WRiTE CLUB 2014 – Bout #6




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.
           
Besides, he thought, it wouldn't do to simply vanish without a word.
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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.

The doctor said I might be seven. I have a new family and a new name. They said today could be my birthday. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and want to do my chores, but the shadows I see are different. Then I remember…. Out loud I say, “I’m Joey… and I’m brand new.”
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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. 

Here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing -- it’s the audience that gets clobbered!

65 comments

  1. ooh - BugWritten takes this round for me

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  2. My vote goes to Bug Written simply because I'm interested in finding out more to this story. I will mention, that at first I had thought the boy was blinded, but then had to read over it once again. Still a lot of unanswered questions, which is why I want to learn more.

    Imladris piece is well written, but didn't capture my interest as well since it's not the type of story that usually interests me.

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  3. I vote for Imladris. The writing was clear and effortless. Bug Written was interesting, but I had to reread parts.

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  4. Both intriguing pieces.
    Imladris has a clean, crisp style. I did feel as if the story was going to be with the apprentice rather than the master though.
    Bug Written has an interesting style and premise. The last couple of paragraphs felt a bit rushed compared to the 1st - kind of turned it into backstory instead of story (if that makes sense:))
    So hard! Okay. My vote goes to Imladris

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  5. Both of these pieces are intriguing! but Bug Written takes top spot for a consistent voice and a set up I'd read in a minute. Good job, Bug Written!

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  6. I vote for Imladris as I was completely pulled in. The back and forth with the letter worked great for me, and it gave the scene tension. Strong writing and an intriguing concept/world. I wanted to read more!

    Bug Written had some interesting stuff going on, but the other entry entertained me far more. Bug also had way to many "be verbs" and passive voice for me to give it my vote.Sorry, it's my thing.

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  7. Now this is some writing here!

    Bug Written is nicely done, however it seems too rushed. That's the problem with writing flash fiction. When you're given a certain amount of words, the writing needs to be more organic. The emotions and visuals are strong as are the first couple paragraphs.

    Regarding Imladris, adult fantasy isn't my type of thing at all. Neither is 3rd person. Yet this piece kept my interest, and I found myself loving the way the author writes. The framing has a lyrical quality and some of the lines are truly beautiful.

    Winner for me: Imladris

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  8. This was another close one for me, but my vote goes to Bug Written.

    Both pieces were really well written, and both captured my attention. I don't think I would turn down reading the rest of either story, to be honest.

    But, Bug Written's story was just a little bit stronger. I felt more emotion coming out of it, and the story question was a bit more compelling.

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  9. Google just ate my comment when I tried to preview it. Maybe it's the heat...

    Both are well written, which makes it hard to choose! I'm going with Imladris because I found it smoother and easier to understand. Bug Written (great pen name, btw), though heart-wrenching, is mostly summary of what happened in the past, instead of showing us as it happens.

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  10. super tough call here but I have to go with Imaldris. SA a long time fantasy fan this grabbed my attention and the passages flowed.

    Bug written was amazing as well, the only part that caught me off gaurd was the sudden shift at the end.

    My vote is Imaldris this time.

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  11. My vote goes to Imaldris, the story flowed much better for me.

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  12. I find this one a challenge.

    To me, both entries come across as essentially all internal exposition and backstory. There is very little showing going on among all the telling, and so I find it hard to really get pulled into either piece.

    The writing in Imladris's entry is smooth and flows well. Even with all the new characters, items, and concepts mentioned, it never felt confusing. The writing of the letter does an effective job of getting all the backstory established, but that is really all this piece does. Still -- for a longer story in a fantasy genre, there is typically a lot of world-building needed, and this does a smooth job of doing it. But I do wish that Imladris had provided an entry with a little more tension, conflict, and drama so I could see how the author works those key elements into their writing.

    Bug Written offers a compelling situation -- that of an apparently young child ignored and left alone in poverty or after some sort of disaster. But I found the style in which it was delivered misses out on emphasizing all the drama of that situation. By using first-person and a matter-of-fact delivery, it feels like it's all being told as distant backstory to the child's current situation, whatever that may be. I'm never pulled in to the immediacy of the events, and with a child's POV, it's hard to clearly grasp just what's happening to him. Shadows and silence and darkness and a vague sense of what's occurring does not do the story justice, I'm afraid.

    So I'm left to choose between bland backstory written well, or a compelling story written as bland backstory.

    Since this is a writing contest, I have to go with the first option, in the hope that the later story uses the skillful writing to tell a more compelling drama -- Imaldris for me.

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  13. While bug written was good, it was the other, Imladris, which I adore. That voice! I could read /mentally hear that all day.
    Great job to both. Imladris has my vote.

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  14. Imladris gets my vote. I'm very intrigued about the different gemstones, and it has spot-on voice and style for high fantasy.

    I was a bit confused by Bug Written's excerpt. It sounds like it could be dystopian, but maybe it's just modern day, some third world country that experienced an earthquake? I thought the person went blind when it said "That was about the time I stopped seeing." But then it mentions the person sees shadows. I'm also not sure why he/she would quit speaking just because no one answered. Wouldn't this cause panic? And then it says they weren't able to speak after that - why not? Perhaps in a longer excerpt this is all explained, I just couldn't quite figure it out in 500 words. It's definitely an intriguing concept - someone left after a disaster and then found by strangers - so nice job with that.

    Good luck to you both!

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  15. This is the most difficult bout to date for me to judge. Both are very strong pieces.

    Liam is a character I see very easily even though he is not described. One can draw the conclusion he isn’t an old man if he spars regularly with his apprentice and one can draw from the fact he has an apprentice that he isn’t young either. With those facts alone I see him. I want to see more. I want to know what the prophecy means. Where is he going? And, if he can vanish at any time, why is he carrying his note in his pocket where it will vanish along with him? I have more questions I’m sure Imladris is going to answer. I hope I get an opportunity to see them.

    Joey’s situation is a bit harder to fathom for me. It’s like flickering black and white screen shots from an old silent film, one badly preserved. Is it a future dystopia or a third world country? I can’t be sure. Are they in hiding? Why? From who? I got the shivery feeling neither Jack or their father have left. I’ve read it again and I’m still not sure. This piece can jump into so many paths I’m not surprised Bug Written placed it under General Fiction. Until I know the rest of the story I don’t know either.

    Tough decision. Not many weak points to shift things out. I would like to see both of them in their complete form. But a decision must be made and I am going with Imladris. Joey's story just demands more than can be contained in 500 words or less.

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  16. BugWritten has a great premise and great promise. It’s ambitious, tackling a difficult subject—post catastrophe as seen through the eyes of a small child. But the tense gets confused and confusing for me and some of the sentences required a second and third read. After polishing, it might be my favorite. Then there’s Imladris, which flowed beautifully, had a wonderful consistent voice and style and some lovely sentences, despite the fact that the genre doesn’t really grab me....

    Imladris has my vote today though both pieces were strong

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  17. Imladris gets my vote today. I love the premise of Bug Written's piece, but it's too short for the story being told so not nearly as powerful as it could be.

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  18. I'm voting for Imladris because it was easy to follow and held my attention. Bug Written was difficult to follow and I guess just not my thing.

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  19. Both were really good today. I was more drawn in by the first piece though. I vote for Imladris.

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  20. Nicely written, if a bit rough, stories. Imladris seemed like a nice beginning to a story, but I wasn't really captivated by the character. Bug Written showed tons of emotion, but the writing was a bit hard to follow, some sentences did not make sense to me. I vote for Imladris in a close decision.

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  21. Congratulations to both contestants for securing a place in the ring. I choose Imladris as my winner. The entry captivates with some delightful elements, although the ending slipped off in this respect. For example, "five-of-morn" is a nice detail. Either summarize Liam getting dressed, etc., or give us more delicious tidbits like that. (I know you only have 500 words...although, the writing could have been tightened in places to help with that.) The back-and-forth "dialogue" between Liam and the letter might have come across as choppy, but the author handled this deftly.

    Bug Written is evocatively creepy (and put in me in mind of Saramago's Blindness), however, it crams in so many events that it's hard to follow. On the other hand, the relative lack of sensory description is surprising. The last paragraph doesn't flow well from the rest and seems tacked-on. The voice was compelling and authentic, reminiscent of Kaye Gibbons's Ellen Foster.

    OK, I just compared the RUNNER-UP's work to that of a Nobel Prize Laureate and the winner of the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction. No losers here. Well done to you both.


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  22. Interesting match-up. Both pieces are all inner dialogue or should I say monologue. I have a hard time with a full 500 words of that and no action or actually showing me what is going on around the character. That said, I need to choose between the two and I have to say that although Bug Written's piece from a child's perspective is more compelling, something about it falls flat. Imladris, on the other hand writes a nice tight and concise piece that is easy to follow. I admit that neither really 'knocks me out' but in the end I vote for Imladris.

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  23. I vote for Bug Written.

    Good writing in both, though.

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  24. Both are sad and well written and deserve to go to the next round. But to choose one of them, I have to choose Imladris for the better character development. I felt like in that short passage I got to know the character better than Bug Written accomplished.

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  25. Bug Written, hands down for me. Really, really fascinating excerpt and a killer ending hook. I think some of it can be tightened up, but the writing was much more gripping for me than Imladris.

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  26. Both are really good. While I'm curious where Bug Written will go, I'm far more eager to know what happens next with Imladris. So Imladris gets my vote.

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  27. Both pieces were really well written and I had a tough time choosing, but for this round, my vote goes to Bug Written. Congrats to both for making it to the bouts. Winners all around.

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  28. This is one where I'm torn, for sure! Bug Written's excerpt is compelling, and I love how it ends. It was a bit confusing here & there. I also would be intrigued to read on with Imladris's excerpt - though it wasn't exactly high action to begin with, I am fascinated with the world it's set in, and would want to read on and find out more ... and follow Liam on his pending adventure.

    I will go with Imladris.

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  29. I'm sorry, neither piece is interesting to me, but since I'm here, I'm voting, and I vote for Imladris. It's written well, but the story is not starting at the right spot. There's nothing there to hook me. The second one was choppy and confusing.

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  30. I found both of these interesting, but Bug Written's piece had too many errors, like missing commas. I vote for Imladris

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  31. Wow. Two more great entries. If these were both expanded into novels, I'd read them both. In the end, though, while the concept of Bug Written is wonderful and overall well done, it felt like a bit too much was cramped in at the end. Still, a wonderful piece.

    My vote goes to Imladris, because the tone and the pace worked perfectly for me.

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  32. I really enjoyed both of these pieces. My vote goes to Imladris because I love fantasy.

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  33. Congratulations to both writers to making it through to the top 32!

    Imladris' piece was better written in terms of grammar, sentence structure, etc, but Bug written left me wanting to know more - all the how's and why's. It might be because the fantasy genre doesn't really speak to me, but my vote goes to Bug Written.

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  34. Imaldris gets my vote this round as I thought the writing was stronger. I would like to know more about BugWritten's piece as the premise was intriguing but despite reading a couple of times I still wasn't sure exactly what was happening. Best of luck to you both and congratulations for making it to the last 32.

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  35. For me, Imladris was the stronger piece

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  36. I vote for Imladris. It was an easy read and my imagination was engaged.
    I’m afraid the premise of Bug Written’s piece was a little too depressing for me.

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  37. Imladris was an easy read, though I wasn't engaged until the very last sentence when I learned that not only was this person leaving, he was vanishing, which implies drama and intrigue, and it made me want to read more.
    Bug Written was more difficult to read and I'm not sure the voice matches up with a 7 yo, or that a MG reader would be interested in reading about a 7 yo, as readers often choose protagonists the same age or older. But perhaps this protagonist will age quickly into an adult genre and that will be a non-issue. The premise is original, the details are interesting, and the beginning of the plot compelling. It is not a story I would want to read, however, as it seems like a downer.
    I'm throwing my vote to Imaldris.

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  38. I vote for Bug Written. The steadily growing wrongness really got me. There's an intriguing setting lurking just out of sight.

    Imladris' piece was solid, with just a couple little things I could pick at. It seems strange that Liam never thought about the meaning of "for a time," for instance. You could get the same effect with him cursing the ancient sages for their vagueness and thinking that "for a time" meant a year or two in one story and three centuries in another one.

    It was a fairly close vote, but I'm going with Bug Written.

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  39. there is something compelling about bug written's that drew me in. it's dark and intriguing. imladris, unlike everyone else, I found myself withdrawing from the story by the middle with the clutter of info dropping, and my attention was drifting.
    vote bug written

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  40. I think both are potentially intriguing concepts, but both excerpts confused the heck out of me. Maybe I just didn't "get it". For Imladris, this was the sentence that lost me: "Whatever you do, Egan, do not touch the aetherstones! Handle them with tongs and place them in a secure container." Wouldn't the character place it in a secure container to begin with if it's that dangerous? That would seem like the most logical response rather than to leave it behind and then warn the person to be careful. I clearly thought way too much about this but it threw me off and I just couldn't get back into the story as much as I wanted to. Overall, the writing is good and I think the last sentence is a good hook.

    For Bug Written, I was too confused about what was happening. The character is blind... but then isn't... I couldn't figure out if this was a kid suffering from child abuse, living in dystopian society, blind/deaf, crazy, etc. While I think this story has a lot of potential (I love reading horror and depressing stories) and reading more of it would give me the insight I need, I can only judge on the excerpt and the excerpt was simply too confusing for me.

    With that said, I vote for Imladris.

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  41. I'm at a loss with Bug Written. Missing punctuation and a few spots where a word should be that isn't. How can he weed the beans and tomatoes if they don't go outside anymore? It has an intriguing storyline but just isn't laid out well enough to make it believable or to even make sense to me.

    Imaldris's piece was better written, flowed better and even though I'm not into this genre I understand the little bit of story that is told in 500 words. I must admit I was bored with it halfway through. Especially the little add ons like tipping the other people like the tailor or the breakfast girl. Seems like those words could have been better served enticing us with more of the adventure he was about to embark on.
    My vote goes to Imaldris.

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  42. I like both samples, but would give Bug Written the edge only because I'm not big on fantasy. Also, I wanted to know more about Joey's new life.

    Thanks for organizing the blitz, DL.

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  43. Both are intriguing concepts, and polished. Both of the story, character, and world development are well paced. Both are equally passive though.

    Imladis shows a glimpse into an ongoing world and story. Bug Written's story feels complete as a flash fiction, but there are too many concepts that are left with questions in my mind.

    I'll vote for Imladis because I can see an adventurous plot in the making.

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  44. Going with BugWritten on this one. It sounds like Joey is going somewhere interesting. I'd love to see this piece fleshed out a bit to give more about the emotions he felt as things faded, rather than being so matter of fact about it. It seems unlikely that a young child would be so accepting of the disappearance of his family, right?

    For Imladis: I often find that with fantasy writing I struggle with the names writers choose for things/people/places and it pulls me out of the story - I end up thinking, "how does one pronounce that exactly?" etc. So for example, the sentence "Sielan lore held that Zareth..." was really distracting. I understand the desire to sound foreign or alien to show that it is *someplace else*, but when it's so foreign, it becomes too easy to lose the story while trying to decipher names.

    Good showing, both!

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  45. Wow, this is a tough round! Bug Written's piece has me wanting more. Usually that is a good thing, but some of what I'm wanting is clarification of what is already there. :-( I think I have just seen part of what will be a great story, but the great storytelling isn't quite there...yet.

    On the other hand, Imladris presents a clear and well-told tale. The story may not be as appealing (to me), but the storytelling is.

    Imladris by a hair.

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  46. Bug Written seemed a bit random and could use some polishing, but it gets my vote this week. Imladris was cleaner, but it just didn't capture my attention.

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  47. I enjoyed both entries a lot, which makes picking one incredibly difficult. I'll have to go with Bug Written. That entry ended a bit stronger, imho, and want to know more about Joey.

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  48. I had to step away and then come back to read these again before I could make a decision. I'm voting for Bug Written. The flow of the peice is incredibly smooth, even if it does leave me a tad bit confused. I enjoyed Imladris' piece too. One little nipick: I don't like the implication that Liam nearly forgot the important bit of information. I think his heart could simply lurch and then go right to "Whatever you do".

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  49. Bug Written wins my vote. It left me with questions and wanting more.

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  50. This was hard to decide between the two. They're so different in style and, of course, genre. I'm not a huge fantasy fan, but I did think the writing was a bit more polished in Imladris, so I'm going with that one.

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  51. I'm voting for Imladris.

    It's nice to see fantasy written in a style that's polished and mature overall. (Evidently because it's a genre that often appeals to young and/or very green writers, there always seem to be quite a few examples of fantasy on critique sites and in contests that are plagued with errors and self-conscious writing.) :( The details here also give a sense of depth to the world, and although there's nothing that stands out as particularly original, it doesn't feel clichéd either. The one minor issue I see is that, as someone mentioned above, it's odd that Liam would actually 'forget' about the aetherstones. And that sentence, beginning with "His heart lurched' also needs to be revised; as it's written, it actually says that it's his heart that remembers, not Liam himself.

    The concept in Bug Written's entry is certainly disturbing and intriguing, but I have to agree with Chris Fries' comment about it being written as bland backstory. In spite of the subject matter, It feels almost flat. It seems it could be far more compelling if the author used a more literary approach in which all of these things that are summarized are actually experienced by the reader, so that this could be the basis for an entire chapter, or even more than one chapter. Aside from a couple of awkward spots, the writing is fairly clean, but that's all; just because writing is simple -- even when it's written for Middle Grade readers, which this evidently isn't -- that doesn't mean it can't be beautiful. (Look at Patricia MacLachlan's books). I'm afraid this excerpt is lacking even a touch of poetry, along with the curious lack of emotion.

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  52. Yay! I voted to put both these entries through! But now i'm sad i have to pick one over the other.

    For me, today, I'm going with Bug Written.

    I think it was a little clearer for me. Just a bit

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  53. Congratulations to Imladris and Bug Written for making the cut! My comments:

    I'm thrilled to see Imladris representing adult fantasy with this piece. The MC about to embark on a perilous journey is a sound starting point for this piece, and I was intrigued by the uncertainty before him. That said, there was a lot of world-building attempted in a short period, with many unfamiliar people/places/races. That, combined with the fact that we just have a narrator sitting at a desk (i.e. no real stakes), tempered the excitement.

    Bug Written grabbed me write away with a strong first-person voice, with an innocence and limited worldview that perfectly matched the character. The constant shrinking of his world compelled me to keep reading. I felt sorry for him because it seemed like he was unable (or unaware) to feel sorry for himself. The line about still waking up and wanting to do his chores was a perfect knockout punch.

    So I give this bout to Bug Written.

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  54. Both pieces were well-written, but I vote for Imladris in this round.

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  55. Tough call on this one - both are well done! More fascinate with Imladris, though, so that gets my vote.

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  56. Two intriguing pieces. Bug Written's piece had an interesting concept, but I had trouble following what was happening and had to reread it a second time to understand. I still don't really. I felt some of the writing was clunky and could be smoothed out. I couldn't keep track of when things were happening or what some of it meant and that was distracting. When he stopped "seeing James" was it because James had left or because there was no light or because his eyes stopped working? All three? What is a "closed cabin?" If he's picking weeds out of tomatoes and green beans, were they growing inside the cabin? How did the food just appear at his bedside? When a story takes so much work, there has to be a big payoff or some intriguing element to keep me reading but nothing here told me who the boy was or why he was important.

    I loved the voice and the descriptions in Imladris's piece and felt I was skillfully transported into the story. For the most part, I enjoyed the way information was revealed. There was a bit too much name dropping for such a short piece and eliminating some of it would smooth the reader's entry into this world. Or maybe drop in clearer explanations for who or what they're supposed to be.

    My vote goes to Imladris.

    A big SHOUT OUT to the fabulous DL and his AMAZING crew. Thanks to everyone who stopped by my blog last week to say "hi." I really enjoyed reading all the comments and felt so lucky to be a part of this. You all made my day. My month. My YEAR.

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