It was neck and neck for a long time, but a hearty congratulations to our fourth winner, Nanato4. He/she will now have to wait patiently for the play-offs to begin in six weeks. The voting for Bout #5 still remains open until noon on Sunday, July 6th.
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 sixth 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.
Take your seat and get settled. The fun's about to begin!
Here are this bout #6's two randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in this corner, representing the Fantasy/Adult genre and weighing in at 499 words, please welcome to the ring…….Imladris.
Liam hadn't slept. By the light of a single candle, he sat at his desk penning a note to his apprentice regarding matters that might require attention after Liam was gone.
You'll find a letter of recommendation in my top desk drawer. I have full confidence that you'll be able to continue with one of the other masters...
He rolled the pen between his fingers, trying to imagine just what else Egan might need to know, a process he was finding difficult due to his uncertainty about how long he'd be gone. Sielan lore held that Zareth had returned from the mountain after a time. In all his years of studying the passages, Liam had never realized just how vague that sounded. What kind of time were they talking about? A day? A year?
If you find me gone for a significant period of time, please divide the gemstones in my armoire between yourself and whomever you deem worthy. But please, do not forget Clara, who brings our breakfast each day. And Chelsea, the tailor, who has always done me special favors. I have tipped both of them handsomely for years and get the feeling they rely upon it.
His heart lurched in his chest at the thought of gemstones, remembering a very key detail he could hardly believe he'd forgotten.
Whatever you do, Egan, do not touch the aetherstones! Handle them with tongs and place them in a secure container. For reasons that we've spoken about, I have never told the council of their existence.
He rubbed his forehead, contemplating the next part. What should be done with the stones? They'd be quite a boon to Sielu in general, but he felt dubious about the manner in which they might be used.
It is my will that they be donated to Matron Ansonette, to be used only for the purpose of empathic healing. I believe this would be the best, and safest, application for the aetherstones. But you must stress to her that they are not to be treated as baubles by initiates and the like. The aetherstones should only ever be used by those who have experience navigating the aether...
The sound of the clock in his bedroom interrupted any further musings. Five-of-morn. Satisfied that he'd covered everything of importance that might occur in his absence, he went to his bedroom and began his morning routine.
He washed and dressed, pulled his wild hair back and secured it away from his face. He tucked the note to Egan into his pocket.
He smoothed the faded blanket on the bed, stepped into his old, worn boots and went to rouse his apprentice for their morning sparring session. Though he was eager to proceed with the plan he'd laid out, he had to admit that the sleepless night hadn't done him any favors. He needed the exercise today even more than usual. He needed to center himself.
And in the other corner, representing the General Fiction genre with 497 words, let me introduce to you……….Bug Written
Our home was a closed-up shack behind an old, empty warehouse. The day I was found, I’d caught thirteen bugs and stowed them in the jar for dinner, though I could only see shadows by then. My brother James used to get the bugs because I hated when they squashed between my fingers.
Before James left was last time I said anything. That was before our electricity went out. I asked, “Can I get more jerky?” Neither James nor Dad answered, and I never used my voice again. Then I couldn’t anymore. That was about the same time I stopped seeing. James didn’t tell me when he left. He was older, but still too young to care for me. Guess that’s why he didn’t tell me.
When the darkness took over, I had no problems keeping up with my chores, I’d done them for so long. Dad liked that because he stopped yelling. Then he stopped talking.
Dad taught me to empty our pot through a broken drain that went outside, since we never went out anymore. In the dark, I learned to collect water from a spigot to rinse the pot out and pour it down the drain to keep our place from smelling so bad.
I don’t remember when Dad stopped being around. For a long time, I couldn’t hear him at all… or anything. I used to hear the mice and bugs and Dad. And I used to see his shadow, until he was gone. I noticed those dark shadows that was him hadn’t passed by in some time. But it was almost like he was still around. Everything else was the same. I’d reach out and grab the jerky from the shelf near my sleeping spot. Then I’d pick out the weeds from the tomatoes and green beans. Chores took me a long time.
I could’ve left, I guess, after I was all alone. It’d been so long since I saw or heard anything that my mind couldn’t think to do more than what it was used to.
During the quake, things fell all around me. I wasn’t scared, until I felt hands on me. Dad wouldn’t have touched me. I thought, Maybe James…? Too many hands though.
It was other people who found me. Sometime later, sounds started coming back and I learned to use my voice again. I hope light won’t always hurt my eyes. I’m told they’re looking for Dad and my brother James, but without a last name, they don’t know if they’ll be found. Maybe Dad used to work at the warehouse in front of our shack. I don’t know.
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 #6. 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.