what’s going on now? Good…then here we go!
Here are this bouts two randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in this corner, representing the New Adult Romantic Comedy genre and weighing in at 499 words, please welcome to the ring……..Sophie Grace.
I should have turned around and dashed out of the room the minute Maggie opened her mouth and announced, 'I dare you, Helena, to wear these black thigh highs and lace lingerie' with that voice. Now, standing in a basement of a shabby bar off 13th Avenue, my legs tittering on what felt like twelve-inch black stilettos, I debated my choices. I could walk away from this dare and prove to her that I was a prude-soon-to-be-the-owner-of-a-million-cats spinster, tossing my pride out the window in the process. Or I'd pull this through, show my best friend that I was not only brave, but also. . . . oh, who was I kidding! This wasn't me. Dressed like Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge. And I was about to serenade some guy in a bachelor party in front of dozen of eyes. A dozen male eyes.
Oh crap! There was no way I was--
"Helena!" Pete, Maggie's boyfriend and the bachelor party coordinator ducked his head around the door. "Climb on that swing, pronto. You're up in three, two--"
"Wait! I--I'm not ready."
I hopped on the glittery swing, and gripped the ropes as it began to rise, leaving the wooden floor below. At the same time "Diamonds are a girl's best friend" blasted through the air.
Oh my God! Oh my God! I jerked my head up, slapping a hand on the mask fastened around my eyes to keep from seeing the ground disappearing fast. Nausea bubbled up my throat.
Oh no, not now! This would end up being more embarrassing than the time I locked myself out of my own house, left on the veranda with nothing but a pair of 'Hug-me. It's Monday' underwear.
Finally gathering the guts to peek through my fingers, my stomach churned as a ruby red velvet curtains parted and the swing started to drop. Silence reigned in one collection cloud of expectation. Then Whispers erupted, gasps filled the room, heads swung upward as I descended in all my lace glory.
My eyes moved wildly behind the mask as I searched for Maggie. The little witch sat next to the groom on a table on the front row, snapping pictures from a camera while giggling like a five year old in a candy shop. Fighting a scowl and the overwhelming panic I might topple face-down in my skyscraper heels, I took deep breaths readying myself for the dancing and flirting part like I'd practised in front of a mirror the last one month under Maggie's watchful eye. I was going to win this.
Then I saw him. Tall, dark and definitely pant-worthy, standing next to my other best friend, Abe. Oh, Mr Pant-worthy was my lure to perform this dance. Besides no one knew who was hidden behind this mask. That thought drove confidence in my body, straightening my spine. As soon as the swing slowed to a halt, I hopped off carefully, feeling the nerves melt away replaced by boldness.
And in the other corner, representing the YA or Middle Grade genre with 500 words, let me introduce to you……….Dreamer.
Gillian lurched, then steadied herself against the side of the bridge, its ancient stones damp from loch mist. Setting down her bag, she stared up at the castle, letting the afternoon wind sting her face and have its way with her hair.
To return here, terrifying, but to stay away. . . worse. She needed help, and only Kinsman could give it. She hoped.
Hoisting her bag, she glanced over her shoulder at the rental car, then crossed to the high arched door.
She grasped the thick iron ring, and banged it sharply. The door swung in so quickly she barely had time to release the knocker.
Without a greeting, the steely-eyed Alva took her bag and closed the door behind her. The sound wasn't unlike that of a crypt being sealed, and it echoed into the dank air.
Again Gillian stood under the high ceiling, encircled by tapestries and larger-than-life portraits of her ancestors. Their stares remained as she remembered them, remote with a hint of malevolence.
“He's waiting for you.” Her back more hunched than three years ago, Alva stood at the bottom of the stairway leading to the second floor.
Gillian flinched. Where was her Scottish courage—the mettle Kinsman used to remind her was in her blood? The day she left, she’d said terrible things to him, hurtled down these stairs and outside, frantic to be gone. Now she’d returned. She needed him. Desperately.
She counted each step to the library. Its door stood open.
“May I come in?” Rotten start. He'd sense her nerves unraveling in a weak request like that.
Kinsman turned from the fire to face her. Eyes, as dark and shrewd as she remembered, confronted her.
She ran her tongue over her lips and swallowed. “Did you get my message?” Another feeble question. Now she'd wait for him to speak.
The clock's pendulum became the loudest sound in the room. Her pulse drummed at her temples. The fire burned steadily, but gave little warmth. She needed a drink. A Valium. Damn. She needed sleep.
Kinsman drew his chair closer to the fire and sat with his back to her. “Do you intend to stand at the door the rest of the evening?”
He'd asked her to sit with him. He would hear her out. Without hesitating, she took a seat and waited.
“Why have you come?”
“The dreams. They've returned. . .only this time they’re. . .deadly.”
The tension between them melted with her words. At last she’d told someone who understood. None of the expensive doctors who made pages of notes and prescribed medicines for depression or anxiety or whatever they thought caused her condition, knew what she meant when told them about The Dreams, dreams that made her embrace days and dread nights.
“Then it’s time for you to know,” he said and the shadows stirred around them.
Like long, dark fingers they clutched at her, and she reached for Kinsman’s hand. Her guardian. Her protector. But could he save her?
Enjoying the words of two talented writers is only part of the price of admission, now it’s up to you to decide who moves forward to the playoffs. In the comments below leave your vote for the winner of Bout #3. Which one tickled your fancy? After you vote please tell all of your friends to stop by and make a selection as well. The voting for this round will remain open until noon Sunday. Yes, it’s subjective, but so is the entire publishing world. It’s as much about the readers as it is about the writers.
Here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing -- it’s the audience that gets clobbered!