WRiTE CLUB 2014 – Bout #5





A hearty congratulations to our third winner, Dreamer.  He/she will now have to wait  patiently for the play-offs to begin in six weeks. The voting for Bout #4 still remains open until noon on Wednesday, July 2nd.

I plotted a graph showing WRiTE CLUB's participation from last year compared to what we've seen so far this year, and yes, the level is higher, but the trend is the same -- downward.  The only way we can reverse that slide is with your help.  The writers from the first bout deserve just as much attention as those in the later rounds, and it's up to you to see that happens.  Spread the word...every time you vote...and keep spreading it as often as you can.  There are a few who have already been doing an amazing job, but they need help.  Please take the #1 rule of this contest to heart...YOU MUST TALK ABOUT WRiTE CLUB!

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 fifth 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.

Here we go!



Here are this bout #5's two randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in this corner, representing the Adventure/Pick Your Plot genre and weighing in at 497 words, please welcome to the ring……..Bartholomew Boulstridge Bell.

Hastily exiting the engine room, you spot someone walking away from you, just down the hall. Swaying hips and a stray curl hanging down one shoulder stand in contrast to the masculine cut of the figure’s pants and coat, and you wonder just who that could be. But there’s no time to think about it further as you turn a corner and push in through a door marked “Telegraph Operator -- Seamus MacMillan.”

“Hello?” you say as you step through the door. It’s a small office; not much more than a closet, really. With just enough space for several hand-drawn maps posted to the walls and a small bookcase overflowing with books and scrolls, the room practically bursts with information. A small desk on the opposite wall is also crowded -- with a note pad, telegraph machine, and the bloodied head of a man that you can only assume to be Seamus MacMillan.

“My God… what happened to you?” MacMillan’s left index finger still rests on the strap key, giving the illusion of having just finished sending a message. You peer over his shoulder and see that the last note on his pad reads:

            NEED HELP. ENGINES BROKEN. SUSPECT SABOTA

The engineer’s message! So it did make it through! Unfortunately it looks as though MacMillan was interrupted in his transcription. You wonder at the audacity of a person who could harm such a beautiful ship and then come up here and kill a crewman right under the Admiral’s nose.

It does not appear as though MacMillan went down without a fight, though. Marks on his neck and face indicate a struggle, and you see bruising on his left wrist where it sits next to the machine. She must have forced him to message someone!, you think. Your mind catches on the word “she,” How could someone so lovely..?? but as you imagine the fight, you realize that your intuition is likely correct. You shake your head in an effort to clear it, and head out to tell the Admiral of your discovery.

You don’t make it far before running into what you can only assume to be the pirates’ advance crew. Three wind-blown men strut down the hallway toward you, the bridge, and presumably the Admiral. The front man brandishes a giant sword, cutting slits in the wallpaper with each rhythmic swing. His cohorts each hold a pistol, with swords sheathed at their waists. They laugh menacingly as they approach, and you realize that you’ve only got a split second to decide upon an action.

The hallway extends only one direction -- from the door of the bridge back out to the rest of the ship. You cannot bear to stay in the room with poor Seamus, but you have to go somewhere.

How to proceed?
Make a break for it! Go to page X.
You are an adaptable fellow. Do your best to convince the pirates that you are not a threat. Go to page Y.
*****************************************************************************************

And in the other corner, representing the Adult Romance/Time Travel genre with 500 words, let me introduce to you……….Fitzwilliam



When purchasing a regency-era wardrobe, one should always open its doors first—lest, quite by accident, one also purchases the regency-era gentleman hiding inside. Tess Dutton, unaware of this wisdom, preceded her movers up the narrow staircase to her third-story brownstone apartment and asked them to please place her newly acquired monstrosity in the kitchen.

One of the movers, the one who kept calling her Tess instead of Theresa as if he’d known her all his life, looked at her and winked. “A wardrobe in your kitchen?

“It’s a pantry,” Tess said, pulling out her wallet as she tried to calculate five percent of seventy-five dollars divided by two movers.

The mover-with-a-wink hefted the wardrobe one more time, clearly to better display his muscles. “Whatever you say, Tess.”

Maybe she wouldn’t divide the tip by two movers.

She’d found the wardrobe at an estate sale. Her sister told Tess if she was going to start fresh, she needed a new apartment, new job, new boyfriend, and eclectic furniture. Although she had taken the apartment, job, and furniture advice, she had laughed about the boyfriend part. “Sara, I have to have an old boyfriend to have a new boyfriend.”

Sara had, of course, looked confused. “Stuart was your boyfriend.”

“No, that’s the problem. He was never my boyfriend. That’s why I’m starting fresh—to get away from my never-boyfriend, Stuart.

And it was of Stuart and the last time they went sailing together she was thinking when she opened the doors of the wardrobe for the first time—nearly dropping the box of spices from her arms—because she found herself looking into the rather bewildered eyes of a gentleman in cravats.

She considered screaming, but then remembered Mrs. Jenny one floor down who took a nap after her two o’clock soap opera and slept with a rifle next to her bed. So instead, she grabbed the nearest weapon—a plaid umbrella.

“Who are you? Get out!" She looked over at the open door. "Oye! Mover people!" Maybe they hadn't left yet.

After she ascertained that her plaid umbrella was useless in case of an attack from a gentleman in cravats, she saw the man was acting unlike an attacker at all. In fact, he seemed surprised to see her.

“I must find Georgiana. She came this way. What have you done with my sister, Sir… or is it…Madam?” With this last bit he looked at her yoga pants with something like repulsion, as if she hadn’t showered in days when in fact, she had not.

Tess no longer felt threatened, but she raised her umbrella nevertheless. “Why were you hiding? Is this the movers’ joke? Because I tipped them…both of them!”

The gentleman stepped from the wardrobe, and Tess, realizing his full height, backed into her loveseat. Then, as he cast his eyes around the room with confusion clouding his brow, Tess also realized his full handsomeness—which is why she, in the end, did drop the box of spices.
**************************************************************************************

 
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 #5.  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!

77 comments

  1. Both pieces are, in my view, equally strong within their genres. I haven't read a progressive adventure book in years, and the first piece, by BBB, brought back strong memories of the type. However, and keep in mind that Adult Romance has never really featured highly on my reading list, I did find myself, at the end of Fitzwilliam's piece, wishing that it hadn't ended where it did.
    Simply because it left me wanting more, my vote goes to Fitzwilliam.

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  2. Congrats for making the battle rounds!

    The first entry is probably a good representation of its genre. Unfortunately, that style just doesn't do it for me. Some of the sentences are cumbersome and awkward, and that's likely a convention of the genre. The content was very interesting and I'm sure the story has lots of questions to discover.

    My vote goes to Fitzwilliam. The scene is very funny and lots of details pulled me in. Again, there are come overwritten sentences which could do with some pruning, but the scene still worked for me.

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  3. Both very interesting! However, I really want to read more of the second, so my vote goes to Fitzwilliam! :)

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  4. Ftizwilliam! The voice, the set up were perfect. I'm afraid the pick your plot genre isn't my cup of tea, so I have no clue how well it was done. Fitzwilliam's piece, OTOH, is perfect for the genre.

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  5. Both submissions are equally intriguing, but the voice in the second piece resonated more with me than the first. For this reason I pick Fitzwilliam.

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  6. Very interesting battle today. Two fun entries.

    I used to love "choose-your-own-adventure" stories, and Bartholomew Boulstridge Bell gives a fun example of the genre. It brings back fond memories of both the flip-to-the-page books and old text-based interactive-fiction computer games that shared many of the same conventions ("ZORK," anyone?). The writing is reasonably effective and the scene develops well, although there are a few things that I paused at – how can MacMillen be sitting there with his finger still poised on the key if it also appears he struggled? And when the "reader" leaves MacMillen and sees the pirates down the hall, but then the text says "you cannot bear to stay in the room with poor Seamus" – the reader is already in the hallway (although typically called a "passageway" or a "corridor" on a ship). Still, this was entertaining, and I know I would enjoy choosing my own adventure to see how the pirate attack works out.

    Fitzwilliam's piece is fun, with a voice and phrasing that made me initially think it was a bit of historical fiction. But that may still play well with this "modern" piece since it also involves time travel and a wardrobe visitor from the past (and yes – I had to google "cravats" to figure out what it was. My experience with neckwear doesn't extend much past the familiar necktie, although I do tie my own full Windsor knot). The writing works well, and I was pulled into the scene. The idea that Tess never opened the doors before purchasing the wardrobe does strike me as implausible – even if someone wanted to use it as a pantry, they would likely want to see what the inside looked like before buying. And while I also find it hard to believe that neither Tess nor two movers wouldn't be aware that there's a person inside the wardrobe as they bring it in, I suppose it's no weirder to put a wardrobe in the kitchen than a loveseat, since Tess appears to be in the kitchen when she backs into it. But I am willing to assume that this might be a bit like CS Lewis's wardrobe, and that our visitor has been magically and instantly transported from the past or Narnia, right into Tess's furniture-filled kitchen, and I think this definitely looks to be a fun and entertaining story.

    I enjoyed both, but between the two, I'm going with Fitzwilliam for this round – it promises a fun mix of past and present.

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  7. The first piece took me a moment to figure out where I was, but Fitzwilliams had me from word go. I really enjoyed it, and found myself hearing a narrator like John Cleese. So too much fun. My vote is Fitzwilliams.

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  8. It's kind of hard to judge one over the other since they aren't remotely alike (i.e. one is standard fiction and the other is a choose your own adventure). I think the first did a great job at recreating the choose your own adventure fiction. Everything is spot on from what I remember reading when I was younger. The piece is really well-written with some great voice

    I am going to vote for BBB's piece (mainly because I'm afraid the match-up kinda skews things, and I want the person to have a vote).

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    Replies
    1. The well-written with voice was in regards to Fitz's piece. Still voting BBB though.

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  9. YAY!! Another round where i voted to put them both through.

    I love both these peices. They're both just so fun.

    BBB not only makes me want to read a Choos Your Own Adventure, it makes me want to read THIS CYOA.

    And Fitzwilliam's piece left me wanting more.

    Super tough decision this week. Wish i could vote for both but i'll go with Fitzwilliam

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  10. Fitzwilliam. Both had personality but that one was just a bit stronger.

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  11. My vote goes to Fitzwilliam this time. The voice of the piece was just so strong, and I laughed in a few places. Plus, I'm really curious to know what happens next.

    That's not to say that the first entry was bad. It was alright -- there was a pretty good voice there, and second person POV can be difficult to pull off properly. It just didn't pull me in quite as well as Fitzwilliam's piece did.

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  12. Great job, both of you. I've never been a huge fan of CYOA, and I think it's a teeny bit unfair to compare two such different pieces, but I tried to be open-minded about it. BBB's piece is certainly fun. The voice in Fitzwilliam's piece draws me in more and makes me want to keep reading, so I'm voting Fitzwilliam. (Just don't forget to close the quotes after the line about her never-boyfriend Stuart.)

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  13. These were both well written, so my vote is going to have to come down to personal preference - so, Fitzwilliam for me. I do fondly remember CYOA books from when I was a kid! I didn't realize they were being written anymore. That excerpt certainly read with about the exact style of the ones I read as a child, so it seems pretty spot-on if that's what you're aiming for.

    Fitzwilliam's piece was funny and had nice voice. I did find the ending a bit cliché, her dropping the spices at his extreme handsomeness, but that's probably just my inner feminist grumbling. I don't read much romance because I often find them a tad (or a lot) sexist. My first instinct would be to beat the sh** out of anyone found inside my home for any reason, looking confused or not, but this seems to be a common scene in the few romances I've read. That said (dismounting from feminist high-horse), I thought it was a charming, well-written piece and I would be interested to read more.

    Good luck to you both!

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    1. Ha, I suppose I should clarify to say anyone I don't know found inside my home. Family and friends get a pass :)

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  14. Really, I wonder if it's against regulations to bring Mr. Darcy to the ring. It seems an unfair edge, you know, as so many of us will swoon at the very mention of his name... ;) In all seriousness, both pieces were well written, but Darcy aside, I did feel more grounded in Fitzwilliam's piece. I would have kept reading to see how things played out. The first piece, by BBB, was well done, but a little confusing in places, and ultimately, while I loved Choose-your-own-Adventure books when I was a kid, I make enough decisions as an adult that I dont want to have to choose which direction a book's plot takes. My vote goes to Fitzwilliam.

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  15. My vote goes to Fitzwilliam. That piece drew me in immediately.

    As for Bartholomew: I've never read a CYOA and I couldn't get past the writing being in 2nd person. Sorry.

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  16. Congrats to both writers for making it this far.

    Hmm...this is tough for me. I'm not crazy about the writing in either piece.

    I'm biased about the Barty's because I have a CP who writes AMAZING deep second person POV, and this for me didn't really pull me into the story nearly as much as hers. Second person is so hard to do well. That said, the writing for me flowed better.

    Regarding Fitzwilliam's this for me was an example of when the voice, while strong, is disruptive to the flow of the reading. I found myself going back to reread sentences a couple times, which pulled me out of the story. The voice also made me question whose POV the narration was coming from and it also confused me regarding in which time-period this scene was taking place. That said, I found the story cleverer than the first entry.

    Ultimately, I think Fitzwilliam's piece is more well-rounded. He/she does more with the 500 words in terms of showing us what kind of story we're reading and giving us something with which to connect. So my vote for this round goes to Fitzwilliam.

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  17. Vote: Fitzwilliam

    Bartholomew's is a difficult genre for this kind of contest. I loved the choose-your-own Goosebumps books when I was a kid but this was a bit off-putting.

    Fitzwilliam's was kind of a mouthful but exemplified the era well and flowed with ease.

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  18. Fitzwilliam by a landlside for me.

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  19. I didn't really like either piece much today, but I'm going to vote Fitzwilliam. I think in a contest like this, something as specific as CYOA which has a niche audience, is probably not the best choice. It's hard to read second person narrative!

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  20. Both pieces are strong for their genres.

    BBB would have had me lapping up his CYOA when I was younger, but I find, these days, I prefer my adventures pre-chosen. The excerpt was well-written and humorous. I can find little fault, except maybe the adventure was not necessarily exceptional, for this style of adventure. I loved that the pirates’ swinging swords cut little nicks in the wallpaper. I wasn’t so fond of the swaying hips as the way to denote that the mysterious stranger was a woman—a mildly demeaning cliché, to my ears.

    Fitzwilliam was a trifle confusing until I was oriented. I had trouble understanding, at first, what time frame we were in, I think because of her name, “Tess” and the use of “lest” in the first sentence—even though it was clearly stated that the wardrobe was only Regency-era. This, too, is not a genre I would typically read, but this excerpt was lively and the premise fun. I would suggest that some of the writing and dialogue could be freshened a bit to be more exceptional. The swoon. The muscled deliverymen being too familiar. “Oye. Mover people,” didn’t ring true with “lest.”

    Upon multiple readings, I think I will vote for Fitzwilliam, as the premise and writing would more likely induce me to read on.

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  21. I'm going with Fitzwilliam because it had humor and a cleverness to it. I don't mind second person POV when used in to show an inclusion of the generally accepted "you," but BBB's piece didn't do that. So I was more aware of the point of view than I was of the story.

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  22. I think both of these succeeded in telling captivating stories. However, I'm voting for Fitzwilliam because I enjoyed the tone and the humor of it.

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  23. Fitzwilliam! "Sir...or is it...Madam?"....made me laugh out loud.

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  24. Fitzwilliam... has a heavy reminder of Douglas Adams to the lilt and movement in the piece... well done.

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  25. A few things put me off with the second piece. First, how many cravats was he wearing? Generally you wear one cravat. Also "oye" didn't fit with my idea of this character's voice at all. It just felt off.

    I vote for the adventure piece. Bartholomew

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  26. Choose-your-own is making a comeback, I understand, but second-person writing leaves me cold. Sorry :-/

    Fitzwilliam - what an introduction to a great premise! You get my vote.

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  27. Fitzwilliam is my vote

    BBB was interesting, I just wasn't drawn into the story like I was with Fitzwilliam. I enjoyed the pace of Fitzwilliam's piece and would like to see more! Congratulations to both on making it this far.

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  28. My vote goes to Fitzwilliam because it was a creative premise.

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  29. The matchup robot really is random, as shown by its choice in these entries. Choose your own adventure versus regency romance time travel.

    Bartholomew's piece is written in second-person POV, which throws me a bit even though it's obviously required for choose your own adventure. But the writing is clean, and nicely blocked despite having very little dialogue. Unfortunately, this falls right in the midst of a choose-your-own story, so there's a lot going on and I felt a bit lost. I did like the incomplete message, and the bloodied messenger-man. Though I wonder how there was a struggle that ended with his finger still on the telegraph.

    Fitzwilliam has a great opening line. The voice is strong, and though I don't read much in that genre, it seems to match well. I was confused by the meaning of "Oye, mover guys!" Was she summoning them, or exasperated at their timely disappearance? The old lady neighbor who sleeps with the rifle was a nice touch. And I loved how the regency gentleman is confused by the MC's gender due to her modern wardrobe.

    My vote goes to Fitzwilliam.

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  30. Congrats to both writers for making it to the top 32!

    I wish I could vote for both, but my vote goes to Fitzwilliam. While I feel there could have been more done with the scene, I truly enjoyed the voice and was left wanting more!

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  31. I really enjoyed both. Bartholomew had me wanting to go to the next page more, so my vote is there

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  32. Bartholomew Boulstridge Bell
    "the Adventure/Pick Your Plot genre" -- Haven't seen that genre in years. Exciting!
    Minor grammar and punctuation bits need tending. If the word "fellow" were cut, this could work easier for either gender.

    Fitzwilliam
    Great hook opener. This reminds me of the movie Kate & Leopold.

    I like what commenter Chris Fries had to say. (Though I know a few folks who buy without "checking under the hood.")

    Really, I think both are good. Ultimately, I'd like to read more of Bartholomew Boulstridge Bell's piece, so that's my vote.

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  33. In this corner, the no-holds-barred Bartholomew Boulstridge Bell. And fighting for the Regency, (after recently coming out of the closet), it's Fitzwilliam. Congrats to you both!

    Fitzwilliam is my winning pick (so, I guess I won't get to pick my plot *hangs head*), but both entries came out swinging and maintained my interest.

    I'll share my minor suggestions, in case they may help the authors. B-cubed might clarify exactly how, "as you imagine the fight, you realize that your intuition is likely correct" that the perpetrator is a she. Whether the message from the engineer was inbound or outgoing was also hard to follow.

    As for Fitz, I can see that you're going for an Austen-y like opening. It's a cool line, but you're giving away the plot in the first line. It would be more impactful if the reader can share the jolt of surprise that Tess feels when she opens the old wardrobe/new pantry. Maybe you can use the line later.In writing, as in fighting, timing is everything.

    Also, the spices tantalize the reader without adding real zing. To add to the dramedy, Tess could be holding something guaranteed to cause a commotion that she drops as she opens the pantry door, say with her foot (or maybe she puts the box of baking supplies on top of the wardrobe and it tumbles on top of her). After she is doused with flour, sugar, spices, sprinkles, and oil (or whatever else you're having), then let her go for the umbrella. In writing, as in cooking, you are only as good as your ingredients.

    Both of those entries would make two deliciously good and delectably different books! Write on!

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  34. I'm a big fan of pirates, so I vote for Bart! The time travel one was good too, though. But Yaaarrrggghhhhhhhh!

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  35. I'll have to add another vote for Fitzwilliam.

    It's a shame for Bartholomew, as it sounds like there's some exciting stuff happening on that ship, and the writing in the excerpt is competent, especially since -- as others have said -- second person POV is so hard to do. But I'm afraid I really don't see how you can compare a CYOA story to anything but another CYOA story. To be honest, I've never looked at one myself, and it's just not something I would read.

    My first reaction to Fitzwilliam's entry was to think, 'This is adorable!', and it made me laugh in a couple of places. But it gets a bit bumpy as it goes on, as there are some awkward lines that need to be reworked. (Even when you're using the structure of a sentence to heighten the humor, you can't sacrifice clarity and flow; as someone else mentioned, Douglas Adams was a master of that technique -- he could do odd things with phrases and sentences that were terribly funny without actually being awkward or ungrammatical.)

    Also, I have to echo those who pointed out that one only wears one 'cravat' at a time, so it's not a plural item of clothing. I'm wondering if it might be a case of using the wrong word, and it occurred to me that perhaps it was supposed to be 'spats' (the footwear), although that wouldn't really be appropriate for the Regency period (I believe that would be late Victorian). In either case, surely neckwear or footwear wouldn't be the most noticeable part of someone's clothing, and it's strange that nothing is said about what else he's wearing. It also struck me as odd that the ending suggests the gentleman is alarmingly tall, which seems rather doubtful. So this passage could use a little tidying up, but the voice is charming and the story sounds like great fun. :)

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  36. Fitzwilliam for sure!!! I can't wait to read the rest of the book!

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  37. Balance your spiritual energy and get in harmony with your soul by practicing these Radha-Krishna meditations.


    Sri Gita Govinda
    -A book written in the 12th century, this is a description of the intimate loving affairs of Radha and Krishna
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/keqr4lqp7wr1rru/Sri_Gita_Govinda.pdf

    Govinda Lilamrta
    -An 400 year old book which poetically describes the eternal daily pastimes of Radha and Krishna
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/uhcuigauc6uqiei/Govinda_Lilamrita.pdf

    Ananda Vrindavan Campu
    -This is probably the most poetic and intimate portrayal of Sri Krsna’s life in Vrndavana that has ever been written.
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/k9j3ldwbt17be3b/Ananda_Vmdavana_Campu.pdf

    Prayers of Service to Radha and Krishna (Sankalpa Kalpadruma)
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/lvkqsro3sbzm249/Visvanath_Cakravarti_Thakur_Sankalpa_Kalpadruma.pdf

    Prema Samputa The Treasure Chest of Love
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/mpbncdyt97nw0x7/Prema_Samputa_The_Treasure_Chest_of_Love.pdf


    And the following four are taken from Visvanath Cakravarti's Camatkara Candrika, a 300 year old scripture that talks about the love meeting of Radha and Krishna:

    The Meeting in the Box
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/c81a7cp43n5v6aj/The_Meeting_in_the_Box.pdf

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as a Female Doctor
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/hgomrnem7829pda/The_Meeting_of_Sri_Krsna_Disguised_as_a_Female_Doctor.pdf

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as a Female Singer
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/gyuboduhn8dvdml/The_Meeting_of_Sri_Krsna_Disguised_as_a_Female_Singer.pdf

    The Meeting of Sri Krishna Disguised as Abhimanyu
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/911h9qoxn4ca027/The_Meeting_of_Sri_Krsna_Disguised_As_Abhimanyu.pdf


    And lastly, we have a very amazing scripture which describes the 24 hour daily loving affairs of Radha and Krishna in Vrindavan, called Bhavanasara Sangraha. This book is now available on Amazon for Kindle, for only $3.49

    http://www.amazon.com/Bhavanasara-Sangraha-Mahanidhi-Swami-ebook/dp/B00CW9H4DI/ref=la_B00J2M5LAQ_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402209195&sr=1-15

    Here is a 41 page sample of Bhavanasara Sangraha:
    http://www.mediafire.com/view/t4gsse2d4sw0f8p/Sample_of_Bhavanasara_Sangraha.pdf

    The above book can also be read on your PC using Amazon Kindle for PC, download here for free:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_pc_mkt_lnd?docId=1000426311

    Disclaimer: We are not affiliated with ISKCON in any way whatsoever. ISKCON, or "The Hare Krishna Movement" as it's popularily known, is a radical and extremist distortion of the original Radha and Krishna dharma from ancient India. The author of the above book Bhavanasara Sangraha is no longer affiliated with ISKCON either, having cut all ties to ISKCON a few years ago.

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  38. I like Fitzwilliam's story, but then I'm a sucker for Regency romances and that ilk. I'm wondering why the man is wearing "cravats" rather than "a cravat," and there was some jumpiness about the flow, but them are small potatoes. I was definitely wanting more, which is the ultimate goal.

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  39. Both have good voices. Unfortunately for BBB I've never enjoyed Choose Your Own Adventures so my vote goes to Fitzwilliam

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  40. It is really hard to vote on stories that are completely different from one another, but for me the CYOA actually kept my attention more than the Fitzwilliam one. And CYOAs are not easy to right! Kudos to Bartholomew Boulstridge Bell - I am voting for yours! My main issues with the Fitzwilliam one was that certain sections seemed awkward to read. I didn't understand the whole thing with the movers, but the author did a good job with the subtle humor and intro sentence.

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  41. I vote for BBBell.

    While the voice in Fitzwilliam is certainly a lively standout, that sort of flippantly ironic voice is done so much in YA and Young Romance type stories that it just comes off as not very original. The plotline is developed well, however. There were also some colorful word choices that I liked. Not fond of love stories where good looks are the grabber that sets a romance in motion.

    In BBBell, I don't like the shorthand depiction of a woman as swaying hips going down the hall and a loose curl, but at least the woman is adventuresome, and that makes her more interesting for me than a woman whose new life is replacing a dud guy with a guy whose handsome face makes her drop a box of spices. I expect she'll tag along on his time travels. Or spend a lot of time waiting for his sporadic returns, not having any substantial interests of her own.

    I thought BBBell did a good job of creating a sense of place and atmosphere. It gave a better, though brief, sense of the personalities of everyone who appeared on the scene. And I like the way the presence of a dead man is brought to our awareness. It starts out as a mundane list of what's in the room and ends with him. I got confused about whose messages were whose and how "she" made him send a message if she killed him in the middle of transcribing a message when she walked in. Even with that problem, I'd rather be on that ship then in the new apartment in Fitzwilliam.

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  42. Congratulations to both writers for making it to #5.

    It is hard to judge one against the other as they are such different genres. But I will try my best.

    BBB—I have never read a CYOA book before, so I cannot say if the style of writing works. I agree with some of the comments above, although the hip-swinging character left me wondering if it was indeed a women, due to the masculine reference. Maybe a cross-dresser? Men can swagger too! As to the message and the confusion surrounding it, I assume it is a sent message and Seamus was forwarding it on before he was interrupted. I love the descriptive nature of the headless body and finger resting on the strap key, and I again assume the murderer placed the body and head in their resting place, if not, it doesn't make sense I'm afraid. Overall though, I enjoyed the piece.

    Fitzwilliam—Not being a huge fan of romance novels, it was hard going. The opening threw me. At first, I thought I was in a later period and as the story progressed, I was even more confused. Until the mention of a new job and the yoga pants, that is. To be honest, by the time I got to the end of some of the sentences, I was breathless (yes, I breathe as I read). I feel this was down to sentence structure and could be rectified when rewritten, though. Also be aware of cliche moments. Too many, and it puts the reader off.

    After much deliberation, my vote goes to Bartholomew Boulstridge Bell. Mainly due to the fact I love a good adventure.

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  43. I vote for Bartholomew Boulstridge Bell.

    There were some little touches in Fitzwilliam's piece that rubbed me the wrong way. The touches of Regency language and writing convention just didn't work for me. It looks to be the start of a fun story, though.

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  44. I had to go away and think about this round. They both had things that threw me, but after re-reading I give my vote to BBB.

    BBB had too much telling (I don't read this genre, so this may be normal) and I couldn't visualise how MacMillan put up a struggle when he was sitting at his desk and his finger was still resting on the key. I didn't relate to the “My God… what happened to you?” line after we'd already discovered the bloodied dead man (dialogue didn't ring true). But, overall I enjoyed where the story was going.

    I seem to be against the general opinion here - but there was too much telling and backstory in Fitzwilliam for me. I found this, coupled with the distant Regency style descriptions didn't convey any emotion. I thought the story was set in modern times (adult romance with time travel) and the man in the wardrobe was from the regency era?? Consequently the POV style of writing seemed odd to me and ultimately I didn't connect with the character. The last line--sorry--threw me right off and was probably the decider on where my vote went.

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  45. Congrats to both! both are great entries!

    I love the Choose-your-won-adventure feel and it takes me right back to being a kid and how much I enjoyed those books.

    However, my vote goes to Fitzwilliam, simply because the entry made me laugh out loud more than once and I really liked the voice in this piece. I also wanted to keep reading. And bonus points for the word "cravats".

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  46. Darn, this one's really really tough. Love those choose your own adventures! And I really do like this mysterious man in the wardrobe set up - it makes me want to read more!
    Hmm... Okay, I'll go with Fitzwilliam.

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  47. I vote for Fitz!
    Where can I find this book? The handsome man from the past popping out of the cupboard! I love it. The writing made the story easy to follow and the actions of the characters believable.

    I am still a litle confused on Bart's vision. It may be helpful to provide information about the setting. The costumed woman / man could have been someone escaping in any era. When I read about the telegraph and the engine room, my mind shifted to a story on a train, in the wild west. Then their were pirates drawing their swords on a ship. Do you see my confusion?

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  48. Fitzwilliam!

    The first piece is well done, but just seems to be lacking that extra pop found in the second. Maybe it is the box of spices? I'm not sure, but something is missing, giving Fitzwilliam the edge.

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  49. Both are good examples of their genre, but I'm choosing Fitzwilliam by a smidge.

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  50. Both very interesting and unique pieces. I feel like the writing is well matched too. Overall compelling with just a few places that could use smoothing. This one I'm deciding on personal preference, and Fitzwilliam gets my vote. I'd love to see where this story goes.

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  51. I've spent enough time thinking over both pieces. My vote is going to Fitzwilliam. Purely a subjective choice. As a reader I don't care much for present tense or second person. While both choices are appropriate to the genre it does not pull me in to the story or carry me along. What I liked most about Fitzwilliam is the humor in it and the directions the story could take from where it left off. But cravats? How many cravats can a gentleman wear at one time? I think someone else has also asked that question. I'd like to see Fitzwilliam rework that final sentence as well---except for dropping the box of spices.

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  52. Both pieces were well written and had excitement.

    My vote goes to Fitzwilliam, as it's more along the lines of fiction I enjoy and would read on to learn more.

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  53. Two quite unique styles and genres here which makes for an interesting bout. Congrats to you both for making it through. I'm going to vote Fitzwilliam today, I could picture the setting and characters a little more.

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  54. Fitzwilliam gets my vote. I thought the first one was a good example of that genre, but it was difficult to get into the characters.

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  55. I vote Fitz.
    While purchasing the piece without opening the doors is indeed fishy I can accept it for purposes of the story. Sometimes you have to overlook the obvious to see the magic in the story. I thought it was a fun story and it read easily. The adult romance reared its head when she realized how gorgeous he was and that was where the story lost me simply because I'm not into that type of writing.
    BBB's second person POV is tough to read as an adult. I read many when I was a kid but now I just can't get over the generics of it.

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  56. Both entries have strong points, and once BBB works out a few discrepancies in the set-up, I might very well prefer it. But as of today, Fitzwilliam for me.

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  57. CYOE is not something that I enjoy - YOU'RE telling this story. Now that I've gotten that out of the way BBB's piece is very well written and to someone who enjoys this genre more, I'm sure is would be very appealing.

    Fitzwilliam draws me into the story immediately. There is a lot of telling going on, but I do want to know more. There are some discrepancies that could easily be ironed out, but I think the writing is very good and the storytelling superb.

    Give my vote to Fitzwilliam.

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  58. The first one was quite hard to get into, found it quite confusing. The second was better, but still hard to follow. I vote for Fitzwilliam for being superior of the two.

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  59. I definitely find both these pieces compelling, in that I'd like to know what happens in each one. But as for my personal preference, Fitwilliam's piece wins for me. I definitely would want to read on. :)

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  60. BBB - I love these types of stories and have noticed them making a comeback. I think this piece was very well written. I could imagine it all, up until the very end. Something about the scripting left me feeling confused about the action of the pirates. Were they going down the hallway toward the Admiral, or were they coming towards me? I thought they were advancing towards me (laughing menacingly as they approach), but the final sentence and the question seems to indicate that the main reason I have to leave the room is that I can't bear to be in it with dead Seamus - as if I have a choice in the matter. Am I sneaking out behind the pirates' back? Or am I going to try to run away from them as they are standing there looking right at me? I feel I need to know this to make an informed decision as to how to proceed.

    Fitzwilliam - This is a fanciful idea, though I feel like I've read something similar before. It seems like a popular theme in romance. There were certain things that seemed a little irrelevant that kept being mentioned, like tipping the movers. The movers seem to get a lot of attention here, though they are not really part of the story. Also there were several awkward sentences (ex. And it was of Stuart and the last time they went sailing together she was thinking…). When the MC was startled by the gent coming out of the wardrobe, I didn't get a genuine sense of surprise. Do people "consider" screaming? The yoga pants line was funny, except it was confusing to me: (…as if she hadn’t showered in days when in fact, she had not.) "In fact" would, in my way of thinking, precede something that contradicts the "as if" statement, rather than support it.

    Overall I feel like the writing was stronger in BBB, and the end question could be easily clarified, so I cast my vote for BBB.

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  61. Congratulations Bartholomew and Fitzwilliam for making it to the battle rounds.

    My vote goes to Fitzwilliam.

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  62. My vote goes to Fitzwilliam. Voice in paragraph one pulled me and never let me go.

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  63. I loved both of these; such different concepts. I vote for Fitzwilliam because it is a story to read; I'm not good at interactive games.

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  64. The "oye" came out of nowhere in the Fitzwilliam piece. I can't possibly imagine any modern person speaking that way anymore when they are startled. Other than that, I thought the writing was fitting for a past/present novel. I think it's a bit unfair to judge our preference for CYOA since it is niche, so I judged these two novels against my own experience reading both genres. With that said, I think BBB's CYOA was written well for his own genre, whereas the Fitzwilliam is engaging but needs more polishing.

    My vote goes for BBB.

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  65. I'm casting my vote for BBB. I thought it was super fun and could picture reading that story with my son.

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